Eon II: Sail Into Light

Elius Ten is dark. They said it would be dark, but The Academy never told them what the dark could do. The cold, deep, creeping darkness that seeped into every disquiet, every   restless space inside your head. The dark made you feel lost – disconnected: not knowing where you or anyone else were amongst the infinite expanse of space. Like sailors overboard adrift in the black of night on a strange and foreign ocean. The monotony of repetitive tasks edging into a suffocating meaninglessness. A tightness that would gather in your chest at times from this boredom accompanied by a teasing despair. That is what the dark could do on Elius Ten: the unsung Geo-lab/space Lighthouse stationed off the Kuiper Belt in the farthest reaches of the Milky Way.

 

Few people held this post for more than two rotations. The small crew it did keep were aptitude tested yet that is, of itself, indefinite. Too many causes for the mind to become unhinged closed in on those prone to the symptoms of working deep-space deployment. Even with specialist military training, rumours of ghosts in the galley and crew losing or misplacing time were common. Most adapted to the forty-eight-hour deep-space cycle: thirty-six hours’ waking time with twelve hours sleep. Days bled into nights strewn into weeks that yawned into months. Before long, a rotation had passed and you were a year older. Deep-cave dwellers of Earth were perhaps the only ones who could compare their altered sense of time.

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The Secret Castle

An abandoned Castle lies on the mountain peak a mile or so from the port village of Shoalhaven. It is surrounded by a Pine forest with thick Birch and Spruce trees. From inside overlooking the eastern balcony is a steep ravine that leads into the Mediterranean Sea. Outside, its bent towers skew into a turquoise sky. It has missing shingles that poke light inside its vast caverns like a kaleidoscope of what it wants to reveal. The interior of its many rooms and halls expand into what was once vast opulence. There are hidden stairwells that ascend and descend deep into the mountain. At the bottom of one, a large dome yawns over a platform where smaller boats can moor. There are openings in the rock where the ocean swirls around large boulders and amongst thick sea grass. Large fish from the Atlantic skulk past. Sometimes she stops to look at the fish; big, big fish, larger than her mother’s trawler. The ovals of their eyes shimmer and she sees her reflection in them.

She wanders upstairs in the tower rooms, with their desks and bookshelves.  One has many intricate glass ornaments. Another, large wrought iron lounges are covered in thick sheets. She picks up a brass goblet. Daylight glistens across its eight faces. She muses into the milky glare, twisting the goblet in her hand so the reflections animate. She sees reflections of her Mother and then her Father, an older man she later thinks was Grandfather. The goblet is returned and then the rank of fish scales in her overalls reminds her of the shimmering eye of the giant cod from below. She has left work undone back on the docks.

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