A clock tolled nine.
Hominem lay still on a matted sheet of bamboo, acquiescing to the shrillness of the movements of that grandfather clock. He had been dreaming, of fairies and goblins, of clouds and rivers, of misty strings and plummeting confusion. What use is there to wake up and go about, if there’s no indication of how the day would go about?
Hominem lumbered towards a table. There was something familiar about that table. He must have seen it before, but it merely appeared as piece of stale, unmoving chunk of tree, where past memories must have evaporated. Sighing, he removed his clouded pair of spectacles, and gave it a good wipe. It was still hazy though. And what was he going to do now? It must be a Monday morning, the commencement of blues.
Across the street a stout man with a briefcase waved over, but Hominem did not know him. Or did he before? Did they cross arms in the modern-ness of a transport carriage? Or were they past acquaintances who must have mistaken to be close buds? He does seem so familiar, just like that man in the mirror. Nevertheless, out of politeness, he waved back. The man walked briefly towards him, and passed him a stack of dossier. A brief glance suggested an arcane reading on scientific models, exponential graphs and the likes, but he was still confused. They seemed so familiar, so distant, so unknown. Was he supposed to read them?
He staggered towards that all-familiar tabletop, and spread out those documents, trying to bring back those memories. Yes, he remembered photosynthesis. And yes, he might have remembered those Boston cycles. A spark from those seemingly distant memories catalysed a spur of motivation to start studying, but which purpose was yet unknown. Those datum floated aimlessly, the tantalising taste of models was so overwhelming as he digested, and before long, he fell asleep once more.
He was dreaming. A bird with hues of orange, a magnificent body of amber, with colours of burning ashes, and temper for clear direction, swooped downwards. It lay upon the hands of him, spread out its wings, and he knew clearly it must be a messenger bird. It morphed, its eyes gorged, wings tormented, beak twisted before metamorphosing into the outline of a man. In his arm he carried forth a scouter’s kit, containing a swiss army knife, tent poles, hammer and culverts, screwdriver and mattocks. In a quick motion as per his arrival, he nodded his head, before changing form, vaporising as a dark crow surging into the horizon.
He jolted awake, mortal confusion overwhelming him. But he was not confused no longer. He suddenly understood the significance of that, and came to a sudden realization that his past interests in handicraft and outdoor adventures had been rekindled; he didn’t even realize they had been lost. He picked up his fallen pair of spectacles, readjusted before trying to search for what remnants of his kit. Holding up a badly-worn toolbox, he remembered how much those had meant to him, but he could not quite remember how they worked. Sighing, he put them back.
He returned to those dead diagrams, those immobile worksheets. It suddenly felt like a chore. Yet they remained beckoning at him, and he also did not know what would happen if he did not complete those. But he knew the consequences would not be good. The doorbell chimed once.
“Good morning, is this Hominem Ignotum?”
“Yes, what happens to be the matter?”
A short man with sleeves up his trouser pockets, the tiny size of a midget yet beautiful locks of hair stood with authority. He does seem to be a doppelganger, but he could not be sure with the long hoodie covering his face. The cold weather outside suddenly misted up Hominem’s spectacles as he tried to adjust to the temperature differentials. This man was imposing, and spoke quickly.
“An unfortunate one. I…my condolences. Your parents were in that car. Hard to save…I’m really sorry.” In the background lay a muddled mess of what must have started off as an automobile, before degrading to a confusing mess of wires, metal and shattered dreams. A siren wailed into Hominem’s heart, a jolt from reality, where he could stand it no longer. He slammed the door, everything fell silent.
When he mustered enough courage to pry open the door, no one was there anymore. A simple note lay on the ground, on it wrote “Be good, son. You have done me proud, and my time is no more needed. You must find out who you are, and complete your purpose, and only what that is done, you shall join me, for all eternity and longevity.” He reached out to take that note, but while doing so, a coffin suddenly banged downwards from the sky, with a resounding thud signifying impending doom. Hominem screamed, his cries punctured the still air but no one was around. He slammed the door, everything fell silent. Thankfully, he still held on to that piece of note.
At long last when he finally opened up the door, he saw nothing, but felt an incredible surge of sadness. He must have been loved, and once loved. He quickly closed the door for fear of anything fearful that might come his way, while holding so dearly to that little note he picked up.
He pinned that note onto that table, and surprisingly, he didn’t need to clean his spectacles which were fogged up just now when he had opened the door to the chilly breeze outside. They were surprisingly in good condition. Wow, thought Hominem.
Outside, a bird chirped in vocals.
“A shelly old nest with three birds thee,
Chirping loudly as their mum flew free,
Foraging for food, and was shot to the bone,
The little ones waited, and waited for atone.
A meadow old hawk with its old hawk eyes,
Swooped downwards at those helpless little size,
A mighty giant growl with a large big move,
Took a bird away, whilst bestanding aloof.
The other birds cried, but none could turn the tides,
It was dear old brother, one in which they gave confides,
They chirped all day, and they cried all night,
A hawk-eyed man put them into iron sight.
A bang resounded, and one dropped dead,
A limpless little body, gone with its head,
The last one left, still kept asking to itself,
What breed am I, and which soul is thyself?”
Hominem did not understand the lyrics, but somehow felt that they were directed at him. What kind of bird speaks anyway? And what kind of person forgets who they are? He drifted off into an uncomfortable sleep. In his dream, he dreamt of shadows. He cried out to them in desperation, but they did not stop. He realized that he had no shadow of his own too. In his dream, he saw himself running. No, not his physical body, but another person with his looks and peculiarities, running. That person was in some storeroom that distinctly looked like the storeroom in his house, and he was searching for something called a scouter’s kit - it sounded familiar to him, but he did not know what it was. His name was apparently Liquet Ignotum.
He jolted awake to a sound coming from the storeroom in his house; a surreptitious sound, one that was of clamouring equipment and tiny footsteps. He should have been alone in the house, who was that, he worried. He wore his spectacles, but one side was completely blurred, but the other was crystal clear. He didn’t dare to check, he was afraid of what he was going to find and remember.
A clock tolled nine.