also at Fiction Daily.
Help In The Steps
If you call that any kind of life studying shadows on the wall among
smoke, it reminded him of the lake at the bottom of world where he used
to live. He realized he was a monster, it said so right in the text,
which made him wish for the rest, but the head was gone.
Who knows, did he have the head or the body? This did not help in The Steps.
Come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
I have the advantage on this one, he thought. He believed in a power
greater than himself, the glory hound, the heaven hound. He believed in
Beowulf when even scholars did not, scholars and dragons. Up and down,
up and down, the mere was churning with polar bears and eels. If you
doubt everything you have no story at all. As to being able to recognize
the error of his ways, his inability to control himself, did he have to
grow back his arm?
It’s a little delirious to have a searching moral inventory of yourself.
The beastie had written in the margin, “they see life without observing
it. They see it but they don’t see. They think I don’t see, but I do.”
This denial caused consciousness and being to increase. The word
“buried” wasn’t just scrawled, it completely obliterated the page. That
was Step Ten, inventory of the serious monster alive. He sounded like
the Apostle praying for delivery.
He admitted to God and himself, but where was he to find another human being to tell the exact nature of his wrongs? Where was he to find “another human being?” Not likely! What was he anyway but the other without the an?
Humbly he asked to remove his shortcomings. These were not
small. Now he was outside, a bird flew up in the margin. He saw a dark
figure, aegis of his cry for help. The margin of the book had a series
of connections missing. A bone stuck up out of a plate.
OK, that was a shortcoming.
He added it to the list of all persons he had harmed.
Further evidence of a monster in the bush was when a bird seemed to be waving a weed wacker.
Amends to injure he stood in the door.
It was like an entrance to the letter H, one line he bet Dante wished he’d never wrote.
It said,“I’m going into the letter H,” but without the bar. Monsters
were all about, but the illustrated version was worse, saved only by
his failure to visualize and their ability to forget. In the new age it
would have been a hit he saw, as he read the hard parts, the tortures.
“If their classics are like this how do any of them pass the twelve steps?”
If you’re thinking that you’d rather not go into the letter H or even
the M to face this we sympathize, but can offer no assistance. H and M
are two letters of the four that vexed him. Continued personal inventory!
Also they were backwards, the M came before the H, which was like
asking some stranger at a light whether he had ever looked into an O,
but that was not one of the letters he was after.
If he could solve these things it would be better. The puzzle
surrounded him, grappled him. Smoke, tallow, lapped at the water’s edge.
The mystery was not confined to the alphabet, even if the letters were
almost the same, in case you don’t know.
To improve his conscious contact with God as he understood
Him he took the cipher of “OKU” that occurred in the right hand corner
of his book as a sign. The tail of the O went through the K and
paralleled the U. To him it made a “hum.”
“What am I to do,” he thought?
He began to hum aloud.
This correlated with the statement that “it was not unusual to hear
them contradict themselves,” the point of his inquiry, which was to find
the end of contradiction in its beginning. It reminded him that the
best proof yet that he was human was to find another being to admit it
to. It reminds us all. Why can’t we just say that and be done?
Having a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps
he was ready to carry out the next level. He thought the Helmings
deserved such symbolic action. How best to communicate? In one age the
priest would become an Everyman commentator and say whatever was real or
Ur-Mon, reporter, lawyer, editor, was somebody telling you what to
do. Mainly to doubt. He thought he understood. The emendation looked
like the beak of a stork going after a fish. It could have been a goat
with horns. He was looking down at Unferth, who didn’t notice, as if
from a crag; he was busy corralling Hrothgar’s sister. This hardly
seemed like anybody’s business except it was magnificent, an into the
body experience that enthralled. The sister was being offered to the man
who looked anonymous in a business suit. He lay down on a bed and a
carrot flew up from his legs.
The smoke made him dizzy, the smoke and feel of the fell, as if
symbol and story and present and past were changed. He didn’t know there
were handbooks printed to get over these tough spots, to correctly see
symbol and fact. You need to get the handbooks. He didn’t know whether
they were going to make the book into a movie.
At least, he tried to carry this message to others, to practice these principles in his affairs.
There was a large cursive E which also looked like a 3. It was
bisecting an ampersand. This was in the book. Science called it the E3
bisect. He was new to reading. In his eyes it was a Z. He thought it
looked like a dragon at the throat of another dragon, that one dragon
was twisting the neck of the other out and down. He knew that was how
dragons got their wings, by killing another. He could not escape
carnage. To add to this plight, the girl Wealtheow, who had appeared
earlier, struck her attacker Unferth with a large fork. It made balloons
go up in his mind. He couldn’t see but she poked them and they popped
and he lay on the ground.
There was a lot of violence portrayed in the old days which explains
his take. A lot was written about Unferth in the unforth. She wrote
books and he did too. Wealtheow, the wife of the king, published under
that name. Whether these other characters wrote depends on the meaning,
Things were getting a lot more dense, feeling as though time were
speeding up. A lot of people thought it was a spoof of literature, but
it was more. An unnamed youth, meaning the young man on 118, who read on
his bed with his knees raised, looked like a hyper-ventilating Mordred.
Maybe he was a prototype. It didn’t exactly say what he read, but it
was monster food Grendel knew. It was bigger than anything that was
made. Super sizing. How do you get the key. Inflation yes, but selection
I don’t know if it’s worth mentioning, but if you blow anything up
several times life size you can get one. King Arthur backgrounds it,
but it’s more than youth rebellion, kids with guns and apples. Graphs
pointed back into the book, except there he saw the hand had gotten
elliptical. Next to the text’s phrase it pointed its finger like a gun
and said, “the blessed OOK!”
The door of the H must be into the OoK itself. H, Ook, O, M. There’s
no time to reveal the other letters, but never look at an Ook. It
rhymed his head around like a train blowing little puffs of smoke:
Never look in an Ook! Never LOok at an OOk!
He wondered what to do with an Ook? They misspelled it in the
monograph, a small point because the sound is the same no matter how you
The turning point came when he learned that the OoK was the only living being to ever interview his mother.
This is coming under separate cover. But since monsters have by now
eaten about half the population everything has slowed down again. The
survivors have armed their kids with cell phones. Grendel got online,
but enough of that.
Page 156 saw marked in pencil a large star struck in the middle of a storm.
“Star struck, star light, which I might.”
The hand was disintegrating. Overstrikes and crossovers, some triangles surfaced under the OoK. He did not look at it.
He made a decision to turn his will and life over to the care of God. Leviathan, behemoth did not understand the signs. He did not understand the headless text in his hand.