27 Apr 2008

Dry Mist (part 2 of 4)

Kaph ducks a manhole at midnight and drops through the street. The sewers stink of decomposition and moss peels off the walls like crusted blood. He cuts through conduits that open up to a larger chamber, where he finds a man in a subtle blue jumpsuit fading into his surroundings. Molecular playing cards spin in front of him like jets. “Kaph,” says Rip with a grin, “been waiting for you all night. What you got for us?”

“I saw the prison field, man. Not a pretty sight. Torture yard, the execution of innocents. They had me bundled up tight and the executioner comes up to me and says like the Vide asshole he is, ‘Which noose you wanna go down in?’ They had ‘em in all different colors and stuff, tryin’ to be cute I guess.”

“That’s the fuckin’ Vides all right. What’d you do?”

“I told him I didn’t see how one could be better than any other. The asshole holds up a studded collar and says ‘Then I’ll pick.’ So I spat myself out. The wind carried me around the city until I could find a new body to flood. How do you like it, by the way?”

“It’s alright. Doesn’t really suit you. Where’d you find this one?”

“Trying to pick up whores in the red zone. Standin’ there like an awkward teenager. I penetrated the eyeballs just for fun.”

“Well, we’re workin’ on somethin’ to utilize your ability. One thing the Vides don’t got on their side is an aura. What’s the plan tonight?”

“Scope ‘em out, throw ‘em for a loop. Express myself. I think confusion is generally the best softening agent.”

“Agreed. The more bizarre the aggressor, the harder he is to defend against. Don’t let them think we forgot them. I’ll see you tomorrow, Kaph.”

Kaph leaves his shell behind and blows out of the manhole in soft velvet wisps. He flutters towards the sky and spreads out over Penumbra City like a cloud; shifts over abstract skyscrapers, glass cubes connected with long steel cylinders, lofts made of garnet. A field of grass blue like a Caribbean ocean. He leaves Penumbra and drifts over Vide land, where he sees familiar imperial buildings and condenses into a young boy walking alone.

After penetrating the young Vide body he follows a crowd into the King’s fortress. Ancient Chinese architecture bamboo roofs and paper-thin doors. They surround an empty swimming pool about forty-five feet long and fifteen feet deep.

King Montée calls for silence and gestures to the man beside him. The man pulls a lever and several doors swing open in the pool; corpses file out moaning entranced in deathbed state and walk towards the center.

“Isn’t it beautiful!” the King calls. “Gutterpunk corpses reanimated! This is the result of trying to terrorize our land!” There is a wave of applause. Kaph studies the corpses and realizes he recognizes one from his time in the execution yard – a Vide insubordinate who told Kaph about a failed attempt at murder on an official, which brought him swift to the gallows – the corpse resembles the man enough to catch his attention but looks like he’s been dipped in a garbage disposal.

Then Kaph stands and jumps down into the pool, knees buckling against the impact. Never can be sure what condition a body will be in, he thinks. He stands in the center of the corpse-vortex with arms outstretched, watching the Vide faces drop to raw fear and disgust.

He breathes deep and exhales – his spirit slips out of him and he hovers momentarily over the empty body he just vacated, watching the corpses claw through its flesh. A well of viscera sprays across the pool floor.


cocaine jesus said...

Amazing writing Forrest. I like this a lot. I keep meaning, when I have some cash, to go out and buy that book you and Jase worked on.

Forrest Armstrong said...

Thanks very much, CJ :-) Hope when the book does find you you enjoy it!

Got one more part tommorow and another to post on Tuesday...

TICTAC said...

beautifully written and absolutely gripping!