5 March 2013

Among the dendroglyphs

The 'hum' I traced back to a mass of flies orbiting a protuberance impaled on a broken-off branch. I poked the limb with a pine stick & nearly retched, for 'twas a piece of stinking offal. I turned to flee but duty obliged me to dispel a black suspicion that a human heart hung on that tree. I concealed my nose & mouth in my 'kerchief &, with my stick, touched the severed ventricle. The organ pulsed as if alive! & my scalding Ailment shot up my spine! As in a dream (but it was not!) a pellucid salamander emerged from its carrion dwelling & darted along the stick to my hand! I flung the stick away & saw not where that salamander disappeared.
-- from Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

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