Notes: So, this is what happened. In the Christmas Party RR at the House of Strange Dimensions, Hutch was taking a box of stray Muppets down to the sub-basement for storage, where she got lost (and ran across a Bulbusaur, which I'm guessing is a Pokemon). Ana followed soon after, chasing one of Acetal's sheep; she'd been herded into the job of the Shepherdess in the Christmas Pageant. Together, the Writers somehow found their way back home in time for the gift exchange -- but as there were no posts to explain just how we got back, I wanted to fix continuity.
Archiving: Kielle has blanket permission; anyone else, just ask.
Feedback: I love it. hutch @ jazmer.com
"Hey, Ana, has this basement ever been fully explored?"
"...no, why do you ask?"
"I'm just curious, because you know we've been looking for a wall for the last hour or so, right?"
"How do we know there is a wall?"
"Well, there has to be a wall, foundations and support structure and..." Ana's argument fell apart at a sudden realization. This was Subreality. Things didn't need solid foundations and support structure; castles were literally built in the air here.
"You have a point," she mumbled. "But we have to hit something soon. Nothing can go on forever."
That was true enough, Hutch reasoned; still, she couldn't help but feel nervous about their plan of attack. She didn't like being in dark places in the first place; an incident of being closed in a dark bathroom, with a friend chanting "Bloody Mary" repeatedly, had spooked her sufficiently that from the age of ten on, total darkness still gave her the creeps.
Granted, they weren't in complete darkness: Bulbusaur, some sort of small Pokemon-type creature which had confronted Hutch shortly after her arrival in the sub-basement, provided a small amount of illumination. Unfortunately, the lightbulb sprouting from his back shone in only a limited sphere, barely enough for the two Writers to see the floor two steps ahead of them. It was better than reaching out blindly with bare hands, though. (Figured, though, the light she'd found just after Bulbusaur's appearance had promptly shorted out.)
"Is it me," Ana asked suddenly, "or is it getting brighter?"
Hutch squinted, blinking. "I think so. Bulbusaur, can you damp down for a moment?" Obligingly, the critter did so, and Hutch blinked several times to let her eyes adjust. "Yeah," she said, feeling a wave of elation rise up. "And I think it's getting colder, too."
"Great." Ana glanced at Hutch's dress, then at her own, equally revealing gown. The stilletto heels on her boots were killing her. "If I only had a notebook. Then again, if I had a notebook, neither of us would be here."
As the pair continued their careful progress, the light continued to grow brighter and the air noticeably chillier; too, the sound of their footfalls changed, from the light tapping shoes make on concrete to a more solid, crunching kind of noise.
"It's snow," Hutch muttered in dismay. Her arms were wrapped around her front, hands on her forearms as she tried to keep her bare skin from freezing.
"Where's the light coming from?" Ana blinked and pointed.
The shift had been so surreal, so quick and yet subtle, that both of them were taken off guard. Where they'd been in a dark basement, now they were surrounded by a heavy forest of fir trees. Snow crunched underfoot, deep and drifting; more was sifting down on them, and Hutch began to seriously shiver now. And up ahead...
"Oh, I don't bloody believe this," Hutch muttered, the British curse coming easily to an American tongue. "It's the Lamp Post."
And so it was: an antique iron lamp, glowing from a gas-lit bulb at its highest point, wrought with fine styling and curvature. Ana and Hutch gave each other a look of dismay.
"Narnia?" they said as one.
Hutch looked at Ana.
Ana looked at Hutch.
Bulbusaur squeaked impatiently.
"No," said the Writers, managing synchronicity again.
"Baa," said Acetal's sheep.
"You!" Ana yelled, taking off after the woolly creature. Fortunately, as sheep are not very bright to begin with, this one had yet to realize that its legs were too short to adequately propel it through the deep drifts of snow. While it foundered, Ana snatched it neatly with her shepherdess crook. "All right, truant, it's back to the pen for you," she informed the bleakly-bleating, walnut-brained ewe.
Turning back in triumph, she grinned. "Now let's get the heck out of here, before we both turn into icicles?"
"Wait a second," Hutch said. "I had an idea."
"Always dangerous, that."
"Shut up." Hutch closed her eyes, and Ana could almost feel the shimmer of energy beginning to glow around her. Everything happened at once, then: the *pop*! of outrushing atoms, the sudden dissolution of snow beneath their feet, and an arupt transformation of clothes.
Where both had been dressed in very lovely gowns, jewelry, and everything else needed to make a stunning impressions at a formal occasion, they were now wearing warm pants, boots, sweaters, and heavy snow coats, with caps covering their hair. Hutch held a flashlight in one hand, and Ana found herself holding a leash that led to a collar on the sheep's neck.
"How'd you do that?" Ana blinked, surprised.
Hutch was grinning now, in an oddly demented way. "I knew we didn't need notepads and pencils to use Writer powers here. We are Writers: our imagination fuels this place, our thoughts and ideas are what make things different. Writing something down on paper doesn't execute the idea; it's our own power that triggers changes."
"Keep talking," Ana said as she started stomping back in the direction from which they'd come.
"It's just something that I've been thinking about ever since that one RR that never got finished, the one Oberon started about Y2K messing up the Cafe. Remember?" Ana nodded, and Hutch continued. "Everything was all run down because the computers had rolled back. But it didn't fit to me, somehow; it didn't make sense. Subreality doesn't run off of cyberspace or computer power. It's the Writers that make it go.
"And then I started thinking, well, if we don't need computers to make Subreality run, why do we need paper at all? So I've been trying to get it to work, and, well, it worked."
Ana raised her eyebrows at Hutch. They were approaching the darkness of the basement again, and Hutch flicked on the flashlight to illuminate their path. "You realize," Ana said dryly, "that makes no sense whatsoever."
"Yes it does," Hutch replied. "To me," she added, lower lip sticking out in a pout. "Hey, there are the stairs."
"Well, if it works for you..." Ana shrugged, heading for the stairs. "Don't know if anyone else will pick up on it, though."
"Oh, it's fine if they don't." Hutch turned off the flashlight as the light from above began filtering down to them. "It's just my little idea, after all. Maybe it won't work for you if you don't believe it," she added, thoughtful. "But who cares? It's my idea, that's all I care about."
"Whatever makes you happy." Ana rolled her eyes. At the top of the stairs, she took a careful listen about. "Hm, the Pageant seems to be over."
"Oh, good." Hutch closed the basement door gratefully behind them. "You better believe I'm never going down there again."
Ana belongs to herself, and was used here with gracious permission from her. Bulbusaur belongs to Maria (and actually to the owners of Pokemon). Acetal's sheep belong to him, poor man. Narnia is the property of C.S. Lewis or the estate thereof.
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this page last updated on 18 january 2003