The Longbourne Place
by Jim Walker

"Anything could happen now. Otto could become a blackbird and fly up alternate highway 89 and peer at the setting moon on his left then look to his right for Britta's car."

Otto Barnes is back on the job as a detective, following a stint in rehab. He's much better now and just in time to arrive at the scene of a 9-1-1 call to the home of the Longbournes. But is he better? For that matter, is he even at the Longbourne Place? Otto's investigation occurs on a dreamlike path that suggests an alternate reality, hallucination, memory, or fantasy sequence. Or, to put it in a subsequent story's terms, Otto could be "nuts."

Otto's investigation is the longest of the three installments in this unique anthology that explores questions of reality, perception, sanity, and the unreliability of narrative. It is sandwiched between "Molly's Dream," a detailed sequence told in short chapters, and "Ode on a Door," a bulletin for a missing person that punctuates the collection's commentary on the subjectivity of truth and consciousness. In all three stories, the author effectively communicates the fluidity of dreams and the often passive acceptance that comes with a dreamer's mix of observation and experience.

As the characters pass through their parade of atypical experiences, the question of dimension emerges. Perhaps somewhere between stone-cold reality and blazing insanity, other realms or dimensions host these characters and showcase their lives in ways that appear true to them, while unimaginable to those trapped in the conventional world. How else then can people account for such divergent interpretations of reality? When the differences between people's perceptions of truth and insanity diverge so greatly, the author makes the thought-provoking suggestion that it may be easiest to perceive that they exist in different dimensions, that one has passed through a "door," while the other remains firmly planted.

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