In Light Of Angels



Scene Title In Light Of Angels
Synopsis Teodoro has a bad dream.
Date March 29, 2009


In this dream, Manhattan Island is stylized and minimalistically so. The ground is flat as a razor. Sky, the same. Both show lurid, choppy yellow and orange, reflecting either some segment of the electromagnetic spectrum between one another or acidic pH content. No sun.

This Earth must not be round.

The buildings are featureless, geometrically-planed obsidian, uninhabitable, sagging with gaping holes instead of doors or windows, obelisks and tilted spires and bent and crooked columns of vast and strange geometry, some rhombus-shaped, others tricked out in queasily improbable Mobius twists and torques and and contours, most of them irregular, few converging toward roofs. There are no streets carved into the citrus pulp of dust, only the even space between. There are no people, either.

Teo proves the exception. The tread of his feet reminds him that he has them, and self, but because he is dreaming, he does not think to check for hands, face, or the wholeness of sound skin. Nor is he wont to be particularly concerned that he's clothed, of course; he is, after all, still Teo. He does not look for his reflection in the black glass he passes. He is walking.

There's another fucking rock rattling around inside his shoe.

At city center, the ruins of Midtown are treed, yes, reclaimed, certainly, but only by huge brown fish with no eyes.

They are like trees. Each twice the height of a man, vertical swimming, pointed noses pointed into the rock and sand, the tumorous and scaly armor bunched into sinewy knots out of which protrude the startling delicacy of curving fins that fan the air at somnolent rhythm. It is a forest of Centriscidae. Teo goes through that, too.

Like a child too young for fear, he rubs his fingers through the dry, pitted eye-socket of one creature, and brushes up against the needle bones and webbed membrane of another pelagic wing. It's soft.

Teo looks up when the ground moves. Down again when it splits open.

The groan of this terrestrial injury seems to fill the whole city, vibrating, seismic, teeming and terrifyingly aware. Stones and faultlines open and Teo is shoved upward so hard his knees are seized into give, tripping backward, spinning downward, grabbing at the crumbling edges of things that volunteer neither egress nor shelter. He is, at first, relieved when he feels hands on his shoulders. They're strong and stop him falling. He looks, though, because he is dreaming and when you're dreaming you always look, and he sees an angel.

Such an angel.

His terror is insensate. Things break. Black crystal buildings, old fish and moulding earth, but most of all— context. Iraqi sand splatters a sting into his cheeks, the twitter of a digitally modulated alarm, a spiderbite of rebuke, and a blight of deliciously cold thunderclap purple multiples in the lurid bright cloud-rows of the sky, other dreams competing either for his attention or to save him.

Not even his subconscious is can ignore that he has powerful friends, but they are most deliberately nothere

Eight hundred feet above Manhattan, Felix's breath smells of decaying shrimp paste and he is, as Teodoro had saw him last, still warm. He has iron, bladed wings, a disintegrating mask, and a clean, starched shirt. They are flying nowhere in particular. They are flying through things. Smash, smash, smash! The upper-half of an obelisk breaks off above him and then bursts open, deafening, around a cross-section, revealing walls painted ridiculous Crayola red on one story, orange then green above. They puncture through the belly of a blind fish, trailing glistening air bladder from elbow. Columns splinter to pieces to splinter columns, a domino cavalcade. Tiny black chips flash unexpected mirrors at his eyes.

It hurts.

Shards of volcanic glass are sticking out of Teo's back and a long fish rib hangs from the flaccid rip through his belly like the harikiri sword of a samurai too weak to finish the job. His neck bleeds freely. His hands have no strength and the voice he is using is stripped of coherency, opens his jaws wide enough to see down into his throat. Felix appears indifferent; the way he does when he is angry; his embrace is familiar. It is a uniquely dream-time conceit. That he thinks his remorse must be obvious.

Eventually, Felix drops him. He stares until the man has shrunk to a speck and his bloody feet weave bonelessly in empty air. Fractured volcanic dust glitters and winks, racing him down. He hits the edge of something, feet-first, hears his legs celery stalk-snap and feels his body windmill backward in cartoonish absurdity. Illogically, his hands find purchase on the solid edge of something. It is some perversely misinterpreted suplex or yoga wheel. The things in his back grate.

But look— Romero is here.

His baby brother, always the darker of the two, standing back from the ledge his hands are gripping. Teo can see him, upside-down, the wind blowing his hair into ragged stripes across his cheeks. Ridiculously, Teo expects him to go and get help. The brothers stare at each other, the younger cringing white from the sight of him and the grotesque proportions of his plight.

It is worse that there is sympathy there but still he does nothing, frozen, driven backward only a step by a pelting of screams. Teodoro starts to get desperate and then angry and then desperate more. His legs slide, his back hurts, and the wind is loud with motorized spinning blades, something voracious and machine, rising, rising from the shattered cartilage and igneous glass of the city below. Teo rolls his eyes.

Bene. Fotterla. Vuoi vedere?

Grind-clank-rackety-rackety-growl, closer and closer. Teo spits blood and spite and he leans in to the approaching blades.

Staten Island — Primatech Paper Facility: Gymnasium

When Teo awakens, there is a viscous blood trickle on the bench underneath his ear and he is sweating like a basted boar. It is still afternoon and Hana is still out. He sits up and holds his runny face, remembers the good Doctor's advice for insomnia ricocheting off the inside of his skull in incalculable echoes: Naps are bad for you. Naps are bad for you.

Naps are bad for you.

Language note

'Bene. Fotterla. Vuoi vedere?' translates, I think, to 'Fine. Fuck you. You want to see?'

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