My mate Jerry is off on a fast-paced wild goose chase with his mind. Seriously man, he’s really going for it this time, grappling with any scrap of information he comes across like its a key to the holy grail. I’m just sat over here on the hill having a smoke, watching him dig deeper underground and burn out all that crazy energy. It’s quite entertaining to be honest, and it’ll pass the time ‘til Sheila comes round later. I’ll have a bath before then probably, if there’s any hot water, and maybe have a tidy round the flat. I’m gonna cook for her: pasta and cheese. I don’t cook for just anyone mind, but I reckon she’s worth more than a packet of 10p noodles, you know? She’s used to being wined and dined, and her Dad’s in the Air Force, so I’ll have to make a bit of an effort or I don’t fancy my chances of seeing her again.
One more appointment for the day, then I could go sink a few drinks and release my stresses. It had been a day fuelled by strong coffee, due to an unfortunate plague of dreams in which giant crows were scratching at my eyes the night before. I had awoken in terror sweats, and was just beginning to think the insomnia that preceded it was preferable. Both were borne, no doubt, from too many party drugs, too many dangerous affairs, too many loopholes I’d slipped through lately. Perhaps I should see a doctor.
“Yes, yes, come in, take a seat.” I waved the patient into the room without looking up from my keyboard. Only when I sensed reluctance did I register an imp of a man standing in the doorway, clutching a bowler hat and an umbrella. “Sir? Please take a seat.”
He shuffled forward, and came to perch on the very edge of the well worn chair beside my desk.
“Now, I don’t seem to have any referral notes, Mr -?”
“Mr Muninn. So perhaps you could tell me a little bit about why you’re here?”
My guardian angel has gone to the store to get more vodka: medicine for our brains, he says. That’s perfectly standard practice, only he’s been gone for some time now, and I’m starting to think he’s left me to fall apart in this god forsaken flat.
I stare at the electric blue teacups lined up on the dresser, every one of them full of storm. I sense the waves pouring over their rims, and for a moment it is as though someone were playing them like singing bowls; circling a mallet slowly around and around. It is almost joyous, almost full of hope, but then it begins to scrape and screech, and before I know it the whole room is shaking with the deathly racket and I have to take cover under the coffee table.
That’s when, of course, the walls start oozing their
I can feel the dark substance already: clinging to my skin, desperate to get through my pores and into my blood stream. There’s no coming back if it gets that far, I can tell you that right now.
I don’t know if lying here in foetal position helps, I suppose it’s more of an automatic reaction to detecting imminent danger. However it does serve to remind me that this particular mass of pain, lumped together beneath the table, is what I am directly in charge of. It reminds me that I am, in physicality if not in principle, separate from the poison out there that would infect me further; from the room that would swallow me whole…
I’m cold now. Cold and clammy and shivering. At least the teacups have shut up though, hey? There are no tears either in case you were wondering; we’re way past that, me and my angel both. Unfortunately what comes when the tears are gone forever is a sort of black hole inside, as though the salt from the flood had burned
Leaving a window to infinity, ready to implode the remainder of our being at any minute…
So the struggle we’re left with is really this: what will we allow to consume us, the predatory world out there in the flat and beyond, or the horrifying black hole inside? I don’t know if there’s a difference, but I’m sure as hell hanging back from making that decision, at least until I’ve given the medicine one last shot. But the
“The things is,” Jesus said, “it’s always going to be this hard. You just have to accept that.” I stared at his fingernails painted silver gripping the steering wheel, his armfuls of bangles tinkling as he changed gear. “I never once felt comfortable, like I belonged here. I was never truly accepted, you know? But if you don’t rise above that, despair will get you.”
I watched the landscape racing by the passenger window: fields of luscious yellow and green, each containing several intelligent windmill structures towering above the trees. I imagined that seeing this vibrant countryside would be quite an exciting prospect for some visitors, but to me it was boring, flat, monotonous. It was a symbol representing my constant feeling of disconnection, like I was part of the wrong world and my time to shine would never come.
“So, you’re saying I shouldn’t try the reality hop?” I asked. Continue reading “Fragments of Future: Set to Prophet”
Hello! This is a rare post in which I update you on my writing projects instead of leaving said projects to speak for themselves… normal service will resume shortly.
Firstly, I wanted to let you know I have shared 100 posts on WordPress as of this week, and I’m quote proud of that of little milestone. I am truly overwhelmed by the support and positive feedback I’ve been getting on here, and I’d like to thank each of you who has taken the time to read, like and comment on this blog. I would especially like to thank Paul at Two Voices In One Transmission, The Modern Leper, and Jac Forsyth for their continued encouragement – without you guys I doubt I’d have the confidence that my particular brand of strange is appealing enough to pursue. If you haven’t had a chance to check out their blogs I highly recommend all three of them, they are very talented writers indeed. Please remember that constructive criticism is also welcomed on my fiction, because I am always striving to improve.
I also wanted to tell you that I now have a Facebook page, so please pay me a visit over there if you have an account. I plan to post links to my fiction, interesting articles I come across over the course of my research, and highlight other authors I think are worthy of recognition. I will also use it to share my creative progress. I am on Twitter too, if that’s more your thing.
Oakley balanced upon one leg, his arms out wide to steady him. He often did such things when June was acting oddly. She was sitting in a tearful hunch nearby, ripping herself apart from the inside all over again. Oakley had witnessed her doing this many times before over many different endings, and each time, like a ritual, she would go down to the rocky part of the beach to mourn what she had lost. The persistence of her attachment to Gregor, her most recently failed suitor, spun around and around in her core with all of its barbs exposed to her heart and her solar plexus. She was in turmoil.
Turmoil, thought Oakley. What an unusual word. Tur-moil. He then proceeded to repeat it under his breath, exaggerating the movement of his lips as though examining the word’s formation. Although he sported a smile, it was but a caricature of happiness planted on his chalky white face. Oakley knew very little about the concepts of happiness and despair; they seemed to him so alien, so unnecessarily polar.
To June on the other hand, who was always looking at him through the filter of imagination, thought that his face changed with the onset of each of her new lovers. He had Gregor’s green eyes now, for example, but they were framed by Annette’s luscious lashes and Jake’s chunky cheekbones. Peter’s soft passionate lips pierced by rings of metal in two places had been a feature for years, but only recently had they been painted the deep red of the lipstick Shelley wore. In this way she moulded him into what she called her muse, and when she admitted his presence to herself she would build dark pretty things with her fingers out of clay.
It really didn’t matter to him through which lens she chose to look. She belonged to him, and he to her, and there simply was no greater truth than that. All of these others were simply fleeting fancies; objects of desire satisfying her craving for normality and acceptance. More concepts alien to Oakley. More unnecessary polarities.
Nobody else ever saw Oakley at all; he was just like a ghost. He’d heard himself referred to as an animus, or eros, by psychologists, and a guardian angel by those with more of a religious bent.
But we are not angels. Oakley considered, hopping skilfully onto the opposite leg. When our truth was whispered, it was mistranslated like a game of telephone. Words are strange like that… Inaccurate representations of authenticity…
We are not angels, for we don’t know the meaning of virtue. We are simply the innocent: those who do not experience. And we are not guardians, for we do not protect. How could we when we don’t understand the way humans place value? Life or death, pleasure or pain, it’s really all the same. In place of the word ‘guardian’ I think I’d use ‘supervisor’. No, wait: ‘observer’, yes that’s much better. We observe our human.
Oakley observed his human. Her shoulders were beginning to settle, her eyes were drying, the storm was calming. She tossed the necklace Gregor had bought her towards the sea. The tide was out, but it seemed enough to know the gift would be claimed on the water’s next expedition to conquer the land. She took a pocket mirror from her bag and dabbed at her running make-up with a cotton pad.
A mirror, thought Oakley. That’s a good analogy. People are like shards of a huge broken mirror. Fragments of the all. Fractals. Each one gives rise to both the observer, and the reflected. The observer is indeterminate; indifferent without being uninterested. The reflection is the quite the reverse: full of purpose and will and definition. Neither really understands the other, and yet they are the same thing. Twins.
As he regained his footing on both legs, Oakley wondered whether he should attempt to voice his semantic corrections to June. A revelation from an angel. But, on balance, he thought it best to simply continue observing. He wasn’t really cut out for changing the world.
I don’t know how long I’ve been here: sunlight cannot reach my simple white cell, so my captors could be playing any kind of time altering game with me. It’s been years, perhaps. Certainly long enough to have forgotten how I was taken. It has to be said though, I am not malnourished or sleep deprived, and I’ve never been interrogated or tortured in any way. I even have activities to occupy my mind. It’s just the lack of human contact and the not knowing that is slowly killing me from the inside.
There are others here, beyond my four metre cube. I hear cries of utter anguish from them mostly, but there are more pleasant times when indecipherable but repetitive phrases are being called out like hypnotic poetry. Whoever occupies the cell next to mine is angry all of the time, and it sounds as though they might actually be kicking through the wall. I have headphones to wear when it gets too much, and I listen to Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune because it calms me and instils the sense of lost romance I have always been addicted to.
Today, a figure appeared behind the frosted glass built into one of my walls. It didn’t move much, it just stood there looking in. I don’t know whether I should have felt threatened or filled with hope of rescue, so I just sat on my bed staring at it, trying to decipher its features until it went away.