Cloud Cukoo Home
The handwritten story of my book "Nephelokokkygia - Cloud Cuckoo's Home" takes up the idea of the Greeks that somewhere in the skies there is a city of birds to which they return in the cold season. The stories they experience there are the content of the book.
Cloud Cuckoo's Home
The handwritten story of my book "Nephelokokkygia - Cloud Cuckoo's Home" takes up the idea of the Greeks that somewhere in the skies there is a city of birds to which they return in the cold season. The stories they experience there are the content of the book. Deep down, where wet, blue-grey pavement reflects the lamp swinging faintly in the wind, nothing of what is happening in the dark brown, almost black house in the attic is perceptible.
A black bird flies startled through the night. A door opens in the distance. Hurried footsteps can be heard. Then there is that oppressive silence again, that terrible sepulchral silence.
Like tears, raindrop after raindrop falls over the skylight. Across the various roof shapes, the end of the city is silhouetted far back on the horizon.
Damp air flows through the small attic. Little by little, the drops coagulate and change into small rivulets that quickly stream downwards.
The wind picks up, the rain whips against the window pane, the light from the streetlights blurs into abstract streaks that drift ceaselessly across the window. Diffuse light penetrates the dark room from the street, a child cries out briefly, then all that can be heard are the bright sounds of the raindrops falling on the roof panels. At the back of the corner, a soft, curved shape emerges. The ceiling conceals what lies beneath. The floor creaks, each step that measures the pale room leaves a groaning onomatopoeia. Hesitantly, waiting, groping, the dark shadow contorts against the roof panels. A short but violent gust of wind knocks back the all-concealing cloth. Suddenly the view of the skull of a mummified corpse becomes clear.
* * *
The shiny glass façade appeared light as air, translucent bright. The hustle and bustle in the business premises became visible from the outside, was carried to the outside. The hustle and bustle of everyday life became visible, powerless, wounding. The full harshness of life became visible. As soon as the last light goes out in the rooms of splendour, as soon as night and darkness creep along the corridors, the façade reflects the other side of the street. The dark black shiny glass façade of the money then reflects the dull grey house fronts of the opposite workers' housing estates with one, two and three backyards behind each house front. Reflected with all the suffering of work and unemployment.
The gentlemen don't see it, because now they live in the posh suburbs of the city, protected by video cameras and motion detectors. It's simply better to live there than here in the city with the industrial estate, the stinking rubbish and the noisy children.
* * *
The procession flowed through the narrow streets of the old town like a black mass. In front was the censer, which swung incessantly from one end to the other, emitting bright smoke.
All along the street, a bluish-white wall of fog was drifting, clinging to the dark walls and black holes in the entrances.
Step by step this dark wall approached. Flags were held high, a canopy became visible, torchbearers carried burning tar torches, incomprehensibly muttered prayers and a bright chanting became audible. Three gunshots froze the swaying procession for a moment, and everyone stood motionless. Only after a few moments did the procession slowly begin to move again, moving on wordlessly, passing.
* * *
The large church was almost completely dark, at the front of the altar something flitted excitedly back and forth. All at once the organ began to play a strange, new, discordant song that got under the skin. The
The deep voice, the sound of the stately instrument filled the whole church hall with its mighty cascades of sound.
Incessantly, the organ played its song, which no one had ever heard before. On the pillar of the central aisle, a blood-red band was drawn on the wall, becoming stronger and stronger. A small window
high up in the choir showed that the weather outside had changed. The church hall became silent again as before. Not a sound was heard, only short, shrill cries of a bird, animated this dead place.
* * *
Death, the great master made his way back into the neighbourhood down by the river, down beside the stone bridge with its mighty arches. Mercilessly, the Gevadder comes to the dilapidated houses that have seen his visit countless times.
his visit countless times. For them he is an old acquaintance, for as long as they have stood. He enters the rooms inaudibly and everyone knows he is a guest again tonight.
The musty smell is a little more intense than usual, it is cold and damp, it won't be long before the torment is over. He's already standing next to the camp, I can already see him, and when the time is right.
he will reach out, take what is his and leave the place of poverty just as he came. Quietly - inaudibly.
* * *
The feast was in full swing. The hall was overflowing, decorated with colourful garlands, everywhere you looked there was bustle in the round. Exuberance and joy were in the air, permeating the grey hall with its dark vaults.
vaults. Candlelight only sparsely illuminated the large room, the darkness swallowed the light. The shadows danced on the walls as if they had a life of their own, reflecting the joy of which they were the sad sisters.
they were. The shadow was on the wall, playing everything, but it was pale and colourless, allowing only a black and white. The scent of roasting turned into the sweet smell of decay and death.
* * *
In front of the seemingly infinitely high portico, the ruler strutting in magnificent plumage looked toy-like small, his size seemed ridiculous in relation to the size of the monumental columns of the
monotonous building. He was a splash of colour, prancing across the red marble floor with feigned lightness, and yet he seemed clumsy and undignified. It was only the feather cloak that distinguished him from the others.
But no one wanted to admit it and so he had been living like a maggot in bacon all along.
* * *
Silence had fallen on the wide square in front of the large free-standing hall. There was a feeling of tingling tension in the air that no one could escape. Wooden sticks, skillfully thrown with momentum, fell
onto the black-grey granite pavement. The toss, the random tangle of sticks, showed everyone it was that time again. Everyone who knew how to read the sticks knew that one of them would now follow the old rite again.
the ancient rite to save all.
The bright red staff was chosen. As if on cue, the long lines began to move, all shuffling inexorably, it seemed, - towards the centre. There the red wood was handed over.
Like a maelstrom, the procession pushed through the streets, out towards the place of execution. It was above the city on a hill from which all the houses could be seen in their full beauty.
When the procession arrived at the great funeral pyre, the masquerade came to an end. Meanwhile, everyone waited anxiously to see if it would continue as they had been used to. Everyone was deeply touched,
no one could escape the situation.
At the top, the chosen one looked around one last time, holding the red staff calmly in his hand. He looked across to the bright fortified towers, to the temple and down to the harbour with its colourful ships.
ships. Then he broke the staff.
That was the sign that he was ready. In no time at all a great fire was kindled, the flames blazing high. A single loud cry echoed across the square, black birds rose from the high roofs below and disappeared into the dark smoke. Disappeared in the dark cloud of smoke that could be seen from afar. It was a unique spectacle in the firmament.
Everyone knew that nothing could happen now, that life could start all over again, for everyone. As if spellbound, they gazed at the blazing flames for some time, then more and more of them turned away and went
down the hill in silence.
He saved us, they said, and new confidence spread.
* * *
The plaster crumbled behind him, salpetre salts bloomed from the red clay bricks, it smelt of mustiness and he sat there, wordless, not looking up, just thinking of what a fortune teller had told him back before the war. What
life she had prophesied for him, a life full of happiness, wealth and many children.
Then came the attack, he can still hear the high-pitched whirring in the air, then the flash of fire, the bang, the smoke and the dirt, and nothing was the same. They had saved him where he would have preferred to die. They were
merciless to him.
Every day he brought his dolly into position here in front of the condemned house, just to live out his life with the alms he had been given, to vegetate. It was not a life to be called.
A few corners away were those with the colourful feathers on their caps, those who liked to shout loudly in their uniforms. None of them wanted anything more to do with him, the old fighter.
He had become superfluous, he was from a time that no one wanted to acknowledge any more, but a time that could come again. Now that it was possible to live again, - in the city with all its colourful viaducts, with its lively squares and
busy streets, it no longer fitted in. Now that the eel line of destruction that had cut its way through the houses had finally been removed with much toil and effort, the cripple was no longer a part of it.
the cripple was only an unwelcome reminder with his two stumps. Now, when everything seemed to have been forgotten, when everything was flourishing again, he still reminded us of suffering and death.
and death - as - he sat there miserable.
He still hears the guns, the thunder, the screams, the stench, he has the war in his mind, he cannot forget it. The war has burned itself into his soul -, wounded him not only
wounded not only physically.
He cannot leave his vale of tears, he is a prisoner of himself.
* * *
The wooden boards stretched along one side of the road, endlessly down the hill. Behind the high board fence, impermeable as a huge wash tub, there was nothing to be seen, no trace of life. Open dark holes were
the window cavities of the old weather-beaten brick buildings. It was only one street further back that life could be heard on the other side of this long fence, but everything was strangely muffled. Here lived those who were no longer tolerated in the new city,
here lived those for whom life no longer had a place.
Through a knothole, the view fell on a barren former park area, where an old, gaunt horse had its run. What magnanimity from those who themselves had nothing, were nothing.
In the eyes of others they were just freeloaders, to many they were a thorn in the flesh.
You only saw the extent of the ghetto when you climbed the shallow hill. From up here you could see the flashing and the light on one side and the darkness with the sweet smell of dead life reminiscent of ghouls on the other.
side. The city shows its true face here, it is a changeling of its history.
* * *
Outside the city, just beside the iron bridge, lies the cemetery. Trees grow out of the graves, it has not been used for a long time. The wrought iron gate squeaks softly as it opens. It feels warm, the sun gives this place
this place the illusion of living warmth and yet everything is cold and silent. Only at the back of the last row of graves is the muffled sound of earth falling loosely onto a hill. The earth releases a body.
Dark, black, dirt-smeared, sunken, it begins to emerge, more and more clearly. A butterfly flies by, bees buzz, the flap of a bird's wing is heard, then silence.
* * *
He looked around abruptly and begins to feel a little uneasy. Now it was that time again, like all the time before, he turns with leisurely steps one last round on the market place surrounded by beautiful old houses, he looks one last time at the colourful sunshades.
the colourful parasols, the old stone floor, he pattered briefly and then soared into the air, he drew one last circle over the town and then set off with all the other birds to fly away.
and then take off with all the other birds to fly back to earth, where spring was already preparing to arrive.
* * *
Gerd J. Wunderer