Recent Activity
Search BL Rag
About This Site

The BL RAG is dedicated to the idea of free expression, thus we welcome and encourage reader  commentary on current events and issues, music, sports, or other topics of interest, no matter what one's political leanings or worldview.


Site Management:

Front Page Section Editors: Machiavelli, Skinnydipinacid, and Redbeard

Miscellanea Editor: Zoy Clem

Poetry Editor: Lenny

Music Editors: see schedule below


Site Editors: Skinnydipinacid and Zoy Clem

Maintenance Man: Master Admin Dude


Eric Olsen, Fornax, GrayRider, Winston, Jimmmco, and WesMorgan1


KRAG Music Section Schedule:

Sunday - Jgeagle5

Monday - Rhythm & Truth

Tuesday - Machiavelli

Wednesday - GrayRider

Thursday - Skinny

Friday - Fornax

Saturday - Zoy Clem

On-call - Schwabman

Powered by Squarespace


Entries in Art (395)


Closing the Doors

"What do you mean, the museum is closed?" Gaius asked increduously after Clovis announced his plans. The others with him said nothing but their faces spoke for them. Benedict wore an anxious expression---he had been unemployed for close to a year before Clovis hired him. What would he do now?

Marco, who had been with the museum the longest, nodded but said nothing. He would miss his old friend, Clovis, but Marco was planning to depart the museum soon anyway and this made his decision easier. Marcy fidgeted with nervous anticipation, looking forward to having Gaius all to herself.  Lilly, the young woman who had accompanied Walter (and was a stranger here), merely seemed confused.  She bent down and picked up her cat, Circe, placing the tabby back in the box she had brought with her, and then turned to Walter in askance. Old Walter muttered something obscene under his breath, but he took Lilly gently by the arm and led her forward.

"We'll be off then," he said, stepping up and shaking Clovis' hand. A couple minutes later, Walter and Lilly were gone.

Roger, who sensed something was up before Clovis revealed his plans, was still caught by surprise by the announcement. "What do you plan to do now, Clovis?" he asked.

"Travel," Clovis replied. "But I could use some company. I would be honored to have you and Ben accompany me." Benedict, who stood close by, heaved an audible sigh of relief.

"Sure, why not?" Roger laughed. "I need to broaden my writing horizons anyway."

Rosemary, no longer the innocent administrative assistant, smiled sweetly and stepped up to kiss her mentor and friend goodbye. Having possessed Clovis' journal for a time, she already knew his plans, and was the only one not surprised by his announcement.

"I look forward to our next meeting, Clovis," she whispered, her son Henry in her arms. "By then, my son will be fully grown,  and you---you will be young again!"  She laughed merrily and kissed Clovis once more.

Clovis looked at her long before speaking. "I will miss you very much, Rosemary, and you will be in the forefront of my thoughts. Yours is the difficult road, and I pray you possess the strength to face it."

"I'll be fine. I have Marco with me."

"Only for a short time."

"Long enough. Take care of yourself, my wonderful friend." Rosemary stepped back to speak with Helga and allow Gaius and Marco some time with the old curator.

The three men spoke quietly a few moments before exchanging their farewells. Gaius rejoined his wife then, but Marco lingered a moment longer.

"I'm going to miss you, old man," he said, his emotions vying with his tongue, making it difficult to speak.

Clovis smiled. "And I shall miss you, my loyal friend. Perhaps we will meet again, you and I. And if that happens, you can return this to me."  The museum curator handed Marco a small esoteric device---the EZ-FOLD portable time manipulator. "You're going to need it."

Marco knew better than to protest, pocketing the device while wondering why Clovis thought he would require it. His attention returned to Rosemary.

"How much time will I have with her, Clovis?"

Clovis smiled again wistfully. "Long enough," he replied, reiterating Rosemary's earlier words.

The party split up shortly afterwards--Gaius and Marcy headed west; Marco, Rosemary, and their son, Henry, traveled north with Helga accompanying them. Clovis, Roger, and Benedict started a trek southward, stopping along the way to retrieve gear that Clovis had set aside earlier.

To the east, a massive volcano that had recently erupted collapsed in upon itself to form a caldera that would reawaken in a thousand years to destroy civilization.  Far off in the cosmos, a brilliant star went nova.

Meanwhile, in an indeterminate time and place, the museum, finally rid of its human occupants, slipped into a deep slumber, dreaming endless dreams while drifting in and out of existence. The museum would rest for a time and then, in some far away and impossible future, reawaken again to confuse others about its mysterious purpose.


Well...that's it. For those of you who have read this little series, I thank you, and hope it brought some measure of enjoyment.  I certainly enjoyed writing Morning in the Museum, and will miss working on it. But perhaps, someday and somewhere, I'll resume this story...

Goodbye and good fortune to you.





Marco and Rosemary returned to join the others; Rosemary looking a little flushed but wearing a satisfied smile.  Walter and Clovis were the first to notice the couple's return and, for a moment, a look of black, jealous hatred crossed Walter's face. But his expression changed immediately and if Clovis hadn't been looking in his direction,  this emotion might never have been detected.  Walter stepped away from Clovis then and joined the couple,  loudly congratulating them on the birth of their son.

"Under different circumstances,  I do believe our old drunken friend would have assaulted Marco for stealing what he sees as rightfully his," Roger said quietly from behind. "Walter had murder in his eyes there for a moment."

Clovis nodded. "You saw it too. Do you think there will trouble?"

"No, not today," Roger replied. "If Walter was sober perhaps, but when was the last time you saw him in such a state?

"At Rosemary's funeral," Clovis said with a frown. "He's still in love with her."

"And probably always will be. But he'll get over it, especially if that little filly with him has any say in the matter." Roger was gazing at Lilly, whose eyes followed Walter with pure adoration.

"I hope you're right. I'd hate to see today of all days ruined by emotional discord."

"Still plan on making that announcement?"

Clovis turned with a start. "I mentioned it to no one. How do you know this?"

Roger laughed. "I'm a writer. I can sense when a chapter is closing." His attention turned towards the picnic baskets, sitting unattended.  "I'm hungry.  Let's rejoin the others and eat the fine lunch old Helga has prepared for us."

Today's artwork was created by the French artist, Odilon Redon (1840-1916).



Fulfilling One's Destiny

The lovers sat alone together in the woods,  neither speaking for a time.  They had walked some distance from the clearing where the others were having their picnic before finding themselves a private little hideaway near the cliffs above the sea. Rosemary sat beside Marco, her head resting on his shoulders.

"I'm glad were were able to see each other again," she whispered.

"Can you stay?" Marco asked.

"Not for long," Rosemary replied, sighing. "It's not safe here."


"And others."

"Why are they after you, Rose?"

Rosemary glanced back the way they had come, her look pensive. "It's not me they're after. They want our child."

Marco grew agitated. "But Henry is an infant! He's no threat to anyone."

Rosemary shook her head. "You misunderstand, Marco," she said quietly, a cryptic smile forming on her lips.  She stood then and slowly removed her clothes.  Naked, she reached out for Marco's hand and helped him to his feet.

Wearing a confused expression, Marco stood up and allowed Rosemary to remove his own attire. She folded his pants and shirt and then sat them down in a neat little pile. Taking his hands, she kissed him gently on the lips.

"It's not Henry they're after," she said softly. "It's our second child."  Saying no more, she pulled herself away from Marco and lay down in the grass waiting for him...



Packaged Goddess

Clovis, Gaius, and Roger joined Walter and his female friend, the three men delighted to see their old associate. As usual, Walter was a little tipsy, and his words a bit slurred.

"This is a friend of mine," he said, introducing the young woman with him. "Her name is Lilly."

Gaius, who was motioning to his wife,  Marcy, to join them,  turned with a start upon hearing the name of Walter's companion, staring at the girl increduously.  Lilly smiled at him and sat her box down while exchanging greetings with the others.

"Gaius told me you had a run-in with Circe, Walter," Clovis said. "To be honest, I didn't expect to see you again."

Walter laughed. "Circe won't be a problem anymore---she's in my power now. In fact,  I brought her with us."  He picked up the box his companion brought and opened it to reveal a dead tabby cat, its fur matted.

Marcy, who had joined Gaius, emitted a small, frightened squeak at the sight of the dead animal.

Walter peered down into the box and then slammed it shut. "Oops, one second." Re-opening the box revealed a large fat cat.  The feline leapt from the box and started to rub against Walter's leg. He bent over and picked up the animal, handing it to Clovis. "You remember Circe," Walter said.

Clovis took the cat and began to pet it. "So, you used her own magic against her. Very clever."

Marcy, fascinated, followed this interchange before speaking. "The cat was dead a moment ago! What happened?"

Walter shrugged. "I had no way to transport Circe, so I borrowed this box from a friend of mine. His name is Schrödinger."



Surprise Guests

It was a reunion of sorts--almost the entire museum staff attended today's picnic lunch, even the crotchety old Helga, the maid. Only Walter was absent. Clovis watched the group, smiling. Roger, who was standing nearby, joined him.

"It's a bit surprising to learn that Gaius and Marcy married," he said, looking at the young couple, who were holding hands, exchanging whispered words.

"Yes, but they fit well together," Clovis replied.

"Two redheads...I bet there'll be fireworks if they ever have a disagreement."

"I doubt they'll fight much," Clovis said with a laugh. "Gaius will most likely do everything Marcy tells him to."

At that moment, Rosemary,  who sat with Marco a few feet away from her sister,  stood abruptly and spoke to Helga, handing her son over to the woman's care before starting towards the woods. Marco rose and followed her.

"What about those two?" Roger asked. "Do you think they'll marry as well?"

Clovis, who was watching Helga with Rosemary's infant boy, Henry, intently, didn't reply at once. A moment later, he turned his attention back to Roger. "Anything is possible," he said.

"But you don't think so."

"No, their fates follow different courses." Clovis started to say more, but then stopped. "Well, I'll be damned," he said abruptly, as old drunken Walter and a woman carrying a small box entered the clearing.

"The gang's all here," Roger said as Clovis stepped away to greet his old friend.

Today's artwotk was created by Claude Monet (1840-1926).



Preparing for a Reunion

Clovis arrived alone,  telling Benedict that Marco, Rose, and Roger had made a side trip to meet up with Gaius and Marcy, who had also just returned from somewhere in Europe.

"Let's get these displays set up,"  Clovis said as he opened a crate containing  the artworks of the Belgian artist, Jan Frans De Boever (1872-1949). "Once everyone gets in, we are going out to the beach to have ourselves a little picnic."

"But who will overseee the museum while we're gone?" Benedict asked, wondering if he would be expected to remain behind.

Clovis put the painting he had just removed from the crate down and gave Benedict an odd look. "The museum can run itself," he said.

Note: I'm recharging the writing batteries, so some kind of storyline will emerge here again in the next couple of weeks...



A Minor Delay

Roger called a little while earlier, informing Benedict that Clovis had encountered a few obstacles on the way to the airport and had to make a small detour, so Benedict was once again on his own this morning. Not that Benedict minded much--he enjoyed working alone, and because he was in charge, he could select the artwork.

His choice for the main gallery today was the Croatian painter, Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922):



When the Cat's Away

...the mice normally play, but Benedict was a conscientious employee, so he diligently got to work setting out the paintings of the French artist, Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899), while Clovis and Roger drove out to  the airport in town to pick up Rosemary.  Benedict was not normally a social person, usually keeping  to himself,  but he was anxious  to meet this mystery woman that everyone at the museum was so enraptured with,  if only to appease his curiosity.  He himself was not overly fond of females, so the excitement at the news of her return baffled him somewhat. Benedict had work to do, however,  so he pushed these musings away and resumed arranging the artwork for today's display.



Mysteries in Idle Conversation

It was just Clovis and Roger in the museum gallery this morning---Marco had been given the day off to make preparations for Rosemary's arrival, and Gaius had not yet returned from his strange ordeal in the doppelgänger museum. Benedict, the newest employee, was downstairs loading the artwork for today's display into the small elevator used to move paintings between floors.

"Marco is pretty excited about seeing Rose and his son," said Roger, who cared little for children, and had no interest in settling down. "Do you think she will remain here?"

"For a time," Clovis replied. "Although I imagine she'll depart here in a couple of months. This is not a safe place for her."

"Because of Circe?"

 "No, I don't believe the goddess will cause our Rosemanry any future problems." Clovis paused. "But there are others who would prefer she meet an untimely end."

Roger frowned. "I don't understand how such a sweet girl can have enemies."

"There are many bad people in this world who care little about sweetness, Roger. They see her as a threat."

"But why?" Roger asked, intrigued. He watched Clovis' expression change then, as if the man was having some internal debate. He apparently came to a decision, however, and started to reply but at that moment the phone upstairs began to ring.

"I need to take that call," Clovis said instead, relief washing over his face. He departed the gallery, leaving Roger standing there, perplexed.

Today's artwork comes from Domenico di Pace Beccafumi (1486-1551).



Mother's Day

Marco was in the main gallery of the museum, having just given directions to Roger about today's display, which featured the French artist and educator, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), and thus he did not notice the old museum curator's approach.

"Have a cigar," Clovis said jovially, startling his assistant.

Marco recovered quickly. He turned to face his boss and friend, taking the offered cigar.

"What's the occasion?" he asked.

Clovis grinned and struck a match, offering Marco a light. "Actually, you should be the one who is handing these out. You're a father."

Marco leaned forward to accept the light but then froze. "When?" he asked, cigar forgotten.

"This morning. Rosemary has given you a son."

"I need to see her," Marco said anxiously. "Where is she?"

"Far away from here, old friend. You cannot see her now regardless. It was a difficult birth--she'll need time to recover." Clovis started to call Roger over to share the news, but Marco grabbed him by the elbow.

"Is she all right?"

"Rosemary is fine. Just worn out." Clovis reached out and removed Marco's hand from his elbow. "Calm down, will you, Marco? She will be traveling here in a couple of weeks. You'll be able to see her and your son." Clovis started away then to talk to Roger, but once again, Marco stopped him.

"Wait! My son...what is his name?"

"Henry," replied Clovis, smiling. He turned then and walked towards Roger, pulling another cigar from his coat pocket.



A Hero's Reward

(Continued from the previous Sunday)

Down,  down,  down  they went...Gaius tried to discern his surroundings and saw only blackness. As he pondered his approaching death, he was shocked out of this fatalistic line of thinking when he hit the icy water, the sudden chill causing him to release his hold on Marcy.  The coldness had revived her, however, and she began paddling water to stay afloat. She smiled at him.

"We're free!"  she whispered, wrapping both arms around him and kissing him.  She pulled away then and swam to shore, Gauis following.  As he stepped out of the water, Marcy grabbed him by the hand and led him towards a pinpoint of light that grew larger as they approached.

"Come, Gaius," she said excitedly, hurrying him along. "We're almost out!"

The two bedraggled refugees came to the cave mouth and stepped out into the light, both of them momentarily blinded by the intense rays of the sun. Marcy recovered first and ran toward a small grove of trees, laughing. Gaius ran after her, his sodden clothing sticking to his skin.

As she reached the grove, Marcy pulled off the flimsy gown she was wearing, and hung it upon a low hanging limb branching from a nearby tree.

"Marcy,  what are you doing?"  Gaius asked, shocked.  He stood staring at her delightfully naked body, dumbfounded.  Marcy noticed his attention and stepped closer, fumbling with the buttons of his shirt.

We need to let our clothes dry, silly," she whispered huskily, pulling his shirt away. Gaius started to step back,  but a baser part of his mind had no will to resist, eagerly allowing Marcy to remove his shoes and then his pants. He stood there, frozen, confused by this unexpected situation.

"What now?" he asked nervously, embarrassed by his body's reaction to Marcy's naked form.

"I'll show you," she said, pulling him close...



Into the Void

(Continued from two Sundays ago)

The dragon opened her mouth to release a sheet of flame that washed over the icy wall for only a moment, causing the ice to crack in numerous places. As it began to melt away, it released Marcy from her confinement and dropped her gently to the cave floor.

"You did it!"  Gaius exclaimed excitedly, feeling a sense of relief. He had been all but certain that the dragon's fires would roast the poor girl.

She opened her eyes then and saw her three rescuers, but in her current state, she only registered one of them. "Gaius," she said weakly, a faint smile forming on her pale lips.  Marcy sat up slowly as Gaius rushed forward.

"You came to save me," she said unsteadily, as he took her in his arms and slowly lifted her to her feet. Marcy kissed him softly, oblivious to those who did the real work in freeing her--Walter and Lilly the dragon. They both looked at each other, Walter wearing a wry grin.

"Save the reunion for later," he said. "You two need to get moving."

Gaius looked up at Walter. "Marcy is in no state to walk out of here. She is very weak."

"Then carry her."

"What's the hurry, Walter?"

Walter grimaced then spoke. "I wasn't completely honest with you back there, Gaius. Circe didn't send me here to release Marcy."

Gaius started to respond but was interrupted by a newcomer.

"And you betrayed me, you lout," screamed Circe, who pointed a finger at Walter, releasing a bolt of lightning in his direction. He dodged nimbly out of its path.  The magic spear exploded against the cavern walls,  releasing a gout of molten magma,  which began flowing out in a steady stream. Circe continued to rage. "You were supposed to kill them both, you stupid drunken old fool!" She pointed again, preparing for a second strike.

Lilly roared and retaliated then, her dragon fires engulfing Circe. But the goddess was impervious to fire, and parted the flames like a curtain. She launched herself forward, knocking Walter to the ground,  her fingernails digging into the flesh of his face.  "You will regret this, you bastard son of Odysseus," she hissed.

Using all of his strength, Walter pushed Circe away, causing her to stumble, the ground trembling as she fell. Walter turned to Gaius. "Get out of here! Now!" he shouted.

Gaius nodded and picked Marcy up in his arms,  carrying her towards the exit Walter had pointed out earlier.  A violent earthquake struck at that moment,  nearly tossing both of them to the floor, but Gaius managed to keep his balance, forcing the door open with his shoulder.

He stepped through the doorway into blackness. Suddenly, he was falling...


Marco had come looking for Clovis, finding the old curator alone in Gaius' study, standing before a large picture window. In the distance, smoke poured out of a dying mountain.

Marco noted the erupting volcano, remembering their visit a few weeks back. "I suppose I should be glad you didn't decide to visit today," he said.

"You did warn me that it was still active," Clovis replied, as he continued to peer out the window.

"Yeah. But seeing you here watching it makes me think that this was no ordinary volcano. What is really happening out there?"

"Circe has met her match."

"I see. And what of Gaius and Marcy?" asked Marco.

Clovis frowned. "I don't know," he said.



Holiday Pause

Clovis and Marco were out this morning, leaving dour Roger in charge of the museum. He chose the works of Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519), all the while wondering what had become of his old friend, Gaius. "They come and they go," he thought as he adjusted the frame of the last painting...

Happy Easter. Gaius' tale will resume next week. 



Girl in Ice

Gaius the Archivist followed his drunken friend,  Walter, into the vast chamber and stopped, his mouth open.  There,  up near the ceiling,  like an insect trapped in a garden spider's web, waited Marcie, unconscious, woven into a latticework of ice. Much to his relief, she was not naked, clad instead in a pale shapeless gown that struggled to hide her female form.

"Marcie!" he shouted and then started forward, but Walter grabbed his arm and stopped him.

"Let Lilli do her work, young Gaius," he said in a kindly voice. "You do not have the ability to free the girl. The dragon does."

Gaius stopped and nodded, taken aback.  Walter was a man of many emotions, but kindness was a virtue he'd never before revealed.

Walter resumed speaking.  "Now, listen to me,  Gaius---this is important.  There is a door hidden behind the ice. It leads out of this chain of caverns.  Once Lilli frees your girl, the two of you need to go through the passage beyond that door as quickly as you can and get as far away from here as possible. Understand?"

"You need to come with us," Gaius replied.

"No. If I survive this, Lilli and I will go out the way we came."

Gaius looked at him fearfully. "What do you mean by that? If you survive this?"

"Later, Gaius," Walter growled. "Just do what I told you. Lilli, go ahead and free the girl. We don't have much time."


Both Walter and the dragon turned to face Gaius.

"What now?" asked Walter in exasperation.

"Your dragon friend melted stone back in there in the passage we came through. She'll roast poor Marcie alive with those flames."

The dragon stared at him, her eyes revealing laughter. Gaius marveled at the beast, remembering the various artworks depicting her kind--how could a mythical creature be captured on canvas so accurately by thousands of artists over the centuries without actually ever being seen?

That question remained unanswered,  but Lilli the dragon answered Gaius' spoken one.  "Mortal man," she said, "there are fires, and then then are fires." She turned then and faced Marcie frozen in ice, releasing her flames.



An Archivist's Musings

(Continued from two Sundays ago)

The two men watched in awe as the dragon released its inner fires, melting away the walls of the passage, rivers of red flowing around them.  One such stream began to pool almost at Gaius' feet. He stepped away from the growing puddle, sweat trickling down his forehead from the heat. The walls ahead were glowing.

The dragon finished its work and drew in a fresh breath,  but instead of exhaling another gout of flame,  turned and spoke to Gaius instead. "The way is clear now but stay toward the center of the passage and move quickly, otherwise you will be roasted.  If that happens, I do not believe Walter would be too upset if I ate your charbroiled corpse."

Gaius started to respond,  but thought better of it, instead following old Walter, who had resumed walking. There was much that Gaius had wanted to say---for one, Walter's absurd claim about his parentage deserved a challenge. If it were indeed true, Walter would not just be old---he would be ancient. But then Gaius recalled the bizarre things that happened to him since coming to work for Clovis, and sighed. The museum that employed him was not a storehouse of art, it was, in truth, a mental institution, filled with raving lunatics. Why had Gaius left the university to work there?

"Come on!" Walter said impatiently, as Gaius had fallen behind, lost in his thoughts. The passage walls that the dragon had widened earlier began to darken, rapidly cooling.

Gaius realized then  that he had stopped and started walking again.  Walter too had halted, a few dozen paces ahead of him, waiting. When Gaius rejoined Walter,  he saw that the passage opened into a wide room,  its walls completely covered with artwork,  which seemingly refuted his earlier thoughts on mental institutions and lunatics.  Or did it?  The renderings around him looked to be the efforts of a madman.

"We're almost there," Walter said excitedly, paying the art no mind. Instead he started forward at a brisk pace and exited the room.



A Time of Learning

The two men followed the dragon at a leisurely pace, Gaius the Archivist behind drunken Walter. They stayed toward the middle of the cavernous passage,  hoping to afford themselves a measure of protection from the rocks that tumbled down from the walls in the dragon's wake. The gigantic beast waddled forward, heedless of the small earthquakes it was creating with each footfall.

Walter hummed tunelessly while Gaius followed, his thoughts confused. Why was Marcy encased in ice? And if she truly was in such a state, why hadn't she froze to death? She was as human as he was, wasn't she? Gaius refrained from airing those questions, instead asking his old friend Walter where he went after leaving the museum.

"Hmm," Walter started, unsure if he could still trust his former associate. "I caught a flight to the coast and then took ship to Europe on a freighter. Once in Hispania, I was able to hire a smuggler to take me through the Pillars of Hercules and around the boot of Italia towards Colchis, where I encountered the agents of Circe."

"How did you know Circe would be there, and why seek her out?" asked Gaius, who hadn't heard the full story of his friend's departure.

"You're the museum archivist and a student of both history and myth---surely you know the story of Circe.  I went searching for Rosemary,"  Walter replied.  "After a brief  struggle with Clovis, he told me that it was Circe behind Rosemary's disappearance."

Gaius looked confused. "Why would Circe bother with Rose? And what do you mean by struggle? Did you fight Clovis?"

Walter laughed.  "Yes, I fought the old bastard, if you want to call it a fight---he refused to tell me anything at first,  so I threw a punch in his direction. The next thing I knew I was flat on my back with Clovis looking down on me.  I would have never guessed the old man had it in him. After he was sure I had calmed down, he told me what happened."

"And what happened?" Gaius asked. "And why was Circe involved?"

Walter did not answer for a time, returning his attention to the dragon ahead of them. The beast had stopped, eyeing the walls of the passage. "Too narrow, Lilli?" Walter asked.

"Yes," the dragon replied. "I'll need to use my inner fires to widen the way. It would be best if you two moved back some."

Walter nodded, and started back the way they came, stopping when he was a safe distance away. Gaius followed.

You didn't answer my question," Gaius said. "Why would Circe be interested in Rosemary?"

Walter sighed. "Circe saw her as a threat. According to Clovis, it was me the goddess wanted, and Rosemary was in the way. You see, my friend, I am the last surviving son of Odysseus. So I am to blame for Rose's abduction."

The dragon released its fires at that moment with a loud roar, halting any further conversation...



Chance Encounter

Having no place to retreat,  Gaius the Archivist stood before the dragon, resigned to his fate. But as the magnificient beast opened its mouth to release its inner fires, another thud, much smaller, diverted both the dragon's and Gaius' attention.  A new visitor,  this one a man clad in black and silver armor, had rappeled down from above, to stand next to the dragon.

"There you are!" the newcomer said in an all-too-familiar voice.  Seeing Gaius standing there, the man muttered something inaudible before turning to kick the dragon in the hindquarters. "What are you doing, Lilli? You can't go eating strangers!"  The man nearly toppled over then, obviously drunk. He removed his helmet and stared at Gaius in wonder. "Do I know you?" he asked.

Unlike his old drunken associate,  Gaius recognized the man at once.  "Walter!" he exclaimed in delighted surprise. "What are you doing here?"

"Gaius? Is that really you?" Walter shook his head as if to clear it and then stared at the archivist strangely.  "I'm here to free Rosemary's little sister,  encased in ice,  on the orders of Circe. What are you doing here?"

"It's a long story," Gaius answered. "Marcy is nearby?"

"Yes," Walter replied. "She's up ahead in the yonder grotto. Come, you can help us free her."

Gaius hesitated. "How did Marcy get trapped in ice down here?" he asked.

"It's a long story," Walter whispered coyly as he pointed out the direction to his dragon, Lilli. The beast heaved itself up on its hind legs and started to crawl northward, the ground trembling with each footstep.

The two men followed, Gaius noticing the artwork on the walls as they walked. Strange that they resembled the cave art he once studied in France years earlier...



Going Mythical

Upon finishing off his breakfast,  Gaius belched loudly, saying "excuse me" out of habit, as no one was close by to be offended by his stomach's satisfied remarks.  Standing up,  he looked about the chamber, seeing that the only exit was the way he had come.  Retracing his steps,  he walked back to the four-way intersection and resumed walking along his original path. The light had increased significantly, which raised Gaius' spirits---perhaps he was nearing a way out of this underground maze.

After an indetermine time, he came to a well-lit, cavernous room. A skylight above let in the rays of the noontime sun. As he stood there examining the opening above, seeking a way up the sheer walls, the light suddenly winked out followed by a rush of superheated air.

Gaius stepped back involuntarily, which saved him from being crushed by the massive beast that dropped down from above. Landing with a loud, earth-shaking crash, a dragon came to rest a few away from where Gaius stood, eyeing him hungrily.

"Lunchtime!" the dragon exclaimed, inhaling deeply to feed the raging fire burning within its gut, gauging the flames' temperature before readying itself to exhale and roast this human morsel...



Unknown Benefactor

Gaius the Archivist awoke from a troubled sleep, the dream he had upon awakening still swirling about in his head. Why, after all this time, was he thinking about Marcy? He stood and stretched, and looked around the chamber, lit from above some unseen source. Odd--this room did not look like the same one he laid down to sleep in.

Having no other recourse but to go onward, Gaius did his best trying to reorient himself before he resumed walking. His stomach began making noisy complaints.  Gaius strove to ignore its hungry protests, although his mind wandered and his thoughts focused on a hot breakfast. How long had it been since he last ate?

Fortunately,  the illumination remained constant,  and Gaius was able to move forward at a good pace.  Coming to another intersection, he paused and debated his choices.  His nose decided him, detecting an all too familiar scent.  It took a few moments  to recognize the smell but Gaius' pace had already increased and his stomach redoubled its complaints. The passage he followed turned then to reveal a small room furnished with a small table and a single chair. Upon the table waited his favorite breakfast--bacon, eggs, and wheat toast. A glass of milk stood off to the side.

Too hungry to wonder about the incongruity of breakfast here in this dreary cave, Gaius sat down and began eating, his thoughts turning once again towards Marcy...

Today's artwork was created by the Parisian impressionist, Berthe Morisot (1841-1895).



No Answers

As quickly as she had come, Circe disappeared--her dance completed, her missive uttered, and her laughter echoing through the palace of emptiness.  Once again, the two men were alone to ponder their options.

Marco stood and surveyed the room, looking for signs of the enchantress. Clovis didn't bother, knowing Circe was gone.

"It seems Gaius is in a bit of a fix," Marco said.


"So, what do we do now?"

The old museum curator turned towards the doors of the palace.  "I don't know," he said as he began walking towards the exit. Marco turned and followed Clovis, wondering if he'd see Gaius again.

Today's artwork comes from the German surrealist, Edgar Ende (1901-1965).