The Visitor (41) 

The Visitor (41)

The Colour of the Steps
By The art Master

I have only been concerned with shape, symbol and form in my description, so far, of the Shift of the Infinite Steps. I will now hint at the variegated colours that deck the steppered ways: apple-cheeked, buff, rubescent, snuff-hued, dapple, oyster-grey, mauve, violaceous, flaxen, honey-pale, incarnadine, crimson, sandy, brinded, moiré, pied, old gold, coppery, livid, azure, skyey, saffron, bloodshot, rufous, auburn, bricky, tawny, chocolate, collied, pitchy, bleached, snow-capped, ash-blond, off-white, strawberry, rouged, damasked, grey-green, grizzly, heliotrope, creamy, fulvous, glaucous, leafy, avernal.

Dagg dreamt of a thousand colours that were so diffuse in their manifold machinations, that blurred oyster-grey they seemed.

Dagg dreamt of footèd wheels clanking across the endless hierarchies of the plain.

Dagg woofed and wagged his dreaming tail, as he snuffled in the dirty angles of the steps.

Dagg took his truculent scissors and chopped away one stinking testicle from his own body.

Dagg awoke from this and other dreams.

Dagg shook Ed’s shoulder to wake him from his snooze.

“Go away,” gritted Alpo, “I’m not getting up at this bloody hour. This is not a frigging health farm, is it?”

“Come on, Ed,” coaxed Lorg, who knew that his valet was still dreaming, thinking he was back in his Mum’s shack in Scandinavia.

Gradually, Ed shook himself free of vain delusions and he rubbed his eyes as the plain of steps appeared before him.

“We must get to that tower before night falls,” urged Lorg Dagg. “Be it fact or vision, it is our only hope for shelter. Have you got the ropes, picks and climbing-pins ready? We shall need them before this day is out.”

“I did not bring them, Mr Dagg, since our recourse here was so sudden. There we were innocently watching the execution of political recalcitrants and, then, what a whopper! A rocket! Swept us off our feet and landed us here! What can the meaning of it all be?”

“You can repeat that question, Ed,” Lorg replied. “I seem to remember many dreams – nothing tangible, you know – and here we are in yet another one – although this seems real, since the others I know are dreams and if I can say ‘this seems real, since the others I know are dreams’, this can be no dream but what is actually happening. Do you agree? However, I will probably regret saying ‘this seems real, since the others I know are dreams’ because, if this be dream, I will be inextricably confused and you will have to comfort me.”

Ed, aghast at such meaningless argument, shrugged and said: “Worry not, sir, we have a goal – that tower. Surely we will find help there.”

“Count not on such vain delusions, Ed, for I fear that that edifice is but mere mirage in this desert of – for want of better terminology – steps. However, arise, valiant flunkey, and let us tread a wary path.”

They arose and stepped, up and down, up and down, for hours of Alice-like frustration until Lorg made the following comment:


“Lost not your perseverance for, if that be lost, then we may as well sit down and die.”

“Die? How can we die? We have no weapons. We have no thirst – seemingly. We have no hunger. (Had you noticed?) In fact, we have no tiredness. So how can we die? I fear we will never even sleep again…”

“We have our fists. You fought off those crones with them, remember?”

“Crones? What crones? I remember no crones,” shouted Lorg.

“’Crones? What crones? I remember no crones.’ What a dippy thing to say. You know, sir, you look highly silly when you are indignant.”

“Silly? But what crones?”

“Those in Rull who claimed to have some sort of incestuous relationship with geography or something. Remember now? Years ago now we met them – this place reminds me of them. They lived in caves with some bearded Englishman and claimed to be earthmothers. They were cultish about dirt and scrabbled in it in some sort of mystico-sensual way. Lawrencian, I think that’s the word, Egypto-Cosmic beetlewomen. You know the sort of claptrap. Well, they came at you with paintbrushes daubed in sticky white paint. Remember? …What’s the point of this story? Oh, yes – our fists – we can beat each other into pulpy puddles and thus die. Ho, ho, ho, ha, ha, ha!!”

Ed’s laugh echoed luridly across the plain and then died away into silence. Lorg shrugged and plodded on over the colour of the steps.

The Owl Creek Complex
By John ‘Ambrose Borges’ Cheese

They could not rest as rest they did not need. How can one rest when neither standing or sitting are resting but merely standing or sitting in unencumbered essence? Their initial sleep seemed to have been fat for their hump and fed their sub- and pseudo-conscious Owl Creek complex (HSW-EAP and all the other paraphernalia and portmanteau fal-de-lals).

As they stood in their unrest, Dagg spotted some peculiar written devices (incomprehensible (to him) glyphs of an esoteric lore) embedded in one spoked ramp nearby. He bent nearer and concentrated his vision on the following strange, inchoate circle:

(DFL 2006 comment; there follows a crudely drawn 12-spoked, wide-rimmed, substantially hubbed circular device (like a wagon-wheel or horoscope?) with the 12 zodiacal signs (as astrological symbols used on natal charts) in order around the rim, Capricorn at the top.)

“Look, Ed, there’s some writing and a funny circle here.”

Ed rushed forward and crouched beside his master peering at the tokens carved into the steppered plain.

“This mystery should not delay our journey, sir. I fear a storm brewing.”

At that moment, a pitchy cloud covered the insipid sun and, amid the intense gloom this caused, thunder rolled and farted across the birdless welkin. A shaft of crackling light lit up the Shift momentarily and silhouetted the crouched pair against a ranked and sole-towered background. Then, sheets and swathes of rain swept uncontrollably across their plastered faces. Plaques and shields of water buzzed between their cringing forms and bounced up in giant splatters from the now almost flowing steps. Fearing floods, the startled duo began to scamper but, once again, Carroll-de-sacs were their only reward for effort.

“We will never reach it,” screamed Dagg through the frenzied flurry of the elements.

And we leave them, for the time being, as they crawl on fours between the gates of the very tower.

The First Room
By Charles Dipp (our war correspondent)

As the gates closed behind them, for a moment they were blinded by the many ceiling lights. However, as their pupils grew smaller and their eyes accustomed themselves to the contrast between the dark, foreboding stormclouds outside and the brilliant unnatural scintillations within, they raised themselves from the animal poses of their entry and cast naïve looks at their surroundings. I will not bother you nor spoil your clear image of these surroundings, by the authors’ factory, of which I am a member, but the dénouement, the climax, the lead down will remain in your imagination, only yours. The interior of the tower was an archetype, a hall of the collective unconscious and thus by me, a conscious being, indescribable.

Suffice it to say (and to say it very quickly) that I never saw it, but I know (know it intuitively, know it archetypically) that it was septagonal.

The impulse, the Self that did the driving, I also do not know and somehow do not care. But the heroic pair, completely complexical in their now symbolic interaction, did not talk. Talking was over, as a full-stop once put it. They opened the first door and entered a realm that was (you will be relieved to hear) definitely not symbolic. Within was light which was quickly extinguished. Within was silence which quickly gave place to whirring. Within was a resultant darkness which was again quickly deposed by a flishflashing square of light on a far wall. Blank was this light until images flickered too and interacted with resultant noises and meaningful sound-waves. They saw a chaplinesque figure throbbing on the screen of images and saw it raise its right arm from its jointed shoulder, right from the root of the shoulder, in salute to a mass of glassless faces. Beside him stood the lateral figure of a muffled and enveloped man, a right nutter. They heard chants and compulsive hymns. They saw a footèd wheel carrying corpses and broken limbs. Then they saw nothing for the images faded into numbers, which in turn faded into darkness (giving darkness back its own darkness).

Still not knowing the relevant impulse (so I will not attempt to explain or depict), the unsurprised pair left the room and later entered the second.

(written 1974)

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