stretched out wall skin
not calling out loud not coy just
horror knife cut red
death is red and red is
in front stolid, old stone, door-like
leading me through with legs of hydrogen legs of
ensconced in lux cavity within castle wall
lies the inevitable
just what I thought it would be
one of HIS taunting cabinets, door ajar, open as I greenly approach, stocked with human façade, the face
skin pale blue, grey, something between
feet and legs wet
cabinet floor now a swimming pool
slowly drowning in pink water
on legs arms neck bone fingers
The cabinet gorged on the dark and the dark gorged back, subsuming everything pink and with form until it got bored of all that and let the tracing begin.
Sila pursued the psycho trail, eyes half cut, picking out
back of Joanna’s neck
pink water on the-
He re-closed his eyes, opened them again, coached himself to abandon the decaying Jung construct.
It worked and didn’t.
Joanna’s neck flesh was still there, uncovered by the duvet cocooning the rest of her – as usual leaving him to the elements – yet the goo was existent too, a solid patch fixed to a gap between large chunks of tangled hair.
He lifted up the hand that had been on the cusp of her pubic line and dipped a fingertip in.
Definitely goo of some kind, maybe dark pink, hard to tell without overhead lights, didn’t seem to be toxic.
Not cold or wet enough to wake her.
Putting his wrist forward, he wiped the slime off her skin and said, ‘nothing’ as Joanna told him to stop strangling her.
‘What time is it?’
‘Don’t know. No clocks.’
She reacted the typical way, pulling the duvet over her head and kicking backwards to get him off the bed.
Frowning at the goo residue on the back of his wrist, Sila rolled off onto the warm floor – underlayer heating according to EM, on the second day, when relations were dependent – and let out a loose fuck in Slovene when he noticed the ten foot pole by the end of the bed
not tied with a bow
just lying there
smug, passive, potentialist.
‘Weird how they don’t have machines to do this,’ said Joanna to the stem of the pink plant, allegedly native.
‘You asked that yesterday.’
‘Some kind of nanobot tech. Crawl up, little cuts here and here, done.’
Sila froze, pliers closer to his sleeve than the plant he was supposed to be trimming.
‘You know about nanobots?’
‘Nanobots. You just said it…described it. Described them.’
Joanna clipped another weed off the stem of the pink plant that couldn’t look more alien if it tried, and refused outright to smile. ‘I heard you mutter it in your sleep.’
‘That’s a lie.’
‘Nanobots and Seven something.’
‘And anyway, the reason we’re doing this…plant cutting thing…is cos it kills time. Until the other orbs come.’
‘From their orb city on the other side of the planet.’
‘Exactly. Yes. Probably.’
Another clipped weed then a long bout of silence. Inner duration. Anchors in and out of Id chaos. Orb ontology. Corrections to orb ontology. More plant trimming. Lax scan of the distance, the background that one of them really believed might be matte. Danish breathing noises behind. Søren, on the roof tongue section, come to watch and do nothing. Cos she apparently didn’t need distraction tasks.
Though this time the blank, little camper did harbour some ambition as she bent down and picked up a handful of weeds and
defying Sila’s hey, don’t
shoved them Chytilovan into her mouth.
‘Guess toxic doesn’t apply to her,’ said Joanna, finishing the final weed and dropping the pliers in the weed bucket.
‘We don’t know that.’
‘Looks like taste doesn’t either.’
Sila watched his miracle daughter chew and chew and swallow and after-chew, waiting for a thumbs up or a violent retch
even though he knew it was Søren
and the best she could give, historically, was
Wah, was that-
Forced hand movement? Telepathy?
He held his own thumb up, smiling at the third point of the triangle, then frowning as Søren’s unprecedented thumbs-up phased into a jabbing motion at her own neck.
Toddler steps, he told himself, dropping his hand, looking up at the three moons in the ether pink sky.
so tri lune ali dve?
je ta planet blizu sonca?
je blizu Zemlje?
kaj počne vaša vrsta na tem planetu? Kje so mesta?
All solid questions, thought Sila, finger hovering over the J key, all unanswered by machine or EM.
In fact, where was their purple host?
Hadn’t seen them since the pole debacle the night before, which now that he’d thought about it a few hundred times, could have been a joke, untranslatable sex humour funny to purple orbs yet impenetrable to humans
at least that was the thread he was clinging onto
cos otherwise Joanna was right
they were at the whims of an alien psychopath, a lunatic out of its padded cell, running this base as a
Petri dish for visiting humans?
His finger flinched as stubborn drilling noise activated nearby, an elevated hum of the mut mut field as Joanna called it, the hazy shadowed pink propping up Søren and making her sway left to right in tiny movements, invisibly tunnelling into her neurons and
No, too far, too Stasi, EM was gentle with her, and if she didn’t like it she wouldn’t do it.
This was all an elaborate, incomprehensible-to-the-human-brain, alien hotel resort
just like EM said
and the others would undoubtedly be there soon
just like EM said
more or less.
The rest of the day evaporated into lost time, eventually giving way to the cloak of evening
evening equaled rest and dorm
dorm had unusable control panels and a hover bed
hover bed became relatively snug
snug led to pillow chat
with Sila telling Joanna that EM hadn’t appeared the whole day and there was a chance they were still annoyed about the pole sex insertion thing.
‘Or embarrassed maybe.’
‘If they want to continue staying away, even better. Unless they have news that the others are here. Then they can appear.’
‘Don’t know. It’s creepier when they’re absent.’
‘Feels like they’re watching from the walls, or the ceiling haze up there.’
‘Finally, some suspicion.’
Sila ignored the barb and looked up, following the image in his head of a pulsating EM, glowing down at them, whispering threats of
Slime, a large gobbet of it, landed on his eye, forcing a reflex swat
his defending hand hit by another drop.
then his wrist, his forearm, his neck.
No, not drops, it was the original slime deposit, spreading out across the map of his skin and
Joanna was coated too
invaded by dark pink residue that didn’t respond to fucking die get off fuck in Cantonese or Slovene
that slipped into the cracks and holes
tingling the inside of her cunt, the shaft of his dick, the lining of their veins then cooling, scraping, suffocating, drowning
absorbing organ and flesh into the void
shadowed inside air flow muon
less less pink
hover bed, pillow, neck skin coated in
Sila coughed up imaginary pink goo, rubbing hands over his body, Joanna’s body, checking every part for the residue of Cronenbergian intrusion.
Nothing, completely dry, zero auteur.
‘What?’ asked Joanna, sitting up, head duvet-less.
On the rooftop, things played out interior.
Both Sila and Joanna.
Him, randomly scanning his skin.
Her, interrogating the horizon for purple orbs.
Their brains were so in sync with the unconscious, Jungian or otherwise, that they stepped onto the pink grass several times and received only the mildest of punishments, a soft voice in their ear, advising them to focus on their feet.
When Sila stopped moving completely and pulled Joanna to the edge of the roof, a more insistent voice told them jumping was not the answer, that the pink grass was preferable and maybe a nice first step back to a balanced status.
It was a strange request, and easily ignorable, with Sila saying that he was dog tired, so much so that even something as mundane and autopilot as walking was proving to be beyond him.
‘Not good,’ replied Joanna, putting an arm around his shoulder, pinching his neck, ‘Was gonna use you as a crutch.’
‘Must be the lack of sleep. Or that hover bed, the mattress.’
‘Or the nightmare I had.’
‘It’s not that rare. Just when I’m tense. Doesn’t usually involve pink slime though.’
‘Or goo. No, more like slime. Residue. Actually, I don’t know the English word for it. The sticky, wet stuff that…’
Joanna finished her description with a gob full of pink slime/goo/residue spewing out of her throat and onto the slightly paler pink of the grass.
‘Fuck…’ mumbled Sila, before hacking and coughing up some of his own.
More pink slime.
From inside both of them.
At the opposite end of the roof garden, a purple orb hovered, camouflaged next to a grey bush, possibly watching, possibly masturbating
possibly cutting off strips of its own flesh.
It hovered vague-kinetic a while longer then released
over the zig-zag path towards the two humans
no preamble, just flickering purple tones across their two hemispheres
and blurting out parasites.
‘EM…where have you-…’
‘All of you parasites. Human. Slime is sick but you are sick. Could go vegan at any day but no. Could walk around naked but no. Could work communally, distribute by need, but no. Could build cushion shelter for animal, even insect, but no. Horror house and throat slit. Animal and each other. If think insect enough. Don’t look at my grammar, anger rhythm. Justice rhythm. Talk about your error. Arbitrary rule of this letter and that letter, this word and that word, but why? A king told you. A priest. Linguist is not a word, do not try. All human language is empty, etiquette form. Keep it inside. Too ugly to enter base systems, please, no more inputting. Go to dorm. Stay in corridor haze, do not care. Walk the roof garden, spot view, gawp at moons. Avvvgrararrarrahhkla.’
The last word was punctuated with a cough drop of more slime from Joanna, but EM had already spun off at an incredibly swift speed, embarrassed or holding in further bile.
Or off to have a lie down, thought Sila, patting Joanna on the back as small threads of slime continued to spindle out. Not an easy thing to rant like that. If that’s what it was. Felt like it was, the sharpness of the sounds, but could also have been poor translation tech.
‘Probably a weird type of…’ Sila started, working up the belief system behind the words he was about to uncuff, then stopping when he saw a purple blur heading in a long arc towards them.
‘Why are you still here?’ EM asked, grammar fixed, colour spectrum normal.
‘Both of you should be inputting your languages. As the schedule commands.’
‘But…you just told us not to.’
‘Go and input now. Stop coughing.’
Sila thought about another err but the thought came across physically as standing there doing nothing, while Joanna just lifted up her head and dribbled out more slime.
‘Do not stall. Go. Input.’
‘Okay, we’re going. Relax.’
EM pulsated dark purple on their left curve, perhaps a sign, perhaps sweat.
Remained hovering in small orbits as the two humans stuttered to the exit slope.
Switched to their own language.
And then some alien extra, untranslatable
in the old times.
as the middle
attached to hover bed and shadows
Sila leaning in close to Joanna’s ear, covering his mouth with her hair and saying, ‘you were right, we need to get out of here.’
‘Or tomorrow. With Søren too.’
Joanna pulled back her ear and hair and lay down on the pillow.
‘She’s our daughter, she’s coming. And I think EM might be scared of her too. Which is an advantage.’
‘We’ll start looking for cracks. Every section.’
‘Or just walk out the front door.’
‘If there is one.’
Joanna opened her mouth, then stalled with a cough, checking her hand to see if any more slime had slipped out.
‘I think it’s all gone,’ Sila said, rubbing own throat.
Darkness in unison with black square.
A framed square.
Darkness with a framed square white.
Face in the square.
Darkness squared by Søren in frame.
Daughter of darkness not happy with darkness, keeping handbrake on darkness, leash on its darkness neck.
Sila felt cold skin on his hand and opened his eyes.
Søren framed in darkness. No square. Pinkish blonde.
‘… … … … …’ she said in raw Danish.
‘… … … … …’
‘Come,’ the child demon said, tugging at his hand and, when he didn’t move fast enough, yanking him off the bed
onto the floor
knocking his knee and tutting and giving no time to dress in the base uniform as she led him out of the dorm and into a corridor that, as other nights, had no discernible shape, just a hazy pinkish glow around what could’ve been edges, and
when he tried to ask her what was going on, where was she taking him
she just stared forward and said E Cape.
‘Escape?’ he asked back, but there was no further response, only a determined tour guide showing off corridor after corridor after corridor
then a circular door that dissipated as they approached
allowing them into a large space with faintly visible pale green walls and dark hanging orbs.
‘What is this place?’ he asked, skimming the décor and repeating the question in beginner Danish when he got no response.
‘… … … …’
‘Looks like something’s hanging.’
‘… … … …’
‘… … … … …’
‘Just a sec.’
His hand left Søren’s and reached forward and up, touching the bottom curve of the nearest orb and
without click or spark
the rest of the orbs lit up simultaneously,
fleshing out the space
showcasing in pale green the forty or fifty shapes that Sila hadn’t been able to process at first, and couldn’t properly process now, even with the light assist, but the brain can only cloak the abject so long, especially when its object-real
right in your face
One of the human skin suits got caught in a phantom breeze and swayed to the side, spilling out a dried-up vein that brushed against Sila’s arm.
‘… … … …’
His body dropped to the floor, nails clawing at the warm tiles, throat retching up nothing
no bile or half-digested base rations
no pink slime goo residue
cos it truly was abject
just as B and K promised.
‘Søren,’ he called, collecting what was left of his senses, avoiding the back swing of the emaciated vein, the skin suit behind it, squinting at the shape moving towards him, a mini javelin in the right hand, green tinted blonde hair that had to be wig.
‘… … … …’
‘We have to go.’
‘… … … …’
‘This room…this whole place.’
‘… … … … …’
‘Søren, what are you-…’
‘… … … …’
‘That pole, it’s-…where did you-…’
giant pale ankles
pulling him without weight
was without weight
couldn’t feel any weight nothing
corridor haze dim dimmer folded
in on him
no weight at all
cold atoms seeping out in around
with not a
no goodbye in Cantonese
if more Danish then
stabbed passionless no joy
mir a cull
can’t hate she’s my
Haze from the corridor remained at standard base levels as Sila lost eyes, energy, blood surplus,
final thoughts hinging pure Id
to the void and the two three thirteen moons in the matte pink sky.
If Soren noticed his death, she hid it like a Mossad agent, face blank and reflected pale green, kiddie arm dragging the corpse of her spiritual father back into the main dorm area.
Joanna must’ve heard the door swoosh open as she muttered something in Cantonese, but her head stayed rooted to the pillow, oblivious to the Slovene body with puncture wounds in the chest and throat being deposited at the foot of the bed, only autopilot aware of the blonde demon lifting the corner of the duvet up and slipping in next to her
feeding a blood-stained arm over her waist
finding mother fingers