Give Me Something to Read: “Blear” by Bryan Manning
A creepy short story by the vocalist of Bosse-de-Nage. Have I said enough or do you need more?
It was rumored years back that Bryan Manning, the hyper-literate pervert who pens words and screams them for post-black metal band Bosse-de-Nage, was writing a novel. As a huge fan of everything about B-d-N, I was excited. Years went by, nothing surfaced, and I sighed. But hey. Whether or not said novel ever sees the light of day, at least we have this: “Blear”, which I believe is Manning’s first published fiction.
This is the story of a blank man and his obsession with a mysterious object. To say more is to risk spoilers, but maybe I’ll say a little more anyway. If you’re at all familiar with Manning’s lyrics, you will not be surprised that “Blear” deals in mental illness and metaphysics. What might surprise you is that there is nothing remotely perverted about the story — unless you consider a man sitting naked in his living room all night staring at a blurry object he can feel but never quite see perverted. What is the object? None of the man’s philosophical or scientific investigations can force the mystery to yield. Why does he allow it to take utter possession of his life, to the point where he stops going to work, foreswears sociality, and sells most of his furniture?
The man’s reverence for the object begins to flirt with worship. As he circumambulates it with his eyes and thoughts night after night, so too does the text itself. With equal dread and wonder, Manning’s careful, restrained prose falls into orbit around the unnameable thing at the story’s center, sucking us toward what we can only assume (because we can feel it in our bones) will be a horrific ending of Lovecraftian proportions.
Okay, at this point I really can’t say any more without ruining it. Except to point out that “Blear” works equally well on the level of allegory as it does as a simple, eerie tale about a man and his blurry object. As thought-provoking as it is chilling, “Blear” is surely a taste of bigger things to come from the mind of Bryan Manning.
“Blear” was published by The Flenser (who else?) and is available in printed zine form or as a downloadable PDF.