Sunday, 25 November 2012

Deus Ex-Machina Chapter Seven: Transmutation

Deus Ex-Machina 
Chapter Seven

T   R   A   N   S   M   U   T   A   T   I   O   N
I've never worn clothes. I was born into a costume.

‘I have many words but their power to create or solve problems is totally reliant upon my readers.’ – Spiderfingers

    On Pratt Street I see them, this trio of ghosts that are the real Spiderfingers broken down. Red, yellow and blue...playthings for a goddess. He Who is Red riding his big yellow baby brother, and he has Mr Blue's head under his arm.

I nearly start laughing with madness as I see the surrealism moving toward me. But they are my family, and they've come to wish me bon voyage. At this bus stop covered in snow, I’m about to embark upon a potentially deadly one way trip. These clothes were never my choice, so off they go! I snuff my fringe fire out without the fear of death. I have questions about the world I'm about to journey to,

    'Tell me more about Spiderfingers. Are we identical, or are there differences?'

    'His bad dream is no longer his.' says He Who is Red.

    'You mean he doesn't dream anymore.'

    'Of course not,' says He Who is Red dismounting to lean against the ginormous big yellow baby, 'the dead don't dream. Someone living has his nightmare.'

    'You guys really don't do straight forward, do you?'

    'Our way is moulded upon the whim of the goddess.' says Mr Blue's head, nestled comfortably in Red's hands.

    'O.K...who has Spiderfingers' nightmares?'

    'Not nightmares...nightmare. Singular,' replies He Who is Red raising a lone finger. He waves it in front of my face as he says, 'The Terrorsmith hides within the man whose face you share.'

    'Be straight with me!'

    'That's just not the way Steph writes us,' says Blue, 'And we are not at all sorry about that.'

    I sit down on my bundle of clothes. I count to three in my head. I force myself to speak calmly,

    'Does this man whose face I share have a name?'

    'The man has a sister,' says He Who is Red, 'She also shares your face.' says Mr Blue.

    I change tact and ask Mr Blue how I get to travel to the world outside. I'm done with this place. No goodbyes, just In with my hands, pulling my nude body into big yellow baby’s mouth. Sliding down his widening throat covered with thick gooey saliva, slipping past molars the size of tractor wheels. I don't prepare to burst into a million pieces.

I don't tense up preparing for the worst as a hundred thoughts per second line my brain.

    I find my pus-ridden Tardis creature has transported me somewhere cavernous. I’m squeezed up against her, the reverie woman, Steph, my true mother. She’s picked me up and it’s then I realise just how small I am, I’ve shrunk down and my entirety has transmuted into smooth and colourful flick-through’s, glossy pages covered in paragraphs...

Knowledge bestows itself within my new body made of tree-pulp: I have many words but their power to create or solve problems is totally reliant upon my readers. Interpretation and the actions that spring out from them are all I can count on now.

    Indeed, as my soul passes through its private evolution I’m filled with a feeling of completion.

    My dying sense of touch betrays the harshness of grip around my sides now, Steph’s fingers prying open my experience of Aronson’s master. I feel myself seperate into seven segments. Seperate, but whole.

If she is responsible for my existence and thus my attainment of this hyper-awareness then surly, most definitely, she is an avatar to be reckoned with. I am sure that the unevenness in my mother's voice is but a momentary slide into human fragility,

    ‘…However, it is ill advised to think of me as the Gaia in your stories...’

    There are voices of dissent. I don't have ears but I can hear them - all of them - they are whispering. They are trying to warn my mother of my sudden appearance, that I am some sort of trick, a magical trap set up by Aronson. I hear Sarah tell Miss World and Alice to shut up and let my mother continue reading my shiny leafs in peace,

    ‘I am the flowerbed from which your fantasy has burst...'

    Scrolling through my recent past all typed up in a font I can't remember the name of, 'The woman whose body I’m in won’t take her focus off the soil being...'

    Whatever I've become lives in a dimension where it is possible to be awake and asleep at the same time, ' suspicious of this earthy humanoid that calls itself Gaia...'

    A reality where I can do but one thing: hear her voice reading my words. I get it now, and I hope she studies me well, for an answer must surely reside between my covers. 
 My divine creator continues to read the first of my seven part odyssey as her voice becomes fervent, empowered. This is the voice of someone who'd manufacture impossible internal wars, just so she might be handed a product, a book. An instruction manual to to aid her very survival...


  1. Hi John,

    I have to admit – I found this chapter a bit hard going. There’s just so much going on in this episode and I really you need to make some things clearer so that the reader can better understand the thrust of the plot and the action. For example, you need to make it clearer that the audience members in Mr Lime’s theatre are shape shifters. I know that the whole scene occurs within Steph’s mind, and so the rules of physics don’t necessarily apply – but it would be useful if you perhaps added in a description of some of the audience members shifting shape, perhaps in section 3 of 7. This would then make it easier to understand the nature of the audience as strange presence, rather than a group of individuals per se.
    Also in section 3 of 7: the paragraph that begins with ‘From my swinging Chandelier…’ is quite confusing because I can’t get a definite sense of place. At the beginning of the paragraph, the swinging chandelier suggests that they are inside. Then, later, you mention that they are in the middle of Camden’s busy high road – without a clear description of the travel from an indoor to an outdoor setting. The result is that I’m confused as to where the scene is taking place, and this distracts me from the action. During this paragraph, you need to explicitly state when the move from indoors to outdoors occurs, just to make the reader aware of the change in setting.
    I was also confused by the idea of there being more than one Spiderfingers within Steph’s mind – both on stage with Mr Lime and at the base of the statue. The significance of these duplicates needs to be explained – if indeed there is a significance.
    The final idea in section 7 of 7 suggests that Spiderfingers has been reborn out in to the world and into the cage where Aronson is holding Steph prisoner. It would be useful, here, to get a brief description of how Spiderfingers looks now – is he a naked tramp, as he was when he disappeared into the mouth of the yellow baby, or has he been transformed into an actual child? We need a bit more description here in order to understand the full nature of the transmutation.

  2. Ok, so those were my issues with plot/character, here are my grammar suggestions:
    In the first few sentences of this piece, you use versions of the word ‘rank’ twice. You could rid yourself of this repetition by replacing the phrase ‘the rankness of the cave’ with ‘the stagnant smells inside the cave’.
    Sarah’s speech ‘…he killed Bimpe because?’ seems a little too sarcastic for someone who has just lost a friend in such a violent way. Consider replacing this phrase with ‘Why did he kill Bimpe?’
    ‘The Caucasian hands wrapped around my prison bars tighten and the tension in my voice – Steph’s – it is taut.’ This sentence doesn’t quite make grammatical sense and needs rephrasing. Try: ‘The pale hands wrapped around my prison bars tighten. The tension in my voice – in Steph’s voice – is shakes each syllable that leaves her lips.’
    Section 1 of 7:
    You mention the ‘abandoned toy factory home’. You then go on to mention it again and again and again using the same syllables. This repetition unnecessary and it would be good if you found other ways to descript the squat in which Spiderfingers is nesting.
    The word ‘doggie’ should instead be spelt ‘doggy’ as it’s a singular animal.
    The phrase ‘That I give him you’re a-a-avatar.’ should instead read ‘That I give him you’re a-a-avatar.’
    Section 2 of 7:
    Replace the word ‘cue’ (like a snooker cue) for ‘queue’ (a line of people).
    The sentence ‘Explosions of humour go off and from all around me.’ would make more sense if it instead read ‘All around me, laughter detonates like falling bombs.’
    ‘What is Aronson got in store for his prisoners.’ should read ‘What has Aronson got in store for his prisoners.’
    ‘The unsettling groan of somebody big is lumbering down the stairs.’ doesn’t make grammatical sense. Try instead ‘Above me, I hear the unsettling groan of some big lumbering down the stairs towards me.’
    ‘Eschewing’ should be replaced with ‘ensuing’.
    You then reintroduced the One Who Is Red, the Blue Man and the Yellow Baby. I think you need more description of these characters because, although the reader will remember them, Spiderfingers has not yet met them. As we are reading from the first person perspective, it makes sense to reintroduce the characters with a little more description.
    Also, did you ever mention Red’s Scottish accent before? If not, then you may need to go back and add references into the earlier episodes.
    Section 3 of 7
    The following sentence is too complicated with too many subordinate clauses: ‘An endless soundtrack of thumps, cracks and crashes rise up in my auditory and soon, after a number of torturous minutes my tired legs buckle into a rubbery useless tangle.’ Instead, try ‘An endless soundtrack of thumps, cracks and crashes rise up into my consciousness. Soon, after minutes torturous in their phantom length, I feel my tired legs buckle into a rubbery useless tangle.’
    ‘The crowd resumes its trying to kill me.’ would read better as ‘The crowd resumes their mission to kill me.’
    ‘…freeze breath the sun-flag.’ should be ‘…freeze beneath the sun-flag.’
    You repeat the word ‘darts’ in two consecutive sentences. It might be better for the second to read ‘…all fall prey to icy sun-flag shards…’
    ‘Most of them keep with the walking once they see me do it – me severing through the trousers skin and bone.’ would work better like this: ‘Most of them scurry away when they see me do it, too terrified to intervene. I sever his skin and bone.’

  3. Section 4 of 7
    Just a minor point, but you can’t nod if you don’t have a neck, so instead of ‘Blue nods, confirming…’ try ‘Blue confirms…’
    ‘I don’t know why but I think of Mr Lime’s jibe about exposition, but then my focus is caught and then manipulated by He Who is Read’ should read ‘I don’t know why, but I think of Mr Lime’s jibe about exposition. Suddenly, I find that my focus is caught and manipulated by He Who is Red.’
    Section 6 of 7
    ‘…and I know now that what he has to say is something I morbidly would want to hear anyway,’ might make more sense like this: ‘and know now that I want to hear what he has to say. I’m morbidly curious, you see.’
    Section 7 of 7
    The paragraph from ‘The spot I meet…’ to ‘…a deeper meaning.’ Needs rewording. Try ‘The spot where I meet the trio isn’t fantastical at all. No.  Pratt Street is in no way important. Not to me anyway. It isn’t filled with memories which might imbue the events to follow with any deeper meaning.’
    ‘Puss ridden’ (implied the baby’s mouth is filled with cats!) should be ‘pus-ridden’.
    Also throughout the document, your use of apostrophes seems a little random – this probably needs tidying up, but there are too many to mention them all individually.
    The story is still compelling and interesting, so all these corrections are pretty superficial. The pace might be a little too chaotic, as I mentioned before, so it would be good to have a bit more description in places to slow it down and to shoe the reader where they are and who they’re with.

    Hope that all makes sense. -x-

  4. Thank you ever so much for what must be the most thorough commenting I’ve seen on here for a while. I’ve not sat down to apply your remedies simply because there are so many and I’ve been busy with other art-projects. This part is long, so long that one would be hard pressed to read it all in one sitting. I read the first two chapters then take a break. Then I read another two and then (cos I’m actually rather more orderly than my output suggests!) I read the remaining four. O.K, so here are my thoughts on your thoughts!

    1) The audience aren’t shape-shifters. There are loads of them and all of them are part of Steph’s subconscious that are under the influence of Mr Lime. I suppose you get the impression they are able to shift shape because it’s the kind of thing one expects of a ‘mind-army’, especially one with such random elements (Ross, Norton and Knightley)!

    2) The inside outside issues have been sorted now. Cheers! There was so much for me to write this month that comments like yours were not only useful but actually were what I was banking upon to complete the story. I really didn’t feel like I was writing this on my lonesome. Indeed, the other chapters in this rather dense output this year have benefited profoundly from your solid input. Thank you for being there!

    3) I wanted it to be clear that when we think of a superhero character there are numerous drafts roaming around our subconscious. The significance of us following the Spiderfingers from Steph’s story is that this most evolved version of the character has been presented with an opportunity to change. The change being that he can play an integral part in his creators survival – thus his life becomes more meaningful and not merely entertainment for his audience or an ego trip for his creator.

    4) Spiderfingers becomes reincarnated as a book (called Deus Ex Machina) that covers the events that are depicted in this chapter. The info inside it (Zeus being called back to The Oma via Aronson’s gladiatorial event) surely be of use to Steph in VOLUME III. If you think about it, Spiderfingers is a part of Steph’s psyche and his physical manifestation as a book in her reality is a way of protecting his Steph from the machinations of an evolved Aronson. The interactions of all the characters in Steph’s head have resulted in the appearance of the book suggesting that the dance Lime is keen to engage with Spiderfingers is in fact a battle where he must lose in order for his story to have survive and have meaning. That’s one interpretation of a deeper motivation for his malevolence. Spider simply thinks him crazy, a typical conclusion reached by the hero when pressed on the reasoning of their arch nemesis. Hope you picked up on that? If not, feel free to suggest how to make the notion clearer.

    5) I think I made it clear enough to begin with but obviously, it’s important that you the reader realise he has become a book! So, I’ve embellished some of the description, refining the idea that Spiderfingers becomes a god that interferes with Steph’s life in order to give her a fighting chance. A lot like in the Harry Potter novels, Spider is a character that apes a narrative device that is looked down upon…hopefully my use of Deus ex Machina is justified.
    He Who is Red is described as having a monotone Scottish accent in The Show. He also sounds funny when he poses questions, his intonation doesn’t quite carry the sounds correctly. Hmmmm…

    Thanks for reading and finding the story compelling. I am so relieved to have written as much as I have and managed to fit many narratives together. Yay!