Serenades, chapter 1

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Literature Text

one: so this is dying

“So this is dying. Doesn’t seem so bad, actually, in retrospect.”
“No, you’re not.” A man’s voice, slight warbling noise and feedback, and that’s it.
I opened my eyes, seeing nothing but the cold and institutional gunmetal gray hold of some kind of transport. “Someone found you unconscious under a dead anusiya. She took you to us.” From a speaker. There was a microphone near it.
Ava, I realized. My mind wandered, wondering where she was, if she was still alive, if I’d ever see her again. “What happened?”
“A terrorist from the Movement for Justice and Equality opened a gatepiece inside the Palaces.”
“Is Ava here?”
“Who is that?”
I remembered that she used a fake name. “No one.” I struggled to remember the name she used.
“I have no idea.”
“Her family name was Macieira. Shit, that doesn’t seem right.”

I found out Ava was now living on the tenth floor of an old apartment building. The bedroom itself was small and surprisingly full. There were two mattresses on the floor, one on top of the other, a threadbare red and black Aredvian carpet, a blackwood dresser with a lamp on top, a wooden table with a teacup and dried roses, a floor lamp, two cushioned chairs and an octagonal table barely large enough for a dinner plate. The walls were papered with red arabesque designs, peeling in places to reveal off-white plaster that crumbled away to reveal lengths of wiring and fiberoptic cables. All of the flat surfaces were studded with honeydew melon and vanilla scented candles, dried lilacs, and strawberry incense. One of the back rooms was a storage closet halfheartedly converted into a kitchen, the other had a bathtub, cabinets, a cracked mirror foggy with dust, and a toilet filled with sludge from an unmaintained septic system.
Ava had a long black coat on, a soft sea green sweater, a short black skirt, purple and black striped leggings, and her hair was clipped with plastic lady beetles. It was chilly in here, I agreed.
“Hey, beautiful.”
“It took you long enough. You missed my birthday. I bought a cupcake and put a candle in it, but mostly I worried about you and Cec.”
I nodded, humoring her. “I promise I’ll be with you next year. What day is it? I’ve spent a long time inside a cargo floater.”
“It’s the third of Cold Dew. Didn’t you look at a calendar when you spent all that time looking for me? The first frost of the year comes soon. I love early autumn, even in the worst times. Oh, well, we’ll have other autumns to be together. I recommend getting some clothes. Do you want me to take you? I don’t like the politics, but I lived here as a teenager, I know Tarentum like the lines on my palm. It’s the best my parents were offered.”
“In those days, Labour was toying with the idea of limited voting rights, National wanted to counter this with quotas. My father wanted to live in Nicopolis or Mediolanum, but they were full already.” She made a cup of tea as she talked, with hot water from the sink.
“What?” I repeated, and we went back to the main room.
“Didn’t anyone explain this to you in civics class?” She sighed. “No, it’s not you, it’s them. National says we can’t have more than ten percent non-Selinian in any given metropolis. They’re afraid that if the numbers get higher than that, we’ll start demanding concessions and social upheaval.”
“What about Caralis?”
“What about it?” She stirred her tea. “Nobody wanted the diaspora, so National stopped bothering.” She put the spoon up to her lips and blew on it.

She put on some music with a driving beat, heavily distorted and overdriven electric guitars, and a male shouting something in a thick accent, a blend of Assodean and Caralisian. Too thick to understand, too thick to determine what languge it was.
“You know Lunar Mutiny is from Dyrrhasium? Most of the music produced there is ultranationalist, asstastic shit. I mean, gaah, do they hate me personally? I could just imagine the thought that goes into making that stuff. ‘Hey, guys, Ava developed a resistance to our shitty music.’ ‘But, glorious leader, our musical skills are inept already. How do we possibly make it worse?’ ‘Sing about how much we hate everyone who isn’t Selinian.’ ‘Wonderful! That should break her.’ And that’s all you’ll hear broadcast in the Nevdasht settlements. Oh well, the underground stuff makes up for it.” I wondered why an Assodean would live on the Selinia-Nevdasht border voluntarily.
“So, where am I sleeping?”
“With me, of course. Same bed and everything. You don’t mind, do you?”
“Of course not. So what happened after our glorious escape from Selinus?”
“I wanted to go back for Cecilia, but,” she poked my sternum, “you fell unconscious and I didn’t want to leave you there. I just sat there until a Selinian officer came. I really didn’t want to, but I didn’t have much choice..”

“Does someone else live here?” I asked.
“It’s a former hotel. Just some pigeons shitting on their mummified ancestors.” She yawned and let herself fall backwards into the mattress and sighed. Dust rose in clouds. “I got rid of those, though. One was in the toilet. I really hate those damn things. Let me tell you, I never want to do this again. It still stinks of shit and bird corpse. That’s why I have all that incense and dried flowers everywhere.”
“I’m surprised we got this place.”
“I am too. A lot of people left, before everything got bad. I can’t blame them, really.” She kicked off her boots, sending more dust into the air. “It’s decent once you clean up. Once the smell is gone. ”
“And the place is falling apart. What a bloody shame. It must have been a nice place when it was new.”
“Everything’s like this. Fuck, you should see the rooms above us. They’re open to the sky and they have terrible erotic poetry scrawled everywhere. They don’t know what it’s like either, all they hear is a bunch of refugees were moved into an old hotel. They never hear about the broken heat and the swimming pool in the lobby. We have a balcony too, but I wouldn’t go out there. Damn thing looks like it’s about to collapse. Still too luxurious for them, no doubt. We should all be living in tents and eating pigeons and rats.”
“Heard about the attack on the Governmental Palaces?” I changed the subject.
“Yes, and the official story isn’t convincing me. Look at who died: Lucina, Pulcheria, Landelinus, Florentinus, and Athanasia. What do they have in common?”
I shrugged.
“They’re all supporters of the Movement for Justice and Equality.”

“Um, hello. I’m currently being detained in Tarentum for I don’t know how long, and I would like to hold off on all classes until I’m out of here.” A pause. “Ok, bye. Damn, it’s been how long, a week? I thought I was going to get in Selinus on last Sukrasday and leave on Shanisday at the latest.” She input another address.
“Ver, it’s me. Well, I’m currently fucking stuck in Tarentum. Because they won’t let me leave Selinia proper until they process something or other, and you know how bureaucracy is. Have you seen Cec around? You know, blonde girl with the eye thing, wears clothes from a Yunanese fashion magazein. I have all her stuff. Oh.” She looked dejected.
“No sign of her?”
“Nope. I wish I could get through to Marciana.”
“Did anyone give you a response?”
“Yes. Kalai died in the war, but the guy who’s getting my calls says that Marciana’s all right. They’re still afraid to say where she is, but they’ll tell her as soon as they can.”
“Nothing ever works out for Marciana.”
“I guess so. What else is going on?”
“I’m going to try to get into a course on Pannonian history, even if they’re enforcing the Selinians Only rail lines now, and getting to the campus will be a bitch come winter.”
Read Aubade. At least, read the last chapter of Aubade because that forms a bridge. Go look up stuff on and abandoned-places, and maybe experience a real winter for yourself. Recommended listening for this chapter: Bark Psychosis - Clawhammer
anything by Odessa Chen

I think I specified this, but Macieira means apple tree in Portuguese. I couldn't find any for pomegranates, but apples are close enough in appearance, aren't they? Not biologically. Apples have thier own mythological association, even if the association is only due to a translation. Do keep the innocence lost thing in mind, though. Death likes apples because they go crunch.

I feel this way about some European music. For certain styles of music, specifically neofolk, I would like affirmation that they're not fascist before I attempt to listen to them.

Someone described bureaucracy as being a squid where each tentacle has individual goals which either assist or work contrary to other tentacles.

Anyway, starting May 21, 2010 (but not until later; it's late and Ij ust wanted to see how everything worked on the brave new world of deviantart 7.0), I will update Serenades, Nocturne, Requiem, and then Aubade with the latest version. I think I like the new deviantart. I had some problems with the lack of an edit button and all the annotations. I don't have to close the window to reload half of the time, and that's all that matters. Yeah, I know the search isn't on every page, but I can't remember the last time I used the search.

... actually, after getting an error, I take this back: editing files is still the hideous bitch goddess it's always been.

Repeating on July 31, 2010
and on Dec 2, 2010 since that's after NaNoWriMo. I wrote 3000 words total despite a logic board failure near the end and a constant sinus infection. Horray for Zoidberg!
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