Tumours, by Chay Collins, is a challenging work of fiction to pin down. Narrated in the first person it describes a surreal and disturbing journey undertaken by four companions being paid by a government agency to take part in an experiment. As the story begins the narrator ingests what he describes as spawn from a beast. The effect of this substance is to distort his perceptions. He feels threatened by his surroundings, including creatures encountered. He seeks out tumours that he believes must be killed.
Amongst the four are a scientist and a temptress. Their expedition takes them to a restaurant and then a hotel. The narrator desires sex. Breaking away from his companions he allows his disturbed instincts to guide his actions. In doing so he threatens the veracity of the experiment. His companions are unhappy that their access to payment for their participation may now be compromised.
Interactions are skewed by a mind bending awareness of light and sound. Insights are distorted and frenetically intense. Those encountered are described viscerally although the portrayals are unreliable. The narrators drug addled sensations offer ambiguous interpretation.
The presentation of the prose changes in font, line balance and includes a scattering of blank pages at pivotal moments. These add the the power and distortion of what is being described.
At less than a hundred pages this is a short work of fiction. It provides unsettling, compulsive reading.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Ampersand Publishing.