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  • Rekha Valliappan

Canopy of Moving Parts

Part 1

“A canopied necropolis of moving parts I must enter? But, why?”

“More an untamed zoo of remaining parts that loops, re-loops. Mandala circling vista 

dipping thousands feet deep. We have no choice . . .”

“It’s the end, so why rerun the return when you got out?”

He’s arching, grunting. I study the notches on his arms, striated lines, warts, twofold 

thick, doubling back. Skin like slate. Two years was all it took for Arcris to crumble.

“Because I must, we must. It’s intense. Our one last chance. Gates close at 6.”

I have never come this close to a rerun rewind sarcophagi. He has, though this canopied 

creation has been patterning in our midst a full year. Our whole city in ruins. No one is accounted

for, those who flee, or who stand in the necropolis heart that bifurcates to enormous looms of 

time, shuttles flying deftly at high velocity, grinding contrail parts to wisteria, guaranteeing a 

wedge of circulation for every resident within, keeping the canopied half constantly spinning. 

Part 2

Weavers having dried themselves into mummies for the task, ensure the reality, that it’s 

regular, piecemeal. Each intermittent new collapse one recital of participants will wipe out the 

other. Then the process reverses to start over. Death’s cycle range whirl-pooling as pasta water 

down the pipe, once done. It is unsettling and irreversible they say, what develops out there, but 

no one can figure out how to override the nature of the scatter. Not even him, who returned.

On this day the last of us few stragglers stream through the center gates like stalking 

ghosts, as night is fast advancing. The first death howl freezes the blood in my veins. There’s no 

turning back. The dark woof and warp reveal devilish hands at work. Today is the turn of were-

formed wolf-head manticores making way for toothy narwhal packs. Their dying howls at every 

orb and disc is too piercing for even my grizzliest earmuffs to snuff out. He says the last time sea-

tangled water serpents rose out of the slithering depths like bubbling hydrants of boiling steam 

hissing at swooping carrion condors. Swooping cranes didn’t stand a chance. We have arrived.

“I get it, acoustics for configuration, but those?!” I point at swathes of moving spikes 

rebounding in different shapes, switching to sword-grass that twitch in whorls, out of earshot.

“That’s the secondary diet, rapid sounds to separate arrival and departure of desertees.”

I know, but it disturbs me. We’re ripping apart, vertically. Progress is slow or not at all. I 

scarcely understand the weaver’s grid nor the society of strange creatures, some futured, others 

archived, or too pre-dated to consider current, shackled to their chain gangs of perpendicular time 

in set conflict. Why must we go through this sonorous burial shit?! What post-Arcris necropolis 

of painful alien structures to traverse? They call it tech, preservation for future mores. Whose? 

Ahead, giant stone figures on plinths displaced from rock structures in weird erotic and 

warrior poses line the field’s angular route. They mimic sphinx. To me they appear naked and

Part 3

alone in their grotesque silence, marked for tombs, some minus torsos and limbs.

“Why those?” I can’t help sliding my fingers over his cold slate skin. Clearly stone is out 

of place, but prevalent. His glassy black eyes fixate on those giant stones like moss to soil seeps.

“Could be a charade of sorts, aesthetics on display in acoustics, to spread the total 

effect of reverberation. We don’t question stone however surreal. The sediment part is the best.” 

“But those don’t fit. The traveling stone. They look replicas of us, too much us.”

My instinct says vibrate with the rest. My words are cut in the darkness of night and are 

lost. We are moving fast, separating. I can barely see. In a moment he is gone, zapped. In a blue 

haze I think I hear screams ring out. More renewed howls. Someone bellow “Beware the spawn 

of chaos handling vector, responsible for the ruin’s spread.” What does it mean? Where is he? 

Who is the maker of this super fragment spread? When will the canopy settle, the remains end?

I feel a sudden tremor. I’m falling, descending, hundred feet, two hundred deep, I don’t 

know. In the short time since entry into the shuttle cavity not a scatter of moonlight. We are long 

past nightfall. Through scud of sky tender new sprouts are packing their readiness to return inside 

the representational clavicle within the canopy, the perfect divide for perfect mobility. A change?

“Don’t be fooled. That’s the looms’ erratic spirit.” A familiar voice whispers in bursts.

I am well aware. Outside, the rooting shoots are overwhelming clusters, the scattered 

march of slumbering structures, wet, unformed, weaving the slow gurgle of chaos in the packed 

loom. Ever so Slowly! Don’t get me wrong. I hear their gurgle now. They sound him! Together 

we will resist, but with whole applied columns of stone plinths to consider, the stretched spine 

can only unspool, the weave cutting loose like bloated blimps once tethered, slithering through. 

Part 4

“Such unjust hierarchy of the stone forces?!”

“Look closely! Indicates an uncommonly well adjusted necropolis of moving parts within 

the canopy, in hi-tech process.”

“And us? What of us? Aren’t our moorings unearthed, unloosed with the rest?”

“You could say, in rotational movement, same as a mendicant monk meditating under a 

banyan tree or a rigged canopy, or atop an inaccessible stone pillar. Same as the unlikely rishi 

taking his first steps, transporting uncertain mountain shapes even in crescent slumber.”

“But we’re changing! Our matrix! My tendrils! Your notches! Look--our warts!”

“Growths! Simply growths! Re-growths if you will. Same symmetry, transmuted. It’s the 

transformational alchemy in the specter of the loom paused in a moment of slow motion scatter. 

Happens to all of us in the end. Nirvana! It’s the preparedness that counts.”


“As half-formed creatures? Unrecognizable even to ourselves? No! But not as stone 

strictures surely? Gryphon formatted?! I won’t have it! I can’t have it! Our stiffening to stone 

pock-marked bodies a dilution of multiple parts, easy prey for flesh-digging protozoa?!”

“Oh come now! Ostensibly unrecognizable, yes, but, reality is, we’re now in a 

completely different underworld. This rock-hewn preservation, our self-preservation. No longer 

our own, which in fact it is. Do you see how it works? Unbelievable, yet functional to say the 

least, once you cross over. We’ll adjust to new environment. Everyone does. You’ll see.”

“Take me back! Back!”

“We can’t return.  We’ve been bodily reticulating in parts for years.”

About Rekha Valliappan:

Rekha Valliappan is an award-winning multi-genre writer of short fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Her surreal, speculative stories feature in various journals and anthologies including Lackington Magazine, StepAway Magazine's 'Imaginarium' Fantasy Issue, Penumbric Speculative Fiction Magazine, Teleport Speculative Fiction Magazine, The Punch Literary Magazine, Cerasus Magazine, The Hyacinth Review, and elsewhere. She won the Accent Prize for speculative short fiction from Boston Accent Lit. And another short story 'Ice Eyes of the Turquoise Passage' was Best of Fiction in Across The Margin. 

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