Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 32 (1974) pt 7


As another year came to its end and a new one began, I wondered how long we could

keep pulling this off. Fortunately, my mom and dad decided to try and reconcile their
faltering marriage by allowing me to stay with Harmony throughout the new year.

I recall that a limousine picked them up at the house on a Friday afternoon,
whisking them away to the airport. While my parents spent an entire week in
Aruba, they would call Harmony every day to make sure I was okay.

Also, to reassure themselves I wasn’t driving her crazy.

My mother raved about how lovely the townspeople were and how the trade winds
came blowing in off the shore to cool everything down; while my father went on about
the cultural scenery, makeshift homes, and how uniquely different it was from our way
of living. He explained to me how the exquisite beach had pure white sand and how
clean that pure white sand was, free of debris and other man-made objects.

Unlike in our part of the world, where foreign objects lie scattered across
our beaches and countryside, littering the landscape and making our
American ancestors weep with unforgiving sorrow.

My father's voice sounded different in a sense. I could tell that he was
enjoying himself and also that he had put down enough of the islands
signature cocktails to be galvanized properly. Whenever he sounded
like a kid laughing in slow-motion, you just knew he was roasted.

I was happy that they were content with each other, and when they returned
to Staten Island, a new chapter in their lives could finally begin.

Like a fairy tale crafted from hemlock, I could
not have been more wrong in my assumption.

Aside from the dilemma, my parents would face upon returning to the states,
Harmony and I had the time of our lives. I watched the ball drop for the first
time, and we welcomed in the new year holding hands. That was the first,
and only New Year's Eve we would ever spend together.

Most of the time, we didn't stray too far from the house because God forbid
a nosy neighbor should see us doing something inappropriate and decide to
tell my parents upon their return. I’m sure they would be looking to retaliate.
Especially if they came back worse than they left.

Maybe life is just a Freudian puzzle that adults have yet to figure
out, and if a child can manage to do it, then that would make them
look really stupid. And no adult wants to look stupid. I didn't think
it was insanely difficult to hold down a relationship, provided you
genuinely loved the person you were in the long haul with.

You did have to work on it constantly, though.

You have to be a good listener.
You have to be attentive to her needs.
You have to make her feel like she is the only woman on earth,
and she will reward you for it in ways you can only imagine.

You also have to be a good provider, which I wasn't yet,
but I knew one day I would be.
And you have to make her feel emotionally secure,
which to my surprise, came easy.

I was never a worry wart because I trusted my own intuition.
If I felt something was wrong, then it usually was, at which
point I would have to sharpen my instincts and prepare
myself for whatever came next.

The same cannot be said for an unavoidable tragedy.

If, for example, a judgment call had to be made and my mom used
a ladder to peek in the living room window and saw more than she
bargained for, now that would be cause for some real concern.

All things considered, it would not go well for them to physically assault
Harmony, for I would have no other choice than to take ‘appropriate
measures’ to ensure the safety and well-being of my beloved girlfriend.

In other words, commit the unthinkable.

If they had to hurt someone, then I would be
the other end of the fist or broom, bleeding.

That I could forgive them for, but the penalty for hurting an angel
is far more severe than I should attempt to bolster in mere words.

If, let's say, for ‘whatever reason,’ my parents did catch us in the middle
of a passionate tryst, I am sure I could expect those beatings. I would
then be forbidden to see the only person I ever truly loved while they
begin removing things from my room.   

Things I enjoy, such as my turntable, comic books, etc. I’d probably
be banished to my room for long periods of time, possibly without
supper. During this time, they might even be insensitive enough
to try to justify their actions by explaining to me
that they are

‘only doing this because ‘they love me.

       “People like that deserve to be put on fire.”

It is selfish, and it is wrong to deliberately restrict someone from communicating
with the person with whom they are enamored to. This life is not about them anymore;
it's about us. Our happiness. Our future together. No one, and I repeat, ‘no one’ is
going to bring that kind of pain down upon us. Not if I can help it anyway.

But the truth of the matter is they don't know, and they are good people. Just the
same, they cannot be trusted until I come of age, and no matter how hard they try
to gain my confidence in life, they ab-so-lute-ly can not be told of this. No way.

would be the only fatal flaw, and believe me, brother, it is not going to happen.

There is an old saying that dates back to the time of Adam.
You might even hear it said today.



I can no longer control my emotions as I sit shivering in a warm apartment. It's
my fault for resurrecting her; I should have known better. Everything I tried so
dearly to keep buried has come back to haunt me, and I cannot get her image out
of my mind. My chest feels like it's in a milling vice being squeezed while my hands
tremble so I can hardly type these words. And this is torturing me to no end.

                                                                             Pg 213

Sometimes in the morning, when I awaken, there is an interlude of silence, and
for that brief moment, I almost expect her to be lying near me. How something
so perfect could ever come to this goes beyond the realm of any form of reason.

Then in that instant of a heartbeat, I realize someone is taking her place.

During those seconds, it begins to dawn on me.
She's just not the person I needed so much to be there.

                                             *Then it gets bad*

You start to regress until you find that it's actually worse now than if there was
no one there at all. As you slowly fall victim to the memories, you find yourself
wading in a pool of tears till you're nothing but a hand in an ocean going down.

Indeed, we are all born into despair, for the very moment we are slated to
take our first breath, we have already begun to die. When I look at myself
in the mirror, I do not see a person but rather a conscious entity standing
inside a shell, masked in sorrow. I want to punch it, but it is not the mirror
I am angry with; it is time. Time has betrayed me in ways you could never
understand and filled me with sadness beyond measure, like waiting for
your wife at the airport and finding out that the plane landed in 1974.

ou missed her.
. . You were sleeping.”

Now instead of reveling in each day like each day was a precious gift
hand-picked by God, you look forward to trying out a casket while you
sit in mourning, watching your skin turn into that of a rotting prune.

I am not ashamed to admit I am frightened. In fact, I am terrified. 

Those wonderful memories have all become like the steel blades of a bone saw.
Oh my love, how deep they wound.

Yet I would not trade even one moment we shared together. Harmony,
if you're out there, I can almost feel you by my side, guiding my hand
in the writing of this book. Oh, Harmony, I love you more than anyone.
I always have. When it comes time for me to summon Dark Monday,
I will be prepared because summoning that day again will force me to
relive the worst nightmare imaginable. Where every waking moment
apart from your sweet love becomes an insatiable yearning that time
cannot relate to, but for, you my darling, I will do this. . .

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((One - last - time)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Have you ever wondered what it was like for the angels to be cast out of the ceiling of
heaven? If so, then, by all means, read on. However, if you don't, I would strongly advise
you to close this book now. Turn away, and never look back because it's coming.

Be forewarned; what you are about to read cannot be unread as it will undoubtedly
leave an indelible footprint in a small corner of your universe for many years to come.

Most people live their lives burdened with ninety percent hardship and ten percent bliss.

They live paycheck to paycheck while worrying about bills, their health, and losing
what little they possess as they struggle to stay afloat in tumultuous waters.

If you separated the day into three quarters, you would find most people spend eight
hours working, eight hours sleeping, and eight hours trying to improve whatever social
life they may currently have. For me, every single moment was bliss i
n an age where
freedom was embroidered in the soul  rather than imprinted on the face of sweatshirts.

What I wouldn't do in this life just to hold you in my arms once more.
I would gladly burn this book if I knew it would bring you back, but
what would burning the book do except have me lose you again.
And that is something I am not strong enough to even think of. 

In truth, I just wanted to tell the world about Harmony and wrote a few extra pages.
I got lost in a dream, and I never woke up. Who can say that each life is not its own
separate universe? A place of purgatory for past sins. A world designed only for you
that will die when you die, only to become a resurgent force all over again in a new
body with new pitfalls. Can you tell me otherwise?

In the end, will anything really matter except the rejoining of you and me? I'm sorry,
baby, but I refuse to be put into the ground, knowing you will be forgotten. I need the
world to love you as I have loved you. To know you as I have known you. To remember
you the way I remember you, long after I have been discarded. Is that such a sin?

                                                                             Pg 214

It was the first day of February 1974, and it was a Tuesday. Another day
to rise and shine, only this winter, there would be no early sunrise. That
was because our beloved president, Richard M. Nixon, decided to try a
rather unorthodox experiment, and that was not to not turn the clocks
back in winter. On this very day, the sun would not rise until after eight
and not set until after six.

The AM hours were exceeding bleak, with kids being dropped off at bus stops
at what felt like three in the morning. What surprised me the most was that
the majority of us appeared to be vibrant and well-rested throughout the day.

As I was leaving the house with my mother to get in the car, I bellowed, I can't
do this... I'm hot. And my mother, in retaliation, bellowed back, “Then take it
off, God-damn it!” Apparently, she was frustrated that my dad was becoming
exceedingly distant and I guess she knew something was up. I wasn’t angry with
her, but it still didn’t stop me from wanting to tear the plaid flannel button-down
shirt from my chest like the Hulk and throwing into the street. Of course, I didn’t
because I wanted to resolve things in an adult manner; just in case Harmony
happened to be watching from the upstairs window. So now, rather than throw
a temper tantrum like a spoiled child, I calmly removed the flannel shirt, and
gently lobbed it into the back seat.

On this day, the temperature would reach a balmy 60 degrees.
There is no other notation written that I could possibly attempt to decipher.

For now,
it's Wednesday, July 17. Summertime. School is over
until the fall,
but Harmony insists I brush up on my studies, and
so I do. If I have a problem,
she is eager to help me with it.

Overall, she makes learning fun.

Unlike my parents, who say, “No one ever helped us
with our homework,” and “Do it yourself or fail.”

Most of the time, I tried to forget about them by simply living the
best way I knew how. In doing so, I enveloped myself in Harmony,
knowing she would always be there for me. Her door is always
open, and I no longer have that terrible fear of her leaving me.

I am more mature now.

If something is troubling me, I tell her about it, and it goes away. A
woman more nurturing than Harmony would be rare, and every day
my love for her grows stronger. My maternal grandparents, who lived
down the beach on Cedar Grove Avenue, had begun to wonder why I
wasn't coming over to the pool anymore, and questions were being
raised. Why just this morning, I heard my mother on the dining

“Oh, mom, don't worry. He's all right, and he's happier now
than ever.” 

Harmony's dwelling had become my haven, and we
were doing
everything together. Soon, we'll be able to flaunt our
love at will,
for we will have won the game, and how great that
day is going
to be. I can almost see it.

Sweeter than anything known to man and twice as gentle.
This is my lover.

                              The Romancers - She gives me love

But the world was beginning to change in ways my tiny brain
would never be able to comprehend. Even after I went mad.

On the morning of Friday, August 9th, I awoke to find out that President
Nixon had been forced to resign. The news came as a shock to us all,
with the exception of Harmony, who could have cared less had he fallen
from a cable car. For me, it was the end of an era. I was getting older.

Times were changing.

That should have made me feel better, but for some reason, it didn’t.
For a moment, it felt as if someone put a blower to my ear and blew all
the information that had been carefully stored in neat little boxes out onto
the living room carpet. I was stunned and disoriented but would recover.

Before the evening twilight fell upon the trees, Harmony was making me laugh by
fooling around with theatrical masks used in the essence of drama. The ancient
symbols of comedy and tragedy were the happy and sad faces she used to portray
the old Indian women of her village. Through impersonation, she used humorous
anecdotes to critique while exaggerating between satirical jesting and ironic
misandry. As Harmony began to tell a whimsical story, she did so while using
the Indian head jiggle, and I fell to my knees screaming.

Casually, she threw around an accent that was thicker than a
rolling fog. It was an accent I truly adored, and she knew it.

                                                        The Kirkbys - Bless you

Soon it was Friday, October 25th. My parents were officially divorced, and I insisted
staying with Timmy while my mother courted her new flame. In celebration of my
birthday today, Mother would allow me to take the day off from school. A road
trip had been planned in advance to visit the state of Maine, and we were due to be
leaving shortly. Walking upstairs,
I slammed the bathroom door before dropping the
thick plastic cup onto the ceramic tiles,
making it obvious I was in there. I then opened
the door very quietly and crept into my
parent's room, where I dialed Harmony's
number. I told her I was being forced into
doing something I did not want to do
and begged her to come over and help me
get out of it somehow. Because of the
urgency in my voice, Harmony was outside,
ringing the doorbell almost faster
than I could get back into the bathroom again.

As mom opened the outside door, Harmony rushed in. I flushed the toilet and began
to walk down the stairs when I heard Harmony crying and thought to myself, “Oh my
God, what happened?” I froze at the top of the stairs and couldn't move until Harmony
left. I then walked apprehensively down the stairs to the living room, where my mom
was seated. She told me I could stay and I was ecstatic.

Until my mother told me what it was that Harmony said.

                                                                             Pg 215

“Charlie, I think you need to sit down.” The sadness in my mother's voice
made my stomach sick and my head dizzy. “I don't know how to say this
to you, honey (holding my hands), but your friend is dying.” I didn't even
need a minute for it to sink in; it was already there.

I jumped up hysterically, shouting, “Don't say that. How could you say that?”

My mother embraced me, and I wept like a baby in her arms. Two hours
later, at ten o'clock, Harmony and I waved goodbye to them as they left
that morning in my mother's brand new 1974 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia.

As the bright orange car made its debut up the street, confetti
came raining down upon us in the form of a passing shower.

                             Like a ticker tape parade held in my honor,
                             I didn't care if they came back this Sunday
                            or the following year. I would be alone with
                              Harmony, and that was all that mattered.

                                                Elton John - Strange rain

Upon entering the house, I confronted Harmony
about what she had said to my mother.

“Why would you say such a thing like that to her?”

“You wanted to get out of going, didn't you?”

“Yes, but not like that.”

“Like how then? How else was I going to do it? You tell me how.”

“I don't know how. I only know what they know.

Timmy is dying!

That's all they know, and if he dies, we die, 'cause then I can't stay here anymore.”

(At this point in time, I was borderline hysterical and could not catch my breath)

“If you don't think for us, we're doomed, 'cause I can't do it.”

She held me in her arms and told me not to cry.

“I did a real stupid thing, and I am so sorry. Maybe with
chemotherapy, we could keep him around until you're seventeen.
After that, no one will have any use for him anymore, so he dies.”

“You mean we just stop talking about him?”

“I mean, I go to my country for two weeks to bury my brother.”

“I wish I was as smart as you.”

“You are, or I wouldn't be with you.”

At approximately two o'clock in the afternoon, Harmony walked into the kitchen
and swung around seductively. Her face half covered by her long wavy hair.

“Happy birthday, baby,” she announced in an unpleasant voice before turning herself
around and walking the other way. I must admit, these past couple of weeks, I've noticed
a marked change in her behavior. A subtle nuance in her attitude. It's just some peculiar
flaw I haven't quite been able to pinpoint that has imperceptibly presented itself in her
personality. Simple things that used to make her laugh now only make her smile, and
when she smiles, she is not smiling with me, but for me, like she has to because she
doesn't want to hurt my feelings.

Lately, every time she smiles, I get the distinct impression she does
not want to smile at all but rather absorb herself in things that don't
involve me. But still, the way she looks into my eyes is more loving.

I don’t understand.

                                                                             Pg 216

At around three o'clock, Harmony tells me she is ready to perform a sacred
coming-of-age ceremony for me. There was incense burning, soothing music
playing, and six strange-looking esculent mushrooms in a dish. The stems looked
ugly, and I could swear the caps were beginning to turn indigo in certain spots.

Harmony told me they came from out west, and that she acquired them when she and
a group of friends took a road trip to Oregon. She said they went hiking in the woods
for hours when one of her friends (a horticulturist turned mycologist) stumbled upon
a dazzling array of the most, and I quote, "Magic of all mushroom species."

I wish I could tell you more, but then I’d be guessing.

“Of all the mushrooms known to exist, these are by far the strongest, so
prepare yourself, my love, for we are about to embark
on a transcendent
journey through time and space.
We will always be together in both body
and spirit,” she said to me in a low voice.
“Are you sure you want to go
through with this? You must be absolutely certain.”

“Yes,” I said in a strong voice while trying
to command somewhat of an authority.

“I am going out on a limb here. If something should go wrong. . .”

“Nothing will go wrong because I have you to watch over me.”

She smiled in that sad new way and proceeded to ask me a series
of questions. How am I feeling - Is there anything troubling me, etc.
After the inquiry, she proceeded to light three medium-sized round
candles before placing them in the center of the table.

One peach - her favorite color
One green - my favorite color
One brown - Earth color - Stability

She then stressed the importance of the set and setting and how each
experience works to remodel our unique universe. She described to me
in great detail how the shadow dwellers, who live within a spiritual realm
of containment inside our inner being, help us to better understand ourselves
as we step into the labyrinth known as life. She further went on to explain
that the human mind was about to be unlocked and that on our specific
voyage into the land of the unexplainable, everything pertaining to a
person's normal lifestyle will be profoundly changed.

When you come into this life, you are introduced to the world.
Where you're going, the world will be introducing itself to you.

Real heavy stuff for a kid to process.

Harmony then told me to eat three of the six mushrooms, chewing them as
well as I could until there was nothing left. This we did together. The taste
was a cross between moldy flour that had begun to progress into poison
and unicorn excrement that was so old it had lost its scent. Okay, maybe not a
unicorn, but if I say anything else, you may think I speak from experience.

“In but a brief moment, my little prince, I shall walk with you
in the lair of the shadow dwellers, for I have found it is time.”

“What made you change your mind?”

      “My undying love for you.”

Within an hour, I began to see my own voice emanating in the rarest of beautiful
colors, while only a stair-step away stood the most exquisite, most enchanting
angel this world would ever know. The love I felt for her had far surpassed that
of infatuation and was now bordering on the point of worship.

All that which was beautiful and all that which was pure seemed
to radiate around her, turning everything into a pool of love.

The world we knew had evolved on such a level that
all things in creation were now beginning to live.

                                               The Mirror - Gingerbread man

The refrigerator was suddenly happy. The cabinet was boasting its doors and
trying earnestly to make me smile. Grass had started to grow like wildfire in the
living room, and the pied pipers down in the blue cavern were leading the band.

                                            The Attack - Colour of my mind

                            In my mind, I was no longer a boy but a man.

As I stood next to Harmony by the kitchen counter, I realized my potential
in life was limitless. I could be anything I choose to be, and am I really her
prince? Toss a coin into the air. Should it stop in mid flight, then you will
know precisely how I felt for the duration of that entire night.

Standing on the threshold of time, I would find my lover had
made me immortal.
I could do anything I wanted to do, and no
harm would
come to me. I asked Harmony about this, and she
what I was experiencing was a lot like a dream.

“Suppose you know you're in a dream and you need to wake up.
Do you throw yourself in front of a moving automobile?
Certainly not; what if you're sleepwalking?

That would be cause and effect for your downfall.

The same holds true when you walk in the land of the shadow dwellers. You
now have to be more aware of things than you would normally have to be

aware of in waking life, so no, my little prince, we have to be very careful here.”

                                       The Shady Days - That's how strong love is

                                                                             Pg 217

I wasn't worried about the material world coming alive and hurting me, for
felt very relaxed and comfortable in my new domain. Everything around me
was acting like it was my friend and accepting me for who I was. Kind of like
the way Harmony had been treating me all these years. Meaning I didn't have
to put on airs for even myself, let alone Harmony or our new found friends.

I will admit in all sincerity the illusive world in its mystique had covered me
in a brilliance no sugar coating of words would ever be able to redefine.

I knew these physical objects had the power to destroy me if they so desired,
but instead, it was almost as though they were trying to uplift my spirit by
expressing themselves to me, the only way they knew how. Not in an overtly
childish manner, like Janine at the dentist's office, who would make googly
faces with rolling eyes as she spoke. As if every child who entered the office
was mentally retarded and that profound deficiency could be tickled.

From the time I was six years old, I knew she was hitting the laughing gas.
No, she would not find me giggling at her antics.

The effect of the curious mushroom was nothing like sweet air.
It was more like a favorite toy that suddenly comes to life
and begins looking for ways of expressing itself to you.

That is the only way I can possibly explain it,
and of course, I could only sense this, however.

To me, it felt like I had just stumbled into wonderland and
would soon be meeting all the characters from the book.

Overall, there wasn't an ounce of anything bad in all the land.

In truth, I would have to say I was surrounded by a feeling of peace and well-being.

I closed my eyes and told God how thankful I was for blessing me with someone so
sweet and so kind. Most women would not have given me a second look, let alone a
chance to win their hearts, but Harmony wasn't most women.

         (((((((((((((((((((((((((((No, Harmony was special)))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Looking down at the kitchen table, I began to stare at the soft fabric placemats neatly
coordinated around a sterling silver centerpiece. From what I could gather, they seemed
to have merged into the grain itself without altering any of the unique characteristics of
either entity. If I had to theorize, I would have to say it was like two polar fields that were
working together to produce something the mind would never be able to grasp. Four
rectangular squares with infinite depth were actively dissolving into the wood like
ripples cast from within, as opposed to an external ripple.

While the fractal images began to grow in strength, on the walls and on the ceiling, strange
transparent lavender infused kaleidoscopic shapes took form. The world was alive, and it
was letting me know that I was dangerously close to the edge of my own sanity.

Indeed, we rode that cosmic wave like two silver surfers into the threshold of oblivion.

As I harkened to a sound beneath my feet, the color of the kitchen began to offset my mind.

Since it was a light pink, I kept feeling like I was inside a dollhouse. Lightning crackled in the
darkening sky producing a minimal light that made it feel like the sky was shivering. Ominous
tones of eeriness cast an unforgiving shadow on the world before the big boom could be heard.

A sound so threatening it partially cracked the main speaker located
directly above the eternal skyline. I looked up into heaven as the rain
came down in the form of a billion marbles, hammering the roof.

As the light flickered in the kitchen, the mystery of ages past would try to lure me
into the living room. I suppose it was all curiosity. There was something I needed
to see in there, but whatever it was, it was going to have to wait a bit longer.

As I viewed myself in the chair from afar, I didn’t know my neck could
be that long. Looking down at the structure of my own body, I was both
elated and confused to realize just how lifelike I was as a miniature
Stretch Armstrong. Extending my arms from side to side, I wasn’t
quite sure if they would keep going until my hands touched the wall.

This was absolutely fantastic.
Little could I have known
to what degree my DNA was being altered.

Hearing the sound of a toilet bowl flushing only seemed to amplify
the dollhouse effect. I then began to wonder a very strange thing.

If I'm in a dollhouse, and I am as big as a toy soldier, doesn't it mean that, in reality,
I am very small? Small enough to fall victim to a passing spider or carnivorous centipede?
The deplorable situation was becoming fragile.

I was sweating, or at least I thought I was sweating. Sitting there in a room
where all time had ceased. Being judged for things I hadn’t yet done while
being rewarded for simply existing in this current plain of time. . . Time. . .
I could now hear the outside world generating noise. A scraping or rustling
sound that encircled the dwelling thumped on the windows. Kids always say
that when it rains, God is crying. I guess you could say it was true.

There was nothing for me to deliberate upon.
Teardrops from heaven would continue their assault on me with persecution.

Then out of the blue, Harmony returns, only to say that she has to go into the
basement for something. She asks me if I would be okay within the confines
of the room for a brief moment and that it would only take a minute.

“You’re going down there, now?” I uttered, with
a wee bit of apprehension that was growing.

“Don’t worry, I won’t be long. Enjoy the atmosphere,” she uttered
in a facetious tone that almost caused me to do a double-take.

Ever so distantly, she smiled while gazing through the complexities of a life that
had begun to live on its own. The day had not yet been created as normal days
are, and so, I watched in animated wonder the great cosmic expanse that only
occurs when the present time is exposed to both the past and future collectively.

I was now alone, and the house was growing bigger, the rain
was falling harder, and I felt like I was beginning to get hung up.

An ominous feeling crawled up my spine, and I
knew something was about to go terribly wrong.

      The Seagulls - Don't go out into the rain (you're gonna melt)

With everything happening all at once, the whole charade was bringing
me down, and I was starting to feel most unpleasant over the estate of
the matter. Life was growing around me, and my thoughts were changing,
but for some odd reason, I was just not in the mood to be there.

I could now hear Harmony downstairs in the basement banging
things around, and to me, it sounded more like someone who
was losing their mind than it did of any rearranging of items.

Like a turbulent whirlwind, I heard a series of sudden crashes.
I stepped off my chair, and it felt like I was standing on the
ledge of a tall building, so I immediately sat back down.

I thought I heard a shrill scream, but I could not be certain of this.

All that was missing was the horror music,
and I could almost hear it playing.

As I was anxiously awaiting her return, Harmony entered, holding
her wrist. Her eyes were red and swollen and she appeared to be
spooked by something. I then asked her if she was okay.

“I'm fine,” she replied in a faraway voice. “I went to move
something and hurt my wrist.” A tear streamed from her eye
and she used the back of her hand to wipe it away.”

That didn't register right with me because it didn't equate
to the truth. I then felt an onset of panic setting in.

Why would she lie to me now? Why is she being deceitful?

“Are you sure?” I asked, but my mouth never opened.
Now I knew things were getting weird.

I could not continue in this manner without elaborating on
my thoughts. I needed to articulate my feelings to alleviate
some of the stress, which one could say had been attributed
to my newly acquired enhanced sensory perception.

Harmony then explained the situation to me
in words I could understand.

“It is not uncommon to get hung up in here or to feel like

you’re going crazy. I’ll need you to concentrate on my
voice and touch, and that is what will define you.”

After a while, I was free once more to explore the
labyrinth of time and an unbalanced fictitious world
that had rapidly begun to germinate.

To interpret and understand the mystical is, in a sense,
like popping out on the other side of a rabbit hole.

Indeed, we went on a trip without leaving the house and would go farther than the
crew of Apollo 7. Harmony was well-seasoned in the art of exploration, but I was
simply a passenger who would accompany her on the arduous mission.

It is a dangerous journey for such an unadvanced society, but that is the game
our children play, and now we are playing it too. We were no longer in our right
minds, nor were we mad. However, we have changed. Our physical bodies
were not the same, and the masks we used to communicate with one another
had somehow taken on an entirely different meaning.

Into the depths of the unknown, I fell.
My familiar surroundings; now distant.

                                                                           The Hobbits - Artificial face

                                                                                                Pg 218


For no apparent reason, I began to think of my dentist appointment last week.
Everything was still so clear and vivid in my mind, and so I brought the scene
into focus, whereby allowing the story to form in my brain. Every time I found
myself in that waiting room with my dad, Janine, the receptionist would ask
me if I was ready to go to the moon.

Yes, I’d say, but I would always regret it once the gas was turned on.

I knew what was coming, and nothing could be more horrible, I thought, than sitting
in that chair while the nitrous oxide was being administered. Being fitted with a small
black rubber nose mask prepared me for my journey. As two valves were turned
behind me, that appalling smell of burning tires poured into my nostrils, numbing my
nasal cavity. This, in turn, made my muscles lethargic and caused my spinal column
to dissolve. The only thing I could ever think of was pulling it from my face.  

Strange music funneling into my brain would slowly assemble
the pattern
to a disturbing and dreadful hallucination.

After shuffling about the room and moving the instruments of torture around in a
straightforward fashion, Dr. Lee would pause to concern himself in my affairs. With
a dead tongue from the Novocaine and what felt like an agglomeration of fossilized
stones in my mouth, I was able to utter the phrase, “I feel fine.” He would then leave
me to the quiet of my discontent. Disconnected and drifting apart from the world.

                                                            Help me!

When he left that tiny cubicle of a room, the lighted ceiling panels multiplied until the
room was enormous. The chair then raised itself up into the grandiose shadow of this
towering consternation until my face was a bar of light. It was on the third floor where
my face pressed against them and stopped. My open mouth reaching the top of the
ceiling, had nowhere else to go, and an uncomfortable pressure was now being
exerted upon it from on high.

I later surmised this was when he brought the lamp to my face and
had already begun working on my teeth long after I absconded.

The extraction of deep-rooted wisdom teeth can be a barbaric procedure.

There are presently no other life forms in this bizarre solar system, for all I have
encountered consists of foreign matter which has been displaced and dispersed
all around me, so I am only able to see and hear bits and pieces of what once was.

Soon these odd memories will be all I am comprised of. Have I been deposited
in Purgatory to be sorted through like old clothing? My mind and body had
become effete, leaving me somewhere down in the cellar of all lost thoughts.

“Have I always been here?
If I haven’t been, then how can I prove that I wasn’t?
Should I be worried now?”

So many questions fill my mind, but the answer is always the same.

“Am I dead?
Is this my new life form?

Where is Harmony, or was she only a test?

Even more perplexing, where is my dad?
Why would he leave me here in the bowels of nothingness?

God, this is so strange. Please tell me I haven’t lost them.”

                                  Elton John - The scaffold

There was a loud jamming sound followed by a dull clunk.
My vehicle of transport had gone too high, and now I believe
it is stuck. On a desolate avenue in an unfamiliar world where
humans never wander, I find myself alone, like a funhouse
ride that leaves its guest stranded in the middle of darkness,
surrounded by unequivocal treachery. 

No one can leave this place.

Suddenly, my neck was turned, and I began sinking.

“Wow,” I said to myself, “if this is the end of the line,
then I am in some serious trouble because there
is no way anyone is coming here to save me.

Where are you, dad?” I wondered.

I don't even know what planet my legs are on.
I need to get them back, so I can leave.

                                                                             Pg 219

The galaxy chair must have sensed that we were in a fixed position,
for soon, it began readjusting its hydraulics. Then this lost barber chair
sped me down a long corridor, which was now longer than a hospital
wing until my toes battered the heavy plastic doors. Judging by how
fast I was going and the amount of pressure exerted by those swinging
doors, I would have to say they were packed with sand. 

In a very eerie room, the chair runs out of propellant
where some kind of activity is taking place. 

Why can't I see anything? Why is the universe so dark?

I fear I am in the clutches of monsters.

The voices I am beginning to hear do not appear to be threatening, and
that is a good sign. Though I perceive them to be studying me with the
utmost precision, and if I am correct, they are hand sewing something in
the lateral portion of my face. I can feel the invasive protrusion of a needle
and thread being twisted and pulled in and out of my right cheek, which
now feels like an anesthetized water balloon, and I am frightened.

When Time in a bottle by Jim Croce ended, the music stopped.
My brain then created an intriguing melody.

Balls, Balls,

Beggars and Balls,

Terribly awful Beggars and Balls.

I see all the children,

they scatter and fall,

running away from Beggars and Balls.

The Muzak has returned to serenade us once more.

           It is a judgment. Not the one judgment pertinent to the afterlife,
           which is most critical, for there is no returning to make amends. It is
           a place of such desolate isolation that causes one to ponder not only
           the existence of man but the relationship between man and eternity.

As Mocedades graced the airwaves with Eres tú, I began to wonder
if Harmony, my father, and God Almighty were nothing more than an
illusion. I open my eyes to find the wayfarers are unmistakably human,
and that is a good sign, but their language is garbled, unlike mine.

Whatever the case may be, I honestly believe they are learning.
They are becoming more intelligent like us, while I unrevolve.

Yes, the perpetual void of space seemed to only exist behind closed
eyes, but as I gaze about in a profound stupor, it almost feels like I have
awoken during an operation. The term for it is called oral surgery.

                                         Mocedades - Eres tu

Without warning, this mad Asian demon dentist shocked me by
dropping a metal object of deafening proportion on the iron table.
From there, he would repeat the same verbalization and follow
the same bodily movements again and again.

The phrase was, “pass the tool.”

While I observed him ‘in never end,’ I’d have to say my
brain repeated the function about thirty times to fade out.

As I watch my dentist perform in this strange show,
someone is building towns in my mouth.

                                                  Bad Manners - I am alone

Although he was smiley and quite happy during the daylight hours, under
the artificial light, he was tricky, and I had to be careful. In that crepuscular
world, you were completely at his mercy. With X-ray vision and a tool that
whizzed by spitting air and water at me, I would slide deep down into the
depths of a murky illusion and hide from an occasional piece of flying gum.

Often it would fly out of the trench and into the world of real-time.

Where things dressed in black that have no faces slither down hallways, or the
Gaurntruffles that gather about the room. How they always seemed to move
right before the dentist could catch them in real-time remains a mystery to me.

                        I heard someone caught one last year while huffing ether.
                                            He talks to it all the time now.

I am becoming uneasy. Not only from the anesthesia but from the sight of blood
stained gloves intermingled with time. How much longer am I to endure this?
As I close my eyes once more, I can feel my dentist cranking open my wooden
mouth. Carving and scraping all the shavings of tooth, gum, and bone that feels
like hardened plastic. Stitching and snipping closed the orifice of an extraction
wound. Then he would sicken me by dropping a pound of flesh into my lap.

That is the pure helplessness of life.

Where the downtrodden sorrows fester in splendid isolation.
That preposterous darkness. That thick soppy gloom is a
lifeline to the floating head, which is now all that is left of me.

As my hands approach a near rigor mortis state, I find them to be welded
to my own chest. My own heart. “I-need to go-now. I-can't open-my-hands.
 Get me out of here,” I screamed to no one.

No one can survive in that world without guidance,
and only a fool should wish to dabble in there.

That blackened void reeks of death.

                                                                             Pg 220

One day people will look back on this moment in horror. They will
gasp at the knowledge of what man got away with, as video games
will be substituted for a barren cimmerian wasteland where we
children once played during the height of man's insanity.

But being here with Harmony, I was safe, for she had become my protector.
How could I be afraid of anything, knowing how secure I felt? Considering
I wasn't lost in terrible darkness like at the dentist’s where the mere concept
of walking while under the influence of sweet air would be considered
unfathomable. How much worse could these mushrooms really be?

The goddess standing before me who appeared to be dressed in fine webbings
was now an extension of my own self. The most beautiful part of living was being
with her. I cleaved unto Harmony as a baby would cleave unto its own mother,
and she guided me ever so gracefully through the experience. She would explain
to me everything I was feeling in the order in which they were being received,
and I would process and attempt to decipher those emotions.

In a reassuring voice, she used platitudes to reinforce her beliefs.

As she rose up from the kitchen chair and advanced down the hallway,
I trailed behind her like a servant following his divine master.

Without any question, I was her myrmidon, and she was my muse.

I soon started to feel like an animal of the jungle, reacting on instinct while
following the scent of his soon to be mate. As she opened the bathroom
door and proceeded to tinkle, she asked me how I was feeling.

“Fine,” I replied, as the incandescent glow of candles caused the
air to flicker madly. “You never looked more beautiful than you
do right now. Will you marry me?” I asked.

Her empathic eyes gleamed with love, nourishing the foundation of
my soul while churning the hallow cistern that yearned to release
the butterflies from within the boundaries of my fettered being.

                                                        Click - Girl with a mind

                                           “I wish I could, baby,” said Harmony.

                                                       Maywood - Dance with me

Her eyes effulgently radiated warmth of inner peace, yet at the same time,
I could denote an undeniable sadness in her voice. Six years was a long
time to wait for someone, and I just assumed the heavy heart meant she
would stay the course. This instructed the mask I was wearing to smile.

Harmony waited until I was distracted before pulling up her panties.

Clawing at the air produced a stair-step effect, which in turn created
a magnificent rainbow. I then signed the fading work as though I
were standing in the shadow of Picasso. When the maelstrom of
colors ebbed away into the imposing gloom, I found myself silently
gloating over our wondrous haven of timeless serenity that had
recaptured my imagination and would eventually propel us into
a perplexity of our own undoing.

“It's so amazing,” I said, “how we look with new eyes.”

It enables us to see and interpret the spiritual side of life.
Would you like to go upstairs with me?” she asked, wildly enthused.
“Yes,” I replied, without hesitation, feeling like a book
was being written about us as we were living it.

As we left the stillness of the bathroom and proceeded
through the living room, it felt like we had ascended into
heaven and would soon be walking in a lazy haze of clouds.

Wait, did the house just lift itself up into the sky,
or were
we now in a towering high-rise?

Damned if I know.

The magic of the moment defied reason, and whatever it was,
it was captured in a time frame that was purely mythical.

A land so surreal neither man nor beast
could ever hope to fully comprehend it.

Climbing the steps seemed almost magical, and I could virtually feel
a part of my own inner being spiraling out into an immeasurable sky.

As I stood at the top of that beautiful ever-ascending wooden staircase
that could almost have been an escalator to the Almighty kingdom of God
himself, I could hear my mind singing a glorious tune to a burned-out
world that appeared to be tucked away, sleeping.

                                                                      The Rolling Stones - Get off of my cloud

                                              "Hey-hey You-you Get off of my cloud."

Entering my lover's bedroom, I pause to look around.

The room was now alive with energy, and everything came into
focus so sharply and clearly. Is it my eyes that have changed to
convert to their world, or is my brain processing my thoughts
and emotions as it does in the unusual land of lucid dreams?

Strange mushrooms, they are neither vegetable nor mineral,
yet they cause the world to change.

In the most peculiar of ways, we come to the realization
that our lives are forever altered. Not only because our
environment has been compromised, causing our external
world to become grossly transfigured, but also because the
very center of our thought process has been hijacked, flooding
our comfort zone with demons on every spiritual level.

Regrettably, there is no time for me to dwell on edible fungi.
One day perhaps, I will find what kind of power lies within them.

Modestly, I advanced toward the canopy bed to find Harmony in
a seductive pose. To me, she appeared to be inspecting herself
for flaws. Believe me, when I tell you, there were none. I creep
up to her from behind and slide my hands down her waist.

From there, I started kissing her back while my fingers inched their way
up to the nape of her neck. As I begin to undress my lover, I allow the
articles of clothing to fall to the floor, where the most interesting things
were beginning to emerge. I soon become distracted and lose interest.

There is too much happening for me to concentrate solely on her.

The rug was now overrun with strange-looking idiosyncratic goblins who
appeared to be dancing in a red forest while singing and bobbling their
heads merrily. For the first time, my thoughts were diverted from Harmony.

I left her standing partially dressed by the side of the bed while I ran
my fingers through the compelling red hairs of this shaggy fabric.

“They're all over the place,” I said in a very impressionable state while
getting down on my hands and knees to observe them. Upon witnessing this,
Harmony proceeded to sit on the edge of the bed. Watching me so intently
as she continued to undo her bra, placing it down gently on the bed sheets.

She didn't exhibit signs of being disappointed in the least and was soon
down on her hands and knees as well. Harmony pointed to some while
I pointed at others, and together we came to understand the improbable
notions which equated to being completely insane.

                          The Charles Pendelton Orchestra - Dance of the Balustrades

                                                                             Pg 221



                                                          This review was posted on May/4/23




                                            This review was posted on Jun/6/23
                                                             alits29's review



                                                             This review was posted on Aug/20/23 (Morning)
                                                                                 Reviewed by rupalrao


                                                               This review was posted on Aug/17/23
                                                                         Reviewed by labia_1903





                                                         This review was posted on Sep/23/23
                                                                       Reviewed by pazkou



                                                                This review was posted on Dec/4/23
                                                                    Reviewed by sampriktaada813


                                                              This review was posted on Dec/14/23
                                                                         Reviewed by hinaspatel



                                                             This review was posted on Jan/27/24



                                                            This review was posted on Mar/12/24
                                                                          Tayyaba17's review
                                            The Embryo Man: Chapter 32.7 - The Embryo Man
                                                                 Reader's Report by Tayyaba



                                                            This review was posted on Apr/16/24
                                                              Reviewed by mariya



                            Saleha Zainab - May 25 - Chapter 32 (Pt 7)


It's an interesting chapter, with many insightful details of the protagonist's character.
However I am confused with some details, the terror, the horror about which the
narrator is talking, is it the first dreamlike situation of a boy or Harmonie's injury or
something more is coming on the way?

The boy is turning into a gentleman. The situation is quite relevant, there are many
situations that our parents find difficult to handle but from a young ones point of
those things are not meant to hinder us, they just need our genuine concerns
then the whole world seems to be rooting for us in achieving our goals.

But Mr. Charles your punishment seems nothing but just a matter of a few months
it will be sorted they will forget it and you will be released back to the normal
life. But if,
i am only imagining this thing, if this had happened in my society the
results would be
horrible. So your parents were not of that mindset,  they don't
deserve to be put on fire.

Astonishing! it's so beautiful, the way the writer creates a suspense in the story is
just wooow. At this point the reader is like, now what happened on Dark Monday.

At this point i feel like the longing for this feeling, later
when Harmony left him pushes the Charles to take drugs.

Going back and forth in the present and past made me think that the narration of
present times is possessed. It is like the writer is not the one who is writing the story
but it is the story that made the writer continue it, even if he wants to quit writing it.


                                                            This review was posted on Jun/11/24
                                                                   Reviewed by sababaloch292



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