It’s dark and freezing cold. Gone is the swishing noise of the red juice, the buzzing lights of the highway. No more instructions, yes the instructions. Where are they?
It’s dark, freezing cold and silent, why has the activity stopped? How long has it been? Will I have to endure this forever? Ah, lights from the outside, wait a minute, the lights are light blue, can’t open the windows; they are frozen shut.
It’s dark, freezing cold, silent; wait a minute, what’s that noise? Owww! That hurt. What could possibly cause so much pain in my cage? Where’s the drummer?
“Master of the invisible window, why have you left me alone?”
“I have not left you alone, you just couldn’t see us!”
“What do you mean?” I asked confused
“Turn around, peri-neal; we have been behind you all of the time.” They sounded like several voices.
I turned around to my surprise, I saw eight Orbs omitting colourful rays of light. Orbs are transparent spheres, like large bubbles.
“We have stood behind you since time began, the vessel, the golden bowl, the sound of the drummer and the illusion outside your windows; is why you never looked behind.”
A feeling of nausea overcame me, the pain of the cage and the loss of my drummer, overwhelmed by the realisation. Why does it feel familiar?
“Is it time to leave?” I enquired
A popping sensation, the Orbs float upwards, I seem to be attached to them, somehow. I do not want to leave; yet I cannot stay.
We are connected by a string of silver; I looked down at the broken golden bowl, which we had just left behind. The drummer lay silent; the highway no longer twinkled with lights. It disappeared.
My awareness was everywhere; I could sense a conversation of a wise one.......
“It has been many lunics without refreshment. Everyone is drying up. Gone are the luscious days when refreshment was plentiful. We used to walk but that was when the Ra-sol was young.
The feathered ones are leaving to find refreshment. When it comes, everyone stretches out to receive it. There aren’t many of us now; the iron machines used by the gasmakers are killing us one by one. It is a slow and painful demise, the pain travels through every fibre. The screams of anguish that we have to bear; as we stand helpless. I am quite sure that there is less refreshment because there are less of us. The more refreshment there is the more we grow.
There hasn’t been this much demise in all the ages of Ra-sol. Something is wrong. One Ra-sol is now two! We seem to be fighting for the energy left in the space between us; it is not as plentiful as it used to be.
For some reason the gasmakers are also dying, dropping like flies! They produce nourishment for us and we provide protection and refreshment.
When we used to walk the gasmakers walked alongside us, they understood the connection and all was good. Then something hit the energy source, everything shifted and we started to roll away from the Ra-sol. She was no longer at arm’s length, hence reducing our height and the gasmakers also. When we stopped rolling Ra-sol was a small dot and we could no longer walk. There were new inhabitants that were not here before and had no care for our habitat. These newcomers changed the thoughts of our friends and we are now enemies.
That was then, now the gasmakers hardly know we are alive; much less the memories of our closeness and the pain we feel. Something is different; there has been a recent change in the gases we breathe. I noticed it just after the 2nd Ra-sol appeared and there has been no refreshment since then. I can only see doom if nothing happens soon....”
The Orbs picked up speed; we were joined by other orbs. I felt dizzy; some would call it motion sickness, similar to how it feels during an earthquake. Where are we going and why so fast? I followed the Orbs past many golden bowls, some broken, many waiting.
We came to one, which looked shinier and brighter than the rest; we slowed down and settle inside.
Master orb spoke again. “We shall stand behind you, just call anytime you need us.” With that I felt as though I was spinning; when I stopped I was frozen in position. I tried to turn back to the Orbs, but could not turn. Panic set in. Where was I? The familiar gurgling and swishing sounds came to my attention. The wind! A drummer! The highway was alive with activity, instructions were flying around and the pink orange light, behind the windows was bright. I relaxed in the new environment and took my seat at the throne.
“Stop kicking me.” It was a tiny, soft voice.
“I am sorry, I.....” Didn’t quite get to finish.
“You can sleep! You’ve been sleeping through the whole process.” The tiny voice continued.
“Sleeping, I just got here?” Now, I really was confused. The voice laughed. I heard another voice, it was weak...
“I ain feel so good!” It grumbled. The tiny voice turned its attention.
“What’s wrong?” the tiny voice asked.
“I am not getting the nourishment and it hurts.” It moaned
“But it is only the middle of the second transpiring!” Cried the tiny voice.
“I don’t understand either, I slipping and it getting dark. I can’t see you and I can’t hear the drummer!!!” The weak voice was scared.
“Where has he gone? It’s only me and you, you gonna stay awake now?” Screamed the tiny voice.
My surroundings were watery; the lights on the highway were fast. I felt the sensation of three drummers, mine, the tiny voice; the other was slower and extremely loud. I remembered the Master of the invisible window, we talked and played. Sometimes I talked to the tiny voice, until her lights went out, her drummer stopped and her golden bowl was broken. She disappeared too. I missed her, but I embraced the space that was left behind. I don’t know how long I spent floating in the transparent fluid, watching the pulsating lights surrounding me.
I remember they became quicker, brighter and more electrical than usual. The drummer became faster and louder, it felt like a celebration in my honour as though the lights and the drummer were glad that I reached graduation. The space at this point was cramped, movement was restricted. Then I felt dizzy, that motion sickness again. The golden bowl started to tremble and shake. Everywhere was shaking, the drummer was frantic, the lights were ecstatic.
It was as though they were saying farewell with great joy. The golden bowl flipped upside down and burst through the darkness. The squeeze was painful, the lights and the slow giant drummer were gone. I heard my own drummer again, I opened the windows, to see, a different illusion!
Barbara Sandiford is a mult-genre writer and artist from Barbados.