Kentro is knowing. It sends out waves of arcane, breathes wisdom, blows the raspberry of scientific learning. Kentro pulses outward, brushing you, making the tiny hairs on the backs of your hands stand on end. Because you know. You think of great good and great evil. And all of a sudden you realize there is no such thing. You see the globe of knowledge and realize it's hollow.


Kentro: the feeling you get when you dream. When the very air around you reverberates with a solid, somehow-known backstory but the path ahead is hazy and fades in a blur of uncertainty. When you open the door to what you think, what you know is your room and realize someone else has been living there all your life; that all your furniture is gone, because it never was there.

Knowing that one wire will disarm the bomb in your hands while all the others trigger it, but they're tangled and twisted that there's no way, no fucking way you'll unwind them and see in time to save your head from being blown halfway to Taipei.


This same bomb ticks down until it reaches 10 and you don't know where to put it so that it won't blast you to shred when it goes off, so you just hold it in your hands. There's no way out, there's absolutely no way. 9. You think of all the people you could have, should have loved. All the people you haven't bothered to meet because you're such a prick and didn't have the time. All the things you've fucked up on. Maybe it's for the best this bomb goes off.


As the bomb reaches 0, you clench your eyes and let the bomb slip from your hands. A wire gets caught on your thumb and, pop, comes out of its mooring. And nothing happens. The bomb that was going to be the rubber to your wretched graphite-life has become nothing more than an eggtimer. Relief sets in.

And then it happens.

Doubt begins.

You remember as the bomb was going off the acceptance that you felt. The close-winged angels were going to sweep you away, and you liked it. You liked feeling the erasure of everything you've ever done. The insignificance of your death worms at you. Would anyone miss me in fifty years? A hundred and fifty?


As you increase pressure to the trigger of a gun you've placed at your temple, you're faced with an moment of painful lucidity. What drove you to this? Just knowing that you could die. A knowledge of mortality. Something everyone knows, just you saw it differently. Let's face it, it drove you insane. You begin to consider putting the gun away, maybe this isn't the answer. Then slip, click, boom, too late for thinking for you. On to another life of wisting and yearning and occasional brushes with an infinite knowledge that doesn't give a damn about keeping you happy and safe, that would rather you be gutted alive for the experience than being pampered and learning nothing of this life before moving onto the next one.

That's kentro.


Ben looked down at the knife he held in his hands and tried to summon tears. He'd need them for his performance soon enough. Nothing. Damn. Well, time enough for that later. For now, there was the tiny push that would send the dominoes clattering down and let everything click into place in his head. He picked up the antiquated phone and dialed the number.

"Jack here."


"...Goddamn. Ben? Where are you? What's going on at your place? God, Kera says that one of your friends stayed at your house last night to see how you were doing and she never came home. Is she with you?"

"Which friend now?"

"Barbara Nader."

Barbara. Ha! He knew it'd started with a B or a D. "I actually haven't been at my house this week," he said nonchalantly.

"Well where in hell have you been? Do you know how much you've gotten Kera upset? GodDAMN, I feel like just kicking your ass for keeping us on a leash like you have. Where are you?"

"Actually, right now... I'm at the Phillipse house."

"You're on Kentro?"

He shouldn't even be able to say that, Ben reflected. He doesn't deserve to know that name. No one in this town does. I don't, yet. But I will. "Yeah, I'm here. Um, I think you and Kera need to get down here. Now."


"I've found something out... and it's just... man, I don't know how to describe it."

There was a pause on Jack's side of the phone. "Listen, Kera's got a test last period, she can't skip out. I have one next period, after that it's all study halls and band which doesn't have roll anyway. Is it okay if just I come alone?"

I was planning on it. "Well... can Kera make the test up?"

"Jesus, is it that important?"

"I think it is, man."

"I'll be there in about two hours, I guess. Maybe less. Just... don't call me during school again. My cell started vibrating in my pocket and I had change in there. I got a lot of weird looks groping my crotch on my way out of the classroom."

Ben threw a laugh into saying, "Okay, okay, never again. I promise. Be here?"

"I'll be there."