The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzales Foerster - TH.2058


Noah’s Arc

By Porlock Ogilvie

It had been raining incessantly for years.

Noone could remember anything else but huddling together to try to get warm. To try to get some comfort.

Apart from that, there were the scraps of memories that were sewn together to create a story that would make sense of it all.

Of it all? Of the rain. Of the engorged sculptures.

She was not sure what she felt about these stories. Ideas of Noah, ideas of Arcs, ideas of Redemption. What had she the need for redemption for?

There is always a leader. The anti-hero, the proselytiser.In this new frontier where the only regularity was the drip, drip, drip of rain, theproselytiser was he who blamed the false gods sharing our space. The false gods with their urinals, and their pharmacy bottles, and their sheeps heads.

He would blind himself in one eye – that man – to make himself into a one who could see a truth! She wondered what he had been before the rains. A hustler, a madman?

Could they not all see the gleam of promise in his eyes, the gleam of someone who had had nothing, as he raised his fist to the floors above full with their paintings always threatening to fall down on them and destroy the one place where it was dry. Apart from the drip, drip, drip of the rain and the sculptures sponging up the hope of some spare space for them to huddle.

Whilst they huddled together, she kept herself apart. Most of the time they ignored her. Sometimes, she let a chuckle escape as there patchworking of the story of Noah became further away from that she had been taught at her fathers knee.

The giggle – to them – sounded like that of a madwoman for it cut the idea of an idea.

Apart, she could hear Her. Her words reassuring her, soothing her, berating her. This was her God.

Occasionally – when they were busy with their stories – she would trace her name on a sculpture.

By the next day, the tracing would be unreadable. The faint trace obliterated by the drip, drip, drip of the rain.

There were few books left, few books that hadn’t become mouldy, and sweaty and scuppered.

She had tried to hide one of the books, one of the books about the urinals, and the pharmacy bottles, and their sheeps heads.

One day the book was gone.

But the She voice had no dismal end. The voice dialogued with her, kept her alive, just as it kept her apart.

The voice encouraged her to laugh at these Others and their tales of old. Tales of old suddenly unrusty – unlike the buttons people pushed in exhibits of old which had long ceased to work.

Tales that had swept up the survivors and kept them afloat. Tales that had made the weaker ones exit the museum in two’s – in two’s – with the mock bravado of animals who had found a key. That the key hadn’t worked, that it rained still, was seen as proof further of the need for all to join this farce.

They found her threatening, rocking to herself, talking to noone they could see. Would she not walk with them, as once she might of before the rains?

She had heard the tales of Noah once before the rains. She had been at school with thick socks coming up above her knees. Socks unchilled by damp.

They all had spots where they huddled. Hers was near the big spider. Because? There was no ‘because’. Hers was near the big spider.

Was she the only one who felt the spider? Who felt it puff out, like dough rising on an oven of old?

There had always been talk of creatures, of course. When she was little, there had been Triffids – terrifying creatures that would stride over the countryside ready to tear up anything that came in its way.

This, now, was different. She, the sculptures, the huddlers, were there together.

It had been raining incessantly for years.

If one day, there was a rainbow, what would she do?

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