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Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
This used to be a giant and prosperous country finely divided by the flows of rivers and climbs of mountains. My ancestors dwelled along the Labyrinth of Minotaur, or 'the Myth', a local dialect mastered by a city of less than a million people. I am a descendant of the Myth's blood and they bathed me in the Maid of Krynn. The gentle streams soothed a baby's first cry of life.
But there was no Myth, or it seems nobody remembers it anymore.
I was born Lance, at 21° 18′ 30" E and 40° 25′ 20" N. My fiance Sasha is to meet me at at 15° 35′ 50" E and 45° 11′ 15" N, 17:00 just before sunset. People stopped asking 'where's the place?' a long time ago, or 'where are you from?'. We live by coordinates to the nearest precision. Everything's restructured in a way that leaves no room for redundant descriptions. Still, we say the sunset is beautiful, or intoxicating in its grandeur and forgiveness. Nature, both mother and us, hasn't changed much in the core.
The stellar express is travelling at a speed of 5000 miles an hour. Maid of Krynn flashed by below my feet and disappeared as quickly as it came. It spans 5° North and makes a sharp turn to the South in which it continues another 2° East before hitting the valley. That was high school geography my teacher taught me. My great-grandfather said, the Maid was borne under the belly of Myth, sprang it open and ran wild like an abandoned child. After conquering the Mountain of Knosses she grew tired and tamed, and quietly returned to the labyrinth. I know its vein as if it runs in my own blood wailing for an ancient map that's now burnt to the ground.
What marked the territory was now erased and names were denounced. The great War of Autonomy, or so they recorded it in print broke out a hundred years ago when Sanderstone first claimed sovereignty. Cliffton followed. The two largest cities threatened to throw the country into hell. Death toll soared across borders where people shed gallons of blood to claim bits of land smaller than their fingernails. It's funny nobody has an accurate account how the craze ended. All I know is, after the pledge for cease-fire, we were again united as civil men and women, on a land where no cities should exist.
I was shaken out of my reverie as the express halted abruptly at the destination. I stepped out of the gateway to see Sasha jumping to her attention.
'Ranpasarrrr!' She called out in a jolly note. Around her people turned at the foreign sound.
'You don't have to roll your tongue so much you know. It gives me the creeps.' I managed to feign a scowl.
'Don't you - '
'Ranpasar,' I pecked her lightly on the cheek. She smiled and poked me in the ribs. We looked at each other as if to reassure, and slowly started to walk towards the terminal.
It's 15° 35′ 50" E, 45° 11′ 15" N here, or at least that's where we are headed, the midpoint between our birth coordinates. Two days later a wedding shall be held.
However my great-grandfather won't bear witness to the reunion. He didn't even live to see how well Sasha learnt the word.
Ranpasar, with or without the extra 'r's, is saying in Mythical tongue - My love.
O man, what a hasty lazy ending. - Jude
Now playing: The Shins - Kissing the Lipless
(A first! No idea how this was envisioned in your mind--a character sketch? A plot outline? I'll make a mini story this time.)
(Year XXXX, doomsday climate on Earth. A flood broke out somewhere in West Africa, engulfing villages, turning grasslands into soggy swamps and submerging miles and miles of grounds. The most violent outbreaks of the storms would see countless number of human beings flushed away together with domestic animals and wildlife. It was a most despairing sight.) - unnecessary background writing. =p
Two teenage boys are carried away from their villages in the Flood. Though neither of them knows how to swim, sheer luck sees to it that a sturdy wooden cabinet floats nearby. Bobbing up and down and under along the rapid, muddy deluge for days until, on the barren waters, they see a giant, lone tree breaking the surface. Carefully steering the cabinet float, the two boys paddle and finally arrive, climb up and dry off and stay stationary and have all those pleasures one can have dwelling in a large tree.
Days pass; the 'anchored' cabinet gets torn away in a subsequent storm, the bitter-sour fruits in the tree are barely enough to sustain them any more, and the boys were getting desperate. But what can one do? They fall quiet after hours of discussion.
Only to watch the water rise higher steadily by day--numbered are their days. So finally they thought of this--carve the big tree into a canoe--that, at least, they can do-- and leave the rest to fate. Now that they start to regard the tree, they realized how gnarled and unusually grotesque it is: a thick trunk broke into two great branches abruptly, sickly crimson patches dot the twigs, parts of the trunks have caved in, and even some full-girth stretches seem too mushy or rotten to be of any good. They wonder if there was some reason no other tree grows near it in sight. But in the end they picked a short stretch on one of the main branch, marked the ends and decided to work on the carving the next day.
The night, however, didn't go so smooth. Both of them slept fitfully and when they woke to another scanty meal of unpalatable fruits, they related their dreams of the previous night. It was revealed they had a same little dream. A foreign looking man (fair and short, slouching slightly) accosted each of them and said these broken words, "…so cold…old...ake it for 3..shall be rewarded…4 o'clock at four…three of me." Though it injected a little lively talking to the dreariness of the days, mystery and freak incidents were not too welcome, and they warily put the topic aside after a while and set to work.
But it was mission impossible, with next to no tools and little strength left. The boys take turns to hack away at the chosen branch as if just to let out bursts of despair and anger while passing the time. The very night came another dream. The same man, pacing impatiently about, eagerly gestures to them. He makes a Y shaped sign with his arms and body, and nods his head vigorious, finally shouts, eks!!
This time the two boys are fearfully intrigued, they feel the message--if at all--was from nothing good, but seem to have a strong sense of purpose and direction. - What's 'eks'? What was that 'Y' shape about? And then it stumbled across one man's mind--could it be the tree?
The place where the two great main branches come together is a circle enough to stand three persons, and has accumulated soil and epiphytes over the years which the rain has made into a mini swamp. A little digging reveals an already brittle wooden bar--dig and pull it out: a medium sized axe. Some further work unearths a small spade, two daggers and an iron bar, all severely rusted but still useable. The boys almost panic with the flute, odd discovery, and work with compelling frenzy.
Days later, the snug little thing was almost ready. Just enough for two boys to sit in, it awaits to be cut off at the ends and fall into the water beneath. The strange man appeared a third time in their separate but same dreams, angry. "I said you would be rewarded for 3. I'm the third man on your canoe. Or else..." dream broke off here for both of them, for a raging storm broke out in the dark night. Struggling to hold on to the branches and twigs in the strong gales of wind and rain, the two boys were anxious and fearful, for they felt a presence around them, or about the tree. but what of the 'third man'? There weren't any people in sight, in fact there was only the endless waters, and the occasional sight of corpses of people and animals languidly or rapidly floating past and away…not even a dead body for a soul to sit on.
And then one of them slips and tumbles down the web-like top branches straight into the muddy pit between Y-shaped main branches. Gushing rain had made it a true swamp, and in a blink of an eye the man sank chest-deep--a depth they never even arrive at in digging! Frantically kicking to find a foothold, the man thought he brushed against something round and slippery--deep in the mud? But he has gripped the edge of the pit, and hoists himself up.
In the morning they set to investigate it--the first man has a feeling that that deep buried something may have something to do with the third man and his haunting dreams. After some strenuous clearing of the mud--curious scraps of unnamable, rotten material abound--they saw what it was: the back half of a human skull lying deep in the dark pit.
So the two boys took the skull with awed reverence and together set off for escape in the canoe, and was rescued a day later by a search boat.
The flood recedes and is completely gone years later. The grassland recovers slowly. The boys are now young men and good friends, and they never cease wondering who the third man was, and what his words meant.
...(to be continued. yawnzzzz)
Now playing: Mai - like in a film