Digital Ischemia

30/07/2019

Neohaguich 9/11

Neohaguich series starts at part 1/11

Having recited several tediously inconsequential misdemeanours with palpable penitence, the gaunt woman continues.

“Where is it you still feel I’m going wrong?”

“Is this only about you?”

“Seriously?  You want me to take responsibility for every other human life too?  No, that’s your job.”

“Let us review: who did you want to be in relationship with?”

“Doesn’t exist apparently.”

“Hardly matters now.”

“True.  So where was my ideal soulmate, then?  The one who’d make me whole, complement all my shortcomings, etc.?”

The air coruscates.  Calluna eagerly anticipates a stab of lightning—a stab, not a bolt: a lightning bolt is what you secure lightning conductor rods with—to sizzle the old husk to a welcome crisp, but there is to be none.  The gaunt woman anticipates with more accuracy, if less eagerness, the purpose of the atmospheric effervescence.

“Oh, seriously?  I’m getting the ghost of guys past?”

“In the name of pity…”

Calluna ponders.  A pitiable version of herself is having a conversation with an amorphous creature who believes it’s a god and pronounces aphorisms, maxims and wisdoms interspersed with hysterical attempts at smiting any who would obstruct its progress.  Well, if dying is going to be so tortuously convoluted, she may as well ‘get on with it’ –  ‘it’ being tackling the problems of this curious in-between world.  Apparently those of the next apparently have such immense bureaucratic proportions that they serve as a powerful deterrent.

How to resume normal—usual—accustomed—whatever existence this is?  A tremendous, belated, but much needed smack on the arse propels Calluna gracelessly on to a sludge-covered platform.  She splutters out a few litres of water.  Her lungs refill with air, less than fresh.  Her eyes adjust to near darkness.  Her ears continue reporting white noise.  For a few moments she fears this is the putrid wasteland scene repeating, only with her experiencing the gaunt woman’s perspective.  Her arse smarts.  This comes of being racqueted by a rock worn into two smooth indentations.  As you will keenly recall.

Calluna slowly flails her arms to swivel on the slimy hard surface, to assess her surroundings, preparatory to attempting verticalitude.  The water wall, presumably the way she entered, drowns out any sounds of movement.

“You’re supposed to grab the sapling and swing yourself across the rock, monkey-fashion.”  The Stranger’s voice is the most comforting thing she can imagine right now.  But any moistness about her eyes or heaving of chest is merely residue of her recent trip along the rebirth canal.

Meanwhile, those comforting tones have allowed her thoughts to reach a much more important and long overdue conclusion.

“You didn’t die in the—”  She flaps a hand in the presumed direction of the churning water, scrabbling for any label that doesn’t imply witch, and gives up.  “—cauldron!”

“No, far too much bother.  Did you notice that?  Off-putting.  I found something much more interesting.”

“A hermit’s lair?”

Suddenly Calluna is lifted under the armpits and reorientated.  As usual the Stranger moves imperceptibly.

“That’s one word for them.”

Calluna peers intently at the smooth cave wall before her.  Her intensity causes it to wrinkle, which her eyes resolve into facial features.  Yet more resolving.

“I don’t know how it can see me with its face all like that, but it’s very effective at menacing.”

“Keep watching.”

“That looks… That looks remarkably like Aunty Gail.”

“And what does she need?”

“Retirement.”  The rock face crumples in hurt.  Calluna adjusts her delivery.  “A well-deserved rest.”

The rock face calms and relaxes.  Calluna continues, “the box of letters remains hers, and her attachment to Damon and the hechlers may be a comfort.  They all seem quite content in the shed.”

“Meaning you don’t want any of them in the house.”

Calluna raises an eyebrow, the rock face mirrors, and the Stranger draws his own conclusions.

The rock face adopts a petulant frown.  The Stranger settles down for a long session.  Calluna recalls the frowning girl in the mirror washroom at Aunty Gail’s now destroyed abode; another mirror, another version of herself.  No special need for that connection now, although nice to know it’s available, should she have the urge to converse with her younger self.   In this instance, the intellectual reach-around to refute any accusation of altruism wouldn’t be too tricky: she would be, literally, helping herself.

On reflection, or so it seems when a rock face is modelling the facial features of characters you know well, Señora’s irrepressible jangle would work a treat in putting the wind up the Ladies of Plumptitude.  

Redirecting their idle interference toward…hospitality for village visitors?

Calluna’s self-satisfying reverie is interrupted.  A delicious sucking squelch deposits an undelicious Jardine in a slime slick on a narrow rock shelf beside them, spattered by the waterfall.  Calluna leans as close as she dares and gulps.

“I forgot about you.”

continues at part 10

1 Comment »

  1. […] …continues at part 9 […]

    Pingback by Neohaguich 8/11 | Digital Ischemia — 30/07/2019 @ 11:09


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