(原題: Otel Entra And The Cheese Wheel)

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He heard Music. Otel was definitely sure he heard them. He didn’t know the voice or how it sounded, but how it felt. Emotionally, he had definitely heard Music.


When he woke up it was pitch black. Flit was fast asleep on the couch, face buried in their arms like a nestling rodent. The two were staying in Junie and Roald’s shack while they were visiting Necropolis. Since then, Otel was still in the dark about his identity in his new-found afterlife, constantly pondering it over. He was also still in the dark literally.


He sat up. Who was Otel Vacacy Entra, really? Who was this guy buried under tarmac, with vicious holes ripped in his neck? He didn’t even know when, how, or why.


…Did he deserve it?


Scratching his chin, he stood up and felt his way to the front door, his fingers lightly brushing over nails, cracked wood and eventually a wobbly door knob to venture out into the bustling night scene of Necropolis. On his way out, he passed by a large figure carrying milk bottles.


Do you know a Music by any chance? he signed, squinting to see in the dark.


The milkman exhaled from his nose, then started grunting an unspecific tune while bending his knees.


…Nevermind. Nice jig, though, thank you.


Otel quietly shuffled through the various backroads of the village, sometimes stopping to ask people about the elusive ‘Music’. While he did get some insight into some of the fun songs of Necropolis (his favourite so far being ‘Ravestone’ by The Zombeatles) no one knew anyone by the name of Music.


He stopped at a market, lit up in a strange purple light. Upon further inspection, it was an aura of blacklight being cast over the market stalls. Shopkeepers and their stalls were adorned in a showcase of neon colours. Otel passed by a skeleton with elegant bright spirals on their face, and flowers covering the back of their entire skull.


He rubbed his eye sockets, stopping to lean on a nearby wall as his limp got more noticeable.


The colours were entrancing, almost dancing through the marketplace, like the faint sound of a street musician playing guitar up the street flowing through Otel’s ears, accompanied by the sound of the crowd of the bustling market. Otel yawned, though he couldn’t inhale any air into his throat.


A pale merchant in the stall beside Otel glared at him, “Are you gonna buy anything?”


No, I don’t have money. Or pockets.


“No bags? Nothing?”


He flicked his wrists sarcastically. I could put stuff in my neck cavities, if that’s what you’re asking.


“Just…what? Here, you can have a prototype I made.”


A pair of spindly hands gave Otel a grey bag, with lop-sided stitches and wobbly embroidery on the side reading ‘I Care Hart in My Bab And Me'.


The merchant grimaced. “Sorry, it’s a prototype first of all and, well…I can’t read or write. So if I spelled anything wrong I’m sorry, it is free after all… It’s supposed to say ‘Carry Heart In My Bag And Me'.”


Otel wiped his eyes.


I love it.


“You don’t have to tak- whaat?!”

He tucked it under his arm and grinned, I love it so much! The quote is so nice, I wish I could sew like this!


“Wow, uh, thank you! Thanks so much!”


Otel flung the bag over his shoulder, waved to the bashful merchant, and followed his wanderlust through the winding pathways of Necropolis. He saw coffins renovated into outdoor shopping shelves, bars coveted under arching and twisting trees, creating little hideaways, and an animate giraffe skeleton, which he had no explanation for.

Eventually, his stroll had led him back to the graveyard. Many of the graves were decorated in stained glass, which must’ve also been cast to glow in the dark. Fireflies flew around Otel as he ambled slowly through the graveyard once more.

His gut told him to walk to the end, to the iron fence that circled the entire village. And he heard Music.

Placing his bag on the grass, he pointed to the great unknown. That’s where he’d go next.

“Oh this is a great idea, I LOVE this idea, this is the best idea I’ve heard in my whole life!”

Siamese sneered at Flit, who stuck their tongue out at him. They had just found Otel standing ominously in the graveyard, and were following him to the Necropolis entrance.

Flit pouted. “Are you SURE you didn’t just get post-resurrection hallucinations or something, Otel? Are you right in the head?”

Otel turned to them. Are any of us right in the head, really?

“Fun banter, dumb and dumber, but are we really gonna use MY truck to follow the whim of dirt-boy over here?”

“Siamese, I want nothing more than to obliviate your truck into the fifth dimension, but my car needs to stay with Roald for repairs,” Flit said, “And his name is Otel.”

Siamese scoffed. “Fine, Flippy. But I’m driving.”

Roald does car stuff?

“I didn’t want to leave the mousemobile with him, but Junie insisted…maybe he’ll add some fun gadgets to it!”

“He should add a self-destruct to it, it’s hideous.”

Flit slapped Siamese, and the two were back to bickering. Otel shrugged, thankful they at least agreed to travel with him. He assumed since no one really had any huge goals after the Calamity, most were just happy to travel anywhere on a whim without much persuasion.

They did like to make a big show of it, though, he thought as he glanced at Siamese.

“Otel, do you know what’s to the east?”

No, I just conveniently pointed in that direction.

Flit hummed and hawed. “Well, that’s…”

“That’s…” Siamese joined in.

The Lonely Roads!

Otel raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms. He watched as Flit and Siamese rushed to the truck, fighting for the driver’s seat. Flit was forced into the passenger seat. Otel hopped into the backseat and let out a sigh of relief upon seeing the seatbelts.

What’re the Lonely Roads?

Flit shuddered.

“It’s a desolate Civ city…haunted by hundreds of ghosts who lived there!”

“Pssh, those are just stories. It’s desolate because all the buildings are too derelict to live in.”

Siamese rolled his eyes as Flit lunged towards Otel, wiggling their fingers like they were mocking a monster or recounting a cliché maiden’s tale.

“You don’t wanna upset a poltergeist Civvy slicker!” they hissed.

A ghost town is an interesting place Otel’s trance pointed him to. Will he figure out who or what Music is from a ghost or something?

Siamese didn’t bother to ask before starting the engine, letting the wheels screech and fling up a cloud of dust before taking off. Otel leaned back and saw Junie running up with Roald in his wheelchair.


Otel sat up and waved his arm hysterically. Flit looked back and waved as well.

“I-we’ll be back for my car!!” they yelled.

The two kept waving until Necropolis was a small spot disappearing into the vastness of the desert before sitting back down.

“Did you get a new bag, Otel?”

I did! Isn’t it pretty?

Siamese scoffed, “Yeah, pretty ugly,” to which Flit pinched his arm.

And it was free!

Otel handed over the bag for Siamese to gaze at for a few seconds. His expression relaxed into an innocent curiosity.

“…Not bad for something that was free, I guess,” he tossed it back over.

Otel and Flit shared a smug grin, like they were both thinking ‘I told you so'.

After a couple of hours driving aimlessly in one direction, the scenery did really feel like it was repeating itself. One can only gaze at the occasional quickly passing shrub for so long.

Otel tapped Flit on the shoulder, I’m so bored!

“Well, I didn’t decide to travel east because of voices, or whatever in my head!”

But you still came, he shrugged.

“…Perhaps!” They huffed, turning back around.

Otel hesitantly lowered his hands. He could ask why, but Flit always had the option to just not look at him, which cut off Otel’s communication with them. He opted to fidgeting with his thumbs while staring at the road ahead.

The lull in conversation made Otel squirmish, but he didn’t know if it was because he had decades of things to catch up on and learn about, or because he felt like he was just dragging around two strangers to a place he’d never even heard of. They were just two people who happened to know each other, and Otel managed to cling to one of them. What if Flit had been able to push him off when he gripped onto their car? He’d only known them for a few days, either way…

They probably don’t want to be friends, Otel thought. They’re just being nice.

“Hey Otel, bud,” Flit said to him, much to his surprise. “You wanna know who’s winning so far?”

What? Winning what?

Bud…that’s nice.

“Since we were kids, Siamese and I have competed in everything, it’s been years and we’re still going.”

“You’re still keeping track?” Siamese mumbled, absent-mindedly scratching his nose. While his eyes were on the road, he still pitched into the conversation.

“Yeah! I WILL be the overall winner, you watch!”

Siamese flashed a confused smile, “No, I will. You’re dumb, actually.”

“Is this ALL because I pushed you down the stairs?”

“Yes, yes it is.”

Woah woah! Rewind that back to me, what?

Siamese frowned.

“When we were little, I was walking down the stairs in the morning and I had a big blanket around me, like a cape. It was really cool.”

“It wasn’t cool,” Flit interjected.

“And this NIMWIT, this, this ABSOLUTE DUMMY, comes up behind me, steps on my blanket and pushes me down the stairs!”

Otel huffed out a strained breath for a laugh and glanced at Flit, Why?

“In my defense, it was really funny.”

That’s fair, he replied.

“And that started this RIVALRY! This WAR! And as far as I’m concerned I’m winning.”

Flit winked before Siamese looked over.

“They are most definitely not, I can assure you- what’s that?” he said, squinting at a big blob on the side of the road.

They didn’t realise how big the blob– thing– was until they drove closer. Siamese slowed down as they approached the towering beast, its sheer presence being a warning sign in itself, and its monstruos lizard features constantly morphing and oscillating.

“It’s a death omen, let’s avoid it,” Siamese laughed nervously, wiping a bead of sweat off his cheek.

“Nevermind a death omen dumbass, that thing’s ready to fucking riiiip!!” Flit cried.

Before his eyes, Otel watched Flit become consumed by a quick flash, and in their place was a little field mouse. The mouse nestled into the corner of the seat, cowering.

Without thinking, Otel leaned over and scooped up the Flit-mouse in his hands, keeping a protective thumb hovering over their head.

The beast roared, ringing through Otel’s skull twice-over. It cracked the road as it chased the truck, catching up almost instantly.

This is it, this is it! Otel thought, shielding the mouse and bringing his knees to his chest. He squeezed his eyes shut.

“Shit!” Siamese cursed exasperatedly, as the beast leaped over the vehicle. He slammed down the brakes as the truck screeched to a halt in front of the monster.

Siamese stared in disbelief for a few seconds, sunk into his chair, and accepted his fate. He sniffed.

The beast also sat down, and took out a giant walking stick.

A slow growl finally settled into something decipherable.

“You…younglings are…terribly disrespectful.”

Otel opened an eye and looked up at the beast. Upon closer inspection, the beast was not only covered in tangled, unsightly hair, but also had a long grey beard on its chin. It’s rib cage was exposed and free of hair, leaving a hollow gap in the beasts body, much like Otel’s neck hole.

S-sorry? Otel replied, despite his shaking palms. Mouse-Flit was gently placed in his lap.

“I was…calling out my products…did you not hear? You are not old like me…Surely your hearing is more desirable than mine?”

“Uh, excuse me? Products? You just kinda, um…” Siamese said, “You just kinda went like, EEEEE!” He attempted a gurgly shriek.

“No…I said,” the beast inhaled deeply, “CHEEEEEEEESE!…I am a dairy farmer, child…It has always been a passion of mine.”

“A-ahahaha! A FARMER?” Siamese let out a cackle in relief, “You’re selling cheese?”

“I am not selling, just giving,” It grumbled, “Those disgusting farmers, they could never make cheese like mine…My cattle are very happy.”

That’s nice, but- why did you chase us?

“To give you a sample, of course…” It snarled like it was evil, but revealed a large cheese wheel. It held it between two pointy claws and delicately handed the yellow wheel to Siamese.


“It is my pleasure. I’ve made up for my lost time…by dedicating decades into making the best dairy I can. I have all the time now. I mean, SENIOR researchers? They’re not even a sixth of my age!”

Otel raised his eyebrows. What are you talking about?

It dropped its head, casting a weary shadow over its head.

“For me, it is something to be forgotten. For you, perhaps, it is something to remember. What did humans add that was not hurtful in some way?”

…I don’t know. But the humans I knew were good, I hope.

“I do too, boy, even if the ones I knew were…not…to me…”

“To you?”

“Let’s just say I did not like being put in an acid bath, but those revolting humans might have cared for…other disgusting humans. Which is admirable in a sense.”

It leaned on its walking stick, wobbling a bit, then getting up.

“The drink to quench curiosity is not liquid, but sand. For now, I will stay alone. Please enjoy the cheese, younglings.”

The beast bounded away at a fearful speed and was almost gone before Siamese could say thank you.

“Uhhhh, Flitty, I think you would enjoy this.” Siamese said to Flit, who was still transformed into a small mouse.

They sniffed at the large cheese wheel he was holding, and perked up. In a flash, a gleeful Flit was coddling the cheese with a giant smile on their face.

“Oh, this is just perfect! I’m so glad we’re not dead, Cheese, I love you!”

That’s wonderful, Flit, but could you get off of me now?

“Aw man, do I have to? Fine, but I’m holding the cheese.”


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  1. portal:8116298 ( 07 Jul 2022 12:04 )
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