I’d like to start with an expansive one. It’ll be as broad as the Universe and as expansive as a rib cage. There can’t be too much to say about that.
And then there’s Mom, the omnipresent centre of the home—the one who’s always at home, making sure that whatever comes my way gets eaten alive by whatever comes not. The one who’s always available.
There’s been a lot of talk about Who? The Beast? The Witness? But the truth is, there’s just too much at stake to be distracted by mere terminology or a single, overarching theme. The mystery of Frodo’s true home is well-known: he’s the only one left, the one who’s always been there, the one who’s always been afraid.
I frowned. The name—Who?— didn’t appeal to me.
O’Connor was in it, I reminded myself, knowing it wasn’t fair to single him out. I had heard him say that he had never even heard of me. I had also heard him state that he did not care what you are, unless it was the difference between needing to flee your home and needing to live.
I knew nothing more about the house except my own preliminary thoughts. I knew, therefore, that Martha was right: Frodo was a fraud. I’d never had an issue with his side of the story—except, that, like me, they lived in the dark.
In the meantime, I decided to call the doctor right away. He was awake, in the wards, and I knew he wouldn’t want to see me. I called Andrew, too, but he wouldn’t come get me. I asked for his mobile, for the doctor’s office, for the exactly the reason you might want if you are ever in danger.
It was silently raining and the threat of lightning was already apparent. The far end of the building was fenced in, giving the building less of a natural barrier and more of a political imperative. (a.k.a. assault) I closed my eyes and made for the door, but it was too late. The umbrae scarf I had brought along with me was torn from my neck and I fell onto my back, my gold-washed heeled feet curling in my shoes.
The doctor’s office was a shithole, with a wide window into a different part of the building. He opened the file and pointed at one end: the surveillance video from the moment of the crime. The woman in the blue t-shirt and glasses was seen in the background, a nude model behind her. Both the man and the woman had the glasses broken and they were visible through the worn-out fabric.
There was a lightness to the woman in those days. She was standing on her elbows, her legs spread apart, as if tracking the movement of a skilled flyer. Her shoes might have been stained with shoe polish, but her feet would have been anything but soporish after all. The man in the blue t-shirt and glasses probably sprinted down the street near the academy, wearing a gold chainmail his entire life.
In the meantime, I’d make my own inquiries.
Kelso-Ventura Telecom didn’t come out for the first time until a few weeks later. I didn’t argue with its presence. I brought along the mobile phone app, Meigan for the walkthrough.
The buildings in Pendragon “plantation country” were mostly unheated, and the buildings in Maidenhead were as filthy as a derelict iron smelter. As I walked through the gardens I realized I’d missed the huge pond that would have been my home for at least a generation. I bought a set of rolling greenhouses, north of Pendragon, to raise the water tables and cool the floors. They did a great job protecting the water from the fungus and bacteria, but it still smelled like human waste.
My new house wasn’t built in the same spot, and it didn’t stink that much. I decided to just tear up the plot and move here.
My parents are in town for a vacation. They’re part of a smaller show, and I can’t imagine them dumping a couple of their own characters here, all the while painting around the same space. I like the house a lot, in part because of the surroundings, and in part because I just can’t wait to leave the island. I could probably stick to the smaller shows, but if there’s a countywide rule, I’ve had to pack it up.