Brush the Heat

Step One Step

 

Step One Step

 

Step One Step

Step

Far in between, the neutered guards, the castrated emperor, the council of five, torches shudder.

Here is the prisoner now! Here is the convict! The corrupt! The diseased! Kill him! Kill him!

The halls are empty of these cries. The only sound is the empty sucking of the prisoner’s veins.

The torches shudder.

 

“Uuuu-uu-eeu-eeu-” Can you speak with no blood? This man cannot. Wracked gasps escape the walking corpse. It knows how it came here. Does it? Millions of years have passed already. Countless stars have lived and breathed and died, and this is the end? There’s some life left, hidden somewhere in this wretched frame, some vitality to keep the sticks upright. “eey-eey-eey-ee”

The guards keep their eyes down, terrified. They don’t see the Emperor descend the throne.

“Eeh-eeh-eeeeee-”

Stop. You Are Not As You Are. Come Back To Me Love. Come Back.

You awake. In ink. This isn’t supposed to happen, you remember. You aren’t supposed to wake up while you’re inside. You raise your hand to your face, tap on the mask. You can’t see it. You can’t feel it. Do you have an arm here? There’s a rushing sound in your ears, like a worm boring through infinite layers of bloodless paper. The noise travels from your ears to your toes to something rite above your rite ankle, concentrating there, vibrating there, hundreds of insects throbbing over a worse fate. The insects shudder like fire. Your body goes to pieces and back again, back again, back again.

“Welcome back Ward Hegecckony. How’d you sleep?”

Like a baby you say, grinning from ear to ear.

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