2 min read

Subsume, by Chase Anderson

Abstract image of marbled black and green liquid
Photo by Pawel Czerwinski / Unsplash

Content warnings

Dissociation; Anxiety; Divided sense of self.

The advent of You was foretold by the spectral whinging of springs within the bestained futon. Swampy blue cushions give under the ever-shifting, glimmering claws and bulk of that many-legged, familiar form.

“Nothing is suitable,” You say.

i give the inside of the refrigerator one final examination. Bread, hummus, ultra-filtered chocolate milk. Carbs, protein, sugar; its the raw materials to keep Us going, but none currently desired. i know that putting off eating until tomorrow would only cause further issues.

“We hunger,” You say, despite i not feeling it. Sensory experiences of the body aren’t always equally felt, if at all. It’s beneficial under stress and pain, but a hindrance when i am left on the verge of fainting.

“It’s only temporary,” You insist. Your voice drips like Your form, a warm, black, ever-shifting ooze promising brighter days.

“Dinner wouldn’t help, anyways,” i say. “Besides, i have to prepare for tomorrow.”

You watches me ping pong across the eight hundred square feet of home. The judgment for the clothes on the floor, the unsorted recycling, the visible dust clinging to the black furniture despite dusting last week floats tightly between Us, though it’s not enough to compel me to fix it. You says nothing as i choose tomorrow’s outfit and shave whatever body hair the cotton-Lycra blends might reveal.

Between the cramped walls of the bathroom, i am reminded of the tattoo on my forearm. The black lines against my pale skin are stark, interwoven into a sigil that only means something for You and i.

“Yamada-san won’t like that,” You sneer.

Maybe i can wear long sleeves, i think, despite the summer heat. Maybe she won’t care. She goes by Hannah, not Hanako, she must understand American culture. She’ll understand this is an aesthetic choice and not an outward manifestation of an evil heart. Or is You gifting me the worst-possible version of a person that could possibly exist, Just In Case.

But can i trust myself to not act if she was? This is an important meeting, the company is just breaking even, don’t you want that pay raise? You’ll never get it thinking like this,” You say.

Already the teeth of panic clutch around my throat. i can’t talk when i'm even thinking of tomorrow, how can i be self-assured enough to not fuck this up?

But We already know the answer.

But should I…? All the times You took over bubble to mind: the trips to the principal’s office with no understanding why, the meetings with HR, the desiccated relationships left to rot in the sun.

And, yet, it always worked out. Here I stand, alive, housed, employed. I’ve survived worse, the things stuck in my memory and those still long-buried. A very serious business meeting is nothing. Things always work out, “because i have You.”


The ground beneath Our feet disappears and i slip into the dark, to begin awaiting the other side and all the glimmering shards i’ll need to put back together.

Chase Anderson

Chase is a weird, queer, digital storyteller who writes weird, queer stories. Formally trained in the world of Unicode, digital presses, and HTML5, he blends art and technology to tell stories filled with magic and monsters.