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Diana in the dark Chapter 13 ‘Daddy’s little darlings’ (Remurdered)

Ok, well I started it I guess.

Yeah started Cur 2 and it went about as well as it can be expected barely at half my usual output but it’s there. I can’t say it’s as good as Cur 1 for an opening by that I mean it’s boring-er and by that I mean Cur isn’t hacking people to pieces within the first few paragraphs. 

I wanted to go for a more slow build, actually I have no idea why I’m talking about this now I should wait until I finish proofreading it, gonna shelve this now and talk about something else, save that for another blog.

So I saw that new M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie glass and it fucking sucked. Why is anyone surprised by this?

Actually nevermind, I’ll save that for a review. Translation; I started talking about it not wanting to do a full review – which then turned into a full review I cut out for another blog haha.

So other than writing Cur which I can’t talk about and watching Glass which I also can’t talk about I’ve been playing Vampyr by dontnod, prolific developer of the award winning millennial walking simulator Life is strange. And honestly I… actually never mind, I’ll save that for it’s own blog haha.

Yeah so.. bye! X’D

When the darkness faded, I opened my eyes. He was there.

“Come on, I wanna show you something.” A little boy with a bowl cut hairstyle was leading me down a tight white hallway.

There was a door; he wanted me to go through.

What was on the other side?

The door was huge; I could barely reach the handle. It was turning red, the door, it was melting.

What’s in there?

“A surprise. I did it for you.”

Shapes appeared in the red goo the door was turning into. A face was pushing through the malleable material.

It’s my face, it’s a mirror.

A sudden jolt and my face hit something hard and flat. I was thrust back into the land of the living rather unceremoniously.

My head hurt, I was still seeing spots, but that was all. There was something over my eyes. I could almost feel the veins in my neck; my brain hurt like someone had slam dunked it through a stained glass window.

There was something wet and warm on my face, getting colder. Shit, blood, it had to be blood. “I’m bleeding” I cried out to the dark, to no one in particular.

“Relax,” a woman’s voice said. “It’s just drool—you can wipe it off when we get there.”

“Get where?” I asked.

“Prom, of course,” Wendy said.

I tried to move but my hands were strapped to something at my side. But I could feel the car plaining over wet roads, felt it turning, stopping. We were moving.

“Don’t move, don’t be dumb.” Her voice was tight, stern with a bitter frosty bite. “Don’t bother screaming, we’ll just crank the radio up, the windows are tinted no one can see us in here.” There was a cool commanding calm in her voice.

“Wendy, what’s going on?”

She laughed. “What’s going on? We’re going to prom, didn’t I just say that?”

The car slowly ground to a halt and I heard the driver get out.

“Just gotta make a little stop along the way,” She added.

“Wendy I—”

“I should’ve known it was you. My mom warned me about you; you’ve always been jealous of me. How did you know?” The jewelry on her arm jangled as she talked, no doubt gesturing to someone blindfolded. “I bet you felt really fucking clever, sending me those little notes… How clever do you feel now, huh?”

The passenger side door to my left opened and something big and heavy was slung at my side.

“Don’t make a fucking noise, puto, don’t make me shoot you!” a man’s voice said.

The door shut again and the large sack of potatoes started to writhe and make groaning grunting noises in the seat next to me.

“What the fuck Denny? I told you not to hurt him, he’s fucking bleeding!”

“I had to hit him with the gun, big white boy wouldn’t come on his own, thought he was a tough guy.”

“Now I’m gonna have to clean him up, you better not have got blood on his tux,” she screeched.

“What the hell’s going on? Is this a prank? It’s not very funny,” the potato sack said in between pained groans.

“Paul! Is that you?” I said.

“Diana? Are you—?” he said groggily.

“Just stay cool,” I said.

“What the hell, Di?” my boyfriend groaned.

“What’s going on is, I’m not going to let you white trash pieces of shit ruin my senior prom.” Wendy’s voice got fast and high pitch. “Already close to ruined; having it in that fucking laser arcade. I wanted it at the beach club, but noooo that wasn’t cool enough for little miss ‘ooh look at me I’m so quirky and interesting!” She made a clucking noise in her throat, as if trying to get more spit in her mouth. “Me being the great friend I am, let it slide, but no you gotta stab me in the back and try to ruin it with your little knife in the dark Marco polo horror movie bullshit!” She tutted “I wasn’t taking any chances after getting that second corny note so I had Denny camp out in my closet just in case and look who happened by.”

“Wendy?” Paul asked. “What’s she talking about? What’s going?”

“Would you just shut up, you fucking meat head daddy’s boy retard!” She sucked her gums “It was probably you who sent me that weird video at school trying to freak me out” She scoffed “and what a coincidence yours was the only locker without a head—I can’t believe I didn’t see it until now” She took a deep breath and filled herself with sweetness and light and said. “We’re gonna be there soon, and we’re all gonna dance and have a great time; and then me and Brody are going to be crowned prom king and queen and then—”

“Then what?” I asked.

She laughed and I could feel her shifting closer to me, the leather creaking under her toned brown buns.

Wendy took the sleep mask off my face and put a small gun to my head, my small James Bond-type weapon, to be precise. She looked over at Paul and squeezed her thin spider leg eyebrows as tight as they would go. “Oh, for fucks sake!” She tutted as she pulled a tissue from her purse She spat in it rubbing furiously at the small nick at the side of Paul’s head where Denny had hit him. She stepped back after she was done, to get a good look at him. “There, you look great” She sat back in her seat in the front of the limo, with the small purse pistol trained on us. Wendy was in a gold taffeta dress, looking like a real princess.

Paul was in the tux my ‘aunt’ had picked out for him, tied to one of the arm rests with a plastic zip tie, the same as I was. He was slowly fading in and out of consciousness, like he’d taken a hit of Nyquil and whiskey.

The interior of the limo was huge. The ceiling was much higher than I’d expect, and coming in at a cool five-three I could probably comfortably stand up inside. It was almost as wide as a standard bus, with black leather couches on all sides, and a large bar-like table with cushioned corners all the way around, stretching across the length of the interior. To top it off, there were blue strobe lights around the ceiling, making it look almost like a mini-traveling strip club. It was missing the stripper pole though. No fog machine either.

I was wearing one of Wendy’s hand-me down-dresses she’d worn to the homecoming dance last year. It was a mess of pink lace that looked like an explosion in a cotton candy factory. Insult to injury received. Pretty in pink my ass.

“You two make such a cute couple.” She smirked. She tapped the glass between the passenger compartment and the driver’s cab. “Denny, you’re driving like an old lady, are we there yet?”

Yeah well you can’t read this version because I said so, maybe I’ll give it away at the end of the year but only for people on my mailing list so there haha. But you can read the raw free version right here but don’t because it sucks.

Diana in the dark Chapter 11 ‘Dark lines’ (remurdered)

Here I go again recycling material. Well hey there, that wont be too long because I just finished furiously beating out the plan for Cur 2 and it turned out pretty nice and easy.

Although my plan to turn it into a five part series was sort of torpedoed because I basically decided that the structured would be better if I mashed two of my book ideas together. Otherwise I’d have had to come up with a bunch of filler to water down each concept and I didn’t want to make this middling story full of filler unconnected to the lore and plot.

Also laziness, pulling unconnected story out of your ass is hard and all I’m really doing with this is taking the actual mythology and give it connective tissue so it seems like a story and not just a bunch of stuff happening. So it’s not just X god did this, you understand their motivations, you know why they did it and how they feel about it.

So I’m just reciting mythology, I’m giving it life and taking a hell of a lot of liberties to do it. So I could insert huge swaths of unrelated story from different sources for instance some of what I added was from Arthurian legend and I added a tiny bit of Lovecraft because that’s just fun and forgive me for thinking a race of evil fish people should be a little lovecraftian haha.

But I didn’t want to take away from the plot and just have this little padded book, I want to write something I would read, I want adventure, I want a journey. I don’t want my characters to go to one place and be there the whole time, I want them to feel like I’ve gone with them. So to give it more scope I scraped two books and made one cohesive story.

It’s set to be a trilogy and I might just write them concurrently with clown shit in between haha. I basically don’t want to drip feed people this story or try and stretch it out like this is just a middle book, I want it to stand on it’s own and surpass the first which this definitely will. This book will make the first look a tiny in comparison by it’s scope. And then by the third book it will make the leap to epic fantasy, this second book is like the bridge from tight sword and sorcery pulp fantasy to epic sprawling huge battles fantasy.

Yeah so probably gonna start that next week but I feel like I should finish Loverman first just for the sake of my sanity. I’m imagining one person out there just ripping their hair out longing for a conclusion lurking just around the corner. Of course this person doesn’t exist or is more or less me. I’m just sort of feeling fantasy right now, sword and sorcery, also want to finish this boring red scare Shadow book so I can get back into Conan, which I’ve been really looking forward to.

Anyway that’s about all, just gonna be looking into more places I can send Cur to, maybe try and get more feedback on it because I think it sags a little towards the end. I dunno, I’ll wait for some objective opinions.

See you…

Locking doors was obviously for poor people who weren’t literally encircled by a small army of trigger happy ex-cops. Because Wendy was out prepping for the prom, it was certain she wouldn’t be here. I knew she had a brother but he was rarely home in the day, myths of an expensive heroin habit abounded. He’d probably stumble home much later, if at all.

The house should be empty but for an annoying little yappy dog she was banned from taking into school in her purse. Hopefully since the prom wasn’t at school, she’d probably have the annoying little rat with her, and I wouldn’t be tempted to pulp its head into an eight hundred dollar Persian rug.

I loved animals, but not that particular one.

I took a quick precautionary glance across the street, but thankfully aside from a team of illegals gardening two houses over, they were quiet. I guessed everyone was out living the good life, lounging around a golf course or a yacht or something. Aside from one guy eating noodles in his underwear and crying in a house he soon wouldn’t be able to afford.

I slipped into the house and closed the door firmly behind me. As I stood in the cool, sweet-smelling foyer, I felt okay. I was just a pretty rich girl coming home from yogalates, walking into her own home—no big deal. Nobody could call the cops over that. It wasn’t like I’d used a grappling hook and scaled the wall garden.

The interior was fresh and clean, cream interior walls with off-white, eggshell tiles on the floor. A staircase, carpeted in a darker cream snaked off from the oddly angled front door up to the bedrooms on the right. A big curtain-less window at the turn of the stairs let in lots of light.

I stopped in the hall and listened to the steady creak of silence. This confirmed the house was empty, so I let go of my breath and padded the tiles and dust off this new set of leathery predator wings.

The entryway opened up into a huge but very minimalist carpeted living room, it seemed to take up a whole corner of the house. It was very eighties deco, devoid of color, with a high ceiling that spanned both floors cut off by a balcony onto the second floor. There was a door off to the left, leading into a relatively small galley kitchen which was nevertheless very nice.

I wasn’t there for the tour, so it wasn’t like it mattered. I doubled back to the front door and started a slow ascent up the stairs. Looked outside the huge window at the turn, hoping not to see some nosey old woman staring at me and memorizing my face for a sketch artist to reproduce.

I figured if I was going to find any evidence at all of Wendy’s guilt, it wouldn’t be lying between the pages of a copy of Teen Vogue on the coffee table.

“Hey remember when I poisoned my dad and framed my mom for the money? Lol smiley face smile face xoxox.”

It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, but seemed unlikely. But who knew. She wasn’t like me, not the same kind of monster; a normal killer for a normal reason, a sane reason to do something insane, money was the root of all this.

So there was a chance Wendy wasn’t like me at all; there was a chance she had emotions. One of those possibly being guilt, and if that was true, she’d leave some trace of it behind.

My best bet was finding her computer and working a little slack hack magic on it, basically shake it and see what fell out.

I turned the corner, checking the window, but it was just the bare windowless face of the neighboring house staring back at me. I continued on up the second flight, noting an open bathroom off the stairs—seemed an odd place to put a bathroom.

The second floor split off in two directions, leading to the bedrooms. As far as I could remember, Wendy’s bedroom was off to the left, and her parent’s en suite was off to the right. Considering her parents weren’t in the picture anymore, it made little sense to not occupy the empty en suite.

It’s what I’d do, would have to be crazy to let all that closet space go to waste because of what? Sentimentality? Ghosts maybe?

I padded the carpeted floor delicately, hoping my light frame wouldn’t leave any telling footprints. Thankfully I’d remembered to not wear heels, and had opted for a set of flat treadless pumps.

I took the right, peering over the second floor balcony down at the living room and the large windows. It seemed like an average sleepy day in the neighborhood, not a curious dog walker in sight. Just sun shining and birds chirping.

Oh how I longed for the huge savage moon, and that black canvas of night to paint red.  ‘Soon,’ it hissed, and I knew it was right.

Soon I’d have my starry night and my bloody moon.

There was no rush; I’d started as early as I could. They’d be at the preparations until late into the afternoon. Factoring in Frappuccino and pastelito breaks, maybe some California tuna rolls. Skipping breakfast had been a mistake.

New rule; never break and enter on an empty stomach.

The hallway got a little narrower, I passed an airing cupboard and I could smell signs of a lived-in nature. More specifically, Wendy’s perfume; it seemed my estimation of her and our shared desire for closet space was on-point.

I entered, and was sort of surprised that the room was so small. Then I turned my head. I’d stepped into her closet.

I opened the door to her actual room and was instantly taken aback.

It was so… so…

Neat.

If you want to read more of this lovely book I’m probably going to be giving it away to people on my mailing list by the end of the year so join that and hold on to your butts. If you can’t wait that long just head on over to my inkitt page and read the raw version. It’s not all prim and proper but you’ll get the thrust.

 

Diana in the Dark Chapter 8 ‘Love in high places’ (remurdered)

I know, I know, I’m milking this but I haven’t been writing recently and I’m growing lazy, just been messing around with this screenplay I’m writing.

It literally took me all weekend just to get the screenplay writing program to work, I’m that boomer with the tech stuff and then after that when I actually got started and reading the book it’s based on for inspiration. I decided I liked the books opening better than mine and then changed the whole thing haha.

It’s not totally the same obviously. I didn’t think it would work as an opener for the lack of action but I really like the visuals and how it sets up the character. The structure will be the same because the book is a similar format to the movie in that it starts later on when he’s already in a battle and then cuts back to his past before he signed up. But in the book it’s not just an intro cut away it’s this massive drawn out battle sequence which is cool and but I really think the movie handled it better in regards to letting us get a grip of our characters before throwing them in the fucking meat grinder haha.

I mean in this intro in the books Rasczak who leads the roughnecks is already dead and they’re not even fighting the bugs yet so it just gets way ahead of itself really.

The movie handled it a lot better in many ways but I still love the book, it’s just a little dry and the movie adds some much needed ‘wetness’ haha. So I’m really trying to merge them in my adaptation.

So far of what little I’ve written it’s been a fun experience, I tried to write some of that Lovecraft story while I was struggling with the screenplay software but got nowhere with it. I’ll probably finish it off soon but I just can’t bring myself to start on Diana 2 until I get feedback from agents for Diana 1. That being in tons of rejections most likely haha. But I will never quit because I have no fucking life, the person who has no life always wins haha.

Mainly just been reading the shadow (which is hit or miss really) and trying to find cheap videogames to stop me going insane or thinking about anything at all because that brings on bad times. The shadow is mostly boring honestly, it’s fun in parts but it’s weighed down by a lot of boring shit. I really liked the second one but the first and the third kinda just passed over my eyes.

Honestly though the character of the shadow is just so intriguing I think it could carry a really cool tv show if the right person (i.e me) were hired to cut down the fat and deliver a really punchy and slick show. It would be like a shitty marvel superhero show except with an actual story and actual mysteries and not just an excuse to indoctrinate children with political ideologies no one asked for. And also awesome action that would be unlike anything seen before, that would really set it apart.

The shadow really is a totally different kind of superhero, he really just keeps you guessing and I really like that, I feel like I as the reader know about as much about the shadow as his enemies do and he constantly surprises you with how inhuman and human he is at the same time. Like for a long time you can convince yourself that he’s this infallible supernatural being and then something happens and you realise he’s not. It’s really interesting. Anyway, I’ll try and have some Cur for thursday, maybe a poem for tomorrow but I’ve upped my weights, lifting heavier than ever, sleeping longer, eating more, I feel like a fucking cancer patient on chemo right now haha (i.e not very productive), so we’ll see.

See you…

I did as I was told. What else could I do?

I didn’t seem to remember a montage of ninja training in my backstory, no secret swat teams backing me up, rappelling down the roof as we speak.

My one and only knight in shining armor was probably on the other side of town with a hangover.

There I was, making little jokes to myself when my head was probably going to be decorating my own mantle in a matter of minutes.

Goodbye cruel world, we were going to have so much fun together.

I crept gingerly into the living room with the air of someone whose hand was permanently glued into the cookie jar; the proverbial curious cat, about to meet a sticky end.

It was dark, because of course it was, how else to set a mood? I couldn’t see a thing, completely pitch. A wave came over me, a sibilant ring from the demoniac back seat driver. A cold feeling at the back of my neck I assumed wasn’t the kiss of a Chanel No. 5 lipstick, but the barrel of a gun.

A hushed voice with a slight Latin twang told me to come closer.

As my eyes adjusted, I saw my aunt. Silent and solemn, on her knees in front of the couch in our living room. Her head hung like she was Marie Antoinette, awaiting the executioner’s axe with a cloistered dignity, she was about to let her captures eat cake.

I hoped they’d choke on it.

‘They’?

Then it struck me, the gun at my neck was still there, and there was another, a knife in the murk, a knife at my aunt’s neck.

There were two of them, two killers.

That made it a lot easier to lug all those parts around.

“What now, cuz?” The gun at my neck croaked with a boyish whisper.

“We do them here, no witnesses, the older bitch is yours, I’m gonna take my time with this one.” the voice I recognized said.

Hi, Antoine, great party last night.

He dropped my aunt, the knife coming away from her neck, and something deep inside told me that was good.

She was still and stoic, taking on the nature of a good martyr, no tears; just a distant and tacit acceptance; a cold detachment to the earthly plane.

The gun at my neck came around my side, and Ruiz got close enough so I could smell his breathe. “I bet you thought that was pretty funny, me all tied up like that, naked. I bet it made you feel really powerful.” He spat in the dark but I could see the odd white tooth and feel the knife twist under my chin.

I wasn’t afraid, there was something else; a shiver of cool excitement rising up from the darkness. The blackness gently shifted, building silently beneath the waves trying to tell me… What? ‘I told you so’?

“How do you feel now, huh?” he taunted.

“I—”

I was rudely interrupted by a crash of glass.

The room almost turned red with their fear, their shock.

Their perfect bubble burst by some idle cat burglar, or maybe my neighbor, Gary got carried away showing someone his backswing.

“Go check it out,” Ruiz whispered.

“Why me?” the younger one croaked behind me. My eyes were getting used to the dark but all I could see was the ceiling fan spinning.

“Because I said so,” Ruiz hissed. He turned his head to spit on our carpet.

Yuck.

“Fuck me, man,” The younger would-be killer said, as he tiptoed out of the room.

Ruiz got close again, his breathing rising and falling on my face. “I bet you’re wondering how I found you. It wasn’t the phone…”He stopped, panting, as if he wanted me to ask.

Wanted me to play some guessing game, I just looked at Aunt Dharma. There was something strange about her, something unsettling.

She said nothing, looked at nothing, like she’d expected this, like she was already dead. Like she’d been waiting for this the whole time.

“My cousin, Emilio, he goes to your school, ain’t that a trip? I described you, and he knew right away who you were, I think he must have some kind of crush on you.” He laughed. “Maybe I should let him drill you when he comes back, maybe we’ll take turns before we mount your head like you and your freak boyfriend did to my boys.”

School. It hadn’t even crossed my mind. All the faces in the crowd, blending together. So hard to pick one out, one looking at me, seeing me, waiting, watching.

That was the last place I should’ve let my guard down but I had. Emilio had probably sat behind me for years, and we wouldn’t have exchanged a qué pasa? I guess my Spanish was getting better.

There was no silent alarm from the dark watcher, no ring on the black bat phone? Surprise washed over me. A distant warbling chuckle faded in and out. An unintelligible whisper; a game of hide and seek.

Oh you were playing possum. I’m being punished, for what?

What did I do? Dreadfully Dim Diana didn’t do anything wrong.

That was exactly the point.

I was being punished for being a goodie two shoes.

What now?

“I know you didn’t do all that alone, little girl like you. You had help.” He was panting even heavier, looking around, the shadows creeping along the walls, soaking into his flesh, getting closer. He put the knife against my throat. “Who you working for, huh? The Diaz brothers? They closing in on my turf? Tell, and I’ll only cut off an ear, and leave your pretty face alone, how ‘bout that?”

Another crash came from the kitchen, then a muffled cry and a deeply disconcerting thud.

“Hey, Emilio, hurry your ass up!” Ruiz whispered harshly into the empty hallway.

“Maybe he tripped, it’s pretty dark.”

“Shut up!”

“You should go check on it, maybe he grazed his knee.”

“I said, shut up!” He hit me with the base of the knife, and the room shook, a pulse of pain radiating down through my neck and shoulders.

My knees buckled, and nausea smacked into me. My vision faded in and out, and I saw something. I could see right through him, hear the animal roar.

The shrill cry of whatever it was inside him; it was like me, but not like me. Our inner demons sent vicious feral war cries out in answer.

Two shadows stretched and crossed, but then another, deeper darkness swallowed them both. Eclipsed them, blotted them out, filled the room with a deep impenetrably black smoke thicker than ink and tar.

My knees wobbled, and he felt it, too.

“Emilio, what took you so long man?”

The boy stood in the door way, doing the strong silent type thing as the room quaked around me.

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

The eye of the hurricane tossed my little world up into the stars as I tried to hold on for dear life.

I fell, pulling at Ruiz, trying to stop the room from spinning, just keep still.

Could he feel it?

“Talk to me man— Get offa me, crazy bitch!” He threw me to the ground.

I spread my fingers out on the carpet, praying for this feeling to stop, the pressure inside building.

The cry of the thing inside grew louder and louder, telling me to watch.

“What the fuck, say something, you’re freakin’ me out, man!” Ruiz commanded his cousin. He strode to the door…then he felt it; the pressure, the animal fear, the dagger intent, the murder dripping from the walls, but it was too late.

I heard rustling of dark wings unfurling, stretching across the walls, casting a shadow blacker than pitch.

I can see it in the corner of my eye, but moreover I felt it, like I had sonar, echo location. I could see the whole room like it was a watercolor, every pixel laid out in front of me in stark detail.

The blackness like a piece of pin art, it was solid, I could touch it.

I crawled, and I spotted the knife.

The figure at the door moved rhythmically, like he was under water, but couldn’t seem to get out of the way.

Ruiz was frozen, the weapon in his hand at the end of a long tunnel. His movements slowed down as if I was seeing it frame by frame in a slideshow.

He lifted the knife, not knowing exactly where he wanted to put it, or if there was even a place for it.

The shadows surrounded the man at the door, covering his face, bound to him like an impenetrable armor.

I wanted to cover my eyes and ears, if I could, if I thought it would keep the screaming out.

The shadowy fires lapped at me, the blinding black light.

The man at the door cut through the room. His movements were methodic and powerful, uncaring, unfeeling, unwavering.

The killer passed through Ruiz like he was made of spider webs, like he was a memory of a far gone conclusion. He cut him once across the neck with an effortless flourish, an afterthought someone else’s mess cleaned up, my mess.

Ruiz’s head dropped to the floor and rolled toward me. There was nothing in his eyes. A voided emptiness, a perfect mirror of my own.

The part of me deep down, was rising, screaming and laughing. I couldn’t tell if this was the end or the beginning. A triumphant cavalry cry, or the last gasp of a dying lizard about to have its head crushed under a desert rock.

The crushing pressure, I couldn’t take it anymore, the blackness folding over me, getting heavier and heavier. I decided to let go, a giddiness and a drowsiness came over me. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. The rattling thing inside told me it was okay—I could sleep.

“You see it now?” A muffled scratching noise warbled too close to my ear.

There was a grating sensation at my neck, then nothing but sweet black nothingness.

Falling.

To read the rest of this you’re gonna have to wait for it to come out sometime next year hopefully, if not you can find it on inkitt in a raw format.

Diana in the Dark Chapter 7 ‘Ding dong dead’ (remurdered edition)

I’m back! 

Sorta

Kinda

Not really?

I am happy to report Diana for all intents and purposes is as done as I’ll probably ever get it, despite wanting a near infinite number of proof read from myself and any passerby on the street. As long as I can quiet that perfectionist voice in my head, it is done.

Now that that colossal time and energy suck and… Diana is done with (ha I made a joke about being single), I can move onto greater things which don’t include finishing Loverman. Yeah I might finish that but I dunno, it kind of feels like a slog. Like I have to be in a Lovecrafty mood really and I can’t seem to get there right now, but I will finish it eventually, sooner than later.

But I’ll tell you what I have been in the mood for, not writing so much as screen writing, that’s right, your boi is writing a pilot for a tv show, why? Because it was already a book and I want to see a tv show of it because, well ok there was already a tv show but it was in the 90’s I think and it was awful. Well it was good, but it kind of butchered both the movie and the book and was made of the shittest cg you’ve ever seen.

Now I’m realising I haven’t actually mentioned what it is, it’s Starship Troopers, I’m planning a tv show pilot for Starship Troopers.

I just liked the book, not as much as the films or tv show but I think a tv is really what it needs to really flesh out the world it takes place in and although I would to not write the show and just enjoy it as a member of the audience. The current state of television guarantees that it would suck the sweat off a deadman’s balls.

The reason being that it’s too tempting as a platform for satire and political narrative pushing. We wouldn’t get past the first episode without some joke about Trump’s hair and orange skin, it would be a fucking disaster.

Only someone like me could do it justice, not because I’m a genius writer, well, but because I actually fucking respect the source material enough to not just to bastardise and attempt to use it to push my own brand of brainwashing. Which funnily enough Paul Verhoeven tried and failed to do in his movie version of the book.

Because believe it or not the book is completely played straight, it’s not satire. Heindlin was an ex navy right wing guy growing up in a more conservative time and he saw a future where liberalism would tear society apart and thus envisioned a future military fascist government piecing it back together again.
Verhoeven, a great director, Robocop is probably one of my all time favourite films, tried to satirise the book and add his own brand of humor to try and make fun of and demonize the fascism glorified in the book but he just sort of made it look cool and fun haha.

I kinda wanna do both honestly. I want it to be played straight but you can’t sidestep how fun Verhoeven made it in the movie. Surely some ideal balance can be struck where you can satirise the necessary evil of fascism and glorify the order and stability of it at the same time. I want to have satire but not at the expense of the story or the fun.

That’s my number one goal always, entertainment. I don’t write to preach to people or ‘educate’ them. I write to entertain myself and others and that’s all. I think when you focus too much on a particular ideology or message you lose the ability to have fun and tell an interesting story. 
I have nothing against having a good moral message in a story though if say it’s a show for kids but I don’t write for kids and adults don’t need to be preached to about morality or whatever hair brained social justice cause is popular in the zeitgeist in any particular moment.

So what have I been up to apart from not doing that, I haven’t even started writing, still anally planning haha. Erm lots of exercising as usual, my chest is on fire as we speak, gonna need new weights soon, getting to yuge for these ones haha. Relationships janky as fuck as usual but I’m not letting it get me down I’m really hopeful about getting an agent for Diana and if I don’t get one now I think I’ll try again in September with a better cover letter. And in the mean time work on my pilot and maybe get a sequel to Diana in the works which I’ve been planning for awhile but haven’t had the guts to clinch on. 

I’m kinda just waiting for the wind to strike me on that one, I don’t want to start it too soon, I want to savour and start it at a time when I can really enjoy it.

Oh also had a great time recently playing the Resident Evil 2 remake which I might do a review for tomorrow. It’s a lot of fun unsurprisingly. Some people are shitting on it a little bit but all in all it was a lark. So stay tuned for that, I think I’m gonna go back to planning my pilot and waiting for my main facebook account to be unbanned so I get back to spamming and shitposting haha.

See you…

 

Hot, sticky, red.

Its blood isn’t it?

Blood?

All over the floor.

It smells, I don’t like it.

Why is it here?

All over the carpet.

Where am I?

Why did you do that?

A big mess.

 

Blood all over the floor, spreading and getting thicker, like a dark red plastic, coating everything. A child’s room, bunk beds, bright colors. Where was this place?

Something rose from the blood, the sea of thick hot red plastic. A head coated in it like it was molten wax. Then another and another, bobbing like croutons in a rich tomato soup.

My vision was a tiny cone surrounded by blackness, small hands, a child’s hands reached for the heads, turning them over one by one.

I recognized their faces but couldn’t place them. Buried somewhere, a tinkling, a mocking laugh and the slamming of a heavy door and they were gone.

A feeling of loss, of loss of loss. Losing something that never existed, something I never had taken before I even knew it was there.

The little hand reached for mine, and it told me to come and play. I wanted to. I wanted to so badly, but I couldn’t. Something held me back.

I woke up again, a cold sweat; it was dark. I maybe got two hours sleep on Paul’s couch.

We could’ve used the bed, of course, but I couldn’t drag him much farther than the living room. He was a big boy.

Once I’d gotten him down, I’d wanted to stay with him and make sure he was okay.

Some motherly instinct kicking in, Diana?

Channeling a little Florence Nightingale perhaps?

Hardly, a good mask needed a touch up now and then, like anything else. Soon enough, after lying next to him, the sandman had snuck up on me and wrapped a ten pound fishing cord of sleep around my neck.

I’d fallen asleep right on top of him. Now I awoke again in the wee hours of the morning, he was gone.

Paul came in after a minute or two with a glass of water and sat back on the couch like he didn’t even notice I was there. He cleared his throat and took in a big deep breath, then proceeded to take sips from his water. He yawned and hunched forward in only a pair of stripy boxer shorts. The glass perched in between his large smooth hands. “Oh, you’re up,” he said. “I was just getting some water; I didn’t want to disturb you.” A little sad smile crossed his face.

“I can see that.” I said.

“Here.” Paul handed me the glass.

I took a big gulp from it. I suddenly felt utterly bottomless, and wanted to down the entire thing. It felt like we’d never talk about what’d happened, and that was kind of how I wanted it. Pretend it’d never happened. Just let it slip off the cuff, a very interesting dream soon forgotten.

“What happened back there?” he asked, rather ineloquently breaking my fantasy of a night lost. Murderous pirate ships passing in the night.

“You don’t remember,” I stalled.

He cleared his throat and looked off into the corner of the ceiling above the TV.  “Um… I remember drinking a little and then—” He shrugged his large round shoulders. “I dunno, I guess someone jumped me and everything went black.” Paul sucked in some air from his teeth and went back to nursing the now half-empty glass. “I woke up here, and my gun was gone.” He sighed like he was talking about a botched boy scouts camping trip as he stared into the glass. “My dad is gonna kill me”.

“Doesn’t he have lots of guns? I’m sure he won’t notice one missing.” I said.

Diana deft subject dodger.

“You don’t know my dad.” He scratched the back of his neck. “I’ll have to tell him it was stolen.” He scrunched his shoulders up around his ears as some sort of stretch.

I heard a cracking sound and found myself staring at the muscles around his chest and back. He was shirtless, and I had to admit I had some fascination with the play of his muscles.

“Yeah you can’t tell him you lost it in a fight in a drug dealer’s house.”

Shut up, Diana.

Paul let out a self-deprecating sound, halfway between a laugh and a cough as he choked on some water.

We gave up on sleep after that and had a quick shower—separately. I had to change back into my previous set of clothes. Which was a little disgusting for dainty Diana, but I couldn’t exactly skip school the day after another massacre. Even if the whole finding body parts at school thing could’ve bought me a little credit.

A few short hours later, I stood in front of my locker again, staring at the space left by the volleyball. I inhaled and sighed, taking in all the smells of the pretty people passing me. Their talking all mixed together into an interminable cacophony of inane chirping, or tweeting. The occasional chortle and hushed whisper.

Did I hear my name?

If you want to read the rest of the final version you’ll have to wait until it’s out or find the horrible raw version on inkitt haha.

Diana In the Dark Chapter 6 ‘Rescue him’ (remurdered edition)

Hey there,

Wasted most of my day making home made marinara sauce and meatballs and then I got a hair cut on my quickly shrinking circle of hair, aint getting old grand.

Mostly been working, I think I found a new job that could make a little more cash and still give enough flexibility to keep writing and I might even get to wear a cool suit haha. In the mean time I finished up the next part of 3 ring. I kinda didn’t get as far into the main plot as I thought I would and I kinda pulled a lot of it outta my ass haha. But it still turned out kinda good, I think. Not amazing, I don’t take it very seriously, just a way to blow off steam between serious projects and I think I might do the second Diana next. See how I’m feeling on friday.

The plot is shaping up pretty nicely, spent most of my time building the world a little bit and adding new characters which was fun. I know people might not like the whole ‘the little girl is the key’ plotline, think I’m ripping off the witcher making it all about Ciri. Well you’re wrong I’m actually ripping off Waterworld haha. Didn’t see that one coming did ya haha?

Nope and you probably haven’t seen waterworld either but I like it haha. I actually like it more than Mad Max in some respects, because Mad Max kind of shit the bed in my opinion. The first one is boring and makes no sense, the second is the best, gets it just right and the third is diesel punk peter pan and the less said about fury road the better.

Waterworld was just a nice one a done movie and I really liked the concept and I’m sort of borrowing the plotline from there with a little bit of total recall thrown in not to give too many spoilers. 

Still enjoying the latest Parker book although they kinda made my favourite character look like a bitch and then killed him off, like wtf but he’s not like dead I guess, I mean it’s just a book he could live but it doesn’t look good. But then again I don’t know when his book series is set, either before or after this and honestly I preferred Handy Mckay to Grofield because I always pictured Handy as just this gristled guy who was just a little less carved out of granite than Parker, who got out but now he’s coming back to inevitably die haha.

Great.

Kinda feel like this is gonna turn into the game of thrones of pulp novels and all my favourite characters are going to be murdered right in front of me haha.

But at least it’s not boring.

See you…

I stepped over the doorman and went inside. The house was dark and smoky; it smelled like weed and burning plastic. Loud music played; like a mix of salsa and dubstep. A mongrel jungle beat getting deep down into my veins and shaking them like a tensile rope bridge over a bottomless gorge.

It was a cramped house; a single corridor connected a series of dimly lit rooms. A bedroom to the left otherwise occupied by people in varying stages of undress and intoxication. Writhing like they were about to be turned into pillars of salt at any minute. A door on the right which probably lead to the front room or the kitchen and two more doors at the end of the hall which were most likely the master bedroom and bathroom.

The house was almost like a living thing, like I was walking on a carpet of raw nerves. There were eyes everywhere in the dark watching and not watching. Some peeling back to view the insides of their skulls. There were literally just people lying on the floor in the hall and I might have stepped on a couple of them.

People talked in varying dialects, crossing English, bad English and Spanish. None of which I could understand over the loud beat drowning out all my senses. It was so loud and thick it was like my head was in a box of trail mix.

All the while it was building and building, shaking the walls of my chest. My heart beating just out of time with the rhythm as we moved closer to the source of the sound. I clung to Paul as he walked in front of me, my hand in his, my face at his back.

I could feel the gun under his jacket; I could smell the strong scent of his cologne. A fresh musky scent, like pine cones and sandalwood. It was oddly comforting, soothing as we waded through this den of iniquity.

We entered the living room, which was out-of-place, lavish and well lit. The room was decked out almost like a small nightclub. A disco ball spun pointlessly from the ceiling, as the light was on so there were just odd dots of dim sparkling orbs around the room.

A large flat screen on the wall displayed one of the Fast and Furious movies, but with no sound. God knew which one, they were pretty much indistinguishable at this point.

There was a large leather couch pointed at it with a glass coffee table laden with a veritable banquet of Chinese takeout going cold. The varying smells drifting and mingling into one greasy mass at the back of my sinus wall.

They had a small kitchenette at the far end converted into what looked like a real granite bar. Complete with a stalwart bartender in a Santa Muerte mask and bowtie, standing with his hands behind his back. The smiling skull face stared out with empty black eyes in a midst a red tribal pattern. Very scary.

Was it like this every night?

The music was coming from two huge speakers connected to an iPhone either side of a fake fireplace under the flat screen.

We entered quietly, trying not to draw too much attention; almost tiptoeing on the hardwood floor. The safest thing to do seemed to be go to the bar at the back of the room. Get a drink and maybe try to gravitate to a dark corner and pretend to watch the movie.

Paul and I crossed the room, as if completely oblivious to the other people in it. A certain shy sheepishness had come over me and I couldn’t raise my head for fear of it being bitten off by a bigger dog.

“Hey,” a hoarse voice fought over the noise of the speakers.

“Who, me?” I froze.

“Yeah, you.” The stranger spat back.

I turned my head like a wooden figurine on a rusty cuckoo clock and looked over at the couch in the general direction of the voice. A moment passed, like charging feet over my grave. Stomping down the dirt flat and dancing and laughing. The little hissing voice inside the stygian well chuckled silently. Spitting into a crescendo of ever-faster beating wings rising from the deep dark murk.

It was him.

No mistaking it.

I wasn’t too surprised, I was in his house after all.

He sat on the leather coach, wearing a pair of baggy jeans and basketball jersey. Sandwiched in between two ethnic looking prostitutes.

Large Hispanic men who were definitely carrying guns or machetes or both under their Hawaiian shirts stood like bookends on either side of the sofa.

His face was young with oily straight features, and he looked very short sitting down, a wispy dark goatee on his chin, his hair slicked back on his head in a wavy pattern. He was very thin with almost puppet like movements, exaggerated and stiff.

I scanned the room again, feeling dumb and drowning in the spotlight. Pointing at myself literally, like ‘who me?’

Paul was at the bar already, ordering some drinks—which seemed like an ocean away with his back turned as I stared intently at Ruiz’s sneakers.

“Yeah, you! Are you deaf or something?” He leaned forward cupping his ear with the same exaggerated stiffness getting a polite chuckle from his ‘bitches’.

My eyes caught his, and he gave me an odd look, almost like he recognized me as he sunk back into the couch. I heard a catatonic purring noise inside.

Ruiz didn’t stand; just stared at me up and down, probing me.

I felt naked, and almost like I’d forgotten how to stand. Every gesture seeming practiced and awkward, how-to-human?

Did he know? Could he see it, could he hear it?

Was this it? Was I about to have a cap popped into my ass and spend the last few minutes of sentience rolled up in a cheap rug?

“Yeah, can you like get out of the way?” He gestured shaking the gold bling hanging off on his boney arm. “We’re trying to watch a movie here.”

“Err…sorry,” said Dumb Dithering Diana smiling like an idiot.

I moved out of the way, my eyes roving up and down to his, then his shoes and the floor, as I watched him watch me go.

He went back to cavorting with the pros and not watching the movie.

Feeling a little exposed and flustered I almost bumped into Paul on his way back from the bar. Two glasses of some indeterminate golden liquid was in square tumblers in his hands. Wrapped in white napkins with little black straws sticking out of them.

The bartender gave a little bow. Have to admit, I was impressed. A little.

“Sex on the beach.” He smirked. “Don’t worry, mine’s a virgin.” The smirk slid into a smartass grin.

“Uh huh.” I took a sip from the black straw, still looking at his mouth. “Let’s hope it stays that way.” That was dumb.

He laughed anyway.

Who said women can’t be funny?

I felt a little shaky, like I needed something to hold on to.

Paul would have to do.

We found our dark corner and sipped our drinks in comfortable silence. It was pretty good; I couldn’t even taste the booze. I wasn’t much of a drinker, and my fast metabolism made it pretty hard for me to get stupid-drunk. I wasn’t worried about vomiting on my potential victims’ Jordans. Or making an ass of myself.

Some time passed of standing and pretending we were having fun; well I was pretending, maybe Paul was, too. He was a lot better at it than me. Here in the lion’s den, he didn’t seem to have a care in the world. But…he caught me looking through the small crowd of people idly dancing around the front of the little bar.

My eyes drifted over to the couch and my probable prey and Paul’s face dropped as he followed my quick glance over at Ruiz.

In an instant he was that person again, a quick flash of a harsh blank slate, a vicious mirror. A cold malevolence flowed over him and passed quickly, his smile rolling back over his face. “Just gimme a minute.” He put his drink down on the bar.

“Wait, Paul, you can’t—” I started to feel heavy and dull, like wading through water. As if I was in a dream up to my knees in cotton candy. My head was swimming, a dim chuckle inside and a sudden mugginess. I was light-headed, the lights of the disco ball got brighter, stretching out like little lazer pointers.

He stood in front of the TV, it like I was watching one of the good Tarantino movies. True Romance, that was Tarantino right?

“Can you turn the music down, I wanna talk to you,” Paul barked. He stood straight up and played it tough.

Ruiz pretended not to hear him craning his neck in an exaggerated motion pretending he was trying to see the tv. Shaking his bling at Paul like it was some kind of magic talisman that would get him to move.

What was he doing, he wasn’t John Wayne or John Wick. This wasn’t a movie, was it?

My head spun; I put my hand on my temple, as the music rang in and out, I started to feel nauseous, how much booze was in this?

I looked up; the movie got worse as the doorman limped in, helped by some extras that looked a lot meaner.

He said something in Spanish, but it was drowned out by the music.

I just watched and sipped my drink, waiting for the good bit.

Paul just stood there, waiting.

Waiting for what? For them to make the first move?

My temples throbbed, and I could almost feel my fingers opening and closing. Losing sensation, the glass slowly slipping from my hand. I searched for a place to put my glass down and something strange caught my eye.

Now that most of the golden liquid was gone, I could see the napkin through the glass. There was something written on the underside.

 Do you see?

The drink dropped out of my hand.  Like someone stole the bones from my legs, I followed it down into the dark place.

Just another little sneak peak at the final edition of Diana, you’ll have to buy it when it comes out to get all that goodness but in the mean time you can read the rough cut right here if you can’t wait that long. Rescue him

 

Diana After Dark Chapter 3 ‘Come into my head’ (remurdered edition)

Hey there,

I had all this stuff I was gonna talk about that just fell out of my head, which is fine because I really should be getting on with going over the latest editing from this haha. Not much has happened since now and tuesday haha, Oh yeah well I got banned on facebook again but that like happens too often to comment on. What was it this time? This might be the record for the longest time I’ve been on and that was only because I wasn’t using it much.

And it was for the stupidest shit, I made a silly gay joke, like something really harmless, I wasn’t mocking or bullying anyone or saying ‘banned words’ but some fucking asshole on my friends list flagged me for hatespeech for a joke and now I’m banned for thirty days for a post on my own profile. And the joke wasn’t particularly savage really. It was just silly but it seems like if you’re explicitly pro gay that counts as hate speech these days.

So your options are make a joke and then apologize profusely and kiss a rainbow flag saying three ‘hail Caitlynn’s’ or just never make a joke referencing gays in any shape or form or you’re banned for hate speech. 

And this time I actually took some time to read their hate speech rules and it’s so purposefully vague it would make George Orwell do backflips in his grave. Literally anything you say can be construed as hate speech and that’s exactly why it’s worded that way. They just want an excuse to remove opinions that they don’t like. It was never about offensive words or protecting minorities, its about creating a culture of complete mental hegemony. Facebook is quite literally 1984 on the internet, I’m not even being hyperbolic, that’s quite literally what they are. 

Can you imagine what it would be like if one of these corporations and their weird lizard people ceo’s had real political power or got elected president? it’s truly a terrifying thought for a now registered thought criminal such as myself. Look at what these “people”, these bugmen, these grown manchildren with a love for burning ants with a looking glass do with this modicum of internet power. Can you imagine what they would do if they had the codes to the nukes?
And their response would be “but what about blumpf??? He’s literally hitler and he has the nukes”. Which is not a terrible comparison but Trump might just be too stupid to use them really.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Trump, he is a living meme and he really hasn’t had that many missteps so far. He’s basically made peace with the two biggest threats to the world so far and people are still crying over it. But he really lacks the alien/robot intelligence and clarity of mind to do something really destructive or erect himself as a dictator.

He’s basically the fool king that’s done everything right and he’s not the candidate people wanted but he’s the one we really needed. Because he was the only one who could address (albeit indelicately) the real problems the US and the world is facing in a way only a populist could.
It took a big dumb guy to say what needed to be said and do what needed to be done.

I don’t think Trump is dumb but he doesn’t carry himself with this almost a feat dignity people expect of a President, which was epitomised to a point in Obama almost to a point of him being very aloof and feminine as a president. Capped off by the fact he really just rode the presidency and did nothing of note. Something his supporters use almost as positive note, citing his lack of scandals haha. Which I’d really have to say they weren’t looking hard enough.

I can’t really think of any scandals Trump has had other than pussygate but that was before he was even president so that doesn’t count haha. Everything else was just total nonsense cooked up by the press ‘oh Melania wore an offensive jacket’ boo fucking hoo.

How the hell did I get onto this subject???

Oh yeah internet censorship, what a load of bullshit, also I heard about Alex Jones being censored, it’s getting really ridiculous. There’s going to have to be a time where these social media sites are regulated like public utilities because it obviously can’t be left in the hands of these little progressive clicks who censor on a whim. It just can’t go on like that can it? You’d think we’d have an alternative to facebook by now that was actually viable. I mean gab and minds are great but facebook they will never be and I’m afraid if they did become the new facebook they might fall into the same traps with more scrutiny put on them by progressives who are minority of nutcases but a very loud and litigious one.

I could literally rant about this all day so I’m gonna nip it in the bud because I have editing to do. My legend won’t write itself after all haha.

On a completely different note I’m gradually working my way out of the debt these last few trips have put me in, but now I’m desperate to go away again, I just can’t live without that person. And if this book doesn’t actually make me some money I’m gonna have to get a real job, seeing them once or twice a year or on skype just wont do.

See you…

A steady metronome of waves gently beat the shore, but there was no shore, the smell of the spray but there was no spray.

I opened my eyes but it’s just blackness. Then a light came on but it wasn’t a light, it was a moon rising out of the sea.

The sea, was I on a boat? Then I felt it, the cold cloying embrace of the ocean in answer.

I kicked my legs but I don’t need to, I’m bobbing, cold and wet, just with my head floating above the surface of the water.

I couldn’t see the shore, the ocean seemed endless, and the only noise I heard was the waves parting and my heart beating.

A rising anxiety set my teeth on edge, and I could sense it all around me. Was this what it’s like inside? Was this, its world? A cold endless black ocean. I couldn’t see the bottom, why would it have a bottom?

I felt something, something moved, circled, something rising. Waves and bubbles rose to a crescendo peaked by an anticlimactic blub blub and something bobbing on the surface of the water.

Something floated toward me, and I knew what it was before the moon could cast its bright bitter smile down on it.

A head.

A perfectly separated head of a woman. It bobbed listlessly toward me and in the glare of the moon it rolled open. Its wet hair parted like a flower.

My dear old Aunt. I should’ve felt things, I should’ve felt the earth shaking, bone clattering terror and cold sweat but there was nothing, nothing but a joyful wonder.

A question answered, a life revealed, a lie told and taken away just as swiftly and my heart raced and in an instant. I’m surrounded by more perfectly lopped heads; bobbing like rubber ducks floating in crude.

I woke up in the same cold sweat as last night, no maybe even colder; as cold as that black ocean, or maybe I just left the fan on, yeah it’s the fan. I slopped the sheets off my damp body and go turned it off.

I need a shower, and maybe a ritualistic burning of my sheets.

The water washed over me and I expected revelations, a brief aside into Jungian psychology. Did I even care what the dream meant, if it meant a thing?

The sea, the darkness, fear of the unknown, the oldest fear, pretty standard.

If you’re not afraid of the unknown, you don’t have a very good imagination.

I have a great imagination.

The moon, well that was easy. I felt my teeth clicking thinking about it, getting responses up my legs and back as I just let the water flow over me.

The heads were a gift from my new and anonymous friend, but why did I recognize them, why her?

I often thought about my aunt, about how I would feel if she died. If I could love anyone, it would be her.

Her absence in my life would be the most notable. A sapping unavoidable emptiness that could be called loneliness or sadness. The only link I had to my phantom parents severed forever.

Something close to that, but sadness was a foreign concept to someone completely bereft of any feeling whatsoever. A blessing and a curse, a crisp clear almost chipper emptiness. Like a smile with shark teeth.

Where did that come from? I turned off the water and toweled of; it was a Saturday so much less care was taken in regard to time and form. As I dried my hair, I heard something like the door opening and whispering.

I cracked the door and looked down the hall, but all I could see was my aunt holding tight to the door chain and looking at whoever was there. I tried seeing past her but all that was visible were feet, well one foot, the other seemed to be…well not there. The stump was pressed against the stirrup of a wheelchair. The other foot didn’t appear much more useful next to it.

She whispered harshly and shut the door, latching and deadbolting it, pausing to stare at the closed door soundlessly before walking clumsily into the kitchen.

It took me a few minutes to get ready. I ran a comb through my hair and put on a loose T-shirt. Then a pair of jeans more holes than denim, and headed down the hall of the minimalist bungalow we shared.

She was waiting for me in the kitchen, nursing a mug of gourmet instant coffee and mumbling to herself as she tended to do when something was taxing her. Dressed in a neatly pressed blue short-sleeved shirt and bicycle shorts, with the Orange County PD emblem emblazed on them. The only get-up she seemed comfortable in. For her, it was either her over starched meter-maid outfit, or something long and flowing plucked out of a lost and found at Woodstock 1969. Neither costume seemed to suit her.

I could ask her what was wrong but Aunt Mary-Anne usually outright told me when something was bothering her. As I was the only one privy to her insular little world. She really needed to get out more, like me—at least in my dreams.

She wasn’t really a cop—that was a bit of an exaggeration. She was more or less a parking attendant who rode around on a bicycle and carried really strong pepper spray and a very offensive notepad and whistle. Before this, Aunt Mary-Anne had worked in some kind of crystal hoodoo voodoo shop in town run by a couple of old hippy boomers. She’d go visit occasionally, but most of the time she didn’t feel a need to go back. Especially not on weekends. The shop did okay, that kind of crap always did in California. Always some dumb tourist who wanted to buy a, ‘healing crystal skull,’ or something.

I sauntered into the kitchen with no small fanfare, and leaned on the sparkly faux marble breakfast bar; none of it was new. It’d all come with the house. It had a sort of flat-pack feel, like everything could be folded up and carried away at a moment’s notice.

Having no memory of when we’d moved in; it seemed most of my childhood was packed away somewhere and neatly discarded. Probably for the best. We’d lived here as long as I could remember, and nowhere else I couldn’t.

Putting some bread in the toaster I pressed the plunger and imagined it was some sort of small humanoid about to be browned.

“What did I say about carbs?” My aunt asked.

Looking over my shoulder I said. “That they’re delicious?” I pulled a face. She scoffed and went back to her coffee and air diet. She had a fat girl’s name, but maybe she knew it and that was why she always skipped breakfast.

“Who was that at the door?” I asked as I made satisfying scraping noises, adding generous globs of butter to my now cremated toast.

“Oh, just the mailman, you know how chatty I can get.” She took a sip, as if waiting for my reaction. “Poor guy couldn’t wait to get away.”

Not being an expert on the hiring process of the postal service. I could reasonably assume someone wheelchair bound and missing vital appendages might have trouble making up the required walking speed. So that guy being a “mailman” was either the result of liberal diversity policies running amok or a sweet little lie rolling off my aunt’s lips.

“What were you talking about?” I prodded, fighting a smile and squeezing the lid back on a jar of lime marmalade.

“Oh, you know, the usual stuff,” Mary-Anne said, tossing her long pony tail around in my face. She had it tied back with one of those seventies band things that gave it a little lift on the top. “So what are you doing today?” she asked, leaning on the counter, obviously trying to look casual and failing miserably; but skillfully changing the subject as she sipped her coffee. The wafting scent of her mug was driving me nuts. I loved the smell of coffee, not so much the taste. The smell was divine but it kind of tasted like dirt, not that I know what dirt tastes like.

“I was planning to go to the library and catch up on some studying.”  The subject matter was a need to know basis, of course.

We lived in a nice, but relatively secluded part of Orange County, called Turtle Rock. It was a picturesque little hamlet made up of cute matchstick houses. With street names that sounded like they’d come straight out of fairy tales. Sweetwater and Rainbow Falls, Morning Dew, Sandpebble, Gumdrop Lane. I made that last one up.

It was a good area, even if our house was a shack, compared to the homes around us. It had privacy and was incredibly secluded. One couldn’t get anywhere exciting without a car, that was what I sorely lacked.

“Okay.”

“Can you drive me there, and I could maybe get a ride back?”

Mary-Anne seemed to not be listening, and took another sip, her head bobbing, then caught, like she skipped a beat. “Sure,” giving me a labored smile. “Wait, the library? As in, at your school?” My aunt gaped like I just told her my room was on fire.

“Uh huh.” I took a bite of toast.

“It’s fifteen minute walk, versus a two minute car ride.” She paused, as if trying to register how much I cared about carbon emissions.

“Didn’t you hear? There’s a serial killer on the loose.” I tried my best not to seem ecstatic as I said it. I was probably glowing.

“I heard,” she said with a ringing in her voice like it’d jumped and fallen down a well.

I didn’t bother asking her for clarification. I doubted she knew anything, or even cared to.

The only way it could even enter her realm at all would be if they found the heads in a meat packing truck that was double parked.

“You sure you don’t want to go the mall or something? All that work on the prom and you haven’t bugged me for a dress or shoes.”

“I still have time.” I shrugged as I picked up another slice of bread to torture.

“Okay.” Mary-Anne picked up her unwieldly collection of keys off the kitchen counter with a clattering noise. Various useless keyrings like peace symbols and weed leaves. Cool aunt persona mastered. “Shouldn’t you be out with your friends? It’s a weekend.” She clapped the keys in her hands.

She almost sounded hurt, like I wasn’t fitting into the fantasy she had for a kid my age. Frolicking through piles of maple leaves, and having water fights with the local street urchins. Taking breaks in between licking giant circular lollipops. Braiding my hair.

Maybe her childhood was on rainbow falls, but mine fell somewhere a lot darker on the map and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Who says my friends won’t all be in the library?” They wouldn’t be. Paul was at basketball practice and Wendy was probably at a salon somewhere getting her nails ‘did’.

“Okay sure, I can take the long way to work and drop you off on the way I guess, then pick you up on my break.”

“I was planning on staying late; I’ll just get a ride or catch a cab or something.”

“How late?”

“As long as it takes, I don’t know. Are you gonna take me or not?”

“Fine.” She rolled her eyes.

“Thanks,” I said in my most chipper getting-my-way voice.

When we left the house, it was still early afternoon; I’d slept until about twelve, which was odd. I usually didn’t need much sleep, but these dreams seemed to leave me feeling drained and sluggish. The sun was hanging lazily in the sky and the birds saw fit to fill the silence of Turtle Rock with incessant happy chirping.

Most people here didn’t stay in on the weekends, so the place was deserted. Although, the sound of sprinklers hissing persisted. They were probably all out on the beach with their jet skis making lots of noise and having too much fun.

We lived on the tip of a little cul-de-sac called Whitewater, probably the least fairy-tale sounding name in the area. It had a mini garden in the center of what was supposed to be a roundabout, but was a tad too small.

It also didn’t help that my boyfriend had left huge divots in it with his daddy’s monster truck. I suppose it was a blessing he didn’t just plow right over it. But it left more than enough room to allow whatever bike or hybrid running shoe the neighbors were packing; not my boyfriend’s dad’s gas guzzling monstrosity.

The place was a little too metropolitan to have front lawns opting more for the European- chalet feel. Little neatly formed shrubberies and trees sticking out of perfectly shaped garden strips, hemmed in by the bricked driveways. Their mail boxes all nicely shaded by God knows what trees. I’m a tree surgeon.

The houses all looked similar. The same matchstick-wood with sandy-colored tiles matching the tone almost perfectly. They looked almost like unpainted monopoly houses in their uniformity.

Little balconies on top for relaxing, two car garages that seemed to take up most of the space in the house.

Aunt Mary-Anne opened the garage and drove her little roller-skate car out of the needlessly huge garage. She’d seen fit to fill it with useless knickknacks, a foosball table on it’s side we never used, and some piece of ethnic art she’d picked up in a flea market downtown.

The car was so small it was basically a motorized rickshaw. Complaining would be pointless, and eat up too much air in the car. I was getting a free ride after all. A chance I sorely needed to get a leg up on whoever was lurking in the shadows of the internet, so interested in little old me.

I opened the door with care, afraid I’d break it, and settled in the front passenger seat, sans legroom. Still, no complaints uttered.

My aunt started the engine and the dull hum of the electric motor made my fillings ache.

The tiny car sputtered along like a milk float down the end of the drive, and we turned right on Sweetwater. A left onto Sycamore Creek, then another left and a straight shot onto Turtle Rock Drive.

I couldn’t help but notice how much the neighborhood looked like a cult compound from the outside. Trees planted like it was a model of some Swedish fishing village, and the grass cut so fine it looked like it was just papier-mâché painted green.

We drove for what felt like miles of neatly topiaried bushes, pointing up at the bright clear pale blue sky. Were there any clouds in Orange County?

I couldn’t bear to look at their near perfection anymore, instead choosing to just follow the bumps of the dry dusty hills on the other side, reminding us all that in fact we live in a giant desert.

I opened my window, because of course, the a/c was broken in the boxy excuse for a car— lucky the window still worked. I poked my head out for some fresh air, taking in the smell of chlorine as we passed a walled off little compound. The tops of a slide poked over the high walls. Probably owned by some cartel money man that liked quiet Swedish fishing villages and indoor pools.

After about a minute of watching the shadows of palm trees slide over the almost non-existent crumple zone of the car, we pulled into the flat patch of concrete that made up the campus parking lot. It was nice and empty since it wasn’t a school day. Every other day, it was filled with little European cars fighting for elbow room with beaten up American muscle monsters.

Despite all the space, my aunt parked at a jaunty angle, trying to take up three spaces LARPing as a real cop who didn’t ride a bike with a cute little bell.

Getting out, I rounded the car to peck her on the cheek, narrowly missing her pair of fake DG sunglasses. I planted a bird-like peck on her freckled, sun-kissed cheek.

“Don’t work too hard,” she called as I walked into the shade of the foyer.

“I won’t, thanks for the ride!” I waved through the glare of the sun, covering my eyes with my forearm.

The halls were empty and pleasantly cool, like some underground catacomb, sending shivers up my arms, making each mousey hair stand up. The school’s color was almost everywhere. Blue, for those of short memories. Go Trojans. The blue horsehead was our team’s mascot.

I found myself almost marching to the library, past the banks of lockers and the sullen empty classrooms. My feet screeched out a coffin din on the polished linoleum. For some odd reason it popped in my head that I completely forgot to pick up those flyers. I blamed the headless bodies.

Really, it’s no excuse to lose your own head Diana.

Stopped at my locker out of habit alone, opening it and looking at the half-deflated volleyball on the top shelf. Why hadn’t I thrown it away?

Picked up a pad and pen—I might want to take notes, but I doubted it. Anything I learned, I’d remember vividly and probably wouldn’t want to leave evidence of lying around for my aunt to get an opportunity to meet the real me.

The library was quaint, very homey. A leather couch in the center and hexagonal tables, surrounded by wooden chairs with gray cushions. Giving it the ‘hip eclectic google office space’ look they were going for, without resorting to bean bag chairs, haki saks, or the smell of hemp oil and overpriced coffee.

There was a woman working the desk, who occasionally glanced up from her copy of Fifty Shades Blacker, as she heard the squeaking of shoe rubber.

The place was relatively antiquated despite the hipster aesthetic, but it’d served me well enough in the past. The books were old and tiresome; really aimed at a younger age range. The décor was much the same, lots of bright colors and team banners hanging from the ceiling.

There were only eight computers in the whole place in a tight row with small wooden partitions between them.

Lucky I only needed one.

The library was almost deserted, with it being Saturday and all. The ‘cool kids’ were probably all off playing volleyball on the beach, or posing for obnoxious calendars and saying ‘brah’ and ‘dude’ a lot. There was one Asian kid, who probably kept his backpack on even in the shower sitting at one of the computers, playing starcraft 2.

What was I doing here?

What was I doing here? Surely not to learn any more than I could at home without the safety filter.

No, I wasn’t expecting miracles, but I was expecting some form of order and silence I couldn’t find at home. There was something peaceful about being almost surrounded by people who were compelled into silence. Like being in a monastery.

The library got my juices flowing, like only a Zen garden could. The cool bitter un-awkward raw silence punctuated only by slight coughs behind hands; maybe a sneeze or slurp from a soda can, or a loud conversation in Mandarin, which I found soothing.

I needed to clear my head and be alone, but I needed the anonymity of a near crowd, to slip beneath a steady ebb of near silent chatter. Like white noise. A slow rumbling murmur of foot screeching and nose wiping that was just right.

Something about it cleared my head and allowed things that seemed obtuse to fall into place.

Let all those wasps under the lampshade calm down so I could see things clearly.

Mainly I just needed to get out of the house and that sink of time and effort that was my ever growing landfill of a bedroom. Who could really think clearly with all that clutter?

Using Wendy’s password; I logged on. The girl talked a lot, and I liked to let people who like to talk do their thing. Good listener, and all that.

‘Smoochie,’ the name of her annoying little dog she’d have buried with her if she could, in that obnoxious little carry purse and all.

There was no real worry of being caught looking at anything untoward. No one here seemed interested in my affairs. It just made me feel sly and quick and shaded. Covered, calm, invisible.

In the first search engine convenient, I did something very narcissistic. Googled my own name, ‘Diana Harrison’.

Nothing really about me, I kept a very neat internet footprint. The only thing that came up was old newspaper articles about the car accident that’d killed my parents. Some drunk driver on the wrong side of the road, driving a refrigerated truck full of cow halves.

It didn’t really say much, and the pictures of us together were alien to me; the originals long-shoved in a cardboard box in a storage unit somewhere.

My aunt and I weren’t the nostalgic type. One of the few traits in common we shared.

I typed their names in separately, Derek and Ronda Harrison. Nothing, just an endless stream of LinkedIn profiles and social media nonsense that had nothing to do with them. It was almost comforting; they were as lost in the crowd as I was. Swallowed up by the world like they never existed.

I Googled the Headhunter murders again, narrowing my search this time. Any record of this outing would be traced back to an actual murderer, my ‘bestie,’ the immutable Wendy Vargas. Did I actually want her to get caught? Did I really have any sense of justice? The idea faded as my results populated. It was mostly more of the same stuff, a few more details. They didn’t mention if the heads were found, a detail it would make sense to put right at the top.

The police had a made a statement already, and of course, they believed the heads were removed by the cartel to hamper identification of the bodies.

In that case why not remove the hands too? Were they illegals?

Maybe their prints weren’t on file. Then why hide their identities at all? Surely their dental records wouldn’t be on file if they were illegals.

Idenifications had only been made on two bodies, both citizens. One guy named Benjamin Barrow had done some time in juvie for stealing medical supplies from a free clinic. His prints were on file. The other, Hector Viejas, was another juvie bird. He’d gotten a few months for a Breaking and Entering, only because he didn’t steal anything.

The others must’ve had clean records.

How nice for them.

Juvie records were usually sealed, but since they were dead they couldn’t mind if I took a little back door peak. Stating I was good with computers was an understatement. We weren’t in DC; the school’s firewall wasn’t fort Knox. If I got busted, Wendy’s sheer charm and obliviousness would get her a slap on the wrist. Far less than she most likely deserved.

The bodies were all male but one, all similar heights, but that was it, nothing else linked them. Different ages, hair colors, ethnicities, jobs, sexes.

Why would height be significant? If only I could see a medical examiners report. I should take note of that for future career paths. Why couldn’t I use my ‘Leet’ hacker ‘skillz’ to find that out?

A juvie record was one thing, but a Medical Examiner’s report was a bit out of my scope. Getting caught with that would warrant a little more than a slap on the wrist. What good would it do me anyway, one season of CSI an expert, it does not make me. I probably couldn’t make heads or tails of the real thing.

That was it, all I’d gleamed from the official statement and the victims’ names; I still had nothing. To anyone else, this would scream random. But…a bad little birdy had told me it was the exact opposite.

If only I had something I could use, something that would tell me how they’d died. If it was cartel, maybe it was all done at the same time, or maybe there was some guy living in Huntington Beach with a freezer full of heads. Maybe he was making a necklace of ears and pukka shells.

A loud yawn rolled into an even louder sigh. Loud enough to break through the quiet din of the K-pop playing in the Beats sitting next to me, feeling stupid despite my Russian hacker ‘skillz’. I shoved my chair backwards, planning to pace and drink soda.

Decided to get a can of Mountain Dew from the vending machine in the hall and locked eyes with a particularly mean-looking prawn cocktail sandwich in the adjacent vending machine. I could swear I felt a flutter, some murderous intent, leathery wings, maybe. Attack of the killer sandwich.

Reseated in my little cubby with my soda, I took tactical slurps feeling no more enlightened than before but very comfortable. Just sipping the syrupy mixture of liquid carbs, and trying to imagine the heads bobbing in the black water.

It was ridiculous; I was playing games, driving some narcissistic fantasy. The heads were probably in the belly of a great white or getting balanced on the nose of Flipper. Maybe some fisherman caught the whole bunch with a school of grouper.

Then why couldn’t I stop thinking about them? I didn’t even know what the other three looked like.

Having worked myself into an almost trance-like state with the slurping and morbid introspection I felt almost feint as the spell was broken by an odd tone from the gray box in front of me.

A message beeped from the internal email server. I glanced at Mr. K-pop; he was very much engaged in a game of Dota2. There were only the exchange students and a few others milling about on their phones.

The email was some sort of video message. I’d learned my lesson about this sort of thing long ago, turns out ISIS videos on Liveleak could get pretty loud. So I dug out some headphones from my purse. A rush of blood made my pulse thunder as electric static started filling my ears, dancing on the hair around my head.

My mouth filled with liquid and I swallowed hot gobs. Why was I having some Pavlovian response? Was someone playing a dinner bell?

My hand hovered over the mouse, fingers tiptoed lightly like devils dancing. How could anyone know I was here? Why would they care? Why here?

One click would reveal all. It was indeed some sort of short video, the thumbnail showing what looked like a gray concrete floor in a poorly lit room.

Something deep inside was sending blood to all the places that ran hot. My heart was pounding like a steel drum and I was almost panting,  my lungs heaving, warming against the beat of the air conditioning.

A whisper of something, a shrill hiss and a mocking ephemeral laughter.

Trembling digits hit play by accident. The camera was a dead weight pointed at the floor, and there was no sound but I kept the headphones in anyway. Something about it made the moment seem private, as if beamed directly into my head. Creating a sanctified bubble.

Someone out of shot repositioned the camera, and angled it low at a row of things that were hard to make out in the dark.

There was a heartbeat of a pause, and more light, revealing what the row of things was in such theatrical splendor it sent shivers to my fingertips almost shooting sparks and a lot more spittle into my mouth.

My eyes started to water, I didn’t want to close them. Inside, there was the rapturous flutter of dark wings, of black feathers falling from the sky and burning right in front of me.

Of the future and the past crashing together and bringing forth Ragnarok. The drums of war and love and all things fair.

Knees.

I could hardly believe it. A row of perfectly lined knees on the concrete floors. Two pairs of Jeans, a set of cargo shorts, a set of chinos, and a skirt lined up kneeling, with their hands tied behind their backs.

The camera panned up again and I could see them, five of them lined up kneeling. Still and quiet like chickens in a battery farm with the lights off. Facing the camera with dark hoods over their heads.

Only slight twitching and harsh rasping breathing translated into a spasmodic shaking.

The hoods sucked in and out faster and faster.

I wished I could hear them.

Wait, what was this? What was I watching?

This can’t be real, this has to be a joke, a prank.

There was someone filming wasn’t there? I had to be on America’s Funniest Serial Killers. Maybe a really fucked up version of Jersey Shore.

The headphones came out and I paused the video like I’d been caught watching porn. I wanted to stand up and shout. Look around the room and toss people out of their seats like I was in some Wes Craven movie. Taking a breath, I calmly, mechanically, put the buds back in my ears.

A chorus of dark angels sang in my ears; sending black harp music to my bitter heart, telling me this was too good to be true.

The cameraman stepped into shot, but never turned. He had some sort of white silk sack on his head. There was no doubt in my mind it was indeed a ‘He’. He was broad and filled his dark long sleeve shirt with what might be described as ‘Prison muscle’.

He approached the row of people almost too slowly. Like he was walking through water, taking all the time in the world, soaking in it.

Their fear built silently.

Maybe it was me; maybe I was just watching it in slow motion.

Counting the seconds as he walked toward them, the epitome of nonchalance.

Despite the no-sound, I could almost hear his cargo pants making rustling noises as he breezed behind the kneeling figures. He was wearing a slim fitting long-sleeved shirt with buttons around the neck, revealing only a tiny sliver of tanned white flesh.

He started from right to left.

That was exactly how I would do it. The thought graced my brain. I almost coughed; a tickly feeling in my chest.

I looked over at K-pop; he was still fighting some sort of gargoyle, laying down buffs like a man possessed, and seemed to be in a state of deep concentration.

The man on the video rounded the five, cool and calm.

I could almost feel his easy smile, even though his eyes were shaded by the mask. Somehow, instinct told me he was looking right at me.

The girl was on the far right—ladies first after all. What a gentleman.

He took her hood off fast, and she gasped as if she was yanked out of the ocean. The bag’s drawstrings had been pulled tight, obviously to keep them docile.

She opened her eyes, wide and terrified, her face flushed pink. She was youngish, probably mid-thirties, pale complexion with egg yolk-yellow hair. Her face was dumpy, sort of square. She had a boxy firm figure. Like an ugly German barmaid working in a death camp cantina, slinging bratwurst with her fat arms to the camp guards. Her sullen downturned eyes wore a delicious ‘why me?’ expression.

He must’ve been eating it up.

She tried to turn her head and look at him but he took hold and kept it straight. Kept her looking at the camera. Her eyes were so wide and wet, I could see them shake in her head. Bulging out of her skull.

He showed her the knife, as if by magic it appeared and he ran it through the small window of her vision he’d allowed, all nine or ten inches of it to pass her by.

Big boy.

As the blade crept over her line of sight, you could see her hope slipping away.

She sagged onto her knees like she was melting or pretending to pass out.

But he had her by the nape of the neck, then yanked her up by her hair and made her look.

Her eyes lolled into her head like a dolls eyes and she stared at the camera long and hard. She blubbered, spittle dribbling down her chin. Looked as if she tried to cry, but couldn’t, her doughy face scrunching up and turning red.

He let her go, and stepped out of frame. The camera zoomed in on the woman, who tried to look straight. Her terrified eyes still watching him, never taking them off him. She screamed a hoarse silent scream all the veins raised on her neck. She could feel it coming, the inevitability, the pointlessness of fighting the coming waves. The rising tide of visceral impending release, like falling. Like a comet plummeting to earth.

She saw it.

In an instant, the time it took for a camera lens to close and open again, her head was loped off with a perfect downward strike.

He stepped in and stepped out again, and her head tumbled to the ground. There was no dramatic geyser of blood, no brutal Jihadi-style sawing, just one clean, perfect, cut.

One minute her head was there, then it was gone, shazam.

It was beautiful, perfect, like something from an old Samurai movie. A singular moment distilled into one swift action. It wasn’t the cold completion of an execution, or the dull satisfaction of a cattle culling. It was the loving kiss from a happy thankful knife turning dirty wet flesh into pure and simple doll parts.

There was something so… right, about it, so poetic, short and sweet, like a Haiku in blood.

Her body fell backward and he walked behind the camera again. His hand came into shot. He held perfectly cut blonde hair he’d separated in his gloved hand, and blew it away like the petals of a dandelion.

And that was it.

What a tease.

 

Diana After Dark Chapter 2 ‘Do you see what I see?’

Yeah more of these lazy stalling tactics haha. Well is it laziness or do I just want to take my time and make sure the proofreading of Cur is perfect before I put out another chapter, no you’re right it’s laziness.

But I felt like I’ve been putting off proofreading this pitch stuff, which is arguably more important. And I was for a good reason, I think it’s good to let something sit for awhile and then come back to it with fresh eyes. You find a lot more of the mistakes that way.

Still happily can say I’ve read no witcher in a couple of days and my polish friend who got me into the witcher told me the next book is the most boring of all so I can’t wait to slog through this to get to that… yay.

I dunno, I just feel like I have to do something to escape inevitable depression, I have to keep moving forward, to stop or slow is death.

I’m still rocking Cur, I’m about over the hump now working my way into the home stretch and into the real meat of the story, which I think is fucking epic but I’m biased haha.

Because up to this point it’s been pretty apocryphal, building my own story around a character that was meant to die in the original literature that I revived sort of creating an alternate timeline. So this is when we’re about to start getting into my dramatisation or interpretation of the actual mythology and it’s pretty awesome. I actually already started writing it awhile ago because I was gonna slot it in right at the start.

But then my buddy said I should move it to the end as like a reveal and a part of me thought it would be better at the part because it’s a little bit of an obvious twist in my opinion and I thought it might be cheesier than it would be epic. But now as I’ve built up to it in the story I think it will be really cool. If readers feel half as pumped as I did writing it it’ll hit the mark.

Yeah so here’s the next edited and double proof read chapter of Diana after dark, this should be what professional agents will read so if there are still mistakes I’m pretty much fucked. But I’m being a lot more patient and conscientious this time around. The last couple of times I jumped the gun a little bit and my content really wasn’t as good as this so I have high hopes for it. I mean fuck me it’s better than twilight.

Anyway gotta do something actually productive today, I’m back on facebook so I’m gonna do some spamming with this lovely little chapter people can’t complain about being unedited. Despite the fact people will just to be dicks haha.

Yeah so here’s that, now I have to get to proofreading and spamming and all that good stuff.

See you…

 

Paul drove his dad’s car when he was out in some Middle-Eastern hell hole doing what I could only dream about, literally. But in an altogether less neat and ritualistic way at the behest of his Uncle Sam.

That’s a level of trust you can’t kill for. His dad was obviously very confident in the offspring he’d carefully chiseled out of clay. That, or he was indelibly dim-witted, allowing his only child to drive around in his top-of-the-line vehicle. Having only met him a handful of times, I couldn’t say which was the case.

It was an older model olive drab Hummer, with leather interiors that smelled like discipline and spearmint gum. The thing ran like it was brand new, the old man kept it in peak condition, and his son took it just as seriously.

I opened a bag of chips in her once on the way to an Ariana Grande concert and he made me get out and finish them on the side of the freeway. That was fun.

Another thing I loved about Paul Alan Junior was, he rarely talked. There’s the strong silent types. Then there’s this type, the type that’s conditioned to ‘being seen and not heard,’ on levels that teeter on ‘culty’, if that’s a word. His father taught him well; sometimes I wondered if he wasn’t as damaged as I was. Instead of breaking the mold, he’d been hammered perfectly into it. A living Ken doll with no visible cracks or creases.

Thankfully, unlike a Ken Doll, they’d seen fit to leave the important places ‘unsmoothed,’—not that that really mattered to me.

Unlike most people, I’m a big fan of comfortable silence; sadly in Orange County, near the coast, it’s in short supply. Inside the sealed air conditioned mobile command center that was Paul’s dad’s car, it was preserved. Like some kind of orchid, hermetically sealed for freshness. I could almost taste it as I watched the anemic palm trees and midafternoon roller-skaters go by. Baking and cracking in the sun while I felt like a lizard on a cool dry rock; bliss.

With a full stomach, it was even better. He took me to this little taco place we like near the beach because it’s quiet and he knows that’s why I like it.

I had the vegan taco; not vegan but I like their food and for some strange reason I like animals. Not really people or kids. Of course, people are kids but there needed to be a distinction. Although, I don’t hate them.

I just have a callous indifference for everything that doesn’t walk on four legs. There’s something about them I like, their raw natures, their lack of pretense, lack of a filter. Their natural instincts just accepted, not sanded away by school or television.

Sadly, the feeling is not mutual. Every cat or dog my aunt ever brought back would rather jump under a semi than let me pet them. I won a gold fish at a fair once, got it a bowl and a little castle, the whole bit. As soon as we put it in the bowl, it climbed those castle steps and was never seen again. It chose a life of solitude like some hunchback. It starved to death rather than see me for all of the five seconds it took for me to sprinkle food on the surface of the water.

Paul paid for the tacos, of course, perfect gentleman.

Feminism, what’s that?

“Are you mad at me?” he asked, as he kept his eyes straight, hands at ten and two.

I looked at him and sighed, and smiled with the corners of my mouth like a snake. “No.” suggesting it could’ve gone either way.

He looked good in profile, a strong chin, long straight nose, light dusting of designer stubble. The aviator sunglasses were probably also his dad’s. His hair was tight at the sides with a bit of gel assisted lift at the front.

“Is that a real ‘no’ or a woman’s ‘no’?” he asked, without taking his eyes off the road, just smiled out at nothing.

“No as in no.” I just couldn’t get those dreams out of my head. Picturing the city under the blanket of night and me stalking its street like some carrion bird picking off the weak and strong alike. It was a mix of horror and sheer splendor mixing in my chest. A feeling so unexplainable, to try seemed like blasphemy.

“You just seem—” The leather squeaked under him; his eyes remained forward, he poked his tongue into his cheek, as if looking for the right word. “Different”.

Should I tell him about my dream, maybe just to shut him up? I don’t have to tell him about the good bits, I can keep those to myself, locked away in Dear Diana’s vault of diabolical deeds.

I make a bit of a show of it, lick my lips so he can hear, maybe not over the air-conditioning. “I had this weird dream.” I shrugged and smiled again.

Paul readjusted the rearview mirror, still he wore that dumb smile. “What kind of dream?”

Two questions in one day. Aren’t we the inquisitive type today?

“I was walking…walking, at night.” I tapped my front teeth together anxiously. A creeping odd feeling of cold hit me and I rubbed my bare pale arms to warm them but my hands were just as cold.

“Like a vampire?”

I scoffed.

“You really shouldn’t be walking alone at night Di—even in your dreams.” He made a hawing laugh sound in his throat, and turned that smile directly on me.

“Cute.”

Paul unwrapped a stick of gum and popped it into his mouth, somehow without taking his hands off the wheel. “You haven’t heard?” He poked the gum packet in my general direction.

“Apparently not,” I said, losing a sliver of patience, as I politely batted away the offer of gum.

He lifted his aviators and looked into the rearview mirror, as he chewed loudly. “You haven’t been watching the news?”

“Not if I don’t have to, boring show.” There goes another one.

Paul took in a deep breath and continued to chew. “They found a couple’ a bodies washed up on Huntington Beach.” He said.

“Bodies?” Happens every other day here. Some fat tourist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania goes belly up in a rubber dingy and we have to pretend to care.

“Headless bodies.” He made a chopping motion at his neck, like I didn’t know what headless meant. “They think it’s a serial killer or something.”

Or something, something like a chip of ice broken off, a cold laughter in the dark, a tinny voice spoke a language only I could understand. Those words set my teeth on edge, my skin to a cool burn.

“Really?” I tried to sound like I wasn’t chomping at the bit to Google this on my phone right in front of him. I swallowed, trying to pretend it didn’t faze me at all; like it wasn’t the most rapturous news I’d heard in my life.

Like there weren’t alarm bells ringing all through Diana’s dark deep depths. Like a light didn’t go off in my head, telling me somewhere, somehow, this is what I’d been waiting for.

But what else? Of course I need to feign some sort of fear, some kind of concern, for the victims for their family’s maybe.

I realized suddenly, a whole minute had passed since I last spoke. I just threw out a stock, “That’s horrible, those poor people.” For effect. No tears, no screams? Too much.

“Don’t worry, I’ll protect you.” Paul smiled.

“Did they find them?”

“Did they find what?” he asked, tipping his sunglasses down.

“The heads.” I asked quietly, as I tried to restrain myself from biting my lip.

He started chewing out of the other side of his mouth. “Now that you mention it, I don’t think they said.”

“Oh, terrible, I’m so scared!” I muttered almost shaking with excitement. What could it mean, why take the heads? Was it just a gang thing? Maybe the cartel. They love murdering random people and scattering them all over the place. Maybe some kind of Santeria voodoo hoodoo thing. But what happened to the heads?

Maybe they washed away and became a house for a family of California Dungeness crabs.

But not to find one, that stood out to me. It could’ve just been Paul forgot, but it seemed to strike a chord with Diana’s Dark Double. A shrill laughter, a tingle, a shiver up my spine, electricity on my fingertips. Every hair on the back of my neck stood up to salute the day, I had to check my lip to make sure I wasn’t drooling. Something seemed so right about it, something I had no idea I was waiting for.

I had to find out.

The moment he stopped the car, I bound out of the door like a dog seeing another passing car full of burning cats. I tossed back a feeble kissing noise and something like “Bye, babe, see you tomorrow!”

He said something equally as vapid back and swung a wide U-turn around the tiny roundabout at the end of the cul-de-sac I lived in, and drove off in a cloud of diesel smoke. The maneuver was something akin to the Titanic trying to do a Mexican Hat Dance around the iceberg.

Paul almost always just drove over it, leaving muddy tire tracks and crushed flowers in his wake, which seemed to really piss off my neighbors for some reason.

Oh well.

I quickstepped to the door of our ‘reasonably’ priced Orange County bungalow that looked like a little beach hut. Complete with beach towels drying on a spinner in the tiny front yard.

I was trying not to break into a full-scale sprint. I managed to keep my hand loose enough so I didn’t break the key off in the lock. Just to avoid any unnecessary time wasting conversations with my aunt. I wanted to be free to sit down at my computer as quick as humanly possible.

The keys on my chain rattled and it took me too long to find the right one and keep it still long enough to get it to go in the lock.

I turned the key, flinging the door open, closed it behind me and strode through the hall. I passed the living room, which I followed with my eyes.

The TV was on, the news, something about the killings. What a coincidence, but something in me told me this had to be a private moment, shared with no one.

Not even my own flesh and blood, and I also didn’t want any spoilers, no fluff, or padding. Just raw stark reality, no artist’s impression for Diana of the Dark.

I hurried past, slurring my words. “Hey, I’m home, had a great day, not hungry, kinda tired, going to my room, kthanksbye!”

Bustled past what felt like a crowd in a train station, but was just a bunch of squash equipment occupying the hall for some reason. I got in my room, pulled the door shut and had a fight with a wooden hat rack I’d thought was cute on Amazon, but had yet to buy a hat for.

My room was a hovel. Clothes, clean and dirty in piles throughout the room and on my bed. Posters of bands I didn’t listen to anymore, if I ever did in the first place, peeled off the walls and ceiling. Containers of soft drinks and burgers—I’m not a vegetarian. I like animals, big difference. They could have been vegie burgers, I don’t remember.

The curtains were drawn and the room was dark and humid. I put on the fan, and it started to cough and move warm air around my small room.

My laptop sat atop a throne of dirty clothes on my bed, half open like a clamshell.

I snatched it up and almost tossed it onto my dresser/desk/landfill. I turned it on and found a swivel chair with a sock wrapped tightly around one of the wheels. Its swiveling days were over, as the sock had lodged itself deep in one of the wheels. I parked my butt down and waited for my laptop to boot up, which seemed to be taking much longer than usual.

Punching it wouldn’t make it go any faster. So I didn’t do that.

Patience Diana.

It finally booted up, and I quickly logged in. My fingers almost tripped over themselves to type in my password, Dahmer7.

I opened a browser and typed, “Headless bodies, Huntington beach.”

There were a lot of results, but the top results seemed to be the most recent.

The Beachcomber had the juiciest title. The bodies had been found on the beach after all. So it seemed fitting.

 ‘Is there a head-hunter in Orange County?’ Jess Wode of The Beachcomber asked

I hope so Jess, I do hope so.

 It was apparent from the outset, this person had no idea what was actually going on. They were reading a police report, and adding their own ‘unique spin’. Or more likely, recycling a headline from another newspaper that also knew nothing.

Nothing more than headless bodies were found on the beach. That sells newspapers.

I was grinding my teeth, considering the prospects of a journalism degree. How much easier it would be to get access to all the morbid tripe I could get my hands on, if only I were a cop or a forensic tech or something.

The article was trite speculation and useless filler and what’s more, no pictures. What a waste of time.

I went through a few more sites. before I realized the police must be keeping a really tight lid on this one. No leaks, no cracks, no crevices, not even a video on someone’s phone, a selfie of a morbid dog walker, nothing.

Well that was disappointing. Even more so realizing that I would have to do the exact same thing as in my blog.

I opened another window and clicked on the bookmark tab for my blog. It wasn’t very fancy, I’m okay with computers, what kid born post y2k isn’t?

A super script kiddy hacker, I am not, but I’m getting there. The blog was just a standard WordPress blog dolled up with emo fonts and cheesy blood spatter effects as a background.

Mostly a serial killer fansite, where I documented murders and weird goings-on in the world at large. I ran it anonymously, obviously for the same reason I didn’t collect knives or listen to death metal.

Not that there’s anything right with that, but the connotations are the problem. People’s impressions really are everything.

If I do go on a killing spree out of the blue, I’d make it way too easy on them. They could blame reality TV, or Marilyn Manson or videogames instead of the harsh reality they’re hiding from.

Which is, Diana of the Dark Descent?

A shiver up my spine and that mocking chortle; the word I’m looking for is banal at best. ‘Evil’ doesn’t really cover it.

When I think evil, it’s more twirling moustaches and girls tied to train tracks. Some brawny hero coming to the rescue. This wasn’t so simple, it was never truly that simple.

Besides, how selfish would I have to be to let my ‘appetites’ harm the good name of videogames and death metal?

I logged in and tried to compose something, anything.

No pictures, maybe I should’ve just Googled ‘headless bodies’ in images. What kind of ‘leet’ hacker would I be if I didn’t figure out how to turn off my aunt’s safe search—in the fourth grade no less?

I felt dumb and dithering, as I looked at that blank text box I was about to fill with smoke, definitively from my ass. This must be what it feels like to be a real journalist.

My eyes wandered from the blank text box to my notifications. There was one. I clicked it, pretending I wasn’t mildly excited. Almost an addiction, checking notifications, expecting some great revelation. Some invisible backslap from a stranger or shit slung from some obtuse basement dweller, or maybe even a picture of a dick.

Other women complain about this constantly, I don’t get the fuss. It’s just a dick. I get the distinct feeling they’d be more miserable if the conveyer belt of phallic imagery would ebb. Maybe around their mid to late thirties.

It was a comment from one of the handfuls of subs to this small corner of the internet I call my own.

Spoopyshadowguy666 writes, ‘Check your inbox’.

This guy again, he subbed to me maybe a month or two ago, and he’s always sending me these weird cryptic emails. Like puzzles or riddles, games, and no pictures of his penis, woe is me.

Okay, I’ll bite.

I opened my inbox and it was empty, funny, my room looked like a homeless shelter, but I like to keep a tidy inbox.

I check the spam folder and waded through all the phishing emails and things trying to sell me Viagra and dildos and wart remover. A combination I can’t recommend.

His emails in the past didn’t really seem all that interesting. Mostly pictures of people, their names and addresses. Odd things, like their habits and work schedules, where they like to hang out.

It was weird but it didn’t cross the boundaries of being really strange. Seemed like the random fixations of a professional stalker. The standard fare for any fan of a serial killer page.

None of the people in the pictures seemed to be connected in anyway, different races, ages, jobs, sexes. If there was a pattern I didn’t pick it up, so into the spam folder it went. 

Today I was feeling ready for a distraction. Anything that would save me from the blank text box, and raking the bottom of my own skull for inane bullshit.

There it was, the subject of the email read ‘Do you see what I see?’ There were some attachments.

Here we go, finally the validation of seeing a nice hard cock of a stranger, can’t wait.

Clicking on the email revealed that it was pretty much the same as before. Pictures of seemingly random people, with little to no correlation in the way they looked.

I scrolled through them aimlessly, feeling silly for wasting my time. Then I saw a face that sent a little sliver of ice into the dark well.  I felt it stir.

A small flap of leathery wings, a tail uncoiling.

The face seemed oddly familiar. It was a Hispanic guy, maybe in his late twenties-early thirties, curly brown hair, small almond eyes, a flat nose and wide lips. The name on the image was Antoine Ruiz.

Ruiz, that name also seems familiar but it’s a Hispanic name and I go to a school that has a sizeable population. I think I sat behind a Ruiz in calculus.

I decided I was being silly, it was meaningless. I was making a big deal over nothing. I could have seen this guy while I was eating tacos an hour ago. He could have been staring right at me while he was grating vegan cheese and I wouldn’t have noticed.

There was something odd about these photos, though. They seemed different. The ones before were almost stock images pulled straight from Facebook or Twitter. Selfies, pictures taken by friends of them standing with surf board or in front of lobster dinners or on vacation.

These pictures seemed more intrusive, and increasingly so, as I cycled through them. Pictures from a distance, with their faces turned away from the camera, as if they had no idea they were being taken.

There were no smirks of the impending picture taking, no glib grins of people trying to show themselves at their bests. Instead it was the harsh glare of the camera’s eye revealing them in their natural state, completely unaware.

The first pictures of this Ruiz character made it obvious he was some kind of small time drug pusher or pimp. At night, with girls. Clandestine exchanges with people in cars with tinted windows. Moving his gun around the waistband of his Jordans.

Quite a character. Another small tingle was conjured as the next image was that of a small single story house, not mine. That would have been really ‘spoopy’.

No, it was a lot more ‘low-key’. Wider but with an unkempt, dried out lawn, and some desert plants in front. He’s really going to be hearing from the homeowners’ society.

The pictures got closer, looking through the windows at Ruiz. There was some kind of party going on, armed bouncers at the doors, people going in and out at all hours. The time stamps said as much.

Girls of the paid variety hanging around.

Quite the operation he has going on there.

Then more, after the party was over and people were leaving. It could have been just my imagination, but on a headcount it seemed like they were one girl short.

Then the next morning. Ruiz appeared, pulling heavy duty black trash bags to the boot of his car.

I clicked back and forth through the pictures like I was watching a video. Trying to separate reality from some daytime TV show with a cheesy title. ‘Appointment for murder’. Waiting for the other shoe to truly drop.

Was this a joke? A prank? Was someone playing a trick on poor delusional Diana? A trap? It didn’t seem to want to go in my brain, make the jump from pictures on a screen to actual things happening in real living color.

Something inside told me it was very real, hyper real, and right in front of my eyes. My teeth clenched, wishing there were some pictures inside the trash bags but that’s where the pictures ended.

What a tease.

I didn’t get it, who was this guy? A cop? Was it some kind of message? A warning? Was I being investigated? It looked like surveillance footage, and it looked like Antoine Ruiz was the type that needed to be ‘surveilled’.

Why send these pictures to Dainty Diana? Was it a mistake? It made no sense, and the more sense I tried to make out of it, I realized there was no sense to be made.

There was a puzzle piece missing, deliberately so and there was no way I was going to find it here.

The email itself was blank, but I scrolled down to the bottom.

If I sent a response, what do I say?

‘Do you see what I see?’ I see it, I think I do.

If ‘it’ was what I thought it was. I see it like no one else can see it.

There was something more than that, something deeper. Something that spoke directly to that part no one else should know about. What was it saying?

What would I want to say? What would I want?

To feel in control, to feel a step ahead of the person getting the email. To let them know I know them and they know nothing about me and I’m watching and waiting for what, for me?

To do what? Who am I? I’m no one, less than no one.

A high school senior with a tiny blog and a love for comfortable silences and Mexican food and occasionally living vicariously through famous serial killers.

Now I’m rolling my eyes back in my skull, looking into that pure clear darkness. The blackboard where truth is written by my dark professor.

It laughed, a cold mirthless laughter that shakes flecks of cool sea water off its irreverent scales.

What was it teaching me? What does he want from me? What does he want me to do with Antoine Ruiz?

What would I want it to say, not just, ‘Do you see what I see?’ But; ‘I see you.’

He sees me.

Diana After Dark Chapter one ‘Darkly Dreaming’ *remurdered edition.

(posted late because there was a freak storm here that knocked out my internet for a day haha)
Yes I’m this lazy, rather than proof reading and posting another chapter of Cur (of which I have lots of) I’m re-using Diana chapters haha. Ok well they have been fully edited and now I’m going over them again for the final proof read before I submit them so it’s a little different.

This is essentially the final version so it’s a much more polished version than I give the plebs on inkitt haha. And honestly looking at it, it has changed a lot, it’s really grown up with the help of my new editor and I’m really proud of it and really glad I went over it again because some of the formatting was fucking broken from the editing software haha.

I’m just posting the whole chapter because this is not going up on inkitt, this is just a sample. You gotta pay for this haha. Or maybe I’ll give it away for free next year who knows. I really hope I don’t have to.

Feel really shitty today because I missed another day of work and I really really need the money right now. I just fucked up and I feel really fucking frazzled trying to reset my body clock coming back from the holiday. I feel like a zombie only getting the 4/5 hours again so it’ll be a couple of days before it becomes normal again and this fucking heat is not helping. I feel like I’m fucking melting, two fans on me and I feel like a polar bear in an oven.

Maybe I should switch to drinking cold green tea.

Actually fuck it, I’m gonna do that right now brb haha.

*30 minutes later

Well that took longer than I expected.

Not much to report beyond that. I like this Parker book but it’s not really delivering on characters and suspense in the usual way. I like it when Parker is just this unstoppable force like in the first books he’s going against the whole mob and they can’t touch him. Because he’s this one guy who can dissapear and reappear wherever and he has a network of people just like him who’ll help him and the mob is this stalwart force with names and faces and addresses he can find. The third book is when it hits home that really the mob can’t touch him because he’s not a real person with a real name or even a real face by that point he’s already had facial surgery.

Parker basically lives like a ghost and they’re vulnerable because they have houses and families and cars in their names and he can just roll up to their front door and kill them which is exactly what he does. Because nomatter how rich or powerful you are you can still be gotten to if someone knows where you are and wants you bad enough and has the balls to do it.

It’s such a good book, the first three books are so solid. They really inspired me. In regards to Diana and especially LCYE and TOTCB. Just tight tense terse stories with great action.

This one is a little more loose and it’s good but it’s scope is a little small so far and I just feel like Parker is whining and being kind of a bitch. I just feel like he’s getting softer and I don’t like that. I mean in some of the books it’s almost like he’s the bad guy because he’s like this unstoppable monster and most of the books swap to his quarry and they’re fucking terrified of him and you really feel like they’re being stalked by the devil.

In this he’s like a little lost sheep hiding in a barn. It’s different but I like the stories that are about the job, I think this book and the last Stark got a little tired of the same formula and wanted to switch it up but in my opinion if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I want to read a book about a hard as nails master thief planning the ultimate job, it just seems a little bit like Stark is running out of ideas for cool heists so he sets all the book after the heist to get around doing the same things. Which is a good idea to stop the books from getting stale but it’s just a little underwhelming and there isn’t any direct interaction Parker has with another character so there doesn’t really feel like there’s progression or structure or pacing because he’s in this one place the whole book trying to do the same thing.

In the other books he’s moving all over the place talking to different people and doing stuff, this book is just small in it’s scope and I don’t mind that, its fresh for a Parker book but I really hope it goes back to classic Parker in the next book. And the next book is called ‘Plunder squad’ so that sounds promising haha. A cool cast of characters and lots of loot.

It’s literally taken me all day to write this because there was a lovely little storm knocking out my net and power and since I live in the middle of nowhere I just have to wait.

Anyway I’ve waffled enough, must dash.

See you…

My high heels tapped on the wet concrete like anxious teeth clacking. It’s dark, I’m alone. Scared.

It’s a good kind of scared.

A fear of coming waves of something unexplainable, something inevitable.

I’ve felt it building for so long, and now as I walked the street, alone in the dark, it’s all around me like the tropical heat.

I picked up the pace, it’s a neighborhood I didn’t recognize, low slung houses, high fences with glass teeth. Dogs barking in the arid heat of the night. Salsa music played in the distance, muffled shouting in Spanish.

I swam through its want, waded through its need.

It called to me, it’s hunger passed down through what feel like eons. An insatiable hunger. Teeth strain against gums. I tasted blood, and it felt good.

I heard a splash, and it’s my feet hitting a puddle, it watched, and it waited, the hunger growing.

The moon reflected in the puddle, its smile so wide and manic. Those white teeth, sharp and ready, it’s just right. Projected on my back, it filled me with that white pure light. Filled every corner, carried me like I was on strings.

My steps were weightless and without agency, carried by a wave of lustful righteous anger.

His eyes landed on me before I heard his silent voice.

I heard a fluttering of dark angel wings. A leathery tightening inside, as it whispered and laughed, it told me to keep going.

Told me to be patient even though that’s not a word it understands at all.

A cool breeze blew through the little hairs on my neck.

He called to me, and I’m out of it for a second.

A man—but I couldn’t see his face reflected in the glass of a bus stop because of a huge hairline crack down the middle. He walked down the street on my side, toward me.

I saw myself, dressed in my best impression of a hooker from a nineties cop movie in a car window. The fishnets might’ve been a little too on the nose but it seemed to have worked.

 

I caught a big fish after all.

Just the one I wanted.

He called to me again, but I can’t respond now.

My tongue is somewhere far removed, and words seem like pointless frail things.

I kept going with my arms folded like I was cold, when nothing but cool clear clarity and vicious joy washed over me.  Faster now, the puddles and the car windows revealed he was following.

He looked around and kept pace, how far will he go?

I went along a pink stucco wall that seems to stretch on for miles, passing houses all with their curtains drawn tightly, small dirty lawns cluttered with broken children’s toys, dry dying grass.

The shadow inside shifted and wriggled, like a kid in a bean bag chair. So excited, it hissed and tossed, just where it wanted to be, so close.

The man called to me, something crude in Spanish, but I couldn’t react, not yet.

A little further.

My heels clicked louder and faster, almost breaking out into a run, and what do dogs do when someone runs?

They chase of course, and predictably, he’s caught the scent of something he likes.

Me.

I knew him, his name escaped me, and his face seemed familiar but unimportant right now. No eyes, no nose, no mouth, just a blank pale face not unlike the face of the moon.

Maybe I’m giving him too much credit.

Who’s hunting whom after all?

His need is palpable; I’ve watched him. A small petty monster, a dog chasing cars, not sure what he wants until he gets his hands on them. A bottom feeder, a wanton monster with no attempt to hide it, no need. How free he must have felt, not like me at all.

Something inside me called to him but he can’t hear it, he’s just along for the ride.

I moved faster but I’m not out of breath, it’s a humid night with a cool ocean breeze and I felt brisk and tight. I quickly checked in another car window. He still shadowed me.

Good, almost there now. One more block, follow me little rat.

The thing inside shifted like an eel in a glass vial. Happy, tensing and releasing like a balled fist, electric, with terse excitement.

Impending release just over the horizon.

The man is still following, muttering to himself, looking around, he put his hood up..

The streets are dark and desolate, and lined with houses full of people that don’t talk to cops about strange goings on in the dead of night.

That’s why he picked this place, that’s why I picked it too.

A perfect playground for Diana the Dark Dabbler.

The pink stucco wall ended abruptly, and I rounded the corner fast down the back alley of a Chinese restaurant with bars on the windows, breaking line of sight.

Hidden in the shadow of the large smooth square building. The clear black sky overhead.

He made some sort of noise in his throat that somehow I heard.

I kicked off my heels already and tossed them into the open dumpster. It was neatly tucked away, behind a chained metal fence until I came by earlier and freed it.

That dull thudding sound sent the rats circling.

I ducked behind the spot I picked. A pile of cardboard fortune cookie boxes was all I needed.

The odor sent shivers up my spine. Old shell fish, the smell of the ocean, the spray, maggots—refreshing—like smelling salts.

He rounded the corner fast and confused, like he’s the only kid that doesn’t get the magic act at the birthday party.

My lips parted and curved up; my heart beat hard in my chest, can he hear it? Can he hear the wings beating, can he hear the moon’s teeth clacking, feel it’s beaming maniacal smile?

I hope so. He will.

The man looked around, pulled his hood down tighter. All those chemicals rushing, he felt it too, the chase, the thing inside of him that fed on my fear. Got high off that night air, stumbled into my trap.

I took my cellphone out of my purse and dialed the number of the burner I put in the dumpster.

It rang with a mocking eight-bit Mariachi band song.

He heard it, and swung around taking offense at everything.

Stired up that rabbit in head lights feeling. Trapped in a beam of ambivalent bone white moonlight.

It carried me, gave me goose bumps- goose bumps. Teeth chattered, but I’m not cold, not even close, I felt nothing but pure icy potential. The thing inside purred and waited.

He poked open the dumpster with the barrel of a Glock and looked inside.

We waited until he reaches in for the phone. It took the wheel and we fell out of our hiding spot, lithe and ready in a sliver of moonlight. Invisible, invincible, stun gun in hand, as we moved low and slow and sleek toward his back.

I shouldn’t look..

He turned but it’s too late; It pressed the stun gun to his neck and his legs went limp.

We caught him, took the gun out of his hands like a child with a squirt gun. “You’re mine now,” I whispered and heard not my voice but another vibrating just below the surface.

He heard it too, that eternal voice that speaks to both of us.

His heart beat faster but he couldn’t move. I hiked him up and leveraged him into the open dumpster.

The gun held in my hand, my heart sped up, pumped all those good chemicals hard. The Glock bounced and scraped into the gutter from my toss. Can’t risk some little kid picking it up and blowing his face off—that would be tragic.

I climbed into the dumpster.

Diana the Dumpster Diver, c’est moi?

Afraid not.

A dumpster is just a big metal coffin. It can be cleaned and prepped like any other space.  Prepared it I have; it didn’t take that long, a little tape, a little clear plastic. A battery lamp hooked on a loop of duct tape.

Then there was light.

It still didn’t smell great, cramped and hot, with a faint smell of soy sauce. It wasn’t a room at the Cali Hilton but it’d do fine for about the four hours this would take.

Then home and a lot of showers later would let all those good vibrations course through my muscles. Loosening and straightening out all that bad juju that’d been building. Making me tense and not quite myself.

Set up another light, I blocked out a lot of it in that tight space. Made quick work of taping his hands and feet, cutting his clothes away with garden shears. Shaved and buffed out the areas I wanted to work in.

He didn’t know, couldn’t know or feel what was about to happen. What was about to happen?

My tongue touched all of my teeth; I let out a little laugh.

Just had to have gotten the most powerful stun gun they had; he was out like a light, complete reboot.

A quick slap to his face and he made a noise like someone finding a hair in their lingquini and muttered something in Spanish that might’ve have been, “Ten more minutes, Mama.” I suck at Spanish.

Found the bag I’d stashed there. A small black overnight duffel, and I plan to stay the night. Inside, a sharp fillet knife, a scalpel, a razor and a framing hammer. The gangs all here!

The dumpster was cramped but I could move, as well as lay him out flat. The restaurant it was attached to was closed today. So I’d had all the time I needed to make it ready. Then leave my own trash behind in neatly wrapped packages ready to garnish the local landfill.

We slapped my friend again and his eyes opened wide. I taped his mouth shut.

He couldn’t scream muffled Spanish slurs.

We showed him the knife and his eyes darted back to absorb his surroundings.

He may have well been buried six feet under already.

He had to know he was ours.

The man didn’t seem too impressed with the knife, so the framing hammer was the next item in show and tell day. He didn’t like that, not one bit, his eyes got wider, his pupils shrinking.

It seemed like he was getting it.

We breathed out a cool controlled breath and we watched him shrink, his muscles tightened feebly against the tape, his veins popped, we breathed in his fear.

The pretty girl thing might’ve thrown him at first, or maybe it was a prank.

I heard the mirthless tinny laughter inside and I think he heard it, too.

There was no turning back, one step on the dark path was enough.

There would be blood, a lot of blood.

I could almost hear it rushing inside him, that disgusting hot sticky stuff, waiting to come out.

He was mumbling something; I could feel his panic rising. His longing for release reaching up and touching mine. His eyes were talking, he was drooling, his mouth moving.

There was something really important he had to tell me.

I was hungry for anything. I’d been watching him. What he liked, young girls with wide scared eyes looking up at a knife or a gun or a framing hammer. Feeling him on top of them heaving and sweating, then nothing.

He’d killed four in the last month, and it was nothing to sniff at. Mostly prostitutes, because he was an amateur, no procedure, just pure bare need.

A pathetic creature, but I didn’t hate him.

How could I? We were the same, sort of, but more than that, I loved him; he was a brother.

He sputtered.

His eyes tried frantically to reach inside of me and find some small tear. Like some buried motherly instinct would battle the forces of darkness in the dungeons of my deep dreadfulness. Seeing fit to spare him and maybe take him out to lunch..

I was curious, bad form for a cat.

Didn’t like begging, but was ready to hear anything.

He looked up at me after the tape was ripped off. “Diana, you’re gonna be late for school.”

“School?”

“Yes, school.” I heard my aunt’s indignant voice break through the cozy wall of the pillow over my head.

A dream?

How you tease me. I can still hear the laughing, it’s taunts. Me, Dark Dreamless Diana.

I don’t dream, I never dream, it’s just serene blackness every other night, or I don’t remember. I miss the cool crisp void of sleep, the nothingness. What happened to my nothingness? Bring back the void.

Not to say the dream wasn’t, stimulating.

I moved the pillow off my face and started to rend myself of my sopping sheets. I was drenched in a layer of thick cold sweat.

It isn’t the first time, different people, men, women, different places, times.

It seemed like the dreams were getting more frequent and they always end the same way.

Unsatisfying, they always end just before…

Murderus interruptus.

“Didn’t you say you had a test or something today?”

“There’s always a test or a final or a quiz,” I tell my aunt Mary-anne, a fat girl’s name, but she wasn’t fat, not yet anyway.

A soft and pretty woman, not much older than myself. Kind of a hippy dippy sort but a good soul, raised me from an egg to the velociraptor I picture myself as now.

She had that ‘good hair.’ The type that’s long and straight, a deep chocolatey brown she nevertheless always tied back in a tight ponytail for work. Delicate straight features TV pretty people had, but she never really liked to flaunt it with make-up or fancy clothes; I guess it runs in the family.

I’m Diana, the poor orphan, boohoo. My parents died when I was just an innocent tot. Oh woe is me, the poor child, parents taken so young.

Is this a superheroes backstory? Afraid not.

Were they slain by a wicked murderer or super villain? No, not unless the truck that hit them was a Decepticon. A petty car accident robbed me  of any parental love I was owed and cast me as the martyr in my own passion piece.

“Well, that’s school for ya,” she said, she smiled with her hands on her hips as she waited for me to fully ascend my damp throne.

It’s not that I don’t like school; in fact, I love school. All those plastic minds clinging to some form of identity or another. Forming their own sense of self, all those people pretending to be human hoping the shape would stick. I fit right in.

Maybe I’m not very good at this, I feel like I skipped a step. I’m completely hollow inside. It sounds like teen angst, which is an easy way to pigeon-hole it since I am a senior in high school.

But it’s been this way since before I can remember. Since before I could think, I’ve felt nothing.

My aunt tells me, even as a baby I wouldn’t cry or laugh or smile, nothing. Every emotion I fake is for other people. I’ve been forced to become the perfect mirror of every person I’ve ever known, but I’m good at it.

I’m the best.

I trudged my way to the shower, down the hall from my modest bedroom. It’s hot today, it’s always hot in Cali. That’s why I keep my hair short, easy to clean, easy to dry and it looks cute.

What does anyone else’s opinion matter anyway? Only, that’s a lie people tell themselves on occasion. I don’t, I’m not people. Other people’s opinions are all that matters. It’s the glue that binds this world together. Without it, the world would be the perfect clean chaos of my dreams.

The world where that mocking laughter I hear comes from.

Lies we tell others, and the lies we tell ourselves, are what stops this world from falling apart and it’s what keeps me out of a sanatorium. Are there any sanatoriums in Long Beach? Probably some rich kid day spa with Vicodin vending machines that take hundred dollar bills. So Miley Cyrus can clean up for the next time she needs to squeeze her ass inside a rubber glove.

Rubber gloves, was I even wearing gloves in my dream? Need to write that down.

The things that you remember in the shower. Running water stimulates creativity, or some such other new age nonsense. Massages the chakras or stimulates the karma flow, vibrates the mediclorians. I toweled off and wiped the mirror with my hand. Empty blue-green eyes stared back. I made a toothy fake grin, showed those pearly whites. Such a practiced grin, straight out of the Sears catalogue, 1997.

It’s easier for girls I guess, people don’t look too closely at a girls’ smile. As long as it’s there, it’s good enough, a perfect disguise.

The mirror steamed up again, and I’m gone, poof.

The test was easy, done and gone and I was already forgetting what it was about. The dream was growing stronger and taking up more space in my head. All I could think about was that night and the ripple of the plastic wrap.

I looked outside; it was nice day. Every day was a nice day in California, starts to get boring after a while.

University High was the number one ranked public school in Orange County, go Trojans. It looked like a cross between a prison and a high end motel on the outside. Monstrous palm trees swaying behind sturdy chain-link fences. A backdrop of concrete covered in coral white stucco.

It was a standard mix. An even smattering of Hispanic, caucasian and black kids, the motto, ‘Unity through Diversity,’ as supercilious a statement as the American flag outside.

This wasn’t America, this was some place all new, a fantasy island floating in the clouds where all the beautiful people and one or two monsters lived. Every day, I was rubbing elbows with the future career criminals and politicians of the greater California area. Was there a distinction? I felt blessed walking through the halls. A real rainbow family of love and diversity.

I had no idea how my aunt got the money to put me here on a rookie cop’s salary, but we have a don’t ask don’t tell relationship that seemed to be working for us even better as I got older.

She chose the school because the campus tour video gave off a distinct ‘cult vibe’ and the teachers were nice enough. They really went out of their way to pretend they cared, despite fading into the background in Dark Diana’s World.

I wasn’t bad at school, I was too good at it. It’s amazing the pointless facts and figures you can memorize when you don’t have all that teen angst or hormones or any emotions whatsoever clouding your mind. Pure emptiness to fill with whatever the school board wanted. The perfect clean slate.

I made my way to my locker before I realized I forgot to eat breakfast, a common occurrence. But that’s not to say I’m anorexic. I love to eat, but I could never put on much weight, compliments of a super-fast metabolism, must be genetic, or maybe I was a sleep jogger.

Sleep walking?

I hovered in front of my open locker.

Nah.

As soon as I slammed the door shut

Whom was standing behind it? None other than the notorious Wendy Vargas. How cliché.

Another cliché would be that the most popular girl in the school and I would be bitter rivals.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Morning, bestie,” she crooned in her best vocal fry valley girl as she opened her locker.

It might have something to do with my painfully cringe-inducing habit of flattering everyone. A trait I polished like the turd it is. I say things most people with any sense of dignity wouldn’t dare.

Happily, I lack any of those mortal inhibitions; my gag reflex was never there. When your goal is to blend in and make people like you, lacking any shame is pivotal. So I can tell everyone everything they want to hear and keep a straight face while I do it.

Funny, it’s not even that hard. I can usually tell at first meeting someone what they want to hear. No one even bothers to hide it, they might as well write it on a sign around their necks.

Wendy’s locker being next to mine also tipped the scales of fate. I can’t remember exactly how we met or became friends but I assume proximity is what allowed me to use my powers of butt-kissing to full effect.

Maybe I just complimented her on how she opened her locker. How she applied her lip-gloss in the mirror she had inside the door, or some other banal little detail I’d felt wasn’t worth the storage in my head.

“Looking sexy as always, my love. Wendy Vargas, when will you marry me?” I say in a perfect mocking impression of her voice; she will of course ignore that, and only hear the compliment.

“Thank you, my dear but you know as well as I do, I’m taken and I am a one-woman man,” she said, as she pursed her snake-bitten lips.

She was a beautiful golden goddess one might expect to see in some Spanish soap opera, with a set of expressions just as fake. Heir to a fortune in Cuban sandwich shops. Head of the cheerleading squad, of course, but also a strange passion for ‘nerdy stuff,’ as she called it. Mostly kitsch nerdsploitation, like The Big Bang Theory. Big lens less glasses, wearing comic book superhero T-shirts and pretending to like the new Star Wars movies.

It was all an act so she could rule over a hoard of thirsty geeks in the AV club who’d do whatever she said.

I still have no idea why she likes me. I really could’ve slipped right through the cracks right where I wanted to, if it wasn’t for her.

It might be because I’m the only one in the state that knows she poisoned her stepfather with anti-freeze, and framed her mother.

Did she tell me? Not in so many words. I wasn’t an accomplice or anything, either. Poison’s not my style.

That’s such a ‘girly’ way to kill someone, and I’d never stoop so low as to kill for money. No, a passion is best left free, like all the good things in life.

She didn’t confess to me, but something did. That little voice, that little clawing thing that rolled around deep inside the dark depths of Diana.

It could smell it on her, not her guilt, not her shame, her complete indifference. She had a monster too, a dark secret, but it was a small and covetous thing, a greedy opportunistic monster.

“Where’s that handsome new beau of yours?” I enquired.

Wendy’s new boyfriend was some chad from out of state, what was his name? Bradie? Brodie? Brodo?

She tends to go through them quickly, but this new one had peaked her interest. He was a transplant from Miami, very exotic.

“He’s off collecting that order of red cups and plates for prom.”

“I sense, we’re about get down to business.” I winked.

“You’re senses are keen, as always, my young padawan,” Wendy bowed with her hands pressed together, like she was going to Kung-fu me.

“I learned from the best, master.” I dipped my head.

“I need you to print off some fliers for me.” She smiled, like she was doing me a favor, her arms swaying at her sides, as her voice rose at the end.

Wendy was head of the prom committee, they put on the senior prom every year, and this time it was our turn.

I, Diana, sweetness and light, am on the prom committee, too. All because it would’ve been too strange for me not to, being best friends with the head of the committee. Oh, sweet nepotism.

Part of the practice of being normal was doing things ‘normal’ girls do. I’m not a cheerleader, that was too much for even me to stomach, some things truly are beyond even me. I can’t remember how I got out of that one, must’ve made up something about having one leg longer than the other or something, extreme corns perhaps.

Cheerleading is also surprisingly time consuming, all those pep rallies and practices and incessant parties. Which could prove a problem for my other ‘interests’. I looked around at the fliers already up around the hall. They were on almost every locker, and bulletin board and classroom door. I cast sparring glances at people who don’t need to make conscious efforts to be normal. What blissful cow-like expressions they all had.

“What’s wrong with the old fliers?” I asked in a robotic fashion, but I already knew exactly what she was going to say.

“They’re old,” Wendy shook her head like it was obvious; which it was.

“Okay,” I said without argument, because, what a waste of time and energy that would be.

She sucked her lips like she was tasting her cherry lip gloss and she liked it, then looked over my head. “Oh, there’s a sight for sour eyes.”

I looked over my shoulder, and stage left appeared my stalwart boyfriend Paul.

An ordinary name for an ever so ordinary boyfriend. He was practically perfect in every way, the male Mary Poppins of University high. Tall, but not too tall, smart, but not too smart, conventionally handsome but not too conventionally handsome.

He was into sports, basketball mostly. An army brat through and through, his dad was almost always away on maneuvers.

If I was painfully honest, I mainly liked him for his car, and for the places he was willing to take me in said motor vehicle. I had my license already, but no car of my own.

My aunt was sort of an eco-nut, forcing me to take the bus when possible and if she did buy me a car, with the no money she had saved. It would end up being one just like her work car. One of those terrible eco-bubble little hair dryers powered by happy thoughts and bunny farts.

Did I mention his dad was deployed most of the time? So if I ever did go visit we had the run of the house, and from time to time, his gun cabinet.

His mom was a mystery I didn’t care to explore. Seemed like a sore subject I had no interest in. Sobs stories are no fun, unless they’re your own.

Most of all, I liked him because he was normal. Painfully normal, bone achingly, teeth rattlingly normal. So much so, just being around him made me feel normal by osmosis. Like he absorbed some of my weird into himself and excreted it as a form of non-toxic handsome. He was kryptonite to my superman. Paul is the perfect disguise.

His upbringing, one of strict discipline had forced him to become the perfect gentleman. Thus, his urges were dutifully restrained, not unlike my own.

I really have no interest in sex. I have no hang ups about it either, we’ve had sex.

Honestly didn’t much care for it, a sweaty messy thing, waste of time and sheets. The smell of it was enough to keep him by my side, and to drive me where I wanted to go and do most of anything I wanted.

Being a woman is pretty easy when you have no shame. Anyone that says different is a liar.

Men will put up with almost any shit from a woman if he thinks sex may possibly happen at some point in the near future.

Paul was presentable, neat and clean and always smelled good, never a blond hair out of place, or a blue eye in the wrong direction. A stern solid posture always maintained for some hidden watcher like someone stuck a broom up his ass without any KY and expected him to clean the ceiling.

The perfect scarecrow he was, scaring off all those hangers-on and beta orbiters that like to cling to pretty girls who don’t carry mace on a key chain.

The bell rang, and Wendy looked up, as if to make sure. “Shit, gotta get back to class, see you guys later.” She said as she vocal fried her way down the hall. Swished and swayed spreading a sweet fake scent as she floated away.

“Hey, baby, what’s up?” Paul said.

He speaks! He Leaned in for a hello peck, his arms wrapped around me.

I dutifully resisted, pushed back against him. “Hunger,” I said, without a hint of irony.

Diana After Dark Chapter 17 ‘Waltz me to the grave’

Ok so I’m kinda cheating today because I didn’t have time to proofread the next chapter for Cur despite promising one a week. But I’m going away for a bit and I’ve been busy packing and getting a haircut and waiting on hold with the bank all day so I haven’t had time. But I should have one out next week possibly and then I’ll be gone for a week and after that it’s back to normal for a hell of a long time haha.

Not much to comment on today, didn’t really bitch about the witcher because I’ve said all I have to say really. It’s uninspired and sort of boring with it’s good sections but there’s not really enough there to hold my interest.

On the other hand I started the next Parker book and was a little disappointed when this one again started with the heist. I like the planning and the build up. But it has this really cool element where he’s trying to hide the money and himself in an abandoned amusement park closed up for the winter from a bunch of dirty cops who want his heist money.

So it’s setting up to be like a lethal version of home alone and I really like it. So instead of having the heist set up you have like a siege set up which is just as fun.

It should be a good romp, didn’t have any time to read it today but I’ll find some time.

In the mean time you can read this chapter, ok well it’s not a chapter of Diana in the Dark, more of an epilogue. And yes I realise I use those titles interchangeably.

But yeah gotta do other things.

See you…

Epilogue Waltz me to the grave

“Oh Paul, oh Paul” I said pretending to weep as they lowered the coffin into the ground.

As fate would have it this was the first funeral I’d ever been to, although I sincerely doubted it would be my last. I actually kind of like it, there was a comfort in the routine of it, the ceremony was soothing. Everyone gathered together to think the nicest possible thoughts of the dearly departed wearing their nicest clothes. There was solemn dignity and lots of tears real or otherwise.

But it was a lovely service, flowers, tearful speeches from people I barely knew and the promise of cake in the near future.

“Oh Paul” I wept again into a balsam tissue.

“Shhh” he said as he patted my head, resting it on his shoulder.

Thankfully he remembered very little of our little midnight drive into the middle of nowhere. A combination of all the blows to the head and a cocktail of drugs concocted by my dear brother. My dear brother who was not yet dearly departed but still on the run. From what I couldn’t say because as far as the Orange County PD were concerned Antoine Ruez was and forever will be the Huntington Beach Headsman. A title far above his station. And as far as my brother had any say in it, Ruez would never be found and the myth, the meme, could live on forever. The evil slasher come to life to terrorize a group of innocent teens on prom night.

There was something about that the normies liked, a divine ritual fulfilled. Like Hollywood had been setting them up for this very occurrence and been vindicated in the best possible way. Slipped right in place into their cultural consciousness like it was another Friday night.

I continued to pretend to cry, just making the noise of crying and covering my face, constantly batting away fake tears, no one was watching.

“You need another tissue?” My Au-Sister Mary Anne said pulling a fresh pack out of her purse and giving me a tight restrained smile. I think we settled on my just calling her my Aunt, Aunt-sister was a bit of a mouthful and calling her by her name just felt weird. Plus I really didn’t want to get bogged down in explaining to people that she wasn’t actually my aunt. But in fact my estranged half-sister pretending to be my aunt because we watched our real aunt butchered before our eyes. And then put on display like a hunting trophy by our brother. That all seemed best tucked away for a rainy day.

“Thanks” I said as I took the tissues smiling a nice fake smile, far better than my Brother’s. My estimation of how deep the knife penetrated my aunt’s side was off by a wide margin. I would have assumed he didn’t want to kill her but necessity for his own life had forced him to act. Similarly the shot being off centre, it would have been nice to think she extended him the same courtesy but that might have been a stretch since she mostly carried really strong pepper spray giving out tickets in cycle shorts. Never the less her arm was in a fashionable sling or some reason. I never understood why they did that in movies, he didn’t stab her in the arm.

A sudden prodding feeling roused me from my daydream and I looked over at the grave and the nice picture they had over it. It was the one of the several taken at her sweet sixteen. Wendy did look nice in that one, so full of life. Who would suspect her of anything worse than forgetting to floss? That feeling again, like someone walking over my grave, someone drilling little hot holes in the back of my head.

I looked around at the crowd of her fake friends, the rest of the cheerleading squad, her many exes the last not withstanding and me, her best friend and then I saw her. She was hard to miss now that I noticed her. Dressed as she was in correctional facility orange chained to two cops looking up from the grave to send me icy daggers. Her hair long and greasy looking made curtains of a plain white flat unmade face. Prison make-unders are a real thing. What did they have against makeup in prison? It’s not like eyeliner was against the law. Conditioner even.

Wendy’s mother, the one currently on trial for the murder of her husband. Looking right at me. Not around, not past me but through me. Singled out.

She knew.

I could see it in her face.

I don’t know how she knew but I’d find out, when that happy vicious moon was smiling high in the sky again, D and I would ask nicely.

Waltz me to the grave

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