Sunday, 3 November 2013
A walk on the beach with monsters
Imagine a stretch of coastline. There is a steep bank with various hardy shrubs growing on it. The beach below is rocky and narrow but easy to walk on. It is too cold to swim in the water; the people who have come to the beach - couples, families, solitary people - are wearing their sweaters and jeans. They walk along the beach, talking, laughing, calling out to each other. There is a fairly stiff breeze, but it is not stormy. The sky is overcast.
One of the people stops suddenly to look at something on the beach. It is the same grey colour as all the rocks on the beach. She bends over and picks it up. Suddenly, pink tentacles appear. They come from one of the shrubs, but they don't emerge from the shrub: rather the shrub becomes tentacles. They twine around the woman, easily stifling her screams, and absorb her into the ground.
There is panic on the beach. People stare, run, flee. Several more are seized and devoured by the tentacles.
Days or weeks pass. More people have been attacked on the beach. Nobody understands where the tentacles are coming from or what exactly they are. The beach is closed to the public, but scientists come to try and figure out what is happening. They don't make much progress; however they do observe something else very unusual about this beach.
There are letters all over the beach. They are just like all the other rocks, but they form uppercase typescript letters. All letters of the alphabet. They are scattered about among the rocks in no apparent order. Some of the scientists wonder if they form a message or code, but nobody can prove this or say what the message is. Furthermore, it is rather hard to study the letters because the tentacles keep emerging and snatching away the scientists, too.
Except for one scientist.
This scientist moves slower than the others, and is more observant. He notices that the tentacles emerge whenever one of the letters on the beach is touched - either by being picked up or by being stepped on by accident. So he is very very careful to not step on any of the letters, and he absolutely never touches them. He is rather detached from the urgency and the panic of the situation. He is not particularly sad when yet another colleague is seized and devoured.
All the action is happening on one part of the beach, and it hasn't occurred to anyone to explore other parts of the beach. So the scientist leaves his group of colleagues behind and starts to walk along the coastline. He continues to see letters on the ground, but he watches his step carefully and does not step on any of them. Slowly the sound of human voices falls away and the scientist is alone. The only sound is the wind and gentle surf, and even the wind seems to be dying. The sea is empty grey expanse, as is the sky. Sea and sky blur into each other at the horizon.
As the scientist walks, there seem to be fewer and fewer letters. The beach becomes sandy with scattered driftwood. The few remaining letters are the exact colour and texture of the beach, so he still has to watch very closely to see them. After a while the scientist begins to feel quite safe. He was not overly scared to start with, but now he feels quite confident that he will not be imminently eaten by the monster. However, he is not satisfied because he still does not understand what the monster is, nor can he explain its behaviour. It is not enough to be safe from it. He must understand. So the next time he sees a letter, he reaches down and picks it up.
Do the tentacles reach out and grab the scientist? He could not really say for sure, because in that moment his perception of the world completely changes. What he knows for certain is that the monster does not mean to eat him, if indeed that is what it really was doing with all the other people. What he knows is that he is now part of the monster. He is not afraid but remains profoundly curious. Perhaps now he will be able to learn about the monster.
The scientist gives the monster a name: the Kraken. But it does not really resemble the Kraken in movies or legends. It exists as part of the land and the sea, and although it has tentacles it is not a squid or any animal. In fact it has no real shape in space at all; it resolves into different forms and shapes depending on what it needs to do.
At some point the scientist becomes aware of something else: not only is he now a monster, but he is also a female monster. His sex has changed. This does not bother him, but he does find it interesting. If he has become a female monster, there must be a reason for that. And it must mean there is a male monster somewhere nearby. As soon as the thought occurs to him, or rather her, she is filled with an intense desire to find the male monster. The sea suddenly seems like a huge and terribly lonely place without another monster for company.
No doubt her counterpart is thinking something similar, for he soon appears. Or rather, their presences connect and recognize each other, for nothing physical appears in space. Until that is, the scientist starts asking questions. Questions like: how did I come to be here? What are you? What is our purpose?
The other monster explains it. As he explains, he takes on a shape: and it is the shape of a human woman. But not a human woman seen close up, a woman seen at a distance. Far enough that she is recognizable as a woman but her face is a blur. She wears a black sweater and jeans, and her hair is long and dark. She is maybe 35 years old, of medium build. The monster/woman explains that she too, was once a human, until she became a monster in a similar manner as the scientist has just done. The monsters are real, and humans have names for them like Kraken, although those names and descriptions capture only the tiniest part of the monsters' real essence.
There are very few of the monsters in the world, and they live far apart in space and time. However, they do live in partnership. They are mortal, and eventually one or other of the partners dies. The monsters cannot bear to be alone, so when they lose their partner they seek another one from among the humans. The new monster takes on the opposite sex of the existing monster, regardless of what sex the human happened to be. In this way the woman became a male monster, and the male scientist became a female monster.
It is hard to say how long this dialogue between the monsters went on. Minutes, weeks, months, years. They do not experience time the way humans do. At some point the talk became quite dirty, however, with the female monster asking the male "Can you show me how long is your ----?"
I woke up at that point.
I'm pretty sure the monsters went on to have some monstrous offspring, and it looked like they were going to very happy together in the grey sea by the rocky coast, but I shall never know for sure.
I have no plans to be a regular dream bore, but there can be a peculiar grace in the non-literal.
New cycle, day 9. With the first (hopefully) fertile signs starting to manifest.
Hoping the best for everyone's new week.