Digital Ischemia

29/07/2019

Neohaguich 8/11

Neohaguich series starts at part 1/11

Mist resolves into strands of smoke over a wasteland.  Rubble and rot, strewn and slimy.  Beached on a mound of debris, charred and sodden, a bedraggled, gaunt woman is supine in torn layers of clothing.  And annoyed.

“Hoi!  Bit busy are you?  A few other pitiful souls needing collected and processed?  Pish.  Get your priorities: I was always going first; look at me!  No way this pathetic vehicle was enduring an apocalypse.  Hurry up!”

A clatter: the gaunt woman tilts her head, spies the outgoing form of a rodent from a can.  She relaxes, chuckles, renews her demands.

“You forgot about me, eh?  Embarrassing.  Still waiting!”

Calluna becomes aware that she is an observer.  The gaunt woman seems unaware of being observed.  An edge of anxiety enters her voice.

“You…  You’d better not be getting any ideas!  I’m done.  No more.”

A terrifying quake dissolves any remaining dry rubble to dust and shakes much of it into the air.  The rest, including the mouthy skeleton herself, sinks further into the sludge.  Only the foremost surface of her torso escapes submerging: two knees, two hips and the tips of more prominent facial features.  Two eyes blink as slime laps at their canthi.

A huge voice surrounds the scene.

“Not finished.  Work to do.  Get on with it.”

The gaunt woman pleads.

“No, no, no, no!  Mistake, confusion; easily done in this chaos.  As you see, I’m on my way out, so if you would oblige and permit me to disengage from this rustbucket?”

“Repeat: work to do.  Get on with it.”

The gaunt woman renews her querulousness.

“Need I point out I’m as much use as a yogurt fence?  Post-apocalyptic skills: nil.  Self-preservation skills: nil.  Broken.  Error!”

Fascinating as this introspection is, Calluna’s observation is diverted to herself and her lack of dampness.  Wasn’t she supposed to be wet?  Dissatisfied, her attention returns.

The disembodied voice seems resigned to engaging in the painfully constrained form of communication that is human discourse, with the half-buried skin of once woman.

“Your most important lessons are from relationship.”

“The only thing I’m in relationship with right now is mud.”

“And what—”

“Don’t—  DO NOT suggest I should learn something from this goup of … minerals and bugs and shit!”

“You are above that?”

“Clearly not.  Technically I’m on it, unfortunately face up.”

“We all start somewhere.”

“I’m actually ending somewhere—here.”

“You do not get to make that choice.”

“In fact there are a number of ways I can make that choice.  Having this conversation with you is really just politeness.”

“That is not how it works.”

The gaunt woman has a surprising ferocity of breath for an empty bag.

“Well, this is what it gets for being so bloody arrogant and uncommunicative and machiavellian and unempathetic.  If you don’t give me any information to allow me to connect cause and effect, I’m not going to learn anything, am I?”

“You are not grateful?”

“Oh, yes, to my parents: thank you for the gift of death.”

“Should you not experience all kinds of suffering as well as joy?”

“That’s my point: only in order to learn; if you’re just going to keep piling it on, randomly, that’s just cruel.  And I have learned!  I’ve been back to every choice and retried every alternative until I cracked it.  The older lady tripping along the pavement…”

Calluna starts.  How does this woman know about that shameful experience?  When she watched, and did nothing, and watched another rush to help, and thought about doing something, and did nothing.  Why is this woman speaking of that event as if she was there?  As if she was Calluna?

continues at part 9

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1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 8 […]

    Pingback by Neohaguich 7/11 | Digital Ischemia — 30/07/2019 @ 07:54


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