A snapshot of a moment.
A window is shattered.
Glass fragments litter the air, their shape determined by the structure of the pane they were once a part of, their size and velocity guided by the method of their separation. The shards flutter through the air, deadly snowflakes seeking vengeance.
Do you understand the structure of the glass? Have you studied its core components – have you learned how they break? Do you know how to destroy – for you need to destroy to create – with precision and certainty? Have you learned the art of reforming?
Nothing can become something new unless it is not itself first.
A hammer can carry out only destruction, lest its wielder knows how it can shape.
Art of London
Spiders in the Basement
by Rubbered Ginny
That night, my back ached, my arms were sore, and I was dying to finally crawl into bed. I took a hot bath and had a rich dinner, and when my head hit the pillow, I was ready to go out like a light almost immediately. I rolled around once and settled in comfortably, closed my eyes and… waited. Waited for sleep to come. An hour passed, then two, and still no sleep in sight. I cursed myself; it was like I was a child again, thinking about scary monsters creeping around my room and making myself more and more petrified with fear. Although I was mad at myself for it, I still rolled over, reached for my phonograph on the night stand where it peacefully sat, and put on something relaxing to drown out the silence. I would almost definitely be mad at myself for it in the morning, as this strategy always led to subpar sleep, but right then, the choice was between subpar sleep or no sleep at all.
I settled on recordings of comedy plays I had seen so many times that I could quote them from memory; something so familiar it would be easier to blend out and go to sleep. As I put the phonograph back on the night stand to do its thing, my heart once more skipped a beat; that time, it not only sounded like footsteps, it felt like footsteps too. That incredibly minor vibration passing through the walls and floor, in sync with the muffled, silent thunks of feet. I’m not proud to admit it, but I was petrified in fear. Instinctively, I scooted back to the furthest corner of the bed, as far away from the door as possible. After the almost two minutes it took for my panicked breaths to settle, I was once more angry at myself for my reaction. Maybe mum was right, maybe I should have gotten a nice wife and kids by now after all, so then I wouldn’t have to act like a kid myself anymore. I got out of bed, my legs shakier and my hands clammier than I would have liked, grabbed a candelabra for light, and went to investigate. Maybe then my stupid brain would finally shut up and turn itself off.
First I checked the kitchen, and I grabbed my largest kitchen knife off the rack, just to be careful. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, although I cursed myself for once again not finishing my bundle of bananas before they turned brown and gross. Then I checked the living room, bathroom, and my father’s old, abandoned office. My next stop were my mother’s old bedroom and bathroom. I tried not to pay attention to the fact that I was checking literally everywhere else before going down the stairs to the cellar. But as every other room proved to be empty and just as I left it, gathering cobwebs, a thick layer of dust, and a thicker layer of sadness, I eventually had to bite the bullet and creep down the stairs.
News of Art, Art of News
Station VIII – A Dreary Stop, Building Up
The Great Hellbound Railway makes headway yet again with the opening of Station VIII. It is named so for a building near which it is built – Factory VIII. It would be the only building in the entirety of this region were it not for the small huts in which the factory workers and their families live, and it is still the only noteworthy building around – save of course for the newly built railway station.
Factory VIII is certainly not the most pleasing of stops. It is, arguably, dreary, with a monolithic structure looming over the world, spitting strange-smelling colourful smoke into the already stale air of the Neath. For the GHR, the station is at least functional; a rest stop for workers and passengers alike.
Lodgings and washrooms for the workers have already been built. For further enticement, the GHR has built a canteen – a so-far shabby restaurant within the station. While it is not much to look at, the food is digestible and even, at some points, tasteful. Further expansion of the space, decor, and menu is planned into the future.
Those more inquisitive might inquire as to what Factory VIII produces. Most unfortunately, we can only work on non-personal accounts and careful investigation. The processes of the factory are a tightly held secret, and its products moreso. What we can say with certainty is that the final products are of chemical, if not toxicological, make, and exported into London. It is most advised that passengers stay clear of the factory. No public tours are, to our knowledge, planned to ever be held.
CONFESSIONS AT HALLOWMAS
Secrets ebb and flow. No truth stays hidden forever. The key to hiding is to let know only those who have no stake in the game. Join us, revel in that which had been for so long hidden. Sleep well, knowing that a piece of a stranger’s soul is within your keeping.
The board taught me: love is a fragile thing; it struggles to survive the winter. Yet I still yearn for it, I cannot look away from it, and if I am a fool for this, I am glad to have someone equally foolish by my side. When this confession comes to light, we would have met among the statues and pagodas to swear an oath.
I have hidden a bomb somewhere in the house of my family’s oldest enemy. When one of them triggers it, the whole lot of them will go up in flames and debris with the house. I confess only that I wish I could be there to see their faces when they read the message I left with it.
I was full, and yet I kept eating them. I wasn’t even hungry. I just wanted them gone.
It is a good thing there is no day or night here in London, for when I fall asleep, I can dream for many weeks, and I always wake with the salty red residue of nightmares on my teeth … Oh pity there is no longer a moon for howling.
My ma’ had no face. Didn’t want to say nothin’, wanted to think it was a bad dream. Now my da’ has no face either. I don’t know what to do.
Truth is, most people live boring lives. They don’t have interesting confessions, it’s all petty squabbles with the neighbors or things that don’t matter to anyone but themselves. But that don’t make money, people want to hear juicy confessions. So we make them up and run them as truth, maybe throw in a few of the spicy real ones, and who’s gonna tell the difference? Sells papers, public gets to feel like they’re privy to secret truths, everyone goes home feeling happy. If anyone asks, you didn’t hear this from me.
The fog lifts, yet the darkness remains. The Attendants, unmasked, retreat to their normal lives.
Remember well the joy of the unknown.
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
I am not afraid to say I have changed, I have stolen, I have adapted. I am, perhaps, ashamed.
There is no shame in doing – that is, as long as there is admittance.