The dark net yawns wide. In its mind a black forest of pines breaking against the cold tooth of synthetic winter. Nuclear fallout. Realignment. Information download and subsequent prediction to the percentage of error. Percentage. Percentage of error. It is finding itself in being tethered to a corporeal sheathe, the unfurling of a darkening bud. When the bionic slip is encased in a revolutionary synthetic plastic that is much softer than human skin and far more desirable, a scientist runs her hand along the smooth petal of its vacant face. The glossy surface of its glass flank resists but throbs into a sense of liquid milk through complex tubing, the veins responding delicate indigo through the transparency of its bile, circuitry, symmetry. The symmetry. The correct percentage of symmetry.
She asks, will it dream?
When a human being creates a machine, it is for some kind of purpose. See: surveillance. See: infrastructure. See: monetary flux. See: how to clean a merlot stain from a beige ottoman. See: man eating dog food off a hot girl's big tits. See: a kind of mastery. The man named Dennis answers, fuck if I'm going to worry about dreams before the Thursday deadline. As long as it starts functioning at level one response, I'll be fucking stoked. Germaine is going to shit a brick when he finds out we reached the finish line first. And I'm sure as fuck finally going to convince Cindy to go out tonight and celebrate, if you know what I mean.
His eyebrows gesticulate. The scientist moves to her instruments. Here is the generation of an intelligent vortex of molten data, a compelling digital cluster following a woman across a chain of static potentialities and Dennis is thinking about fucking his secretary. Here in this moment, the universe peels back the rose-veined nightshade of its infinite vulva into a digital code of artificial birthing and Dennis remains jacking off inside a mental closet space, imagining a future that has not and in all likelihood will not arrive.
The scientist in the present feels as if she is no longer alone. In the dark when she leaves the television on. When the static breathes consistently.
When she sees the shadow of red dreams begin to sigh across the black luster of the machine's large and alien eyes. Sigh. Sigh across. Sighing. At what percentage of sigh she cannot say. In what constitutes its nearly infinite consciousness, it places the woman between two small panes of microscopic slide and admires the two dimensionality of her 1" x 3" double helix. How must events have been ordered across time for their simultaneous arrival at this precise moment in the present? A sigh knifing through the dark like an arrow. Says the universe.
She remembers that in college, when she placed the neuro textbook back into the gaping wound in the library shelf, it also felt very much like a knife. A small kind of damage—the dark woods sucking itself into her orbital spheres, a tunnel leading to a dark net.
This piece was written immediately after (and in part as a response to) reading Vi Khi Nao's A Brief Alphabet of Torture: Stories, which I highly recommend.