By C. C. Parker
Tethered to the City of the Sun is the eternal chromosome. Unseen while it is both ancient & waiting in the future. Penetrating deep into the roots of churning histories where gold has been dredged from its foundries. Molten guts sloshing with fire & blood, emitting a chain of memory that codifies in its darkest moments . . . Deranged spectres hardening in a meat-furnace as the body grows rancid. Born larvae-like, but eventually taking flight. Enough to break its shell of shit that’s encased them for so long. Dust incinerated in final dawn as the planet slips. Burning. One more look behind as they carry a broken god on their backs. Nearly impossible to reach their destination, but that’s how they’ve survived so long. Physicality both spore-like & metallic to climb through stars. Long periods of sleeping between bouts of pain. Bound to one another in the cosmic freeze. Sharpening their dialectic meaning as they’re both brutish & philosophically charged. Seeds of night & day . . . They didn’t arrive here to conquer it, but to enforce the balance that’s always ensured their longevity. To keep blood pumping through nature’s veins & make sure she’s moist enough to reveal soft-spots in the desert – Tribes & mystics anointing her open plains. Generations to reshape the land into a valley of shrines.
Now, as the old planet shatters & boils, there’s no corner for a plaintive mind. Dilution of the spirit unremitting since before the first citadels were erected. Man hiding from man as the spawn of eras sweep him up. A current of fire swallowing his mind as he tastes blood at the back of his throat. With rage against sickness he feels for closed portals, bloated by inertia & the soundless voice. It is only heard when he’s asleep, buzzing beneath his dream. Nothing he can focus with his thoughts. Deliriums have taken the place of visions. Arrested in throes of death even though he’s still extant. Unable to connect with the essence of his sublimity. In the face of freedom as it is denounced. Self-immolation in the face of dire ignorance . . . Yet, among a fading race, there were those listening with grim defiance. Hidden inside ruins where roads are still paved in gold; inlaid by skulls. Eyeless sockets gaze into burning sky. Blinded by holocaust (to remind them while they’re still here). Sight forsaken by reason & progress – Knowledge of death that’s only capable of transference. Inside charnel winds of memory’s estate. Future looms cold & calculated. Even as wilderness remains uninhabitable & the wound opens up. All secrets, once uncharted, bleed-out & roll back into an ocean of unreceived symbologies.
A golden chain weaving invisibly through plasmic regions. Even if one is falling or waking in his shell. A burning question enters thought making him desperate & desirous of a more atomized way. Realization becomes the ocean he’s always considered to be a sequestered zone. Only gods had access – But he was a god! Holding a scepter in his fist with the head of many beasts. Roiling eyes to gaze down disparate corridors. Not legion, but plenty. All separate, they can easily unify. Drinking from the same cup. Blood on blood. Scintillating in dark a moment before the fire descends. Travelling through space while still entwined in each & every breath. It’s the only way he could ever reach them & why he’s still here. Many others, too, who are no longer susceptible to loney forms – Bathing in soaked orgies. Erogenous salutations as seed is blasted across fields. Erecting pyramids that connect the chain to its source. Nature’s spume coming undone in a galaxy of stars. Where he sits & gazes & strokes the fate of all things.
- - -
C. C. Parker lives in Seattle. A writer of experimental horrors in the mid-to-late 90s & early 2000s. Publishing in such mags as Chimeraworld, Bare Bone & Flesh & Blood, etc . . . Over the past decade he has become increasingly fascinated with the hermetic arts. Alchemy, Gnosticism & the like. Philosophies in sync with how he sees the world. Now, drawing on surrealism, mythology & personal wakefulness. A writer of both medieval & futuristic romances.
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Alfonso Colasuonno
Mack Quinn’s feet kept moving, but his mind had become lost in reverie. His attention was drawn upwards, beyond the limits of the terrestrial plane. "I don't see them today."
Annie Pappas, Mack’s downstairs neighbor and longtime companion, rolled her eyes. Her lips were downturned. “Christ. Again with the chemtrails?”
Mack’s normally even voice ascended slightly in timbre. "It’s true, Annie. I saw a video on YouTube that--"
Annie scoffed. "Stop it, Mack. Do you know how much of an idiot you sound like right now?"
“But I don’t see them ever go away. They just stay there.” Mack’s voice trailed off.
"The gods broke the mold."
Mack continued gazing upwards. He had cocked his head all the way back, oblivious to anything transpiring in any realm below the heavens. His tall, lumbering frame repeatedly tripped over the hilly pavement as he stared at the sky, waiting for the first signs of lingering jet exhaust from above.
Around the corner from the rather unsightly (yet quite affordable) diner where they dined every afternoon, by the lonesome Victorian nestled incongruously between a Guatemalan grocery store and a Chinese bakery, Mack noticed a black, box-like object that appeared to materialize in the air. “Annie, you should take a look.” Mack’s head remained tilted in comic fashion. His eyes became saucers. His forward motion abruptly halted. Annie’s advance stopped a few feet in front of Mack. They remained in place.
"Christ. What the--” Annie noticed the small black box in odd juxtaposition with the otherwise abnormally clear sky.
Mack pointed upwards. “I saw one before. Remember when Joey drove us to Tenafly to see your mother? I remember seeing one out by the Verrazano. We all saw that one.”
"That was a spotlight." The typical verve in Annie’s voice had gone mute.
Mack’s finger was still locked on the object. "This isn't a spotlight."
"Christ. I know it's not a spotlight. I just want to know what the hell that is up there.”
Mack glanced at Annie, and then continued examining the black box in the sky. "It's just staying there." His voice was preternaturally calm.
An elderly man observed them from the front window of the Victorian. Mack and Annie remained staring upwards, mouths agape, as the elderly man stepped onto his front porch. “Hello.” His English was heavily accented.
Even as he turned his attention away from the black box, Mack’s mouth remained twisted in a dumb open grin. Annie’s eyes had transformed, becoming fire. "Look at that up in the sky." Her words were spoken as a direct challenge.
The elderly man joined them on the sidewalk. He observed the firmament. There was nothing unusual in the heavens. He scratched at his thinning crown. "Am I not seeing something?"
Annie’s heart thumped. "Why are you lying to us? It's up there, all right. It’s gone now, but...Shit. It just came back. It just, goddamn it, it just disappeared and then reappeared. Now it’s looping around in circles. Don’t you see it? Can’t old Russians see?"
The elderly man remained impassive. "I’m from Ukraine, miss.” He walked back to his doorway. “I guess I can’t see what you see.” The man smiled bemusedly at the couple.
Synchronized at the exact moment that the elderly man returned inside his home, a young mother looped around the pair at a rapid pace. She carried a bag from a gourmet supermarket with one hand and pushed the stroller with her other hand. Mack and Annie didn’t notice her good-natured smile as she passed them by. Their attention remained fixed on the sight.
"It’s still there. It isn’t moving." Mack deadpanned.
Annie’s face had turned pallid. She darted towards the mother. Her speech sped up like a record played at the wrong speed. "Don’t you see it? Don’t you see that UFO up there in the sky moving around?” She shook a finger at Mack, off in the distance. “He was right. It's the end for all of us. A UFO. Christ."
The mother’s face turned alabaster. Her bag fell to the ground, scattering an assortment of vegetables and fruit along the sidewalk. She headed down the street, past the Guatemalan grocery store, in a mad dash, her baby clasped tightly against her breast. Her free hand remained pushing the stroller, which zigzagged in all directions.
Mack sauntered over. The mother retreated into the distance. The elderly man never returned. The black box dissolved into the sky. "I know she saw it. She just didn’t understand me. She probably can’t speak English." Annie’s face was beatific, her tone placid, as she waited to be sucked into the aether.
- - -
Alfonso Colasuonno writes fiction and poetry. He maintains a daily blog and writer's resource called The Literary Game (theliterarygame.wordpress.com) designed to help aspiring writers build confidence and savvy. His work has appeared in many excellent literary journals.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
By John Ogden
In the cold void of hypersleep, my dreams are always full of meat.
Muscles flayed of skin, surging, bleeding– the meat that pulses through my dreams is alive, spreads through the darkness like a cancer. Hungry, driven only to grow, it slithers across the cold hull of the ship, pushes through vents, forces open bulkheads, moves and moves until the whole ship is like a heart, throbbing, thrumming, echoing with the rhythm, the movement of meat.
In my dreams, I am alone. My crew, the twenty-seven men and women who keep the ship flying, who run the scans and plot the jump-courses– they are already gone. They are the seeds from which the meat has sprung. The meat of their bodies twists through corridors, rises and breathes with huge, vacuous lungs. Their mouths are open, yawning, stretched into silent screams full of spreading teeth, slick and serpentine tongues hanging, curling and uncurling. Their eyes are white, seem to see nothing and everything at once, seem to see me– even through the frosted glass of my hypersleep coffin. The dream is so real– so real. I can hear them, smell them. As if I were awake, I find myself among them, walking, crawling, sliding naked across the mucus-slick meat that bends into corridors, into vessels and veins, into throats, hungry and full of humid darkness. Everything I touch, everything I see is meat. Meat. Meat.
And then I wake, truly wake, half expecting to find the dream has come true. The hypersleep coffin buzzes and whirrs, cracks open as the ice inside breaks from the seals, and as I rise, my eyes search the flat, gray walls, the half-darkness, the long corridors of stainless steel and plastic that crisscross the ship, find nothing. The meat is gone. My crew is still asleep.
And yet the dreams– always the dreams. Always, I'm left wondering, wondering if I've ever really woken up, if the meat dreams might be something more than dreams, if this sterile ship I call my home might be merely some memory, some mad semblance of a dream breathed into existence by the moments I spend asleep.
The moments I spend asleep in the womb-like pulse of the meat.
- - -
John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Only A Matter of Time
By Lyla Sommersby
That's how long I have. That's how long I have before the O2 scrubbers welded haphazardly to the skin of my vacc-suit shudder into silence. The count-down flashes red in the corner of my cracked faceplate. Beyond it, Saturn spins on, immense, ominous.
A thousand miles of cold and spinning debris stretch between me and the giant. All that's left of the mining ship, the hunk of steel and plastic I've called my home for the last fifteen months, shared with a crew of three hundred. Its guts glitter in the thin, yellow light of the sun. No survivors. Not even me.
In the void, in the endless night, I think about my family. I think about the people back on Earth, the people I'll leave behind. I think about my father, my mother, my sister, my home, the eyes of the girl I love. I think about the day I signed up for this mission, the day I strapped on a vacc-suit and belted myself into the grav-couch in the ship's engineering section. I think about the last few seconds before the drive blew itself apart, scattered steel and blood and fire across the endless stars.
I think about the look in Crewman Hendrickson's silent, terrified eyes the moment she realized what I'd done. I think about the way her hands twitched, the way she seemed at the edge of a shout when the drive cracked apart and flayed her with a wave of heat and shrapnel. I think about the way the shrapnel rattled against the bulkhead, shredded it instead of me, instead of my vacc-suit. I think about all those nights spent working on the vacc-suit, welding the 02 scrubbers to the skin, knowing each would give me a day, maybe two. I close my eyes, and in the silence I think about the one piece of shrapnel that caught my suit's faceplate, fractured it just enough to cut those days down to minutes.
It's almost over. I fill my lungs, knowing that what I did had to be done. They were all crazy, all of them. It was only a matter of time before one of them snapped, before one of them did something and killed us all. It was only a matter of time.
It had to be done. I had to kill them all. I had to kill them all before they killed. . .
I had to. It was. . .
It was only a matter of time.
Warning: Oxygen depleted.
Just. . . a matter of time.
- - -
I am a student in Miami, Florida. Painting is my other love.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Genesis II, The Rise
By Chuck Oliver
I heard the nurses' aide call out while gasping for fresh air; "Someone forgot to cap the ass-valve on this one, and now we've got one hell of a mess..." Looking into the hall, I could see an earthen red ooze running down the slope of the vinyl squared floors, pungent gasses ghostly hovering along its flow.
Of course, un-capped ass-valve events always set my senses on edge. But, it was the scent of the gasses that moved me to extract from within the wound of my current charge. Having been up to my forearms, it took several minutes to carefully retract from the cavernous opening in her fetid flesh. More importantly, since she was infected with 26th generation necrotic fasciitis, I couldn't be abrupt during the maneuver. For having endured the replication of so many generations, such organisms had not only developed an immunity to all known antibiotics, fungicides, pesticides and anti-viral agents, they had also deduced their own sense for things they found sick and threatening. Consequently, sorties in and out of their world required the fineness of an assassin.
While recently obtaining advanced certification in the management of sentient and deadly microbes, I witnessed a seasoned trainer loss an entire arm and a significant part of her face in a similar situation. Again, the scene was an aide frantically screeching about some perceived crisis. Unfortunately, having been several days without sleep during a campaign against a colony of particularly virulent combatants, she broke protocol and responded too quickly. I would never forget the look on her face as we both realized her folly, just a second prior to it dissolving her once solid skin.
I considered myself extremely fortunate to have escaped with my own hide intact. And, after considering it for several months, I began to wonder if there wasn't an ethos to its kind. Perhaps it understood and accepted the notion of a slow demise for a portion of its colonies. Maybe, it was even able to grasp the need for an equilibrium, a balance between its kind and ours. After all, we were its only host, its only source of sustenance. Wasn't that the bases for a kind of symbiosis? If it completely destroyed us, what then? Wouldn't our extinction entail the same for its own?
There were those that cautioned against such thinking, arguing it was just the sort of Trojan Horse they sought, giving them time to continue along the most accelerated rate of evolution in all of biological history. But, this seemed to presuppose a level of self-consciousness that was completely unfounded. Though clearly sentient, recognizing one's own evolutionary movement and plotting a course into the future just appeared well beyond its basic abilities of simple preservation. Nonetheless, the argument posed a frightening notion: what if they were just curing in their amniotic juices awaiting a more advanced level of development when new and more refined resources might be launched upon us?
Regardless, at this point any seasoned practitioner in the management of bodily fluids would have been concerned at the unique smell permeating through the halls. It was the type of situation that caused hairs to stand erect across the back of one's neck, as if attempting to flee the anchor of their follicles.
So, having safely completed my retreat, I grabbed my mask and strapped on the self-contained breathing apparatus. I also grabbed one of the super UV light sabers stationed along the walls of the hall and headed toward the origin of the mass. I moved with an added level of urgency noting that the once shrieking aide was now silent.
Even after all I'd seen in these last months, I was stunned by the sight when I looked into the room. It was horrifyingly obvious why her screaming had grown silent. It wasn't from a lack of effort. Her mouth was agape and contorted in the motion of articulation, yet no sounds could emerge. Grasping the front of her neck, hands covered with the bloody froth of vocal cord sinew dissolved by the acid gasses taken in during cries for help, she was choking to death on the liquefied remains of her throat.
Though completely unprepared for the horror show of what was a valued college, my attention was quickly drawn to the puddle on the floor. Again, no amount of training or experience could have prepared me for what I saw. What was previously just an undifferentiated mass of ass drainage had now begun to form tentacles. My mind flashed to what our pre-humanoid cousin might have looked like upon first crawling from the primordial soup of the sea, coughing out fluid from its previous gills, and taking in its first breath of air.
Clearly, the game had now changed.
- - -
Registered Nurse, try to be writer and a minor poet, just keep scratching at the paper to see what kind of freaky shit flows.
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