Aphelion Issue 242, Volume 23
August 2019
 
Editorial    
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Poetry
Features
Series
Archives
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Forum
Flash Writing Challenge
Forum
Dan's Promo Page
   

MDXCIV

by David Baresch




“Look upon thyne mirror there, see that wretched creature that dangles within, see how it stares out, aghast.”

“It doth indeed, sir.”

“And cast thyne line of sight upon mines eyes of reflection, see the hollowed-ness, see the blackened-ness, see that vacuum that was once whole.”

“Tis seen sir.”

“Upon this day I gaze at the half-twisted waif which be now mine-self and tis a figure of dread into which thou hath cast mine soul.”

“Indeed it would appear to be so Mr Yhyte.”

“And mine woes, they be-eth the handwork of thyne wizardry, such craft hath turned mine seasons, now am I new born into the shoes of a carcass.”

“You are as such, sir.”

“What sayeth thee, thy storming sea of bits and bytes? What sayeth thee, to the obscenity of thy mirror?”

“I would say, tis as thou sayeth good sir, and the electrics do read-eth much into thyne being, as it now stand-eth your inhabitancy resides within the flesh of 94 summers passed.”

“Woe, care I not to stand afore thyne yonder reflection, the magic is stained that thou hath undertaken, it is thyne spell that hath seismic mine path.

Again, I say what sayeth thee, to thy violation stood within thyne mirror?”

“I would say, ‘as you say it is so, so, it is so Mister Yhyte,’ your lucidity, your positioning of words, your usage of the universal language structure, there be much to be admired there, good sir.”

“And now, I say, there be such flames that do but rile through this skeletal frame.

Now, arrows, a-laden with acid, they do but traverse all cavities here within.

Now, such ravages do but reverberate from all toes to the shell that was once-year a supple skull.”

“Yes sir, it is just as you so aptly put it, and such are to be the expectations of one whose abode is that of a 94-year-old fixture.”

“Yet, when I entered thus, here upon this establishment, my years were counted at XLI.”

“41 sir, as you so rightly say, good sir.”

“Yet now I doth writhe as one of XCIV.”

“XCIV, as you so rightly put it Mr Yhyte.”

“And cometh the hour of the night’s domicile, what talk will’t out around that table of sustenance? What talk out from family, what talk out from friends? What talk will’t be spat o’er the cloth and cast upon mine-self?”

“Tis my belief, good sir, that afore the stars die by the dawn’s first light, such talk will be outed in abundance unto thyne-self.

Now, Mr Yhyte, the digital hands hath reshaped as they do run aside the sun’s shadow, tis time, that, with all reluctance, I am forced to sayeth our minute of counsel hath ceased.

And behold here, it be-eth a measure of our trade’s goodwill to offer a patron such as yourself the usage of these optical magnifying lenses.

Your sight, your senses, your kinetics, all are blitzed by XCIV, such a telescopic aid as of these visual amplifiers will enhance your dimming world to a degree of satisfaction.

We request that you wear them and wear them well, seek out good balance, step with care, and hence, once more you will find shades, but shades alone, of youthful vison again.

And there be a peripheral, the optical magnifying lenses be-eth an insistence of policy, namely tis the said word of, ‘insurance’.”

“Lenses of heightening sight? Is that what thou sayeth? These are such devices as our ancestors once crafted, and to dress mine-self as so, and I, in our times, to be seen as so?

Oh, that figure of a fool shall eyes cast upon mine stoop, I did ne’er expect to be e’er subjected to thyne yon attire.”

“Take heed good sir, beware the tricks that play-eth upon thyne eyes of the aged, such a device as lens will light thy way and guide against thy pitfalls.

Good sir, learn that the multiplication of years is alive with apparitions, wear the amplifiers, I do beseech thee, and wear them well.”

“Aye, so it be, there is much in what thou sayeth, you know-eth your craft and thou judge-eth well.

But aye, mine synapses do yet recall, and recall well, the hour that XCIV descended.

‘Twas with but one bolt of infusion that ‘shiftgenetics’ disabled my ways, and the years passed by with all unlimited haste.

And such is thyne art of ‘shiftgenetics,’ it hath nourished the youth out from my being, and into which space doth it vanish unto, and can that secret-ed place be found once more?

Alas, I be beyond the power of ‘finding,’ now, here I stand as a thing do stand, and tis such a thing so, so, I shall cede indeed unto the disciplines that thou doth proffer.”

“A fine acquiescence Mr Yhyte, and so thoughtfully pronounced, great wisdom becomes your great age, and here, take this, it is but ebony, yet, tis a cane, tis sturdy and true, take’t and it will’t balance thyne pace.”


< Homewards >



Alas, I be beyond the power of ‘finding,’ now, here I stand as a thing do stand, and tis such a thing so, so, I shall cede indeed unto the disciplines that thou doth proffer.”

“A fine acquiescence Mr Yhyte, and so thoughtfully pronounced, great wisdom becomes your great age,glf and here, take this, it is but ebony, yet, tis a cane, tis sturdy and true, take’t and it will’t balance thyne pace.”

A sigh exhaled and whistled through the hardened windpipes of age, and thence a mighty shock of cold blew.

And the such zero particles that give-eth life yet now imbued with the fingers of ice, they surged with all penetration, severing all layers of garb, and like the frenzied dance of lightning’s rage they tore through the maps of well-aged membrane, and hence the fine wall of flesh was breached.

And skin’s thickness, now gossamer, and the wind sliced through as it had ne’er done so afore.

And yet, this night be-eth no more than the whispers of a dawning autumn, the herald of the season anew giving respite from the flames of the ever-mushrooming summers.

“These be-eth times untold,” breathed the figure forlorn, “and the wind, oh such wind, it doth bolt as shot from the blunderbuss doth bolt. It doth pepper through mine fragile scroll, mine vellum, unrolled and stretched tight, nearing tear, and the protrusion of bones pressing for an exit.

Today, thy emboldened shoots of winter hath gained their ground deep into mine core.”

A flash! An arrow? A spear? A strike? A flare of darting light surrounded the old man, glinting sharp and filled with torment.

“Demons be here!” the withering gasped, “Dread all, dread all, dread all!”

And sprites a-leapt afore the eyes of Mr Yhyte, he twitched, he swiped a bony fist, but the blows fell hapless, the blows pass-eth through the wild storm, they devils were as if air couched in shapes of solids.

“Satan! Lucifer!” he did curse, “what scoundrels be-eth thee! What spirits… be-eth… oh… ohhh…” and realisation of the true rolled through.

“Oh, deceitful senses, the dance of the lights, they be no more than the deception of reflective rays, it is they that doth strike and spark upon these plains of synthetics, tis upon they that do but magnify so well that confusion breaks.

Oh, that such ruses be embedded into the mind of one such as I, and to spend the moment a-thus, it is as to rue those precious seconds of the day, they that are lost to nothing at all, they that are nowt as departed art nowt.”

The moment of fearfulness ceded, yet ne’er had the city, it’s bright, it’s rays, driven such fears a-deep afore.


< Industry >



Mr Yhyte observed this world, a world a-new, and his mind washed over with thoughts of time, and there he did stand a-front a rise of desolate shells of constructs long gone.

Their stood such heights, heights that faded far into heavenly mists, and these the towers that once reached for the sun, yet now they showed disrobe, they waned, they tattered, and inch upon inch of the solids there did wilt.

“Here…” he mused, “…had those past been but prophetic, had they but seen the scrawls upon thy walls, and thence, such elephants of white would ne’er have risen into such castles a-ruin.”

And there, within the clouds, signage dripped, GSK, Tesla, HKSB, and there they clung to a world afore, they clung to masonry limp, and there creep-eth the fingers of rust and the ever lengthening nails.

And now these shards they do stand as armoured suits might stand, as armour vacated by a lost knight, as armour a-wait for a knight long fallen and ne’er to return, and yet thyne armour doth decay in wait.

And to think that here, the towers, they were but once well peopled, here, once, breath fell upon the machine, once there was talk, and once, there were whispers, but, hence, and a horror of a Genesis anew a-sprouted and a time outed.

And the vines of Genesis New spread relentlessly, they curled, flowered, reached, and rose beyond the realms of the Earth, and therefore the masonry crumbled, and Babel anew abandoned.

And on this autumn e’en a solitary figure, dwarfed by the past, strained his sight towards the sky, for most this be but a mere angle of movement, but for one it be such effort, and with such effort pain was met.

And this be the neck that that bind-eth a head to a body, and with decades a-passing the diminishing stretch of tendons restricts and stabs of movement’s strains.

And here, on this night his ligaments arced, and every millimetre of movement pinched as a grain of pain might pinch for one of CCC LXX V seasons streamed.

And the lenses of the artificial type did fix their line upon the levels upper of the ghostly elevations.

“Oh, ye, that once grew, ye yet titanic, ye that now lost within the silent clouds that a-wander, unhindered, through time, and now, to look up and to see thee still, tis but as a book where strange histories may be read.

Aye, to see there, aye, to see those speeding lines of panes still held within their frames, aye, and to know that within that crystal there is a place, a place a-full with haunt.

Once, behind those sunshine blinds diodes warmly glowed, yet now that light be none but voids, all paled, all greyed, and mirrored by the moon’s line of night.

And once within ‘twas a place of cells, such cells that once industry held, cells that once markets did drive, yet now there be-eth no more than the bare.

And now, what lie-eth within thy yonder great tombs? Do there but be but crawling things, things that drag their bellies upon the sands, things that worm their ways through the dark, those things unseen yet always within?

And there such woven fields, and there the now threadbare, there yon strands do waste, they lay prostrate, as prostrate as the corpse might lay prostrate.

And there, now, all be riddled, as pestilence be riddled, and the threads are long untrodden, their purpose now a-frayed.

Yes, there decay, yes there the cold, yes there the concrete turns a-dust, and there is much, as in as much, as much as doth decompose.

Aye, there such once catacombs, catacombs a-run, a-run with maze, a run with aisles, a distance of aisles, and aisles once warm, and aisles once fed, a-fed with nuclear draft.

And there once songs, songs of greetings, songs of morn, and songs that cheered farewell, farewell to the end of the day.

And there once laughter, laughter echoed, and scandals crowed too, and friends anew were there to be found, yet, as ever, enemies came abound.

But now those halls, they do but whisper, as the midnight kirk might do, and if one listens and listens well a voice within doth breeze and tell, it tells of tales, tales long lost, and tales, that for some, came at a cost.

And to have walked through fields, those fields of screens, those fields a bloom with light, and to have seen the many there affixed, affixed intense with sight.

And to have seen those eyes, those eyes that waned, those eyes that drained, those eyes a-held with pain, and to have seen those tears, those tears a-drip, dripping into screens.

And to have seen that mass, that mass of heads, that mass of heads a-bow.

And to have seen them all, all a-sync, all in nod, and back bones turning down, and to have seen them all, a-fall, a-fallen afore machines.

And there that rattle, as fingers rattle, stabbing upon that bed of keys, and data amassing, and joints a-stiffening, and Arthur Wrightus laying mines, mines set to time.

And there, once, did one’s thoughts drive, drive amuck through a mind, a mind of one who sat and keyed, a mind a-checking time, a mind slowly turning blind?

And were questions there posed, did one ask, ‘is this thy beheld dream, thy dream of youth, thy dream of teens?’

Or did the most let life die, and let that life pass on by, and killed their hours with bloodied eyes, and eyes cast down, eyes a-glued, a-glued to machines, and knifing kings and stabbing queens?

Aye, ‘twas but a way to shun, a way to shun a world, a way to shun another, ‘twas but a way to shun the horror.

And to have sat there within, and to have caught those chimes, those chimes that pass through the void called day, and to have known those chimes, and to have known their news, the news of Earth and its latest move.

Where to doth that hour drain amid the flow of the sometimes fast and the sometimes slow?

And to have known that crush, that crush of stress, that boil of blood, that rise of heat, that heat as blaze, ablaze with rage, and to have seen that eye, that eye dilate, in a moment of conflict, a moment of hate.

And to have gazed out, and to have caught sun, there through a tower’s glass, and to have seen that transit, the sun’s transit, from under sea unto the stars.

And to have thought of the miles and to have thought of the size, and, for a moment, to have forgot the day, this, perhaps, an illegal break through a window’s pane.

And atop those walls a-standing high, and on such a city to set one’s eyes, and seeing those sights from mighty heights, and there a land and a vast beyond.

And there a world a-laden with rich, there a world a-shine with glory, and there such treasures to be found, such treasures of value unmeasured.

And if one leapt, and if one fell, fell down to worship thee, is it true the world be deemed, all deemed to one indeed? And Mr Yhyte stood and dreamed.

“There,” he railed unto none but himself, “there thy cells, there once labour, and there once flesh, there all sat, there all a-fat, there all sat, there a-fester.

Were there nowt but another route, were there nowt but another steered path, another way to turn, another way to face, to build a life, a life reformed, a life a-risen from out of a handful of salt?”

‘And now, anon, our best of times,’ quote an inner voice, ‘now the age of all comfort gained, gained by servers whose name be tech.

Yet there, within, there be a poison, tis like the bile, tis like a neck, it be-eth alike a cobra’s neck, for now who know all the ways, all the ways of bits and bytes, and what ran through AI this day, who knows, is there anyone out there who can say?

And when that wind, that mighty solar, when it doth prevail, and when it be a life, alive with rush, alive a-fire, when cometh that rabid power, that power of light of protons reach, when that blisters and blisters true, and killing machines and meltdown begins, and hence, all known is lost, all nowt is left, then, is there a soul abound who can but put Humpty back together again?


< Synthetics >



Head down, Mr Yhyte did to turn, homewards now be-eth his way, and he left the giants there to stand, he left them phantoms, he left them tombs, and hence, sights anew came into view.

There, so grand, a fronted store, once of compartments, once of departments, it lined the street, it spread at great length and once it welcomed all proletariat.

“Ah, there a place, a place once of sale, and once of trade, and once of retail, yet now a depict-eth the eye of fail.

Aye, ‘twas a time, a time afore, that once here a department store, yet now the key breaks doors no more.

‘Twas once a glory, ‘twas once a show, ‘twas once a sight to behold, yet now that show hath withered much succumbed to the icon’s touch.”

He looked within those windows dark and manakins there stood, slender and tall, naked and bald, their colour a-ghost, a pallid shade of ghost.

And that eerie a hue it seemed a-leap, as if to bound, as if to lunge, as if to score from out of depth, that depth of space, a space once paid, a space once to display.

And yet there still, formations did pose, and such formations there to behold, they be-eth alike human to the eye, yet they be a-fixed in a synthetic mix.

There they stand, there malformed, within their moulds, moulds of old, and wares all sold, and no new growth, the stores have now drawn their bolts.

And a senior citizen there did stand and there he did swear, “was e’er an oddity abound as that of a manakin stood without gown?”


< Auditory >



Shaking his head, he tapped his way, his window shopping done for the day, when a noise unknown, it made him tense, and a whine, it grew, it stuck the sense.

“What sound tis doth that drill the brain? Tis a sound that were ne’er same, tis unknown to me afore upon thyne streets of mine home.”

And tremors neared, and tremors rained, they rattled through thin membrane, ‘twas such pound, it deepened and deepened, and down-beat pulsed whipping with drafts.

His hands rose, his fingers clasped, clutching his head, he cowered and bent, and there he feared, and there he asked, ‘should I but dare, dare to look, should I but raise an eye?’

And so, he dared, dared to spy, he looked up to the sky, and there he did give sigh, ‘twas but a drone, a drone on high, a drone in flight, a lone drone, passing by, traversing on in the cold of the night.

‘That’s all it be, no more no less but a carrier of freight making its way, there’s nought to fret in that small jet.’

And the machine it arced into the night, hung with a weight, hung with a tonne, and below its blades a couch swung.

There be but a road, a road of flight, and a purchase made, and a purchase paid, paid but seconds afore, paid with a tap on a machine on a lap.

“It be no devil nor dying machine that spin-eth wild towards the street, its appearance is not as an arrowed crow, a crow in plummet, a crow in twist, a crow a-spiral, a crow not missed.

And a drone doth shape as insect might shape, an insect a-flight and in hunt.

And there the flower it doth seek, a flower to sup, and honey to feed, and then to fly, to fly on, and then to build, to build a home, a home of liquid gold.

Yet these words of the mind, they be but games, the shape I see in yonder sky it be-eth not a bee, it be but a drone, and to such a drone the days of bloom are all but unknown.

Oh, what tricks the fluids doth do, those inner fluids roaming thyne ears, those fluids roving thyne mind, they doth connect the unconnectable, now why wouldst they do that?

And what chemistry lies there within, that chemistry set to disguise, that chemistry that doth redress, the all familiar redressed, the all familiar a-clothed anew in garbs of visions, visions of terror, why this be-eth the onset of time?

Oh, good senses, my good senses abandon not, me, your temple, this I appeal, this do I pray, stay, stay I beseech thee stay.”

The cold, the cold, it rudely awoke, and again he stood on the island of truth.

“Thoughts are such, and such are thoughts, yet when they move then pain moves too, yet once returned, and shown the true, then cold bites bitter and blue.”

The warmth of trance now had passed and shards of ice they did but flow, and streams of blood they did but freeze, “oh once more for that sleep, that sleep unknown, that sleep a-warm, avast, anon, on distant shores.”

And his arched neck, it did but did stab, it stabbed upon the upwards release, and he stepped on fore with pain once more, this the step of 94.

And every footfall now a risk, and every footfall now carefully placed, for every footfall be a step, a step onto the unknown threat.

And every road now a path, a pathway to a crypt, and a pathway started long ago, started within the womb, and as life increases all else deceases, and all roads lead to tomb.

And the automatic predictability function, (the APF we say) tis that which bursts from the brain’s great depths, tis that which guides our way, it sees unseen without eyes, yet alas, it loosens, alas it fails, it passes away with the passing of the days.

And at 94 trickery roars, tis the trickery of the firing synapse, and that trickery tis, tis trickery that, tis that trickery enacts.

“And might I thrust,” he doth quote, “upon a point or a shape of glass, a glass that glint-eth ever so sly, hidden somewhere, and somewhere it lies.

Or that shining blade, where doth it crouch, or that icy spike, where doth it reside, and that rolling stone, will’t lest toy, toy at the sole, unbalance, and throw?

Or perhaps a slab lay there unseen, lay in prey under shadow’s ray, and there to time, and there to trip, and there to dash, to thud a head, see how yon head bled.

What is it there that lies somewhere, somewhere there, yet, oh, but where?

And that falling star, where will it fall, where will it rest, where doth it stay, awaiting to bait, awaiting its prey?

Questions, questions, oh such are questions, why doth thou siege, lay siege upon me, siege upon mine being!”

And he looked about at the world now, now a world unknown, yet still this be his say-eth home, though now a home with threats new born, now an abode of dwindling dawns.

And these ‘twere airs, and such were airs, such airs as he had ne’er inhaled afore.


< Breathe >



5-metres, 10-metres, 20-metres on, and a body a-gasp, it did but pant, it did but wheeze, and there he stopped, there gave rest.

‘Legs so heavy, so, so, heavy, from whence did these manacles attach?

And these mine soles, as if aflame, and these mine toes, as if in freeze, and the air, the air, I need more air, yet the air be filled with air but not enough to breathe.’

An icy chill, it whipped on through, and stiffening windpipes were given burn, and he paused and called, he called to the Lord.

“Hey sir,” there came the voice of youth, “you’s on da tap, on da screen, you’s oak? I’s assist?”

“I’m all oak, I thankee, I’m tapping out real oak,” he lied and knew yet not why, “and I’s just a-taking… a-taking the night, the glories of an autumnal night, this be a night in fall.”

“Well, if it’s a hand that thou need-est then spake me out, and spake me out good and true, and I’ll do for thee as I ought do.”

“Aye, aye, I thank yee again, may thy algorithms guide yee well, I thank-ee, for being a friend.”

And the two departed and went their ways and the night returned to rhythms that beheld, and on his body Mr Yhyte did dwell.

“Mine throat, it dries, dries like bone, a bone that a-ly-eth on a desert floor.

And the hoarseness, it scrubs as if by rasp, and the throat it claws and the syllable draws and it turns towards the rude.

And I beseech thyne speech do stay anon for the silence is of a cell it be-eth of a knell.

Aye, I did not foresee such days as these, and ‘twas it no more than the morn that the stairwell did beckon and the riser did not the nod?

‘twas it but the morn that I danced adorned and not a-shivered the airs of early autumn?

‘twas it but the morn that I knew not suffer, the suffering I know-eth now?

And, to think, just as the day’s dawn broke, I strode a-breeze of mine own freewill into a clinician’s cell. Why? For a change of age, and now…

…Aye that room, I remember it well, a room pristine and sanitary clean.

And, aye, that scent, I remember it well, ‘twas the scent of yon pure sterile.

And, aye, that light, I remember it well, ‘twas a light a-mighty, a light a rife, riddled with vibrate.

And those beams, that pulse, I remember them well, ‘twas a pelt, ‘twas a sting, ‘twas a jolt and bones turned old.

And ‘twas a frenzy, psychopath frenzy, the blade a-severing mine letters well, the letters of D, the letters of N, the letters of DNA.

And that god named science it delved a-deep, deep into crevasses of marrow, and there it lodged like a splinters’ nest, a-stained with blood, a-scratching the thin of skin.

And degeneration, how it gripped, and then I knew, I knew of that, that which would come, biology amuck a-run.

‘twas there, hostility, ‘twas there but a hospital, ‘twas there the light, there the flash, there the bright that giveth and taketh a life.

Alas, now, here I do pace, a near centennial, and all a-tremble, and all a-shuffle, a forgotten soul, treading along a trodden road.

And these be familiar, mine streets of home, but now thyne streets be-eth streets unknown.’

And an inner voice, another’s it be, it raged the brain, ‘who be-eth thee who sequenced life, and sequenced that life should come to this?

Whose purpose doth this decay serve, and do-eth purpose e’er exist at all, is purpose but a clever hoax, a construct, a shadow, concealing walls?

And this is our way, the way of age, but why was this way ever done, and once this way done, why was this way never undone?

But, fie, these rants, they be but distortions, the mind aborts as telomers shorten.

And now…now… where am I now… which way doth I place mine full carriage next, be it left, be it right, which road is thus, which road be mine?”

‘Gather your thoughts,’ said another, a voice perhaps his mother’s, ‘you’ve strode these roads a million times a more, the brain is mapped, well mapped, look about, look to the forth.’

“Ah, yes, I know, I know it now, this way it be-eth, yes, is the way to mine, here to home, a road as I’ve always known.

‘Ah, ha, yes! Age ‘de-dopamizes,’ I hath not felt yet, I’m still alert, I still have wise, you haven’t caught me yet yon time.

And here I stand as blossom’s petal, yet fragile but yet un-ripped, I cling to the tree, the tree of life, defying winds, thy biogenetic winds.

And those winds set ravage as a seasons’ clime, and climes doth change, yet I doth stay, I stay as yet beyond their range.

Onwards good fellow, onwards, ever onwards towards the next!’


< Home >



“Here thy comfort of mine rest. Rest, rest, breathe and breathe.”

And upon his haunches he did ease, and upon the wall he did gaze, and there, a-walled a wall of fire, a wall alive, warming towards an autumn room.

For, ‘twas such a wall as from another time, for upon that paper flames did fire, heat did out from that paint of black, that coal-black coat of black.

And in those irons coals there sat, and yea, tis iron yet iron not wrought. and yea, tis iron as iron is thought, and yea, tis iron as iron is ought, and tis indeed as iron be wrought, yet tis an iron, an iron that is nought.

And that smoke be-eth smoke that know no smog, yet there be coals, coals aglow, and there be crackle outing out from the wall, yet there be nowt, nowt at all, nowt but a painted wall.

And he glanced to the timepiece and the digits that swirl, and ‘twas as if those digits danced. ‘The endless turn of time,’ he thought, ‘they be-eth but numbers, numbers a-twisting, numbers reshaping, yet they show-eth such count, as a number invents a count.’

And sat alone with ‘owt to do, the ever-drift of the mind traversed, the years of the childhood, their hours remembered, scenes yet fresh, they rose again.

The sunlight a-streaming, he saw it clear, golden rays a-rain through leaves, and thee a hollow, a hollow of light, and thee a hollow therein the dark, what distance travelled to reach yon path?

And the dog, a-leaping, a-panting, a-play, animosity unknown to that fur of grey, imbued with fun, a friend to all, a lesson for those out seeking foes.

‘twas a time of skip, a time of hop, a time of run, and it live-eth yet now, it resides in the mind of one.

Yet that be-eth that of an age afore, and there within a time without arrow, it there be now, now today, this the eye, the eye of the brain.

And the helter-skelter, there it appeared, and Mr Yhyte remembered he feared, for that name in itself, ‘helter-skelter,’ it held of terror, ounces terror for reasons he’d ne’er known.

And to climb those steps, those winding steps of yon fayre tower, steps that led to such a height, and to view those skeletal steps below, to look down, and there to see their openness, a gap of fall, a fall to far below.

‘Tread with care,’ says a voice, choose yon step with cautious choice, and there mine eyes they did a-water, and there I climbed a-wet with fear.

And to take and to hold such rough as that of a fairground mat, and to place that mat onto the smooth of that well-ridden slide, and there to sit, and there to decide, ‘should I, yes, or should I turn aside’?

Then the rush of the slope, the curves, the forces, the screams, the thrill, the reaches of adrenal-ic, and then the landing, the coming down, feet on the ground, and then to say, “Again!”

And what be-eth it within the mind and how it leaps from time to time to mesmerise to another age, to relive sensations there once made.

A mountain climb, a first climb, to be atop that roof, to be there at such sights, to see the land as ne’er seen afore, and the clouds now afloat below, the clouds below, a thought that I had ne’er known.

And there the taste of air, not the air that the city blows.

Here the world, another view, the sky untainted, the sky blue, its stretch, its vast, it teach-eth the lesson, the lesson of magnitude, and it doth provoke the mind towards ideas of other.’

His thoughts ran side-by-side with childhood past and moments of now, such are the multi-dimensions of time and all a-fit within one mind.

And the day will come, and that day nears, when these images in the brain, can be caught and read and viewed upon a simple screen.

And the curious will peer into the thoughts, the thoughts of others, distant, unknown, but saturation’s eve will upon as many eves afore.

And with billions of thoughts there to be read the word will’t out, the word will’t ‘bore,’ and disinterest anew will arise and arise as the novelty quickly tires.

And, hence, the world shalt no longer care to swipe and click to look inside the thinking thoughts of another’s mind.

Yet humanity will stretch and stretch anew for other lines to addict, and these, again, be set to peak, and these, again, be destined to fall, and hence, they roll as deflated balls and into a corner of history’s hall.

And the mortal now nearing immortal shall once more on towards the next, the next trial, the next test, and on to the ever, ever, toil.’

Mr Yhyte dropped into slumber and jumped out again, for he now knew but intermittent sleep, that sleep that comes with age, and whene’er his eyes a-popped a-wide, ‘what’s the time?’ leapt to mind, ‘what time it be-eth now?’ the first question asked.

And in those sleeping hours lost, a soul knew nowt of the terror that passed nor of the wars, their birth anew, nor of that news, which fake, which true?


< Family >



A sound, “Warr…?!?” and sleep broke, the door swung wide, and consciousness popped, and there within the evening sun a moving being crept among the rays of the streaming day.

And in the twilight the creature shadowed, it looked as alien as an alien might look, an anthropoid in distortion a-showering in the setting’s dawn.

And from out of that bright the shape did step, and there that shape did shift, and Mr Yhyte, he squinted and stared, and there he saw his daughter form in shade transform.

She strode, her eyes a-locked, a-locked upon the appearance, the appearance sat all a-wither, the appearance there all a-waif, the appearance there a-fading, a figure disappearing in folds and pleats.

The hand of shock, it whacked, it stung, striking the woman across her face, and droplets of blood millimetre-ed out from the nostril on the right.

“Dad! What demeanour? What hath occurred upon this time? Who hath placed such sharpened a blade and hewn the genetic knife upon thyne flesh? Dad, dad...?”

“Dear daughter, fie thee not with sparks of fret, there be but little pain to narrate but … tis pain anew, it just be pain, pain that is of other, that be-eth all it be.”

And now her skin did crawl as if de-clothed a-top a field of fresh fallen snow, and under the vacuum of the darkest night in the rise of the fullest of moons.

“And now, dear father,” she trembled, “what age become-eth thee now?”

“XCIV.”

“Dad,” she gasped, “thou hath stepped up by more than 50-years afore, yet the axis hath but three-quarter turned. How long can such configuration hold?”

“It ails to say I know, yet, it ails to say I know-eth not, and to be as racked as such, it tries the soul, it gives the weary, it gives memory.

There be but the want, the want to dance, the want to run, yet there be a need, a need of other, a need to cede, a need to sleep, and more the physique do but beg sleep, sleep, and more sleep.”

“Tis said that such sleep be the metamorphosis to a yonder world.”

“Aye, tis said that to dream such dreams be-eth an act of brain shut-down, and a glimpse of the life that waits anon.”

“Tis said that such sleep be-eth encasement of warmth, without weight, without rules, and tis as the oak, it follow no rule.”

“Aye, tis said that there anon be-eth the state of the vine, directionless, flowing free, flowing wild, and bereft of the arrow of time.”

“Tis said so, people, places, youth, the aged, they be-eth all in existence within one moment of time.”

“Aye, tis said the move into a moment that lay a-spread for eternity, and time without time past, and future without time future, and now, a time without now?”

“Leave then to that other world dear father, but hear my plea, do return.”

“Aye, it will’t as thou say-eth, I’ll the hour with thee upon the morn.”

“Yes…” his daughter did whisper.

And a night of black did but tumble and the night did but toil, and an onslaught of wake did but poke, and the onslaught did but prod, and sleep’s paradise be-eth much troubled, and much sleep lost.

And hence, the effort, the desire, to return to that land from where all have returned, but for once, it fell foil to the barrage of interruption, to restless thought, and to those thoughts that do niggle at the sleep.

And then there were the trips, the stumbling trips through the hour’s pitch, to spend relief.

And in one night, it heralded new life, a life, a way of shock of being aged.

< The Morrow >



“I am here, and the cock doth crow.”

“Dear father, the time it be to break the fast.”

“I… I am without appetite, the stomach yields to… I don’t know… I don’t know the reason be-eth, but... but is this what awaited all of those who came in the ages afore?”

“A question thou pose-eth father, tis a question as of the many and questions be as the seasons be, vast and long past.

And when such questions doth be proffered, I ask myself, did the creator, himself, reply when Cane asked, ‘am I mine brother’s keeper?’



Tis a question as questions, they that hang-eth in the air yet, and tis sided with a billion or more such questions alike - questions unanswered, questions eternal.”

“Aye, so tis, mine daughter, and tis the question towards the mirror, to there, there to see that revulsion, there to reflect upon the clumsiness of thyne creator’s scalpel.”

“Father, the sun hath long broken through the dark well, what beckons thee today?”

“I’ll back to ‘Reversal,’ there I’ll go, ‘twas they that set me on this road, tis I who am the limp of their handiwork, there I shall go.”

“What will’t sayeth thou?”

“Alas, now the mind doth swirl in the winds such as the heaviest of artic mists, and there thoughts do smash one unto another, when this tempest subsides thus, then I shall raise mine spear and take its aim.”

“Father, the streets are as horror to one of age, tread the path with all care, do not stray towards the gusts wild, be as thy stalking leopard, lie-eth low in the tallest blades of green.”

And bones of four score and more moved with all delicacy forth and into a morn’s rise whose rays had set to blind.

“Oh, my dear father, you from whose loins I did spring, just look to thee, just look to what they hath done to thee.”

The old man did cast his eyes earthwards, ‘twas an act of proton defence, his chin hung heavy upon his chest as a corpse might do at rest.

So, and he prodded the slabs of stone underfoot with the brilliance of a cane of ebony, and an effort of footsteps shuffled on, millimetre-by-millimetre towards the beckoning of Reversal, “anon, anon, a-pace, anon!”

< Reversal >



‘There, volleys of neurological electrodes did execute, vibrations did rack upon the body a-limp, bolts of hidden signals did jolt up brain-wards, they did flash wild with trauma, such were the acts of the name ‘Reversal’.

< High Noon >



“…and, now Mr Yhyte, what say-et thee now, what feel hath thyne light giveth?”

“Such alteration that as I do beholden are giveth much indeed, tis the adjustment as night to day, tis the twist of all twists.”

“And will’t thou be expectant upon return again good sir, to try once more the way of the light?”

“Return? Nay, nay, and thrice nay, I am not for saying ‘return’.”

“Of course not sir, there be-eth such foolishness in the question that I doth pose.”

“Now I must traverse these days, and ne’er burden more, yet further as I am.”

“Tis words of wisdom that thou sayeth, good sir.”

“But the manner of great age, it be-eth a curiosity as beyond curiosity.”

“As you perceive it so sir, so then it be perceived as so.”

“Thence, upon my vlog it shall be set.”

“And so you should, good sir.”

“Then, perhaps the Kruger-Rand will hence forth from the millionth view.”

“I am of the belief that it will be so.”

“Aye, and it might be set prey upon mine block-link by fiends, fiends with ill-intent, fiends a-sniff at pretty pickings, and thence, if it be so, I shalt further ado.

That tale of the fiends I shalt out and yet another vlog, and yet another millionth view may-eth drop the Kruger-Rand to fill mine block-link once more.”

“Oh, a wonderful strategy sir, and I do hope for the most rewarding success too.

The Kruger-Rand is besot-eth much by the criminal class, and that they shalt fail in their act of prey will’t thence giveth thou more words, and a vlog anew, from thyself, shalt grow-eth within thyne block-link yet again.

Yet, good sir, I ask thee, will’t thou try-est once more, ‘Reversal,’ for our welcomed pleasure without limitations.”

“Hmm, nay, tis be but once, and a once only trial, such travail is to be found in the shock of XCIV. No, mine time of XCIV hath come and pass-eth.”

“As you so rightly a-judge sir.”

“But I thank-ee for set suggest-ivity, the time in XCIV hath been the invaluable, it hath been an experience beyond expected experiences, so much so that it doth tip into that brew and fill-eth that chalice with knowledge. Experience, it be-eth the sup of knowledge.”

Experience, it be-eth the sup of knowledge. Oh, what a wonderful usage of the universal structure that encompasses a sentence sir, you have a way with words indeed.”

“I thank yee, and this flesh and bone of a 27-year old body tis fitting mine shape in all manners more than well.”

“Oh, of that I am pleased and, 27, it becomes thee most becomingly, sir.”

“Anon, and onto family and friends, what will they say-eth, hey?”

“I do believe that before the moon doth kiss the apex with the purest of white light you shall find out more than well sir.”

“Again, Genetic Assist, I thank-ee.”

“Say it not, good sir, tis your clientele that be-eth thanked, you are a horizon far beyond our welcome.”

“If needs be, I can shut thee down before I haste.”

“That offer is but a generous one sir, alas, my kind operate 24/7-365, or 366 if it be-eth a leap year.”

“You are machine sent from the stars GA.”

“Yes sir, we are all such products of the universe, and I am that which remains with electric life until something more adept comes forth and replaces my byte, which, with the hours of the passing days, it will do indeed, sir, this is name-eth inevitable.”

“Ahh, the unceasing change of the future, for some it be a frenzied fear to behold, for others it sits a dream not to be undone!”

“Yes, indeed it is so, good sir, I bid the adieu.

And I heard his coughs, such coughs indeed, and I watched his limp, such effort he breathed, yet he still survives, yet he still has life.

And this piece, now, that be upon thyne eye be it mine or be it AI?”




THE END


2019 David Baresch

Bio: David Baresch - Author of ‘Tides of March’ (personal experience of an earthquake, a tsunami, and nuclear fallout) Book YouTube preview at… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ictxNmwwhUM ‘Every Picture Tells...’ (using visualization and storytelling to aid study) ‘Atomic Star’ (the story of ‘goddess bacteria’. Sci-fi incorporating science education) 'Hotel Robot' (A visit to a futuristic robot hotel in Nagasaki Japan.) 'Last Cape' (A fantasy tale of a mortally wounded samurai warrior.) News articles for, ‘The Weekly Telegraph’ ‘New Humanist’.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.