Thursday, February 23, 2017

#EXCERPT: The University of Corporeal and Ethereal Studies by Wolfgang Edwards

The University of Corporeal & Ethereal Studies tour

At the University of Corporeal & Ethereal Studies meddling with unknown powers can be dangerous work. Courses in arts and sciences experiment with supernatural forces to solve the mysteries of the universe, but when school projects go awry, the students may discover more than they would like to about the madness of the cosmic 'Beyond'. Eight interwoven stories follow students whose school work, social lives and inner demons crash together, leading to fantastic and horrible experiences, supernatural powers, and a fuller understanding of the dark depths of their world. Classes include subjects such as time travel, alchemy, oneironautics , psychedelic transformation, rogue automatons, cosmic ghosts, reality-warping crystals, and more. Inspired by many authors of science fiction, fantasy and horror, including H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Kurt Vonnegut and Isaac Asimov.


The cascade of rain gushed from the sky, a cyclopean waterfall. Tornado-strength wind
shrieked, ripping at my clothes. Veins of white lightning cut closer through the darkness,
rumbling thunder overtaking the wind.
For a long, mad moment I knew nothing but the din of the storm. I temporarily parted ways
with the corporeal world, glimpsing the void realm of pure, unfettered confusion Beyond.
I was possessed by a daemon I had known all my life.
No spiritual entity or higher being, no religious visitation or ghostly apparition – it was the
dark, sable soul hidden in a secret pit, burrowed in my own heart. My morbid, passionate,
macabre, lascivious side. The nyctophiliac who made love to the shadows of the night with
gnawing teeth and tender hands. The creature that howled at the moon and raised a drink to toast
Death. The artist who found poetry in the hollow eyes of a skull, whose very blood radiated
creativity in the midst of a storm.
That soul – subdued and smothered with schedules and chores, plans and rules – was free atop
that grotesque lightning rod.
Whether there is any form of fate to this world none can say for certain – though the results of
my misadventures would prove there are indeed some things beyond scientific reckoning. Yet
luck, at least, played a part that night. My provocation did not entice the daemon of the storm to
descend upon me in my moment of madness. Before the devil of lightning had the chance to find
me and accept my challenge, an unexpected change of heart swept over me from the most
peculiar source.
A lull in the thunder and bellowing wind brought silence to the storm. The splashing din of
the rain faded so low that my ears picked up the faintest notes of something terribly alien to that
dark and vicious scene; Music floated up from beneath my demented perch and with it, a wisp of
sweet mastic. The haunting scent and sweet melody struck me so intensely that I nearly lost my
grip upon the daemonic weathervane.
In that instant the madness within me found some modicum of control, a marriage between
Order and Chaos, a colossal flood funneled into a manageable river of roaring energy.
Rather than wait for the storm to regain strength or for Death to find me – its once eager
sacrifice – I hastily slipped and crawled back down to the ladder from whence I came, heading
directly for the source of the quixotic music.
With every rung the dark side of my heart built toward something like direction, focus.
A violin’s sweet, sorrowful notes glowed out from where the mysterious blue light emanated
in the belfry.
Reentering the tower I took the door to the belfry and halted at a sight I shall never forget; a
vision to change my life forever.

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Wolfgang Edwards was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1987. He has been an aspiring writer since he was a child and intends to keep writing the rest of his life.

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