Digital Ischemia



Filed under: Glen Tosied — Teepwriter @ 17:27

“I had to return to the tunnel for dry stone to relight the candle, you litigious mollusc,” she calmly incites him.  Blink splats hesitantly across the cavern toward Venom’s delicate aura.  She pushes her free hand at him.  “Swipe at me again and I’ll leave you properly in the dark.”
“Conniving gnome,” he whispers.  In the feeble glow, he casts his eyes over his sodden torso.  He raises his forearms and curls his wrists and fists in sarcastic celebration.  “I was right about fishing,” he claims drily.

Blink catches sight of Venom’s hair: it’s messed up by the crawling, revealing a few small, bald patches.  He challenges her.
“How virulent are these eta particles?”
“More selfish concern for only your health and whether I might be a contamination risk,” she flares.  He recoils slightly, but stares her out.  She calms, recognising her over-reaction as being from hurt that he’s seen her deformity.  She mollifies, “eta particles are very transient; they have a short half-life: hours.  They’ll disappear once society’s cleansed itself.”
“That’s pretty eugenetic!”  He retorts.
“You think the nerds planned this?”
“I think you know an awful lot about how to survive th—“

Venom ignores him, flicking her head around to focus on an approaching scuffle.  Sticks squirms into view and crouches at the cavern entrance.  Venom is concerned.
“What’s wrong, sweetie?”
“Can I come down here with you?  That girl keeps talking about shoes,” Sticks presents her executive problem-solving deadpan.
“She’s just a bit lost.  Imagine if you were somewhere new with all strangers?”
Sticks stares at her, short of stating her parallel situation.

Venom calms for her own benefit and couries Sticks in to her.  She then boldly approaches sympathy toward Blink.
“Have you remembered what you were trying to lose?”  The effect is exponential: he collapses, his face crumpling.
“It’s all gone,” he admits, “I should be writing this.  I should want to write this.  But I can hardly manage to remember what was before, let alone the event, the unimaginably powerful, all-pervasive, silent, unstoppable…”  he entreats her, exposing his pathetic core.  “I can’t…”
Venom dismisses Sticks with the dart of her eyes.  As Sticks melts away, Venom slides alongside Blink, enfolding his arm in her free hand.  He breaks down.  She closes her eyes.

Blink feels containment returning to him.
“You know Battle Bridge?  It’s ten feet above the wynd but it was running with water.  I drove slowly because it was inches deep and then the challenge boy leaped out from the gap on the right, just ahead of me, over the road and dove into the left one.  I hope he was aiming for the steps.”
“Why don’t you write that?”  She nudges him.
“That was neither elegant nor interesting,” he sneers.
“Even your practise has to be perfect,” she sighs.
“I can’t even remember the word for the little square gaps in bridge walls.”

Blink spirals in on a frightening inference.
“When is Sticks due to go home?”
“She’s not.”  Venom is sorrowfully perfunctory.  “There is no ‘home’.”
He scrabbles to recall Sticks’ exact wording.  He’s certain she didn’t lie.
“She said she was here for the holidays?”
“A holiday is a long time at her age.”  Once again she breaks away from his hunting eyes.
“She’s why you didn’t meet me.”  The deduction clangs through his reasoning.  She half-closes her eyelids in patronising unimpressedness: he only just got that now?
“We need to collect the food we came down for, and then you need to dry,” she asserts.  Enough manoeuvring.

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