Decoded is the first story in the Industrial Anthology. This is a chapter sample and the second editing so you might encounter a typo or two.
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In dreaming we can be at peace with our environments.
I lay here, trapped within fog. Conscious thought surrounds me and fills the air with movements and color coated dust. I can barely see through the thickness of it all. It smells like the place behind my eyes. Dark, bloody, image ridden, and so profound. A place to trap the ideas, a place to stockpile the memories. A stock room. But that room was empty here. There was nothing in here but the sensation of pumping blood. I saw in the blood briefly a face and the touches belonging to it. My mind ached.
“Mesa?” I asked softly.
Soft hands wrapped themselves around mine, lifting my hands up into the air till I felt the heat of skin close to them. Gentle lips pressed against my fingers, kissing them, pulling them against the cheek. I felt breath warming them. A figure leaned over and gently put those lips to the thin skin along side of my eyes and kissed me so softly. Like my face was made of wet paper that might tear. Such a sweet sensation after being kept from touch for so long.
My head was so quiet as I felt these things, so wonderfully devoid of static and commotion. It was just me and me, my thought, my inner voice —and my inner voice was being respectfully quiet as my outer senses came back to me.
Those lips moved along side of my ear, and the softest of voices, the most familiar of voices whispered “I’m right here Mirabye. I’ll always be right here.” I felt my body release it’s air. To push out the dust sticking to my lungs from the mortar, to bring back in the particle free breath of real air.
There he was, my safety blanket, the patchwork quilt I wrapped around myself to keep me safe from myself, from what thoughts of the world made me wish I could do. There was no protection needed any longer. There were no more mechanical demons for Mesa to chase off, no suited men in the streets to shield me from. Just me, just him, and I realized for once I could just love him. And that’s what I felt. Simple love for someone who was closer to me than my own conscious, without ever knowing it. He was my second skin. It was time for me to become his second skin. His love. The dreaming was over. I won. It was time to start living.
Then the world outside of me shakes with the vibrations of metal pushed to extremes, as a bomb ends its existence with a whisper of death. The apartment comes alive, and so do I to the simple reality that my second skin no longer lives. At least he no longer lives in a way I could know him. The morning and its petty realities catch up to me and reluctantly I opened my eyes to receive it.