The wave was huge, a tsunami of humani, each with its hand raised and wavering in unison. They told me to watch out for any of the many wavering out of tune, so that each could then be picked out, taken out and dealt with. Kissing as the art of marking victims. That was my job.
One of them, I saw, a young woman about my own age, was seen to be deliberately wavering out of synchronicity. You could not tell this clearly, but I was practised in recognising such rebels, and I went up to her and, before she could respond, I kissed her gently on the mouth, and then the invisible officials soon came out of hiding and roughly took her away.
In many ways, a kiss is a sign of love, making any exit from the wave easier, insulating the pain with a temporary connection between two humani and then it is almost as if the other one takes on the responsibility of your self, and you of theirs. Just a split second while the enormity of behaviour is realised and then quickly forgotten. And later you get back or someone like you gets back simply to keeping watch on others in the wave.
In many periods, of peace and war, the kiss has been disguised as a moment of mental or physical passion about to happen between willing or unwilling partners in synchronicity, or just one more politeness that makes we humani tick. Deep or shallow, a kiss is the friendly poison transferred.
A tidal rhythm that remains uniquely conscious only through its unbroken unison. And its keepers of the kiss who sacrifice themselves with each kiss simply to keep that rhythm going.
The one I had picked out created her own story of being hidden away in a dead body. Then that dead body hidden away itself as a matter of diluting decomposition – wavering imperceptibly between saliva and tears. Lips puckering too late.
Humani, humanus, humus.
Please see #DFLewisThingie on Twitter for other old unpublished short fictions
Proof this was first written in 2013: https://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=7867