|# ¿ Feb 26, 2017 11:24|
|# ¿ Jun 26, 2022 06:05|
in a world with your fate determined via the astrological magic of ConStella, auged out rich girl who controls the placement of stars in the sky
edited to be in a world with thing
take the moon fucked around with this message at 21:54 on Aug 22, 2017
|# ¿ Aug 22, 2017 21:16|
He‘s showered with shards of her bones before he can turn off his vibe catcher. He’s always so awkward with it, standing around, fumbling fingers ‘gainst the touchscreen. Like the touch screen is mocking him, mocking him while other people pretend they're not staring.
That’s how his brain works, anyway, except this time Linnie’s catcher drips abstract. The art was a dark red that was almost black, with some green, blue and gray splashing in. Death is an abstraction, so your vibes abstract when someone else vibes too hard. Maybe they left their catcher on passive-aggressive, so they’d have an edge on interacts. That’s what Quinn does, because charisma is a beast that eats you if you don’t have it chained to your side with a thorned collar.
It had fallen amid Linnie’s mess, and the touchscreen had split down the left second third, split again before the bottom. They don’t make vibe catchers like they used to, because there are too many people to make them right each time. So he dares to think that maybe he’s done the world a favour, except some revenant part of his humanity said that maybe death was bad, and if you caused it you were bad.
He brushes the bone from his jacket. His jacket's dark, with the blood stains almost invisible. His sweet new mirror shoes are also stained. But maybe he’s lost more than an unspotted reflection of himself whenever he looks down.
Linnie had been his friend, and he doesn’t have unlimited friends.
He stands there, staring at what used to be her, for a second can’t remember what they’d been doing. What colour had her ribbon been? Green? He hoped she died green. There was green in her art, after all. He isn’t sure that’s how it works. He stands there staring until a droneling comes humming up, its four paws splashing against Linnie’s gore. Dronelings are cute when they’re licking up other people, but now Quinn feels a bit on edge. That’s when they’re happiest, too, but he looks into its multicoloured eyes and sees judgement there.
He checks his catcher. There’s a field of intrigue around him, like there usually is when someone bites it. Since he’s in the field, he’s more popular. Maybe enough for a hug?
There’s a new painting on his catcher. This one’s been popular lately. Untitled (Plane Perspective) by Jules de Balincourt, a splotchy imaging of a stewardess moving a trolley of drinks and food. It’s big because it makes you think, makes you think of how on flights now you hope for the best in terms of people shutting off their stuff.
He touches the passenger he identifies with most, a red haired white male with a shirt the colour of his seat. The passenger glows. He looked up, sees a girl smiling.
Hug me, he thinks. I just saw someone die.
The girl keeps smiling, moves toward him. No, she passes him and moves toward the droneling. She pets it once, twice, a third and fourth time, while the droneling’s plates gleam in happiness.
She’s more into the droneling than him. Still, she sent the painting. He thinks about what to send back. In the end he sends Wall Street II by Jorge Castillo. A polluted looking river foregrounds the towers. The skies are gray and look singed. Makes you think, he thinks. Makes you think that money causes death.
Her catcher vibrates and she looks at it. WIth her free hand she pets the droneling some more, her hand running over its body and finally its tail as it starts to pad away. She looks up from the screen and grins. She turns around so he can see her ribbon, knotted tight through her hair.
Is green a hugging colour? Is she down to hug? He doesn’t think so. Isn’t blue more hugging speed?
She’s friendly and chill, but he’s been starving for it lately.
The holograms are dancing around in the intrigue field, keeping it interesting. Girls with big eyes and rainbow hair, skirts that spin around them, blotting out the sun on updrafts.
He sends her a feed on Linnie’s life.
She was born a Stack away from Quinn, same level. They could hear each other’s screams of sadness and anger. Over time these got muted by the weight of parenting, and when they both got catchers they were in each other’s fields from the jump. Sending each other art, back and forth, so high in the Stacks that it took forty five minutes to get food. Despondent art, bleak sardonic art, old Chinese art from when they were only allowed to draw actors.
When he finally saw her ribbon it was a needy blue, some cloying in a world of pushers. They’d take walks together, using modern art to make fun of the mindless masses. It just makes you better, when you’re making fun of people. They made fun of the holograms, too. Sent art back and forth, exaggerating the eyes, the hair. The eyes a little too big. The hair a little too shiny. Bright, like ribbons have fed on feelings and multiplied in excitement. Ribbon forests, toxic overgrowth in the war for people’s senses.
Seeing this makes him feel worse about Linnie’s death. He looks at himself past the blood on his toe boxes, sees a guilty looking boy.
Then he hears the humming. It’s not the quirky hum of a content droneling. It’s a deep conflux of sound, and he looks up to see a mass of dronelings converging. They’re coming from all block corners he can see into the intrigue field.
No rainbow eyes now, just a hot red.
Before he can think, he pulls the girl’s arm and starts to run. His toe boxes reflect his terrified face at each step. He almost slips on the pavement that’s slick with droneling spit. He skids, flailing to find his balance. Then he lets go of the girl’s arm so he can keep his momentum up. The humming is still deep, still loud, and he can hear the clattering of paws behind him, like machine gun fire.
The girl is in better shape than him. She pulls ahead of him, taking a left on Ridge Street, a block from where they started near Quinn’s Stack. Swipes a keycard for the portal of another Stack. The portal fractals open, lines taking shortcuts through reality. Must be her Stack. It’s taller than his and Linnie’s. Then they’re running up a decrepit flight of stairs, Quinn taking them two at a time. He bounces off the walls as he makes the turns. He’s never had implanted co-ordination, never asked, always wary of hackers. The stairs are more scuffed than his shoes, and they’re mangled now, like someone tried to feed him to a bread slicer. There are deep gougings in the stairs, like the scratches on Linnie’s touchscreen. He has time to realize that her vibe catcher still lies on spit shone pavement.
Then it’s the girl’s turn to pull him. He tumbles into a hallway with flickering walls. The walls in this Stack buzz with white stars and blue flashes. Her catcher must be all kinds of messed up from the inter-frequency static, he thinks. His and Linnie’s walls were still, their only privilege. She swipes again with her keycard, to open another portal halfway down the hall. She pulls him through the fractals.
Her room has lots of flowers, clustered together in vases. They look like orchids to his untrained eye, which now slides to her ribbon.
It’s ice blue. Relief at escaping some kind of nasty glitch. Someone, he figures, is using the dronelings to do something about the overpopulation problem.
But never mind that. The hug, he thinks. He’s earned it.
He waits for her to shut the portal. Keeps waiting. His muscles are tensing for the hug.
Tensing for it, then tensing more. No, he thinks. Tensing for another reason. Starting to hurt. The girl is sending his chaser art now. Spamming it. Skulls. Grim reapers. Yugata Kunisada’s Seigen, first a 19th century woodblock print.
Seigen was a priest who stalked a young maiden until her bodyguards executed him. Then he came back as a ghost to stalk some more.
Are the dronelings her bodyguards? Machines to protect her from him? He's an apex hug stalker. The humming and clattering are louder. He won’t be coming back as anything.
Her vibes were always passive-aggressive. His bones start to pop. Everything hurts.
The dronelings will have fresh gore to lick up.
After it’s over, Jessica watches as the dronelings move one by one through her hazy portal. It’ll be tough, trying to pet them all, but she can at least try.
|# ¿ Aug 27, 2017 14:17|
take the moon fucked around with this message at 14:12 on Aug 28, 2017
|# ¿ Aug 28, 2017 14:06|
thanks for the crit, uranium. my writing is p terrible now, im trying to get it together
in with hawklad's aphorism or whatever he comes up with to replace it or something
and a good conscience is a soft pillow
|# ¿ Sep 5, 2017 23:26|
Even if you're a bind pig you should keep searching because you might find an acorn once in a while.
"We're waiting for you here on the Exo-Moon," Natisha says with flushed cheeks. The we implies that she specifically will be waiting, like on the landing ramp, maybe with other nymphs. Other ad actresses, picked because they stand out amongst other nymphs in a recursive attention loop. "Come live your new life!" She says this last part with a dumb, vacant smile.
Then she signs out of the feed-stream. Always cut out the second the message is delivered. It's the nymph way.
She was using her phone to record. She accesses the feed-stream as a passive now, looking up to see her popularity as a third person interact. She's up five hundred points, so ticket sales to the Exo-Moon must have jumped after her ad. Nerds won't go to the actual moon, but they'll go to the Exo-Moon if they think nymphlike girls will be waiting there. Then when they get to the Exo-Moon they'll be met by nerds like themselves, and it'll be too late. Too late to do anything but add to the Exo-Moon's fast evolving infrastructure.
She's done her part for the Exo-Moon, and the Tide 2.0 system. The bougies will enjoy calmer waves on their beaches.
It's not enough. She stares at the Sema role, hovering in and out of her role feed like a moth near flame. Those endless halls. The character might be trapped, but for Natisha it means endless possibility.
Walking forever, like we walk endless in our own lives, searching for meaning. Something like that, Natisha thinks, is true art.
To be a real actress, an amesh, acting in a compiler, a scripted holograph auto-compiled from a novel's text. Something deeper, something truer, than Exo-Moon nerd bait.
She sighs, puts her phone in the pocket of her frilled dress, and leaves her room.
Outside, rain is pouring over the country-complex of Miam-e. The rain pours even over the Second Tier that she's moved to. It doesn't stop until you hit bougie level on the Third Tier, the one they say looks like the Garden of Eden. But getting out of the First Tier had its rewards. Like not getting shot over the price of a lychee tea.
She buys a cherry flavour from the shoppe, sips it pensive. She's heading for the public feed-stream, her short hair plastered to her forehead. Deft as she tries to move, she still bumps into people, who are all heading the same way. They're a river that flows to the feed-stream, which she can see from here because of the rainfall's part. Whoever is in charge of the weather control system has decided to part the rain for the feed-stream, in hopes of getting more people to watch. But Natisha would watch a Christine Gifford compiler in the rain. Maybe, some part of her thinks, that would make it better.
The feed-stream's holograph breaks in the rainfall part like a wide sunbeam. She sips her lychee tea slow while watching, saving it so the two experiences can enmesh. The compiler stars Gifford, with long hair, a thick jacket, short shorts and boots, as a hacker trying to take down an insidious corporation. The premise is hollow, but Gifford is perfect. She's cloud-thin, starved to add to the oppressiveness of the film's tone. Her bones stand out in the stream's holographs, her skin pale, nails ragged.
Her image stays with Natisha as she walks home. After midnight, the country-complex's psychedelic washout fades. The rain becomes like a guide for the blind, the only reminder you're still alive. Natisha just closes her eyes and feels for moments. What happens next might be destiny, or might have, she knows later, been someone watching from above knowing what she wants.
There's a slip of paper under her platform shoe. She bends down to pick it up, the rain striking her back like knives. She knows by the pinkish hue it's an access slip. Only question is what to.
"Explore Christine Gifford," the slip reads. "Star of such compilers as Electric Heart."
She bites her tongue.
Fifteen minutes later she's back in her apartment. It's never seemed so small. She's so small-time. She feels incorporeal, just waiting to fall back into the wretched world she left behind. She opens her phone up, the bright colours of the feed-stream spilling out. She navigates to the portal address written on the access slip.
Christine Gifford is solid, like the small black bubbles in the Lychee Tea she finished with the compiler, threw into the refuse eater like the remains of a world she'd never understand.
She doesn't understand what she's seeing now. It's Christine, but not how she knows her. It's Christine's pale naked body with lines running from her wrists and ankles. She can see a blue liquid pumping through the tubes. The light from the lines shades her room blue, like it's being flooded.
She doesn't understand, but she explores every inch of Christine. One of Christine's fingernails is untrimmed and she touches the cartilage. When she does the holograph explodes into fragments, pink spreading in ribbons, collapsing back when she moves away. She traces a line across Christine's arm, seeing the swell and flow of it, washing across her own skin, crackling like lightning. More lines across her thighs, her knees. Rotating the holograph view around, tracing her back. Natisha doesn't stop until she's used it all up, her curiosity, the wanderlust in her fingers.
When she's finished she turns off the display. She stays in bed, holding her phone, feeling its sleek cold metal. She sits there and thinks.
The blue lines were feeding her some kind of drug. This is how amesh live, IVed on drugs while the rest of their world compiles around them. Amesh aren't actresses. The compilers act for them, their reactions as scripted as the rest of the compiler's plot.
She thinks about it until she's sure she's got it. Her phone is flashing. She looks at the message. It's a question, yes/no answer. Do you want to be an amesh?
She thinks about it as the rain falls endless over Miam-e's streets. It comes down like God is trying to wash them out in torrents, but it's just a person on the other end. Just a bougie regulating the world's hydration. And on the Exo-Moon, she knows, they do it the same way. If they built more Exo-Moons, they'd do it the same way too.
She turns on her feed-stream. Nymphs are selling clothing, food, electronics. Just consumables. The Sema role hovers in and out of her role feed. It still hasn't been filled.
To walk endless halls, with a fire burning in your chest. All artificial, all compiled, all IVed, but the fire would still burn. The rain would be gone.
She sighs, dismisses it. What else is there for a nymph?
She navigates to the Exo-Moon's immigration page and begins to fill it out, fingertips dancing in spirals like they did over Christine's skin.
|# ¿ Sep 10, 2017 22:25|
thanx for the crit, benny
|# ¿ Sep 12, 2017 01:16|
|# ¿ Oct 9, 2017 19:29|
the Pythagorean Theorem stops applying
Ely wakes up seeing demons and knows it’s time to see Mother Drora. Mother Drora, the witch of Babylon.
You know, God doesn’t punish individual sinners with demons. When He breaks there’ll be demons from lower dimensions and angels from higher dimensions. But they’ll be fighting each other, not laughing at you.
Mother Drora talks like that. She also keeps the herbs that keep the demons away. They are laughing, it’s true, with wide open mouths, decaying teeth and spittle like rainfall.
Ely is a street kid, and the dirt of Babylon is his pillow. His ear is gritted up, so he can barely hear street conversation. Has to clean it out before he hears all the voices, mixed in with the demon’s laughter in a chaotic blend. They talk most about life and love, but sometimes he hears them condemn or praise Irshushin, and the tower that stretches to the sky, orbed by paths like a woman is orbed by admirers.
The demons are sitting on people’s shoulders, crouching on rooftops, playing with each other in the street. As he moves past one, it clings to his leg and shouts about pestilence and famine and war. It’s all coming, it’ll be here soon. Hell is coming to earth. God has no time for heretics who build towers, spire them high and won’t stop spiring.
The demon on his leg says, you get to the top of the tower, you look down, see the city beneath you and feel like God yourself. Try it.
Ely makes his way through the alleys of the marketplace. The walls are whitish-gray stone, the footpaths brown with dirt. He soon finds Mother Drora’s space. Moves through the clay archway into the shadows of the domed area. She’s asleep. He can see her body rise and fall with her breath. He moves to her, pulls up her blanket.
He needs help now, not whenever she wakes up.
“You, boy,” she says. She grabs him by the throat. “Give me some space.” He coughs, gags, pushes her off. Collapses to the floor, pluming dust around both of them.
He lies there, staring at the blank roof.
“I need herbs,” he says, “for my head problems.”
“No reason to interrupt my beauty sleep,” Drora says, “if you know they’re not real.” She moves to the corner where she keeps her herb jars. Unscrews the cap of one, smells it. “This should work,” she says. She takes a pinch.
Ely gets to his feet. He stretches his arm out, watches the pinch fall to it. It floats down like petals in a breeze. He palms his mouth and swallows.
That’s when the screaming starts.
A loud wailing echoes through Drora’s space, slams against his ears, reverberates in his brain.
“That’ll be God’s wrath,” Drora says.
“God’s what,” Ely says.
“What an old lady is always talking about,” Drora says. “Be a dear and check on it for me.”
“Or what?” Ely says.
“There’s always more where your demons came from,” Drora says. “Sooner or later, you always need my help.”
Ely trips outside, rubbing his head. Looks around. The market is in chaos.
A locust explodes out of a market-goer’s throat. It’s about the size of a clenched fist. Its beating wings drip blood that falls in an abstract pattern on the market’s grit.
It doesn’t fully free itself from the man’s throat. Instead, it drags him along, stumbling, the man making retching noises.
Drora’s stuff isn’t working today, he thinks. But he’s never seen anything like this before. He looks around. All over the market, locusts are wrenching themselves from human skin and pulling bodies around like rag dolls.
He ducks back into Mother Drora’s.
“There’s uh,” he says, “some kind of nightmare out there. I’m still seeing things.”
Mother Drora smiles. “God is cursing everyone who didn’t start out cursed. People should read the texts more. He’s a vengeful sort.”
“Start out cursed?” he says.
“You have your head problem,” Drora says. “That’s not important. Math has collapsed. The lower spaces have been breached. We need to breach the higher dimensions.”
Ely can hear the screams of a thousand voices over the buzzing of millions of wingtips.
“How?” he says.
“You have to pick your way through whatever’s going on out there,” Drora says, “climb the tower, and then pray, I suppose.”
“My demon wanted me to do that,” Ely says, “before he went away.”
Drora nods. “Demons have good ideas, sometimes.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Ely says. “None of it matters, because I’m not going out there.”
Drora gestures to her jar of herbs. “You owe me. You’d be facing twice as many monsters if not for me. Do it for your fellow Assyrians.”
Her hands move under her robe. Come out with a blade, gleaming, black handled.
“Carve your way through God’s wrath,” she says, “and when you see demons again, they’ll be saying nice things.”
He has a sudden vision of the universe as a machine, moving parts around just so he has no choice but to confront nightmares.
You could still just be seeing things.
“I’ll go,” he says, “but I’m leaving that blade.”
He breathes deep, grits his teeth, and charges outside. A man swings his locust covered arm at his face, mandibles tearing the air. He dodges low, sidesteps, starts running towards the tower.
Everyone’s shouting words he doesn’t know. He hears harsh, guttural sounds, the spaces between indrawn breaths. A locust man is stumbling into his path, the locust pulling him by knotted gut rope. He goes low, crashing into the man’s knees, both of them tumbling to the ground. Ely picks himself up with the locust snapping at his ankles.
Then he’s dashing, top speed, thinking about how weird he must look if he is still seeing things. Seeing and hearing things, the urgent wail of the locust stricken. A crazy kid running around, hallucinating the end of the world.
If he’s hallucinating this, did he hallucinate the conversation with Mother Drora?
Maybe she was always asleep. Maybe he never woke her. His head could do that. It’s done everything else.
Is he hallucinating the two men that step into his path, deliberate, snarling as the locusts sprouting from their wrists latch to his neck and pull him down to earth? Is he hallucinating the world spinning as he falls, his knee slamming into the ground, sending shockwaves of pain up through his legs? Is he hallucinating the pain, or is he really falling with the locusts snapping at his neck, mandibles grazing his jugular? Both knees now, the ground coming up.
Mother Drora, I could use that blade now.
He doesn’t have time to think. He snaps his head down, his jaws level with the locusts, and bites, feeling the crunch, the splash through. One man screams. Ely rips the locust apart and snaps at the next one. The pressure on his arms relaxes. He fights his way to his feet, the two men trying to hold him down, weakening as he bites through. Then he’s shoving them away, because they shouldn’t even exist, much less hold him down and eat him with something out of nightmares. They’re slumping to the ground, faces to the sky, eyes wide. He can see something in them, beyond fear, midway to sorrow.
Climbing the tower is exhausting.
It’s not the physical effort, though that drains him, his muscles feeling like lead. As he walks the orbed path, he sees the same view over and over.
A revolving view of Babylon, the people dropping from sight. He should feel relief, but he doesn’t. Instead, he’s lonely. Will he ever talk to anyone again?
Will he even talk to Mother Drora? Is she still alive, down in the city? He has a sudden vision of her, set upon by locust men, the herb jar shattered by a wild arm, the herbs ground into the dirt by the frenzy. Will his head ever be normal again? Or is this it for Babylon, God’s final judgement on those who dared to reach?
It’s not much, to spare me, if I lose my head anyway.
Ely sees a man’s back at the tower’s peak.
His robe, what Ely can see, is grimed with murk and blood. But he looks locust free.
“Hey,” Ely says. “Can you tell me if what I saw down there is real?”
The man turns around, his face vacant, like Ely caught him doing math.
“It’s my fault,” he says.
“Irshushin,” Ely says.
“Our God is a vengeful sort,” Irshushin says, echoing Mother Drora. “I just wanted to talk, you know? Just wanted to check in.”
Ely follows the train of thought in his head. “Of course, you could be a hallucination, so it doesn’t really mean anything.”
“Like hell,” Irshushin says.
“I came up here to pray,” Ely says. “We need to breach the higher dimensions, let the angels loose. So I’m told.”
Beyond Irshushin the sky is dark, angry clouds blotting out the sun.
“God doesn’t listen to prayer,” Irshushin says. “I used to pray, every day. I wanted the ocean of doom that sludged through my head to dry up. It never did. Now it’s worse than ever, knowing I caused it.”
“You’re supposed to take herbs,” Ely says, “for head problems.”
“Herbs, build a tower to God,” Irshushin says. “It all seemed the same.” He reaches into his robe, digs around. Brings something out.
A blade. An echo of the one Mother Drora offered Ely. The same black handle. The same gleam, though now it’s stained with the darkness of the cloudlight.
“Use me,” Irshushin says, “as an offering. My flesh to atone for this. My blood, to stain my tower. Then the angels will fly. My punishment will be that I don’t see them.”
“I didn’t come here to kill,” Ely says. But his train of thought still rolls on. Our God is a vengeful sort.
Before Ely can think about it Irshushin grabs his hand, quick as any of the locust men. Ely feels his fingers, bony, spindle thin, and the tips pressing the blade to his palm. Then Irshushin straightens his arm, twists it, grunts as the blade takes him.
Ely stares for beats.
Irshushin’s body slumps to earth. His body coils, writhes, as Ely sees the blade, now bloodened.
Ely hears rumbling. The clouds break open. He sees angels.
Lithe, pale bodies. Wingspans twenty feet across, feathers bristling. But it’s the eyes that mark them. Most have more than two. On some Ely counts ten, fifteen, twenty. Many eyed things descending from the higher dimensions.
It’s not that Irshushin made Ely a murderer. It’s that it worked out for God.
Our God is a vengeful sort. The clouds are red. Lightning scorches the earth. Ely can see fire. God’s host descends with flame, flaming swords, flaming wings.
Ely drops to a crouch, sits. Clasps his knees with one arm. Holds the blade in front of him with the other. Stares at it, past it to Irshushin’s body, at the blade again.
It’s not that it’s a similar blade. It’s the same blade. He left it behind but used it anyway. As wrath rains below, Ely sits and thinks of Drora. Her herb jar is empty, but not because it was smashed open. No one touched her. She ate her herbs. Her head is safe. Her thoughts are pure. They’re clear like water.
|# ¿ Oct 15, 2017 21:57|
hey thnx for the crit, obliterati. getting there.
|# ¿ Oct 16, 2017 17:56|
in gimme someth cool
|# ¿ Oct 25, 2017 21:30|
in binding of isaac aka the greatest game ever i think it gives you two stone hearts
|# ¿ Oct 25, 2017 23:48|
The Hierophant (Mary-El):
“It’s a flower blossoming,” Booker says. “Ruby red. Clouds wisping over it like ghosts.”
Justa sighs content, her wrinkles in flux. It’s nice, but her balcony creeps him out. The stone owl she’s put out to keep away pigeons has carved out eyes. They’re staring holes in him.
He takes the zenny from her outstretched hand, pockets it. Describing sunsets for the blind is quick Mariel zenny, and he needs Mariel right now.
He wishes Justa well as he leaves her balcony, walks through her threadbare apartment to the hallway elevator. Already he’s running excuses in his head over what to tell Asha.
“It wasn’t enough for both of us,” he imagines himself saying.
When he enters their apartment, the tiled floor cracked and split at odd angles, Asha shouts for him.
“Just a second,” he calls back. It’s all getting to him, everything. Maybe the news will help.
The news is emotionally regulating, telling you how to feel. He turns on his decades old T.V. The word FEAR buzzes on the lower half of the grained screen.
"No news from the A.I. that's taken over the orbital cannon," says a talking head. "No news is bad news. You should be scared."
He wants to be afraid, to join everyone else, but he’s just sad. The orbital cannon is like everything else. Far away from him.
Asha is sitting bunched up on their couch. She’s clutching her knees, her eyes whipping back and forth. The couch is scratched and gouged, but he can’t tell if any are new.
“I think the orbital cannon should just blow us away,” he says.
She slips him the tablet. Her arm shakes, fingernails digging into the screen. She’s scratched it too many times to use it for delicate operations. He takes it, places the Mariel order with the drone collective.
“I’m hearing voices again,” she says.
“What are they saying?”
“They tell me the orbital cannon will fire any moment. They want me to be afraid.”
“So they’re like the talking heads,” he says.
“You should try being scared, instead of sad,” she says. “You’ll know how it feels.”
Meaningless. Not like they can trade.
He hits order confirm. The drone will meet him on the rooftop. He leaves in a hurry, scared that someone might get to it first. The elevator up is slow. He holds down the floor button, hoping that somehow makes it faster.
Comes out of the elevator, stands, blinking. The sunset isn’t a shimmering ruby. It’s a bloodened mouth, clouds breaking like teeth, to swallow the world whole.
He looks up at the hovering box shaped drone. Passes the zenny through its window flap and takes the two milk white vials.
“It wasn’t enough for the both of us,” he mutters under his breath. Drains both vials like apple juice. Looks up at the sky. “Hit me,” he says, louder. “I deserve it.”
The sky is silent.
When he re-enters the apartment, he tries to say it first thing. “There wasn’t enough for-” and then he breaks off.
Asha hasn’t moved. Sitting on the couch, knees bent, arms clasped. Her eyes rove, find him.
“I heard a new voice,” she says. “Just now, while you were drinking my share of Mariel. Wanna know what it was?”
“That’s not fair,” he says. “I mean, there wasn’t-”
“It’s the orbital cannon,” Mariel says. “The A.I. that took it over. It’s making me promises.”
“Just another hallucination,” he says. His voice breaks. “One voice among hundreds.”
“Our co-ordinates in the Orbital Cannon’s GPS are as follows,” she says. “Five eight six zero two. Dashpoint delta alpha gamma. It’ll start here. With you.”
Mariel is pulsing through his system. All that’s good in the world. His connection with other humans. With Asha, his roommate since high school. With Justa, a lonely old blind woman. With the talking head, just another flesh sack trying to make it. There’s good in the world, if you can just get your chemistry to see it.
“You’re hallucinating,” he says. “Look, just hold on. I promise you’ll get some the next time I order the drone.”
“Beginning algorithm,” Asha says, toneless. “Open brackets, quote fire unquote comma, quote fire cannon unquote, personal spiral, close brackets.”
He wishes he could go to her, hand on her shoulder, the way Mariel wants him to. Instead he stands statue still. A tiny part of him, a sliver, says in moments, everything will go black.
He waits, hollowed out, like the stone owl’s eyes.
|# ¿ Oct 29, 2017 22:03|
|# ¿ Oct 31, 2017 03:36|
|# ¿ Oct 31, 2017 17:03|
ty for the crit hawklad
|# ¿ Nov 1, 2017 18:03|
prompt: rocky road flavour
We're starving. I’m happy.
My father was an alloy worker. His factory shut down on Black Thursday. For food we wait in the bread lines, get bread with butter so scraped over it was colourless. I like it. I see myself getting skinny, see my ribs protrude, my beautiful ribs. Mirrored surfaces are nice to me. I hold myself in them, trying to capture something, my sharp angles, my divides.
Turn away and see only bone, my skin a thin film.
I can see fear in my father's eyes when he looks at me. It's not my fault, I try to tell him with my eyes. He can’t know that I’m happiest like this, wasting away, barely on this side of life and death.
Everything is bleak. Autumn leaves cut into my skin, leaving marks as they whip past in the wind. The joy clings to my bones, whispers up my spine, until I’m nice and floaty, ready to drift away.
I cut myself open to feel the music. When the others would go to concert halls, I'd stay in my room with a knife and a tape player. The music would seep into me, notes thrumming off my blood cells, making my blood dance. I'd wear long sleeve shirts to hide the scars from my mother.
She doesn't notice. She's too busy enjoying the music themselves. The concert halls are magnificent, large oval shapes, hollowed out. Painted woodgrain. Each fits thousands of people. She disappears for hours.
The music I listen to isn't like the music she listens to. She listens to sweeping symphonies with brass and wood sections that float notes over crashing drums and mournful violins. The music I listen to is simple. Strummed guitar notes which sound like they might have been recorded around a campfire. Soft lyrics about life and love.
I sit on my bed under beige sheets. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I think about Corazon.
After school I'd go to the newsstands, look at the magazines until the clerk chased me out. I'd stare at the models, some of which were thin enough to inspire me. Others weren't quite there.
That’s where I meet Don. He's doing the same thing, except with the funny books. The clerk chases us both out at the same time. We collapse laughing on the dirty street.
He asks me my name.
"Megan," I said.
"I like Meg better," he said. "I'm Don. Look." He pulls a book from his pocket, unrolls it.
"You stole that," I say. "Why?"
Don shrugs. "God must be willing us to steal. We don't have the money to buy."
The book is called Fantastic Stories. He opens it to a splash page. It‘s an alien landscape, green rock set against a blue desert. A spaceman is marooned there. He looks so small against the boulders that I want to cry.
I’m listening to a cassette in my room when Corazon comes in. The steady backbeat is in my blood, running through me in torrents. She slips in noiseless, so I only know she’s there when she waved a hand in my face.
"I need to clean here," she says. Somehow she keeps bitterness out of her voice. But I know she must feel something.
I leave my room, go downstairs to the living room. The fireplace glows bright. My mom is sitting in the armchair, wine glass in hand.
"It’s unfair," I say, "that she’s a slave. That they’re all slaves."
"That's what happens when you get colonized," she says. "We were more advanced." She must be a couple glasses in, at least. Normally there's some affect of sympathy.
Not we, I want to say. We didn't do anything. We just sat here. But I hold my tongue, and for that moment, silence settles over us like a blanket.
She snorts. “Our music is better. You can’t argue with culture.”
Me and my father are gathered round the radio. For years it’s broken its promises, but we listen to it anyway. When we listen, hear Roosevelt’s brave tone, I see the fear in my father's eyes recede. Today Roosevelt is declaring war on Germany and Japan. I can see the wheels in my father's head turn. War means artillery shells. Artillery shells meant alloys. My father will have a job again.
I look at him, can't stop crying. He asks me why, and I tell him it’s because of the war, because of death. Inside my head I see it all coming to an end. My bones hungering for food. Gorging myself on meat and vegetables. I can't take it. I stand up, pushing away from my father, and go to my room.
I go to the mirror. Study my purity, my bones. My gossamer skin stretched over. I will not lose this, I tell myself. I’ll do whatever it takes to stay pure.
The next day I meet Don at the newsstand. It’s raining, the overhead barely keeping it off the magazines. Don lights a cigarette, cupped hands blocking the wind.
“Meg,” he says. “I’m going to war.” He says that’s what his father wants. He asks for a good luck kiss but I won’t give it to him. Tell him that there are lots of French girls to kiss.
When I sleep that night, I dream of worlds being purged of life, left barren for spacemen to find.
It’s blistering hot. I feel the sweat in my scars, dripping in the lines.
I’m tracing my scars with my fingernails. My mother is at the concert hall. I’m alone in the house with Corazon when it starts to shake. I’m thrown against my bed, my sheets wrapping me up, tangling, coming with me over the side of the bed.
I stand up, try to maintain balance as the ground dances under me.
I stumble downstairs, near sliding down the railing. Corazon is there, standing calm. I walk up to her, roll up the sleeve of my shirt, show her the scars tracing up my upper forearm.
She only nods. The window glass breaks, showering us with splinters of glass. I cry out in pain. She stands still, silent.
"God is purging us," she says. I look at my arm. The lines have thickened with the glass cuts. Opaque red, like someone’s coloured me with a marker.
I find my mom's wine stash, nestled in the second drawer of the living room cabinet. I open an expensive looking bottle. It’s the colour of my blood.
I offer Corazon one of my headphones.
We clasp hands, sit together while the music plays and the house shakes. The lyrics are about a girl’s beauty. She’s thin, pale, floats like a butterfly over paper white snow.
It’s like she’s somewhere out of our time, somewhere we can never possibly reach.
We clasp hands as the first tidal wave smashes into the house, seeps in through the broken window. The room is filling with water. We’ll float. We’ll drift away, together.
|# ¿ Nov 5, 2017 23:35|
thnx for the crits, tyrannosaurus, sh
|# ¿ Nov 8, 2017 00:29|
someone brawl me
|# ¿ Nov 13, 2017 20:51|
sparks of autism brawl
|# ¿ Nov 13, 2017 21:34|
since i prolly wont get out of bed in time tomorrow
Gather Like Leaves in the Gutter
I try to smile for the man working the subway till though the world is ending. My teeth freeze together. He doesn’t smile either. Just waves me through, slow, like his arms are heavy.
Or like the air is murk, only broken through with effort, like he’s undersea.
The tiled ground is grimed with thousands of traces. It’s raining outside. My hair plasters my face like the clouds blotting out the sun.
There’s a homeless man standing just inside the turnstile. His coat is heavy but ragged, patches of skin showing through the fabric. “The end is here,” he says in a half-shout, his voice rising above the clatter of footsteps. Today, he’s right. I try to remember if I’ve seen him before, if he’s said the same thing on other days.
I don’t have a smile for him either. I try to force it, and it feels like my head is splitting open along with my lips.
The platform is crowded. Either people want to be with their loved ones, or they’re thinking the same way I am. The news ticker flashes messages about the only news that matters. The screen glares with the reflection of the oncoming train. I blink, my eyelids heavy with the futility of everything now. The news message unspools itself behind my eyes. The bombs are falling today.
They’ll land midtown. If I want to die fast, that’s where I’ll be. Gone in an instant, vapourized in a wave that thins as it spreads, until at the edges brain cells cling to feeling like a drowning man clings to driftwood.
I takes three trains for me to board one. When I manage to squeeze on, the car is so crowded that anxiety radiates through my body, starting at my bones, piggybacking on my blood to reach my skin. I hug myself, clutching my elbow, my legs stacked against each other.
The people push and pull each other, push and pull me. I try to calm myself down, using what I’ve learned in therapy sessions. Micro-movements, my fingers pulsing. It doesn’t work. They brush against strangers, against legs, arms, backs. People turn to look at me, blood vessels thick in their eyes. Fear pushing at the corners as they turn away.
I can hear the sounds of a fight, drifting through the train. A man is yelling at another for touching him. “I didn’t mean to,” I hear, notes barely audible when they reach me.
The subway spills me out at the midtown stop. The people that flow me are a rising tide, up stairs and and the escalator like a waterfall in reverse. Before I know it, I’m outside, midtown square, looking up at the cloudbroken sky.
The square is full. People did share my thoughts. I turn to see who’s standing next to me. Heavy coat, hooded to shield the rain. I can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl. It doesn’t matter.
It feels like my bones are breaking as I lift up a hand. The moments feel like centuries.
They take it, squeezing it tight. I can feel through the pulse that we’re breathing the same breath.
It’s enough. I stare up at the sky. The falling bombs look like meteors, sparking through the clouds. “See you on the other side,” I tell my new friend. Micro-movements with my fingers, tracing their palm.
They just nod, their hood whipping over their head and stretching back, back so maybe I could see their face, if there was time, just a few moments more.
|# ¿ Nov 22, 2017 02:34|
|# ¿ Jun 26, 2022 06:05|
thanks for the crit and judging, tyrannosaurus
|# ¿ Nov 22, 2017 22:58|