Creatures spotted in the desert approximately 130 km north of Eron, as I recall them
April 24, 2387
It’s been a while since I used this notebook.
When the last power plant collapsed about nine days ago, we realized we have to move. Fast. We couldn’t delay any longer. I have gotten kind of used to Eron by now, we were there for almost two years. But we couldn’t survive without a power source, especially now that the desert storms have caught up with us.
We are still all together, just without Gorge who had to stay behind because of his leg (and because the radiation messed his brains up). The plan is to cross the Large Plains to the other side. There is no point in continuing to circle around the cape. We have to risk the desert.
We set foot about a week ago. The desert is harsh and there is a bad scent in the winds. The majestic dunes seem to object to our presence, waiting for us to give in and sink into the glimmering sands. The ground rises steadily and the light grows clearer as we further northwards.
Today is our first day of real rest. We found a small oasis that was almost mistaken for a mirage. It was the unmistakable murmur of water flowing that gave it away. We didn’t expect to come across any such comforts after all the stories. How did this microcosmos manage to survive it all? Like an island, completely self-sufficient amidst the dunes.
We will camp here for a few days and gather our strengths, who knows when will be the next time. We cannot be self-sufficient.
April 25, 2387
Last night I couldn’t sleep. I sent Adriane to bed and took over the watch. It was dark. Deep night had fallen. There were many clear stars but the waning moon would not be seen till late. I walked slowly along one of the dunes and kept my gaze hooked on the glimmering stars.
Suddenly I heard a dim, muffled sound. I looked down and saw a little circular form just behind the ledge. Alarmed I reached for my knife as a sense of peril took over me. It looked like a small periscope, and I feared we were being watched. Moving slowly towards it, a small, slug-like creature, was revealed behind the edge of the dune. It seemed to be staring at the rising moon, unbothered by my presence. Suddenly it bowed its head down. I halted. Then the creature turned back and began descending on the other side of the dune. I followed behind and the view from the ledge forced me into stillness.
In a little valley stretching between the dunes, the nightlights softly shone on hundreds, perhaps thousands of such creatures. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ve never seen anything like this before. What are they doing here? Where did they come from? I slowly moved up next to the one who attracted my attention in the first place. It curled up, laying its head to rest on its body. They seem to completely ignore my presence. I set down next to the creature and looked around.
Some were still as if frozen in meditative states. Others move slowly, with poise, rolling their body across the sand. I think I saw one diving head down into the sand, but I’m not sure. Some of the creatures seem to be preoccupied with each other in peculiar ways. They can extend little tentacles from their heads, which they use to connect to each other, forming circles of a trans-like vibration.
The night grow older as the moon rose up, filling the valley of the creatures with a silver light. I don’t know how long I was sitting there, but there was something enchanting about these weird beings. I couldn’t stop watching them. I cannot explain how, but I felt like they were communicating in ways unseen. They seemed ageless, as if I was looking into a world that was no more, or perhaps a world that always was, stepping into a corner of the world where time stood still.
Making my way back to the campsite I decided not to tell the others about them. At least not yet. I want to see them again before. I will take the watch shift again tomorrow night.
April 26, 2387
It was not so easy to find the valley again, as the dunes seem to have moved (or did we?). The sands conspire against us, and they would have easily succeeded without the constant protection of the evening star. Since the dawn of time, it marks the point around which the world revolves.
For a moment I wondered if the creatures have moved along, or perhaps it was the brown waters of the watering hole which caused them to appear in my mind’s eye. But then the soft sound of moist suction, like a gum being chewed, was leading me again to them. I brought my notebook along with me. I wanted to draw them, study them. Understand them. It seems they have distinct postures or poses. I think they reflect their mood, or perhaps their character.
They seem to have certain rituals or ceremonies I don’t quite understand. I came close to a creature that seems to suck onto another one. First I thought its a sexual act, but then after the transference happened, the transmitting creature dropped down like a deflated balloon. Was it but a shall that remained after passing away? Could it be that these creatures pass on their being to the living other, and continue on living within them, as part of them?
There were also several groups of creatures joining together, linking tentacles and forming circles. Nearing them I heard a recurring woosh sound. Something is being passed along between them, circulating the circle from within. The creatures seemed in trance - vibrating, quivering, wobbling. Perhaps they are having sex. Passing through genetic data and simultaneously inseminate each other. They also seem to grow fatter afterward. Whatever this is exactly - the creatures seem to enjoy it very, very much.
The night deepened as I set on the top of the dune. Looking down at the valley the creatures were moving in such a harmonious way, as if dancing, guided by some hidden energy strings. I cannot tell the others about them. I fear they would try to capture them, eat them, or use them in our fight for survival. I can hear Adrianne’s voice crying out that they would be great water containers for our coming journey, that we must think of ourselves first. She is right, of course. But… Perhaps I should show this notebook to someone after we reach the other side if we ever do. But who would believe me then? Maybe it’s better if they don’t. They would come looking for them, hunt and capture them. They will cut them up, study them, analyze them. They will destroy them like they destroyed everything else.
The moon was already high above and I felt that day is soon to break. I got up, dusted off my pants, and turned to leave. These creatures filled my heart with joy and hope. I don’t know why. Perhaps it is enough to know that amidst all this distraction there are still corners on this earth where harmony is to be found.
As I made my way up and over the dune, I noticed that one of the creatures slowly began moving towards me. I was crossing the dune’s edge and the valley disappeared from sight. When I looked back I saw the creature right there on the ledge, its two tentacles extending from its body, pointing towards me, as if looking, or waving. It stayed there as I continued my descent towards the camp. I turned around one last time and saw the creature vanishing behind a patch of moonlit sand.
A project kindly funded by the Hessische Kulturstiftung. Sculptures by Filippa Pettersson, text by Ben Livne Weitzman, soundtrack by Kristin Reiman. For inquiries please email email@example.com