Snippets: Bati

Fiction By Julie // 4/15/2009

This new series, Snippets, consists of sections I cut from my other stories for length or consistancy purposes.
I was feeling sort of bored, so I fluttered in front of Lorien’s eyes and slowed my energy so that I was barely twitching. I moved even closer, letting my field stream into the retina.
For a moment, I wasn’t sure what was happening. My field remained stretched, and my perception was all out of wake. I was completely upside down. If I had taken a science lesson in the past five years, maybe I would have remembered what happens to light after leaving the eye.

My field attached to the neuron pathway, and I whizzed up to the brain. If I still had physical eyes, I either would have seen nothing at all or visualized something like a twisted sponge made of ropes of play-doh.
Instead, I saw half-visible phantoms of all shapes and sizes. A hot dog. A classroom. A purple fleece blanket. Even a giant pink Energizer bunny! But one resembled me.

I propelled myself forward. This “me” was only twelve or so, but more solid than the other shapes. “Hello?” I said.
“Hello.” The me-shape replied.
This was only slightly odder than meeting a disembodied prophet inside a luminescent gemstone.
“I’ve never seen an Image like you before,” the other shape said.
“Image?” I asked.
“Short for Figment of Imagination. I would have preferred the term FoI, but no one would accept that. Anyway, I’m one of those odd, slightly random people who inhabit your dreams and talk back to you at the most incontinent times. But the Director refuses to listen to anyone.”
“Director?”
“Her name is Lorien. Or Ashley. No one knows for sure.”

A deep blast sounded. My younger self seemed startled by the noise. “Oh, another Dream. Bother. I’ve got to go.”
“Can I come with you?” I asked.
“As long as you do not interfere with the Dream.” He announced. “Follow me.”
I trailed after him. The scenery was so bland. Knives, swords, and blood painted an eerie sky above my head. “So, Lorien dreams about me—er, you?”
“Every night for the past five years.” The shape sighed. “I’d love to have some time off. Why can’t she call out some purple elephants or something.” He waved to a half-formed shape that looked an awful lot like Rebecca from my sister’s Sunday school class. “Every night…”
Out of this gray netherworld rose a room exactly like our living room in the suburbs of Chicago. “Stay here,” he commanded. The guy seeped into the room and landed on a chair. Chains sprang up and bound him tightly. Another shape floated over and brandished a shining sword.
I knew the second shape, even though his face was cloaked in shadow. “Devin!” I cried.
“Shh!” the “me” hissed. “No noise, please.”
The rest of the world grew dark. Mother stood at the door of the room, jaw gaping. Palin pressed his knife at the boy’s throat, while Devin waved Excalibur threateningly.
“Die, Demon Witch!” His blade flickered out and caught Mother in the chest. She sank to the ground. The other me broke loose, yelling wildly. Devin brought the flat of Excalibur down on his--my?—head, and the boy collapsed. Palin turned and stabbed Lorien in the chest.
“Noo!” I cried.
The scene changed in a moment, and Lorien was soaring over a field. The colors were too bright; the trees looked like cartoons. Out of nowhere, Mother appeared, slicing at the wings. She hacks them off, and they drift to the distant ground as Lorien plummets like a rock, screaming the enter distance.
Then the lights go completely off.

A dim, twilight sort of light, glows overhead. The scene is gone. I turned and saw the other me at my side. No wounds mare his skin.
“What happened?” I demanded.
The boy stared at me. “Do you know Shakespeare?”
I furrowed my brow in confusion. “Just snapshots of Romeo and Juliet. Being captured and held in a dungeon for three years does have a slight negative affect on one’s English classes.”
He stared at me. “Who are you?”

“Christopher Paarlston. The real Christopher Paarlston”
“O-kay.” He made an I-do not-believe-you-face. “But someday I want to hear the Queen Mab speech.”
“Why?”
“This is her domain. The world of the subconscious. The land of dreams. Anything can happen here. But nothing changes for us. We cannot dream for ourselves. Nothing has happened here since the day she saw me—or us—tied to that chair.”
My head felt like a half-set pan of Jello on a roller coaster. “What is happening? How do you get out of here?”
“Out?” the figure laughed derisively. “There is no way out. Some powerful Images have gained new life by persistently nagging their Director. If the Director is motivated enough, they paint, write, or sing the Image out into a new life. That’s where all books, symphonies, artwork, and creative works come from. But our Director has been mired in the past for five years.”
“So I’m stuck.”
“Of course.” He sighed. “We Images live as long as the Director does. The unsummoned images dwell in the Outer Realms, the home of forgotten dreams. But I can only visit the fringes of that beautiful place. I’m stuck in the drab Heart Lands for as long as she keeps having this dream.”
“Wait. You said that a Director can share an Image with the word. So if I could get her to mention me to someone else, I could get out?”
“No. You would split.”
“Split?” I asked. “That doesn’t sound pleasant.” But on one hand, it was so nice to actually have a conversation with someone!
“The Image of you that entered through her eyes stays here. But another Image forms in someone else’s mind. Or, if it’s a painting, story, or piece of music, you can split into multiple Images. One part would stay in the artist’s mind, another would remain on paper, and more would form in other’s minds.”
“Isn’t there any way to just get back out into the world?”
“No. Only the simplest of Images can survive long outside of the human mind. In fact, there is a joke about it.
‘I have an idea,’ one man says to another.
‘Be kind to it,’ another says ‘It’s a long way from home.’
The point is, Images need a home.”
I screamed. “You mean I’m trapped in my sister’s subconscious forever?! AHHHH!”
“Come along,” the boy said kindly. “Since you entered just before she fell asleep, you’ll likely remain in the Outer Lands for the rest of your days. I will take you as far out as I can, then someone else can show you the rest of the way.”

I trailed after him, my emotions somewhere between rage and hopelessness. “Can I call you ‘Topher?” I asked. I just couldn’t call him “Chris” or “Christopher.”
“Suit yourself,” he replied. “You’ll probably never see me again.”
As Topher and I wandered further away from the Theater, the land grew lighter. The cloud-like covering that blanketed the entrance thinned, and finally disappeared. “She hasn’t called for anything pleasant for ages,” Topher commented. “All the flowers, teddy bears, toys, and such are stuck back here. Makes for a very dull life in the Heart Lands.”
“Why is it called the Heart Lands then?” I asked.
“The images in the Heart Lands are supposed to be those that most closely reflect the Director’s heart. Since her Heart Lands are so unpleasant, I can only conclude that her heart is extremely bitter.”
“You got that right,” I replied.
Topher turned to me. “You’ve seen her from the outside?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Is there any hope…for her…for us?” He looked down at his toes. “If a Director’s heart is extremely cold and hopeless, her subconscious gradually freezes over. It starts with the ceaseage of new Images. Than the Outer Realms begin to shrink. Last of all, the Theater closes. And though the person lives on, her mind is dead. Her heart is gone.”
“I think I know someone like that,” I replied, thinking softly of Mother. “How close is this realm?”
“You are the first strong Image I have seen enter in a long time.” Topher answered. “Images enter strong, almost solid. The longer they dwell in the Outer Realms, the more transparent they become. I am in the Theater, so I remain solid, but sometimes that’s worse than fading.”
“Do I have a Theater?” I mused. “Since I’m light energy, how exactly would that work?”
Topher bent over and plucked a translucent flower from the pale grass. “I do not know. You are alive, you obviously think, but a Theater?” He shook his head. “I do not know.”

A large shape, faintly red, appeared in front of us. “Welcome, Chris.” It bent down and inspected me closely. “Who is this?”
“Thiogacia, this is Christopher Paarlston. The real one,” he added mockingly.
Thiogacia flapped pale wings in surprise. “But he is solid. And older. How did he end up here?”
Topher opened his mouth, but a faint horn blew. “I must return to the Theater. He will tell you.”
Thiogacia extended a claw. “Welcome to the Outer Realms. I am Thiogacia, Queen of the Memories.”
I bowed low. “And I am Christopher Paarlston, sister to your Director.”
“In real life?” A crowned figure appeared off to Thiogacia’s right. “The one who haunts her dreams?”
“Who are you?” I asked.
“King Arthur, if you please.”
“How’d you get back here?” I asked.
“I was about to ask you the same question.” Arthur stroked his beard. “How much did Chris explain to you?”
“A little. But how are you here? You are stories!”
“Stories can be transferred as well as Images. We may enter a little weaker, but sometimes we are stronger than Images.”
“Okay, this is weird.”
“My liege,” another voice replied. “Perhaps a meeting is in order.”
I blinked at the familiar voice. “Merlin,” I cried, running forward. “So good to met you again!”
“Again?” he stared down at me. “I’ve never seen you before. Wait…” his eyes widened. “Did you met the original me?”
“Yes,” I admitted.
Merlin’s eyes widened. “He--I—we are still alive in the outside world?”
“As a bundle of light energy.”
Thiogacia interjected. “Just a moment. Chris, you need to know that we only exist in someone’s mind. We only can know what that person knows. So seeing you alive is quite a surprise.”
“Hey,” a third shape bounced out. “What’s going on?”
“Bati?” I asked. “Is that really you?” Yes, it was the talking bat I had told Lorien so many stories about. “Okay, am I going insane?”
“If you are, then we’re all along for the ride,” Bati giggled. “Would you like some food?”
“Food?” I asked eagerly. “We have food?”
“We have all the good food,” King Arthur announced. “The Director stopped dreaming of good food ages ago, so it all ended up back here. And because we’re just Characters, we do not have to worry about getting fat.”
“But I’m light energy,” I pointed out. “Can I still eat?”
“You are inside someone else’s brain having a conversation with a dragon, a king, a prophet, and a talking bat. Why shouldn’t you be able to eat?” Bati asked rhetorically.
“Good point.” I said. “Take me to your food!”

The meal was delicious. I’m not sure if it was real or not, but it was absolutely delious. We had hot coca, hot dogs, cheese, pop, pancakes, chocolate, popcorn, pizza, spaghetti, and cookies. “I’m stuffed.” I moaned.
Bati looked up from a plate of cotton candy. “Well, that’s not suprising. How long has it been since your last meal?”
“Two years. And I only had bread, water and vitamins for three years before that.” I said.
Thiogacia whistled. “Thank goodness you told some stories about feasts! I’d be starving otherwise.”
“And now that the meal is over, would anyone like to share a story,” Merlin gazed around the table.
Bati raised a wing. “ME! Me!”
And so I leaned back against a purple-barked elm tree with light red leaves and listened to a bat telling a story. This day was just getting stranger and stranger.

“A long time ago, on the pink sands by the shore of the Hot Cider Sea, where marshmallows grow on trees like coconuts and pinwheels are the clouds, there was a girl named Ink Wings Singing Of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons. Now Ink Wings Singing Of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons was in love with a three-eyed, four-legged, two-headed, twenty-limbed, seven-tailed creature named Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day.”
I leaned over to Merlin. “Are all of his stories this crazy?”
“Good grief, no! This is one of his tamer ones.”
“But this three-eyed, four-legged, two-headed, twenty-limbed, seven-tailed creature was very sick with the dreaded Spotted Egg Pimple Green Louse Swollen Tongue Disease. He burst out with spines like a porcupine, and poor Ink Wings Singing Of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons could not hug him. So she built a boat from the twenty-seven rooted chocolate bunny tree and sailed across the Hot Cider Sea. But the goddess Rain Water Soaks My Hair, Ruins My Dress, and Gives Me a Cold was very angry at Ink Wings Singing Of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons for falling in love with Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day. So she sent hordes of one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters to attack the twenty-seven rooted chocolate bunny tree boat. But since the girl knew magic, she called upon She Who Loves Scrapbooking, Chocolate Bunnies, and May Kate Makeup, the Goddess of Sugar Apples, Lemon Toffees, and Rare But Not Outdated Artwork.”
“Can’t you just name one of your characters James?” I laughed.
“Goodness, no,” Bati giggled. “Anyway, the Goddess of Sugar Apples, Lemon Toffees, and Rare But Not Outdated Artwork sent her Giant Cookie Monster of Doom to eat up
the one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters of the goddess Rain Water Soaks My Hair, Ruins My Dress, and Gives Me a Cold. Then she took Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons and placed her on the Island of Misplaced Adverbs, Adjectives, Nouns, and Pronouns. The girl saw something red and glowing. “Oh my,” she exclaimed, “It is the Unique, Rare, and Utterly Strange Red Glowing Orb that Marks the Time Until the Ending of the World by Fire, Water, Earth, or Someone’s Misplaced Jello Pan. This will cure Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day of the Spotted Egg Pimple Green Louse Swollen Tongue Disease. So she reached over and took the Unique, Rare, and Utterly Strange Red Glowing Orb that Marks the Time Until the Ending of the World by Fire, Water, Earth, or Someone’s Misplaced Jello Pan and placed it in her apron pocket.
But the goddess Rain Water Soaks My Hair, Ruins My Dress, and Gives Me a Cold, was very very angry with Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons for the loss of her one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eaters. So she sent the Terrible Horrible, Cruel Giant who No One Can Defeat Unless They Eat Deep Fat Fried Fairy Hair For Breakfast to steal the Unique, Rare, and Utterly Strange Red Glowing Orb that Marks the Time Until the Ending of the World by Fire, Water, Earth, or Someone’s Misplaced Jello Pan.”
I was giggling too hard to see. “Stop it, Bati, stop please!”
“Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons stood bravely before the Terrible Horrible, Cruel Giant who No One Can Defeat Unless They Eat Deep Fat Fried Fairy Hair For Breakfast. “Go away,” she called. “I need this, the Unique, Rare, and Utterly Strange Red Glowing Orb that Marks the Time Until the Ending of the World by Fire, Water, Earth, or Someone’s Misplaced Jello Pan to heal my love, the three-eyed, four-legged, two-headed, twenty-limbed, seven-tailed creature named Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day.”
But the Terrible Horrible, Cruel Giant who No One Can Defeat Unless They Eat Deep Fat Fried Fairy Hair For Breakfast laughed. “Go away, little girl.”
Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons touched the giant on the leg. He screamed and fell to the ground. “How can this be?” he howled.
“I eat deep fat fried fairy hair for breakfast,” Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons announced. She took the Unique, Rare, and Utterly Strange Red Glowing Orb that Marks the Time Until the Ending of the World by Fire, Water, Earth, or Someone’s Misplaced Jello Pan and sailed back across the Hot Cider Sea to Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day.
She put the Unique, Rare, and Utterly Strange Red Glowing Orb that Marks the Time Until the Ending of the World by Fire, Water, Earth, or Someone’s Misplaced Jello Pan into the hand of Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day. The porcupine spikes floated away, and he was cured from the dreaded Spotted Egg Pimple Green Louse Swollen Tongue Disease.
She Who Loves Scrapbooking, Chocolate Bunnies, and May Kate Makeup, the Goddess of Sugar Apples, Lemon Toffees, and Rare But Not Outdated Artwork came down from the sky and married Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day to Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons. They had a one child, a boy named Crazy Writer Who Thinks He Can Write an Epic Novel in Seven Hundred Twenty Hours. And they all lived happily every after. The End.”
Bati took a deep bow.
I lay on the ground, curled up in laughter. “He, he, heee!”
“I think you need some help,” Merlin pursed his lips. “Bati, come over here.”
“I am sorry for your discomfort, Bundle of Light Energy Who is Brother to Our Director.”
I laughed even harder. “Stoppit, Stop!”
Merlin pretended to cuff Bati on the skull. “Go away. I do not want him to die laughing.”
I chuckled, giggled, snickered, hooted, snorted, cackled, chortled, and guffawed my way to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up to see the oddest assortment of people I’d ever imagined huddling around my energy field.
Twelve dragons, one king, one prophet, two singing teddy bears, one pink skinned centipede, twenty eight Cabbage Patch dolls, seven bats—including Bati—eight Disney princesses, and some other people I couldn’t name all stared at me.
“Hello?” I asked. Merlin pushed his way to the front of the crowd. “Chris came back after the Theater closed and explained what he knew of your situation.”
“I’ve got to get out of here.” I stood up. “How do you get out?”
“Well, the whole reason you ended meeting us was because you saw with spiritual eyes…”
“No disrespect, but I think this was less ‘spiritual eyesight’ then ‘deranged, confused vision.’”
One of the bats laughed.
Merlin cleared his throat. “But if you could somehow see with ‘normal’ vision, we would disappear. You’d only see the normal brain tissue, and hopefully you could escape through the retina.”
I stared at him. “But how do I do that?”
“Convince yourself that this was only a dream. Believe that the material world is all that exists. Refuse to admit that there are things you can’t see. Then you should be able to take a neuron pathway to another body part and escape.”
I reached over and hugged him. “You are quite the Character, Merlin.”
“What about me,” Bati protested.
I grinned. “That was a hilarious story about Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day and Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons. If my sister would pay attention to you, she’d be rolling on the floor.”
Bati puffed up with pride.
Merlin clapped a hand on my shoulder. “Try to find Chris before you leave.”
“Why?” I asked.
“He’s lonely. The only other people in the Heart Lands are Mother, Devin, and Palin—none of whom make good conversationalists. He told me once that Palin and Devin spend time in between Dreams slicing each other into mincemeat.”
I nodded. “I understand loneliness.”

Bati followed me to the edge where the Outer Realms met the Heart Lands. “Bye, Bati. Keep laughing.” I squeezed him tightly.
The somber sky squeezed hope from my heart. “’Topher,” I cried. “Topher…”
He suddenly appeared beside me. “Hello, Chris.”
“Hello.”
“I want to apologize for being so rude at first. I just get so lonely here…”
I hugged him tightly. “I was alone for three years. And no one can talk to me Outside. So I understand a little bit.”
Topher stared at the dust. Nothing grew in the Heart Lands. “Did Bati tell one of his crazy stories?”
I smiled. “Ask Merlin to tell you the story of Sit Right Up and Tell Me About Your Day and Ink Wings Singing of Giant Dragons and Tiny Green Griffons the next time you visit the Outer Realms. Or maybe Bati could tell his next story on the edge of the Heart Lands.”
Topher sighed. “It’s lonely here.”
I took him by the hand. “I promise, I will do my best to make sure things change in here.”
The boy hugged me. “Goodbye.”

This was just a dream. All that I really saw was a brain, bumpy and twisting like a toddler’s lumps of clay or play-doh. And as I told myself that, Topher and the grey netherworld of mist faded, revealing only a bunch of brain folds.
I squinted at the ridges, trying to decide which one to follow. I attached myself to the taste pathway and slide down to the tongue.
The inside of Lorien’s mouth was dark—and stinky. She hadn’t brushed her teeth in ages, and I could see plaque growing. EEK! I flashed my field on her lips, trying to get her to open her mouth. Lorien opened her lips to exhale, and I darted out. I was free!

The room was painted in the pale shadows of twilight. I fluttered under the door and slipped out into the hall. I could see a small kitchen/dining room at one end, and a door into another room at the other. One partially open door led into the bathroom. I made my way down the hall, wondering what was going on. Mother was stretched out on the couch, breathing heavily. Something seemed different about her, but I wasn’t sure what.
I curled up in the sink. The cold metal wasn’t touchable, but it made my energy field tingle. Maybe it was one of those reflection things I hadn’t learned in school.
For a moment, I wondered what life would be like if I ever got back into a physical body. I was—would have been—sixteen. But I hadn’t grown any since then. And I hadn’t gone to school since the beginning of sixth grade. Would I have to go back and sit with a bunch of immature middle schoolers? What about my birth certificate? It would definitely be odd. I wasn’t really sure I’d ever get out, but it gave me something to think about during the dull night hours.
I wondered how Gabriel was doing? After forty-plus years as a bundle of light, what would happen to him if he was restored. Would he just shrivel up and become an old man?
Mother snorted, and I decided to get out of the sink. After spending an unknown amount of time inside my sister’s brain—reminiscent of a bad science class film—I had no desire to get sucked, churned, drained, or pulled down any other random hole.

Comments

hahaha, that was very funny.

hahaha, that was very funny. What is the 'real' Chris??
~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~
"I wish I could fly, like dandelion seeds
Following currents, floating in the wind
Leaving behind the old and tormented
Seeking a place to start anew
I wish I could fly like dandelion seeds..."
~Unknown

Sarah | Thu, 04/16/2009

"Sometimes even to live is courage."
-Seneca

Blogging away!
busyscribbler.wordpress.com

Whoa... that was

Whoa... that was amazing!!!
*************************************************
I'm lost. I've gone to look for myself. If I should return before I get back, please tell me to wait.

Anna | Sat, 04/18/2009

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Chris is descended from

Chris is descended from dragons through his mother...go read Dragons in Our Midst by Bryan Davis, then I can explain the rest...
---
The Word is alive/and it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless/and afraid...

~"The Word is Alive' by Casting Crowns

May my words be a light that guides others to the True Light and Word.

Julie | Tue, 04/21/2009

Formerly Kestrel

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