Innerworld: A Grand Lights Story

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Chapter 13: Sizable Quantum Vortexes

It was dark already and Bucky’s group was marching as fast as they could, but the fog was really thick and low on the ground, making it hard to see where one was stepping. Bert was out in front, brandishing his dangerous sprinkler key so none of the kukyz would even think of attacking. Most of them just stood off to the side or followed several yards behind them, whispering things like, “Your arrest record is now available,” or more sinister things like, “Your account is about to be closed,” and even though Bucky and Clement didn’t know what all that meant, they could see in the eyes of the grown-ups that it wasn’t very pleasant.

A Volkswagen slowly hovered by. No one cared to notice. They were all intent on getting downtown and to building 301 A on E Street. That was where the business people had their chamber meetings. That was where the hideous war of Politikus Mediosus was thought to take place for the domination of the world. No, to be exact, the domination of two worlds. Then where would it end? If, as the Beautiful Woman suggested, there were multiple dimensions spanning eternity, then he could really cause some damage if he knew how to cross from one world to another. He could go almost anywhere. At least, that was what Bucky was thinking. She voiced her concern to Clement, who was walking closer and closer to the Beautiful Woman the more the fog thickened.

Bucky’s concerns bothered him even more. He took the Beautiful Woman’s hand in his.

“Don’t fall in love,” she said.

“What?” said Clement. “I’m just scared. I know you’re too old. Don’t be silly.”

“I mean it’s because I’m a spirit.”

He grasped her hand tighter.

“You’re hand feels real enough.”

She giggled. “Oh yes. It’s fun to have hands again. And toes! I love to dance on them.” Then she just stood on her toes and did a few twirls. She clapped her hands and found delight in waving the fog around like smoke.

“Why do you act like a child?” asked Bucky.

“That’s what we are. We’re perpetually playful.” Then she got serious again. “But we still have work to do. Oh look!” She pointed up in the air only a few feet. “There’s a kind woman I wanted to meet.”

“Good heavens!” exclaimed Bucky. “That’s Mrs. Nesbitt, Peter’s grandma!”

“I knew I wanted to meet her.”

Indeed there was Mrs. Nesbitt, floating a few feet above them, asking politely if someone could pull her back down to the sidewalk. Bert held his sprinkler key up so Mrs. Nesbitt could grab it and he was able to pull her down. It was unusual, but while the party was in the presence of the Beautiful Woman, they didn’t at all feel the effects of the antigravity.

Mrs. Nesbitt calmed down a bit, because she had been really flustered by all the floating about, and a six channel surround sound stereo system in a cabinet floated by them and almost hit her in the head.

“That would have been nasty,” she said.

“And in surround sound, no less,” added Clement.

The Beautiful Woman went on to say that the antigravity was designed to disable any defenses that might be surrounding the chamber.

“We have no defenses,” said Bucky with some annoyance. “We’re a small, sleepy town without any kind of important things an emperor or evil genius would want.”

“But he doesn’t know that, Bucky,” said the Beautiful Woman. “He’s cunning and resourceful, but he’s still an idiot. Doesn’t read. Can’t for the life of me figure out how he duped a whole world in another dimension to be their great leader.”

Grandma Nesbitt was obviously confused, scared and worried about Peter. She hadn’t seen him for what was going on four days, so Bucky quickly told her all about their adventures and what Peter was trying to do.

“How can I help?” asked Grandma Nesbitt.

“When we get to where we’re going, do whatever you think is best.”

Then the Beautiful Woman was quiet for a while. Bucky asked her, after a few moments, if something was bothering her.

“Well, yes, Bucky. Quite frankly I’m wondering why all the kukyz have gone.”

For the entire time they were calming Mrs. Nesbitt down and explaining the fantastic goings on, they hadn’t noticed that the kukyz were no longer following them, or standing off to the side, or anywhere that could be seen.

“Maybe they went home,” said Clement.

“Doubtful. I hope they’re not planning a massive attack using SQVs.”

“Now that,” said Bert, “sounds like a weapon.”

“And a nasty one at that,” added the Beautiful Woman. “The one thing that could stop me, and mess up my hair if I’m not careful.”

Bucky tried to figure out the initials but was having a hard time. “I don’t even know what SUV stands for but I know it’s a van. What’s an SQV?”

“Sizable Quantum Vortex.”

Bucky stopped suddenly and looked right at the Beautiful Woman All Dressed in White. “That,” she said, “is an oxymoron. If it’s quantum it has no noticeable size.”

“That’s why they’re particularly nasty.” She kept walking and everyone followed.

Daybreak was still several hours away, and the night was cold. Bucky’s feet hurt and Clement’s shoulders ached. He also was having trouble breathing, what with the cold and the fog. Before the hour was up, however, they had made it to 301 A on E Street, and there was nothing to stop them from going into the building. There were no kukyz, no obstructions of any kind, and things that had been floating by, like flower pots and small animals, were all now on the ground again. Some of the pots were broken and the small animals had scurried home or decided to wander a bit and find something to eat.

“Do we just go up and knock?” asked Bert.

“No,” said the Beautiful Woman. “I’m not sure how to protect it. Or what he is going to try to do. But I’m sure he thinks this is a chamber, like a room, and not an organization of any kind. He’s in for a big disappointment. That will make matters worse. Idiots who are angry do very bad things to innocent people.”

The wind picked up. There was some lightning, and a clap of thunder, but no rain. The fog rolled back, and in the sky above the building that was 301 A on E Street, the sky opened up like a hideous green fissure. The fissure closed again and then opened like a camera iris, and slowly the fog and clouds around it began to swirl. A loud rushing noise filled all their ears.

“Uhm,” said the Beautiful Woman, “this is what I was afraid of.”

As if on cue, thousands of kukyz spilled out of the hole in the sky. They landed on the street in clumps and more clumps. They weren’t whispering anything anymore, but growling and baring their tiny fangs. With their claws extended they rushed upon the group, and pushing Clement and Bucky out of the way, they grabbed the Beautiful Woman All Dressed in White. With many snarls and clamping of their teeth, hideous little giggles and cackles, they dragged her up into the vortex in the sky, which promptly closed behind them. There was another clasp of thunder and then silence. Bucky and Clement, Grandma Nesbitt and Mrs. Newcastle, and Bert, were all alone except for each other.

Then the sky opened up again, and millions of kukyz rained onto the building until it was covered by them. Within a split second, they became still as stone. In fact, they had become stone, and the building known as 301 A on E Street, where the Chamber of Commerce met to have mixers and bingo night, was cocooned in solid rock.

“We’ve lost her!” cried Clement.

“We’ve lost,” stated Bucky, with a quiet severity that sent a shiver down Clement’s spine.

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