Steampunk to hellearliest post first | most recent post first
"BUT WHAT I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IS YOOOOOOOOOOOOO," hooted Anything Owl. "WHAT ARE YOOOOO DOING WITH YOUR LIFE? WHERE DO YOOOOOOO SEE YOURSELF IN SIX AND A HALF YEARS, FOUR MONTHS, AND THREE DAYS? WHY ARE YOOOOOOO OUT ALONE ON SUCH A MOONLIT NIGHT?"
I really didn't know where to begin.
"You stole my Impossibag," I said. "I was just out... riding my horse. He was chewing the gingerbread furniture in my dorm. We were letting off steam. I'm probably going to build him a corral. Out of something other than lebkuchen, or anything coated in sugar."
"HAVE YOU CONSIDERED TWIGS?" asked Anything Owl. "TWIGS ARE STURDY. TWIGS ARE SUPPLE AND FORGIVING. TWIGS SUPPORT THE WEIGHT OF THE WORLD CHAINS."
"Twigs are scratchy," I answered. I lifted up my arms to show him.
"SO THEY ARE! SO THEY ARE! HOOO HOOOO HOOO HOOO!" Anything Owl seemed to be chuckling. "AS INTERIM MANAGER OF THE PLANAR NEGOTIATION ROUNDTABLE AS WELL AS THE INTERREGNUM MEET YET TO COME IN ABSENTIA, I AM A BUSY ANCESTRAL ENTITY. I NEED HELP LOOKING AFTER THE AFFAIRS OF THE WORLD NEST, AND THE WORLD TREE IN WHICH IT RESTS."
"So?" I asked.
"SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....." continued Anything Owl. "WHAT I AM ASKING IS, LUZ DUNKEL, WON'T YOU BE, WON'T YOU BE, WON'T YOU BE, MY AVATAR ON THIS EARTH?"
The Impossibag 3000 was right there. Hanging on a hook on the wall.
Right behind the giant owl at the desk.
"HELLO, YOUNG PERSON. YOU MAY KNOW ME AS ANYTHING OWL, MASTER OF NESTS, SWOOPER OF SWOOPS."
It did ring some vague bell, deep in the back of my mind.
"MOST RECENTLY I SERVED AT YOUR SCHOOL AS THE INTERIM MANAGER OF THE PLANAR NEGOTIATION ROUNDTABLE AS WELL AS THE INTERREGNUM MEET YET TO COME. YOU CAN LOOK IT UP. NOW I AM ON SABBATICAL, TENDING THE WORLD NEST, KEEPING OLD FLAMES ALIVE, AND RUSTLING DREAMS."
The owl's feathers fluttered, and the twigs in the nest fluttered too. The owl's beak was sharp.
"AND YOU HAVE A LOST ITEM TO REPORT?"
"Uh, yes. That's my bag, there on the wall behind you."
"AND SO IT IS," said Anything Owl and wings unfurled and feathers curled and with a little SWOOP the bag was place in front of me.
Then I sat there for a long time looking into Anything Owl's great big eyes.
Hellooooooooo! And how can Anything Owl help you today? Usually we work on an appointment-only basis, but we do have time for a walk-in just now.
Wait -- don't say a word. Let me flitter around and see what I can glean...
Ah, ok. You're a student at the school, aren't you? And... a bit of a witch if I'm not mistaken? And... let me see... something tells me you've lost something recently, correct? And you think Anything Owl can help? Yes? Did I get it right?
Oh goody! Now please, walk this way...
WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO is it in my foyer?
No, seriously, Enchanting Owlet, could you take a look and see?
Near the top of the great tree, I had a horrible realization.
There I was, clawing my way up the tallest tree in the wood, exposed in the light of the full moon to anything that might want to swoop down and grab me.
I had no tools, no weapons. Everything was snatched from me in the Impossibag 3000. It must rest in the mighty nest at the top of the tree.
I had no horse, no mount, no steed, no trusty friend. Hexy remained at the foot of the tree, snuffling for grasses. Of course Hexy would be there for me when I returned, right?
I was alone, off campus in the middle of the night, in the forest. At the top of a tree.
The twigs were sharp and scratched my arms and legs and poked me in the eye as I hauled myself up and over the side of the mighty nest. It was like a natural wooden climbing structure, on a natural playground, except designed to poke and scratch and cut you.
The inside of the nest was equally prickly.
It was also empty. Except for one great hole, woven into the floor of the nest, open and gaping and round like the hole in a tuba where the sound comes out.
I tear my hands up on the twigs falling down the hole.
The path through the woods is dark.
"Giddy up, Hexy!"
I'n not one of those who believes in flashlights. I mean, sure, if you drop your keys or something, then yes. But just walking through the dark with them, when the path is clear -- what's the point? It diminishes your ability to peer into the darkness and make sense of what's out there. And makes you a target for anything else that is.
There was probably a headlamp in the Impossibag 3000, but I wasn't looking for it.
"Hey!!! my Impossibag! You come back with that!"
"Anything you put into the larger pocket will be automagically transported to your dorm," the instructions clearly said.
Which is why we didn't go anywhere! The horse and I remained here in Hexenhäus, which is the dorm I created out of Lebkuchen.
There was apparently no simple, automagical solution to my problem. So I slung the Impossibag 3000 over my shoulder, and rode the horse through the common room, down Gingerbread Hall, through the Gum Drop Foyer, out the Grand Walk, through the mint candy cane perimeter, and down the dirt road leading through the woods outside of Psyhigh.
"C'mon Hexy! Giddy up!"
I pulled more and more objects out of the Impossibag 3000, filling the common room with miscellany, including a broken wheelbarrow, a bag of stale salt water taffy, a number of forgotten pens and pencils, a Chinese Checkers set, a trombone, a tiffany lamp (still lit), a rolling pin, and an old CRT computer monitor.
Then I noticed the horse was gnawing at the heavy gingerbread dining table that had been my office. That wouldn't do.
The horse had to go. I tried putting one of its hooves in the bag, which worked all the way up to where the horse's leg met its body, but could go no further. Then I tried putting the Impossibag over the horse's head, and while generally a good natured horse it didn't like that at all, and I was worried about him getting spooked and starting to kick.
Ah! There were TWO pockets! One small, one larger. I hadn't noticed the larger pocket. It kind of zipped round the whole top.
I mounted the horse, bareback style of course because I found no livery in the small pocket of the Impossibag 3000, zipped open the larger pouch, held it above my head, took a big breath, and pulled it down over the two of us.
Hexenhäus is warm and cozy. I planted a perimeter of mint and candy canes to keep the denizens of the wood from gnawing on the exterior. We've got 120 rooms for Psyhigh students, and are carefully interviewing applicants for gluten and sugar allergies.
Sitting here in the common room with a fire going, the frosting on the furniture curing, I'm at once feeling a sense of accomplishment and one of great loss, as my most recent ambition has been fulfilled.
So, I've been occupying myself with the Impossibag 3000, kindly left by @Rouge in a tree on a prior visit in the Steampunk to Hell. It seems to have been pre-owned, as I'm discovering all kinds of things in the small pocket, like:
1) A pocket knife
2) A rusty ship's anchor covered in barnacles
3) A wadded up kleenex
4) A set of keys on a keychain with a rhinestone horseshoe
5) A horse
I'm having trouble getting the horse back in the bag. I really don't have anywhere to keep it.
The Hexenhäus Project is going well. Almost all supplies arrived on time, but the haunted sausages are on backorder. They're mostly decorative anyway.
We were able to get the foundation laid and the walls and roof up before the weather hit -- we'll wait for clearer skies to do the frosting. I had not anticipated how much of a problem the deer and other forest creatures would be. Who knew they had such a taste for Lebkuchen? We will need to make sure there's an extra quantity of shellac mixed in with the confectioners' sugar when it's time for the glaze.
Meanwhile, I love playing in half-finished houses. I sneak into them whenever I can. It's really surprising how easy it is--don't know why more people don't do it. Just need to wait till the workmen go home, and do it before they install the doors. I love the smell of the fresh wood and sawdust, but I must admit my gingerbread smells even better.