An excerpt from Memory Alchemycal

By: Sean Duffield


“Anabeila” She heard it ring in her ears. It wasn’t angry or even loud, but Notum Raysolas voice had a coercive effect. Anabeila could sense the set pegs of her mechanical music box heart being adjusted and arranged so that her cadence would again match the other children’s in the class. Her meditations would find accord with the other children’s. Her eyes would close and the conservatory’s natural fabrics, flush with microbes basking in the greenhouse sunlight would melt away into the fascinations of the spirit realm. 

“Anabeila…” the voice was in her ear. It tumbled waves of green grass liturgy around the soft cartilage of her herbaceous scapha, passing the juvenile concha and entering her ear canal still wet with birth; they would say, even if several years ago. 

The lush voice of a natural Notum scrubbed the inner workings of her mind and washed the leaves green. She removed fig seeds from the crooks of her branches. Stripped the knots from the bark, tilled the soil round’ hungry roots and left a canopy of light above the naked sensations of her ego’s tree.

“Anabeila.” The forest of synchronicity was dusted in summer daylight dimensions that refracted equally through the missing corners of every tree tops green spectrum. “Anabeila.” 

“Yes Notum Raysolas.”

She was tall and lean in front of Anabeila now. Notum’s pupils were constellations that read for signs. Her iris, the planets of Cratum and all its intelligent design. Her face, the universe in singular sum. Her hand reaching out, touched Anabeila’s heart, attempting to quell the distractions she so often, naturally, succumbed.

“Anabeila you must focus with the class.”

“I am focused, Notum.”

“You should be working in your forest. Laying ash from memory and sowing the seeds of your apple trees.”

“Yes, Notum Raysolas.”

“I know the conservatory insects are distracting to you but… 

The tell tale legs of a meelywag began kneading the soft innards of Anabeila’s clavicle skin. She opened her eyes and looked over. The small creature’s great blue pupils shored up and made safe the deep well of its ocular beauty. Anabeila threatened to lower herself to the bottom and collect the nectar from the meelywag’s well. It almost smiled, then cocked its quadruple mandibles, turned a sectionalised body of metallic feathers and flushed its wings out right. Jumped from the cliff-side of Anabeilas focus and floated into the conservatory’s vast open skies, heading for the windows that it truly could not be imprisoned by.

Anabeila again found herself sunk into the art that was the conservatory’s delightful reprise. A place not unlike the one she crafted in her mind. In place of deciduous trees however, were what was referred to as ‘chitin trees’. Tall woody structures with Amber tinted transparent leaves that stretched out like man-made wings on a single network of black nutrient thickening lung bronchioles. They filtered light through to the fauna beneath them, but stole all the blue from the spectrum and left the forest floor in a dark orange sheen. 

“Anabeila!”

Again focus was stolen and replaced with placated desire.

“Yes, Notum. Sorry.”

“Anabeila, you have much work to do here. An enlightened cannot just be strong of body and soul. She must be strong of mind.” 

“I work on my forest Notum. All the time.”

Skepticism washed the painted canvas of stars from Notum Raysolas’ face. A master’s emotions were usually only shown here. For the sake of communicating without language. To be what they meant and Notum always meant what she was.

“Anabeila.” She said with remorse pooling in pores and concern washing the skin of lions away. 

Notum placed her hands on Anabeila’s shoulders. Twisted her sternum, gentle suggestions of heart, and positioned her to look in the opposing direction. Away from Notum. Peering into the true shadow of Anabeila’s mind. 

Away from the tree under which they stood, passed the dividing lines of desire and intention. The river laid. Fast and grey. Full of serpents and yellow eyes and jaded riddles or devious games. It struck a path of violence between the island on which Anabeila and the Notum were standing and the true face of the forest of ash in which Anabeila should have been working was layered in the banks beyond its other side. 

The truth of her forest was obvious. Passed the rage of the river was a towering horizon of red waves and putrid fruits, acorns and den mother cries. It was a wooded anomaly of oak trees tied under strangler fig piano lines, whose great flowers stretched tendril roots down through bark and into sulphur rich earth full of rabbit pelts and skinned skink spines. They pulled nutrient from every crevice and fed every line until swollen with molestation crimes. The vitamins and carbon rose beyond the suffocating tree limbs, powering the huge soot laden fig tree flowers that hung in the sky, imperious ravens, eyes like owls. Mice in the field. Anabeila and the Notum prey to the rotating stigmas of thousands of predatorial blossom sties.

“This is what we must conquer, Anabeila. Not small islands of pleasure, but huge territories of fear.”

Anabeila looked at herself. Somewhere inside the second self, right now. She could feel the island beneath them quiver. It was shaking. Fear was all powerful. It was encompassing.

“Child, I am here. Do not be afraid.”

But it began as Anabeila looked into the maw of a fig flower where wasp stings putrefy. She felt them without looking, and she had looked on them with true eyes.

The flowers shook. Their scried stems pulsed. Their ovaries opened, anthers pulled apart. The angular focus of petals stretched back to the forest and the forward facing leaned directly into Anabeila’s sights. The receptacle appeared, a mouth in its bloom. A set of sawed teeth, mucous lined and stained with rotting rabbit feet, smiled. They all smiled. They all turned their smiles to the two on the island on the other side of a river shrinking. Violent, but shrinking. The forest getting closer. The wind picking up powerful pace.

“Anabeila! You must overpower it. Stand above it. It is YOU. Do not let it empower that which you’ve hidden, it must be brought to light! Not embiggened!”

It made nonsense of her senses. Anabeila began to slip further. Her eyes spiraling into the shoreline of demons. Her heart disappearing. The monster within freeing itself and using her thin scarred arms as levers. 

The sky turned a crude dark oil spill dripping hydrocarbons and tannins from the roof of an acidic lake. Upside down into the ephemeral timescape of the halfway empyrean nested with bodies of Abbadon above the forest of smiling snakes. The sour rain from the locust filled sky drenched the ground with sulphur and fed the soil with wine.

“Anabeila!” Her voice was growing softer. Leaving her ears. “Ana! Truth is the ego of the beast… Conquer it a—” her voice disappeared into the din of demons.

The storm turned its soil to a churning of tentacles like cardboard waves righting stage left, held in the hands of imps and spectres. The ground splashed amongst itself, spears and sceptres. Tarot card pulp turned the soil fuel line rider and all the tendril roots grew seven times larger. 

The flowers rose even higher, the trees beneath them shrinking into old towers overpowered by time and vines and raising volume waters. The bloom smiles grew wider, teeth larger, throats emptier, stronger, muscles inducing sky semen down harder. Great casts of shadows, sails billowing with dark jolly roger. Monster minds, and blowing bombs. 

“Anabeila!” Her voice was quiet and it was scared. It was very far away… evanescent.

The forest continued and grew into a giant, its legs rising from the backs of turtles lodged in hands of logs of reptile riots. The beast rose from the deep, mouth opened, behemoth ready to reap. Its hands now pointed towards the stars, it grasps the great WYRM! The cycle of God! And it pulls! It pulls God’s mouth down onto —

Shock. All white.

Notum’s hands were a description of pale and hot. She had clapped them together once and entirety disappeared from thought. The forest shrank and dissolved. The island washed out beneath her, and Anabeila was drowning for a moment. Coughed of raging waters and Notums palms.

She opened her eyes, still coughing. In the conservatory. The entire classroom of silent unwatching children were all focused on the back, where Notum Raysolas stood, holding Anabeila in her arms. She turned them both away from innocent but curious eyes and placed her chin into Anabeila’s shoulder, joining physical self to physical mind. “Don’t fret child.” Spoke Notum while tears welled in their eyes. “Egos are the beast of the mind. Terrors to be tamed and brought in line. We will conquer them. All in good time.”