Charles Pendelton
      © 2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 36

             The puzzle of perception




John decided we should go into the backyard for a spell, so I sat on the bench while he
lay in his synthetic recliner. Gazing about the yard was strange, for everything around
me was now unrelated to itself, as if every object was meant to be viewed separately.


I looked up at the black-painted railing that had been set into the brick steps, which led
from the kitchen to the backyard. From there, I saw, quite naturally, the illusory image
of four fish in animated form displaying themselves to me. They then appeared to look
like Chinese scissors. The stygian rail painted a silhouette against the house, much
to the likes of a nocturnal shadow that had been burned into the air.
 

This was partially due to the configuration of the wrought iron itself, which oddly
seemed to resemble origami that had been abandoned by a child in the flower of
her youth somewhere in the latter half of the eighteenth century.




The bricks going down the steps were distorted in the sense that the top row was very
far away, as if seen through the reverse end of binoculars, while the bottom was simply
one big fat line that converged to form an elephant’s toe. Clumsy and foolish were these
bricks that seemed so content to be immersed in contrived animation.




They would go as far as to puff themselves out in disguise to look like
overstated piano keys.
The white picket fence, however, I found threatening
and
could not look at it for fear of something dreadful happening.

It felt like Halloween night with a stalker on the prowl. Having crossed an
unseen border that blurred the line between science from mythology he was
now
in the vicinity of our neighborhood lurking about. Something  got out,
I thought. Keep it under control, or panic will set in.


It was as though I had developed a keen sense of intuition,
and it was now warning me that I was in extreme danger.

For some undefinable reason, I was unable to eradicate
this omnipresent feeling of doom that had taken hold of me.
I tried to remove it from my conscious mind by playing the
‘psychology game,’ but found even that would not work.


A tiny creature hatched in my brain
and took
form through a pinhole in my awareness.




I found it very difficult to fathom that something so
innocuous as a fence had just manufactured
a killer.

Wait, he's in the house!

As I further analyzed the problem, I soon came to realize that my mind had,
in fact, turned on me. I was now an unwilling participant in a melodramatic
horror movie, and the emotions of terror I was currently experiencing were
to such a degree I felt I might soon be in need of medical assistance.

I knew it was nothing more than a simple case of mind over matter,
but I just couldn't arrest it. Most of all, I needed to remain calm and
vigilant if I was going to beat this thing.

I didn't know how the human brain operated,
but I should have. It was my only mistake.


                                                                               Pg 256
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How unnerving was this feeling that someone was behind me, and at
any given moment
I was going to get stabbed repeatedly! Then, to my
bemusement, I would spin around to find no one there.
Of course, I
knew no one was there, but I was playing the game by my own set
of rules and would continue to play until reality set in.


Is that not what I paid for?

Every time this happened, I anticipated a theater full of people on the
edge of their seats!
They were watching me from the big screen in the
sky, so I could only sense their eyes
upon me. I tried to act cool because
I knew they were watching, and that helped
a bit, but when I looked
about, it felt as though I were awaiting a massacre.


 


The last thing I needed was to come down from this trip in a state of drug-induced
terror.
Then, not only would I  have to worry about a flashback for the next seven
years,
but also the dreaded fear of it returning if I should ever become paranoid
from
smoking pot. There was no doubt about it. I had to come down from this
high
with a yearning to take it again because the alternative was madness.




I thought of a movie I saw last year and decided, since I had an audience,
to become someone else. Slowly, I began to emulate a man known as Snake
Plissken, a man incapable of fear. As I moved around the yard with a renewed
sense of confidence, I could feel the tension building. With fists clenched and
motor skills like a sensei, I was ready.




There was nothing out there as far as the eye could see,
but a schizophrenic emotion run amuck.

I was experiencing the fear as though it were relevant,
and underneath it all, I was
becoming very much concerned.

In my foolish quest to tinker with unbridled power
and use it for
my own advantage, it seems I have encountered a small glitch.


From out of nowhere, a little girl with a very
sincere voice spoke aloud in my head.


“It's only a fence” (((and)))
“Are you afraid of the big bad wolf?”

She then went on to comfort me with words such as
“Think of flowers in a field or water... Water helps.”

So sweet and kind was this child of nature who I remembered
from the
craquelure painting of my youth. There was an alarm
clock on a long
table in a room where the child was now standing,
but nothing else. The clock
seemed as though it was trying to go
off but couldn't.
I knew now that the clock was going to explode.



Wanting no harm done to the girl, I took hold of the situation and transported
her to a train leaving for an unknown destination. She waved to me with her
arm out the window, but her image was obscured by the fog. She spoke only
a few words, until I could no longer hear her voice. I was now becoming
teary-eyed as I thought of that painting, and all that was lost in time. 


                                                                               Pg 257
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In my mind, she smiled as a young girl would smile, but I could also
see
that she really didn't want to go. She had to, for the sake of all
things well. As t
he train rolled off into the distance, all that was
left behind were thick
layers of a hazy mist.

She was safe and would live her long-forgotten days in peace.

Peaceful nothingness, I thought.

I then realized, to my surprise I had taken control of the situation.
The girl who appeared to me briefly showed me that. “Thank you,”
I muttered to the rustling of tree branches as if speaking through
an opening in Heaven's gate. Perhaps, it was to somehow reach
the withered old lady
the innocent child became. How grateful
was I
to the physiological axioms which define biology?



What it all boils down to is that we are nothing more than flesh and blood
people living and toiling because someone wished to create us. I am sure
our parents were faced with many options, as were the people of society
before us. However, as we came to be, they provided love and care.



I then remembered where I saw that fence.

It was in a low-budget horror film I had seen a while back.
I tried to remember the name, but it would
not come to me.

Ever notice when the lights are adjusted in a certain way,
and the music
starts creeping in? You can
almost sense the fear while you are watching.
Even if no one is there and
nothing will ever happen. In other words,
sometimes, the anticipation is
greater than the outcome. If you can find
what's causing the fear, the fear
will go away. So long as it's only fear
and not two arms reaching out at you.


At present, there was nothing to consume me, and I was once
again relieved. The world had relaxed, and I slipped out of its grasp to
establish myself in obscurity. Where colors are dull grey, and second
chances are that perfect shade of blue an artist never seems to find.

A problem can only be solved by finding its solution, but to lose a child or
loved one, the issue may never be resolved and may drive people to commit
unspeakable acts. Those internal wounds affect the heart by shocking the
subconscious mind into believing that nothing will ever be the same again.




As for me, I no longer wished to be a participant in this life, but merely
an observer, for in my heart, I knew I would never be able to find any
resolution in that one area of my aforementioned past
.


I looked down at the weeds in the yard nearby, and it felt like I was in
Missouri. Why Missouri? I'll never know, but that's what I felt.
Never
at any time did an object
materialize in front of me, nor did anyone just
magically appear.
Only the very aspect of the environment had changed.


I was looking through eyes that weren't my own;
I was gaining a different perspective.

All things were relative in the order that they were now being processed.

I knew the consequences of my actions and the results that would follow for
any discriminating behavior on my part, whether it be lewd or mischievous,
violent or anarchic, or any other form of wrongdoing, for that matter. Wherefore,
I would expect the same from any individual under the present circumstance.

 
Be aware of your surroundings.
Know your enemies.
Raise no sword.
Observe.

These are the four basic rules of the game. Follow them, and you
should make it through the labyrinth unscathed.
Caution was the key,
and slowly, I got myself
out of a very tense and alarming situation.

                                                                               Pg 258

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Reviews for chapter 36

Ann Schloss - Drugs are so bad

Jane Mercer - As a psychology major, would you mind terribly if I picked your brain?
That was a joke, but it sounds like I want to dissect you!
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                                                      This review was posted on May/8/23
                                                               Reviewed by aamnaaaa



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                                                              This review was posted on May/10/23
                                
                                                                       kanchanninawe's review

                     The Embryo Man
and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 36 - The Puzzle of Perception



                                                                  Reader's Report by kanchan

KN


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                                                             This review was posted on May/16/23                                                                   
                                                                     Reviewed by yashodha_95

yd

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                                 This review was posted on May/26/23

                                          iqrabashir871 's review
           
The Embryo Man and Other Tales of Woe: Chapter 36 - The Puzzle of Perception

                                       Reader's Report by Iqra

IB


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                                                            This review was posted on May/28/23
                                                                          Hajranoor's review

hn


iii
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                                                          This review was posted on Jul/11/23


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                                                               This review was posted on Jul/22/23
                                                                            Reviewed by tawhida

tw


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                                            This review was posted on Aug/20/23
                                                             alits29's review

AI


i
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                                                               This review was posted on Sep/21/23
                                                                         Reviewed by labia_1903

LB

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                                                              This review was posted on Oct/1/23
                                                                      Reviewed by suma303755

SM


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                                                          This review was posted on Dec/5/23
                                                                       Reviewed by pazkou


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                                                               This review was posted on Feb/5/24             
                                                                         Reviewed by hinaspatel

HP

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                                                              This review was posted on Mar/22/24
                                                                    Reviewed by sampriktaada813

SP


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                                                           This review was posted on May/1/23
LL

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                                                            This review was posted on May/17/23
                                                              Reviewed by mariya

MR


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                                                            This review was posted on Jun/8/24
                                                                         Tayyaba17's review
                                         The Embryo Man: Chapter 36 - The Puzzle of Perception
                                                                  Reader's Report by Tayyaba

TY


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                                                            This review was posted on Jul/3/24
                                                                  Reviewed by sababaloch292

SB



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