Excerpts from a wrecked encyclopedia discovered in an abandoned skyscraper in Detroit, Michigan—many pages unreadable, many pages missing, misordered.

by Allison Shoemaker, Ryan Dolley & Mitch Vermeersch

 
CLEAVE.  Word of two opposing meanings.  To cling to something tightly.  To separate from something by force.  Seems to have sway over those who come in contact with it.  Source of power as of yet undetected.  Prominently featured in ‘The Lost Dictionary of Benjamin C. Lark.’  In physical form, the word takes residence in the guts of those foolish enough to attempt both meanings simultaneously and sweats and bites.  The condition is highly unpleasant and of undetermined permanence. See also: LARK, BENJAMIN C; PEEL, DR. NORMAN; SELF-AMPUTATION.
 
CONSPIRACY FORTNIGHTLY. Factuality and neutrality questionable.  Contains useful advertisements.  See also: MILLER, SETH (II); MIDWESTERN [TEXT UNREADABLE].
 
[PAGES MISSING]
 
HAROLD.  Lover of Test.  Self-amputee.  Astronomer.  Worked in the now-defunct Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit selling carburetors. Developed a series of detachable arms called ‘actionable limb replacements,’ which improved [TEXT UNREADABLE].  With Test, frequently referred to in myth as ‘The Limbless Lovers.’ See also: TEST; SELF-AMPUTATION; LIMBLESS LOVERS, THE; LIEBCHEN, THE.
 
LARK, BENJAMIN C.  Renowned linguist and philosopher.  Reclusive and unknown in his lifetime; achieved fame posthumously after the discovery of ‘The Lost Dictionary of Benjamin C. Lark’ in 2007.  Rumored to be omniscient; this is largely considered a fabrication concocted by the creators of Conspiracy Fortnightly to sell magazines.  One of the first people to make record of the remarkable and inexplicable power of the word ‘cleave’; considered [TEXT UNREADABLE].  Made considerable advances in clarifying the nature and purpose of language.  Mother, Katrina, drowned when Lark was still very young.  See also: LOST DICTIONARY OF BENJAMIN C. LARK, THE; CLEAVE.
 
LIEBCHEN, THE.  Self-steering boat.  Captained by the Limbless Lovers.  Ownership prior to this unclear.  Creation unclear.  Source of power unclear. May be sentient.  See also: HAROLD; TEST; CASSIOPEIA; LIMBLESS LOVERS, THE.
 
LIMBLESS LOVERS, THE.  In legend and myth, refers to Harold and Test.  Lovers who could not find a way to get out of each others hearts and minds; attempted to end things by amputating each others arms.  Each instead chose self-amputation, thus popularizing the form as a means of transferring emptiness from heart to phantom limb.  Travel in a self-steering boat, the Liebchen, helping those who need it.  Acquisition of boat unknown.  See also: HAROLD; TEST; SELF-AMPUTATION; LIEBCHEN, THE.
 
MILLER, SETH. (I)  Philosopher.  Gentleman.  Scholar.  Rumored to have given [TEXT UNREADABLE].  See also: AKBAR, GHAFIR; CASSIOPEIA; TELEPATHY.
 
MILLER, SETH. (II) Son of a traveling salesman. Divorced with no prospects for re-marriage, has no children. Dresses badly and walks like a duck. Former reporter for ‘Conspiracy Fortnightly’. Sometime fisherman; fondness for moonfish. See also: PEEL, DOCTOR NORMAN; HOTEL YORBA; MIDWESTERN INSTITUTE FOR CONSPIRATORIAL RESEARCH.
 
MOUSE, THE.  Detective. In the nineties, worked in the now-defunct Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit serving Coneys.  Former lover of Dr. Norman Peel.  See also: PEEL, DR. NORMAN.
 
PEEL, DR. NORMAN.  Symbiotic relationship with [PAGE MISSING].
 
[PAGES MISSING]
 
SELF-AMPUTATION.  Cultural phenomenon frequently employed by those with a need for permanent separation of one kind or another.  Painful.  A tight string or rubber tube is required to prevent as much bleeding as possible.  Amputees experience a phantom limb sensation that reminds them of days spent throwing footballs, holding cocktails, juggling fruit.  The first cut is the most difficult.  Popularized by the legend of the Limbless Lovers. Difficulty of living with the resulting condition can be corrected with actionable limb replacements.  Phenomenon seems to be connected to the word ‘cleave’; this is as of yet unproven.  See also: HAROLD; TEST; PEEL, DR. NORMAN; MILLER, SETH (II); LIMBLESS LOVERS, THE; ACTIONABLE LIMB REPLACEMENTS; CLEAVE.
 
TEST.  Lover of Harold.  Astronomer.  Self-amputee.  Constellation [TEXT UNREADABLE].  In the nineties, worked in the now-defunct Hudson’s department store in downtown Detroit with Harold and The Mouse selling perfume.  With Harold, frequently referred to in myth and legend as ‘The Limbless Lovers.’ Co-captain of the Liebchen, a self-steering boat.  Sometime painter.  See also: HAROLD; SELF-AMPUTATION; LIMBLESS LOVERS, THE; LIEBCHEN, THE.
 
[PAGES MISSING]
 
LOST DICTIONARY OF BENJAMIN C. LARK, THE.  Created by renowned linguist Benjamin C. Lark, who received posthumous recognition for his advances in clarifying the nature and purpose of language.  While many facsimile copies have been printed, all are modeled on the legendary original—a copy of the 1992 American Heritage English Dictionary, in which many words have been crossed out, others added, and nearly all redefined.  Those that remained untouched include ‘apple’, ‘frog’, ‘baseball’ and ‘help’.  Lark’s treatment of  ‘cleave’ is largely responsible for the mythology surrounding the word.  The original copy is rumored to have significant power; it is unclear how much of legend surrounding the tome is true and how much was fabricated by Conspiracy Fortnightly.  Original sustained water damage at some point; when or how is unclear.    See also: PEEL, DR. NORMAN; LARK, BENJAMIN C; MILLER, SETH (II); CLEAVE; [TEXT UNREADABLE].