Bloomsday, 2 Pullulus

Earned 0 / Spent 0

Savings 16,036

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I think someone’s been reading my diary.

I took it from its usual hiding place behind the wooden panel, where the insulation had long ago rotted away to leave an empty space.  It was still wrapped in the watertight shroomskin and tied shut, but you always know whether someone else has opened a book you’re halfway through reading.

I don’t think I’ll keep it in the treehouse anymore.  I hardly sleep there much now, since the Rotun started setting fire to the biggest sacred fig trees, throwing their weight around.  It don’t bode well that they’re abroad so often, and in such frightening numbers.  But I wish to the gods that all this trouble the last two weeks had been only those zealots, and not what it was.

I’m here for the duration.  They’re giving me paper to write on.  Most days I get something to eat.  But in places like this you don’t get to make demands.  I’m starving a little.  I wish I was back home.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

For eight days I was somewhere else.  Somewhere even worse.  Sainh, who runs the biggest construction outfit in Kernel, sent me a message with half a dozen seeds in saying that she wants me to make a run for her.  The message didn’t say whether it’s a parcel she wants me to carry, or a letter or something else.  When I turned up, she gives me a paper packet the size of a stamp.  I shook it but there’s no noise of seeds.  I can’t imagine what else could be in it, but I didn’t ask.  That’s not good courier etiquette.

I saw the address.

This isn’t in Kernel, I said.  She said, I know.  I said, So where is it? and she told me, It’s south.  Through the south and to Gamut.

~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~     ~

Things are different in the south, where the sun bears down hotter.  The Disc doesn’t ever appear in the sky there, as though the whole sun is different.  You get burnt when you aren’t in the shade of hackberry and poplars, chinaberry trees rustling in the bright light.  At the height of noon, the people have to go to sleep in white houses to escape the heart.  They go at a slower pace than here in Kernel, like the Displacement never happened and they’re all still mulling around thinking up things to do.

At the heart of the established city, full of natives that people in Kernel don’t quite understand (not least because of the language barrier) there is Gamut.

I said to Sainh, “This is gonna cost you.”

It did cost her.  There were more seeds in my pocket than I’d ever had, and good ones, too.  A handful of sunflower seeds, plus some caraway and helicoptor pods.  As if that wasn’t enough, she gave me the biggest macademia nut I’ve ever seen.

“More where that came from,” she said. “In Gamut.”

It took a long time to get there.  When I arrived, all I could think about was Foist.  How she would open up in the light like an orchid, unfurling and stretching out.  Her face would actually get brighter.  On the corner of a street near the Cathedral of the Long Roots, which I’d heard about but never seen, a busker was singing in Context rather than the rambling musical patterns of the southern tongue.  The words brought something up in me that stoppered my lungs, made the muscles in my face do a complex shape to prevent tears from leaping from my eyes.  It was as though the guy had written the song about Foist, and afterwards he wrote down the words for me in Context and in native:

~

Light up, my love
I will show you how, if I can
(I’ll even hold your hand)

Shine on, Starshine
I thank the moon that you’re mine
(It was as blue as I)

Bring it out, my love
Bring it out, my love
You can have world’s worth of–
Love

If you can light it up

~

I can’t get the melody across here.  I wish I could put the guy’s voice down in this scrap of paper the maréchaussée have allowed me to have.  It sounded like he played it with the strings of my heart, not on a busted up guitarrón.

I stood there in the shadow of the Cathedral of the Long Roots, which looks like it’s carved right out of a tree, designed it’s said by an early adventurer into Terrene from way before the Displacement happened, someone from the other place who broke his way through and had a head full of dreams, of dream-houses and dreams figures from some angles twisted and organic, from others angular like they were made from chipped vegesaur teeth.

I think that, inside, I cried like a baby at the truth in the words of the busker’s song and how they applied to Foist, how they brought her back to me just long enough to see her, clearly, in my mind’s eye, superimposed in front of this magnificent structure as though part of the same fantastical dream.

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Gotta go – the maréchaussée are coming back.

Gods, I wish I could get out of here.

— RSR

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