Deeper Fears

Epigraph

A rare moment when Seth shows a bit of introspection

Main Content

The dream always starts the same way, with the day I almost died. I’m riding a bicycle. It is an old 10-speed, with the U-shaped handle bars and a narrow seat. I am on the sidewalk going down a steep hill towards a busy intersection. I know I should slow down, but my momentum coupled with the wind in my face is too exhilarating.

As I near the intersection, I grasp the hand brakes a moment before I would jump off the curb and into the street. Only the brakes don’t catch the way they are supposed to. Oh, how I hated to change the tires on my bike. I was never very good at reattaching the brakes. I had the hardest time getting the brake pads into the proper position.

This is where the dream differs from the actual events of that day. Instead of swerving into a hard right turn and falling to the ground inches from the street, the bike leapt off the curb into the path of an oncoming bus. I hear the blare of the bus horn right as I impact with the front of the bus. There is no impact.

I find myself standing on the bus next to the driver. He is calmly looking forward. His eyes never leave the road. I look down the aisle and see dozens of people sitting calmly in their seats. I make my way down the aisle to find a seat. As I pass each row of seats, I notice that something isn’t right. The people on the bus are wrong in some way that should be obvious, but I can’t put my finger on what it is.

I’m halfway down the aisle, trying to keep my balance, as the bus sways with the motion of the road. I look down at a person sitting alone on the right side of the bus. He is wearing a dirty brown coat and a strange hat. The hat draws my attention. It is brown and dirty like his coat and it is also tattered and worn through in a couple of places. The hat looks as though it has seen many miles.

Then the man in the hat looks up at me. He has piercing blue eyes that look wild with madness. His face is covered in unkempt facial hair. He opens his mouth and my blood turns to ice for fear of what he will say. “Tick,” he declares. I try to look away. I must get further down the aisle. “Tock,” he commands. I’m pulling myself along by grabbing the seat backs.

I find an empty seat at the second to the last row on the buses left side. I throw my ass into the seat and slide against the window. I look at where the man in the hat sits. I’m relieved he is not looking at me. Then I hear it. Faint, but unmistakable. “Tick.” I’m filled with dread, knowing what comes next. “Tock.”

That’s when it dawns on me. I realize what is wrong with the people on the bus. They are all dead. Each and everyone is a corpse. No one is talking, or reading, listening to music, looking out the window. Nothing. Not a single sign of life in any of them. Just that one man, if he is really a man. “Tick,” much louder now. I know I have to get off this bus. “Tock!” I must find a way out.

I’m looking out the window and I see up ahead. I see myself riding my 10-speed down that steep hill. I see the impending collision as it is about to occur. I see myself grasp the brakes and swerve just as the bus should have hit me. I see this other me escape death by less than an inch. Had I been able to reach my arm out the window I could have touched myself as the bus went by. I watch as my other self shrinks in the distance. I hear my own maniacal laughter from far away.

Why am I on this bus when I know I was never hit by it. If I’m on the bus, who is in my body. Why are they laughing. “Tick,” is whispered directly into my ear. I cringe as I turn toward the voice. The man in the hat is standing in the aisle, crouched down with his arms spread, elbows resting on the seat backs. The smell of body odor, dirt and something like rotting meat emanates from him like waves of radiation. I feel like I’m dying from exposure to him. “Tock.”

I want to lash out at him, to kick and punch, but I can’t bare the thought of actually touching him. He leans in close to me and I squeeze against the wall. He opens his mouth. I hear a sound like the buzzing of flies and maggots squirming. I expect to hear him utter that mantra of madness. “Time catches everyone, eventually.” He moved in closer. “Tick.”

Without fail, I wake up screaming from this dream, as I have every time I’ve had it over the last 13 years. I had the dream every night for several weeks after that day I almost got creamed by that bus. My parents, David and June, took me to see a psychiatrist when they noticed I stopped sleeping. Things got better for a time. Then, even the therapy and the drugs couldn’t keep the dream away. The dream didn’t return as repetitious as those first few weeks. I have it maybe once every couple weeks, but it hasn’t left me completely.

I think about that day. I think it may have been my last day of real happiness. Of course, I think of the dream often, also. I wonder if I’m somehow different than I was before that day, if maybe I lost something vital as that bus nearly ended my life. I wonder if maybe it was my soul that didn’t escape the path of that bus.

“Tock.”

The Beginning of All My Tomorrows

Epigraph

How I met the Gent continued

Main Content

Reality is unraveling around me. While I watched Annabelle, my wife, rapidly descend into madness and throughout the time since her death, I’ve seen my whole world unravel around me. Everything that meant anything turned to rubbish. My home, my lands, my wealth, family and friends had all become shadows and ghosts. When the Gent fed me this morsel of information, I did not respond with shock or fear, but with disgust.

I looked down at the drink in my hand. As if to emphasize the point, the glass of ale was now glass of whiskey. I raised the glass to eye level and considered reality in the grand scheme of my life and muttered, “It’s just one more thing.” I tossed the whiskey down my throat.

The Gent watched me calmly through a thickening cloud of smoke. I refused to look at him, but I could see that he was content to wait for me to speak to him directly. I stared blankly at the two full glasses the barmaid had set on the table. I wanted nothing more than to down them both and hope they would finally grant me the oblivion I had sought. I reached for the nearer of the two glasses while the Gent looked on. I downed it in one swallow. Unlike the other glass of whiskey, this one was aged scotch and it burned all the way down.

I looked in his direction and asked, “Why?”

He reached across the table to take my empty glass. He dropped the remainder of his cigarette in the glass to smolder. “Something tragic has happened to you,” my snicker cut him short.

“You gonna tell my fortune?” I asked.

He started again, more forcefully this time, “Something tragic has happened to you and it has set you apart from other people. Something beyond the norm. Someone, somewhere is trying to use that as a means to open a door to another reality. That is why I’m here, Mr. Emries, to help you.” He stopped talking so I took that as my cue to speak.

“What can you do to help me?” I said accusingly.

“I can stop reality from shifting and maybe give you a bit a perspective, if you’ll let me.”

“What if I don’t let you? What if I don’t believe you at all?” I challenged.

“That could possibly pose a potential problem of epic proportions. Mr. Emries… Dathan, will you allow me to help you?” he pleaded with a degree of calculation.

A wave of defeat washed over me. I couldn’t find the strength of will to argue with him. If what he said was truth, then what harm could my cooperation do? If only I had known that this moment would lead to countless instances of “cooperation” with the Gent, I might have run screaming straight for the asylum. “What do we do?”

“Are you familiar with the works of Lewis Carroll?”

“Who?” I asked, perplexed.

He pulled a pocket watch from inside his coat and looked at it’s face. “Ah, right! First things first, finish your drink,” he gestured to the other glass as he stood up.

“I picked up the glass, “Will it help?”

“It wont hurt,” he said with a devilish grin as he turned and walked toward the bar. He spoke to the woman behind the bar and pulled out several strange pieces of paper. He gestured to my table and handed the paper to the woman. If it was currency of some sort, it was like none I’d ever seen, and I’d seen plenty. The Gent turned to the door and walked out without a backwards glance.

I downed my drink for the last time that night. I stood and the room tilted. I steadied myself on the table. When I felt sure of myself, I walked to the door in as straight a line as I could manage. As I passed the bar, the woman behind it called to me, “Take care of yourself, Mr. Emries.” Her tone was both familiar and motherly, though I’d never seen her before the past few minutes.

I responded without looking up or making eye contact, “Thank you, Nora, I will,” shocking myself with my own familiarity.

I found the Gent outside. “What do we do, now,” I asked.

“Follow me,” he said. It was such a simple statement. It is only in hindsight that I realize it’s many implications.

We walked up the street. He looked between buildings until he found what he seemed to be looking for. He beckoned me to follow him through a path between two buildings, the one on the right made of stone, the other on the left made of brick. The space was so narrow I had to walk leading with my right shoulder. “Stand here please,” he positioned me with my back against the brick wall. He moved directly in front of me and placed his hands on my shoulders. “This may feel… a little odd.” He began pushing me against the hard brick. I could feel jagged mortar digging into my back. I saw the Gent grit his teeth with determination. I was about to protest when I felt the wall soften. I feared the wall would collapse on top of me. Then with a faint sucking sound and pop I was through the wall.

I stood looking at the space that I had previously occupied from the other side of the wall, only there was no longer a wall of brick. Instead it appeared as a wall of glass with the history of my life reflected on it. This seemingly magic window stretched on forever in both directions and straight up into infinity. Seeing the images of my life like this made me feel so small. I thought of my Anna then. Images of our time together began to shimmer before me as though thinking of her had conjured them. Tears fell from my eyes as I saw the early days as we fell in love, our languid contentment after the wedding and the horror of our final days together. I tried to scream but found that I had no voice.

Suddenly, I felt a sensation like being watched. My presence drew the attention of something else. I turned my back to that damnable wall of sorrows. Whatever sanity I may have possessed in that moment shriveled into nothingness, like the void there before me. Nothingness, a completely empty abyss. It was the abyss that watched me. As I saw nothing within it, it saw nothing within me. We should be as one. I raised my foot to step into entropy.

There was a tug on my shoulder. I wanted to struggle away from it, but before the thought fully formed, I was yanked back through the wall. Oblivion was stolen from me.

Reality struck me in force. I crumbled to the ground. The Gent stood over me until I had found some sense of composure. Then he helped me to my feet. “That should stop the end of the world,” he said cheerfully. I looked at him and let out a deep sigh. He looked at me and I imagine he must have seen the haunted look in my eyes. He asked, “Have you ever heard of the Quasigentsia?”

I’m sure by now you have heard his spiel. It varies from person to person, but it all equates to the same thing.

By the time you receive this letter, Seth, I will be have gone far away. I fear that it is from our association that the ‘Gentsia has noticed you. I hope this letter reaches you in time to heed my warning. Keep you guard up with the Gent’s group of loosely knit freaks. Beware his carnival strong man and the aerial contortionists, they have dangerous agendas. Be mindful of your valuables around the Frenchman. If you choose to ignore everything else I say, at least believe this. Do not trust Eldridge Gent. He is not what he claims to be.

 
Goodbye and good luck, my friend.

 
Your Friend,

 
Dathan

 
This letter was found by Eldridge Gent among the belongings of Seth Emery. Seth has not been seen for two months since beginning his first assignment.

Mr. Freud’s Minions

I remain stuck in this sorrowful sea. I may have been a bit hasty in burning my bridges with our Great and Wonderful Captain. Landfall seemed imminent—I could feel the firm and motionless ground beneath me, the gravity of stillness was already wrapping its tethers around my bones. That was but a passing fantasy. We remain tussled in this torment. My less than generous side longs to accuse Our Fair Captain of sabotaging my dream—be it out of anger or disgust—but I’m sure she wants rid of me as much as I want to be free from this eternal gloom.

That’s not why I write this passage though.

I take this unbargained for time to scribble down my thoughts, as scattered as they are, to prepare you of the inevitable—and if it has already came to pass then as a record of the events leading up to my dreadful understanding.

It is perhaps idealistic of me to believe that at some point these words will prove meaningful to someone. But vain hope is all I have to cling to, for in my current situation meaning is difficult to secure.

Bide these words as a warning, a malediction, or a prayer.

Through forces out of control, out of balance, and stronger than imagination itself our lives, our world, existence itself, are in danger. How I have come upon this knowledge will remain a mystery, even to me. My memory is fleeting and my mind is tattered and worn. My life is a series of potentialities—a series of futures spawning and fanning-out across an infinite ocean crashing upon an immovable shore.

My world, as best as I can determine, spun out of control one year ago when I had the despicable honor of meeting The Venerable Mr. Freud. He took an automatic shine to me—why I do not know, and I dare not recall. With wine and promises of enrichment and understanding he lured me into his Grasp. Due to my weakness, or greed, or restlessness, I did not question. Mr. Freud and his Minions had wrapped me so completely in their spell that I could not glimpse behind the veil that hid the true majesty of the shadowy world they inhabit.

When it first dawned on me the world had changed without my noticing, it was already far too late. Perhaps it’s not to late for others to learn from my multitude of mistakes.

So here I am. Confined to a rickety wrack of a ship sailing for the New World. From this vantage point I cannot be sure if I’m escaping, being exiled or excommunicated. And likewise I don’t know if I’m seeking solace, redemption, or revenge.

It is my calling and my unique displeasure to do whatever is within my limited power to make sure that these crazed cacklings of madmen do not manifest their evil upon this earth.

But this journey has already taken from me more than I wish I could give and has left in return nothing but bitterness and disregard for myself and my fellow man. If there is truth to be found all I know is it is not in this confinement that I have found myself withering in. It is my sincere and only hope that sitting my boots upon solid ground will steady my mind and calm my soul.

The Very First Memory of the Strongest Man in the World

When starting a thing it is good to do so at the beginning.
 
My first memory is of my mother. I was an infant and she was weaving the magic that would make me the strongest man in the world. Though I understood every word she said to me, I didn’t understand her words, only their meanings. The words I learned later, long after she was gone, and applied them to that night, to the memory of it. Of her.

Moving through a memory is like moving through a dream, and as if in a dream, we must move forward without questioning, for in a dream to question is to become lost. Let meaning come afterward, if it will.

The memory began with her presence. I was young. So young my eyes did not really work yet. The images that came through them were largely meaningless. Sight was so confusing and without reason that I kept my eyes closed, blocking the madness without.

I was acutely aware of the separation from MOTHER. I was somehow outside her, and I knew this was a wound that could never be healed. I wanted to scream out. I wanted to die of loneliness.

But then I could sense her, somewhere near, whispering to me.

Whether this awareness of mothers is universal among very young babies, or part of the magic that she enveloped me with I couldn’t say. I only knew that she was near me, and that the rhythms of her body contained the oceans of sound and the symphonies of touch which I had been immersed in from the beginning of time and that, though nothing would ever be right again, I could at least find comfort from the nearness of her.

I stretched my trembling hands out for her, reaching desperately into the chaos for her touch.

Instead of her hand or her breast, I touched something else, something that seemed at once strange and immediately familiar. Words are useless here. I felt something like a string of ribbons. Or more like a lattice of spider webs. Perhaps it was like bead of sweat drifting down a young lovers back. It was all of these things and it emanated from her and wrapped around me, and drew me into her. Pulled me into her with an intimacy that was as dangerous and innocent as a mouth to the breast.

It was magic. Her magic. And it washed over me. Poured into my mouth and nose and ears and carrying a seed into the fertile virgin woodlands of my consciousness. Like a snap of the fingers I could see her. She was standing over me, smiling down at me, her face equal parts love and worry.

“I don’t have much time Otto. I have to leave you little one. I have enemies, terrible people who would hurt you to hurt me.”

Her hand drifted down to my forehead.

“Poor Otto, you are such a beautiful baby. Always know I would stay with you my whole life if I could. If it were safe to do so.”

She looked away, out the window of the dark room we were in. whatever she saw out side caused her face pinch with worry.

“Otto. Later, when you can understand all of this, you have to believe it. Don’t let yourself think you are crazy.

“Your going to be a strong boy. A strong man.” I could see the web of magic coalescing around her fingers, flowing outward and down upon my face.

“You are going to be very strong. And you are always going to help people who need you. I don’t have anyone Otto. It is a terrible feeling. You be there for anyone who needs you and deserves help.”

“Your father will love you. He is a good man, but he wont understand you. He is part of the everyday world. Be patient with him.”

I felt a strange hesitation within her. Doubt surfaced on her for an instant, making her look older, for a few seconds I could see the weariness within her.

“I love you Otto.” She said. And like a thunderclap the understanding was gone, the strands of magic withdrew as fast as lightning. I was alone and forever separated from all I had ever know.

I had the mind of a normal baby afterwards, except for those few moments. They were crystal clear then, and they are crystal clear today. From that moment on it was as if the moment had just happened. I had an intuitive understanding of the memory, but it was many years before I could understand any of it on an intellectual level.

It was many years before I realized it was possible to question this memory.

As I grew up, I indeed grew strong. By thirteen I was as strong as a full grown man. By fifteen I was stronger than the strongest man in town. Any young man with gifts like that is in danger of becoming arrogant. But I knew that my own mother had power to put mine to shame. She had in fact created me, with the magic of birth, and she made me strong with some other kind of magic.
 

And then she was gone.

 
 

Ottoman Von Luitgard

Best for You and I Both

“I recall without any fog of mind the very first day that I fell in love, and I can never forget the moment I woke up from that strange spell, against all of my will, clawing against its dark dawn everything.  I am now in despair.  Where are the ridiculous innocent fictions that I seem to have never gotten quite so good at?  What has become of my coy and playful ruses?

The first day I fell in love she was nothing but a child, and she moved across the market square like a slow wraith.  Grimy from the city’s ramshackle steam project of rocketing into Tommorrowland against the day and all common sense.  A street child and nothing more, but floating with an abandonment that comes with being an orphan at the age of seven in an Atomic Wonderland such as this.  A dignity born out of depravity.  I watched her grin to herself mildly (O’ be still my heart) and then take a sudden but choreographed tumble into the mud and piss of the gutter.

Shuddering, I almost failed to catch my sense and nearly hurled myself irresponsibly into the makeshift stage-play.  I might have ruined an otherwise brilliant production (or become victim of it).  But I caught myself, retracted, and stared on from across the river of jostling Patronairres peddling and seeking their daily wares.  Like a vortex she plucked two then three of these hapless Materialists out of that coursing torrent – specimens of fine accoutrement and given to swoons of conscience they were.  As they bent to show the girl concern, dark crevices and cracks in the surroundings suddenly gave off further little Gremlins that set silently to work and with impressive motion removed these pompous pieces of Charitable Meat of the wealth that weighed them down.  I swear to you, it was such a subtle piece of street art, that I remain convinced I be the only witness of that stupendous performance.

I hung back briefly at the Newsstand as the act came to a musical close, but I followed that young dirty dripping thing with my gaze as she vanished into the mist that roils thickly at either end of the thoroughfare on these cool, humid Autumn morns.  My imagination and intellect began to crescendo upon her eloquent and nuanced exit into obscurity.  All of the petty cheating and squirming that had become my stock in trade as a young spoiled Privileged, winding my way aimlessly through Law School, not to mention the endless charades of smiling and complimenting customers at the Mercantile at which I worked, these all served a demon seed for something grander and insidious now in the proximity of her inspiration.  The child, in her graceful bitch quality, had just educated my boredom with this world on how to Live in the face of so much meaninglessness!

And O’ how I did throw myself thereafter into the romance of the Con!

But how could I have known how deadly my subsequent plays of fiction could be?  What possessed me to eventually turn to such Dark Arts for my newfound trade in the Steal?  What possessed me indeed.  I speak to you now my good audience of strangers and perhaps no one at all in this Void which sprawls before me.  I tell you that it would have been better for me to cling to the facades and motions that shield us from the deadly Mystery that groans behind the curtains of this vicious comedy.  Yes, the Quasigentsia certainly has its fair share of dark alleyways.  I am but a shell of a man now for flirting with its shimmering Mirage.

And I ask now where is my innocent love?  Where is that child-thing?  Did she happen to fare as bad as I in the end? Or did she happen to turn to me before entering the fog?  Did she turn and caution the limits,  caution my sloughing off of any such station in this ‘Real World’ so completely?  I tell myself there may be a way back from the bizarre paths that my posturing led me down, but as the days roll on I fear there is not.  And so I can only remain to whisper backward from this haunted existence that I now occupy.

Only you remain to take heed to the many tales I have to tell of scampering off the precipice of all Sense that followed that fateful morning of regretful inspiration.  Yes, I have many boundaries to chart for you good friends.  But these talons that are now firmly in my side have reduced my stamina like the burden of the ages, and we must tread slowly at any rate, for there are many eyes and ears in this Dark Wood that I have brought back with me from the Nether Regions into our midst.  It will be best if we go forward now in very small chapters.

Best for you and I both.”

After All This Time, Back To The Beginning

Epigraph

How I met the Gent

Main Content

Please forgive my rudeness when last we met. I was quite taken aback and at a loss to hear you utter that infernal word and the name of the one I most associate with it. I had to remove myself from your presence before I made some rash action that I surely would regret later.

It has been my over-riding hope to keep you sheltered from such people and things, and much more so, with my participation in what they represent. From your inquiries, I can assume you now know that I am indeed affiliated with the Quasigentsia and it’s best pitchman, Eldridge Gent. I have no doubt that he has approached you with an offer or a warning, as that is his Modus Operandi. Before I can explain the ‘Gentsia, I must first relate how I came to meet the Gent, or more accurately, how he came to meet me.

It was some time after the death of my wife when I saw the Gent before me. I was sitting at a table in a rat hole that passed for the local tavern. Bleary eyed and slurred of speech, I demanded the barmaid to bring me two more pints of what she insisted was their finest ale. Though I sat alone, I ordered two at a time in the hope that my sorrow would soon drown. I was completely oblivious to the raucous celebration going on around me. With the exception of my table, the place was filled with singing, cheering and all around merriment. I stared straight ahead, for a hundred miles, which was affixed to a tiny point on the wall across from me. When the barmaid finally brought my drinks, I clumsily flung a silver piece across the table. It bounced off the back of the chair beside me and landed on the seat beyond my vision of the table.

Polite as you please, this dark haired wench bent over the back of the chair and returned with a gold piece in hand and asked, “Would you like change ?”

“I think I’ve changed enough. Bring me two more,” I muttered. I turned to find my spot of the distant horizon upon the wall and was shocked to see someone from the party had invited themselves to my table. “Are you lost, mate?” I asked before downing the first of the two pints. I looked back at my new companion, but no one was there. I glanced about the room to see where they got off to so quickly but saw only more revelers. I downed half of the second pint with the intention of nursing it until the next two arrived. I set the pint down and looked into the eyes of a stranger. “The party is over there,” I gestured to the other celebrants.

“Oh, I’m not here for them, though they do appear to be enjoying themselves. I believe they are celebrating the victory of war,” he paused for a moment of consideration, “or possibly some sort of sport. It gets more difficult to discern the more I see of either.”

I studied him for a moment. I tried to gauge whether he might be a hallucination.

“By the way, I’m no hallucination, though I do strike quite an image,” he said while tugging at his cuffs.

Just as I was about to say something, two more pints were placed in front of me by a blond waif of a woman. She shot me a bright smile and turned to go. I shot out my hand to tug her apron, but, in my drunkenness, grabbed her hand instead and pulled her back. “What happened to the other waitress?” I slurred at her.

She leaned in close to my ear and whispered, “I’m the only one here. I checked that coin you gave me and I’m willing to let you give me another kind of tip if you want.” She stepped back with another bright smile and dashed away. I looked to the man across from me to see if perhaps I was the butt of a joke I didn’t understand. He was grinning and wagged his eyebrows at me.

“What in hells going on,” I asked this stranger, “and who are you?”

“Eldridge Gent,” his hand hovered before me as though it had been there all along, “pleasure to make your acquaintance.” It was then that I made my first mistake in a long history of mistakes concerning Eldridge Gent. I shook his hand. “Might you indulge this instance of inquiry to introduce yourself, Sir?” His smile never wavered from his face.

“Dathan. Dathan Emries.”

“Emries,” he said as if he tasted it, “like the wizard?”

“No, Emries as in Ian Emries, my father.”

He clapped his hands together. “Splendid!” he shouted as though a great discovery had been made. “Dathan, would you favor me a flight of fancy?”

“What?” I asked incredulously.

He completely ignored my dismay. “Look about this dour dwelling and tell me what you see.” He gestured by opening both arms in an arc whilst turning his head, eyes scanning the room.

The ale was giving me a headache and this fool was taking a survey. I tried to clear my head with a gentle shake. I looked around the room with dawning incomprehension and widening horror. Nothing was as it was. The revelers were now all sitting calmly and speaking in subdued tones. The barmaid was a frumpy woman with bad teeth serving drinks at the bar. Even the tavern itself had changed. The floor and tables were solidly built, where before they looked as they would crumble at the slightest knock. The place was clean and the patrons had become well mannered and civilized. I wondered how one such as myself could come to be here. “Mr. Gent, what is going on?”

He was reaching inside his coat when I turned to him. He seemed to find what his fingers were searching for. He pulled out a silver cigarette case. He opened it and smiled as though he was pleasantly surprised by what lay inside. He held the case open for me to see and asked, “Would you like a cigarette?” I shook my head no. He began tapping a cigarette against the silver case, then placed the case back in his pocket. He lit his cigarette and inhaled deeply, before blowing out an impossibly large plume of smoke. He straightened himself to face me and looked straight into my eyes and said, “Reality is unraveling around you, Mr. Dathan Emries.” He leaned back and took anther drag on his cigarette.

The Return of Ottoman

Long have I been away.
 
Things have passed and new things have been born into the world since my sixty years of confinement. I am, as of yet, unready for this new world outside my windows. The memories of the events that led to my betrayal and imprisonment are still fresh upon my mind. It took all I had, and all I could summon, to survive those years. Precious little of my wit or resources could be spared for the luxury of self reflection. But now that time is over, and though I am hunted still, and still lack many of my former freedoms, I exist in relative peace. Before I immerse myself in the world of the now, I must revisit the world of then. Perhaps I can answer many of my own questions along the way.

I live in an anonymous, peaceful town. I am sure there are crimes and dark secrets and betrayals here, as there are everywhere, but as I have money and am quiet, I am shielded from them by an expensive lawn and a freshly painted old house. I am a simple man at heart and the solitude and quietness of the town are like salve to my heart, quickly healing me of the chaos and viciousness I learned to embrace during my captivity.

Though I was a private detective for many years, my most joyous discovery was that I was not suited to the awfulness of the depravities and brutalities to which I was subjected, and which I sometimes committed, during that captivity. Those dark days are now beginning to lose their potency for nightmares. Instead of nightmares I am now hunted by questions. Though I know who was responsible for my imprisonment, the damned and mad Bill Amsterdam, I don’t know why.

For these answers I can only return to my past, and write down the incidents of importance, and perhaps sort out a pattern, or perhaps notice a small detail, as lost in memory as a bit of broken glass on a beach of sand. The devil is in the details, as they say. It is possible there exists somewhere in my memory the key to my current circumstance.

Lisa has been my constant companion during these last few months. Though I insisted the debt owed by her grandfather was long since paid she has assisted me and aided me in my convalescence without interruption or complaint. Though as small as I am large she has a drive and energy that would be formidable if she were to present herself as a foe. As luck would have it, she came to me as a friend and in the early chaotic days of my freedom she saved me again and again.

It is not that I needed physical help. I still look much as I did in the days of her grandfather, William, who never quite learned to stop asking dangerous questions. Indeed, it is possible that I am still the worlds strongest man, though my isolation currently prevents me from knowing that fact with any certainty. What I required most was kindness, which had been sorely absent from my life for many years.   Strange, dark Lisa gave that to me, after her fashion, reversing the ledger books of her grandfather debt.

Outside a light blanket of snow has draped the trees with a ghostly blanket of white. I feel introspection mounting within me like the slow rumble of avalanche. I feel the pieces of my past fusing together into a single tale. Perhaps this tale will someday lead me to revenge, perhaps even redemption, but for now I am unwilling to act. Now I must journey inward, toward the deepest recesses of memory, and it will be from there that I report to you next.
 
Your long absent, but not forgotten friend,
 
Ottoman Von Luitgard

Kill Whitey

Epigraph

Yeah, yeah! Give it up for the last poet.

Main Content

The line that stood out most to these European ears was “Kill Whitey.”
Yeah, sometimes I want to kill Whitey too.
That motherfucker was never a true friend to the Beav.