This blog was created as a tie in to my graphic novel(la) series Threshold, an ongoing project first initiated in the final year of my BFA. This series, and contextual material surrounding it, is currently forming the bulk of my MA practice. Central to the series is the city of Threshold: a topographically unstable and ever-shifting morass of in-between and tranistory spaces that silts into existence at narrative peripheries.

The intent is to create a space where the city of Threshold, and the conceptual basis behind it, can be fleshed out in greater detail than is possible in the graphic novel format, and to tie in some of the other projects involving the city that are only alluded to elsewhere.

All completed installments of the series can be viewed on this blog, while printed copies are available at http://stores.lulu.com/arcanestudios or through APE Games at http://www.ookoodook.com/.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Story Circle: Hill

From a distance the hill appears nothing more than a squat brooding hump, an ugly upthrust wrinkle. As one approaches, the hill plays queer tricks with the eyes: swelling, vast and terrible, blotting out its surroundings. Should one set foot on the hill, the climb proceeds as through a mire, each step lifting the crest further out of reach. A jagged flinty spine rupturing the wet earth awaits at the summit.

As youths we would brave the climb for clandestine rendezvous, coupling frantically in lust and terror amidst the bones of the hill. We would clutch each other in the light of the afterglow, whispering stories of the men who slept beneath the hill, until the gathering dusk drove us fleeing homeward.

One golden afternoon I attained the summit far in advance of my lover, and, restless and fearful, began to poke about amidst the jagged rocks. At the base of one such flinty protrusion, a thick mossy thatch concealed a hole gaping into the hill, a wet suppurating wound.

When the loving was done and the shadows stretched long I lingered on the hill, brushing off admonition and imploring. When at last I was alone I parted the mossy curtain and, with one hand on the rock before and above me, slid into the hole.

I could of course see nothing as I crawled along the passage that arced into the earth, the rocky seam ribwise forming its roof; walls and floor of womb-wet earth. After a time the hill-bone pulled away from my hand, and I perceived that the space opened, forming, to my blunted senses, a cavernous rift beneath the hill. As I groped forwards, my hand brushed a curious slab-like surface, with rough-hewn sides and a glassy-smooth top. As I shuffled around it, one hand tracing the irregular edge, my other hand fell against a similar formation. Running my hands over it, I found its sides to be shot through with rippling veins that radiated a most disconcerting warmth, like a living thing. Stumbling through the cavern, I encountered more of the curious formations, all suffused with disquieting heat. Clamping down on my trepidation, I placed my hands on the glassy top of one of the formations, and slid them in towards the center.

What my fingers encountered on that unearthly living rock that drew forth such a shriek from me as rang through the cavern that day, and sent me fleeing blindly to the tunnel, clawing my frantic way along it to emerge bruised and bloody from the spine of the hill under the baleful gaze of the first emerging stars, I cannot say, for there had been nothing to light the blackness of the cavern. But one thing I can say for a certainty; this thing that I have whispered in hushed tones to youths and maids whose coy glances betray their intent to use the hill as I once did; this thing that has pursued me, stealing upon me in the quiet moments between waking and sleeping; this thing that even now fills me with a sudden dread:

They are not men, those who sleep beneath the hill.

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