Fractured Radiant


In all the medical reports, we’d called it a state of partial darkness. How long had it been? Sixteen hours, twenty-four since exposure. I felt barely visible. I felt feverish, and I could recall a certain noxious odor flirting with the back of my throat.
“It lives in the meat, starved and sexless.” 
That was all the text message said this time. I figured it was someone I knew who’d sent it to me, someone with imagination and skill. A rebel, a fanatic, an accuser, not like the others, the ones who’d wigged out and fled the cubicles when the flies breached the room. It was chaos, all the screaming and gnawing and fat chunks slapping against flat surfaces, but I didn’t panic, of course. Not me. I’m less theatrical, more academic. I’ve always fed on putrification and agony. I was a product of apathy, all formaldehyde and grey slagging skin. I could feel it, just behind my eyes. THE SPIKE FEEDS THE PAIN … I knew this from the trials. We’d switched to solar, dosed the bottles too high. There were side effects: gruesome mathematics and irreversible equations.
“It LIVES in the MEAT.”
My mouth started to water. I wish they’d stop texting me. I didn’t create the problem, and I certainly can’t fix it. Nobody can.
The meat off your bones, I will eat.

By Cheryl Anne Gardner

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