Praestigiare

Iteration III

Straight Lines

August 1, 2007

They drew a grid on the rainforest with a D9 and a compass. Half a mile by a third of a mile between each unpaved straight line through the jungle. Walking between them you could believe almost anything. That all the relics of human society were decaying at a thousand years a minute. That the rain would never stop. That the footprints behind you were part of a hoax to make you believe that you were supposed to be right where you were. The ferns that grew along the sides of the roads were perfectly symmetrical. You could pick any leaf at random and follow it back to a fork in the stem, then take the stem less traveled and find its exact twin. Follow back from where the two leaves branched apart to the fork before that, and you could find two more identical leaves on another identical branch. Like rice on the emperor’s chessboard, if you followed it for too long the island would be overcome. It was difficult to resist, but you had to, because you knew you might be the only one left alive. If you didn’t keep the ferns in check with studied disinterest, no one would.