Thursday, December 15, 2005

into the golden

The Redding House was a marvel of golden hallways, warmly lit, each room showing collections of rarities from around the world. African swords in one room, Babylonian tablets in another. A wondrous private museum, a privilege to behold. Even the nooks along the hallways were full of goodies, from tiny perfume bottles to painted agate slabs behind laserglass, even a collection of hand bells from Santa Barbara's early years.

I was a friend of a friend of a rare coin dealer. I once delivered a package here, on my way through town. Dean Redding gave me a tour, proud of every relic in his vast domain, and he never forgot a face. When I got my invitation to the holiday party, I could hardly believe my eyes. The darn thing was a lovely old-fashioned card with gilded calligraphy, a reminder of how everything was finer, more detailed, more lively in centuries past.

At first the house was full of laughing guests, marveling at the wonders, buttering up the host. But I lost track of time. Every piece looked so damnably real. They had to be real. They almost spoke to me ... and another half hour would pass, and fewer voices could be heard, further away in the depths of the mansion. Soon the place was totally silent, and there was no longer a way out.

I look the glass elevator up, but Dean was nowhere to be found. There were dozens of bedrooms, each one a shining display which had never been used. Barbara, the wise old hostess with her bottomless martini, was also gone. There were only artifacts, pricelss books and comfortable reading rooms. Soft sunny lights came on as I moved from chamber to chamber, they shut off when a room was no longer occupied.

I was totally alone, but happy to be lost in this place. I could spend years here. Lifetimes. Every few rooms there was a wet bar or a little dining room, always well stocked. There was no reason to leave.

After a while, I took the glass elevator down, pausing at the ground floor. The door opened to a lonely silence. Before I could come up with a search plan, the doors eased shut and the elevator went down another level. I had heard folks chatting about wine cellars and a world-class collection of liqueurs. Seems like the party had been days ago, maybe weeks, but I had been surrounded by the warm glows of a million rooms, and had not slept. Maybe the party had retreated to some undiscovered set of rooms, but none of that mattered anymore.

Below ground, there were vaulted galleries stretching far down into the mountain beneath the mansion. That's where the dead things began to appear. There were displays of medeival armor, then funerary art, and actual bodies. From bones to mummies, to robed things from some distant corner of history, to people with their seeping blood still fresh and shiny. It was all part of the display. If you're going to collect things, might as well collect everything. The dead did not bother me. They were like any other artifacts in this wonderful place, except that they had once been alive.

I found a row of small theatres where ghosts and forgotten souls put on passion plays like nothing ever seen on earth. I found myself seated, enraptured, as whole lives flashed themselves before me and were gone. After one lively dead performance, I went to clap my hands and saw that they were trasparent. I was just another body in this bush of ghosts. I thumped the vapor of my chest, proud to be a part of the spectacle.

"Encore! Encore!" I cried to the spirits of the world.

Show me more.


recent dream 12/14/05

1 comment:

scott vee said...

Sorry - I'm not accepting advertisements for unrelated things right now.