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.