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Seeker Cain
Longshank Cain and the Curse of Juju Quartermaine
© 2022 James LaFond
MAY/7/23
Draft
By Randy Sterling Bracken, as told to James LaFond
Copyright 2022 James LaFond
A Crackpot Book
Publisher Lynn Lockhart
Dust Cover
A Postmodern Weird Tale
Inspired by a Year of Winters lived in Portland, Oregon
Upon a Recent Time
A journalist of despair took his pen on the rails and road, to gust new life into his dying mind—only to meet his unmaker under a starry night on a lonely strand. He told his story to a tale-weaving man, not as lived, but as he wanted his survivors to understand.
On Wednesday night, October 21, in Portland, Oregon, Randy Bracken told his tale to another man who had there too come on the run. A man’s toil of life might amount to a tidy sum, but counts for naught so long as he squirms under a mean and civil thumb.
-Written in 2020
...Forgotten sometime in 2021
Dedication
Ghostwritten here, to our shared stain, for Gina Ramona, for slipping down out of the night sky one October night
Inspirational Quote
“Best time of the day, when it ends…”
-Mescaline Franklin, one Autumn sunset
To the Reader
My alter-ego, me if I were tall, wanted to write a novel. I had consigned him, Randy Sterling Bracken, a villainous supporting character, to doing travel writing. This was published on a now appropriately dead site titled Death of A Writer, that might still be out there but was always unsearchable. Alas, Randy has a larger ego than his wimpy creator, and has demanded, in this weird and sissy city, on this beautiful and addled left brain of a bipolar nation, that his story should be told in the here, though not in the now, but in a wicked version, too dangerous to be merely foul.
It is fitting I think, that my body is failing rapidly as Randy, castigating me from within, relates a story about an ancient hero, who yet lingers, limps and fey-like titters into a heroless future, a shell of a once uncompromising man, whose life, such as it remains, continues in the form of the ultimate, deconstrueing [1] compromise. For Longshank Cain is sustained, indeed is entirely dependent for the pursuit of his ages old quest, on his ancient foe, and one time nemesis, Juju Quartermaine. Hero and villain are jointly cursed to thread and rethread the treacherous needle of Fate in their dissipation of a quest to redeem the very world that they have both come to hate.
In the Year of Our Distracted, and perhaps Bored Lord 1623, Sir Francis Bacon, towering intellect of his age, recently fallen into royal disfavor, did dispatch one last loyal fanatic of The Lemurian League, a courageous society of crypto-Anglo-apostates who sought to discover the last remaining outpost of Atlantis, to find the Sealed Crypt of the Philosopher King, thought to be upon the Isle of Hispaniola. Here, Bacon did believe, and trusted in a dauntless and accursed Captain to achieve the discovery of the vault that held the secrets of the Atlantean Civilization long since drunk by the deep. This man was known as Longshank Cain, a savage tall converso, son of a cabalist and the most strident puritan alive, who yet labored under the brand of Abel’s killer, consigned to wander the world.
The man who confounded this quest was the ordained keeper of maroon lore upon Hispaniola. The first West African to be transported there with full knowledge of traditional witch doctoring, ran off above the sugar plantations into the high jungle, luring an English lass with him. Upon this lass he sired a child, so that his son would have the voodoo of Gabon and the inventive know how of London, all within him. His father named him Juju Quartermaine and set him in the path of the most ghastly driven of Englishmen, a man who would never quit, who could become a vehicle of a sort to transport a mystery through an age that dispelled them into an age that once again compelled them.
How the hero and the villain of that long ago fought battle between explorer and conjurer came to form a singular thread on Fate’s hoary loom is known only by those two—if they can in truth be viewed apart. For one of these men is the artist and the other one his art with Fate cursing them to sail the same course down her lonely deeps.
The weird tale of Longshank Cain and Juju Quartermaine will be told in Shadows and Mirrors, alternating. Chapter 1 will be a Shadow telling, in which a person ordained by Fate to cross paths with accursed Cain encounters the ghastly explorer upon his increasingly addled version of Sir Francis Bacon’s benighted quest.
Chapter 2 will be a Mirror telling, as Cain, banished from the Face of Day for the murder of his brother in deepest antiquity—in and of itself a crime of jealous piety—must retire and renew, with the reader’s vantage limited to a mirror’s view.
A certain ego in the writer’s dearth soul recommends a world in which the playwright is already dead, the audience are shadows and mirrors, and the actors are tormential [2] motes of of dust upon the furious breath of Time’s uncaring gust.
-James LaFond, Portland, Oregon, Tuesday, November 2022
Front Notes
-1. This is not a typo for deconstructing. I was writing deconstructing and Randy corrected me, in a castigating way, informing me that it was time I did something worth while like usher in a new word to a hideous undead language. To deconstrue, according to Master Bracken, is at once the loss of the ability to construe the truth conjoined with a fracturing of identity on the part of the damned soul who is trying to these the days of our lives construe. He assures me that Mister Quartermaine shall explain this with some sufficiency.
-2. Elements of torment with a torrential quality to the tormented soul, but which hold a dust like and fey quality in the eyes of the third person, robbing the sufferer of empathy or sympathy to onlookers to his plight, who thence view him with contempt.
-JL, 12/2/2022 [Friday, Master Bracken insists that the name of the day is paramount and of more importance than the date, which reeks to him of “numbered artificiality.”]
Scrapyard of Original Narrative Ideas from 2020
(Chapter of use in restructured novel)
-1. Gina Ramona (1B)
-2. Limber Shoop (3A)
-3. Hold! (3A)
-4. The Eye (2B)
-5. The Footman (1A)
-6. The Watchman (2A)
-7. To Walk by the Light of Night (4A)
-8. Dove on the 13th Floor (5A)
-9. The Mirror to God’s Eye (3B)
-10. Kit (6A)
-11. Heavy Fez (4B)
-12. John Fix (5B)
-13. Kingman Tweak (3A 5A 6A)
-14. Ishtar’s Gate (6A)
-15. Devil’s Point (6A)
-16. Big Haul Johnson (7A)
-17. Cedar Bottom Lodge (discarded)
-18. Wendigo Way (discarded)
-19. Frank and Polk (discarded)
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