Fragments Made of Fiction: Experiments in the Thursday Set

Open Strong 

            How I came to know that Drew Ramos regularly went to other worlds was nothing more than a bookmark nestled in a Harry Potter book (the sixth one, I think) that came spinning out when I happened to knock it off an end table. Drew was the type who would re-read Harry Potter every six months, almost as though he missed the characters so much that he couldn’t bear to be too far away from them. I often wondered if, given the chance, he wouldn’t give up his life to snuggle into the pages and join the wizarding world, even if that meant he only had a bit part as a background character.

             The bookmark fell from the knocked-over book, merely confirming things I had suspected about Drew for a long time. “Where do you go, Drew?” I’d often asked him, for Drew simply disappeared. There were times when I could have sworn that he was in his dorm room, only to find the room empty, the window firmly jammed shut and too much ice crusted on the ledge in any case to let him out that way. He just went. Drew just went…

Include a Girl

             …”Now look mister, no funny business…” But I’d gone over to stand next to him, wondering if he was going to try and hold my hand. But he hadn’t. In the strange, hand-holding-less air of that chalky dorm room, I’d looked at the blackboard. That one mark through the middle of the scribbles had transformed the chalky picture, until there, staring back at me, was me: the blond straight hair, the ocean’s blue eyes, the hairband, the green of my uniform sweater, the knot of my tie and the very clear curl at the end of my shirt collar.

             “Like I said,” he’d said, as though that were the point he’d been making all along, “big things come from small things…”

Define a Romance

             …And he’d been right. The space heater hummed away after that, as though it had never gone through an existence of intermittent fits and electrical vulnerabilities, never given up the fight as the outside temperatures dropped and it was required to shoulder the load. By the time I’d left St. Ives, that heater was still working, and I often wondered if its inheritors could have suspected the means by which it had been rescued from the threshold of redundancy.

             Drew had been fine. He’d electrocuted himself intentionally, he’d explained, because he’d felt bad for forgetting that he knew who Giselle was. When Giselle left later, I’d leaned over and given Drew a kiss. It was the only one we ever had…

And Put Flesh on the Family

            …I’d risen and shook her hand. And for whatever reason, I’d just left, going to the front door. I’d waited for Drew there, watching him say a few words to his mother before the staring, stark trim of her body had suddenly gelatinized and swamped over him in a hug that took Drew a few moments to return. When Drew had reached me, he’d stared at the floor, as though he didn’t want me to see what he was feeling; and behind him, at the table, Mrs. Ramos was as straight as a board, a pencil-yellow figure with the eraser worn to bronze, it’s led worn to nothing…

Find the Faraway Eyes

             …But I will always remember the day after Drew’s first visit home. I remember it because I’d gone to see him the next day, and he’d simply been gone. He had left. And in his place, in that dorm room, there had been a painting – because he’d always wanted to paint someday – still dripping wet. In it, there was a purple sky and clouds hovering over a land made of glass, the transparent mass struck through with veins of red liquid that might have been underground rivers; and reaching down through the glass for that red sustenance, silvery trees with limbs carrying leaves like feathers, feather-leaves that reached for the clouds and transmuted their substance into the subterranean vaults of a world that was surely not ours…

And Just Create

            …And there was a logic to the images. Nothing in the paintings made any sense, but all the insensible elements merged to form landscapes that were plausible – if far away – and creatures that were biologically possible – if not locally. I’d often sit on Drew’s bed and hear sulphur winds blowing over the planets, or the straining tearing nebulae erupt into galaxies. I’d smell the emptiness of whirling comets, and the verdant life of stalks that grew as thick as continents, winding their way around and around as they reached upwards. And I’d see the paintings move, as though these were photographs more than anything else, and I’d intercepted a trail of evidence for one brief moment, the only one to which I was privy – and that just beyond the golden horizon or across the next pulsar, realities lay unburdened by the smallness of what I could imagine or hope for…

Because That’s Who You Are

            …Drew left. Paintings came. And in a room filled with public radio and perfume bottles that had never been used, that was overlooked by a forested land and the deep denizens that lurked there, Drew shared his worlds with his mother, bits and pieces that he kept in his pockets for these weekly visits, things that were contraband, proofs that were not exposed to the world where the rest of us lived, elements of incredulity that I suspected had been taken out of those paintings in the dorm room but for which I never had any proof until I saw that bookmark…

And Always, Always Provide an Ending

????? (please, go ahead)

Dream hard, rage hard.

51 thoughts on “Fragments Made of Fiction: Experiments in the Thursday Set

  1. … And the bookmark, covered by a shiny material I couldn’t identify, stood up, did a full body shiver that appeared to be the shaking off of dust by a creature that had no arms, and started to shimmer in the sunlight. In a moment it seemed to be half a phase out of resonance with the rest if the room, then grew more and more amorphous until disappearing completely with a slight “pop”. While I was pondering this, a much larger version of the bookmark began to materialize in a process that was the reverse of the bookmark’s disappearance.Once solidified, the shimmering creature, that was a bit taller than I was, slowly moved around the room – and I couldn’t help but get the impression it was searching for the smaller version. After a few minutes, it too changed phases and faded from view. As soon as it disappeared, the room flashed as if it were a photo negative of a picture and I saw through the window, a landscape exactly like Drew’s painitngs – except with movement saturating very detail. Beauty, colors, shapes and interactions I could never imagine, co-existing in an environment that was other worldly. As my surroundings returned to normal, I knew in every atom of my body that I had just glimpsed another world and had witnessed the use of a tansportation device between worlds. I wish Drew would come back so I could ask him some of the innumerable questions I had. Meanwhile, I have his paintings to study, now knowing that they are real representations of another wolrd.

      1. Your writing always enthralls me Trent. It is easy to continue what you have started and set up. I’m a fan of SciFi already and seldom have i read anythng as good as your stuff. I really think it could have a wide audience if you ever chose to go public with a book. Thank you so much for your post – it is a joy to read – and thank you for the compliment, it’ easy to add a bit to a well written story.

    1. Not sure I was really expecting endings, I haven’t even figured out my own yet… I really should be working backwards from endings, now that I think about it.

  2. I love seeing your ‘rules’ put to practice! This is a great tale that I could definitely see in print. The open is great and sucked me in completely because I am exactly that way about some books (ok…I am exactly that way with Harry Potter books). Endless adventures await this mysterious traveler, who leaves paintings, like open windows, through which he comes and goes, and through which we get of glimpse of his next adventure. Does he leave paintings on the other side? Are there others looking at them, seeing our world as we see theirs? Or is the Drew of another land using other means to mark his trail? Endless. I like Paul’s take and where he took it. It was a smooth take over, which is amazing ’cause it can’t be easy being trent, ya know? At the same time, however, it was very untrently, for the simple reason, it HAD an ending. In fact, for once, I think this is absolutely one of those times when an unending is called for…because, like I said…Endless.

    1. I think he is painting what he sees, but he doesn’t see things the rest of us do… I’m still sorting that out. Unendings… I like that. I keep thinking I should work backwards from endings, that might be the way to go.

      1. Ah, so Drew is painting what he sees. My take was the paintings were sort of like Dr Who’s phone box. 🙂 As to the unending, I think some stories just need to hang because we know there’s more to come… (speaking of which, sort of, The Neverending Story is one of my all time favorite movies to watch with little ones)

  3. Do I understand correctly that you have a corporate job? Sometimes I don’t pay attention so I might have that wrong. This doesn’t sound like something that would come from a desk jockey. You have compartmentalized your brain so that it serves two masters; a practical one who needs to provide a living and a creative one that needs to run wild. It’s a nice trick.

    1. Yes, as corporate as corporate gets. I don’t understand the compartmentalization that goes in, to be honest. I will very often be ploughing through a report or an e-mail and then suddenly I’m writing fiction, almost like one thing builds up to the other. Like they’re related, but both bastards. I wouldn’t have it any other way though, Mark. There’s something primordial about the sheer need to write, and the living kicking necessity to make a living despite it.

  4. Love the ending! … but I kept waiting for something like “quivering loins” to grab my attention.

    BTW – My holiday party is this weekend … starts 3 AM Saturday for the night owls and folks in advanced time zones … goes through Sunday evening. Hope you can make it … and of course your readers are welcome!

    1. Frank! Sorry man, I missed this, and presently unable to join due to daughter’s impending birthday… hope it was a good time. Here’s to quivering loins and boiling underwear.

  5. you know what I did just now? sent your wordpress link to myself at my main email so I can highlight and come back here in my spare time instead of playing words for friends on my phone :))) because i LOVE you and your words and want to spread them on olive and thyme toast and EAT them

  6. Trent, I couldn’t even begin to complete this story, because I’m sure it wouldn’t satisfy. Very intriguing story and great writing. Are there more pieces? I wasn’t sure if you’re telling the story in fragments, or just presenting it here to us this way. I take it that Drew is transporting himself via the mysterious art work. What a great idea! I like that Drew just comes and goes so suddenly. You’re “Just Create” section and your description of the other world is beautiful and poetic. So other worldly. Excellent!

    1. There are, Amy, I just posted paragraphs from within it… I just posted the first piece of it. I haven’t finished it yet, have to do that. Drew is transporting himself, yes, and comes back to paint artwork.

  7. … when I saw the tiny window, near the top edge of the bookmark, and gasped, as Drew’s traveled eyes stared back at me. The bookmarked transformed as it came to a soft rest on the worn carpet, and grew, and grew, and grew, until a door appeared and Drew stepped through to face me. Concern etched his features, concern that I would reveal his secret to the world, concern that his journeying days were over, but he needn’t have worried. I would never tell his secret, I too desperately wanted to join him the next time he went…

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