Wrong Star was seriously missing mass destruction and action scenes with vehicles. Without mass destruction and vehicles, it just cannot get the desired feedback in the modern times, right?
I am not sure if this really is a p..m. It's the third longest thing I have ever written, after an epic called Adventures of Blue Spark, something that was about 50 pages-worth, back in December 1998 and another p..m, Shimmering Gold And Cold Marble earlier that year. It's probably a semi-epic. It doesn't explain how A and B got where they are, who are the "shadowchildren", it starts in medias res.
The plot's pretty clear, really - characters A and B are trapped in a jail by shadowchildren, given old toys to play and canned beans to eat. Character B asks ridiculous questions about how the beans were cultivated and prepared, which implies that B cannot read the alphabet on the can at all and that they have no idea where they're trapped and how bad would these beans be regardless of cultivation and preparation methods.
When character A, also known as "the narrator" realises the shadowchildren are only shadows, they escape. An unexpected argument concerning the nature and type of toys they were given while in jail is followed by a rather neurotic chase in all possible vehicles, starting from the most mobile ones - a scooter and a pedal car, ending with immobile ones- cranes. In a battle of cranes, B makes a steering error and manages to cause a disaster of global proportions. The character B insisting that the toy is not a doll, but a "thing for playing" and getting angry when A calls it a doll only adds to the absurdity of the entire scenario.
Too hyperbolic? Correction, it's only too symbolic. I enjoyed writing this, honestly.
"Shadowchildren" were derived from a concept by a fellow Slavonic poetess I admire a lot (if I revealed her name, that would help you way too much as her works are unique), but named after a sick fantasy by one of the numerous WTF people I have had the "pleasure" to encounter in the last x years.
"Hearing the music of silence" is a homage to a well-educated Danish artist who, in my humble opinion, recorded four songs of total silence.
Killing a tree? I could never do that for real. It's a symbol. No trees were harmed and no cute old ladies were scared for life while writing this.
While people could be led to think that I found inspiration for this in a very popular hi-tech video game, I actually approached this from a Jazz Jackrabbit point of a view - before Jazz gets to the first planet in the first episode, Diamondus, he's advised by Devan Shell's former martial arts course mate to pick up stuff that's lying around and use it. That is exactly what A and B are doing here. At the end of the episode three, Jazz has to blow away Devan's Megairbase. And, as usual, in all cartoon-ish situations, everything heals magically, so this armageddon is just temporary - for one p..m, only.
Despite all these mentions of cartoons and 2D scrolling platform games from at least 11 years ago, this is a very serious concept, based on a fission...eeeh, fusion of a two rather impossible scenarios.
Oh, and this took five days to write. On the first day, 10th June, I couldn't get it done because I had three BSODs while uploading some video files at the same time and each time I'd forget to save my work. Why didn't I write it on the paper? I knew it would be too long and need a lot of revisions, so this time it was easier to do it in a .txt file. And yes, CTRL + S is a must. Now I learnt it all the harder way.
Many thanks to Ivana Križanović who read some of the original version while it was work in progress and to Petra Alsbach-Stevens who was the first person to read the English translation, as-it-happens.no
Jurnjava za lutkom
Sedeli smo u ćeliji gde su nas strpala deca senki,
igrajući se lutkom i robotom na navijanje.
Meni nije smetalo što nam daju pasulj u konzervi,
meni nije smetala rupa na lutkinoj glavi.
Ti si, pak, pokušavao da peskariš zarđalog robota
i tražio da ti čitam sitna slova sa konzerve,
jer izgleda da nije bitno koliko godina ima ovaj paslj,
izgleda da nije ni bitno ni gde i kako ga jedemo,
bitno je kako je uzgajan i pripreman.
U nekom trenutku, ja sam posekla jedno dete poklopcem
i shvatila da su nas zarobile samo senke,
jer nije bilo ni suza, ni jauka, niti jedne kapi krvi.
Ugrizla sam se za jezik, jer si im se i dalje klanjao.
sačekala sam jutro, deca senki su nestala.
Bila sam u pravu.
Kako je granulo zimsko sunce, izašli smo napolje,
nigde nije bilo ni žive duše, samo crni gavrani.
- Glupo Sunce! Ne razlikuje se od onoga što obasjava na horizontu.
- Divno Sunce! Ono je kao dragulj i večni izvor nade.
Okretala sam se kako bih shvatila gde je jug,
stajao si nepomično i onda mi oteo polomljenu lutku,
bežao si, a ja još nisam shvatala šta se to dešava,
sve dok nisi povikao da meni bolje pristaje mehanika.
Bacio si mi robota u noge kako bih se saplela
i nije ti bilo nimalo žao.
Pametnjakoviču, znaš, neće moći tako!
Pojurila sam te, a ti si skočio na tricikl,
ja sam se zgrčila u prvi auto na pedale
i gonila sam te kroz snežne nanose i drveće,
sve dok nisi udario u podeblje drvo.
Prišla sam ti da uzmem lutku i vidim da li si dobro,
udario si me i odgurnuo me na kamen obrastao mahovinom,
i dok sam dolazila sebi izvukao bicikl iz prvog podruma
i poleteo dalje, a ja sam trčala za tobom, psujući.
Sreća mi se osmehnula, neko je ostavio motor,
uzjahala sam ga, projurila pored tebe, uzela lutku
i potom te gurnula u prvi jarak.
Valjda ćeš me stići negde usput, koliko god da si lud,
jer nema drugog načina da se izvučeš iz ove rupčage.
Neko vreme sam išla sama i posmatrala ptice,
učinilo mi se da je jedna imala dva para nogu,
i učinilo mi se da čujem zavijanje u daljini.
No, te slike i zvukovi su se ubrzo izgubili
i slušala sam samo muziku tišine,
dok sam brojala cvetove koji izbijaju iz asfalta.
Onda je tišinu zaparao oštri topot kopita.
Isprva sam mislila da mi se ponovo pričinilo,
dok te nisam videla kako dolaziš na konju boje meda
i vičeš kako ćeš uzeti "stvar za igranje", pa šta bude.
Pojurila sam uzbrdo, sudarala se sa mladicama
i najzad uletela u jedinu kuću koju sam videla.
Sakrila sam se iza stola,
ti si ubacivao grumenje zemlje kroz prozor.
Jednostavno ne mogu da verujem da imaš toliko grumenja,
i kako se ne bojiš da toliko prljaš ruke.
A onda je nešto šušnulo, tik pored mene,
i sledeće čega sam bila svesna bilo je jahanje,
ni manje, ni više, nego na leđima divljeg vepra
i smejuljenje, jer bežiš ispred mene kao devojčica,
te istovremeni strah da te ne pocepamo k'o novine.
U nekom trenutku više te nije bilo na vidiku,
probala sam da zaustavim vepra, nije moglo,
sve dok nije ustuknuo pred gomilom korodiralih vozila
i ubacio me pravo u prikolicu nekog traktora.
Sedim u prljavom šutu, oduševljava me ova tišina,
mogla bih čak i da zaspim.
Udarac u traktor,
odbacuje me iz prikolice u kokpit.
Šta se dogodilo?
Udario me je bager.
Očekivala sam nekog drugog,
no nažalost, to si opet bio ti,
a ne smem da priznam da si mi nedostajao,
jer ti nikad neću dati tu lutku, iz principa.
Manevrisala sam koliko god sam mogla,
sve dok mi nisi gurnuo rilicu po nos,
ne shvativši da bi mi mogao odseći glavu,
dok pokušavaš da dohvatiš tu prokletu lutku.
Pogledala sam na sedište, našla ciglu u kesi,
i pogodila gusenice tvo bagera.
Ne znam gde si otišao kad si izgubio kontrolu,
niti me je to više zanimalo.
Možda si mi se smučio, bez obzira na sve.
Izašla sam napolje, pronašla neki autobus,
pokrenula ga i krenula napolje,
smejući se što nećeš znati pravi put.
Uskoro sam videla sam staricu sa boščom
i bila sam sigurna da je izlaz blizu,
kad me je presreo neprijatan poklič sirene,
i nešto veliko crveno mi je preprečilo put.
Starica je brzo pobegla glavom bez obzira,
a ja sam brzo okrenula, oborivši jedno drvo
i pojurila u suprotnom pravcu.
Jao, ne, opet ti.
Voziš vatrogasni kamion?!
Ma, ništa me više ne može začuditi.
I znam, hoćeš stvar za igranje,
za koju i dalje mislim da je lutka.
Jurimo se obodima ovog čudnog sveta ceo dan,
prelazimo davno srušene mostove,
kosimo gladne vukove i divlje veprove.
i onda, kad smo sam se vratila do sredine,
shvatila sam da te više nema. Ne pratiš me.
Verovatno ti je nestalo goriva.
Nije te bilo celu noć.
I dalje te nije bilo tog jutra.
Da li si konačno odustao i otišao da dremneš?
Da li je moguće da više nećeš tu lutku?
Da li je moguće da me kuka upravo hvata za kragnu?
Da li je moguće da sam nekoliko metara iznad zemlje?
Da li je moguće da me je uhvatio kran?
Pa ti si stvarno potpuno poludeo,
mislim dok padam u pesak i ulećem u drugi kran.
Smučio si mi se. Stvarno si mi se smučio.
I ne mogu da verujem. Ne, ne mogu.
Prvo auto na pedale i tricikl.
Potom bicikl i motorcikl.
Onda konj i divlji vepar.
Onda traktor i bager.
Onda vatrogasna kola i autobus.
I sad kranovi?
Kranovi u sumraku se udaraju poput jelena u borbi,
a jeleni nikad ne umiru jedan pored drugog,
postaje mi jasno da ovde niko neće pobediti,
postaje mi jasno da će me svaki sledeći dan boleti
i spremna sam da ti dam tu glupu, beznačajnu lutku,
i da uzmem tog robota kakvog sam nekad imala i ja,
kroz poslednje sunčeve zrake vičem da mi je dosta,
i nudim lutku, ali ti hoćeš samo stvar za igranje.
Ne znam zašto, izgleda, treba da nestanem posle svega ovoga.
Sunce zalazi. Nema ga. Otišlo je.
I šta to radiš?
tvoj kran počinje da pada,
na najgoru stvar na koju bi jedan kran mogao da padne.
Mogu samo da zatvorim oči.
Ovo je ono čega su se svi bojali.
Od kad se hipotetičke stvari deš...
(Nikad viđena svetlost.
Prasak jači od celog svemira.
Tišina. Ona prava.)
Posle nekog vremena dolazim sebi i ustajem,
nekako se izvlačim ispod ogromnog komada olova
i gledam okolo...nigde nikoga, nigde ničega.
Sama sam u prečniku od par stotina kilometara
i nisam sigurna ni kuda, ni kako, ni zašto,
ne znam da li si već u oblacima ili negde ispod,
ali mi pada napamet da je sve ovo kao providna folija
i da nemamo nikakve veze sa pozadinom...
bestraga, to verovatno znači da si tu negde.
I zaista, izvlačiš se ispod drugog komada olova,
nemajući predstavu o onome što se upravo dogodilo
i pitaš me šta se dogodilo sa stvari za igranje.
Ne znam da li da kažem da je to bila samo lutka,
možda je bolje da držim jezik sa zubima.
Da li smo se stvarno samo igrali?
Chasing The Doll
Sitting in a cell, where the shadowchildren trapped us,
We were playing with a doll and a wind-up robot.
I wasn't bothered that they were giving us canned beans,
I wasn't bothered with a hole on the doll's head.
You were, however, trying to burnish a rusted robot
And asking me to read out fine print from the can,
As it apparently didn't matter how old these beans are,
It apparently didn't matter where and how we're eating it,
It mattered how it was cultivated and prepared.
At some point, I cut one shadowchild with a lid
And realised we were trapped by mere shadows,
No tears, no painful screams, not a single drop of blood.
I bit my tongue, as you were still bowing to them.
I waited for the morning, the shadowchildren were gone.
I was right.
As the winter sun shone, we went outside,
There was no living soul around, only black ravens.
- Stupid Sun! Not different than what it shines down on, on the horizon.
- Wonderful Sun! It's like a jewel and an eternal source of hope.
I was turning around to make out where the south is,
You stood there, not moving, then you took my broken doll
And started running away, I still didn't understand what happened,
Until you yelled that mechanics fits me better of the two.
You threw the robot at my feet so I'd trip over it
And you weren't feeling sorry at all.
Wise one, you know, this won't last!
I was chasing you, you jumped on a tricycle,
I got into the nearest pedal car
And I chased you through snow banks, amongst trees,
Until you hit a pretty thick tree.
I came closer to take the doll and check if you're all right,
You hit me and pushed me on a moss-covered rock
And, as I was coming round, you got a bicycle from a basement
And fled further, while I was running after you, swearing.
I was lucky, someone left a motorcycle behind,
I climbed on it, rode by you, took the doll
And then pushed you into the nearest ditch.
I thought you'd reach me halfway, regardless of how mad you are,
As there was no other way for you to get out of this hellhole.
For a while I walked alone, watching birds,
I could swear one had two pairs of legs,
And I thought I heard howling further away.
Those sounds and sights disappeared soon after,
And I was listening to music of silence only,
While I counted flowers growing out of asphalt.
Silence was broken by sharp thud of hooves.
At first, I thought I was hearing things again,
Until I saw you approaching on a honey-coloured horse,
Yelling how you'll take the "thing for playing", no matter what.
I ran over the hill, colliding with sprouts,
And finally got into the only house I spotted.
I hid behind a desk,
You were throwing nuggets of soil through the windows.
I simply couldn't believe you had so many nuggets on you,
And that you weren't afraid of getting your hands that dirty.
Then something made a sound right next to me
And the next thing I was aware of was riding,
No more no less than on the back of a wild boar
And giggling because you were running like a little girl,
Fearing we'd tear you apart like a newspaper at the same time.
At some point, you were no longer in sight,
So I tried to stop the boar and I couldn't
Until it backed away before a pile of corroded vehicles
And threw me straight into the back of some tractor.
I'm sitting in dirt and enjoying the silence,
I could almost fall asleep.
A hit at the tractor
Threw me from the back to the cockpit.
What has happened?
I was hit by a digger.
I was expecting someone else,
But unfortunately, it was you again,
And I cannot admit that I'd missed you,
As I'd never let you have a doll, a matter of principles.
I was manoeuvring as much as I could,
Until you stuck a backhoe in, right in my face,
Not realising that you could decapitate me
While trying to reach that bloody doll.
I looked at the seat, found a brick in a bag
And threw it at your digger's chains.
I don't know where you went as you lost control,
Nor I cared about that anymore.
Perhaps I'm sick of you, despite everything.
I went out, found some bus,
Started the engine and went on my way out,
Laughing because you won't know the right way.
Soon I saw an old lady carrying a bundle
And I was sure the exit was nearby,
When I heard the uncomfortable battle cry of a siren,
And something large and red crossed my way.
The old lady ran for her life,
And I turned around fast, tumbling down a tree,
And drove back as fast as I could.
Oh no, you again.
You're at the wheel of a fire truck?!
Heck, nothing can surprise me anymore.
And I know, you want the thing for playing,
Which I still consider to be a doll.
We're chasing across this Strangeland all day,
Crossing bridges that are long gone,
Hitting hungry wolves and wild boars.
And then, when I got back to the centre,
I realised you were gone. Not following me.
You probably ran out of fuel.
You were gone all night long.
You were still gone that morning.
Have you finally given up and went to take a nap?
Could it be that you no longer want that doll?
Could it be that a hook just grabbed me by collar?
Could it be that I'm a few metres above the ground?
Could it be that a crane caught me?
You have really gone mad,
I think as I'm falling in sand and getting in a crane myself.
I'm sick of you, I really am sick of you.
And I cannot believe this. No, I cannot.
First a pedal car and a tricycle.
Then a bicycle and a motorcycle.
Then a horse and a wild boar.
Then a tractor and a digger.
Then a fire truck and a bus.
And now cranes?
Cranes at sunset are hitting one another like deer in a fight,
And the deer never die one next to the other,
I'm beginning to realise nobody will take the victory here,
I'm beginning to realise every next day will hurt me,
And I'm ready to give you that stupid, insignificant doll,
And take that robot, similar to one I used to have,
Through the last sun beams I scream that I had enough,
And I'm offering you the doll, but you want a thing for playing.
I don't know why I, apparently, should be gone after all this.
The Sun is setting. It's no more. It went away.
And what are you doing?
You're losing grip,
Your crane begins to fall
On the worst possible thing a crane could fall on.
I can only close my eyes.
This is what everyone feared.
Since when do hypothetical things happ...
(Light never seen before.
A bang stronger than the cosmos.
Silence. The genuine kind of. )
After some time, I'm coming round and getting up,
I'm somehow making my way from under large debris of lead
And looking around...there's nobody, there's nothing in sight.
I'm all alone in the diameter of a couple hundred kilometres,
Not knowing if you're already in the clouds or underneath,
But I'm having a thought that all of this is like transparent cell
And that we have nothing to do with the background.
Damn, that probably means you're around here somewhere.
And it was true; you're getting from debris of lead too,
Not having the slightest idea so as to what just occurred
And you're asking me what happened to the thing for playing.
I don't know if I should tell you it was just a mere doll,
Perhaps it's better when I keep my mouth shout.
Were we really just playing?