Lee - The briefcase, the backpack, my photographers vest; so many places to put stuff...maybe too many. I should lighten the load a bit...
Digging into one of the pockets of the briefcase I found a little book of maps...I've got to show this to Mara; she'll figure it out..this map that shows Mt Analogue can't be real...can it? "Hey Mara, I think you need to look at this......"
Lee's Begining _ © Lee Goldberg
Mark - As I whirled through the sky I nervously began to center in on my fate. After all I had been trained. I remembered the words of the Doctor. He said even at the center of a hurricane is a very calm place. "Similarly, the surface of the ocean... is turbulent but if you descend, it gets calmer and calmer."
As I looked down at Lee fumbling with her map near the fire, I was trying to make sense of everything that had just happened. How did I get here? I was thinking of a time after I got the letter but before this climb. I remember a long uphill walk; Bill walked ahead of me in his red cowboy boots. Everything was normal then. But then I remember Bill sitting in the sidewalk cafe waiting for coffee to cool.... the waiter handed him the end of a red rope. Now we were in a studio. Susan was talking about unicorns. "I hope we see one," she said, full of wonder. I abruptly told her I didn't believe in them and there was "no way in hell" we'd see one. Moving into the small kitchen alcove Susan, nervous about my unnecessary attack, began to open the cabinets. "How do you know?" she asked. "Unicorns are bullshit." I said. "It's a cutesy little girl fantasy. They are lame. Maybe a horse with a letter opener or a pliers growing out of his forehead, now that would cool. But those pink and lavender unicorns in stories? Fuck that!"
I Believe in Cubist Unicorns _ © Mark Bloch
Susan opened the first cupboard which was filled with cans, most of them with no labels. "Typical", Bill said to me, also moving through the cupboards searching for something. "Let her have her dream." "Yeah!!!!" the other climbers echoed from the other room. Susan opened the second cupboard to find three cans of Campbells soup: "Think", "Don't Think" and "Don't Believe What You Think." I came up behind her, opened a door that she hadn't and saw an empty vile way in the back on the right. She saw me looking at it. I told her I was sorry. "I don't mean to be a killjoy," I muttered. She was not as offended as I seemed to think she should be. Now in my minds eye we were back on the trail again. "I think I will hike by myself for a while," was the next thing I remember saying but no one else was nearby so I added another sentence knowing no one was listening and not quite sure why that mattered or why I chose this particular sentence. "Hey Susan did I ever tell you about the first time I heard the Butterfield Blues Band?"
I wanted to do a reality check with Susan and Bill down below and see if any of this had ever happened but instead I shouted something completely unrelated. Someone asked if I needed help and I was skirting the issue so I yelled: "Did you know there are gloves made especially for folding origami? They are very high tech, and use the latest inventions. You know... silicon and carbon fiber. Did you know
December 1, 2010
Susan - All at once, without warning there appeared a large rotating column of air whirling from the ground. As it grew in height and width twisting and bulging rapidly left and right while rising towards the once calm sky, I perceived silver and green sparks flashing inside of this ominous azure funnel. Inside, what I saw just astonished me. There was Mark floating completely still and posed within the turbulent display of fireworks. I stood up quickly and grabbed Bill’s telescope. I broke the glass and used it like a bullhorn hoping it would amplify my voice. “Mark…Mark…do you believe now…do you believe?”
Whirlwind on Analogue _ ©Susan Shulman
William - Although the nuts we had been sharing that evening had been quite tasty my mind was wandering to the state of our provisions. Although Mara's claim of spending a year or more on the expedition seemed outlandish at the time I now realize that my failures in the past stemmed from poor logistics and lack of a strong team. I'm very pleased with the current group; each member capable of strong leadership.
At some point I'll have to return to the ship and sort through the pantry. The canned goods certainly can be cached at lower camps, although several trips will be required for that level of preparedness.
My decision to bring the Campbell's Soups was met with some good-natured teasing. But... the cans themselves have proven useful and we have used the tin to make whistles for signaling.
I pull several of the whistles out now and realize that bits of the soup labels still adhere.
Silently I laugh. Have the others noticed we have Think, Don't Think and Don't Believe What You Think signal whistles?
Mark - On the horizon a herd of angry, stampeding unicorns advanced rapidly toward the fire in a cloud of blue-green dust. Below me Susan's figure seems not solid at all. The glass from the ocular lens of Bill's smashed telescope twinkled at her feet in the twilight. Bill was looking at his soup cans and as I feared for my friends I seem to be looking at thousands of vibrating strings in the form of these people. Above me and to my left on the mountain I heard a cracking sound; I turned and saw an avalanche and I saw the options for our escape decreasing. At that moment a bunch of blue squirrels rushed past them... I thought, didn't we do this already? I looked down to see where they were scattering off to. Their movement echoed the giant swarm of unicorns moving closer. I choked in my breath. Before Susan stood one giant blue squirrel whirling his arms so fast she thought it had a thousand. She reached out to touch it with Bill's telescope and all of a sudden we heard a great crack of thunder and nuts once again started to fall from the trees where tiny green monkeys were waiting. As doublenuts began falling up from the ground and lodging in the trees, the fire first roared large then abruptly extinguished itself as my bewildered friends all slowly rose up off of the ground in unison with their possessions and joined me in the sky. With all the animals on this island swirling in a giant cacophony of movement around me , I felt myself landing hard on my feet on a firm but pliable surface, having gone down feet first, along with all the humans present, on what felt to be a woolen carpet. Strangely enough we landed standing upright with a safe, perfect view of chaos all around us.
William - Meanwhile, atop the cliff of the ruined waterfall, Big Blue and several of his friends have found the contents of the rucksack quite useful. The Waffle Iron has been placed on a level rock and as the self gathering nuts arrange themselves into patterns the small blues quickly bang the lid down.
Blue glances at the name on the rucksack - ЯIA. He chatters to his smaller friends and it sounds like this; ᑝᑴᓃᔣᔽ
Susan - I surveyed the chaos below on the beach after the shock of rising in the sky wore off and I started to feel giddy from the lack of oxygen. There was quite a ruckus happening; screeching and banging that even from this high vantage point was hurting my hearing. I stuffed my hair into my ears to block the noise. I continued to be mesmerized by what was taking place. The blues were scribbling into the sand with the tips of their fluffy blue tails. I was able to decipher crude shaped letters as their penmanship or “tailship” (oh another clue...the tales of ships) was getting smaller and smaller as I rose, but I meticulously read out each letter slowly and carefully in my head.” ISHKABIBBL" was what they wrote!
I breathlessly and frantically searched with my eyes for my traveling companions to share my discovery!
|Between Peradam and Ice _ © Mark Bloch|
Mara - “This is a perfect place to re-orient ourselves”, said Mara as she looked down. “Look over to the right, that’s the cave entrance, just there next to the pinnacle of rock. If we can manage to all fly over there and land, there is something I should share when our feet are on the ground.” The group either heard me or watched my actions, if they couldn’t exactly hear what with the monkeys and the nuts and irony. “We need to go back down to the landslide, complete the preparations for the next climbers and then begin the trek to hut 8 (see Bill’s original map), passing the ruined waterfall area on the way. I think with all this noise we’ve missed an opportunity. The squirrels are not helping their cause, but their nervous chatty behavior is their “squirrel-ness” being true. Even in the crisis they can’t help but run to the other side of the tree and hide, rather than calmly laying it all out in front of us. Susan, Mark, Bill and Lee made motions and we began to move towards the pinnacle, landing on its top. “Look at this,” Mara said softly. We stared at the gloves, together in our sight for the first time. “Does this mean….,” said Susan. “It looks that way to me,” stated Bill, “they are asking for our help, and we can give it to them, but can we?”
“It’s clear, they want one of our ropes,” whispered Mark. The other climbers were not with us at the moment, but we trusted they would be making their way towards hut 8 in order to join our forces for the press. Little did we realize they had a serious decision of their own to contend with. “The landslide separated the squirrels from their cave water source. Big Blue has been running ragged, and may have been driven a bit over the edge by having to use his tail as a mop to bring water to their pools. He’s the only one big enough to climb down to the source and return to the top over the landslide. “ They nodded slowly, already ahead of me, “If we help them rig a pulley and leave some empty cans they will be able to have their water and pool days back. But we will loose a rope. This is a serious decision. Whether or not WE caused the landslide is not relevant, we’ve got to do it. What do you say?”
“Oh, and I figured out why those nuts were so, hummmn, powerful. If they happen to gather over a certain moss, then their properties change. So when we bag them up, be sure to note which bags contain the food and which bags contain the.... ummm clues.”
Lee - Catching a breath is in order, I thought, as I hit the ground hard. Everything had happened so fast none of us had the time to make plans or look for any evident clues . At least I had everything packed up when the chaos hit...and I think... it's even all here. This cave looks like a safe place for the moment...there seem to be reeds and other natural materials around here.
I think the rope situation is not a problem as it's quite easy to make more and if we need to dye them red we have the cacti beetles to use for the dye. It will just take a bit of time.....and water....I expect if we go deeper in that cave we just might find a natural spring in there. I think Bill already had that idea as he and Mark had started walking deeper into the cave. The cave had a substance on the walls that illuminated their way...wonder what they'll find? I do remember a warning about changing things on this island....Susan will know.....but where has she gone now?