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Loverman chapter ‘The big dream’

So this is me attempting to get back into a normal routine and sort of failing miserably because that routine also includes lifting heavier weights than the balls of Jehovah. So I’m trying to fix my sleep schedule and also sleeping right through every alarm I set as my body tries to heal itself.

Anyway I hope you all had a great christmas and a snappy new years, both mine kind of sucked. Christmas just felt sort of flat and I didn’t feel christmassy at all, I worked on new years so that was a boner killer,

In other news found an awesome new videogame, the mad max game is surprisingly bad ass. Also my new relationship is sort of working out in a weird way. I paired her with videogames in case she reads this just to annoy her.

I don’t want to really go into detail because I’m conflicted I should feel terrible and I sort of do, it’s like I want to be happy while also being stomped on by life in the worst ways imaginable. I’m not saying that for sympathy, I don’t give a shit, it’s just a weird feeling approaching her birthday and feeling so lost and miserable and heartbroken as I’m completely shut out while also being at the start of could be a really happy healthy relationship. One that could actually work and isn’t just setting me up for supreme heart ache down the road.

Someone less of an idiot could maybe wash his hands of the whole thing and forget and just start over but I can’t.

Yeah I kinda wanted to start the new year off light and already fucked that up but hopefully my schedule will open up a bit this month and I can finally get Diana done and start sending her out into the world to get mercilessly torn asunder. I know I’ve been kind of procrastinating and putting it off for the longest time, just like I’ve been putting going to the next weight level in my training. But hey I did that and now I feel like a tenderised piece of meat haha. 

Maybe I can make good on that other stuff too and get a new job. But what the fuck am I even going to spend the money now that she won’t let me see her?

Hmm.

See you…

My mother’s old Chrysler pitched and yawed and creaked to a stop with that horrible ratcheting sound of the gear box unto imminent death. Which of course Ericcson not being familiar with it didn’t know exactly the right way it like to be touched. So as not to eviscerate the already ramshackle clutch. Held together with tape and prayers.

 

Still these concerns were beyond me, my main worries were now worms nesting in my ear and being unable scratch my nose. Not being able to turn the pages of the book or change the channel on the television was of particular concern. Forever doomed to just watch whatever anyone else wanted to watch.

 

The girl’s directions weren’t too bad. Although she might have recommended we bring a machete for our trip as the road leading to the house was intensely overgrown. So much so as to almost disappear into the trees.

 

The pornographer Lukas lived in a fairly large new England country house out on the east side near the river. Just a guess really, due to the sound of running water, that being the only sound I heard, no birds chirped nor foxes howled.

 

The house itself was in utter disrepair and looked most certainly abandoned. The face of it was once a white wood, the paint rotted and chipped and discoloured. All but one of the upstairs windows were broken, most likely by bored local children. The roof was tiled in grey slate with a red brick chimney which had collapsed into the attic. The front door was green and hanging off its hinges. A white picket fence surrounded the square building and traced the outline of a truly unruly lawn. Which had swallowed a very rusty looking push mower, most certainly its first victim.

 

Undettered by this Ericcson got out of the car slamming the door of the Chrysler as if to announce himself. He paused only momentarily to absorb a most ominious atmosphere. The building exsoothed a singular loneliness and gave off an almost abstract feeling of revulsion.

 

The autumnal trees behind the house were such deep oranges they almost looked like a mat red canvas against the house. They swayed lightly in the breeze and noiseless things that must have been birds leapt out of them and into flight.

 

Ericcson opened the fence gently and approached the door meaning to knock on the great green edifice. But instead he tried the knob and it was unlocked.

 

We entered, I of course hanging at his side in my bag.

 

But I could see out of a number of holes made in the bag for that direct purpose.

 

Now, being a disembodied head you’d think not much could shock me. But upon entering the house, expecting more filth and degradation as the outside advertised. We were instead greeted with a warming glow.

 

I wondered for a moment if Ericcon and I were seeing the same thing. From the outside it seemed like an abandoned run down shack and from the inside it was a living home of some humble opulence.

 

I could hear the lapping and crackling of a warm fire and the soothing tock of a grandfather clock

 

Ericcson it would seem was entranced and I dared not to wake him as he made an odd noise as if reacting to some unheard tone in a dream.

 

He walked slowly and cautiously towards the noise of the fire into the living, decorated as if a scene in a holiday greeting card. Real logs burned in the fire and wreathes hung over it and on the mantel there were pictures of a happy family although their faces I could not make out.

 

Ericcson walked bow legged and collapsed into an easy chair in the corner allowing me to slump down next to him on the carpeted floor.

 

I didn’t even notice the other person in the room until I heard the chinking of the ice in his drink.

 

“So nice of you to pay me a visit” The man said as he tipped the glass towards Ericcson.

 

He was an odd duck, dressed almost like a hipster mister Rogers; a brown sweater over a plaid shirt. His sleeves rolled up revealing elaborate tattoos, his face too was marked with scarification and tunnels in his ears. His eyes were a disturbing unnatural blue, altered somehow with pigment.

 

“I’ve come to kill you” Ericcson said flatly as if talking in his sleep.

 

“Is that right?” The man smiled and looked into his drink. “Lydia – the girl in the store called me right after you did, this is the only address she knows so I knew you’d come here.”

 

“It’s a trap then?”

 

“Not really, more like a check-up” He motioned down with his head “How do you like your drink?”

 

Ericcson looked down at his hand and saw a whiskey glass there and he jumped as if he suddenly felt like he was falling and dropped it on the floor. The tumbler landed with a dull thud and rolled towards the fire place.

 

“Too bad, that was good stuff” He took a sip of his drink and straightened in his wingback chair. “Well enough with the niceties, I’m sure Niall didn’t impress you too much but you’ll find us a little more prepared.”

 

“You’re Lukas?”

 

“I already told you that” He said as he put his drink down with a clunk on a glass coffee table and then leaned back with his hands across his lap. His hands too were covered in obscure tattoos that looked like child’s drawings and he had odd jewellery on his thumbs. “But enough about that, we’re here for you Zane.

 

The doorbell rang.

 

“Oh that must be our guests”

 

“Guests?” Ericcson said sadly.

Check out the rest of the chapter right here on inkitt The big dream

 

Loverman Chapter 6 ‘Ask for Lucas’

Heyo,
Gonna be another quick one sadly because I spent most of today christmas shopping and I’m probably not going to be doing poetry or more blogging this week because this month is really busy for me, at work and obviously in my real life.
I was kidding myself when I thought I could get Diana done this week or the next, it’s gonna carry through to next month. I just don’t have the time to get in depth on it. I’m not just dotting i’s and crossing t’s I’m totally restructuring it and that takes time and a lot of concentrated effort. But it’ll all be worth it in the end I’m hoping. Otherwise I’m pretty much as fucked as I suspect. The spectre of doubt is looming hard and let’s just say I’m not feeling the christmas spirit one little bit. 
Just more confused and deranged as time goes on. I really don’t know what I’m going to do if this isn’t it, well I know but I don’t like it.
Fuck me, this is a grim christmas, was last year this grim? Probably not. Last christmas I had plans to go see the only person that matters to me and this year I don’t have the money and it’s my own stupid fault. I really fucked up. I just need one win. I miss her so much.
 
What we learnt from Letho was feeble, as it appeared Ericcson’s true quarrel was no amateur braggart. Letho guarded his identity with much more zeal as we could ascertain not even a physical description. The way he described it, it appeared they’d met on some role playing forum devoted to some obtuse writer of cult fame.
 
With some peculiarity they’d struck an ospicious bargain to meet masked at Ericcson’s house. Then to carry out the crime never having met in person without their masks. Coming in separate cars and leaving alone after committing the crime.
 
It seemed very strange to me but upon remembering my circumstances it didn’t seem too far out of the realm of possibilities. It had occurred to me Ericcson could not be the killer of his wife and most if not all of what he said was confirmed by this complete stranger. If his testimony could be verified as correct through the inhuman torture Ericcson inflicted on him.
 
There was something that gave me pause, a moment of strange clarity as Ericcson asked him softly and grimly why he did it. There was almost a moment of confusion, as if the question was obvious or didn’t even occur to him. His eyes rolled in his head and glazed over for a moment before he looked at Ericcson with a stark dumb cow-like expression before saying “Huh”.
 
Although he didn’t prove totally useless, a quick turnover of his pockets turned out a card from an erotic bookstore on the other end of town. There was a small note written on the back in pencil that said “Ask for Lucas”.
 
A thorough search of his phone elicited a series of messages from someone only listed as ‘L’ in his contacts. It seemed like no minor coincidence. Was it possible that one or two of the accomplices had broken the bonds of their anonymity packed and made contact in the real world unmasked? Or at the very least planned to do so.
 
It seemed altogether likely and since Ericsson and I had little else to go on it was pertinent for us to at least call the number. And do as the note had instructed; ‘ask for Lucas’.
 
Stealing himself away in some small coffee shop closer to the edge of town, the town of which was littered with them. Full to the brim with all manner of social outcasts all tapping away with their heads down under woollen hats. Sadly I lacked a notion for directions even when my head was attached to its body. After the separation it was much harder for me to orientate myself despite the fact it seemed to be more important than ever. I couldn’t say where exactly we were with what little I could see from the hole in the bag. I could smell the coffee and the lonely desperation of its patrons. The nasally cries of adolescents asking for increasingly innane concoctions of coffee all containing soy.
 
He began to punch in the number on the card of Letho’s phone, of which we had commandeered as at present he had no use for it. The image of his deflated corpse passed in front of my eyes suddenly but I felt no tinge of guilt or human sorrow. Just a pale flash of rememberance, a filing away of a person. In my memory he sat hunched, looking flat and pale and dull. His eyes and mouth inhumanely stretched in indescribable horror as a black ichor dripped out of every orifice. A wrinkling of my nose was the only reaction and an odd sinking feeling as I knew I would have to see more. Much more before the day was through riding as I was on the right hand of the devil.
 
He held the phone to his ear listening as it rang. It rang two or three times before a nasal voice of what could have been a teenage boy or a young woman answered and uttered the vile name of the place she worked. A vapid disgusting pun relating to sexual acts I feel no need to glorify in my notes. Needless to say she said them with some shrill glee that peaked at a dull metronome having said it many times before. Each time losing it’s charm and comic timing for her.
 
“Hi this is Debbie, what fantasy can I fulfil for you today?” She said. Her voice was hoarse and unfeminine.
 
“I was told to ask for Lukas”
 
“Lukas isn’t here today”
 
“Do you know when he’ll be in?”
 
“Jeez, I dunno, why don’t you ask him?”
 
“Do you have his house number?”
 
“He’s the boss, of course I have his house number but I’m not gonna give it out to every random guy that calls.”
 
“He’s an old friend of mine.”
 
“Oh yeah? How many piercings does he have in his face?
 
“Seven”
 
“Wrong answer asshole, he doesn’t have any piercings- in his face”. And with that she slammed the phone down and the line went dead.
 
“Well that was unproductive” I said.
 
It didn’t take him long to find the seedy little hole in the wall, sandwiched as it was between a dry cleaners and another damnable coffee shop. A small flat single storey boxy building with blacked out windows and a stainless steel door.
 
Ericcson pushed it open with me swinging by his side. A chinchy chime rang over the door. Looking over the racks overflowing with the worst smut and degenerate filth there was a girl flipping through the pages of a magazine.
 
Ericcson had taken now to wearing something of a disguise but sunglasses indoors in my opinion did little to detract attention. But it seemed he’d also gained some sensitivity to light with his new found, I’m reluctant to say ‘powers’.
 
He marched briskly to the counter stopping not one second to cast a curious gaze at the layers of smut and filth covering all four walls. I almost felt a little thankful that I had lost all urges relating to these acts with losing the relevant appendages. Viewing them in this form made my non-existant stomach churn, acts both degrading and unsanitary to say the least. It boggled the mind that there was such a species with as little taste and decorum as this. That almost took it’s reproductive act as some sort of sport or sad melancholy cynical joke.
 

If you want to read more of this chapter head on over to inkitt Ask for Lukas

Loverman Chapter 5 ‘The thirsty dog’

Good day to you monstrous lovecraftian abominations young and old.
Been another weird week for me as far as personal life stuff goes, very distracting to say the least, weird but in a good way. Happiness for me in a lot of ways is sort of disconcerting, a high with an inevitable drop at the end. It’s little wonder that there so much of me that longs for the predictability, the safety of misery.
No one including myself can let me down if my expectations are always that of inevitable misery, a fool hopes for any above that but at the same time, I would let it come over me if it wished.
I mean it goes without saying I’m a weird guy and a lot of the time I wonder really what I have to offer a woman above my looks and other… talents. Aside from those things I’m not much of a catch honestly, I’m pretty fucking horrible if I do say so myself and I’m broke as shit haha.
So usually if a woman likes me I feel like I need to sit her down on a couch and have someone with a goatee and a german sounding name take a good long look at her haha.
Anyway that aside, I am ashamed to say I still haven’t completed the editing of Diana, it pains me, but all my effort will be put into it and despite personal life engagements and work and hell and high water, it will be done hopefully this week, definitely the next and then I can do a final run through it, do the all important spellcheck haha. Then off it goes to be prodded by shrewd unfeeling bean counters to be measured and hopefully found in good stead.
Oh I finally finished that Shadow pulp, the first one and honestly it was kind of underwhelming. It didn’t really have a punchy ending it just sort of fizzled out. Very disappointing considering how the rest of it shook out. I expected the shadow to straight up murder everyone and instead he just fannied around a bit and then the police arrested everyone like some lame scooby doo shit.
It just fell sort of flat considering how well they’d built up the shadow to that point, sort of a scary ghostlike figure, everywhere and nowhere, merciless and precise. I just feel like the story was sort of shackled by it’s time and if it were written now it would’ve been either totally shit and filled with political bullshit or awesome haha.
Kinda considering doing my own Shadow pulp, might spitball some ideas while I read the next one which I hope will be a little darker if you forgive the really lazy pun sort of, I guess it’s a pun. Shadow/darker, sort of, fuck it who cares?
It didn’t bore me to tears like the witcher did, the story was ok, the characters were ok, the action was pretty good and the shadow was great, it was a good mystery it just felt a little watered down hamfisted. It felt a little toothless. But I still liked it and I really want to read more for sure.
Back to it I guess.
See you… 
My monstrous companion and I had found ourselves a quiet spot in an exceptionally seedy and hole in the wall. The thirsty dog was styled in a way that suggested it was an old English pub. By the looks of it, it was just as old and had not seen a broom or a mop since the witches burned. Their ashes probably still swept under the ancient rugs.
 
The place had obviously had something of a makeover. A television playing nothing but sports, football, the American variety, a broken jukebox in the corner. It was fairly cosy place fashioned in all dark woods, drafty, teaming with dark corners and seemingly dark history.
 
We’d positioned ourselves in a corner booth that was fashioned into a little room. Inside old pictures hung on the walls and there was a false fireplace in the corner. The pictures were of an eclectic variety. Spanning from old pictures of antiquated farm equipment and dishevelled old barns. To noblemen with an odious pretraecian aspect to them. Their mouths much larger than normal and their eyes rounded and glassy and bulging. The bar ran by our right side, the corner poking out like a crooked elbow towards the entrance. We had us a full view of people coming and going and the bar itself while allowing us to be neatly tucked out of sight.
 
My cohort dozed in the corner with his long black coat over his head so no curious old geezer might recognise him. It seemed that his new body needed lots of rest but as far as food I’d seen him neither eat nor drink a morsel since we met. As for myself having no stomach or any organs to speak of made the act utterly superlative.
 
He’d left me on watch as I had little more purpose. It may have been startling for the patrons to see a disembodied head even if it was alive and more or less so. I was securely hidden in something a kin to a bowling ball bag but was more or less a thick duffel bag he’d acquired during my sleeping hours. I was inside it and could see through a series small holes he’d made along the sides of the bag.
 
We were waiting for something but for what I was not certain but I was made certain that I would know it when I saw it.
 
The bar was quiet as it was early and only regulars sat like squat frogs, old men plastered to their seats watching and not watching the tv. Drifting in and out of consciousness, waiting for some great wind to waft them away.
 
I had no idea how long it had been since the incident at the asylum, or even what day it was, having no wrist to keep a watch or way of consulting a calendar. I was growing very bored of being like one of those little dogs women like to carry in their purses, small but altogether useless. Few people came and went and none of very much interest, two old women shaking a tin for some such charitable work, a homeless drunk wandering in and out. It had been maybe an hour or more before someone interesting arrived.
 
He was a small stout man of maybe late twenties early thirties with a dark stubbly beard wearing running bottoms. Although I can’t attest to how much running he did and a sweatshirt with a banal slogan on it. His hair was loose and unwashed and his manner was light of foot for a man his size, with boyish soft features and skin. A doughy featureless blob of a human being but nevertheless carrying some dark aura of imminent threat. He addressed the barman curtly, his dark heavy lidded eyes and unwashed face scanning him with some esoteric suspicion. A curl of anger or fear at his lips as I watched him talk without hearing his words. I had some slight talent of reading lips but he was turned away slightly and I could only make out ‘Looking for me’.
 
The barman looked nervous and all together reluctant to do anything more than polish bar glass and wanted to keep very much to himself. But after some prodding from the shadey figure he subtly nodded his head in the direction of the room I and my strange cohort inhabited.
 
The stout youth cast a wary but cautious glance in our direction and started to inch his way across the bar in our direction. He kept his head down as he worked his way down the bar. Trying to look as casual as possible while being anything but. His hand tightly gripping something in his sweatshirt pocket as he laboured his way towards us, his pale flabby face turning a bright pink.
 
He stopped at the jukebox and pretended to browse songs as he took a long sideways glance through the ajar door. Through it I can imagine he could only see Ericcson’s shoes as he was laid out on the booth sleeping like a corpse completely motionless. He put on some loud rock music with excessive symbol bashing and continued to edge closer to the room we occupied.
 
He got to the door of the room and without taking the pistol out of his sweatshirt pocket he prodded the door open as slow as possible the rest of the way.
 
His face was cold and damp looking as he starred glassy eyed with his thick lipped mouth hanging open. His tongue working up spittle as he probed the room with his eyes licking the dry corners of his mouth.
 
A small satisfied smile curled the corners of his mouth as he saw Ericcson fast asleep in the corner of the booth. The man slowly forced the rest of his bulk around the thin glass door before quietly shutting it behind his wide frame.
 
He took the gun all the way out of his sweatshirt pocket hunching forward and silently moved closer to the sleeping figure under the coat.
 
I watched him as like some sort of fat cat he stalked closer to my daemoniac partner. The small calibre automatic pistol gripped tightly in his cherub like chubby mitt. His face swirling with self loathing and vile hatred and fear, sweating and pinkish, his breath laboured and guttural sounding.
 
Read the rest over on inkitt. The thirsty dog
 

Loverman Chapter 2 ‘The weeping song’

I got back the second to last part of Diana and I spoke to my editor after blowing my wad on the last round of editing and she says I should get it back soon, whatever that means haha. But yeah so that’s happening, that other thing is probably happening. Compared to how shitty I’ve felt for the last couple of months I feel pretty good, I’m really happy right now and honestly I don’t like it, I wish it would stop haha.

Maybe playing more red dead 2 will make me more miserable. Probably gonna do a review of that because everyone I know says it’s pretty underwhelming and honestly so far I can’t disagree. Like there’s nothing really about it that blows me away honestly. It kinda just feels like another red dead game, it’s not really that special. Definitely falls short so far comparing it to GTAV. I don’t mind the slow pace as long it’s building towards something and it’s immersive like Kingdom come deliverance. I loved the slow beginning of that game. Really need to do another playthrough of that game. I can’t remember the last time I was so immersed in a game.

Anyway, dying need to nap or do some proofreading or something.

Bye!

She kept up a dizzying pace through the old building, but I could hardly object to the brevity of the tour since it appeared to be just a series of long hallways looking all alike.

 

“This is the day room”

 

She opened a door that looked no different from any of the rooms we’d seen before. Despite that it had no viewing window and opened onto a large rectangular room with almost greenhouse windows on the walls and in portions of the ceiling.

 

“This is something like a solarium, they used to think the sunshine had medicinal effects, we use it as a common area, they have art supplies and games they can play.” She said directed me to deshevelled pile of soiled board game boxes and art supplies collected in a half closed closet. The room itself was empty but for a series of rounded tables made of a cheap chipboard wood with a few simple plastic chairs dotted around them and a few beanbag chairs. The carpet was a dull cream colour and the ceiling tiles were deeply sodden asbestos tiling with neon lights running in parralles across the ceiling.

 

I looked around the room as it stood empty, littered as it was with papers and crude paintings on the walls. The paintings depicting oddly shaped buildings. Or so it seemed, although obscurest in nature, following no known Euclidian geometry and copying no style I had ever seen before. Despite that they were quite skilfully reproduced as if from memory.

 

“Oh you noticed that”

 

She said spying my eye caught by the odd painting.

 

“We have a number of artists budding or otherwise that come here.”

 

“Oh really?”

 

“Are you a fan of the arts Mr Tilinghast.”

 

“Henry, please, to my friends.”

 

She seemed to scoff and then smile.

 

“I’ve eyes like anyone else” I said attempting something close to aloofness.

 

“The director seems to think artists are more susceptible to madness than ordinary men”

 

“Oh, why’s that?”

 

“It’s nothing he would publish for peer review, but he seems to think your mind has to be half gone already to be an artist in this economy.” She smiled and I stifled a laugh which cooled to a morbidity as I studied the sad truth in that statement.

 

I sighed in agreement and continued to study the room. It was bright which was odd due to the weather being as grey and dim as it was. The room seemed to glow with an eerie effulgence, it had to be something to do with the placing of the room and the windows harnessing the light.

 

“Please take your time to look at some of their work, the room is closed for today.”

 

I took her up on her offer and started to perouse some of the paintings, most of which were marked with the same signature. The scribbling did seem familiar but I couldn’t make out the name. The paintings seemed to correlate with the others, odd cyclopean structures, strangely shaped humanoid creatures. It seemed almost like the interpretation of a childs drawing done by a skilled hand.

 

“Closed?” I said idly not taking my eyes off an etching of a bust done in charcoal. The bust was some strange abstract creature that seemed to have the head of octopus and the body of some kind of reptile with wings with large clawed feet sitting prone on a pedestal.

 

“We had an incident the other day with one of our patients.”

 

“An incident” I aped thoughtlessly losing myself in the strange chimera like creature in the etching. Noticing then that were some very similar drawings done like but in what seemed like a childs hand, and still more in differing styles until it seemed to be something of a contest to draw the eldritch squatting thing.

 

I turned to her and saw she was motioning with her eyes at a patch on the floor. My eyes following her to see a portion of the cream carpet that had been removed in a large square with a box cutter a slight shadow of a brown stain on the exposed wooden boards below it.

 

“We’re having someone come in on Friday to replace it”.

 

“I see”.

 

“I’ll take you to see the director now if you’d like, he should be in his office.”

 

She led me down another hallway indistinguishable from the others we’d just traversed to a door with golden sign with the name Avery Fournier – Director Pink Bird Sanitarium embossed on it.

 

The door itself was a firm red oak with the top panelled cut out to make way for an ornate opaque glass screen. And as the light was shining I could seemingly make out two figures and could catch something of a conversation going on inside.

 

“He must be busy, should we come back later?” I asked.

 

“No he’s expecting you, he might just be recording something, if we enter quietly it shouldn’t be a problem”. She smiled and motioned towards the door holding her clipboard tightly to her chest and pushing her glasses up on her nose as if touching up a careful costume.

 

I clasped the door handle getting a slight jolt of something but not removing my hand. A sudden striking feeling of unease came over as if I was about to open a door to a party of people dancing over my own grave.

 

Opening the door as gingerly and as politely and inobtrusively as possible I entered with my head bowed like a monk seeking safe passage through some savage mongol land. But to my surprise I was greeted by a most affable and rotund looking old gentlemen sat smiling warmly above a great and bushy mustache.

 

The man instantly put me at ease with his effortlessly pleasant manner and way of speaking.

 

“Henry, is that you, take a seat old boy, you must have had quite a journey.” He addressed me queerly as if he were some old friend or an uncle rarely visited but gladly accepting of any such chance encounter.

 

Finding myself caught off guard by his amiable appearance at knowing me, I had but silent stammering in answer.

 

“You must be exhausted, where did you say you were coming from? Boston was it?”

 

“N-new Hampshire actually.” I said tracing my hands feverishly along the back of one of the high wingbacked chairs in front of the man’s small but neat desk.

 

Fournier’s office was little more than broom closet in size, a very humble room for a seemingly very humble and benign figure. But despite the size, the furnishing were old and eloguent, the smell of treated leather and hardwood was thick in such a tight space and nevertheless it gave way to an informal comfiness that was quite unbefitting an office of such stature.

 

“Would you like a toffee?” He asked standing to pass me a large glass bowl of individually wrapped toffees.

 

“Erm no- no thank you” I said smiling.

 

“Hmm” He smiled and sighed before putting the bowl down and unwrapping one for himself and fiendishly popping it into his mouth grazing his bushy white moustache. He smiled again and said “I must admit I’m quite partial to them” He narrowed his eyes and then at once as if he forgot something said “Oh of course, I’m forgetting myself, would you like one Zane?” He said lifting the bowl in the direction of the wingback chair to my right.

Check out the rest of the chapter on inkittttt The weeping song

 

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.

Hereditary review

So again my pirate brother brought me another gem for movie night and I really didn’t think much of this movie when I saw it advertised because of the slew of garbage tier horror we’ve seen for a long time now. Like every James Wan movie ever and the blum house movies such as get out and quiet place. Total garbage movies that are hyped to hell and back to get the seals clapping make lots of money. But they’re shit, they never pass the fridge test because they’re hollow trashy movies about nothing ultimately.

There’s just been a wave of forgettable lame horror movies that pin out pointless sequels, mainly looking at the insidious franchise here. The first one was ok but the sequel was beyond ridiculous, pretending like that was there plan all along. Motherfucker you made a dumb horror movie and it made lots of money so you pulled some weird time travel tranny ghost story out of your ass, admit it. I daren’t even watch the others where the old lady is the main character and there’s a prequel, that’s a hard pass. The saw movies are ok I guess but they’re just gore porn, there’s no real artistry there and if you look at the latest movies, the acting and set design is indistinguishable from an actual porno.

Now Hereditary on the other hand is quite unironically a horror masterpiece. It’s basically a James Wan movie if it wasn’t just slocky over produced trash. It’s sort of a standard format horror movie turned on it’s head to be more like a drama. And one of the big criticism is that it’s not actually scary which is bullshit, what that actually means is that it has no jump scares in it, you heard me right, not one. But it has this sort of oppressive atmosphere throughout that is just insanely gripping. You just have no idea what’s going to happen next and the movie is so subtle it just can’t help but get under your skin.

The pacing is perfect, the length is perfect, believe me it needs every minute of that two hours, every pause, every silence is permeated with dread and it had me on the edge of my seat for two hours.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so just creeped out by a movie, so completely at the mercy of a piece of film. It has this constant theme of a doll house throughout because the main character is someone that makes dollhouses and it fits perfectly with the tone. Because the movie wants you to know that these people are not in control of their own destiny, they are dolls playing a part and you the audience too are powerless because you have no idea whats going on or who to trust.

It’s just such a powerful movie that knows how to use it’s power to great effect. It doesn’t beat you into submission with constant jump scares or gore. It hits you once really hard triggering your fear and sadness to an extreme degree and then it waits. And as the audience the fear builds waiting for the next gut punch.

I really don’t know what to say about but it’s just an excellent piece of film making. Everything about it is handled so perfectly. Very little really happens in the movie and it doesn’t really expand out from the house but it feels like a rollercoaster you can’t get off. The visuals are amazing, it’s haunting from beginning to end and there isn’t a single jump scare. Comparing it to quiet place, they never really leave the farm in that and it feels like there’s no journey but in Hereditary it’s an emotional/spiritual journey so them not leaving the house much isn’t really an issue. Whereas in quiet place we’re sort of lead to believe an emotional journey has taken place when really we’ve just been running around a corn field with a big monster chasing us around.

But it’s getting a lot of push back from the jump scare addicted audience as expected. I think why jump scares would ruin this movie is because jump scares are almost tension release valves. Something spooky is happening then something pops up and says ‘Boo’ then its over and you can laugh about it with your friends. But this movie never lets you go, it never releases that tension, it just keeps it going and pulling you deeper down. There’s no comic relief like Get out, there’s no relief at all. It’s a total onslaught on your senses and your psyche and it puts you right in Tony Collette’s shoes.

The performances were amazing, Tony Collette in this is spellbinding, I don’t think I’ve seen someone play crazy as well as her. You see that a lot in movies where someone is screaming ‘you have to believe me’ and they look crazy and you’re screaming at the tv ‘believe her!’ because you know they’re not crazy because you’re seeing what they see. But in this movie she was just so fucking crazy I didn’t want to believe her. And there are parts of the movie that are so horrifying you just wish they were a dream and the characters do too, it’s amazingly powerful. It manages to put right where they are all the time.

I don’t know how to describe it any other way than just this slow descent into horror and madness and misery that you just can’t look away from.

Some of the critiques are that it kind retreads old ground and I have a saying ‘I’ve seen it before and better’ and yeah everything in this movie I’ve seen before but not better. I don’t care if a movie borrows from something else or is in someway derivative if it’s good or it elevates what came before in someway which this definitely does.

If I had to compare it to something it’s basically The wickerman meets insidious or sinister, a really deep and dark horror movie sort of wearing the skin of a slocky jump scarefest. But even today looking back something like the wickerman doesn’t scare me (and in the case of the Nicolas Cage version makes me laugh) but this movie not only scared me it deeply unsettled me on many levels and stayed with me for awhile. Not only the trepidation but the themes.

Something you don’t get from a lot of horror films these days, not just scares but real deep sorrow. There are worse things than dying sometimes living is harder, you can watch Jason slash up a million co-eds but can you watch someone break down mentally and spiritually after the death of a child? This movie perfectly portrays living with loss and it adds to this melancholy and dread a little of what made Silent Hill 2 so powerful. Not just the horror but the sadness, the horror of being alone, the horror of being unloved. The horror in sadness. It’s coming at you from so many different directions overwhelming you with sadness and fear and loathing all at once.

I mean you see a horror movie like Get out and it’s basically a comedy. It has a comedy director and for the most part comedy actors trying to bring to life this laughable script about brain swapping. Then you have quiet place and we’re supposed to believe they’re sad about the kid dying but we’re never introduced to the kid and no one talks about it because they can’t so it’s never addressed. And you’re supposed to be sad when the dad dies /spoilers/ haha. But it just felt kinda cheap and unearned.

Neither of these hugely successful horror movies have the kind of emotional weight of Hereditary and thus can’t come close to the levels of horror (in every sense of the word) it can convey.

It’s what the horror genre has been missing for a long time, serious film making. Not just idiots trying to spin a buck and tell some goofy story about sound monsters or inter racial brain swaps. But genuine love and attention and talent.

This movie is a work of art if only for the visuals. But pair that with the acting and set design, story, pacing and it’s truly a horror classic and I seriously mean that. I think this movie should be up their with the Shining and the Thing as horror movie that just lives on and on and I hope it becomes a cult classic.

Go out and watch it, and then watch it again, I know I will.

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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.

 

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