Hidden

nemesis_now_licufer_the_fallen_angel_figurine_image_1

 

The little daemons I used to see, at the crossroads, or standing high up on roofs, pretending to be busy, have gone. Or, perhaps, I have stopped noticing them, or they have stopped inviting me to see them. What does it mean? Is it because the city is now used to me, no longer interested? Or is it me who is now impervious to her mysteries, unable to decipher the signs, to see through the deceptive appearance?

But they are still there, watching, without being watched. They are waiting for my next move: they have all the time, other strangers to amuse themselves with, other tricks to play on the unaware. They know that, day by day, this old man is losing strength.

Soon I will be ripe for the taking, for the offer I cannot refuse. The Master knows.

Image: Nemesis, source

Afar #writephoto

Thursday photo prompt

afar

 

“Thus, what you are saying is that for years the government has had this beautiful valley reserved to store nuclear stuff?”

“Well, first of all, none of this is to reach the media, do you understand? This is highly sensitive material, and everything would be denied anyway…”

“Okay, but you said there were several wells drilled, in the valley and atop these hills, didn’t you?”

“Yes, we want you to understand why your proposal is not acceptable.”

“Well, what was the purpose of those wells?”

“It’s what I told you already, initially, it was to see if the ground was suitable for storing depleted uranium rods. Geologically the location seemed perfect, very old rocks, stable, no record of tremors since records began… well away from populated centres…”

“But, you said, drilling was abruptly terminated, when was this?”

“It does not matter, we just want you to understand why your plan to build that golf course is simply not on. Besides, you already know the whole valley, and those hills, are now guarded by the ministry of defence… but don’t publicise this!”

“So, what happened?”

“Let’s say that what is below this landscape, deep down, is a state secret. It’s only because of who you are that I am telling you this.”

“You must tell me more, I want, I need a reason to give this up.”

“We could simply tell you that this is a nature reserve, a site of exceptional beauty, and indeed it is, and will remain so.”

“What is it?”

“It’s classified, but I have been authorised to say this: there is a structure, down there, at a depth of about one hundred meters, and it’s protected by a dome.”

“A dome, made of what? What structure?”

“This is classified, we are still measuring and probing.”

“And how old is that thing?”

“I can’t tell you, other than it is very old, extremely old, even.”

“And you expect me to swallow this story?”

“I am sorry, Sir, but you will have to believe me, or not, but that’s it.”

“One bit of proof!”

“Yes, I was also allowed to give you this: an estimate of the size of the underground structure.”

“And?…”

“It’s about as large as ten football fields.”

“And do you know what the dome is made of?”

“It’s classified. But it’s metallic.”

Being there, or here? #fivewords

Weekly Writing Prompt #177

mark-fernyhough-3

leaf, home, alter, light, front

There, she knew well, it was her home, her friends, where she’d met him. Here, was another leaf, both of them now almost past the light, an alter-life she did not understand, even feared a little, however familiar she was with the language, the everyday words. Indeed this was different, in a way she had not expected. She did not know where to be, there was her past, and much happiness, here was the unknown, only clouds in front of her. But him, did he know?

Image: ©2019 Mark Fernyhough, The Berlin Architecture Series, Kaltblut Magazine

Pillars #writephoto

Pillars

pillars

 

Voices resonate here, voices from the present, but also voices from the past, maybe from a long gone past. Those who erected these pillars knew how to build, to last. Their footsteps, perhaps even the sound of their tools, chiselling the stone, can still be heard.

A little further, the sun shines in the courtyard. Did they hold councils here, did the walls hear judgements, or laughter, or even the sound of water rising? Where did they go? Did they leave their work behind, did they travel far, did they leave our world? Were they time-travellers?

In the Land of Ago

A reading of 11.22.63 by Stephen King

3-front-quater-top-up-sunliner

 

How often do we think: “If only I could change this”, or, in whatever form, “if only I could have a second chance, go back, and do something different”? Going back, erasing, and changing the past is an old dream, the subject of countless tales and fiction works. Of course there is a second law of thermodynamics, to keep things simple, that says “no-can-do” – but still…

But imagine one could go back, reverse entropy, and travel back in time, would it be possible to change anything? Or, is the past resistant to change, obturate enough to stop, or at least oppose, a time-traveller interfering with what was, and, maybe, should be? And, even if the time traveller could change the past, what would be the cost? Perhaps more ominously: what would be the consequences?

Changing history is a special case. History, they say, is written by “the victors”, whoever they may be. It can also be rewritten, and this without, perhaps because of (not), going back to the past. There is the “official” version, and the “conspiracies”. A long-lasting, and still sinister, such story is that of the assassination of President Kennedy.

Jake Epping, not a crying man, is an English teacher at a high school in a small town in Maine. The year is 2011, and this is the end of term. Jake is, unique among his school colleagues, the customer of Al Templeton, the proud owner of the fat burgers diner. More than just a customer. He’s soon someone with whom Al is about to share a deadly secret. At the back of Al’s diner trailer is an anomaly: a fissure in time. Al has a mission, one he cannot complete, for he is dying of lung cancer. He wants Jake to take over, as he has identified Jake as someone who could, who will, bite at the bait. So Al teaches Jake, explains how this could work, and Jake listens. There is a first trial, then another. On the other side of the fissure it is Spring 1958, and America is young. Jake likes what he sees. He enjoys the fresh taste of root beer, the sweet air. Jake also has a personal objective: to prevent a domestic tragedy and help his friend Harry Dunning. The first leg of the story is there: the killing of Frank Dunning. Jake, armed with Al’s mission and notes, as well as dollars of the time, embarks on the journey.

Saving the Dunning family will take two attempts to get it “right”, or so Jake thinks. Then his personal odyssey will start , on the road to Dallas. For Al’s, now Jake’s, aim is to prevent the assassination of President John Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, nothing less. Jake has five years to adapt, plan, live, and, finally, execute Al’s mission.

Jake follows a route of nostalgia: an all-American Ford Sunliner, overnight stoppages in motels, drive-in cinemas, finally a small town, and an equally small school, in Texas. Later, much later, there will be Dallas and the horror. For a while it is (almost) paradise, his class, football, friends, a girl he falls in love with, America’s early 60’s: (almost) perfection.

Jake decides to stay, he won’t go back to 2011. But, in the end, he does. For fulfilling the mission has unpredictable consequences. When, on the threshold of his desperate return, Jake faces a dystopian 2011, he finally understand what Al had missed: that interfering with the strings of time has a price, and this is proportional to the change.

The novel concludes on a note of hope, an ending for which Stephen King credits his son, Joe Hill, at the end of the book.

11.22.63 is a great novel, to read, reread, and cherish. It is also a book to meditate on, seriously, listening carefully to the voice of its author.

Photo: Ford Sunliner 1958, via eclassicautos.com

 

The triangle #fivewords

Weekly Writing Prompt #132

Monastery_Garments-Cistercian

 

Francis wanted to capture the dream: for the third night, he had read the name of a place he had known, and, now, wanted to build into the story. There were three, at equal distance from each other, the monk had said. The last day, his stare fixed on some old manuscript he had dug out from the loot of a raid, years back, he’d looked for clues. In the morning, like today, he could not recall the names. Long ago, he had travelled, feverish, and briefly lived there, at the vortices of the triangle, carried away by the rage to discover the truth.

Where he was now, near the small park, in the city he loved, was one of those places, he was certain of it. He tried to lift his arm, and discovered he was almost unable to move: he would have to go back to his therapist. He had to work, look again at the archives.

In the park, he had met the shadow of an old monk, one night. That was before the first dream. The monk had spoken in an old, forgotten, language, and Francis had only understood a few words. Where were the other two places?

Picture source: Monastery Garments

Neophyte #thedailypost

Neophyte

DSC_0131

The streets are empty, and rain starts falling. Some windows are lit, high up the tall buildings. Fallen leaves fly in the wind. Slowly he begins to hear the voices of the city. He has so much to learn: the geography of those unknown spaces, where the wall once stood, the secret boundaries, what was once the East, what is still the West, the ancient churchyards, the parks, the statues.

He listens to the voices, far away. He walks, he writes, he speaks to her. She says: “you have to forget what you learnt: this is different, you are on the other side of a mirror, you have to start again, and you cannot guess…”