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Stay Tuned

4 Sep

There are many dark tales coming your way; some funny and some not so much.

School Ties

4 Jun

 

School Ties

From the other end of the deserted hallway they almost looked like two young, school girls. Their braids wrapped as tightly around their heads as their hands were clasped together. They moved cautiously towards the main staircase. Not because they were blind, no, the two of them had travelled these halls so often as students that even now some 80 years later they could have maneuvered these passages with the ease of the “sighted”.

It’s just that unlike yesteryear there were deep cracks in the floor and blocks of plaster where the ceiling had rained down like some apocalyptic hail that made haste impossible.

‘It is so quiet’ thought Marta. ‘It’s like a church or a…’  She couldn’t quite bring herself to complete the thought. And she made the sign of the cross just in case God had read her heart and had completed her sentence. At the thought she shivered.

Anya felt the shiver and laughed. “Are the ghosts tickling you?” She reached out and squeezed the place just under Marta’s ribs that always made her explode with laughter.

“Do not joke Anya. It’s bad luck.”

“Yes. That’s all we need now as we stand in the parlor of death is bad luck.” Anya said.

The two women continued shuffling in slow measured steps to avoid stumbling and shattering their now delicately fragile bones as brittle as the glass sold to tourists by the street vendors outside.

After spending a lifetime together these two ancient women had returned to this place, this place that had shaped and defined them. This place had helped to free them from the prison of their blindness, as much as it had helped to forge the chains that had bound them together.

There were no more words now. They had said them all. Over almost 8 decades there had been thousands maybe even millions of them, words of love and hate, recrimination, guilt, words of encouragement and laughter. So, so many of them and yet now as they stood at the top of those stairs that had led down to the front door and what had always seemed like freedom as young girls… any words, any last words that might be said were silenced forever as their memories filled with Tomas.

He was so full of laughter and love. They had both loved him, loved him as obsessively and as deeply as you do at 8. They loved him almost as much as they loved each other, which of course was the problem… because Tomas was head over heels for Marta.

Silly now to think back at the things that shatter the world of children, even at 16 the situation would not have seemed as dire. But they had not been 16 and at the time the thought that anything or anyone could come between them, could make them have to choose was so unbearable that the answer was simple. So very, very simple…

Standing at the top of the stairs they could see the broken body of Tomas lying in a pool of laughter and love but unfortunately only for one.

Accidents happen all the time in schools for the blind even when they have been closed for over fifty years. Anya and Marta looked almost like school girls, their braids loose as they lay broken yet together at the foot of the stairs.

Love For Sale

29 May

Love For Sale

“She has been fashioned from the finest of materials. Her hair is that of a Duchess beheaded on the eve of her wedding seconds before consummation could be achieved. The expression on her face really says it all, doesn’t it? The arms are of course those of Petrushka snatched during the death of her incomparable swan. Although the torso is common stock the breasts are those of a Saint, I am not sure which one because they all merge together for me with their horrendously over the top and somewhat garish deaths. The only thing I remember for sure is that this was obviously not one who was pierced through the breast with an arrow. And finally the piece de resistance and what really makes my humble offering unique is what lies masked by her damask. Soft as a kitten, smooth as a silken oyster and yet lined with the razor-sharp dentate of those Amazonian hell fish. Lulled by the gentle cooing of the doves your enemy will truly be consumed by his passion.”

I studied the man as he digested my meaning. He did not look like the usual type interested in procuring the services of my Vionette. This one looked like he would have no problem keeping a woman satisfied or at least too terrified to do anything but pray for his lack of interest.

“May I?” The man gestured towards the short stiff round of embroidery that covered Vionette’s most charming point of interest.

“But of course.” I said. “Just…”

I was about to say to say ‘don’t get too close’ when I heard the whirring purr of those tiny teeth and knew that I had been too late.

Vionette did not even have the good grace to blush as the man writhed beneath her staring in horror to the gush at the end of his arm where his hand used to be.

I gave Vionette my sternest look.

“I am sorry my sweet but you know how much I hate it when someone points.” Vionette cooed.

I searched the man’s pockets for coins but found nothing but credit vouchers. I wished Vionette had at least held her temper until we’d been paid. That was the trouble with artists they cared more about their dignity than their pocketbooks

Well at least it wasn’t a total waste.  The man was strong and healthy and would keep my girls fed for weeks. I on the other hand would have to go hungry again.

The Remnant

21 May

The Remnant

 

When Ramone died Alice did her best to carry on. She got her hair done. Tried to get out, see friends. She painted, listened to music, read, bought a CD-Rom that guaranteed her the ability to speak Mandarin in just thirty days. She saw each new movie as soon as it came out and for the first time in her life she could actually choose her picks for the Academy Awards with confidence because she had seen them all even the foreign shorts. When her best friend Phyl had her baby she even agreed to be the godmother, this shocked the hell out of everyone who knew her because it was common knowledge that Alice liked children about as much as the Pope liked homosexuals. But that was beside the point; Alice was embracing life with her arms open wide and a beatific smile on her face. Well for almost a month anyway. And then she grabbed her favorite duvet cover threw it over the dining room table and moved in.

 

It didn’t take long for Viv to notice something was wrong because she was a really stellar girlfriend. And if truth be told she knew that it was just a matter of time before this ravenous hunger for life that Alice was experiencing would become anorexia. So when she came home that night and found all the lights off and her Siamese, Mick howling like it was the end of the world from the top of his cat tree, she immediately feared the worst. Taking a deep breath she prepared herself to find Alice soaking in a bath of her own blood, laid out like Camille in their bed or lying broken and small, looking like one of those macabre dolls that Alice collected, the ones that came in coffins. Therefore finding her set up like a Bedouin under the dinette set was actually a relief. And she decided to ignore this rather eccentric behavior and carry on as if everything was status quo.

 

Alice was trying to decide where to set up her laptop when she heard someone knocking on her roof. She knew it was Viv. She heard her come in but had decided to ignore her. After all Viv was a part of the world Alice had left behind after she had been left behind. She knew that Viv loved her but not as much as Ramone had. Nobody loved her as much as Ramone and she missed him so much it made her crazy. Everybody knew you only got one soul mate in life right? Alice’s was a sleek black cat with one patch of white at his throat and one just below his belly making him look like he was dressed for flamenco. So when the rapping continued Alice threw sanity to the wind and chose to believe that she what she was hearing were chunks of meteor sizzling with radioactivity and she prayed that her shields would hold.

 

Viv getting no response slid Alice’s dinner through what she assumed was Alice’s door, drew a chair up to the table and ate her meal in silence. It was not the best steak she had ever eaten. But then it could have been a lot worse considering the fact that Alice did all the cooking. Viv hoped that this tent thing was just a phase because she really didn’t think it was fair for her to work all day and then come home and have to make dinner. She enjoyed being a provider. She did not enjoy being a nurturer.  Although she very much enjoyed being nurtured especially since it was a totally new experience.

Alice was trying to decide where she was going to live now that she had started a new life. The choices were literally endless because here under the dining room table she was omnipotent. She was the Creatrix. All she had to do was imagine it and it was. Here time moved backwards and forwards at her whim. Here she was alone or surrounded by the friends she’d always dreamed of. She could get naked throw on a mock, mink coat and sip mint juleps with Tallulah Bankhead, smoke Gitanes and scream her existential angst with Sartre, Camus and any other philosopher that struck her fancy. She could watch the nine moons rise over a planet that she had painted into existence and then dance down a white marble staircase with Fred Astaire. But the best thing about being the Alpha and the Omega was that nothing had to die. So here in her snug, duvet heaven, Ramone was still alive.

Resurrecting him had not been easy. It had taken an incredible amount of concentration and she had needed to put in her ear plugs to drown out the sound of Viv asking her if she wanted things. But once Viv had gone to bed and the apartment had fallen silent, Alice was able to conjure a shadowy version of her soul mate and hear him purr. And with his near transparent arms wrapped around her neck, and his practically sheer head on her cheek, she had the first good sleep she’d had since his death.

Once…

16 May

Once…

 

Tommy says that once there was a sun that rose and sank in the sky just like the dead. Just like me. He also says there were giant ribbons of color that arced across the sky after it rained and so many stars in the black night sky that they made pictures. I cannot imagine it. Not any of it but especially not a black night sky and not the part about people.  Even though he shows me pictures I find it hard to believe that we ever looked like that.

 

Tommy is dead too only in a different way than me. Tommy says that once there was as much different colored flesh as there are ways to be dead. He says that once people used to hate each other because of it. He says they used to kill each other over it. I would never kill someone because of the way they looked. I only kill when I’m hungry.

 

Tommy tells me that once there was more than hunger and shelter. That once almost everyone had someone like he and I have each other. He says we are friends. Tommy says that once there was even love. Thinking about this makes my head hurt more than trying to imagine a black night sky blinking with random sized stark white lights. But he says he will show me pictures once he remembers where he put the books.

 

I do not understand how Tommy can lose things so easily when he never leaves The Library. I never lose anything and I hunt this entire city.

 

To be cont….

Fate. A piece inspired by Peggy Baker

7 May

Fate

 

She gave me my memories, concise on a small square of white paper. She handed me my heart wrapped in the bitter leaves of willful blindness. She was the one with the scissors.

 

I waited for her to cut. I waited for days, months, years. Decades have passed and still I wait, eyes focused like lasers on the thread of my life. The blades frozen above and below like the scream in my throat.

 

There is nothing I can bribe her with. Nothing I can say that will move her to mercy. She is unreachable. She is cruel. She is infinite. I, am the mote in her eye.

Bella Donna

30 Apr

Bella Donna

 

They say she is the most beautiful thing that has ever crawled out of the Sewers and yet no man seeks her bed. Some say she is only half a woman, the half that you see, while the other is something that slithers. Others whisper that her kiss will drain a man till there is nothing left to fill his boots not even dust.

The children say the worst of all but I know different. And what I know is truth because Bella Donna is my daughter.

Not that I call myself much of a mother. Didn’t I leave her to die as soon as I cut the cord? And didn’t I forget all about her until I heard the children’s tales drifting through the pipes.

Stories about a child covered in filth, barely old enough to crawl let alone climb out of the Sewers with a trail of rats dancing at her heels. Or better yet riding a great albino crocodile straight through the centre of  Down wearing nothing but a belt of bones.

I will admit the very idea of it gave me the shivering fits. How was it possible the babe was half dead when I left it? Too weak to even cry… Someone must have found her.  There are tens of thousands of us who live underground and not all of us are cannibals.

Of course I wanted to see for myself if this was indeed the burden I had carried three long seasons but the sun was too hot so I waited till the leaves fell only to find I had waited too long because the ground was deep with snow. And so it went until one day I knew that if I left it any longer it would be too late because the children were screaming for the Rite.

The Rite had not been performed since well before, even my mother’s birth, when the last of the Suits and Uniforms had all been turned to ash. There had been no need, no enemy so feared or hated until now. Perhaps I had not been such a bad mother after all for if she had died like I intended she would not now be facing a living hell that would last two maybe three weeks until her desiccated body cracked wide open for the wasps to nest in.

It was a long and painful climb from the Sewer to Down. And I had to stop many times along the way just to catch my breath. My joints are large knots that barely bend and my lungs… It is the same for all of us in our third decade some even sooner but I was so close now. I could see the brown light up ahead and knew I was almost there. Just a little way, just a little way…

All I had to do now was wedge my shoulder under the steel stopper that kept me from the surface. It was not as heavy as I had been led to believe and actually crumbled slightly as I pushed.

The streets were empty save for a few tending to whatever they could grow in the soil found under the disintegrating roadways. But even they seemed to be rushing in order to join the mass that swarmed like maggots on a corpse at the temple of the Justice Called Penney.

I wish I had been able to come charging in on the back of a giant white reptile but I had nothing save my two rotting feet so I crawled.

One of the farmers offered me a lift on his back so I was able to see her face before they doused her with the Enemy Fire which is wet like water but melts your flesh like the liquid rock that still runs in some parts of Nu. And I saw that it was true what they said that she was beautiful. That her scales swirled with colors like the pools that formed after the rain. Her eyes glowed red like the moon and I wept as her hair turned to acrid sludge.

I had wanted so much more for my daughter than I had. I had not wanted her to know hunger or thirst or the pain of being forced. I had thought only to end her life before she could have a chance to know suffering. But instead I had brought her to this.

By the time I reached the steps she was burning so brightly that the crowd could barely keep their eyes open from the pain of it. I raised myself up and clasped her to my breast. I should have been screaming but I felt nothing only my desperate, need to place my lips against hers until her breath was gone and she could go to the place that I had dreamed for her.

Press 15 Please

23 Apr

This is a repeat from an older blog but I am crunching a deadline on something and some of you may not have read this so…

Press 15 Please

 

The elevator was haunted. Everybody knew it but nobody ever discussed it. Except now that they had replaced the old car there were a couple of tenants who liked to joke about it looking like something out of a Chinese horror movie because of the mirrored surround and the blue cast from the led lighting.

Mary who watched a lot of Asian horror films kept expecting to see old withered legs dangling behind her or a chalk-white face with black eyes glaring malevolently into hers. It was always worse at night which never made any sense really because once the doors slid shut it could be the end of time and who would know. Unfortunately for Mary she was a bartender and usually got home around 2:30 in the morning. She would have taken the stairs but she lived on the 19th floor and she would have considered moving but with the exception of the haunting Mary loved this building.

Nobody knew for sure who the ghost was because there were so many potential candidates. Not that the place was a death trap but it was located right downtown where people tend to live at a much higher pace. The superintendent alone had buried two husbands in the half a decade since Mary had moved in. And in addition to that there were a handful of age, aids, traffic, and suicide related deaths.

Although no one had admitted to actually seeing the specter, everyone had experienced phenomena. The most common being the elevator door opening as if it had been expecting you all along as you walked towards it. There were also the stops for floors that no buttons had been pushed for and temperature fluctuations.

So far only Mary had heard the voice.

“15 please.” was all it said. And it always waited till the elevator was full. It took almost a year for Mary to realize that no one else heard the request. An entire year of her fellow passengers giving her the filthiest looks as the elevator stopped at 15 and Mary once again failed to get out.

But it wasn’t until Mrs. Bapst, a diminutive octogenarian slapped her hand before it could press the button that Mary knew the request had come from the grave. Unfortunately this revelation did not stop the voice. In fact it grew more and more insistent now that Mary refused to play along till one day Mary found herself screaming in an elevator full of exuberant gay men “Press the fucking button yourself.”

That night Mary almost took the stairs, all 19 flights of them. But her aching feet won the fight over her pounding heart and so she entered the already open doors. Once inside she felt a shiver run down the back of her neck and she positioned herself as far from the mirrored surround as possible. Mary pressed 19. The light flickered on and then went dark. It was as if she had not pressed the button at all. And then right before her eyes she saw button for the 15th floor depress and light. Mary pressed 19 again. And again the light behind the numbers flickered briefly and then became dark. Mary pushed all the buttons as fast as she could with both hands and still the only floor that remained lit was 15.

She watched as the floors sank below her 6, 7, 8… 11, 12… 14, 15. The elevator ground to a halt but the doors refused to open. From behind the door Mary heard a scratching and a whimper. At first she thought it was a dog that was waiting on the other side of the door with its human companion impatient for its walk. Mary pounded on the door to let whoever it was know that the doors were stuck and the whimpering increased till it sounded more like muffled screams. Mary rang the alarm until she heard someone yell from below her that they had called the super. She wondered if whoever it was that yelled could hear what was going on outside on this floor. The screams had built till they were shrill like a siren and in between the screams were the sounds of a body being hit over and over again and then nothing.

‘This is what it must sound like in a vacuum.’ Mary thought, her eyes fixed on the crack below the elevator doors. Was that someone being dragged? Is that what was causing the flickering light in the space between the door and the floor?

Mary got down on her hands and knees, pressing her eye as close to the crack as she could get it. But whatever it was had vanished.

When the doors opened Mary discovered that she was not on the 15th floor at all but the 19th. The Super and her too burly sons were standing outside waiting to help her out because the elevator was a couple of feet short of the actual floor.

But try as they might they could not get Mary out until they promised to walk down to the 15th floor with her. Mary had no idea what she would find once she got there but she knew that no matter what she had to go there. Mary was moving so fast that she got there several minutes before the rest of them.

Without even stopping to catch her breath Mary ran to the elevator and just stood there listening. Was that someone crying? Mary put her ear to the door of apartment 1503 which was directly across from the elevator. She knocked on the door and heard heavy steps approaching from deep in the apartment. So focused was Mary on the door opening that she didn’t know or care that her back up had arrived. She pushed past the man in the flannel bathrobe.

“Where is she?” Mary said.

“What the fuck!!” The man said.

The two burly sons grabbed Mary and walked her out into the hall as the superintendent smoothed things over with the angry and bewildered tenant of 1503 who fully understood how being stuck in an elevator for a couple of hours could definitely make you anxious. He even smiled and said he hoped that Mary felt better once she’d had a chance to calm down.

And once she’s had a chance to calm down he thought, he would pay her a little visit and ask her how she knew about the dead prostitute he had wrapped in 2 pound packages like hamburger beside his ice tray in the freezer.

This Cat

16 Apr

This Cat

 

 

This cat runs free. Never again to be trapped in mediocrity; never again to be a victim of mendacity. This cat leaps high above the mainstream, bathing her in the warmth of unconditional fascination. She stretches her leg to the full moon and salutes Isis with her five spread toes. Her fur, shining like patent leather or the blackest crude reflects the dreamer’s eye. Never has this cat felt more alive. Her past is a distant thirst; her future an explosion of shooting stars.

This cat is a Coltrane ballad, a Nina Simone cry for justice. She is the absence of and the inclusion of every color. She wants to dance on the tip of the crescent moon and peer through cut eye so sharp it splits hair.

This cat wants to be caressed until she is so stimulated she must sink her teeth into the hand that feeds her.

This cat runs free into the world, into shadow lands, into a state of bliss. This cat runs free. This cat runs free.

Pigeon

8 Apr

This is a story from my old blog but since I am still writing about this world, I thought I would share it.

Pigeon

Nobody knew who she was or much of anything about her except for what they saw. Some people are just natural-born secrets. While others like myself are, pretty much an open book. You see me on the street first thing you say to yourself is “drunk”.

Pigeon on the other hand didn’t need any mood altering substances to help her leave the misery of this world far behind. All she needed were her wings which she made of chewing gum and feathers. It took her nearly three years to collect enough gum from the undersides of park benches and patio tables. The feathers took longer since she only used those that she plucked from the wind or from birds who no longer needed their bodies to soar high in the heavens.

I was never able to ascertain whether Pigeon thought of herself as an angel or if she really believed she was a bird. And this was not for any lack of trying on my part. Pigeon never spoke. Not one word in all the years that she lived on the street had any of us ever heard her utter a sound. Not even when she swooped down from the eaves of St. Mikes to sink her toenails into the back of some hapless rat did she scream in triumph. Not even when Silk tried to force her with the broken bottle held close to her eye, but Silk screamed when she drove the blade through his guts.

I often wondered how she saw herself. If as she soared by the huge mirrored windows she saw beauty or if like us she saw a grotesque. Because the truth is, no matter how much the people living in houses like to romanticize it in their books, movies and photographs, there is nothing beautiful out here on the streets, nothing, not even in our dreams, not even when I’m loaded.

And if you are not bad to look at when you get here, you’ll be nothing to write home about by the time they roll you into a body bag and throw you in a pit with the rest of us unknown soldiers.

Pigeon at least was unique covered in her filth and feathers. Eventually that’s all she was. No clothes just feathers. Talons sprouted from the ends of her toes and fingers which she now used instead of a blade. Now she spent all of her time in the air or on rooftops. We would see her circling the park, messing on cop cars. Soon she had a whole flock of pigeons flapping their wings beside her across the night sky. And then she was gone. And we never saw her again. Some people figured it was Silk who finally got his revenge, others thought she probably ate some of the poison the city puts down to keep the pigeon population from getting too out of hand. Me, I think she got caught in one of those traps that those bird freaks set on their roofs. You know those guys that have the coops and all those birds in cages. I think Pigeon is in one of them coops being trained. And one day we’re going to look up and see her streaking across the sky with one of those bands on her legs, wings flapping faster than a hummingbird trying to beat some record. She’d beat it too. I’d bet money on it. Pigeon would break that fucking record.