Chapter Fifteen

Made it back to the hotel. Voice in head dissipated as I got further from wooden kiosk. Left barrow behind. Too radioactive for use now, anyway. Still has a fine coating of Liquid Man’s skin inside it. Took many hours, I guess, to walk back. Difficult to gauge time. Sundial I had set up on the carousel has been shadowed at ten-to-ten for days now. Cyclones still revolve, sun still rises and sets. Shadow remains at ten-to-ten. Paisley was panting. We passed only a few puddles on the trek home. He looked up at me, metal object in eye glinting. I patted him and bent down. Let him lick the sweat off my brow. Unwise as it is high in salt. He didn’t mind. Tongue was coarse as expected. But he was gentle. Good dog. 

Looked around and had thoughts of Wet Alexander. Had urge to find out if he was safe. Urge passed. Thought about Lucy. Entered into the town after both nostrils had stopped bleeding simultaneously and the left one had continued on its own. 

Time by blood loss = early evening. 

Sleepwalkers will be out soon. More on them later. I am sat on veranda of hotel. Paisley asleep. I’m drinking sarsaparilla. From Holstenwall it says on label. Improbable. Holstenwall was obliterated ‘years’ ago. Subsumed by super-massive sinkhole. Nothing left. Everybody knows that. Still, sarsaparilla tastes OK. Will finish and go to room. 

Sat on the bed (have changed rooms - old room reeks, sheets remained unchanged). Chose room closest to Liquid Man’s for continuity’s sake. The ivy on the wallpaper points in the opposite direction, other than that the room appears the same. Wooden floor. Each board secured. One wardrobe filled with clothes if I need a change. Kind gesture. Took inventory:

  • 5x Starched shirts.
  • 1x Frock coat. Black.
  • 3x Dress trousers. Black ribbon piping.
  • 1x Leather gloves for driving.
  • 1x Boots. 

Everything fits but boots. 

Paintwork on the wardrobe is odd. Bright blue with maroon piping on edges. Each door has huge hand-painted eyeball on it. Hazel coloured irises. Optic nerve detailing spirals over the wardrobe. Ivy twisted around optic nerve. When resting on bed against plush headboard, eye-wardrobe looking directly at me. Unnerving. Too heavy to face it the other way. Will sleep on front to avoid eye contact with wardrobe.

Paisley has spent the day staring at the corner of the room. Went to investigate. Couldn’t drag him away. Growled at me. Kept staring. Looked harder. Only thing to note is the slight discolouration where skirting joins wall. 

Ceiling fan has curved blades. They are hypnotic in their rotation. Like helicopter. Reminds me of father’s helicopter. I will test a memory.

I am thirteen. Father takes me up in two-seater helicopter. Cockpit is a glass bubble – model is a Bell 47. Looking out of bubble, all I can see is fog. What was outside before the mist infiltrated my mind? I can’t remember. I cannot even imagine variants. Father’s hands are working levers. Feet pedalling fast. Sweat on his head. Concentration in his eyes. I feel safe in that glass bubble. He pedals faster to gain altitude. I ask if I can help. He says; “who said that?” I laugh, he doesn’t react. Up ahead I see the helipad. It is a small ledge jutting out of a mountainside. On the peak is a house. Outside the house, a woman is waving. Father pedals harder, faster. Says, “come on, girl, come on girl, get there, get there.” I say, “you can do it father, you can do it!” Father begins to cry and look around the cockpit in a panic, he says; “get away from me demon voice, get away from me.” I look back around to see who he is shouting at. There is nobody there but him and me. Outside the bubble, fog is everywhere. Father pedals faster. To the east and west of the house the fog encroaches. Woman is disappearing. Father is screaming for the helicopter to get to the woman. I am straining my eyes to see the ledge, and my home. My mother. 

She is gone. House gone. All enveloped. Just fog. It’s like being inside a snow globe. Nothing to see. Father is sobbing. I tell him that it will be alright. Pedals slow down. Fog begins to creep into the cockpit. Around my feet. Seeping up. Cannot see shoes. Cannot see father. Can hear cries. Cannot see anything. Can hear cries.

Ceiling fan above me is supposed to remind me of above passage. Curiously I can understand the words when I read them back, but the passage means nothing. I read and re-read twelve times, fog remains but the ‘memory’ no longer means anything to me. However, on twelfth time of reading and tying to recreate the memory, a red light pings in the fog. On. Off. On. Off. A Beacon. A signifier of the above memory perhaps? Maybe. In times to come it will be a marker. A gravestone with the epitaph; ‘In your mind, here once was a memory.’ Maybe if I gain more of these lights, they will form constellations? Then galaxies? Might spell out something. Might help me find Lucy. 

I am tired now. I will take off my clothes and prepare for bed. Night time will draw in. In the morning I will relay everything that has happened. 

Lying in bed now, lamp is on. Bulb is red. Difficult to read. Eyes must look like wardrobe eyes. Have read everything in diary up until now. Clearly I am in love with Lucy. Upon reading the full diary, with every mention of her name I grew impassioned. In groin and in mind. Felt more than desire. Felt need to protect. She was ill and grotesque but I don’t care. Tumours? I have seen worse. I watched Master G_ slowly melt, remember? I have just written a question to myself to remind myself of what I have done. Funny.  

A lot of this journal makes no sense. Jottings and pointers designed to stimulate Master G_’s memory and so it is difficult for me to decipher fact from garbage. It is almost a language that I don’t speak. More things will come forward. I know it. I am not as insistent as Master G_ the Liquid Man. Things will come. If you force a memory or force an action you tie yourself in knots. Friend of mine used to say that knots become tighter, the more you try to untie them. Better I leave everything to unfold in due course. Plenty of time. For now I will sleep to dream of my one true Lucy and the delivering of myself to her.

Morning – slept well. Cannot recall dreams. Felt a comfort because of it. Feel less drained. Looked around to see Paisley still staring at the discolouration in the corner wall. Going to wash.

Back in bed. Washed. Feel uneasy. Feel strange. Like the effect of good sleep has been erased. Unsure. Rattled. Don’t want to move. Don’t want to leave room. 

A fine layer of sand has appeared on floor of room.

Graham Thomas