Our journey through the jungle has settled into the closest you can find to a routine in Nadada. We gig every few days, performing whereever seems like a good location on board. I am not sure any of the other crew members know or care by this point. I found a copy of our contract the other day, and every line was the word custard again and again. It turns out there isn't the dead buried in the Earth. Only nonsense.
Outside of our performances we’ve spent a lot of time looking out of the window for perhaps the most time since the forest all those months ago. Only this time The Butter Mouse sits up with me, scanning the undergrowth. We are deep into Nadada, and the noise of machines rise and fall. From deep within the canopy, between the ferns and bamboo, lights blink back and forth like trains rushing through the Underground.
Our tiger is a bigger than those on the surface, roughly the size of a rhino. The stripes move in constant pattern, and two green eyes shine like headlights. Here’s some snapshots of what we’ve seen:
I have never visited the jungle before, so I can't comment too much. But I was always told the animals hid. That spotting a big cat, or the thick orange arms of an orang-utan was rare. Not in Nadada. Sloths wave a claw from the tops of trees, delighted to see us. A jaguar lies along a branch, waving a tail. Even the birds circle near us, flitting in shapes that are so close to words.
Another day, in a break in the tree line, an elephant broke through the vines for a greeting. The tiger’s eyes caught his grey flesh. He lifted up his trunk, and ruffled The Kandinsky’s fur. Vibrations shot through floors and ceilings.
We skulked past a river so wide you could fit nine lanes of motorway traffic inside. The water churned with the bubbling chocolate muck from the sediment at the bottom, and who knows, maybe it was chocolate. Every so often a manatee popped up from the tarry surface, some that must have been the length of buses.
A few passengers departed the day before. They picked a direction, and vanished into the foliage. One of the crew told me this is not uncommon. If you keep wandering out here, you will end up somewhere close to a world of abstraction, nothing but light and shapes and colours, with not even a wall to hang onto.
We will keep going of course. We’ve got a contract to adhere to after all.