Chalk Circles: Cracking Codes/Skulls

this is an excerpt from Chalk Circles, a serial novel with it’s very own Kickstarter. If you like please either share or donate:

We run down to the subways all just still wearing whatever. Even Heather is still in her pajamas. We got sacks on our backs and the people around us are crammed in tight. We push in and past, jumping turnstiles and shouting at each other.

We jump in a car laughing and feel the world shaking around us. Our car is mostly empty car but there is a group of like three or four motherfuckers all dressed up. Brown suede coats on scraping the floor. Nice buttoned down shirts and slick backed hair. They swipe on tablets and they all look exactly alike in their blond chiseled good looks. Movie star looking motherfuckers and they feel all fake. I don’t know if its the whiskey in my blood or what, but they feel so plastic or something. Like if you touch them your hand will go right through all these layers of illusion and light.

Eddie pulls us back. Pulls us to the far end. The three of them turn to look, scoff, and then go back to it. And that’s when I see it. They’re using those tablets, you know?

Eddie’s got us huddled together in the corner and he jumps up and looks like a whack a mole. Then he whispers.

“That’s them. Don’t look. Them. They look like, you know. That guy I swiped it from. You know? That tablet. Those tablets.”

I spin around and I look. They sort of all blur together and I feel like everything is so absurd. I feel like I’m in a Kafka story, and I know I’ve got to stop staring. I can’t do it I can’t stop it. I stare and I try and look through them, like they’re transparent, like they don’t exist. And even this, this is a form of staring, so then Eddie smacks me and smacks me hard so hard it stings. “I said don’t fucking look.”

“Fuck you,” I say. And then well, whatever. We’ve been noticed. So I shout, “Hey! You guys! Yeah you guys!” they just ignore us like we don’t exist, like we’re invisible, “Hey you fuckers. Look at me! Look at me you mother fuckers!”

And Eddie is growing red with rage he is so pissed at me. I’m still shouting because I don’t care if I piss him off. Fuck him. He’s already beaten me stupid.“You wizards or something? Is that it? You a bunch of witches or something? Where’s your motherfucking coven, huh? Where’s your motherfucking coven!”

Chalk Circles: An Excerpt of things.

rabbit dreamI dream of the world turning into rabbits and buildings catching on fire. When I wake I mutter and my mouth is sticky and gross and I have a headache. The light is sunlight and I feel blind for a moment. Eddie is in the middle, clutching the tablet and I shield my eyes from the daylight and walk towards him. He’s on the ground, looking like shattered glass. His fingers caress that tablet and I sit next to him, in the center of the circle of ash.

“Didn’t work.”

“It’s alright, right? It’s all alright. Let’s get stoned. Come on.”

“You don’t get it.”

He stands up and screams and kicks the tablet and of course it doesn’t break, why would it? He kicks the knife and then yells some more and I know when to just bow out. I need to be quiet, and just kind of move back, and let him let all of this out. I knew this rage. I’ve seen this rage so often. This was Eddie’s rage all burnt up and let out and I know to let him go. Go, go, go.

Smash and broken glass and laughter. “I want to see it! Why can’t I see it? Why is our world so broken and all I get is glimpses. Do you get that Len? Right? I just get glimpses of the cracks and I want more. Why does that rich motherfucking asshole get to see it? Why does he get that world and all we have is this? Why do we get this broken piece of shit when he gets to go beyond it all?”

I just let him go, I don’t respond.

And then? And then.

“Let’s burn this place down.”

And yeah sure what the hell. Let it all burn.

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Darin Bradley’s Chimpanzee

So. I got this book yesterday and I dipped into it a little thinking I’ll read a tiny smidgen and then put it down and read more later, like I usually do.  Except that didn’t happen. Instead I read on and on and on. Until three in the morning I’m done and  fall down and fall asleep and dream of things other than this book.

It’s a dystopia but it’s not like the others. I guess I can split them up, move pieces around, talk about them in other ways. Most dystopias can be shoved aside. Can be called Orwellian and then act like well, yes, we know this is possible but it’s a warning, a fairy tale,  something that we can put aside and just point to when shit happens. Because those are comic exaggerations of things, to the point of where the realness of it can’t ever really ever sink in. Like those Hunger Games. Like the Circle. Like, on and on and on.

Then there are active dystopias- active dystopias. Ones that kind of shock you. Ones that actually disturb you. Ones that make you think and think and think and think afterwards. They do things to you, move things around inside of your head. Noise was one. And now Chimpanzee is too.

But more so.And it makes a good companion piece to Noise. It’s philosophical a delves into a lot of stuff that you can see happening in Noise but kind of in the background, like how the character’s think and how they act.The two books are not sequels, but instead keys to the other. For understanding either, you need to read both. And then new thoughts flood in. New ways of reading.

Ah well. Snag it. Grab it. Whatever. It’s a new personal favorite.

as a kid I thought every door had a potential into opening up into other worlds

I’ve been thinking lately about books that are basically an adult version of the Wonderland/Oz/etc variety. Like, The Hellbound Heart, PalimpsestThe Course of the Heart, The Magicians/Magician King. I guess you could call them portal fantasies, though for me those usually lead to a medieval fantasy world, and it’s basically a fantasy novel, but with people our world inside of it. I’m more thinking of ones that tend to lean towards the more strange and surreal, in the ways that Wonderland/Oz/etc did.

I’m not thinking about short stories right now. I’ve read millions of ones that feel the same, that evoke the same oddness of the world, transcending beyond it, etc. So…here are some thoughts-

  • Three of the four sex is a major part of the transformation, or transportation, into that other world.
  • Two our of the Three have the word Heart in their title, and deal directly with relationships. And the relationships (and problems of the relationships) somehow effect this other world
  • All of them have elements of horror in them
  • All of them mention a yearning towards other worlds, other places. Being haunted by them. Seeking the out.
  • Another connecting tissue for two of the novels was the search for childhood, or maybe a connection to childhood, and how this connects to the other world.
  • Three of the books deal with how our world changes after we travel to this other place.
  • Three of these books have the characters tainted by the world they travel to. And upon return to our world carry pieces of that other world with them. This can either be good or bad, depending.
  • All of them have people who die because of their interaction with this other world. Is this a price paid?
  • Four of them have sex acts that are frightening and are part of/what drives them to/opens the gateway. Is this also part of sacrifice?
  • Two of them deal with impotency when concerned with magic. And a yearning for more sexual experience to awaken something, to overcome this impotency.
  • Those two books are both written by men from England.
  • Only one was written by a woman.
  • Two of them reference books that don’t exist in our world, and involve travelling to some fantasy landscape. One of them has a Narnia bent. The other is more like a cross between Alice in Wonderland and the Blue Fairy Book.
  • Only one of them deals with grief in a way that’s realistic.
  • Two of the books are all about longing, and desire, and what we want out of this world. And about emptiness, and searching out the answer to emptiness. How to see our world in a way that doesn’t feel drained.
  • These two are perhaps about middle age, about the world not living up to want we were promised.
  • Three of them are all about the Middle Class and upper Middle Class and nothing else. They act almost as if moving through the gateway is an act of privilege
  • When I was a kid I thought every door had a potential into opening up into other worlds
  • The basement in my childhood home felt like another world. It was in a hill. The door leading out from the basement was on the side of the hill.
  • There was also a pine forest by my great-grandparents house. It felt otherworldly. I still dream about it.
  • At times I would explore everywhere. The city. The woods nearby. Parks. I would find places that felt like they were from other places. I loved exploring for that reasons.
  • I would find ruins in the woods of houses that burned down. Or rusted out old oil rigs.
  • I found that if you followed the creek you would go into tunnels under houses and bridges.
  • There was a beach and up on the hill were stone pillars
  • I still feel that way. I still explore. Everything feels like its from another world. I would see glimpses of chains dangling in a hidden porch. I would find clothes of a child caught in the branches of a tree.
  • Maybe the only thing separating us from other realities is this perception. This lack of seeing.