Hotel Palenque /4 — Louis Armand

Flash of headlights across a yellow pockmarked face. A fist cushioned in the naked flesh. Red neon over the back entrance. Kicking the shit out of him. A false eyelash stuck to the ground. The bitumen oozing its hot sweet smell. Telling of the cross you must bear. Crying out in the emptiness for help. The voice failing in the throat. Tongue dry against the roof of the mouth. Gagging back the rage of forsakenness. Covering the word’s shame. Godforsaken. “You hear of others. Do they exist? Who are they? Figments. Why do you suffer for them?” Cast out. Castigated. Scourged like el Cristo Negro de Esquipulas. Ek-Kampulá. It’s the body itself that reaches the limit. Which must nevertheless go beyond. “To learn to exist through pain.” But what truth is there, that I exist only if my existence is attested in others? The words carried no echo. There was nothing but a gaping void. What does it mean to be just? To be unjust? The son negates the father. And Christ is crucified to absolve the father of his guilt. The original sin. The self-murder of god. Stealing out by the back door. The fruit of that crime. An eye staring from the bleakness. The one who, in advance, knows all that we’ve been plotting & orchestrating. The ultimate stoolpigeon. Knowing you’ll be helplessly delivered up. The knot in the gut, each time heavier & more swollen. The tongue. The lips. The ear. The nose. The whole body. Slowly, mortally, rigidified. The outlines of a cell now dimly visible. Everything takes on a sickly grey pallor. As at birth. Grey underwater flesh. Liquid forced into the lungs. Filling the cavity. An incomprehensible pain. Floating down through past lives & those yet to come. Through closed eyes I saw innumerable, self-intertwining threads on a red background. A sky as heavy as lead appeared to press upon everything. Night, like an enlarged oesophagus. The vertical passage of sudden contractions. A fluid crimson streak against the smeared pane of dark glass. Night of the horrors of night. Noche de terrores de noche. And so it will be like a bad dream where y’re outside the situation of yr body. And that is what it is. And it is that forever. Dull & gloom grey-white of a sky behind closed windows. A film, which begins w/ the sound of footsteps on terrazzo floors. Long fluorescent-lit corridors. Figures in white uniforms. Groups of other figures rushing past. The air is thick w/ the smell of sweat, adrenaline. It’s unnecessary to look for myself. I’m there. Everything that is happening to me belongs to me. Where did that come from? Like a book in which one turns over pages of the brain. A word. A single word. Dark & opening outwards. Its shadows open like human orifices. The victim’s mouth was also wide open, like the mouth of a gargoyle. The approach of others. The stamping of bare feet on the clay floor. It begins gradually, from far off, & continues in an accelerated cadence. A figure wearing a sacrificial crown of bright feathers climbing the ninety-one steps to the top of the great pyramid. Night birds flew about the ruins. The forest closed in on us. White branches shifting in the dark. Arms lifting, held out. The braceleted wrists. A vegetated gauze hanging down between the rigid thighs. The smell of incense. Burnt maize. The skin is damp, covered in a film of fever sweat. Air thick w/ the scent of earth. Decomposed matter. Insemination. The stones breathe heavily. The dark open mouths of the pyramids. The flaming sky’s glass penumbra turns to mirrors. The bright amber light of electrical storms flashing across the mountains. God raving in the wilderness. QUE ESTÁS BUSCANDO? He doesn’t answer. Perhaps it’s nearly the end. One among others. Repeating itself, themselves. Like the multiple, unanimous, identical histories of history. A record speaks. Sputters through revolutions. The mechanical, uncertain nature of its incantation. Its very awkward immanence. An obsessive litany. Words lost in the meanings they themselves trace in duplication. Vowels lined up, changing places. Their sequence acts directly on each detail. A spectre that collects & distributes the roles. The facts. The outcomes. And this ritual was also using me, as one figure among many others. The days, months. And despite so many seeming calculations, nothing completes itself. At the end, everything will still be waiting. But the disclosure of this world, of this being, remains a dead letter. We’re following the order of the material. There’s no other order, of Reason for example. No hidden, “other” side of the body: The animal-side of movements & perceptions as opposed to the thought-side of seeing & of feeling. Relics lifted from substance. Thorns in the flesh. To say, HERE LIES TRANSCENDENCE, is to say that being is inflated w/ a non-being merely coincident w/ itself. “The end we must all come to.” How long between the crime & the punishment? The ingestion of the forbidden fruit & the pure excrescence of the mystical digestive tract? The sullen refusal & the secret pleasure of throwing it all back up through all the litany of dog days. Most pious dog-among-dogs, done for a dog’s dinner. Dead dog. Let it sleep! And overseeing this absurdity, some ancient Caiaphas in a tattered black suit, slumped on a bench in the dark corner of a pulquería. “What’s to be done w/ this life which has lost its idea?” Tediously unfolds a sachet of brownish caulk. Spoon & rust-water & guttering flame. Insert w/ needle to fill the hollow. Face slipping from blackened cogs, flywheels, grease, sawdust. Prison tattoo on forearm: Tlazolteotl. The vulture who devours filth in order to cleanse the universe. One suppurating eye, makes it sick to see itself. “This hollow dream dying to finish.” By what fire is it kindled? By the fire of lust? Of hate? Of delusion? By birth age death pain lamentation sorrow grief despair it is kindled. “In earth. In smoke. In dust. In shadow. In nothing.” Fuego que engendra fuego. An inner agitation. Hands trembling. Skin chills. Taste of metal. Alloys consisting of countless arrangements of the same elements. Duplications of the same design, varied by degrees till nothing’s left. The vivisection & decomposition & extinction of light. So as to refigure it anew. Abolishing everything simply to prove it can be done. And by such means alone undone. The forging of an incontestable truth. What thou sayest & what thou showest. This truth that lies in its own grave. AM I MY FATHER’S KEEPER? The accusation ringing in his ears. He looks at the old man, bent over in the semi-darkness. He’s leaning over a table w/ a lamp angled low down, close to the surface. Examining something. Closely examining some specimen, perhaps. What was it? “You see me now more feeble & more terrible than I ever was.” The eyes suddenly looking out of the gloom. The large stupefied insect monitors. To gaze into unseeing, uncomprehending matter. A mirror out of focus. A surface in which his own face appears monstrous, grotesque. The thing, in its very existence. Mistress Inertia. Señora Entropía. Totems of cremated incense, mandrake root, foetuses in jars, plastic saints, tuberculous spit, scorpions, Olivetti typewriters, barrels of crude oil, Emiliano Zapata’s sombrero, Das Kapital, the bullet in Joan Vollmer’s brain, Frida Kahlo’s monkey, relics of the True Wall. The icons are streaming in this airless place. Standing as upon the threshold of Revelation. Only to turn yr back & blink greedily back at the world. The sun’s late-afternoon slant casting distended shadows across the zócalo. Its clear & mordant light embalms objects. Space rushes away from the eye in long arcades, remote & contradictory. Space, drawn out to a point. Far in the distance. I’m at once projected through & towards it. I’m awaiting the outcome of an unknown event. The sense of bearing witness to something which has already taken place. Which has not yet taken place. How to account for this paradox? It seems impossible. And yet at the same time I’m made aware that I myself am somehow accounted for by it. As in a drama, held up before the gaze of others. An exemplum. A scapegoat. The ritual dissection of the self. Through a catharsis, to purify the intent. And yet any true detection should prove that “we” are the guilty party. Knowing & thinking. I, myself. What I’ve done, everything up to now, to this point, has been a type of evasion. Not facing up to the fact that in this world there’s nothing left for me to do. Nothing of which I’m capable. Except in the purely negative sense. Perhaps, if this negative could be objectified. Given an objective existence of its own. It could be eliminated. The beginning of the end of history, as a German philosopher once solemnly said. Time also has its end in us. We are its finality. It negates itself in us, as the world negates itself in us. What is man, after all, but the negation of everything else in the universe? At every turn, confronted by this multiform zero. But to oppose it w/ what but borrowed words, spun out across borrowed time? In my very existence I’m excluded from THIS world. A negative capability working out my revenge. But why exist at all? Why is my existence even possible? What type of a question am I? And who or what has posed me in this form, now, in this particular time & place? I confront my own negativity as if it were a wall of stone wood & sascab. What is the point of saying that I distrust the language that affirms my existence? I’m nothing to wager in either case. The one as the other. I’m a consequence of what’s preceded me. But what has preceded me is a consequence of my idea, implicit within it. Wandering randomly through the night, following signs wherever they appear. Neon portents. Omens. The tactile humidity. The relentless drumming of the rain, marking time. Crossing the marketplace past racks of the internal organs of animals. The meat of pigs. Goats. Cattle. Donkeys. White rubberised stomachs. Tongues. Yellowed hoofs. Chicken feet. Walls sweating an organic mass. Corrugated-iron covered in molluscs. Motionless ceiling fans. A narrow alleyway w/ crabs, octopuses, grimacing things. A fog of cigarette smoke. Suppurating eyes, red-rimmed. Along the wall, a series of vendors’ squared benches. A brazier. In the shadows, flesh & money changing hands. Pyramids of animal skulls. Amongst the multitude of severed heads I recognise my own, encrusted w/ black glass. Green. Red. Millefiori. Jagged as gunshot bone. A square of paper folded on the tongue w/ a magical formula written out in faded blue ink. “The eye is on fire. The visible is on fire. The knowledge of the visible is on fire. The contact w/ the visible is on fire. The sense which arises from the contact w/ the visible is on fire.” En la noche de la noche eterna. Stripped meat laid out over the blazing coals. Fires in the rain of the wind. The heart eternally carbonised. Burning w/ desires their morality condemns. I stand there w/ the detachment of an observer. “Under the influence of strong light the animal closed its eyes & turned its head away. Olfactory stimuli produced no reaction. Sexual reflexes couldn’t be detected. No special relation either positive or negative to other animals was observed.” There were sometimes peculiar attacks lasting 1-8 minutes w/out apparent cause. Tremor of the whole body. Clonic contractions of the jaw. A cramp-like twisting of the head to one side. Ejection of urine or faeces. The sequence is repeated. If one bases conclusions on the experiments as they stand, the motor areas of the cortex must be thought of as analysers of proprioceptive impulses. Other areas are analysers of external stimuli (exteroceptive). From this point of view the entire cortex represents a complex system of analysers. A metronome. A whistle. The light of an electric lamp. A tactile cutaneous stimulation serving to reinforce the conditioned stimuli. The secretion of saliva was measured, as usual, by a graduated tube. The eyelids are restrained & the lamp switched on. The impression of a face contorted by some mysterious drama. The mouth is held open by a dental clamp. Teeth coming away from the gums. Water dripping against the forehead. A corridor of pain receding endlessly into the distance. Intervals of numbness. A black haze. How long does it go on? Everything becomes still. Or something shifts & you sense the passing of time. Its very fabric. You feel yrself moving through it. Towards it. As though something immanent. Impossible. The sound of a loud buzzer. 4:26 AM. Under usual conditions w/out administration of the alkali the effect of the buzzer was about 8 drops of saliva during 30 seconds. The effect of the tactile stimulus was 4 drops during 30 seconds. After the introduction of rejectable substance into the mouth, secretion was normalised. The subject remained passive throughout the operation. “To hunger after what it has denied itself?” He put his head under the tap, pressing the palms of his hands against his eyes. Blackness, constant fatigue. He wants to go on, he says. “To the bitter end.” But finally he’s indifferent. There’s nothing to laugh about. Indifference swallows him up like entropy. Standing on a hotel balcony, looking down onto the street. Wrought iron twisted into handrails. Balcony rails. Barred windows. A sodden courtyard wrecked in green neon. Beneath the portales, a shoeshine man on his stool reading a newspaper. A boy standing under an archway, picking his nose in front of a pimp. It’s after midnight, but the street & the cafés are crowded w/ people. Half-a-dozen marimbas play simultaneously. Groups of young men move languidly to the rhythm. The air’s hot but it’s beginning to rain. Soon their bodies are drenched. The harbour w/ listless red & black hulks lying in the water. Scum rising & falling about the waists of the ships & streets gleaming like wet thighs. Close by, the noise of a dog baying in the dark. Thin indefinable figures guarding the rooftops. To keep away the spirits, to shrive the air. Another street during the same night. Pedestrians walking past. Streetlights. Neon-lit window displays. X is standing in a doorway, a vinyl coat collar turned up. Traffic sounds. We enter a tiny stall behind the marketplace. A low overhanging awning casts an almost impenetrable shadow across the narrow doorway. Stacks of boxes & cans of foodstuffs on either side. Shelves lined w/ herbs. Extracts. Indigenous remedies. An old curandero sitting on a stool, smoking. Behind the counter a doorway draped w/ strings of coloured beads opens onto a small dark room. There’s a screen at one end & a row of four or five chairs at the other. Seated in the gloom, we have quit our bodies. Our minds. Perhaps even our souls. We have remained long separated from ourselves. On the screen an expressionless face is staring back at the viewers. Anaesthetised. Bored. Somebody shouts & the projector stops & then starts again. Something is being dismembered & the organs removed. The lungs. The stomach. The oesophagus. A bottle is passed around. As we leave a young boy enters the room & begins to stack the chairs against the back wall. He smiles & says to come back tomorrow. Something in the angular poses of the actors. In the strange rhythms of their guttural sounds. In their grimaces & muscular spasms. The mysterious fusion of their voices & the sounds of musical instruments. The dance of geometrical robes. Animated hieroglyphs. In the evolution of this theatre there’s something that appears which initially does not seem to be theatre, but a profanation of it. Then it appears that this also is theatre. That it also has its part. That at any time a new path could emerge out of it. Has indeed already appeared. A path that is not yet recognisable, but one which exists. Gesturing towards the unknown. And then the whispering returned. The vox humana. All of a sudden the meditative scene was ruined. The boy Salomé danced. The amber necklace emitted sparks & made the nipples erect. The images appeared to stream from the centre of the visual field. Moths flying into his eyes. The remaining space was simultaneously filled up w/ a vast number of similar visions. Luminous red. Yellow. Green. Everywhere the curtains shimmer w/ a radioactive glow. Light hidden in the dark grain that burst from the ear. In the green juice of the cactus. A cauldron filled w/ stewed eyeballs. Depthless cenotes of luminous greenblue. Flights of stairs through adjoining rooms leading into the lower stratum. A subaqueous labyrinth. The glinting eye of a lure drawing the prey close behind. Its rainbow coloured scales. The pigment bleeds into space. A liquid spreading-out. Once the motif is given, it generalises itself. Soon even the most bizarre evocations appear predictable. The game did not get beyond this kind of dreariness. Four o’clock, the first symptoms appeared. Heaviness in the limbs. Ataxia. Followed by a general malaise. Lowered blood pressure. Suddenly immobile. In the middle of the street. Or anywhere. I go on stumbling over the same obstacle. Taxis choking the interchange at Reforma & Insurgentes. Endless crowds spilling along the sidewalks. The air humid w/ unspent petroleum. Space is contracting & running over at the seams. “I don’t know how often this was repeated & prefer not to dwell upon it. Also, there are things which one would rather keep to oneself.” Retreating. Crawling back in under the shell. A face in a mirror. Unkempt. Unshaven. Unwashed. The room seemed strange & broad. Later I squatted against a wall, thinking all the while that I sat there like a vulture on a column of dung. The carcass of some former existence strewn about the floor. We seek a meaning behind the metamorphosis. Believing one to be there. The brown dusty plumage. The inexpressive eyes. Vivisecting it. An exquisite cadaver. Standing in front of an exhibit in the Museo de la Historia Natural. Genus Cathartidae. The monotonous hum of air conditioning ducts. Footsteps on waxed parquet. Along the walls, examples of each of the lower species labelled & arranged in order of descent. The Great Chain of Unbeing. A cordon separates the human spectator from the re-articulated skeletons of extinct vertebrates. Tiers of fossilised remains. Simulated habitats. Once outside, the unrelenting veracity of the abased world casts out its phantasms. Cancels the vain dream of resurrection. “The dead remain dead no matter how long you stare at them.” Or vigilance turns a blind eye. The stone is rolled back from the door of the tomb. It’s empty. The corpse missing from the scene of no crime. This strange caesura that announces its break w/ the fabric of intention. Its veil. Its shroud. The clue is precisely what was not meant. What was never considered. What was inadvertent. Unconscious. Left by mistake. Passing into the hands of others. At the same time everything plays itself out. In spite of, or against, the distinction between perception & dream. Perception & memory. Conscious & unconscious. Real & imaginary. Not equivalences but positions. Disposing of what lies beyond or between these terms. Burying or burning its remains. A mutilated body uncovered in the light. Its features resemblant of whatever we are attempting to evade. Arranging its parts. Its features. An eye bulging from the forehead. The head substituted by the genitals. The body disintegrating into bodies. Germinating. The sex sewn together & upright resembling an ear of corn. An ejaculation of bone & gristle. The gut-emptiness in which panic takes form. The cavity in which you lodge yrself, right up into the faecal matter. Born at the end of a string of blood & intestine. A self-formed marionette. Snapping off the articulated limbs one after another. First & then second joint. Sheer at the torso. An effigy to be stuffed back in. Through the anus ear nose eyes mouth. The god in its orgy of increation. In the molluscan time before the beginning. The inaugurated flesh. Groaning through the universe. As though day & night were flowing out of him. Nothing now but this emission of contraries, opened up w/ a cosmic soldering iron. Its filament radiant. Sacred heart of the one true murder eternally in progress. The one he is born from, only to return to via another detour. Another ellipsis. Another mutoid convulsion. Retracing all the steps. The last vestiges that lead us deeper in. Premeditating an idea. The trace of its reflection in the enumeration of these so called quotidian details. Picked up & inserted into the detached inscription. Knowing that you’ll still have to write it. Right there in the redundant flesh. (FILE UNREADABLE!) History then takes this form. The muscle rising upright, showing its swollen head. The hand closed around it. The lips approaching its blood & teeth seizing what is called the manhood. The skin is as hard as glass. Completely desiccated. Discoloured brown to black. And it can be broken off. Each piece reflecting an image of the whole. Each remembering itself through the other. Its injuries. Its disavowals. And I too am becoming like you. Not knowing who I am. An existence ceded to abstractions. To go on acting. Pursuing a human hypothesis whether man be there or not. The clockwork solipsism. To doubt is to begin to think. To think is to be. But to act? To what end? I lift my hand. Here, the palm facing downwards. The arm outstretched, like this. A gesture which encompasses not even the shadow it casts. The air it disturbs & sets in motion. It proves less than it disturbs. In it I’m a stranger. Against myself also I must learn to raise that hand. To doubt & so believe. “That I’m beholden unto thee”? A shadow moves suddenly across the room of its own accord. One by one the blows are struck. Like the processional unfolding of some hidden reality. “With my right arm I create & destroy.” Written into the whites of their eyes. Like the clawings of something trying to escape. A sentient inner-self, wearing a wrong face. Like a stage actors who doesn’t know what’s in store for it, out there in the world. Which’s real, which’s the illusion? Believing ever more urgently, insistently, tediously, in an unscripted escape route to somewhere beyond the theatre of the senses, its Cartesian stage props & trampantojo. “The more I know myself the less I am.” In the makeshift mortuary they’re sewing up the corpse’s mouth to stop it from falling open. And then take up the bodies, high on a stage to be placed on view. Perhaps there are still others. I don’t remember names. Details. The colour of hair, for example. Eyes. Clothes. Distinguishing marks. Times, places. Telephone numbers. Addresses. Room numbers. Gestures. Habits. An aggregate of movements w/ their own causes & effects. Their own implications. A hand clutching an armrest. A neck thrust forwards. The head angled w/ the musculature around the jaw clearly visible. Perspiration glistening on the forehead. The shoulders. The chest. “As I washed the blood from my hands, it was happening a long way from me. Somewhere down below. It was questionable, but utterly unimportant, whether or not they were my own hands.” A telephone ringing through the trees. A flat, expressionless voice. It’s coming from a long way off. A place in which language has barely formulated itself. Following that path through all the nights. The flight of that prey. The blind, bleeding feet. The unresting. The resistant. In a language in which you can no longer die, like a shadow creeping around on its two legs beneath the sun. Nature obstinately manifests the one idea. A landscape full of signs. Half-dissolved forms & effigies which in no way seem the result of chance. Exposed silica. The play of light superimposed on the relief pattern of the rocks. Between the landscape & myself I can’t say which was most haunted. The disparate & yet strangely connected shadows of things? The emblems of creatures facing & opposing one another. Each design harbours an adversary, some truly desperate will. The veracity of the image before him. (Who’d it belong to? Why was he haunted like this?) In his delirium, he imagined cutting off the other’s face & eating it. Consuming that identity which so thoroughly negated his own. A dream of all the fathers straddling the necks of their sons, dominating them & possessing them. Instinctively he reaches over. Places his fingers on the other’s lips. DON’T TOUCH MY MOUTH, X says. Blood & body of the One. A malignant, nullifying presence. Through his delirium the priest-like figure loomed ever larger. Ever more blameworthy. A monstrous & feeble tyrant whom time does not redeem, but accuses. An old man’s quivering grey face. The high cheekbones protruded. The arched nose & receding chin which seemed to be the outcome of a disfigured resolution. The flesh, rough, hanging loose from the desiccated tissue beneath. A leprosy. A sickness of the flesh. Its theft by malign spirits. And the corresponding sickness of the mind. Atrophy of the cortex. Section by section. A will to nothingness. A ruin amidst ruins. One day somebody comes & turns over the rubble. Light enters the black shafts of the eyes. Another monstrosity discovered. Another mutilated artefact to provoke incomprehension in the museums. The pieces all laid out together like a disarticulated skeleton. The mismatched fragments of some hypothesis. Dated. Named. In this immaculate rebirth. Frail black marks on pieces of paper glued together. Who could ever decipher the true meaning of those signs? That mouth, if it were living, would never form the shape of those sounds. Or if it did, we couldn’t understand it. Its idea is beyond possession. There’s merely a corpse. A precarious body of evidence. Nothing more. And the object will remain that dead thing which is waiting for nothing. Fears nothing. “I fear nothing.” That, above all else. What did the old curandero say? First you make yr shit & then you eat it. The one realised in the body of the other. A perpetual adoration. Saburra. Blood. Humour. Bile. The shrivelled Christ arrayed in the vegetal garnish of stomach & intestine. Eternity is digesting us. The cycle is interminable. Death & resurrection. Groping upwards from base matter. Clay from which man came. NULLA DIES SINE LINEA? It begins & is done when the desire ceases. God in his counting house. “The truth is…” It was boring. There was nothing but to finish it off. Just as one finishes off a perfunctory fuck. Putting the dog out of its misery. Not from any sense of compassion. Just to get it over w/. “Sick & tired of yr nonsense. Sick of…” A sudden weariness which made him break off mid-sentence. Staring at the blank square of the ceiling. Its blankness is suddenly more oppressive than a missing page. A blankness full of signs, blankly communicating. Switching the light on or off, as if it could solve anything. The shadow of the fan doesn’t leave the blankness in tatters but only multiplies its effect. Now as it slowly turns, describing an impenetrable calligraphy. The white processional cross turning on a hidden axis. At its centre, a black disk stares remorselessly down. Remorseless meaning dead. The navel of a text opening & spilling out. The protagonist runs from words that await him on the lost last page. All by itself, notched as it is into the as yet unsullied whiteness of the sheet. A flattened shape set foursquare upon the page. It doubles the support on which it lies. Like the sheet, it has a physical existence. Material. Opaque. Like the sheet, it’s resolutely frontal. Facing its viewer. Despite, or perhaps because of, what “goes on.” Transpires beneath. This is how the fragment, in itself indeterminable, hardens & solidifies. Its lines of writing now posturing as the graining of wood. Now as the porosity of concrete. The scene becomes the support for a visual rapport, in which together they produce a meaning. Pale crumbling limestone walls, covered w/ relentlessly exact geometrical figures. Staggered gammadions. Triangular serrations. Notched, tooth-like projections. – , 23 February. “In man, the canine teeth are perfectly efficient instruments for mastication. But their true canine character (Owen, Anatomy of Vertebrates, volume III, 1868, page 323) ‘is indicated by the conical form of the crown, which terminates in an obtuse point.’ Outwardly convex & flat or sub-concave within. At the base of which surface there’s a feeble prominence.” A number of borrowed details, showing that the human embryo closely resembles that of other mammals. The heart at first exists as a simple pulsating vessel. The excreta are voided through a cloacal passage. And the os coccyx projects like a true tail, extending considerably beyond the rudimentary legs. “In the embryos of all air-breathing vertebrates, there are certain glands, called the Corpora Wolffiana…” A number of passages that he’d noted down seem to have been accidentally, or intentionally, omitted. Others inserted in the wrong places. And where the words seem to follow one another intelligibly, the details often don’t. “The reflexes could easily be distinguished by the composition of the saliva from the submaxillary gland.” Conjecturing that the cortical ends “are intertwined among the peripheral ends.” The white interior of the laboratory. An overexposure in which amorphous figures shift, barely visible, as vague shadows against a far wall. Dead in their appearance, dissolved in acid lucidity. Like all the other questions which we’ve tried in vain to lay hold of in our time. How many patient alternatives await fulfilling?

Louis Armand is the author of THE COMBINATIONS (Equus, 2016), THE GARDEN (11:11, 2020) & VAMPYR: A CHRONICLE OF REVENGE (Alienist, 2020). He lives in Prague.