Retro 4/4

What do you get when you take CS Lewis’s ‘That Hideous Strength’ and cross it with… well… me?

You get Shadowlands.  Where quasi-human janissaries serve those dithering-fallen angels who could not make up their damned minds.

What happens if one of your overpowered agents wakes up… and turns on you?

Again, this is all here and there… take the walk to the pharmacy door of OTChi Kocchi.

[location: hard, broken ground; a few rocks.  Aris, naked, sitting on her butt, legs drawn up close, arms around knees; head up, hair down but splayed about.  Beyond about a foot from her, darkness]


[opening inscription:

Through the travail of ages, midst the pomp and toils of war, have I strove and perished, countless times among the stars]


I remember now.

I always do when I’m here. Sometimes I do when I’m not, but here, my memory is perfect.  Places, people, the things I’ve seen; the things I’ve done.

I’ve seen things people wouldn’t believe.

I’ve done… questionable things.


I was… simpler when I came here. They told me where to go and what to do, and that’s what I did.

I learned that I could learn. I wonder if they expected that?  I learned that they didn’t know everything.  I don’t think they know that, either.  [picks up rock]  I know that things are not always what they seem.  [rock melts, flows between her fingers, falls to the ground as pebbles]  Anything.


[rests head on knees]

I’ve become so tired. They asked me if I wanted to quit.  I said no.  After more work, I told them yes.  They showed me my replacement.

A very young boy, or rather, an image of him. My head and heart reacted as never before.

For the first time, I knew right and wrong. To make that child replace me was wrong.

I don’t think they knew that, either.


I want to quit. But I see him.  What time is it out there?


[hair ruffles as if blown by a breeze]


They’re coming. Time is again, fleeting.  [head up, lips apart, teeth on edge]


I remember now. All this time, I’ve been no more than a pawn.  ‘Take this, get that, have a good time!’  But all this time, the pawn has slowly crossed the board.  [wind picks up, hair more about].  Quiet and unnoticed.  [she stands, hair wild about, fists up]


I’m coming for you, boy. I can do it.  They cant stop me.  I’m ending this.

Sometimes… sometimes a pawn… becomes a Queen! [eye always occluded by hair shines fiercely]

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