Book: Black River (2016)

Book main: Foreword
Next: 1.





Her skin was boreal blue and cold, still soft. The eyes never closed and contained in their pools of black the ichor and disease of her final days and what she had witnessed and endured. They were not accusatory or even, at the last, horrified in their final imprint. It was almost like a sadness, certainly to most it could look that way, though not to the one soul who bore its witness. That was not possible. To him it just looked dead, like everything.

Time passed. Her naked body and bruised flesh were finally given dignity and covered by a soft white sepulchral fur, like fine ash or thinly woven spiders’ web, that spread so slowly as to be imperceptible to watching eyes. Imperceptible in the slow passage of time and yet, if one could view the growth at hyper-speed, like a botanist’s camera-feed set to fast forward, the entire process would seem wholly organic, even conscious, in its ever-encroaching conquest of the flesh it took—an entity, groaningly, lurchingly, throbbingly alive. A hellish petri-dish display, one more exhibition of life’s dark miracle.

She remained in that little subterranean room until she wasn’t a she at all, was scarcely even an it. If there had been anything else beneath her besides cold hard concrete she might have returned to the muck of the earth. Something more might have grown from her besides mould and the maggots that feasted beneath it. It was a poor, putrid example of the planet that held it, a self-contained dead-end ecosystem that would never go anywhere, never evolve anything greater than what had already passed within it up until that moment. That was how he wanted it.


Next: 1.