The In-between – Part 8 of 31

I think this is getting out of hand now I really do…

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Saturated Pleasantries’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


Saturated Pleasantries

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6  Part 7

Catching up to Plumduff I placed a hand on her shoulder and she stopped and turned towards me.

“Armitage, what is it?” She asked.

I explained that I had rather a lot of questions and had a headache, something that in itself seemed rather off given that I was dead.

She looked at me for a while then placed a hand on my arm and smiled.

“Okay” she said, “let’s make it quick.”

“Well where are we for one” I asked.

After a number of attempts to explain the nature of the Fracture, all of which stretched the limits of her patience and the boundaries of my comprehension, she settled on one that placed it as a singularity that spanned both space and time in all directions.  She then added that it was in no way subject to any of the immutable laws that governed existence yet at the same time part of those very laws in this place and time only.

“That make sense?” she asked setting off again.

I set off after her again and with her shoes click clacking on the pavements she suggested that the result was easier understood in the context of what I could perceive and to work backwards from that point and it would eventually make sense.

If, using the ring, I was able to perceive a slice of multiple overlapping existences across multiple timelines and universes then that was to be my reality and I ought to simply accept it for what it was and get on with things because fretting about it was no use to anyone.

“It will only give you a headache” she insisted.  “Ours is not to ask why Armitage.”

“All just seems rather a lot to take in” I replied.

“Yes I can see that” she replied.  “I felt very much the same when I arrived and I will explain more as soon as I can but right now we have somewhere to be.”

It seemed only moments ago that I was wandering a hazy nothing stumbling upon impossible trees and disengaged Henrys yet  before you know it I am gainfully employed wandering the intersection of all possible points in space and time.

Or something like that.

“And why can I only see parts of it?” I asked.

“Because that is all the ring permits” she explained rather unhelpfully.

“But why?”

“Well, because that is what the ring does.  It shows you the thing you are looking at.”  She said it in a way that made me feel like I had asked a stupidly obvious question and I ought to be rather ashamed of myself for doing so.

“We need to cross over” she added.

She placed a hand on my arm to both steady herself and guide me and steered me across the road.

Until now I had paid little attention to anything other than Plumduff’s voice, but as we crossed from one side of the street to the other I was suddenly aware of everything around me.

Huge towering buildings reached up into the sky on each sky, the lower levels adorned with vibrant neon signs and electronic screens.  From those I could read it seemed that sex was very much the order of the day with at least half of the premises offering carnal services of one description or another, and when you were done the other half of the establishments would help you satisfy the thirst you’d worked up doing whatever beastly thing took your fancy.

Higher up there were row upon row of cluttered balconies jutting out and overhanging the street and washing was hung out and suspended between the two sides of the road.  A small boy high up smiled at me and waved as I looked up.

“Pay attention boy and keep your head about you” Plumduff snapped.  “There are worse things than death and I would suggest today not be the day you find that out.  Stay close to me an watch your step.”

I hurried to stay close to her, despite her size she trotted along at quite a pace and we were soon across the road.

“And close your mouth boy and stop staring” she added.  “it’s rather rude.”

Whilst I had mostly accepted the basic premise of Plumduff’s explaination of multiple realities across all of existence it was not until I noticed the people around me that it really began to hit home.

To my credit I felt that I had accepted the small matters of being dead, the In-between and everything else that had been thrown at me pretty well and with only limited whining, but once again my limits of comprehension were being most severely tested.

Plumduff lead the way through a thickening crown and whilst many of those around us were human in appearance many were most definitely not.  Such an array of shapes and creations I had never even imagined.  These were the gathered masses from across so many realities, and whilst I am comfortable with the standard idea of tentacled otherworldly types or little green men here were things well beyond those imaginings.

Plumduff pushed her way between a vivid shade of blue and something akin to a Viking who seemed to be engaged in a heated debate and shouted for me to keep up.  Apologetically I squeezed between then and then sidled past a tall green creature that consisted predominantly of arms and not a great deal more.

“In here” she beckoned as she slipped through a narrow door between two shop fronts.  What appeared to be a vaguely humanoid shaped collection of grey blocks watched me as I did and gave a deep grunt as I passed by.

“Thank you” I said nervously.  As different as this place may be there was always room for polite pleasantries.

Passing inside the door closed behind me and I hurried up a short flight of dimly lit stairs behind Plumduff.

“Hurry boy” she said impatiently.  “You really must keep up.”

As I caught her up she stopped outside of a plain black door save for a small gold coloured symbol.  I assumed it was a room number.

“Is this it?” I asked.

“Indeed it is” she answered pulling out a bunch of keys from a pocket and rummaging through them. “Aah yes, this is the one” she continued holding up a small brass key.

“Shouldn’t we knock?” I asked.

Plumduff grinned.  “Oh dear boy, we don’t knock.  Periscope will be fast asleep, it would be rude to wake him.”

The look on her face told me that not being rude was the last thing on her mind.

 

Part 9 is here (when ready)

The In-between – Part 7 of 31

Well I’m still making it up as I go along…

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Popsicle Periscopes.’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


Popsicle periscopes

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6

I as scrambled to make sense of Plumdiff’s words, she was already back on her feet and beckoning me to follow her.  Her shoes clicked and clacked on the polished parquet flooring as she lead the way and we headed back out through the door of her office and into the in-between.

“Now Armitage, be a good chap and close the door and do keep up there is lots to do today.” She said.

I stuffed the watch and ring into my pocket, pulled the door closed and hurried after her.  She moved deceptively quickly for a woman of her advancing years.

“Where are we going” I asked still holding the wallet.

“There’s someone we need to go see” She replied.

“There is?”

“Yes, we need to go find Periscope.  He should be somewhere over down that way” she said pointing to precisely nowhere at all.

“I don’t see anything?” I said confused.

“The ring” she replied, not stopping.  “Put on the ring.”

I fumbled in my pocket and pulled out the ring.  I rolled it between my fingers and noticed a fine inscription ran around the outside carved deep into the silver in an unknown language and the inside showed faded traces of an inscription long worn away.

“Put it on Boy” Plumduff insisted.  “And do keep up.”

Still walking I slipped it slowly onto my finger and promptly tripped over the kerb falling face first onto the floor.

“Oh and watch the kerb” She said wryly, a note of laughter in her voice.

Looking up from where I lay everything before me was suddenly changed.  Judging by the tan tights and black shoes Plumduff had now stopped and was waiting but where previously there had been only the fog of the In-Between there a bustling city now lay before me.

I slowly got to my feet taking in the sights and sounds before me.   A long street stretched into the distance and high on either side there towered a mish mash of different buildings.  There was an explosion of colour and neon flashed and blinked wherever I looked.   High above clouds drifted in a blue sky and there was movement and noise everywhere.

“It only works wherever you look” Plumduff said quite matter of fact and I quite quickly realised what she meant.

To the edges of what I could see the grey nothingness of the In-between returned and the city blended away into nothing. Wherever I looked the city appeared and as I turned to looked elsewhere it was gone from sight.

“You only see what you’re looking for and if you’re not looking for it you don’t need to see it“ Plumduff continued, her face a broad smile.  “You’ll get used to it Armitage.”

“I see” I said.

Plumduff chuckled.

“Now let’s head over to Century Plaza” she said heading off purposefully once more.  “That’s where we’ll find him.”

 

Part 8 can be found here

The In-between – Part 6 of 31

Well I’m still making it up as I go along…

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Crystal clear consolations.’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


Crystal clear consolations

Part 1      Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5

 

Stepping through the doorway I found myself in an office.  Seeing the confusion on my face Plumduff beckoned me to take a seat in a stout red leather wing-backed chair.

“Now now boy” she began.  “Less of the gormless expressions if you will, we have things to do and sitting there with your mouth open looking for explanations really will get us nowhere.  There will be time for that later.”

We were in a dimly lit office, tall dark bookcases covered the walls and row upon row of books lined the shelves.  In front of me Plumduff sat behind a broad mahogany desk, a small pile of papers and a pen and ink on one side of it and on the other another pile of books.  Behind her was a wide fireplace where glowing embers crackled and fizzed and above the mantle was a most impressive oil painting of an equally impressive fellow standing legs akimbo and hands on hips against the backdrop of a raging volcano and knee deep in daffodils.

Plumduff noticed me staring at it.

“That’s Charles Crompton” she said, smiling and turning around to look at it herself.  “He established this fine institution four hundred and eighty years ago.  Wonderful fellow, frightfully handsome and all being well you will get to meet him at some point some when.”

Plumduff span back around, pulled out a draw and began to rummage in the desk.  “Now, where is it?” She said.  “It’s here somewhere.”

Her wispy white hair eventually popped up from behind the desk and she placed a small package in front of me. “There you go” she said pushing it across the desk towards me. It was wrapped in brown paper and tied somewhat haphazardly with string.

“I Just…” I tried to speak but Plunduff was having none of it.

“Please, just open it” she said smiling.  “Things will make far more sense once you do.”

As small and frail as she might appear, Margaret Plumduff had the air of a woman with whom you did not trifle.  She folded her hands in her lap and watched as obediently I unwrapped the package in my lap.  Peeling back the string and brown paper it revealed what looked like a small black wallet, an engraved silver ring and a watch.

“Open the wallet” she pressed excitedly.

The leather was soft between my fingers, worn and supple and opening it up revealed a gold coloured badge about the size of a credit card.

“Read it out” she insisted.

I pulled the card from the wallet.  It was surprisingly heavy.

“Badge 1979.  Office of Entropy Agent authorised to carry out all and any duties pertaining to the orderly maintainence of Area 367.”

I slid the card back inside the wallet and looked up, Plumduff clapped her hands excitedly.

“You’re my new partner Armitage, welcome to the Fracture.”

The In-between – Part 5 of 31

Part 5 in my ongoing efforts to try string together random prompts into a story

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘morphing into magma.’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


Read part 1 here

Read part 2 here

Read Part 3 Here

Read Part 4 Here

“He wont get to it” the voice continued. “just let him go”

I spun around and was faced with a kind faced old woman wearing a flower print dress, yellow cardigan and a broad welcoming smile.

“Margaret Plumduff” she said confidently thrusting out a hand. Her grip was far firmer than I had anticipated.

“Armitage” I replied rather timidly.

“Indeed you are my boy, Indeed you are” she said still shaking my hand rigorously. “I’ve been waiting for you, they said I’d find you out by the tree.”

“They did?” I replied.

“Oh yes, yes” she continued, eventually releasing my hand at last and flashing me a broad toothy smile. She was no more than 5 feet tall with a face full of character and short soft white hair. She wore tan nylon stockings and black patent leather shoes and a black handbag hung over her left arm rounding off her outfit.

“Are you sure about him?” I asked pointing back towards where Henry continued to wander towards the tree in the distance.

“Oh yes, don’t you mind yourself with him” Margaret insisted. “The tree takes care of his type.“

My face obviously gave away that I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about.

“Some are sent to serve the greater needs of the in-between.” She said still smiling. “She will feed on him and put him out of his miserable existence. Once she has absorbed him he will be far more comfortable.”

Again I could tell that my face gave away my shock at the idea.

“He was an accountant, beastly type who fiddled the books and had a quite awful habbit of interrupting people. No real redeeming qualities and he won’t feel a thing I assure you.”

By now I obviously looked appalled or terrified, I am unsure which, but she obviously felt the need to put me at ease.

“I wouldn’t worry dear, you’re perfectly safe” she insisted. “Now we really must get going we have places to be.”

“We do?”

“Oh yes, yes” she replied enthusiastically. “There are so many things to see and you must start your training straight away.”

I suspect at this point she was growing weary of the array of confused looks I was continuing to sport.

“Please, just follow me” she said, and out of nothing a door appeared. It was in no way a special door, unless of course you would count it appearing out of nowhere as special, but that aside it was simply a brown wooden door with a matching gold letterbox, handle and brass lion head knocker. “Come come, let’s be going.” She said and with that she turned the handle, pushed the door open and stepped through.

 

Part 6 can be found here

The In-between – Part 4 of 31

“Hello” was the first thing Henry said to me which, as greetings go, was perfectly acceptable. 

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Binging time.’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


Read part 1 here

Read part 2 here

Read Part 3 Here

“Hello” was the first thing Henry said to me which, as greetings go, was perfectly acceptable.

Perhaps it was his lack of enthusiasm that threw me but the best I could muster in response was a rather flacid “Hi”.

Henry blinked and did not reply, simply shuffling uncomfortably from one foot to another and fiddling with the cuffs of his shirt. I hadn’t considered clothing previously, and it prompted me to wonder whether I had any on and, looking down, discovered that I was in fact wearing a most unpleasant pair of brown corduroys and a plain white shirt. A pair of light brown moccasins and white socks rounded off the ensemble which made me look very much like my year 9 science teacher, Mr Wood.

Moments passed and so we stood staring at one another saying nothing. It could have been a few seconds though it may also have been a number of weeks. Time is a tricky thing here.

Feeling compelled to make an impression, he was after all the only other person I had met since arriving, I attempted to muster something witty or interesting to say but everything escaped me and I eventually mumbled a rather awkward “so are you new here?”

Henry nodded.

“You’re the first person I’ve seen since I arrived” I added.

Henry stared straight through me as if fixed upon something in the distance. I tried to resist turning around to look and see what he was looking at but could not. Unsurprisingly, there was nothing to be seen other than the feint silhouette of the tree far in the distance.

“The tree?” I asked.

Henry nodded.

“Just appeared” I replied.

Henry leaned to the side, peering over my shoulder, and then scratching his head walked past me without so much as a please and thank you in the direction of the tree.

I turned to watch him go and was about to follow him when another voice spoke.

“Let him go, he’s going the wrong way anyway.”

The In-between – Part 3 of 31

“. As I wander there are colours and flashes of things that I know I recognise and that seem so familiar but yet I struggle to name. “

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Liquid Love.’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


Read part 1 here

Read part 2 here

Of late, and I say that with a degree of caution because time does not seem to hold any significance here, I am finding that the longing consumes me less and less and a clarity seems to be returning to my thinking.

Now that is not to say I know what is going on, because I do not, but I have been able to explore this curious existence and am finding that it is not as grey and empty as I once thought.  A world of misty nothing seems to be revealing itself to me piece by piece, and just today I saw a tree.  I don’t know what type of tree it was, perhaps a beech or a birch –  I tend to get them mixed up – but there it was doing precisely nothing just as you would expect from a tree.

It’s gnarled trunk rose above me where sprawling branches were capped with a thick covering of leaves, dappled sunlight flooding through in golden rays from a sunless sky.  Below my feet her roots stretched deep dow into nothing.  There was a also a narrow river, a glittering ribbon of blue and silver meandering slowly through the nothing and into which the tree had dipped a number of her roots.  As she drank I could see the waters glowing as it pulsed and coursed through her limbs.

Beyond the things I know and recognise there are also glimpses and echoes of a world just beyond my grasp, perhaps the one I left or somewhere else, but they are there and at times so very close.  Feint voices call out and have me spinning as if recognising the comforting hello of an old friend.  As I wander there are colours and flashes of things that I know I recognise and that seem so familiar but yet I struggle to name.

And then, as I stood beneath the cool canopy dipping my toes in the trickling water I knew that I was no longer alone.

Read part 4 here

The In-between – Part 2 of 31

“…The worst thing about dying is not the pain, that passes pretty quickly,”

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Senseless Sacrifices.’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.


 

Read part 1 here

The worst thing about dying is not the pain, that passes pretty quickly, it’s actually the immense sense of loss you feel afterwards that really gets to you.  Once you realise that there is nowhere left to go, which is bad enough in itself because a lack of destination is something I find wholly unsettling, there is the overwhelming realisation that pretty much everything else is gone.

Beyond the obvious and rather painful longing for the people you have left behind you also find yourself bombarded by a sadness at the loss of things of a far more mundane nature.  Since shuffling off of the mortal coil I have spent entire afternoons pining for my old bicycle, the red one that I should have ridden more but didn’t because it gave me the most terrible chafing.  Whole mornings have been spent dwelling upon missed opportunities to listen to the radio late at night when the signal of far-away stations seemed stronger and I was able to scroll through the bands picking up such strange foreign voices.

So many things taken for granted now seem so precious and a lifetime of missed opportunities weighs heavy on those of us trapped in this nothing of an existence and not a moment passes when I ask myself was what I did worth it…

Part 3 is here

The In-between – Part 1 of 31

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. The first was titled ‘The Inbetween’ so thats the name of the story. Each prompt is only meant to take a few minutes. Let’s see how it goes.


I’m not sure what I am anymore. I know I’m dead, I remember that all too well, but it was hardly the significant finale I was expecting.

There were no pearly gates or lights to head towards, and neither was there fire nor brimstone nor the anguished gnashing of teeth – something Mrs Henderson next door would most certainly be disappointed about given her insistence that one day my wicked ways would most certainly be repaid in true Old Testament fashion.

The way she always looked at me when she said it I’m pretty sure she meant buggery, she just had that look of a woman who feared buggery above all things. Her husband was a big man, so that may have explained it.

So alas Mrs Henderson I am afraid there is a distinct lack of buggery wherever it is that I am, though there are rather a lot of us here in-between who are somewhat in need of an answer as to just what is going on.


Part 2 is here

The end of times

J pulled his bedding up around his ears and refused to get out of bed.  “No” he insisted, only his eyes showing above the blanket “tell dad that I’m unwell or something but I just can’t face it today.”

J pulled his bedding up around his ears and refused to get out of bed.  “No” he insisted, only his eyes showing above the blanket “tell dad that I’m unwell or something but I just can’t face it today.”

Mo scratched his head and laughed “Bro, he will kill you you can’t miss this” he said “it’s the end of days – it’s a big deal.”  He tugged at the edge of the blanket, “come on, seriously, he will go mad.”

J resisted but knew it was pointless, dad always got his way.  “What am I even supposed to wear?” he snapped,  sitting up in bed and rubbing his eyes. “Has he said what he wants me to wear?”

Mo smiled and threw him a robe.  “Same as usual J, you know that now stop being such a baby. Anyway, it might be fun, he has all sorts of crazy stuff planned.”

“Probably better than giving cancer to babies I suppose” he snapped, “that gets a bit old after a while? ”

“Come on, we’re going to be late” Mo said pulling back the blankets from the bed.

“Fine, fine” J said getting out of bed and pulling on his robe.  He ran his fingers through his long dark hair and took a drink from a small cup next to his bed.  “So is he sticking to the stuff they’re expecting or does he have something else planned?”

“Mostly the same” Mo replied, “But he has managed to rope Lucifer and some of his mates in for some sort of big finale.”

“Oh super” J replied, “they’re a right bunch of arses, why are they involved?”

“Dad reckons that he needs to shake things up a bit and get them back in line” Mo said “apparently they’re getting a bit too unruly and there are way too many of them they’re really screwing things up.”

J adjusted his robes and pulled his belt tight.  “What has he got planned for you?” he asked.

“Same as usual mate” he said “mostly whole sale irrational panic and paranoia and he wants me to be in charge of plagues.”

“Plagues, no way man I always get plagues why has he given you those?”

Mo headed towards the door.  “Apparently he wants you on apparitions” he said, he knew how much J loved plagues.

“i tell you what” J said, visibly angry “i bloody hate apparitions and visitations – all those good looking women and all I get to do is terrify them.  Have you seen me?” he asked holding out his hands, “I have awesome hair you have to admit.  I should be getting so many of them but no, dad reckons we shouldn’t mix”.

“Hey, I hate this as much as you do you know that” Mo said calmly, “we both know this whole thing was a huge mistake that got out of hand but we had to control them somehow.”

J sighed, he knew it was their job but sometimes he wished it was just a bit more interesting.  “I just can’t wait until it’s all over and we can get rid of them and just bring the family down.”

Mo placed a hand on J’s shoulder.  “Not long now mate” he said reassuringly, “and until then let’s just try enjoy it eh – apparently he has something lined up with that Donald chap and the pudgy faced lad, said it will be a right laugh”


For more of this sort of thing you can take a look here

Footprints – An AFA Challenge

Fences – FFfAW Challenge – 11th of July

I don’t have a dog called Caper – Daily prompt

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of intographics @ pixabay