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Old 08-30-2008   #21
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

"Twilight in an ancient desert land. The slaves have all been gathered before an enormous, semi-circular platform. Behind the platform the spires and towers of the great palace are outlined against a fading sky. Before the platform is a sea of loin-clothed slaves kneeling in the desert sand, which has grown cool with the setting of the sun. The camera focuses on the central part of the platform, where a number of slaves have been tied to a row of freestanding pillars. From the crown of each pillar emanates a clean, steady flame that provides generous illumination for the entire platform and places special emphasis on the restrained bodies of the slaves. On either side of the platform are the seated figures of the royal family, priests and high-priests, high-ranking military officers, and other notable persons of the kingdom. After the sun has disappeared behind some distant sand dunes, leaving tens of thousands of slaves in total darkness, the proceedings finally commence. The head executioner and several of his assistants now ascend the enormous platform from a stairway to the right. The camera follows behind them as they approach the flaming pillars where the bound slaves await an elaborate regimen of torture that will continue throughout the night and end with their simultaneous deaths at sunrise. But when the head executioner reaches the center of the platform and turns to receive a sinister-looking instrument held out to him by one of his assistants, he suddenly freezes in position - a statue with outstretched arms and open hands. At this point, one of the slaves kneeling toward the front of the massive audience rises to his feet and jumps onto the platform. No one makes a move to stop him. The slave walks up to the flaming pillars and scans the horrified faces of his fellows who are anticipating a night of agony and ultimately, death. After a while he simply shrugs and turns away from them. Stepping over to the head executioner, the slave looks the frozen figure up and down. With the fingers of his right hand he probes beneath the wide gold neck-band which the head executioner is wearing and which is symbolic of his office. Some moments pass with no change in the gruesome functionary's state. The slave now appears to be slightly exasperated. He removes his fingers from the gold neck-band, and with the heel of his right hand gives the statue-like figure a sharp rap on the side of the head. The head executioner then goes into motion once again, seizing the proffered implement of pain and picking up where he left off. Before returning to his place, the slaves glance around, as if to see if any of the others might require maintenance, excepting those tied to the flaming pillars, who are the only living persons among the assemblage of automatons occupying the platform. He then rejoins his fellow slaves, none of whom in any way acknowledge that he was ever absent from their ranks, although they too are all flesh-and-blood beings. Briefly deferred, the long night of torture and death can finally begin - followed by a feast upon the bodies of the dead."
Thomas Ligotti - "The Nightmare Network"

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.

Last edited by G. S. Carnivals; 09-01-2008 at 04:03 AM..
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Old 08-31-2008   #22
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

From Dante's Inferno, Canto XXXIII, translated by Allen Mandelbaum
Ugolino's tale of his and his sons' death in a Pisan prison (lines 37-75)

. . . "When I awoke at daybreak, I could hear
my sons, who were together with me there,
weeping within their sleep, asking for bread.
You would be cruel indeed if, thinking what
my heart foresaw, you don't already grieve;
and if you don't weep now, when would you weep?
They were awake by now; the hour drew near
at which our food was usually brought,
and each, because of what he'd dreamed, was anxious;
below, I heard them nailing up the door
of that appalling tower; without a word,
I looked into the faces of my sons.
I did not weep; within, I turned to stone.
They wept; and my poor little Anselm said:
'Father, you look so . . . What is wrong with you?'
At that I shed no tears and--all day long
and through the night that followed--did not answer
until another sun had touched the world.
As soon as a thin ray had made its way
into that sorry prison, and I saw,
reflected in four faces, my own gaze,
out of my grief, I bit at both my hands;
and they, who thought I'd done that out of hunger,
immediately rose and told me: 'Father,
it would be far less painful for us if
you ate of us; for you clothed us in this
sad flesh--it is for you to strip it off.'
Then I grew calm, to keep them from more sadness;
through that day and the next, we all were silent;
O hard earth, why did you not open up?
But after we had reached the fourth day, Gaddo,
throwing himself, outstretched, down at my feet,
implored me: 'Father, why do you not help me?'
And there he died; and just as you see me,
I saw the other three fall one by one
between the fifth day and the sixth; at which,
now blind, I started groping over each;
and after they were dead, I called them for
two days; then fasting had more force than grief."
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Old 08-31-2008   #23
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

"Had the people of the town of Moxton ventured beyond the doors of the church they might have found what they left behind following the abatement of the storm. Lying twisted at the foot of the pulpit was the skeleton of a man whose name no one would have been able to remember. The bones were clean. No bit of their flesh could be discovered either in the church or anywhere else in the town. Because the flesh was that of one who had stayed in a certain place too long. It was the seed, and now it had been planted in a dark place where it would not grow. They had buried his flesh deep in the barren ground of their meager bodies. Only a few strands of hair of an unusual color lay scattered upon the floor, mingling with the dust of the church."
Thomas Ligotti - "The Tsalal"

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 09-01-2008   #24
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

"... And if I were determined to live solely on the flesh of my own staff, with no access to the staffs of other surviving supervisors or any other personnel, the greatest challenge to present itself would be maintaining each of them in an edible state, while also regulating my consumption of these bodies. Perhaps I should try to keep them alive; in that case I could simply restrict myself to ingesting only those elements capable of regeneration, such as blood. Even so, I do dream about their armpits and elbows... those of the men as well as the women. I think that during this time of cannibalistic survival I would particularly savor the more wrinkly parts of the human anatomy."
Thomas Ligotti - "The Nightmare Network"

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 09-01-2008   #25
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

"The main grid at Security Central indicates that there is a crisis situation in sub-cube six-o-six, which is located several hundred kilometers below ground level. A minor security officer explains to his supervisor that, for an undetermined period of time, the Nightmare Network has been engaged in undetected communication with all one hundred and fifty of the AL's in six-o-six, feeding them images and data on their computer screens. A hasty check of all monitors reveals that personnel in that particular sub-cube have been in a malignant dream state for at least seventy-two hours. Signals to the monitors have been altered so that visual and auditory data from sub-cube seven-o-seven were substituted for those that were supposed to emanate from six-o-six. The system was not programmed to indicate an alert after detecting the duplication of data, an oversight that would be corrected in the future. In the present, a heavily armed security force descends to six-o-six for the purpose of assessment and possible remedial action. What they discover there causes some of the new recruits to vomit into the face masks attached to their helmets. The entire cube is in an uproar, and there are mutilated bodies everywhere. The AL's who are still alive are running amok within a maze of computer terminals. Most of them are naked and covered in blood; some have adorned themselves with entrails that dangle around their necks or have wrapped flayed skin about their heads. Many of them are eating the flesh of the dead and the dying. An influx of blood and other bodily fluids has caused short-circuits in many of the computers, which are spraying sparks and occasionally electrocute one of the dervishing AL's. The computers that are still in working order have the same message upon their screens. In flashing, luminous letters all of them read: GREETINGS FROM THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK."
Thomas Ligotti - "The Nightmare Network"

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 09-02-2008   #26
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

I am hungry again. I am a strong, vital person; I need real nourishment. Do those fools expect me to live on neutrosynthetics and pedigestos forever? When I am hungry I must eat.

And this time I was lucky. My little notice brings them always, but not always just what I need; then I have to let them go and wait for the next one. Just the right age - juicy and tender, but not too young. Too young there is no meat on the bones.

I am methodical; I keep a record. This was Number 78. And all in four years, since I got the inspiration to put the notice in the public communitape. “Wanted: partner for dance act, man or girl, 16-23 years old.” Because after that, if they really are dancers, their muscles get tough.

With the twenty-hour week, every other compute-tender and service trainee goes in for some Leisure Cult, and I had a hunch a lot of them want to be pro dancers. I didn’t say I was on tridimens or sensalive or in a joy-joint, but where else could I be?

“How old are you? Where have you trained? How long? What can you do? I’ll turn on the music, and you show me.”

They didn’t show me long - long enough for me to give them the full once-over. I have a real office, on the 270th floor of the Sky-High Rise, no less. All very respectable. My name - or a name I use - on the door. “Entertainment Business.”

The satisfactory ones, I say, “Oke. Now we’ll go to my practice hall, and we’ll see how we do together.”

We go up and copt over - but that’s to my hide-out. Sometimes they get nervous, but I soothe them. If I can’t, I land at the nearest port and just say, “All out, brother or sister as the case may be. I can’t work with anyone who hasn’t confidence in me.”

Twice the fuzz has come to my office on some simpleton’s complaint, but I’ve got that fixed. I wouldn’t have thought of dancing if I didn’t have my credentials. You’d have known me once - I was a pro myself for twenty years.

The ones that disappear, nobody ever bothers about. Usually they haven’t told anybody where they were going. If they have, and I’m asked, I just say they never came, and nobody can prove they did.

So here’s Number 78. Female, nineteen, nice and plump but not muscle-bound yet.

Once home, the rest’s easy. “Get into your tutu, sister, and we’ll go to the practice room. Dressing room right in there.”

The dressing room’s gassed when I press the button. It takes about six minutes. Then to my specially fitted kitchen. Clothes into the incinerator. Macerator and dissolver for metal and glass. Contact lenses, jewelry, money, all goes in: I’m no thief. Then into the oven, well greased and seasoned.

About half an hour, the way I like it. After dinner, when I clean up, the macerator will take care of the bones and teeth. (And gallstones once, believe it or not.) I dial a few drinks to sharpen my appetite, and get out my knife and fork - genuine antiques, cost me a lot, from the days when people ate real meat.

Rich and steaming, brown on the outside and oozing juice. My stomach rumbles in delight. I take my first delicious bite.

Aagh! What in the name of all - What was wrong with her? She must have been in one of those far-out poison-fancier teenster gangs! An awful pain shot right through me. I doubled up. I don’t remember screaming, but they tell me they heard me clear out on the speedway, and somebody finally broke in and found me.

They flew me to the hospital, and I had to have half my stomach replaced.

And of course they found her too.
Miriam Allen deFord - “The Malley System”

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 09-08-2008   #27
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

"Whatever else we may be as creatures that go to and fro on the earth, we are also just meat. A cannibalistic tribe that once flourished had a word to describe what they ate. That word translates as ' the food that talks.'

Most of the food that humans have eaten over the course of our history has not talked. But it does make other noises, terrible sounds as it transitions from living prey to dead carcass on the slaughterhouse floor. If we could hear these sounds every time we ate a meal, would we still be the proficient gobblers of flesh that most of us are now?"
Thomas Ligotti - Introduction to "The Clown Puppet"

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 09-12-2008   #28
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

"It was a small fire, not nearly big enough for any roverpak to spot from the outskirts of the city. No smoke. And after Blood had eaten his fill, I carried him to the air-duct a mile away, and we spent the night inside on a little ledge. I held him all night. He slept good. In the morning, I fixed him up pretty good. He'd make it; he was strong.

He ate again. There was plenty left from the night before. I didn't eat. I wasn't hungry.

We started off across the blast wasteland that morning. We'd find another city, and make it.

We had to move slow because Blood was still limping. It took a long time before I stopped hearing her calling in my head. Asking me, asking me: do you know what love is?

Sure I know.

A boy loves his dog."
Harlan Ellison - "A Boy and His Dog"

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 09-13-2008   #29
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

Quote Originally Posted by G. S. Carnivals View Post
"We had to move slow because Blood was still limping. It took a long time before I stopped hearing her calling in my head. Asking me, asking me: do you know what love is?

Sure I know.

A boy loves his dog."

Harlan Ellison - "A Boy and His Dog"


Phil, I think this post should be moved to the "Puppy Passage of the Day" thread.
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Old 09-27-2008   #30
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Re: Man- Eater Passage of the Day

We nailed the doors of our house closed from the inside. She lives on the meat and blood growing everywhere around us. The sun filters through the closed curtains like urine. She probes and crawls through my guts, mining me. I'm an inert object, but I come alive with her touch. Each time she finishes fu*#ing me, less of me remains in my body. Soon I'll be emptied--a dead shell of loose skin, like the others. The sounds of the traffic and the airplanes passing overhead beat against the walls and soak the insides of this house with pleasure. We're coming, lodged in the bowels of the world as it screams. I'm moving into her, so I feel good. I'm vivid and flooded with love, dissolving like a breath steaming in the cold air, hovering. My sister is inhaling me into her body, digesting me.

"Empathy" by Michael Gira

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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