The Sugar of the Earth – part 5




The jungle had seethed into the building vine by vine, blossom by blossom, branch by groping branch in a slow siege of sumptuous verdancy so that all the avenues to, so that each egress from, was wreathed.


Whether it had firstly been a library or whether it had initially been an observatory was moot.


Library: the capacity of the shelves failed, books piled up in crenelations.


Observatory: the lens cracked.


Alas: the luxury of dust.


Methany moved through the mess of it. From somewhere close there was music grinding itself against the air with the nostalgic friction of a bygone medium. A hiss, a pop; there the distortion of heat, the clasp of moisture, a craved-for degradation that chewed at the moment. Each towering shelf cut a rich measure of shadow into the sweet light so that one might pass from sensation to sensation – cloyingly warm to tantalizing chill to cloyingly warm. She eased between shade & sun, sun & shade, her nigh-nudity painted with each pass. Her jewelry clacked, whispering to itself.


At the far end of the library there was a small couch where her sister slept beneath a wide window open to the purple sky, the cooling air, the few sequins the wind wrung from the condensation built up around the island’s peak.


“I was dreaming”, Mathalia said, roused.


There was a gravity between the sisters.


Methany lied down next to her twin. Their mind-shapes arched languorously up the wall, rippling against the ruination of it like streams bubbling over stones. It looked as if the shadows of two children, standing in front of a large fire stretched their muscles in preparation for some exotic exercise.


They stepped out onto the roof where a large table had been set with a cloth, a bottle, and two glasses, though the wind had pushed one of the glasses over were it lay in a pool of drying wine. A few insects sipped at the spill with their long legs.


From up on the roof the sisters could see much of the island sprawl out around them in great folds and hills, in soft fields and tangles of jungle. Northwest of them though rose the peaks of the island, clotted with mist. There they looked with an ache in their twin bodies. There the promise of release. There the danger of the incursion site.


The weight of that place, from so high up, from so far off, came down on Mathalia, still soft from dreams, and she suddenly frothed into a panic. She pulled back her lips and coughed up two sharp laughs like things that had been choking her. She swung away from her sister, yet not letting go of her hand, turning on her heel like a dancer. Her breath seethed between her teeth and her face flushed. But then, as quickly as it had set on her, the fit passed. Mathalia blew her breath out, lips pursed as she might extinguish her dread like a candle.


Methany pulled her sister in close to her, touched her forehead with her own, letting her mind-shape drape affectionately over her.


“Soon,” she whispered, “so soon.”


Beneath the twins, around the building, alchemical mannequins moved about the grounds gathering fruit, picking flowers.




















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