The Lost Art of Wandering From Room to Room By Caspian Nyghtvision

Disclaimer: Hasn't changed. The doctors tell me that juu-juu is a kind of bean. It can't be!

Author notes: Short and bizarre. This one's a bit over the line drawn in the sand to separate the sane from the People who Hear Rice Krispies. Please forgive the absurdness. It's not how I usually write.

Chapter Three: What REALLY Happens When You Destroy a Toothpick Shrine

"The viruses. they're everywhere. Norton is powerless against them."

"Poor Rowen, he's lost it," Cye said sadly.

Kayura looked up from her cornflakes and snorted. Her eyes were red from yesterday's crying. "Cye, he never had it." She returned to poking sadly at her soggy cereal.

"G'marnin" Cale came into the kitchen wearing only boxers, gave the coffeemaker a distrustful look, and collapsed onto a chair. He fell asleep again before his head hit the table.

"Rowen kept us up all night," Sage said hauntedly, clutching his coffee like a lifeline. "Thrashing around reciting bits of computer code."

Everyone was sitting in their usual places in the kitchen, attempting to wake up. Rowen wandered around, eyes glazed, making beep-beep noises and muttering. Several people had snagged places around the table, but the rest sat on countertops or on White Blaze. Most of the Ronins looked haggard, but Ryo looked cheerfully normal. The Ancient perched above the refrigerator and sulked. Yulie crouched shivering over the sink, his head under the running faucet. Badamon contently gnawed a bone under the table.

"You still got that fever, Yulie?" Mia asked as she patted Kayura's back sympathetically.

"Mnn-hmn," the teenager at the sink choked.

"I still don't see why he's so sick, it's only poison ivy."

"Says the one man in the room immune to all venom."

Sekhmet glared at Ryo. His heavy eyelids were lowered because Rowen's crazed ranting in the next room had kept him up all night, and it made the green-haired Warlord look quite sinister. "Shut up."

Sniffling slightly, Kayura kicked Badamon under the table. "Stop drooling on my toes, Baddie, you disgusting midget. Whose turn is it to take them for a walk?"

"The Ancient's," everyone said.

The man turned his back and sulked. "The god's shrine lies in ruins, and the toothpicks are scattered across the living room carpet. Chu-I-To-Ma-To will wreak his vengeance on all here."

"The toothpicks? Ancient, I told you to clean those up," Mia scolded.

Kento emerged from his coffee, "You were building a shrine to a Chewy Tomato?"

"Do not mock the god! There will be vengeance-wreaking!"

"How do you wreak vengeance? With a garden hose?"

"Anubis, you were my disciple, I would expect better from you."

"But. but. but." Cye looked left out. "Who is Chu-I-To-Ma-To?"

"THE VIRUSES RAGE WORLDWIDE!" With a dramatic flourish, Rowen ripped out the silverware drawer and turned it upside down. Spoons scattered everywhere.

The Ancient seized this moment to leap down from the fridge and start speechifying. "Viruses and spoons!" he proclaimed, grabbing Rowen's wrist and holding it in the air. "Behold the Prophet! First signs of the Coming!"

"00011110 01010001?" Rowen wondered.

Badamon squealed and dove into the cupboard. Everyone ignored him.

"Right." Dais took his cornflakes and went into the living room.

"Ancient. Ancient. Put the fork down." Mia turned on her Patient Mode, which she used when she had to explain to her Japanese Mythology students that juu-juu isn't a real word. "It's okay. Who is Chu-I-To-Ma-To? What is he the god of?"

"Dryer lint and houseguests. And he will RETURN to WREAK--"

Mia snagged the fork before he put his own eyes out. "I'm sure he will. Why don't we--"

"I HAVE returned! I will WREAK my vengeance, infidels!" squeaked a little voice from the floor. Mia turned and looked at the fuzzy, rabbit-shaped ball of lint, fur and hair in the middle of the floor.

"Oh, look, one of White Blaze's hairballs came to life." Ryo was instantly punished for his blasphemous words as dryer lint fell out of nowhere into his hair. Wildfire sighed and took his coffee into the living room, picking the fluffy stuff out of his thick black locks.

"Chu-I-To-Ma-To hath come!" The Ancient knelt to the lintball.

"I came to you in a dream and told you to build me a shrine! You failed! From now on, you will have unusual amounts of fluffy stuff in your clothes dryer, and an unwanted visitor will land on your doorstep!" Chu-I-To-Ma-To piped.

Ryo struggled back into the kitchen, dragging the Ancient Vacuum Cleaner of Doom. Dramatic music thundered in the background as he yanked out yards of ancient electric cord, plugged it in and turned it on.

The huge, clumsy, dangerous-looking old machine roared to life like an enraged dragon. Everything under ten pounds was sucked into its hungry maw. The god of houseguests and dryer lint didn't stand a chance in the face of the Ancient Vacuum of Doom.

Everyone just looked at the extremely clean spot on the floor and shrugged. Ryo turned off the vacuum cleaner and dragged it away like David hauling off Goliath's carcass.

"What a way to start the day," Rowen said clearly. Mia gasped and hugged him. "You're better! You're not talking in computer code any more!"

Anubis staggered to the coffeemaker, "This is going to be a long day."

Yeah. Short and bizarre. I did say so.

Caspian Nyghtvision can be reached at caspian_scholar@hotmail.com, unless you want money. Then you're out of luck, cause she sure as hell doesn't have any.