Friday, November 18, 2011

John Smith & Anna-Marie

penumbra . 4

Still from Frankenstein courtesy of Dr Macro's

If it wasn’t for the books he’d liberated from the Leviathan’s belly before launch, John Smith thinks perhaps he too would have volunteered as a Candidate for the New; would give himself to oblivion or failing that bear the risk of leaving his empty husk to dance the decaying streets with all the other Deadman;
But he’s no Deadman and the empty hours, perverse in their arcane clockwork, demand filling. So he spends his days in the books, venturing out only to scavenge for food, or sometimes just for the illusion of company. The food consists largely of unlabelled tins of animal produce in gelatinous suspension or powdered residue of soft drinks that transform into sickly sweet glue when combined with water. And these, when consumed in the bubble of his solitary existence, serve to enhance his life with a sense of luxury; an escape from the grim reality of a world on the edge of the precipice.

Languid in the first degree, his shadow follows him across the silver-tracked switchyard like a dull un-feathered fallen-from-grace bird-of-paradise; his shoulders bear the weight of a million lost souls in the fallow light of a Deadman’s dream moon. 
Flurries of vagrant petals - escapees from the boxes of unloaded flowers at the siding on edge of The Great Station Hall - make pale funereal clouds in his wake as he threads his needle-nosed way toward the decidedly past-prime botanical gardens at the centre of Colonel Lombard Park.
Loosely animated and stop-frame jagged, he passes the long empty animal house; a cross-hatched sketch of shadows and bars; and in passing, all stick-man thin and acute angles, he encounters the startling figure of the once aristocratic Anna-Marie.
“This is what you get when you dance with Deadmen.”
It isn’t the first time she’s approached him, unrecognisable in his disguise, and his usual response is to ignore her advances, but this evening, something in her silhouetted against the ruins of the animal house’s spouting vines and over-ambitious weeds proclaims something different; a beginning in a time wrought with endings - he relents to engage with her.
He watches tears break free and drag the welled emotion from the lower lid of her healthy eye, streaking her cheek with reflected orange light.
Leaning forward in an attempt to hide her anguish, Anna-Marie’s tears hiss on the exposed element of her damaged plasma heater and the flare of yellow light emitted exposes her empty eye socket to John Smith’s sympathy.
“This is what you get when you dance with Deadmen,” she repeats, “They don’t see you for what you are but rather for what you have to offer.”
The air is thick with suspended solids, galaxies and stars that clog the rag that John Smith wears across the lower half of his face both as disguise and as filter; experience has taught him that to be recognised is to incur the weight of blame for the state MantraRay and indeed, for the quality-less lives of the planet’s residents, besides which there is the added threat of the mad priest rumoured to scour the streets for converts.
John nods his consent and Anne-Marie follows as he slinks past the skeletal conservatory, whose glass is long lost, frame held together by molecular habit since all scientific proof of its solidity has long been banished by the rages of time and global catastrophe.
John’s glasses mask his eyes with a reflection of the fires set there to allay the onslaught of the night by vagrant Deadmen unlucky enough to yet possess some semblance of thought.
Anna-Marie follows John Smith across the tracks while, from a window in The Great Station Hall, DeSandro Bien is vaguely distracted from his duties by their passing.

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2 comments:

Courtney said...

Beautiful work :-0)

Garth said...

Thank you Courtney!