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Diana after dark Chapter 12 ‘Wandering limbs’ (remurdered)

Yoyoyo

Gonna be a tight one today because I’m being chased by the black dog and I have other things I need to do.

I really don’t have anything to say today I just feel so shitty and I have no one to talk to. I just feel like this is the end, I’ve been holding on for a long time and I just don’t think I can hold on anymore. All I’m doing is trying to forget and medicate with video games and writing (mostly video games) and I don’t think I can keep doing this. There’s just something wrong with me and I’ll never be who I want to be, I’ll just fade away.

That’s all.

“You can’t do that to me, I was worried sick,” my ‘aunt’ said as she squeezed the cheap plastic steering wheel of her overgrown roller-skate car. Shouting but in a hushed voice like we were in a crowded place. “You can’t stay out late like that without telling me, I must’ve called you a hundred times.”

I counted twenty two missed calls, actually.

I would much rather not have had this one-way conversation. I also would much rather not have had to wait the four or five hours it took for Wendy to go to sleep before I could slip out and get on a bus home. Lastly, I would much rather have avoided the various California-natives who frequented the late night buses. Talk about dick pics. Surely not as distressing as seeing someone in person, urinating on the floor of a moving bus, while singing Waltzing Mathilda in a sequin dress.

“I’m sorry.” I didn’t mean it. The word ‘sorry’ was sort of meaningless. If someone was truly sorry, they’d never do what they were sorry for ever again—or in the first place, for that matter. That wasn’t possible. It was a ritual that was obviously necessary for polite society to function. Despite the fact it seemed completely ineffectual—on women especially. The word was never enough; to be sorry and say sorry were two different things.

“I was sure—I was so worried.”

No effect, Dharma was still just as miserable as she’d been a moment ago, no magic word was going to change that, no vague promises I couldn’t keep. “Did you—?”

A moment of stunned silence passed.

Maybe I should’ve said I was sorry again, maybe I should’ve repeated it over and over again until she stopped talking. We were on our way to pick up my dress and shoes for the prom, which seemed fast-approaching.

I’d soon have to get my hair done, and put on lots of makeup. Pretend to be having the time of my life dancing to eighties music and drinking punch. I’d much rather be out in the dim darkness, making other people drink cool aid, a bit of an outdated reference.

“I could’ve said I was your mother,” she blurted.

“You could’ve lied to me, but instead you lied to me.” I feigned indignation. In actuality, my capacity for disdain, lies and half-truths was very little. A soul was required to feel pangs of sorrow and betrayal. Most of what made up my ‘normal’ existence was a lie, and it seemed petty by comparison. “What difference does it make?” Teenage aloofness was my staple.

“I just thought I could help you.” Her face contorted into something like a grim mask that might summon tears, but none came.

“Help me?” I asked, almost to myself. I didn’t even know I needed help.

“Guide you, give you a normal life, I thought you forgot. I tried so hard to forget, everything.” Dharma cut herself off, stuttering, making a wry almost wrenching noise, like she wanted to cry but nobody taught her how.

“Forget? Forget what?” I made my eyes wide, but I wasn’t sure what I was staring at anymore. If she told me she had had three heads, I would’ve believed her.

“He promised he’d guide us; he promised, but he, never got around to it.” My ‘aunt’ shrugged with a little ‘that’s life’ sad smile, trailing off at the end like it didn’t really matter.

“And then what?” I looked forward as we stopped to let a couple of meth heads cross the street. For a moment I thought I recognized one of them from the bus last night, but I couldn’t tell because this time, he was wearing pants.

“He was gone.” She’d said it like she was talking about the phantom of the opera or something.

“Tell me…about him. Dad,” I said as I studied the palm trees swiping past the window.

“He was—special. He was going to help us get ‘squared away,’ that’s what he said.” Her eyes got a little misty, and her face slackened, like she was reading me a bedtime story. “His father did the same for him.”

“Get squared away?” I watched the scenery fly by, the small sad houses of Santa Ana, baking. A couple of Hispanic women rolled past with double strollers with gold wheels.

“We weren’t born like this. When he was gone, and there was no one. No one to keep us on the straight path.” Dharma’s face became a confusion of worry-lines, like she was trying to unravel a ball of headphone wires with can openers for hands.

“What aren’t you telling me?”

“We’re here.” She parked outside the dress shop in Santa Ana, where I’d been measured and ambushed all in the same day.

“Is that why you sicked Captain Claw on me?” I called after her as she’d hopped out. “To get me squared away?”

If you want to pick up the rest of this bad girl you’ll have to wait until its released or if you’re on my mailing to get an e-copy at some point in the near future.

Diana in the dark Chapter 10 ‘I call him D’ (remurdered)

Hey there,

Another bit of fille- I mean a glimpse at the finished product, time, sweat and tears and lots of blood. Not my blood, but it’s the thought that counts.

Not been up to much recently, watched the latest season of American horror story as I keep telling people on facebook when I wasn’t banned and it’s pretty fun. I mean it never really sticks the landing but it always starts off fun. It’s like a toybox full of nice new toys you know one kid is going to take a dump in.

Like the last season was about a cult sort of surrounding Donald Trump but not really. It started off pretty partisan and wasn’t too heavy on politics on one side or the other, sort of making fun of them both but towards the end it’s picked a side and surprise surprise which side it is haha. I didn’t really mind that but the ending is so forced it reminded me of the ending of Law Abiding Citizen. Just one of those endings that seems really forced and doesn’t really make sense in the logic of the film world.

So yeah this super genius guy who can kill people from a prison cell is basically going to take over the city by blowing up the mayor but he can be outsmarted by this attorney who has basically just been a bumbling idiot until now. But no magically he not only finds the bomb but puts it under the super geniuses bed and he dies. Like “Ooh can’t wait til that bomb explodes and crumbles this corrupt system that’s broke, oops whats that smell?”
I hate it when they make smart characters dumb. Why is the character a genius up to this point but now he’s suddenly dumb because the script asked him to be dumb. It’s so contrived, if you set up a character to be this evil genius but can’t come up with a good way to defeat him then the natural course is to let him win. Not to just tack on a good ending where he slips on a banana peel and dies. You have to establish a flaw for him to fail or he wins, you can’t just go ‘ok now the good guy win!’
It’s cheap and tacky and it completely just feels hollow and shitty.

 

So basically the ending of Cult, oh yeah spoilers ahead haha, is the cult leader played by Evan Peters is in prison but he’s sort of indoctrinated the prison and he’s fucking the female guards and they help him escape so he can go kill the person who squealed on him which is Sarah Paulson’s character.

So he escapes and he gets on stage to kill her but the gun is empty and the ‘twist’ is that Sarah Paulson’s character had a little ‘chinwag’ with this indoctrinated guard and somehow unindoctrinated her and she gives him an empty gun so when he pulls the trigger nothing happens and then someone else shoots him. And to a normal person you’d just go ‘ok the bad guy loses cos reasons’.

But I was instantly like, literally none of that makes sense. One how did these people even meet, so this person is indoctrinated but travels god knows how far to meet someone who escaped the cult, why? The prison probably is nowhere near this person and why would the indoctrinated person even think of doing this? And if it was Paulson did she talk to every guard in the prison? And if she really unindoctrinated her why did the guard still have sex with him and help him escape after, i.e committing career suicide? It makes zero sense.
If she was really not under his power he would’ve never made it out of that prison in the first place. It just makes logical sense within the real world or it’s own world. It was just ‘Bad guy loses’. 

And the politics and message are sort of cancerous, it makes reference to that Ashley Judd speech where she read out this poem that I doubt that many people know about really. And Sarah Paulson’s character is a crazy murderer too so it’s not really ‘bad guy loses’ it’s more like ‘male bad guy loses, female bad guy wins cos reasons’.

Also lena dunham is in it playing the chick that shot andy warhol and that episode was just fucking aids tier, I almost stopped watching after that, it was just pushing too hard on the parody wall to be taken seriously. It stretched credulity to a point it was obnoxious. The story sort of fell apart after that and the ending was just small and unsatisfying and it made me mad haha. Even though I knew it was coming. It reminds me of a really good movie I watched recently called Upgrade and I wont go into it for spoilers but you get to the end and it starts to get formulaic and me I’m watching it like ‘oh here comes the generic ending’. Like you can just tell, a story is building to this one ending but you know it’s gonna cuck out and take the easy way out like Law Abiding Citizen. The super genius character is suddenly gonna just not account for an allergy to pollen or something really fucking dumb.

But no, it gave me exactly the ending that I never expected, the ending that actually makes sense and it was ten times more satisfying. That ending alone made that movie for me, but all around it’s just an awesome little movie, I recommend you watch that and skip every season of american horror story haha. I’m watching it out of curiosity, it’s just something to put on while I pump iron haha.

So, down to business, Kur is done, sort of, not really and it’s time I work on something new. And honestly I dunno, I feel like Diana and Kur are both sort of up in the air and I don’t know what to do with them just yet. I need some direction, I need to follow my instincts because this is a lot of time investment to waste on a book maybe nobody wants to read. I mean if no one like either book what’s the point in writing a sequel?

I’m starting to think I’d be better off writing more clown samurai nonsense haha. I do have something I was sort of working on a while ago and I think I might go with that and instead of writing something intended to be a series just write a one and done book like fight club (but not like fight club haha). Maybe I’m spreading myself too thin and not putting the focus where it needs to be.

So I had this idea about a super hero going through Burnout syndrome, basically a superhero who tries too hard and his powers are too strong and he ends up killing innocent people by mistake and goes to prison. And in prison he slowly begins to see the world is much too broken to be the hero he wants to be and he essentially becomes a villain. I mean he’s still the hero but the “government” becomes the villain.

I likened it to like Hancock meets 1984 meets american history X but in reverse I guess haha. Maybe old boy would be a better description but he doesn’t become evil in oldboy. It’s complicated. The reason I said that is because I want to play the politics card like ahs cult and have an evil but relate-able nazi character for fun. Like a mix of Patrick Bateman, the guy from american history X and the comedian from Watchmen. A villain who is vile but still oddly likeable, so much so you feel dirty for liking him haha. Characters like that are always fun and really make even bad media good, like Kilgrave in Jessica Jones, any wonder the second season fizzled out? Killing him off was their death nail. I heard netflix is axing all that cape shit now, good riddance, it was terrible imo.

I think I’m gonna spend some time with the notes and materials I have for Kur 2 and this superhero story which is called ‘Burnout’ now but I toyed with a few others. I wanted to call the main character burnout but of course it’s already taken haha. I was looking through the notes for it, because it started off as a comic as does a lot of the stuff I write now. But the notes I have are pretty extensive, I’m a little impressed with past me haha. I mean it’s funny looking back at my world view then comparing it til now. It’s like reading Alex Jones’s wank material haha. 

But there’s a lot of good stuff there ready to be moulded into an actual story, so I think that’s what I’m gonna do for the next couple of days, just see where my head is at, see what I’m feeling. But baring a sign from god I’m feeling the super hero story mainly because I a lot of the song titles I have for chapter titles haha. Stole most of them from the excellent american psycho soundtrack haha. So yeah, American Psycho meets hancock haha. I guess that’s a thing maybe.

Should be a lot of fun, I’m gonna take my time and play it out a little, see what I can do with it.
Oh also the starship troopers pilot screenplay is done, now I need to decide what I’m gonna do with it haha.

That was a long one but I think that’s good for today.

Also did another newsletter, first of the year, sorry about that haha. I attribute it to laziness and forgetfulness. But I haven’t really been spamming much since I’ve been getting banned so much recently.

See you…

We cut out a lot of walking through bland bleached white halls, not too dissimilar from the inside of a hospital. Complete with the smell of death and cleaning products. I waited in an interview room. It was sort of a bland eggshell color, and it smelled vaguely of crayons.

A square room that could’ve been an empty storage closet but for the table and chairs. There was no long two way mirror, just a camera that was no doubt watching. They’d see nothing of interest, no tell or wink or me talking to myself. I lacked guilt of any kind, incapable of feeling it in fact; and as far as I knew, I was actually innocent of any crime larger than an overdue library book.

My fantasies aside, I was a pretty solid citizen, on paper. Two—or probably thirty—minutes from now, a detective could walk in here with a video of me robbing a jewelry store, wearing the barmaid’s head as a hat.

I’d pull off surprised, then again, maybe not. I’d dwelled on the possibility the dark back seat driver might’ve been taking me around for a spin in the wee hours of the night. Slipping his driving gloves on, and sidling over into the front seat while I was away with the faeries. That seemed fanciful, even for me. Although, it would explain why I felt so rundown recently, but I could just be getting my period.

I was about to delve deeper into another dark daydream, when the seal on the door behind me was broken. I turned awkwardly to watch detective Cantwell saunter in, looking down at a bland manila folder, as if I hadn’t been waiting at least an hour at this point. He sipped a hot cup of coffee, probably one of many. Our tax dollars at work.

There was something I liked about this place. Something beautifully impersonal about everything. Men and women, in and out of uniform, shuffling about in a trance, pretending they belonged, all separated out in little cubicles and cubbies.

The smell of justice was a dank bitter scent, like burnt coffee and cigarette butts. People brought together working toward something that could never truly be but was worth their time anyway. Like a maid constantly making a bed for others to sleep in, only to have to make it again the next day. Making order from so much chaos. What a daunting task, I liked it.

The detective looked up at me like he didn’t expect me to be there, causing deep creases to form on his smooth chocolaty forehead. He then proceeded to slap the folder on the table, as if it had pictures of the Kennedy assassination from an until-now, unseen new angle.

My money was on Jackie this time around. Maybe it was the butler with the candle stick.

He took a sip of his coffee, waiting to say something, this whole thing I guess was to soften me up, let me stew, all protocol no doubt.

I could’ve said something; that was sort of the point of me being there. But, I felt it impertinent to be the first one to talk in this situation, surely that would break some sort of criminal code. At least let the cop ask a question before one spills the beans entirely.

So I sat, adjusted myself in my seat a bit and looked at him as he continued to peer down and sip his coffee. I cleared my throat quietly, readying myself.

“Do you know why you’re here?” he asked some very guilty looking coffee grounds at the bottom of his cup.

“Err…” Eloquent as always. “Something to do with the heads in the lockers?” The words tiptoed out playfully.

The heads seemed like a distant memory now, a memento from a special day I never got to keep; I didn’t even keep the ball.

Maybe I could still get it out of the trash.

Cantwell made a face at his coffee like he got all the way to the bottom only to discover the body of a fly in a set of tiny Bermuda shorts.

He looked at me with half-lidded eyes and made a sucking noise with his teeth before setting the empty cup down.

The sound of it touching down on the table echoed right through me. We had so much in common.

He readjusted himself in his seat and made a sighing noise, like he was about to open some grand grimoire of Diana’s mistakes past and present.

A catalogue of all my thought crimes recorded for all to see. Probably even had my tween fascination with Justin Bieber and Edward from Twilight in there, too. That would’ve been truly incriminating. Especially if he found my adolescent fan-fic shipping the two. My mind was wandering, trying to distract from the dark hissing noise.

A black punctured tire, whispering to me in that mock reflection of my own inner voice.

A quiet siren ripping through the dark foggy depths of the ghost town called Diana.

The detective opened the file and split his lips as he looked at me, flipping a Photostat copy of a picture over in my direction.

In it; a blurry night still from a security camera, the vague outline of a hummer pulling out into the night.

“That picture was taken from a gas station security camera of a car fleeing the scene of the latest Headsman murder.”

I tried not to fall out of my seat. What was more shocking? The picture or the fact, not even the police could decide on a definitive name for him, Headhunter, Headsman, pick one.

I gave my best teenage ‘so what’ face. Trying both, not to look completely blindsided and also trying not to open my eyes wide enough for him to see that there was nothing behind them. Too much emotion, and too little would both be mistakes. What a tight rope I walked, how I envied Manson. He’d always just made a funny face and said something vaguely intelligible.

“I—err…”

Great work Diana, you’ve got him eating out of the palm of your hand.

“Now what would be the chances you’d be the one to find those heads?” The detective sat back in his chair, laying out some figurative diorama of events with his hands on the table separating us. “And only one day later, were photographed leaving the scene of another murder in your boyfriends car. That is your boyfriend’s car, isn’t it?” The question hung in the air devoid of any inclination of doubt. He slid a few more pictures across the desk, these ones were less blurry. Different angles of the car—and even a nice shot from the front—my ghostly white face projecting through the tinted glass windshield.

 

Diana in the dark Chapter 9 ‘Sugar lies’ (remurdered)

Ayyo wut up?

Ok well as usual it’s tuesday, the day after my favourite chest day so I am sitting here trying not to swallow my tongue, why do I do this to myself haha? I’m so rundown, I feel like I slept in a cement mixer haha.

Ok so what’s up, yeah recycling Diana again but you know I’m proud of this version so, I dunno. I read the only one star review of Green Sunday yesterday and laughed, some guy saying it was dumb, well yeah, that was sort of the point haha.

Talking about the stupid shit I write, I’ve been thinking of looking for like a serial magazine that might take 3 ring samurai for no money haha. All the glorious ‘exposure’ I can eat haha. You know just for fun, I like people reading my stuff even if it’s to laugh at it for free haha. But who knows it could get a cult fanbase, like I care haha. Anyway yeah I just stumbled on an ad on facebook for a podcast that’s like an audio serial so submitted to that so hopefully they think it’s funny and different and it could be heard by a few people.

Also looking into potential publishers for Cur which could hook me up with the right audience, I’m gonna be putting together a package at some point this week, I might start after I finish this blog actually.

Err, haven’t been reading the shadow a lot this week because it’s a really boring story I couldn’t give a shit about haha. I love the shadow, I just think there’s so much that is just fluff and I know if I read it all I can boil it down and pull out all the gold from this mess of tedium. I just need to stick with it.

On a positive note I got back into a series I sort took a step back from for a while, american horror story has been like a decent tv show I watched on occasion between like I dunno Dexter and that kind of stuff. It’s never really wowed me just been something I could watch when I ate or worked out.

But season six was pretty special, I thought it was gonna be like a period piece slog with some tedious plot line like hotel which was ok it was just bogged down in a lot of nonsense the other seasons also suffer from. I dunno I like it when it embraces what makes horror fun and doesn’t get bogged down in trying to tell a romance or something cheesy that just doesn’t fit.

But season six was like a cool reality show and I think it mostly worked, although the ending was a little flat but still cool. I was thinking that season seven couldn’t compete but how wrong I was. I laughed so hard I almost dropped a dumbbell on my head. It’s basically a whole season about Trump derangement syndrome.  It perfectly satirises the insanity around Trump in a way that in the first episode at least is really non-partisan and fun.

Evan Peters plays his best role yet as this crazy blue haired trump supporting cult leader I guess and he’s equal parts hilarious and scary. You can just tell he had fun with this one. Sarah Paulson plays a lesbian who made the mistake of voting for Jill Stein because she thought the Hillary nomination was in the bag and Trump being elected basically triggers the laundry list of phobias and mental problems she has and he has a kid with her wife and it doesn’t sound funny but it really is a great satire on the complete mania some people experienced just because Trump got elected.
I’m not sure what political leaning the creators of the show are but I assume liberal as hollywood and places like that usually bias left but what I found in the first episode is funny and unbiased maybe even leaning right a little, I thought I was gonna cringe at the portrayal of right wingers but not yet anyway. I just found it overall fun and funny and I’m looking forward to watching more tonight.

That’s all.

See you…

We were rounding the dune-like sandy hills, the grass was a desert khaki color, and we had to drive around the whole park to get to the entrance on Elinvar Drive.

Paul parked the Hummer up at the end of the street and I hopped out into the muggy mid-afternoon. He got out without saying a word and circled back around to open the trunk. “Here grab this.” Innuendos aside, He took out a small black case and handed it to me.

It was a little heavy, but I ate my Wheaties this morning. I was a little giddy, maybe it was the slight elevation. The air was a little thinner and smelled different, less like people and more like dirt.

Paul pulled out something long and thin, wrapped in a piece of chamois leather and set off up the trail at a medium paced stride. “You coming?” he yelled.

All those juices were flowing. Must’ve felt like he was straddling a camel in Baghdad with an M60 strapped to his back heading to Osama bin Laden’s pool party.

I kept pace as we hiked further and further away from the road, getting a lot quieter as we did, only my minds wanderings to keep me entertained.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked ‘Aunt’ Dharma.

“I don’t know, I just…it just seemed right.” There was something in her words that seemed practiced, as if she’d been waiting for this.

I was being shielded even now from something darker than even my imaginings, and it made my heart skip. What could it be? Dancing just outside my peripheral vision, gliding along the edge of a wine glass, ready to crack it and slip off.

“I wanted to give you a chance. A chance to be whole,” she continued.  She looked at me, her eyes welling with a cocktail of emotions I couldn’t begin to understand. She was looking into my eyes, knowing, and knowing I knew she knew.

Confirming there was nothing behind them. I was empty, and she’d known all along.

She’d hoped and prayed but her worst fear had come true. I was a monster, a shadow, a poor reflection of a human. No different from the ones we were running from.

Dharma burst into tears on the breakfast bar.

All I could do was stretch out a puppet-like hand and pat her head. “There, there.” I dropped my hand on her head like it was made of wood. The sound of an American bald eagle cawing overhead awoke me from my stuporous flashback, it was very patriotic. I couldn’t feel anything but my heart pounding and my legs chaffing, lugging the case around. There was a bit of wind coming off the coast and reaching the high-ish peaks.

The empty hilly landscape stretching out on all sides. I regretted the jean-shorts this time. The brittle dry grass slashed and scratched my legs as I trudged on.

The sun was slowly losing its grip on the sky, starting its shambolic descent into a watery grave once again. Only to rise from the dead the next day with a cock crow and a “Hey what’d I miss, no gruesome murders I hope” expression on its face.

It was warm, but the breeze and the coming night gave all the heady air needed to feel a slight buzz.

Maybe I was sharing a high.

I could feel the smile in the back of his head. Beaming like a Boy Scout heading to a magical Indian Pow Wow.

When it was quiet enough, secluded enough, far away from the road and civilization, we stopped and Paul set down the thing in the wrappings and unfolded it. “You can put the case down on that rock.” He stood the rifle up, looking it up and down.

It was a regular hunting rifle, probably one of his. Just a regular wooden hand cocked hunting rifle. I guessed he thought a tactical black semi-auto AR would’ve been too scary for me, and most likely illegal in this super liberal state.

Anything black and scary and pointy was usually banned in the utopian state of California.

I watched as he patted it fondly, cocking and shouldering it, looking down the iron sights. I set the case down on the rock and opened it. Inside were four pistols of varying caliber; no clue what they were, hi I’m a girl.

One was a revolver, I knew that much. There were two like that one out of The Matrix, and a little one that looked like the one James Bond used, but a little boxier.

“Pick one, and we’ll start.” He went over by another rock. About fifteen feet away from the spot, he put out the mat that’d previously wrapped the rifle. Now spread out like a picnic blanket.

And I forgot to make sandwiches. Oh well.

He set up a can of Diet Coke on a rock, I hastened to think where he’d found it, only fat girls drank diet coke.

I liked water, of the mineral variety, the mineral being steel from the faucet.

What about the fluoride in the water turning the ‘friggin frogs gay, Diana’?

I wasn’t that type of crazy. Sadly.

This is the fancy edited edition which will be made available at some point in the future but for now you can read the undedited raw version here.

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 in the Dark Chapter 5 ‘The Magic hour’ (remurdered edition)

Back again with more fill- I mean excellent content haha.
Yeah you’ve seen it before but this time it’s new and improved and you can only see some of it because of copyright reasons I guess haha. Also why I call this Diana in the Dark when the actual title is probably Diana After Dark but I haven’t really decided, I go between either. But I don’t want people just copy pasting my chapters when I’m trying to sell this book if I ever sell this book and it doesn’t just go nowhere and I start giving it away for free like I did with my last book haha. That sucked but I guess people liked it. Not enough to fill my mailing list with thousands of emails but eh, better than some people I know and at least I’m not getting rich off weird werewolf/vampire fetish books because having all that money would suck haha.

So mostly been wrestling with the ending of 3 ring part two and reading this latest Parker book which seems much longer than the previous books. Because a lot has happened already and I’m not even half way through it which is great because what’s happened so far was pretty good and I like the power dynamics at play right now and how all the characters are shaping out.

There was also this great scene where this mob boss who doesn’t know who Parker is calls another mob boss who’s had dealings with him and instantly just tells him to pay nomatter what. It was really satisfying, because when you get down to it the only real power a mob boss has is fear and when you encounter someone like Parker that is incapable of feeling fear he’s unstoppable. And the reason Parker is incapable of feeling fear is he really has nothing to lose. Up until now he had nothing but a fake name, and you never actually get to know his real birth name, but he has no mother, no father, no family or friends at all he wouldn’t abandon in a heartbeat, he has no address or car. He’s a ghost, you can’t take anything from him because he has nothing, he loves nothing and he can be anywhere and nowhere because he doesn’t exist. Which is something I think Westlake is trying to weed out, introducing a love interest in Claire so he has some motivation other than money and some fear of losing her.
But when you encounter someone who has no fixed address or anyway of tracking him or hurting him you have to look at yourself and see all the ways they can find and hurt you, so even if your a mob boss someone like Parker with no real life at all other than the job is terrifying because you have so much to lose and he has literally nothing to lose but his life. Which makes a great dynamic, between real power and imagined power. The power of someone with connections and money versus the power of a boot on your neck right now. I really like that. It’s almost I wanna say ‘faustian’ but I don’t know if that fits, I guess it doesn’t, could delete that but I wont. Like an ancient fantasy, someone going up against a dragon and winning against all odds just from sheer grit and strength and perseverance.

It’s almost like a superhero story in that respect, but good haha.

Was gonna talk about sneaky pete because I’ve been watching more amazon originals that are decent while working out but I’ve spent too much time faffing about with my alt accounts on facebook haha. I’ve just been used to being banned for so long I forgot how much of a timesink facebook is. But I’m unbanned on my main now so I can do something with that now I guess.

But I have to bid you farwell as I have more proofreading to do today.

See you…

He took me back to his place in French Court, about a two minute drive from Starbucks. It was a nice little bungalow that looked like it should have a picket fence but it didn’t. It was small, red brick with white trim and a brick chimney. The small patch of lawn in the front was, of course, neatly manicured.

I suspected the bushes were tested with a spirit level. The house was pristine, it looked brand new, could’ve single handedly raised the property value of the entire neighborhood.

Paul lived directly opposite the elementary school he’d gone to as a kid.

The area wasn’t too bad, well-kept palms, and lawns. It was quality middle-of-the-road Mediterranean style housing; home to some of the best seafood in the OC.

There was a restaurant called Ambrosia he seemed very proud of. It was a beacon in the least shiny part of Orange County. The birds chirping on, resilient in their fortitude for this too, to be a slice of paradise.

Nonetheless they all had wrought iron fences guarding their lawns, except Paul’s house. Just a small white porch with roman style pillars. There was something about it sitting on the corner like that, looking like a model house.

Like a house sitting on a nuclear test site about to be blown up, full of wax fruit bowels and mannequins sitting at dinner tables. It didn’t look lived-in; it looked like it was a trap house begging for someone to step on that carefully trimmed lawn. Teeth gnawing and clicking and tensing against each other. Praying the mailman would plant a foot off the path and then something could be unleashed, some dark righteous fury bottled up just for this moment. But that never came. The birds just chirped on incessantly.

It was Sunday, so the elementary school was quiet and still, which was a welcome change, I imagined.

He parked in the lot behind the house and led the way into his cool house. “Come on in.” Paul smiled.

It was a show house all right. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been here. I didn’t spend a lot of time with Paul; despite us being girlfriend/boyfriend. We didn’t really know what that meant. We appeared places together; we were together at school but when the curtains came down, the actors went back to their trailers and rested. Nothing more.

That was really as far as our interactions went. A pantomime for an audience of slack-jawed watchers, probably begging to be us and having no idea about the truth. We just liked our own space.

He cleared his throat and threw the keys down on a Formica top kitchen counter. “Well?”

I smiled back and took in a lungful of the cool musky air in his house. It didn’t smell bad or like dust, just old leather and new plastic and rubber. “Well what?”

“What was that all about?” he asked, almost stuttering.

I sat at a small functional kitchen table and sighed. “Some weirdo just tried to grab me, it’s nothing.”

“Some guy tries to grab you and that’s nothing?” Paul almost coughed and screeched. His face became a shade redder and his tone was strangled off by some violent shifting of gears in his throat. “How are you—I mean, how is…?”

I arched an eyebrow and massaged my temples. “I’m fine.”

The house was dark even though none of the blinds were drawn, it seemed shaded somehow. It was pleasantly cool, like the underside of a rock. Probably just the position of the house relevant to the sun.

I took out my phone, completely ignoring his concerns; they seemed too banal to even want to press. Why should he care if Voldemort tried to grab me with a boney claw? What could Paul have done to prevent it? He most certainly couldn’t make me un-see the heads with a back rub or a sonnet. I wouldn’t want him to.

Did the posturing and planning make him feel better; should I entertain him just for his own peace of mind?

Wasn’t I the one who’d been through two supposedly traumatic events? Why should I be responsible for setting things right in his world?

Humans, why did I bother?

Who was that strange metal pincher man? My mind drew back to one of those toy grabbers you got at the beach arcades. I guess that made me a hapless stuffed animal.

Deer in headlights Diana.

Did he really know about me? What was there to know? A naughty search history, a little amateur hack magic…hardly seemed enough to raise the dead. Hardly the most alarming thing to happen to me all week.

I swiped on my phone back to Twitter and I pointed the screen at him. “Do you know this guy?”

Paul took the phone with a curt urgency.

What had my phone done to him?

He turned the screen back to me and pointed. “Is this the guy who grabbed you?”

“He lives around here?” I asked.

“Yeah I know this scumbag, deals dope out of a house in Central City; has these wild parties…” He trailed off.

“How do you know him?” I asked tilting my head to one side.

He tilted the screen back and looked at the picture again. “We went to the same elementary school” The look on his face was hard to decipher, sadness and anger, possibly regret, what do I know? “He dropped out.”

“He dropped out of elementary school? See a future in orange sherbet or something?”

“Or something.” Paul sighed. “He’s a pretty bad dude, heard a lot of—rumours, I guess.” He shook his head and scrunched up his eyes as he said it, as if he really wasn’t sure.

Central City was the unofficial gang hub of Orange County. A veritable hive of scum and villainy. Surely every nice little berg had one. One could get almost anything down there, drugs, unlicensed guns, prostitutes. Maybe even human lives and knock-off Levi’s.

The kind of place someone went when they hadn’t discovered they could get all that stuff on the internet without having to leave their mom’s basement.

“So?” I asked in my best pixie-dream-girl voice.

He held up the phone, then caught himself. “You wanna go there?” He gaped, ruffling that long handsome brow of his.

I nodded and kicked my feet like a kid on a swing set. Trying to hide a rising tide of dark angel trumpets calling me. A shrill laughter in the stygian depths, a shock doing a Mexican wave across the invisible microscopic fine hairs I failed to pluck. I waxed too, hairy pits in California heat? No thanks.

“Tonight?” Paul asked, his voice almost shaking, with something I couldn’t quite fathom.

Was he afraid, or was it something else?

The way he’d said it, it was almost like a challenge.

“Is he having one of the parties tonight?” As soon as I’d said it, I felt dumb again. Getting to be a bad habit today.

He made a hissing sound in his mouth and shook his head. “Every night, these people don’t have jobs to go to, or school.”

It was a school night.

Of course I knew that. I was just awash with some new profound feeling of the unknown and the fact we had school in the morning made it seem twice as delicious to try tonight.

Why would I go there? Just to see him for myself, and then what? ‘Hey Antoine, have you been leaving a trail of body parts for me to follow?’

Was it even him? I didn’t want it to be him; the Twitter activity alone had shattered a lot of the mystique around him.

If he was the one I’d be…deflated. What would he do when he saw me? Would it be ‘off with her head’ or ‘Hi, friend, you got the message, let’s play’?

Either way if I could get Paul to go along, it would be to my advantage, if only to be a distraction in case I needed to run far and fast away.

Was I really that callous? Maybe, maybe not.

“Okay?” I said, rising to this illusory challenge.

He shook his head and let out a breathy laugh. “Sure.”

Cloistered in his mother’s bedroom I got ready. Her room was perfectly preserved from the time she left, or had she died? I forget. All her makeup was neatly arranged, but her clothes were unfortunately a few sizes too big. The whole room was a mute seventies baby sick brown color that was actually quite charming with the blinds drawn. A few slivers of dying light poking through the cracks.

Undressed, standing in a black bra and panties I looked at myself in her long hanging mirror. . It wasn’t particularly glamorous, but I hadn’t been expecting to go to a potential serial killer’s house on a school night.

Pulled my hair back and made a puffy duck face. I was pretty good looking, genetically speaking. Long and lean in the right places, and round in some other places, those places being my boobs and my butt, skipping euphemisms. Wasn’t especially endowed but I had a desirable shape. I kept fit, green smoothies and all that, but mostly it was just luck and genes. Turning to my side I continued to inspect myself.

A stern knock at the door had me jumping away from the mirror.

The knock I imagined imitated his father doing some kind of room inspection. Maybe I should stand at attention in my underwear.

Through a crack in the door I could see Paul’s dull soft face was waiting with a sad lilting smile.

He shied away bashfully.

“Come on, Paul, you’ve seen me naked.” Putting my hands on my hips and doing my best tinkerbell impression.

“Not, recently,” he said with a sigh.

I shrugged it off as I took the stack of clothing he had in his hands “Well it’s just been so hectic with finals and all, you know. Soon.” But where ‘soon’ fell on the calendar was any bodies guess. He looked at the clothes I was trying to take from him. “Err, these are from…you left them the last time you were here.”

Was it really that long ago?

Poor guy.

My boyfriend released the perfect square block of pressed clothes. He’d clearly taken a lot of time and effort to clean and iron them, or maybe it was just a routine he couldn’t shake.

I took them and laid them on the bed, leaving the door open a crack so he could see.

It was nothing too flashy, or too slutty. That’d never really been my style; I was more of a boutique-chic kinda gal. A little like my aunt, but without the mumbo jumbo, none of that Native American head dress feather hippy crap. It was either that or pressed blues for her, nothing else.

The shirt was just a low cut flowing top with some lame skull pattern in black and gold. It was kind of corny; maybe I’d been going through an emo phase I’d forgotten about. Paired with it were a pair of regular tight jeans with rhinestones along the sides and a pair of strappy shoes I didn’t recognize, but fit all the same.

I dolled my hair up the best I could, somewhere between hooker and transvestite hooker. Basically trying to get it as high off my head as possible, which was easy with the pixie cut. Just a little gel and a little elbow grease and my hair could cut glass.

A black choker with a little gem charm completed the look; badass without a clue. I looked in the mirror and sighed. My makeup was okay, but I still looked like I was doing a cameo on an eighties cop show. Too much eye shadow, was I planning to kill this guy or join his harem?  So much of this seemed to be the stumbling’s of a homicidal Hannah Montana, just falling over myself to dissect or be dissected. I pretended I had a plan, told myself what I was going to do, but I really had no idea, and that was half the fun of it. Feeling my pulse rise, thinking about the variables I couldn’t control. All the use careful planning could be, dashed on the rocks of pure impetuous impulse.

Sorry eh-guy, you’re gonna have to buy the book when it comes out to get the full edited chapter haha. But you can read the unedited raw version right here.

The Magic Hour

Diana in the Dark Chapter 4 ‘Heads over heels’ (remurdered edition)

Ok so right off the bat this is just shameful filler, not even hiding it haha.

Not to say I’m not proud of it but it’s padding because I ran out of Green Sunday chapters and I don’t have any 3 ring chapters proof read right now, just pure laziness haha. But I’m having a great time going through the chapters of Diana again (the fourth time now I think) with a fine tooth come just making sure every I is dotted and every T is crossed for when it goes out to agents which should be soon, before the end of the year at least. 
I know there will be people that want the full manuscript because there were people who wanted it for TOTCB and that was a piece of shit I wrote in 30 days haha (not a piece of shit, by comparison haha) so I don’t want to fuck around this time, I want it to be the best it can be. Not perfect because then I’d never get it sent out but damn near as close as I possibly can get it.

So that’s what I’m doing today haha. And despite it being proofread multiple times and edited, still finding minor errors, doing some reading out loud, things like that. I’m getting excited for it but also really impatient.

Personal life as usual in the toilet, might be looking to get a new job maybe cut back on my writing/gaming/jerking off haha. It’s like I’m straddling the fence of destiny and I either fall off or get on that ladder, if Diana gets zero attention I’m pretty much fucked. I mean I invested a lot of hope in Cur for a back up because my ex was telling me that Diana wasn’t me. Something I disagree with, but I get what she was saying, because I was inspired by Dexter but the reason I loved Dexter was because it resonated with me, it was me. So in a lot of ways Diana is me, maybe the best of me, it’s still definitely the best thing I’ve ever written to date. I was so inspired writing it.

Cur went well but I feel like I kinda lost it towards the end, the subsequent chapters fall short of the fire in the first chapter and I think it requires a lot of work to attain the same level of greatness. A lot of time needs to be spent going over it I think. Maybe my expectations of it were a little too high.

Anyway, Parker novel I’m reading right now is kinda ok, I don’t really feel like I’ve got to the meat of it yet, they’re kinda just faffing around and I haven’t had much time to read it lately because my body is still wrecked from doing the exercise thing haha. And every time I get down to read I want to sleep instead haha.

Ok, I gotta finish this otherwise I won’t get any ‘real work’ done today.

See you…

I squeaked my chair back an inch. I felt…numb, like I was vibrating, happy, satisfied, complete.  Like lighting up a cigarette and leaning against the board of a four poster bed.

What was this, what was that?

Could it have been real?

It could’ve been faked, easily. Movie magic and all, clever editing, a fake head. Something in her eyes and something, that thing, deep inside, deep in the dark well told me it was all too real. Its tinny little laugh rang like a hunchback swinging on a church bell screaming ‘sanctuary’.

My skin was damp, a refreshing tingling sensation going up and down. Working up my spine and down my legs. My heartbeat slowing, breathing going back to normal.

I’ll have what she’s having, or what he’s having.

Dazed, tension working loose on my muscles, making them slack, weak, shaking as I logged off and stumbled goggled-eyed out of the library.

My arms were like limp noodles, useless pieces of string pulled along by a runaway kite.

It was…good.

I almost ran through the halls, tripping over my own feet; hearing only my shoes screeching against the cool silence in the empty school.

I meant to get printouts of the newspapers, and some of the juvie records but I forgot and it was already nearing closing time. So I decided to drop off the rest of my stuff in my locker and walk home.

Tomorrow is another day, Diana.

The lock on my locker came off easy, like I hadn’t locked it. I must’ve forgotten, in my daze. Not like I kept anything valuable in there, unless futures in deflated volleyballs had sky rocketed in the last couple of hours.

I unloaded my satchel into it. Put the notepad and pens back in their rightful place.

Casting a wanton glance at the volleyball, almost like a mascot, I might as well paint a face on it and start talking to it. Something caught the corner of my eye.

There was already a face on it.

Someone had drawn a big smiley face on the deflated ball, complete with eyelashes in black marker.

Funny.

Then there was a strange noise, the creak of a pirate skull’s lower jaw opening, then the feeling like a giant boulder was going to roll down the hall. As if I’d stepped right on an X someone had carefully placed just for me.

The noise was coming from Wendy’s locker, to the left of mine.

I closed my locker and locked it this time.

Wendy’s locker was ajar. The lock was sheared off, as if it’d been cut with a set of bolt cutters.

Bolt cutters?

Why use those on her locker and not mine? Maybe I really had left it open, or he knew the combination.

This was getting to be too much, I was getting carried away. This was silly, all in my head.

Not everything is about me. I’m not the center of the universe.

I was going to open this locker and there was going to be absolutely nothing inside it because this had been a simple robbery.

Maybe someone saw Wendy leave a MacBook in it and just had to have it.

A simple explanation for a simple buttoned down world.

Was I going to open it?

That was what he wanted me to do.

Does that mean I should?

Should I play his game. That was what he wanted, he wanted to play.

I want to play, too. I really do.

A shiver danced up my spine, as my true intentions became known to me. The darkness inside stretched like a cat, clawing the inside of my head playfully pricking my brain.

I put one finger inside the tiny dark opening and nudged it open, then let gravity do the rest.

The door swung open slow, creaking all the way, giving me that long lost pirate ghost laugh. Behold ye, not-so buried treasure.

I wanted to gasp but all my breath was stolen.

There it was.

There he was.

“Hello, Benjamin,” I said. My voice had an echoing that vibrated through me.

Both voices coming together and smirking as a puzzle piece fell into place.

A man’s head, bisected at the neck sat atop the top shelf of Wendy’s locker.

There was no blood, the head was clean and perfect, it looked like a mannequin head.

A ghost remained of the color it once had.

The cut was clean and even, one fast perfect kiss, and it was free. It looked like it could be reconnected, or it might start reciting Shakespeare.

I wanted to touch it, wanted to keep it.  The head was for me, wasn’t it?

Wasn’t it?

I knew what I had to do.

I called 9-1-1.

The cops were there within the hour. The Orange county sheriffs department were notoriously laid back. Unless it was an active shooter or a terrorist bombing, a dead body—not even a full one didn’t get their juices going.

How terribly anticlimactic.

But what else could I have done?

They wouldn’t all fit in my locker.

 All four of them to be exact.

It took a step back to really see the full glory of it, what was it called?

A Tableau?

Four lockers, four heads.

The four lockers in a row, on either side of mine. It was on odd scene, all four open, with mine closed in the middle.

Evidence techs in full body suits went over it like they were searching for Barb from stranger things. Looking for trace evidence and dusting for prints, spraying for blood and shaking their heads.

Needless to say, I took the time to remove the deflated volleyball with the face on it; that was mine after all. Of course they’d search my locker eventually, so anything that could link me to this had to be disposed of.

What good would it do me to call this in and put a big red X over my name?

That was assuming there wasn’t already a big red X over my name just for finding them.

Four heads.

One was missing, the woman’s head; the German barmaid without a name.

Why?

Well I’m sure it’ll turn up.

“What’s this girl doing here?”

I heard a nasal voice say off to my right.

“She’s the one that called it in,” One of the techs in the mask said without looking up.

“And why is she still in an active crime scene?” He didn’t wait for an answer. His eyes landed on mine. “Come with me, Miss, you shouldn’t have to see this at your age.” The man stepped to my right. He was a tall slim black man with a shaved head and a light complexion. A sort of dull friendly expression on his face, like he’d forgotten how to frown. “Would you mind coming with me and answering a few questions? Has anyone called your parents?” He made one of those fake-concern faces news anchors made when they were pretending to care about tragedies. But the dim smile was still there, as he made deep lines appear on his brow.

“Err,” I said, eloquent and erudite as ever. “I live with my aunt.”

He led me outside like I just came off the short bus, with a light but firm grip on my upper arm. Told me his name was Detective Cantwell, and repeated he was going to ask me some questions.

“What were you doing when you found the…umm?”

“Heads?”

“Diana! Are you all right?”

I heard my aunt’s voice.

She rushed to my side, her legs looking like they were chaffing against her little bike shorts. Dharma grabbed me in a really uncomfortable hug, like she’d just seen my face on a milk carton. She looked up at the cop, then back at me. “I heard your name over the radio, and I came as fast as I could.”

I believed her, because she was still wearing her pointy cop bike helmet and shades.

She tossed her ponytail over her shoulder to look at Cantwell. “Is she all right, can I take her home?”

The detective made a noise in his throat, like a punctured bicycle tire and sucked his bottom lip. Then he looked at me again. “Yeah, she can go.” His tensed jaw betrayed his reluctance, and he exhaled loudly again.

I’d already left my name and address with the arriving officers, so I was only a hop skip and a jump away. Slipped the net once but the pool was small enough, and they could trust my true blue aunt to wrangle me in if need be.

Before I could make any sense of the day’s activity, I was back in the front seat of my aunt’s car, like I was coming home from an especially stimulating field trip. For some reason, she wasn’t saying anything.

Dharma held the nervousness of a getaway driver as she hunkered over the wheel. She backed out of her crude parking spot, and back onto Campus Drive.

The rest of the drive wasn’t much different. I watched her keep her eyes locked straight forward; only glancing up to check the rear-view mirror once in a while. Her muscles only relaxed as we pulled out of sight of the school.

I was still feeling sort of buzzed and happy so I didn’t feel like popping that bubble, silence it was for all of the two-minute drive home.

It was darker now, the sky bleeding red and orange, one way to waste a day.

It seemed like a jump cut in a movie and I was standing in the entryway of our house, bouncing on my heels as my aunt dithered locking and dead bolting the door, top and bottom.

I wanted to collapse on a chaise lounge.

Dharma disappeared into the kitchen without a word, and I heard frantic dialing of the kitchen phone.

The receiver was missing, and she was behind the locked door of the bathroom in the laundry room.

My mental capacity was in tatters at this point and for all intents and purposes, used up.

Kicking off my shoes I stumbled into my room ready to crawl under a pile of dirty clothes like some sort of happy insect who’d been rolling dung uphill all day.

A glance at my phone, revealed lots of missed calls from Paul and Wendy. I had it on silent for the library. After narrowly missing two awkward conversations in a row, I decided to quit while I was ahead and turn my phone off. Not like I was going anywhere. I didn’t really want to know how they’d found out so fast, but word gets around easy enough here.

Body parts start turning up around someone, and people find things to talk about, and have to tell all their friends.

I went to the door of my bedroom and there was an odd jolt of electricity from the door handle, not just static.

A warning, from the deep depths. The dark sea from my dream bubbling.

I opened the door cautiously.

My hovel of a room materialized one piece of trash at a time. It looked the same, but it had a different aura, like I was playing a game with the Mad Hatter. As if everything had been picked up and swapped around and put back exactly in their places again. Only to give the illusion of things staying the same but keeping that static energy of a wicked prank.

The room hummed with potential. A cloistered violence clinging to the sheets. I could almost smell it. The pheromones of another monster stalking through, poking into the dark crevices and laughing.

It wasn’t a dream; it was real.

I’d seen the heads, almost took one home. Where would I have even put it? The pictures would have to do. My only souvenir. To come that close without even a picture would’ve been a crime.

Someone had been here.

No, I was paranoid, tumbling down the rabbit hole of my own narcissistic personality disorder.

Did that mean the heads were a fluke? A cruel coincidence?

Someone just happened to pick the day I went to the library and specifically chose to skip my locker when they were giving out heads?

Maybe.

I grabbed my laptop from my bed and smirked. All those articles from all those ‘real journalists’. They couldn’t dream of pictures this good, this rife with meaning.

Clean and crisp, without their tacky headlines and small minded narratives or nicknames. Out done by some amateur hack, some nobody on the internet, scooping them and mounting them as the tired beasts they were.

I set my laptop on my desk and booted it up. I found my computer chair on its side; just where I’d left it, and wheeled to the desk as the computer took its sweet time to fire up.

Wait.

That feeling came rushing back, long cold and pointy fingertips working their way down my back.

The wheel had rolled—the sock was gone.

I jumped off my seat and let the chair fall. All the wheels spun.

I scanned my room, waiting for some ghost-faced killer to spring up out of the pile of clothes on my bed with a hunting knife gleaming in the wicked dim daylight.

No such thing came, just a cool quiet calm, and the incessant song of crickets outside.

I searched my room for my own peace of mind, turning over wrappers and empty bottles. Nothing was taken, there was nothing to take. My laptop was the only thing of value in the room, and evidently he found value enough in it to take a peek at it. My closet was in the corner. I rarely used it, as my bed and floor seemed to be working just fine.

I opened the door and clicked the light on, the magic clicking of the lamp dispelling all evil spirits and cleansing the dark dingy space.

On the floor was a Malibu Barbie I got when I was eight. It was naked and missing its head, but admittedly, that was probably me.

However, I remembered it being in a box with my other ‘victims’. Old toys in varying stages of dismemberment.

Silliness crept over me again; I was getting caught up in coincidences. My aunt probably moved the sock—or I did and forgot about it.

But who took the doll out, and who put its head on the top shelf to stare at me?

If you want to read the rest the of the chapter you’ll have to buy the book when it comes out sucka haha #trolled. No seriously though you can find the raw unedited copy on my inkitt if you’re that impatient and cheap haha.

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.

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