Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Liar's Lobe (An excerpt)

Posted by A Great Liar

The first time Danny went to the liar’s lobe was when he was five. That’s when he had his first real visit to that place, standing at the edge of the pond with the cool heavenly breeze against his cheek. Peering down against the surface of the pond, both amazed and a bit scared, because he has never seen anything like that before ever in his life.
But above all, he was relieved to be here. He had started to feel strangled, the despair rising inside of him, while watching his parents have another fight on the dinner table, all that yelling and shouting. With mother cursing Dad, calling him names, especially the ones that always started with God, God this or God that. Though young as he was, Danny was already getting to grasp the scope to which this God thing could be used by adults in their daily life. He could understand that God was a major part of an adult’s vocabulary in their everyday life, and Danny was sure that it wasn’t a mere coincidence that it would always come out especially when people were angry or sad or in some kind of trouble.
Was it because everybody who ever went there was in some kind of a trouble. Danny wondered. In Danny’s brief experience of this world, most people were always in some kind of trouble or another. At least Father Callahan always maintained that they were. He always reminded him of his mother whenever Danny saw him talking in the church. Shouting, cursing in sheer excitement, speaking of things, bad things that are coming your way.
But of course, Father Callahan never offered the solution to the dark future awaiting mankind, and that was just as well. Because it’s been more than a year since Danny first heard him speak, and nothing even remotely that bad had fallen to either his parents or to anyone else in the town.
One year is a helluva time, Danny was old enough to understand.
But apparently mother didn’t understand. She sat in one of the long line of benches, nodding her head vigorously while the tall dark figure of Father Callahan spoke of great mysteries about to be unraveled. Her constant agreement to the ramblings of that crazy old man had what irked Danny the most. Wasting her life in a self conceived entrapment, a web of fear around her woven on grounds that were most absurd if you come to think of it real hard.
And Danny was worried.
One night, on a dinner table, he couldn’t resist and eventually had to bring it to her.
Danny asked her if she knew that how Father Callahan was crazy. The question, coming out of her only son who has not even reached ten yet, startled her.
From across the table, she gave Danny a curious look and asked. “Now why would you say something like that, Danny”.
Danny could sense her eyes piercing into him; they were full of surprise and something else. Something that Danny at first took as curiosity, but figured that it was something different, something a lot livelier, and almost malign.
It was alarm. That’s what remained veiled beyond her deep gray eyes, a sense of alarm that had suddenly become alive by the most unexpected question brought to her disposal by her son. To Danny, it didn’t look pleasant.
And Danny knew that mother will not believe him, having just experienced that magical moment of understanding, instantaneous and so clear, crystal clear. Just as that he knew everything there was to come. Darkness. All that darkness inside of mother now waiting to come out, now that it has found its prey, lurking in wait for an unbeliever to pounce at, to show him the way of the God.
The way of Father Callahan.
Now was that where the darkness was coming from, all that darkness that Father Callahan spoke of. It was from the inside of his mother. No wonder she believed him as well as she did.
He spoke. “It’s just those things he speaks, the kind of stuff he talks about”.
Mother persisted, as Danny had anticipated. “What do you mean by stuff, son. Father Callahan speaks the word of our Good Lord and the Bible. It’s called preachin’, not speaking, boy”.
“It’s all so disturbing, don’t you think. The kind of stuff he sa… preaches that is”.
Mother replied, her voice already growing sterner. “But that stuff, that stuff is from the Bible, Danny. What is it about it that you find so disturbing”?
Danny said. “It’s the things that he speaks of, things about death and destruction. The kind of things that are going to happen in the future, mom. He keeps saying them and they keep not happenin’.”
“But they will happen, son.” Mother replied. “One day, these things will happen, as Good Lord has promised us. Father Callahan only speaks of our Lord’s promise to us. It’s necessary that we shall be prepared.”
Danny asked. “How do you prepare against the mighty angels blowing the whole planet to hell, with massive earth quakes, storms and famines.”
Mother said. “By believing in them, son. And in Jesus our savior. It’s called having faith. You shall have faith, son, and you shall be saved.”
The idea of being saved by something as paltry as faith seemed a tricky proposition to Danny, it all seemed a little too easy, easy to believe that believing alone will save you. Something was missing, though he didn’t say so. Mother, like God, had limits, and he dare not test her tolerance.
Instead, he said something a lot worse. “But why would Good Lord promise us death and destruction if He is as good as you believe Him to be.”
Mother exclaimed. “Shut your dirty little mouth, Danny. Don’t speak of these things in that manner if you don’t understand what’s going on. You don’t understand nothin’. It’s the Devil whispering all that filth inside of you, and that’s what’s comin’ out of your little pie hole now, nothing but Devil’s filth.”
And that was the end of that, and later that night, father visited him in his room and told him that he was too young to understand. He must not mind too much what mother had said, because she was a fine woman, if only a little too much in love with our Good Lord.
“She loves the word of God more than anyone I have ever seen, that woman”. His father exclaimed. “And what she does is in the best interest of us all, which also includes you. Because she loves you, loves us, and would go to any length to save us, son. You ought to respect her and bear no ill will towards her, because she only means well. And because you are too young to know what’s going on, son.” 
Danny simply nodded his head and said nothing to his father. Though deep inside, he knew what was exactly going on. His parents perpetually afraid of the great darkness about to come, driving them on the edge of madness that was both quiet and destructive, eating them from the inside. Holding onto thin air for crutches that wouldn’t save them, because there was nothing left to save. How do you save someone who is as willfully mad as his parents, especially his mother.
That night he didn’t go to sleep, he stayed up late and believed, till he entered the place he cherished for many years to come, deep within the liar’s lobe.


Inside the liar’s lobe, it was a middle of the night, and the crimson moon shone in all its glory, its orange flare setting all things aglow in Danny’s surrounding, keeping the darkness of the night at bay.
It was a powerful vision, and Danny was awestruck by it. Looking back, he could see the town he had left behind, quietly settling down as night grew deeper, with people slowing disappearing off the street, off to their homes looking for seclusion from the harrows of the night. The darkness made them uncomfortable, brought out unnamable array of emotions the simple folks of Derry could only secretly acknowledge, but failed to face up to, or talk about openly. They merely went on to do what every normal man does when faced up with something he did not understand, or see, is to scurry into their hide outs, looking for light and for familiar faces of their wives and children. A simple remedy that has always worked for centuries after centuries. Helping their minds to wander, to forget whatever that lay in the dark for them, the things that came down onto the very streets the people inhabited, intruding and intervening in their comfort zones with their harsh ghostly presence.
Danny could see it all as a blur, as if through a thick glassy wall, with thin layer of water streaming down from the top. It looked magical though Danny was sure it wasn’t real. The barrier was merely his mind’s interpretation of whatever it was that separated the unseen dimensions in this world.
Danny has always believed in the worlds within worlds, just he believed in the Liar’s Lobe; the brain within a brain. And he has made a major leap, a significant slip into the other world that would change everything for him in the days to come.
But from the day he first entered the liar’s lobe, he felt right at home. Probably because he had always dreamed of places like that, places where darkness never made it home, not even as a mere rumor, where all was light, and even in midnight, there was nothing to be afraid of.
Danny saw the pool and the deep forest across it, he bent low to touch the grass, which seemed to grow curiously thin and long, and found they were soft to the touch, like velvet. It didn’t even look like the grass Danny had grown accustomed to, a sea of blazing blue narrow heads stirring in the pleasant wind, in unison almost.    
The grass looked blue, deep thick mesh of blue that shone beautiful against the orange flare of the moon reflecting off them. And the pool, the water, looked like a painted veil set horizontally across the barren patch, as the pond’s surface looked like a colorless crust of ice that was neither frozen nor melted, enamored with tiny dots that looked like tiny pebbles dancing on top of it. The pebbles looked white and remained floating above the surface, thousand tiny dabs shining like crystal dots.
Danny crouched down, onto his haunches, his knees feeling the cold touch of the grass against his skin, beneath the stripped pajamas he wore. He stared down at the pool’s surface and saw nothing but colorless sheen of the surface meeting his glare, blankly, and with one outstretched hand, he dipped his forefinger in the surface, feeling nervous but compelled, penetrating the magnificent surface of the carpeted visual and felt the thickness of the surface slowly enveloping his finger. He continued to bring his hand downward till the whole of his hand up to the wrist disappeared inside the pool and felt the strange sensation against his skin, almost ticklish. The water had a thick, jellylike feel about it, like a well garnered shake.
He fetched his hand back, and realized it wasn’t wet. Not a sprinkle of water like fluid on it.
It was as if the pool wasn’t even real.
But, Danny decided, real or not, it worked.
It worked against the stuff of mortals that Danny had enough of. The stuff of mother and her blind pursuits. What did she know? What did she care about but an angry old man clad in cassock squinting on the altar, with an eye sight that wasn’t improving with each day. Old as he was, Danny was sure that man couldn’t tell a boulder from a rock, let alone heaven and hell.
Yes, where was the sense in that. Danny wondered.

And where was Father in all that. He wondered. A hard working man who had sold his soul to the evil of manly labors, yet another anonymous soul cursed with an occupation of feeding his family, doing something that God alone was responsible for doing. If there was a grain of truth in the ramblings of his mother. Danny could recognize the streak of hypocrisy beneath the facade.  
For people like his father always ended up having the worst of everything, even in their own homes, where there is a corner in each house reserved for men like him, and it’s a lonely one. Danny called it the waiting place for working men, little factory men like his father, spent in solitude, surrounded by shadows they called family.  A waiting place till they are ready to be passed on.
Like most men of his kind who made a living working in factories, his father was too busy licking his own wounds. And as far as Danny could foresee, nothing would change that in the days to come. Mother was a succubus he had fallen in love with. And he would probably never stop holding on to her, not in this lifetime anyway. In a way, she was his Father Callahan, the one he could hold on to and believe.
Leaving Danny all alone in this fight.  

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