Excerpts

Erin Lani – Force This Evolution

The ground quakes and quivers as it gains on the panicking prey. Below the surface, the resonating tempo of an animal running, paws furiously beating the ground, obviously hindered by a lame limb. They salivate: An amalgamate swarm of indigenous moles and manipulated DNA.

Hardened mud bursts like a new stream swallowing territory in a used and forgotten landscape. This subterranean topography populated has been turned and wasted by the ravenous experiment. The animal’s skin absorbs and digests the soil it swims in, the rocks it no longer circumvents, and the roots that scent their world sweeter than sugar which have disappeared in its relentless hunger. Everything is theirs and this animal is no different – the delight of the hunt runs fluid through its body – extremities squeeze viscid mucus from sebaceous and sudoriferous glands moisturizing thousands of mouths on every facial node in motion – mouths leading to absorbent membranes digest life and vomit death.
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Zachary Teixeira – Hornet Legs

It had set in upon her the first day that no one came back. She felt hungry, the wet cool fluids stopped filling and stretching her skin. The warm rush of clean new air that welcomed each morning didn’t come, and she slowly slumped towards the ground. The tingling constriction around her joints, where her bulging flesh usually pressed, melted away slowly. She couldn’t fight the morning’s cold or midday’s bright heat. Exhaustion and loneliness led her mute into the slow decay she barely had the energy to even acknowledge anymore.

Instead she floated somewhere between unconscioussness and the buoyant spring of her youth. She had loved to suck all of them in, their hands stroking the oily slick of her insides, the reliable hush as they were confronted with the pulsating frothiness of her endless cavities. The dizzy lull of her whispering pierced by the rolling tolling of their satisfied anticipations. The noise and color of everyday was something she never took for granted, and now gave her some place to rest her mind now that it was gone.
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Zachary Teixeira – Horsehead Nebula

Bud initiates the space program and engages the holographic feature on his Lenticulax IFD for the first time. Images of the Horsehead Nebula shimmer and peel out of the screen. He groans delightedly. The wispy nebula cloud emanates in waves around him, and he can actually feel it on his skin. He’s inside now, the rough fibers of the recliner are the feeling of his physical world to recede. He floats through the brilliant nebula, then towards a nearby star approaching nova.

The light suddenly shifts. It burns so bright Bud can barely see his hands. The screen pulls at him violently, and air rushes past him into the screen. He tries to access the interface commands but nothing responds, his hands grope for the sides of the screen but he can grasp nothing. He screams, but like in space no sound comes out.
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Julian Brummitt – Lawnmower

The problem with the sheep was that its mouth was too small and too slow. Perhaps not even necessary if one could perform the necessary task of mulching the feed for the animal. With the sheep on the table and restrained, Hubert set the knife to the mouth of the sheep and pressed into it. Piercing the knife into the cheek of the sheep produced thick pulse of dark red. The contrast of red to white produced a discernable line across the neck of the sheep. He thought of her lipstick, that line where the edge of the lipstick clarifies an immediate transition between membrane tissue and epidermis. The docile behavior of the sheep came to an abrupt halt as the sheep kicked in response to it. It squealed and squirmed, knocking over a can of nails and smearing blood all over the table. Splashing some across Hubert’s cheek. Hubert found the wrathing and turning of the sheep a plausible concern with the work he was about to perform. He had not expected such resistance from such a docile little creature, but it was reasonable that this would continue throughout the operation. He decided further restraint would be necessary. Perhaps if he knocked the sheep out, that alone would be restraint enough, but the question came to mind, how hard do you hit a sheep to knock it out? And with what device. He had a hammer, but it seemed plausible that the sudden impact of the hard metal might fracture the skull, or rupture it to a point which might take months to repair. Perhaps a rubber mallet might do better, but the same risks were involved. Was it even possible, do sheep get knocked out? The more Hubert thought about it, the more difficult the answer seemed to be. He didn’t want it dead, the sheep would have to remain alive. This task would require further restraint. So he went about it.
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Batliner Curime – Extensions // 2.0

Rattling, beeping, creaking, rustling noise of overlaying, interfering frequencies .. go go! The gate is open. “Zeros” dash through a maze of connections, and classes, in the search for the correct receptor. “Ones” on the hunt, an interplay of combinatorics. To the top, to the bottom, from the front to the back, they sort information in prospect for the match. Points get connected to lines, combined to form surfaces, building volumes emerging to objects, results of a higher logic, extensions of the human brain. Written down in numbers, thought in combinations, the elements “zero” and “one” transform to something that goes beyond.

By magical hand, emerging out of fantasies following rules of physics and mathematics, it forms a short clanking sound. Once just an idea, written scratched, programmed, it has found the connection, its partners ready for exchange.
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Keely Colcleugh – Goblin

Sulking in the corner. A flaccid belly angry in anticipation. Gathering, heaping, sifting and grinding at all this pillowing decay, she cuts loose. The stale old filth under this bed is soon sucked up with the rest of the rot. My old lady is never satisfied. Gathering speed, and with spasmodic binges, she just grows fatter.

Wailing and shrieking along a frantic route her brittle skeleton and turgid bladder dance together in a cloud of electrostatic rapture. Chattering teeth crunch the floor along their drunken path. With her great spread mouth and iron lips raked prized are sucked up through a narrowing lined in ancient crust. She begins to howl with delight.

The old gluttonous actress purges, then carries on. Tendrils of matted fiber, dried paste of yesterday’s suppers. All are devoured in rasps and scrapes licking at every remote crevasse and fissure, probing the dark dank depths of domestic space in ceaseless rotation. Her tired heart trolls on licking up the flakes and knots and leaving behind perfectly a swabbed and tidy abyss. For now.

With each turn of the wheel a growing void replaces the tasty soft traces of time.
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Betsy Cole – Bound by Truth

The rats. So many rats. Swarming, screeching passionately, devouring something. Bodies. Human bodies. Their heads covered to the neck, their gloved hands splayed out on the dirty floor. Their otherwise naked bodies laid out in obsessive grid-like perfection, equal spacing, straight lines, on black rubber tarps protecting the hard ground below them, and attached at four corners to wires dripping from a mechanical apparatus on the ceiling. Uniformed guards walked the aisles of corpses, overseeing the work. Her repulsion overwhelmed her and her stomach convulsed without warning as her disobedient throat seized in desperation. She was sure they would hear her fear, her panic. Suddenly aware her eyes were shut, she opened them, not wanting to, as she slowly backed toward the wall, her delicate hand searching for unseen obstacles behind her. The guards had not yet noticed her, she could still escape this orgy of death. But then something caught her attention and that of the guard’s simultaneously. One of the bodies; it moved. Not the swarming emergent movement of rodent competition, but a larger, slower, graceful movement. The body was alive.

She had heard of this in the old research journals. The restorative power of their saliva, but it was too horrible to imagine continuing the research. To subject oneself to the damage, the pain, the disgrace. They were abominations. Resurrected through the mutant rats, long abandoned by the military unit that had once occupied these massive architectures. The victims would be revived, yes. But mangled, disfigured, covered in the wounds of the vermin’s gnarled yellow teeth, permanent reminders of the revolting event which had transpired. Born anew, but a decrepit life, back from the dead, a shell of former self, disoriented, confused, vaguely aware of what it had been through, struggling to remember why it had been subjected to such terror.
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Ruben Alejandre – The Kroll Process

— excerpted from the Wasteland, a ruined world in which Gabino’s ability to build wings is the only escape.

He worked for hours and hours only pausing to drink water whenever his alarm would go off. When he finally finished he stepped back and looked admiringly at the wings but only for a minute for there was much work to be done and very little time to do it in, he did not know how much longer his body could hold out in the state he was in. He must check the weight now, he thought. Gabino took off his apron and stripped every article of clothing that he had so that by the time he was done he was standing there naked in front of the wings, at this point anyone that could see him would be taken aback by how thin and frail he truly was. The skin stretched across every bone and tendon of his body, very little muscle mass remained, he was a walking corpse. Gabino stepped underneath the harness and slid each hand in between the harness straps. He tightened them across his chest and when he felt that everything was securely fastened he released the wings from the pulleys that held them in the air. The wings were light, very light, even for his frail body. Behind him was a scale so he stepped back onto it and tilted his head down to read the weight. There was a look of disgust and disappointment as he realized that he was still over the weight limit. The night’s success had been tainted by this minor failure but he would not let it discourage him.
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Fabian Hutter – The Embedded Alien

[English translated version]

How did you end up here?
The yawning mouth wide open, no dread of neighbors, you have made yourself comfortable in the corner.
Stretched limbs, crowded your heavy mass. Cotton soft, you seem to be formed by exterior forces.
With projecting eyes, pupils continuous and clear, you hold contact with the outside world.
Contemptuous is your look towards your neighbors, these rectilinear inferiors of time.
Can you hear them? You don’t seem to care.
The pores widely scattered, distributed over your patterned garb, they give you air to breathe.
Arise, where you came from, the minds of the maniacs!.
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Ilaya Bourim – log.sys

The following log file was found as part of the research into the causes of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster. This research was initiated once the KGB archives were open for public access 25 years post disaster. The origins of this file are currently unknown. The only thing that is stapled to the envelope is the standard KGB recovery form stating that the contents were recovered in the “Red Forest” near the disaster site. There is some information about the media serial number, but apart from that there is nothing much. The contents of the printout are interesting. There are also two partly melted memory chips in a pink anti-static bag.
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Annija Gaskell – degenerative myopia

Beautiful beryl, azure gifts from Poseidon,
Longingly looking in the other direction.
Wishing wanting those gems to ponder,
Gazingly grinning on my reflection.
Clear cerulean seas of serenity,
Gingerly glistening a love song melody
Harmonious hegemony over my soul
Endlessly engulfing in fiery rhapsody.
Stormy seas refusing safe passage,
Thunderously thrashing love’s timid advances.
Rejected ridicule deluging paradise,
Decidedly drowning Eros’ unrequited dances.
Scathing sapphire swells of contempt,
Daunghtingly displaying monstrous revolting pupils.
Grotesque greedy vacuous crypt,
Luridly loathing circumstance scruples.
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Neo Garibay – Programmatic : Problematic

On the first day, of The Creation, there existed nothingness and space. A space that stretched beyond perception, beyond limit, and beyond constraint. That knew nothing of intelligence, nothing of object, and nothing of beauty. No awareness of its potential nor any awareness of the one transverse being that inhabited the nothingness and space simultaneously.

This transverse being, aware of its presence relative to the void, of unawareness, held the power to bare into fruition things that the void could never birth alone. To the transverse being, the void of unawareness symbolized a point in time and ultimately a starting point for The Creation: his own creation. It was at this moment, in the beginning, that he sacrificed a part of himself to give to the void.

And so, the transverse being reached down to his own being, squeezing firmly, to begin the process of secretion. And with each jolt and pursuant spasm he experienced that which the void lacked, beauty. Soft and repetitious the swarm, gooey instrument of utility of form. Foreseen ahead of warm, erect my chief to a form. Complex networks lock and retract. Erect my builder to a form. Ferociously scratching and tearing out from his soul, freely from within and out with a form. Spinning ribbons rejoice in the rejection and into the void.

Comprehension is not sequestered in privilege.
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Bijan Haghnegahdar – The Woods Walk

He woke that morning knowing something was wrong. Bad karma all around. No surprise then the door doesn’t open. No big deal, except it’s the only hole in this tomb. —

It takes two weeks, but it happens. Give it some heavy carving and lifting. Placement. Child’s play with real toys. Look mommy, I built a log cabin. —

Half a day in and the place is noticeably smaller. Seams of light are pouring in between logs. What a stupid idea. A simple cabin. No windows. No chimney. Just a battery operated light. A place to sleep. A place to stash food. Water. A place to hide. —.
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Astri Bang – Horrible Stave Beauty

Coming out from the forest we could see her standing there. Majestic and virtuous between pine trees and dim rays of light cutting through the thick foliage. The sun beams painted her old façade with light and revealed a dusty and cracked face. She sighed as the wind passed through her stale walls, the wooden paneling creaking as detritus and dust was blown off her thick skin. She sounded old and wise. And surely she was. She had been around for 800 years. Standing tall and proud on the very spot we were standing with her now.

Giving her old age, she still seemed coy and sinless like a blushing bride in her best appurtenances. Skirt upon skirt gave her a characteristic and feminine shape, while exquisite brass work and artistic carvings draped her like expensive jewelry and fine lace. Spires and detailed dragonheads crested her proud regal anatomy, and stretched their necks towards the sky.

I wrapped a hand around the cold doorknob. It was stuck. Maybe she wouldn’t let us in to her warm and dark bosom after all. We gave it a hard tug and with a painful cry she let go. Cobwebs inside were torn into pieces. Some still hanging on to the dry wooden walls of her inside, some clinging onto the opened door like a wound just opened.

I treaded gently through this sacred opening and found my way through her layers. Her insides smelling like subtle rot and decomposition. We stood in the middle of her great cavity. She wrapped us with darkness. Her cracks and wrinkles were even more visible inside, as sharp streaks of light cut dramatically through the ethereal space. I had always been bubbly and outgoing, but she demanded quietness and introversion. Her presence was substantial, and I had no choice but to obey her.
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Jacob Aboudou – When Time Becomes Organic

The rhythmic thump is quiet. Its more like the pitter patter of a light drizzle on the roof of your hover car. Its continuity determined by the energy in movement; each twitch and shiver from its host offer a stay from forced hibernation. I have lived with ‘it’ or one like ‘it’ embedded in my arm since I was a child. My mother insisted I have one installed, it was the best way to keep your kids safe in those days. The symbiote I had was durable and capable, it was my friend and guide, keeping me on my course through the turmoil of youth. The frailty of this arrangement was not concealed, as a symbiotic relationship it has developed over thousands of years, nurturing a mutually beneficial existence for both organisms. With each new generation we have grown together. The increasing need for the observance of time has yielded a new type of bond between human and escapement.
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Daniel Alajajian – Office Romance

I rarely see it as a transaction but once I allow them to touch me, its only part of my nature to reciprocate. All though the experience is short lived … they will always bear my mark. This part of the process excites me most. Although it slides through quickly with its thin and agile body, every time it happens, our relationship is reaffirmed. We both know how much we need each other. The creation of a perfect image is expected and fulfilled every time, but it becomes harder and harder to bring back the same passion to every page. Every cartridge is a new relationship and every page a new encounter. It’s true the mystery of each experience is still there. The characters are sometimes similar and the results are expected but the rhythm and motion are always the most pleasurable part. I enjoy the buildup, the tension of running back and forth.
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Phillip Ramirez – BAPA Mystique

BAPA’s mystique lies not in its loneliness or coldness but in its uncertainty. The uncertainty of place harbors excitement among its participants and horror for outsiders. It’s participants offer themselves to the buildings mass and matter. That mass is generated through its twisting and torqueing and penetrating figures. The participants reciprocate the performance. Captivated by its external austerity and internal sublime mass, occupying results in an architectural realm of the senses. The deeper space exhausts occupants through wrapping, folding and enveloping tighter and tighter to an overwhelming crescendo.
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Shinji Takagi – Alien & the Abject

After reading the article “Kristeva, Femininity, Abjection” written by Barbara Creed, several features appear in the “Alien” movie series that emphasize some sense of grotesqueness and abjection based on her explanation and interpretation of such effect in relation to a natural human reaction. There are several aspects Creed points out in order to emphasize the impression of abjection, and such aspects can be observed in particular scenes from Aliens. First of all, this creature has some features that evoke our common abject feelings. Its configuration is one of clear features. For instance, the darkness, shiny, and smooth texture of its skin already give us an impression of a foreign creature. Perhaps, it reminds most audiences of disgusting or geeky insects such as cockroaches or lizards. Also, although some features are completely similar to existent grotesque creatures or insects, the overall configuration still remains human in proportion. This juxtaposition of non-human and human configuration and features brings an unfamiliar interpretation to the audience with emphasis of abject characters. Additionally, several distinct features compared blur the boundaries between humans and creatures, such as saliva which has extraordinary stickiness and its blood which color is yellow and has strong acidity, distinguish it from the typical features of human being yet emphasizing the sense of grotesqueness. The emphasis of abjection is never accomplished without inheriting the existing natural elements of our world. Unfamiliar, grotesque, and abject aspects of expression are always created from redrawing boundaries between conventional and unconventional juxtaposition of several distinct characters. Creed concludes at the end of her article, “This, I would argue, is also the central ideological project of the popular horror film – purification of the abject through a ‘descent into the foundations of the symbolic construct’” (qtd. in Kristeva).
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Elana Pappoff – Watching

He Watches;
A never blinking eye.
Stares deep within her, through her.
He feels her fatigue, responds.
Catches her gaze, responds.
He is for her, because of her, apart from her.
A constant attendant;
Never Touching.
He Watches,
And he listens.
She brushes sunlight through her hair.
He savors the moment;
“What is it to feel the sunlight?”
It dances on her skin.
He Watches,
And he listens,
And he wants.
“What is it to feel the sunlight?”
Silver and gold strands,
She brushes sunlight through her hair.
She feels fatigue,
Hardly moves.
He Watches
And He Wants.
“What is it to feel the sunlight?”
To ‘feel’ light at all?
He Watches,
And He Wants.
Finally reaches, approaching her frame.
Her warm skin shudders,
Wires cross and spark;
He feels life, through her.
She’s timid; what to feel,
When pain is gone.

.
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