As Johann Filigree Hexameter Aomori drove past The Lady of the Sea Inn and headed out of Who-Knows-Where, he knew he had only a short time to complete his task. There were only a few hours before the train that was presently carrying his rapidly dying body arrived at the station.
Johann had been shot by the young widow,Lady Julep Persimmon Bede. The opal bullet, like his love for the beautiful young woman, was secure in his now barely beating heart. His body and Death would arrive at the station at same time. The situation was both tragic and inconvenient, leaving one opportunity. Johann had propelled his astral form along a Moebius Strip and completed a perfect temporal flip into potential events.
He arrived in Who-Knows-Where ahead of both the train and his impending death. Having acquired an aetheric-steam charged automobile from the Grimm & Thyme Shoppe, his only hope was to drive into The Forest Beyond. Once there, he might be able to acquire a Melody of Memory from The Crow-Magnon.
Driving out of town towards the gathering woods, the Senior Junior Wizard , 12th Degree October, could see a fellow in Motley dress standing at the side of the road. Recognizing the tailored garb of The Traveller, he knew he would be a fool to not stop and give him a ride.
“A journey begins with your first stop.”
” I know. There are more doors to perception than windows in an outhouse. You wouldn’t happen to have an opal on you ? “
“I left it in my other body, but you can have it at the earliest opportunity. Are you familiar with the way to The Forest Beyond ? “
“Definitely. Keep going till you reach A Knick-in-Time.”
Johann nodded, A Knick-in-Time was even smaller community than Who-Knows-Where. It was more of a turning point than a destination. You could pass it in seconds and still take it all in, every minute detail.
” By the way, you wouldn’t happen to know a Melody of Memory ? “
” It sounds familiar,….perhaps if you hum a few bars……,” the Traveller smiled in response to the quiry.
Johann just smiled back and shook his head, ” I was hoping you might be Crow Magnon. They say the two of you are almost identical, except for the noticeable differences. It would have saved time.”
” Sorry, but I’m not him today. At least I wasn’t when I last looked in the mirror .” He glanced at the passenger’s side mirror to double check, ” No, definitely not today. Perhaps on another day, after an eventful life changing journey.”
“Better watch out for those Zebras up ahead. They appear to be lining the road.”
Johann proceeded slowly, to avoid running over the Zebra lines. This gave ample opportunity for a small white dog to jump into the backseat of the car. It was not unexpected, as the dog was know to follow the Traveller around the bend every now and then.
Having passed the Zebras without a scratch, Johann picked up speed just as a flock of geese flew overhead in pursuit of a glowing orb of unknown quality (GLO).
” Those GLOs are coming earlier and earlier. They say it is a sign of Global Swarming. I do not believe it myself. It obviously just astral gas erruptions or Will-o’-the-Wisps. “
” Tea and Biscuits, ” the White Dog replied.
” Pardon ? “
” Pay know mind to him. He thinks he knows everything because he smells the past and the future. Get ready to hang a right up ahead.”
As Johann slowed down, he could see a small vendor stand come into view. Tea and Biscuits proclaimed the sign, as the dog wagged his tail in an ‘I-told-you-so fashion. Just past the stand, the wizard turned to the right and the road followed a slow dip into a misty valley. The mist thickened as the car went around a bend. The dog’s white outine blended into the mist and soon the small dog was long gone.
It was not too far past this juncture in the lengthing narrative that the mist rose and all became clear. Arriving in A Knick-in-Time, it became obvious that two roads diverged in the woods.
The Traveller pointed, “Take the less travelled by. It will make all the difference.”
With that turn, the vehicle proceeded to enter The Forest Beyond, and the narrative falls quiet, to leave the young wizard & his mysterious companion on their continuing journey.
Note for those who have confused, amused, intrigued, or entertained:
1. links in the text will take you to related pieces. You can also find more background information & access the whole Beowulf Barometer sequence by way of the new page – Phantasmagoria: Tales Tall & Short.
2. The Lady by the Sea comes from part of a piece done by my wife.
3.Le Fool is based on an original card from the tarot deck of Jean Dodal of en:Lyon, a classic “Marseilles” deck from 1701-1715. For more information on the meaning/interpretation of the archetype see The Fool (Tarot card).
4. The Harlequin figure comes from Maurice Sand’s 1671 Masques et bouffons (Comedie Italienne).