Anacrusis

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Of Tabbes The Television

Of Tabbes the Television



A war had broken out between the walls of people on each side of the road; battlecries and small objects were thrown over ducking cars that kept the sides from clashing. As soon as the lights turned green, the sides came together and clashed, passing through each other as forks of happily yelling people.

The false battle ended when the sides had switched, and everyone was on the sidewalk they wanted to be on. A few turned and waved to the other side, a handful called final insults as the light turned red yet again, but most just strolled on to their destination, without much looking back.

“Grief, is this how all roads work?” Ink asked grimly, pulling his hood down again after it had been blown back in the carnage.

“You bet!” The Hero grinned.

Ink scrunched his eyebrows, “No I don’t. From what Toven says it’s a nasty habit.”

The group continued through the houses, each of which were a different colour. It would be a lot nicer looking if it was actually bright outside, but the place was still quite lovely in Toven’s humble opinion. Ink thought it was rather stupid looking. They walked until the very last building, which had a neon light on the front that spelled “Sleepy Box”. The S and o were flickering.

A road carried on ahead, and in the distance was a purple star that really didn’t seem any closer - yet all mist had gone, and Ink could see something very faint rising from the pinpoint of violet light. Like a tiny purple strand of smoke on the horizon.

Into the revolving glass door Toven led them, and into a lemon scented hall it spun them, and the Hero wanted to do it again. It was a hotel; chilled-out bongo music played from little mysterious unseen speakers, there were surfboards hanging on the walls, and the front desk of the fine establishment was unmanned and sat empty apart from a pair of drumsticks and a gumball machine with only half a lid, so that anyone may take one for free. Pasted onto it was a label that read “Chow free, man!”

There was a strange static noise in the air that got louder as the group came closer to the front desk. ­

“Is there supposed to be someone here?” Asked Ink as they reached the wide desk. It looked like a place that someone should be stationed at. The static sound was quite loud.

“You have t-to ring the b-bell!” Toven couldn’t quite reach the little hemispherical ringing device, so Ink did it for him as the Hero filled her pockets with gumballs and Parallax stared emptilly through the wall and towards a distant, long neglected valley a million miles away - if he had ears, they would be standing on end.

The bell gave a sort of pleasant, glassy chime and the static sound stopped. There was a clutter behind the desk, and Ink withdrew slightly from it. A latte-brown hand gripped the edge of the table, and a figure pulled itself onto what was presumably a rotatable desk chair - it couldn’t be seen, but the seemingly young man did a couple of three-sixties before eventually seeing the group that stood before him. He had a big television for a head, the boxy kind that in Ahbon were outdated. He wore a loose shirt with pictures of palm trees and sunsets and flowers on it. On the screen, static faded into a picture of nothing but coloured bars, and there was a short beep before a voice came through. It said:

“Ah, suz T-Bones! Everythin’ cherry coke in your local?”

“Hi T-Tabbes!” Toven greeted, “Yyy-yeah.” He said unsurely. There were very few people who ever really could understand the being that was Tabbes, and Toven was not one of them.

“Yeeaah Mulb’s Tizzold me that a T-slice homebrew would be jellyin’ down this way come nexternight’s eve, man.” He said. He seemed a little… spaced out.

And then the static began to fade back into the corners of the screen, and his head dipped foreward a bit before Toven brought him back into the world of the awake with an understandable “Yeah, h-ha- Ww-What?”

“He said,” Began Coda, translating, “Mulbs already told him we were coming.”

“O-Oh, good!” he reached into a pocket on the inside of his dungarees and began shuffling through a wad of cash with carved antler fingers.

Tabbes flinched at absolutely nothing at all, then returned his attention to the boy and said “Naw, Yeah, T, Mulbsy cashed the cribs in Jalapeño speed ’fore you chowed the room house.”

Coda had to chip in: “He said your aunt already paid for us.”

Tabbes disappeared under the desk and rerurned with a blue card with a key attatched to it on a metal ring. “Right on man, can-openers to the dooz boxes comin’ down now, man!” He said, handing over the key.

“H-hey Tabbes, th-th-these are my friends, Ink and Coda. Ink’s g-good at drawing and st-stuff and Coda’s carrying our sun in h-her hand, that’s why it-it glows like th-th-that.”

The Receptionist inspected the patterns of the grain in the desk’s stained wood as Toven explained. They seemed to resemble different images every time he looked.

“We’re g-going to Atlantis to return it!”

He bobbed his television head slowly. “Sweet man, fabric chilli dawgs and beachin’ cool soon dude!”

“Hell yeah!” Coda shouted, “We’re gonna make it happen dude, don’t even worry ’bout it!”

Tabbes’ antennae made a strange clicking sound, and he pointed off to his right. “Ride on, man! The ele-chimney is dexter on the back clock suh don’t be champin down on the roof ground or sumthin’, y’dig?”

And just like that, their interacrion with Tabbes was over. As the elevator doors closed, they left him alone at the desk. He stared as his eyes followed something that wasn’t actually there across the room and up through the ceiling.

“Woah.” He said, and fell asleep. The static sound returned.

Ink didn’t understand what elevators did, but he didn’t like them one bit. When they got there, the hotel room smelled like flowery air freshener and papaya sorbet, and looked like an average hotel room, perhaps slightly more colourful. Obviously, the Reaper was baffled. He had never seen a place quite so cushy and bright, and he tried not to look around too much.

Later, once all had settled down for the night, Ink lay on the floor and asked Toven: “You’re not going to tell me a bedtime story, are you?”

“H-huh? I mean I wasn’t -”

He felt the dread sweep away, “Good.”

Ink’s mother always told him a bedtime story, without fail. Not the sort of sleep-encouraged story that you and I know, but the sort that makes one curse the existence of the universe and hope to stay in bed not to sleep, but to hide in the sheets indefinitely until Time drops dead.

“So hey, T, who was this Lord guy your aunt was telling us about? He sounds pretty powerful!” Said the Hero, sitting on her large double bed by the open window.

“O-Oh, Our Lord Luciére? H-He was! Even before he too-took the sun. He was pretty gr-great, too - well, I n-never knew h-him - he’s been gone for ma-many thousand ears. But he sssssssst-stopped the Anarchy and made p-p-peace in Ahbon for the first t-time ever!”

Ink was only half-listening; the other half of his brain had already fallen asleep.

“Not only that b-but he also made an entirely new realm. So, I think hhhh-he was pretty great!” Toven said, and made himself comfortable in his smaller bed that was backed into the corner beside the bathroom wall. A piece of blue modern art hung above him. “Until he sort of uh… We-Went mad and destroyed everything. Most people evac-cuated over a gigantic bridge to the new worlds he made, I hope they m-made it. He destroyed the bridge bef-fore everyone made it across, a-and after that he just s-sort of disappeared, so did the sun for a while… But now you’re here!”

He smiled and looked to Coda, who stared intensely as the floating crimson orbs she had made Rose and set around the circumference of her fist, and then evaporated in a sequence of small explosions of sounds from her fragments of memories. With her other hand, she was petting Parallax who lay in her lap and dreamed about chasing spectral rabbits. Evidently, she hadn’t been listening.

“Huh, what? Oh, yeah great story, T! I like the part where that Luciford fella destroyed things and the uh…”

The waves washed across the shore outside the window, singing them to sleep, and just below Sleepy Box Tower hotel a hole gradually got deeper and deeper as a blind man with webbed hands struck gold - and then tossed it right aside, for he was blind - and continued forever towards whatever lay under Ahbon.

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