Under the Green Sun of Slormor
by Bertil Falk
Table of Contents
Part 1 and Part 2
appear in this issue.
Chapter 5: The Klörtser Ride
part 3 of 3
It did not take many hours to reach the foot of the mountain chain, where we dismounted beside an oasis. It was level and had clear water in a pond surrounded by trees that looked like butterflies.
The animals devoted themselves to sucking nutrition with their tentacles in the tops of the tall butterfly-trees, which blazed in all kinds of colors and patterns. At this edge of the desert, where it merged into the mountains, Parvrin and I settled down and drank water and nibbled at our black bread.
The air was still difficult to breathe, and my asthmatic gasps had become worse during the ride where I had been whisked through the desert. My lungs had not adapted to the dull atmosphere.
I went down and stretched out full length and fell asleep. When I woke up, it was dark and I was inside a tent that Parvrin had evidently put up while I was asleep. I wondered where she had gotten it, but she just shrugged her... of course not, she had no shoulders to shrug, but she dismissed my question with a deprecating gesture.
I crept out and looked up at the stars in heaven, where strange constellations moved about in the sky at a somewhat faster pace than at my home in Malmö. From that observation I drew the perhaps premature conclusion that Slormor rotated somewhat faster than Earth, which would explain why its days and nights were shorter; not much, but noticeably.
I was, as I had suspected, on another planet, assuredly in another solar system, possibly in a totally different galaxy, even in another dimension. Or why not in another universe outside our own, an existence that arose from its own Big Bang or Big Clap or Big Mac. Somehow, there was or had been for a moment a connection between Earth and Slormor at the moment I fell through the crack in the fabric of existence that had brought me here, where I was.
I took a dip in the clear pond, and though the air was difficult to breathe, I felt more at ease than I had at any time since I had dropped into this cosmic slot machine. I was at the bottom of a wet existence without growing with compound interest. I was just being cheapened by sneaking inflation.
“Life, where is your sting?” I said aloud to myself and splashed about with my hands in the water.
“What did you say?”
I came to my senses. Parvrin was standing on the shore of my unreality and looking at me with wondering eyes. She had matured even more. She looked like a twenty-year old woman. Where would it stop? Would Parvrin become a middle-aged woman tomorrow and an old hag the next day?
I shivered at this loathsome thought. Should I ask her? What had she said? That it was thanks to me that she had aged? Rather my fault, I thought, but I said only, “I was just talking to myself.”
“Let’s begin climbing as soon as we’ve eaten,” she said.
“How will that be possible?”
“We’ll ride our klörtsers,” she said.
And quite right! We had only to sink down into their three-meter tall, doughy bodies, finger the glands and warts, and then off or rather up we went.
The klörtsers rotated their sixteen things and we were whisked up the mountain wall. It was rugged, reminiscent of primary or maybe Archaean rocks. We did not take long to reach the top. Which was not really a summit. In front of us, a forested plain stretched out as far as I could see. But that was not what made me perplexed. It was the troop of beings ranked in lines before us.
“Marvirs,” Parvrin said.
Her voice was calm and allayed my fears. I regarded these beings and noticed that they were immobile. Not a single movement was visible. They stood dressed in gray clothing that seemed spray-painted onto their bodies. The Marvirs had the same characteristic wine-bottle shape, with necks merging straight into arms.
“Why are they immobile?”
“Because they’re statues,” said Parvrin. “The Marvirs put up this army of statues to the memory of one of their leaders. It was long ago.”
Just as in China, I thought.
“Where are they now?”
“The Marvirs,” I said impatiently.
“Extinct for a long time now. But we have a difficult problem ahead of us, and I don’t think we’re dressed for what’s to come.”
She turned her eyes back in the direction we had come from. A light-blue cloud was pouring forth towards us.
“What is it?”
“A cold wave,” she said. “Blue raindrops will fall, raindrops that are petrified and cold. We must dig us a pit in the ground.”
We snapped off some branches from the butterfly trees and used them as tools. We dug a pit in the ground by the pond. To my surprise, I saw that even the klörtsers dug pits by whisking up soil with their tentacles. But there was no reason to be surprised. Why should they not seek protection like us?
Just as our pit was deep enough, the first ice-cold blue flakes began to fall. This was the snow of Slormor: not white as on Earth but blue as in a Fortean cock-and-bull story. We used thick butterfly branches for a roof over our grave and cuddled up in its darkness, where I lighted my headlamp.
Above us we heard the blue blizzard break out and we rolled ourselves into our warm and snug feather beds. I listened to the wild roar of the winds that streamed forth irresistibly above our camp. I switched off my head lamp and was rocked to sleep.
Before I actually slept I heard the voice of Parvrin. “We must continue our journey.”
To be continued...
Copyright © 2007 by Bertil Falk