HBA Island

Far From Home: Chapter 10 – Coming Home

The water here is cold. Memories of a childhood I knew could not be mine flowered in my mind; giggles and splashes with fingers trailing in a steam and cold water flicked at friends. If I tried that now I wouldn’t even know if the few fingers I had left froze solid and snapped off. Now only the custom-made fleece-lined leather gloves kept what was left of my hands safe from injury and the elements. The childhood squeals of joy faded until only the quiet lapping of my oar in the river and the occasional bird cry from the bank remained. I liked it that way. Memories were useless out here, they would only slow me, make me careless, drag me down with them. What was gone was just that, gone.

I looked ahead, my landing point approached, a stream flowing into the river where the forest at the base of the mountain dipped to meet the lake. The trees in the forest were snow-draped as if a funeral shroud had been cast over them, white and smothering…

“You’ll have to wear this under your clothes,” the doctor from the slums stood in my room and held up long white underwear. He’d been coming every day since my return. The hospital in Caledon offered me accommodation in the local sanatorium, promised me a job, promised me rooms, promised me a prison with lunatics for cellmates. I declined. I had a home. I had a jungle. I left and I went home only to find it had gone, burnt to the ground, not a trace left. I sat on the sand and didn’t move for three days.

I saw things. They spoke to me. They pointed and they laughed and they danced.

On the fourth day the rain came. I sat on the sand and made believe the rain streaming down my face were the tears I could no longer weep. It rained for a day and a night.

On the fifth day I left the island. I didn’t know where else to go so I travelled back to where it all began. Back to the epicentre. Back to Steelhead.

People stared. They whispered and pitied and taunted and joked. In Steelhead my misery was compounded by the unruly children that inhabit an underworld no adult can hope to enter without their permission. Oh yes, the Steelhead Scamps thought me great sport.

I wasn’t sure where to go, so I went to the slums to find the doctor. He stared. They all stare. Still, he helped. I don’t know what he said and to whom but by nightfall I was in a comfortable room in a nearby hotel. From my window I could see Spirit Lake flowing out into the river as it passed through the wilderness of St Helens.

“You’ll have to wear this under your clothes,” I turned from the window (how many days had I stood there staring out into the isolation beyond?), “and these gloves I’ve had made for you. Likewise your boots and socks. You are going to have to protect yourself if you are insistent about going through with this.”

I stared at the while underwear in his hands and the other garments on my bed. “Thank you. Is everything else ready?”

He sighed, “Yes. There’s a canoe and supplies ready and Lunar has stamped your purchase order. You’re the proud owner of very remote, very isolated forest by the mountain. I’m guessing that will make you happy, eh?”

I looked at the man with concern etched across his brow and said nothing. He shook his head and placed the long thermals on the bed, “Well at least promise me you’ll make our agreed meetings. Every two weeks. If you miss one, I’ll only come looking for you and neither of us wants that; I hate the great outdoors with a passion, you know.” I tried a smile but my skin wouldn’t move like that any more so I just nodded and told him he had my word.

The next morning I set a hat on my head, wrapped a scarf around my face and walked away from the hotel, away from the city, away from the scamps and everyone and everything. I checked the canoe and set off rowing, I let the river take me for a while but I liked to row, the exertion warming me in the frigid morning air. Since the fire, since Shade, The Erase, the would-be killer, since my recovery, winter had come to these parts and it held the land fast in its white silence. There was no one around, not a living soul for miles, and it was perfect. I looked down at the river, clear and blue beneath me.

Steelhead St Helens

The water here is cold, I thought to myself…

****{}****

The End.
All the “Far From Home” posts can be read here.

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HBA Island – Gone At Last

I’ve popped into my old home once or twice since I left to see if it had been sold – I was strangely pleased* to see it remained empty and the same as the day I had left.

Then:
HBA Island: the End

But… Now it belongs to someone else. And his rocks are better than mine were.**
The New Old HBA Island

* A feeling akin to that childish need to see an ex in the street looking tired and miserable instead of happy and obviously better off without you.

** See? Better off without me. Sigh.

HBA Island – The Road To Its Ruin

As some of you will know, HBA Island is no more. A volcano erupted in the middle of the jungle of my old home and burnt the lot down ending what was, by then, a two year labour of love for me.

HBA Island: The End

I won’t go into the history of how I came to have a small plot of land as unhappy tales of griefers and the like are sooooo 2007, but suffice to say that in the first few months my wee 4ksqm plot was a real life saver. Even after I had moved back away and begun exploring the grid the island had a very special place in my heart and I’m only too glad that a) so many of my friends came to visit, and b) so many people I now count as friends called my home their home.

But all things must end, or at the very least change, and my jungle is no different. I was never there, I had stopped adding to the art gallery, the tale of the shipwrecked sailor had been abandoned and the humper bunker next to me had grown to be a small thorn in my side. So before I ended up falling out with neighbours I’d known for some time, and before I grew to see my jungle not as a place of peace, but as a creative mill stone, I knew I had to get rid of it.

I *did* think about selling it, but since I bought it in 2007 for 6L$ a sqm land prices had crashed, the measly 1L$ per sqm I would have received (even if I could have found a buyer) just wasn’t worth the effort. I simply informed the owner (the ever excellent Deoko Cassidy) that I wasn’t going to renew after the current rent ran out and he should take back the land. I then had a week or so to plan its demise… bwahahahahahaha!

Actually, my first idea was for a meteorite strike (this grew out of an idea I had in 2007 to have meteorite strike the jungle and slowly convert it to an alien landscape) but at the same time Miss Ordinal Malaprop was having a similar idea to get rid of her land in Caledon and two such strikes seemed… uninventive. Besides, somehow it didn’t feel right – as I said, the idea was an old one and with an very different purpose in mind, to wit the continuation of the Island as a story telling medium, and this was not what I wanted.

As I have mentioned on many occasions, all my good ideas occur in the shower, and as I stood under the lovely hot water one morn I felt the idea pop into my mind – a volcano! Burn the bloody island to the ground!

I had a week left and began planning that very night – Sally the crab would return (following the poll I ran) and cause the cataclysm. The volcano would grow a little each night, finally eruting and burning the whole place down for the last 2 or 3 nights until BOOM! HBA Island was no more. So with a volcano from Brenda Schoonhoven and a sculptie stream which I edited to run with lava, from the very clever Vlad Bjorenson I set about the dread deed! Below I present a pictoral record of the end of my Island and the group which I’d set up to use it – one thing I will say is that manually deleting nearly a thousand Linden trees and plants is more time consuming than you might at first imagine 0.o

First the Art Gallery and building area had to go…
HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

Then I fell back to earth…
HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

Where I deleted the old TP point and welcome area with the freebies and seats and stuff…
HBA Island: The End

Before clearing some trees for the volcano. I buried it deep so it was just a circle of rock – as I pulledit up, more and more trees had to go until, by the time the full 60m one was in place, I had to go inside and delete hundreds of trees and plants!
HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

Then I added fire and the sculptie stream
HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

And stood back with Sally to admire our work…
HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

After the photos were taken for the story “HBA Island: The End”, all that was left to do was clear the island of all prims and delete the HBA Island group (5 members – me, Ryne [also me] and Janey, Pinkie & Annika)…
HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: the End

HBA Island: the End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

Sigh… the end of a 2 year chapter of my life 🙂

A Rumble in the Jungle: Lava Her Alone!

It was a tough climb but at least this time there no ever-writhing tentacles or ceaseless snip snappy snappers to contend with, just loose stones and the fact that the tips of her legs were getting warmer and warmer as she got higher and higher.
HBA Island: The End

As she climbed, the jungle stretched out below her, sprawling as far as her eye-stalks could see(1).

HBA Island: The End

Eventually the top was within reach and as she hauled herself up she found that the mountain top was not a top at all, but a rim. She looked over and was amazed to see that the mountain was hollow and at the bottom was a swirling mass of hot, red gloopy stuff she had never seen before.

HBA Island: The End

She shuffled in for a better look but a wave of heat rising from below caused her to scuttle backwards. At her feet a small loose stone was flicked up into the air. It arced over the rim and began to fall down into the bubbling lake below…

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

Sally watched in mute horror as the lake began to burn and smoke. Great bubbles of burning gloop formed and popped below her.

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

The gloop began to fill up the inside of the mountain, began to rise up, racing towards where Sally trembled…

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

The explosion rattled her shell and the shockwave blasted her into the sky. As she flew over the jungle, the mountain erupted and sent wave after wave of burning red gloop falling onto the trees, causing them to burst into flames. As she fell into the sea, the whole jungle for miles around was one huge inferno and Sally watched on, clinging to a small piece of drfitwood, as her home, the only place she had ever known, was consumed by fire.

HBA Island: The End

Sally began to drift out to sea, leaving the burning jungle and exploding mountain far behind. The ocean was wide and deep and empty and Sally was hungry and cold and ever so alone…

HBA Island: The End

The End.
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(1) If only! I’d never have afforded that! It was surrounded by a Romanesque humper-bunker, some shops and various small houses in the tiki style. I used to dream of an endless jungle 🙂

A Rumble in the Jungle: All Alone with the Stone

The beach was empty. Sally, exhausted from the titanic fight back up from the depths, flopped on to the warm sand and looked around. Empty. The whole place was empty. She chirruped for her friends Colin and that daft squirrel McGrue but heard nothing in reply. How odd, she thought, maybe they’re in the jungle. She slowly got back to her aching legs and set off into the humid undergrowth, occasionally calling out as she went.

After half an hour of searching she was beginning to get very worried. The bat that lived above the standing stones was gone. The noisy seagull that swooped down and stole her shrimp was gone. Even the ants and the spiders that infested this part of the jungle were gone! This was spooky and she didn’t like it one bit. She was just about to turn back and hightail it to the beach again, when she noticed something poking out of the ground; a ring of stone she had never seen before. Sally approached it slowly and tapped it with her claw.

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island - The End

HBA Island: The End

HBA Island: The End

The ground beneath her began to shake and tremble. She looked about in surprise and fear as slowly, noisily the stone ring began to push its way upwards, out of the ground and into the jungle’s canopy.

Rock squealed over rock, earth split and parted, trees cracked and fell as the mound rose upwards and upwards. It widened as it went and Sally had to jog backwards to avoid being caught by the churning soil and stone at the base.

And then it stopped. As the last tree fell, a silent and eerie hush fell across the jungle. Sally looked up at the foreboding cone of rock, to the top where tendrils of steam curled lazily into the sky, and wondered what it could be. There was nothing for it: she would have to climb up and see what this new mountain in the jungle was.

HBA Island: The End

Was it warmer all of a sudden, Sally thought to herself as she gingerly stretched out her claw to begin the ascent…

To be continued…

A Rumble in the Jungle: Clawing Her Way Back

Nothing lives in the bottomless abyss. Things live on the rim, but if they lose their footing or venture too far down the steep walls they do not live long, for if the ever-writhing tentacles of the cave beasts don’t wrap them in their deadly embrace, or the ceaseless snip snappy snappers of the wall-dwellers don’t snip snap them away, then the terrible, relentless pressure will surely reduce them to nought but jelly. Oh yes, the Bottomless Abyss is a deadly place without hope of escape or survival for those who find themselves unlucky enough to fall in.

Luckily for Sally (who had always been a lucky sort of crab) she had in fact been tossed into the Really Very Deep Abyss that lies a little way in front of the more famous and far deadlier Bottomless Abyss. There were still the ever-writhing tentacles and snip snappy snappers, but at least there was a bottom you could reach without being squished into goo.

Sally stood on this bottom, looked back up through the stygian darkness and prepared herself for the long climb back through the ever-writhing tentacles and ceaseless snip snapping snappers. It would be tough, but frankly she was hungry and there were no shrimp down here.

To be continued…

No More HBA Island

[3:11] Second Life: Your group ‘HBA Island’ has been disbanded because it had fewer than 2 members.

That’s it folks – all gone now 🙂