The Knife Falls
There is a park somewhere, with swings and a slide. It is much the same as every other park. It is only differentiated by the children who play there, the toddlers that are pushed there in prams, the teenagers who try their first cigarettes there. Night descends, and from one point of view something is lost in the park. From another point of view, something in the park takes its place where it has always belonged.
A boy of about twelve is playing in the park. He is shuffling through the long grass at the borders, looking for interesting things. Recently, he has found several golf balls, magazines that his parents would not approve of and a dead hedgehog. The hedgehog had been used as a football, or possibly a golf ball to replace the ones lost in the long grass. The sky is the colour of peach-and-barley, and the boy is thinking of going home when he finds something Special in the long grass. He is too scared to pick it up, despite the way it glitters at him and makes him crouch down to see it better. He goes home instead, and that night he cannot sleep because his dreams are so huge and weird-angled.
The next day the boy does not go to school, even though he enjoys it and today he has History, which is his favourite lesson. Instead he walks to the park on feet that dont seem to be his own. He can remember exactly which patch of grass in the huge field he has to visit. The Special Thing is still there. It is a knife, lying amongst the blades. The boy knows that it is infinitely different from the penknife he stole from his fathers toolbox. It is not driven, point-down into the earth, nor does it protrude from a sacred stone; nothing nearly so glamorous. It simply lies there, in the grass. Its handle is plain black and made of something like wood or warm bone. The blade is straight. It looks like stainless steel, but it glitters as though it has been dipped into a star. It fits the boys hand perfectly. The boy has small hands for his age.
The boy marvels at the knife he has found, absorbed by the pure, disinterested sharpness of it. It barely weighs anything, and once he has it in his hand, the boy does not hesitate in testing its edge. It seems the blade can cut through anything. He tries grass, twigs, an old iron bolt, a ladybird: they are all ruined with equal disdain. He carves his name into a brick wall more easily than writing it with a pencil. He spends all day in the park wielding the knife. The knife ceases to be lost and becomes the boys possession, as quietly as the sky turning from blue to peach-and-barley.
The boy realises that the only thing he has yet to run that raw, glistening edge against is skin, his own skin. The boy smiles a smile to break the hearts of angels.
The knife could be considered a door, and therefore blood is the key. Of course, all elements of the universe can be considered doors, and each door is unlocked (the ones that can be unlocked by humans, anyway) by one of the four sacramental fluids: blood, sweat, tears, and the other.
Seven drops of blood stain the grass beneath the peach-and-barley sky. The boy has gone, although gone may not be precisely correct. His parents believe he never existed.
The boy is still a boy, but something else too. His youth protects him. The boy-parts lack of experience means that there are too few cracks of psyche and bulges of ego in his mind for certain suggestions to find a firm hold. Things cannot crawl through. The knife never once leaves the boys hand. He is in a new place, one which he once saw in dreams that were huge and weird-angled. He explores: he is, after all, a boy of about twelve.
The boy comes across a huge black cube, a thousand cubits across, but it is not correct. The boy sees that one edge is too long, fractionally, and that another edge curves almost imperceptibly downwards. He brandishes the knife and carves the cube into proportion, until it is perfect. The boy smiles, having realised his function. The boy continues to explore. He encounters many edifices. There are many that are plain, almost-geometric shapes. There are several houses where there stairs lead to somewhere that is not the upstairs of the same house. There is a hospital with only one room, which is named MORGUE. There are places that should never be, and whose angles and faintly warping edges would strike an observer blind, or worse. There are places that will be happy, and there are places that will be sad, and there are places that cannot be saved. He comes across a house which is a labyrinth, a house which is entirely symmetrical. He is inside the house so long that when he finally finds his way out, he has forgotten that an outside even existed. His knife never grows dull. He finds more places, more buildings and follies and aberrations. The boy does his best to make them right, and he proves exceptional at this task.
Time passes in some places, although not where the boy is. He comes across a park, with swings and a slide. It is very familiar to him. In this park, however, the shadows of the swings lay on the dry earth in such a way that they spell out a certain forbidden word of great power. It is a word that, if read, would release a particular entity with catastrophic results. The boy alters the ground with his knife to prevent such a thing.
The park becomes his park. The boy can see that the brick wall still has his name carved into it. He walks around the park and stops at the spot where he drew blood. The boys blood has long since washed away.
The boy looks down at his knife. He knows. He is being offered release. His circle is finished, his existence is now, finally, a closed loop. With no hesitation, he runs the blade across his throat. A door is unlocked. The boy steps through and the world closes around him.
The knife falls. The blade severs every tenuous layer in its path. It lands in the grass.
A boy of about twelve is playing in the park. He is shuffling through the long grass at the borders, looking for interesting things. Recently, he has found a Zippo with a Playboy Bunny on the side, a love-note on which the ink has half-fled and a plastic bracelet. The sky is the colour of peach-and-barley, and the boy is thinking of going home when he finds something Special in the long grass.