Subject A Obliterates

A Little 24 hr Autism In The Night...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

God Of Alltime



"You still want to?"

"Yes."

"Even with-" Just a shuck of hair now, already dissolving as he passed his hands.

"Yes."

Somewhere, in amongst the luck and the drivel (she assured him that both couldn't concur) he found a meagre smile; mealed it, made it appear certain.

"I'm pleased. Mostly with myself."

He looked over at the ranch, now burning but still habitable. "Shall we?"

She grinned, licked like a metaphor.

They walked but were ruined. Neither limb corresponded, found instead a loose connection of tissue that pretended to correspond and used that instead. From a distance they could have been limping towards a watering hole, from up close it was clear that neither would use water again.

"When we die, I'll blame you, mostly..."

"I'm beyond reproach. Just beyond it," he said, hoping for a final smile.

The flames flicked, even now this seemed purposeless, maybe even slightly ironic.

"I'll die sooner but you'll catch quicker," she said, tying up her hair, just to make sure. "The fat..."

He rolled his eyes and kept walking.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Smoke And The Birds




The branches snapped and fell in twists, making tiny, intricate maps of new worlds beneath his feet. The air was thick with gorsehair, every step a sharp intake of heat and treebalm as if the forest was wrestling with his breath. He kept on, still aware of a faint, sidereal light pushing through the undergrowth. He kept his eyes open, wanting to see.

It was just legend or fable or silence that told him she would be there. In the village, all eyes would fall, heads would nod, hands would stop. No one wanted to talk about the smoke and the birds, no one would talk about her.

His arms were scratches and pollen but he pushed on. His eyes filled with barkdust and dew but he pushed on. She might be real but no one believed she could be found.

The light has no place on her body, they said. Nothing can settle there; no earth, no water, no swell, no man. Nothing has touched her in a hundred years. She is everything you'd ever want, a beautiful impossibility.

He didn't believe in dreams, shrugged them off like unkind words.

The light drew him on, made itself a trace, drew coils and cups in the air, guiding him like tiny arrows.

Drew miles and miles, his shoes kicked to death and dissolving into the teaming life beneath his feet. Underneath his shirt, soaked and seamed, almost invisible, the thin maps of his journey, edged out in blood.

A sweep of his hand across his chest send out an arc of blood like an artery. She's almost here, it's in the light. She's almost here.

He didn't believe in dreams, shrugged them off like a bad weekend.

He pushed on, deeper and deeper, the plantlife lifting and separating

As the light grew brighter, the trees and plants flashed out, whited, broke away from the world in front of his eyes. Where dense forest had been there was a hollow, tucked into the hillside like an ancient quarry, the plants and flowers floating silently intyo the air, making patterns in the sky, weaving in and out of the light that beamed from underneath the hooks and crags of the earth.

Roots and tubers waved and then were gone, ascended.

The light made everything stray, it pulled the colours from the sky, it bleached the sun and cut up the words in his throat.

The air bistled and keeled. The smoke and the birds, he said. The smoke and the birds.

And as the smoke descended he saw her.

The smoke made her and called down the birds from the branches. They settled and sung on her shoulders and in her hair, pulling gently at her as she smiled and looked at him.

Nothing can settle, he said. But the smoke and the-

A glimpse, a heart stop. She might have looked at him as the birds came down from the blown trees and started to unlace her, her dress unravelling like thread from a reel, layer after layer, until there was no more.

The birds took the threads and made cradles and nests in the trees. She sat naked before him, crouched, unhurried, utterly alone.

She looked at him for a second of her time and told him everything he needed to know.

She stood and her skin was full of tiny hooks, almost unnoticed in the light and the shadow. She was glimmer and sun. Her body a bow. The hooks covered her whole body, her naked arms stretched out and were full of thorns, caught in a moment between the smoke and the sun.

The villagers were right, even the light flew from her like a bird.

He felt like he could see her longing. He moved forward, an inch.

If you touch me, you are me, she said. These hooks are teeth, are thorns, are razors. If you touch me, you become me. I have to tear you to shreds and it will be beautiful and full of love.

He looked down at his blood on his arms, slowly rubbed the pollen from hands.

You touch me, you are me, she said and she held open her arms and smiled as he stepped forward and the smoke clung to his shoulders and curled around him and pulled and whirled and dragged the moisture from his lips.

It was the light that tore him apart as her arms folded around him.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Urstings


"A blanket - band...?" Martun smarted.

Neil saw good length bvt no enduring similes to play with. "Bland," he corrected, making Martun face the wall like a sleazed Blair Witch.

"I'm so full of myself I'm running on empty," Martun complained, his face jowelling and his eyes turning from blue to grey.

Neil flashed on the carpet (flashed on the floor).

"I've...become..disgusted by your...presence," Neil managed

But by then.

"He wrote bad things. He saw all that he wrote. He wrote all that he saw. He tuned and turned and tunned and tuna...."

Neil wrecked Martun, pulled him allways and that, broke so many pieces that Martun's only son, the nervous but salty george (small g) couldn't hope but piece him together in annoything approximating order (ordure)

They kept it fleshing but the skin never did heal.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


"I can hear the skin cracking..."

From just a few metres away, her skin looked luminous but as he got closer he saw the patterns beginning to emerge; tiny microscopic figures dancing in the whorls and eddies, fauns and tabuls forming spindles and breaks in the creases of her skin as she moved; miniature Pans skipping across each other, tiny lights blinking from across the bay.

"I never did believe..."

He looked closer, ran his tongue down her spine, flicking off the creatures that spun there. She arched her back and a little procession, with the Death's Head and a Summer Queen leading the pipe-players, began to weave it's way homeward, as if the earthskin itself was begging questions which they all needed to answer.

"I have a Renault," he said but by then it was too late.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


Easing past Sharon, Mike upped the ante with a deft side-kick to the top of the ribs, feeling each bone scatter and fold as his foot sweeped. Michaela, surpised at the ferocity of the attack, tried to open up her arms for some kind of swinging home-maker punches but Mike had trapped her head in his primitive wrist-vice and continued swinging her by the neck until her world went black.

Friday, February 23, 2007



‘...and then the wolf oh with brilliant shards of light dancing in his eyes and jettisoning out the back of him and he was dancing crazily there in the dark with these colours surrounding him in nano-arcs and Little Red, well, just the sound of her tiny voice seemed to echo back and forth inside the wolf’s skull and the sound of granny’s rocking chair as she rocked and rolled with laughter at her prank made the wolf just scream out in terror as giant sheep, wooldecked with e a thousand mirrors, reared their giant heads and rolled edible eyes and the grasses themselves seemed alive and real and ready for him as he rushed away through the woods and the mushrooms just shook silently, shivered, as he went past...'

Sally arched her back, pretending an ache. She smiled and went to say something profound and wet. "Enough listening," she said.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Rattled Cage


After those kids got hurt, Beth was never the same. Something had let loose. At night we’d find her in the pens chewing the wood off the fences, cribbing or rolling her head so that it rebounded ridiculously off the sides. We’d awake to the sounds of dull churns and wrests that ran right through the house. Alice would hold her reins but even with me slipping a new rope under her belly, Beth would not be secured. She flipped and railed; her eyes folded like flowers. It was almost complete.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Autopnul Feastings

Jane autopiloted, not expecting any easy answers. "Do...you...come..here...oft------en..." she managed before falling foul of the tiny bird bones that rained down on their heads from the Little Minxes above.

Jared smiled. "I've seen the news. I know women can change. This is just mesmeric, like watching a little piece of history unfolding. You may well be the first left-brained woman I've ever met. Truly, I'm honoured."

Jane understood next to nothing now. Her language centres were being picked apart by weevils. "What...you..."

"Driving now?" yelled Jared, hopping from foot to foot, each one lighter than the next; the whorl of anxiety shedding like llama wool, his eyebrows alone worth the price of admission. "Driving now? Now, let me see..."

Jane's eyes flicked over to white bread, fluttering at the crusts and then closing. She didn't even get to see Jared, aroused and with all his teeth, mount the bar and start singing.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Anti-Robber


Chloe sucked in air, made a dash for the light. Mark would be back soon and she'd already registered her mistake: his face was full of hives.

"I've been waiting so long my hair has gone," she said. "It's turning to rust and I'd like you to understand why."

Mark was ablaze. None of this was his fault. Chloe wasn't expecting a new beginning but she reacted badly, pretending that she understood only a kind of meta-nominal ratcheting which cursed them both into a stunned silence.

Mark was sucking at his remaining fingers, eager for Marrow. "I'm only going to say this," he began, before trailing off into a dead-eyed neuro-linguistic stasis. "I...I can't seem to get words out anymore, it's like..."

Chloe was easily impressed with red corduroy, but this time she wasn't being fooled. "With you it's all about me," she said, her mouth full of ulcers. "But with me, it's all about medical dictionaries. We differ, Mark, I'll give you that but how we differ I'm not sure we can agree."

Mark pulled off his last limb, prepared to through it overboard. His hair was blonde now, as if he'd understood his Norse credentials just a generation too late.

Chloe watched the limb fly over the sea and waited for the gulls.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Julie caught herself too late, the words already out there, making a nuisance of themselves, transforming before her eyes into curling beasts and microbes, landed gentries and odd snippets of limbs, flying like they had wings.

"You-" began Paul but by then his mouth was filled by ulcers.

Julie looked ashamed, her face all entrails and missed opportunities, and then burst into laughter. Paul's face was a mass of buboes, like a pot of heavy plum preserve. "You look...like...I forget the name." The giggles overcame her, sucking her down even further into the ground so that only her head an shoulders remained visible.

The ulcers slipped out while no one was looking, crawled soundlessly along the floor to coagulate by the Grandfather clocks.

"I'll be wanting to have words," said Paul as Julie slipped under, her breath like condensed milk.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Barren Mhidwife



Saw the little fellah, skin like a bag of corn, face pealed and pulled back so that the neck rolls could stretch right back over the head, forming a terrible vegetable wrap.

Charlotte had diet breath and everyone knew it. "You smell like a minotaur," she whispered to Kenny, who was still engaged in defruiting Tamsin and trying to get her to play with her vowels.

'Those drooped aitches...urgh!"

Still, he was a baby. What were they expecting? When he did come - late then and later now - shat down like a thick slice of rasperry crumble, skidding past the sadly headshaken Barren Mhidwife and onto the nest of tables that Tamsin had just bought (not unpacked - the Saviour's Day still three weeks away) from the Habitat Express.

"Slippy little sucker ain't he?" yelled Gordon, unpicking marrowbone from his jaws.

"Down!" screamed Charlotte, pulling at his chain, desperate to rub the kind of welt that would look good on her new digicam.

Gordon gave up trying to look at the baby, sat instead pulling at his shirtcuffs in an intermittently Royal way and licking his lips at the shredded vine leaves and dogosnax passed to him under the table by his once daughter Tess.

No one seemed to notice when the Barren Mhidwife, her eyes full of tears, held their newborn, a freshfart smile already on it's tiny squashed face, by it's pound for pound ankles and dashed it's head against the wall.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Martine McCutcheon Shoulder Rolls


Carly came down the stairs, one limb still loose and dragging behind her, making tiny poofs of sound as the hanging arm clacked off every stair (the teeny tiny bumps of high quality carpeting, especially important on stairwells and hallways). She seemed a little vague, but that was Carly for you.

"That man...why didn't he just use a gun? That kind of retro is quite the thing I'm sure but, as an assassin it's faintly embarassing. I actually felt physically sick for a while back then..."

She looked down at her trailing arm, as if noticing it for the first time. With an irritated shrud she twisted her hips and the limb, clinging by a single tendon (maybe two) spun off over the bannister. Carly did some Martin McCutcheon shoulder rolls to keep the blood flowing in the right direction and looked directly at Paul.

"What?"

Paul had rubbing of his own to do. Even since the attack, he'd male patterned the back of his head with worry. "Carly, I don't want you to take this the wrong way but-"

Carly had heard this kind of thing before and she wasn't about to let it happen again. To Paul, the uppercut would seem like it came from nowhere, a rip in timespace, a sudden surge of coagulated adrenaline from the Outer Places but, for Carly, the blow had been better planned than Christmas.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Hastur Or Pyg


"...also made a mockery out of her own face, pulling it in directions that physics would technically allow but which no one in bloodsbreath of the tears and spillages would seek to ever repeat. That was Westbury and Dunkery. Likewise, in the depths of Chinnock, at the House Of Silent Tides - so far from the sea, even the conchshells gave up no waveforms - you'd find rings of people, linked by odd growths at the collarbone, dancing in oddly Latin (this is 1956 Goddammit!) patterns and chanting wordless incantations towards Hastur or Pyg or Adrian Swyer, the idiot who lived in the lane when he meant to live at the bottom of it. Funny thing, well I laugh, that the last time I went there, the circle had almost broken, just one tiny child with the face of a lemur, playing a tuned tobacco pipe and watching while his sisters - ugly wouldn't make the grade - danced naked and frothing around a single candle, five feet tall and shaped like a fir cone. I asked to join - why not? I still have all my bones - but the kid shook his head and shed so much hair his sisters started to gather it up for the Winter..."

From: Too Much Bracken Got Smoked On The Heath, a memoir olde Somersete Lyes. M. Y. Bramless. Topacatapetl Press. Landhorne.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Last Of One


Amy was the last of one; a curse that plagued her all herlife, a terrible portent of doom that flew aroundabouts her shoulder like a Death Head moth, swollen to the size of her ego.

Somedays, the curse would drag her down, making her bones brittle or her eyes fudge. Othertimes, it skipped happily beside her, giving her some kind of divine purpose (to defeat, to overcome - her favourite words) and an oddly detached worldview and an odd edge on the competition.

"The way they pile up those bodies... it's so lacking in art. Someone should drop these guys the number of a decent cinematographer... even a set-dresser would come up with somthing better than...this."

In the line for the World's Most Beautiful Female, at a Sunnyiest Hostel (Chain of Pliers and Kings), somewhere east of Machen, Gwent she fancied her chances in a round of complex chessmoves, done on a lifesize board in honour of the Mayor's Harry Potter fixations (right down to the lightning shaped scar she'd had henna'd for the Ball)

But uglypup Suzy, surrounded/followed by a whole field of butterflies, won without even opening her mouth by laying out the entire contents of her handbag and her ribcage on the altar (wallpaper table, £16.99 B&Q) for all to see.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Scarecrowing


Alice, a faun in waiting, a blackheart, stood at the edge of the village, her arms outstretched, scarecrowing.

"Don't need them here. Don't need the future," she mumbled, her head already lost in illness and dentyne.

We knew they'd come, with or without her, that probably she was just a lightning conductor, out there in all weathers, her body sucking in water, her shirt already becoming invisible-

"Just the collar and cuffs; that's all she ever seems to need these days."

They did come; booters and looters, even blackheads themselves looking for shellfish work or a time to comes to terms with their own ethnicity. Alice did her best, repelled a few with weirdness and politics, some with nudity and forced emotion, a couple with no visible means of support.

"There is nothing to be here."

But they kept on coming; the lines out of the village kept growing, three people deep and several thousand long, all shapes and sizes (the fatties were trucked up and exterminated, of course and the ones that smelt of lung and kidney), all colours, all creeds (though, shortly afterwards this word fell out fo the dictionary and was never found again)

And Alice, scarecrowing and spilling filth and bile and langour and torment and muckspreading her tiny goat heart out, kept out there for a million minutes, even when the nails were finally removed.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Julie crawled sideways, dragging limbs over each other, savaging what's left and body dysmorphing all across the deep-piled carpet towards Emma, who was torsoed but wriggling, a fat grub of bile and mediocrity.

The explosion had powed, no one could doubt that now. In the tiny ticks before, Julie could swear she heard Terry Riley Cantos Desiertos, playing very faintly in the next room.

Those ticks. Urgh.

Emma is gargling in her own juices, her teeth clenched whenever she thought about the dental insurance, her face unpeeling like an onion with every forward motion. Three bits of cat stuck to her hair, like odd braids. "Julie - I don't want to se anymore... I can't bear to die but i just don't want to see myself like this..."

Julie knew what she was going to do but the irony of Emma crawling over all those broken mirrors, each small lunge picked apart with explosions of light and colour and that crackling DMT sound, was too much to bear.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


A new note, marked From The Trenches Of The Animal War, appeared last thursday, left blooded on the doorstep with a faint hum of paw and hoof:

"Allhotilities ceased. Piece in ourtimes. The men have becom why we become men and the animauls hav gotten lostin the fray. There is gas of mustad in the air from coolfer supple, way off in timeenspace continues. More help than need but still deadboys allaround."

We don't know how to take this. Geoff's still thinking of heading to the front line - quoting Waugh and Orwell - but the rest of us are waiting for clearer consciences before taking arms against them.

Monday, July 24, 2006


And even then, with all the parallel worlding and superimposed thoughtforms, Henry found he couldn't sit still for one second, as if spikes were coming in from all directions, as if he found himself a unique Dick Tracy moment when the world caved in from every direction.

He tired to run.

Henry tried to move one eye before the other, hoping to trick reality into coalescing again. From one, Nicole seemed impossibly far away; from the other impossibly near, as if she understood everything in an evernow moment of supreme Silvikrin clarity.

A toss of her hair.

There was a shift in thoughtform. Where once Henry had been a smiling cow of a man, forever following alongside, propped up against hedgerows and fence posts, digging at the neighbours' neighbours, wise-cracking and cud-chewing, now... things were altered. Nicole's swish had transformed him - "You're like totally Hurting..." she said, thinking of new ways to watch Altered States on videodisc now the old player was catapulated - into the face of a kappa, a bowing malevolence about the mouth and eyes and a Gap-headed sundrome that wouldn't let up, no matter what.

Friday, July 14, 2006



Though created for sandmaking and dreamstalking, the Olsens trapped more spiders than we first imagined. The lockjaw of their mouthparts, those terrible mandibles, made perfect sense for the arachnoid queens, who seek warmth and indecision wherever they can find it.

"We'll understand the morphology quicker if we blink more" goes the famous quote but no one seriously appreciated how Olsen III would be used as the future flipped back onto the past and people looked at themselves - older, wiser, more childlike - for inspiration.

Hppy Dys.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


"It's like whenever you stare at something for more than a few hours, expecting it to disappear and it just doesn't. It's like we've discovered something which is permanent. It doesn't even seem to matter if you try to defocus your eyes. The lightwaves, they..."

"It stays, the rest of us just... Well Dave's just an echo. Look at him. He's almost totally absent."

"Just how I always liked him," giggled Trudy, unsure of her footing as the rest of the scene dissembled into Seth bubbles and turns.

"People back home are gonna go nuts."

Friday, June 30, 2006



He was already boring us with his dulled introduction to Kava Kava ('So good they named it twice' etc) but, as the first sign of re-rooting began to appear at the side of his head, most of us turned away in an abstracted disgust, pleased that he would be returning to the plant kingdom but oddly untouched by the metamorphosis that was to come.

We all vowed to use less words in future and sat for the rest of the week in silence.

Monday, June 26, 2006


It didn't take long for the cats to work out thermonuclear weapons. It was guessed that way: Professor Cranberry, of the Bio-labs, set the idea down way back in the 70s.

'Y'see, there's something peculiar about the feline neurology. Something seems to be missing here. From the records. The computer's creaking, of course, but that doesn't cover all the blips. The records have been altered, I'm sure of it, and the only things I can think who would possibly have anything to gain are the cats themselves...'

Cranberry got called a crank and had to call it a day. The Bio-labs gave him a generous pension; told him it'd be better all round if he just turned a blind eye. He gave up on cats, went quite mad. Louis Wain, a painter of cats, tried the same thing. His paintings tried to express his unease about how the cats seemed to be changing. The fruitcakes from the Ministry of Health got him carted and then pumped full of drugs. Louis Claimed by the end of the first round of medication he 'could hardly breathe.' Paranoia, they said and dumped him in the secure unit with people who thought they were Elvis.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Paul thought for a fraction and then swerved, narrowly missing the rain as it came down in odd lines, latitudining the various forked paths / tongues that lined the route.

"Those gargoyles.... don't even look," whispered Sarah, both wheels spinning.

As far as he could see lungs appeared in the trees, hanging like bloated birds. On every leaf a miniature story of a world that neither of them could ever hope.

"Look at the rain!"

Paul looked harder and the rain was no longer in spears. The gravity had pulled another trick, making the teardrops into eyeshapes, into silver mercury balls.

One eye remaind unkind as Sarah pedalled furiously away towards the Thunderclaps.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Mr Crane looked disgusted. ‘A tune, my dear boy!’ he boomed out. ‘A tune! I’m hearing but I’m not believing. A tune!’

This was the worst thing that could happen. Mr Crane loathed tunes. He said they showed an insistence on rationality that wasn’t appropriate for these disjointed times.

‘No, there’s no tune. It’s just a repeated-’ Colin began, but he must have sensed it was too late for that.

Someone near me cursed and wriggled.

‘Have you learnt nothing from the Masters?’ Mr Crane boomed again, swirling around and snarling at us. His eyes were insect.

I felt myself gulp. Colin may have been a Goth, but I felt for him. This could get nasty.

Hair. God. Hair like party streamers.

‘I play you Ligeti, I play you Berio, I play you Stockhausen and Boulez and you throw back in my face a, a... bagatelle.’ His voice was getting louder, a far stretch, a terrible portent.

None of us knew what a bagatelle was, but it was always bad.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


He walked over to get a closer look. The bubblegum wasn't and he'd already figured it out before he got there.

"Stretched skin. I told you," she said, removing one of her eyes and putting it on the bedside table so that it could follow him while she brushed her hair.

"You don't seem that bothered. That... I dunno. It used to be a person."

"How do you spell alopecia?" she asked.

Friday, June 16, 2006


He started by stealing a few stones from the garden, then dug a little cement out of the walls. He progressed slowly; adding torn flowers from the rockery to bin lids and paving stones. He pulled moss from the small walls, scraped pencil marks off the still incompleted extension timbers.

It began small but four years later he'd stolen the entire house and they hadn't even noticed it was going.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


‘Years came and their mother flooded with tears,’ Edna used to say over her garden fence. ‘It’s a terrible thing for a mother to see.’ And meanwhile the chimp spoon-fed himself deeper into our father’s heart. Zeno went shopping more often, played for longer in the park, got to watch more television.

‘It helps with development,’ Father said. ‘You can’t expect progress without-' and then he'd fade away, lost in Machiestry.

Zeno ate everything with no complaints, talked more, told the best jokes. He wore the best clothes, had an hour longer computer time and found a friend in all the neighbours.

‘That darling chimp,’ Mrs. Burgess from the Post Office said. ‘He dapped his hat at me and gave me the widest smile you’ve ever seen.’ Her friend, Emily, who worked for the Social agreed, ‘I know,’ she said, ‘it’s almost as if he’s human. And such manners! There’s many a kid today who would benefit from whatever the Reeds are giving that chimp.’

In time, I learned to hate that simian smile.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I opened him up slightly and let out the gunk. Freddie, this three year old kid with a face full of thorns, started making this awful mewing sound and baked one knee in the embers before immediately stunning himself into near unconsciousness with the Appletiser-headbanging routine that his parents never got around to Ritaling.

Cathy, her arms like Tonka, looked appalled but joined in the fun anyway, feeling a line of least resistance.

Munty, in a mad moment, began to argue the etymology of the word "pall" but by now Freddie was being dragged from the scene, his face knot of gristle and snot and rasping.

Paul stood up and started to sing....

Sunday, June 11, 2006



"You could look into the wind and see tiny hooks. Thousands of them. Millions. They were pulling people across the road. Pulling not pushing. That was the problem. No one knew how to resist. I saw one man with his head on sideways. He seemed be looking straight through me. I could see it all clear as day. I could see through everything but there was no way of explaining. Keep in Doors! Keep in Doors!"

Wendy O Williams, Paris, Texas

Friday, June 09, 2006



I’d like to see what you look like with your head off. You flick your hair one more time...

Nasty. Nasty Silvikrins. Crawling all over her. Urgh.

I try and concentrate on my marking, but the clock is bothering me. In less than an hour this will all be over. In front of me twenty-three of my students are writing a timed essay, they’re discussing how psychological research has contributed to an understanding of Bystander behaviour. They don’t have a clue that this is the last time they’ll ever have a lesson with me.

I look again at Jessica Flintoff. She’s crooked right over her paper, writing furiously, going for another A. She doesn’t have a clue that as soon as she leaves this room I’ll be ripping her essay to pieces and eating it.

How would you look Jess? If I just took a hammer to the bridge of your nose? How would you look if I tried to pluck out one of your eyes, or cut off your breasts?

Silvikrins
. God. They're coming down fast.


It took a few moments of hung time before she realised it was human skin she'd been stretching over her face. The laughing and gulping stopped. She dropped and horrored, with filth all over her jaws.

"Knees ragged," someone observed before burrowing back inside their parker.

"Knees split," confirmed Sasha. "Open at the seams. Awful"

She crawled like that for a small while while people busied themselves with meaningful eyewags and browraising.

"It's like she's...lichen," Sasha continued...

Sunday, June 04, 2006


Sarah had in mind to invoke some impossibly ancient, nameless deity, a Shubb, a Wandering Lust and, for a few star-speckled moments, we wondered if she'd actually come through with it this time.

"I am Golden. I have the Golden Hand that passes across the dimensions," she said but everyone was watching the football.

She took to wandering across the moors, looking for secrets and clotting her hair with sheepdip. . She spoke very little to the rest of us, preferring the company of Mark and the other Has-Runs. She spoke a little in tongues, at least it sounded like tongue.

After what seemed like an aeon (always the same time-frame with these freaks) Sarah was ready: candles stood on all five corners of the room, she's mapped out ancient letters on the crumbling floor amongst the goblets and swords and brambles and sores. The sky cracked open with lightning. The wind tipped dogs over walls. Sarah went into a deep trance, her eyes back-flipping like a Romanian. She opened her mouth and her tongue was black. She bent double, her spine crunching. She began to mutter the invokatiions, the unutterable utterances as the trees outside bent their submission to the wind and the forces of Nature curdled at her breath...

"Ah, bollocks" she said, her eyes suddenly wide open, "These nameless ones don't make it easy to invoke them down for their supper do they?"

And we saw it was good.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


The twins were still untumbling the rest of the limbs when the first wings started breaking out; the fleshbits pittering on the faces of the startled Joyce, who frantically rolled her eyes and did her usual nothing.

The man on stage decided against running. His legs.

One girl, wings wrenching out of her backelbows, stood naked on the stage and saw twin abysses looking back. If the light had been better her face would have been crumbled into toast, peppered with lies and lice.

Another, her wingspan alread twice her height felt the holy weight of the Lord and succumbed into Hegelian soothsaying and speaking in tongues.


I wasn't aware of the same things as everyone else - creeping neuralgia, suffocating love-birds, mad dragoons in the sky - but I pretended: made up visions like a shamanic depressive, bubbled and frothed, drank the same salty water and never felt better.

I tried, Lord, I tried to be as insane as the rest of them but it just didn't work. I felt saner than ever. Lucid. In good spirits.

Twenty four days later I started eating the raft and my logic was still impeccable.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


From the very edge of Coker, going outwards across Dead Dog Back and then right around the U-bend by The Inn, there’s a circumference that traps them all. It’s a shodded line, a pulmonous vein that wraps right the way from heart of the town and riddles with cancerous youth (smart boys from the farms kicking their heels and rubbing headblots with their friends). I’ve lived at the Inn on the Lake for seven Summers now (I was born in the same room as my parents sleep now, shat down onto the carpet like a thick slice of raspberry crumble).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Alan was the best, since his huge arms could tackle a horse-belly better than the best of us, even two put together as one. Vex managed more than pulled but no one doubted that his veins were in his head rather than his rope arms. Pete had twisted all kinds of things horse-dodging but he pulloped with the rest of us and felt satisfaction in his work. Crayne was the last and though not the strongest or the quickest or the cleverest his own back pulled and sweated and made gravel-like pits in the mud and the hay as he growled almost as loudly as the horse.

"His face - ha! - a huge, perspiring mound with hair that could have been gorse and eyes so close together they could almost see into one another."

It was Crayne, and no other, that secured the last rope up and under the chin and throat and Crayne that heard the first crackle of bones as we lifted the mare up against the blue-black sky.


Initial trials suggest a moderate level of success.

Imogen did indeed seem to physically travel back through time though claims to remember nothing about the pre-arranged meeting point or the note that Dr. Marsden put in her coat pocket. When asked what she had been doing for the three days she claimed to have been sleeping, something that seems at best counterintuitive given the particle acceleration of her condition.

Michaela, on the other hand.


She's naked but walking sideways like a cartoon spider, red hospital lights flicking on and off as the madkid convulses, cord-swinging and yelling for the missing part to his brain.

It was hard to tell which way up he was. Someone had done some mirror magic.

On the next bed Gladys rocked and rolled, her head shaking out dull spindles of grey hair, the alopecia spreading, pushing tendrils out of her skull. One of the nurses at the station ran in and tried to strap her back down but the last time she had the strength she used it to fend off dingoes.

Still walking sideways, with Dave transfixed, she moved to the window and took out the large tube of No More Nails, applying it to her forearm and pressing it against the glass. Smiling, she squeezed a little on her thigh and pressed that against the wall, allowing it to take her weight.

Dave wanted to say words.

She lifted up her gown and applied the glue to her side, allowing the top of her ribs to nestle into the folds of the blinds before settling and then, finally, she squeezed the rest onto her face and leaned it against the glass, one eye catching the expression on Dave's ever-opening face.

Monday, May 29, 2006


As he talked, odd brufs and raas came out of his mouth, some of them catching the air and scattering, others dripping onto the floor where they formed odddly misceneal pools, continually erupting and seemingly digging into the ground, leaving the impression of a badly scorched door with paint 50 years thick.

There's too much, he thought but this too escaped into the air.

Alan, on the other hand, was still mystified. He's starting counting his toes at midday, by the News, and still hadn't finished.

It's like they don't know how to stop, he thought, watching the new toes bud-out and force themselves into line. One foot had approaching three hundred toes, all wiggling and now stretching from the foot of the bed to the Paris Hilton shaped lamp near the window.

The brufs and the raas continued to spill until the bathroom was filled with words.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


"Watch the badgers," Mother used to say, "They never let go. Cause wedges of sound that make children cry and suck the marrow from your bones."

I relented. Kept an eye out.

"Watch the geese," said my Father, "since the spit’ll take yer home to drown your sorrows,s plit hairs and break the enzymes from your food..."

Ah, the excuses I could make...

"Watch the pigs," my brother used to say, "since the boars out East will wreck your legs, leave hairs on the pillow and won’t take the stabbing’s lightly..."

"Mind your moutth, " our Granny used to say, "tthere’s nothing worse tthan language tthat could fill a trough. We’ll soap your mouth and brush your eyes so shitting well pass the soap."

All I could think of was Spongebob.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Jerry developed an acid that dissolved only non-cancerous cells, leaving a whole Ward hopelessly amputated but giving everyone a fresh sense of pulpy mass that they could take home to their families.

Friday, May 19, 2006


The first sign of Peter's deregulation was a slow ebb at the corners of his eyes, which Alice noticed with a dismissive flinch but Peter put down to his natural lability. Next, a creeping neuralgia - cf Journey's End - appeared, surprising everyone at the lengths it would go to operationalise itself:

"Damn creeps... it's as if they know they're not real..."

Then, slow as butter crawling, his fingers started to pop. Three left in a single night, snaping off at the first knuckle and shooting across the room, where they formed odd tumbles of runes and holiday cottages, much in the style of Sandy Bay or Canvey Island.

Down to three fingers and six toes, Peter was starting to get twitchy. The end was Nye, who'd previously been Aneuran.

In a final, fatalistic exhalation Peter drove down the cliff road towards the lighthouse, hoping to understand the odd winds and strangely stretched rockfaces that by now were appearing almost everywhere he went, mocking his extremities and signifying that deregulation time was approaching a terrible, absent, zero.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


...last thing i heard was someone mention differentiated income streams and by then almost everyone else had already left, just the odd straggler, like Pete from Marketing with his head in his hands and his mouth full of what, from this elevation, looked like thousands of flying ants.

I think it might have been Pete who was the first to try to get out but I'm not sure it was him who first noticed that the corridor between the conference room and the double doors had become infinitely long. No matter how many doors we traversed, no matter how many soul-sabred accountants and salesman we nodded our acquaintances too, we never got nearer those doors.

It stretched farther than Anne's arms.

Anne with the arms of the Devil. Anne with the arms of an ape. Anne who lifted Steve Mason clear off the ground with her teeth.

Dave Gender tried heaving a chair through the glass but I think even he understood that that was never going to work.

Julie let tiny bubbles of panic rise in her mouth.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


...but later became convinced that Liz Phair was talking directly to him and acting as a guiding light during several important patterns in his life. The others hunched and holed and tried to snap him out of it but the reverie was too strong and he succumbed to an odd flavouring; dousing himself in paprika and trying to set himself on fire.

On the pavement outside his window, written in lipstick and red onion, the words:

Liz Phair Was Never Here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


All that 'as the sun went down and the moon came up' stuff times about a thousand and so on and then we'd sit in the front room swapping Inspector Morse tapes to facilitate what we thought might be some kind of portal opening, as if popular culture strecthing a little and finally telling us all the same thing: the lines of John Thaw face indeed cartographed our quest, greased entry polls into both dimensions and opened up the face of the world for all of us to see...

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Jason stood up and brushed.

The rest of us waited. Temporal dislocation was not really our thing but the guy needed space more than time and, anyway, 'his hair was growing faster than his toenails' as Nanny used to say.

"My intention," he started "is to complete the Great British Novel by only using off cuts of other books. The spaces inbetween the paragraphs in pre-existing novels, the deleted phrases, the extensions and revisions that no one gets to see..."

Mark started the usual complaints "But you-" etc etc

"Close reading will be enough, I think, " continued Jason. "You read hard enough, paying attention, and the offcuts will make themselves known, even if some novels have less than you'd expect. Orwell's 1984, for example, has only one offcut - the phrase 'a sandwich, even if they'd decided that this was already beyond comprehension' is missing from page 17, paragraph 2. Other books have whole novels worth of offcuts that I intend to screw together, word by word..."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


While the city slept the rest of us crammed into the windowspace and laughed amongst ourselves as Paul grappled with the death mask. Audrey calculated that he had three more minutes to live and, while some of understood just how stupid she could be (think of her behaviour on Page 43, with the warts and, later, with Andrew's eyes),she seemed to have no reason to lie.

We set our watches and swapped Swiss anecdotes.

Paul was getting more frantic now and you could tell from his odd arm movements that he was on the brink of giving up, a that Andrew laughably called "learned helplessness".

The mask wouldn't ever move, I think we all knew that.

"We should go and help I know it but... it's just so compulsive..."

An artery-thin jet of blood squeezed from underneath the mask and arced across the table.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Goat-headed and fancy free, my father worked amongst the living dead in the Cancer Ward. They were nice people, all bones and teeth; Beegee skulls. He used to make me come with some days. He thought it might help me get things into perspective.

"What are you doing here Mal? Shouldn’t you be out skateboarding or something? Chasing girls?"

This from a grinning death-head. This from a guy with three weeks to live.

"He’s worried about you, your father. He’s always talking about you. He’s a good man, Mal."

"Because he doesn’t mind looking after the hellboys in here? Because he doesn’t mind the sound of people chunking up their intestines all through the night? Because he can listen and chuck drugs down grinning skulls three times a day? That makes him a good man? I don’t understand..."

Graham visibly shrinks, his skin translucent, neck bones ticking under the skin.

"It's okay," I tell him. "Everyone splits apart when I try to speak."


She attempted a definition of dissolution and then eased herself back into the mainstream by repeatedly jamming at the delete button on her computer until even the vowels were gone, thus re-configuring several belief systems and at least one self-appointed arbiter of taste.

Several themes later, Georgia finally opened her mouth and the expected (yawn) string of nanobots poured out and set to work. Her backing band got it first, each turned into a perfect Georgia clone within minutes.

Interestingly, the hands were the last to go.

The dancers threw a few hopeful shapes but many never even attempted to get out of the way. Like Julian said: "They loved her too much." Stuart and Sandra, both trapped by 70s names and the general hilarity that followed alliteration in Pop, jumped in with both feet and were last seen bonded together as the nanobots sucked their teeth from their skulls and replaced them with Georgia's crooked smile.

The room dissolved into hysterical blindness. Fleshbumps followed. Then an almost mystical stillness as the bodies settled into their new shells.

Everything was going according to plan until some idiot opened the windows.

Monday, May 01, 2006


"A later problem developed with the introduction of oxygen to the scene: the first man stood up, stopped choking and took a lungful, surprised at first that the water didn't just start to re-fill automatically. This momentous designation of current, of autonomy and of heartfelt sobriety caused a steady rupture in the fabric of what became humanity and later vented spleens across the New World..."

From: Buckley Freder Semi-Quavers In The Aquatic Apes, Grove Press, Sunderland