Modes of Escape

I’m trying to find the way into your psyche. I’m looking for the passage. I’m shifting shapes and forms, trying one on after the other. I shrink myself down to a viral state, hijacking blood cells, remaking them in my own microscopic image, setting them adrift in your bloodstream to reproduce like a cancer. They’re coursing through your body. I deploy billions of homunculi, half-formed sleeping alien mutations parachuting into your loci of fear, in pre-conscious semi-awareness their eyeless and gaping faces thrash and press against the transparent, silken membranes that contain them, where they breath viscous fluid through toothless, tongueless mouths. They dash on the rocky outcroppings of your mind, squirming in their death throes like eels. I take on the form of a thousand spores drifting and alighting over and over again, seeking out purchase in the soft membrane of your conscience. They wither and die; they drift off into the ether to expire in anonymity. My prayers are dying in droves, my beliefs are becoming superstition; my notions are too numerous to have meaning.

I’m an insidious political movement, spreading lies and propaganda; I’m an insurgent campaign, sabotaging your frontal lobes, a mindless anarchic cult movement poisoning the wells of your memory; I’m an arsonist setting fires in your subconscious. I want to seize control of your cortical speech zones, to broadcast the coup to the countryside. But nothing works. I rant, I rave, I purposely offend; no use. I relent and return, now with flattery, seduction, narcotic lies as if to lull you to sleep. I slip something into your drink. No use.

I corner you, leaning in close, trying to intimidate; you laugh. I plead and prostrate myself, making ridiculous promises; you are repulsed. I sulk away, but after only a few steps I look back toward you longingly. You are captivated by the sky-screen overhead, stretching from horizon to horizon; it wraps you in a cacophony of noise and light. I scurry back, placing myself between you and the electronic ether. You stop a moment, betray slight recognition, momentary alarm then sudden boredom; the divider comes down and your eyes go blank again. I step back, considering you from a distance, then rush forward, as if to startle you. I dance like a buffoon, striking my head on something. Stop and smile sheepishly, looking all about for you; a standing, three-dimensional shadow of transparent residual light, fading, trailing off in the direction of your escape, is all that remains.

Blood is forming in my ears, they are pounding out an irregular heartbeat. I’m nauseated, my head is swimming, the cacophony is rising, becoming one overarching and unbearable hum. I grow more desperate for escape now, looking about for something with which to slit my wrists, something on which to impale myself, but nothing is solid or real; everything is mere projected light of cascading horizontal lines, like a television screen. Reaching to grab hold of something, anything, my hand passes through the false surface, disappearing within, disappearing to my sight and lost to my sense of touch. Alarmed I pull my hand back, holding it protectively. It’s cold and smooth like ceramic, giving off a faint steam.

I look around self-consciously. The electronic menagerie is spinning about overhead, blurring into one unintelligible swirling mass; individual images appear briefly, strobe-like, foreign and familiar at once, a narrative progression revealing an indecipherable logic. I realize it is my history, yet I recognize none of it. Suddenly I become ashamed, tearing at my hair and clothes. It looks so small up there, against everything else; it’s being drawn into the mass. It makes no sense; it is worse than meaningless, not a lack of meaning but a subtraction of it. It’s a black hole of meaning, an atrophy of energy without consequence or effect. I’m terrified that it will consume everything. It’s my fault; I set it in motion. I know what I must do but I’m trembling pathetically, a caricature of cowardice, teeth chattering, knees shaking so violently I’m drifting sideways.
I feel I am being drawn up into the ether; I feel the density of my mass dissipating. I imagine it is being transported up into the sky-screen. Absently I pat myself here and there, verifying my physical presence. The images are coming faster, one upon the other. I see it now; they are accusations and condemnations; they are a body of evidence of the greatest crime, of the lowest form of sin, of the only real sin in the end; a murder of sorts, not the taking of life but of not taking life, of leaving it to rot, of leaving it fallow and feral, base and stunted. I am guilty of sloth and cowardice, of dereliction of duty; the case is irrefutable. Things are not going to end well. I look about furtively. And then it stops.

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