Joule’s transfiguration from STOCK to Extreme Custom Street Rod with Posthuman Consciousness happened in 2004 CE. Diane L Roth saved the 1977 Funeral Coach from obscurity in the haunted town of Larkhall at Latitude Forty-Five North. Joule belonged to Uncle Jimmy, James Garrett Barrett who died mysteriously and wound up floating in the River Arielle. However, the 6000 pound machine was solid and paid for free and clear.
Her father, Leonardo L Roth, also an Undertaker, delivered Joule via Flat Bed Truck to her residence in Skyhaven, New Hampshire, alongside the Atlantic Sea.
Joule was retrofitted with a high-tech replacement chassis of 7005 Alloy Aluminum, which when installed properly, required a Metal Magister. They were very hard to find. Since the Thirteenth Century Medieval inquisitions, they had quit advertising, keeping a low profile.
Metal Magisters were similar to Exorcists, however they believed in Panpsychism; that all material things have a quality of permanence. A Soul.
They frequently were Blacksmiths, Machinists, and Mechanical Engineers. Erich Douglas Morrison was local, and could transplant a Machines Soul reliably and consistently. He used to be an Electro-Mechanical Designer before they sent the jobs away in his land.
“Erich, the 500 Cube Motor is a ’76, different form-factor than the 425. Two-And-A-Half INCH Duals, Turbo 400, Gear Vendors Underdrive Overdrive, and 3.89 Posi. The space frame lets me chop the overall body height, and still keep the rear deck opening low.”
“Diane, for coffins?” “Erich, groceries, third seat for guests. Like an SUV.”
“Angelique, there’s blood on my shirt.”
“Randall, let’s see your mouth!” He was tired of her shining that little light in his eyes; but what did he have to lose? Certainly not his mind. He opened up.
“Randall, dental work, recently?” He told her the teeth were fine. Why? “You were bleeding. A minute ago. The shirt!” She gave the tiny flashlight a rest. Glanced at the blue-green doors leading to the first sub-level where her Red Mercedes was parked. “Randall, flies! Randall, hands!”
This normally bright, articulate woman was jabbering in coded bursts no greater than five words. He examined the fire door; it seemed further away than he remembered it. But no clouds of buzzing flies, nor body parts emerging from the pale marble walls. However there were life-size statues to either side of the doors which he would have noticed before.
The marble walls hadn’t existed even an hour ago. Nor the statues. He didn’t think they were Angels; not Of Light? One, dressed in steel-gray brandished an iron sword with dripping crimson shield. The second, wore indigo, holding aloft a torch burning black fire.
In front of the Floor Zero Gateway, embedded in the seamless snow-white stone floor, they saw an onyx circle, circumscribing a seven-point star. The star contained numerous smaller stars, bright gleaming gold, and a simple inscription, ‘VII.’
Edward A James had persevered. He was half-crazy, but his luck was improving.
“Kathleen, Sweet Kathleen, MY WILL BE DONE,” Edward spoke from the heart.
He spotted a very thin crack in the stone kitchen counter top that wasn’t there before. Fruit flies, marching single file like tiny soldiers. If there was a way in or out, insects knew.
Edward had noticed the ventilation normally provided fresh clean ocean air, but he had never located the registers, the source. What was up with that smell? Well… He hadn’t really looked very hard down there, beneath the smallish counter.
He swung the hinged cabinet door. Underneath was less claustrophobic than that hermetic dumbwaiter he’d tried to escape inside and chickened out. Edward leaned against the back vertical surface down there. At least it was clean in there too but it needed an air freshener or something.
Except for the obvious high technology support air, lighting, and communication systems, Edward James observed the architecture was extreme arcane archaic engineering.
He sat beneath the counter where miniature troops landed, and spoke aloud to that wall. Other than the little fruit fly soldiers, no one heard his request. The wall pivoted.
It tumbled him out, like a large people-vending machine. He got scared.
Edward righted himself. He was standing in a carpet ruby-red; must have been two inches thick, minimum. Back in the 1950’s his Uncle Albert, who married to his mother’s sister, owned a strange really fancy room with a thick rug. Edward had been let inside but once.
Mother said rich folks generally had plush unused rooms and emerald lawns of not weeds.
They called it a ‘sitting room.’ However nobody could sit inside the sitting room. Glass doors enforced the rule of law. Poor Aunt Marie must’ve cleaned that glass three hours a week with an ammonia spray cleaner.
Acetone. Formaldehyde. Vile odor from the red rug. That sitting room got used a lot…
He stood inside a vast hallway of dynamically changing, shifting perspectives. It was an isosceles trapezoid from the top view. With two parallel ends and converging side walls of polished veined marble. The ceiling was of extreme height, like in a Roman Cathedral.
Edward didn’t really care! He was somewhere, anywhere, OUTSIDE his octagonal prison containment zone! To the rear, what looked like a check-in desk, circa 1950’s. Was this a hotel? That massive ebony desk. Polished vases with live roses. Vanilla white roses.
There were two gaps between the desk and each wall. Behind the check-in-desk what looked like three panels of church-glass. some unfamiliar genre of eZine comic book colors. A family group portrait of five frozen in time in the large center pane; if it was a window, could this be a way out? Two dignified elders graced the slimmer side frames.
Above, a header spanned the three murals. Indecipherable glyphs in gold-leaf. Stars with too many wicked sharpened points. The subject’s bodies radiated platinum auras.