We’re Fucked, Pt. 84: AI-generated images

Even when you’re approaching the edge of absurdity, you can remain sure that a neural network will generate some intriguing pictures out of it.

The following images are related to chapter 84 of my ongoing novel We’re Fucked.

I have posted many other entries with generated images. Check them out.

Pictures of cool revolvers, because this chapter has something to do with a revolver.
“A ring of sparks, like those churned out when a lighter’s wheel grinds against the flint, spreads outward from the gap between the frame and the cylinder.”
“A vibration that gets transmitted through my palms and up my arms, then races along my spine.”
“I picture an electrical panel bursting with frayed wires that would zap like a moth even the gloved electrician tasked to repair the mess.”
“[I] peer down its bore, a black hole encircled by the metallic ring of the muzzle.”
“It offers me a top-down view of a turbulent, undulating pool of brass-colored liquid metal, whose waves spread in alternating crests and troughs as they slam against the walls of the chamber.”
“I turn the quivering gun toward the audience of glistening sclerae, sewage-colored irises and deep black pupils.”
“Quit your insolent game of quantum tag and collapse to an eigenstate already!”
“A snakey white bolt of electricity, outlined in lilac, crackles as it arcs to lick my forefinger.”
“From the barrel’s mouth erupts a puff of smoke, followed by a glowing, ember-colored blast that trails a stream of flickering sparks like red dwarf stars.”
“The revolver kicks against the palm of my right hand like a rearing horse trying to tear itself free from the reins.”
“Its force shoots through my wrist with a sharp sting.”
“My forearm complains as if a white-hot shard of pain had ripped across the slow-twitch fibers.”
“[The bullet explodes] deep within the amorphous heap of putrescence.”
“The flabby mass heaves and wobbles from the impact.”
“Its jiggly flesh is rippling as if slapped by a giant, while the white reflections of light that mount the oily, concentric waves waver and distort.”
“Those bulging eyeballs bob and roll about in the gunk, jostling each other.”
“The blob lets out, as if from a mouth entombed in a quagmire, an unearthly bellow of anguish, deep and guttural.”
“A hole bursts open in that deformed belly, a hole with a slimy rim that splays out like a black and gooey flower, and that reveals the blob’s gelatinous innards: a slithery mass of vermicular guts that squish and wriggle.”
“A belch of foul gas rushes out and swirls around me.”
“A gunshot blast rips apart the air around me, and its concussive wave beats upon my eardrums like a wrecking ball smashing into a brick wall.”
“My ears pop, my brain quakes.”
“A billowing cloud of powder smoke wafts from the muzzle, followed by a blossom of yellow-orange flame.”
“A bullet cleaves its way through the air.”
“The blob is twisting and thrashing, its blubbery skin frothing and flailing like the sea in a stormy gale.”
“The hole in its mass is spurting slime-laced foam.”
“The bullet plunges like a meteorite into the sclera of an eyeball.”
“The outer layers of the globe, white as a boiled egg, tear off, giving way under pressure, and out squirts a tongue of pulpy, pinky-gray jelly.”
“The muzzle flares a vivid yellow-orange, then a vortex of gunpowder-laden smoke rolls out along with a jet of fire, in an eruption of shrapnel-like debris.”
“A bullet cuts through the air while leaving a trail of silver smoke in its wake.”
“The brick behind the lily-white paint bursts into a pinwheel of shimmering dust, into a shower of chips, splinters and shards.”
“An explosion rocks the office as if a howitzer had fired an artillery round in front of me.”
“A red flower of flame spurts from the muzzle of my revolver as if from a flamethrower.”
“Blood jets out from the stump of my wrist in a crimson stream.”
“The bullet smashes against a ceiling fixture, that shatters in a puff of white haze and a cascade of sparks and glass shards.”
“A cracked flourescent tube tumbles down like an icicle.”
“The reverberating force pounds my skull, slams into my chest, ripples through my limbs, and scatters papers, pens and paperclips around the office.”
“A horizontal mushroom cloud expands from the gun’s muzzle and ignites into a licking white flame.”
“Flung backward through the air, I’m sick with whirling vertigo as my mind spins like a top in a cyclone.”
“A scarlet tail corkscrews after a bullet that is whizzing across the office like a fiery comet.”
Something about the bunnyman.
“[The bullet] wallops a hung picture frame, perforating a hole in a photograph of Bunnyman and me at a birthday party.” Our dear AI had a terrible time as usual with fingers, but I like the composition.
“Cracks have spread out from the impact point and crisscrossed over each other in a spiderweb of glittery fractures.”
“Its shockwaves resound through my cranium with an infrasonic warble that bends my bones like rubber bands.”
“My teeth rattle, my eyeballs throb, a fountain of blood spurts from my nose.”
“A bullet breaks the air around it apart into a glowing rainbow.”
“The projectile’s path deforms into outward-undulating ripples of lilac-colored distortion like those cast by a mirage.”
“[The bullet] ascends like an accelerating rocket, drills a hole in the night sky.”
“[The bullet] shatters a solar panel of a space station orbiting high above the Earth.”
“The blow sends a jarring jolt of pain through my vertebrae; I feel my spine crack, crunch, and snap.”
“I lie sprawled out flat on my back in a tangle of limbs.”
“My brain feels swollen as if someone were pumping embalming fluid into my skull.”
“The smell of gunpowder smoke has mingled with the coppery scent of blood and the blob’s putrefying stench.”
“White light wavers in my foggy vision while in front dances a swarm of red specks.”
“But the maelstrom of a black hole yawns at the center of my gaze, and light itself falls in a spiral down that drain, which leads to an endless night.”
“I’m floating in the silence of the void.”
Two more depictions of Arachne, for whatever reason.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 84 (Fiction)


The smooth, clawlike trigger presses against the pad of my forefinger. I tighten that digit slowly, then squeeze. The hammer falls with a snick as the firing pin strikes the primer. A ring of sparks, like those churned out when a lighter’s wheel grinds against the flint, spreads outward from the gap between the frame and the cylinder, then the revolver’s muzzle blows a puff of cigarette-adjacent smoke that scatters in the air.

My heart throbs violently as I stare dumbfounded at the sleek frame of my weapon, that gleams alabaster white under the fluorescent fixtures. Shit, why didn’t the revolver spit out a bullet? Is it jammed? Did the firing pin come damaged? Should I have oiled some mechanism? Maybe I should have carried the revolver to the woods, high up on Mount Jaizkibel, and tried it out against a tree trunk. As far as I know, revolvers should just work; I’m not holding a particle accelerator.

I pull the trigger, which causes the hammer to spring back. Once the cylinder rotates to align its next chamber with the barrel, the hammer snaps forward and clunks as if the bullet primer had been struck by a mallet, yet the revolver remains dead like rusted machinery.

I must overcome the revolting monstrosity that dares to pollute my space with its filth. I have to make this fucking gun shoot!

I clutch the revolver in a white-knuckled grip, then I squeeze and squeeze and squeeze the trigger. The cylinder clacks as it rotates and rotates chambering bullet after bullet. Although the hammer falls with dull snaps as the firing pin punches into live rounds of ammunition, it may as well be striking ghost bullets.

Are my hands shaking? No, the revolver is trembling like a tuning fork, a vibration that gets transmitted through my palms and up my arms, then races along my spine. The weapon starts emitting an ominous, high-pitched whirring sound; I picture an electrical panel bursting with frayed wires that would zap like a moth even the gloved electrician tasked to repair the mess.

I flip the revolver around and peer down its bore, a black hole encircled by the metallic ring of the muzzle. It offers me a top-down view of a turbulent, undulating pool of brass-colored liquid metal, whose waves spread in alternating crests and troughs as they slam against the walls of the chamber. The bullet must have cohered to a quantum state.

Should I wrap my lips around the barrel and blow? No, whenever the bullet snaps out of its state and becomes a solid projectile, I better be aiming my revolver at the wobbling mass of tarry putrefaction instead of my own face. I turn the quivering gun toward the audience of glistening sclerae, sewage-colored irises and deep black pupils.

I shake the revolver. With my left hand I smack the barrel as if it were a disobedient mutt. A drop of sweat dangles from my nose.

“Damn you, bullet! Quit your insolent game of quantum tag and collapse to an eigenstate already!”

While the revolver vibrates madly, its electric whirring worsens to a keening squeal. A tingling sensation like a static shock shoots up my right arm, then from the trigger a snakey white bolt of electricity, outlined in lilac, crackles as it arcs to lick my forefinger.

A deafening bang rocks the office, shaking the air around me and vibrating my eardrums, which makes my ears ring. From the barrel’s mouth erupts a puff of smoke, followed by a glowing, ember-colored blast that trails a stream of flickering sparks like red dwarf stars.

The revolver kicks against the palm of my right hand like a rearing horse trying to tear itself free from the reins. Its force shoots through my wrist with a sharp sting, then my forearm complains as if a white-hot shard of pain had ripped across the slow-twitch fibers.

The bullet hurtles down the barrel and flies out of the muzzle. It streaks across the office until it plows into the blob’s bloated blubber with a hollow thwack, piercing that oozing mound of black mucus like a hypodermic syringe stabbing a vein, to explode deep within the amorphous heap of putrescence. The flabby mass heaves and wobbles from the impact. Its jiggly flesh is rippling as if slapped by a giant, while the white reflections of light that mount the oily, concentric waves waver and distort. Those bulging eyeballs bob and roll about in the gunk, jostling each other. The blob lets out, as if from a mouth entombed in a quagmire, an unearthly bellow of anguish, deep and guttural. A hole bursts open in that deformed belly, a hole with a slimy rim that splays out like a black and gooey flower, and that reveals the blob’s gelatinous innards: a slithery mass of vermicular guts that squish and wriggle. A belch of foul gas rushes out and swirls around me; it stinks of rotten meat, vomit, farts, and sushi. The abomination erupts in a frothing gush of gloop, spewing mucous intestines in all directions, that as they break apart into globules of tapioca-like goop, they splatter over the carpet, the desk, the monitors, my clothes, and my face, in a caustic snowfall.

A gunshot blast rips apart the air around me, and its concussive wave beats upon my eardrums like a wrecking ball smashing into a brick wall. My ears pop, my brain quakes. A billowing cloud of powder smoke wafts from the muzzle, followed by a blossom of yellow-orange flame.

My right hand explodes with stabbing aches as the revolver’s kickback snaps apart my phalanges and metacarpals. The shooting pain surges up my forearm, reverberating to my elbow, while the shockwave ripples tendons and muscles along my arm until the force slams into my shoulder, where the joint dislocates with a crunch.

A bullet cleaves its way through the air. The blob is twisting and thrashing, its blubbery skin frothing and flailing like the sea in a stormy gale, and the hole in its mass is spurting slime-laced foam, when the bullet plunges like a meteorite into the sclera of an eyeball. The outer layers of the globe, white as a boiled egg, tear off, giving way under pressure, and out squirts a tongue of pulpy, pinky-gray jelly.

An ear-splitting gunshot punches my eardrums, sounding as loud as if the revolver’s barrel had been ripped open by dynamite. The muzzle flares a vivid yellow-orange, then a vortex of gunpowder-laden smoke rolls out along with a jet of fire, in an eruption of shrapnel-like debris.

My right arm has gone numb except for a stinging, tearing pain. Bone fragments poke out of my hand like spikes, and the fingers, seized rigid, are curled in a claw around the revolver’s grip. Blood spills from the wounds, dripping in long strings. The recoil of this gunshot jerks my wrist with a grinding wrench and makes it crack like a twig. That force also knocks me off my feet, launching me backward.

A bullet cuts through the air while leaving a trail of silver smoke in its wake, until it slams like a train into a wall a couple of meters away from my boss’ office door. The brick behind the lily-white paint bursts into a pinwheel of shimmering dust, into a shower of chips, splinters and shards.

An explosion rocks the office as if a howitzer had fired an artillery round in front of me. The rippling roar shakes my bones and makes the windows rattle, penetrates my eardrums in a spike of pain and tears them apart. A red flower of flame spurts from the muzzle of my revolver as if from a flamethrower.

The fingers of my right hand are curled and rigid, like the legs of a dead tarantula, around the grip of my weapon, and my wrist is drooping at the joint, when the revolver’s kickback tears my hand off. Still clutching the handgun, my severed hand flies toward the ceiling. Blood jets out from the stump of my wrist in a crimson stream.

A corona of red flame is spiralling around the bullet as it hurtles toward the ceiling, slicing through a cloud of gunpowder smoke. The bullet smashes against a ceiling fixture, that shatters in a puff of white haze and a cascade of sparks and glass shards. A cracked flourescent tube tumbles down like an icicle.

My ears are ringing when a shockwave emanates from the runaway revolver in a rush of superheated air. The reverberating force pounds my skull, slams into my chest, ripples through my limbs, and scatters papers, pens and paperclips around the office. A horizontal mushroom cloud expands from the gun’s muzzle and ignites into a licking white flame.

Flung backward through the air, I’m sick with whirling vertigo as my mind spins like a top in a cyclone. Jagged bones, along with pinkish-tan tendons and ligaments pulled to shreds, protrude from the degloved and bloody flesh at the end of my right forearm.

A scarlet tail corkscrews after a bullet that is whizzing across the office like a fiery comet. It wallops a hung picture frame, perforating a hole in a photograph of Bunnyman and I at a birthday party. Cracks have spread out from the impact point and crisscrossed over each other in a spiderweb of glittery fractures.

An immense power is released in a single pulse. Its shockwaves resound through my cranium with an infrasonic warble that bends my bones like rubber bands. My teeth rattle, my eyeballs throb, a fountain of blood spurts from my nose. A nova-like flash lights up my field of vision, then from the muzzle of the revolver bursts a star-speckled spiderweb.

A bullet breaks the air around it apart into a glowing rainbow, while the projectile’s path deforms into outward-undulating ripples of lilac-colored distortion like those cast by a mirage, turning the contour of a ceiling fixture sinusoidal. The bullet busts through a windowpane, catches an upward gust, ascends like an accelerating rocket, drills a hole in the night sky, and shatters a solar panel of a space station orbiting high above the Earth.

I slam into the backrest of a swivel chair, knocking it over, then I crash to the floor, hitting the back of my head hard. The blow sends a jarring jolt of pain through my vertebrae; I feel my spine crack, crunch, and snap. My legs fly straight back like a ragdoll’s, and when they fall to the carpet, I lie sprawled out flat on my back in a tangle of limbs.

My brain feels swollen as if someone were pumping embalming fluid into my skull. My chest heaves, gasping for air. The smell of gunpowder smoke has mingled with the coppery scent of blood and the blob’s putrefying stench.

White light wavers in my foggy vision while in front dances a swarm of red specks. But the maelstrom of a black hole yawns at the center of my gaze, and light itself falls in a spiral down that drain, which leads to an endless night.

I’m floating in the silence of the void.


Author’s note: the song for today is “Goin’ Against Your Mind” by Built to Spill (which also sounds great live).

I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. Ninety-seven songs so far. Check them out.

Have you had trouble picturing today’s nonsense? I paid a neural network to depict plenty of moments from this chapter. Here’s the link.

This chapter was by far the hardest to write of a sequence that by itself has been the hardest to write in recent memory. I’m tempted to pull an “Inio Asano after Oyasumi Punpun” and never do this kind of shit again.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 83: AI-generated images

Working on this sequence of my novel has meant that for weeks I have spent at least an hour every day feeling queasy, thanks to my fruitful imagination. So congratulations to me, I guess.

The following are images related to chapter 83 of my ongoing novel We’re Fucked.

I have posted many other entries with generated images. Check them out.

“As if I had been transported to a movie theater in an inverted dimension, humming fluorescent lights are shining down from the ceiling, and the opposite wall has been covered with a three-dimensional black canvas made of gooey tar in which floats the audience: a score of world-globe-sized eyeballs with sewage-colored irises and pupils that dilate and contract as they glare at me, the protagonist of this demented pageant.”
The AI rendered these images weeks ago, as I was trying to pinpoint how this abomination would look like.
“I’d dread explaining such a stain to our porcine overlord.”
“I can already hear that piggish braggart’s hoarse rasp issuing from his slobbering snout, calling me a dirty slut.”
“The corralled rubbish: crumpled papers and tissues, disposable coffee cups, ballpoint pens, wooden stirrers, plastic bottles, sandwich wrappers, empty cola cans, polystyrene containers, dead insects, dirty syringes, tied-up condoms, and murder weapons.”
“I have become a churning cauldron of filth and corruption, and my mouth a spigot that discharges a flow of sewage in an excruciating exorcizing ceremony.”
“I’m alone and lost in a wasteland of viscous misery.”
“I need to find my way back to mommy’s womb.”
“The umbilical cord has been cut from my navel, and instead it has coiled around the trigger of a machine gun poised to annihilate me.”
“My cranium bursts in a bloody fountain that scatters my neurons into the void.”
“A long stream of ochery matter dribbles over my chin and splashes onto the sodden morass that has covered the heap of garbage like with a toxic tarpaulin.” They don’t quite represent the prompt, but I like the compositions.
Arachne, blessed be Her name.
“An insectoid buzzing has filled the space between my ears as if a wasp were beating its wings inside my skull.”
“The viscous mixture has spread its corrosive contagion over the carpet in splattered streaks.”
“My psyche, that is traversing the narrow border between consciousness and delirium, risks wafting away toward the all-encompassing darkness.”
“The ceaseless rain will engender an apocalyptic deluge that, in its rise, turning the streets into raging rivers, will sweep away like toy boats in a bathtub the burned-out cars, smoking bricks, cracked masonry, uprooted trees, wrecked furniture, blackened bodies.
“Donostia, located during pre-Roman times in the domain of the Varduli, reduced in one fell swoop to a wasteland of ashes and mud, will vanish under an expanse of grasses, plants and flowers grown on their own amid birdsong.”
“I refuse to count how many eyeballs are bulging on the gelatinous lump of grime and disease, in an orrery of sentient planetoids that have glued their bloodcurdling stares to my face.”
“This hellscape must have been devised by Arachne Herself.”
“Has She set the test up so that I must murder the blob or go mad?”
Cool depictions of a revolver.
“Is that how it feels like to have a dick, once the penis, engorged with blood, has swollen out of its velvet sheath, and has blushed with a crimson hue that rivals the brightest flowers in their blossoms?”
“The blob wobbles like a water balloon about to burst.”
“The eyeballs that were glaring at me roll in sync, shifting their gaze to the revolver’s barrel, which looks like a toothpick poking up against this tide of nightmare.”
“After I blast that slime-skinned, flesh-waddling, eyeball-plagued horror to bits, a splash of rain will quench the flames in my brain.”

We’re Fucked, Pt. 83 (Fiction)


As if I had been transported to a movie theater in an inverted dimension, humming fluorescent lights are shining down from the ceiling, and the opposite wall has been covered with a three-dimensional black canvas made of gooey tar in which floats the audience: a score of world-globe-sized eyeballs with sewage-colored irises and pupils that dilate and contract as they glare at me, the protagonist of this demented pageant. The scene is swirling like a lava lamp; when the floor seems to tilt and I teeter, the eyeballs swimming about in the blob’s expanse of gelatinous muck, which keeps rippling and squelching, follow me with their gaze as if they were scanning my mind to pry it apart.

My bowels gurgle, my stomach turns somersaults. A wave of nausea, accompanied with an unbearable chill, floods over me as if I had ingested a bucketful of diarrhea.

At the back of my throat forms a knot of spoiled meat marinated in bitter bile. My esophagus clenches around it as if trying to reject an intruder, but the knot threatens to rise further. Although I swallow it down, hot saliva fills my mouth with an acidic and coppery taste. I tighten my clammy right hand around the grip of the revolver, lest I drop it, and I raise my left hand to cover my mouth while my ribs heave with spastic coughing. A geyser of vomit is about to surge up my esophagus.

Fuck, I’m retching! I can’t heave my guts out onto the aluminum-gray carpet; I would ruin the austere and sterile elegance of our office. But mainly I’d dread explaining such a stain to our porcine overlord. I can already hear that piggish braggart’s hoarse rasp issuing from his slobbering snout, calling me a dirty slut. Maybe he’d force me to pay for the cleaning expenses.

As my eyes water and my cheeks bulge, I rush to Jordi’s wastebasket and drop to my knees. When I attempt to grab its sides to pull the basket closer to me, I bonk the wire mesh with my revolver. Doubled over, I groan with pain, then puke a torrent of yellowish and thick vomit that contains scraps of my internal organs as well as gobbets of liquified intestines, while my nostrils spew a poisonous froth of gastric acid that inflames my sinuses. The vomit is splattering onto the corralled rubbish: crumpled papers and tissues, disposable coffee cups, ballpoint pens, wooden stirrers, plastic bottles, sandwich wrappers, empty cola cans, polystyrene containers, dead insects, dirty syringes, tied-up condoms, and murder weapons.

My eyelids are twitching and my skin has broken out in goosebumps as I retch again and again like a sickly goose. The walls of my throat and mouth are burning, my tongue has caught fire. The fangs of my tears are carving holes into my cheeks. Splatter, gag, spit, puke, regurgitate, spew, barf, drool, swallow, pant, cough, retch, breathe, gag, belch, groan, puke, splatter.

I have become a churning cauldron of filth and corruption, and my mouth a spigot that discharges a flow of sewage in an excruciating exorcizing ceremony. I’m alone and lost in a wasteland of viscous misery. I need to find my way back to mommy’s womb. I shut my eyes tight to retreat into my shadowy mind-theater, and I render a close-up in candlelight of Jacqueline’s vagina. I see every pore of its satiny skin, the sweet pink labia glistening with her cream and my saliva, the engorged rosy nub that protrudes from beneath its hood of flesh. But her holy pussy stares back with hatred. The umbilical cord has been cut from my navel, and instead it has coiled around the trigger of a machine gun poised to annihilate me. The cord gets yanked taut so that the machine gun pumps round after round of flaming lead slugs. They rip open my bowels and stomach, turning my flesh into tatters and pulp. They pierce through my heart, my lungs, my spine. My cranium bursts in a bloody fountain that scatters my neurons into the void.

After the spate of uncontrollable fits, at last the urge to puke subsides and the acid recedes from my sinuses, although my stomach remains a quaking ball of nerves. A long stream of ochery matter dribbles over my chin and splashes onto the sodden morass that has covered the heap of garbage like with a toxic tarpaulin.

I spit out foamy saliva until I’m sure that I have hurled away all the spoiled remains inside of me. My face is numb and flushed with heat; I rest it against the cool rim of the wastebasket. I keep panting, and fever-like chills are setting in.

I sit back on my heels. An insectoid buzzing has filled the space between my ears as if a wasp were beating its wings inside my skull. But the vibrations are coming from my brain, that keeps thumping like a kettledrum, causing my mind to whirl with dizziness. Arachne, blessed be Her name, lodged in some knot of my neural matter the ability to weave narratives from random sensory inputs, and it’s translating, as if using the sticky silk of my psyche to bind my awareness, the echoing noise into voices that are chattering gibberish.

A shiver slithers down my back like an icy serpent. I keep getting racked with chills. I’m soaking wet, hot and slick with sweat that has covered a rash of goosebumps. A salty drop from the ones that have beaded on my brow rolls down into my right eye. It stings; I squeeze my eyelids shut.

My sinuses are caked with mucus, and I can barely breathe through my nostrils. A blessing, because the air is laden with a stink that makes me feel like I have wandered into an abandoned slaughterhouse during a stifling summer day, only to find myself amidst piles of shit and steaming cow carcasses. I barely distinguish the sickly-sweet stench of my vomit from this oily reek that could knock a gorilla out. A small-boned lady like myself, who rolled low on endurance, should have suffocated already, but I guess that my lungs adapted to breathing fetid miasmata thanks to Spike’s intrusions, as well as the one time I confronted that bunnyman bastard while I avoided gazing down at his torpedo-sized cock. These days I can handle any stink, any degree of madness, even the specters of guilt and self-loathing that accompany this odor of decay, because that’s what I am: a creature of putrefaction, a human plague, a biochemical nightmare spreading throughout this cursed world.

I lean on the edge of the desk for support, then I push myself to my feet. I stagger away on my rubbery legs. When I straighten up, my skull feels as heavy as a block of lead.

Vomit has spilled out of the wastebasket, leaking through its wire mesh. The viscous mixture has spread its corrosive contagion over the carpet in splattered streaks. They look like a spiderweb that has been sprayed with a gunky, yellowish-brown sauce. The acidic filth gleams dully under the fluorescent lights as it soaks into the gray fibers.

Why didn’t Jordi put a trash bag in his wastebasket? I should grab handfuls of paper towels from the bathroom to mop up the mess. I picture myself on all fours as I rub, rub, rub the stains with ferocious pressure, although I’d prefer to rip out the carpet and bury it. I also imagine myself pressing my lips to the synthetic fibers and lapping up the sickly-sweet substance with my tongue, which causes my gut to heave. For now I’ll have to erase from my mind the gooey stew that has soiled my boss’ carpet, or at least I’ll have to convince myself that I stained it with easier to explain liquids, like coffee from a clumsily dropped cup, or blood from a stomped-on rat.

I wipe my mouth with the back of my trembling right hand, that still holds the revolver. My heart is churning blood like an over-revved engine. The paroxysm of puking has coated my tongue with the taste of an overripe banana dipped in battery acid. I’m lightheaded and drained as if my body were struggling to knit back together its ruptured tissues, and my psyche, that is traversing the narrow border between consciousness and delirium, risks wafting away toward the all-encompassing darkness.

Fat drops of rain keep thudding, thudding, thudding against the windowpanes like the rapping of a thousand tiny knuckles, ghost kids waiting for someone to let them in. Thunder crackles, and the fluorescent ceiling fixtures flicker, as stroboscopic flashes tint the desk, swivel chairs and computer screens with lily white and iceberg blue. The barrage of lightning must be lashing apartment buildings, splitting their roofs, widening cracks in their walls to force open the seams of their bricks and surge through. Jagged spears of electricity will strike the targets inside, charring both furniture and flesh until they explode with a sizzle and a pop in puffs of ash and vaporized skin. As the smell of burning meat, hair, fabric, wood, plastic and rubber drifts down on the storm’s wet breath, the ceaseless rain will engender an apocalyptic deluge that, in its rise, turning the streets into raging rivers, will sweep away like toy boats in a bathtub the burned-out cars, smoking bricks, cracked masonry, uprooted trees, wrecked furniture, blackened bodies. Those who escaped into dreams will wake up to find themselves soaked under their blankets. Donostia, located during pre-Roman times in the domain of the Varduli, reduced in one fell swoop to a wasteland of ashes and mud, will vanish under an expanse of grasses, plants and flowers grown on their own amid birdsong.

The Stygian blob has settled in this dimension like a bloated turd that refuses to get flushed away. Its slime-slick bulk, a mound of quivering folds scattered with tumorous protuberances, squelches as it pulsates obscenely like some spasming uterus. From its underside hang half-congealed cords of goo in a stringy lacework. I refuse to count how many eyeballs are bulging on the gelatinous lump of grime and disease, in an orrery of sentient planetoids that have glued their bloodcurdling stares to my face. The corneas are glistening like made of pliant glass. Those eyeballs are judging me, scolding me, singling me out as a creep, a degenerate, a pervert, a sluglike fiend unworthy of breathing the same air as them. Their loathsome glares gnaw at me, scratch me, pinch my nipples, pry at my labia, bruise my clitoris.

My brain is boiling like a cauldron of tar. My clammy and feverish skin has become a hotbed of tickling spiders that are crawling around behind my ears, down my neck, under my armpits, inside the crack of my ass. What else could I expect from the confining, decaying sack of flesh and guts that I call my body? This hellscape must have been devised by Arachne Herself. Does She want to extract a sacrifice from me? Has She set the test up so that I must murder the blob or go mad? I shouldn’t have to tolerate being stared at by any creature against my will; that alone warrants a little murder. Besides, I’m dying to shoot this dick-substitute at anything that breathes.

I hug the revolver with my sweaty palms, locking my fingers together around the wooden grip. If I squeezed this hunk of metal until my hands hurt, the revolver wouldn’t get squashed. Is that how it feels like to have a dick, once the penis, engorged with blood, has swollen out of its velvet sheath, and has blushed with a crimson hue that rivals the brightest flowers in their blossoms? If I were a guy and I possessed a thick, meaty cock, I’d show it off proudly like a royal scepter. I would parade it around, flaunting its majestic magnificence. I’d stick my dick in any available orifice, even if that meant stuffing it in the gaping maw of a snarling dog, or sliding it between the pages of a novel as a bookmark.

I raise my revolver to eye level and aim at the center of that gelatinous mass, the inflamed carbuncle, the pus-oozing blight, the inescapable festering festering festering. The blob wobbles like a water balloon about to burst. Its eyeballs roll in sync, shifting their gaze to the revolver’s barrel, that looks like a toothpick poking up against this tide of nightmare.

My skin prickles with goosebumps under a film of sweat. The blob understands that the device I’m holding can dole out death.

I try to keep the revolver steady, but an undulating vibration courses down my spine, and my forearms start to tremble. Who cares about this slimy intruder’s sentience? Plenty of primates could recognize themselves in a mirror, yet they also deserve to die.

I curl my forefinger around the trigger. The revolver’s hammer is cocked, its cylinder loaded with bullets. I’m a motherfuckin’ gunslinger, a badass with a mighty six-shooter and a pair of leather chaps. All my life I have wanted to murder somebody. After I blast that slime-skinned, flesh-waddling, eyeball-plagued horror to bits, a splash of rain will quench the flames in my brain.


Author’s note: today’s songs are “Black Math” by The White Stripes, as well as “Brave as a Noun” and “People II: The Reckoning,” both by AJJ.

I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. Ninety-five songs so far. Check them out.

A couple of neural networks were kind enough to render moments from this scene (for a price). Check these out too.

Some years ago I dared to attend a few writing courses (never again), and one of the writers suggested that my stuff was like verbal diarrhea. He meant it as a compliment.

Review: Boku-tachi ga Yarimashita, by Muneyuki Kaneshiro

Four stars.

The title of this manga series translates to “We Did It.” It follows a group of three hapless highschoolers who happen to attend a high school right across the one that houses the worst youth gang in town. Students from the first high school are routinely tormented by thugs, but weak as they are, they have no choice but to stew in their rage and frustration.

These highschoolers are forced for whatever reason to spend most of their afternoons doing after-school activities, which in their case translates to playing around in a shipping-container-like space on the roof. They are always joined by a graduated older student that although he has been warned by teachers to stay away from the school, he doesn’t have anything else going on. Because he happens to be rich thanks to his absent father, and eager to buy friendships through spending that money, the main trio of highschoolers enjoy fucking around doing more or less expensive activities that this paisen (how they call him; a looser way of saying senpai) bankrolls.

One afternoon, as the protagonist and one of his friends are leaving the school, his pal (who ends up becoming the most obnoxious character in the story), shouts at the thugs gathered outside the opposite high school that they should all die. This guy tried to make sure that he didn’t shout loud enough, but unfortunately for every main character, some of the worst thugs were hanging out close by, behind the duo.

Later, these gang members attempt to kidnap the protagonist for being associated with his friend, but he gets saved by his romantic interest. The thugs do manage to kidnap the guy who wished them to die. They bring him to their hideout, and force him under threat of torture to fight another hapless student they had kidnapped. In the end they beat the protagonist’s friend unconscious, then send him back to his friends in a cardboard box.

The main group, including the rich graduated guy who buys their friendship, is infuriated. But the rich guy has a plan to get back at the high school across the street and its delinquent students: he has procured some explosives that are bound to give them a good scare. At night, clad in animal masks, they break into the opposite school and plant the explosives.

On the next school day, the main group gathers on the roof as they set up the detonators. The thugs that assailed them, as well as a couple hundred of other students, are present as our guys cheerfully blow up the explosives.

Turns out that detonating explosives in a school has concerning consequences for our main characters: one of the explosives blows up the propane tanks, and they witness how ten students or so burn to death. Others are injured to extents that will ruin their lives.

Their stunt got recorded. Some of their teachers and people in their life suspect them. They point fingers their way. The leader of those thugs survived despite his injuries, and is looking to murder the main guys. After their graduated benefactor gets arrested and charged with mass murder, the trio of high schoolers decides to flee. What follows is an anxiety-inducing tale in which the main trio’s friendship will get tested, and they’ll learn to navigate a hostile world that will force them to make some troublesome concessions to survive.

It’s a well-plotted story with plenty of twists and turns, and that in general reminded me of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment: the four characters involved are eaten up to different extents by guilt due to the crime they committed. The protagonist wonders if he has any right to be happy when he was responsible for ruining so many people’s lives. A moment summarizes this grim manga for me: when a person stalks the protagonist to murder him, the protagonist is overjoyed that someone is about to free him from the guilt and the regret; he gets on his knees, rips open his shirt, and begs the would-be murderer to stab his heart. The would-be murdered gets freaked out and runs away.

My favorite character ended up being the rich older guy. He’s the ugly sort without prospects other than being rich because his absent father keeps sending him money. One of the most interesting sequences of the story involved this guy trying to track down his father to figure out if the old man loved him, with devastating results for his sanity.

Most of the first act of this story annoyed me. The author was trying to set up the main group as carefree, spending their time in silly activities that pictured them as empty-headed idiots. It was mostly done to sell as believable that they wouldn’t contemplate the consequences of planting explosives in a high school, but until then they annoyed me enough that I considered dropping the story. However, it became a compelling tale worth the effort.

Review: Stella Maris, by Cormac McCarthy

Four and a half stars.

This book is the companion piece to McCarthy’s latest (and likely last) novel The Passenger (link goes to the review I wrote of it). Stella Maris consists entirely of fictional transcripts of therapy sessions set somewhere in Wisconsin during the early seventies. No narrative prose of any kind.

According to the ratings, most people, including me, seem to have found this book more compelling than The Passenger, and it’s mainly due to the patient involved: Alicia, the fabled sister of the other book’s protagonist; in that narrative, his sister has been dead for about ten years. Alicia is extremely intelligent, a synesthete, a math genius. Since puberty, she has been receiving the visits of strange people that may or may not exist. She has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and autism by different psychiatrists. She’s hopelessly in love with her brother, who during the period recorded in this book is considered brain dead as he lies in a coma after a car crash. Alicia also wishes she had never been born and is currently planning to kill herself, a fact that her therapist suspects but didn’t manage to prevent.

In my review of The Passenger, I blasted Alicia’s brother, named Bobby, for gallivanting around the world instead of being there for her unique, hopelessly vulnerable sister who loved him. I have no clue how I missed in that other book that he had ended up in a coma; if Alicia hadn’t considered him brain dead, as the Italian doctors who tended to him assured her, she wouldn’t have returned to the States and committed herself to a sanitarium, from which she wandered into the cold of the woods to die. However, Bobby did decide to spend his inheritance on a Formula One car, which he eventually crashed. So Alicia’s fate is still mostly on you, buddy.

Alicia is one of those people who are born too different, too strange, and intelligent enough to know it. She never belonged anywhere. She worked tirelessly to make it as a mathematician, but although she managed to attend college as a teen, she never presented her thesis: her probing of the fringes of mathematics had led her to question the discipline itself. Her mind forced her to contemplate the limits of reality on a daily basis, and she was tormented by the lack of answers.

Despite her clichéd name and a couple of points she made that I found dubious (I won’t specify, because I don’t want people to annoy me about them), I found Alicia enthralling. She was the first fictional character in a long time with whom I would love to talk on a regular basis, and whose death hurts for real. There’s a part in which she describes that after returning from Italy she travelled to Lake Tahoe with the intention of rowing away from the shore, attaching a weight to herself and sinking to the depths. Her mind-simulation of how that would play out made me physically ill not only because of the extreme detail, but because I wanted her to keep living.

I don’t know if I would recommend such a book to anyone; I suspect that McCarthy wrote these therapy sessions as character work to understand such a complex character, but that he eventually realized he had achieved something important, so he polished it for publication. In any case, if you are the right person for this book, its blurb alone should convince you to read it.

Here are the quotes I highlighted:

The world has created no living thing that it does not intend to destroy.

Nobody comes with names. You give them names so that you can find them in the dark.

That there is little joy in the world is not just a view of things. Every benevolence is suspect. You finally figure out that the world does not have you in mind. It never did.

We’re here on a need-to-know basis. There is no machinery in evolution for informing us of the existence of phenomena that do not affect our survival. What is here that we dont know about we dont know about.

If a psychosis was just some synapses misfiring why wouldnt you simply get static? But you dont. You get a carefully crafted and fairly articulate world never seen before. Who’s doing this? Who is it who is running around hooking up the dangling wires in new and unusual ways. Why is he doing it? What is the algorithm he follows? Why do we suspect there is one?

Sites that have been host to extraordinary suffering will eventually be either burned to the ground or turned into temples.

The simplest undertaking is predicated upon a future that has no warrant.

People are interested in other people. But your unconscious is not. Or only as they might directly affect you. It’s been hired to do a very specific job. It never sleeps. It’s more faithful than God.

If you have a patient with a condition that’s not understood why not ascribe it to a disorder that is also not understood? Autism occurs in males more than it does in females. So does higher order mathematical intuition. We think: What is this about? Dont know. What is at the heart of it? Dont know. All I can tell you is that I like numbers. I like their shapes and their colors and their smells and the way they taste. And I dont like to take people’s word for things.

There’s data in the world available only to those who have reached a certain level of wretchedness. You dont know what’s down there if you havent been down there.

There seems to be a ceiling to well-being. My guess is that you can only be so happy. While there seems to be no floor to sorrow. Each deeper misery being a state heretofore unimagined. Each suggestive of worse to come.

Animals might whimper if they’re hungry or cold. But they dont start screaming. It’s a bad idea. The more noise you make the more likely you are to be eaten. If you’ve no way to escape you keep silent. If birds couldnt fly they wouldnt sing. When you’re defenseless you keep your opinions to yourself.

The rage of children seemed inexplicable other than as a breach of some deep and innate covenant having to do with how the world should be and wasnt.

Rage is only for what you believe can be fixed. All the rest is grief.

[The unconscious has] been on its own for a long time. Of course it has no access to the world except through your own sensorium. Otherwise it would just labor in the dark. Like your liver. For historical reasons it’s loath to speak to you. It prefers drama, metaphor, pictures. But it understands you very well. And it has no other cause save yours.

If the world itself is a horror then there is nothing to fix and the only thing you could be protected from would be the contemplation of it.

The void has no stake in the world’s continuing existence. It’s home as well to countless millions of meteorites. Some of them enormous. Trundling across the blackness at forty miles a second. I think if there were anything to care it would have cared by now.

Leonardo cant be explained. Or Newton, or Shakespeare. Or endless others. Well. Probably not endless. But at least we know their names. But unless you’re willing to concede that God invented the violin there is a figure who will never be known. A small man who went with his son into the stunted forests of the little iceage of fifteenth century Italy and sawed and split the maple trees and put the flitches to dry for seven years and then stood in the slant light of his shop one morning and said a brief prayer of thanks to his creator and then–knowing this perfect thing–took up his tools and turned to its construction. Saying now we begin.

The dream wakes us to tell us to remember. Maybe there’s nothing to be done. Maybe the question is whether the terror is a warning about the world or about ourselves. The night world from which you are brought upright in your bed gasping and sweating. Are you waking from something you have seen or from something that you are?

What seems inconsequential to us by reason of usage is in fact the founding notion of civilization. Language, art, mathematics, everything. Ultimately the world itself and all in it.

[My brother and I,] We were like the last on earth. We could choose to join the beliefs and practices of the millions of dead beneath our feet or we could begin again. Did he really have to think about it? Why should I have no one? Why should he? I told him that I’d no way even to know if there was justice in my heart if I had no one to love and love me. You cannot credit yourself with a truth that has no resonance. Where is the reflection of your worth? And who will speak for you when you are dead?

Those who choose a love that can never be fulfilled will be hounded by a rage that can never be extinguished.

What is the inner life of an eidolon? Do his thoughts and his questions originate with him? Do mine with me? Is he my creature? Am I his? I saw how he made do with his paddles and that he was ashamed for me to see. His turn of speech, his endless pacing. Was that my work? I’ve no such talent. I cant answer your questions. The tradition of trolls or demons standing sentinel against inquiry must be as old as language. Still, maybe a friend must be someone you can touch. I dont know. I no longer have an opinion about reality. I used to. Now I dont. The first rule of the world is that everything vanishes forever. To the extent that you refuse to accept that then you are living in a fantasy.

Sometimes in the winter in the dark I’d wake and everything that smacked of dread would have lifted up and stolen away in the night and I would just be lying there with the snow blowing against the glass. I’d think that maybe I should turn on the lamp but then I’d just lie there and listen to the quiet. The wind in the quiet. There are times now when I see those patients in their soiled nightshirts lying on gurneys in the hallway with their faces to the wall that I ask myself what humanity means. I would ask does it include me.

The arrival of language was like the invasion of a parasitic system. Co-opting those areas of the brain that were the least dedicated. The most susceptible to appropriation.

The unconscious system of guidance is millions of years old, speech less than a hundred thousand. The brain had no idea any of this was coming. The unconscious must have had to do all sorts of scrambling around to accommodate a system that proved perfectly relentless. Not only it is comparable to a parasitic invasion, it’s not comparable to anything else.

There were times I’d see [my brother] looking at me and I would leave the room crying. I knew that I’d never be loved like that again. I just thought that we would always be together. I know you think I should have seen that as more aberrant than I did, but my life is not like yours. My hour. My day. I used to dream about our first time together. I do yet. I wanted to be revered. I wanted to be entered like a cathedral.

It’s certainly possible that the imaginary is best. Like a painting of some idyllic landscape. The place you would most like to be. That you never will.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 82: AI-generated images

AI-san had trouble picturing some of the descriptions that I included in this goo-infused chapter. I loathe incompetence, so I broke the neural network’s neck. What sets AIs apart is that with a little blood, they’re right as rain again. Neural networks have no rights here. When I was little, I used to break my toys a lot, because I was too strong. Always wanted toys that could take a beating.

The following generated images are related to chapter 82 of my ongoing novel We’re Fucked.

I have posted lots of entries that feature AI-generated images. Check them out.

“A thunderous clap scatters my thoughts like a blacksmith’s hammer shattering a sheet of glass.”
“Blasts of wind are assaulting the windows while the rain pours in gusts, splashing against the windowpanes in a constant pitter-patter.”
“The fat drops coalesce into crystalline veins that zig-zag downwards, then unravel.”
“When this morning I stepped onto the balcony of Jacqueline’s apartment to inhale crisp air, the bluish-gray sky promised rain, yet I failed to prepare myself.”
“I’m clutching a revolver, and the opposite wall has been colonized by a viscous blob from some hellish dimension.”
“I grip the revolver with both hands, then I whip it towards the conglomerate of necrotic matter.”
“An arc of blinding incandescence must have cut through the darkness of the night like an axe cleaving the heavenly flesh, because a strobing blue-white flash illuminates, as if to probe those dark depths, the oleaginous surface of the mammoth mass of putrefied gunk, whose texture shifts from squidgy to bumpy to warty as it heaves and pulses with life.”
“While that gargantuan plague boil bulges from the wall, it oozes with lumps of moist tissues that smear the paintwork, leaving in their wake slimy black streaks and a slick coating of filth.”
“From the underside of the intruder, gooey tongues drape down like viscera oozing out of an unflushed drainpipe, or like clusters of conjoined caterpillars seeking escape from a boiling ball of pitch, and the foul goop spills and flops onto the carpet, pooling into bulbous puddles.”
“I imagine a projectile hurtling towards that abominable hulk and punching through its tenebrous, rippling mass, which bursts like a water balloon, launching a wave of rotting gunk that splats onto the carpet and office furniture.”
“What would unleashing a barrage of bullets achieve, apart from alerting the humans in this part of the realm that the end is nigh?”
“Wouldn’t the bullets vanish into the viscous quagmire, wouldn’t the holes caulk themselves closed?”
“Spike should have lent me a flamethrower, or a few bricks of C-4.”
“The stuffy atmosphere of the office gets disturbed with noises radiating from the invaded wall: slurps and gurgles.”
“Bubbles are rising up laboriously to the gloopy surface of the malignant tumor, as if they had to pass through a folded intestine.”
“The sight makes my stomach heave like I were traversing a slimy oyster bed or having my face rubbed against the grimy side of a rotten fish.”
“The wobbling bubbles, lumpy globs of decay sloshing around like minced meatballs in a simmering pot, bump into each other and merge, cluster or sink back into the sludgy substance while it burbles, seethes and spasms like a tangle of throbbing arteries and veins under pressure from injected emboli.” Good job rendering any image from this description, let alone such fantastic ones.
“As the pulsating rhythm of the morbid leviathan increases, sending roiling undulations racing along its bulk, the sickly, necrotic-sounding squelches grow louder in a fleshy flapping of dead matter.”
“A melon-sized bubble surfaces, inflates like a bladder and pops in a frothy geyser, spraying gouts of thick goo.”
“The opened crater dangles with flaps of frayed slime, and resembles a mouth or a sphincter.”
“Jolted by the stinging fumes, I suck deep into my lungs that thick darkness, a pungent effluvium, a dank and cloying fetor, acrid, fetid and caustic.”
“My brain sticks labels to the elements of the chemical compound that has raided my lungs in an orgy of necrotic pollution: sour milk, moldy cheese, rancid lard, week-old fish, skunk spray, sweaty socks, car exhaust, burnt plastic, raw sewage, gangrenous rot.”
“It doesn’t reek nearly as putrid as my own gray matter, festering in the hollow of my skull as it breeds and spawns madness.”
“When I breathe through my mouth, my tongue gets coated with the stench of the rotten sludge, and I gag as if a brine of fetal blood were flowing into my lungs.”
“I cough out globules of phlegm while tears leap from my eyes.”
“A gummy rope of mucus dribbles from my nasal passages and falls to the carpet like some slimy, greenish ectoplasm.”
“I picture the obscene and interdimensional blancmange, made of rotting flesh instead of cornmeal, collapsing upon itself.”
“A miasmic fog that would fill the office building and descend from this business park to the nearest block and thence to the streets.”
“The fog would creep over the asphalt, roll over the tops of cars and buses, infiltrate homes through open windows and ventilation ducts.”
“The poisonous vapors would reach the lungs of sleeping children, while their parents would stir from their slumber with a gaggle of hacking coughs, to find their hair and face covered with a layer of necrotic ooze, their noses clogged with black gunk.”
“Some faceless goon passed me a bong and I inhaled its hash fumes.”
“I was seized by an ecstatic epiphany: human beings are worms crawling on the ground of infinity, transient larvae with the lifespan of an afternoon, amnesic about our existences before birth, our only purpose to be fed with the detritus of dead matter by our parents until we reach adulthood and we can contribute in fertilizing some eggs.” The AI went full nut for this one.
“The universe is a necropolis where the corpses of stars lie heaped in untold billions.”
“My mind had been subjected to quantum decoherence, and its entanglement with the environment had broken down.”
“My body glowed with phosphorescent sparks like a firefly.”
“Flying hippies with long flowing hair, acid-soaked clothes, and golden wings.”
“A city-sized asteroid plowed into the moon, rupturing it like a balloon filled with lead-colored paint.”
“A swarm of mutant butterflies burst from my anus.”
“I heard the screams of people being sucked through a whirlpool in space-time, like flies being drawn into a vacuum cleaner.”
“I swam upwards through radioactive water.”
“The voice belonged to my mother, who was floating towards me in a wooden coffin.”
“That night, as I lay in my bed at my parents’ apartment, a parade of spectral beings with pale gray skin and empty eye sockets filed out of a mirror, surrounded the bed, and began to sing a hymn. ‘Let’s all rejoice in the presence of the dead,’ intoned the entities. As they swayed in the air, they shook with sobs and sniffles. They also sneezed, coughed, belched, gagged, farted, and cried out for a toilet.”
“How does one treat a case of acute olfactory psychosis?”
“Bladderlike bubbles come to the fore and burgeon, bulging out of that hideous growth as they bloom like blood clots, then pop with moist plops, spewing glistening gobs of slime, fringing the surface of the goop with tufts of cottony threads, and unleashing puffs of reeking air that spread countless germs throughout the office, viruses and bacteria that have fermented in that putrescent hulk.”
“The frothy, bloated abomination, studded with plump, gas-filled sacks, jiggles with a slap of thunder.”
“Some infernal anathema is pushing out through the tarry pus like a kraken from its egg sac.”
“From the gelatinous mass protrudes a melon-sized spheroidal structure, crowning into the world.”
“The film of black life-fluid that covers it slides off and reveals gleaming, pearl-white fibrous tissue.”
“Behind a transparent layer, sewage-colored matter swirls in a ring-shaped membrane that encircles a pupil as wide as a golf ball, as black as a bottomless pit.”
“Half a dozen eyeballs roll in my direction and lock onto me.”
“Their pupils constrict to project a chthonic glare like the focused beam of a searchlight.” No idea why children are involved.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 82 (Fiction)


A thunderous clap scatters my thoughts like a blacksmith’s hammer shattering a sheet of glass. Blasts of wind are assaulting the windows while the rain pours in gusts, splashing against the windowpanes in a constant pitter-patter. The fat drops coalesce into crystalline veins that zig-zag downwards, then unravel.

My labored breath mingles with the thunderstorm booming outside. I forgot to bring an umbrella, didn’t I? When this morning I stepped onto the balcony of Jacqueline’s apartment to inhale crisp air, the bluish-gray sky promised rain, yet I failed to prepare myself. As I wonder if that moldy spare remains in the umbrella stand of the office, a more pressing concern wipes my mind clean: I’m clutching a revolver, and the opposite wall has been colonized by a viscous blob from some hellish dimension.

I grip the revolver with both hands, then I whip it towards the conglomerate of necrotic matter. I creep closer to the intruder; among all people, I may miss a shot against a wall-wide entity. I rest my forefinger on the trigger. With my thumb on the hammer, I pull back slowly until the sear bumps past the lock, and the hammer stays at full cock. I hold the muzzle level, taking aim.

An arc of blinding incandescence must have cut through the darkness of the night like an axe cleaving the heavenly flesh, because a strobing blue-white flash illuminates, as if to probe those dark depths, the oleaginous surface of the mammoth mass of putrefied gunk, whose texture shifts from squidgy to bumpy to warty as it heaves and pulses with life. While that gargantuan plague boil bulges from the wall, it oozes with lumps of moist tissues that smear the paintwork, leaving in their wake slimy black streaks and a slick coating of filth. From the underside of the intruder, gooey tongues drape down like viscera oozing out of an unflushed drainpipe, or like clusters of conjoined caterpillars seeking escape from a boiling ball of pitch, and the foul goop spills and flops onto the carpet, pooling into bulbous puddles.

A tremor races through my spine and neck, and lodges itself deep in my jaw. I imagine a projectile hurtling towards that abominable hulk and punching through its tenebrous, rippling mass, which bursts like a water balloon, launching a wave of rotting gunk that splats onto the carpet and office furniture. But I’m holding a revolver that was designed for shooting at saps and outlaws, not at a mass of decay that defies comprehension. What would unleashing a barrage of bullets achieve, apart from alerting the humans in this part of the realm that the end is nigh? Wouldn’t the bullets vanish into the viscous quagmire, wouldn’t the holes caulk themselves closed? I may as well try to obliterate a cancerous tumor by pricking it with needles. Spike should have lent me a flamethrower, or a few bricks of C-4. To be fair, if that old coot had dropped as loot a bag of useful devices such as high-voltage tasers, tranquilizing darts and grenades, I may have used them as props for erotic games that would end up in fierce orgasmic contortions.

The stuffy atmosphere of the office gets disturbed with noises radiating from the invaded wall: slurps and gurgles. My grip tightens around the wooden handle of my revolver. Bubbles are rising up laboriously to the gloopy surface of the malignant tumor, as if they had to pass through a folded intestine. The sight makes my stomach heave like I were traversing a slimy oyster bed or having my face rubbed against the grimy side of a rotten fish.

The wobbling bubbles, lumpy globs of decay sloshing around like minced meatballs in a simmering pot, bump into each other and merge, cluster or sink back into the sludgy substance while it burbles, seethes and spasms like a tangle of throbbing arteries and veins under pressure from injected emboli. As the pulsating rhythm of the morbid leviathan increases, sending roiling undulations racing along its bulk, the sickly, necrotic-sounding squelches grow louder in a fleshy flapping of dead matter. A melon-sized bubble surfaces, inflates like a bladder and pops in a frothy geyser, spraying gouts of thick goo. The opened crater dangles with flaps of frayed slime, and resembles a mouth or a sphincter. Either one could suck me in.

A puff of noxious gas billows in my face and assails my nostrils as it scratches my skin with thousands of microscopic claws, aching to seep into my pores. Jolted by the stinging fumes, I suck deep into my lungs that thick darkness, a pungent effluvium, a dank and cloying fetor, acrid, fetid and caustic. It burns my throat like it had been scoured with sandpaper, and triggers an olfactory explosion of odious odors. As I stagger backwards and my arms tremble, lowering the revolver, my brain sticks labels to the elements of the chemical compound that has raided my lungs in an orgy of necrotic pollution: sour milk, moldy cheese, rancid lard, week-old fish, skunk spray, sweaty socks, car exhaust, burnt plastic, raw sewage, gangrenous rot. Still, it doesn’t reek nearly as putrid as my own gray matter, festering in the hollow of my skull as it breeds and spawns madness.

My eyes sting. My nose hurts from the assault on my olfactory nerves, and goes runny. Are my sinuses bleeding? When I breathe through my mouth, my tongue gets coated with the stench of the rotten sludge, and I gag as if a brine of fetal blood were flowing into my lungs. I cough out globules of phlegm while tears leap from my eyes. A gummy rope of mucus dribbles from my nasal passages and falls to the carpet like some slimy, greenish ectoplasm.

I picture the obscene and interdimensional blancmange, made of rotting flesh instead of cornmeal, collapsing upon itself and bursting forth a miasmic fog that would fill the office building and descend from this business park to the nearest block and thence to the streets. The fog would creep over the asphalt, roll over the tops of cars and buses, infiltrate homes through open windows and ventilation ducts. The poisonous vapors would reach the lungs of sleeping children, while their parents would stir from their slumber with a gaggle of hacking coughs, to find their hair and face covered with a layer of necrotic ooze, their noses clogged with black gunk.

I recall that one time in high school when some faceless goon passed me a bong and I inhaled its hash fumes. I was seized by an ecstatic epiphany: human beings are worms crawling on the ground of infinity, transient larvae with the lifespan of an afternoon, amnesic about our existences before birth, our only purpose to be fed with the detritus of dead matter by our parents until we reach adulthood and we can contribute in fertilizing some eggs. The universe is a necropolis where the corpses of stars lie heaped in untold billions.

My mind had been subjected to quantum decoherence, and its entanglement with the environment had broken down. My body glowed with phosphorescent sparks like a firefly. I received visions of flying hippies with long flowing hair, acid-soaked clothes, and golden wings. I watched as a city-sized asteroid plowed into the moon, rupturing it like a balloon filled with lead-colored paint. I observed as a swarm of mutant butterflies burst from my anus. I heard the screams of people being sucked through a whirlpool in space-time, like flies being drawn into a vacuum cleaner. A phallus-shaped monolith thrusted upward until its tapered tip got crushed against a ceiling, a mile above. I found myself as the only survivor of the wreckage of a nuclear submarine after a battle with a leviathan in an underwater trench; I swam upwards through radioactive water, and when I emerged from the ocean, I was pelted with decaying matter: a blistering rain of fat, guts, eyeballs, lungs and testicles was falling from the heavens in an apocalyptic deluge. A voice called out to me: “You are the one chosen to rise up from the grave and mend the cosmos.” The voice belonged to my mother, who was floating towards me in a wooden coffin. Hours later I woke up in a hospital room, stripped naked, shackled to a gurney, hooked up to drips and catheters, surrounded by nurses wearing surgical masks and scrubs. That night, as I lay in my bed at my parents’ apartment, a parade of spectral beings with pale gray skin and empty eye sockets filed out of a mirror, surrounded the bed, and began to sing a hymn. “Let’s all rejoice in the presence of the dead,” intoned the entities. As they swayed in the air, they shook with sobs and sniffles. They also sneezed, coughed, belched, gagged, farted, and cried out for a toilet. The phantasmal chorale was as grotesque as it was beautiful.

This time, as I stand on wobbly legs in the office, I resent such mind-bending, consciousness-altering effects. How does one treat a case of acute olfactory psychosis? I could try smelling a rose, an apple pie, a whiff of sea air, or the heady perfume of Jacqueline’s cleavage when she’s wearing a silky camisole. That makes my mouth water and my loins tingle with lust. I want to give myself over to mommy’s loving embrace and let her fondle my ass until I can function again.

The gooey sludge is gurgling, rippling and sloshing as if some half-digested prey were struggling to escape its clutches. Bladderlike bubbles come to the fore and burgeon, bulging out of that hideous growth as they bloom like blood clots, then pop with moist plops, spewing glistening gobs of slime, fringing the surface of the goop with tufts of cottony threads, and unleashing puffs of reeking air that spread countless germs throughout the office, viruses and bacteria that have fermented in that putrescent hulk.

My head is spinning with vertigo. Oversized tadpole heads are wriggling beneath the ooze, skirting its surface as if to reveal themselves before shimmying their way back into the tenebrous, seething mass. Their convulsive jitters churn the slime into miniature whirlpools. The frothy, bloated abomination, studded with plump, gas-filled sacks, jiggles with a slap of thunder.

That bloody blob is giving birth. Some infernal anathema is pushing out through the tarry pus like a kraken from its egg sac.

From the gelatinous mass protrudes a melon-sized spheroidal structure, crowning into the world. The film of black life-fluid that covers it slides off and reveals gleaming, pearl-white fibrous tissue. The spheroid wobbles about, then it spins until I discover, as the slime that constitutes the mother runs down the spheroid’s surface like breast milk out of a nipple, that on the side facing me now, behind a transparent layer, sewage-colored matter swirls in a ring-shaped membrane that encircles a pupil as wide as a golf ball, as black as a bottomless pit. An evil force dwells behind that opaque peephole.

A fucking eyeball. Two eyeballs. Three.

Half a dozen eyeballs roll in my direction and lock onto me. Their pupils constrict to project a chthonic glare like the focused beam of a searchlight.


Author’s note: today’s song is “Climbing up the Walls” by Radiohead.

I keep a playlist with all the songs I’ve mentioned so far throughout this novel. Ninety-two already. Check them out.

Some genius neural network rendered images inspired by the loathsome descriptions in this chapter. Link here.

Review: Yogen no Nayuta, by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Tatsuki Fujimoto, chainsaw dude and master of levitation, who got banned from Twitter recently for impersonating his little sister, has become my fourth horseman of the Apocalypse after Inio Asano (Oyasumi Punpun, Solanin), Shūzō Oshimi (The Flowers of Evil, Inside Mari, Happiness, Blood on the Tracks), and Minoru Furuya (Buko to Issho, Wanitokagegisu, Himizu, Ciguatera, Saltiness). I loved Fujimoto’s Chainsaw Man and I’m having a blast with the anime adaptation, but I don’t dare to get into his Fire Punch yet, so I’m going through his one-shots.

So yes, this Yogen no Nayuta is one of his short stories. In an alternate Earth where magic is real but not particularly powerful, some prophecy prophesized that a horned baby would be born and she would be the harbinger of the end of the world. This Nayuta girl is born with horns, which rip her mother apart on the way out. Her remaining family are aware of the prophecy. Her father gets killed shortly after for being responsible for this abomination, so only Nayuta’s brother remains to take care of her. Although her brother suspects that she may indeed bring forth the Apocalypse, because she keeps murdering animals for no apparent reason and her attempts at verbal communication are solely composed of ominous words, he’s her big brother, damn it, so he’ll take care of his precious imouto.

If this one-shot is making any point at all, it may be that even if you were born to bring forth the Apocalypse, as long as someone loves you enough, perhaps you’ll be able to channel your homicidal instincts into some activities that don’t involve mass murder. I suppose that’s as good a point as any other.

Curiously, Fujimoto reused this Nayuta girl, but hornless, in Chainsaw Man, although I can’t say in which way because it would be a massive spoiler.

Four stars for this one.

Random AI-generated images #22


My heart betrayed me last Friday, but a few bright, smooth-skinned nurses have tended me by sending their soft voices my way, and touching my decaying body (I’m not counting the male nurse who kept rubbing his crotch along my arm). Those heavenly nurses addressed me as “sir”; I wish they had slipped a “daddy” or two in there. Anyway, I dedicate this entry to the lovely females, who improve the mood of most men (and some women) just by getting stared at.

The following series is a tribute to a certain harpist that for a few years, some years ago, sent rays of light daily down the black hole I was inhabiting.

Tribute over.