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   21.04.2017 - Winter way

Concrete road stretching to the horizon.
Trees along the edges. Twisted, dead.
Clouds, clouds, hanging low, grey and suffocating.

Sun above shining through alpine air
Enchanting silence rings between bluish sea grey plains
Barely interrupted by puffs of a hot air balloon's burner.

On the ground but off the road
Appears an abandoned uranium mine: ghost city.
A solitary sentinel with burning eyes tells stories 'round a fire
Stories of lost greatness, of lost years.

On the track but off to the other side
Are trees, forest, & grove, and then: a clearing.
In the clearing there are tanks, long forgotten
E'en longer lost, but still intact with diesel still inside.

The rocks crumble under the tracks,
Tank crests another hill,
Rushing along the concrete road stretching to the horizon.

Looping road, should have been cut straight.
Cracking dead trees, more shattering and cracking,
Then Silence.
Clear snowfield ahead
Cracking once again, suddenly.
The tank lurches down a river,
Ice of limited strength.

Leaving the still-bubbling hole behind, hiking down the river.
The landscape changes gradually:
The snow, compacted along the middle of the river,
Tire tracks, short cliffs on the right, village ahead.
Wooden houses on the waving half-a-hill,
Delimited with tree-trunk fences, speckled with rare bushes.
Near them blocks of ice, cut out, and snow mounds.
There is life.
There is no living.

There is no road after the village,
Only the former tundra waving with snow dunes.
Twisty snow snakes, casting weird shadows
With the slowly rolling sun, circling along the horizon.
A herd of deer walk in the distance.

Nightfall. Cold dispels all cloud remnants.
Stars shining through frosty-clear air,
Stardust scattered across the sky,
Infinite sharpness blurred by atmosphere, blinking friendily.
The air itself glows, slightly phosphorecent.
Closer to the horizon, a faint halo rises--
Sunshine reflected straight back by interplanetary dust,
Like the car's headlights reflected on road signs.

They say there should be auroras in these latitudes.
They say there should be auroras in these latitudes:
Green arrows piercing the heights of the sky,
Green arrows piercing the veil of the night's sky
Joining into strips from horizon to horizon,
But no...the night was empty:
Desolate infinitude.

Show no concern.
Polar night lies ahead,
To be seen more than once.
"Ahead," the legend says, "are forgotten lands, the frozen El Dorado."
Somewhere over there are cities that glitter with all the colours,
Where dreams manifest.
Somewhere over there, behind the cold and the frost,
Behind the snowstorms and the darkness,
The tundra, the ice, and the axis of the Earth
Form the path to the brighter future.

Maybe you can reach it, some day,
Or maybe you cannot.
But there is always the Road
Always, at least, the Road.

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   25.08.2016 - Night. city. Roof.

Night. City. Roof.
You climb the ladder and poke your head over the edge.
It isn't really dark, and nothing hides inside the shadows.
The ringing in the ears fade away, replaced by the ticks and drips and creaks of the world.
One creak, one itch of nerves. There shouldn't be anyone up there, but anxiety doesn't care.
Covering the eyes from the glare of the lights below allows the far parts of the roof to be seen clearly.
The drips and creaks no longer twitch the nerves, the apprehension and the sense of danger fade.
Rough surfacing is rather creaky, and there is no way to sneak up without being heard.
With that, the sense of danger slowly dissipates and yields to the serenity.
A vent pillar is just the right size to lean around.
Too quiet for the city, and yet it isn't really quiet.
There is a rolling rumbling, the wind-like hum that comes and ebbs away, poked and punctuated.
The clouds race above, light-orange, dark-gray, black holes revealing the sky behind, shaded from the city lights.
It looks almost like the proverbial red Mars - the orange glow of city lights reflected back.
Martian sky above the city, dark sky over the forest to the west, another spot of orange in the distance.
The waves of color with rips in them.
Drip, ping, click, clang.
The stars are showing in the holes. The Earth is spinning really fast, or so the racing clouds make it look like.
Half-eaten Moon pokes through a hole, it's light too dim to really matter in the sodium glow.
Quiet roar, somewhat more louder squeal. Someone is drifting in the empty streets.
No one is in sight below, the bus station empty, the roads clear.
On the other side, the light pick out patches of the landscape. An orange tree, a piece of a pond, the cars set here and there.
Playground, orange grass.
The quiet murmur comes and goes in waves, dry sound of so many things being mixed together that only shhhh remain.
The roof is dark, it's edges sharp.
Red lights on distant towers look like the eyes of giant humanoid robots that stand vigil over the stilled city.
A baby starts to cry somewhere far away, black window becomes white.
Shadows move across that light, and soon it's back to the tides and ebbs of quietness.
Slight gusts of wind make the skin crawl.
It's cold up here, in the clear and somewhat moist air under the orange fog that used to have holes in it.
Time to climb back down.

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   12.04.2016 - The Banshee, prelude

With the eyes closed, it felt almost like home - the gentle warmth of sunshine on the skin, the light seeping through the eyelids. The colour was off a bit, the warmth was spread across too much skin.

He opened the eyes, and a white hot metal ball hung in front of his face. Bright enough to leave spots in the eyes, yet cold enough to see the bands of clouds if you squirm a little.

He reached for it, the outstretched palm just big enough to cover the whole thing, the liquid metal sticking in-between the fingers of the closed fist. Somehow the brown dwarf always felt like it was within arm's reach, even when it really was almost a million kilometers away, behind the rad-hard glass of the improvised habitat.

This 10 million years old failure of a star was screaming like an infant banshee. It's scream was radiation - unseen, unheard and deadly in minutes on the surface of the moon.

Or should it be called a planet? Radiation notwithstanding, the Banshee wasn't really a star - at 8 times the mass of Jupiter it was too small to sustain nuclear fusion, and it's heat was just the remnants of it's birth.

Somehow it ended up the larges body within several lightyears. The expedition was supposed to determine which theory was right - was it formed from too small a cloud of gas, or was it a planet, ejected from a nearby star? Most peculiarly, why was there one cold moon around it, when the rest of them were still glowing from the heat of their creation?

A moon. Technically wrong, but he didn't feel it right to call the rock below a planet.


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