Go To Hellen
Sogwa stepped through the portal, to Hellen, the sky-city.
Glorious Hellen, city of the sky, whose streets are air and whose people fly! Three-dee cloud city, with streets running east-west, avenues going north-south, and ways heading up-down! City of the Life of the Mind, where everyone has the power of flight, the gift of far-sight, telephone, telepathy, radio, radar, GPS, and Web access, all as free public utilities!
Hellen, the sky-city, which had seen better days...
Sogwa fell, yowling, thru empty air. Ahead, below, lay the cloud-city’s Top Gate. When Sogwa plummeted through, she saw Mischief hanging upside down from the gate. Mischief, startled, fell after her.
When she plunged through the Top Gate into Hellen city limits, she felt the power of flight kick in. She bent her fall into a spiral. She widened the spiral, then pulled it up into a horizontal circle. She orbited in mid-air.
Flight’s a funny thing, she thought. It seems so hard, but really it’s easy. Sogwa spiraled upwards, towards Mischief, who was flying down to meet her. Sogwa thought, flight is sight. You fly by vision, by shifting perspective. Your body moves when you change your point of view.
Sogwa and Mischief matched flight paths, then flew straight up. She thought to herself, flight is a feeling. It’s too easy for words to explain. It’s not flying that needs explanation.
Sogwa and Mischief flashed upwards through the Top Gate. They arced upward, in free fall, and at the very top of the arc, they met -
- and kissed -
- and fell, laughing, back down through the Top Gate.
From far away echoed the sound of Sogwa’s parents hollering,
Once through the Top Gate, they swooped and circled and spiraled around each other. They whooshed too fast to talk by voice, so instead they talked by radio. Mischief said, “How’d you know where I’d be here? I was just hanging out!”
Sogwa said, “You told me. And how did you know I’d visit?”
“I told you? You mean we’ve already met?”
“Yes, in Nowheresville Mall, remember?”
“But I haven’t been there tonight... at least not yet. Oh, I get it!” Mischief giggled. “I haven’t, but I did, so I will, the next time it was!”
“What do you mean?”
“Time loop! Time loop! Round and round the circle!” Mischief flew in circles around Sogwa. He caroled, “I get to time-travel! I get to time-travel!”
“You can time-travel?”
“Here in Hellen? Yes, if you can avoid Gop’s interference. Looks like I’m going to! Tell me, when we met, what did I say?”
Sogwa said, “You told me...” and then she said, “You will tell me to meet you here. And let’s see... You knew that I’m going to the City That Only Kids Can See, in the Land of the New Light. I need a beam of that new light, but you said that something’s interfering.”
“That’s Gop all right!”
“The Clock Damon mentioned a PIETY act...”
“Don’t get me started!”
“It also told me to go to the Akasic Library and attempt Web access.”
“I’ll take you there!”
“Sure! But there’s one more thing. I have a message for you.”
“Who sent it?”
“You did. It’s from you, to you. You said, Try the Belfry.”
“The Belfry. Right, got it. Let’s go.”
They flew downwards, along Church Way. Mischief said, “This used to be such a nice neighborhood...” Sogwa looked around, and saw that Church Way was scary and dirty. Mischief continued, “It was so wholesome...”
It didn’t look very wholesome to Sogwa. She asked, “What happened?”
Mischief said, “First the con-men moved in. Then the crazies, then the creeps, then the thieves, then the thugs, and then... worse.” Sogwa, nervous, flew closer to Mischief. He said, “Now everybody expects bad things to happen on Church Way. But it wasn’t always a bad neighborhood. And you know what the big tragedy is?”
“No, what?” said Sogwa, looking around at Church Way’s many small tragedies.
“The big tragedy is, good people still live here. They didn’t leave, they didn’t change, they’ve always held the place up, and all they can do is watch it fall down. Oh, here’s our turn.”
They turned off Church Way, west onto Science Street. It was much cleaner and safer on Science Street than on Church Way, but there were a lot fewer people, and most of the buildings were closed to the public. The Museum was open, and it looked kind of cool, but Sogwa and Mischief had places to go and things to do, so they flew on.
Next they turned south on Story Avenue. It was hard times there. Everywhere Sogwa looked, she saw signs saying “Final Sale” or “90% Off” or “Everything Must Go!” Mischief said, “Good old Story Avenue! Same as it ever was! Forever in the business of going out of business!”
Soon they reached the intersection of Story Avenue, Easy Street and High Way. At the north-east upper corner was the Akasic Library.
Mischief said, “Well, here’s your Web access, if you can get in.”
Sogwa flew up to the front door of the Akasic Library. The Akasic Library’s front door was tall, and wide, and covered with a beautiful wrought-iron sculpture of the Tree of Knowledge. Engraved on the lintel were these words:
THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE
“- but first it will drive you crazy!” Sogwa said to herself, for that huge iron door was closed tight shut.
There was a small sign on the door. It read:
CLOSED ON ACCOUNT OF SPIRITUAL DARKNESS
BY ORDER OF GOP, UNITARY, UNILATERAL AND UNREGULATED
Mischief said, “You don’t have the Library, but you do have the people of the Library.”
“Right there in the Plaza. Turn around.”
Sogwa turned around, and saw that catty-corner to the Akasic Library, south, east and down, was the Akasic Library Plaza. It was a block empty of everything except people.
Many, many people. Very, very busy, making a great deal of noise.
Mischief said, “Those are the people who would be in the Library, if it were open. So you might try asking them what you want to know.”
“What are they doing there?”
“They’re sitting in. They’re having a teach-in.”
“What’s the teach-in about?”
“It’s about why they’re in the plaza instead of the library, of course. And look!” Mischief squeaked with excitement. “Over there! You see? You see?”
Sogwa looked, and saw, and recognized. “Isn’t that - ”
Mischief squeaked, “- yes! It’s Libby!”
Sogwa said, “Miss Liberty ?! ”
Mischief said, “Yes! She’s back!”