Bedtime

Akari Custom para Caro

 

Trigger warning: this is pretty messed up, and I kind of don’t want to post it.

 

So…enjoy?

 

Bedtime

 

Every night, as Samantha closed her eyes to go to sleep, she was paralyzed with the fear that she would never open them again. That her eyelashes would twist into tight, intricate knots. She would struggle to wrench them open, but it would be in vain. The tangles of eyelash would bind together long enough for the skin where her top lids met the bottom to form thousands of tiny, cancerous growths that would weld them shut forever, like soldered metal joining two pieces of stained glass. The harder she fought to open them, the more the tiny muscles would rip and tear and break down, until her eyelids were useless flaps of flesh with no purpose other than to trap her blue eyes in darkness. Forever.

Samantha fought desperately against the thought. She forced herself to think about flowers and rainbows and Mrs. Gill’s seemingly endless supply of new kittens. But the fear was always there. Waiting. Right behind her eyes. She was just a little girl, after all. And it’s hard for a little girl to ignore something her mother told her would happen, every night.

Just before she tucked her in.

Could Be

Alien

 

Relative Jim stood at the corner of 4th and Pine every day except Sunday, wearing his ragged clothes and holding up his hand-made cardboard sign. He had a hat out in front of him, and sometimes the people walking by put money into it. Because he was dirty. Because they felt sorry for him. Because he looked like he needed a break. There were a lot of reasons people might have given money to Relative Jim, but those are best known only to the people themselves. But there’s one thing for certain.

It wasn’t because of what was written on the sign.

You see, Relative Jim didn’t hold his sign up in front of his chest. He didn’t lean it against his legs, right next to a mangy old dog meant to inspire sympathy for those kinds of people who’ll feel sadder about a hungry dog than they will about a hungry fellow. But Relative Jim didn’t have a dog, hungry or otherwise, so he couldn’t very well do that. No, he pointed his sign straight up into the sky, so as you’d have to be a bird or maybe superman to have a look at it.

Most people figured Relative Jim was just a little off, and that was enough of an explanation. You know how those homeless are, they’d say to each other from the other side of their air-conditioned car windows. But sometimes folks would get curious enough to ask to see the sign. And Relative Jim would get a little confused for a second. But he was nice enough people, and so he’d bend his arms in just that right way that makes something that’s pointing upward shift so that it’s now pointing straight ahead. That’s when people would get the second surprise of their brief interactions with that odd old fellow we call Relative Jim.

There was nothing written on the sign.

Most people would move on, then, figuring how Relative Jim looked a bit puzzled at the whole interchange to begin with. Not worth the bother to try to find out more, they’d figure, before moving on about the rest of their business. But every so often, one of those curious passers-by turned out to be a very curious passerby, and would ask why the sign was blank. To which Relative Jim would furrow his brow, give the sign a good long look, then give the fellow what asked about it a good long look, and say that the sign wasn’t blank. If the fellow responded to this downright unusual utterance by asking what, in fact, was written on the sign, Relative Jim would say something to the effect of, “What in tarnation kind of question is that?”

Most individuals, having gotten this far, had a question or two left for ol’ Relative Jim. In for a penny in for a pound, they’d figure, or so a reasonable man might reckon. But those questions didn’t rarely lead to much in the way of useful conclusions to the whole puzzling state of affairs that was a conversation with Relative Jim. He just kept on giving the same kind of answers he done gave to the previous questions. As a matter of fact, I only ever heard one question that got a clear answer, that might shed some light on what passes for Relative Jim’s motivations and line of reasoning. The question was this:

“Who, exactly, is that sign meant for?”

Relative Jim answered that one with none of his usual confused pauses or complex manipulation of his various facial muscles. He answered it right quick.

“Aliens,” he said.

To which the questioner, quite reasonably I think we’d all say, asked him if he thought there were aliens up there looking down on him as he stood there at the corner of 4th and Pine every day, saving of course for Sunday.

“Could be,” Relative Jim replied. “But I’ll tell you for free that I sure as Shinola hope so, and that they’re friendly fellows willing to help a body out. Can’t figure another way I’ll ever figure out what’s written on this blasted sign.”

Crimson on the Tongue

red red wine

 

On my twenty first birthday, my father took me to a bar in the Other Place. After years of yearning and wishing and imagining, I finally had my first taste of the color red. I thought the flavor would be angry, or passionate, or feel like pure love nestled against my tongue. I didn’t know what any of that might mean, but this is where my fancies ran.

In more grounded moments, I envisioned the flavor to be be spicy, or harsh.  To taste of actual red things such as tomatoes and cherries and cherry flavored syrups. Or perhaps to be an amalgamation of ever morsel that has ever been drenched in redness. Cinnamon candies and orchid petals dragonfruit juice sipped from a pomegranate skin.

The moment the fluid crimson touched my tongue, and its volatile scarlet sparks danced against my olfactory nerves, I knew how utterly and hilariously wrong I was. It did not have any of these flavors. Of course it didn’t. How could it?  It tasted red. Completely and totally red. How can I describe it. I can’t? Can you describe what the color looks like to a blind person?

I haven’t been back there since, but I dream about it. Someday I’ll go again. If I ever see my father again, maybe. But at least I have that memory. And something new to wish for.

I wonder what blue tastes like?

Probably blueberries.

Like This

Numb

 

I hold you while your tongue is numb
and you cannot speak
A minute ago you pressed your hand against my mouth
so I could not spit forth my jagged words
to slice open the delicate flesh
just below your eyes
and spill forth your tears

These sociopathic factories
in our heads, spew out their chemical transmitters
according to stimuli, and nothing more
uncaring that this cocktail is uncomprehending rage
and that one is impotent suffering
especially when, like now,
we never get enough sleep
and it seems like things
will never get any better

The sharp pains in your mouth scream at you
just like I do
your punishment, perhaps?
for being too beautiful,
for seeing me broken
and wishing not to rid yourself of me
but for a nectar so viscous
it can bind the shattered shards of me
and make me whole

I can’t remember being whole

Now, moments later,
I hold you while your tongue is numb
and you cannot speak
an effort to stem the pain

You don’t need to speak
Because you listen
And if I can be allowed
just to hold you
like this
maybe I can remember
your breath is my nectar
and I am never really broken
into shards
while my skin touches yours

The Whispering Dust, Part One

Outer space

Part 1 of a 3 part story.

 

It was a three month journey along the Andromeda Trail to get to the site. Three long, cold months, sucking liquid food product through a tube and breathing in nebula dust, with no one but Gussy for company. I like the guy, but three months of his chatter about the New York Mets and methods for cultivating orchids in hostile environments is enough to make me want to strip my skin off and sell it for hide. I’d get a pretty penny for it, too, these days.

If someone else had already mapped the site out it would have taken a matter of days. But then, if someone else had mapped the site out, I wouldn’t be looking at a big fat prospector’s commission to bring home to April. That’s the job. No one’s been out this far. Not in this direction. What do they call it? “Unvectored Cosmological Coordinates.”

Damn. Sounds like something out an Aasimov novel. Still blows my mind, to think about it. Ten years ago we didn’t even know how to breath in space, let alone ride the stellar currents all the way to another galaxy. It seems silly to say that, now. That we were stuck on that one tiny planet. I know most people are still stuck there, but to be honest, I can’t really remember doing anything else. Those days in fire rescue, or on the crab boats, happened to somebody else.

“Danni, you seeing this?” Gussy’s voice said in my head. Well, I guess it wasn’t Gussy’s voice. It was my voice. MTM “sounds” just like your internal monologue, only you can sort of tell you’re not the one thinking the words. It takes some getting used to.

“The chatter over the box?” I said. “Yeah, of course I am. Why? Looks the same as usual to me.”

“It’s getting worse,” he said. “Are you sure we should be doing this?”

I sighed. He didn’t hear it. I didn’t here it. No sound in space and all that. “Are we really going to have this conversation again? We’re almost there.”

“Yeah, but…”

“But nothing,” I said. “If you want to turn back now, fine. But I’m going. And I’m keeping your cut.”

There was silence.

“Are you still there?” I asked. It’s always worth checking, on the Trails. You never know.

“Yeah,” he said after a minute. “Yeah, you’re right. Of course you are.”

“Damn straight,” I said. “Now do me a favor and shut up for a while. I’m almost done with this audio book.”

I didn’t tell Gussy that I shared his fears. Why should I? This part of the journey was always a little terrifying. Riding out to some unknown region of space classified by the scouts as “Anomalous.” Spending the whole time getting updated data about radiation levels, weird reports about unknown signals from the region. Sometimes they were clean enough to translate into audio.

We got that, too. But it didn’t mean anything. It turned out space was a weird place. Weirder than we thought. So what if there were voices out there, whispering into the darkness? And so what if some of them were in English? And so what if they said…things. I’ve scouted eight anomalies up to this point, and not one of them had Cthulhu hidden inside of it. Just hyperfuel. And superconductive materials. And, on one lucky trip, the derelict hull of some ancient structure. In other words, money in the bank.

But it gets to you, having those whispers piped into your ears through long-range coms the whole way out. That gets more people than dust and exposure combined. A lot of rangers just end it, on these journeys. They can’t take it. They’re weak.

Not me, though. I can’t turn back now. Not when we’re so close. Not when April’s counting on me. She keeps telling me not to go out. She’s scared. But what else are we supposed to do? She can’t work. Not anymore. She keeps telling me I could do something else. And I keep saying I’ll consider it. But I was made for this. I had no idea who I was until that first moment I rode off the platform and into the black. That was the moment I woke up. The moment I came alive. She’s the love of my life, but this is my life. But how do you tell a girl that?

You don’t.

It was bad, this time. I told her this was my last trap. Maybe it is. Maybe this’ll be the big score. It could always happen. But it was bad. I’d hate for that to be the last time we ever talk to each other. The last time I ever touch her face. But she was so scared. So angry. I shouldn’t have let her listen to that transmission. How do you explain to someone that the signals from these anomalies say a lot of things. They sound like they mean something, but they don’t.

It doesn’t matter that this one said my name.

I’m just glad that’s all she heard. The signals aren’t strong on earth. I didn’t hear the full message until I got out of the atmosphere. Thank god the version she heard cut off before it got weird. Before it got mad.

But none of that matters. We’re almost there, and I won’t turn back. Not now. Not ever.

Insipid Inspiration

DSC_7545-Edit

If my boredom
was a monster from a classical epic
it would be Grendel’s mother
no name
no attributes
just deadly
and then done

If my boredom
was a volcano
it would one of the ones on mars
not the really really big one
or the really big one
but it would be pretty big

If my boredom
was a video game character
from the 90s
it would be Kefka, from FFVI
because the dude destroyed the world
in multicolored pants
and it still wasn’t enough

If my boredom
was a character
from Finnegan’s Wake
it would be
some character
from Finnegan’s Wake
I can’t name
because it’s a very dense book
and finding one would take energy
and you don’t have any energy
when you’re bored

If my boredom
was a literary form
it’d be poetry
short lines
little imagery
a weak attempt at wit
and no structure to speak of

Oh look
There’s Kefka
in a Martian volcano
reading Finnegan’s Wake
to Grendel’s Mother
that looks fun
I should probably join them
it’d be a good time
there’s probably scotch
with tainted ice
and colorful umbrellas

but I won’t
because they’re not real
because that scenario is ridiculous
and they’re only there
because I’m bored

 

Submission to the Majesty

IC 405 - The Flamming star nebula

I stand
my bare feet in the wet, dark grass
nowhere
far flung from the gaudy, electric party dress
worn by the city sky
and throw my longing gaze up
at the star strewn night

Her majesty
Her ridiculous, unaware, incomprehensible splendor
slaps me across the face
just once
open palm
and then looks down at me
a look of utter indifference
in her billions of twinkling eyes

I taste blood on my lips
and I shiver
but not from the cold

I sink to my knees
As She commands
without a word
without a gesture

For where else could I
a worthless bag of blood
and meat
and yearning
belong, but beneath the wild, naked firmament
spread open above me
my knees bruised by the  stony earth
sublime in my discomfort
my arms stretched
my mouth open
awaiting whatever She chooses to give me

I am an invisible nothing
cowed
before the vastness
of an expansive, sidereal mistress
who cannot love me
but without whose fire
I could not live

So what can I do
but worship
and submit
to the majesty