Klaxon City (part twenty-five) 

Klaxon City (part twenty-five)

The Weirdmonger – upon his now legendary rite of passage through Klaxon’s peripheral mudparks – came across a dreamcatcher hanging in the sky. Feathers and netting upon a singular swinging frame of irregular shape – or, rather, of both regular and irregular shape. A collapsible frame when not in use, the Weirdmonger guessed. He wondered from where it was thus suspended swinging in the siren-breezes that played fitfully around it at this distance from the city proper. He looked into the cavity’s half-sky and only the light of Sunnemo gave any clue: itself. But the same light glared into his eyes – thus making it difficult to ascertain the dreamcatcher’s root.

He touched it tentatively and watched it swing more vigorously. Dreams flocked around it like moths or mosquitos into the netting, some stuck there as burrs would on fly-paper. One dream caught Weirdmonger in the eye: and he saw (ahead of time) his arrival in a war-ravaged city, his close scrutiny of Sudra’s shoe museum where the smoke from the chimney was like a huge stilleto-wedge rather than a plume or umbrella-shape, and the hasty departure of ‘The Hawler’ flopping from its pylon towards the gravity-logging of its pull only for the Drill's bit-tip to grind uselessly against the beach terrain which was apparently harder within Inner Earth than it had been on the surface.

Captain Nemo had to alight himself to sharpen the bit-tip whilst it was still spinning. And away the Drill went, faces mooning at the portholes near its back of vanes. The Weirdmonger knew – from the dreamcatcher – that the faces’ names were Greg, Beth, Edith and Clare. The Captain was left stranded as the Drill proceeded to push on into the under-surface without him. Fears for his passengers blackened his face. Nemo and Dognahnyi parted company at that moment of violent alter-nemo dispute … a symbiosis in reverse decorated with a flare of more mosquito dreams caught by feathers. With Nemo’s head yanked apart by a pair of its four limbs, the creature emerged from the red-sea gap in the skull with a smirk and a wave towards the Weirdmonger’s future in the city. It was Weirdmonger himself (aka Dognahnyi).

The dreamcatcher had saved him the rest of his journey across the mudparks, so stub-of-pencil now needs to returns that way itself so as to erase the relevant bit from the vexed texture of text with a renewed head of rubber, if not steam.

The Weirdmonger scratched his head. Identity was a very strange burden to bear. To take his mind off the momentary discursiveness, he wondered how Sudra’s museum was allowed to smoke in a smokeless zone. Fire was not allowed within Inner Earth – for obvious reasons. And, shrugging, he went towards a cavé to give the locals a piece of his mind.

I had been down to the sea front – eager for a breath of fresh air after a night tending my flew-ridden wife – only to find the landscape had changed. "Landscape" actually seemed appropriate. You see, what had changed was the customarily empty horizon between the perfectly geometrical edges of sky and sea, set afire by a recently risen dawn. Populating (if that is the right epithet) this very divider of space and substance, as well as the bulging sun, were several spread splodges of ships: ships simply imputed to be such: not budging nor giving any semblance of distinguishing themselves by smoky funnel or visible wake. The strangest thing was never had I seen more than the odd craft along this peaceful stretch of Clacton coast. More a resort than a dock. So, was this a fleet, a convoy, a logical gathering of otherwise nautical non-sequiturs? Amid seagull sounds at several knots of siren screech.

I returned with my shoulders uncontrollably shrugging as part of my quickening stride. I needed to get back to the bungalow to see how my other half was faring. The sea and its craft could take care of themselves. My lungs and face were appropriately leached, my body superficially exerted and my mind, if not my soul, intriguingly stirred. As they say, I knew where the bodies were buried. Yet, thankfully, most of my guilts and anxieties were now pigeon-holed in some disused office within the brain, creatures which could only be exhumed by the sleepless darkness night often fetched. The golden light had, by now, buried such skeletons in their cupboard. An oubliette beyond the reach of the sun's splattered egg-yolk sky.

A gull shrieked as I turned the corner into my road. Too big, though, for a gull. Its shadow darkened my own – as it slanted between high-rise smoking chimneys at either end of my bungalow. I found the key to my door's deadlock and twisted it several times. Almost as if my return recurred more often than it paid off as a visitor in disguise.

The place felt empty. Instinctively, I wondered if I had stayed away too long. I didn't believe in ghosts, but here I was sniffing the air as if one was imbuing everything with some waxy waft or savour. My tongue was touched with some sharp tang, a residue perhaps from my walk in sight of the biggest salt monster in the world: then, with flesh suddenly bleached by the ultimate angst of all, I stormed towards the bedroom to see if I could salvage anything from sickness. I vowed not to suffer despair, should I be too late. But would it be touch and go?

This was not a quake zone, the carpeted floor, though, swaying beneath me on recognition that my ancient marriage was still intact. There was a crease across one of the pillows just like her smile. The one next to it was mine. And death flew out, screeching for some other perch or dry dock – or, perhaps, simply the ever splodgeless sloping of the sea.

(to be continued)

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