Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 19)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 19)

I asked Kaitlyn if I could take some pictures of her as Briana and suggested she be reading an older looking book.  Interesting that it was The Girl’s Own Annual edited by Flora Kickmann.  Afterwards I was drawn to it and started flipping through the pages.  Wrongfully or rightfully a poem by Grace MacGowan Cooke called “Morning Always Comes” jumped out at me.  It represents Briana and her desire perfectly.  To clarify, I borrowed the poem, I did not write it, Grace MacGowan Cooke is a real person—look her up.

 

It was hard to know how far she had traveled through the haze of the brown air.  A wilted sign told her she was entering Newry.  Briana saw a group of ten zombies walk past a library that doubled as a food vendor.   The red brick building with tall tinted pentagon shaped windows and a double glass door with steel bars stood between two abandoned shops with apartments above.  Once the zombies were far down the street she hurried and knocked on one of the glass doors.

A teenage boy’s face pressed against the window.  She heard a click and the teenager opened the door.  Inside she could smell lentil soup with a spattering of garlic coming from a large stainless steel pot atop one of the library’s counters.  People sat either at the long rectangular tables or the octagon ones scattered between the bookshelves throughout the main floor.  China cabinets, buffets, an assortment of chairs and tables from homes peeked out at her from the walls that surrounded the bookcases.

A woman with shaggy blonde hair ladled soup into a bowl for a young man with cracked spectacles.  Briana was next in line.  “Do you have any information on ginkgo biloba and where it can be found in Ireland?” she asked.

“The tree was banned years ago because of its invasive manner, dear,” the shaggy blonde haired woman said in a soft poignant soprano voice.  She pointed down an aisle near a triangular shaped window with a painted glass fresco of a rocky tunnel with a dark blue light within.  “Look under herbs or alternative medicine.”

“Thank you,” Briana told her as she paid for a bowl of soup.

She placed her bowl on a buffet with trinkets and walked over to the suggested aisle. She glanced at the titles until she came to an old book made of green cloth with the title: The Herbal or General History of Plants by John Gerard.  She was about to take it when she saw another book mistakenly placed beside it.  The red cover, the oversize, and the thickness of The Girl’s Own Annual Vol. 39—No. 1.—B.  So she brought both books back to the table with her.

Briana ate her soup as she flipped through the pages of The Girl’s Own Annual.  When she was finished the soup she handed the empty bowl and spoon to the Shaggy haired woman and dashed back to continue reading.

As she ran her index finger down the pages she hesitated on page twenty-nine and read Grace MacGowan Cooke’s “Morning Always Comes”:

There has never been a night so long

And dark and fearsome but at last it came

To an end.  A smiling, laughing sun is for

ever creeping up to the ridge of some hill

to bid a hopeful good morning to a weary-

from-watching world.

The surest thing in the world is sunshine.

It rolls away the darkness, dissipates the fog,

and makes crystals of joy

shine in the melting tears of night.

Morning always comes.  That is a good

thought for any time, but it is a particularly

consoling thought when your heart

is heavy, and you imagine that you are

carrying more than your share of the burdens of life.

If we would only be as

sure of the other things in life as we are

of the return of the sunshine, it would

make it much easier, especially for those

whose faith in the goodness of things is not

sufficiently strong to enable them to smile.

Morning always comes.

Don’t be down-hearted.

Set your alarum, and get up

and greet it with a smile.

Strength filled her and her resolve to save her sister exploded within her!  And if she could she would bring back the sunshine!

With determination she put away The Girl’s Own Annual and started to leaf through The Herbal or General History of Plants by John Gerard.

 

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  All books are available as paperback or e-books through Amazon.com:  books.

He is also Co-blogger of twhealthhumor.com with Taylor Norris, RMT

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 18)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 18)

The Irish King Abhartach from Glenullin, Northern Ireland, was a dwarf chieftain or king.  He tried to climb up the wall of his to the window of the room he thought his wife was having affair in.  He fell and was buried upright.  But so great was his rage at his wife’s betrayal he came back as a vampire.

Wide eyed Ashling follows the swaying hips of the stallion as it carries the Dullahan deeper into the Marble Arch Caves.  The infamous spine whip is attached along the back of the Dullahan; its vertebrae bending with each step of the huge horse.  As they go deeper into the cavern the right hand of the Dullahan pivots and his head glances at her with dark ever shifting eyes.  The ear-to-ear lips say nothing as they twitch giving her the willies as they descend deeper and deeper into the cavern, always following the river.

She hears a baritone droning sound deeper in the cavern that becomes recognizable words.  The words are lyrical and she realizes it is the sound of a choir:

Why are we awoken to this foul time?

Why is the Earth cracked open?

Why are we drawn to the surface?

The war with the Fomorians was finished

Now it is the era of the humans

Soprano voices reply:

Our world is in peril

Someone opened the eye of Balor

And the ground split open

Now King Abhartach is loose!

Our world is in peril

The Tuatha Dé Danann must awaken!

Must awaken!

And save the World!

Ashling grabs a hold of her father’s ankh charm and clenches her fist around it until it hurts.  She doesn’t recognize the name The Tuatha Dé Danann but songs of the Irish dwarf king, Abhartach, are constantly played on the streets by buskers.  She remembers one busker in particular, sitting on a stool at a street corner, tapping his right foot as he sang while playing a gritty looking guitar.  Hesitantly at first she began to sing his song:

To spy on his wife, to see who she was sleeping with

Abhartach’s climbed out one of his castle’s windows

Short legs, short arms, long body

The climb in the gusting wind was too much for his rage

He fell to his death!

So glad the maleficent king was dead his people buried him standing up

But vile kings that are malicious wizards want to live forever

Want to live even undead to torment the living

His reappearance unnerved his people so much they acquiesced to his demand

From slit wrists they filled bowls with their blood

His smirk as he gulped their life essence down, terrified them!

Oh so desperate the people were

So desperate they begged King Cathán to slay Abhartach

And he did, and he buried Abhartach standing up as is right for a king

But vile kings that are malicious wizards want to live forever

Oh how the people cried out when the next day

Abhartach, smirking up at them, held out a bowl for their blood

Cathán asked Saint Eoghan for an answer

Saint Eoghan told him to make a sword from a Yew tree

To stab Abhartach through the heart

To bury the vile undead king upside down

But the World has cracked open

And vile kings that are malicious wizards want to live forever

So lost in the song Ashling did not notice the Dullahan’s horse had stopped.

 

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  All books are available as paperback or e-books through Amazon.com:  books.

He is also Co-blogger of twhealthhumor.com with Taylor Norris, RMT

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 17)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 17)

Think of a time when you were starving or terribly thirsty.  You might remember that your focus was less on civility and more on survival.

She stops with the line of ten and sniffs.  Young blood, familiar.  She shakes the globe and turns her head toward the odour.  The little girl she almost ate is across the street pulling her arm away from her delicious smelling mother.  A circular shape rolls between the debris scattered all over the road.  It stops on the curve near Caoimhe’s worn shoes.  The girl shouts something to her and points at the object.  The only language she can still understand is the one she uses to speak inside her head but the little girl’s hand gesture reminds her of something.  She grabs the object from the curve and sees it is another snow globe.  Inside she sees a Christmas scene of another family standing in snow.  She shakes the new globe until everything becomes unclear.  Her eyes shift to the other globe.  It’s clear.  She shakes it.  As the snow swirls she looks at the new globe again.  It’s almost clear.

These globes confuse me

One clear  and full of fading memories

One white and empty of everything

My steps are slowing and so is the line of ten

They glance back at me but I don’t care

Shake and shake and shake

I just want to be one thing

But I am constantly tortured by division

A creature of life or one of death?

I’m stuck in Limbo

Shake and shake and shake

I just want to be one thing

 

 

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  All books are available as paperback or e-books through Amazon.com:  books.

He is also Co-blogger of twhealthhumor.com with Taylor Norris, RMT

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 16)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 16)

The time before computers and cell phones and satellites is still remembered.  If we ever had to revert to that time how many could adapt and how many would be lost?

 

Briana peers up the wall that is half obscured by the layers of dusty brown mist.  As the swirls blow around she can just make out the third storey of the six storey building she lives in.  Inside people in torn and soiled clothes sit against the wall across from the stairway she must climb.  The only jobs now are physical or clerical.  Many people are sick and can’t work as farm hands or crafts people.  Computers have not worked for twenty years and a generation is lost.  She heard some of the older people still play video games in their heads and are lost to the real world.  They die if no one feeds them.  The chest on a man with a shaggy black beard speckled with white hair does not rise and fall.  The zombies won’t take that one but someone will have to remove him once he begins to decompose.

She unlocks door number 64 and deftly steps inside.  Her parents are arguing so she tip toes to her room but leaves the door ajar to listen:

“Don’t do it Ansgar!”

Briana here’s the click of a gun being loaded.

“Gormghlaith its time!”

“No, No, No!  What if you miss?  What if you don’t get them all in time?”

“Gerard is going to help.  His son walks the same line.”

“And what will I and Briana do if we lose you?”

Briana hears a thud as the gun is set down on the kitchen table.

“Gormghlaith, I love you, but two days from now, I will kill eight zombies and Gerard and I will capture our daughter and his son.  I hope whatever Briana is working on is ready by then because the red moon is coming.”

Briana looks around her tiny room; two steel framed beds are on either side of a small window.  Two tiny desks with two rusting foldout chairs their father had found at the side of the road years ago flank a single closet.  She sits in her chair and pulls out a scrap of paper and pencil.  She sings as she writes:

I’ll be gone a few days

No more than a week

I promise!

Everything is fine and when I return

Everything will be right

I’ll be gone a few days

Maybe a week

Just give me until then

Just wait until I’m back

Everything will be right

We’ll have Caoimhe back!

With all my Love

Briana

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  All books are available as paperback or e-books through Amazon.com:  books.

He is also Co-blogger of twhealthhumor.com with Taylor Norris, RMT

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 15)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 15)

The original story of the Dullahan is that he has limited speech from his decapitated head and can only call the name of the one whose soul he wishes to take.  But this story is within a tainted world where living and undead roam openly together, so I have given the Dullahan much more speech.

She couldn’t look away from the animate lips of the decapitated head as they stretched all the way to just below the ears.  And the eyes, small and dark, always in motion froze Ashling to the ground.  The smooth pale face the colour of cheese gone moldy twitched and glowed as if alit by an internal dull light as the headless horseman sang:

I smell you

But your odour is faint

Living but nearly undead

And yet!

And yet there is a protection about you

Yes, I see the ankh against your chest

That will not keep me away child

But there is something else

Something more powerful than myself

Something not even those I guard can ward off

The odour of the Crow!

She holds up the ankh that was her father’s, and see the pale green glow of the headless man’s face reflect off it.  Ashling finds her breath:

I have heard of you sir

And ask that you do not cover in me in blood

I know your legend vaguely

And ask that you do not smite me with your sword

Or strike me with your whip made from a spine

This is so surreal

So not real

I am terrified

I have heard of you sir

And ask that you let me leave this place

Please, please don’t cover me in blood

The man’s right hand lifts his head higher and tilts it towards her.

I am the Dullhan as you believe

I am the bringer of death as you have heard

But your fate belongs to the ancient ones deeper in

You must face them before I decide whether to call your name

Or not!

You are fouled, bitten into limbo

But you are also touched by the Crow

And that changes everything

Oh, this world is not for me

Nothing makes sense when undead walk openly

I cannot steal the soul of something not quite alive

So follow me peculiar child

Follow me deeper into the Marble Arch Caves

 

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  All books are available as paperback or e-books through Amazon.com:  books.

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 14)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 14)

Why a line of ten zombies?  I don’t know.  It just feels right.

 

With a sigh the Alchemist fumbles through a wooden filing cabinet in his lab.

You’ll need a few things

To keep you safe

You’ll need a necklace made of silver

You’ll need it to hold a vial

A vial containing the white petals and yellow stigma

A vial containing the spined brown seed

Of the Moringa oleifera tree

It’s the last of it

Since the brown mist covered the blue sky

No has arrived here from the Himalayas

No has arrived here from Kenya

To bring more

He slips the necklace over Briana’s head.  “Do you have cash?”

“I baby sit part-time.”  Briana checks her purse and pulls out a few bills.  “Is this enough?”

“No, it will take you a day or two to get to the Black Hag’s Cell.”  He searches through his pockets.  In his hand he holds a worn plastic card.  “I don’t know why I keep this.  Perhaps memories of blue skies.”

Briana takes the card from his hand.  “What does it do?”

“Nothing now,” she hears him say as he pulls out a leather pouch.  He looks inside and nods his head.  “This should do.  Let your parents know.  Stay to the roads.  Don’t travel at night when other things than zombies come out.”

Briana pockets the pouch.  “We’ll save them both,” she assures him and dashes out of the room.

But I didn’t tell you the cost the Alchemist sings:

It’s not just the ten that count

It’s the entire number of the walking dead

And if you shoot a line of ten down

There must be ten more taken somewhere else

Will you be willing to save your sister,

Will she want you to

If ten others must be turned to take her place?

Ten there must be

And to save one you must kill the other nine

But I didn’t tell you the cost

If you shoot a line of ten down

There must be ten more taken somewhere else!

I didn’t know this when I saved the librarian!

It’s the total count of all the zombies that matters

The cost dear Briana

The cost to save your sister

Is too great!

 

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  All books are available as paperback or e-books through Amazon.com:  books.

Hierarchy of the Undead: A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 13)

 

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 13)

 

Concussions and certain herbs may cause confusion, a loss of memory, and a lost sense of time.  Is that how a zombie feels until it becomes ravenous with hunger for human flesh?

 

There is a family of tiny figures inside dressed in winter clothing.  It reminds Caoimhe of something.  She shakes the globe and the snow inside it makes everything white.

Shake – shake

I am two inside

I swear

Shake – shake

One thinking of human meat

When we of the ten will attack

Shake – shake

I have another thought

An abhorrence to cannibalism

Shake – shake

I am part of this endless walk

But I was part of something else

Shake – shake

The globe becomes clear

And I remember things from before

Shake – shake

But I will have no choice

When the red moon shines through the haze

And oh, I am so hungry!

 

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  All books are available as paperback or e-books through Amazon.com:  books.

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 12)

 

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 12)

The Marble Arch Caves found in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, are limestone caves formed from three rivers that flow down from the Cullicagh mountain.  The three rivers join within the caves to form the Cladagh River.  A perfect place to meet some of the most interesting of the Irish mythological legends.

 

Something drew Ashling away from bicycling directly to County Limerick.  It was a compulsion so strong she did not realize she had forgotten to turn off M1 to M7 towards County Limerick.  Instead she was now pedaling rapidly along M1 to County Fermanagh.

A swinging sign says Marble Arch Caves and below, written in red paint DO NOT ENTER!  Ashling climbed off her bike and walked it along a gravel road with deep potholes.  She comes to wooden steps that lead up and up to steal steps with rusting handrails.  The air is eerily clear to her here.

She leans her bike against the wooden rail and ascends the steps squishy with rot.

This is a strange place

And I feel frightened

And I feel awed

But I am drawn to the maw of the cave

I don’t want to

No I don’t want to

But I must enter

I feel strange in this place

Where the sky is a dusty brown

But the air is clear

As her hands feel the scratchy surface of the metal rails and her feet clunk against the steal steps speckled in brown rust the darkness of the cave’s maw seems to suck her forward.  Terrified but unable to turn away she walks into the darkness.

She hears a deep, ominous voice that sounds unnatural in the modern world but right for some time in the long ago past.

What age is this

Where the ones I would collect

Walk with the living?

What place do I have here?

When lost souls are kept in animate bodies?

Ashling sees a green glow emanating deeper in from an internal river.  She clenches her hands in trepidation and walks closer.

And in the night

What sense is there to claim a life?

My task has changed

I will guard against the foul of the undead

To protect the ancient ones

Who will bring back the blue of the sky

A horse neighs as she peaks around a curve in the limestone wall.  Her knees quiver and her head hurts.  She blinks and blinks but the horrifying image she thought was just a mirage remains.

A tall draught horse unnaturally black with burning red eyes glances at her and stomps one of its front hooves on the uneven floor.  Beside the horse, holding onto its reins, stands a tall man with broad shoulders dressed in black armour made of bone.  His black cape dances at the rim to a wind she cannot feel.  Her throat constricts as the knight’s right arm raises a two handed axe while his left holds up his very own head.

 

Dan Watt is the author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (a medieval spoof)  [available as paperback or e-book through Amazon Books].

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 11)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 11)

Author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (medieval spoof)  [available as paperback or e-book through Amazon Books].

 

Soulless is a strange thing to call something living.  Is a vampire soulless, for certainly he or she still has a personality, and if you have a personality how can you be soulless?

 

From a corner of the lab Brianna heard the chime of a grandfather clock.

“I must give her an injection,” the Alchemist says with frustration.  She watches him take a large syringe, yellowed with age, and draw in creamy orange liquid from a bubbling flask.

“I’ll wait here,” Brianna says.

“Touch nothing!”  The Alchemist replies as he rushes out the door.

Brianna listens and waits.  She hears the Alchemist’s distance voice talking to the Librarian.  With tender steps she moves in front of the tattered book and runs her index finger over the title Pou viv ankò.  As she traces the herbs to the last one she notices an envelope poking out from the last page of the book.  She slides the envelope out.  The Alchemist can still be heard talking to the librarian.  She opens the envelope and slides out a yellowed card.  Brianna shivers at the site of a single eye with its eyelid shut on the front cover.  Her hands shaking she looks at the inside and sings the cryptic verses:

 A gift I gave you of ever life

And you curse my name

A life of never dying I gave you

And you say you were unwilling

 

Ungrateful one

I laugh at your spite

 

You dare attack me when I sleep?

You dare to challenge my authority?

Silent was your attack

Stealth was your method of revenge for a gift

 

Ungrateful one

I laugh at your spite

 

Useless are your curses

Useless is the knife you tried to stab through my eye

Now I ban you from a thousand paces near me

Now I ban you from enjoying my presence

“Why did you read that?”  The Alchemist’s voice, so near, shocks her and she lets go the envelope.  “I told you I cannot get the needed herb.”

“But I can,” Brianna says as she retrieves the letter.

“It’s impossible, the danger is unsurmountable!”

“Better than an injured heart that never heals?”

“No,” the Alchemist admits.  “Have you heard of the Black Hag’s Cell?”

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 10)

Hierarchy of the Undead:  A Gothic Horror Musical by Dan Watt (Blog 10)

Author of Brackish (sci-fi), Queen of Caelum and Sylvia (Children of the Myth Machine series), Lucy and the Snivel Chair (sci-fi/mystery), and Dragon: Emerald of Light (medieval spoof)  [available through Amazon Books].

Mainistir na gCailleach Dubh or Black Nun’s Abbey is in the county of Limerick in Ireland.  Now a ruin it was believed to be built in 1298 or earlier.  The last prioress was accused of delving into witchcraft and sexual acts.  Her room was called the Black Hag’s Cell, because her face turned black after she was executed.

The Countess of Desmond was struck by an arrow as the Earl of Desmond fought the Butlers.  Her husband the Earl of Desmond saw no sign of life in his wife so had her body hidden in the abbey’s altar.  Later they opened the alter and noticed finger scratches.  The Countess had been mistakenly buried alive!  (dates are difficult to pinpoint so this might have been around 1565)

 

The imp was gone and she felt, displaced, her body in two places at once.  From the Kitchen she heard her mother lament filled singing and in her own voice Ashling quietly replied:

Joshua, Joshua my love, my hope, my strength

It’s hard to get along without your arms to keep me safe

I cannot take your tear filled voice any longer mother

I cannot bring father back

Why did you eat Joshua!  Why did you eat?

There might have been away to bring you back

Now it is too late, your eyes are alive with cannibalistic hunger!

I cannot stay here mother, listening to your pain

Joshua, Joshua my love, my hope, my strength!

I’ve written you a letter mother

I’m moving out but do not fear, I’ll be safer now

Why did you eat Joshua!

I cannot take your tear filled voice any longer mother

I’ll write you, all the time, once I’m gone

Is this what it was like to walk, undead, along the streets she wondered?  Had the Fear Dearg turned her into a zombie or just poisoned her blood with his pin like bite?  Everything seemed squished in and elongated as though wherever she went she walked along a narrow corridor.

The imp would not come with her as she travelled to the Abbey of the Black Hag.  Ashling shivered.  Someone had begun restoration of the abbey twenty years ago when the Earth first shook and opened, spilling out limbo.  That’s when satellites stopped sending signals through the brown sky, planes crashed or glided and flew no more; when cars would no longer start and bicycles became the norm for travel.  Rumours whispered that the last abbess’s cackles fill the night air from the Black Hag’s Cell intermingled with the screams of the Countess of Desmond under the church’s alter where she was buried alive.  Ashling sang the song of the Black Hag as she rode her rickety bike west:

 Mainistir na gCailleach Dubh

Abbey of St Catherine de O’Conyl

Abbey of the Black Nuns

 

Sweet abbess of desire

You played with witchcraft in the far southern room

Until your skin turned black from dark magic

Now the sounds of your cackles fill the night

From Black Hag’s Cell

 

Oh, Katherine FitzGerald, we hear your wails

The Butlers pierced you with an arrow

Oh, Countess Desmond, your Earl thought you lost

In the chaos of this battle he hid your still corpse under the alter

And no one heard you scream that you’re still alive

Until your last breath left an echo of your terror ever more

 

It would take her two days or less to bicycle to the abbey.  She didn’t feel the need to eat.  Her energy seemed to come from the brown air itself.