Monday, February 8, 2016

The Great Fire

My short story, The Sun Temple, has been expanded into a full-length novel—soon to be available in both print and e-book formats. Here's another sample chapter: 

The Great Fire 

For years, the temple’s congregation had dwindled, until it numbered a single figure, whose regular attendance had been duly noted by the park staff and the tourists. This extraordinary and artificial situation defied all moral and economic understanding. The entire park was being maintained for the sole benefit of a lone worshipper! (I am, of course, reminded of the case of Rudolph Hess—for decades, the single, solitary inmate of Spandau Prison). And then, finally, all was lost as the Great Fire put an end to this unnatural form of worship, consuming the collected prayers and grief of the entire history of the congregation.

     I continue to brood upon that mysterious blaze—it comes to me at odd hours—it weighs on my mind, and remains unresolved. I was never able to determine exactly when it took place, or anything else about it for that matter, except to know that it has lately taken its place in the Pantheon of Great Fires.

     Perhaps the Great Blaze was a consequence of the rashness of a crazed and fanatical congregation—who had implored, cajoled, and hectored the Sun, until finally that mighty inferno grew annoyed and transformed himself into his malevolent form: Nergal, the Destroyer! Yes, in their eagerness to possess the Sun for themselves, in their reckless folly and greed, they had brought down their own destruction upon themselves. But perhaps all this is a false narrative, a myth that has been put in place in order to deceive the populace, an official lie which eventually becomes truth through mere repetition, and which shields the identity of the real perpetrators of this great crime: the Authorities themselves! And I can’t help thinking that at the very least they had used this tragedy to their own advantage. The Great Fire was certainly to their benefit, and neatly facilitated their ultimate plan to ruin the Old Battery.

     But even the briefest glace at this troubled book ought to re-inforce in your mind the importance of myth in our society. Turn to any page, and you will be rewarded with the most spurious claims, tall tales, and absurd confections—all of which have been meticulously crafted in order to offset the crushing banality of everyday existence.

     The Great Blaze continues to burn through my dreams, tearing through the Books of Childhood, consuming my past, and devouring my most cherished memories! It burns continuously, without pause, without interruption, while I sleep, while I strut along the Promenade in a Holy Trance, and when I sit idly at the edge of the Hudson, lost in hyperbaric considerations of a fallen star. Yes, that tragedy continues unabated, without the slightest considerations for our feelings. And The Last of the Great Parks had also met its end in that terrible misfortune.

     And my throat is parched…but the long-dried out fountains of course provide no water…

cannabis   ///   psychedelic   ///   fantasy

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