Saturday, September 19, 2015

Strange Notes

The author commits a tactical error.
It's been a day of nothing upon the sea. To alleviate the boredom I've just devoured a roast mutton chop, and I wasn't even hungry. I just wanted something to break up the blear of the sky against the waters. It was a good piece of meat, and I marvel at how it's made suitable for our bodies by roasting but not raw. It's almost as though life were a large and complex game, in which conditions must be met in sequences, in order for us to progress. You can grow grain, but it must be ground, mixed with yeast and toasted in fire before you can eat it; or you can give it to an animal who eats it directly, and you can eat that animal, but first it must be dressed and roasted. To claim this is merely coincidence is to beggar the imagination.

At any rate, I enjoyed the chop, tossed the bone into the briny depths, wiped the grease off on my trousers. It took no more than ten minutes of slow chewing to get through it, and now I'm back to staring across the limitless horizon with nothing to break it in any direction. My mind bounces around in its cage like an ill-tempered monkey, desperate for any plaything to distract it.

I thought I would make a few notes about the sundry strange qualities to my world, to kill an hour or a few (though one should never wish to lose even a minute of one's life, I trow).

Of Mining

How is it I can mine rock five meters away from my body? And why do I suddenly measure distances in meters? I've made two stupid mistakes in mining: in digging straight up, I have become violently struck by a load of free-falling sand; in digging straight down, I have abruptly lost all ground beneath me and fallen to frightening depths. At this point I mined a staircase to ascend, until the pick shattered from overuse; then I pulled out all the dirt, then gravel, then cobblestone that had accumulated in my possession, and I piled these until I was only just able to access my usual purview.

Floral Persistence

When I chop a tree down, the leaves in its boughs immediately begin to wilt and disintegrate. Sometimes these drop the saplings and apples I seek, but usually not. Having planted a sapling, I discovered out of curiosity that the ground meal from a skeleton's bone will hasten the growth of the tree, though it does not dictate its height or girth. Some trees resemble nothing so much as a copse, while others are twice as broad as myself and reach further into the sky than may be measured, and these will take nearly a full day to chop down and harvest the boughs! As for the flowers, it is most strange but they may be harvested and thrown right back into the ground, anywhere, as though they'd sprouted there. These are good for making into dye for wool, but I have seen no evidence that flowers reproduce and spread (there is no sign of any class of bee or other pollinating insect), so they are a limited valuable resource. It takes little effort to clear an area of flowers that one "needs" for one's projects, but then they're gone and that's the end of it. Imagine that: an endless supply of wood, but a scarcity of flowers. What kind of world is this?

Underwater Temple

The spirit of adventure drains right out of the author.
Just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder, I came across the strangest phenomenon half a day into sailing. I was beginning to drowse under the persistent lull of water lapping against the sides of my boat, the hoarse wind rolling over the sea, when my attention was stirred by a buzzing noise, larger and louder than any bee, followed by the crack of a whip. This is how it sounded to me, but I regret I may only offer cheap allusions to my limited aural experiences: it truly was like nothing I've heard before. I looked to port and saw a large dark shape beneath the waves, near enough the surface that I could trace its outline but deep enough to obscure any details. What little I saw of it resembled some exotic southeast Asian temple, such as I've seen in illustrations from more worldly travelers and explorers. It bore a sharp, dreamlike symmetry, spires and beams that thrust into unlikely angles, yet still it was beautiful in its own mystical way. I should have liked to steer my little boat closer, but there were dark figures in the water swimming about it at alarming speeds.

They did not seem to detect me, but I did witness one stray octopus that wandered too near the temple. There was another buzz-crack, a flash of light, and when my eyes recovered the octopus had expired and one of these large shapes bore down on it as swiftly as a leaf in a strong gale. I've seen sharks and have read of dolphins, but this was little like these. It was closer to a wrasse, I suppose, with a bulbous head but a furiously striking tail. I'm not ashamed to admit it gave me considerable fright, vulnerable as I was to it and alien as it was to me. What the light and sound signified, I cannot begin to surmise. I adjusted my rudder and rowed as swiftly from the area as my poor body could manage.

This is all I can record for now. Truly I'm at a point of exhaustion, my mind grows sluggish and my hand rejects the quill, yet if I doze I'm sure the current will take me where they will, unbeknownst to me or God, thus ensuring I never find my way home again. I close this journal now, to stand and flex my spine in reverse of this scribe's slouch, to stretch my arms and legs and inhale as much sea air as needs be to keep me alert, scouting for any crumb of land.

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