Pop Culture is Left Wing

Today if you are creating art, you’re generating narratives. Narratives interact with and play off of the wider cultural narratives, in that, the people who will interact with your generated narrative will extrapolate references to, and deconstruct it in relation to the main current collective cultural narratives everyone is involved with in their daily lives. Most people belong closer to one side of the cultural paradigm rather than occupying a middle ground, and they view art as cultural object that fit in the larger whole somewhere inside this paradigm, because that’s what art is, and does. Art relates back to the ‘real’ cultural narratives we all live accordingly to.
You don’t create art in a vacuum, this is a common trope artists tell themselves and other artists when they hit a block or rationalize a vague reference or similarity they suddenly recognize in their own work that resembles another well-known more established work. You are motivated to create by the art you love and will inevitably copy something consciously as a homage or by a subconscious inference. As artists create they of course live within the larger framework of the culture, and will of course imbue their work with their cultural views.

Today (again), if you don’t specifically signal (explicitly praise or symbolically gesture approval) your allegiance to the Left’s cultural narrative (aka the “progressive narrative”) you’re deemed a “bad person” by the Left’s morals. You will be held accountable to the Left’s imposed morals. Why? well, because they have taken over the popular culture due to the Right ceding so much ground. This fanaticism by the left has made it uncomfortable for neutral parties to stay out of the culture wars. Especially for an artist.  Increasingly there is little and less fence to sit on as you are nudged by militant fanatics from the left, or: SJW’s.

I for a period of time had participated in the NeoReactionary movement, which was, as the name suggests a REACTION, an intellectual counter movement to the Left’s constant deconstructing and critiquing of Western culture (up to, and beyond, the claim that there isn’t such a thing, and never has been). It was a reaction by Right wing thinkers to the aggressive encroachment by the Left onto cultural territory hitherto claimed by the Right.
There’s no mistake about it, it’s a cultural war raging on, and the Left had all but conquered with their narrative, over that of the Right’s, by the late 60’s in the current era- continuing to today.
The culture is drenched in the shadow of the 60’s, just as politics are shrouded in the shadow of the 2nd World War. Does Culture inform Politics or vice versa?

Say what you will about politics; ideas of how humans should organize, or what should be considered acceptable opinions to voice in “polite company,” what isn’t debatable is:

The Left Own Pop Culture.

The culture belongs to the Left. That’s why if you so much as breath a vaguely Right wing thought in “polite company,” you’re instantly deemed a Nazi. Or a bigot, or whatever means “evil” in popular cultural common parlance this week.

Rational people entertain Right wing opinions and adopt them when they can’t refute their logic; irrational people attack anyone challenging their Leftist programming.

I’ve made the decision that I’m no longer going to pretend to be neutral, or appeal to ‘everyone’ broadly. I think this is a waste of time, of mine and that of my audience. I’m explicitly Right wing, and I’ll proudly wear my colors, and make no qualms about writing the stories I want to write. This dilemma, of whether or not go “full fash” with my work has been holding me back, and demoralizing as far as motivation to create is concerned –  because without this crucial element to acknowledge about myself I feel I’m doing it insincerely and without meaning or purpose, I’m going through the motions with no passion.

I’ve been to shows and conventions where people openly and arrogantly espouse their Leftist ideology as if it were the most shocking and rebellious act in the world- but it literally is the safest and most accepted thing anyone can do today. It’s called “virtue signaling.”

To Be Continued…

Whataya going to do?

Hey, how are you? I hope you’re sitting back in your comfy chair, with a nice hot large mug of your favorite hot beverage, preferably decaffeinated since its so close to bedtime. Think of the wonderful things in your life, think of the nice goings-ons, the various subject matter you laugh on and on about with your best buds. You’re enjoying life, you’re walking through the lilly fields, smelling the musky sent of a campfire, clean cut grass, even that wet cardboard sets you at ease. Not only do you feel great- you’re in great health, heck, you’re even off the drugs. Nope, no sir, you don’t need drugs to feel a catharsis or comfy in your body anymore, like you used to think you did, now you eat healthy, you drink healthy and you exercise to boot. Way to go fella, goodonya.
Wow. Hooray, and congrats. You’re making headway, this is for sure, its observable, and demonstrable with your every act. On top, like a cherry, are your acts of kindness, the subtlest of which is that glowing smile you offer to any ol’ scamper-by. They don’t realize it, all of them, right there in the moment, but you can be assured they appreciate it- no matter who they are. They file it away deep down in that shirt pocket of there’s, then later, when not a soul is looking, they take a peak and pat it with affection.  Haha, yessir, walkin’ with a healthy pace- not rushed, not too leisurely as if you’re time isn’t worth nothin’ neither. You’re involved, engaged, things on your plate- not too much though, not so much more than can fit in that jaw of yours, just enough, cut up, bite sized. Bite down, swallow with ease, taste those spices. Life’s full of ’em. You’ve noticed *wink* I know you have. The possibilities man. Popculture, yuck- amirite? There’s more to life generated by your own thoughts derived from your own experiences way more worthy of entertaining your mind, for hours. Today, tomorrow, the next and so on. Mull it over, turn it around- you’ll find that unexplored wooded path, that good friend a-smilin’ in the corner, firm earnest hand extended for you to shake. And shake you will. Those bull’s horns? consider them grabbed. You grab life, you take if full into your hand the material surface of which expands to fill the entire surface of that inviting palm of yours. Feel the poress grainy texture, the little minute feelers flicking in motion like an ocean waving to the sky. Ahh, the wide open sky- there it is, there it always is, never letting you down, without a fail- for sure. The sureties of life, that’s what you have to look forward, also the tragedy, but that’s to be expected, right friend? Those tragedies, oh geeze, those pitfalls, oh yeah, we know they’re inevitable, but you know what? so are the joys, friend. so are the smiles and the warmth of friends. Those strangers? they’re not all scoundrels. Sure you’ve got to protect yourself against the worst of them, and that means recognizing a bad, rotten egg when you see it. What are the tall tell signs? avail yourself pard’ner, of these traits and STEER CLEAR! Part of a good life is avoiding the bad, taking those measures, weight and implementing a getaway. Go on then. Get gone. It’s not worth that precious time of life you’ve got flowing through those ever coursing veins of yours. By the way, speaking of coursing life-filled veins, had you noticed today that you are indeed alive? LOLOLO- I know ya had- but where in that conscious of mind did you appreciate the lilies of the field? Some times you gotta bend down low and let those extending flowing flowers lap the upper bicep, then take a head long tumble into them. Role over and let the lord-willing sun lap that belly of yours. Feelz good don’t it? I knew it would.
When you’re done there get down to the bread of life, its never going to be a smooth glide into smiles, its hard work- and you’ll get to love it. Love the hurt! If ya know what I mean. A good days work is pain- the good kind mind you. There’s more gain than loss, that’s how you know. Ayup.
Role up dem sleaves and do your thang.
~MDV

A Shadow Train Story: The Shadow Man

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It was night time. Krylion sat-up quick in his bed, startled by a nightmare. He looked out the window to see a full moon fixed in the sky, shining brightly. He realized he was sweating, and he was cold. Seeing the alarm clock next to his bed he saw that it was 12:30 at night.  His heart was beating fast, and he found himself to be shaking- but, he didn’t know why- for, as quickly as he woke up so did he forget what he had dreamt. Maybe he didn’t want to remember.

He laid his head back down to try to sleep.

Seconds before Kryllian woke up, startled from his dream- SO DID Flana! In his bedroom, right next to Kryllian’s- Startled, he sat-up in bed – scared at what he had just saw in his dream- no, not a dream, A NIGHTMARE! Flana too, felt his forehead and found sweat there. He knew right away he wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep for a while. He thought to himself, that it would be a good idea to wait, for, what if he went back to sleep and ‘it’ was still there- what had scared him enough stir him awake- whatever ‘it’ was.
And so he threw his covers off of himself and went to his bedroom door, to go downstairs to ‘rustle up something to eat’ he told himself.

At the same time, in Kryllian’s room, Kryillian had come to the same conclusion- that, it would be impossible to think until he cleared his head-maybe went for a walk around the house.  He too, then, threw his covers off and walked to his bedroom door in his pajamas.
He opened the door, and looked up- to find someone standing there in the hallway.
He looked fast with a startle- to see….. his brother, Flana, standing there in the middle of the hallway, staring wide-eyed back at Kryllian.
“What are you doing up?” asked Kryllian.
“Nightmare,” replied Flana, “you?”
“Nightmare” Kryllian answered.

Then, suddenly they turn to look in the direction of a loud *BANG,* just as the door at the end of the hallway swings open and hits the wall beside it.
They both gasped and jumped closer to each other. Then watching in that direction, there emerged Thoran from his bedroom. Thoran then stopped in his tracks, noticing his two older brothers standing in the middle of the hallway before him, and both staring wide-eyed at him.
“yes? Can I  help you?” he asked the both of them.
“Did you just have a nightmare too?” Kryllian asked.
“Yeah- both of us had nightmares at the same time” explained Flana.
Thoran looked at Flana, then to Kryllian, and said “no, I just had a rumbly tummy and felt the urge to rustle myself something up to eat- I’m thinking along the lines of a sammich.”
“I was just about to go down to the kitchen and rustle a bite–up to eat myself!” responded Flana.
“Huh- imagine that! We’ll make a joint effort of it! Shall we?” Thoran excitedly suggested.
“WE SHALL!” replied Flana right before the two of them happily jaunted off toward the stairs and then down.
Watching them, Kryllian thought to himself “well at least they’re in good moods. A bite of food would be fine with me too. I wish though I could remember that dream—or rather, that NIGHTMARE.” Then at the thought, at the end of this thought  the terrible scene unfolded in Kryllian’s mind once again and he shuddered, and then felt a cold chill run up and down his spine.
A flash burst before him as he remembered a part of the nightmare!

There he was, in the woods- was fog rolling along on all sides of him amidst the dark looming trees. Just ahead of him, a pond illuminated by the light of the full moon. Then he heard it- the train sound- crackling along on the train tracks. Suddenly, just ahead, among the black forms of trees and pushes he saw motion. A figure emerged from the darkness. A man, standing next to the water, just a silhouette of a man, a shadow- Kryllian could see he was wearing a long coat and a wide brimmed hat. He walked directly onto the path ahead, stopped, and turned toward Krylian, framed by the light reflected off the water behind him he stood still, silently.  Kryllian could see the man had his head bowed at first, bet then, started to lift it up- and once he did, Kryllian could see- that his eyes were glowing red!

Kryllian felt panic! “Flana!” He yelled as he reached the stairs and made his way down, stepping very quickly.
He soon found Flana and Thoran in the kitchen, laughing as they chomped down on sandwiches they had just made, all the fixings spread out on the counter.
“Flana,” Kryllian appealed urgently from around the corner.
“What is it brother?” said Flana.
“In your dream, did you hear a train!?”  Flana stopped eating his sandwich, and swallowed hard while looking at Kryllian. *Gulp* “Yes,” he answered, matter of fact.

“Was it the shadow train?” Thoran blurted out abruptly. Flana and Kryllian quickly put their fingers to their lips and both shshed their younger brother. *SHHHH*
“Be careful! You don’t just blurt out that name like that Thoran,” reprimanded Kryllian.
Thoran was the youngest brother, and had not, at this point, been on an adventure deep in the Unknown Forest (which is where they lived), and therefore had not yet encountered the dreaded Shadow Train.

Kryllian and Flana were well acquainted with the mysterious mechanical supernatural force that had lived in these woods surrounding their house, for as long as they lived there.  No train tracks were ever discovered, or rather, no FIXED train tracks, in the permanent sense. The train tracks used by the shadow train had the tendency to come and go without a trace – to pop up and then out of nowhere; first they’re there, and then they’re gone.
Sometimes, how it happened, is they would stumble across these tracks that had seemingly appeared over night while out on a hike, or, if they happened to travel at night in their buggy they would suddenly come up on them. And then, other times they would be in their house and hear the train clattering along in the distance, as the sound reverberated throughout the forest. And yet still, other times, they would see the large plume of smoke erupting from the smoke stack of a train, heading in a direction- and even sometimes that smoke stack would be heading straight for their house!
Always though, the Shadow Train would appear and disappear just as it had come – without a trace. And always along with the Shadow Train came weird happenings- even weird creatures that would lurk in the forest.

It is for these reasons Krylian and Flana have made it their mission to be prepared, and learn all they can in order to be able to out-think the shadow train, or fight the demons the Shadow Train brings into existance.

They will someday, they had determined,  solve the mystery of the Shadow Train-  which is always trying to trick them.

“I don’t even believe in the shadow train- I think you two made it up in order to scare me,” said Thoran to his two brothers.
Kryllian turned to Flana, and said “I wish we did.” And then, for the first time noticing the sandwich fixings spread all over the counter,  decided to make one for himself.

As he took the bread out, he remembered the second part of the dream- the really scary part, about the man.
Flana continued to chomp, as Thoran, with a full mouth of sandwich continued to express doubt about the existences of such the supernatural mystery “How could train tracks appear and disappear? It takes a long time to lay tracks- a lot of workers have to lay out the ties- and then nail the tracks to them with big spikes, “ he elucidated.
“Flana!” Kryllian suddenly appealed, ignoring Thoran. This startled Flana, who jumped despite himself.
“What is it this time!?” Flana answered with slight annoyance.
Kryllian puts a butter knife down after having finished spreading some mayonnaise on his turkey sandwich, and puts the second piece of bread on top before picking it up.  Now, standing there, holding his sandwich after meticulously having constructed it, he turns to Flana and asks “in your dream, after the train tracks are you on a path in the woods?”
Flana looks wide-eyed at him, once again, and answers “uh huh.”
“And at the end of this path, was there a pond?”
Flana pauses…“uh huh”
“And was it a full moon? And the pond was lit up with the moon light?”
In response to this Flana just shook his head ‘yes,’ and started to shake visibly out of fright.

Kryllian then, sandwich in hand, and remembering the horrible scene, continued his inquisition by asking Flana the following:

“did you- did you see, ….” Kryllian pauses, trying not to show how scared he is “did you see, the Shadow Man?”

Flana’s face turns white, as he recollects his dream, and freezes.
Then, suddenly, breaking the silence, they hear three loud bangs on the door *BANG BANG BANG.* They all three turn in the direction of the abrupt noise- toward the front door.
Flana, unthinkingly drops his sandwich to the floor at the same time Kryllian does- as both sandwiches splatter all over the kitchen floor at their feet. Thoran lets out a miniature screech as he looks on with disbelief.
Kryllian swallows a gulp *Gulp* just as Flana does the same *GULP*.

Then again, at the front door *BANG BANG BANG.*

They look at the window in the front door, and they see a shadowy figure framed by the light of the moon, and he’s wearing a full brimmed hat.
TO BE CONTINUED….

To Be Continued…

EMCoverColor1

About 5 weeks ago, I was contacted by a YouTuber and musician asking if he had my permission to upload a video he had made featuring my comic Elvin Mechanics:

Every Saturday since that fateful day Federico Balducci has been producing a video for each page of Elvin Mechanics- a comic which I had discontinued (despite the lofty claim of “Every Thursday” that will greet you upon clicking the link to the comic page) in 2013.

….just in case, to be absolutely thorough, here is a 12 minute video compiling all 1-6 episodes:

I have so much glowing admiration and praise for Fed that it all sort of gets jammed up in the door, all trying to leave at the same time. Anything I could say is moot, however, in comparison to his videos- you can see it for yourself. He’s taken my comics and realized them in a different medium; he’s transmuted them into a different material, or, refracted them as a prism would a beam of light. They not only retain Their original form and intent, but, have been intensified. Fed’s music perfectly matches the tone of the comic, the atmosphere and the paranoia; his sound-effects and camera movement perfectly encapsulates the mood.

And there’s more:

Obviously Fed is insanely talented and creative, but he also realizes what I’m going for, and takes it further.

I don’t want this to stop. I want to see more videos. After being blown away each Saturday over the course of the past month and a half watching Fed’s videos I decided there’s no other way around it (especially if I want to see this thing keep on going) but to continue Elvin Mechanics.

Recently, I finished the cover (seen at the top of this article) and page 7. Not a day after I posted it did Fed have a video hot off the presses:

Fed is a prolific artist, and deserves your attention, as do you deserve some it (Dear Reader). For now, please stay tuned for more Elvin Mechanics- there is a lot more to come.
And Be Well,

Mark

Labyrinth of The Green Man

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With much effort and strain the door *KlunkT* open. A burst of electrical sparks greeted me on the other side, as I drop exhausted to the grated floor.  My head hit the steel grated sheet with a rattling thunk. Lights flickered in this room, the automated door on the firtz behind me undulated in and out of the wall.  Another shower burst of electrical sparks. My muscles began to relax but my brain felt like mud, so I allowed myself to drift.

Blackness and starbursts met me there. A warn loop of entering a room and finding a way out played on the reel of my mind, over and over. A horrifying snake pit in one room, as the floor gave out on either side of the walk way I stood on. A huge slicing pendulum swung by barely missing me in another. In another, lights flicker on in a large corridor illuminating various cells staggered on either side showing clones of myself in each one staring wild eyed at me. Until toward the end a baby me, adolescent me and finally senior me- this one disinterested completely in my being there, and staring at the floor while sitting on his bunk. Then of course a minotaur-like half man half alien creature that lurks the halls in places like this lunged out of a shadowy corner, right when I caught glimpse of the exit.

The last room I had been in played like an airplane crashing scenario. I must had been knocked out by a plume of noxious gas upon entry because when I awoke I was seat-belted into an airline passenger seat. As soon as I came to a feverishly and panicked pilot came over the loud speaker.

“We’ve lost control! Brace for impact!”

Instantly the passengers began howling and screaming in all manner of high pitched screeching, upon looking around, say, for instance to my left sitting there and everywhere, to add more yet another disorientating facet to the experience were nude women. Unclothed women, they’re faces contorted in a fixed look of horror. I look past my row mate out the window, as I remain seated in the aisle seat. Out the window a black void until a white crack crackles and disrupts the sky to illumine clouds and showering rain, and also the wing, where a grimacing goblin could be seen clinging to ripping at and throwing behind it shreds thereof. I unbuckled my seat belt with white knuckes amidst the howling and screeching, as I did the intercom crackled back to, and let out over it was a demon chuckle of sorts.
Then there I saw the door and lunged for it. I moved toward it as the door sense me and slid into the walls of the plane, I jumped through. On the other side, silence, motionless.

I stood up in a dimly lit spot, seemingly at the middle. I look behind me to see the door I had just previously lunged through silently role away from me as if on a track, or wheels. Pure silence insued, as I was left with a diminishing rapid heart rate and my adrenaline levels stabilize- while Standing there, trying to hold onto the calm.  I sat cross legged for a while, appreciating the nothing of the place. No disaster sequence or insane seemingly random horrors assaulting me. No abstract quandaries or existential angst for a change.

After a while I get up. I step forward, and hear a *clonk* type sound, as if produced by a women’s heal echo. Then with every step the same. I knew before I started to move again that of course the aberrant oddities would begin emediatly in this dubious illusory realm.
Wherever I was.
Memory erased.
Senses assaulted at every turn.

It was obvious I had become the play thing of some mischievous cosmic force or entity. Extricated from the normal, real realm of and thrust into a holographic ethereal world.
As I walked, contemplated my situation, so did the spot light, keeping time with me. I would stop and so would it.  I looked up to see merely an impossibly distant blare of light, fixed in a surrounding black.
Black as well described my surrounding outside the perimeter of my lit companion circle. The floor was seemingly colorless, maybe gray or green, linoleum- or a similar material.

This went on for hours. Nothing, a light directly above, and more nothing ahead, behind and all around.
Finally, a mist becomes visible out there in the darkness. I am suddenly aware of another place made possible there out beyond my dimly lit proximity.  I make my way toward the dimly lit other place. Mist rolling by, in back of what I continually confirm as a silhouette, a silhouette of a man, perhaps.
Presently, I stand perhaps 5 meters away from a standing black figure.

“Hello?” I say which echoes out.
Too big eyes open suddenly, the whites producing light. The eyes are larger than a mans, and the skin around them is green.
Behind  roles by a solid plum of mist, as if on queue. I decide I’ve grown weary of constant prestidigitation regardless of whether or not its intended for my sake, my entertainment or enjoyment or not- its far beyond having worn on me. I am frustrated at this point, and here before me is yet another anomaly, though, in human shape- something I can understand. I decide with a clenched fist that perhaps I can take this clown.

“Hello,” speaks a voice from several non local locations, as if spoken unanimously  by a encircling group surrounding me- all but from one place had it apparently emitted, the man who stood before me.

‘Very impressive- and clever- and awe inspiring,’ I thought to myself.

“*sigh*, well, who are you, I’m sure you’re going to tell no matter-“

“SILENCE” the omnipresent voice erupted. Despite myself I jumped- which angered me, having been manipulated like this.
Dramatically the figure then raised his arms to show a sort of winged cape that had draped around him.
That was it. The melodrama was too much, I had encountered far worse and this was the limit of my patience.
“You may call me-“ before the voice could finish I charged forward with clenched fists determined to deal violence.
Suddenly the man lifted up by unseen wires, that nevertheless strained squeakily pulleys above him that sounded their strain.
I stood below his feet, trying to make out his costume, of which I could not in the darkness. I look ahead just as the door out of there silently had been wheeled up, within sight by, I had decided, stage hands behind it- who are now  no doubt feverishly making up the next room.
In an annoyed tone, I turn my head up to address the man suspended above me “okay, so I do know the law and I am willing to sue for kid-“
The man had silently positioned himself to face me. Wide eyed and staring down.
“ I am the Green Man.”

He said, this time having actually spoken the words from his centralized self.

“ How very mundane,” I quip.

To which the Green Man responded  by shrinking away, fading into darkness.

That was the first encounter I had had with the Green Man, who would from then on became a running theme in the rooms ahead.

He proved to make a cameo appearance in every disparate themed room. Once as a disfigured woman’s pet dog. Another as a dead captain of a pirate ship, who, once all the panic stricken shipmates lept screaming to their deaths into the storming ocean; got up and did a jig before himself leaping out of a window himself.  Another time, while working apparently in an office building for a corporation that manufactured dog-sized slugs, appeared as a receptionist that would keep winking at me throughout a board meeting.
This particular room was very amusing. Especially once they took-out these large slimy slugs out of their suit cases and plopped them all before them. Apparently they had thought of me as a potential foreign investor, as they proceeded to demonstrate their technology.
They all pushed their fingers into the writhing slug mass before them to pull out of the body of the slug a tube. At the end of the tubes protracted into insectoid like mandables to latch onto the skin of the neck as galeae sucked out of the tube and into a vein to where it continue to unreel itself to the base of the skull. The businessmen then appeared to have epileptic seizure, as their eyes rolled back and the slunched in their seats.  Then the lights dimmed and a screen at the front of the board room descended down. Projected onto the screen then was a melee fight scene between futuristic soldiers, shooting eachother, killing each other for points and then respawning somewhere else in the game. I laughed until hoarse and in tears.

Afterwards the angry business men left in a hurry. Then I was approached by, presumably, the CEO while wiping tears out of my eyes who red-faced put a hand on my shoulder and asked the winking, green in complexion, “receptionist” to please escort me to the elevator.

This way please, the green man- with a woman’s body of course, sauntered in front of me, beckoning with a curly finger and winking the whole way.

“Right this way sir,” as she waved her open palm toward the elevator, which, dinged just as “she” did so.
“I’ll see you on the other side” I replied as I tripped into the next room.
This next room was squishy, and made up of flesh- everything. The walls were lined with nipples, every corner was covered in epidermis, scraped scared bruised and bleeding. Every light fixture was a bulbous sac of aluminous liquid. Every door handle was a thumb or a toe, the fixtures appliances and architecture consisted of and knees and elbows, hair and fingernails, lips and, most horrifyingly, eyeballs. I instantly stepped into a porous opening that displaced a blob of puss, which effected a chain effect from the wall where there had been a puckering anus of sorts that sprayed excrement and methane. The whole slodge through the place produced rude sounds and offense odors, erupted corpuscles, probing eyeballs or feeling hairs. A breeze of cold air rushed down one hallway, at the end of which I could finally see the exit, as the whole place contracted with goose bumps.
Onto the next room of course.

Presently I lift my head from the grated floor, just as yet another spurt of buzzing electrical outburst showers and dissipates above me. I pull myself to standing, as the door behind me yet still undulates in and out of the wall.
Before me, off in the distance I see a portal to the outside. Looking through, my faint reflection seen upon the window, I can see silently whirling purple galaxies, in slow motion, and be speckled stars everywhere.
“This is a maintenance room,” said the Green Man behind me. I see in the reflection of the window his person emerge from the shadows.
“Oh yeah?” I jadedly retort.
“We’ve run out of rooms to play in.”
“…oh yeah?”

“Yes, we are almost to the end.”
“Does there even exist the concept of ‘the end’ in this place?”
“Eventually there is always an end,” said the Green Man, walking toward me now.
I turn to face him, his skin green, his eyes too large, and his robe covering him. He has no nose, and affixed upon his face a permanent grimace, cocky and arrogant.
“There is no rationale to this place, if you are attempting to teach me a lesson you are failing miserably.”

The Green Man places a thought bent finger to his chin as he looks away pensively. “Hmmm, “ he says.
After a while: “Are you telling me we are on a starship, floating through space.”
“I’m not telling you what is obviously apparent to your senses.”
“This whole place is an exercise in tricking my senses.”
“True.”
“So how am I supposed to know what’s real.”
“You’ll know when you arrive at it.”

I had at this point no energy to refute him, or decipher the meaning of coded words.

“Well,” I said “take me to the next room, let’s have more nonsense.”
“This is it,” he replied.
“What do you mean?”
“This is the last room.”

The idea that there could even be a last room had escaped me as a possibility countless rooms ago. I look around the decrepit dark room, flickering light showing shelves of mechanical parts with wires sprouting out. Dark, in the corner a defunct droid stood, all manner of tools and probes, broken devices lay about. In another corner a broom and mop bucket.
Looking back out the window, a swirling galaxy, and the star pocked void of space still presented ahead of me.

“So, am I to think this is real? Am I to deduce that I am on a starship, and this entire time had been dragged through an obstacle course of illusions, holodecks upon holodecks?”
“You’re not asking me this, you’re telling me.”
“So who are you?”
“I’m the Green Man.”
“Right, and, this is your ship?”
“No, I am a chaotic god from the old times, I have embodied this shape, and took this form so as to appear to you using language and a symbol structure your mind can comprehend.”
He then points toward the door. “Beyond that door you will find the bridge of the ship. We are currently floating through space. The exact coordinates of where we are uncertain since the Universal Positioning Unit is off line. No worries though, as you said there are holodecks here, and, you can queu up anything you need to know in order to do repairs.”
“Okay, so, this room is a tutorial for the next room, got it- and now I will be a commander of a Starfleet in the next room.”
“No, this is where you are now. No more illusions.”
“….”
The Green Man went on to explain how he had brought me to the void of space aboard a floating wrecked starship that had been destroyed by a virus long since having died along with the crew. The Green Man took it upon himself to refurbish the ship, to suit his purposes, which, apparently had been to psychologically terrorize me.
Sure enough, beyond the next door, was the bridge to a ship. Strewn about were skeletons, wrapped in a leathery old flesh and tattered matching uniforms. On the computer the Green Man showed me the make-up of the vessel.

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News Clippings concerning the CLOWN MENACE:

ClownsWelcome

Here are some recent news clippings we here at Refractor Industries have gathered, showing the propaganda being churned out by local news outlets concerning the growing CLOWN MENACE:


A local man reported seeing a couple of men dressed as clowns on Tuesday afternoon, emerge from the woods near his house. That’s right, clowns, in full make-up, big red nose, polka-dotted jumpsuits and comically sized shoes, reported the local man. There he was, on his property listening to music and having a drink when he was accosted by the costumed men who refused to leave the property when asked. The local man called the local police once the altercation turned violent. After he refused one of the clowns a drink, the man said the he was assaulted. Shortly thereafter local police arrived on the scene to take a report. No clowns were found in the surrounding area.

—-

CybroTech had their annual company picnic at local Pichaunauk campground Thursday, when picnic goers were treated to an unexpected surprise. Several people dressed in full clown costume reportedly walked out of the woods. It was assumed initially by all attendees that the clowns were invited, when they apparently had suddenly began to emerge from the woods. Most were mute, and other communicated using horns much to the delight of the children. Some clowns juggled balls, others put on mime shows, while still others, oddly enough did not participate but hung back opting to remain with the tree line instead of interacting with the picnic goers. When asked about the clowns nobody affiliated with the company’s management had any idea about the appearance of the clowns. Soon the clowns appealed for food and were fed hamburgers and hotdogs. Some clowns, reportedly, were however not so jolly in appearance, and others still had a stench. After all was said and done the clowns walked back into the woods from where they had came.

—-

Yet another local man has gone missing starting Wednesday when he did not make it home from work to his worry stricken fiancé. Searches had been carried out late into the night, and still more the next day to uncover no trace of the local man. This is yet another missing person in a line of several within the past month. During a town hall meeting, some in the community demand an extensive search be north woods be carried out, while others stress caution citing the appearance of some odd newcomers to the community around said area. Questions as to where to, or why the young man has gone missing along with a list of others remains unquestioned at this time.

—-

Clowns! Yes clowns have made their presence known in down town recently. They were first reported sighted walking along back roads and alongside busy rte 10, all, apparently, making a pilgrimage toward town. Any attempt however to questions the growing group of clown folk has proven to yield no information about who they are, if they are with a circus company, or where they have come from. Some have embraced the appearance of the newcomers, while others remain skeptical. What has been confirmed however concerning the clowns, is, that they are hungry, and in need of basic needs such as food, shelters, and bathing facilities. A town hall meeting has been scheduled Saturday at 9PM to discuss the situation.

—-

Increasing tension between locals and our newcomers have been exacerbated over the last week. Clown advocates cite numerous accounts of bigoted violence from locals recently. Police officers have been encouraged to patrol areas known as “clown hangouts,” where the newcomers tend to congregate as to make their presence less burdensome to the local townsfolk. Advocates however have blamed inhospitable persons in town for unfairly targeting the local clown population, in efforts of intimidating them. As a response the local Clown Advocate Action Group (CAAG) have began outreach campaigns to spread awareness, to curb hatred and promote tolerance. An increasing amount of townsfolk are doing their part to make life in town more comfortable for the incoming clown population, and CAAG encourages everyone to their part.

—-

At first Mary Pinker, 33, didn’t recognize her new husband huddled around the group of ClownsFolk, but as soon as she did cries of joy could be heard. Howard Pinker, 36, had gone missing 2 weeks ago without a trace. But, responding to a rumor she heard about one of the new comers resembling Howard peaked her curiosity and so Mary made her way to the recently constructed New Comers Welcome shelter. There, huddled among a group of ClownsFolk, was Howard, sure enough. She threw her hands around him and rejoined her husband. Once a report was written by local Officer Darren Schmitt Howard was taken to his home. The local chapter of the Clown Advocate Action Group (CAAG) has released a statement regarding local man Howard Pinker’s newly discovered identity, saying “it seems Howard did not feel welcome in our community, he did not feel safe ‘coming out,’ so he hid his true self, and ran off. Our heart goes out to Howard, and everyone like Howard. If you feel as though you will be treated with hatred, or bullying for becoming who YOU really are, please give us a call, or talk to one of our representatives. We’d be overjoyed to welcome you into OUR community.”


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Stay tuned for more.

~RI

The EXHIBIT

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The line of mothers went around several blocks for the sign-up; some hadn’t slept the night before because their little one was screaming excitedly about the event into their ear. “DON’T FORGET!”

It went fast however, they all had filled out the form, printed off the internet and simply had to hand the piece of paper over.

Some signed up themselves, showed up with their papers- a guardian’s signature wasn’t needed since children gained full rights.
The available slots were filled rather quickly as the line filed-in and out.  Plastic figurines of this year’s monster was given away, the movie had already been seen by every single child in the country, and everyone was a fan.

Then it was done, and invitations were sent.

Samuel Cain sat by the door all day, in his mother’s 15th story apartment when the mail light lit red.  He sat frozen.  His mother came hurriedly over “oh boy Sammy,” she said as she swung open the door, and left.
A scene starring Prixel, one of the main characters in the last movie, had her head crushed, Sammy remembered vividly. She had a doll in her tent, he happened also to recall.

At once the door swung back open and mother was dancing an envelope side to side in her hands crouching to Sammy’s height. Sammy remained sitting, recognized the glee on his mother’s worn face and smiled.

“Here it is Sammy!”  The anticipation was moot since every child was accepted as a participant in the yearly event.

“You…MADE IT!” She jumped slightly up and down to show excitement. Sammy stood and opened his mouth, raised his eyebrows and let out a silent nothing. She put the piece of paper down on the counter in the kitchen area, and walked off to the other room.
The tv shown a cartoon green figure, slicing and dicing with his claws and metal horns that shot out of his shoulders.

A week later Sammy joined who he recognized as kids from his building in line to participate in the yearly “Exhibit.” More kids he had recognized from around his neighborhood were also there.  It clicked for him that this must always be the way;  the children in the movies always automatically knew each others’ name.

The warehouse was on the outskirts of the city. Large, made of metal,  rusted, over grown in spots outside, in the parking lot where nature has reclaimed. A large surrounding parking lot cracked with grass, and a burnt out car rest just off the main entrance, where, he and his mother now waited in line. Holding her hand as his mother chatted with Dorothy’s mother, who he presently waived to. She eked out a smile, that wrinkled the sides of her eyes – she waved back with a doll in her hand. “Just like Prixel” he laughed. She laughed too.

Sammy remembered Dorothy telling him that Prixel was her favorite after all. Sammy showed her his bike, as his one object he was allowed to take in with him.

Inside the massive warehouse rest a large metal box, on criss-crossed beams.  Lining above the walls of the warehouse were windows that went all the way around.

Tents lay scattered throughout the warehouse floor, outside the large box of which the officials termed “the museum.”
The Official who took the paper once Sammy and his mother reached the entrance said he would be escorted to his tent, that he was assigned to. It was a shared tent, he was told, and his tent partner was a boy who lived in his building named Jared.
Jared was the closest Sammy had to a best friend. This excited him, and his face lit up. The Official saw this and smiled broadly. “I knew you would like that,” he said.

They were led-in to the great warehouse. It was mid day and the sudden shade of the place forced Sammy’s eyes to adjust rapidly.

Jared was already there at the tent, and, not surprisingly too brought his bike, which Sammy parked his right next to.
Sammy looked around for Jared’s mom, who must’ve dropped him off and left already. Jaredy presently looked up, saw Sammy and tightened his lips to a smile, got up to walk over to him.

The Official who escorted the both of them in, finished up talking to Sammy’s mother, who  leaned down and planted a kiss on Sammy’s forehead “I’ll be watching. Bye.”
“Bye,” Sammy replied before turning to his friend and excitedly waddling over to him.

“Everyone is now here!” a booming loud speaker suddenly broke out “Its time, for THE EXHIBIT TO BEGIN!”

Sammy looked toward the large warehouse door, as it began closing – the mothers waiving, slowly faded to silhouettes, until disappearing behind the great door. Then the big hard metal door clamped shut with a reverberating bang.

Sammy and Jared talked all night. They reminisced about the time they had shared in the building they both lived in, and riding bikes in the parking lot. As the full moon, seemingly peering-in through the window, shone down brightly. They spoke of the intricate bus routes they’ve taken in the past, miraculous, it seemed whenever they would actually make it to their desired destination.
Abruptly the boys caught a glimpse of a figure in the darkness, just away from them, emerging from the darkness beside the warehouse wall , lurking. A man, they could see, in an old filthy dress coat, stopped, and turned toward them. The boys were sitting up, straining on end, looked on, adrenaline pumping. The man turned his head, toward them, his edges illuminated by the lunar light, enough so though to make out his dour expression, and middle to later aged face. He then slowly turned back toward the trajectory of his path and shuffled away.
A moment of silence had passed when Jared remarked “that’s an old kid.” To which Sammy broke out in raucous laughter at.

The next day the large vid screen shown what they were to encounter inside the “museum.”

“Inside the museum, as you can see there is a platform, and ladders. Bathrooms are located on this platform on the western side.”
Images of a large, shiny new appearing steel room, with diamond pattern floor and railing leading all around the cat walk second tier. On this second tier platform, on the western side of the square was one large bathroom, inside, the vid screen continued to show, four stalls and one large water basin.

“As you see, breakfast is waiting for you on the killing floor,” on screen, a table covered in fruit and pastries, eggs and bagels and other breakfast fair lie waiting on a table on the first floor of the museum.

Just then, the doors at the top of some stairs flicked open, sucking into the walls on either side of the entrance leading to the killing floor.

After breakfast, each day, Sammy and the other children found that there was nothing to do in the large space allotted to them, besides, sit, wait and interact socially. Images flashed on the enormous vid screen showing the cocoon, hidden somewhere within the compound, where, the dreaded monster was to hatch.
They’re whole lives they, each one of the children, saw the movies as they were shown on the public vid network in each of their apartments.  Each time, the children were brought to the compound; the cocoon was eventually found, always too late. The plot had always run the same course, with different variables here in there.  Different characters of course were presented, of whom the viewer was welcome to relate to.
Sammy thought of himself as Arnold. Arnold in the latest “Exhibit” movie had the most screen time. He lasted the longest, as it were. Until, he was at last, the sole child survivor. Always at this point in the movies, aside from scrambling about to recover the green orbs, which extended their time and paralyzed the monster momentarily, an option to escape would appear.
In the last “Exhibit” the escape option appeared in the center of the killing floor. The bodies of the slaughtered children lay strewn around it, floating there in mid air seemingly. It was shown to Arnold on the large vid screen, that could be seen from anywhere in the warehouse. It was a framed photograph of a man, always, in the movies it was a cherished possession from the character’s history to bid the child to go recover. In hopes of escape, Sammy recalled vividly, the boy teary eyed, came out from under a pile of bodies and a collapsed tent, when suddenly the monster who had camouflaged itself against the wall bounded toward him. He ran, but was taken down before he could get to the stairs leading up to the museum, killing floor and thus escape.
Sammy’s mother let out a “oooohhh,” at the moment, the scene in the movie. “Too bad.”

Sammy already knew what his “bait for escape” would be. A ring from his uncle, given to him.

The bathrooms, after several days were disgusting, excrement everywhere. Fights broke out frequently. Children were dirty.
Jared wondered aloud most nights, contemplating the logistics of the place. How did they replenish the food on the killing floor? How is it the cocoon just appears right before its hatching?

Sammy didn’t know.
Every night the inevitable deaths plagued Sammy’s dreams. All he could do was assure himself he would not be one of the first to go, once the killing starts.
As the day approached, Sammy fell silent along with the rest of the children. No longer did anyone look at each other in the face. They became despondent. It was obvious the most optimistic ones, in the movies, were the ones to survive the longest – knowing this however did little to lift anyones’ spirits.

Sobbing was frequent. Most of the boys had explored the whole place by now.
Then, the green digital numbers appeared on the vid screen: 20:00. Quickly changing to 19:99, and descending.

Later, a boy ruddy-faced and smeared with built-up dirt, with tear treads marking his cheeks ran up to the tent of Sammy and Jared sometime early morning, before sunrise.
Sammy and Jared lurched awake, and alert to the rustling at the tent.
They saw Jinksy, a little boy they both had played games with in the past, panting out of breath, breathing out an incoherent, urgent, and dire apprise.

“I found it!” he breathed out, wide-eyed and alarmed.

They three went to it. In the scant moonlight they could see it undulate underneath one of the ladders that led up along the north side of the ware house to locked doors, around twenty feet up. They stood around it, feet balanced on the beams, holding onto the ladder;  the three of them, around a large glistening, beating sack. Green and gross, stuck to the wall. Jinksy held his hand out toward it, Jared said “Don’t!”
“OW!” Jinksy spouted, retracting his hand, blood running from the gash.
“Don’t you remember? They’re spikey.”
“oh yeah.”

It made a wet jostling sound, as they watched,  it vibrating against the reverberating sheet of the wall.  After so long, the three boys clambered down the ladder.

Sammy looked up at the vid screen to see the latest time, it read: 01:20.

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Cliff Wretched’s Escape: Part 2

clifwretchpart2
(Read Part 1)

I stood on the precipice. Roiling below was the smashing ocean, clapping together and sinking into vast sloping canyons before filling again with yet more harsh, unforgiving ocean.  Grasping onto the eroded thick metal shards to my either side, I stood there on the edge, balancing myself. The oxidized, rough surfaces threatening to tear the flesh of my hands had I gripped too hard in an attempt to catch myself for losing balance. Precariously I balance the soles of my shoes on the enormous, rusted metal while peering down, dreadfully, at my fate. 
Standing in the frame of a huge exit wound, as it were, a breeched hull to Rust City, I prepared myself to jump. What had created this hole, what have torn into the giant metal wall I have no idea. All I concerned myself with was escaping the Floating City, or what us  wretcheds  referred to it as: Rust City.
Rust City, lay afloat, unwavering, solid, in an endless ocean of crashing waves attempting to scale its walls and capsize. But the gigantic heap remains, seemingly immobile out in the middle of an ocean of nowhere.
And there was I, heart pounding out of my ears, feeling the mist rush up at me from huge waves smashing apart against the massive solid wall of the city beside me.  The opening I stood in spanned about the size of a traffic tunnel. It looks almost, I imagine the result of a ballistic missile would cause. This thought, and being surrounded by all this torn metal reminded me, once again, of my fleshy, blood-pumping fragility. Here I was, to build up and gather the courage to plunge myself into suicidal uncertainty; to jump into the sucking, undulating waves of this ocean abyss in hopes of escape. This is, which, I finally resolve to do.
Surging with adrenaline, I am to direct all energy to my front- to finally push myself over- and so, waving my arms in a grand wheel motion from back to front, bending my knees for leverage and then pushing with all the gathered might- off, I push with the soles of my feet. Out, air bound I leap. The action is performed as atmospheric pressure stops and gravity slows time down. Arching mid dive, and pointing cupped hands straight forward, together before penetrating the deep blue wave; as if through the head of a diamond. Smashing violently into vast bottomless blue nothing.

Momentarily I am all consumed by a cosmic bubbling void.

No thoughts now, besides those of the hindbrain, primal instinct, encoded for survival. Desperate reaching, and shoveling back with my extended mechanical arms.
This went on for as long as I can remember. Nothing now matters besides reaching an uncertain surface, gasping at air and exerting everything I had went through the pictures of my mind. My every bit of energy, fiber of body and mind went towards that island.

The island, the one I had stared at for a good, long while before taking the uncertain plunge, stood fixed out there off- in the distance. A minuscule mossy lump rising out of the ocean.  I had made my way down there winding sewage corridors there in the bowls of Rust City. I was on sewage duty, to sand down barnacles that had been let-in- and to file back the rust that had built up. Telling my partner for the day, his name was either Abiff, or just Biff- I can’t remember that I had to take a restroom break, to which he replied “yep” and I set down my rig. I sloshed my way through the winding tunnels until coming to where I had been told the breech in the hull was, and there it was. Gaping, and open to the naked sea.
I crawled my way through barnacles, dried and stuck, some patches slimy, nodes for me to steady myself on as I reached the terrible metal, wrenched, gash -as a way to avoid the gruesome cleaver-like shards twisting out at me at odd angles. I place my feet steadily, mindfully onto the layered metal.

Off in the distance it sat.  A miniature plastic island. It appear so unreal, as an island get-away would in a commercial on the vid screen.

After jumping, I went for a ways, peaking every once in a while ahead, at the distant beach- my destination. Until, black.  I could exert myself no more.

I could feel it all around me, looping long thinking fleshy ropes around me. Probing me, latching here around my waist- tightening and squeezing, others simultaneously around my thighs, shoulders neck and underarms.  Long, undulating tentacles firmly loop their winding way around me as I lay flaccidly afloat just under the surface of thinning out waves. I only remember the scene, in hindsight, and even then vaguely.  Some snuggly wrapped me, others severely coiled to me.  Finally, the snug ones loosen and fall away, the tighter ones, around my waist, neck, wrists and thighs do follow suit slightly at first, then all together disperse from me.

After an eternity of this, I wrench open the eyes to a black abys marked by flash points bursting and then shooting off electrically. This bright lightning never seizes to surge, to gather into different nodes in a network only to burst again. Layers upon layers of this creating a panoramic strobe of galactic mini explosions. This landscape of sharp bursts of neuron bundles spark envelope me, it all occurs so rapidly and lingers so long that I can’t concentrate, nor track the network of veins or attempt to notice patterns. It seems to be at random, and is too much for my comprehension at the time. flash- flash-flash –spread- spread gather- flash again. A nervous system seemingly.

My sense, over stimulated and my eyes go into an epileptic flickering seizure, as the electrical storms begin to move away. They appear inches away, then miles- until they fade out to the farthest reaches of this nether space to black. I am given to the sensation of being wrapped in a gauze, paralyzed and placed in the back row of a vast auditorium.  This goes on for how long I cannot recall.

My senses find their way slowly infusing back. I awaken to the gentle white noise of ocean waves nudging me back. Very twisted and bent in on myself, rolling waves shove me then, up along the wet matte of the lower beach.  The sloppy mess of beach and frothing water all round me. Clinging to me, is seaweed, affixed to my half sopping jumpsuit here and there, not tentacles, but coiling green and slimy rope wound round. The top of my head burns, and my shoulders are stiff, my whole body aches. I start to shiver as I find my back and upper half and dry and caked with sandcakes, my lower half licked by undulating arriving waves.  I’d been washed-up! Apparently, it would seem for a while, having sunburned and beached half submerged, the undulations having created a cavity here in the sand shaped like me.

I pull myself upright, painfully. I then peel off the seaweed, brush off the dried along with the wet caked sand, and empty some snails and sea shells from my open pockets.

Presently, I stand on a beach that extends in either direction, indefinitely- the edge ending in mirage producing wavering hot air. To the edge of the beach is thick forest, palm trees and bushes, inside is pitch black- a mysterious shadow space under a canopy. Off, above the trees is a distant fine mountain.   The air is breezy, spiked with a daggering chill, the sun dampened by some hovering overhead clouds, waits to punish me anymore, but its heat is felt as well.

I had made it. Standing there in sand, taking inventory and stock of my surrounding- I had almost forgot to celebrate my accomplishment, never mind my survival.

And so I smile. I look out now onto the ocean, expanding off to the edge of the known world. I put my hand up as a visor to shield my eyes from the sun now making its appearance, raining down its harsh rays.  Looking now,  out here, light gray and dull, and having the appearance of an upturned pin hammer, tiny like a trinket, distantly laying on the edge of an ocean, the impossible floating city.  The I Rust City.
I stand there, for a long, introspective moment, to allow the immensity of the scene to take root in my comprehension.

I see a flash, a burst of light like in my dream prior, at the top of the needle that sprouts out the middle, the citadel as it catches the sun ray and flashes off a spark. A wink.  The rest of the prison there rests, stationed immobile, like a tomb as the ocean lays flat for it at this distance.
I let my shoulders down, and draw in a deep breath.
It’s over now, and it had at least become time to consider my next actions. And so I decided to walk, perhaps take in the perimeter around before attempting to penetrate into the mysterious forest.
I shuffle forward, the movement making me I feel creaky, muscles strained and cramped. “Errggh,” I moan, as I walk along. Though painful, at first, my energy was up. Thereupon realizing this my stomach growled and turned, the indication I well noted.

I decided to walk for what I could measure was about ten minutes, after such time I would make every effort to forage for sustenance. This thought dissipated, however, as soon as I saw ahead, an unexpected sight. Wavering in the hot air, what I ascertained to be, rationally,  a mirage. To the mind it appeared to be a figure. At first, the aberration was apparently still, then moving slightly- animated, I had decided, only by imagination. After more steps, the figure remained, I projected upon it a standing structure. Wavy heat continued to obscures what had evolved from mirage to be physical structure, larger than a man. Sturdy, and upright, a black standing figure, off in the distance down the long stretch of the beach. As I continued to stare, it became quickly apparent with some excitement, that, the figure was making its own minute progress in my direction. And I its.

Suddenly, my foot strikes something hard in the sand, and I stumble forward, falling down. I look back to see what it had been.  And there, I see resting in the sand, a black stone the size of about a brick. From the feel of the impact I decide it to be adamant, perhaps even partially buried in the sand- as it hadn’t seemed to budge from its spot. Looking intently at it now, while I rubbed my smarted toes, I notice it crackled here and there, all over in fact, and within these cracks the color red. The look of it was almost spongy in appearance; as I continued to gaze, momentarily absorbed int he mystery of it, I see it almost slightly move, expanded out, and then retract. I realize then, just as the throbbing pain in my foot reminded me of my situation, that, this is what all inanimate objects do when attending to them with intense tunneled focus for so long.  Quickly my sense come back to me and quickly I turn my head, and attention, back to the approaching figure.
Now, getting up, I continue on my way for the anticipatory meeting.

I continued to walk toward it, staring in rapt attention, at which point it became clear that the thing was not only a figure, but too had been moving my way.
Gradually it formed- a human shape,  holding a staff. Then, a female (judging by height, shoulder and hip width) , pale skin, little cloths (if any) and shoulder length hair. All this arrived to my vision gradually.  Heart pounding, legs moving faster carrying me toward what had moved out of the wavering heat to incarnate as a girl, who, certainly  at this point wore little clothes. In fact, I could see now, what constituted as covering was very little indeed,  just a hanging, waist strapped loin covering that looked as if fabricated out of tanned animal hide. She was nubile, being no more than 25 years in age.
As we approached each other there in the sand, she looked upon me apparently in astonishment, as I imagined I must have looked upon her. Mouth agape and wide-eyed. Her brunette hair picked up and flickered in the breeze sweeping in from the ocean.
We both stopped then, approximately ten feet from each other, mutually perplexed, apparently, and unthinking; too awe struck to even attempt to fathom the other’s circumstance.
Here beset upon me was what appeared to be, in all likely hood, a savage island dweller. I looked upon her dirty face. Her white sand breaded tan skin. Her expression of completely abandoned shock at my arrival. Guarding nothing, loosely holding a staff in her nakedness.
As she too examines me- I blink to my senses and attempt to communicate.

“Hi” I utter, and as I do she flinches, automatically as a point of instinct it would seem,  angling then her spear in a lazy daze. I contemplate her spear. The arrow head fit into the notched end of a stick the length of her own body, which must have been no more than 5 feet.
I hold my hands up in gentle protest. “I mean you no harm,” is the cliché Tuesday night matinee vid feature line I deliver. An automated response as my brain scans for viable options based on past experiences. Of which there is no precedent.
I stand my ground and repeat my hands-up gesture, she responds by maintaining her grip on her pointing spear and continued her wide-eyed stare. Her eyes are crystal blue, her breasts bare, and she’s fit with toned muscles, adequately fed for a girl, and comely. Sizing her up like this of course stirs the imagination, fueled with red blood. My forebrain determines it wise, however, to be suppress such stirrings at this juncture.
“I won’t hurt you,” more lines come out of my mouth. I contemplate the best course of action- I figure, rightly, that I could physically take this small girl and extract the weapon from her; or, I could submit to her as an authority by kneeling and see what happens.

Through the course of holding my hands up palms open and flat to her, and attempting to intimate through empathetic facial expressions I see, after a while her face unchanged.  She appears to be in state of such unprecedented shock that she fails to exert any intimidation with her stance, does not shake her spear, or even grip it tightly. She in fact has not even eeked a sound out of her wide open mouth, or shut those rather large blue eyes for a second.  I stand, looking quizzically and see her for what she is. An awestruck savage girl who is out of her wits.
I stand upright, firmly and walk slowly over to her. Meanwhile she attempts no sudden moves and simply watches me do it. I reach out and grip her spear as she releases it to me.

Now in possession of the spear I look down upon the dirty, wild creature, holding it in my left- I take my right forefinger and nudge her petite chin with my forefinger. Instantly her eyes shoot farther open and a rush of blush brightens her cheeks. Her eyes glitter and dance while holding my gaze and suppressed thoughts are reintroduced as she, almost instinctively it would seem moves her face in toward me, closer to my own.
‘My god,’ I think, ‘what is’- and before I can finish this thought she pushes her face in a sudden jolt toward my own, her lips gripping my own.
We stand there pushing into each other, intimately kissing.

She then removes herself from me and looks upon me once again momentarily. Thoughtless and gathering my own thoughts, I respond in kind- until she lunges her hand out and grabs mine. And then she is a flurry, turning suddenly on the balls of her feet carving sand below her she pulls me suddenly with a lurch. Her dainty hand gripping mine pulls with all her bulk, which I feel now. I run behind her for a while, admiring her backside and, as thoughts begin to thaw, faintly celebrate my surreal good fortune. This is until, after several yards gained, I grow annoyed with the uncertainty and lack of communication, whereupon I throw her hand away from me and stop in my tracks.
She turns instantly.
“I demand you tell me where you’re taking me.” By way of answer she once again lunges at me, pushing up from the ground with her feat in a jump. Her small frame hits me, as her arms fling around my neck and her warm, soft red lips are reintroduced to my own. We stand there in a romantic embrace, our blood circulating to the surface of our bodies to warm the other’s. She releases me with a wet smack for a momentary gaze, as I realize I had dropped the spear in favor embracing the girl’s smooth skin.  She once again grabs my hand and turns abruptly. Realizing I had no longer the spear in my hand I turn to pick it up with my left, free hand. This stopped the girl in her tracks as I effortlessly lashing her back, her grip on my hand unyielding. Lifting back up now with the staff in hand I am once again greeted with a kiss, and she pulls on my hand- yanks now. Though, having felt my power compared to hers, and having experienced already the discomfort of her insistence to drag me running to an unknown location, I felt compelled to walk.
I sturdily, and firmly walked- more of a stroll, as she yanked and pulled on my hand, her naked feet sliding back forming skids and trails in the sand along the way. I smiled at her ceaseless effort. We made progress as she amused me to no end. She gritted her teeth as she pulled and screwed up her pretty face, she turned around from time to time to grab my wrist with both hands- grunting the whole way, falling down, her breasts swaying from the effort.
I was in heaven I decided- I was dead and incarnated into a clone of myself. This wasn’t reality- this was a masturbatorial fantasy I had manifested subconsciously and was to play out for eternity.
I experienced corporality to its fullest extent. I gripped the grooved wood of the spear, I contemplated my legs.  I looked upon the struggling girl before me insistent and resolute in her dangling loin cloth covering not her shapely tanned thighs.

Soon thereafter as I was brought further, we came upon presently a little village on the beach in a cul de sac formed out of the tree line. The girl kept me hidden from tree to tree along the forest line however, peering around the corner of each one until pulling me in a rush forward, just to hide behind the next and repeat the maneuver. I could see huts, now, bundled together with sticks with roofs and smoke stacks sprouting out of each. I could also see figures off in the distance, either carrying something or tending to a fire. The girl now yanked me hither onto a worn path through the woods. We promptly came to a fork at which she darted left with some urgency. I smiled at this and even laughed a little- to which she responded at this point with a small savage growl close to my face. I pulled her in for a kiss, she accepted the brief respite as she pulled me further along the way, until, presently we came out of the shadow of the canopy to a clearing near the entrance to a hut. She pulled now with all her might toward the entrance.
I had noticed no one around. Soon, standing inside the cool shadow of her, I assume, hut, she untied a flap that fell to cover the open portal. She then turned to me, wild.
I looked, to my right for a wall to set the spear against, and saw cabinets. Actual cabinets too. Manufactured by rotary saws and wood glue and nails- complete with porcelain knobs. Before perusing any more of this thought I was set upon by the girl, who had rushed and lunged toward me once again. I felt her soft hair spray me- firmly pressing her lips on me, I grappled her lean frame. We kissed hotly while she folded her arms around to the back of my neck. I grabbed her buttocks and picked her up.

All the while realizing, that, I must’ve been dead. Here I existed now, in a phantasmagorical dimension. Of course these thoughts were side-lined- the inevitable conclusion to them was evident: I was simply to enjoy myself.
I place the girl down as she frantically kissed every inch my face, onto the counter top- tiled, and next to the basin of a sink, with a faucet.  These things- I decided, I will make every effort to ignore and effortlessly integrate into the living fantasy I currently found myself in.  Soon she was grabbing at me, trying in vain to navigate my jumpsuit. I obliged her by locating the zipper, and- before I was able to remove my wrappings, we were suddenly interrupted. I heard a heard a high pitch mouth noise, and a clicking-also by mouth. And I turn, to see, yet another naked savage girl. Wildly flailing her arms at the girl in my own arms, of which she then extracts herself from to jump to the dirt floor and, with her back to me braces herself up against me.  The other girl, now, getting louder, staring suddenly from me back to her- catching my eyes. She could very well have been the girls sister, though a little taller, and hair lighter.

The other girl suddenly moves in as she and the girl argue. The girl, in response to the other girls increase in volume pushes her teeth together, and with her tongue and O-shaped lips “Shushes” the other girl.  Presently, the she grabs the other girl by the hand, who looks up at me searchingly, and is taken to a corner of the room- where they murmur to each other excitedly. They continue to talk incomprehensibly, while occasionally the looking over at me, the other girl doing so more apparently interested than the other, at which point the girl gathers the other one back to emphasize her points. They go on like this for minutes.
This is when, I decide to contemplate the contradictions present all around me. The unlikelihood of the entire scenario and of course, the reality of my situation. I open the cabinet doors over the sink, empty. I try the faucet, which does nothing. I work my way around the cabinet doors which reveal nothing, until I step on something that yields underfoot, like a soft spongy material. I lift my foot to discover what looks like a root- though, again, soft and red in color. As I look I can see it expand out of the dirt floor as if taking a break, and then shrinking again- and then repeats.  I look up at the girls still arguing, animatedly in the corner- beautiful and naked. I kneel to further inspect the root. It expands and retracts before me. I touch it with the tip of my finger to find a warm- fleshy item- alive-seeming. I quickly jerk upright.
*KERCHUNK* the spear falls to the floor. *KERCHUNK* Looking up, in the direction of the noise, I look at the larger, closet-sized cabinet. It’s the long vertical one, where one would store a broom. *KERCHUNK* I notice now, the door abruptly opening slightly as if a vibration, and slamming again. *KERCHUNK* and again. *KERCHUNK* and again- as if it were locked from the inside and some one where kicking it. *KERCHUNK* Or an earthquake were causing it shutter. I reach out my hand for the knob, and take it.
I wing the full length cabinet door open to discover a large eye- a slit for an iris running up and down it, glossy and glistening and terrible. It flicks around the room behind its film of wax- around it flesh and lids enveloping it, with tiny mouths puckering around it- also flickering tiny tentacles shifting wildly like flames licking and lapping.  The slit of the eye focuses on me as it contracts- the tentacles stop and stick erect outwards toward me- all angling to point at me. The small mouths pockmarking the wall of red and black flesh now uniformly pucker a shape and start making a tiny “ah” utterance- in chorus.  Terrified, my heart pumping blood in hurried palpitations I slam the door shut. But instead of slamming in its frame it doesn’t shut, but instead hits the squishy edifice of the terrible monster inside. Then, suddenly another living root pushes up from a crackling spot in the dirt floor, and even right below me, one pushes up under my feet and emerges in the loose dirt.

Then, suddenly, noticing the two, I look up to discover the two girls standing side-by-side, looking at me with the same mischievous expression, mouths curling up at the ends. Their holding hands between them and they move toward me with the same step. They start caressing me, and the girl finds my zipper to my jump suit where she had learned it to be from before. More living veins push up out of the top soil and the new girl puts her wet open mouth onto mine- when the cabinet door fires open, nearly hitting me. The huge terrible eye and its slit for an iris stare into me. I look back as I move away from the girls, who- with looks of surprise and not understanding remain in place. Backing out I include the terrible cabinet monster in my sight which now appears to be bulging out of the cabinet door as more veins pop out of the earth. I push the cloth door to the hut aside and rush outside. From behind me I can hear the same mouth sounds and whooping from the girls.

I’m frantically running now, toward the beach, past other huts- past other savage nubile young women. As I rush buy small groupings of girls their heads turn with me. Out on the soft sands of the beach my breath is pushed out of my lungs, and my heart is beating out of my chest and I fall to my knees and turn onto my side to lay on the beach.  The whooping of the girls follow me, as I catch my breath. I sit up now, sensing the girls- and so I look. A large crowd, maybe over a hundred girls- all naked, all beautiful.  I push my legs out at the sand, getting up off my backside. I feel an incessant drum beat inside me, a nightmare adrenaline fueled urgency to escape- and so I turn towards the ocean as the crowd of girls form a crescent around me- effectively surrounding me.  Encircled now, in an open cul-de-sac allowing only the ocean as a way, I stood, in the lapping diffusing and fizzling waves reaching my feet. The girls, all cacophonous chatter of some incomprehensible language, closing in on me- shortening the ground between myself and them. Then louder, the whooping sounds of the girls, and the ocean waves- a wall of sound behind and ahead of me.  I stopped, then.
I looked around. I felt a calm suddenly, in the storm. I peer right beside me- an obscuration there, afloat in midair- immediate and fixed. Like a ghost, there beside me set fixed like an invisible field, a sliver- like that of the eye in the cabinet. A black floating slice, as it were- enveloped by a warped wrapper running along the edges, obscuring the image of what lay behind it- half of the beach and half the ocean waves. I touch the aberration, the floating ghost hole. It is solid, yet ephemeral, of this world and behind. Feeling the waves rush by me now, and conscious of the encroaching army of girls-all of whom stare wild eyed directly at me while chanting- I decide I only have this route- this portal. Presently I plunge my hand into it, it, or rather its edges, proving to be elastic in a rather solid kind of way. It takes some effort, like pulling a heavy bucket, but I pull either side wide enough to allow for my body size to pass through. Splashing next to me now, the girls move closer, like zombies- like the possessed. The begin reaching out at me with outstretched hands as I life a foot and push a whole leg into the portal. It feels like a black matte surface, on the other side- is the only way I can describe it- as I pull the rest of myself in just as a myriad dainty, groping hand grab around my collar. At first they were unyielding, and so I let out a horrible yell and, with all my might lunged myself forward into the darkness. Once inside, the darkness was complete, save for the shrinking sliver of the portal. Smaller and smaller it shrank- then a one hand shot through, whereupon the portal closed on the wrist thereof. And as it did- the closing echoed like that of a granite covering to a tomb.
And then darkness.

Unfathomable abyss darkness. Infinite, final darkness. I felt afloat in the nothing of it, suspended in ethereal solutions- inky, and increasingly wet. Then flashes- that, at first looked as if light flickering off of an oil black wave pool-then the first burst. I remember now. The electrical storm arrived back into view- slowly at first. And then all at once, like speeding towards a galaxy faster than the speed of light.

Engulfed, now- in the electrical storm- blasts, and viens made of light surge all around me. Stuck, and entangled in the bursting network of electricity. However, I am awake this time, and filled with anxiety, frustration and anger. So I start to frantically flail, punching my fist outward and kicking my feet while screaming-thrashing violently side to side. In a sense: I throw a tantrum.
Then, whether its blood filling my extremities once again, or my feeling out the area- I feel, the enclosed space I was in: its walls.  I feel slime now, I taste the putrid bitter taste and feel horrifically warm dangling tendrils. This is, until I see, yet another sliver. This one white and I push straight for it. Pushing violently my environment to my sides, and head first, birth myself from wherever inside this is.
Spurting outward, wet from birth, blackened by the oily substance coating me; I fall head first toward the sandy beach. I’m screaming my head off- slithering in the sand which sticks to me, my feet feel still latched to the thing from where I had sprung as I dangled there. I kick, and then, with my back firmly planted in the sand, I kick again. My slits for eyes are almost welded shut from the black slime- but then I force them open to behold the living holding cell that had me.
Before me, looming black, large and hideous, obscuring the sun- a monster. A large vertical slit running up its middle, where, at the top a large hideous eye. All round springing out of its red-veined and pitch black skin are innumerable undulating tentacles. The bulk of the creature is circular, resting on top thick, elephant legs like trunks- with a long reptilian tail trailing behind it, also flailing this way and that. Strands of the black slime fall dripping from the gaping hole onto the sand. Having taken in the hideous sight, I quickly and frantically back track like a crab away from the hideous creature.
There I am on the beach- a beach, off always is the tree line to the forest.
I hear a sickening chorus of tiny mouths emitting a horrible siren song. A high pitched “ah” is carried by the wind.
Plastered with the black slime I discover, I try to wipe it-only to find that it sticks slightly, but also goops. Suddenly, a bulky shadow appears just behind the creature, standing before me- its eye fixed onto me.
Another one. I turn around to find more, running like nightmare mascots.
‘More dream?’ I wonder- ‘no, I just came from the dream spewing into the nightmare.’

And so my eyes dart toward the forest- where to I am presently sprinting toward, just as I notice the original monster along with its ilk are doing the same, only more in the way of a lumber- toward me. Upon running up the beach, over some rocks and up to the tree line- a little ways off I notice a path, just like the one the girl had lead me to. It’s small, and human sized. And the distance between the trees, I decide, the way could not allow the bulk of these monsters. And so I run toward this path and step into the shadow of the forest.

A few yards in, I stop. My heart pounding, my thoughts settling, I look back past the bushes and trees to the mouth of the path. I see the ridiculous insulating tentacles shuddering there. And over the bushes I can see more shadow shapes framed by rubbery spikes that extend or retract.

I keep moving, along winding path, leading further into the forest.
Cursory glances at the plant life and fauna discover tiny bizarre, scurrying creatures and colorful, potentially dangerous plants.
Too exhausted and stuck in instinctual overdrive to take much interest, I keep walking.

A ways further, past some large rocks and strange, almost yodeling sounds from deep within the forest, I come upon a clearing.
At first I hear the loud sound of rushing water- until, then, I see a large water fall. At the base of which, its clear crystal pool of water.

I reach the edge, cup my hand and take drink after drink.
I turn over on the shore of it, a little ways away from the edge- and, laying there on my back, close my eyes and drift off to sleep.

 

THE END OF PART 2

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CLOWNS OF THE APOCALYPSE

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Prologue

WE JOIN OUR HERO DRIVING HOME, DOWN A LONG, TYPICALLY WINDING ROAD,  THROUGH A BLACKENED COUNTRY SIDE SOMEWHERE IN THE AMERICAN NORTH EAST. On either side trees stretch their gnarled branches toward a gauzy, moon illuminated fog-filled sky.
Presently, Dillird Q Thurman spins the dial on the car radio,  static and cut-off random bites of chatter; 60’s folk rock, 90’s alternative, a baseball game, some talk, and auto-tuned pop.
He eventually settles the needle on the Union Public Radio channel.

“Next up on Union Public Radio: Racism, and the good ol’ boys network, still an entrenched institution, still influencing government policy behind the scenes. It’s all next up, on a brand new: Fresh Look.”

The soothing, jaunty and jazzy theme song plays.

The show progresses just as you’d expect it to.

Presently, Dillird flicks off the radio, opting for the sound of the car, the road, and the rushing wind.
He fingers the paycheck in his jacket pocket.  He had worked one day less than last week, which meant ends would be barely met with barely anything left over.
“Pay the bills-” Dillird thinks aloud to himself  “and no frills.”

He now turns his thoughts, as they naturally tend, toward his fiance’,  Meagan. Who at this moment awaited him at their home, a rented house on the edge of town. Already, he knows well, her probable reaction to the net amount printed upon his paycheck. He plays through the anticipatory scenario in his head, an ultimately futile exercise, yet possibly instructive nonetheless.  Their relationship had been rocky recently, so to speak.

Dillird flicks the radio back on, then presses ‘seek.’

“Riding that train, high on cocaine…” blurts out of the stereo speakers, to which Dillird’s arm responds instantly to *Click* turn off these infernal sounds.

A little farther down the road is the bar.  The Star Light Bar, a small lone dive out here on route 9, in the middle of nowhere; patronized mostly be the bumpkins residing in these parts, privy truck drivers and passers-through.

Dillird fit into two of those categories tonight.

The Starlight Bar had come up just as Dillird, without much deep consideration, made his haphazard decision to stop in for a drink. Any attempt to postpone the inevitable by pretending that he’d actually choose self-control this time was futile. This, even though being late in getting home, he realized, only exacerbates the  situation- tardiness with a hint of booze.

Dillird pulls into the dirt parking lot surrounding the bar, making sure to avoid deep puddles pock marked throughout. A sign atop a pole brightly shone before him bearing the bar’s name.  The car bounces side to side jostling him inside as he guides the metal heap into place.

Dillird’s spirit sinks into his gut as he mechanically, as if automated to do so, goes through the steps of what he knows is yet again the wrong decision. Having already fulfilled half the task by pulling in and parking, it was also too late, he decided. Patronizing a bar, in a state of existential funk and depression, instead of going home to his girl-such is the human condition.

Further committing to his lot, the keys are turned out of the ignition and the door handle pulled then pushed open, then swinging out, as Dillird shifts his weight to jump from car over a puddle last second.
The moon, still fixed in its spot, still silently shines through the gauze; a strong harsh wind picks up– just about chilling Dillird’s bones through the jacket.

In his mind, He flips through a mental rolodex of the people, friends and family, Meagan must be communicating with over social media.  Old flames or even new flames perhaps? He in his paranoid manner speculates. He considers first her closest friends in town, Monica and Kim, who she goes and sees, as she too goes for her job locally as a bank teller.

He swings the door closed after realizing his lingering for a while, then finally rounds the car and heads for the front door of the establishment. He notices only three other vehicles in the lot, aside from the employee’s spots around back, which were out of view.  In the windows hang Neon lit beer signs.  Pushing open a squeaky door rustling some chimes attached to the top of the door, ringing out.  Dillird is met with the smell of stale beer hanging in the air, a glowing television mounted to a wall in the corner lording over and above at the end of the bar. A bartender, the lone bar keep, noticing his entrance, swivels his head back toward the tv while wiping out a glass one final stroke, before flicking the towel over his shoulder and racking the glass.
Dillird strides over to the stool on the corner of the bar, directly in line with the entrance, and mounts the seat.
“what’l it be,” the bartender asks while reaching below the counter, promptly producing a circular coaster, before slapping it down onto the bar top where it instantly sticks in place.
“Uh,” Dillird thinks, “an IPA is fine, whatever’s on tap- thanks.”
“Sure thing.”

The bartender turns and heads down the bar toward the taps.

On the television, the nightly news, the closed captioning appearing on the bottom of the screen. Pictured, a comely anchor woman talking as a box pinned over her left shoulder shows, what looks to be, clowns, dirty and melancholy under tree lines. Close ups of make-up caked faces, frowning into the camera.

The close captioning reads:

“For days now we’ve been reporting to about the ongoing clown refugee crisis. Homeless, dirty, hungry and in desperate need of a place to stay – and yet, Americans cling onto anti-clown bigotry.”

The bartender after decanting foam from a pint glass having just been filled under a spout starts his walk down the bar toward Dillird. Dillird reaches for his wallet in his back pocket.
Just as Dillird does this the chimes on the door behind ring out. He turns to look just as the bartender sets down the pint glass on the bar before him. Cloaked in the shadowy entrance of the bar stands a rather rotund, small statured individual with an apparent, small, ridiculously so- almost miniature sized bowler cap on the side of a bald head.

The bartender, registering the sensation of the entrance of the newcomer, looks blankly still hands placing the glass and lets out an exasperated sigh. “6.50” he says while wiping his beer moist hands on his sides, onto an apron tied there.
Curiously, now, Dillird picks through the bills in his wallet while sidelong glancing in the direction of the newcomer, who now moves into full light.

A clown.
Dillird jerks his head back toward the television on the wall as at some supernatural entity, having just spoke into existence this aberration. A double take back toward the door revealed that, yes, indeed this clown had manifested.

Caked white make-up running with lines down his face, a sad expression only exaggerated by splotched, red marked around his mouth, emphasizing a frown that looked more caused by chafing than applied makeup. A bald pate, on which rested a tiny bowler cap attached precariously as noted before to one side. Suspenders held up large bowl-like pants that looked like they could very well contain water that would be splashing out the sides, as, the clown man hobbled side to side as he walked toward the bar.
To this, the bartender squeezed eyes closed while facing down and letting out an exasperated sigh of annoyance.

The clown pushed his belly to the round stool, large red shoes straddling the base on either side. Deciding first to spin the stool seat around several times before hopping up onto it.

The bartender glares at the clown, while the clown looks down- slowly after a tick lifting his head up to meet the glare.

“Here to pay your tab?”

Expressionless, the clown continues his gaze, seemingly not having heard the question.

“No NO! Out!” The bartender suddenly erupts, presumably having dealt with such despondency before,then directs an outstretched arm ending with    pointing finger towards the door.

Cement and stoic, the clown outwardly remained unfazed.  Accepting and submissive to this abuse, Dillird noticed he was, non reacting, as he had already resigned to such treatment. The clown, looking more like a mechanical creature given over to the elements, turned now toward the bartender, a large man 6 foot- a lined face of about 60 or so, with a glimmering single tear running down his cheek.  The bartender, an imposing statue of a man, wooden, now leans on arms, hands placed on the bar top- red in the face and peering into the painted-on frowning face of the clown.

Through gritted teeth he repeats “out,” rather harshly. A final demand.

The clown, not acknowledging, turns, imploringly almost, towardDillird.

Dillird finishes a pull during the explosive, rather awkward interaction between the two men, now setting the glass down back onto the coaster before him. Meeting the dull eyes of the sad bastard, then turning back toward the screen- just in time to catch an image of clowns walking out of the wood escorted by police. The woods, somewhere- the caption reads “HavenVille,” a town he presently sat in an establishment he currently drank a beer in.
“Alright, fine!”  The bartender shrugs, as he walks to opposite end of the bar, where lie a phone.

Looking back, now, meeting once again those dull eyes. Deep set in the roundish face. The age of the man is down right indeterminable, behind the large red bulbous nose, the matte flat eyes give nothing away.
“I got ‘im,” Dillird hears issue from his mouth just as the bartender picks up the phone to his ear and shoulder, starting to point at the number pad.

He looks over his right shoulder while pinching the phone with his choulder to his cheek with his left. Looking over at Dillird now, picking up the phone setting it down again on a fridge top under neath the bar, the power cord trailing.  Continuing to dial the bartender asks “pardon?”
Dillird once again issues, as if fished for and yanked out rather effortlessly by the imploring gaze of the empty clown vessel to his left “I got ‘im.”  The bartender stares.  “Whatever he’s having, I’ll cover it- it’s on me.”
A few seconds of stare further. And the bartender replaces the receiver onto the hook, and phone back to its place. He turns, looking at Dillird, not condescendingly, but out of a tolerable pitty.

“Look, its an awful nice gesture,” as he strides over, “but, this, ‘clown’ we got here, he don’t need no booze, what he needs is his own place- “ turning to him now, “away from decent folk.”
“It’s okay, I don’t mind.” Dillird reaches for his pocket.

Images of sad, despondent clowns on television, being rounded up, pushed, cuffed, into the back of cop cars.  Mug shots of the most pathetic looking side-shows, almost innocent inherently to judge by their appearance alone. Some with frizzy hair, tall, lanky others more of a hobo variety, blasted stogies hanging off their lips.

The clown, sitting there on his stool at the end of the bar remains unchanged in expression- fixed in a gaze, interchanging his apparent attention, although no sign of a capacity for such flickers on his face, between the television set, to Dillird and then off into no particular direction.

“yeah, no, it’s okay.”

The bartender, frustrated by Dillird’s misunderstanding incorrigibility cracks his head toward the television.  This time, showing protests of young college students in the town square, skipping class apparently, standing, holding signs, some going so far as to block traffic while holding hands; others with bullhorns, others still lying down in group protest. They all don costumes, clownish apparel. Big shoes. All wear a fixed red nose on their face. Large multi-colored wigs. Many other varieties of eccentricities, garish jumpsuits with fuzzy button balls affixed down the front- a myriad of horns, some on stilts.

“Clowns are People Too” reads one particular  sign that stood out.

A protest for clowns. Clowns, Dillird thinks to himself, a group of people he, up until this very moment, was unaware of, existing all together never mind considered as having the status of an oppressed identity group.
Sure, he remembers clowns for hire, at childrens’ birthday parties or other festivals where children were guaranteed to be present.  But then, something happened in culture. A shift in viewpoint concerning clowns. For a little while they turned sad, but then the clowns turned evil, and scary. The old fun, fun-loving clowns, unassuming and innocent in nature- not considered even to have human biological urges: went away; and the neutral, innocent clown was replaced with another stereotype: the terrifying nightmare variety.

The supernatural demonic clown. Otherworldly. Still, yet, having no considerable human traits inherent, but, now, vacillating from a proclivity to spread joy and merriment, to, terrorizing, and dread.

Even violence.

Dillird looks onto his neighbor, a proximate exemplar, here, in real life of- a clown.  A human, a real person. Who, now, faces discrimination and prejudice.  And, judging by the television reportage, this condition is endemic.  Dillird, accepting this new reality, a social milieu all together new to him and up until this moment remained blind to- ignorant of- now, decides to do what he perceives to be the right thing.

“Son,” the bartender begins, now turning back to Dillird, his arms folded across his apron “listen, you gotta understand, their not telling you the truth,” a fist held up with the thumb extended toward the television over his shoulder “they’re not like they say.”

“that’s okay, I don’t mind.”

The Clown, looking up from a peering down at his own bulk, neck bulging, peering up at Dillird, who interprets his expression of one of exhaustion.

There’s no telling to what extent this has occurred- Dillird, he, has only worried his self of his own life situations, his personal immediate predicaments.  Up until this awakening, he hadn’t considered the suffering of others.

To help, to extend a show of kindness to this clown, in this moment, filled Dillird’s heart, previously harboring a feeling of barren, with a sort of altruistic meaning.

He puts at ten onto the bar from his wallet which he now folds and back and puts back into his lifted back pocket as he shifts on his stool.

Then resuming his perch, reaches for his glass and takes it in his hand “its okay,” brings it to his mouth and takes another pull- half emptying the glass. He smacks his lips. “whatever he wants I’ll cover it, for him,” he says pushing the bill toward him on bar.

The bartender, slowly shakes his head, shortly at the clown- scowling with a sour face, turns abruptly toward the taps and fills a glass.

Walks it over to the clown, slaps down a coaster and says “you don’t deserve this,” and places the beer on top. The bartender then turns back around toward the television at one end of the bar, picks up a remote and flicks the channels until reaching a hockey game.

The clown, peering now at the glass before him, foaming atop excited golden bubbles rushing to the top, reaches out and grabs the pint.

His hands, gloved, picks at the glass, and lifts it to his big red lips.

He puts the glass back down.
Turns his head toward Dillird, and gives a single gratifying nod.

Dillird, having watched out the corner of his eye the whole display, now nods back, and holds his beer up to the man for a cheers.

The clown man reciprocates this gesture, and the two go on drinking.

The bartender, wipes down the bar- paying little interest toward the game.

As Dillird finishes his beer, placing it down, notices that the clown’s head has been thrown back, for an extended length of time-emptying the glass into his throat, then finally placing an empty beer down onto the bar.

“thank you, good night,” he says to the bartender. “You too chief,” the bartender, uninterestedly offers back.  Dillird paces toward the door, past the clown- who, too, is getting up, preparing to leave.

Dillird, reaching the door first exits the portal and then holds behind him the door as the clown just reaches it.

Both outside, discovering both at simultaneously the picked-up rain, dropping now in angled lines, filling the puddles of the parking lot. A chill too, being noticeable- as plumes of breath appear before Dillird’s eyes.

He looks over at the frowning clown, who, staring down, looks totally disposed to the elements.
Dillird begins to wonder about the situational circumstances of the clown. Where does he live? Is he homeless? Does he have a group?

“Um, excuse me,” Dillird says.  He looks up, onto Dillird’s face.

“Uh, do you—could I offer you a ride somewhere? There isn’t anything for miles, and, it’s cold and wet out- I wouldn’t mind.”

The clown, blankly, looks off, and then back toward Dillird’s imploring face- and nods a vertical affirmative.

“C’mon then.”

He strides over to his car, the clown in tow- opens the door and sits down.

The shut of the door echoes instantly by that of the shutting of the passenger side door. Taking up the passenger seat, now, is the clown- appearing as though he had almost, just about, been there even before Dillird.

He picks his keys out of his pocket, inserts and turns them into the ignition and throttles the car in reverse before accelerating that way. The car bounces side to side over holes through puddles as lights turn out in the bar and Dillird hits the gas makinging contact with the road and taking off down it.

Inside, Dillird turns the knob for heat.

“So, ‘you got a family?”

The clown animates into a groping of his entire person, searching pockets inside his pants, his frilly shirt, until producing a huge brick of a wallet.

Opening it, inside he peels back several layers cards and pictures until getting to one he then diligently picks-out.

Handing it now to Dillird, who, turning the over head light presently takes it from his hand. Back and forth, looking from road to picture, Dillird looks upon a picture of, a, clown family.  A female clown, dressed similarly to present company-only, instead of bald head with absurdly tiny hat, she is donning a rather large multicolored frizzy wig.  Three children before them, an eldest boy, a middles son and a youngest girl. All, dressed as clowns.  All splashed with colorful clown make up as well- the difference being, from Dillird’s passenger’s make-up job, and those of the clown family in the photo, is, that the makeup surrounding the mouth is turned up into smiles.  This be as it may however, nevertheless they are all just the same frowning uniformly.  Just as Dillird works the gears of comprehension to explain this “clown logic” to himself, the clown snaps the picture away and pushes it back into its sleeve within the wallet, that, he presently fishes for a place to put back- apparently having forgotten, or misplaced the pocket.

A minute transpires.

“Where can I take you by the way?”

A half a minute, transpires- while, Dillird assumes the clown mules this question over, in his head.

It is at this moment, that, Dillird notices the smell. First, of, plain human body odor, which, he honestly would have expected- or even that of beer sweat seeping out of the pores and into vapor to fill the cabin of the car- these odors were present-but, a new odor filled the air.

Stale cola, and, he sniffs, perhaps feces.

“Sir,” startled by the sudden odiferous funk, Dillird reaches over and shakes the redolent clown man.

He apparently shakes to wake.

“Are you okay?” ….

Seconds pass, until, Dillird is met with a dull stare.

“Where, where can I take you sir? I’m getting close to my house now.”

The clown reaches into a pocket, this time producing his wallet right away, and opens it.

He files through some, dollar bills Dillird notices, until finding another photo, of which he produces.

Dillird turns back on the overhead light and pinches the photo of an apparent campsite.

“Where is this?” Dillird asks, before the clown snaps the photo from his hand, placing it back into his wallet, where he, once again fingers through other items there within. Dillird now sees, out the side of his spying eye, a sizable wad of cash stashed away in the large wallet. The clown fingers through bills,  some 20’s even, and then finally,  a folded up piece of paper gets picked out.

The clown begins unfolding the tiny piece of paper. Small unfolds at first, until, soon a map filled the entire front of the car. Dillird did his best to look around past it to see the road through the windshield.

The clown points to a large clearing within Havenville. A clearing the closest road to just so happens to be the one he lives on.

A dead end, on the edge of town- next to seemingly endless blocks of old dilapidated factory buildings out of commission for innumerable years now- a magnet for squatters bums and youthful urban explorers.

“Okay,” Dillird said “I can bring you close to there, now put this map away.”
The clown obliges.

15 minutes later Dillird turns onto Hope st.. Entering now the ruins of an old industrial era, where, at an intersection on the corner rests a relic, an old phone both. Turning now, Dillird turns onto the street where he lives, with Meagan- on Ivy Lane.

A normal looking house, a box with a roof rests behind a small front yard- the lights are on. Dillird pulls into the driveway off the street.
“Okay, well, here’s me-“ he begins to say as the clown opens the door and bursts out of the car all at once. Confused, slightly, by this odd behavior, Dillird nevertheless follows suit.

Out now, he sees the squat clown walk off, toward Hope street. He shuts the door behind him directing his thoughts now toward Meagan, who, most likely he reckons is up, watching television.

He walks up the walk way. If, she is in fact upset, as he suspects she will be, arguing will cut into the precious few hours he needs to get an adequate amount of rest tonight before work tomorrow. The morning he is not looking forward too is a mere 8 hours away.

Reaching the door now, twisting the knob and in he goes.

He walks toward the living room at the end of the hall where, he is met with shadows and silence. Noticing, just the other way toward the kitchen, a light on, he makes his way hence.

Sitting at the dinner table, arms crossed- as is with the look on her face, is Meagan. Upon the table, before her, an empty wine stained glass and a bottle beside.

Dillird removes his jacket, looking sidelong at her. He rests the jacket on the back of one of the kitchen chairs.

“I’m so-“ he begins to say before being cut-off abruptly by a knock at the door.

“Are you expecting any-?” he begins to ask.

“Just get it,” she curtly replies.

Retreading back to the door now, reaching for and twisting the knob and finally opening- reveals, the clown.

Standing there looking blankly up at Dillird- and, behind him stand more…more clowns.

“I, uh-“ he manages to utter before the clowns, stronger, larger, push past the familiar clown before him and violently push Dillird back. They push him back and then back some more- unceasingly coming at him until he’s thrown into the living room.  He continues to be pummeled by a large grimacing nightmare of a clown, punched in the face neck and chest. The man, – the clown, it would appear is equipped with exceptionally hard boxing gloves. Blow after blow is thrown at Dillird now bent over backward on the couch. “AAHGG!” he belts out, trying futilely to block the onslaught with his arms, holding his hands up- which are pummeled back down.

“AAAHHH!” he hears the unmistakable scream of Meagon emit from the kitchen- filling his body with a red hot surge of adrenaline. He roles off the couch onto the floor, takes the underneath of the coffee table with his open palm before lifting it with all his might from a sitting position up into the direction of the hideous clown. With the table now in the air he throws himself into it, tackling the flown before him.

Now atop the red flaming haired clown Dillird rushes to his feet and begins to jump up into the air and come down with a stomp onto the table that currently pins the clown to the floor.

Again again does he jump and stop. He looks down at the grimacing clown- no indication of pain appears on its face- but, for the first time having a good look at the thing Dillird notices the distorted features. The razor yellow teeth, the elongated jaw and yellow sliver irises for eyes. It still smiles, still, its cheecks permantly cemented in a hideous smile.
Just then, once again he hears Meagan’s screams and the burst of some glass object smashing on the floor. With a vicious grab, yank and mighty twist he takes one of the legs of the table off. Looking up at Dillird towering over the clown menace, the clown gurgles a struggling hiss- omitting a filthy stench into the air surrounding him. Taking the leg now, pointing the splintered end down just as the clown attempts to struggle out of its predicament Dillird forces a primal roar and with all his might plunges the leg into the clowns face. Again and again until his arms ache. Dropping the leg now he gets up as a clown passes by, and another- with a struggling black bag between them- they both holding it aloft, carrying it toward the front door.

“Meagan,” Dillird’s head tell him- urging him forward, telling him to reach out and knock the first clown to the floor grab that end of the back and pull with all his might away from the other.

He, on his feet, pushing one leg forward, the other ages it feels to catch up- but close behind, reaching out in a fit of rage, panic and utter despair.

Before he can reach the struggling black bag however a burst of light smashes into the side of his skull and he is dropped to the floor. Opening one eye, half glued shut he sees the large red, blurry bulb of a shoe, a clown shoe. Lifting his chin off the carpet amidst the sweat and blood he’d smeared there, he looks up with effort out the open front door. A black van peels off, out of sight.
Just then another sudden blow knocks like wood on the top of his skull.

The clown, the rotund clown, with the absurdly placed precariously small bowlers hat looks down at Dillird unconscious body, still yet lifting with breath and exhaling.

He maneuvers around him, blank in the face, expressionless, and turns his body by pulling both legs, with both hands. In this way, however, he is unable to manage the body into an angle from which to drag the body out the front door. He looks, down at the living corpse. He decides, to turn Dillird over onto his back. He lifts the back of Dillird’s head, kneeling down to do so- and firmly grabs the collar of his long sleeve shirt.  He know lurches forward, the unconscious Dillird, toward the front door.

Dragging along the carpet, over the threshold, down a few steps.  Down the walk way past the car parked in the drive way. Across the street.  And then, finally, disappearing off into the woods along a hidden path.

 

End Of Part 1

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Shadow Train: Part 1

shadowtrain

Here’s a cute story I wrote for my nephews. It’s about reoccurring characters in a series of stories I tell them called the “Shadow Train” series.  It’s basically horror for young kids.  The purpose is to be scary, but to also communicate to the kids that the world is ultimately knowable, when utilizing certain tools (reason, logic etc.).  Thanks ~Mark
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It was a beautiful day in the Unknown forest, where Kryllion and Flana, two brothers, live together in a house out in the woods with no road leading up to it, or surrounding houses.
These two brothers found this house, one day, on a hike through the Unknown Forest, so called for being completely unknown. Which is how the unknown forest got its name in the first place. It is quite simple really, it had never been explored, and therefore considered “unknown.” Hence its name.
You get the idea.
This is also the same reason why our two heroes decided one day to hike to, and through the Unknown Forest.

Our two heroes, the brothers Kryllion and Flana had heard about this vast unexplored expanse of earth while at a breakfast restaurant one morning. They were brought there by their mother and father one Sunday morning before church that day. The family sat down in a booth, where from Kryllion could easily do some eavesdropping on two elderly gents sitting in the next booth over. Before that had come to mind however, Kryllion decided to order the waffles, “with extra syrup please” he told the waitress; and Flana also decided to get the waffles “and please add extra syrup, thank you” he too told the waitress.
The waitress then left to tell their and their mother and father’s breakfast orders to the cook. This is when the aforementioned two gents entered the restaurant, and sat down in the booth adjacent to theirs.
Mother and Father were sipping coffee out of mugs, and discussing something they called a “mortgage,” while Flana sucked on a straw in a cup of chocolate milk; while Kryllion also sucked from a straw in cup of chocolate milk.
Then, Kryllion overheard from behind him, where the two gents had taken up seating, one of them say “well? Where is it? Have you brought the map?”
To which the other replied “ahh, let me tell you.”
“I made doubly sure, even TRIPLEY sure to bring it!” The first gent began to say.
“For last night I placed it intentionally on the kitchen table so as not to forget to bring it here to our weakly meeting at Fran O’ Hans Breakfast Nook “best waffles in town,” where we’ve meet every week now going on 8 years now-”
“Sure have. And so?” The other interrupted impatiently.
“Yes, well” he continued, “when I left the house this morning I checked my pocket for the map once outside the door, and did not find it there! So I went back inside and there it was on the table, intentionally placed there so I would see it on my way out the door and therefore remember to have on my person, at the time of, and for the very purposes of this very meeting, here right now.”
“Yes yes I’m listening” the other gent encouraged.
“Yes well, then , while inside, the phone decided to ring. And so I answered it, and Ho should it be? But YOU of course, dear friend, calling to remind me to ‘not forget the map, see you in ten minutes’ to which, I replied ‘ten minutes! Well look at the time,’ and so I hung up the phone and promptly left the house.”
“Yes I remember, that was 13 minutes ago, and the map?.”
“I’m getting to that. So then, I decided to stop but again, in order to check to see whether or not I indeed carried the map, as you had so implored me to do.”
“And?”
“And it wasn’t there! I had forgotten it yet again!”
“You forgot the map!?”
“Let me finish my story!” The kindly gent insisted.
“Alright then,” the other, more impatient gent accepted.
“Well, I then had the thought ‘I had better go back and get the map,’ so I went back inside, and then when I had emerged a third time, I checked my pocket, and: no map.”
“Well what had distracted you this third time from securing the map?”
“Huh? Oh, well, nothing: I just plain forgot.”
“Oh good gracious man! This is getting ridiculous!”
“But not to worry old friend, I went in a fourth time see! With the express purpose to pick up the map! And here it is.”
Kryllion heard a crinkling sound of paper, and imagined a large piece of old paper being unfolded.
At this that moment Kryllion stopped listening to the bickering of the two old gents, and looked over at his brother Flana, who had been blowing bubbles into his chocolate milk with such veracity that it was erupting out of it and getting all over his place mat.
He looked up, caught Kryllion’s eyes and they both had a laugh.
Father told Flana to stop it and wiped most of the spilt milk up with a napkin, before going back to talking with Mother.
This is when Kryllion started to think to himself “I don’t think the waffles are ever coming.”
So Kryllion waits, and starts to listen in on, once again, to the conversation of the two gents at the booth behind him.
“Wowee! This is amazing! This map depicts a wholly unknown forest that is quite large that is entirely unexplored!” The first gent exclaimed. Apparently looking at a map spread out on the table before him.
“Not only that my dear friend,” the second gent begins” but there is also much lore and legend about this forest from the surrounding towns. It’s not for no reason there hasn’t been any manned explorations into this area! I’ve heard tales of monsters, magic, and some mysterious presence in the woods the townsfolk refer to as ‘the shadow train’.”
Just then a plate filled with wwaffles is placed down in front of him smothered in delicious syrup; and for a time all thoughts concerning the two gents and the “unknown forest” is forgotten as he focuses all his attention on the task at hand, which is to devour waffles.
Flana finished his waffles before Kryllion did, and was now sitting back, when it occurred to him that he and his brother hadn’t been on an adventure in a long time.
“Hey Kryllion, I think in order to continue to serious ‘adventurers’ we’ve got to go on an adventure soon.”
“I agree dear brother,” Kryllion said just as he finished his plate and pushed it away “we’ll have to be on
Been on any adventures recently.
“Ya know Kryllion, if we ever hope to be taken seriously as adventurers, we’ll have to go on more adventures. We haven’t been on one for quite some time now.”
“Right you are oh brother mine.”
The waitress came and left, mother and father settled the bill and then it was time to go.
Kryllion glanced over at the neighboring booth where the two gents had previously been. Funny, they must’ve left recently, Kryllion thought, because their table hadn’t been cleared yet. Spying the table as he passed, he noted a rather crinkly folded-up piece of paper with strange markings beside one of the place mats.
“Flana, I think I may have already found an adventure for us.”

To Be Continued…

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