</center>You are dreaming of the old days.
As the sun fades and twilight ascends, you arrive at the old stone church that the group of you have been calling your "Marine Cathedral". It's crumbly and beautiful, like an oasis among the more modern downtown buildings. When they bought the property, they kept as much of the old stone as possible. It is a place that reminds you of the existence of [beauty]<c1|(click: ?c1)[, its greyness silhouetted] against the darkening horizon.
The [Marine Cathedral]<c2|(click: ?c2)[ is your sanctuary. Your girlfriend discovered it one night, while she was wandering around alone and in pain. It] is attached to other larger more modern university and you can see through the glass and metal doors on the left the [security guard]<c3|(click: ?c3)[ is sitting in their chair. They turn their head and you avoid making eye contact. This is the game for the night. You will have precious little time before they will come to evict you. They are suspicious when you gather in the church and you resent them seeing your every gesture. You resent them] watching their screens.
Tonight, the four of you are going to do a [ritual]<c4|(click: ?c4)[ though you're not sure exactly what you'll do. You always sort of make it up as you go along]. In your bag, you brought a few things: a notebook, black eyeliner, and a blue goldstone pendant that reminds you of the night sky.
[[You need one more thing...|University]]You walk past the security guard into the University and look around. Up a flight of stairs and to your right you know there is a [[snack machine|Snack Machine]]. You also know you can take a right and head straight for the [[hallway|Hallway]] to the Marine Cathedral. You walk down the hall towards the stairs that will lead you to the Marine Cathedral. As you pass another set of stairs, you feel the heaviness of the air and know that if you glance towards the stained glass window you would see the phantom wisp of your girlfriend's face. It is a ghost she left behind.
You feel it in both waking and dreaming, though it is only in dreams that you have interacted with it. When you are awake, it is a thing you can only catch a glimpse of in the corner of your eye.
As your girlfriend tells it, this is not the first nor the last ghost she will leave. You wonder if you have done that - cast off versions of yourself in a moment of such heightened tension that your essence permeates a space ever after.
You hope not. You've got enough going on in your head that you don't want to risk any part of your consciousness being tethered to a physical space. That being said, the ghost fascinates you anyways. You're drawn to its [[power|Chapel]].You enter the chapel..
The [heavy tread]<c1|(click: ?c1)[ of boots is your theme music as the four of you take up spaces around the dark room. The voice] of the security guard [echoes]<c2|(click: ?c2)[ off the walls and tumbles] down the hall. You all turn your [heads]<c3|(click: ?c3)[ in response, all of your attention turned] toward that direction for a [moment.]<c4|
(click: ?c4)[ You don't have much time.]
[[Walk over to the altar|Skittles]]
[[Talk to your girlfriend...|Bells]]
[[Follow the sound of singing...|Singing]]
[[Start the ritual...|Eyeliner]]
When you arrive early, sometimes you convince your girlfriend to make out with you against the stone of the church walls. She's only sometimes into it and you begin to taste the ash of unfulfilled wanting. Unburdened romance seems to escape you.
You're naive enough that you grapple with this as something to bruise your heart against. There will be different lovers and other ways of entwining that don't chain you in a pattern of wanting but you're not there yet.
Instead, you shove the ash down and think about how much you like her laughter and her spark. You are, without a doubt, [[bound|Bound]].
[[Start the ritual...|Lighter]]Your girlfriend smiles at you and places a cool stone in your hand.
When she first showed it to you, she told you about how she was sitting on the living room floor of her house while the television showed images of archeologists opening up the tomb. She said that when she saw those images, a jolt went through her and she felt something in her mind open up and welcome a new voice. The Sphinx.
The visions were so vast and the stories so intricate and so many that she put it in the small stone to keep it away. When she met you, she said she knew that the Sphinx was really yours. You tasted sand in the back of your mouth and wondered. You always did like Egyptian mythology. You love The Neverending Story. You feel at times like the eyes you cast on others burn with the weight of things you know about them but can't say. Yes, it's fitting.
[[Start the ritual...|Lighter]]Your friend's voice is clear and echoing in the vast halls of the university. It seems strange that it could fill up so large a space, but she is not afraid to share it. She has been nurtured to speak the strings of poetry that float through her mind and shares this gift by telling stories of the Selkie God and its temple.
Your voice is frail. You are so afraid to use it. In the Marine Cathedral sometimes the three others in your circle speak in tongue.. a spontaneous language of musical sounds that seems to pass meaning back and forth between them. Your girlfriend told you you could speak it if you wanted, but you've never tried. Your silence is your self defense.
[[Start the ritual...|Lighter]]In the candlelight, your girlfriend is bent over the glowing skin of your friend's back. She is drawing bold swirly black lines that crest and arc into intricate wings.
It's fitting since one of your friend's other faces is a pixie. You pull the bag of brightly coloured fruit candy from your pocket and place them within your friend's reach. You sort them into groups by colour and feel a flutter of delight when she smiles up at you.
The Pixie God speaks in childish tones and simple stories. Along with being an eternal spirit of delight and magic, it is also a fragment of your friend's personality that balances out all the adult responsibilities she has to carry. Both of these things are true at once.
One by one, she eats the candy and you feel like she's blessed you.
[[Start the ritual...|Lighter]]
The footsteps return as the guard makes their rounds again. Your time is almost up.
You arrange the lilacs and the two statues you brought on the altar. One is an alabaster statue of a Grecian cup bearer with the name EVA carved into the base. It is broken into three pieces. The second is a smooth figure of Mary that your girlfriend gave you.
You arrange it so that the cup bearer is laying in her pieces in a bed of lilac flowers and branches at Mary's feet. Something about it tugs at you, the poetry of sensuality.
One by one you light the candles around you.
You are awake.
Your time is up. I hope you got what you came for.
<a href="http://www.darkmooncity.com">Katrina Elisse Caudle</a>
special thanks to:
<a href="http://yearbookoffice.com/">The Yearbook Office</a>
<A href="http://game-icons.net">Lorc and Game-icons.net</a>
</center>You borrow a mirror and take an eyeliner pencil out of your pocket. As you shade the space near the corner of your eye, you smile with the knowledge that you are creating yourself in this moment. At any time, you can curve the line or draw a symbol and you can become something else. From this something else, you can unlock a new strain of mythic thought and write new stories. You could birth a new god and new temples right here. You pause and the faces of what you already carry surface in your mind. A Sphinx, a unicorn, and a muse...
Not yet. You curve the line into something familiar. You won't squander what you've been given by trying to rush on to the next thing...
[[Start the ritual...|Lighter]]You reach out for each other's [hands]<c1|(click: ?c1)[ and the musical language you share falls from your companions' lips. You glance down at the ground], your materials gathered in a pile between you.
You are [silent]<c2|(click: ?c2)[, unable to summon the spontaneous poetry of language. You are] trying to commit to memory everything you have learned.
"What are you [doing]<c3|(click: ?c3)[ in here? How many times do I have to kick you kids out]?" the security guard asks loudly. Startled, you jerk your head up [[and...|End]]You place a few [coins]<c1| in the machine and press a button. The [candy]<c2| falls into the tray at the [bottom]<c3| and you place it in your [pocket]<c4|.
(click: ?c1)[The coins tumbling are a spell.] (click: ?c2)[The colours of the sweet and sour candy could invoke almost anything.] (click: ?c3)[You marvel at a world of possibility, where magic from your dreams can meet and interact with this world.] (click: ?c4)[Can you truly create a new world, with the mundane fragments of this one?]