Two hairless androgynous figures bind brass wire around a boy’s fingers. They move up his hands, towards his forearms. His finger tips become a deeper purple after each coil. His arms are now like pressed springs, held out from his sides, unable to be moved. The wires begin to hum.
The faint constellation Pyxis turned dark. Its three stars had blown out, and the supervisor for quadrant SQ2 was looking for the controller responsible. No star, let alone a constellation, had ever gone out for more than an hour. Now, a human might notice. And there were no spare lights.
In Miss Fallow’s grade 5 class, the tallest boy stood up and flashed his sharp teeth. He wore striped socks over the horns growing beside his temples, and his undersized winter garments couldn’t hide the unsightly thick hair sticking out of his waist and ankles. “Mino, sit down.” “I politely decline.”
“He’s a fucking menace, shitting wherever he pleases.” “We all shit wherever, Bob.” “Come here and let me shit on your head, Terry!” Five hedgehogs and two mice are arguing about ethically killing the bluebird living on the third branch in their tree. “Bob don’t. Terry get off the ground.”
The lighthouse keeper dumped his newborn girl into the saltwater. As she sunk an old pelican scooped her up. Despite the old man’s screams and pleas, the bird flew out to sea. She lived in the pelican’s beak until she was one. Just out of reach of her father’s light.
A homeless man leans down beside his sleeping friend surrounded by plastic bags filled with their possessions. He punches, with a knife, his friend in the gut until his whimpers stop. Watching through a camcorder is a boy. His heart rushes with every impact, he smiles over and over. “Cut.”
Cages stuffed full of birds swayed in the sea breeze over the lighthouse cliff. The bird’s feathers ruffled and puffed out between the wires. Salt and water circled their black eyes and crested their wings. The cages vibrated to the waves crashing below. And together the birds sang.
A black egg hummed with the passing of a comet. It startled the black chicken resting upon it, triggered the alarm of a research facility, and awoke an old researcher. The chicken’s feathers, skin, muscles, and then organs pealed away, revealing a black fused skeleton fused to the egg.
Behind a dumpster is a hole cut out of the grey brickwork. Inside sits a small naked man clutching a large pointy red hat, who stands at 4ft, but fits huddled into the 2ft hole. He is a Gatekeeper; who understands all languages, but speaks one know one thought to remember.
Knees touch the ground, my crown touches the roof, arms tucked to exposed ribs, my hands brace the walls, and my back is bolted to three brass pipes: water – sustenance – drainage, attached to the wall behind. At every hour the walls hum, rise with heat, and then slowly cool.