Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|It wouldn’t go away. Jeremy Pike had a disability but also a gift. He was an idiot-savant.
Jeremy Pike rocked himself to sleep. He rocked himself awake. Jeremy never stopped rocking. He had worn more seats of his pants out than his caretakers in Wing C, at the Utah State Training School could count. It is why he lived dressed in nothing at all but his birthday suit and spent his days wearing down carpet pieces donated as a tax write-off by an American Fork city business. That had to stop.
Jeremy Pike, at twenty-four had the mental age of a three year old. He was profoundly mentally retarded.
Not much to live for, you’d think, and you’d be right if that is all he was. He was very disabled, never would be able to care for himself, had no-one to love him. You might reason in his condition, no-one cared if he lived or died. You’d be wrong.
Ideo-savant’s have extremely powerful and unique gifts. Some exhibit incredible memories for people, dates and time. I met ‘The Rainman’ movie’s origin inspired by a real person named Kim Peek. I know these kinds of talents exist. He rattled off how many months, days and minutes each of us at our table had lived when offered our birth dates.
The rumor that Jeremy Pike could not only foretell the date of your death but how it would happen seemed too incredible to believe. “He puts a curse on them,” Hazel Adams, his caretaker said.
“How?” I wondered aloud. As a psychologist consulting about special cases, I’d been brought in to sort this mess out. Attempts had been made on the young man’s life. He had been brought in along with his current caretaker, accused of trying to smother him with a pillow.
“He is given a name and rocks to it, sing-songing with how the deed is done. He adds a word or two like ‘Car. Car’. The name and way of passing is in the news, before the article, too, dies.”
The next moment her hand slammed down articles of deaths by drowning, car accidents, jay walking, and grisly forms of murder. “Come see for yourself, sir, your name is being pronounced.”
Jeremy Pike knew I was going to commit suicide that day with the gun in my desk. It stunned me when the words hummed softly out of his mouth. Doctor’s, police and psychologists are among the highest professions offing themselves.
Hazel Adams handed me the pillow she’d been accused of trying to use. “You are free to go,” I suggested, “No charges will be filed.”
Jeremy Pike had put the thought of suicide growing in my head. He instinctively didn’t want a professional testing, probing, mucking up his rocking life.
Jeremy Pike’s gift wouldn’t go away until he did. I knew what I had to do. Who fed him my name didn't count. There would be one more death before my own.
|Daily and Week's SCREAMS!!! win
The job was insane. Jose’s new uniform was too tight, doing the midnight shift was creepy and the gilt edged cage like elevator he was in charge of jerked to a stop on every floor.
“Yes, sir. No sir. Of course, ma’am. Not at all, ma’am.” Jose bowed and scraped the air. The elevator gate had no automatic opener. That was the main reason he was here. No amount of oil made the gate stop squeaking. It shrieked if he was too fast, groaned if he was too slow.
Another thing troubled this newest employee of the old Majesty hotel on what had been 13th street. The night visitors. Jose didn’t mind being treated as if he were an invisible part of the machinery of the contraption. Fresh off the streets, he was lucky to get paid to stay in any permanent shelter at all. It was the night people.
“Sure. Sleep all you want, as long as you wake up to get the night people up and down,” his boss man, Harold Rickenour had said. The dude was scary in himself, a wasted walking cadaver with deep sunken eyes. “Don’t ask our customers questions. Don’t talk to them at all.” Jose repeated the few phrases he was allowed to utter, muttering them like a chant. “Yes sir, no sir…”
It was crazy the way they popped up from nowhere. Jose had to stand there with a rigid smile held in place. No stool allowed in the small confined space, just he and the night people. The single light bulb swinging overhead, made the rattling old bones of the elevator turn his visitors into macabre half human shaped shadows hovering, breathing their stink next to him.
Yes, the night people. Solemn silent creatures handing him their passes with the floors they went to, printed blood red. Still wet, smeared with what must be their sweat. There was a special pocket with a flap in Jose’s immaculate white jacket he was required to wear, he must keep them in.
Harold Rickenour, resurrected and freshly groomed and gloomed, met Jose at the check in counter each morning where they were traded for cash. “You’re filling out nicely. Getting quite plump,” wheezed his boss behind a skeletal fist placed against the slash of his mouth.
“Better start watching your weight,” the open sore with its thin red tongue advised.
“Thin is what we like, as does the elevator. Too much weight?” bony shoulders shrugged up and down, mostly down. “You’ll be taking night people on a one way trip to bloody hell in the basement when a cable slips off its mooring. Bad taste.”
Bad taste? There was more than enough of that going around. That and the bad sweaty smell he breathed in while trapped inside the elevator cage with his guests. Jose spent hours getting it off him in his new digs. Deodorants, shampoos and all manner of cleansing agents and hot water were required to turn his skin bright red weeping from the pores.
Jose found his restless hands scrubbing each other at work when someone entered his cage. The hand brake he used to control the speed and stop at each floor groaned and shrieked more often.
“Yes, sir. No sir. Of course, Ma’am,” Jose said, gritting his teeth when one of the night people groaned or gave a small shriek at the bouncing, jarring ride. The light bulb swayed in wider circles, turning his guests into unlikely shadows dancing with themselves.
The cable slipped. His stomach flipped. They floated for too many heartbeats until the cage shuddered and stopped, hanging, dangling in the shaft how many floors below?
The night people said they’d prefer the stairs. The lessened weight made the cage stop its grumbling. Jose cleaned their vomit off the floor. He reported it to his boss who promised to have the cables checked out, but shook his skull and tsked with the edge of his tongue hissing in and out. “Not much can be done. Machinery’s too old. No parts. Want to keep your job? Lose weight.”
Jose joined a gym, started working out, toned up. Got on a diet, massages, one manicurist after another, they never lasted long. Something about digging the sweaty grime from the night people tickets staining his fingernails.
“Customers have noticed. You stand out. Best try to blend in. It is making them nervous. I’ve heard talk.” Harold Rickenour pushed a small bottle towards Jose. “Try this. One swallow before the beginning of each shift.”
The stuff tasted vile, clogged Jose’s nose up. A blessing in disguise. It did the trick. It glazed his eyes, fogged his brain, turned him into a shadow of himself. The effect seemed to last only the length of his midnight shift, under the bobbing light of his elevator cage. In the light of day he looked like himself, a young and viral looking man attracting female glances.
The stink of sweat was too much a part of him when he was alone to bother with at work. It was becoming increasingly difficult to get rid of when he was on his own time. The fluttery female advances at the sight of him gave way to disgust up close.
When night people entered his domain, it was another matter. Things had become much more personal and worse.
His skin had developed a reaction to the touch of the tickets placed in his hands. A red rash wouldn’t stop itching. It grew from his fingertips up the palm of his hands. No manner of healing ungents helped. It hurt to wash them.
Jose stopped taking sips. He brought it up with Harold Rickenour. “Might need to take gulps.” That comment with the usual dismissive shrug. The two had little to discuss otherwise. His boss was subservient to night people. To Jose, he was distant and gloomy, not attracting conversation unless it was a must.
Jose knew he had no talent worth getting another job. The interviews he got for what he was capable of resulted in noses being tuned up, coughs of disgust, and hands waving him away along with his distinctive odor. Their eyes made him invisible, never wanting to see him again. “Mister Rickenour?” Jose risked asking, “I’ve done everything you’ve asked. I’m a good employee. Haven’t asked for any time off.
“Do you want some? I’m not sure that could be arranged,” his boss coughed behind a raised skeletal fist.
“What I would like you to consider, sir, is finding me another position working under you. If there is one. Surely there must be more staff servicing the hotel.” Working at night, and stuck to his post in his cage, Jose hadn’t seen any. There were maids, valet’s, custodians and more at the rental where he spent his off work hours. There must be here, as well.
His boss’s fist opened up into bony fingers rat-a-tatting on the check in counter. “There is one opening I find hard to get someone to apply for. Want to give it a try?” Rickenour’s mouth sliced open, lips curving into a wet red smile.
“I’ll do anything,” Jose winced, fingernails scraping at his skin, raising welts.
“You really should have that looked at.” His boss pointed to Jose’s post.
“"Gotta' keep the old girl alive or we all lose our jobs. Take the elevator down to bloody hell and gone. That’s what we call the basement level. You’ll know what to do when you get there.”
“Sorry,” Jose spoke to the night people waiting inside. “Last stop. You can get off and wait or you’ll have to work this contraption on your own. I’m going down below.”
None of the shadowy figures exited, although several wavered. They seemed unusually murky, pushing against each other as Jose pushed in. He was too busy to do but notice, intent on finding out about his new position, his heart thumping blood like a piston in his chest.
There was the usual shriek and grown that grew louder as he descended. “Nervous,” he apologized to his fellow riders. Talking to them seemed no longer a problem. Jose was no longer an operator, was he? Just a fellow rider to his floor.
The cage door opened. “What, the bloody hell?”
Shadowy feet, hands and arms ejected him, stumbling into a fine red mist. The shrieks and grown’s seemed to devour him.
It was then he learned his new position. The hotel was alive. His own shrieks and groans of agony bore witness to those echoing in the room around him. His blood was being sucked through his skin where it wept along with his unholy cries. Jose writhed as he became the hotel’s most recent meal as he assumed his new position and began sweating blood from every pore.
|2nd Place co-win at the Writing 4 Kids Contest
Jenny Play loved her last name
She loved to do what it said.
When her mom asked for help
Jenny wanted to play instead
of cleaning her room or making her bed.
I’ll do what you ask later
She swooned at what fate left her,
Vacuuming always came to soon.
Washing dishes was best left fishes
Done by the light of the moon.
Tomorrow was the best time to get things done
Unless it involved having fun.
“You’re skating on thin ice,” her mother said.
Of ice skates, Jenny Play had none.
“I’ll do all my chores if you get me some.”
It was agreed with remarkable speed.
Jenny Play wins awards for doing chores in need.
She never gets bored at the rink.
It’s enough to give pause and make one think.
Jenny and mom never keep score, every more.
They both love the sound of ice skates going clink clink.
Mom and daughter enjoy doing chores and skating together,
They do both during good or bad foul weather,
dancing on their toes, during chores they spin close,
in the rink their skates flash, slide and wink.
24 line poem for the January "Writing 4 Kids Contest"
|Daily SCREAMS!!! win
“Don’t touch it.”
Jenny Moore was always nudging, poking things. When she wasn’t? It was people she did it to. Alvin, her big brother, was tired of feeling one of her bony stiff fingers rearranging his innards. How many times had her prying pushed an item over, made it fall and break? Why was it him who always seemed to take the blame and have to clean up her mess?
“Why not, frog face? It isn’t going to bite. It’s not like it’s alive.”
“Just. Don’t.” Alvin got speared by one of Jenny’s index fingers for that remark.
Things had only gotten worse during this family vacation to Mexico. Their parents figured Jenny could do less harm among the tourist traps near Chichen Itza, a well preserved ancient city. The main highlight of Chichén Itzá was the El Castillo pyramid, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
“No mas, por favor. Solamente mirando.” Alvin grabbed the teetering reptilian clay figure of some ancient god as Jenny’s hip brushed it while she moved on. Her whole body could be a human time bomb triggered by anything it touched.
“What the hell.” Alvin juggled. The owner of the fly infested shop refused to take it back. A wizened, half starved little fellow with black obsidian eyes, he danced around Alvin waving cryptic hand motions while speaking the Mayan ancient tongue.
“Veinte y Cinco dolores, aquí.” Alvin stuffed the money at a passing leathery hand and broke free, stuffing the idol figure in his souvenir shopping bag. Jenny was making mischief already, in the next stall down.
She kept Alvin busy avoiding one tragedy after another until the shops closed down for their owners afternoon siesta. Not even a fly stirred in the semi tropical heat. “There’s some free shade under that palm tree.” Jenny poked and prodded Alvin into a makeshift jerky run to grab it before someone else did.
“What you got in there? Let me see.” Jenny, in her eagerness to find out what present Alvin had bought for their parents while she’d been terrorizing the neighborhood, tumbled the clay frog figure, out onto the ground. “Why, that old thing?”
“Good. You didn’t break it. Leave it alone.”
“It's got a crack in it. Eww. Look.”
Jennie’s sticky fingers crawled away from the inanimate object. Alvin’s tired eyes flicked open wide enough to peer down. Dead and dying flies littered the earth near his feet. There was a carpet of them fading back along the path they’d taken. So that’s where the flies had gone; why they were no longer buzzing and biting in the air.
“Nice. Clay has some kind of natural insect repellent in it,” Alvin joked. He was too tired and worn out to deal with it right now. “Give me a break. I need some rest.”
Strangely enough, as Alvin closed his eyes, he felt the tip of his tongue wiggle between his lips in a parody of what a frog might do before flicking it out to eat a fly.
“Eww. Ugly. You ate one on purpose. Why?” Jenny’s open handed slap against the side of Alvin’s face snapped him out of his warm hazy daze.
His teeth crunched down, smashing the insect between them. One of the dying flies must have landed as he yawned open his mouth. He swallowed reflexively. “Not bad. Want one?” Alvin teased. The words came out like a croak.
“You are being disgusting. There’s mom and dad looking for us.” Jenny waved, jerked an elbow into Alvin’s ribs and led the way without looking to see if her brother followed.
“Hello, honey. Did you have a good time?” Missus Moore’s well-practiced palm became a shield against her daughter’s invading arms, hands, fingers and elbows wrestling each other for a mother’s hug.
Mister Moore took a long learned defensive position behind his wife. “Where’s Alvin? What did you get us while we were gone?”
Jenny pointed behind her. “It’s over there. Come on. I’ll show you. Alvin must have fallen asleep again. He got dosey.”
Trampled flies disappeared under their feet, smashed and spread into unrecognisable quickly drying stains merging with the color on the plaza bricks. “He bought a little frog idol. I don’t know where the big one came from. Sure is big, as big as Alvin.”
“It’s huge. I wonder how they make them look so lifelike?” Missus Moore exclaimed.
“It wasn’t here before, or at least I didn’t notice.” Jenny wiped salty drying sweat from her lips. No fly would dare risk those flying hands.
Flies landed and adorned the huge clay figure’s mouth instead, seemingly maddened at not being allowed in. Mayan’s lurked, buzzing comments in their ancient language, behind blankets used for doors between stall walls.
The souvenir bag and the small cracked clay figure lay at the larger idol’s side. Mister Moore kicked at it prodding it with his sandal. It was from him that his daughter inherited and magnified having the pronounced little touchy feely habit.
The idol split in two. Two pieces of polished black obsidian embedded as the figurine’s eyes, flashed in the midday sun and rolled free. “Oops. Broke it.”
The laser focused beam of reflected sunlight from them made the man blink and rub tears from his eyes. “Damn flies.” One had flown right onto his tongue.
“Don’t swear, Arthur.”
“Eww, daddy. Spit it out. You are just as bad as my brother.” The trio disentangled themselves. Hands were raised to brows, providing shade cover while the parents looked around. “Alvin? Donde esta?” Missus Moore sighed, wiping sweat from her face.
“Could be anywhere there’s a bathroom, be my guess.” Mister Moore idly reached down to capture the two pieces of polished black obsidian, shoved them in a pocket and licked his lips. One fly wasn’t going to kill him, was it? “Alguien ha visto a mi hijo?” He wanted to know where Alvin was.
Unnoticed. the more than life size frog figure seemed to move a tadge, or was it merely the effect of a passing shadow. Clay idols are inanimate figures, aren't they?
The natives watching the unfolding tableau stayed motionless and as silent as their clay figures for sale in their stalls. Not one answered the question about seeing where Alvin had gone. All eyes were on the large clay god. It's black shiny obsidian eyes seemed to be the only thing in it that moved, gazing back.
Alvin would not be set free from inside it, until the Idol brought the end of the hot season with the next rainfall for the crops. At that time, It would melt into mud and wait, until the locals were ready to refashion it again as small idols, out of the good earth from which it had come. Alvin would be placed with the other sacrificial offerings, in the underground secret burial chamber of the El Castillo pyramid.
The locals waited until the family went off in search of Alvin, leaving the clay figure behind. Slowly, clay bowls filled with crawling insect larva feasting on ripe sacrificial chicken guts were brought ceremoniously to the large clay idol’s feet.
|“Does it work?”
“You know it does. This isn’t new. Just refined.” Using natural body processes to produce the effects of micro-batteries for medical devices had been around a while. The associated health benefits with attached micro devices proved enormous.
The last step was to set up monitoring all this, across networked hospitals, medical facilities and suppliers. It was a natural progression that with the pandemic, had just been a matter of time.
“So we’re geared up? Ready to go?” All done magically to everyone taking a shot or disguised in a simple pill. Nano-bionic robots sweeping throughout bloodstreams in decades of preparation ready to unite in their common task.
“Got to check the serial feed, but yeah.” Marshall Thomas, bio-physicist stared at his companion. “Ready to link up?”
Sherry Anderson didn’t feel any different. Human power was about to change the world. It was a good thing that it was. Climate change ruined prospects for wind and hydro energy. Gas and oil were outlawed. They were worn out sources, anyway. It was past time for humans to boost themselves up by their bootstraps and use themselves.
With eight billion humans taking up space the answer should have been obvious. People’s bodies balance energy input and output each day of their entire lives. Good short term battery storage. It took a genius like Marshall Thomas to connect the dots and take the next step.
Instant access to the greatest hive super computer ever dreamed of. Think of the problems it could solve. On a physical basis, there were equal benefits, too many to deal with. They’d be sorted out as the need arose. For now it was enough to know with the right amount of basic storage power, they could feed the world, reduce if not eliminate disease, stimulate or reduce emotional reaction enough to prevent war.
Sherry Anderson couldn’t wait to become a leading part of this act. With the new filters in place, Marshal Thomas had created, it would all take place automatically, without anyone having to do anything or having to think about it.
He turned to her, eyes agleam, his fingers finishing their tender touch flicking switches in the room. The thrill of it all shone there on his face, so bright it began to turn sunburn red. Sweat steamed off him in clouds.
“Marshal? Turn it off. Something’s wrong.” Sherry Anderson felt overheated. The same thing was happening to her. It was more than all the excitement of reaching this pinnacle of achievement.
Dials spun into red. They hadn't anticipated a system overload. “Too much power. Too many people,” the biophysicist seemed to lose all the water he was made of, in front of his assistant’s eyes. She, an instant later, felt herself evaporating away from every pore.
Around the world the amount of water vapor rising turned the earth into human rain. The land became floods washing the remains of mankind away. For a while, the hydro power was immense.
In the final analysis, It was true, what the bible said. The few poor souls, who never had medical care or internet service and weren’t plugged into modern society, and could swim like a fish, yes, the poor had inherited what was left of the earth.
|Hush little baby, don’t say a word
Your safe with me, ‘cause your mom’s disturbed.
And if she does come to her senses again
Don’t be afraid, I’ll turn her into a shattered has been.
And if your dad tries to get you back
He’ll find I have a knack, how his bones get cracked.
And if social services tracks me down
They’ll find out I haven’t stayed around.
And if the cops get my lover to turn me in
That stool pigeon end’s up with a permanent grin.
And if you cry, cry and refuse to be good
I’ll make you stay quiet, like you know you should.
And if our years turn to tears, my dear
We’ll both be together in our paranoid fear.
And if you grow up and become like me
I pity your lonely world that will come to be.
16 line poem entry for the "Monsters Under The Bed" contest
|Daily SCREAMS!!! win
I never had no bother, being the surprise, jumping out birthday cakes and strutting my stuff. Wolf whistles swallowed themselves. Hands reaching out to pinch and tease drew back in alarm.
I didn’t take it personal. It wasn’t me causing that reaction, I’m pretty hot stuff. I’ve got the figure to prove it. I know how to make the right moves.
It is Baby, my twelve foot Anaconda curling around my voluptuous body, that stops the most degenerate perverts in their tracks. She is my protector, the best part of my act.
Once guys get used to her and me sliding sensuously together, you could hear a pin drop, their eyes are so focused on the way we move. It unnerved me at first, when things grew that quiet, like I had failed to turn the men on or something.
Some snakes are renowned for hypnotizing their prey before making a meal out of them. That’s me and baby. We’ve got a rep. We keep getting called for special occasions large and small for the rich and famous who expect to be entertained with the unusual.
The nice thing is we are secretly for hire as assassins. Bigwigs of all types like a big sendoff for their enemies, stool pigeons, rat finks, and upstarts. You’d be surprised how often we end up at going away parties.
We try to make it the most exciting day of the intended’s life. There is such encouragement by well wishers among the guests, as I wrap my arms around the real main attraction, stunned motionless before me. I always rub people the right way.
Baby does her best. It has taken a lot of training to teach her to hold on without squeezing someone to death. She knows her time will come. It is me that leaves the guest of honor breathless, the way I tease and stroke.
Money begins to flutter my way in appreciation for my style. I slither out of my skimpy clothing like it is a second skin, watching the eyes of the selected few who want me for more than my body.
The tension builds. I always make it special. My favorite finale is to end things with the kiss of death, a poisoned capsule inserted into the mouth with my wiggling tongue. When prompted, Baby gives a tight squeeze, and our victim gasps, swallows, and minutes later it’s over, the deal done.
A heart attack? Perhaps that is the feint used for those in the seat of power. For the less famous, Baby swallows the evidence that once was a stool pigeon, for example. You get the drift. She only needs to eat once every several months when she gets a belly full. Nice side benefit.
The reason I bring all this up is baby hasn’t fed in a while. She gets restless, stops sleeping, and it seems she got loose. Baby poked her head up through the ceiling tiles. I know how she escaped her locked room. She’s up there in the rafters. If you listen hard, you may hear her moving around. Hunting.
I’m not worried. She knows my scent. Last night she fell through the break room ceiling onto the half slumbering night shift’s laps. You had to be there. The screaming sent shock waves that shivered the windows, almost bust them. There was an explosion of human flesh at the door trying to get out.
I was out in the hallway searching for signs of Baby, leaving mice caught in mouse traps to entice her down. I’d left a caged rat in her room’s corner if she came back. Our gig at this place of business was to entertain some special needs kids.
The special ed teacher had tried kittens. The kids squeezed them to death. He figured the snake was a safe alternative that could be used as a therapy pet. Go figure. Money is money and the idea had merit. I liked the novelty of it.
I don’t think of Baby and me as bad. We have our way of improving the DNA of the world.
The thing is, I don’t know if Baby has eaten yet. Have you seen the special ed teacher around? Let’s hope he got embarrassed, quit and left town. Cross your fingers.
Until I know, it is best we keep this little adventure between ourselves. I don’t want anything to happen to Baby. To me, she is more than a pet.
Help me out? If you find her, don’t act frightened. She can smell it on you. Baby likes the taste. Call me, will you? I can’t be everywhere at once.
Hey, I know it is your birthday. Baby and me were going to be your office surprise. We don’t make a killing every time we put on a show, but we try. Maybe we could work something out special this time. You don’t act like a rat.
The doors are locked. Think of it as a hide and seek game. Don’t try calling anybody. Your adjusting the company books in your favor didn’t go over well. Me? I like a man who can speak with a forked tongue.
I’ve narrowed down Baby to being on this level, could be above us right now. Maybe that whisper sound is her up in the rafters.
I see that look in your eye. You want me. Think you can have your way, do me in, and make some kind of mad get-away. Exciting isn’t it?
Don’t look now, there behind you. Baby’s head is snaking down right on time.
|“Everyone earns a nickname. Don’t get to choose one. Get's chosen for you. You a club recruit. Think they more than a turd.” Knucklehead’s hairless skull gleamed under the clubhouse overhead light. Ten tears etched above his right ear claimed the number of his kills. "Think again."
“Dog is what I am. It is what everyone calls me. I wouldn’t know how to answer any other name.” The stubborn jut of Dog’s chin and his bulldog expression held steady. “I come in with my name or I don’t come in at all.”
“Too late for that, fur ball.” Knucklehead hawked up a gob of mucus, spit it in Dog's face. “You ours. You pass that line when you walk in our door. See how brave you be during gauntlet.”
The jovial jostling of welcomers, turned into armed guards. Two lines of taunting, shouting faces urged Dog on. One spoke.
“Who speaks for this pile of dog shit?”
Seconds passed into minutes. Dog wrestled himself free. “I can speak for myself. Name’s Dog. Weasel spoke for me. Where is he? Where’s the girls, the free booze? This isn’t what he said.”
“He a mistake,” Knucklehead’s laughter echoed down the two matched lines. “We know's how to fix that.”
A jeweled tipped hand pointed not at Dog but at Knucklehead. “You spoke out of turn. You lead the way. Show him how it’s done.”
Cut off baseball bats were raised, Chains rattled. Knuckle dusters flashed onto curled fists. Feet began stomping a low vibrating rhythm. Dust began to rise up, ghost like from the floor.
Not everyone liked Knucklehead, but few hands were raised in menace. Knucklehead’s mouth twisted into an ugly grin, stretching the scars on his face. “Girls and booze are at the end of the tunnel, baby. Don’t let me leave you behind.”
Dog launched himself after the big brute. His best bet was to use Knucklehead as a human shield. Surprise worked the first few feet. He wove, ducked, danced, the next few, avoiding the whispering clubs and the snap of chains. “Go. Go.” He chanted breathing in huge gulps of streaming male sweat stained air.
Blood fountained before him. Knucklehead's daze shook it off like rain. Dog’s eyes blurred with it. Another club descended like a battering ram into the big man’s gut.
A chain snaked out at Knucklehead’s feet. Dog’s shield turned into a human sacrifice, blocking his way. Dog leaped as a bat shattered him with pain.
There was Weasel. Dog yanked him forward into more blows. Weasel’s head became red mist. Dog grabbed a fallen club, swinging to the line's end.
Feet stomped their approval. Blood lust throbbed in the air. A naked goddess wiggled up to him and poured booze over Dog’s head, laid a hungry kiss on his mouth. “Impressive.”
She released him, turned him around, pushed and stepped back. “Good practice. You didn't wait to hear the rules. Let’s see how well you do the real thing alone.”
|Nobody knows why. Does this look like human skin to you?.
“I’m fine, just tired. Not sleeping at night.” No, he wasn’t sick. The pandemic meant staying indoors too much. it was just his pale, washed out complexion. Sydney said he avoided crowds. There were fewer when it was dark. His bloodshot eyes seemed distant and he didn’t feel hungry at all.
“Life bites, sometimes, doesn’t it? It can be a real pain in the neck.” Martha brushed a kiss against her boyfriend’s cheek, her lips came away with a sudden touch that was clammy cold. Closer up, his gray tainted skin didn’t look like human skin. Something physically was bothering Sydney. The effects spoke for themselves. The virus mutating to some new crazy kind of another? Getting him to talk about it would only harden him against sharing.
“Do you believe in vampires?”
Martha sniggered. “Are you batty?” She figured teasing him might open his sealed lips. Sydney refused to laugh.
“Look at my teeth.”
Martha did. Sydney had always had two long pointy elephant tusks he sucked on before closing his mouth, which he rarely did. Had they grown or was it her imagination. “You are just being fang-glorious.”
This got a weird glance and wet lick of Sydney’s tongue testing the air between them. Next, he’d be telling her about some recurring bloody nightmare where he stalked strangers at night, hypnotising them and leaving them dried up lifeless husks of themselves. Too much time alone was making Sydney creepy.
“Look at my neck.” Sydney offered. He unbuttoned and shrugged out of his shirt, turning to display two red puncture wounds. “Remember that love bite that sent me into ecstasy last weekend? When the hickey went away, those didn’t.”
“You calling me a blood sucker? That fifty you loaned me after I laid you will get repaid with interest, if you want a replay, for you alone. I don’t do strangers.” Martha’s good humor was being put to a test. So, she was a free spirit, doing online freak shows. It had never bothered Sydney before.
What kind of game was Sydney playing? Usually, she could take him being the joker in the deck however the cards were played. “Goofball. What’s the skinny?” Her fingertips brushed the crusty scabs, feeling Sydney’s blood pulse in the hidden vein underneath. “Tut tut. That’s real. You should have it looked at.”
“You are looking at it. You are the one that gave it to me. No-one else shares my bed. A bit too lusty with the love bites lately? Only explanation I can think of.” Sydney’s hands were busy while he talked. He pushed Martha away, wrestled a black satin bag open.
“I hope I’m not too late to save you from yourself.” He scattered the contents, garlic, holy water flask, crucifix, wooden stake, mirror, before Martha’s toothy smile.
“When did you know?” Martha gasped, staring at the empty reflection in the mirror. She backed up, uncertain what Sydney might do next.
“It all came together after your supposed Covid19 recovery. Your visits came at night and we only made love in the dark. Your skin felt like leather. Not just my rocks getting off felt drained when we were done.” Sydney avoided Martha’s hypnotising eyes, flung the open holy water vial at her, horrified at the hissing sound of her melting flesh.
“I thought we’d never have secrets between us,” Sydney’s hand trembled as he fumbled with the wooden crucifix shaped knife.
Martha shrieked, “You don’t know what’s at stake. You’ll never be sick again. Don’t do this. I can explain.”
The unbelievable appeared before Sydney’s eyes. Marth’s flesh healed by itself. The skin crawled back together sealing the harm he had done. “I knew you wouldn’t believe me, if I told you. You had to be shown.”
Steel muscled strength engulfed Sydney in a hug. “I’m so hungry for you.” He dropped his knife as his eyes met hers and became lost in them.
“Do it. Have your will. Make me yours.”
Martha brushed herself off. The love frenzy was over. It was the best she’d ever had. “It happens when one of us gets carried away. I fed too long. Sorry.”
“Goodbye, Sydney. Take care of yourself. At least you didn’t die.” She swatted away the vampire bat flying around her in swooping loops and dives.
|Darkness is, was, will be forever. So thought Adrey Moore, ensconced in a black brooding despair any poet would lust for. I’m floating in a river to nowhere. Adrey Moore’s emotional angst held her captive, plucked and shorn, held together by a deadly acceptance of the worthlessness of her life.
“Finish your coffee. Time to be off,” Kelvin Maybee flicked his wrist cuff and gazed at his watch. Manager of famous models, now attached to the peak of the current year’s craze, he was connected to only one, the very best.
“I’m not going,” Adrey Moore stared into the bottom of her espresso as if it could foretell a better future. “I’m like a lamb before the slaughter. I hate all this publicity, people tearing apart my life, why didn’t I do this instead of that?”
Kelvin nodded, agreeing in murmured sympathy, taking the model’s elbow, guiding her effortlessly from her stage room door. “It will all be over before you know it. Fandom is the blink of an eye. Hold on girl. Chaos will swallow you shortly into a has-been, just hang on.”
He adlibbed the familiar song. Things were unusually chaotic today. It surrounded the pair with distraught staff changing lighting, adjusting background, repositioning live streaming cameras during the seconds they were needed to bring Adrey Moore into advancing focus into the set.
“Head shot, full body, side view, catch that wistful curve, sensual cadence of her walk,” Kelvin ticked it off with his fingertips one by one, taking count, watching order spring from chaos. It amused him how every eye focused on the model’s path.
There was something special, undefined, making her larger than life. Every famous personality breathed that trait from every pore in public view. Kelvin’s job was to handle the personal side, the dark side, the imperfection impaled within Adrey Moore’s disposition. It had driven Marilyn Monroe, and others, to suicide, unable to deal with the disparity between public and private existence. “Two worlds,” Kelvin got ready to take part in the model’s final act.
“Suicide? Murder or mystery?” What would make a legend of the woman felled in her prime? The settings were ready at a moment’s notice for Kelvin to give fate a helping hand. He weighed the evidence. Having any chaos fomented inadvertently, revealed the staff’s sudden nervousness. The ethos vibrated with it, foretelling Adrey Moore’s fall from fame. Those intimately involved in the young woman’s career were too close to see it.
“An uneasy balancing act,” Kelvin motioned, made a silent signal waving a palm down. A nod from a figure cast in gloom at the stage edge and the deed was done. A fan drugged on the model’s beauty would be found at fault for the model’s eternal sleep. Wanting to keep her perfect forever would be the mantra the press would make the epitaph.
Embalmed into a living hot wax figure, cooled to perfection, the model would find her last exposure to the public a fitting diatribe to meaninglessness.
The problem with control, chaos and the river to eternal nowhere is those in charge forget the possibility of chance. Adele Moore waved to the throng of worshipers idolizing her held back by a red velvet cord, tripped, twisted an ankle. Rushed off to a waiting ambulance ride to her private hospital room. Away from the clutches of even her manager.
In the chaos was born a new order. Doctor Alcinto Veterini, treated the fabulous creature in his care like any other human, more intent on detecting her pain than the rapture of her smile. Such a simple fracture of imposed reality turned her gloom into light filled revelation. They began to talk.
“Swollen not broken. You’ll have to stay off your feet for a while,” he said to her foot.
“This is the first moment of peace I’ve had in forever. Can you keep the mob away, a day or two? Can I stay here?” Adele’s touch brought his vision to her face where a troubled wrinkle set in place.
“Need a place to stay? Is it as bad as all that? Yes, I see it is. You need to find an escape. Doctor’s orders. Lay down.”
Adele felt the whisper of a white sheet cover her. A whispered message to stay silent and the doctor left the room. “I’m afraid it is worse than was thought.”
The model’s barefoot wiggled goodbye to flashing cameras. The gurney was made a battering ram armed by nurses taking charge. “Where are you taking me?” Adele sat up, another pretty girl, now that she was not in public view. “Are you kidnapping me? I hope so.”
Instead of an ambulance ride, the doctor’s antique MG offered her a seat. “Restored her myself,” Alcinto said with pride. “I’m doing this on impulse as much as you are. Double twelve hour shifts working on life or death has taken its tole. I’m done. I don’t know where I’m taking you. Where do you want to go?”
It is a mystery what happened to Adele. Her doctor was never seen again. Legend has it her body was stolen by a crazed fan and the doctor’s body lies putrefying in a hidden culvert or other anonymous grave.
Kelvin Maybee didn’t live to see the legend grow. His underworld boss, displeased by his underling’s performance, brought him in for questioning. Truth in answers were made sure by ripping his finger and toenails out one by one. Then came the appendages soon after, until there was nothing left to tell.
The manager rode the river to nowhere singing his song of chaos, accepting Adele’s dark ‘gloom and doom’s’ revelation to his own nameless, forgotten and bitter end.