Digital Ischemia

08/09/2013

Respite

Filed under: Glen Tosied — Tags: , , , , , , — Teepwriter @ 16:38

Blink barrels Venom into her scullery. “What’s the deal then?”
Venom damps the clatter of perturbed plates with her absorbent arse, riled again. With hawk eyes she slices into him, hissing, “don’t you dare descend to their level.”
He gawps, blindsided again by her covert compliment. Simultaneously reprimanded and placated, he eases back, penitent. It would diminish him to blame malnourishment; they’re all together in this pitching coracle of truffles.
Having reasserted her authority yet again, despite resenting him for squandering more of her energy, she deigns to share. She muffles her voice, aware of Merrill’s staccato trilling above. “He suggested forays to reconnoitre the area for samples.”
“They’re staying?”
“Pro tem.”
“What do you think?”
“There may be more non-toxic areas than I’ve found out there. He can hike further.” She glances to Sticks’ quarters, indicating her own time limit.
Blink tilts his eyebrows cynically to a resounding whine from Merrill.
Venom smirks. “Seemingly she’s a reasonable observer under firm instructions.”
He grins: suddenly prospects are improving. “Just so long as you’re in charge.” Still a sycophant.
“My premises, my kit, my terms.”
He sighs, having relinquished all credibility and value again. “Need anything from me?”
“Yes: later.” Again she gestures with her eyes, this time diagonally below. They need to break out of this pattern.

Retiring to settle Sticks in bed, leaving Merrill and Derg unsettled, and with lurking concern about Blink’s scuttlings, Venom trips on her own wall of exhaustion. All the planning: the eventualities, the priorities, the optimum ordering of tasks, the straining for creative solutions, the deliberate sacrificing of any relaxation; it’s unsustainable and it’s probably diminishing her effectiveness. Sticks babbles away. Venom entreats the universe that the child has more resilience yet. Sticks pauses, pouts.
“Am I still nine?”
Venom is mortified. She’s barely aware of seasons passing, let alone anniversaries. A heinous neglect though. The self-recrimination and whipping clangs back into place. She hears herself peddle some pseudo-empowering ramble but it’s not what the child needs to hear: she needs authority and stability, and considerably more conviction than Venom can enunciate.

Blink scuttles by, feigning disinterest but unable to smother his flicker of care for this curiously endearing unfortunate. He absently pitches into a cavern, spirals to a halt. His mind circulates quaint ideas of whittling amusing toys from… well, it could only be mineral stone, whatever you do with that. The shattering clang of a heavy grade nut and bolt assembly hitting the ground snaps him out of the reverie; he’s accidently released his grip. He scoops it up and retraces his route, having entirely diverged from his intended course. Which was what? Was he fixing something? Fucking mind-sapping mushrooms.

Disturbingly Blink’s whistling. Likely nerves. And an attempt to convince himself that being naked and drizzled with cold and until recently putrid water is a pleasant experience. It might lead to one. Nevertheless, he’s proud of his plumbing: on the bank of the infernal plunge pool he’s rigged a camp shower with filter and rudimentary flow control. He hopes fervently that it’s worth it.

He gazes down: in the pathetic candle-light he resembles an untrussed, scrawny, plucked chicken. How could she resist?

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