Saturday, February 27, 2016

Laqunah: Part III

For Ova, the two days of waiting passed in a flash. Around her stood startling recreations of Persimmon's greatest alumni, represented in massive statue form. Beasts and creatures of great diversity were immortalized in stone, both peculiar and terrifying all in the same breath. Then again, growing up as the sole human in Laqunah had taught Ova a valuable life lesson – what's horrifying to one is beautiful to another. This keen sense of balance shared by the city residents is what held them together, even when cultural or social disputes arose. Live and let live... even if you're a member of the undead. She walked past the statues while following the admissions department secretary, a delightful harpy. Ova made small talk with the winged beauty; concurrently, the harpy's coppery wings created an elegant sparkling effect on the walls and ceiling. Up a long staircase and down a very narrow hallway they went, the walls ornately decorated with banners of ancient conquests and kings. The hallway grew thinner the farther along they went, much like the tip of a spear. At one point, the harpy's wings began to scrape the walls, which left a faint golden streak. It was obvious that she'd not been there before; the walls were clean. Ova assumed that she must have been a new employee. Finally, the hall ended at a simple, unmarked wooden door. The harpy extended one of her claws and parted the door open. She smiled at Ova, revealing a row of sharp teeth, then walked away.

Ova entered the room, which had no windows to brighten the space. The only source of light was a series of lanterns hanging above a lone desk. Below the lanterns sat an indescribable, pulsating mass. Situated between immense stacks of dusty papers and books, the glob contorted and twisted like electrified jelly. The poor illumination made it hard for Ova to even detect the color of the creature. Perhaps it was dark blue, maybe green or black. She simply couldn't tell. Eventually, the quivering lump poured itself more prominently onto the desk. As if trying to burp, a series of bubbles gushed through the semi-transparent pile of slime. The bubbles slowly rose to the surface. One by one, they popped, each revealing some part of a face. First an eye, then a nostril. Another eye erupted, followed by a snout and another nostril. Trails of slime started to form below the snout, creating the appearance of gelatinous prison bars. A salty stench escaped from the pit forming some sort of mouth on the creature; Ova fought her gag reflex to remain respectful.

“Sit, dear child.”

Droplets of the creature's mass were lightly sprayed upon Ova as it spoke. Her gag reflex grew stronger by the second. In a moment of uncertainty, Ova located a receptacle next to the desk, just in case her lunch wasn't going to stay down. Firmly planted in a chair, she scooted it back a few feet as a precaution. The bellowing beast continued to greet her.

“Ova is it? From where do you come? I've not seen anything like you before.”

Clearing her throat, Ova explained “Well, there's no one else in Laqunah like me. I came here as an infant from another world. As you can see, not all of me made the trip.”

Ova pulled her coat off to reveal that her right arm was missing, taken cleanly above the elbow.

“I was taken in by my father Hultran. He found me screaming behind his shop, wrapped in a quilt and bleeding terribly. I traveled through some sort of portal, but it closed before the last of me could completely pass through. Thankfully, he fixed me up and decided to take care of me.”

The jelly-like globule smacked its mouth hole and made a subdued slurping sound.

“A tasty morsel left behind. What a pity. Well, your aptitude scores for admission were more than satisfactory. Your father has done quite the job raising you.”

“He has,” Ova replied. “I'd be dead without him.”

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