Chapter 1: Natasha

The Watercolor World

Today I stood and the world was a canvas. The canvas stretched out to the horizon in all directions, and up to the heavens. For an era, I stood taking in this landscape, though after a while the emptiness began to drain me. I decided an empty canvas was a useless one, so I cast out my arm to my left, and a diner made of watercolor drew itself into existence. This caught me off guard, but I composed myself with ease and stepped inside the watercolor diner top find it was filled with watercolor furniture and watercolor food. By this time, the bizarre surreality had begun to mildly bemuse me, and I wondered what else I could do with it.

I stepped back into the canvas and threw my arm out to the distant void. A watercolor road appeared behind me and shot forward the horizon that I was pointing to. I sculpted a skyline of watercolor mountains with my hand, and filled the blank ground with a watercolor desert. The empty, lifeless sky cried out to me, so I painted it a beautiful deep blue, and cast out dazzling stars into the night.

Finally, I completed my watercolor world with watercolor people. They saw what I had created, and admired it, and the began to imitate me. They created their own watercolor buildings, and watercolor animals, and watercolor tools. Watercolor joys and watercolor loves, and watercolor wants. Watercolor needs, watercolor hopes, watercolor fears, watercolor sins, and watercolor failures. Finally it was all too much for me, and a cast a vial of midnight ink over my watercolor world, obliterating it, because I could abide it no longer.

The Trapper-Spider's Oktober

“Do you wish to be part of my Oktober,” asked the Trapper-Spider, “My Oktober needs you, the Oktoberist wishes you to help him with his Katie.” I sat in the Trapper-Spider's web, contemplating the options.

“What does the Oktoberist want me to do?” I asked, the Trapper-Spider licked his lips and motioned to bite into me, but gestured for him to wait and he did.

“His Katie, she's lost, he wants us to help him bring her home. He'll reward us greatly,” I could tell the Trapper-Spider was nervous, for he flit about on his web like one of so many flies, I worried he may end up trapping himself.

“There is more that you aren't telling me.”

“There is, there is. His Katie is very special, she has a gift, you see,” the Trapper-Spider grinned, and I felt the stare of his eight eyes crawling on my back. “She goes places, see, she goes places. More than she's meant to.”

“Is that how she ended up lost?”

“It is.”

“What kind of places?”

“Oh, well, that's not our concern, says the Oktoberist.”

“It concerns me.”

“All in good time, all in good time,” and the Trapper-Spider advanced again, “So do you wish to be part of my Oktober?” With both hands I held back his fangs, mulling over the offer. I did not like the Oktoberist, but the Trapper-Spider was a friend, and I did owe him. Finally I tossed the Trapper-Spider back and tore myself out of his web.

“I'll help you,” I said, “But I'm going to want to know more about Katie.”

“All in good time.”

The Mute Musician and the Wordsmith

When I went to the Trapper-Spider's web again today, I was surprised to see two other catches waiting there. As I took my seat, I notice the Trapper-Spider glaring down at us from the foliage above, he wanted to see how his prey enjoyed each others' company. I listened intently to what the other two said, but did not speak. Eventually though, the professions of both caught my interest. One was a Mute Musician, the other called himself a Wordsmith.

“Have you heard my works?” asked the Mute Musician, using sign language, for he could not speak.

“How can I hear one who cannot speak and cannot play?” I asked. Offended, he stalked off to the opposite end of the web. Then I turned to the Wordsmith, “And you, you call yourself a Wordsmith. You're like a metalworker, trying to paint a canvas with iron, and heat, and fire. It is a disgrace, but not one I blame you for.” He pretended as though he had not heard me.

After this facade went on for a few more moments, the Trapper-Spider descended on a string, and greeted us. He explained Oktober for the newcomers, and silently I scoffed at his foolishness in explaining time. The Mute Musician is a master of misguidance, it seems, able to make himself appear to be whatever he wishes. A talent garnered from years of hiding the shame of his existence I imagine. Meanwhile, the Wordsmith's talent seemed to be peddling his lexicon to the masses, while secretly spiking them with sick, seductive substances so that his customers will be mislead into doing what he wills them to do.

I never did like Oktober.

Katie's Walk

I ate in the Cafe of Food today, it was a sickly place. The floors were made of raw meat, the lights constructed of flayed fish, the tables built from pork, and the chairs composed of whatever was left over. I did not eat, for the sense-annihilating smell of all this rotting decay overwhelmed me. How the Trapper-Spider gorges himself in such places, I shall never know.

After that sickening stop, we picked up Katie. She hadn't been too hard to track down, the issue was that she never stopped in one place for too long. We finally pinned her down in a playground, and I order the others to wait behind me. Slowly, I walked towards the frightened child, though she matched my speed, and crawled backwards in fear. The little girl had dressed herself in a pretty red dress, and let her curly, brown hair down to her shoulders. Dirt covered her body, which made me wonder how long she had been lost.

“Is your name Katie?” I asked, tired of having her retreat. For a moment she looked torn, unsure as to how to respond.

“Yes,” she said timidly, “I've lost my daddy and I don't know where he is and I'm scared.”

“Well Katie, your father is very worried too, and he has asked me and my friends to bring you home,” I said, and gestured to the others, “Do you want us to take you home?” Again, she was torn, but after what seemed like an hours deliberation, she nodded, and I picked her up.

We are all walking with Katie now, on the trail from the City of Angels to the City of Demons, the Wordsmith and the Mute Musician are on the verge of passing out, they can barely stay awake as the walk slowly onward. The Trapper-Spider scuttles along side me, and Katie is asleep in my arms. One may be wondering how it is possible for me to write and hold a child at the same time, I assure you it is quite a feat.

The City of Demons lies ahead of me, only once have I been there before, and it was an awful experience. Devils and Sinners clawed at me on every corner, and they blinded me with there mile-high lights and tragically beautiful architecture. It was beautiful by it's own right, but tragic due to those who inhabited the buildings. For days I stayed there, watching as the devils snatched up the blind proletariat and suffocated them in sin.

Somewhat Good Time

The Trapper-Spider has explained Katie's ability to me in richer detail, but I still was curious, so tonight, less than an hour ago, I took her out to a candy bar in the City of Demons, covering her eyes with one hand, and brushing away the devils with the other. The candy bar was brightly lit, and a few others like me were there, shielding their own children. I whispered to Katie.

“I hear you're special,” she rolled her eyes as though she had heard it all before, “What would the special girl like?”

“A milkshake, Miss Natasha!” I obliged, and the demon behind the counter brought Katie a chocolate milkshake.

“Would you like to tell me what exactly you can do?”

“I go places,” she said in a pause between sips, “Special places. Nice places, not like here.” She looked out the window into the City of Demons in disgusted.

“Could you show me?”

“I don't think I should Miss Natasha, besides, I don't think you'd like it.”

“Sure I would Katie, you shouldn't hide your talent.”

Those are words I regret now. She showed me her talent, and now I can't get it out of my head. I'm fascinated by it, obsessed with it, and even slightly terrified. Katie certainly is very, very special, I see why the Oktoberist wants her. And speaking of the Oktoberist, I feel bad about lying to Katie about her father. It'll be better this way, taking her to her uncle, he can tell her what happened to her father. But... I have my worries about giving her over to the Oktoberist, I don't know if I can trust him when it comes to taking care of her. And I also, though this is selfish, want to explore her ability more...

I wonder what the significance of six, three, six is.

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