The Other Side

Louisiana. Some call it a state, others, a dark mirror, through which maddening glimpses of the other side are seen as will-o-wisps, their ghostly illumination the only hint of the encompassing swamp.

It is our belief that the strange kaleidoscopic nature of reality in and around Louisiana is due to the fact that it is the realm of an ancient dead king. This man, the “Sun King,” was a devout believer in the divine right of kings, and this dark legacy, a bloodline intermingled with the blood of gods, twisted the land upon his death, creating the distorted vision of a state that we see today.

Counties are parishes, there is land where there should be water, water where there should be land, and reptiles, not mammals, appear to rule most of the southern reaches. The land is falling into the sea, which no doubt seeks to forever erase this blighted bog.

Given all of these indisputable facts, it is the editorial policy of Pearl River Flow to never travel into or through the "state" of Louisiana. However, as the time neared that of the Winter Solstice, and the veils between the mirror-words east and west of Louisiana grew near, our Occult Correspondent insisted that we send someone to East Texas. Confusingly, by driving West through the mirror, one reaches East Texas.

What, then, did our intrepid reporter find through the wormhole? How did he arrive with sanity almost intact, and return from that sinister reflection of Mississippi, East Texas?

The answer will disturb you. These fragments are all we may present in our defense.


Day One: In this strange and blasted hellscape, we see a mockery of our own world. Fields of ash and char stretch endlessly, rather than water, oil rises up from the ground, poisoning the Earth after pouring from steel trees that dot the landscape. I see them as trees, now, but I do not know if that is what you would call them. Once an idea crystallizes in the mind, you cannot go back. It is there, be it enlightenment or the onset of stagnation and ignorance. Only a new idea may replace it, and I am here in a world of ideas that are ultimately alien, familiar thoughts twisted by the dark mirror.

Day Two: There are beasts here, I have seen them but was unable to get a picture for ages. I know that days pass as usual, but time seems to stretch on to infinity. I wake and brush my teeth and sleep and eat, but each daily ritual is a death, a singular experience I cannot return to, cannot set right. Time drifts here. The things that live fall, sometimes, threads of metal unmaking them, threads of metal consuming them. 

I think this was a vine, torn free of a metal tree.

Day Three: There is fruit, fruit that is eerie, even when it drops from trees of wood, rather than stone. I do not know if this change in reality set upon me in the passage through Louisiana, or if it would have overtaken my perception when I arrived here. My distinct opinion, warped by my travel through the lands of the Mad Sun King, is that this is a land beset by something alien, some Other from Elsewhere that has arrived and changed the landscape.

Or perhaps, it has always been like this, perhaps this is what the things - the things that seem so human - that were born here have striven to create.

Day Four?: I do not recall who it was that said “You cannot go home again,” but this fact is constantly reinforced by the consistent cybernetic encroachment of these iron-encrusted acres. Home still exists, the verdant and welcoming urban swamps of the Pearl River. Yet should I step back through the soggy mirror, the marsh-reflection of Louisiana, it is not I that would return. It is something else. Something that worships cowboys and glimpses clouds on the horizon, swirling into the Earth, glowing mountains in the distance.

Day Five: There is a lake here, not unlike the one created back home, to honor the tireless racism of Ross Barnett. A different lake, hosting something just as spiteful, something that hates humanity just as Ross Barnett did.

It is not something alien. It is something the humans (on both sides of the mirror) are built with, something they are built for. A capacity I fail to understand, here on the other side. Could I grapple with it, back home? 

I know now that home would let me spread these things. Everything isn’t bigger in Texas - it’s better. A flaw in the language creates this motto. Texas is better. We will allow the conquering alien nation to transplant this wicked industry, jobs are jobs, Mississippi thirsts for work. Our shores shine with industry. Our reservoirs are coming across the mirror. Louisiana is no longer in the way. It is the way. This website will regret allowing me a voice, allowing the photons to transmit this twisted message. Sinister memes will flow into the brains of our readers…

At this point we had to cut off contact with our correspondent. Rest assured, should whatever he has become return, we will stand vigilant. The dark mirror shines still, dear readers, and we will not know who is the dark reflection until the lost return.