Bell Star

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Back to School Blues
10/6/2020 11:23pm

"Bell!! This way!!"

Kumo calls to me through the explosions. The smoke and dust makes everything confusing. Do I have a concussion?

"Down! In here!"

She leads me into a cellar. There are a bunch of kids down here. Some are receiving medical care. Others are preparing a spell in the open area of the basement. My ears are ringing.

"There! Sit at the sigil! Do it!!"

She sits me down at the edge of the chalk.

"Do it now!!!"

Back to School Blues
10/12/2020 7:15pm

I always get sick sitting at the edge of the circle.


It gets so spinny. I get dizzy easy. And sick.


Like on that metal merry-go-round at the park.


It makes me sick just thinking about it. And it seemed so easy to hit your head on it, or get caught in the bars while it's spinning.



I've got a face full of bark chips. The basement is gone, and that evil metal merry-go-round is spinning behind me.

Back to School Blues
10/22/2020 9:20pm

"Aw. It's not the end of the world!"

The woman is very nice. She has a lanyard. A teacher maybe?

"We just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and try again!"

Try again? Looks like I made it the first time. To a place that's not the end of the world.

I get up off the ground. Dust off the bark chips. There are kids on the metal merry-go-round. Kids on the swings. Nothing blowing up.

"Thanks," I tell the teacher. "I don't think I'll get on the merry-go-around again right now. Maybe I'll go sit on a swing."

It's a beautiful fall day. I helped complete a spell that should have brought 12 more kids over with me. 12 more kids escaping one reality as it was collapsing, looking for another that was relatively stable. I made it. What happened to the others?

"Tweeeeeet!" The teacher blows her whistle. "Ok everybody! Recess over! line up outside the class room!"

11/1/2020 9:48pm

It was a decidedly younger set than I was used to.

"All right class, it's time for diagnostics."

The students at the front of the desks stand up and start distributing workbooks.

"Now remember to sign your names! Your real names! No 'nobodies' out there this time! And be sure to fill in the dots clearly."

The questions are easy.

Who brings the sun?

A: The Him
B: The Not-him
C: The Chaosortium

Who enables the Rule of Law?

A: The Him
B: The Not-him
C: The Chaosortium

Who is responsible for the Problem?

A: The Him
B: The Not-him
C: The Chaosortium

Obviously a trick question. I've seen this too many times before.

"Teacher! I'm done! May I go to the library?"

The nice woman seems a bit perplexed. But there's a super high chance I've navigated the options right.

"Uh... yes. Uh... good job. You may take a library pass."

I pull the library pass off the hanger near the door. It's a piece of glazed wood on a plastic string. I put it around my neck and push the door open into the hall.

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11/8/2020 7:27pm

I've never found a sub-reality that doesn't have its rough edges.

I spend some time strolling the library. Short stacks, short chairs, short tables. I can't help feeling a little bit of vertigo even though my body is in proportion.

"Our Solar System." That one looks promising.

Not sure if the books are out of date, or if it's just the style here. But there are definitely a lot of holes in the narrative. This place has been so consumed by its psychopolitics they haven't put much effort into the technical details.

I can work with this. There's probably enough material right here in this well-apportioned elementary school to bend the edges of this brittle reality up and cross over into something nearby.

I guess I have an extra-credit project to pursue.

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11/15/2020 11:21pm

The teacher seemed pleased with my extra credit project. Especially since I finish all of our assignments long before the rest of the students. I've been given full access to the art materials, and after collecting a number of large cardboard boxes from the cafeteria kitchen, have assembled a vehicle suitable for my needs.

"Oh that's fantastic, Bell. What is it? A castle?"

"A spaceship," I respond.

The teacher is confused.

"Space ship?"

The word doesn't exist in this world. Their concept map doesn't include it.

"Yes. Would you like to see how it works? Count down from ten with me. Ten, nine..."

"Eight, seven, six, five... Isn't this fun?" she asks.

"You bet," I answer. "You might want to shield your eyes. Four, three, two..."


My cardboard ship is consumed by a blinding light, and another world passes beneath my feet.

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11/21/2020 2:35pm

"Bellstar III you are free to dock. Commence docking procedure."

I wish my spaceship model hadn't been so literal. It's like floating in a tin can. And spinning. Ugh. I hate the spinning.

"Uh, yes, and who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?"

"This is Terry, Planet IX Orbital Station Landing Associate. How can I help you?"

Just stalling for time while I figured out how these controls work. I made them super simple, with crayon on the cardboard box. Ah, there it is, a nice big blinky red button.

"Commencing docking procedure," I announce.

Thankfully the spinning stops, and my tiny ship maintains its orientation. I can see the arms of this orbital station stretching out in both directions. Lots of trestles, lit up with spotlights. And floating above it all what must be Planet IX, big and dark and lit up by storms.

At least they seem to have good customer service.

Suddenly my little ship swings and I can see the docking bay ahead. Warm and cozy with landing lights. Feels good to be free again.

But where are my 12?

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