Monday, May 14, 2012

The Man In The Iron Maiden

penumbra . 22

Paul Lehr

Hot sand laps at the heels of the refugees. Those who have survived (though few by comparison to those who have not) crowd the dry canals at MantraRay’s outer limits in a loosely dis-organised mass. Despite the desperation of the planet’s population there are still those willing to take on the roles of leadership. They circulate the slowly flowing river of people, gathering opinion and giving direction.
Small parties break off, climb the canal walls to enter the outer suburbs; a statue of Colonel Lombard is pulled down and desecrated. Shops are looted for supplies.
Back in the canal, a skirmish breaks out over food packages – voices are raised and blows exchanged – The crowd closes in and the aggressor is taken down swiftly and stoically. His body is loaded into a chop wagon wherein the butchers pound a slow march.
There is no place for those who fall; the desert will have most as it surges daily tsunamis so hot as to suck the very oxygen from the air – delivering asphyxia to stragglers.
Ivan watches the endless feed, devoid of commentary now that even the newsmen have nothing to say – now when everything that should have been said is rendered pointless – I told you so.
His sense of isolation is completed by the sea of people on the screens that cocoon him in their terrible light.
Scenes of people reaching out to help one another.
Scenes of violence.
Entranced by the crowds running up the canals, teetering on the lip of time’s final wave, Ivan sometimes finds some numbing peace, his mind wandering off almost free of the body – suspended.
At times like these his mind will fly out from his gaze to skim across the hedges of his childhood: out on the once fertile continent now lost to the desert; away from the Three Cities; free from the Leviathan; lost in the past.
Away from...
“Ivan, would you like a caffeine-based drink?”
“Fuck off Trinny”

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7 comments:

Harlequin said...

i loved the connection between desperation and leadership. nice touch.

and, well, i suppose there are always fellas like timmy.... completely attentive to exactly the wrong thing and usually at the wrong time.

Courtney said...

Beautiful work :-)

Garth said...

Harlequin: I guess this story is suffering a little from being serialised. TRNE (Trinny) is the Leviathans onboard computer :)

Courtney: Fanx (and welcome back)

Harlequin said...

garth-- oh my-- ha.
thanks for the gentle nudge.
believe me, it's not the serializing... it's my amazing menopausal mind.... i really say the name : timmy. ha!
trinny... now that makes a whole lot more sense to me.
whew!

Harlequin said...

... and, i say, ha ha again.

what i should have written was i really did see ( or, i really saw, i suppose)
the name "timmy"

aging is not for the faint hearted.

Garth said...

Harlequin: :D Age aside, I do suspect that the story will read more coherently in one hit. Online reading is not for the faint hearted ;]

Confessions of a Temporal Lobe said...

This calls to mind the okie cardboard shanty's from my youth.

Under a bridge in Oklahoma City during the 60's, the poorest of the poor built homes out of scraps of wood and cardboard.

My alcoholic father used to drive me past this fragile kingdom under the bridge, whenever he'd catch me thinking too long and hard about how bad I thought I had it in my little world.

Powerful write.
Thanks for the read.