City Intersection, Chapter Fourteen – Zero Dollars

So it has actually been over a year since I posted a chapter of this story. It’s so close to the end. I can fucking taste it. Shit is gonna go down in the next chapter.

This is a really weird album, or art piece, or something, and I really like it.

~

“Uh, okay,” I said. I didn’t know what the “Milking of the Beast” was, nor did I particularly care at the moment. I was still held in that virtual-feeling dissociated state, almost like my consciousness itself was anesthetized, so it was rather difficult for me to muster up much of a response to Frederick, aside from a dull, general fear of him based on my previous experiences.

Frankly speaking, I was just having too good of a time, in my own head, to care much about whatever the figures in the room were doing with the stones on their necklaces.

I could see something approaching through the ground, in that black and white overlay I found myself once again getting used to. It looked like a fish of water. Or an eel, more squirmy and long.

Or maybe it was closer to a fish on a line, being pulled in. An eel, I mean, being pulled in by a hook on a line. It was resisting, pulling back in its writhing. More than just shape, it had a certain feel that I recognized. In fact, I had never seen it in this shape. She had always been circular.

Ouroboros’ incorporeal presence continued to pull, resisting, up out of the floor and hover above the semi-circle. And god, the screaming.

It wasn’t exactly something you heard. You know how watching someone fall off a high roof onto cement on their head just makes you wince automatically – that is, if you aren’t incredibly doped up at the time – no matter if you heard their cries of pain or not? That’s the best way I think I could describe the screaming, really. It was as though my mind was screaming along with hers.

Over top the scream, I heard Ouroboros’ clear, calm voice. “Again, Frederick, they near…”

Frederick smirked. “Sure.”

In Ouroboros’ twisting and turning, she caught a glance at me. “Hello, Lawrence. How has your life been since we met?”

“A little weird.”

“Such things are expected when you come back from the dead.”

“I guess. But I think these weird things would have happened anyway. I just wouldn’t have been a part of them.”

“It is possible. You can see me, eh? Been dipping into you-know-what again?”

“Maybe, a bit. Just enough to keep it all together.”

“I understand.”

“Are you two about done?” Frederick asked.

I shrugged. Ouroboros continued her whirling and twisting. Frederick signaled to the semi-circle and they clenched the stones, and her writhing increased tenfold. I saw, or thought I saw, or suspect that I saw, thousands of thin little strands being pulled off of her, reaching around, whipping around like a vine climbing up a post in time-lapse. They reached their way past us, and some through us.

Then, one of the semi-circle faltered. They fell, and their toppled hood revealed that she was a woman. The stone fell from her hand, and she clutched her torso. A weight came into the air, and the strands retracted back into Ouroboros, and her spinning slowed.

“They’re coming, Frederick. They’re finally coming.”

The woman on the ground let out a scream, a scream that seemed to be echoed in the town itself, carrying beyond the room itself. Another of the semi-circle broke ranks and ran over to her, pulling off his hood in the process. “Marjane, are you all right? What’s wrong?”

“It’s coming,” she said.

“The… the baby?”

“I don’t think so…”

Her body went limp. He slid back from her, maybe in shock, maybe just waiting. For what, he didn’t know, but for something.

Her body, the body now, changed. It was hard to tell what changed, exactly, but she became something not quite human. The only physically discernible change was that her torso smoothed, as though she had never been pregnant to begin with. She stood up and looked around the room at us, down at us, like a leader.

“Hello, Ouro,” was all she said.

“Hello, Isis. The rest of you, you might want to go see what’s going on outside. The two of us should catch up.”

For a moment, for the first time, I or, as I’d imagine, anyone else, saw Frederick shudder, a hint of confusion and despair cross his face. But it was gone before I could fully decide whether or not it was there in the first place.

Astoundingly, though, he listened to her and – even more astoundingly – obeyed. Frederick left the room, left the building, and the rest of us followed, except that woman that had become something else. Her husband, or whoever that man that had gone over to her was, tried to stay, tried to say something to her, but she just ignored him. Ignored him completely, as though she couldn’t see or hear him at all.

Once outside, there was something clearly changed with the sun, or the sky, since they contrasted against each other. Once I watched it for a moment, though, I could see that it seemed as though the sun was moving closer. The actual size of the sun stayed the same, or maybe even decreased, but I could just feel it getting closer, like I could see more detail in it or something. The sky around it darkened and became… not sky. A black spot appeared in the middle of the sun, and I began seeing more detail in the sky around.

When it seemed like it was entering our atmosphere, the sun blinked. The black spot darted around, and I saw that it was a pupil.

It came closer and closer, and the sky took more and more form, yet shrunk along with the sun, revealing pure blackness beyond, at least in comparison to that burning eye.

Closer, closer, smaller, smaller. It was an eye, in a face, the face of a bird. It, along with its human body, descended down to stand on the ground beside us. It was a being of pure power, the god to rule all gods, the god of the sun, the god of the thing that allows everything on earth to exist – Ra.

Thin whisps began lifting through the ground. Not just light, they were whisps of something, disturbing the dirt as they congregated at a common point. I looked down, realizing that I could still see things beyond normal sight, and saw bones. Layers of stratified bones, going down through the ground. Charred bones. The whisps came off them like water dripping off of something, but upside down.

The more they congregated, the more defined the shape became, until it all came together as a man in a white robe, with slightly greenish skin. He – as well as Ra, I now noticed – were impervious to my secondary vision. They were the only stabile, solid, truly solid, objects in the area, the only thing I couldn’t see through, and I think they noticed that. They paid little attention to me, most of their attention was focused on Frederick, but what attention they paid to me was so piercing, so knowing, the feeling you get when you’re high as fuck with your family and are certain they know… It was unnerving.

The woman, the woman who had collapsed and returned as someone else that Ouroboros had referred to as Isis, came through the door and joined Ra and the green fellow, who for some reason I thought was Murdoc from Gorillaz even though I knew better, in looking at Frederick with contempt. I could see, through the walls and ground, Ouroboros circling and whispering and looking over at him as well.

I heard a whoosh and looked to my side and saw Rennet Bennet. But his eyes weren’t red, he wasn’t carrying a cup of tea. He was carrying an opened 23 ounce can of Arizona Strawberry Arnold Palmer and clenching a cigarette in his mouth, with a bandolier of Arizona cans strapped across his torso.

“Have you tried this one?” he asked.

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