-Of pyjamas, balloons and thieves-
Ice cold fingers brushed across my left cheek, I sat up straight with unblinking eyes, suddenly aware of the oppressive moist heat engulfing me. Without a doubt I knew the air was empty now, there was no need to look around.
Trying to remember the thought I was buried under a minute ago, I switched my attention back to the T.V. series I was using as white noise to lure in an eluding sleep at two in the morning, while my brain was churning up thoughts after thoughts, exploring all aspects of my life from the most embarrassing memories to quite an in depth analysis of the mysteries of exisitence.
It was begining to feel like the thoughts would never stop, but they had. Squinting my eyes I concentrated, still I couldn’t remember the end of my last thread of thoughts. This was happening a lot these days; one minute a single concoction of my mind occupied my whole attention and suddenly, just as I became aware that I was such deep in thought then, whoosh, the memory is gone; as if a wayward faerie stole that minute away from my life.
I don’t know if I even exist in those moments or I, just like them vanish for a puff of a second and no one even notices that I am gone, off with my thoughts, flying above, holding onto them like a bunch of balloons; then I simply come back beacause reality is an illusion set in time and I must stay rooted to one single illusion. I must, but I can not.
I closed my eyes as the peace of the night claimed me too. A fluttering idea passed through, morphing into a dream, maybe he owns that cold touch, maybe he owns those last seconds of mine, he collects them form unsuspecting minds; thoughts so deep that they collapse your whole perception onto a single point, he takes them and locks them in a tiny wooden treasure chest anchored around his neck with a twig. He owns those wandering conceptions. He owns time; my time
I wake up to a vibrating alarm, disoriented and I hope looking like an irresistable siren but well aware of my entangled hair and drool slithering down my open mouth to the pillow.
That was an interesting dream; I remembered the general idea of it but not all the details. Maybe it was one dream, maybe many; I don’t know but I seriously needed more sleep. ‘I will recall it’ I promised myself and text kaya, my best friend, about it but first I needed to pee.
Lumbering myself to a sitting position I moved my foot around with half closed eyes until I found one slipper, then next and slid off the bed, regretfully leaving my throne.
Standing in my pyjamas, proudly displaying a sparrow on each bum and a grey cotton shirt, I had the same startling feeling of starting anew as if I didn’t know which directions I had already travelled today, again another trickle of my life misplaced; I felt a tinge of remorse.
Congratulating myself that I was going mental I moved towards the bathroom but my feet remained glued to where I stood. I struggled to move, procuring no result. To an onlooker I might have looked like a dancing toon undulating around, fixed to a spot. Imagining this I smiled despite the alarmingly strange situation I was in.
Before hysteria finally discovered me, my hands flickered like a yellow incandescent bulb for a few mote seconds and then I stood before myself.
PART I : I SAW HER FADING AWAY…
She stood before me, an exact replica of me in face and size. But she was a singular being; demanding all attention, all senses and light, she dared a tentative smile and I realized I was smiling too.
Like a magicians trick she transformed, in a helical manner from head to toe. Brown eyes like mine watched me with the same curiosity I felt, with an occassional shimmer of gold as the slant of sunlight filtering through the niche amid the white cotton curtains of my room reached her face. We both stood starched, with a height of five feet four but her poise commandered the phantasm of more height. Clad in a flea bitten grey leather skirt and a veil of feathers burying the entire length of her black hair, the cinnamon complexion of our faces better suited her. I could have been her; a pang of regret astonished me, which I quickly dismissed. That is me; I pleaded and hoped to myself.
Liberated of my earlier inability to move, I stepped forward with an outstretched hand to touch those silken feathers and better examine her as she too mirrored my movements. A whiff of cardamom and roses enthralled me and I closed my eyes just to better savour the pleasure. When I opened my eyes after a minute stretched long and tall, I saw her fading away, iridescent with the soft glow of a burning candle, like an ancient photograph losing all colour and form in a flick of a second. The moment passed too soon and she vanished away into the duet of sobbing and whistling windstorm behind her. I knew for a fact then that I had lost a part of me.
There was loss and emptyness blooming in my heart and all this was as real as the smell of thunder and earth still dancing around in the room. I sat down on the floor, utterly sure that the day was lost.
PART II : THE ACCOMPANYING WIND THREATENED TO TEAR ME APART…
A dark world materialized before me. After a quick adaptation from the bright morning, the movements of my eyes became saccadic, grasping at any shadow that might provide a reprive from the thundering downpour. A lone bower stood near a shallow trench dangerously close to overflowing, in an otherwise flat landscape as far as the rain allowed me to see. The accompanying wind threatened to tear me apart. Accepting the danger of drowning in the trench water I took the shelter the bower offered which was not much to brag about since water still trickled throught it’s architecture.
My heart soon settled down it staccato and I grasped what had just happened in the waiting that ensued. I was in strange clothes, frankly I was astonished that the skirt had not fallen down given its lack of belt and dead bird feathers pearched on my head! They were so irritating but they were pretty too, so they could stay, maybe, I decided.
I knew the one I had left in my room was me. She was the life I daily lived; she was the habit I wasn’t brave enough to leave but she was all I knew. I was not dreaming either because I was hungry and I was never hungry in dreams; never ever.
I was empty; I was free. Light was the next hope to explore what this night have concealed and I desperately waited for it.
“That’s my flower!” a high pitched squeal warned, as my fingers closed around a yellow bloom. Startled I jumped, searching for someone, anyone. Finding the same scenery of red laterite soil with puddles of water everywhere that I dare not enter lest I find a pirhana like beast swimming around in it; I returned my gaze to the flower I was about to pick. Yellow petals with long blood red stamen protruding out of the closed canopy of those petals and a row of sharp green thorns stood guard surrounding it. I had never seen that variety before but the strangest thing was it was oscillating to and fro and coming towards me.
My eyes must have come out of their sockets in horror because an imp of a man in weather beaten trousers sagging at the knees and a bare chest rose up from the ground with the flower planted on his head, complete with mud around its roots.
I retreated back until my back found resistance as far away from him as possible. He smiled revealing a few scattered yellow teeth and repeated “this is my flower,” pointing toward it making his declaration clear and I just stared speechless.
“I am ruux. This so your first visit to the graveyard.” He stated like a news reporter. I still stood immobile processing his words, managing to inhale all the air around me in one big gulp.
I knew what I had to say. Anyone would know what I had to say but my voice took its own sweet time to come. Ask the obvious you idiot, I urged myself.
“Yes, all the dead go in the cisterns.” He said with a hand sweeping all around us.
If I could make a hole of my shape in the bowers’s wall behind my back, I would run screeming, with the hem of the tight skirt held securely in both my hands lest it fall down. But I would probably fall right in one of those cisterns and join those dead myself.
Returning from my fake flight I asked the next obvious question.
“Who are you?”
“I am ruux. I told you.”
“I mean what are you doing here?” apart from being creepy I added silently.
“I guard the dead. They get restless if a life comes close.” He said with a less scary smile and a shrug which I interpreted as an effort at being friendly and civil. Perhaps He won’t eat me I hoped.
“And this is their graveyard. You will stay with me I hope?” He continued without a smile, pointing in the direction of the small rocks that peppered the ground in front of the trench.
“And I hope you don’t push me in it.”
Oops! Had I said that out loud?
“No, he won’t,” answered a new quacky female voice.
My day would have lost all its charm if a four foot speaking tan vulture hadn’t answered my suspicions.
“We don’t like the taste of the living. They are not pure,” she clarified further as she settled down from her flight, on one of the few branches of the bower and started scanning me like one of those school teachers whose spectacles dwell forevevr on the tip of their nose.
A set of shivers rippled through my body.
“The truth is not easy to be extracted from you. Your brain is like a trash can, full of so many alterations of the same situation. I don’t know which one is true.”
“Hey! Stay out of my mind.” Vultures reading my mind!
I was seeing a vulture for the first time in my life but let me tell you they don’t respect privacy; so I suggest you recite the table of nineteen if you ever meet one.
The aforementioned bird laughed. I’m not sure it did but I think it did.
“You can call me tu,” she said.
“And I’m not a bird. I’m one of the dead.”
– – choose which character you would like to follow to continue the story from categories option at the bottom of the page under fabler series.–
This was the nuclear story of the series; an introduction.
Both avatars of the protagonists of this story continue to narrate the tales of new characters they meet and places and objects which interest them as this story continues further through a different pair of eyes each time.
I’ll meet you in the next fable…
And please feel free to complement me or dissect away my faults in the comments section or share, like or follow.
This is my first ever serious attempt at writing down my hallucinations.
P.S.: I make all the paintings and art on this blog myself.