The flames lick the edge of my skull as knives of searing heat wound the blackness draped over my eyes. The fire’s message singes my serenity, but I cannot pull back, or my kingdom will fall. Its crackling scampers across the air in a poignant dance loaded with meaning, while the incense blows a kiss sweetened with subtext. The trail of fires was lit with urgency; the spies have returned to Amygdala. Many more fiery trails spread dendritically from the other realms, but all their sparks end in the multifarious flickers of my personal light as it swings at the tip of our castle in the Cortex. The Lamp of Calcium was entrusted to me by my mother during the ritual of her passing. I will not fail her teachings; I read its fire, the subtlety of its movement, the scrawl of its warmth on my skin, as its burning colours warp silhouettes on the ancient stone of my columned chamber. Its smell shifts—sweet caving to salty. Only I can piece together these ciphers. Our Kingdom of Braintannia relies on the Cortex for wisdom, and the Cortex relies on my lineage. On me. They’re waiting. A prickling passes through my body; the intuitive wisdom of my lineage shudders with epiphany. Beyond my balcony, the trails of fire extinguish. It’s fine. I have the message. I run.
My eyes strain at the stars, and yet between them, where the unknowable things hide, where the mechanisms of change clunk endlessly around the axle of truth, I still see nothing. The glow of its starry eyes can relinquish a dash of knowledge through the dark veil, but some say it blinks too fast; you’ll miss it. I say, keep staring.
The chair falls, faster this time; I swear it. The clattering wood mocks my attention in a smug show. I whip the chair into the corner, throw a book at it. The chair teeters before tumbling, placating me, perhaps, but yes, slower over there. As I caress the stale air, my outstretched palm tingles, but its just an itch. The tendons in my knuckles tighten my antenna-like fingers against shivering. I must not stir any disturbance as I stand rigid, closing my eyes, blocking out all perception but touch, waiting for the faint signal in the chill air. Tell me you’re here. Tell me what you are.
Read part 1 here. “Tell me about it.” Elder Humphead was almost encrusted to her chair, but her voice was crisp. Rabbit scooped algae into his mouth. He wouldn’t lie. “Let me eat something first.” The second rush from the algae was subdued, but he felt good enough to tell a story. “Quieting the tantrums of the Shark children was a sign of prestige among … Continue reading The Importance of Eating Algae – Part 2
Part 1 Rabbit stared over the rosy folds of Elder Humphead’s bumpy cheeks and thought for the first time that he should lie. His lungs stung, each inhale plummeting a tornado of gannets into the rioting sea of his chest, stabbing at it as it would as school of clueless sardines. “Oh yes I’m fine,” Rabbit replied. “I’ll have no problem starting a new story … Continue reading The Importance of Eating Algae