remnants of the 13 levels
Once I’m paralyzed I head straight for the lights. It’s faint, but I can sense my own attempt at noting differences in the surroundings. Speed, temperature, lighting, noise, urgency... as if to shield themselves from identification, all markers converge (congeal?) into a single sensory concentrate, and I am left with a residually familiar impulse to hop.
A bubble trickles upwards and breaks on the water’s surface. Whatever’s inside dissipates, without discernible noise, into the air. This sequence of events makes me emotional. Air—Is that the way? I’ll need to get as much of it under me as possible, for as long as possible. I need to reduce surface contact, get it as close as I can to zero. Suddenly I’m propelled outward, in a trajectory I did not select. Control improves between hops. I experience the dawning of a skill, the acquisition of something, an idea, the familiar feeling of an image and its transferability into cognition.
Hotel, road, forest, house, staircase, roof (top floor). That’s the layout so far. I haven’t yet figured out what the change is. Like an intruder, I hear this thought. Submerged, it bellows through the floor, like a dense object plummeting into a fragile body of water. Then the nets start moving. When I saw them (back in the forest) they didn’t look like they’d hold for long. This concern is like sludge. It seeps outward of me. But from where? Only then I acquiesce the multiple knife wounds I’ve sustained, most of them on my thighs. I check to see if I’m feeling any pain. There is none. I realize I am still inside the house at the end of a (long) drive.
In eastern Taipei there’s a defunct metal plant overlooking the sea. From the outside, its remnants seem to recede inwards, as if they had always been remnants. Leaking out from the exterior, under the rows of hollowed arches, there are traces of what looks like resin, as if some of the thirteen stories had been crying. The building has three long exhaust pipes running up the hillside, which released toxic gases when it had been in operation. One of the miners had joked about it looking like a palace, but I don’t remember hearing anyone laugh that day.
The forest repossesses everything in time. Layer upon layer, it becomes more of its own shape. Freak accidents are absorbed into an ever-amorphous center. Sap is sent toward cuts that appear in its membrane. Territory is flourished and flattened, performed in a perfect alternation. These dream mechanics are never accidental. It’s always chicken-egg. Choose one and the other is revealed. That type of deal. To leave, I’ll need to know why I’m here.
— Rohan Mills