Johannes Punkt’s Flaskpost

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Tag: souls

Underground

Be sure to know who you are, when you are commuting. Remember your name distinctly. It is perilous to be pressed up so close to other humans’ identities and waver, because you might lose yourself in the sea of people and, in a fit of sheer panic, grab someone else’s self to hold close to your chest. Do not drift; do not daydream at all. Packed tight like mackerels, everyone swinging this way and that a fraction of a second after the train turns slightly, it is easy to feel a sense of proletarian unity. Don’t. You might lose yourself.

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Photography of Souls

She was a photographer of the dead. Her studio was morose and draped all black and matte. Before the lifewarmth of their deceased relatives had run out, people would rush, in hearses with special coffins made to preserve warmth without starting to smell, to her abode. There, the dead person’s last life was photographed out of them and printed immediately, onto sepia paper, and given to the relatives to frame.

But when she died, her equipment on standby, all her soul seeped out onto the floor and no-one took her photograph and she rolled away as fog the next morning.

Something That Never Happened

The two of us could not have been more alike; I always followed her footsteps. I thought I felt the same pain as she did. She cast the words from her soul, branded them on the skins of her strangers; I breathed fire and did the same. I was never more than a year behind. She travelled without shoes or socks, I calloused my feet and let the wind show where I should go. She stood on a hill and talked to thunderstorms, I could only shout at open skies with no response. Now she’s happy, and I’m not dead.

Little Egg

Little Myfanwy was born and her soul was wrapped around an owl’s egg. The chick didn’t make it. The surface was crisp and white, cracked from the subtle force of magic. This was how ornithologist Dr. Gibbard found it.

He punctured it thrice with a needle used for taking eggs’ temperatures. He sealed the egg in a small safe container. Whenever he came to a new town, he pretended to be on the lookout for an avian disease called devilprong which manifested in humans as three wounds in a line like Orion’s belt.

If he found her he owned her.

Sympathy

You are connected by magic to a certain object; everyone is. Something round. Most of the time it’s a rock at the bottom of the sea, sometimes it’s a jewel or a doorknob. In rare cases it’s a fossilized egg or the shell of a snail. Nobody can know, without experiment, which object is theirs. With age you get worn down from the waves rocking you back and forth. Sometimes objects just burst from pressure, and people have heart attacks. Sometimes I step on snails and feel someone die. It feels like walking into a freezer, or through a ghost.

Home without Books

Your body will go on living after your death. You wake up in the darkness, shivering, from a nebulous nightmare; that cold spell is what it feels like when you are let back in. It is confirmed since long ago you are superfluous, the body has shut you out before.

One day you will haunt your own home. Your body will explain to the exorcist, the slamming of doors and sackcloth unthreading itself. The exorcist (he will wear a cape) will nod – he has seen it all before – and ask your body to leave for now.

You will be banished.