I wasn't in the mood to write my usual stuff, and I couldn't seem to think of anything, so I wrote a blog post asking for people to give me weird ideas and combinations. I took a bunch of them and turned them into a usable story. I had planned on having done in one shot, but it's taking a bit longer than planned. So here is the first part. The rest will be done tomorrow. At the end of this chapter I'll post the elements I used.
Matthew stood in his spare room which used to belong to his daughter, before his wife had decided that being a plumbers wife wasn't good enough anymore, when she could live with her fancy ass lawyer boss, who had already been getting all of her physical benefits for over two years. Now it was only used every second weekend. Still it had its uses.
Placing the video camera on the stand which gave a good view of the generic pink wall and bed, he made sure everything was in order before going back to his cold and lonely room. Closing his eyes, he gave a little push and the closet changed, instead of being full of jeans, t-shirts, a couple of warm shirts, and two suits, all he really needed for Brooklyn, it was full of clothes for a fifteen or sixteen year old girl.
In the center of it all was what looked like a plastic body suit that was far too small for him. Taking it off the rack, he pulled open the back and stepped inside. There was a bit of tingling, and he was a naked fifteen year old girl with the head and face of a fifty year old man who had too many lines on his face to ever be called handsome again.
“What does Jenny want to wear tonight?” he asked himself, his voice becoming higher pitched and a little airy. He'd always been a master at changing his voice, entertaining his daughter and his friends for hours by impersonating stars and making himself sound like everything from a crotchety old Russian, to a drunk, female opera singer, to a six year old little girl.
“I think I'll go with the sailor suit. I feel like J-pop tonight.” Having decided, he threw on a pink and white sailor suit that he wouldn't let his daughter even think of wearing, grabbed a cotton candy pink wig, and a full face mask covered in gaudy jewels, colourful feathers and sparkles. Spinning in front of the full length mirror, Jenny blew herself a kiss. “You look fabulous girlfriend!”
Skipping back to the other room, she loaded up the song she wanted on her laptop and got it ready to play, then turned on the camera and began recording. Jumping onto the bed, landing more gracefully than Matthew had ever could have, she waved at the camera. “Hi everyone, it's Jenny Jones again! I just want to say thank you for all the lovely comments you've posted on my channel, it makes me feel so good. But MarcAntony13, your comment was way too naughty. I'm not that type of girl! Since I now have 100,000 followers, I'm going to be posting videos twice a week. I'm not sure what they'll all be about, but you'll get something.”
Jumping to her feet, she spun for the camera. “My daddy just got me this costume last week, isn't it to die for! Since this is the first time I get to wear it for all of you, I think this calls for some J-Pop. YAY!!”
Jenny started the music and began dancing in front of the camera, then she started singing and all her worries, concerns and loneliness disappeared.
Matthew was enjoying his lunch break. After spending all morning fixing a pipe that had about a dozen holes in it from the owner pouring hydrochloric acid down it to remove a clog and not using nearly enough water, he deserved the break. Trying to squeeze his hands and pipe wrench into the tiny gap between the pipe and the wall had been the hardest part of the job, and he had one heck of a bruise on his little finger when the rusty, weakened pipe had actually broken smacking into the wall, just catching him.
To take his mind off that, he was checking Jenny's emails. They were nice to listen to, but not exactly relaxing. Jenny had been getting emails from local stations to do interviews and perform, ever since he'd become a bit of a viral sensation 3 months ago. Now she was getting messages from agents, producers and big time radio, internet and even tv shows to appear on them. He loved the attention, but Jenny didn't exist, and what would people say if they saw a teenage girl with his ugly mug?
People were already trying to track her down, using the little she'd talked about to figure out she was in Brooklyn. He didn't know much about computers, but he knew you could be tracked down on the net, what if they went came to his home? His daughter didn't look like Jenny, would they think he was letting some teen dance around in his apartment? He could loose what little time he had with his daughter if that rumour appeared.
There had to be something he could do.
He could just drop Jenny, she wasn't real after all. But that wasn't much of an option. For a year after his wife and daughter left, he'd hit the bottle hard, barely sober enough to work, and only cleaning up when his daughter was coming to visit. Then he'd discovered his talent to travel sideways, and the secret side of the world, the Jenny suit had been his first purchase, and he hadn't looked back. Now he couldn't even fathom not becoming the happy go lucky girl a few times a week.
What he needed was a way to make her go from being a half formed person to a real girl. He could still be Matthew to visit his daughter, but if the rest of his time he could be Jenny Jones, singing, acting, and having fun, while using all of Matthew's experience to avoid scumbags and bad situations, now that would be the life.
All that Jenny needed was a face. The ID would be easy to fake if he could just become full on Jenny.
Dialing his boss, he tried to remember how many sick days he could call in. This would take some time.
Jenny was wearing a pair of waterproof hiking boots, top of the line coveralls, with a plumbers belt holding a heavy pipe wrench, flashlight, and a hunting knife. In her pack was a lunch, with a big chunk of cheese, jerky and jerky, along with quite a bit of water, and five thousands dollars worth of silver coins. She didn't know how long it could take, so she was packing for a bit of a journey, there was also a second set of clothes for Matthew just in case. Topping it all was a short black wig, and a goalie mask that completely concealed her ugly male face.
She made her way through the basement of Matthew's apartment, using his keys the manager had given him when Matthew agreed to help look after the pipes for a big discount on the rent. She found the darkest corner, and gave reality a shove, thinking about what she needed. The old cement wall opened up revealing ancient bricks, and a tunnel that looked like it hadn't been used in centuries.
Turning on the flashlight, she stepped into the tunnel, and tried not to jump as the wall closed up behind her. She noticed the walls were lined with skulls, she wasn't worried, in fact the sight of them made her feel better. She was in the Paris Catacombs, which were pretty safe. As long as she didn't meet any reality whorls.
As she moved through the tunnel she looked for the markings from other people like her who could step sideways, showing where the markets were, dangers, safe points, and more. She still didn't know half of the symbols she saw, people had been leaving them along the hidden ways for centuries, and time wasn't exactly linear here.
Point of fact, the tunnel suddenly turned into a large cave, moonlight filtered in through holes in the top, and small ferns thrust out of the rocky ground. Looking back the comforting bone filled catacombs, weren't there anymore. Sighing she realized she was in a time whorl. Only thing to do was keep walking until she reached the edge. Speeding up she kept her ears open, once Matthew had been attacked by some Indians who had been startled seeing him appear out of nowhere. That had actually been better than seeing a robot casually tearing apart a human in some desert wasteland.
Jenny had been walking for five minutes when she heard a growl behind her. It was loud, and made the hair on her neck rise up, as every instinct screamed. Looking back, she saw a massive reptilian like head, with huge teeth. The scrawny arms on it's enormous body were slightly ridiculous, but everything else about it from the powerful back legs, the red downy feathers covering its body and the really really sharp teeth and claws screamed predator. Screaming Jenny fled from the t-Rex who roared and lumbered after her.
The only thing keeping her alive was that the cave was littered with pillars and rocks, she ducked and dodged keeping low, using her her small size to make hair pin turns, while the T-Rex stumbled and bashed into the rocks. She could still feel the dinosaurs warm breath on her back, smell the rotting meat caught in its teeth. And knew that this couldn't go on for much longer. Then reality recoiled and she was on her knees, vomiting onto prairie grass, an old, half collapsed house behind her.
She spent the next five minutes laughing, barely able to believe she was still alive.
Matthew had taken over for Jenny. She needed a break after her scare, so her suit was in the bag, and he was wearing his own coveralls and boots. He kept his hand on his pipe wrench, needing to feel the heavy steel to keep his hands from shaking.
Being from Brooklyn, the Kansas prairie was scary, it was so flat. There were no power line, cell towers, there weren't even any trees for mile around. One of his buddies was from Kansas, and had said there weren't even natural lakes, just man-made reservoirs and ponds called cattle tanks. As he walked to the top of a small rise, wishing for something he could use to push his way back to somewhere better, the land dropped away and he stopped dead in his tracks unable to believe what he was seeing.
There was a massive steel ark like spaceship. But it was so old it was scorched from lightning strikes, parts of the hull had rusted away, and the buildings around it were little more than useless shells. It had even sunk into the pavement.
Around the abandoned space shuttle launch pad, there were hundreds of people on a nearby hillside sketching the bleak scene. Black Sedan cars with opaque windows are parked in a strange formation that drew the eye. From his position, the cars and the people looked almost like the alphabet. Rubbing his eyes, Matthew began to spell out the words, “M-A-R-K-E-T! S-A-L-E-S! M-A-K-E-A-T-R-A-D-E!”
That was what he was looking for. Heading down the hill, he saw a small trail of white paving stones leading to the ark. As the ground sloped down, under the weight of the spaceship that was larger than some skyscrapers, water had filled in the dip, a small, rickety bridge went from the path to an open hatch, a cacophony of noise rushed out to meet him.
Not caring Matthew went inside.
The place was like a massive chaotic flea market. Some markets he'd visited were quiet, with dealers who wore silk suits and talked in whispers. Others were more like a local Walmart. But most were like this, everyone trying to sell something that couldn't be found in the real world. Car tires that would let you drive to Hell, Buddhist, Christian, Norse, Hindu, Greek, it didn't matter, they'd take you there, getting out was another matter. Emotions, from the greatest love in history to despair that would kill a person within minutes from a broken heart. Unicorn horn pills guaranteed to heal any poison or disease, and a basilisk eye that would paralyze your foe with horror for a full day. All you needed to find anything was something to trade, and the perseverance to find it.
“What are you looking for?” a man who looked so perfectly ordinary he was unnatural asked.
“I need a wearable girls face mask. Fifteen years old. Caucasian. Pretty. Able to remove it and put it back on safely. Not from a living girl and no personality in the mask itself,” he said. Having learned from some unfortunate incidents he was pretty specific.
“I'm afraid we don't have those here. We have heads if you're interested, but they talk back,” the seller said regretfully.
“Do you know where I can get one?”
“Try Toronto, the hundredth floor of the Eaton Center,” he offered.
“Thanks,” Matthew said, tossing him a silver coin.
He started walking towards a large sign that said exit when he heard a woman crying. Stopping to look out of curiosity, he saw a man selling odd animals, in a large aquarium was a woman wearing a Victorian corset, black panties, and high heels, she was silvery like a fish and covered in scales. Her face was something to behold and not in a good way. It looked a little human, with big blue eyes, but her mouth was enormous and full of teeth, she didn't have any ears just holes in her skull, and her neck flared out like she had gills.
She saw him looking at her, and put her hand up against the glass, revealing long webbed fingers. “Please!” she shouted. “I was human. I was kidnapped. Help me!”
The woman sounded so young, so desperate it pulled at his heartstrings. Catching the merchants attention Matthew pointed at the woman. “What is she?”
“A transformed human. I caught her just off the coast of Florida. Quite the specimen isn't she?” the saleswoman said. “Perfectly harmless, she can entertain your guests, provide an interesting night, or with proper training and equipment she'd be great for underwater jobs.”
“She can breathe air?”
“Oh yeah, just keep her skin moist. I'll let you have her for the last happy memory of your time with your wife,” the woman said.
He thought about it for a few seconds. The night of love making after a fancy meal and a movie, was pretty good, even if it was tinged with the knowledge it was out of pity as she left him a week later. He wouldn't miss it too much.
“Take it,” he said.
She gripped his skull, and he felt her fingers rooting through his brain. He shivered and fought the urge to run screaming. A few seconds later, it was done and he had a gap in his memory that he wanted to poke and prod like a missing tooth. He resisted, it was easier just to let it go.
The fish woman was standing beside him, clinging to his arm. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she cried.
“Don't mention it. Let's get you somewhere wet. You ever been to Toronto?” he asked, gently guiding her to the exit.
Elements Used or will be used. There's more but I'll post them with the second half.
-A pipe wrench, a Victorian corset and a merry-go-round.
-An abandoned Space Shuttle launch pad. Hundreds of people on a nearby hillside sketching it. Black Sedan cars with opaque windows are parked in a strange formation; from the air it almost looks like a message...
-Being from Brooklyn, the Kansas prairie was scary as shit; it was so flat. There were no power line, cell tower, hell even trees for mile all around. It foretold of his social isolation. He was told their are no natural lakes; only man-made reservoirs and pond called cattle tanks. As he walked to the top of a small rise, the land dropped away to revival an Ark!
- Jenny Jones is an up and coming teenage singer who has found fame via Youtube and she is now in great demand for TV and appearances despite never showing her face. The reason is that she is really a fifty year old plumber called Matthew who happens to be good at impressions, and he doesn't know what to do.
- A double decker bus, the Paris catacombs, and a Tyrannosaurs Rex.
- The water felt so inviting as she dropped into the ocean, her clothes melting off of her. Her human features dissolved into the stuff of nightmares, rows and rows of teeth inside a large mouth.
-A protagonist, sometimes male and sometimes female, travels seamlessly between subtly different versions of reality. These could be metaphors for the protagonist's real-life transition.
-Alphabet, cheese, LaTeX.
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