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DNA II, chapter 7, part 1

Posted by on in Book Translations

 

Cave explorers know all too well what impact absolute darkness and silence have on mood and mind. If it was not for the senses, one might just as well live in a vacuum, where neither space nor time have any meaning and life itself takes on another form. It is only due to the senses that the mind does not lose its grounding, for the border-lines between what is and what not, are uncertain and blurred. Dream and reality, generally two different states, mingle with and melt into each other, like watercolours, or the sounds of a wind organ. Of course, the mind always relies on the senses to deal with the reality it lives in, has to adjust to and, finally gets accustomed to, so routines can develop for everyday duties, which in turn, supports the mind’s efficacy and increases an organism’s capability in its struggle of survival. The sensorium is the most important tool, for all creatures, to manage ongoing environmental demands and challenges, on the physical as well as on the mental level and, of course, on the emotional one too, because nothing goes without feelings, not even the most basic, like hunger or pain. This tool was and still is the best, and a most elegant way, for organic life to evolve into complex beings, where the mind will then maintain a state of equilibrium, which is in fact fundamental and a prerequisite for existence. Organic life would otherwise not withstand sudden and unpredictable events the environment brings about, nor would it be able to even accommodate a gradual loss of connectedness, when it has to adjust to an alien reality under unusual circumstances. Organic life depends on feed-back circuits and nothing facilitates that better than feelings. Thus, all would be lost without them and, mind and creature, literally, be driven to confusion, madness and, death.

The dissolution or melting of borders between dream states and reality that one would experience in an underground environment, is not necessarily uncomfortable, but it is of volatile and rather inconsistent nature, which is, of course, confusing and, contributes to the insecurity of an already challenged mind. However! The process of adjustment needs time. It can be compared with the merger of two rivers, both running alongside each other for a while, with their own distinct characteristics and colours, until they finally do integrate, to become an utterly new type of river, without a hint that its components originate from very different sources. Only when the mind places itself between, or at the demarcation lines, is it possible to withstand the elusive state of wakeful-dreaming and the actual assimilation process, without sacrificing the link to one’s previous identity and independent existence. But mind you! That is not necessarily welcome either, as one would presume, though it is absolutely necessary, otherwise, the adaptation cannot be successful, nor would any cave explorer emerge from the cavernous depths with a sound mind; indeed, he may, against all rationale, not even want to. Naturally, no serious explorer ever enters a cave system, known or not, without proper preparations and arrangements for back-up security. Too evident are these, and of course, the many other dangers.

How long Femina and her companions, fugitives mind you, not cave explorers, have been hiding out and wandering about, in this dark and silent subterranean world, she no longer cares to think about. She also has given up on wishing and wanting anything, for all ends up in an emotional maze, causing useless upheaval and chaos, too hard to deal with. Instead, she acquiesces herself by taking one step at the time, rhythmically, automatically, dividing everything, no matter what comes her way, into the smallest of portions. Often she feels, she is alone on a long and lonely road, with no end in sight and with an imaginary goal only. And it only goes straight ahead, straight on in one direction, but where it leads to, is unknown. She may as well, without even realizing, run in circles. And it always is night, a night darker than one without moon and stars and, so quiet that she can hear the trickling of sand and shifting of earth between stones and rock fissures. They are intruders, foreign organisms in this silent, black and lonely world. They are creatures from another existence; for any cave dweller, should there be any, they might be bizarre aliens, causing fear rather than raising curiosity, which may keep them in hiding until those monsters disappear again, hopefully without damaging anything. Of course, there truly may be no creature living in here but, if there was, it would be as strange to them, as they are to the other. Ensconced in light, hooked on a rope in single file, they look like an elongated light bubble, not unlike a thick, green glow worm, or a caterpillar that moves along by melting itself into the hollow passages as it searches with feelers of light for a suitable way to move along. Indeed, a highly unusual worm, emitting light only as long as the phosphor stick spends it. When the light dims then it is time for them to settle down, to have their long rest, some mouthful of food and some sips of water and then, as the light goes out, huddled up in their sleeping bags or under an emergency blanket, they fall asleep, or just into dreams, from which they only wake when Rocky’s watch goes off and he gets them ready for another long walk into the unknown.

Rocky is the head and heart of the caterpillar. Without him, they would be all dead by now. Often enough does he let them rest and sleep while he is off to look for the best way to lead them. He is the best guide they could ever have; of course, foremost due to him being a native, who knows his land and besides that, having experience in cave life, which none of them has; but it is more than that, - he is a special person in many more ways. He told them, they were really lucky, because this cave system with its rather defined passages, tubes and, tunnels, as his legends have it, was made by the fire serpent and its fiery breath. Femina immediately has associations of lava streams and volcanic eruptions, meaning that this subterranean labyrinth was formed many million years ago, when earth was still young and volcanos grew out of the ground like plants in garden beds. Today’s remains, its caves, tubes and shafts, are the only witnesses left behind to tell the story. Most of the hollows through which they pass are smooth and relative free of rubble, displaying at times various kinds of rocks, hard and tense, or porous and rough to touch, but foremost they are of black colour. However, in some sections they had to walk over extremely brittle ground, carpets of grey, spiky stone, looking like fields of icicles, splintering as they had to walk over and, crashing through the spiry peaks and the surface from which they rose. It made their progress hell and it was so tedious that they were closer to giving up, than to hope that they would ever be able to pass. But they did and even without major injuries, though not without serious abrasions and cuts, Oliver suffering the most. Femina’s medical emergency supplies emptied quicker than she ever thought or could have wished for. Luckily, these conditions did not occur often, not over too long distances either and, only occasionally, in some bigger caves. Who says, matter has no memory and age does not take its toll on it? It does, and it has implications for them, because this gruesome terrain had to be of younger origin, Femina concludes; like stragglers in the aftermath of a highly ferocious volcanic activity, it showed all the signs of poor lava flow from rather minor local eruptions, more like the tired belching of a satisfied beast, cooling down quickly too, while remaining rough and raw, having had not enough time as yet, to be smoothed over. The older and old passages are therefore easier to negotiate, making it easier for them to succeed in their quest. But they are not without perils. They have many gaps and crevices at ground level and there are also the odd shafts above head. It demands their full attention at the best of time, all along knowing that there is also a risk of unexpected stone fall, rare maybe, but a deadly risk all the same. Thus, they were always in danger. Another difficulty is that all these caves and walkways look more or less the same. With no remarkable stone formations or shapes to serve as natural markers, one gets disoriented quickly. But worst of all, there is no water, unlike in caves built by it. And still, as Rocky had mentioned earlier on, all these caves, no matter of what origin, could be potential death traps due to their location in a climate zone characterised by extreme weather conditions. In the tribal myths and their collective memory are tales of cataclysmic flooding events. They may seem providential to the uninformed, being so scars and of such devastating nature, occurring centuries if not millennia apart, hence fading from people’s memory and, all evidence vanishing as time goes by. What then remains are only stories, despite, or even because of the ferocious nature and destructive powers, which are just too hard to believe possible without proof. But everyone knows that some of these cave networks serve as draining channels for the seasonal water, when rainstorms are far too many or too heavy. Unfortunately for their party, these waters truly run off, as quick as they come and, what does not, is seeping through porous stone and gaps and holes. In the end, nothing remains, not even a hint, nor any sign that it may still collect deep down in voids and hollows. Of course, during the dry season even that may be gone and if not, it may be too stale and unsavoury for drinking. Mind you, Femina would not care about that! None of them would! Indeed! For them it would be “heaven’s gift”, no matter if, or how foul it was. Scarcity of water is their biggest problem and by nature, it is incredibly difficult to endure. It sure is one of the most brutal and horroing experiences, one can have and they know, their end will be bitter, if water is not found soon. Though Rocky, when they set out, had wisely insisted on taking as many water bottles with them as they could, the reserves were still far too low to begin with. Besides, only after they had abseiled, did he tell them that in the long run, the greatest danger for them was in the scarceness of water, not in Wilson. Therefore he put them straight away on strict rations, warning them of what they may have to endure, scaring them yes, but, they had really no idea what it meant practically, for none of them had ever suffered thirst, at least not one that could not be quenched. Now they know what it means and they find it worse than any other physical pain, at least, that’s what they believe now. They also know, madness is waiting for them just around the corner. That Rocky was aware of the risks, danger and, perils speaks for him and his unquestionable knowledge of the land and it’s well kept secrets, but if he has advised them well to follow him into the mountain, is something else, because, who can say which torture makes for easier dying: Wilson’s rage or death by thirst? May be, Dan was right after all.

The fear of Wilson dissipated of course the further they pushed on. Soon he was no more than distant memory. Detachment seemed to become a common state of affair, fortunately so, to be fair, because neither fear nor doubt, hunger or pain, not even thirst, would hold the same menace for them as the succinct character of a true and unmistaken reality. The biological clockwork regulating their bodily functions had to surrender too. Albeit, it still labours as hard and as good as it can, even now under the immense and ongoing challenges it is confronted with. Where it gets its strength from remains a mystery, because despite them carrying plenty of food, with the rationed water, also their food is rationed and thus, their food intake is basically not even close to cover their needs. The growling dog in their stomachs and bellies found out soon enough that his snarls did not help him. He is now lying subdued, without any further attempt to make himself heard, chewing on his own paws and waiting longingly for the few morsels thrown at him and, grateful for that tiny bit of water that keeps him alive. And then there are other dangers, particularly one, they could have never anticipated, but deadly all the same, though in a very silent and insidious way. Sometimes they experience shortness of breath and once, Femina felt literally like being suffocated. Rocky knew about these danger too. He explained, it was the deadly breath of the fire serpent that lingers and collects in the depths of the labyrinth from where it can no longer escape. He always avoids to go into deep lying terrain, if there is an alternative and, never lets them stay on, if there was no other choice.

Femina became less and less troubled by whatever came her way. In fact, she feels more or less indifferent. Not even Oliver troubles her. Anyway! He is doing far better than she would have ever thought possible. This has to be credited to Rocky once again, because, what she did not have in her emergency kit, he had. That is, he had a small pouch full of black seeds, looking like small lentils, a ‘bush medicine’, extremely useful for the survival in the bush and highly regarded by the natives, if not considered holy altogether. He knows only its common name in his language, and what is does is enhancing physical performance and endurance. He collects the seeds himself, whenever he can and though he no longer lives in the bush, he goes nowhere without it. She became immediately concerned for Oliver, pointing out and also explaining the reasons to him, but he only smiled good natured and assured, she need not to worry. He knew his mate well and also how to use his little helpers. She said no more. What for! After all, she has no knowledge of bush medicine. Though interested, but also frustrated, she kept her curiosity and her critical thoughts to herself, deferring all her questions for when there was a better time to ask them. Of course, it was only natural that she was concerned for Oliver’s state of health and the management of it. Considering the effects this bush medicine could have on him and knowing that any substance, grown in a lab or in nature, if it had a positive effect it also had adverse ones, which could be deadly under certain circumstances. But she also had to accept that none of these men would consider her caution as reasonable as it deserved it, nor as she deserved either. After all, she was only a foreigner without credentials, picked up from the street and to make matters worse, she is just a woman, not important as such, nor of significant value and will not ever be taken seriously, - not in a society of male madness.

Femina but did not benefit from Rocky’s ‘medicine’. Not that she did not try. They took the little seeds with the morning ration of water. Usually no water would be necessary, but they were so dehydrated that even the smallest of seed would get stuck in their throats. She took only half of it knowing her body did not tolerate certain drugs, which she suspected this one to belong to; and so it was. Soon after ingestion she felt like a tightly wound up spring that could snap into action like a bullet from the gun and then, she would move automatically, as if she was driven by a clockwork set on a speed dial she had no control over. Unfortunately, it made her heart race all the time and she saw herself rather jumping off a cliff than having to wait for the moment, when it would tear her apart. Of course, she had to endure, but it seemed an eternity before the effects were settling down. Remarkable was however, that she felt no hunger nor thirst, while her attention was constantly on high alert and, tiredness had no chance to take a hold on her. So it was to her regret that she could not utilize the magic of this little seeds and as far as Oliver was concerned…….., so be it!....... If Rocky thought to evaluate the risk better than she could, why not? In fact, she had nothing to complain about as it took the weight off her shoulder to feel responsible for his care. And indeed, so far the “medicine” worked a treat. The weakest link in the chain however, is now she. That she has not become a burden to her comrades was only due to the fact that Oliver’s sight was greatly limited and they had to walk rather slowly to prevent him from falling and injuries. Despite the fortunate fact of not having to climb or abseil, the ways were treacherous, particularly under the pale green light.

But the longer they were trudging along in this forsaken place, beneath layers of earth, rock and, stone, and eating their layers of skin, muscle and, bone, the less was reality able to demand attention, particularly not from their conscious mind and spirit. Reality lost its prominence, replaced by internal mind games. Though their surrounding was only pitch black nothingness in which they signalled their life like a glow-worm, in Femina’s head more and more colourful worlds appeared, surreal may be, but neither bound to space or time and, so free as she believes the cosmos is. She has less and less desire for sun, light and noisy sounds. The only desire she has is for water, rest and sleep. In fact, her mind is no longer really reliable, but she is pleased that she has not yet lost all relatedness to her external world, her immediate surrounds, keeping her still functioning good enough at least,  and also good enough to give help to the others should there be any need. She fully agrees with Rocky, who believes in the benefit of a systematic approach of organizing them to foster their progress. He keeps them going by putting them under a strict regime of resting and walking. She has to admit though, it costs her more and more strength, which she actually has less and less of.

But what she really has lost is her notion of time. To count hours, days or, whatnot, has long lost its purpose and meaning. What can you do with that in here? They walk, they rest, they sleep and, wake up as Rocky determines. He alone has a watch, he alone makes the plan of what needs to be done. He dispends the light sticks, one for the rear guard, and one for him at the helm and, only he has a headlight for the sake of having extra light when needed. They clip themselves to the rope for safety reasons, he in front, followed by Femina, then Oliver and, Ger at the end. And so they trot for who knows for how long or how many hours. They only stop when he thinks they should, for a short or the long rest, or as the terrain dictates or, their physical condition demands. He lets them rest when they encounter some unforeseen hindrances, while he takes off to find possible solutions. She can never tell how long he is gone because she usually falls into some mental twilight zone, unwilling to talk or even listen to her comrades when they try to strike a conversation, being kept awake by the stimulants on board. It is mostly croaking anyway being dried out like prunes and lately even they remain mostly silent. And why not! What is there to talk about? That they have not had to climb or abseil, or that they have to squeeze sometimes through tighter and tighter passages with the fear of getting stuck in the end? Or that they will end up in a dead end passage and all their pains will be in vain? Nothing to be gained by that! Better they rest and be grateful for being alive. So far, they did not get stuck, did not fall into fissures, nor did they have to face something truly unsurmountable. Sometimes they even come across nice little chambers, quite cosy and homely and, peaceful, where to settle down for some sleep is a real treat.

The current walkway is the easiest of them all, a tunnel with rather smooth black walls and even ground of the same. They followed it already for a while. In some places the tunnel widened to roomy caverns as if there were bubbles blown into solid rock. But, not all was good! Femina has become aware of their water supply nearing its end. It has lasted far longer than it would have been possible without Rocky’s bush medicine. Now they are down to their last bottle, meaning, it will give them may be a handful of long walks, no more and it means, their flight, or should she say, her journey is going to end. All will be over soon, - flight or journey! No difference it makes, nor is the difference important. Easy rider, Wilson, - nothing but vague pictures in the scrapbook of her mind! Besides! Nobody had been chasing them! Never did they hear a suspicious sound! Every falling stone, every cracking and sighing in rock and caves was due to natural causes, either prompted by them or by the mountain itself, stretching and expanding, shrinking and recoiling, as if it had its own breath. Maybe everything was just a surreal dream after all. Had she not been in this crazy house, which did not let her leave? Maybe she is still in there and is trying, still trying to find a way out? Maybe she dug this tunnel herself, because the house had no windows, no doors that would open and through which she could escape? No! No! Wasn’t she sitting in the waiting room before she went on a trip, a trip that began with an ‘easy rider’ so wonderfully, but ended in flight to escape a ‘monster’? Is it really possible that this was nothing but a dream turned nightmare? Maybe that is the reason why she cannot find any sign of life in here, not a bone, not a root, not even the smallest piece of something that was once alive, no matter how mummified or of what kind. Her own remains have the best chance to serve as future evidence of a life gone astray, be it in the deep of a mountain, or in underground chambers of a house, it is of no significance. And, decayed or mummified, after enough time passing, all will turn to dust and, nothing, not even a trace of her will remain, nothing that could be a testimony to her short presence, nothing that would tell the tale of her macabre death.

But wait! Aren’t there her comrades? Is their presence not evidence that she is in no house and not imagining her plight? Except of course, the house has finally made her crazy and she suffers hallucinations ‘par excellance’! And what is the meaning of all this colourful pictures in her head? That must have some meaning! AH! Indeed! She was on a mission to find her missing memory, which she suspects buried in the archives under thick layers of records, taped continuously of everything she does. Well, she has not really dug it all up. It is more like digging up of pieces, one here, one there, like a fossil hunter, who has to be satisfied with various kinds of single items or fragments, because neither earth or rock are willing to let go of their prized possessions. Or maybe, there is nothing more to find where she is looking? No, no! No more thinking! It does not do any good. Better to listen to the silence and be suspended in the black. Better to put one step in front of the other. There lies the treasure! So she moves on, concentrating on the way under her feet and on the steps she takes until no more thoughts are left, except the ‘left foot, right foot and, one and two, left foot, right foot and, one and two…..’

And so she trots along unbeknown for how long when suddenly something unusual happens that wakes her from her trance like state. It is a rumour, a faint and vague sound from afar. It penetrates the silence and flows through stone and air.

“Wrooom! Wroom! Wrooom! Boom, booom!”

Her heart jolts into heavy beating. But, does she really hear a noise or is just her heart beating heavily and fooling her for no reason?

“Wroom, wroom, wroom, booom, boom!”

No, this is no imagination! It sure is a noise and not a one-off noise either that leaves you wondering if there was or wasn’t one. But it is impossible to discern what it is. Drums? Nonsense! Thunder, or, machines maybe? No, no! Nothing of that kind! Though it has a thronging rumble, there are many underlying sounds vibrating within, like drum beats with many resonating tones following the beat and rolling in between. No, really, - it is more like a long drawn-out “Tiiiiic----Toooc!” quite rhythmical, not far off her own rhythm in the way she moves along. Strangely, it reminds her somehow of a clock, but a huge one, because no other could emanate a tone able to force its way through a mountain. How absurd! Femina gives up guessing. But her ears have pricked up, inspired and keen on hearing, they register the faintest of vibrations without caring about the origins. What matters is that she can hear something, something that is not just interrupting the usual silence, like the very rare and unremarkable noises of rock and the grumbling amongst stone.

And so it happens that this buum-buum and tiiic and toooc flows into her brain without the slightest resistance and, as she listens attentively, it forces her confused feelings into order. They align, form tracks, turning into rails, becoming a pathway, something like a conveyer belt, which carries and transports parcels, one after another in regular intervals, running in one direction only, straight on, even if it goes up and down or round, through relays and to depots or to dispatchment, where they are sorted and sent off to other destinations. They can even be taken off altogether like luggage from an airport carrousel or, unclaimed, they turn one round after the other. The feedback Femina receives from her brain explains to her that it is in fact the dealing with time. And the parcels in transport are parcels of time.

Now the thought of time got tenacious. It does not leave her alone despite the fact that she has no longer relatedness to time. But isn’t she herself a parcel of time that is continuously moving ahead on her own emotional conveyor belt? Doing just that in the closed system of her brain and as well in the closed system of the universe? Indeed, her rational mind may understand the ticking of the clock as stations of instances of time and, her consciousness may well just do same in the cosmos, the only difference being the distances travelled during such moments, while the actual and really important thing is the moving forward; never mind in which direction, but straight forward and always ahead, creating a line as it goes, a time-line to be precise. – It means, the line is the one dimensional expression of time; it is the back bone or the essence of time. And it does not matter if the trajectory describes a circle, goes up or down, how fast or how slow it goes, nor what distances are covered; the significance is the forward direction, always going ahead. Future, past, presence, all lie on the line and should the track be a circle as it may do in the closed system of the head and the closed system of the cosmos, the moving on in a circle allows you to see the past in the future and, the future in the past as you look back. But that is not all because closed systems contain space. In fact, they are space, which has its own movement and its own revolutions, thus giving time the chance to take on shape, without being forced to change, or give up its essence. Circular movements and paths are by no means rare. To the contrary!  They are the condition for existence, all of it, from the fundamental particle to the cosmos; and as existence is characterised by dimensions, specified by numbers, from one to undetermined many, the one Femina lives in has four, the forth being called space-time. Who would not see the correlations and not understand the significant relations and that the past can truly be found in the future and, the future is visible in the past and that in space they exist simultaneously, and linear time is the thread of and for the space-time fabric? Within it, all can exist and, everything is possible, though one moves on a one-dimensional track only. Therefore, it depends from which point in space one takes note of one’s journey and, how time is experienced. Moreover! Time itself is thus absolute but also relative and, though there is a beginning and an end, they are only of conditional and circumstantial importance. In space their value is lost, because there, all coexists and, is ever present. No surprise then, isn’t it, that time appears sometimes all important or not important at all, or is as well meaningful as it is meaningless and is applicable to all existence but impacts particularly on humans, whose understanding and emotional attachment depends so much on what they associate with time, be that reminiscence or desire. It is in any case and always an individual’s personal interpretation, essential and relevant only to that person.

She must still be in this ominous house because only there is all ambiguous. Only there unity goes unnoticed and Oneness remains obscured. Only there can time feel absolute, while the time’s complex relativity gets lost in the many commotions. Only there, all aspects of time are experienced one-sided, because everything is dissected and separated, unnecessarily so and all too often for no good reason. Naturally, in the dimension of space-time, the views have changed at last, but the intellectual mind finds it difficult, if not impossible, to deal with double-sided oneness, because the mind moves on the plain where the timeline lies, and, as it only goes forward in one direction, it looks habitually and mostly ahead into the future, reminiscing about the past and, because the mind is caught in the one dimensional motion and on the two dimensional surface, - it pays little attention to the fact that it actually also moves in space, though it does so not freely, held back by the ground! Space therefore is a conditional reality and oneness shows thus only one side. Though humans wish to fly and have with their intelligence managed to find a way to experience it, flying is not in their DNA, therefore, man can accept space and, other dimensions theoretically, but, everything above the three dimensions he is familiar with, overwhelms him. Would he, for example, habitually fly in the cosmic space and with the speed of light, his mind would have been calibrated to do so and would be able to accommodate more effectively to space-time than it can now, while he is bound to earth. On earth, the thin skin of the fiery planet, the mind has to deal with other problems, which strictly speaking, overwhelm it, and him, all the same.

The strange noise and the prospect of their water supply soon to run out have finally managed to prod Femina’s stoic mind into contemplation. It is pointless however, because thinking does not change the fact that she will come to a standstill soon. Neither will she move onwards, nor will she ever have to ask herself again, what ‘eternity’ or ‘eternal life’ means, or is. After all, she will experience it firsthand! Or won’t she? She falls into hysterical laughter. Her mind seems to drive her to the brink of a break down. Or is it just the price she has to pay for her mind trying to expand its horizon? And is it not after all superfluous being tied to a house or being caught up in caves and timeless darkness? And, only because she will find her end, here or there, everything else will keep moving and, as long as there is motion there is life and time; if that appears eternal or definite, depends only on the dimension it occupies or is moving through.

Boom, boom! The muffled sounds intensify as she carries on walking. Now she does not only hear them but truly feels them. The vibrations penetrate rock and stone and even the light starts to faintly tremble. Rocky stops. He wants to investigate. Though he does not exactly hear the same thing what she thinks to hear, as Femina finds out, asking him. Never mind! He hears something and feels something, and he is keen to learn more. Nobody asks Oliver what he thinks. It would be pointless, because he seems to wander in a different world altogether. Though the swellings of face and eyes have shrunk due to the dehydration they all endure, his general state has not improved but worsened. He is actually more machine than human with hardly any will of his own. At least, he follows and obeys Ger like a child and sinks down silently right next to him, after Ger spots a place for them to rest, without having to clear it of stones first. Ger has more interest in the well-being of his brother than he pays attention to what goes on around him. He admits, he also hears something and though not quite sure, he feels something too, but, so he says, he had quite a few times noticed things, only to find out that they were nothing more than trickery of his mind. Thus, it is more important to him to concentrate on Oliver. He is his worry, not what may or may not be real. As to make a point, he looks lovingly at his brother, while stroking his cheeks in a tenderly gesture and sighing. Rocky seems touched and allows them to have a good mouthful of water before he takes off.

Femina, tired and in no mood for company, looks for a place to sit by herself. They are in a kind of dome, only a small one, but wide and high enough to see the opposite wall and the ceiling as dark shadows rather than concrete rock walls. The stone is rough like course sand and there are rocky out-crops, but nothing is sharp edged, not even the lose stones or rubble that could cut deep to the bone. A rock nose offers good enough support to lean against and, sitting on the side facing forward, she can at least be out of sight of the others, though looking straight into the wide open throat of the tunnel into which Rocky just has disappeared. This does not faze her anymore. The blackness is just part of another world with other modalities than the one she once knew, only requiring different qualities and different functioning from her, that’s all. She may not have enough time to become a fully-fledged cave dweller, but she already noticed her change, like her hearing. It is far more capable than it ever was, hearing noises she would never have perceived before and, her perceptions, particularly to touch, are remarkable. Everything has such an intensity, is qualitative so impressive that it does not just delight her, it is also quite overwhelming. Of course, this may not be applicable to all of them, for her comrades, so it seems, do not experience things the same way. Obviously, each of them, though in the same space, they travel on their own path.

She stares into the blackness in front of her, while soundwaves and vibrations run through her body and ears. Though there is a continuity in it, there is also a coming and going. No surprise then that it reminds her of time. In fact, it reminds her of one of the clockworks that a pendulum keeps going. Certainly no pendulum clock of a living room, rather one of a proud clock tower on a village plaza for the public to admire and use.

Booom…..booom…..tiiiiic……toooc, boom, boom, tic, toc,…. such is the clock’s pounding, such is the time sounding in her ears. But it’s no lullaby to make her sleepy, it brings her visions instead. While staring into the black opening, she slowly starts to realize that there was no tunnel ahead, but indeed a tower, a big tower, on mighty footings that is. And there comes the huge pendulum, with a big round disk at the end of its mighty arm. It swings from one side to the other, to and fro, rhythmically, and steadily and, as it aligns with its vertical centre, it closes off the tower’s entrance. Femina wonders, what time it might measure. Future? Past? Or Presence? Booom……booom!......Tiiic…….toooc!

How much of her way has she covered, how much is still to go? AH! That’s it! Neither this nor that is measured here! The only thing important and what counts here is solely the tick of time, a moment, a point, the click in the gear drive, which, with the many one after another, mark the way she made. What lies to the right and to the left of this way, she remembers, can be and was colourful and varied, but is black and dull now, being only of stone and without its own light. Getting however some light from Ger’s glow stick, she can at least see a few things and decide, in which direction to go should she want to move on; but to make a step, to set a point, to link one moment with another, she does not even need light. The fact is, her awareness of reality lies on the path she moves upon, between the dreams and worlds to her left and right. It is a system of coordinates, which she walks on, passes through and creates, as she wanders.

Coordinates! Tower and pendulum are a system of co-ordinates and so is she with arms stretched out. Also the tower stands upright just like she does, though instead of arms it has legs spread over the path, grounding them on both sides; but while she can move on, it cannot and the pendulum can only swing from side to side. How simple reality is indeed! Nothing but lines, plains and spaces. Time lies on the linear, mind is at home on the plains and awareness occupies space, while the fourth dimension is motion, the “Perpetuum Mobile” in a “Closed System”; space-time, a unit that can expand without a change to or of the principle. But motion is the prerequisite of everything. Without motion the clock stops, thinking ceases and, Good and Evil settle in perfect balance.

Femina gets up and as if in trance, she walks to the tower, right up to the gaping entrance. The swinging pendulum makes a beautiful sound, singing louder and louder, rising up and down and, echoing from the big round disc. In a rhythmic to and fro, in a resonating tic-toc, it shuts off the pathway in regular intervals. But nothing else can occupy her ears or her brain, because there is nothing else any more than the heavy pounding and booming. Indeed! It cannot be difficult to walk through time! She only needs to wait for the right moment, that is, when the disk moves away from the entrance in pursuit of its own highlights, left or right, at one or the other side.

That she hesitates is more due to habit than it is logical. After all, the unknown always causes discomfort, because only with the known one can negotiate and, only the past is free of fear. What happened cannot be changed, pain may disappears and hurts lose the drama, except, one does not let go. Of course, the letting go is the real problem, even if it nothing but anxiety of what may or may not be. Though sometimes it is easier, if not necessary, to forget everything. It may otherwise be impossible to let go and live on in peace, for too much pain was endured, or inflicted on others. Was this the reason why she suddenly had found herself without memory? It sure is possible, but it is also unlikely to find that out now. However, to face the little bit of future still ahead of her with hesitation is truly pointless. This can only be due to her mind not working well anymore, having given much, if not all control, to reflexes and instincts, these well entrenched mechanisms or auto-pilot systems, which ensure that progress of organic life is secured and will go on, till  the last possible moment, when the end is inevitable, indeed.

Now! If past and future have lost their value, what does it mean for the presence? Does it at least have some significance? Sure it has, if only for one thing, for stock taking that is! Particularly in view of the last adventure she will ever have! So she asks herself, what she has done with her life and what she actually has gained from it. Did it have meaning, did it serve its purpose? Hum! The full on events of late did not offer her much of an opportunity to continue in her search for her memory, which in fact was the meaning and purpose of her life, at least as far as she can recall. She has made progress for sure, but she must also admit that she has not always been attending to it, and now, with the water supply running out, she cannot but ask: How far did she come? Was it worth it? And how much did the effort and the pleasure cost her? And are there still open bills (which she will not be able to settle any more)?

She starts to giggle. Surely, these must be the dumbest questions she can ask. Of course, everything had its merit and of course, labour and pleasure has cost her her life and, unpaid bills are aplenty. But, she did what she had to do and could do and, she always cherished life, all life. Besides, she is convinced that the journey is more important than the goal, thus, it is no tragedy if she is stopped in her tracks. And the open bills are no debt to others but to her, her own account. It means that she will have to die in ignorance for she is missing still far too much of her memory. And this has nothing to do with good or bad remembrances which are, after all, only sediment stored in layers above one and another. What she was searching for, was her origin, her descent, and the foundation upon which all the sediments come to rest and which of course have shaped and formed her the way she is. Naturally, she would have to dig deep to get to the bottom of it, to find her answers. But why did she bother about it at all? What motivated her? Was it her rational mind that longs for utmost certainty because it is not satisfied with convenient beliefs? No, no! Not solely! Her mind may have dominance in her life, but it is not who she is. The mind is servant not master, even if it sometimes does as if. Searching for her memory was the search for her identity;     s h e   does not want to speculate,  s h e  wants to comprehend,  s h e  needs the evidence. Her mind is only helping her in her search. Is that the weight on her ankles that keeps her from moving on? In a way it is, but then again it is not. Because only now has she become aware of, that what she thought to find only in the past, can be found in the future as good. So! She made the mistake to see controversy, where never was one to begin with. And now, understanding that time, though one-dimensional, is at home in all dimensions and able to take shape and, that dimensions determine how to interpret, measure and experience it, (be it in line, plain, space or motion), now she can congratulate herself to this realisation and, though enjoying it, the joy is limited, for time, her time is running out and, nothing is now of importance. So! Why not just rest? Why do even one more step?

A sigh rises from the deep within. Alas! She would want so much to be one more time by the ocean, swim with the fishes and, lie on the beach under big palm trees, where she could watch the birds, or count the stars! She would just love to laugh one more time with the sun, dance in the moonlight and, chase clouds with the wind! The world is just so beautiful! Another deep sigh.

“That’s it! To hell with hesitations, fear and selfishness!” For the happy and the dead no clock rings in the hour and, she has nothing to regret.

Her heart starts pounding, the muscles tense. Tic and toc she hears the pendulum say and as the disc moves away from the entrance, she takes a big leap forward, straight through the dark gaping mouth of the tower, right into its black throat and obscured gullet. Booom, booom!

The pendulum returns closing off the entrance once more, but this time it sounds like an iron door falling into its locket, like putting a full stop at the end of a sentence. Immediately she becomes aware of the different appearances of all things, despite nothing being really new; in fact nothing has changed, but is different all the same; so it seems at least. There she is, in a space with no sound, no light, in true silence and blackness and no boundaries around her that she can discern, truly alone in Nothingness, but the “Nothing” is suddenly “Everything”, the all and only that is all hers. Astonished, her thoughts stop: Not only time has lost its importance, so has “Everything”! And while “Nothing” claims a triumphant victory, decorated with the medal, the pendulum disc, she realizes how paradoxical “All” is! There she goes through time only to find out that the only thing important is  S H E   nothing else is, and although she has no power to wield, all power is hers.
But what now? She stretches out her arms. Of course, there is nothing! She hesitates, not sure, in what direction she should walk now, if at all. But hey! Isn’t she in this tower? It has walls, hasn’t it, which she could use to feel herself along, couldn’t she? At least that is something to help with orientation. Then again, it may not, because, or maybe, all has fallen apart and is dissolving into invisible particles, which she cannot grasp. Her senses have become unemployed because, when there is “Nothing”, there are also no signals to detect. Or, maybe, she does not feel anything because she herself has begun to disintegrate, is losing her substance and thus, her functioning? Without anything palpable all is lost, even what binds her and glues her together. AH! But that has not happened yet! She still feels the ground beneath her. Relieved she lets herself down to bring order into her puzzled mind. But it does not do her any good, because a sudden coldness pours into her, so vehement and so aggressive as if it tried to overpower her and wrap her tightly into pack-ice. Her body however, as little as is left of it, is in fact not ready just as yet to give in. It is still defiant and stirs the bit left-over amber beneath the heap of ash, by rattling and shaking her vigorously and without mercy. It seems to wake her up. Didn’t she want to get to the ocean? Indeed, that’s what she wants! And she also wants to go into the mountains! Moreover, she actually wants to hop from one dream into another and, give her dreams life. She wants to frolic in the meadows and, smell the flowers and, she will, like a butterfly with its colourful wings, let life follow the script of her dreams.

A surge of sudden energy makes her jump up and leap ahead, with mighty long strides she rushes forward, only to crash after all into a rock wall. Thrown back, she loses her balance and despite grasping at the wall for support, she cannot prevent herself from falling, though softening the fall’s velocity. Now she has found the limitation, the palpable that reflects her existence and makes it measurable! But now she does not get up anymore, only leans back against the wall. The surge of energy has gone, as quick as it came, sweeping away the last bit of strength she had. It is too big an effort just trying to pull herself up again. So be it! She is spent. She believed she could pass through the tower of time, and maybe she did or didn’t. As the saying goes, believing is not knowing. And what is or isn’t, she no longer cares.

She lets her fingers glide over the rock wall, its surface, its grooves, furrows and faults. And while she is doing so, she begins to understand that it is the interrelationship of her Self with the external environment that are the basis of her actions, in fact, of her life, - nothing but a charged particle that is kept in motion by attractions and repulsions, moving along in its track and marking a path behind it. But! “IT” does not care through which spaces it moves her, if they are to her liking or not. “IT” has no judgement. “IT” is objective.  S h e  is the one who rates everything,  s h e  is subjective. So, there she is, in an empty space of coal-tar blackness, she is filled with life and colour abound, despite her senses unable to discern either, for nothing is on the outside. Though totally alone, totally isolated, she feels but satisfied, because now she understands that nothing is not really nothing, not ever negative, nor destructive, it is only a much needed and necessary experience. “IT” forces her, “IT” helps her to find her memory and her origin and, of course, it is a challenge, for it is a coming of age, or initiation ritual. But no matter what, time is of no importance. She smiles, closing her eyes. She is tired; she wants to sleep. She has no more desires. But no! It does not happen, because she is no longer alone.

“And God created woman so Adam is not so alone………!” Pardon? Who is talking and, talking so much nonsense at that?

Femina shakes her head laughing. Quite a surreal joke that is, like the one where a submarine walks in the woods and comes across another one. Saying hello, the other one asks perturbed, ‘why me?’

“Well, dear God,” says woman. “Now you have to create a man for me, so I am not so alone!”

Femina now even more amused, finds this more than just, because Adam has too much of an attitude. A new Adam sure is no bad idea!

“And where does that leave me?” asks old Adam quite concerned.

Thoughtful silence, then woman states unequivocally: “That is up to you! You have a choice! But change you should, by all means!”

Adam, irritated, grabs his fig leave, stares at it and then discards it inattentively, unsure of what he actually wanted to do with it. In fact, he does not know, what he should or wants to do, for or with himself. Finally he sinks down to the ground, looking disappointed and is puzzled, why woman does not accept him.

Femina watching him, smiles knowingly, even feeling a bit sorry for him. He sure is good looking. God made himself a beautiful Adam, pity though, woman is not impressed, or so it seems. Could it be that God made a mistake? Is God not just homophile but homosexual? She looks at God. Why not, the way he presents himself or is portrayed most of the time,  there may be some truth in it, looking like the Gods or the philosophers of old Greece, white cottonbush beard, white flowing hair, and so dignified and benevolent. Everyone knows from history that the old Gods and dignities of antique Greece had quite a liking for young males. She laughs at her thoughts of God being homosexual. She likes the old Greeks too, Zeus, Hera, Socrates and the rest; they truly had humanly Gods.

And so it is that the Goddess creates herself Eva and to prevent her from being alone, she gives her the man.

“But I don’t want a man, give me another Eva”, says Eva.

“With Adam you can make yourself many Evas, just like he can make with you many Adams too.”

“Nonsense!” responds Eva. “God and Goddess don’t do it with each other, so why then should I with Adam…….?”

“Of course you should,” says Goddess, “because God and Goddess are One. Call us XY! It means, we need not to be two to make one.”

“Ph!” exclaims Eva smirking. “Why then is there no ‘yy’? This Adam is faulty, because he is only ‘xy’!”

The goddess smiles forgivingly: “There is not only no necessity for an yy, it would be but counterproductive, because one y already causes enough destruction. Can you imagine what an yy Adam would be like? Or even an YY God? It would be no world for life to unfold harmoniously. But to express bi-bodied shapes, xy does the job perfectly as it differs from xx good enough. Apart from that, xy is also our image, which is in fact the Symbol of Unity. But note! The xx is the basis from which the complementary y arises. It makes the man only sequentially to the “crown of creation”, for it is the woman from whom he derives. No crown is thus attributable to him, nor her, because neither he nor her are rulers, neither he nor her have sole power. Only we, the undivided entity, we can claim it. Only we have the united dual aspects of gender, the female and male expression as One. We are XY, He as good as I.

Adam had listened with big eyes but quietly.  Dear God, pleased with himself has fallen asleep. Eva looks inquisitively at Adam, then turning to Goddess she says:“Oh well, if you think so……., he looks alright; actually……, he is quite a beautiful man.”

She smiles at him. He smiles back. She reaches out. Adam takes her hand and together they disappear. Goddess casts her eyes on God, disapprovingly she curls her lips. What a bore He is, sleeping far too much! So she turns away and leaves. At least he does not interfere with her work that needs to be done.

All goes black again, just as if there had never been anything else. Times pass her by. Femina can’t see into them, only feeling and hearing them like wind carrying voices. Though it does not make any difference, she closes her eyes again. Maybe she can go to sleep after all. But no, it is not meant to be!

“Femina!”

From afar but sure as, she hears somebody calling her name. She straightens up immediately and cranes her head. She must have dozed off, so it seems and probably was dreaming her name being called. Uncertain, she continues to listen and, there it is again:

“Femina!”

This time it is louder and closer to her and she recognizes the voice: Gordon!? How did he get here?! She tries to answer his call, but cannot, for the words cling to her lips like being glued and not even a sound can escape. He still emerges out of the shadows. What a wondersome vision, so real and, so close that she can nearly touch him! He is in his washed out jeans and black singlet, his browned skin shining over his tight muscles and out of his unique and beautiful eyes gleams glass green the sea. That’s how she met him and loved him and now he is close to her once again. How could she ever forget what a beautiful man he was!

“Femina!” says he now, quietly but in a somewhat urgent tone.

“I am here”, she calls out, finally finding her voice, though he still cannot hear her and, it seems, he does not see her either. He sits down not far from her, legs crossed, but with his side to her. She can see him, hear him and she even believes she can smell the ocean on him. And yet! There is something separating them. It could be worlds, or just a trench, or even just a whiff of a plasma wall; she has no explanation for it. It is but as real as it is wondersome.

“Femina”, he repeats. “I am searching for an island for us two. I am sick with love for you. You must believe me, regardless that we are walking on different paths at present. I am so torn between the things I need to do and my longing for you. I can at least look for an island for us, but who knows, I might turn up on your door step by tomorrow for I may not bear to be apart from you any longer.”

He speaks to her as if he was facing her but actually talks past her and his emerald eyes are passing her by as well.

“I believe you,” says she, only her voice has no sound and, she feels overcome by a strange sadness. Since they parted, too much has happened! She loves him just as he loves her that’s for sure, but where to are his sea green eyes looking? That he cannot see her she may understand, but not that he does not look into her direction. She rests her head against the wall, eyes half closed, she ponders.

Suddenly she sees the Goddess again, strolling in her garden while God is still asleep. XY, God or Goddess, the symbol of unity, the true hermaphrodite, who in cultures of old is rightfully worshipped as a godly entity. In contrast, the human entity belongs to the dualistic world of matter, where they are necessarily and obligatory separated into two genders, representing opposite polarities, between which interchange takes effect. In their genes but lies the fundamental memory of the XY, the Godly, or if you like God or Goddess heritage. Every human has male and female hereditary factors, which, steered by specific hormones facilitate the development of the embryo’s final gender and, both, female and male hormones, are part of every person’s biology! The Bible’s story of the “rib” is thus not pointless, but it certainly is no correct analogism, most likely due to faulty interpretation, or just a reflection of old time societal concepts. Fact is, that the urge of the sexes to unite by intercourse is biologically determined and that in their interlude lies the field of tension, which essentially is the basis for the creation of a new lifeform. In the orgasm lies however the utmost excitement to be One and the joy to have the potency of creation, giving life to another life-form or being. Orgasm, “Big Bang”? The world would not exist without it!

Femina giggles because she just thought of the snail and how godly this creature actually is. Its love life is quite interesting, isn’t it, being her own partner! A true hermit too, even carrying its home on the back wherever it goes. However, if one should congratulate or feel sorry for such creature is hard to say. One would have to be the snail to really know, isn’t it?

“Femina!” She hears Gordon’s voice calling again. “Where are you?” He turns his head searching here and there, finally looking into her direction. How beautiful his eyes are! So big and so wide and so wondersome green. They are the sea! That’s where she wants to be!

“Oh Gordon!” she says sadly and sighs. “Search for the island! Do as you like! What is love anyway? I am full of it and still, I cannot know it, because if I did, I would recognize it when I found it, wouldn’t I? Your love is so different to mine and though I believe that you love me, how can our love then be so different? Do you remember our little fun game where we would choose an animal that we thought closest to represent ourselves? You wanted to be a dolphin and you were a dolphin, but what happened? I still see the ocean in you but I see the dolphin no more. It makes me so sad, sad for you, sad for me. Isn’t the world a big play-ground, - and isn’t the dolphin known for its playfulness?”

“Dolphin-lady to dolphin – where are you – stop – don’t you see the show is running?  – over and out.”

“I am busy – over and out.”

“Busy with what – over and out.”

“To find an island for us two – over and out.”

“Why looking? – stop – we swim past them anyway – over and out.”

He shakes his head full of meaning. She steps out of his eyes.

“You do not recognize my love for you?” says he. “How odd! Look into the mirror! Don’t you recognize yourself?” He falls silent and waits for her to answer.

But she is confused, trying hard to listen into herself, because this last sentence resonates within her like an echo that does not settle.

“I  a m  your love?” She returns the question while putting an emphasis on the ‘am’, but it is not really a question, rather a means to give herself more time to find clarity for herself.

After she does not answer, he finally wants to know: “A m  I  n o t  your love?”

She still hesitates: “I have never thought about it this way. You see, I just love…., I pass on love. ‘I love you’ means for me that I give you my love. But you ask, if you  a r e  my love? I don’t know! In fact, I do not understand the meaning of it!”

“Never mind”, says he goodheartedly. “Take your time! I give you all the time you need.”

All falls silent, though she does not stop dreaming about the green sea with the clear as glass water and the dolphins somewhere out there playing in it. She sees their bodies gleam in the sunlight as they surface from the water and their shadows as they fly through it. “Oh Gordon!” She sighs. “I so dearly want to laugh with you and, love you!” But Gordon is gone and all around her is empty and dark.

The stone she sits on pushes hard into her thin body reminding her how far away she is from the world of light and shadow, the world that once was hers.
She wonders, where her comrades might be. She feels the rock behind and beneath her but nothing else around. It is enough to remind her where she is, but orientation is all but lost. She has no clue as to which direction she would need to go to find Ger and Oliver, who she left behind who knows how long time ago, or Rocky, who has left them, for something he wanted, whatever that was. Ah, right! She went into the clock tower, left everything behind, not just time. But should there not be the clockwork somewhere in here? She listens closely. There is nothing to hear! “Hello, Black Reaper!” she shouts. “You can come forward now! You are here, aren’t you? Cast off your black cape, show your face! And though you are just a heap of bones, I assure you, your company is welcome!” She waits. But the reaper does not come. Maybe he wants to teach her a lesson, for instance that dying must be done alone. It may be of some comfort if someone is holding your hand while you pass away. Then again, it may be not. Watching the tears rolling and hearing the pain of breaking hearts as the ones who love you must let you go. Be it as it may, nobody can join you in the passing. To die alone may therefore be the best, - no distractions, no disturbances, nothing to hold you back.

‘How long do I still have to wait’, she asks impatiently. Why this wait! She does not want to wait anymore. Well, impatience won’t help either. Better she concentrates on her breath. Better to be in peace with oneself, peace within and peace all around, gentle waves, coming and going.

Alas! Gordon is back again! But this time he is not alone and there is no ocean either. She is with him and they sit opposite each other on a gaming table as if they were in a casino. She has a pack of cards in her hand which she begins to shuffle and deal. Her long hair shines under the light above the table, shadowing her eyes. He looks at her in silence, motionless and unapproachable. This is a game of cards with poker face, for the sake of the game and undetermined stakes.

“Hey, gleeman!” she shouts out loud over her shoulder. “Come on, play me the song of death!” And while a mouthorgan tells a tale of hate and destruction, they play their game of poker.

“Two cards!” says he. One for her. It’s only a bluff though. One card won’t make any difference, because she has nothing in her hand. She watches him through half closed eyes out of the shadow of her hair. Can she read him? There he sits as if of stone with a frozen face and pupils like pin heads so small and his bold head shining like metal. Poker face! But then she feels his heartbeat and a hardly there whiff of his breath. She suddenly understands: He is going through hell. She glances at her new card. Well, a second ace! And he still sits motionless.

“Now,” she says, “your call!” He looks at her, searching, with eyes like green flames. But then he puts down his cards.

“I don’t want to play with you!” says he with a firm voice and clearly determined.

“You think, you could lose?” She responds rather cool.

Vigorously he shakes his head. “No”, says he, “don’t you understand? I love you! I want the island for us two.”

“No,” replies she, “I do not understand!” but puts down her cards too.

“Hey, gleeman!” She shouts out loud again, turning her head slightly backwards. “Come on gleeman, play me once more the song of death!” But no more song is played, gleeman is dead.

She sweeps up the cards and puts them aside. Caught up in her own thoughts, she wonders, if she was a gambler. Or is Gordon the gambler? How strange! They both are! The difference lies in their motivations and in their stakes. He wants to find an island. Sure, it is for them both. But while he is searching, he leaves her alone. Yes, she leaves him alone too, but is not looking for something else, it’s due to circumstances that are not just her choice. She  i s  his love? Why then does he not look for her? And he?  I s  he  her love? No! She loves him dearly with all her heart, but it is her love she gives. He gambles for an island and she is his stake. She gambles for him and puts everything she has at stake.

They get up. Hand in hand they walk into another gaming room, one in which roulette rules. “Rien ne va plus!” she hears the croupier say. “Klick!” says the falling ball, jumping around restless, while the wheel is turning and the sound of it slowly fading as it quietens down, finally settling with a “plop” in one of the many slots. And all goes really silent.

“Oh Gordon”, says she. “Forget the island! Let us just be together!”

But Gordon is gone and so is the casino. She is alone, somewhere, nowhere, in a black silent world, where she can do nothing but dream. And so she dreams of a green glass clear ocean with dolphins playing and she among them.

There may be dreams in one’s life that may never be realized. Perhaps it needs more than one life to make at least one come true. Or perhaps nothing is actually ever real. May be she will just wake up to realize that nothing she believed to have experienced, has indeed happened and that she never lost her memory, nor was ever in a house kept captive, nor that she is in the underground of a mountain and her life is going to end.

But if it was a dream, it is so real! The stone she sits on is so hard that it makes her sore and she has to shift her frail body from one side to another because her cushioning muscles have shrunk to nothing, leaving her only with skin and bones to deal with an unforgiving surface; how can that be just a dream? Now, where was she? Ah, right! She was in the tower of time where no time exists! She remembers, she just wanted to pass through it, not stay! But the clock has stopped! There is no moving on! Indeed! Gordon is far better off to look for his island; here, therein with her, he would be lost! She breaks into laughter that bounces of the walls like an echo going crazy, making her laugh even more, turning her chamber into a madhouse. And why not! Foolishness and madness belong to each other, because truly and really, crazy or not, everything is just a big joke and good for a laugh and, if she is not quite the madman, the clown she is for sure.

She rummages through her pockets for no reason at all or that she is aware of. She finds an old crunched up paper tissue, a mini lighter and, a pen, a kind of highlighter. She tries the lighter but it’s spent, so she drops it. Then she tries the filler and hey, it works! Why it is in her possession she has forgotten, but now she finds it really useful, or so she thinks.

Well! She does not have any paper to draw on, but doesn’t she have walls a plenty? They should serve the purpose even better and, why not spending her time with something enjoyable than just wait until the inevitable happens. So she starts to scribble a few letters on the wall next to her: - ‘Femina’ – “Wow”! To her delight, the letters glow bright in a mesmerising green. Phantastic! Now she can remodel her cell to anything she likes. She draws a few straight lines, up and down and slanting. She creates mountains and then roofs and skyscraper, New York shimmers in fluorescent green. And then she has it with palm trees and a green embroidered oasis and, after that she paints up a tree with birds in it. Amongst them must be a crow because there is a lot of croaking and agitated chatter, followed by hysterical laughter. “Kookaburras!” A flock of them swings in the branches and is flapping around between the leaves. The crow has stopped croaking, probably gone, not liking the jokes that are told or not taking a shine to the noisy neighbourhood. As much as Femina delights in the cackling party up the tree she turn away to another unpainted wall. There she draws a big door with a nice handle at the height convenient for her should she want to latch on. But first she looks at the door admiringly and impressed, as if it were a piece of art, because it fluoresces in three dimensional proportion and the handle is particularly attractive as it shines bright in neon green. Fascinated by this illusion she grasp at the handle just for the fun of it and suddenly there is a “click” and the door opens. “Oh my god”, says she perplexed. “Are all prisons so easy to escape?” AH! Right! She is not in prison! There is an open door! May be prison is just another word for resignation? After all, every prison can be opened! At least with a belt around the neck!

She pulls herself up but slides back down again, unable to keep upright on her feet. And through the open door floods even more bright light, forcing her to hide her eyes behind her arm, because her eyes cannot bear such glare. And the kookaburras are still laughing like crazy. May be they laugh about day and night being a coin with two sides. That  i s  a joke, or isn’t it? Because presenting themselves in two different guises while they are in fact no more than 24 hours or one earth rotation, - that is a joke! Why else would the kookaburras laugh so intractably!

It seems a big bird is flying out of the tree towards her. He spreads out his wings and scoops her up and carries her away, his soft feathers covering her body and eyes, like a warm cloak protecting her from cold and bright light. Not long and he puts her down in his cosy nest. There are two other chicks and they all are mighty hungry.

“Drink Femina!” She hears the big bird say and he puts his beak to her mouth, instilling her with water. It is the most precious she has ever tasted. It wets her mouth like soft rain falling on dried out ground, filling fissures and cracks, every single drop a feast and as soon as her mouth feels soothed and replenished there is enough left to make for a trickle down the throat. One sip, two sips, three sips …more, more she wants. But no more is given.

“That’s enough for now!” says the bird. “Do not worry! You will get as much as you like, later after your body has adjusted. Be patient! Sleep now, have a good rest! We are saved!”

What a beautiful song this bird has. It reminds her of a voice, warm and soft like chocolate and so soothing. “Saved!” he said. What does he mean? Ah, but he is right! She must sleep, at least a little bit. “She does not have to worry”, he said. He will bring her whatever she needs.

                                                                                                              *                                                                                                     
                              

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