Seeds of Ignition

His mouth is a door.

“Where do you want to go?” he whispers. A tongue, short and pink, slips out and hangs over a swollen lower lip. Eel slick. A leafy gutter after a late October rainstorm. Far, far away, a crowded planet annihilates into its sun.

“To meet them,” she replies, and reaches with a tentative hand.

The door widens to accommodate. Skin splits, then knits. New teeth sprout from elongating gums. Enamel amaryllises.

Hand, wrist, forearm. The door makes room. It did for me. I was the first to try. The first to succeed.

“How far until…” she asks, only to hush. Right then, she can feel it. I can tell.

Five fingers finesse frigid, fleshy folds. Folds finesse back.

Hot tears leak down the creases in her face.

The bundle in my lap twitches.

“Not yet,” I instruct, and stroke it, grimacing. It mewls; a low, plaintive drone. Eyes of every size erupt under my calming palm. Sighted soap bubbles. Staring sea foam. Shifting sockets. My arm is still wet with the doorman’s saliva. My fingers are black.

Across the room, she gasps. Her pain now matches mine.

Cold spit. Colder, deeper. Frostbitten fingertips. Eventual amputation.

When I was young, my father forced me to deliver a stillborn calf. It had been dead a while. Rotting when it should have been growing. Rotting where it should have been growing. Perverse inversions.

It came apart as I extracted it.

Warm, wet. Warmer deeper. Slippery lifelessness. Memorable dismemberment.

The mother cow understood the loss. She mourned, bellowing and screaming, until my father slit her throat six days later.

“A waste,” he remarked.

At the mouth of the doorman, the woman pulls. She sobs. I recognize the pain. Physical agony; emotional torture. She winces when she glances over and glimpses what I’m holding. She hadn’t been able to see it before. Something happens when you touch one yourself.

We change. It all changes.

A swollen river overmasters weakened banks.

“When you get to be my age,” my father told my child self, “you can take part in a process.”

I listened without speaking. Flies swarmed around the barn-turned-abattoir.

“You will meet the man who is also a bridge. You can help him bring all of this to an end.”

Memories of the mother cow, immobilized and shrieking, as I rooted through her body to dredge out the remains of her calf, swirled through my head; a howling hurricane wind warping and bending a sapling.

Her blood glinted off my father’s knife.

Her baby fertilized the pasture where the other cows fed. They, too, would die. As would everything. Ad infinitum.

I stared into his face as he spoke the words that would matter most.

“You can plant the last seeds. You can ignite the last fire.”

A swollen river overmasters weakened banks.

A stellar doorman overmasters universal boundaries.

The doorman and the woman are separate again. In her arms, writhing and keening and wailing, is what she’d been reaching for. It extends its limbs to touch its partner, still nestled in my lap.

“Why did you come?” the woman asks. Her wrist and hand are black. Chips of frozen saliva break off and fall to the floor like heavy snowflakes.

We hadn’t shared any words to this point. 

“My father said I’d know when to come here,” I tell her. “That I’d meet a man who is also a bridge.”

She nods. “A star told me in a dream when I was little. It said I had to plant the seeds and end the cycle. Last week, it told me where to go.”

Around the things we retrieved from the doorman, light and shadow ripple like spreading blood in an old barn. Their limbs stretch across the room. Fleshy ropes. Black skin. Infinite eyes. We can feel them pulling toward one another. Their strength increases.

“Do you think there’s going to be a real fire?” the woman questions.

“I don’t know,” I answer. “But I’m ready for it all to be over. For everyone. Forever.”

She nods, moving closer to me.

The doorman’s mouth closes and he slips out of the room. I know I’ll never see him again.

When the woman and I step within arms reach of one another, the two items we retrieved — the seeds, I now know — pull themselves from our arms and crash together. 

They float, mid-air, limbs and eyes and flesh seething, as the ripples grow.

The woman and I feel an intense sensation of pulling. Smaller objects around the room are drawn to the union of seeds. Then larger ones.

Soon, us. Then, all.

“Not a fire,” I tell the woman. “Something greater.”

She smiles. She knows. So we wait.

A swollen river overmasters weakened banks.

A stellar doorman overmasters universal boundaries.

A union of seeds overmasters infinite suffering.

Everything stops.

And Nothing, itself, nothings.

© Max Lobdell, 2018. May not be reproduced in any format without express written permission.

9 Replies to “Seeds of Ignition”

  1. Welcome back!
    This entire story reads like a dream. Or, perhaps a nightmare.
    A weird dream with eldritch beings, so alien and abstract they are inconceivable to the human mind.

  2. FlyingPendragon says:

    YES! More!

  3. Gorgeous and sickly decadent. Worth the long wait.

  4. missed your unique voice, max!

  5. Heck! I love your stuff and I’m so glad you’re back. This one gives me such a feeling of unease, more than your others have (probably due to lack of information and context to it all, super creepy).

  6. YAY! You’re back! I loved this story!

  7. Vae Vobis says:

    I’ve been really depressed lately so the notion of being able to help set in motion the end of everything is really striking a chord with me.

  8. Man, I gotta tell you. English is not my mother language, and I needed a translate dictionary to read this story LOL.
    I’m happy to expand my vocabulary

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