Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Brick Oven

I was down low on the marble floor, staring upwards, towering brick leviathans on either side of me. The canyon was flooded in murky shadows; almost all of the daylight from outside was filtered and diffused before it could reach down here at the bottom. I examined the bricks as well as I could in the dim conditions and discovered they were old, probably reclaimed from a building that had been torn down recently. They had some writing embossed into them, which I of course couldn't read; probably the name of the company that originally fired them. They were made from a smooth river clay, light red in color, and most had a chip or two out of them, but they were still structurally sound.

This long dark echo chamber felt as if it might have been inhabited by a thousand ghosts. Sound and light waves bounced around endlessly, searching for some sort of final resting place. I tried, knowing full well of the futility, forcing my way through the bricks, trying to get them to shift, or get the mortar to crack. The dead air between them walls seemed to sap my energy. I sat there for a long time, he continued his work, the walls getting ever higher above me. A claustrophobic fear surged through me, but was gone just as quickly as it struck. I wandered the desolate canyon, feeling lonely and useless. The bricks were cold, and I clung to them where they met the floor, wishing they could absorb me and I could leave this place.

He placed a metal grate overhead, stretching across the canyon, joining the two walls. I wanted to swoop up overhead and get a look at what he was doing, but I couldn't find the energy to even get up off the floor. Once the grate was in place, he continued with the bricks, building ever higher. Eventually, out of boredom more than curiosity, I ventured further down the canyon, and came to a sort of crossroads. Straight ahead was sooty darkness. To my right and left the canyon bumped out a little. At the end of the bump-outs was more brick wall, but there was a small rectangular window in each. I could see the sunlight through the one to my left. I went up and looked through the little window and could see all the way to the city. The forms of the buildings outside were hard to decipher through the sunlight coming from behind them. There was so much going on out there. So much life.

I sank back down to the floor, scraping along the face of the bricks on the way. The bricks here were a little warm, from the sun I assume. Looking up, I saw his face looming over me, staring down through me. He smiled. He turned away and went back to his work. I slowly drifted back, retracing my route, to the entrance of the brick canyon and wandered aimlessly until I found myself by the lamp on his nightstand. The stones scattered around the lamp were also warm from the sun. They were also covered in a layer of dust. This, I thought, must be where the universes I used to watch go to die, shipwrecked on this rocky shore. I settled over them and did not move for a long time.

Listening to: Radiohead - Pyramid Song
via FoxyTunes