Interludes Chapter #4 (On Writing & Editing)

I tried not to turn it. I was going to stand up. It seemed absurd now to think that I had never tried to stand up before, in this weird in-between world of the brick. When I tried, it was impossible. It was like an invisible black wall was right above me. I could literally feel it pushing into my back as I tried to stand up.

But still I could look around at the empty blackness, on the peripherally, all around me. And sometimes right as my eyes would blink or my head would sag, I would see little flashes of light out there; I have no clue what that is either.

I was determined this time that I would not turn the brick, but after lunging against whatever force was holding me, after so many times, I was so worn out that I just sort of rested. And as I grow more weary my eyes just sort of drifted back towards the brick. What was it doing there? What did it mean? Why did turning it let her take over? But wait, my sleepy mind asked, she had come before the brick this time…

I wouldn’t turn the brick. That was it. So instead I would just sort of stayed there on all fours, resting with my new resolve. From now on, when ever I woke up over there, hand on the brick, I would somehow stop myself from turning it. That was the plan.

That night and three more times I was successful. And every time a screech went off in the gray morning when I finally woke up, downstairs. It was the most terrifying sound I have ever heard in my life. Birdlike, black, and metallic, the screech brought the thick fear of death. Afterwards, climbing the stairs, I felt like I was drowning, dying. It was like the suffocatingly early part of the morning too. No matter this new agony though, I was determined I would not turn that brick ever again.

Next night, I pulled my hand from it and tried to force myself up again.

An icy screech, halted me and I waited to wake up downstairs, but I didn’t.  I started to panic. What if I got caught in this weird purgatory state? I began to sort of jerk and shake against the force. With a little scream of my own, I was able to get both hands off the ground.

It really was the strangest sensation, like feeling magnetism through your body, I guess?. Even as I wobbled there I could feel it trying to pin me back to the ground, to lock me in whatever cage it had ready. I feel over, hands back on the ground. Still it was a victory, like a little tear had occurred in its control.

I wrestled with it and was finally able to do a push-up against that force. After frantically doing a dozen of those, I started to try to fling my body off the ground. I was able to get both hands up and then could rest and sit back on my still stuck knees and legs.

The view was nothing to be excited about frankly. I have never seen such blackness. It was reflected, multiplied, fun-house blackness. Crevices on crevices, on oceans, of blackness. I couldn’t imagine what sort of creature could even exist out there, but now its screeches were coming with more regularity and purpose. I could only see the ground around me in like a five, six foot radius, and it was a dark, orangey red color, which reminded of the Southwest, New Mexico or Arizona, or whatever. But that was it, and the brick still sat a couple feet in front of me.

I tried to wiggle my legs in this position but they were definitely stuck and when I did I almost wobbled over. The ground seemed to suck me back down. I resisted and the screams and calls that kept coming on, because I had that tear now. I felt it and pressed against it. I pushed and waited.

The screeches got closer and closer, and then it was the worst thunder rumbling ever, punctuated by high pitched crescendoes of lightening. It all seemed to bang and clatter right on top of my chest. The wind picked up and I lost it and was forced back on the ground, but I didn’t even think of touching that brick. I was done with that.

A fierce wind started blowing. It was icy and black, like the rest of the place, and brought the nightmares. Again, I don’t really feeling like going into all that. Not my cup of tea, as they say, but it was awful. I began crying, wailing really, and the storm came even harder. But with all the smattering and dropping of water, no actual rain pooled on the ground. It was just black raindrops everywhere, that disappeared in a black splash once they hit the ground.

The thing was right on top of me. This is cowardly to admit, but I couldn’t even look at it. I tried once, but all I saw was the diamond tip of its black tail as it swayed in the sky above. It seemed to be made of the place itself. Its presence filled me with so much fear and dread, for the first time in my life I knew what a truly suicidal person must feel like. It was a greenish yellow barbed stick, had been shoved down my throat. It made me dry heave and hack in panic. It sounded like a train was roaring right above me. As it hissed and grumbled, a wretched stench hit my nose.

“Turn the brick,” the thing ordered. Somehow a bunch of Ss snuck in there, so it was more like “Turnss thasss brisss,” but the meaning and intent were clear.

Things got weirder. Weirder than runaway Muses and demonic beasts of the other side, I mean. I tried to open my eyes, which was a bit like trying to breathe under water, but somehow I did it but when I did the brick had disappeared. I closed my eyes real fast and tried to figure out what to do.

“Turns thas briss,” the thing ordered again.

“I can’t,” I yelled. “The brick is gone!”

“Thass briss no goess–” The thing screamed back, but its words were snatched right from its throat, like a barking dog being yanked on the leash, and the black storm stopped.

I kept my eyes closed through all that. I was sure if I had looked at that monster one more time I would have seized up and died, a cardiac arrest on the other side . Maybe a brain aneurysm.

I stayed on my hands and knees for a while but then the sun began to warm my back. I still wouldn’t open my eyes. No way. This was my last stand, kneeling, whatever. The ground rumbled beneath me and what felt like lush grass sprouted up around me, tickling my arms. Then insects started humming. Then birds started chirping. Then I heard something that sounded like a lion’s roar, so I opened my eyes.

There was the Muse. She was standing before me, in a brown monk’s rope, cleaning her nails, looking bored. “Hooty hoo,” she said, acknowledging me. “Looks like you get to go on a hero’s quest, yippee.”

Next Chapter

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