Martin and Thess (II/III)

On March 22, 1995, Jenna receives a certified letter. It has her full address on the front, including “The Firewood World” at the very bottom. It is delivered by postal jet. The letter reads as follows:


I hope you are well.

I had never thought to let you go. You were close to my heart, and I thought that you would die or remain with me forever. Yet life takes funny turns.

Still, I have need of your services again. I hope that you’re available. I know that you’ve been confused and angry and acting, well, as one would expect Jane to act. But you should visit me soon.

You belong to me.

On the letter is drawn the crest of the monster’s house.

Three days pass, and most of another.

It is March 25.

Martin, stumbling through the mud of the underworld, meets Thess.

Thess is a young man, with clear blue eyes, angel’s wings, and a jacket.

“People loved me,” says Thess.

Thess is building. This is his punishment. He is building creatures, always, making new kinds of life.

Then they die, and turn to dust, and the dust blows away.

Thess is steeping in mud and failure and it has not improved him yet.

“I radiated it,” Thess says. “It was my answer. ‘You can escape your pain. Just love Thess!'”

“Oh,” Martin says.

“It was a clinging love, a reaching love, a scrambling love,” says Thess. “It was more real than the world. It was an awakening love. I was going to walk right into Central and they would have loved me. And I would have asked them to let her go. I would have told them that I was her brother. And she would have come and taken shelter with me, and them too, and she would have been safe.”

“What happened?”

“I died,” Thess says. “In a little town, by a little school. A faceless god bound me to the earth, cut my ribs out, and pulled my lungs out my back. Then love died and the world was hollow.”

“I’m sorry,” Martin says.

“Help me,” says Thess.

“I could leave you here to suffer, thus allowing you to transform into something better,” says Martin.

Thess looks at Martin. It’s a very sardonic look.

“Yes,” says Thess. “That plan is certain to be effective.”

Martin looks down.

“It’s what I know how to do,” Martin says.


Martin hesitates.

“If you leave me here,” says Thess, “I will suffer eternally and gain nothing from it. Then one day you will go and face the monster, and he’ll point his finger and laugh. And you’ll say, ‘watch out! I’m going to leave you alone so hard your head will spin!'”

“I’d planned to revise the speech a little,” Martin says, “First.”

“Give it a few drafts?”


Thess looks at Martin, and suddenly Martin loves him so much his heart hurts.

“I made a glorious frog-thing,” Thess says, “I called it Alitheia. But it died. They all die. Each of my children. I grow hollower and hollower but there is no end to me. Help me.”

So Martin reaches out for Thess, and at his touch Thess turns to dust.

12 thoughts on “Martin and Thess (II/III)

  1. Thess is yet another of Jenna’s solutions to the monster – just love them so much it’ll stop. I wonder how many more different solutions she tried? They all seem to have broken dharmas.

    Martin is born at 6.38 pm the same day that Jenna receives the letter. In Before He Was Cool the firewood death is right outside his door, and a giant shadow was seen moving along the street outside the barber’s shop. I wonder if Martin and the firewood monster had just been created by Jenna, in order to provide her with a little cathartic destruction?

  2. Another nice catch, Graeme — I’d forgotten about the date. That does explain some things going on in “Before He Was Cool”.

    So it seems like the monster posted that letter on the equinox, and it arrived a day later. There has to be some significance to that.

  3. So the Monster calls her Jane in the letter, before Martin came along…

    Veddy interesting.

    As we learned a while back, the monster was the one who renamed Jenna Jane. That’s a thing that the monster does, renaming you so he can control you.

    His demons do it, too.

    “Why do you call me Michael?” Micah asks.

    “In renaming you,” Anakopto says, “we remake you.”

    “I see,” Micah says.

    Also, the events Thess describes are clearly tied to a legend from a while back, which even if it can’t explain the events might be able to explain their meaning.


  4. It’s odd that in “Bob (III/IV)”, where the firewood world was created, Bob’s sister is Jane, but here she’s Jenna. Perhaps Jane, feeling safe in her new world, allowed herself to revert? And here’s the monster barging in and showing her that she was never safe at all — that seems to fit his pattern, giving things in order to be able to take them away again, as with Liril’s doll Latch.

  5. That’s definitely what happened to Thess, at least. I wonder if the god the Horsemen are talking about is God, the Monster, or just the god that killed Thess.

  6. Incidentally, I wanted to note that “Watch out, or I’ll leave you alone so hard your head will spin!” is one of my favorite lines to date.

  7. I feel like I know Thess from somewhere.

    Probably either from Four Horsemen or just because of his similarity to one of the monster’s demons. Kyrievo, I think, had a similar power to his.


  8. Is a frog-thing beautiful?
    If beauty is truth, and truth beauty, then Alitheia must be beautiful – unless she be misnamed.

    Can we trust what Thess has to say at all? He created a thing named [size=16:62091d1dcc”>αλήθεια[/size:62091d1dcc”>, but it died.

    People claim to be truthful all the time. Sometimes They claim to be Truth.

    [size=16:62091d1dcc”>λεγει αυτω ιησους εγω ειμι η οδος και η αληθεια και η ζωη ουδεις ερχεται προς τον πατερα ει μη δι εμου
    I want to know what Alitheia looked like.

    And what the hell kind of name is Thess? Short for Θεσσαλια? What about this Thessaly?

  9. In “Four Horsemen”, the place was called “Thessel”.

    In “Four Horsemen”, the word “ALITHEIA” was defined as “sudden recognition of love for someone you’ve known a long time” — a concept beloved of fanfic writers. As far as I’ve been able to determine, this is not in fact a real Greek word. It resembles “aletheia”, “truth”, and also another word that means “vain, idle foolishness”.

    I am only just beginning to study Greek, but I think I recognize that long string as being the Bible verse where Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; noone comes to the Father but through me.” (Would have been a nice gesture to translate it yourself, S….)

  10. I am only just beginning to study Greek, but I think I recognize that long string as being the Bible verse where Jesus says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (Would have been a nice gesture to translate it yourself, S….)

    Ahh… but where’s the reward in having everything handed to us as a gift? Isn’t it more fun figuring things out for ourselves? Rebecca certainly seems to think so. :twisted:
    You’re right, by the way. John 14:6.

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