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Plumes

November 13, 2014

Michael didn’t want dad using the internet on his game machine. I was syncing it with my laptop. Dad went to a few dodgy websites. Both computers were infected with the notorious Michael Jackson virus. A blue, 8-bit Michael Jackson winked at us before the screen went black. Dad didn’t realize that he had just ruined our electronics, and was simply annoyed that he couldn’t upload his photos to Instagram.
There were huge plumes of ash flying past us on our right. The others only seems marginally worried about it, but I knew we needed to get down from the mountain as soon as possible. I kept reminding them about what happened to the people on Mt Ontake.
When we passed the pond, the rare flying beaked llamas made an appearance on the boardwalk. They were not shy and I thought they were hilarious. I took a few photos and other tourists noticed me taking photos so they did too.
We took refuge in a glasshouse as the ash engulfed us.

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The Same Tree

November 6, 2014

I noticed that the tree in the bedroom was sagging. One of the main branches had fallen on the computer. In the next room, the same tree had fallen over and was rotting on the ground. I looked back at the first room and noticed it didn’t have a pot, or even a base of the tree; it was just large branches being held up by ropes. I told Shinako’s mum about it. She said that it was at the end of its natural life. I knew it was because Shinako had asked me to water it but I didn’t.

Baghdad

September 24, 2014

I was staying with the members of Hiva Oa in Baghdad. Under world laws, people were allowed to go on vacation whenever they liked, but they were not able to chose the location. It was a lottery, and you had to go to wherever the computer chose. If a person declined their destination, their passport became void, and they were never allowed to travel again. So there I was in Baghdad.
There was another backpacker staying with us too. We all thought it was best if we, the travelers, stayed at the same place. This other lady (I never found out her name) went for a walk. She was supposed to be home by 4, but she didn’t come home that evening. We were getting worried when Marco received a text. It was a message from the girl, but it was in code. The code was made up of short 3D games for the iPhone 6. We never figured out what it meant, but the band guys enjoyed playing them.

Steven, Angela and I were getting cabin fever. We knew it was dangerous, but we went for walk anyway. We saw some small bombs falling behind a field. I hoped that people had evacuated from the area.
We came to a large road with a highway hovering over it. Angela noticed the war planes. I said to run. Now. We across a field to an empty barn. Angela was slower. Bombs fell around her. When she made it to the barn, I asked if she was hurt. She showed me her leg. It had a cut where she was hit by shrapnel. We were lucky.

Curious About the Snail

July 12, 2014

I said goodbye and got out of there. I couldn’t enjoy a party with so many cockroaches crawling around. “I feel bad for Lindsay, but I’m glad it’s not my place,” I thought.
It was late when I got home, but mum and dad were still up. I said goodnight and went downstairs to bed. When I opened the door, I noticed a giant weta. “Oh hello,” I said to the bug, “you’re not supposed to be in here.” Started moving towards it, but the I noticed the snail. It about the size of my head. A frog, also my-head-sized, was curious about the snail, and crept up to it. The snail poked its tongue out quickly, flicking the frog back.
I was thrilled to see the animals, but also quite worried at the amount of creatures in the place I sleep. I went upstairs to tell my parents about what I just saw. They weren’t impressed at first. Then I told them the size of the snail. “How big?” Said mum.
We went downstairs to look at them. Two tiny snakes were just outside my bedroom door. One was wormy with yellow and orange stripes, and the other was green, yellow and pudgy, like a shoehorn.
We went in. The snail was still there, but its head was in its shell.
“I’m worried that there are snakes in my bed,” I said.
My lifted up the covers to check. She gave me a look that said, “Yes, there are lots.”
She checked around the room for other animals. She kept walking on the futon, and I was worried that she would make the snakes angry. Sure enough, a blue snake came out from its shelter and slithered towards me. It looked poisonous.

Explain These Remotes

April 30, 2014

First stop. Yamagata. Got off the bus. The street had flat screens. The guard man said they had the biggest can machine in the world. He seemed to be awfully proud of it. Couldn’t find it.
Looked for the man all over the Game Centre. It turned old timey.
Bowling, drumming, hundreds of vending machines.
The small, round, 85 year old man met us in an upper room full of bunk beds. I asked if everyone slept there.
“A tiny fraction of us,” he said.
He left the door remotes in our hands. I panicked. Repeated over and over that I, “can’t explain these remotes! Can’t explain them! Can hardly use them! Can’t explain them!”
He was gone.
The lady with the see-through sheet’s see-through sheet was covered in blood so it wasn’t see-through. I filled her eye-holes and toe-holes with tissue paper and ran.

The Brown Mass of Water

April 30, 2014

I looked at the map and said to Shinako that it might be quicker and more fun if we drifted down the river. The map was interactive and showed a slow half and a fast-flowing half. I didn’t heed that.
We floated down the river on our packs. It was peaceful. It was flowing at a slow-rate, and we could chat about the forest as we went.
A high cliff appeared above us. It loomed out over the river. We saw a large blob of water fall from the cliff and smack onto the river surface. It was so large, and had fallen so far that it sent waves through the river, sloshing us around. Another fell from the cliff, then another, then a whole river fell from the great height. The river joined with ours and sent us hurdling down the brown mass of water, throwing us down steep runs and crashing us against cliffs. I managed to hold onto the side of the river at a bend. I caught Shinako too. We used all our strength to pull ourselves up onto the high island.
It was concrete and there was no way off. We were stuck. We called for help but there was nobody else in the forest.
After waiting for a time, a small, half-squirrel, half-boy type creature approached me cautiously. He reminded me of Haru. When he was about a metre away, he suddenly jumped and clasped to my arm. It started trying to hump my arm like a small dog. I tried to shake it off but it was holding very tightly. It took a lot of violent shaking to finally throw him off my arm. He chased me around the island, occasionally clasping to a limb or my head. When it tired, it’s hair turned orange.
The next day, some boy scouts came and saved us.

The Polar Bear Got Out

April 19, 2014

I went into the hall. I tried to shut the door before the polar bear got out. It stuck its paw between the door and the frame before I had a chance to close it properly. I gave up and went to the front door, thinking that I could get outside quicker than the bear could. Again, just when I was about to close the door, the bear stuck his paw in the gap. There was no way I could fight against his strength. I ran out into the road. The bear came out too. A large boxer dog was coming up the road with its owner. I knew there would be a problem. This was the biggest hassle I’ve ever had to deal with on a layover.