Digital Ischemia



The Lassie and The Legume continued

[ Starts at ]

The Fire

Cecilia is prone on the bed, a rich, noxious poultice slapped to each buttock. Muscle fatigue and post-traumatic intoxication makes her slur. “I could’ve used you two minutes earlier.”
Percy wrangles damp leaves, twigs and slime from a loosely woven bag. “You would’ve remembered.”
“Remembered what?”
He sighs melodramatically, perhaps at her density, perhaps at his meal prospects, or perhaps to light the stove. “You’ve forgotten the first time we met.”
“I certainly have not forgotten you dismantling yourself before imposing into my bed.”
“Not your bed and not the first. Remember the goat track?”
“That wasn’t real! It’s a painting! How do you know?”
“Most people don’t notice…”
Cecilia is sucked into recollection.

She strolls through water-coloured shafts of sunlight. The accidental avenue of trees is a perfect transformative tunnel. You leave behind houses and other human artefacts as you enter. You traverse the between-world of beech trees up a slight incline for several hundred yards. You emerge into human-less country. No buildings, no vehicles, just a rutted track meandering through copses and fields.

Two thirds of the way up the avenue Cecilia has her destination world in bright, blotchy sight. Without warning, in her dim offside, a tall figure overtakes her.
She reflexes the conventional greeting, “hello.”
He flicks his head around, surprised, gauging. She smiles wanly, feeling her energy drain into the black hole of zero social response.
He slows to her pace. “You see me?”
“Do folk usually ignore you?”
“Most people don’t notice…”
Him of course.

Like an interrupted dream, Cecilia grasps at the poignancy, the trees, the sunlight, feeling it trickle away to a disappointingly shallow illusion. He was gone the moment she thought.

Bumping back into the hut, a delicious diffusion of spice dissolves her reverie. Percy roasts his compost with an expression of hunger vanquishing disdain. She rises, murmuring appetised approval.
He agitates his clay pot with dubiety. “I’d almost rather eat your unguent. What do you usually eat?”
“I don’t remember. I must get stews and pies at work. Yes, that’s it.”
His face collapses in despairing envy.

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