Transcription of Part IX’s Film
Below is the text of Part IX’s Film “JAYMI 115”, which is taken from The Imagination Thief’s mini-chapter 115 “Shrieking eyes in the ghost town”.
While we all creep around like this, Angel’s eyes zero in upon me properly at last without warning, his gaze shoots through the air as if around the giant curve of a particle-accelerator, locks itself into my gaze and distorts this scene forcibly into a private memory of my own—so that he and I are suddenly prowling a heathery moorland plateau from somewhere a long time ago in my life, half-evading and half-pursuing each other across it now. (So this is what it used to feel like to other people, when I dragged them into some primal memory of their own.) A dim blustery sky hovers low above us, up here on the moor, but around us are grand valleys and light pouring down onto far horizons. As we stare sullenly at each other, his voice comes flat across the heather, but it does so a fraction of a second in advance of when his lips pronounce the words I’m hearing: I think you’d like a Ghost Town, wouldn’t you, Jaymi—yes! with his eyes accusatory, blazing and psychic in the moonlight. I shudder, while at my feet a twitch of yellow street-light glances in among the heather. Thinking on these disconcerting words of his, I register that their softened sibilants were echoing almost imperceptibly, after they were first pronounced but before his lips appeared to form them—a faint ghosting pre-echo that reveals a dimension I have missed until now, which immediately makes even this grand exterior space feel like the inside of an echoing stone chamber. The ghosted, lisped s in his phrase Ghost Town, in particular, constituted a sinister and malicious feast all by itself, for seconds after the end of the original s in Ghost, hissing and flaring on and on after the word, like an insect burning alive in a flame. I feel a dead smile play inside my lips, but I wrestle it back in, so it never quite emerges. That’s your dead smile, I can see it! he slants his words out across the moorland space, which now feels as enclosed as the space across a table with a mouse-trap upon it. Good that I just named it, don’t you think? he grins, to help it come again to you more easily and stick inside your jaws less?—and this final double ss is like a pair of agonised, mutilated mosquitoes, separated from each other and trapped, one in each of my ear canals.
I’m unsure whether he is speaking with his mouth or his eyes, as he carries on: This is weird, isn’t it, Jaymi? These spaces and colours feel like they’re on a screen, not around you. These vistas may be backdrops! I may turn around inside your little stone chamber and bite your neck, any moment, don’t you think? Something’s deeply wrong, you know. It’s creepy, too. Look around… Yes, it’s creepy, Jaymi, isn’t it … but you must allow it’s alluring, so why not come and lick me and I’ll switch off your head?
As he swings himself around a column only three metres away, the moonlight flares off his big silver earring and the moisture on his canines. I’m struck once again by the unbelievable allure of Angel’s eyes, finding it hard to look away from his bewitching beauty. Jaymi, he confides through his eyes or his mouth, I’m careful that you don’t see my real stare of thirst through the dusk at you—my green flesh and sunken cheeks would scare you away. When you stare at the silver-mirrored windows of my black limousine, as it slithers and it oozes through the night-streets, you can’t see my face right in front of you, behind your own reflection, frozen in a grimace that has gripped me for hours into wet-burning shame and exhaustion in the darkness…
Deep longing flickers in his mesmerising eyes, and with that last unbearable sibilant in darkness comes a hiss among the carcass-columns, as of gas in air vents—its shiver like the quiver of the shadow-dagger stuck in Angel’s chest, with his whisper in my ear, Stroke the blade soft on Jaymi’s neck, while he sleeps… The air clanks thickly, every clank ringing on for many seconds, as mocking oily voices call Jaymi! … Jaymi! … Jaymi!…
Angel Deon’s face hangs huge in the sky above a space of cloud, staring out of mirrored contact lenses—shrieking eyes across the ghost town. Across his left pupil a silver plane flies, with a tiny fleck of dirt upon its ice-coloured nose. The fleck of dirt’s a camera and the nose is a bomb-nose, primed to broadcast live tonight on network television, hurtling down—what a rush! The sun shines cold from the red crystal skies of a lurid mountain sunset and the bomb falls silent, its momentum that of ten thousand trains or a march of giant pylons through a forest to infinity. As the east grows dimmer, an obscene fungal bomb-cloud sprouts from a city; burning towers flare, tiny cries shrivel upward and the air beats thick fire. A woman in Arabia with eyes like the desert tells a camera, “As we turn, an explosion booms across the Gulf, the earth shakes, the sky turns red, a sword of light flies from the sea, and towards us comes a wave as high as a ship. What’s the sword of light, you ask? Methane exploding, released from sediments beneath the Gulf bed.” Cut—to where a great Antarctic crust of ice, the Devil’s Ballroom, grinds and snaps and crashes to the ocean. That’s the sound of the atom splitting! Angel’s giant face whispers from the sky, with a honey-coloured knife-smile purring like a scalpel stroking velvet the wrong way.
The Imagination Thief by Rohan Quine is about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people’s imaginations and memories. It’s about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split between beauty and happiness in the world; and the allure of various kinds of power. It celebrates some of the most extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and language, exploring the darkest and brightest flavours of beauty living in our minds.