A Short Bit From Corpus Paradiso

After slogging through disconnect and diabetic infirmary, I woke with my words wrapped snugly around me. I endeavored to write a difficult passage, and found it exactly what I sought.

I wanted to share!

Quick backstory: Susursal is trapped in dream-wanderings, and having just escaped a nightmare scenario where he was forced to live two mundane lives of gardening and housecleaning for what he perceives as “hundreds of years,” he’s wandering the ruins of his ancestral memory.

He has two gods: God and Lalatu, a Hecate-esque god of possibility that lives on the moon. Ineluctable Man is a representation of many things; his failings, his shadow self, a mythological Everyman, an outside influence that he has brought in, or childhood sleep paralysis issues.

            Obliquely, Susursal stared into the ambivalent eye of Notre Dame Cathedral, stone swirled as if the building were carved from wind alone and cloaked in red madder root. As if some crypt arachnae evolved bonemeal spinnerets and spent its life circling the ruin, over and over, entering that black hole of an eye where it lay dormant, the building looked like a desiccated corpse sucked of all juice.

Ineluctable Man followed beside Susursal, his short staff dug into the sand and shadowed body bent against the wind. He had gentle, glowing amber eyes recessed far behind the hood of black.

The closer Susursal walked, the more the cathedral changed; while still it looked wrapped in bones, it took on the guise of a worn old wood carving, rings of summer/winter/summer eroding away to time. Woodworm holes splayed out from that black eye as if somehow there was sustenance within. Heartwood carved from the center.

Wind billowed, gusted the sand about to partially submerge the massive relic.

Susursal hid from himself in that derelict city; while he’d escaped over the garden wall earlier, when he lay to sleep among poplar trees beside the desert, he woke in his mansion, in the cellar, a dump of earth at the entrance. He had not escaped wholly: only in part. So he dug directly into the wall of the cellar, not taking time to bag in burlap or set up support beams to keep the earth from caving in. Lit by the mushrooms growing in beard and clothes, Susursal dug through, and dug, and dug. The cave behind him collapsed, and he continued to dig. Fear, panic, anger spurning him forward.

Three days digging, waking to these ruins, then waking to the cave, and Susursal’s second half emerged on the salt flats far beyond the desiccated city. Crusty hillside sand-dunes over caked, wet sand; then hard pancakes of salt. Barefoot, bloodied. He hunted himself hiding.

City Susursal feared what would happen when Salt Susursal found him. Would they kill each other? Would he possess himself of a different mind to tear himself apart? Would they cease to be? Would they wake up, truly, one? Yet when he woke as Salt, Susursal hunted. The city was large. A large ruin.

He surmised the city could stretch forever, if he chose.

Directly beside the cathedral, it was no longer a red-wood object, but more a stone of sea-worms of such an elaborate construction that it had the shape of a cathedral. It was pocked with running worm veins, built upon each other over and over again, runners across the surface obscuring where the stained glass windows should have been, yet making recessions as if they’d been accounted for. Entwined and emitting a kind-of ocean wetness to it, though dry as a bone, Susursal stared open-jawed in awe. That black eye in the center a craggy thing, as if something larger had torn chunks of sea-worm tubes out to burrow in. In chilling fear, Susursal returned to the spider symbol.

Spider, yes. In his head, a sign of Jesus. A sign of Lalatu’s foundation.

“Oh you debonair Calypso,” Susursal whispered. “You island nymph enchantress. You wrap your worlds in mine. Is this a coliseum? Do I do battle?”

He expected more nests for her dead children.

Ineluctable Man sighed, or perhaps sand escaped through his shade.

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