I slip but I never fall....
My goal here is to share and experience,
Nothing more and nothing less.
Written By: Shivani
June 16, 2015
A rushed marred by chill. A feeling of intense numbness and a sudden severing. But from what? All I remember was a road. Fringed by poplar trees. The old road by the forest. Wandering about. The crow Munin perched on curlicues of branches. Two twin branches embracing each other and beyond that a whirlpool of darkness. Puzzlement and the severe seemed to bury its haunches on the viciously tightening claws of unease. Before oblivion claimed me, I marvelled at the fact. There was no pain. No blood. The unnatural feeling. It was instantaneous. Smooth.
Cadette had always said, ‘‘all beings die. Some beings die with all fulfilled. Not all pass on.’’ Then again, she perpetually had a knack around understanding and deciphering Aristotle's ideologies. Even after these five years a bronze lining of hope still pervades my mind, through the last days of school and the first year of college. But the golden beacon of light called Cadette was a constant. Even when she left us. Her family. Her friends. Acquaintances. Her best friend. Me.
15 years later...............
The doorbell rings. The flashing images on the projection walls are frozen. On pause. Some movie from twenty years before. The doorbell too is a yearly constant. Everyone knows who it is. Two families sit on the table. Their hands all clasped together. Nothing had been the same. Ever. An uncut birthday cake stares avidly at them. Red velvet. Cream cheese frosting. Mourning. The same flavour every year. It was a favourite. Bethany, Ann, Ross, Dan...
‘‘Welcome to Caelum!’’, said the scantily dressed girl. Her cheekbones high and her pencilled eyebrows raised, rendering crinkles to appear on her heavily painted face. Her onyx hair that cascaded down her back seemed to sway in the occasional breeze. My hands in my corduroy jeans, my peripheral vision glimpsed the twin embracing branches of the two Poplar trees. She offered me a strange beverage of an aquamarine colour and a runny consistency. It seemed to spew welcoming fragrance bouts, which tickled my nose with its intoxicating, hearty and surprisingly welcoming fragrance. She was right. It was indeed, Heaven. The ideal dream for a burdened stressed soul to just be. It seemed to emanate escapism. There were thousands of people scattered all around the sweeping green lawns that stretched as far as the eye could see. People basked in the sun while they sipped the similar beverage. A strange oddly heavy scent hung in the air. Curiosity had got the better of me surely for I knew that this was a desolate place. My senses were probably betraying me, now. I took a gulp from the glass and a dense cloud of fog flooded my mind. My thoughts were cirrus clouds. All was blissful blankness!
It was a swelteringly hot day and the scorching sun was beating down all our backs. Yet, the thousands of people gathered basked in that warm gleaming Sun! I had the itching yearn to do so to! Their arms and legs were stretched out over the many Jacuzzis, holding various ablutions. Men and women of different races and nationalities spoke animatedly with each other. Different languages and culture. Relaxation plastered to all their children. The youth chatted animatedly with one another in a giant glass building. The blaring neon lights from various bilking and flashing screens surrounding the entire vicinity. It was not fathomable at all. Every nook and cranny offered the utmost of comfort, deck chairs of every kind lay all around the area. A variety of uncharacteristic Tropical Trees stood out like primeval giants as they towered over the tranquillity.
‘‘Come with me, ‘she beckoned, almost imperiously and we made our way around a small lake with crystal blue waters that sparkled like a jewel in the golden light of the sun. Every essence of the place yearned for my attention. The girl eyed me closely, jolting me out of my reverie. She had piercing, nearly magnetic and compelling verdigris eyes that seemed to seize me up like a tracking device, nearly devouring me whole. My mind fogged and dizziness claimed me. Suddenly, my focus came back and I steadied myself. ‘‘Aw! Your ill. Have one of the drinks inside the glass atrium. It really helps.’’, exclaimed the girl as she caressed my check.
My reply came out slurred. ‘‘It may or may not change you. Most don’t get it through and even when they do, hesitation and fear becomes their greatest foe.’’ The girl walked away and never looked back. Many kids my age were huddled inside the glass building rotating a device in a circle. My eyes ogled the swift darting motions and I went inside. I could play all day and no one would stop me. No one would stop me. I scooped a glass and gulped down the spicy fluid and picked up the controller. The virtual battle on my screen was indeed very intricate. The veil over my mind seemed to descend and the thoughts chasing around my mind came to a standstill and did not reform. The last thing I saw was the blurred vision of distorted glass and a massive digital lock that hung on the other side of the parapet. It was 12:12.
It may have been seconds, minutes, hours, days or eons. I felt the knot at the pity of my stomach loosen and nausea shook my body and my head felt like a roiling mass of confusion. I rushed outside and the controller thudded to the ground and vomited. My head hit the ground and I saw stars and all was oblivion.
When I awoke, I was on a bare wooden cot. Someone was dabbing at my Adam’s apple. My vision once again went out of focus and I muttered something unintelligible. ‘‘Where am I?’’, I sighed and I forced my eyes open and gasped. at the blast from the past.
It was Cadette. In the flesh. I clutched at her hand and closed and reopened my eyes. She hadn’t changed one bit! Her wavy caramel hair framed her heart shaped faced and brought out her hazel eyes. Her expressive rosebud mouth was pursed as she stared back at me with a faint smile. She wore a beige skirt and black laced blouse. Her legs were curled on the bed and her soft palms delicately swept my ginger hair from my face. She took my hands and hauled me up and put her hands to her lips and signalled for me to remain quiet. I followed her up a narrow flight of stairs and up to a terrace. My senses now too ensnared by all that has happened.
‘‘Cadette. What’s going on? You seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth for Five years and suddenly I see you here. You better have a good excuse for what you have done. And how did I get here? How long have I been here? All I remember was coming here through the forest. Rage bubbled beneath the surface. Cadette gritted her teeth and glared. ‘‘This is the only place to talk. Don’t you for one second think that I haven’t thought of you or Ann or Ross or my Parents ever since I regained consciousness after drinking the Redice. I was just too afraid to do anything. So I bid my time. Waiting. Then you came along. Just yesterday and overcame the drink and the force so quickly.’’, she said in one ago.
‘‘I don’t understand. What did I do? What is this place? What’s happening to me?’’, I asked hastily, beads of perspiration running down my neck and the rays of the sun burning my eyes. ‘‘Just look around you and tell me what you see’’, replied Cadette her eyes burning. ‘‘Caelum hasn’t changed. You just see it differently because like me, because of your will. You have purpose and that has enabled you top come back. When I saw you yesterday I was so thrilled’’, she said tears glazing her cheeks helplessly. I glanced around and marvelled at some of the familiar places. Anthony Walter, our local postman who went for vacation a year back and supposedly never came back sat on a deckchair. Two of my middle school teachers whom I last saw during my high school graduation back in Virginia. Cara Jones, Bethany’s best friend and some of our own neighbours.
A burst of cold air washed over me. A tangible electric feeling. All these people had mysteriously gone missing and had been condoned dead. My life flashed before me and I buckled down on my knees and heaved. ‘‘This place is escapist, Dan. There are many pockets like these all over the world. I have read about them before. But I never knew what to do. There is nothing left for people who regain their will. But any place is better than this. Whatever comes after this, that is. For those who finally come through, it’s living purgatory.’’, she explained tears continuing to roll down her cheeks. ‘‘What do you mean? What comes after this?’’, I said recoiling; somehow knowing what was to come from her. Fresh tears renewed.
‘‘Dan. Haven’t you understood what I am getting at? Your dead’’ , said Cadette with a final sob.
‘‘You entered another dimension not entirely part of our world. Those who stumble upon this haven are captured by a force. I have never seen anyone who could get over the Redice and the drug. We need to get out of here. I don’t know what comes after this. But we will soon know,’’ continued Cadette in a rush. ‘‘So the drink, the scent in the air. That girl’s eyes. The games...,’’my voice trailed off. Cadette came closer and buried her hands in my check and looked at me. ‘‘Yes the flowers. The laurel and Veratum nectar mixed with the Drinks and the constant exposure to the Ragwort and Laburnum nectar. Those frogs you saw. They were the blue dart Frogs which inject toxic venom. Everyone here is dead. The universe is testing us. Most are now lost forever. At least now we know where everyone who disappears, finally end up. Their all lost souls and once they know that. They are all alone.’’, Cadette said softly. She continued.
‘‘But we are not. We just need to let go and see what comes next.
’‘Cadette! After all these years your still the same. Why do you think we were able to overcome it? I have no desire to stay here anymore.’’, I asked. ‘‘It’s a purpose. Many say there is treasure at the end’’, said Cadette. ‘‘All we have to do now is jump over to the twin branches and we are relieved off the Force.’’, she explained as she climbed up the wall. I took her hand and we balanced for a few minutes. She dug her nails into my hands and together we departed from the land of the adrift and into the whirling gathering blinding incarnadine light which changed to a pearly white colour and all was light, winder, Cadette, void and the beyond. The treasure was peace from the queer supernova.
15 years later.......
All their hands are linked. Outside the house, the dog barks and wags its tail in glee. Somehow being able to see them. An animal’s strength. A human’s weakness. It never knew them but it loved them. Its ears move upwards and it moans slowly. The postman outside stares at the fourth house in Jamestown on the side street and is bemused and befuddled. It was all so elusive! The windows are wide open and he glimpses the family inside and the comical behaviour of the dog. The lonely and vapid parade lasts for less than a minute. They aren’t here to say. They can’t. All they cherished till the next year was this bronze lining of hope. This special day.
A white flare in the sky appears and in its place are two lustrous stars. There is no more contrition.