Friday, May 06, 2005

LOST: TEL(L)? Ambergris? : FOUND

"Lost" is a story recently accepted by Jay Lake for his anthology TEL.

TEL : Stories is dedicated to the idea that there is no such thing as stylistic excess. Featuring a reprint of Greer Gilman's "Jack Daw's Pack," as well as new fiction from Forrest Aguirre, Gregory Feeley, Jeff VanderMeer and many other fine authors.

"Elegant, erudite and strange, TEL : Stories is a remarkable anthology, containing much to enchant, perplex and terrify." — Liz Williams
Wheatland Press | August, 2005
Trade Paperback | ISBN: 0975590332

"Lost" is a pseudo-Ambergris story. The kind that exists around the margins. It's been an interesting experiment for me. Here's the opening of it.



"Are you lost?" it says to me in its salt-and-pepper gravelly moan of a voice and for a long moment I can't answer. I'm thinking of how I got here and what it might mean and how to frame an answer and wondering why the answer that came to mind immediately seems caught in my throat like a physical kind of fear, and that line of thought leads to this: remembering the line of color that brought me here: the spray of emerald-velvet-burgundy-chocolate mushrooms suddenly appearing on the old stone wall where yesterday there had been nothing, and me on my way to the university to teach yet another dead-end night class, dusk coming on, but somehow the spray, splay of mushrooms spared that lack of light; something about the way the runnels and patches of exposed understone contrasted with the otherwise gray solidity that brought me out of my thoughts of debt and a problem student named Jenna, who had become my problem, really, and I just


right there.

and stared at the tracery of mushrooms, the way they formed such a uniform swoop across that pitted stone, and something about them, something about that glimmer, reminded me of my dead wife and of Jenna—the green was the same as my wife's eyes and that of Jenna's earrings, and I remembered the first time I noticed Jenna's earrings, and how it brought a deep, soundless sob rising out of my chest, my lungs, and I stood there, in front of the whole class, bent over, as if struck by something large and invisible, and how ever since I cannot tell if my fascination with her has to do with that color and my need for companionship or some essential trait in her, and how ironic, how sad, that she misunderstood my reaction and began wearing the earrings every day, until that physical pain inhabiting my body became a dullness, like the ache in an overused muscle


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