The music continued: strangled sounds, squeals — the twisted strains from a warped calliope. The people in his head began to fade. He was still Rangle Ditmouth. He remembered the movie and the Director. He was searching for the Harlequin-beat Angel in keeping with his master’s orders. He remembered the Red Desert. He was stranded in the stifling heat, caught inside a hard carapace he wore as a protection from the bad air. He was running out of supplies. The heat and his thirst were causing hallucinations. Rangle was desperate. He was no longer able to stand up. He stayed close to the ground unable to focus and no longer certain of his destination. He was marooned. The music became his only anchor, but it was the kind of music that played in a horror film about an insane murderer – it scorched his soul and pushed him forward. He was crawling in the hot desert sand, scuttling like an insect. Overhead, a dark cloud blotted out the fractured sky. An atmosphere of despair seemed to distort the landscape. Rangle was suddenly imbued with a sense of restless energy, perhaps caused by hunger. He felt ravenous. He used his limbs like paddles to navigate through the burning sands – the faster he moved the more he could avoid the heat. He scrambled to stay alive and find any available nourishment, even the small insects that erupted from mounds that seemed as large as mountains. He had to expose his mouth in order to gorge on the tiny, misshapen creatures that still survived in the desert. Every mouthful was ecstasy. Juices in the small bodies he devoured satisfied his thirst. He was sated, but still not satisfied. A new hunger began to consume him. He wanted sex as he never wanted anything in his life before. Sex had never been a preoccupation – it was something that happened on rare occasions when someone wanted to use his body in exchange for some favor. It was different now … he wanted to use someone … he had a compelling urge to fuck. He wanted to dominate a female … he wanted to impregnate her, then eat her head. He scuttled on all six legs searching for an egg layer – no longer aware of his name – no longer conscious. There was nothing but music in his head: clicking, scraping sounds — the gnashing of mandibles and clacking of pincers. The world was darkening. The black cloud was larger and coming closer.
The small scorpion was crushed beneath the sole of a boot. The music stopped.