Digital Ischemia



Filed under: Stalker — Teepwriter @ 17:07

Lying.  My face against hard, damp ground.  Restful.  Exhausted.  Warm.

Light.  Green.  Grass.  I can’t turn to the sky.  I can’t turn.

How nice to rest.

Sound.  Swish, swish and thumps.  Hurried crashing of feet.  Two feet.

A face looms into my perfect green close-up, red with strain and bulging with horror.  Movement.  I’m rearranged, drawn over and up.  Two arms are less comfortable than the ground.

“I’m so sorry,” he blurts.

Am I dead?  Rush of anxiety.  Pointless.  Calm.  I try to turn to where I was, to see if I’m still there.  I can’t see, just bouncing sky and woolly neck.  He shifts his grip on me with an extra bounce.

Smell.  Wood.  Smoke.  Metal.

“You’ll be fine,” he gasps, as much for him as for me.



Filed under: Jalopy — Teepwriter @ 10:22

The shambolic ogre blots out the delicate, fuchsia strands of sunset as he gesticulates at the horizon. He flicks his shaggy head around to free his thoughts. You wonder why you’re not at all anxious about being persuaded to accompany your new friend across moors in twilight. Perhaps it’s just less evil than the alternative. You still have the spoils in your pocket.

Nicol’s careful passion emerges.
“Look at birds, fish, reptiles: they use heat from the ground, energy from the sun, the movement of air and water. We seem to fight gravity, air resistance, ambient temperature at every turn,” he laments. His frustration prevents him facing you.

You snap out of your reverie – it’s almost nine with still light to walk by and acceptably warm – feeling obliged to sympathise with the dissatisfied creator.
“Secret manoeuvres in darkness are in harmony with what exactly?” You sound cheekier than you intended.

“It’s a necessary stupidity, to hide from the medieval robots,” he replies impatiently.
“The same that you work for.” Again you embarrass yourself with involuntary sneering, and ineloquently.

Imperceptibly the light has faded, confounding your eyes with ominous bubbles in shades of black. Jolting, you see that what you thought was Nicol is just dark air.

You hasten toward where you believed he was. Innocent sprouts of heather, moss, grass, a whole diversity of botany you can’t give justice, especially in darkness, keep the secret. You trample about, whirling for anything to latch on to.

Predictably you trip. Soft landing, you suppose. Your knee penetrates a gorse bush; the spines retaliate. You brace for the moment your centre of gravity finds a new equilibrium. The fall always takes longer than you expect, but instead of abrupt contact you feel a twisting pull.

You drag to a halt over rough stone. An industrial orange glow picks out the giant gargoyle straightening up over you. Apparently he was the pull. He’s entirely unfazed by your arrival, even its manner, preoccupied as he is with his cyber blacksmith’s grotto.

You smirk and gather your faculties into one last snipe.
“Of course, you have your own cave.”



Filed under: Jalopy — Teepwriter @ 11:15

The unclouded sun glows inside your eyelids. Pink, orange, brown artefacts morph absorbingly. You resist your brain’s predisposition to recognise the patterns.

The front of your body warms a little too much. The intermittent breeze regulates your skin between burning and goosebumps. As each gust wanes, the sweet, dusty scent of dry grass wafts over. The seed heads tickle your face and arms. A skylark vanishes into the atmosphere, perfectly scoring the glorious moment.

Nicol skims over the moor again. You know when it’s him because the breeze is cooler.

You sit up to pay attention. You’re supposed to be sentry as well as spectator. Patches of skelped heather could be unusually vicious deer or incompetent forestry, but here they are anti-gravity trials and errors, or ‘per-force’ as Nicol has quaintly branded it.

With deference you recognise how effective the camouflage is. You imagine you detect tiny incongruities in the sky, but only because you know to look for them. You listen out for the faint hiss of shearing air and reach out for the cool breeze.

You savour the idyllic moment of advancement, banishing your pessimistic expectation. Only this driven Neanderthal would be exhilarated by launching without landing capability.



Filed under: Jalopy — Teepwriter @ 16:53

You reach another shoulder of the hill.  The next ascent rises to taunt you.  As the pale, beaten grass levels out beneath your feet, your legs cry out.  You fight your urge to press on, to conquer, to summit, allowing your pace to slow and your disappointingly mortal body to recover, just a little.

You glance around, trying to congratulate yourself for your achievement.  The pine spears and fractal, shedding oaks below to your left are unsatisfying.  Behind you the carse is foreshortened.  You don’t bother to review the golden glen to your right, knowing you will still be disappointed, knowing it will impress only from the top.

Your legs accelerate again, under duress.  You tune to a rook’s gurgle, the grasshoppers’ murmur, missing the skylarks’ warble.

The incline saps your thoughts.  Your steps barely gain ground.  You smirk at your heart thumping your ribs, your diaphragm heaving, your pulse stretching into your neck and fingers; something’s working.

You acquiesce and allow yourself another rest.  The abrupt hillside crowds half of your vision.  You turn about as if you need twenty miles of air.

A glint catches your attention; perhaps the river or a road.  Your interest fades.  It’s too cool to stand about.  Onward.

Another shoulder achieved.  Your steps lengthen; your legs remain horrified.  You hold your thoughts until you’re sure: a few steps further.  No more jeering inclines.  The cairn pierces your horizon.  You gasp with joy and exalt your legs.

You bump your toe tips against the stones, expecting a grand, magic congratulation.  Perhaps now the unimprovable view will form a fitting accolade.

The view gives up its reward: tufts of moorland ridge, spanning to the next peak, throw up a tiny, dark figure.  As soon as you focus on it, it slides behind a hummock.  Your eyes flit about, grasping for further movement, confounded without a clear direction.

The figure strides through the landscape layers.  The deceptive perspective masks whether this is someone.

A little time allows the figure to grow nearer, larger and recognisable: the burst sofa on legs himself, Nicol Mor.  If he is abroad on foot then the invention is kaput.  You regret denying yourself the enjoyment of the climb.

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