petite mort In this issueBegin & End No.2 2004
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Manuscript found in a bottle, near the atoll Neoui Tarea in Archipelago Nemu Rirea

X of July, AD MDCCXCVII

My name is Uglyor Celchior. I have never known my natural parents, I was raised by gypsies, I’d rather say I was stolen and used by them. My first name given by the gypsies has influenced my destiny, because it suggests ugliness. In fact it means a species of falcon, they say, in an imaginary country named Transvaalachia or so. About the last name, it must be a distorted transliteration from a remote romance language, meaning blind, from caecitus, or at least they told me so. I am not blind at all at beauty, on the contrary I am very sensitive. Something tells me that I am of noble origin, possibly a descendant of prince Pasvante of Transvaalachia. I spent my infancy in the music of fados and fandangos in Coimbra, Lisboa, and flamencos in Granada, Andaluzia and then in Philippinos: at age of fourteen I flew on pirate vessel sailing in the Austral and Tropical Pacific. I do not have a place under the stars except the sea.

This morning we erected the black flags with white skull and bones on the masts of our brigantine. The caryatid in front of our vessel was a mixture of gorgone, angel and draco. Her wings of angel protecting our ship were in contrast with her hangs and bicuspid tongue and her atrocious eyes frightened our prey. This day we have attacked, destroyed and set fire on an unlucky caravel from Dutch Indies, robbed all the gold, diamonds, rare spices, fine porcelain, silk, ivory and we have killed ruthlessly all men, not without a kind of sad joy. In a cabin we found a young creature that did not look afraid at all, she proudly overlooked us and did not move a muscle on her face. Her sight was focused at the horizon, seeming empty and blind. Her name was Leona Andrada engraved on the brass plate of her coffer that I was carrying and had a shield with a heraldic dancing near with golden crown. ( I remember that my gypsy parents used to bring wild bears at town to make them dance for money and used to work gold tiaras and their gents wore the strange names of Ursari and Zlotari because of their mestieros.)

"I have never seen snow in my life, I don't believe it's true, it's mere a gypsy superstition from some invented mountains called Karpochians. [...]"

Were she not so white I could bet she was a gypsy queen, but her skin was incredibly white, white like snow. I have never seen snow in my life, I don’t believe it’s true, it’s merely a gypsy superstition from some invented mountains called Karpochians. We spared her life because we expected a huge ransom. I think she was a princess from Hapsborgia engaged at her birth time with a French noble and moved to France in her childhood. Eight years ago (minus 4 days to be precise). France burned in the flames of a revolution and they massacred Lavoispierre and Robesier and guillotined the royal family. Of course it’s only my imagination, but her proud air when she descended on our deck without a word recalled me the Queen of France defying death with dignity. She must have fled the fury of the people and had grown up on sea.

She looked so real that only in a dream the reality can be.

All the day long she was singing a sad slow song. It was sadder than the fados de mi madre gitana. The words were: Doinazic doinasus pintot kudoy naama maaityn, in a beautiful noble language; doubtless it was Hungarian. The song became soon obsessive and at every inflection the hairs erected on my spine and on my bald head. I hated it but at every instance she stopped singing to drink water I fell in unrest.

We all felt intimidated by her presence. The hate and suspicion reigned among us. The Captain ordered us to not touch her, otherwise he will kills us, but we have killed him before inserting a fork in his throat while he was sneezing in his hammock. His body to the sharks. The horizon line was almost invisible and the sounds propagated very clearly at long distance. We could distinctly hear the desolated cries of the seabirds fighting to eat the cadavers of our victims and even the feeble whispers of the not completely dead. His body floated around long before disappearing in the morning fog. The sea was greenish like jade or rather like geese excrement. It was incredibly calm, since the arrival of the gypsy witch. The calmer it was, the more excited it drove us. Like the negative image of the desert: the water the unending sand and islands like the oasis.

Even the priest-cook felt embarrassed. We all had two functions on the vessel. I was the porter and the gun man. The priest-cook: Remember Ter Rotte Haus in Borneo? Remember La Cazza Portu’Geisha do Macao in the Harbor of Mindanao? At midnight precisely in a moment marked by a gong six light black junks, every with twelve girls silently converged to O Establimiento de Lampada Roja where we used to drink tea or smoked pipes with Opium, a miraculous reviving extract from a juicy flower of vivid red color. Each one had a Lotus flower in her black luscious hair, the first one white, the second yellow, the third white again and so on… The water was resplendent from the candles they were carrying and the air was smelling the jasmine, the cinnamon, and hyacinth. We spent nights and days in lust and debauch, the tea gave us forces and we were able to replay the game indefinitely from the beginning.

"Now no one drank the TEA, nor smoked pipe, but the effect was much stronger.  It was like dreaming, everything was extremely clear but doubtful.  We had a torturous desire but our will was paralyzed.  She was our prisoner but we behave like we were her slaves."

Now no one drank The TEA, nor smoked pipe, but the effect was much stronger. It was like dreaming, everything was extremely clear but doubtful. We had a torturous desire but our will was paralyzed. She was our prisoner but we behave like we were her slaves. She dominated us.

Had she charmed us with her bloody song? Or had she made incantations?
The dream was merely a nightmare.

I must confess, I offered them a boat and all the prey we caught in order to leave the brigantine and killed the others who refused. Was it true or not is of no importance, but I dreamt it awake.

I started to spy on her. Furtively I entered her room. On the walls and the ceiling repeatedly I saw a kind of thing bizarre: a palm that hold a pair in love or a pair that formed a palm with their bodies. A symbol of a new religion? A doubled Jesus Christ or rather a pagan sign?

I slightly coughed to make my presence noticed. She did not pay attention. Singing and painting. Painting the sky, the islands and scribbling annotations with an elegant handwriting: Island Nemu Rirea, Atoll Neoui Tarea. I regarded through the houblot, there was no island or atoll in sight. Was she insane, was she a somnambule? If the islands she was painting did not exist, how could I BE SURE their image existed? If their image did not exist how could their name exist? If their name did not exist, what about their inventor? Did she exist? If SHE did not exist, what was I seeing in front of me? A troublesome image due to opiate? No, I could smell the subtle perfume of mountain flowers in her hairs. What am I talking about, I am a seaman, I have never seen a mountain in my life, nonetheless a mountain flower. If she does not exist, the unique logical consequence is that I do not exist too. Quod Erat Demonstrandum? I had to touch her at any price. Against my will reach my hand, full of desire. I expected to encounter the resistance of the shadow, to feel the Nothingness and then the liberation, the island of Nemu Rirea. But instead, to my stupor I felt flesh and blood, warm blood.

It was so real that I thought it was a dream. Maybe I dreamed in fact myself a mountaineer, sesized by an instant happiness, in the high forests, the murmur of the sources, the sound of a trumpet violin coming from the valley, on the summits I saw the snow, the incredible real snow, the first time in my life I encountered such freshness, I washed my face with it, I ate it and cried of joy. The spring irrupted, white little blossoms exploded everywhere, the mountain flowers from her hair, the snow was falling from the trees with a noise of thunder, the swollen rivers were covered with glass that suddenly started to melt and to crack, the rivers brusquely flooded, and from clear sky an unexpected thunder hit this splendid arbor that smelt like an encensor and flames started in the wood. A cascade wake up with a deafening noise. I did not know weather I was in inferno or in paradise. Everything turned around, faster and faster.

The mast of the ship caught fire and burned like a straw.
The nonexistence is voluptuous, exalting and exhilarating. I do Not exist because she does not exist.

But the atoll exists, I am trapped in it’s circle.


Found today 10 July 1997, Inside the atoll Neoui Tarea two hundred years too late.  X

 


In the memory of Dorian Saru (1947- 2002), Romanian physicist. Father of Ama & Aki Saru.
Manuscript Found In A Bottle was written as a letter to his friend. This story is presented as its original state when it was found with minor typing corrections.