Johannes Punkt's Flaskpost

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Tsundoku

When you die, the room you’re in necessarily becomes a library. There are more shelves than you remember, and packed two layers thick on these shelves are all the books you promised to read but never got around to, each one you bought but forgot. There is wall where there used to be doors. Curtains fall over the windows. You sit down to read the books, one by one, until your thumbprint is on every page and you have lived all the lives you wanted. There will be a door where there were walls, and you are allowed to leave.

A Little Worse

So this is how it works?

I don’t know.

Is it supposed to feel like this?

I can’t feel anything.

You can’t feel anything?

Well, I can feel all my usual self. I mean, I cannot feel anything different.

How does your usual self feel?

How does your usual self feel?

It feels like a night, rolled up into an incandescent ball.

Is that normal?

It is for me. I don’t know how selves are supposed to feel.

Did something happen to us?

I don’t know.

Wasn’t that mine before?

The night?

Yes.

I don’t think so.

Are you lying?

Antigravity Strawberries

It is morning, and young men and women are walking the strawberry fields, hanging wicker baskets upside down on wooden latticework. The leaves tickle their dirty, bare feet, and strawberries are tugging the leaves upwards, surrounded by the morning dew hovering still, a snapshot of rain. This year it’s rained a lot, so the pull is stronger than usual, and the customary berry tithe has already fallen upwards, like tossed coins that never come back down. They will disintegrate where the stratosphere turns into mesosphere. Their siblings will be caught in the baskets, placed carefully on counters like small cages.

What I Needed

I found what I needed once, in an old dream like a discarded dress in the back of my wardrobe. I picked it up. It was monolithic, covered with five different kinds of black, and it seemed to have its own climate. When I touched it, it was hot to the touch, and my hand felt alright, like it didn’t need to exist anymore, and while it was inside it, it ceased. And when I pulled my nonexistent hand back out of it, a part of me woke up, and that is the part that is talking to you now.

New Story about Augury

Dear readers! I have a new story up at The Thrusting Sensations’ blog: thrustingsensations.co.uk/blog/?p=47. You may recall earlier collaborations between me and The Thrusting Sensations resulting in a few stories (/tag/the-thrusting-sensations/). This is a continuation of those. There are more stories like this on their blog, and you should go read it. My story is reproduced below.

~

Read the rest of this entry »

This Song Is Old

There is an old song that has been sung since the dawn of time, since the first throat. Someone always sings it, it’s why the sun sets at different times in different places. A chorus of voices sing the same patterns at the same time. Sometimes you get the urge to hum a melody you’ve never heard before: this is it. This old song is in the movement of Jupiter. This old song has started to skip beats, experimentally or fatiguefully, like a gramophone record scratch. This song is old. You don’t notice the scratches because you stop existing, momentarily.

Guest Story

Red. Brown. White. Green.

Yesterday I moved my bed to sweep the floor, and in the corner of my room there were mushrooms. They were growing out through a crack in the wall, rotting away the wooden floor and feeding off it. The caps red-brown, the feet white-green. I ripped them all up, threw them in the garbage bin, scrubbed the corner with soap and warm water before putting my bed back.
  Two hours later, I caught a sweet fungal scent from behind my bed and pulled it out into the middle of the room.

Red. Brown. White. Green.

The mushrooms had returned. Smaller this time, but still growing, very much alive. I tore them all up once more, scrubbed the corner, poured alcohol down the cracks, then acid. I stretched out in bed and stared at the corner, waiting to see if this time I had beaten them.
  A bead of red formed in the crack, like a drop of blood in a wound. Another, growing bigger. A whole string of red beads in the crack, spreading their red caps and slowly reaching down to the floor once more.

Red. Brown. White. Green.

Perhaps one could eat them. If they were going to keep on living in my home, perhaps at least I could find a use for them. I picked one of the bigger caps, sniffed at it. The smell was not bad; it was sweet and fresh. A lick at it. A hesitant bite.
  The taste was just like the smell. I had had much better mushrooms, but it was not in any way bad. Just a bit uninspiring.
  “With colours like yours, shouldn’t you at least taste bitter?”
  The mushrooms did not reply. They were mushrooms, and mushrooms are too good to speak to lowly animals like humans.

Red. Brown. White. Green.

It was easier to just let them have the corner. Trying to get rid of them was just an act of futility, and they tasted all right. During the night they spread across the floor to beneath my bed where they created a small mushroom kingdom emitting a strange, green-and-violet light. When I rolled over in the morning, I noticed that they had surrounded me and several of them were crushed as I just tried to leave bed. The fully grown ones were already getting darker, dripping a shadowy liquid from the edges of their caps, looking as if they were melting, and when I cleaned them away they left dark red stains on my skin.

The red stains turned brown. My white skin turned green.

The mushrooms were retreating back into their corner crack as the sunlight moved across the floor. The mushroom kingdom beneath my bed remained, hidden in shadow, but no green-and-violet light shone from within it. They had encased the dark space with a spongy, grey wall. The mushrooms in my bed dissolved and soaked into the bedsheet, duvet and mattress as the sunlight washed over them. The sunlight made my head hurt and I understood that it was my enemy.

My fingers turned dark and dissolved into an ink-like liquid.

I kicked at the grey wall beneath the bed until it was coated in dark liquid from my feet and gave way.

I saw a green-and-violet light and crawled into it to melt.

~

by Pao (@Panterdjuret)

Sandcastle Man

Sandcastle man sits on a cold beach like something medieval. His hands vanish into the grey sand and it must be cold for him, stark naked. His skin has assumed the same colour as the sand itself. The water is beating at his legs, nibbling at his toes, and soon surrounding him. By unfocusing his eyes he can look at his arms as if they’re trees rising from the water instead of columns pushed down into it. He stays unfocused, and eventually he falls apart, and in but two tide cycles the sand is perfectly smooth where he once sat.

Shadows and Eggshell

Image courtesy of The Thrusting Sensations

Image courtesy of The Thrusting Sensations, who have a facebook page: facebook.com/ThrustingSensations, and a website: thrustingsensations.co.uk

There was a desert inside her chest. We went into it. It was always daytime, and the heat rose from the ground, and sometimes stray rocks would crackle and jump like drops of oil on a skillet. There were nine of us surgeons, and two camels; by unspoken agreement we all walked. We carried with us a delicate heart inside a refrigerated box.

The shadows we cast on the desert were all the same colour as the sand that covered it. At one point, Anders picked up a handful of sand and saw that it was pieces of eggshell, white and brown, not sand at all. He knew he carried with him a silhouette of himself and he believed it to follow his movements, stretched out and wrong-angled, but now he had lost track of it. Without knowing where the silhouette ended, Anders blended into the landscape and became a tree, eggshell-coloured and leafless. This, too, was shadowless: in order to see him we had to get down on our knees or our stomachs and search for his outline protruding over the horizon.

We had used up half of our water supply, and Deirdre pointed out that this was the point to turn back. Declare it a lost mission. It had only ever had a 40% chance of working, anyway. I said, “I have a compass. Let me drag the box by myself if I have to, I will do this.” They let me have a camel, and both mine and Anders’ shares of supplies. I was grateful, and I walked quickly, afraid of hearing the hum-whirr-click of the refrigeration running out of power.

At last, I found the sun and saw my shadow dance, exalted to be there again, I think. The fiery ball was half buried in eggshell and my camel was afraid of it, stomping the ground and breathing heavily. That was the last I remember of my humped companion, it must have walked away when it realized I was paying attention to more important things.

The box still wheezed, I opened it carefully and saw everything was intact. Condensation trailed out of the box and onto the ground and sizzled away. I took off my gloves and rubbed lotion onto my hands. I put new gloves on, I removed my facepiece and took a deep breath. The very last of my water bathed my face. I took the cold heart out of the box and held it in my hands, before biting down on it. It was still beating, but slowly, pumping nothing but air, perhaps twice a minute. The blood of a twelve-year-old Parisian boy with the right blood type flowed down my chin and inside my sterile plastic suit. The last thing I remember is swallowing the last bit of meat and staring at my empty hands, wondering if I was required to lick them clean.

Then I was outside the desert again, in the room with the chequered floor, and I had just stopped moving my mouth, talking. Her parents thanked me, they knew we had done everything we could.

Midnight Conversation

You wake up in the middle of the night approximately 20 seconds before the phone starts to buzz; you have enough time to blink the sleep out of your eyes. It’s buzzing. You pick it up before your sleeping partner comes to life from it.

“Hello?” you whisper. The floor is cold against your bare feet.

“Hello,” says an undistorted voice, and then it says your name. You had expected distortion, but you’re not recording the call, you’re not quite sure what you’re expecting.

“What do you want?”

“I just want you to remember that I know who you are.”

~

Previously: /2014/02/23/stoplight-conversation/

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