The Architect's Essence, The Diary of Sunrise

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Unknown Date 2479 A.R.T

Over the next week or so the floodwaters had retreated, and Mount Bedlam had stood triumphant on the battlefield. Following their tempestuousness, the defeated skies had blessed us with sunny days and clear, starry nights and, light permitting, we had spent most of our time scratching out conversations in the soft rock of the mountainside. I distinctly remember one rather beautiful evening when I had engaged Pulida in a rather philosophical conversation during which Pulida had stated that now that we had given ourselves names, we knew who we were but we still did not know what we were or why we were. These have proved to be two questions which, even to this day, I do not feel we have fully answered.

Time had passed without incident or notability and myself and my brethren had occupied ourselves with activities and pastimes of our own devising. An individual named Quilt had seemed to be quite content with snoozing his days away whereas another whom had christened himself Leash, seemed to quite enjoy energetically chasing after a stick, an item which he would solicit any willing party to throw for him. I myself had turned my attentions to my spoon and I had spent a great deal of time removing a small kink from its handle and polishing away the sooty patina which marred its surface. I had found that liberally rubbing the concave head of the fire-damaged utensil between my thumb and finger greatly helped to clean away the clinging grime any after several days of tireless polishing I had restored the spoon to its former glory, its head, sparklingly clean and polished to a mirror-like finish. I had found the strange optics of the spoon quite amusing, its convex side stretching my reflection like a fun-house mirror and its concave side taking my image and flipping it upside down. From that day to this I have been most ‘vocal’ on the subject of good spoon maintenance and hygiene and I regularly wash and polish all of my spoons, treating them like the fine, precision tools that they are.

As well as my wholesome spoon restoration I had also taken the time to mingle with my brethren, making a point to visit and speak to each and every one of them. Eventually I had acquainted myself with an individual called Pumpkin. Pumpkin was one of only three members of our clan of sixty-six who had defined herself as a woman, the others being Bubbles and Butter. Hoping to while away a few hours with a little female company I had taken a seat next to Pumpkin, planning to engross her in a thrilling spoon-based debate. However, upon unfurling my magnificent utensil I had heard an odd rhythmic tick and realising that it was the same mechanical beat which had inspired our knee-slapping symphony back in the darkness of the cavern I had asked her if she too could hear it. The question had seemed to make Pumpkin quite uncomfortable and she had become rigid and tense, placing her hands on her knees. When I had inquired of the crux of her disquiet, she had reluctantly informed me that the ticking noise was in fact being produced by her left knee. At first, I had been incredulous and I had suggested that maybe there was a clock or some sort of mechanical machinery concealed on the mountainside that was the source of the ticking, possibly a wind pump or a geared friction cultivator, (two items which I must admit would have been quite out of place on the side of a volcano.) It had only been when Pumpkin had invited me to put my ear to her knee that I’d truly believed her. Feeling rather self-conscious, I had obliged, getting down on my haunches to listen to her knee. Upon doing so I had heard not just a tick but also the whir of springs and the gentle grind of gears, all sounding from beneath her kneecap. I must have looked quite a strange sight crouched down with my ear pressed to Pumpkin’s knee and I recall several of my brethren staring at me with much bemusement. At the time Pumpkin had been very self-conscious about her clockwork knee, fearful that she would be socially rejected because of it and she had made me promise to keep it a secret from the others, a promise which I had endeavoured to uphold.

As you will see in coming passages, this fear of being rejected for strange or unique aspects of our new forms was one shared by many of my brethren. Only Od, whom I would consider to be the strangest amongst us, had seemingly been unconcerned by his uniqueness.

My promise of discretion notwithstanding, others had eventually noticed the ticking emanating from Pumpkin’s knee and word of it had quickly spread, the writing quite literally being on the wall. Despite her fears however no one had persecuted Pumpkin about her unusual knee joint, treating her with curiosity rather than contempt and in the end, I do not think a single one of us had not asked Pumpkin if we could listen to her mechanical knee. To this day we still have not learned the function of the mechanism within Pumpkin’s knee and in the one-hundred and seventy years since our creation it has never slowed nor missed a single tick. Whether it is due to her knee or just in her nature, Pumpkin has proved to be an excellent timekeeper, arriving to appointments not a second too early or too late. She never wakes late or leaves a function early and she is also able to time a boiled egg with frightening precision, giving perfectly runny yolks every time. The only drawback of Pumpkin’s knee is that the noise of it has deterred anyone from sharing a room with her as the constant tick tends to keep any potential roommate awake at night.

Eventually the conversation of the mountainside had come around to the subject of Cloud’s deceased butterfly and we had all agreed that someone needed to gently break the news to him. When the matter of who that someone was going to be had arisen, I had been surprised to find myself nominated as spokesperson. Pulida, Oats and Skull had all backed this notion, each of them stating that it was my duty because ’I was in charge.’ How exactly they’d come to this conclusion I do not know but I had taken the faith they’d placed in me seriously and I’d taken a seat on a boulder next to Cloud.

Cloud had cradled the tattered remains of the butterfly in his palm, gently stroking its ruined wing with his fingertip. He had picked up a pebble and scrawled, Hello Sunrise, on the boulder between us.

I had returned the gesture and had informed him that I’d come to speak to him about his butterfly.

The subject of the butterfly had instantly animated Cloud and he’d excitedly written; I think she’s getting better Sunrise. She’s getting lots of sleep. She’ll be full of life when she wakes up.

I had tried several times to tactfully tell Cloud that the butterfly wasn’t going to wake up, but my attempts had been met with confusion and several backward question marks which Cloud had scratched into the boulder between us.

Taboo had been watching my fruitless attempts from afar and he had come over to help me get my message across, a fete which he had accomplished in one simple but tactless sentence. What Sunrise is trying to say Cloud, he’d written, is that your butterfly is as dead as a plegging stone. It isn’t going to wake up kid.

Cloud had looked down at the butterfly and had closed his fist around it, realization dawning in his goggles. He had then done something which I hadn’t realized we’d still had the capability of doing. He had curled himself into a fetal position, placed his head in my lap and had silently cried, his tears trickling from beneath his goggles.

Taboo had nodded toward me and had written, Terrible plegging business isn’t it! Like my old Aunt Ginkgo used to say, Butterflies and volcanoes just don’t shatanging mix! He had then wandered off into the mouth of the corridor, leaving me to console Cloud and contemplate his old aunt Gingko’s wisdom.

As, at the beginning of this entry, I touched upon the importance of maintaining a clean and sanitary spoon I feel that it is now my duty to warn you all not to take cutlery cleanliness too seriously. Whilst I promote the upkeep of shiny silverware, I must urge you all to wash up in moderation. A little washing up here and there is a healthy practice but long or repetitive periods of washing up can be extremely taxing on the mind and potentially hazardous to the body.

At the time of writing this we have a patient in our care who goes by the name of Ladle. Ladle was transferred to Mount Bedlam from the Great Infirmary, a medical establishment which had been treating him for pneumonia, an ailment he had acquired after almost drowning in a sink of cold dish water and soiled utensils.

Ladle’s wife had been very fond of cooking and entertaining, throwing elegant dinner parties for colleagues, friends and family. (In the interests of privacy, I will not be using her true name. I will instead refer to Ladle’s wife as Mrs Plunger.)

Mrs Plunger is reputed to be a very good chef, a woman who has no fear of onion preparation and who can whip up a scrumptious four coarse meal with ease. The problem was however that Ladle detested his wife’s social events, much preferring the quiet solitude of a book or the exhilaration of soap carving over listening to the boring anecdotes a group of strangers. Ladle’s distaste for his wife’s dinner parties often became more pronounced as the night drew on and, fearful that her husband’s darkening mood would spoil the ambiance Mrs Plunger would often banish him into the kitchen to wash up the various utensils, pans, pots, bowls and other kitchen paraphernalia which she has sullied during the preparation of her latest culinary extravaganza.

The problem had become so bad and the dinner parties so frequent that Ladle had found himself washing up almost every night, spending more time with dirty dishes than he did with his book, his soap knife or indeed his wife. One night, following an abysmally dull game of charades, Ladle had been faced with a pile of washing up so large that he claims to have trembled in its shadow. The mountain of soiled tableware and cutlery had been so vast that the cupboards of Ladle’s kitchen were bare, and the draining board had reputedly groaned beneath its weight. What had made matters worse however was that Mrs Plunger had baked fifty individual lasagnes, their burnt congealed residue baked onto their dishes with all the stubbornness of solid rock.

After seeing his adversary Ladle claims to have sat down and partaken in a Gleemisry brandy to settle his nerves, trying to mentally prepare himself for the coming battle. Valiantly, he had re-entered the kitchen armed with a scouring sponge and a jar of lather crystals, ready to tame the nightmare that awaited him and lock it back into the various cupboards and draws from whence it came. He had done battle with the diabolical mound of filthy crockery for a full hour and it had seemed that he was going to emerge victorious, several of his most filthy, baked-on opponents lying defeated on the draining board, upside-down and spotlessly clean.

Unfortunately, the dreariness of scraping burnt lasagne off fifty individual dishes had proven too much for Ladle and the tide of the battle had turned. His fingers had become wrinkled, his dishwater cold and foamless and the abrasive side of his sponge had become tattered and worn. Sensing defeat Ladle had attempted to regroup his efforts, procuring himself a new sponge and refilling his sink with clean, warm water. Unfortunately, before Ladle could pour in his lather crystals, he had succumbed to the overwhelming tedium of the task ahead of him and he’d swooned, the jar of lather crystals slipping from his wrinkled fingers. Ladle had fallen face first into his dishwater, hitting it hard. He had lost part of his left eyebrow to a submerged cheese grater and had suffered a nasty cut to his nostrils from a bloodthirsty bread knife. Fortunately, thanks to the heroic actions of a serving spoon (say no more) Ladle had been saved from drowning, his lacerated nostrils held above the water by the biconcave head of the quick-thinking cutlery. He was found by Mrs Plunger some forty-five minutes later his limp, defeated form draped lifelessly across the draining board.

Following his ordeal Ladle’s mental state has deteriorated drastically, and he has become a paranoid, washed-up version of his former self (please excuse the pun.) He now refuses to eat with any kind of crockery or utensil, not wishing to endanger anybody who may end up having to wash them and he carries a sponge with him wherever he goes, terrified that the forty-nine remaining lasagne dishes might one day show up to finish him off. Often, we hear him screaming in his sleep, claiming he can hear bubbles bursting in his ears and can feel the cold, slimy touch of wet pasta against his skin. I do not wish to frighten anyone who is currently planning to wash up and I assure you that Ladle’s story is a rare and extreme case but even so I believe it is prudent to know all possible hazards and pitfalls of any household task. If you do your washing up little and often, cleaning it as you go then I am sure you shall all exit the kitchen unscathed. It is when you let it amass however, when you allow its forces grow that you may potentially have a problem. If you are not careful, large gatherings of sullied tableware could potentially revolt and overpower you, an uprising which, as in Mr Ladle’s case, could leave you out to dry on the draining board of life.

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