by Paul A. Green

We’re channeling through the Thanatron. We’re watching. Watching with care. Yes, we have been observing your observations for quite some time.

We kept our distance in the dusty corners just outside the cone of light, on those long nights as you struggled at your desk with the equations, scribbling over and over those first proofs of survival.

We heard your bitter murmurs in the lab as you struggled on, unfunded, with circuit boards salvaged from surplus stores, cannibalised oscillators and capacitors, cathode ray tubes from thrift-shop televisions.

We watched with you hour after hour as you stared into that array of screens, into the blizzards of dancing pixels, headphones clamped tight as the white noise raged, listening and looking for the waveforms of life.

Life forms. Life forces. The ultimate in pattern recognition. Life beyond death.

You’ve been dreaming of this for years. Yes, we know those dreams. You dreamed of one deceased, calm on an autumn park bench then turning away into the mist.

“I must go now...”

You dreamed of her quite young, short skirt, bare legs, giggly, pushing an iron bed-train that fills the whole street as the moon leers down and spiky wings break through the tarmac to enfold all things. You dreamed of Eros and Thanatos. Hardly surprising.

And/or you dreamed, over and over, the slow inevitable fall of a long silver plane into wasteland, to burst silently in a blob of fire. We were indeed watching.

And we’re all here now as you lean over this flickering display, your familar jaw and cheekbones highlighted by our pallid green radiance. Adjust the Thanatron with care. There is much to learn from our side. As we radiate. And multiply.

The Thanatron fades and fluxes. When channeling is initiated, never disconnect.

You asked about the gardens on the other side. There are an infinity of gardens, here and there . Your childhood garden where you stumbled on a rusty sundial and tore a ligament. Another garden where the skull cracked and you never walked again. A garden of high rank grass, concealing a stone. A garden where she smiled through the leaves and called your name. A garden of cracked baked earth. We know them all. Now. In real time. Or times.

Beware of the dreams. Some of us believe they are dangerous leakages of alternate life-content, coded, repressed, noise-infested. Other postulate they are random noise created by the incessant bifurcation of world-lines, accessed at the quantum level in neural networks. But such dreams are not prophetic. Be assured of that.

You keep enquiring about our After-Life. We can see you fine-tuning the controls of the Thanatron, as if our collective blur was almost a disappointment. Where are the hierarchies of fiery angels good for all eternity? Where are the wise spirit doctors? Or the sprites who play japes with tunes in the darkness? And where are the lost parents, the deep warm hum of ancestral voices, the great Old Ones, where are the survivors? Where are the opalescent corridors into deep-time?

No rainbow perspectives. Only the greenish-grey glare of the Thanatron receiving our channel. Your channel.

Look hard. Concentrate on the screen. Reflect and compare our garbled reflections. Trace that familiar beaked nose, slight recession of the jaw, our collectively selfish genes multiplying into an infinity of presences. We’re infinitely present. In you. Present tense. Streaming and split-screening.

All the worlds are open, sir. Just the screen of the Thanatron separating us. All going entropic at the same rate. Sorry we’re all going down slow, together. No post-life. Only alt-life.

We must go now.


Paul A. Green's novel The Qliphoth was recently published by Libros Libertad, and his radio play The Voice Collection appeared on RTE (Irish national radio). An audio version of "Thanatron," with soundscape, can be found on Culture Court, which features a number of his audio fictions and articles.