When he placed a candle on the shelf across the room from him and lit its wick, he came to realize that in fact everything he saw was a flat surface, like a screen – that in fact dimension was an illusion. Everything was a flat surface and the pinpoints of light, whether from a candle on the shelf or a gaslamp above the street, were punctures in that surface – gashes made by somebody behind the screen. He realized then that beyond everything he saw there was an entire realm of blazing sunfire and that colors were only the silhouettes of people in that realm – walking, eating, dancing, doing whatever they were doing behind the screen. It astonished Adolphe that everyone failed to realize they were just figures on a tapestry, the shadows of something else. He was therefore amused by the conceit of women, for instance, who who admired the creamy color of their skin when in fact it was only the haze of some other woman behind the vast screen staring into a mirror. Adolphe could explain all of this to himself but he could not explain Janine: Janine wasn't the same as the others. Janine was like their mother; and Adolphe decided Lulu was from this place beyond the surface and she had, perhaps when she was a little girl, slipped through. Adolphe wondered why Lulu hadn't told them about this and then realized she probably would when she thought they were old enough to understand it. He could see it wasn't something one would want to tell a child too soon.
Steve Erickson