Today, I’ve got something else for all of you lovely souls; a preview of a dystopian novel I’ve been working on, about art, armageddon and fast cars and the fear of death! This part of the book fits incredibly well with the rest of the previous blogs and I think gives a different context to the same question: What is art all about in today’s time?
So, I hope you don’t mind this interlude — if all you came for was advice on art related stuff, I promise we’ll get back to it in a couple of blogs, but as for the next 2 or 3, it’s story time.
Wild Redwoods pierce the sky, like skyscrapers once did, drowning the ground in their shadows. Where light escapes the bloody giants, pines and white cedars greedily flourish, gulping up as much of the suns rays as they can, but even they cannot cover all the gaps. Here and there, scattered on the ground, patches of nightshade and pokeweed sway in the cool breeze. A bird’s warbling softly protrudes the silence.
He stops and listens. He is grateful for the melody; even in his deepest despair he can count on it to lift his spirit, as it did so many times before. Now, he needs it more than ever. He is tired from all the walking, he doesn’t remember when he started, but how could he, it’s been to long, and yet in a way he still feels stuck in the same place. But what else is there other than to keep on walking? It’s close, he feels it. Better to just keep on walking. It’s gotten him so far. And even if it’s not there when he arrives, at least he tried. No. It has to be there. Something has to be there. Otherwise nothing makes sense. He just has to keep on walking.
Moving slowly through the thick undergrowth he carefully pushes away the low hanging branches. One breaks off in his hand with an ungodly snap, its echo whipping deep into the forrest. Frozen in place, his heart pumping, he scatters his gaze. He’s not afraid of bears or wild cats — there are none in these woods and even if one went astray, he still has a few rounds in his revolver. He searches for any openings in the foliage, any place where the light could shine through. There are none. Good. Then nobody saw it.
He carefully places the branch on the ground and takes a deep breath, spitting it out as soon as he tastes it. The air is moist and saturated with the stench of rotting wood. It’s repulsive, it suffocates him, makes him sick. Gasping for breath he continues to push against the branches, very carefully this time not to break another one. He hastens his step as the vile air engulfs him. In front of him an opening slowly begins to emerge from the leaves. Coughing up the stench he dashes at the opening. In his hurry he steps on a stone, slipping on its smooth, mossy surface and plunges into the light.
The branches slash at him, but luckily he’s suit takes the blows — he wouldn’t know what to do if he saw himself bleed. Picking himself up, he dusts off the dirty forrest and finally takes a good breath — no poison this time, just fresh air. It fills his lungs, no taste, no smell, just clean sterile essence of life. A look towards the sky; no clouds, it’s all blue, the sun warms his face. Good, nobody saw the filth that covered him. Assessing his position he takes a look around, no more vegetation, just gravel and sand. He sees the remains of a road and quickly advances. No dirt there. Nothing to fear. In the distance he sees what looks like the ruins of a town. He starts running towards it. Towards salvation.
Almost all the buildings are gone, decimated into a giant heap or rubble, but a few survived and there is one in particular that catches his attention. A perfect cube shines silvery, almost golden in the sun. No windows, its facade one big mirror to the world. Strangely it doesn’t show any signs of damage, like it was preserved from the the clutches of time by some higher force. Looking at the peculiar building he suddenly remembers parts of a conversation he once had with someone when he was little; a woman, but he doesn’t remember her name.
She wasn’t as terrified of the trees as he was. Still is. Something was different with her. She said she was an artisan or statist. No, it was something else. An artist? That’s it, now he remembers. She told him of these enormous cube shaped temples, that kept their insides clean from all the worlds profanities. One would leave his body at the door, the same one does with a dirty coat that doesn’t serve its purpose anymore, and step inside — pure, clean, immaculate. Once inside, one would be immersed into an aura of white light and float around, void of anything but pure thought. Pure essence.
He’s finally there. Salvation. He knew he would find it, eventually he would have uncovered it, and now it’s right in front of him. He runs towards it, discarding the revolver — he has no need for it where he’s going. While approaching the cube he strips off his clothes, ripping them from his body. It’s dirty, malnourished; the bones protruding from the scarred skin, tendons crawling like snakes underneath it. He doesn’t look. He couldn’t stand the sight of it. Dropping into a puddle in front of the temple he washes himself with a piece of cloth from his suit, he doesn’t want to touch himself, it would be unbearable to feel the flesh that imprisons him.
Washed and dried of all the filth he approached the entrance, taking good care to clean all the dirt off his feet before touching the giant metal portal. He is ready to be released. Pressing firmly on the door the hinges give up and he is accepted into the sacred temple. A radiant white light encapsulates him, pierces him, blinds him. He is embraced by a deafening void. He feels his flesh ripped from him, disintegrating into nothingness. Suddenly no more pain, no more torment. He is free at last.
In the distance, the warbling of the bird is interrupted by a thunderous blast; a mushroom cloud erupts from the city, covering the sky around it. But after a while the lively chirping continues. Little it knows that its song now falls on deaf ears. And little it cares. It never sang for him, or for the forrest, or for the gods. The bird keeps singing for the same reason as the redwoods and pines keep growing. That’s just what they do.
“So, what do you think Charles? I think it’s my best one yet.”