Previously on Darklight: a traveller, the railway guard Anélia, and the Ibid Bird, have come to the Inverse Realms, where time runs backwards. They found Selena there, and she has revealed that the meeting is her first encounter with the traveller. For her, their time together hasn’t happened yet, it is in her future. Episode one is here.
I was moderately despondent. My odyssey
had finished in a self-referential loop,
my time spent with Selena had caused itself.
Selena topped up my tea.
Some final words of encouragement
for you, stranger.
Reflections of Narcissus in the cosmos
misguide us. By our easy thoughts,
we are misled. But dreams are waiting
in the everyday, when we choose to look.
She handed me a page.
This page intentionally left blank.
I turned it over. Apparently, the reverse side
had been unintentionally left blank,
and the side that proclaimed its blankness
clearly wasn’t, since that very sentence appeared.
Should I write something?
Anélia gave me a pencil. I’ll dictate.
Fluttering echoic stasis,
a sameness with the long ago,
is a vision without a virtue.
But there’s still time before we’re made
reality’s remainder, if we don’t dream
The truth has always been a weave
of mystery and light, ravelled beyond
all measure, so we choose to believe
We live beneath ourselves,
in cubby-holes and cul-de-sacs,
but we can rise.
I’d run out of space, and I wrote
the last line running up the margin.
—What will I do now?
—With the page?
Anélia gave a subtle, but persuasive, indication
that she was about to speak.
—You could do worse than going back to Sydney.
I’ve applied to work there at the Darklight Terminus.
Intricacies and fantasies bore me,
I’d like to pass some time with ordinary people.
—My suburb is very ordinary,
my street and my home.
I am, too.
—I’m picturing a house with two cats
and rows of triffids in the yard.
For floral arrangements, if that’s legal.
Selena smiled, and I recalled her farewell note:
Don't forget to feed the cats.
There were no cats in the yard back then,
but she knew that felines were in my future.
The Ibid Bird was well-informed on triffid regulations.
Cultivating triffids in non-commercial quantities
for private use is fine.
I might come with. I plan to do some editing
for the Cyclopedia Aerolithium.
Our travels together have shown me
that the section on the coming end of days,
when the birds will conquer all the realms,
has a serious shortcoming. It doesn’t specify
who’ll be spared to serve us.
- Darklight Rail, Sydney Terminus
- The farewell note appeared here.
- Triffids first appeared here.
- Our House, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 1970.
- The Cyclopedia Aerolithium first appeared here.
the ordinary awaits (detail above), made with VEE, the visual evolution engine. For higher resolution full image, click on image above or link, then click again to zoom in/out on a region.