Helh
Raúl Aguiar
(Translation: Daniel W. Koon)
       
       Metamorphosis of the repressed: According to Ouspensky, man can attain four levels of consciousness. These are: sleep, wakefulness, self-consciousness and objective consciousness. Man lives in two of those states: sleep and wakefulness, although in reality the state of wakefulness differs only slightly from the sleep state.
       Morrison Jim. Pork shank. Noh Theater. Ashtray full of cigarette filters and casette tapes. A notebook. The eternal ID card and Aquiel who sits, empty. Empty? Starting over?
       He rises and searches once more in his backpack until he comes upon a bottle in which a green liquid sloshes. He lets a few drops fall into a glass and then goes to the kitchen and fills it with alcohol. He drinks up the contents in several gulps and goes back to sleep. He closes his eyes.
       And soon he is in Antamtap.
       It is a city -- or rather the edge of a city -- converted into a hell, dedicated to the animal evolution of its inhabitants, the perverse polymorphs. He suddenly feels cold, buttons the therms of his jacket and adjusts the polycarbonate devices. Motley forms and textures begin to move over the surface of the fabric and he becomes nearly invisible against the background of the demolished walls and scarp piles. He walks along the streets, seeking the address suggested by his inner eye. At first glance the avenues appear deserted, but several ghostly silhouettes move across the chrome screen of his goggles, captured in infrared: certainly neighborhood guards or explorers from the tribes, a well-aimed shot at the first hint of movement. Luckily they don’t count on another “dishional” similar to themselves. (Dishional: word of the tribal jargon, possibly a contraction, or rather, a fusion of the words “dish” (food) and “additional”, symbolizing the objects coming from the other side of the border) In the middle of the street a gigantic bonfire and the entire tribe. The Klippots? Meeting in the heat of the flames, planning some excursion outside their territorial borders. A inkling of memory. All of them searching for the origin, the genesis of their existence in Antamtap. None of them ask if it is correct or just or even logical, diabetic, why ask questions if there is no point of comparison, if they assume that all this is the only happiness possible?
       Already near the house he’s looking for, he has to side-step two naked bodies fornicating obscenely, clearly in the full delirium of some psychochemical from the old days. So far he has seen only children, it seems that the stories are true: only children, the ideal raw material to supply whatever they desire on the other side. Slave labor? Objects of pleasure? Cannon fodder? Guinea pigs? Who knows? Finally the house. The entrance door too heavily guarded, it seems he will need to go around and try to enter from behind. Exactly, in the back there are only two guards, so that it is easy to put them out of commission, engulfing them in a shared sexual cyberhallucination. He penetrates into the living room. A cellar in the shadows, a stairway, then finally the room he’s been searching for. Two? Yes, there they are inside. They must feel very confident, because the door is open, but how would they know?
       He crosses the threshold and switches off the devices of his jacket, making himself visible. At first they stand fixed with their mouths open, staring blankly at the miracle. Just a pair of nervous and filthy kids, a boy and a girl. Quickly, he needs to act before they can respond. They don’t have the money for implants, so he can paralyze them with a light electric shock and project a simple fractal into their heads, shining circles in a hypnotic intersection. The kids watch it first surprised, then amazed. He analyzes their features in the dim light reflected from the only supergraphic advertisement which manages to penetrate the hovel.
       The leader of the Klippot community is a boy. The priest or shaman of the tribe is a girl with long hair and faded black clothing. Minimal level of education, the lowest caste in the system, average life span 16 real years, hardly anyone survives the daily assault of violence and adulterated chemicals, little suburban savages. Now is the time to begin to free them, even though that concept, once spoken, guarantees its very opposite, the lack of anything incomprehensible beyond infinity could be a danger in the daily struggle of a reality without mirrors, the simple kinetics of desire, screaming, violence and the sadistic innocence of the “child subject” to paraphrase Freud, freedom left out to die on the ferrous scrapheap, hearing nothing but the chants and neolithic music made by striking bits of brass and steel, the broken glass, the basis of a magical protoreligion, with no hope for that masochistic infinity, let alone a hope of reincarnation beyond the laser-marked border.
       In case the succession of cascading images affects them too much, Aquiel disconnects the projection -- even if that wastes much energy -- and offers a trode to each of them.
       “Take it. It is a present. Just tell me your names.” The kids hesitate for a while, fascinated by the small bits of biometal in their hands. “Irving,” the leader responds and elbows the girl so that she will answer. “Daybel,” she whispers. Then Aquiel helps them place the chips on their neck, behind their ears. He considers the great irony of those devices nestled in these shaggy heads, full of lice. The kids go wild as the trodes begin to project infographs coupled to their corporal rhythms. He takes care that Daybel’s chip has a scanner attached with limited access to some elementary teaching hypertext: within three months this girl will know how to read and write, a good beginning for his plans. They get even wilder when he shows them the forty trodes in the form of a tattoo over his arms and neck.
       Curious, he thinks. With its two forms of reproduction this breed doesn’t ever seem to die out: the kids appear like damp white larvae bursting forth from the swollen bellies of the ragged ones on the street, but they also appear suddenly in the very center of Antamtap, they appear out of nowhere, from the vacuum, simply a reverberation of the air, a single trace, and together with them the plastic wrapped version of celestial mannah, in packets of food and cans sent by whatever gods of Amenthis, the city of eternal lights.
       Suddenly the leader orders his own escort to guide him through the forbidden streets and the priestess sends observers to strategic locations. A crusade. In reality Aquiel is not afraid of meeting up with some other band: this is one of the best equipped in terms of offensive firepower. He understands that he could handle any of the others quite easily, inducing chaos, altering their perceptions.
       Almost overcome with the smoke and stench of so many heaps of garbage, he leaves the Klippot territory and orders the kids to follow him. They leave the first streets behind and soon the confrontations begin. They always win. They continue to overpower the neighborhoods in ruins and they magnanimously pardon those who will tithe some few weapons and some powdered drug to smoke. STONE AGE. They burn the few that resist and the survivors join the conquerors as if it were the most natural thing in the world, following the trail of the burning tires, the awful stench of those hastily rolled cigars and the war songs of the Klippots. No strategy. He will have to teach them a little so that they might be truly useful. Some chiefs of other tribes bid truce and come to present their respects. Unintelligible dialects mixed grossly with the tongues of earlier immis (immigrants) from all parts of the world. To free himself of the quasi religious chitchat Aquiel gives each one some cheap trode and if they still refuse to leave, the Klippot chief will take care to banish them from his sight.
       And still the girls come to offer their legs full of mud and scars and exotic illnesses but primarily in search of powder and grass to inject in their ankles in front of the others, without ceasing to shove their buttocks against each fornicator in turn and moaning their faked orgasms for the meager attention they receive from the leaders.
       They press on, dominating neighborhood after neighborhood through split streets, full of potholes and puddles of putrid drainage water, the walls filled with millenialist graffiti in neobaroque palimpsest, the lit torches illuminating their were-insect flag and Aquiel now feels like that pied piper, with waves of kids following him in an orgiastic party of blood and sex and sweat bringing him to the limits of the forbidden city. “Right here,” the leader says, and they all stop.
       Having passed so many streets and having overpowered so many tribes, they finally reach the first signs that their path is blocked. Here the reflectors showing the borders once again illuminate the night. Aquiel understands that the Klippots have brought him here with a purpose. They wish to watch his ultimate miracle: his passing through the security barriers. They wish to see how he manages to negotiate those invisible walls where all who try to escape the gigantic concentration camp that the old part of the city has become mysteriously die. Crossing the line, he will hold them in thrall once and for all. From them a nervous silence, the whispers, the pallor revealing a hope for the future where they may all escape this hell to the other side, to the land of light where people dress in clothes that change colors and live in grand skyscrapers that twinkle in the sunset, the world where everyone has wings and can change into children or animals or whatever they desire simply by closing their eyes behind some goggles, oh God, Aquiel suddenly glimpses an entire naive religion and cosmology, built at the expense of the virtual masquerade and he feels compassion for them, understands that those kids are already condemned for the single act of having been born here, are moving cadavers, zombies shut into the limits of their territory to survive a few years, because they have no other option: they have learned to accept death.
       The priestess dries the drops of sweat from her face and then watches as her moist hand rubs the edge of her shabby pants. She searches again in her knapsack and pulls out a dry dog skull and everyone is silent. “Oh Señor Fly,” she whispers, “help us to leave this swamp.” The girl says something more and then struggles to accompany him a few meters but he stops her with a gesture. They are just about to receive the warning lasers.
       Aquiel turns his back on her, knowing that they will fix their eyes on him, trying to remember every detail. He searches in his hidden eye for the key to the exit and connects with the bribed powers on the other side. They transmit to him a luminous arrow in the no-man’s-land, one false step and he will receive the discharge.
       When he reaches the parking lot, where his auto is cloaked in an invisibility shield, he throws a box of the promised credits to the guards and, in passing, a tip of a few additional chips that he knows he will regret later but which he considers essential at this moment in order to win their favor on other occasions. While he drives back he throws a glance over his shoulder and discovers that the kids are still there, watching in silence. He looks for the priestess and finds her a little removed from the others, her hand behind her ear, conspicuously stroking that device. She will clearly remember, the others no. Life ends suddenly in Antamtap, the tribes crush each other in a couple of days. He imagines that when he returns there will be others, with new names and faces but fundamentally identical, a variable and disposable mass of tender flesh, without history or a chronicler to rescue them. Well okay: he, Aquiel, the magnanimous hypocrite, has given this girl a path. Daybel? The priestess of the tribe. Within a few years she will become, without a doubt, the first woman of a new race, the mother of the dirty angels, and with this new force will arrive the much desired Chaos, Entropy as the unique response to the power of the superstructures, chaos will bring liberty and she shall become the queen of the witches, of the new devils, like Lilith, the first great rebel who dared to defy the gods. Lilith, that would be a good name for her, something to start with.
       Alone in the car, racing at top speed. In the geometrical horizon of metalocrystal the first supergraphics start to come into view, which call to him with their induced desire in his unconscious pleasure centers. Aquiel, the prodigal son, returning to the city of Amenthis, as always. He connects his trodes again and instantly submerges himself in the informational tsunami...
       “Then the thing with the cave didn’t mean a thing?”
       “That’s not what I said. Why don’t we just let these things flow?”
       Aquiel opens his eyes. Suddenly in his sanctuary. This time the vision of Windows has been so perfect, so vivid...SO LOGICAL. Too logical. And the Dark Side is never like that. Why are you in my brain? Why are you my daughter?
       Aquiel realizes that he cannot escape his destiny between any pair of legs -- clitoris attached -- that he cannot bombard his schizophrenia without staining his lips with blood, he intuits the mistake of the chosen path, the gray bedsheets of flesh and sex and the sheltering heat, imagines other trembling arms, the thread of saliva at the edge of a thigh, the childlike gaze of Lilith lost at the belly’s edges, her voice resonating with the salty skin of her pubis, but no, the sensible course hurts, inevitably ends up castrating one, pure sex is better, suddenly the mirror fills with women and children with legs spread, pensive, their blossoms opening up from the center of their bodies without keeping inner red suns shrouded in shade and mystery, no, only rosy snow dazzling and warm... Aquiel looks at the time. They must be at the coast by now, waiting for him.
       
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