Digital Ischemia

26/07/2019

Neohaguich 5/11

Neohaguich series starts at part 1/11

Calluna notices the cottage’s name plate for the first time: peeling strands of varnish, faded stripes of wood underneath.  Simple, functional lettering cut then picked out in black gloss, dusty but sound: Windrift.  As she falters, mentally rearranging and interpolating the letters—win drift, wind rift, wind drift, twin fridge, Winifred…—the first tiny flakes float down.

The whirling wind is oddly quiet.  Vortices of lifted white dust swoop silently around all the land features, then still again, giving the flakes the temporary respite of falling vertically.  Drifts accumulate in corners.  Exposed surfaces are blown smooth.  The intermittent drama entices her through the window to join it, in its variations on the theme of grey.

The scene is grey because there are no lights, no yellow fires.  Everyone has gone.  Why?  Calluna feels a pulse of anxiety.  Rational thought swiftly follows: she’s not relying on them; if anything, she actually feels it a burden, sorting out their various retrograde habits.

Seemingly, Gail has taken her intestinal letter box key and Damon in his lasagne blankets and set up a retirement home in the shed.  Now Calluna can see purple smoke curling into the grey.  Good for Gail.

Señora has detached her pantry from the cottage and dragged it away to the far side of the field.  Now Calluna can see those vibrant curtains even through a blizzard.  Good for Señora.

The hechlers have retreated into the fridge’s fruit drawer and papered themselves in.  Probably traumatised by two unexpected launches in one day.  Good for them.  Sort of.

Calluna wonders where Alf is bedding down.  A shuddersome prospect.  Farmer Udderfiddle needs no concern as he’s quite self-sufficient.  Probably making a deep arse-cheek imprint on Penitence Moor because he likes to show he’s hardy.  Jardine…  Drat.  He may need to be chipped out in the morning.  Perhaps a spell of cryogenics will do him good.  A desperate grasp.

And the Stranger…  He’s not here, and she doesn’t need him, but would she enjoy his company if he was?  Academic.  He’s not here because he can’t be here.  Not possible.  Just a ghost.  A perceptual artefact to be sorted, ironed out, normalised, like everything else.  On the list.  The tang of brambles…  Wrong time of year.  Utterly.

Calluna’s thoughts drift and swirl and settle behind the window.  Here is a triangle of women.  How synchronicitous.  There must be a challenge to be faced.  Always something.  Always that one thing.  That thing she has repeatedly banished to the attic, bolted in the basement, papered over behind the mantelpiece, subsumed in the permafrost, left to fade under dust.  Why else would she be back here?  Springs Creek had boiled with blood.

“You’re afraid that the depths of the pool below Springs Creek contain a body.”  The Stranger’s soft assertion makes Calluna start, knocking a cascade of cardboard shavings into the fireplace.  Paper over the mantelpiece.

“Remnants.  How do you keep getting in here?”

“Invitation.”

Never accept the premise of his laconic expressions.  Never interpret; never obvious.  Therein lies the road to entanglement.

Again the Stranger’s voice pilfers through her cranium.  “Have you woken up yet?  Everything is metaphor.  Señora, Damon, the hechlers, even Aunty Gail.”

“And you?”

“A stray dog that you can either take in or leave to its own devices.”

“You must be tremendously pleased with this effort!  A whole landscape of smoke and mirrors and devilish devices!  OK, if I must expound the saga, here and now, rather than enjoy the sublime bit of weather…”

“Why else would this unseasonal storm arise, with your fellow gatekeepers carefully positioned?”

“Aye, I got that, thanks.”

“What did you see?”

“In the middle of an unacceptably pleasant picnic, you dived in, twisted horribly, the music went all weird, and the linn churned up blood.”

Calluna stops abruptly, horrified by a ghastly howling wind that is suddenly audible.  The wailing and her open mouth, the pain in her throat, the pain in her heart; these may be connected.  She feels a touch, a caress, an enfolding.  Curse his arms that make her weak and feeble and paralysed.  Hallucination that touches.  If he wants to absorb her howling in the dark…  Blessed darkness.

continues at part 6

1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 5 […]

    Pingback by Neohaguich 4/11 | Digital Ischemia — 26/07/2019 @ 13:45


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