Many months had passed since Cedar had last seen those horrific hybrid monstrosities, when she had been trapped behind the Orange Curtain. Her wounded and damaged body had healed considerably since that bizarre day when she had first encountered just how twisted and diseased this place had become.
Later she would learn what those morbidly obese flatulent vehicles actually were; or rather, who they had been, before agreeing to be surgically severed from their own legs and genitals, in order to be permanently fused forever with an automobile. While she had been wandering lost out in the withered dessert wastelands of southern California, Cedar found herself inexplicably drawn toward faint notes of nearly inaudible music that she heard playing somewhere far off in the distance. Though intense pain seared her flesh with each step, she managed to scramble up a sand dune in an attempt to discern the origin of the magical sounds.
Gillian Welch & Other Oracles
The voice of the lyrical siren belonged to one of the primary organizers of the underground beaver network, Gillian Welch. She was working undercover, and slowly heading north, riding together in a caravan comprised of many diverse happy creatures. As she sang, her voice rang out like a bright shaft a warm light in the frigid blackness.
Cedar sat in the sand, utterly transfixed by the sad beautiful music. Gillian was comfortably nestled in a creaky wooden horse-drawn carriage; she continued playing a banjo while singing these words:
“I have no mother,
I am an orphan girl…”
Nobody ever asked any questions of the battered refugee as she was warmly welcomed into the traveling caravan of misfits and artists. In a few days time Gillian and her loyal comrades were able to safely deliver Cedar to the ocean. Once on the coast, the beavers arranged to ferry her by sea to the outskirts of the sanctuary, deftly navigating through the dangerous rocks and crashing waves to the refuge of the Point Montara Lighthouse.
Time had become weirdly fluid and blurry; all events seemed both as if they had already happened and were also still continuing to occur simultaneously. She felt as if she had been entirely awake and asleep throughout everything. Her memories and ideas had all melted into a swirling puddle of colorful intertwined crayons left out too long in the hot sun.
Her body still ached from the surgery; linear scars from hundreds of sutures criss-crossed her abdomen, bearing physical witness to a small portion of the trauma that had transpired. As she sank down into the steaming water from the gravity fed solar thermal heater, clear rivulets of fluid trickled down the wet fleshy furrows of scar tissue that lacerated her breasts. Her skin felt like moist limber sea kelp, weightlessly floating and undulating in salty warm ocean currents. While she was soaking in the deep bath tub the sound of ocean waves crashing engulfed her tired mind.
Just on the outer periphery of her vision, Cedar noticed a tattered paper corner protruding from a dark crevice in the far corner of the room. She methodically dried off her hands, then gently eased the paper from its hiding place with her claws. What she retrieved was a thick weathered dusty envelope made of organic woven hemp. Although the letters were very faded, the following words had been carefully written by hand in blood red ink on the worn green parchment:
“Please deliver to Frieda & Trotsky Beaver of the Köllwitz Clan”
This is the twenty-first installment of Sanctuary City, an ongoing fictional serial that appears monthly in Ecolocalizer.
You can read the previous chapter here.
The next installment in the series can be found here.