Brian Evenson (text) and Nathan Danilowicz (image)

He approached cautiously, slipping his hands into each of the upper openings with care. The mechanism released slowly and with a sigh, the dull inner walls of the channels beyond each aperture slipping inward to touch his arms attentively, as if waiting to see what he would do next. It was hard not to think of the man just before him, the man who had approached the mechanism with less care, twisting perhaps slightly too hard, only to have the bones of each arm snapped midway between elbow and wrist. They had carried him away, his face white and contorted, his arms hanging awkwardly from their new makeshift joint, already turning black.

He flexed a wrist slightly, felt the sides of the channel tighten. He scraped the surface of each channel’s terminus with his trapped fingers, tracing the figures he could feel on them, following a sequence he hoped was correct. He tried, as he felt them, to envision them. Already he could feel the mechanism shifting, the angles and sharpnesses separating into other shapes, other fixtures. But whether to open themselves up or only to snap down harder, that was impossible to tell. He traced the figures gently, trying to keep his fingers from trembling.



"A Latch" is the first of ten text/image combinations from the series "No Land," a collaboration by Danilowicz and Evenson.