Brussels remembered – again?

Rue de la Loi

An acrid, metallic, thin-hazy smoke was tingling in my nose, itching in my eyes. Beads of bright red lights appeared like balls bouncing in front of me. A line of white light spots, shining from the top of what looked like steel tree trunks, was receding into the distance. My first feeling was that of being in a tunnel, enclosed on each side by walls of tessellated concrete, metal and glass with a dark velvet blue, almost black, ceiling.

“No” I whispered, correcting myself “that’s the sky up there. This can’t be a tunnel, it must be a channel.”.

As I looked more carefully and the scene came better into focus, I delighted myself with my discovery: “Look,” I exclaimed “those red lights are coming from those shiny metal and glass conveyance machines”. My excitement rose as I struggled to find the name of the image-concept which matched to what I was witnessing “They’re automobilia, er, what were they called, ca-, ca-, ca-, cars! And, just like they said, those are people sat inside them! This must be a road.”

I watched, wondering, a few moments more, asking myself “Why are these people always going somewhere? What do they want to do when they get there?” Over the other side of the channel, was another machine, again vaguely familiar. It had two wheels and a frame supporting a man, pumping his legs up and down “A cyclos”, I thought without making the effort to find the contemporary name of the vehicle.

I flinched as some of the red lights, on a grey trunk to my left, were joined by orange lights that turned green, which caused the automobilia to rumble and move forward, down the channel. Despite the grating noise and a waft of those irritating fumes, I couldn’t help thinking to myself how pretty the lights looked. I stepped forward to get into a better position to see how they functioned, “Ah, some sort of electrical imp….”

In that instant, the image before me jerked brutally to one side. The green lights turned over, upwards and backwards, the image tumbled in front of me, the wheel of a cyclos flashing past. Then a solid, dark, heavy mass thudded in from one side. I felt an intense, searing pain, as the image went black.

_________

Brbr, lurching forward in her arm chair, gave out a suppressed scream-like “Ohhhhh” as she sucked air violently in through her mouth and sat bolt upright in the dimly half-lit room. Motionless, wondering for a moment where she was, her heart thudded in her tight chest. She had dozed off during her rest period after the meal. Coming to her senses, a prick of guilt tinged her thoughts: “Oh no, the others will be waiting for me at storytelling, snap out of this Brbr” she said to herself.

But the impression of the image of the channel; the automobilia lights; the vaporous fumes; the sudden jolt and the aching darkness would not leave her. They had seized her mind in such a way that she could only sit in the chair, breathing heavily, waiting for calm. She chided herself with “Really, Brbr, you must go” and lifted herself up to make her way out of the chamber.

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About writingbrussels

Seven Writers. Three Languages. One City.
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