November 9 by The Running Son
♝◦ Bishop’s Burden ◦♝
A continuation of:
Part Two: Angus
Without weapon, home, status or kin, Angus walked.
Breath steady and back straight, in the rhythm of his steps he focused his thoughts. Angus cherished these lone stretches. He moved at a steady click from border encampment to border encampment, allowing himself, by successive and familiar stages, to slip into a world of waking dreams. Eventually, the flow of his thought took on a particular kaleidoscope-like mixing of naturally unrelated things, a combining of categories normally separated by membranes of distinct property: earth merged with sky, the past with the future, and colors whistled and hummed melodies like musical notes. In time, fine textures would emerge, giving atmosphere to seductive and vibrant narratives, stories of holographic dimension that seemed to bubble up from the mysterious deep. He could not at all account for the origin of these stories and songs. He had no wish to try. Instead, he lost himself freely in the lands he created, his imagination unfolding for him like a lover, and for periods of time Angus would radiate, feeling inexpressible gratitude.
The great Wall had shadowed Angus’s memories since the cradle. It rose from the dunes and blocked the northern skyline clear to the Pacific Sea, and for many weeks walk eastward. It was a towering reminder of so many other dividers; walls that divided Elite from field-hand, or institutionalized injustice despite regulations numerous as the stars, all created to “ensure collective ease”. Angus was confused by the motives of men that seemed intent on isolating beauty from those who most needed its nourishment; walls erected by powers bent on suppressing hope, and powers preferring to camouflage their purposes, hiding them among the blasted shades and mundane tones of fear-fueled prohibitions, dust, and minds grown rigid like stone.
Angus’s temples grew warm, and the corners of his vision darkened—began to pulse. This particular signature was familiar to him. The effects of servitude on a man’s emissions could be… tasted, at least by listeners not too segmented, too cut off. Someone—AP—was behind him, steadily approaching Raventown, and while reason reminded him he may be a target, a nearly imperceptible body sensation, confirmed by a growing pulse in his vision, told him he quite certainly was.
Angus entered the hazy bustle of Raventown from the west. The road, flanked on either side by sub-marine mud huts and chest-high manzanita, widened as he approached the heart of town, where it opened into a broad square-ish courtyard. Predictably, the market’s center rose well above the neighboring merchants, dim through the smoke; large canvas shades marked the food tents and Consumption quad. The market swarmed and buzzed like a bee-hive, hawking whatever a traveler or tribesman may crave or need so near the monolithic stone sliders of the Pacific Gate. The gate opened directly into California and the southwestern quadrant of the Province of Aztlan. Offering value, a marketer could barter for anything from medical salves and black-market CPMs to relics of metal and shaped plastick; from hip-knives and sense-enhancing BioGels, to flavored ales and psychoactive cacti. And in the Raventown market, a musician might buy fresh strings for his guitar box, get a longflute or bugle straightened, and with persistence even purchase an instrument, albeit at prices that would make a Land Lord queasy.
A tang like a small birth pang erupted into his cheeks. The presence was close. Angus unshouldered his pack and guitar, ate a brief lunch of jerky and dates washed down with a warm sage tea, then sat just off the road, beneath a blooming Palo Verde at the south end of the market, and prepared to listen.
Stay tuned for part three.
by Jim Aldrich (:
Written for the Poetry Question Daily Prompt: All digital technology has been shut down. Write a short-short story about how this would change daily life.
.namaste. -• ö.tH(ink)Mÿstiç •- .namaste.