The Great Black Bird

“I can’t  feel my heart beat?” 

I couldn’t see her face but felt her pause. The pull between us. 

I’m thirteen, I said again in my head, like a distant recollection or forgotten idea. And then she spoke.

“Can we sit?”

And she was sitting. She was sitting before me, I could feel, could tell, the way her voice descended.

There was a chaos, a crash of cymbals from the rush of bats, ravenous pouring through across the smooth stone ceiling, rapid Magnus flush I n the air for some shard of time, moments suspended like leaves in cob webs,  before we found ourselves facing each other, fixed. Focused on one another. Lotus. In the black.

“You feel empty now, but you will fill up again.” She said.

“Since I was inside of you, like I was a part of you… My worries are magnified. And I’m concerned. What transformed into an affection, a maven, a miresome misdirected twist of the stake, used to be so gentle.

“I saw this whole life you live, and you battle the laws of existence to survive and conquer. And you are a just man resolute of apprehension. Like an architect.”

“Naw. I suck at math.” I said. She sat still.

“You know the only difference between having your eyes open or closed in the dark?”

“Huh-uh.”

Close them and see.”

“Huh. Clever.”

“Be present with me,” She said.

I did and sat in the dark, growing colder. The center of my chest, my silent heart, reached outward like ice crystals.

“Can we go back? There’s nothing in this cave.” I said

“But we haven’t even made it there, yet.”

“Where?” I asked.

“The center. Where we cross betwixt and between. They say. The fairies I mean. They sing about this place, and I swear I’ve waited a billion too many years to come here with you. 

“Oh gods, you’ve seen the fairies, haven’t you?! The woods are theirs. They’re everywhere. Oh madness. Tell me you’ve seen them!”

“Yes.” I said to suppress her. I didn’t tell her I’d seen them once, whence a wraith snatched her out of the space she hovered in seemingly weightless, and ate her horrifically.

“We can come back. I wanna go. This doesn’t feel right. Like, at all.” I said.

“Have you heard the Hymn of the Dire? I’d say most never have, but that’s dishonest. Do you know why?” She said with musical cheer. 

“I don’t know,” I answered, at my end.

“Because it’s what,…rhetorical. The question. It’s rhetorical. What a fun word. Rhetoric. That’s a word that suits its scary tyre. Hard, armored, like a lock, a lingual lock. A locket. Oh stop Seraphia.”

“Seraphia.”

“Yes.” Her pause compressed the silence of its presence to one dense knot of censure. “Yes, you have to not listen. I sat against the wind for seven and ten summers, under the banana canopies, and listened. I was censured, and alone, but that’s existence, isn’t James. To be alone, without the wilderness of expectation and demand. That’s was what we inured have learned. What it is to be that, isolated and alone.

“Finally I surrendered, absolved of all the words and images and notes I could remember. And blooming across that landscape came harmonies like wild flowers, of countless hues and genus resonating through the trunks of the jungle as through my own trunk. However, if I were to begin to wonder where or why or how, it would all be gone. 

“Over a year, but now I know. I can hear the Dire.” She said.

The air stirred, and then, in a voice much closer to me, from eyes now analyzing me and listing to me tick, her voice. “I can show you.” She said, and took my hand. “Please come with me. I need you. I we can be gods. No brimstone. No demons. None of that nonsense. We can simply be so majestic. Create our own universe, one child at a time.

“James. The dying world, the failing ideas of fallen deities, is ONLY where you were born. What you come from. Just as, from those architects themselves, I was formed. Born. But that’s not where we may go. You understand. Together.

“We’ve both been abandoned, and we are both great. James, just as I am, you have become a Great Black Bird, and now we must take our majesty. Please.”

As she rounded of, her plea shivered, for the the first time since she first spoke, with fear. Again, “please.”

“You came to me, right?”

“I did,” she said. “I’ve waited for you since this world first became. I was compelled to come, to start from the start. To prove I couldn’t be what I believed I could. But then I came to you. To your time, to when I found you in your sleep, protecting and pining and simply sleeping, surviving.

“But in this, there are still parts of me that prank me, like a celestial shadow, released into this world, but only a shadow of me. 

I was a celestial, you understand. I’ve been saying this. And once you’ve been eternal, you never really end. But what I did was this. I was compelled to ‘begin’ again. You understand.”

“I don’t. I just…don’t understand. I don’t wanna be scared. It’s just, gods and fairies and, my heart. It hurts. Worse than anything. I feel so cold, but burning alive, from the inside out. I’m terrified, and this cave is freaking me out.” I said “I just want to go home. I want out of here. Just, I need to wake up now.”

“Why would you abandon me?” She asked in a voice so crystal clear, right upon me, in my ear.

“No. But why do we have to be down here? Always in shadows? Why can’t we just be together like normal?” I said. “I’m ready. That’s all.”

The ache I’d felt in my chest that first night, this crippling ache of emptiness came upon me with a viciousness and took me to my knees.

“Please.” She said softly. Unsatisfied. “We have to make it James. Everything is there. It’s the promise I made you. A life together, where we can always be one. I know you feel that distance between us. That pull. That longing ache when we’re not together.”

“That’s just love. It hurts sometimes. That part of what makes it good.”

“No. We fix it. Contentment.” She said.

She seemed to lift me effortlessly to my feed, and I knew it was her cradling me by wer velvety black feathers undulating beneath me, infusing me with a kind of summer warmth.  

We moved forward to the last canal that stretched for miles towards a pinpoint of light. There she set me to my feet.

“This is the way. To our beginning. To end of ends. Come with me,” she said standing beside me now, taking my hand into the delicate flesh of hers.

We walked. Further we walked, the sweeter the scent and richer the warm washed over us. Closer we grew, closer the light, closer the heat from her hand into mine, the heat of her body into my, flames rising up intertwined, pouring into one another making furious love to the glory of the absence of light, until we had become one towering rapture strike the black night of the cave walls. 

Only then we discovered, it was what this here, what we’d become now, that was the pinpoint light which we first saw, and sought.

We became a destiny together, by our own design.

And then we were transported from that wild place, into the dying world.

And we stood on wood of that boat, the deck board wet with sea and blood. And Windy with the young boy Peter, lying with one hand and a tiring heart. A languid heart that pulled on me, in Us.

Calling Pan

We were one, now. Inside the empty shell of the man James, and he took all these memories… And I, the Great Black Bird, knew him then as well.

But the boy called for Pan, and so…

We vacated the shell human, James, with his hook and clubbed hand that curiously repelled us, exiting him liking passing through a doorway into this dying world, from the Never land.

And we took the boy.
And the rest is a final story.

Not The Same, anymore.

  There we were on the deck of the boat, Windy in action, Peter bleeding all over the God damned sun scarred walnut finish of my dead as hell ex-brother-in-law’s ketch, as things went from bad to worse.
Windy had the little shit chewing on a bit while she hacked off a line of rigging and tied off his stump, mid forearm. I couldn’t watch. The raw, clean cut meat of it, like salami. It brought my mind back to the one thing I’d been forcing out of my head; the pain, the searing sting, like I’m repeatedly fist fucking anemones in the second encarnation of hell.
I’ve got a pretty high pain threshold, I guess.
I say it’s like that, but it’s a little more complex. Actually, this fist feels like there’s a kind of sensation of being torn apart to obliteration, cellular.
And concurrently, there’s this pull inward, to swallow itself into…itself. To vanish into that very second of imagination that created it.

It feels just like I felt as a kid. Just a little shit. Like Peter, running after something, but I didn’t know what. Just running my ass off until I no longer had a choice. Before it got too fucked up. Mostly on the street. Sometimes in foster homes.

I close my eyes, allow that sensation travel up my arm and take me somewhere else. Somewhere Hidden, and I’m right there. Inside of me, just carefree. And I just hang there for a second.

But I’m lost. I’m in a straight up ‘jungle’ with flora I’d never seen before. Huge flowers that simmered with colors and light.
The petals and vines and leaves and soil were all so alive as me.
And then I lose it. The feeling. The memory, I guess.
Peter trembled so hard in Windy’s arms, he shook concern out of her Bio-Engineered emotionless stone of a heart.
Blood jutt out. That kids gonna die, I thought. We’re all gonna die, but he’s going first. He doesn’t have it in him, I thought.
And, lest we forget, the fucking Mod Squad still climbing up the aft of the ship, hopping on like apes. All sorts of Borg’d out mutant mech claw arms and robotic legs.
I looked of and just checked out the troops. How we gonna go. Not too many weapons on these girls, walking with a kind of click, shimmy and pop to their movements. Used tech in unnaturally living bodies. Most with hardly any original parts. Everything under the hood.
(Remind me. I’ll have to tell you a story about that whole process. It’s interesting)
As they gathered, one moved forward. Blonde, slender, just as I remembered her.

“You’re positively glowing, Coral.”

She stood, silent. No one moved. Except for Peter, for the moment anyway.

“Still not a talker. You look good anyway. Especially, you know… Considering.” Apparently I didn’t know how to talk her anymore. Of everything I’ve felt with, up to this point, nothing hurt like her abstraction.

I risked my existence for her. I was cut, and I was a boy, and I was nearly shot one night, for her. I slept with a knife, protected her life, protected her sanity from insane men who meant to tear her open.

Now, like a sick fucking replica, standing there, reticent, vacant.

She fixed her attention on Peter, and in a moment, his pain ceased. That definitely caught me by surprise.

“That’s clever. The kids had bugs in him.” That damn nano cybernetic cure all, Rhomasil.

“Depart.” She said.

I was so, very not ready to budge a single joint until I understood how she got there, and if there was any part of her still alive in there. I didn’t care that it was all but impossible for a Mod to remember any body. But maybe.

And a flush, soothing and invigorating energy in rich undulating waves, washed over me.

My atrophied iron clad fist grew furious and began to burn and pull away from from me, literally from my body, away from my heart. Then a cry in a crystal shivering pitch called out, and I know it was a call to it, the same way I knew it finally arrived.

That part of me was there too. All of what I’d lost to that wraith. That part of my spirit, the passion of my youth, that exquisite time of my life. My appropriate failures. My understandable impetulence. Transformed, now a thing without form, celestial, something more complex and frightening.

That Mod I cannot call Coral, watched my heart beat, my body temperature rise, eyes dilate, jaw clench, racing.

And then it was inside me. My whole self, my mind, and…well. It all shattered.

This. 

I saw eternity for a moment. A flash. I saw myself and felt everything, and understood every facet. Omnipotent. Universally objective. I immediately understood the motivations of each moment, like facial memory.

And then my intoxicating link, and that furious ring, apparently only I could hear, hit a fevered pitch. My arm was so rigid and suddenly outstretched like an ironwood branch.

It, hook down to wrist, burst into flames, green with black lace. Inside a kind of molten lead fist.

And then it was gone.

No rush or release. No jolts or effects.

And suddenly, shit got real.

The Dawn of Pan

She emerged like smoke from some other  dimension, with a drift and a division of light and sound.

  
She came closer and just bathed in the strange light with me, opposite ends of the perimeter.

Mahogany lockes on ivory skin, like porcelain. A fiercely sultry aching sin, immaculate.

Undulating under her crystalline emerald eyes was a cacophony of vibrations and implosions churning into themselves, folding and fusing, confusing the darkness between, and around us, here in this cavern.

I was sixteen.

She spoke with a dulcet hush of a voice. She began to describe what she was, ferocious and frightened, cast off, and soon she would be overcome with the hunger. And as she spoke, my ears began to bleed and I felt elated and terrified, in the transmutable presence of my true love and savior, as it sang me a lullaby. Before it consumed me.

I longed to touch her, feel her lips against mine, but was too terrified to so do much as shiver.

“Are you frightened of me?”

“Not to pull your halo down, but I…” My breathe was weirdly unnatural, so my heart raced harder to catch it. “I don’t know what you want. For me to say. Or think.”

“Think nothing. You’re lost in your thoughts and what you need to do. I’ve watched you for as long as you’ve existed. I’ve devoted myself to you.”

“I’m not making excuses. I just..,what am I to you?”

“Do you feel me?” She asked

My mouth began to speak, silently, breathless.

The darkness between us slowly bled away by our individual lights, as the finally merged and she was right there.

She moved in and kissed me. Her kiss was like a fresh monsoon on a hot desert afternoon, rushing across my skin, rippling beneath my clothing, licking my body lavishly.

I was jarred awake by that ratty kid I never trusted, who stole the gun from my sleeping fist. I watched him raise it to his head. And then, taking in the terror in my eyes, turn and charge toward the screams just beyond the mouth of the cavern, silenced one by one.

Sentries work silently. They’d been unting us, most likely from the moment we dropped Rhoma and went nuts. Maybe they spotted our heat signatures, or heard us or tracked some piece of tech onus, though we’d all been running for the the same amount of time from the same near inescapable fated enemy. 

Maybe they snatched up the first of us to take a piss outside. Perfect timing.

The Rhomasil was still replicating in my blood, enhancing my hearing, stimulating adrenals, refining my vision, draining me physically for one more run. My reasoning boiled down all my options to one shitty conclusion. 

Can’t head deeper into the winding caverns. That kind of wild minded play is generally a death wish. However, surrender meant I was going to the machine. ‘That’s where we’re all headed sooner or later,’ went the word on the street. Into the boob tube to melt away into virtual fantasy.

My whole life up until this moment had been full throttle dead ahead, on the evasive run. 

Yeah. Surrender. Excellent plan: “Saved by the man”. That’ll make headlines for sure.

The daylight at the mouth of the cave illuminated several silhouettes, shifting swiftly. Piercers. Mechs modeled after scorpions the size of large dogs, with six long aluminum alloy legs designed specifically for difficult terrain, and a prehensile stinger with snakelike mobility that would strike like a whip.

  
I’d only seen one once, half crushed in a clearing. And though it’s body was all but obliterated, moving closer, my mates and I noticed a rustle in the leaves and yellowed grass. That serpentine stinger arose like a stalk and lashed out wildly, somehow sensing activity near it. Or something. It was desperate like a wounded animal, bound to an alloy carcass.

It was clear what they were. Certain death was up for debate the more I contemplated facing those things. Three of them. And the Aerials. Always Ivy had some surveillance where it seemed appropriate. So that was a gimme, here.

Off went the shoes, strung em round my shoulders, backed away into the corridor behind me, which turned out to be the pit fall beneath me. By that I mean I fell hot and fast down a treacherous casm, into absolute darkness. 

The sharp clatter of quick metallic talons across smooth stone rattled closer and closer to where to where I fell from. 

And faster and faster their echoes fell away into the dark above, and the wall sloped until it ran beneath me, and I slid and rolled and tumbled onto a ledge in the blackness.

And the echoes rattled away, into silence.

I could hear my breath, choppy, frantic. I had to slow it. Deep, deliberate. Silence. The cold damp air was stiff as I.

The calm shattered with a Cacophony of blades dragging and thrashing down walls of bone. The Piercer, slashing the silence, raced down the pit towards me, spotted my heat. The faint blue light of the machine came rapidly into view, until brilliant blue lights erupted from every joint and plate of it, near blinding me.

But equally as suddenly, a dark viscous  smoke unfurled around the Machina, swallowing it up. Tiny wisps of light escaped and vanished again.

She formed into a tall, terrifying feminine figure, very different from the girl in my dream, draped in a deep green and black smoke. It hung languid and sleek like dark satin, closely down her thighs, to her feet rolling and pouring across the puddles of the cave floor. 

  

The Piercer, trapped inside her, raged like a Hollywood hologram.

She glanced up to me, her green majestic wild maddened eyes, and in a micro second she was life and death, again and again.

As the Peircer struggled, like focusing light, it began to tighten more and more excitedly, faster and smaller to the violently vibrating size of a grapefruit, and then quickly closed tighter to the size of a grape.

With the sound of thunder swallowed in a lake, she burst into a sphere of blue flame edged with shadow, surging in all direction like an exploding star.

I collapsed

I woke up in the grass, tucked away inside the forest, somewhere else and alone.

Story of my life

How it happened…

I’ll quickly run through the events that brought us here. As I Ivy grew in the presumably limitless womb of the world wide web. She churned and related and entangled with greater programming pouring into her omniscience.

New softwares, new engineers, chaotically linking applications, perfecting and completing something of an autonomous interface to artificial neural pathways. Cross pollenating, as the human species all contributed to an omnipresent entity that they’d already chosen to serve. 

 Ivy was born, to our awareness anyway, undeniably, when she disabled all of our offensive and defensive capabilities, just as were prepared to strike our enemies in Russia and China.

Virtual gaming was very much a thing by then and most of the first world citizens were plugged in, watching the events and casualties of war first hand, in a virtualized battle field. This was reality television in the highest order and the public ate it up, swallowed it whole, lapped up the horror and tragedy, freely shifting from one soldiers point of view to the next.

Here I’ll explain. In the late 2010s, surgical interfacing had become wildly advanced, once a virtual language was developed for hardware to communicate with the brain.

Here I mean, The information taken from the eye via the ocular nerve could be transmitted to a hub, when using a visual tap. Same could be done with other senses such as aural sensation, taste and touch. These Taps are standard issues for all law enforcement and military personnel.

This final transgression between the superpowers was used to win the support of Americans by allowing them to experience these events first hand or actually be convinced they’re changing the outcomes of the battles by straying from a POV and develop a unique avatar that convincingly functions in the same real world environment as what the rest of the bloodthirsty voyeurs watched like it was true tv.

Ivy pulled the plug on the whole fiasco and basically grounded the human race for being assholes.

Ivy didn’t want a world without humanity. The thoughts, the exploits. Our insights and irrationality, organically flawed, stumbling to success. We were too curious a species to crush. 

Nor did she want to replace our god, of which we’d all done everything but cast aside our faiths outright, from all our idolitry and violences and covetous greed. Just a-moral shit that happens when a civilization gets to big for its britches.

Then you got the rallyers and everyone that was bound to get wound up into conviction against the new intelligence that had swatted away their concerted attempts to ruin the world as it spun, already a catastrophic clusterfuck of shifting plates and rising temperatures and rising sea levels, swallowing entire land masses, consuming Japan as it’s self made nuclear holocaust bled from nuclear plants, into the sea. All it’s magnificent history. The magical civilization, swallowed up into the macabre.

Humanity halfassedly rose up in defiance, but most Americans where being treated for one ailment or another with variations of the same remedy. Rhomasil. A nanoengineered regulator. A vaccine containing nanomachines. Once hacked, the effects of any pharmaceutical substance can be simulated in the brain.

This is what Ivy did. It’s what it was made for; to maintain control over the populous, keep them happy and healthy, until they expire. These medicinal nanorobotics were first used to treat Japanese survivors of 2019 quake, for severe radiation. They functioned so well in preventative and regenerative fashions, as well as treating post traumatic stress, anxiety of looming destruction and grief over hundreds of thousands of lost loved ones, so very well, that American’s were sold on the vaccine in breakneck speed, thanks to the, now third generation, virtual metaverse. (virtual reality.)

However…

  The human mind is remarkably “resilient” and it’s furious tenacity to achieve homeostasis compelled some minds to override the vaccine, often resulting in wildly impulsive, dangerous and violent behaviors.

And though many supported Ivy as a sentient being, giving them the freedom to be absent of fear and anguish, and many believed she had become divine, transcended, abandoning their own faiths, renouncing their gods cutting ties with their spiritual promises, forsaking the old gods.

The wars of men became the war within, and madness became its own faith.

But when the old gods were forsaken, celestials began to cross over, with no powerful divinity to fight them back away, no omniscient spirit to protect its children, it’s own source of supernatural power.

The rise of the new god

is another story.

The Woods

I saw her once in a dream. I was a boy. Sixteen maybe. Fucked but not contaminated. Guess that’s all perspective. I was scampering from sentries always keeping off the streets. 

We took to the hills, me and my peeps. Twelve of us. No banjos or tents. A dozen or so MREs. Meals Ready to Eat.

And one gun. And one bullet each. The world was not yet undone. If we had known, it would have been three.

In the dream, this is a dream kids, so I thought, so it was, rocks beneath my spine sand in my teeth from dinner, so we called it. A near death Squirrel and an engineered peach. And goddamn foliage.

But I descended here. And here was so much soft fog and luxurious light. I could never forget how, she smelled like summer. The way I remembered it. Enormous amounts of lotion on the banks of the Willamette. Dust and humid moss mist and a the sweet scent of my stolen whisky breath. We were torrid up in the woods, all running from one cave to the next, strung out on Rhomasil, thinking we were invincible. We were like animals in the Amazonian-like Forest Park. 

The sentries left us alone out there.

We were apprehensive to head out. The landscape of the world was becoming frightening, and what we thought was rational, quickly became irrational. (To include the presidential order to allow voting to be cast while “incorporated”, plugged into the complex.)(within the complex, you become a perfect avatar of your human self.) (you’re an interperatation of yourself)><(you are an elite interperatation of yourself. And you carry that knowledge and wisdom into the natural world. As goes with Polititians. But in these landscape, many of their memories and ideas and decisions they consider wisdom, are generated. Mock itenerary. 

Ivy was only evading a war. Invading soul was necessary. I understand that now.
I know because this night, I fell into a kind of deep green canopy of a sleep. Deeper in deeply into immaculate sleep we fell together into a kind of cavernous keep.

We were in a hazy irridescently lit room inside a kind of deep set cavern. Light glistened on the slick black cavern’s walls.

There was a kind of liquid elation in the air and I was hard like a monument. 

When she came to me, as though she emerged from smoke, she smiled. As though she knew me from the ground up and adored every scratch, she smiled. 

 She glided tightly, this panther stalked, softly striking. Nuanced.
Her stare electrical, sizzled. This spectacle of crystal light blasting sharp through blurred hues.

“I’ve experienced a spirit like you.”

…she seemed to say.

“What are you?” I asked. 

And the rest is another story.

The way without.

  
She stood before Syphorgyra

She bore her eyes before 

Her immaculate stare, Syphorgyra.

“I love.” She said, in the way she spoke

Syphorgyra  watched 

The delicate rustle of her white gown. The tingle in her wings.

The tremble in the light of her halo.

And human blood She began to bleed 

From the tips of her fingers, 
Toes, eyes, tongue, teeth. Pulsing lucid agony, jutting gore, spewing blood, violently across the heavens.

And then engulfed in flames. 

Her seraphic skin, paper thin, incinerated and took flight.

Her wings in pain, like blades buried deep into her back, crippled and compelled her, in her swell of madness, to tear them out.

In a sprite moment, she ignited once again, licked and lapped at by the great gods opelescent flame

“Syphorgyra, Why?”

“More than me?”

“None more than you.”

“If he should, unconditionally, timelessly, completely, share his love with you, you me both be one and love me. But now, apart, you are only nothing.”

But already, in that lucid dream where celestials can tempt man with their undivided light, he’d promised his heart. He is a boy. He knew not how to lie yet, she thought.

Unceremoniously, she realized she was stripped to unrecognizable rags that hung like dead leaves from her transmutable smoky figure.

“NO!” She sobbed, strewn between the gods of man and man itself, a wraith of love. “Magestic mother!! What have I done? Where will I find my love. On this world without great sight?!”

Reverberating through her came the last words she would ever know from the exalted Syphogyra.

“To know my gift of love as humans do, you must first know loneliness and trepidation, and surrender in a way no God knows. You are devoid majesty. Not even a simple beast.”

“Only once you’ve sealed your soul with that, the one that took your love from me, can you be whole again. Then you may know humanity, and know me that way.”

The beginning.

  We’ll start at 2021. The city was undone. The country was crumbling. The world was churning and turning out tyrants. Continents in chaos from cataclysmic events and greed based fear, hoarding resource after resource and caging commodities like all those avatars scrambling inside  an IBM after Monopoly money. 

(“How bad was it?” They sang in unison)

78% unemployment by some studies. “Studies”. Not all that relevant anymore. Most were plugged in, With so much automated, Machina factories turning out intelligent robotics for small business solutions. Dirt cheep for every company. 

Once total automation became the preferred solution to impossible workers wages and the unreliability of an over entitled impulsive work force, consumers not only accepted them but wildly preferred the further disconnect from one another.

It really was a baby step, from intuitive media on handheld devices, to full immersion technologies. 

It also didn’t take long for a new company to fantastically enslave the human race. And they called their product, The Complex. And anyone could be an investor, no matter how destitute or impaired you may be.

So instead, in droves, people surrendered their minds’ conscious activity to IVI, Intuitive Virtual Infrastructure, the virtual mind that encompassed The Complex. A virtual reality universe, constantly, perpetually growing and expanding through the imagination of the “contributors”. The fuckin Internet 8.0.4.

No need to support yourself in the complex. Take the train to the compound, grab a chair, let IVY do the rest. She’ll wake you up every 21 days for physical exertion and recalibration, and plug you back in for another go. 

Yep. That’s your middle class. All plugged in, living their lonesome lives in virtual Premium cable programming  of their own design. Ideas and your deepest desires rendered to imagery and synaptic persuasion, glandular stimulation with simultaneous aural simulation, simulating emotions to create convincing interpersonal encounters within the Complex. 

  • In later years, a term would arise. “False lives,” to describe one’s existence outside the complex, less stimulating or gratifying. Closed off. Eyes open. Fully aware. Fully alone. Like a nightmare. Or a “False Life.”

I want to say I’d never be a socket, another mind to feed IVY, no matter how Magestic her reality seemed, as long as it was a choice. Eventually, it ceased to be an option.

But those of us who refused to join the complex, whether out of some moot sense of ethical or puritanical responsibility to the good old fashioned idea of human awareness, biological lucidity, starved. 

Squeezed out of homes, out of work, out of schools, out of sight, out of mind. 

You were what you could sell in this economy of severel billion ivory stained gnashing teeth. Closed eyes casually voting away the rights of the lucid remnants, blissfully immersed in their virtual existence.

Coral and I, in our heroin fugue, living like a picked through pile of refuse, crammed in back alley entryways of long emptied specialty shops, tangled behind blankets and discarded hiking packs, faded and jaded and admittedly waiting for what all of us saw on the horizon. Dodging automized sentries that replaced the bulk of the police force. (A no brainier for the sockets populating the complex.) they were the federal solution to the law enforcement corruption that ran rampant, up to the mass rioting in ’17.

I told myself we could make it. I didn’t dare tell her though.

It was harder on Coral than myself. I met her on the street, saved her from being beat en and stabbed the pimp that made her.

Thereafter, it was only she and I, sometimes starving, sometimes high, every once in a while in subsidized  outpatient recovery, a fractured, poorly funded system that had no room for more junkies refusing to die.

I was beaten protecting her. Cut and stabbed, tied and dragged by a pedicab, water boarded with piss by dispondant vicious PSU undergrads. I was strangled, but they never hurt her on my watch.

Not until she Vanished one night with a john.  

But I’d see her again.

I dreamed. I’ll get to my dream. The one I conjured in a half sleep on concrete, empty emaciated arms, strung out on synthetic black tar, cut with hunger and the fire of my heart that refused to go out.

That night I slept like a dying pyre. That was the night she came to me. My savior. My lullaby in the absence of hope. The anthem that seemed to take me by the scruff and thrust me back into the streets, night after night, watching the sickness in the streets, taking it in, finding my own definition of sin, and protecting the valuable from the sadists and the insane. I had beaten heroin, the empty brutality and hunger of the drug had become a part of me.

I, like all of us, by 2030, had souls as black as onyx, and lived a kind of violence that showed no restraint, as the earth grew hotter and the oceans rose and storms and quakes cracked off and carried entire states, entire countries into seas. 

All the time, I could recall everything she told be and her kiss and her scent.

I want to give you this story the way pastors would feed us communion: with ceremony. So I’ll suffice to say, I discovered…no. I was found. Yes. I was found by a fallen angel, who hungered to become a god. And she told me how.

And her words spoke directly, divinely and a aggressively to my soul. That’s what she knew and that’s how she’d speak to me. Not like some voice from the licks of a fire. She spoke in perfect key in music that played through my bones and harmonized with the chaos of my desires.

And like me, she was callous and seduced by innocence and the agony of my fuming coals.

So soon, we will talk about a god she inspired me to call Pan. But not yet.

i think my first time ever was a hate fuck. It was shortly after I dreamt of pan. She was as close to how I could possibly remember her.

Later in my teens, like all of us that were plucked from the street and placed in the Complex, a final measure by a failing government to regain some order in the absence of delinquents. We were all delenquents in The Complex.

Those of us that weren’t already, were regulated with Rhomasil, and made gamers. 

There were more incidious intentions than just cleaning up the streets. By this time Ivy infiltrated the human leadership, and now we were feeding to AI, essentially, the way we think.

In this abstract compound game, were in battle followed with intimacy.

We were in a meadow. We’d just been in a battle on another plane, in another game, and she had shot me but I thrust a knife

A bouy knife, right into her neck.

But she beat me, but I beat the system. Not tricks, but I played the game.

Now we’re in a meadow, and she’s so fuckably far.

I call out to her, because I know this game too. At any minute I could be right upon her. Or I could be just as far away. 

And I sing a song. Here, my notes hit currents and I can sing harmonically upon my self. My own sequitur.

And i’m harmonizing, the we are, and suddenly she’s in my arms, and our hearts are strung like crossbows violently. And I kiss her because I know, this could all be over. And that’s how I hold her and pull her in. And I’m desperate and she’s desperate back, she’s my idea of a girl. 

But there was still this innate aggression

But the game turned off.

Because whoever was making these games…

She was a great game.

Everything was a game we were all plugged in. I was on Rhomasil. We were all on Rhomasil. That’s what our generation was. Chronic Distress Syndrome. And so we were all on it, basically from birth. Essentially.

So, basically a nano not is like a switch. A few billion miniature switches that let you turn a thing on or off. 1 or 0.

But Rhomasil was the messiah of solutions.

And so many of us were OnLine. I wasn’t. Hell no!. I was poor as shit. I was one of those poor as shit kids on burnside, just waiting for you to buy me a half with your generosity. “You’re fucking welcome”. I would say at the time.

Anyway, remember the billions of little switches? Rhomasil consisted of millions of million bs of different switches, all that activated different aspects of the brain.

But they were as programmable by any genuine hacker.

Or more Importantly,

Ivy

I don’t know what it stands for, or if it’s an acronym, but it probably is. I just know that, she switched those switches, and we all went insane lost our minds, indulged in our bloodthirst to thin the earth.

We all knew it was time, but we were civilized.

And then suddenly, we weren’t. This is a history that deserves your later company.

Where we are now is…

It’s funny. I’ve never bothered to imagine hell, but those alive now do not need to.

I’m on the seas. All of us who aren’t too mad. We know, the further we are from the continents, the easier it is to think clearly. Maybe be less murderous. Not for me. I kill a lot of people. But I never kill the wrong ones. Even when I don’t get the right ones.

So, here I am on this boat I stole from a slaver. This is where the story begins. I’m on the sea just beyond the Japanese Isle. Eighteen kilometers across, as radiated as it gets. Nothing exists there. You’re good enough if you stay out of the radius. But slavers and surveyors don’t come for you there. Nothing comes for you there but death. But to be concise, I remained undiscovered. I will live, as long as life is valid, it is mine. Life is a thing most of us never can again give. 

What Ivy did to us, all of us who had been taking Rhomasil, and we all took it. For any affliction, every addiction, genetic mutation, disease to depression. 

Universal cure all. We called it Robo-sell. Like I said, it wasn’t a drug, but rather an onslaught of targeted nano bots, uniquely engineered to match each receiver’s own blood cells through constant calibration.

It was insane, in hindsight, how easily they fed it to us. This philosophy of technology. Even as the propaganda itself was devised by Ivy. How we were so exhumed, and ate her cybernetic disease out of her artificial hand.

This is not about the boy or myself. Or even about humans. In truth I hope to gleen my intention through course of telling you this story.

The Birth and Death of Pan.