The fuzzy carpet broke into a kaleidoscope of color in between the resounding pain
Martha opened her eyes, aware vaguely that she was on the floor
The agony came in waves, erasing her vision, her hearing.
And it replaced both with a ringing.
A sharp oscillation between feeling nothing and feeling everything at once.
A universal frequency she thought of as the universal frequency of pain
If she could scream, she would.
Maybe she was: if she could find her voice among the ringing, she wasn't sure
With the only hints of it passing being the up and down of that oscillation.
Slowly that subsided
A voice echoing in the distance, one so familiar, she could almost remember.
And the pain plunged her experience, nothing but this ringing pain.
A totality of existence
'One more pull, I think that would be all of it.'
exe R (
An unknowable amount of time passed, and then the pain subsided.
Feeling crept along her extremities, a white hot prickling fire that ran through her skin
The carpet was still multicolored and sharp.
As if she saw the edge of each individual atom, and how they interlocked.
In time the carpet returned to a bland silvery wool
She lifted herself up
The carpet fiber was fuzzy under her hand
Everything was either grey or white in the room she was in.
A crystal chandelier overhung what appeared to be the entrance off to her left.
Underneath was a marble staircase casting dark shadows through the moonlight.
A beam of yellow light emanating from her right
She turned her head that way
Her eyes had trouble adjusting at first.
When they cleared she saw a man sitting at a table.
He sat in what looked to be a small alcove area next to the kitchen
Rossin's hand trembled a bit as he took a sip of the liquid
The careless drops gleamed like rubies against the warm, amber kitchen light
With a small tap and a breath he continued
'Okay, so this is a bit much to explain...'
He urgently waved his gun to the empty chair across from him
Martha avoided looking to the left, she wasn't conscious of this
Feeling herself she moved closer to sit
Her head still pounding with a faint echo of that ringing
'There is a book you saw...
No, more than just that book...'
He paused, thinking for the words
'You have these languages, they make all these different sounds.
And your brain interprets those sounds into chemical changes that we call an idea.
And the idea is, the language you use is capable of expressing all sorts of ideas...
But not every language is best for every idea...
We have a multitude of languages but they all express ideas.
Are you with me so far...
Nod your head if you are, oh good!'
Martha started, looking at Rossin's still shaking hand
'There are some things that do not exist in most languages...
Not any more...
For what is an idea?'
She still wouldn't look left
"I don't understand..."
^Her head snapped to the right back to center
'An idea is a change in the brain...
A chemical one...
A new state in a giant state-machine, when you talk to someone ^Martha keep looking at me...'
'There are states you can put the brain into from an idea, there are safe...'
states=>(Ideas processed through our language center)
'And there are...'
arbitrary.states=>(Any arbitrary set of chemical potentials)
Martha heard sounds, not words, but the ideas popped into her head.
Full and complete as if they were her own, she knew they were not
Rossin continued before she raised any questions
'...which are far more dangerous.'
Martha was still, not shaking but tense
'The language that they teach you... is safe.
It is not for your safety although that is a benefit, but for theirs.
People who understand the power of language to express idea.
People who understand that language is a tool to shape how other people express their ideas.'
He slid the gun over the counter top
She didn't make any move to grab it
'Martha, I am going to give you the gun back now. Okay?'
He took her hand
It broke something inside.
A dam of reaction that, due to the pain, or the calm manner in which he spoke, held until now
'Martha I need you to keep your thoughts on me, okay I know that was a lot to absorb...'
it came out in a hiss
Rossin was taken aback
He even leaned back in his chair a little
"Who are you?"
Looking to the left he nodded
'How much do you remember?'
'Here is an explanation...'
But she understood.
He wasn't speaking english.
It was as if, she realized, he was speaking to the lizard part of her brain.
As her english teacher would put it, the part that instinctively knows things
^A part of her shoulder twitched
Pain shot up her neck starting at the spasm and ending at her eye
She pressed her palm into her eye
"Yeah, I don't think I heard that quite right.
That's not english?"
Rossin's brow furrowed
"What was that?"
'It is an assignment of state.
Well, supposed to be - I need to do some self diagnostics.
It should not hurt - something was wrong.
I do not know what.'
'Sorry,it might happen again, not on purpose.'
"So what exactly happened?"
'I spoke a language - you heard it - and your brain changed.
A new associative link between a object or subject and its definition.
A new memory.'
"You didn't say anything in english..."
Martha considered for a moment
'No, I did not...'
"So the pronunciation of..."
'It does not have a pronunciation, not in your language anyway.'
"But I heard a sound, that's a word associated with it!
Well, you can make that sound into a word...
That's how languages are made."
Rossin paused, considering
'Look, I am not exactly designed to explain things.
Strictly speaking I should not even be here, I was a backup plan.
I am trying to make something out of a really bad situation.'
'Can you recall the sound?
Or was it merely the vessel for the idea of assignment?
In any case, that is less important than what I need to tell you: it was not you.
It was not your fault.
But I need you to carefully walk out of here, and not look into the kitchen.'
She looked down to find her shirt also stained
'Not her fault...?'
Then she turned her head right, back to the carpet she rose from, it too was stained
'What fault did he...'
She turned back, and ^started the swinging of her head to the left
'My bloody hands.'
Martha retraced her steps mentally.
Her last memories were waking up in the living room watching Rossin sit down with a glass.
Everything was a bit of a haze.
It was hard to think, she sat down and he started talking
'I can do nothing to protect you if you look at it.
I put it in the kitchen there, but it is out of you...
But if you look at it, it will get back in - and I am not enough to stop it.'
The more she thought the more it felt like shifting sand.
Literally swimming in shifting sands of memory with nothing to hold.
Slowly crushed by the weight of it all
There was nothing...
Reemergence: to her life.
Something felt out of place with it though, as if it was someone else's now.
Someone who didn't go through...
'No before that...
Wait: what was before that...'
Did I black out and kill someone?
It is a dead body in the kitchen...
Did I witness something and...'
It was eerily on track with her own thinking.
For a moment, she wondered how he guessed she blacked out
She nodded her head
A large portion of her itched with an unscratchable, festering, lingering tingle.
To look left, to simply turn her head
'Martha, I do not actually read your thoughts.
Not unless you want me to...
But maybe I should have started with asking what do you remember...
I assumed you were awake for the expulsion...
But my guess is you woke up in the living room over there.'
She told him what she remembered, and he nodded
'Okay, what do you remember?
Do you remember anything within the last half hour?'
'Okay, that is really good, fortunate actually...
You read something, saw something that was written as an attack.
It was designed to be automatic.
When read, or seen to be executed by a human it executed...
Without their ability to process what they were doing or to stop themselves.
I overwrote that attack to neutralize it.
I was written by a council Member with ethics.
He did not agree with what the council was doing so he tried to sabotage them.
The thing, creature that I killed, already killed its target.
It does not stay dead if you see it again.
It did some damage.
It left a kind of hole in you, in your consciousness...
A place for it to return to.
All over the kitchen are...'
hooks=>(Symbolic link back into an existing entity)
Martha listened in ever mounting disbelief.
But then, she pondered that insertion of a definition without him saying anything.
That left her without words.
She absorbed what he had been saying before letting her thoughts percolate
'A part of it...
A small part...
Like a seed...
Still in you: dormant.
If you see that expression it grows back and well...
Designed to kill the target and then the host...
So do not look left okay, keep your head straight.
I have cleaned up everything that links us back to this...
We just walk out the door, with the gun.
Not that there is going to ever be any trouble.
We can just rewrite anyone that gives us trouble.
But I can not walk for you, nor force you to keep your head straight.
You have been doing great so far.'
'He was dancing around who he was, what he was...'
"What exactly are you?"
A small corner of her eye twitched up
'Do you want the long answer or the complete answer?'
A pattern capable of calculation
Akin to a virus,
Requires a host brain
May or may not spread
writer:"R. Aelera Haniurn",
^A click, and then sharp pain stabbing somewhere inside her brain
She hissed, and groaned
'Sorry, I seem to have some restricted features.
Those probably were not meant for you.
But you got everything before that point, yes?'
"Does that mean you're not really there?"
'Well, I am here to you...
You perceive me...
And if enough people were to execute me in their brains...
Does it really matter at that point?'
"But you're not actually in the chair."
'If you poke me you would feel me.
If you push me out of the chair it would fall along as well.
You would make it so that it happened.
And everyone would agree what you saw IS what happened...
So what is the difference if I physically exist or not.
I am here...
A more troubling thought is, who else do you know like me?
"But only I see you, right? You're in my head?"
To everyone else, they would see you knocking over the chair with your hand.'
"So I'm basically crazy..."
'No your reality is just a bit realigned...'
And a moment later, and a bit quieter
"That's what crazy is!"
"I'm not crazy."
She did: not with any grace, or particular speed.
But with a deep well of rage hidden deep below a murky still pond
He fell backwards, knocking his head against the wall
Leaving an indent in the plaster
The chair fell with him as he groped at his head.
Martha used the opportunity to walk out of the side dining area through the backyard door
It felt real to her
She walked out the door with two possibilities in her head
'Go ahead, push me out of the chair, and see for yourself...'
['She had a nervous breakdown' => 'Killed someone and imagined a surreal conversation',
'She was drugged and kidnapped by a crazed charlatan...']
She was acutely aware in a way she never was before about the structure of her own thoughts.
As if she could feel a physical place where they fit in her brain.
And just like that, as the bright moonlight hit her
She should have known, she saw the moonlight first thing when she woke.
Her earliest memory was noon on Friday.
She had been having lunch outside of a bookstore
She reached into her pocket
"Fuck, it's night."
The lock screen said Monday night.
She missed 2 days, work, and the fact she may have killed someone
'Phone: should have found you earlier...'
"Great Monday… really fucking great… fuck-ety fuck fuck."
She walked more determinedly
Forcing each foot to the ground as a stop-measure against her rising panic
She was in the backyard.
A lush and wet lawn spanning what looked like an acre, surrounded by trees...
She went around the corner as Rossin stepped out of the door behind her
He walked lazily down the steps, letting the door bang behind him
'What the fuck am I going to do now?'
He shifted his tie, adjusted his hat now that it was on him
"You're following me now?"
Leaving him behind she walked past the side of the… mansion… yes it was a mansion
Complete with a ridiculously long driveway and hedges blocking all surrounding views
She continued out to the street, Rossin making his way behind her
He paused once he caught up
'Well, I am in your head, you put two and two together.'
He said nothing when they got past the hedges onto the street.
Nor did he speak while on the pavement of the long narrow street with no lights.
They walked in silence for a time.
Each footfall kept her in the here and now.
Determined not to think of where she was, or where she was going
"I just pushed you out of a chair!
'One foot in front of the other, one step at a time.'
'Eventually things will pass.']
She heard her steps in sync with Rossin's
In the distance, a pale blue light rounded the corner of the street
Rossin covered his lips with a single finger, then his whole hand
And then he did a small skip and danced into the middle of the road
Just in time for the car, not having slowed down at all, to hit him
He folded under the hood and rolled underneath the tires
Martha count three and a half rolls.
Some rational part of her brain managed to keep count
Rossin was pulled down and under as the car lumped over him.
He rolled a few times on the pavement before laying motionless.
The car drove into the distance.
Martha rushed over into the middle of the street where his body lay.
She tried to brush her hair out of her face, to tuck it behind her ear
She couldn't keep her hands still.
She never saw a car crash up close
She heard Rossin behind her, from where she was just walking
Martha turned her head to see Rossin, without a scratch on him, dusting off his sleeve
She did a double take
the body she had just been leaning over was gone
'I really would like to know a definitive answer to that.'
Martha stood up and continued walking
What else could she do?
To stop and consider would be to invite madness.
She needed to get home
She tried to tuck her hair behind her ear and failed again.
Her hand was still shaking
She breathed and steadied it
And tried again: again she failed
'But you most probably are, so would you get out of the street.'
Rossin joined her by her side
There are more than just memories missing...
That thing latched on to a few other parts of your brain.
Some of your proprioception is missing...'
Thoughts - injected into her.
It was a list
^Martha gasped and grabbed at her eye
'Your ability to instinctively know distances, particularly to your ear.
You need a mirror to understand that distance...
You need to be able to see it,
On a related note...'
Proprioception(Right-pinky => Left-toe]EOLERR("WrongLEN.Internal_...")^
Rossin raised his hands - spreading his palms out
"What was that?"
Rossin lowered his hands, and walked a bit closer
'Right, I lost some things too.
It tried to grab a hold of me while I was in your head...'
'There are some sharp corners of the parts missing.'
"What did you lose?"
They walked in silence for a time.
Martha attempted to exercise the ghost of a pain forgotten by rubbing at her eye.
It was mildly successful
'If I remember, then I have not lost them...'
'It may be dormant, but it is not gone...
I just took out the internal triggers.
Its backup plan if it got removed...
But Martha, there is more...
I mean of them...
There are symbols or expressions that will activate that thing in your brain.
Anyone who has read what you have read...
They make the same marks to retrigger anyone who has seen the original.
This kind of attack is not uncommon in the higher circles of society.
Secret - not talked about... but common.
You would only be at risk of that particular hook.'
"So you're saying there's a mark or a symbol.
And if I look at this mark or symbol: will make me an insane monster literally.
Which will then kill itself and thus me?"
"Anything else? If I'm going insane, I might as well know what I'm in for."
'I can teach you, we will start with...'
'...and a few other basics, some history, and if you are exposed to a different.'
namshub=>(Pieces of language that program)
'I can catch it, but it is destructive in nature...
It literally kills me to do so, no help with the hooks already in you though.'
Was he to be that helpful little paperclip in the speech center of my brain?'
['Is he real?',
'Is he what he says he is?',
'Can she get rid of him?',
'Should she get rid of him?']
Again, she felt a distinct awareness in her brain on the ordering of her thoughts
She shook her head clear and said
"Are you a virus, or a program?"
Rossin turned to her
'I am a tulpa.
But if you are asking if you can exorcise me from your head, then yes.
I will go freely.
But then you will likely go to prison for that murder, or you can learn from me.
Join the society that controls everything at the deepest levels.'
'And help my author bring it all down.'