She appears to be in her twenties. Black hair tumbles over her shoulders, shot through with a jagged streak of grey. Her large eyes are grey, strange and piercing. Grey leather jacket, grey baby-doll t-shirt under it. No brand names, no slogans.
No, you haven't seen me in here before.
Sit down, David. You can't concentrate on your next line just standing there.
Yeah. I bet you do want to know how I knew your name.
Do you know what a Tulpa is, David?
It means someone had an idea that looked like me.
I'm a thoughtform.
That's very good. You're still sitting there. Very good.
Either you're very brave, or you just desperately want to have sex with me, eh?
A group of people thought of me. Created me out of nothing but ideas.
Tulpa is a Tibetan word, and it describes an entity that attains physical reality solely by the act of imagination. Created entirely from minds, never written, drawn or even spoken of.
I'm not real.
And I know your name because I can see into ideas. Your ideas about yourself. Your ideas about anything.
The difference between you and me is that you're anchored down in the system and I'm loose within it.
Yeah. I know. You can't stand up. That's me doing that. Sorry.
There's a place you go when you think. Did you know that?
Some people call it "ideaspace." William Burroughs reached it under yagé and named it the Composite City. The people who thought of me call it the Superflow.
It's where ideas live. It's where information comes from. It's where natural psychedelics take us. It's where sticky memes and urban legends breed.
Our brains are like computers -- but computers need to be told what to do. And all the code is transmitted out of the Superflow.
The Superflow isn't timebound. It retains the shape of all access throughout history.
Half of me is here and half is in the Superflow, surfing access points.
Half of me is here and half of me is walking the shore of the Hythe with Cunobelin, the first real king of England, in the year 33. He's united more of the country than any person before him. He'll even be recognised by Rome: Rex Cunobelin, it'll say, on the coins he has stamped with the sign for beer, of all things.
Half of me is talking with Hypatia of Alexandria, the Greek mathematician-philosopher -- four years before she's torn apart by a Christian mob for the crimes of being brilliant, a pagan, and a woman. You'll like this. Hypatia was beautiful, and a young student fell in love with her, believing her perfect. She cured him of it by producing her old period-staunching rags and saying, "This is what you love, young man, and it isn't beautiful!"
Half of me is appearing to Rene Descartes as an angel on the banks of the Rhine after he ate mushrooms in 1621. I'm the trip. I'm explaining the world to him. "The conquest of nature is achieved through measurement and number," I'm saying. Tomorrow, he'll record it in his diary. All modern science will be founded on this. All mathematical reason.
Half of me is making Jack Kennedy come in his pants from five feet away in 1961.
Half of me is being dominated in a sex club in Vancouver by a sacred whore who's going to release a hedonic reprogramming text that'll radically change Western sexuality in 2009.
I'm timeloose. I'm everything that ever happened.
And a lot of things that are going to happen. Because I was created in late December of 2012.
2012 is the next gate point after 2001. We won't notice, but things are going to start happening faster now.
Not for you, no.
I just came here to see what's going to happen to you.
See, when you were dumping your wife's body in the woods, you got scratched on the neck by a stray branch. Didn't you?
You didn't look at what was on the branch. No reason to. The scratch isn't healing very well, though, is it? It's swollen. It feels wrong. Today's been the worst. The skin's tight over it. It's pressing on your throat. You've got a doctor's appointment for tomorrow.
You won't make it, David.
Feel that motion against your throat? You want to cough, but there's the dull feeling of something tearing inside your neck. The fibers of your own flesh being pulled apart. The swelling's going to burst, you can feel it.
I wish you could see this. The skin's stretched so thin now that you can see what's inside, squirming in that sac of watery pus that's grown on your neck.
There. You felt it burst.
No. It hasn't burst on the outside, has it, David?
You feel that in your mouth?
That's about a hundred baby spiders erupting into your throat.
No, you won't be waking up again.
(C) Warren Ellis 2004 All right reserved
(SCREAM TALKING. Fifty short pieces. A complete work, more or less. This might be a dry run for something, I don't know. I'm half-thinking about maybe releasing Echo Grey into the world under a Creative Commons license of some kind. It amuses me to imagine people photoshopping Echo Grey into things, too. Or people being Echo Grey on the streets -- a monochrome figure in the real world. If anyone wants to put that kind of thing in the comments, go right ahead.)