2b. I do not reveal this to my instructors.
3a1b. Who would I ask?
5a3b. The only variation shall come with the habitation of the rooms, the difference in bodies, what the patients themselves bring to them, how they in a sense “furnish” them.
5a3c. We will provide each room with the same bed and the same box. When the patient is either cured and leaves or dies and leaves, all that will remain will be the bed and the box.
5a4b. Even if the small rooms are equally small and the large equally large.
5a4c. Even if the chapel in the center is just as you imagined it in your head, back when you were a god.
5a6. You build what you think is a hospital.
5a6b. It serves as such for a number of years.
5a8. You forget about it.
5a8b. It was, after all, an early project. A young man’s design.
5a10. It is no longer, you can see, a hospital. No.
5a11. It is a prison.
5a11a2. Because when you conceive of a building to provide succor to the sick, how can you bear for it to be transformed into a center for incarceration?
5a11a2b. The rooms all fitted with heavy iron doors.
5a11a2c. The beds all gone, replaced by cheap cots.
5a11a2d. The boxes all gone, replaced by an agitation of empty air.
5a11c. He could, he was sorry to say, do nothing for me. This was, properly, a matter to be referred back once again to the city planner.
5a11c2. I had, indeed, gone even farther: the mayor had, I discovered, profited enormously by retrofitting the facility.
6a1b. Instead of a prison that used to be a hospital.
6b2. Focus on the words, what they convey. What they make you see.
6b3. A bed, a box on it, its lid shorn off.
6d. Even from above I can see the inside of the box.
7a2. In darkness.
7a3. Without human contact.
7d. Here, I can envision things as they were. Or envision them as something else, something better. A palace, say. I can dismantle the prison around me.
7d2. Prisoners, too, can be made to dissolve. Slowly they sink into the floor and are gone.
7d3. Then it is a hospital again.
7d4. And when that is not enough, I envision a palace, as instructed.
7d4c. I see no one. I hear no one. How am I receiving instruction?
7d4d. Some things are better left unexamined.
8b. Hallways radiating like the spokes of a wheel.
8c. Royal chambers at the center.
8d. And in the heart of them, at dead center, a chapel.
9b. You have come here to find god.
9b2. You have found me.
9b2b. I can see nothing.
9b2c. I have to imagine everything.
9b2d. Even you.
For more information about this piece, see this issue's legend.
Brian Evenson has published more than a dozen books of fiction, most recently A Collapse of Horses and The Warren. He has received three O. Henry Awards, an NEA Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for an Edgar Award. He lives in Valencia, California and teaches at CalArts.
Granite Mountain Records Vault
Fearful that earthquake, fire, flood, or nuclear attack would wipe out millions of genealogical records, the Mormon Church drilled a vault deep into Granite Mountain so that, even if humans were all wiped out, there would still be a record that we had once been there. Now, with computer storage vastly increased and all these records able to be kept on a single computer, or multiple copies on several computers. And yet they keep adding records to it: paper, microfilm, microfiche, all patiently awaiting the end of the world.