Tales Of The Knotlands: Ah, Freak, Ah – 1. The Green Man

No one remembered what had burned this place so badly, but they did know who was reponsible for the healing of small parts of the country. His green skin marked him out less than his tribal scarrings did – some revivalist branch of one of the Masai tribes, so he believed. It was hard to remember anymore – there wasn’t anyone else to confer with and since the event, which remained large, though sketchy, in everyone’s memory most people had suffered some memory loss regarding what they did before.
He wasn’t really sure how much of the body he occupied was human anymore, but the genesplice which allowed him to photosynthesise had been a necessary procedure if he was going to be able to eke out a living. He’d been crossed with a particularly hardy strain of plant so he didn’t need much of anything to survive and it was rumoured that he might die without water only to revive on its return.
The dream: Africa. So many places huddled together inside the embrace of that word. The white man, the black man, the green man – all born here from inside the bustling skull of a dreamer that did not know whether it was Darwin, Hanuman or a waking Dogon prince come to reclaim his throne.
He called himself Sika, meaning honey, for he arose after the land had been stung many times in the dying throes of those who tended the flowers, brought forth food, drank nectar. Many confused mythologies, many roots hacked, many branches bleeding sap. His name was a backwards reaching link: an invocation of a past no longer close at hand.
They called him the Green Man; Vert – his visits were a benediction to most. Some hunted the rumour in hope of finding promise of a brighter future; some just hunted for him, wishing to do him harm. He was not easy to catch; he became many things as his homeland did. His long stride carried him across the vast plains, across the shifting sands; he swam Mother Nile, looked up at vast continental swathes of dream condensing into stars above his head.
They said it began here. They said it ended at the heart of the Knotlands – L’undone.

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