Michael Blackburn's ART ZERO


They made landfall that night and camped out on shore. At dawn they made their way inland, taking with them candles, black robes, ropes, oil, holy water, ritual knives, swords, cups and towels, as well as provisions and the wooden case containing the sacred book. For five hours they travelled over dirt roads and through trackless forest until they reached the clearing of their traditional ceremonial ground. For the next three hours they prepared it, clearing away vegetation, removing stones and building a fire in the centre. Then they stopped for refreshment and rest. As darkness came down and the moon glowed above the horizon they began the ritual. Four robed figures stood ten yards apart from each other, foursquare, their arms pointing towards the fire. The light from the flames revealed the eager faces of the silent watchers who stood back in a circle. The High Priest entered, bearing the Holy Golden Sword, which he raised toward the moon. Hail!, he shouted