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Chapter 4 – “The House of Glass”

September 1, 2010
Spirit of Independence & Adventure

Spirit of Independence & Adventure

After seven days and seven nights of following her Belly Button’s instructions, Sia finally emerged from the Wilderness of Confusion and came upon a little village that struck her as rather unusual.

She couldn’t put her finger on exactly what made it unusual, but she was intrigued nonetheless and decided to explore.

While wandering the streets, she heard a jazz tune breathing on the breeze and followed it to its source: a lone saxophone player sat outside a dinky café. Sia noted with interest the café’s name: Bistro West.

Well, I guess I’ve reached West, she thought. Now what?

“Hello,” said the saxophone player.

Sia started. He hadn’t stopped playing.

“How did you do that?” she asked. “Talk while playing?”

“It’s my Unique Talent,” said the saxophone player. “You must be new to the area. Are you thinking of moving here?”

“I’m not sure,” said Sia. “Am I?”

“Yes, you are,” said her Belly Button, its voice slightly muffled through her top.

“Ah. Yes, I am,” said Sia.

“Oh, perfect,” said the saxophone player, improvising a celebratory riff. “Have a look around. Your house will be waiting.”

Sia - illustrated by Jody Clark

Sia - illustrated by Jody Clark

As Sia walked, she realised why the village was unusual.

Every house was completely unique. Each was a different size, shape and colour, and was constructed from different materials. She passed houses made of bricks, wood, straw, tiles, distressed denim, gingerbread.

And then she discovered the House of Glass.

It was a three-dimensional mosaic, painstakingly constructed of thousands of tiny squares of multicoloured crystal. The entire house glittered enticingly in the sunlight.

Except in one small space.

And when she spotted this empty space, Sia didn’t need to ask her Belly Button to know what to do.

Opening the gate, she stepped up the pathway to the house and reached out to the empty space in the shiny mosaic. Stroked its sharp points. And then opened her bag, drew out her metal, star-shaped peg and slotted it neatly into the star-shaped hole.

Instantly, the door swung open invitingly. She was home.

Inside the house, Sia was struck by a strong sense of déjà-vu. She knew that she had never been here before, yet her purple pumps guided her with certainty through each room, as though they knew exactly where to go.

Mounting the stairs, her feet carried her into the back room, which was entirely constructed of plain, translucent glass that threw a milky white light over everything.

It’s like walking through a crystal ball, Sia thought.

And then she realised where she was.

Turning around, she spotted in a corner the White Closet that had haunted her dreams with the promise of her future. With tentative fingers, she reached forward and pulled its doors open, half-closing her eyes in anticipation of the swirling stars of her dream.

Nothing moved.

Sia leaned forward and gazed directly into the closet.

It was stacked with block upon block upon block of solid glass. On top of the glass balanced two boxes; Sia carefully lifted them down. The first was crammed with twinkling gemstones of all imaginable colours; the second held tiny tools with sharp, glittering edges.

Sia knew exactly what she was going to do with them. It was what she’d always dreamed of doing.

Create.

Several months later, an intensive training course under her belt and many instructional books stacked on her shelves, Sia was in full, satisfying flow. She was now a fully-fledged glass sculptor, carving multifaceted crystal figurines of all colours, shapes and sizes.

Starting with the inspirational star that had initiated her journey, she had since scoured the Internet for ideas and progressed onto more complex figures: puppies, fairies, trolls, dragons.

When the house was full, she stood back to admire her work.

Gorgeous, she thought.

And then she frowned slightly.

All at once, the derisive words of the Exceedingly Honourable Sir Macleod Bradley came back to her, echoing in her head:

“…if all you’re looking for is ‘gorgeous’…”
“…I guess that’s what happens when you’ve still got that thing hanging off you…”

She looked at the instructional books on glass-sculpting, whose directions she had followed so painstakingly. Conformity, she thought.

For yes, her creations were gorgeous. But gorgeous had been done before, and would be done again. If Sia wanted to be truly original, she had to create something more. More than gorgeous.

Moregeous.

But how?

Closing her eyes, Sia took a deep breath, feeling the air of freedom expand every fibre of her being. She summoned up all her memories, all her experiences, all her beliefs, allowing them to course through her body; she felt once more that tingling sensation that she’d experienced at Crazy Wendy’s, drinking the tom yum soup.

And then she exhaled, gently, but firmly, breathing her own unique brand of Truth over every single object that she’d created.

She opened her eyes. And slowly, gently, so did all her figurines.

The puppies wept tiny tears of jade. The fairies donned sparkling dresses of pink topaz and sang karaoke. The lumbering trolls wielded clubs of shiny pewter paper clips. The dragons breathed fiery constellations of shimmering ruby stars.

They came to Life. Their own unique Life, imagined by their creator.

Sia looked upon her handiwork and smiled.

“This is it,” she whispered to herself. “I’ve found my Unique Talent.”

She was still smiling when she heard the knock at the door.

Skipping happily down the stairs, Sia opened her door to find a medley of people of various shapes and sizes, all clustered on her doorstep. They grinned up at her eagerly.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Hi there,” the crowd chorused in union. “We’re Folk.”

CHAPTER 5 – “The Twin Demons” – tomorrow…

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