Foreward by Joe: Things are going to get weird.
Weird fiction is a thing that crosses the spaces of the writing mind in strange ways. It’s not science fiction but it contains certain elements that firmly fall in the genre. It’s not fantasy but it’s also not anything but fantasy. It’s a contradiction of things and it’s a little off-kilter. It makes the reader slightly uncomfortable and it drives them forward. Benjamin Beardsley creates weird fiction.
In his world, there are many possibilities. He traverses a multiverse of ideas and puts them into an almost stream of consciousness type of work. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll break many of your alternate selves as you ingest a stream of satisfying madness. Enjoy!
★ Joe Forrest
The Eschaton: Fragmentation
by Benjamin Beardsley
In the dream, there is a crystal globe containing all possible universes, forged in the hermetic vacuum of the alchemist’s retort.
It’s slipping from his fingers and it’s falling to the cold stone floor where it shatters into a myriad of shards which shimmer like quicksilver, dissolve and fade into dullness.
Simon slogs his way back to consciousness, wondering if he had just been in a trance.
He becomes conscious of the comforting weight of his trench coat wrapped around him, the firm, smooth surface of the sofa supporting him. He is aware that he isn’t alone here. The doctor, Dr. John, is sitting casually in his leather armchair, at an angle from the sofa, so that he is just outside Simon’s natural sight line.
The high ceiling comes into focus and seems to glow gold. Simon realizes he’s wearing his yellow sunglasses and trilby and wonders if that’s a clue.
Without looking up from his iPad Doctor John states, rather than asks, “You know what I think.”
Simon responds, thick-tongued,”Paranoid delusions.” It’s also not a question.
The doctor is flipping through the picture of food porn on his iPad. “Obviously,” he says.
Simon can tell, from unconscious cues like breathing patterns, rhythms of speech, the rate of swallowing, etc., more or less exactly what Dr. John is looking at.
Simon nearly smiles but lacks the enthusiasm it would take to move his mouth muscles.
The doctor absently says, “So obviously my next move is to-”
Simon, looking through the ceiling at the sky says, finishes the sentence for him. “- to challenge the logic of my assertion that I not only could be but in fact am the primary cause of the Apocalypse, which is clearly unfolding around us right now.”
“Uh huh. Obviously. You’re too clever to fall for that, though, having already thoroughly examined your logic and-”
“- finding zero flaws in my reasoning. Yes.”
” Mmmhmm. Of course, if I prescribe antipsychotics there’s no way-”
“- that you can be sure, I’ll take ’em. Yeah, yeah. That’s right.”
Simon senses the doctor look at him for the first time since he became conscious.
“So I don’t really see what there is-”
“- to be done here. I hear you, doc. Listen. I just need you to listen. Hear me out. Hear my confession. I don’t need fixing, and dear gods know I don’t need any damned well-intentioned advice. I just need someone disinterested to hear this story, before it’s too late.”
Simon feels the doctor pointedly arch his eyebrow before tapping some notes into his tablet.
“Oh. Ohhh. No. I’m not suicidal. Exactly. I mean, not exactly. I’ve tried that before. It doesn’t work.”
Mephistopheles leans over the arm of the sofa and whispers in Simon’s ear, “How long do you think he’ll be able to stay disinterested, do you think?”
Simon, subtly but vehemently, whispers out of the side of his mouth, “Fuck off! What are you trying to do? Get me committed?”
The doctor looks up from the iPad again.
“Beg your pardon?”
“I didn’t catch that last part.”
“Oh. Oh yeah. What did I say? Something like ‘regarding change, I’m committed?’ It wasn’t conscious if that matters.”
“Oh. Ok. Hm,” he says, and types another note. “Same time next week?”
“Gods willing. Thanks, doc! You’re truly doing the world a mitzvah.”
“Uh. Ok. Good. Thanks. Next week then. And please call me if you start to black out. I really would like to see you keeping up those meds too you know. If you really want me to hear you out, you’re gonna have to do this for me.”
“Sure thing Doc. Thanks.”
This is just a taste of what is to come from Mr. Beardsley. He’ll be back soon with our first series here at joeforrest.com. Don’t forget to sign up below so you don’t miss any of the totally free fiction you are about to receive.
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