An ineffable sense of rapture of the mind, body, and soul.
A substitute for the spirit molecule.
A place where it’s safe to be human and where the concept of being human is unravelled at various stages in a way that will add to one’s self-worth, empathy, and awareness.
The texture of reality is mutable here. Your substance might go through physical and spiritual metamorphoses in tempestuous waves. Fragments of souls that are no longer around will reflect back at you unexplored feelings and aspects of your self on a visceral level.
You will witness the miracle of the self unfold. During your paradigm-shifting odyssey into this state of overwhelming multitudes, your core will be shaken and re-examined, but despite that, you will overflow with self-love even as you go through the transformative process. Your memories and dreams will be your friends, not your foes.
There will be upheavals, eventually followed by a sense of enlightenment and profound emotional intensity that will set new foundations in stone. No more lingering intrusive thoughts. No longer projecting and no longer being affected by other projections. An elation and liberation of the self.
Inserted myself in film stills from Stalker, Annihilation, and Solaris; photos edited and composited by me.
I had actually written a little uncanny story that these images were just accompanying, but I’ve decided to integrate that one exclusively in a greater project of the future.
While meandering through the vastness of cyberspace, I found myself immersed in old analogue photographs and archival material of the intriguing Parisian phenomenon known as the “Cabarets of the Beyond”: the Cabaret De L’Enfer (the Cabaret of Hell), the Cabaret du Ciel (of Heaven), and the Cabaret du Néant (of Nothingness). As night deepened in the heart of the glittering capital’s Montmartre neighbourhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, flâneurs could escape the mundane and seek refuge in the enrapturing and otherworldly embraces of both Heaven and Hell during the same night, as they were situated at the same address. Diminishing the veil between worlds, the Dantesque cabarets represented a stirring source of entertainment and inspiration for guests from different walks of life, as well as a fitting backdrop for avant-garde artists and bohemian intellectuals in particular.
The Cabaret du Ciel greeted wandering – damned and divine – souls with blue lights and ethereal archways, whilst the neighbouring entrance of the Cabaret de l’Enfer allowed them to be devoured by the flames of hell in the grotesque jaws of the Leviathan. A little bit further away, one could find the arguably more unsettling Cabaret of Nothingness, which was a celebration of the essence and process of death, embodying a more worldly and macabre approach to the concept. The grim exterior of the latter was black and unadorned, except for the eerie green lanterns casting an otherworldly, cadaverous glow upon the unwary faces of the guests.
Inside the Cabaret du Néant, people were led by a monk-like figure through a dark hall towards a sinister café. In the Intoxication Hall, a chandelier crafted entirely from human bones cast a flickering eerie light upon the setting below, which consisted of coffin-shaped tables adorned with deathly flowers, dismembered arms with candles in their fingers, waiters dressed as undertakers who addressed the patrons as “corpses”, and disquieting depictions of battles and executions seemingly resurrected by the flickering lights. The unearthly, foreboding ambiance of the stage was merely a prelude to the performance that was about to unfold. Bells tolled. A funeral march entranced the audience. A sombre young man dressed in black held a transfixing discourse on the anguish and misery of death, pointing at the macabre imagery on the walls. The visuals would suddenly glow and become imbued with life as ghastly figures started emerging from the frames. Portrayals of fighting, living men turned into haunting images of skeletons writhing in a deathly embrace, as if they were fighting a never-ending battle.
With the help of mirrors, lights, and hidden rooms, the disoriented audience could witness the gradual decomposition of bodies. In a smaller room, the “Room of Disintegration”, a beautiful, pale, uncannily alive young woman in a white veil was enclosed in a coffin. Here is an excerpt from William Chambers Morris’ “Bohemian Paris of Today” (1899), which describes the experience through his eyes:
“Soon it was evident that she was very much alive, for she smiled and looked at us saucily. But that was not for long… Her face slowly became white and rigid; her eyes sank; her lips tightened across her teeth; her cheeks took on the hollowness of death—she was dead. But it did not end with that. From white the face slowly grew livid… then purplish black… the eyes visibly shrank away into their greenish-yellow sockets… Slowly the hair fell away… The nose melted away into a purple putrid spot. The whole face became a semi-liquid mass of corruption. Presently all this had disappeared, and a gleaming skull shown where so recently had been the handsome face of a woman; naked teeth grinned inanely and savagely where rose lips had so recently smiled.”
Compared to the other two cabarets, the Cabaret du Néant was notably different mood-wise and far less light-hearted. Not everyone appreciated the cabaret’s earthly, corporeal, macabre approach to death. Jules Claretie noted, “a sinister irony was expressed, not with angels and devils, but with people, mortals, death”. The French journalist also perceived the Cabaret du Néant created by illusionist M. Dorville to be ghastly and mean-spirited compared to Antonin Alexander’s Cabaret of Hell.
Renault and Château expressed their critical point of view in their book, “Montmartre”, stating: “if the Ciel and Enfer of the lovable M. Antonin merit a visit, this is not true of the Néant, which is frequented by hysterical and neurotic persons”.
Despite the scarcity of visual archive material featuring the cabarets, judging by literary accounts providing first-hand snap shots of nightlife in Paris, it’s hardly surprising that the Cabaret du Néant was found to be more disturbing. It seems to have embodied a visceral approach with painful reminders of mortality whilst focusing on the actual process and ritual of death in a way that made people face a primal fear. Moreover, some aspects of it created an uncanny experience, which would automatically involve the elements of emotional shock and repulsion. Besides the uncanny acts from the room of disintegration, there were other elements that were subtly frightening, nihilistic, and potentially psychologically scarring for some, as the cabaret of the void focused on conveying the emptiness of existence in a surreal way that had the effects of psychological horror.
Meanwhile, despite the profane theme it depicted, the unholy Cabaret de l’Enfer was less anchored in secular, materialistic reality and more rooted in the intangible and unearthly, which might have been one of the characteristics that made it less disconcerting. However, it was also not exactly for the faint of heart. After entering the infernal mouth-portal, past the embers that were stirred by a frenzied scarlet demon in the depths of hell, one would be welcomed by meticulous hell-themed decorations, ghoulish images of demons, dioramas of sinners being punished, and staff dressed in devil costumes. A cauldron was hanging over a hellfire, partially enveloping several devil musicians eerily playing “Faust” on stringed instruments, being prodded with red-hot irons for every discordant note.
After having their orders taken by a devilish being whose discourse was characterised by consistently twisted, macabre, yet playful words and arcane incantations, the damned souls who ventured in this hellish place would get to drink liquids that were supposed to ease their upcoming suffering, from glasses with an eerie, phosphorescent, unearthly glow. Meanwhile, the place pulsed with dark energy. There was a palpable, ominous sense of unholiness in the air. Volcanos were blasting and streams of molten precious metals were trickling from the crevices of the underground rock structure of the walls.
Imagine being there, surrounded by figures and symbols of the macabre, witnessing nightmarish scenes, soaking up the atmosphere, sipping glowy liquids, and catching sight of André Breton in one of his meetings with the Surrealists. The Cabaret de l’Enfer served as a gathering place for the Surrealists in the 1920s – and a popular one, at that. Unsurprisingly, the Surrealists were drawn to the cabaret’s macabre aesthetic, due to their fascination with the unconscious mind and penchant for the bizarre and the subversive. Breton’s studio was located on the fourth floor above the cabaret, which is where he and Robert Desnos arranged his well-known surrealism sessions.
The souls that graced the vibrant Cabaret du Ciel were enveloped in a cold blue light. The patrons stepped into an ethereal realm featuring plays that depicted the bliss of heavenly afterlife. Divine, dreamlike harp music as well as gloomier organ music filled the air. A priest recited a typical invocation from a small altar. St. Peter would stick his head through a hole in the celestial cupola to sprinkle holy water from the heavens, while reenactments of scenes from Dante’s Paradiso mesmerised the audience. Waiters were adorned with lacy translucent wings and halos that seemed to glow in the ethereal light. Fluttering among sacred palms and gilded candelabras, the performers were dressed as nuns, angels, and saints. After a brief procession, guests were invited to a separate room in order to become angels themselves through an uplifting, ritualistic, choreographed performance involving singing, incense, getting dressed in white robes, being adorned with wings and halos, holding a harp, and gaining access to the empyrean – a cloud structure.
Many visitors, including British poet Arthur Symons, described the Cabaret du Ciel as a Parisian gem of divine enchantment, a slice of heaven, appreciating its serene atmosphere, uplifting show, and otherworldliness. However, some naysayers seemed to be of the opinion that it was strangely irreverent, vaguely sinister, or, worse – kitsch. Others said it was actually more depressing and grotesque than the Cabaret of Hell, which provided an intriguing spectacle.
Despite being staged like a religious ceremony, according to British visitor Trevor Greenwood, the Cabaret du Ciel had something dark and sinister in its ambiance and mise-en-scene. In his view:
“I just couldn’t believe my own eyes. What a room! Down the centre, lengthwise, was a long table covered with a white cloth… and lots of ash-trays: around the long table were seats, some already occupied by bewildered looking Americans: I suppose there would be about thirty seats all told. At the far end of the room was a small screen about eight feet square… presumably hiding a stage of some sort… And the room itself!! It might have been a temple for the sinister performances of black magic or something. The walls were covered with cheap imitations of religious knick-knacks. There was a large bell suspended from an imitation beam… and it was a wooden bell! Close to the bell was a banner-pole, with a silver coloured effigy of a bull mounted on top… The whole place reeked of something sinister… and the general effect was the very essence of tawdriness.”
An iconic and inspiring piece of the cultural landscape of 19th and 20th century Montmartre, the Cabarets of the Beyond provided a tantalising glimpse into vivid worlds lying beyond the veil by inducing uncanny, surreal Dantesque experiences. Testaments to the alchemical and polarising effects of art, the well-known entertainment venues were places where the ordinary was endowed with uncanniness, and where curious souls could immerse themselves in a sea of unfamiliar and strangely familiar sensations. Through their macabre and celestial decorations, their unsettling performances and music, as well as the otherworldly themes that they brought to life, the Cabarets created a space where the boundaries of reality and imagination were stretched and distorted.
Lifting the white veil, I open the old, mysterious drawer. Inside, next to a fairy tale-infused wooden music box and some forgotten Christmas and birthday cards that seem to either yearn for my full attention or yearn to be left alone or be destroyed, I see the charming box where the photographs are stored – those prosthetic memories that seem to have developed a life of their own. Where I currently live, few objects that are explicitly mnemonic tend to survive the memorabilia purge I execute regularly sometimes in my attempts at minimalism and sometimes for the sake of symbolically shedding the past and starting afresh – a peculiar habit, perhaps, for someone fascinated with archives and the archival process and antique stores. Any letter or card would have to be extremely emotional, soul-stirring, and potentially heart-wrenching for some reason (for instance reflecting the cavernously deep feelings of the sender) in order to coexist with me for long periods of time. I’d have to feel like throwing it away would be a blasphemous act. Or alternatively, there should be something within that object that propelled my mind to get spiritually irrational and make up a superstition about it, specifically a superstition of what might happen if I got rid of it, so I just let it rest in some corner instead, where it’s cast into oblivion.
Any physical diaries I have ever had have been burnt – I couldn’t get rid of them in any other way: flames are symbolic. The process is more cathartic than deleting a LiveJournal account, but everything has been digitised and that works for me, despite the supposed deprivation of the haptic pleasure and of the magic of writing with a fountain pen in a beguilingly beautiful notebook. With the amazing texture, designs, and cover art of some notebooks nowadays, I’d probably decay with indecision whilst trying to decide what thoughts were noble enough to be written in such a diary anyway, and if I managed to decide, I’d still curse myself whenever I have to cross out one word and I would embellish the hell out of those noble thoughts to the point where it would be more of an exercise in literary style, imagination, and language rather than one in authenticity, self-awareness, or memory preservation. I suppose I’ll stick to the occasional LiveJournal entries and notes on my phone for that.
I have also deleted many photographs along the years and there are long chapters in my life that only ever still exist, in some vague, distorted form, in my mind. Rather than doing so out of an impulse or lapse in judgement, it was always planned and I have always been at peace with it, which is even more sacrilegious. Freud would be disappointed – he praised the power of photography to act as a reliable mnemonic device, since physical proof of a memory combats the decay the memory would face if it were only stored in one’s mind – hence liable to distortions over time. In his view, diaries, photographs, cards, are all part of a chain of mnemonic devices which free us, helping us unload the burden that we would have to hold if memories were permanently retained in our minds. They are extensions of identity, of your inner life, aiding our capacity to remember, which in turn allows us to absorb new information and conceive fresh thoughts. Eh, anyway, family photos, in particular, lie by omission – in addition to being an enemy to individuality, which is sacrificed in favour of an unreal collective past. Belonging whilst losing one’s self. Not to mention the notion of counter-memory and how trying to retain the past might only bring about its destruction, ultimately alienating you from your past and from life and making you construct false or weirdly altered memories. Photographic self-obliteration as a form of resurrection or metamorphosis. The intersection between the other and the self, photographic depiction and identity: the end of existence.
I open the charming, memory-preserving or memory-annihilating box. The photo album has an imposing, magnetic presence. As I turn the pages, I remember most of the photos, so they’re hardly nostalgic artefacts. I’m quite desensitised due to this observation and the fact that nothing seems to elicit an emotional response. But then I reach one portrait that I must have seen before, surely, and yet there’s something I haven’t read on her face before. Am I imagining this? It seems uncanny. The girl in the picture, a defying, atemporal doppleganger, an embodiment of a spectral condition, seems to want to tell me “I refuse to exist as an afterthought in this simulacrum”. She wants to step out of the frame and haunt. “I want to smell like Alien, not naphthalene. And this curse of only seeing the light every few years during the holidays…” She reprimands me for forgetting her, for misunderstanding and misconstructing her, for only reanimating her as a “Screen Memory” on rare occasions. I want to hug her. Tell her she is more myself than I am, in a way. Tell her she wouldn’t like it out here. But I remain silent. My expectation of chasing decaying memory traces has turned into an uncanny Blow-Up moment as I catch a glimpse of resignation and almost grief on her face. As I notice this, the door to the unconscious is slightly open, but not enough for her to escape. I know I was supposed to integrate her. But she will be here until next time, feeling trapped. And I will still feel both protective and afraid of her. Perhaps next Christmas it will be different.
Your sigh… a sign of weariness, blasé indifference, the content of decadence, spiritual relief?
Concealed contempt, a remembrance of loss, emotional capitulation, or repressed agony?
No, it was actually me remembering your intrusive habit of analysing nonverbal cues and how in moments like these it tends to rub me the wrong way. Consider it a sign of my discontent with this dynamic.
We should look into that, I’m sure there’s a reason for it. And for building invisible barriers of psychological impenetrability and feeling resentment whenever I try to cross them. Perhaps it’s because…
Hilarious. You’re talking about trespassing, excavating, and infusing. There’s a way to enter someone’s inner world, force and a lack of subtlety are usually not the way. And seriously…The fact that you get visibly and, depending on your familiarity or affinity with the observer, often vocally irritated when the same treatment of psyche dissection is being inflicted upon you without consent…Now, what was that golden rule of Confucius?
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves?
That’s probably misattributed. And a cautionary statement more than a rule. Give it another shot.
To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it!
…Also not a rule. And I’ll be buried with my grudges.
Not an ethical rule, but a self-help rule. Look, I know, but are you truly bothered or just digging up reasons to be dissatisfied with and closed off to me?
It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.
You don’t actually live by that. Also, preaching about trust… Your obsessive devotion to double standards is the gateway drug to narcissism. But I’ll look past this because I see a version of myself in you.
Your dogmatic devotion to projection under the disguise of spiritual awareness is a gateway drug to psychotic solipsism.
With each brush stroke, she renders her exquisite features in an exceptional manner that only her unnatural talent can achieve, seemingly managing to capture both her celestial beauty and intoxicating essence. Willow’s hypnotic gaze and entrancing expressiveness always inspired and fascinated the artist. Their special painting sessions suspend time; paradoxically, although this is an outdated activity borrowed from the Old World, in the New World it’s one of the aspects which projects them in an almost nirvanic state. During such moments of transcendence, their connection is so intense that Luna forgets everything about her existential crisis and the experimental nature of their simulated environment.
For a split second, she thinks she sees the trace of a wrinkle on her model’s face. She blinks and it’s gone. She smiles in relief, despite acknowledging her mind has been playing small uncanny tricks on her lately. This often used to happen in the Old World, so it’s almost nostalgic. She looks at Willow and wonders what it’s like to be created in the New World, with no recollection of other times and with restrictions in experiencing implanted memories. She can’t imagine existing without the previous versions of herself and her own memories. Perhaps she would be more at peace, but she would lose herself entirely. Luna is one of the few inhabitants of the New World who has a personal history spanning over such different chapters in human advancement and ontological posthumanism.
When she reminisces about the Old World, there are flashbacks of her spending most of her days daydreaming about immortality. Unlike most of the people around her who were preoccupied with mundane things which distracted their attention from the fact that the end vibrated within every human being, for her it was a consuming obsession. She felt that everyone around her was in a state of delusional denial; in her case, even during moments of human happiness and fulfilment, there was always the underlying thought of the transience of everything. She was depressed over any sign of ageing. Situations that made other people feel nothing but happiness, such as extended family meetings, made her initially happy but often depressed because of the fragility of life. She felt pretty alienated in her concerns, as others around her held beliefs in ethereal notions of the spirit. Although at that point, the world had gone through the first shift, thus being populated by enhanced biological brains and bodies that significantly slowed down the process of ageing and magnified original human capabilities, it was still ephemeral. Years later, after the Whole Brain Emulation process, she was over the moon. At first. She awakened, after all, still feeling like herself- an enhanced version of herself, of course, but the essence was there. She had been extremely worried that the uploading process would go terribly wrong and she would end up in extreme pain or simply erased. Her joy after finding out her WBE was successful was amplified beyond human levels. As promised, her senses, cognitive abilities, talent, and pleasure were enhanced. Later on, with her artistic skills and advanced knowledge of neuroscience and AGI research, she designed Willow’s physical appearance and mental configuration. They explored the wonders of the New World together. However, a secret kept haunting her. Luna concealed an important aspect regarding the creation of Willow […]
Both inspired by and afraid of her ineffable power to rise again and again, ever stronger, and pierce the essence of everything, he doesn’t know what he feels. She is wonderful. She is terrifying. She gives the impression that she is slightly aware of it, but not in a conceited way. In a playful way. In a way that makes you see the world as wonderful and terrifying. She is wild. She can’t be tamed. She has a rich, specific belief system, and yet she never wastes an opportunity to explore and gain new insights. It’s a rare occurrence for her to consistently dream about another person, but when she does, it can get pretty intense. And it must mean the other person is wonderful too. And yet she doesn’t want another person to become her world. Her world is thrilling, mostly safe but occasionally dangerous, fluctuating between periods of unpredictability and order. She is not necessarily a thrill-seeker, but a huntress of good feelings and of the sublime, the marvellous, the ethereal, with a relentless desire to feel alive. She likes being in control and having freedom. Her resplendent mind transcends boundaries. Her defining characteristics are creativity and a natural inclination towards divergent thinking. As we know, there are both advantages and disadvantages to this, just like everything else. Whilst brainstorming, coming up with a myriad of ideas and generating stimulating thoughts is highly desirable, her tendencies also make it difficult to have a structure in life, to focus on one thing at a time. A successful project requires you to eventually switch to convergent thinking, to stick to a strategy. Her inner life is a film with a non-linear narrative. He is different, in this sense, there is a promising duality between them. Since they play in different films, there is no way to tell if their narratives can harmoniously intertwine. Time will tell.
Let your mind paint a rainy cityscape. A girl dressed in black, with a mask and noisy heels steps on the sidewalk. Her tears merge with the raindrops. Each tear encapsulates an entire mini-universe, lingering on her cheeks, like undetectable tokens of fluid vulnerability. A stranger passes her by, closely. His slightly curious, slightly worried gaze briefly meets hers. That’s when she remembers she’s in a public space: Maybe the distress in her eyes was visible, after all. His face doesn’t show pity, which is fortunate, for she hates pity – she’s always been too proud for it. But maybe she misinterpreted his facial expression and it wasn’t really concern. Maybe he misinterpreted her expression as something else too. He reminds her of someone – someone kind, sweet, wise, and very dear to her. Someone who knew how to unleash her vulnerable and dreamy side simply by being himself. The rare realness of this person was always rewarded with the privilege of meeting all the facets of her personality.
What her expression conveyed was grief. All-consuming grief, manifested as an affliction of the mind and the body. The inner chaos-intense, the body-tense, during the painful procession. Towards the funeral of the distilled dreams of being. Still alive are the hopes to resurrect the dreams the next day. Another dream, of inner peace, is born. She is wondering when it will materialise. Meanwhile, sweet echoes fill the mind as background music, sung by the Light Beings, ‘Talent. Creativity. Intelligence. Beauty. Resilience. Strength. Kindness’ This is not your typical funeral song. This is one of those days when the melodic discourse is played like a mantra to assuage the mind, to overpower the inner wailing from the funeral rite, to self-induce good vibes, in order to help her keep putting one foot in front of the other foot instead of collapsing. Like an incantation, to banish other toxic thoughts. It’s one of those days when other aspects resonate too strongly, sucking the power out of the good ones, and releasing dark energy. These other forces are not as clear. The noise they express themselves in is a sort of gibberish, a chaotic, harmful nonsense, inducing a heaviness of the heart.
There are rooms she doesn’t unlock in her mind, because she doesn’t want to let the poison out. She wants to stay pure. Untainted. One room contains dusty effigies of blacklisted figures. They’re not distinctive or intelligible, they’re merged into each other, shape-shifting embodiments of damaging thoughts. They are all locked away together in a claustrophobic space, drenched in darkness. Poison drips from their mouth as they breathe in the poisonous atmosphere like zombies. Meanwhile, The Light Beings roam in their perfumed, elegantly decorated chambers inside the mind, as companions and guardians. The Light Beings are personified thoughts, but also real-life people including her parents, close friends, and her therapist. When she dissociates, it’s probably so as to stay away from the poisonous atmosphere when the forbidden door malfunctions. That poison rarely affects anyone else, besides her self, it is confined within her being.
It’s my first time. Half of my motionless body rests inside the white, clinical, cylindrical machine, in my head resembling an intergalactic coffin. I feel an itch, but I have to resist moving. I want to cough, to sneeze, to yawn, ugh, of course, at the most inopportune moments, and I have to keep it under control and be still. My legs are too tense, my lower body feels heavy. I am mentally calm. But my body wants permission to move. Since this is just a brain scan, I try to make a slight leg movement, but it feels like trying to lift an anchor. My mind keeps freezing. There is the buzz. It’s getting louder. And stranger. Then the clanking. The whirring. Suddenly thoughts of the few MRI safety incidents and fatalities I’ve read about vaguely infiltrate my mind in a weirdly serene way. I should have double-checked there is definitely no metal anywhere in or around this room. Oh come on, when something like this enters my mind, I think – what are the odds? and what is the point of obsessing over the odds?- and the thought melts away. I can remember basic aspects about my life, but there is something peculiar about this eerily cold, sterile room, this atmosphere; it’s holding back any specific memories, any feelings, any complex thoughts- I can’t really visualise anything about my past or about life outside this tube. I mean, the noise is quite obstructive, so whenever a thought or a mental image starts materialising, it quickly dissolves. I have a rare, evanescent, uncanny feeling that there is a higher presence or force watching over me. This reminds me of my pre-atheistic, childhood days when I had an agnostic belief in animism and in magical thinking- the belief that one’s thoughts could influence reality, which was problematic whenever I had dark, “forbidden”, ungodly thoughts resulting in fear of divine punishment and futile attempts at suppression. There is a surreal atemporality about this space, it’s like reality is suspended. If my whole body slid into this alienating horizontal cylinder, it would really feel like I’m inside an eccentric, futuristic coffin. That’s spine-chilling. And yet, despite my claustrophobic tendencies, I wish I had a full body scan so I could be encapsulated and see what it would be like if my consciousness or my spirit found a way to return to my corpse a hundred years from now. I don’t believe in it, but I like fantasising. My ego is temporarily numb and any vivid memories are gone, replaced by brief, fleeting perceptions, and it’s one of the few moments in which I’m not living in the past or in the future. I’m living in the now. I feel alive and calm, oddly calm. An oddly calm combination of cells, lying down in a tube, with an ego on snooze mode. Oh, it’s time to get back out there…
She was standing by the window, her face seemingly puzzled by the familiar noise of trains rushing incessantly and birds making harpy-like sounds. It was really taking her back. Back to the days when she made connections between the number of the floor she was living on and the corresponding circle from Inferno, in hopes of attributing some grandiose meaning to her existence. Those were bleak times. It had to be the seventh floor. You were destined to dwell among the violent, submerged in boiling blood. Or the violent against self, being fed to Harpies. Harpies! Eyes shut for a few seconds. Opened again by the distant desperate sound of a cat in heat. I am here now. Rooted in the present, very rarely floating towards the realms of the past and the future.