Digital Ischemia

27/07/2019

Neohaguich 6/11

Neohaguich series starts at part 1/11

Still the wailing and the howling and now a creaking.  In the dark you hear more, feel more.  Feel more paralysed until the world is ready to move you.  Until the walls are ready to move.

Calluna gasps, “the walls!”  Then she realises the utter stupidity.  Two broken people of dubious life status attempting to hold up a cottage.  The Stranger continues to hold her up.

Calluna squeaks, “can we get out?”

No reply, nothing audible beyond the wind and the avalanche of masonry.  The air shudders.  Everything is suffocatingly close.  Massive things moving far too close.

The storm passes, leaving Calluna with the tedious metaphor.  The dust, metaphorical and literal, settles.  All is flat, blank, ruined and ready to restart.  Quiet.  The Stranger remains somewhat present and thoroughly attentive.  He continues the conversation from where they left off, as if he has blinked and missed the apocalypse.

“Could you entertain the possibility that the sound was merely compressed?  A lower quality rendition that distorted the extremes – the highs, the lows, loud, quiet?”

“Not unearthly, then.”

“Only in the sense of being virtual.”

“You caught a speaker cable with your toe on the way past?”

“Garrotted.”

“Hence the graceless plunge.”

The revelation and its careful cognitive analysis and integration is interrupted by a small, muffled explosion.  One last puff of dust beckons them to some broken timbers, covering curiously, cleverly arranged cardboard, covering the fridge—still unplugged; nothing to plug in to.  The door dangles slightly open, having allowed the shockwave to rumble past Calluna and the Stranger.  They peer in.

Several smoking, all-over-mascara’d hechlers clamber over their carbonised compatriots, quivering.

“Over-heated,” supplies the Stranger.

“Dust doesn’t spontaneously combust.  They were up to something.”

“Trying to accelerate the defrost?”

“Or a diversion tactic.”

Calluna delicately prods a scorched hechler.  It crumbles to dust.  Dust to.  She is horrified to feel concern, dismay, regret; one of those troublesome achey sensations.

“I should check on Jardine and—”

“Attend to your social care remit?”

Curse him.  “I don’t care about social care.  Yes, write that down: there’s your quote.  I care about nature.  All of it.  I don’t have any spare care.  If I care about any more stuff, I’ll have anxiety attacks and stop being any use at all.  Other people care specifically about people and they do it well.”

“Some might say we are part of nature.”

“Some should say it to my face.  I’ll show them a part of my nature.”

“Who should I quote you to?”

“Put it on your carvings, distribute them to the frosted frumps.”

“Does that include you?”

Calluna twists to retort spitefully but is arrested by a stabbing pain in her side.  Reflexively she presses into her startled flesh and meets a hard shape.  Something she didn’t have, hadn’t pocketed, must have been given, surreptitiously.  A key.

The key is in Calluna’s hand, feeling, turning, examining, before she thinks about its duodenal provenance.  Too late for tentative fingertips.  It is tarnished but not digested.  Meanwhile the Stranger wrenches open the freezer and exposes a wooden box emerging from the dripping iceberg.  A great thawing.  The revelation and release of myriad unknown threats from the Past.  Terrifying.

A wooden box: the letter box?  Calluna unlocks it expecting an archive of soggy epistles impregnated with anthrax or smallpox or typhoid.  Not so.  It is neatly filled with small kids’ wooden blocks, coloured letters painted on each face beneath a layer of frost.  A wooden box of wooden blocks.  She finds she knows that how they fall gives advice.

The Stranger sweeps the kitchen counter with his forearm, catastrophically erasing eons of dust geology.  Calluna’s ‘care’ purview stops short of geology.  She upends the box and delights in the creak and clatter of scattering iced cubes.

She knows what she will see; she just has to find the route through the lettered blocks that spells it: ‘at springs creek’.  However, naturally, Aunty Gail’s clairvoyant cubes aren’t that amenable.  Instead, every permutation passes tenaciously through ‘stranger’, helpfully also providing ‘sick’.  Notwithstanding occult interference, that’s not advice in either case.  What’s it supposed to mean?  She abandons the Stranger and his fascinated stackings.

continues at part 7

1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 6 […]

    Pingback by Neohaguich 5/11 | Digital Ischemia — 27/07/2019 @ 11:58


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