The Real Growlerville 22: Inside The Temporal Vortex and then Outside
(A first hand account by investigative journalist, Mr. E)
I'm inside the the temporal vortex!
I have a strong sense of the familiar. See my previous post chronicling how I got here: The Real Growlerville 21: Subversion By An Insider. It's a nerve wracking but exhilarating experience. And just a little scary!
I'm inside the the temporal vortex, and my watch confirms that time has stopped. I have a strong sense of the familiar. Was I here before? It's deja vu, without real memory to back it up. On top of it all, everything in here is huge! I come upon a golf ball that I can sit on! It's as if I shrank to a few inches tall. I am hesitant to wander too far from the vortex. What if I get lost in here? This sense of danger is unavoidable, but I don't want to miss out on a once in a lifetime experience. I decide to do a bit of exploring before facing Prof. Growler, who I can see still frozen in time on the other side of the vortex opening. Again I hear faint laughter from the backyard. All sounds seem to echo strangely, even my thoughts seem to reverberate.
Walking through the grass is like walking in a cornfield just before harvest, so I decide it's safer to stay near the house, on the brick walkway.
I smell a delicious odor, fresh strawberries. There's a garden near the house with a patch of strawberry plants, all with huge ripe berries - perfectly ripe and delicious. I gorge myself on this fantastic taste, and it's wonderful. I'm full, and I only ate a tiny hole in this giant berry. The only problem is that the seeds are way too big to eat
Just when I'm starting to feel comfortable about being here, I see something that freaks me out. I'm standing in a huge paw print of a cat, probably the pet kitty that lives in the giant house. I hadn't even thought about the dangers connected to being part of the food chain until now, and I want no part of it. If a cat eats me in here, while time has stopped, what happens to me?
Not feeling safe, I run for the vortex.
It's such a weird notion to even think that time can stop, that because I am within the temporal vortex, no time is passing on the outside.
As I approach the opening, Prof. Growler's distorted face is frozen in the midst of an angry rant in his timezone on the other side.
I know I'm about to hear the rest of that rant when I exit the vortex, so I brace myself and run as fast as I can through it. "... dare you! Hey!"
I am into the woods instantly and Prof. Growler doesn't give chase, but he does bellow. I can see the school of timefish caught in the trap over fake crickets.
"I recognize you as the bogus writer of tall tales! Now you have your story, so make sure the truth gets out! "
"The brilliant Prof. Growler succeeds again! That is the truth!"
As the obnoxious professor is preaching, Brother Huhu's sabotage is playing out in the control software. The giant trap, the net containing the timefish collapses, and the poor timefish, panicking and racing madly for cover, head back to through the temporal vortex, causing it to close and disappear.
"Hey! Who released the net? They're getting away! This can't be happening! They'll never come back!
My brilliant experiment is ruined!"
I am sitting with Bebe the policewoman outside the specimen storage area at the station. She's such a sweetie. I had asked her to let me know when something interesting turned up that I could write about for this column.
She knows I'm especially interested in encrusted stuff. She shows me two specimen jars in a specialized carrying case marked "caution - hazard," that were confiscated from an unlicensed practitioner.
To me all encrusted phenomena are interesting, but this case is getting more attention than most because the two items in these jars are potential contaminants. Their containment is critical. I recognize the imposimazoo eggs. These are an amazing creature that can change form - a while back (GZ Nov 02) I wrote about one that became an additional eyebrow on my face!
The other she calls Toxic Obnoxic, and it's beautiful.
It's a glowing yellow, thick fluid, that seems to respond to sounds.
"Don't be offended at what I'm about to do, just observe carefully."
Then she says, in a loud voice, "You are so stupid and ugly, that you are beginning to smell bad!"
With this insult, the glowing Toxic Obnoxic pulses bright as each word is spoken, and it seems to have increased in size as well. For some reason, this makes me laugh. Bebe makes a gross burping sound that causes a really bright flash to occur. Intrigued by this response, we then call each other nasty names and make loud bodily sounds until the substance fills the containment vessel and is a brilliant, bright yellow.
Our behavior may seem fun and frivolous, but I am told that exposure to this encrusted substance can cause a victim to become obnoxiously rude by mere contact. Then it feeds on the rudeness it inspires. In so doing, it is capable of contaminating the entire citizenry within a few moons.
The political dangers are well documented. A small amount, smuggled into the High Council by a rival shaman, brought down the Fung dynasty during the time of Oldold.
After signing the specimens in at the desk, Bebe takes me to the location they were taken from. Because she has seen my fascination with encrusted forces, she feels a responsibility to show me what was found.
I have an ominous sense as we head out toward the edge of town.
We walk on the big path into the big woods and then onto some animal trails to a rocky clearing along a stream littered with refuse. Bebe stops and points.
I see environmental devastation, a smoldering garbage dump. On a more careful examination, there are numerous large craters, some holding rain water. The burned stumps of once large trees surround the clearing, and there is evidence of fire in the nearby cornfield. She's pointing at the largest of the stumps, which has an opening on the water side.
"The farmer who owns this cornfield complained because of the fire. No one expected to find this lab out here."
Three other police officers appear. A hazards team has been here since the arrest this morning. There's a shed inside the stump holding all kinds of tools and devices I have never seen.
"This is clearly an unlicensed operator. Look." It's a package labeled Betwixt and Between. "And here are some Seeds Of Doubt," she says holding up a sealed package of beans. Every single item here is contraband, or severely restricted under the new ordinances. This guy was a big time operator, and Growlerville is definitely safer with him out of business.
For me, its a field day. I realize that this is dangerous stuff, and that Bebe is showing it to me as a means to trim my enthusiasm, but it is so cool to learn about.
The hazards team uses a book called Magic Reference, Volume 2 to confirm identification and handling techniques. They are very careful to log all details and account for everything removed from the premises.
I stay on until they inventory the very last item, which is a small green locked tackle box with "1A" stenciled in white. The police pick the lock easily and open the box. It's packed with fishing lures. No wait. Not lures - there are no hooks. Wait a second, I've seen these before. It's full of rubber bugs - crickets to be precise!
And I know exactly what they're for.