In my dreams I’m floundering about in a morass of slime.
The following images are related to chapter 86 of my ongoing novel We’re Fucked.
I have posted many other entries with generated images. Check them out.
“Will you stop laughing already?” the blob demands in a voice viscous as dripping sludge.
My chest and back are heaving, my facial muscles are contracted in a rigid grin that bares my teeth, while tears jump from my eyes. A piggish snort interrupts the guffawing, and after a few dry gasps, I manage to straighten up.
“The abomination talked.” I wipe away the tears with my thumbs, including the little beads stuck in my lashes. “Of course it talked. That’s just my luck.”
“I’m neither an ‘it’ nor an ‘abomination.’ I’m a sentient being, an intelligent lifeform, just like you.”
“Of all the slimy blobs in this world of horrors, I had to come across one that mastered the art of speech. What an inauspicious fate.”
“You are as rude as usual,” the blob says gruffly.
Blood is rushing to my head, making it throb and ache. Simulations bubbling up from my subconscious are crowding up behind the shut sphincter of my mind, competing for my attention; I get a glimpse of myself sinking my fingers with a glugging sound into the squidgy goo, which looks like the oozing viscera of a decomposing whale, to seize whatever passes for this gutter-mouthed freak’s neck and throttle it while screaming obscenities. I clench my fists, and the tendons in my hands creak in anticipation. I also picture myself hurling a mountain-sized iceberg at this monstrosity to pulverize it.
This is what I have become: a grown woman talking to a gargantuan glob of black sludge stuck to a wall. And yet that blob has the gall to call me rude. At which of those bulging eyeballs should I glower as they bob back and forth in that viscous, wobbly mass? If eyes are windows into the soul, I’m facing one sordid, abject fiend who has earned every curse that may be heaped upon him.
I fold my arms and force myself to take measured breaths.
“I resent your tone, sir,” I say through a tight throat that feels scraped raw, “as I resent the rotten stench emanating from your bloated body.”
“I stink, huh?”
“It reeks of decaying garbage. No, it’s more like the stink of rotten eggs mixed with raw sewage. A putrefying miasma I wouldn’t be able to wash off even if I jumped in a pool of acid.”
“The fact that you can breathe is a small mercy in this world of filth you call home.”
“Are you speaking from experience?” I chuckle nervously. “You must have spawned from filth yourself. I swear, if there were a contest for the most hideous creature on Earth, you would be one of the frontrunners. But I will spare myself from imagining such a pageant so I can retain what little self-control I possess. Your appearance is an affront to human dignity.”
“Alright, trash-talker. You don’t have a clue how hard and unpleasant it was to manifest over here.”
A peal of thunder ripping across the sky makes me snap my head upright, and drowns out the blob’s words. Goosebumps erupt down my arms while the rumble crackles as if some heavenly douchebags were setting off firecrackers.
“Who invited you anyway?” I demand to know. “And who would invite in an intergalactic vagrant who knows nothing of etiquette?”
“What makes you think I need your permission?”
Sweat trickles down my nose. My heart is hammering so hard I’m afraid it will tear free from my chest and fall to the carpet with a splat. My carotids must be swollen and purple.
“You are a parasite,” I growl through gritted teeth. “An invader. A sewer-dwelling species from some unheard-of dimension. Do the countless worms twitching in your flesh take note of the venom in my voice?”
“They do indeed, and they’re getting a kick out of it. As are the trillions of germs swimming in your intestinal flora.”
“Don’t you dare speak to me of my digestive system. I will gut you like a fish and flay you alive!”
The blob’s bulging eyeballs, plump blisters about to burst in spurts of pus, quiver as he sniggers. It makes me picture a chorus of gargling frogs.
“Leire, you’re a bully. A bully with no sense of proportion and a pathetic personality to boot. You excel at bullying others as well as yourself.”
My forehead is moist, my hair sticks to my face, and my shirt clings to my back and breasts. I tremble with the impulse to hurl a chair or a bookcase at the interdimensional, septic abomination who continues to spew his invective even as I struggle to contain my wrath.
This is why I don’t socialize, why I’ve kept to myself for most of my life: this world of misery is filled with nauseating vermin who delight in humiliating me. I thought I had left behind me the hostility oozing from every corner, the spiteful whispers of untold monsters, but now I’m confronted with an invader whose rudeness and perversion outstrip my own. A real piece of shit, so to speak.
I need to bury my face in mommy’s breasts.
I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. A hundred and one songs so far. Check them out.
Do you want to see AI-generated images inspired by moments from this chapter? No? Here’s the link anyway.
This chapter kicks off a new sequence titled “A Monstrous Ignoramus.” The previous sequence kind of did me in; I don’t want to end up again in a situation in which I will only upload a chapter every couple of weeks, but given how obsessive I am, that means posting short chapters more often. Whenever I get down to editing the chapters together into an epub file, I’ll merge plenty of them anyway.
In other news, I’ve been hooked on beta blockers due to my heart issues. My hands and feet are perpetually cold, my heart rate rarely goes above 60, and I feel somewhat physically detached from my surroundings, although not mentally, which is perfect; the serotonin reuptake inhibitors I used to take ages ago turned me into a zombie. These days I would probably come off as even more boring than usual, but thankfully I haven’t talked to anyone in person (other than waiters, servers or whatever they prefer to call themselves these days) ever since my last contract ended. Beta blockers apparently also work to prevent migraines (they terrify me), and help with anxiety in general. Perhaps I should have been taking them all along. What other drugs should I become dependent on?
I hope you like slimy blobs; otherwise this whole sequence must have been damn near unbearable. I have become a fan of blobs myself. Maybe when I die I will get reincarnated as one. I despise goblins, though.
The following images are related to chapter 85 of my ongoing novel We’re Fucked.
I have posted many other entries with generated images. Check them out.
Darkness had washed over me like a foggy, polluted river. I had heard the keening cries of the naiads, I had felt their icy fingers glide along my naked skin, and shortly after, even verbs and nouns had been swept away. But the world returns in a torrent of sights and sounds and scents, dazzling me with white light.
My knees wobble, and I stumble like a toddler. I’m standing on my feet although I was lying on the carpet.
A dull pounding pulses at my temples. Rain is pelting the windows, and deeper in that white noise I discern sounds like those of wind blowing through the ruins of ancient temples. A siren howls in the distance. Thunder booms. On the ceiling, a flourescent tube is flickering with a buzz and a crackle as it emits a fitful glow.
The putrid stench of corruption has penetrated my clothes, has oozed through my pores to infiltrate my body. My blood must be turning into a sludgy sap that will clog my veins and arteries, that will bloat my belly and mar my skin with scabby lesions. I will gasp my last breath while black slime oozes out of my mouth, then I will succumb to septicemia and end up like a bag of filth and offal left to rot in an alley.
Sweat has bathed my body in cold dread. I’m sticky, sticky, sticky. My hair is matted to my forehead. My skin sticks to my clothes, my clothes stick to me. I’m sinking in crude oil.
I want to duck under a showerhead and let it spray my hair and face with ice-cold water. I imagine myself gasping for breath while the cascade streams down my chest and breasts and trickles between my thighs, raking them with the icy bristles of its flow. Goosebumps will erupt all over my skin, and my nipples will harden to firm peaks. The chill will make me shiver uncontrollably, as well as yearn for the merciful embrace of death. I envision myself kneading and massaging my clit as the pussy juices slick my fingers.
After I step, sopping wet, out of the shower, I’ll gargle with mouthwash to get rid of the acrid taste of puke. But what if trying to wash myself only spreads the slime and makes it stickier? No matter how hard I scrub, even if I scour my body with bleach, I’ll never clean this alien ooze off my hair, skin, and private parts. I will remain forever contaminated by the blob’s nauseating exudate.
I’m swaying on my feet, my heart is racing, and the edges of my vision have gone fuzzy. A tremor of hysteria shakes my whole being. My consciousness is struggling to escape from its chrysalis of flesh and bone; I’ll end up staring down at the back of my head as if from a hovering camera in a third-person videogame. Although this may be the right time for a panic attack, I better flush my system of these filthy thoughts.
I groan with anguish. When I hunch over and attempt to hold my head, I bonk my right temple with a chunk of metal. It hurts, but the pain drives out the demons of panic. What the hell am I holding? Ah, the revolver remains grasped in my right hand as if fused. That forefinger, curled around the trigger, feels stiff like a dried piece of tree fungus.
Wait, my right hand is okay?! I still feel the aftershock of the revolver’s kickback that tore my hand off as if it were a twig in a typhoon. The severed ends of tendons and ligaments had dangled from the bloody stump of my wrist. Also, how the hell am I standing? A burning pain, the sizzling trail of a red-hot soldering iron, had seared down my spine from the nape to the coccyx, as if someone were chopping up my spinal cord with hedge clippers.
If I could evoke such pain through daydreams, over the years I would have given myself countless traumas, and maybe an early-onset stroke. Was that a hallucination, an illusion brought on by the blob’s vile ichor?
I had taken a break from programming to speak on the phone with Jacqueline, my beloved queen, the most precious gemstone in my crown. Knowing that in a few hours I would return to her arms justified wasting the afternoon at the office. But I cut the conversation short, I willingly stopped the flow of Jacqueline’s melodic voice, because this bloated lump of glop, this wretched pile of protoplasm from which dangle tentacles of viscous discharge, oozed out of some cosmic sewer to intrude upon my life and plunge me into madness. My vision is swimming with phantasmic eyeballs whose moist scleras, white like milky quartz, gleam in the fluorescent light, and that stare unblinkingly because their eyelids must have been bitten off by ravenous frogs. If this revolting blight had a mouth, it would suck the flesh off my bones.
The office has become a bubble sliced off from the universe, a bubble filled with static and a dense miasma, kept inflated by a steady supply of insanity, and that has trapped me with the other inhabitant of this space: an alien abomination. I must be crazy to withstand the presence of this intruder, that looks as if a titanic demon had followed a no-fap regime for centuries, until one day, high on bath salts, as his bulging balls threatened to burst, he pumped out the load of rotten, gelatinous cum all over a wall. He then threw at the gooey splatter, like sprinkles, several serial killers’ collections of gouged-out eyeballs. That demon likely ended up in heaven for having fulfilled his purpose: unleashing a massive discharge of jizz.
This defilement of our white-walled office shan’t be forgiven. I’m going to exorcise the demonic emission in a swift and violent way, with my loaded revolver. Wait, didn’t a couple of bullets from my weapon already reach and mutilate their target?
The sight of the silvery revolver in my clenched fist should make me feel invulnerable, as if I could solve the ills of the world with well-aimed shots, yet I feel like I grabbed a venomous snake by the tail. A chill rushes through my spine. This damn gun is an instrument of chaos! Maybe the skull and bones engraved in the frame, between the grip and the cylinder, were a warning. I should have known better than to trust a horse’s offering, but this thing was too shiny and beguiling to pass up.
Have I become a slave to this inanimate object, a traitorous implement that must be scorned and banished to outer space? I shamble to my workstation and stretch out my trembling right arm to part ways with the weapon. A blaze of adrenaline has been pouring into my clitoris, and long ago reached a peak, but it must have come to a lull: even though my nethers are desperate for friction, my sense of self-preservation allows me to place the revolver beside my keyboard and mouse.
A numbness pervades my right hand as if a serpent were twisting tightly around that forearm. My pale skin is growing wrinkles now that I’ve hit my thirties. A single thwack of a butcher knife would chop off those four thin fingers. When I order them to wiggle for me, I fear that through my daredevil antics I have severed the connection between brain and hand, but those four fingers flex and straighten out, obeying me like whipped hounds.
I bring my hand to my puckered lips and kiss its clammy, dead-white palm. I kiss its smooth back, then the knuckles one by one. I lick its nails. The hand must have been starved for affection, because it shivers as I suck on its index finger, that grows slippery under my tongue. I love you, right hand! I never thought of proclaiming it to you. Until I met Jacqueline, and for about twenty years, you were the only one that loved me, on whom I could rely to assuage my loneliness. You were also the only one who could beat me at board games. For all you gave and gave, I never asked what you wanted, what you needed, or what you dreamed of. Maybe I didn’t care enough to know.
A flood of tears gushes down my cheeks. What did I ever do to deserve to have hands? I’m a slug writhing in the gutter where life has left me. I’m a fiend, an outcast cursed with the stigmata of filth and failure, who must be sacrificed to avert an apocalypse. I’m a dick. A freak. A freakish dick freak. My family died because of me. I should give this revolting blob a big hug, cradling its oozing flesh, and thank it for providing me with another dose of the crushing, suffocating burden of self-loathing.
What the hell am I saying?! Why would I conjure up empathy for this monstrous heap of goo sent forth from some galactic abyss? I’m the victim of a psychic assault! My brain is being conquered by tentacles entwined around it like the vines of a strangler fig. Although I should have donned an industrial-strength hazmat suit merely to gaze upon this menace, let alone withstand the oozing filth’s neurotoxin, I must summon the courage to fight back. Will I grab that abomination with my bare hands, shove it into an airtight container and drag it to the nearest incinerator? Should I toss it into a boiling cauldron, to be boiled alive in its own foul juices? Is it edible? Will I dine on its fricasseed eyeballs?
A faint hum, the pulse of millions of microscopic parasites swarming in the black blubber, resonates within me as I pick up a noise coming from the infested wall, that oily and carnal mass: a deep, rhythmic chugging. Intermittent spasms of frantic activity ripple over the blob. Will it blow a colossal fart with the aim of ruining my sanity? No, the sputtering makes me picture a clogged gutter that has gained sentience and is trying to speak through muck and gunk.
My muscles are tensed, my ears pricked up. I’m assaulted by the din of the blob’s gurgling snores, like those of a hibernating beast snuffling and blowing mucus in its slumber, about to cough itself awake.
A full-body tremor overtakes me, followed by a shot of rage that ignites like gasoline. My teeth grind as my head spins.
“F-fuck off, you slime-coated turd!” I shout, hoarse from vomiting. “Prepare yourself for obliteration!”
I grab a pen. I fling myself towards the target with a single stride, as well as a frenzy-fueled fury, and hurl my ink-tipped missile. The pen hits an eyeball sideways, a few centimeters over its cornea, and clings to some oily membrane as if glued. I hold my breath. The writing implement slides down the slick curve of the cornea and drops into a puddle of gloop.
That eyeball’s pupil, dark as a bottomless hole, contracts to glare at me.
“Yeah, just throw random shit at me, why don’t you,” the blob says in a viscous and dank voice, like wet concrete. “And fuck you for making me come down here, Leire.”
I shake, I quiver, I shake worse. My vision blurs. Am I about to faint, apart from pissing myself?
A surge of laughter wells up within me and racks my body as I burst into a maniacal cackle.
I keep a playlist with all the songs mentioned throughout this novel. Ninety-nine songs so far. Check them out.
Do you want to see moments from this chapter depicted by a fancy neural network? Then visit this link.
This chapter concludes the sequence titled “Cumlord of the Abyss,” which is only the first half of the “saga” (I don’t know how else to call linked sequences) involving this bizarre blob.
I don’t think I have ever written a series of chapters this hard to put together; they required lots of freewrites (virtually one for each paragraph) that included detailed descriptions of hard to picture stuff. Plenty of outlandish references. The process wasn’t altogether joyful. Of course, I’m obsessive to a pathological degree (autism and OCD is a nasty combination), so it took me entire writing sessions to get through two or three paragraphs. I vastly prefer scenes that mostly feature two characters shooting the shit with each other.
Anyway, the next chapter will kick off a new sequence, titled “A Monstrous Ignoramus.” It will feature lots of insane dialogue, to which I always look forward.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.