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 it had left the planet, John Smith thinks perhaps he too would gamble it all on the chance of one last poppy-fuck rush to the stars; would give himself to oblivion and bear the risk of leaving his empty husk to dance in the garden with all the other deadmen; but these empty hours, perverse in their arcane clockwork, demand filling. So he spends his days in the books, venturing out only to scavenge amongst the deadmen 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.
And 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 the wake of his passing as he threads needle-nosed toward the overgrown garden.
If we were to sketch the scene in soft charcoal, animated stop-frame jagged, we would see him pass the long empty animal house; a cross-hatched sketch of shadows and bars; and passing, all stick-man thin and acute angles, we would see him encounter 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, unrecognizable in his disguise, but this evening the ruins of the animal house behind her, spouting vines and over-ambitious weeds, proclaim something new; something different; a beginning in a time wrought with endings, so he relents to engage.
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.”
Our charcoal sketch would now reveal that the air is thick with suspended solids, galaxies and stars that clog the rag John Smith ties across the lower half of his face both as disguise and as filter; disguise because to reveal himself, even to the notoriously thought-impaired deadmen, is a risk not worth taking: experience has taught him that to be recognized is to incur the weight of blame for the state MantraRay and indeed, for the quality-less lives of the planet’s residents.
His consent obtained, Anne-Marie follows as he slinks past the skeletal conservatory where all glass has been long lost, the frame held together by molecular habit since all scientific proof of its solidity has long been banished by the past.
John’s glasses mask his eyes with a reflection of the fires set there to allay the onslaught of the night so feared by those deadman unlucky enough to yet possess some semblance of thought.
Anna-Marie follows John Smith across the tracks while DeSandro Bien, distracted by his duties, observes them from a window in The Great Station Hall.
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2 comments:

Courtney said...

Beautiful work :-0)

Garth said...

Thank you Courtney!