“. . . So in love with you, My love, Am I,” sang the The Smoky Velvet, her final word a seemingly infinite decrescendo. The spotlights were cut, and the club erupted with applause and appreciative whistles while she stood before the mic with her eyelids gently shut, soaking up the atmosphere.
A Malay waiter touched her arm. “Miss Lambeau, someone wishes to talk to you. The gentleman said that he has a message from your grandmother.”
Marie Lambeau sat herself down at the messenger’s table. He was the most pasty-faced man she had ever met. He was scribbling away on some kind of contract, using his own blood as ink! and his inkwell was his own bleeding forearm.
She removed her paste tiara and dropped it upon the table.
“You have a scratch, sir?” she said nonchalantly, feeling anything but. “You wanted a word?”
“Your grandmother wants you to sign this pact.” he lisped.
“Grand-mère has been dead this past year.”
“Nevertheless…” he insisted.
Something in his objectionable manner convinced Marie that he was speaking the truth and that she should do as he asked. Marie snatched up his pen and jabbed its nib into his forearm. She signed her name with a flourish.
Marie’s chair was barged into. A Sister of Indolence, one of the peculiar local missionary sects, looked down upon her.
The nun apologised. “Not all who walk the Earth wish to see humanity survive the eclipse,” she said cryptically.
“Sister?” questioned Marie, hanging upon the word “eclipse.”
“Travel north, through India and Nepal to The Himalayas. Maybe you will find help there.”
“But I catch the ferry to Bali in the morning; I sing on Tuesday night.”
“Go north,” was the unequivocal reply.
The storm furiously whirled the freezing snow. Marie Lambeau drew her parka’s fur-lined hood a little tighter around her face.
“A cave, thank God!” She had stumbled across a shelter. Inside, tunnels twisted and turned in the dark, making it almost impossible to navigate.
She discovered a cavern, it had peculiar mauve-tinted ice and was filled with scientific paraphernalia; Marie couldn’t even begin to guess at their purpose. She stared at a glass cylinder which contained some kind of mush.
“Help me! Help me!” croaked the glass cylinder.
“Whoa!” exclaimed Marie, taking a step backward.
“Smash me,” it implored, “trample my brain into the rock. Crush me. End my misery,” and as a disbelieving Marie looked over her shoulder, as if to find a practical joker watching on, it whispered: “I know where the mi-go store their equipment… do as I ask and I’ll tell you where those abominable snowmen hide their incredible things.”