Curar, Tregrihi, 11th Zendor 998.
It’s not dark at night. The astronomers say the sun reflects off of the moons and illuminates Tradia. I know what darkness looks like. At night, the sky glows.
I lie awake. The room is engulfed in the chill of early Zendor. The slit between the door and the wall is a vast expanse revealing the world.
A flicker of contrasting lime floodlights the bed and carves the curves of the pillow and my face in two.
I walk through the stone slabs.
I am seen, but I hear no-one. The street lamps glare down at me, having switched colours with the sky.
I am warm, but I don’t see the sun. The street lamps burn down at me, their temperatures switched with the desert.
The breeze is my only company.
In motion. On wheels.
The lights burst on above my head, in my face, as I am entered into each new room, through the doors, down one corridor that doesn’t stop until it opens – onto a drop into an ocean that never ends –
and the water welcomes me.
I am engulfed in the chill of the sea.
Then I land on the shore, and watch the waves of the oasis.
I pack. I prepare. I leave.
The door is shut, and the apartment is empty again. Now there is only the way forward, until this evening.
I venture through the empty corridors while all of the others are busy with their work. The vines of lost cables drip from the ceiling. I fight my way through the undergrowth of the brushes and the brooms, the words on the wall staring down at me, preserving the memory of such companies as Altinea and Concrete Graphics for only me to see.
I look for where they keep the keys to the old rooms, the ones only useful to me, while they pack and prepare and leave in some other place. With so much space and so little time, why not build more rooms when you’ve had enough of what you’ve got? The building grows faster than it can decay. Its old organs wait, forgotten and cancerous.
I worry that I might be approached before I can get away. I search through the lake of keys to get to the one I need, then through the maze of doors to get to the one I want. There it is – perfect – the penultimate-but-one at the end of a corridor, marked for only staff, though there were never customers. A torn note is still stuck to it, hinting at experiments that were once run in this room. A single lock guards its entrance, the seal seeming like a blunt spear amongst the depilnish chaos of this country’s technological buildings.
I slot in the first three and it opens on the fourth. There’s enough space in the centre, a red light in the corner that I can cover and a bulb dripping off the ceiling that I can switch off. Dusty equipment is stacked to the side, and only one device has felt a human touch recently. This was more than a storage room, and now it is less. Now I can shut the door and lock it and drown out the silence. No-one calls out my name. No-one demands “Evelin, come and work”, because no-one knows I’m here. I have never been safer.
I sit on the floor, back to a control box, and kick the switch.
There is no light, but I still hear a whisper in the silence, and I know I can’t ever breathe until they leave and I am finally alone.