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.The Lincoln re-mounted the kerb on the far side of the access road.It crushed a ten-yard section of the wooden palisade.The rear wheels regained their traction on the road surface and the car swung away on to the motor road above.I walked to the abandoned car and leaned against the roof.The passenger door had been crushed into the front fender, the deformed metal welded together by the impact.Thinking of Vaughan's scar-tissue, fused together in the same way along these arbitrary seams, contours of sudden violence, I retched emptily over a pool of acid mucus.As the Lincoln crushed the palisade Vaughan had looked back, his hard eyes calculating if he could make a second pass at me.Shreds of torn paper eddied through the air around me, pasting themselves at various points against the crushed door panels and radiator hood.Crash - J G Balard-0024CrashChapter 23Glass aeroplanes climbed into the sky above the airport.Through the brittle air I watched the traffic move along the motorway.The memories of the beautiful vehicles I had seen soaring down the concrete lanes transformed these once-oppressive jams and tail-backs into an endless illuminated queue, patiently waiting for some invisible slip road into the sky.From the balcony of my apartment I gazed across the landscape below, trying to find this paradisial incline, a mile-wide gradient supported on the shoulders of two archangelic figures, on to which all the traffic in the world might flow.In these strange days, as I recovered from my acid trip and my near-death afterwards, I remained at home with Catherine.Sitting here, my hands in a familiar grip on the arms of the chair, I watched the metallized plain below for any sign of Vaughan.The traffic moved sluggishly along the crowded concrete lanes, the roofs of the vehicles forming a continuous carapace of polished cellulose.The after-effects of the LSD had left me in a state of almost disturbing calm.I felt detached from my own body, as if my musculature were suspended a few millimetres from the armature of bones, the two joined together only by the few wound points which had been alerted when I flexed my legs and arms during the acid trip.For days afterwards segments of the experience returned intact, and I would see the cars on the motorway wearing their coronation armour, soaring along the causeways on wings of fire.The pedestrians in the streets below wore their suits of lights, as if I were a solitary visitor in a city of matadors.Catherine would move behind me like some electric nymph, a devotional creature guarding my gestures of excitement with her calm presence.At less happy moments the sluggish delirium and queasy perspectives of the grey overpass would return, the damp hypogeum at whose mouth I had seen the thousands of flies festering on the instrument panel of the car, on Vaughan's buttocks as he lay back watching me with his trousers around his knees.Terrified by these brief re-enactments, I held Catherine's hands as she pressed my shoulders, trying to convince myself that I was sitting with her by a sealed window in my own apartment.Often I asked her what period of the year it was.The light changes within my retina moved the seasons without warning.One morning, when Catherine had left me alone to take her last flying lesson, I saw her aircraft above the motorway, a glass dragonfly carried by the sun.It seemed to hang motionlessly over my head, the propeller rotating slowly like a toy aircraft's.The light poured from its wings in a ceaseless fountain.Below her, the cars soaring along the motorway marked on the plain of the landscape all the possible trajectories of her flight, laying down the blueprints of our coming passage through heaven, the transits of a technology with wings.I thought of Vaughan, covered with flies like a resurrected corpse, watching me with a mixture of irony and affection.I knew that Vaughan could never really die in a car-crash, but would in some way be re-born through those twisted radiator grilles and cascading windshield glass.I thought of the scarred white skin over his abdomen, the heavy pubic hair that started on the upper slopes of his thighs, his tacky navel and unsavoury armpits, his crude handling of women and automobiles, and his submissive tenderness towards myself.Even as I had placed my penis in his rectum Vaughan had known he would try to kill me, in a final display of his casual love for me.Catherine's car sat in the drive below the bedroom window.The paintwork along the left-hand side had been marked in some minor collision.'Your car - ?' I held her shoulders.'Are you all right?'She leaned against me, as if memorializing the image of this collision into our body pressures.She took off her flying jacket.Both of us had now made our separate love to Vaughan.'I wasn't driving - I'd left the car in the parking lot at the airport.' She reached out and held my elbows in her hands.'Could it have been deliberate?''One of your suitors?''One of my suitors.'She must have been frightened by this meaningless assault on the car, but she watched me examine it with a calm gaze.I felt the abrasions on the left-hand door and body panels, and explored with my hand the deep trench that ran the full length of the car from the crushed tail-light to the front headlamp.The imprint of the other car's heavy front bumper was clearly marked on the rear wheel guard, the unmistakable signature of Vaughan's Lincoln.I felt the curved groove, as clear as the rounded cleft between Vaughan's hard buttocks, as well-formed as the tight annulus of his anus which I could still feel on my penis during my erections.Had Vaughan deliberately followed Catherine, striking her parked car in a first gesture of courtship? I looked at her pale skin and firm body, thinking of Vaughan's car hurtling towards me among the concrete pillars of the overpass.Like Seagrave, I would have died in an acid death-out.I opened the passenger door, beckoning Catherine into the seat.'Let me drive - the light is clear now.''Your hands.Are you ready yet?''Catherine - ' I took her arm.'I need to drive again before it all goes.'She held her bare arms across her breasts, and peered into the interior of her car, as if searching for the flies which I had described to her.I wanted to show her to Vaughan.I started the engine and turned out of the courtyard.As I accelerated, the perspectives of the street swerved around me, leaning away from me as if streamlining themselves.Near the supermarket, a young woman in a plastic coat glowed with cerise light as she crossed the road.The motion of the car, its attitude and geometry, had undergone a marked transformation, as if they had been purged of all accretions of the familiar and sentimental.The surrounding street furniture, the shop-fronts and passers-by were illuminated by the motion of the car, the intensity of the light they emitted regulated by the passage of the vehicle I was driving.At the traffic lights I looked across the seat at Catherine.She sat with one hand on the window-sill.The colours of her face and arms revealed themselves in their clearest and richest forms, as if each blood cell and pigment granule, the cartileges of her face, were real for the first time, assembled by the movement of this car.The skin of her cheeks, the indicator signs guiding us on to the motorway, the cars parked on the roof of the supermarket, were clarified and defined, as if some immense deluge had at last receded, leaving everydiing isolated for the first time, like the features of a lunar landscape, a still-life arranged by a demolition squad.We drove southwards along the motorway.'The traffic - where is everyone?' I realized that the three lanes were almost deserted [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]