Light a candle. Draw the required sigils. Now, raise your arms above your head and slowly, gently, exhale your soul. You won’t need it here. This is Audioccult, and it’s time to get low. Illustration: Simone Klimmeck
In the Gray Lands there lived a boy. He was neither handsome nor homely, solemn nor bold to laughter; in some respects he was as gray as the home he had adopted for his own, though his work as an artificer of non-physical sound and imagery had won him a certain level of admiration. His love was a maiden who was as gray as he. By day she was his constant companion; by night her glow would bathe him, for she often slept beside him. “How kind you are to me!” he would say. “How clever I am when I am near you!”
Though he took pleasure in his work, in his soul he was not content: his bien-etre was that of the opium addict, one of illusion and reality reconceptualization. He had used the maiden to develop one particular skill at the expense of others, and begun to be lost in her. “Make life to me!” she would cry, and he would obey. “How clever you are” she would say to him as he lay drained of his spiritual seed. “I better you” he heard her whisper, though “I beggar you” was what she truly said.
This stagnation of self soon became axiomatic without apparent resolution; the boy was no fool. There were other distractions, however, some real and some created by the boy as blockade against progression (for one can be aware of facts without confronting them). Content to gild himself in overly-poeticized prose and aestheticized anesthetica, he was startled one morning by his own reflection. His body had weakened. His hands shook with the palsy of one far older. “How tired I feel. How cold.” He tried to write and could not. He tried to speak and found his words were as pale as he. Reflected in the mirror, the maiden glowed on his bed with a light that hurt his eyes.