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13163202 No.13163202 [Reply] [Original]

The date from which the tale is set forth matters little; to begin with the awakening of its protagonist is a mere convenience for the telling. Still, he had awakened just slightly later than usual this morning.

Clinging to the edge of a rusted metal deck one hundred meters above the surface of the sea was a row of tear-shaped sleepsacs, their gnarled and withered hind legs dangling from their underside.

Nearly all of them were shriveled and dried, and only one, at the rightmost end of the row, yet retained its original form, swelling outward in the shape of a ripened fig. From the muscular tightgate that protruded from its upper tip there sprouted the rather dimwitted-looking face of a worker. Borne forward by the action of lickstrings connected to the sleepsac's inner membrane, the worker's slender, naked form was vomited out onto the deck, trailing behind it sticky threads of secretion.

The name of the worker was GyoVuReU'UNN. Although he had no memory of himself of having ever been called by that name, there were no other freewalking subordinates at his workplace, so this was not a problem for him.

The worker's shoulders quivered, and when he raised up his body, it was with movements similar to the curling of burning piece of paper. His feet were dripping with amnesiotic fluid, and taking care not to let himself slip on it, he stood erect on a deck that lacked so much as a single guardrail. In his ears, he could still hear the indistinct voices of countless unknown colleagues whispering to one another.

"Stand up on the deck"/ "I don't want to remember anymore" / "That was an awful sight" / "What's awful is that it's just like everyone says" / "It's what they call collective unconsciousness" / "Like they had before" / "I don't remember that" / "I never seen it" / "Maybe you were just delirious" / "We've been horribly oppressed" / "By the way, I hear the next town over is closed off..."

The worker came fully awake as peeling, rusted iron bit into the soles of his feet. A sweetness and a grainy, figlike texture was spreading into every corner of his mouth. This was the flavor he always tasted whenever he came out of the sleepsac.Although the concentrated sweetness of dried figs was his favorite, the worker had never actually eaten one.

The last of the amnesiotic fluid dribbled out of his ears, a strong cold wind brushed against his eardrums, and the muffled sound of waves came to him. The worker frowned at the creaking of iron that could occasionally be heard between their crashes.

Death awaited should he lose his footing. And yet it was always after the danger had passed that he felt most conscious of it. Seeking to ease the stiffness in his neck, he turned his head southward to look across the dark, steel-blue of the sea and into the blur of mists in the distance.

>> No.13163327

It looked as though the deck were floating high up in the sky. At one time, the worker had been quite sure that it was, but then one day he was made to assist in repairing the lift, and dangling from the edge of the platform, he had been lowered to a point about fifty meters beneath it. Or had that been the time he had tried to escape by way of the lift? In any case, he had learned that day that the platform was supported by many long, thick steel columns lashed to one another. And on the face of the sea right below his gaze, the waves had been crashing against a group of small islands. The steel support columns rose up from the centers of these islands—islands composed of rotting heaps of flesh: the piled corpses of stringbeasts such as coffin eels and bloodtide wayfarers that had tried and failed to climb up to the office building on the deck.

Pinching the left ear that was supposed to have been ripped off as punishment for having tried to run away, the worker looked up at the overhanging cliffs of landfill strata that towered above him on the eastern side. It was not merely a projection of his psychological state that made their striped patterns look different every time he saw them; even now, the willy-nilly counterfeiting of all manner of industrial products from the eidos of each one—and the collapse of those goods beneath their own weight—was ongoing.

Unable to entirely abandon his hopes of retirement, the worker made a visual estimate of the distance to the cliff. Although it looked rather close, he realized belatedly that there was no way he could leap across, and let out a long sigh.

He turned around and saw the company building, resembling the tongue of some giant that had been cut out and stood up on its end, right before his eyes. Skinboard-paneled walls that had been able to breathe when they were new now bore the scars of the canvassers' repeated sales calls. Now covered in scar tissue, the walls could no longer breathe at all.

The worker, having complete his commute to the office in only ten paces, set his center of gravity in his hips, slid open an iron door more than twice his height, and stepped into the stuffy, humid air of the corridor.

As he was closing the iron door, he felt an unpleasant, oppressive feeling, like being swallowed whole into the gullet of a coffin eel. He turned around and saw a pair of thighs right in front of him, with far too wide a space between them.

The worker's gaze crawled upward along the ridges of a special fabric knitted from muscle fiber, and sticking out from the wide opening of its collar was an eyeless, noseless, mouthless, translucent head whose shape mimicked that of the office building itself. Tiny particles and a smooth, glossy sheen slid across its surface as it looked down at the worker.

>> No.13163338

"Mr. President!" the worker said shrilly—adding, "Good morning," once he had steadied his breathing.

Wrapped in its sleeve of knitted meat, the president's long arm twisted as it curled upward. Four fat fingers—their bones and nerves visible under translucent skin—pointed toward the inner room. Tiny bubbles of air fizzed from the spherical surfaces of his fingertips. When this was apparently insufficient to get his point across, he stretched his fingers still farther outward, and the pressure within his corpuscyte instantly ruptured the shells of the waybugs that lurked inside the digits. He showed the worker their still-beaint hearts—about the size of sesame seeds—as they floated clear of the puffy clouds of red now spreading out in his fingers. The hearts continued to tick away with unnerving speed.

It dawned on the worker then that he had apparently come into the office later than usual. Was something wrong with his sleepsac these days? His regurgitation time was lagging.

The president's featureless face descended until it was right before his eyes. Within its interior, bone fragments, scales, and air bubbles floated, and a morel-shaped organ of unfathomable function bobbed back and forth with an irregular rhythm, managing to shift its position considerably though wrapped all around with winding, branching nerves and blood vessels. In the midst of a face that almost seemed more plastic than organic, an indentation suddenly began to sink inward. All around the deepening hollow, the face was starting to roil with waves, and then suddenly the hollow deepened and began to vibrate.

"GUEVOoOo—UENGuUuUNNuN—GUEPU, VV!"

The piercing cry reverberated all through the building. He was urging the worker to see to his disinfecting right away and get to his seat.

It was not, however, through the comprehension of words that the worker had arrived at that understanding—rather, it was the president's gestures and tone of voice that led him to that conclusion. The worker sometimes wrote down the president's words to try to learn to speak his language, but when he tried to say them aloud later, they would come out both resembling the original and sounding nothing like it. Given the structure of his larynx, the best the worker could do was make a noise like a clogged sewer pipe backing up. Or like someone doggedly clearing his throat to expel a mass of phlegm.

The worker threaded his way down a narrow path along which wound a sythnorganic digestive tract, and went into the washroom. The space enclosed by its scaly walls was only barely wide enough for one person to stand. Still, being there allowed him to recover a slight trace of his composure.

>> No.13163344

Standing flush against the wall, he lifted up the grated floor, faced the hole, and let his immature excretory organs do their business into a pit through which whistled a distant, vacant-sounding wind. Replacing the grated floorpiece, he then stood on top of it and turned a brass, starfish-shaped handle on the scaly wall. Pure water, filtered through the purification tank, showered down on him from overhead. As beaded drops of lukewarm water drummed against every inch of his body, he grabbed a bar of winedregs hanging from the wall and began scrubbing away at himself, scouring off the filth that his eyes couldn't see. These dregs the worker had himself scraped from the bellies of winesprites.

A lock of hair got tangled in his fingers, knotted up, and came loose. Its gleam called to find an image of glass fiber, and the worker stared at it, captivated. At what point had it become so faded and white? He was still too young to have his hair turning silver. He was only thirty-two, wasn't he? But in the instant that he thought that, he wondered again if he wasn't fifty-four. And after he had corrected himself yet again—No, I was twenty-eight!—he stopped thinking about it. He grabbed a meatplate that was hanging on the wall and wiped off his dripping body. The intestines of sand leeches from droppings hard enough to use as bullets, so it was hardly surprising that they dried his skin in no time.

He went back to the corridor and pulled a gray work uniform down off the wall. It was the sort of business suit that an accountant might have worn long, long ago; for some reason the clothes the company provided were all a little formal, though, so it wasn't like he had any choice.

>> No.13164453

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. After looking at some reviews I see I can be forgiven for not having an easy time with it.

>> No.13164725

By the way, the OP image is one of many from the book itself. Torishima did all the illustrations.

>>13164453
Language you're having difficulties or something else?

>> No.13164734

>>13164725
is really good? I distrust any translation from the publisher, all the other that I had bought are pure trash

>> No.13164796

>>13164734
I'm not familiar with the publisher (first book I've bought from them), but the translator is Daniel Huddleston. I'd check to see if he TLed any of the titles you had problems with. If you can read a given book's source language, I'd generally recommend reading that instead of a translation.

>> No.13164819

>>13164725
"Every page is dense with arcane words, terminology native to the universe, and numerous strange concepts and cultural practices presented as matter of fact and often without explanation."
Not something to simply breeze through.

>> No.13164841

>>13163202
hey hey a good thread. Good job Anon

>> No.13164879

>>13164841
I figure if I post a little bit of a different book each day, maybe anons will be inspired to actually read something.

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