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Old 06-17-2008   #11
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

I apologize, friend, for confusing the title of your thingie; but a Weirdmonger story is capable of disorientating even an expert "reaper of wordage"!

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 06-17-2008   #12
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

What she probably said was watch your head, because the first thing I did when I walked through her door was wrap myself in a thousand-stringed spiderweb, which gave me a minor heart attack. It turned out to be puppet strings, or should I say one of the puppets' strings, because they were hanging all around the room in elaborately different macabre poses that reminded me of a number of dreams I'd had.

"Just please don't call them puppets. They're all marionettes. What kind of tea would you like, apple or camomile?"

-- Jonathan Carroll, The Land of Laughs

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz

Last edited by BleakИ 06-17-2008 at 07:11 AM..
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Old 06-17-2008   #13
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

Hangman: Now, Mister Punch, you are to be hung by the neck until you are dead-dead-dead!

Mr. Punch: What, am I to die three times?

-- from The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 06-17-2008   #14
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

When a puppet calls out another's name it points at the skies with its hand.

-- A. C. Scott, The Puppet Theatre of Japan

This passage is haunting me: I can see billions of puppets up there in the eternal silence of infinite space. For aeons they have been waiting patiently... but now the opportunity is at hand, and they are flying: "O my poppets, let us plunder this dying planet, let us repopulate this plundered world. O puppet master..."

When a puppet calls out another's name it points at the skies with its hand!

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz

Last edited by BleakИ 06-17-2008 at 09:29 AM.. Reason: Obviously I am drunk.
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Old 06-17-2008   #15
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

A great master does not move his puppet if there is no reason to do so.

-- A. C. Scott, The Puppet Theatre of Japan

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 06-17-2008   #16
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

It is bad for a puppet to stand idle after speaking, but it is worse for it to move unnaturally.

-- A. C. Scott, The Puppet Theatre of Japan

(This is quickly becoming my favourite book.)

"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 06-17-2008   #17
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

"The day was in late September, and the town had closed the resorts where mad frivolity ruled empty, fear- haunted lives, and where raddled puppets performed their summer antics. The puppets were cast aside, smeared with the painted smiles and frowns they had last assumed, and there were not a hundred people left in the town. Again the gaudy, stucco-fronted buildings lining the shore were permitted to crumble undisturbed in the wind."
-- The Night Ocean HP Lovecraft and HR Barlow

Btw, this is one of the most Ligottian stories by HPL I've read so far. It is also, I think, the only story by the gentleman from Providence in which the author employed (albeit very briskly) the theme of puppets in such a Ligottian manner.
A very nice study of the horror of loneliness. It almost reads like a long prose poem.

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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Old 06-17-2008   #18
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

In the Temple of the Doll
By
Arthur Cullipher


It was the distant glow of a soft green light, constant, different than the swarming fireflies, that guided us through sleep, into the blackness and the brush. The light divided as we approached it, splitting with darkness, becoming two small display windows of a sort, flanking large wooden doors set into the angle of an imposing stone structure. Beneath the windows, a green fire burned inside of unseemly worm-carven urns. Within the windows, strange dolls stood diligent watch behind panes of rheumy glass, guarding the doors of the Temple with an eerie silence. I traced the symbol of the Laughing House upon these doors with the two outstretched fingers of my left hand and saw their postures relax. And we who seeked to enter, found that we were already inside.
The air in the Temple was wrought from the stinging smell of odd, peppery herbs, coating the back of the throat with the pungent tang of green. Before us stood a crooked man with eyes of that green, set in deep hollows beneath wildly overgrown eyebrows, waiting to welcome us. We knew this was the Dollmaker and when he bade us, we followed him. At the end of a dark hall we reached a circular room with many shelf-like outcroppings, upon which rested a countless array of dolls, large and small. Dolls of children and adults mingled with dolls of monstrous things, semi-human and not at all. The shelves themselves and the walls beneath were laid with doll faces of myriad expression and specie in varying stages of decay, embedded in the rock.
My three companions and I were invited to take our places at the four lower points of a large stone table of seven in the center of the room. There were patterns that seemed to slither like tiny black snakes within it and engraved upon its polished surface was the seven-pointed puppetstar we had all come to know so well. We had been told of this place, the Temple built in the Dream with objects from the waking, the nexus of here and there. We had learned many of its sigils and its secrets and had been given over to mysterious missions as we practiced its ways, the ways of Vrt Lrh, in the waking and the Dream. I knew I had fulfilled all that had been asked of me. Of my companions, I cannot say.
An old gypsy woman draped in black and green, a withered woman we had all seen peddling her wares, wearing her pocketed apron filled with little dolls and bottles, served us small cups made of the same stone as the table, carved with tangles of weird worms like the urns outside. After which the Dollmaker and the Dollpeddlar stood at the upper points and turned their attention upon the altar. As the Dollmaker motioned for us to drink, I could see the clay packed beneath the long fingernails of his left hand.
The subtle fluid, I dare not say liquid, was imbibed in without question. Sailing like an ether breeze across the palate, glowing like swampgas, which it may well have been, perhaps mingled with the breath of whippoorwhills. We were told it was Dollsmilk, a gift from Vrt Lrh, whom we all wanted to know. I felt it moving through me like the vapor of some strong chemical, lacking the substance of either cold or hot.
Symbols were drawn upon the air and praise was given to Vrt Lrh, who rises and writhes in His Great Living City Beyond, to the Walldwellers who are the City and the Gateway, and to That which lurks within and watches from behind the eyes of dolls, having no eyes of Its own. And the eyes of dolls that appeared to be dumbly staring into some unknown space, now gained focus. Their masks of frozen, vacant expression slowly crumbled into intent, turning their necks like the slow creaking of a heavy door, upon us.
I stared back into those eyes of plastic and glass and paint and found it there, moving within them like some tarry intelligent gas, black, fluid, twinkling flatly. It almost seemed timid, but it traveled with a threatening swiftness. I felt beguiled to watch it, as if it were pulling at my eyes, at me somehow. Each doll it passed through began to whisper. A whispering I could hear from inside of me. They told me truths and they told me lies. They told me secret things, things about myself, about the past, the present and the future.
Some of the dolls began playing sweet clockwork music. A chaotic mesh of individual melodies that slowly began circling each other, spinning around each other, finding their place within each other until there was a singular humming, accented by crackling clicks and high pitched notes that tittered like children laughing backwards. Then the dolls, one by one, turned their attention away from us, to what was happening upon the circular altar in the center of our table, their whispers urging us to do the same.
Time acted as it should not, its order slipping into unreality. One moment we moved through langour, swimming in our own bodies and in the next instant were cranked through a teeth grinding barrage of events happening too fast, of words spoken too quickly. I could see the expressions of my companions shifting from the pride and honor of being here to agitation, nervousness and fear. I wondered to myself what it was that changed in them. Perhaps they were not expecting this, perhaps they did not like what they were being told, what they were seeing. Or maybe they felt uneasy with the way the Temple walls were moving, shadows writhing upon them, the shapes curling within them like pools of eels. I could sense in some of them a wish to never have come here. A foolish wish to make upon the puppetstar. It was too late for that. We had been invited here, had invited It here and our guest, our host was just arriving.
It grew before us upon the altar like curls of smoke, whipping about like mad tentacles, or some wriggling root system. Something resembling black mold began splotching the vapor as it extended a thick fleshy stalk, crowned by a black mass of shifting doll faces, something between tar and shadows, emerging and reabsorbed, crying, laughing, screaming, vomiting, whispering. Always the whispering.
In the presence of this holy incarnation of Vrt Lrh, the dolls of the Temple became excitedly animate. They jumped about and clapped and cheered and gnashed their tiny teeth. They fought and tore at each others clothes and kissed and bit and hit each other, raping and humping with their sexless bodies, cracking fragile hands and faces with tiny weapons. I saw a doll of a little girl that had been disrobed, revealing her naked, white muslin body and the strings attaching her porcelain head. She stabbed at herself again and again with a tiny knife, like a wind-up monkey banging cymbals, ripping and pulling out her mottled, purplish stuffing, shaking in deathless laughter.
Other dolls crawled across the floor, up the back of my chair and began gently pulling at little tufts of my hair, nibbling at my ears, whispering again and again a phrase of wisdom from my childhood. "A little boy who won't be good, might just as well be made of wood."
I understood. Eyes then opened within my eyes and I was allowed to see. And allowed to see through the ever changing eyes of Vrt Lrh I watched the transformations begin in my companions. But they did not embrace the change. The woman across from me screamed and cried and laughed beyond reason as she pulled the flesh from her skeleton like clay and piled it upon the altar, apparently unable to do anything else. The man beside me found his lips and tongue frozen, petrified. Unable to move his mouth with any more articulation than that of a ventriloquist's dummy, he uttered a frightened and senseless babble of "Mahb, maaahb, mab". The other had grabbed a doll and was sucking milk from its teat, becoming smaller and smaller.
Dolls had unbuttoned my shirt and I could feel them kissing my chest, running cold little tongues across my flesh and I did not move or try in any way to stop them. I felt my pants come down and little sucking mouths on my thighs, but too many, too close together.
I looked down to see that the dolls and even the table and the altar were gone. In their place, a groping mass of pulpy tentacles suctioned and entwined between my legs, some hidden orifice tugging at me hard, milking me, slithering inside of me. Its body like a bloated tick inside of a raisin, with countless faces writhing in its wrinkles.
And it spoke to me. It said "I am you."
I knew the response in an instant, knew that my companions had been given this riddle and failed. But I had learned the lesson they had not. The clockwork dollmusic became intensely loud and intricate as they traipsed around us, encircling us in a crazed, clacking jangle dance on sticky, black strings like the puppets they had become, like the puppets they always were. I gave the response in a whisper.
"And I am you."
The reverberation of words I was not sure I had spoken heralded the calm, the end of the maelstrom. Vrt Lrh had gone, Its laughter still ringing through the walls, shadows returned to their rightful order, all dolls returned to their shelves. My companions had left me. Only a pile of clay remained upon the altar.
I awoke, kneeling at the altar in my own room, staring down at the clay in my hands. I pushed my fingers into it, kneaded it and it sang to me of new life and what was expected of me. I am not to go to the City just yet, oh no. There are other, more pressing tasks that have fallen upon me.. The children of here and there anxiously await my first creation. I must not disappoint. I must convert others. I must become a Dollmaker. In His Name. Vrt Lrh demands it.
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Old 06-17-2008   #19
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

I have a room whereinto no one enters
Save I myself alone
There sits a blessed memory on a throne,
There my life centres

         .............C. Rossetti
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Old 06-17-2008   #20
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Re: Puppet Passage of the Day...

When a doll offers you a rope, you have to wonder...
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