When it started up again Alicia didn’t need the earplugs. Things like this you get used to. Any sadness is quickly strangled out by resignation. Of course it was going to happen again. Tears can be saved for a fresh abomination. This is creaky old yellow news. A bad rule coming home to roost that must be acknowledged and observed because it’s a deceptive ace in the house of cards. There was some sort of way to cut down the noise with a trans-receiver set but the two they had were stolen in extremely suspicious circumstances and Alfred told her in the early morning sun that even though he was sure Blins was doing something shady, without a smoking gun he wouldn’t bother accusing them.
Take all the help you can get at a time like this.
So the bells rung on the far side and the ground shook and the gears ground as the number flipped and gas seeped out of the silos and Alicia took a final deep breath before putting on the mask as the pink and baby blue haze intermingled with suspect joy before settling down on the ground around her knees like propane.
In the distance of this endless mist sea was an archipelago with the top cone-piece being a man-made castle with three light brown brutalist towers reaching for the sky like fit criminals.
The home of the old machine, revving up once again at the thought of genuine love, which wafts through the area every so often like a powerful fart in the wind.
It all gets a bit difficult, with the cart and horse being broken down and reassembled with cart and horse materials in the blink of an eye. At least the solution is as old as time:
Blow up the symbolic now, literal later castle as soon as possible, preferably before it makes the transition into the real. That’s when everything gets annoyingly complicated and the paperwork induces heroin relapses from co-workers, and now she’s wondering about Blins but only because Alfred is already on their case for other transgressions.
The domino effect of blame.
Very dangerous. The morale of the unit isn’t made of tissue paper, but it’s a bad sign if we’re the ones doing the tearing.
To traverse the longwinded emotional landscape Alicia grabbed her desoldering gun and cut a doorway in the open bad air in front of her and stepped inside, into a numberless room which spun around as Alicia leapt off the floor to ceiling to wall to other wall to steady herself caressing the surface with a soft and steady open palm and with that the entire structure gave itself to her and its physical boundaries expanded as if a billowing of air was suddenly pushed in, shooting its six pieces out and out and out and allowing Alicia to float down in the non-environment onto hastily imagined floating brillo pad beside the ramparts of the lowest castle tower.
She would be the first to admit that the effects of advertising in this zone meant that such names and images are the initial ones that come to your mind.
No matter. She was suddenly here and there was work to be done.
Alicia stalked the corridors carefully, setting the explosives in particularly load-bearing archways, ready for any sort of verbal, physical and fatal interactions with guards and monsters, but the hallways and rooms were completely empty.
She soon surmised that the machine was powering up in the great hall, with the collective will of all the castle’s inhabitants giving their blood, sweat and encouragement to get it going.
-all of them, she muttered to herself as she set up the tenth argument bomb without any confrontation at all, wondering if this was actually some sort of secret speed run test exercise of Alfred’s.
But when she arrived at the clichéd crack in the wall that everyone knows about to gaze into the great hall, her jaw dropped at the turnout. It was shoulder to shoulder of god and ghoul, of hope and hatred, of bland and beautiful real and imagined creatures, all of whom were here to show support to an apparently important couple in the dimension next door.
And the machine kept going, incidentally pumping out the sound of the gnashing of the fifth row of ritual teeth.
Alicia handled these things with her eyes narrowing so tightly you’d think she was sleeping standing up. Not only standing, but making effortless knots and board breaks to get the system up and running again.
A zone you find to get the bumps ironed out in real time.
Without thinking another thought and knowing that there was a nearby passageway to the basement sewer system that could get her out of here, she slams her extra thumb on the trigger and let the whole thing explode once all around, bring first chaos but then much needed balance to the nature of things.
And at first the machine hid the fact that nothing happened quite well, its own rumblings and terrible noises convincing Alicia for all of three seconds that things were going to plan, so she already started her sprint to the hidden exit. But as she pawed awkwardly for the switch behind the Gruber family tree, the lack of quaking, screams and dust rain finally made her check the readings and she found that there was no signal between the explosives and detonator in her hand.
She blinks at this nonplussed. No signal? We’re practically living within a giant router. What could possibly be strong enough to block-
And then it came to her. Why every creature from here to Coboconk was in the great hall.
This time it was a Shatterproof Wedding.
As Alicia stood in silence double and triple checking her levels and measurements in case they begin to go absolutely haywire, a thin tuxedoed, 180 centimeter, 70 kilogram demon with well-coiffed hair steps out of the great hall to check their localized communications device, and casually glances up at one point to notice the spandex-clad, mask wearing ontological terrorist checking her own handheld machines.
The sound of its shrieking comes off in her ears as simple bursts of static, but Alicia knows the alarm has been raised. At the same time, leaving this castle standing – a situation that could allow the machine to spit out an ever increasing amount of toxic field goo into the already unstable atmosphere – wasn’t an option, either.
Not knowing if any of her equipment worked, Alicia fired up the time-fall-back app and found her current self in the head of her thirty seconds earlier self (and a metaphysical quandary to be made up within the next twelve hours, probably during a self-imposed grey nap), so she easily could make herself look up at the right time, walk over to the doorway the creature was about to come through, and then lop of its silly monkey head with her digital machete.
Alicia tiptoes towards the doorway, and peers carefully into the great room. Her eyes widen. This iteration was bigger than any she’s ever seen.
What the fuck is happening next door?
Underneath the sound of the machine was a constant church-like murmuring among the attendees. It was making her nose itchy, which meant blood was soon to follow. She taps the comm on her shoulder and doesn’t wait for an acknowledgment.
-I need backup.
-how many? Alfred barks back.
-everyone, Alicia replies looking around the room at hopelessly beaming dead eyed faces raising a toast of moderately priced prosecco to names and past future feelings, and make sure you have radiation tipped explosives in the shape of donation envelopes.
|An arms manufacturer always wins the war|