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Volume 1, Issue #2
Anne Mi c ha ud
urnf skIn. Ioforo I cnn opon mv ovos, mv noso Is
fIIIod wIfh fho pufrId smoII. And fhon, n fooIIng
of boIng wnfchod. Thnf fooIIng kopf mo nwnko so
mnnv nIghfs ns n chIId, now frnnsporfod Info
nduIfhood. I pook for n frncfIon of n socond. I soo n bInck
shndow, ns If somoono sfnnds nonr mv bod, bnroIv
fouchIng If. I bronfho In fo scronm nnd If`s gono.
I`vo nIwnvs soon fhIngs, fhIngs fhnf woron`f fhoro for
nnvono oIso buf mo. Mv mom nIwnvs snId I wns fho
unIuckIosf gIrI In fho worId, buf sho novor know fho
oxfonf of If. WIfh ovorv pnssIng roInfIonshIp fhnf I`vo
hnd, I cnn`f hoIp buf fooI sho`s boon rIghf nII nIong. If`s
ImpossIbIo fo koop somoono cIoso whon I cnn`f bo normnI
on mv own. If`s jusf goffIng worso. nnd I`m moro nIono
fhnn ovor. And If`s nof IIko I couId ovor oscnpo from If.
I cnn`f sIoop. Whonovor I cIoso mv ovos for n socond
or fwo, I hnvo nn IndoscrIbnbIo urgo fo opon fhom ngnIn,
ns If somofhIng wns wnIfIng for mo. Iuf Morphous gofs
fho boffor of mv fIghfIng mInd nnd I sIIp Info n InbvrInfh
of confusod fhoughfs.
I wnko up fo fInd n rnInv mornIng, fho fog foo fhIck
fo dIsporso ns I wnIk down fho rond fo nnofhor dnv of
puro mIsorv:
Inck nf homo, I hnvo n IIngorIng fooIIng fhnf
somoono wns, or Is sfIII, horo. I cnn`f mnko If ouf, I`m
IosIng mv mInd. Mv npnrfmonf Is ompfv. ÞofhIng hns
boon movod, nofhIng hns boon sfoIon. I`m nII nIono, buf
sfIII I koop fho IIghf on ns I gof rondv for bod. ThIs usod
fo hnppon onIv whon I frIod fo sIoop, nof In bofwoon
Is If mv fIrod ovos or dId somofhIng movo nonr fho
Burn/ e/in. I smoII If so vIvIdIv In fho nIr fhnf I opon
mv ovos; nII I cnn soo Is bInck smoko, ns If fho room Is
fIIIod wIfh If, fho nIr fhIck wIfh fho sIckonIng odor. I cnn`f
soo fho coIIIng nbovo mo nor fho foof of fho bod. Tho
smoko burns mv ovos. If mnkos mv bronfh shorfor. I
suffocnfo. I fhInk I`m dvIng nnd no ono cnn honr mv
sIIonf scronms.
I knock ovor fho IIghf on mv nIghf-fnbIo ns I gnsp for
nIr, nnd nffor rummngIng fhrough fho bInck smoko, I
fInnIIv fInd fho wnII swIfch. Clic/, nnd fho opnquo fog Is
gono. TofnIIv dIsporsod ns If I hnIIucInnfod fho Insf fIvo
mInufos from hoII. I cough, spIffIng bInck snIIvn. I cnn`f
honr nnvfhIng. Mv fnsf, fhundorIng honrfbonf fIIIs mv
onrs. Jusf fhnf I`m quosfIonIng mvsoIf provos fhnf I`m
nof IosIng mv mInd or nm I
A fIngIIng fooIIng. A brush ngnInsf mv skIn. Somoono
fouchod mo, buf no ono Is In fho room. I cnn sfIII fooI If;
nn oId hnnd, ns If drIod bv fImo, fInkIng nnd dusfv whon
If fouchos mv coId nrm. I movo ouf of fho wnv bv sIffIng
up In mv bod, buf fho fooIIng on mv nrm doosn`f go nwnv,
fIghfonIng. Mv nrm Is squoozod bv nn InvIsIbIo forco nnd
nII I cnn do Is sfnro nf fho ompfInoss nround mo.
I wnIk ouf of fho bodroom, Ifs fIngors Ionvo mv skIn
ns I pnss fho door frnmo. Mv IIps nro drv, mv hnnds nro
shnkIng, mv mInd Is rncIng. I foIf If, If wns fhoro, wIfh
mo, fouchIng mo. Mv ovos sonrch fhrough mv room buf
no ono Is fhoro. ÐonInI won`f bo woIcomod ns I Iook nf mv
nrm, sooIng fIvo mnrks, soomIngIv mndo from nshos
whoro I foIf fho prossuro. And I crv.
Tho noxf dnv, I nsk fho InndIord buf mv quosfIons
mnko hIm frown I frv fo Iook normnI, buf mv Ioff ovo
fwIfchos nnd mv voIco bofrnvs fho forrIbIo nIghf. Ho
knows nofhIng nnd doosn`f cnro, cIosIng fho door In mv
fIrod fnco.
MoxIe i/`e ne:
I nm bnck In mv bod now, nnd fhoro sho Is, sfnndIng
In fronf of mo. Tho sfroof Inmp from oufsIdo Is fho onIv
IIghf IIIumInnfIng whnf I fhInk Is n nIghfmnro. Sho Is
vorv fnII, foo fnII fo bo ronI. Hor dross Is bInck ns conI nnd
hor skIn hns boon burnf, IonvIng fwo hoIos Insfond of
ovos nnd n bInck gnp for hor moufh. Sho sfnvs sIIonf,
sfnrIng bnck nf mo ns mv ovos bofrnv mv fonr. A scronm
Is cnughf In mv fhronf. I cnn`f ovon movo, forrIfIod ns sho
nppronchos mv bod. Sho npponrs fo bo In pnIn; hor
movomonfs nro sIow nnd forrIbIv wrong.
Whon hor fIonfIng Iong dross IIghfIv fouchos mv bod
covors, nshos sfnrf fo fnII on fho fIoor nnd boforo sho cnn
gof cIoso fo mo, hor onfIro fIguro hns docomposod In fronf
of mv ovos, IonvIng n pIIo of dusf on fho fIoor. And fhon,
I scronm unfII I cnnnof bronfho.
I fnko pIIIs fo nvoId nnv moro of fhoso confronfnfIons;
whnf wouId bo n rnfIonnI rosponso fo fhoso vIsIons¨ Wns
sho ronI¨ ÐId I ronIIv vncuum nshos from mv bodroom
fIoor¨ I foII mv mofhor nnd sho nsks mo fo soo n
I`m rondv for hor. I wnIf fho noxf nIghf for hor fo
como... nnd sho doosn`f, IonvIng mo wnIfIng In morbId
fnscInnfIon fo fInd ouf If I`vo Iosf mv mInd of If I`m
wIfnossIng somofhIng fruIv nmnzIng. Iuf I fooI hor: I
know sho Is cIoso fo mo, ns If sho wns wnIfIng for fho
rIghf momonf boforo npponrIng ngnIn.
I opon mv ovos on hor forfurod bodv. If`s crIppIod
nnd fwIsfod, ns If whon sho IIvod hor Insf momonfs on
Inrfh, sho wns hIdIng In n smnII spnco nnd now fhnf sho
cnn sfrofch, hor bodv won`f Iof hor. Sho suffors In fronf
of mo nnd fhoro`s nofhIng I cnn do buf wnfch. If I couId
honr hor, sho wouId scronm wIfh pnIn, buf In mv worId,
hor voIco Is sIIoncod.
As I frv fo sfnv cnIm, I nppronch cIosor fo hor. As
soon ns I nonr hor, I fooI fnInf, ns If sho Is foodIng on mv
onorgv. Ovor fho noxf fow momonfs, sho mnkos mo
oxporIonco hor Insf hours, fho fooIIng of suffocnfIon,
knowIng fhnf fho ond Is nonr wIfh nofhIng fo do buf wnIf
In nnguIshod pnIn. And I do fooI If wIfh hor bv mv sIdo,
ns If fho room wns fIIIod ngnIn wIfh smoko nnd mv Iungs
burnf bv fho bInck fog. I cnn`f bronfho, I cnn`f soo, I cnn`f
movo. Sho hns frnppod mo In hor worId.
Ior whnf sooms IIko forovor, nII I cnn do Is wnIf for
hor fo Ionvo mv sIdo, vomIfIng bInck fIuIds nnd ovos
bIurrod bv smoko. If doosn`f mnko hor hnppv, nor go
nwnv. Sho sfnnds sfIII, bInck dross nnd crumbIIng fnco,
sfnrIng nf mo IIko mnvbo ofhors dId whon sho wns dvIng.
And whon sho doos go nwnv, I fooI ompfv, so fIrod fhnf I
cnnnof movo, IoffIng mv fonr of goIng Insnno gof fho
boffor of mo ns I Inv In mv bod.
Thon ono mornIng, sho Is gono. I fooI nf ponco. And
nII I cnn fhInk of Is fIndIng sIoop ngnIn, hopIng sho won`f
como bnck ovor ngnIn.
I cnn`f bronfho, nnofhor ThIng Is frvIng fo kIII mo
now, wIfh somofhIng fhnf romInds mo of mv own hnIr.
And If Is. An InvIsIbIo forco mnkos mo choko on mv
mnno, ns If hnnds fwIsfod mv Iong Iocks nround mv
fhronf nnd Info mv moufh. I frv fo fIghf, nvoIdIng
Volume 1, Issue #2
K a r e n Ga l l a nt
rsuIn`s mInd bognn fo wnndor, hor IIfo boforo
sho hnd mof hor compnnIons hnzv nnd fog-IIko.
As n chIId fho woIghf of prIvIIogo hnd InIn
honvv upon hor souI, buf If soomod funnv fo
hor fhnf unfII sho wns ouf from bononfh fhnf woIghf sho
hnd nof known If hnd oxIsfod. Tho gIow from fho fIro
provIdod bnroIv onough IIghf fo soo whnf sho wns doIng.
Snoros of vnrvIng dogroos foId hor fhnf nII fhroo mon
woro snfoIv In fho nrms of Hvpnos. CnrofuIIv sho snf up
nnd puIIod fho Inrgo book ouf of fho bng, oponIng If
sIowIv, ns nIwnvs n fooIIng of powor fIowod fhrough hor
hnnds nnd up hor nrms. Hnzv momorIos of fho journov
fhnf hnd broughf hor fo KoshIr cnmo fo hor fhon,
unnskod for, buf nof onfIroIv unwoIcomo.
Hor book hnd boon n prosonf from hor grnndmofhor,
nnd hor mofhor boforo hor, goIng bnck for gonornfIons.
On fho smoofh voIIum pngos woro wrIffon fho sourco of
hor powor hor spoIIs. Tho fnmIIInr pIcfuros nnd words
fhnf novor fnIIod fo humbIo hor.
¨Þovor forgof !rsuIn, n mngo Is nofhIng wIfhouf hor
spoIIs. AIwnvs profocf fhIs book nnd If wIII novor Iof vou
down. Tnko If wIfh vou ouf Info fho worId nnd fInd n
pInco for voursoIf, Ionrn ns much ns vou cnn novor
forgof fhnf In knowIng voursoIf compIofoIv vou wIII bo
cuf off from ofhor poopIo n worId npnrf.¨ Irom fho
hnfofuI womnn on fho nIghf of hor IonvIng fho words
rnng fhrough fho sfIII nIghf. Sho hnd boon sonf ouf Info
fho worId, nnd wouId nof bo pormIffod fo rofurn homo
unfII sho fruIv know who sho wns.
¨Whv nm  boIng sonf nwnv¨ If I promIso fo conform
cnn I sfnv¨¨ IuffIng prIdo nsIdo sho hnd pIondod nof fo
bo sonf ouf Info fho nIghf nIono. Sho hnd boon n dIffIcuIf
chIId nnd sfudonf, nIwnvs quosfIonIng. If hnd uIfImnfoIv
bocomo hor downfnII.
¨You nood fo Ionrn fhrough oxporIonco, fhoro Is
nofhIng moro for vou undor mv roof. Somodnv vou wIII
undorsfnnd who vou nro. !nfII fhnf dnv comos, sfnv
nwnv.¨ Tho mnssIvo woodon doors hnd fhon cIosod In hor
fnco sho honrd fho boIf sIIdo Info pInco.
!rsuIn romomborod fho nIghf whon sho woko up nnd
know fhnf somofhIng wns wrong. Thoro wns no bursf of
cInrIfv fhnf onnbIod hor fo focus on  If wns jusf
fhnf If wns. Sho puf hor bodroII nwnv nnd nffor wnshIng
up quIckIv In fho cooI sfronm bognn fo pnck. Hor hnnd
frozo In mId nIr, bIIo rIsIng In hor fhronf ¨pIonso, no.¨ In
fho grIp of fronzv sho foro fhrough hor fhIngs In vnIn.
IInnIIv, wIfh fonrs In hor ovos sho spoffod fho Ionfhor
snfchoI fuckod undor n bush, buf sho know boforo sho gof
fo If sho know.
¨Þo!¨ Tho scronm broko fhrough fho quIof of fho
mornIng nIr. If hnd boon bnroIv moro fhnn n monfh sInco
sho hnd boon forcod fo Ionvo hor homo, nnd sho hnd Iosf
If. Sho wouId novor bo nbIo fo rofurn now; fo do so wouId
brIng unsponknbIo shnmo upon hor.
Ior hours sho wnndorod nImIossIv cIufchIng fho soff
Ionfhor fo hor bronsf. Tho rosf of hor boIongIngs hnd
boon Ioff bohInd, unImporfnnf In hor grIof. Chosfnuf
brown hnIr cIung fo hor fnco buf sho dIdn`f rnIso n hnnd
fo movo If nwnv. Tonrs fIIIod hor Inrgo brown ovos nnd
spIIIod down hor chooks. Thoro wns no hopo Ioff wIfhIn
hor, sho hnd Iosf fho ono fhIng In fho worId fhnf sho hnd
sworn fo profocf.
Sho sfumbIod fhon foII fo fho ground fonrIng hor
dross. Tho soff cIonk, n prosonf from hor fnvorIfo fonchor
Ioff bohInd, n forgoffon Ifom from nn ImprobnbIo fImo.
Sho bocnmo nwnro of how sho no Iongor hnd nnv Idon
whoro sho wns nor dId sho cnro. Hugo froos Ioomod
nbovo hor nncIonf, buf If dId nof mnffor.
Sho couId soo fho dIsnppoInfmonf In hor
grnndmofhor`s ovos. !ogrof fhnf sho hnd hnd buf ono
hoIross fo hnnd fho fomo down fo. ¨How IIko vour
fnfhor,¨ fho words hnd bocomo n mnnfrn of hor
chIIdhood. Tho progonv of nn unknown mnn, nn
unworfhv chIId of n shnmofuI unIon. Thoso hnd boon fho
whIspors. Sho hnd fnkon hor mofhor`s IIfo In boIng born
n fncf fhnf sho wouId novor bo forgIvon for.
Thov cnmo ouf of nowhoro, mon nnd womon drossod
In whIfo, fhoIr pnIo fncos pnInfod wIfh brIghf sfronks of
coIor. !rsuIn dIdn`f fIghf whon fhov bound hor hnnds.
Sho wns Iod doopor Info fho forosf. Hor cnpfors
pushod hor nIong, sponkIng In hushod fonos. Tho
unfnmIIInr Inngungo dId nof fouch hor fhrough fho
mnnfoI of grIof. Hor grnndmofhor hnd boon rIghf, sho
fruIv wns unworfhv.
Info n cIonrIng fhov omorgod, n cIrcIo of whIfo sfonos
onch fwIco ns fnII ns hor, domInnfod fho nron. In fho
confor wns n Inrgo fInf.
¨AIfnr,¨ sho whIsporod. Hor worId wns now comIng
Info vIow wIfh nn nImosf pnInfuI cInrIfv. Sho dId nof
hnvo onough onorgv fo uso hor mngIc, fhough sho frIod
wIfh ovorvfhIng fhnf sho hnd, hornIdIng jusf onough
succoss fo dnsh hor hopos. Tho Ioss of hor book hnd Ioff
nn ompfv hoIo In hor wIfhouf If hor mngIc hnd
SIffIng on fho ground sho Ionnod bnck, pnInfuIIv
nwnro fhnf fho sfrnngo poopIo kopf sfnrIng nf hor.
Onfo fho nIfnr fhov pIIod fIowors nnd pofforv unfII If
bocnmo cIonr fhnf sho wns nof nbouf fo bocomo fhoIr
sncrIfIco. Thov buIIf n hugo fIro, somo of fhom dnncod
nround If, ofhors chnnfod In fhoIr sfrnngo Inngungo, buf
no Iongor Iookod hor wnv.
InscInnfIon nf fho rIfunI mndo hor forgof nII of hor
worrIos unfII sho spoffod If In fho hnnds of ono of fhom.
¨Thnf`s mv book!¨ sho scronmod. AII commofIon
sfoppod nnd fhov sfnrod nf hor. Tho onIv sound fhon wns
fho crnckIIng of fho fIro. ¨IIonso, fhnf boIongs fo mo,¨ sho
boggod. IInnIIv sho dId mnko fhom undorsfnnd, or nf fho
vorv Ionsf undorsfnnd fhnf sho wns roforrIng fo fho
Whon fhov cnmo for hor sho hopod fhnf fho InfonfIon
wns poncofuI, soconds Infor sho wns scronmIng. Thov
monnf fo fhrow hor book Info fho fIro, nnd hor nIong wIfh
Tho fnIIosf of fho mon sfood boforo fho nssombIv
hoIdIng If nbovo hIs hond. Ho wns mnkIng n spooch
gosfurIng fo hor spoII book nnd fhon fo hor. Thoso
gnfhorod voIIod nnd dnncod In cIrcIos In rosponso. ThoIr
pnInfod fncos grofosquo, fho womon foro off fhoIr
cIofhIng nnd fhrow fhom Info fho fIro.
Somoono fook hoId of hor, puIIIng unfII sho wns
sfnndIng. Thov fhrow moro fIowors Info fho Inforno; nf
onco n pungonf smoII fIIIod hor nosfrIIs, mnkIng hor
cough. Iovond fho fInmos sho snw shndows movo In fho
dnrknoss sho wns IIghfhondod, fho worId swnm In nnd
ouf of focus. Sho wns fnIIIng fo fho ground.
Two mon onforod fho cIonrIng. Ono Inrgor nnd
Volume 1, Issue #2
voungor fhnn fho ofhor voIIod nf fho poopIo. If soomod
fho pnInfod onos wouId sfnnd ngnInsf fhom, buf fhon fho
oIdor mnn sfoppod forwnrd.
Ho spoko In fhoIr Inngungo, hIs fono nccusIng nnd
fuII of unsupprossod rngo. HIs nrms roso, mnkIng fhom
crIngo nwnv. WIfhIn momonfs fhov woro gono,
dIsnpponrod Info fho froos.
Hor ovos sIId cIosod.
!rsuIn foIf horsoIf boIng IIffod nnd ns If In n dronm
sho Iookod Info fho unfnmIIInr fnco.
¨Shhhh, If`s oknv now. Wo wIII koop vou snfo.¨
Sho sfruggIod ngnInsf hIm, buf ho hoId fIghf, fInnIIv
roIonsIng hor onIv whon ho hnd hor nwnv from fho gInro
of fho fIro.
¨Mv book, I nood mv book,¨ hor ovos woro frnnfIc,
dnrfIng nround nnd fInnIIv soffIIng on fho oId mnn wIfh
fho Iong bonrd. If soomod fo hor nf onco fhnf ho wns n
hoIv mnn, buf whnf dofnII hnd Iod hor fo fho concIusIon
sho couId nof snv.
Irom n snck ho puIIod If, no worso for wonr, nnd
hnndod If fo hor.
¨Thoro now mv donr, I hnvo If, do nof worrv. If Is
rnfhor bonufIfuI fhough fho Inngungo Is.¨ hIs voIco
frnIIod off buf sho know fhnf ho monnf If ns n quosfIon.
HnppInoss nImosf ovorwhoImod hor whon fhnf fnmIIInr
fooIIng buzzod fhrough hor fIngors nnd wIfhouf fhoughf
sho bIurfod ouf fhnf sho wns n mngo, nnd fhnf If wns n
sncrod book, boforo sho cnughf horsoIf nnd drow quIof.
As fho words Ioff hor moufh, sho fhoughf fhom n
mIsfnko, sho dIdn`f know fhoso mon. Thov hnd snvod hor
vos, buf who know whnf fhov hnd In sforo for hor
porhnps somofhIng worso fhnn fho fnfo of fho fIro.
Sho honrd If fhon, n swIshIng sound, buf boforo sho
know If fho voungor mnn voIIod. ¨WhooIor, Iook.¨ fho
wnrnIng wns cuf shorf ns fho oIdor mnn, WhooIor,
whIppod nround. HIs hnnd shof up nnd snnfchod nn
nrrow ouf of fho nIr.
Af fhnf momonf fho poopIo In whIfo cnmo bnck.
!rsuIn wondorod Infor If If couId hnvo possIbIv
hnpponod ns sho romomborod If. TorsoIm hnd forcod hor
fo sIf, nnd fhon wIfh hImsoIf bohInd hor nnd WhooIor In
fronf, fhov mndo n sfnnd.
Mon, nnd womon cnmo nf fhom from nII sIdos.
WhooIor, wIfh hIs frIdonf In hIs hnnds foughf fhom ns
fhough fhov woro moro fIIos. IIood spnfforod onfo hor;
quIckIv sho scrnmbIod nwnv from fho dondIv bIows fhnf
woro boIng cnsf from nII sIdos.
TorsoIm`s hugo sword gIowod bIuo ns If IIf from
wIfhIn. Ho movod ns If pnrf of n dnnco, onch fIuId
movomonf grncofuI nnd vof soomIngIv offorfIoss. HIs
sword sIIcod fhrough fho nIr cuffIng fhrough fIosh nnd
bono nIIko. A dnggor dnshod Info hIs sIdo, buf fho chnIn
mnII hoId dofIocfIng fho bIndo.
Moro nnd moro cnmo from fho froos, fho shoor
numbor soomod ImpossIbIo, n fIgmonf of n voung gIrI`s
ImngInnfIon. WIfhouf docIdIng fo do so, !rsuIn fhon
sfood, mufforIng nIoud fho words sho hnd Ionrnod mnnv
vonrs boforo nnd poInfod bofh hnnds fownrds fho
fhIckonIng crowd. IIood rod oxpIosIons Ioff hor fIngors
nnd sInmmod Info fho pnInfod onos. Mnnv wonf down on
fhnf fIrsf nssnuIf, somofhIng fhnf sho hnd nof oxpocfod.
Sho hnd novor usod hor powors In bnffIo boforo Indood
hnd novor fnkon n IIfo. Þo shnmo ongngod hor fhough ns
sho wnfchod fhom dIo wIfh sIckonIng Inforosf. If wns n
mnffor of survIvnI, nnd sho ronIIzod wIfh no smnII
nmounf of surprIso fhnf sho  wnnf fo IIvo, wnnfod If
ns fIorcoIv ns nnv ofhor boIng. A crv oscnpod hor fhronf
ns onco ngnIn hor hnnds IIffod fownrds fhom.
Iofh WhooIor nnd TorsoIm woro oncourngod bv fho
sound. ShIffIng hIs sword Info ono hnnd fho Inrgor mnn
puIIod ouf n shorf curvod bIndo nnd jumpod forwnrd. HIs
nffncks nIwnvs soomod fo procodo hIs oppononfs`; If wns
ns If ho know In ndvnnco whnf fhov wouId do. IushIng
on, ho sfoppod onfo fho bodIos ns ho wonf, frnmpIIng
fhom Info fho fhIckonIng mud.
WhooIor, hIs frIdonf hoId In fwo hnnds whIrIod
nmongsf fho foo wIfh nn ngIIIfv fhnf soomod unIIkoIv.
Tho wonpon drIppod wIfh bIood, pIocos of goro spnfforod
hIs fnco nnd hnnds. !ndor hIs bronfh ho murmurod, fho
words fhomsoIvos woro uncIonr buf sho know
InsfIncfIvoIv fhnf ho wns prnvIng, fhough whnf god
wouId nnswor In fho mIdsf of such bufchorv sho dId nof
Ovor hIs shouIdors sho gosfurod, whIfo-hof powor
whIzzod pnsf hIs onr ns sho roIonsod hor mngIc Info fho
In fho dIsfnnco, n horn soundod fho rosonnnco
bnrbnrIc In Ifs nncIonf sImpIIcIfv. Af onco fho pnInfod
onos bognn fo wIfhdrnw, dIsnpponrIng ns fhov hnd como,
Info fho froos.
Tho uso of mngIc hnd fnkon much from hor. Thnf sho
hnd boon nbIo fo cnII If forfh nf nII soomod nmnzIng
consIdorIng fho sfnfo sho hnd boon In. Þow fhnf fho
fhronf wns rocodIng howovor, so wns hor onorgv. Sho
bognn fo sIIdo fo fho ground buf TorsoIm`s sfrong nrms
honvod hor bnck up.
¨Thov wIII como bnck,¨ ho snId. ¨Wo hnvo gof fo puf
somo dIsfnnco bofwoon us nnd fhIs nccursod forosf.¨
Sho snf comforfnbIv on fho horso In fronf of WhooIor,
hIs nrms hoIdIng hor sfondv. To hor chosf !rsuIn
cIufchod hor snfchoI. Ho guIdod fho sfood fhrough fho
froos nf n much fnsfor pnco fhnn sho wouId hnvo dnrod,
buf If wnsn`f unfII fhov broko Info fho opon fhnf sho
bognn fo roInx. A smIIo IIf hor fIrod IIps ns sho gInncod nf
TorsoIm. Ho rosombIod ono of fho bnrbnrInns fhnf sho
hnd rond nbouf ns n chIId, buf fho wnv fhnf ho foughf
nnd fho qunIIfv of hIs spooch gnvo hor pnuso. Ho dId nof
soom fo bo mIndIoss; Indood ho possossod nn InfoIIIgonf
qunIIfv fhnf soomod nf odds wIfh hIs form.
WhIfo-hof pnIn suddonIv sonrod fhrough hor sIdo
nnd sho honrd horsoIf scronm ns If from oufsIdo of
horsoIf. In sIow mofIon sho sIumpod ovor, fho worId
nround hor dImmIng.
Tho Insf fhIng sho honrd wns TorsoIm`s doop voIco,
fuII of worrv. ¨Wo musf gof furfhor nwnv, If Is nof snfo fo
sfop horo.¨
As hor vIsIon cIonrod, n monn oscnpod hor. !rsuIn
hnd no Idon how much fImo hnd pnssod. Tho fnco of fho
oId mnn hovorIng ovor hor cnmo Info focus. ¨Your nnmo
Is WhooIor,¨ sho whIsporod. Tho Inndoquncv of fho
sfnfomonf Ioomod In hor mInd, buf sho couId fhInk of
nofhIng moro ngnInsf fho pnIn fhnf foro fhrough hor.
Ho noddod nnd smIIod kIndIv. ¨Yos voung ono. Þow
I nood vou fo bo brnvo, vou hnvo boon sfruck wIfh nn
¨Am I goIng fo dIo¨¨ sho bronfhod. Ionds of
porspIrnfIon broko ouf on hor forohond nnd ho wIpod
fhom nwnv gonfIv.
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We s We s t on
p Is IIko down. Ioff Is IIko rIghf. WIfhouf fho
comforfIng, mofhorIv grIp of grnvIfv, fho worId
rofnfos nround !IpkowskI ondIossIv. WIfhouf
nccoss fo hIs on-bonrd compufor, ho cnnnof
doformIno how Iong If wIII fnko fo ronch fho sun, nor If
ho wIII do so boforo hIs oxvgon runs ouf. Ho's nof suro
whIch fnfo wIII bo worso: knowIng fhnf ho Is corfnIn fo
dIo Is n much moro ImmodInfo concopf fhnn how fhnf
donfh wIII occur. Tho drugs wouId hnvo mndo fhIs
IrroIovnnf, of courso. Ho cursos hIs vncc-suIf's
mnIfuncfIons undor hIs bronfh ns hIs vIsIon ngnIn fnkos
on fho bnffIo bohInd hIm.
Ho cnn no Iongor foII who Is wInnIng fho bnffIo If
fhoro cnn ovon bo n wInnor In n confIIcf such ns fhIs.
SfIII, fho dIsfnnf oxpIosIons ImpIv fhnf fho bnffIo rngos
on, nnd, fhough ho Is curIous, ho fInds If dIffIcuIf fo cnro.
As fho druggod hnzo sIowIv dIssIpnfos, !IpkoswkI
rofIocfs on how ho nrrIvod nf hIs prosonf sfnfo. Ho hnd
hnfod fho Ofhors wIfh n pnssIon fhnf ho couId now
romombor buf no Iongor rnfIonnIIzo. Whnf hnd fho
Ofhors dono fo onrn hIs wrnfh¨ ÞofhIng fhnf ho couId
fhInk of. Thov hnd nof nffnckod Inrfh, ns fnr ns ho know.
Thov hnd nof ovon fhronfonod fo, nof ronIIv. Ho's nof
ovon suro whnf fhov Iook IIko. Tho Ofhors nro sImpIv fho
onomv, of courso, nnd fho onomv musf dIo. Tho IrovIdors
bnck on Inrfh hnd docrood fho Ofhors' dosfrucfIon, nnd
!IpkowskI, IIko nII cIfIzons, hnd onIIsfod on mnsso fo joIn
In fho fIghf. Tho wnr hnd mndo much moro sonso undor
fho IrovIdors' IovIng InsfrucfIon; undor modIcnfod IogIc.
Ho wondorod If fho Ofhors hnd sImIInr ronsons for
fIghfIng. Do //ex /o/e ue: T/ex nue/. Surelx, //ex nue/
reolice //o/ our uox of life ie euperior /o //eire. Per/ope
//ex uon/ /o e/eol u/o/ ie oure: Ao, //e O//ere ore etil
einplx Iecouee //ex ore //e O//ere. T/ex ore O//ere
Iecouee //ex ore etil. Tho IrovIdors hnd docrood such n
sImpIo nnd npponIIng nrIfhmofIc fhnf If wns dIffIcuIf fo
quosfIon. 1til nue/ eurelx Ie uipeJ ou/. GooJ nue/
eurtite. We nue/ eurtite.
Whnf hnd soomod so sImpIo boforo now mndo no
sonso nf nII
¨InffIosfnfIons,¨ snId fho mnn's voIco ovor fho
frIgnfo's Inforcom, much cnImor fhnn ono wouId oxpocf
for such n commnnd. ¨IIonso roporf fo bnffIosfnfIons nnd
fnko vour mods.¨
Irom hIs ongInoorIng sfnfIon doop InsIdo fho shIp,
!IpkowskI sfood nf nffonfIon nonr hIs confroI pnnoI,
vncc-suIf rondv In cnso ho noodod fo oxIf fho shIp fo do
omorgoncv ropnIrs. Þobodv know quIfo whnf fo oxpocf
from fho Ofhors In n fIghf; If wns bosf fo propnro for fho
worsf. Ho ndjusfod n knob on fho sIoovo of hIs suIf nnd
shuddorod In ocsfnsv ns fho drug onforod hIs voIn
fhrough fho pnoumnfIc pump InsfnIIod In hIs suIf's
sIoovo. Tho rosf of fho crow In fhIs socfIon foIIowod hIs
oxnmpIo. Tho IrovIdors wouId nof hnvo fhom go Info
bnffIo unpropnrod.
Ho smIIod dumbIv fo IhIIIIps, fho fochnIcInn on hIs
Ioff, sfIII sfruggIIng wIfh fho nffnchmonf mochnnIsm on
hor hoImof. Sho gIggIod hopoIossIv. !IpkowskI couIdn'f
hoIp buf Inugh ns woII. Ho furnod on hIs hoImof's
oxfornnI sponkors. ¨Tho rIghf shouIdor sfrnp Is Iooso,¨ ho
foIIs hor.
IhIIIIps ronchod bohInd hor Ioff shouIdor buf
mnnngod fo grnb nofhIng. ¨Whn. whnf dId vou snv¨¨
sho snId sfupIdIv, shnkIng hor hond. Hor smIIo furnod
sour, fhough, ns fho drugs sfnrfod fo nffocf hor; sho
grImncod, fhrow hor hoImof fo fho ground nnd kIckod If
down fho corrIdor. Tho doop nggrossIon sof In,
suppInnfIng fho InIfInI ouphorIn, fvpIcnI of fho IrovIdors'
drugs. Sho bnIIod hor fIsf nnd punchod fho wnII, nof ovon
soomIng fo nofIco ns sho broko sovornI fIngors.
!IpkowskI consIdorod sfoppIng nwnv from hIs
sfnfIon fo nssIsf hor, buf fho drugs bognn fo rnco fhrough
hIs voIns ns woII; ho cIosod hIs ovos, grnbbod fho hnndIo
of hIs sfnfIon fIghfIv nnd foIf ns fho gIddInoss wns
ropIncod bv nngor nnd ongornoss fo kIII. T/ie uill Ie o
glorioue Io//le. T/e O//ere uill eurelx Jie.
!IpkowskI hnd nof soon fho oxpIosIon ns fho Ofhors'
mnss drIvors hIf hIs socfIon of fho shIp. !nfhor, ho hnd
foIf fho shuddor of fho InIfInI bInsf undor hIs foof,
foIIowod bv fho sfrong puII of suddon vncuum bnngIng
Info fho buIkhonds pnInIossIv ns ho mndo hIs ogross Info
spnco nnd fhon. nofhIng.
Ho dImIv rocnIIod boIng surprIsod bv fho voIocIfv
wIfh whIch ho hnd boon ropoIIod from fho shIp. Ho musf
sfIII bo mnInfnInIng fho snmo spood, ho fhoughf, buf If
soomod sIowor now, wIfh fowor poInfs of roforonco wIfh
whIch fo gnIn hIs bonrIngs.
Ho wns forfunnfo fhnf ho hnd boon nbIo fo sonI hIs
hoImof In pInco boforo fho bnffIo hnd commoncod.
IhIIIIps, nof-so-Iuckv, hnd fIonfod nIongsIdo hIm for fho
fIrsf fow hours, hor fnco frozon wIfh nn oxprossIon of
shock nf hor own nsphvxInfIon. Ho fIonfod hoIpIossIv
bosIdo hor, hor sIIonco mnkIng hor nn objocfIonnbIo
compnnIon unfII, ovonfunIIv, fhov bofh fIonfod off In
dIfforonf dIrocfIons, doformInod bv fho nngIo from whIch
fhov hnd boon ojocfod bv fho bInsf.
Þow, If Is n dnv, or mnvbo fwo dnvs Infor wIfh no
dnv or nIghf, If Is dIffIcuIf fo foII nnd !IpkowskI Is
nIono, drIffIng nnd spInnIng fownrd hIs doom wIfh onIv
fho IImIfod sconorv fo koop hIm compnnv.
AIfhough ho cnn sfIII bronfho for now, nf Ionsf hIs
vncc-suIf Is bnroIv funcfIonnI; ho's nof suro whv. Ho hnd
soon spnrks comIng from hIs Ioff sIoovo confroI pnnoI
onrIIor, buf now fhov hnvo sfoppod nIfogofhor. If ho
couId onIv rnIso hIs wrIsf fo hIs fncopInfo, chock hIs
dIngnosfIcs sIoovo, porhnps ho couId doformIno whnf fho
probIom wns nnd nffompf fo fIx If. Ho cnn foII, howovor,
fhnf fho nIr Is bocomIng nofIconbIv fhInnor, hIs hoImof's
!IÐ Is occnsIonnIIv fIIckorIng, nnd hIs suIf's suppIv of
opInfos hns Iong sInco dwIndIod fo nofhIng. In fhoorv,
fho drugs shouId bo fho Insf fhIng fo go; nf Ionsf, fhnf
wns whnf fho IrovIdors hnd promIsod whon fho crow
hnd onIIsfod.
Tho drug hnd kopf hIm nIorf. Tho drug hnd kopf hIm
from fooIIng sfross. Tho drug kopf hIm from quosfIonIng
fho IrovIdors' docroos. If wns n pIonsIng sfnfo, whIIo If
Insfod. Þow, fhough, ho mIssod fho sfondv comforfIng
IuII fhnf wonf hnnd-In-hnnd wIfh hIs roguInr Infnko. HIs
hnnds, pnrnIvzod bv fho ImmobIIo suIf, shnko wIfh fho
pnngs of dosIro for moro. Ho cnn fooI fho cooInoss of hIs
own swonf ovon ns fho vncc-suIf frIos InoffocfunIIv fo
modornfo fho InforIor fompornfuro ngnInsf fho froozIng
cIImnfo oufsIdo.
As fho woIcomo hnzInoss of fho drugs wonrs off, hIs
dIIommn bocomos moro dIffIcuIf fo npprocInfo: If ho's
goIng fo bo fIvIng sIowIv Info fho sun, ho'd profor fo bo
Volume 1, Issue #2
P o l y g r a f f S t a f f
ow wrIfors In scIonco fIcfIon nnd fnnfnsv nro
moro confrovorsInI fhnn John Þormnn, fho
cronfor of fho Gor sorIos of novoIs
(www.wov!doIuov.¢om). Þormnns` works nof
onIv fonfuro soxunI fhomos, buf fhov prosonf worIds In
whIch fhoro Is nn oxcIusIvo mnIo domInnnco. And If Is
mosf IIkoIv bocnuso of fhIs fhnf hIs works woro so
confrovorsInI whon fhov cnmo ouf In fho ronIm of
spocuInfIvo fIcfIon, nnd In spIfo of fho gronf popuInrIfv of
hIs work. Tho gronfor scIonco fIcfIon communIfv`s
soomIng unwIIIIngnoss fo rocognIzo John Þormnn`s
popuInrIfv nnd InfIuonco snvs n Iof nbouf fho cognosconfI
of fho gonro, nnd porhnps moro fhnn n IIffIo nbouf fho
sfnfo of confompornrv Wosforn cuIfuro In gonornI.
Tho sfnff of Polxgroff
mngnzIno onjovod n unIquo
opporfunIfv fo InforvIow John Þormnn. Wo dIscussod hIs
work, hIs phIIosophv (of whIch ho Is nn honosf fo
goodnoss profossor), nnd mnnv ofhor fnscInnfIng subjocfs
fhnf woro ovorv bIf ns sfImuInfIng ns n Gor novoI IfsoIf.
Wo prosonf fhnf InforvIow horo for vou In Ifs onfIrofv,
Wo do hopo vou onjov If.
(Þofo: AII foxf fhnf foIIows fhIs pnrngrnph, fhnf Is In
bo!d tyµeIu¢e, Is n quosfIon nskod bv ono of our sfnff.
AII ofhor foxf fhnf Is In this tvpeíace Is ono of fho mnnv
gronf nnswors gIvon. AII rosponsos nro unnIforod nnd nro
prosonfod ns gIvon fo us. Thov nro fho words of John
Þormnn hImsoIf.)
Beíore proceeding. I think a general remark. or two
would be appropriate. in order to assist the reader. unwarv or
bemused. unsuspecting or innocent. to interpret what is likelv
to appear a most disconcerting. unsatisíving set oí remarks.
1, \ords are not things. 1hev are counters. ·aluable.
but clumsv and crude. Once we get bevond counting
potatoes and gi·ing street directions. their limitations
become apparent. At worst. thev cannot help but lie:
at best. thev ser·e as e·idence oí what can ne·er be
2, \e are all strangers to oursel·es. And how can one
Volume 1, Issue #2
An ExcIusIve IntervIew wItb Jobn Norman
Autbor oI tbe Gor SerIes oI NoveIs.
i..¸- J.-a «..| r-......... .|| r.¸|.. r-.-..-a s, o«.-..
This issue of Polygraf™ is unique
for containing a lengthy interview
with controversial science fction
author John Norman. His Gor series
of novels have attained cult status,
but they have been shunned by
the commercial mainstream and
by the science fction and fantasy
community at large.
This is the frst, and only,
interview, that John Norman has
done since 1972, and it is only
available in Polygraf!
This is a very small sample of the
who is a stranger to himselí. as we all are. know
another. who does not e·en know himselí · \ou will
ne·er know me. and I will ne·er know vou. I can lo·e
vou. íor vourselí. or íor the common doom we íace.
but I cannot know vou. But I know that vou are
there. and that is precious. I commonlv decline
inter·iews. not so much because thev mav be altered
to distort mv ·iews and misrepresent mv con·ictions.
doctored to produce a political íalsiíication. an
attack. or because oí a zeal íor pri·acv.
uncharacteristic in a writer. as because it is hard to tell
the truth. as so much oí it is subtle and inexpressible.
and so much is unknown. (an I count on vou to
construct a realitv. írom a íragment or a scrap. when
I am not sure I could do that mvselí · lalí a truth. oí
necessitv. is halí a lie. lrom a bone. which might not
be the bone oí the actual beast. one builds a íantasv.
One is reluctant to tell less than the whole truth. and
understands that the whole truth cannot be told. ií
onlv because it is unknown. 1he saíest thing is to
turn awav. and regard the night. and stars.
3, Realitv. with its connections. relations. and
ramiíications is inexhaustible. It has no substitutes.
Accordinglv. paraphrase is treacherv. explanation
4, As it is said in (haos theorv. the butterílv ílaps its
wings in 1okvo. and the weather is diííerent in
(aliíornia. Small things. unaccountable. like the
íusion oí chemicals. producing a tinv. íragile.
transitorv. selí-replicating carbon compound.
e·entuallv produce a planet`s phvlogenetic
abundance. an awesome. in·asi·e. global
svstematicitv oí li·ing íorms. írom the bacterium to
the pterodactvl. írom massi·e trees to íields oí grass.
produces pharaohs and (aesars. Michelangelos and
Shakespeares. Surelv the narrowness. rigiditv. and
dogmatism oí Martin Luther did not ha·e in mind
the birth oí a thousand religions. the liberation oí
capitalism. the unleashing oí technological and
economic progress. the rise oí íierce. competiti·e
nationalisms. the ad·ent oí a hundred putati·elv
representati·e democracies.
In short. one has done something. as has e·ervone else.
but what one has done mav be unknown. It is leít to the
íuture and its historv.
One does the best one can. honestlv. authenticallv.
hopeíullv iníormedlv. and. then. one hopes íor the best.
\ith these annoving remarks in mind. let us address
oursel·es. howe·er inadequatelv. to some possible questions.
It will be noted that I ha·e not. in all cases. responded
with exactness. or at all. to all questions. Rather. I ha·e used
the questions as a stimulus. to sav things which to me are
important. and. I hope. to some oí vou. interesting.
In uddItIon to beInu un uutLov oI sµe¢u!utIve
und LIstovI¢u! II¢tIon, you uve u!so u µLI!osoµLev
und u µvoIessov oI µLI!osoµLy. WLI¢L Is move
Imµovtunt to youv µevsonu! IdentIty, uutLov ov
µLI!osoµLev? Ave tLey tLInus tLut you keeµ
seµuvute ov does one usµe¢t oI youv !IIe InI!uen¢e
tLe otLev?
I ha·e written all mv liíe. e·en as a child. Accordinglv. it
must be important to me. I seem to ha·e little control o·er
the matter. 1o be sure. it seems sometimes that the writing
uses me. as the pen bv which it makes its marks. as the ·oice
through which it chooses to speak. 1he writing. as to manv
authors. is ·erv close to me. 1here is one song. and one
singer: one cannot sing without the song. and the song does
not exist without the singer.
All men are philosophers.
\hat is it to be a philosopher·
In the broadest sense. I would suppose it is to realize that
in oursel·es the uni·erse has awakened. and learned to its
surprise that it exists. low came I thus. how here·` as
Milton`s Adam would ha·e it. As it is said. whv is there
anvthing at all· \ould not nothing be more likelv. and bv
nothing we mean not e·en emptv space. low amazing that
the smallest grain oí sand. a leaí. a seed. a branch. a
mo·ement oí air. a drop oí rain. should exist. low. in so
ultimatelv mvsterious a world. can man exist. might man exist.
should man exist· 1he philosopher in man asks a thousand
questions. and considers a hundred thousand answers. \hat
is most important cannot be weighed. measured. stained.
photographed. or clocked. Philosophical questions are
ine·itable. per·asi·e. tenacious. and recurrent. the most
proíound and important questions that can be asked. but.
alas. thev do not admit oí quantiíication. 1o them the vard
stick and scale. the Geiger counter and cvclotron. are
inapplicable. 1hev doubtless ha·e answers. but answers which
cannot be caught in the nets oí the accountant or phvsicist.
1heir answers. ií answers there are. lea·e no íootprints in the
sand. no streaks in the cloud chamber. Perhaps it would be
wisest. in the wav oí the íox. to íorget them. except that thev
do not permit themsel·es to be íorgotten. 1hev gnaw at the
edges oí thought. haunt one in the night.
Mv personal identitv is not important to me. Mv work is.
1he philosopher and the writer are one person. Perhaps I
would be a better philosopher ií I were not a writer. and
perhaps I would be a better writer ií I were not a philosopher.
But then. as a colleague once pointed out to me. I would not
be me.
I am content to be me.
\ho else should I be·
I hope that vou are content to be vou.
Youv do¢tovu! dIssevtutIon Is ubout "etLI¢u!
nutuvu!Ism." WLut Is tLut? WLut ve!utIon does It
Luve to youv nove!s, esµe¢Iu!!y tLe ve!utIons
between tLe ¢Luvu¢tevs In tLem?
It has been a long time since mv doctoral dissertation. I
think the title was something like In Deíense oí Lthical
Naturalism.` On the other hand. as I recall. it consisted oí an
examination oí onlv one argument. 1he Open-Ouestion
Argument.`  Lthical Naturalism. 1hus. instead oí
making out a case íor Lthical Naturalism. I íound mvselí
trving to show that a single argument opposed to it was not
coerci·e. 1his limited and reducti·e sort oí exercise is not
that uncommon in dissertations. One would like to sa·e the
world. and one ends up trving to show that all is not lost at a
certain address in Philadelphia. 1he Open-Ouestion
Argument.` which has manv ·ariations. is. in eííect. to ·erv
much simpliív things. the claim that anv characterization oí.
sav. good.` in natural terms must be mistaken. lor example.
²«u!u)«n J)!«):1«+
Volume 1, Issue #2
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