Vultures at Mt. Zion – Linda Harvey
October 13, 2023
Lights flicker on the surface of the bulbous glass constituting a motel television screen. The set is centered against a bleak wall, parallel to the edge of the singular twin-sized bed that comes standard in this particular establishment—bright-red faux-silk sheets with ornate flowery patterns, depicting inert hydrangeas entwined and strangled by climbing roses; topped off with a fluffy off-white comforter that was once pristine and shining. Currently being broadcast in the direction of an inattentive couple, arguing at either side of the bed, is none other than Ratavan: The Beast of a Thousand Blades, classic among B-movie aficionados and based on the classic play named, simply, Ratavan.
The core of the story follows a young prince named Ratavan (infamously played by the hot-young Bollywood star, Farid Arya), who covets his father’s vast fortune, amassed from years of collaboration with European merchants infiltrating Indian society—boatback. All the while his father, Nirvaan (played by aging legend Divit Dewan), is battering his doe-eyed pregnant mother, Eenakshi (Vanya Gill, of course, who played nearly every role involving an aging matriarch in the era of Bollywood this film was produced), much to Ratavan’s despair.
Ratavan: O, Father, you treat her so poorly. Can Mother not walk to the market unaccompanied? Must you rebuke her so harshly?
Nirvaan: It is disgraceful. Your Mother is nothing but a cheap floozy and will make eyes at every shopkeep she encounters. What a shame it is that she is to bear my son!
Ratavan: But, Father, you forget that I am still your son, and your blood runs through me. Surely I must have some say in my own Mother’s treatment.
Nirvaan: No, Ratavan. Once my true son lay between your Mother’s torn loins, you will meet your fate. You have been raised by her, and inherit her poisons. You will be my son no more.
This thrilling reveal is all but ignored by the current residents of the Mt. Zion Motel & Breakfast. At the moment, D. Gull and Patrice Dumaine are entranced in negativity—arguing bedside below a crucifix on the wall facing the television. Jesus is warped by the glow of the Ratavan broadcast—his flesh being turned a glowing white with harsh lights, while his dark flowing locks seem almost black and obscure, as if he were only some arbitrary man and not the son-of-God-proper. Gull and Miss Dumaine take no notice of the shining Christ. They are occupied by each other (though through no touch of the flesh). Patrice is giving her usual pout.
“I just can't stand that smell anymore… the scent of death.”
“She’s your grandmother, Patrice, just give her a hug when she asks for one. It’s about dignity—” Pausing to establish more intimate eye contact, “—It’s what your mother would have wanted.” Mr. Gull is reaching out in application of a consoling touch unto the tenderness of his betrothed’s shoulders.
Swatting Gull-ward, Patrice is almost hysterical, “She smells the same way she smelled when my mother died. I can’t stand it for even one more second.” She starts rubbing her calf and her breathing is heavy. “And… and…” Preemptively grasping for the smokes in her front jean-pocket, before realizing she had accidentally dropped the last of them (the designated “lucky” cigarette, binding her dwindling fasces with good fortune) in a gas-station puddle on the last bout of their drive. “You know what they’re going to do to her. They're going to—” Her eyes racing around the room in a frantic targeting, once at Gull, once at the glow of Christ’s skin, once noticing Divit Dewan’s stunning Heel performance as Nirvaan is opening his bedroom door to find Ratavan and Eenakshi entwined in a complex position dictated through the Kama Sutra—in which the females’ anus is stimulated through a gentle circular rubbing of the finger, all whilst her back is turned towards the man, and her head twists back as to apply gentle kisses to her lover’s inner thighs—much to the couple’s shock and dismay, then finally back again at Gull to notice his hazel eyes shimmer hallow color in the radiation of the tube. “—cut off her fucking leg, for God’s sake!”
D. Gull is in silence while peripherally watching the sequence wherein Eenakshi is transformed into a vengeful avatar of Vishnu (all with the aura of holy light, three sets of arms, wielding a blade extending high above their transcendent form, etcetera) and all at once decapitates Nirvaan and Ratavan in a single swing, before bathing in their sickly blood what glides off her now-hermaphroditic form. Gull would be almost intrigued by the showing, but he was too busy grappling with some feeling that eluded him just as much as it consumed him. Even as Eenakshi, in all her glory, sensually licks the neck wounds of the now-beheaded lovers she once took, Gull only thought of Patrice and her family, and perhaps only acknowledged these happenings in some black recess at the back of his unconcious. But, regardless, he did acknowledge them.
“Think about it.” Now speaking with less gusto and more so morosely, like a dog being put out to pasture. She thought about the phrase ‘put out to pasture’ a lot.
“I’m thinking about it.”
“Well keep doing that then…” She’s picking at her nails. “Maybe you’ll have the wit to console me in the morning, once the moment’s past us. We should be up early, too, so I’d better be sure I’m not on about this all night, don’t you think? I want to put these flowers by my mother’s grave before we make the drive to the hospital.”
The scrolling on of credit sequences, forged in memoriam to this Bollywood classic, is cut all-too short by D. Gull switching the standard-issue MZM&B television set to its ubiquitous ‘off’ setting, before the couple huddle under their cheap bedspread and turn off the lights. Patrice dreams about being amputated after her leg is infested with maggots—standard stuff. The infection follows from a freak-skiing accident in which Pat’s leg was snapped, almost entirely in twain, by the extension of an oversized novelty rubber band stretched between two firm pine trees. The slopes were covered in thick sprays of cherryblood and Patrice was being consoled by her mother, who, in spite of the unforgiving weather that bore its displeasures upon these black-diamond slopes, wore a flamboyant bright-purple cap with matching feather; sans eye protection, gloves, coat, etc. (or whatever else was standard to winter athletics in the mind of Miss Dumaine). All things considered, very by-the-books—Gull dreams about being a prince in a vast desert, who travels deep into the nothingness of forever-sand to meet a prophet that is able to intuit knowledge of Gull’s future through a process of systematic divination. The prophet reveals to him a tarot deck which, in its neoclassical (and frankly turgid, in the way the maximalist teeters on masturbation) art style, portrays all manners of historical royalty—from Mehmed VI to King Louis XVI. It becomes apparent, judging by the atmosphere alone, that Mister Gull’s fate hangs in the balance. Will he, the illustrious and venerated prince of these sands, flourish like the opening bulbs of cactus blossoms, or will he be declared unfit to rule, and let his soul join those locked in this draconic cycle of the tarot. Gull shakes violently as the prophet begins revelation—pointing thrice in succession at three empty spaces before him, speaking softly in a devil’s rasp: past… present… future…
AND LET IT BE KNOWN THAT THE CARDS WERE DIVINED ACCORDINGLY:
Pa. Pr. Fut.
↙ ↓ ↘
↑TEMP.↑ ∇↓ 8oWANDS↓ ∇ ↑WORLD↑
AND SO THE PROPHET, CASSIUS (ALLKNOWING), OF THE GLOWING CLOTH AND IMMACULATE REGRESSION, SPOKE THUSLY:
…you have come far for little. Your ego grows dimmer. You are poison boiling backwards, waiting to drip again. You must’ve waited so, so very long—but soon time will collapse into the manifold of your experience, and coalesce into blessed dilation. Soon things will slow down…down…down…when time slows you will be floating blissful in a sea of glowing white, awakening into the kingdom of heaven. This is the best of all possible worlds—D. Gull awakening in his own pooling sweat, wiping the already-dried grime off the skin of his face. Patrice is there next to him, but still far away; as her face turns to weary unconscious tears with her rose-red fingertips grasping for her now (spiritually) amputated appendage. Gull’s huffing and puffing does nothing to free her from the bondage or restless slumber. When he finally remembers where he’s at and puts together that the sun is still yet to rise, he pouts and returns to the comfort of damp sheets til’ the morn’ breaks.
✴ ✴ ✴
This site of mass graves is a quivering blackness on the horizon—it extends outwards into the seemingly incalculable ether and the rising sun illuminates headstones old and new as its beams strike their marble slab surfaces. Patrice is nursing a small vase of edelweiß (themselves composing a shimmering whiteness that clashes with the dim blackness of that glass which contains them) in both arms as she strolls grave-to-grave in search of mother. D. Gull follows close behind with a cheap cigarette lurking on his bottom lip, in between half-hearted puffs and limp-wristed ash-tapping. He is wearing the finest suit he’s ever owned, she is wearing mother’s old purple polo dress with the stitched insignia, portraying Christ’s eternal heart in fiery reds and yellows, sewn right above her own heart and breast. There is a steady rhythm between the stomp of his loafers and the click-clack of her two-inch black heels which reminds D.Gull of an old recording his father played for him when he was a child:
UNITED RECORDING ARTISTS (U.R.A.) & THE ALABASTER SMITH GROUP PRESENT:
“Oh My Darling,” featuring; the vocal prowess of one Revd. Alabaster M. Smith, Seamus Willson on Wurlitzer keys, his brother T.B. Willson on the jug, and the ever-talented Frank “Mister Tinker” Ledger on percussion—listen closely for Mr. Ledger’s minimalist drumming style, and Reverend Alabaster’s subtle harmonization with the organist. This is truly a one-of-a-kind performance, and a tasteful play on the classic jug-band-blues format, integrating traces of ragtime, as well as the Memphis tradition. Without further ado…
And’a one, two, three…
My darling, oh my!
When the sun meets the sky
I’ll be shaking real harsh by the railroad tracks
Since I’ve put down the pipe
I’ve been loving you right
But yee don’t wann’tae folloe’ thee facts—no more
The tune kepta’ ringing ‘round his head as the two meandered eastward from section 5H, which mostly contained the area’s late Hebraic community, along to section 10I, which was filled with a mixture of Episcopalians and Latin-origin Catholics—spotted easily by the clusters of graves marked with uncanny portraits of children, no older than twelve years ordinarily, who passed away far too early for their sweet, aging mothers to ever feel the same again.
Midway through their jaunt, D. Gull’s attention shifted away from the songs in his head and towards the text on the graves. He noticed how many there had been covered up by unkempt growths and greenery. He noticed how many graves were deteriorated to the point of unintelligibility, how many had vases of decayed flowers tipped to their sides. Gull begins to periodically stop, making sure to straighten every fallen bundle of roses upright towards the heavens. Carefully, he made them rest against the memorials so that they may be as close as possible, closer than the senses could allow, and then he picks up his pace to catch up to Miss Dumaine, who not once looks backwards as to catch onto his antics. Patrice is walking determinately—following the lines and paths forming in her mind's eye. Following a priori, pure-white geometries, leading directly to the one she loved and loves still. The rhythm of their steps continue: click-clunk-click-clunk, etc.
Eventually Gull notices one of the largest graves he’s seen yet, which seemed to belong to a town preacher who had perished in the early fifties. It wasn't the monumental length, nor width, of the grave that stood out to him, but rather the ever-present epitaph scribed out in a bold all-caps serif. It read:
HE THAT HAS GONE, WILL REMAIN WITH US FOREVER IN MEMORY.
Gull thought about that a lot. He thought about all the people who aren't remembered anymore, and must therefore no longer exist. This place is a shrine to our shriveling ontology. This is where souls fade from our minds into heaven. Gull hoped that when he died that his grave would be grown over quickly and be remembered by nobody. His brain felt all heavy—like its inside was nothing but foggy liquids and black dripping poison over mounds of dull organ flesh. He then began stumbling over some headstones obscured by moss and tripped head first into the gravel strips he had been following his betrothed along. Patrice snaps her head back reflexively, paces towards him, and assists him to his feet while brushing the dirt off his slacks. “Please,” she said with the sort of face you could only make if you had witnessed such an embarrassment far too many times before. Checking twice to make sure his pants were un-torn from the fall, she stared into his sunken eyes for a moment. Then she started on the path again, while Gull stared groundwards with a posture engendering little-to-no confidence.
Upon arrival, Patrice noticed the late-great-Mrs. Dumain’s headstone had been ever so slightly covered in thin-withering vines and moss black as moonlight (in that it was actually quite luminescent). Her twee grimace remained, as it always had been, transfixed in a neutral position of obvious displeasure. These cumbersome growths were about as irritating as everything else in her life, and ever-so solemnly she folded her body on top of her knees (grass and dirt stains forming on her frilly-white dress at the points her form distributed the most pressure to the uneven soil), beginning to wipe away the foliage with her bare hands. Some of the vines were thorned and snagged her lilywhite whoreskin, until she bled all-over gently on her mother’s tombstone. Licking her cuts like a wounded animal, she began to weep holding the grave closely. This was the first time Gull had ever seen her cry while she was waking. It was strange to him how her face scrunched up so intensely, in such a vulgar way. He was so entranced thinking about the novelty of it that he forgot to console her in his usual way (which, when Patty became upset, would most likely be the process of fixing his arms around her shoulders and rhythmically swirling his palm around until she felt some kind of faux-comfort, more often than not failing to affect her poor moods). Patrice continued to cry with progressive intensity while he stood around and mulled erect behind her.
Her porcelain fingertips began rubbing the dry-red stains on the stone slab before her, “you must think me a fool,” The blood isn't coming off. “I never cry like this…”
“I don’t think.”
“You must think I’m so disgusting.”
“That’s not how I would put it.”
She started sobbing harder—letting out gasps for air and pathetic little moans from her quivering throat.
“You’re taking it the wrong way. I don’t think.”
She rose from a near-fetal position and wiped her bloodshot eyes. Her dress was smeared with all shades of greens and browns. Her ramshackle mascara dripped downwards to the acute sharpness of her jawline.
“Look at me now, David…” She sniffles and wipes away the thin strands, which cake against her skin into a sticky veneer. “…please take me back to our room before we leave for the hospital—Maw would be awful distressed seeing me this way. She needs her rest.”
✴ ✴ ✴
The darkest tar serpent winds forwards out into incalculability. Where the segmentations find a boundary in its center, there is, every other meter or so, rectangular pale-white paint streaks which blur together at this speed into a line segment stretching into the horizon. Aside this strip of pavement is an expanse of radiant desert and stony peaks, which reign above the world the way the Gods must look down upon us in the heavens. Years from now this tarstrip may be worn down and covered in the desert’s wear, but those valleys and mountains will stand for centuries uncaringly. These hills must have watched nations rise and fade, countless travelers pass by, an innumerable amount of vehicles broken down where no man could be expected to meet them for days. These steaming hills must think nothing of it all. At least, that’s what D. Gull thought to himself behind the wheel of a boxy 85’ Fiat accumulating rust from side-to-side, its once-unscatched matte finish now having been worn by over a hundred-thousand miles of ceaseless transit and arid locales. O, how the sun bore down on the glass with its all-penetrating warmth. Gull felt he was being cooked alive in there.
From the graveyard back to the motel was about two hours by car—far from the couple’s destination on account of it being the cheapest bed and breakfast this side of the mountains, which Miss Dumaine determined to be the only viable option for this trip, on account of the two being almost flat broke (rainy-day funds not-withstanding) and her desire to absorb the countryside vistas. Gull hadn’t the will to argue that the price of fuel for the drive would render the relative cheapness of the motel moot. He knew how much she loved to gaze out windows to the tune of radio waves.
Sweat is forming between the slick faux-leatherblack steering wheel and D. Gull’s palms.
Patrice was tapping her long nails against the glass of the passenger seat window along to the rhythm of the big band tunes on the radio. The click-clacking blended with the overwhelming high-ends of crashing symbols and closed high-hats, swinging rhythmically composing such a shrillness that Mr. Gull’s eardrums were all-but penetrated by its unpleasant frequencies. But Patrice was dull to the sound, to the point that their near-sublime sharpness was soothing to her, in much the same way a whiskey-soaked pacifier would be to an infant’s aching tooth. Her eyes became glossy as they scanned the blurry landscapes flashing backwards.
“The time?” Both the vehicle's built-in clock and Gull’s rustic black-strap watch (inherited from his late veteran grandfather) were marred by consistent dysfunction.
Gazing window-wards without break, Patrice is undistracted.
“The time?” His grip on the wheel tightening in expectation of an accidental swerve.
She continues to periodically (in the manner that infinitesimal moments between seconds constitute fleeting little periods) press her nails into the glass.
There comes a time in the course of two beings’ engagement in a holy unification of their individual wills wherein the spaces between them that once seemed to-the-brim full (of idle chit-chat, familial anecdotes, questions about life, about the future) become void of any content at all but rather fill with a silence prone to cooling the heart, and within this space of substantial lack, their collective spirit begins to falter, much to the detriment of their individual dispositions, which—in the wake of these newfound anti-connections and un-relations—grow into prickly, relentlessly needy, little things capable of nothing more than exuding an aura of toxicity (perhaps karmic un-luck) which permeates every successive moment in which their spirit remains one. In this sense, as long as they maintain this unification, their individual wills are perverted and their collective end is moreso a faulty rocket spiraling into the sea than a domestic unit. D. Gull is spiraling into poverty, into heaven. To him it feels like an overflow of death-black bile that is dripping over the edge of his cranial lid and pooling at his feet. But somewhere in his spirit (or perhaps the roots of his impenetrably mute unconscious) he is under the assumption that this blackness someday fades to whiteness, that what is now heavy in his chest will pass through the needle's eye as something else entirely, to which weight is foreign. Perhaps this whole business of assuming comes from Father Gull’s reminder of the old spiritual sung by one Sister Rosetta Tharpe:
Gonna lay down my heavy load
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Down by the riverside
Maybe he saw it in a dream too hazy now to recall. After all, his dreams are always so crystal-clear before they fade to opaque fog in the waking world—surely they still leave some impression. He doesn't even know what time it is for Christ’s sake! —But, heavens, would he be elated to lay down right about now. Mind you, in the unspecified amount of time Gull has been behind the wheel, he has developed an awful soreness of the lower back, on account of the meek posture he so often assumes.
Grinding his weak-yellow teeth, D. Gull chooses to sublate the whole on/off speculative identity type-thing of the radio and surfs stations until tuned in to dull static—the content of which would be, in a sense, on/off as composing a unity within static-as-concept.
In swerving her head Gull-wards through reflexive disgust, she startled the poor driver and the car began to swerve near the tar’s edge before being promptly corrected.
“You know, I was listening to that.” Though shaken, Patrice makes no mention of this proximate flirtation with death.
“I prefer this.” Gull turning the dial, accumulating decibels incrementally as the knob’s grooves almost silently click into place again and again. “It’s relaxing. You know when Dad used to play me records, when I was young and all, the part that warms me most to remember was how he would always fall asleep in his armchair. It was this big, comfortable, brown genuine-leather antique that he had always kept in the den, far as I can remember. Hell, at times—and I was young mind you, maybe five or six—I would sneak in the den and sit right there where he always sat to read the paper, but afterwards I would feel anxious and maybe even guilty. Like I had made crude something sacred to all of us. Boy, I would think about that for months on end feeling like he was going to sneak into my bedroom one night and gut me like a fish to pay for it. Well, actually he did sneak in one night, naturally I pretended to be asleep and all, but all he did was stand next to my bedside and breath for a few minutes, and for a bit he was adjusting his slacks, but it wasn't long til’ his glasses got all foggy, naturally compelling him to remove them and tuck the arms into his dress shirt, before leaving me with my guts intact. Anyways, every time after he fell asleep, I would wait there until the record he put on was over. So when the needle got to the end, it would just keep spinning on and on, and the speakers—which, by the way, he would crank them loud as was possible because at that point his hearing had gone—would just be blasting a weird sort of static. It was like nothing and something all at once, I think—”
Patrice was in absolute hysterics but he couldn't hear a word.The skin on her face was tightening and contracting around the motion of her gaping mouth, which was, to Gull, shifting at incomprehensible speeds into a sea of indiscernible syllables. His head swerved in opposition to her, for his vision to be met straight-on by the possibility of impending impact with some mighty carcass of a rotting bison, weighing in eight-hundred pounds at the least, in the road alongside a party of three blood-painted vultures (each bearing roughly ten-foot wingspans) enjoying a feast on this flesh of the road.
Seconds feel as if they are shifting from minutes, to hours, back to minutes, and then seconds again. The air is as much oxygen as it is burning fumes, meat old and new, glass bits, and iron bent helter-skelter. These moments are comprised of seven revolutions of the 1985 Fiat D. Gull inherited from his father, in which the machine spins out of control into a patch of jagged desert-rock beside a sullen ditch. (I.) When the first revolution came, Gull tasted iron faintly as his eyes twitched about without end. He saw only smears of black and stars. (II.) At the second revolution his eyes began to straighten, and he discovered the color red in its abstract multitudes. He remained unfocussed, but in his body he sensed a hollowness familiar only to those suddenly suspended in air. (III.) On the occasion of the third revolution, Gull finally regained pristine vision and thus observed the windshield before him which bore a slick screen of blood mixed dark and light, with black feathers and bits of hide interspersed maddeningly across the pool. The glass was split horizontally down the middle, now only shielding Gull from the mass of bestial fluid. (IV.) The fourth revolution brought to him the vision of his beloved Patrice covered completely in a writhing swarm of maggots feeding on the thin segmentations of flesh that once belonged to a notoriously resilient creature, i.e., the lauded and revered American bison. The blood stained her skin and teeth. Strands of her hair, now caked together with this putrid dried substance, flew about the air around her. Her seatbelt was being unfastened. (V.) On the fifth revolution, Patrice leapt from her seat towards the gaping window beside her, and Gull watched her, doing nothing. Her head was practically swinging outside the car before—(VI.) The sixth revolution came quick as lightning, in a flash of supersensible droplets pressing their terror against Gull’s flushed face. As the vehicle met the ground, Miss Dumaine’s head was snagged between rough terrain and rusted metals—it was in an instant torn off, yet for Gull it was more akin to a century of watching his fiance’s soft neck-leather tear like thick taffy as the air around him was transmuted to thin-red mists. (VII.) After seven turns, the vehicle at last lost its ever-so-violent momentum, now stuck in a crevice between two rock formations and sitting with a stillness that once felt by necessity alien to these hills.
Awakening, Gull sits next to his beloved. They are curled together on the bank of red-river-run pooling in some crevices just as it flows in others.
Gull took notice of Patrice’s features in this order: (I.) His hands caressed her hair, which seemed glowing white where it was once dirty blonde. (II.) His lips pressed against her neck as he kissed up and down while he took deep inhales of the cheap scent she always wore. (III.) The perfume, to him, smelled ‘pink’ (he told her this repeatedly). (IV.) Her shoulders were pointing inwards towards her heart, so he grasped them and pulled her towards him, revealing her (V.) clavicles, which glistened sordidly as more sweat collected. (VI.) He gazed into her closed eyes, noting her eyelashes to be uncannily longer than usual. (VII.) Her lips were fully relaxed, and as pink as the cheeks of a baby. Gull wondered what internal mysteries these pursed skin segments were hiding. What process must be undertaken to reconcile the inner and the outer—how may these phenomena meet noumena as its equal, its comrade?
The processes reconciliation took place thusly:
Gull unclothed each of them, and set their clothes all folded next to the stream. They were stained in the pure-essence substance that keeps things like Gull alive. Some of the substance was dried all over Gull’s naked body, even staining the tips of his pubic hairs red (only visible when the light hit them correctly). Returning to his lover, he manipulated her limp form to resemble the fetal position she was found in, and laid down beside her and held her closely. Her skin was so soft that he could not resist gently rubbing himself against her back, until eventually finding himself fully erect. (I.) The first reconciliation occurred slow as molasses—as Gull’s engorged phallus attempted to slip into her slit. He was met with much resistance, since down there she was about as dry as the expanse surrounding them. Kneeling by the blood-river, he cupped his hands and brought the puddle back to Patrice, pouring the blood on her and rubbing it into her vagina before returning to his position.Then he was able to enter with little resistance. (II.) The second reconciliation introduced a divine movement between inner and outer, in which his erection, at the first moment was outside, at the second moment was inside, and at the third moment the contradiction between previous positions constituted a unity most would describe as fucking. (III.) Thirdly, the blood began to dry, so Gull reached for a mass of bison-flesh and maggots still writhing on her chest and pushed it towards her genitals—now lubricated by another mass of blood and decaying parasitic fluids. (IV.) Gull kissed the gaping rim of her neck, where her head was once attached. He nibbled in a sensual way on the spongy cartilage constituting its remaining nub, before he began biting at it violently and tearing bits of skin away with his teeth, all the while thrusting into her without end. (V.) The fifth reconciliation only served the holy proliferation of violence. Gull, still inside Patrice, pushed her corpse over with the weight of his body and mounted her, before he bit her shoulder so intensely that a bit of meat came off in his mouth (which he promptly swallowed), before he continued to ram the body from behind with his pelvis. (VI.) He was so close that he began panting hysterically, letting out animalistic grunts that were just as guttural as they were meekly short-of-breath. He was so close he could feel the maggots still squirming next to his fiance's opening in between where his shaft and her cunt met. He believes himself nearing the an sich—that tingling feeling in his belly must have been confirmation enough. (VII.) The seventh reconciliation was just as much a beginning as it was an end, considering on one hand Gull began to ‘finish’, but on the other the thick semen leaving his body was something altogether new to the situation. He could feel it leaking out of her vagina, and upon pulling out watched it pool underneath her bruised-over blue corpse thighs and mix around with the blood. His head dove downwards to her thighs and began biting, licking, and consuming the mix of fluids with great haste. It tasted like iron salts and death, and as some of the larvae were caught in his mouth he began to crunch down on their little squishy corpuscle bodies—the texture of which soothed him, for whatever reason. D. Gull stared outward at the tar-strip they had once cruised atop, and grasped a brief moment of lucidity before moving on to further dissociation. He realized, at that moment, that he now truly knew what it was like to feel absolutely nothing, inasmuch as he knew what it was to feel everything.