Excerpt from Nocturne Variations:
The show has ended and we are now in the upstairs room at Tabanid, the room known as the Attic. It is sort of a private clubhouse, a vice den with no regard for the future.
You will notice that just about everyone in the room, nearly a dozen, are holding cloths which, intermittently, they raise to their faces, covering their mouths and nostrils, and inhale, as if chloroforming themselves. This is known as huffing Sike.
Sike, short for Cycle-All, is an experimental chemical compound, a clear liquid that is poured in trace amounts onto a cloth. Typically, a user has their signature cloth, the one they employ repeatedly, developing and deepening a bond between chemical, cloth, and user. Some euphemistically refer to this as the Unholy Trinity. Others call it Three and Out.
Trink initiated Piers into the world of Sike about nine months ago.
He had pulled her aside at a party, and in a reverential hush told her how Sike was the closest thing to Childhood he had ever experienced.
Piers, who was no stranger to narcotics and the places they led, asked Trink—Is it like Childhood, or is it Childhood, you know its own incarnation?
At first Trink was puzzled by Piers’s question, then caught a handle—It’s more Childhood than Childhood. Better than the real thing. It’s like, you know when they say, have you ever heard them say how you can paint an apple and make it more apple than the real apple? The appleness of apples, the essence.
The appleness of apples. This concept had stuck with Piers, grew claws, dug in deep, not to mention the quality of Trink’s voice when talking about Sike, warm and sad and sweetly reverent.
The first time Piers had huffed Sike she heard an undeveloped cry, an underripe moaning. It was both near and far. That was when she realized there was very little metaphysical distance (or difference) between her wailing like a five-year-old, and her as a wailing five-year-old. What she later wrote in her journal: Chronology is a fiction and parallelism a fact.
The second time Piers huffed Sike she wondered—If Childhood is a continuum, and a repository for lost things, might she be able to find her mother there and perhaps claim a piece of her, a necessary and vital shard?