Sirclik and Linus (A Flat Earth Tale): Part 1 Sirclik Chapter 3 Ice-olation

by nielskunze on December 23, 2016

(Winter Time by Steve Miller Band)

Sirclik squeezed his eyes to mere slits, squinting against the unreasonable light reflecting off the snow and ice. There was light ahead, way ahead, but even here, a three-days journey out, it seemed to skid and bounce off of the homogenous white fields with little diminishment, poking him in the face, along with a relentless wind, causing the muscles in his brow to cramp and freeze. It was uncomfortable and foreign to anything he had known before… but all that was so far behind him already that he was truly now a stranger to himself, wandering in a strange land, toward an incomprehensible destination in pursuit of some idiotic personal mission. He didn’t understand his own motivations; he pressed on… only because going back seemed even more absurd.

He was empty of thought and rationale, a mere tumbling vessel of vacuous identity, rolling across a featureless landscape. Only the strange egg inside his breast throbbed with any semblance of life, a life no longer his own in any conceivable way. He was the arms and legs and breath of a singular esoteric mission assigned by the cryptic humour of some ancestral prank, the motility of an embodied idea too farfetched to even comprehend.

His feet shuffled on, wrapped in hides and sure compulsion. He stopped occasionally when the cold bit through to hug himself back to life, pulling his arms inside the makeshift tunic to warm his torso and his hands. It was a stranger hugging a stranger, as he was also the silent third– the witness– to such awkward necessity.

When the light ahead finally dimmed, he knew for the first time the definition of day and night… its length, its contrast, the silent, implacable measure of his resolve. In full darkness he had no choice but to stop, lest he might just wander in circles without the light ahead to guide his way. He piled the snow against the wind to huddle in a crevice. He yearned for fire, but there was nothing to burn… but the last of the calories in his empty gut. He grumbled with hunger throughout the night.

Fields of Ice

Fields of Ice

The trappings of his breath within that tiny cave of ice kept him alive during the few hours of fitful sleep. He managed to dream, but could not remember what. Dreams out of context, it seemed, were particularly fleeting and indistinct. The morning light penetrated his thin blanket of snow just enough to rouse him to wakefulness in a moment of blinking and de-cramping. With something less than real enthusiasm, he pushed himself up again into the daylight world, seeking passage again to the sun ahead.

A yellow orb in an orange-pink sky defined the sunrise of another day… in another world, that lay just ahead. He had never seen this sun before; it was a stranger, a foreigner to the man who stood at his back shrouded in dissolving memory like a trailing mist. Had he ever been that man? Truly?

He cast the ice from his veins in brisk deliberate movements, stamping his feet to encourage circulation in his numbed toes. There was naught to do but to press on another two days in total monotony… until the supposed ‘barrier’ encasing this beckoning world would decide whether and how he might pass within. And then what? He couldn’t even begin to imagine.

The second day passed interminably. Fortunately, even the processes of thought were cold, numbed and languid, so frustration was largely kept at bay by default. He tried at times to recall the many hours of instruction his dragon friend Lizabeth had bequeathed him, but their impenetrable unrelatability left him with just a head full of indecipherable hieroglyphs cluttering his mind. Their pertinence lay another day’s journey ahead, or so he had to believe.

That second night yielded very little sleep. As stores of energy were drastically depleted, the cold was able to bite that much harder. Waking again to the dawn light, this time a fair sight closer, he felt lucky to have woken at all. The vapour from his breath had iced the lids of his eyes firmly shut during the night. Cold clumsy fingers scraped the gluing shards away to allow the sight of the dawn ahead to fill him again with mad purpose, to rouse him to his feet– now seemingly permanently numbed– so that he might continue this agonizing shuffle toward a haunting destiny.

He had become an automaton. All movement was purely out of habit. His mind was a complete blank, and seemed to hover around the periphery of his upper body instead of staying strictly put inside his head. It was as though he was now just a loosely defined cloud of singular aspiration, drifting inexorably toward that unknown goal. There was nothing to reflect upon, nothing to remember, no cause for speculation. Fate was his dizzy companion… and there was nothing to discuss.

And then he was abruptly face down in the snow. That sudden reality was like a slap to instant wakefulness, causing him to wonder what had just happened. He pulled himself up on all fours, lifting his head to further discern the way. There was something directly in front of his face, invisible, undetectable to his senses… except that he could feel it there, right in front of him, gigantically looming…

It was the barrier. It was utterly huge, whatever it was. The strange egg throbbed inside him in some peculiar resonance with the invisible dome… as though the one was the microcosm of the macrocosm, one the internal origin of the other’s external reality. In some indecipherable way the egg was the dome; the dome was the egg.

He stood now before it, arms outstretched akimbo, sensing its implacable reality with an awareness beyond the five senses, an awareness that only comes in place of profound emptiness. Eyes closed, he could see it in his mind… and it wasn’t merely a dome, a protective shield placed upon the ground. Like the strange egg inside his breast, it was a fully enclosed bubble, or perhaps a cocoon. Where its edge met the ground it continued downward into the ice and snow, through the cold rock and frozen dirt beneath, to fully quarantine this world called Earth– from above, from below.

He stood before the outer magnetic edge of an alien world… and yearned only to be inside…

The barrier wasn’t physical, at least not in any way that made sense to the lone traveler. He could feel it, sense it, as he began to move through it. It provided no sensation to the outer receptors on his skin, but he could feel it moving within him as though he was a sponge and the dome a cold liquid. It poured through him in layers, like a beast devouring him, piece by piece dismembering him from the inside, masticating his last sense of selfhood, swallowing, appropriating his very essence…
And the strange egg burst like a star within him, filling him with the shrapnel of quantized, fractured light…

Sunlight in the Void… a mutual devouring, one into the other, from the other… the hands of paternity shaping the potter’s clay in divine purpose… infinity captured in the full lilt of the pendulum’s swing… from this to that, sound and silence…

Scintillant shafts and spears projected from the merger of eyes… to a screen of ghosts, monsters, shadows and angels… thoughts contorting to accommodate their own convoluted story-lines… imaginative array… unbound… unhinged…

And the sound… oh, the sound! Going out in reverberation… a blending of music and will, then circling the outer ear… spiraling, tunneling… the motion of God’s own jihad, coming to kill Himself, over and over again… the seductive melody of falsehood and self… everything propped up by words… in motion, dancing…

A swoon in the dizzied breast… call it love, punctuated by fear– the fear of moments unending… ribcages exploding in delight, for annihilation’s sweet promise that time is a friend… and a foe to singularity. The circle is broken… and outstretched, a line in parallel with infinity… finding no edge, no blade, no cut… just the unstaunched bleeding, with borrowed blood… beating back the inevitable, until growth pushes forward… into this stranger’s waiting embrace…

The power and the plexus… a filigree network, first tied to the sun, like a spider in her web… the lens is shaped from purpose and feedback. There are no naked eyes here; there is no seeing without the lens. The moon is a tunnel, through the quarantine, through amnesia… linking outer with inner, guarded by the cold-blooded, intelligent life-force of fire-breathing dragons… and our mutual dreaming…

The coming of procreators… spewing pools of sticky consensus, garments of agreements for the organization of masses… of generations, self-forgetting… dressing each other in the costumes we’d prefer for ourselves… and our unrecognized aspirations… pushing our leaders from behind…

And finally… the fragility of need… tied tightly to the ground… from loftiness to filth, the distant bars on the barometer… high and low– equal morsels to feed the relentlessness of hunger, the ever-present companion at life’s outer edge… motility… motion… prerequisites to the Hero’s quest… but stilled in fear, and equal measure of self-approbation… the kneeling supplicant… made humble, made great.

He was in. He was done, lain out to die.

Passed through the barrier, the barrier had passed through him, shattering the egg, spilling its mystery, diffusing a whisper of ancient breath. He was face-down in the snow, unable to even open his eyes, lucky to breathe… once more… and again…

…and then, nothing.

screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-7-06-12-am

He was rocked gently, in a giant cradle, dictating the rhythm of the deepest sleep reserved for the undead. Movement, more than anything, was a sure sign of life. If something moved, something was alive… but it wasn’t he who moved; it was the world in its totality, rocking back and forth, languidly, gently, reassuringly. Was it the giant hands of creator gods lovingly trying to rouse him? Was this mere slumber, or something more mysterious, sinister?

No. He was warm, comfortable– shockingly so. He could feel the outline of his body, buried under blankets or skins, under a mountain of care of someone else’s devising.

Gentle sounds came to his ears: the creaking of wood in mild duress, the pat-pat of hands smoothening the ruffled edges of reality, far distant voices– human, and then the almost imperceptible movements of someone nearby– clothes rustling, the creak of a chair being sat upon…

He opened his eyes.

“Ah, welcome friend,” came the voice from the man in the chair beside his bed. “We didn’t know if we’d ever see you alive.” He stood suddenly from the chair and stepped to the table beside the head of the bed. There he poured coffee, steaming, into a mug. He seemed to warm his own hands on it before passing it to the remnants of the man buried beneath the covers.

Under the covers, his own arms were impossibly heavy, nearly unresponsive. But with great effort and determination he drew them out from beneath the heavy quilts and accepted the mug. The hot liquid was bitter, but good, blacker than dried blood but fluid like thoughts and rain.

“I’m Ed Barrington. You’re aboard my ship. We should be back to the Americas in about a month,” said the man smiling. “And you are…?”

The briefest moment of panic set in as he swallowed the coffee, not knowing at all what to answer. But then something inside answered for him.

“I’m Linus.”

Homeward

Homeward

(Rhayader by Camel from the album The Snow Goose)

End of Part 1

Part 2 Linus coming soon…

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