Plot Timeline

Friday

4/12/13

I was born at fifteen minutes past three on April fifteenth, 1973, in the spacious bathroom on the property of Jared Kochler, twenty miles north of midtown Witchita. Jared was my mother's patron then, supporting her as she worked on her art. It wasn't until years later that I understood this to mean she was Jared Kochler's mistress. His wife knew, my mother knew, and that was all as it should be for Jared (at least in his mind.)

Jared's knowledge of esoteric handshakes and closed-door contracting networks had opened many doors for him in the burgeoning aircraft economy. Jared had a knack for finding space for concealed storage compartments in airplane schematics, and as such occupied a rather unorthodox position amidst the engineering community. During the years he was a part of my life I remember only that he had assembled quite a collection of 8-tracks and players.

My mother's art was hard to describe. Looking through photos of her standing in a pool of luminescent water steadying a length of chain link fence hung with christmas tinsel of varying hues one might think her possibly unhinged by the psychedelic fractalization of the preceeding decade. Her piece "Portrait of Senator Greenback(1975)" won her some international recognition; but for that painting she would not have mad any impression on the world of art. Still, between the occasional commission and the monthly stipend from Jared, she was able to provide for us in a style that was, if not traditionally middle class, very closely mimicking it in affluence.

Ollie

"So it started with this strange rush of energy, right? I was standing in the street, having just finished uploading the recombinant sequentials. I'd figured it'd kick in, and I knew it'd be a radical shift in perception, but damn." Oliver took a breath. "This shit floored me. It was like, uh, like seeing in triplicate, a hardcore memory potential, with everything, I mean everything coming into focus."

"How's your reflex?" Eliot asks.

"Still fast as hell. It didn't interfere with my spinal at all." Oliver stared down the alley. "Fuck, it's George."

George liked rocks. Now he came to them, three rocks clutched in one hand as if he were about to juggle. "Ollie, Ollie! These are river rocks!" Up the alley he comes running, waving the rocks above his head.

Eliot knew George, one night prowler to another. George paced the alleys at night by streetlamp and moonlight, collecting items possibly useful left out for garbage collection come dawn. Anything of value went to Manuel, and in exchange Manuel gave George meth.

Sometimes George'd trade a half gram for food, down at the Merchant's Inn the bus boy'd load him up on waffles and pancakes. When Shane was staffing the Burger King drive-thru he'd score a half-pounder charbroiled and smothered in mustard. He scratched at himself habitually, often picking at tick-heads embedded in his flesh, the fleas that scrambled for cover under his matted hair. Somewhere along the way he'd mastered the art of writing backwards in beautiful flowery script. Manuel called him Skitz, and his parents were ten years dead, George swearing that the government had killed them.

Eliot had gleaned all this personal history over weeks of conversations in passing, joints shared in the park. Eliot always pre-rolled his joints when he smoked with George, not trusting George to sprinkle speed across the dry brown weed. George told Eliot that he had been a writer once, but that all his journals had vanished. "My brother has them," George would say, "But I don't know who he is anymore.." He would fade into a kind of reverie, face shadowed and pinched. Eliot could see the skull beneath George's skin.

Later that evening, Eliot and Heather sat together under the bruised storm clouds, and watched as it marched beyond them on legs of lightning, trees whipping in the wake of its fury. "I'm going to be forty soon, dear." Eliot says, staring out, past the mountains, beyond the sunset, to the vastness of space he sensed there. "I ran into a guy today who'll be lucky to make it to thirty."

Heather wrapped her arms close across Eliot's stomach, her breasts pushing against his back. She leaned in close, and whispered into his ear. "My poor romantic immortal." She kissed him then, on the tip of his ear. "It'll be tax day soon."

"Ollie's got a new spinal." He sighed. "I wonder if I should get one. I've still got the stamina, I could adapt pretty easily." Heather let go, sat back in the porch swing and looked back across the prairie.

"Eliot, you need to go write." She sighed. "You get all maudlin when you don't write."

Thursday

5:23

It's 5:23. You're Randy.

She leaps over the side of the door and into your arms as you rush off the faded porch to greet her, and every cell in your body quickens, hums. Vibrations and resonances pulse, throb, set in motion across your nerves, and her body dances in time with her tonuge, alive in your mouth. The cells of your body screaming in agony as you separate from her embrace, hungry for sensation. She stumbles against you, dizzy with anticipation in your arms.

Too bright, here in the yard, you pull her in under the porch's overhang. Glare reflecting off the grass, the sun the only other witness as she lifts her shirt, breasts braless in the july heat. Breasts salty, nipple hard against your lips. Her fingers trace your face, circling your ears, then gripping firm in your hair. You peel away your button-up, the middle button zinging off the wooden porch and out into the bushes that group together near the concrete steps, and now she's pulling you up, kissing your face, your chin, your throat, your nipples, biting softly and rolling the left one between her teeth.

Then she slaps you. "Where the hell were you at four twenty?"

By 11:23 you've covered everything from tantra to the DNA computing research underway in Israel.

II

"Situationist, eh," Erica said to herself, "I'll give that bastard situationist." She drives up the dirt road, dust pluming in her wake. The entrance was to the left, right before the road curved off to the right and into the suburband neighborhood. She turned quick, a breaking skid kicking the dust past her car's cherry paint and gleaming chrome, fetish clean, just ahead of her a wide open circular park free of vehicles.

Braking, parked, and leaping over the side fo the car door, lighter and pipe palmed in her right hand. Randy was waiting. He worked in a chemical plant. They had met online, her user name was Hecate, his, Randynano. He was a grad student interning in a lab, developing a microrobotic arm that operated at the molecular level. His passion excited her.

Under the trees, all she could hear was birdsong. She headed to the grove of locust, thorny trees that grew on the hilly prairie that hugged the forested creek. Nestled in these woods there were campsites, stashes of paraphernalia, occasional odd detritus of some ill-fated drunken venture, other intruiging bits of forgotten and broken local history. Here she and Randy had been meeting every workday around four, where they would smoke and sit and chat until sunset. He parked in the east entrance, she parked in the west, and they met in the center in a somewhat half-hearted ceremony that more often than not ended with them rolling around naked on a rock outcropping, otehr times they'd talk code, having met orignially in a forum over linux plug-ins. Now, after two weeks in Denver, every cell quivered in anticipation of the former, and she searched the grove for her black-clad geek lover.

yes, this needs some rewriting

Tuesday

Greyhound

Today I'm starting a new journal, so here's the introductory fine print. My name is Eliot Marflow. I don't get out much. Most of y'all like daylight, live from dawn to dusk these open-air proscribed lives. A continuum of lawns, gardens, church meetings, gym and sauna, sidewalks and highways, a convienant universe built from spun steel reflecting neon blue, concrete and brass statuary, gilded tiles, serotonine uptake inhibitors, white-coated philosophers and vivisectionists promising solutions, fluidic and otherwise to redefine, realign, and realize the borders by which your reality is known.

I have twenty-five dollars in the wallet I am carrying in my right back pocket. I am wearing black cargo pants, two pockets on each leg in front, one on each ass cheek. In my right pockets there are two packs of camels, one half empty and sharing space in my upper pocket with a pen. The other, in the lower pocket, is still encased in cellophane.

In my upper left front pocket, there is a lighter with a rainbow trout midleap over a sparkling stream printed on its plastic sleeve. The bottom of the lighter is blackened from when I used it to mash out the glowing coal of a cigarette three hours and twenty-three minutes ago. In my lower left pocket, a blank notebook filled with blank pages and a 3 1/2 inch, 1.44 mb blue plastic disk with green factory print on which I have stored veves, runes, glyphs and seals, comprising the bulk of my ritual iconographic library.

In the wallet that I have slipped from its normal resting place in my right rear pocket I keep two expired drivers licenses. One lists my address as 1723 All Hallows. The other, actually my original learners permit, lists my address as my mothers, down south on Marlboro Ct.

Neither is correct. Currently I'm living with a friend near the haunted park in the center of town. We are preparing a rite, and while we aren't, we stare out the bay window, wondering when the storm is finally going to hit.

She's terrified. I keep thinking of what Crowley said: "If things have to be put right, it shows that they are very wrong." Still, when the time comes we will be ready to realign this vortex. Jerry and Leary are both outside now, looking in...

*

Eliot looks up from the page. He sips from the styrofoam coffee, sets it on the molded plastic table. He sits up on the hard plastic chair and stares out the window of the bus station. He wants to write, to pass the time, but there is nothing inside that does not seem mundane at this moment.

*

The early alchemists had to use symbols because the abstract concepts transcended their linguistic capabilities of the time and iconography was the only method they could use to converse on these topics. The texts that have survived are transcriptions of parts of letters sent between the researchers.

*

Eliot stars out the window of the bus station longer. Across the street, through the rain-streaked glass, he watches as a series of pedestrians stroll past, some clutching bags, umbrellas up against the cloud burst. Others ignoring the rain, as if they could ward off the drops through willpower alone. Some stared at their own reflections in the tinted office glass.

Two chairs over to his right, a dark-haired girl sits reading a book "The Owl In Daylight" the paperback's cover says, the word "daylight" wrapped around the back of the book and over onto the front, so one would see the word 'day' and the word 'light' as seperate. Eliot couldn't make out the author. He suddenly wished he had a book with him. His book of empty pages, this new journal, was naught but promises, potential.. it had no weight, no history.

He sat, observing. A glimpse of sun creeping through the buildings momentarily flushed his sight with phosphenes. The fragile, uneven frames of his glasses arced nervous shadows across his nose. He needed a book, not to read, but to toy with, a prop for public, to twist in his hands, refer to, a ward against conversation.. an excuse to not notice everyone around him. This flight to Witchita made him feel guilty. He wanted not to be seen.. he'd walk, but it'd take months. He felt flawed, useless, bound up deep in this darkness that threatened to overwhelm him.

"It's no hard trick not being seen" he thought "the difficulty is having to see."

Moribund, he pondered the tile, glancing at the round face of the clock. He pictured a star, criss-crossing its face, with horns and a tail, triangle at its tip. "Hurry up" he whispered. He closed his eyes.

"Denver to Witchita is now boarding." He opened them at the sound of the loudspeaker clicking on. E. Hillengale was the name on the ticket in the dark haired girl's hand. She held it out, her name towards him, as she stood ahead of him in line.

Monday

years later

"We seem to have reached a consensus." The man rose, handed a scroll to the officer of the court, who in turn walked it over to the arbiter.

"And this decision is unanimous?" The judge.

"It is your honor." The man sits.

"Guilty." Judge has unrolled the scroll, thumbed it active, and now bangs the gavel. Rumblings throughout the court room quickly erupt into outrage.

"How can we convict this woman of something she did not intend, program, or foresee?" Off camera, the voice clears his throat. "She's no more responsible than a mother is for a child that has murdered someone." The camera swivels in on the lawyer from the EFF, shaking his fist his face red with rage. "The fact is that my client's being railroaded on a bullshit charge in order to isolate her from public scrutiny, sacrificed on the altar of public opinion while distracting the media from the culpability of government defense contractors!"

Jake retuned the streaming and in response a flicker strobed across the tablet's screen. A medical show. "There are things hatching from his skin. We just removed an inch long worm from his left arm. It's a sinister looking creature, shown here magnified a hundred times." He pauses it and flips her the tablet.

Gina takes it, and guided the image on the tablet up to the wallscreen with the wand. She swivels the hologram and looks closely at the worm. "Is that what killed the information manager at work?"

"It's what I sensed, when I first got this fucking plug. Fear of this..."

"What is it?"

"...the worm that turned.." Jake's struggling with his drama. "It's not exactly killing me, or Frank, but it's there, shot through our systems. We're all carriers of this damn thing, ever since it got in through Dino it's apparently hijacked the whole department's nervous system."

Gina was worried, Jake could tell that all of this was hitting her hard. "It didn't kill Alan Cohen. He killed himself." He didn't tell her that Alan killed himself after a month of restless sleep and nightmares, that he had Alan's passwords and personal server stashed in his office, that he'd been trying to understand what it was that Alan had experienced. Jake knew he'd only terrorize Gina with that knowledge.

Omnicillian

Omnicillian was more of a concept than a product in the naughties. An investors shorthand for the ultimate cure-all, omnicillian would eventually come into existence through a triage of MEMS, quantum computing, and open sourced DNA code, rather than some biologically synthesized injectible serum. Fear of bioterror spurred on investors eager to fund research that might ease that fear, and a host of high-tech startups capitalized on this situation.

With the publication of the human genome sequence, this research was being carried out not only in well-funded private sector labs and university programs, it was also being explored by a new generation of biohacking hobbyists. Some theorized that with the proper knowledge, a person could program Omnicillian to rewrite any bit of DNA you desired. Genetic hacking, the ultimate body modification , quickly found converts within the global pierced and tattooed subculture. Naturally, this did begin as an extremely small, close-knit group; only a relatively few people possessed both the technical knowledge and the proper equipment to do this kind of research on their own, but soon they represented the outer technical elite of a growing body of the curious once the wetweb's infrastructure became ubiquitous.

Those applications were years on down the line though when Omnicillian was first developed. By all accounts it wasn't ready for human trials, never would have been greenlighted as such were it not for the outbreaks. Increasing concerns about the spread of brain fevers and respitory ailments that left scores dead and hundreds of thousands sick for weeks led to the touting of omnicillian inoculation as a cure-all. Lauded as the end of disease, the injection of billions upon billions of animalcules destined to create a new type of gland that could pup out bioformed MEMS carrying within them a DNA source that they used as a blueprint to seep through the body replacing the innards of any encountered viral shell, lengthening telomeres, and rejuvenating neural tissues.

Dr. Zagreus' magic cure-all was a DNA-based computer that used the host body's DNA as a reference point from which to eliminate the guesswork in cellular regeneration. Eventually, every cell of the body would be rebuilt from the DNA up over a period of months rather than the normal seven year cycle. Invasive bacteria is carried through the cells to the skin's surface, a pussy sweating that passes after the first few weeks.

There was fear that this was the end of a species (though some saw it more as a hope.) Fear that this gland, manufacturing nanites, would adhere eternally to one's structural genetic matrix, passing on to descendants. Human 2.0, people were calling it.

Feb 91

It feels like at any moment something new could happen. Everything flows, everything is in flux. A simple concept by which to base a life, perhaps, but it begets infinite complexity. Not random, not necessarily chaotic, but certainly complex. Mom says that it's my aries showing through, that and my pluto in the first house. She says I spend so much time daydreaming that I never see what's right in fromm of me. She gave me this notebook and told me to work on my communication skills. This is my first entry. All I've done this week is watch the war on television. I don't think I want to go into the marines now.

After Dinner, Three Days Later

"What I's sayin, is there's the sensual side of the brain, the intellectual side, and the instinctive side."

"but that's three halves.."

"Not halves, sides. Three sides, all equally conscious in their own way. This whole plugging into the net all the time, this wetweb stuff, has kinda revealed that to me. My backbrain is as potent, as awake, as the two frontal lobes are, so t' speak."

"And what you're saying..." Gina asks.

"What I'm saying is mine's awake.. I can't dream right because my instictive brain is awake. And aware of the open network. And it's hunting something." Jake itches at his mastoid, the skin is hot. "I'm at this low level of paranoia, to be perfectly honest. My backbrain gots its hackles up about something, and it's trying to ferret out its prey. It's accessing the net, but I'm only dimly aware of it." Tension creases Jake's forehead.

"It's.. you're certain your preconscious mind, your instinctive mind is actively browsing the net?"

"er.. I'm. Uh.. I have a hack set up to a external storage, caching all the visiual data that's being processed in my peripheral visiion. Some of it is text, flashing past far too fast to make sense of it. But I've seen enough to know it's.. I'm concerned with autonomous intelligence, artificial digital life. AI stuff." Jake is not clear, something puzzling him just outside his grasp. Gina watches as he trances out, wirelessly pulling in data from the wireless personal server in his wallet. "It's as if I'm trying to teach myself something I can't consciously know. Like repressed memories, only I'm repressing information, knowledge."

"Honey, you have to get some fucking sleep. If this is what's keeping you up at night, maybe you need to opt out of these trials." Even as she says it, she knows Jake would never give this up.

"It's okay, I can get to sleep... It's disorienting, but I've been able to sleep soundly while this data pours in. It has been radically effecting my dreams, all mathematical formulae and alan turing. It's unsettling, but if I get this removed I'll never get a position with Mogan Global. We'd have to move back to Douglas County, or even Witchita." Jake shook his head. "It's not happening that way. You're getting into your grad work, and once this trial's over I'll be a junior sales exec. What's a few wierd dreams and a half gig worth of AI white papers? We've got 1200 square feet and a car park in the city."

Sunday

Manhattan

I have heard the key
Turn in the door once and turn once only
We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison - 'The Waste Land' - T. S. Eliot


"Oh christ dear, I haven't seen Jon in years." Gina's holding up an apple, turning it under the flourescents. "Organic is a meaningless fucking term. Jake, honey, next time lets just drive to an open-air market. I can't make out shit without some natural lighting."

Jake pushes the cart, idly scratching at the swollen flesh encircling the shielded plug sunk into his mastoid bone just behind the fleshy tip of his ear. "According to theis, he's been indicted on four counts of vehicular homicide."

"No shit, what happened?"

Jake raked his hand to the right, then tapped the air with his middle finger. "He blew out a tire around eighty on the freeway and veered into a cemetary during a funeral. Tested positive for amphetamines."

"That's horribel." Gina sets down the green apple, picks up a shrink-wrapped pack of five golden delicious., tosses them intot he cart. "Hon, let's get some ointment for that implant. It looks infected."

Friday

Scythian

"What the Priest in the purple cassock hates most of all is the heretic who does not recognize his exclusive right to bind and to permit... What every philistine hates most of all is the rebel who dares to think differently from him. Hatred of freedom is the surest symptom of this deadly disease, Philistinism." - Yevgeny Zamyatin 'Scythians'


Erica always said that Eliot had spent mmost of his inheritance foolishly, living with a bunch of snowboarders who were little more than flakes themselves, stoned on mescaline and 'shrooms during the summer months, kind bud and beer through the winter, invoking the norse god Ul for the really hairy runs. As to how true that actually was, in terms of undergoing the formality of occuring, is up for debate.

Eliot certainly spent several thousand dollars just on alcohol and ski passes that year, but he can't recall any norse rites, nor does he remember having taken more than a couple psychedelics... "Erica over-inflates things, she exagerates." Eliot says, tapping out a bowl into an ashtray. The pipe is hand-carved, a piece of antler George discovered on the outskirts of Golden, Co. the day George's radiator exploded in the mountains and George walked thirty miles to the nearest bus stop. George had tripped over the half rack of antlers somewhere around mile twenty, and had carried it with him the rest of the way, pondering just how he could shape it. Once he got home, he had forgotten his car completely, obsessed with carving the piece Eliot now holds, digging into the stem with a straightened paper clip. "She always had this trace of philistinism to her, ya know? I'd be rolling up a joint and she'd be stuffing the one hitter, hoarding it away."

George says "When you always take this stance, this 'tough shit, that's mine' kind of attitude, you'll end up driving off everyone around you. Seemed like that was Erica's trip." He look's to Jake, explaining "She never forgave any of Eliot's friends from Colorado for using him, or that's how she sees it, sounds like."

"I didn't mind," Eliot shakes his head, hair obscuring his eyes. "Shit, I didn't care, I needed that time after everyone died." He sips a mocha, rescued from collision with a busboy's cart only moments earlier. "Emotional detox, you know."

Jake takes all this in. Gina, his wife, has been pestering him about her sister's relationship, wanted him to ask Eliot point blank about Erica's tense remarks about the group Eliot had been living with. Now, cornered in this coffeehouse some five hundred and fifty five miles east of denver, down the hill from Kansas University, this long-awaited relaying of personal folklore by eliot and George seems to fill some gaps in Erica's story.

Jake is tense himself. He is being recruited by some unknown banking institution for a double-blind study into new forms of direct information management.

All Eliot and George know is that Jake and Gina are moving to Manhattan within a fortnight. This isn't the official send-off, but it shall soon have been their last official bullshit session, just the three guys. Eliot's thirty-three. He's known Jake for ten years, George for three months. He's known Erica for twelve years, but it seems like forever. Erica and Gina coordinate their own gossip sessions over a bottle of chablis and a thick joint, blowing smoke out across the back yard.

Eliot snaps his fingers under Jake's nose. "You still there Jake? Look a little lost." Jake sits bold and upright, tries to retain awareness of where he is sitting, the marijuana brownies they'ed eaten a few hours before pulling him into reverie...

Thursday

Late September, 92

Jon and I were out at the nature trails, south 23rd street entrance. Once the first frost hits and the ticks go into hibernation, the nature trails become the prefered meeting place. Armed with a half ounce of commercial weed, dried and pressed into brick some six hundred and sixty six miles due east-southeast by a family of hindus who had immigrated to the hills of Arkansas. Jon comes armed with two pipes, a pack of reds, lighters, papers, scales (perhaps he thought to nibble out gram portions, nickle and dime away a quarter of the bag to passing strangers deep in the heart of the witchita nature preserve.

I was the bag holder, in which-handy, always available-I keep a square of paper declaring that I have indeed paid the state of kansas twenty dollars tax on any illegal substance I may happen to be carrying on my person. While this won't keep me out of jail should I happen to be arrested for the other item in the pag, the dried pressed brickweed that looked more like treebark than a plant holy to Siva, the tax stamp does prevent them from charging me with failure to pay my taxes, a stiff fine that helps defray the cost of maintaining an agricultural subsidy which pays kansas farmers a stipend per acre of land that they do not farm. This helps drive up the price of wheat, and creates an unnatural scarcity in the free market, a necessity for the new european economy.

By having pre-emptively paying my tax police are most looking to arrest me for were they to profile and pull me over on suspicion of being in posession of this particular plant, I hope that they might let me off with a warning should they happen across this plastic sack, arranged just so around my ankle that it would not be visible, hidden by my boots. I am not carrying my lighter.

Now we are seeking a safe place off the path away from any standing pools of water. The place we come to, staring at it in my memory, wasa hollow carved out by an oak that had fallen, cutting a swath out of the dense overhead foilage where a chemtrail x against eggshell blue marked our position in the skies above. Surrounded on all sides by locust trees wreathed with inch long thorns, covered cocoon-thick with cobwebbing, which once leaving this space I found my left arm coated in...

In revulsion I push through a locust tree.. stinging leaves behind scrapes that soon bleed a poisen purple along their edges. Jon moments earlier tells me he is to join the marines, wants to see kuwait. His favorite movie is Red Dawn. His dad is a pastor. Behind him, I see this form arise, a deepness to the forest, a presence that is vaster, more dispersed, than the shadow thing we'd seen that night.

It grows as he speaks, and I am frozen now, the weed is cooking, pipe's wood charred and hardened, soaked with the resins and ashes of countless meditative trances, coughing, scraping, watery eyes and hunger pangs all tied into this little pipes history, it moves, it dances, glimmers at the edge of sensing, of perceptions as I stare into the coals, then pass the pipe to Jon, still speaking. He doesn't sense the presence around us, I can no longer hear what he is saying.

Waves of fear swam along the fibers of my spine, as I waited for this entity to manifest itself in some way, certain that at any moment a tree would swing into animated life, that the very earth would awaken while Jon continued to speak. Then, almost as suddenly as I had felt this, I felt it pass. I stood, walked through the locust trees, my left arm becomes covered with webbing and I curse then, once in revulsion. While Jon follows, he's now clutching-white knuckling-the empty pipe.

When hours later we get back to the truck, nothing more had been said about the military, and the presence had never reappeared.

*Appended, 5-94, two a.m.

That was the last time I saw Jon. Amanda told me she heard he's joined the army. I never thought he'd make it past the psyche evaluation. There is foreknowledge of many kinds that can be used to predict an action. I should have known Jon would have gotten sick in the Gulf, I saw in him a fierce heat for death, a barren waste in his eyes... he was haunted, even before we went out the Aztec, the cemetary there just west of Witchita, east of Goddard.

That night, when he sat on the marble slab and smoked joint after joint as the gleaming of sunset cast long shadows from gravestones. Just as the darkness winked out, greenish pale and bloodshot eyes, parched and dizzy from the weed, Jon grabbed my arm and hushed me to silence, pointing with my arm into the gloom. There, somewhat bouncing along the ground, two whiteblue orbs like eyes floated within a shadow. We fled.

It touched Jon, that night. I remember now. It touched him, it seared the skin above his ankle, a blackening that faded as soon as I'd seen it, Jon slamming the truck door and dropping the clutch, spinning in reverse and over a stone in a whip around. That was so fucking strange.

Tuesday

June, 92

Goddard. Small town just west of Witchita. Color of your skin made less difference than which church (if any) you attend. I'd sit on the porch and watch the sun set, each evening. I was innocent, and found the world unsatisfactory, but reliable. Old reeboks dangled from the powerlines that crossed the alleyway behind my mother's house, a dense shadowy thicket, the leaves just starting to curl from the summer's heat. Dusklight sky, a chemtrail or three in the distance but otherwise clear, a fading from bright clear blue to purple edged hues, twilight comes on hard in the summer, a sun dropping down behind the rough edged horizon, five hundred miles of clear view across Kansas.

Thinking linearly, the last few years of high school is where my memory's continuity begins... while scenes, dominant memories of childhood trauma, of camping trips and water parks and theme rides, carnivals and sleep overs and spelling bees spring forth from my memory, I don't have a thread I can uncoil from which would dangle these events in their proper order. Photos trigger some responses, but mostly I stare in wonder at these faces, my mother, young, years held in abeyance, frozen time cascading, quantifying these roles of relatives, family traditions and rituals my place in which was proscribed, my understanding of, or even awareness of any abstract signifigance not even encouraged, let alone expected. It was only in high school that I came to exist, as if everything prior were formative, rather than historical... that I was not yet fully formed until I gained a discrete individuation from... but I get ahead of myself.

Before then I remember encountering none of the darkness, though while I did not know that the darkness was there, that doesn't mean I wasn't effected by it. This darkness that rides, we are all desensitized to it, though how or if deliberate I still do not know. With this chronicle I hope to set out on paper something which will help me muddle out the implications of what I'm experiencing.

It is not without some trepidation that I write, for this act, this chronicling of my encounters, takes place not at the end of my trials, but in the very midst of them.

June, 92 then... we had been huffing butane and were doing 360's in a muddy field out by the abandoned cemetary way out west on Maple, when all three of us felt this strange rush. The rag fluttered out of my hands and into the debris that littered the floorboard of Jon's '78 pickup, but the can of butane made a solid weight in my hand, grounded me somewhat. There, in the headlights, a space of blackness, shaped like a man, with limbs, a thick squat build, with piercing, burning light streaming back at us roughly where its eyes should have been. My head was buzzing, and my skin crawled and twitched from the butane, but fear like icewater sluiced through my spine.

Jon, next to me on the bench seat, stared jaw open at the thing before us, then slammed his foot on the gas and plowed through it. Before the head of the truck touched it, it melded with the shadows on the ground, flowing like water quicker than Jon could run it down. It was the last time any of us huffed butane.

"We meet this motif in one of the earliest Greek texts, entitled the 'Instruction of Cleopatra by the Archpriest Kamarios,' where Ostanes and his companions say to Cleopatra:

"Make known to us how the highest descends to the lowest, and the lowest ascends to the highest, and the midmost draws near to the lowest and the highest, so that they are made one with it; how the blessed waters come down from above to awaken the dead, who lie round about in the midst of Hades, chained in darkness; how the elixir of life comes to them and awakens them, rousing them out of thier sleep...

Cleopatra answers:

"When the waters come in, they awaken the bodies and the spirits, which are imprisoned and powerless. ... Gradually they bestir themselves, rise up, and clothe themselves in bright colors, glorious as the flowers in spring. The spring is glad and rejoices in the blossoming ripeness they have put on."

- from "Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon" in Alchemical Studies by C. G. Jung