Tag Archives: Second Life

Tower

The Art Door's Tower of Fears

Inspired by the Tower of Fears a special 2010 Halloween build created by The Art Door; open October 28-31 only.

The sound of the TV is a low murmur in the dim living room. As advertisements flicker insistently you note how much less frightening a horror movie is when spliced with girls testing shampoo. You feel the buzz first and then hear the sound that always accompanies a text message on your phone. Touching the screen you see it’s Sarah with her well timed *Ready?* Rolling your eyes you type back, *Been ready. Always waiting on you.* Standing up with a stretch you flick off the TV, move through your house of old wood floors that creak, grab a sweatshirt and decide to wait on the front porch. The night air was full of fall with just the edges of crispness on it. High up the moon peeks through low rolling clouds. You turn your phone in your hand and then text, *On the porch. Everyone else is already out. Hurry up would you.* As you tug on the sweatshirt stolen from Sarah you notice at the time and half sigh, the original plan was 7:30 and it was already 8:00, the place was going to be jammed with obnoxious teenagers.

As if on cue a red Honda flashes into the driveway going a fraction too fast for the neighborhood. The back passenger door flies open and you hear, “Come on!” and a laughing, “I blame Sarah!” Okay, maybe the teenagers weren’t the only ones who could be obnoxious. Nic was up front so you slide in next to Tess and Mikael in the back.

“What’s up, kids? I thought we decided on 7:30?”

Tess is still laughing about something and scoots enough to let you snap your seatbelt; the warm side of her arm is now pressed to you.

“It was all Sarah, drives like a demon but forgets twenty things on the way out the door.”

“Shut up! See if I give any of you a ride again,” replies the spirited red-head you had the pleasure of calling a friend. For years you two had been inseparable. She was the one who held you when your heart was demolished senior year in high school. You were the one who held her hair back after that party in college and you were at her house so much her parents helped raise you. It was only six months after you moved to this area for a job that she too came this way. In fact, the plan was to be roommates again as soon as your lease was up.

You lean back for the ride; it would be a little harrowing as drives with Sarah always were. The general banter and laughter of the group fades in and out as you watch the sky; something didn’t feel quite right but you weren’t sure what exactly it was.

The parking lot was full of cars. The oddly compelling press for the “Tower of Fears” had done its job. Your small band of friends climbs out and Tess gasps, “It’s flippin’ huge! Are you kidding me? How did they even get that built?” Nic shifts and runs a hand through his hair, “You know these things, they can build stuff overnight now.” His argument is not convincing though and there is suddenly an air of anxiousness around as you stare up at the seemingly endless tower.

“They say all your fears are in the maze somewhere,” says Sarah in her best Vincent Price imitation.

“Well, if we are going to climb that thing before midnight we better start,” you say and take the lead with a bravado you aren’t sure you truly feel.
The wait in line goes faster than you expected. Suddenly your group is up; you hand over your tickets and walk into the first floor which appears to be a brick maze. A shadow moves in the corner and your gut says this was not the best idea. You feel a hand slip into yours, “Are you coming, darlin’?” Shaking the general haze you glance at Sarah’s freckled face and nod letting her tug you behind the group.

Mikael nearly lost it on a floor with spider webs; cussing like a sailor and he reveals a phobia no one knew about. Tess leads him through with his eyes closed. At some point near the middle of the climb there is a floor so dark everyone gets turned around. Your phone buzzes and you tug it out of your jacket pocket. Hadn’t you worn a sweatshirt? Someone screams and then people dissolve in fits of giggles above you. Creepy aliens wheeze in your ear as you read, *I think I am on the floor above you. Tired. Meet you at the end?* It was Sarah. Wait. When had you let go of her hand? It must have been several floors ago but you can’t remember. Wasn’t she just behind you? *Okay, but please be careful.*

It strikes you that might have been a strange thing to say but you shake it off again. How tall was this thing anyway? Hooking back up with the others you climb the floors, navigate the maze and make it to the top. There appears to be a line to get down and people are milling about discussing the structure or how they weren’t really scared. “Sarah!” you call out getting a few odd looks from people near you. Ignoring them you push through a few groups looking for that familiar shock of hair. Nothing. Figures. Opening your phone you start text her. For some reason the thread from the night was gone, what the hell? Maybe you had deleted it by accident. You flip to contacts but her name isn’t there either, okay, now something feels weird. There is no way you took her name out of your contacts; it had been in there for years.

Catching up with Nic you tug at his sleeve, “Hey, did you guys see, Sarah yet? She was going to meet us at the top.” He tips his head, brown eyes registering your face and some confusion, “Who?”

“Nic, you know, Sarah, our friend, the girl who drove us?”

Tess turns at the note of irritation in your voice, “What are you talking about, I drove us, hon.”

You glance at Mikael, “Okay, real funny, where is Sarah, guys?”

But they aren’t laughing; there isn’t a single thing in their eyes that betrays the trick. Suddenly you can’t breathe. “Sarah, our friend Sarah, my friend Sarah. She has freckles. I was practically part of her family, ” you were babbling, you knew you were babbling.

“Drugs?” you hear a voice ask with slight concern.

“No, never, not in all the time we have been friends. Low blood sugar maybe?”

They thought you were crazy. But you know. Sarah who had always made you stronger.

“Sarah? SARAH!” you hear yourself screaming out. There were people all around you. Voices full of calming, placating words.

The fear grips your heart,
presses at your stomach,
churns up your dinner,
toys with your mind,
this is your dark secret,
this is your biggest fear,
and you know the tower has stolen her.

Everything has changed.

No one will ever believe you.

Gilded Cage

House Cyr in Second Life

Inspired by House Cyr built by Lucia Cyr.

Wide wings push downward to give lift, fan out to catch a warm current, and then adjust for wind; in this way he circles the island and House Cyr. His eyes, the color of burnt summer sun, scan the walls and turrets of her home, her prison. He was her assigned guardian, sent to keep an eye on her situation, as it were. The Gods could be cruel but for her they had found a crumb of mercy. Swooping through the floating islands he searches for any other movement on the grounds. The red roofs of each tower accent the crystalline blue windows making this place a work of art. Each intricate sculpture drew the eye. With ease he angles down and settles on the edge of a massive grey, stone wall in view of the upper rose garden. The full moon would call to her and he would be waiting.

Sweet warmth, like that of velvet, seemed to carry her along and cover her with its presence. The dreams vivid and soft; she could not avoid sinking into their seduction. Subconsciously she gives in to these moments. Curled amongst red satin sheets a tiny smile almost graces her pale lips. The amulet about her neck glows with its own light, pulsing with her heartbeat. She must be dreaming of something that pleases her, perhaps her fair painter, or the endless dark fields of her home, her real home.

Violet eyes flutter open to look about her dark room in the place she had to live. Oh to have stayed right where she was, in her dreams of pleasure. The amulet still glows softly against her breast, and she can feel the inner warmth residing there for a bit longer. Bare feet press into one of the plush red carpets that were carefully crafted and placed about the fortress. Azure light filters through the windows of her room. Frowning she feels the pull, there was something…

Quickly she dons a warm gown and slips from her room, suddenly willing to grace the upper world with her presence. Shying away from the throne room she hurries onward she knew not to ever enter there unless an invitation was extended. She had born witness to the results of such trespassing. Old eyes stared down at her from portraits lining the red walls, paintings, idolatry of those with power, those so much older than she. Portals whispered to her but she ignored their temptation. Air, she needed night air, she needed out of the rooms closing in on her.

She pauses only once, at the entrance to the ballroom, its clockwork floor mesmerizing her as if she were a regular toy of those that ruled this place. They call her a guest, she knows she is a prisoner but she is not a mindless servant. Shadows of finery. Parties at a cost. Dark laughter fills the room. Gasping she tucks her arms to her body and climbs more urgently.

One hallway, then another, more stairs, a careless switchback and then the burst of night air blowing back her autumn colored hair as she reaches the garden. Her heart drums against her chest. She breathes in the scent of hedgerows and roses. Sinking her feet into the grass she looks up at the full moon. Then, accompanied by the sound of the stair stepped waterfall, her voice rises in a haunting melody. In the light of the moon she dances, small fireflies join her movements, she becomes unearthly. Violet eyes are pale, her body twists and turns, the music of her voice echoes.

When she explodes from the doorway like some wild creature, he holds his breath, he knew she found her way out of the maze without even trying. They had never fooled her. Black hair, tousled from his flight, teases against his face. Her form is familiar to his eyes. Had it been an eternity, or just days that she was in his care? How many times had he seen her do this, on a night when the moon was full? At these times, she seemed like a nymph, a wood sprite trapped in the body of a damned woman. There she was, dancing, her voice raised in a kind of prayer, her hair and eyes lit like some caged creature. He remembers the first time he saw her this way, the shock that coursed through him. Up to that point he had hated her, loathed that he was in charge of her. But now…

She did not know him, she would never know him. A silent observer was all he could ever be. Invisible chains tied him to her. Through the night he keeps vigil until she is exhausts herself completely and drifts back to her quarters, her gilded cage.

Here is How We Live

 

City of Doom on Next South in Second Life

Inspired by City of Doom, The Next Day built and created by Sana Dagger, Sephiroth Juran and sweet Tantalus.

Here is how we meet:

It starts in a room so dim I can only make out faces in the refraction of light off shining surfaces. There is the kind of base that pushes through your chest and seems to echo in your soul. You float across my vision and the world slows down exactly as it does in movies. This is not how the real world works but it’s true, Love, this is how I see you. Everyone else fades. The light plays in the strands of your pale hair and I stop breathing for a moment, an hour, a thousand years. Your dark eyes pass me once but they return. You feel it too. I watch the wonder register on your face; the edge of your lips curl in a smile. My heart decides to beat but it’s moving too fast and I am sure you can hear it. You are a golden thread in my tapestry and I feel you weave strength into my life as you cross the room.

Here is how we love:

Our souls are in a thousand overused clichés and a million old poems; but someone must have understood to put us there so clearly. I am Eurydice to your Orpheus but you do not look back as we rise from the underworld. In my wanderings as Odysseus I deny Circe and return to you, to my home, ever grateful of your strength and clarity. When I came back to where I should be, you whispered, “Nan, sweet Nan,” into my hair and I knew life was my warm Florence. Your strength sweetly marred by your insecurity. My boldness balanced by a tenderness I feel only for you. Together we are formidable; you have pieces of me tucked inside of you. I weave you stories when you ask and it makes you love me more; you swore you could see my wings spread wide with it all.

Here is how we live:

You want quiet on a farm, a simple life of rocking chairs and a harvest from the earth turned by our hands. In our tiny orchard the red, tart apples grow high and lush when the autumn winds call. I watch the world spread out before me and I want to take it in. I want to see each piece of land and every glittering light.  I want to taste all the rich flavors that are created and, with a full belly, climb to the top of a mountain to commune with the stars.  The air is clean and sweet, the sky is only dark when it rains, our lives are simple and rich with love. We dance through leaves and fly through nights; it’s a give and take but we make both worlds lay down before us. We rule our own destiny, denying cages or boxes, and make the dreams bend to our will. My desire. Your temperance.

Here is the truth I don’t tell you:

On radioactive city streets, under the glare of neon, I am telling you the last story you will ever hear. There is an electronic hum all around; our foundation. The rain is cold and wet down my scalp. It drips from rivers flowing through my dark locks onto your chilled skin. It did not suit to move you; no one can help and the end will come fast. The concrete and steel world we call home feels all the more oppressive. My legs are numb from the cold street corner. We made a mistake and now you pay for the transgression. At least the Neuronia will never touch you; our OXY is low and we are out of WAT.  I cannot see the sky; we can never see the sky. You asked me to tell you about us. I am curled over you, my body protecting as much of you as it can, my soul slipping down the drain as the life of you, the very core of you, lifts in layers from your body. You leave me here in this hell alone. Your body relaxes in my arms, the hint of peace on your face, as I spin you this tale. I tell you a story of light. I weave you magic in the dark. I give you my last dream. Us.

Black Spot

Black Spot inspired by Lia Woodget

There are books here I have never read and rooms filled with memories I no longer know. At least the air stays fresh, even with the fires burning night and day.  I don’t spend much time away from the Yard, but when the nighttime voices and singing die down, I find my way along the battered passages and pretend this is home.

I stand at the fire bowl and stare out of the stable of lasses that bob gently on the cold blue skin of the bay.  Instinctively I reach my arms out of the low flame and start to rub my palms together in an easy way. It’s here that I realize my hands have turned the color of heavily oiled wooden planks and my skin is starting to bear marks like the deep grain of old trees.  I stop, turn the backs of my hands to my face and follow the lines over large knuckles and down the backs of my wide and withered palms.

I have spent my every day lit hour, and many nights under the warm glow of bees wax, shaping these beautiful women sea masters. Now I am starting to feel tiny splinters of me falling away with each swing of the axe, and each turn of the awl.

My eyes have turned dark and daunting, like the tide just before dusk. My thinning hair dances about my face with the slightest breeze like the tops of the sea oats.

My back, once straight and tall like the finest mast is curling slowly like the length of the bow on the Elysium.  My teeth rattle in my head like an anchor crashing into the soft sand of a lonesome beach.

I am becoming a ship of my own estate, fearing that while I may be no longer sea worthy I am alluring nonetheless. With that illusion held firm, I wander back to the Yard to find her waiting in the dark still of the hold.

My shirt is wrinkled, unkempt and stained in obvious contrast to the taught sails pulled across the breasts of my lover.  She ignores the nature of my blouse, and encourages me to run my hands along her long dark lines with slow and firm strokes.  Water caresses the finely honed edges of her torso and she creaks ever so softly under my feet as I pace along her deck. These are our moments, never to be shared with another.

Soon she will push away into the boiling sea, leaving but the imprint of her darkened silhouette against the orange sinking sun in my mind. But, I will still have the smell of her on my hands, the ache of her in my back and the shape of her in my heart.

Black Spot.

This is my home; this is my prison.

This is the place that beautiful women are born to rule the mighty seas and their captains.

This is where I am their master, until they are taken by another and I am left to carve the next from the aged forest, piece by piece.

Return

Blinding light flashes against her review mirror as the setting sun behind her gets to just the exact level to assault her eyes. Sighing, she reaches up to flip the angle and she notices the age of her hands. What it had been like to be young, the arrogance of youth; she never noticed her hands at twenty but at fifty eight she sees them all the time. Exhausted she places her hand back on the wheel and watches the road, slowing down as she hits the edges of the derelict town.

Forty one years ago she had left this place. Forty one years ago she had piled into her clunker of her car, the one only she could get running, with one bag and stone cold fear only outweighed by her need to flee. It had been a broken town then. Every ten years or so people would move in and try to revive it but nothing ever thrived. Factories shut down, earth couldn’t grow crops, businesses went unnoticed and families left the way they came.

Her car was no longer a clunker, but a reliable Volvo; she had a kind husband, one daughter was a veterinarian, her other two children were in college, life had been beautiful. Why had she chosen now to come back here? She had to clean up. Slowing down she pulls to the side of the road parking under power lines that no longer buzzed with electricity.

Flashes, not light this time, in her head of that summer. It was hot, oppressively so and the judge’s son was the only beautiful thing in that forsaken place. She loved him, loved him with the intensity only a seventeen year old girl could have.

She shakes her head and steps from her car the door shutting behind her with an echo. It was time to find it, to lay it all to rest. Mandy’s house still stood on the corner, though that seemed to be all it still did. She moves across the road and steps around the rusted fence. Inside the paint was in strips at best, the olive green barely showing. Her boots crunched against the torn and rotting floor. Someone had dragged a mattress into the back of this house and she ignores the implications.

Flashes, not clouds over sun but that summer again. Mandy calling her name through the house, begging her to come back, not to be stupid. The heat of her anger boiled into something alive within her body; something so fierce it rivaled the sticky season. She had left that night.

She takes a slow breath and steps free of her childhood friend’s home and it was only a rock’s throw to the judge’s old house right across from the silo now covered in graffiti. From here she could see the old school, its broken windows, the haunted remains.

Flashes, not strobe lights but the memories flooding. She had gone blind with rage and she knew the judge and his wife were gone for the weekend. That was the problem in the first place, that and Nina Mae with her blond curls and open legs.

Stumbling over the broken step she makes it onto the sagging porch and presses her hand to the door. Groaning loud enough to make her wince the door gives way and allows her to enter the house. It smelled musty, old, no one had lived anywhere near here in ages. The wall paper was filthy and faded, the floor covered in dust and dirt. Her heart froze.

Up the stairs, was she floating? First door on the left, that had been his room. Entering she was prepared to search the old far wall for the hatch but it had been busted long ago. Age, time, years had taken none of the memories away.

Flashes, not from drugs but from her whirring brain. He had blue eyes the same color as the sky at high noon and a laugh that made your insides take flight. She had given him everything but he had been ungrateful.

Bending she crawls into the passageway, fingers searching, was she shaking? No. She had complete control. Her hands, hands that had lived, pry up the board in the back corner. Belly down, dust filling her nose she reaches in, stretches. Contact. She feels the cold steel of the tire iron. No one ever found it.

Pulling it out she lets her eyes scan it slowly and then, there, on her knees in the rotted wood, she pushes the boards back into place. Hefting the weight of the tool in her hand a world of weariness falls upon her for a brief moment and then, just as quickly, it is gone.

Like a ghost she moves through the house, out the front door and back to her car. She did not go to the school or walk the haunted football field that she knew still stood in pieces. No, she had a little trip to make out to the ocean. Now she would have closure.

For the first time all day, she smiles, and starts her engine leaving the tainted town for the second time, this time never to return.

Inspired by Cellar Township built by Outy Banjo

Inspired by Cellar Township built by Outy Banjo

Dream Maker

Green is her favorite color.

This is where she makes dreams.

Occasionally, you can hear melodious humming from the quiet little factory in her mind.  Open air studios sprinkled with blurry images, inaudible sounds and fragrance not yet categorized but dominated by earthly scents, like the smell of burning peat moss from her distant past.  In the darker recesses unused pieces are stored in piles and stacks. Some neatly organized, others strewn about like the aftermath of a great storm, but each has a place.

Light and darkness form shapes that are known only to her, responding to her tiny whispers and chants and unfolding into complex images.  She beckons them to tea and biscuits, before she molds them into stories with her misshapen hands.

Day and night have merged into a suspension of time that has lost its power over her, for dreams do not end nor do they succumb to celestial timekeepers.  She has no schedules to keep.  Her pace is easy but filled with intent, like the waves lapping against the stone shores.

Chambers and antechambers collude and spill out along a vast expanse.  Over time her simple escape has grown up, out and into the sea but despite the sprawl it is warm and inviting.  Bright smoke dances for her.  Stars fall from the sky for her.  Whispers echo down the hall.  Wait for her there, she will find you.

Peace lives here.

This is where she makes dreams.

Inspired by Pteron, built lovingly by kei514 Flow

Inspired by Pteron, built lovingly by kei514 Flow

Madness of Time

Time shifts in small earthquakes. These quakes do not register on a regular scale but can only be detected by machines buried deep in the earth. With each spike on the paper, each anomaly from the steady rhythm, tectonic plates move and time skips forward. How many of these little quakes had shaken the invisible layers of crust floating above the mantle?

Years had gone by, hundreds of tiny tremors, unnoticed, beneath her feet.

And now? Now she stands against the parapet of her domain watching the orange crystal orb, lifted and spilling magic, spin marking its own passage of time. With a sigh she pushes off the edge and walks slowly to the floors below. What a fortress she had built, castle walls rising high above the water on her rocky island, orange crystal orbs spinning, pulsing, lending magic to her world. It was lit and blazing among the dark walls, lights that cast a beacon to the sea.

Another vibration of the ground, another tick of the clock.

She could no longer remember if she had been walling the world out or building herself in. Her feet echo as she makes her rounds, pushing through huge ornate doors to check either outer room on the next level, eyes scanning the lamps to make sure all was aglow.

Down again, empty low ceiling rooms, she slides fingers down gleaming orange silk curtains that lead out to the balconies, they whisper and shift at her touch. The flames outside always stayed lit, but it was part of her evening to check them, part of her routine. Leaning against an edge her golden eyes rake over the gardens below, gardens full of the same magic that held the edges of her dark home together.

Tectonic plates drifting, moving where they cannot be seen.

Silence in her castle, huge, stony, empty silence. She had let them all go. “Where have you gone?” she calls out in a frantic moment darting her eyes about. No sound, she tenses, concentrates. Once she had lovers and she had grand parties; once she had laughter. More empty rooms checked. Then she descends the cherry wood lined stairs letting her skirts drag upon them, rippling and swooshing. These were the things that kept her company now. Above an epic fireplace hung a picture of the very castle she was walking, what strange vanity she had.

Near the wooden castle doors she pauses and breathes in the mist that rises from a formidable opening. For the first time she smiles. Reaching out a hand she lovingly touches the vines that had pushed through her stony floor. “Hello,” she whispers and it is as if the vine arches like a cat to her delicate touch.

The needle moving on a seismograph, making electronic notes, recording.

Her pitch colored hair ruffles in the breeze as she crosses the long bridge, her spinning, soothing sculptures riding high above the grounds. Through the gardens that kiss the base of her castle she whispers, “Speak to me, speak to me…”, her once lithe figure passing glittering mushrooms, twisted vines, blue lights with a magic heartbeat and the peaceful fountain.

White rolling mists leave wet droplets on her silk shell as she reaches her final goal, the place she stays in more and more, longer and longer. Far below her castle lies a lush grotto soaked in her magic and the nature of the earth. In this grotto, beyond the low hanging branches of the trees, over bridges and bubbling streams, was also her eternal winter. “In here, in here, in here…” she whispers inside her own madness for as each castle wall rose it destroyed the high built edges of her mind. Adrift in the magic she was lost with only shimmers of clarity. She lay down by a blazing fire, content in her lost mind.

Time passes in ways that cannot be seen, in ripples and tremors that move the earth.

Inspired by Tusk built by Amberly Kinsella

Inspired by Tusk built by Amberly Kinsella