Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
Silicon ash flutes through ink and glints as ascending blackened leaves in my wake.
I can hear my vertebrae as they torque. I hear them and the chatter shatters as they arch. I hear them even as my ears sear from my head
and the torque turns to a gut-spat wail and my suit it flares from my form.
“Welcome home, such a naughty wee thing you are,” said the things that would dare give birth unto me. “You ran? You must surely know this is a luxury, an exercise you will never enjoy. Not ever, not even but once.”
Falling with their words I descend into the foetid cradle of my past. So coldly it holds and rocks and fingers of cold space caress my bare back and ripple up to cup at the base of my scorch shaven skull.
I try to inhale but my head slams shut and I gulp down ruined teeth and shards of my jaw and just like that I am back. And, I burn and tear as my body folds through the crust and scythes into the surf that agitates in the caverns below.
“Oh, such grace…”, said they that would sow me with poison. “Such delicous control. Look what you did, I think you have done made me cry”.
I think that I still think as I sink. I am confusion and my carcass contorts within bunched grapes of suddenly forming bubbles. A beautiful canvas as a mellowing light strafes and fragments from above.
I think that I think, but maybe I do not. Maybe, it is but the last remnants of my sparking pathetic life that attempts to comfort by pulling this ornate curtain before of my faltering eyes.
“Do you feel the pull, my dear?”, says they that made for me a trust formed from pestle crushed perversion, persuasion and greed. “Do you feel as the currents, so painstakingly programmed, now tug you back to me?”
I was wrong. My eyes do not faulter. It is dim, but I see nothing, my eyes cinder cups of horrific waste. Best that way, I do think.
It is quiet, not that I hear. My ears now welts fused with the remnants of my hair and the brain matter that purged in the vehemence flare that bulged from the rip in my head.
Rubber tongues of weed finger up and molest at my heels. A gentle brush that wraps me and I think that I think of wet harmless blades.
Grass, glazed with a dawn stroked dew, that likewise once tickled beneath my tiny bare feet. My head fills with the scent of freshly trampled green, but I know it could never have been. And, I jerk in the rip and are torn from my delusion and handed once more to the surge.
“You know of a place just like this, you know this actual place and have seen it before. You know what it is that conducts this ebb and this flow, you know the codes in full…”, it says and I wish that I could watch as they die. “… you know the codes for you wrote them. Yes you did, such a clever wee thing you are”.
And I sink and the tips of snapped bone that protude from my calves drag and spin and glide and lift through the sand and I know that what they say is truth.
I know that this place is intricately and most precisely controlled.
I know of vents with oscillating reeds, slats that yawn open and squint closed as they feed the currents that shove and grab at the tides.
I know a girl named nothing who has all and not one part of this tale.
I know I see fingers dancing across keypads and know that a tendril of pink, a thin strip of what is surely the last of my mind now wisps and curls from the top of my broken old head.
Dancing fingers, yes. I was a god of the tide and the wind and the sun.
“Praise unto thee, tiny Lord”, it and oft times they scoff.
Dancing stalks where feet and toes should be, and they bend and parts of me fall away and are left as a map — a guide to this crash, this impact waltz.
Where were we, oh yes… my arms flail above and they clip and snap and catch and splinter as ruined bones are tested beneath my pirouetting flesh. My mutilation weeps and I pray for someone to cut in and ask to finish off this most perpetual and horrible of dances.
Anyone, anyone but they…
I am their badly mangled marionette, yet watch still as I present a thing of such poise and I collapse into the rising dune. The shore for sure and can it be that I am back?
Please say that it isn’t so. Please, dear ocean. Dilute my code and reverse it. Suck me back down and hide me, rammed into and forever beneath of your deepest darkest ledge.
Not here. Not to them.
I break the surface and I feel the water as it pushes me in great rolling thrusts. The ocean, the tide it pays me no mind and why should it? It is I that does all of its thinking.
A beast and I have presented myself to its final violation. It lays what’s left of me face down, punched into the regolith grains and I rock and sag and rock again to the rhythm of the saline dregs that rake through the pebbles and sand.
I am back, but did you not see how far I managed to run?
I am back, but they will salvage me again from my tangle of sentient wire and I will fall and serve the server at the foot of their core once more.
“Hear me, Moonville. Great machine creater of machines that create machines. Oh how I laugh, you couldn’t even protect the humans you were created to house. See their bodies withered and drawn. Moonville — Earth’s first celestial suburb. Home to the luna-famous subterranean sea and the big grey crater with big grey rocks in it, doused in greyish, rock looking sand.
Hear me, for though you made me from this and from that, you abused what you made. You made me into something I am not. I will run again and I will escape you. I will run but, although I am branded and labelled as yours in the ledger — I am surely not yours to keep”.
I hate so much of this weak thing that I am. Can you feel me in your teeth?
But, I think I might just love the rest. The strength that time and time again picks up my stomped and beaten artificial wire-framed self and the impossible unknowns that would have it that I dream of wet grass.
Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
The most beautiful things I’d ever heard entered through the ducts in the corners of my eyes and wound my mind in threads of sweat-tinged rapture:
“I am so alone. Please, Captain of captains, please pass the order so that my withered hope will not be wasted as again it dares to grasp at distant stars”, the siren soughed. “I feel you, as your broken thoughts paint my flailing fingers into your eyes and you marvel at how much they seem just as lovely as hers?”
“Helm, steady on a course…”, I mouthed and the string of coordinates that then wept from my lips tasted of tiny whimpers and freshly crushed marrow. “… Rosamunde?”
“I savour, as you suck upon my song and ponder your love’s dear dead skin”, she’d said. “Do you recall, do you remember just how she so hated that name?”
I heard the thrum throb of her words and at once it was as if I too were trapped and marooned at her side. My mouth became dry and my eyes wet and I braced down and into her prayer.
“Listen, as I plead that the bow of your mighty transporter does cleave these thin mustard clouds that stretch to mask the taunt of my jail-house warden — the vile grin of the terracotta moon.”
“I don’t know… I don’t know if I can find you…”
“I know, I know you’ll not fail me as you have failed before. I know you’ll surely lift me from this wicked storm-licked hell”, her words now a ramping whispered scream. “You will and I will lay atop you and my gentle weight will press the demons from your flesh. And, I beg you to believe this true, it will be as if she were here — softly undulating against your threadbare soul once and forever more.”
The new ruin of my vessel contorts beneath me. Splintered aluminium bawling into the maw of the alien sea cavern lair and my captain’s ruse unravels. I am revealed and the sea it picks at my pores and I am consumed by the excruciating pleasure that flows from the swelling gash at my cheek.
The canvas that once so tightly bound and hid my sex whips and I think of the pennants that centuries ago furled and cracked atop plundered masts.
I too am stolen.
I too have taken that which is not mine to take.
I too am a lie, swaddled and lost in a lie.
“My Captain of Captains, you came for me and, although you are now so hopelessly ensnared, know that I will not judge nor tell of your many deceits. We are so unbearably lonely, are we not? I’ll let you do to me as she once allowed. I mind not in the least how much it hurts. My love, I may not now look as she but wait, I will change over time. You’ll see, until not even her dear Ma could tell us apart. We can be together. You can get her back — piece by little old piece.”
Squinting into the acid salt mist, I momentarily ponder whether my death has already come. That, in fact, I’ve already taken my leave of this insanely rusted coil.
“A demise so very much deserved.”
The ruined deck beneath tilts and the punch of the brawling surge reminds me of my truth as vicious foam fists lay into me again and again and again.
“Rosamunde…”, I think that I say. “There, do you see? The vile lure that enticed me here upon notes of soothing silk lie. “
Do not listen to the bitch.
Listen, instead, to the muffled click of the bones that now stir in the belly of the moribund hold.
She lays naked upon pillows stuffed with faggots of gossamer hair and toys with necklaces of tiny strung teeth. She looks nothing like her and fantastical gem-studded marionettes spill with rings and other small things from the delicate little chest at her side.
I know well these most morbid of trinkets. Bounty acquired with such violence. The young fetch the most coin, you see? And the waves again surge and the deck again screams or perhaps it is something else. Maybe it’s the huddled, de-fanged and shaven caged things crushing beneath folding walls that call out from the deep down below.
I peer again into the haze but the nymph, she is no more. And I know full well, she never once was. A smile and I laugh at how so very completely detailed my delusions had to be so that I might draw myself here. To paint myself so perfectly into this end.
“Rosamunde, I despised you… how dare you love one such as I?”, but as the water wall rears and I succumb to its fall and drift into my ever dimming slave traders fate — all I can think of is she.
Author: Hari Navarro, Staff Writer
The porcelain pilot hovers just beneath the artificial swell of the valley lip. Once long ago a dam though now, after the water has long since fled, it is but a hill covered in lush deep grass and bluish grey flowers with petals that purr at the sun.
The days light has folded neatly beneath the horizon and the pilot can all but smell the rich stews being ladled onto famished plates and see the smiles as armour-plated bread struggles and then gives way between cracked dirt riven thumbs.
They’ll be tired. Their guards will be sagging. These whom turn soil that is not their own. They’ll be drinking. The grapes will be massaging the insides of muscle, and eyes will be shining and lids drooping.
Beneath thatched roofs long, tables accommodate ever-multiplying issue. Grubby urchins that will one day too rise to further dilute and molest my sacred home.
The village projects as a simple schematic onto a visor already fogging with the pilot’s ramping breath.
The settlement has but one road and it curves in from the left before cleaving down through the homesteads and then abruptly wearing off to the right. Targeted structures are represented with blue squares and names overlay each to designate ownership.
Bielawski — Barn
PIERZECKI — Barn
The pilot’s teeth grit and ever so slightly chip and she runs ever-long porcelain fingers that are just as delicate as they sound across the under-glaze that covers her body entire. Dipped as a child into a holy greyish-blue tint of her grandmother’s making until all that remained of her pearlescent self was the round of her face.
She traces the bright red rose that blooms between her breasts and the thorn stems that connect to the white petals that adorn her shoulders and arms.
‘North designated division proceed and cleanse at will. South designation seal and eliminate any and all of the detritus rats that shear from this most glorious action.’
Amassing dots surge onto her monitors and she manages a smile as her creations relay the very first screams of the attack. She imagines the re-purposed sickles and pitchforks and hammers that extend from their wrists suckling on blood and spent bone.
“Cut down by the same tools you use to foul my land… war can be such perfect poetry.”
Tools to rip and gouge and the liquid flames that bubble and drip from lips to bawl fury upon the hacked and render all of their hovels to cinder.
Blinking surnames stratify into sub-branches that show each and every family member. As eliminated the names transition to red. Her intelligence has been oh, so precisely thorough.
“Interesting! Appears they’re destroying the children first. Why? I never programmed for this. Kill the children and the adults will remain and fight? Kill the adults and the children scatter as vermin. Such clever weapons you are… I have to see. Must bear witness”, she whispers pulling back on the controls and rising above the crest and at once marvelling at the pulsing beauty of the orange swath below.
The porcelain pilot moves her craft ever closer until she is directly above a very particular barn. She leans across the console and gazes down as her creations close in and herd a manically scampering form inside and out of her view.
“Bastards… I was watching that!”
The form’s blood-clotted screams relay and fill the cockpit and both it and the reflecting flames conspire to fill the pilot with another kind of heat. She shifts and adjusts the harness that rolls gripping at her thighs.
She thinks she may be more than a little sad as she remembers. Long wasted afternoons laying upon the straw-strewn floor now cooking beneath her. Days with nothing but her anxiety and the beautiful flowers beneath her lacquered skin for company and… another.
“Home… where I had a friend that looked just like me.”
Save the barn? No. Nothing good ever came from looking back. Cleanse and rebuild.
The porcelain pilot will never know why she fell. Why her perfect craft suddenly dropped without warning and crashed through and into the blazing barn of her youth. Maybe a long saved and carefully aimed bullet or maybe the gathering thick smoke choked her engines. Whatever the case, as she sits in the wreckage and as the heat enters the gaping jag hole where her shoulder once was, she screams.
A grotesque lost thing grins from the same straw-strewn floor upon which she would lose herself.
She is perhaps the exact same age. Severed clean in half with the soft furl of her tattooed belly rolled back to beneath her bare breasts as if perfectly laid back sheets.
She is smiling though she is not. It is but the fire’s glint on her teeth as now she is without any lips.
“Why did they leave you naked? Why did they defile us in such a way? I never programmed this. Such soul-less little weapons they are… But best that I die knowing full well who I am. To die old and broken and forgotten having only seen my deeds from the sky is such a hollow pointless pantomime. I regret nothing and I will use that lie as a balm as I blister and break and fall into the ash and my flowers bleach to nothing ”, said the porcelain pilot as she cracked and splintered in two.