The Somnambulist
Blake Butler

In her sleep the mother heard someone at the bedroom door and she stood up out of the bed. The mother walked to the bedroom door and listened. The mother nodded, cracked the door. On the bed behind her the father's mouth and eyes were open, though he did not blink. The mother saw the father shudder.

The mother left the bedroom and walked down the hall and stairwell and outside. Overhead the night was full. Overhead the night had opened and all throughout it there were words. Words made of skin or spit or coffee. The mother followed one certain sentence through the sky in a straight line. The mother walked on mud and gravel, concrete, glass and stone. The mother's feet began to bleed a trail.

The sentence led to the front door of a house. The mother went in through the front door. In the house the lights were off. The mother went into a room. In the room there was a glow and someone standing in the corner.

The mother left the house through a certain window some time later, leaving blood marks on the sill.

The window led into the backyard. The backyard was full of sand. The mother walked into the sand up to her hipbones. The mother folded her flat hands. With the grace of nowhere, the mother tucked her chin against her chest and fell headfirst into the sand.

Inside the sand there was a door. Through the door there was a hallway. There the mother slept.

Blake Butler is the editor of Lamination Colony. "The Somnambulist" is an excerpt from a novel written in 10 days in April '08. He lives in Atlanta and blogs at No One Does That.

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Photo detail on main page courtesy of TS Carlisle.

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