Posts created by Grimwald

 posted in Midnight Castle on Mar 5, 17 6:45 AM

CASTLE RECOGNIZES PUBLIC HEROES Midnight Castle CEO [X] has not only granted pardon to Captain Randy, PTG, and Jenifer Rule for their past actions, but named them heroes of the MC world. "These three have acted tirelessly on behalf of all residents and tourists," CEO [X] said in a prepared statement. "Instead of harassing them, we now admit we should have been helping them to investigate this unknown evil allegedly threatening us. We hereby acknowledge their public service to Midnight Castle and are pleased to grant them pensions commensurate with the travails and humiliations they have sustained, as well as rehabituation to their former states and domiciles." For Jenifer Rule this recognition comes hot on the heels of her triumph over Chris Arwin in a bardic duel. See story, page 2.

EXTERMINATION TECHNICIANS MISSING Omicron Pest Control reports that five employees are missing. The five, who collectively had more than 26 years of pest extermination experience, made up a team contracted by Midnight Castle to clean up the Castle Café. Omicron plans to file charges against the Castle demanding a full investigation. "Dust bunnies are our business," the company owner stated, "and it is preposterous to think that these five employees could fail to complete a job under normal circumstances."

SURPRISE OUTCOME FOR EPIC DUEL Tensions ran high in the Ancient Park when Jenifer Rule challenged master assassin Chris Arwin to a bardic duel. The combatants sparred with rhyming quatrains for over four hours. Just eight stanzas in, Arwin made a technical error, using the same rhyming word twice in one stanza, and never did recover. Rule pressed her advantage to a pull off resounding win, as well as offering a bit of psychological therapy to Arwin on the side. A gracious winner, she even offered her opponent an ice cream cone to show no hard feelings, before they posed together for a victory photograph.

RABBITS RECALLED Officials have issued a mandatory recall on all lagomorphs in the Castle, local environs, and beyond. The recall, which happened without advance warning, includes HOSs as well as private pets. "Nothing is wrong with the rabbits," a Castle representative says, "we just want to, ah, prepare for the upcoming Spring Event. That's it, the Spring Event!" Not surprisingly, there is no word on when the bunnies will be returned to their rightful owners and HOSs, or when the Spring Event might begin.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Mar 4, 17 9:22 AM
I have to admit, I'm not entirely clear on the concept of a quantum nexus. My practical experience has always been with apertures and the local universum. But what happened at the Chapel entrance was something different yet again - no tangling or untangling of strands of time, no tear in the local universum, and no simple pyrotechnic explosion. But I am positive that, however briefly, we were in a little stone cell, and then we weren't. I saw snow globes!

i settle in for some serious web surfing and research.

Randy sits down in a corner to gnaw on a - wait, where did he get a raw potato?

Wickerbat and Cash are having a serious riot in a ball pit that has arrived from somewhere. I feel a chill.

I check on the Tree Hole, where Jenifer is currently hanging out. From the sound of it, she is holding another of her critter liberation rallies. A different monitor shows PTG sitting in a stairwell, conversing with an owl. He lifts his broom aloft and - shimmer, whoosh - is gone. Huh.

Sudden shrieks fill HQ. I look at the ferrets, then at Randy, then at the monitors. It's Jenifer, screaming "HOPPY, HOPPY, HOPPY!" Jenifer clutches at the rabbits of the Tree Hole, still screaming. The rabbit in her arms vanishes. She reaches for another but it too is gone before she can touch it.

As I watch, every single rabbit disappears from the HOS.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 28, 17 7:00 PM
I launch the transcription app and offer my phone to PTG, as he is considering making a last will and testament. I strongly advise against any pills, however. Everyone has made so much progress in kicking that Castle-enforced habit it would be a shame to start over.

We have followed Jenifer as far as the Chapel's main entrance, whereupon Randy shoves us into some nook or cranny where we have a view of the ensuing duel. Jenifer and the Assassin face off. The tension is fierce, but our Jenny is doing more than holding her own. She appears to be winning!

Randy mutters dire predictions about the inevitability of explosions. "Three… two… one… No, wait for it, NOW! Three… two… one… arrchg! Three… two…."

I am distracted. Something is wrong with this alcove serving as our current hiding place. I study it intently. Nothing. I study it out of the corner of my eye. Mostly nothing.

Jenifer offers Chris Arwin an ice cream cone.

I close my eyes. Nope, can't tell anything that way, and I open my eyes again.

Jenifer adds extra sprinkles.

Just as I see a shift in - well, I thought it was the local universum - Randy screams "Take cover!" and flings himself across PTG and me, offering his body as a human shield. As usual, the three of us land in a tangled heap on the ground. By the time we struggle up again, whatever I thought I saw is gone. Also, the duel is finished.

And there were absolutely no explosives involved on Jenifer's part!
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 26, 17 4:46 PM

MASS RIOTS IN THE CASTLE. A power outage resulted in security devices failing on many residents' front doors late yesterday afternoon. This, combined with the recent closure of the Midnight Castle Café, caused disgruntled Castle residents to take to the halls in a spontaneous protest. Witnesses reported the scene as chaotic but largely peaceful, and most residents returned to their quarters quietly and voluntarily. Rumors that three residents are currently at large have been fiercely denied by sources close to the Castle.

UNEXPLAINED EXPLOSION DESTROYS AUDITORIUM. In an unrelated incident, one of the Castle auditoriums popular with Castle staff was destroyed in an explosion. "We don't know the cause of the explosion or who was behind it," an authorized Castle spokesperson says. "It was unfortunate timing, as all Castle personnel were currently involved in containing the, er, excitement in the Residents Wing. At this time, however, we do not believe there is any connection between the two events."

HEY ISN'T THAT? Chris Arwin, seen checking out the high end, luxurious East Tower of the Castle? Yes, that handsome one-time bard is considering relocating from Rocksville to no other place than Midnight Castle itself. "It's all hush-hush right now," Arwin said, "but the view from the East Tower is simply to die for."

APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED. The position of Chief Broom Master remains unfilled. Candidates should possess superior sweeping skills, and the ability to follow orders and non sequiturs. Loyalty pledge required. Excellent medical benefits. All applications must be received by the close of business Tuesday.

REWARD. One notebook, brown, leatherbound. Of sentimental interest to the owner only. Please report to the Castle Lost and Found with the item in question or any information leading to its recovery.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 25, 17 9:19 PM
PTG whacks Jenifer with the broom, knocking the microphone and maracas from her hands. Too bad, 'cause the maraca solo was catchy. With the audio portion of our program thus concluded, it's on to the visuals….

Three pairs of eyes stare at me expectantly. Five, if you count Cash and Wickerbat, but at least I know what they want (dinner).

"Um….. cunning plans aren’t really my specialty," I apologize. The eyes grow large and shimmery, anime-style. "I mean, there are some steps we can take, but it's rather like watching paint dry, at least to start."

Bigger and more shimmery yet. Talk about pressure!

"For starters, I can log in and delete our image files from the wanted posters…"

Fitting action to words, I search the servers and find the image files used for our 'most wanted' posters. I select them and hover over 'delete.' I have an idea. It may even constitute cunning.

I delete our files, then rename images of other MC personnel with our file names. I rename

chamberlain.png -> eastendteddy.png
bogart.png -> playingthegame.png
chrisarwin ->jenifer_rule.png
player.png ->grimwald.png

With luck, the next run of 'most wanted' posters will be most misleading indeed!

Then PTG asks, "Hey, does anyone have any eye drops? This bug-eyed routine is hard on the eyes!"
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 25, 17 2:06 PM
What the hey, I hereby submit my application for admission into the millionaires club. I hit 1 million last September (at level 34 or 35, I forget) and am currently at 1.4 million.

 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 24, 17 11:08 AM
While Jenifer summarizes the hardcopy of Randy's file I boot up my laptop. "It may not be as easy as that," I say. "We stopped by that secret lair - HQ? - and I did some hacking…"

Jenifer interrupts, "You weren't supposed to go to HQ, you were supposed to go find Randy's files."

"Yeah, well, somebody wrote us - I mean, we got caught and thrown back in that cell." I wave my WANTED poster. "Got me noticed by the head high-ups, too. My only consolation is that they think I'm dinner and not a real threat."

"You're Number 4 on the Castle's 'most wanted' list and you think they think you're not a threat?!"

I grin.

"Anyway," I continue, "it turns out there are multiple so-called plans for Randy. There's the weapon of mass destruction one. There's the ambassadorship to Lower Slobbovia. Physical rehabilitation, training and audition for the New York Rockettes, or failing that, Riverdance. Putting him through the Witness Protection Program and resettling him in some nondescript suburban neighborhood. And about fifteen more."

"WMD is the only one on paper," Jenifer declares. "It must be the real plan. The others are red herrings."

I push on. "There are also files on you and PTG."

PTG chokes on another watermelon seed. Jenifer looks pleased.

"What are the plans for me?"

"Three options for you. First, basically wire you up as a perpetual motion energy source for the Castle. Second, force you into manual labor creating Easter baskets for every single player, all platforms, for the upcoming Spring Event."

Jenifer nods. "I could handle that, but I don't want to. And the third?"

"Recover every single overdue library book in the entire MC world. There have been complaints that the Library in the Dark Tower is not well managed. The position could even lead to permanent employment and promotion."

Jenifer nods again. "I could do that, too. What about PTG?"

"They want him back in the Residents' Wing of the Castle. He can even keep his shiny badge, if he gets there before they hire a new Broom Master on Tuesday."

"Oooh, PTG can totally handle that! What about you, Grim?"

I close my laptop. "No file on me. Just this recipe card for roasted rabbit casserole."
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 23, 17 7:42 PM
The transcription app goes overtime with bangs ! and crosshatches # and asterisks * and ampersands @. The gist of Jenifer's rant seems to be that the Developers have skimped on coding trees of sufficient strength; that the wait time to schedule appointments with medical specialists is unacceptable; and something about seatbelts and standard transmission. Randy is, as usual, an incoherent stream of consciousness, this time mixed with some bawdy tune or other.

I look at PTG and offer to foot the bill for seatbelts.

Meanwhile the ferrets pop out of the backpack to reunite with their long-lost friends, Jenifer and Randy. Anyone whom they haven't seen for at least three hours is considered "long lost" to a ferret; although it's also possible they were just taking a cue from Randy's lyrics about petticoats.

A third possibility is that Cash and Wickerbat are deviously clever. The swearing quickly turns to giggles and guffaws. The antagonistic atmosphere eases and shortly the four of us, plus ferrets, are relaxing under the tree eating watermelon and enjoying the rare moment of not trying to kill each other.

Even the watermelon will prove to be safe.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 22, 17 8:25 PM
And now I'm back in this cell. My brain has finally started working again, however, and knowing the cell number explains a lot. I'm surprised Jenifer and PTG found me at all.

A pickle appears on the floor between us. Sharply, I study the local universum and discover a tiny shimmering tear which seals itself up again as I watch. I look at PTG. I have the beginnings of two ideas, but one will have to wait.

"Are you going to eat that?" asks PTG. He is looking at the pickle.

"Nope, it's all yours."

PTG picks it up carefully. "Think it's spiked?"

"I'm pretty sure it's safe."

He takes a big bite of the pickle. I usher the ferrets into my backpack.

Three… two… one…

I scream. "Aaaaghhhhhh, PTG, you're turning purple! With polka dots! I think the pickle was POISONED after all!" PTG panics and starts screaming as well.

My uninjured ear is pressed to the door. Ordered footsteps thunder among the general chaos. The door mechanism clicks.

I elbow PTG in the ribs, stunning him to silence, and hide us behind a fold in the local universum. Two orderlies burst in and stare at the seemingly empty room. "They've escaped!"

The orderlies are bullied aside by two armed guards. They also stare. Impressively, they even check the ceiling, behind the door, and look out the window. Then one yaps into a walkie, "The prisoners from 404 are 404! Lockdown, repeat, lockdown!" and all four bundle themselves out of the cell.

I stop the swinging door with my foot and release the universum. Deep breath in, deep breath out. PTG meets my eyes and says, "The pickle is not poisoned, is it."

"I'm pretty sure it's safe," I reply. "Come on!" We dash out of cell 404 and across the hall into 405. I slam the door shut.


I take off the purple cloak and stuff it into my inventory. At level 39, a "Mantle of the Evil Ghost" has yet to turn up for me. I smile at PTG. "NOW we can use the secret passages!" And I show PTG how to walk behind the fifth corner of the room.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 19, 17 11:43 AM

VANDALS DESTROY SCENIC BRIDGE A newly constructed "historic" bridge has been destroyed by vandals. An Automaton, who spoke only on condition of anonymity, says that the bridge was the height of form and function, intended to serve as both scenery and a throughway to locales beyond, and represented "thousands of Developer hours." With its destruction, an entire geographical region is now inaccessible indefinitely. A tip line has been established and anyone with knowledge of the incident is encouraged to call in.

DUST BUNNIES CONVERGE ON CASTLE CAFETERIA Thousands of dust bunnies have stormed the Midnight Castle Café and eaten all food stuffs and stored provisions. Castle residents are advised that regular meals are currently canceled until new supplies can be shipped in. An outside cleaning service will serve as a stop-gap measure until a new Broom Master is selected. Resumes for the position will be accepted on the Second Floor through close of business Tuesday.

INSIDE SCOOP Jenifer Rule will neither confirm nor deny the possibility that she will leave her current post as president of the Critter ****



BREAKING NEWS! ROCKSVILLE GAZETTE PUBLISHES FINAL ISSUE "The Rocksville Gazette" has lost its publication license. The Cloud City Times and Tribune sees this as an opportunity to expand its customer base and will soon begin distribution in Rocksville and the Castle Vicinity markets. We welcome our newest readers.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 18, 17 3:26 PM
Our bench drifts downward.


"Gavin!" cries Jenifer, looking around in alarm, but the skies are currently dragon free.

My face is red, but no one can tell under all the fur. "That... was my stomach. I'm hungry. I'm not sure when I ate last, but it feels like weeks!"

"I know where we can get steak! INTERROGATION ROOM!" screams Jenifer.

And…. The bench takes off with a lurch that knocks me overboard. Head over heels, I see a spatzzzing of light as it vanishes. Rather like someone learning to drive stick, I think, and the sooner PTG installs seatbelts the better.

I'm in freefall once again. Ground, sky, castle wall, ground again coming up all too fast. We seem to be doing this a lot lately.

Then - and I'm not sure at all what this would have looked like to an observer, but - suddenly I am jerked horizontally. Crash, bang, roll, I HOPE I haven't crushed the ferrets, thunk! I am lying on my back looking at an interior ceiling much like many ceilings in the Castle. The ferrets burst out of my backpack with indignant chittering. I think that means they're okay.

Some time later, after they tire of exploring the room which looks very like every room in the inmates' wing of the Castle, the ferrets come back to me. Cash nuzzles my ear, and Wickerbat nips my wrist. What I won't do for myself I do for them. I struggle up, head throbbing, and locate the emergency stash of ferret kibble in my backpack. They chow down eagerly. I seem to have lost my own appetite.

While they commence messy crunching, I envision a lost, disconnected appetite falling down to land in a Castle courtyard far below. What is the terminal velocity of a falling appetite? And what happens when it hits the ground? Perhaps it will meet up with someone's lost temper. What would happen then?

I wonder if this is how Jenifer or Randy or even PTG feels all the time, lost down the rabbit holes of one's own mind.

Cash climbs onto my lap, dropping crumbs onto my new doublet. Wickerbat tries to hide kibble behind my back. I scoop up Wickerbat and hold him close.

I'm lost and lonely. For the first time in two years of lurking in the Castle, I have friends. I know it. And I want them back.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 16, 17 2:00 PM
Oops, busted!
I hope we didn't leave too much of a mess in your underwater grotto!
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 16, 17 11:21 AM
When I return to the Square, I discover that the park bench has gone off on its own, perhaps in search of its master. I'll have to find my own way to the Elvyn Forest, the one place in the current MC world not accessible to me by tunnel.

At least the ferrets are with me. The Doll Showcase catches my eye; I can always use a few extra gears and screwdrivers, I think. While the ferrets rummage among the dolls and toys, I happen to look up to see a personage in a dramatic purple cloak enter the Square.

I sink down behind the window display. Cash and Wickerbat slink into my backpack. We exit the HOS without finishing it and slip out a back door. In the alley behind the doll shop is a red telephone booth which serves as one entrance to the tunnels, when you dial the right number. Keeping one eye on the shop's back door, I pop in and punch numbers. Nothing happens. I try three more times.

Then the back door of the doll shop opens.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 16, 17 11:19 AM
MUTINY ON THE HINDENJENNYWREN! Jenifer is flung off the airship by Randy, aka eastendteddy, aka Cap'n Bob. Gravity works. Granted, the alleged perpetrator is occasionally referred to as "Captain" or "Cap'n," but Jenifer was in charge of this particular excursion. Disposal of the de facto captain must constitute mutiny. Charges are pending.

DARING AERIAL RESCUE ATTEMPT FAILS! Midnight Castle's chief Broom Master, PTG, is last seen launching himself from an airborne park bench in an attempt to catch the falling fashionista-turned-captain. Both the damsel in distress (and what a dress it is!) and her would-be rescuer plunge into a pond in the Elvyn Forest. But while Jenifer resurfaces, PTG does not. Castle residents are warned to watch out for mobs of celebrating dust bunnies.


PTG's park bench takes a sudden nosedive. The most recent edition of the "Rocksville Gazette" flies away as I let go of it in favor of clinging to the wrought-iron for dear life. I hope PTG really does install seatbelts soon. Let's see… 32 feet per second per second, except I'm not sure how high I was to start….

But no matter. I've already demonstrated that PTG is not the only one who can control the device. So - shimmer whoosh - and I land gently in the Town Square. As I take a moment to catch my breath I notice that the door to Kaley's Fancy Goods has been left open. Hm, someone has leveled up again, and it's not me.

I look down at myself. Days of running around the tunnels, not to mention unscheduled swimming sessions in the Castle moat (whoops, I just mentioned them), as well as the occasional explosion have pretty much done in my pseudo-Renaissance outfit. I hop into Kaley's for a replacement, and shortly feel better than I have for the first time in weeks.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 14, 17 9:55 AM
We are in a tunnel. I whip out the cell phone to check our location… we're somewhere between the Town and Cloud City. I hope it's not the tunnel that comes out in the Customs House. Or the one that comes out in the Jeweler's Workshop. Or the one -

"Cooo-eee, Jenifer! Jenny Wren!" yells PTG. Echoes bounce down the tunnel and back.

Wickerbat suddenly scrabbles up my front and buries himself in the backpack. My long ears prick (and my thumbs as well). I catch PTG's arm, indicate that he should be quiet, and twitch a veil of local universum over the bench. One thin layer of reality away, someone hurries along the dim tunnel, cloak swirling dramatically. Two or three hours pass before I sigh and release the local universum, but since I can't actually hold my breath that long, it's more likely 40 seconds at most.

Before either of us can say anything, I hear footsteps again, along with a whistling noise. I pull the veil across us, but this time it does no good. Someone barrels into us at top speed. We all tumble off the bench with many oaths, a few indignant nips from Wickerbat, elbows jammed into ribs and more. Even the bench is knocked sideways.

The tunnel suddenly brightens to reveal our tangled reunion. It is Jenifer herself who has crashed into us.

"Wickerbat - ouch!"

Jenifer has changed her outfit yet again. She is also holding a stick of lit dynamite which she holds aloft for illumination. "For crying out loud!" PTG snatches it from her hand and tosses it away. At the same time, I rip open a random aperture in time and space and the dynamite sails through. I have a brief glimpse of myself and the Antique Globe before the dynamite explodes. So that is what happened!

"Quickly," says PTG, "back to the Tavern before Randy goes off on his own!"

We all pile onto the bench, and PTG gives his mental commands. The bench gives a lurch, but nothing else. A panicked inspection reveals why: Jenifer's collision with us has wedged the bench firmly within the tunnel walls.
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 14, 17 9:53 AM
"STAY PUT!" PTG commands.

And with a shimmer and a whoosh, PTG, his bench, two ferrets, and a hefty supply of snowballs arrive in the Tavern. The ferrets do little war dances when they see me and tackle my knees. I feel relaxed for the first time in days.

"Hop on," PTG says. "Next stop is Jenifer."

"What about Randy?"

We both look toward the bar. Salty has now slid to the floor, snoring. The caterwauling turns out to be a cat caught beneath him. Randy is somehow sprawled across three bar stools, and may actually be awake, but also a little green around the gills. Too much time spent with Ellie, perhaps.

PTG makes an executive decision. "We'll leave him here. I haven't had a chance to install seatbelts on this thing, yet."

I sit. Cash stashes himself in my backpack, but Wickerbat insists on being held and cuddled. What a love sponge he is! If only he didn't bite everyone else…

PTG puts his hands on his temple and - Shimmer, whoosh!
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 14, 17 8:11 AM
I hear a mighty caterwauling from the Tavern as I approach.

Inside, it is empty save for the regulars: the dice dealer, the assorted skeletons, Randy, Salty Took…. Oh, wait, Randy IS here, but I don't see Jenny or PTG. Judging by the bar counter, there is not a single clean mug or glass left in the place. Randy and Salty between them appear to have depleted Salty's inventory, from the rum and grog Randy prizes so highly, to the imported wines the Aussies smuggle in, to shots of ouzo and absinthe rarely requested. (Here I must admit to a liking for black jelly beans.) Randy and Salty are slumped against the bar, singing - I suppose that's the word I'm looking for.

But first things first. I insert one 8-pointed Star and one Bear's Fury into the satchel to open it, and am rewarded with an Ice Beak. I rummage inside, turning up three more Ice Beaks, a Unicorn Banner, two copies of the Volume of Fury, and a snow globe (the one with the fireplace). No ferrets. I remove the satchel from the Bear for a better look. It smells foul inside, and within the recesses I find a spyglass and a piece of paperboard… which proves to be a postcard that says Greetings from Sunny Tahiti on the front and "Wish you were here ~~ Winterwine" on the reverse. But no ferrets. And since this isn't an actual MC quest, I can't use the FIND button to force them out of the satchel.

I look around. One drunk Randy, one drunk barkeeper, no Jenifer, no PTG, no Wickerbat and no Cash.

No cash, heh. I wonder if the credit on Randy's tab is sufficient to cover the current binge? I fiddle with the cash register briefly. There, THAT ought to cover everything. And players complain that it's the quests and zoom zones that deplete inventory and stockpiled gold!

But where are my ferrets? I tap their number on my phone. It rings, rings, and to my surprise PTG answers.

"PTG! I thought you didn't like technology?"

"I thought it rather a non sequitur in the MC setting, but you have begun to demonstrate otherwise," he answers. "So where are you now?"

"I'm in the Tavern. Randy's here too. Where are you?"

"I'm at the Ice Rock."

And simultaneously, "But I just CAME from THERE!"
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 12, 17 6:58 PM
And in our separate locations the four of us sit on our respective rumps, heads ringing from 10,000 HITS!

Oh the tintinnabulation of the bells!
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 12, 17 1:19 PM
I close a door behind me. I am in the Winter Garden. I whirl.

There is no door behind me.

The Winter Garden is its usual chilly calm self, everything in order: the statue of the white lady, the random scatter of HOS items and herrings throughout the snowy thicket. There is no indication whatsoever that I once had a temporary base here and that it was thoroughly trashed by - asodfihn asdfjk yysl [%q*] eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeccccccccccccccceeeeeeee - !

I shake my head in confusion. I'm not sure what THAT thought was! But something seems off. I pull out my phone to try to call the ferrets, and am stunned when I see the date. This can't be right! Surely it can't be an entire week since I went to the Dark Tower Library looking for Cash and Wickerbat?

Can it?

I hit the ferrets' number. Wickerbat answers. He and Cash seem to be currently camped out in the messenger bag on the Armored Bear. I can hear Randy and the barkeeper arguing about the tab. Randy threatens to take his business elsewhere, and the barkeeper (is it Jeronimo? I can't tell) says to please do. Huh. I'd like Randy and Co to stay put until I can catch up to them. I hurriedly transfer a whack of diamonds to the Tavern by PayPal with a note to apply it to Randy's tab.

I stroll out of the Winter Garden, humming my third favorite Poe poem to myself:
"Hear the loud alarum bells--
Brazen bells!
What tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!"

Oh the tintinnabulation of the bells!
 posted in Midnight Castle on Feb 5, 17 8:52 AM
"Friend, stop is coming up," clacks the Automaton Driver. "Stop cord, please?"

Obligingly I pull the stop cord. A bell rings; the trolley stops. I try to pay my fare, but the Driver covers the fare box. "Not necessary. We thank you. We will assist."

I'm not sure who "we" is, but I tip my ear to the Driver and step down. "This door. Then second door on left. Friend." The trolley resumes its route down the dim tunnel. I am alone in territory uncharted by any MC inmate.

A sign on the door reads "In case of elevators, do not use fire." I shudder, but open the door anyway. Inside is a hallway - white walls, white tiled floor, fluorescent lighting overhead. Nothing for it but to go forward. I pass one closed door on the left and stop when I come to a second one.

There is nothing special about this door. I put one long ear against it, hear nothing. I take a deep breath, turn the brass handle, and step inside.
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