Halls of Palais de Festivals were filled with laughter from audiences as the satirical host quipped. The Dame checked Rigor’s table most of the time and her best friend not back from the comfort room yet as she didn’t like the show. Assuming that Rigor and Daniela were in no way going to be back either, the dame decided to go to the lobby alone. she passed the inside foyer area alone smiling to everyone. The hallway where the waiters stayed was then deserted. The Bomb Squad Team was nowhere to find either. The Dame went out of the building. The loneliness in the dark replaced the once festive though she didn’t bother being alone. All she cared then was Rigor and Daniela ‘where are they?’ Taking few steps toward the center was worth the risk just to see what lurked ahead. One strobe light beamed downward, its light passed through an accumulation of dark smog. Light beamed skyward and another set of fireworks exploded. Below, the darkness made the Dame gasping for breath. The air turned acrid. The smell of sulfur from fireworks suffocated her. She covered her nose and mouth with one hand but the smog seemed to have a life of its own sieved through her ears and eyes. She closed her eyes and plugged her ears with her finger while crouching so she could cover her nose with her arms. She felt drowning; holding her breath a little longer was all she needed to survive. Slowly, she knelt feeling her lungs emptied. Beaming lights stayed immobile focusing on her as she could tell from the ring like thing that appear when eyes are close. She tried uncovering her nose, she smelt no acrid but a safe, life giving air. She sucked air as if coming out the surface from drowning. Opening her eyes , she flinched at the brightness; she loved the spotlight but this was much. She shields her eyes with a hand to see the black smog whirling several feet from her. The whirling sucked all the smog and it stopped when it turned pitch black. It became solid hooded figure and walked toward the shivering Dame. The black figure held something that resemble a flashlight. a push of a button, three feet red laser beamed out from it. The Dame screamed for her life, the black figure muffed her instantly by its feet. Tearful, she saw closing in on her forehead was a red laser which appeared to be a hot rod. She couldn’t move her body as an unseen force from the hand of be-hooded thing controlled her. The tip of light saber touched her forehead with a searing sound of a burning flesh forming a gothic cross.
“I can take your soul forcibly.” said the be hooded figure, his other hand up in the air trembling over the Dame trying to dispel her soul out that was shrieking terribly refusing to leave the body but no one heard her.
Something was crawling beneath the Dame’s face which distracted the hooded figure from dispelling the soul. The crawling stopped in between eyebrows protruding like a cysts, and broke out to be a gem perfectly set streaking pure light which freaked the hooded figure out attacking the Dame hopelessly. The Dame’s soul gone scarper from a pursuing hooded figure. The scarab beetle ring she put in her mouth while covering from the smog a while ago could no longer help her. She ran away from the hooded evil. She ran toward Le Suquet, beyond Palais; there were secret passages unknown to many. It is believed to be a magical passage that all evil elements dared not to go. The hooded evil abandon the Dame and search for Rigor and Daniela instead.
Rigor and Daniela found BCBG store deserted; the party was over. The only light was that of BCBG Nature perfume erected near the porticoed store entrance. The perfume bottle, brightly lit in luminous green resembled an Egyptian obelisk.
“O my God, do you know what this mean?” said Daniela who went directly to the unveiled obelisk.
A perfume, an obelisk…….the Dame who trusted us……” Said Rigor correlating words. “What have we got?” he asked Daniela whose hands ran through the surface of a fifteen foot obelisk.
” It says BCBGirls Nature, that’s all there is.” said Daniela searching for an invitation on her bag and read it. “BCBG means Bon Chic Bon Genre, translates us Good Style Good Attitude. Nature is the name of the scent. What’s that got to do with us?” asked Daniela
“Of course it has and that’s not all there is.” said Rigor who asked for an invitation. He read BCBG printed on the center, below it read Bon Chic Bon Genre and below it read “Good Style Good Attitude” and below it NATURE beside the leaf icon. On left corner below is the time schedule and on opposite is the venue. On the edge of the square invitation are calligraphy alternately repeated which served as decorative edge. The word NATURE around it caught Igor’s attention. Then it was closely followed by Chinese calligraphy, then Arabic, Japanese, then Naturelle, a blank space, then Nature.
“There’s something you may want to look at here.” said Rigor to Daniela who raced toward him as he read over again turning an invitation to all sides. Daniela did so, reading it upside down.
“It’s a translation in four other languages.” said Rigor
“That would be five. In space, something dotted was embossed. It might be a code.” said Daniela that she herself was surprised running back to the obelisk. “These are not flaws on a smooth surface as i thought it was.” she said feeling the obelisk’s eye level surface by her hands. She touched every dot protruding, tracing what they formed but couldn’t make out what it is.
“We need papers, we’ll transfer these dots to it. We have to have references.” Said Daniela looking around while Rigor scavenged the trash and back with BCBG onion skin; the one which the store used as lining for wrapping gift.
“Here, wait, I’ll have it numbered so we’ll know which comes first.” said Rigor who was looking for the direction where the siren came from. ‘the Palais de Festivals’
“We’ll figure it out , we have to go back to hotel, we’ll surf the Net, they might have an answer.” Daniela talked rapidly as she smells sulfur. She paused and found Rigor not moving an inch but his eyes darting to a distance in an apparent shock. He saw a black figure at a distance closing in toward them.
“Run Daniela run, stay away not from the light but him!!! Rigor bellowed with all his might and Daniela matched it with a sprint. Running a few meters, Daniela realized she’s alone as her stomping on brick pavement was all she could hear. Rigor was left immobile as if he was drained of energy from bellowing. Daniela got back furiously pulling Rigor by the wrist and both stomped their way off to store. Stomping on the well lit pavement along clusters of luxurious establishments; Rigor and Daniela’s end all be all of running was to get rid of the be hooded black figure. Daniela’s eyes sunken and her cheeks slacken; a gaunt look on her face like a suffering insomniac. One would think of her as a zombie breaking free from wasteland. Igor fret a bit at her excessive sweating which smeared her cosmetics all over. She didn’t mind how she looked that wiping is a bother. She maintained her speed instead that Igor kept up with her. Her dress soaked in sweat but sea breeze made her feel bathed in icicles or it might be cold sweat from nerve gnarling sight of several other black figures few meters ahead of them; talking in pairs and smoking. Daniela stopped immediately catching her breath and so did Igor. Black figures all look in their direction. Daniela froze in fear as if the icicles fast formed a glacier about to bury her. Slowly, she turned her head to Rigor as if her neck was frozen. Her eyes wide open but he could tell it can’t see the real thing. A blank stare. wide eyed confused.
“Do they look like the one you saw?” Asked Daniela uncertain of his description as they ran off to store; sulfur affected her comprehension and somehow made her dizzy.
”Yes, exactly like that.” Said Rigor resting his hands akimbo and took steps forward ahead of her gesturing her to go with them instead. He’s acting like he got new found friend. Daniela slapped him hard on his shoulder.
”Are you out of your mind? The evil could be one of them. Your calmness won’t tame that beast. He is the King of aberration. That means, he won’t hesitate destroying you.” Said Daniela terrified of the inevitability.
”He can’t be one of them, that black evil can either be an ash or a molten ore in human form and that’s a lot of ashes; one of his alchemical metamorphosis, you know but never in human flesh.” Said Rigor certain he didn’t left any room for doubt.
“ They’re all in mask and smoking, how can you be so sure?”
They moved just like us, the black hooded evil moved flux, the ash and molten ore justifies that. He can’t be sturdy, he’s malleable. Besides, these were red carpet guards remember? They’ll smell the sulfur when the evil is around.”
These mask figures were scurrying toward them, throwing cigarette butts.
”Let’s go!” Daniela again grabbed Rigor’s wrist and pulled him for a run across the Boulevard toward the beach. As they crossed to the other side of the road, mask figures shrugged as if to say ‘why they run away? What’s wrong?” Rigor and Daniela walked back to the deserted arcade and continue their talk. They hide among folded beach umbrellas which hotel employees kept on one side so they won’t be flown by wind at night. They stayed observing these mask figures which appear to be wearing cape. ‘They were having fun’ Vita could tell from their high fives and thumbs up.
Five French police patrol car passed in convoy toward the Palais de Festivals. An ambulance and a media van didn’t raise an alarm among be masks figures, however patrol car’s siren did alarm them scurrying toward the Palais, each withdrew a handheld radio and gun. Rigor nudged Daniela and wore a boastful smile that told her he was right about the guard thing.
”No matter, I opt to what is safe. You might not be wearing the same face if one of them turned out to be the black hooded evil, would you? So, here they are abandoning their post for booze. Marshal’s duties might be limited to guarding the stanchion, only when there are people to be barred.”Said Daniela
”Come on, let’s keep going!” Said Rigor leading Daniela to the next storage ahead where they could hide. Daniela run but her shoe heels burying to the sand that she’s almost dragging her feet. She could see Rigor stopped ahead but couldn’t make out from the dark what he’s up to. Rigor smiled at the sight of rakes stored by hotel employees which they use for combing sands. Rakes were standing, neatly tied together at handle’s end and it’s teeth buried on sand forming in circle that of the tent; one could hide inside it. He pulled one, this could be a good weapon against the black hooded evil. ‘No, not the serrated teeth of the rake but the long wooden handle.’ He thought.
He unscrewed teeth from its handle and pulled a flail from his slacks; undo his bow and tied to handle’s end with it. ‘ With this, I can touch the evil at a safe distance. Just a sight of this made him scuttling away. A touch might do a difference’ he wondered
Rigor!!! Help me!!! Daniela bellowed tripping on her own feet and shove forward to the sand. She was looking at something coming from a distance behind her. Rigor briskly ran toward her with his improvised flail. He helped Daniela up to stand just in time as the black hooded figure came sweeping. Rigor brandished his long flail forward and the black hooded figure recognized it immediately that leaves him motionless; though it appeared immobile, a whirring sound inside like that of an exhaustive breathing muffed by the metal mask suggests motion. This scared Igor of walloping it. He was scared that might not work and surely the evil figure will retaliate and doomed him. He knew the hooded evil was anticipating his next move. He gripped the handle tightly midway, tossed it up and freed it in the air; grabbed the end tightly with his two hands and walloped it hard to the hooded evil but it was quick pulling its light saber and blocked Rigor’s strike that cut the wood’s upper end like a banana stalk. The flail to where it was attached came hurtling down to hooded evil’s chest. It went berserk as flail touched it and sent the light saber to the sand. Rigor saw the flail dropped to the side too but hooded evil acted as if the flail still touched its chest. The hooded evil went swiftly to the rake storage where Daniela was hiding. Rigor collected the flail and ran after it. He saw Daniela nervously making something out of the rake and stood up brandishing it to the hooded evil.
“Hey, spare the girl !!!Find someone your match !!!bellowed Rigor from behind. The hooded evil didn’t mind him, instead it thrust all rakes violently crashing Vita behind it serried. Daniela got her dress stuck to rakes, she can’t move out. Rigor brave his way from behind passing the hooded evil and face it.
“Don’t you dare touched her.” Said Rigor with his flail aimed for the hooded evil. He could see a hole on it’s chest where the flail landed. It’s widening as it whirred. The evil thrusted more that Daniela had no chance of escaping. He was clearly pursuing Daniela. Rigor imagined her being seared on forehead by the hooded evil. It moved one step.
“Don’t come any closer!!!” Rigor brandished his flail that the evil backed off a little. His other hand started clearing rakes disentangling Daniela while his flail still up.
“My dress ripped by rakes and it stuck.”
“Undress then !!! Come on!!! Said Rigor who found tied ends and tried lifting rakes all at once with all his might. Daniela shrieked for her toes were pressed between metal teeth. She pulled her toes containing pain and crawled; undone her dress like snake leaving its skin behind. Rigor’s eyes were fixed to the mask and his flail arm muscles reflexes from holding rakes up. He let go of it as soon she surely freed from it. She clung to Rigor’s free arm. She felt confidently safe with Rigor’s flail and not her shoes, she slowly took it off. They noticed the hooded evil didn’t move any except for the endless whirring that then covered his upper torso. The cloak was slowly fraying to a fine powder.
“Run!!” bellowed Rigor pulling Daniela who ran faster without her shoes. She then wore black silk nighties which allowed her more freedom running from death. From behind them, the hooded evil loosened to a fine black ash. The warm sea air blown hard it scattered the ashes. Rigor and Daniela held hand and broke to a sprint. Rigor occasionally turned his head and he could tell the hooded evil was still whirring and knew in a matter of time, the hooded evil would again emerge anew.
Note: Pop Culture has always been embedded in our lives. We are all ardent consumer of everything Pop. Earlier days of our lives or our formative years had been encroached with images shown by an intrusive media which turned out to be our go-to guide on what’s cool or not. Readily available Pop Culture had been the staple of what’s cool to be accepted by our peers.
Peer pressure is a force to reckon with for it always sucked us in to be competitive- keeping up with those fads and crazes which from time to time leveling up the ante. Those who lead the game of Pop obviously become princes and princesses; and few who really raise the bar so high become King and Queen- but there’s a catch.
Raising the bar so high comes with a hefty price- what’s with the substance abuse to cope with the stress brought by the impossible demands of Popdom and thus we all are trap in a world that threatens to burst any given time.
This is the story of Rigor and Daniela maneuvering in an ever changing Pop World. They have their fair share of heartaches and mental illnesses brought by the world that Popped.
Follow their journey to the ever changing Pop world where their child’s game of retail therapy that Pop is known for leads them to find a cure or a therapy (that is not a pseudo science or pop science) but something Pop icons and Pop luminaries pioneered and led Pop world to achieve Mental Health.
Discover the gift of Pop………
Disclaimer: This journal chronicle events from my past career describing activities on and off salesman’s duties. All events described herein actually happened irrespective of the order the blog was posted. Any resemblance to persons living or dead should be plainly apparent to them and those who know them and that the author is not responsible for any assumptions that may arise; to construe from the fact presented is discouraged as the author is still trying to make sense of it. You may do so at your own risk.
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