FIRST the light of moonshine climbing through fields of green brick. Waves in the weight of concrete. Someone stands in the grass and says, "go to the horizon's tower and after return to me here." And so the ekphrastic man finds himself here. In act one. The first anomaly. World devoid of the footings we are used to. But then there is something new to replace it. Erect mountain faces and steeping climbing paths. He feels like Mina Loy. Resembling a cubist.
Nightshade growing from his nostrils. Arms made from recycled dust and clothing made from papier-mâché. Body of fragile materials kissing the face of the ground. Feet locked in the horizontal bend of the green brick. Green brick bulging from grassroots. The Someone again saying, "In the tower you'll find something that you aren't aware of yet," then, "Sacrifice your innards to it and return empty," and the ekphrastic man accepts this reality. The inertia that initiates a perpetual motion.
He realizes it's impossible to stop walking. Until he hits a wall or trips over himself. Even then, crawling forward. Locked in a mobile stasis. He feels like a kingdom of new animals. Their conception the result of failure-séances. Promethean births. Defunct visions and now all he can see is televisual static. Eyes vestigial under misuse. He tries to see with the nerves inside of his skull — they grow and mutate into a more complex system. A network of new peripheral senses. Arcane methods of seeing.
He questions his ability to commit to spell-casting. Magicien. Mechanisms inside of his head convert televisual static into white noise. Act one. Anomaly one. The anomaly is his own existence in a fantasy world that is constructed procedurally around him. Seashells kiss the undersides of his feet. He feels like Germaine Dulac. He unfurls his skeleton and prays to the spell-casting clergymen. Saints of the occult physique. The Someone, "come back to me vertically." Quests are simple. The ekphrastic man would like to find a boon which does not require the evacuation of his stomach.
He does not want to remove his insides, only to be left alone with the remaining un-insides. The body is a faulty machine run by incomplete organisms and the saintly thingness of its occupant(s). He finds his footing in the mountain face. He moves along the surface like a wheel. Curling against gravity. Arriving in an unfamiliar place. Unfamiliar in its return to familiarity. His setting becomes idyllic and calm. Meadows delicate outside of a small cottage.
The ekphrastic man feels like Don Quixote because he's old and delirious. There is no tower. The tower is a mountaintop. The cottage is a guttural moan. It rearranges itself in the shape of a gorgon and turns him into stone. He falls out of consciousness, forever held in solution. Struck by recurrent images. And unwilling to relieve his insides. He feels like Someone because he cannot remember what he looks like, or what looking like entails.
He decides that the insides are the him and the un-insides are a vessel for his him. The quest is simple, but it asks so much of him. And in such short durations he's already found himself uncertain. He does not know if the Someone is worth trusting. Or if death is really the boon that he desires. But the walls of the cottage are soft now. Rotting like wet cardboard. The static flickers on and off inside of him. The ekphrastic man says to himself that there is no reason to hide under white noise.
He accepts the presence of the static. It wallows in the solution. Vibrating the stone of which he has become. It shatters him into dust. He coats the mountain face, but feels incomplete. The anomaly his sentient arrival, and then his ontological progression. Crawling from subject to object, but continually existent. And still here. Present in the moment of his birth. The failure-séance that coats his new self over the fur of an unfamiliar creature. Lycanthropic in appearance, yet distinctly visceral. Present in this moment. Heavy and strong. Fat with musculture. The creature crawls up the mountain face and consumes the un-insides of the cottage softness.
NO longer an ekphrastic shape, the second anomaly does not resemble anything. Meadows weighed down by an arrangement of short marble cubes. Sinking into the Earth and compacting the soil. Glowing with an intense heat. An expedition arrives — likely Someone's quest, a quest from Someone. They prod through the marble face into the labyrinthine design of a massive structure. As if falling into the abyss. Or materializing on another plane.
Exteriors do not represent what is inside of them. The architecture of a superstructure hidden under the mask of Marienbad garden geometry. Inside they are not sure what they see. The expeditioneers are equipped with a faint understanding of scope and objective. The Someone offers them a boon, "enter the field of cubes and bring me their hearts. Cobble your name into their altars." The expeditioneers learn how to be stonemasons, then enter the field, enter the first cube, and here they are now looking up at the vastness of the structure. At the complex designs carved into the walls and ceilings.
They feel historically oriented. As if walking through hallways can replace moving through time. They easily lose themselves and begin to drift. Materials caught in the fracturing appearance. Seamless corridors. They navigate the periphery, and trace their hands along the wall. One member drags chalk under her foot to keep the path. They play out the theseid like a troupe of performers. Until they reach the center a decade from now. After exploring every crevasse, and drinking from puddles of cave water, and consuming the minerals carved from the labyrinth walls.
They finish their performance at the Asterion altar. Mundane and lush with greenery. The expeditioneers almost forget with what they've been asked to do. They sink their hands into the vegetation and swallow it whole. Teeth green and gnawing. The altar reads, "Burial of the Polygonal Minotaur" and they begin to feel uncertain.
One reaches for the altar and begins to chisel his name. Another asks where they're supposed to be finding a heart. "There's supposed to be a heart, isn't there?" But the altar is void of contents. Dried blood burned into the surface and soil ground against the pores. Their name is carved: "Act Two." Anomaly two. The second anomaly being the missing hearts taken from the field of cubes. Already taken. The Someone has asked for something that no longer exists, not within the plane of vision.
They empty their backpacks to reveal a set of mechanical devices. Which arranged together form a larger apparatus, connected to wires and swaying fans, oiled pistons and a small modular. They read the monitor. Take in the data. An excitation in the readings. They record it and process the information. The apparatus assembles the excitation into something noisy.
A voice pulling itself out of the surrounding ether. "An altar is a burial site for deities." And the expeditioneers take this advice at face value. They tear open the body of the altar and blindly sift through the remains, searching for the sign of something organic. Organismal. Hands glide along flat surfaces and defined edges. Moonlight pours in from the grooves in the ceiling and this all begins to feel nauseous. A corpse from the fresh soil. Polygonal Minotaur rotting in procedural ways. Small rhomboidal segments eaten away by the cube's bacteria. Forming a chasm in the bicep and rearranging the bones into patterns as labyrinthine as the superstructure.
Its presence feels sacred and holy. The expeditioneers avoid this realization, their participation in the destruction of a divine being. One takes out her knife and drags it along the creature's chest. Its flesh breaks apart in defined edges and smooth surfaces. They remove the heart and the body deteriorates into nothing. And then the environment becomes immaterial and they fall through the floor into the field of cubes. The anomaly's previous weight is alleviated. "There are more," one says.
Someone takes the heart from their hands and drags his fingers along the membrane until it unfurls. The expeditioneers enter the next cube, and another decade passes. They collapse in the same field. The Someone takes the next heart from their hands and grins. He stretches his lips to reveal the cuts in his gums, the dripping viscera, discolored teeth. The Someone consumes the second heart like a starving animal. And says, "Quests are simple," but the expeditioneers are not on a quest, they are on an expedition, which is simple as well, but which suffers from vague goals.
They enter an unknown space without any certainty of what they intend to do. They accept the request of a financier, especially an unknown and arcane figure such as Someone. But here there is no boon. The boon is understanding the repercussions of their actions. The expeditioneers enter the next cube and come back another decade later. They fall into the field and sleep in the soft, bright soil. Someone again. Someone eating the heart, and asking for more, for a dining room of innards, to push against the roof of his mouth and to be pulled apart by the bacteria inside his intestines.
They perform again. A series of theseids. They feel like Daedalus as the subjects of godly imprisonment. Televisual static crawls into their heads and they doubt the reality of these objects. Entities that are also places. They test the walls of the object, climb onto the ceilings of the superstructure, and measure the movement of light in their eyes. They build and disassemble and rebuild the apparatus, toy with its circuitry and gears. It leads them nowhere and now they're aging so rapidly.
Ten years is a moment. The expeditioneers realize that spatial exploration comes at the cost of duration. They lose track of how long they've been here, and now the Someone is pleased. He sits at the head of feast staring at the mound of abstract hearts. The expeditioneers turn to dust and the Someone frenzies over the geography of his meal. He sustains his higher form on the remains of what has been buried deep beneath the ground, and what has freshly fallen apart.
ACT three is where Someone no longer resembles someone. Now that they are without cube or cottage. Safeguards. A terror way beyond falling. Someone is not in the same appearance they have previously carried. The carrion hat and matted cloak. Now, Someone is large and bloated, like corpses coming to shore. The televisual static is drunk from the severed heads of former person(a)s. Dead moon king in the wake of green bricks, the quest is simple, but the world is made from meat and computational errors. This is not the world, this is somewhere else. Someone. Mischief god. Stomping claymation. The unstable deity attempting to slouch forward. Someone is alone. They've finished their feast and entered into the ethereal state. The drippings of polygonal hearts on their chin and the dye of blood stained into their teeth. Someone is not anyone. Someone attempts to materialize. Someone baskets in the deaths of inferior beings. "Quests are simple," but intentions can be malicious. The boon is the dust of a lycanthropic coat. He returns to reality, kissing the edge of the void and coming to in a garden of pyramids. Something forms on the inside of his mouth. It grows like ore. And he vomits the afterbirth of a curved knife. Then they change again. Into something more celestial. Dense and fertile. Made from the materials of their sustenance. The Someone becomes paternal. They want to give away the parts of themself that they feel are no longer for them. Anomaly three, the changing person(a)s. Someone is no longer someone or anyone, they become object-oriented. They coat their tongue in the lycanthropic dust and feed their new children, who will become meaningful in the way that Someone is not.
is a young writer working out of Minneapolis. His work has been featured in publications such as Entropy, decomP, Cleaver
. His first novel will be released in fall of 2018 by Orson's Publishing.