It is night. You are dancing amid a cloud of soap bubbles, paying little heed to onlookers who keep muttering stuff about being "undignified". You can see some of the colors by moonlight, despite onlookers telling you there's nothing to see and no light to see it by.

As the bubbles swirl around you they begin to remind you of planets and worlds. Somehow you find yourself floating among them. At length one bubble grows more worldlike and substantial and you gently descend to its surface. As you get closer and closer you begin to make out details. There below you is a Stonehenge-like complex, with buildings off to one side along roads leading away. Soon you are standing near the center of the circle of stones.

In the exact center of the circle is an altar. Floating above it, you know not how, is a large tetrahedron with writing on it. It turns and tumbles this way and that in the warm night breeze, but always keeps its place above the altar.

As you look around the circle you notice that here and there a pair of stones supports a third, forming something like a doorway. The view through the resulting portal does not resemble the surrounding countryside.

One portal leads to the world of The Ancient City.

The portal next to it leads to what looks like an ordinary city park in an ordinary modern city. There is a hill in one corner of the park, fenced off with a sign bearing a cryptic warning:  

If you climb their hill by moonlight they'll invite you to their dance:
A magic night of merriment and song.  
But they will never warn you as the joyous hours advance
That it's many many years until the dawn.

Another portal reveals a play in progress. A placard says the author, if any, is not known.

Yet another claims to be the gateway to foreign realms.

As you pass yet another portal you hear music and laughter. You peek in and see teddy bears having a picnic. Just inside the portal is something that looks like a fire alarm but is the wrong color and labeled "IN CASE OF DRAGONS". A porcupine guarding the gate looks you over, decides you're not a dragon, and says you may enter if you wish. Perhaps you join the teddy bears for a while, or perhaps not. But you eventually continue your explorations.

Eventually you decide to explore the land outside the circle. Around you stretches that endless plain that exists only to be half seen from bus or train windows in the dead of night when dreams beckon and the mind begins to wander. It is night, but here and there you see an oasis of light.

As you walk down a road, hardly noticing an occasional parking meter, you come upon various buildings and doorways. Most of the buildings have doors, but not all the doors have buildings.

The wind shifts slightly for a moment, bringing you the distant "squeepa, squeepa, squeepa" of someone filing metal. Then it shifts again and the sound is gone.

One of the first buildings you come to is a sort of reading room. On the wall is an ad for a book, while a rack holds various issues of a zine titled Silicon Soapware.

There is also a dictionary lying open to the word Plergb.

Next to it is an album of miscellaneous pictures.

Next door is a coffee house with a poetry reading going on. One of the poets has left all his notebooks lying open on a table.

One of the other buildings houses some computer clubs.

As you continue you come to a junction where the road ends in a T. Just before the T is a sign warning of a sharp curve to the right. The right-hand side of the T does appear more heavily traveled than the left-hand side, but why does the sign speak only of a curve?

The road narrows, then narrows again into a barely discernible trail. Finally you are following the footprints of two people. Halfway across a field of wild grass one set of footprints mysteriously ends while the other turns back the way it came. You sense mixed feelings of a great loss and a joyous homecoming.

Did you feel the ground tremble? Momentary panic gives way to assurance that no matter how the land of this realm shakes and quakes, the only things that can fall are stacks of old thoughts.

As you ponder what you have seen a cloud of soap bubbles drifts by from some unknown source. You think you hear children laughing, but you cannot tell the direction. Did the sound come from inside you?

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This page was created by Tom Digby and is copyrighted with a fairly liberal "fair use" policy.

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