High society

The ocean is down there, somewhere.
I can hear it, but I can’t see it, in this most solitary of places. The concrete pylons are ghostly pale in the reflected light from the gas giant. I’m alone, for now. Alone with my spectres, one of them, haunting this high place.
The invisible, urgent dark.
I see shapes moving behind the smoked silver of the rotunda windows. The laconic nodding of a head, the swoosh of a dark gown across carpet, glasses held aloft.
I remain here for a time, enjoying the semi-luminous ambiguity between the light from the upper windows and the untouched dark. My face uncovered, I am fully exposed to the malicious vapours of this world. But I have been engineered to endure. A million factories under my skin allow me to refine oxygen from the un-breathable fumes, meaning that I can, in theory, go indefinitely without taking another breath. They shun those of my kind, these people of high society. Not altogether human, yet by no means alien, I fail to conform to their expectations. One of my spectres infiltrates the control box at the top of the rotunda, forcing the louvers of the master bedroom to stutter open. An electronic presence within the house starts to protest in alarm, but together we silence it, my spectres and I. We manipulate the climate settings to create a pressure shield over the window, so that no more of the noxious vapour can enter. We would not wish to harm the lady of the house. Ignoring the sarcastic tinkle of glass from downstairs, I cross the lavish carpeted room to a desk and a mirror. There is a picture of her, I smile and run a finger across its surface. Not long a woman, her face is girlish, soft, and coy. There is something alluring in the implied naivety of her smile. Something I must have. My spectres intrude upon the sophisticated lock on the dresser. I draw from its confines a thin, delicate blue crystal.
I bounce the object in the palm of my hand. Staring through the glossy fa├žade, I imagine I can see the intertwined threads of information that my employer covets so jealously. Account details, reference numbers, people’s lives, they all lie entombed within this matrix of ice. I close the drawer carefully, and thumb the crystal shard into a pouch above my thigh.
The job complete.
And now something my employer doesn’t know about, something for me.
I stand a glowing tab of glass on its edge, in front of her picture. Ensconced within is another spectre, a semi-conscious being that will, when activated by her breath, give her directions to a place on the other side of the ocean. In a city of closed doors, she will find one that is programmed to open upon detection of her unique chemical signature.
Before I sink back into the night, I allow myself a measured sip of the air in her room.
Below, the sounds of the party have stagnated. I imagine I hear her sigh, and I smile.
Goodbye, Jessica.
Come to my door.
I’ll hold my breath until you do.

High society

AndrewJP

Burnie, Australia

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Artist's Description

Is it just me, or is it harder to write 500 words than it is to write 10,000?
Anyway, this is the first thing I’ve written after taking a long break. Any comments, suggestions, negative or positive, would be welcome.

Artwork Comments

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