I wake up hung over. My brain feels heavy in its skull. A poisoned blob of gray matter floating in cerebrospinal fluid; devoid of memories from the past 24 hours.
The sounds penetrating my room from the outside world are disorientating.
Vehicles’ horns screech at one another impatiently as they jostle in the morning traffic. Birds’ courtship singing sounds chaotic rather than melodious. Ones song sounds particularly jarring. It’s screaming wildly like a howler monkey on heat. Somewhere water is running into a drain noisily whilst the guilty washer women shouts at her marauding kids, who are intent on enjoying the midday sun.
My head pulsates.
I feel feverish. 12pm and already it must be 100 degrees outside. I didn’t turn the air con on last night and whiskey laced sweat is seeping steadily from my pores, wetting the sheets.
I observe my inert body which is naked from the waist down. I feel like I am viewing myself from the position of a disembodied spirit.
The boy on the bed is wearing a black Volcom T-shirt and his purple pants are pulled down around his ankles. Tangled legs. The boy looks abused. He must have been horny upon arriving home. Drunkenly masturbating, he hit his intoxicated brain with a brief rush of orgasmic endorphins before passing out, flaccid dick still in hand.
Fuck, my Samsung netbook’s on the floor, I kicked it off again during the night. The casing is cracked and I can hear moaning coming from the speakers. Stupid pop up porn ads. Reaching over and snapping the laptop closed, I roll over and groan.
My cognitive functions are returning in the form of embarrassing memories and fragments of conversation. Images and words from last night in the club suddenly flood my mind.
Oh god, what did I do last night?
I grab three aspirins from my bedside drawer and wash them down my throat with tepid tap water.
Today I don’t want to move from my bed.
We fell in love whilst living in a small university town somewhere in South East Asia. You were a student, in your fourth year and I was a worker, teaching English at a local primary school.
Your campus was 25 km away from where I was living. Most nights I would ride to visit you on my old second hand Honda Wave motorbike. Riding at night was dangerous because it was always pitch black on the highway. There were no streetlamps to illuminate the way. My helmet was battered and dirty; the visor covered in smears and scratches, so I would wear it up and enjoy experiencing the feeling of inertia driven hot wind, blowing against my face.
Some nights the countryside was swarming with flies and mosquitoes. Freshly birthed from the rain sodden, previously dry ground. Lit up briefly by my tungsten head lamp, they looked very beautiful; streaking past me in the dark like falling organic stars. Some got caught in my eyes and drowned unceremoniously in the fluid oozing from my tear ducts.
I remember when, late at night we went to a cafe. It was small, provincial and we the only customers. I ate fries with garlic bread and you ate chicken. The boy that served us was cute, but nothing special. He had a red apron tied around his waist. We went back to your apartment and you asked some friends on Facebook if they knew him. You described the spots on his nose, his wide eyes, spiky hair and slim figure. They recognized his description, sent a link and you added him as a friend.
I don’t know why you wanted to be friends with the boy who served us dinner?
We moved together to a big city in the south. One hot Tuesday, you were taking a shower to cool down and inadvertently left your Facebook logged in. I couldn’t resist looking at your profile and I saw that you had exchanged 891 messages with the boy. It made me feel sad. I told you that I didn’t like it and you said you wouldn’t chat to him anymore. I wanted to read the messages, but they were written in another language and you deleted them all before I could use Google translate. That made me think you were hiding something from me. I felt jealous and unreasonably told you to block him.
Three months later, you had to go back to the university town to finish your final project.The university was far away and I missed you, but it was OK because we talked on Facebook and Skype every day. Your project was about global warming and how the earth is dying. You made an animation using After Effects and Photoshop. The animation was about a boy who lived in a boat. As he traveled around the world he watched as the environment deteriorated around him. It was a depressing animation because a lot of animals got sick and the sea became really polluted.
One night I went out to a club and got really drunk. When I got home I logged into my computer and saw that all your website passwords had been saved in Google Chrome. I logged into your Gmail and there was a Email in the inbox from the cute boy who served us dinner. The Email was a notification sent from Facebook. I was confused because I thought you had blocked him, but then I realized that you had made a new, secret Facebook profile. I logged into your new secret Facebook profile and saw a conversation between the two of you.
I had to decode the conversation because all of the characters were strange shapes and none of them resembled the roman letters I was used to seeing. It took me a long time, but eventually, with the help of Google translate, I managed to read it. I understood that you wanted to meet the boy and he wanted to meet you. I felt really angry and knew I would over react.
I called you in the early hours of the morning and shouted into the receiver. I told you that we were finished. You were upset and after our phone conversation we argued on Facebook chat for a long time. I said things i didn’t mean. Later you changed all of your passwords. I’m still waiting for you to come home. When you’ve finished animating the destruction of planet earth, you will come home and we will be in love again.
I know I am ugly, but I glow at night.
Caustic rain falls on the beings upturned face as it stares at a turbulent sky. It falls heavily, pummeling the delicate ground. It stands in the open. Soaking wet, vulnerable and mortal. A creature of flesh and blood.
Above the view is vaulted.
First it sees the clouds being torn and whipped up by the wind rushing through the dense air. They obscure a moon, its outline traceable through the mist. Distant, inhospitable, beautiful. Then the stars, pinpricks of light, beacons in the black.
The being will wither and die, It’s atoms becoming everything and It’s brain becoming dead. A sentient mind extinguished.
Equinoxes will proceed.Suns will continue on their rhythmic paths. Every day they will dwindle and fade behind horizons as twilight ensues and everyday they will be reborn, again and again until they too must succumb to oblivion.
Looking up, vastness consumes the creature.
Up beyond the stratosphere.
This is where the silent theater of the universe plays out. A lyrical symphony of birth and destruction.
Galaxies crash together like immense cosmic cymbals. Whole worlds bounce and ricochet from the power of violent collisions.
Fiery space spunk shoots past. Deadly bullets fired from divinity’s mighty gun. Smacking into a super-earth, a rocky meteorite wipes away an aeon of alien history in one sharp shock. On another planet an icy comet splashes lustfully into a primordial ocean, creating a biological soup.
At once the destroyer and seeder.
Gas monsters with dusty rings, toxic atmospheres and ethereal aliens. Stone worlds with iron cores, blood soaked canyons and warring tribes. Silicon spheres with jagged mountains, rust dust earth and carnivorous creatures. Obsidian jewels with mercury seas, monoxide air and amoebic animals. A trillion planets swing around their life giving hosts like delirious drugged ballerinas, caught in times macroscopic, eternal dance.
Ablaze, brown dwarfs, red giants and neutron stars burn tumultuously. Dark filaments reach from their bodies like ghostly limbs. Grasping in the dark. Boiling coronal rain pours down from enormous flares that spark and twist away from the suns surfaces.
One of the stars explodes catastrophically, spreading gamma ray rainbows and infra red fountains across light years of space. Distanced from the event by millennia, an alien astrophysicist witnesses the blast, commenting on the magnificent supernova beauty that briefly lights the sky. Meanwhile, an age ago, the blowing beast envelops it’s reliant satellites, obliterating them and extinguishing a billion lives.
Meanwhile in the constellation of Aquarius, a humongous shape changing mother clutches her young. She is one of a myriad stellar nebula nurserys. Deep within her cloudy womb of hydrogen and ionized plasma, star babes hungrily suckle matter. Swallowing and absorbing, slowly growing……
Grouped in super-clusters, billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars, break up long stretches of vacuous nothingness. In each galactic center lurks a super-massive black hole. Singularities forever scarring spacetime.
Deep within the Virgo cluster, Messier87s supermassive black hole devours from the inside out. From it’s event horizon energetic bursts spew relativistic jets of exotic matter at a speed five times that of light. In each galaxy, in each inky point of physical no return, there is another universe. Universes within universes. These are the melanoid colours of fractal infinity.
There is a blue and green planet situated on an outer arm of a lonely spiral galaxy. Machines clutter it’s orbit. Robots and space junk dirtied from the shit and piss of a few dozen astronauts, circle the small world perpetually. Radio signals reach far beyond its one star system. TV shows and advertisements, carrying conflicting messages, travel at the speed of sound deep into the interstellar void. This is the excrement of an advancing yet infantile species. These aliens thrive on their little home world. Waging war and love simultaneously. Shaping their environment. They imagine things then give rise to them. Manipulating matter. They fabricate objects and manufacture dreams. A world of psychopathic mini gods and mighty creators.
The being is looking down, watching everything below. The delicate body’s of billions moving around On a vast celestial plane, hurtling through space.
Plummeting through sonata space. crashing through the atmosphere a noise fills its ears. It is chaotic and threatens to burst the beings drums. The wind howls, tearing and whipping at its body as it falls through the night.
The sun blazes above me. We’ve only been staying here for a couple of days and already my skin has burned, slowly turning from white to red.
This artificial lake has an eerie other worldly beauty. The land immediately bordering it is covered in dead trees, mummified by the dry Asian heat. In the distance mountains covered in lush tropical vegetation rise up into the sky.
Looking out over the water. it’s impossible not to notice the island situated a few kilometers from our camp. I feel an urge to swim to it. I want to go on a mini mission, an adventure.
I remember once reading an article about the dangers of reservoir swimming. Machinery and massive pipes lurk deep under water, creating currents and dragging unwary bathers to their death, but I’m a good swimmer. My mum used to call me “porpoise”. It’s a lovely word originally derived from the french “pourpois”. This strange nickname brings back memories of being two years old and swimming naked in Balinese rock pools. Why are french words the most beautiful?
No one wants to join me; sun drenched apathy. They seem content to laze around, drinking beer and taking an occasional dip to cool down. David asks me to collect a rock from the Island and bring it back to him. I say “OK”.
Jumping in, I break the glassy surface and begin swimming. Alternating between breast stroke and crawl; my progress is quick.
Quarter of the way across the lake, I turn and look back at the people I’m leaving behind. Seeing that they are getting smaller and smaller; I’m glad they’re disappearing. In my head I wonder if they can still see me.
When I reach the half way point I feel good. I’m alone and the world is silent. Water surrounds me and above, the afternoon sun sits high in the cloudless azure sky.
The island is getting closer, but seems to be slipping away. Drifting, I panic and try to correct my course. I envisage myself being dragged into the lakes cold heart and pulled under water by unseen mechanical forces.
I wash up on the shore.
The island is small; a drowned hill. When the dam was built and the surrounding area inundated with water, life must have found it hard to regain a hold. Some trees remain on the summit, but surrounding them the earth is baked dry and barren.
Looking back over the water, my mind wanders. I fantasize that I am a lost boy; a lord of the flies castaway. Stranded, feral and browned from months of sunshine. I survive by foraging for food and drinking rainwater. I capture birds in painstakingly constructed wooden traps and dig in the muddy shore line, searching for edible crustaceans and fat juicy worms. In reality, I’m sunburned, a well fed vegetarian and an intruder. I know this because there is a small camp behind me.
A blue plastic tarp is propped up on four rusty poles. Under it, sheltered from the heat, fishing equipment, petrol containers and other foreign items. No one else is on the island, but their stuff still is. Maybe the people will spot me and think I’m a thief. They’re probably hurrying to their boats right now, shouting at each other in an unintelligible language. “What the fuck is that white boy doing on our island?”. Maybe they have guns, I hope they don’t shoot me.
Forgetting my paranoia, I circumvent the Island. The land inclines steeply, and I keep tripping. It doesn’t help that the ground is covered in sharp stones which dig into my bare feet. As I walk, I notice that scattered around me are hundreds of snail shells. Each shell is the size of my palm and each bears a perfect spiral pattern. Musing on Fibonacci, i pick one up. It is uninhabited.
Once, not long ago giant snails must have been here in profusion. Now they are all dead. Their mathematically precise en-casings were left behind. I wonder how long they survived when the reservoir was formed. Originally earth dwelling creatures, they must of become trapped here and slowly perished. I pick one up and put it in my pocket.
It’s easier swimming back. The target is bigger. When I arrive, I find my group still lolling in the now setting sun. I give David the shell I collected. He’s displeased that I didn’t bring him a rock. .
A man sits on a beach. The day is dark. Everything is obscured. Beyond the veil of wind and rain lies the sea. Grey waves beat the rocky shore. sullied spray leaps and dances with every thunderous crash.
The man’s slate eyes reflect the last rays of a dying sun. His pupils fluoresce in the twilight; a lost universe in each iris. The wind whips up the sand, sending it flying in swarms through the dense air. It smacks against his face, battering his skin.
Behind him a plain of sand stretches as far as the horizon. In front, brutal water. There’s no where to shelter. At least the rain has stopped falling.
There is a girl with him. They hold hands. His are rough and blistered, hers cold and red. Words are not spoken between them.There’s nothing left to say.
The girl’s thinking of the life she had. Fractured memories of her past. So distant now. It was a normal life. She lived in a city apartment. There was a boyfriend and he loved her. She loved him too. Sometimes they argued, but it was always over trivial things. She often thought about the future. Imagining them moving in together and living in a big white house overlooking the ocean. He’s gone now. A lot of people are gone.
Night is creeping upon the beach. There will be no light tonight. The stars have gone. For a while after the event you could still see them, but soon they vanished, disintegrating in the obsidian abyss. The sun contracted and now it hangs in the sky like an acid wasted diamond. It won’t be long now…..
The sun is the last star to go supernova. Destiny, god, whatever you want to call the divine, was cruel. Letting humanity watch the chain reaction it had created run out of control and obliterate the cosmos. Star by star, until only the sun was left.
She met the man a month ago. That day, she’d been looking for food. Most of her days then were spent hopelessly searching for sustenance. Starvation is painful. Often she wished that the blazing hydrogen bombs which vaporized the city, had killed her too. At night she dreamed of eating. Nightmares of seeing vast platters of food steaming and spread out in front of her. She’d wake up in the cold dawn, her stomach cramping with hunger pains.
Wandering the scorched earth for what seemed like an eternity, she had not encountered another soul. It was early morning when she first spotted him.