Saturday, 9 October 2010
A flash of light illuminates the whirling dust and coalesces into a figure. As the light dims, details can be made out. It is tall and appears to be wearing a cloak and a wide brimmed, pointed hat. As the light dims further, more details start to become apparent but, before its facial features become discernible, it raises a slender but male arm from within the billowing cloak and pulls the hat's brim down obscuring his face. His head sweeps from side to side, observing the featureless surroundings, except that there are features. Or, at least, there were. Remnants of things past litter the flat landscape: Old stories lie crumbling like fallen buildings. Narratives and tales wind through the old stories in advanced states of decay like the dead sloughed skins of giant serpents. Thoughts and ideas, once articulate and animated like birds in flight now lay where they fell, husks of nothing.
"Hmmm..." the figure mutters to himself. "This will do nicely" and he withdraws his other arm from the cloak, the folds of dark fabric catching and falling from the staff he holds. But it's not really a staff. The skyward pointing end is bound by stiff bristles and the long shaft is gnarled and twisted. The figure raises the broom and then quickly drives it down again, striking the dust.
Another flash of light heralds a second figure. Not as tall as the first, but also not as slight. It has a sculpted, athletic look to it - definitely male. Although appearing topless in the initial blinding light, telltale folds on the edges of the broad shoulders and narrow waist and hips disappointingly reveal that the lithely muscular man is wearing a fitted t-shirt. As he nods in greeting to the first figure and also surveys the surroundings, a third flash of light signals the arrival of someone else.
This one looks most peculiar in the fading bright aura. Very tall but, at a second glance, the height appears to be down to aides. Specifically, high heels and a towering wig. His eyes - despite the heels and wig, this one was most definitely a he - his eyes are surrounded by a halo of glitter as is his pouting mouth. His lips are full and slick with gloss and sparkling lipstick. An almost sheer, iridescent mermaid dress split to the upper thigh clings to his body and shapely legs before fanning out around his killer heels.
The fourth and fifth flashes of light don't appear as bright as the first three, but only because the sky around them is lightening in a sort of pseudo-dawn. The dust that had been swirling around in the breeze and filing down the ruins is almost all gone now leaving the plain flat and smooth. These final two figures appear to be male and female and they are bickering. The male, who wears a sensible anorak, carries a Roy Cropper bag full of Tupperware containers of, what smells like, chickpea curry. Resting atop these tubs are various types of tropical fruit but, strangely by their absence, no pineapples - Must be something to do with mau mau? The shapely female is barely wearing a plunging fitted top and carries a long leather whip which she threatens her companion with when unleashing a particularly nasty epithet aimed at him.
Suddenly, a shrill tone pierces the still, quiet atmosphere - It's an annoying Nokia-style ringtone. Four faces wince and turn to glare at the male carrying the bag, their eyes narrowed. The man in the anorak rummages frantically in his bag, spilling fruit everywhere until he pulls out an apple, but not of the fruit variety.
"Yes?" he hisses, answering the slab-like mobile phone. An authoritative, strident voice bellows from the tiny speaker, distorted by the volume. "But I'm in the middle of something" he whined. The distorted voice shouts something else. "No. It's really important." More harsh volume erupts from the phone. "But it's my day off!" What sounds like a scoffing laugh comes from the speaker. "But-"
"Oh, for Christ's sake!" the woman snaps and snatches the phone from the cowering, flinching man before throwing it to the ground and grinding it beneath her heel.
The other three figures breathe a collective sigh of thankful relief.
"This place is ripe for the taking" the First says only just loud enough to be heard over the whispering wind and still glowering at the ex-phone wielding man. "Come, let us gather our armies of darkness. Flying Monkeys, to me!"
"Red Shirts, assemble!" the Second commands.
"Entourage!" says the Third, snapping his well manicured fingers.
"Come hither, my League of Extraordinary HouseBoys!" the Fourth barks.
"Banana Splits" sighs the Fifth, clearly not entirely happy with his milling army.
The Second laughed as he observed the gathered troops. "The nightmare that became a reality and spread throughout the blogs" he observed in his best Captain Kirk voice.
And the Age of the Second Coven begins...