• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 10

Into The Desert

One day Jake woke to find himself a silhouette. A piece of paper art, 2D and flimsy but with a precise, perfectly-rendered edge.

He carried on for a while, making dum-dum sounds with his guitar, spitting up lyrics like a kind of sickness. People lapped them up. Before the show were the same pills and lines of coke; after the show were the piles, of money and drugs, and the lines of girls waiting, wanting signatures, and more.

Jake wondered how they did not notice his flesh had gone to flatness, a fine-cut piece of card in the shape of a familiar rock star. It was a pattern: the puckered, slightly pouting lips; the down-cast eyes with a wisp of lash; the large forehead, so of the fashion, adding to that brooding, broken-hearted look. You could imagine puppy dog eyes, the sneer of a soft top lip - but when he looked in the mirror all he saw was shadow. A cut-out, blind and featureless. A puppet, playing the same role over and over again.

One morning, after the parties had petered out into the usual small surrealisms and post-fuck slumbers, Jake left. He took his guitar, feeling its wooden weight as a comfort, the closest thing to a staff he could gather; and then, he walked out, into the desert, the beating heat of it, not thinking of a return.

Sometimes he rested, in the shadow of a cactus or, one time, beneath the spiked, punkish head of a Joshua tree. He saw a tortoise, potato-soft and slow, but plated with armour hard as stone. The sands shifted beneath his feet, sometimes they sucked a little, but Jake did not feel them. He was being blown by an invisible wind. He was as light as tissue paper, airy and insubstantial.


Into The Desert

As he walked, he felt the edges of himself begin to singe but that hardly mattered. He was headed into the burning heart of the desert. He might ignite on the way, but all he had to do was get there.

He eased the guitar on the thin ridge of his shoulder, and continued.