Slowly, the era of reconciliation begins. He says, “I swallow hallucinogens in order to feel contrition.” Visions overpower him. He wakes to find the features have been removed from his face. His tee-shirts no longer fit properly. The people around him are slabs of meat, silently walking upright. He would join her in the cave, but he’s already scratched hundreds of petroglyphs into the walls. In some, the embedded crystals are large enough to note with the naked eye.
Dozens of birds circle in the air above them. One of the birds lands on a nearby fencepost. It’s feathers have been removed and the pupils are dilated and fidgety. The city is empty and requires cleaning. They track their movements by tides and the direction of the wind.
He says, “As it turns out, animal protein is extracted from animals.” A parade of amateurs begin siphoning off pieces of bone and skin. To say the end of the world is approaching is to mistake the blinking lights on the horizon for a city. Whenever they meet, another island nation struggles to stay above the waterline. Whenever they meet, they work their way smoothly inwards. Theirs is a relationship between the signals and the things to which they refer. Every interaction between them can be considered as a fixation with light. Their hands are guided by forces both unnatural and unseen. He makes a sound which she is not sure is entirely human. The pixel count is high, but the textural criteria of even the most simple gesture is low.
She says, “Reconciliation is nothing without the intrusion of scalpels and butcher’s knives.” The location is non-specific, but sits near a coast. In between rocky promontories, the sparkling white sand coves serve as a gentle riposte of the various capes, headlands and peninsulas.
He says, “That’s right. You know where I’m coming from.”
They travel south. They travel north. They follow the position of satellite relative to easily identified constellations. The streets are not theirs. Their children wear respiratory protective equipment and collect ambergris and fossils on the beach. They create a shrine out of discarded plastic.
Air monitoring requires repositioning. By the time they arrived the number in their party had shrunk considerably. The anarchist bookstore had been replaced by a geologist shop where you could ask about the origin of stones. Feldspar, amphiboles, and micas. She drapes a string of bloody feathers around his neck, positions his body towards the east and says, “It is morning. Walk towards the sun.”