On Writing and Fabrication

All of this is shit.

I impose structures on myself, and even my words, but words are absolute, good for nothing pieces of crap.

I pride myself on being “good” with words, yet I despise them more than anything else.

They are acts of deception, silence wrapped (warped) by a scaffolding of tortured sound, forced into submission by our egotistic need for “communication”.

What the fuck.

I mean, if at the very least we were good at it but come on. We keep choosing to dwell in fabricated meanings stuck in a self-referential loop that is unable to go anywhere but the surface. Our entire lives are built upon metaphors of shared meaning the content of which we didn’t even get to choose.

But even that is beside the point.

Me saying “surface” implies that there is a “below” the surface and an “above” the surface. It implies that there is something deeper, something hidden, about which poets moan, wonder, lament and cum over, all at the same time.

WE create the illusion, the mystery of the Te, the virtue and principle of every single thing. We assign them meaning and them we turn it around and then we kick it in the face

(Oh please would you get the fuck out from down my window? THANK YOU!)

and say “behave! where is your essence?” as if we knew what the fuck we were talking about.

YET

Well aware that words are lies that we like to believe in, I have never been able to finish one single story. (I lie)

why why why why

I keep asking myself. Because it may not (will not) be good enough, perfect enough, “itself” enough.

And thus you have the poor duskwalker forever trapped in that Safe, cowering in a corner, thinking about Markus and where he might be and waiting for the night to come and the Expanse to calm down and stop trying to eat him.

And Manfred, always the infant and the Witness, all at the same time, condemned to the embrace of his father’s arms as they forget Ada, doomed to be the Harbinger of the Black Sun, forever locked into that last step that would bring him to the other side of the Angel’s gate.

And the nameless woman, frozen in a multifoliate number of endless, ever-increasing, ever-recurring iterations, unable to put a bullet between the eyes of the man that was once a man and her lover, who are now the same, ready to bring about extinction.

And what about the Domes of Fate, and the ever dawning sun of Lucerna? As god bleeds away into something else, the Hierarchs make their last standstill in the Ashen Range, trying to prevent the Still Ones, soulless abominations with a consciousness, from reaching the Domes. Fanatic pricks. The enemy is always within.

Even the Gayatra river has stopped, like petrified blood in a rusted leaf.

All of them are trapped, alone and isolated, stuck and powerless, multiplying endlessly in impotent trajectories to nowhere.

Because I have deemed them not enough “themselves”.

Because I don’t imagine, I reenact.

Because I don’t create, I recreate.

Because I am bullshit and afraid that the only thing I have ever taken an interest into, the only thing I am afraid to find out I am a failure at (or even worse, MEDIOCRE AT!), is the only thing I cannot bring myself to do.

Some years ago, a guy in my town wrote a book. It was horrible. From beginning to end. It was absolute fucking trash. It was so poorly written that if, by some chance or curse that thing had come to life you would still hear it scream “PLEASE BURN ME AND RELEASE ME FROM MY MYSERY”.

(Ok, I might be exaggerating, it was mostly deadly boring with some (many) glaring grammar mistakes, but I need to raise the stakes here to make a point later)

Yet the guy presented it.

He brought it to stores and put up a webpage and promoted it and all that kind of stuff.

He loved it. He cared about it.

He was PROUD of it, goddamit.

Of fucking course, why shouldn’t he? It was his brain child!

Because it really doesn’t matter what I think, or what I say.

Because, to this day, only one truth remains incontestable:

he dared create something

and I have yet to stop fearing.

 

Thanks for reading.

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Life in Four Acts

(A short account)

I. Irruption/Interruption

          a stone breaks the surface

          a spear frees the content

          the figure on the threshold confirms

          a mirrored world

II. Memories of Breathing

cavities expand through time

in chained echoes

propelling

the history of air

III. The Separation Principle

deaf to each other

an accumulation of voices

converse

in deceptively convincing patterns

IV. A Process of Longing Unfulfilled

the air aches

to touch the air

but nothing moves

in the country without wind

 

(meanwhile                           

  )

The Fiction of Distance

Dear sister,

I am writing to you with the hopes that this letter will reach you before Spring is over. The weather here is harsher than in the stories father used to tell us. The cold is cruel and sharp, and it has a malicious intent bordering on human nature. It somehow seems to me that, if I gave it the chance, it would tear the words from this letter and spirit them somewhere far away to keep it company. No wonder, though. When I first set foot in this town it was like stepping into one of those paintings at the Blue Gallery, where everyone seemed to have fled to the furthermost corners of the frame and the town was trying to inhabit itself by keeping a semblance of life.

The snow on the street is riddled with trails of wandering footsteps leading to all kinds of thresholds on the opposite site of which warmth and custom keep life barely awake, like small pockets of familiarity connected by lines of motion and absence. The whole town seems to be enveloped by a mantle of silence, broken only by the occasional treading of a solitary figure walking back home or the muffled toll of the church bell.

            Looking through the window of my temporary quarters, I can’t help but think about our time in the summer house with Philipp. The fixity of this place reminds me somewhat of those long days that seemed to stretch into a benign and placid eternity, when all that mattered was playing hide and seek in the moors and our greatest worry in the world was getting home on time, lest mother became upset. It is curious how, as I grow older, the silliest memories keep springing in my mind like a stubborn yet welcome bed of elderflower, while the darker, less enjoyable moments recede with increasing success to a relegated corner of my mind. With the passing of time, however, the flowers wither and die, and only those dark thoughts remain to keep me company.  Like that time when mother reprimanded you for stripping the skirt of your dress because it kept getting stuck on the bushes. As soon as her hand left her mark on your face, I could see the regret mounting on the corner of her eyes, on her other hand reaching for a daughter that she had already lost. As I ran after you ignoring mother’s pleas, I swore to myself that I would never let anyone hurt you like that again. I would protect my big sister just like she had done with me since the day I came to this world.

            Little did I know that I would be the one to break your heart again. Father was waiting for you when you got back to the house. Looking from behind the curtains, I was afraid that he would hit you, and I was even more afraid that it would be my fault. But the sight of your vanishing smile hurt one thousand times more than the blow that never came. Somehow, in ways that I would only later discover, the look in his eyes told me that he had known all along. The next day, someone came and took Philipp to the city. There were no good byes, no hugs or shared tears, just the raw and exposed finality of a pair of hands that would never hold each other again. I never told you, but I think you always knew. When I saw you and Philipp kissing among the tall grass, the unbearable thought of losing you took a hold of my mind, as I imagined you running away with Philipp, leaving me behind and alone. I guess none of it mattered after all. You left for the city anyway the next winter and we never went back to the summer house.

            I wonder if the trees miss our laughter sometimes, just as much as I miss running along the stream, holding hands with you and Philipp, and the peace of our secret spot near the bent of the river. Do you think the rocks miss the touch of our skin drying in the afternoon sun? Sometimes I wake up with the distinct sensation that it all happened yesterday, but then I feel the weight of the years bending my back and my voice ever so slightly, and I realize that that peace will never return. If only I could have made those days last a little longer…

            I hope you are well, Sabella, and that you remember me with the same fondness my heart feels for you. I don not expect to redeem myself by going out in this hopeless expedition of sorts, but to bring a semblance of peace to you and maybe even myself. I do not know what answers await on the other side of the vale, if any, but I have the feeling that there was always more to the stories that father used to tell us, and that’s what I have set off to discover.

If my calculations are any close to being right, I will be coming back home in one year. Although the vale in itself is not great in dimension, the winding path that goes through the mountain pass turns into something resembling a frost labyrinth during the winter. I must tread carefully if I want to make it back and bring to you whatever I find on the other side, even if it is only my empty hands and a heart full of remorse.

Ever your affectionate brother,

William Barker

Viento

Hace mucho tiempo, cuando los dioses caminaban por la tierra y los hombres se arrastraban entre ellos, existió un ser cuya belleza era envidiada y codiciada por todos. Los hombres lloraban al verlo atravesar el cielo con vuelo presto y silencioso, las mujeres admiraban perplejas la complejidad de una incomprensible maravilla y los niños, sabios e inocentes, se limitaban a saludar y sonreír, como si toda la belleza del mundo habitara en sus ojos y aquel pájaro de plumas brillantes no fuera más que otra faceta de un universo todavía por descubrir.

Muchos eran los que hablaban del color de su reflejo, del tacto de sus plumas, del sabor de su canto. Las madres explicaban a sus hijos historias de como aquel pájaro del color del cielo iba a visitarles cada noche para velar por ellos, para protegerles de la oscuridad y los monstruos que habitan la razón. Los padres hablaban de como los dioses habían renegado de aquel ser a causa de su incomprensible belleza y de como ahora vagaba libre por el cielo, dejando una estela de brillo y color a su paso. Los niños, llenos de excitación y júbilo, señalaban al cielo cada vez que el viento traía consigo una melodía desconocida, preguntándose entre susurros si aquella misteriosa canción pertenecía o no a ese pájaro que todos conocían pero en realidad nadie había visto jamás.

Lo cierto era que nadie sabía nada. Todo eran historias, matices torcidos de un mito atrapado en una botella, fragmentos de un cuento sin principio ni final que, con el tiempo, la gente y las generaciones habían aprendido a creer. Oh no, no es que el pájaro no existiera o su belleza fuera menor a la que las leyendas narraban. Nada de eso. El pájaro existía, sí, y su belleza era tal que cada vez que sus plumas del color del sol cortaban el cielo hasta los propios dioses callaban. Lo cierto es que el pájaro existió.

Pero no eran pedazos de luz lo que dejaba a su paso, ni era protección lo que había venido a traer. En realidad, el pájaro no llevaba consigo más que una profunda e insondable tristeza. Los ríos de brillo que teñían el cielo tras su estela no eran sino la marca de sus lágrimas al pasar sobre un mundo que no comprendía y que no podía entenderle.

Porque el pájaro estaba solo. Al principio, había intentado refugiarse en el canto de sus semejantes, encontrar cobijo bajo unas alas que no eran las suyas. Pero toda aceptación duraba hasta que la magnitud de su inalcanzable belleza acababa por distanciarle y separarle de aquellos a quienes, por el más efímero de los instantes, había llegado a considerar su hogar.

De modo que el pájaro vagaba sin rumbo por el atardecer, buscando aquello que no había logrado encontrar en la mañana, para luego zambullirse de lleno en las llamas de un crepúsculo prematuro cuyos colores no ofrecían más que preguntas a respuestas que jamás habían sido formuladas.

 

Un día, el pájaro se cansó de estar solo y decidió buscar consuelo en la sabiduría de los dioses. Harto de buscar, de vagar, de no encontrar, el pájaro se acercó a los dioses y preguntó:

“¿Por qué estoy solo? ¿Es que acaso no existe nadie como yo?”

Y los dioses respondieron:

“Tu existencia es para también para nosotros un misterio. No sabemos qué eres. No sabemos de dónde procedes. No sabemos nada.”

El pájaro meditó esa respuesta durante varias épocas, hasta que dio de nuevo con la pregunta adecuada y se la presentó de nuevo a los dioses:

“¿Podéis crear un compañero para mí?”

Ante esta pregunta inesperada, los dioses se retiraron a deliberar y, tras varias épocas más, dieron con una respuesta:

“Podemos crear un compañero para ti. Podemos proporcionarte un acompañante. Podemos acabar con tu soledad. Pero no lo haremos. Tu belleza es un bien demasiado preciado y único como para ser recreado. Darte un compañero sería destruir aquello que te hace único, que te hace bello. De modo que no lo haremos.”

El pájaro, cansado y perplejo ante la cruel respuesta de unos dioses ahora ajenos, se echó a llorar.

“Si no me dais lo que busco, esconderé mi canto bajo las piedras, ocultaré mis plumas bajo las estrellas y guardaré mi estela entre las olas del mar, de modo que nadie podrá volver a verme jamás y será como mi belleza jamás hubiera existido.”

Los dioses, temiendo que el pájaro cumpliera con su amenaza y desapareciera del mundo para siempre accedieron a su petición. Usando tres de sus lágrimas, crearon tres copias, puras y prístinas de un color más blanco que la propia luz, y los dejaron para vagar libres.

 

Al principio todo fue bien. El pájaro, contento de tener alguien con quien compartir su mundo, voló alto y les mostró a sus hijos el color de la aurora, el sonido del viento peinando una tierra descuidada, los reflejos de un sol amarillo en un millar de sombras sin dueño. Durante un tiempo, todo fue bien. Los hijos compartían la alegría de su padre y todos se alimentaban del amor del otro. Pero un día, mientras el pájaro observaba a sus hijos cantar, descubrió en sus ojos un brillo apagado e inerte, el reflejo de una luz que no les pertenecía y que jamás había sido suya.

Fue en ese momento cuando el pájaro entendió. Los dioses le habían engañado. No le habían proporcionado compañeros. No le habían dado hijos. Todo lo que los dioses habían hecho había sido crear reflejos sin matices, copias planas y vacías de sí mismo.

Triste y cansado, el pájaro decidió descansar y buscó refugio en el abismo más profundo que pudo encontrar, allí donde ni siquiera la luz del sol podía alcanzar y el sonido se ahogaba en su propia desesperación. Durante varias épocas permaneció alejado del mundo, arropado por el frío calor de unas plumas cuya perfección cada vez le costaba más soportar.

Alejado de todo y de todos, el pájaro tomó una decisión. En la oscuridad, allí donde sólo sus plumas iluminaban el rostro blanco y puro de sus crías vacías y perfectas, el pájaro supo que debía morir. Sabía que los dioses jamás le permitirían marcharse de este mundo, pues eran demasiado egoístas para permitir que su belleza se extinguiera, de modo que el pájaro esperó y esperó hasta que los dioses estuvieron de nuevo enfrascados en uno de sus absurdos conflictos y entonces actuó.

Cuando el pájaro estuvo seguro de que nadie le molestaría, miró a sus tres crías a los ojos y, una por una, les ordenó que devoraran su cuerpo, que consumieran su mente, que extinguieran la llama que brillaba en cada una de sus plumas. Las crías, obedientes y confusas, accedieron a sus deseos, pues el pájaro era su madre, su padre, y todo lo bueno que habían conocido.

Con cada bocado, soles enteros se extinguían, realidades completas desaparecían y una nueva lágrima se vertía. Pero el pájaro no lloraba de dolor, ni de rabia, ni de tristeza. Lloraba de felicidad. Porque sabía que, una vez su cuerpo hubiera desaparecido y sus recuerdos se hubieran extinguido, una vez su mente se hubiera disipado, sus crías serían libres de vivir una vida que a él le había sido negada. Una vida en compañía.

Cuando todo acabó, las tres crías se miraron a los ojos y encontraron en ellos un reflejo extraño y ajeno, brillante y templado. El reflejo de la vida. Descubrieron que sus plumas habían cambiado, que su canto era ahora libre y que la luz de su estela era ahora real. Pues ahora eran hermanos, y como hermanos se querían y se tenían los unos a los otros.

Los pájaros, nacidos de nuevo, lloraron durante días y noches, lamentando el vacío que su madre, su padre y todo lo bueno que habían conocido había dejado en su pecho. Pero aquel vacío no estaba vacío del todo, pues retumbaba con un eco extraño que ninguno de los tres supo reconocer hasta que los sollozos cesaron y los vacíos de su pecho se unieron para dar forma a un canto lejano y distante, el canto de una madre, de un padre y de todo lo bueno que habían conocido.

Perplejos, asustados, los pájaros llegaron a la conclusión de que no habían sido abandonados, de que todavía quedaba esperanza, que sólo tenían que salir a buscarla para encontrarla. De modo que, en un pacto de solemnidad, los pájaros acordaron salir en busca de su madre, su padre y todo lo bueno que habían conocido y decidieron que cada uno de ellos buscaría en el rincón más lejano.

Y así fue como uno de ellos decidió adentrarse en el alba, fundiendo sus plumas del color del sol con la mañana, buscando una madre. Como otro surcó las olas de la tarde, rozando con sus plumas rosadas el mar del atardecer, buscando un padre. Como el tercero decidió perderse en el crepúsculo, donde cada día era devorado y vuelto a expulsar, buscando todo lo bueno que habían conocido.

Cuenta la leyenda que, cuando llega la noche, los pájaros se reúnen una vez más y se ocultan tras la oscuridad del cielo para llorar juntos, y que cada estrella en el firmamento es una lágrima caída por cada día que pasa en el que los pájaros no encuentran una madre, un padre, y todo lo bueno que una vez conocieron.

None Of This Is Real

It was midnight again. He had begged mum not to leave him alone tonight, but no amount of pleading and tears had managed to make her stay. He was a big boy now and he must sleep alone. There is nothing in the closet, nothing under the bed. None of it is real. It’s all in your imagination! And with that and a kiss on the forehead, she left the room and switched off the lights. He knew she might be right. Many things he had always thought to be real had turned out to be a product of his overly excited mind. Remember that time you were afraid of the monster under the sink, only to find out that it was a dirty piece of cloth folded in and odd shape? Or when you ran out to the neighbour’s to find mum because the lights had gone off and you though the shadows were out to catch you? Well, the woman in the shed is a bit harder to explain, even dad was a bit freaked out, but you saw there was no one there. Besides, you are wearing your cloak of protection, blessed by the Heaven Queen herself! He looked down at the puffy clouds on his pyjama and then up at the shelf, were the Tireless Guard kept watch over the kingdom with unblinking eyes. Even if the thing was real, there was no place safer than his room. With a sigh of relief, he gave a last glance at his vorpal sword, enchanted with a powerful charm by no other than the Court wizard, and got ready to sleep.

The Dark was looking at him. It had big, round eyes made of sick light that never blinked. The prophecy had told of its returning to the Kingdom, but so soon? He thought of calling his mum. Whenever she was close, all bad things banished somewhere she couldn’t see them and he was safe again. But he was now a big boy. He could do it alone. None of this is real, it’s all in my imagination. He reached for the floor with his small feet. It was very cold and hard, but as long as he was wearing the Queen’s cloak his heart would remain brave and warm. If the Dark was truly back, it was his responsibility to protect the Kingdom! As he clutched his enchanted sword with trembling hands, he looked the Dark in the eye. It was a cold, lifeless stare that shone with borrowed light. None of this is real, it’s all in your imagination. He started walking, towards it, armed with the knowledge that the Tireless Guard was there to watch over him, ready to slay the beast. The Dark blinked. First one eye, and then the other. His blood froze mid step as his breath stopped short of leaving his throat. None of this is real, it’s all in your imagination. There must be an explanation. There always is. The shadows are just shadows and monsters are just piles of clothes. Besides, powerful spells protected the Kingdom from the Dark, it must have found a way somehow! He faced the Dark once more and followed its gaze until the two pale spots of shimmering light brought him to the window. That was it! The moon had sneaked it in! You should have known better. How could you leave the Heaven Gate open? He raced towards the window, afraid that the Dark would grab him by his feet and pulled the curtains as fast as he could. And with that, it was gone. The Kingdom had never been in danger. None of it is real, it’s all in your imagination.

            He was ready to sleep again when something caught his eye. Two spots of immobile whiteness crowning a crescent smile of sharpened pearls stared at him from the wall. None of this is real, it’s all in your imagination. The wooden sword fell from his shaking hands. None of this is real. It’s in your imagination. As he crawled back to bed, he risked a glance at the toys on the shelf, which where as still as they had always been. None of this is real. All of a sudden, he felt small and weak in his silly pyjama. It’s all in my imagination. He covered himself with the bedsheets and closed his eyes, trying to stay as still as he could. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination.  It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination.

            “Yes, I am.”

 


 

/Transciption Starts/

00:00

Woman’s voice: A preliminary external examination reveals no obvious signs of aggression except for the hard to miss opening in the chest cavity. There are no defensive wounds on arms or hands or other indicatives of resistance. The clothes remain for the most part intact, with the exception of a perfectly vertical cut where the chest has been opened. Judging by the looks of it, the seamlessness of the incision suggests that an extremely sharp tool was used to make the cut, but until the laboratory has analysed the samples, I can only guess.

Sigh.

What have they done to you?

00:14

Whoever did this, they knew what they were doing. The chest has been open with surgical precision, causing the minimum amount of trauma to the body. It is almost as if they didn’t want the poor thing to suffer… I will now proceed to-

Silence.

Mark, is that you? I hope I won’t find you hiding behind the desk again when I’m done, or you will be the next body on my table.

00:16

Why would anyone do something like this? The amount of blood found in the chest cavity suggests that the poor creature was still alive when whoever did this tore his heart free from his chest. The vessels have been-

Silence.

Mark for fuck’s sake, stop it! It’s not fucking funny!

00:23

Oh my fucking– I can’t, I don’t– Who did this to you? In all my years I have never seen, I have never– Oh God, I– I must be imagining things, this cannot be, this cannot be, this cannot–

MARK FOR GOD’S SAKE, I’M GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU IF YOU DON’T STOP RIGHT NOW

Static.

00:25

None of this is real. It’s all in my imagination. None of this is real, none of this is real, none of this is–

–:–

It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination.  It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination.  It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination.It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination.  It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination.  It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my imagination. It’s all in my–

/Transciption Ends/


 

Encyclopaedia of Lost Terms: Random Search Query

Unfortunately, the terms “how to prevent world anhilation by giant squidforms- fuck! I told you to bar the fucking door, you moron! Use your fucking brain! They are squids, it can’t be so hard to—-” did not produce any conclusive results. We hope that these randomly retrieved entries may be of assistance.


Wind Heart

1. wiz. A gyrating amalgamation of kinetic energy that resides at the core of every major wind. Under normal circumstances, a wind heart is all but invisible and mostly intangible, but sudden state changes such as fits of anger or dramatic changes in mood may reveal its approximate position. It is said that the wind will obey every wish and command of the one who posses their heart, although this piece of information is more likely to be the result of fairy tales and philosophic lectios.

Similar entries:

To have a wind’s heart. Refers to an individual who has the tendency of hiding their own feelings and emotions. ‘He has a wind’s heart, but he would do anything for his friends.’

To be wind-hearted. Of fickle disposition, prone to mood swings. ‘She is so wind-hearted, I can never tell what mood I’ll find her in.’


Strange Voltage

1. wiz. comp. Residual cosmos that sometimes remains after a failed compelling attempt, known to leak into nearby unattended objects and animate them to life. Several attempts have been made by various arcane practitioners to establish communication with said objects, mostly to no avail. The only recorded instance of anything resembling success in this matter can be traced back to Arch-Animist Phibianos, who had a brief exchange with his teak chair after a compelling attempt gone wrong. The transcript of the event goes as follows: ‘muffled’ “Get your stinky ass off of my face!” Whether this was an actual case of strange voltage or the delayed awakening of the teak tree the chair was made of is still a source of debate.

2. sit. An awkward or uncanny situation. A strange voltage fell on the room after the wizard left.

See also:

Stranger Voltages: A Look into Acosmological Compelling

‘Rise and walk!’ said the Drunk Druid: On Crossreferential Life Patterns and Late Awakenings


Drama Key

1. theat. antiq. Scene or event around which a whole narrative or play revolves and from which all character interaction and development ultimately stems. Said event can be located in the narrative past, present or future, but all actions must be traceable back to it in one way or another. Ancient playwright and part-time worm tamer Fronteima commited himself to this technique to such an extent that he is believed to have learned timeshifting in order to arrange his life according to the principles of the Drama Key. The chronopatterns that resulted from this exercise of temporal elasticity would go on to become the first case of true, albeit momentary, ubiquitiousness known to have manifested itself through a human being.

2. retho. antiq. Moment, concept, event, notion, feeling or emotion that triggers a response in a person or group of people. The concept of the Drama Key was abandoned at the end of the Existential Wars, when the appearance of the Paranoid Profusion rendered the notion effectively useless for manipulation purposes.


 

Ten Sights Of Glanfath

I

The beast jumps at your throat with gnarled teeth and ferocious expression. Years later, a memory strikes you as moonlight licks your blood-soaked hands and you realize the unbearable depth of its love. Knowing that you would kill it again, you curl up and cry.

II

Faces on trees look at you from distant times. The forest goes silent and you find your face among them. Somewhere very close, mites keep gnawing at your brain, a chip at a time. Sap runs down your cheeks as someone else walks away.

III

The husk of a woman stares at the moon, gaping at a memory she used to remember. But the weight in her chest is too much and the thing sucking from her dry breasts makes too much noise. She holds the baby with a hand made of bone and skin and plunges a rusty dager into its heart.

Silence eases a minuscule mind.

IV

A fire has found a way into the forest. It has heard of the souls trapped there and wants to save them. Trees grow legs and jump into it by the hundreds. As it dies, the fire ponders.

A smile in the ashes.

V

Something stirs at the core. It dreams, but it knows no sleep.

VI

In the morning, the crows welcome the taste of untainted flesh. Eyes blink for the last time before opening again.

VII

A swarm of three-eyed mice scurry through the undergrowth. They have been everywhere, even in your thoughts. They were born with the forest and have been fleeing ever since. Today, one thousand and twenty-four years later, they finally reach its core.

VIII

Injured beyond understanding, the river tries to remember a time before the thing that fell from the sky. It tries to rise one last time, but its bed is long gone, as well as the rest.

Mostly.

The pitiful thing gurgles as it dies forever.

IX

All the fear, all the fury, lives still within jet-black eyes. Arms like twisted branches caress your heart and leave a trail of splinters. Now, only one remains.

But one is more than enough.

X

Welcome home.