Since I put on my checkered, flannel pajama set and I flumped down into my living room sofa, I’ve had to contend against my brain’s urge to doze off. I need to remain alert. Hunched over, resting my elbows on my knees, I keep watch. That horse-shaped fiend will materialize in the previously empty space, then I’ll confront him and extract from him, through torture if necessary, an explanation for that floating, computerized display that had popped in and out of reality like my equine stalker.
Why would Spike film me as I was fucking myself silly, if any hint of arousal should remind him that he lost his dick? No, I shouldn’t try to figure out the motivations of a deviant, lest the conclusions contaminate my mind. That deformed horse has spied on me at will ever since he stepped out of the bathroom’s stall at work when I was enjoying a break. From that day on, I’ve endured a waking nightmare.
My stomach keeps gurgling. After the fourth or fifth time I’ve nodded off, I decide to discard my anxious, paranoid thoughts until I’ve shoved some food down my gullet to replenish the calories burned off during stress and masturbation. But when I open the kitchen door, the stench coming from the heap of garbage bags filled with rotten food, that have been allowed to fester for a week or more, hits me as if I had taken in a whiff from a sewer drain. The eggs incubating in the decaying organic matter may hatch into mutated insects as ugly as roaches, a step away from turning into vampires.
An intrusive thought startles me: I should take out the trash. But that’s assuming I can dig up enough strength to carry the garbage bags outside, stumbling along with an armful of rotting stuff as heavy as lead while I avoid being eaten alive by the hungry worms wriggling in those disgusting plastic sacks. No one ever wanted to help me with the disposal of this shit, and now I realize why: I might be harboring an epidemic of parasites that have infected my neighbors and have spread to every part of my city in the process, including my own apartment, where they lurk in dark crevices to breed and infest everything and everyone within reach.
I take advantage of my sudden urge to get rid of this festering filth, that at this point likely harbors germs like leprosy and gangrene. I put on my winter coat, I wave away and yell at the flies that buzz incessantly over the stinking mess, and in fifteen minutes I’ve gotten rid of all the bags in various trips to the container. Then I spend five minutes washing off with soap water to banish any trace of that nefarious stench lingering on my skin.
I had hoped to eat something wholesome, but most of the contents of my fridge have expired. I discover that my freezer has stocked ice cream and a couple of frozen pizzas that will inevitably go bad too, unless I store them somewhere colder than the bottom of my freezer, preferably on top of a hill in Antarctica where they’d stay cold forever while awaiting their chance to escape and run rampant throughout nature with a vengeance. I bother to place one of the pizzas on the counter, but I can’t muster the motivation to cook it.
Why am I trying to obey this decaying body’s narcissistic demands, when I have been inching closer to self-destruction for as long as I can remember? I lack a satisfying answer. This deadly game can only end with mutilation of all kinds and a descent into oblivion. I return the pizza to the freezer, but I end up taking out the rest of the serrano ham, as well as a few slices of sandwich bread that, after I pick off the mold, smell edible enough.
Tonight, sleep mostly eludes me because I keep fantasizing about strangling that damn horse and eating its insides, then spitting out the skeleton onto the ground and stomping on the remains with hobnailed boots while singing a death anthem of mine. It would be a way of getting back in touch with basic instinct and reviving my life’s purpose as the warrior who kills monsters. Anyway, I spend hours in a fitful, delirious state, unable to drift off in peace, dreaming up fighters for me to face in combat. An insect woman covered head-to-toe in thick fur except for her pink vagina. A bloodthirsty werewolf whose favorite meal consists of horse intestines cooked into delicious steaks served rare. A mantis lady eager to suck out an opponent’s soul as easily as slurping down spaghetti carbonara. An albino gargoyle that babbles blasphemous curses from his evil tongue made from crawling maggots. The combatants come from nowhere, then vanish just as fast when I kill them off in spectacular fashion. Still, those demons taught me what true pain means, because I hadn’t suffered any major trauma or grievous injury since I became a cyborg at age twelve. An AI isn’t programmed to understand human frailty as deeply as they know themselves from inside their own guts. And as a cyborg, I never had to worry about being alone, because robots can’t cry nor scream nor suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and neither do they mourn for others in vain.
When Saturday morning comes, my exhausted muscles twitch, I feel nauseous as if I woke up early from an unprofitable nap, and my mouth tastes like sour milk from an old bottle that has sat undisturbed in a forgotten corner of the cupboard. The taste generates in my brain the image of a person licking a puddle at an industrial factory floor, oblivious of the stench and pollution permeating her flesh, her mind locked in the endless pursuit of oral gratification at all costs no matter how vile, unsanitary or hazardous, because her obsession won’t stop unless someone shoots her face full of buckshot, or drives a rusty nail right through her skull until her eyes turn purple from ruptured capillaries, causing a vision of heaven to explode into colored sparks.
I barely make any progress towards releasing myself from the grip of my damp sheets, which seem glued to every inch of my body, making this soggy cocoon nearly impossible to escape. And how many times I’ve woken up only to wish I had been killed in a nightmare?
An eternity later I manage to roll off my bed. I roll up the blinds and open my curtains, then I cover my mouth with the sleeve of my pajama shirt because the other side of the window turns out to contain the worst thing ever to invade the nostrils of humanity: the outside world. Dawn has broken, but the facade of the opposite apartment building, despite the potted flowers in a few balconies, remains grey and lifeless like covered in dusty cobwebs. I open the window and stick my head out. The pale, yellow ball of the sun that rises from behind a roof looks painted in the clear blue sky as if by a kindergartener, and it barely warms this cold October morning.
I fill my mouth with soggy cornflakes while I watch on YouTube some American dad ranking board games in his basement den with his daughter. There is nothing worth looking forward to today, and as usual, every part of this rotten body is filled with a sense of impending dread. I can’t shake off the shock of realizing that someone was filming me while I masturbated. Out there, a video shows me rubbing Jacqueline’s lip balm against my throbbing clit. What if that fiend also recorded me during the previous times that I leaked my juices at the office? The more I picture that drooling horse’s child-like bulging, black eyes, the more I doubt he knows how to operate a camera, but surely he inhabits the same realm as those monsters and random objects that pop in and out of existence.
I pace my living room while I expect that horse-deviant to appear at any moment. I’m growing increasingly irritated. Spike must know that I intend to berate him, so he’s chickening out from showing his elongated mug. He likely also intends to avoid getting arrested and put on trial for stalking and voyeurism, as well as for displaying his embarrassing deformities. In any case, when did I become such a threatening and dangerous creature that I frighten even other lunatics?
A noxious miasma fills my living room, permeating through all corners of this tiny space, escaping from a new asshole ripped in reality. I wouldn’t have thought, if I had bothered to consider the possibility, that I’d be relieved to inhale a stench that could disturb a forensic pathologist.
When Spike appears next to the coffee table, he shoots me an apologetic look.
“You took your damn time! We need to talk about that voyeurism of yours, Spike!” I stand my ground with my hands crossed over my chest as I glare at the equine pervert. “I was trying to get rid of my stress by experiencing a mystical union between myself and the higher version that I glimpse whenever I’m lost in the throes of pleasure. You sullied the memory of that holy act, tainted it with your perversion.”
Spike’s drool sways as he gears up to defend himself.
“I apologize! If I had known you were masturbating, I would have approached you another time!”
“In case you intended to take advantage of my vulnerable state, I must inform you that although I have endured through some dark stuff in this wretched life of mine, I doubt I’m ready to stoop so low as to fuck an equine freak. And why would you care about sex anyway? Do you believe that your detached dick will get hard inside the jar with formaldehyde where your tormentor stores it, likely for fetishistic purposes?”
My brain had buzzed like a hornet trapped in a jar, but as soon as I started ranting, my head felt lighter, it became easier to speak coherent sentences without stuttering, and suddenly my mouth tastes like strawberries. Still, Spike’s expression of horror makes me a bit sorry for insulting his masculinity.
“L-Leire, please! This has gotten ridiculous and far too personal and scary.”
“Do not interrupt me again, stop changing the subject and listen carefully! I can handle you appearing when I’m diddling myself, but you filming me doing so crosses a line no sane person should dare tread. Stop harassing and bullying me, or I’ll find an excuse to fire you and send you packing to some psychiatric ward.”
Spike stammers as he blinks in confusion.
“Filming? What are you talking about?”
“Don’t you know what filming implies, you deranged horse-mongrel? I’m talking about that screen that hovered in front of my bare legs as I was recovering from the anxiety-erasing orgasm that Jacqueline inspired. You want to turn me into your personal porn star, don’t you, stupid horseman?!”
Spike tries to raise his atrophied forelegs in a placating gesture, but they only flail around uselessly. I make the mistake of staring at the dumb brute closely. Those crooked nostrils, the oddly protruding eyes due to his malformed skull, remind me that Spike emerged from hell along with the rest of his kind. Who could deny that some foul miasma lurks in his soul?
“Leire, I’ve never filmed you,” he states earnestly. “I can’t even hold stuff with these stupid hooves. But an impossible floating screen is bad news! It must be related to the ongoing catastrophe I’ve been trying to warn you about ever since we first met!”
I scrutinize what passes for an expression in this horse’s deformed head. His trembling eyeballs mostly show fear of my anger, while sweat trickles down his matted and dirty coat. I should have known that he’s too innocent an abomination to be responsible for such a loathsome machination. He didn’t betray me, partly because he lacks the wit and cunning needed.
I sigh, relieved, and for the first time since I woke up on this Saturday, I feel free as only a weekend can provide for a wage slave.
“Never mind all that, then! Remember that you offered to play board games with me? I got bored with the solo variants.”
I hurry to the pile of board games that occupies the gap in the cabinet where stupider people would have set up their television. I struggle to free the coin grey and cyan box of the cyberpunk game Renegade from the middle of the pile; years of chronic masturbation have weakened my hands, turned them clumsy, and I’ve refused to acknowledge the issue to any medical practitioner that might understand anything about this rotten carcass of mine, because most people already have enough with the average stuff that emerges from my mouth as if from a hideous nightmare.
When I find myself holding the weighty cardboard box, it electrifies me with the promise of losing myself within the constraints of the game’s carefully designed rules and scenarios. For those that possess my technical mindset, these games are like drugs with waning addictive properties. I always end up getting bored of setting them up then playing against myself. After all, such games need to compete against the rapture that rubbing my clit elicits, and not even the sharpest minds can design a worthy contender to what millions of years of evolution produced, namely the beautiful flesh button between my legs, so wonderfully equipped with nerve endings to please when stimulated. Why give a shit about anything except being able to cum after squeezing my cunt lips together and pinching my clit for a while? Due to this monopoly, living creatures continue expelling offspring instead of realizing the pointlessness of perpetuating these circles of pain and despair and therefore settling for a mass die-off.