Recently my mind has been occupied by the what ifs again. The wants, perhaps. Future uncertainty.
At some point, any burden becomes heavy. Seeing the insignificant size of the ball of lead, sadly, does not diminish its weight, as much as we wish it would. Would it not be marvellous to wave it all away, just like that. Blow the dandelion fears and be certain they will not take root elsewhere.
There are no real concrete thoughts or fears. Simply a lump sum of it all, congealing at the bottom of the pit. A melancholic night due any moment. Of course, the work never stops. Motion without outside influences never ceases. Then again, it may never cease due to them.
I would do well to muse in better ways. A little indulgence can, however, go a long way.
Art of London
Spiders in the Basement
by Rubbered Ginny
See, something was looking back at me. The same thing, I realize in retrospect, that had looked back at me before, the thing I convinced myself was just my imagination. It was… Calling it a face seems cruel to other faces. It had eyes, two at minimum, in two deep, sucking sockets, and something that at least resembled a nose, though what looked to be nostrils extended far lower than they should, down to where a chin should have been. Below them, there was a mouth, hanging partially open, in the shape of a V. The thing you’d expect now would be rows and rows of razor-sharp teeth, right, much like a shark? Well, what was ACTUALLY there might have been even more unnerving, because the maw looked almost like normal human teeth. Just… aligned on V-shaped jaws. Maybe a little off coloured. Behind them, a squirming, fold-y redness like a tumour the size of a fist was writhing and glistening, thankfully obscured by the half-darkness and the ripples in the water. Below the jaw, a thick neck that got thicker the further away from the head my eyes travelled, attached this parody of a head to a small, lumpy torso. Its base shape and size was like the torso of a child, only with massive lumps in all sorts of places, giving it the form of a mutated potato. The skin had the same greyish tinge as the face and was covered with flat black spots that looked like open holes. But none of that was as bad as the limbs. Instead of arms and legs where you’d expect them, there were at least a dozen thin, spider-like legs protruding from all around that awful lumpy body. The whole thing looked like a horrendous mixture between a malformed human and a giant spider. Its sucking, empty eye sockets were staring at me. And then, I felt something warm and wet hit my neck. I jerked myself forwards instinctively, rolling onto my back on the rough stone floor. My eyes travelled to the ceiling.
Looking back, I’m sure that I must have at least glanced at the ceiling when I entered a minute earlier, and I definitely looked at the ceiling the last time I’d gone into the room. But from any perspective but the one I was now helplessly lying in, the thing on the ceiling would have looked like little more than an odd pattern of discolouration. This creature, despite being as broad as the entire ceiling and with the skin texture of mouldy bread, seemed to be as flat as a sheet of paper, pressed up against the roof. And as I was breathlessly crawling away from it and it fell out of focus, I was able to watch it turn near invisible before my very eyes again. Something about the angle I looked at it from made it nearly imperceptible. It was clear now that when I thought I saw a face in the grate earlier that day, what I had actually seen was a reflection of something lurking directly above me, without me having the faintest clue.
My back hit something cool and solid, and there was a loud, ugly screech as the old boiler scratched across the stone floor from the impact of my torso. I think it might have been that noise that finally startled the creature into movement, because the next instant, I felt my heart stop all over again. It’s impossible for me to describe just what it looked like, scuttling down the wall a mere metre away from me, with footsteps far too silent for something its size moving with such speed and energy. Even while moving, it seemed to blend in with the background, morphing it into a mere shadow with long limbs emerging from it, limbs that were covered in white, mould-like fur. The mere memory of the image makes me wretch and feel my blood freeze at the same time. Then, these horrible legs slid smoothly into the hole in the floor, causing only the faintest splash, and the impossible body was gone. Gone down a hole barely big enough to fit my arm into.
by The Ranine Illustrator
News of Art, Art of News
Rattus Faber Theatre Strike – Union Inspired
Several theatres and entertainment halls in London have had their production and work stalled, many to a complete halt. The reason is clear – the various Rattus Faber working as stagehands, engineers, whisperers, automaton-drivers, and much more, have unionized and are currently in an active strike.
The worker rats’ demands include safer working conditions, further inclusion of automation (including permitting experimental rat-made devices), and better food as well as mid-work snacking privileges.
We have reached out to the leader of the theatre rat union, known as Cog.
‘We have been due better conditions for some time,’ Cog told our reporter, ‘Less and less progress, more and more broken tails. Us rats are passionate creatures, and us theatre rats have passion for the art!’
Currently, around hundred and fifty theatres are slowly stagnating, with further twenty completely out of order due to the nature of their productions.
‘We want to get back to work – we do!’ Cog continued, ‘However demands are demands. Some of our rats would run off to their own rat theatres, if people only gave a cat’s a__e about it.’ He followed the statement with a hearty laugh.
The rat strike has also been joined by some human and clay supporters, all stagehands; some actors, including D____ and G________, as well as other venerable artists, are also vocally in support of the strike.
We have reached out to the management of several theatres, though none have official statements as of yet. Fortunately, through several of our contacts, we have reliable information that some theatres, including the Antimacassar, are hard at work putting measures to replace the rattus faber workforce into place.
Furthermore, though nearly not at all hindered by the strike, Mahogany Hall has expressed interest not only in the strike, but in the services of the rats. While unconfirmed, there are rumours of collaboration between the rats and Mahogany Hall to introduce new and exciting shows with the help of rats.
While this situation is deserving of a sigh from the usual theatre-goer, we are certain that these efforts will bring not only better conditions to rats and other stagehands, but, as a result, better plays, shows, and experiences to the very audience.
Negotiations are expected to continue further into the week.
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
There’s a cat on the moon.
How lovely. May I pet it, do you think?