Unshelfish Lovers (Aquaman Porn)

Okay, so the long and short of this is that I do a comic book podcast called Comics Dash, where I and two other people talk about comic books for about an hour and ten minutes each week. One of our running jokes is that Aquaman and Black Manta have tons of sexual tension in the new run of DC books–because they totally do–and if Dan Abnett wasn’t going to make them have sex, then someone had to.

Well, that someone was me!

So yes. I wrote Aquaman porn. No, it’s not good. Yes, it is a vessel for tons of fish puns. That’s…literally all it is. If you want some sexy fish puns, then the next ~1000 words are for you!

 

Aquaman closed his chamber door sporting a wide grin that would soon have a dick in it. His wife knew something fishy was going on, and that’s why he had taken a hook out of Bill Cosby’s hat—who once terrorized Atlantis as the Morerape Eel—and asked Mera to toast the recapture of Black Manta. She had taken the bait. Now she was sleeping with the literal fishes, but in the metaphorical sense since she’d wake up tomorrow with probably a bad hangover and wondering why there was seamen on her back. But probably not. Being a man of the sea, Aquaman was prawn to wet dreams.

The king of Atlantis made his way through his castle, descended a bunch of steps, and walked through a few gloomy hallways, stopping every so often to make sure he wasn’t being followed. His conchubine … oh wait, no, conchubrine! was in the dungeon, which meant he had to be careful. It would be one thing if Atlantis found out he was cheating on his wife, but a whole coddamn mess if they found out his lover was Black Manta.

Still, that made the whole thing all the more fun. Something about keeping your friends close and your anenemoies closer, though at this point, Black Manta was neither. What should one do with his lovers?

Aquaman rubbed at his crotch, which was stiffer than a sturgeon’s nose, and knew exactly what he should do with his lover.

“Halt! Who goes there!” the two soldiers stationed to guard the undersea terrorist asked as Aquaman approached. They looked on edge because Black Manta always escaped. Always. It was all part of the clam.

“I am here to question the prisoner,” Aquaman said in his most offishal voice. “Please let us be until I call you back.”

“Yes sir” both said, urchin to be free of the most cursed post in all of Atlantis. Aquaman watched them round a corner, their shoulders relaxed and their spears clanking against the stone floor as they headed for the break room. Aquaman listened, herring their footsteps fade into the background.

“Please tell me you aren’t wearing orange and fucking green,” Black Manta said sharkastically. He was facing the wall and not wearing a shirt.

“Have to.” Aquaman said as he closed the door. “I look krilliant in orange and green.”

The undersea terrorist laughed, his voice deep and sexy because he was deep and sexy. “You look like a clownfish.”

“Shut up and kiss me.”

Black Manta tuna round, and soon he and Aquaman were wrapped in a pike embrace and staring into each other’s walleyes. Black Manta’s were like green pools of ocean water, and Aquamans were blue or some shit. Back Manta then kissed his lover, so gently that it was like a ghost upon Aquaman’s lips.

“I missed you,” the scarred terrorist said.

“Always. But did you have to kill eight people this time?”

Black Manta tugged at Aquaman’s crotch. “You know it’s more fun this way.”

Aquaman grabbed at Black Manta’s ass with both hands and brought him close so their ol’ dicky dicks were rubbing together. Even with his pants still on, he could dophinatly feel Black Manta’s black manta throbbing … uh … lustily! Aquaman leaned in close and whispered into his lover’s ear: “It is better this way.”

Black Manta knelt and unbuckled Aquaman’s ugly green pants. He then placed his finger on Aquaman’s tridick and ran it from the tip to the dace. It didn’t take very long because Aquaman had a small penis. Though he didn’t consider it small; he just had a bad case of the shrimpage. Plus, it was still much bigger than the Flash’s who fucking sucks and should be ashamed for existing.

“That feels good,” Aquaman said.

“This will feel better.”

Black Manta opened his mouth and began salmonating all over Aquaman’s member. Aquaman groaned.

“Don’t even think about it!” Black Manta warned between suckerfishing. “I’m just lubing this up so you can stick your hotdog flavored water it into my chocolate starfish.”

“Never!” But Aquaman blushed because it totally happened one time. He had a hair triggerfish when it came to ejaculating.

When Black Manta finished, he shifted anglers and pulled his own pants down, exposing his tight basshole.

“Stick it in where the sunfish don’t chine and oyster it around,” he said in his deep, sexy voice because he was still deep and sexy in case you forgot.

Aquaman obliged. He thrust his throbbing member into Black Manta’s halibut, forcing it in so far their balls slapped together, which made it totally gay. It’s hetero if the balls don’t touch. His lover made a face, and Aquaman knew it would stringray a bit. Black Manta was still getting used playing the role of powerbetam. It had to be this way though, because Aquaman was a king and, despite having a small penis and suffering from premature ejaculation, could not be a bottom. That would just be orcaward.

It only took a few quick threshes before Aquaman was breaching his salty chum into Black Manta’s tight carphole. “Ugh,” Aquaman groaned, pleasure shivering through his loins.

“My turn,” Black Manta said, turning around. His penis was huge and already dribbling precum.

Aquaman knelt down and opened his mouth, goblin sharking as much of the penis as he could. Like Black Manta with anal, he wasn’t very good at deep trouting.

“Just relax,” Black Manta said. “You don’t have to take the whale thing. And if it gets uncomfortable, let minnow.”

Aquaman wasn’t normally koi, but Black Manta could somehow make him blush with ease. He felt his face heat up, and Black Manta began to laugh.

“You’re cute like this.”

On his knees and with his ugly green pants still around his ankles, the king of Atlantis suckerfished the worst terrorist the sea had ever known to completion. A salty, warm spray filled his mouth, and now the last question was: Should be squid it out or swallow?

With a light shrug, Aquaman gulpered it down. It wouldn’t do to have the guards come back and find an empty cell filled with cum. That would raise some strange questions and make the custodians crabby.

Black Manta sat back down on his cot, and Aquaman sat next to him. For the next twenty minutes, the two cuddlefished together, happy to be in each others’ company. Then it was time for Aquaman to leave, though not before hiding the key to his secret lover’s cell underneath the cot.

“Until next time,” he said, wondering if Black Manta would be cool with taking a huge crappie on his chest.

“Until next time,” Black Manta repeated.

 

FIN (get it?)

Streams Chapter 5: This Will Change

Assuming ya’ll know the drill by now. Chapter one can be found here, chapter two here, three here, four here, and Thomas’s EP that inspired this project here. Enjoy.

Chapter 5: This Will Change

The pathway up the mountain was smooth as glass and white as beach sand, with sea shells of all sizes and colors covering the its rocky face. Rain ran her hand over a series of little shells and stopped when she touched a bright green one that was bigger than Lana. The sea was close. If she closed her eyes and breathed deeply, she could smell it. It was cinnamon flavored, not salty like her teacher had said, and it reminded her of the apple pies her mother always made for Thanksgiving.

Rain walked up the path in silence, knowing it was her turn to not say anything. She didn’t want to bother Lana, though she wanted to tell the talking cat she was sorry about what happened. She also wanted to tell her she was scared. She had never talked to a moon before and wasn’t sure how. What if it wouldn’t take her to the sea or back home, or what if it just laughed at her? What if it did nothing at all, just stared at her because she was a silly little girl who went on an adventure and got lost. But Lana was being brave, and Rain knew she had to be brave too. She didn’t cry.

When they were nearing the top, Rain decided to inch close to the edge of the path and look down. She knew she wasn’t supposed to, having seen enough cartoons to know that looking down was how people fell, but Rain also knew she couldn’t fall if she wanted to. It was like the mountain had some kind of people magnet in it. It was safe, even if there weren’t any railings or stairs.

The view down was gorgeous. Rain watched the never-moving sun play off the white rock face, turning the smooth path into a bright gold. It was The Wizard of Oz, only real. Down below, like little fairies, Rain could see the witch’s village. The witches were still partying, some dancing in little circles that Rain could cover up with her pointer finger, and a few were even flying. Rain thought she should be envious of those ones, but she wasn’t. The witches no longer mattered.

“How come I can see them from up here?” Rain asked.

“The spell doesn’t work on heights, since all witches can fly,” Lana said, joining Rain at the edge of the path. “Though if they flew up here, they wouldn’t see us.”

“Why not?”

“Because talking to the moon is always private.”

They continued upwards. The moon was now so close that it filled the whole sky, and Rain was sure if she jumped, she would touch it. It was breathtaking, so big and bright and calm that she realized all her worrying was for nothing. The moon would help her, just like Lana said. It was a nice moon. It had made her stream into a river so she could escape the frozen ghosts, and if it could do that, it could do anything.

The top of the mountain flattened out into a small, smooth platform that was bursting with color. Sea shells and pretty rocks sprinkled the surface, each one catching the moon’s glow. Rain had reached the end of a rainbow, only instead of a finding pot of gold, she could make a wish.

Rain knew that was better than gold. Gold could buy toys or clothes, but a wish could be anything.

“Hello, Rain,” the moon said. Its voice was like wind chimes on a bright, cloudless winter day. It reminded Rain of playing outside and laughing, of looking for shooting stars at night and watching rain drops race down windows on stormy days. “It’s nice to see you again.”

“Hello,” Rain said, her face breaking into a wide smile. “Have we met before?”

“We have.”

Rain laughed. Of course they had. She couldn’t remember ever meeting the moon, but something about this reminded her of talking to an old friend, one she had once loved dearly yet sadly lost contact with.

“And you too, Lana. It is good to see you again.”

“Thank you,” Lana whispered.

“Have you forgiven yourself?” the moon asked the purple-and-grey tabby.

“No.” Rain heard Lana’s sing-song voice break, and she sat down cross-legged beside her. It wasn’t fair that the cat should be so sad and low to the ground at a time like this.

“Is that why you brought Rain here?” The moon’s chiming voice jingled upwards, like she was cocking an eyebrow.

“Silly girl,” Lana said to the ground. Then she looked up. “Rain is lost. She crossed the threshold and needs to return home. Can you help her?”

“Would that be helping her or helping you?”

“I’m sorry,” Lana said, still unable to look at the moon directly.

“I know. You’ve apologized so much for that, Lana. Everyone has forgiven you but yourself.”

Rain thought of the witches and mean cats in the village below but didn’t say anything. The moon was doing what her mother sometimes did: a little white lie to make things better. Those were nice to hear, but they didn’t do anything. Lana didn’t need a lie, she needed a friend.

“It’s okay, Lana,” Rain said, and she made to pet the talking cat but found herself giving it a big hug instead. Tears welled in her eyes. “It’s okay. It’ll all be okay. For both of us.” Lana snuggled up against her and purred softly.

When Rain let Lana go, the cat stood taller, and she stared into the moon. Her amber eyes caught the moon’s glow and lit up like flaming torches.

“Well Rain, is that what you want?” the moon asked. “To go home?”

“Yes,” Rain said. Even though the sun hadn’t set yet, she knew it was late. It was time to go home. She missed her parents and her own cats, even if they never talked. She missed her little stream.

The moon’s voice chimed in thought, and Rain’s heart sunk. This was magic, and magic should be able to send her home right away. The only reason she wasn’t standing in front of her house right now was because it wasn’t possible.

“You can’t do it, can you?” Rain asked.

“I have no control over the world’s thresholds” the moon said. “I cannot create or destroy them. However,” and Rain heard a grin in the moon’s voice. “I can help you get to one.”

Something glinted across the sky, and Rain looked up to watch it. She thought it was a falling star at first, but it wasn’t falling; it was flying. It floated towards her, and when it landed, she laughed. It was her glass rose pedal, her boat. It hadn’t melted at all.

“I think your boat needs a makeover, something a bit more becoming of a young witch. What do you think, Lana?”

Lana chuckled. “I think I’m going to die of fright before this little adventure of ours is done.”

Before Rain could say anything, ask the moon just exactly what was going on, her boat changed. One second it was made of clear glass, and the next it was blue velvet, as light and piercing as the sky. She gasped. It was wonderful! When she finally remembered to breathe again, she could smell the rose pedals sweet fragrance, and underneath that, the cinnamon taste of the sea.

“Is this for me?” Rain asked.

“Yes,” the moon said. “Take it, young witch. Take it and travel home.”

Streams Chapter 4: Fair Weather

Assuming ya’ll know the drill by now. Chapter one can be found here, chapter two here, three here, and Thomas’s EP that inspired this project here. Enjoy.

 

Chapter 4: Fair Weather

Rain and the talking cat began walking towards the taller of the two mountains, which bathed the surrounding land in a cooling shadow. It was less than a mile away now, just beyond a meadow of tall grass that went up to Rain’s waist. They entered the meadow, and the cat vanished into the brush. It hadn’t talked at all since they left their glass boat, which Rain found kind of odd. Last time they walked through grass, it wouldn’t stop telling her to turn around.

“Are you okay?” Rain asked it.

“Silly girl,” the cat muttered with no enthusiasm.

“Are you sure you’re okay? Oh! You aren’t hurt are you?” Rain thought back to the frozen ghosts and immediately felt awful. The cat had saved her life, and she hadn’t even thanked it. Why, she didn’t even know the cat’s name! No wonder it was upset with her.

Before Rain could say she was sorry, a strong gust of wind passed over her head, causing the cat to sigh and say another bad word. Rain looked up, afraid the ghosts were back or something worse, and saw a flying carpet heading towards the mountain. She stared in awe. It was beautiful, a tapestry of green and gold with little brown tassels. She squinted, trying to get a look at the person riding it.

“Hurry up,” the cat said. “We have to reach the mountain before the moon sets.”

“But that person was flying!”

“It’s how witches tend to travel.”

Rain followed the cat, now asking it all kinds of questions. She had seen plenty of movies with witches in them, and while most witches were evil, not all were. Some were very nice, and she knew only a nice witch would fly on something as pretty as that carpet. The cat ignored all of her questions though, even the ones Rain knew were worth responding to, like “have you ever seen a house made out of candy?” and “do you think if I ask nicely that lady will fly me back home?” Finally she asked it, “What’s your name?”

“Lana,” the cat said.

“Oh. You have a pretty name too.” Rain didn’t have the heart to tell Lana that she had a people name and not a cat name. She was probably really self conscious about that. “Thanks for saving me Lana. From the ghosts I mean.”

“You know the last little girl listened to me,” Lana said, annoyance coloring her sing-song voice. “The last two. They didn’t cross the threshold, nope. They followed my directions.”

“I’m sorry.” Rain was sorry too. “If you want, you can have my last juice box. It’s probably got warm now, but they still taste good. It’s fruit punch flavored.”

Lana didn’t say anything to that, and Rain was secretly glad. She would have given the cat her last juice box, but she was also thirsty from walk and wanted it for herself. She fished it out and pushed the straw in—her favorite part—and began to sip on the fruity drink while looking at her map. The sea was now really, really close. Just beyond the mountain.

As soon as they stepped through the final patch of tall grass, the world became alive with sounds and movement, as if someone had just turned on a light switch. Rain stared in shocked silence. It was a hidden village of small tents and fireplaces, of flying carpets and bubbling cauldrons, of people dancing and singing in big circles to strange music. There were cats everywhere.

“It’s a party,” Rain said.

“Something like that, yes,” Lana said, though her ears were back. “Do you see that path over there? Between those two large, white rocks?” Rain nodded. It looked like it wound its way around the mountain. “Good. What I need you to do is—”

“What are you doing here?” a new talking cat asked. It was big and black, and its tail was fluffed out like it had just been scared. “You’re not welcome here anymore.”

“Go away Cynthia,” Lana said, a slight hiss in her voice. “I’m not in the mood.”

“Do all cats have people names here?” Rain asked. She was pretty sure no one in their right mind would name a cat Cynthia, not when Snowball and Peanut Butter were options.

“Shut up, little girl. No one is talking to you,” the big black cat said.

Rain glowered. “I don’t think I like talking cats very much. You’re all rude. Didn’t your mother ever teach you any manners?”

Cynthia laughed and flicked her tail. “You sure know how to pick ‘em, Lana. Don’t let this one die on you too.” The black cat looked at Rain, shook her head, and then walked away, her tail standing straight up like a little Christmas tree.

“She wasn’t very nice,” Rain said.

“Come on,” Lana said. “Let’s get this over with.”

They started walking through the witch’s village, Lana staring straight ahead and ignoring all of the eyes upon them. Rain hugged herself and tried to do the same, but it was hard. Everyone stopped what they were doing to stare, and Rain realized she was the only kid in the whole village. She was also the only person dressed normally, but since she wasn’t wearing any funny-looking clothes, it made her stand out. She wished she had left her backpack in the tall grass; it was blue and no one else was wearing blue.

When one woman pointed at her and whispered to another, Rain turned her gaze towards the ground.

“Ignore them,” Lana said. “They aren’t mad at you; they’re mad at me.”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Oh.” Rain wished Lana would talk about it. Everyone had seemed so nice a few minutes ago, but now no one was dancing or laughing anymore. Even the music had stopped. “It’s just like school,” Rain said, more to herself than anyone else.

“How so?”

“Everyone seems really nice on the first day. It’s all new people and sounds, and you think it’s going to be fun. Even the teacher is happy. But then you find out that some kids are mean, and even though you haven’t done anything wrong, they don’t care. They’re just mean.” Rain sighed. “I didn’t think adults were like that though.”

“Adults are often more childish than children,” Lana said.

As soon as they were by the two large rocks, the sounds and laughter returned to the village. Rain looked back, at all of the new people and sounds and fun, and wanted to cry. It wasn’t fair. She hadn’t done anything wrong, but that didn’t matter to them.

Instead, she turned back towards the mountain and passed between the two large rocks. Once she did, the village and sounds disappeared, as if they had never existed at all. They were alone again. Her eyes followed the smooth path upwards until it rounded a corner and went out of sight, and when she craned her neck and looked at the top of the mountain, she saw the moon waiting for them. From her vantage point, it looked like it was balancing on the very tip and could fall over at the lightest gust of wind. They were almost there.

“At least the weather has been really nice,” Rain said. She couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to go on an adventure.

Lana nodded, and together they started walking up the mountain, heading towards the moon.

Streams Chapter 3: Planemo Rogue

Assuming ya’ll know the drill by now. Chapter one can be found here, chapter two here, and Thomas’s EP that inspired this project here. Enjoy.

 

Chapter 3: Planemo Rogue

Rain ran for her life. The sound of a thousand blowing gales howled behind her, the invisible monsters getting closer with each step. She closed her eyes and screamed, though she never stopped running. The ground had turned into a steep hill again, and if she stopped, she would fall.

“Not that way!” the cat shouted from behind, its hissing voice adding to her panic. “Go back, go back you stupid little girl!”

Rain did not. The monsters were behind her. All around her the world was growing colder and darker, but when she finally glanced backwards, she saw empty air. For a split second she thought she was safe, and then she heard the crunch of footsteps. The white path was advancing, chasing after her, its green color frosting and turning to clear glass. The frozen ghosts were going to catch her.

Then the cat was latched onto thin air and growling like a lion, its fangs sinking into an invisible foe. Steam gushed out of its mouth. Rain screamed again and put on another burst of speed, and when she blinked, she was standing in a maze of glass sculptures. Huge walls of ice and glass closed in from all sides; plants, animals, and strange people with little horns growing out of their heads stared blankly down at her, their faces a mix of confusion and sorrow. Rain tried to back away, but somehow the maze had closed shut behind her. She was stuck.

“Help!” she screamed, feeling her tears freeze against her skin. It was so cold. “Someone please help!”

“Run little girl,” one of the statues gasped, its mouth not moving. “Take the right path and run.”

Rain ran. When the maze forked, she took the right path, passing by more frozen statues. From somewhere behind her, she thought she heard a howl of pain, though she wasn’t sure if it was from the cat or one of the ghosts.

When the pathway forked again, she paused. There weren’t any talking statues to guide her way. Three glass flowers towered above her, their pedals as big as walls and perfectly transparent. The first flower was a rose, the second a wilted tulip that pointed to the right, and the third a broken lily that leaned to the left. Beyond them she could see her stream, raging ahead like a wild river.

“We’ve found you,” voices wheezed from behind. The crunching of more footsteps followed. “A pretty new statue for our garden.”

“Help!” Rain mouthed, though all that came out were the chattering of her teeth.

“We like pretty statues.” The crunching got closer.

Rain turned around and saw an empty path, though when she looked at the ground, she could see footprints advancing, pressing against the now glass pathway and cracking it. Each step was like a lightning strike on a bad, stormy night.

“Run!” a sing-song voice hissed out. “Through the rose!”

Rain blinked and saw a purple-and-grey streak zip by, towards the frozen flower blocking her path. She turned and followed it, scrunching her eyes shut. She wasn’t sure if time slowed or stopped as she sprinted towards the sculpture, but the world around her got colder and a frozen breath touched her cheek. The cracking of broken glass filled her ears.

She struck the glass wall with a hollow thud. The cat said another bad word, and the frozen ghosts behind them screamed in fury. Then she was falling.

Rain was suspended for so long she thought she might have accidentally learned how to fly, and then she hit the ground. She slid and stumbled, the sound of moving water now filling her ears. She blindly reached around for something to hold onto, but her right hand only found cold, slippery ground. Her left landed in the stream. Rain yelped at the burning cold and jerked backwards, finally opening her eyes. She was on her back, and the sky was above her, still a piercing shade of blue. The sun was in its normal spot, as if nothing strange of horrible had just happened.

But the sky had changed. Now the moon was out, full and bright despite the early-afternoon hour.

“Are you okay?” the cat asked between deep breaths. It was purring and licking itself all over.

Rain looked around. They were on the stream, though now the stream wasn’t a stream but a raging river. She could see through the floor, and it took her a few seconds to realize they were sitting on a giant glass rose pedal. It had broken off when she and the cat had run into it.

“No,” Rain said, already starting to cry. That had been really scary, and now she wanted to go home. She wanted her mommy and daddy. They would tell her everything was alright and make the sting in her hand go away.

“It’s alright, Rain,” the cat said, now snuggling up against her. Rain began to pet it. “We’re safe now.” The grey-and-purple tabby chuckled. “And we found ourselves a boat.”

“I want to go home.”

“You can’t. You crossed the threshold.”

Rain cried and petted the cat for a long time, though the sun never moved. Together they floated down the stream, passing by meadows and orchards. The world grew warm again, and a host of pink flamingos flew over head, their numbers so big they made the entire sky look like pink lemonade. The only thing they didn’t cover up was the moon. They flew behind it.

“I’ve never seen a moon like that before,” Rain said, though she had also never seen a group of birds like that before. Flamingos only lived in zoos, as far as she knew.

“It’s a rogue moon,” the cat said. “A good omen. It’s why your little stream is now a river.”

“Oh.”

The current carried them onwards, the miles passing by quickly. Rain was now so far from home she was afraid the cat might be right, that she’d never find her way back. Soon two mountain peaks were jutting out of the horizon, and not long after, they were between them. Rain wasn’t sure how that could be possible, since it would take hours to reach them in a car and they were only floating down a river.

“We have to climb the mountain,” the cat said. “Don’t worry, I know a path, and there are no ghosts here.”

“Why?” Rain asked, though she followed the cat off their pedal-shaped boat. She wanted to stretch her legs, and now that the air was warm, she was afraid the boat might melt.

“Because you have a witch’s name, and this mountain is where witches go to ask the moon for favors.”

Streams Chapter 2: The House of Ice and Glass

Here’s chapter 2 of my ongoing little short story project set to the EP my friend–the very talented Thomas Rakowitz–put out a few months ago titled, Streams Volume 1.

Chapter 1 can be found here

The EP in can be found here

 

Chapter 2: The House of Ice and Glass

“Wait, stop!” the cat called. Rain turned around to see the tabby trotting after her, its tail swishing back and forth in an agitated state. “Listen, you can’t go that way. It’s dangerous.”

Rain shook her head. “Nope. I have a map, and it would tell me if there was anything dangerous.” When she had drawn her map, she had made sure not to put anything dangerous on it. This might be an adventure, but Rain was a practical girl.

“Oh really?” the cat said, rolling its large amber eyes. “Check it.”

“Fine.” Rain reached into her backpack and unfolded her map for the second time that morning, already pointing at where she was. “See? The sea is just ahead.”

“Look again, little girl.”

Rain did. Her map was different. The sea was still on it, and still expertly colored in crayon, but now there were other things in the way, places and landmarks she had not drawn. “I don’t understand,” Rain whispered, feeling that twinge of fear return, only now there were no adults. That was bad. An adult could fix this.

“You crossed the threshold,” the cat said. “Things have changed.”

They had. The stream now followed a zigzagging path through the countryside until it wound its way between a series of mountain peaks. Rain had never been this far from home, but she was very sure there weren’t any mountain ranges where she lived. Her teachers would have said something about that. They would have also mentioned the series of towns and cities between her and the sea, none of which Rain recognized. Most were out of the way, but one, a single house drawn in blue, was right on the stream.

“You should have listened to me,” the cat said.

“Shut up!” Rain snapped. It was just like Jody Casper to have the rudest talking cat in the world. “You’re a very mean cat, you know?”
“And you’re a silly little girl.”

“I don’t need your help.” Rain still had her map, and though it was different, it was still a map. It told her how to get to the sea. She wasn’t scared. Much. “I just need to go to this nice blue house.” She smiled. “I bet there’s a talking dog there who will help me. Dogs are so much nicer than cats.”

The cat said another bad word, this one much worse than the last one, and Rain turned to leave. Her mother always told her not to make friends with people who said bad words, and her mother was right. Rain wasn’t entirely sure how that rule applied to talking cats, but it didn’t matter. She had a new destination, and when she got there, she could get the help she needed.

Maybe whoever owned the blue house had a car and could just drive her to the sea.

Rain walked for awhile, though every time she checked her watch, the time hadn’t changed. It was still only a few minutes after 11:00. She tried not to let it bother her, mostly because the cat was still following her and she didn’t want it to know she was upset. The cat was mean and would only make fun of her.

The ground grew uneven and hilly, and Rain was finding it hard to traverse. Some of the hills were really steep and slippery. When she finally crested one tall hill, following the stream upwards the whole way, she stopped. It had grown colder all of a sudden, and a light breeze was picking up, blowing at her back. In the distance, small but shining like a little star, was the blue house. Rain was almost there.

Feeling fine, and still ignoring the cat, Rain decided to sit down and rest. She took her socks and shoes off again and went to put her feet in the stream, expecting the water to be cool and refreshing like it was last time. “Ouch!” she shouted, pulling away. The water was freezing, colder than ice. Rain looked at her big toe and began to cry. It was all white, like someone had covered it in snow. It hurt.

“Hush, hush. It’s alright,” the cat said, sliding up to Rain and rubbing against her.

“Go away,” Rain said, though already she was petting the purple-and-grey tabby. It was impossible to not pet a very soft cat.

Instead of leaving, the cat started licking Rain’s foot, melting the frost with its tongue. It hurt at first, and Rain winced, but soon the pain was gone and her toe was back to its normal color. She wriggled all her toes and grinned, remembering a game her father used to play with her when she was a little kid.

“What’s your name, little girl?” the cat asked.

“Rain.”

“That’s a pretty name,” the cat said, and Rain smiled. She liked it when people thought she had a pretty name. “A witch’s name. You’re destined for great things Rain, but not today. Today you need to turn back.”

Rain shook her head. She couldn’t turn back, not when she was so close. She put her socks and shoes back on and stood up. Her foot didn’t hurt at all, and now that her scare was over, she felt refreshed. “I’m going to the sea,” she said, and started following the stream again.

It only took a few steps for her to stop. Somehow, the grass in front of her was changing color, turning from a bright summer green to a bitter white. She knelt down and watched one patch transform right before her eyes, like someone was painting over the landscape. When she exhaled, her breath was foggy.

“The house of ice and glass is up ahead,” the cat whispered, its ears flat against its head. “The frozen ghosts live there. If they see you…” but the cat trailed off. Something was approaching.

Rain looked around but didn’t see anything. They were alone.

Then she heard the crunch of a foot stepping on ice, and the world turned into a din of screams.

Streams Chapter 1: We’re a Long Way From Home

Before I begin, allow me one quick introduction. I make it a habit to write to the music my friend Thomas Rakowitz puts out, which isn’t news if you follow this blog. Well a few months ago he put out an instrumental EP titled Streams Volume 1, and I’m only now getting to it. Sorry Thomas.

Ideally I’d do this as one quick story, writing until the EP ended in a stream-of-consciousness style, but this isn’t an ideal world. It looks like I’ll be doing multiple installments for this particular story with some forethought put in place for good measure. Whoops.

So here is chapter one, based off of the first song of the EP. There will be four more chapters, ideally released once per week.

 

Chapter 1: We’re a Long Way From Home

Rain was a long ways from home. She had been walking all morning, mostly humming to herself and skipping when the mood struck, and now she wished she had brought more snacks. All her Oreos were gone, and she was down to her last juice box. She supposed it was her fault for eating all of the cookies right away, but she also supposed it was impossible to only eat just one.

The sky was cloudless and a piercing shade of blue, and Rain couldn’t have asked for a nicer day for her adventure. She knew that real adventurers could tell the time based on the position of the sun and moon, and since she was on one herself, she decided to try. She considered the sun and the length of her shadow, looking back and forth, and then she checked her wristwatch. Her shadow did the same. It was a few minutes after 11:00.

Rain was going to the sea. Her teacher said that all streams eventually lead to the sea, and Rain had always wanted to see the sea. She had seen pictures of course, some she had drawn herself (her mother had put the best ones on the fridge) but she had never been there. Even at eight, Rain knew that seeing and being where very different things.

So she had grabbed her Lilo and Stitch backpack, filled it with cookies and juice boxes, and set off, following the little stream that ran through the edge of her family’s farm. She figured she’d be back by lunch time, though now she wasn’t so sure. The sea should really be on the horizon by now. Rain shrugged because it wasn’t a problem; it was a beautiful summer day, and she still had one juice box left. It would last her until she got to where she needed to go.

The stream gurgled around a little bend as it dropped half a foot in what was easily the prettiest waterfall in all of Oklahoma, and Rain decided to take her shoes off and soak her feet in the cold water. She started humming again as birds skimmed the surface, looking for bugs and fish to eat, and checked the map she had drawn the night before. It was on a white piece of computer paper and expertly colored in crayon. She had started with her own home and fields, which she knew like the back of her hand, and then the Jordy’s farm and finally the Casper’s. She was now nearing the edge of the Casper’s farm, and her map said the sea was just ahead.

Rain nodded because her map wouldn’t lie—she had drawn it after all, and she wouldn’t lie to herself—and stood up. It was time to go.

For Rain, this adventure was more than just her desire to see the sea, though that was a big part of it. No, this was serious. The stream was shrinking. Rain played it every day during the summer, which made it hers even if it did cut through at least six other farms, and she paid very close attention to it. It was growing smaller. When she had first learned how to swim at four, it was practically its own sea, but now she could swim across it in a few minutes and even touch the bottom with her toes if she stretched them hard enough.

Rain was afraid it might disappear entirely if someone didn’t do something about it.

“Are you lost, little girl?” a voice rang out in a sing-song fashion.

“Who’s there?” Rain called back. She wasn’t afraid since she was still near the Casper’s farm and knew the family very well, even if she didn’t recognize the voice.

“Turn around. You don’t want to step over the threshold.”

“Sure I do,” Rain said, though now she was a little worried. This sounded like an adult, and an adult would make her turn around and go home. An adult would yell since she was very explicitly told to not leave her house until all her chores were done, and she hadn’t done any of them. She also wasn’t supposed to wander into other people’s yards without permission.

When the voice made a soft, hacking sound and a grey cat with purple stripes walked out of a tall patch of grass, it’s ringed tail standing tall and proud, Rain forgot all about the angry adult.

“Oh hey kitty!” she called, already taking a slow step towards it, one hand outstretched so she could pet it. “Who’s a good girl? Are you a good girl?”

“Ugh,” the cat said. “Why is it always children? Listen little girl, you can still go back. The threshold is—”

“You can talk!” Rain blurted out. She had never met a talking cat before, though she supposed since she was on an adventure, anything was possible. She watched enough cartoons to know that. “What’s your name?”

“You’re about six steps away from being stuck here. Turn around now and go home.”

“Are you one of the Casper’s cats?” Rain stamped her foot. It was just like Jody Casper to have a talking cat and not tell her. If she had a talking cat, she’d tell everyone! Well, maybe not everyone, but she’d tell Jody. Maybe.

The cat sighed in such a heavy fashion that it flopped over onto the ground. “Why is it always children?” it sang to itself.

Seeing an open opportunity, Rain walked over and began to pet the strangely-colored tabby. The cat’s fur was so soft that it couldn’t be a farm cat. Rain should know; she had had three farm cats, and they were always filthy, especially Peanut Butter who was perpetually caked with something that most certainly was not cake.

“What are you doing?” the cat asked, now purring.

“How come you can talk?”

“All cats can talk.”

“My cats can’t talk. I should know, I talk to them all the time. They never say anything back.”

“That’s because you’ve never asked them anything worth responding to.”

“Oh.” Rain wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but it sounded rude. “You aren’t a very nice cat, are you?”

“If you don’t turn around in two more steps, you’ll be stuck on this path,” the cat said again. It stopped purring.

Rain got up and took two more steps south, following the stream. “Good,” she said. “This is the path I need to be on.”

The cat responded with another sigh and a bad word.

Chapter 2

A Place–An Experiment with Second Person

This is something I wrote a bit over a year ago as a little experiment with perspective. I was also playing around with a more purple to my prose at the time, and on the whole, I do like how this reads, even if it is a bit pretentious and strange at points. This and two other sections like it are slated to go into my next project, a novella titled Amp, which I start editing next week. I’ll be tweaking this heavily to more fit what I want, but I plan on keeping it in second person, if no other reason than it amuses me. In the context of the novella, it’s a dream sequence, and hey, dream sequences are allowed to be strange, meandering, and pretentious!

 

Somewhere, a place.

Between.

Inside of time.

Your surroundings explode into existence as you transition into a new state of being. You look backwards, hoping for a past that existed but a second ago, but all you see is sand.

Sand. Everything is sand.

The sand is a bright gold that gives off a sharp, unforgiving light. It hurts your eyes, and you try to blink existence into focus.

You fail.

The world is an ever-moving ocean, great dunes rise and crest to the symphony of a harsh wind that howls like a deranged animal. It’s ferocious, and despite the blazing heat, you shiver as a slight chill creeps up your spine and into your soul.

The heat. The heat is maddening and extreme; it is oppressive, and it cascades from everywhere, inescapable and dehydrating.

Sweat pours off your body and you are thirsty, but the only thing to drink is sand. Your tongue sticks to the roof of your mouth as your salvia begins to congeal into a thick mucus, and you wonder if you will die here, burn to death as your body rejects all of the water inside of it.

You are afraid, but the heat clouds your emotions until fear, misery, and wonder become a slow moving tornado that dizzies inside your head.

You feel faint and want to collapse, but the sand is hot and you don’t want to fall into it. The ground would burn and the harsh wind would bury you alive in physical fire.

So you sway to the left, to the right, and finally turn around. For a moment, your eyes betray the heat and allow you a glimpse of something, a glimpse of destination. You begin to walk forward, to a structure in the distance that stretches up and up into the burning sky. It is a bright structure, and it glitters like diamonds. You yearn to see it more than you yearn to escape this heat, and a new fear swirls around the whirlwind inside your head.

What if you die before you reach it?

So you walk.

And walk.

And walk.

And the seconds turn into minutes and the minutes turn into hours, and still you walk forward, towards the structure of diamonds that stretches into the sky. It grows bigger and bigger as you near, and so you walk faster and faster until you are jogging, drenched in sweat and half blind from exhaustion.

The structure begins to take shape, and the glittering diamonds begin to transform into metal, vast sheets and beams of metal of different colors and types. They give off heat, and you wonder why they haven’t melted under their own temperatures.

The structure moves.

You can feel it moving beneath your feet, miles and miles beneath the sand. It is a pleasant vibration, and it keeps you walking forward, forces you to walk forward.

You notice teeth. Great teeth jutting out of a great wheel, and your dizzy mind forms a word.

The base of the structure is a vast gear made out of bronze. It is miles in diameter, and even more miles in circumference, and its teeth jut upwards into the sky like angry spears. The bronze glows a vibrant color that is both youthful and clean, and there is a promise and a hope about the gear, a promise to last, a promise to work, a promise to provide.

A promise to be.

You gaze at this vast gear, newly forged by existence, and wonder where you are. This desert, so new and hot, doesn’t wonder back, for it has a strict purpose and no time for idle thoughts. This desert has no time for you.

The gear is moving, a slow and soundless movement that you fail to grasp at first because your brain is dizzy and clogged with heatstroke. But it does turn, and it will continue to turn until long after the Earth is a dry rock with no atmosphere or life.

Jutting up from the center of the gear is a large, thick axle the color of newly tempered steel. It shines out a happiness and will, and it slowly turns with the gear in a perfect, practiced movement. It holds all the positivity of youth, and it holds all the weight of the tower.

The tower, a kind of tower. A moving tower. A tower both complete and incomplete. A tower made out of metal.

The axle ends at another gear, a small gold wheel that shines and turns and commands. Attached to this golden, turning sun are two other gears, vast and bright. They vertically reach upwards, floating in the air with separate axles jutting out, attached to nothing but the hot air. The two gears rotate, and their outstretched axles slowly sweep across the desert, sending out thin beams of shadow.

For a brief moment, you find yourself in shade as one of the axles swoops high over your head, and for a brief moment, you feel cold. Your mind clears and your fear sharpens into wonder. Wonder at the impossible structure powered by impossible forces.

And then the shadow is gone and you are once again drowned in a heavy, oppressive heat that fights the life boiling beneath your skin.

Still the structure reaches upwards, gears upon gears and metal upon metal. Silver gleams from thick, smaller gears that float and rotate with their vertical brethren, heavy in weight but weightless in necessity. They shine in a pure radiance as they turn, powering even more axles and gears above them.

Another thick shadow passes over you as you look upwards, and in a moment of cold, blissful clarity, you see the fire.

No sky shines down upon you or this desert of sand and gears; no sun looks down on as you dehydrate in a place far from home.

Only fire.

And then the shadow has passed and you sway in unbalance as you look up into a burning red wall of flames.

The fire is everywhere, and the fire is everything. It stretches from horizon to horizon, glowing and dancing with heat, moving and pulsing with the power of youth. It burns, and it will continue to burn until long after the Earth is a dry rock with no atmosphere or life.

Your eyes fill with tears, and the fire blurs into a bright, streaky mess, and for one, beautiful second, you are looking into the face of passion.

You are recognized.

And then the heat of the desert, of this world, has evaporated your tears, leaving you with an all-consuming blaze that is continuously killing you with unrecognized circumstance.

You fall over, burning your hands as you blindly reach forward to save yourself from hurt. The sand is hot, and you cry out as the heat catches you in its apathetic arms. Sluggishly, you move into a sitting position, burning your legs in the process, until you are comfortable in your discomfort.

Questions and screams form and disappear in your mind as you look up into the sky, following the tower of gears and metal into complete inferno. The wind howls as the ocean of sand moves in great, wandering dunes around you.

The tower is still miles away, and you know you’ll never reach it. You will die here, alone in this world of sand and fire with the tower forever in the distance. Eons will pass, and your body will be buried in sand as the two spinning axles turn on and on, keeping their own time as they count away the years. You won’t be forgotten, for you’ll never be remembered; this desert has no time for you.

Another moment of shade and respite passes over you, but you are too tired to care, too exhausted and thirsty and worn out. All you want to do is sleep and escape this heat.

All you want is for the tornado in your mind to stop spinning.

Now you are lying down, and your back burns as you look up, following the tower into the fire. The tower moves and moves in purpose, and the sky burns and burns in retort, and all you can do is lay there and listen to the wind howl and chase the sand.

You wait to die.

There is a story, a special kind of story told to you long ago by a person of a special kind of unimportance. It swims through your head, burnt and fragmented.

A man is walking through a desert. He is surrounded by sand and heat, but still he walks. Why he is in the desert is unimportant, and how he escapes from the desert is unimportant, though you wonder about these two details now. They are the only parts of the story that matter to you.

The man walks and walks, dehydrating and dying, until he finds a small, golden disc in the sand. The man bends down to pick up the disc and sees that it is a watch of exquisite make. The word exquisite is not your own but that of the especially unimportant storyteller. You would have described the watch as beautiful, as promising.

The watch cannot help the man survive the heat, but it can give him something to think about while he dehydrates, and so the man looks at the watch and begins to wonder.

Who put the watch here?

He flips open the watch and sees the hands moving in perfectly timed increments, ticking away at an important purpose and unmindful of him. He then opens the back panel to see hundreds of little gears, all moving together in perfectly practices precision.

Who put the watch here?

That’s where the story ends, and as a thick band of shadow passes over, you begin to laugh great shouts of hysteria. The desert continues howling, the tower continues moving, and the fire continues burning, and as the world continues to ignore you, you continue you laugh.

Look at what the Blind Watchmaker made!

Your laughs begin to turn into screams, and as the wind howls along with you, you can hear a deep, guttural growl. It grows and swells in sound until it is all around your head, and you open your eyes for one last look at the tower.

It is still there, still spinning, and still exquisite.

And the growl strengthens and tears at your ears, and you think you can make out words, but they are so far away.

You close your eyes and focus.

The growls begin to clear.

The world of sand, gears, and fire fades away.

In the Atmosphere

Before you read this little piece of fiction, I want to give a shoutout to my friend Thomas Rakowitz, the guitarist that has inspired almost all of the writing improvisations on this blog. It’s because of him that I’ve found a style of poetry I quite love, and that means a lot to me. Well, Thomas has put out an instrumental/atmospheric album titled In the Atmosphere, which can be listened to and purchased here. It’s a wonderful piece of music, and it’s the inspiration for the story below. It’s different from the improvisations as it’s in a standard prose and had a bit more forethought/planning to it, but the spirit is still the same. It took me two listens of In the Atmosphere to write and edit this. I hope you like it, and I hope you check out the album linked above.

In the Atmosphere

The boy held onto the balloon with some level of expectance. It was a birthday gift, not the best one by any means, yet the most interesting. It floated on the air, a perfectly yellow sphere that reminded him of the sun and the stars. It tugged on the ribbon he was holding, desperate to reach the heavens and beyond. The boy understood that, sympathized with it even. He himself wanted to be an astronaut, though he would be grounded forever on Earth. Astronauts weren’t the kinds of people confined to wheelchairs.

Without thinking, the boy picked up a nearby marker and wrote the word “Legacy” on the balloon in thick, clumsy letters. He admired his work and the word. Even at nine, he dreamed of having a legacy. He didn’t know where life would take him, and while his friends had big dreams of taming lions in Africa or fighting fires or building robots, the boy knew none of those things were possible for him. Legacy was a big word and a big idea for some, but for others, for him, it was a nebulous thing to be sought after but perhaps never found.

The balloon, however, wasn’t burdened with such an affliction or cynicism. It could go up and up, to the stars and beyond. Maybe it could even reach the moon. Legacies needn’t be big, and they needn’t involve lions; they could be small things, insignificant to almost everyone but one or two. The boy could let this balloon away to where it wanted to go, and forever, long after the boy was dead, the balloon would remember him. Maybe it would even talk of him, of the sad boy who secretly cried on his birthday because the world had decided he wasn’t fit to dream big.

With hardly a movement, the boy let the balloon go. It was slow to rise at first, almost afraid. Or perhaps it was sad. It had only known the boy for a short time, yet it had already developed a friendly rapport with him, silence being their favorite topic. But soon it was rising with gusto, its purple ribbon waving goodbye to the boy and the earth. Legacy was going up and up, and while the balloon was turning into a smiling star, the boy was crying. He had let another dream go, and he was afraid he would soon run out of them.

The balloon vanished out of sight, and the boy closed his eyes, blinking away the tears. It wouldn’t do to let his friends and family see him cry, to see him weak. Yet he kept his eyes closed all the same, not wanting to look at the empty sky where the balloon had gone. That was too painful. He kept his eyes closed and thought, and in that act of thinking, a small piece of his imagination left his head and grabbed onto the balloon’s purple ribbon.

The balloon rose, and from the its high perspective, a lost satellite looking for a home, the universe was huge and beautiful. The blue of the sky had paled, a hushing exhale that brought the balloon higher still. Everything was light and fragile, and the balloon felt safe, far away from the points and hard surfaces of the ground. It looked up yet, aiming for the stars and the moon. It was so close to them now, and they were getting ever closer.

Then it stopped. Something was wrong. The balloon urged itself higher, reaching for space and solar winds that would take it anywhere and everywhere, but nothing happened. It was stuck. Space was above, so close yet so far away, and the ground was below, a lifetime ago that was only minutes past. The balloon was stuck, trapped in the atmosphere with both everything it ever wanted and everything it ever knew far out of reach.

Yet before the balloon could fall into despair at a legacy uncompleted and friends long gone, a strong wind from Earth’s farthest corner began to blow. It was a warm air, the color of lilacs, and it soothed the balloons sadness away. Within the air came memories, golden thoughts of places amazing and strange, of colors and smells foreign to all but a lucky few who had discovered the ways of the atmosphere.

The balloon latched onto those memories, those secret ideas, and began to sail away. The sky flew by at an exhilarating speed, blowing the balloon this way and that, past stationary clouds and floating raindrops, past dust particles as old as time and rays of sunlight from suns outside of Earth’s little solar system. On and on the balloon raced, crossing the atmosphere until it wasn’t just in it but inside it, the thin veil that is the sky having given its permission for travels far more interesting and important than the emptiness of space.

Colors exploded around the balloon, falling and swirling as time began to grow strange and vacant. A great city flew by, its enormous wings like that of an angel flapping in time to the melody of a complex and heavy song. The music didn’t float, it fell, but that was okay, because all of the glass buildings and skyscrapers pointed downwards to whatever world was below. The music sank, and the strange people in the strange city heard it and sang along, their voices like that of a thousand cicadas. The city dove, its wings folding in, and soon it was far under the balloon, heading somewhere out of reach and sight. The balloon continued.

A heavy rain came, riding an enormous bronze cloud that smelled of honey. The water fell upwards, its drops thick with dust and perhaps something more. Perhaps the building blocks of life were in those drops, wiggling around and talking of their own legacies that would one day come to be. Opportunity shined from them, for beasts large and small, for creatures that could talk and sing and create, for mythical dragons and terrifying krakens.

The balloon watched as the cloud hit a hard point in the air and broke apart, the heavy rains now playing the part of propellant as small chunks of matter and dust exploded everywhere. Some fell to the ground, others flew towards the stars, yet most went into the atmosphere, vanishing out of sight to reappear somewhere else, somewhere where new legacies could begin.

Onwards the balloon went, riding the currents of forever. Suns of every color rose and set, always turning the tapestry of reality into a kaleidoscope of images, smells, and memories. Creatures of every fashion came and went, some with wings and others without, some of biology and others of geology, some of matter and some of light, and the balloon saw and made a note of all of them. The balloon tried to talk to a few, to tell them of the boy who set such a wonderful journey in motion, but the balloon could not speak. It was only a balloon, one blessed with a foreign imagination, but still only a balloon. But it did have its word and its name, and that seemed to be enough. Always the strangers would stop and stare, and the intelligent ones would wave and read the word “legacy” with a knowing smile. Then they would go back to their harvests or dances, leaving the balloon to soar into the atmosphere and onto the next world.

Eventually the balloon became homesick. It loved the adventure it was on, and it loved the strange people it had seen, but it was growing tired of the tireless winds and seeing both space and the ground far out of reach. The balloon wanted to rest, but more than that, the balloon wanted to see the sad child again. It longed to speak to that boy, to tell him that dreams and legacies weren’t set in stone, that wonderful things could happen to even the most unremarkable people and objects. Life was a journey, and one with unspeakable beauty hidden between the seams. Because for those special few, blessed with a little bit of luck and the yearning to explore, the atmosphere was there, waiting to take them anywhere.

The balloon wanted to do what the child had done for it, to help him see the worlds between the winds, the worlds within the atmosphere.

The balloon floated onwards, now looking for a way down. It continued to try and speak to those it saw, to tell them of the boy and its want to return home, but no words would come from its thin rubber surface. Eventually the balloon’s color began to fade and dirty, and eventually the word “legacy” became smudged and hard to read. Soon, the strangers the balloon found were paying it no mind, for now the balloon had nothing it could say. Without the word, it was just an object, lazily floating through places it did not belong. No one bothered to notice the little piece of imagination still stuck to the balloon’s ribbon. Time passed. The balloon continued to fade, and its ribbon started to fray and wither.

A new storm billowed out from an invisible cloud, bringing with it hail and lightning. The balloon was rocked back and forth, and it was pelted with icicles that weighed nothing. The balloon felt its seams stretch, felt its ribbon begin to loosen, and it held on to form and life with all of its power. It tried to entangle a piece of ice within its ribbon, to give it weight to fall, but its ribbon lacked muscle and the ice was weightless. A strike of lightning exploded past the balloon, clipping its ribbon. The balloon felt no pain as a piece of itself fell away and blew randomly within the wind, now on its own journey, different and devoid of imagination.

Perhaps it was a change in pressure, or perhaps it was the simple feeling of desolation, but eventually the balloon began to grow heavy and tired. It felt itself sink and droop, and it knew what was left of the ribbon was beginning to unwind. The piece of imagination held on, afraid the ribbon would break completely and it would be lost to the winds forever. Luck, perhaps the same luck that saw the balloon placed in the hand of a sad nine-year old and not that of a happy child filled with the energy of youth and promise, kept the string attached and the descent in motion.

The ground grew in size and clarity, and the balloon felt the powers and the winds of the atmosphere recede until they were far behind. It spiraled downwards, thick and heavy but with just enough lift to hold onto hope. This had to be the right world, the right home, and the boy who wrote the word “Legacy” so long ago had to be below.

The balloon landed in a yard, and a boy in a wheelchair, very puzzled and perhaps a little afraid, approached it. The boy ignored the leftover party streamers and his parents talking while they bagged up paper plates and cups, and the boy ignored the strange feeling that something amazing was about to happen. He wanted to believe, yet he didn’t want to be disappointed. He was too used to disappointment.

The boy picked up the dirty, faded balloon, and a little piece of imagination, small and seemingly insignificant, jumped from what was left of the purple ribbon and into his mind.

The boy gasped.

The boy smiled

The boy saw everything, and he remembered the strange journey until the day he died, stricken by old age on a place far from home, a strange and beautiful place floating within the atmosphere.

Painless

Hey you. Yes, you. Come here. I have something to show you. Don’t be afraid; it can’t hurt you, and anyways, you aren’t alone. Many will be watching tonight. So come, come with me. I’ll take care of you tonight, and tomorrow, well…tomorrow will be what tomorrow will be. I make no promises about tomorrow.

This way. No, this way. Through these doors. Come. Come on! We can’t miss this. This will be special, and I don’t invite just anyone; in fact, I only invited you. Tell me, does the air feel thin here? It should. We aren’t alone here. Here is a congregation of thoughts, of sleepers, of anticipation. Come. A few more doors. We had to keep this secret, very secret. Normal people mustn’t know.

Does it feel good to be special? I hope so. You are special. You and the others. No, you can’t see the others. They’re…elsewhere. Here but not here. It’s hard to explain, but anyways, it doesn’t matter. What matters is behind these walls. Here, let me make this one transparent for you. Yes, just like that. Just like that, I can grant you visions. You frown, but that’s okay; I know you don’t mean it. You’ll frown later, and you’ll mean it later, but right now, I can hear your heart beat with excitement. No, that’s a lie. I can feel it beat. It thump thump thumps to the sound of itself. Your heart beats to the sound of your drum.

Cute, huh? I’m sorry.

Yes, that’s it. Or that’s him. No, I don’t know his name. His name is not important. No, he can’t see you. The walls are made of concrete. I’ve changed them for our purposes, just like others have changed the walls for others. Well don’t look puzzled. Like I said, you aren’t the only one here, and I’m not the only person showing. But there are very few of us. You are special, even if you aren’t the only one. The others are special too. You’ll see why later, but I won’t tell you how you’re special. That’s up to you to figure out.

And no, you cannot hurt me. I see the anger on your face, behind your eyes. But no. You’re along for the ride, like it or not. But shush. It’ll happen soon.

The room? It’s made of concrete; pay attention. It’s very important that you pay attention. Yes, that’s all. What you see is what’s there. There’s the one little bulb, swinging from a chain like a pendulum. Think Edgar Allen Poe, only the plot is on the inside. Hey, why do concrete walls bleed slime when they get damp? I haven’t a clue, honestly. It feels malevolent, but I could be projecting. I apologize for that; I don’t want to cloud the events to come. I want you to see them as they happen.

Stop shaking. Soon. Soon it’ll happen. But for now, look at him. Isn’t he the most boring person you’ve ever seen? He isn’t a person that gets lost in the crowd; he’s the crowd a person gets lost in. Don’t worry about him. Do, but don’t. No one will miss him. You’ll leave tonight and won’t miss him. He’s so completely unremarkable, and in an ironic way, that makes him perfect. But shush. Stop asking questions. I can’t answer them for I don’t know, honestly, and anyways, it’ll be best to not get attached.

Ah, there’s the fear. The hatred is gone. Oh, perhaps not. Your eyes betray you. But there’s fear behind them too. I can smell it. But hush now. See the man? There’s more fear in him. Focus on him. I’m but a guide. You wouldn’t shoot the messenger, would you? Such a crime that would be. I’m innocent. I didn’t do this.

Enjoyment? No. This is apathy. Well, maybe some enjoyment. You react so strongly! Oh, it’s starting. Watch.

What a revolting sound that thing made as it popped out of his head. I saw you wince. I did too, to be honest. It’s hard to get used to this, truly. Oh, there’s another one, this time out of the other side. Ugh. They wiggle too much. It’s gross. And there’s another. Wait for one more, and at least this will be symmetrical. Things are less disgusting when they’re symmetrical. Have you ever wondered about that? I have of late. Certain events just make you think in different ways. Ah, see, there it is. I won’t tell you what it is, though I see you recognize it. But see, it isn’t so bad now that it’s symmetrical! You’ll go away from this knowing that, if nothing else.

Yes, he is screaming, quite loud in fact. Would you like to hear it? No? I don’t believe you. You’re curious. That’s in your eyes too. They really aren’t doing you any good, but no, you can’t close them. I won’t let you, and anyways, I know you won’t let you either. Don’t worry; curiosity only kills cats. It won’t kill you. Not tonight anyways. I can’t make promises about tomorrow.

Ah, there we go. Such a terrible sound he makes! For a generic person, he certainly can wail with the best of them. I think that’s a wail. “Wail” has more connotations than scream, though it most certainly is a scream too. But it’s more than that. Oh dear, now he’s touching the legs. He really shouldn’t. They’re sharp. And now he’s missing a finger. They never learn. No blood though. What? No. Look.

Okay, I’ll turn his screams off. We’ve heard enough. They get annoying after awhile, and really, do you want a headache? I don’t. There. Off. Don’t look at me like that; it was no trouble at all. Just a thought really. But I’m keeping the other sounds on. They get interesting, and I can see that you like interesting. Yes, I can see that. You’re interested on some fundamental level. Some bile in your spleen is enjoying this. I think that’s what scares you the most.

See how his head bulges and stretches? It’s a vessel. It’s a conduit. It’s a portal. Oh, now he’s trying to keep it in place with his hands. That won’t work. They always try, but what’s happening will happen regardless of what he wants.

No. It doesn’t hurt him. There’s no pain here. I could cut you, and you’d feel nothing. Oh don’t be silly; I won’t. That would distract you from this. But no, there’s no pain here. None at all. He can feel himself stretch and contort, but only on a…minimal level. Like a small muscle spasm. Tell me, have you ever had restless leg syndrome? No. Never mind then.

Oh! Did you see that? Something is about to come through! I could see its eyes inside his mouth. It winked at us. It knows we are here, though the man does not. You know, I’m actually not sure what that means. Oh! Look, his face is really stretching now! Can you hear him gurgle? It’s gross isn’t it? Oh of course he’s choking. There’s a thing inside his head, but it’s stuck and contorted, so it’s going down his throat. Well of course it could kill him if it doesn’t get unstuck. That’s what happens when your throat gets clogged. Don’t be stupid. I brought you here because I thought you were special, not stupid.

Ah there we go. See his throat rip open? And there’s another appendage. Leg. It’s a leg. There will be eight in total. I see five now, so three to…oh, there’s the sixth. Oh dear, right out his eye too. I wonder how that feels without pain. Strange, I imagine. He’s now half blind. Of course that ruined his eye. There’s a leg sticking out of it! No blood, but see the goo? Hey, is there a name for eye goo? I bet there is. Not a clue what though.

If I could rewind that, I would. You missed the sound it made. Like popping an enormous pimple.

Oh, his mouth is stretching some more. If this is like the last one, it’ll contort a few more times yet before everything is done. Oh, there’s another leg. Almost have them all now. Hmm… that one’s where one of his arteries should be, I think. I’ll be honest, I’m bad with anatomy. No blood though. I mean, he can feel that, and it’s very much blocking his blood flow, but at least there’s no blood. That would ruin the mood. Not that I have any control over the blood. Just the sound and the sight. Taste too, Hey, do you want to taste fear?

Rancid. That’s how I describe it anyways. I think it’s different for everyone. To me, it tastes like rancid meat. Something a crow or a vulture would eat. It’s a dark taste, black with poison. But it’s also a throbbing taste. It undulates on your tongue and into your heart. Strange and…well, unpleasant. Here, let me turn that off.

I’m sorry.

Oh there we go; it has a leg out of his mouth now. That’s the last one. But this one has purchase, so it’ll be over soon. Yes you have to watch. I brought you here to watch. No, closing your eyes won’t work. I control sight here, remember? I can see your eyes closed, and I can see that you still see him. Soon. It’ll be over soon.

See, it’s ripping its way out now. Wait, wait, wait…there! Ah, it’s like the sound of an expensive leather jacket tearing, isn’t it? Oh, but now he has a large gash in his face. Terrible looking, really. From his mouth down to his throat. Oh, and there’s some loose flesh hanging down. Ugh. It’s never clean. Never.

No. he can’t feel anything. The feeling is all on you. But that’s not important now. Later, but not now. Keep watching. It’s almost over.

Well yes, he’s very dead. Look at his face and head! They’re barely connected to each other! I can assure you with the utmost authority that there was no pain though. Huge discomfort, but no pain. It grew inside his head and just came out. That’s how it’s born. Well, not so much born as transferred.

It isn’t a spider. It looks a bit like a spider, but see its face? Look at its face, at its eyes. There’s more there than instinct. It wants, it needs, it knows. It can also see you, by the way. And it has marked you. It knows you better than you know yourself, though what it will do with that information I cannot say. I don’t know the future. I only know the now.

I can see you want to leave. I do too. It’s unpleasant, this whole thing. But look on the bright side: You’re special. I brought you and only you. Others brought people they chose, but I don’t know them or their people. They aren’t important. You though, you are important. You know. You saw the man give birth with his face. You saw what happens in this dank concrete room, and you saw the creature. The creature saw you though, and I am sorry for that. That really will be bad for you some day. But, it’s the price you pay.

Don’t look at me like that. You were curious. I saw it in your eyes, and your eyes don’t lie. You might, and will, but your eyes never will. The creature knows that too. But the creature knows so much that that’s not important. Not now.

Now, I think it’s time to leave. I must weep, and you must wake up. Tomorrow is a new day, and the future…well, the future will bring what it will bring. There’s a new monster in the world, so expect the future to be interesting. You like interesting though. It’s why I chose you in the first place. I saw it in your eyes.

And hey, at least I turned off the screams. You’ll thank me for that. When the time comes, you’ll thank me for that. That, I do know.

Some things haunt you more than others.

Goodbye.

Happy Halloween everyone. This entire story is based off of a rather strange nightmare I had a few days ago. I played the part of observer, and I wanted to create that feeling here. The worst part about the dream, I think, was that it wasn’t scary until after everything ended and I woke up. Up until that point, I was just really, dreadfully curious.

I wrote the entire first draft in one sitting, and all in about a forty minute marathon of typing. My hands hurt when I was done. I don’t honestly know how to gauge this story, but I hope you like it regardless. It was fun to write, if nothing else.

And as I said, Happy Halloween.