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Thursday, January 20, 2011

III: Technology

The funeral, as much as I remember of it, was held quietly, in ‘The Castle’, which was the by-name of Grandma Stella’s home. It was a big affair – the Castle, not the funeral – I think her husband, the family architect, had it built deliberately labyrinthine so that Maggie and I could spend a traditional amount of time exploring and finding wardrobes, kitchen cupboards, and closets, none of which lead us into Narnia. A minor setback. Once we discovered the replicated tower we were sure we would find a dragon or a Rapunzel stashed away up there, but there was only a bunch of boxes with old clothes and all the assorted genres of dust and cobwebs. Needless to say I spent the best twelve years of my life in that house, and I don't care how cliché that sounds.

There is one other thing about the Castle and, perhaps more importantly about Grandma Stella that is highly relevant to this narrative. She, through some feat of fate, is one of the world’s leading computer programmers, and the height of her accomplishments now ‘runs’ the house. Life is ironic, like I said, and very few people actually understand that when I say my Grandma Stella is, unlike many others of her generation, ‘computer literate’ I mean it with a passion. So now the house is run, managed, and monitored by an artificial intelligence named Prince Vlad Dracule, perhaps better known as Vlad the Impaler, or Count Dracula if you prefer; one of the disadvantages of having a computer literate grandmother with a gothic horror streak and a Masters in Eastern European History


I nudged the and rolled back, my wheelchair making clicking sounds over the tiles.

“Thanks for the heads up.”


Thursday, January 13, 2011

II: Stained

When the traffic lights flashed from red to green, I doubt my father expected my mother to start screaming and shouting. Screaming and shouting was more of a trait my older sister, Magdalene, sported, but she, like my ten-year-old self was securely plugged into her music. So the incoming motorcycle was really quite a shock, and quite the novelty; neither of us had ever had a motorcycle in the car with us before. I realise now that the man must have hit the front of the car with a terrible speed, hurled himself and his bike through the windscreen and landed, with the motor still running, somewhere between Maggie and myself. Somehow, during his displacement, he had managed to sever his head from his torso, but I was young then, very young, and I took such things in stride far more easily than I would now.

The only thing I really noticed was that the motorcycle was orange. His head lay in my lap. My pretty green dress had an icky brown stain on it. It worried me, because when I showed my parents, neither of them moved, or even breathed for that matter. It might have had something to do with the fact that the motorcycle had displaced their intestines and splattered them all over the seats, but I was ten years old and that sort of thinking didn’t enter my consciousness. So by the time that the friendly police doctor people came to check on me, I wondered if I'd done something wrong. I asked the policeman, all he did was put me in a police car. I figured maybe they'd been eaten by someone. The concepts of 'car accident' and 'death' didn't feature until later when the novelty of living in Grandma Stella's big house wore off.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I - Remnant

Most of us are alone in the womb, waiting with whatever mindset to be allowed our first breath. I was not meant to be alone, I shared that space with a sister, whose intimate embrace sustained me. I ate her. Drained her dry, so that when she followed me out into the world I was fat and she was a dry husk. My mother said that was alright. I believed her, but then, what little girl doesn't believe their mother at the splendid age of six and a half? They even gave me the name meant for her as my middle name, so I guess I really did eat her.

I wish I could remember what she tasted like, at least then she'd have some memory completely of her own making. Vanilla maybe? With a name like 'Xanthe' it would probably have been an exotic ice cream. Either way she must've been scrumptious because when she followed me into the world there was almost nothing left. So while I was bawling my lungs full of intoxicating oxygen she was being wrapped up and sent wherever they sent empty ice cream boxes twenty-two years ago. Did they recycle back then? Either way she's gone because I was hungry when I was little, so hungry I gobbled up her identity. I'm living for two, make way! Life is never free, no matter what the signs say on your way out. Take it from me: murder, cannibalism, and vampirism are just the tip of the existentialist iceberg.

This narrative should start, I imagine, on that traditionally fateful day. Every life has one and mine was that day, twelve years ago. You may demand a dramatic drumroll, though it would probably be drowned out by the shrieking of brakes and the shattering of glass.