Thursday, 15 November 2012

Gustations Of The Cross - Friday Flash


The boy lost his footing and fell down. Although he'd gashed his leg, it was the jolt of the impact on the ground which his brain reacted to first. He burst into tears. He called for his mother, for such was his shock, he'd momentarily forgotten that she'd walked out on her nuclear family and would never hear his plaintive cries. He called for his father, yet he too failed to heed the call and ride to the rescue. The boy was on his own.

By now the tears were streaming so heavily, they were running into his mouth. They were salty on his lips and tongue. His nose was also emitting fluid. In wiping it with his arm, the mucus was smeared against his lips and again he tasted his insurgent self. He faintly recognised the taste from the smell of being housed in his olfactory apparatus. It had similar sapidity to his tears, but was more glutinous and full-bodied. It was clammy and warm on his tongue.

Finally his attention was wrenched to the pain in his leg. He was small and supple enough to bring the wound tenderly up to his lips. He sucked it to staunch the bleed. The blood hit him with an acrid, metallic taste. It made him want to retch. But he managed to maintain his labia over the laceration, until the bloodflow clotted and ceased.

*

The boy's father fell down. His son strode over to him and knelt down by his prostrate form. His father had been crying, but in his collapse the tears had ceased. Only the dirt trails down his cheeks gave evidence of their existence. The boy inclined his head towards the limp face of his father and flicked his tongue out, tracing the tear tracks. His father's dried tears had no taste to them. No saltiness or anything saline about them at all.

Mucus had collected under his father's bottom lip. The boy dabbed the pad of his little finger into the viscid spherule and felt it adhere to him. He slowly pulled his finger away, drawing the bead into an elongated string. He brought his hand to his mouth, folded all but his pinkie down and smeared some of the mucus on his tongue. While he could sense its consistency and texture, it to lacked for any sapidity.

There was a gout of blood from a depression in the back of his father's skull. The concavity took two of his fingers to span. Withdrawing them, he could see that they were covered in his father's gore. He rubbed his fingers together and the powdery red cruor was brushed from his skin. He returned his digits to the indentation and drove them through the fibrous plasma that had started to clot. His fingers could feel a warm, thick fluid beneath. He ensured they were coated in the serum by whirling them around, before once again withdrawing them. He followed the prints in his fingers, now cameo'd in red. He rubbed them together, but this time nothing fell away into the air.

He smiled and inserted those bloodied fingers deep into his mouth and brought his tongue up to plaster and plate the blood around every part of the inside of his mouth. There was no metallic tang, no smack of iron forcing him to wince. Nothing at all. And yet he relished it, every last layer clotting his own chinks and clefts in the membrane of his cheeks; the pits and perforations in the roof of his palate; the fissures and hollows in his gums and between the teeth. It tasted of ... Victory!

14 comments:

Jack Holt said...

I was captivated throughout, although, I must admit, I'm not actually sure I know what just happened! Still, I enjoyed it!

Helen said...

This boy sees life through taste and smell, but was he responsible for his father's demise? Or was he just assimilating the situation by taste, touch and smell?

Interesting piece.

John Wiswell said...

More tactile than what I normally expect, Marc! Was there any particular experiment to this?

Sulci Collective said...

Not really John. All started from the image of licking somebody's tears...

Tony Noland said...

The writing in this was very... fluid.

Kath said...

What caused the father and son to fall? Where are they? And is the son really tasting the difference between life and death here? Interesting piece, Marc.

Sulci Collective said...

well as is often the case for me Kath, I have my ideas about what the piece is about, but I wouldn't demand them to be the only reading of it. maybe when the w/e is over I'll lay out how I read the story?

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Ew! I can't help thinking that if his mother was there she would be saying, "Don't put that in your mouth!"

Larry Kollar said...

Seems like both father and son are mad, in their own ways. One crying for a father long gone, another relishing the flavorless demise of the father before him. Or had such time passed that the father was dessicated by the time the son came to him?

Very impressionistic piece, and like you say, it could be interpreted in many different ways.

Virginia Moffatt said...

Fascinating piece, could be read in so many ways. My interpretation is the son is seeing his dead father any years later and getting revenge for lack of love, but there are clearly others!

Cindy Vaskova said...

Captivating piece and an interesting read from you. I could deffinitely taste salt and blood while reading.

Laura Sedgwick said...

I'm a big fan of including smell and taste in stories, but I don't remember ever seeing one that dealt with them almost solely. It works very well.

Sulci Collective said...

okay, for what it's worth, here's how I conceptualised this piece:

The boy fell down and hurt himself, but his father wasn't around to soothe him. He was thrown back on his own sensations of tears, mucus and blood. Not only would he punish his father for such 'dereliction', he wanted to be sure that every last shared trait of him was removed, so that his father's blood, mucus and tears tasted of nothing at all. The boy didn't want to experience those sensations ever again, having inured himself in the way that he dealt with his own original tribulation. I always imagined he'd go after his absent mother next...

Adam B said...

Always the master class of language. So visceral and unique I didn't care what it was about.
Adam B @revahppiness