We will create a more beautiful world
Welcome to Oblivion, a utopian novel I’m publishing as a serial. This is the first chapter.
After a long, blissful nap, I awoke in a canoe, adrift against an unknowable shore. I could not remember where I had been before, only that the place where I had fallen asleep was different from the one in which I now awoke.
How strange to find oneself in another land, unaware of how one came to find oneself there. And yet, so contented was I from my nap that I could hardly worry about so unconcerning a fate.
I stepped from the canoe and met a sky that blurred into the sea—as though some surreal storm had softened one into the other until it was no longer possible to discern the up from the down.
What is your name, a voice said.
Elysia. I recalled it as if from a dream, and yet there found nothing else. The rest was lost, and yet it didn’t matter so much that it was gone. I touched my head, wondering if I had been washed to shore in some storm or other, but there was no injury to be found, no trauma that lingered. Only a mild sensation that some strange and unusual wind had blown me here.
I looked up at the here in which I now stood. There was a bright, blue sea about my ankles, my white dress drifting between pink bouquets of coral, and before my eyes, a lush paradise that blossomed from the ocean in an oasis of color. Waterfalls flung themselves from clifftops and tranquil atolls lulled beneath their feet and all of the island adorned itself with flowering botany, painting itself into a hallucinatory paradise.
For a moment, I thought I might have ceased to exist, that I had fallen asleep at last and entered some eternal kingdom. But then my eyes caught the painting, a scroll of fabric bobbing in the ocean. I didn’t know myself, but I recognized the painting. Fanghu, isle of the immortals. I rolled the scroll into the folds of my dress, now drifting dreamily in the ocean.
Then I heard the voice. The girl, the one who stood on the shore and asked my name, who held her hands outstretched to help the stranger who washed up on her shores—with no recollection of how she came to be there and no recollection of who she was.
With nothing but a name. And a painting hidden in the pocket of her dress.
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