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.