All Posts, Student Readers

Chandler Allen

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Chandler Allen is a senior English/Writing major at Loyola. He read original fiction at our first reading on September 1st. Here is an excerpt from the piece he read, “Blue Road to Houses:

“I had my first séance two nights ago. To be honest it wasn’t a true-blue séance, no phantasms were summoned. The procedure was completely different, involving less spiritual contact and more weed.

I was inside an abandoned white barn perched in the middle of a green-tipped field that rolled forth endlessly in all directions. As the sun dipped under the horizon some twilight leaked through the barn windows and coated the straw-covered ground in a soft golden aura.

I was in the hinterlands of Asheville, North Carolina visiting my friend Faye. She was in her final year of school at Warren Wilson. Faye introduced me to Kyle upon my arrivial. Kyle was her new boyfriend who rode mountain bikes and made electronic music. I was indifferent to him; Faye’s boyfriends never had the tendency to last long.

After the séance we climbed the ladder hanging off the west wall of the barn. The climb was treacherous. The ladder had shaky footholds and hidden splinters lurking about its frame. A single lamp that hung from the ceiling provided the only source of light. As soon as Faye yanked its beaded chain the whole second story was smothered in black. I tiptoed around the bales of hay and made my way to the top of the pyramid of straw where Kyle and Faye were laying side-by-side, murmuring secrets to one other.

The hash clouded my mind. I swore I was inside the belly of some primordial whale navigating its way through the dark catacombs of some distant ocean floor. As we, it’s hapless passengers, could only stare up in awe at the innards of the leviathan that carried us through time and space. The light coming through the windows was a deep blue now, the kind a sailor might see from a submarine’s porthole. I was in a splintered state—each region of my body immersed in a different sensation—my mind working hard to fight off that causeless apprehension; trying to summon a courage that was distant, as though it belonged to a past life.

“Can you imagine this place one hundred years ago?” Faye said, “All of those people living and working in this barn, not complaining, doing what they were told? Happy with what they had?” Faye’s voice was a whisper, as if she sought to preserve the delicate silence that filled the room.

She painted a dream for Kyle and I. She talked of the world those workers lived in, carting barrels of straw to and fro into big primitive trucks that whisked their labors off to some faraway farm. I sank deep into my bale of straw, forgetting myself, forgetting my fears, remembering people who aren’t alive now; who may not have existed at all.”

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