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In a way, Slick is at a party. It crashes and surges around him, a wall of sound: he trips on rough laughter, tears, fucking, ranged around the spring he raised from red dirt. It fountains wine, and he plunges his face in, ecstatic.

In another way he’s in the dark, clutching a stone. He’s smeared his body with resin of orchids to hide his scent, and around him the life of the selva d’oro seethes and thunders.

Slick understands now. He’s Oenopion, wine-bringer: Oenopion, who understood revenge. Oenopion, who took for his price the eyes of the world’s greatest hunter.


Slick is black, was born black, knows himself that way, it’s a part of him but compared to these folks he’s barely toasted. They’re blue-black and purple-black, and their lips are lurid as wounds.

He’s started to confuse Earth with Mars, the dirt here is so red. Iron-rich. He’s tired. Red dust in his lungs.

No one turns to look when he wanders through and he keeps plodding. Walking in time.

The drums are talking to him, not like African drums, like somebody’s hidden around here with a kick and a hi-hat. Boom slick boom, they say. Boom slick BOOM slickBOOMslick