The Cloud, by Julia Davis-Nosko

Dear Reader, Beez has grown from a delicate ten-year-old into a tall strong limbed young woman since we last sat all together.  At seventeen she is now one of “The Peoples” and this evening we find her in the deep green oval space in the heart of Hope Mountain.

She sighed as she recalled the foray to the outside she had just made, as all the adults made each moon cycle.  There was nothing to be seen. No day, no night, just the dull grey of the gases mixing, forever mixing their unbreathable concoction, blinding all senses.  Just a deep unfathomable grey. At least the bandages they wore were not like the old space suits and allowed for movement as they filtered the deadly particles and converted plant fibres inside the wrap to oxygen for the wearer.  But she felt so – she was trying not to articulate the word which came into her mind – despairing. 

Would she ever feel one of the blossoms her special one, Charlie, had told her of?  And smell its smell from translucent light-yellow flowers which apparently nodded and smiled on an easy wind. Such a name they had for it too – narcissus.  It was not good this churning of her stomach as she carefully folded the Bondage Bandages into the container where they would be pulverised with UV light, ready for the next journey.

She sighed and touched the gel screen in her cubicle; she had asked it to be the light yellow she felt that flower would be, and spoke gently to it: “please give me access to the Cloud”. 

The Cloud at the top of Hope Mountain had been named after the old information storage when people lived in the Far Away.  For Beez the Cloud was the vast plant sanctuary beyond the green zone.  Access to it was through the elevator designed as an oak tree, and for all who lived with Beez it was their most honoured and valued space.  The greenway to the Cloud had been discovered after the gas wars, although in the Far Away they had started to understand that plants could feel, listen, vibrate, communicate, and remember.  The plants themselves became the Cloud.

At her age-turning five cycles ago she was collected into the blue zone with her peers to learn Cloud entry.


Charlie addressed them all, standing still in a deep red and gold cloak woven from every type of yarn – wool, plastic, graphene.  Filaments glowed through the lining made of love-plant, a delicate soft fibre the Peoples had bred in the early days.

“Watch, and most importantly listen and feel.”

A white orchid was placed in a transparent holder.   It was larger than Charlie and emanated grace.  Beez felt it – that this was the meaning of grace-full.

“Let us all hum your bee songs together until we synchronise.”  

Over thirty of them slowly began.  Low notes, high notes, and soon they were together.  The vibration had begun.  On and on each growing person closed their eyes.  Charlie faded, whilst their consciousness, each of the other, disappeared until they unified as one, together with the bright white orchid.

She heard Charlie instruct them not to be frightened as the plant joined the vibration.

“You are all old enough now to absorb the knowledge.  Our plants hold the cloud memories.  Herein is great power.  Touch. And you will be taken into your cloud”.

Beez had her eyes shut but behind them was the palest of light.  She could now feel the slow swaying and murmur of the plant.  It was so soft, so near silence and she felt now the tilt of the planet.  It was like the sound of bees which she was so familiar with and taught to follow so carefully: the zooming sound, the sweet pitch just above the idea of words which gave life.  Pollination took place in the heart of a siren whistle they all learned to recognise, somehow like the sound of squeaky silken hair, freshly washed.

Now Beez gave herself to this new plant rhythm with absolute attention.

“Are you all attuned?”  Charlie’s voice; gentle, slow, paced.

“Now go with the utterings.  Go into your cloud and remember what you feel.  It is your birth right.  The fragments of your own line and history will surface first.  Other knowledge will come in time.  Here is your first cloud gift.”

It began:

‘She could not face lunch. Hot outside, she felt the house getting ever smaller around her, with the floating boat actually moving under the glass. An ‘A’ line cotton shift was all Lotte could bear next to her skin.  If she could walk around the large dining table then maybe the pain which lurched from her stomach into her mouth would subside.

The landlady had gone to fetch Artur.  She heard the door. Its slam took her back into the train station at Leipzig.  The doors snapping shut.  The never-ending slam of the end, of end, of end, of there.  Artur ran or swam into the space she inhabited – she could not tell which.  In silence, he grasped her arm and half carried her up the narrow staircase.  She saw the large bed and the candlewick spread, each coil part of her insides, curling for ever inwards, inwards, inwards.

She heard a voice screaming.  She felt the wet in the centre of her belly.

“Putschen, Putschen”.  A damp cloth met her forehead. 

The walls of the upstairs room crushed her; how could they be flattening her face? 

And then she was walking on Ulmastrasse, a petal from the cherry blossom on her forearm; the chord coil pulling her downwards, always inwards past herself, fell slack for a moment.

She saw behind now and ahead.  Travelling upwards she was standing on a wooden escalator in the underground.  It screeched on and on, each wooden slat trodden on for the whole of time.  And she lurched forwards and the slats had turned to metal teeth and her hand had changed.  It no longer clutched the leather handrail – this was plastic and the hand was no longer her hand – it had paler, squatter fingers and she caught her hair, no longer dark brown but a fine auburn red.  Her future’s future screamed to stay standing, refusing to be engulfed by each disappearing step.

As the candlewick chords leeched inside her she begged Putzi, begged him for the cherry blossom petal; its cool velvet on her face.  The only, only place of respite from the pull of the chord, tighter and tighter.

The escalator led nowhere, simply into chords of pain.

There was only the time of the time of the time, her hand laid over the fair, smaller hand.

As the screech became deafening, she caught a glance of the delicate face, pink cheeks and the one green eye, one blue eye that had become a pair of hazel eyes set fair and strong.

Be strong, be strong.


It ended: suddenly the pale light had changed behind Beez’ eyes and a blue glow unfurled into her line of vision.  Charlie’s cloak was pulsating with every facet of the spectrum.  A light blue filament was blinking at Beez and helped her return to the mountain. And now she understood who Ruth was – the mother of many mothers way back in the line, at least ten generations behind her, for the wooden escalators of the Far Away were part of the inspiration for the oak escalator. 

She understood now why they had called the mountain Hope. 

Working in text, clay and textiles discovering poetry and narratives. Dichter; (poet/researcher, researcher/poet) Julia Davis-Nosko has published exhibited and performed internationally, including Nottingham Contemporay (Lodz Tapes) the Edinburgh Fringe (Demarco European Institute), Vitebsk (Belarus State Theatre).