Io looked out over the ice, brow furrowed.
Alone, he knelt, fingers splayed, buried in snow, intent upon the haze separating horizon from heaven. His eyes unfocused, blurring the distinction between sky and ground. A tuneless hum drifted on the wind as his breath deepened, the white-blue indeterminacy of the distance a white noise, trance-inducing.
His lips blued, dark pupils dilated, body stilled like stone. The white of his breath barely visible.
No sound but that of the wind whispering desolate secrets.
DESPERATE SPELLS INVOKED TO CALL WINDS AND STORMS AND POWER AND RETRIBUTION AND CREATION AND DEATH, GENERATION AFTER GENERATION, WOMEN SUBDUED BY THE ICE, BY LIFE. FEMININE MYSTERY AND POWER SUBJUGATED TO THE PATRIARCHY, THE HARSH TRUTH OF MALE STRENGTH, POWER IN AN UNFORGIVING LANDSCAPE. THE SOFT, SUBTLE INTRICACIES OF FEMININE MAGIC COWED BY PHYSICAL MIGHT AND PROCESS, DEATH A DARK END TO LOVE CHALLENGED BY LIFE. HATE MASKED BY NECESSITY, NEED, SACRIFICES TO THE ICE AND SNOW, WIND AND RAIN.
GENERATIONS OF UTTERANCES GIFTED TO GODDESSES SUBORNED TO SECONDARY STATUS, THE FECUNDITY OF ROUND HIPS AND DARK, COILED HAIR TRANSFORMED TO ANGULAR STRENGTH AND GOLDEN, WAVY LOCKS. BROWN EYES BLUED, VOICES SOFT AND HARSH, THE MAIDEN AND CRONE CACAPHONIC AND FIERY SYMBOLS WEAVING MYSTICAL RUNES IN FIRELIGHT AND NEW MOON DARKNESS, THE WHITES OF EYES FERAL, FEARFUL OF DISCOVERY AND DEATH.
He started, eyes focused, blinking rapidly as his breath came in stuttering fits. He shook his head, clearing it as the crest of the vision faded, he automatically entered reverie to store and process later. He smiled, his lips forming the syllables of her name, “Ea.”
She danced and sang the ritual of fertility, mind distant. Around her, the other young women darted nimbly in and out of formations prescribed by millennia. Brown skin glistened as the drummers beat out an ancient, intricate rhythm, the space ringing with the spell of the speaking skins. The forest seemed to lean in, expectantly, as the tribe moved as one. The overriding thrumming of the drums was an external heart to which each pulse beat, inextricably one from the next.
Her teeth gleamed as she smiled, envisioning Io as she had seen him. Glimpses of the men of her village passed in and out of conscious thought. She bobbed and weaved through the dance, still singing, still perfectly aligned with her sisters. Io was so different.
He was austere, quiet with inner strength. She had never heard his voice but his essence was known to her.
Their spirits knew the same frequencies, sang the same songs. Deeper, beneath the skin, beneath the thoughts, further in through dark mazes of writhing shapes and colored sounds. Further than the we that will be and is me that was us calling, holding, urging and turning desire into destiny. Delving down father than silence and stillness through doors separating nothing from something. There, he was.
Her eyes rolled back, movements became frenetic, jerking. Though, still synched with sisters sensing her shift they melted from her. The whites of eyes were wide as they watched her, chorus of voices melding to the melody of transformation.
THE SPHINX STARED WEST INTO THE LAND OF THE SETTING SUN. PYRAMIDS BLOSSOMED ACROSS THE LANDS, VERDANT FORESTS AND GRASSLANDS SPREAD BENEATH PURPLE SKIES, LARGE REPTILES AND FEY TECHNOLOGY SHARING SPACE AND TIME. CIVILIZATIONS RISING AND FALLING, CYCLING THROUGH BIRTH, DEATH AND REBIRTH, SOCIAL SYSTEMS REFINING PRIMAL VIBRATIONS, ENCAPSULATING DIVINE PATTERNS IN REPETITION, AS ABOVE, SO BELOW. WITHIN, WITHOUT TRUTHS BURIED BY TIME’S SANDS REVEALED THEN LOST TO ICE AS CONTINENTS CRISSCROSSED THE PLANET, THOUSANDS THEN MILLIONS OF YEARS, SCENES FLITTING PAST TOO FAST TO DISCERN, VISION EXPANDING OUT, EARTH, MARS AND VENUS, JUPITER THEN MECURY, SATURN LOOMING, THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES TRUMPETING, BOOMING SYMPHONIES OF SOUND COURSING, FORCE VIBRATING IN UTTER HARMONIC CRESCENDOS OF POTENTIALITY, CONSCIOUSNESS BURDGEONING, IMPLICIT INFINITIES REVERBERATING MEANING AND INTENT, KNOWING BURDGEONING, GROWING.
THOUGHT, ESSENCE, SONG, TRUTH, DANCE, DESTINY, SEX. FORMED AND FORMLESS COMBINE SPIRALING HIGHER INTO UNIFIED EXISTENCE.
“Why do we see the things we see?”
“Because they are why we exist.”
REVERBERATING SLIVERS OF IMAGERY ECHO INTO THE INFINITE, CENTERPOINT CONSCIOUSNESS EXPANDS TO ENCAPSULATE AND CODIFY THEN SHUNT DIMENSIONAL DATA NANOTUBULES DISTANT, NEW TIMELINES FORMING ENDLESSLY BRANCHING OFF FRACTAL NODES SPLINTERING POTENTIALITY PAST ZERO-POINT. COALESCING IN SUPERPOSITION EXPANSION INTO KNOWING AND DIMENSIONAL MANIFESTATION. SACRED GEOMETRIC PERFECTIONS SCINTILLATE AS THE PROBLEM SQUARES, TRINED INTO BEING PERFECTION MANIFEST IMPERFECTLY CHAOS IMPLICIT TO THE CONDITIONS OF BEING, BOUND BY TIME THROUGH SPACE INTO SEEING PAST LIMITATIONS OF MATERIAL CONSCIOUSNESS BLESSED BY FLESH AND BONE, WRITTEN TOMES AND SPELLS SCATTERED LIKE STONES SKIPPING ACROSS THE WAVES OF ETERNITY.
She awoke to the cooing concern of her sisters. Ea smiled vaguely her mind awash with imagery, profound and disturbing. She blinked against the onslaught of residual shapes dancing across her vision, writ across the landscape of her life. She closed her eyes, drifting into sleep, the babble of voices becoming the staccato pounding of drums, leading her into the darkness of the night.
“Tell me why you spend so much time out there, on the ice, where it is so cold.”
Io shrugged as he looked out over the late-afternoon bustle of the village, the craggy timber of the Chieftain’s voice booming. Small, stone hovels collected against the massive bones of forested hills dwarfed by white, misty heights beyond. The human sounds were concise in the natural immensity mirroring his thoughts.
“The cold is pure. The truth. I better serve our people by staying strong and clean.”
A braying snort of laughter accompanied stumbling deference as the Chieftain elbowed past him, words returning to Io on the breeze.
“Warmth and a woman, Seer. That is what you need. A beautiful, little liar, a good fire and children! You need children, Io! Who else will hunt and care for you when your eyes grow dim and your arms weak?”
Io watched his form recede, blinking slowly. He stood a while longer, observing the familiar forms of those he was bound to serve. Out, beyond their encampment – in the foothills of the great mountains of ice – there were others, larger and smaller. Interlinked clans that competed for scarce resources. That guarded ever against the threat of raids, for women and goods. Comprised of brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers and cousins. Generations sorted by sun and ice, wind and rains, snow and sleet. Late springs and short summers, passionate bursts of life, days and nights spent in love with hate. Many children born through winter’s end, signaling the return of the sun.
He slipped off into the darkening day, twilight casting the shadow of the mountains close to home. Looming darkness sent brooding chills down his spine as he climbed the familiar path. The fading light dimmed the outline of his own home, built extruding from a cliff fronting a shallow cave. He’d collected the stones himself and labored precisely for an entire summer to build outer walls and rooms. The roof was formed of woven branches, logs, earth. Then stone, melding nigh seamlessly into the earthen expanse of the hills.
He stoked a fire in the stone-lined cook pit before the compact structure. As the flames built up he looked past them and down. A line of shadow separating day from night overtook the village. The squabbling sound of an argument rose to him and his brow creased slightly. He looked up, into the sea of stars, searching out the constellations. Their patterns and stories came unbidden as he parsed them, honing in on the one called the Hunter.
The story punctured his thoughts and he inhaled deeply, his arms rising as he fell to his knees before the flames. “Great Hunter, lend me your strength.”
His sight shifted over as a great, vibrating spasm passed through his form sending him spiraling out of body and into eternity.
SPELLS SANCTIFIED BY TIME COALESCE TO MELD ILLUSION AND REALITY INTO ONE, POTENTIALITY SUPERIMPOSED COLLECTIVE VISION MANIFEST. AGAIN IO’S PARSING HERALDED FUTURE VISION AS WAVES OF POSSIBILE TIMELINES CONFORMED TO HIS WILL AND HE SAW CIVILIZATIONS OF HIS DESCENDANTS AGAIN EXPANDED OUTWARD INTO THE EARTH, COMBATTING AND TERRORIZING CIVILIZATIONS TO THE FOUR CORNERS OF CREATION. BIRTH AND DEATH, EVIL AND GOOD, LIGHT AND DARK, THE CRUCIBLE OF CREATION. BEYOND MORALITY, EXISTENCE AND DESIRE EXPANDED AS GLOBAL TRENDS SAW THE DIFFUSION OF CULTURE, EVEN FROM EO’S LANDS, HE SAW THE EYES OF THE SPHINX, STARING INTO THE WEST, TOWARD THE HIDDEN LANDS. WORDS ECHO THROUGH TIME, RETURNING TO HIM: ATLAS, ATLANTIC, ATLANTA, ATLANTIS, REVERBERATING WITH ATAVASTIC TONES AS SOUNDS, CONURBATIONS OF COSMOS COALESCED.
THE MACRO CUM MICRO, GODS AND GODDESSES WALKED THE EARTH EYES CLOAKED BY SHADOW, BODIES WRAPPED IN FLOWERS, SOULED AND SOULLESS TRAVERSING SPACE IN GLEAMING METALLIC INSECTS FLITTING ACROSS ORANGE SKIES, CRAWLING ACROSS BLACK RIBBONS SPLITTING GREEN AND BROWN LANDS. WEBS OF LIGHT CRISSCROSS CONTINENTS THE PEOPLE LOST IN A CLOUD OF DREAMS, RELATIVE BUBBLES OF CONSCIOUSNESS INTERACTION, ONE VISION DRAWN TO THE UNMANIFEST, HIS CHILDREN’S CHILDREN’S CHILDREN, LOST IN VISIONS OF FOREVER ICE AND SNOW.
REIGNING SUPREME IN CASTLES OF CRYSTAL AND STONE MINDS HONED TO STILLPOINTS OF ISOLATION, ONE FROM THE NEXT, TORN TO THE BONE BY TRAGEDY AND TERROR, GNAWING ACHING HOLES OF SUPPLICATION IN STOMACHES STILL HUNGRY FOR GLACIAL TOMBS, STILL LOST IN PALACIAL TOMES STOLEN FROM DESERTS OF BONE AND SAND, THE LOST WISDOM OF CIVILIZATIONS DUSTY WITH TIME AND THE HOARY CONVERSATION OF EPOCHS AND AGES. HUNGER AND NEED PLANTED SEEDS OF HORROR IMPACTED BY TRIALS OF TERROR AND TEARS. GENERATION AFTER GENERATION OF WANT, HATE AND LOVE, THE FLAMES OF INTELLECT TURNED TO TAMING THE ICE AND HARSH TERRAIN. IO OBSERVED IN GROWING HORROR AS IMPLICATION COMBINED WITH INTENT BIRTHED FIERY CONFLAGRATIONS OF DEFERRED DREAMS, SPELLS UNSPOOLED INTO IDEOLOGY AND CONSUMPTION EVER GROWING, EVER NEEDING, EVER CASTIGATING. NATURAL RESISTANCE BORN, BIRTHED INTO OPPOSITION, ORDER THREATENED BY IMPLICIT SEEDS CUM SAPLINGS OF PRIMAL CHAOS, PERSONIFIED BY THE PROGENY OF EA.
YES, EA? I KNEW YOU WOULD COME.
OF COURSE. I AM ALWAYS WITH YOU.
YES. DO YOU SEE?
YES. DO YOU?
DARKNESS VOIDED BY LIGHT NEITHER EXPERIENCING LIMITLESS SIGHT VAST EXPANDING INTO A PLAIN OF IMMEDIACY. NOWNOWNOWNOW NOW
EA AND IO EAIO EIAO AEOI IEOA PERMUTATIONS PUNCTUATING PRIME KNOWING UNITY BOUND BY POLARITY REALIZED, DARK AND LIGHT, BLACK AND WHITE. EYES FILLED WITH SIGHT SEPARATE, OBSERVE SELF AND OTHER RECOGNIZE SELF AS OTHER SELF EYE. NUMERICAL LINGUISTICS EXPOUND MEANING BEYOND THE LIMITATION OF LANGUAGED COGNITION, ADDITIONS AND MULTIPLICATIONS OF FRACTIONAL TRIGONOMETRIES, GEOMETRIC BOUNDS RESOUND, THRUMMING PLASTICITY IMPLICIT IN EVERY PSYCHIC PERMUTATION. LOOKING INTO HER EYES, HIS SIGHT REFLECTS HER THOUGHTS OF HIS WORDS SHE IS SO THEY ARE. UTTERANCES HEARD, DICHOTOMOUS FORMULATIONS OF POLAR INCLINATIONS, THEY HOVER SILENTLY IN THE VOID, ATTRACTED OPPOSITES OF INCLINED VIBRATIONS MAGNETICALLY ALIGNED.
Ea’s eyes opened with the hissed intake of her breath as she rushed awake. The force of her return ratcheted her up and into sitting position, her breath exploding laboriously. She looked out, into the darkness of her hut, unseeing, her heart thudding in her chest as her thoughts went to Io.
Light. White and bright. Slow differentiation, blues and golds, purples, violets. Oranges became flames, measured, Io’s hands grasping his knees, back knife-straight. The sounds of full night greeted his return.
His eyes returned to the sky, wide and unseeing as tears filled them and he cried out. His voice rose into the night, washing over the village below and awaking children and old folks who shivered and turned their backs to flames, an unacknowledged and familiar terror cloaking yet informing all coherent thought. A terror Io knew would not dissipate with time or space.
A terror that would grow to engulf the entire world.