Big update this week so Ill see you Friday after next. Walls of text for the fuckin win
She regained the road about the dawn. There was no traffic and the iced over potholes were like vestigial eyes sealed over by cataracts. In this new day the bosk thrawns looked like collections of spindles bereft of their nocturnal menace. As if there were something inherently fraudulent in the tides of light masking the world. And what would happen were it unscabbed? Would fangs be bared? Or would the skiddish weavers of the world scuttle away like insects befrighted by day? Or would they wick cackling reseam the weft?
She crutched all day the same dystopic pastoralism alike for miles. Where colporteurs in their thousands fled the predations of heathen they sought to convert. A few winter crops were undergoing harvest by automated tractors. Flaughts of crows. A passenger jet en route to Nihon. A naked ragpicker of a pelican rummaging through a loess of trash in the apron of a culvert. A phlegmatic sun languorously entrained upon a route traceable by the faintest bilge of light through the overcast. She watered frequently at sike and trough and as often wet herself. She fashioned a pad of grass to wear but she couldnt make it stay and eventually gave it up.
This while she had been keeping her wounded foot aloft to clear it of the disfigurements of the road but now she convinced herself it was exhaustion that dipped her leg so, self-pity abiding the assumption that righteousness accompanies self-persecution, and her foot snagged on the fissured humps or the frost heave or the longitudinal ruts.
A little before noon she rested at a turnpike. Sitting on the curb dropping bottlecaps through the spokes of a windspun bikewheel. All marked by a flare of their corrugated rims. Tokens littered the floor of the booth whereby she recuperated. Laminated receipts and timestamps and a few electric scrolls or pass cards, their photoreceptors damaged beyond repair. From amongst them she picked up a quarter and about to drop it into the blur of spokes the wind twisted a snowspout out of the field across the road in a sudden revelation of the linearity of time. That if a road were followed long enough there would be an end and in the ensuing panic realized there need not even be a road and then she realized that things could be as a road and perhaps this mastic once hide of thing or things flensed in a long ago, cured by means arcane and nefandrous and stretched out for the conveyance of traffic and who gambreled up the beast of time and dressed it of its meat and what mad tailor more horrible yet parceled it out just so? The twister swelled a ponderous suspension of spiral tabasheer strings and raked through the heather towards her and she rose to receive it and it did lurch into her and break in its chill breath that resolved it to nothing.
And she turned back to discover a pattern, some stitchery flaw by means of which it would be possible to discern news yonder of the veil or nature of the flayer and not without a vague dread for what hunter knew not when it was hunted.
In two hours she found the the pelican still at its pickings in the culvert. Regarding its glabrous hide the color of lead she suspected the god of this world unversed in the proper manner of his creatings. She eased down the embankment. The pelican looked up with dull beggar hostility before returning to its picking. Dachni hobbled almost within reach and it looked again. Even in its wretched state it seemed contemptful, imbued with that same disdain that keeps those cups empty which the dregs hold up in supplication from sidewalk and curb. She stood one footed and lifted the nagant to a right angle and fell forward. The bayonet pierced the breast of that featherless fowl and it flapped its batwings and honked wildly and drew blood from her forehead with a stab of its blunted bill. It got her hand in its mouth and she seized its neck and closed its windpipe while it beat at her with its wings and dragged her through the garbage. She got her hand free of its mouth and groped for weapon and came up with a can lid. She sliced its edge against the offorange leg and the leg retracted upwards. She let go the pelican throat and grabbed the leg and pulled it down and sawed it off. The pelican pecked a bloody shotpatch out of her neck. She cut it again. Her own palm bled, a spur ratched in a fingerbone. She cut the bird to the ribs and the bird jabbed welts out of her shoulder. She got the bird's neck again and made a wicked slice and the neck deflated in her hand. They toppled together. Her with head under a wing as if it was comforting her while she gathered breath. Her front freshened with blood. After a minute she pushed the wing off and threw away the lid and searched for something with which to put the things eyes out. A teaspoon. She pinned the bird by its bill and scooped out the jelly of its eye. It honked, its neckpouch inflating like a frog. She levered the head the other way with the bill and foredid its other eye. The bird lay quietly then. As if the darkness were a comfort. She felt the ground what of it wasnt covered by trash but the earth she clawed would yield to no less than a steamshovel. She dug in the trash. When she had made a sizable pit she committed the pelican. A froth bubbled out of its neck like a leak in a hose. It reared up squawking with a last strength and she pushed it back down with what felt the last of her own and then she buried it.
When she climbed out it was almost dark, a faint beige dusk draining in the west. Cresting the breezeblock wingwall she saw a fire ahead on the road. A geist fire. Maybe a mile distant, maybe less. Radiant like the corpse of ouroboros racked to a wheel. She sighted low to see were any set to it but it was too far to be told and she climbed out the rest of the way and went on stopping to check and little by little divine a figure kowtowing to the flames. A pensioned homunculus or so she surmised reposed as the weary glumpish goodsire contrived to this forlorn waste by circumstances not much removed from her own. Nearer she thought him hatted. Nearer still Catholic yet just as she was about to conclude him he was dispelled into darkness. She stopped. The fire had flared over him and then he wasnt there anymore. She studied the fire but there was no one there. She circled the fire as if he might have gone there to hide. The coal had been laid out well and the mud was tracked but nary was any traveler. She walked out into the dark and stood a long while listening and she heard a screechowl and the rustle of mammals in the grass and heard trains threading a more distant part of the night and heard the wind and thought she heard other things but didnt. Of those sounds heard and misheard she heard no travelers and she went on but in another mile there was a second fire, mirror to the first. She looked back. The first fire was unchanged and someone did seem in its attendance, some retrograde wayfarer owing his existence to the hearsay of parallax. The fire ahead also appeared to warm a traveler and though more cautious in her approach and circumspect in her observations yet the figure assumed the character of a fugitive, concretum felon of indubious reality that at the moment of full perception evaporated. As if she had transgressed upon the lines of a palinode wherein those alluded to are at the moment of their witness recalled. She looked back to find the first fire sat now two fragmentary hints of wayfarers and a sickness coiled in her throat and the bloodfilled timepiece suspended within hammered at its brindled cage as if it would desert and leave her with her adulterated logos alone.
She turned off the road into farmland. A fallow field where shocks of barely from a bygone harvest moldered like an abandoned hamlet and where random lengths of discarded fencing interrupted the furrows some with the tusked skulls of boars nailed to the posts, some with scapulars of gapemouthed trout or pike jaded a sulfurous gamboge. She crossed an irrigation ditch where past ondings had formed windrows and she crossed a dirt road in which were preserved the goings of machinery wheeled or tracked. A field of carrots. A mile saw a wood between her and the fires and she went another three miles and stopped.
In this rustica that was as a plane she bedded upon a pitted stretch of flintshards and shivered in the inevitable drawing down towards the sublime inertia of perfected order. A darkness absolute reminiscent of ran. In her nascent twilight of dreams she found herself construed in a bell of warmth. A beneficent alter mien boated in incense. Some atavistic mistrust of comfort vestigial of the protocrustaceans, the distaff suspicion that those things that comfort us end us roused her to investigate what dolor had beset her in the woken world and was it jackals hauling her to their lair or were vultures picking clean her bones. But the lines of her fathers supplied that competing sense that death was no curse but when she opened her eyes it was not the prefigurate gentleman in his sable cloak but a sun retrograding in the vault, a ghost of a fire pendant to buffalo chips troweling the garden and lo the snake's inside but what teeth had she to bite the apple?
She woke. The fire of her dream was the fire before her but it wasnt day and these hyssop surroundings were other than the pleated pock bench of her choosing. She was pillowed in silk and scented down and two arms longer than she was tall cupped her at thrapple and heel and their ends needled her as if she were being trekked upon by cleated spiders. Sticks of sandalwood were planted round the fire and their smoke rose through torrents of snow and canopy like ink stencilings. She could hear their slow consumption. She couldnt hear the snow. Could hear a distressless anguine rasp seething behind her that smelled a sweet electric tang not like anything. The tidal pulse shunting through limbs and back. The beatless heart disassociated. Maybe better. Maybe. For sure this rancidness of heart. A gorge clotting grotesquary of terror and salt cyst sorrow. So many places for regret to lodge in. Rank odor of sickness in sweat. Drent above so below. A dank puddle hipped to. She tried lifting herself out but the slumbering giant draped over her was more than she could bear. She cried. Heaves delivered from the fetal hunch. Her face buried in the quilt of her own fouling but Anaya would behold her. In those pythonic irises glinted by firelight. In those. In those. Man was not made to receive pity from the serpent. Nor should the lips of men and serpent meet. Taste of rue and fear. Anaya cast off the blankets and lifted her out and placed her by the fire and took up the quilt on which theyd laid by the corners and bore it off like a diaper. She returned with a rucksack and out of it she took a thermos and lifted it to her lips. Benediction of steam rising out of the drink slit thawed tears iced upon her face. She drank. A rich velvet sweetness that warmed her from within. The pilot put the thermos aside and undressed her and stuffed the clothes in a snowfilled pot and put it in the fire.
As was her habit in winter seasons the pilot wore several free flowing coverings the outermost of which was a shawl that had replicated in the cross stitch moons and quasars and the kinds of suns and comets and nebulae and those endless vessels light does not escape and this she whipped off and imparted to the child. Wrapping her tightly then to sit her in her lap and draw the hair from her face a strand at a time in gentle cello pluckings while Dachni wept quietly a formless lament. Leaning against this totemic intellect for the maudled solace of her and failing to dam her tears. Anaya kissed her again. Then she laid themselves down and gathering the blankets draped them over their heads so that in that calid vivarium they lay face to face breathing each others breaths.
They decamped at the first gray alleviation of the dawn. The clouds had lifted and the snow was veiling off the waste in the bitterest wind. The horses were gone. The pilot had risen early to smoke their clothes and she rucked them now and their stained bedding and picked her up and started back for the cathedral. In those arms Dachni felt a child despaired aimless upon an alien terrain weirding her into vestibular uncertainty. Dimly perceiving that it was more than her ears she had lost. And well to do without these insights altogether but unbidden they had come how then could they be bid to leave and her terror was of an earmaggot whispering secrets corrosive to life. And who bore her the prime evincement. She who had not even a word for intellect recognizing its fathomless brutality that accomplished nothing but a pigsty of misery in which to wallow. And yet the pilot suspecting the topic of her susurrus gibbering replied that for all its unbridled rapacity it was what only prevailed. That there was an elegance in the linearity of logic that yet permitted its own transcendence. And that this was what was feared. The confrontation with the irrefutable. For the proof of any minutest trivia indisputable was the rearing of the face of god. Because it could do anything. That wheresoever it roved became its domain. This limitlessness of possibility paralyzing to most was the preferred state for there is nothing so potent as the monomaniac mind, that purpose that has dissected the unconscious and made slave of it. The wild determination that tolerates nothing, that can be placated by nothing, that unlike the stomach that must void itself before it can be fed again can imbibe oceans of blood without satiation. The desire that in the last ruins of the last city would upturn rocks to snuff out what life had survived the scouring and she said to see the buildings tumble in on themselves and the ravenous machine sloughing through the wreckage, its overgravid belly and bleeding udders and partdelievered litter of doomprophets vomiting prognostications of death between its bloody thighs and eats through the head of a shrew faster than it can bleed. And she said there was nothing that could stand against it. No institution, no title, no sentiment could forestall the impatience that rages at the most inconsequential impediment and so obliterates in totality in a time ten times as long as it would have taken to wait it out. And for this the deadly blade was forged that the obstacle could be destroyed quickly and as these weapons evolved even great obstacles became contemptuous in their vanquishing and with the same haste so that what might have taken a million men a hundred years was foredone in an hour. That who believed long lines a defense did not understand that even the longest line can be cut, that lines are not more perdurable for their length. Inhabiting a world where the ghosts of the unborn already roam. That the purest horror was that the intellect not simply could but would tear that world down to the last fragment of speculative bone and install in its place the bleeding epistles out its own mauled soul howling out the godhood of its own doom.
But its ok, said the pilot. Because I have thee and thee hath me and while castles burn and kings perish it must be so, for everything is perishable after the soul.
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