Surrealscape # 4

A grey patch of skin. Rendered even more grey by the fluorescent hospital lighting. Everywhere its gleam, nowhere to hide. No dark, grey corners in which to hide. You want to ask them to turn the lights down. Never-ever would you have asked to be on display like this. There is an odour of citrus verbena, a sharp chemically sting. You stare into the grey patch of skin, endeavoring a sinkage. Zip! sink into the greydom. Your kingdom of protection, right below that needle stuck into the crook of the inside elbow. A nurse in bright green scrubs moves around the curtain (patterned some sort of ugly, some sort of awful). What is this fluorescence? Your eyes are burning. You sit up. She looks at you.
“Oh, awake? Well this is good news.”

The fluorescence burns; you need to convey the urgency to her, to make it go away. Mouth opens. “Can you you that see it is like this, see, the blights and too blight in, so action should be, for me, ears too blight.”

The nurse’s face twists into perplexed concern. She walks hurriedly out, saying something to herself which you cannot catch. Words are not the well-trained monkeys they once were. Ischemic circumstances have turned them into the most aloof and defiant of cats. This searing luminosity…and now your tongue’s betrayal… The more uncomfortable and confused and afraid you become, the harder you stare at that grey patch of skin around the needle. The blue-grey vein looks mighty appetizing. You begin to see the individual skin cells. They are growing up around you…or are you shrinking into them? Either way you’re thankful, since they are now blocking some of the neon glare. Down the rabbit hole you go. Sequential squeezings, and the scale of things swells. The epidermis rises thickly around, then over as you drop into a flowing warm liquid that cools your scalded body. It is red, bright. You’re being carried through a quickly-moving stream of bleeding red. Safely enclosed within yourself, brightness is now friendly – and it is everywhere. Composition of events: they are shredded, twisted, then wrung out wetly into the great inverted bathtub of the world.

You arrive somewhere. The stream has dropped you off, tumbled you out onto very uneven ground. Dripping colours and strange shapes confound the eye. Brighter, brighter, ever brighter…the reds are bleeding, the blues crying, the greens, well, they’re photosynthesizing. Small hillocks protrude here and there, and extending everywhere, this crinkly, spongy landscape that trips you up. The air is dense and moist. A signpost rolls into view: “Sylvian Fissure, a.k.a. Lateral Sulcus”. Walking ahead, you see tall branching structures that look like trees. Walking ahead, you see an enormous curved wall that rises many feet higher than you are tall. At first glance, it looks as if scores of thick, striated trunks had fallen down and fused together. Then, peering in closer, you notice hundreds of long, segmented tubes sticking to each other in the way that red vine candy ropes stick to each other in their corn-syrupy glory. Each tube has a different colour range. (For instance – the one you’re putting your hand on now has a green range, with each segment a different shade or tint or pigment of green. The tube is warm. Fingers detect a pulse of heat zipping along inside at regular intervals.) A voice from a ways down the length of the segmented green tube speaks.

“Why hello there, sssir.”

You place the sound as coming from a roundish shape at the end of the tube. He looks friendly enough. He looks like a green tree snake with a head full of goiter. You don’t trust your words (as you never trusted cats) but walk down closer to the bulby thing that seems to have spoken. On the way, tiny twin pairs of lights blink in and out of existence all around. Surprisingly visible in the riot of colour, they are stuck in the heads of small, fat, feathery creatures perched on branches. Owlish, all right. They make low moaning noises: “buuuuuuu…” On the way, little girls – five? ten? twenty? chase each other through the saturation, deftly jumping over spongy hillocks as they giggle. What on earth are they doing here? Wait – who on earth are they even? They don’t match the owl-critters. But no time to glean an answer…they run away from you too quickly, and the cytoplasmic head is beckoning.

“Sssooo, you enjoy ssstroking my myelinated axon, do you? I don’t blame you, I’m quite proud of it mysself. Did you gather sssome heat from my electrochemical sssignals? They are quite zzippy and toasty thiss time of day. Pluss I am part of the great Arcuate Fassciculus, if you hadn’t noticed. Our sssignals are sssome of the zzippiest around.”

As you begin to attempt to answer, the brightness around you intensifies further. Suddenly, all is turning white. Colours palpitate and drain away as if they were the dirty buildup of years, finally pressure-washed off the surfaces they clung to. In fact, nothing could be more untrue. You needed the colours…As visual emptiness ensues, eyes dart about for bits of remaining information. By now, only the outlines of your surroundings can be perceived. Thin grey lines hover noncommittally around or near, above or under the contours of ground humps, dendritic trees, the vast curved wall. Ten seconds pass and now even the contours have disappeared. You try to think a thought, but the girls’ giggles grow louder and gobble up all contemplation. Then, absolute silence. Complete and blinding whiteness. Black out.

When you come to, it smells of sulfur and smoke. Surroundings are discernable once more. But, what seemed like an aerosol-sprayed scene from the pulpy woods of someone’s cerebrum now looks like a blackened scene from the pulpy cerebrum of someone’s forest. You trip over a complex network of roots, and the formations crumble to dusty ash. Those were filaments of protoplasm extruding from cell bodies, turned to root networks and back again – but now, just ash. The colours are replaced in toto by blacks, greys, whites. Whitish-greys swath elements in jagged gashes: fallen tree trunks, trunks standing cracked apart, mucilaginous mounds (the mossy boulders that are your mind meat). Whitish wounds wind their way around and around. Edging the white everywhere is a black blacker than the rest of the greyish-black. Burny bits abound. Charred flakes of bark. All, all, vestiges of the most epileptic storm to have ever crackled through the first gyrus of your temporal lobe. You are indeed at the site of the damage. Reliving the accident from a more intimate perspective. Welcome to Wernicke’s Area! It is recommended you vacation elsewhere.

Exploring further is an adventure in not making things crumble. King Midas you’ve become, but ash is the new gold, and stepping about the ruins causes a fit of coughing as you inhale rising clouds of dust. Dead girls lay sprawled about, their formerly bright dresses chalked the same indeterminate non-colour as their skin. The owl-critters’ orbs are dark in their heads. Then, there is a light. No, wait – two lights. Oh. All over, twin lights coming back on. Gleaming pairs of spheres stare unblinkingly. You see them ahead, you see them returning in your left and right peripheries. Christmastime twinkling has begun again! In their phosphorescence, the burny bits don’t look so bleak. You address the nearest bird-thing:

“Excuse, I’d like thinking know and how, how has it happened, is here, the disaster?”

He stares at you unblinkingly, his crescent beak clamped together.

“They don’t, you know, it’s the talking, no it doesn’t… we do it though. Slad, blastering how all is, you agree, yes. Those – greeble pinkers, not real for longer. We stuffed it. Blights just electric, not eyes for longer. In order that we sense better.” This particular cellular face (out of the billions composing the tree-like structure on whose branch the bird-critter sits) looks at you in a particularly sad way. But the others are sad too – a more homogenous sad. Each cell body face is rounded, ashen, innocent-seeming. They gaze at you with sad but hopeful cytoplasmic eyes. They think maybe you’ll fix it. They have no idea that you have no idea what you’re doing here.

“…this, it is, rabpit and such, extensive discoloration, this waltzing death of yes and tissues…every impairment and frustration where, caused yes…”

“A blight, a blight to here this forest…”

The odour of citrus verbena wafts to your nostrils from somewhere far away and very near. Far, far above, taking place in dimensions and quantities much larger than here, the nurse has come back into your room and is wiping down the surfaces with antibacterial wipes. The surfaces are very white under the fluorescent lighting.

“He was saying something about blight…I think he meant light? Because he was holding up his arms, trying to shield his eyes it seemed…”

Lemon and light smack your face. Lifting your eyelids as slightly as possible, you’re given a glimpse of bright green scrubs encircling arms protruding into hands holding a clipboard. She seizes on the opening of your eyes, even though slight, and comes up to you, mouth open, words falling out (it must be a mistake, let it be a mistake!):

“Twas brillig and the slithy toves, did gyre and gimble in the wabe…all mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe…?”

~ by kingzoko on June 28, 2010.

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