The Randamine Pyramids
by Ryan Harris
They were always a mystery to me, the steel pyramids that prodded the
sky. I say steel but it was actually an alloy consisting of comet
detritus, helium-4, and steel that had been cured in a Hahns-Klug
smelter--so I've been told.
Most people on Unity Realm made the pilgrimage to the Randamine
pyramids once in their lifetime. They rest within the arid Antigone
The priest greeted me just past the dunes. I'd chosen to sail by
conventional skimmer across the Falster Sea. Modern means of conveyance
like spin skiffs and amphibs were discouraged in a pilgrimage. It is
about finding one's self, not solely reaching the destination.
I knelt before the priest.
"To say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not
within us," he said to me in Danish. Though I cannot not speak the
tongue, I understood him. His words were angelic all the same.
I spoke in semi-standard Colonial English. "But if we confess our sins,
God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us of
"Let us then confess our sins to God our father."
Confession nearly always brought me to tears. The unloading of
emotions, guilt, and sin was enough to break anyone with a conscience.
Perhaps it was the priest that brought memories of how kind and gentle
my father was.
We finished the Penitential Rite, he kissed my forehead, and I was on
my way without a dry eye.
The beaten path, past the station of blessing, was quite prominent.
Sifting savannah had been beaten flat by the feet of pilgrims and Realm
Empty was the course that snaked and then straightened into the
distance. For a moment I wished I had brought company but being alone
was calming. I've never been dependent on others for much anyhow.
Days and miles passed by before I could see the pyramids. Even at first
sight, they were still far in the distance.
No sooner than I'd felt a tinge of parched despair, I spied a resting
depot. Basically a walled-off courtyard with stone benches, a
sectioned-off water pump, and a common latrine room.
The water pump stood in the middle of the courtyard. I shook my two
canteens--nearly empty. My grip on the pump handle felt weak with
fatigue as the cold water poured out. Oh, how cold that water was.
Nothing I've drank since then compares to the sensation I felt.
Sipping a full canteen, my resolved was again strengthened. I refilled
that canteen and the other before realizing that our star was easing
itself behind the pyramids. Walking the path at night was foolhardy as
scorpion wolves and highland bats are nocturnal hunters.
My verve tent, rigid from its armored Faroe liner, was set up and ready
in the courtyard. It served nicely as protection from anything short of
a pulse round or incendiary explosion. The built-in automat was comfy
but sleep was intermittent.
There was a spring in my step the next morning. With the pyramids near
and a clear, ultramarine sky above, all seemed well.
My optimism was scathed when a group of pilgrims came toward me from
the pyramids. I was nearly one kilometer out, and they were leaving en
When I reached the front of the jumbled line, I began to stare into
their eyes. The dozen pairs of eyes had distant and glazed looks in
them. They were looking through me.
"Good day, brothers and sisters," I said to the collective. I didn't
expect a response and did not receive one. I shrugged at the blank
stares and kept going.
The pyramids dwarfed me as I approached the staircase the led to them.
The history holos say that Randamine is a derivative of the Baltic
Estonian word Randama, which means to wander or travel. Aptly named
were the monuments of humanity on Unity Realm.
The east pyramid was nearer, so I went cautiously in. Silence inside
was as hollow as the structural ingots. The walls within were cool to
the touch and without much density. Micro-proximity lights began to
light the interior and ease my vigilance. Words were inscribed on a
floor square in front of me. The large tiles matched the walls in
"We bless...this...land in the name of the...Father, the Son, and
the...Holy Spirit...I think," I said aloud. I had trouble reading it as
the words were faintly etched in aboriginal Danish. My God, I thought,
this particular dialect died out centuries ago.
Other floor squares had history written as well. The more I read, I
gathered that the two pyramids made up the first diocese on Unity Realm
over one thousand years ago. I had to remember to breathe in the midst
of such a moving moment.
Then, without warning, the wind outside excited into a banshee scream.
My awareness heightened again as the pyramid quivered on shaky land and
the north wall began to ripple like tidal pools I'd swam in as a child.
I slowly walked over and caressed the aqueous surface in a motion one
would use to test bath temperature. It was lukewarm with a pleasant,
almost comforting thickness to it. Going against all logic, and because
I hadn't come all that way for nothing, I strolled through the wall.
The ethereal interim took my equilibrium. There was no sense of left
and right, up or down. I felt as though I was immaterial, yet no harm
came to me.
Nothing could have prepared me for the other side. I was nudged through
the rippling membrane into an ancient cathedral on Earth. I soon
realized people hadn't come to Unity Realm by ship. They had settled
here through a micro collapsar of the church!
Long abandoned, the collapsar's fusion reactor had maintained its
energy and stability over the centuries.
I was eager to roam in such a divine sanctuary.
Rotting wooden pews lined the empty chamber. Confessionals were
properly situated on each side of the entrance.
I admired the ornate architecture which I guessed was late Baroque era
with the rotunda and painted dome overhead. Sadly, the period's rich
colors had been dulled by generations of neglect and deterioration.
Everything was quiet except for the wooden floors moaning beneath my
feet and the humming of the reactor.
I thought of leaving after an informal tour, but hesitated. It would be
the only time I'd see this place that teemed with venerable grandeur
and grace. My heart has ached to go back since I left.
Reluctantly, I ambled back through the collapsar field to Unity Realm.
The pyramid was still empty and the weather was once again calm. I
strapped on my rucksack and walked outside.
Sunlight was blinding as I left the interior.
When my pupils adjusted, I surveyed the trail back from atop the
staircase and sighed.
A week would go by before I made it home to Damgaard. It was a week I
would need to redefine everything I knew.
© 2018 Ryan Harris
Bio: Mr. Harris is a native of North Carolina, but currently
resides in Arizona. His stories have appeared in Terraform, Theme of
Absence, and Aphelion Webzine. He enjoys reading and time with his son.
Website: Claire Fitzpatrick
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