Ink in Emptiness: The Mirror Cracks

the legend of Ink Catherly (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, 10)

In Hell there is a city of poison and gold.

Ink Catherly lives there. She sits on its broken throne. She is fifteen years old and she is a savage jungle queen.

She has not thought of her father or her mother in some time.

Instead she thinks of Greystoke, the bull-ape raised by suburbanites, lord of suburbia and king of men. She thinks of the treasures of the jungle. She thinks of the mechanisms by which she might escape her Hell.

It is the unfortunate character of Ink’s circumstances that Hell is inescapable.

Here ends the legend of Ink Catherly: in the city of poison and gold, in Hell, where Greystoke has called up her father against her.

Hell, day 969: The veil-rending gun.

As always the ape opposed my search. I tell him: “You must let me work. I must find an answer so that I can escape from Hell.” But he is a beast and he does not understand.

I found it at last, kept in the claws of Usr-Acigh: the gun that can break the veil between worlds. I fired it. I opened a gap in the jungle. But I could not step through. In any other world I would be a corpse.

I watch my hand as I write this. It is like watching a hand pulled around by puppet strings. It is like a spider. It is like a headless chicken. It is like the flopping plastic bag that one at first mistakes for life. There is direction. There is intentionality. But it is emptiness and not purpose that drives it.

There is no escape from Hell because it is not a place but rather a condition, and a condition not of quality but of absence. I have lost the divine fire that gave me purpose. I have only the bleak insectile intentionality of flesh. I am an outsider to myself. If I were not in Hell I would be dead.

Mr. Catherly stands at the door.

“Greystoke,” Ink breathes. “You go too far.”

Mr. Catherly is gliding forward, his footsteps silent on the gold and marble floor. He says, “It is not your right, Ink, to claim the jungle’s treasures.”

Ink shakes her head.

Her face is darkening with anger.

“The Mirror of Flame will do you no good,” says Mr. Catherly. “This is Hell. There is no avenue by which you may obtain your desire.”

Ink turns. The threat of Greystoke is forgotten, and the ape himself is nearly so. Her world has narrowed down to the Mr. Catherly and the savage challenge that must come—in any species—when a child defies her parent and seeks to define the freedom of her course.

“You would say that,” she says.

There is a growl tickling at her throat. She is not letting it loose: for one thing, the human voice does not yield easily to it, and it replaces speech in use. For another, she does not wish to warn him of the seriousness of her intent. But as she shifts her stance to the lightly-bent crouch that humans use in battle her plans are transparent to the older man. He slows his advance. He is wary.

“Hold this,” Ink says, not taking her eyes from her father’s face.

She holds out the instrument of defiance to Greystoke; for unlike the men he summons, the ape-king of suburbia has such notions of honor as to make this safe.

The bull-ape takes it from her hands.

Incompatible Precepts Catherly takes two steps forward and then springs.

The contest of human and human is savage. Their teeth are blunt. Their claws are weak. Their muscles are poorly suited to murder.

But there are many ways by which they may give one another pain.

The howls of them rise through the jungle. They disturb the birds, that look up once and flee. They cause the frogs and salamanders to retreat into their holes. They shake the ancient city and its poisons and its gold.

And Ink takes her father down onto his back and beats at his chest and he is smiling hideously at her with his white fangs and he says, “See? Incompatible.”

Ink shrieks, a terrifying and an alien cry.

Her cunning talons close around his neck. His face darkens. His terrible words go still. His hands are twitching.

Ink says, “Tell me I’m a person.

But this is Hell.

Hell, day 1406: The mirror of flame.I have captured a mirror that reflects someone with a self—not the Ink who writes this but an Ink such as I was before. It hurts but I cannot stop looking at it.

She would, I think, find an answer to this place. She would explore it, transform it from this horrid absence into a phenomenon worth recording—not Hell but the witnessing of Hell, not emptiness but the recognition that she is not empty. She had wanted that. But I am not that Ink. I am her empty corpse.The ape, I think, will be here soon.

“Stupid fathers,” says Ink.

Mr. Catherly is unconscious.

“Stupid parents. Can you imagine?” she says. She is panting. She is struggling to recapture control over her emotions. “Naming somebody after what having the baby meant?

Greystoke is mute.

Ink rises. She stalks back to the throne. She sits down. Her posture slumps and her eyes go distant and she reassumes the demeanor of a brooding jungle queen.

“Take it,” she says. “Take the Mirror.”

So Greystoke steps forward. He pulls the Mirror of Flame down from the air.

“Leave the instrument of defiance. And go.”

The ape places the instrument of defiance down upon the floor and begins to walk away.

“Wait.”

Ink struggles for words.

“When I was young,” she says. “I accidentally cut off a fingertip. And the funny thing was that it just lay there, empty. It wasn’t a part of me. It was meat.”

“Yes,” says Greystoke.

“That is all we are,” she says. “Meat and bone.”

“Yes,” says Greystoke.

“I remember when I was fire,” Ink says. “I can look in the mirror and I can see that—an Ink Catherly, far away, who is fire and not just emptiness. Someone who is different from that twitching finger.” Her breathing is erratic. “I need it. I need it to remind me that I had something inside me once.”

“That is not need,” says Greystoke. “That is suffering.”

And in her last glance in the mirror, as he carries it away, she can see a great tower that is not her tower; and beyond it a sea of surging chaos; and an Ink who is not herself, but somehow possessed of that which is forbidden to her in Hell.

The mirror cracks.

23 thoughts on “Ink in Emptiness: The Mirror Cracks

  1. Mr Catherly is certainly acting like captain kirk :lol:

    anyway, i think there are at least 3 Inks – fascets of her own psyche. The shattering of the mirror means they are going to percieve each other factually for the first time, and it would work if Jane was one of them.

    anyway, lets see what happens next.

  2. Greystoke is [i:1cd4d81e66]not[/i:1cd4d81e66] lord among apes. He’s lord among [i:1cd4d81e66]men[/i:1cd4d81e66]. He’s the King of Suburbia, where he was raised by humans and learned their strange ways. It’s his inherent apely nobility that leads Ink to trust him with the instrument of defiance.

    (Is “apely” a word? Never mind, it is now.)

  3. Oof! Nice catch, Wil!

    That would be…wow. [i:8e999d4679]*sound of my head exploding*[/i:8e999d4679]

  4. So this is the end of Ink’s story. Wow. What a bitter, bitter ending. Of course, she was searching for Hell…really, how could that have ended well for her?

    I find it interesting that Ink turns out to have been voluntarily seeking that same state of emptiness that the monster forces on his victims. And of course her diary says she’s in Hell, but what we see of her world makes it look like a level/world no worse than any other she’s seen and better than quite a few of them.

    Ink’s father seems reminiscent of the monster in several ways. His first statement is “You have no right….” We see Ink trying to break free of him, and we see her demand recognition of personhood from him — implying that she thinks he doesn’t see her as such, just as the monster doesn’t recognize the personhood of his victims.

    “Naming the baby after what having the baby meant“? Huh? Having a baby means that precepts are incompatible? I feel somehow like I ought to understand this, but the fact is that I don’t and I’d love it if someone could explain it to me.

    Ink has the mirror…the mirror causes her suffering. Is it possible that suffering might transform her? If so then Greystoke is doing her no favor by removing it. (And we can understand why Martin is troubled when the mirror cracks.)

  5. Having had a day to sleep on it, I had thought of that. Alternatively, it may be that Ink’s parents split up because she revealed their incompatible precepts. Perhaps one of them wanted an abortion, but the other refused? Something along these lines may shed some light on just why Ink felt the need to go to Hell.

    If we continue the identification of Ink’s father with the monster, this line of thought also suggests that there may be some connections between Ink and Mei Ming. (Ink…blackness…shadow…)

  6. I suggested that Ink was Mei Ming in the comments on [url=http://rebecca.hitherby.com/archives/000550.php]this post[/url], due to the ink/darkness relation. The new Monster/Mr Catherly parallels help this theory a fair bit. Of course, I also suggested that Mr Schiff was Hades in the same post, and got the wrong pantheon entirely…

    I don’t think that Ink is played, or written, by Jane – the tone of the Ink legends is quite a bit different from the rest of them, and there’s no hint in [url=http://rebecca.hitherby.com/archives/000216.php]Tunnel Rat[/url] of Ben being a bad father to Jenna. Are there any other girls we’ve seen in the Hitherby canon that could be Ink?

  7. A very nice catch; now I’m wondering if Ink is somehow connected to [url=http://rebecca.hitherby.com/archives/000081.php]The Stage (IV/IV)[/url], which has always been a puzzling entry.

  8. 1) There is no such thing as bad Ink.

    2) Mild Disappointment: I’d hoped the next Ink story after the rift in worlds would be non-legendary. Perhaps next time: “here ends the legend,” yet Ink’s story does not seem to be over.

    3) I used to think Ink was really neat and optimistic., until near the end of 9 where it becomes clear that her desire is for the condition of Hell, rather than a specific place– a quest for suffering and punishment. Then she became really neat and terrifying.

    4) The “Jane is Growing Up” thesis receives more backing. Ink, who is clearly in some sense a proxy for our sub-author, Jane (as played by Ipheginia?) is now 15+ (must be closing on 16 based on the journal date Hell + 1406)

    5) A paradox. In Hell, the inhabitants are meat bereft of spirit, and yet– they cannot die.

    7) It seems “Incompatible Precepts” is what her parents named her– but does that make it her “real” name?

    8) What, no eggs? http://rebecca.hitherby.com/archives/000658.php Or does the mirror serve a similar function?

    9) Severed fingertips: Francescus held life while Inks symbolizes her lack of vitality.

    10) What ARE the incompatible precepts in question, anyhow, and does Inks journy represent the symbolic tension between them?

  9. [quote:73da3d6db3=”Penultimate Minion”]
    I discard the notion that the “Two Inks” are the same on the basis of the Hell-Ink’s viewing Explorer-Ink as though terribly distant. It also seems to explain the how and why of Explorer-Ink’s search for Hell. Her Hell-self may well have left the journal which Ink seems to be reading from at the onset of her journey.
    [/quote:73da3d6db3]

    I assumed this was a reflection on how different it feels to have a soul, how alienated Soulless-Ink feels from her previous ensouled-self.

    Given the context of the preceeding Ink legend, where a great rift opens in the sky and she’s flung through it into what we are led to beleive will be Hell, and then this Ink showing up immediately thereafter, as someone who was an explorer but found herself in Hell…Well, it’s certainly possible Rebecca could be deliberately attempting to confuse and mislead us with a multiplicity of Inks, but I doubt it.

    Not when, she has so many more elegant ways to confuse and mislead us! :D

  10. [quote:1d5a606ade=”Ninjacrat”]Hm! I can feel cleverer today, because I remembered about [url=http://rebecca.hitherby.com/archives/000679.php]this entry[/url], which also cuts across the fourth wall a bit.
    [/quote:1d5a606ade]

    I note with some interest that the Gibbelins Ink-meta-story has not been included in the list of previous Ink installments.

  11. [quote:b073a0a2ca=”rpuchalsky”][quote:b073a0a2ca]The “Jane is Growing Up” thesis receives more backing. Ink, who is clearly in some sense a proxy for our sub-author, Jane (as played by Ipheginia?) is now 15+[/quote:b073a0a2ca]

    Yep. But Iphigenia appears, talking to Marvin, during the Ink is backstage sequence, and Jane doesn’t. So I’d guess that perhaps Ink is played by Jane.
    [/quote:b073a0a2ca]

    Ah. I thought she was breaking character, or something like that. You are right, though, she does seem to be backstage…

    [qupte]

    The Snow White subtext, which I don’t think I’m imagining, confirmed the Jane Growing Up idea for me. Greystoke is the noble king (= prince) who wakes Snow White out of her stasis, but he’s also an animal, a “bull-ape” — kind of a classic repulsed-by-the-whole-idea-of-getting-involved-in-this image.
    [/quote]

    I think you’re wrong.
    She’s seeing things in a mirror, yes, and there was a scrying mirror in Snow White. But the mirror works on a different symbolic level when you think about what she’s scrying: she’s looking [i:b073a0a2ca]at herself[/i:b073a0a2ca], which is what you usually see when you look in a mirror…

    [quote:b073a0a2ca] Severed fingertips: Francescus held life while Inks symbolizes her lack of vitality. [/quote:b073a0a2ca]

    [quote:b073a0a2ca] Good catch. Francescu does not really embody a creative archetype at all; he doesn’t seem to really know what to do with his life, uses old and classic spells, and is consistently described as “skillful”. For him, a sort of finger-automatism is useful.
    [/quote:b073a0a2ca]

    To build on this: “I figured out that goodness and light and truth were helpless,” said Francescu. “So I wanted to make darkness and evil helpless too. I thought, maybe if I were immortal, that’d do the trick.”

    Are there any paralells that might be drawn what Francescu does and Ink’s quest for hell?

    Poetry review later, when I’m not imminently being summoned to Sunken Temple…

  12. [quote=”rpuchalsky”][quote:6586953edb]She’s seeing the worst part of herself, or, actually, a narrative judgement about herself. The mirror in _Snow White_ is always telling someone that they are the fairest of them all; the Mirror of Flame seems to always be telling people how sinful they are.

    [/quote:6586953edb] Seeing your True Self in a mirror can’t be a purely Snow-White context, surely? The mirror wouldn’t be half so horribe if it were not in some sense true.

    [quote:6586953edb]
    The “poisoned fruit that gave sin to our kind” is a clear reference to the apple of knowledge of good and evil, and the Genesis story and its concept of original sin. But that apple wasn’t really poisoned, except insofar as it would cause Adam and Eve to be kicked out of paradise; it held knowledge. So I think that this is likely also a reference to the poisoned fruit that put Snow White to sleep.
    [/quote:6586953edb]
    OK, that I missed.

    [quote:6586953edb]
    There’s a lot of other material — the way in which Greystoke’s nobility is emphasized, [/quote:6586953edb]

    I think Greystoke stands as a level of symbol on this own here. He is lord among the apes but not truly of the apes. He is still a man and an icon of nobility– something more than a moneky, more than flesh. I think he rather comes out and states his (possible) role here: is it possible to be in Hell (place) but not in Hell (condition).

    Now, gender role issues here could point to a Prince Charming usage, but I don’t think that’s been shown yet. He’s come to take something back that Ink stole not to wake her from her sleep.

    [quote:6586953edb] the way in which everything that Mr. Catherly says is a denial of that aspect of life (don’t taunt (taunt?) the prince, it’s not your right to claim this treasure, there is no avenue by which you may obtain your desire, see, you’re incompatible). I think that this qualifies as subtext. I could be wrong, of course.[/quote:6586953edb]

    Which is the opposite of the Snow-White/father relationship, and not that analogous to Snow White/Evil Queen. Makes one wonder about Ink’s mother, though. That would be strong support for this paralell.

  13. [quote:77d2a252c5=”David Goldfarb”]
    “Naming the baby after what having the baby meant“? Huh? Having a baby means that precepts are incompatible? I feel somehow like I ought to understand this, but the fact is that I don’t and I’d love it if someone could explain it to me.[/quote:77d2a252c5]

    It means that her parents were two people whose precepts were incompatable, forced to stay together (?) because they had a baby.

    [quote:77d2a252c5]Ink has the mirror…the mirror causes her suffering. Is it possible that suffering might transform her? If so then Greystoke is doing her no favor by removing it. (And we can understand why Martin is troubled when the mirror cracks.)[/quote:77d2a252c5]

    But suffering is not necissary. At least… that was, in Hitherby: Chapter Two… Chapter Three is kinda leaning the other way.

  14. There’s too much to write about this one. How about a comment-outline?

    1. Snow White, interrupted

    Greystoke as dangerous prince, sex as “animal coupling” in last post, difficulty growing up to 15.

    2. Parental defiance

    The injustice of blaming a child for existence. Defiance must be succeeded by indifference to parental judgement?

    3. Up one story

    “Here ends the *legend*”, as opposed to which reality? Ink’s failure/stasis as explorer due to incompleteness rather than parental as opposed to self-defined incompatible precepts?

    4. Up two stories

    [quote:73a9e646da]As fair warning,” the creature said, “Ink Catherly has certain misconceptions regarding her nature and destiny[/quote:73a9e646da] (from first Ink legend)

    Jane addressing her audience directly?

    4. Tidbits

    Automatic writing and the twitching finger. “My hands write this of their own accord” from the first Ink legend, by the first explorer whose journal Ink finds.

    Usr-Acigh and the veil between worlds: Acigh = ASCII?

  15. [quote:a133060731]I discard the notion that the “Two Inks” are the same on the basis of the Hell-Ink’s viewing Explorer-Ink as though terribly distant.[/quote:a133060731]

    I don’t see Two Inks — I assumed that when Ink has the vision of the Gibbelin’s Tower at the end, the “Ink who is not herself” is Jane, or possibly one of the other Tower players. Assuming it’s Jane, then I think the relationship goes something like

    Andhaka –> Mrs. Schiff
    Ink –> Jane

    in that they both are bad dreams of a sort, parts of selves that have been seperated (possibly in order to do something, learn something, or carry something) but that are now ready to be rejoined. Jane is a playwright, someone who can presumably write out of creativity and not emptiness, and therefore retains the fire that Ink feels that she has lost.

    The ascending to Hell bit has a certain similarity to ascending through multiple levels of stories-within-stories, as I cryptically implied a few comments back.

  16. [quote:e0ec8beaa3]The “Jane is Growing Up” thesis receives more backing. Ink, who is clearly in some sense a proxy for our sub-author, Jane (as played by Ipheginia?) is now 15+[/quote:e0ec8beaa3]

    Yep. But Iphigenia appears, talking to Marvin, during the Ink is backstage sequence, and Jane doesn’t. So I’d guess that perhaps Ink is played by Jane.

    The Snow White subtext, which I don’t think I’m imagining, confirmed the Jane Growing Up idea for me. Greystoke is the noble king (= prince) who wakes Snow White out of her stasis, but he’s also an animal, a “bull-ape” — kind of a classic repulsed-by-the-whole-idea-of-getting-involved-in-this image.

    [quote:e0ec8beaa3] Severed fingertips: Francescus held life while Inks symbolizes her lack of vitality. [/quote:e0ec8beaa3]

    Good catch. Francescu does not really embody a creative archetype at all; he doesn’t seem to really know what to do with his life, uses old and classic spells, and is consistently described as “skillful”. For him, a sort of finger-automatism is useful. Ink’s complaint, which echoes that of the previous person who started her diary, is that her fingers are writing on their own; for an artist, being alienated from your interior wells is very bad.

    Did I ever post my dragon-muse poem here? It’s rather mawkish and not very good, but it’s Hitherby-influenced (I think). Oh well, here it is, feel free to say anything about it:

    Muse of Fire

    Soaring
    The clouds below lit redly,
    Pinkly, by sun,
    His breath answers them
    A flame-lick, a flashbulb silhouette
    Of his wing, and behind,
    The momentary shadow
    Sundial in reverse
    Of his tail

    He was born in the land
    Famous for being robbed
    Some freebooting band
    That carried off the Golden Fleece
    The tale later
    Was that he grew from those fields
    The fields of dragon teeth
    He knew not
    Only the sun days, bright,
    Diving into the water
    From the warm rock
    The cliff-cave to fly to,
    The slow growth
    Between Black Sea and White Mountains

    It was a bird from the East
    That taught him letters
    Was it sent? Following some
    Migration? It never said.
    But when he was
    Larger than the horses
    It came, a flash of yellow
    To peer into his cave. He was
    Absently scoring the rock,
    Claw-sharpening, making lines.
    It peered with one eye, hopped,
    Scratched with its beak.
    That was all that was needed
    For two such as they
    Once he had learned twenty languages
    The bird flew

    And he hunted, and grew large
    First, the wild beasts,
    Then, the beasts of men
    He’d call down, mocking
    To the goatherd,
    Or call the dog to bring the woolly sheep
    They could not stop his scales
    But he grew bored
    Finally he dove for squid
    Jaws dripping a strong black ink
    And forged a fair scholar’s hand
    To requisition supplies
    From the winter stores of the King
    If the distant bureaucrats
    Knew better,
    Better not to know, they said

    So the centuries went by
    Distantly Greece rose, and Rome,
    And fell,
    But he never fell

    And then a visitor
    A woman, not of the human kind
    In a stained white robe
    She waited at the bottom of his cliff
    And he knew, and flew down
    “It is time to pass the words on” she said
    “We fail, all of us of Greece,
    We grow tired, the world is changed,
    Harsh, stammering.”
    “They need a muse of fire”, she said
    “Dangerous, fierce in claw and scale,
    That can not be beaten down.
    Here, it is yours.”
    Something passed between them
    He blinked slowly, nodded his head,
    She was gone

    He has had to move many
    Times since then
    There are no caves
    Left hidden from the land-surveyor
    But when each calls
    The inward fire is there
    Burning through clouds
    For a moment, an hour, a life
    Burning into black and white

    — Rich Puchalsky 2005

  17. [quote:f59f2020fc]She’s seeing things in a mirror, yes, and there was a scrying mirror in Snow White. But the mirror works on a different symbolic level when you think about what she’s scrying: she’s looking at herself, which is what you usually see when you look in a mirror… [/quote:f59f2020fc]

    She’s seeing the worst part of herself, or, actually, a narrative judgement about herself. The mirror in _Snow White_ is always telling someone that they are the fairest of them all; the Mirror of Flame seems to always be telling people how sinful they are.

    The “poisoned fruit that gave sin to our kind” is a clear reference to the apple of knowledge of good and evil, and the Genesis story and its concept of original sin. But that apple wasn’t really poisoned, except insofar as it would cause Adam and Eve to be kicked out of paradise; it held knowledge. So I think that this is likely also a reference to the poisoned fruit that put Snow White to sleep.

    In this story, Ink is not asleep. But she is in stasis; she has stopped moving. For an explorer, this is Hell/failure. Greystoke is the one who causes her to confront (the memory of?) her father, and who thereby gives her a chance to move on.

    There’s a lot of other material — the way in which Greystoke’s nobility is emphasized, the way in which everything that Mr. Catherly says is a denial of that aspect of life (don’t taunt (taunt?) the prince, it’s not your right to claim this treasure, there is no avenue by which you may obtain your desire, see, you’re incompatible). I think that this qualifies as subtext. I could be wrong, of course.

  18. Yep. He’s an inversion of the Tarzan story (Tarzan, a human, was raised in the jungle by apes and is King of the Jungle; Greystoke, an ape, was raised in suburbia by humans and is King of Suburbia). Tarzan brings people back to their “primitive”, jungle selves; Greystoke brings people back to ordinary society (Ink is savage and alone, and people have become foreign to her).

    His nobility and trustworthiness and groundedness also make him the equivalent of the one attractive guy to someone growing up among the peer-pressured, adolescent suburban horde. Except that whenever one starts thinking about him physically, the image is of a bull-ape. See what I mean?

  19. [quote:53eebd6c14=”willwhatley”]”The curse is come upon me,” cried
    The Lady of Shalott.[/quote:53eebd6c14]

    And that opens up entirely new levels of wonderfulness in this story…

  20. Hm! I can feel cleverer today, because I remembered about [url=http://rebecca.hitherby.com/archives/000679.php]this entry[/url], which also cuts across the fourth wall a bit.

    So what’s strange about Ink’s story? It’s presented as a legend, but sometimes references “real world” HitherLore. Martin ‘sees her on the stage’, but she [i:a9c1e53f76]doesn’t seem to be acting[/i:a9c1e53f76] and she doesn’t appear in any other plays. The Gibbelin’s Tower players have some sort of personal interest in her experiences, and now she’s having visions of the tower. The character guide list her with the actors, but also says she deserves special mention and ‘won’t get any’.

    Is Ink a Sim or a homonculus or an Isn’t (or a prima donna or typecast or a stage name for a familiar character)? Was the mysterious whirly-vortex-pain-owning voice Martin’s? Is the “real Ink” living in her past or her future or wiping off the greasepaint and going for a drink?

    Will the Ink we know and love return?

    Will some of these question be anwered tomorrow? Possibly!

  21. Awesome.

    [u:afefd0b5f3]Thoughts:[/u:afefd0b5f3]
    I discard the notion that the “Two Inks” are the same on the basis of the Hell-Ink’s viewing Explorer-Ink as though terribly distant. It also seems to explain the how and why of Explorer-Ink’s search for Hell. Her Hell-self may well have left the journal which Ink seems to be reading from at the onset of her journey.

    Ink, as in the one we followed in the first several legends, cannot find Hell – because that is where her True Self is. So long as she seeks to explore the unknown without introspection, she can never find her True Self – and thus, the Hell in which she resides.

    When Ink declared that she should not be denied pain (although in a circuitous manner), she was closest to her true self. It was at this point she began the journey to adulthood. I suspect that the entity which sheltered her from pain was a metaphor for the protective parent.

    Perhaps it is of little relevence, but my earlier thoughts of the abnormality of ascending to hell fits rather well with explorer-Inks inability to find it. Her efforts to see the outside world and avoid looking into herself could only serve to distance her from her Hell-residing person.

    There’s also, perhaps, an odd fit to [url=http://rebecca.hitherby.com/archives/000059.php]Practical Matters Involving Salvation[/url] in which it is postulated that Hopping Vampire’s higher soul may have already gone to its just reward while his lower soul remained. Perhaps Ink is really Hopping Vampire?

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