lightning garden

A labyrinth of dead ends conserved in clear amber

We hunt them for their bodies, their flesh, their sinew, their bone, their blood, or the fluid they have instead of blood. We don't know why they fall — winged shapes big as buildings, mangled and broken by their descent — only that they do. We set upon them, we the hunters though in truth we are much more like scavengers, as they struggle to stand or crawl in craters filling with their pooling not-blood.

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The snake is old and very cold. There is only one — or, at least, I've never seen more than one at the same time, or tracks of two different sizes left on the same day. The snake changes size through the year. He grows larger as the days grow shorter and the weather colder, and attains his greatest size after the solstice.

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I wake up and realise I’m bleeding. The floor in my bedroom is not quite level and the blood has sept downward so that the head of the bed is dry and the foot squelching wet. Blood drips steadily onto the floor, fat globulets of it breaking and splattering into the pool that has grown to cover most of the room. I can find no source for the blood, though everything from the waist down is covered in a film of it. It comes right through my skin like perspiration, or condenses on it like heavy, metaltasting dew.

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You hate feeding day. You hate the mausoleum where the old people live, its irregular stone blocks stuck together without plaster (which would have been eaten away generations past, anyway), the effusions of fungal growth that seep through their gaps.

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Cosmic juggalo jokers plying the hyperspatial pathways, hunting for commerce, for unprotected ideas, for free-floating numina... pirates of the Jungian unconscious.

Picture the scene: a flytrap in the shape of a voluptuous human figure, a Venus of Willendorf only the head that of a carnivorous plant, swaying in a beguiling rhythm, unmistakably sexual, vagina like a pitcher plant... Would you? All sex is fundamentally murder, the mantis only makes it a little more literal than most.

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I feel unreal. I'm inert, sterile, out of phase — I cannot touch or be touched. Trapped in insignificance, locked in impotent corporeality, denied any weight in the world. I am doomed by dull, bleak fate to fade out, to gradually recede into my lonely void. Do I even breathe? Is my blood warm? Do my eyes shine? Is there strength in my muscles and bones — any force at all?

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In a bygone age, had Troy seven walls raised higher and thicker than the hills by hands surely greater than human, seven great stone gates, and seven tall towers. Now they lie a ruin, shattered by a forgotten enemy and eaten away by time and neglect. The gateways gape empty, the great doors long since gone. The towers are toppled, cracked, and hollow, the walls, though too strong to vanish even under the weight of millennia, dismantled in places, swallowed by dirt, vegetation, or buildings in others.

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I fall beside you, exhausted. My clothes are torn, my skin bruised. My breath burns ragged, tearing my chest, and my blood pumps so loud it feels like hammer blows behind my eyes. The pain hasn't hit yet, but I can tell I have broken ribs. I can't be sure but I think most of the blood on me is my own

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A vast, labyrinthine castle floats in deep space. It's long abandoned by whatever agency constructed it and partially in ruin, but still functional. Runic engines thousands of years old hum, providing heat and gravity and keeping the air in. Managed ecosystems run wild: the roots and leaves of strange plants are everywhere, wound in thick ropes or tightly-knit nets, and small animals originally meant, it's thought, to recycle debris scurry and scamper through grooves and cracks.

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I wanted to dig my hands into the soft, moist ground, to shovel it aside and sink my fingers deep. I wanted to burrow through the dirt and soil, to slither and twist through the secret, wet passageways of the earth known only to mole and worm, to slip through the cracks in the unyielding bedrock, and merge with the cool, clear groundwater.

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