Yes, it’s back again. Despite the name of these posts, they’re not in any chronological sequence or anything, so don’t worry about that…

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A ribbon of what appears to be pollen twists in the air of the corridor, twinkling now and then as the fine particles reflect the light from some of the brighter tiles along the ceiling, walls and floor. Instinctively, the girl follows the stream of motes along the corridor to where it disappears round a corner. Reaching the right angled turn, she sees the corridor leads into yet another courtyard and continues walking until she emerges into the chamber. As she steps out of the corridor, the fine stream of particles dissipates into the air.

Just like the other courtyards the girl has encountered, this one is also perfectly square, only this time a large plinth dominates the centre of the space. The plinth is again made of the familiar perfectly square milky tiles, but on top of it is what appears to be an explosion of water, frozen in crystal. Ice-like spikes and fingers burst from a central point, trapped in space and time. Its violent and irregular shape stands it in stark contrast with the linear uniformity of the room. As the girl approaches the plinth, she notices alcoves in the walls of the courtyard. In each one sits a smaller version of the… She can only think of it as a sculpture of some sort, which looms in front of her.

From a flat base, the sculpture bursts upward and outward, throwing out twisted shards in all directions. It is a little taller than the girl, and as wide as it is high. It seems to be made of the same  off-white crystalline substance as almost everything else she has encountered here, although deep within its centre a pale yellow light pulses faintly. The smaller sculptures set into the walls between the corridors leading away from the courtyard pulsate with the same yellowish glow, each one seemingly synchronised with their larger counterpart on the central platform.

The girl runs her fingers along the edge of the plinth, then up onto the base of the sculpture, following a ridge which twists and separates from the main body into a slender sinuous spike, almost as long as her arm. With each pulse of light deep within the object, a barely perceptible tremor passes through the sculpture, sending a brief shivering sensation through her fingertips. Rather than being smooth, the spike feels as if it is covered with fine granules, and the girl pulls her hand away to look at the powdery residue coating her fingers. It reminds her of salt. Lifting her forefinger to her lips, she cautiously sucks some of the whitish crystal. Yes, there is a vague hint of saltiness on her tongue, but she tastes something else too, thicker, more metallic, like iron. As she withdraws her finger from her mouth, she sees a line of redness, a thin slice in the skin where tiny beads of blood appear. The girl looks back up to where she was touching the sculpture and a fine tracery of red lines has spread into the spike from one point, like capillaries which she has seen at school during science lessons. Although faint, the lines creep back toward the core of the sculpture before becoming lost within its centre.

Sucking her finger contemplatively, the girl turns from the large sculpture in the middle of the courtyard and walks over to investigate the smaller versions which sit in the alcoves. Moving from one to the other, it is clear that they are each exact duplicates of the one on which she cut her finger. Each one, she also notices, has a spike which is tinged pink, and only on closer inspection can she see the tiny veins of blood which run from one point on the spike back toward the pulsing yellow core.

Reaching the entrance to one of the corridors, the girl starts to head down it, still with her finger in her mouth. Before she leaves the courtyard she turns to look at the sculpture one more time. It still sits impassively on the plinth, still an explosion of crystal caught in a moment, only now its pulse is faintly red.

There is nothing more for the girl to understand in this place, and nothing more for this place to understand in the girl. She leaves…

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Next time? I’m not sure, possibly lots of bad language…

Until then… Stay smiley… ses x