ZERO :: the Fool (annwyd) wrote,
ZERO :: the Fool
annwyd

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For thenowhere: The Bluest Ink


I remember sky.
It was blue as ink.
Or at least I think
I remember sky.

I remember snow,
Soft as feathers,
Sharp as thumbtacks,
Coming down like lint.
And it made you squint
When the wind would blow.

And ice like vinyl
On the streets,
Cold as silver,
White as sheets.
Rain like strings
And changing things
Like leaves.

I remember leaves,
Green as spearmint,
Crisp as paper.
I remember trees,
Bare as coatracks,
Spread like broken umbrellas.

And parks and bridges,
Ponds and zoos,
Ruddy faces, muddy shoes,
Light and noise
And bees and boys
And days!

I remember days,
Or at least I try,
But as years go by,
They're a sort of haze.
And the bluest ink
Isn't really sky.
And at times I think
I would gladly die
For a day of sky.


The door hissed as it opened, but not like a snake or a cat, not like anything in nature. Gabriel liked to fancy that a hint of something natural hid in that sound, and sometimes he almost convinced himself, but only because he hadn't heard a real snake or a real cat for years. It was hard to remember how many years, sometimes.

The doors hissed again, this time as they shut, and the doctor approached Gabriel, clipboard in his hand. "Good morning, Subject #7," he said.

"My name is Gabriel," said Gabriel. This exchange was a morning ritual and had been for as long as the doctors had been checking in on him. It never changed.

"Very well," said the doctor. Sometimes the doctor's side of the ritual varied, depending on how new they were, or how much sleep they'd had, or how distracted they were, but never by much. "Did you sleep well?"

"As well as I could," Gabriel said. Unlike fickle mortals, whose thought patterns flickered and changed and shifted the minute details of memory, Gabriel could remember the exact way every morning ritual over the years he'd been here had gone, and his end of the conversation never varied by a single word. He was constant where they fluctuated.

"Is there anything we can do to make you more comfortable?" asked the doctor.

"You can release me from this rack," said Gabriel. Only the countless needles and the drugs they supplied kept him from feeling the agony of having his wings spread out like blueprints on the medical equipment to either side of him.

This doctor was used to the ritual, and so he merely chuckled lightly and did not attempt some awkward response. Instead, he skipped ahead. Sometimes the doctors did that. "What did you dream of last night?"

At first, before the ritual had been formalized, Gabriel had declined to answer this question. The doctor in those early days had reacted by turning a dial, and suddenly his head had filled with a terrible buzzing. "We don't need you to answer that question," she'd explained as she removed the discs on which the dreams were recorded and examined some readings on the bank of computer screens. "It's just preferable to having to extract the correlations directly from your brain. Much simpler, and more humane." He'd felt sick from the extraction, if that's what it was, for the rest of the day.

Now he said, "I dreamed that a cat took my place in the Heavenly Host. I dreamed that I walked down to the end of a pier holding a woman who was my mother and then flew away with her. I dreamed that God spoke to me here and granted me His Presence, in order to tell me to play more love songs instead of hymns. I told him that I could no longer play anything at all, but that I wished he had asked me to play love songs long ago, when I was able to, because I always liked them better than hymns."

"Did you dream of any actual songs?" said the doctor.

"No," said Gabriel.

The doctor made some adjustments to the instruments lining the walls, marked some notes down on his clipboard, and removed the dream discs. He turned to go, indicating that the morning ritual was almost done, save for the traditional ending.

"Why are you keeping me here?" Gabriel asked.

"I'm sorry," said the doctor, "but we can't compromise the integrity of the system by telling you that." This part rarely varied at all. It was a scripted response.

"I see," said Gabriel, although he did not; in fact, secured and bound as he was, his vision was limited to a narrow range.

The ritual was finished. The door hissed again as it opened and once more as it closed after the doctor, who started down the corridor to the computer that processed the dreams of angels into humanity's prized virtual reality system.
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