Some creative writing for the holidays.
Find part one here
It is only with the hindsight of the departed that I can see now that there were signs that something significant was building up. I guess the first hints were the long storms. For three or four years in a row I witnessed storms that lasted for weeks. On the island we lived under localised perpetual cloud cover which filtered the light we received. During the long cold season, there were times when a large moon would appear in the sky in the dark-side direction. It would stay shinning in the sky for well over a month before disappearing once again. We would then be in the seemingly endless dark season though occasionally the dark would be interrupted. We would hear thunder and see lightning reflected in the sky from over the shield wall. Occasionally the life-portal would be covered in a misty luminescence. Mostly though it was dark.
The long-storms changed the pattern. The moon’s appearance became much shorter or it would shift suddenly and move much further away, its influence naturally diminishing with the distance. But whilst we lost the impact of our moon, we also gained other influences. After the first week-long storm, an aurora would appear in our clouds weaving wonderful colours of orange, green, yellow and red above us. The light show amazed and delighted me. At first, the colours above would stay around for a few weeks before disappearing with the moon but after a number of years, the aurora became a permanent feature of our cold season. It hovered above us still vaguely visible during the light season but would come into its own during the dark. Those were special years. Those were years to treasure.
Not only did I delight in the aurora but I also found them to be of good omen. After a two or three more long storms and their associated years passed, other people started to appear. It wasn’t until a decade later that the real influx came. Within a quincade we went from five people to over seventy. So many in fact that I lost count. How could this happen? From a comfortable amount of space on our island we became so overcrowded that people were being stacked up in over lapping piles by the storms. It was unreal. I couldn’t comprehend this situation. Surely it couldn’t last? And I was right, it didn’t last. The end came much more suddenly than anyone could have predicted.
People had arrived late into the dark season that year but eventually the storms settled and an uneasy calm descended. No longer did I have a clear view of the sky and the aurora above. This disturbed me and a slow anger lingered about the mass influx of new-comers. An anger I later became to regret for the mass departure was far more horrific than anything I could have imaged.
As the light season approached heralding the start of the new year, huge storms arrived on our island. People were picked up and flung around but eventually they landed roughly where they started. Sometimes the storms would only harass a few people, other times it seemed the whole population was affected. These disturbances were bad enough but as the light season went on, more and more storms seemed to be gathering around us. Not all approached the island though, some seemed to hang in the distance detectable by the shifting light and wind rather than any direct action on the community.
I counted six storms present when the onslaught started. Tensions had been rising in the world and thunder would ricochet around us. At the same time as the sound levels reached their peak, a storm darted towards the island. One of us would be picked up and tossed around but rather than being dropped onto our special positions, more often than not, the person would be taken out to sea. What was happening? Were people going to travel through the life-portal? Were they departing?
Six people were taken and seemingly distributed between the storms. I remember thinking that the number of people matched the number of storms present. Was this significant I wondered? I was jolted from my musings by what I witnessed next. The taken people were not departing through the life-portal, the were being deconstructed. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. Deconstruction. Deconstruction after all these years of living. The storms would become more violent than anything I had witnessed to that point. After aggressively shaking the poor individual, the storm would tear the skin off my companions. And in those few short moments, the deconstruction happened and the person ceased to be. Their skins would either form a mountain in the sea or some would be scattered around where that storm happened to be. Torn asunder and discarded into the sea of the world. I am not sure which fate was worse. The mountain formed a monument to deconstruction but at least it also provided a reminder of the people that once existed. The memory of the people lost to the sea though would fade.
As hard as it was to see the treatment of the skins, the horror did not end there. Now the storms shook the unprotected dead bodies of the people. Some storms seemed to celebrate what they had done, whilst others seemed to find disappointment. But not all were like that. One storm seemed to be quieter. It still inflicted the terror of deconstruction but did so in a slow methodical manner, leaving the skin in a single piece. Was this torture I wondered or did that storm appreciate the beauty that it was destroying? Then it struck me. What was I doing? I seemed to be assuming these storms were intelligent, that there was a purpose to their behaviour. What an idiot I was. Deconstruction is deconstruction. Whatever fancy words I found to describe it, a person now ceased to be. Yes they had departed, but not in any manner that would seem morally acceptable to me. Their bodies now formed part of the landscape in front of me, discarded in piles and forgotten. The storms departed.
To be concluded.