(starK lightS underfooT)

by johannespunkt

Two and a half years ago in the chamber with the skylight underneath you and the sun warming the soles of your feet you fell apart as if sliced with a delicate instrument, something made of sharp strings. You reason it is important to have glass floors so as to not send visitors drifting off into the sky. At night the heads on the hanging uneven palissades all around glow like jack-o-lanterns because they have been fitted with five-hundred-watt lights which force their way out of their heads like epiphanies, and there are always stark lights underfoot. And you fell apart. And you told the man in the hazmat suit with the visor that wrapped all around his head like he had three-hundred-and-sixty-degree vision that you did not expect to live the year out. You’re still alive. He blinked inside his suit and told you where to go and you went, bare feet burning. You paused at a glass staircase with the middle bit missing and you had a conversation with a woman there, both your feet dangling in the air. She had taken your necktie and your kitchen-knife words to disarm you but she said if you jumped that she would tighten the noose because she was still holding onto it and you realized that she was not your friend. Your legs went still, you even stopped wiggling your toes. You have a wandering twitch that never goes away: at night you grind your teeth, in the day observers from far away can see your muscles tense like ghosts are always crawling through you and it never stops. At some point you heard a drum-beat as a kid when your heart was not even bones away from open air and got afraid that if you ever stopped hearing the music maybe your internal organs would turn to stone too. You walked across the courtyard where your shadow followed you like a kite you dragged behind your body and your palms bled when you got to the glass door because you had held on to the string too hard. They told you they would give you back your tie when you left the place, but that would be tomorrow. On a fundamental level they do not realize how easy it is to die. They wrap your swords in silver-tape so you won’t cut yourself but you don’t need the kitchen-knife words or any noose. You can whisper your millilitres into the machine it will kill you for it. You need no strong voice, just a whisper at most. But the best advice you ever gave was: every day write “kill yourself” on the bottom of your to-do list, never finish your to-do list. So you lay there in a suicide bed with your hands interlaced and told them you had to speak to one of the suits. The question in your mind was: how do I convince them I’m not here when they have three-hundred-and-sixty-degree vision? You were there of course, but you were not what they expected. It was all camera angles. If I am really here then why am I finishing my homework? Ergo, you have made a mistake. And you were not really there at all, they agreed, and they let you go. The woman threaded your head through the tie again and she put the knives back into your pocket. You told her nothing of how these were not your knives and she said nothing about how you were really there. You never really left. The empire never

and your body is falling aparT. you take the duct tape off your woundS. a month ago your friend taught you how to wrap a bandage properly and this is not iT. you need to make a V right herE. you don’t know how to repair broken glass at alL. it is not like thiS. you recently had strings of light installed in the bathroom floor and sometimes you lie there naked in wrinkles with your soles pointing upwards to the ceiling, your toes curled, arms outstretched, neck twisted like a TV murder victiM. you have whispered a number far below the LD50 but it will still hurT.

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