0x7D3 July 0x14

I wanted tomatoes. So I set off up the mountain for them.

When I had gotten high enough that they would grow, I planted the seeds that I had brought with me.

I was not certain that tomatoes, or indeed anything, would grow. The sun had faded the packets so that I could not tell what was in them, and it had been a very long time indeed.

On the mountaintop, I waited and watched for the seeds to grow.
The sun beat down.
The wind blew.
The rain fell.

I do not know how long I waited, as the sun beat down on me, the wind blew, and the rain fell. At times I would become immobile as I waited. When I was immobile, sometimes the seeds would grow. They would sprout. Tall things would grow, and short things, and things that were good to eat. Perhaps there were tomatoes while I was immobile, but I could not be certain of that. Eventually there came a time when the seeds had sprouted, or some of them at least. But I was not certain what was growing, as I did not quite remember what a tomato plant looked like, if indeed I had ever seen one. The sun beat down. The wind blew. The rain fell. There came a time when the seeds had grown taller than my head, yet strangely stunted and twisted, if indeed my memory could be trusted. Perhaps the plants were supposed to be twisted this way; they had always been there, and I had not planted them; the seeds had always been there and I had just moved them. I did not remember it having ever been different. The plants had always been there. Some of them were so big now that they would stop the rain from falling on me if I stood beneath them, and even block the wind. Stranger still was the fact that sometimes they would make it rain when it wouldn't otherwise, as if they were part of some great machine, some gigantic condenser reaching deep into the mountains.

The rain would trickle down the mountain in little rivulets, rivulets that cut gullies for themselves and grew. Perhaps the plants had created the rivulets, rivulets which would join together into great streams that would tumble down the mountainside until they reached the point where it was hot enough that they would dry up and evaporate into clouds, long before they ever reached the basalt-floored basins.

I remembered a story of a creature, small and hard, that could fly. Flying was pushing through air so that one rose off the ground. Perhaps I had seen it once while immobile. It was strange, it could go through the air even up here. It had more limbs than I did, but was more like I than like the creatures in the lowlands. I had not seen such a creature in a long time.

In these basins lived strange slimy creatures that moved by splitting into many and merging into one. I wondered about these creatures. How had they come to take this world from us? But I did not know what us meant, for I was the only one who existed, who had ever existed. I decided to go down into the basins, to resolve my questions. I took with me a small hard pod full of seeds, for I had become accustomed to become immobile in the soft piles of leaves beneath some of the larger plants, and I knew that I would certainly need to become immobile at some point on my journey.

I used as my guide a stream heading downward, and set off along it bearing my pod. After a time, doubts began to intrude. What if I could not learn anything from the things that were many in one and one that was many? I stopped for a time, but eventually decided that while I might not learn by approaching the things, I would not learn by returning. I resumed my downward course, planting seeds at intervals in likely-looking places. As I descended, the air grew thicker and hotter. When I could descend no further, I set off sideways along the mountain.

I lost the seedpod at a particularly difficult crossing, and came at last to a dead-end valley, surrounded on three sides by mountains and on the fourth by a path that I had barely survived. At this, I gave up and climbed the slope directly ahead, seeking only a comfortable mountaintop. I could no longer retrace my steps to the one I had planted the seeds upon, so I climbed the nearest mountain. Reaching the top, I found it barren and unpleasant and fell to wondering. I could not see the basins from here, nor could I from my previous mountaintop, or anyplace on the long path leading here. How did I know that there were creatures down there, great greenblack slimy things that moved by splitting and merging into one? Had I always known this? Or perhaps I had learned of them while immobile? I had learned many strange things while immobile; I remembered having planted seeds, and I remembered there being two of me once, one sitting on a rock and one becoming immobile on a pile of leaves. Thinking of that reminded me that I had not become immobile in a while, so I found a soft patch of dirt.

I was flying out, away from myself-on-the-mountains. I flew out over the lowlands, and saw one, or perhaps it was many, of the creatures who were many-in-one and one-that-was-many. It was moving from a place to another place. I saw it split, and the pieces went into holes in the new place. The new place seemed oddly familiar to me, although I knew I had never seen it before. This disturbed me greatly for a time.

Fire came out of the place, a fire blueer than I was accustomed to, insofar as I was accustomed to such things. The place slowly rose up into the air, going toward where the air was thin. When it was there, another thing approached the place and attached its limbs to it, doing something that I did not understand. When the thing detached its limbs, I thought that the place would fall back to the ground, but it did not. Instead, flames emerged once more from its base and it slowly rose, gaining speed as it did. As it rose, the sky changed colour, like it does when the sun sets. But the sun remained high in the sky, even as the stars became visible. I had to back up to see the place, it rose so far, and it kept rising. Eventually all the land was round, like a pod, and still shrinking as I retreated.

The place came to something huge, something that I did not have the words to understand. The closest I can come is that it was huge and round, like a tree, but enormous. Where the place had been strangely familiar, the tree was not. When the place was attached to it, it grew huge leaves, leaves that were red and orange and purple, like flame. I had a sense of terrible slowness as the sun shrank to a star and the stars themselves changed colour and moved around the tree.

Eventually the leaves collapsed away, and another set bloomed from the other end. The motion of the stars slowed, and one grew to become a sun.

As the ship, for that I now knew it to be though I did not remember how I knew, slowed, it released pods. Pods like those released by the plants on that mountain in a faraway dream. Most of the pods went to two dots, though some went to other places. I followed one, found the dot growing to a yellow cloudwrapped ball as the pod descended, landed, found it wanting apparently, as the other pods took up orbit instead of landing.

Those bound for the other dot, the brown one, found it better, it seems, for the place detached itself from the ship and approached the brown dot. As I watched, I saw the brown dot grow, become a mottled ball. I saw the place land in a basin whose outline was disturbingly familiar. From it emerged many greenblack slimy things, many that immediately merged into one.

And I knew at last where I was.
And I knew how I had come to be there.


dissolute bliss ninny on 0x7D3 July 0x1B:

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