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Phantom Wars Chapter 10

Chapter Ten: Kelly’s Mansion Tour

Ethan peeked his head around the corner and saw that the hall was empty. The neon lights in it were dim looked like the path could either end in two steps or go on for hours. Slowly Ethan walked down the hall keeping his eyes forward expecting someone to jump out in front of him at any moment.

No one came into the open hall, Ethan turned behind him to see if anyone would sneak up on him, and no one did. He kept his guard up as he continued on and turned the corner. It was an ambush.

Red lasers from six different people simultaneously shot out and hit Ethan all over. Ethan fell to his knees and dropped his gun. The walls glowed in neon red colors that spelled out the words, “Red Team Wins!”

Outside ‘Peters Toyshop’, Ethan and Picario were talking. “You know,” Ethan said. “I never realized how hard it is to be subtle without my powers. Of course I could have won if I used them but that’s cheating.”

“Hey you made it pretty far for your first real game of laser tag.” Picario said. “Besides you were not only the last man standing you also got ambushed by six people at once. Anyways I got to pick up some food for Nessie want to join?”

Ethan shrugged his shoulders the pulled out his amber stone and teleported to floor 94. He waited in the lobby until Picario showed up a moment later and then the two walked to ‘Kelly’s Exotic Pet Shop’. Along the way they ran into Kelly just down the corridor with her room in it.

“Hey Kelly.” Both Ethan and Picario said simultaneously as they saw her.

“Hey boys,” Kelly responded.

“Are you heading somewhere in particular?” Picario asked.

“No I’m just bored and felt like wandering around want to join me?”

“Thanks but not this time, I need to grab some food for Nessie.” Picario said.

“Alright then, how about you Ethan? Would you like to join me in wondering around or perhaps Picario here has forgotten to finish giving you that tour and you need a substitute guide?”

Ethan thought about it for a moment then said, “Yeah actually that would be nice. I have yet to explore all the wonders of this mansion and get I do often get sidetracked as well.”

Ethan and Kelly said goodbye to Picario and continued walking down the corridor to the lounge. “So how about we take you to the clothes shop because you are in some serious need of new threads.” Kelly said to Ethan after looking him up and down.

“Yeah,” Ethan said as he rubbed the back of his head. “I have been in the exact same outfit since arriving here.” Then he pulled out his amber crystal and asked, “What floor?”

“Floor seventy-five” Kelly said. Then she pulled out her teleportation crystal and they both transported to the lounge on floor 75.

‘Samuels Clothes & Tailor shop was the 8 th door down in the first corridor.

As Ethan had learned to expect, the room was massive in size. The main area had hundreds of circular racks that held thousands of shirts, pants, sweaters and every type of clothing. Beyond the racks were full outfits and things like shoes, hats, and socks. After five hours of clothes shopping alone Ethan had 14 new outfits, several new shoes and boots, four more jackets and a wetsuit.

At the checkout counter Ethan saw an elderly black man a little shorter than himself. He greeted them with a big smile and said, “Greetings.”

Kelly leaned over the counter and hugged the man, he hugged her back. “Hi Sam, this is my new friend Ethan.”

Sam held out his hand and Ethan had to put down most of his clothes to shake Sam’s hand. “Pleasure to meet you,” Ethan said as politely as he could.

“To you as well young man,” Sam said. He turned to Kelly then said. “I have your outfit finished.” Then he went into a room behind the counter and came back a couple minutes later carrying a slender 4 foot box and handed it to Kelly.

While Ethan carefully put his clothes on the counter so it could register them all Kelly peeked in her box. She closed it a moment later and said, “It’s perfect, thank you Samuel.”

The clothes totaled over 200,000 Ghost points and Ethan was now nearly broke again. “Um do you have like some bags I could put all these in?” Ethan asked.

Sam chuckled a little then said, “Better yet, hold on for a moment.” Then he disappeared in the back room again and a moment later returned with a large square box that was made out of some strange bright green colored material. Samuel started carefully folding Ethan’s clothes one at a time then placed them in the box.

“If you want you can view the catalogs of various outfit designs I have at the end of the counter while I do this; it’s going to take a while.”

Kelly led Ethan to the catalogs before he could fully make up his mind. There was dozens of large spiral binders sitting neatly around the counter. Ethan opened them up to find a full body shot of an outfit per a page. The backside of each page showed the outfit from behind.

Ethan flipped through them casually when he asked, “Who made all of these designs?”

“The combination from various artists and consumers ideas,” Kelly said. “When someone has an idea for their own outfit they usually hire an artist to help them draw it out then they come to Sam here and give him the design and pay him to make it custom for their measurements.

Afterwards he puts the design into the catalogs here. This way if people like the designs they can order one for themselves as well. And over the years Sam has collected many different designs.”

“How long has he been here?”

“Since 1809,” Sam said as he placed the green box on the counter. “I was fortunate enough at the time to be apprenticed to a tailor in England and not only did I have great skill for tailoring, I also have a greater love for it. Anyways be sure to come back anytime. My shop is always open, if I am not at the counter and you have a request just holler, I will hear you.”

The two of them thanked Samuel then Ethan teleported back to his floor and quickly put the box full of clothes into his room and then teleported to floor 72 to meet Kelly. On this floor, Kelly took Ethan to, ‘Darren Pages book & graphic novel shop’.

From walking in the shop you had the option of going down two wide paths of shelves that lead either to graphic novels or books. Down both paths was a maze with shelves that reached to the ceiling as its walls; on each shelf were hundreds of books or graphic novels depending on what path you went down, most of them copies of one particular book or graphic novel.

A sliding ladder was attached too each of the shelves to help people climb up and grab something from much higher up. Down the maze of bookshelves were sign posts at each corner with an arrow pointing in a direction that read, “To checkout and Exit”. Both the books and the graphic novels were ordered by a binary system from what Ethan could tell by the numbers engraved on each row of the shelves.

After only a few minutes of walking around Ethan said, “This place is literally a maze of books!”

“Yeah its really awesome isn’t it?” Kelly asked with certainty. “This place has been slowly expanding over the years, at least so I have heard. I suppose at first the shop was run out of one of the much lower floors and was nothing more than a small room with stacks and stacks of books and comics all around and has gradually been building up.”

“How many different books and comics are there?”

“I don’t know but my guess is billions, possibly even trillions. Darren has books dating all the way back to the 1500’s from what I have seen; he might even have ones older than that.”

“Have you ever tried asking him what the oldest books he has?”

“Well the thoughts crossed my mind but in truth no one has ever seen Darren in person. He contracts artists from all around the world to help him draw the graphic novels and has contracts with others to aid him in writing down and creating the books. Believe it or not, though these stories were collected throughout the ages from old and new books, each and every book in here was hand created; technically speaking.

The way I believe it’s done is that Darren has an original copy of every book and graphic novel, somewhere in storage that he or his assistants copy perfectly in mass production. And then Darren puts the copied versions of these works on his shelves and sells them.”

“Isn’t that considered copy right, even if we are dead?”

“Yes but this has no effect on the living whatsoever, besides no one cares at all. The mansion here may have many wonders but eventually people do grow bored of certain things and we can’t exactly go out to the store and buy a DVD or video game any more to entertain ourselves. Long story short this place is one of the largest sources of entertainment for most phantoms.

There is also a rumor that’s been going around now that’s been extremely hush, hush and very few people including myself even know about it. The only reason I know about it and everything I just told you is because I am friends with one of Darren’s assistants. I don’t see her very often because she is extremely busy with her job and she can only tell me a little amount about everything as it is but its still a lot more than most people know.”

Ethan and Kelly wandered through the maze of books while talking and through that entire time Ethan never once pulled out a book to look at it, he was too busy listening intently to Kelly. From time to time he would glance away at her to the shelves and briefly read some book titles but kept most of his attention on her. Now though he was unable to take his eyes off of her and waited as patiently as he could for her to continue speaking. She didn’t continue for a little bit and Ethan finally realized that she was waiting for him to ask his question that was slowly building up in him.

“So then if all of this is supposed to be on the down-low then how come you are telling me so openly?”

“Simply because you’re not the type to gossip, and as far as I know your only friend is Picario; who has no other friends he can really tell this all to. Besides it’s nice to finally have someone else to talk about all this fun stuff with.”

“So then what about that rumor?” Ethan asked.

Kelly didn’t say anything more she just pulled out a piece of paper from her pocket looked at it then carefully studied the shelves as she kept walking. She found a couple of different books, pulled them off the shelf then handed them to Ethan saying, “Here carry these.”

Ethan carried the books and followed behind Kelly as she searched the rows ever so slowly. Eventually she continued talking, “Well the rumor is that on new years Darren plans on shutting down this floors book store and opening a master one on floor 99. This is because he is supposed to have collected over 90% of every book known to man now. I hear he is going to make an entire city for every book and graphic novel category there is specifically designed for those book or graphic novel types.”

Ethan practically tripped over himself when Kelly finished her last sentence. “ Wait City !?” Ethan said incredulously. I mean I know the 99 th floor rooms are supposed to be massive but just how big are they!?”

Kelly shrugged and said, “Roughly the size of a state I believe. I’m not really sure though I have only been inside a room on floor 99 once and the person there had dozens of cities in her room just for fun. She never bothered to measure it so maybe more.”

Neither Kelly nor Ethan talked about anything more important after that, they just held light conversation while looking for her books. By the end of the search Ethan was carrying a dozen books under his arms. His arms felt like they were on fire when they finally made it to the check out stand; which was completely empty.

After Kelly paid for her books she stopped messing with Ethan and carried half of them herself. The path back to the exit was relatively straight and only took a few turns in all. It was a long walk back but the walls contained a very well painted mural that depicted two young people, a boy and girl traveling through various lands takin straight out of books themselves. Ethan only realized that some of these lands came out of books because he recognized them from older books he had read such as, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Treasure island”, and “Lord of The rings”.

The mural continued on showing the adventures of the children as they go through these lands and progressively age and grow up. The mural ended with the children being an old man and old woman lying in bed together surrounded by books with enormous bold words at the top that reads: DISCOVER .

The exit was just past the end of the mural and Ethan felt himself wanting to go back into maze of books and grab as many books as his arms could carry and immerse himself in them. Kelly took one look at Ethan and laughed lightly then said, “Yeah I feel the same way every time I pass that mural. Truly it’s inspiring and sometimes I believe filled with a literal magic instead of just a metaphorical one.”

Kelly took a quick trip back to her room with all the books while Ethan waited around in the lobby. When she returned, they teleported to floor 98 and continued the tour. As Ethan expected the lobby of that floor was luxurious as all can be and its beauty probably outshined even a king’s palace back in the realm of the living.

On their walk to the next shop Ethan asked, “So Kelly, why did you decide to make an animal shop here? I mean I’m not saying that’s its not amazing but to me it almost seems like all your hard work might go a little unappreciated when compared to all of the other shops in here.”

“You know Ethan even though were dead many things can still hurt us.” Kelly’s tone was sharp and sounded hurt.

Ethan stopped walking and quickly said, “Kelly I didn’t mean it like that I’m sorry.”

Kelly slowed down but didn’t stop walking. Ethan caught up to her and they continued a normal pace in silence until they got to their destination; ‘Allen’s Architect room design shop’. Inside the room was surprisingly average sized for the floor they were on. It contained only statues of various sizes around the shop, most of the statues were 6 inches in height or 1 foot, or 3 feet, however there were some single models of statues that were 8 feet in height or 20 feet.

The statues designs consisted of different warrior angels in both male and female, Demons, reapers, and gargoyles. At the end of the room was the checkout counter and on opposing sides were two white doors that looked like they were made out of marble. One door read, 8 and 20 foot statues. While the other one read, 100 foot statues. Ethan dared to look into the room with the 100 foot statues and was overwhelmed. He felt like he stepped into a room for giants that spent all their time crafting masterpiece statues.

When Ethan came back into the main room Kelly was at the counter talking to a dark wavy haired man who looked like he was in his mid thirties. When Kelly noticed him she said, “Ethan this is Allen, come and meet him.” Her tone returned back to neutral but Ethan decided to wait before trying to talk to her directly for a little longer.

Ethan got up to the counter and shook the man’s hand; introducing himself. “Allen here is responsible for almost every one of the shops designs including my own.” Kelly said.

“Well someone needs a little visual imagination here, especially with unlimited resources; the question isn’t what can I make, its what can’t I?” Allen said. His voice had a heavy Italian accent.

Ethan smiled and said, “I will take your word for it.”

“Anyways I saw you looking at those statues, if there wasn’t something you liked I do custom designs as well just bring me a sketch of what you want and the size you want and I can make. Or if your in need of some room design help then-“

“Were actually just touring around but thanks,” Ethan interrupted Allen before he went on too long.

“Well then we should wrap up our tour with my favorite shop.” Kelly said. “Bye Allen, come on Ethan.”

Ethan followed Kelly out of the shop and she told him to teleport to floor 90. Ethan did as she said and she practically dragged him to the final shop. They arrived at a rainbow colored door down the third corridor that had a painting of an island of candy on its center. In bold letters that looked like they were made out of laffy taffy posted at the top of the door read, ‘Tilly’s Sweets Shop’. Kelly didn’t wait for Ethan and she opened the door and went inside. Ethan followed behind her and saw that the room was like an early 30’s malt shop except the size of a football stadium.

Kelly turned to Ethan and said, “This is my favorite shop because I can eat all the sweets I want and never get fat! I think. I’m actually not sure how it works here.” She was smiling again and this cheered Ethan up.

The place was practically overwhelmed with people as conversations blurred into white noise instantly and the entire atmosphere was beyond delightful. Kelly dragged Ethan to the nearest empty table booth and the two sat down across from each other. Moments later a blonde girl with her hair in a ponytail style like Kelly; who was only a few years older looking than Ethan came up to them. She had a polka dot dress on with a big smile; her face was very pleasant to look at.

“Kelly I almost didn’t see you come,” Said the blonde girl. “And with a date no less?”

“Tilly this is my new friend Ethan. Ethan this is Tilly the shop owner of this amazing place.” Kelly said.

“Well Ethan it’s a pleasure to meet you, and please feel free to come here and enjoy a sweet treat anytime you like. I’m always open… and always busy; but don’t let that discourage you. Anyways what can I get for you two?”

“Two chocolate milkshakes and a plate full of chocolate chip cookies.” Kelly said. Then she pulled out her translucent card and handed it to Tilly who smiled and then left, promising to return moments later with their order.

Ethan smirked then said, “Thanks for letting me order for myself.”

Kelly stuck her tongue out at him then said, “If you don’t like chocolate you can go ahead and leave now.”

Ethan said nothing and the two waited in silence for a minute when Tilly returned with a tray carrying their plate full of cookies and milkshakes. She placed them down on the table and returned Kelly’s card to her. “If you need anything more just ask.” Tilly said before walking away.

Over milkshakes and cookies Kelly told Ethan about why she made and animal pet store. “The reason I don’t have pets like cats, and dogs is because they’re too plain, too normal. I always wanted to have these special kinds of creatures I would read in fantasy books or see in movies as pets but that was simply impossible in the world I lived in.

But after I died and came here suddenly the realm of impossible were just a few steps away from my door. After a lot of hard work and with the help of the caretaker I was able to have these amazing creatures as pets for myself. Then I decided why keep these creatures to myself why not share them with whomever always wanted their own amazing fantasy creatures, and that’s how my shop came to be.

You are right though about not feeling appreciated there are times when I don’t think people do appreciate all the hard work I had to do to make that pet store and to acquire and maintain all those animals by myself. Including designing a food that was convenient for the owner and delicious for the creature, and all their toys so they wouldn’t get bored when their owners away. But at the same time I’m not the only shop owner here that feels unappreciated at times. We get thanks and stuff and people are always happy to see us, but as I’ve come to learn appreciation is a hard to express thing so even though people enjoy what we do they don’t know how to say it.”

“I guess I never really thought about it like that. I suppose it can be hard to feel unappreciated sometimes because for some reason we want the world to sing our praise for all the hard work we do and all we try to give people. I can’t say I speak from experience like you but I think I understand a little what you’re talking about.”

After that their conversation became lighter and Ethan and Kelly started talking about more common things such as their favorite books. The two of them devoured more treats never getting full but never feeling the need to eat.

When they were finished they left Tilly’s shop and were on their way. “Thanks for the tour Kelly, I probably would have never found out about the rest of this stuff for at least a year with Picario.”

“Well there is one more shop I haven’t showed you yet. But that’s because it’s only open Monday and Friday. Do you remember the life size puppet theater on Halloween, with the scarecrow?”

“Yeah at the party.”

“Well, the girl who did that does a life size puppet show twice a week. The stories for the most part run the same until she is ready to show a new one but because you have yet to see any you might want go there sometime if your feeling bored. Anyways I have to get back and feed some of the animals so until next time.” Then Kelly hugged Ethan goodbye and teleported back to her floor.

Ethan pulled out his amber crystal and did the same.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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