Fires Eternal Morning :

an allegorical novel by Johnes Ruta

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Book Announcement
BANK SQUARE BOOKS, Mystic, Connecticut, October 11, 2015.
The William Meredith Foundation, Poet's Choice Publishers:

FIRES ETERNAL MORNING a surrealist novel by Johnes Ruta,
published by Poets' Choice Press,
introduced by Richard Harteis, President, the William Meredith Foundation.
Video: Rita DeCassia.

Fires Eternal Morning is an exploration of the stream of Unconscious memory. Along with the telling of dream stories and childhood perspectives, its aspiration is also to stimulate the reader’s recollection of recent and forgotten dreams. Creating a prose-poem “landscape of dreams,” -- a “dream of consciousness” -- Fires Eternal Morning is a free-metaphor reflecting multiple layers of allegory and irony.

After the anthropology of Margaret Mead, the story is "A Coming of Age in the Cold War": John Hauberc, survivor of a radiation war, tries to find his way back from the precipice of loss in a world torn asunder. -- He awakes in a state of amnesia in the ruins of a medieval town, and thinks the broken military weapon he finds at his side to be a child’s toy. He perceives himself in the backyard of his childhood, near a place called "Paradise Green." He may be a soldier lost in the images of his home which he may never find again...

He follows the map of Dante, through the romantic dreams of his youth, over the dirt paths of childhood landscapes, through the Inferno of nuclear catastrophe, and the rubble of cities; through the Purgatory of emotions and dangerous political intrigues; and into the Paradise of Mind and Body... The fires are the fires of global apocalypse, the fires of love, the fires of irony and wit, the fires of alchemical transformation...

Former Chair of Painting, Fine Art Academy, Bucharest

The surrealistic novel “Fires Eternal Morning” by Johnes Ruta is a symphony of human hearts, a prose-poem of Love and Hope, a magnetic tapestry in which are interwoven cosmic tears of infinite darkness and sorrow, and tears of infinite joy, liberation, mystical ecstasy.
“Fires Eternal Morning” is a masterpiece of modern literature, with multiple mystical, psychological, and philosophical meanings, a holographic image of souls, struggling toward enlightenment, toward Supreme Reality …

Read more
  Apology: the literary principle employed: The Theory of PROLEPSIS: The Dream of Consciousness
an original essay by JOHNES RUTA (New Haven, CT)
  Available at these links:
An 19th century occult map of Atlantis superimposed on a normal map of the Atlantic Ocean.
From: "ATLANTIS: The Antediluvian World" by Ignatius Donnelly,
(unedited map)
book page 170. Harper & Brothers, 1882.

The truth concealed from the priest and revealed
to the warrior: that this world always was, is, and
shall be, ever-living fire.

Chandogya Upanishad, V,iii:7

“Haul me out of the water, haul me onto the land,
Beneath the sky there is an open fire... ”

Julian Cope: Rock song “Charlotte Anne”

At the periphery of this Illusion of the World
there are four cardinal doors, defended by
terrifying images called "Guardians of the Doors."
Their role is twofold. On the one hand, these
guardians defend consciousness from the disintegrating
forces of Unconsciousness; on the other, they have
an offensive mission -- In order to lay hold upon
the fluid and mysterious world of the depths, the
guardians must carry the struggle into the enemy's
camp and hence assume the violent and terrible aspect
appropriate to the forces to be combated.

Guiseppe Tucci, Teoria e practica del Mandela, p. 65


Chapter 1

Distant Fires


It was still the morning of fires : the whisper of distant fires which would never stop.

This is damned silly, his voice said over the surface of the deep.

Finally his mind was speaking again, he could hear the words forming their own sounds, suspended above the vastness of everything gone, waking his attention to the pathetic, puzzling projections on the orange velvet insides of his eyelids. Pictures of past ancient weeks, beneath his weighted lids, consciously focused.

A cold gray cloud in the sky above, covering over the thought of a "Cold War," still hanging icily down from the sky.

One mid-morning in early October, Miss Brantley was giving the history lesson to her third-grade class: "Christopher Columbus believed that the world was round, but he could not convince anyone else. He believed there was a shorter way to get to China than the long trip through the Indian Ocean. The people of Europe wanted the wonderful spices and silks from Asia, but it was still being taught in the schools of Europe that the world was flat. Columbus visited the kings and queens of Italy and Portugal, but finally in 1492, Queen Isabella of Spain believed him and persuaded her husband King Ferdinand to give Columbus three ships to sail straight to China..."

“What?” wondered Hauberc, but two desks ahead of him, Bill flashed his drawing pad with a scribbled robot cat, and Hauberc broke out laughing. Miss Brantley got frantic, "John Hauberc, you’re going to the Principal’s office in ten seconds !!" That shut him up. Then they had their "Air-Raid Drill," all of them dashing out into the hallway to crouch and cringe against the wall.

But Hauberc kept looking over at the wide window panels at the end of the corridor. But they knew what it would be like – they knew there was a huge army helicopter factory, Sikorsky's, only a few miles away, some of their dads worked there – and they knew the big bomb would shatter everything in on us in a terrible shower of glass and fire, or maybe just vaporize them all in a blinding flash of negative atomic light ! It could do that, like Hiroshima and Nagasaki – even bigger.

What had happened had been so easy to see coming that no one believed it would really happen. Yet everyone had lived in its fear, knowing its irrevocable outcome -- everything sucked into the Final Conflict, like the rush at the inside of a funnel-cloud running over the long meadow of past time. The world had often come close to the edge of disaster, like just a few years before now when Hauberc was fifteen, and they took their seats on the school bus in the morning looking at each other in terror that they wouldn’t be here to ride the bus home tonight. Kennedy was playing a game of nerves and "Brinksmanship" with Khruschev : would JFK get the Russian missiles out of Cuba or what would happen ? They had all prepared themselves for Annihilation. But after this approach to the brink the danger then receded -- like a great wave on a beach rolling back before coming ashore in his dream. Except "this time" it happened, and the flood tide did swallow up the shore and the inland with it. --- This was the lesson and the quiet nightmare they had lived each day -- that of ten thousand artificial suns suddenly burning up the sky ... that nothing would survive but radioactive rubble and the few survivors left in chaos... They tried to understand the reason it had really happened, but the meaning kept crumbling, even the order of the events.

"A cold gray cloud in the sky above," covering over the thought of a "Cold War," still hanging icily down from the sky. Now it really was cold and it stayed cold ! -- And the cold cloud suddenly seized its moment to fog over the Defense Perimeter on the edge of his consciousness. -- Corrosive gas wafted over and mingled in the mists of morning, just as mustard had in the Great War, boiling away the only remaining links of sensibility holding the images together. The fearsome question, of what could really happen, had been answered, once and for all. This time the radio said it was a "Communications Breakdown," -- yeah, right -- then everything turned to silence…

The words in his head, like rhetorical static, finally faded out, just as a forest fire went raging through the hair roots of his scalp, and a rush of creaking fear : his legs were gone, exploded away!

....But no -- feeling began to seep into the veins of his extremities... The skin all over now prickled, dampness pervading everything around him. Reassured by his discomfort, he could feel how his body was huddled, stomach down, into the narrow alley between old stucco garages in an area of pleasant dwellings, the earth beneath him a frozen crevasse.

In his mind there was still something ruminating, but what was it? This area was somewhere in the East, a Central European town, the name of which he couldn't bring back into memory, looking familiar, though out of context : Occupying the corner of two streets, the back side of the nearby house gleamed an image that was strained through a mesh of rusty, waist-high wire fence, like the last image he had seen on the Distant Early Warning wall-screen display, the radar line across arctic Canada which protected the U.S. from Soviet sneak attack. (The corrosive "DEW," a fetid mustard mist that stuck to everything and warped his memory...)

But the place looked like the back yard of his parents’ house in Stratford. From his earliest memories here, he was aware of the expanding universe: At first he had been allowed to play in their fenced-in yard, digging little holes in the ground, making paths across the back lawn to become imaginary roads. Slightly older, he had been allowed out of the gate, to play in the driveway and learn to shoot basketballs through the net on the garage, high above him. Then to walk to the corner and back under the nice pine trees. Eventually, he had been allowed only to explore the whole town block on which they lived, never to cross a road, but to find all the passageways and alleys between the houses and between the garages back to back, and he crawled through all the bushes in everyone’s yards. The kindly ancient retired couples on the block often invited him into their kitchens and fed him sandwiches and soup, and cookies!

He and his friend Fred Pageant made the garage into a space-ship and rocketed through the planets and stars. Since a child, Hauberc wanted to be a Space-man or go and sail the South Seas. After this war, an idyllic life lay ahead of him. … But not over seas that now boiled, in this "best of all possible worlds..." hah! Being recruited he had thought, “by the time I’m fifty in State Service, thirty years in the "Future," I could become a diplomat in the Mercury Space Program... Uh, 'How do you do, your Majesty? I’m Ambassador Pangloss from Earth… You must have seen all those bright flashes over there by Proxima Centura last week -- that was us ! We had a war.'

"Yes," replied Xerxes, king of Prolepsis, "we're sorry for your planet...!"

Everything he had learned, everything he had loved, or had hoped to find in his life, now was boiled.

Now an abandoned white house across its spacious neat lawn, like the one where he used to live, now contained the same fragmented boxes of motionless activity.... Silver-anode eyed bodies peered back at him through their un-blown-out windows -- His mother glared out impatiently at him from one of them... (Like every other middle-class suburban community in the world, this town was now merely one plot of the vast above-ground cemetery.)

Dim, hazy gray pressed in. Something was still sticking into his side, between himself and the broken-shingled garage wall, and forcing a deliberate movement, he reached down and pulled it forth:

A broken relic, it was his own now, without meaning, except as a useless toy. There were no enemies, nor any friends, nor any neutral parties he had seen for some time. Strategic Command had toyed with the scenario of this disaster for so long, had programmed for every contingency, that now there was nothing left to do. How could he get back to America from here? Was he the Last Man, the opposite of Adam? Was this like the Big Bang itself, detonating a second time, the blast spawning a Second Universe? He would have to wait millions of years for another human being to appear --

Perhaps he would be God himself --
if he didn't feel so dizzy, if he didn’t feel as though gravity was working sideward, pulling him into every object he looked at; Death tugging at Life...

Strategic Command no longer signaled his covert directives... He tried again to remember the Contingency Plan, tried to focus, but amidst the weighted horror of images, the thought passed, and his mind re-flooded. Separating from shore, the radio drift became uncontrollable / “Frequency drift!! I can't lock onto his signal! Oh, God, we're losing him !”
That was the last : a deafening squawk.

“We're ready tonight.” An unwavering, lost, sober voice, that came up from the depths.
Abrupt jell.

Small, dark, empty room, five young people, Westin, Ansgar, Opal, Frederick, and John, as they called him here, sitting on the floor in a circle, around a blueprint of the Communications Reactor. Opal, his friend from high-school whose parents were Russian emmigrees, had left art-school after a year, and taken courses for Electronic Communications, and had worked at the phone company and now here. She had “borrowed” the blueprint.

“Are you sure the device can't fail?” his own mouth bubbling, vocal chords vibrating.
“By tomorrow evening, every government in the world will be temporarily paralyzed,” Ansgar replied. “Temporarily--until our ultimatum is met-- that is, until they stop governing--”

Blur of
scenes flashing by, dissolving into streaks: red,
yellow, blue, orange, green, black.......

Running with the others. Through pine grove, nocturnal silver-brown rocks and erect grass-blade shadows..... Opal led them down a security entrance into the underground complex, the steep metal steps scratch/clanking beneath his boots
.....and down
into the brightly lit fluorescent corridor, walls wearily sighing with the flow of the senseless motley of young freedom-fighters they called “terrorists.”
In the adjacent computer-filled room, another iron-rung ladder leading up to the Communications Reactor above was besieged by a forest of adolescent olive-drab camouflage trees. This Pandora’s Pan-Opticon system which maintained total surveillance, monitoring every conversation spoken, every letter written, scrutinizing every word on the planet, must be sabotaged.
--But guards suddenly appeared, using their rifle butts to hack their way through the thicket of saplings.

Hauberc thought he must be dreaming, recognizing them as two teachers from his high school, wearing guards' uniforms : short, intense Mr. Read, the English instructor; and old, energetic Miss Wheeler, the eccentric science prof -- tall, thin, and wiry.

Read, grammarian and authoritarian more than teacher, advanced through the swarm, but Miss Wheeler recognized the Natural Biology of the situation and casually turned to leave the room.

Halfway up the monkey bars, Hauberc watched as Read shoved forward and thrust himself up the ladder in hot pursuit. Arms and kicking feet snaked through the tangle of metal.
But the pulling at John’ foot suddenly relaxed as Read’s pallid body slid inert back into the open-armed motley below.
“Don't hurt him, just get him out of here!” Hauberc shouted down. What was he doing here, anyway ? I'm agent-provocateur, he said to himself, though there was something in him being satisfied by this membership. And this was what Simone wanted him to do.

...But suddenly, almost to the top, the ladder negligently pulled out of his grasp, allowing him to topple to the floor as well. With the sirens wailing as if nuclear attack had been triggered, the floor itself was oscillating somewhere between the ceiling and the walls. But his magnetic talons managed to clutch hold again, his arms waving at the maniacal, deafening, ultra-red spotlights...

Following the rivering glacier of adolescents, he passed the dead Read (mr) sprawled on the kindergarten floor. No phrases of pity or feeling came into his head -- the Death Sentence was only an APHASIA of words in the oblique diagrams of meaningless sentences. Only his facial muscles grimaced at the sight, acknowledging the immense scandal of his situation.

Down the corridor in a lobby-like area, the same inert teacher was also lying on a wheel stretcher which had been bumped out of the way. Hauberc ambled over and loosened the bonds so that the teacher could escape before the building blew up. Read's thin lips smiled up in gratitude but his Empty orbs stared at Hauberc, broiling him beneath his jacket.
“Look, I said 'Don't hurt him'!” he argued to convince the corpse to quit bugging him. “Oh--go t’ hell!”
Fed up with everything, he turned and trailed after the ebbing glacier of children.

Now Hauberc wanted to write a letter home, the thoughts ran through his mind in streams of words to say to everyone at home, and the feelings and memories ran through his body like something electric had made a short circuit, from his nerves to his brain-cells. He wanted to write to each one he had loved before. He hoped they still lived, he prayed they had survived.

Dreams of each one possessed him, one after the other, as if they had come into his life. But he wanted them back all at once, especially if he had died, or was about to. He wished that communication would be granted again. All these memories came back to him out of order.

There was no really solid ground for Hauberc to walk over these memories, to review the continuity of his life up till now -- all like a path of broken ice flows separating from the glacier of time which were laid out before him to jump across where he could ford, or wait and dwell where the gap was still too wide. Each ice flow of memory formed another part of the jigsaw puzzle of the massive ice-shelf, another fragment of the series of events peopled with the recurrent faces of childhood and those who had led him -- until the disaster had left him on the strand, beached in an unknown but familiar town: Images of walls, doorways, and trails strung together in an amnesiac cause-and-effect of what was inevitable.

Walnut grain finish on formica, the walls in a small elevator compartment.
Sensation of falling, falling into the Before Time. --- (The time before the disaster had overtaken the Cold War rivalry now was eclipsed by the eruption of fireballs, becoming the exclamation-points of history.) -- Hauberc’s stomach was pitching around in his abdomen, the elevator enclosing a universe soaring skyward in its shaft, and he woke with the cold of gunmetal in his hands.
The lift abruptly jolted, his stomach sent careening up into his rib-cage, thrusting his heart into his throat..... The lift’s gates suddenly slid open, blasting sunlight into the elevator compartment, flying splinters of rays, splinters of rage, into the troopers' young faces, bathing the whole compartment in a blinding light.
Immediately he was repulsing khaki-clad figures with conditioned antipathetic mutterings.

Upon an architectural network of twelve-foot wide open sky-bridges, connecting lofty glass-and-steel office balconies, a cacophony of sporadic gunfire and popping laser-weapons striking flashes all around him.--- The concrete railings provided the only cover : There had come a sudden alert to his unit, sounding shocking and stupid: Invaders from the “Prolepsis Nebula” were descending from a floating fortress. The real Top Secret reason for NATO's elaborate Missile Defense Shield became suddenly obvious. These were not Earthly soldiers.

Yearful hours of fighting passed without reinforcements, until the defending force had reached complete physical exhaustion, streams of blood mingling with the pea-soup atmosphere. And finally, he was rushing to escape the carnage of strewn bodies, rushing across the latticework of sky-bridges to find one remaining undamaged elevator...running around the corner of the building, colliding with
Boxes. Crates of unused laser guns :
like unmanned armies,
sitting next to the elevator door.

The person standing there was a little green invader, blocking his way. He looked like someone dressed in a snot costume, yet somehow human....

Scared beyond thought, Hauberc sprinted to an elevator he saw undamaged by the blast; ran to the shade.....rushing for cover! rushing to escape bullets as well as insanity, bullets as well as hopelessness, and then he thought of Pamela.
The pin of the grenade was already pulled, held close within his hiding place, the catch released and he
Waited, waited

Still disgusted with himself, his mind attempted to flush everything that had already happened. How did they know that these were alien troopers, as his unit had been briefed?
Was this a loyalty test? The clock was running out for any more questions...
But the red-violent hue of the morning's prologue again enveloped the world.
Anxiety. (The hell with these:
He instead let the grenade slide down the outer surface of the battlement, where it blasted a chink of concrete that glanced off the side of his head.

Low-yield photon shells and neutron-radiation had taken a sizable toll on the area, especially in the part of Stratford that lay south of US-1. Most buildings still stood, but as little more than hollowed halls.
crates in crumpled five foot high piles by the unloading dock were good cover from stray bullets.

He couldn't understand why it had happened so fast though. One short-circuit in the Communications Reactor had blown the whole scene into complete pandemonium. When they couldn't pick up BBC or Radio Moscow, that was finally definite -- since then the radio waves were completely blank. How the hell had he gotten back to his home town? He realized that he
was walking from the direction of Stratford airport in the south end of town, but it seemed like he hadn’t been too conscious for miles or days, if he had been flown across the ocean. The transport plane had landed on the runway, let him out wordlessly, and taken off again. The others barely had looked up from their kips laid out cabin floor.
Even the radio communications shack seemed like the den at home where he used to listen avidly to the world day and night.

Early morning sun was not yet risen above the drab white-cloud ceiling, but shone yellow on the white-washed side of a building.

He was kicking his way through the rubble, discarded cardboard and wooden delivery crates. Less than a mile yet to walk, he was still not yet home, when an older voice turned him around to a man leaning by the Meat & Produce - Night Delivery Entrance.

“Hey there, son. Where're you going?” The man was holding a rifle pointed at him.

“Hey,” he flipped back. Who the hell was calling him that..?

“You live around here? Don't I know you?”
Someone was keeping a vigil, an even tone of voice, not much older than he.

“Yeah, up the stream by Brewster's Pond ...I was stationed in Europe and I haven't been home since Before...John Hauberc.” (He decided not to mention “military intelligence” or “Co-IntelPro.”)

“Oh, yeah...OK, I remember you -- little Johnny Ho-berk.” The face was more at ease, though not yet trusting, while more vigilante-militia types suddenly arrived in two dusty and dirty automobiles, still with fuel, and crowded around, blindly muttering like good-old-boys, about what excitement was up for the afternoon. “How did Europe come through this ?”

“They’re fucked too.”

“Hey, Ho-berk,” another quizzed, “you know anything about these subversives still hiding out around the college.? ” His blank expression held their attention a moment a bit too long for him.

“He’s OK. He was military,” the first accoster put in.

Blood-thirsty unrest was growing. “OK you guys, let's go over the University of Bridgeport and see what we can stir up from the rats’ nest.”

The group and their rifles had soon jumped into their cars again and gone racing across the wide asphalt plain.

Coming upstream, Long Brook Park still looked intact, the trees standing, and the old-fashioned horse-shoe shaped gravel-bottom pool where he went swimming as a child, still pretty. But walking north up Charlton Street hill out the other side, where the houses on the left side overlooked the woods and field on the right all looked abandoned or evacuated. Only a few hundred feet to go… then into his driveway and back yard … and up the back walk of his family's house. Heavy Rain drops were beginning to thump the dry earth.

The back door ajar, he pushed it in softly and walked into the back hall -- the notes left on the side stovetop already visible in the kitchen ahead...
.. a heart-in-throat eternity of four or five steps ---


“John and Juno, Why aren’t you back yet? --- I cant keep going like this.. Seams of the world are falling apart, I'm so sick
--- Must be the Radiation sickness now ---
Love, Mama ”

There was nothing from his father except in Juno's handwriting :

“John, if you ever read this, Daddy went for help for Mom when I came here yesterday morning. He said to wait here but its too late. I'm heart broken, he thought I was already gone -- he couldn't even see me sitting in the chair. Can't stay here anymore -
Love Always, Sis

“No more bones or people or Cycle Two.
Very Sad. Good-bye.
ooo RUFF


Hopeless pools were before his eyes as he stumbled through the dining room and out onto the screened terrace. The other houses on this shady corner of Laughlin and Charlton looked the same. “If only I had come back sooner,” he thought, she wouldn't be gone too. (He had thought of how he had left her alone to contend with their same non-sense; but she had always adapted so well).

now, no one, nothing but despair. If only to see her face.

Under a threatening blackening sky outside, a mild gust rustled through the trees, bouncing between upturned silver-green leaves... falling to utter calm in attendance to the approaching deluge.

Up and over the step / escaping the thunderhead fallout storm back into the house, back through the living room, over the stair-case landing, around into the kitchen again -- but a noise. the sound of muffled whimpering from upstairs; and he ran up the down-speeding escalator, up to the summit and left into a pink garden room of light perfume and peacock feathers) to sister (who turns around from looking out the window, as the large drops thump the windowsill).

Tomorrow, he walked up Laughlin Road, shuffling through the upper field of Brewster’s Pond, up Plymouth Street, and out into the Paradise Green shopping district on Main Street, all the stores looked like they were only closed for a holiday…. He hiked slowly north up Main a mile, and branched west onto Cutspring Road. There was something else he needed to know...

It was the next afternoon, the sun shining again almost normally, but still an aloneness of desperation. He wondered whether there were any others searching the town, faces he could trust from his childhood besides those armed vigilantes prowling around.

He wandered out of his delusion, with some sense of hope. There was a pleasure walk route he had taken often with Pamela, passing through residential streets of modern Colonial style homes separated from each other by wide well-kept lawns with no sidewalks on their edges... The road skirted the base of a wooded ridge on the left, where streets with names like Wigwam Lane and Anson Street came down the hill. To the right, further out past the modern split-levels, the scenic fairways and greens of a country club golf course sprawled out to the north.

The green stucco house up the hill on the left was Pamela's parent's house, the Richardsons./ It seemed now that "virtue had been rewarded," she at least could have gone to heaven in a state of Catholic grace... Still, he wished he could simply go to her house and find her there, and take her in his arms, but it was impossible.. The futile surge rising in his chest was sweeping through his entire consciousness: As much as they both had felt the intensity of love, she had never let him say it or show it, and they had hovered on the verge of consummation, before/ Now there was only emptiness -- now he could never tell her how strongly it had lingered since their separation -- Now at NYU, her last letter, sent before his U2 mission, but received days after it, mentioned someone new in her life, "a really brilliant chemistry student" at Brooklyn Polytech.

He had dreamed of her promise to come and meet him in Madrid. -- But a submerged glowing-cobalt zone of total ocean stillness in the wavy deep blue Bay of Biscay, visible from his U2 surveillance plane high above the north coast of Spain -- had engulfed that dream into the depths, the depths of despair.

All night moths had crisped themselves on the white-hot pencil-thick spotlight filament outside, sending up milky billows of smoke.
Foggy grayness was once more pressing in :
Everything in the small, first-floor den of the safe-house was yet intact. Perhaps mummified in the stifling room, unventilated with its windows shut.

The sun still made its daily watchman rounds over the dead planet.

Crackling on the array of short-wave radio receivers/ static of the outside world--- Back in this fucking listening post, recovering from his head wound; a desperate aloneness pausing and waiting for reply from anywhere beyond this room. They disguised their identity with the plaintive radio amateur call “CQ? CQ? calling CQ.....”
Seeking anyone …. Seek You… ?

Half-closed venetian-blinds cast diagonal patterns of fuzzy sun rays across the pink walls
and shelves of the large radio rig. But there wasn’t one radio signal to be heard over the air.

“Try the twenty-meter band,” the second operator urged. In a dream, before, it had been his sister sitting next to him when they were children, now it was the slightly buxom “Opalescent,” now a communications expert, who always seemed to forget the top three buttons of her khaki shirt....

“I don't think it'll do any good, but --” His hand slowly twisted the dial ...... 12000 khz ...... 15000 khz ...... 11000

No Strategic Air Command Single-Side-Band, nor

Radio Moscow, BBC, nor ---
--- breaking through the silence, suddenly, -“Pine Cone, Pine Cone, this is Fig Leaf ”-

“That's him!!” Hauberc flicked on the transmitter.

Something was finally coming through.

They began to hum as forcefully as they could, to make an audible carrier-wave, until the room vibrated with power. “Fig

Leaf, Fig Leaf, this is Pine Cone, go ahead.”
-“...Cone, Pine Cone, this is Fig Leaf, come in please.”- They hummed again, louder. But their emulation seemed to have no effect on Fig Leaf, he wasn't even listening.
“Why won't he answer?” the second operator asked.
“I don't know but he's gone.”

His hand rotated the band selector, tuning to lower frequencies ... 2182 khz. (Marine Distress Band.) ...880...540...432...363... till the wavelengths stretched out to infinity...

A Tremor of terror and suddenly he awoke in bed in the middle of the night, his eyes still closed in the dark of his parents’ house. There were still these slow Seismic Vibrations, a rumble winding down to slower than one wave per second, the Earth tremor’s rhythm rumbling the entire house, unsettling the darkness; now indistinguishable from his heart heavily beating. In the split-instant he had awoken, he thought he had heard a muffled female voice like a coo, and wondered if it had woken his parents in the next room too ? -- But nothing more; and his next thought, while his eyes were still closed in the inky velvet, was that the vibrations were generated closer, like in the dark of the next room. Stopped and restarted, like someone waiting for him to fall off into sleep again ...

Modulation crackle, like a signal transmitted from mind to mind, “Fig Leaf calling Pine Cone, come-in please,” an authoritarian voice in his head like his father’s or his commander’s ......”You must tune your receiver out of the low frequency range, Pine Cone. You're not supposed to be monitoring this wave-length. Tune to higher frequencies !! You're not old enough yet ---”


and fizzle and he slipped in again,

Frantic dial 2300 khz ... 2500 ... 2800 ...
3200 ... 3800 ... 7500 desperate

frantic points of infinite wavelengths on a parched yellow radio dial of dream were sliding away, now totally dead

and then the soup-thick gray fog swept onto the bare-footed beach.. Nearby friends became Blurs became Shadows became Fossils on the steep sandy slope.

In staggering blinded steps --
contact was lost,
until, he felt the sudden searing pain through the sole of his foot:

Glinting in a shrouded shaft of sunlight, the strait pin he had stepped on protruded from the tender bottom. He lifted his foot and carefully pulled it out, but solenoids flickered within the wound.

And the heart inside him Pounding Squishing Throbbing,
hammering the beach into wakefulness

The blood between the warm bedclothes,
roaring through firehose veins. “Dead, death.

This is it.”

and the surf crashing, breaking out of his chest


“I'm dead, but I accept it.” And the luminous

night-table clock hands were yet moving,

so slowly.


Turn to Chapter 2