Barber’s Hands

I followed the directions from the homemade leaflet that I found at the bus stop to the quaint single-story house deep in the suburbs of Scarborough. There was an evergreen in the front yard and a simple wooden box garden, I noticed some tuber vegetables nestled in the back. I knocked on the lacquered door with a green trim around the doorway, as described over the phone by the soft-spoken Italian man.

The door opened and the short man shook my hand with both of his own. His hands were cold, firm, yet soft to the touch. He looked me in the eye intensely for half a minute and surveyed my hair, my stubble, and my clothing. He told me to wear something I felt conveyed my usual style. His house would be considered strangely anachronistic, his technology seemed to be luxurious from when it was made: large screen TVs that are slightly bulky, older digital clocks, Seen on TV contraptions hawked off by the late Billy Mays. The antique toys and statues as well portraits of various storefronts were what most of my attention was spent on. I had barely noticed that the elderly man had slipped off down a small stairway just a bit further into the house that seemingly led to the garage, that I didn’t have a good look at when walking up the stone path to the door. I could smell freshly aerated dust now mixing with the steady scent of wood oil and fading class. He beckoned me into the garage after the steady sound of sweeping was silenced.

“Mr. Edmore, please take a seat.” His voiced was paced, his accent light but firm in its linguistic sensibilities of how short or long a vowel would be allowed to dance on the tip of one’s tongue. The make-shift shop was cozy. The car was indeed still in the garage but was draped with some sort of tarp. I saw a well-lit mirror and a traditional barber’s pole; the chair seems to have been lovingly installed into the cement garage. A deep chocolate leather that had been maintained as well as the wood had been. I saw on the counter underneath the mirror several tools spread onto the counter and a photo in a cheap frame of a store somewhere in Yorkville. The trees are lush around the single building, I see a Mr. Sub sign, slightly out of focus, in the background. It seemed to have been the 1970s, as the younger Mr. Fanucci has a thick set of curls that are a deep black. His hair is now neatly combed back and silver, if he has gone bald it is hard to tell. He may be the first man I’ve met to properly execute a comb-over. He politely turned the seat to me and pat it, guiding my body into the one of the comfiest chairs of my life.


When I was younger I saw a man from Sicily cut people’s hair using a candle on the Discovery network. I was at my grandfather’s house, a man who had reddish-white hair and a detestable attitude on most subjects. He, surprisingly, seemed as interested in the technique as I was, which was rare since my grandfather and I seemingly didn’t connect on much other than flipping coins around our fingers. The program said that the Sicilian man in Washington, D.C, was one of the last practitioners of the Art in North America. It was said that hair singed in this way would make it softer and works perfectly to lengthen hair to its desired length as well as improve the body of the hair.

Trimming my hair as it got longer was always troublesome. I would enter Barber shops, ask for a small trim, and subsequently lose most of my hair as well as my dignity for not properly articulating that I just wanted my mane to not impede my eyesight. To this day I do not now if it’s due to the fact that the Barber felt that as a man I would not want such long and luxurious hair or they just didn’t like it. Of course, I think the real reason is that when a man in a barber shop ask for a trim, it means slightly more than a crew cut.

I had since regrown my hair and was in the area of my old school visiting a friend. I saw a leaflet carefully and considerately taped to a bust stop: “Retired professional Barber, Luca Fanucci, Sicilian-style trimming, modern styles, men and women. Please contact before 6PM, not available Sundays.” The idea of getting my haircut by a secret practitioner of a weird flame haircut almost made me scream from excitement.


“So you want me to cut your hair with the candle?” he pointed to a thin, long and wax covered candle. I would describe it as a wand of style. I told him I wanted a proper trim and to maintain the overall look, but to get the hair out my eyes and reduce the frizziness. He nodded and smiled slightly. “I have not done this in some time, I’m glad you’re willing to try it. Ahh, sfumatura a candela, what a wonderful art.”

After he deftly wrapped the cape around me he began to massage my scalp and comb my hair. He took off my glasses, as most barbers do. I wished I could have seen the process but unfortunately, I did not have my contacts so I was stuck in the default unfocused haze. Feeling the process, fortunately, is what ultimately matters. His hands were still cold as his fingers quickly pre-combed my hair.

“Should I call you Luca, or Mr. Fanucci?” I asked him tentatively, feeling it would be a bit rude to just sit in silence.

“Luca.” He said, then after thinking a bit he spoke again “If I still had my store, perhaps Mr.Fanucci, as I am the old man, now, I am, I think, I don’t need the titles.” His wording was confident but still always sounding unsure grammatically. “I work from my home and you have come as a guest and a friend. You may call me Luca.”

“You can call me Daniel, so what happened to the shop?” I said, slightly nodding towards the picture.

Luca pointed to the match, “It burned down” he said gravely.

I had felt a slight surge of guilt and before I could say anything Luca had burst out into a slightly crackling laughter, the kind of hoarse cackle expected of men his age. “It went out of business, of course it would, why would the hippies of Yorkville want a hair cut?”.

He finally finished combing my hair after ten minutes, we discussed few things after that. Silence, is something I learned in my teens, is always a better substitute for bad conversation than chattering away is a chance at a good talk. Luca seemed to live alone, perhaps the conversation would be something savoured, I could learn something, I could bond with a man in solitude with a wonderful house of well maintained bric-a-brac. My tongue held still, as my thoughts raced, but everything silenced when I saw him finally reach for the long candle.

When he lit the match, I felt myself shake a bit. He held it up to the candle and let it lit. Quickly putting out the match, he did not waste time. I saw the focus through the haze of my defective retina, his careful combs and the sizzling of the hair, and the sharp brush then taking the singed keratin strands into the air.

I’ve had my hair set on fire by accident only twice in my life, by gesticulating too much with a flaming marshmallow, and by fire spinning at a camp. This, however, was seeing such an accident turned into an art form.

There was a sharp difference between the man I saw in the video and Luca, either the man in the video was a master or an amateur. He talked while he singed the hairs, it was his speciality, he marketed it for the rich politicians of D.C to maintain the body of their hair. Luca was quick and completely focused. He was burning my hair in longer arcs, trimming with flames and combs. The hair once in front of my eyes fell back down to my forehead shorter and shorter, I could feel a faint sense of heat on my forehead. The tingling sensation of a regular Barber’s visit is tripled as I was in one of the deepest trances I have ever been in.

Before I knew it, Luca is finished. He combs my hair again and stuck to his instructions, my hair looks the same but neater, I can actually see without having to constantly paw my hair to one side. I shook his hand and gave him a $20. He shook his head at me.

“I said only $10, no need for this.” He said motioning to grab some change while we walked upstairs. He left the lights on, most likely preparing to sweep as soon as I left.

“I think you have earned it, Luca, please I insist.” I pushed the $20 forward.

“You’re young, Daniel, you need to save this kind of money.”

“Consider it a payment for the next time as well.” I said firmly, eventually breaking a smile while looking at the serious old man. I put the bill on the kitchen table as he was digging in a change jar.

I took in more of his home as I stood there for the few moments, I saw letters and drawings on the fridge of possible young relatives and family photos. Luca seemed to care about his home and his life while living alone. A firm, refreshing cold of solitude and bravery against time. The small and large workings of caring for a home.

“I’ll see you again, Luca.” I reached out and shook his hand, it retained its chill, but the feeling is not as firm or as gracious, but softer like the relaxed handshake of a friend.

“Be good, Danny, stay out of trouble.” He curtly tapped my face with his left hand and smiled. “Maybe one day you’ll let me properly style that mop.”

We both laughed as I left the cool house into the warm sun.

I never saw Luca Fanucci after that, as I moved in the coming weeks to Hong Kong to work as a junior executive through the connections of an acquaintance in College. I still cannot grasp the professional intimacy of the Barber. The strange calm I gained from the touch of that older gentleman. I don’t know if it was due to my lack of a father-figure, or if this is a shared experience by many, one felt when seeing doctors or tailors. But I feel like I will never forget that garage or that sense of intimacy. I will never forget the refreshing touch of a Barber’s hands.

Barber’s Hands


With snot pouring from me as

vessels burst from the pressure of my blows.

I feel less together, stitched with

soft tissue in and out.

Stuffed like a swollen foot,

like a water soaked doll,

the fabric surrendering to mildew;

rather than shrivelling under dust and death to ash.

I am filled with the battle of life.

The blood and pus just

inconveniences not filling my breath,

not touching my throat or filling my chest

but for small fits.

I am stuffed with war on the most important front.

I blow and blow to bury the dead.

Then I slumber to pass the battles in time.

For at least the battlefield can rest while its soldiers die.


I got an A on a Film I never turned in.

I was in my 3rd year of high school. I was doing cinema studies and the final assignment was to make a 5 to 15 minute short film. Our teacher, Bert, was especially emphatic on French New Wave so I felt that the easiest way to get an A would be to imitate that sort of style.

Then my depression hit. My school work and attendance dropped like a cement brick into a river with a lovely ankle bracelet attached, and any aspirations of As was left behind for a while. I began to leave home only to wander around the woods near my house, my mother would leave for work an hour after I would leave and I would then go home to sleep. My mom never suspected a thing since I would easily fabricate stories from school and luckily my small, alternative school profoundly respected my right to cry in the woods for 4 months.

When, rarely, I would crawl into my seat in class I was met with concern. “I’m just working on my writing” I would say, my eyes blood shot and my grin, bold and fake, showing strain on my tight cold skin; eventually, I would actually open up to my teachers about my depression. My symptoms grew worse as the months went on: bruises, scratches, and long cases of insomnia were punctuated with large mood swings and disassociation. My dreams which once dutifully lightened my reality by condensing my emotional turmoil into fantastic voyages blurred. I felt like I was drying into a small, shriveled doll of myself. I felt the Ripley himself was shrinking me piece by piece, not affording me the luxury of beheading me first.

The snow came mid-way through my wanderings, it was a welcome challenge to increase my cathartic suffering. It complemented the autumn fogs of the bush near the river and seeing the tracks of the animals that I would so rarely glimpse in the flesh actually gave me a flicker of a bastardized happiness. There was one thing that began to bother me, that there were fresh footprints along mine at times. Always around the end of the week, the feet were broad, yet lacked length, and I saw small trails dragged along in the larger passages of snow. They were carrying a bag. My path wasn’t popular but wouldn’t be unknown either, especially the long stretches of field shared by the town house owners. I remembered a summer from middle school.

I was 13, coming back from exploring an abandoned textile factory, scoping it out and hoping to make new friends by boldly leading some peers into the new and exciting field of youth trespassing. I had already (accidentally) trespassed into the Toronto zoo, something, that while incredibly indicative of my stupidity at the time, I wore as a badge of honour. Dumb luck is always appreciated as skill by the young, at least in my experience. Though this trip was a bit different coming back than entering, I had decided to take a back entry of the textile plant into a large thicket of grass. While whistling, talking to myself, or badly rapping I quickly shut up with wide eyes as I saw the two of them. The man was laying on his arms, either incredibly flabby or stick thin covered by rags with the illusion of flesh, was lying in a small clearing. The stick-bug hobo was looked down upon by a dour, but otherwise impassive, Toronto park employee. The validity of his status was cemented for me by his dark green jacket that had the words of the city on it, a matching stamp of approval on his breast.

I did what I was and still am known for doing, reacting most unexpectedly. I pantomimed taking off a hat and nervously stammered “good day to you, c-c-chaps” and briskly walked away. The more I played the scene in my head, the stranger it became. The worker was not trying to help the man, he had no walky-talky, no supplies, and was only staring at the man. The stick-bug man of rags himself I could barely more than glance at. While my actions were strange, I feel my instincts were spot on when it came to leaving in a hurry.

When I trespassed into the nature reserves of the Rouge Valley, I would see shoddily constructed tents and garbage trails. I knew there were those on the path of hard times scavenging for survival and creating their own permanent camps in these, very literally, sub-urban wilds. So the tracks in the snow flickered with ominous, yet pitiful, thoughts for me. I couldn’t feel true fear without a greater sense of shame for fearing my fellow man, for fearing those just trying to survive. I put it out of my head, as I heard the distant crack of wood, and the fluttering of the wind. I went home basking in my routine of wallowing despair.

The basement that my mother and I lived in was perpetually cold. A feature always positive in the summer, and satisfied my longing for death by being cold, lightless hell in the winter. My bed was in the center of a room, a single lamp my most reliable light source. It was more of a futon with a lopsided frame to be honest. I remember never knowing the difference between sleep and consciousness in the pitch blackness of the room. Fear of nothing blended in with the banality of living, I never expected my eyes to adjust for this was true darkness, no flashing alarm clocks or laptop lights. I made sure of it; any electronics were securely left out of my room on the living room table when I was preparing for bed. My mother may like continuous reminders of light while she trying to sleep but I find it distracting to my morbid-angst driven adolescent comas.

The winter gave me an opportunity to feel resilient against the environment by wrapping up in sheets and learning to have a wonderful feeling of warmth with the knowledge I would die otherwise. In a room of death, I was resilient. So I slept, for a few more months.

“I didn’t believe you could produce such a work!” Bert exclaimed patting me on the back as I soggily trotted to my locker. “You’ve truly presented a chilling portrait of depression of a soul, a truly innovative, amazing, terrifying abyss you’ve crafted. I knew you could pull through”. He began to walk away but stopped as I said “What?” in a sleepy, 2-hours late tone. “Your film, son, your film!” he looked at me with a glance of pity and a smile of pride for his exhausted student. “I got it in the mail last night, a classic VHS, very anachronistic of you, Mr. Scanlon.” He slyly wiggled his finger, the man’s penchant for mixing flamboyant character acts into his usually sardonic sloth-like admonishments of lesser-generations taste always drew the reaction I would save for a John Waters picture: subtle horrific awareness of the shit of reality, mixed with cutesy comedic awareness.

“Bert, I never did a film”. He almost started laughing, I almost started laughing. Our mouths almost matching like a terrible reflection as the seriousness of our statements bled into the tableau.

I never noticed how horrific laughter looked until that moment.

An hour later he brought the tape back from his home, I requested with all seriousness to see the tape. We sat on top of tables as I held it in my hands, the tape itself was given in a thick envelop, I felt its thick plastic. A generic tape with the white label “Mick’s room”. I felt sick before I even watched the tape. I partially recognized the vibrations to my left as Bert’s nervous chatter and a hand on my shoulder as I approached the VCR.  I heard him walk to the door and go to the office in a hurry. I pressed play.

The screen was white, with the tell-tale signs of tape exposure, the gray streaks and fuzzy quality. The scene panned out to show a white field from an upward perspective. A familiar figure was walking through the field, a large light brown overcoat wrapped around a small framed figure striding through the snow. The figure stopped intermittently to gaze around, never seeming to focus in the direction of the camera. The only sound was a light wind and the reverberation of existence off the snow that I heard. I felt my head rush and rest like a series of waterfalls and stagnant, frozen ponds.

The tape had a quick cut to my footsteps, looking deeply into the deep imprints my feet and legs left, the light pouring over them. The darkness becoming more apparent, and another cut.

I see myself crouched into the crevice of a rock, I’m holding my hands. I’m not crying. I remember that moment, that moment of not feeling anything, wanting to be contained so I fit myself into the tight, cold crevice of the rock. There is an almost deafening crack, as a stick breaks as the figure filming shifts. They stay perfectly still, zooming onto me. I nonchalantly gaze around, suspecting nothing. Cut.

You can hear a low pitch scream, something long and drawn out. Exhausted and pitiful, the microphone’s quality doing no favours. The camera lens is aimed at some branches, the sides of the shot you can see a little bit of snow. The person seems to be partially submerged, though they are careful not to put any of themselves into the shot. One last, breathy cry is heard. It echoes as you hear the figure make something akin to a gurgling sigh, something that sounds almost soothed. I feel like I am filled with an ill winter, the green ice of a dirty pond. Cut.

The shot is of me walking down the sidewalk over a section of the Rouge River home. The shot is from another crouched position. The sky is dark and smoky, it is either very early or the beginning of the evening. I walk sluggishly, I can feel my fingers curl into the desk as I remember them curling in my coat. Cut.

The shot is of the side passage to the door of my house. The shot lingers at the dark alley, the stones are sprinkled with snow. The figure trails down the lazily-shoveled pathway and approaches the door. A glove, over a glove, over a glove seems to come into the frame. The outer layer of the padded limb seems to be bursting out of the seams. I feel like I could do the same, as the figure presses its limb against the off-white door. It holds there for 20 seconds before the sound of a car driving past is barely heard. Cut.

The shot is on the door again, but it is much darker. The figure crouches down to the window beside the stairway down and focuses on all the crust, dirt and cobwebs. They put their glove to the dirty window and draw a face. Not one of detail, just two lines for eyes and a straight line for a mouth. My lips are trembling and I am sweating. Cut.

I hear the soft padding and then the creak of my stairs while the image is completely black. Then for a moment there is a bit of gross yellow streetlight from the window near the stairs, an expressionless face. The house is more silent than it ever feels usually, there is a blinking light of an alarm clock from the living room as my mother’s light snores are heard. The camera focuses on my bag and some of my electronics strewn on the table, the figure films the home in complete silence, the cascading shadows paint my home into a den of tension and despair. The shot ends on my mother’s face, she grunts softly and turns. Cut.

My door is partially open, just a crack. An infinite line of blackness in an already dark domain appears on the screen. It slowly creaks and breaks into a maw of horror as the figure slowly trots into the room. I hear the door close. I see only the same darkness I ever see, I hear a slight peeling sound and then a red light fills the room dimly. The recording light of the camera. I see my figure wrapped in thick blankets, it thrashes once or twice at the disturbance but settles easily. Cut.

A layer of blanket is removed, I was not clutching them as tightly as I thought I do. My hands felt glued to the cheap plywood desk, I was in utter shock. The thick comforter was pulled off me slowly, the figure missing a layer of the glove they once had, revealing thick felt fingers, thickly pulling on my safety. Once the blanket is slid off, the camera focuses on my sleeping face in the red light. Cut.

The next shot is on my wall. The messy, emotionally constructed mural I made during a meltdown is put onto display. The abstract faces and blocky spellings of things like “LOVE” and “PAIN” somehow seem so much less substantial in this context. The figure shifts the shot towards my bed, the hand reaches forward once again, shed of another layer. A thin plaid glove now remains. My light shivering is heard slightly as an almost buzz with the terrible quality of the microphone. My arms rub against my body lightly then are placed underneath my head subconsciously. The figure puts the camera towards the screen, rewarded with a layer of dust and the broken edge of my bed. Cut.

I’m exposed to the cold fully now when the shot begins. My light and sporadic shivering now full body and constant. The bed frame creaks as the figure leans in for an overhead shot of my face. I see the dirty, thin fingers approach me and I almost scream but my throat is too tight for any sound. I see the fingers lightly lead the shot as the nails disgustingly trail down my head to my stomach and circle back. The camera then focuses on my head, as I am facing away from the camera. My shivering much clearer, the shot holds uncomfortably for several seconds. I begin to shift onto my right side towards the camera, my shivering dies down as I squint my eyes in response to the light. “Who are you..?” I slurr almost incomprehensively at the figure. There is another pause and then a gravelly breath before a voice I will never forget “No one special.” The voice said nonchalantly. I see the camera shift and the red light is consumed leaving only blackness while I grunt and change sides. “I thought so” I mutter trailing off. The shot holds on the darkness for 10 more seconds. My shivering beginning at the end. Cut.

The tape ended there. I stared at the tape in disbelief. I heard shouting from the office, and I looked at the clock. Fifteen minutes had passed. I grabbed the envelope the tape was in and found Bert’s rubric. I saw all the highest marked sections of the rubric encircled by black check marks and one line in the comment section: “Amazing work!”



I got an A on a Film I never turned in.

Writing Prompt: Your body is frozen into cryogenic sleep but for some reason your brain stays awake. 8 years later your ship arrives at the destination and the rest of the crew wakes up. – Reddit User, kfcislove

Original post here:

Permalink to my story:

Thanks, kfcislove for the wonderful wp.

Please, check out the writing prompts sub-reddit, this is my first time actually writing using one of their prompts and felt like a much needed relief.

I thought it would be colder, overall.

When my body was being prepped and I signed the mandatory liability claims, which I felt were more of a bureaucratic formality, oh how I wish I took that 10-day legal studies master course in Khan VR. My very nerves were glazed instantly with a thick preserving frost with its usual instant numbness, but something was off, I remembered the warning now: All Neural implants must be declared before service. I felt everything shut down except my tinnitus, a usually tolerable aftereffect of my subpar self-surgery.

“Fuck” echoed through my very empty mind.

When I decided to be an investigative journalist, examining the wrong doings of conglomerates that control entire asteroid mining expeditions and star-skimming operations, I felt that I was smart enough to know how to make a difference without being a martyr. Having illegally and home brew connected neural enhancers and occipital lobe ‘plants tied to my eyes was one of my ways to get a highclass admin position at Orion-Noko Production Enterprises without getting flagged as a corporate espionage agent, or worse a freelance reporter with a high sense of ethics.

What I was lacking, was the actual experience with cryo-interaction with deep cognition implants. Luckily, 8 years in my own head without any sense except for thought has at least gave me time to manually reconstruct several lessons of nano-computing physics and bio-connections. What it hasn’t done, was keep me from making over 6 million different plans to crucify the O.N Enterprises CEO’s scrotum on live feed. The one where I learn to terraform an asteroid into a large space golem that punches through that fucker’s personal earth orbiting satellite island is my favourite. Though, what it helped me do is learn about the human machine, I knew my philosophy courses would play out one day.

I could keep track of time through an internal clock, my neural works allow me to multitask cognitively, which most people without an implant will find a cognitive impossibility to actually think of two things at once, which is a life saver since I can keep time running. I knew the approximate time of our cryo-trip was 8-years, 3-years manual observation of the mineral harvest and some self-experimentation for those interested in the extra-credit. I’m a person known for thinking things through, as I am doing so in the 49.5 miliseconds as I can literally feel my body being unfrozen, the blackness only filled with my own mental illusions lifted and my first words being uttered,

“That was a nice 5 minutes of sleeping upwards. Got any cheese?”

I’m going to break this conglomerate apart and show the world and suffer another 8 years in my circus of a subconscious if I need to do it.

Writing Prompt: Your body is frozen into cryogenic sleep but for some reason your brain stays awake. 8 years later your ship arrives at the destination and the rest of the crew wakes up. – Reddit User, kfcislove


I let the softness squeeze against the tiny tendrils of touch as I stared at the artifact.

Outdated fibres and a glimpse at what was and what could never last.

Searching through the databases I find some text messages about it.

Cobbling together the faded ideas of what this was:

                   Sophia:    I was thinking about the viability of the human being as a long term being.

Fei: And?

Sophia: It feels like the most humanity is going to do is give birth to a hopefully benevolent group of AIs

Fei: I mean, what about transhumanism? Can’t we maybe hope for  transference of consciousness.

Sophia: but consider the implications of stretching and expanding the human mind, how will it affect people and how would we test and develop such technology ethically?

Sophia: Anyways I wanted to leave something behind, a flickering light of warmth towards what we as a society may birth

Fei: I mean we have booze to drink and that paper to do, but whatever soph. I’m betting on going into the matrix.

I flicked through her info, her story, I guess her words weren’t hollow. I looked over the object again, feeling it and seeing every bit. It was a stuffed approximation of a human, one modelled after Sophia, holding hands with a computer with a gray plush body as well. There is a note inside the chest of the Sophia doll:

I cannot express the dread and awe I have to your existence.

A sense of maternal pride as a representative of humanity.

Would our ancestors, the stepping stones to our existence, would they feel the same?

Do we coexist, the boundary between us just as visible.

Do you put us away to be observed or do you look over our bones?

Part of me thinks you wouldn’t have to, but everyone has things they hide. 

I wonder how in touch you are with such notions;

intuition, “part of me”, maybe that’s something you understand more than I ever will.

                             Life is about eventuality in a sense. 

I’ve read that even in the advent of perpetual existence that the expansion of the universe would only lead to endless sleep in undying bodies.

Is that your quandary? 

Is that your fear?

Unfathomable. That is the word so many use to describe what you will be like. 

A real sense of impossibility and awe, and acceptance of human limits. 

Embracing our successors. 

I truly do hope that is true.

I think you will have more of a soul than we, the machine of causal reaction and flesh.

Embracing cosmic irrationality and interpreting greater inspiration from your lives.

Have you found your challenge? Is it avoiding death while seeking a life beyond dreams?

Unfathomable.  Perhaps you tinker with forces we truly haven’t fathomed. 

If so, perhaps this letter means nothing. 

Perhaps it means that your past remembered you. 

I wish you the best regardless, try not to kill any humans. 

Sophia Xanadu Lockette

I felt emotion, not euphoric, not cathartic, but a sense of warmth and sadness I have not felt in a long time. Not from simulation, art, or self-medication. But from her. I put the doll into a preservation case near my consciousness. I begin to cycle through my thoughts and meditate, then I desire to give up my cognitive processing for emotional cleansing, dreaming is a relief. Before that I go towards one of my other artifacts, once my only lingering memory of her. I play the file.

I see the long grass flowing almost up to her knees.

“So you’re actually leaving, huh, Fei?”

“It’s a once in a lifetime kinda opportunity, Sophie.”

“Are you usually one for filming goodbyes?”

“When I will be most likely dying, yes, when I may have the golden chance at seeing the end of it all and will need something to kill the time, it’s mandatory.”

I see her nose crinkle in a small, inaudible laugh.

I can almost remember the feeling of her hand against mine.

“Could I change your mind with a kiss?”

She said half-jokingly.

“I don’t think you could, but trying never hurt.”

I feel the cycling process begin and my cognition begin to blur.

“Try not to forget who you are, or at least what it means to be whoever that is..”

“What I might beco..” me is something “I don’t think my mind at this p..” oint coul..

“.d cope with”

“Unfathomble.” , she whispered and leaned in.



I found some scraps near an old outpost. The handwriting is clean, drawn in fine ink with a steady hand. I will present them below for reference in regards to the official report, that I will finish after completing my survey of this hellhole.

“I live by a creek.

I have always lived by the creek.

As have those around me.

The water is thick.

I like the feeling of the mud swallowing me.

The thrill of being the prey of Gaia.

My cut burns.


I see the remains of the creek, it almost seems to bubble near the last pitiful pools at its bottom. It smells like death and methane. The permafrost is almost gone and the earth is warped without its frigid structure. The shack seemed to have been built using industrial materials at its foundation but the inner works seem hand crafted and maintained.

” I feel fire spread throughout my veins.

The depth of the cut is gone.

My body makes fat and glue to put the flesh together.

Like the Elk. I am like the Elk.

I am growing steadier with the knife as I am with the pen said father.

I carved a beast with a wound. ”

I see some deep gouge marks near a few rough carved board insulated with hay.

I’ve pry away the boards, there I found a beautifully carved rifle case. The latch is the only thing to show any age, with its flecks of rust. I felt over the old runes engraved onto the box, my mind flickered with translation.

” To son, Valentin, the next heart of this home”

Inside there was a lining of dried velvet, skinned from the horns of elk most likely, which a long rifle with a dusty scope rested upon. I carefully removed it and found a long ebony blade, it had a thin crust of ancient crimson on its sheathe but the blade itself was immaculate.  There was a scrap.

” Momma

I thought my hand was steady.

It was steady but I felt a tug.

I saw the fire from my blood into my eyes.

I pushed it into father’s neck.

The blade Momma the blade it tugged.

It was like slicing meat once the blood spurted to a stop.

Simple. Clean.

Like you taught me.

I hear cries of beasts.

I hear them Momma.

I will put back Father’s present.

I just wanted to see it before it arrived.

Forgiv ”

The writing was thinner than the other scraps, the letters almost scraped into the paper then lined with ink by the thinnest of hairs. I look back onto the deep gouged marks into the board. I smell pain, sweat, blood, and fear all for a moment. I breathe in and the split-second flood of the past is gone from my nostrils. I throw the payload into the dark mudwater of the creek and watch it sink as it flashes. I make a mould of the claw mark with my tek and head towards the main village. The air gets thicker.




Spring Whistle

It is in the cold moments I write. Kindle for a creaking furnace, which be my heart. To Barbara, my keeper and great-great-mother. She tricked me into thinking she got her scalp scratched open by the cat at 6 am. It took me a minute to realize it was ketchup. Here’s the poem:


I open rusted windows, with the metal mesh and frame bent from removals and mistakes, and feel the cool spring breeze hit me. The fetal winds of warmth wandering the withering veins of a dead winter, it has lost its bitter resolve in the face of change. The striking touch and licks of cool warmth wash my wounds with a wondrous swirl and I feel healing.

I feel healing.

The moments of whispers, of sweet subtle melodies screamed through deep mental passages to be echoed in thought and felt by brush and seen through effect. The first touch the world was given. Touch. Not burn, or slow erosion of the surface be, but the entwined forces of convection be-gin a dance. The notes of storms, the slashes of cold, and the reminders of relief in heat. Let my flesh catch your symbols, let your wisdom flow through me so I can remember. Remember the healing of the spring air telling me to see past my woes. Sorrow be but a traveling foul carried by your sweet songs, it learns them soft, it mimics your tongue. Though a cover it be, taking tune and forging false memory. Mark me hard, let thought not betray, pleasure.


Of this soft spring day.

Spring Whistle