Fiction

Fragments

The plane is spiralling. You try to grasp at the controls, but they’re slick with the pilot’s blood, alternating black and orange in the frenzied cockpit. You can’t see the pilot’s face, none of us can, but we assume they meant well when they brought us all up here. This must have been part of the plan. Was crashing part of the plan as well, or were we supposed to prove our worthiness of flight by taking the reigns of the journey they set us on?

*drift*

The sky is portentous; huge rolling white mountains of cloud, low and fast, moving across an otherwise unblemished amber twilight. ‘Revelations’ weather, everything drenched in eschatological anxiety. Stood facing the ocean, you look out to the fence about eight miles at sea. Sixteen white pylons stand rigid and foreboding. Occasionally a tongue of static discharge licks out across several of the towers.
We don’t know what the pylons are. Some have swum or sailed out to them, but none of them came back. The clouds continue to morph and stream above them, like a second angry shore. What are they protecting us from?

*drift*

The city pulses and you feel the electrified veins creep in through your nose, your mouth, in the spaces next to your eyes and everything below. Hard crystals of sugar-bright coloured sound cascade in fractals, immediately shattering and reforging into new hues and different shapes, an eternal and shrieking phoenix of burnout, reanimation and galvanisation ad nauseam.

Somewhere an engine bristles between your legs. Somewhere your lenses catch the glare of aggressive marketing. Somewhere you pass by heartbreak and providence. Somewhere the gutter flows up over your eyes. Somewhere the gate vibrates off it’s hinges. Somewhere the broken vagrants howl in wounded songs of enlightened defeat. Somewhere you see it all from above. Somewhere you feel it all crash down from above. It is all pervasive and ephemeral. It is the flicker of sunlight reflected in a blinking eyelash. It is the burning titan above.

Advertisements
Standard
Fiction

The White City

My dreams all take place in the same location now, if the mental spaces in which we wander nocturnally can be said to have a ‘location’ as such. It is a city, grand in scale but utterly ruined. White stone bricks make up towers, dwellings, sepulchres and vast stretching bridges which end abruptly in mid-air. Water surrounds the city, lays through it, though the canals do not flow and the shores do not ebb or rush. They are achingly placid, like an infinite mirror stretching past the horizon. The sky is eternally locked into a state of either dawn or twilight; it is impossible to tell which. There is no sun or moon suspended above. The city lays almost entirely empty of life.

There is a sense that this is an old place, eldritch and forbidden. It feels older than… anything else there is, to be honest. It started here, whatever it is. Did the spires once tower even higher, each window lit by fantastical lights in colours we have never seen? Did the grand beings who constructed this place once stride proudly across its many huge white plazas, resplendent in finery now forever lost to time? Did the stars ever drape across a night’s sky, the whorls and jewels of Nuit moving through constellations which are not our own?

I cannot say.

Perhaps it was always like this. Perhaps this is the first place, the first eruption of matter in a universe born anew. Perhaps it is the last, the final resting place of that shared hallucination we called “civilisation.” Perhaps it is the ruin of Heaven.

In my dreams I wander across the streets, alleys and walkways of this forsaken place. Occasionally there are others, though none I would consider denizens. I feel that the others I sometimes glance are fellow visitors, projecting to this city from their resting places, same as I. None speak, and I do not attempt to myself.

Many parts of the city appear as through they should be inaccessible, built by either maddened architectural minds or simply constructed for the convenience of a race which does not abide by the same physical laws as my own. However I do not encounter difficulty in scaling the impossibly steep white pathways. I simply will myself there, and I am transported. I have not taken the time yet to look at my own body while I explore this place. I am quietly afraid to do so.

Sometimes, but not every time, there is a strong sense of another presence in this city. While it may sound wildly out of character with everything else I have described, I am occasionally made aware of a dragon which resides here. I have never seen the dragon, not heard its roar or witnessed its flight. Indeed, I cannot in all sureness say that it embodies any of the various images we conjure in our collective human consciousness when we think of a ‘dragon.’ When I become aware of it, it is as though a deep tectonic shift has occurred in the very foundations of the place. Some kind of consciousness stirs deep beneath the city, within the very white stones upon which I stand, and it is wholly omniscient of those who wander it’s lair. Or perhaps it would be better to say those who ‘trespass’. When I become aware of the dragon, I wake shortly after. Perhaps I flee it’s ethereal gaze, perhaps it ejects me, unworthy to stand within this holy land.

I recall a single time that I became conscious of the dragon in the presence of another wanderer. A young woman, clothed in a vest with brown hair pulled back tightly. The moment I became aware of the dragon I could be sure she had as well; her face suddenly creased into a look of fear, panic and horror. Perhaps mine had as well. Perhaps it does every time.

I want to learn how to lucid dream, because I want to grapple with this city more consciously. There is some reason for my constant return there. Am I supposed to find something? Am I experiencing the memories of another? Perhaps I have been called there to rebuild it. Perhaps I have been sent there to destroy what remains.

In a way, it doesn’t seem to matter. Many of the metaphysical things we take for granted in our World and Aeon do not belong there. I do not entertain thoughts of good or evil while there, or even life vs. death. This place resides either long before or after those separations existed.

I want to go back. I want to know whether the tides destroyed this place, or if they simply pushed the great white stones together themselves. I want to know what sights lay at the tops of the highest cracked towers. I want to know if subterranean tunnels lead under the city, beneath the level of the still sea, and what magnificent force might rest there.

Part of me worries, in my waking hours, that this city might drive me mad if I spend too much time there. It is so very alien, so unlike anything I have seen in life or fantasy. Perhaps if I were to spend too much time exploring I might become lost, or lose some connection to the slumbering body which projects my consciousness into that lost place. I remind myself that I have seen no evidence to suggest that any others have become ‘stuck’ in such a way. But still I worry.

In cynical moments, to which I am prone, I wonder if maybe this is all simply an amalgamation of other mythical lost cities: Atlantis, Carcosa, R’Lyeh. But the thought occurs; I am not the only one who has visited this place. Would it not make sense that others, more gifted in poetry and prose than myself might have taken inspiration from their own journeys there and attempted to scribe the things they had seen, to try and convey to others the idea of a city lost amid time, utterly separate from our own assumptions of space, physics, time and law?

Standard
Uncategorized

Nocturn Sojourn

My dreams used to be a lot more vivid. Though I hate to admit it, I think it’s the weed that put a stop to that. You don’t really sleep when you’re getting high all the time, you just pass out eventually. This is why a lot of people will tell you that going on a tolerance break from green will often result in some pretty intense dreams during the first few nights of sobriety, as if you’ve pulled the little Dutch kid’s blunt out of the dam and the walls break, dreamjuice cascading upon you like waves in a Japanese woodprint.

A long while back, I remember having a series of interconnected dreams that seemed to share a narrative arc. They were in different locations, but I could see the future dreamscapes on the horizon, and look back at places I’d inhabited in dreams before. It was quite the journey, and took me the better part of a year. It’s all still pretty fresh in my mind, might as well lay out the details of my unconscious pilgrimage.

It began, as all great epics do, on a dirtbike. At the time I was playing an ungodly amount of GTA: San Andreas, and I think that’s where the bike came from. But it was weird; I remember how detailed everything was. I was in some sort of urban landscape, a large town or a city. It was night, and it was raining. I remember there wasn’t a soul to speak of, nor was there even a mote of electricity. No windows or even streetlights glowed through that nocturnal downpour. My dirtbike was silent; all I could hear was the spatter of rain on the overpass, against windowpanes, flecking against my face. And amidst all this, there was a single thought, occurring only once:

“The Castle is near.”

The Castle came to me in my next dream. I saw it from the outside, and I’ve never seen architecture like it. It seemed to be a European castle, medieval, yet rather than parapets and such, the roof was distinctly Japanese. On top of all this, it was huge. It stretched on for miles, further than the horizon. This dream took on some sort of birdseye view, a swooping, scaling pan of the complex, lit only by flashes of lightening amidst the ongoing downpour. It was a frightening place, revealing nothing about what lay inside its massive grounds.

I would have this dream several times, always knowing somewhere inside that *this* was The Castle.

And then, with no warning, I was inside. This dream took me through the walls. I wasn’t a disembodied eye anymore, I was myself again. And so was the person in front of me. I was looking at myself, who was looking at me. He was dead, or looked it. His skin was grey, scarred. Hair was lank and greasy, a full beard having burst through at some point. He held two axes in his hands, and I knew I had to kill him before he did the same. Around us sewerage pipes burst and wooden walkways splintered as we ran at eachother.

I don’t know who won the battle, which ‘me’ I came to inhabit after the dream, because all of a sudden I was back in the city, but things had changed slightly. I remembered The Castle, and meeting myself, but the city itself was changed. The most striking thing, I think, was the light. It was still night, and that never seemed to change in the city, but now there was a thick amber light pouring upon everything, and hints at life, such as lights coming on and off in the sides of buildings. Also of note was the noise, which emanated from a place that either hadn’t been there before, or had been built while I was in The Castle. A massive red iron wall fenced off what I knew was the docks off from the rest of the city. It was from the docks and shipyards that all this light was coming from, as well as the noise. Construction sounds, raw and industrial, accompanied at times by deep, reverberating tones that seemed impossible. What was happening was known to me already, wisdom simply occurring the way it seems to in dreams. On the other side of the wall, great and terrible war machines were being built for some ongoing war Elsewhere, perhaps amongst the stars. Many-angled-things were wrought from iron and fire and sent to the sky, more slag for the heap. At some point I came to refer to the place as Red Dock City. Not the most imaginative title, I guess. And all of a sudden, there I was again. It was me, not exactly how I’d been in The Castle, but me all the same. Slightly older, hair shorter, face… meaner. He was entering a tall high-rise, bathed as everything else was in a thick amber haze.

The next dream was about the building itself. I was stood at the foot of it, staring up its cracked red-brick façade, dotted symmetrically with windows. The whole dream, I just stared at it. I never looked around me, but I knew things had changed. For one thing, there was finally daylight, but it was obscured and coloured by the sandstorm, of all things, that was occurring. Perhaps I had been standing at the foot of the high-rise for centuries, as Red Dock City crumbled around me. Perhaps the war had come back to Earth, or wherever I was, and the construction yard and the city around it had been reduced to rubble and dust by the war machines, turning on their masters and homeland. I just stared and stared and stared…

The next chapter of these seemingly connected dreams took me away from Red Dock, and to The Station. I stepped out of a train onto a deserted but beautiful station platform. Everything was silver and aluminium, chrome and glass. The air was clear, cool and tranquil. Off in the distance I could see the tower block rising out of the sand and dust which obscured almost everything around The Station, which I felt at an instinctive level was a safe place. I knew however, even within the dream, that The Station was a brief respite before I continued my journey, and that I was getting closer to my final destination. I stayed a spell, however, due to the calmness of the place, the placid tranquillity it instilled in me.

And it was in the next instalment that I finally came to the end of this strange journey across the dreamscape. This place was… well, sort of heavenly. Silverglass Plateau. It was both a shore and a mountain, all of it made from diamond. Brilliant, almost too much to look at. It was eternally night, but not like back in The Castle and Red Dock, where the sky was obscured with thick stormclouds and pollution. No, here the sky glittered with incandescent lights, Nuit herself stretching over me. Walking along the shining beach I came to the mountain, which appeared headless, like a conspiratorial pyramid. It seemed that some sort of installation had been carved into this monolithic diamond mountain, steel doors sliding open and shut as I approached. Deep into the white mountain I walked, not a soul in sight, until… at the end of a hallway, I saw a figure, too distant to see, save that they wore green. I tried to chase them, but whenever I followed them around a corner they were once again far in the distance, at a higher or lower level, across chasms or at the tops of elaborate staircases. But I could tell they were watching me. There was no malice or affection in this mysterious Watcher.

And like that, it was all over. I never again returned to whatever world these interconnected dreams had taken place on, no final wisdom came to me at the end, as if the mysterious drama put on by my unconscious had failed to be renewed for another season. The final dream bothered me with its lack of closure, refusal to reveal desired context. It wasn’t until a while later that I realised I’d started wearing green after the dreams had ended.

Standard