Andariasmeni, the Buildings and her Friends by Konstantina Koraki (Fantasy-The first two chapters)

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Andariasmeni is a girl who dreams a lot. During her dreams she meets creatures that look a lot like humans and experiences many adventures. She becomes a Queen, saves a sailor and finds herself inside a whale. There, she meets a talking seagull, a captain and two ladies from a past era. However, whenever Andariasmeni wakes up, she faces a tough reality, more bizarre even than her dreams.
But what happens when she is not dreaming?

Andariasmeni lives in a town where everyday people try to climb on living buildings. These buildings are fed by negative feelings, so they torture their climbers. Andariasmeni considers this kind of life miserable and is trying to find out why all this is happening. Still, everyone seems to be avoiding the discussion. Grandmother Efthalia is distant and never explains why Andariasmeni's parents are missing, her teacher is strict, the school Headmasters try to make her adjust to this completely regulated and controlled environment and her friends think differently from her.

One day, she decides to go to the buildings and confront them all by herself assuming that no one will help her. Nonetheless, her friends from both reality and imagination will look for her and they will all meet up at the biggest and meanest of the buildings, where an extraordinary battle among humans, creatures and buildings will take place. A battle which is different but still very much vicious, even if it isn’t fought with guns but with strange keys, emotions and sounds.
http://andariasmeni.blogspot.gr/

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  • 1. Andariasmeni, the Buildings and her Friends A fantasy e-book By Konstantina Koraki Illustration Alexandros Korakis
  • 2. 1. The dreams “The name Andariasmeni comes from the Greek word “antara” : It's the atmosphere caused by heavy clouds before a rainstorm.” Andariasmeni opened her eyes and saw a closed door in front of her. She hesitated. She had the choice not to open it; perhaps it would be better this way, if she didn’t find out. A few seconds went by. Or was it a whole hour? There are moments when time loses its normal pace. She decided that she shouldn't think anymore. She opened the door and saw a giant bird... or was it perhaps a hippogriff? No, hippogriffs didn’t look like that. This one had wings, feathers like every other bird but its size was extraordinary. It looked old and weather-beaten. Its feathers were not in good shape. They weren't even pointing in the right direction. They were turned towards its head. What was the meaning of this? Their direction was not the normal one, towards the tail. Its feathers turned towards the head, they looked outside the ordinary. It might have looked ridiculous but it didn't. It was a proud and gracious, huge bird. Its plumage was white with light blue at the edges. It looked deep into her eyes. It didn't leave her time to think, nor did it introduce itself. “Ride me” it said. By the tone of its voice she realized that it would not take “no” for an answer. She looked at it for a few seconds and she obeyed. She climbed on it without hesitation and they went on to fly high. Really high. Above seas and mountains. The wind blew against her cheeks and her eyes went wet. Everything looked very small from such height, things looked like they were one, no visible lines separating them. There were no houses, no streets, no towns; they were all just one seamless surface. It was like they were fading away, not coping with the distance. Suddenly, as they were flying over an endless sea, the bird told her calmly. “It's time for you to go down...” “But why?” asked Andariasmeni.
  • 3. She felt strange. The bird didn’t speak at all. There was no answer. The bird leaned its back gently and Andariasmeni began to fall... She was falling from very high feeling helpless. She decided to close her eyes, filled with tears because of the speed. “The bird wouldn't want to harm me”, was the only thing she ever had the time to think. She fell into the sea with a splash. She didn't hurt herself, she just felt cold. She sank deeper and deeper, fast. She had no time to realize what she was seeing. She saw shapes, creatures and fish. Some of them were very weird. They weren’t fish; she didn't know exactly what to call them. She didn't even have the time to observe them thoroughly. Then, she got to the bottom of the sea. She heard voices...Human voices? Voices of sea creatures or were they the ghosts of drowned men? They had been expecting her; that was what they told her. She was their Queen. She denied it but they insisted. They caught her, put her on a high throne and gave a big feast for her. They celebrated joyously, they were all in ecstasy. Their Queen had arrived; they had been expecting her for so long. Queen Andariasmeni was looking around startled... She told them that she wasn't the one they had been expecting, they must have made a mistake. She was just a girl, who didn't even know why she was there. “Our Queen is humble!” The creatures screamed all together and danced wildly celebrating her arrival. They didn't pay any attention to her words, she had arrived at the right moment and they didn't intend to let her go. They so badly needed someone to confirm what they had on their minds and Andariasmeni was the right person. She was their Queen. They put a majestic crown on her head with shiny little starfish and colorful seaweed instead of pearls and other precious stones. They put a long, deep blue cloak decorated with drops around her shoulders. “What are these drops?” she asked them. “They shine so much and some of them seem to be dancing on my cloak.” “They are tears, our Queen! They are the tears of our people who have been expecting you for so long and were in pain because of your absence.”
  • 4. Andariasmeni’s cloak and its tears... A tribe of sea creatures was trying to live happily but it was difficult. The creatures were fighting with each other and ruined their lives, usually over silly things, silly probably to someone else, but not to them. Sometimes it was about the place each creature had at the bottom of the sea. Every creature had its own place where it could rest, think or curl up to sleep. It was really important for each and every one to have its own place to rest. Everything would have been very nice and neat, if it hadn’t become an issue. Some places were better or at least that's what the creatures thought, and that caused quarrel. Little by little the creatures lost their smile and their good mood. The only thing that mattered to them was their places and how they could maintain them or how they could take other creatures’ places away. This caused unhappiness to the tribe. The old man of the tribe, understanding that the situation was rather unfortunate and would bring about disaster, decided to do something. He had tried so many times himself to explain to them that those things weren't important, because they caused dissension to the tribe, but he didn't achieve anything. Then he thought something up. He ordered the mermaids to make a cloak with threads from the finest seaweed. The cloak had a deep, blue color. Some parts were a lighter blue. The old man took the cloak and gathered the creatures around him. He told them with a very worried and sad look on his face that after so many years of living at the bottom of the sea he realized that their tribe had come to a stalemate. He revealed to the tribe that he wouldn't be with them in the future because he was getting too old. Nevertheless, another creature from far away would take his place, a creature which didn't belong to their world but would come in order to help them find their lost essence. When she comes, everything will be solved. No quarrels will arise. He said
  • 5. “she” because it would be a woman, a girl to be exact, with long unbraided hair which would flap in the air according to her mood. The creatures were shocked. They wanted their Queen as soon as possible. The story made quite an impression on them and they wanted to know when their Queen would come and how they could make her come sooner. The old man looked at the cloak for a while. He was in deep thought. He had an idea. “You should all give your tears to the cloak. That is how our Queen will hear your sorrow and come to find us.” The old man concluded his speech with a tear. It was the first tear which was poured onto the cloak. He left the cloak at the centre of the bottom of the sea and told them that whenever they wanted to fight with each other, they should come over to the cloak, so they could free themselves from rage through their tears. This would bring peace to the tribe and at the same time they would bring their Queen close to them. The creatures cried. They cried a lot. Some of them were crying with sobs, others cried quietly. However they were pleased. There was hope for them. Some creatures forced themselves to cry. They thought that this would make their Queen come to them sooner. The old man explained to them but it was of no use. They needed true tears. “Look,” he told them. “Some of the tears are staying on the cloak. These are the real ones. Only these stay on, the rest slide away and blend with the water.” This was true. Some of the tears stayed on the cloak and shined. They looked like diamonds in the shape of a shimmering tear. Several tears didn't stay, they just slipped into the water. The old man sighed with relief. He had to find tricks to gain time. Andariasmeni listened to the story thoughtfully. It was true that the cloak had little diamonds shaped like tears which shined. “But how could you feel sorrow for someone you don't even know if he or she exists?” “Our Queen, in our tribe, legend had it that someday a girl with long, wavy hair would fall from the sky. The ripple of her hair would depend on her mood. We believed that legend with every part of our soul and now our hopes came true, since you came here.” Andariasmeni noticed that her hair waved back vibrantly. “But I don't know what to do! What must a Queen do? You have to tell me!” “Our Queen doesn’t have to do anything specific! As long as she exists among us, it is enough!” They continued their frenzied dance and they changed places constantly. It seemed that it didn't matter anymore because they had their Queen. Nothing was more important than that. Their places were not an issue anymore; everyone could use someone else's place if they wished.
  • 6. However, this didn't last long. Perhaps it lasted just for a while, like a deep breath. The sea creatures changed their minds and decided to rebel. This simply happened without any significant thought. Someone planted the idea in their minds that they hadn't been happy because of their Queen. Because of her, many of the creatures had given their places to other creatures. They couldn't understand whether they had been really happy. Someone asked whispering if they had known what happiness really meant. Maybe they were happier now. The sea creatures who have wanted to usurp Andariasmeni's place made him disappear and then they tried to attack her. They claimed with certainty that the problem with their places was her fault. Andariasmeni was saved in the last minute. She was swallowed by a whale. The whale sucked her in with kindness as it had been expecting her. We should give credit to the whale for this kindness. Andariasmeni stayed in there together with a seagull and a dolphin. How did these creatures end up there? No one knows, maybe it’s not important. Andariasmeni came out in the light suddenly. The whale was fished and cut open. A lot of pictures of a startled girl, a dolphin and a seagull -who was a philosopher- were taken. The seagull was wise in a way, he had seen many things and no one paid any attention to him. This made him significant and rare. Andariasmeni got up, she didn't want to give interviews. With an annoyed expression on her face, she pushed the people around her. Suddenly, she slipped and fell down. A man with a top hat took her by the hand. He asked her to join his circus. In the circus there was a big tiger and it would be nice for her to meet Andariasmeni. The tiger was looking at them through her cage, but she was feeling bored. She didn't care for them. One day the tiger found her cage door open and tried to eat them. It opened her big mouth towards Andariasmeni and she... 2. The buildings She woke up soaked in sweat. She realized it had been a nightmare and soon came back to earth. Her dream couldn't be compared to what would follow. The nightmare would start in a while and was lying in front of her... She looked outside her window with a tough despair in her eyes. Every morning she was faced with the same scenery: this intolerable city where everything kept repeating itself. Everything was happening again and again without any change, without any purpose. Lots of high buildings with strange colors were standing in front of her. Unspecified, dim, grey, intolerable colors. Their surface made them look like a big blur. When you looked at them, you would feel something unpleasant. As if something weighed you down. But still, you couldn't help looking at them. Even if you looked away to avoid them, your eyes would turn there again in a few seconds. It was like a giant magnet. Each building had its own energy, its own magnetic power. It had the ability to attract anyone within some distance towards its direction. The energy of each building was becoming one with the energy of the other buildings and the result was an eerie atmosphere. You didn't have to pay attention to them but at the same time you couldn't ignore them. They were always there and they
  • 7. challenged you, each one in a different way. But the result was still the same. The life of the people of this town was connected to the buildings, in a different way for each person. When Andariasmeni was younger, she used to look at them through her window for hours. At first the buildings tried to charm her. They were imposing, their surface was as shiny as possible and they nodded to her so that she would come closer. You could say that they even smiled at her with an icy, disgusting smile. There are times when smiles can be disgusting. It’s like when someone says something really mean to you in a sweet way and with a fake smile in order to offend you. The same was with the buildings, they smiled at you but inside them there was nothing which resembled a warm smile. Andariasmeni felt very unpleasant and didn't smile back. She looked at them very seriously. Her lips were a straight line. Her eyes were silent but sparkling. “No”, she said quietly. “You can't trick me!” As soon as she said that, the buildings lost their shine and became dreary. Grey. Ugly. They were just like before, tall and imposing, but very ugly. From that day on, whenever they saw Andariasmeni at her window looking at them, they were acting as if they were competing in a contest of ugliness. At times, when she would look at them intensely and with contempt, they would suddenly get darker. Like grey mud. Sometimes they looked blurry, as if they had no particular form. An intense, piercing sound would come from them, an unbearable sound. Andariasmeni would shut her ears and keep looking at them, determined to do something. The buildings would continue to unfold their ugliness. They had a lot of ugliness inside and maybe this gave them comfort. They realized that Andariasmeni had known what they kept inside and they did not even try to hide it. This girl was not like most people in this town and they sure didn't like that. Everyone had to be under their control or at least had to acknowledge their superiority. They didn't want anyone to be different. When someone differed, several actions were taken. Outside the buildings you would see many people climbing on them, trying to reach the highest windows. They were trying to get in through the windows as if it was their most important goal. It was true that, in their society, climbing on the buildings was really important. At any cost. It was the only way for someone to be considered a worthy member of society and be admired. That’s why everyone tried to climb with every means they had. Some people climbed- these were usually beginners or people with the habit to embark on something with no prior thinking- and they were the ones who fell instantly. As soon as they got on the window ledge, they slipped or were hit, let's just say by...accident, by someone who was climbing near them or was a little higher. All the same, their attitude didn’t change. They fell and then they continued with their habit, again and again. Perhaps they didn't want to go any further. They would rather make an unfinished effort without getting particularly tired so they could tell their friends a story afterwards. Others climbed with ropes and nails so they could get up on the walls more efficiently. But this did not have good results. Whenever they climbed up a little more than the others who were just climbing, if they hammered the nail a little harder than usual, a moan could be heard. As if a person was in pain and was screaming. Did the buildings feel pain?
  • 8. Of course they did, it was as if they had life inside them. Sometimes they laughed, sometimes they mocked or they bent to help a climber and then they let him fall again. It’s true that they looked imposing and solid, but they could easily flex and move. They could move like snakes and torment their climbers. Their voices were unearthly. Despite all this, people kept trying to climb on them, as higher as they could. Several went lower. These people were mocked or they were being treated with petty. This didn't happen on a regular basis. There were certain buildings which didn't react for days, weeks, perhaps even months on end. Those buildings were the scariest and were considered to be the toughest. Only a few people dared to come close, because there were stories about how dangerous they could be for climbers. People with strange machines designed to help them fly- while at the same time trying to throw other climbers down- had tried to get inside those buildings. This would be the most vicious sight. They would fly quite high and at that moment the buildings would start to shake. When a flyer would come close, they wobbled so they could slap them. Several had been seriously injured. It was serious being hit by a building, even for a short period of time. Some flyers quit, realizing it was hopeless. Almost nobody had succeeded in climbing and entering the buildings. Whoever climbed higher was treated with admiration and awe by others and enjoyed the highest status in their society. On the contrary, those who didn't make it, belonged to the lowest class, while those who didn't get involved at all and opposed this way of life, were outcasts. Among these people were Efthalia, Thomas and his family, Yatsek and others. There had been also some other people, the so-called aristocrats, like Ektoras' family. Those were families who had lived many years in the city and had been very rich and well-educated. They considered climbing as something useless, but had never interfered. They already had earned society's respect and they continued their lives without paying attention to the climb. They just regarded it as a necessary bad habit. The masses should have something to keep them preoccupied and the climb was their occupation for the time being. Nobody knew exactly what was there inside the buildings, especially behind the highest windows. But it was very important for the people of the town to get in there; their whole life was revolving around it. There was no time for any further or deeper thought. They were like preset machines which were always doing the same thing and seemed satisfied. They went to school, they worked, they had families, but all these were minor preoccupations. The most important one was the climb. This gave meaning and value to everything else. There was nothing which could distract them, and they didn't want to be distracted in the first place. Andariasmeni would feel sick. What kind of life was this? It didn't make sense that the people were into this absurd habit all the time. What made everyone attach themselves to such an absurd situation? Everyone? Or maybe it wasn't everyone. Maybe there were some people who could go against the flow, consciously or unconsciously. There was, indeed, a bunch of people who consciously kept far from this. Andariasmeni decided to go visit grandpa Yatsek. He lived nearby, but you could usually find him in a chair outside his house, watching the people passing by. There were times when
  • 9. nobody was there, but he always looked as if he was staring at someone. Andariasmeni thought that there was no point in asking him, but at times she was also trying to look in the same direction as Yatsek. She couldn't see anything, but she would keep looking. Something would have to appear. One time she couldn't restrain herself. “What are you looking at so intensely?” “The world! It's so interesting, don't you think so?” “But there is no one here this very moment and you keep looking at the street. An empty street.” “The street is also part of our world, Andariasmeni. Just think of how many people have gone by and how many thoughts have been made on this spot. It isn't only what you see that is important. What is important at times is what we cannot see, but imagine. Don't you agree?” Andariasmeni agreed silently and turned towards the buildings in deep thought. She was feeling kind of melancholic, something was bothering her, but she didn't know how to speak to Yatsek for what was happening inside her soul. Suddenly Yatsek turned to her and asked: “Do you want to get away from all this?” Andariasmeni didn't have to ask what he meant. She knew what he was talking about. This sick habit, the climb to the top, the climb to insanity, that which would be her destination. That or the margin of society. “But I have already escaped, haven't I?” she asked him. ”I never took part in this effort. I have chosen not to be one of the climbers; I will probably end up in the margin.” “But you haven't really escaped from it” said Yatsek. “Your mind is always there, your life is revolving around it and everything is determined by it. Your thoughts are captured. You don't wish this kind of life for you, but you don't wish this kind of life for others, either. It's something that is torturing you. It isn't enough just to get away, you don't see it as a personal escape, you understand that it is something that concerns us all.” Andariasmeni didn't speak. This was true. She didn't take part in the climb, but this wasn't really enough. Her mind was constantly there. She couldn't enjoy anything; there was no space for anything else. Even if she didn't pay any attention herself, others would. No one had escaped the climb, either physically, or mentally. It was always on her mind. “Yatsek, you don't really pay attention to the climb, right? In a way you have escaped. You don't give me the impression that you care, you get along well with yourself, and you seem happy. You sit here for hours observing the crowd, you are a philosopher, you talk with everyone who comes here and your life goes by happily without problems. I guess I want to be like you.” “You are wrong,” he said to her. “I have never escaped. I always look at that direction and think about it. Even if I don't see the climbers and the buildings, I know that they do exist.
  • 10. When I sit here in my chair, I look at them and when I am sleeping, I am dreaming of them. They are always on my mind. I am not really sure if I am better or worse, maybe I am just like them. Perhaps I am more of a coward and afraid to be like them, scared of even trying such a thing. It simply might be that at least they are trying to do something, even if it's wrong. Every now and then I try to imagine how it would be, if I did climb, if I could climb high and everyone applauded me from the ground. How would it feel to be admired by everyone, to be accepted as a member of their group, not being old Yatsek anymore, who is weird, observes people and sits all alone.” Grandpa Yatsek wasn't sad, he had a strange glow on his face and that somehow alarmed Andariasmeni. She had thought that everything was clear to her, black and white, for that matter. How strange Yatsek's face looked... “Andariasmeni,” he said. “Do you really want to be like me?” Grandpa asked her suddenly. “Do you want to reach this age and always wonder inside, even if on the outside you will look as though you know what the right thing is?” Andariasmeni shivered. A cold breeze pierced through her body. Her eyes went blurry. She felt like she was being scolded. Like she had done something wrong and she was being chastened, not in a serious and loud way, but quietly, with heavy words, words that fell on her like a cold hand. She turned towards the climbers and looked at them, in despair. She looked at them differently, a little startled. Could it be that she was wrong? This had never crossed her mind before. It had always been easier to be positive that her views were completely right and other peoples' views totally wrong. Now everything started to seem different and harder at the same time.
  • 11. 3. Stories of a whale The philosopher seagull was chilling out by the port, looking around happily. There was a gentle breeze, the sun was shining and people were going to work. He liked to watch people, it was so amusing. He was no loafer; he was an observer, which is why he was a wise one. He liked to watch others, he was enjoying it, learned a lot from it, he knew what he could avoid, in a way he kept avoiding everything, he had been living through others, something that made him feel safe. When he had things to see, he would stay. When he didn't, he would leave. He would fly away, as far as he could, above seas and roofs, above people. And he’d feel nice.
  • 12. One day, our seagull was flying above a sea. Suddenly he looked down, close to the sea surface, and saw a huge, grey surface. “What could that be?” he thought. “A big fish?” It was really huge. He flew lower to take a closer look. He was scared, but his curiosity conquered his fear. He came down slowly and then realized that it was a big whale. We must note here that the word “big” is no exaggeration. We all know that whales are big, but this one was even bigger. She looked like a small village, so huge, she seemed infinite. The seagull felt overwhelmed, he started waving his wings very fast and was out of breath. This was something he had never seen before, something both strange and remarkable. Something he would remember for a long time, which he could narrate to whoever wanted to listen. After examining the whale flying above her for a while, he decided to leave. Unexpectedly, a deep, husky voice could be heard, as if coming from the depths of the sea. It sounded like it was hard for her to talk, say what she wanted. “Seagull, how is it that you came close to me?” The whale was speaking. The seagull floundered for a while, but soon regained his cool. This wasn't the time to keep quiet. He would never have the chance to talk to a huge whale again. This wouldn't happen again. “Hello whale,” he said. “You looked like something so odd, in the beginning I couldn't tell what kind of creature you were.” “And now that you know, are you going to leave?” asked the whale with a slight sadness in her voice. “No”, answered the seagull, “why should I leave? When will I find a chance like that again to talk with a creature like you?” The whale smiled, if we could possibly say that a whale can do such a thing. It was a sad smile, as if she had forgotten how to do it, an uncertain smile. “Aren't you afraid of me?” she asked, a little shy. “I am a bit, but my curiosity is bigger than my fear. I want to know things about you; I want you to tell me what you have seen, what it was that made an impression on you. I assume you must have seen a lot of things.” “Seagull,” said the whale softly, “my eyes have seen a lot inside and outside the water.” “Outside the water? What do you mean?” “I have listened to what the sailors talk about on their ships, at night when they are on shift. I approach their ships in the dark, as quietly as I can, and listen to their songs and monologues. I listen while they talk to themselves, trying to fight their loneliness or because they have the chance to speak loudly without being heard by anyone. Their words get lost in the sea. Hasn't it ever occurred to you to fly above the sea and hear talk, words or screams without knowing where they come from?”
  • 13. The seagull remained thoughtful for a while. This had really happened to him, but he couldn't explain it. He told her that once he was traveling above the Quiet Sea. No sound could be heard. There was absolute calmness. At first he thought that this was good in a way. He needed serenity after what had happened not a long time before. He looked at his plumage. It wasn't in a good shape, but it was a lot better than before. As he was flying trying to ease his mind from unpleasant thoughts, he heard voices, screams. He felt his soul torn apart; it was the howling of a man who was watching something of unspeakable horror happening in front of him. The seagull was shocked. He flapped his wings as fast as he could and went away. “Yes,” he told the whale, this has happened to me. “You, I imagine, have met all kinds of seas.” The whale nodded and started to narrate in a deep, calm voice. 3.1. There are many seas, naturally. As there are many fields, mountains, rivers and natural elements. Each sea has a name, a name which is characteristic or symbolic of its history or of a certain event which has occurred. So there is the Wild sea which is always in a stormy state and which all sailors try to avoid because of their great fear. There is also the sea of Emotions, where most people feel very sentimental whenever they travel there. Some people weep, some cry with sobs while they think of their mistakes and the lost chances of the past. In spite of the remarkable effect the sea has, there were a few people like captain Marlenos, who didn't ever shed a tear. It is said that captain Marlenos was perhaps the most insensitive person on the planet. Everyone was crying with great ease and they realized afterwards that it was a great relief. How come captain Marlenos resisted what everyone else did so easily and so comfortably? When asked, Captain Marlenos turned to his sailors, but he did not look at them. He was being introspective. “I have no tears, he said quietly. They have finished.” “How can this happen?” a sailor asked. The captain looked at him awkwardly and turned to the sea. He could have said nothing as always, but what was the meaning of keeping it all inside? Maybe it would have been better if he tried to share his story with someone else. Maybe things wouldn’t be so tragic if you shared them, maybe the pain would become easier. Maybe he should try this once and not hesitate. “We were traveling fast towards the Great sea, where everything was great, the fish, the rocks, the clouds above us. This didn't cause us fear, we were used to watching strange species and situations and after all we had been sailors for so many years. We were a fine crew, our captain Yatsek, a courageous and efficient lad, wise and inventive. He knew how
  • 14. to navigate our ship, “Like-a-storm” (that was the ship’s name), and he could also handle his remarkable crew. Vatsek, the cook, who cooked splendidly but couldn't stand criticism. If someone disturbed him or made an uneven remark about his food he went away furious or he left us without food for three days. Ameris, the sailor, always happy and willing, who wanted to sing at least one song everyday. He was quite likeable, but he would sing horribly. His voice sounded like it had a metallic quality, the quality of a rusty chain. One day when he went to his cabin, Ameris explained to the captain -because he wanted to talk about it- that it was crucial for him to sing everyday, even just a little bit. Otherwise he would fade out.” Marlenos was also there and was listening to the conversation. “Fade out?” asked captain Yatsek. “Yes, fade out, wither. Haven't you seen anyone fade out?” asked Ameris. “Do you mean because of sorrow? I have seen such cases, people who lose a loved one and slowly sorrow eats their soul. Is that what you mean? But it's the first time that I hear someone saying that he will fade out if we don't let him sing every day, that is something unheard of!” “Captain, allow me to tell you a story, which is very old.” So captain reclined in his armchair, lit his pipe and started listening to the story of Ameris and his family. “Once,” he said, “many years ago, Ameris' grandfather, Amireris, wanted to build a little house for himself. He didn't have many demands, he just wanted a home for himself and his family. He built it slowly indeed and he was living there happily with his wife and his children. One day a friend asked him to build a similar house for his daughter who was going to be married. They found Amireris’ house very nice and they wanted a similar one. That is how Amireris built another similar house and then another one and then another one and… The houses which were built by Amireris were so many. He needed help so he hired people from the village. Nevertheless Amireris wasn’t very pleased with his situation. He had lots of money, more than he could ever dream of. Now he could offer his family so many things and they could live in wealth. Normally he should have been so pleased, but at the same time he was feeling a little bit tired. There was no time for his family. This worried him. There were times when he thought that it would be better to quit this job and be like he was in the old days, when he was happier. One day he discussed it with his wife, Kalliria.” “I am so tired because of this job, I wish we could spend more time together and be like how we used to be… happier.” Kalliria was thoughtful. Amireris didn't expect such a reaction. He thought that he would make her happy, that she also wished to return to their previous way of life, that money wouldn't be so important to her. Besides that, he had already earned a lot of money.
  • 15. “Amireris, I don't understand how on earth you thought of that? Don't you realize how different our life is now that your work is so successful? There were days that we suffered, things were so tight, our kids didn't have toys…Don't you remember?” “Kalliria, things weren't easy, I admit it. But now we already have some money, so I was thinking that it’s time for me to rest for a while. You know my job isn't easy and lately I have been feeling pressured… ” “By whom? What do you mean?” “Well, there are some things that you don’t know about… My new bosses… ” He hesitated for a while. He didn't know what to say. After some thought he decided to reveal everything to her, the way he perceived things. He wanted her opinion, he needed it. He told her about the new buildings, which he had taken up with his co-workers, ordered by a group of strange people. At the beginning two of them came to him. They had been standing outside a house he was building and they were looking up. Their appearance was severe, the hair cut short with an accurate parting, their faces observing, with angles. They were wearing costumes, red shirts and a red handkerchief on the lapel, both of them. They were dressed almost the same, with a small exception, the color of their trousers. One pair of trousers was blue; the other was green-blue. It was a significant difference against the overall similarity between those two. These people had no names, but they had letters to tell them apart. These two, who came to Amireris, were Alpha-Delta and Xi-Ni. They were punctual in everything, a little funny, gave the impression that they were constantly measuring and they communicated with each other in a strange way. “We came to you because we learned that you are the best in what you do” said AlphaDelta. “In building houses. . . ”said Xi-Ni quietly. Alpha-Delta looked at him harshly. “I have specifically asked you not to explain my words.” Xi-Ni sighed patiently. “Ok” he said, “I was just trying to help.” Alpha-Delta shivered a little bit. He couldn't understand this nonsense of Xi-Ni. He could manage things alright on his own. He was doing him a favor. Xi-Ni was with him in order to learn things, since Alpha-Delta was following instructions. Nevertheless, even now he couldn't figure out what exactly was he doing there, what his role was. Maybe this was his role. Maybe Alpha-Delta was in need of Xi-Ni so that he would feel more important. His presence made him feel that he could order someone around. So Xi-Ni was playing the part. Both of them assigned Amireris the construction of a building. It was called a building, not a house. The building should be high and flexible. Amireris was startled. Flexible? What does that mean? A building must be solid and strong. Alpha-Delta and Xi-Ni looked at one another and smiled mysteriously. They told him that this wasn't necessary, sometimes things could be different and that they could take care of it, they had a way. What they really needed was
  • 16. a good craftsman and this was the reason why they came to him. He was reassured that he would be very well paid and there would be no problems regarding their teamwork. That is how this unexpected teamwork started. Amireris built several high buildings. Some of them were enormous. He didn’t feel very well though, because these buildings were incompatible with the scenery of the little town where he was living. The houses there were usually small, each one with its own color. He shared his worries with his bosses, but he was reassured that in time, such a development would seem only natural. Things were changing and that was what was happening to the buildings as well. They needed more functional buildings which could accommodate more people. Besides, the population was rising. Still, there was something else which kept bothering Amireris. The buildings were kept uninhabited, apart from the one where his bosses were staying. But the rest of them were empty, empty of people, because, otherwise, they were furnished. In one of them there was a huge room which was exclusively intended to be a library. Amireris was asking his bosses quite often what the reason for this was. What was the meaning of making buildings where no one would live? Alpha-Delta reassured him politely that there was no reason to worry. It was just a matter of time for the buildings to get inhabited. They had a plan to accomplish and this was to give the little town the most beautiful and useful buildings. They already knew, since they had done some research, that the population of the city would rise so much that the buildings would be necessary. Amireris didn't ask anything else because he didn't know what else he could ask. AlphaDelta had an answer for everything. Sometimes he could make Amireris feel a little silly when he kept asking such things, so he eventually stopped. Alpha-Delta never insulted him; on the contrary he was always polite to him, maybe too polite. After a long time, when he had constructed a lot of buildings like that -which afterwards he would hand to his bosses- and they gradually had obtained a ghastly appearance, he realized that his voice began to change, it was getting hoarse. Soon it acquired an obnoxious and repulsive sound. Whenever he was trying to speak, you could hear a sound like someone was scratching a metal. Amireris went to a doctor. The doctor didn't succeed to do anything. Then he went to another doctor but the result was the same. So, he went to another one and then to another and then…there was absolutely no result. Amireris took it for granted that his voice would remain this way, so he tried to speak as less as he could. It wasn't pleasant, but he couldn't stand his own voice, nor could he see other people disgusted whenever he opened his mouth. Soon, he withdrew in his house and became melancholic. One day he decided to go to “his” buildings, he wanted to take a close look at them. When he came to the area where the buildings stood, he got scared. It seemed that the buildings had taken an expression, an ugly expression, mean somehow. He was thinking that he couldn't have contributed to such a thing…At that moment, a shrill voice was heard from a building. Amireris shivered. This sound was like…his voice! When he recovered from the shock he decided not to come near the buildings and not to speak again. He didn't even want to hear his own voice, nor anything that reminded him of the buildings. But things weren’t so simple. When he wasn't talking, he was fading out. He was languishing away. He went to a new doctor. To be more precise, he was a doctor who hadn’t practiced
  • 17. for a long time. Doctor Aerikos was retired, in his own words. Still, Amireris went to him with hope. “Doctor, you can hear the way I talk. I was wondering if you can help me. I will pay you, I have lots of money!” Doctor Aerikos was looking at him silently. Afterwards he examined him with some unusual equipment. He looked in his throat and asked him to pronounce several vowels and consonants. In the end he coughed and announced rather formally: “It is obvious that the materials you were using for the construction of the buildings have caused you this disease. There are significant amounts of those dusty elements which have been absorbed by your body and have altered your voice. ” “Is there no cure doctor?” “You have to sing each day for an hour, loud and clear. That will be your treatment.” “To sing? You can't be serious doctor! Is there no medicine for my case?” “Medicines will only make your condition worse and in the end you will lose your voice. I have come upon a similar case once. ” “And what happened? Was there a cure?” “After a long time, after three generations.” “How can this be?” “The disease was passed on to his children also. But they followed the same treatment and they were alright. ” “So I don't have another option, I must do the same.” “Yes, there is no other option.” “Some of the materials that I have used were given to me. Actually my bosses gave them to me. ” When he left, doctor Aerikos opened a file which had the title Designers and he wrote something down. He was in deep thought. “That’s how Amireris' ghastly song has started and passed afterwards to his son Amaris and his grandson Ameris, to me. The good thing is that I don't have to sing for an hour everyday, it seems that after every generation the time that is needed is being reduced. ” “But what happened to the town with the buildings?” asked captain Yatsek with agony. “It is somewhere, but we don't know where. My grandfather left with his family and didn't ever want to return. He didn't want to let us know more either. Grandmother Kalliria told us some things, but she had sworn not to reveal where they used to live before. ”
  • 18. Captain Yatsek mumbled. . . “This town reminds me of something. I think I know. . . ” At that moment, a scream was heard. Captain Yatsek and Ameris ran outside on the deck and then they saw it…What exactly did they see? A giant mouth coming towards them, a leviathan so huge with a size inconceivable for the human mind, a giant mouth with ferocious and sharp teeth. It was bigger than the ship. For a few seconds the captain wondered: “How can the sea have enough space for such a sea monster?” Everything happened very fast, the ship was in the monster's mouth which gobbled the ship rapidly. Screams… tears... pain… The only one who got away from all this, as he slipped away from the monster's mouth, was Marlenos. He was left alone in the middle of the sea looking at the monster which was going away as silent as it came. Never before had there been such intense horror. After two days, a ship came by and rescued Marlenos. It was said that it was a boat. Marlenos was in total despair, it was like there was no life left inside him. He finally managed to sail again after years, but he never came close to the Great sea again. Other sailors insisted that this happened once every 500 years, but he didn't want to think this way. It had happened in front of him.