Enjoy an exclusive guest post from Benjamin Blake author of “Something In The Way,” featured in our upcoming anthology ON TIME.
Time is a strange thing. It’s not linear. Nowhere close.
It can accelerate or decelerate—depending on one’s surroundings. It can stop. And start. And stop again. And each particular period of our lives has a very specific feeling or tone. You may not notice it while in its throes, but years later, when stumbling unexpectedly across a dust-coated shoebox, which, upon opening, you discover the likes of photographs you haven’t laid eyes on in years, or little keepsakes hidden safe beneath old newspaper clippings, that very specific feeling will come hurtling back at one hundred miles per hour, hitting you full force with a festering poignancy. This is time proving that it doesn’t comply to the rules that we try and set for it. And its effects can cut you to the very heart.
When chancing across these forgotten mementoes of the heart, a once-special-someone you may have only briefly thought about in years, and a once-special-someone who you may be very much out-of-love with, can burn through your veins with the same intensity as they did decades before. An old flame burst back to life—however fleeting that fire may be. That is time looping back on itself, that is time stretching near breaking point, that is time having its wicked way with you.
And it’s not just sensations of the physical that can spark this form of time travel. Smells, tastes, dreams, and especially sounds, can all cause a psychical trigger to be pulled. In my story “Something in the Way,” published in Transmundane Press’s On Time anthology, the story’s protagonist, Henry Beaufort, undergoes this form of time travel. Late one night, while working on a guitar amp in the attic, the radio plays a particular song (the namesake of the story), causing him to be instantly transported back to a completely different time and place. Though, in Henry’s case, this phenomenon goes a little beyond the psychological and into the territory of the metaphysical.
One of the main themes of the story is the nonlinear nature of time, and the utter destruction it can wreck on one’s psyche. Henry risks all on the fleeting feeling that that one particular song elicited fathoms within himself, and has little qualms about doing so. If not for that psychical phenomenon he would never have dreamed of entertaining an idea so utterly preposterous, it could never be true in the realms of the everyday. Yet still, he does more than just that.
There is no doubt that Time is a cruel mistress, and for all the tricks it plays on us, it saves the worst for last…and that is death.
Benjamin Blake is the author of the novel, The Devil’s Children, and the poetry/prose collections, Southpaw Nights, Standing on the Threshold of Madness, All the Feral Dogs of Los Angeles (with Cole Bauer), Dime Store Poetry, and the forthcoming Tenebrae in Aeternum – to be published by Hippocampus Press in 2020. He lives in a small mountainside village in Abruzzo, Italy. Find more of his work at www.benjaminblake.com.
ON TIME is coming in Summer 2020. Be sure to follow us on Amazon.