From my ongoing “Gravity Chains” collection, a short short story of questing and rejuvenation.
You are here † [He did not copy symbol to page for you alone]. And moving forward, your bootprints will replicate themselves. As the music duplicates the beat between our smallest participants [these being but copied and reshuffled segments of the linear us], it follows, then, that the green dotted line from the Crescent trailhead, repeated by way of naturally occurring speakers, will lead us to the final waterfall, and show to us the wrecked Life-ship hidden by its tumbling, sharp white flow.
It’s clear on the map. † See?
Graphically clear, if you know the symbols. Intricate for their size, the map icons show a long, narrow rope bridge at the halfway mark. If an inch is a mile, then that’s about twenty-three miles along the trail to this end of the bridge called Oracle’s String. We make our way there for better or for worse. The oracle will show us how to proceed.
† Mile fourteen. Fire in the lungs. Hinterhaven Crags climbed.
On the trail, the soft rain we appreciate for its cooling touch on the backs of our necks, is a harsh pounce of hell hounds for the insects of the wood. Picture drops, the size of your head and upper body.
“Malicious, truest friend, what tell your cards?”
“Cards? Cards?! You think living flesh, simple stiffened paper cards…?! Symphonic Hammer, you test me with your choice of words. Test me no further! The flesh sayers need oxygen.”
“No, Malicious. My words are but motivations. Only a show of pure flippancy would arouse one such as yourself to speak fully and with passion.”
“I see. The flesh has spoken softly throughout the day’s exertions, painting muddled landscapes of what might be. At the crossing of the bridge, the Oracle’s String, all will harmonize with the flesh tellers, and we will know what needs knowing.”
“And what of Christa Päffgen … will she be there? Will your flesh say what I long to hear?”
“At the bridge, Symphonic Hammer. At the bridge, it will become clear.”
† Mile twenty-three. Take us out of control, Oracle’s String. Turn us to poet donkeys in clay. Show us how to yield, so we might learn a new dance from our helplessness. String. String. String. Bring!
At this newest outburst of the cards, Symphonic Hammer turns to Malicious with a slow shudder; his shaved face turns pale eggshell slack. The air is water. Breathing it in is like pushing honey through the rear ventilation duct of a 2026 Saturn Helium-NINE. Warm and sticky.
Blurting out, “My father was a lowlands metalsmith, his hands strong and relentless.”
A crystal whip brings blinding light, elevating all senses and all time, till irises close. Bridge ropes and wood slats become crossbeams and turnbuckles, as the Ship of State materializes around them.
And from the highest mast, Christa Päffgen calls down: “Welcome, Symphonic Hammer, welcome and be welcomed always; the kingdom of Azores is reinstalled.”
all blades bright exposed and raised,
fly not but freeze upon the vexed air.
Steady this chaos of aggression, Sovereign.
The very molecules of life resist you.
Earth’s freshest breath cannot be yours,
Caledfwich, known in manuscript as Excalibur,
is symbol of accomplishment, not a birth right.
You raise it now against the humanist heart,
against all of a kind—familiar and equal;
stay thy thrust, remand thy steel to its honest home.
Custody is not a lone venture, when peace is Queen.
Your greatest achievements are now as stone,
smoothed grey and near forgotten—Lady is calling.
Return her sharpest metal, Caledfwich, to the lake of rock;
it is time for slumber and thought.
A companion moving image can be found here: Caledfwich Video
K. Shawn Edgar | Bane of Time | Night Shifter | Darkest Light
A short book of fiction by K. Shawn Edgar
Copyright © Publicrats United 2015 K. Shawn Edgar
“Woodheavy Brown? You know, he’s just one of those guys you meet; good at everything except making ends meet.”
— Edwin Meek, circa 1997
A Sliver of Hope
Look up, strugglers. Make good use of the stone, the hammer, and the word. We are never truly overcome. If you have feet, use them. If you have wheels, roll them along the highroad. As one strives to win a Boss fight, we strive to topple the cracked statues of stagnant governance.
One Good Night
I’d like you to meet Roger Lope. He’s taller than average, and he can out shadow his own shadow. Some call him slender, others slim. Addie and the kids love him to bits. They share a small place in the City. And they foster blind cats. Addie is a Virgo.
Roger’s known as Victor (short for Victory) by the Peoples of Kirkland. And it’s rumored, the Peoples of Turkistan nod their heads knowingly when his name’s mentioned: Victor raised our property values. Victor filled the potholes. Victor stopped the Christian Hordes!
“Butterscotch!” he says. “Butterscotch and pinwheels; you are on to something, Addie!”
“Flip this lever, turn past seven, rotate one full Altair”, says Addie, “and push up twice in the center. And we’re in.”
Slivers of light appear at contrasting angles along a giant slab of stone. Growing up from the floor, a beech tree, over several decades, has become embedded against the face of stone.
Quickly, Addie and Roger Lope pick up their toolbox and their kite, jumping to a position in front of the mighty tree in anticipation of the ancient door’s opening.
“Splinters, kitten.” Roger Lope exclaims, “This poor beech will be split to bits!”
“Wait. I brought shims,” Addie says. “Let’s wedge them between the stone and the tree with these mallets, gently prying the beech’s fine hardwood from the moving stone.”
“Brilliant. You’re always a lighthouse in the storm. I’ve got the left, you take the right.”
As the tall and crafty twosome work to free the mighty beech tree, our ancient stone door rumbles along its seldom used, hidden runners.
The humus beneath their feet is soft and a bit springing. A heady, yet comforting aroma rises as they ply their mallets to task with cautious welfare. The perks of an unknown, natural high lessening their stress.
“This grand old lady of the seed is determined to take these secrets to the grave,” says Roger Lope. “It’s a shame, but she’ll make a fine mantle piece for my fireplace.”
“You’re a heel,” replies Addie. “And a nob. And a clout. And a prince. And a bully.”
“ But of course I am, Addie. I’m a Renascence man.”
K. Shawn Edgar | Ember Newt | Asphalt Surfer | Dream Archaeologist
Audiot Savant: Listen Deeply
W.—round, filmy and loosely kept—spat blood profusely for pure pleasure. On the sidewalk, in the halls of settling brick buildings, over green spears of academic grass, W. bit his inner lip, right side, square in the middle, and spewed forth the new flow of his oft seen blood and saliva just to hear it hit.
Like bird shit on car metal sometimes. Others, it was a slow soggy swimming pool of a sound like a kid pissing down the shallow end. Those were the good ones. Their gospel spurred him on.
Wait though. On more occasions than he could bare recall some of these spitting crusades punctuated only with an old fashioned SPLAT struck him as the most disappointing, the most redundant. They caused W. to flip his gray matter in its bone pan. And reconsider. Faith?
His reactive thoughts backfired: You should quite, my man. You should just stop trying. I mean, what’s the point? Spit like life, even when infused with blood like the body, is only hydrogen atoms and oxygen atoms—only stardust. Isn’t that what they say, the humans, stardust? It’s stardust. That’s good, stardust and energy. My spit is of the stars, and I shall not contain it within this one vessel of the body.
Milling its hot cherry into the wet London concrete with the ball of his booted foot, W. crushed his American Spirit to the sidewalk. What a sensation sound gave him, the torque of soul leather on cement rubble. He could even hear that last hiss of fire and water.
Turn he back then to chipping the blue polish from his nails, while thinking that black might have been more cheerful. Such a drab day deserved more black polish.
No visible humans were walking about, and W.’s head was too heavy but only on one side, only because of the titanium plate that held his brains in. So, tilting to the left from his late Spring car crash, he saw a continuous imbalance in the visual weight of the world.
On one side of the picture, onerous squares of blank gray sidewalk framed street gutters with their yellowing Fall leaves floating in chemical-sick rainwater, prone and emaciated, weakened by disintegration, through a sewer compost and on out to a flat untrustworthy river. A river that hid its victims well.
The other side of this picture, lightened by diagonal lines and clouded by visual noise, was a localized haunting of slugs and condensation. W.’s internal fulcrum could find no equilibrium in this two-sided rendering of the actual. All was jitterbugs and tossed salad for W.
Whenever he moved along a sidewalk, and two or more humans were coming toward W., he would unwillingly migrate toward them—pulled in by their gravity. With surprise and obvious disgust the humans would archly pull away and rush past him, or flee to the opposite side of the street.
But this time, alone on the sidewalk, W. noted the unique slime trail of each slug that worked itself up to light speed at his feet. Yes. That noise they made! The succulent hiss of a trillion self empowered pores lubricating the jolly fellows’ paths across their universe of two square meters, each little dirt clod or piece of stone a star, each small rubbish pile a new planet for the jolly traveling fellows to explore in their way with antennae slowly caressing, probing, tracing the contours of every tidbit internally.
The sounds of which came to W. as a concert of saxophones blowing. He’d known that music before. Those long curved horns of the Swiss reverberated out to him from some snowy mountain memory, the only truly ripe and fitting comparison—the image of blind, cartoon-colored martins moving over the metallic soil of some forgotten planet.
Were these slugs merely space travelers of the overlooked galaxies at his feet? Aliens incognito from another dimension? Time Lords!? They could be doing anything at that speed, and who would know?
If only W. could explain to the humans about the boisterous slime-conducted astro-pilots. Share their subtle language.
Slime Drive, he would intone. Martins are all around us cruising at full slug speed to unknown sectors of the sidewalk. Look, you, a wormhole in the street; it leads to the third planet in the Dogtrot system on the other side. Think of the possibilities.
But humans would not understand, never sensing more than their input filters allowed. The unseen mesh of some intricately laced membrane keeping too many things from them; their eyes, ears, noses, tips of their fingers, pads of their feet, the bumpy skin over their nipples, all selecting only the must sanitary, mundane, or sanity friendly stimuli…!
So, W. only spat his consternation. Spat he blood! For saliva alone was not enough, too light, too watery. While W. heard the pulsing of molasses from a thousand trees, over a thousand kilometers away, the humans could not even hear their own hearts, which bestirred his soul to flight, or the murmur of their skin as it warmed and began to darken in the sun, which ignited his blood to flame.
Blood to flame.
The heady phrase evaporated as W. lit a fresh cigar, stepped off the sidewalk, and wandered into the street.
The Beginning of the End
Copyright © United Publicrats of K. Shawn Edgar 2015
Adam M. in the muscle shirt:
In America, every individual is a king. That’s the way it was supposed to be from the beginning. Each of us a king.
His salsa red hi-tops firmly planted, Adam M. says this to a faceless girl. A girl so plain and meek there is just a blurry haze where her face should be. And a voice, so eager to express understanding and complete agreement—her only line of defense—is pitched to suggest personhood without demanding it. Happy to please, her voice says: Yes, right, sure, yes.
Adam M.’s hair is all Gordon Gekko in the front, and then it seamlessly transitions to John Bender Breakfast Club rebel in the back. A double “fuck you” to a country, a culture, and the weakened society he’s grown to fear and loath, yet cling to like a child who has been beaten since birth. His hairstyle proclaims his innermost slogan: “I hate to love you so I want you to think I’ll kill you!”
Superseding everything else in the open waiting area of the public building, a monotone voice calls out from behind thick glass: “Adam M., window number seven.”
Faceless girl drops her gaze to the floor, projecting a safety wall around herself. No one sees me. No one sees me.
…”Adam M., window number seven.”
Transitioning his focus, Adam M. aligns his red hi-tops with the future, puts on his best swagger and makes his way toward the window. Each of us is a king, a peasant, a pilgrim, and a fool … exiled to the public anonymity of numbers. No one sees me. No one sees me.
K. Shawn Edgar | Nobody | Hampire | Furless Panther