Digital Ischemia


Neohaguich 2/11

Neohaguich series starts at part 1/11

Outside the air is deliciously fresh – that early spring balance of cool breeze, low but sharp sun, and a saturation of dew resisting both.

Exactly as Calluna remembers, here is the loch.  Well, it’s a large pond.  Well, it’s really a shallow, rectangular, mine tailings pool enclosed on three sides by dizzyingly tall, regimentally aligned, dark pines.  But it has a ghost.  All lakes should have a lady.  She’s a beautiful sixty foot piece of privet topiary, side-lit by golden sunset, at all times, even on cloudy days.  She glides and twirls over the surface, as if she were ice-skating, with a tremendously smug grin.  Few folk see her.  Even fewer see her consort, the giant.  Even those who do, actually don’t: they hear and feel the earth quake from his approaching footsteps—one every eight seconds or so—from one direction.  They then hear and feel his receding footsteps on the other side.  _Rational_ folk comfortably attribute this to substrata tremors triggered by the mining operations.  How dull.

This is the preserve of the farmer who has lost his cheer.  Otherwise to be found slumped in a worn-to-fit comfortable chair.  Resenting intrusion by his tenants.  Especially those offering earnest ‘advice’ on his plans to make water from the pond.  Ordinarily a pond should contain mostly water, but here the creative forces of mysterious beings and human industrial pollution have combined to produce a metallic slime that is potable only to renegade robots.  Noticeably, the farmer always refers to it as _his_ _reservoir_.  It is a resource, created simply for his use, and therefore his possession.

Calluna is most concerned that regulatory bureaucracy should be exhaustively satisfied, lest any undotted I or uncrossed T should rise up to bite Farmer Udderfiddle in his well-worn bum.  A surprising level of concern for one who generally operates beyond the bounds of societal formality.  Her concern is further ignited by observing the local pollution data officer.

Jardine is out of his depth in a shallow pond, smothered by mustard reeds and faded weeds and a surface slippery with mercury.  He resembles a scarecrow fashioned from shredded confidential memoranda.  With the staples left in.  His unhinged muttering ripples over the water.  “…Must double-check…consequences…lava foaming out everywhere…data error…monsters…”

Catching sight of Calluna, Jardine pauses his fretting to raise a limp arm.  He may be waving; he may be drowning; probably both.  She nods encouragingly.  If he’s still there on her return, she’ll fish him out.

Downstream of Udderfiddle Farm, a spring rises under the Bubbling Bridge.  Anywhere else a bridge over a spring might be considered daft.  You have the choice, of course, of bypassing the bridge by simply stepping around upstream of the spring.  Downstream the water has been found wonderfully efficacious in healing infections, lacerations, and several other external injuries, often self-inflicted by the under-occupied population.

Proper analysis allegedly conducted in the mists of time reported that a full bladder of this balm contains rather more than a quarter kilogram of salts.  Thus it is too strong for internal use, unless you have extraordinary kidney function, and your own fulsome bladder.  However, when diluted sufficiently with water—from another source, obviously, or perhaps not obviously to the renally-challenged members of the community—it might be of service in tackling the numerous diseases for which iron and the sulphate of alumina are useful.  Anaemics with hyperhydrosis are regular pilgrims.  Additionally, as an external application, it acts as a powerful astringent.  Rumour—spread with relish like cake-frosting by envious ladies of a certain age and plumptitude—suggests that Aunty Gail only keeps her puckered figure by regular application.  Worth a try.

Crossing the green, just for thoroughness of inspection, Calluna sights a distant figure standing crookedly, rocking side to side: Farmer Udderfiddle.  To the unfamiliar this can seem like he is dubiously sizing you up, or performing a threatening ritual, or physically warming up preparatory to charging.  However, Calluna recognises the action as the oscillation necessary to gain enough momentum to induce bipedal motion, something in which this farmer is unpractised.  His hips are moulded to the aforementioned worn-to-fit seat of his most-terrain vehicle.

Udderfiddle lurches toward Calluna until he reaches the satisfactory hollering proximity of twenty metres.  She waits patiently for motion to cease and allow an alternative activity to commence.  Once his oscillations have subsided, he draws breath.

“Stranger.  Last evening.  Penitence.”

Calluna nods receipt and understanding of the briefing.  She is bothered by a flush of some long unstirred emotion, although not by the farmer noticing anything: even if he could see that far he can’t read anything so subtle as emotions.

continues at part 3

1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 2 […]

    Pingback by Neohaguich 1/11 | Digital Ischemia — 23/07/2019 @ 11:55

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