Flavorology‎ > ‎Flavor in Space‎ > ‎

Chapter 18


Tonight I rode into the dark.  I have been staying for a few months on the surface here in Otoyk.  Living on the surface we are constantly reminded of loss, and I was tired of it.  I had been alerted to the fact that this small piece of Otoyk would soon be obliterated.  I tried to retain what was here, but bound in my own contracts and relationships I can only pull so many strings before my own web begins to unravel.  I must choose wisely and the stress had me frustrated.

I set out.  Gliding by vast rumbling cargo vessels, gliding by brightly lit bubble stores, I came near the night side of a planet.   I hovered above the surface for a while, just a few meters up above the forest canopy.  I could hear chirping crickets and wind rustling the foliage below.

Then off again, through the dark.  I saw a cluster of bubbles in the distance.  They were houses, a small orbiting space station.  What they were orbiting I couldn't tell, so I rode closer.  I squeezed by bubbles and capsules.  Nestled there is a small globe, a small patch of earth.  It is bordered by a gate, tall, broad, granite, and hung with white paper tassels.

I parked, hopped off my vehicle, and walked through the gate.  Several ancient trees tower, their roots holding the soil.  Built on the land between them, an old wooden stage stands.  In the distance, under a floating florescent lantern two youths rested.  One balanced on his vehicle while the other sat on a bench, his head was in his hands.  This place is a shrine.  At its center is an enclosed granary, a box of spirit.  This granary is raised just off the ground and hidden behind trees and veils.  I approached the inner shrine and looked through the fence.  Light filtered through illuminating white streaks in the thick mat of leaves on the ground.  Standing there I looked up.  All around this little bit of earth, houses rise up, tightly clustered like barnacles.

I had arrived here randomly, cutting through the silent darkness.  But the roots of the trees go deep, they are timeless.  This timelessness makes this place a center, the center of its own world.  It gives it gravity.

I decided I had better take off, so I departed.  Leaving a center is disorienting and I mixed up my directions.  What I thought was East was South and what I thought was South was West.  I tried to go home but I flew in circles.  Passing floating restaurants and shops, brightly lit and flashing neon in the dark, I wanted to land.  I saw people inside big fish bowl windows laughing, eating, drinking.  Momentarily I wished I never knew what it was like to live on a planet, I wished I didn't know the sadness of passing wisdom, obliterated.  Finally, seeing big floating metal signs, I found my way.