from Archetype Apocalypticist: As In Houses, So In Hives
Hexagon I: Calcinatio
The composite of my mother and my lovers ate the jelly before her death. Death came not by jelly. Six heirs to all her spoils are our daughters. Controller of the hollow waxen home—rummaging cupboards for the jelly—feasts before the six are woken. Jelly on the fingers; jelly in the gut; jelly, it congeals at the corners of her lips. She hides away what she’s not finished. Twelve eyes roll behind six heads into the many vague rooms of minds; something inside someone’s begins to burn.
Our sextuplets wake up and tend to the home until they’re famished. Their matriarch is a composite of my mother and my lovers stating that there isn’t any food and aren’t any stamps to purchase any more. She blames the father who is me, a name without a presence—exceptions being seldom when appearing in the night before the window and vanishing by dawn. As her mouth is moving, keeps one eye on my children and another on the cupboard. Twelve eyes of sextuplets dilate with growing hunger. Circling their mother—their stare becomes a compound eye. Twelve to process images of her sticky fingers and of the sweet smears about the corners of her lips. The room is vivid. Something inside someone begins to burn.
The composite woman flinches unwittingly, reiterates her statements—suddenly, a painful warming in her feet. The sextuplets study every curious behavior—her nose sniffing, flaring as if she smells the very smell of a smoldering home or fear. She takes her seat—shaken with alarm—and dreading her future, pauses. Sniffs the air once more; looks down; bursts into flame—her pants then catch spontaneously. She’s running aimlessly in panic; she is consumed by fire. In the center of her flame is a prophecy of things to come.
Angle A: Symptoms Index
Earth shall open up frequently and swallow cities whole. In the throes of autoimmunity, without a spark of rationality, the system shall collapse upon itself. Conflagrations shall spread in drier territories as continual rains flood other regions; nights shall flicker with violent electrical storms and days shall swelter with tropical warming in the former temperate zones. There’ll be rampant fungal infections and relentless insect infestations—these, the aftermaths of eccentric bio-warfare. The East and the West shall have successfully depleted one another of arms and resources. States shall crumble under the weight of economies obliterated. Governments shall be overthrown, their weapons turned against them.
Women and children will be walked around like animals on leashes—bartered as commodities of sex and labor. Cautionary rumors will spread of men turning into the most deviant nightmares after dark. Mutilated boys shall stalk the shadows and the alleyways. Slavers with snares and scavengers with traps shall prey on lonesome travelers. Depraved cannibals shall host barbecues in vacant lots. Inside-out Men shall expose themselves, obscenely; their putrid mucoskeletons anomalously glowing in the dark. Death and disease tolls shall rise hand in hand with global famine. There’ll be anarchy and remnant civil warring. Culture shall regress into its primitive origins.
Botanical overgrowths shall cover homes; trees shall uproot municipal buildings; vines shall spill out of broken windows of abandoned complexes. Hideous fungal forms shall branch and bloom out from the heads of the infected dead. Like wriggling confetti, Ascaris worms shall blast out from many orifices of their hosts. From derelict power plants, radiation shall spill into the oceans. Rivers shall turn to cesspools for cholera, Ebola, yellow fever, and malaria transmission.
Clouds shall hang lowly to the ground—seething with Chlorofluorocarbons. The sky shall be polluted a salmon hue. Malformed animals shall limp away awkwardly on cancerous limbs. As environmental power-vacuums pock each corner of the globe, insects shall ascend above all other scourges. Their legions shall come to be revered, our Vindicators, Judicators, Purifiers. Ants and cockroaches shall roam the earth, flies and locusts shall cloud the sky, fleas and chiggers shall claim the flesh, and mosquito larvae shall bloat the lakes and reservoirs; although it’ll be the honeybee who takes the lion’s share.
Once verging on extinction, then genetically modified as weaponry of biologic war—the honeybee shall become predominant and prove nearly indestructible. It shall forever change society with its redefining of the apiculture as culture built around the bee in accordance with the bees’ prerogatives. When the plague cults form inevitably, faith shall follow in the bees’ divine attempt to purify. Its self-sacrificial qualities shall be compared to Attis, Adonis, and Osiris—while seen as Christ-like in its unconditional love for the entirety of its hive. It shall be vengeful. The oral law shall be transmitted that honeybees—having overcome their human subjugators—are rightfully the word-made-chitin of a biblical “meek.” Ergo, the choral hymn shall be: “Blessed are the Hymenoptera, for they will inherit the earth.”
Angle B: Within a Bunker Underneath the World
Enemies exploit their weaknesses; six bald sisters huddling together in the small dim room can do little but to listen to the enemy smashing itself against the sealed off hatch outside of the bunker—its massive swarm of diminutive bodies splattering on impact. The bees will be at this all day; although, they will amass in various formations. Outside is a battlefield of insects and men of warring factions. The bald sisters scream at one another to be heard. They’d been completely shaven in accordance with a militaristic code of hygiene and had long been rendered sterile by nuclear contamination. The bald sisters are screaming over the enemy’s cacophony; they do this in order to plan. They’re deciding on the best possible time and route for transportation of the honey vat. The time must come soon and precisely.
The vat takes up a large amount of space within the middle of the bunker; the honey in the vat is a preservative; the preservative contains the psychonaut. She is mad within the honey in a trance-like state. Her face reflects a sense of frozen torment. She, the psychonaut, is remaining motionless—traversing the subconscious planes of motherhood and loathing. She is pregnant with her brother’s child—a fetal boy stuck like a pupa in the in-between realms, neither dead nor alive—less than developing, more like festering. Drawing inward spitefully while simultaneously looking outward in the presence of her company—the psychonaut is in suspended animation.
Collected in North America by Europeans salvaging what humans remained. For storage purposes she was embalmed within a psychoactive vat of honey. Those embalmed are often labeled “psychonauts” because the honey used in the embalming process is a known psychedelic substance. Her vat among many others was bartered off to the Metropolis of Philadelphia, in Asia, in exchange for other goods and services. Fortunately, in training, the sisters studied the lower-income dialects of North America. They could speak to her in their best rendition of her native intercity cant.
The sterile bald sisters in the bunker do not know or care who this woman is. To them, she’s just another pregnant psychonaut—biding the duration of her term within the blissful viscosity of psychoactive honey. For all the sisters know, the psychonaut is an indisputably priceless and prized specimen. She and her unborn child are uncontaminated—unscathed by the influence of radioactive substances which are prevalent in Asia. She and her male progeny will be fertile assets to the Birth Camps. In mere hours she will be extracted from her vat, dripping head-to-toe with syrupy residue. By a crude system of pulleys she’ll be hanged upside down and spanked until coughing, gasping, breathing. Once born, her son will likely make an exceptional stud.
Gazing through a hexagon upon this strange scenario, I closely identified with this woman stuck in honey who’d reminded me of a composite being representative of my own sisters. The resemblance was uncanny—unnerving to the core.
Botulism was unfortunately detected in the vat before arriving to the bunker. Avoiding a breach upon the Underground Laws of Asepsis, the sisters refuse to drag their bounty through the labyrinthine network of tunnels which would lead directly to the Birth Camps. Since daylight travel among the insect hordes would pose a fatal risk to the psychonaut in honey, they decide to transfer her by nightfall.
Pulling on the heavy vat by chains, they traverse the roach encrusted lands in the midst of a fungal spore storm. Contagious bio-aerosols of all colors and shapes dance phosphorescently like embers in the dark. Shielded by protective masks and coveralls—equipped with rubber hoses on their fumigation backpacks—they clear the air and pathways with a disinfecting mist.
Trudging all night through the veil of fungal spores they will reach their destination before morning. Words hiss softly through their ventilators as some time is spent hypothesizing on the futile reconstruction of the State. For navigational purposes an emaciated child was loosened from a crate. She was patted on the head and fed a mackerel from a can. She was well-conditioned to perform; geo-reception and critical navigation were her specialties. Bound by leash and collar, the child guides them to the nearest Birth Camp of the remnant army. For her loyal services, she’ll one day earn her rights to clothes. Being dragged by the ropes of six sisters who follow the bearings of an emaciated child both the psychonaut and I intently listened to the piecemeal knowledge and information that one would tell to any stranger when traveling an even stranger land.
Angle C: Mad honey
Intoxicant honey taken from the giant honey bee, Apis laboriosa, is mainly derived from the baneful rhododendron. In smaller doses it may cause drunkenness; in larger doses it is moderately psychedelic; although in overdoses it is often deadly. Midway into the Technological Era, ancient toxicologists had identified specific grayanotoxins found within the honey which have startling effects upon the central nervous system. These grayanotoxins are responsible for the induction of sensual, hallucinogenic, and euphoric states of consciousness. Those who eat mad honey commonly experience whirling lights, difficulty breathing, and, possibly, vision-questing as they may stumble to the floor with Dionysian giddiness. Several monastic orders throughout the world have developed ritualistic harvesting, or “honey-hunting,” practices in order to extract the desirable intoxicant from massive nesting complexes. Today these hives can be found enveloping most edifices: buildings, trees, large bridges and other structures. Once rare, existing solely on the remotest cliffs and bluffs of the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas, the giant honeybee of today is considered a widespread epidemic. The variant species, Apis oligarchia laboriosa, is predominant within the urban ruins of Asia and Europe, as well as the Americas. Where only the swollen dead of mankind are ever seen in daylight, the crumbling cities are no longer traversed without personalized fumigators, coveralls and ventilated masks worn accordingly with nighttime travel; although, certain zealots and fanatics will often put their lives at stake to journey among the insects rousing by the light of day.
The Urban Fathers of Asia are a discrete sect of monks who honey-hunt biannually by daylight; they use a crude yet sacred assemblage of wooden tools specifically designed for honey extraction. They are known to craft makeshift climbing equipment in order to belay and repel from a number of towering structures—similar to the once-used rope-ladder method of re-colonized North America, or the more elaborate scaffolding techniques noted throughout Europe. Once the honey is extracted, the mad ceremony will commence. This entire rite of process is religiously planned and executed accordingly to undisclosed dogmata; although the mad ceremony, in which monks ingest mad honey, can be fairly scrutinized as a purely alchemical tradition. A monk who chooses to eat mad honey is transformed into the madman who surrenders unto madness so that he may see outside of his perspective—beyond the comforts of his zealous practices. The initiate monk shirks responsibility for any of his actions; he eats the honey in unmeasured quantities; he becomes the madman, his antithesis; the mad monk abandons his traditionalist views and highly ordered faith in order to perceive the notion that mental discord and the natural world are both one and the same as spiritual form and organization. It is believed that many Urban Fathers who partake in the mad ceremony do not return as the men they were before. The prevalence of mental illness within monastic society is yet unknown but speculators predict high percentages with ratios well outnumbering the sane.
In society as it (hardly) exists today, the honey-hunt also serves the laymen. Other byproducts, such as wax and royal jelly, collected on the hunt are bartered to communities in trade for other goods and services. Wax is often used for adhesion of various wares, tools and weaponry, among many other uses; caches of royal jelly—a well-balanced superfood, when obtainable—may be eaten readily and harmlessly. Thus, wax and royal jelly are highly valuable commodities. It should be of note that the honey collected is by no means ever traded—leaving the lot of it reserved exclusively for ceremonies. Other than serving as an effective intoxicant, the honey may also be used as an effective embalming agent to preserve the dead or to perpetually extend the transient state of the mad who choose to live.
Angle D: Maps of Isolation
While North America has been wholly infested, there are still patches of post-civilized men in Europe and in Asia. In Asia, there are six remaining cities out of seven—correspondently named after their founding churches. The bulk of the continent has long been drowned by the rising ocean. Metropolises of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia range from 6-720 meters above sea level on average. Each metropolis encompasses no more than 120 km2, of which roughly 107 km2 accounts for land and 13 km2 are fresh waterways. Each metropolis remains sparsely peopled while densely infested with the likes of nature. Likely due to fading or fragmented understandings of climate change and plate tectonics it is widely taught that each hive-infested metropolis had been erected entirely by zealots under the direct supervision and inspiration of the bees in order to oppose the constellation of six whirling bright lights in the sky which are representative of the six international war generals forever immortalized by the lingering aftermaths of the GMO War.
Once a year, to spite the legacy of the GMO War Generals and their remnant factions but to also commemorate the predominant rise of honeybee populations and to assert the ideology of the free-ranged family, zealots will voluntarily be pinned down by fine spikes to specialized planks called mounting boards. This is also in memoriam of specimens, a once-discriminated social class of arthropods. For the entirety of this Pinning Ceremony zealots will face upward to their nemeses in the sky. Large fine pins are driven directly into mounting boards passing easily through flesh and bone. All forms of self-dissection and organ splaying may be exhibited for the duration of a full circadian rhythm. The final pin that is placed within the last hour of the ceremony by an officiating monk, commonly called the hobbyist, is fatal. The pin of the hobbyist directly pierces the hearts of voluntary specimens—self-righteous acts of assisted suicide.
Angle E: The Love Cults of Laodicea
The seventh metropolis of Asia now sinks deeply under water—once the home of love cults. Love cults were noteworthy for their strict adherence to the ideology and practice of the free-range family. Since agrarian lifestyles were possible in Laodicea, the free-range model was common upon mated pairs. Families, for at least a portion of the day, were permitted to freely participate in outdoor activities and work. This model was opposite to the Birth Camps of considerably more dangerous metropolises—where being confined for 24-hours a day for the duration of one’s life was calculated pragmatism. The most documented of these love cults are the Parasite Lovers, the Vegetable Lovers, and the Insect Lovers respectively.
Parasite Lovers adopt the habits of various organismic parasites for courtship, mating, and homemaking practices. The parasite husband carves a hollow space into the thickest portion of his lover. His lover’s thigh or backside is a common area selected; however, carving into the breast has only proven problematic for child-rearing purposes. This concavity will provide a permanent living quarters for the parasite husband. Before stepping into her, he will prepare by removing his shoes and refusing any water until he shrivels to the adequate fit of the lover’s concavity. Once inside, the parasite husband’s skin will grow into hers and her around his. His lover will innervate him and deliver a balance of nutrients through a shared blood supply. Within his consummation vows he will sincerely state his wishes to drain what he needs from her but never too much that she would die. Before courtship the parasite husband often makes sure to fall into as many debts with as many business partners as he can; his lover shall repay them all. Marriage becomes a process through which he may harp upon his lover’s finances and achievements for his benefit. The parasite lover needs to be sure to keep his lover as strong and as healthy as possible for as long as he can. He requires his lover in order to survive.
The Vegetable Lovers are said to have died out very early on in the Post-civilized period of Laodicea. Likely, the early disappearance of Vegetable Lovers was due to their uncompromising refusal to procreate—or their refusal to do anything practical. Vegetable Lovers, once coupled, would remove their shoes promptly after vows. Burying their legs to mid-thigh in sand or in charnel ground ashes—Vegetable Lovers would stare through each other’s eyes, scanning deeply to the backs of their skulls until they’d learned so much about their lover that there was nothing more to learn. Vegetable Lover’s married lives became so boring and predictable that they foresaw no other point in life but waiting patiently until the whole ordeal of it was over. There, half-buried in the ground, they’d wait until their deaths—silent and motionless—just as they had promised to one another in their vows.
The insect husband preferred decapitation upon intercourse for optimal release; although, sadly, this form of sexual kink occurred just once within a marriage. Copulation would last about 40 to 70 hours. An insect husband’s head had been widely accepted as something highly nutritious for the development of progeny. It is speculated that Insect Lover’s also were quite brutal in both familial ideology and practice. The Insect Lovers movement started in Laodicea at the dawn of the Darwinian Revival period; ergo, functional cannibalism was not uncommon. Even prevalent among the newly born, stronger and more robust infants would often eat the weaker. Insect husbands chose mates indiscriminately; any stranger or familial member would have been adequate. Selection was of course dependent upon availability and convenience. Much of the Insect Lover’s customs beyond these piecemeal disclosures remain unknown. Any further evidence of their mysterious courtship and homemaking rituals have been drowned, unfortunately, beneath the water with them.
Angle F: Birth Camps
On the inner walls of the Birth Camps propaganda drawings have been rendered by armed guards. The drawings were made in order to reimage the human body as a self-sufficient factory. In the camps these “factories” are made to reproduce the human product that may be used for food, military or industrial services, entertainment, or to serve as a member of a closed-circuit family. Birth Camps are not permitted to comply with the moral and biological hygiene codes of the Remnant Military Camps. However strict quality control of humans used for service may result in a rejected product for reasons of ugliness, congenital defects, or moral deviance. Dismemberment of the rejected human product often occurs within the industrialized confines of a Birth Camp. Ergo, Birth Camps often will evoke the essence of an abattoir rather than a processing plant. Those who are dismembered which are not discarded from the site are humiliated in the yard for weekly entertainment. When this lowly class of circus clowns becomes considerably dull its members are cast out into the wilderness—branded with distinctive marks upon their foreheads, signifying they are sons and daughters of the Armageddon.
The act of homosexuality has been deemed unproductive; however, it is encouraged among the predominately female military ranks. Heterosexuality is mandatory and enforced on members of the middle class—who exclusively contribute to the Birth Camp population. Upper classmen however are at liberty to explore their gender preferences. A purposeful commoditization of sexuality and the ideology of a closed-circuit family were systemized in hope of reestablishing the human progress of industry and a gradual return to civil order. Social cast systems have been in place not to submit to or assimilate within the predominant apiculture but to mimic a natural competiveness with an underlying manifesto that implies a strong desire to overthrow and eventually exterminate the ruling insect race.
The middle class are slaves to a potentially indefinite debt because of the expenses paid and services rendered for their well-being. They are closely protected and monitored by the military; the enclosures they live within, moreover, are subsidized by upper-classmen. In the Birth Camps, men and women work qualitatively in order to pay off all their debts; they work to quantify the military, the Birth Camps, and the food supply with human product. A man and woman who consistently meet their annual quotas for the twenty years duration are promised the ultimate reward. They will be retired into a closed-circuit family. The man and woman will be placed into a close-circuit home with its very own yard. It will be the duty of the woman to maintain a yard for entertainment. The woman’s yard shall be clean-shaven and free of insects for optimal spousal participation. The home will be made of glass so that field trips may be arranged for Birth Camp workers to observe—at any time of day or night—the joys of retirement and homemaking. The man and woman will be allowed to produce children of their own who will not be stripped away from them at birth. The man and woman will find unmitigated pleasures—raising their offspring in the comfort of a home until their children reach the acceptable level of sexual maturity, qualifying them as persons fit for labor in the Birth Camps. Although new recruits to Birth Camps are usually dragged up to the gates, in terror, by an entourage of guards—they will inevitably be greeted at the entrance with a modicum of class and wit and charm by a concierge of undiluted hospitality.
The honeycomb; the scutes of a turtle’s carapace; the ideal crystalline structure of graphine and Hanksite; Benzene, the simplest aromatic compound; the James Webb Space Telescope—efficient polygons with six edges and six verticals. A regular hexagon has six rotational symmetries and six reflection symmetries; these make up the dihedral group D6. Its longest diagonals connect to diametrically opposite vertices; these vertices are twice the length of one side. The regular hexagon can be segmented into six equilateral triangles. In a hexagonal lattice the plane is tiled with minimal surface area. Thus, in honeycomb construction, wax is efficiently conserved while optimally strengthening the hive against compressive forces. Another example of geometric efficiency is that of the three-dimensional hexagonal cell. The edges of each cell are trihedral sections of rhombic dodecahedra. All adjacent surfaces of these dihedral angles measure 120°—the very angle which minimizes surface area for a given volume. The sum of all angles is 720°.
Each angle’s significance, the symbolic nature of every numerical sequence, may occupy the obsessive compulsions of a schizotypal worldview. When strictures of activities of daily life are implemented, the number of actions will be equal to the number of the sum of all angles; the number of restricted actions will be the same number as the number of seconds in an Autumnal circadian rhythm. It should be noted that these numbers are more important than the content of actions performed. This is intentional, sheer numerology. Cleansing of the forewing via the mandible is to be performed the exact number of times as the antennae will be cleansed. Religious ritualism is within a similar realm of obsessive behavior. The number of Hail Marys must directly correlate to the exact succession of rosaries beads. If these things are not done in a meticulously sequential manner soundness of mind cannot be ensured within the individual; if the individual is not sound of mind, the individual will become wayward and contribute to the certain end of the societal hive-mind, a spiral winding down into discord. The system is narrow and polar—having no value for overarching concepts of entropy.
Elytron Frass is a self-taught writer and visual artist. When not hard at work in his profession, he studies entomology and the occult within his home and abroad. His poems have been published in The Philadelphia Independent and Tim Peeler’s small press magazine, Third Lung Review.