Free Fiction: “Le Ciél Ouvert” by Kirsten Brown

I always have to stop and look at the sky over the University, at the lenticular shape torn in reality that hangs above it, pulsing black and empty over silent causeways and high over Administration, First and Second Science, and the Art Wing donated sometime in the past century by the Pickman family. Over trees that never infloresce or sprout leaves anymore, lawns that remain grey and tangled and desolate. The whole area is like this, most of Arkham proper and Innsmouth are walled off and patrolled by the military. Even some of the surrounding rural areas have been evacuated. Arkham itself has been a ghost town for the five years since the accident in the basement labs, that I was once supposed to be a part of.

There is an eclipse every day, here, when the sun passes behind this rip, and night falls for a brief time, fifteen, twenty minutes at most. We have not so far been able to record what happens in this shade; sending a person failed spectacularly the last time, and it seems that even electronic equipment can’t really handle it.

I try to be back at the van when this happens, a brief respite from the containment suit and the proximity display, my load of sensory and recording equipment. There’s time for lunch, maybe, and some nervous joking with the military guys who drive the truck full of expensive equipment there and back to a safe distance. I know that my presence makes them a little uneasy, especially after the first attempt to ask me out, when I told Dennis or Daniel or whoever-politely, mind you-that I wasn’t interested in men. They also don’t know what to make of me because I initially volunteered for this though I am getting quite a bit of hazard pay.

I don’t talk to them too often. Just enough to not make it worse for everyone.

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“This Book and I Could Be Friends” reviews Cthulhurotica

The opening piece, Gabrielle Harbowy’s “Descent of the Wayward Sister,” does a great job setting the tone for the rest, turning Lovecraft on his head by centering on a bold female character who greets the monstrous with open arms (literally). An unapologetic thief and prostitute, she’s a rule-breaker on the margins of Victorian society already, as opposed to some stuffy New England aristocrat. Don Pizarro’s “The C-Word,” on the other hand, is a quiet modern tale of two lovers, a young man and a woman seventeen years his senior. Except she lives in Innsmouth, which adds another layer to the issues of aging and physical change that have caused her to push him away.

Plus the reviewer gives “thumbs up” to the idea of Cthulhurotica 2!

Read more at This Book and I Could Be Friends

Interview: Kirsten Brown

Name: Kirsten Brown

Author of: “Le Ciél Ouvert”

Artist of: The Brides of Tintalos

Age: 29

Geographic Location: Atlanta, GA.

Original Hometown, if different: Philadelphia, PA.

Twitter: @unknownbinaries

Past publications: Essays in ‘Women’s Voices in Magic’, Immanion Press, and ‘Lilith, Queen of the Desert’, Knickerbocker Press.

What’s your favorite H.P. Lovecraft story or other Mythos story?: In The Mountains of Madness, though I am far more of a fan of works in the vein of, than the writing of the man himself.

What comes to mind when you think “Lovecraft” + “Erotica”? Tentacle porn, because part of me is forever fifteen and prurient. Also, courting the Jungian Shadow and the unknown. Transformation.

How did you hear about Cthulhurotica? Twitter, gods help me. It’s a terrible, terrible addiction. Or a support group for the self-employed and creative, depending on when you get me.

What inspired your story? I tried to write something that went with the art I also have in there, but it took its own direction. And something in me has always had a bit of a thing for the trickster and shapeshifter that is the Crawling Chaos.

What music or movies helped you to write this story? No movies, really. I don’t sit down at home and watch DVDs often. Music, though…Lots of experimental noise and dark ambient stuff; 15 Degrees Below Zero, Navicon Torture Technology, Wäldchengarten, Derek C.F. Pegritz as Nyarlathotep. Also, lots of Ego Likeness, a gothy-industrial outfit who will get my ass moving on just about any task at hand.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? It’s hard to gauge. I don’t rewrite from whole cloth often. I excise chunks, replace them, shuffle things around, sometimes endlessly.

What is your favorite bit?

“…there is a sense of surface tension to it, like the darkness, the nothing in it is pressing on the sky and threatening to rupture. I am transfixed, breathless, I am a needle seeking a very strange compass, a crystal glass resonant to this, and I have no idea how long I stand there.”