My case is not yet lost, however. And I run further down to what provides an impression and similar service of an underground thrift shop, a place that had no space or structure of its own prior to being pieced together from the remains of burnt, rotten, and otherwise deteriorated closets…a cheaply carpeted area with more doors than space. Behind all the flats that make up this odd obstacle course – where horrors do not lurk – are items that would be considered luxury or utility had they ever seen daylight or their probable owners known what to do with them.
Horrible, dirty little children – the like of which whose plaster matted hair and filthy clothing spring up in the most unfortunate of places, hiding the parts of them that are not human, those parts that would betray everything – run around me clutching at dusty, moldy stuffed animals. Their fingers puncture the crusty coverings of their prizes springing forth a fountain of particulate debris, fine insects, and unseen disease.
These children…must be immune to all these maladies…or perhaps have already completely succumbed beyond all hope. I am sure they are fine.
Distracted to say the least, I remember that I have arrived here in search of my guitar, which is nowhere amongst the detritus these creatures consider items. I find that I am still clutching the facsimile guitar I was tricked into taking and decide to leave it in the closet of this room to gather dust…to ripen…to someday take fuel from these people’s still dying fire. It sits like a prize that hints of better adventures…richer stories than lie in store for me. But I still have a few to look forward to, running out of the room and into a broad, dark hallway.
I run toward what I suspected at a distance to be a set of steel stairs, but instead find to be a jaggedly inclined cage that just barely holds inside of it a stampeding beast that is throwing itself against its prison.
To the ears, a sound of furious impatience…hooves nervously dancing with an impossible anger.
To the nose, a smell of torture…a cold, moist waft of just barely preserved meat.
And to the eyes, nothing.
It is there, just beyond this cage that may not hold. There is no light to see, save a swatch across the bars and no further. And yet the eyes peer closer, further, deeper…very near the bars themselves…until the impatience and torture are too much and the beast explodes into the light, throwing its big beating eye right against the serrated bars of the prison. With the same force that it hit, the beast is immediately thrown back to the darkness…the sounds and smells returning again, but more hurried and now more frequently given into…the creature thrashing itself at a faster and faster rate.
In flashes and pieces, I understand it to be a rabid cow three times the normal size, whose sensory systems are all that remain, tied together and supported by thin strands of very strong wire…a spine of razors…metallic arrowheads strung along the necklace of its body. It moves quite well even given its impossible construction. It drips itself and eats its own droppings. Bright red buds for ears, a long red bleeding heart of a tongue, and milky melting eyes make up its most recognizable characteristics.
On closer inspection, one can see that it is neither tears, milk, nor any other simple liquid that drips from its eyes. In gelatinous excretions, human babies are being born, falling in slow-motion, cells forming, dividing, taking a proper form with their first breath and splashing to the floor below before they are finished exhaling.
I am still there…an indentured audience.
I’m Thomas K…and I’m not.