Monday, October 20, 2014


The father figure at the table said - Welcome. What part of the forest did you come from?..... And the little girl began to laugh. She seemed a bit crazy. The others just sat, heads bowed and ate their food.... Tomas said - I come from the city of Philadelphia, in a nation called America, on a planet known as Earth.... No one said a word. But the father figure did nod, though. He motioned to a chair and Tomas sat down. The maid, standing by a sideboard, asked if she should bring him some dinner.... Tomas whispered - No.... The father figure said - I am from that place. Not your America.Not your Philadelphia.... Then he stopped and picked at his food.... After what seemed like a polite interval, Tomas asked - Please sir, where are you from?..... The man said - The eastern shore of nowhere, a place in the antipodes... Do you mean Australia? - asked Tomas... The man nodded, then said - I suppose you want to hear about the rest..... Not as a question, but a statement. The mother figure dabbed her eyes. The little boy put down his fork and folded his hands.

She comes from somewheres else. I mean a whole other place. A planet, I mean. But I don't know where it is. Don't talk her talk. Know a little bit. Same with her. Same with all of them....them kids... that maid. Got a 'granny woman' and a 'young uncle' upstairs. They are of a more delicate nature and rarely dine with the rest of us.

Tomas said - How did you get here?..... The father figure said - You ever hear about a book called Alice In Wonderland? I think it's Alice In Wonderland. Well I found a rabbit hole too. At least that's what I call it..... When did you come? - said Tomas... The man said - You mean what year?... The vampire nodded..... Eighteen seventy - said the man. Burke and Wills weren't the only ones. You know them? You know Lewis and Clark? Well they're like them, only where I come from. We tried cuttin' 'cross east to west, Australia, I mean. Had a pack of Aborigines run out ahead. All different kind, from all different places. Figured they talked the talk, or something like it. But you can go for months and not see no people. See spiders, though... dingoes... Australian 'tigers,' bats. We ate the bats when food ran out. Boomerangs brought 'em down. Aborigine fella from some place I ain't never heared of teach us. One day, I go lookin' for water. Didn't find no water. Found this 'Bedlam' (British colloquial for insane asylum) instead. (gestures toward huge dog-woman snoring away on the gigantic chaise) Some dingo, though. Ain't I right?

Tomas goes - And them?.... The Australian explorer says - Same as me... rabbit holes, or whirlwinds, or whirlpools, or flush crappers. They got flush crappers where you from?.... Tomas goes - Yes.... Explorer goes - I seen 'em.  Some hotels had a few. Rich folks. That kind a thing. That's how I know. What year you from?..... When Tomas answers 'twenty seventeen' the man starts laughing... He says - Bet you had a whole lot a flush crappers  by then?..... Tomas laughs. Doesn't want to tell him 'bout the troubles and all them warlords and all.

Mother figure tries to say something, but he can't understand her. Father figure gets angry and shuts her up. She bows her head. Little girl cackles. Cracks a fish eye 'tween her teeth. Maid leans against the wall real quiet like. But she's looking. Tomas knows she's looking... Little boy tears up. Turns out he was the first one there... All by himself. Dollhouse used to have little carved, dog family in it. Still got 'em in the cellar. Must a been rough on that little guy. Wonder where he lived when them jewelers fit it out for real folks? Tomas learns all this later.

Maid knows he's a vampire though. Mumbles something in her own language. Says a prayer. She's gonna be the first to go. Tomas knows that. When he tries to tell the Australian guy about all the 'cattle' humans in the kitchen, guy won't listen. You know how people are.

Tomas points toward the dog-woman and says - Aren't you worried about her?... Australian shrugs and goes - Nah, novelty wore off. Used to watch us through the windows all the time. Sometimes we give her a show (throws little kiss to mother figure, who pretends not to notice) I even picked up a word or two in doggie talk. Sonny boy over there knows more than me. We're lucky she feeds us and brings us crap now. She got a dog-maid. That's who fills them water bottles for the sinks and tubs and all. Don't worry. We'll hide you. She won't know. Be tight rations, but we'll manage... Right mate?

But the vampire doesn't answer... And the Aussie acts like he knows something too.


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