Codex

The girl makes scribbled adjustments to the formula which has consumed her for the past few days. The pencil in her fingers cannot match the speed of the chemical reactions racing the labyrinthine corridors of her mind, so she begins writing in improvised shorthand in order to retain the thoughts before they slip the net.

It is a futile task, wholly absurd, like trying to write a diary on LSD. Even if there were words to express what she perceived, the actual formation of the blackened graphite symbols on the white page creates a rainbow vapour trail. It alters her reality further, forcing her tumbling into the letters themselves.

She knows what she must do, she knows that the bubble waits to be burst, but all her theorizing has little to offer for practical application and in truth she fears the consequences. She writes the final line and in doing so accepts the challenge.

She checks on her sleeping husband and gently kisses her two daughters, smiling at their tranquil sleep-blessed faces. Returning downstairs, she checks the time out of habit more than necessity and settles on the sofa. The disk already waits in the drive, she presses the button and forty five minutes later she hears a faint pop from inside her cranium. She slumps forward as blood pours from her nose and stains the page on her lap.

The secret of life resides in pulp fiction.

In the critical nanosecond before her heart flatlines, time is stopped. Two cloaked figures emerge from the shadowy corners of the room. One walks straight up to the limp body and pulls a black box from the depths of its robes. The other lingers nervously behind.

‘Is she dead?’ The Second questions.

‘Clearly not. Otherwise our purpose of being here would be entirely futile. Hurry we do not have much time. Open this. I can never remember the sequence.’

The First tosses the cube across the room and it is caught by shaking hands which immediately begin twisting and rotating the cube’s faces. Shades of black, barely perceptible but clearly present like the sheen of a raven’s wing, begin to realign.

The Second looks up from his work, ‘How is it possible that we do not have much time, if we have stopped time?’

The First sighs, ‘Have you been paying the slightest bit of attention? We have stopped time for her and ipso facto the rest of the world. The earth has stopped turning. It will not be long until that is noticed so hurry up!’

The last combination is executed and the cube begins to unfold itself. The Second emits a faint whimper and lets the developing creature fall to the floor onto its newly emerged feet. It narrows its blackened eyes focusing on the inert figure before it, before inhaling deep the surrounding air. Its appetite whetted, it lunges at the motionless girl. It catches the droplet of blood suspended mid-air between her chin and chest and then growls in a sub-sonic pitch. From its groin what appears to be a fern leaf uncurls.

‘Is this strictly necessary?’ The Second asks.

‘Not strictly but I felt that it was appropriate. Activation is such a messy job and he so enjoys his work. It is nothing she has not experienced before.’

‘It is something I have not experienced before,’ The Second declares, watching in fascinated horror as the beast enters the girl. Her lips part as his tip exists through her mouth. The Second begins to gag but cannot avert his eyes from the scene.

‘We are not here for your personal gratification demon!’ Fulfil your orders and get out!’ The First commands the beast and then turns to the Second. ‘What is wrong with you? If either of us succumb to sentimentality we’re fucked. Even more fucked than she is right now. She won’t even remember it, the R.A.T. will take care of that’.

‘It wasn’t her memory I was concerned with,’ The Second says feebly.

The tattooed skin on the nape of the girl’s neck is lifted. A demonic digit is inserted, piercing the vertebrae and travelling up the spinal fluid into the base of her brain. The slumbering rodent is located and awakened. The beast sneers in satisfaction and withdraws from her.

Quickly the First hits the button on the beast’s back and the demon reconfigures into the original cube, emitting shrieks and gas like a deflated doll. The girl enters cardiac arrest.

‘Time has been restarted, we must go.’

The First picks up the smoking cube, grabs the shaking Second and they disappear.

Pyramid Song

Dreams of angels and of wings broken and torn. Feathers swirling like snow. Under a sky black as velvet embellished with diamond strewn stars, bodies lay fallen and twisted.

Their skin, cool and pale as wax, torn asunder.

Golden lifeblood drains from crippled veins. Their vital fluid collects in the impressions left by heavenly footprints like nectar in summer horncups. Each radiant pool glows platinum under the moonshine until it overflows, spilling its precious contents down the hillside.

The landscape is gilded and the fallen stars, scattered like chess pieces are carried to the valley floor.

A river is born of blood and bodies, as black eyed angels slip beneath the auric torrent.

Talk

Golden sandy dune, indigo twilight sky. A familiar voice, a flood of relief.

He paced in front of me, kicking sand with his feet.

‘Have you any idea how much trouble you have caused? Any idea at all? Jesus Fucking Christ Eden. You’ve surpassed yourself this time! Talking to people about it? Uploading it online? Trying to attract attention to yourself in the biggest way possible! You would have been in a coma within a second of hitting return. You could have been lost forever, so you’d better have a pretty fucking good explanation prepared because you have pissed a lot of people off. Me especially. Well?’

I bit the side of my cheek, trying to avoid his gaze. I missed you, I thought.

‘You missed me? You missed me? You destroyed the world because you missed me? Well, that’s alright then! The entire history of civilisation, humankind, everything. Erased, all gone. Because you missed me? Any other repressed feelings you’d like to share? Despair perhaps? Or misery? I’m sure that I have a few galaxies lying around not doing much that would benefit hugely from a dose of your emotions. You stupid, selfish moron!’ He grabbed me and shook me harder than I would like.

Anger rose in my chest and I shoved him away from me. ‘ You know, you are usually far nicer to me in this world. It’s been a pretty shitty day truth be told, the very least I’d expect is that my dream-you would be a little kinder.’

‘Oh holy fuck, you think you are dreaming? Have you completely forgotten what is going on here?’

‘What’s going on here is that you are pissing me right off.’ I started walking away.

He caught up to me and gazed deep into my eyes. ‘Seriously Eden, have you forgotten what is going on?’

I shrugged, ‘What is going on?’

‘Fuck!’ He kicked the sand and muttered, ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck. You’ve been under too long’.

‘Too long for what? What the hell?’

‘Hell. Exactly.’ He shook me again, ‘Eden, seriously, I need you to remember’.

‘Remember what? You are talking crazy. And to be honest you are scaring me a little’.

‘I can’t tell you. It has to come from you. You have to trust me. You don’t need to be scared – well actually you do- but not if you remember. Quickly.’

‘Trust you? Are you kidding? Almost everything that comes out of your mouth is a lie’.

‘If it wasn’t I wouldn’t need you to trust me. Please. Try.’

‘I am trying’, I said through gritted teeth. ‘But you’re not exactly being helpful.’

‘You’d be surprised.’

‘Really? If this is helpful, can we skip obtuse?’

‘You know, you are really quite funny when you are angry’.

‘Can you fuck off and starting talking sensible?’

He sighed, ‘No. I can’t and you have no idea how much I wish I could.’ He leaned forward and touched his forehead to mine. ‘The point is you have to remember. That is the key to everything’.

‘The way you said everything, it sounded like everything. Trust me, nothing in my head is that important.’

He squeezed my hands. ‘You are going to wake up now. You cannot forget that you need to remember. You have to take this memory with you’.

‘You said I wasn’t dreaming!’

‘I might have lied’.

‘I hate you’.

‘I often feel the same. Now…wake up Eden’.

Inferno – Canto V

And now the notes of anguish start to play

upon my ears; and now I find myself

where sounds on sounds of weeping pound at me.

I came to a place where no light shone at all,

bellowing like the sea racked by a tempest,

when warring winds attack it from both sides.

The infernal storm, eternal in its rage,

sweeps and drives the spirits with its blast:

it whirls them, lashing them with punishment.

When they are swept back past their place of judgement,

then come the shrieks, laments, and anguished cries;

there they blaspheme God’s almighty power.

I learned that to this place of punishment

all those who sin in lust have been condemned,

those who make reason slave to appetite;

and as the wings of starlings in the winter

bear them along in wide-spread, crowded flocks,

so does that wind propel the evil spirits:

now here, then there, and up and down, it drives them

with never any hope to comfort them-

hope not of rest but even of suffering less.

 

Dante Alighieri

Lines 25-45.

Translation by Mark Musa