Ambit / Dale Brett

Greeted by the sound of muffled birdsong, I opened my eyes. There was a lake. Children were swinging on an old truck tyre affixed to a large tree on the banks. Each took a running start before the tyre made a wide arc over the shimmering body of water as they precedentially plunged into its depths. Laughing and guffawing in the iridescent sunlight their undefined forms were steeped in a sepia-toned haze.

She was next to me, but her profile seemed to blur in and out of focus. She seemed somewhat amorphous. But there was no doubt it was her. The sense, that presence, undoubtedly belonging to her.

“Where is this?”

“You mean where are we?” She responded from somewhere far away.

“Is this still part of the park?”

“It is… And it isn’t.” She responded, her fashion vague as usual.

The children were now taking a break from the tyre swing to check on their propped-up fishing rods. Watching the children reel in the lines, I was reminded of when, in her apartment, in a playful mood, she often dangled a piece of yarn in front of Yukio Mishima – her overweight pet cat named after the Japanese writer. I recalled the yarn retracting until eventually the contact between the receding line and the physical matter underneath separated, severing the bond temporarily until the action was performed again. The reel cast, the yarn dangled. Again, and again.

“Are there any fish in that lake?”

“Ask the boys, they seem to think so.”

“They seem… So awfully distant though. I don’t seem to have the ability to muster enough energy to make it that far.”

In fact, I found that I couldn’t really move at all. I mean to say, I did feel like I was moving, but this movement was confined to the inside of my body. I could turn 360 degrees if I wanted to, but my feet remained staunchly rooted in place. It was like my soul was able to move freely within the boundaries of my nebulous physical form, but externally I was stuck in place like a pillar or statue. The blanketed birdsong continued to twinkle in the peripheries of my consciousness.

“I feel… like jelly that has almost set. The outside of my body is solid, like a rigid barrier. But inside, things are so… well, they swirl.” I said sleepily.

“That only seems to happen here. They call this place an ambit; a specific form of demarcation.”

“You’ve been here before?” I said, the sound of my voice coming from somewhere above my left temple.

“Only with him. My last.”

The children were now packing up their belongings, towels and tackle boxes in hand, their formless bodies receding into the distance. I simultaneously felt her presence beside me fading, the only remains a faint outline of her tenuous body. The sun glinted off the surface of the lake as microscopic spots of light pummelled my closed eyelids. I left them shut and watched the particles excitedly expand and amalgamate into one.

Dale Brett is a writer and artist from Melbourne, Australia. He is interested in exploring the melancholic malaise and technological ennui of the 21st century. His work has been featured on Burning House Press, Surfaces.cx and Nu Lit Mag. Hypertextual artifacts found @_blackzodiac. 

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