story time

LOOTUS - "Sounds From Vermillion Sands"


Lootus - "Sounds From Vermillion Sands"

(Cudighi Records) 

This strange tale begins in the titular Vermillion Sands, an altogether lonely place, devoid of any obvious signs of life. The Vermillion Sands are hard to navigate. After the initial novelty of arriving in such a strange place, visitors invariably begin to search for something to do. There are no shops to peruse or sights to see. Human nature demands we look for a mystery to solve.

To spur the wobegone tourist to action, a soundtrack is provided of questioning synth keys that are answered by some indigenous life form invisible to the naked eye. Inquisitive bass echoes across the shifting white sands as we look for footprints or pathways that will lead us somewhere. Curious rusted machines abandoned along the way are unable to whir to life and provide clues, though forlorn electronic utterances occasionally drift upon the wind.

Up ahead there is a stirring, is it alive? It is an aging tortoise that gives one last look before beginning to spin like a top, lifting itself into the sky and out of sight, leaving a swept circle in the sand.

"Why have I come here?," you ask myself.  

"We do not know," a wordless voice pantomimes.  

Vacations used to be affordable, and one tended to end up in a desirable, pleasant place, not the endless white dunes of Vermillion Sands. A curious mechanism buzzes by overhead, from whence is it bidden? A man in a white suit stands on the pier in the distance, whispering into a walkie-talkie. We run as fast as we can, but he has vanished like a ghost, leaving behind the remote for the drone, which has now crashed into the sea. 

The tail of a whale flips above a white capped wave briefly, before splashing down into the sand. Waves of white sand crash over the pier, toppling it into the sand, it breaks into a pile of clumps. Clumps of Vermillion Sand. 

We sing a silent prayer for the man who disappeared. 

You pick up the walkie-talkie at your feet and listen to it, but it is only a Conch Shell, which houses an echoing voice that repeatedly warns us about the hounds.  

What hounds?  

Those hounds. 

They burst from the ground like wild onions, shaking Vermillion sands from their matted fur. We run from them.  We run for miles. The dogs chase us to the top of the tallest dune, so tall that it is really a mountain. As we reach the summit we slip on the treacherous sand. We tumble down the other side with the almighty crash of Vermillion sand chasing us down the dune. 

We reach the end of the journey. This was not like the brochure said it would be. We dance a strange dance, with many halting movements and unusual steps. We have heard the sounds from the Vermillion Sands. I'll probably come back again someday.

Gray Lee