Author’s Note: This story is related to one I had published earlier this year. While not necessary reading to understand this one – I think -, it might be worth the few minutes of your time… it might even be enjoyable! So, if you guys are game, hit the Dusty Light up.
… And you turn the screwdriver just… so…
Decker felt that now-familiar sense of satisfaction and peace, that which he had come to recognize as the sign that he had completed a burrow. Dusty Abodes they called them, the Vagrants, given to the Dusty-Light trail, and those like Decker, who built the places-within-places, the houses where the Eloquent Silence could be heard-seen, and where the weary Vagrants could rest and, with any luck, find themselves closer to that siren that beckoned them roam.
He had just finished installing a carefully balanced trapdoor in the relatively small art museum of a sizeable town in the Midwest, right in the section housing post-modern sculptures, hiding in plain sight. None but another Burrow-Maker , like himself, or a Vagrant possessing the instructions or the knack for the burrow, would be able to tell that there was a Dusty Abode. It was curious, how little common folk would notice of the world around them. Most curious, indeed!
Dekker sat down on a wooden box, screwdriver still in hand, just a couple of feet away from the trapdoor. Dusty-Abodes were rudimentary affairs, though they were works of careful and studied craftsmanship, possessing all the amenities necessary for one given to the road to rest and recoup before hitting the dusty trail anew. Much of the materials used for the interior of these ingenious hideouts were salvaged, recycled from things discarded, and brought under the guise of darkness and the Dusty-Light’s gifts, which were the sole realm of the makers. Vagrants possessed no such gifts.
He blew out the lone candle stub that shone its amplified light from within a miniature torch case, and then waited in complete darkness for what he knew would come.
At first, he only felt the stir of dust particles, not truly sensing this physically but rather instinctively, his subconscious mental processes and senses recognizing within a thousandth of a second, that the manifestation of habitation had begun.
Seconds later the air currents grew stronger, now identifiable at a more conscious level by Dekker’s skin and body hair. He was a dwarfish man, short and built like barrel, though he didn’t have quite as much facial hair as some people might expect from a veritable vagabond.
Then he heard-saw the Silence, it’s eloquence in the darkness of the Dusty Abode. It was always joyous, to know that the Mistress found the result of his work acceptable, habitable, worthy of holding a part of its essence. Sometimes, Dekker fancied he could sense his Mistress’ joy, some childlike giddiness that appeared to seep through its presence. He realized it was a privilege of the ‘makers, for it was only they who saw the virginal side of this entity, this deity for lack of a better word, that called to them all.
The Eloquent Silence was a manifestation or aspect of the Siren, which in turn were part of the Dusty-Light, something only glimpsed within one’s mind as a ball of light, the bulb of not-so-distant star, view through the gusts of dust and dark mists, like the desert sun through a dust storm. Some speculated that there were bound to be more aspects of this entity, but so far neither Vagrants nor ‘makers had come across any other type of follower or an experience that would hint at this, but there were stories, rumours …
He braced himself as the dark silence collected itself, he felt the air before him grow more solid and heavy, he imagined it alike the gathering of cosmic dust into a gravitational well, gathering to produce a celestial body that exerted gravity in turn. It then began to speak in earnest to him.
Dekker recalled when he first found the Siren, his Mistress. He was still a child, only seven, and wandered off into an abandoned house, an old colonial, abandoned and in disrepair, yet somehow sturdy. He had climbed up stairs that, while looking like they would crack under his weight, held strong and bore his body to the top, where he saw the retractable door to the house’s attic open, the wooden stairs leading there pivoting as if they had just been brought down, the door just recently opened seconds before.
He climbed, strangely unafraid, as if drawn to the dark therein, and found himself amidst old boxes and furniture, lost to the unkindness of the elements and time. Dust covered it all, and inside he recognized something alive in the darkness, like the foetus in the womb, waiting for him. It spoke to him for the first time, then, and it bestowed its gifts upon him, granting him the abilities to carve out holy places anywhere, just like it had carved out a home inside his soul. He had run from home that very day, forty nice years ago, never to see his family again.
And like that day long ago, again It spoke to him now. The Siren told him of the next place to eke out a Dusty Abode, the next route to take, and what materials to use. This was a multi-part set of instructions, multiple commissions rather than just one simple. This was special, even more so than all those times, because this tasted of coming to a head, of a wave cresting, just about to break, and he was to carry out a significant role in the coming of that tide.
With each Dusty Abode the Dusty Light’s influence grew, It inhabited others who came to dwell there, It travelled with them, It gave them the joy of perpetual flow. Now, Dekker bore witness and testimony to the plan, to the design, at least a portion of it. This was the beginning, and he was to spearhead the first movement of the grand symphony of silence.