The Vine of Souls 2

Reads: 393  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A bizarre story of when two strangers meet and partake in consciousness alteration.

Submitted: September 04, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 04, 2010

A A A

A A A


Marrying an immigrant was the best decision I had ever made, although it didn’t impress my friends or family one bit. It all started when I saw a Big Issue seller outside of a supermarket, I could immediately tell that she was beautiful underneath that rather excessive garb – the headscarf and the long, obscuring gowns which are so common in Eastern Europe. At the time I was tired with life, so I decided to enquire as to how many Big Issues she needed to sell. She had about sixty-five. I opened my wallet and pulled out £70 and nonchalantly invited her for a drink. She was extremely shocked at first, and was borderline unintelligible because of her poor grasp of English; yet she agreed, if with a hint of suspicion, and restrained hope. Either way, she accepted the money.
Looking back, it seems a little rash and desperate on my part, and incredibly opportunistic – it’s little wonder I’ve lost the majority of my old friends, and my family are highly reluctant to have any associations with me whatsoever. Needless to say, I was happy for her to come for a drink, yet I was sober enough to realise that this could potentially go nowhere - despite the fact I was £70 worse off, I felt curiously calm.
I was at the end of my tether in those days.
* * *
. . . Her name was Violeta.
We ended up keeping in constant contact, and eventually she moved in with me. At first it was obvious she was using me for money and security, but I didn’t mind, I knew this and accepted it indifferently. She was a fantastic cook, as most Romanians tend to be – it’s in their genes. Violeta’s character was strong yet a little cold and endowed with warmest smile I had ever seen. This is what I required in life. Her shyness was blissful and she accepted my presence with respect. Often she would watch television for hours while helping herself copiously to my Corn Flakes. Our conversations were fractured, but we both had mutual respect for one another, and this is how our relationship strengthened over time. It turned out that she was rather well read, and had a special fondness for Russian writers like Chekhov or Dostoevsky, which she had read in their original language. Her life story was convoluted, and I couldn’t quite make sense of it, yet she seemed to have a warm complacency in the world – in stark contrast to the rent payer. My life had been rather too comfortable, it was vacuous, and I had an unhealthy obsession with apocalypse at the back of my mind, which indeed made me a rather socially-dysfunctional being whom was prone to moments of extreme lethargy (which in true hypochondriac fashion, I self-diagnosed as a thyroid problem). I had welcomed Violeta into my life, she didn’t ask for too much, and our relationship grew closer by the day. And, eventually, she inexplicably started to develop admiration for me, despite her innate aloofness. And it was this admiration I couldn’t turn down, despite the lurking suspicions about my own motives. That said, the marriage was a brief affair and concerning ‘official matters’ rather than out of ‘genuine love’ - eventually it transcended anything we initially imagined: If the Large Hadron Collider could fire two individuals at one another, the result would be something like our relationship: an intense, explosive event which could, potentially, envelop the whole world.
* * *
My cynicism was the anchor of the relationship. I simply wasn’t as interested ‘in things’, but this didn’t discourage her, in fact I believe it might have stopped her from drifting off into oblivion. She said: ‘Oh dear . . . life doesn’t mean much to you sometimes! It’s because of where I came from, no?’ It was true; her experiences had made existence a lot more intense and urgent for her. ‘You need to wake up! Dear! You’re tired all the time, it is so important! It is OUR WORLD.’ It was absurd, that originally the relationship started out from my physical attraction and then excelled into genuine concern for her wellbeing – after all, she deserved more than myself – and now the tables had turned, she was now concerned for my wellbeing - At least, that’s what it seemed.
We observed people from a distance rather than getting involved with them, we shared these two, rather unusual traits: a mild distaste for people, and a polite, unaggressive anti-social attitude; an approach we both found comfortable and oddly, almost spiritually, rewarding.
* * *
Walking up a darkened alleyway, raining, nocturnal, the air tainted with the sweet-sour scent of urine, I held Violeta’s hand. We both emerged into the neon lit city, looking quite the pair. My wispy, blonde hair sticking out pathetically, comparatively absurd against her immensely thick, black hair which obscured her features like the hiding velvet of a mourning widow. Over the years she had become more Westernised, and had found her own niche in fashion. And, as it was winter, she opted for long purple scarves, which were doused in cheap, market-price perfume - a charm and an odour which permeated something of the classical harlot. Her black mascara eyes caught every neon sign, every advert, and her irises twitched and took in the environment like a ravenously, culture-hungry predator. Life attacked her senses and she revelled in life, it still had immense spark and mystery, things looked up, towering buildings gained extra dimensions; even the banal, rushing commuters filled her with some sort of childlike wonder. Yet she was unaffected by the consumer-mentality: material possessions didn’t seem to interest her, it was simply the spectacle of a functioning city at full tilt which she ‘placed’ her awe. I was carried off with her into this whirlwind of yea-saying, infectious life-acceptance. Something vital . . . some evolutionary force had launched her into this world, and inspiration, like Violeta’s cheap perfume, was absorbed into her very aura.
Shops past us buy; with their animated, holographic manikins alternating through thousands of different combinations of high-street clothing, designer wears catering for every different ‘style’. The holograms would occasionally flicker in and out of existence – it wasn’t a perfected technology, yet it was the next step in retail. At this time of day they were closing, sometimes they’d leave these artificial humans posing their products to empty streets, and their reflections would be distorted in puddles, or tramps would huddle under their corporate light. At other intervals you could see people pulling down the shutters, and typing in the codes for the alarm systems. The streets ‘hummed’ with artificiality, yet Violeta and I walked, hand-in-hand, in the rain and through these mysterious, consumer-driven highways; while people walked past, anonymous under their umbrellas and black windbreakers. Corporations had desperately attempted to create a monoculture, but through doing so they had applied so many techniques and forms of manipulation that they had inadvertently created something more flexible, more dangerous and something more serious. Symptoms to be found in mass psychological disintegration and which inevitably manifested in discontents and aggressive, anti-corporate anarchic-groups which used deadly force and guerrilla warfare to crumble a system which they despised. They were known as the Paracelsia, obscurely named after the 16th century alchemist Theophrastus ‘Bombastus’ von Hohenheim aka. Paracelsus.
‘Oh! It’s a rainbow of lights, look! It’s like Christmas, there is never any darkness in the city!’ Violeta said, observantly and optimistic as usual. ‘I need some hallucinogens; the streets would look ten times more beautiful on Psilocybin mushrooms! Just imagine!’
I replied: ‘I know a couple of alcohol dealers, what about an old-fashioned whiskey? There are black market alcohol clubs in the Paracel Quarter’ I suggested. ‘Have you ever tried alcohol? It’s nothing like drugs; it’s warmer, more sociable. I used to drink it when it was legal back in 2011, only problem is that it lingers on your breath and gives you terrible, I believe what they call, ‘hangovers’.’
- Violeta interjected: ‘Yes! It’s still legal in Romania, but it’s sent half the populous crazy, it’s insane, all they do is drink. They don’t do any work! ‘Alcohol doesn’t agree with offices’, the posters say. It’s true, when I drank I never wanted to get up for work, it was a nightmare. My family kicked me out, and I emigrated here to get away from the madness. I much prefer psychedelics, they make you see – feel - differently. There’s a reason why alcohol is banned and why are psychedelics legal – the status quo is desperate for evolution and innovation. DNA was found under the influence of LSD! ’
‘Evolutionary benefits of psychedelic mushrooms? That sounds a bit juvenile to me, and apparently the drug bars don’t give you the pure stuff, they’re genetically modified ‘legal highs’ which give you false hallucinations. They’re trying to make us feel freer than we actually are – they’re eternal liars, you should know that!’
Violeta laughed, she had read my report on the hallucinogen Ayahuasca which I had taken underneath a volcano in Lanzarote, and of which she constantly kept reminding me that all my apocalyptic visions were due to that single nightmarish ‘bad trip’. For some reason, I felt like I was replaying the 1960s at least 70 years on. Maybe history was cyclic after all!
‘Take me to the Paracel Quarter; I want to meet these people. I’ve heard they’re friendly to ‘escapees’ and I really want to try some straight, black-market quality drugs – take me away from this corporate life! Oh, how you make me laugh sometimes. Let’s do it!’ Violeta stopped me, tugging at my sleeve, and looked into my eyes; she wanted to become a part of my world, the world of crime, and what the media dismissively denounced as ‘the outcasts of the future’. Sure, I would take her; maybe it’d change her mind. Anything is better than eerie, advertising holograms silently and futilely displaying poorly manufactured, throw-away junk for the masses. I had admiration for the criminal underground, the murderers, the prostitutes and terrorists of the collectively known Cult of Paracelsia. It had spark, it had loathing and contempt as its source of inspiration.
* * *
Authorities ignored the Paracel Quarter. It was their bad conscience. We passed a few gay bars, with names such as ‘No Gene Pool’ and ‘Fertilization Negative’; it was evidently true that homosexuals had a twisted sense of humour. Especially since contemporary research into the decline of the human species: apparently we were becoming weaker, skinnier and more effeminate. Natural catastrophes were predicted; climate change, hurricanes, earthquakes, which would wipe out an estimated 84% of the population; most calculations were based on Lovelock’s assertion that 'we can't save the planet' – we were, as a species, beyond the point of no return.
Violeta and I scanned the various clubs, most were under a guise, and after a while the neon and opaque windows annoyed us, so we chose a club called ‘Purpurea’, which was entirely adorned with purple and Ultra Violet lights.
The armed bouncers accepted my card, and then unlocked the rusty bolted doors. Security was paramount in this ‘illegal’ quarter. Hashish smoke enveloped us as we entered, and there was subtle and oddly sinister ambient techno playing from a jukebox, no doubt accompanying the indulgences. People of all different castes sat around at elaborate tables, each had a dimmly-lit purple lamp with a psychedelic fabric shade, and each table had a luxurious triangle ashtray (adorned with an eye); used primarily for huge, high-quality ‘dank’. Surely, we had chosen a place of high repute! Waitresses fluttered in an out and all were dressed in purple robes which graced the floor and each with an extravagant hair style. They took people’s orders quietly and respectful of the dangers of interrupting a ‘trip’ too abruptly. The atmosphere was supremely dense and suitable for a drug-taking environment. We acquired a table in the corner, which gave us a panorama of the entire bar, and was obscured by a thin, translucent drapery. Slow, morphing bubbles from a projected Lava Lamp melted across the walls. All was intermingling. Quietly we were approached by a waitress, she offered us a holographic-screen menu which listed the various alcohols and drugs; Violeta ordered wine and Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) – the strongest, most short-lived, hallucinogenic experience on the market – and I decided to join her on that intense, entheogenic, ‘God Manifesting’ experience.
Violeta had a shot of Nepenthe, a mild alcoholic drink which was topped with an ancient Greek remedy for sorrow; apparently it increased your chances of a more positive, uplifting trip. Pulsing, ambient house played in the background, whirling around with trance-inducing synthesizers and humming sub-bass frequencies which you could feel pushing the hash smoke around the room like a hurricane of the heights. ‘My mind, my mind it’s leaving me!’ she whispered, while playing with her hair. ‘I don’t feel like I’m really here, everything is so insubstantial, Unreal . . . Ethereal.’ I comforted her by holding her hand; we were both mentally preparing to explore our dream regions. Plumes of smoke danced around the room and people whispered quietly amongst themselves; smoking, tripping, experiencing aspects of their psyche they had never known. Moans of ecstasy intermingled with the ambience – of otherworldly pleasures. We both lifted up the coconut shell which was filled with the fluid of Dimethyltryptamine-containing roots, most likely from the dying Amazon rain forest. We attempted to down it like a shot of whiskey. I was still holding her hand, yet we both grimaced at the awful taste, and we looked at each other as if it might be our last . . . to say I was nervous would be a dreadful understatement. ‘Here we go! Where are we going? Let’s go together . . .’ Violeta attempted to invoke a sense of union. ‘Let us renounce the world. Take me away from it – Forever’.
Curtains writhed; the whirlwinds of hash smoke slowed down and reversed. Purple penetrated everything, and the feminine proceeded into the desolate future. Nothing would emerge. Seas dried up, the sun cracked the surface with its heat . . . A mirage of people walked towards me through an unknown desert, with sandstorms eroding my skin . . . Music permeated the atmosphere, and my feet were dragging as if through a swamp . . . They approached slowly, yet they flickered in and out like a badly tuned television. A vehicle of some sort was to my right, a seat full of bones . . . My eyes adjusted to the horizon – all of a sudden Violeta was at my side. She laughed innocently, playfully and ran towards the ‘liquid people’ who were now approaching – I tried to run yet I was too heavy. Gravity was pulling at me.
‘You project your present predicaments into the future; you cannot possibly create a utopia. It’s too late . . . it is definitely too late’ a mysterious, mechanical voice telepathically penetrated my unconscious mind . . .  The desert was pulled from underneath my feet like a table cloth. I opened my eyes and saw the table - heard the ambient music . . . Violeta’s mascara eyes flickering in another world; her gypsy blood was here in the present and attempting to transcend culture, to sever her from her past. I felt no warmth, no belonging, no love, and it occurred to me that I had gone too far. . .  
I would forever be haunted and possessed by the perfume of the apocalypse. Her perfume, Our very own odours of decadence.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



© Copyright 2019 SourceDirect. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Literary Fiction Short Stories