In Excerpts of Prose, HAUNTED, NEW!, Uncategorized on November 24, 2009 at 5:50 AM

Charlie’s face shattered. Arctic wind struck my face, its ice crystals shattering to molecules. I could feel every last one of the crystals, every last one, individual, miraculously different in shape. Sharp little Exacto blades that broke against me and disintegrated across my cheeks, my lips, my open eyes, bringing no pain.

I have never known pain.

I dove, the furnace in my chest pulling me earthward, slave to my will. I dropped, a thousand times faster than gravity’s paltry pull could have begged for.

The clouds parted.  My flight leveled off. A living rocket, I took it all in with the pleasure of a boy at play:

A virgin landscape rolled to meet me, a blur to human eyes, but not to mine. I could see everything, every pellet of snow, every defiant ridge of ice. Nothing could escape my vision. As easily as I could see a frozen mountain loom in my path, I could see through it, I could see eternity.

The snow and ice and stone shattered against my fists. Not wavering in my path, unimpeded, I drilled through the mountain  as effortlessly as  a bullet shot through a wedding cake.

I hovered, dancing on the air, and smiled at my Fortress. It gleamed in the sunlight, a thousand feet tall, cold blue, shafts of impervious glass that erupted from the earth, the last fragments of my long-lost birth home.

And there, beneath me, THE KEY.

THE KEY. Huge as a freight train, heavy as a city block. My feet grazing the ice beneath it, I raised it high.

My feet left the earth. The Key was no burden.

The Lock to The Fortress waited, cavernous, for The Key to my Fortress.

Cavernous. You could drive a battalion through that preposterous lock.


Nothing but a memory from a child’s silly comic book. Not real at all. Silly. As silly as the red Roman cape that draped my shoulders.

A dream. A dream brought by opiates, by Charlie’s opiates. Utter nonsense. Only the Key had any tether to reality, and that was only because of the burning memory of Madison’s keys. A cartoon metaphor for keys that were not really keys at all, not in the physical sense.

I was a helpless husk of a normal mortal man lying flat on his back, blind, helpless.

I tried to rub my tongue against my teeth but I could feel neither. I couldn’t feel my lungs, my heart, that swollen muscle beneath my now-nonexistent scapula. I tried to wiggle my toes, but I had no toes.

I had no body.

What is life, what is thought, but electricity, dancing from one synaptic spark plug to the next?  Had all my physical sensations been only an amputee’s delusional memory? Was I just a brain in a bottle? Was I just somebody’s stupid, bad dream?

The opiate kicked in harder, a steel fist in a glove of velvet.

I ceased to exist.

T O   B E   C O N T I N U E D


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