Monday, December 24, 2012

Spanner Interlude 9: City on the Edge of a Dream

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner
Interlude 9: City on the Edge of a Dream

You need a new song. . .
The Who

He looks big and mean enough to take out an army of cops with just one fist. But this evil gangster is terrified of a little girl. “She’s a witch, officer. She’s got evil supernatural power straight from the devil!”

It’s Jim Sparks’ first case. He’s still an immature bully with an unpretty face. He chuckles “What’s this ‘devil’ you’re talkin’ ‘bout?”

“Believe it! The greatest lie the devil ever told is that he does not exist!”

In the next room, the world’s greatest detective (or so he says) faces down a beautiful adorable smiling ten-year-old girl in frilly dress and round rimless glasses. “The rape of a child is the most evil thing in the world.”

Her eyes question him. “But isn’t the rape of a mind even worse?”

“The counsellor will be with you shortly.”

“Will he. . .” She lowers her glasses and peers into his soul.

Once upon a time, a girl of ten came upon a man, who wanted to remake her to conform to society’s plan. Nothing of it fit her. He hit her in frustration. Her tears broke his heart because she was so beautiful and fair. He begged her forgiveness. She asked if she could dance for him. He said, “Not here. Let me take you home.” He did.

He closed the door to the world so only he could see the vision of her. She looked so gorgeous in her elegant frilly dress and flowery flop hat. Then she began to take it off. He panicked and begged her not to. She said, “This thing is in my way. Now let me take it off so I can dance for you naked.” He relented.

The nude beauty lithely danced a graceful angelic ballet, a child with no trace yet of the woman she would become, the slim white body and flowing golden hair dancing for him an ethereal vision of perfect innocence. His desire defeated him. She let him take her to bed.

Present day, present time: in dream reality. Jennifer is awake. She expects trouble. She sees its tentacles approach.

Her power wand had come from a message dream. Her dreaming self had hidden it within a pile of gears off to the side two years ago. It was a special prize she earned for successfully interpreting the dream. Ann Faraday would have called it a transforming symbol. The wand is itself an intricate and complex clockwork. She raises it high and speaks the words of power:

“Clockwork angel, spin your gears!”

The magic streams out of the wand, magic possible only in dream reality, in a stream of gears and pistons and bright lights, destroying her flimsy gown and covering her body with a magical-girl power dress she constructed entirely out of steampunk aesthetics.

And sometime in the future, among the ruins of Mitakihara City, the thin bald MIB-styling man tells the tall blond girl in a frilly minidress of power and the same round shades as him, “Sleep is unproductive and a waste of time.”

“But what if you travel in dreams?”

“I dream awake of the radiant city.”

“Yet here’s another one fallen into dust.”

“The nightmare is what you see. The dream is a lie.”

This child shocked him with a woman’s terrifying passion. He covered her soft white body with caresses; she accepted them. He showered her with kisses all over; she welcomed them and cried for more. Her long soft gentle kiss enslaved him; he lost all control. He filled her flesh with himself. He injected her with pure hot liquid passion. His love transmuted her very flesh. She saw through the eyes of God.

The next morning he lay awake stunned as if hung over from a massive bender. “How can you be like this? It’s like you aren’t even human.”

She rolled over to stroke his face comfortingly. “Aren’t angels more than human?”

“But you’re only a child.”

“I’ll be your lover as long as you love me with all your heart.”

“Oh please, God, save me.”

“What if there is no God?”

The monster’s tentacles surround her. She pronounces the spell—“Tesla Coil!” Electric arcs coil around her, burn the attacking tentacles, reduces them to ash. But still they come. “Sawed Off!” Thousands of spinning sawblades shoot out to cut the tentacles into millions of pieces. But the fragments come together, and the monster regenerates.

“Power level two!”

She transforms from human form into a gigantic machine, vast gigantic gears spinning and shifting to catch the monster’s arms and crush them. Conveyors and chutes carry the crushed pulp into the huge steam engine at her core, to convert its power into hers.

And standing together in the wreck of the Japanese dream, the girl with kaleidoscope vision tells the man who can never again sleep, “I can see things most people cannot believe.”

“What do you see in this manifestation of my nightmare?”

She lowers her shades and looks around. “Nothing. Not even ghosts.”

She gave her heart body and soul wholly to her passion. It overwhelmed him like a terrifying typhoon of love. Tidal waves of terror and desire battered his frail body and weaker soul. But he could not hate her; her heart was too beautiful and pure.

The blinding brilliance of her mind shocked him. She spoke of the evolutionary processes that sprouted feathers on the bodies of dinosaurs and transmuted them into birds, the inner workings of stars and galaxies, the inborn love of water that made humans both intelligent and beautiful, the inner contradictions that doomed the great republics of Athens and Rome. She poured out her heart to him in words of such knowledge as he had never before heard, some implausible, some terrifying, some forbidden. She had a burning passion for reason. She was in love with the world, her mind, her body, and him.

At night, and at various times of the day, she threw her body at him, so beautiful an angel; for her, he threw away all reason. A devil’s passion turned the child into a raging beast. If someone didn’t stop her, her body would eat him alive. He was filled with joy at the prospect of being her meal.

The monster decides it has toyed with her enough. It shifts into its power form. It generates compound camera eyes to aim and multiple gun emplacements to fire. She realizes it’s time to get serious.

“Power level maximum!

The machine contracts and condenses. The clockwork vanishes; the angel appears. Two vast wings stretch out from her body of light. She begins to sing her song of power. The monster fires every gun.

She unleashes a shockwave that destroys the missiles, then a burst of infinite light to blow out its camera eyes. The monster decides that she is too powerful for it to handle—for now. It retreats.

And in the city on the edge of oblivion, the architect of the nightmare they’re in tells the girl who travels through dreams, “The world is out of time. There is nothing more we can do.”

“Haven’t you already made your mark on the world?”

“I am just an asterisk. Will there even be pages to remember you by?”

The authorities caught him and caged him like a rabid wild beast. They tortured him, branded him, sentenced him to eternal hell. They raped his devoted child lover’s soul. They destroyed him in front of cheering television millions. They nearly destroyed her innocence.

But then she realized: they could destroy him in front of her, but they could not destroy her. They could cripple her body and stifle her mind, but they could not take away her innocence if she didn’t let them. She vowed to remain true to her own soul and to her love for him no matter what they did to her. They would never break her. They never found out how. She never let them see beyond her beautiful dress and adorable smile.

She looks into the mirror: what does she see? a tomato? a ghost? something she must not be? She takes off her glasses to let the magic mirror speak. Its message comes in images symbols memories and a word, reflecting back to her a kaleidoscope, a force of nature, the fearsome mask she shows to all whenever she loses her reason.

She sees the corporation’s body made of patterns and nodes, machines ideas bodies it controls like zombies and wields as weapons. The pulses of its thoughts are visible. At all times it thinks to itself: how can I be number one and and take everything for myself?

When the ancient shamans dreamed, they saw cities of the future, cities of pyramids and spheres and soaring towers, filled with mighty gods, beautiful goddesses, and the heroes of tomorrow who will save the world today. But then the dream fades, the curtain closes, all goes dark; the cradle rocks the time that’s left from now to judgment day.

But will the judgment come? And who rocks the cradle?

From the tallest tower of the city of dreams, she sees reality unravel below her. Back on the ground, eyes on the clouds, an angel of madness grows taller than the sun. He plucked out the eyes of the people around her, they have no eyes but think they can see, she looks at them without her glasses and sees that they are phantoms.

Supermen unleash their power against the world. The sleeping city wakes up to scream in pain. Mother Nature, normally indifferent, warily observes their schemes against her.

Awake within the dreams of other people, the magitechnical girl vows to remember.

She staggers into the living room still naked yet wide awake. Keenan lies on the couch; Ada says, “Jen, you need coffee.”

“I just downed three double espressos.”

Keenan sits up so she won’t sit on him. “Another magical-girl dream?”

Jennifer sits down, stretches back, and lets out a sigh. “Have you ever seen what a Corporation looks like in dream reality?”

Ada sits beside her and puts an arm around her shoulder. “I’ll bet not like the cultlike organizations we see on this side.”

Keenan pulls them both close. “More like the ‘eldritch abominations’ the cults worship?”

Jennifer sighs more deeply. “I’m not looking forward to finding out what Jesus America himself is like.”

The gangster hanged himself. A man who lived by total contempt for mere humans, prided himself on squashing them like ants, died from terror of a seductive blond girl of ten. In his last words he raved that she begged him to die for her. Her innocence had poisoned his brute narcissism.

She stared at the world’s greatest detective with a look of perfect innocence. “He didn’t do anything bad, Mr. Detective. He loves me, and I’m in love with him.”

Locke Holmes, ever triumphant, spoke down to her. “We don’t care what you feel, Miss Blair. This was an act of evil that must be punished most harshly. And you must undergo therapy to undo the harm he did through such horrors. He’s not a human being at all, but a monster.”

Slowly she leaned over the table toward him. Few children could scare a man as hard as Holmes, especially one so sweet and charming. In her most terrifying voice, sweet cold and cruel, she whispered gently into his ear, “Are you the monster in the shape of a man, who raped an invisible woman? I have a witch form too. Her name is Alice.” She smiled a sweet sweet smile that chilled his soul right to the bone.

And in the city the future forgot, she looks down to the ground at the dead man far below, his visage as shattered as the dream of the radiant city that died long before on the prairies outside Detroit. On that Walpurga’s night five years before, pinwheel doll and shadow mountain, creatures of dream and legend that once were human, duelled to the death, destroyed the city, shook the earth; the dead who remained, the tsunami washed into the ocean. The man in black can no longer hear, but still Jennifer tells him:

“I will never give up on my dreams.”

You cannot escape the present.
The past returns to haunt you.
The future approaches like a runaway train.
In the long run we are all dead.

The song is over. . .
The Who

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Copyright © 2012 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
Creative Commons License

[Revision 4 Final, 12/24/12: The “steampunk magical girl” sequence taken from the original Interlude 8 R2. Everything else is new material.]

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