lightning garden

A labyrinth of dead ends conserved in clear amber

I wanted to dig my hands into the soft, moist ground, to shovel it aside and sink my fingers deep. I wanted to burrow through the dirt and soil, to slither and twist through the secret, wet passageways of the earth known only to mole and worm, to slip through the cracks in the unyielding bedrock, and merge with the cool, clear groundwater.

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Thirsty tongues licking at cracked lips, dry, dry, so very dry. Pain, terrible pain, wounds scabrous and sticky; ignoring it, eyes trained forward so as to avoid the blinding hot sun directly overhead. Limbs touching sand, crawling, slithering, stalking forwards. Hungering.

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There is a city at the edge of the Mauve Sea. It has five districts, five Ends, each of them not in a direction, but a direction. They mix together at their edges in a fractal patchwork, send pseudopods and feelers past each other, and grow exclaves inside one another. They are only a little apart — a millimetre off, half a second out of sync — but enough.

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