Chapter 1: Veils


I wrote this novella ‘Adventures in Flower Arranging’ in 2001. I thought I’d transferred it from my floppy disk (remember them?) onto the hard drive that I took with me to India. Seems that only half of it made the journey. I’ve decided to publish the half I have….

She should have been able to draw the pattern of grain in that piece of floorboard by heart. Been able to render it’s grooves, knots and swirls with the proficiency of a skilled cartographer. But her eyes were being used elsewhere—directing the hands inside her head. Slicing. Removing. Rearranging. She had to keep still until they finished their work. Still as a snapshot. In case the hands slipped and something was damaged. Something she might be needing later on. Not moving was her life’s work right now. It was all very precise, which was good, because precision had never been a strong point.

For ages now, everything had been vague. Sort of sloppy, soft, and fuzzy. Not a bad feeling, really. Now and then, half-familiar forms popped up out of the fuzziness, but they left no more of a lasting impression than patterns in syrup. But now. Now. Brenda sensed the cusp of change. She could feel the completeness of the final pieces locking into place— whole new continents forming inside her, inch by tectonic inch.

After some time, (she guessed anywhere from a few minutes to five hours) the fuzziness began to fade and her sleepy balloon body floated up towards the ceiling. But instead of a ceiling, she found a blanket of clouds that she passed through with ease. Down below, everything had been cold and hard, and she turned her head eagerly in the direction of the liquidy warm sun that beckoned her from above. Her skin was bathed in waves of color and light. The drained blues and grays of the room below were replaced by butter yellows, blancmange pinks, and fruit salad reds. Her cold cheeks began to glow. The sun bent down towards her and stretched out a long golden arm. In it’s upturned palm lay something small, round and white.

“This’ll make you feel better,” said the sun.

Better? Aaah, yes—the final clearing. The elixir that would dissolve the subtle impurities still obstructing her completion. As she swallowed, the voices of dry-mouthed angels chorused among the clouds.

“This is the Day! This is the Day of Judgment!”

About subincontinentia

writer and eternal optimist
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