It took ages to cross the jungle.
Apart from the interlude with the Watootsi and the little person, the jungle was
jungle, full of leaches and flies, growls and creepers. Finally they reached the
legendary Mountains of the Moon where several days climbing saw them to the top
and to the other side. Looking down from the peaks of the nether side, Chris and
Zak gazed into a valley filled with mist and foliage.
Chris consulted his map but he could find no trace of the valley recorded there.
"Then" he thought, "this must be it."
and Zak worked their way down to the forest below. The forest reached up to meet
Curiously, where Chris met the fringe of the forest up against the
mountain it was composed, unregionably, of rose and bramble, blackthorn and may:
Chris was forced to follow ledges edgewise looking for
a point of access. He found a place where a monster branch abutted the rock face
forming a suspended viaduct-like way into the forest.
Below the forestís canopy, the sunlight now subdued by the rich foliage, the pathway
tunnelled through a maze of branches and twining stems.The whole forest, as far
as Chris could see, seemed to be one single organism: a single tree, and for all
he knew, this one growth might fill the whole valley of Roaratuni. Wow!
passed three months in this jungle Eden looking for something he could not find,
but finding a thousand other things. And always as he searched there was an almost
audible music subtly tickling at his mind's ear. The longer he stayed, each day,
the more only just inaudible this something grew.
It was not the sound
of the boomfowl or the psychospludge, nor yet the felicitous bach-hopper, but
something wilder and finer and rarer and fairer than anything he had. Like a veiled
lady, it teased. Tantalising and tempting, it kept him at his search. Surely here
was a song for the world, if only he could apprehend and learn to play with it.
illustration by Kano
passed by as Christopher continued to search the Roaratuni, but he found no trace
of the magic folk. Instead he found colour and forms and scents beyond encyclopaedia.
And sounds... The forest embraced him and rocked him to sleep and fed him with
adventure and cherished him with morning dew. It felt like living in a glass bowl
where everything was love. The echoes bounced from tree to tree and surrounded
Chris like loving arms.
was also that growth. It was the most luxuriant growth of the most righteous nirvanaweed
he had ever encountered. It sprouted directly from the boa'tree itself, so, feeling
the least bit down, or wanting the least bit up, he had but to pause to rub a
handful. You see: you rub the nirvanaleaf, stroke it, dance it through your fingers,
and this gummy gue comes off. Chris put it in his pipe. Zak too munched cudfuls.
No pathway led onward from the clearing, but the forest everywhere
seemed to beckon. The salamander reappeared seeming to challenge Chris to follow.
"One road's as good as another," he advised himself and set off past the fly-agaric
to follow the salamander to Whereitzat. The salamander was constantly changing
its colour, as salamanders do. First
it looked like a salamander. Then it grinned at Chris and adjusted its eyeglasses
with Professor Bookish's gesture. Then Chris could sware it turned into a big
Italian chef, or was it rather an Italian pizza? He followed it curiously and
noticed it ran with the grace of the bosomy village girl. Her bottom was pleasantly
pink. Chris suddenly felt dizzy and sat down on the ground. "Thank God I'm good
at figure skating," he commented with relief.
Chris and Zak followed the branch onwards and downwards for a long
time until eventually they reached the ground. They entered a large clearing,
a small pasture. At the head of the clearing, blood red and white speckled, stood
a grandfather fly-agaric cap. On it sat a salamander. It looked Chris in the eye
and extruded its tongue. It blinked, dismissing Chris, casually caught a passing
fly, then slid from its throne and vanished.
Chris and Zak sat in the clearing mid
moss and grass and fungus in sunlight shadows. Perhaps the psychotrops - the bufotonen
of toad and toadstool, the muscarine of fly-agaric, the psilocybin and et cetera
funded in the fungus - perhaps it leached out into and hung in the still air.
Christopher quite tripped out.