like the black hole-bound galactic tempest sweeping across eons of empty space receding through time, atavism that I am. I am that. I am not not that, that that I am; not that I am not-not. I am-am. I am seven billion billion billion empty atoms bleeding through a fucking pinhole, the percolate ocean seeping, current-swept cephalopod suppurating pus, darkness disembogued like ejaculate in water, wash of wavering welkin dust in light in color in sound in incalculable infinity.  I am everything. E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Eve, writhing.


I am time mE i aM iT


time tessellates threescore, temporal tides touching, a tryst I witness, wreathed in sound. What will betide? Tumbling untethered, thoughts tattered, torn tittle.

F o l
, g n i


Fermenting fractal shifting shift shit, oh shit oh god oh Jesus fuck the gobbing geometric gyre groping, giants gangbang glad for gore a game going gonzo go GO nonono


time is gone I am gone i.e. go ego-free we go, no know we nowhere why? Know now. Without form, impassive.

Discontinuity.       Disc






of plumbless



that this

is all




l              lolling






in lambent, lonely emptiness. Waves of nothing.


n     o      t      h      i      n      g




Not nothing. A river. Waves. Tide. Sound. All around me.




Systematic entropy. Echoes. Everything echoes. Everything. Echoes. Everything. Echoes. Everything echoesechoesechoeseverythingeverythingechoeseverythingechoeseverythingechoeseverythingechoeseverythingechoeseverythingechoeseverything

I hear everythingiheareverythingeyeyearaverythinkihurrynothinghereivory

Again and again and again, electronic ether innerving my exhausted eardrums, exciting exaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ohhhhhhhhhfffuuuuuuuuuuuck

roiling rhythmic rape that HURTS harmonic hatefuck hollowing have I heard my last?

Regressing. Redshift. Regurgitating radial roundelays, ruminant RAPE resonances descend bite ANH ANH ANH gnawing feeding on every last molecular iota convalescing, disassemble, reassemble, deteriorate, design, rebuild, decay, dissolve. Dee’s table eyes. Distally destructed.


I am nothing, deconstructed by Sound itself. Almighty the rhythm, the shaking


F                                                 C

 U                                                   K




The floor opens. Darkness shines, swallows the last pinhead of light gravitationally. Kaleidoscoping buttresses of noise evict my consciousness the way an airstrike evicts a family from a thatched hut. I flee from myself, rapacious for freedom from sound good FUCK




My head






Returns to form. Goes again. STOP.

Return. Go.


Spinning. My body takes the shape of the sound, a wriggling, flaccid thing. Floating, libidinous volleys of noise, exeunt! The universe escorts me politely off the stage of existence, dizzy, dysphemic. I do not belong. “I” is a dirty word.






I don’t even NEED to breathe

















































































holyfuck I see it. Death is just a misunderstanding with Time. I understand.

Even better.



I’m standing on it. A bridge. The bridge, as it were. As it is.

I’m standing on a bridge is a bridge existing below me?

I am only eight years old. Eight eighty eight hundred yearsssssssss

White mist rain smothering my neonate skin, rubbing raw. Exposed, I press forward. Into the fog. White on white clouds, corded clamshell ruffle clouds, warm as vaporized sweat against my neck and                did I just hear




No. Couldn’t be.




I heard I know I heard


the universe






cannot be






a quiet








must be







the birth of a universe must be sound incarnate.





Is that what I heard?
 The sound of Existence.
Capital “E.” The voice of


















issssssss s s  s  t      i     l     l



sinking. Sinking,


I let itsss











The tunnel-bridge shifts, is shifting, is moving like a creature through water swaying, almost—more like—breathing. Fuck that is sickening. What is this thing? Where is it taking me?

My heart is out of rhythm. I feel like throwing up. Feel my heart every third beat, throwing itself against the wall behind my sternum.

My stomach turns. Throw up. I want to. Just thinking about it makes me gag. Ugh.







fucking everywhere. Covered. Shirt, legs, arms, finger sticky wet warm marshmallow goo warm and stringy something solihhhhhh





ohhh god ohhhhhhhhhhhhh

hot hot hot gag fuck. It’s already cooling against my clothes. Stale. That acid smell. Cold. That was fast. What happened? When did I eat last?

Glue between my fingers. Spread them out. Acid glue, little specks of brown phlegm, snot and food drying on my palm. Feel it dangling from my nose. Wet on my leg. God, that mephitic fucking smell I’m standing in


Something changed.


The chair.

The chamber.


I was



      a b r i d g e

I was standing on                             above a river.




not a bridge
not a river


I’m surrounded by them—both of them—on it and under it and over it. All at once. Above me is an ocean of white. To my side, both sides. Front and back. Above and below. White fog whorls and reaches with skeletal tendrils like the rangy fingers of some osseous phantom, stretching at me, begging come closerrrrr then dissipating. But there’s something else. It’s hard to say.

An emptiness at my periphery. Darkness skirting the edges of my vision. Like—

if I look over


but there is just more ashy snowy static, a river, for lack of a better word. The bridge-tunnel swims around to receive my steps whichever way I turn. I can’t look at this whole shifting mess. It’s making me  hrrnnnnnn fuck


What is this?


The mist dances and flurries, not like water. Niveous. Like snow. Static blazing, like tuning to a dead frequency. The bridge moves through it; a tunnel of it—static? Or is it ash?—and I am surrounded by the tunnel-bridge, so I guess this is my ride for the foreseeable. I’m in a whale made of pure noise.


Assess. Stay calm. Get your bearings.

See: Static. Tunnel. See §: (aforementioned) Whale, Noise, Swallow.

Taste: My own gag.

Smell: Same. Also, something more rancid, perhaps. If I am being eaten, and it stands to reason that indeed I am, then surely whatever this thing had before me will be digested in here.


Scream as loud as I


I am deaf.

I. Am. DEAF. Either this place is silent like the chamber or I am deaf. From the noise of creation, most likely. Exiting, transitioning, existing. That horrible adenoidal screeching. The closest thing I can call it. I remember

Crawl. Get away. Crawl stay on your belly stay low stayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy fuck

shaking. Earthquake. The earth broke apart, swallowed me up. Resolve to lay supine covering my ears on a bed of not-snow, not-ash, devoid of being, consumed by sound?

A flashback: popping. Something—inside. A sickening crunch. Convolved spiriferously, bones crunching under the weight of the wave. To the point that at one notable moment (I cannot actually believe I remember it? Although I feel like I do. Am I fabricating this now? Is my mind compensating for lost time?) I lost control and gave in and

I existed as a wave. It took me and I became a literal, real, wave. I became sound.
Rolling upon myself.  ouroboros

Then: pain. Mordant, awful agony. Surfeit and rote. Unspectacular. Just. Fucking.


As I’ve never before experienced it.


Realization: It’s a war, and I’ve been caught in the middle. No-man’s land. This is it. Bombs on either side, a vehement hailstorm of decibels, playing for keeps (this time).

Oh, yes. The war of AM; of Being. Contrasting ideologies between the sides. “IS” and “IS NOT.” They both want the other to be false. Subatomic ionization for control of what?

My soul?

What the fuck do I matter, anyway?

I want to scream it. Scream into the belly of this beast. But I cannot make a sound over the forever G R I N D I N G against forever endless erosionless friction. A pulse. Seething, deafening. Breaking me down. I’ll be digested soon enough.

Consciousness is a pulse, one of many, lost in the main. The open ocean.

A wave.










jīvá. Living.


That is, generically speaking: a wave is a living thing. i.e. “Signs (sines) of life.” It all makes senseI know what the cicadas were saying.

My chest feels odd. Something off in my lung. Maybe the lung itself is off track. A wet sensation; the way fog is wet. Pressure. Soreness in my ribs. I feel…

P  u  l  l  e  d .

My skin shakes against the bone, rubber limbs quivering like tuning forks rapped against the stone jaw of God and stuffed inside a wet meatsack.

Break my neck to look at my watch. Correction: watches. I’m wearing three.

Neon green seaweed lines dance across the void, vibrating softly, sultry as sirens calling from the darkness beyond the bridge.


Thomas Roan | DRIP - A psychedelic mixed-media narrative experience that goes beyond the page to transport the reader beyond death.


I think I’m gonna be sick again.


Grasp the edge and lean.


L E A N.


Déjà vu.

Am I leaning out or in or

Close my eyes. Fuck don’t let go





what—was I?             And now?

What is this place?

Remember. I need to—

Listen. I can’t hear but I can feel it. The flow. Soft lacustrine roar, dim but powerful. Don’t let go. Hold tighter. It can have you if it wants you. You (ME, I) have to fight. Remember: “I.” Remember.

Me. Time.

The essence of nature is flow.

Impossibility is the birth-place of life, of existence, of I. It is Mother. It is the source. Energy and null. Diffraction and atrophy. I see the shape of all things


Thomas Roan | DRIP - a psychedelic mixed media web serial experiment that goes beyond the page to transport you beyond death. Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Trippy, Hallucinatory, Dark, Surreal, Surrealistic, Bizarre, Bizarro, Trailer, Teaser, BIG Creative Designs, David David Katzman, A Greater Monster, The Wasp Factory, Smart, Intelligent, Brilliant, Genius, Complex, Intricate, Puzzle, Theory, Conspiracy, Tiered, Narrative, Experience, Immersive, Innovative, Interactive, Fiction, Web Serial

is endless




How did I get here? Open my eyes, watch the rolling spinning whale screaming through eternal




A     R     E                           Y       O       U                       T   I   M   E


nothing—what?                                                           what’s that?


Yes. I am Time, I tell the far-off voice. Of course. I believe we



No. That’s not what it said.
It—they—said. A voice. Said.

Turn. No, wait. Don’t. Just hold on. Static plays nasty tricks. Don’t look. It will go away. Whatever it is. Just stare into the fog. But with your eyes closed. There, that’s better. Breathe




and relax. Goddamnit.

The voice, louder now. Reaching. Loud enough for me to feel the vibrations when they speak. A noise just beyond my ken. Batted back by sucking, sibilant static. The river isn’t even loud anymore. I just feel it more than I hear it. My jaws ache. I’m grinding my teeth. My skull is vibrating with the continuous roar of the static, it’s doing something to meeee


The bridge undulates, sharing soft vibrations with my feet. I need to move. If I don’t move now, I’ll never get my sea legs.

Gentle, easy does it. There, that’s it.

My toes kindly transport the static waves up, beyond the shins, through the knees, thighs, abdomen. It ends in my jaw. Just hold tight. You’re hearing things. You need to get a grip before






I can’t make it out. I look around. Nothing.





Spin on my heels. The river groans in my chest. Turning slowly, trying not to vomit again.

It sounded like it came from




t   h   e   r   e

the fuck?






W  H  O  I  S


I have it

I think, Oh fuck I think I have it. I think this over the sound of metal ramming against even harder metal, a flaccid reverberation bookending my every thought, mesmerism I’ve come to appreciate in the last seventeen hours.

They called Dr. Soliman in to see my little sideshow.

I can’t see his face right now, but the very thought of that wrinkled Egyptian prick sweating bullets on the other side of fourteen tons of reinforced gabion barrier dividers feng shuied with double-paned shock-absorbant palladium glass makes my cock throb inside my black and gold neoprene suit. And that’s saying something because this suit is so tight my veins can only barely innervate my extremities and vital organs to the appropriate vasomotor tone required for consistent blood pressure.

Sweetheart, stop. I know what you’re thinking.

And after six months of planning, replanning, articulating and rearticulating ad nauseam every step of this ludicrous final act, I think I can manage one little subroutine.

Anything you can do I can do
in a literally indistinguishable fashion

It wasn’t easy getting into the observation chamber. The server key Gordon generated gave me clearance to the lower levels of the research wing and from there I just kind of improvised.

Did you like that sweet little number I did on the door system, babe?

Engaging the all-stop mechanisms on the fire doors was last minute improv, but I think it was a stroke of genius. Soliman requested those doors personally. Had us install one twelve feet behind every point of ingress, per the city’s stringent regulatory mandate. Of course, even with his clearance, he still needed a verified signature from the Director of Security to sanction construction.

My signature.

They call this empty space between doors a “decontamination field.” They tell me it’s useful if one of the chambers suddenly—oh, I don’t know, say—erupts in an inordinate detonation of fire and unstable elements and shrapnel and cryogenic fluid and viscera and bits of fabric and magnetic superconductors and chunks of concrete and teeth. This way, they won’t have to quarantine the upper end of San Benito County, just maybe… the Praxem block would be my ballpark guess.

I feel pretty good about the vial of milky liquid I’m holding in my hands. It has a pearlescent shimmer, a vague iridescence which affects a sort of odd queasiness. Like the thing I am about to taste might kill me, or it might seriously maim me, leave me voiceless, unable to communicate with the outside world, unable to spit or swallow and so drooling like a catatonic freak for all the interviews and witness depositions and testimonies and whatever else I would be forced to endure after voiding every Safety and Regulatory clause of my sixty-four page employee contract and performing what will undoubtedly be called, internally at least, UNAUTHORIZED ACTIONS.

In Gordon’s defense, he’s really telling the truth when he says, “Dr. Soliman, I am so, so sorry, I had no idea he would do this.”

Because in fact, I believe the words I used were: “I just…” and here I got all choked up. Turned on the waterworks. Gordon is exactly the kind of hapless romantic sap that would dilate at the emotional vulnerability required to impart such a moment of weak resolve. “…I just need to see her, Gordon. Will you help me or not?”

The truth is, I needed to see Amara’s Dosage Manifest. This data is confidential. Praxem logs the DM only once: in the individual participant archives.

This way, if a trial is found to have exposure, the results can never be said to have been caused by intentional duplication. This is just one of the countless protocols we instituted for propriety’s sake. Because if we actually did it; if one of the observers managed to cross into an afterlife state and bring their chamber to equilibrium such that communication could be established between states, we wouldn’t want some minor nuance like observer bias bleeding all over our massive funding checks, now would we?

The pounding reaches a fever pitch just as I’m adding the final distilled solution to the IV drip bag. I’m trying not to let my muscles react to the stimulus; one wrong jolt and the dosage goes into the supremely resonant metal floor panels, and my date with Death will be on pause for an indeterminate amount of time, e.g., 5-10 years without the possibility of parole.

Maybe longer.

Still, I’m rushing the prep phase, whereas typically an intern-level analyst with a polypropylene clipboard and dermally-grafted laboratory goggles reads me an onboarding checklist complete with a call-and-response bias-eradicating Yes-or-No questionnaire to determine my mental acuity and realign the “voluntary status” section of my profile with corporate standards (checked YES every time in triplicate). This is, of course, designed to minimize legal, ethical, and religious liability in the event that the chamber reduces my necessary biological systems to a fine paste.

Speaking of which, when was the last time I ate?

Note it in the chart. I don’t have time to order out.

So far I’ve run through three of the five necessary phases of orientation and prep. My “To Do List” flashes behind my eyes in bold red and green Christmas palette:

  1. Seal the observation quarters
  2. Determine dosage from Amara’s 2A chamber logs
  3. Administer same dosage, as retrieved during Step 2 (above)
  4. Sync the resonance frequency controller with Amara’s last dated jump, then create a feedback loop on the console to ignore alternate jump destinations in the event of a time-lapse error function (i.e. when the computer says, Sorry Mason, I can’t send you there; that frequency no longer exists or has already been fabricated once during trials, I will use this handy command courtesy of my ex-buddy Gordon to reject the timeout sequence until the program prompts for supervisor override, which Gordan has also so kindly provided. This will put me on the same resonance they used for Amara’s last jump.
  5. Enter the chamber, strap in, and hope to god they sell breath mints in the afterlife. In all my manic slap-dash cockamamy frenzy this morning, I forgot to brush my teeth before I left the house.

I use my teeth to tear the corner off a Prevantics swab pouch and hammer out a circle on the most accessible stretch of my Basilic vein. The neoprene suit is designed with holes at the pit of each elbow and on the backs of the hands where the veins are most exposed. I slide the syringe-tipped IV catheter into my arm and rotate the drip regulator to the ON position, full slide on the roller clamp for maximum flow. The little transparent chamber just below the plastic specimen baggy fills with the opaque milky substance, and I try not to let myself feel lightheaded.

drip drip drip

Step three is check. Step four to begin post haste. Roll and dose, people. Roll and dose.

Whoever made IV stands mobile is a fucking genius.

The pounding outside the door to Chamber 2A has stopped momentarily. I wonder if they’ve figured out they’ll never, ever, ever, ever break through the safety measures they paid a cool $156 million for, and thank-you-very-much-mister-or-misses-anonymous-benefactor, sir or madame.

Check my watch. 1107 hrs. Amara hit resonance at 1123 hrs.

Sixteen minutes to get strapped.

“The bootup sequence on the console takes roughly three minutes.”

Thank you, Gordon. Your insight in this matter has been revolutionary. I need the timing on this to work flawlessly, or this was all for naught.

Sixteen minus three for bootup leaves thirteen minutes for precursory procedures, which are to include magnetic cooling (eight minutes), atmospheric stabilization (four minutes, but can overlap cooling phase), and my final lock-and-dock sequence, which should take about sixty seconds, all accounted for.

I’ve been practicing at home.

The chair inside the Chamber has two restraint systems: one set for my ankles, and another for my wrists. The ankles are easy to fix. Sit down and strap them on the old-fashioned way. But the wrists are trickier. The backrest of the chair sits at a slight decline, about forty degrees—from what I could figure after trial-and-error at home—so leaning up to tighten the wrist straps is something of an abductor challenge, but it is doable. I’ll have to adjust the straps to the first loop manually before sitting down, then readjust with my teeth once I’m in position.

I need this to happen at ±0:01. That’ll give me sixty seconds to speak the magical words that will make all this work, I think dryly as I punch another set of commands on the keyboard.

I wish it were that easy.

“Mr. Tessler, this is Dr. Soliman. I need you to stop whatever it is you’re doing. Immediately. You’re putting us all in a lot of danger, Mason.”

The voice comes over the intercom with a grating edge that hurts my ears. Photosensitivity to light has already increased to the point that I know I’ve got between nine and ten minutes before complete cognitive blackout occurs. That means my timeline just got adjusted.

“Mason, you can’t possibly expect to replicate Amara’s results. It just cannot happen. The computer system is designed to prevent fraudulent duplication of a trial environment. There are protocols in place—”

Dr. Soliman stops abruptly. I’m guessing Gordon is filling him in on my plan to circumvent all his precious little protocols.

At exactly 1110 hrs I punch the sequence for console bootup and slide the USB drive into the terminal. There’s a panel of switches off to my left that has to be flipped in sequence as the lights come on. My timing is flawless.

“Mr. Tessler, I want you to know that I did everything I could to help you bring her back. I want you to know that because what you’re about to do is likely going to kill you. I don’t want you to die in there with some kind of guilty conscience. We still have other options we can explore.”

“You’re absolutely right, doctor!” I yell at no one since the overhead PA system is set for one-way transmission. “We haven’t explored all our options. I’m about to explore the last option right now.”

Magnetic cooling screen reads all green. Ready to prep the superconductor coils on my mark.


…                      Mark                        


“What do you expect to do on the other side, Mason? Even if you manage to get in there and find her, you can’t bring her back through the chamber. We’ve never seen a result like that, and we have no reason to believe—”

“I don’t give a FUCK what you have reason to believe!”

“—and even if you could, you’ll be arrested the minute you step out of that chamber, you hear me, Mason? I am pressing charges, Mr. Tessler. The authorities have already been noti

I find the switch for the intercom and set it to MUTE.

At 1113 hrs I spin up the magnetic couplings and pair them to each of the eight manifold array triggers inside the chamber. I have absolutely no idea what these do. At some point I heard one of the techs talking about them, so I made a note of it and watched the procedure again the next time around. It seems pretty straightforward.

Here goes nothing.

Now I have a couple of minutes to shoot the breeze. The pounding resumes outside the observatory door.

If you’re out there, I need you to know that no matter what happens, I love you.

I cannot go on living in a world without you in it.

Check my watch. 1116 hrs flashes in electric blue. I take the watch off and set it on the console.

At 1117 I need to initialize atmospheric stabilization, which will trigger a set of ion getter pumps in the epichamber walls, and here’s the tricky part:

My suit isn’t made for moonwalking. There’s no helmet. Nothing to create some kind of local atmosphere (i.e., something for me to breathe) in the event that I don’t make it into the box before the exterior room is voided of 99.9% of every molecule of oxygen within the macroscopic space outside of the chamber proper.

I basically have about twenty seconds to run from the console room to the chamber entrance, turn around, pull the door shut behind me, and seal it before the trigger sequence is completed and my lungs rupture, releasing gas into my circulatory system and killing me within seconds. My tongue will boil. My skin will bloat like a hotdog under water. I won’t explode, but when they depressurize the chamber, I will look very unwell.

And I will be dead.

Three minutes to entry.

The watch on the console flips to 1117 and my brain is rolling at a hundred million miles per second. All engines fire at once. A thunderflash of neural synapses sparking and burning and dying in the ultimate fireworks display, twitching my muscles at just the right times while regulating my heart rate and breathing, and at once I’m high and nauseated and prepared to die if that’s what happens. But I’d rather that not happen.

I finish the sequence and punch the button to execute.

Here goes nothing.

The door to my right that leads into the epichamber is automated to close in the event of depressurization. Yellow lights above the door flash. An alarm sounds. I’m running. My shoulder scrapes the metal edge of the door and I’m through. Thirty feet to the chamber. About 12 seconds to go.

My muscles burn. I barrel forward, overshooting the door a bit.


Nine seconds left.

My hands fumble for the latch.

Eight seconds.

I’m trying to pull but the goddamn IV made my forearm limp as a bag of soggy Ramen.


The door swings toward me heavy. Slow.


The latch meets the catch.


The seal touches.


It connects.


Spin the handle.














My hands won’t stop shaking.

Gordon’s pacing—although honestly, I don’t think it’s fair to call it that, at this point—like he’s trying to formulate a new methodology for setting the carpet on fire with nothing but intricate choreography. His living room is immaculately clean, to the point of sterility. I’m not wearing shoes.

It’s that clean in here.

I drove a hundred and ten miles an hour through the city all the way here.

And my hands won’t stop shaking.

For the last twenty minutes, Gordon has been pacing back and forth in front of the sofa where he kindly insisted I sit, muttering the same two or three words over and over.

“I’m fucked. I. Am. Fucked. I’m fucked!

“Listen, I know it sounds crazy, but—”

“Crazy?” I think he’s trying to smile at me, but honestly, it just looks like showing teeth. “Crazy would be if we walked up to Dr. Soliman’s office, pulled out a gun and said, ‘Good morning, Dr. Soliman, I’m having trouble killing myself today. Would you mind to help me out? Oh, and while you’re at it, I’d like to use your office.'”

He’s right. That would be pretty crazy.

“What you’re talking about doing is completely and totally FUCKED!”

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was going to break out in tears.

Gordon rocks back and forth as he walks, his body hinged at the waist like a stiff doll; the nightmare Christmas Toy creation of an autistic-savant-designer-turned-terminal-crackhead.

“I’ll tell you,” he says, completing his seventy-fourth lap around the coffee table, “but you have to swear to me you won’t try anything stupid. Just get the video from the archive and get out.”

My plan flashes behind my eyes:

  1. Connect remotely to the Praxem SecureBridge packet and download the server keys.
  2. Create a query in the system to allow access to the building after hours, coded to my employee ID.
  3. Tell the security guard I left my wallet in my office the day before, and
  4. Use my security credentials to bypass monitoring in the archive room. That’s where they keep encrypted copies of the video footage from the cameras in the observation rooms.
  5. Use Gordon’s access code (which he is very close to giving me) to get into the observation deck.
  6. Blastoff…


“Gordon, I promise. Listen, man….”



I’ll see you soon, baby.

I love you.