Payne’s Report on the disappearance of Violet Abingdon


In tragic form, the prophecies of matter have finally flourished. The splendid deflagration of the town’s decency comes into force in the corruption of the wholesome and pure. Let me tell you, I have slept for hours on this subject, dreamt through the swimming niles of memory and darkness. When a young girl is taken in by conspiracy, kidnapped by the forces that reside in the forest. I fear she saw what I saw, or something of its ilk; her weak mind unable to bear the terrible vision. I have refined my sense of an ending. The mentally ill are denied clear closure. While Violet Abingdon has been found, she must languish in some institution, just like my dear sister Martha. If her sonorous notes once filled mellifluous playgrounds of innocence, she is now shut up in the ugly violence of silence. Nobody will let her speak. I fear indeed that she was institutionalised against her will--perhaps also her family’s will--confined out of sight so she could not speak. Did the organisation, its sprawl of logistical shadow, rise from the gurgling murk to confront her? Some elaborate kind of loss prevention?

But she knows, she knows, Violet Abingdon must know. I wonder if her brain, like mine, loops on the same. These objects pass over my sight every night like the moon’s quick burr. They come into focus, flashing, then inevitably blur. Elusive, seductive, the metallic flicker of unnatural nature.

They call it the children’s ward. Psychiatric grandeur sucking the soul. I know they are watching me; have hacked my computer. Every word typed in direct communion with their internal observers. My fingers linger in the gauzy space between the network and our mutual spirits. I drink lime juice to clear these dreams in the morning. I figure it with the title gleaned from the old receipt: The Absent Material Gateway. I picture the black-clad enthusiasts, their roll-necked version of pseudoscience, conducted in distant basements. Sometimes, when I cross over a manhole, I hear the rumble of something underneath. It is not the familiar drip of the sewers, but a purely industrial clang and hum, the vibrations of stirring production. What is it we love we love we love. Every day I sit down to meditation. There are shapes to be gleaned from the space of the deep. From the mire of amnesia I try to dredge up those secret forms, the alien objects.

I suspect they will stun her with shocks to the brain. A means to thicken the fog, to charge her dangerous memory with vanishing elementals. Spidery electrodes with sticky contusions. They did it to Martha. I visited quite some time ago, brought her a book of botanical illustrations, a punnet of grapes. She could not remember my name, but ran her finger up my arm, as if I were some kind of geologic surface. As if she were feeling for a tender point, a wound in the formation of rock. The point where the plasma deliciously seeps. I fancy her mind I can read sometimes, miles apart as we are. There are thoughts like phantoms, phantoms like thoughts, chasing the daily grind.

All writing is a form of unsatisfying placebo. Nothing written here on this blog will change the world, change your mind. Dear reader, think of yourself as mere pollen, a clot on the skin of the ether, swept up in a plexus of currents, the internet zephyrs which cross-pollinate a million ISPs. I use the library’s WiFi, one of three connected. Violet Abingdon sits in her ward, eats mashed potatoes with a sad smile, the delirium of the free. They released her from trauma, put a bolt through her memory. Sometimes I wish for the same treatment, contemplate signing myself in. But then who would release the truth, pursue the hidden? Somewhere there’s a white corridor bookended by glimmering, lilac light. A feminine nitrate, an iridescent melody swamped in white noise, coruscating chronologies. The overlap of the here and now, the future and past. My clear-skinned self in youthful boots, pursuing the fruits of the forest. Incidentally, I tried to call up the mycologist, old Netherland, but he declined comment. There is an extra special shudder in the ground now, spreading up through the atmosphere. I fear activated by the split vivid stars of November’s fireworks, causing a rift in localised spacetime. I watched those golden sparks shower down from the sky, watched the saccharine display of possible apocalypse. Glutted myself on vision alone, then woke up feeling different. My orbits of the town remain useless; I cannot pin down that centre of energy. I fear the truth now lost in the raving mind of an incarcerated child. My only hope being a bedside interview, a mutual slip into delirious sleep--from whose perilous mists might rise those forms, the algorithms depicting a blueprint for elsewhere, the eerie unknowable forms within and without us.