Thursday, August 2, 2012

"The Ballerinas of Versiansa"

Welcome to the swamps of Versiansa, where the birds all sing the same tune and the trees grow crooked as old fingernails. A grim canopy covers the lightest hopes of vision; down here, your mind makes its own mysteries. Mushy marshes make a muddy march through the landscape, and if you look hard enough, you might just find life in the torn depths of this organic junkyard. If you can call it "life."

Your march through the marsh is interrupted every few minutes by the sounds deep down here. Was that one a bird? It sounded like a tuning fork. Something steps on a branch. Your eyes can't adjust to this darkness, for the swamps don't provide any conventional concept of low visibility; this is to the dark what fog is to rain. It's oddly eldritch, just the way you like it. This is why you come out here; its surrealism helps you think.

You see figures dancing around the trees, neither creature nor plant. They spring and swirl and say sweetness upon this tranquility. You recognize their giggles as a plain "Hello" and say it back, prompting further chuckles and shrill laughter.

Insects fly around, fireflies of the sound barrier. They chirp when perched on trees, acting as audial signs when the clearing never quite opens for your vision.

The dancing submarine ballerinas circle you; the closer they dance, the closer they are to something you can perceive as sight. You catch glimpses of blue hair and dresses giving the illusion of bedsheet ghosts. Still, they twirl on, and still, you find yourself strolling through the swamp with them.

The birds complete their tuning and sing an aria suite, with the ballerinas matching their movement to every movement of the music. A melody tickles your fancy, and your feet flinchlessly follow the flurry. The swamp is your ballroom, and the ballerinas beckon for your audience. Glimpses of sunlight shine through patches of canopy, acting as aerial spotlights and lighting pinches of the grey swamps around you.

Branches shift; these patches of light are covered, and you are again shielded behind the haze.

This is all but a reverie, and your morning dance only gets more surreal as you find yourself in the presence of more and more ballerinas. Their giggles give way to more direct contact: One maiden grabs your hand and twirls a classical jingle through your arms. Her perfume smells of blueberries and the faintest hint of pickled fish. Lavender scents enter the mix, and the grey haze of the swamp fades to indigo.

You are in love with the surroundings, and for the first time in your life, you feel you can declare absolute joy.

More maidens become your dancing partners, your feet practically hovering above the ground in movement by now. Frogs are heard, their croaks providing alto and bass, the aria becoming a courante of careful craft.

As the dance progresses into an art, you consciously recognize that your movement is no longer your own. The blue ballerinas have fully incorporated you into their routine, and even if you were to stop controlling your limbs, you know they would prolong your progressive parade. You are a prisoner of the dance now, the melodious maidens' tight grips on your hands providing more than enough inertia to keep you swinging. The secret of the submarines surfaces as their vocals guide the musical:

"All, always the same.
With time on our side, the dance moves
Between trees and grooves,
And the water rises to tame.
Take a bow, you've joined the dance and will follow me now."

The ballerinas stomp the ground, and it gives in to the water below. Fungal strings form a tight grip on your legs, and you are forced to your knees in the warm swamp, arms grabbed next, your head poking out of the water.

A sole maiden stops dancing and steps in front of you. You spy her short blue hair, her blue dress too clean for the swamp, her legs seeming to walk on a pathway of fungi. She cracks a smile, and for a moment, you are certain her face's beauty is a light source in its own right.

"Welcome to the endless obsession, our liquid throe.
In moments, you will long no longer for absent friends.
Submit. I am all you feel, my knowledge all you know.
There will be no more ‘You;' this life you fled never ends.
Life lapis, drown with me. Drink the spring of Salmacis."

Your head goes under, and your panic ceases before you even get the chance to begin.

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