Digital Ischemia



Filed under: Glen Tosied — Teepwriter @ 17:20

Blink snaps out of his visitation coma.
“Well, I’m going.”
“You’re not,” states Venom, wearied by the impending explanation.  Blink puzzles since this can’t be hospitality.  She avoids his core-draining stare by gazing at the patch of grey among the mosaic of brown, serving as a window.  That’ll get dimmer and we’ll have to get used to it.  Sticks seizes the opportunity to demonstrate her superiority.
“You can get to the road, but you’ll still be on it when it gets dark.”  She loses conviction as she adds, “you’ll have to stay.”

Blink stiffens then sags as he comprehends the exquisite simplicity of his predicament and his shocking failure to foresee it.
Venom is an uninvolved bystander as her mouth breaks rank.
“Would you like some water?”
“You have water now?”  Blink flashes back to the fishing rejoinder.
“A storm’s coming,” Sticks announces spontaneously.
“Sit there,” Venom instructs Blink, adding for Sticks’ benefit, “and choose a story.”
Blink follows the line of Venom’s indication, seeking anything meeting the definition of a seat.  Quelle surprise: a layering of cardboard and dry leaves, like the arse-end of a school pantomime set.  Sticks draws closer, resolute in her animosity.  He counsels himself: I won’t be here for long, certainly not long enough for that to decompose.  He sinks into the unexpectedly comfortable layers, relieved not to disturb anything in feathers, delightedly empathising with a hedgehog finding a hibernaculum.

Blink drags his eyes to Sticks and attempts a sincere grin.
“The tale of Red Hood.”
Sticks frowns and spits back.
“Red Riding Hood?”
He calmly elaborates.
“No, just Red Hood.  I don’t know where ‘riding’ comes into it.  You don’t ride a big, bad snake.”  A wave of innuendo anxiety rushes over him.  He mitigates: she won’t get that; too young; she’ll still be sniggering at profanity.  She’s still frowning at me.
“It’s a wolf!”
Right enough.  Where did the snake come from?  But still, maybe I can score off it.
“This one’s a snake.  Do you know something about snake’s eyes?  They have a bit of skin that closes over them, like our eyelids, but see-through.  It’s called a nictitating membrane.”
I didn’t have to bury myself in the fucking fairy tale, but job done.  Is she thinking or bored?
“Like blinking?”
“That’s right: blink, nictitate.”
“Nicky Tate,” Sticks parrots.
“Smart cookie.”  Oh god, I’m Uncle Awkward.  Not that I’m doing anything with…

Blink’s incongruity alarm goes off again: from his new vantage point he can see all six faces of the hut and nowhere in his sightline is Venom.  He tenses forward to a perching crouch.  Where did she go?  He flicks his head to face Sticks.  She stares vacantly back, waiting for him to muck up the story.  He springs up.
“Right!  I’m not playing hide and fucking seek with you again!”
Sticks sniggers at the swear word, an excuse to enjoy the man’s fright.  Blink misses his pay-off and instead flings himself at the door and commences clichéd futile rattling.  She watches, slightly amused, slightly scared.

“Didn’t we already do ‘you’re not leaving’?” taunts Venom, innocently gliding behind Blink.  He lunges at her; she recoils.  “I was below, not outside: I have a basement.”  She gestures at the dark gap behind one of the boxes, wishing she’d had the nerve to withhold that a bit longer.  He strides to the box, lowers a foot intrepidly into the black then retracts it.
“Chicken,” she disparages him.  He mimics the nearest example, rotating and twitching his head to scrutinise her side-on.  She giggles.  Score two.

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