Soft Now

My corner store lighter drops to the blackened heath where thousands of charred worms lay. I pick it up and flick it until my censer lights and I close my eyes as the fumes fill me with a better world.

Baas looks up from his twelve hammers, trying to assess a body count from the different colors of hair sticking to the claws. “You know that kills you, right?”

“It kills them faster.”

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Xrafstar Killers

your friend played this game. he helped you beat the parts you couldn’t beat. but he’s gone now. you’re at his house as the rain beats down and the living room smells like wet wood and carpet uncleaned since you were kids. Dim light cuts the room in half, the rest shadow from which you deliver his old CDs and cartridges into a cardboard box because his parents said do whatever with his stuff, wouldn’t understand what they were looking at, what it means to a kid. Xrafstar Killers for the PSP, the scratched, smeared disc so light in your hands like it couldn’t possibly contain that deep, dark, beautiful world you stumbled through, grabbing the console back, trying to impress him, plastic sticky from shared sweat.

you break the disc in the kitchen and pick up the biggest shard. you’re running out of things to believe in. you cut yourself in the lines you learned before that post was deleted for violating the community code of conduct. this world is the false one. the dream is real. the post warned that every captive world has become hell in the absence of the hearts of children. that tyrants have taken control. that you should think twice about entering a place where death is torture’s blink. where you can’t shut it off if it becomes too much, a razor-lined wheel of reincarnation. it doesn’t matter. you’ll see him again, in whatever form you fit inside, in the world of Xrafstar Killers. To never be alone.

Why Have You Not Yet Gone to War

On that day, I was supposed to go to the festival and trade my knife in. I was supposed to meet the old man at his table and hand it over. This was a promise I made to him, after a long and serious discussion. He was the kind of dignified old man who did not become angry, only disappointed. The kind where silence became its own condemnation, not from him, necessarily, but because you were reminded of every good thing you were letting down. Something fine and noble in the universe reflected off him, bounced from some unknown source beyond my own access. So the promise had some weight to me.

The festival was to be held at the high school, on the lawn and parking lot, with all kinds of tables and booths. There was even supposed to be an animal of some kind there, for entertainment.

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the body crushes the soul

I grew up thinking people like me are bad.
But the way society is set up.
There’s no way to be close to people.

I was terrified the first time.
Thought I was going to throw up.
It’s about getting in the right mental place.
Letting it build up.
Late at night.
Drugs help. But they can impair your judgment. You don’t want to lose track of time. Peripheral vision. Or you start to psyche yourself out. A little alcohol is fine for confidence. Too much and you fuck yourself over. Can’t get hard. Can’t keep track of time. Weed is out. Stimulants are better.

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Saving Face

The boss’s son always tells me to bite their ears off, I don’t wanna bite their ears off, I have texture issues with the cartilage. But in the end I’d bite all night for this guy. They don’t even look human at the end. Then again neither do I.

You gotta leave some face though. Or you forget what you’re even doing.

*

I spin the chair around. It’s so light without the guy on it. Just a red shadow dissolving on the seat.

“Anything else I can do for you?”

The boss’s son says, “You’ve got something in your teeth.”

I pick it out with the nail I keep sharp for this purpose, I don’t even know what it is. I get deep in there, you know. Scientists discover new body parts every day. I love that. It keeps me hopeful.

“I was saying, anything else I can do for you?”

But he’s already back in the swimming pool, deaf with water. I watch his limbs ripple like what I’m digesting in my stomach.

*

After watching what I do, the boss’s son won’t let me suck his dick anymore.

I guess once you become the dog, you’re useful in a different way. He won’t soil himself with beasts. Or he simply doesn’t want to get his dick bit off. 

But I don’t think my teeth are sharper than any other guys. It’s strictly mental.

*

The doctor says I have a tapeworm. Could explain a few things. He wants to give me some Praziquantel. The label says EXPELS TAPERED AHRIMANFORMS. I tell him I’m not shitting out my honor and my value and my devotion. Not unless God himself sucks it out of me.

He says, take the vermifuge. You never know.

*

Leave me enough face for the funeral, Carafe says. He’s old school. Thinking of his family.

I look to the boss’s son for approval. He’s filing his nails like I wish I could file my teeth. He says, sure.

I say, no promises, but I’ll start from the toes, and we’ll see how it goes.

Carafe says, oky doky.

*

I hop up and down, trying to make the smoke hit my lungs faster.

“What are you doing?” the boss’s son says.

“Nothing. I’m good to go.”

“Let me see your teeth.”

I open my mouth wide like the dentist. He looks inside, eyes narrowed. I’m open so long I start drooling, then I start sweating.

He finally says, “Is your stomach empty?”

“I could make it be empty.”

“I just want to make sure this goes smoothly. We’re doing two guys tonight.”

“Two. Wow.”

“Is that a problem?”

“Maybe for them, if you know what I mean, heheheh.”

He takes the cigarette from my fingers and sniffs it. He’s quitting, but it’s hard. I know the longer he smells it, the harder it’ll get. I watch to see what he’ll do.

*

Two chairs, two guys, one of them is actually a lady, but you can’t tell anymore. I wish we tortured more women. I’m not retrograde, I believe in equality of the sexes. But it’s hard biting through some of these guys. All the piercings, tattoos, hair, calluses, gristle. Eating a woman is like eating two or three kids stacked on top of each other. And to be frank, I needed the assist. Never did two guys before. Wasn’t sure I could do it. But I’d never say no to the boss’s son. I’ll keep singing even if my voice breaks, you know, as long as the camera stays on me.

MONTH OF MARS BOOSTER PACK

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Future Pairing Process

I’m at the mall and there’s this thing called a kissing booth. I go into the lobby and this woman is ushering people inside. It looks like a movie theater, they must be renting the space. I’m not sure if she’s pairing people up or just seating people in preparation for a future pairing process. I’m nervous. I think a great deal about my lips in relation to kissing. I take great care with my hygiene, and the action posture of the masseter. But I suppose most people think of their own mouth as cleaner than it is, because they spend so much time with it. I don’t want to kiss a random mall person. There are kids and old people here. Although I suppose I am a kid to some of them. I just don’t want to interact with a random mall person that way. I don’t know what I was thinking. That’s right. I wasn’t thinking.

It’s my turn to be paired or seated in preparation for pairing and the woman leads me down the aisle. She is older than me, skinny, short hair, kind of a lesbo vibe, a bony everyday face. She makes a joke like, I should have you all to myself, something like that. I smile politely at her joke. But she leads me all the way around the front, then to the very back, sitting next to me instead of pairing me with someone. She presses heavily on me with bird talons, thick like a cartoon. I want to ask, are they real? But you should never ask a lady that. There are probably things you shouldn’t ask guys about reality either.

I feel warm. I realize I don’t mind it at all. Being close to someone is nice. Maybe that’s why I did it. I just wanted to be close to someone in this lonely world. But suddenly she stops. She says, oh god, what am I doing with my life? Something like that. She seems to realize the unprofessional nature of what we are doing back here. She gets up and I follow her. Strange to follow someone who just came on to me. Some people bounce so hard into you they bounce themselves off, with zero input from you, they manage the whole interaction, relationship, etc themselves. She seems like she’s having a breakdown, but not in a histrionic way. She’s just silent on the escalator, going down. Like she’s really thinking about her life. I stop at the top of the escalator, because I can tell she doesn’t want me to follow.

I have blue balls for the universe. Empty things between things wisp and hurl around me. Who’s running the movie theater now?

Sane and Focused

I need to ask a favor.

I go inside the prefab trailer. It’s on cinder blocks. Is it cinderblocks or cinder blocks? I used to call it cinderb locks. And I kept looking for keyholes. I thought the holes in the sides were for big keys, for big rewards. But I didn’t have any keys of any size so it didn’t matter.

I call for the woman who lives here. My parents used to know her. I think she babysat me as a kid. I’m still a kid though.

I see her on a chair in the next room. She is looking at the wall. She doesn’t respond, but I know she can hear me. Or hear something. She’s very afraid. But whatever happened to her happened a long time ago. And now all voices make her feel that way. She won’t go outside. She’s still stuck there.

I call for her again.

I go outside.

We can get food from supermarkets, I tell my dad. End of day food.

Let’s get your mother, he says.

My mother is on the other side of a wall. There’s a door but I don’t think she has a key. We live in the back of this building. I don’t know if we live here. We are here. But we’re hungry. There are walls and cinder blocks and small rooms.

She says she has to complete her film. She’s acting strange again.

She goes ahead of us. She’s taken her clothes off. She wanders like a deer down the street. She’s beautiful like an actress. She looks kind of like Caitlin Fitzgerald. One of the women here was telling me about actresses. She keeps a list in her mind. She says one day one of the names could be recycled and if she’s awake at the right time it could become her name. These are the names of power.

My dad wears clothes and stays next to me. He’s sane. He’s focused on the mission. Getting end of day food from the supermarket. I’m saner than both of them though. Because I’m young.

It’s evening. I know where the Salvadoran supermarket is. We cross the street. The commercial center has a wide parking lot, and the asphalt extends off it, unmarked, so much you can get dizzy if you lose a frame of reference. The ground is warm on my bare feet.

The front of the Salvadoran market is open like a hangar. The inside is gutted and the floor is covered in ash and grit. It’s empty. It’s like a supermarket cave. The air is hot. I walk back toward the street, to get to a place where I can go to another place. The asphalt is really wide and dark and warm in front of the place where the Salvadoran supermarket was. My legs feel really small.

I look for my parents.

Latin Glove

-Latin Glove is one of the main guys to suffer in night phone/INNOCENTverse (still haven’t figured out how to draw him yet)
-he’s infected with a surgical rash and is looking for a cure or a way to delay the progression.
-he’s skilled at reading the secret safety signs of night which can be used to navigate and survive interstitial spaces

Progress Chart for Charity Shareholders Q1

thanks to my fans on patreon for the support 8) 🐛💝

surgical marking rash

The surgical markings are a type of rash that appears inside the national park.
The rash derives from contact with urushiol-X. If the rash is not treated, those parts are changed.

There is also an artifact sharpie which can draw them directly. Another of the “cylindrical quotidian” artifact line of everyday objects categorized by INNOCENT. As usual, those objects are related to an oily substance.

The thorn forest is full of nerve poison. This and many other national park irritants can act as a backroute for urushiol-X “real driving”. With enough exposure to urushiol-X your system starts endogenously producing it as a response to any negative stimuli; phantom rashes.

The national park can be navigated via desire paths. Upon appearing in the park, an initial “desire maze” or “game trail” is manifested from the combined neural circuitry of the trapped bipeds, usually from the anal-territorial circuit. Through time-binding, bipeds can create a “knot” in the maze to which they can return and sleep with minimal danger. If desire is 100% paths can even be manifested immediately, even through refrigerators and people. Without desire the national park contracts around intruders. This is why people with extreme overt or latent desire tend to survive the longest.

recent things

more of this guy
algal bloom diving is low visibility but the cenotes of the archipelago are one of the best shortcuts and also evade cameras (moisture against surveillance).
your diving gas mixture is very personal. an equation of narcosis and oral ease. but your tank is exposed.

low kill shelter is a lowkey palette cleanser between works. calibrating people down so they can get fucked up more by my next stuff. i usually start from really strong worldbuilding but here i’m using the most basic mundane concepts and finding what’s interesting in them
which makes sense if you know its basically set in Emeryville
such a scary dead clean place, def my top creepypasta location in no cal
anyways gotta save room for the scorpion layer cake. desensitization management etc
it’s the first thing i put on kindle in addition to itchio. i got about 3x the sales on itchio which i attribute to 1) that being my main store for awhile and 2) amazon sucks and i dont blame people lol. But this was a good low-stakes experiment that helped me figure out how to put stuff on kindle which will be useful when the novel comes out.
i like writing romantic elements. i like making people feel that way.
i suck at promoting stuff so i was happy people i’d never met left a bunch of reviews on twitter, and some on itchio/amazon/goodreads.
thanks for the nice words and encouragement.

interesting dream because i remembered an unusual amount of dialog
instead of it getting scrambled in transition
even remembering a single word is usually a big deal
obviously i had to “fill in” some parts but a lot is verbatim or the closest translation, and all the events happened like that
lynchian feel

made a charitysona generator
was really fun to make the layers, compulsively adding new things and seeing how they look together

Elf 9/11

click for full image

pic backstories

started as quick mouse drawing as a reference for something i’m writing, that’s why it has 1px lines instead of my usual tablet stroke. but i like the way ms paint lines fuck up the shape, dorkify the anatomy, stimmed in a way a more naturalistic flow isn’t. my silly little wojaks…

the collar is adapted from citronella anti-bark collars and sprays a hypoquantized conjecturate of ethyl chloride mixed with extrapolative dye, which has the dual effect of lowering the facial skin temperature below the detection of primitive IR sensors + spraying dazzle dye which confuses face-recognition cameras. The dye was originally used to paint green-water gunboats with garish camouflage that did not conceal from the human eye but instead made movement and target tracking more difficult to estimate. The collar is an example of INNOCENT’s absolute bottom of the barrel castoff gear trickled down from the security agencies of more powerful city-states and houses.

the water is pink from algal bloom.

this guy has some problems but youre not ready to know about em yet

Femboy trapped in quarantine with his mom. He’s too old for conversion therapy and the clinic closed during lockdown but she’s developed a series of highly arbitrary domestic conversion techniques to save her son from hell and “feco-anal diseases”.

Swords don’t make a person evil, but to control your sword you have to pull it out. The handle is as sharp as the blade, or becomes the blade, so pulling it out is very painful. Mom breaks down crying sometimes and apologizing when she’s drunk on wine coolers but reverts back to the fear that he’ll leave her like dad did, feeding the sword psychosis.

She scratches the itchy base of the sword where it enters her skull. Femboy can’t see it but he can smell it, or smell himself. Things get real bad inside the house. The doors and windows stop working. He breaks out through a weird tunnel that appears in the game room in the basement that hasn’t been used since the divorce. He shows up bleeding in front of his estranged dad’s trailer out on the edge of town. His dad is really sad about everything and ashamed that he couldn’t support the family before, and that he still can barely support himself., working at Fry’s Electronics for shit pay (this one has Aztec or maybe Atlantean sculptures). He has a bunch of undiagnosed mental problems but finds solace in esoteric online fandoms that he accesses on his dusty old CRT computer. Femboy sticks around and helps his dad with basic daily functioning and they eat ramen and microwave pizzas for a year. Femboy gets good at shoplifting and that helps for awhile. Femboy lucks into a tech job through some person he knows online and starts supporting his dad and they move into a nicer place. The end.