Chapter 11 - Reticulocyte
She said, “What are your plans for this place?”
He studied it, let his eyes touch the walls and caress them. “Ya know, Beverly, there is something about me that won’t permit me to live here, at least not for more than a few hours. I can’t survive it.”
“This again? They’ve had their doctors check you every way known to man. There is nothing wrong with you.”
“Yet the symptoms persist.”
“You’re overworked. That’s all. It’s in your head.”
He wanted to believe her, but he felt his transformation taking place in the orb of his existence. It was beyond mind and body and gods, but fed by his lungs, physiologically mechanized by them, they as a fireplace stoker, as pipes of blood and light speed ejaculation.
There was sweat inside her body, bubbling just under the surface and gathering with chants of displeasure at crucial centers of towering organ systems.
“Would you feel better maybe if you took a shower? I can make some tea and lunch.”
“I hate tea.”
“It’s good for you. And you drink too much of that poison. You’re harming yourself. Have some tea. Please?”
“Get in the shower. You have clothes in there already.”
“It’s not poison by the way. And besides, it’s not like I have a choice.”
“But you do. I don’t know what makes you think like this.”
Dragging his feet on raw sandy tile, he got to the chamber and climbed into it. Burning hot, steaming mucus sprayed from the faucet head.”
It was the multitude of spirits in her that made him uncomfortable. It was something about this place that brought them to her cover, like they were inside her facial muscles and words, and the quick swings and shuffles of limbs and surface organs.
When he emerged from his shower, the rooms of the building had entered a new stage and she had fused with them. The femur on her left leg had extended and formed a joint at one of the rotating shafts that ran up the wall and fed into a manifold on the ceiling. The rest of her, her pieces, began to form their own bodies and slither on tracks that carried her away. She maintained connections with this central component sprouted from her thigh with cable made of syrupy veins and ligaments. Electricity cracked on the back of these human vines. She had become the wildlife of this place.
The ache as her bones splinter and melt into flesh, then shadow, then long outstretched wings. Her tentacles are brushing the faded paint of four pane windows, sheets of gray rain without. The rot of death. The flash of a portrait of an antiquated soldier, a family crest, a crust of street bread. Grass heavy with the languid stench of mildew. The courtyard is as far as I am permitted to travel.
And travel became me. It is what I did, even in this incarceration. My travel, as I could make it, defined me. Up and down the stairs, lingering in halls, stuck within the bony layers of wall, plaster, wood, fabric rusted into place. I sent the massive creature of her messages, explanations of my syndrome.
In her bed I could be with her. I could make her sweat. I could fill her mind’s eye with visions of slimy castle walls and mutated men of the future. And when she cast me out with the flesh and spit of gods, I wandered in the empty fields not far from her. I went a little farther into the swamps and bogs before I began to truly live again.
Centuries from now, I will stand and begin to return. Upon my arrival, I will gather up her Sisters into a solid human form once more. And her eyes will be soft and light and strong again.
I felt a spider crawling up my arm and I woke up. The sheets were sweaty. She was beautiful from the dusty sunlight that invaded us. I was weary from a long night of tremors. My body fought strong against this alleged phantom. She fought with it in deep, colorless waters, in steely citadels, and in the whispered chants from bowed heads wrapped in holy flame and ectoplasm that sustain the beating drive of the universe.
Her lips were like the heart of a new ecosystem, in the wooded caverns of a new world. She smiled barely. “How are you feeling today, Samuel?”
Written by Brando
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