Friday, July 23, 2004

Time Piece: Summer 2003

           The palace yard was continually swept both day and night so as to avoid annoying any of the travelling guests, who were felt to be very important carriers of news affairs from the distant moons.  If only these emissaries would hurry up soon, there would be no more need to tidy up for their arrival and certainly more time to prepare entertainments to divert their attention as and when required.  But, already it had taken hundreds of years for them to complete this final approach.  Now the inhabitants of the palace had become weary, constantly bickering amongst themselves as to when and how their guests would eventually appear.
          Sixty men and women descended through the smoky atmosphere in carriers designed rather for notoriety than for speed and distance.  At last people could watch these vessels as they unfolded beautifully around the night sky, arching to land gracefully in a systematic formation within the jungle ground.  This area immediately surrounded a giant metal edifice that formed a vague replica of a towering creature; it seemed to be greeting these people from the struggles of their distant journeying of apparently rueful longevity.  Impatience had already certainly transpired to pervade the entire company as they undid the hooks that bounded the outside fabric of softer gift-wrapped cubicles which had born them thus across the galaxy skies.
          Feather crested men stole out to request that the visitors park their vehicles still further out beyond the central jungle boulevard, so as not to offend the holy object, which they implied could rive in consternation if ever crossed by strangers – the visitors continued to see nothing and felt nothing from the giant opaque metal sentinel.  They did not understand their hosts and these perceived foibles that cut into the cloth of this foreign civilisation.
          Bought prisoners would lay in state until it was decided what to do with them, then bewitched by drugs on transit to a final destination in which it was promised that they would never be expunged until time ran out itself.  Ceremonies of gratification and glorification were conducted amiably between both groups, always with a growing hidden tumult that could neither be touched nor felt unquestionably.
          Instead of invested avid joy, there was an irritating sense of restlessness as the hosts began to distrust the newcomers.  These travellers crept around and said little to the chagrin of their beneficiaries.  Whatever their motives, they were not about to divulge it willingly and felt it quite possible to go on without stimulation of any kind night or day.  They requested no food, denied information; it was no wonder that the colonists regretted their original invitation, patient waiting and eventual reception.  Most of them were summarily banished to the further reaches of the palace to invigorate themselves.    
          A vast shadow poked about the back yard, back and forth, dusting the ground around the statue in clouds of desultory blackness; clusters of light gleamed freely over poisonous fruits that bobbed in the misty light but were cleansed when the misty clouds relented to the bitter stream of the sunlight pouring through.  Petals swished and danced in shapes growing occasionally still when the breeze became spent.   Groups of creeping people moved about in rhythm within the pall of the skyward tower of metal, holding their breaths and hoping that the reassurance they were seeking would be more real than their adopted effigy could ever afford.  
          Unfortunately, colonists remained belligerent in their underlying ungratefulness towards their visitors.  Many plans were made to cast off and hurry back swiftly and after concealed in their heavily guarded collective consciousness, just in case of discovery later.   Covering up such intentions turned out to be an outright nuisance, as everything they had brought with them had now been confiscated wholesale.   Even their space vehicles had been snatched in an effort not to offend the saintly statue that was described to look on in pride of the nation - an amiable jewel.
          It wasn’t long before the visitors imagined that they might be prisoners too but were heavily rebuked for their folly when they voiced their doubts about the chief leaders. 
          “No, no we shall not put you to sleep or detain you unnecessarily, we shall cherish your very presence for ever”, they answered.  Unfortunately, this promise was known to be false and the visitors persisted to be concerned and watched carefully.
          “Why are we detained so on your pleasure after travelling so far?  Are you not committed to entertain us and display gifts that we may receive them gratefully and return back to our troubled soil to enrich our desolate terrains; revive the gaudy tundra; tend the barren fallows and even be able to marvel at the inventiveness of nature for the first time?”   
          Unfortunately the home inhabitants did nothing but sleep through these long diatribes and would not be drawn on any matter pertaining to their unfriendliness.  Eventually it was deemed that such uncompromisingly arrogant creatures deserved to be double-crossed sometime or other and volunteers were broached to attempt this difficult but delicate task.
          Eagar rebels subsequently took immediate pre-emptive advantage and tore through the living complex and climbed up above to breach the height of the mysterious statue, with a view to spy freely on some of the mistrusted hosts.  Their combined weight caused the totem to pitch off balance; then the shady lot fell quickly down from the crowded summit into the surrounding scrub, crushed by the falling tower that was to follow close behind, hitting the ground right on its axis.  An evil mess was fixed onto the ground to settle indelibly amongst the rows and rows of crimson petals.
          Communication lines suddenly broke short immediately and for a considerable period the hosts seemed readily confused, bewildered about their predicament.  Nobody voiced a complaint but grew eventually sure of whom to blame.  Angry eyes were set and cast on the hybrid strangers with mounting alacrity.  And when it was explained how the pillar had come to exist in present living glory – a solar fuelled chronometer in actual fact  – the malefactors became remorseful and craved a bargain that sought to enable them to hide their tears in quiet solitude for a while and then allow them to rebuild gracefully what they had at first carelessly broke. 
          Now it seemed this zealous treachery was uncovered and dealt with according to the unforgiving injunctions of the decorated palace magnates, who were disgusted beyond repent that nothing had been done to check the deceit of these disgraced wretches.  All might be dragged back to their vehicles and pitched back into the void, to encounter much more frantic destinies than might have been expected, afore desecrating in defiance the converted ground on which they had formerly slept.  The excitement began to wax crazily and their little burrow eyes narrowed into melted slots of fury.  For days and nights they chewed and spat; mixed and cursed but failed to agree on a strategy that would expel the worst miscreants.
          Chemical storms began brew and vent quite strongly throughout the palace yard in a reflective despair towards such agony.  They were the fiercest gales so far of all, and by all conceivable standards, enveloping the whole palace grounds with bounteous shards of golden dirt and grit.  Clods of descending ash settled in tall mountainous piles, destroying or mutating the landscape into a forlorn wilderness of mulch it had once been before the living came to disturbed its preferred slumber.  From north to south, the palace was engulfed in the midst of molten juice, more noxious than the fauna it was set to ruin.  From east to west, not a soul ventured out in any shape or form.  Not even love of their own kind raged as much as for them to leave as they had just arrived.

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