The stems twist and push at your skullcavityplantpot but it still remains dented. The void has been opened and it refuses to c l  o   s     e. Spittlepollen runs down down your chin and you freeze kkrk spearhead hits the sky floor but you catch it. Knees soft like compost but something cl i © .(k).(s).(d) (e) ep within the recesses of your mind and you cringrcrawl grasp the air you uproot and go for

w a r d

DD: …(ex).©.(u).(s).(e)…(m)…(e).(!)…

you lurch after him and cough up b l a c k b i l e

DD: …(I).(m)…(no).(t).(d)…(on).(e)… 

The fleur de lis rises against a backdrop of nightshade and shady night and the undergrowth down your throat in your eyes out of your head creepy crawling out of your s o u l (permeating, flourishing in a greenhouse fulls of flesh and flies and fertilizer) - it thrashes and leaps forward with you. Undulating like seedlings germinating under skin, you push back the oceancrash to s p r i n g after the beats with two(threefourfivessixseveneight) backs.

DD: …(w).(i).(tH).(Y).(OU).(Y).(E).(T).(S).(OU).(N).(D).(B).(O).(Y).(!)… 

==> DAVE: Advance.

You were going to play it cool, greet your brother with a cocksure, flippant air, shoot off a playful jab or two. But as you hear that whoop, see him advance in a full run, your chest swells to the point of bursting. Pointed teeth with no real bite to them flash in your own sharp grin, glint as you caw back.

You grab your moirail by the arm and drag him with as you pick up your own pace, but remember to let the troll go seconds before you launch yourself in a tackle aimed at Bro’s middle. Fists and words fly as you shower your sibling in as many fond punches as you can manage to get in, physical and verbal. You missed this dusty bastard, and the more you playfully assault him in ritual greeting, the more and more your mind is set at ease that he’s really here, solid, real, that you didn’t fucking imagine the dream before or the whole busting him out of hell thing.

At some point you started laughing, grateful, relieved.


Pus pus pus and disease and light and heat and fire and your spear misses him by inches, centimetres, by feeler lengths, by petals.

Under your hands, you feel it glide past, just catch the crackling-seething manbeast on the side. A small victory, perhaps, or a half baked, half quaked loss, and the flowers in your eye surge forth in angered retaliation. Your jaws are cracking and snapping, spreading wider under infuriated triffids after some stupid form of revenge. Hiss - the spear snaps back, and you immediately shove it forward, round, to stab him in the side if possible, catch him before the electric buzz to the air and the overblown heating cranks up to a level that will smash greenhouse windows and fell trees.

Too late. Redwood deadwood redwood bloodwood, there’s wires around your am bleeding currents into your fragile body and you twist and fray and stagger. You clutch the spear but entirely misses the ball of static energy and clatters uselessly against a radio radio radioradioradiolines carving into your bones your skin your heart, your back tears, the skin flaying itself as thorns break free and wordswordswords you have never hated the thought of words so much you don’t have language left to express the wavelengths in your muscles your

>you ain't 

Your spine cracks like birchwood as sounds words songs wrap around bones you don’t comprehead you can’t understand the v o i © e (s) deep within your head don’t you recognisethoselyrics you must remain standing with g(l).(or).(y)…(to).(d)…(er).(s).(E.).(B).(UT).(TH).(A).(T).(S).(NO).(T)…(TH).(Is) your tongue curls around a word you don’t hear and spits it into your opponent’s face

>giving in

And your purchase on the spear tightens as your skin splits and the greenhouse tumbles out of your palm and around the handle. You d r a g yourself out of the soundshutitoushutiutoushutitout since you have nothing left to etch into no ledger for those words which crack and buck across your flesh

>just yet

You shake like a leaf but you lunge yourself closer to the sound to the vision of static and all idea of sight is lost as the hothouse greenhouse overflows, spills out of your face, tendrils and feelers and sticky irises reaching for a purchase on his face. Thorns run ragged through flesh that’s hackhackhacked at by the radio as you try to tune out. (You never really were that fond of the r a d i o.)


You open your mouth to finally break the silence, say something to your moirail, when out in the distance something catches your eye and you’re surprised you didn’t notice it before. A swirling mass of sand that lingers in one spot before being carried away by an air current. A snort and a smirk escape you as you open the car door to step out.

CS: christ

CS: hes in one hell of a mood i bet

Turning back towards Karkat, you nod, motioning him to follow as you head for where you think you see a figure on the horizon without another word. Your voice would probably give away your excitement, anyhow.


Scritch, scritch, stab, Slick’s tongue stays in his mouth yet still etches his message into your shoulder blades, words prickling under the skin under the stems and you exhale. Red-rouge-rogue’s-blood-pollen settles on your tongue. It’s heavy and dark in your maw, dark like the grave, but you chitter and photosyn(th).(e).(si).(z).(e).(a)…(re).(p).(l).(y).(m)…(y).(lor).(d).(g).od Slick, your tongue prays hums with a thousand promises of what you’re learning and how you will uphold the glory of Derse, uphold the glory of the crew that’s led by a fear prickled cockroach and is darker than midnight.

>DD: worship your own god.

Vines spread and writhe and take hold, and your spear spins in your twiggy fingers claw claw clawing for action. Your eyes burn and water and the world shifts and dies - a sprig curls out of your tear duct to wrap around the iris bloom, you’re growing a bouquet of barbed wire there. Out of the corner of your eye, something ripples and your body sways with it, your one good eye bloodshot and focusing on notthedeadbodynotthefallen he is l o s t andgoodriddancebut the shadows shift and you catch a bent reflection. A bent reflection that becomes a bent form that is hurtling, hurtling towards your godleadercreaturebeetle. You plunge forward without a second thought as lines and lines and lines crosshatch your spine as the thing the creature screams and yells and hurtles. The thing becomes man, a man who smells too much of spittle and radio waves and dirty, filthy, yellow scum. Pus. Pus from an open wound, a scar on this earth.

Your tongue escapes your mouth and weeds fill your throat, and crawl out out out a flower blossoms between your lips.

Tendrillegs throw themselves out first as you must duty your duty d u t y duty to Slick, to the crew, and you set off at an angle, long limbs taking blinding strides to intercept the striding, the strider, the mirror bent crackling image of a human and the blooms in your blink and shrivel and reel back. He’s bad, he isn’t right, he doesn’t bloom belong and your spear jumps in your hands, the end a stabbing lilywhite lilyred spattered point of all that’s right in the violent violet nightgloom. Cogs grind into your back and crunch through leaflitter skin, as your whole bodystem throws itself into the path of the oncoming storm.


He disappears in a flash of decibels and earsplitting signals, and you spin, but he’s stillgonestillgone. It catches you off kilter off thought and for a dreamsmudge second you cannot process what’s happened - he has to be here, he cannot have just - just - just left? You half feel him scratching about in your mind inside you (corpses in the s h r u b b e r y compost in).

Scratch scratch        you are about to move when it hits you strikes you
down oh sing your sweet nightingale         song as a wave not a wave
but         suddenly the sky is heavy and the sky is falling chicken
little the sky its falling         and you can feel yourself falling
compact earth and         dead weeds and nothing can
grow         nothing can push up your eyeflowers
hurt you cannot         you cannot you just
dont under         stand you dont feel
you do         nt think your back
screeches an         d wails
like         whale song
weight of         an 

>break the .(ea).®.(t).(h).

you can make the ground bear plumage with your b a r e h a n d s and

you can grow s p e a r h e a d s from the night sky and

you can p u s h d a i s i e s out of flesh and bone and you can swallow chickenfeed and s p i t back c h o k e up a hanging basket of deepdarkhorror and

Your head splits under the pressure and you’re drowning except you’re buried alive buriedalive buriedalivealivealive your skull is cracking and Las Vegas is in bloom, even as your knees buckle like this is the bottom of the ocean (a desert a desert but even in the desert plants still grow). The night kingdom blossoms from the deepdark b l e e d i n g dent in your head, and you can smell pansies and nightshade and indian paintbrushes scratch blinding sunbeamspusyelloworange into your back. A garden pushes out past the membrane the bone the not so white any more hair and weaves its way through the purple iris air in pecking feathering © (l).(uck).(in) (g) fury.



Hissspit hissspittle something oozes down your cheeks as your tendrilsfingershands connect with skin and static and the weight beneath you falls away. Your body has been sung electric and the dreamverse ripples (shivers) l i k e soundwaves around the twoth reehowever many of you. One eyelid flutters and rolls back, and you sneak a glance at streaks of blood amongst streaks of velvet night. Like someone has sliced through the air through the violet your petals twitch in a breeze that isn’t there. Chickenscratch riddles your shoulders, claws touching bone and tender shoots. You still buzz with radior a d i o currents but its background backscratch doesn’t bother you so much as the fe r (n) .(s)…–

sssssssssscreeMetal and yellowdreampus and puppetflesh connects with your bodystemyou q u a k e and screech, you convulse and slither away in the air. If you were still breathing, if your lungs weren’t festering with rotting petals and black feathers, you would have choked and lost your breath in a swirling rush of crushcrushcrushing. You reel for a moment before your right foot roots to the ground and holds you, wavering.

Just in time to watch catch the setting sun erupt like a blade from his chest

>consider your options, and turn down the thermostat 

>can’t be (w).(il).(t).(i).(ng) can we 

Your spear snaps and bucks in your handfeelers and you grip it tight - patience, patience, it’ll get its taste of h e l l in the s h a d e in the shadows soon enough. Illegible words n a m e spowers whisper and burrow into your back, you arch your spine. In his hands, your opponent bears a weapon a pole a hockey stick of filth filth filth and decay, and past the vines encasing your tongue you tell him exactly where to stick it.