“They’re doing it,”
“What, what are they doing babe?”
“That thing to my heart again.”
Laying together in bed, she wraps her toes around his achilles tendon. It feels like someone’s making her heart beat twice as fast as it should be. Or perhaps it’s something, another entity.
“It’s like it wants me to know it’s around, it’s planning.”
“It’s okay,” squeezing her waist.
He half thinks she might be losing her mind with this. The television sets, they turn on by themselves. Static white noise, fuzzy lines and then those mind-bending alien sounding elf voices.
We are here to save you. Silly monkeys.
All you have to do is listen.
They were not trying to help. A planet of emergency. Cars hacked, driving off of highways, airplanes twisting into flames in the sky. Anything with a microchip formed a demented, senile mind of it’s own. They stole a spacecraft. They tried to escape it.
Drifting into the flickered white dark night. The tapping stopped. It must have been anxiety, she thought. It couldn’t have been that wicked intelligence floating inside of her, no way. They cruised around Earth for days, touching down on remote islands, foraging for coconuts. Maybe all of it would settle down.
When fuel ran low, they tried to steal more. The spacecraft stopped listening, started drifting out backwards. Turning the wheel, trying to bypass the mainframe, they just kept floating farther. It was teasing them. The entity was a trickster.
“Guess we didn’t escape it.”
“Let’s try and sleep.”
Then she felt it again.
That cybertronic handgrab, a musclesqueeze from a different entity. Hyperintelligent speeding nanobots constructed from other worldly materials squirming their way through her anatomy. Rearranging the nodes in her heartstrings, the wiring in her neuroplasticity, realigned, new pathways.
“They make me do things.”
Tap, tippity, tap. It gets faster, beckoning her, demanding.
Get up from the space pod. Take off the sundress.
Floating in their stolen Sunbeam, drifting through the soft, milky hue of shattered stars. Breathing and shaking through a cosmic bananashake.
Put on the monkey suit.
The machinery’s been hacked inside out. The spacecraft is sliding sideways into the ether, an ever-expanding space increasing between them and the Heatstar.
“The Sunbeam ain’t beamin’ for the Sun no more.”
“No honey, no it sure is not.”
He sleeps some sweet. She doesn’t want to wake him, not again, not for this. Pulsing sweats, tremors sliding in her sinews.
Put on the monkey suit.
She can hear their elvadigital voices, trying to hypnotize her alerting brainwaves.
This program does not compute.
“You want me to put on the fucking monkey suit?”
she screams at the spherical walls, “You wanna see me naked?”
They both know she’s cold. The sundress wasn’t doing shit anyways. Not much point in one of those when you’re floating light-years a second away from the only thing you’re supposed to don it under.
Their stolen little Sunbeam. Trying to runway from the digiplague. They didn’t know it could spread like this. Not to the pacemaker, not through her body. Escaping into nothing together just to die naked and alone while he sleeps.
She kisses the bubble of glass where his body steams beneath. Feeling his quivers beneath, one more time. Her sweaty hand slides, leaving a streak of water droplets.
One catches beneath, sliding down his temple. Half asleep he sees the dress lying on the glass above him. The pineapple pattern takes him back to the shop in Cadaques. When she wore the red sunglasses and smiled so brightly in the market. He’d never forget the way she skipped around the fishmongers in it.
“No babe, don’t listen.”
The pod won’t open, they’ve locked it. Arms too weak to break the glass.
He watches as she shivers, lying naked on the floor.
If you stay there, monkey girl. We’ll bring him back to earth.
Little droplets turn into icicles. The streak of sweat, a frosted patch. The sundress like glass, shattered.
Frozen little monkeys floating into the everdark, voided empty.
To another story, through the wormhole.
Written by Rae Côté