Why can’t places be clean?
My motel room was small. It had a single bed with a brown comforter and white pillows, a large television mounted on the wall, and a short, burgundy desk with scratches along its legs. A few rolled-up pieces of paper sat crumpled like rocks beneath it. There was a window opposite the door that captured an angled beam of searing vermillion from the hotel’s front sign. The glass was smudgy with fingerprints, saliva, and various other bodily fluids. Does anyone working here have attention to detail?
I stored my gun in a closet tucked by the bathroom door, which was another shade of brown, just like the carpet and everything else. I feel like I’m surrounded by dirt, like a gopher in a hole. That neon slash of light coming through the front might as well be the sun. It doesn’t take much for humans to feel like animals. Small spaces, a lack of color, a prevalence of shadows, they always made me unhappy. We’re not far off from feeling like a rodent in a cage.
The bathroom wasn’t much better in terms of pleasant lodging. It was a somber, white chamber of subway tiles, fluorescent light, and a square, wink of a mirror. Along its edges it was faded and tarnished, leaving just a single square in the center to see yourself in. I guess it was tired of seeing people.
There was a standing shower with a clear curtain that had stars of black mold on the bottom of it. A centipede dashed beneath the toilet as I walked inside. I hate those things. Anything that can move that fast for being so small is terrifying. There is just something about the way their legs move that makes me want to crawl onto the ceiling and live there. It is weird to have such fearful compulsions. I’ve been the grim reaper at times. The faraway devil perched on a hill waiting to ruin another family. Yet, a tiny bug scares me.
Life is so full of irony; I feel like I’m practically swimming in it sometimes.
I unlocked my suitcase and pulled out a spray bottle of bleach and some paper towels. There were check marks on the bottle. I like to keep track of how many times I’ve refilled it. I had packed them back in the states. This wasn’t my first time being booked into a hotel by the federal government. I sprayed everything I could in the bathroom, including that shower curtain that looked diseased. I would not use any linen. I brought towels, a sleeping bag, and even a pillow. The air stunk of dust, vodka, and sweat. Even my chemicals couldn’t drown out those smells. They were anchored to every surface.
The walls in this motel must’ve been lacking insulation, or rodents had confiscated it for their nests. Regardless, I could hear everything. Whispers, screams, words, music, thumps, and cries were continuous, not to mention the static hum of the sign outside my window. There was also the distant droll of the rooftop trains gliding over their metallic paths and the blare of ambulance sirens. It was like reality was an untuned orchestra of humanity. I brought headphones to blot it all out. I need complete silence to sleep.
I took off my combat armor and hung it on a rack that is stored in one of its compartments. When it is mounted and off my body, an emerald shield twinkles around it like a glossy shell. Nobody would dare steal it. Beyond the barrier, it has internal security. If it weren’t synced to you, it would crush you like a pack of ketchup.
I took a long shower after my cleaning ritual. The smell of bleach was sunk into my hand, even if I used gloves. I felt my body as I scrubbed myself with antibacterial soap, which was orange like a piece of old-fashioned candy my dad would always get me. I wish I could remember the name. I’m very unremarkable physically. I’m white, with brown hair and blue eyes. I’m tall, with long, arachnid-arms and a long torso. My body is covered in scars. My back, chest, legs, shoulders, and even my elbows have faint lines of incisions. They’re just creamy lines now, little vertical and horizontal maps across my flesh to problems I had when I was born. My parents told me I was lucky to be alive. I don’t remember what disease I had. My mom never told me. She said she didn’t want me to feel different.
I am different, look at me.
My face is clean shaven, round, and my nose is partially broken from a fight in a bar in Brazil. I was meeting a girl there. Her boyfriend showed up instead. The blemishes stop at my neck, like the surgeons wanted to spare my visage. My hair is long, curly, and parted in the middle. Once I got out of the military, it felt so relieving to have that carpet of stubs across my scalp grow out. I used to keep track of it with the camera on my phone.
I crawled into my sleeping bag and clamped my large headphones over my head. I rarely have dreams. It has been that way all my life. I am jealous of it. I wish they were there. The only thing I ever dream about is a glass wall, which is a deep indigo color that I’ve never seen matched before in reality. In the background of this image all I can hear are the lines: “Paint that coffin pearl blue. Going to bury that boy in periwinkle shoes.”
Then I hear gunfire. My gunfire.
I want different dreams.
Alright. We’re really rolling now. I hope you like Genesis Adust thus far. To read the rest of it or catch up, here are the rest of the entries: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four. Published weekly. Enjoy this cyberpunk mystery horror thing. I love writing it.