Island Out Of The Sun
This was the story of a small ship of sailors, who crashed themselves against an island which wasn’t meant to be there.
They found ancient buildings there, which seemed to have grown up out of the earthen floor of the island itself. Large building made out of single pieces of hard black rock, hollowed out like the insides of skulls.
They found evidence of a school there. Maybe the first school. An original place of education and knowledge. A sort of prehistoric university for the greatest minds ancient Earth had to offer.
Now it was just mouldy, flaking scrolls, and crumbling elegies carved into the sides of the walls, like deep-inked tattoos.
Eight days the men lost. They had memories of their feet, touching the shore, but after that, everything was muddled, and muddied. What had really happened, and why? Who had controlled it all? Who was that green-eyed faceless man, watching from the mountain-peaks?
A turtle swam by with a question mark somehow apparent in the detailed, natural markings on its shell. It’d been raised there, cultivated by whoever had lived there before.
Further off, there were stranger constructions. Small grass huts that appeared somehow to be have be built by non-human hands. Six toed footprints, leading up the sides of cliffs.
The sailors left the place in what could best be referred to as a drugged stupor. They left in a storm full of blood-red lightning, and cold grey drops of rain.
They left, leaving a strange new world behind themselves.
But someday we’ll go back.
Inspired By “Fatale”.
It was written in a language that hadn’t been translated, maybe translatable, since about a thousand years before the era of Jesus Christ. The paper felt almost like meat; it was the hide of some great, ancient worm. Some prehistoric monster; a blind beast a hundred miles long, a thing that knew only darkness and cold earth.
It was a love poem, or maybe a new religion. An old religion, formed sometime after the first primitive man carved out an effigy of the original Bear God. Or maybe even before.
The old man said that it would never be translated, “Not by the mind of a man.” I asked him about that, and he told me some long, impossible story about the things that might have evolved parallel to humanity, only to slip into the darkness of our unknown past, before history could probably be born. Without the minds of that strange, forgotten species, there would be no reading of the writing on the paper that wasn’t really paper.
“The hide of a worm,” the old man said, and when he did, he laughed so hard that before long there was an interpretative Rorschach of red splotches up and down the white of his plain dress-shirt. “Something vast an impossible, hungering in the dark,” he added weakly, once he’d regained his breath.
It was a map, of words and ideas, was one idea. It showed the path from righteousness, into darkness. “The descent of the decent,” the old man said, and when he spoke slowly, I could see the tongue that lurked in the darkness of his mouth; a black slug, crawling slowly over the yellowed edges of his few remaining teeth. “All that power,” he’d said like a warning. “All that fear.”
His home was a creep-show of spiders and incongruous corners. Warped walls lurking beneath improperly hung wallpaper, giving an impression of mental distortion. A floor that creaked painfully whenever the wind blew.
“I want you to have it,” the old man said. When I’d found him, half-passed-out over two bags of groceries, only a block from his home, my instinct had been to bash in his brains, for whatever change might’ve still been in his pockets.
Within my jacket, the crook of my elbow itched like a phantom pain with real fangs. It was like I was stitched out of need, and want.
“I want you to take it,” the old man said. Instead, I’d helped him with his bags, into his home, maybe thinking I’d find something to steal. He’d collapsed in a chair, and was half-rambling, half-drooling himself to sleep, when he’d suddenly remembered something, something quite important, that he wanted to show me.
He’d pulled the piece out from a big hard-cover book that’d been hollowed out of all its interior pages, save for their edges. And empty book, with a piece of meat inside. Meat that’d been inscribed.
“I want you to have it,” he said again, and I noticed then, that he wasn’t just coughing blood, he’d been bleeding. Out through his nose, and his ears. And even, as I watched, his eyes. His eyes were leaking great tears of blood, streaking his face like a painted on mask of war.
I grabbed the piece, whatever it was, with the writing on it, whatever it meant.
And I ran.
Somewhere, far behind me, in that great, awful house, I could still hear the old man. Maybe he was laughing, or coughing. But it almost sounded, as the blood pooled up in his lungs, like he was drowning. Drowning up alone in that place.
I moved swiftly on down the street. Into a darkness all my own.
The Land Squid Has No Name
Oh, I’ll tell you a tale.
A tale of the Land Squid.
They say he’s over a million years old, you know? And yet, he has no name. They say he ate the dinosaurs, most of them anyway, all the important ones. He wiped them clear off the earth, one by one. He was sucking the mean from their bones when the ice age started, and he was still sucking them clean when the frost began to thaw.
He’s bigger, bigger than can be seen by a whole human head, in one go around. You’d need three or four stares, or a couple of friends, to take in the whole of the beast. It’s hide is thick and purple, almost luminescent, and its eyes are the red of the sun as it sets; a brilliant, fiery red that seems to see way down deep into your soul.
I saw him once, I saw his outline, moving across the horizon of the Rocky Mountains. He was a strange, horrid sight, capable of blotting out the sun, or ending a thousand lives with the twitch of one of those impossibly long tendrils.
But he looked kind of sad, too, sad in the way that only a thing that’s a buncha million years old, can look. The sort of sad you’d almost expect to see on a thing that’d eaten the earth’s last Tyrannosaurus, and now had to subside on lost teenagers and small villages in Northern Europe.
He was a mighty thing, the Land Squid. I thought I heard somebody call out to him once, I thought I heard somebody call him, call him, “Barry.”
But I know that I must’ve been mistaken.
For the Land Squid, as you know, he has no name.
The Cursing Of The Goblin King
Noelle had confounded the Goblin King, once again, swapping out his collector’s set of classic Super NES games for a bunch of empty boxes with photocopies of the games taped to their outsides.
Now the Goblin King had spent over a hundred thousand dollars to hire the baddest killers the city had ever seen. Phil, who spat acid and could smell the future. Landus The Destroyer, the strange prehistoric monster with incisors of solid gold. Chuck, this really mean guy who looks sorta like a fat Rock Hudson, if that makes any sense.
But Noelle, she wasn’t up for being caught aware, so she stayed up late the night before the bus full of baddies got to town, and she put her time to good use.
She planted bombs in the soles of her shoes - front towards enemy. She laced her conversations with witty puns that were themselves laced with a deadly poison she’d learned to secret from her nipples back when she’d studied with the UFOs out beyond the dump, where the sunlight turns green when it sets over that valley of forever so strangely shaped clouds. You know the place. Or maybe you don’t, how should I know? Do your own homework.
The Goblin King, he was enraged. How long had he longed to get his pliers around Noelle’s eye-teeth? How many billions had she stolen from him, through strange facets of white-collar crime? Billions which she’d wasted on candy and charities that had dumb corporate logos. She didn’t care, she did it just for fun. She didn’t even really know who the Goblin King was; she thought he was some sort of industrial tycoon, or maybe a leprechaun - both of which were very, very far from the truth.
“I’ll get you at some point in the future,” the Goblin King was heard to lament, on his sleepless nights, standing out at his parapet.
“Who are you talking to?” his bootlick, Arnold would ask.
“Oh, shut up,” the Goblin King would say, and a hollow wind would whistle through the kingdom like it’d gotten lost.
Sex Noir; she wants
She says she wants to be a girl on my page. She wants to lay down on the cold white mattress of my prose, and she wants to become it.
She thinks she’s got a crush on me, when she’s really just hungry for the bait.
There’s something about her that wants to be helpless, but that’s just one word for it.
She wants to be held (down). She craves comforting and compassion, and maybe at the end of it, something a little more mean.
She tries to distract me from what I want with what I want. I let her.
I tell her, “We’ve already met once before, in that nameless hotel where you stood before the broken sink and looked upon your blissful nudity in the cracked mirror. I was the man in the mismatched suit and the blood on his tie. I held your hand while you were crying in the dark, but you kicked me out of the room right before I could suggest that we make-love on that whore-stained bed. You said you’d never forget me, but you didn’t want to know my name…”
Remember Old Biff Goddard?
I was famous for finding a robot arm on the side of the road.
Nobody ever figured out where it came from. Maybe the future, said somebody. I don’t know. I just know where I found it, there on the ground, in a big pile of burnt dirt and broken glass that I guess used to be melted sand.
It was a robot arm. It attached to a torso, or it should have, and it had an elbow, and a wrist, and a hand at the end, with three angry mechanical fingers, and a thumb. A thumb of pure malevolent, machine-driven evil.
Or so the churchmen had said. I hadn’t really paid much attention to that sort of talk, though it did drive up the price of a viewing, on many mist-covered evening.
“Have a look at this robot arm,” I’d tell folks, taking a dollar or two for the trouble, “and think about your own life. Where it might be going. What the future might look like.”
“Is that robot arm from the future?” they’d always ask me.
“Ain’t mine for the saying,” I’d tell them back. Every time. “Ain’t mine for the saying.” You say it twice on the quiet nights, or if there was a really pretty face in the audience, you thought you might be able to lay down with for a while.
You skip from town to town, you meet some nice people. Every once in a while your goddamn robot arm kills a few people, but hey, who’s gonna tell me that death ain’t as much a part of life as eating or crying?
Yeah, I was famous, for a while, me and my robot arm. And when I got tired of it, I sold it to one of those big companies that wants to rule the world. You know the ones, those big conglomerates with about a billion part-time souls on the payroll? Yeah, they got it now. Under lock and key, or maybe arm-wrestling giants somewhere.
But once upon a time, I had me a robot arm.
And everybody knew my goddamn name.
Turning In The Bed
Sweetness pours out of her nightmares like candy melting down the side of an old brick wall. Artificial colours and sweeteners running together in rivers of stickiness.
Yeah, she has nightmares.
In them we’re married and in love. We’ve got children and kittens and a nice house. A nice big house with a secret buried in the basement. A dozen hungry corpses put just two feet under the plain soil of the basement floor. A dozen hungry corpses chained to the ground, awaiting a chance to rise.
Yeah, she has nightmares.
We’re trapped on an alien world, and it’s breaking up. The planet’s own gravity is tearing it apart, with chunks the size of moons coming away at our feet. We look up into the beyond, and see something not unlike Hawaii floating away, shattering against the sky.
Yeah, she has nightmares.
They come at us from all sides, with razor blades between their jagged shark-like teeth. They come at us with unpaid hospital bills, and taxation forms. They come at us with news of sexually-transmitted-infections, and the death of our favourite relatives. They come for us hungrily, and pursue us to the ends.
Yeah, she has nightmares.
I show up in a lot of them.
Considering Options And Other Bunk
“I wasted the best parts of myself building this Frankenstein-inspired monster,” my old friend explained, running his hands along the still-breathing corpse of the creature.
Can you smell it on the air? The weather’s about to change. A storm’s gonna blow in, and knock down all the deadwood in the forest. If you know what I mean.
“But you gotta admit, the thing’s got heart,” he told me, and then he chuckled. “Three of ‘em. Pig hearts, truth be told, but they’re more than enough for the job. Well, one cow, and a couple of pig. I’m sure you don’t need me to get technical.”
I hate leaving the city, going out this way where the roads are as honest as dirt and made of the same stuff. Where people live quite, humble little lives; though I do like that part. What I don’t like, is the idea of all those things that are loose out there. All those things that like to exist where nobody can see them doing it.
“Figure we’ll crank him up,” my old friend went on, “then turn him loose on one of those big, open-auditorium rock-concerts. He’s fucking crazy for funk, you know?”
I frown in the night’s sky, like I’m counting constellations on the other side of the clouds. “Nobody’s listened to funk around here for years,” I’m honour-bound to admit.
“Well,” my old friend says, thumbing the controls of his human-shaped death-machine, “you never know what the future’s gonna bring.”
Ghosting, Ghosting, Gone
I was a ghost in her bed; I haunted her until one morning she woke up and forgot to look for me, and thusly, I was gone.
Yeah, I was a ghost in her hands. I was half a memory that reminded her more of ex or her step-dad or some other asshole she had to put up with for longer than she should have.
Just a ghost. Just a digital transcription.
We used to hang out, talking about everything. We used to see into the futre and the past at the same time. We used to be living creatures breathing the same air and eating the same food and loving the same lovers.
But then I faded immaterial and see-through.
saw shot straight through me.
And then I was just a ghost.
And then I was just gone.
Another Sort Of Hawkmoon
So we stood there, in the middle of the street.
It was one of those dirt-road towns, like a leftover from frontier days. Brown and yellow dirt that rises up into the sky in thick clouds whenever it doesn’t rain. And it never fucking rains. It never rains, but you can taste gravel on the air.
We’re sipping sodas, and standing in the middle of the street. She’s drinking pitch-brown sarsaparilla, and I’ve got a clear glass bottle of something bright pink and twice as fizzy. We got straws, for sipping at our sodas.
So we look the shit.
Standing there in our faded punk leathers, standing there with big fucking guns strapped to our waists; guns that simply scream threatening ideas like “forced entry” and “unwanted affection.”
Off in the distance a Ghost Train was calling, a long and mournful sorta sound, like a wolf’s howl turned in on itself and backwards again. Ghost Trains are what you call those long-chain plasma fields that come out dancing in the night; I’ve seen ‘em myself, like neon tubes full of screaming, helpless faces, all lit up from within.
“I’m starting to see,” she said grimly, “why you don’t leave the city that much.” We’re dirty, tired, and our ability to get a consistent internet connection has been tenuous at best. We’re still as in love as we’ve ever been. We’re blood-splattered and dust-covered.
She tossed her bottle up through the air behind herself, when she was done with it, and it tumbled back down to earth, shattering against the side of the local saloon, which was full of every man in town, and burning fast.
“Fucking little redneck towns, man,” I said maybe mostly just to myself. “Whatcha gonna do?”
Practitioners of Occultistry
We got tired of working real jobs, so we became psychics instead.
Now don’t feel too bad. We’re only ripping off the wealthy and the stupid. They’ve got it coming, and they can afford as much as we take. Overfed housewives throwing us five hundred bucks an hour to tell them the secrets of the cosmos.
Lucid dreaming. Spoon-bending. Mind over matter. Channeling the dead or fictional or unknown. Touching the unknown and making the immaterial physical.
They trust my girlfriend; she’s asian, and she’s got a crazy haircut, and real intense eyes. I’ve seen her practice that stare; it’s not who she really is, but she can do it so well. It’s like she’s some sort of alien owl I have as a familiar, seeing all the cosmos as little mice to be gobbled up.
People pay out the ass for that. Modern mysticism meets old-time oriental occultism.
“Occultistry” is term I think I may have coined; speaking of which, I’ve got a three-sided coin I use to prove the world’s a bit weirder than these poor suburbanites would dare dream.
So we work like, eight hours a month, and we spend that time dressed like hipster lunatics and high off our asses. We take cabs into wealthy neighbourhoods and we demand unreasonable amounts of money from upper-middle-class citizens for what to amounts to little more than a bit of superstition and a bit of emotional manipulation.
It makes us feel a little guilty, sure. A little like con artists.
But what the hell - it’s still better than working for a living.
Free To Run
When I took on the job of leading the orphaned children of the City Which Was So Vast It Had No Name, I became entirely what the role required.
I wore a thin mask of moulded plastic on my face, to obscure my identity, or rather, to create a new, more visibly prominent identity. I stripped off my shoes and learned to walk barefoot across broken glass and needles with nothing to see by aside from the moon and broken streetlights.
We had names that only we could understand, like Topography Girl and The Brothers With Knives For Fingers. We had strange pets, like cats that could puke deadly acid, or a pig with wings. Sister Sardonic had three ferrets with pale blue eyes and a taste for cop blood.
We cast magic spells in the dark and we rode atop the trolley-buses. We tip-toes atop electrical wires, the thick black chords curving up to meet our feet with all the comfort and ease of the sidewalk.
I wore a white mask, and I kept my brothers and sisters safe from harm. We stole what we needed to survive, and skinned any adults who thought to cross our paths. We lived not ahead of the law, but in its blindspot, right in close to the heart of the beast men called Proper Society.
We were free.
We were lost, all of us were, but we were free.
Sacrifice: You For Me
God, there’s so many places I’m not today. Not with her, not with myself, not really up close, more like far away, or deep underground, under water, under pressure…
I’m looking for a lover with the same sized appetite as mine. I’m looking for a memory that won’t forget me when I’m gone. I’m looking for an excuse, a release, a bit of flurry for my focus.
You: won’t be my lover, but you’ll make an adequate friend.
I: can’t give you what you want, but I can be something you might enjoy anyway.
I feel evil and twisted, like black liquorish. I feel like crooked like a same-shaped man living in a shame-shaped house. I feel like my feelings have been twisted around and turned on themselves, tied in such knots so unable to molest any innocents except myself.
She reaches out for me, but he’s still in her hands. I stay just out range, so I can enjoy the conversation, without getting of him on me; without wanting to get any of her other lovers on my skin.
She reaches out for me with fire. I reach back with an arsonist’s erection.
She reaches out for me or fire.
The fire reaches back and consumes her greedily.
I sit across the room and watch, and find things of my own to feast upon.
Tear That Night Right Apart
So we came stumbling out of the sex club, shaking dried multi-coloured waxes from off our skins, toes slick in big black boots, toes wriggling, still coated in lubricants.
Social lubricants: whisky, wine, and my own personal favourite semi-secret recipe:
1/4 chartreuse, 1/4 absinthe, 1/4 red bull, and 1/4 Dr Pepper
Fill one large glass, preferably transparent, to appreciate “the colours”. Stir together with a tablespoon. Drink quickly. Ask no questions.
Sexual lubricants: Gels and jellies and stuff in tubes and tubs and ziplock bags. Bits dripping oil onto other bits. Fiction-sensitive substances warming and cool with the rhythms of the evening.
Now everything aches, too much dancing, too much crude symbolism, too much talking and forgetting and hating the world around me for not all being friendly. “How dare you have a mind of your own you miserable little drone. You’re a myrmidon, an ant-headed warrior who should just follow chemical signals and orders from your betters.”
We go out looking for warm, caffeinated beverages, just like the cool kids do in the movies. She’s leaking smoke out between her lips like she’s got blood trickling out of a wound. She’s looking at me like I owe her money or an explanation.
I look at the cement of street, and the cement of the sky.
And I explain fuck all. To anybody.
Least of all myself.
They Were Lovers, For A Time…
Their’s was a love which
could never be wasn’t exactly expected.
He was a giant squid, from beyond the stars.
She was a pyromaniac, with a flawless body and an addiction to cocaine.
They met in a pancake house. He wanted to absorb the oil from the deep fryer, to make himself sleek and mighty. She just wanted to burn the place to the ground. She wanted to start a small fire amongst the customers, and watch as it grew to engulf the kitchen and storerooms beyond.
For their first date he fed her chocolates, on a blanket, by the sea. Then they used intense radiation to annihilate the lower half of Australia.
She wrote him lover letters with lighter fluid and empty houses. He had her name tattooed across the surface of the sun.
It ended in March; he was tired of living on Earth, and she didn’t seem as entertained by him as she had been initially. And she wasn’t; she found his stories less-relatable as time went by, and she wondered what it’d be like to start setting fires alone again.
They parted as friends, and more than that as well. You can still see it in his giant bulbous eyes when he thinks about her. She still sometimes orders a plate of calamari, and then barely eats it.
Love is a tricky thing.