Playing with the novel on a Sunday morning: excerpt


The cool blue 225’s V8 rumbled comfortably down the highway, the Electra rocking gently over every dip like old bedsprings on wheels. Reverend Wat’s feet dangled above the rear floorboard, the toes of his Italian wing-tips brushing against the vinyl cover of the front bench seat.

Kumiko sighed and stretched periodically, her head brushing the ceiling. “Okay, this is nice, Wat. I don’t think I’ve ever had so much room before.”

Wat sighed. “Nor have I, my dear. Nor have I.”

The sun climbed through the cloudless sky as they approached Knoxville. They had hardly spoken, barring that innocuous banter that occasionally fills the expanse of sluggishly flowing time between dwarves and assassins.

Finally, Kumiko turned off the radio. “So what are we doing in North Carolina?”

“Suicidal starlings, beached porpoises, corrupted ley lines and mysterious trumpet blasts emanating from the depths of the earth. Same as always.”

“So we’re debunking hoaxes again.”

“After a fashion, yes. You and I have been looking for a particular sign that portends the fate we seek to prevent, yet all threads we have followed thus far have unraveled as local misinterpretations of natural events, a common habit among even the most rational of individuals.”

“So we’re driving six hours on a hot summer day just to tell some small town folk they’re stupid?”

“In the face of such madness as the universe often presents, it is the chosen lot of most to believe that someone, some thing is in charge, and the madness exists outside the order one embraces for comfort. That is hardly stupid, Kumiko. It’s human.”

“God? You’re talking about God, right?”

“After a fashion. But, even in the most homogeneous communities, ideas vary as to the true nature of said creator, and, considering the breadth and variety of expression regarding that ultimate ‘thing’ throughout the whole history of human cultures, it’s quite clear the only order one embraces is socially constructed. And local. Whatever Master Creator may exist, it willed into existence the cold and unwelcoming universe that so frightens the average man, and so the only comfort comes from community order, the socially constructed world that veils the physical one. Of course there are those who acknowledge the incongruity between the material world of the senses and the socially constructed veil of the imagination, but most people will struggle against such conscious acuity as though it were a cosmic enemy. And so, when the community is threatened, an Enemy is conjured so that the community may defend itself. And someone is sacrificed so that the veil may be maintained and the illusion may be healed. A person will be equated with the Other and literally demonized in the process of reuniting the individuals who have begun to question the efficacy of their mythology. The veil is security and the reality beyond the veil portends madness by comparison. It is the plot of every story.”

“You’ve never explained it like this before. So are we striking the veil or helping to heal it?”

“In truth, the veil is not our concern. We live outside it. What we are seeking is the true Evil that cannot be seen within the comfort of such delicately woven fantasies. After all, just because the Devil does not exist does not mean He is not out to destroy us.”


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