There’s a baby out there with eyes covered in crystalline onyx scales. But no ears. It doesn’t know about death yet, and has no thought of loss.
The kid scoops up shiny objects with long basket hands formed from weaves that spring from its middle fingers and already are unraveling. Most of its face is a vacuum mouth that sucks everything from these catchalls directly into its stomach, a mill powered by smoke that siphons through a small pinprick in the top of its head.
The child grinds and excretes ideas through the thousand other holes that comprise its body, and these turn into paper bills that burst into flame and make more smoke. It sleeps in the ashes, which keep it warm and grey. The baby has a hundred big toes with which to try to plug the holes, but that’s well short and its body makes an imploding bellows wheeze.
It has a crimson, scabrous, oily tail that starts from between the legs but coils tightly around the neck. When sensing a need to protect, this spins off in a long spiral that stabs blindly into the air. If it happens to hit something, the end of the tail – a dull, overused point – makes a notch at the back of the head. There are a few deep grooves there already.
Our baby only ever says one word – want – but everyone hears this as train wheels screeching mercilessly along rusted rail. The sound travels for miles before fading into muted laughter.
It rocks back and forth in the ashes, and when its body sneezes in reaction, the cloud is large and dense enough to block out the town’s light.
For this and other less definable reasons, people keep bringing it more shiny objects that it can never properly see.
Craig Foster is mostly an editor, but he has had stories and art published in Box and The Newer York, spouted commentary on a variety of perceived societal missteps via an odd folio called The Door Is A Jar, and created the online architecture/design magazine Peer. These ventures no longer exist and he realizes the claims therefore beggar belief. Thankfully, he is not a proud man.