Chapter 11: Fog and Spectacular News
“So,” began Bucky, with a little reluctance, “You’re a ghost?”
“Ooh!” said The Beautiful Woman. “Scary!” She then proceeded to take the afghan off the back of the muddy chair she was sitting on and drape it over her head. Feeling quite ghostlike she waved her arms around moaning, “boo,” and then giggled. Pulling the afghan off of her head she smiled broadly. “No, I don’t think so.”
Clement was getting upset, and a little scared; although, she was a very sweet ghost, if indeed she was one.
“Well, what are you then?” he almost yelled out, quite exasperated.
“I am The Beautiful Woman All Dressed in White.”
“Oh for crying out loud,” yelled Clement, “what does that mean?”
“I’m pretty, and I’m dressed...”
“Like someone who got left at the side of the road on her prom,” is what Bert said. “Sorry, dear, but it does look that way.” He smiled, but it didn’t seem to help.
“But the mud is...” and she got cut off again, this time by Mrs. Newcastle.
“All over the house. All over my powder blue wallpaper, all over the furniture, all over the children. Honestly, honey, dead or not you don’t have to be so working class.”
“See here,” said Bert, who was very good at his job.
“Oh, sorry Bert, I meant, I really like you, blue collar and all...”
This made The Beautiful Woman smile broadly.
“See? We’re all making friends!”
Mrs. Newcastle, who was holding the cord to the vacuum, let it drop and sat down in the soggy cushion of Bucky’s chair.
“I’m tired. I’m tired of running, of riddles and of mud.”
“Ah,” said The Beautiful Woman, “I’ll take care of the mud.” She closed her eyes, scrunched up her nose and in a moment that no one there could define, there was no mud, no dirt, no puddles in the foyer, no smudges or smears anywhere, and all the crumbs from the cookies Bert had spit out were gone.
“That’s what I’m on about,” added Bucky, “How do you do that?”
“I know! Isn’t it fun?”
Bucky’s mom, stood up again. She was impressed and surprised, but she needed answers and she wasn’t going to play at guessing games, so The Beautiful Woman told her.
“I wore heels too big for me and I fell off the modeling runway during a fashion show here in Grand Lights.”
“When?” asked Mrs. Newcastle.
“I don’t know. You see, afterwards I forgot almost everything, and it took a long time I guess for me to remember what I do remember. You must understand, there is no ‘time’ where I’m now from. I could have died yesterday, or one hundred years from now. I really couldn’t tell you.”
“Well,” said Mrs. Newcastle, “you’re on the cover of last week’s Fashion Faux Pas wearing red and orange.”
“Don’t really remember that. Would I have done that? Ooh! I guess that means I’m alive in this time. I better not run into myself. That would be funny. How do I tell me I’m the spirit of my dead self and having a lot of fun? Maybe I could sneak into the fashion show and watch what will happen to me. I’d love to see that!”
Clement, who was a little disturbed at all this talk about an afterlife decided he also wanted some answers.
“I just need to know what we’re going to do about them,” and he pointed to the window, where a dozen or more lizard rat monkey creatures called kukyz were leering in and watching them.
The Beautiful Woman stood up and smoothed out her pristine white gown, folded the afghan and placed it on the back of the chair and stood there, with rather a commanding presence.
“We shall all go to the Chamber of Commerce,” she said. “That’s where he might strike his most drastic blow.”
“OK,” said Bert, “who and why?”
“Politikus Mediosus, and because he wants to take over both worlds. Your world and his are colliding on a regular basis. Most dimensions affect one another, like vibrations from a string after it is plucked, but these two are like twins. They are close together on the cosmic level of things and often interfere with one another. He was from this world, so it is said, and he wants it for his own, but he’s not willing to give up the other, now that he has had it for so long.”
Bert looked serious, and solemn. “Why the Chamber of Commerce?”
“He thinks that’s where the economic seat of control is.”
“I know. He’s an idiot. But he’s powerful and power in the hands of an idiot can be terrifying, deadly, and sometimes...hilarious,” she started to giggle and then caught herself, “but not now.”
There was a sound like a pop and a crackle, and then the TV came on full blast.
“Sorry,” said Clement, “I sat on the remote.”
“That’s all right,” said Bucky’s mom, “it’s the news.”
The two newscasters, all perfect in their well-made hair and serious looking faces, were dealing with a real problem.
“And so Angela, it looks like this creeping fog is going to be around for a long time.”
The TV showed pictures of a low lying fog, falling over rocks and moving around cars and houses, obscuring traffic signals and peeping through keyholes into people’s homes; people who happened to take video pictures with their smart phones and send the pictures to the news station.
“Oh my,” said The Beautiful Woman. “The rain stopped, the agents are here and now the war really begins.”
The newscaster named Angela spoke up next. “Ted, we seem to have some floating objects in the fog,” and there was some silence.
“I’m Phil, Angela. Ted got... Ted moved on.”
The TV now had pictures of uprooted trees floating almost motionless off the ground by several feet, and some mail boxes and baseball equipment. Clement was almost certain he saw a badger in a leisure suit.
“Yes, Angela, we have had a ton of rain, and now this low lying fog covering the entire county, followed by scattered antigravity.”
“So,” followed up Angela, “if you are planning on going out tonight, please take a flashlight and lead boots.”
Bucky’s mom looked at Bucky, who then looked at Clement who was watching the Beautiful Woman. She in turn had her eyes glued on the set, and Bert was finishing up what cookies had been left on the table.
“So that’s it for us here tonight. Remember, it’s not news; it’s SPECTACULAR!” and then Mrs. Newcastle turned off the TV.
“What does this mean?”
The Beautiful Woman went into the foyer and got everyone’s coats and brought them back. She picked up the sprinkler key and handed it to Bert.
“It means there is a lot to do. Mediosus is flooding your world with his ability to deceive. Sure, there are floating objects, and there is a fog obscuring true vision, but it is nothing compared to what he has in store. He will strike hardest at the Chamber, so we must be off if we are to defend this world.”
“Was that badger wearing a suit?” asked Clement.
“No dear,” said Bucky’s mom, “that would be too fantastic.”
Bucky, after sitting patiently and taking all this in, finally spoke.
“And how are we to defeat him?”
“Oh, I don’t know. It sure will be fun finding out! Let’s go!”
With a turn she was out the front door, fighting off kukyz and laughing and spinning around. The others followed and soon between The Beautiful Woman and Bert, they managed to clear a path through all the kukyz. Several of them kept following behind and yelling out that they could get the best prices on medicine from Canada.