There (Novel Excerpt #2)

Him/Here

 

I am 23. It is 2016 A.D.

 

I attended a University. I graduated with a degree in literature and Film Studies. I work at a kitchen in a bar. The honesty of the statement “my parents death is the only reason I have money today” hurts me more than the fact my parents died.

 

What was once the cute “oh silly drunk college kid” stage is turning into alcoholism and a severe lethargy.

 

I struggle everyday to make sure I look like I just don’t fucking care. I really really want to take some acid, it’s been almost three years. None of my creative efforts have been acknowledged by, anyone. That’s mostly my fault.

 

The women that come into my life have each left a slight perfume ghost, haunting my apartment and lips. The one I have now is using me to cheat on her boyfriend. Or make him jealous. Or something. There’s something heroic in my willingness to aid her. Chivalry incarnate.

Me and my best childhood friend, Lily Darrow, are contractually obliged to return once a year to a ethereal plane inhabited by monsters and myth, under order of the Queen Ara Uriathyn, the Mistress of the Shadows and Master of the Joy. Her full title is a real bitch to recite. We stumbled into the land, the plane, the other, the There, when we were five years old. We promised the pretty lady at the end of the maze in the orchard we would see her every year. She stroked our faces, and left behind a sensation I have yet to feel from any substance or mortal hand on this side.

 

I idolize a comedian writer. I know more about the going on of his life than I do about my brother. I have seen his live show four times. I listen to his podcast every week. The family I have chosen, the one I care about, has nothing to do with blood, everything to do with releasing dopamine and all those other brain chemicals.

 

I judge people worthy or not worthy the second I meet them.

 

I find it increasingly difficult for the modern man to be a scholar, a warrior, and a poet. To be anything of any significance. No one deserves to have his or her story told any more. No one is really thinking originally any more. There is simply too much information to learn, and society demands you specialize, you ignore complete chunks of life so you may pat yourself on the back that you got anything done. Think how easy it was to know everything way back when, when knowledge actually was power. Nostradamus didn’t have Wikipedia, Socrates never had to read Shakespeare, or Joyce, or Twain. Jesus never had internet trolls and/or The Emmy’s. The only wars being fought are imperialistic and less about honor then they are about old world values. That leaves poet. I already find the poetry in every moment of my life. I don’t need to share it.

 

I am, therefore I think these things.

 

 

The Other/There

 

“The Father will not like this news, not one bit”

 

“Children, Othereon, Children, why don’t we just grab them now, and…”

 

“You are fed enough! We must tell him.”

 

“We MUST do nothing. We do what we will. If you want to go tell the father, tell him, but I aim to nibble, at least on one of them.”

 

I tug at my whiskers, watching Othereon and Ican bicker about eating the mortal children that found there way in here. We all know that the lady already knows of these creatures intrusion. We all already know that she has it taken care of. We all know these humans won’t be harmed, not by our hands. Outside, the land is covered in a dense fog, which draped itself across the garden when the humans entered. From our perch on top of the rocky outcrop, we can see the glimmering little light that is Tanya, or Ithera, or Isabella, bobbing in front of what can only be the children, being lead straight to the lady. The high pitched squeaks of frightened human babes can be heard, although the actual words can’t.

 

“She guides them to her, yes, but she knows not how many there are, I say we go down, snag one out of the fog, and let the queen do what she will with our other guest!” Ican snarls, slamming his webbed hand against his flabby thigh. While his upper mouth enunciates his plan, the lower visibly drools.

 

I rise, and before either of the fools utters another syllable I grab them behind the head and smash their faces together. Ican is unconscious before I release my grasp on him. Otheron, thick-skulled troll he is, cries out in anger, so I draw my dagger and hold it venomously before his remaining eye.

 

“What is the meaning of this, this, this fucking….”

 

“Say another word Otheron and you will be given the title Otheron, The Blind Fool.”

 

“Yeago, you bastard! I am equal in rank to you, I answer only to the King himself, not another Jester!” Otheron bellows. And I plunge my blade into his eye. Had he been of a lower rank, I would have pushed harder, straight through his dense skull and attempted to scramble the tiny amount of brain matter he possess.

 

It’s a matter of principle.

 

I jump out of the way as Otheron wildly swings his heavy hands and begins stumbling around, screaming profanities, cursing my name, so on and so on. Adjusting my vest, I wipe my blade on the fur of my right forearm, and turn to inform the king that his mistress is playing games with mortals again. It’s a short trip to the castle, one I’ve made hundreds of times, and the fog impedes my journey little. I can still here Otheron’s pained shouts, more pathetic than anything, when I open the gate. Inside, I find that the King has already learned of the mortals, so I simply slink off behind the nearest pillar to watch the unfolding scene.

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