11 min read

new blue world

Chapter 16: They were strangers that I nevertheless love–a love so hard it makes my back convulse and arch as it beams from my chest into theirs. It’s the first thing each of them feels. A new feeling that’s also a memory. Could there be a more powerful sensation? It binds them to me.
new blue world

by Odious

This is Chapter 16 of King of Spain, the serialized text art that is being channeled to me by a future version of myself called HeirMax98. It's a story about four strangers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who discover that they are trapped in some sort of simulation haunted by a strange entity they call, "The Curator".

In Chapter 16 Dean describes how his time on The Grid has purified his mind and enabled him to finally become the writer he has always wanted to be--an occurrence which unfortunately doesn't come without a price.

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Paid subscribers can read Chapter 1 here and Chapter 2 here , Chapter 3 here, Chapter 4 here, Chapter 5 here, Chapter 6 here , Chapter 7 here , Chapter 8 here, Chapter 9 hereChapter 10 here , Chapter 11 here , Chapter 12, here , Chapter 13 here , Chapter 14 is here, and Chapter 15 is here.


It’s a New Earth, a holy blue world that slides into view when I wake. Everything that ever happened, everything I was going through, everything I dreamed or hoped for is just a memory–a fistful of withering fragments. During the long glacial silences that sometimes descend, when whatever we try to focus upon dissolves and our thoughts disintegrate before we can grasp them, we are pervaded by the uncanny sense that we are somehow still back there, and only here as projections, in which case I am fine to exist ashimmer. Formless and free, sparkling like morning rain. May whatever is left behind slump and fester in the Golden Ratio and emanate as a rotten smell, the source of which is searched for but never found. Let me be the cold spot in an otherwise warm room–the uncanny presence that fucks with phones and makes lights flicker. Or a frayed tangle of invisible electric urges blue-sparking the air, while my illuminated spirit flows coherently here on The Grid. To put it simply, I no longer fear this edited self because my desire has been made pure. When I woke up in the old world all I thought about were my problems; now, what matters are the people nearby. They are jewels bestowed by The Curator. It could have been anyone, it could have been no one, but for whatever reason it was these three that are here with me now. How could I not cherish them with all my heart?

I always wake up first: like a switch I go from black to trembling blue. When there were only three of us, the order of waking was me, Eden and finally Nada, so we assumed it worked according to who arrived first at The Grid, but then Casper joined us and woke up after Eden and before Nada so there went that theory. This world and its Curator teach you the benefits of being humble with what you think you know–what you think you figured out over many hours or days. It’s from that humility that comes grace, the diamond state from which anything is possible.

Watching the other three while they sleep is my favorite time of the day. I gaze upon them, struck by their familiarity. They were strangers that I nevertheless love–a love so hard it makes my back convulse and arch as it beams from my chest into theirs. It’s the first thing each of them feels. A new feeling that’s also a memory. Could there be a more powerful sensation? It binds them to me.  It doesn’t matter that they don’t have names–none of us do, not yet. Names were a custom from that faraway place, something The Curator pokes gentle fun of on the misspelled labels of the flimsy boxes of food that are here when we wake. It's his way of telling us that the world corroded by names and logic was gone, solid gone, replaced by the crystal clarity of an endless summer day in which everything is permitted.

During these early morning moments my focus inevitably turns to Eden. Unlike the other two, whose eyes moved and lips trembled from nightmare visions, her skin is smooth and still, exuding a peace that makes me jealous. Not because I want to feel it myself, but because I’m afraid she will stay wherever she is and not wake-up. I don’t know who or what she is, only that I need her. Come through, my nerves sing, come through to me and stay.

Before we remember that we are The Last we are so much more: we are curves and sunburnt skin, each of us a different tone. Flavors of arms and calves, the flourish of toes. Divine outpourings of freckles and hair. We stretch and shake our manes and sniff the air. We see with wonder as children do. We feel that we are undeniably precious, given to each other as gifts inside this floating blue cathedral. And then we realize there are faint markings written in pen on our skin, and that we know how to read them. There is language! The words form in our mouths, filled with meaning the way candy melts into stripes of flavors across the tongue.

Soon (too soon) we (re)discover the pile of pages and read through them together and start to remember. It’s hard–the others feel the raw hit of fear and pain of which I only retain vestiges. It’s like the time on the old Earth when I passed an empty, overgrown yard and saw a faded silver party streamer stuck in a tree. I paused while cars raced past on the avenue and shivered as the branches swayed and pulses of different times ran through my body. The others have yet to get to the point in which they can feel the collage of temporality that makes up this place. I lean back, imagining my black clothes are an army suit. I lead by example. For the others there are tears, stupid tears, the gnashing of teeth, etc. They drift away but I sit still.

When they are a sufficient distance from me I huddle down to write. For a long time this meant grabbing one piece of paper to work on the play and a second, secret piece to add to my own private notes. These contained things I couldn’t or wouldn’t say to the others but needed to be remembered–for their good as well as mine. 

But recently something changed: I lost track of which notes were for the play and which were from my life. This confusion opened the floodgates. The words poured out, a mix of real and fake. I knew it was wrong to keep going, to keep taking extra pages from our communal stash, but I couldn’t help it. Just a little more, I told myself each time. I’d write in a rush and then go back and cut nearly everything, so that all that remained were the words at the surface, glowing like white pebbles on a darkened path. 

On the old Earth I was often so distracted I couldn’t see. With the exception of a few fleeting glimpses during ceremony, I went around with a veil pulled over my eyes, depressed and anxious over the petty bullshit nature of my thoughts. Now, everything I look at inspires me. There’s no more static from texts and emails and news alerts. The looped video of the waterfront and its surroundings is like a theater set, upon which I can stage whatever I like. Above this, watching and waiting, is the crystal clarity of the late summer sky which overpowers and eradicates all barriers in the mind.

I call out to Maestro George in my mind. I did it. I made it. You told me it wasn’t worth it but it was. I created a new genre–a cross between a novel and an atlas. The Grid is plotted against the geological time of landscapes and oceans, in which a day unfolds over millions of years. 

The current epoch started when I found Eden. Before that was a long darkness that my thoughts were unable to penetrate, followed by the golden time when it was just the two of us. Then she left to go back home–I tried to follow but I couldn’t. How long was I out there, alone and scuttling across the shadows? How long was it before she returned? 

Then there was Nada, and the creation of the play. Which brought us Casper. The changes are coming faster now, traveling across the ocean of air. I can see the waves, far out in the distance.  And Nada can too, it’s in her eyes when she looks at me. Unfriendly eyes, the others think she is lonely but she has a plan I have yet to discern. She is playing it cool. 

In addition to her, my main concern is the dwindling supply of paper. I don’t know what I’ll do when it’s gone. The situation’s been made worse by Casper’s decision to make a copy of the notes. Even if I stop him from leaving, as I plan on doing, I won’t be able to get that paper back. It may be his notebook but they are my pages. Once I’m finished they will read and understand.

Finer and finer I go, weaving words into gold in my tower, I stomp the floor and announce, I’m here! I’m here! I’ve awakened into this day–one more time for life everlasting.

(if I stomp hard enough a hole will open up and I’ll disappear)

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