Circular 1/22/20

PROSE

From Fictive Dream: Delirium by John C. Mannone.

“The brick-lumps sifted through the black morph into swarms of fire ants with glassy-grit teeth.” (Delirium)

From Spelk: Letters to Dead People by Foster Trecost.

“I sometimes write letters to my father, but he doesn’t read them.”

“How do you know?”

“Because dead people can’t read letters.” (Letters to Dead People)

From The Drabble: Dreams of Unspecified Crimes by Howie Good.

“I think it was Freud who said dreams are the day’s dark residue.” (Dreams of Unspecified Crimes)


VERSE

From Caliath: To Taste of Salt by João-Maria.

“What’s it like to bow up?, that rotten soliphsism of yours by which suns dawn merely to candle your rooms…” (To Taste of Salt)


ESSAYS

From Art & Crit: “The Death of the Author” Debunked by Eric Wayne.

The belief that “the author is dead” is one of the unquestioned bad ideas that has become gospel in the art world. It’s usually just asserted — along with its companion notions that originality is impossible, and the artist’s intent is irrelevant — as if to deny it is as hopelessly naive as denying evolution. (Wayne)

From New Pop Lit: Do Awards Matter? by Karl Wenclas.

Awards ceremonies, like hall of fames– sports, music, and otherwise– are in reality highly successful PR appendages to their particular industry. (Wenclas)


 

PDF & EPUB Editions Of The Silence & The Howl (Book I) Now Available

The PDF (90 pages) & EPUB (76 pages) editions of The Silence & The Howl: Book I (a novella) are now available from the Logos Literature patreon and can be found HERE.

For those who aren’t interested in becoming patrons, the entire novella can be read (for free) HERE.

The Silence & The Howl: Book Two, Chapter Four

Previous chapter

CHAPTER FOUR

After the bout with Lynder, Ariadne showed Harmon to the guest quarters which lay to the immediate right of the study and fencing chamber. The room was spacious, consisting of a bedroom, a bathroom and a walk-in closet, all dimly lit by faintly flickering green wall lights. An antique gramophone stood upon a ornate wooden-and-bronze table beside the bed, beneath which lay a trove of recordings in a thick leather case. He bent to a knee and rifled through the collection, finding a ’35 recording of Anything Goes, which he slotted into the machine. As the dulcet tunes washed over him, he undressed, showered, and found, upon exiting, a fresh set of cloths and a cream-colored letter laying upon the bed. He unfurled the paper and read the note:

The clothes are for you. When you’ve freshed up, meet me in the study.

– Lynder

He refolded the note and placed it beside the clothes, dressed and stared at himself in the mirror which stood before the bed. It was the first time he’d assessed his visage since he gazed upon the old mirror in his former abode. He tried to recall the amount of time which had elapsed since then. Months like weeks. He could not remember how many. He turned off the gramophone and opened the door to find Ariadne waiting outside.

“Ah, finally finished. The clothes fit well?

“Yeah. Fit fine.”

“Good. Follow me.”

He nodded and together they tread the brass-crowned halls in heavy silence, broken only by their rhythmic footfalls reverberating off marble and the gramophonic whirring of waltz music coming from the omnipresent speaker system.

After several paces, Harmon broke the hush.

“So, how do I look?”

“Like a crab that desperately needs to molt.”

“I’m not used to suits.”

She was silent a moment and then cast him an amused look.

“That was quite a performance.”

“A somewhat botched one. Still, I’m glad I could prove you some amusement.”

“Why’d you accept?”

“I like to try new things.”

For a moment he said nothing, watching the delicate lines of the woman’s gelid face, red-lit by the wall-bound lanterns.

“I’m not without hubris.”

“Hubris is the midwife of folly.”

“You come up with that yourself?”

“Its something Mr. Partridge once said.”

“So whats your story?”

“Long and largely boring.”

“Alright. Don’t mean to pry.”

“Course you meant to pry, that’s why you asked. I don’t mind. I’m not being dismissive. I just find autobiographies dreadfully boring. Even my own.”

“Bore me.”

“If you insist. As you likely already surmised, I’m a photographer. Started taking pictures in my teens. In my youthful arrogance, I fancied myself a new Bourke-White. So I decided a glorious career lay before me and went to art school, which was largely a waste of time, and, like almost everyone else, graduated without fanfare and found menial work in the city, shooting weddings, birthdays and political meetings; all whilst living in a glorified shoebox I could barely afford.”

“How’d you end up here?”

“When I got my first exhibit, Lynder was there, showing off his latest pieces, a series of monochrome illustrations. We ended up quarreling over whose work was better. I told him he was overrated. In retort, he called me a ‘documentarian.'”

“Doesn’t sound like a very happy first encounter.”

“Oh, no, not at all. Back then I hated him.”

“Why?”

“He never lied to me.”

The Silence & The Howl: Book Two, Chapter Three

Previous chapter

CHAPTER THREE

Harmon faced Lynder Partridge upon the piste. The crisp white fencing jacket crinkling strangely against his skin, the wire mesh mask obscuring his vision, the sabre’s handle clutched with such nervous force that sweat gathered in his right palm. He felt trapped and desperate and simultaneously compelled to challenge the stygian swordsman.

Ariadne and Anders watched from the sideline, the latter turning to Harmon with a raised brow.

“Let me know when you’re ready, gentlemen.”

Lynder nodded, and extended his chalcedonic swept-hilt rapier. Harmon adjusted his collar guard and nodded in kind.

“Then,” Anders gestured dramatically into the air, “Allez!”

Lynder bowed theatrically and assumed a loose stance, his body turned to the side, his guard low. Harmon, remembering his time boxing, began shifting from foot to foot, bobbing and weaving on and offline, slashing the air once before extending his blade on-point.

“What on earth is he doing?” Anders muttered aloud.

Lynder tilted his head, holding his ground, “Are you familiar with Spilomyia longicornis, Mr. Kessel?”

“What’s that?”

“A insect closely resembling a vespid wasp.”

“Sounds scary.” He bounded forward and directed a cut at Lynder’s arm, but was stymied by a swift girata that nearly connected. Harmon wildly parried the counter and pressed his assault as Lynder continued speaking with an air of supreme insouciance.

“Indeed they are. But scary and dangerous are two very different things.”

Harmon lunged suddenly, attempting to take advantage of Lynder’s momentary insectal absorption, but his foe simply bent out of range as the blade swept air.

“You see, while it might bear the black and yellow of a common wasp, Spilomyia longicornis is a fly, and so conducts a most elaborate performance to convince its would-be predators it is otherwise; moving its forelegs about its head and bending antenna and abdomen with vespidic fervor, and, if all else fails, it will even buzz at a different frequency. And yet…”

Harmon took a step forward, feinted right and lunged again, this time aiming for Lynder’s chest. Lynder stepped into the thrust and circle-parried Harmon’s blade out of line, and, with the momentum of the swing, brought the tip of his own brand to rest gingerly, yet firmly, against Harmon’s throat.

“No matter how hard the flower fly tries, it will never be a wasp.”

Next chapter

The Silence & The Howl: Book Two, Chapter Two

Previous chapter

CHAPTER TWO

Harmon arrived in the city with little more than the clothes on his back and the female secretary’s words echoing in his head. The gleaming towers of the corporate district shading his passage to the docks, where steam-strewn air and humming neon illuminated the salt-smattered dusk, and from there to the ferry that led to a small, artificial isle to the north-east.

After disembarking, he traversed a smooth drive that let out before a elegant manse of considerable size and no familiar style.

He rapt upon the ornate and well-polished door and waited.

No sound save the roiling of the wind and the gulls turning pirouettes above the spray.

Shortly, a eye-level latch slid open, unveiling amber eyes surrounded by olive skin.

“Name?”

“Harmon Kessel. I’m expected.”

“Obviously. Otherwise you’d not be here. One moment, please.”

The latch slid shut. Half a minute later there came the sound of a keyhole’s turning.

The door swung open.

The monolith’s gloam beckoned.

*

The dapper, olive-skinned doorman beckoned Harmon into a spacious, well-lit foyer, sparsely furnished with dynamic metal sculptures of men and machines and two divans to the immediate left and right of the doorway. Harmon was taken with the aluminous idols, which looked, when taken together, like the relevatory tableau of some future religion, and strode to the middle of the checker-floored vestibule, appraising the singular creations.

“Who made these?”

“Mr. Partridge.”

“I’d no idea he was a sculptor.”

“That and many things besides. Ah, how rude of me, I’ve not introduced myself,” the man extended his hand to the new arrival, “Luka Celik.”

Harmon straightened and firmly shook Celik’s thick and calloused hand, “Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Celik.”

“This way, sir.”

The doorman lead Harmon down the foyer, up the left side of a U-shaped double stairway that let out to a red-carpeted landing where three hallways diverged left, right and straight ahead and polished wall-speakers of jagged brass effused the chamber with a chimerical waltz. The duo moved through the main corridor, lined to the left with various works of art; paintings, photographs and sketches; to the right, portraits of various individuals, young and old, male and female.

“Who’re they?” Harmon asked above the low whir of the speaker-spawned gramophone recording, nodding towards the portraiture.

“Alumni of Mr. Partridge’s galleries. Its a memorial wall, to commemorate their endeavours.”

The area at the end of the hall upon the right-hand wall was bare, save a empty silver frame which hung at eye level.

“Expecting a new inductee?” Harmon queried, gesturing to the picture frame.

“You’ll have to speak with Mr. Partridge about that.”

From the hallway they turned right and strode into a spacious study that seemed like an archived compression of a hundred disparate centuries. The walls were replete with ornate mahogany bookshelves and ancient seaxs, rapiers, foils, sabres, epees and messers and mail in glass cases and elaborate city maps and architectural plans in a hundred different styles, from a hundred different decades. All manner of artifice arrayed the adjacent space; plaster busts of men and women of varying ages, a meticulously detailed globe, a gilded bronze astrolabe, and a nude woman lounging upon a garish white divan, who sat so still that Harmon, for the briefest of moments, thought her a part of the surrounding statuary. Harmon averted his eyes from the woman and turned his head left, sighting another woman standing but twelve feet before him, lounging in the corner, a Leica M4-P raised in her pale and delicate hands. The photographer smiled, snapped a shot and lowered the camera.

“You must be Harmon Kessel.”

“Must I be?”

“I’m afraid so.”

He smiled faintly and gestured to the woman’s face, “I remember your voice. We spoke on the phone. Ariadne Campbell, right?”

“That’s me. And that’s Monica, one of our in-house models,” she replied, motioning with her camera to the woman on the divan in the middle of the room. Monica languidly waved and then slid into a thin, scarlet-silk robe and rose, tying back glossy hair with a similarly sanguine strand.

“Where is Mr. Partridge?” Harmon wondered aloud.

Campbell gestured to the doorway at the far side of the room, opposite the memorial hall.

“Practicing with Anders.”

“Practicing?”

“Come, I’ll show you. Thank you, Mr. Celik, Monica, that will be all.”

Celik bowed to the woman and left off abruptly; Monica following shortly thereafter.

Campbell and Kessel made for the opposite doorway and passed through it into a large room, curiously unfurnished save for a series of antique French and German fencing illustrations which adorned the walls. In the middle of the expanse, two men clashed, one of middling height, garbed in a form-fitting obsidian gambeson, the other taller and broader, garbed in white. The white duelist, after a short absence of blade, lunged powerfully, but was swiftly feinted into blocking air by the black swordsman who closed the match with a sudden and decisive thrust to his opponent’s chest. The white fencer paused and looked down at what would have been a mortal wound, save for his gambeson and the flexile dullness of his foe’s blade, and laughed, stepping back and bowing in defeat.

“You win again, sir.”

The obsidian swordsman curtly bowed in respect, straightened and removed his wire-mesh helm to reveal a sharp, keen, alabaster visage.

Lynder Partridge.

The triumphant fencer turned to his guest and smiled broadly.

“Ah! Mr. Kessel. So pleased to see you could make it.”

“Evening, Mr. Partridge. I appreciate the invitation.”

“Think nothing of it. Tell me, do you fence?”

“No.”

“Would you like to?”

“Sure.”

“Its settled then. Anders, bring our guest a blade.”

Alarm registered on the white fencer’s face. Campbell smirked. Harmon looked from the woman to the tall blond and then back to his host with perplexity.

“You mean now?”

“I do.”

When Harmon did not respond, Lynder spoke up pointedly, a subtle mockery ringing in his dulcet tones.

“To the uninitiated, the sport can be quite intimidating. No shame in backing out.”

Harmon was quiet for several seconds and then turned to the man in the white gambeson.

“Anders, was it?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Bring me a sabre.”

 

Next chapter

 

The Silence & The Howl: Book Two, Chapter One

BOOK II (Continued from BOOK I)

CHAPTER ONE

Luna found Harmon on the first floor of the old coal breaker where the man had recently taken up residence, smoking the last of his cheap cigarettes, watching Saperion-shaped clouds listlessly drift beyond the town. He wore battered jeans, the knees half-worn through, a paint-stained white t-shirt, trim black steel-toed work-boots and a faded form-fitting shawl-neck cobalt sweater. Beside him, upon an anthracite sorting table, lay a small black backpack and a high-collared gunmetal-gray puffer jacket.

The entrant gently knocked upon the door-frame, whereupon the man languidly turned, pale face somber and expectant.

“Thought you might like the paper.”

She waved a ink covered sheaf and extended it to him.

He took it from her hands with a cordial nod and read the headline aloud, “Local man, 52, dies in street altercation,” a photo of his late friend, Harold La’Far, occupied a small portion of the right side of the sheet. He found it disgraceful the editor had chosen to refer to Harold only as ‘local man.’

“What is it? Did you know him?”

Harmon read the headline once more, silently, and set the paper down upon the sorting table next to his pack and coat and spoke without looking at his guest.

“Yeah. I knew him. He was a friend.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. Wasn’t you that killed him.”

His eyes wandered to the mugshots of the perpetrators, tattooed faces malformed with malice; faces familiar in construction.

When the man said nothing, Luna turned to leave, walking awkwardly to the door.

“Hey.”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks. For the paper.”

The woman forced a smile and left Harmon to the monochrome faces of Harold’s murderers.

*

Harmon left the coal breaker at dawn and passed the homeless encampment which lay in the wasted ground between the site and what had once been a trainyard, waving to Luna as he went, and trekked up into town, stopping at the closest payphone. He removed a small bone-white business card from his jacket pocket, punched in the number inscribed on it and waited amid the tumbledown block as hostile eyes probed him from shuttered panes.

At length, a unfamiliar female voice sounded in his ear, “Partridge Publishing. How may I help you?”

“This is Harmon Kessel. I’m calling in regard to a prospective submission. Mr. Partridge previously expressed interest in my work.”

“He’s been expecting you, Mr. Kessel.”

*

Next chapter

Update On Audio & The Silence & The Howl PDF

In a couple of months all audio will be gone from this site due to financial setbacks, but will still be regularly uploaded to our patreon page.

Additionally, a pdf ebook of the novella The Silence & The Howl (Book I of III) is forthcoming; all principal editing is completed and it only remains to properly format the text.