THE GLASS FACTORY.           
                                        
                                        
                                      
                                  
                                  
                                          
 SEVERAL  CENTURIES  AFTER  IT  HAD  LAST 
 BELONGED TO US, WE  WENT ON AN OUTING TO 
 THE  GLASS  FACTORY THAT BORE OUR FAMILY 
 NAME. IT  HAD CHANGED OWNERS MANY  TIMES 
 SINCE  OUR  ANCESTORS  DEATH,  AND  THEN 
 STOOD  ABANDONED  FOR   A  LONG   WHILE. 
 FINALLY, THE  NATURAL  END  STATION  FOR 
 THE BUILDINGS  THAT  SURVIVE:  A MUSEUM, 
 AND A GIFT SHOP.                         
                                          
 THERE'S  A LONG  TIME  SINCE  MY  FAMILY 
 MADE  ANYTHING.  BY  MANY,  WE WOULD  BE 
 CONSIDERED POOR.                         
                                          
 THERE ARE  TWO  MAIN  FACTORY BUILDINGS, 
 DOMED THINGS  OF SEVERAL FLOORS, MADE IN 
 YELLOW  BRICK. LARGE BUT NARROW WINDOWS, 
 REMINESCENT    OF    SOME     CATHEDRAL. 
 CUSTOM-MADE GLASS,  OF COURSE, LARGE AND 
 LEADED, AND ASHEN. A BIT  TOO DARK TO BE 
 PRACTICAL.   ON  THE  EASTERN  BUILDING, 
 SOME ARE SHATTERED.                      
                                          
 THE OTHER ONE  IS PUBLICLY OPEN. THERE'S 
 A MUSEUM, WITH  WAX FIGURES OF  MY GREAT 
 GREAT  GREAT GRANDFATHER,  OR SOMETHING. 
 VARIOUS TOOLS (OR  REPLICAS) LAID OUT ON 
 TABLES,  WITH EXPLAINING TEXTS. A LOT OF 
 GLASS     OF     VARYING      THICKNESS. 
                                          
                                        
                                      
                          
                                      
                                        
                                          
 I QUICKLY  SNEAK OUT, AND CLIMB INTO THE 
 OTHER   BUILDING.    THE   CONTRAST   IS 
 OVERWHELMING.   IT   MUST   HAVE   STOOD 
 DERELICT  FOR  A   LONG   TIME,  WINDOWS 
 BROKEN,  METALLIC  TRASH  AND  POOLS  OF 
 DARK  GLASS  ALL   OVER  THE  FLOOR.  NO 
 ELECTRIC LIGHTS,  BUT  I CAN SEE  BY THE 
 LIGHT THAT SHINES IN  WHEREVER  THE DARK 
 WINDOWS     ARE    MISSING    A    PANE. 
                                          
 HOWEVER, THE GREATEST DIFFERENCE IS  THE 
 HIGHER FLOORS: THIS  BUILDING  HAS NONE. 
 IT  IS ONE MASSIVE HALL, STRETCHING AWAY 
 INFINITELY  ABOVE ME. SOMEWHERE UP THERE 
 IS  SOME  GREAT  IRON  LATTICEWORK, FROM 
 WHERE  CHAINS ARE  SUSPENDED,  AND PARTS 
 OF  MACHINERY  HAS  BEEN  FALLING  DOWN. 
                                          
 THERE IS,  IN THE MIDDLE  OF  THE  GREAT 
 HALL,   A  THIN  SPIRAL  STAIRCASE  THAT 
 LEADS UP THERE. I SNEAK  OVER THERE, AND 
 TAKE  A  FEW RELUCTANT STEPS. AFTER JUST 
 A REVOLUTION, I  NOTICE  THAT  FOR  EACH 
 STEP THE BUILDING  STARTS  TO GLOW,  THE 
 BRICKS  TURNING  A  DARK RED,  AND  THEN 
 ORANGE, ALL THE PILED  UP  DEBREE  BEING 
 LIT FROM BEHIND.                         
                                          
 I STOP  READY TO RUN  DOWN AND OUT,  BUT 
 THERE'S SOMEONE ELSE  ON  THE  STAIRCASE 
 WITH  ME  NOW,   PRESSED   CLOSE.   HE'S 
 LOOKING  LIKE  ME,  SHORT HAIR AND  THIN 
 ARMS, BUT  WITH  EARS  FROM SOME ANIMAL, 
 AND MORE DISTURBINGLY,  COMPLETELY  MADE 
 OF DARK LIQUID GLASS.                    
                                          
                                        
                                      
                          
                                      
                                        
                                          
 MY  FEAR  HOLDS  ME  IN  PLACE WHILE  HE 
 STARTS  OPERATING LEVERS  AND DIALS  SET 
 IN THE CENTER  OF THE STAIRCASE. SLOWLY, 
 IT  STARTS  SPINNING, CIRCLING  UPWARDS. 
 IT'S  AN  ELEVATOR!   I   START  TO  RUN 
 DOWNWARDS,   BUT  NOW  THE   LIQUID  BOY 
 CREATURE GRABS  HOLD  OF  ME.  I  TRY TO 
 SHAKE HIM OFF, BUT HE'S  TOO STRONG, AND 
 PULLS   ME    BACK   UP    BESIDE   HIM. 
                                          
 THIS TIME, I  TURN  ANGRY  INSTEAD. WHAT 
 THE  HELL? WHO  IS THIS GUY, ACTING LIKE 
 THIS? I REACH OUT  MY  FREE ARM AND SLAM 
 A   RANDOM  LEVER.  SOME  METAL  BAR  IS 
 SUDDENLY RELEASED  BETWEEN  US,  HITTING 
 HIM ON THE  ARM,  FORCING  MY RELEASE. I 
 SHOVE HIM  OFF OF  ME, AND HE FALLS INTO 
 THE    LEVERS,    MESSING    THEM    UP. 
 IMMEDIATELY,  A  THIN  RUSTY   CHAINMAIL 
 CURTAIN  IS DROPPED  AROUND ME. BUT  THE 
 ELEVATOR ALSO SPEEDS  UP  SIGNIFICANTLY. 
                                          
 THE  WALLS  ARE  FLARING   NOW,  YELLOW, 
 WHITE, ALMOST BLUE. I CLOSE MY  EYES AND 
 CURL  INTO  A  BALL. BUT THEN, THE GLASS 
 BOY  SCREAMS,   A  PIERCING  SOUND  THAT 
 FORCES  MY EYES BACK OPEN. I WATCH AS HE 
 BECOMES  TOO  LIQUID,  HIS BODY  POOLING 
 DOWN  IN HIS  NOW MASSIVE TAIL,  AND THE 
 TIP OF IT SUDDENLY  BREAKS OF IN A GLASS 
 DROP  THAT  FALLS  TOWARD  THE   FACTORY 
 FLOOR.                                   
                                          
 HE'S  CRAWLING ON THE STAIRS,  UNABLE TO 
 KEEP HIS  BODY  UPRIGHT. CAN'T REACH THE 
 LEVERS,  CLAWS  AT  MY  CHAINMAIL  CAGE, 
 WHILE  HIS  BODY  IS  TURNING INTO  DARK 
 PEARLS. FINALLY,  HE'S  LOST TOO MUCH OF 
 HIMSELF  AND THE  SCREAM  IS CUT  SHORT. 
 THE   LAST   OF    HIM    RAINS    DOWN. 
                                          
 I  STILL  CAN'T REACH  THE  LEVERS  FROM 
 WITHIN  MY  CAGE.  LOOKING UP, I TRY  TO 
 MAKE OUT THE  CEILING, BUT  IT'S  ALL  A 
 WHIRLING SEA OF COLOURS.  BELOW ME GLOWS 
 THE HELLFIRE  OF THE FACTORY WALLS,  BUT 
 VERY FAINT. I  SIT  DOWN, CURL BACK  UP, 
 BECOME STILL.                            
                                          
                                        
                                      
                          
                                      
                                        
                                          
 A  LARGE CLUNK  SHAKES  MY  ENTIRE BODY, 
 AND  SNAPS  ME  BACK  INTO REALITY.  I'M 
 BACK  AT  THE  FACTORY  FLOOR,  BUT  THE 
 STAIRS  ARE   STILL   MOVING   SLIGHTLY, 
 CLICKING IN PLACE,  CARRYING ME THE LAST 
 FEW  CENTIMETERS.  I  CAME  FROM  BELOW, 
 SOMEHOW.  THE  CHAINMAIL  IS  RETRACTED, 
 AND   I  SLOWLY   DISMOUNT  THE  STAIRS. 
                                          
 SHAKING AND  CRYING, I MAKE MY  WAY OVER 
 THE FACTORY FLOOR,  WADING THROUGH  DARK 
 GLASS MARBLES. A QUICK GLANCE DOWN,  AND 
 I  SEE  THERE'S  SOMETHING  FAINT INSIDE 
 THEM.    EMBRYOS?    ARE   THESE   EGGS? 
                                          
 I   SHUDDER,   AND   CLIMB   BACK   OUT.