FINISHING WITH THE PAST
I scatter petals on my past
To stop the smell of rot and lies.
I turn my hands palms down
To reject the untruths of memory,
The cosy pictures of happy families
That disguise torture and pain.
I turn my back on the myths
To write new legends of truth.
They told us, then, that to share
A word of family outside family
Was an eternal sin punishable
By exclusion. We fell silent
In their sight only, and shared
Some of the realities of their
Mistreatment of us behind
Campfires and silent tents.
We looked for and found
An escape of a sort, a side door
Away from the madness they bred
Into us, they fed to us, they bled
Into our scarred skin. Sometimes
We misread possession as love
When they waved at the door
And cast spells on us we couldn’t
See or feel to draw us back into
Their orbit. I throw fine-smelling
Perfumes on those stinking memories
Now that I am finally free.
R 10/06/2022 00:30
I write this at half past midnight, so it counts as something original written today. I have slayed some dragons of my own today.
AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 115
Aggie looks at Zav, death in her heart and in her mind. She picks up the black box, in two parts now, turns it this way and that. Her eyes and knife find the compartment that contains the acid and the invisible minute wire that would trigger it if someone somewhere pressed a button at their end. She wriggles the knife so surely into the one spot that will disconnect it that she thinks she must have done this before. The acid container drops into the sink, a harmless speck of plastic now. She finds the RF antenna that would connect it to any wireless service, any cellular phone signal anywhere, cuts the wire to the antenna and throws the disc of it into the sink so it tumbles i top and past the acid. ‘Safe now,’ she says, almost to herself, eyes only for the toy she has in her hand now, some slim wires still dangling from it, emasculated, disabled, tired, worn, rotten at its core like it always was. ‘Red for nerves and brain. Must be. Green for limbs.’ She roots around inside the body of the dead box. Labyrinths of wire, exposed, or under red and green sheaths, and a brown one. Almost like an old-fashioned plug, but dead now, never able to damage anyone again. ‘How did they graft it onto the nervous system?’ she mutters.
Robert is next to her now, takes it from her hand. ‘Quite straightforward, really,’ he says. ‘It’s just like a soldering job, but with life tissue.’ He holds it up next to his chest. ‘Keyhole surgery, actually. Needs a general anaesthetic, though, specially if you’re implanting it in someone who doesn’t want it.’ He hands it back to her. ‘I was frightened for a minute there that it would come back to life and reach for me with those sharp tentacles.’
‘So was I,’ Aggie says. ‘We just need to work out how to disable them wholesale without my hands having to dive into every living body I suspect of wearing one.’
‘What went wrong with mine?’ Anna says. ‘Why did it stop working?’
‘I really don’t know,’ Aggie says. ‘I just want to know how we find the factory, the surgery, the mentor.’
‘Montrose?’ Robert says.
‘I’m still not convinced,’ Aggie says. ‘But I need to get Lilibet back there anyway. As soon as possible. Find her children.’
‘What about Marit?’ Robert says. ‘She wants her revenge.’
‘For her own mistake? That’ll be a long time coming,’ Aggie says. ‘We can’t indulge in silly games like that.’
‘Don’t forget she is my daughter.’
‘Then perhaps you should deal with her rather than standing here,’ she says. ‘I hate to blame anyone for any of this. But she called that poor boy here. She as good as put a bullet in his head.’
‘We all make mistakes.’
‘Lilibet didn’t. The choice was taken away from her.’
Their voices have been nothing but whispers.
‘And what will we do while you’re up there?’ Robert says.
‘Find out if there are any more of Valentine’s soldiers here, and work out how you can disable them all.’ She hands the box and the antenna back to Robert. ‘After all, you have all the tools and all the connections.’