Digital Ischemia



Filed under: Glen Tosied — Tags: , , , , , , , — Teepwriter @ 17:08

“Ah, Derg! Tremendous!” Cake thunders into proximity.
Derg appears overcome with emotion. Quivering, he steps to Cake, pumps his hand, slaps his shoulder. “You made it?”
“Aye, every one. And you.” Cake then addresses Merrill with a tone for the hard of concentrating. “We have some sensitive tree-huggers; we also have some baby rhinos. We could use you.”
Merrill feels sufficiently comforted by the presence of this familiar stranger to slip into stroppiness.
“What for?”
“I need you to repopulate the earth.” Cake deliberately abridges for the effect. Merrill takes this personally: in a split second she imagines the most intimate horrors with this hulking hairball. The horrors display convulsively on her face. He bubbles over into a hearty roar which stops abruptly.
“I need you to repopulate plants, animals, food.”
Derg smacks Merrill’s shoulder blades with encouragement, choking her reply, which is a blessing.

In one of the cosier caverns, Venom, Blink, Sticks, Merrill, Derg and now Cake congregate on compost furniture. Venom struggles to break out of a peculiar, stilted manner that seems to go with entertaining guests. Merrill is capriciously warm toward Cake because she’s met him once before and right now he seems less repugnant than her current housemates. Derg is simply delighted to be reunited with an associate, without needing to think it through. Cake politely nibbles one of Venom’s proffered fungal snacks. Blink feels obliged to explain.
“We have four flavours to choose from, in slightly different shades of dirty white.” He regrets his presumptuous, snide tack but Venom welcomes the ice-breaker with a titter. It is Blink’s sardonic style that resonates with Cake.
“Ah, that dryness reminds me of a newspaper column I used to enjoy, back when things were working; political sketches, that sort of thing,” he reminisces, “written by… Blank?”
Venom smirks at Blink, who is colouring and casting about, desperate for an escape segue, despite the enormity of their situation. Cake is far more socially astute than his demeanour suggests.
“Have I planked my big boot in it?” He chortles through the muffler of beard. Venom gazes squarely at Blink, more than usual wondering what he’ll say. Cake follows, focusing his gaze on Blink also. Blink continues feebly scrutinising anything but faces.

Merrill feels her spotlight has dimmed too long and sharply intakes breath. Derg is captivated to see the scenario play out so he wordlessly clamps a hand across Merrill’s face. She squirms and sucks between his fingers, now concerned with nothing but getting air. No-one notices, intent as they are on Blink’s discomfiture.
Sticks grasps a tiny chalk stone between finger and thumb, having illustrated the entire surface of a handy patch of smooth rock. Exhausting this occupation, her attention transfers to the adult group. They seem to have become stuck; she’s moved to speak.
“Nicky is Nicky Tate which is a men-brain and snakes have them on their eyeballs so they don’t have to blink.”
A herd of neural ungulates stampedes through Cake’s cortex. The capillaries in Blink’s face release their full finale. Cake bursts.
“What a man!” He leaps toward Blink, smacking his head off the ceiling with barely a deflection in his trajectory, although his vocal record skips back a track.
“What a man!” He repeats, grabbing Blink’s hand and shaking vigorously.
Venom realises her face is transfixed with a most glaiket smile; she swiftly adjusts, hoping to be unnoticed. Merrill tries to push her tongue between Derg’s fingers with the idea of sucking one into her mouth and thereby biting it to secure her freedom. Derg briefly jerks his hand away, enough to slap it back again, halting Merrill’s action, while he digests the proceedings and leads the rest in cathartic laughter.

As the spasms fade, Cake narrows his enchanted focus to Venom. “And yourself, my lady?”
She stabs a paw at him. “Nora Pinnefrin.”
Blink is nauseated with a sudden adrenergic supernova followed by counter-balancing norepinephrine. The very chemical messengers in his blood tell him she’s what he needs to deal with stress.
As his consciousness rejoins the gathering, Venom chunters about her research into the long-term harms of electronic radiation. Cake sponges it in. Derg surges toward a critical interjection. Blink lurches with hypotension. Venom reflexes a steadying clasp.

The following day Cake returns, glances around: the main living cavern is sparsely but firmly populated.
“You’re not taking this stuff?”
“We’ll be back,” Venom, aware she is clinging to her latest familiarity, unable to deal with another complete change just yet. Blink reaches for her hand hoping somehow that makes it seem good. He nods toward to the hut steps.
“Last look?”

Venom finally lets go. “Sticks saw fireworks at Battle Bridge before I detected anything. I couldn’t figure how but it was some sort of nexus for radiation. I thought I had more time.” Blink nods.
From the hut window, the great moon is superimposed on the sky, veiled by threadbare cloud, framed by silhouetted crawling ants. Venom finds the lack of colour hopeful.


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