Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Bestiary Of You - Friday Flash

What’s your favourite colour? – Death – Do you mean black? – No, Death. Any colour represents the runt of the litter, those wavelengths not absorbed by host objects but spat back out into our beggarly, misappropriating eyes. But Death, Death is incontrovertible. There are no shades. Not a jot of any filtering out. Death is the absence of everything, not least all colour.

What’s your lucky number? – Don’t have one. Human behaviour on one mundane level is highly predictable, but as to its minutiae utterly inconstant. Beyond algorithm and stochastically unpermutational. Like infinity itself.

It was only when interrogated on your favourite fauna that you entered the game, if not entirely engaged in its whimsical spirit. You offered five specimens, uncountable on the missing fingers of your right hand, unable to fix upon an apex animal. The full quartet were untamed, non-caged. Predators, most beasts are one supposes, but typically none of your selections were so classically trite as the leonine.

Your first was the shark. You liked that it lidded its eyes when executing its attack. Like lovers who close their eyes when kissing, for what is a kiss but near kin of a bite? Consanguine kithing cousins. Also possessed of the best immune system in Nature. Sharks never get ill, they just get hunted by man deludedly seeking the elixir recessed deep in its cells.

Your second, not truly a predator it ought to be pointed out, the vulture. You were taken with its functionally ugly evolutionary determination, for glabrous pate and featherless scruff. Can’t reach its own bonce to preen the blood transfer off see. Which given that it cleans its legs by pissing on them, just means the bird is not a fan of golden showers. The vulture’s stomach acids resist all proxy chemical warfare that god throws their way with his pestilential carrion.

Your third meditative identification was the jellyfish. Serenely floating wherever the pull of the tides took it, a passive predator much like yourself you claim. Indolent energy saver, doesn’t breathe for itself and even its food is swept up for it in the dragnet of its filaments. It also offers the key to immortality, since it can regress from its diving bell mature form to the fully sedentary polyp and preserve itself intact.

Your fourth was the Biblical locus of evil. The snake with its panoply of adaptations. Snakes that spit, engorge, sidewind, play dead. The constrictors that squeeze and suffocate the very air. The sporting rattlesnake which gives you fair warning. The black mamba which uniquely of serpents will not duck a fight with humans, but turn and pursue at pace. The Taipan whose single bite contains enough venom to smite a hundred humans, but with only a single mouth containing just two fangs, it remains moot as to how it could bring about such a decimation squared, but you appreciate its commitment to overkill all the same. You married your own Medusa and quickly devoured her whole and took on her ophidian attributes. She had an Ouroborus tattoo across her spine. You have your fingers crossed that it proves prognostically auspicious. The fingers of one hand that is. 

Your fifth was the one that accounted for your fingers. The only creature you have actually met in the flesh, fur, scales, plumes, mesoglea. The tarantula also has an impressive array of weapons. You ignored its cascade of propelled hairs launched towards your eyes, brought tears to them. And while you floundered around temporarily denied of sight, overbalancing and unseeing of forest floor hazards, you toppled and fell. That human reflex derived from the apes of putting out a limb to break the fall, threw your hand back within the bailiwick of the tarantula who upgraded from its arsenal and sank its fangs into a couple of your fingers. You could have sought help, but you had been introduced to prodrome  Death. You were keen to watch its unfurling. The swelling, discolouration and blistering. The gaseous pressure from within the vesicles. The gangrene and putrefaction. Only when the fingers couldn't be saved did you go in for treatment to preserve the rest of you. You were grateful to the arachnid for smoothing your fears for Death lest the other four fail to deliver you perpetuity. 

1 comment:

Katherine Hajer said...

The loss of the fingers was set up nicely by the refusal to adhere to the basics of the word game. I've met people like that, who are willing to accept redefined Consequences, capital C and all.

"Your first was the shark. You liked that it lidded its eyes when executing its attack. Like lovers who close their eyes when kissing, for what is a kiss but near kin of a bite?"

I once wrote a poem ending on this very image.