The Totem in Air
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Its monolithic visage over the Earthen landscape insinuates a straight, narrow path, but one more accurately describes the Bridge as a cropped streak of tumultuous ocean, each facet breaking into and swarming over others. The Bridge extends inland, yew trees twisting and contorting into their compatriots, branches like spiders' webs, trunks pulsating all directions in an eternal sway. They dance without wind. The atmosphere thick with artificial air, sulfurous and sweet in equal measure, chokes local weather.

The traveler may understand the Bridge begins 200 meters into the Solberry Trail, while others interpret the start several hundred meters away in either direction. The classification besides, sometime into that winding path past dense, tentacle-like branches and muddied greenish brown ascends the Bridge.

Although one doesn't perceive its sudden 80% incline, local gravity ensuring safe travel, the perspective shift illuminates a previously imperceptible chaos beyond the canopy. Uncountable trinkets and gadgets, keepsakes and toys, supplies and heirlooms, among variously mangled, blank-staring simulacra. Most all the created persons here lie in disaster, missing arms, legs, mouths, heads. To focus on one of a million million corners, a head, cauterized at the neck’s base, stares wildly in all directions, pupils constantly agitated, and an open metal box lies aside. Countless stacks of metal boxes surround the head like a castle. The head’s mouth is permanently agape.

The impression recalls a Medusa victim, petrified with fear. Looking at the head, you imagine yourself in the mythical gorgon’s position, and indeed a stone barrier manifests between you and the anguished crown.

Most objects meet the same fate, only for another object or simulacrum to take its place.

One sight can disappear instantly from view, as the lack of a clear trail prohibits the finding of one’s way save further up. You step over debris, ditches, and giant plant life to ascend. The Bridge continues.

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Several hundred feet up, the ruins of stone architecture spiral from its center, up and out like an octopus. Towers rise past the side limits in all directions. A massive, central chamber inside contains staircases to all other branches. The engulfing space seems to trap visitors like a swallowing mouth, stuck in place by its omnipresence. All sides, all angles. Despite the massive display, the castle inside is bare save an enormous framed portrait, depicting a robed and scowling King Jones the First.

In the late physical era, Jones, half-cousin of the then-British royal, claimed ascendancy to the thrown via a convoluted family path. Media regarded Jones as a curiosity and a joke, and followed his life extensively. Photographers never caught Jones, both outside and inside, without a yellow royal mantle. He raised a yellow flag atop his country estate. With his numerous servants, he enacted and re-enacted royal parades throughout London, and stood for hundreds of portraits.

In late-winter, the estate went silent. No servants, no flag, no portraits. Trespassers photographed total absence within the house.

Several thousand meters up, clouds fog the Bridge, and chaos diminishes. A clearly defined trail forms, packed with dirt, stone, and gems. Here, a different complexity arises: an outpost of tents. One dark silhouette, rolling in his sleeping bag, rouses from dream.

He says that he came up out of desperation, escape. He couldn’t live with his wife anymore, with his children. Not for eternity, he says. He’s made a tiny camp on the outskirts of the Bridge. Tents lie small and dark on the thin plain, except his sole illuminated dwelling. He calls it Solberry Place. He swears one can see Solberry from here, climbing the Bridge like a beanstalk.

Several million miles up, stars consume the terrain, and the trail has diminished to specs of land connected by threads. One false step presents no danger; the nanopreservers bridge the gaps. The trail wisps up and down, sinks and ascends. One may climb to their heart’s content.

One may climb to the planet Mars, past the asteroid belt, past the Solar System, billions upon billions of miles, and the Bridge would continue with them. One may find the ruined satellite Voyager, with its golden disc meant for eyes unknown, and climb upon it, and let the arc of artificial material follow them.

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The Bridge continues.

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