They were tearing the backs off of toads. It starts with a tiny cut under the neck. And then a pry of the blade against a thumb.
It comes off fairly smooth, a tiny slab of forest green lumps and bumps — an exquisite splash of raw red flesh glistening against a silver moody sky.
Why are they doing this? To what avail? I look into the creature’s eyes, searching for something . . . anything. I find nothing.
A cursed stone face — unable to convey its agony. It mocks us, and renders us soulless.
Perhaps nothing I find, because nothing is what I seek?
“Give me that knife.”
It’s time I look beyond my own reflection in a set of glossy golden eyes. There’s got to be a ghost in here somewhere.
And I’m going to find it. I need to find it. ♨
I wake juggling shapes that threaten to crush me should I slip up. In a pool of cold sweat. Submerged beneath. Dank blanket. Swallowing me.
“Leave me be! Sleep — come for me again! I beg you….”
Wandering the concrete alley. True to form, I walk upright — not like last time without feet. Fuck! Another dead end. I turn around from where I came, but there is a wall touching my nose. It has been following me. I turn around again — life beginning, a field of blue grass and moaning trees, distant mountains, and weeping clouds. A yellow & red zebra watches me and its tongue falls from its mouth. And where the tongue lands the ground cracks opens, and with it a chill overtakes my body. Shaking. Shaking. I peer into the gleaming white abyss, and my right eye unhinges itself from my skull and I am watching it fall and I am watching white falling. But my feet are firm on the blue grass. Dizzy.
I wake juggling those damn colossal shapes again. Cold, sweating, frenzied and frantic.
“Stop this you fiendish thieves of rest! I can not hold these terrible shapes! They are too big, too many sides. Too many disjointed sides! Leave me be! Sleep! Come for me again!”
The wall extends to only my arm’s length and I continue the pattern with the tiles. I’ve been doing this for centuries. On this same rickety ladder. On this same damn wall. I hate these tiles. I hate this wall. The mortar smells like death, and it weeps from the space my eye once occupied. My arm aches, my rusty spade has been worn to a nub. I hate this wall. I hate these damn tiles! Why the fuck am I doing this?
What’s that!? Inside the pattern. Inside the tiles!
No! Not what. Who!? Who is that!
She holds me in a tender gaze. She is old, her face looks like a raisin in the murky reflection of the tile. She speaks with a foreign tongue I do not know — my anger melts and I lay my hands back to their tedious, gross work. The infinite pattern is almost complete — and when it is, I will know rest like no other has known. And the red moon that tooters up from the West will relinquish its motion and steady itself so I may catch it in my net.
They kept her tucked into a box for many years — actually it was more like a drawer. I walked by this gray steel drawer many times; it was in a school, high up, a good reach above my head. One day I heard wrestling around, the scrapping of metal — that’s when I first discovered her. She had forgotten how to speak. A few days later, I freed her in secret. Though the drawer was small, she unfolded herself into a fully grown woman. She was unsurprisingly daunt and covered in sores. Her fingers long, brittle, and unbending; her eyes hungry, narrow, and still.
I was teaching a class on mythology at the time and soon came across an ancient myth about a boxed girl and her detainers. As I was teaching about the myth a few of the people in attendance began to get up and leave the room. They were obviously uncomfortable with the subject. I knew I was striking a nerve, so I kept going. A homely woman with curly brown hair turned angry, she knew of the girl in the box drawer and knew that she had recently gone missing. Now she was blaming me for releasing her. I took her blame with satisfaction, hastily ended the lesson, and cursed her in front of the others. They all began to accuse her of evil. Not soon after the taunting began, her conscious broke and she began grieving in shame — explaining that she, and others, loved the girl . . . that they wanted her forever, and that now they would all be lost without her and their lives would hold no meaning.
We gave her no sympathy. We watched her cry. We tucked her into that small steel box. We walked away.
Years later our hearts began to heal and grow . . . for we truly love that box girl . . . and will never let her go. ♨
I’m in a large van. The police are approaching. I know they are going to search my bags, and I know there are some joints in some of them. They start rummaging through my stuff; I slyly shift the contents around of one bag and feel pretty confident they won’t find anything, but there is another bag that I’m still nervous about. They start asking me about “time-holes”, which are these tears in time & space that you can jump through. Only few people know about them — I happen to be one of these people. I offer information freely because it doesn’t matter. You can only see time-holes in your peripheral vision, and even than they are extremely hard to spot. They literally look like a blurry slice in space about the size of a large man. Only one person can jump in at a time, and you have no control as to where you end up. If you want to travel with someone, you have to toss a rope in immediately after the person goes in — they have to grab the rope and hold it tightly as you enter holding the other end. It doesn’t always work. Once you go into one of the time-holes you will never get back to the world where you jumped in — there are too many possibilities and you are randomly spit out into one of them. Some people get addicted to jumping through them.
– – –
I’m making out with a woman, she is only wearing white underwear. She has round, uniform, red-blue bandages across her shoulders and down her biceps. They are about the size of small, round slices of oranges, and are placed equal lengths apart. It makes her look a bit robotic. She had some sort of cosmetic surgery on her breasts. As we get closer to sex, and she becomes more and more aroused, her left breast starts to become firm and begins to erect. It thins out into a wide, disc-like shape as it grows, her right breast remains normal. Her left nipple starts to jet out into a long thin, flimsy, nail-like shape, and some sort of dark, dense cream-like substance oozes out. I’m not repulsed or turned-on by this so much as I am intrigued. I have a firm grip on her breast and just watch this happen for a while, wondering what will happen next. ♨
Something is happening in the sky. The clouds are glowing, flickering, and unfolding. Something’s happening, something’s coming. It’s night. I’m outside behind a house. There’s a tree blocking my view. I yell for the girl in the van to come and see — she was reading. I know this girl well, and I’m very fond of her — I want her to see this event and witness its magic with me. There is another girl in the house taking a shower, it’s her friend of the same name. We don’t want her to feel uncomfortable so we try to steer clear of the window; but we have no choice, we must stand with our backs towards it if we want to see what happens when the sky opens up.
– – –
I am in a desolate, post-apocalyptic city. There are Asian and African people everywhere. They are singing in the streets and playing instruments. I don’t know what they want, and I don’t know how I got here. Everything is powered with steam, and this causes the streets to be cast in a hazy white mist. ♨
I am on a large sailboat floating on a turbulent sea that is covered with green algae. A woman is with me on the boat, but I don’t know who she is. The boat is anchored, but I can tell that it only serves to keep it from moving too much, and the anchor is dragging on the bottom of the ocean floor as we are pushed around. We are surrounded by massive rocks that look like miniature mountains, and the sky is a uniform orange. I found myself on this boat out-of-nowhere — I have no recollection of which shore it cast off. I climb a couple ropes that support the sail’s mast, and find myself dangling very high off the boats deck. I’m struck with a fear, and I don’t know how to get down without hurting myself. I do though. I find myself climbing these ropes from time to time for no apparent reason, and I’m always confused as to how I will get down. There is a cubby filled with change, and I keep checking to see if it’s still there, running my fingers over it; and I wonder if I will be able to keep it when we get to where we are going. If we are going anywhere. . . . ♨