Stark sheets of white cliff layered with intermittent clay juts out of the earth, an old man’s begging hand stretched out toward you. What an alien planet, she thought. These plants were not plants at all but strange creatures restlessly wandering across the plains. With their silver bodies covered in bumps and fine furry green fingertips. Pale mint colored tentacles, wide and flat unfurling in front of your very eyes. Gentle beasts. One can easily imagine an astronaut in his retro white suit, leaping from the raggedy ground in response to an unpredictable gravity. It has not rained in over 600 days and yet there are still patches of greenery, life continues to survive but it is hard to watch. She remembers a time when the plants used to thrive. The only animals are scattered far and few in between; they are domesticated tawny cattle, sheep with black faces and scratchy donkeys who roam seamlessly without shepherding. The remnants of acne, termite hills crop up in clumps of a dozen rather unexpectedly. Great power lines cut through the land, zigzagging and dividing the earth into neat compartments which will be organized later, when there is time to do so. In spite of it being July, the sun licks their faces and hangs heavily in watercolor blue washed sky. There are parasites here too, they web intricate plastic patterns connecting barbed wire fences to thorn trees. Pastel painted square houses are the first signs of humanity, a hint just before they drive through King Williams Town. Suddenly confronted with narrow roads and condensed cars, rusted shop signs and tin roofs. Broken buildings with their bones exposed. Just as they exit the town a flock of birds materializes overhead, their ebony and ivory feathers mimicking piano keys. Gradually the view outside the car window morphs, colors bleed into shades of unpolished gold and unpressed olives.
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