Book 7 Part III: Beasts Wearing the Pelts of Humans

An Excerpt from Memory Alchemycal

By: Sean Duffield

Their twinned hands entered the dark part of the cave. Thick with stone weathered under water jets over years of un-washed clay. They walked with backs straight, never fumbling over the crag there or the slippery chunk of wood in their paths. They walked with confidence through the darkest parts of a known beast, with smiles that would grow as the gloom stretched on into sunlight.

After an immeasurable amount of walking distance into the dolorous cladding of their personal fort and cave, a light began to peak. Its playful eyes wrapped upside down from above them, as if playing hide and seek.

The further the two entered, the friendlier the light became. Smoothing through the ceiling grooves and shuffling along the seams with joyful tailed wags. It puddled and stretched amongst the caveats of the cavern walls and soon the floor too, had it washing along. As the clandestine crawl continued, the luminescence began to grow alongside its disposition and approval of its owners coming home.

Soon the source was exposed. Olafur and Anabeila entered a surreptitious glade in the confines of their cave. Several feet wide it splayed its open source and turned the belly of the fort to bask in the light of cloud backed stars.

Flickers of lights at already adjusted lacidum were now expedited rays that drew iris’ to act responsively and pull their muscles radially to contract and close the open night sores from the gleaming light of day.

While its volume decreased, its density doubled and soon Olafur’s and Anabeila’s minds were alight with the splendour of a hidden gem amongst the Bodhi tree forest. A pool of aquamarine liquid sat inside a carved out section of cave. It came of level to their feet. Perfectly fed and dissolved by the opening above their heads. Glistening with specks of sunlight that hit mineral deposits of zinc and copper, reflecting back amongst each other the shimmer of the translucent conductivity of the surface water.

Insects and small fish zoomed about the laid back tension of the pond’s perfect veneer. Exposing languages of signatures that formed under nescient eyes. Olafur danced around the shallow bank at the side of the written encounter, it was daring to distract his eyes. Then he sat upon his rock, facing back towards Anabeila, still adjusting from the change inspired by her shocked radial eyes.

“So… ” Olafur leaned over the blue lucidity of the pool towards Anabeila. “Want to talk about today?”

Anabeila breathed in a volume of air followed by insects and invertebrate hair. She held it for a moment and looked over at her friend. Then exhaled into her mouth, puffing her cheeks out with the last bits of memories chagrin. Her eyes bulged before she rolled them over to the other side of the pond where her feet followed her, plodding along at indiscriminate pace and position. She sat down on another rock, looming under Olafur from a water body’s length away. Then she exhaled. Breathing out the confined emotions of another tumultuous day as a child in a society that preys on nothing, and demands everything, of their DNA.

“I was distracted,” she replied.

“By what?” asked Olafur.

“The insects in the conservatory. As usual.”

“You know you can make them in your forest.”

Anabeila shot rhetorical beams across the aquatic sheen.

“I’m just saying. You can bring the outside world in and love it all the same,” said Olafur

Anabeila had a knack for work in the dojo and a natural fighting figure to go along with her instinctual martial prowess. Morning classes usually comprised her throwing the other children upside down and twisting them inside out, with or without weapons on hand. But when they entered meditation and carved a trail into the confines of their quiet selves, she stumbled.

Notum referred to her as marble. Thick, strong. With providence at its center just waiting for strong hands to chisel it out. The other children called her a late bloomer. In other words. Dumb. Even with Anabeila’s lineage stretching into some of the original founders of the church of the Onus Consilium and her parents being great prospects themselves, she felt as though she was always behind. And the episodes in class were stark reminders of the truth that radiated her failures as a member of the church.

“I know Olafur. They’ve all tried to teach me several times to expose the roots or whatever. Clean the bark. I get it. I’m just not good at it.” Said Anabeila.

“You made an entire island so far.” You’re doing okay.”

“I have an entire ego to slay.”

“We all do. We sleep forever under its blankets. We just have to thin it out enough that the light falls in.

“Can we speak of something else?” asked Anabeila.

“What do you think will happen on choosing day?”

“It’s weeks away now, Olafur. Something else.”

“Well, do you think it’s true?” Said Olafur.

“What’s that?”

“The jaws of the behemoths?”

She sucked her teeth and rolled her head away. “I said something else!”

“Honestly though? Do you think the jaws will take us? Naturally. That it’s something we are supposed to just accept?”

“The proof is supposed to be the story of Muk’Til Dep. The planet that let their Bodhi trees grow like these for so long that the wasp came. And the jaws followed.”

“Yea. That’s the story. Do you believe it?”

“I don’t know.”

“I believe it. That the jaws will come one day. That our cycle will complete. It’s pretty. It makes me anxious, but it’s pretty.” Said Olafur.

“I don’t read that part much. I kept getting drawn back to The Body of the Worm.” Said Anabeila. Her eyes all stars and constellations.

Olafur turned his bewilderment to her again. “Which one is that?”

Afternoons like this would go forever. Each friend asking the same question. Each response falling under the sunsets of a lacquered sky. Whether she admitted it or not. Talking to Olafur was how Anabeila decompressed before they would start their trek back home. Through the woods. Away from the Bodhi trees that harboured their own destructions. A moment that Olafur called beautiful.

Was the Onus Consilium a church of death? Anabeila would always question that.

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