12 min read

The Hunter

Chapter 15: We live a life in his exhibit, full of props and loops. Sadly it’s easy to satisfy us. A little fear, a little discomfort have made us all too willing to sit waiting like dogs on this spot, never trying to break free.
The Hunter

by Odious Awry

This is Chapter 15 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".

Chapter 15 is a dialogue in which nada_maas2k reveals to Casper that Dean has been making moves to stop him from journeying back to The Roses, the bar back on the edge of "the real world" where he believes he will find the answers to what is happening. Casper agrees to help nada_maas2k enact a possibly dangerous plan to stop Dean and escape the endless repetition of their life by the fake river.

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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 here, Chapter 10 here , Chapter 11 here , Chapter 12, here , Chapter 13 here and Chapter 14 is here.

“Each time we read the notes–which is the first time, over and over–I’m struck anew by what you say about the couple on the blanket.”

“Right before I fell and found you all.”

“The writing is so good–I can see it so clearly: Casper watching the hot hipster baby dolls cuddle during the final moments before he went missing like the rest of us with either no one knowing we’re gone or if they do know they have no idea how to get to us. Hell, it’s probably been years, maybe even hundreds. Beyond their typical BK stylings, the couple seemed familiar to you, and you wondered if you had seen them at a film screening you’d been at earlier.”

“Wim Wenders. Until the End of the World, The Director’s Cut. I remember it was good. I had a pocket of funny powders and a cream soda bottle filled with whisky.”

“You figured out they hadn’t been in the audience, so you stared and tried to think of how you knew them before realizing they were a dream vision projected by the sci-fi tech in the film. They were the movie inside the movie.”

“At the time it freaked me out. They were like, more ideas than people. I knew it wasn’t possible but I couldn’t shake the feeling.”

“This is the thing–the key to understanding this world is to give up the expectation that things will be as they were in the world. We have to pay attention to what jumps out and catches the eye–to what changes.”

“But, Nada, nothing ever changes. It’s the same day over and over. We wake up and we’re here.”

“That’s a trick. Things are changing all the time. We’re changing, right now. And for the next few minutes there’s a window to change things even more. Which is why we have to do what I want to do right away.”

“What do you want to do?”

“First let me explain. You don’t know it fully yet–although I’m sure the idea is starting to take form in your brain–but you’re going to decide that you want to go back to that bar of yours, The Roses. And Dean will be angry about that. And Eden won’t be sure. But I’m with you, I think you should go. I feel it. This journey is important to us all. It doesn’t matter what Dean says. It’s the feeling I trust. Inside this lifeless cosmic diorama where we are fed and watched, the rules come from The Curator we can’t see and for all we know may have left. We live a life in his exhibit, full of props and loops. Sadly it’s easy to satisfy us. A little fear, a little discomfort have made us all too willing to sit waiting like dogs on this spot, never trying to break free.”

“It’s true, I was thinking about going back. Just now, in fact. How did you know that, Nada? How do you know I was thinking of going back?”

“You don’t have to do that. You don’t have to say my name all the time.”

“But everyone–all of you–told me to keep saying one another’s names.”

“Not everyone. Just Dean. And Eden listens to him. But not me. I don’t do it and never have.”

“I guess I did notice that about you. But aren’t you afraid of forgetting?”

“No. Things might float around in front of my eyes for a bit but eventually I remember. And what I don’t remember I don’t need. Just let it come–or not. Let the way you’re thinking be the way you’re thinking, even if it’s busted.”

“OK, Nada. I mean, OK.”

“You’re a hero with shades of gray. So perfect. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize that it’s you.”

“You’re the one who saved me. You all did.”

“That’s like, a matter of opinion. But fine. What I want to tell you is this: I know you want to go back because I still remember it. It used to be in the notes, but it’s not anymore because Dean took those pages out and waited until he thought we all forgot to make his next move, which happened today. He must be waking up before the rest of us, it’s the only explanation for how he can pull this shit off.”

“He wants to keep me here so bad he fucks with the notes.”

“He wants to keep us all here. Look, later tonight, just before you shut down, Eden will tell you what she tells you every night. It’s another thing that you won’t remember until later, but we don’t have time so I’m telling you now and it’s this: Eden went back once and actually made it to her apartment. It happened way back in the beginning, who knows how long ago, before you or I were here and it was just her and Dean. It’s also not in the notes, because Dean made her promise not to tell anyone.”

“What? Why?”

“I’m sure he tells himself it’s for our collective best interest.”

“So how do you know?”

“Because Eden told me as well, way back, before we had paper. She hasn’t said anything about it again, I think she forgot that she said anything. But I still remember. I scratched it on my skin.”

“Oh fuck, Nada if this is true...”

“It is true, although such distinctions are really beside the point–you should instead ask yourself, is it useful?”

“It’s useful to believe I can make it back. I’ve been thinking about it since I woke up. I feel like the answers are back there at The Roses. How dare that asshole try and keep me from trying.”

“He believes he’s saving you.”

“But Eden made it. She did, she got out somehow. Which means I can too.”

“Did she get out or did she get to another level, either way, yes, it’s meaningful.”

“Do you think I can do it?”

“Yes and more importantly I think you think so.”

“I know I have to try.”

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