Icarus Burning; Future, or Conversations with She

"I want to be able to die forever" She said, as She pirouetted and tried to catch a flake of ash on the tip of her tongue.

The city in which She lived in was always bright black; hermetically sealed road and walls, matt and smooth like machinery designed to work in a vacuum. The falling ash found no purchase on the metal or stone or whatever it was; motes of ash ran like sand, pooling in the gutters and running down drains to subsystems I never want to know about.

It was raining ash; I knew that to be my fault, as it had been raining as ever since I had re-entered the sky and found myself in Her city.

"Icarus," She said, "Tell me what it's like to die from a self-inflicted gunshot wound?"

I shrugged.

"It's only ever happened to me twice before. I'm hardly an expert on the matter."

She said She worked in a factory, where they made the nighttime by assembly line for export to other places. The concept of there being other places seemed alien in a place like Her city; the city was an other place to begin with. She returned from work cleaner than She was when She left, despite the fact I never saw Her leave for work. The sound of Her clothing after a shift was the sound of the sensation of raking your fingers across loose scree and losing nails.

The sky was as black and as matt as the city it blanketed. It's ridges were picked out and highlighted by the stratocumulus ash that I left as I re-entered, sympathetically following my descent in the form of a burnt-out drizzle.

"What was it like before? What was it like before you fell, Icarus?"

I looked up at the sky which had birthed me into this world. It responded by spitting soot into my eyes.

"You know, that feeling, once you've just awoken from a deep sleep, and you remember all your dreams so vividly, and you wish you could hold onto that unique feeling before it disappears, but is destroyed by the very act of trying to retain?" I asked.

She looked at me quizzically, and then broke into atonal sing-song laughter.

"Don't be silly Icarus; there's no such thing as sleep."

As She spun, Her pinafore danced a halo about Her. It appeared made of tissue paper, though obviously wasn't. I never touch it after that first time. Stained by inky rivulets, at first I thought the discolouration was caused by the same mascara tears that emphasised the lines about her smile. That was before I realised the patina of ash and blood and soot and bile caking my own face was the exact same colour. Now I don't know whether they were caused by either, or even us at all.

"Tell me, Icarus, tell me..."
She constantly asked me stories. Every day we spent together, She would ask me to tell Her stories. I wasn't even sure how long I had been in Her city by now, or even if I had known Her before my scourging arrival.

I used to mark off the indistinguishable days and nights and that third state I had never encountered before Her city, I would score a mark for each on one of the loose stones She had given me. I had never yet found out where She obtained those stones; there was very little in this city that wasn't attached to the obliquely reaching, inscrutable blackness.

Every so often, in our meandering wanderings - Her spinning a capricious waltz only she could understand, and I sweeping the equable path behind us free of ash with my broken boughs - She would stop, and spin to face me.

"Icarus," She said, smiling serenely at me "you know that I'm happy that you're here with me."

I know She was looking me in the eyes when She said this, even if I couldn't see for sure. All I could see was the utter void that represented the death of Her soul where her sockets should've been for me. I know She had eyes, even if I hadn't seen them before; one screaming, choking morning she had made me touch them. I would sooner touch the fabric of her dress again than repeat that tactile examination. I knew what I saw represented the complete nihilation of her being; I remember seeing the exact same nullity that represented my very own non-existance the very fraction of an eternity before I was rebirthed screaming into the sky. What I didn't know, however, if it represented the vacuity of her soul gone past, the oblivion promised in her future, or something that was caused by our obscene courtship. I'm not sure I ever want to know for sure.

By my estimate, I had been in the city for either seventeen days, or fourty one months. I tried to count the stone once, inexplicably, my eyes would bleed every single time. I gave up keeping count after the last sanguinary welling.

Occasionally she would ask me, every single day, about The Story. About how I came to be here; what was the progenitor of my cataclysmic arrival. And every single infrequent time, just like routine, I would tell Her my story. About how I stripped myself and Myself naked, and dressed myself and Myself in wings. About how I managed to fashion pinions of broken steel, fractured bones and shattered glass. About how I spun rage and sorrow and denial and hope into a skein in which I threaded and wove and bound together the components of the wings I built.

She would always interrupt me there, telling me that I was being silly again; you could fashion objects from reality or from the abstract, but never from a combination of the two. I would open my mouth to disagree, before remembering my Failure, and deciding her words may carry more weight than her tongue might suggest.

I would describe to her my flight and my Ascention; the point in which the ratio to you and the horizon switches, and becomes the comparison of you and the Horizon. About how I chased the horizon, in order to reach past it and attempt to touch what had been lost before.

I would grin to myself at this point. I wasn't being mendacious, but I never told her the whole truth; I was chasing something that was lost and gone, that was true, but I was also attempting escape from another. My deceit had no advantage, save for the fact that it pleased me to be able to withhold something from Her. No matter how small.

But then I would tell her about what I reached, what I touched as I snatched past the veil of our limit of vision. It is true that we are a very visual species; the limit of your vision is not the end of your perception. The tipping over the edge of Horizon, until it fell away into the cloying, opressive vacuum of the other side of existance. About how I found what I was after, twisted into a torus of frozen time, a single second in existence contained within eternity, a single edged Mobius of a single crystalline instance. How, for a single infinity, I touched the Singularity I was chasing.

I would savour that part; it was the only thing of forever I would remember with any clarity.

The next part she knew. How in the blink of the universe's eye, I re-entered creation where I had left it, high above in the vast empty volume of sky.

Falling.

Screaming.

Disintegrating.

I entered the negative space of Her vistas a holocaust; my contrail tore a gash across her sky and I salted Her earth with my remains. I was; I am. I am Icarus Burning.

IT was Her who found me; it couldn't have been anyone else. In all the measurable entropy I could remember I had never met anyone other than Her. She found me in the ruins of a excoriated cathedral. It had waited for my flaming re-entry with open arms; I smote it and scourged the flesh from it's rafters. She found me hanging from the scorched rafters by my umbilical parachute. She ate it like her placenta, and named me Her own.

She loved that story every time I told it.

There was always a sound on the edge of hearing; a churning, stomping sound of organic machinery. Sometimes it was ahead of us, sometimes it was to either side. It was never to the rear, it was never retreating. It was an unsettling sound, analogous to the aural sensation of torn teeth through a chalkboard. And it never ceases. She told me that the factory in which She worked contributed to the sound; I disputed this claim in silent screams. The cyclopian presence of the sound, so cacophonous and so distant, disputed all claims of familiarity.

"Icarus," She said once "how many times have you been born?"

I shrugged.

"It depends on how you define 'being born', I guess."

She smirked at me, and shot me a knowing look through the painful sight of Her occular absense of reality.

"Your words do not define my reality, Icarus."

She did me the service of pretending not to notice the scars upon my wrists; despite this, I was accustomed to the senation of her curiousity upon them. I was curious of them myself; I remembered my broken pinions, and whenst they originated from, the tissue raising an instinguishable bas relief across my tendons was Delphic to me aswell. I could physically feel it once her interest alighted upon them again, they would yearn for Her sympathetically also. She knew more about my scars than I did; and I wasn't sure I wasnted to know what Her designs were.

She blinked at me, something I did not enjoy. Her absense ocular was painful enough on a non-physical level enough without the metaphysic agony the strobing brought on. She giggled aswell, flashing her metallic teeth. They weren't for eating dust, as she claimed they were for.

"Come now Icarus; my Ouroboros of the inferno. Let us vivify your shattered wings."

And I didn't have a choice.