998 Chapters
Medium 9780253008183

4 The Amnesiac in the Maze

Jason L Brown Quarry Books ePub

Michael Czyzniejewski

HE DOESNT KNOW HOW LONG he’s been in the corn, but that’s not because of the amnesia: he’s just lost. His disorder affects the longer-term things like not knowing his name, where he was born, what his mother looks like, if he ever knew her in the first place. Now, without a watch, calendar, or phone to tell him of the world, he’s wandering along. He remembers visiting this farm, drinking a cup of warm cider, buying a bag of decorative gourds, chatting with the farmer’s wife. He petted their dog, a black lab that was part Pekingese. He was about to leave, just drive off with his gourds and return to his nameless existence. But the maze was free, looked fun, something to do instead of watching TV, instead of hoping to remember. He entered the maze twenty minutes before closing and hasn’t emerged since. It’s been weeks, maybe two, maybe four: He’s lost track to that degree. But since he doesn’t know who he is, doesn’t have any particular place to go, why not stay? And maybe that’s how the amnesia comes into play: no motivation to emerge.

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Medium 9780253006837

31: Alice

Abdourahman A. Waberi Indiana University Press ePub

31

ALICE

IF YOUR BODY germinates and swells, if your heart pounds like the surf, what could be more normal? I push the rumpled sheet away with my hand; I crush the doubt that assails me under my heel. I seek in vain the heat of his body. I can sense his smell floating through the room; I still have the taste of his sweat in my mouth. I resonate with him with every fiber in my body; my skin spontaneously catches fire at his contact. I curl up with love inside his arms. Hold your breath; repeat without opening your mouth “I'm so happy!” Suddenly I can see the world with the eyes of the heart. Every second is an eternity; I flame with a joy I cannot hide. My head is resting on his lower belly, which goes up and down with the rhythm of his peaceful breathing. The two tips of my breasts are delightfully compressed by his shins. With one hand, I stroke the light moss of his ebony hairs, watching the dark honey of his eyes from the corner of mine. With the other hand, I stroke my sex wet and hot as burning spices. I hold my breath to prolong the exquisite moment.

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Medium 9780253019028

An Unexpected Gift

IU Press Journals Indiana University Press ePub

an excerpt from a forthcoming novel

AJAKA CHEWED THE last of his bitter kola and gazed forlornly out of the barricaded window of his Ikot-Ekepene Road flat into the busy city streets. Was today the day they would find the missing child?

It was the will of the Alusi, the old gods, that the fortunetellers fail. It was their way of reminding the rainmakers that no one, not even a priest, could tell a god what to do.

It was the pronouncement of the local meteorologist on the beat-up FM radio he kept beside his bamboo-sleeping mat that, It will not rain today, like a blind priest trying to read the hand of God. The breeze from the harmattan wind had ashened his skin and cracked his lips that morning like it had the morning before, but Ajaka was not surprised to find streaks of grey lining the aging sky. He had lived in the Jungle City long enough to know that no one could accurately predict the passing of the rainy season. Not even the entreaties of the rainmakers from the villages and the local government areas could keep Kamalu’s double-headed axe from cracking the calabashes holding the waters of the sky in place; or Afo, the alusi of tornadoes and hurricanes and the goddess of the northern sky, from whirling her skirt and using the air it whipped up as a cutlass to cut open the sky whenever she willed it. It was the will of the Alusi, the old gods, that the fortunetellers fail. It was their way of reminding the rainmakers that no one, not even a priest, could tell a god what to do.

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Medium 9780253002365

Chapter Thirty

Gregory Schwipps Indiana University Press ePub

Tennessee didn’t look that big on the map, but it took about forever to cross it. Ollie had celebrated his transcendence as he crossed the borders into Kentucky and Tennessee, but now he drove past the sign proclaiming he’d just entered North Carolina with a furrowed brow and rigid claws clamping the wheel. It still seemed likely that his truck might go careening off the mountainside any minute now, but he could no longer bring himself to care. He’d always planned on dying in his home state, but if it happened down here, surely someone would box him up and send him north. He just wanted to talk to Summer before he glanced over and saw the Grim Reaper riding shotgun.

When he saw the exit for the ‘Welcome to North Carolina’ rest stop, he pulled onto the sloping ramp and followed the path to the parking lot. He shut off the motor and listened to its furious ticking. It smelled hot.

In front of him was a little park area, laid out with picnic tables and grills set in concrete. Over there was a building with restrooms inside, and vending machines lined up along the outside wall. His knees creaked as he stood on solid ground again. Standing made him realize how badly he needed to take a leak. He locked the door with his key, and then realized he’d forgotten to throw the sleeping bag in the cab. He just left it in the bed. Who’d steal that stinky-ass thing anyway?

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Medium 9780253015464

Chapter 7

Gabriella Ghermandi Indiana University Press ePub

“SO? DID YOU LIKE THE STORY ABOUT MY MOTHER?”

Did I like it? “Like” was not the right word. I was struck by it. The correct word was “struck.” But I did not feel like spending time explaining. “It is very beautiful,” I said.

“Beautiful, true, important,” she added. “When you use it,” she continued, “don’t forget any of the details. Every detail is essential to the understanding of those times.”

“Sure, Mother,” I reassured her, without trying to dispute that bizarre suggestion. Me, a collector of stories? And when was I ever going to use her mother’s story? To be honest, it was not the first time I had been called a collector of stories. Abbaba Igirsa Salo had used those same words. Who knows where in the courtyard of the church this rumor had started. With Abba Chereka? I really could not believe that he could have substantiated such an extravagant rumor. I would check it out anyway, I thought. But then he arrived with the usual clanging of metal, and I forgot to ask him.

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