To Kiss the World Through a Veil of Lead


You feel a humid softness beneath your segmented body: the drops of condensation that cling to you, the sprinkling sensation of tubular beings running along your supple exoskeleton. You raise your body from the ground and notice there is no light. There is little choice but to allow sound to enter your carapace; with a wet crack, you open your shell and send out a leathery straw.

Pulses start to reach your senses, reverberating inside your carapace and making it a bubble of echoing sounds. The vibrations twist the insides of your body, liquids boil and burn as your mind struggles to filter information from pain. Hard edges that break living stone apart with shattering force; holes penetrated by forceps that prod and poke insides; rock ground slowly to a gelified mess: the process of translation of sound waves into a catalogue of objects and beings and actions. All of it enmeshed with ringing bouts of trembling and striking pain that violently shake your body.

It continues to hit you; you hear a burning field of phosphorus, white flames that scream of broken down molecules and soft tissues; you hear sizzling acid and pure stake-shaped hydrocarbons that tumble down like rain. You turn your hearing tube to the other side, just as a loud bang shakes the ground. Gliding over a cloud of molten rock, embers begin to give off light — light you cannot see as the pain blinds and dominates you.

Amidst the suffering, you hear tasty prey close by, calling for its mate. Its voice rips through you as an electrifying incision, each puncture giving a more precise idea of the position, the weight, the flavour and the age of your target. You retract your tube, close your carapace, savour the silence and get ready to hunt.