Klaxon City (part 40) 

Klaxon City (part 40)

aka 'The Tenacity Of Feathers' (part 90)

Scene: Lecture Hall, Earth Towers Hall, London

A new theory has emerged. We now need to proceed speedily from hypothetical literary matters concerning the use of Fiction as the New Magic in the role either of genuine cure or, at least, of constructively believable panacea. The Art of Fiction needs, therefore, to progress towards a stricter and more verifiable account of what happened or what will happen in the final war between humanity and a terrible foe and, subsequently, by extrapolation, to become a means to the end of neutralising the results of that very war.

Heretofore, it was believed (and I am the first to admit that I was one of those believers) that the Core – aka Earth’s Core, Mount Core, Sunnemo, Jules Verne’s Centre Of The Earth – housed a single malignancy known as the Angel Megazanthus or the Infinite Cuckoo or other possible names that were listed by various protagonists. Gradually, however, queries began to crop up as to whether its initial appearance as a malignancy represented in effect a benign force in disguise. One that fought on humanity’s behalf.

Then, with even more powers of creative meaning and truth, it was proposed that the force inhabiting the Core had not started its life there but had always existed as a generally migrating form in a wider universe … but then it was plucked from its otherwise slow and self-occupied passage through space-time and transported to the Core – perhaps accidentally – by a means of public transport invented by humanity.

It was a proposal coupled with a diverse concept of dream sickness, yet a sickness that enabled the potentiality for good to evolve.

Stub of pencil: Aide Mémoire. I’m getting stuck. The fact that a core could double up as a sun was probably the most crucial ‘vision’, when Captain Nemo – all those years ago – showed Sunnemo to Mike from the window of the Drill’s corporate lounge. Further thoughts that the actual force (or migrating form) transported (by chance?) to the Earth’s Core was a moving plug, a plug acting as a plug to itself! Also that William Blake had very few readers and needed to self-publish his own works. Jonathan Swift? Jules Verne? Marcel Proust? During these considerations, attention to be diverted, because I’m due to explain that the ‘skies’ of Inner Earth are beginning to be populated with vast machines that rival even Sunnemo in size and it must be wondered if these are related to the Unidentified Flying Objects that often pepper our surface skies. But a singularly outlandish flying-saucer hovers, currently, over Klaxon City, like a spinning wheel churning through soft earth as well as off-detritus. End of notes.

“The fish smelled!”

Arthur smiled as he replaced another divot above the body that he and his younger sister Amy had just buried during a solemn ceremony of childish reveration … marking a departure from life by one of Amy’s loved pets.

“He didn’t!” Amy dabbed at her eyes.

At that moment, a low-flying helicopter – vanes clacking fast – banked over the apartment towers, criss-crossed as in a display of aviation above the allotments and finally churned quickly into the distance. If children were able to feel their own paranoia for what it was, then Arthur sensed that his worst enemy was the pilot of that chopper spying on him … and, with the sensitivities that only children can feel but not understand, he somehow knew that the pilot was himself (Arthur) from a future he was yet to inhabit.

He turned to Amy, deciding to ignore his dark instincts with regard to the diminishing pinprick of the helicopter now being lost to the suburban horizon. While both their sibling feelings towards each other were typically abrasive he did, at heart, worry about her and, before being able to stop himself, he proceeded to quench Amy’s tears regarding her recently deceased goldfish.

“You’ve still got a canary in a cage. And that fish really smelled!”

“It only smelled after it died.” Her sobs worsened to the extent of giving her words an even higher pitch than normal.

When they had found her dear fish floating at the top of the bowl, the room was so filled with fumes, Amy’s canary showed signs of soon choking to death itself had not the fish-bowl been removed forthwith to the outhouse. And, if not death, certainly some state between life and death which could not easily be defined.

Arthur stared at Amy, his immediate impulse caught between hugging her and scolding her for being so sentimental, but the words he used to convey this thought to his brain were much simpler than words such as ‘scold’ or ‘sentimental’. He recalled their mother’s story of dream sickness and wondered if it would be any use in comforting Amy by reminding her of it in words she could understand. Arthur himself had failed to understand their mother’s version of it, but deep within yet another instinct similar to the earlier one regarding the helicopter, he understood the story quite well as he replayed it in his mind.

Once upon a time – their mother had begun by telling them – there was a country where people could not judge between the state of dreaming and that of experiencing real things while awake. A girl called Sudra lived in that country. Not a country of the blind, but a country of dream uncertainty. Sudra loved the new shoes that she had been given for Christmas. But how could she be sure they were new enough? Or even shoes at all in such a world? She decided to visit the wisest man in the country who happened to live in the same village as Sudra and her family. This man told her the shoes were not only new, but also real. She was relieved – at first. Until she worried if the wisest man in the country was a dream himself. Why would the wisest man in the country happen to live in the same village as Sudra? But he had to live somewhere. He had even claimed he was the wisest man in the whole world, not just the wisest man in this particular country. Did this claim not prove he was lying, and, if lying, did not the probability of this being a dream increase considerably? Or lessen? Sudra didn’t know where to turn. The shoes were strange shoes since at the front and back of each one were little bells. And they were yellow shoes. Her parents said this would help them find her, should she get lost. But Sudra had never seen shoes like them before in the country where she lived. They must have been specially made. And the family was so poor how could they have afforded such bespoke shoes? She decided to test out the reality of her current thoughts by unthinking them. People got over deaths by unthinking them. They got over grief and pain simply by unthinking them. Yet she still smelled the countryside that surrounded the house, she still smelled all the common and customary smells of the house itself ... and even with her eyes closed as she concentrated on unthinking all her doubts, the smell of the smells continued to smell around her. And when the parents entered the room to find her, she had vanished! Only the shoes remained, sitting silently on the yellow carpet. But Sudra’s smell remained for her parents to follow.

A sad or inscrutable ending – their mother had explained – but one that had many possible meanings.

Indeed it did, thought Arthur, as he more simply retold the tale to Amy. And as Amy wiped the tears away, she even smiled. Now the whole world would be her fish. Just one of the tale’s many morals.

They laughed as many other morals of their mother’s fable took root.

Meanwhile, a huge spinning wheel appeared over the suburban skyline, constructed of many shining metal stanchions and cylinders, its central top cockpit filled with the biggest head of an unknown creature the children had ever seen. Soon, however, at a vast slant in the sky, it dipped towards the ground where its spinning edges began to delve: throwing up great cascades of earth like fountains of detritus towards the clouds that soon became gritty themselves. This Unidentified Flying Object soon vanished below the ground towards further skies it hoped existed inside the Earth – or it had simply grounded itself like a pitifully sick whale beaching upon the bank of a river.

“If the fish smelled anything,” said Arthur, “it certainly can still smell you, Amy.”

And he took her hand to go inside.

“Wait!” shouted Amy. And she picked up her favourite flowerpot nearby, in which sat her favourite doll, and she took this with her as she followed a now freshly unthinking, unthoughtful Arthur overland towards their home.

(to be continued)

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