Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hyperbarbaric Chamber

My gut is an empty space at my centre. It has been months since I last ate, months, and this hunger has yet not taken my life away.
How long does eternity take to pass? I lost count of the days a long time ago. The pages of my impenetrable bible are worn and browned by the grubby fingertips of minutes that pass in absolute isolation. Sometimes the words seem to laugh a me and my plight, sometimes they are meaningless tangle of sounds and shapes inside my head, and then I have to speak the words out loud in order to make sense of them.

They came down the black chain on eight legs; a caterpillar invading the rotten apple that constitutes my existence They were tense and naked; three men and a woman; they all but sniffed the air like wild animals as they clambered up onto the Aurora’s deck. I sniffed the air myself; I could taste the fear, fresh as the smell of earth, beautiful. They spoke in terse and monosyllabic bursts, in what I eventually came to realise was some unfamiliar dialect of English. Three men and a woman – even before the storm that sunk the Aurora, I had not seen a woman for months.

It is becoming more and more difficult to find a reason to continue writing, given that I no longer have a comfortable chair, and that the ink from the captain’s desk is returning to some previous form, tiny squid-like blotches that sometimes find some life to swim across my page.

Taking the newcomers for demons from some deeper level, I shadowed their movements around the Aurora. They searched the galley for food, rifled through the cabins to dress themselves in the threadbare garments vacated by my erstwhile and long-digested shipmates.
At nightfall, though it was not particularly cold, they lit a small fire in the kitchen, using the wood from the captain’s chair. They crouched around its light like a coven of witches in one of Mister Shakespeare’s overrated plays, muttering low in their strange accents with occasional furtive glances outward into the darkness.
The acquired clothing, while lending them a modicum of civility, failed to cover their fear and fragility. At one point she, the woman, looked straight at me, holding the look for some long seconds, as if unwilling to disbelieve that sense in her that knew she was being watched.
My bare feet tread silent on the rough board, aware of the location of each creak and squeak; I realised that these demons had entered my world and that it was I, and not they, who held the advantage – a strange sensation for a man of meek disposition, used more to doing the bidding of those who held power – father, tutors and masters all.

One of the men – obviously the leader, presumably self-appointed – spoke of the place from whence they had come. He spoke of magic and of gods and of imminent bloodshed sounding not unlike the sermons of my brethren in a life long past. He spoke of injustice and indignity, and strangest of all, called for a ballot on whether to turn back or to continue along the chain. One of the men professed his belief that they should return to the island, that things only get worse the further you travel the chain. The woman spoke forth in a manner I found quite unbecoming her gender. I believe she put forth the fact that even should everyone else turn back, she would continue down the chain. The man who’d advocated turning back, shrugged under the cabin boy’s nightshirt, his face resentful, his mouth remained shut.

The knives hung from my belt; no longer tools for the old chef’s chopping; hunger and self-preservation sharpened to a hair on tedium’s black whet stone.

Excerpt from 'Markov Chain'


elasticwaistbandlady said...

Disturbing, and yet I find myself hungry after reading that. I'm going to have to sate my own carnivorous appetite with some lady fingers.... cookies, but of course.

I googled Markov Chain. Interesting concept, but I didn't see any references to a book. So, are you writing a novel and this is the title?

Zatikia said...

Well written, it makes echoes of the greats pass back thru my mind. I like thinking of their names. Words arranged just so to make a world from its own approach.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Markov Chain is a novel in progress.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Thank you Zatikia for your kind words.

elasticwaistbandlady said...

So, judging from the excerpts included on your site, will this be a collection of short stories?

By the way, Markov Chain, now that I know what it is, is freaking brilliant. Thanks for the enlightenment pisces. This meets my 'learning something new' quota for the day.

Pisces Iscariot said...

'Markov Chain' is a novel set both in an the city of Eden and on various links of the physical chain somewhere on the other side.
The main character finds himself on an island on the chain while his body remains in Eden suffering from possible Altzheimers.
The man on the ship is also trapped on the chain while in Eden a man with multiple personalities seeks to lay bare the internal organs of his alter-ego's perfect partner.
The chain is both philisophical and physical.
Anybody interested?

Pisces Iscariot said...

Here's a creepy story about the underhand use of Markov chains.