Broken Wings, and Things
Sometime later, I felt myself coming together, as things were coming into focus. I was in a forest, and I was approaching a cabin. I had in my possession a tool of some type. I created what it was and what it was for as I walked, but at the same time, I already knew what it was before I created it. It felt like I was pulling this thing out from the other side of a black hole.
“Is it just me or does it seem to always take an eternity to arrive in a different understanding of the universe?” He was there again, only this time he was… different. He looked completely different. He was something similar to a praying mantis. I wasn’t shocked to see him like this. For where we were, it felt… right. Almost as if this was how he always was and I was already accustomed to him in this shape and form. The funny thing was, I really couldn’t tell if he was different now or different before. I couldn’t tell if the memory of who he was happened to be coming or going.
Then I noticed I was different too. I was still me but I was also in different appearance than normal. I felt memories present; knowledge about this new place I had arrived to, myself, and other things. It came with the body, and, it felt completely like me. Like I had lived a life until that very moment awakening upon this dreamscape, I had lived it there and accumulated a history and common knowledge for this reality.
“I see you’ve taken notice of your ability to gather time-space.”
“Do you know things now, too?”
“Yes. Isn’t it wonderful? Now if you will wait one moment while I readjust something… there. Alright, we are here.”
The forest shifted to a cityscape. Humans were here. “They are humans, aren’t they?”
“Sort of.” He seemed genuinely puzzled by his own answer.
“What do you mean, sort of?”
“Their molecules speak of a history on this planet, but they are not living in the reality that is available to them here. You see that man on the far side of the subway track, the one bumbling over the amount of change in his pocket? He is in fact not upset over how much he has; he merely thinks he is. You will note how he hovers around the hotdog stand. He is not even hungry. He is merely attempting to recreate a memory involving what he fondly calls a “steaming wiener”; this he routinely does at about the same time every day. It is something that he did indeed enjoy at one time. Today, however, he is convinced that not only does he need to get one, but that he does not have enough money to make his purchase; with extra cheese and a side of pickle, mind you. He is unwilling to put aside the memory that the order costs $2.59, as this is the regular cost. You will notice that his attention is directed more toward the inside of his eyelids than the out, as he curses the donut he couldn’t help but purchase earlier after not having time for breakfast this morning. He now figures he is forty cents short. If he would just stop for one minute to consider the reality of the situation, he would notice the little pink sign that says, ‘All Weenies Half Price!’”
Before Flotsam could continue, she placed herself to the left rear of the bumbling man. “Good day for a weenie sale, eh? I bet I could eat about three of ‘em myself. Yesssiry! Can’t beat half-off weenies.” She looked back at Flotsam, whose raised anthropoid brow said, overkill, perhaps? She smiled.
“What’s that?” It wasn’t even midday yet and the man looked worn thin, his stale stare peering through her as if she was made of liquid.
“The sign.” She pointed to the sale sign, but kept her gaze on the man’s face. She knew something was coming. It was incredible how the muscles in his face metamorphosed before her eyes, like a caterpillar drunken from its race to eat toxic leaves, face down to the green for 3 weeks followed by a cocooned dream, emerging a moth equipped with completely new tools needed to navigate gracefully through the darkness. Well, as graceful as an unhungry man now hurrying to buy a weenie could be.
“You see, even with one shroud pulled from his eyes, he shows us there are still many more in use. His mind is wrapped in habit. He is not living by any means. Yes his heart may be beating, but his experience is not focused on the emerging life before him. He seems to be intentionally distorting his interpretation of it. Somehow, with the tools he has created to navigate a static existence, he is physically distorting space-time.” He sighed. “I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Perhaps we should try something else.”
We were back in the dream stream. Flotsam was trying to focus in on one blinking, beaconing particle of space-time; not to shape our next memory from, just fidgeting with it. “Sorry, I’ve been a bit distracted.”
“Where is that signal coming from?”
“The signal used to stem from Unus Mundus, or that’s what I like to call it in the language you use, but the planet’s name is understood differently according to species and their capacity for interpreting what it is. You see, in many parts of the universe, names aren’t just novelties; they’re very much a part of the signal that stems from the source of the thing that is named, like a continuation of the thing only translated through the specific communicative devices that names are generally transmitted through.”
“Okay, so what do you call it in your native language?”
“I will tell you when you are able to understand what I am saying when I say it.”
“But wouldn’t you still be making sounds that I could hear? I could just remember what they sound like, even if I don’t know what it means. Try me.”
“Well, I suppose there’s no harm in demonstrating my tongue.”
Immediately I began to feel like my particles were rapidly being flung apart and then together, as if afflicted by the physicality of being destroyed and then created, resonating with the moment system. On top of this were the affects of orchestrated juxtaposition and merging of an accompanying flood of colors, sounds; it felt like an eternity of memories and empty space. The ‘name’ became abruptly discomforting, like the tone a disconnected phone line imparts to your unexpecting ears. I had not been able to focus on one thing in particular to have the slightest recollection of what I had experienced when my awareness was settled.
“You see, the name isn’t spoken completely with words alone. There’s more to it than that, by my understanding of it. Don’t worry about this for now. You will catch on at some point.”
I was still feeling bumfuzzled by what had just happened. “What did you mean it used to stem from Unus Mundus? And, oh, Flotsam? Does your way of saying Undus Mundus happen to include the feeling of an immediate urge to vomit? ” If I could have, I would have vomited space particles or whatever defined the contents of my stomach at the onset of hearing Flotsam ‘speak’.
“Undus mundus. It’s a name that while easy to say is hard to define in your language. To me, an inhabitant of that planet, the name changes constantly as the planet is an embodiment of all things interpreted and gathered from information collected in every part of the universe that the inhabitants have connection to. Each inhabitant is a ‘collector’ of different things, or, information. To properly name it requires a growing definition of what it is; therefore how I refer to it constantly changes. As I was saying, the name I have acquired for it is now only partially descriptive of it, so the destination I wish to travel to is like an unfinished painting. Hence the disconnection during interpretation. This means that going there is not that simple; our travel depends on an ability to direct the flow of memory, but there is space-time missing. I have never been exposed to this before, ever. Admittedly, I cannot comprehend how something like this is possible. And yet I know that something is missing otherwise I would not be here now; yet I cannot seem to… to… remember what was there that is no longer. Whatever it was, its vacancy created the wormhole I fell through.”
“So that’s why you don’t remember the whole name; because parts of what made it Unus Mundus to you have disappeared and you are no longer able to create the experience that is Unus Mundus and so you can’t travel to it.” I felt like I was finally starting to understand what this creature was telling me. “Does this mean we get to visit your black hole?”
“We will get there, but first, hold on to your stomach particles; we have got places to go and purple to see.”
About the Author
Tashia Hart, age 28, has roots in Red Lake and White Earth, and is a Biology student at Bemidji State University. Her hobbies are beading, and learning about the natural history of local plant-life.
"Writing for me is basically an extension of the meditative process," she said. "It helps me to gather road signs that I use to map my nature, which usually seems to be more elusive than not. Sometimes I am misguided by the parts of me that want to edit my internal voices down to tidy, neat little external packages more acceptable within a societal norm; this never turns out the way I wanted, yet the downfall that occurs afterwards is always just what I need to put me back on my path."
Broken Wings, and Things is a work in progress and RLNN will feature it on a weekly basis.)
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY TASHIA HART.