Chapter 10: Light City
On the shore of Light City, Arnold and Lucidia reach an illuminated arch door frame in the middle of a field. Above it reads: ‘Light City Entrance’. Just before they get to it, a green glowing penguin burrows up from the sand. The penguin wears a bowling shirt that says ‘Perry’ and he plucks a ukulele while waves of light dance out with the music.
‘Hello!’ Arnold says, like a friendly tourist.
The penguin bows and then plucks his ukulele for a short surf-reggae piece, singing: ‘in the library/ secrets of the world. You won’t remember me / you lose what you came here for.’ Perry then plucks his ukulele, gives a bow, and spins back into the sand.
‘That was interesting,’ Lucidia giggles.
‘Let’s go see if we can take a train out of here.’ Arnold looks back to see the boat approaching.
They walk to the entrance, but Lucidia is prevented from passing through by a force-field made of light. It appears when Arnold tries as well. He bangs on the force-field, and it sends a painful shock through him.
‘That penguin never said anything about this,’ Lucidia stamps her foot. They take a few steps back.
Arnold picks up a rock from the ground. ‘That can’t be it!’ He looks back to see the boat getting closer to shore. He throws the rock at the force-field, but it flies through the doorway without hitting it. He suddenly remembers the medallion and pulls it out of his satchel. ‘It’s worth a shot,’ he thinks to himself.
‘What’s that?’ Lucidia’s eyes widen with intrigue.
‘I think this is what that man on the boat was after. Maybe it can help us.’ He walks over to the door and puts his hand through. They both cheer.
‘Let’s hold onto it and walk through together.’ He holds the medallion out for her and they pass through the Light City entrance.
‘It’s about time this medallion did me some good,’ Arnold says as he runs and laughs. They run towards the next illuminated door that stands 100 yards ahead.
Chapter 11: Illumination
At the entrance to the second door, a floating hat appears before them. A booming voice comes from under it.
‘Hello.’ The voice is deep, but friendly.
‘Hello,’ they both say back.
‘Are you witches?’ The voice asks.
‘No’ Lucidia says.
‘Oh! Are you from around here?’
‘Nope,’ Arnold says.
‘Hhmm. It’s a rare circumstance to have people see and hear me,’ he says. ‘Since you’re not from around these parts, may I offer you some advice?’ His voice becomes serious all of a sudden.
‘Please do.’ Lucidia says.
The invisible man tips his hat and clears his throat. ‘Light City used to be called Enlightened City, but it has been cursed by an explosion. As a result of this, if you go into the third circle, you turn into light! Be careful!’
‘What do you mean?’ Lucidia asks, but the hat vanishes after his warning.
Arnold and Lucidia shrug their shoulders. They hold onto the medallion and pass through the second circle. A main street runs from the entrance of the second circle to the entrance of the third, lined with a series of abandoned souvenir shops and restaurants. Apartments and other illuminated buildings populate some connected side-streets and alleyways.
The streets have no cars on them, but people wander across them. Two people huddle around a third illuminated door, chanting and throwing sparkled dust into the entrance.
‘Light City can be a dangerous place if you’re not careful.’ A man appears from a fire-exit above them. He wears shredded strips of clothing on his body and platform shoes. He has kind eyes, and smiles at them after he climbs down to meet them on the street.
‘Come with me,’ he says, ‘I’ll take you to the library.’
Arnold and Lucidia exchange glances and decide to go with him. They follow him through two alley-ways and they arrive at what looks like an old school-house, but with glowing windows. The man politely opens the door for them and then heads back towards the main street.