Electric Funeral – Farah Rose Smith
December 21, 2020
Today is everybody’s funeral. The warning from the sky has come. Gusts of neon light surge through the cityscape, illuminating eyes with the last feral hues of earth. The radiation pulses. Eyes bleed from the pressure, the disease of time.
She remembers the flowers as they were last night, in a spindly vase on her hotel windowsill. Scarlet moonlight shone down like blood, draping them in hell-shadow. Today, her wedding bouquet grows black, from gentle orchids to petals like trash bag plastic. Her dress melts away like slime.
This is no wedding here, but a funeral of light.
Magnus and Yulia arrive at the altar. Her brows are drawn high and dark. Like the hoof-shadow of a ram, her hair stands tall and full, from electric shock. A tuft of orange hue illuminates the front, crowning her high forehead in fire-light, the mark of a martyr.
Magnus, the strange man, falls forth, on his knees. Black hair, white beard, a tattoo of Cerberus on his temple. His neck is draped in dried hawk feathers, his robe of purest black. Eyes will not open, but are painted down, like cum, like glue.
There is but one ghost alive from the ancient world– without sustenance. Life is disposed without detail, like a funeral right of passage. Such events have not occurred on this globe, though there have been ghosts in other places, unseen by human eyes. Darkness, dirt, and dust enter the air. Magnus has visions of an afterlife, but they are overthrown by the dark green sky. Pink light bursts forth from his skull. He is a living poem of Heaven and Hell– a substitute for the fantasies of fiction. Yulia takes one hand and places it on this light. Blood runs white down her wrists- attention has not been paid. Not enough, to this ritual passing. There is no God of good or mischief who would harass love in such a way. This is a funerary offering– now a closing reward to the Southern hemisphere of earth.
Yulia remembers her trip to Egypt, traveling to the South, weighing the balance of fear, the pureness of bravery. She found a light in the soul that was heavy like a sleeping monster. If there is a place that speaks to an afterlife, this would be it. She was harassed by no ghost, no phantom, no pharaoh of the deep sands. Only herself, her hands reaching inside of herself, the overreaching sky.
Magnus holds a single coin in his palm. He cannot afford to cross the river without full payment. He fears death more than any woman would when the stories have been told and the judgments laid down. When the water has evaporated and the Elysian Fields turn to dust. He is a peasant of God. There is no place he may visit with purity. No relic he may lay his hands upon with peace. There have been riches and opportunities in life provided to him in the fullest– through the freedoms of decadence and the girls that he penetrated, but then there was Yulia– the white Ram of God– underneath the neon lights of a failing city. This falling Earth tells him he may not enter the kingdom of heaven without haunt, without dreams of death. In the night, without the villainous light from the depths of Hell burning the bottom of his feet, he lights a torch for no God but himself. Here he has brought about the neon death– the Electric Funeral– the phenomenon of the last night.
There are Gods. There are Satyrs. There are spirits, haunters, fuckers, and dreamers. Such things are the guests at this wedding– lines of blood and gore and tombs opened up. There are no stories of death that will not be whispered as the Moon turns to dust. Yulia knows and accepts this haunt of eternity. It is the disease of time to which she must honor and appease. There is no realm of living. It goes on forever. There is no dream of warning, no advanced night coming brightly.
A monster of the cosmic deep runs yellow like melted marker. This evening of hunger from the depths of time inhabits him like a poltergeist– like a hungry spirit, eating away at his bones, at his veins, at his skin– underneath like bugs. Yulia encounters herself in a shadow– in a pink puddle of neon light. Her breasts swell with milk.
In this incarnation, in this story, in this region, this house, the city– our ghosts have lived forever with guilt. I am no princess of Babylon, she says. We have been deserted by God. On a single night, spectral voices ring out. They bathe in them. Footsteps ring out of a thousand feet– creatures unknown and unseen in the shadows come forth and stand in observation of the funeral of light. Spirits leave. Spirits return. Magnus is intoxicated by the strange scent of bodies, unfamiliar to the human mind.
I should have been born earlier, she says, her hands pressed against the melting brick. Silence passes like gas, reflecting off of rotting houses. A telescope slides outside a window and falls like a stick into hay. I know no secrets of time, Magnus says, a wonderful lizard of deceit. Powder and smells of pain fill the air. Lightning illuminates the ground as though this scene were the very first of Earth. He lifts his hands to her face. His fingers project the fright of his subconscious mind into her cheeks. Yulia steps back, removing herself from the light with the precision of a fearful animal. Soft and seizing, the abstraction of threat. Magnus is on guard as he has never been. This is his wedding day– his funeral day. He breathes bright orange light in, and out. His feet are painted blue to reflect the former sky, the former light of life. His robe is made of muslin. Calla lilies sit in his hair.
Scent guides him back to Yulia, like a lamp filled with love and urgency. They are impatient for this death, feverish for the tomb. To open their eyes become black as the soot of towers fills them up. Their tongues turn lavender blue, an endless threshold of robotic color. Seizing, scarring them. One must be still amid such a splendid colored outside world. Yulia is not horrified. There is no hideousness here, inspired by the oil of artifice in this city. It is painted by the universe. Magnus watches the undertones as though a mountain looms in the distance, blocking the greatest light source. There are bursts of sound like a plague– like a wink from the last of senses. Gasps of goblins screech out into the sky.
Yulia and Magnus are captive beneath cold stares. The intensification of the wind– force of violence, crawling of cockroaches, now white, snow, green, now purple, now black, a degenerative fermenting complete with color. It is a carnival of sex, of death. An opening up of a deep-seated dream. It is a waste of time and silver on these people– on these human minds. She will recall it in her afterlife, the paint of a Sumerian Summer. There will be a holiday of nothingness and majestic dignity. The chill of human thinking– a dark labyrinth– a glove on a hand that was broken and betrayed by human life.
Naked and breathless, they are. Fierce. They are attracted to their deaths. Sound of frogs spawning out by a million a second and then drying up. A later phase of fever rings out– there are no allowances of faith any longer. This is not a scripted attack of God. This is not a painted canvas. There is strawberry light now, in the puddles– on the city streets. There are no buildings anymore, but dark matter. I wonder, Magnus says, without hair, without clothing. Without jewels or the jealousy of his earlier nights.
Yulia is full of wonder, done with happiness. She is filled with her father’s experiments, despite her own expectations. This is the way of the end of the world. The brightness of light, the collapse of the Moon, silence in a thousand colors. Who would not set there brother here to witness? Strange things, men. Loyal to love only at the last funeral rite. It is a symbolic drama. There is a sound– a whisper, a blood drop, that knows the name of God. But they do not know any longer.
There are shapes now like legs turning into fish. The colors fade. They are not as bright as they once were. Magnus’s brain is illuminated by that which looks like algae, as though the air has become the fathomless ocean. There is no salt, but all-thought, no movement. He looks to Yulia as a deep hazy fog drowns her. The air– it has become thick, like soup. They will not take the pressure any longer. They see grimaces and rage in the distance. Magnus sees a man and another holding each other until the bitter end. Yulia sees a mother and a daughter crying out into the distant night. Miles become smeared shapes, like vaseline on a forgotten mirror. A young girl, alone, reaches out– her nipples melt, her breasts rip off like fabric. Soon they cannot see. There is no longer light in this gothic mass murder from Heaven.
To some there are chances in eagerness, but when one is clumsy, they are devoured by such affairs. This train of thought suits Magnus. He becomes a wax figure of life in the supple, bright, violent death of Earth. No one could understand such a thing at such late hours, staring with pale-faces, the eternal finger on the trigger of doom. This is Yulia’s wedding night. Led astray by the reeling, by the abstract venom, there will be no questions as to justice. There are no longer papers to write them on. No guns to load in vengeance. No midnight to cradle their tiredness. They once crossed breath in a shared kiss, on a couch of leather and gold. There was desperation and such love, once.
This is the Electric Funeral. A violent wedding. The buzzing of the unusual, sleepless thought of the god-types, the Sumerian Summer, the beautiful diseases, the solidifying mass of the Earth. Through the woods, we go, he says, as their feet turn to mush. They have acquired each other in this mess. Fiery spirits, they will be. They are in the darkest ritual– a wrinkle in time, where nothing is so attractive as death.
Her breast heaves forward and evaporates. Trumpet sounds brush softly against that which once was ear. A dazzling light blinds all remaining things in the Lord’s path. Waxing and waning beyond the moon, beyond the sunny garden, beyond white magic light. Perhaps this is an attempt of eternity to transcend the Gloom of after-hours. We are lost within ourselves, and indecisive– protesting nature, rebelling against all the Elegance that is and was and will be. Oh, brothers, I will return to repeat such things and time and space!
The flowers melt. The moon breaks like a china plate on a marble floor. Air ignites like wood, the electric funeral pyre. There are no buildings, but antimatter, bursting black, like heathen soot. The rivers are brown like shit, they breach, a foetid rush of mess and mud. Earth is cradled in the universe, on its deathbed. There is no eye or mind to see but that of the sovereign in heaven. Dark wings, light wings, from the firmament, from the abyss. All converge with the last breath of the atmosphere. After the funeral, we all fall to heaven, reach to hell trapped in the endless ever-after.
The earth is alive, for now– a graceless, wretched thing. It moves higher, rolling on the tail of a serpent. The winds chime like a slum bell.
This is the Electric Funeral. Yulia becomes the pyramid, reproaching The Knowing Mother, The Knowing Father. For a moment, they are silent, and their bodies penetrate forever– that which is wrong and evil, neon and bright.