The mass on the floor vibrated softly, a groaning, wheezing purr more reminiscent of a dying animal than a background technological hum. I crouched down beside it, bony knees bending together. It whirred and shuddered in response to my proximity, a pulse of purple light shooting out across its skin. The membrane was stretched tight. I touched it with a hesitant forefinger. Immediately, the creature quietened and I felt rather than heard the breath in its lungs. A pink blush radiated outwards from my fingertip, sending ripples of colour over its body. I breathed out, and flattened my palm against its surface. The thing quivered, a giddy response, warming to my touch. The smell of lavender and cinnamon rose gently into the air, my pheromone trace.
I licked my lips and gently lifted the creature in my two cupped palms. I brought it up level with my face. It murmured softly, ‘Edenred’, with a melodious quicksilver tone. It seemed like a living opal in my hands, round and smooth. Its opaque surface was shot through with traces of brilliant turquoise, cerise and saffron.
I bought it to my lips and pressed them into the warming synth-flesh. I drew back slightly and waited. The aperture parted and a long ribbed cable, gently pulsating with life protruded from the hole. The tip waved in the air tentatively, as if it was tasting the ambient air. I breathed softly upon it. Liquid gathered and coated the tip of the cable as it plunged into my mouth and down my oesophagus.
I rested on my knees, as if in prayer to a benign God while the unit pumped nutrients into my stomach. My eyes twitched as another cable extended from the right side of the creature and connected with the spine jack on my neck. I blinked spasmodically. A familiar voice, my mother’s, I think, spoke the same words I’d heard every day since birth – ‘You are one of many. Swallow your pride. Ego is destruction. Thought is forbidden.’
The cables pulsed. The messages played. I sucked at the teat.
Here is a free-write that I did a little while ago. I was really inspired by body horror, such as eXistenZ (which is really underappreciated in my opinion!) and other films by David Cronenberg. I was also thinking about the relationship between human and machine, and social control, all very dystopian themes. My interest in these topics has been re-ignited by reading ‘1984’, by Orwell – which frankly I should have read years ago!).