As I was walking through the park, the boy looked up at me, and there was something in his eyes.
He had unruly blond hair and wore a cartoon T-shirt that stuck partway out of his jeans. He looked to be about eleven, maybe twelve years old. The age that marks the difficult crossing between childhood and adolescence.
But although his body seemed to be that age, there was something in his eyes.
There are people that are considered to be an “old soul.” No matter what age they seem to be physically, they have a presence of someone much older. The boy seemed all of that, and more. As he looked back at me, he recognized my intuition and nodded to me in a very adult manner. In fact, it was as if he were a mentor who was pleased that a younger charge opened his eyes about some part of the world and finally realized what was in front of them, unnoticed until that very moment of understanding.
“What…” I stammered, surprised that I was suddenly inarticulate, “what are you?” I finished quietly.
He looked down for a moment and sighed. It was the sigh of an old man.
“Have you read many stories? Books? I mean, fantasy books?” Although I expected his voice to sound very grizzled based on his demeanor, his voice was a high tenor, and not yet at the point where it cracked. A child’s voice.
“When I was a kid, I used to.” I said.
“Good. That’s the right time. There are stories that require a certain kind of main character. A child.” He pushed his hair from in front of his eyes; his bangs were too long and got in the way. “And they are the only ones that can save the world. Not our world, but some fantasy place where there is a prophecy of some kid that will come and save them. Do you know the kind of stories I mean?”
“Yes, I think so,” I said skeptically, not sure where he was going with this.
“And after saving the world, they live on in that fantasy place as kings, or thieves, or assassins, or magicians, or knights, or any one of a thousand careers. And at the end….” he paused for a second to push his unruly hair out of the way. “At the end, he returns back to his world, a child again, but able to live his real life with the experiences of a lifetime in that special fantasy place.”
“You’ve done that?” I narrowed my eyes at him cynically, now wondering if my original intuition was wrong.
His response was to narrow his eyes back at me. I realized that he hadn’t stopped watching me, and his eyes narrowing was a direct and immediate response to my change in stance. The unspoken rebuke was palpable, impossible to miss, and quite unmistakably adult.
“I haven’t done that just once,” he said, drilling his eyes into mine, “I’ve done it almost ten thousand times.”
“Spinning, down from the heights came the wanderer. Final worth not smiling, but on a blue couch,” the animatronic Wombat pontificated to the confused tourists.
“What’s wrong with this thing?” asked one woman, as her terrified little girl clung to her yellow, flowered dress. “It’s scaring my daughter.”
The tour guide peered at the Wombat whose animated mouth and gesticulating arms made snapping movements as they moved. She suddenly looked up into the sky for some reason.
“As the lights below excommunicated the burning one and committed the milky volume to the lunch day under the abstruse cardiograph,” the Wombat said.
“Wait, what day is it?” asked the Tour guide.
“Thursday” said an older gentleman, standing next to an elderly woman, presumably his wife.
“No, no, what date? What day of the month?”
“What should that have to do with anything? The 19th I think.” said the woman with the girl again.
“Oh no.” said the tour guide, holding a hand to her mouth.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Under the spatch blade the averlith burdened,” the Wombat continued.
“This isn’t Mickey Mouse!” said the little girl, loudly. “This is scary. Where is Mickey?”
“We’re going there soon,” said the woman with the flowered dress to the little girl. She turned back to the tour guide with an angry expression. “What is wrong with this thing, lets get out of here!”
“It won’t do any good,” said the tour guide. “Orlando is broken.”
“Don’t you mean this puppet thing is broken?” said the elderly woman. “Let’s take the monorail somewhere else.”
“No, Orlando is broken. The Immanentization failed, and we have left the world you came from. The monorail is nothing more than a snakelike path of doom. Epcot is now a cauldron of broken angles, and Magic Mountain…well Magic Mountain is nothing more than a gateway to madness. Nowhere is safe.”
The little girl started to cry.
“What the hell are you talking about?” said a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and a camera around his neck. “This is not what I paid for.”
“Blow me around the transformed–” The tour guide suddenly turned and smashed the Wombat with her fist, which cut off its sound instantly.
“Money is irrelevant,” she snapped. “But, very well, I will tell you what I’m talking about. I will finish my role as a tour guide, and I will tell you, and you will not understand, but you will know.”
“Forget this. I’m leaving,” said the man with the Hawaiian shirt. He turned around and started to head towards the parking lot.
“You will NOT!” shouted the tour guide, and raised her hand, which was in a fist, near her head, and flung her fingers outwards.
A ripple, a twisting, an unnatural wave of space flew outwards, and enveloped the man. He instantly stopped. She turned her hand, and he turned as if connected to her like a puppet.
The little girl screamed, and started to cry again. The tour guide looked at her, and brought her other hand up near her head as an open hand, although with her fingers at strange angles. She clenched it into a fist. The little girl abruptly silenced and grabbed her throat. She looked like she tried to cry again, but no sound came out.
The others started to run, screaming.
The tour guide sighed, and then dropped her hands for a moment, then she held one hand up vertically in front of her face. With her other hand she wove her fingers in a strange pattern over her open palm, sometimes in a typing motion, sometimes flinging her fingers outwards, and sometimes curling them in to her palm.
Another unnatural ripple flowed from her body, and enveloped all of the tour group. They all turned as one and walked back, mechanically, to where she was standing.
“A long time ago,” the tour guide began, as if they had just walked up to another exhibit, “a gateway to another place opened from this place. It contaminated the other place with what was then Orlando. And Orlando was contaminated by it.”
“This was not a problem, then. Orlando was wild, and uncontrolled, and so was this other place. But, unlike this other place, things changed in Orlando. And, the other place, now bound by time as it had not been before, changed.”
“It all began when a person named Disney came to Orlando, and decided that it would be a good place for a theme park. Now, most think that he chose it because of the weather, or that he liked Florida.” The tour guide smiled crookedly. “But Disney was a visionary in more ways that he is acclaimed. He had a sense about the other place. He knew that it was there, knew what would happen if he put a theme park in the thin place between worlds. He had ambitions.”
“You see, the other place, which does not and never will have a name, should it fully merge with your world, will create what is called an eschaton. Even that concept fails to really capture what it really is, but there is no such thing as language in that other place, and because of this, language will never be able to fully describe what it is.”
The tour guide looked at the quivering crowd listening to her, some were crying, others were futilely trying to leave, but held by the forces that she had brought to being. Her face glared at the group as she tapped her foot as if she was impatient. Then she moved her hand in a circle in front of her and raised one finger. Another wave of force went outward from her finger towards the man in the Hawaiian shirt, who screamed.
He suddenly stopped when the force hit him, and closed his mouth, then raised his hand, shakily.
“Yes, I see that someone has a question,” the tour guide said darkly.
“But…what…is…an…eschaton?” said the man with the Hawaiian shirt mechanically.
“Very good question. My how you are such a good inquisitive group! And that led me to my next part of the lecture. How convenient. Well, how do I explain this? An eschaton is a concept that means that this world has merged with the perfect, immaterial state that is usually represented by what you call ‘God’. In this case, it is the complete merging of the other place I told you about and ‘Orlando.’”
“Now you heard me say Immanentization before, well, the process of making the eschaton come about is a process called Immanentization, or making it more immanent.”
“But we have failed, and the reason we have failed is a problem called time. I told you that time never existed in that other place until the gateway opened. Well, the eschaton needed to happen before a certain critical juncture in the merging between these worlds, which is now past.”
“You see, Disney realized that the good will and happy children that Disney World drew to this place would hasten the Immanentization of the eschaton. And once that happened, well, he would become as unto a God in this place, because it was his concepts that created the impetus that would fully realize the eschaton. No matter that he is dead now, that concept has no meaning here, his essence would survive and come to into full being if the eschaton occurred.”
“It was so close, but it failed. And now Orlando is in that other world, instead of being merged and perfected. And that is where we are.”
The tour guide looked out at the group, and they all looked quite confused now, on top of being terrified.
“I told you that you would know, but you would not understand. And so I have done my job, and there is only one thing that we can do now, and that is to purge Orlando from the other place that we are now in.”
“How do you do that?” asked the woman in the flowered dress.
The tour guide reached behind her head with both her hands, as if she were grabbing the back of her shirt to take it off, and pulled. Her skin started to peel off, along with her clothes, as if her skin were something that she had just put on in the morning.
What stepped out of her skin was…Mickey Mouse.
“We, the essences that were part of that other place, were forced into Disney’s ideas,” the mouse said, in Micky’s high voice. “We became containers for his dreams, and the more people that came to the park, the more solid this became. To purge it, all sentient beings that can believe in these ideas must be terminated. And that means all of you.”
Mickey walked up to the little girl, who looked amused at the little mouse walking up to her. He smiled back at her. Then he reached his hand to her neck, grabbed her head with his other hand, and snapped her neck around violently. The girl died instantly.
The rest of the group screamed, but still could not move.
Mickey bent over the body, and bit into the little girl’s neck. He looked up, with his lips and mouth covered with blood, and addressed the screaming group.
“You have no idea,” Mickey Mouse said, “no idea how long I’ve wanted to do that.” He bent down again and began drinking the blood from her neck. The helpless screams from the group continued.
He looked up one last time and smiled, bloodily, “And before I forget, welcome to Disney World.”