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710 pages, Paperback
First published May 7, 2000
Again that faint growl returns, rolling through the darkness like thunder.
Navidson quickly does an about face and returns to the doorway. Only now he discovers that the penny he left behind, which should have been at least a hundred feet further, lies directly before him. Even stranger, the doorway is no longer the doorway but the arch he had been looking for all along.
Unfortunately as he steps through it, he immediately sees how drastically everything has changed. The corridor is now much narrower and ends very quickly in a T. He has no idea which way to go, and when a third growl ripples through that place, this time significantly louder, Navidson panics and starts to run.
Aside from recurrence, revision, and commensurate symbolic reference, echoes also reveal emptiness. Since objects always muffle or impede acoustic reflection, only empty places can create echoes of lasting clarity.
...Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you'll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by. You'll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all of your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And then for better or worse you'll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you've got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name.
And then the nightmares will begin.
October 31, 1998
...Be sure I looked up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipped me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain...
-Porphyria’s Lover by Robert Browning