When a severely deformed corpse lands on his embalming table, skilled mortician, Horace Carver is forced to confront his apathy towards life and the dark secrets hidden within himself, his family, and his hometown of Always, Indiana.
This stylized novel uses mythology as a base for a narrative that examines the nature of life by exploring the ways we die.
Ernest Gordon Taulbee grew up in a small town in Eastern Kentucky called Salyersville. He received both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree from Eastern Kentucky University. Upon completing his MA he moved to Louisville -- where he has lived most of his adult life.
Love of reading and writing has been a theme in his life. Through the decade and a half since he finished his MA, Mr. Taulbee has worked a variety of jobs, from populating a cubicle in a large corporation to making and selling mead. Throughout his whole life, writing has remained his singular professional and artistic passion.
As the story plays out, Dr. Ellsworth's mind goes to more and more troubling places. By the end he is consumed with his hatred for Clifford Paul, and he longs for a time when he can become the one who tortures Mr. Paul.
Going along with the mythological theme, Ellsworth envisions dying as crossing the great, dark river. He hopes when Mr. Paul makes his crossing those waiting for him will not give him a warm reception.
A Sibling in Always
You will die like the rest of us, Mr. Paul, as none will escape death. I see the daughter too. I know she is there, and she will rise up against you. This thing will kill your little girl, too. Aquila Rose should be of concern to you. When this child is dead, it will come to you and it will take you over. It will drive you mad, the way it has driven me mad. And when you die, expect to see it waiting on the other side of the dark river. It will be waiting for you, the eyeless stare waiting to tell you your true name.