Fragmentations of the novel
It was dark by the hour I arrived at a safe place for the night. I happened upon a cave, cut into the edge of a dry lake, a man-made concave with figures carved into the walls. One of the figures, lit by a shard of moonlight, was performing a miracle over the sick, holding a chalice; the cup of salvation for lepers who implore the Saint for mercy. It was a hermit-site, a monk’s recluse, or even a site occupied by a community of monks. I never knew about miracles, not until I discovered the ruins of Christianity, which depicted them incessantly. I hadn’t even stepped foot inside of a church, but they became like sanctuaries for people in despair once the roads were blocked and the streets turned into chaos. I now felt that in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles. The Christian communities survived longer than the rest.
I hadn’t eaten for a few days, but I had enough filtered water to last another day or two. There would be a large town or city dwelling once I head south along the coast. Italy was littered in seaside habitats. It was a land of foragers and saints; criminals and communes; all of them gasping for breath at the ocean’s edge. My only hope is that the latter still outweigh the former.
At night, the sound of the wind howls and the temperatures drop to a level where I shiver round-the-clock, but my determination to lie awake is unbroken; the cave entrance is wide-open to intruders, those feral dogs and hunter-gatherers, otherwise known as foragers, could be stalking somewhere along the ridge-line. The open plain of the desert lake is not an obvious resting place, but to the west, protected by a shallow field, scarped mountains on either side, where I rest, it may seem like a worthy spot for the nomad. There’s no other place to rest; no other nomadic individual except myself. When dogs bark, in the back of beyond, a remote sound lights up the universe. It is oddly reassuring to hear the hills come alive with their determined clamouring.
I press on before sunrise, before the red-hot imperious sun wakes, and traverse the last of this hideously blackened mountain range. Never have I seen a giant stone so jagged, soaring high up in the empty sky like a carnivorous tooth, as that of the twin peaks that furnish the serrated landscape in the Abruzzese from whence I came. After heading two-hundred miles in the wrong direction, I discerned of that distant land that no resources were left, the fruits of Gaia had long since vanished, and neither in the Adriatic would there be a Perseus to rescue me from those monsters roaming the flooded fault lines; buried in sea, beholden to have the final say; the risen underworld.
It was not all doom and gloom. I passed over the last ancient bulwark of rocky road and found myself frowning with immense fecundity upon a glittering horizon, whereupon white-tails of a gusty sea rode like pixie horses into the outstretched bay, adorned with a tanned beach and old stone shelters boasting a strip of human activity. To my mind, it was a community of religious, as no other actual communities existed. The religious would be linked by a common identity and shared practice of living, therefore sustaining a true living. Their dependence on non-human powers divisible by the shape of light and darkness, sun and moon, fire and water, or so I presumed, give rise to the idea of Gods versus demons, whom are both equally triumphant, each linking the virtue to vice and the vice to virtue. The lack of weaponry and clear as day display of tortured wild pig was consistent with this vision. Alas, such fertile ideas of the aforethought civilisation rapidly ceased as I materialised into a claustrophobic vicinity of rubble. I had to penetrate through demolition of corpses, which blanketed my pathway on towards the seafront. The town, like so many, had been raised to the ground by terror. But the ominous feeling in my gut, plus the stench of blood, convinced me of a recent warfare having taken place.
The sun had blinded my prophecy, scattered it outward like a sailor who gazes beyond the storm in hope of refuge. The glee of seeing mountains and sea together, alive and separated, had created a sweet sentiment too ideally coveted for truth, a feeling I am not used to; that syndrome passed down to us known as hope. It would never leave me. I always awoke to the thought that I was fortunate to be the only one left with it.