The Inherent Violence of Ancient Creatures 𝑏𝑦 William Tidwell

I
“It is common in the Orient to discover the inherent violence of ancient creatures,” said the narrator of a documentary. A woman struggled in a river at the bottom of a canyon. She remembered sleeping in a hotel with her grandmother, who was also sent to the river, but drowned. Giant jellyfish and squid groped at her dangling legs. The tremendous size of these fauna was common in the Orient, as opposed to the West, from where the woman originated. Time did not pass normally in this region. She described her supernal calm during this situation.

II
A philosopher and his poet friend went to a bordello. It was hexagonal and built into the wall of an underground city. The prostitutes were arranged in a circle of sarcophagi. The philosopher slid back one of the lids, revealing a flat stone surface with an embossment of the prostitute’s nervous system, and fell upon it. He ran his fingers along the nerves and laughed that this was all there is. His poet friend urged him to leave. He said the cops were coming and they needed to run. The philosopher couldn’t stop laughing. Later, it was heard the philosopher had disfigured his lover’s face with a hammer and disappeared.

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I Heard It On The Radio by Anthony Dragonetti

I.

It was like I heard it on the radio. Who listens to the radio anymore? You know what I mean. Except it wasn’t the radio. I must have been dreaming. In the dream, I was startled awake when I heard it on the radio. A voice said before you were born, in the beginning, God held you in His arms and stamped you with Fear.

That Fear hung in the air between them for a moment. The ragged looking man looked at him waiting for a reaction. He hadn’t decided yet what kind to give.

Do you get it? You’ll lose everything. Are you understanding what I’m telling you, the man said. I’m reminding you of something you already know. I don’t think you know that you know.

He decided to be politely shocked and interested in the information he was being given by this man.

Yes, sir. That’s totally right. It’s rough out there. From the moment we’re born, he said. You gotta just keep your eyes peeled, you know? Take care of yourself.

He started walking away from the man who moved to follow then stopped after a couple of steps like something was in the way.

I’m warning you. It’s on your soul. I know what happens to you at night.

The man kept ranting, but he didn’t look back. He heard the man yell one last thing before he disappeared around the corner to get on the escalator.

You hear it, too. You hear it, too.

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GOD CHOSE VIOLENCE IN EVERY PART OF HIS DESIGN by Paris Green

ALL NIGHTBITCH KNOWS IS HOW TO HATE A MOTHERFUCKER. SHE LEARNED IT AT WHATEVER SHE SUCKLED AT INSTEAD OF A TITTY. GNASHED BY HUGE PACKS OF DOG-WOLF HYBRIDS EVERY SINGLE DAY IN A SPECIAL BOOT CAMP TO BUILD UP MITHRIDATIC IMMUNITY TO CRUSHING, PIERCING, GRINDING WEAPONS. HER INSTRUCTOR AT THE BOOT CAMP WAS A WOLF-DOG HYBRID. SHE LEARNED THEIR LANGUAGE AND MASTERED THEIR COMBAT STYLE INSTANTLY. SHE HAS NO FURTHER USE FOR ANYTHING ON FOUR LEGS.

HER WEAK POINTS ARE ALL COVERED IN THE LATEST ARMOR. DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. PRISMATIC BLADES RING HER MAJOR ARTERIES WITH EXTRA FALSIE BLADES FOR ARTERIES SHE DOESN’T NEED ANYMORE. YOU BETTER BELIEVE HER DICK IS A DEADLY WEAPON. SPECIAL MODIFICATIONS ALLOW HER TO BIOGENERATE SABOT AND FLECHETTE CUM, EASILY CAPABLE OF DEFEATING UP TO 5CM THICK CERAMIC PLATE ARMOR. IT GIVES HER CONFIDENCE BUT SHE CAN NEVER KNOW A LOVER’S TOUCH. NO SWEAT TO NIGHTBITCH.

NIGHTBITCH IS DEPLOYED IN THE DAYTONA FLESH RIPPING ZONE, HOME OF THE DAYTONA FLESH RIPPERS, HOME OF THE LIVING SHAFTS OF GOD’S RANCID LIGHT, HOME OF THE ECTOPRESENCE, HOME OF THE DAYTONA VIRAL SENTIENCE. WALMART AFTER WALMART AFTER WALMART, EACH EQUIPPED WITH TWO FULLY FUNCTIONAL REANIMATOR CENOTAPHS. SHE STOPS FOR A CIGARETTE AND SLAPS FRESH FLESH ONTO HER BONES TO REPLACE THE PARTS FLYING KNIVES OR THE FLESH RIPPERS PEELED OFF.

NIGHTBITCH: TELL ME ABOUT THE LIGHT GUYS, CONTROL
CONTROL: NO GOOD… PRESIDENT SAYS WE CAN’T TORTURE ‘EM
NIGHTBITCH: FUCKING PUSSIES
CONTROL: PRESIDENT SAYS IT’S PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. SAYS ALL THEY FEEL IS PLEASURE ALL THE TIME
NIGHTBITCH: FUCKING PUSSIES

TIME DILATION SETS IN AND PERMANIGHT GETS DARKER… SOMETHING IS STIRRING OVER IN SPORTING GOODS ALPHA, DEEP IN WALMART 7. NIGHTBITCH STUBS OUT HER CIGARETTE ON HER BIONIC TONGUE. INTEGRATED RAZORS CUT THE ASHES INTO THEIR COMPONENT MOLECULES TO AID DIGESTION.

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Thunder And Roses: A Cold War Staging (after Theodore Sturgeon) 𝑏𝑦 Johannes Göransson

1. BACKGROUND
This summer has a machine gun soundtrack, and the perfume is almond. Everywhere smells like almond. Especially the bodies, especially the bodies that have been gunned down in their insane spasmatic freakouts. Their blood smells like almonds. The holes smell like almonds. The pearls we call flowers smell like almonds. The eggs we find beneath our beds sometimes in the middle of the night smell like almonds. The president’s voice when he tells us of the latest victories smells like almond. The potatoes that we eat and the shards we use to eat them smell like almonds. But the doves taxidermied in the auditorium don’t smell like anything at all.

I dream about the doves in my good dreams and I dream about the doves in my bad dreams. In my good dreams I never left Saltville, never saw the sea, just sat inside a room and listened to Starr Anthim on the radio. Listen to her sings “When You Gave Me your Heart, You Gave Me the World” and “I Drank the Dawn” and “My Song was Brook and Lark.” In my good dreams there is thunder and lightning outside. But my good dreams so often turn bad when I leave the house in Saltville. When I leave the house I see my friends with their guns in their hands and they sing the songs “Give Me Your Heart” and “Make the World Go Away” and “My Song is My Gun” and “I’m Strong” and then they go after the doves. And then I have no room. Or the room buzzes in an eel-like darkness. Or I go searching for Starr and sometimes I find her and sometimes I don’t. In the bad dreams I find her in my room with a kind of almond paste on her. Or I don’t find her in the room but she finds me and I have doves on me. I have eaten them.

Last night I went back to the traintracks outside of Saltville where I found the flowers, the flowers that were here before us. I tried to remember how they smelled, but all I smelled was almond. I hid in the flowers so that the men from the army would not find me but they found me even in my dream. They used an eel and a hammer. They used the dove with the eyelashes and the grandfather-clock-looking instrument and they took gladioli out of it. As they loaded me into the bus I saw a figure with some kind of wrinkled mask move at the edge of the field and the men said that’s Starr Anthim.

This is how I knew Star Anthim would come to the base today. How I knew she would perform for us.

 

2.MIS-EN-SCENE
The mis-en-scene is themed by fantasies from the 1950s about your mother and decay. The eel seems to be alive at Starr’s feet, the roses are made of x-rays. Scattered decay products look limber, soft. The light is light blue, the lame crinkles when Starr moves. The angiosperms seem to be in the hundreds at her feet. The metallic ornaments seem to come from Triassic Period, the extinction features is what they are called. Is what your mother calls them when you dream about home. You can think of this stage as a mother seen through the eye of a hypodermic needle. You can think of the stage as a threat. It’s a threat against me: If we must destroy, lets destroy ourselves.

 

Continue Reading Thunder And Roses: A Cold War Staging (after Theodore Sturgeon) 𝑏𝑦 Johannes Göransson

conglomerationofgoodthings 𝑏𝑦 Marston Hefner

That one time Nancy slipped me her five cent token under her bra lace sneakers and I stole a glance at her as if like, whaaaaaaaaaat?

The second time Nancy snuck her bra lace sneakers into the tent grounds and snuck back with the only pair of sneakers left from the campground and that was when we were all like, whaaaaaaaaat?

////

Once one upon a time a romance was started online between two writers and though they were neither bitter nor sweet the romance did not last. But the colors were will. The reds and hues of blue brought further from their minds. The imaginations and books read and made.

////

I one once upon a time read well studious a woman who had a chance at making herself known, with her front face forward living a cartographer did make her blessed face known in the snow. The snow a harder color colder time then the one made before like an everlasting fall came forward in the winter snow.

////

If I proliferated the lie that the author was mean that would be in my best interest then to apologize and not be called a         . I am very sorry. The one who wanted to work hard for her work was only inside my place and the effort was expelled great and hard breaths made. Between. Holy and hard breaths made toward finishing the work in front of our faces. A long project not just us but of many books yet to be written.

////

The travesty of the son.

////

A woman who requires all of your attention I keep out of mind. Before day the than better.

A followed further true. The forward motioning made itself further from what it was, true. A calm and sensitive man. A former individual joined a group and I made myself heard and heard myself made. The forward movement. The long lengthening of a wait. I’ve wanted to roam further in the woods. The woods were made deeper. The deeper the woods were made. Deeper made were woods. A closeted individual. I have many close friends. I am a closeted individual.

I am making myself a controlled substance. Are you making a controlled substance? The many who wanted a world in themselves. The many wishing a world wanting. I am waiting for a controlled experiment. A controlled experiment fixed to a substance. Focus on the sentence this one now. I am a dangerous individual. That was good, now say it so they believe you. Individual dangerous am I waves made. The logic made itself known.

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It Tastes Like Fall 𝑏𝑦 Eris Victoria Aldrich

daybreak. horrendous. just fucking murder, a heart of twisted nails beating against your breast. you crumple to the fridge, impetuous bottle in fist, and just guzzle. like you’re filling up a car. gulp gulp gulp agh, swallow hard and the light goes out in your eyes. immediate relief. you wipe your chin.

no wonder you’re so abrasive, so outspoken, so irrepressibly bitter and flat in your whispered hysterics: there’s no continuity to this pain. it surfaces and it subsides, true to its own internal logic, but all the while roiling nameless inside you… edging out every hurt, grotesquely magnifying every slight. innocent overtures translate into paranoid inside-jokes; the unintelligible nattering of those in your midst is definitely about you, the dirty look they throw insinuates what they dare not speak. every comment, uttered in gravitas or jest, is fodder for altercation now; you learn to thrive in meaningless conflict, soak up intrigue and develop an enviable cache of dirty secrets. just in case–after all, everyone is a potential opportunist, everyone will exploit every angle, everyone will take everything they can.

the worldbuilding aspect of schizophrenia succeeds your in-born cosmic rootlessness: gradually, and then all at once, what held no deeper meaning is now rich with allusion. everything is connected! but this seminal epiphany does not liberate, on the contrary, it’s a huge tax on your conscience. to know, to see, to have at once elucidated the subtle disconnect between what people say and what you know they really think–! the disillusionment with human relationships is total; so ersatz and genuine affection are treated indiscriminately, in either case the result tends to be lackluster and enervating. you become a confirmed buy-sexual and chase after whores, hoping to get at last your money’s worth, but it’s an exercise in futility because passion cripples judgment, always. to want, to need, something sentient, with wants and needs of its own…? you can’t possess a person like you possess a television set.

x

lose you up my sleeve,
honey split open your veins
& show us what you stole.

x

forever and whatever have become deeply interchangable, to me.
so i love you whatever.

x

deep set in estranged thicket where cars cannot be seen, heard, smelled;
it’s a quarter to three in the morning and the whole forest is enswathed in a thick, dreamy fog;
here you are a nomad in every one of your bones…

content to slowly dance and perish
in gothic retreat outside the cold angle of time.

words are foreign to this place and make no appearance
in your breast.
the gloom is alive and yearns hidden in your throat.

x

nothing is felt, not even the frost.

(the last great enemy of reason is our love-affair with misery.)

they’re nightdriving im night riding on ketamine and valium. amused by trails. on the nod. highway-hypnosis; everything in slow-motion. lovely stretch of road, where is my eject button. absorbed in reverie. smoking out the window, a very sophisticated deathwish. weaving in and out of lanes, tempted lost bored confused incognito: the epitome of a gypsy. i missed my holocaust i mean i missed my turn-off. face hot with tears, what is it now? yes, we’re passing each other. so what. this is a very long commute; i am driving to my End. i was early to the party. Are We There Yet? are we ever! the nausea is building now. Ava Adore just came on. “IN YOU I CRASH CARS”. outgunning my slurry thoughts, this is what it’s come to and i’m not going to regret this. i’m notgoingttoregretthisss.

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We Will Play For You by Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Put this in your hand. Fit your fingers into it. Feels good? If you divide all value into two increments, this is the first increment. The second occurs when you squeeze it. 

We’ll play the game for you.

The barrel is 200 acres of non-arable land. The trigger is 120 wind-powered engines and 550 anerobic lagoons. The muzzle is the lake you saw on the way down.

Pick a number. 10? You can get into a lot of trouble with 10. Just ask the empires with their granaries, armadas rotting on the ocean floor.

On squeeze the drones gather. There is a lag before they act, but they cannot be recalled at this point. The system of mirrors and lenses and satellites that brings you this image is a dream that has escaped the world. It is now digesting in the perceivers, those who survive each moment. The gluttony of surviving each moment is total and enrapturing until you fail to survive a moment.

She painted a target on her chest. She has no shading, no texture, no sexual characteristics, body language aggressively crunched out by their filtering eyes.

If the drones do not fire in sufficient heat of concert, the image capture of her brain will experience glitches as it slingshots through the atmospheric plume, or it may not arrive at all. You want her to be at the party, so you line up the drones in careful black crop circles. But we will play the game for you, so it is merely your existence that pulls the trigger, you continuing to observe.

She is gone in the smallest scratch of optical noise. There is no sensation. The drones disappear, some of them falling from signal interference, crashing into trees or breaking the surface of the lake.

At the party the lack of sensation continues. The wine does not even taste like water, and 3 of your 5 taste profiles are blunted. You drop a glass experimentally. The sound is like soggy paper.

You can’t wait to be in the field tomorrow, painting that warm color on your chest, the color which no longer has a name but which is recognized by the drones. No one wears that color anymore, not in sweaters or caps or painting their houses, not in safety signs or flags or the hulls of cars, no matter how fast they may be. In the movies you saw growing up, the blood in action scenes was yellow, edited in post-processing. Even getting flustered feels a little unlucky, and pale foundation is worn by many.

We stop and you start, and when you stop, we start.

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IT’S ALL IN THE EXECUTION by Persephone Erin Hudson

[Dim spotlight upon SUBJECT 17. They sit in an electric chair which has been converted to a VR rig. You are unsure if the headset is breathing.]

 

VOICE (modulated): This is Death Penalty Simulator v2.02, clinical-trial-without-a-trial #17.

 

The aim of the project is thus:

  1. To categorize methods of state execution by the average severity of pain inflicted by each method.
  2. To chart the results in graphs, gifs, glyphs and steadfast truths for field application and internal publication, such as [Redacted]’s sick fucking powerpoint next week.
  3. To earn whatever the public sector’s version of tenure is. Immortality? Clout?

 

The methods of the project are thus:

  1. Utilizing fully-immersive VR technology to simulate popular methods of state execution upon a series of ethically-sourced test-subjects.

 

A Psychogeographical Map of State Executions:

Scene One:

 

[A projector whirs to life. Footage of a lethal injection is projected onto SUBJECT 17’s chest. It is grainy and unfocused like a snuff film. Once the image begins playing on its playground, SUBJECT 17 begins to violently convulse in the throes of injection. The convulsions do not die until the simulation is complete. Once SUBJECT 17 “dies”, the projector goes dark. Until the next simulation.]

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Unblinking 𝑏𝑦 R.G. Vasicek

Unblinking. Me. You. Eternity. Breeze against my nostrils. Sea air. Dock noises. Clanging. Bobbing. Parallelograms of light. Waves. Particles. Everything is happening too fast. I cannot keep up. My brain cannot organize the information. I am a slow thinker. Machine noises. Hammering. Police sirens. Fear. Anger. Everything accumulates. Becomes too much. The human body cannot handle it. Mind is pregnant with too much reality. Ultimate reality. I sit. I write. I am a writer. I have no other means of coping. Sometimes I fuck my wife. She fucks me back. She is a writer too. Scribbling notes into a notebook after the act. We are trying. Whatever that means. Existence. Survival. All of the above. We buy cereals for the kids. Send them to school. The library is a sanctuary. My sanctuary. I go there to read. To write. I take the East River ferry. Sea breeze in my crewcut. I am no longer capable of long hair. The utmost calm is required to persevere. Whatever that means. The ferry makes wake. I feel the bounce of waves. Eternity. Is it going to rain? People say so. I am not sure. I am without umbrella. Gray skies. Dark clouds. Hmmm. Why is everybody here? They are crowding me. Tourists. I am seated at a table. Trying to think. Trying to write. I am writing. Watch me write. No. Kidding. Makes me feel self-conscious. Too much pressure. Stop. Really. I feel. Yes. I feel. Is it obvious? Is it subtle? Sometimes I walk around the city like a frightened rat. Ready to get jumped. Ready for a cat to pounce. I survive. Here I am. Everything is a miracle. Even this. My notebook is for you. No one else. I cannot stop. I am unable to stop. Words keep coming. They are not even my words. English words. Borrowed and stolen. The goulash of experience. Can you imagine this? My nondescript experience? I am surrounded by some of the most amazing buildings in the world. What am I really able to say. Not much. Not much. I am hungry. My stomach is growling. I have no desire to read. Unless it is Beckett. Time is with me. Time is against me. Time is a fiction. A fabrication. If you stop believing in time. Time ceases to exist. Especially here. We are quantum beings. I invented a human being named Zig. Now he annoys me. Refuses to go away. Wanders at the periphery of my memory. Ready to swallow me. Consume me. Beckett kicked my ass. I confess. I cannot wrestle with Beckett. Zig, not yet. I still have a fighting chance. I can become me. I can become me inside a Supernova. What light reaches me I do not take for granted. I have eyeballs. I have a brain. I see. Wavelengths vary. Frequency. Colors. Blue is my favorite color. Green. Orange. I cannot decide. Yellow. Possibly yellow. What strikes me is how language cannot handle any of this. Speak to me, human being. I am made of flesh. Sometimes I think God is going to send me an electronic mail. Never happens. If it ever does, I think I will press Reply All. See what happens. I feel guilty. Always. All the time. What did I do? More likely is: What did I not do? I am always not doing things. My major failings are failings of absence. Simply not being there. Here. Wherever that is. I am getting hungrier and hungrier. A hungry ghost. Eating the emptiness. Never quite satisfied. Even Beckett is not enough. Especially Beckett. I want more. I am handwriting this into a notebook. You can probably see my curled fingers. Feel my hunched back. Pushing my being into a table. Buttocks clenched in a plastic chair. Trying to make something palpable. This is no lathe, this. I can tell you that. But the machine feels the same. Endless turning and turning of… pieces. I learned to turn off parts of myself. A safety mechanism. A protection device. I do not want to live too dangerously. Despite what I tell myself. Café. Food emporium. Fluorescent light. Halogen. Light-emitting diodes. Sir. Are you there? Are you listening? Are you paying attention? I keep getting lost. Lost beyond lost. Some other world. Cyberrealm. Atomic speed. I need an emergency eject seat. Pilot of Nowhere. The kid needs to attend an open house for high school. Probably needs a sandwich. Before I take him there. Ham and cheese. I do not know. Everybody is moving at the speed of clay. Must be the café au lait. Speeds up the mind. Slows down the people. Might go back to the library. Charge my pocket machine. Nothing happens without electricity. I should probably grade papers. Nah. Seven is enough. The present tense is impossible. This is ridiculous. I cannot be here. I am in the future. Or a little behind. Things are getting weird. They always do towards the end of October. Darker. Uncertain. I need a woman to fuck me. My wife is too busy. She might. She might not. Moods are too unpredictable. Mine. Hers. Still. That said. She looked great this morning before she took a shower. Naked except for a three-quarter sleeve jersey. No panties. Hips. Hairy pubis. Television. Everything looks good. Real life is so much harder. Is this really happening? Any of it? It is. I write fiction. I write autofiction. I write truth. Fill in the blanks. Wide open spaces. Frozen tundra. Abyss. Back at the library. I see my wife. She is there. Coming out. Leaving. We say hello and goodbye. She is a writer. I wonder if she can read my mind? Is this chair sturdy? Seemingly so. Good enough. Blue ink spills. My ink-smeared fingers look like the fingers of a crazy painter. The Empire State Building is obscured by fog and mist. I can barely see it across the river. Through a giant trapezoid glass window. Are all windows made of glass? I suppose so. There is also Plexiglas. Germans are funny. I like their accents. There are no Germans here. Not that I am aware. I quake. A frisson of existence. Peace be with you. And also with you. I am a writer. I am an adjunct lecturer of the human imagination. What I say is nonsense. I accept it. I swear by it. I stand behind every word I say. A baby is crying. This library is crazy! I might have to go. Escape. Flee. Defect. Whereto? Great question. Great question. Babies are supposed to cry. It is the only proper response to the Cosmos. 2:54pm. Does that mean anything to you? I have no idea. Has it started raining yet? I have no idea. This novel is getting out of hand. Am I right, pal? Frightens me. Terrifies me. I must go deeper. Deeper into the abyss. Propast is the Czech word for abyss. Stepmother’s Abyss. Spelunkers pilot boats along emerald-green underground rivers in the limestone karst of southern Moravia. This is getting unreal. I need to stop. Put down the pen. Abandon all dope. Unplug the machine.

Continue Reading Unblinking 𝑏𝑦 R.G. Vasicek