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Further Still

by Bosse-de-Nage

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    Vinyl available in two colors. Blood red vinyl limited to 400 copies.

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  • Blear is a short story written by Bryan Manning, the vocalist and lyricist of Bosse-de-Nage. It is offered here by The Flenser as a 22 page printed zine.

    Blear is also available as a downloadable PDF at The Flenser webstore (nowflensing.com), and for Kindle.
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1.
The Trench 05:10
Every day is the same; we get up at sunrise and begin our work on The Trench. Since we all sleep together there’s hardly any wasted time, we just stand up and stretch a little as we eat, then get to digging. All day long we dig, shoveling the dirt back over our shoulders at a furious pace. The completed portion of The Trench—our life’s work—extends in a perfectly straight line behind us. It reaches across the barren, almost featureless landscape all the way to the horizon. But there aren’t many opportunities to turn around and look because we’re so busy digging. Those of us in good physical condition perform the most rigorous tasks, like picking at the obstinate ground or hauling dirt away from the excavation. The rest do what we can to sweep the dust into little piles and maintain the precise shape of The Trench. Once I’m too old to perform even these simple functions my only value will be of the nutritive sort. When that day comes I’ll wait until it's dark and try to sneak off down The Trench, though it’s unlikely that I’ll make it very far.
2.
Down Here 03:48
I am old and filthy. My body is rotten. The disfiguration of my physique is so advanced that my appearance is practically unimaginable. Although my life began in a pit, a structure was erected above me many years ago. Now I dwell in its basement. Nobody comes to see me. Rats and insects are my only companions. They tell me that the creators of the building under which I reside have sealed me in. I do not loathe them for this act, even though they replaced my once soft floor with a slab of concrete. Besides myself, the basement is totally empty. It is dark and musty. It serves no purpose. And yet the entire world is down here, the whole universe.
3.
Crux 03:57
At the end of a hallway there are two closed doors which face each other. Between them, on a small table against the wall, the soft radiance of a lamp hollows out the gloom of that windowless region. It is known that the door to the left opens on a closet filled with junk, a collection of detritus so high and dense that it might never be explored completely. The other door leads to a room wherein dwells an accretion of loathsome utterances. But the crux of the matter is not to be found in the contents of the rooms or the doors, nor in the lamp or the hallway itself. No, the main thing is that I predicted them all. This place and its objects are exactly as they should be.
4.
Listless 04:17
There is an unpleasant sensation Which comes about when one has Stayed in the same place for too long It is something like that revulsion we feel When a coalition of tiny red spiders Settles at the back of our throat All they want is a nice place to inhabit So we ignore them for a time Even though their presence is intolerable At some point, after many generations Have lived and died back there The stupidity of our inaction becomes apparent How idiotic it was to let them stay And for so long at that Then at the meridian of our disgust That fecund clot is ejected and The resulting emptiness begets a dull ache A listlessness which blooms in their absence
5.
6.
My Shroud 06:23
I was born dressed in a shroud, and I have been wearing it ever since. I will die wearing it. It is an astonishing thing to imagine, an infant emerging from the womb already clothed. Yet nobody present at my birth seemed to notice, nor has anyone brought it up since then. My shroud is made from a remarkable material. The fabric is so finely woven that it is not visible to the human eye—not even I can see it. But I assure you it’s there, draped over my shoulders just as always. Over the years my shroud has grown considerably, so that I must drag a long sheet of cloth behind me wherever I go. Its weight is immense, and neither encouraging words nor wine can mitigate the burden. Like I said, I will die wearing my shroud. What I am just now able to admit is that my death will be a result of it.
7.
Before the Sword Swallower took the stage, his assistant rolled out a cart arrayed with a variety of small objects. Then the great showman himself emerged, bearing the implement of his trade. His blade was so long that, while he held it straight, it arched back with the tip hovering just above his scalp. The audience laughed, for nobody believed it possible that such a weapon might ever be consumed. But all at once the Sword Swallower threw back his head and thrust the blade upward, forcing its point down his throat. He compelled it in some ingenious way until nearly the whole length had disappeared. Certain members of that breathless crowd might have seen the look of ecstasy which washed over the sword swallower's face at that moment. As he drove the last of it down, the tip emerged from his antipodal orifice. He turned around so that everyone could see it protruding from the back of his pants. The sharp edge glittered under the heavy lights. Then the sword swallower shuffled over to the little cart where he proceeded to slice up the objects one at a time, amidst a standing ovation.
8.
Vestiges 05:03
All of a sudden, during a brief hesitation in their game, one of the children screamed. It was a singular utterance as abrupt and violent as a sneeze, yet resounding enough to rattle the walls. The others huddled together in the far corner of the room and sat watching in mute awe as the strange cry reverberated around them. The whole house trembled for several long minutes. Gradually the shaking dwindled to a slight, moribund vibration; and the remnants of that scream—its vestiges which still ricocheted softly within the interstices of the house—began to emerge after a while in a series of plump, colorless disks. The disks joined together one after the other until they formed a slender cord that resembled a rat’s tail. It twisted there briefly like a ribbon in the wind, then flew away in an instant, leaving a trail of echoes.
9.
It wasn't until we reached the third reality that I became truly convinced by the primitive, angular landscape which had begun to materialize around us from the moment we set out. Deep down I knew it was false, but we’d traveled far enough to confuse my senses for a while. We trod upon a narrow path that meandered through a forest dense with suicides. Legions of putrid limbs brushed against us as we struggled to reach the other side. Finally we emerged on a level plain and stopped to rest. With the dimensionless sky pressing down on us, we swallowed the fraudulent air of that faraway place. In the distance a convoy of figures approached. They crossed a river of geometric gore, then passed us without greeting. Silently they marched in our tracks back into that terrible wood, and with renewed purpose we followed their trail across the plain. Soon we’d traveled so far West that we were East again. I turned to you and shrugged before we continued further still.

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released September 14, 2018

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