A woman a figure a form of husk and yarn. A Marcy VanNeal of my very own, fashioned by my flesh to represent flesh of which is long since flaked away. Down through the roots of personal lunacy in the corner of the space I call my home, what once grew there has too, flaked away.

The stench of piss faded yet lingering like stale air in the crazy cat lady’s motorhome. That hidden sanctuary where one can slowly fade away from society, surrounded by hairballs and emptied tuna cans because the furry are the friends and so long as you’re not causing a ruckus, everyone else in the world is more than happy to leave you be.

Leave you be until you too are gone, and the mewling of animals as once they’ve consumed what remained of the person you’d once been becomes so loud and raucous that the neighbors can no longer ignore it.

The stupid book. Five seven eight forty-three sixteen.

Just how many shovelfuls will it take to find the depth at which my false Marcy will become real.

An idol in my soil. Covered six feet deep under layers of dirt stolen from the real Marcy’s grave.

Read a prayer from the book. It doesn’t matter which one. Though perhaps something from page five or seven or eight or forty-three or sixteen.

The book has no prayers. For it is unholy.

Not in an even way. More so in the way in which it matters not. As unholy as a stick of gum. A crow. A gob of spit. A gob a goblet a goblin. Staring into my eyes from the hole in the ground. The hole which I put there because it begged to exist. For what reason? Surely not to grow. We’ve tried this once before.

Perhaps to die.

Marcy needs a place to rest where someone can watch over her. At this point, I know I know little. But I also know this much to be true.

How do I know? Because I cannot bear to be wrong again.

Lice crawl on my scalp as lichen sprouts on the walls. This place is a jungle and should be. I water it daily and dare not make it clean. For the things that grow will spread tendrils thick and wise if only given the chance to prosper. Everywhere, life blossoms, though not in the corner. Not where my false Marcy lies. Not where that mystery once flourished.

How to get to the basement, I do not know. Perhaps my destination is somewhere else. Perhaps my down is up, and my basement is a kingdom. Not of heaven, but nonetheless in the clouds. Where giants fatten golden geese and the eggs are melted down to create calves for Israel.

Had it not been for the giant in the sky, those tablets would never have been shattered, and Moses would never have known the true meaning of humility.

The mold which surrounds me. The bed of black in which I lay … if I tend to it through careful neglect, will it grow to become a beanstalk?

Have I found my magic beans?

A trade not of a prized cow, but a golden calf. A prostration of self to give in to the numbers and the path upon which they’ve taken me.

Up, up, up to the sky I will go.

I pray it one day be so.

I am Jack. Hear me roar.

Continue to Chapter Seventeen.