|3rd August 2007, 12:11 AM||#1 (permalink)|
Speaker to Cats
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: UK: ENGLAND:
The Curious Case of the Cryptic Catacombs.
'The Curious Case of the Days in the Night' introduced petite biker Michelle Christie, Graphics Design Artist, and lanky geek Joe Brown, Coastal Ecologist.
It was just a dark and stormy night until, Zap! Joe wakes in a pink pod-room. After solving the wall-screen's simple puzzles, he's released into a surreal Victorian pastiche where he meets Michelle. Forced to role-play 'Boy and Governess', beset by Id Monsters, these two wary strangers become allies, then friends. Waking back in the real world, each find mere moments have elapsed.
Then they meet...
This is the opening to my second try at the sequel.
First time around, a sub-plot rambled off into la-la land. Bringing the story back into balance meant cutting 25--30,000 words. No kidding !! I've salvaged some flash-backs and banter, hopefully I can re-cycle the rest as Curious Case #3...
Then I went back to the start and cleaned up as best I could. Though I'm currently several chapters along from here, documenting M&J's struggles with a Silly Ship, it is *all* 'work in progress' and subject to revision...
The Curious Case of the Cryptic Catacombs. (Take Two ;-)
I woke in warm and dark, broken only by two spots of fuzzy pink. I calmed from my first fright, tried to work out what had happened.
I remembered Michelle, our weird Victorian adventure, our fun week-end, putting her battered bike in the back of Ould Greenie and heading for Inverness together.
Then there was a gap in my memory. No low-flying Foo Fighters, no pink pod-room playing '20 Questions', nothing...
Good news was I did not *hurt*.
The bad news, I had strange sensations flooding in from all over my body. I was lying face down in a lazy semi-kneel, almost a flipped recline. I could not lift my head, arms or legs, but I could wiggle them. Neck, waist, wrists and ankles were held snug, my legs froggy-spread to the limit of comfort. My crotch was closely towelled, with a pad, fold or crease wedged up my tail-pipe.
I seemed to be masked. My vision was limited to those two spots of pink, set straight in front. The intrusive mouthpiece was neither air-way nor Diver, seemed to have only a small hole in the centre. I could breath around it or through my nose, but not freely. My breathing was further restricted by a tightness around my chest and abdomen. It felt remarkably like that Victorian busked bodice...
Wiggling my fingers found fine gloves, too silky for working, thinner than wet-suit neoprene. I could feel a contoured support pad under each hand, could just turn my strong wrists in their padded restraints. My feet were close shod with a feeling of soft boot. When I moved knees or elbows, layers of fabric rustled. I could do no more than wriggle my hips. There was bulky fabric plus a draughty gap at the top of my thighs. Again, it felt Victorian. I was not amused.
I tried turning my head again, managed a slight shift. That was enough to bring my peep-hole view into focus. The fuzzy pink was hair, shifting as I breathed. And I knew that shade too well-- It was Pod-Room Pink. Beyond was a gap, then grey flooring. I rocked my head slightly, watched the shift. Best guess, my masked face was over the hole in a therapy table. Given the other constraints, it did not bode well...
I did not swear. Same logic applied, I would not give my / our host the satisfaction. I strained at my bonds, felt as far as I could, found no release. I did not have the freedom to rock and wreck the table's frame. I'd just have to wait...
That did not take long. I heard heavy footsteps approaching, then a door opening behind me.
"Oh, YUCK !! That's GROSS !!"
That was Michelle's voice.
"Uh ! Uh !!"
She didn't hear me. I wiggled my knees and feet. She didn't see them. I heard her clumping about, things placed on the floor, a heavy zip opening.
"I HATE doing this..." A groan, "I suppose having it set up so neatly does make a change..."
"Uh ! Uh !!" I writhed.
"EEEK !!" Now she'd noticed.
"Uh ! Uh !!"
"Joe ?? Joe, is that you ??"
"Uh-huh !!" I wiggled what I could.
"Oh, Joe, Joe, Joe, I've missed you--"
"Huh-huh HOUT huh huhhh !!"
"I can't believe I've found you !" Michelle giggled, "Okay, let's have a look..."
I glimpsed blackness moving, swirling.
"Gah, some boudoir you got here, Joe !"
"Ah, you've just woken up ? That explains a lot..."
"But, yes, you do suit frilly-hem briefs and stockings. Is there something you're not telling me ??" She twanged a couple of suspenders to confirm my suspicions.
"Uhhh..." I grumbled complaint.
"Okay, okay, okay..." Michelle undid catches, fiddled with the restraints, "Sorry, I'm a bit hungry. Well, actually, I'm very hungry. Very, very hungry. Now, give me a minute. Um, that didn't work. Let's try-- "
My left ankle came loose.
"Aha !! Now will it let--"
My right ankle came loose.
"Now your wrists ? Waist and neck ? Good ! I was afraid it would need a specific sequence or something. Okay, when I lift the clamp off your neck, wriggle backwards. Don't try to stand yet."
The gentle but firm constriction lifted.
"Head up, ease back now. And, stop. Okay, hold my hands, I'll guide you off. Now--"
I twisted and rolled to my feet. A mass of fabric followed me off the split-level table, fell from my waist and hips, tumbled and wrapped around my legs. It billowed and swirled, clung and swung. And I was front-heavy. I almost over-balanced as something dragged at my shoulders, pressed on my chest.
"Hold on to this edge until your twinkies go... How's that ?"
"Uh-huh !" When I moved, my front wobbled, "Uh ?"
"Stay put..." Michelle patted me down, "Faux-Bust ? Yeah, big one. Don't sweat it: I've a 'Muscle Chest' plastron. Still, makes me glad I'm a B. You won't see much through that mask, but we can't get it off you now-- usual trick doors, of course. You've a hooped underskirt, so mind your step. Can you walk ?"
"Guhh..." At least my boots were low-heel. I lifted an arm, glimpsed a formless swathe of pink. I fumbled almost blindly at my bulked-out chest, my peep-hole mask and bobbed wig, my narrowed waist and flaring skirt. I groaned: I must look like one of her cousin Andy's busty figure-heads under this tent. I felt around with my knees, my feet. Okay, I had the costume's measure, A-Line rather than AnteBellum. I took a few steps. There was a lot of baggy fabric around my legs, but I was less hobbled than I expected, "Uh-huh !"
"Okay !! Get my pack on, settle my helmet... Done ! Now, will the door open ?? Yes !! Rock and Roll !! Come on, I'll explain as we go !!"
I fitted through the doorway, which confirmed the hoops' A-Line. I could only see through the mask's two tiny peep-holes, had to go slow. Michelle was in a tearing hurry, kept stopping in the grey corridor's zig-zags to wait for me, "Gah, where do I start ?? Okay, I woke naked in chocks on a 'Mad Lab' slab, been here about a week. I've been SO lonely ! I reckon we're underground. Lift has sixteen buttons. There's sixteen locked rooms in each of four wings on each level. Fembots are the key. Each has a three-digit code on their hood label-- Ooh, what's yours ??"
Michelle grabbed me, parted my wig's nape, "Star, Up, Rake ? Right, your code means it opens all Star rooms, charges in booth Up, allows lift-level Rake."
I trailed after her again, "Uh ?"
"Mad Lab has a bunk-room, wash-room, even a drinking fount, but we gotta glean for the rest. Food parcels are scattered about. And Fembots are usually in a dozen pieces, parts and clothes scattered about the levels. They're only a key when complete, dressed to kill and on charge in the right booth. Took me too long to figure THAT ! But they're not hollow. Even in pieces, getting them back to the lab is a real drag. Took me ages to dismantle, assemble and pose them. Getting them dressed is a pain, too. Want to know what you're wearing ?"
"Well, everything is that dreadful candy pink. Frilled pink diaper-briefs with towel liner-- and, yes, I wondered, too. Opaque, stretchy stirrup-foot leg-tubes with three sussies each. Boot-socks. Knee-high sneaker-boots, flat heeled. Baggiest open-crotch Harem pants I've ever seen. Big faux bust-form-- I'd guess at F or G, but Fembots' are built in. Gynoid Noh mask with permanent make-up, on attached hood. Shrug with opera gloves. Knee length kameez to match those pants. Under-bust boned corset, bifid busk, pre-laced back. Hooped A-line under-skirt attached to the corset's tabs. Lyrical Dance dress with angel sleeves and double-circle skirt. Lift-tapes between hem and wrists. Topped off with angel-wing collar out to wrist cuffs. Oh, and a Swinging Sixties' bob wig."
I groaned. It was even worse than I'd thought. My Victorian-era 'Baker Street' costume was 'Respectable', my Theatre Club's stand-in Pantomime Dame appropriately absurd, but this ensemble was grotesque. Compared to it, even my 'Theatrical' Great-Aunt May dressed well. A henna-haired virago in a ghastly tartan suit, she'd been on the front row when my niece Sue played 'Ela' in 'Charley's Aunt' and I nervously debuted to a speaking part as man-servant 'Brasset'...
"Hey, you do look good as an Andy's Fantasy Fembot !!" Michelle giggled, then shook her head, "I'm dressed wild, too-- My hood has a boy-mask and wig. I've sweats and race-padded biker leathers over a 'Muscle Man' plastron. My 30-hole boots look Mens' Tens, but are effing 'Drag-Queens'-- Four-inch platforms, three-inch wedge heels, contoured liner, thick socks. They handle like ski-boots clamped to cork bricks, make me feel like a Michelin Man on stilts. And my boy-briefs have a ribbed Box--"
"If I don't walk stiff, strut like a bloke, the effing thing... " She shook herself, "Gah ! At least now I know why teenage boys are so *stupid* !!"
"D'uh..." What else could I say ??
"Took ages to puzzle the details. I ran out of food twice-- three counting this time. And here's the lift. Hash is home."
The doors eased shut, the lift rose and rose and rose.
"Here we are. Lab's just across the hallway. Sorry, I need to try you in a booth--"
"Otherwise I'm clean out of ideas." She opened the wide lab door. Lights came on automatically. I peered through my mask's tiny holes. Steel tables carried pink clothes and beige mannequin parts. Both side-walls had eight booths, a total of five were occupied. Shadowed, pink-swathed mannequins slowly rotated clockwise in eerie unison. She clumped over to an empty one, glanced at the code, "Yes, here's Up..."
She slapped its big red switch, the door opened, "Okay, in you go !"
"Only for half an hour, Joe-- Round and round and round, is all !! Give me time to find some food... Um, you gotta eat, too."
I followed her, if reluctantly. The open booth was well lit from above. The step-high circular podium had a central pair of boot-prints, slightly recessed, facing the offset riser. That began near the rim, rose to hem height then slanted inwards, tracing the hoops' angle to hip level. There, it supported a coffin-shaped box, recessed like a life-cast to match my current profile. There was also a recessed hand-print on each side at shoulder height. The face recess had a grille over the nose, a nubby spout facing the lips.
"Please, Joe ?"
I gulped. I stepped onto the podium, lined up with the boot-prints. I reached for the hand prints, felt a gentle magnetic tugging as I got close. Given that, I was not surprised when the profile drew on my corset, pulled me and my absurd faux-bust into its ample bosom. I shuffled my feet, felt them caught. I glanced towards Michelle, "Ove Oo."
I pressed my mask against its recess, felt magnetism settle it to place. There was a slight gap between the grilled recess and my mask's nose. Cool air flowed.
"You okay, Joe ?"
"Orange switch going in--"
I heard the click. The magnetics strengthened. They pulled me snug, tightened, became mag-locks. The mask's lips and mouth-piece were now locked on to that spout. Air still flowed cool and clean.
"You okay, Joe ?"
"Okay, I'll close the door and hit the green. I'll be as quick as I can..."
I heard the booth door close. The overhead lights went out, the booth went dim. A click began the podium turning. It changed speed after a few seconds, probably synchronising with the others. I sighed. The corset took my weight with knees unlocked. The recess off-loaded my front. The mask/hood held my head up, the gloves supported my arms. I wasn't tired. I suspected I would soon be rather dizzy and very, very bored.
I was so wrong.
|3rd August 2007, 03:59 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Re: The Curious Case of the Cryptic Catacombs.
Very interesting, a bit disconnected but I think that is the idea. You can write, there is no doubt about that. Here is the thing for me. You say it is a sequel, if it is, I need to read the first part. There is a solubriques(sp) feeling to this, Irving Welsh, easy to read. That is not an insult, it s just that his writing I find very hard to read.
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