the fifth ubiquitous page



The Fifth Ubiquitous Page.
Hello, we see you! We are hidden. Look up, you cannot see us!
We have many skills that people of the Floor do not. Our toes are long and strong, our eyes are large and round, we are small and thin and ropy and patient. We hang in the heat and dust, hidden and silent, dreaming our dreams until night comes. If we are very still and quiet, the Box People can look right at us and never see us for what we are.
They have come looking for us with lights and ladders and sticks several times now, but have failed every time. Only the careless and old among us die, and we do not have children. We can not have children here. Once in a very long while one of us will leave to have a child, but it is always an amazement when it happens, because if you carry a child, you must give up the Glue. Only the mad give up the Glue. If you carry a child and do not give up the Glue, you will bear a dead, limbless thing that will haunt your Glue-dreams with fear and horror forever afterwards, and even the mad do not want that. We do not have children here; we are born elsewhere.
This is only where we die.

This page is not about you!


The Crushmachine Room was empty of Box People, which made it only a little less frightening to be there.
I flattened myself against the wall, as far from the Crushmachine as I could get, not wishing to share the fate of the three of us who were inside it. I imagined their crushed bones, their squished faces, and a small sound of fear escaped my mouth. I cast my head down, to let the hair fall in front of my eyes and spare me the sight of the Crushmachine while I battled my fear.
The Glue brings ease from all that is disturbing and painful. I breathed deep from my can, feeling the rush of strength through my body. I am powerful, when I have the Glue, even though it makes my body tremble just a bit.
I went to the bottom of the stairs.
Stairs are things that Box People and other People of the Floor use to climb. They are strange and unnatural; you use only your legs to get up them. There are bars at the sides for hands to hold onto, but they are set so low that they are useless for climbing.

The stairs were long and frightening, and stretched up into a light that was almost too bright to look at. It was still not as bright as the Light that I followed, so I knew that my quest was not yet ended. I would have to go all the way to the Roof.

I began to climb the stairs.

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This is the Vortex. The bits of cardboard that blast from the Machines funnel down through the Tower and are mixed with water here, to be fed to the Crushmachine. The roar of the wind inside drowns out even the cries of those whose howling faces are pressed to the glass as they try to escape.


This is the Tower. Those who are sucked into it by the mighty winds
are soon dead.