This is an excerpt from my first completed novel “Mystery Babylon.” I wrote this sci-fi novel back in 2005 and it currently stands unpublished. I can’t quite figure out what to make of it today, but I thought it would be fitting for my first blog on this website. (Photo: Flickr/Studio Incendo, “The Matrix,” 2014)
Sulphurous and wispy, it curls through the cracked, litter laden streets of the great crystalline city of Babylon. Twisting about the legs of workers clad in glossy black coats, the fog continues its skyward search for diffusion. Sluggish workers pass beneath crackling neon signs advertising shabby hotels, cafés, and fast food outlets. Spice aromas flow from exhaust fans attached to gritty kitchens serving up cheap food in hot demand. A rusty door opens, drawing with it a taste of the warm, inviting atmosphere within. Talking in hushed tones, two lithe, young men – one black wearing red shoes; the other with a Gaulish nose wearing loose, grey pants torn at the heels – enter the street through the door.
A shrill bell clamours amid the crush of stoic faces hovering atop their black coats. It breaks through the cold, biting air like a brick through an alarmed shop front. Attached to the bell is an ugly bedraggled man.
“Behold! The last Man cometh!” he warns the cold, uncaring eyes passing him. A fast moving woman brushes by, almost spilling the pamphlets held in his other hand.
With pious vanity, he thrusts a pamphlet into a gloved hand, which throws the piece of paper to the ground with so many of his other leaflets warning the deaf masses of impending doom. The dirty man continues unheeded, ringing his bell as if it will magically ward off any coming terror.
Nearby, beneath a chipped sign warning of the illegality of graffiti, a man secretly passes a soft, white package to a young, gaunt woman in exchange for cash. She closes her sallow eyes in anticipation of opiate ecstasy before racing to a nearby dark corner. The man silently dissolves into the crowd.
Long, black skar lines criss-cross the visible city ceiling like rows of ants crossing a desert floor. A powerful skar passes low overhead, assaulting the ears of those below with loud shuddering and shimmering music. Rising high into a peach hued sky, it meets a cavalcade bearing passengers to the safety of their homes.
Workers huddle into their glossy black coats as a gentle rain lightly falls. Clearing in the light shower, the mist reveals a petite, young woman with brown skin. Looking up into the sky with her clear, emerald eyes, she blinks as the rain pats her elfin face. She smiles and continues weaving her way through the growing, glossy press. Her ragged clothes begin to sparkle and shimmer like a sequined costume made of finest gossamer. The street glistens as the drizzle strengthens into a downpour.
The young woman passes into a small, dead end alley carpeted with the refuse of the darker side of the city – the smell of urine; the waste from a junkie’s high; litter from a prostitute’s need to feed her addiction; blood from a bout of drunken violence. Crystal shards reaching into the sky and striving to be mountains, sheer walls of colossal buildings envelope the alley – a dirty yet, at this time of the evening, quiet place. A trickling waterfall is born at the end of the alley.
Moving further into the alley, she approaches a large pile of plastic. It is soft and inviting, a transparent bed of clouds. Sitting down in the middle of the plastic bed, she produces some bread from her pocket. A mere morsel, but enough to satisfy her small, delicate body. Falling from unseen heights atop the buildings enveloping the alley, large drops splat upon the alleyway floor with a crackling echo. The young woman breathes a sigh of contentment at the sound of the water and lies down, pulling some plastic over her. She closes her eyes, clasps her hands gently upon her chest, and begins to breathe slowly and deeply.
Her body melts away as her mind fills the alley. The alley walls feel at once enormous and encompassing, and small and fragile, as if she could stretch out her hand and push a finger effortlessly through the wall like a delicate paper screen. The city is both small as a pebble and vast as the entire solar system. The boundaries of her reality sublimate into a blur. As her mind grows ever larger, her body becomes no more than a point of reference. The city no longer contains her.
Her mind flashes as pure white light fills the edges of her vision. Showering her with fluid energy, white rings of light begin to pulse. Her mind vibrates in harmony with the rings like a bridge swaying in a wind. It races as it fills with pure infinity. Feeling the energy coursing through her body, infinity speaks to her.
With subtle sensation it enters her sublime mind, which now has limits beyond all conception. A dialogue in a tongue unknown to her; but one she has experienced before, many times before. A poetry to express the formless, the language is – divine ambrosia.
Then: a quiet calling, gentle as a summer breeze. She moves across lush, green rolling hills. Full white clouds float amidst a cerulean sky. Passing beneath her as if she were flying low over a green lake sprayed with a yellow brush, the hills are intermittently dotted with small yellow flowers. She approaches a large, marble columned acropolis with great lengths of purple silk hanging between each column, billowing in a fragrant wind. Gently, she floats into the building, landing with light steps.
In the centre of the great hall, a sylphlike woman is seated on a large, polished obsidian throne. The woman is draped in blue silk; it covers her entire body, revealing only her brilliant, glowing emerald eyes. The woman lifts a finger to her lips as if to silence a restless child. The sky darkens, and the place fades.
Gradually, she senses a watchful ananda – a great and infinitely subtle presence has found her. Searching for her, it has been questing, probing. A blissful river flows from the Watcher, washing over her petite body.
Then she senses another – a man? His firm grip pulls her from this sublime meeting.
Unaware of how much time has passed, she blinks her eyes, finding herself in the arms of the man; though she feels no fear. His calm countenance fills her with a sense of safety. Her head nestled at his breast, her greasy hair spills over the sleeve of his well-pressed grey tunic. Walking as if he is gracefully gliding across ice, his grey kilt hardly moves as he carries her to a nearby skar and gently lays her on the back seat.
Looking at her for a brief eternity with deep-set, black eyes, he closes the door.