David C. Porter


The first one she saw, really saw, was at the corner of Marshall and River St. A slab of poster board on a rickety metal stand bearing the image of a smiling man in a plaid shirt with a bushy mustache. His features slightly blurred by photo enlargement, surrounded by a wreath of paper flowers. Killed in a hit and run three days ago. She’d seen it on the news. They said the driver was going three times the speed limit. The impact drew spiderwebs across the windshield. Looking at his picture she imagined his head making contact, jellied beads of safety glass embedding in his skin, a million hairline cracks spreading across his skull in the millisecond before total structural failure, dead and leaking before he hit the pavement. The sudden nausea nearly made her vomit.  She dug into her purse and threw some old mints at the feet of the stand, five individually wrapped red and white discs among a scatter of candles and cards. It wasn’t until she was two blocks away that she even realized she’d done it.

A couple months later she saw another one. This time on Main and Fulton. Another wreath, real this time. A small white cross. A headshot of a boy wearing a tuxedo, a confident smile bounded by large, puffy cheeks. A school photo, maybe from prom. Shot in the spine three times last week. He had lingered in a coma for two days before they pulled the plug. No known motive. Her neighbor had stopped her outside their building the other day. “The cops aren’t investigating like they should be because they don’t want us knowing about the drug presence here,” spitting the words out like rotted milk. “I heard they found pot in his blood.” She imagined the adulterated blood soaking through his shirt, mixing with spinal fluid, pooling on the sidewalk around him. She felt the same nausea welling up. She saw a storefront on the other side of the street, cheap toys and low-end electronics displayed in the window. She staggered towards it and in the next blink was pressing five dollars into a concerned cashier’s hand, clumsily nestling a small plush moose between a dripping candle and a letter written in crayon, addressed “Too My Big Bro.”

It wasn’t long before the next one, only about three weeks. It was on the Allen Bridge. A woman this time. Curly black hair, young but with a worn face, like she’d been left outside in the rain too long. It was a larger memorial than the others she’d seen, a garden of flowers and candles huddled around the picture. She must have had a lot of friends. She’d thrown herself in the river. Didn’t leave a note. It had happened before. She was missing for three days before they fished her body out, ten miles downstream. The obituary said it was going to be a closed casket funeral. The nausea came again. She dug around under her seat and found a birthday candle, lost several years ago, shaped like a zero. She held the wick to one of the few candles that hadn’t burned out and shoved it into some melted wax. She got back in the car and drove the rest of the way across the bridge in the wrong lane.

She started carrying supplies in her purse after that. “Supplies,” like she was going on an expedition every time she left the house. She didn’t really think about it, she just did it. The next time she saw one, a week later, the nausea wasn’t as bad. Another hit and run. A stray bit of caution tape still clinging to a tree nearby. She fished out a candle and a lighter before the face had soaked in. Flicked once, twice. Her hands shaking. The lighter sparked the third time. She lit the candle and set it down, started walking. She felt decades older afterwards.

The next month she saw eight. A shooting. A stabbing. A car crash that killed a little girl. Another shooting. Two more suicides on the bridge. A woman beaten to death in an alley. An overdose. All the flower shops seemed understocked. She was spending too much on supplies. Clerks recognized her when she came in. She found new strands of gray in her hair brush each morning. She watched the news and read the obituaries compulsively now, trying to prepare herself for the next encounter. She kept expecting a story about what was happening, but it never came. It was like only she noticed it.

Soon she was finding one every day, sometimes more than one. The nausea was getting worse. She felt like she was walking around in a haze of dying. The causes of death were changing, too. A man succumbed on the street to “aggressive necrosis,” she heard. A thirteen-year-old hanged himself from a streetlight. A woman combusted, scorching the corner of River and Dews an ashen black. Her flowers were dusted with soot. She was almost relieved to see a simple car accident or botched mugging. She felt like something, somewhere, had become detached, and now everything was floating farther and farther away.

She stopped leaving her apartment. There were too many, she couldn’t take it. A man choked to death on something (the police wouldn’t say what) in front of her building, and every time she went out she had to stare into his wide, dark eyes, flat and dead on a sheet of laminated paper, and drop a petal on the ground.  Just to get to the corner meant using four more for the four different women who had slit their throats on four consecutive days. They hadn’t known each other.

One morning she turned on the news and one of the normal anchors was missing. They said he’d been “skinned by wild dogs” last night. She looked out her window and couldn’t see the sidewalk anymore. It had been swallowed up in remembrances. She sat against the sill and felt her face. She felt deep lines where it had been smooth a few months ago. She leaned back, feeling very tired, and the glass gave way like paper. As she fell the five stories, a bouquet of flowers rose from the sidewalk beneath her.


David C. Porter was born with a healthy distrust of words but is still too weak to renounce them. Case materials for any future indictments can also be found on Twitter or his blog.

Daniel Beauregard


⎯⎯A piece of metal has burnt its way into my chest⎯⎯

A piece of metal — the smell — a bullet has burnt its way into my chest. Or something. The forest has burnt its way into my life. No. Something has pissed its breath into my lungs. Perhaps. Now hit the ground with a thud and they trampled me. Who could blame them. Hit the ground with a thud traced hooves into my snout, my muzzle side whole body, punched-through flesh. The frenzy. Trampled me, who could blame them? Far off the forest melts behind them; leaves scatter something. I sink into the ground. We are returning. My limbs thrust forward. I place them. Hooves. Find little purchase in the rotten muck. We persist, find the foothold and lift. Unsure we chatter our bones together and collapse. Our backwards knees. It isn’t good. The forest enemy. We raise ourselves. We slip, the forest finds us on its rotten floor again: the vegetal leaves that smell so close to sour but not yet quite. We feel ourselves being dragged into something. Or slipping. Slipping? No. Spilling. Escaping. Voiding ourselves. Voiding outwards. In the forest long ago before moss upon the bones of ancient the air running born we are alone. We were never running really. Or were we always? Where did we come from and why are we here, now? Born in the air. Sinking into death the forest floor. It wraps its vegetal glow surrounds us. We hear far off the smells rent the air. Far off where our others run, the air struggles to heave them up. Perhaps the forest thins where the herd runs now. No? Perhaps it is I who will help them escape. All slowing I move myself further into the trees. I will draw them to me, the hunters. I scrape at the ground in progress. Far off something like night, edging in to make it fade. Receding. The trees no longer beautiful but terrifying. Stripped of necessity: barren, charred. We have been successful in making it this far. Huddle now. Make it to the edge of nothing, no. Make it behind an area in the ground. The ground is sinking. We are falling away from the forest. It’s looming now, darkness. It is dark where we’re going; dark perhaps where we’ve been. Dew a remembrance: something one can simply smell and feel at home. If only. I cry but bubbles away my throat like the farting ground. There was a place in my neck where meaning once stood. The forest, the smell; it all at once overcomes our spirit. Will we remember this, once death consumes us? The forest, the smell. The hunt like it was. Forever. The hunt forever running, chasing into air. They will fall upon me then. The hunt. The makers of flight. For us? Perhaps they are the reason always running. The smell rents the air. Blowing apart the bark of those that live inside us. Our sisters born. Our brothers born. Blown apart eventually, when the air refuses them. Heavy we sink taken down, the vegetal state of our bodies. For when we stop running we die. Or no? When will we die I am dying. The stagnant water fills my hoof prints, tracing a trail back to when the dew was sweet. Back to the days we were a part of once. We were born into the pack, we think. How did we make it this far? If there was ever a place to run it is backwards, not forwards. Perhaps they’ve found the place where the forest ends. There are stones there many colored; so said the ancient one⎯our guide⎯before the hunt hacked his storied greatness into moss. Left upon the ground, grown green not bleach the sun forever divided upon the forest floor. We have worn our life apart. Pull the bark and sniff the sap; may it pay for us. The hunt comes closer. Twigs beneath. Twigs the forest floor. We lift ourselves up, head then neck then body then limb; we hardly can tell from life painting sodden ground below, our life once red when the sun went down. The forest at night. The forest at down. The hunt approaches; we smell their sour musk. Piss of death, clink of iron. Leaves dead tremble the forest floor; kick themselves closer to our death. We try to rise, slip, try again. It’s leaving us. Our stories float above our heads in darkness. No. Our vision fails; glows. No. Comes back now blue. Sunlight? I smell a sister in the air, one met long ago the ground. They wear her piss to drive us mad. I cannot away. We have prepared. Come, melt my bones with moss; bog them up. The air bore the smell of death times a thousand. Piss-bottled addlers. Green the dusk. Spare nothing. Ritual. Tie coils around the heart of space. Place us near the running water. They lift us up. Sideways. Upside down. Our molting heads brush the forest floor. We paint with life. The sun goes down. Our fake sisters crunch along beside us; chatter floods our softened ears. The air no longer cares. It’s our fault, not hers. Never hers. Stories flood our nostrils. We remember then forget. Our limbs. Hooves clack, tied together. The forest floor. Antlers. No moss. No. Never did we think it could turn that way, did we think our piss; we are covered in our piss. It matts the fur and dribbles off our snout. The sun is upside down. Green disappearing. Perhaps their flight has found the edge. The hunt. Is there a flock of them or have they fallen upon me. Beneath us they have placed an item to catch our leakage. Powerless to snort. Slip the life out of it, we’re ready. Come out then. Come then. Stop rustling direction. Forward leave. Come finish it. Scraping toward us. Sight depends on water we watch fill hoof prints; the mud spackle. Much like hunger this feeling. Or no? And then it comes glinting. We wish our brothers and sisters luck. The forest, green, the smell falls upon us. We struggle to huff and watch our breath disappear, the sun disappear, the forest, our smell. The hunt⎯the knife⎯ pierces us close by our musky parts — a history — comes scaling down, opening us up. Iron wets the forest floor; everything spills out. The rotting leaves. What is this death? The smell of death. The smell of shit.

⎯⎯A fly finds a resting place upon our rump⎯⎯


Daniel lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of places including Ligeia Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, New South, Burning House Press, tragickal, Heavy Feather Review, Alwayscrashing, sleepingfish, Poor Claudia and elsewhere. His chapbook Total Darkness Means No Notifications is forthcoming from Anstruther Press in 2021 and he has previously published two chapbooks of poetry, HELLO MY MEAT and Before You Were Born. Daniel is also a co-founder of OOMPH!, a small press devoted to the publication of poetry and prose in translation. He recently finished a collection of short stories titled Funeralopolis and a novel titled Lord of Chaos and can be reached @666ICECREAM

Gary J. Shipley


I hear things like this and all the joy is gone. I don’t even want to breathe anymore, not if it’s to hear more things like this. Feels like a state-controlled programme conceived to make me cut my throat already. And if I was more paranoid, less resilient, not pre-soaked in despair since before I could remember, then maybe my habits would be different. Maybe I wouldn’t be glancing into mirrors expecting to see someone else. Maybe I wouldn’t be quite so immune to the misdirection of my self-loathing. Maybe the days wouldn’t be this horrible liquid, crawling uphill with no sense of where it came from.      

I’m buried next to myself. It’s the way I compare a rule to what instantiates it. I’ve been reborn so many times I’m my only surviving blood relative – and it’s not as if I even know if it’s possible to exist anymore. I had thoughts yesterday no mother could absolve. They rolled around in my head all day like prisoners on the floor of the Bridgewater State Hospital. I have headaches that expand into the world and make the people around me ill. They don’t know it yet, but my neighbours are all slowly dying of me. I used to have pets until the brain cancers got them one by one. I’d say I find it hard to live if I knew what that meant.   

It was a list and there were pictures: pygmy marmosets, tarsier, titi, squirrel, saki and capuchin monkeys. I’d read the shopping list of favoured species before I thought to look away. And there were pictures of their short-haired, foetal bodies, and those o-so-darling oversized nocturnal eyes. I wondered: where they were going, was there anything they could see? Was it possible for light to reach inside as far as that? And then, squeamish either way, found I had no impetus to know.  

How they were adapted to fit made me want to weep. The tails, which can be twice as long or more as the rest of the monkey, were the first to be removed. And then every tooth and then every nail. And then the anaesthetic wore off, and no eyes were built for what it left. My fellow-feeling for these tiny beings touched me like I was any kind of man or woman who felt things for other things as if I were them – an extension of my self-interest, if you will. And this apparition of me nontransparent for once, and so much less the vacuole I’d come to unknow. I saw it moving and caring and following me about, dark and vaporous and leech-like, a more tangible version of whatever I was whenever I thought that way.     

Post-natal depression attracted the wrong kind of friends. It happens. They sat round in circles drinking coffee and tea and cannibalizing each other’s traumas. Their gossip was a feverish collaboration, each one pretending to be further from recovery than the one before. The terrible thing about the violation of their being-without-child was how habitual it had become. Some of them pretended to be more insignificant than they were, which was the most difficult thing they’d ever done – and the most significant. They regarded sex without babies as a violent simulation. They compared it to bulimia: the more they had the emptier they became. With the help of inertia and deep-fried food, most became too ugly even to masturbate. They exposed themselves in too many chatrooms at once, came away with the feeling that no one cared, not like they did on TV, where people got paid to behave like the real thing.          

In case you didn’t know, for some women the being pregnant part is precisely where it’s at: the material promise of it, the feel of a life moving inside them, all of it unsurpassable. There’s nothing comes close to growing your own painkillers. And don’t creators always make the best destroyers? 

The most pregnant of the bunch smoked a dozen cigarettes an hour and had no sense yet of how this regulated her schizophrenia. She had visions of daily routines (work, husband, house) and heard voices when people spoke. They all swilled anti-rejection meds by the handful. In addition to their bumps there were the angular protrusions of the contraptions required to sustain these cul-de-sac pregnancies: the feeding, waste and breathing tubes, the devices into which they were inserted, that removed or supplemented as required.  

Those who still engaged in vaginal intercourse said how their more impressively endowed partners sometimes complained of a pinching sensation at their most deeply inserted region. But mild discomfort is no consolation, not for evil this far gone – and I should know. You can’t ameliorate laboratory-grade cruelty with a well-directed taunt. And what is trolling their subreddit with pictures of intact monkeys plucking fruit from the branches of trees but paper clothes on a suicide risk in a room full of nooses? What are monkeys in wombs anyway but listening to your favourite song over and over until you fall asleep? 

I guess I’m manufacturing one cause célèbre to disguise another. Truth is, it takes a pretend forest to obscure a real tree. But as luck would have it, pretend forests are easy: I grow them in a day. 


Gary J. Shipley’s recent books include Mutations (Infinity Land), 30 Fake Beheadings (Spork), Warewolff! (Hexus) and The Unyielding (Eraserhead). He has been published in numerous literary magazines, anthologies and academic journals. More information can be found at Thek Prosthetics.

Luz Rosales


  1. A thick gray cord, infinitely long. I pulled and pulled and there was no end. My girlfriend told me it was hopeless, and still I kept pulling, and after an hour I had to accept she was right. It was an exercise in futility. I considered strangling myself with the cord but instead I went outside onto the balcony, hands dripping, and threw myself off. I splattered on the pavement below. When I returned to our apartment, the cord was gone. My girlfriend was asleep.
  2. A rabid bat. It bit me, and I did nothing, because I thought rabies was hot. I had been addicted to porn once, specifically rabies porn, where girls are fucked and bitten by men dressed as animals. The fucking wasn’t the main focus. What I was really into was the girls themselves, foaming at the mouth. A few weeks after being bitten, I fell gravely ill. I was thrashing and screaming and hallucinating — the walls were bleeding and wouldn’t stop, get a fucking doctor or just someone, anyone, who can stop it — and I was burning up and couldn’t swallow anything. The whole time I was so fucking wet. My girlfriend ate me out, licking my clit, and I came harder than I ever had before.
  3. Radioactive sludge. I was lying on the bottom of the bathtub with my girlfriend standing over me, pissing on me. Her piss had a brownish tinge and came down in a steady stream; she’d been holding it for a long time. I drank it eagerly, and it was sour. It burned my tongue. I reached into my girlfriend’s black hole pussy — I’ve never been able to find the end of it, even with my entire arm inserted up to my shoulder — and found the sludge. It was black and stuck to my hand. I spread it all over my body. My skin absorbed it. The next day, as a natural consequence, my hair fell out. I puked so much — bright orange with large chunks — and my girlfriend ate it. Her hair fell out too, so that made us even.
  4. My own severed head. My girlfriend, who’s always had a high tolerance for pain, told me she felt like there was something coming out of her. Maybe it was a baby, or maybe it was a stone. Whatever it was, it hurt. She sat in front of me, legs spread, and asked if I could see anything. I saw what looked like a clump of hair, sticking out from between her lips. I grabbed the hair — it was so slimy — and pulled. My girlfriend kept grimacing, until I completely extricated it from her. I held the severed head in my lap, gazing into its — my — cloudy eyes. Before I could say anything my girlfriend grabbed a fistful of my hair and pulled my head back. She took a knife and sawed it back and forth across my throat, severing the veins and my vocal cords. I could not speak; I gurgled. There was so much blood. When my head was almost fully detached, my girlfriend lapped furiously at the gash, sending shivers through me. I clenched my fists, arched my back, and came. Then she twisted my head off and shoved it inside her. Her pink walls were tight around me, wet from blood and lubricant and spit, ridged, and she pushed me deeper, deeper, deeper, and what I saw — I saw
  5. Darkness at first. Something brushed against my cheek. I was not alone, but that was not a comfort.
  6. Something like an atomic bomb, like watching it from a distance, knowing you are within its radius and it’s too late to run away.
  7. Searing, blinding pain. Somehow I screamed, but it was like screaming in space, where the vacuum swallows it up and you hear nothing, it reaches no one, you’re using up your air and hurting your throat for nothing, and that was all I was, all I’ll ever be: nothing. 
  8. Nothing.
  9. Nothing.
  10. Nothing.
  11. And after? What came after? Once the pain lessened, once I could see again?
  12. …… 
  13. I don’t remember.
  14. Teeth. I planted them in a pot of soil. When I woke up in the morning they had sprouted into flowers with teeth as petals. I went for a walk and when I returned our walls were made of thousands if not millions of teeth, packed close together. My girlfriend sat naked on our bed, which had turned into a giant tongue. I cut her with a razor, and instead of red I saw black, black like a dead body that’s been baking in the sun. Saliva came out instead of blood. I was struck by the unmistakable stench of decay, and it turned me on. She pulled me down and fucked me as the bed twitched underneath us. When we were done her entire body was hard and shiny and white, with the slightest yellowish tint. She said, “I don’t need you anymore,” and left. I never saw her again.


Luz Rosales is a fiction writer living in Los Angeles. They can be found on Twitter @TERRORCORES.


Mike Corrao


The mouth is a round of teeth
The teeth are a monument to blood
Sink into the flesh & collect what is yours
Every drop of data
All of this information eventually must go
Does your dead weight need protection?
The LAMPREY is a tool for extracting
It draws the data from your veins
& feeds it to my dry throat
& I look into the eyes of the bioid
& say The palmagranate forms in the hand
Because it does
And I have seen what seeds are concealed
Beneath the pith
I am fixated on accumulation
I want to sit on a mound of rotting fruit
This text is an attempt to summon something
The LAMPREY is a tool to test its success
The stanza is a funerary march
A work of Archi-text-ure
I don’t know where we are going
Marching into the dunes of the earth
We witness the onset of a microlith
How many people are standing here now?
Enough to form a NONAGON?
The NONAGON is a tool for worshipping the sun
The sun grants heat to your bodies
Can you feel the water drawing from your pores?
How much can you bear to lose?
The blood tells me that you are weak
& that each droplet is essential.
The LAMPREY laughs & when it does
Its teeth dig deeper into your abdomen
But isn’t it beautiful?
To witness this accumulation?
The NONAGON illuminates with desert light
What kind of performance is this?
Something intimate and meaningful
I want to tear the cybernetics from my temple
This body is a modular base for proximal tools
What can be added onto this skinsuit?
The LAMPREY rewards your patience
They gift you new eyes / processors / compression tools
There is a line between in|organic
Does it matter if you are human or not?
What has the meat done for you?
Don’t you want to become something beyond yourself?
Hardware engineers construct a means for digitizing your occult
I operate on Bug Time
I want to tear the phone from my ears
But a LAMPREY can only collect blood
Blood contains the data of your fragile pod
It pressurizes the interior
An ephemeral skin converts the interior to exterior
The air coats every surface of your body
When the int becomes ext, there is nothing more to hide
Your intimacy is public
I can look at you and see every cut, mark
The NONAGON is a tool for destroying evidence
For taking these demarcations and burning them
Until everything is the same char
I hold my hands up to the sun and weep
The heat draws water to the surface.
Geomancy dictates the duration of a journey
Hooded caravans & large quartzite slabs
Not every text can occupy the same space
Not every text can render me into the virtual
What kind of place is this?
I operate on Bug Time
My body changes thirty four times
Each module takes on new tool configurations.
The LAMPREY integrates into the muscles of my forearm
I want to tear the fibres from my optic nerve
What is worth seeing?
I explore the depths of the interior
Now that I have lived so long outside
In mud and moss and dried bile-matter
The NONAGON summons itself into the text
Becomes part of the landscape
Experiences bioid-oriented integration
Not every structure can be a column
Some architectures are made to fall apart quickly
I sleep on metal spikes
What is my fascination with the sun?
What is my connection to the LAMPREY?
What good is it to have blood in my body?
I want to become a microlith
I want to be a small anomaly in nature
Overgrown by the surrounding features
Almost invisible
A foreign entity integrated into this ecology
What use is the modular body without adequate augmentations?
The LAMPREY is a feature of my anatomy
The NONAGON is a means of longevity
The occult is a technology of the self
It allows me to justify and control these new components
What is embedded in my flesh
The two known enemies: The World & The Flesh
This assemblage is subject to inevitable mutation
The machine I operate is prone to fits of dysmorphia
Pink light illuminates the desert
The sand turns my feet into stone slabs
I travel by means of hooded caravan
We stop at night to perform a ritual of analgesia
The night is potent
It turns every entity into a silhouette of themselves
Their postures turn mythological
The spirits you cannot taste
I suffer a mania derived from the vampiric sun
It takes the essence from my persona
Do you know the importance of the occipital?
Akira radiates from outside my peripheries
I am an autonomous bodily zone
The LAMPREY feeds me the data of my former configurations
What good is temporality?
In the moment, I do not notice as it passes through me
I operate on Bug Time
There is no point in articulating a broken mandible
The NONAGON speaks for itself
The text is a column of fragmentation
Each line its own stratum
What theory can spawn from the subject of interrogation?
Am I the witness of my own haphazard praxis?
Everything is spawned in real-time
Isn’t there something special about that?
The architecture of the text is rudimentary
Archi-text-ure is ur-architecture
It is the primordial arrangement of the unconscious
How language has manifested on a physical object
Behind the surface, more of the same.
The NONAGON is a face without volume
My body encourages the development of surface studies
The field of [redacted] expands beyond the coherent
I am an arrangement of non-matter
My affiliations with language are distant & resentful
Can you run out of interiority?
This column is made to resemble a desert father’s hermitage
I want you to cut the nose from my face
And leave a dripping hole in my skull
Let whatever termite fill it with old circuit boards
I want my complexion to be planted with emerald
The motives of the archi-text are unknown
This structure is difficult to decipher
The column may be a tunnel or a post
I do not know if it is traveling
Upwards or downwards
I hope that it is reaching up to the sun
& not burrowing into the sand
The LAMPREY feeds me new materials
I witness the data bleed of every subject
This information coagulates around my brainstem
What good is being human anyways?
Can I not strive to be more?
This structure will become my dwelling
& this body will nourish my longevity
The hikikomori is a beetle
& I am consuming the televisual static of this monitor
All data is nourishment
It perpetuates the repetitions of my performance
Captured & archived somewhere
It is important to delineate zones of habitation
To designate what objects occupy what spaces
In the smallest room there is a stack of stones
In the largest there is a small wooden altar
That I built from materials found in my dwelling
It is a humble facsimile of the NONAGON
Made to test new potential processes / praxes
It feeds on the excess blood of the LAMPREY
What drips from my gullet
The sun invades my FOV
Burns the surface of my face
Archi-text-ure is the study of interior surfaces
What is flattened within the confines of the book-object
NONAGON-b is my means of communicating with the unconscious
The unconscious manifests on each surface
In zones that I am often unable to detect on my own
What reason do we have to delay digitizing the occult?
The LAMPREY whispers something into my tissue
I cannot hear it at first
But then it dissipates into my veins
And I feel it moving throughout my body
NONAGON-b provides me with instructions
I bolt optical hardware to my face
I play compressed GIFs and looping videos
On the interface
Every detail of the environment
Rendered before me
I see the topologies of virtual noise laid out
Bulbous and flat under the weight of the column
I spawn a new ecology
So that I might dwell in the delineated grooves of its surface


MIKE CORRAO is the author of two novels, MAN, OH MAN (Orson’s Publishing) and GUT TEXT (11:11 Press); one book of poetry, TWO NOVELS (Orson’s Publishing); two plays, SMUT-MAKER (Inside the Castle) and ANDROMEDUSA (Forthcoming – Plays Inverse); and two chapbooks, AVIAN FUNERAL MARCH (Self-Fuck) and SPELUNKER (Schism – Neuronics). Along with earning multiple Best of the Net nominations, Mike’s work has been featured in publications such as 3:AM, Collagist, Always Crashing, and The Portland Review. He lives in Minneapolis.

Bug Bus Piano


The way the medicine man went and got guiding spirit, contact with animal, or whatever it is: they kept on dancing every winter. They got strong and power came to them.

It must have been in those times when everything was different. Clear air and wilderness, and they could get in touch with animals like that. But I don’t think they can now. Everything gone; noise and all.

All right! Legend days will be over; humanity is coming soon. No more legend days. There will be no more, and they will be sad like I am: brokenhearted over my last child, never to return again. Death takes her. And that’s the way it’s going to be.

I wander along only in the higher mountains and the heads of the streams all the way through. I’m never down anywhere where it’s civilized country. I’m way up in the wilderness.

Years to come, people will lose their only child and they’ll have the feeling just like I have: sad, that’s what. And that’s why these days, we are that way: sadness comes to us.

– Fragments from the oral history of Niimíipuu elder Elizabeth Wilson, recorded 1970

Sure, you can sit there and wait for the bus. You can do that everyday for ten years. For even longer than that. One day you’ll look down into a puddle and you’ll be a shell of what you used to be; you’ll try and smile and it will look totally unreal and strange, because you shouldn’t be smiling. You aren’t happy. Hate, anger and confusion shredded genetic DNA information proteins melted like hot molten lead as it pours into a mold which is shaped like a little kid’s brain. Your brain. You drank lead pipe water in the school building in middle school and now something’s wrong with you. I could wake up in the morning and glance out my window and see a huge tulip tree which was just a sapling when I was a kid. I could see that and smile and know that everything is okay with me as long as I have a grasp of who I am and what I do and what choices I make. Or I can wake up and see the same tree with the leaves all red and wet, drooping off the branches and barely hanging on like flesh, sloughing off of an animal that was prey and was skinned alive while running away from the predator. It’s a gamble. It’s all insane and none of it makes any sense to me. I can show you one simple trick I’ve learned, and then I gotta split: get out while you still can. Crush your phone into shards and never get another one for as long as you live. I removed everything about my physical form that disgusted me a long time ago and now nothing is left except some kind of depressing frail exoskeleton. Just need to keep walking and keep shedding, just gotta keep running at top speed and to be honest it really burns and it doesn’t feel any good, but at least I think I’m doing something here. Need energy. Need peace. From an explosion of violence and pain comes a period of peace and stability and now they’re coming to me in rapid succession.


Jake Van, (known mainly as Bug Bus Piano) was born and raised in the Central District and Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA. He likes drawing, making music, going on the computer, and riding the bus. In the literary world he is mostly remembered as the author of How I Survived High School. He is currently working on a science fiction love story called The Jester’s Timebomb.

Fawzy Zablah


This boy wearing an oversized platinum blond wig with black wraparound sunglasses walked into the house with a gray/purple/orange water gun the size of a cannon and started firing randomly at the kids in the living room. The stream of water reached so far it sprayed kids’ backs as they ran into other rooms. The ones that weren’t hit screamed and tried to escape past the kitchen to the pool area. One boy with rosy cheeks still sitting on the couch watching Ren & Stimpy on the TV stood up frozen in fear with his skinny legs shaking like palm trees. The blond boy had to just look at him and Rosy Cheeks let out a high pitch squeal that had the potential to bounce from every wall inside the house. Blondie put his index finger to his lips, and then, raising the water cannon gently, fired rapidly, soaking the boy completely from head to toe.

After finishing him off, Blondie walked through the kitchen splashing every kid on the way. One kid he hit right in the face, and another one on his butt leaving a big wet mark like he’d just pooped himself.  When a tall, gangly boy tried to tackle Blondie, he shot him square in the stomach and he went down quick like a bowling pin. Then another kid, a kind of roly poly kid, trying to get away, ran over Gangly Boy while he escaped to the bedrooms. 

But Blondie wasn’t having it, ‘cause he followed Roly Poly down the hallway. From the doorway of the last bedroom he could hear crying inside, then he noticed a bulky figure behind the shiny blood red curtains and looking down to see little feet he fired mercilessly, drenching the entire area. Roly Poly didn’t have a chance; the poor bastard.

“Ha ha!” Blondie said, running out of the bedroom and back to the kitchen.

Once he was in the kitchen, a tall black boy tried to snatch the water cannon from him, but he was quicker and shot him in the stomach. Blondie went berserk after that and started shooting indiscriminately at girls, boys, toddlers and even the pets. Cats were quick to escape, but the dogs were not so lucky, getting drenched in water.

Little bodies jumped and/or fell into the pool and other kids running on tables trampled plates with cake and ice cream on them. The screams and the running and the crying and the collapse was in vivid colors and foggy like a dream.

From inside the pool area enclosure he then went right through the screen door to the backyard and found other kids hiding behind trees and bushes. One little tyke with curly hair and chubby cheeks was crying the loudest and Blondie splashed him so good with that water stream he did a flip all the way to the fence. A bulky girl with fish braids tried to get Blondie from behind, but boy that Blondie was too quick, so he soaked her like a firefighter standing in front of a dumpster fire.

As Blondie started aiming at a chubby boy calmly swinging on a hammock, a boy and a girl ran behind him with blue/white water guns yelling “Freeze! Police!”

“I said freeze!”

“Police! Drop the gun!”

Blondie did a quick spin but while pumping to reload, the kids with the blue/white water guns shot him in the legs, face and chest, pushing him back with such force that he dropped the water canon and his wraparound shades went flying from his face. They didn’t stop shooting even as he held his neck, throwing himself on the grass, rolling a couple of times and then laying flat on his stomach with his platinum blond wig still on his head.

The girl kicked the water cannon away from Blondie. The boy checked Blondie’s pulse and said, “He’s dead, detective. Good shot.”

“Same to you Sergeant Moseley. Same to you.”

“How many victims do you think we have Detective Sanchez?”

The girl surveyed the pool area and started counting fast, “About fifteen victims in the vicinity and many more inside the house.”

“It’s just a damn shame,” said Sergeant Moseley.

“Yes,” said Detective Sanchez, tapping Blondie on his leg to make sure he was dead.

Blondie rolled on his back with his eyes half open and then closed them.

Sergeant Moseley picked up the gray/purple/orange water cannon.

“Look at it Sanchez. Such a magnificent killing machine.”

She stood alongside him admiring the humongous water gun.

A doorbell rang. Birds scattered from tree branches. Iguanas rustled in bushes. Kids opened their eyes. And now before them, in the doorway of the pool screen, overlooking all the small bodies on the grass, stood a pale teenager dressed in black with yellow eyes majestically announcing:  “MAGGOTS… THE PIZZA IS HERE!”

All the kids in the pool and the ones playing dead on the grass got up quickly and started running back into the house. Detective Sanchez and Sergeant Moseley helped Blondie to his feet and followed everyone inside.


Fawzy Zablah is the author of the short story collection Ciao! Miami and the novel Rarity of the Century.

David Sprehe


Molten sea. Black crust pieces float close together bumping and shifting atop the liquid fire. The pieces stretch in endless procession toward the distance. Sky is solid, lumpy pink and cut with trenches. I am here with my dog. A yellow retriever dog. His name is CHRIST. We hop from crust piece to crust piece. CHRIST barks at purple spark bats dancing around the lumpy pink sky surface. Fortunately, CHRIST’s suit is on silent. Spark bats eat sounds. We hardly make any noise because of the dampeners. Almost sentient circuitry. I think of them as a set above pets.

SHIT. Christ turned off his mute system. How? Why? Stupid dog!

I strike his helmet with my lance, a totally cool technological device I honestly do not understand. This strike gives him a seizure and I feel like an asshole. Luckily we are in the middle of a large chunk of floating crust. CHRIST’s suit is special designed to take care of him. He has had seizures ever since he ate rat poison. I light up the lance device, so hooked into my mind it does things before I know it and leap straight up. 

Bats are taken down. 

Absorbed into antennas. 

Lightning appears from the pink living sky. Soon I’m arched. The light is seemingly alive, plantlike. Crawls like root tendrils uncomfortably quickly to my body. CHRIST bites my boot and dangles there. Light webs over me like a cocoon. CHRIST gets it too. My body crumples somewhere all the way and I am sucked in a tight gooey space kicking and screaming. I claw at the wall. CHRIST goes nuts crawls up me. The walls attack back with little sprouted pink irritant wiggle arms. 

I laugh because they tickle me. 

I poke the wall as hard as I can and push harder. CHRIST is biting around it like a vicious beast. I got to punch him several times because he bit me. Finally, we tear a slit through and roll out dissolving into ink suspended in tight wall capsule where my endings rooted. The roots had spread and covered the entirety of the capsule’s surface and grew outward. The living wall shifts where cradles me. Numb tingle worms slither through my body. The tingle worms turn soggy and bleed into my roots. New worms birth from eggs feels like balls of warm oil bursting over my skin. Growing bursting over me bursting growing all over me. Warm glow numb tingle cycle never ending. Over time gravity stretched the roots of upper body. I could lean forward and look around. I was in a long hallway. The walls were living tissue. 

I cannot tell if it was all my roots. 

Or something else’s. 

After a longer period of time I was able to stretch the roots further to where I could sit and dangle my legs off the side of the wall capsule’s base. Soon I stood on my own and touched the living tissue floor. I snapped my roots, then shriveled and nearly dry, but still thick with meat. Tasted good. Very good. I ate a few pieces more and broke the rest of the dying roots into sections intending to eat later. I cut my pointed fingernails into the pink living floor tissue intending to make a satchel, but the pink living tissue actually tastes ok, so I ate several more root sticks and grabbed two fistfuls to take with. Walked the hallway for what felt an eternity gnawing on root stick and stopping periodically to take a runny spatter shit. I noted, nibbling on pink living floor to quiet my stomach, that this was my shit stain. It was hardly present, a slight discoloration, but I could tell I was walking in a circle. 

“Damn,” I said and laid back against the living pink wall. I pulled petals from a small yellow flower in my hand and flicked the petals at the opposite wall. But they floated in a breeze which carried them off a ways into the grass. Tired, I chose to remain lying against a tree. There was sunlight blue sky clouds and tall grass swaying. There was a creek close by, I could feel it. Bugs crawled over my brown skin. Some even crawled in my long straight black hair. I rolled onto my hands and knees bugs so many bugs over me. Bugs crawled in my mouth and my nose and ears. Bugs crawled in my pee hole. Thickest they swarmed at my ass. Heavy shifting masses crawled into my butthole. I couldn’t even shit them, they would simply flow deeper clumped and fluid at the same time. I coughed until I puked. Cut a slit in my stomach. Black goop slopped out. I pulled out everything guts and all and cleaned it real good. Most of the bugs died after this, curling up in defeat. But those that didn’t and I reached an agreement in that they will animate me and I’ll let them live. Empty of guts, a hollow shell of flesh and skin and bone and crawling with bugs, I started off. I needed to find CHRIST. 


CHRIST this time was a chicken. A man in a chicken suit at work a chicken in a man suit off hours. Didn’t matter. He was his own man chicken owning a chain of very successful Cluck-Cluck electronic liquor stores. Yes, CHRIST was the one in the sexy Chicka-Cluck-Cluck suit on the late-night commercials. CHRIST was no coward. He knew who to pay and when. He kicked back on his couch and lit a cigarette. 

“What’s the plan, man?” he said into his handheld computer. 

JoJo Bunny picked her nose. “I’m not a man.”

“Hmph,” CHRIST said. 

“The plan is as follows. I am pregnant. Look here,” she gestures to her belly and it bursts open. Several electric blue fish creatures wiggle from her spinal cord. The fish stare at CHRIST flipping their heads back and forth. CHRIST’s tongue slithers forth and forks. The nubs wiggle and greet the fish then hang up and start sending video chat requests to everybody in the pocket computer contact lists. 


This place is familiar to me and because of that I am apprehensive because I have never seen anything like it before. Houses. A street. I am in a neighborhood. I was once alive and now am alive again. But not all is stable. Even my basic feeling balks at the sight of these inhabitants. All of their tongues have branched into bushes and remain outside the face always wiggling their nubs at a pocket computer. I approach a small one and capture it. I escape to the woods and rip the tongue out of the face. The bugs feast on the tongue then turn to the body and harvest it for my own resources. I look at the pocket computer. The pocket computer is on a video link with two other tongue bushes. The tongue bushes wiggle grotesquely. I close the application and demand most recent news. I look at the news and see an advertisement. The advertisement is for Cluck-Cluck liquor stores. On it is a sexy chicken. I know this chicken. This chicken touches a deep part of my soul.   


“The tongues have formed a hive mind,” CHRIST said. “They communicate by wiggling in front of the pocket computer camera.” 

“How were you cured?” I asked.

CHRIST shrugged. “I just wanted to be is all.”

“Took your time with it,” I said.

“Blow off,” CHRIST said, “how am I supposed to know what I know when I know everything?”

“What is this place?” I pulled a book from CHRIST’s bookshelf. The Phenomenon of Man, Teilhard de Chardin. I flipped through the pages and then put it on the coffee table because I did not understand how to read it. I looked at CHRIST and waited for his answer. 

“Beats me,” CHRIST said. He took a sip of canned beer and rubbed his forehead with the hand which also held a cigarette. “I felt like I’ve been here my whole life until this tongue garbage.”

I nodded. “This is not the place.”

“What do we do?” 

I shrugged. “Destroy it, I suppose. Or kill ourselves.”

“I feel like we should kill ourselves. But because of that. Because of this. Let’s do option one.”

“It does feel wrong,” I said. “Which means we certainly don’t do it that often.”

“Yeah!” CHRIST said getting up. He was happy and excited. “I don’t remember ever doing it. We gotta do it once. It’d be bad not too.”

Since the bugs had ate of the tongue directly they had deduced and could reproduce the patterns by which the tongues communicated. By keeping in contact with them through the pocket computer we were able to mask our true whereabouts. The bugs also established communications with other species of insect and was able to convert them into a hive with I at the center. This hive grew exponentially quickly and I felt myself melting like ice in springtime light. DESTROY OFFPLANET UNITE I projected what these meant to me into the accepting coding atmosphere developing as the hive grew. 

I turned to CHRIST. “I know what to do.”

“Where do you want me, chief?” CHRIST said.

He was swarmed with cockroaches and he tripped on the coffee table and fell over. I knelt beside him. I leaned in close and bit the side of his lips. CHRIST screamed. I ate his cheek and rubbed my fingers along his teeth letting my bug babies find something to eat. I consumed CHRIST in his entirety. 


Rain water. Upon me. Like a puddle. Puddle in a field of green sprouted wheat. Giant pigs trample upon the shoots. The pigs are proud and have great tusks. Upon the pigs are friendly insects who clean the pig and maintain its systems. Among the pigs there is a leader called King Philip. King Philip crumbles as if made of stone. These pig flesh rocks tumble into puddles. The vibrations make me whole. It appears I am the planet Earth’s moon Moon. Every particle of the Earth’s moon Moon was highly advanced technology waiting to be imprinted with personality. It had lain unused for trillions of years. I en-unfolded and found myself among the star systems. Whole galaxies spiraled toward and collided along my body like warm water sloshing in glass milk bottle. I was endless slithering things and rotting fruit. I managed to move my limbs and swim dragging all else behind me taking it into my body so I grew larger. I stretched so long my top point thinned until it was unit. All else followed slowly behind me colliding and merging with unit, condensing to unit size. When all was in unit unit quivered popped and popped again. END.


David Sprehe types in soilus.

Henry Goodridge


My mind was still in front of the computer as I headed to the bar. I was getting older and couldn’t take a punch quite as well anymore, sure, but the hit that put me down last Saturday was inhuman. I knew there had to be a spike, under his skin somehow. Knuckles alone can’t cut that deep.

I was lucky; Great Lakes MMA was still big enough to broadcast. Losing my edge a bit meant I wasn’t fighting in HD anymore, but in 2020 even the little guys have a stream you can play back.

The referee checked his gloves. I saw it happen. It’s basically impossible to rig a pair anymore. It had to come out of his hand. I saw the little glint of gray during that last cross.

I tried to get a good look at his gloves again during our post-fight handshake. Of course they were black. Any other color and the hole the spike must have made would be too obvious. Even then, I think I saw a sliver of skin peeking out from the foam and leather.

I pushed open the door and walked to the end of the bar. Elmas noticed that I didn’t sit in my usual spot and skipped the banter.


“Yeah. And whatever you gave me yesterday to drink. I forget the name.”

Elmas said something back, but I was already going through the fight in my head again. I didn’t think the spike came out until that last cross. No wonder he was looking so confident despite the
fact that I was clearly winning on points.

The image of the spike sliding out from the webbing between his fingers flashed in my head again. At first I had thought it must have come out from either the top or bottom of his hand, sliding through a knuckle or from the end of his wrist. But hiding something like that would be impossible. You would be able to see it underneath the skin.

Elmas put a beer in front of me and I watched his fingerprints in the condensation fade away.

Maybe it came out of the bone. This whole time I’d been imagining it as a separate piece of his skeleton, but maybe it was hidden right inside the bones of his hand. Like a police baton or a
telescope, the spike could just collapse right into a knuckle.

I needed to get my hands on as much footage as possible.

Maybe someone in the audience took videos on their phone. I could search my name and see if anybody got a good view of the knockout from the stands. The quality wouldn’t be as good, but I
knew that all I really needed was the right angle.

Hell, I could even look through his old fights. I knew from watching tape before our match-up that he had a lot of knockout wins. Maybe an old opponent saw the little weapon stick out of his glove too.

“Hey, is that Brantley?”

I looked up to see a younger guy across the room walking towards me.

“Sam Brantley? Me and my dad used to watch you when I was a kid!”

I opened my mouth, but he kept going.

“Are you still fighting? I remember how hard you used to hit. Can you still swing like that?”

He’d just started talking but I already knew where this was going. What he was trying to do.

He leaned in, firing off more questions, and knocked my beer over. I’m sure he thought this was a genius trick, but every professional fighter has seen this move a thousand times. Piss me off, but make it look like an accident. If I knock you out, the asshole fighter assaulted you over a beer. If you get a lucky shot on me, you just whipped a former champion in front of your friends.

Normally I had a lot of patience for these guys. I’d learned that If you don’t take the bait they’ll eventually leave you alone. This time though, the arrogance wasn’t helping my already sour mood. I stood up and pushed him back with one hand. This was his chance to change his mind.

He stuck to it and swung. I saw it coming and put my left arm up. Just a couple jabs are usually enough to end this kind of thing.

I woke up to Elmas dabbing my cheek with a wet rag.

“He already left. Just stay here a minute.”

I was in his office at the back of the bar.

“What happened?”

“He slipped right past your guard and tagged your chin. You just went down.”

“And then what?” As soon as I asked, I realized I really didn’t want to know.

“Don’t worry about it. Just stay here a minute.”

I remembered the punch. It was slow and kind of sloppy. I’m sure the kid had been in a bar fight or two, but I’d taken punches like that a million times and stayed on my feet.

I thought for a moment.

“Elmas, does your bar have security cameras?”



2717 – we’re all connected by manic-numb-hate networks. El meditates under the degrading remains of a whale that lays supine across the width of the Mojave. the world’s forgotten what evil was. she plays [▷]earthquake_00.anm in her head. psychic reel crackles w/ soft reverberations. she’s watching a vision of the earth being swallowed up by a great cataclysm, washed of its ignorance & numb hate within hours. other, more beautiful women elsewhere were using their imaginations to vividly let sedan-sized radioactive mutant insects tear them into shreds & fuck the remains. disgusting! they peaked the possibilities of physical living long ago.

earthquake_00.anm ▷ one more time. ▷ one more time. ▷ one more all they do is laze around a compound in the desert trying to stimulate themselves under trances & occasionally being sadistic to the post-hell animals. El lived in an anarchist commune vaguely positioned around the former base of a (now totally suicided, lol) death cult. revolting notions of freedom & meaninglessness & aimless living dominated her life. the deep evils of the earth had long melted under bio-weapons specially designed by a team of American ultra-nationalist scientists. diseases named XXX-F*CKDVLFLU & shit like that. sometimes in her visions she liked to play the role of illuminati authoritarian. commanding every single person’s life from behind shadows & blurry schizophrenic images posted online. she could have been a natural tyrant. Soviet beautiful. she was born 700 years too late. when awake she usually stared off at the concrete walls of the compound. sometimes she sat on top of them w/ an anti-materiel rifle equipped w/ depleted uranium bullets. blowing apart the skulls of bus sized, but docile, deer that trot along the horizon. 

she has the HUD of an ancient first-person shooter video game tattooed on her thigh. a true sigil of power! nobody knows what game it’s from anymore. an artifact lost to time & Infinite Paradisio Warfares. we have a year & not the name. 1993. El has black hair, like the color of Kansas grass nowadays. an amphetamine look to her eyes. she rarely ate. 115 lbs. 5’9”. a girl withering away for sensations. 

they dealt in bullets blasted w/ radiation. the compound, named MOUNTAIN, was refitted to be a munitions factory. the commune itself, this terrible tribe of dreamless psychic nomads that peddled in death-dealing overpowered irradiated calibers, designated itself THE OASIS MOUNTAIN DIVISION. a collective of women channeling powers granted to them by thoroughly MKULTRA’d ancestors from centuries ago. ancient people broken down & designed for vaporizing enemy combatants in foreign hot zones. a company of loyalists [EX level], serving the purposes of extreme capitalism, had unwittingly blessed the future hopeless. 

the main customers for OASIS MOUNTAIN were mercenaries from Old Cali, the FRAG COYOTES. no one really needed killing anymore, and nobody really needed money anymore [no need for currency when every girl was free nowadays], but still hired guns got work. usually jobs for killing random ppl the client didn’t know. there’s an euphoric perversity in sending a hitman to kill the pedestrian. they took no payment, it was a contract of killing desire. all you had to do was tell one of these pro ronin who to off. perma-death decimation for the civilian. there’s no respawns here, bitches. body counts racked up of nothing but non-combatants. the mercenaries would come to the MOUNTAIN w/ dufflebags full of glass containers w/ captured yokai inside. there were spirits that didn’t get to be eradicated by patriot viruses. excommunicated from wherever the demons & angels went. 

El & her cadre melted these loathsome & unmoored phantoms down in knife-shaped molds. astral-tempered flechette rounds. El went on an Infiltration Op w/ the FRAG COYOTES once. its a ritual performed w/o a client. many factions had developed a tradition that, when one of their squad was headshot from 600 yards away or some shit, they would perform a rite to the unholy pseudo-deity of endless massacre. 

the infiltrations were slaughter. hateful & stupid. El wanted in. she’d never killed a person before. never seen blood just splatter all over the fucking wall like chunky grafitti. vandalism you can’t take back. El wanted nothing more than to do irreparable things. something the rain can’t just wash away.  

El flicked on a device capable of wicked darkvision. she listens to the mechanism over her eyes whirr statically.  hell yeah. El’s witch pretty now. the squad approached an airstrip covered in vibrant pink mosses & vines. golden skulls glittered in numb moonlight on a boundary fence that surrounded the airfield & its sparkling terminal. encased in barbed wire crowns, they cried crude oil onto the ground. they knew the mercs were here to fuck some shit up. 

that depressed & worthless & not-beautiful girl El pulls the charging handle of her rifle. its a collector’s item nowadays. an M4A3. the squad leader motions for the rest of them to move up to the terminal entrance.a bonfire crackles inside. thru the windows we watch hapless communists, pale & emaciated, burn deformed deer bodies. horns cracking under heat. squad leader pulls down the black bandana from his mouth & lets his snake tongue out. down past his chin it drapes itself. forked & all lol, freak. he’s ready to lap up some gore. the tall, misshapen grasses brush around his back. framed like a king by alien vegetation. he rips off a small canister hooked to his chest rig. pull the pin & toss in the terminal lobby & listen to the you know what melting flesh sounds like, from a distance? 

he commands us forward in a dead language derived from several central European dialects that fused together in a great ball of nuclear fire. language as aberration. let’s fuck them up. 

El crushed her boot down harder on a lady vampire. 2,0000 newtons of pressure. enough to keep her down. ribs halfway to splitting. being undead’s a bitch, ain’t it? vampiric communists! El laughed at the fantasy spurting up blood under her boot & pulled the charging handle–it’s only right to make her first kill & this girl’s second death look cool as fuck–and got ready to smell the sulfur. 

her face felt hot. sweat evaporated against the air lit to fuck  w/ the sounds of gunshots [bang bang bang!!!] & decimation & knives sliding into spines [ka-shink!!!] & El’s sweat dripping on concrete. can you squeeze the trigger, you stupid fuck? take the step into Hell’s gates? you better be ready to deepthroat evil, slut, because it’s the only love you’ll know soon enough. if only El had the psychically-linked firearms of the mercenaries! they didn’t have to think to pull the trigger, their lizard instincts did the shooting for them. no guilt required! 

claws scratching the floor. four strong legs–one hissing with diesel power & gears grinding–approached her at 75mph. El heard the animal leap. hahahahaha. she didn’t even try to raise her rifle. teeth snapped around her neck & flesh began tearing like paper. shred that shit. sounds of vertebrate cracking as El fell to the floor w/ a wolf’s jaw tight around her throat. revenge AMSR, she figures. the mouth begins to close. 10,000 newtons of force. the last thing El hears is teeth meeting teeth and her arteries, free & boundless, spurting aimlessly across the ground. 

sand, tinted pink w/ boiling intent burns against El’s cheek.dreaming of a nine-headed snake glowing with xenon tunneling through her skull. gateway sigils painted on the inside of her eyelids. she jerks awake. 

El returned to the crime scene. that massacre tableau. reeked of dried & burnt organs. this always happened. she had awoken w/ her cheeks burning against sand, tinted pink w/ hostile intent, and jerked herself up. dreams of a nine-headed snake glowing with xenon tunneling through her skull. she had managed to pull herself up, & begin a full sprint towards the terminal a few miles south. fuck the fatigue. she needed to see it. last time this happened, there wasn’t anything left over but half her liver & a crushed pelvis. damn. 

there it was. El’s raven hair, matted in blood & organ scum, was splayed across the ground. she stared at herself, head separated & done bleeding, a few feet away from her body flat against the terminal floor. jesus christ. j-horror type mood. like looking at a hex’d mirror. she used her boot to turn the head towards the ground. the Frag Coyotes had already moved on. ritual’s been fed. time for them to move on to more innocent targets. all that was left in the building, windows full of glitter from the desert sun, were a bunch of half-eaten & half-fucked & half-dead vampire corpses. Marx can’t protect you against roving hit squads, i guess, lol. didn’t even have any claymores set up. dumb as shit.