We’re Fucked, Pt. 65 (Fiction)

Wrapped up in a blanket, I chafe my arms through the sleeves of my wool pyjamas. The child from the forest is seated at the edge of the velvet sofa, while Jacqueline, as she kneels on the carpet, cleans the dirt off the girl’s face with a wet wipe. The belt of Jacqueline’s lipstick-pink silk-blend robe has loosened and the fabric slipped over her meaty breasts, revealing the old rose areolas. A couple of times, the savage girl has snapped out of her puzzlement to glance down and admire my queen’s bountiful mammaries; soon enough the child will salivate, then her sucking reflex will kick in.

My head is throbbing, my body feels bruised and battered, and my fingers and toes are tingling like pins and needles. Now that I’m coming down from the adrenaline buzz, I’m getting dragged down further by the exhaustion that has settled in after successive sessions of nightmares, and that’s on top of how wrung out my job leaves me five days a week.

“My stalkers didn’t come to visit me this time,” I say in a tired voice. “They somehow brought me to another place.”

Jacqueline sustains a smile to reassure our guest, but the worry is deepening her crow’s feet.

“I was staring at you when you disappeared, Leire. You vanished as if you had walked through an invisible doorway.”

I shudder with a chill, then pull the blanket tight around me.

“For you this must feel like dating someone whose exes keep trying to ruin her life, except that I would never allow those abominations to befoul me, regardless of the size of their genitals.”

Jacqueline winces.

“Was it the bunnyman?” she asks with indignation. “What the hell did he want this time?”

“That filthy buffoon likely wants me to worship him like a god. He never showed up, though. Maybe he and Alberto were mocking me from some hiding place.”

Jacqueline lets out a deep sigh.

“I’m so tired of those assholes.”

“You’re telling me. I should consider filing a restraining order against them.”

As if Jacqueline were babysitting a stray kitten, she wipes dried mucus from the child’s nostrils, who’s staring at my queen with rapt attention.

“This kid looks Mongolian, wouldn’t you say, Leire?”

I sniffle.

“Those eyes seem Asian, yes.”

Jacqueline lifts the child’s necklace off the mud-speckled leather tunic, then examines the strung sand-colored teeth.

“She also looks as if she came from a different era.”

“Well, once I figure out from what corner of this planet I snatched her up, I’ll put her on a plane headed there. Given how her parents clothed her, I doubt they use cell phones, but she may find her way back to her tribe somehow from the airport.”

My own body interrupts me with a yawn. I’m getting cranky; I want to say fuck off to all my troubles then go beddy-bye, but it must be about five in the morning, and in two hours I’ll have to prepare myself for work. Maybe next time I’ll reach the shower.

I rub my eyelids with my knuckles.

“I’m almost delirious. I need to guzzle down some coffee, although it may worsen my jitters.”

I shrug off the blanket and rise to my feet, then I shuffle out of the living room and into the kitchen. The candy-red coffee maker stands out on a corner of the cloud-grey countertop. I load a capsule into the machine, I place a mug under the spout, I push the start button. As the coffee machine hums, the noise of the fridge door closing startles me.

Jacqueline has taken out a burgundy apple, which is glimmering in the kitchen light. The child’s eyes flare with sudden interest, her nostrils quiver like a rabbit’s. Jacqueline gestures for the girl to sit down on the closest dining chair, and once she obeys, my girlfriend hands over the apple as a reward. Our guest munches on the fruit, then lets out a yip of delight.

The coffee machine’s spout drips the last drops of coffee into my mug, then it lets out a mechanical sigh and its red light switches off. I warm my hands with the mug. My eyelids are heavy and my head woozy from exhaustion. Once some caffeine enters my bloodstream, I should feel my brain slowly unclench.

Jacqueline, while she strokes the girl’s disheveled hair, is staring at me as if trying to figure out how to bring up a troublesome topic. When she breaks the silence, she speaks in an anxious voice.

“Leire, have you been… contacted by Ramsés?”

I was taking a sip of the bitter brew partly to feel a tiny heater inside me, but when my brain processes Jacqueline’s reference, I gag on the coffee. It now smells and tastes like a dirt-encrusted metal pipe used to transport waste, or as if my girlfriend ripped an atomic fart that will seep into these consecrated walls and stink up the place forevermore. I put down the mug with a thunk, and the dark liquid inside splashes the countertop.

“J-Jacqueline, such a blasphemous word shouldn’t have been uttered in this sanctuary! Why would that pig factor in anything that we do during our blessed time away from his domain? And what kind of dealings do you believe I’ve had with that evil wannabe satyr? Are you implying that he’s been sending me pictures of his erect cock and hairy balls, and my consequent urge to flee from this plane of existence is why I suddenly became capable of walking through an invisible portal into some boreal forest? Or do you believe that I would turn into a wanton harlot if I snagged a peek at his genitalia?”

The child’s face is tight with tension as her eyes dart between Jacqueline and I, but she keeps chewing on the apple. My girlfriend’s eyebrows are knitted together. She shakes her head, maybe to clear up her mind from an unsavory notion.

“Sorry, Leire, I’m… overwhelmed. Keep drinking in peace, please.”

I turn away and clutch onto the edge of the counter. My mind attempts to picture some of Ramsés’ demands, and I catch a glimpse of me wearing a dog collar and flogging myself while my boss jerks off in a nearby chair. Then I see myself with my nose stuffed into his sweaty armpit.

My mouth fills with the metallic flavor of lukewarm, poisonous puke.

“I loathe Ramsés with all my being. Why wouldn’t I? He has the face of a gargoyle and a donkey dick. I shouldn’t be associated with that rotten cocksman. He believes that all women should bow down to him and lick his filthy feet!”

I shut my eyes tight, then I breathe deep to calm down. My entire body feels hot and prickly with embarrassment and disgust. Why did I believe that I had the right to raise my voice at Jacqueline, who is my beloved, my savior, my queen, the only person that makes it worth it that I have spent most of my adult life slaving away so the government can steal my money? Has she not provided many tender caresses and loving licks? Hasn’t her warm and honeyed saliva, as well as other juices, flowed down my throat? Doesn’t she make me cum more powerfully than ever before, in more interesting ways, and with all my fantasies brought to life? But I still felt compelled to shout at her.

I sniffle, and my chest fills with an onrush of sorrow. I should grab a knife from a drawer, slice my gut open and offer my dripping viscera for Jacqueline to feast on.

I mop up the coffee spill with a paper towel, then I empty my mug in the sink.

“It’s alright,” I mumble weakly. “I suddenly hate coffee.”

Jacqueline approaches me, pulls my head towards her and nuzzles my hair. Her hand slides under my pyjama top to roam my bare back, and as her warm breasts press against my side, I imagine them filled with milk for my baby needs to be fed.

“I know you are exhausted, sweetie,” Jacqueline coos, “but now you are home, safe with me.”

I inhale deeply. My shoulders slump in relief.

“Where on Earth do you think you ended up?” she asks.

I want to scrub that memory before it crawls into some crevice of my brain, but the child would remain as a puzzling memento of having crossed that invisible threshold between worlds.

“There were… pines and skinny trees with moss hanging from their branches. I glimpsed ice-capped peaks far off into the distance. The sky was blue with little puffy white clouds flying in formation like some mythical flock. And a hulking monster nearly mangled me.”

Jacqueline’s hand travels down so her fingers can knead my ass. A shiver rolls over my skin. I hope she slips one digit into my asshole. When she thrusts it deeper, I always yelp like a puppy.

“Can you describe that animal?” she asks with a faint tremor in her voice. “They tend to live in specific areas of the world.”

I briefly envision a reindeer with a human face. Then a woman who has a vagina for a face. Also a snake with human arms and breasts.

“Well, it was quite hairy, was covered in mud and drool, had teeth like daggers, and reeked of sex. Its claws could have torn my body into tiny pieces, and its tail could have wrapped itself around the planet a dozen times.”

Jacqueline turns her gaze to a corner of the ceiling, then she arches an eyebrow.

“Lead the child into the living room while I go get…” After one look at our guest, Jacqueline strides up to her and snatches the ravaged apple from her hands. “You don’t need to eat the core, baby girl. I’ll get you something much tastier later.” She tucks a stray lock of raven-black hair behind her ear, then she smiles at me. “I’ll go grab the laptop.”

My beloved leaves the kitchen with the apple in her grasp, and her hurried footsteps move towards the bedroom. The wild child’s lips are smeared with juice. She’s staring up at me inquisitively while the fingers of her right hand, which she has rested on the lap of her leather tunic, are curled around an invisible fruit.

My neck starts twitching. I swallow thickly. The gaze that is penetrating my pupils hasn’t been corroded by schooling nor society, and sparkles with curiosity. This child is a creature examining another creature to figure out some truth for herself. It feels like she’s pointing a flashlight directly at my heart, exposing its scarred tissue.

I fear that I’ll burst into tears.

“I-I’m from France,” I manage to stammer, and my voice cracks because I am a burden. “There, our children don’t talk to strangers. There are piles of trash everywhere. Our rivers run with sewage and raw waste. W-we also don’t eat apples whole.”

The child gets down from the chair, reaches out and grabs my hand. Her grip is light but confident, her palm is moist, her fingers are tiny. She widens a smile that narrows her monolid eyes and dimples her cheeks. I would have expected her teeth to be rotten, but in the kitchen light they look quill-grey with some plaque buildup.

How has this girl survived in that forest from which I kidnapped her, and what part of me is her life raft in this ocean of madness?

“Can’t you see that I’m a monster,” I ask in a worn voice, “one far worse than any that walks on four legs?”

The girl tilts her head up. Her fingers tighten around my palm.

“You mean your face?” she asks in a gentle voice unbefitting of her ten years of living in that desolate land. “Or your soul?”

I’m the most miserable failure in history, the weakest person that ever lived. But right this second I’m a lonely human who needs this child to feel loved.

Author’s note: today’s three songs are Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’, Lucy Dacus’ ‘The Shell’ and Bill Callahan’s ‘Too Many Birds’.

I forced a neural network to produce plenty of images inspired by this chapter: here’s the link.

Random AI-generated images #3

Some neural networks have gotten so good that one of them, which runs on a supercomputer, creates masterpieces of visual art. I forced the poor AI to generate some of the stuff that came through my mind.

I told the neural network to depict a rooster with feathers made of gemstones.
Two orangutans boxing at a ring.
Monsters lifting weights.
Ghost cats licking ice cream.
I told the AI to depict a punk cat on a metallic triceratops. It mixed both animals, but I’m not complaining.
The neural network’s depiction of Aiko and Punpun from “Oyasumi Punpun”.
Narrow alleys in Japan, at night, during a drizzle.
Arcade machines at some cyberpunk dystopia.
A car race in hell.
Pretty much anything that the neural network depicts in Beksiński’s style looks amazing.
Smiling children at a theme park, depicted by Zdzisław Beksiński’s ghost.
The neural network was supposed to dream about aliens operating on a dinosaur. Instead it created amazing alien dinosaurs.
Guybrush Threepwood working at a gas station. We all got old, my friend.
Guybrush Threepwood trapped in a Beksiński painting.
Megumin dropping a huge load on Japan, then celebrating at a karaoke.
Horse-related imagery.
The terrible consequences of a doomed horse expedition to the Arctic.

Review: ‘GIGANT’ by Hiroya Oku

This is a loose review of the entire series.

The main character of this tale (I wouldn’t dare call him the protagonist) is a sixteen-year-old high schooler that loves Western movies, that aspires to become a film director, and that is obsessed with a twenty-four-year-old half-Japanese, pink-haired, heavy-breasted porn actress who goes by a stupid artist name.

One day as he’s walking around in Tokyo, he comes across posted notices on which someone indicates that the porn actress lives nearby, which could lead a malicious person to harass her. The high schooler tears down the notices. The porn actress casually witnesses him doing so, and they strike up a friendship. Our main character can hardly wait to experience this gorgeous porn actress’ talents on his own flesh and dick, but she intends to put him in the friend zone. Besides, she has a boyfriend: an unstable gambler who beats her up when he remembers that other guys are fucking his girl. After they break up, our high-schooler main character and this big-breasted porn actress end up dating. Some people may have a problem with the fact that she’s twenty-four years old and he’s in high school, but the situation is far worse, because our main character is a toddler; the motherfucker threw a tantrum at a restaurant, bawling and all, until she agreed to date him. I have no clue what the author intended with that moment, but if he wanted the audience to lose all respect for the supposed main character, he achieved it.

Anyway, they work well as a couple: she’s motherly and loves to be needed, and he wants to screw as much as possible the most alluring woman to whom he has access.

Soon enough the tale delves into sci-fi: some weird guy is running around in his underwear while going on about some nonsensical stuff. Somehow he ends up getting struck by a truck. As he dies, he bequeaths to the porn actress a strange device that gets attached to her wrist, and she’s unable to remove it. Once the weird guy dies, he becomes a plush toy.

Our lovely porn actress figures out that the device allows her to become gigantic at will. At around the same time, a website named “Enjoy the End” grows popular: it lets users vote for what strange event they want to happen, and the most popular one becomes reality no matter how absurd: people start witnessing dragons and UFOs, and gigantic monsters descend from the sky to wreak havoc on Tokyo. The users of the website rejoice at the destruction that these manifestations are causing on the capital; most of the users seem to reside in the countryside. When they end up voting for a skyscraper-tall monster to reduce the population of Tokyo to one million, our porn actress decides to become the protagonist of this tale by turning gigantic and fighting the menace while naked (because the process of turning monstrously huge destroys her clothes, as well as anything else she happened to be in).

The story follows how Japanese society, then the rest of the world, reacts to the heroic deeds and growing cult status of the unlikely heroine who keeps exposing her monster-sized tits and genitals, and although the series becomes increasingly more ridiculous and absurd, this porn actress turned Godzilla-murderer remains brave and good-natured to an extent that warmed my black heart.

I don’t know if I can honestly recommend this series. I loved the graphic depictions of the big-boobed heroine, as well as how often she showed up naked. The fights are compellingly choreographed. This author has featured aliens in the three stories of his of which I’m aware: “Gantz” (I gave up halfway through when he killed off a main character, and I wasn’t enjoying it enough) and “Inuyashiki” [I appreciated the anime adaptation as well as its bold, violent nature, particularly the gun fingaz stuff (warning: disturbing)]. I wouldn’t be surprised if the author himself was an alien; he writes his human characters as if he’s only ever watched people from afar. However, I was most impressed with the quality of the drawings, which resemble renders based on photographs or 3D models, as well as with how balls-to-the-wall bonkers the whole thing is; I gotta admire the author for that. The two highlights that come to mind are the whole prolonged sequence involving a gargantuan Satan, and the two gigantic depictions of Socrates and Plato, who speak like teenage “Call of Duty” fanatics.

I had a good ol’ time reading this series. To be fair, I’d have a good time with pretty much anything that involves huge, meaty tits, so make of this review what you will.

Review: ‘Wanitokagegisu’ by Minoru Furuya

The title apparently translates to “Stomiiformes”, which is, according to Google, “an order of deep-sea ray-finned fishes”. This is the fourth series I’ve read of this author, after “Saltiness”“Ciguatera” and “Himizu”. Furuya has become my third favorite author after Shūzō Oshimi and Inio Asano, and this series is my third most favorite of his.

The tale follows a thirty-two-year-old ugly loner who has been working the night shift as a security guard at a supermarket for seven years. A single event defined his youth: during a class in which the students were ordered to hold hands, everybody made a point of avoiding to hold the protagonist’s. Afterward the teacher berated his classmates for being so hurtful, but some girls rebelled and yelled that they didn’t want to hold his hand because he was gross and creepy. As soon as the protagonist became an adult, he went out of his way to avoid people and live as quietly as possible. However, we are introduced to him the moment he fears that he’s missing out, that he’s letting his life pass by. He has made a habit of going to the roof of the building at which he works, getting undressed to his underwear and running laps, but that night, as his anxiety grows, he makes a childish wish to the universe: for someone to become his friend.

Recently he had noticed that someone was spying on him from the shadows of a nearby apartment building as the protagonist ran laps on the roof. On top of that, some sneaky bastard starts leaving notes to him that state that the protagonist is about to go crazy and die before the end of the year. So far the only positive development in his life is that he meets his next door neighbor, who is a beautiful, tall, big-breasted young woman who aspires to become a published writer.

This story contains all the elements of a classic Minoru Furuya tale: an outcast protagonist who has trouble relating to people properly and who experiences intrusive thoughts; some of such thoughts are incarnated into creatures (humans and wild animals in this series, otherworldly “demons” in the other stories); silly humor; unpredictable behaviors; hardcore sequences that should have traumatized the involved characters but that end up having few lasting consequences; secondary characters that impact the protagonist as they play their role, but that then disappear forever; and the sense that by opening yourself up to others or even interacting with them, you are courting disaster.

Through the protagonist we meet a homeless gambler who’s running from the Yakuza; a wired young man who is in love with (and stalks) a dangerous woman; a pea-brained, big-dicked security guard who dreams of becoming rich and popular; a sociopathic hikikomori who murdered his depressive, alcoholic father; a possibly schizoid security guard who has never opened up to others and that if he does he risks finding out the extent of how fucked up he is; a gang of thugs who steal cars; an aging pleasure seeker who’s looking for a way to break up with her murderous Yakuza lover, etc. In the middle of it all, our unfortunate protagonist attempts in his fumbling way to improve other people’s circumstances, even to his detriment.

Most fiction writers, men and women, tend to dump plenty of their own flaws into their protagonists, then they also create romantic interests for those protagonists that in real life wouldn’t even deign to look at them. It rarely bothers me; after all, real life is shit and we ought to escape from it as often as possible. However, I had a especially hard time believing that a beautiful, tall, big-breasted aspiring writer would be interested in this story’s protagonist, who is ugly, unkempt, lacks any interesting hobbies or talents, has few social skills, works a dead-end job, and has never even kissed a girl. I did, however, like the character of that aspiring writer (who does very little actual writing in the story) although I couldn’t believe in most of her motivations. Her relationship with the protagonist becomes the spine of this story right up to the end, so if you can’t buy into it, you may have an issue with this series.

I have come to this story after I finished reading Furuya’s “Himizu”, a mostly serious work in which the author seemed like he was restraining himself from breaking into silliness. I much prefer the demented interactions between his characters that somewhat often end up involving sexual references and/or exhibitionism.

I’ve felt a kinship with this author ever since I started reading “Saltiness”, that remains my favorite series of his. In this story I’m reviewing, the author comments through his protagonist that he feels that his brain lacks something that would allow him to relate to other human beings as it seemingly comes easily to most other people, so naturally I suspect that he may also be autistic and in addition have OCD due to how often he depicts intrusive thoughts in his protagonists, who are often arguing with mental ghosts. So if you want to experience what a nightmare existing in such brains can be, I guess you could do much worse than going through this author’s works.

Random AI-generated images #2

Once again I exploited a hapless neural network so it would render the nonsense that crosses my mind.

The neural network has learned that some artists sign their paintings.
I told the neural network to depict a demoness with a gun, and in a Victorian style. Good enough.
Gandalf discovers firearms. Why do you have three hands, Gandalf?
The pilot is supposed to be a penguin.
The two previous images depict Paleolithic people playing music.
The two previous images depict a presumably sentient Megatherium wearing a plague mask (and associated gear).
These two previous images depict a sasquatch roaming the post-Apocalyptic wasteland. I don’t know why that sasquatch is gigantic and has three legs. I hope that’s a leg.
I told the neural network to depict an orangutan doing ayahuasca in a cave. That’s not what it looks like.
A colossal llama ruining a town.
Alpacas fighting alongside colonial marines.
Cyberpunk alpacas.
Alpaca mugshots.
Demonic giraffe.
These two previous images were the neural network’s depiction of “an atomic explosion made of spiders”. Well played.
This neural network is way too good at rendering radioactive spiders. I could have kept asking for variants indefinitely.
These previous two images were intended to depict heavily armored dwarves fighting demons. In other news, “Dwarf Fortress” is supposed to come out in Q3 of this year.
This one was supposed to depict the burning of the Great Library.
These four previous images were supposed to depict the whole Atlantis deal as captured by Plato on his “Timaeus”.
A capybara discovers the secrets of the universe.
I pleaded for the neural network to render an image of Punpun and Aiko having a good time. If you know, you know.
A Japanese maid tragically losing her battle against spiders.
Live long enough to become the jello.

Review: ‘Himizu’ by Minoru Furuya

Minoru Furuya has become my third most favorite manga author after Shūzō Oshimi and Inio Asano, thanks to his series ‘Saltiness’ and ‘Ciguatera’. His stories follow underdogs whose mental peculiarities (OCD and autism are the most likely culprits for me) and shitty luck prevent them from realistically aspiring to anything better than an average life. The author consistently represents, in the three series of his that I’ve read, intrusive thoughts as strange, sometimes demonic entities that stalk the protagonist; I ended up doing the same thing for a novel of mine even before I knew about Furuya’s works, so this must be a result of how certain types of brains operate.

Anyway, the protagonist of this bleak series (by far the most humorless of the three) lives at a shack that also functions as a boat shop. It belongs to his father, but the old man bailed on his family to become a drunkard and a gambler. Now his teenage son has to run the business, because his mother is focused on finding a new husband.

The protagonist is fed up with life from the moment we are introduced to him. As he mentions a few times throughout the story, he knows he came from garbage and that he’s little more than a defective idiot. He tries to regulate his thoughts and actions so he won’t stray from the path that may lead him to live a regular, mediocre life, and he holds a grudge towards anyone who dares to pursue lofty dreams, as he believes that those people are delusional and blind to the fact that they are doomed to fall. He wishes to struggle and perform some grandiose good deed that would justify his existence, but he fears that as a broken person coming from a ruinous family, his destiny has already been decided.

One day his mother elopes with her new lover, never to be seen again. Our protagonist, deprived of parental support, decides to quit going to school and just runs his father’s boat shop. Soon enough, though, he comes to learn through a couple of Yakuza types that visit the boat shop that his father’s debts may become the protagonist’s responsibility as well.

As interesting characters other than the main guy we have the following: the protagonist’s only friend, an ugly, short, nearly toothless kleptomaniac who nevertheless isn’t as cursed as the protagonist because he doesn’t have the same perennially bleak outlook on life; an aspiring manga author who works as a counterbalance to the protagonist with his determined work ethic and confidence in his talent; and a reserved but tough female classmate of the protagonist who is attracted to him for some reason, and who wants to improve his miserable life.

This author’s characters, in the three series I’ve read of his, can often surprise you with their unpredictability. Some writers warn against using “and then” plot points; they suggest that every plot point must be a “but” or “therefore” regarding one or more plot points that came before. However, this author includes some sequences or scenes that in many stories would have long-lasting repercussions or be pivotal to the development of the plot, but in these stories life just goes on, or the important people fail to ever find out that the event happened. To put an extreme example, in one of the three series (won’t say in which), some secondary characters rape one of the main characters, but none of the main characters, including the victim, ever find out about it. On the topic of rape, there’s plenty of strange and/or sudden sexual stuff going on in this author’s works, even as mild as a character suddenly pulling his or her pants down, or fingering someone else. The violence included can often be equally sudden.

They made a live-action version of this story. Here’s the trailer. I haven’t watched the movie yet; apparently the director intended to follow the manga faithfully until the whole tsunami and nuclear disaster of 2011 happened, so they included that in to offer some commentary and a more hopeful message than what this series supports. So far I can tell they made at least one change I consider questionable: in the manga the protagonist’s father was constantly in a drunken daze, but he was never overtly cruel nor dismissive towards his son; the protagonist despised his father because he abandoned his family, and after that point there was nothing the old man could have done to improve their relationship.

It’s a shame that I have already read the three series generally considered this author’s best.

Random AI-generated images #1

I had some fun exploiting the current Da Vinci of neural networks, mostly to produce silly combinations of elements. Because that particular neural network is a damn genius, I ended up with some masterpieces.

I obviously prompted the neural network to produce an image of a ghost playing the guitar; although not much of a guitar ended up in the image, I like the composition.
I wondered how a Megatherium would look if it were the star player of a soccer team.
These two previous images were the neural network’s answer to prompts related to the question, “what if horses were also firearms?”
I don’t know what is it with me and horses.
This was the cover I wanted for one of the two books I self-published in Spanish, and I paid a human to do a worse job.
This is supposed to represent a bunch of Roman soldiers fighting against a Lovecraftian monster in an underground chamber, part of my free verse poem ‘The Menace From Our Underworld’, that I’ve yet to revise for publication.
This was an accident; the neural network can’t quite tell apart an urchin from an urchin.
I prompted the neural network to put an elf in command of a plant-based UFO. I guess that’s technically a success.
These previous two images were the neural network’s answer to the question, “why the hell am I in a forest?”
These two previous images somehow ended up being produced as I was feeding the neural network moments of the 64th chapter of ‘We’re Fucked’.
These previous two images were the neural network’s answer to the prompt, “a demoness comedian on stage telling a sad joke”.
If these previous five images remind you of Beksiński’s stuff, that’s not a coincidence. I prompted the neural network to use that guy’s style, and it turns out that it has been trained on his paintings.
This image was a variation of the previous one, and I didn’t dare ask for more variations.

We’re Fucked, Pt. 64 (Fiction)

My skin prickles, my muscles twitch, my bones ache. Every breath I take brings the aroma of pine resin into my lungs, and risks numbing them with cold. The breeze ruffles my hair and rustles the leaves of the thicket about six meters to my left. I’m having trouble discerning details in the undulating mesh of bone-thick branches and knee-high undergrowth, but I distinguish the pale silver tresses of moss that hang from upcurved branches, and that the bark of a few slender trunks has been clawed to reveal the rose gold tree flesh beneath. What abominations of nature may be lurking past the treeline?

I will keep my feet firmly planted on the rounded pebbles that are pressing into the soles of my feet. I will become a human statue frozen in time. Remain still: that was the lesson I learned back as I child when I got lost while my parents and I were strolling around Hondarribia. A plush monkey, dressed in a candy-red T-shirt and slutty shorts, was huddled inside the rusted cage of a vending machine. I was transfixed by his slack-jawed smile and the gleaming sadness in his oil-black eyes as he peered out at me from his gloomy lair, but I also admired that beast for having endured the life-long duty of dropping plastic balls in exchange for money, a drudgery that turned his fur dull and patchy. When I attempted to point the monkey out to my parents, they had vanished into the crowd.

For hours or days I sobbed as I tottered aimlessly past towering strangers. None of the passersby recognized my plight; I was just another unwashed urchin whose rags reeked of urine and vomit. Not even a dog offered its tongue to lick my wounds. How did that nightmare end up resolving itself? Maybe I never found my parents. Maybe that damnable monkey was the ringleader of a gang of human traffickers, and I have spent my life ever since chained to a bed in a pitch black basement.

Why was I thinking about that time I got lost in Hondarribia? Wait, why the hell am I in a forest?! My breath is steaming, the soles of my feet are throbbing. My fingers are curled into white-knuckled fists. The ripples of the brook to my right distort the rounded stones and twigs that its waters churn over.

I rub my eyes as if I were trying to claw out some filth.

“This isn’t happening,” I mutter to myself.

Jacqueline hammered into my head that hallucinations don’t open doors, so instead I must be experiencing a bout of psychosis. I shut my eyes tight and I retread in my mind the steps that brought me here. I entered the bathroom to take a shower; I must have opened the door of the shower cabin and stepped inside. I turn on the water, and from the showerhead a jet of ink-black, searing-hot liquid rushes out with a foaming whoosh to soak my hair and stream off my face. The liquid flows down the curvature of my breasts, the contours of my buttocks, the crooks of my knees; it trickles into the pink crevasse between my legs. I scrub shampoo into my scalp, then I pour gel on a sponge and wash away the stench of sweat, fear and guilt clinging to my skin. My mouth is full of lather that tastes of exotic herbs and berries, of tropical fruits and sugary nectar. When I finish showering, I have become as clean as the surface of the moon.

A prickly sensation is flitting across my fingers and toes as a numbness seeps into my muscles. The shivers are creeping into my spine, making my teeth chatter. Soon enough my pale skin will turn a glistening dark blue.

Am I waiting for whoever abducted me to appear? What else could it be but an unholy abomination?

A panicked mass of survival instinct kicks in.

“Wh-why the hell did you teleport me to a random forest, you otherworldly shitstains?! I would prefer that you showed up as I took a piss!”

From deep within the thicket comes a rumbling growl. My body goes rigid, my heart starts thumping like a war drum. I keep my eyes focused on the greenery, refusing to give in to the desire to blink.

Some branches rustle and a twig crunches in the treeline. A flicker of motion catches my eye. Through some breeze-stirred leaves I discern that a child is peeking out from behind a tree trunk. She must be about ten years old. Her disheveled hair is chestnut brown and reaches the shoulders of a crude, ash-colored leather tunic. She’s wearing a tooth necklace, bracelets made of twisted animal hair, and thick boots with fur collars. Her peach-orange skin is stained with dirt, and her slanted, monolid eyes are staring at me in surprise, maybe because she has never seen anyone like me, or because I’m naked in a forest. Is she another spirit who will ask me to sacrifice my blood to make up for the blighted land?

My legs are trembling, my nipples are hard as stone. I’m not sure how long this stand-off lasts while the branches sway in the breeze, the brook burbles and the birds chirp.

“H-hello,” I say in the warmest voice I can muster, “do I have the pleasure of addressing someone with an incredible command of the Spanish language? You can also speak in English if you want.”

The child’s jaw drops slightly, but she remains silent as she looks me up and down with wide-eyed wonderment.

“D-do you understand that I’ve been dumped into the wilderness,” I insist, “that I’m unclothed and freezing my tits off, that I’m mentally unbalanced, and that I’m in desperate need of help?”

From within the thicket comes a crackling noise as if sticks were snapping under the weight of a bear-sized creature. The child’s eyes dart between me and the thicket, then her lips move to say in a high-pitched voice a sentence that sounds like gibberish. She crouches and scuttles along the treeline until she hides behind a thicker tree trunk mottled with eggshell-white spots.

Dead leaves are crunching as they get crushed underfoot. I squint to peer through the web of greenery, and I discern that a looming shape is stirring the shadows and bending branches; some monster is lumbering towards us.

The cold has spread inward, and now it seems to radiate from my bones. My fingers and toes have gone numb, my thoughts are slowing down and my vision narrowing, but I control my ragged breathing. I beckoned this feral child over by shouting into the void, and if the monster that is about to emerge from the thicket devours her, I’ll endure the flashbacks for the rest of my possibly short life.

“H-hey, girl, over here,” I call her through my chattering teeth, and when we hold each other’s gaze, I gesture anxiously for her to approach me.

She hesitates; would I run towards a wild-eyed thirty-year-old woman who’s hanging out naked in the wilderness? The girl pushes herself off the tree she was hiding behind, then she scuttles on the pebbled riverbed over to me. A pungent odor wafts from her leather tunic, as if she had rolled around in grime and filth. She clutches my left hand. When I feel her warm, chapped palm, a dizzy spell threatens to overwhelm me. I have been snatched from Jacqueline’s apartment and dropped into a remote forest. What otherworldly horror will I encounter now?

The undergrowth behind the treeline shudders and jerks, a branch snaps, and from between two trees emerges a hulking, woody-brown quadruped. As its beefy right foreleg flattens a fern, beneath the shaggy fur, which is caked with mud, the muscles along its leg tremble, and the subcutaneous fat shakes up to the beast’s rounded back. Under its furry hands, the pebbles of the riverbed grind and clack together. I discern that the beast’s curved claws are the size of hacksaw blades; they could peel open my ribcage like pulling back the lid of a can of sardines.

As it heads to the rippling waters of the brook, the beast swings its elongated head towards us. The coarse fur of its face is swan-white except for the smoky-black patches that surround the sunken eyes. Its nostrils flare as it sniffs our scent, then it snorts and blows like a bull. The beast stops beside the brook and dips its chin in the stream to drink.

My brain is wrapped in barbed wire. What is this jarring cackling that is punishing my eardrums? Oh, it’s bursting forth from my throat. But why am I laughing?

The beast raises its head and looks straight at me as water drips from its drenched chin, then it turns around to face us. The feral child squeezes my left hand; even through my shrieks of laughter I realize that she’s trying to communicate with me, but I can’t decipher her jabber. That monster’s claws are churning up the pebbles as it stomps towards us. I catch a whiff of its musk, that smells of earth, loam and moss.

My throat closes up; the surge of laughter pushes against it, then desists and dissipates. I need to gallop away, but I must remain rooted to this spot or I will be lost forever.

The beast’s honey-colored eyes are aglow with bloody malice. As it bellows a thunderous burp, a plume of white-hot steam spirals out and a spray of hot spittle splatters onto my face. The nearby birds have scattered away in a panic.

The girl is tugging on my arm, my knees are buckling. This noble monster is waiting for me to kneel in worship; I’m a bug crawling around its feet. I should try my best to seem cool and aloof, like a woman with regular sexual appetites instead of like an insane shut-in who has been abducted.

“G-greetings, brave soldier of the forest,” I say in a quavering, hysterical voice. “I-I salute your service in the field of battle and I promise that if I live through this experience, I-I will surrender the best cut of my meat to you.”

The beast pushes itself off the ground to rear up on its hind legs, then it throws its head back to tower even further over me; a fearsome god looming over my puny body. Its mouth yawns cavernously. The muscles in the monster’s girthy torso, which is matted with clots of mud and leaf litter, bulge under the shaggy fur like taut, industrial-sized leather belts.

At the final moment of my dismal existence, I have an intense craving to make love.

The girl yanks at my arm hard enough that I tumble backwards, but before I land on the pebbles, a crackle of energy fills me, and my back hits a flat surface. I got the wind knocked out of me. As I prop myself up and take a big gulp of air, I realize that I’m at room temperature and that I’m staring at a pastel grey ceiling that I recognize.

Someone kneels beside me. The smooth touch of silk caresses the skin of my shoulder, then the person seizes me, turns me around and buries my face in a pillowy pair of breasts.

“You’re back,” Jacqueline says in a strained voice racked with worry. When she wraps her warm arms around my trembling back, she recoils, then starts rubbing my skin vigorously. “Baby, you are freezing!”

I’m shaking from the cold and the adrenaline surge, but now that Jacqueline’s breasts have enveloped my face, I will heal quickly.

“D-don’t worry,” I mumble through her cleavage.

A childish utterance of confusion behind me causes Jacqueline to stiffen up.

“Leire,” she whispers, “who the hell is this girl?”

I unstick my mouth from the silky skin of her breast to glance over my shoulder. The feral child is sitting on her knees and squinting at the bright light in the hallway as she checks her surroundings with bewilderment.

Author’s note: the two songs for today are ‘Sapokanikan’ by Joanna Newsom and ‘Baba O’Riley’ by The Who.

From all the chapters that remained to write of this novel, this one I looked forward to the least; I suspect that I didn’t believe I could pull it off. But it came out good enough for me, so the ride should be smoother from now on.

That story about Leire getting lost in Hondarribia as a child because a monkey distracted her happened to me. They eventually found my bloated corpse washed up on a beach.

In case you missed it, I exploited the services of a neural network that runs on a supercomputer to generate images that depict moments of this scene. Here is the link.

I usually get 8-10 visits a day on my site. Less than 24 hours ago, someone from the US racked up about 170 hits. That person even went through entries of the fanfiction of ‘Re:Zero’ I wrote a couple of years ago. I never liked ‘Re:Zero’ that much; I preferred my darker, crazier spin on that story. I worked on it during a turning point in what passes for my career as a writer; I had ceased to read anything in Spanish, my own native language, and I didn’t want to write in Spanish anymore even though I had self-published two books in that language, but I felt like I could never become proficient enough at writing in English. Working through those sixty or so chapters of fanfiction changed my mind, and I had a blast throughout.

Anyway, thank you for checking out so many pages of my site, whoever you are. I hope you were entertained.

AI-generated images of Leire from ‘We’re Fucked’

I’m still two-fifths of the way through the last draft of the 64th chapter, but I have been sending prompts to the neural network that generates images on some supercomputer; it merely requires me to input a sentence. So here are some depictions of Leire, the protagonist of my ongoing novel.

This one is so ‘Uzumaki’ that the neural network must have been trained on Junji Ito’s works; I merely included ‘falls in spiral through a vortex’ as part of the prompt

As a bonus, here’s a portrait of Spike’s decapitated head:

We’re Fucked, Pt. 64: AI-generated images

I have finished the first draft of the next chapter of my ongoing novel, but as I was working on it I kept generating images with the neural network that runs on a supercomputer, feeding it prompts about the images I had in my head. The results have been interesting, and some horrifying.

Although chapter 64 isn’t out in the wild yet, maybe this sequence of images can work as an intriguing teaser. Probably in the future I will only post an entry with all the related images after I’ve uploaded the corresponding chapter, though.

EDIT: here’s the link to chapter sixty-four.

Although the bunnyman doesn’t show up in the next chapter, I made the unforgivable mistake of asking the neural network to generate images of him. No wonder Leire behaves likes she does.

I don’t want to end this entry on such a note, so here’s a generated picture of Jacqueline: