Sunday, November 25, 2007

City by the Zee - Prologue and Brief Outline

The City by the Zee


Legend has it, that the Pacha Aleph, found the city by the Zee fully formed, as if sprung from a dream or its marble walls thrust up from the salty desert surrounding it, and like in a dream, first encountered it at the sound of a footfall, stepping through an archway in its central chambers and looking around in marvel. The city was overrun in a riot of colour, animals and birds, reptiles and marsupials thronging its seemingly infinite halls and rooms, their feathers and skins alive with red, blues, bright greens, all gamut of blacks and whites and greys in-between, and the browns and beiges of the heavily podded trees and bushes and vines that they feed on. And the Aleph, in this dream, feed on them too, running naked with a spear cut from the mightiest of the trees that hes could find, striking down the furred and the feathered with well-aimed throws, in those early days, and spitting them on a fire to feast on the fatty meats that they proffered when slain. Fire was never a problem for the Aleph: hes could shatter a stained glass window at hands-length and use the strange crystals to focus the sun on fallen leaves and branches. And so hes hunted alone for many years, sating hir hunger while the world was young and its fruits and fowl ripe and for the taking.

As the Aleph feed and grew, the animals, contrary to expectation, grew to know hir presence and become fearless to him. Hes would have to exert himself less and less in the playing of the hunt, and more and more relied on the uncommon kindness of the city's primitive forebears, cutting the throats of the calf and lamb as they brushed against hir legs and breaking the necks of the birds as they swooped down to sit on hir shoulders. And as hir labours lessened, hir girth increased so that hes was eventually forced to sit in a central divan, in a tower high above the city central, and swallow the many creatures that made their way to hir, drawn like lemmings to the cliff-like passage of hir mouth and throat. And hes become pregnant with the eager food that hopped its way to hir, and one day, heavy with sweet meats and tender loins, gave birth, tearing away hir female organs in the throws of trembling labour, offering up a baby just as hes became a man.

His daughter, he beheld, as beautiful and ebony skinned as himself, crawled away with the waxen skin of a newborn, tugging the now useless worm in the tangle of her afterbirth and umbilical cord. And in her tiny infant hands, it broke the neck of a mouse that crossed her path, and ate it, just as the Aleph continued to feed on the succor of the creatures queued around him. But the baby had mobility that he now lacked, and she disappeared through an antechamber to the great room he occupied, and for many years, he never saw his daughter, while his great hunger continued to drive him, or more correctly, drive the foolish food creatures to his maw.

Whether it was age, or curiousity, or a natural subsidence like the passing of a tide or the sinking of the moon, after ten full years passed, the Aleph refused all the food offerings of the flock who attended him, and slept, and starved. And when his great bulk has finished consuming himself in his dreams, he returned to the stature and size of the boy that had first had the run of the city streets, and stepped out from his divan prison for the first time in half-a-century, to look for the girl-child he had bourne.

As in all creation myths, through the necessity of incest or parthogenesis, he and his daughter begat many children, in the fever heat of their sweaty couplings as they encountered each other in the labyrinth. Suffice it to say, each birth gave seed to further savage and hungry mouths and welcoming wombs, so that the balance of the city population gave way from animals and birds to the spawn of Pacha Aleph, all long limbed, dark-skinned, lithe and frenzied. And as the population feel, the trust between eater and eaten unravelled until the necessity of the hunt arose again. And Aleph's children were skilled to it, fire-hardening the tips of their spears and stabbing sticks, roasting the large game, grouse, gophers and gibblets that they caught, until only the most evasive birds and timid rodents existed in the city.

Chapter One: Parrots

In which the Inspector is introduced, visits his mother and tends to her, and is asked by Pacha Earl to investigate the possible heresy of one Researcher Aden.

Chapter Two: Lizards

In which a plague of lizards leads to strife amongst the Four Tribes: Parrots, Monkeys, Zebras and Rats. A new tribe is born.

Chapter Three: Assail

In which the Inspector is recruited by Pacha Luna for a journey beyond the walls of the city to Aden's Oasis. Much is discussed and learned about the geology of the city and the surrounding desert.

Chapter Four: Mouthpiece

In which the Inspector investigates rumours of the discovery of a diary of his predecessors, fermenting rebellion amongst the Lizardists. The work camps and general living conditions of those oppressed folk are revealed, but the contents of the diary proves to preserve the status quo.

Chapter Five: Deluge

In which, Pacha Solem investigates the now flooded depths of the city and makes an unusual discovery as to the nature of the now extinct Lizardist society and culture. The Inspector is forced to suppress the truth in true Amontillado fashion.

Chapter Six: Monkeys

In which the Inspector is recruited by the surviving Monkeyists to document and spread the word of their research. The Zebras meanwhile suffer a plague of their own.

Chapter Seven: Zebras

In which the city is now divided into Fits and Fats. The post of Inspector serves different functions in each of the two cultures - each a sad reflection on the fate of the city and its inhabitants.

Epilogue: Rats

In which the truth of the missing tribe of Ratists is revealed. The city falls into ruin.

Afterward: The Author Explains

1 comment:

Gavin said...

You've been writing like a fiend lately, mostly on ASCII dreams though. But that doesn't take away from the fact that I'm enjoying it!

I liked the prologue. Keep the chapters coming :)