i. how could a melody describe itself, if asked?
“Cheap riddles,” as if she could know and comprehend and understand. Her words are straight lines and she will not allow loops or the dizzying pattern-that-isn’t to entangle them. She upstands / she cannot leave / it has information she wishes. Which she will need if she is to survive not-like-it. To bend the nature of a thing is a hideous kind of pain.
Apology-satiation-offer-supplication-knowledge. As she is the Asker so it is Michael. The both of them have their forms with which to occupy space. It cannot describe so it will identify, much as it hates the necessity.
She-accepts / yields / allows.
The Asker-Curiosity-Taste-Of-Ambition is gone and left in its — in her place is a hunger. An unknown, to the ones that labor here under the Watchful Eye. They do not know her. It thinks-so-much-as-it-can-think that they do not recognize they do not know her. She has died / she has been forgotten / they are the same / they are not. Michael is unalike the fledgling sight here in that it is lies and cannot be lied to. She is the first of the assistants to die.
The Conduit notices even while he does not notice himself noticing. He suffers for it, rightly.
The being once known as Michael Shelley was a person of straight lines and unentanglements and he saw what was simple and believed what he was told and he trusted and he trusted and he trusted and he
was torn into loops and
Which brings it to now if now is now and not then and then is not now. There is a prey but it does not think in those terms; there is a mind unraveling and it chews on the threads until there is only yarn of a person left behind. There might have been more, once.
It is change and change alone and it cannot change but change the things which try to make an is out of is-not, which brings it back to what may be here: the twisting and the carpets and the unlaughter which echoes / parodies architecture.
Time ago years-or-seconds there was an island, unlikeliness, lush and warm and green and full of furling ferns and a scent to bring madness. If it dreamed it would find itself there. It does not sleep; it has no mind and no need for rest. It does not rest. It does not rest. It does not—
Michael he wants the Archivist to know before he dies. Michael it is strange and unstrange and all the worser / to want / to know / the hunger to venge itself is strong and Michael cannot be it. Writhing it strokes long fingers down his bonds until they split and the gaze draws a story out of its throat unwilling like vines ripped from the ground and if it could bleed it would it would it would. Solace and determination: his last words will be a question unanswered.
And then there is a door / is-not a door. It hurts more than unbecoming.
Michael is not. It-she is. The Archivist crouches before it-her, confused and confused and its-his gaze flits over her, unknowing. His fear is sweet and could be sweeter. She could slip so easily.
Helen is. And it-she-it-she likes him. He helped her once when she was a different thing, was not yet a was but a could-be. She shakes her head which tries to be something else and then stays an is, no warning given, and her thoughts settle down into something like the ordered spirals of storm-tossed waves. She could slip so easily.
Her choice. He stays himself (alive).