SURREAL ADVENTURES FROM THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Midday dark

I decided to leave Ed and Jimmy solve their serious problems. I couldn’t stand their deceitful methods and extreme solutions, so I washed my hands of them. I could only expect they would be able to make peace and reach a reasonable agreement without getting killed.

My way back to civilisation was harder than the speedy trip I had been forced to take to the house in the frozen fields with Jimmy Moon. His limousine travelled faster than the speed of light, but I had to go back to Sandwich by my own means.

During my return journey I crossed inhospitable lunar landscapes, iced waterfalls and deep caves. I felt very lonely on my own in that hostile territory. It was cold, dark, wet and gloomy. My adventure finished abruptly when I was suddenly swallowed by a dark whirlpool that dragged me back to my everyday normal life in Sandwich: I appeared in my bedroom, nightie on, holding a glass of water in my right hand... and ready to go to bed.

That same night during my sleep I had a terrifying vision of Jimmy Moon breaking into scene, enfolding me completely in his black cape and dark hug.

- You're a light that shines in the darkness, Leni. Like moths attracted to flame, those whose lives are lost will find hope in your passion. Don't forget. -he said, solemnly-.

Dark people never speak clearly. They use mysterious circumlocutions and roundabouts in their speech, so it's quite hard to get them sometimes. I just hoped not to find the supernatural gang queuing up at my door next morning. I had definitely had my share of weirdos.

- What about your dispute with Ed? -I asked-
- That's finally sorted out. Your man is free to go his own way. I'll go mine and we'll never meet again. -he answered-
- I'm glad you managed to reach an agreement. How come it was so easy?
- Just ask him.
-he chuckled, as his rainbow eyes glowed in the dark-.

And all I can remember vaguely afterwards is seeing his impressive silhouette vanish into the night.

During the following days I tried to slowly go back to normal mode and forget about my ordeal.

Christmas was coming. The streets of Grytviken were filled with beautiful decorations, ornaments, lights and garlands. I remember enjoying Christmas big time when I was little. It basically meant holidays at school, presents and delicious food. What else could a kid want?

In Sandwich, Christmas is not just a celebration, but also the time of midday dark: a strange phenomenon integrated in celestial mechanics, that happens only in these Islands.

Midday dark may last several weeks and basically consists in total lack of difference between night and day. The sun disappears and the whole island is dragged down into the darkness. It’s terribly cold too. The poetic side of it –if there’s any- is that the black sky appears splashed with beautifully blurred reddish clouds that move adopting mysterious shapes, shining like a huge bonfire. Some scientists compare it to the northern lights but there is one singularity that distinguishes midday dark from other astronomical phenomenons: it seriously affects behaviour.

Foreigners are immune, but most natives have a hard time when it happens, and they suffer from different disorders going from painful migraines to temporary madness, causing a number of consequences in their lives. It’s a yearly national emergency that people try to bear as a lesser evil. There is no medical treatment to fight against it. They just try to put up with it and remain in standby mode until it passes. So in Sandwich it’s quite normal to ask people about their midday dark condition -just as if you were asking them about their cold-, right after wishing them a nice Christmas and a happy new year.

There is a whole mythology surrounding Sandwichian midday dark: Malicious tongues say that all kinds of dark beings wander around the woods looking for those unaware of their nearness. The unfortunate victims who are caught offguard, risk to be dragged into the forest and ruthlessly abandoned to their own devices. Once there, they will be lost for days or weeks and then found, unable to remember where they had been and what they had done. Like they had been amnesic walkabouting in their dreams.

I always thought that these stories were nothing but silly Sandwichian legends until that fatal day when I went back to Dumbass Industries, after my kidnap.

It was a genuine midday dark morning. I thought Big Cheese would ask me where I had been hiding during the six long days that I had been abducted, but this didn’t happen. Actually, that was a bit fishy. Normally, when I'm absent he doesn't stop phoning and e-mailing me until his brain realises that I'm on holidays and he should forget about me until I'm back. So I couldn’t believe he didn't miss me. I was shocked.

Then I knew that poor Big Cheese was suffering from serious sleepwalking episodes and was unable to notice half of the things going on around him. Another funny consequence of midday dark.

That afternoon I decided to go shopping for food. I had to refill the fridge. And I got this phone call from Ed.

- Hi sweety.
- Hi Ed.
- How’s your midday dark going?
- For the moment I'm fine, thanks
–I answered- .
- I hope it won't change into mad day dark.
- I won't comment on this. By the way, that's a bad joke and I dislike it.

I bet he thought I was throwing a genuine seasonal Sandwichian fit, but I was just upset for the things he said to me when I thought I had killed Jimmy Moon. There was a long silence

- I didn't mean to be unkind. Are you cranky? –he asked-
- No, I’m not. But as far as I'm concerned, you've committed several acts worthy of ass-kickery very recently.

There was a longer silence.

- Leni.
- Yes.
- Let's make peace, ok? Tell me something: are you having any days off in Christmas?
- Yes, one week.
- Would you like to go somewhere with me?
- You mean going out together?

- Hm.. not only that; I was thinking about travelling to a nice place. Wouldn't you like to walk with me hand in hand in the Champs Élysées in Paris; climb to the Campanile in Siena; or maybe visit the forbidden city in Beijing... ?
- That would be lovely, Ed. But I need to be here. I always have lunch with my family on Christmas day. It's a tradition that we like to keep alive. What do you do these days?
- I do nothing. I hate Christmas.
-he said very shortly-
- Why do you hate Christmas? -I asked, curious-.

He sighed, hesitating whether it was a good idea or not to tell me why.

- I stopped celebrating it when my second wife and son died.

My heart sank. I was paralized with sorrow. I racked my brain looking for some words of comfort but I didn't know exactly what to say.

- Ed. You must learn to live again.
- I'm already dead, honey.
- Please, don't say that. It was very sad, but life goes on for you too.

Suddenly, I had this great idea:

- Hey, I dare you to spend Christmas day together.
- I don't need your sympathy Leni. I'm usually on my own these days. I enjoy sometimes beng this way and I'm not in the mood for Christmas. My mind is still remembering last summer.
- Last summer finished three months ago. And it's not sympathy what I'm offering, but company.
- I don't know.
- Just think about it and let me know what you decide.
- Ok.

I felt happy. When the conversation finished, I walked into a big store and thought I would buy him a nice present, whether he wanted it or not. Not because it was Christmas but just because I needed to buy him something nice.

He had been numb with grief and dead inside for too long. I wanted to make him feel the small pleasures of life again: the smell of spring rains; the sweet taste of a kiss; the sound of a whisper; the beautiful sight of the sunrise; the touch of a loving hand.

Because in the back of my mind, I knew there was still hope for him.




"It can't rain all the time" (Jane Siberry, from the soundtrack of the film "The crow")

14 comments:

ysfb said...

It's crazy how one day can bring the best out of some people and the worst. Ah, the holidays.

Grass said...

Wow, midday darkness? I didn't know that happens. What a strange celestial phenomenon indeed.. and you say it happens in Sandwhich Island, only?

There's always hope for Ed as long as he has you for company. Hey, maybe you should invite him to a dinner or lunch with your family? It should be nice.. :-)

As for the poetry lines you wrote in this entry, they're beautiful.. I could paint your words.. :-)


xxxx

Leni Qinan said...

Right, ysfb.

We're a cocktail of opposites. There's too many stuff mixed up inside that comes out anytime.
I bet you like Christmas holidays as much as my good friend Ed, lol.

Leni Qinan said...

Yes, Grassy, this is weird, i suppose it's a result of the strange location of the Sandwich Islands (have you seen the TV series 'Lost'? there's a strange island there, where strange things happen to the people because of magnetism and other stuff).

I try to bring some hope to Ed. I'm not a Xmas freak, but I like to have some holidays, give and receive presents, have dinner with the family... etc.

But inviting Ed to dinner with my family? No way! Not yet! They would scare him out! My granny smokes big fat cigars; my mom sings opera while she does the dishes and my brother falls asleep too easily after a huge meal -I don't know what Ed would think about them, lol-.

Thanks for your comment about the poetry, sis. I appreciate. Actually, it's not hard to write that when you've felt this before.

Take good care of Gugu and yourself.

XXXXXXXX

Grass said...

Oh yeah, I totally agree sis.. Christmas means presents, spending time with family (no matter how scary they are, LOL) and reunions with long-time-not-seen friends who came home for the occasion.. :-)

Yikes, Lost.. A friend of mine suggested I watch this but I told him to give a TV set first..LOL I don't have tv in my apartment, can you believe it? I do have tons of book to occupy my time with.. I'm such a geek..

As for the phenomenons you said, about magnetism and stuffs.. that happens.. But I don't want to be too nerdy to explain things.. LOL Though some of them are pure hoax.. It's all in physics.. ;-)


xxxx

Skeeter said...

Hi Leni,

This is an interesting character and setting study. The name that you've given the evil corporation in your story makes me happy.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

INNER VOICES said...

excellent! i love it.... your writing is better every post!!!

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Grassy!

To be honest, you’re not missing much. I have a TV in my flat, but I prefer to blog, surf the net and have a virtual life –which is always adventurous and more thrilling than watching TV-. Reading is also great. Also adventurous and thrilling.

I think strange phenomenons are strange just because our human brain doesn’t understand them. As an unbeliever, I agree with you: it must be all in physics. ;))

Big hug.

Leni Qinan said...

Heeey Skeeter! What a delicious turkey!

I presume you refer to Dumbass Industries (that’s the company where I'm supposed to work, lol). It was not hard to find a fictional name and draw the analogy. It made me laugh big time.

Take care. :)

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Zack!

Thanks, don’t flatter me that much or I’ll go all silly, lol.

Nice to know your enjoy reading!

Take care!

rebecca said...

Was The Crow part of your inspiration for the midday dark? This was something.

I love The Crow. One of my all-time favorite movies. I am not a DVD buyer/collector - don't find the logic in it, how many times can you watch a movie, really? - but, certain movies are classics and are worth seeing over and over again and it is one I have in my meager collection. It is one I never tire of. And it is so sad that Brandon Lee had to die so tragically. I thought he was beautiful inside and out and was destined for great things. Another victim of a family curse I suppose.

But the best line in that movie - THE BEST LINE I THINK I'VE HEARD SO FAR - is "Mother is the name of God on the lips and hearts of all children." WOW! I never, never forgot it, it made such an impression because of its truth and its sheer poetry. Man I wish I had come up with that line.

BTW, come on over sister, there's an award waiting for you at my place.

Leni Qinan said...

Hi Rebecca!

No, the Crow was not really a part of my inspiration. I always loved the dramatic force and intensity of the gothic character, and also the legend about Brandon Lee and the fim.

But to be honest, what really inspired me was Jane Siberry's song "It can't rain all the time". It's a perfect background music to the part when I say to Ed that he must learn to live again.

I agree with you, some films are worth watching many times. And you don't get tired of them, lol.

The line you quote is very tender and poetic. But, hey, you will come up with better lines Rebecca, your writing is absolutely fantastic. I love it. Every writer has a personal style and there are unlimited possibilities to create with a tool as wonderful as language.

My dear Rebecca, I've visited your blog some time ago and I could read about the award you've given me. The only reason why i didnt say anything is... I had to cook lunch, haha.

I feel very honoured -twice as much, coming from a writer- and I really appreciate it-. It makes me very happy and encourages me to continue writing surrealistic stories -struggling with my English, hahah-.

Seriously, thank you from th bottom of my heart, Rebecca. I'll pay a visit to your blog to comment and I'll tell the world about this beautiful award tonight -your afternoon, I think- in a special post.

Big hug.

Nahuatl said...

Mid day darkness! Hmm... I need to research on it :D

How are you Leni? Not really active or just lost in the woods? :P

Wish you and family a very merry xmas! I hope it brings you good times. Take care!

Leni Qinan said...

Wow Nayan! Long time no see!

Mid day darkness... you will find it in the Sandwichian chronicles, hahaha.

I am fine, thanks, and you?. I've been walkabout in virtual life, and very busy in real life but holding. Maybe I haven't been so active lately -I slowed down to one post per week; two was too stresing. But I'm still here.

Have a very happy Xmas too, Nayan. See you in your blog!