Previously on Darklight: a traveller accompanied by the Ibid Bird, and Anélia, a railway guard from the moon, is on his way to meet Selena. They have reached the border of the Inverse Realms, where time flows backwards. The first episode is here.
I would have liked to tell you of the Turnaround,
where time’s pendulum pauses before it reverses,
but every memory of it had vanished from my mind,
if not my body. My shirt had been shredded,
bloodied from the cuts of sharpened claws.
The Goddess Bastet roams that place,
the Ibid Bird informed me, while Anélia
studied her fingernails.
According to the Ibid Bird, we’d arrived
to the township of Isvénia, where enormous
and invisible Isvénian land squids
consumed unwary visitors in a single slurp.
And its sandfalls were a tourist draw card.
Not to worry, said Anélia,
See that empty tourist bus?
I’m sure the squids have had their fill.
While the others sought information
on Selena, I was left to my own devices.
My devices and I chose to visit a lookout
beside the sand flows, to watch the trickles
and the torrents and the drifting whorls,
where every grain was abraded,
ground away to powder by the others.
I wondered whether I was one of them,
cascading in an hourglass through the
slender neck of the present,
and never seeing beyond.
Might those sentient grains imagine
that their space and time were irreducible?
That nothing else existed, not even Sundays?
These weren’t questions
Selena would have answered.
She’d only ever answered
what I didn’t ask.
I thought I heard a wetter sound
beneath the swooshing of the sand,
and I looked around me
for suspicious shimmers,
refracted by a less-than-skilful
land squid. But not a glimmer
was out of place.
—We found her easily enough. “Selena de Tal”
is not a common name in the Realms.
—She lives in Sondandinho,
where everyone who leaves, returns,
to somewhere else, or Sonandinho.
—We’ll take the free-range electro-trolley.
It will surely stop there, eventually.
I had pointless feathered questions,
but they flew away before I asked them.
The trolley pulled in with a sizzle
of sparking pantographs, the conductor
punched our tickets, and we stepped on board.
I found a window seat, and Anélia took the spot
beside me, with the Ibid Bird nestled in her pocket.
The passengers in the queue outside boarded
without incident, until one was carried aloft,
and vanished with a slurping sound.
After a moment, she reappeared, distraught
and wet. The next in line was hesitant,
and subsequently slurped.
The land squids take two seats,
they need two tickets.
- the catty Bastet, ancient Egyptian goddess,
- Isvénia and Sonandinho are two of my favorite places and have appeared in different guises in other works.
Beneath ourselves relates to the next episode of Darklight, which is somewhat previewed on the YouTube page. It is another UHD pilot video made with VEE, the Visual Evolution Engine, and ALISA, adaptive art automation, rather than animation. The soundtrack is via Audacity® and Lisp, the computer language everyone loves. Reduced quality, but best viewed in 4K/full screen.