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Raised by Wolves

Gaki: writing myself Real

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Hello?  Navi?


This piece is over a year old, which means I've been lazy.


The partially-formed building hung restlessly in the murk, its' bones vibrating with bloody sunlight, gestating cancers in its' marrow. It was as though a morbidly hard sneeze had caused one of the citybeast's ribs to erupt through the surface, left it wrapped in scaffolding bandages, waiting for help that might never arrive. A derelict crane arm afforded spectator seating to the noisy local ravens, who sat admiring the day's last glory and jeering at pigeons passing by. No one knew what they ate.

The other derelict edifices smiled toothlessly through their blackening windowpanes. Broken shards of glass in forever empty strip mallfronts reflect lies. There is no more 24-7 open for your convenience service here. In the windows consumers come and go, entering and exiting mirror doors, eating mirrorsnacks in their mirrorcars, which they drive while talking on their mirrorphones.

But outside of these broken sidereal grins, the streets all are empty.

Save for one.

There were very few usable resources in the park, and so the infrastructure team moved paralell to it only, crossing numbered avenue by numbered avenue, reclaiming junction boxes, sealing and redirecting water and fuel mains. Welding some manhole covers and labeling others with ultraviolet paint, affixing magnetic clamps in place of bolts, tirelessly, one after the other. Mining access panels for dark cable, diagramming fiberoptic circulatory systems under asphalt hides.

Once there were habitations up here, dwellings and businesses, prosperity and progress. People whose forebears had moved to this place, lured by the ban sidhe of manifest destiny. Long after earth gave way to ocean and there was no more room to wander, people wandered there still, and when their wandering in the land was done, gave themselves to different kinds of wandering. There was no telling whether or not it was the weight of their dreams and wanderings or the earth's ceaseless, dreaming hunger that swallowed them up eventually, and dragged them down, down into the dark. Towards the city centers they built in both directions, and in the upper reaches of the Spires it was possible to look down across the smog and derelict ridden canyons of the surface, and set one's aim and path for the dark oceans above or within. Out towards the skirts, though, one saw only abandonment, as the tar-lined surfaces slowly drowned their inhabitants, the same way tar had drowned much older, grander creatures aeons ago.

Recently shined shoes with a hint of scuff, recently pressed shirt with a hint of ruffle, the suit is serviceable black but less than immaculate. As is only proper. Too much attention to accoutrements would betray the flaw of vanity, the taint of self. Karoshii's bushido ethic does not allow for such flaws or failures, nor for anything that would cause a loss of face in the sight of one's lord. To place value on one's appearance beyond the point necessary to fulfill one's function is wasteful effrontery, where one's thought and energy could be better spent on determining how best to maximize the Company's efficiency.

Karoshii lives, if that is indeed what it does, for the Company, and the company feeds upon efficiency, precise and harmonious motion in the physical, economic, and spiritual spheres. When not in use, Karoshii rests silently in the stranger recesses of Zophiel's mind and dreams ever-growing green fields of abstract improvement, cornucopia of logarithmically increasing profit projections. There is a little song that lives in its' mind, humming itself quietly to itself, endless variations upon the theme of "Operations In The Black," over and over, forever and always. The song must hum itself, for Karoshii has no throat to lend it.

At this moment, Karoshii follows the infrastructure team, clicking quietly along as they suture junction after junction, watching as they work to keep hells from bleeding into one another. It is not necessary in most cases to monitor the team. They do not need to see him while they work, and each one knows wordlessly that Karoshii will wait for them should they lose focus and falter. It will guide their friends, coworkers, and lovers quietly away by the hand, all without being noticed. They know that it will come for them while they lie sleepless, and draw them step by step into the closet. Bloodless lips will kiss away the tears from their eyes, bloodless fingers will help them cinch the belts around their necks, bloodless arms will hold them gently in the quiet grey, while they calculate the final sum. There is no fear in this knowledge; there is no fear left, only a quiet deadness that sits upon their chests and keeps them from ever taking full breaths as they move from bed to street, street to cubicle, cubicle to street, street to bed. Karoshii does not need to watch them. They will call when they are ready.

Black tie swaying listlessly, the suit stops, and bends to examine something. Streets are all economic meridians, they determine the flow of the city's ki-lines, it's power flow, water flow, commercial flow. These are Karoshii's veins. And here...

It sniffs once, twice, and the ravens turn to regard it warily. Two blocks ahead, the city's suturers freeze without knowing why.

In the gutter, along one of the larger stormdrain openings, is a small, rusty bloom along the concrete. A bloodstain. Something unscheduled has occurred here.

No one knows what Karoshii eats.


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(Deleted comment)

Re: ☆ Aiya Eärendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thank you! You do this old yarn-spinner too much credit. ^_^ Sometimes all I can see in my own work is a garish pastiche of run-on sentences and overuse of adjectives. It helps me to know that it goes over well to someone's eyes/ears.

This piece, while I've heard it before, slides into my consciousness and a time most appropos. Something in the assisted suicide in clattering around in my head, dredging a few new ideas with it. It would explain how the Machin rids itself of unecessary parts; ones that cease to have a function, dare I say a will, perhaps a will to live, to continue.

Nag me about this later.

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