Elephant feet, elegant ears, swaying high above the treetops, breathing quietly, Centuria paced. Just another stage in her own transformation. She would shrink and settle soon into human surgeon mode and then the experiment proper could begin.
His features cut by scissors, eye holes, slash for a mouth, slash for nostrils, pits punched for ears.
"Where am I?" he said, but his mouth was extremely dry so it was more of a hoarse croak.
"You're alive. That's what matters, isn't it, Mr Malley?"
Man made of paper, folded like origami, lines and creases shaping his form.
Folding and opening. Art starts to appear: culture and music a hundred years old.
Centuria had spent too long in the deep freeze beneath the Antarctic and this dream is too present for her, even though it lurks decades in this planet's past.
Sea foam. Its eyes eaten by fishes. All eyeholes and froth now, white coated with brown from the sand. He had wanted to taste its flesh but he had alighted upon -
"Are you sure it's safe to drink? It tastes bad, man. Is it that you is poisoning me? I wanna know, pal, because if -"
Perhaps he was saying something else about my appearance or how I smell. At the beach hospital, I take him down to the mortuary. I don't mean the children. Although sometimes they are children. I mean the dead. I take them from… and take from them… and take him to -
And played tunes on their trumpets to encourage him on his way. Halfway across he began to feel drowsy and kept himself
hollow on the inside but somehow animated and able to proceed in a rustling manner.
He wasn't dead, not after the treatment. He opened his eyes for the first time in his new life, strapped to the chair. It reminded him of a dentist's chair. He remem - what, exactly?
"You think you can get away with this, buster, you've got another think coming. Strange phrase that - another think coming. Think is a verb, not a noun. See, I've been to school, I'm educated, don't -"
Her body would be described as athletic, but it is beyond that - long and snake-hipped, covered in a shining scaled dress, she plays up to any medusa comparisons; she shimmers.
I appear almost skeletal beneath the medical robe, all in white like a dust sheet over me, but showing the bony contours that lie beneath, the atrophied being that I am. But I am not weak. My form is an illusion. A metaphysical trick.
She pieces it together so she can scan the code and remake him. It costs her time but she does so. The file comes through, the images and movement burned and confused. She sees herself; she sees the paper creature she has started to refer to as her friend. This is what he left in his last moments, and somewhere is the clue.
What does this creature hold? The memory of one too many deaths; (one too many foldings?); the fear of lost friendships. Yet beneath the paper-thin paper layer is a soul like a clear-rayed star, pure and unquiet, roaring towards vengeance.
Legs are thinner than one might have expected. Not an ounce of fat. Sinews carry him swiftly across the grassy dunes bordering the beach. Small dust clouds are created in his surprisingly swift wake. Sure, he leaves a trail. He reckons he can outrun you and he probably can. And if you get too close he'll give you a right kicking.
Elbows and knees, bent and re-bent to allow flexibility, but unable to carry any weight. His foolscap feet gliding across the ground, picking up dust and dirt on his flat white soles as he goes.
Seaside rain comes, sudden and harsh, drenching him, making him soft and soggy. Reducing him finally to a mushy pulp that eventually washes away.
(Written using a variation of the Surrealists' "Exquisite Corpse" method. Contributing Clockhouse London Writers: Allen Ashley, Madeleine Beresford, Gary Budgen, Mark Lewis, Nick Wood, David Turnbull, and Sandra Unerman).