Chapters



  • Mortal Dissagrement 

...coming next...

  • Edging the map
  • Chilling in the name
  • Dead pigeons radical decisions








The Vatican Shadow




 

Marengo opened her swollen eyes, compact livestock manure washed over her as she desperately reached out to get the woolen arses away from her face. Salsa, inhumed  in a pile of shit, suddenly felt something pulling the weight from her body. Her poncho fell off towards the front revealing her white panties with embossed dandelion. Salsa slowly elevated as hooked from behind, like there was no gravity:

‘Merango?’ Salsa called out

‘What’

“R’We ded?’

Everything turned pitch black. Marengo suspiciously glared at the tunnel of light far ahead, she could not see the ground below her legs. Schwesterns slowly gilded through the darkness, surrounded by the sheep, who protested collective ascension. Trumpet tunes came out of the light, fading into the echoing growels. Salsa's bountiful arsenal of limbs twisted into semi transparent udon noodles as she hit Merango in the head, by accident. Merango felt pain in the head, but also in the leg.

“Shit, we forgot to acknowledge this dog.”

Marengo looked down, a dog was chewing on her ankle.

“Long time since we saw one of these kinds ain't it? It’s a Maltese caterpillar dog.”

Salsa passed by her, rotating vertically in mid-air.

“Looks like the dog we used to have, the one that died.”

“Then, we might have outright been slain.”

Merango shaked the leg but the dog stayed attached.

“Heaven! Christ mercy! Finally! I’m blessed by death, after ten thousand years of suffering!” Merango looked genuinely relieved, even with the lack of expression.

“Can we keep it?” Salsa tried to pet it,

“It could be useful for hunting stuff… In the afterlife?”

“Youuuu Merango, I was sure we were living in the afterlife.”

“No, no dude, I thought this was somewhat a post apocalypse?” Merango shook the dog off.

“Hm… it’s for sure debatable. Let's just keep the hound. I can surf on it”

“Totally”.

The mysterious light dragged all of them towards it. Coming closer, the light opened up an entrance door, suction increased. Salsa tried blocking the hole by spreading her limbs to the edges. Fat ass ram hit her full speed in the groin, she had to give up the resistance. Merango was too proud to break the stance, so she just crossed her hands and looked grumpy, while being sucked into the tunnel together with a long dog.

“Salsa, u know what this tunnel reminds me of?”

“What?”

“Busta Rhymes and Janet Jackson music video. Y2K masterpiece. Song was on the album named the Extinction Level Event. Little did they know how it turned out just a few K’s later.”

“Luw it when nature imitates art, yåa”

Tunnel spat them out into a gigantic dome. Glass covered the entire roof, protecting it from the outside. The building floated high in the air, above the red layer of clouds, where the atmosphere was clean. Almost sharp.

“This spot is fresh af ” Merango touched down, standing stiff, arms crossed, in the middle of the room. Salsa landed nearby, rodeo style, holding onto densely energetic pirate ram: “I say we live here from now on!”

Light was etheric, still and cold, opposite from the outdoor horror. Chrome floor reflected the clouds, messing with the perception of space. Sisters cursed the brightness level, then proceeded to discuss their current location. Sheep dispersed as the dog came barking.

‘Where are we?’ Marengo looked around

‘Idk man, should we just keep it at Heaven?’ Salsa was checking out her reflection on the incredibly clean floor. Merango looked around suspiciously ‘Sweetheart, I have a hunch. Maybe I’ve seen this place somewhere before’ .

‘I got your external memory on me, want it?’ Salsa muffled, pulling up a knot of chains around her neck. Plethora of encapsulated SDA-P or the silver data extractive pills shimmered in the sun.

‘No way, magic! Salsa you are magic, install’em’ all”

“Yr brain will rot”
“My brain is rotten”

“Yyyy hahahhahahaaaa”

“My brain,

“Your Brainnn”

“My Brain, your membrane” they sang the obnoxious banger. Marengo squats, Salsa sprayed water on her head. Her hair instantly spiked up, started meowing and escaped Merangos head, revealing her brain. Merango caught the cat-head by the tail, in one swift move, while Salsa quickly inserted capsules into the bloody purple pulsating tissue. Merangos eyes went pitch black, heavy data loading. Salsa grabbed the cat and locked it’s teeth back onto Merangos skull.

“Good job Schwestern” she taped herself on the back and dusted off her knee.

Then she just stood there, in creepy silence, for a good while. Bored, she made a 360 scan of the place.

“Nothing but blue sky” she commented to herself, focusing on her bare feet and zoning out for a moment. One of the sheep licked the floor behind her. She walked around to inspect the area. Her cold feet left sticky marks on the surface, she wondered where her boots went and where she lost them. Suddenly, Salsa fell knee deep into the water.

“Oh, there is a stream here, Merango look, check this out!” but there was no reply, Merango was still offline. Something about the stream made Salsa feel strange. It was making her skin shudder.

Meanwhile Marengos brain was going through seizures, navigating the memory lane. Flashes from the past emerged without context. Scattered scenes;

CLUB, SUNSET, BABY, RIOT, DRUMKIT, DOCTOR, WIG, CASINO,

Import using seed phrases? Restore your memory safely, we care about your privacy.

Brainwashing was quite popular before the world ended, people were extracting their memory using the blockchain amphibious squid-slime logic boards. Cryptic codes lead each external memory into the right place, achievement unlocked.

Merango’s logline and her lifelong - abandoned questlists - pops back up, she waves her arms around the air to get it out of her sight.

“Useless bitchlife” She pressed a number of imaginary X-es on the ground.

“I don’t need this, cancel.”

Then the updates kicked in. Space curved and closed into numerous dimensions. Past and future held the single face, jester, quantified by the number of memories that found a spot in Merangos cerebral cortex, talamus smiling like Janus the Greek god. Decades of twisted friendships, dragged neural wires over the wet and deranged runaway. Everyone she ever knew unzipped the nostalgic curse, like a ten thousand flaming swords.

“Baby, you’re burning”

Right through my heart and soul.

“The world is turning on you”

Patterns in relationships, loves lost, dead souls decimated over and over again.

String of social connections dragged as long as Chtulus tentacles spinning from Merango pineal gland, wide open, birth of evil Venus. Now in the fetal position. She was foaming.

M2051:// Dark room opened up. Merango is looking at a very small baby in the incubator. Baby has an oversized silver helmet, thin long white wires sticking out of the vertex. One big blue eye is wide open, staring at her. She opens the incubator. Baby grabs Merangos finger. Moment felt like eternal serenity.

Mechanical fairies put her memories apart and together as she / him / they passed through the multiple intersection of genderless trance, five thousand years of hormonal history, of liquid identity, of running and escaping different governments. Merango with the capital M.  Twitching on the icy floor, her spinal cord oozed a bubbly kaviar like liquid.

The surest poison is time.

Tiny squids emerged from the egg sacs escaping into the stream, swimming past Salsas bare feet.

Merangos reality was still in shambles. Her frontal view mirrored five other perspectives under some kubist composition. One eye closed, crawling on the elbows, painfully lifting head up and praying ancient catholic prayer she based her seed phrase off.

“If I remember the last passage, I can come back.”

Merangos' head mumbled in voiceless language until the final word came out.

Still tripping Merango looked up, shaky,she slowly stood up  instinctively searching for Salsa.

Salsa was facing the opposite direction, quite far from where Merango was. She was staring at the frozen ginormous metal throne stretching about twenty meters horizontally, branching into thin long spikes vertically. It seemed like something was sitting in the middle of it. Curious, Salsa went to check it out up close.

Mernago waddled towards her. There was a command programmed into her brain, by Salsa and Merangos mothers, from the first time she saw her as a baby: “Never lose sight of Salsa”.

Strange cold wind blew from the throne,“Remember” voice echoed.

“What?”

“Remember”

“Remember what?”

Cold wind blew harder, Merango struggled each step;

“Who are you dude, fuck off w y’r sound bullshit, I have a headache.” Merango slipped over the stream and fell face down into the water.

Salsa was checking out the hairy draugr sitting on the block of ornamental ice. Ice spread out into spikes and lines, forming rhizomes around the chair. Salsa was so excited, it was exactly like in all of her favorite RPGs from the 2000s. She took it as a photo opportunity, texting the selfie to Shroomboy, who immediately responded “damn girl :0 wherd ya find this????”.

Merango was cold, pissed wet and processing her new but old traumas. Situation felt familiar, somewhat like when she ate the raw brain of her former pet goat that was buried in Norway during the First rendition. Memories of snow, cold, night king dildo strap on at the bunker with bandmates... freeze. Flashes of real time and past time rushed through her head.

Salsa had one eye on the phone and one eye on the scene. Her current atmosphere was quite relaxing and unbothered by torment. Shroomboy sent her a very relaxing ambient mixtape and she took a few cinematique videos of her sister's endeavor.

Still ditched, Merangos face vomited a parade of long suppressed feelings. Veins and muscles forehead erect like on bodybuilders biceps.

“God, I guess this is why I hate myself so much.” Mind was closing in on Merango, she was on ice looking at her palm then looking at her friend, realizing it is the past memory constructing inside a present.

M2088:// Ice storm, comrade pulling a broken machine gun. Merango, who was then a man in his early 20's, knelt on the snow with a grim face and bare back. His cold long hair was getting into his eyes, he felt sharp pain on his back. Another soldier cut a line on his spine, drawing blood. Merango took a long breath and inhaled all the smoke from a glass bowl that was held to his nose. Air smelled like burned dead rats.

M2100:// Merango, now a woman, is lying in a hole, in the damp ground, reading news on the smartphone. News says that the President was murdered by young anarcho terorist. Her dead face is in all the pictures. Her dead name is on the newscast. Their mothers are in rage. Government proclaimed a ban on the black metal music and culture.

Polar light hallucination finally faded away and Merango was able to tilt her head up. She rushed on all four legs towards Salsa. Salsa casually walked around, facing the throne with her back. Draghur creeped behind her.

Merango spits blood on the ground, trying to stand up.

“Dude, I know this guy.”

“What?”

“The dude behind you.”

Salsa finally turned around, not tilted by the discovery, pointing at the dude “Is he your friend?”

“Nah that geezer is not my mate, pretty sure I killed him ages ago.”

Merango was thinking. She never was in a place like this before, she saw it on TV. But the dude, the dude was real; pale white patches of skin, like thin pastry,  suspended over the rotting muscle, “Nasty.” she said, squinting at him once more:

“Burzum?”

Draghur squeaks in anger.

“Oh my… I dropped you off a bloody cliff dude!” Merango screamed throwing her shoe straight at the draghurs face. His scrawny body twisted a bit, just like in zombie movies, howling scream, ready to fight the intruders.

“Yo why are you still alive?” Merango genuinely asked “Salsa I swear I killed this guy.”

“How do you guys know each other?” Salsa asked casually avoiding the mad monster.

Burzum expanded his moldy layers drenched in scum. Real-tree hat was still somewhat keeping his balding hair from falling out. He crawled across the throne hunting towards Merango. Ironically, he survived all this time as a biosecurity agent in a Chatolic cathedral, which he burned during his regular lifetime. The Pope at the time decided to curse Burzum, converting him as a keeper of the Sky Vatican, an airborne cathedral funded by shadowy Crypto investors. 

“I simply can’t believe life got us back together my friend.” Merango said putting the brass knuckles on. They went straight against each other. Salsa took another pic of them jumping mid air, clashing at the shoulderblades.

Merango pumped up her testosterone button placed below the left rib, engaging  her torso's quick time rapid muscle growth.

Something itched Salsa, a soft whisper, luring her to sit on to the ice throne.

Merangos punch landed straight onto Burzums cheek, splitting it open, proceeding into a tight knee to rib kick. He tried biting her leather boot. She hardened her fist going straight into a backflip. Burzum crunched, preparing for the jump, howling a deadly breath of smelly ice-ray 90 degrees at Merango. She slipped between his legs, came from the back, using her tights to suspend him mid air for a perfect German suplex. Cracked beast man still had some rage left, tirelessly hissing at her. He opened up his triple toothed jaw and spat acid at her, destroying the shirt and leaving frostbites. Merangos freshly fed pineal gland commanded a mad dance, and she proceeded to deliver lethal damage. Those were punches of a deeply disturbed individual. Salsa was sitting at the throne, crossed legs, watching the fight and talking to Shroomboy over the gadget.

“Seeing this makes me question my morality.”

“In what sense?” Shroomboy asked

“Like I always felt safe around Merango, we’re fully committed. But imagine if she would ever turn on us, u know? It’s a bit unhinged sometimes...”

“ How come this bothers you, you girls kill shit all the time”

“ True. I think this place has a weird vibe that's messing with my brain. Suddenly I’m like conscious, you know what I mean?”

“Honestly Sals, I was always scared of Merango, as a man and a woman and now an undead non binary gender fluid cyborg dracula.”

“How long have you known her?”

“Hmm… not that long actually. Few centuries. Selam knows Merango way longer, back when they were both human.”

“Well I know my sis when she was human-ing with me. She basically raised me on her own.”

Merango was still kicking Burzums face. Shroomboys cam switched to a silly angle where he looked distorted, Salsa kept rotating the phone while he talked.

“Selam told me legends about Merango, lots of weird human anecdotes. You know, killing presidents, running underground operations, killing billionaires, skinning peoples faces, touring with a  band.”
“I found a weird painting in Salem's closet. The paint on it turned so dark that the image became barely visible.” Shroomer smirked, “It was a big family portrait, Merango and Selam surrounded by a bunch of people. But Merango was hugged by someone huge. Later I asked Salem about it and he just replied something about their anti-career.”

“What's that?”

“Don't really know, I asked Astro Frog, they didn't know either.”

Meanwhile, Merangos body mods went as far as bulking up her front jaw with moray eel teeth, Burzum was raising the pentagram protection shield but it was futile, since they were both equally undead. Finally the fight ended by knee to the head session cracking the old man's skull open. Merango removed the pieces of the frontal lobe and extracted memories into SDA capsules. She proceeds to dissect his spinal cord for some magic power ups.

“Bro are you hungry?” Salsa yelled.

Merango nodded.

“Think these sheep are edible?”

“For sure, why the heck would they keep them here if they are not food?”

Salsa finally stood up from the throne and took up the hunter gatherer role while Merango washed the scum off her t-shirt in a stream.

“This place feels strangely medieval for an unidentified flying object.”
Salsas buzzer rang once more, Shroomboy texted them that they might be in the right location.

“Yo my murderous mate, think we got the dragon repellers on the radar.”

Merangos pupils were nuclear yellow, still stuck in an unresponsive information delay.

Salsa took off casually,“ K… ummm… I’ll go find something to eat and like, the engine room…” discussing logistics with Shroomboy on discord. She felt a strange surge of power within herself but ignored it for the time being. The unidentified feeling concentrated around her anal opening, and was slowly progressig towards her head.

“Shrooms, there are no toilets here, mind if I take a dump on the floor.”
“Nah, feel free budie.”

Salsa did both numbers. Yellow piss streams slowly flow into a rhizome of depression lines embedded into the floor, revealing the bigger picture. When she stood up, the area around her revealed a circular symbol.

Merango noticed the same thing happening with the blood pouring out of her battle wounds.

Two streams merged into a number of geometrical patterns revealing a dome sized mandala on the floor. Easy enough, Merangos pattern recognition skill was metaphysical, relating to the infinite and the world that extends beyond and within various minds & bodies was her middle name. But she was dying of hunger.

Salsa followed her piss path towards the dog, and the dog had his own piss path to the door on the floor, where all the sheep safely ate some synthetic holy grass.

Sad, but in survival mode, Salsa grabbed one of the sheep and took it to Merango for slaughter. Girls made a cute campfire out of the cracked pieces of the throne. After a decent amount of sleep on a sheepskin, cuddled next to a dog, the party was recharged and ready to finish off the quest.


Or not.

Actually.

Attention deficit disorder hit as early as red sunrise.

Salsa found a few chandeliers, a grail, a piece of old cloth with some dude's face on it, which Merango almost deemed useless but then Salsa made a cute top out of it. They did find the Dragon repeller canons, in perfect order. But they also found a huge HD monitor with access to a 12 season TV show. Quickly they calculated that they can just squat the Sky Vatican, make it their new home.


“We just need a perfect sofa here.”


Merango squared a few meters in front of the TV with her eyeballs. Salsa nodded laying down on the icy floor in her Jesus wept crop top.

“Something like 2000’S Collani, mixed with a Chinese business lounge and with an embedded coffee pot machine, massage table and electric foot stool.”

“MMmmm we do need that.”

“Something that gives Penthouse vibes, that would make Jessica so jealous she’d go cry to mom.”
“Not the mom.”

“Yea no”

“Can you?”

“Can what?”

“Find an Ikea shop around here?”
“A what?”

“Ikea…” Merango repeated, staring sideways,awkwardly out of character

“Hm.” Salsa got interested at this rare sight of vulnerability and plucked her lips;

“K’ea, k k, mshal check,” lifting the eyebrow intellectually. Tiny sister spread her udon limbs across the floor. Ice piss system interface they discovered earlier spread out through the entire surface. Yellow and red meandering lines outlined various blueprints, topology and symbols on the map of the world below them.


“This piss map we drew needs decoding. But I can still just forefront the

Misteriosity and downgrade bulk fleisch from the gatekeeper we just chopped chopped and then the interface should start automagically mlem.”


Salsa eyeballed Merango hoping to catch a glance of admiration, she lived off occasional ego-pets. Merango slouched, a bit lost. Salsa licked her freezing lips gesticulating with hand for Merango to come closer hissing in a beggar voice; “Some approval please, spare me some approval.”

“Nai”

“Give me few hours”

“Cool”

“You can sync your brain with the floor bdw.”

“What?”

“Put the SDA-P into the hole, in the ground”

“Ah”

“You could remove memory you don’t need, otherwisely you will develop a theoretical disease, of grand cretinous prolongevity.”

“That happened to the greatest of my heroes”

“Rest in peace Comrades.”

“Comrade Rip, that was his actual name.”

“What?”

“He was a very curios person”
“Ok realsies, Merango diddle that thing out.”

Merango sled across the floor in a squat, dragging herself closer to the part of the floor with traced pentacross. Middle area revealed a tiny cavity. Merango spat out one of the tiny chrome squids, moisturized it with saliva and thrusted the top of it in the cavity. Pill submerged back but she blocked it with her mutilated forefinger.


“DEADLOCK”


“What?”

“I didn’t say anything” Salsa said, spider gliding her limbs over the geometry, silver calligraphy shined as the liquid passed trough the dents.


Merango stared at the eye of a chrome squid.

Sound of soul smearing, looping friction that feeds off emotions.

The ghouls that come

Before the end of time

Before the garden of Eden

Before you grow through the soil in the clouds

Scratched the wheel of reality as a lotto ticket

Leaving traces of powder, measured in micrograms.


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