The sun sets on this gold-encrusted little landscape, the length and breadth of the heroin-ridden dream burning red sirens onto the backs that bore the day’s loads. Loads so heavy and laden with expectation that it cracks the spine to even think about it. What is “it”? Everything. It slams men screaming and thrashing into the bottom of bottles and mugs all across Bullet Town, drives them to drink, love, lust, pollute, and even kill. It’s a sickening cycle we all engage in daily, a kind of ritualistic, methodical and premeditated suicide, repeated with every breath.
I am suddenly aware of every particle of pollution I breathe-in… and it disgusts me. These breeders; so alarmingly imprecise with their direction. Give a crude human crude tools and all you’ll get is more of the same: crude work and the after-effects that last lifetimes beyond. Sanctimonious pretentiously dastardly mouth-breathers, pushing and careening their way through life as if it were no more than an inkling, a hunch. And all the while, looking on the wretched, the lost and the distraught, I find that the saddest picture that I’m left with is the realization that nothing’s changed. Sad serfs guarding the fortress of a king they’ve never seen or met, but all of them are trained to murder at the first sign of a threat.
I’ve left this day behind, but the nightmares never cease. All over Bullet Town, screaming human lab-experiments continue their chaotic forward-march through oblivion, waist-deep in filth, floor-upon-floor of crumbling structure groaning under the pressure. The whine of a freezing pipe in a condemned building is not unheard, the mechanical mirrored monotone echoed by an infant, the resentful sigh of a mother pinned-down by an inch of dulled cowardice and un-inventive thought, and the biologically-bound father adding a crescendo to the scene leaving only the ashes of a burnt cigarette and a mouldering bottle of vodka in his aberrant wake. The utterly impeccable model of so-called “modern” life contained in the slam of a door.
The sweating, gnashing, frothing lying sacks of humanity elicit silent screams from a city long-since spiritually abandoned. This Abbadon, borne from a Babylon no mere mortal this side of The Keep’s Walls could ever conceive of, and fortified on a steady diet of simple lives and red carpets continues to crunch the bones to powder and sate its thirst on the dreams of its subjects. Sycophantic and perverse, the quench only lasts for a short while before the vulturous, vampiric vicissitude must find a new source, leaving terrifying fabrications in its wake. It does not sleep, it does not rest, it moves forward with a single-minded purpose: the evisceration of dreams and the formulation of an army behind it. The personification of The Thing That Should Not Be.
Its army is one that is all-too-familiar: The unending march of mindless maggots, kept comatose through small rooms, mediocrity, and mind-numbing workmanship. They have no soul, they have no heart; but if they did, it was long-since left behind in the struggle that they themselves swore on their very souls to defend to the very end. Kept contained through black-tie crucifixion and engorged upon the life-blood of others, they pass the portentous pathogen on paternally or, perversely, through the terror that they were tormented with.
What’s worse, they’re too familiar to the heart to bear openly. I see them on the street every day, eyes glassed-over with poison; either the poison they know, or the poison they don’t. Never exhale, never release. They can smell weakness, they are born of it after all. They’ll descend upon you, mind-first, killing you slowly. With a snap of the neck, you will lie paralyzed as you witness your evisceration. You can hear their glasses clinking together a few doors down, toasting their torment and remaining as they ever were: afflicted.
As I regard the physical and mental abuse, catalog the violence, and remember the night’s events, I remember the woman and the distance that was set between us; artificially brought into being by the outcrop of her implants. We both looked at each other and we knew the Other instantly. We knew that everything we were going to say and do was to be tasteless, sugar-free, low-calorie and packaged in an easy-to-wash, scratch-free coating. I’ve looked for poetry in these nights, but all I can sense are the echoes of coyote howls bouncing off of the walls of this Killafornia replica.
The poison found me a long time ago, found me in my state of debilitation and disarray, and infected me just like all the others. I reach under the bed and pull out the only thing in this Joan Didian formulation that doesn’t feel, doesn’t discriminate, and can’t be infected. The first sky-cracking report of thunder rolls through the building, and I feel it in my chest, the rage of the very Gods resounding through my very being. I slide it from the holster, insert a single round, and prime it. I regard it, glancing over its efficiency, it’s sublime beauty and terrible simplicity and then begin regarding it from the wrong end. The spiral of the rifling is beautiful in it’s cleanliness, the hint of gun-oil wafting over my nostrils.
It’s hit me. The weakness. My thoughts wander to all of the ones I’ve met. All of the beauty I’ve witnessed, all of the sorrow and all of the power that these things hold within me. I am naked before the maelstrom of discontent, the Beast Within me unleashed and terrifying to behold. It regards me with disgust, paces uncontrollably, and salivates with an otherworldly presence. I release my grip from the trigger and allow the metallic contraption to fall from my grasp, the gravity of the grave leaning over me, pushed back from the brink by a different kind of cowardice.
The tears fall uncontrollably, and the red eyes fade from the Beast. It presses beside me and comforts me, the diabolical visage fading from its face as I wrap my arms around it; around myself, and release it all. It is warm, it is safe, most of all: it is me. A beam of light falls upon the puddle of sweat and tears beneath me, creating a cascade of light within the room. I bolt from my static self and rip the sheets from the window, revealing the majesty of the morning mode drenched in rain and remembrance.
I regard the scene with a kind of relieved ecstasy, the realization that the storm was not just borne of me, but also borne of the world about me. A hot tear rolls down my cheek and clutching both arms around myself, I remember: We are not infallible. We are all simply human, and our failings are just that: our own. The blood-red outline of the Abbadon fades from view, the city lit by the light of a thousand dreams, born-again under the sheer power of will and the knowledge that I will never stop wanting. I remember that we are all born and bred and are pressed into service and servitude by our desires, our wish to want and be wanted, our cries of hope to hear and be heard.
As we watch the sun rise on this failed city, let us not raise our voices above a whisper. Let us not fall into darkness and depravity, and let us not become subject to the dark march of the drums that the untouchable lords have erected.