After 9 days I let my mind run free

No matter how many times we storm the tower who we are can’t be rescued. Filligan let the thin line of blood run across his fingers before turning up his collar, ‘How long do we have left?’

‘You were out for 5.23 minutes,’ if there was any remorse Bastian didn’t show it, ‘which will reduce our time considerably.’

‘It’s still long enough.’

‘I’m curious,’ Bastian barred Filligan’s way, ‘the marks on your skin?’

‘We need to get moving.’

‘I would call them self harm, but considering the length of your arms and the angles required, it would be impossible to burn yourself with a cigarette like that.’

‘I can do the rest of this without you.’ Filligan pushed Bastian aside and picked up his bag, ‘It only needed two of us to break the lock.’

‘What’s your story I wonder?’

‘I have no story.’

‘Oh, my dear friend, we all have a story,’ Bastian grabbed the flashlight from the top of the cabinet and followed his companion along the corridor, ‘and I can assure you that everyone begs to tell it in the end.’

‘Spare me the serial killer rhetoric.’ Filligan tapped a series of numbers into a keypad and pulled open the iron door. He paused, ‘Once we get down there, you take what you want, I take what I want, there will be no questions asked on either side.’

‘I do believe that is the agreement.’ Bastian watched him disappear into the darkness at the bottom of the stairs. He hadn’t hesitated, he hadn’t acclimatised himself, he hadn’t even used a torch. It was almost like he’d been in the room before.

Bastian stood for a moment, finding the flavour of his reaction. There were whispers here, an everyday of fimilarity. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Lucifer was made in the image of man and even the stairs had something to say about his decent.

He flicked his torch around the concrete grey of the unpleasant room. A row of old filing cabinets. A set of wooden crates. Half a dozen boxes. Books. More books. Bottles. Oil paintings all stacked up against each other. A table. A bed. A set of wax crayons. A clock drawn on the wall.

Filligan had his back to the stairs. Crouched low. A ragged breath in the stolen light. There was a slow way of cooking that infused meat with everything that had gone before. Bastian turned out the torch and took the darkness into his lungs. This partnership wasn’t just about forging out a profitable business. For all his secrecy, this young man was leaving behind a trail of breadcrumbs that Bastian found impossible to resist.

 

©2017 Jac Forsyth

 

HIVEMIND
Part 1 – I’ll slip into something more comfortable
Part 2 – Just depends what sort of mood I’m in.
Part 3 – It’s not like we stood in line fore this
Part 4 – That first cut is always so damn sweet
Part 5 – After 9 days I let my mind run free

 

 

 

 

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That first cut is always so damn sweet

Bastian Celeste walked his fingers over the casing of miniature drawers. There had been a time when a studio fitting like this would have been a show of status all by itself, but these relics of mahogany and brass were frowned on as much as ivory now.

He slid the first drawer open,  ‘You know, I often think that the 20th century and I would have got on rather well.’

‘A century that gave us genocide, atomic revenge and Margaret Thatcher.’ Filligan eased himself into the gap between the walls, ‘I think they’d have named a tube station after you and put your face on their banknotes.’

Bastian shook his head, reaching for the button tucked up inside the roof of the drawer, ‘The 20th century was all about humans trying to be gods.’ he flicked a sarcastic glance at his companion, ‘Now we just make them in our own image.’ He closed the drawer and moved onto the next one, pulling it half out and then pushing it back in again, ‘Power was and always will be an addiction, and where there’s an addiction there’s a lucrative living to be made in solutions.’

‘I thought you didn’t care about money?’

‘Who said anything about money?’ Bastian opened and closed a line of drawers, down and across, before stepping away. He began counting backwards from ten.

‘There are other safe zones,’ Filligan pushed himself against the back wall as Bastian snuggled into the alcove next to him.

Bastian slithered closer, ‘Four. I don’t even need to be in here, I had a noise cancelling patch fitted two years ago. Three. I just like how uncomfortable this makes you feel.’

‘You’re a complete arsehole.’

‘Of that there is no doubt.’ he nudged Filliagn, ‘Oh, and zero.’

‘Godamn…’ Filligan made a valiant attempt at throwing his hands over his ears before passing out.

Bastian patted his companion’s shoulder, allowing him to slide gently to the floor. Then pulling a delicately carved pill box from his top pocket, he raked through the contents with his little finger and shut the box again, this time opening it along a concealed hinge and exposing a lower compartment which was empty except for a plastic lining and a miniature knife. Bastian picked the blade out carefully, twisting it and rolling it along his fingers as he crouched down and pulled Filligan’s hair away from his neck, inhaling the sweetness of it, ‘Oh, Filligan Platt, now you’re just playing with me.’

He flipped the blade between his thumb and forefinger, savouring a final breath before cutting a neat set of parallel lines at the base of the young mans neck. Then he slid the blade along the length of the cuts and pulled the thin strip of skin free.

Bastian held it up to the light and smiled, winding it around his little finger several times before placing it into the pill box along with the knife, ‘I’m a bad man, my friend, but then you knew that before you signed up.’

love-wave

I meant to post this on Friday but ended up in hospital instead. My whole week has been shot to pieces, but Bastian Celeste remains. I’m gonna have a drive around over the next few days, see what all you peeps have been up to without me.

HIVEMIND
Part 1 – I’ll slip into something more comfortable
Part 2 – Just depends what sort of mood I’m in.
Part 3 – It’s not like we stood in line fore this
Part 4 – That first cut is always so damn sweet
Part 5 – After 9 days I let my mind run free

It’s not like we stood in line for this

Sterility and stale leaves. September always tasted the damn same.

Bastian pulled the cuff of his glove tight and turned away from the door, slipping low under the first of the windows. The humiliated drone would be searching for him, calculating which side street, which building he’d ducked into, how fast, how far he could have gone. The old library sliced a piece of history through heat recognition easy enough, but any visual movement, any contrast, and he was screwed.

As he reached the next window, Bastian flicked a deliberate glance towards the faded colours at the far end of the building. This time of year the rising sun and dawn collided. A double light that went scattering in embers across the pale, marble floor. Despite everything, the uncomfortable ache of belonging always clutched at his chest when he was here. Looking back, it was hard to figure how the complexities of love had kept him chained for so long.

He slid down against the wall and divided the shuttered space by 5.3. It would be easy enough for the world to judge his parents as responsible, they’d continued to push books on him long after the psychological damage they caused had been discovered. And for sure, his parents had taught him more about contrition and cruelty than any book ever could. But to give either of them credit? He smiled softly, that was like crediting a lamb for the meal you’d just cooked with its flesh.

As HIVE sounded out 6.30am, the first of the information drones arrived in the street outside, it was already streaming his cut-out image into 4 million waking minds, including his own. This was the bit that the breakers always forgot, and the bit that interested him most of all. He closed his eyes and rode back with the surf. It was like looking through the window of a sweet shop.

He felt the sigh before he heard it, ‘Seriously, Bastian?’

‘Hey, you can take the kid from the fun, but you can’t take the fun from the kid.’

‘The kid?’ Filligan Platt shot a sarcastic glance at his business partner, ‘From what I heard, that face came with the stone you were skulking under when your parents found you.’

‘I was born and I will die,’ Bastian tilted his head to catch the fragrance of amber rays, ‘just like every other bastard thing on this planet.’

‘Spare me the mission statement. Did you kick the drone again?’

Bastian shrugged, ‘It’s about time they upgraded their defence net. Any fool knows rubber and electricity never did get on.’ He turned to Filligan, ‘Did the shipment come in okay?’

‘Not as much as we’d hoped, we lost most of the A grade to distraction deals.’

‘Is there enough left?’

‘Maybe,’ Filligan flicked his thumb over his fingers, ‘it’s hard to tell until we unpack the rest.’

‘And my, personal order?’

‘Safe inside the C grade, it’s the first thing I checked.’

Bastian rumbled through a sigh, patting Filligan’s knee, ‘You’re the closest thing I have ever had to a friend.’

‘Does that mean you’ll stop fantasising about how you’re going to kill me?’

Bastian patted his knee again, ‘I told you, you’re the closest thing I have to a friend, I’m saving something really special for you.’

 

©2017 Jac Forsyth

 

HIVEMIND
Part 1 – I’ll slip into something more comfortable
Part 2 – Just depends what sort of mood I’m in.
Part 3 – It’s not like we stood in line for this
Part 4 – That first cut is always so damn sweet
Part 5 – After 9 days I let my mind run free

Just depends what sort of mood I’m in

Bastian Celeste detested heroes. All that perverted selfishness and hidden agenda, where was the honesty in that? Sure, moral corruptions followed him around like a pack of rabid dogs, but lying had never been one of them.

He picked up a coffee at the station and ducked past the security checks, stone-skimming his phone ID across the surface of a dozen underground relays.

The woman had asked about his life too many times, her ill concealed hopes locked into the rhythm of his breathing. He’d given her Arthur, a media architect from Chichester. She wanted someone with an exciting credibility, but he’d slung in a subliminal Once and Future King for good measure. It was all about fantasy, even when they pretended it wasn’t.

Her phone had failed to load his QRID, so she’d printed off an inkjet copy and put it on her bedside table. He’d placed a strategic ring of tea over it as he left. Hell, it was fake anyway, but somehow tragedy always tasted of a sweeter and more permanent kind of cruel. He could have killed her a thousand times over, instead he made her cry out without even touching her. The mood for anything else hadn’t been on him. Sometimes it was like that. He’d never taken the time to figure out why.

The billboards flickered through another cascade of neon cubes. HIVE had bundled the IOT into a centralised unit and chopped everything else up into a target driven resource. It had been months since anything more than a punchy little strapline had made it past the public broadcast system. Freedom of choice was a dead sales pitch. And no one seemed to miss it very much.

He flicked a glance at a public safety drone that had circled down the alley ahead of him. He’d overshot his social permit by two hours, but what the hell, even he was in love with Arthur.

He was close enough to his street office to see that the ad-graphics on the door needed changing again, it didn’t pay to let any signs of business inertia creep in. They’d talked about replacing the cluttered panel with a clear, face recognition glass. It would have given them a much higher PS rating and an air tight way to conceal their more covert activities. But even with the incentive of government subsidies, it was still expensive shit to buy. Plus, ditching the ads would mean factoring the loss of tax-deductible revenue into an already sketchy looking end of year return. The business took virtually nothing through the legitimate checkouts now, discrepancies like that flagged up pretty damn quick on the HIVE, and the last thing they needed was another alarm generated inspection.

He could hear the drone buzzing, it must have picked him up as he crossed the street, this wasn’t gonna be easy. Bastian smiled, he hated it when things were easy.

 

©2017 Jac Forsyth

A return in your honour : drainbrainx

HIVEMIND
Part 1 – I’ll slip into something more comfortable
Part 2 – Just depends what sort of mood I’m in.
Part 3 – It’s not like we stood in line fore this
Part 4 – That first cut is always so damn sweet
Part 5 – After 9 days I let my mind run free

 

I’ll slip into something more comfortable…

The first thing that impressed people about Bastian Celeste was that he could speak two dozen languages. What they didn’t notice in all their admiring was that language was about control, and Bastian had an intent so complicated even he was unsure of how far down he’d crawled.

He flicked a glance at the pinnacle of youth sprawled out across his sofa. He was one of those kids who saw being under 25 as permission to rule the world. Every damn thing about him screamed – This is how you were once. Before you wasted your way through the magic lantern of frustrations. Bastian couldn’t be doing with it. He picked up his phone, scrolling through a series of imaginary texts, ‘If you’re going to waste my time, you should leave now.’

The young man didn’t even bother to look up.

‘Did you hear me?’

‘Yeah, I heard.’

The words came at him in slow motion artillery. What a fucking joke, like there had ever been anything to hear or not hear. Bastian smiled sweetly, but along the horizon the sun ripped up all the colours that weren’t red.

It was never really his fault, not when it came to it. It was more the familiarity of their arrogance that let them down. They always thought he was checking for texts because that’s what they did. Like the world was made in their image.

‘You know, most people are afraid of madness, because it has a fire in it they think they can’t predict. They forget that sanity comes in many …flavours.’ Bastian inhaled the word, gathering up the sickness in measured and treasured, ‘Have you ever put a jar over a wasp and watched it die trying to get out?’

The locking mechanisms were virtually silent. Bastian synced a satisfying clicking sound through the internal speakers. Fear was in the details.

He smiled again. Frankly, this was the best part. The bit when they realised who he was. And there was always enough victory in that moment to light a bonfire.

©2017 Jac Forsyth

9462347557_47b112e5fd_nImage courtesy of flickr.com

HIVEMIND

Part 1 – I’ll slip into something more comfortable
Part 2 – Just depends what sort of mood I’m in.
Part 3 – It’s not like we stood in line fore this
Part 4 – That first cut is always so damn sweet
Part 5 – After 9 days I let my mind run free