Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Unsettling but cool story at Heliotrope

The story mingles the fantastic and the creepy. It's a tale of a self-absorbed man willing to use his unborn twins to construct a hedonistic paradise for himself: "They Play in the Palace of My Dreaming" by Gerard Houarner. (One of my fave titles I've come across in the last year, maybe longer.)

An excerpt:

He flew and he fell, going higher and sinking deeper. The old man’s drumming guided him, and he learned the path he needed to take so he would no longer need Grandfather to show him the way. The universe expanded around him as senses that existed only in his dream state awakened, connecting him to the layers of reality inside and outside of him. He was alive once more, as he only knew to be in this heightened state of awareness.

His totem, the unborn fetus, appeared by his side to note the way.

“Tell me, is what I’m doing wrong?” Carlos asked.

The fetus opened its mouth and vomited blood. The trail of its discharge arced across the sky like an umbilical cord. Carlos looked, letting his vision bring to the here and now the time of his birth, the place of his womb. He watched himself emerge bloody and then blue from his mother, the doctor and nurses huddling around him. He heard his first cry, watched his tiny legs kick and arms wave.

“Alive,” he said. “Yes, that’s what I’ll be at last. Alive.”

The ending is both horrible and exquisite.

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