Monday, November 15, 2010
“DO YOUR PART!”
The letters swept across the face of the floating billboard in a font Dayne recognized as Aero Brazil, something from the pulp adventures of early 20th century North America. Under the excited slogan a there was a picture of a smiling young blonde woman posing with the bulging black hulk of an antimatter gun. Her crisp blue uniform fit her smartly and Dayne felt that she wanted her own breast to stand so pertly at attention, she wished that her lips and cheeks could be so rosy, her eyes so sparkly and blue. She could vaguely remember the ancient black and white films of 1941 and the brighter than life Technicolor of 1952 that her mother had spent hours manipulating on the ComPad, creating new material from the fecundity of publicly accessible digital archives.
That had been before the arrival of the Aeons, before the archives were destroyed and the artists, videographers, musicians, and poets were rounded up and executed. All creative work was banned. The Aeons, emissaries of The Absolute insisted that it was a crime to emulate The Absolute with acts of creation. Creativity was a source of confusion that led to a path of madness like that which led Sophia to steal the creative light of the Pleroma, inseminating herself with it in order to birth Yaldabaoth the architect who in turn created this dimension and the first creatures that inhabited it.
“Where are you now grandfather?” Dayne asked the fallen God under her breath, her feet hurrying away from the billboard, slapping against the concrete with a clack. “They punish the children for the sins of the parents.”
“THE ONLY GOOD ARCHON IS A DEAD ARCHON.”
Another billboard announcement, depicting the Archon Astaphanos being dethroned by the beautiful blue uniformed mob of the New Earth.
Dayne hurried by as it drifted nearer. The children are punished for the sins of the parents. Dayne herself was like Astaphanos, a child of a renegade creator.
“But where are they now Astaphanos? Your father and my mother? Where are they while these angels punish us and pit us against our parents?”
Betrayal was so common. How many shining young faces had proudly delivered their mother or father into the hands of the Aeonic Avatars, other pretty boys and girls in crisp blue uniforms, for a crime such as making up little songs while doing the housework, or whittling a useless little sculpture of an owl? Even the Archon prince Horaios had aided the Aeons after his capture in the pursuit of the terrible architect Yaldabaoth.
“There are no parents in this age, isn’t that right Astaphanos? No brothers, no sisters. An end to family. The end of history.”
Weren’t the sidewalks crowded with the citizens of New Earth? Stations were set up every three blocks or so where a citizen could become a member of the armed forces and fight alongside the stewards of New Earth. One could enlist to help storm the stronghold of Archon loyalists bunkered down on Mars or travel to another sphere of light under the wings of these angels to make war with strange alien demons in parallel worlds. Or one might stay home and police the streets as an Aeonic Avatar.
What will it be Dayne Strothe? The army or the police? A different sort of civil service perhaps? Food industry, garbage disposal, weapons manufacturing? There was an appropriate outlet for that inappropriate urge to create, make antimatter guns or sew little blue uniforms. Forget your mother making videos on the little ComPad, forget the music of Bach, The Beatles, that little band that played in the garage next door…
Administrative work perhaps, making and issuing the papers of identification.
Dayne’s feet carried her swiftly, independent of her mind, clack, clack on the concrete. It was of course always dangerous to walk alone on the street. Only dissidents sought solitude. So hurry, hurry to the place your mind hasn’t fully realized it is traveling to. Ah there it is, now that you see it, you know where you were going, where you meant to go all along…
Dayne slipped into the alley without a hesitating glance over her shoulder. She had been watching the reflections in the glass buildings all along, taking notice of those who did or did not notice her. In the last 8 blocks the beautiful glass buildings and clean but crowded streets had given way to bombed out brick ruins, to buildings of charred plaster and mortar. The streets were empty.
Dayne could remember those films her mother clipped and pasted in the ComPad. In those films, on a street like this, a piece of old newspaper or a plastic bag, or a leaf might have danced a lonesome dance and folded into the gutter.
Not now. There were no newspapers or plastic bags left in the world since before the Aeons arrived, and the trees that were here once had since been burned. It was even more desolate without a desolately drifting newspaper. A little water in the gutter, a few broken windows to search for reflections, but there was no one behind her, no one ahead. So Dayne slipped into the alley without a hesitating glance over her shoulder.
Her feet, her radical feet, carried her to the grimy yellow door. She found herself standing before it, felt her hand lift and tap out a little beat, heard her voice, alien to her own ears, singing waveringly:
“Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine.”
Then the silence rolled over at her feet. The sound of rats scurrying, a sound more silent than silence. Suddenly there was the sound of a bolt scraping and the yellow door swung inward on to a darkness deeper than that of the alleyway.
After a moment she made out the silhouette of a bearded face. It leaned out the door and scanned the alley in both directions and then jerked for her to follow it back into the darkness. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the deeper gloom as he re-bolted the door. Picking up a little saucer upon which a nub of candle glimmered faintly, he motioned for her to follow. They crossed the room entirely concealed in shadow and began the descent down a flight of stairs.
Dayne heard her voice bubble up in her throat once more,
“I am a great granddaughter of Sophia.”
“All of us here are.” The man ahead of her answered and she felt her shoulders relax.
The descent went on and on and Dayne heard the rumble of drums, the wailing of a flute, strange music swirling down in the dark depths. There would be no questions here, no need for answers, no papers of identification. Here perhaps Iao, Sabaoth, Adonaios, and Elaios were hiding from the prying light above.
‘Mother,” she wondered silently, ‘Could you have escaped the executioners? Are you down here, cutting and pasting, cutting and pasting the history of 1941 and 1952? And what about the terrible architect? Is he here too? A golden child nursing at Sophia’s breast, still dreaming worlds for us to inhabit, spheres where we may sing and dance and cut and paste without regulations, without jealous eyes watching?’
The music was growing louder the deeper they descended and Dayne’s feet drummed on the steps, clack, clack, radical feet carrying her to the place she dared not imagine.