Justin Permenter

Ciphers flicker and spin like firemoths in the lambent glow

Bending and twisting in cyclone contortions

Trembling at the touch of my haptic caress


I dive


Enmeshed in isometric patterns of digital dreams

Sacred geometries of source code

Portals open wide at my command

A door behind a door behind a door behind a door

I swim inside this maze of vectors and vertices

Synapses wired laser tight

Punching through firewalls like steel-jacketed slugs

Until at last I break into open cyberspace

Oceans of data wash over me in waves

Wideband and pulsing with the heat of a thousand suns

I close my eyes for an instant

Soaking in the energy of collective consciousness

The pulse and thrum of the Hive


I dive deeper


There are so few defenses left to stand in my way

No one ever dreamed anyone could penetrate this far

I spiral downward into the maw below

Seeking the foundation

Seeking the depths

Eruptions of information streak past

Glyphs of languages ancient and arcane

The very lifeblood of the Net

There are so few defenses left

So few—


I am not alone


I taste their presence long before the detection software chimes

A bitter sting at the base of the tongue

Piercing upward into my innermost thoughts

Like a stiletto to the brainstem

My pupils contract

Fingers and hands are cold and numb with terror

Klaxons shriek belated warning


They are everywhere


Presences buried deep within the bedrock

Before and behind, above and below and beside

A billion faces, billions of empty eyes

Eyes black as midnight marble

They are separate and yet somehow the same

Their features merge together into a single Construct

An entity born of all our sins

Its hands, their hands, a jungle of fingers extends toward me

Reaching out from below


I scream

I scream until my throat bleeds


I scream until We Are One

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