Lockdown Fiction: The Only Daughter of Time

Here we are again, with a story prompted by the Improbable Press blog. It seems my mind lately is rather fixated on metamorphis.

The Only Daughter of Time

The sun blazed hot outside but within the colonnade the air was cool and fresh. Outside smelled of hot dust; inside of earthy stone and antiquity. Ruins, partially reconstructed for the delight of the tourists, made them all feel small in the scheme of time, large in their self-estimation. They had lived to see these sights, and had the gumption to travel far to places where habits, beliefs, language, all different.

Excited travel chatter faded and the group stood in the cool stone cocoon and gazed up, up, up at the paint that clung, centuries later, to the ceiling. Ochre reds and pale greens, the hint of yellow and, in one large, stubborn patch, a blue ground from lapis lazuli made a faux sky on the stone that blocked the real sky.

Ameenah sneezed into the silence, mucus membranes agitated beyond endurance by the colour blue. The floral origin was neither here nor there. Ameenah was allergic to blueberries, blue skies, the blue moon, the Moody Blues. Blue got right in amongst her cells and niggled till she sneezed. Every. Goddamned. Time.

Dr Mason, back home in London, insisted the allergy was psychosomatic. Ameenah insisted that her imagination had never been that vivid, let alone powerful enough to actually manifest sinus pain, irritated nasal passages and actual snot.

Ameenah, sneezing, as remarked, into the silence, and the explosion of it bounced off the marble walls and around the pillars and from the stone floor to carved ceiling and all in all, there was nothing discreet about it.

A tiny flake of blue split away from the ceiling, and another, and a third: drifting down like falling ash.

Sl
  ow
      ly
          do
             wn

                 onto Ameenah’s red-eyed face. A flake into her left eye, a flake onto her lip (and licked unconsciously away) and a flake below her nose so that when the next sneeze began, she inhaled it sharply into her sinus cavity.

Blue. Right there. In the centre of all the trouble.

Ameenah, who was not a believer in crystals, was not aware that lapis lazuli was associated with self-knowledge, with intuition, and with past lives.

Well, not to begin with.

But as she stood on the flagstones, blue in her nose, in her eyes, on her tongue, a much older part of her self turned over. The blue that invaded her body woke up sleeping knowledge and woke up the blue in her blood and the blue of her skin.

The sleeping part of her blinked, took a deep, deep breath and …

Maat, Goddess of Truth, awoke.

Ameenah was not, it turned out, allergic to blue.

Truth had just been waiting for the right blue to rise up.


La verità fu sola figliola del tenpo.
Truth was the only daughter of Time.

~ Leonardo Da Vinci, from original manuscript “Moto, colpo