Text by Zac Odin
Images by Rik Lina, Gregg Simpson and John Welson
Pan sounds his horn – he’s looking from the outside
Behind the mask
Statues fading white chalk
A beast is moving
A man is standing
Flowing down, Pan becomes Bird
what are we but blurred sunlight?
river deltas reaching the sea
like birch grove branches crossing
or smoke drifting
half-remembered fragments of a butterfly’s dream
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: URGENT. Sound system shatters ground around British Museum tube station. Holes now torn into Second Aether. Creatures emerging. Unknowns falling through gaps in space. We have ocean waves where tracks should be. Doubling rate increasing. Remain calm…remain calm. DISCONNECT.
flowing, black flowering
we were still not sure what it was
but we let it come anyway
through the walls reaching
and plant life
The first expedition in search of the lost Airship Galdea found only scraps of elegant clothing – dresses, top hats, gloves, umbrellas, and so on – but precious little else save for a steamer trunk that seemed to have fallen from a great height. Tucked into a drawer within was discovered the journal of one Willis Jansen. The final entry, full of hope but deeply poignant in retrospect, read as follows:
“At dinner we just happened to be passing over what was left of a northern Lemurian outpost. Drifting through clouds and over winter mountains, the airship dropped low to share the view with the passengers. The ancient ruins of that civilization lost in snow drifts and time, it seemed as if we saw their faces in the very clouds as we rose away from the temple spires and statues forever staring. Then they were gone and we continued on our way, ever north, ever onward towards that land beyond the North Wind….Hyperborea!”
After the tragic and mysterious loss of the Galdea the fashion for luxury mystery excursions rapidly fell off, diminishing to almost nil within a year. The enormous submersible the SS Boleskine no longer plied the depths of Loch Ness; the cruise ships that once crisscrossed the Bermuda Triangle languished on the islands’ shores; the Baroque Venus orbiter, “Sea of Morning Opals,” rusted on its launching pad; that massive horseless carriage, the Patterson’s Folly, once gloriously smashing through the forests of New Albion searching for ape men found another life as a logging machine; and on and on. The wondrous days of the explorations of the world’s mysteries by the well-to-do were over.