Monday, November 07, 2005

Surreal Pandemonium

This story is for Friday's Web, who gave me the word "pandemonium." It's loosely inspired by
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, by Chris Van Allsburg.

...There was one book in particular that caught the girl's attention. As she pulled it off the shelf, a breeze from the open door ruffled the pages and settled on page 23. Just then, the party host walked into the room. "No!" he said. "Don't open that book!" But it was too late. The pages had already begun to fly out of the spine and swirl around the room. Some of the pages became flapping doves, while others folded themselves into little bells with wings. A few innocuous pages gently settled on the floor and turned into rose-petals.

There was pandemonium as the party guests attempted to shield their finery from the storm of feathers. Meanwhile, the girl still held the book cover. One page remained in the spine. It was page 23. The little girl's mother grabbed her daughter and was about to take the book cover away when something on the page caught her eye. "My goodness," the mother said, "I've finally found it!"

"Stop!" the host cried out. Then he sighed. Why did he even bother? No one ever paid attention to the warnings, not in books, and certainly not in real life. The mother, oblivious to the chaos of feathers and bells, sat down with the book.

"I've been looking for this story," the mother said.

"Read it," the little girl commanded.

"Say please," the mother countered. The girl shook her head, and turned her attention to a rose petal. It was then that the host saw his chance. He lunged for the book.

The mother held fast to the cover. As the two adults struggled, page 23 finally wiggled its way out of the spine and swooped up toward the top of the open door-frame.

"It's gone," the host said. "I can't believe it's actually gone."

"I remember the first line," the mother said.

"It's not enough," the host said.

"It might be," the mother replied.


galetea said...

V impressive!!

Anonymous said...

ooh, lovely and mysterious and with a perfect illustration!

Hazed said...

Alkelda, are you sure it was me who did the deed with "pandemonium"? While, I wouldn't put it past me, I rarely use "big words" unless I'm incredibly tired or have the thesaurus up in a second window. heh. Seriously, though, if it was me, I'm honored. Your story is fantastic. Yes, the photo is dead on, as well. I adore reading your writing. You can definately spin 'em, Sweetheart. Keep 'em coming!

Lone Star Ma said...

That's a wonderful story. We may, however, have to hire thugs to hold you down and make you lengthen these lovely jewels...they always leave the reader wanting the story to go on and on....and what a photo!

Saints and Spinners said...

Thanks, Galetea, ABCGirl, Friday, and Lone Star Ma. And yes, Lone Star Ma, thugs might be needed to hold me down to keep writing. I write like I run-- in 30 second spurts, and then fall to the side of the road, gasping for the sweet relief of pure room-temperature water. (By room-temperature, I mean Seattle room temperature, and not, say Northwest Territories or Ecuadorian room temperatures.)

Now I've got to think of a story for "heliotrope." Maybe I'll just make up a song, Mr. Phil, since as you pointed out, it is an easy word to rhyme.

Lone Star Ma said...

Really, though, even though I don't want these stories to end, they are sort of perfect like they are, like jewels or flowers...poetry.

John said...

Any longer and i could be fired for stealing company time.

Nice work!


Liz said...

Pandemonium is one of my favorite words, along with chaos (which you also incorporated) and anarchy. I'm torn between wanting to know more and letting my imagination run wild :)

Saints and Spinners said...

Thanks so much! If you have any ideas for "heliotrope," please let me know.

Phil Saunders said...

If the mysteries of Harris Burdick the book with about 12-13 pictures and a single sentence of text next to each one? If so that is a excellent book. I always like the picture of the levitating nun for some reason.

One day I'l adapt the whole book for a Call of Cthulhu RPG scenario

Saints and Spinners said...

Darth Phil,
Indeed, that is the book to which I was referring. The levitating nuns are great. The picture that made me think of a story for the photo above is the one where a young woman has fallen asleep with an open book, and vines are crawling out of the pages. I would be interested in seeing your Harris Burdick plans for a Call of Cthulhu scenario.

Phil Saunders said...


They are nothing more than vague ideas in my head, from many years ago! I never actually wrote anything down and nowadays I am off playing with other games (Traveller).