Thursday, January 6, 2011
Things That Can Happen If You Miss Your Train, (or rather, if the train misses you, and somehow you end up in the enchanted forest which sits dimensionally on top of the train station like a dozen hats sit on a monkey's head after he steals it and runs to the trees. Sorry, that's a reference. )
1) Put your hands in your pockets immediately. Enchanted forests are notorious for being sneaky little death traps. I mean, that's why they were enchanted in the first place. You don't enchant a place to make it all rainbows and unicorns and candy. No, you enchant a place to kill some motherfuckers. So don't touch anything. Not the trees or any rocks, certainly not any golden cutlery lying around, and frankly, you should look out for invisible doors in the air. Also, and seriously, this should go without saying, don't ingest anything. Pack a snack from your own plane of existence.
2) Oh, it's so nice and peaceful and still, right? Doesn't it make you feel calm and relaxed and happy? DO NOT GO TO SLEEP. Think of enchanted forests as like... an emotional concussion. You may never wake up. It happens to princes ALL THE TIME. If you go to sleep, then whatever wizard or witch owns this place is going to find your paralyzed body, and harvest it for organs, or keep you as some twisted fetish toy in a really dangerously tall tower. Best case scenario is you end up a swan allergic to thistles. Worst case scenario is that he wakes you up, turns you into a mute, and then it's just talk rape talk rape talk rape. He'll probably make you haul water too, which is such shit. Plus any brothers or sisters that come to find you? Totally dead. Except the youngest. Think of those resulting Christmas dinners. They will never let you live that down.
Point is, you cannot let your guard down in magical places. Only the really attentive survive. That's why people don't just go there on holiday.
3) Always help out any creature you see in need, unless it is a young woman. If it is a girl, you should look first to see if she is a brunette or blonde. Be sure. If she's blonde, then you're...ahem...golden. If she's a brunette, it's probably okay, but there's definitely a trick involved, though it may not be her trick. Does she have a rose tattoo? Are there twelve identical sisters with rose tattoos back at her house? Man, you are so screwed. But getting back to the point, anything else you see in pain or hungry or trapped, you have a duty to the Narrative to help. If you don't help, the Narrative is going to figure out a way to get rid of you. The Narrative is not on your side, and you can't assume you're the hero. You could be the one right before the hero. Friends are the things that make a difference.
4) All cats can talk. All birds possess magical healing powers. All hedgehogs will cut you if you look at them sideways.
5) Somewhere, in the Shadows, is Something. It's a dragon, or a malcontent fairy, or a great slimy worm army, or a title on a bookshelf that you should have noticed before you agreed to spend the night in from the cold. You remember that time you moved into the new apartment, and you used to walk around half dressed all the time because the blinds were mostly closed, and you figured if you couldn't see out they couldn't see in? Then you got that creepy note from the neighbor across the street, because that's totally not true? Be aware of the things you can't see, because they can still see you.
6) Remember this is not your world. It's never going to be your world. And no matter what adventures happen, what weird little furry friends you make, or how close you bond to the trees, someday the supernatural force that sent you here is going to bring you back and you are going to be stuck going to the office every day and home to the telly every night and there will be no more Turkish Delight, only takeout and pasta bakes. But that's the price you pay for getting to visit somewhere else. What seems normal for other people is never going to be normal for you. You just have to sit there, paying your taxes and being disappointed, until it happens again. Maybe think about going back to school to become a wizard yourself, if you can figure out the loan thing.
More pictures from the Ellis Island Ferry Station here.