So, as a celebration of a fun time at Howell, the band decided to go back down I-44, and we stopped in St. James to look around. However, we were not using charter busses this time, so our busses were the rickety old First Student sort, and had already grown rusty holes in the bottom through which the dirt road could be seen. We were all aching to leave the bus, so we got off for a look around. After a short time of looking around at the exotic vegetation and swampyness of the land, I noticed that my shoes were covered in dirty dust, so I headed towards the bus with a couple other banders. When we arrived, we were assaulted with news that there was an epileptic kid among us. Typical Tot found him to comfort him, and left the group. Everyone else sees the dust on the shoes on my feet and decided this made me Taboo, so I had to prove myself again.
I headed off towards downtown St. James, and I came upon a church offering donuts and coffee, so I went inside. The food was great, and they offered me a tour of St. James. My guide was designated as a girl called Alice. She took me down into the basement, where there were many tree roots and it was cool as a cave. She told me about how that town was part of the German Rhineland, and how there were many wineries around here. She gave me a taste of grape juice. It was light and tangy, like the perfect table grape. It wasn't overly sugary, which was surprising. Normally I didn't like grape juice that much. Soon, further underground, there was a chilling noise much like snoring, but it was deeper and more resonant. I mentioned that, and Alice looked nervous. She explained that it was just people crushing grapes. I didn't believe her.
Since she was so shaken by my observation, she took me back to the surface, and we went down the road and visited the band's hotel. Inside, it was annoyingly chilly, even though it was about 85 degrees outside. The receptionist was a gaunt old woman with vacant eyes, and told me in a sighing voice, "You are in room 338, which is downstairs three levels." As Alice and I headed down there, I asked her what was wrong with the lady. She looked at me sadly, and told me many people were moving away from St. James, and nobody ever came to visit, not even her grandchildren. That was upsetting news, but I could deal with it.
My room was pleasantly undecorated, and it had a bed with fluffy covers, and a vase of dried flowers on a desk. However, I couldn't find a lightswitch, just a candle and a box of matches. Then it dawned on me. This town has no electricity! I set my things inside my room, and headed back upstairs with Alice. I saw Tot running up to us, and I ask her what's going on. She explains that we need to go back to the bus NOW, so we follow her, running. We soon got back to the bus, where everyone was gathered around the epileptic boy in a wheelchair. He is mumbling strange things about a cell tower and a large creature. Everyone was convinced there was something terribly wrong, except the band staff. They made everyone go out for lunch, and sent the epileptic boy home. Tot went with him, convinced it was her duty to take care of him and convert him to mormonism. Andrew Craig, Sarah (How did she get here?), Alice and I were not convinced. We had seen and heard enough information to conclude that there was something fishy going on here. We went out into the town, towards the huge building next to a cell tower that we hadn't noticed before due to the perception filter. We headed in that direction.
We reached the building, and that strange noise from the basement under the church returned. We looked at each other. Alice was gone. We went up the elevator, and stopped at each floor. Each floor was strewn with papers on a light brown carpet. However, when we got back in the elevator, it would no longer go down. We continued up, hoping there would be a fire escape. Suddenly, on one of the floors, a wall of windows is blown out by a forceful fire. We hurried back into the elevator as we saw a scaly serpent tail pass outside, headed up. We decided to go as far up as we could, which ended up being the hundredth floor, above the clouds. As we exited, two large, glowing serpent eyed watched us. Alice was riding upon the dragon's neck. She told us we would be killed by her and the dragon if we didn't leave the town soon. Andrew went up to Alice and the dragon, and began whispering to the dragon, who grew sleepy. He jumped on the dragon, and flew off, with Alice caught in the dragon's back claws to prevent her from falling. Andrew, Alice, and the dragon spiraled downward, and I looked at Sarah wondering how to get off this building.
Somehow, Sarah had two parachutes on her. She told me she always comes prepared. We jumped, and the Earth was far, far below. It was like skydiving, and I had a feeling of falling, falling, falling. Pieces of debris came at us, and I had enough aerial agility to avoid them. Soon, however, a tall cliff came up at us from the ground. It was almost too late to pull the parachute. We just barely missed the edge of the cliff, and we pulled the strings. I landed safely on the ground next to Andrew, who told me he made the dragon set him down and flew off with Alice. Sarah landed closer to the dark green trees, on top of the next grassy hill. We headed back towards the busses, miles away, and swore never to tell what just happened.