Story: The City of Neon Lights Hides Something Deep Within – 22/08/19

The city of neon lights welcomed deceptively. Visitors travelling from near and far could not shield their eyes from a welcoming so bright, a manner so garish, upon the eyes it was presented somewhat violently. The lights flashed on and off, their pleasing colour scheme dancing in the eyes of the visitors, like flame to moths, and into the entranceway they explored, into the darkness of the unknown. What would the darkness behold, the neon lights only partially and eerily lighting their way, weaving through tunnels and roads and laneways, dotted with houses looking exactly the same. There seemed no one here to be seen, it was as though it was a ghost town, so who were the neon signs being lit up for, it was unknown to those visitors, their confusion could be cemented, it could be assured.

So they wandered the streets slowly, taking in the brightness, the signs declaring “Money money money”, and “Tap dancing lessons daily”, and “Enter here for some existential fun”. Another spouted the words “Do not dare proceed, begin to run”. At the sight of that neon light, the travellers became rigid, what could it be warning them from, why did the sign’s poster want them to leave? Surely there was nothing bad behind that house’s closed door, and understanding they should probably not explore they still stepped forth a few steps, then a few more.

“Hey, what do you think we should do?” asked one male traveller worriedly. Another smiled bravely, courageously, and said, “We should definitely explore, it is what will cause my heart to be pleased!”

“But, we shouldn’t, it’s bad,” the former counteracted.

“Phooey!” another called out, “let us do what we wish to do with this.”

And into the doorway they went, bowing slightly as the doorway was low, and covered with a smattering of old cobwebs of lurking large spiders and thick layers of dust particles, they travelled the darkened corridor, coughing and wheezing all the way, hoping for at least some future neon lights to soon light their way. Soon they reached their apparent destination, the room was small, wider than they expected for a house that appeared so small initially, but exploring the room now was of most import, there was surely something special about this area, it must be the truth, there must be something dangerous to view. They sat and closed their eyes now, ruminating on what they might find upon opening their orbs, and suddenly they heard a deep throaty growl, and of this the mostly excited travellers felt well pleased and wanting to see and hear more! A gravelly sounding rumble in the throat and a clearing of thickened phlegm, and now opening their eyes hesitantly, not certain what they would view, there was a gargantuan, a monster right before them. His eyes were bloodshot red, his pupils pin pricked, his hair severely cut, with green skin and terrible breath from abscessed teeth he was more disgusting than any other being in many ways, then he sniffed thickly, the sound of rapidly moving snot. He coughed carefully and levelled his gaze with the most excited traveller in the room.

“Excuse me, lady,” he said, “Could you please spare me a pot of lemon, honey and tea? My throat is now as dry as dry as can be.” Her expression was startled, eyes widened like saucers, was this monster calling upon her for chores for this hour? With his polite request she didn’t know what to say, how to take it, but certainly he didn’t behave anything like a monster who looked like him, nothing like how she would have expected. She was sorry to express to him that she indeed had no access to pots of tea, but changed the topic of conversation quickly, and with ease did she. 

“Why are you hidden here, guarded by the neon sign, telling visitors to stay away when you are simply lovely and happy, so utterly vibrant on this day?” 
“Sit down,” urged the monster, “And I will share my tale.” Thus, the travellers sat upon their bottoms, crossing their legs as though they were in primary school again, and remained silent, listening for the tale to be revealed, it would surely be well outlined to them.

And so began the monster’s tale of heartache and intrigue, of meeting the wrong woman monster, the wrong teacher, the incorrect master, he spoke of how much bad luck did he have to experience, in his life of such an up and down rollercoaster, for his lifelong work of inventing he’d only received a pittance, and his patent had been incorrectly filed and he’d lost control of the ownership of his prized invention. It was intended as his main source of future income. As each saddening fact was revealed, the travellers felt their hearts ache, and their understanding of his life become ingrained in them, they could actually feel his sorrows and his aching and how he felt and thought when the events were unfolding or being undertaken.

Finally the monster said that he had been placed in this guarded room not for his safety, but for the outside world, for the Others, because he was far too intelligent, too superior, to be mixing with these non-monsters. The humans didn’t wish to be exposed to his intelligence because what came with it was the bad luck that was somehow interlinked, and being in the same vicinity as the humans, they believed the transference of the intelligence with bad luck was imminent. So they kept him within this tiny room until they could extract his knowledge and talent, and leave him with nothing, other than bad luck as his fact.

“But, Monster! How unfair is this! You cannot be punished for being smart, for having a well wired mind, this cannot be, this completely breaks my heart!”

“Ah, but the humans think it is right, it is so, here I will live until I die, my body will then rot and then go. Deeply saddened by this mental image, the travellers decided to break Monster out and here of their plans they could envisage, they would drag him through the tunnel slowly – it was almost not wide enough for him – and out and into the dangerous City of Lights would they bring him, only temporarily. Then he would be brought out away from the deceitful Welcoming sign, and taken into the fields, the hills, where he could live, finally being truly alive. They would take him on their worldly travels, they had nothing to fear, not even his bad luck, for that was for superstitious individuals, such as the ignorant, cold hearted people, in the City of Neon Lights where he was gladdened to have departed. It really should have been called the City of Broken Dreams, but at least the humans weren’t visible in the streets, ready to counteract Monster’s presence with a fight, this city was nothing like what it initially appeared and seemed.  

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved. 

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Story example: No Diving Ever! – 04/08/19


“No diving ever! And welcome to our country. I hope you all immensely enjoy the sights there are to be seen.” The president of Jabbieworkhora had much that caused him to be pleased. Before him, a million and a quarter new skilled worker immigrants, and one hundred and five thousand tourists, who had travelled from various countries across the globe to work or witness this country, for its many beauties to be seen. A massive boost to the economy, new taxes to be paid, new skilled workers to be showcase their work and assist the populous and earnings of the general workers of today.

No diving ever though, in paradise this seemed awfully rough. The crystal clear blue waters tempted the new visitors and immigrants more than enough. Though most had come to this land to work hard, they came to build a better life for their wives, children, or their men, they understood that being surrounded by such a luscious backdrop and scenery would be positive for their mind, the thoughts within their head. Perplexed were they and the tourists, they simply wanted to see beneath the deep, watch the fishies and the octopi and the crawling crabs, pass before their very wondrous eyes, wonder within to be seen.

But why could there be no diving ever? What was the reason for this regulatory role? Snickey the Tourist Guide would deliver these facts, which were initially never provided at all.

She stated, and this is verbatim: “My dear visitors to our paradise, this wonderful world, enjoy what you can view, to see, but understand this, listen to me. You are not to dive beneath the deep, you may think underneath the view will be spectacular, very sweet, but allow me to state this is only in your dreams, nightmares within are what they will actually be.” She went on to further explain of The Hubba Hubba, which apparently resided in the depths, where he feasted upon bones of old humans, wrapped with seaweed, dipped in the sauces of relics left behind, forgotten after the fact. He liked to floss with the bone shards, picking and picking out remnants of meat as he pleased, would these immigrants and tourists wish to meet with a sight and vision as monstrous and horrendous as he?

In deep fright, with solidly widened stares, the visitors to this land now understood that their dreams and the actual nightmare did not positively compare. Best walk away from the suspiciously welcoming waters, and cherish their leaving of the sand with their lives intact, they went on to explore the streets, the restaurants, the beach – without closely approaching the sea – and that was that. The workers make good of their new chance at life within this deceiving paradise, and the tourists enjoyed their holidays immensely, returning to their countries, saying, “Nice, it was so very nice!” They purposefully did not mention though, avoided highlighting the fact, to the listeners of the presence of the Hubba Hubba, and because of his immense ability to cause fright and menace, they would never come back.

Tourism fell that year, then a little more, as each year cleared, until the tourism industry was washed away, no more visitors to fly there, enjoy the food, and sights, to pay, and the country became a haunting sight upon one’s eyes to be laid. Whispers of olden times, when successes were the president’s words and activities, no longer yours, nor mine, there are no longer excited voices jabbering in the bars and clubs, no smiles and arms around shoulders, newly made friendship-hugs. No, now it was a deserted land, and if only the tour guide and president had made up a positive lie to keep the tourists and immigrants away from the menacing water instead.

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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Story example: Angela the World Travelling Kitty – 03/08/19

World Traveller Angela had seen the world all over. Since her early retirement from being a librarian at the age of twenty five, she had been globetrotting bi-annually and enjoyed every moment of it, travel truly served and suited her. She loved to collect souvenirs from each country that she stepped paw in, and her recent favourite item was a straw hat worn while working in the rice fields. She had spray painted it golden to make it shine even more, the sheen drawing the attention of everyone she saw. She enjoyed being noticed for her unique fashion choices, for no one in her home country would wear such a hat that was so bright and alive. That being said, there were no rice fields in her country to be attended to, and for some reason, while wearing the hat, this made Angela feel rather sad and blue.

On one trip back to Asia, she decided to visit the rice fields of Philippines and China, and she marvelled at their visual beauty, their well arranged inner structure. She watched the workers, wearing the same hats that she did, working arduously in the fields, their energy expenditure could clearly be seen. Angela wanted to join in, to assist them if she could, she asked, “Can I help, if I can?” With a slow movement one worker stood straightened and said, “Are you a mere kitten with not much power?” Shocked, aghast, at the worker’s forwardness, she shadowed her eyes from the brightened sun and said, “I may be a feline, but this doesn’t mean I have no labouring skills, give me a test, try my skills, the soon to be absorbed knowledge in my head.”

Wary now, unsure, uncertain of himself, the worker thought and thought, wondering, what did he have to lose, aside from stressors affecting his health? For if he allowed this cat, a mere kitten, reign of performing his tasks, why wouldn’t this mean he could finally rest for a morning tea break, he had been waiting for it, here it would come, at long last! He would not be exploiting her, surely not, he was simply trying to gain a positive break for himself, this was the point in the spot, and hastily, hurriedly, he gave Angela the Cat a place, to work at for the rest of the day at a dutifully acceptable pace.

She didn’t mind the work, and when she stopped here and there she was able to talk and share stories with others nearby to her. She slowly began to made friends, and she realised that this was a perfect place for a working holiday, a means of earning money, being less bored with having too much time on her usual holidays for her to enjoy. And during the nights and on the weekends, the city streets she could explore, the restaurants and the hideaways, why, with work and exploration now she would never be bored. She was so thankful that she had been afforded this change, to be offered a place of employment where she felt she fitted in at last, it was as though this was a new chapter in her life, a new page to view, here she was accepted, not outcast.

Now Angela spends her time split from home and overseas and rice field work, although it was tiresome, backbreaking labour, she felt physically strengthened and found. While her time in the library was rewarding, it was somewhat isolating, she enjoyed the fields more for the physical aspect and means of permitted, yet reigned in socialising. She had found her place finally, at the age of thirty three.  

© 2019 Alice Well Art, Lauren M. Hancock, also known as Alice Well. All rights reserved.

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