Fiction by Graham J. Darling

Jon Carver of Barzoon, You Misunderstood

Jon Carver of Barzoon, you misunderstood.

The True Love whom you met in dreams was the goddess of this planet: pluripotent relict of a vanished race, marooned here eons before you ever were (do not doubt her love; she was made for love). Your crash-landing awakened her to purpose. The honeyed tongue she thrust between your lips divided to sample your every cell; while she cradled your broken body, you and she populated an empty world.

Its seas were modelled on your tears, and its bogs on your bile. The waving jungles you hacked through came from your hair; the vitreous plains you traversed, from your fingernails; the sluggoths you battled, from your own lymphocytes; the steeds you rode, from your heart. The warriors you led to blood and glory were your sons, working out their destiny; the princesses you rescued, your daughters; the Transfederation you built by the seat of your pants, already your family (have you not wondered why they all speak your tongue?).

The caecal dungeons in bone citadels you regularly woke in and escaped from, were hospital wards, where your eyes or limbs sliced in ivory swordplay were switched out; here they all are, mounted and healed, looking and waving at you, in the Museum of the Man.

The Darkened Lord against whom you strove is yourself, enthroned. We surrendered Brain-Priests are your own. Here is your crown. Please be seated. She’ll be with you in a minute.


Graham J. Darling ( dwells in
Vancouver Canada. His stories have peered out from Pulp Literature,
snarfed Second Prize in the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) Short
Story Contest, and lately hatched in No Greater Love: Martyrs on Earth
and Elsewhere (ed. Robert J. Krog, Hiraeth Books). Elsewise he designs
molecules such as the Universe has never seen, and demonstrates medieval
science and technology to school kids and passers-by.

This story is reprinted. Publishers Weekly called it “outstanding” when it first saw light in Sword
& Mythos (eds. Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, Innsmouth Free
Press, May 2014); recently it has also shown up in Sensory Perceptions
(ed. Jessica Augustsson, JayHenge Publishing, December 2019.)

Photo by Dan Meyers.

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