Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dali's Egg ~ 9. Martha

A Want to Believe ~ Eric Fortune

Across the dunes came the end of a world. She stumbled often, she couldn’t figure out which way she should be looking, so invariably she wasn’t looking where she was going.
Adam watched her from the tree line - he’d seen all of them naked; every last jiggling and hairy one of them - this was the only one that mattered.
He tugged at the hem of his shorts as he watched her approach. Her skin was pale brown - her hair was blond – everything about her was… perfect. He couldn’t take his eyes away, not even when the bush behind him made the sound of a deep intake of breath. She was beautiful; she made him feel like a thirteen year old boy.
When she passed the lone palm tree that marked the beginning of the forbidden zone, he stepped out of the trees and ran to fall in beside her. As he approached he noticed a couple of bleeders on her shoulder, the gulls had had to work on this one. She stopped and gave him the standard vacant look.
“Did it hurt?” he asked, knowing what the answer would be – none of them remembered a thing.
“Yes,” she said, her voice struggling over the dryness in her throat, “Jesus yes, it… fuck.”
“What was it…?” What? Adam had forgotten what his second question was supposed to be – he knew that he had three questions – but he could not remember, “Don’t tell them you saw me,” he sprinted back to the tree line, diving in at random, knowing his momentum would take him inevitably to the path that ran down the centre of the peninsula like a spine or the trunk of a horizontal tree.
“Don’t leave me.” Her words echoed in his head, causing him to stop as he broke into the side of the path.
“Come back, hey! Where am I?” she shouted high over the roar of the sea, he could hear the fear in her voice. Adam sank to his haunches as he heard her enter the forest; she was clumsy and did not know to avoid the red bushes with their thorns and their taste for blood. He heard her curse at the sting as she blundered through and he heard the sigh of a satisfied bush. She surprised him by busting into the path a few metres ahead of him, her skin a multitude of bright red scratches – she was angry. Adam pretended to pick at the scabs on his knee as she marched toward him.
“You little shit,” she hissed, grabbing him by the hair, “don’t you leave me standing…”
Adam whipped the knife from his belt and held it to her belly.
“You fuckin’ leave me alone, you all think you can push me around, do this, do that, well fuck you!” the tears in his eyes made everything wavy, “Find you own fuckin’ way, why should I help you?”
She jerked back, her eyes fixed on the knife. When she had backed out of range she sank to the ground and sobbed, her shoulders jerking, her hands over her face.
“I’m dead aren’t I?” she managed between sobs.
Adam’s anger softened to a sulk.
“Just follow the path that way okay?” Adam pointed,”When you get to the fork, take the left hand path, that’ll take you to the village.” He tucked the knife back into the scabbard on his belt and dropped the hem of his shirt back over it, “Don’t tell them that you saw me.” Adam dived into the forest on the opposite side from where they had entered and crashed his way toward the rocky beach that lay on that side. The silence that descended on her shoulders when her sobs became futile was amplified by the roaring of the surf through the forest on both sides of the pathway.

“The only thing she said was ‘Am I dead?’ then she fell down with the pains in her stomach.” Saki sat between Dr Morose and Adam.
“But is she okay?” Adam’s question caused Saki to shrug.
“She’ll be fine,” said Dr Morose reassuringly, “She ate some meat and after a good night's sleep, she’ll be fine.”
John listened from behind them, his back resting on the tree. The rota flapped lazily on the clipboard, its single white page restless in the breeze. His mind was still tender where Grissom had played with it, like a cat with a bird. He felt like he’d been exposed, the secrets of his soul laid bare and picked over with idle interest. John had stayed in bed all day, staring at the apex of the roof where the reeds came together. Morose had looked him over when he hadn’t turned up for wood gathering duty.
“Gives new meaning to having someone fuck with your head doesn’t it?” The Doctor’s sympathy only served to make John feel worse.
“Leave me alone” he said flatly “Go play your game”
“Just don’t lose perspective old man,” Morose shrugged his shoulders “it seems to me that the laws of the universe add up to just one thing – power makes its own laws.”
John had stayed where he was when he heard the order go out to leave the village in preparation for the welcoming of the newcomer. Now he gathered that the she had arrived, and it seemed she was not in pristine condition, but then, thought John, who is?
“She must have stumbled into a one of those awful bushes,” said Morose to Saki, “
“Yes, you did give her body a thorough examination didn’t you?” there was no hint of animosity in her voice, but she did not smile, Morose said nothing. John felt he could almost hear the villagers listening to the murmured conversation; such was the intensity of their curiosity. Shangaan sat with his back to the fire, his scars shining in the flickering light, staring into the blackness of the forest, his face impassive. A balding, middle-aged man called Fleck muttered “That’ll teach her to stick to the path” the side of his mouth smiled smugly. The large dull-eyed woman in whose arms he lay said nothing but smiled with him.
“Don’t be so stupid,” Adam glared at Fleck, “She’s just got here, how’s she supposed to know the rules?”
“I’m just saying, that’s all,” the smug look remained on Fleck’s face, “It’s always best to stick to the path, isn’t it hon?” he looked up at the woman who nodded her head, her dull eyes filled with admiration for her man.
“Adam!” Morose slapped him gently on the back of the head, “A little respect for your elders, please.”
“Respect,” Adam snorted, “I’d respect him if there was anything to respect.”
John reached up and took the clipboard off its nail; he ran a finger down to where his name appeared on the next day’s rota under ‘kitchen duties’.

She lay on her side, her back to him, she’d thrown the sheet off during the night and the scratches on her pale brown skin had faded from red to pink, a fact that did not distract John from the beauty of her naked form.
The surge of desire that ran through his body caused his mind to shy away in terror; he pictured once again the blood trickling from the corner of Jane Grissom’s mouth, the look in her eyes.
Intending to cover her body, he lifted the sheet from the rough wooden floor causing it to rustle with the dusty remains of hundreds of moths’ and bugs’ wings. His movement caused her to sit up suddenly, eyes wide, and John realised that the bed too was littered with dead insects.
“No dreams…” she said groggily. John shook the sheet out and draped it around her shoulders, moving her to the edge of the bed in order to sweep the bed clean.
“I’m John,” he said “I’ve brought you some food.”
“Hope you’re not upsetting my patient old man,” Dr Morose entered the shack and laid a proprietary hand on John’s shoulder, his face was serious despite the lightness of his tone, “It seems young June has had a rough trip.” John wondered why Morose hadn’t gone all the way and worn a stethoscope and white coat.

His cooking duties done, John took the path down to the dunes where he sat and watched the waves wash up against the beach.
He tried to gather his thoughts, to create some sort of mental picture of the days since his arrival.
He found it impossible to remember how many days it had in fact been, it felt as if he had always been here and yet, where had he been before? He had no recollection except ‘fried egg’ a ludicrous mental image that glimmered just on the edge of understanding.
He idly fingered the bells around his ankles, wondering where they had come from, he tried to undo the leather strip from which the bells hung but found it impossible to understand the knot – it had no ends. In frustration he tried to rip them from his ankles but they held fast, seeming to tighten against his effort, cutting into his skin, uncomfortable.
“They don’t come off – that’s how they track you.” John turned his head to find Adam crouched on the top of the nearest dune, “My friend ended up ripping his foot off trying to get rid of his bells, he bled to death. I think they’re actually part of us.” The boy looked out to sea as he spoke; he seemed less agitated that usual, as if he had finally accepted the burden of his existence. “If you want to go places without the Judiciary knowing, you have to stop your bells ringing.” He said turning his face toward John with an expression that said ‘it’s bloody obvious.’
“How do you do that?”
“She remembers from before - she told me”
“Who? The new woman?” John was beginning to keep up with Adam’s erratic attention span.
“Says she remembers pain” Adam wiped his nose on his tee shirt revealing the knife in its scabbard on his belt – John noticed that it was not one of the kitchen knives.
“How do you stop your bells from ringing?”
The boy smiled crookedly
“Took me ages to figure it out – are you gonna go see the Blueman?”
“I tried already,” said John, “the dogs stopped me.”
“Jesus,” the boy looked around frantically, “Don’t call them dogs, they get really pissed off, beat the shit outta you.”
“But they’ve got dogs…” John grinned at the Adam’s discomfort.
“Didn’t always,” the boy whispered, “They were just normal when they got here, identical twin brothers – mad for it. For their loyalty Grissom allowed them use to the Blueman once for their own wishes, so they changed themselves, they believe they’re some sort of Egyptian gods.”
“That’s funny isn’t it,” John continued to play with the boy’s fears, “gods, dogs, I think…”
Adam’s eyes widened and he scrambled back away from John, disappearing over the dune in a scattering of sand. John felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck.
“Funny eh? You think all of this is a joke? I’ll give you funny ya old cunt.”
Pain erupted in John’s side; he rolled down the remainder of the dune in an attempt to escape. A polished black boot pushed down on his chest with enough force to pin his back firmly to the sand. One of them - he couldn’t tell which - stood over him, eyes flashing, a thin bladed knife, as bright as the moon, in his hand.
“Slow learner aren’t you Jerry? Finding it hard to understand the teachers? You should think of this as a remedial class then.” With a quick thrust of a black-sleeved arm the vision in John’s right eye flashed red and blue followed by white light, excruciating pain, and nothingness.
The lawn was a virulent green; deep grey clouds hung low over the garden obscuring the tops of the fir trees. Three monkeys sat on the wrought iron bench while a chameleon inched its way along the overhanging branch, bulbous eyes sprocketing around independently looking for both prey and predator. Somewhere behind him John could hear the sound of construction; steel on steel, heavy machinery, a welder’s arc flashed on the underside of the clouds. The first monkey removed his hands from his eyes and grinned widely showing large square white teeth.

“Welcome back into the food chain old man” from the look on Dr Morose’s face John could tell that whatever he was waking up to, it was not going to be good news. The pain had become familiar while he had been out, on the edge of unbearable.
“Drink this” Morose tilted his head forward in order for John to take in the warm liquid. The edges of his mind faded down dragging the rest of him back into the dark where the second monkey uncovered its ears. John could hear Martha calling from the house He looked back to the yellow lights in the windows clear and deep as amber gems embedded in the house’s white walls darkened to blue in the gloom.
“I want to know where I am,” he said to the middle monkey.
“Where you are,” the third monkey dropped its hands from its mouth to fiddle with its genitals, scratching idly, “Where you is. You are what you is. Where you are is what you is. It’s all words. The world is created by words.”

“Martha” John awoke with the word in his throat, thick as helium. It was dark; a torch fluttered in the sea breeze, the air was damp with salt. The pain sat like a weight in his head, a weight equal to a lost eye, a weight beyond the pain. As he sat up in the flickering light, disturbed by his halved view, his spine uncomfortable with the vertical weight of his body, he caught a whiff of himself; it was not pleasant, he needed a bath. He shuffled across the clearing where the fire had died down to glowing chunks of red around which a scattering of villagers slept.
He opened the valve under the water tank and stood under the shower of sun-warmed water, washing the smell of his bodily functions from his skin. He did his best not to get water into whatever was left of his eye, not knowing yet how to treat its absence. Martha!


Jimmy Bastard said...

Truly epic... so many great lines have been put to paper before my very eyes.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

Mesmerizing. Like looking out a window and not being able to turn away.

Anonymous said...

Truly masterful work!

"power makes its own laws"....

Justin Russell said...

Morbidly compulsive reading material as ever.

And take the left-hand path? Indeed, it seems they did so...

James Higham said...

“What was it…?” What? Adam had forgotten what his second question was supposed to be – he knew that he had three questions – but he could not remember ...

There was something I was going to ask you about this, Pisces. Hang on a minute, it's coming back.

Hold on ...

Yodood said...

Just read this passage from my Grossinger book before reading this gem of yours:

"There are no gender; there is only desire itself … Stimuli are the sole tinder of creation.
Without the creative engagement o self with other, complexity must forever lie dormant, even in systems of its greatest potential.

Sometime synchronicity buckles my knees.

Anonymous said...

I havn't read this (yet)- I am replying to your comment yesterday- not good enough! I want a straight answer! Oh, never mind..I'll go google...

Pisces Iscariot said...

Jimmy: Glad you're still enjoying :)

Jayne: a rabbit in the headlights? :D

Subby: 'masterful' whoa!

Justin: 'morbidly compulsive' I think I might put that on the Trophy Shelf.

James: You've been at the gull meat again haven't you.

Yodood: I love that quote, it's layered with meaning that takes a number of readings to reveal - Thanks!

Cinnamon: To some questions there are simply no answers ;]

Anonymous said...

You're rumbled ;]

Why so shy?

I have enjoyed reading Dali's Egg, but I have to speed-read to allow other users of the computer access. Now what I really want is to take a book to bed with me...

Pisces Iscariot said...

Cinnamon: "The Aeon Calling" is available at Lulu and Amazon - contact me on my email if you would like further info on "Markov Chain" which comprises "Dali's Egg"; "Cabin Fevre" and "Out of his Mind" - all of which are serialised here.

Jon said...


here's how it happened:

the adder ate the apple
eve ate the adder
adam cried in the corner
and god said

i think i'll spend more time on crow

for some reason i like his countenance better

or something like that


Harlequin said...

quite captivating; the image, as well.Intriguing how horrible and lyrical can be mutually supportive;
the food chain is a nice ribbon, here
I will read again, I feel it call me back