The Theory Of Hands by Chris Benton
In the riddle light I wake, and try to open my eyes but their lids fail, frozen shut by the sap of my tears, so I remain conscious, for a brief eternity in this cold-sweat temple of sleep, still stepping over the debris of my dream, stepping over Jessica's corpse, freshly wilted and weeping moon-light, stepping over Michael's corpse, whose smile was always a great geometric mystery, Michael, my dearest love, I kneel to kiss him, and my dick stirs mournfully within the twin actuality. I step over Ivan's corpse, whose infant curl spoke the unborn history of homicidal heroes, stepping over Kathy's corpse, whose black and blue eyes swim in her husband's wishing well, stepping over Alexander's corpse, who looks sadder now that he's beyond his joyful mutiny of sound, stepping over Christoph, whose gaze is horribly uncertain, stepping over Rachel's corpse, the great defender of the transensory faith: Rachel, her corpse, like her sister Jessica's, a blue insensate flower of pride, lunacy, pregnancy, their prodigals already evacuate, fluttering in silence above me, their heads are subdivided jewels from the secret hymns, as they spiral within a murderous airborne ballet between the heaving, glow-worm walls of the Buried Eye fellowship hall. I crawl carefully beneath their beast-waltz, finding our febrile father, our prophet, our final hour in the flesh, Sebastian, minus the history of arrows, at rest against the stained effigy of the pine pillar keeping the small roof a steady miracle, I find him still alive, whispering into the white forest of his chest but the dream is already losing recombinant cohesion, as he folds his oneiric flesh into himself like a bitter, molecular love letter, sliding back through another weeping mail slot of parallel memory.
I hear him, now, dreamless, never a prey of survival and its bone-closed, looped-language of nightmare. I grope for the bottle of Beam, take a belt, and another, spitting a little into my palms. I rub my hands together and wipe my eyes, dissolving the tomb of tears my dreams build every night since the extinction of my post-limbic tribe and I hiss, outta the truck now, staggering in a dangerous circle, the stinging at first exquisite, then degrading into a clarifying lament. It is early morning. The land is brutal and barren. I check my watch with a cigarette lighter and find its arms are missing. To survive is to live without the limbs of time.
“Where the fuck are we now, mister professor fucking Miles,” Daren says, hawking a demon from his tonsils.
In The Riddle Light?
I picked up Daren from a truck stop on the outskirts of Nashville. He is young enough to be my son, or my student in that long-ago life. He never dreams, his unconscious is a black sea inhabited by those blind, glowing predators, who are forever floating toward their next feeding-frenzy.
It is snowing in Oklahoma. I own ominous nostalgia of Oklahoma. I search the rest stop for a sign, and find nothing save for flies, flies everywhere, defying the snow, and they bother Daren, he, of the indestructable hippocampus, he shadow-boxes them into the infancy of night.
I was a teacher, once, I taught kids, yes.
I rest while Daren plays with ghosts and hustlers. I vaguely hope he kills one. I remember Jessica, at the Buried Eye Ranch. It is summer, in Las Vegas, New Mexico, she is beginning to show our father's seed in her belly. She is radiant, her smile timeless with psychosis. She is speaking of eternity again, and the metamorphosis of death: “The purpose of the illiastrum is transformation, not of genomic traits, but of pre-genomic traits, into transensory identity, consciousness without the false history of humanity, only future memory, pure creation, a coalescence of new psychogenic proteins into a new anatomy, tearing apart the Euclidean chrysalis of flesh, flying outside the carceral continuum of time, becoming the epiphanies of eternally dying moments.” She invokes our Father's manic, esoteric gospel with a sonorous, escalating rhythm, and we are both looking to the sky as she speaks. The Enemy Eye is throbbing above us like a cosmic brain tumor, the crawling, bright clouds its misshapen, prodigal spawn. There is no wind, yet the creek-reeds are swaying wildly with approval. A spiral of migrating Monarch's suddenly invade our eternally dying moment. Jessica opens her arms like a penitent, and they descend upon her, isolating her from me, from family, from humanity. She dreamily plucks one whispering into her areola and folds it under her tongue.
Daren is slapping his bloody hands on the passenger window of the Ford. It is completely night now, and despite my previous vow, I fell asleep, suffering dreams I needed to die inside of, yet my lids are not frozen shut, because I can see Daren is smiling, and I unlock the door. He slides inside, he is smiling, I turn on the cabin light, and his smile glows brighter with the blood on his teeth. His hands are trembling, holding a wallet, wet with more blood, and this is the theory of hands, trembling, when they know the wisdom they were created for.
BIO: Chris Benton lives in North Carolina, his stories can be found at A Twist Of Noir, Plots With Guns, Crime Factory, Thrills, Kill's 'N' Chaos and elsewhere, if you dig deep enough...