Winding, roiling sleeping goes Haukur Mallow through the glass. Big and virid, he watches out against the antihelio white earth that sprawls around him in entombed fjords, cold scale backs of ancient sloths. How chained they look, niveous and whited, deep in night. His windows cloud up from green gasses as he sits distilled in the foam of vegetation that blooms around him.
The house rises out of the land like a prophet, some iced phenakism soaking the leeched sun. One would expect it to draw a pilgrimage, great beacon as it is. But the starkness makes its grandeur even more illusory than the wilted vaulting, like aged fingers. It sits as a last dissenter against the arctic, the walls coming up around it. These mountains, they stand against it as a synod, ice-worn cardinals looming piously, their shattering presence sucking out the fires enclosed in its glass walls. The only remaining wood is in the skeletal frame, this star, and the northern wall.
Haukur has had the idea to turn this dilapidated place, a boil rising from the molting ground, into a greenhouse. The roads have moved him farther away each year, a glib anti-erosion that pushes the dark, lecherous ice up and up. Reykjavik is building a wall against the tundra, the abominable pools of earth boiled up in tar as changing and hot as the crawling and transmundane hand of the pipelines, their shells greedily hording the ivory of this big, elephantine land. What goes through them passes quickly enough that it can be completely forgotten.
Further removed from the frantic buildings of the city, he turns himself against it in vanity. He has clouded visions of the 'New Eden.' The tapered faces of his flowers, the pawpaw trees and their bulbous scrota faintly stare out as the wave of ice cliffs up each day. The plants have eaten and overwhelmed his furniture; they burst in a singular convulsion like a grass whipping in a clearing surrounded by tigers. The tigers of the arctic prowl slowly before the ninguid men who watch them, always standing, glacial faces of the mountains that see all the world. Haukur sees them, and leans against a hydrangea bush as he sees them steal the last flicker of sun.
His work has run the toxins out of his skin; they sit dying the tiles and wood floors. He feels the same as when he emerges from a long time in the steam room, white and exhilarated. Across the floor lie hammers, splinters like a Roman mosaic. In corners he watches the interior reflections puffing smoke at one another like two carved mouths face-to-face in a cathedral wall. Slowly, he stands up and paces the grassed chamber.
He has taken care to gather none of the plants natural to here, none of the flowers that come out of the snow like beaten animals. The things here are the strangest entities he could order, pernicious vines and shoots, their cacophony rising above the hissing of the snake underneath. They gar and tug at him as he moves among their berried, flowered and horned bodies. Something breathes from these types of plants, the thing which has blown winds over big, balmy whales of islands and wound them to hurricanes. He regrets that hurricanes never reach here. There is something in a cyclonic movement that moves his mind; when he still lived in Reykjavik he would imagine the hundreds of people leaving their docile homes in the night as being a mass that turned and turned up the butte like a whirlwind, and that would be what finally permitted him to leave. He lived in a selfish isolation, from which he has moved to one transparent, and therefore absent, a ghost of an existence removed from everything else.
The sun is gone and it will not come again for eighteen hours. Its breath hums at Haukur's eyelids, and he holds himself in the brief coldness. In the dark he is alone in himself, he thinks up frightening pictures like shadows from a fire, and so he opens his eyes. The aloneness is now palpable; with months in this place behind him, he understands that no one is anywhere near him. The coldness leaves no shadows for him around the big, leafy room and its glass coat. He sees only dimensions of gray and blue as his eyes morph in the dark like a cold-blooded animal. He cannot picture the shape of another person; in his mind they are all gray and blue biomorphic figures, flexible and wailing, while he is still an absent presence.
The plants and their growing seep into him as he wades amongst them, the first night he is spending here. Before, he drove back to town in the evenings, hunching quickly through the streets and into a hotel before the sky turned from aquamarine to a staring blue, a holy blue. It is the same blue that he sees occupying the men and women he remembers, how they looked on it benevolently and it them, a private ocean whose waves never touched him. And so he thought them insidious, viral. A water that moved everything with it without some attention to life. Haukur has built a house where there is only life.
The growing makes a noise like rattles as the warmth returns to Haukur's body. He feels ferns crawling towards him in the dark, sensing his involuntary heat. In his amentia they have crawled about him and built strange, delitescent cataclysms, factories gilded and driven by some liquid alchemy they have concealed. They go about their business, green and pink devils, dancing but only their wlatsome shadow of dance is perceptible to Haukur. He is only beginning to notice these fits he has, moving in and out of certain understanding of space, and suddenly it frightens him to be so sure that he is mountained away here. He left other people because of his inability to react to them. As he pictures them so they were to him, creatures. Each day was a march in the zoo unarmed and uncaged. He was never hurt - mostly treated as some odd object on a mantel.
He passes from the big glass neck of the house to the one room with a wooden wall, the coldest place in the house because its density absorbs the outside air, barely acknowledging the sun, while maintaining a ceiling of reflected light, and it stands thick, away from the mountains. This room is the darkest of all, whelved in an ice of space that sinks and laps slowly in and around, the air bulbous and toothless. Haukur stares at the wall, so sacral in its dissention, its holy gray wood exposed. He watches its veins like a mandala. They do not move for him. They are staunch as the threatening mountains outside, who linger still, glaring.
He hears a low, hissing sound from the basement. It strains high, and Hauker descends to seek it. The lower levels are racked with muck composting over itself, a bog chiseled into the frozen ground and hurtling in self-contained currents. It is rich with nutrients and with mushrooms. Inside the sound grows more shrill and loud until it resembles an unintelligible foreigner, and leaning over the gutted wood railing, Haukur sees a man writhing in the putrid slush. His head is bulbous, looking like an onion flooded up from the ground, or a mandrake root fattened in rotting soil. He hisses and spits, his arms half-sunk and his hands reaching up as if out of a cape in the mud. Haukur titters at the contrast of his effeminate hands, their winding, winding to spin some imaginary clock, and of his rather ugly and drooping face. The man raises his chest and neck in an echoing bellow that comes from somewhere beyond the ice.
"You are a burglar?" Haukur replies.
The man makes no isolatable reaction. The writhing soothes and grows along with the black muck tide, its acrid contents of fallen fruit laid to waste and spectral vines and leaves. Haukur can see the moon from a crevice in the boards above, shining through the glass, some enormous silver god-child, or mother. It clothes itself in a way which deceives its gender; it is true the wearing of veils has fallen out of fashion. But it watches in its guises, both the abundant light and the portent. Haukur sees its reflections of him in one of its million eyes. He silvers in the fecundating room, he watches the sliver bleed and toil the slosh.
The man distracts him out of the trance.
"Shut up," Haukur says.
He goes back into the room with the wall. It has gracile arms of mirrors which reach sublimely into the empty center. They reflect coldness as Haukur surrounds himself with them, all deepened in their blue glass virginity. He looks lovingly at their icy lines, squares of mirrors stacked atop one another and reaching out in a round embrace. His placid legs bend slowly like the drifting of snow, permanent sand. The mirrors remain staunch and begin to stare down at him with high arched brows. From the ceiling, the glacial mountains. The vivid blueness of Haukur in the immaculate night is the caul of the godless.
He recalls the night the chain gang of telephones arrived outside his apartment in town. He opened the door and saw them, the old phones with cords, decades of them, held not by their plastic but by old iron chains, each garroted, stilly. He opened the door and could hear the convivial drunkenness at the bottom of the stairs. The night looked in on him, and it lowed at him. It spoke directly at him as no person does or did, with millions of eyes in odd places, and all welling golden bowels into him. He refused to lift any of the receivers.
He sees the same faces in the bigger night now that he saw then, the ones he thought of as judging, in his life-dreaming catatonia. When he would not look at the faces around him and they not at him, he decided to leave to where he would always be looked upon, by everything, even when he was not looking. Now he does not look at all. The knowing keeps him hunched and in constant, cold fear and judgment.
Slowly, the white drifts down a fjord with the dwaling lightness of an Ice Horse through the glass. It waves lithely, a playful turning of the earth, this land which is growing. Haukur is so consumed by his interior storms that it takes small moments like this for him to see through the veil of the eyes. He sees the thin, warm light from the bare edges of the towns, and fleetingly, the complimentary glow of the northern lights. It bellows spiritually, the true flow of mind in its own sea enveloping with warmth, knit in a trusting coral expansion, all around.
But Haukur turns away. The sound of the man in the bog returns, his mouth now frozen over but full of writhing and stifled groans. It becomes Haukur, and the dark rancid waters leech at the fossilizing foundation beams.