by Julian Langer
"What you are about to learn of our friend is of the ending of the world they knew."
An eco-absurdist story of life between hope and despair, 'Mesodma' by Julian Langer is written for those living amidst mass extinction with existential doubts. Published in English and Spanish, Mesodma is an attempt to voice a primal desire for life in a world thoroughly indifferent to you. This excerpt is from chapter two of the book.
If you have never experienced the ending of a world, it is hard to really grasp what it is for a world to end.
Somewhere across space, outside of this tiny rock in this tiny solar system, worlds are being consumed by entities scientists call black holes. Before they are even aware of the occurrence, worlds are pulled into their gravitational pull, leaving an apparent nothingness.
A world’s ending isn’t always as dramatic as this. Many of us – parents who have lost their children, indigenous communities who have witnessed the violation of the lands they call home, believers who have found what they at one point held to be true to be empty lies, and many others – have known what it is to have worlds end. Every day apocalypses happen every day.
I have walked along the edges of coastal paths, to the points at which the coast will allow me to go no further, felt the wind on my body and stared out to the sea, with the smell of salt entering me with every breath. The fury of the sea can be apocalyptic, and the edge of a cliff is the end of a world. Those who would jump over the edges of cliffs, to have their lifeless bodies drift upon the beach, with the tides, are the enders of worlds.
What you are about to learn of our friend is of the ending of the world they knew. And as much as many of us are apocalypse survivors, you are about to learn whether or not they are to be a survivor of an apocalypse.
By all immediate appearances, this event was a not an all too unfamiliar one. While not an everyday occurrence, our friend had experienced an earthquake before, and this is what they immediately assumed in to be. The familiarity brought with it an immediate sensation of horror, as they woke to find the world moving. Driven by a visceral energy coursing through their body, our friend made an attempt to escape the commotion via the entryway to their den. Now, the idea of running away from an earthquake has an immediate absurdness to it, given the impossibility of the desperate act. Despite this, I am sure all of us, were we in the same situation as our friend, would react in the same way.
As they exited the den, our friend found that they were in a world quite unlike the one that they had known for the entirety of their life.
For no reason that they could comprehend, the world had changed in such a dramatic way, it felt near unrecognizable. There was no warning sign to inform them that the earth’s gravitational pull was about to bring a gigantic lump of rock from space down upon the land. And, while the world before them was an obvious sign that something had happened, there was no way of our friend knowing what.
This did not matter though. The world quite clearly is changed. That was what mattered. Even more so, what mattered was what every muscle, every bone, their eyes, their ears, their heart and every other part of their body was screaming at them.
Thick black clouds covered the skies, unlike any our friend had witnessed before. If you’ve ever seen a thunderstorm in the day, when the light is having to force its way through the grey gloom in the sky, you will have some awareness of something like what this sky was. These clouds were black, and the sun light did not breach them like it does on moody thundery days. With them, all of the light of the world was sucked up, and everything seemed full of emptiness.
In this new world, all shapes seemed distorted and confusing. As our friend attempted to look out and determine what they would do, nothing appeared whole, or really present. The air was thick with ash, smoke, dust, heat and fear.
I have often watched the air above a flame move in that curious way it does. The strangeness of the sight amuses me and is oddly satisfying. I don’t know why, though I have my suspicions – something about primordial weirdness and elemental anarchy.
On this day, fire rained from the sky, with liquid fury. Like a cosmic tsunami, sent from the heavens to purge the world, for some terrible evil, fire fell like the wrath of some vengeful God, who had been angered by their creations.
The world our friend is now immersed within is one full of fire, and motion, and air so thick you can barely breathe, and lightlessness. Everywhere they look is danger. Standing still is an even more terrifying prospect though. Not moving when everything is moving is an easy way to find yourself moved.
For no particular reason that would make any sense to you or I, they picked a direction, and ran. With all their body could muster, our friend ran, desperate to escape the abject terror that surrounded them. There must be an end to all the black, and fire, and death!? But as far as they ran, the new world was totalizing.
All around them, the cries of those who were caught in the flames, or under fallen trees, desperately trying to escape. The sound of agony was thick on the air. It was as if they were swimming in a sea of pain and anguish horror.
If you can imagine the suffering of those who have spent time as prisoners in torture camps, but amplify it all substantially. Nazis, Islamists and Communists could never reproduce the pain that surrounded our friend.
Wherever they turned, our friend could not escape what had happened to the world. Running from one spot to another, until they could run no more. It was the same everywhere they turned – everything was different. All the spaces our friend knew were now strange and unfamiliar. The safety they had once found in one place had been lost, in the blackness and the fire.
Eventually, after what felt like forever, our friend stopped, fell to the ground and slept.
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Julian Langer is a writer and eco-anarchist. Read more of his work over on Eco-Revolt.