the story of the bile

Pawing its way toward the bile, the feral creature’s joints crack with each gesture forward. It was accomplished through sensation alone. Catching a breeze through soaked fur. Cold. Gasping. A wilderness surrounds. Yes, there it was—the sweet, sickly arrangement of bile, juniper, metal, anxious sweat. Viscous, rotten, foul! 

The dog’s tongue emerged in a tentative shape to taste the supple pool. But making contact with the pool, it becomes clear it is not edible, no, it becomes clear the bile does not have substance, does not have flavor, does not have texture, does not have weight, does not have mass. A low rumble intensifies, a pattern emerges in the liquid. A trap! Oh yes, a trap! Turning now to run in any direction, the dog is pulled tail first into the sticky pool. It is engulfed in fluid once again. Falling. Sniffing. Tasting now, it thinks, something like hot ash, wet with mucus. A layer of it coats the tongue, the fur, the eyes. 

Close your mouth, swallow, and yes, we are in a dark place. It’s so dark I can’t tell if we’re really alone. The only sound is that of our own desperate howl, sixty feet above. We are falling, yes. But there is no wind in our fur and no distance we will go. There is only warmth. Yes, like a bed of soft grass in the sun, on which we rest our heads. We become very aware of our pulse; it is proof we are not dreaming. Deeper now, into the ground, the wet ash hardens into stone. Our skin is dry, our joints are stiff, and our muscles freeze: rigor mortis. No, no! Oh, yes! Our paws are now stuck, extended forward. A body that freezes, yes, it is frozen. Hit with the force of a broken machine, hurled into the rubble. Crashing, shattering. 

The shards of the stone body levitate over a light of neutral tone. They are dragged as if with arrows. There is nothing here. No context, no environment. The space of a nearby dimension. The arrows, the arrows, the arrows which flip and turn and twist and zoom and stretch and move and drag. Enmeshed in triangles. Out of context, out of process. Isolated from the movements of process. The process that formed and would continue to form, now paused (though it carries on somewhere). 

A dream, of course, a dream a dream! The dog awoke near a river, electrified. Now starving, the dog sinks its teeth into something nearby. Savoring the shock, the metallic flavor, the blue juice—blue fumes like scorched plastic circle the creature’s head in a wreath. The scent of pine was absent. Unsevered, it would continue to form.

(Excerpt, Feral Devices)