Friday, September 25, 2009

Dali's Egg ~ 12. Wings

The path that led from the left-hand fork rose steadily through the trees growing rockier and less distinct, and the trees themselves grew progressively thinner, replaced by bushes and shrubbery that hugged the ground in silent desperation.
After an hour’s walk John and Adam found themselves at a wooden bridge that spanned the roar of the now swift running river. John lifted one foot to check his bells, finding them still curled and disfigured like tiny white brussel sprouts.
“They won’t last for much longer,” Adam spoke as quietly as possible despite the covering noise of the river, “But it doesn’t matter; once we cross the river the Judiciary won’t follow – they would loose all their powers.” He turned toward the bridge, “C’mon, we’ve still got a long climb ahead of us.”
John followed the boy, realising that they were now on the slope of the conical mountain where Adam’s Blueman held sway.
The wooden handrail was dry and grey with age and John imagined he could feel the memories of the ancient trees that had been felled to construct the bridge. They spoke of infinite forests sweet with oxygen and pungent with decay, of fire that boiled the sap and of birth from deep within the soil, rich and black and seething with life.
“Get ready for some weirdness,” said Adam nervously over his shoulder.
Stepping off the bridge they followed the rocky path that now ran parallel to the other side of the river. The water was clear and looked as cold as bare steel as it gushed and sang over the smooth worn surfaces of red and blue/black rocks. Its bubbling voice spoke highly of the places it had been and the wonders it had seen, it spoke in a language that only the rocks could understand – it had no need for the two forms that followed the path that spiralled up the mountain into its past.
The air grew thinner as they ascended and they soon found themselves on the opposite side of the mountain to the village. John almost stopped breathing altogether when he noticed the moon off in the distance, its face sulky, and he realised that they had climbed to an altitude higher than the satellite’s orbit of the mountain. Clouds swirled at the edges of his vision and he could feel the bells relaxing into their original shapes at his ankles; they begin to tinkle half-heartedly. He could feel the presence of the mountain as if it were some huge sentient entity; well aware of him and the boy; monitoring their progress with stern curiosity, ready to flick them off like bugs from its shoulder.
The path took them up and around until, an hour later, almost at the summit, they were afforded a full view of the island. The mountain, viewed from the top was roughly circular, and the coastline at the end opposite the village ran parallel to the mountain’s base forming the rounded ball of the island’s teardrop shape.
For the first time since his arrival, John remembered the giant chain creaking off into the ocean at the apex of the teardrop. His mind flashed the bizarre image of a fried egg hanging on a chain.
“chka-chka-chka-chka-chka-chka” The magpie swooped low over their heads
“Bastard” Adam scooped up a stone and flung it at the bird.
“chka-chka-chka!” the bird flew off in the direction of the forest below.
“Grissom’s little messenger, used to be her boyfriend,” said Adam, his voice an echoing whisper, “Takes her requests to the Blueman, and returns to her with the stuff she wants.”

Black wings flapping, Kali negotiated the wild and unpredictable updrafts from the mountain. His wings and long tail feathers had to work extra hard to compensate for the weight of the small but dense silver pearl that he held clenched in his beak. Kali hated his daily flight to the top of the mountain; he hated it nearly as much as he hated being locked in the black cage for the rest of the day.
Queen Jane approximately. That bitch, ‘equal partners’, ‘building our own paradise’, ‘together’ she’d said.
Kali hated her. First time he’d let his guard down she’d sucked his essence out through the end of his cock and spat him into the magpie - the magpie that they’d trained together to do the daily run to the top of the mountain.
Kali hated his first memory as a magpie – watching her bury his emaciated body at the crossing of two of the paths created by their little civilization – as if she were some voodoo rock and roll priestess, not some narrow-minded farm girl from the fucking South Carolina.
Kali hated the weaklings that came in here like sheep to have their energies sucked from them.
The problem was that even Kali’s hate was not strong enough to overcome the magpie’s training. Bitch.
He swooped down over a small clearing just out of smelling distance from the white house. Anubis and Osiris had made their home here amongst the odd scattered bone and a wardrobe for their suits.
Kali hated the dog-headed sons-a-bitches. Look at them down there – one of them even had his trousers off and was licking his own dick. Kali dive-bombed the clearing, splatting the offending twin with a glob of brown and white guano.
“chka-chka-chka-chka-ch-kocksucker!” he managed through the restrictions of the magpie’s throat, almost dropping the pearl in amusement at his own accuracy. He circled once to admire the effect before flapping himself blackly on toward the big white house. He swooped down to land on the painted wooden railing in front of the porch swing where the Jane and her current prey sat sipping lemonade. Kali cocked his head left then right trying to see her with both eyes, this one had a green corona of pain and fear around her, the bitch was gonna enjoy sucking this one – might even go all the way.
“Kali, where have you been, we’ve been waiting for ages.” Jane gave him the look, he could feel the heat on his feathers, “Take that through to Grace, and make it snappy.” She turned her attention back to the woman, dismissing him to his duties.
“chka-chka-chka” the hate forced its way up into the air in a flutter of feathers. Kali flapped up vertically before diving down toward the open kitchen window, pulling up at the last second to alight on the sill. He waddled onto the stainless steel worktop and dropped the pearl ‘tik-tik-tik-tzzzt.’
“Mmmukfffffrrrr” Said Grace, the stitches in her lips strained horribly as she turned her blind mute face in the direction of the sound. The pearl throbbed once sending a ripple through the cool air of the kitchen. The substance at its centre seemed to turn itself inside out, there was a flash of blackness as if Kali had blinked his eyes and then there was an ornate plate of steaming apple pie on the worktop. Haiku pearl.
“chka-chka-chka-chka-ch-kake!” he managed for the benefit of Grace, poor Grace. When the three of them (and the fucking magpie) had arrived here, Grace had been an ebony willow, beautiful and sleek as hot oil on a pan. Kali had loved her almost as much as he had loved Jane.
Grace’s problem had been that she believed that her beauty would be enough to get her through anything.
Kali took a peck out of the apple pie before flapping up to land on Grace’s shoulder as she fumbled for the makings of her majesty’s tea party.
The apple pie, besides its obvious sugar hit, contained a strong aphrodisiac. Stimulation of the bird’s sexuality with the pie was always a bit of roller coaster ride for Kali; everything snapped into impossibly sharp focus, he could see the scent of the flowers and the tension in the air, the bird’s instincts on red alert for the mate that just wasn’t gonna turn up. Kali had considered letting the magpie body get it on with one of the seagulls but had decided to keep that one aside until such time as he became desperate enough to try suicide – those seagulls where hard bastards.
Lifting the silver tray on which she’d placed the tea and apple pie, Grace bumped backwards through the swing door almost dislodging Kali from her shoulder. He was transported across the room full of tasteless furniture and tacky knickknacks to where Jane was preparing the sheep for the slaughter. He flapped twice to land on the top of the black cage, figuring he might as well watch the fireworks – the man part of him could still appreciate a bit of voyeurism.

By the time they reached the hut on the top of the mountain John could see his own breath – it swirled around him in ripples of pale rainbows like oil on water. Adam had dropped back to a few paces behind him and John could feel his hair writhing out from the side of his head like some one-eyed grizzly gorgon. The hut was white and crudely daubed, a thatched conical roof with a thin trail of pale smoke rising from its apex.
“zzyew virzzt” Adam gestured toward the doorway, his words melting into his breath like iron filings on a magnet. John swallowed once dryly, wondered why he was doing this. Then he wondered why he was wondering.
He ducked to enter the opening to the hut and found himself in a warm interior swirling with the smoke from the small fire in the centre of the sandy floor. He wasn’t blue, he was grey/blue – as if he’d been painted with ash – his body was dry and powdery, veins showing clearly through the skin – he was squatting behind the fire with a word in his hands. The word was formed by a swarm of bees –‘archangel’. Black-nailed hands fanned at the bees and they exploded out and returned three times to form the words ‘arch’, ‘change’, ‘gel’ in quick succession.
“Magician’s tricks” said John and the Blueman simultaneously, their mouths in perfect synch. The Blueman looked up and for the first time John saw his eyes, they were black, completely black and glossy, like cue balls sunk into the pockets of his eyelids.
“Oh I get it, you’re one of those that comes up here expecting to find some sort of god aren’t you?” the Blueman laughed, dry and bitter, and looking down at his feet continued, “I’m a fucking prisoner just like you buddy, I can’t move off this mountain. And before you start feeling sorry for me – don’t. ‘Cause it’s my choice okay?”
He looked at his visitors.
“Pissed off are we?”
He returned their blank looks for a few seconds, “Pissed off.” He nodded “Your presence here indicates that you’re pissed of with the current system, that the Wicked Witch down in Eden is not running things to your liking? So let me see… you’ve either come to me for answers, answers to questions that are in themselves answers. Either that, or you’re just another wise-ass, a piece of meat with electricity, come to tell me I should be doing things differently, and that its time for regime change” He leaned back, eyes wide, “You’ve come to get rid of me, assassins in god’s house?“ He spat into the fire; it hissed back, “How do you know I haven’t tried them all?” John figured it would be prudent to treat the question as rhetorical; this guy was way out of his head.
“You think this administration is bad? Shit you don’t know bad baby. I sit here and watch you guys down there; you won’t believe the shit I see, the games, the empty stupidity of it all. You know what; I don’t know if it gets much better than this, but I tell you what, you guys could at least give it a try
“Those guys down there, running this particular deal, they’re easy; puppy-dogs compared to the likes of Vorster – bad fucker him, they ate him eventually you know?”
John wondered what constituted easy, the loss of his eye burned in his head.
It’s not the end of the world baby – well, it doesn’t have to be; just ‘cause you can see no future don’t mean there is no future.
“There have been countless civilisations on this island baby, some times the whole lot of them walk the chain together,” The Blueman smiled at the look on John’s face, “A group effort, for what it’s worth.” He leaned forward, squinting at John across the shimmering heat from the fire.
“You think you’re the first man ever to think these thoughts? These black apocalyptic scenarios?”
He stood to adjust his loincloth. “You know what pisses me off?” He walked around the fire, his grey feet kicking up red dust, “What really pisses me off is the fact that you bastards think I’ve got all the answers. The shit I get for just wanting not to partake in all that politics, that small minded back biting and territorial shit.”
He lifted his finger, his hand turning as he summoned the memory,
“My old man and me – somewhere along the chain, I forget where it’s so fucking long ago now. We found this place, this fucking garden, bitch of a place, overgrown, thorns and bugs and shit. It was wet and lush and noisy, fucking birds everywhere. The air was thick with perfume; it made your head swim.”
He slumped down into a canvas and wood chair, the wood frame flexing to take his weight. He removed the black contact lenses from his eyes,
“But of course, somebody always has to mess things up… Stupid old bastard.”
He sat in silence for long minutes; John and Adam dared not break the spell, unsure of what to expect.
He shook himself like a dog; withdrew large shiny black coin from his armpit and flipped it into the air. He watched the upturned eyes of his visitors as they followed the progress of the coin. John would have noticed, if time had slowed so that he was able to notice, that one face of the coin depicted a bird and the other the face of the moon.
The coin disappeared with a shrill whistle as it landed in the fire and all three occupants of the hut release a baited breath.
“They used to bury people with coins on their eyes so they could pay the ferryman to take them across the Styx. You gotta love the capitalism in that – profit, even in death.”
He snorted through his nose, grinning,
“Mind you, you’d be wondering what coin to use nowadays. A penny looks cheap, a pound would be ostentatious, a dollar would be an insult.”
He tucked his elbows into his sides, hands uplifted,
“It’s all about perception; sleight of hand – never loose site of the ball baby. Never forget what it is that constitutes the ball.”
He brought his focus back to his guest who, by the expressions on their faces, seemed to think that this dude as fallen over the edge; had no wisdom to impart.
“Okay then fuckheads; what exactly is it that you want from me eh?
“Wings” said John without even pausing to consider.
“Just walk the fucking chain man, what have you got to loose? Are you going with this old pirate too mister rebel?”
Adam nodded, eyes like double moons of reflected light.
“Alright then, get the fuck out. Oh and… don’t come crying to me when you go and get yourselves hurt.”


Yodood said...

I want to fly so badly it gives me acrophobia — but it can't make me walk that chain.

James Higham said...

“Mmmukfffffrrrr” Said Grace.

Is that what I think she was saying?

Pisces Iscariot said...

Yodood: nobody can be made to walk the chain - it's a personal decision ;)

James: what do you think she was saying? :D

Anonymous said...

Sad thing is, this society is almost civilised compared to the world today.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Cinnamon: 'civilisation' in many cases is merely a thinly veiled form of crowd control.

Anonymous said...

Given the choice, I'd prob'ly walk the chain. Like he said about not knowing the future...wot's John got to lose?

Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: the chain represents the unknown - always the last option and hence the most difficult choice

Anonymous said...

Pisces, I venture into the unknown every day. Nothing is pre-planned, more spur of the moment. Nothing to ponder on...

Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: I commend you as one of the brave minority :)

Anonymous said...

Pisces, I thank you sir.

No man can be brave who considers pain the greatest evil of life; or temperate, who regards pleasure as the highest good.~Cicero

Sometimes pain can be a good thing, yes?

Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: pain is the engine of survival (apologies to Leonard Cohen). Shangaan uses pain to remember his past life, while in my other story, Out of His Mind, the man in the sphere uses pain to recreate his past life.

Anonymous said...

Buddha says that pain is the outcome of sin...( I tend to disagree but only in part ); while Bulwer says that the refinement which brings us new pleasures, exposes us to to new pains.( which is pretty close to what Young quothe ).

Oft I've used the pain but to forget about the past, not recreate it. Hmmmm...

Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: As usual there is never only one answer - one sort of pain is the possible outcome of wrongdoing - my interest lie with the pain we experiece while growing, and what it teaches us.

Anonymous said...

I know full well the lessons of pain. Especially that which I grew up with. I like to think I became better because of it.

The youth of to-day know nothing of real pain( discipline ), be it physical or mental, hence they shun responsibility. They have not much or nothing to reflect on to correct them...

Harlequin said...

ah, the many forms of flying....

quite the workplace you've got here!

the one line that reminded me of mine( workplace that is) was "profit even in death"

I am interested in the next "choices" to be made, choices within contexts of constraint and/or choices of context itself...

Pisces Iscariot said...

Subby: careful my friend, you're at risk of sounding like an old fuddy-duddy :)

Harlequin: I definitely need a new contract - this workplace is driving me to drink ;(

Anonymous said...

I'm a survivor of all those "When I was your age" stories by Pop. Talk about painful...

Pisces Iscariot said...