Strange Remnants, 2

1a

The snow crunched underfoot as she trudged wearily through The Himalayas. It was late in the day and darkness blanketed the foothills below her. She could feel the cold freezing her toes and fingers. “If I don’t get outta here fast,” she said to herself, “I’m gonna perish”—and with that happy thought her teeth chattered uncontrollably.

She stood at the top of a couloir—a steep precipice of snow between banks of rock—and made a, possibly, fateful decision: to glissade down; she sat upon her pack, and then she tipped herself over the couloir’s edge. She was unable to see what lay ahead because of the twilight and the spindrift, which was whipped up all around her by the rushing wind. Incredibly, luckily, within the hour Marie was camped beneath a rhododendron tree.

She felt hungry, famished, a hunger unlike anything she had felt before. Where her legs were tucked beneath her as she rested among the dry leaves, she saw, in the tread of her boots, a pinkish, flesh like goo—the brain she’d crushed inside the mi-go’s cave. She had a disquieting urge to eat something, anything, but thankfully she mastered her craving.

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Next morning, she hiked through a deserted forest, which covered a landscape of rolling hills. At long last she met a peasant wearing a padded jacket and cap, his features were distinctly mongoloid.

“Yes, yes. Tibet,” he replied to their pantomime conversation. After much bartering Marie, riding a Bactrian camel and the peasant sporting her paste tiara, rode into China.

At the great city of Shanghai, inside a pagoda, wallowing in a bubble-filled tub, Marie hums a tune which will give her a little more time.

“Ra, Ra, Rasputin . . .”

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˜

1d

“I need some answers,” thought Marie. The only English language newspaper is The Shanghai Courier, so she sought out its offices, hoping to peruse their archive in search of strange or unexplained stories.

“夫人,” said the receptionist without looking up from her polished fingernails; when there was no reply she impatiently did so, and her eyes widened at sight of Marie Lambeau. The receptionist rattled off an unintelligible, to Marie, sentence.

“English?” she asked hopefully.

“You have been horribly sunburned, poor girl!”

“No, Miss Lin,” interjects an editor who was passing by the front desk, “an educated tribeswoman from the far west—Gobi?”

“Yes, that’s right,” agreed Marie, sensing that the editor was friendly.

“This way to the archive,” he smiled.

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