Aurora, 2.D.5, 500 words

Thin fog veils a town, its small structures and narrow roads still tenuously visible from some vantage points, yet translates sun and moon alike into shadowless vibration. The occupants of a hotel there sleep when they choose. Without night or day the danger of arrhythmic psychosis is absorbed by the uniform paranoia and dissociation of all. Those who watched the nocturnal rising at dusk as masochistic fools see them only as temporally unrelated manifestations of their own curiously repetitive lifestyle. All of the waking grope about the window frames for latches, following the sound of wind to find vents clogged with paper. The more tantalizing illusions inflame deeper brown panic and confusion. Those napping or bedded down at the time when a roiling stampede happens to erupt in the lobby of the hotel are awakened by a roar emitting from the concrete pillars of their chambers. Once escaped into the still air its decomposition looses frenzied individual voices and wails. The roar seems to loop and draw back on itself. Inhuman cries lack punctuation. They stay forever in a living mind. Those watching from high above in tiered arcades stand distant from one another. Most stay in their rooms. Eyes don’t meet eyes. Blank eyes cast upward and open mouths mistake one another for the voices they emit. Fear drives each person along a path that crosses with others, passes over others that occupy the same space at that same time. The collocation isn’t one of malice or suppression, for everyone is only trying to live in the way that they can manage, unspooling from a long landscape of indignities and private conflicts; though one of each two tramples the other down in that desperate meeting. The floor becomes mottled with lumpen fabric sacks in patchwork sediment. Those still in panicked motion kick through them like empty sculptures of refuse. The clothes of those running and colliding are covered also with footprints and carpet-burned threadbare swaths. Men claw the wallpaper and beat on hollow-sounding walls. They wait for echoes. Sobs of the prone and broken are muffled by carpet, taken into concrete like fossil records. From within the skull, voided areas of fluid divine features of the landscape hidden by terrain or obstacle, or by rushing curve of the planet. These tickling pockets migrate and press against the black shell’s jellies longing to glisten and with their pressure, and comingling, push the body toward those inland seas and black, deep lakes. They orient the body around the unknown and tease the body with familiarity in the escape of a toilet bowl, of a drawn bath, of reflected beige ceilings. The mob dissipates from the lobby some through attrition, though most funnel with helpless momentum down through wide concourses, crushing some against narrow door throats, yet continuing to race, at the same relative density, down into two-abreast corridors and passages that slope imperceptibly, looking for a last door, a last portal that doesn’t lead to anteroom, to ambulatory, to other doors.

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