After this glimpse into the future of imagination-design, I return to my room and to my hunt for the source of the violence in the air, which I felt this morning had something to do with Pippa. I home in on my favourite grimy high-rise … and I catch you, Pippa, sitting on your balcony and staring through the dusk light. Your spacious sadness arches in a grand high vault above this lonely town, belying all the chatter and the fuss of other people—but nonetheless your stars are good again! Every twelve years the planet Jupiter revolves around your sky and paints its roof in swirls of pink and orange; every twenty-nine years, Saturn bars its windows even tighter than before, in green and black; every eighty-four years (so you may live one orbit), Uranus electrifies your vault in paler green; for sure you will not know a full turn of Neptune over one hundred and sixty-five years, in deep delusive blue; but then at last, from unimaginably far above, once every two hundred and forty-eight years, your vault is smashed by a bomb-blast from Pluto, deepest black, intractable and alien. Yes, your horoscope gives you the coolest view of where we are in icy space, a view too wide for daily life—a goddess-sized view, in fact. So, as befits a goddess, you are silent and you don’t block your eyes.
You float indoors from the balcony, across the sitting room into the hallway, and now I think I may have hit a bull’s-eye at last, as you approach that narrow door … but you walk right past it, straining not to think about it, striving to resist its pull, which feels like the pull from a black hole in your sanity—
You slam your bedroom door behind you, cross the unlit room to your bed and lie down. You hear that special silence creeping nearer, to hedge you in; you feel that dark, clotted presence there in the air, congealing thickly, and you know it is again time to be the one you should have been, inhabiting the world that you should have found around you. So you watch yourself climb off the bed, descend the stairwell, get into a limo and be driven by an unseen chauffeur to a place that no one else knows. There in the dead zone beyond the city’s concrete edge, you strut like a skeleton across the asphalt field by the wire-netting fence. Giant metal floodlights sense you, hum alive and blaze down upon you. Lit stark white between broken empty warehouses, there your face and body-size change unpredictably until you can’t be recognised. The creature that you now become, you treasure. The world you were born on, and the time you were born on it, were not quite up to this; they fell short. But with enormous shining bitter-sweet pleasure, you create for yourself, upon this asphalt stage, the world and time that should have been. You flip your ribcage open with a gesture to the stars, laying lewdly bare a heart like a black fleshy artichoke, and move and look as no one else on earth, beyond description … while hidden in the blackness of the broken warehouse windows all around the field, trolls growl and moan at the lurid beauty in you. And when your show is over, you morph back to Pippa Vail, slip into the limousine and speed away again along the fence, while the floodlights dim to black, as if you’d never been.
Back home, you stare blankly at the mirror in the bathroom. You don’t seem to know it, but at some moment in the course of the upcoming month (perhaps the upcoming week), that imperceptible point of no return will have been reached and passed by you. When this occurs, presently, your isolation and dysfunction will have attained that combination of severity and duration required to warp you out of shape for good, easing you into a space where you will thereafter think in a different language from the rest of us. You could still then be guided back into our language, hypothetically, if a person with the necessary skills came along whose appointed task it were to do this. What would the chances be, however, of such a person coming along at such a point, Pippa? Negligible, yes?
Your eyes in the mirror are dead now—empty holes that shine with dead black light. Are you in them? Are you back there, hiding in the darkness of your broken warehouse windows, with the trolls?
I’m losing you. You’re fading. Make a sign, if you’re in there… Blink, if you can… Shatter your one-way mirror-sphere, before it shrinks around you—
There you go.
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