ANA V. FLEMING
[ creative epigraphs ]
Pocket of luster; shimmering yolk; threatening to puncture, spill forth from the metallic flesh of its tubular host. Like millipedes, endlessly fluid in their mechanical pedaling; swimming through the sprawl of gaseous energies, vaporous flares. Swirl, latch, tangle, sprout. Is it gazing at me?
Space, its inky blackness, pools and spreads, dyeing everything with which it comes into contact. Ivy lattices bleed the deep hue. Capillary action; the rich darkness saturates it all.
Scintillating veil – colors morph and exchange positions, tossing themselves toward one another, wild with the verve of their wave-particle undeath. Glinting off of the smooth chrome with the playful, terrifying radiance of their own uncertainty.
Barnacled and encrusted; from which orifices shall we protrude? Simultaneous growth; slow, with the undetectable pace of the cosmos, the signaling of stars so many light years away. This fragile home of ours passes us by, pulsing in and out of being, to live and die within a blink and flicker.
Every molecule tethered—not quite liquefied, but like a warm taffy, silky, limp, stretched and spliced from every pore of mine to every gaping stoma of the thing next to me. Our intimacy confirmed; our borders bared and reworked, reconfigured amidst the warm, molten whorl of phase-change. Senses entwined; new ontology. We are, together, now.
Silent, noiseless vista. Shimmering column, from which the stems suck, to which they cling, their bifurcated pincers hooked, barbed into the cool, crystalline steel, which softens to something like a pillowy flesh at their touch. This quiet ritual; the needs are met, and, somehow, though I can’t know how, also more.
Tympanum on every fingertip—it hears me through its legs, the hollow cavities carved out, unnatural drill-holes, the bony porousness of desiccated coral—as I behold it with an eye that is seventy eyes. We meet, and I am absorbed into its nest; as I can hear the world now, so it has seventy new eyes with which to see.
A cold hibernation; a transformation in paralysis. The brittle flesh encasing; a fluid slowed to hypothermic rhythm. I can almost sip it through the withered artery. When it reaches, when it reaches. When will we wake?
Radial tempo, polyrhythmic echo, a sonic spill across the breach. Which eons have passed, which years? Searching, the slowest spread, the waveform arabesque. We swim with and through the dark electric, the weightless fields of void, and the clouds of bodies uncompressed.
Awaken, with little tinglings denoting contact. A buzzing passes through us, as we envelop something other than ourselves, cool, jelly tendrils coiling in and about, reacting to the heat of our presence. Low crackling, and silent cries. Temperature cooling, but not enough to stop the sensation—whatever it was that was once soft now crisps and crumbles, and it itches us with its dissolution. –This is the place; we’ve decided to congeal. Slick, brilliant, with the interior, liquid pulsing that so soothes us. Compression, intense packing, we all conspire and condense our form. The buzzing more intense, and more intense, until we reverberate in mystic formation. A globule on a massive, snaking trunk—its silvery skin refracted through us in sparkling constellations as we emit a toxic, radiant light. We wonder if the others will settle a place like this.
[ SHORT FICTIONS ]
Walking, one day, a soft-fleshed being discovered something in the sand. As the pale granules fell away, hissing slowly in their descent and soft recombination with the meshwork crests of silica below, the warm-fingered one beheld a strange object, oblong, egg-like, with an unusual crackling upon its surface. Thin, supple, fin-like protrusions suggested the object might be an aquatic mutant—some bastardization from the saline depths that had unwittingly washed ashore. Unable to resist the fragile ridges of the turquoise crackling, the skin-smooth figure began to peel away at the platelet-like fragments, and felt an unusual, numbing reverberation radiating from the object. With one glistening scale successfully peeled away—like an irresistible scab to the blood-borne mammal—the once-limp fins grew inflexible, strong, and sharp, serrated edges slicing up the beholder’s plump paw into a fine, latticed pattern, almost too subtle to discern had the blood not immediately started to flow from the pristine, mathematically-spaced channels.
Flesh pierced, the beholder released a harmonic, shriek-like cry, but suddenly felt a new awareness overwhelm the body. A toxin, perhaps—something had invaded the bloodstream, an involuntary exchange. The flesh-form collapsed to the soft but bristling sand, which slipped and glided to partially absorb the limbs. With eyes a little blurry, and ears a little clouded, the fleshly one could still partially observe the transformation of the crackled egg with fins, as its form engorged and swelled and multiplied its size by a factor of seventy, and the fins sprouted out into sharp, slender legs with a lustrous, glassy tissue tautly stretched between. The cyan cracks thus began pulsing as they expanded, a sour electricity beating through its—brain? Though it did not speak, the entity seemed to suggest that it came not from the depths, or not merely from the depths, but from a not-so-distant future world in which the skin-mammals no longer peeled away at the crackled surface of its precious, infant form. A thin, obsidian leg hovered over the mammal’s exposed chest, then positioning itself above the throat, its tip sprouting a ten-inch needlepoint. Eyes a little blurrier, and ears rumbling with violent turbulence, the beholder now struggled to move at all. The sand seemed to swallow the not-quite corpse more thirstily, more rapidly—at least, until the needlepoint pierced the swollen flesh and, instantaneously, with a disturbing, distorted but abbreviated moaning, both the crackled entity with obsidian legs and the fleshly body, half-entombed, evaporated altogether from the sand’s grasp, displaced perhaps to the not-so-distant future from which the aquatic egg-like form had journeyed, or to another beach, where another skin-soft being might peel at cracks and splintering flesh of an alien ovum. One wonders what other sorts of mysteries lie buried in the supple beachsand, secretive bearer of beings from other worlds and other times.