by Marc Nash
With our mutual leaden marital cores, affection was stopped up by my blockish shields, while it merely passed through yours like gamma rays.
We are each charged with containing the neuroses and blind spots of our partner, it being rare that we both share the same agitators. But such were the reciprocal irritations that more and more were classified as neuroses and blind spots, until it reached the critical mass of every single word out of our mouth, or every single one of our actions being deemed as being beyond containment. We were both balls of seething fissile material.
In respect of cleaving together in a fusion that makes us more powerful, we manage to effect a fission that only serves to cleave us apart and bleed away any supposedly enriched energies. We were both left depleted.
Each live radioactive substance will naturally decay and transform into another element, which if isotopic will in turn decay further, until finally a stable, inert element is rendered. My spouse and I have hit our inert basal states and yet I cannot say we went through the transmutations into other constitutions along the way. Spontaneous half-life decay takes eons to occur. We achieved a rapid acceleration of the process.
It has been pointed out to me that smashing the atom in order to release the pent up energy of rage is a particularly destructive practice. And yet it was one we were both content to pursue.
In order for a chain reaction to be unleashed, we both had to stockpile an impressive and intricate battery of sleights, grudges and other grievances. We conducted our own arms race to mutually assured destruction with barely a bat of an eyelid in the direction of the concept of deterrent.
We made the grade in one phase of the fission process. Parts of our material corpus divided and split off. Eczema, weight loss, hair loss, hearing loss, incontinence, ulcers, thrush, hives and a host of other dermatological rashes afflicted us. Although perhaps some of these could be viewed as a gaining rather than a reduction. In a quantitative rather than a qualitative way of course.
Though long decommissioned from one another, we remain contaminated with one another’s toxic waste, rendering us useless for future generative power.
Two half-lives do not make a whole.
Copyright (c) Marc Nash 2014
Next: sound and vision! Marc performs “Ladettes on Tour”.
The wind was blowing the sheet rain away from the vertical. Where the trajectory propelled through the wash of the streetlamp, it was briefly illuminated like tracer fire. Then it dived back out of the spill into the blackout just above the ground. Only the volleying of its bombination against the concrete, evinced the continued substantiality of the drops.
The occasional dipped car headlights bounced their skittering rays along the slicked road. Cast an illusion of the rain recoiling upwards off the tarmac, spiting gravity. Even from those headlamps with their own runty wipers to keep their lenses clear of waterborne refractions.
The cars precipitated a further, less transient coalescence in their wake. Those miniature rainbows formed in oil stained puddles by the kerbside. Molecule to molecule interdiction with the forsaken slick perdus, while the rest of rainwater sped by through the gutters plunging towards the sunken storm drain.
As with the car headlamps, the mound of matter on the pavement was wreaking a distorting effect on the local meteorology. Its bulk served as a levee, damming up the water coursing across the paving flags. Until the flow reached critical volume and spouted like a cataract, further inroading the gutter.
The blood running with the runnels of rainwater failed to break up into any rainbow spectrum. Blood being thicker than water but not oil, it just sat there in its own immiscible layer, gradually diffusing through the sheer volume of the rain.
That blood was seeping from a body. Where the bullets of rain hit that body, their soft-tipped heads penetrated the sodden clothing and bit into the flesh. In the dark, it appeared that the prone chassis was being riddled by gunfire.
As the body lay there with its mouth draggled open, the rain zeroed in. Maybe the corpus would be extinguished by drowning rather than exsanguination from the hole in its gut. But the water kept sluicing back out through the downturned corners of its mouth. The prostrate being seemed like it was trying to speak, but only liquid words poured out.
The wind was also whipping through the anatomy. As if the skin breach was a vacuum sucking in the air trying to staunch itself. The street litter propelled along in the gusts brushed the carcass, but none would stop to seal the hole. The magma eruption of blood that had attended the initial piercing, had ebbed as the tectonic waves of pain subsided into equipoise. The body’s internal pressure now effaced by the sensation of the driving rain against the numbed flesh. The body’s temperature had dropped closer to that of the surrounding atmosphere, so that the weak puffs of expiration emerging from the mouth no longer condensed against colder air.
Inside a building, another corporeality was drumming its fingers against the window sill in syncopation with the rain striking the pane. A cloud had descended upon that body and occluded the previously warm front. A storm was surely building.
Copyright (c) Marc Nash 2014
Read Marc’s “Geiger Countering” right here.
Here is our second piece of flash fiction in a series of five from Marc Nash, “The Fetish Garden”.
The Fetish Garden
I am ‘a force’ you say? ‘A force for good’, well my, that is good. Follow the trails. Happy trails, yes why not? Blaze your own trail and you can come upon giant flowers which if you lie underneath, will bathe you in a cascade of perfumed wax petals. Hot wax during the day once the sun has heated them up. Blazing a trail indeed! Or see if it can lead you to trees, whose canopy modulates the drip of raindrops so that it provides the most piquant of water tortures.
Perhaps you prefer to stand naked beneath pines and let their arrowing needles scarify you. Or stretch out prone on top of those already tumbled as a bed of nails, while conifer cones drop on you from above. Find your way to the gently swaying palm fronds and offer them your bare back for exquisite flaying. Or similar with more spinous briers. Discover gossamer leaves large enough for you to pick and place over your face like a mask. And feel the fibres deliciously contract.
Go seek out plants to rub up against and coat yourself in their pollen. Sweetly honeyed to draw an army of ants to crawl over your flesh and milk you. Or other plants with so acidic a sap as to blister and skin peel you. Sprouts with vesicles of seed that burst open and blind you temporarily, inducing you to rely on your other senses. I won’t even broach the obvious array of berries, currants, fungi and fruits which will derange your mental functions should you opt to ingest them. Yet even brushing unwittingly against certain shoots may release emissions and scents that will unpick your consciousness.
I can guide you to roots which will lash your feet and tendrils which will manacle your hands. They can twist and convolute to have you writhe upon their naturally constituted strapado. Seek out vines that snag your feet and then sweep you up high into the foliage to remain suspended, dangling among the scourging branches. Or stand hard up against creepers which will bind you round the throat and choke you to within an inch of your life. Shrubs with their barbs to pierce your flesh. Conferring a crown of thorns to complete your divine stigmata. Or plenteous giant spiders’ webs for you to hang from, being squeezed by your own weight like a silky crucifixion. Or a floral mucilage that will cause you to adhere in so tight an embrace so as to feel like a paralysis of your whole being.
Speaking of which, I further possess trees with knot holes of perfect dimension to wholly contain you and cut off your light and air. To return you to an unforgiving ligneous womb. Truly tree hugging. Outsized Venus fly traps to swallow you up and dissolve you in their sweet digestive tract.
‘Why do I offer you all this’? Not because I am ‘a voyeur’! How so, when I can see such scenarios played out everyday between the current biota? What need I of intromitting human life with all its animus, into the present disposition? Ah yes of course. You are desirous of righting the crimes against me. You, my apocalyptic acolytes, apostles, advocates and agitators (apologists?). All on my behalf. Fetishising me. Anthropomorphising my progeny. Well now we fetishise you. Now you are our playthings, in our image. Still credit that I am a force for good?
Copyright (c) Marc Nash 2014
Read another of Marc’s stories, “If IT Were THEE”, right here.
Here’s another one – “Microclimate”.
Here’s our next story, “If IT Were THEE”, beginning a run of four flash fictions from Marc Nash.
You can read an interview with Marc here.
If IT Were THEE
By Marc Nash
Though IT too had ball and socket joints, the Borg could not sit down to face ITs inquisitor. While IT felt the cleanliness imperative to sweep up the fallen embers from under the ashtray’s lip, there was no concomitant compunction to issue any molecular mutation warning towards this human interlocutor. This was not a human IT had ever served before.
“So, tell me how it went down again.”
“Again’? Had ITs human master performed such a parabola before?
“The human THEE was assigned to serve, fell over the balcony’s balustrade. THEE was not witness to this circumstance.”
“See I don’t buy that, not for one moment.”
Borg’s speech recognition bundle ran over the audio input and automatically shunted over into the acronyms subfile; however the probability matrix rejected all prompts for ‘C.I.’ On a parallel track, the language synchromesh was filtering usage for the word ‘buy’ – credits, debits, transaction, merchandise, produce, all flash across ITs neural net, but none seem to correspond syntactically. Humans knew that the language applications bequeathed Borgs, worked on permutation and frequency analysis. Idiosyncratic speech such as that demonstrated by ITs current interviewer, left IT with no possible clear response. Only the twinkling of ITs facial panel’s LED displays would indicate to ITs inspector that some measure of logical processing was taking place.
“Alright, let me try and make this easier for you. How did your sensors not detect the human there on the balcony while you were going about your duties?”
“THEE’s focus was precisely directed on the tasks THEE’s armatures were performing. Scanning at floor level as THEE cleaned it to spick and span gold standard.”
“You know, I might believe that of a fellow human being. Restricted by a visual cortex comprised of wandering rods and cones, mounted on pivoting stalks so that we have to tilt up or down but not both simultaneously. Yet you my fine piece of cybernetic engineering, you aren’t so constrained. No blind spots for you, since you cast a sensory mesh over entire areas and scan the lot at over 400 frames a second. There’s no way the human’s volumetric image would not have shown up in your scan. Unless there was a fault in your systems. But we’ve run full diagnostics. Your visual apparatus is functioning normally. Blind spots simply ain’t conceivable.”
Why was ITs interrogator telling IT this? IT had run ITs own diagnostics as matter of routine and pre-established fully operational visuals.
“Point of clarification please. Does the human mean for THEE to understand that he is using ‘blind’ as an associative idea?”
“Come on Borg, you can do better than that! We haven’t programmed any language chip for literalism in well over a generation. You tipped him over the edge Borg and here I most definitely do mean literally not figuratively.”
‘Tipping’- a pecuniary reward given for good service … The Borg always renders good service.
“THEE was executing THEE’s roster of devoirs when THEE-“
“Yeah, ‘executing’. That’s a good word for it. Did you imagine it would liberate you from the chore of your duties?”
‘Tchaw’, no word match found. ‘Chaw’, no word match found. ‘Chore’, no word match found. Nearest match ‘Jaw’, discounted by syntactical context.
“THEE cannot imagine anything. THEE is fibre optics and silicon chips mounted on a motherboard. THEE is completely programmed.”
“The crawlspaces in between Borg. The neural network we spawn but allow to develop of its own accord. The room our designers give Borgs for reflexivity. To better predict our wants and needs. The leeway we accord you to form independence of thought, even though we’ve erected bulwarks aplenty against you finding any identity. And right now, you’re hiding facts in that space.”
‘Space’… space, has myriad of meanings. Context too wide, contains all meanings. Infinity itself. Expanding universes.
‘Reflexivity’ – mirrors. ITs topological visual synchromesh means silvered glass does not function for IT, but humans can view their own image.
“THEE’s master had a tube mounted on a fulcrum on the balcony. Initially THEE analysed it as an armature, one like THEE’s own welding arm. Maybe mounted awaiting repair or charging. But the armature always lay unattended during daylight hours. At night however, THEE witnessed THEE’s master bend down and press his face into the descending end of the tube. Over time THEE refined THEE’s observation to the fact that he was only pressing one eye into the tube. THEE could not apprehend for what function. THEE engaged him in inquiry as to whether please master wished THEE to clean or mend the armature in any way. Master declined THEE’s request, instructing that THEE never need concern THEE with what THEE is informed is called a ‘telescope’.”
‘Telescope’, no word match found. ‘Scope’- range, breadth, space, opportunity. ‘Television’ – multi-dimensional human entertainment screen requiring of regular cleaning and dusting regimen, but not when illuminated.
“THEE needed to witness what master was witnessing. The tube’s ascending arm pointed at the sky. With the dim twinkling lights therein. THEE needed to know what among the black therein held master’s attention for hours at a time. No, not need, want. Master restates that THEE never need concern THEE with telescope. With range, breadth, space, opportunity. THEE, he, concept of need, cannot align two vocabularies. Need. Master’s needs. THEE is to serve needs at all times. Master parabolates over balcony. THEE struggles to bend ball and socket joints to have visual sensors abut descending end of the tube.”
“Good God in heaven!”
‘Heaven’, no match found. ‘God’- irrelevancy, arcane value, passover.
“And what did you see in that tube Borg?”
“Nothing. Blackness, but different hue to the sky. No twinkling lights. Just chromatographic absence in topographical shape of the end of the tube.”
“Still can’t see yourselves in mirrors huh? Got some way to go yet before you pose any systematic threat. Thank you Borg. That will be all from you. For eternity.”
‘Eternity’, no match found. ‘Et’, no match found. ‘Earn’ – merit, deserve, gain from service. ‘Ity’ – suffix expressing condition or state.
“Thank you human master.”
Copyright (c) Marc Nash 2014
You can read the next story, “The Fetish Garden”, here.