Friday, 18 July 2014
I am aware.
It shouldn't be possible for me to be aware... of anything, but I am.
I am aware of the anaesthetics when they flow through the catheter, and the nutrients that keep me alive.
I am aware when they harvest my dreams, and of the contract that brought me to this living hell.
One year of my life they said. One year's worth of dreams, then a full pardon and freedom.
I am also aware, somehow, that the year has long ago come and gone.
They will never let me wake up, never let me go.
When my dreams die, I will die with them.
Yes, I am aware, and that awareness itself is my punishment.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 11 July 2014
On the ledge (Part 1)
On the ledge (Part 2)
ON THE LEDGE (Part 3)
I shouted up at the guys at the top of the cliff. After a few moments the faces reappeared.
“Ah... look guys, this might sound crazy, but I can't leave the ledge yet, I have to stay here until morning.”
“What? We have to get you out of there man. There's blood all over everything up here, and whatever did it might come back.”
“No worries, the killer's all broke up at the bottom of the cliff, but I think I got an infection from him, a real nasty one, and if I have I don't intend to let it leave this ledge.”
“But we need to get to the cops, man.”
“I know, but trust me on this, if this virus gets out there'll be even more deaths, best to play it safe.”
The pair looked at me dubiously. I knew their phones and internet wouldn't work out here, so they couldn't call for help, and it would take them several hours to make it to the nearest town.
“Well okay man, it's your call. We're camped a couple of miles north of here, we'll come back in the morning, but after that, whether you come up or not we're gonna go find the cops. Is there anything you need down there to see you through?”
I reeled off a list. Food, water, toilet paper, clean jeans, tee shirt, boxers, and my kindle.
Before long the gear was lowered down to me in a rucksack. The rope slithered back up again once I had untied it.
“Sorry about the blood stains on the jeans.” One of them said. “They were the cleanest pair we could find.”
“That's okay, blood stains are better than the ones I'm sporting right now.”
After ensuring that I would be okay until morning, the two left me alone. Understandable really, no-one in their right mind would want to spend any more time among the mess at the top of the cliff than they had to, and I was pretty sure they weren't convinced that the gore-spreader wouldn't return.
I stripped, washed using up one of the three bottles of water, and put on the clean clothes. I then ate a whole packet of chocolate digestive biscuits washed down with luke warm water. I eyed the tins of corned beef, beans and peaches hungrily, but since I stupidly didn't include a tin opener in my list, and they stupidly thought I must already have one with me, they were off the menu.
I pulled the kindle from the bag, flicked it on, and settled myself down to read while I waited for the sun to go down.
The kindle turned out to belong to one of the other guys, not mine. So I resigned myself to not finding out if the butler had, or indeed had not done it in my current book, and feasted my eyes on the available titles.
Dark side of the moon
The joys of camping
Wuthering heights... Wuthering heights? Sheesh!
I tossed the kindle to one side, closed my eyes and leant back against the rock face.
Kate Bush dancing in that ghostly, flowing white dress swam into my mind's eye..
“Heeeethcleeefff... it's meee Catheee I've come ho-ome I'm so co-o-o-old...”
She stared straight into my eyes as she danced her way closer.
“Let me in at yo-our windo-o-o-ow”
The dress slipped from her shoulders.
“Oooh it gets dark... it gets loneleee...”
It hit the floor.
“On the other side from you...”
She leaned right over me.
“I pine a lot... I find a lot...”
I was mesmerised by her naked beauty.
“Falls through without yoooou...”
Her fingers touched my cheek, caressed, tickled... annoyingly so...
I jolted awake, slapping at her hand, and dislodged a massive spider from my face. The creature fell to the ledge and disappeared down an impossibly small crack. Ugh!
The sun was almost down into the sea now, spreading its red skirts through the sparse cloud cover. Beautiful, I just love sunsets.
I stared at the horizon until the red faded, and was replaced by a darkening grey.
Although I couldn't see it, I knew that on the opposite horizon, the one behind me, the moon was on the rise. A gloriously full, beautiful, bad moon rising.
I knew it because I could feel it in my bones. The very bones that seemed to be growing, pushing my hands and feet further away from me.
I could feel it in my lengthening fingernails and protruding jaw. I could feel it in the very hair that was rapidly covering the whole of my body.
But most of all, I could feel it in the primal howl that was building up inside me, like a massive dam on the verge of rupture.
I stepped to the lip of the ledge and snarled down at the rocks hidden below in the dark.
My tee shirt and jeans ripped open as they succumbed to the growing pressure of expanding muscles.
As I stepped off into space, I was still human enough to feel the annoyance at the unfairness of it all.
But then again, no-one ever said that life was supposed to be fair.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Many thanks to Kate Bush for the words, and the images in Wuthering heights.
Friday, 4 July 2014
For anyone wishing to read from the beginning
Part 1 can be found here:- On the ledge (Part 1)
ON THE LEDGE (PART 2)
Before long my injured arm began to throb rather painfully. I pulled my tee shirt over my head, and with the aid of my teeth managed to tear it into several strips and fashion a crude bandage around my elbow and upper arm.
My stomach lurched again, so I retrieved the wrapper, folded it around the wad of gum and put it back into my pocket.
I leant my head back against the rock face, closed my eyes, and tried not to think about what was waiting at the top of the cliff,
A tap on the head caused me to open my eyes. Christ! I must have dozed off. The filtering light told me it must be nearing dawn now.
Another tap on the head, then a shower of dust hit my scalp. I looked up, shielding my eyes as best I could, and was panic-stricken to see a pair of long, hairy legs amidst the powder avalanches.
Jeez! The thing was climbing down.
A massive shower of dust and small rocks hit me in the face blinding me. A long, primal howl joined the cacophony of scrabbling claws and rattling debris, culminating in a rather loud thud as something big, heavy, and very pissed off landed in a thrashing heap on the ledge beside me.
I furiously rubbed the dust from my eyes and when I saw my new neighbour, wished to god I was still blinded.
The huge, dusty furball beside me began to unfurl. It pulled itself to its full height, and shook its head confusedly.
I tried to sit even lower, making myself as small as possible, shrinking back against the rock face, holding my breath, maybe it was too dazed to notice me?
I should be so lucky. Yeah, that's me, just like Kylie bleedin' Minogue. Lucky, lucky, lucky. For some insane reason I found myself humming a few bars of the song under my breath.
Uh... Oh! Bad idea,
The creature's ears twitched. It's head slowly swivelled in my direction. Yellowed, malevolent eyes glared at me. A mouth, lips drawn back to reveal finger-length incisors snarled menacingly.
“Err... Nice doggie? I croaked, hopefully.
The snarl deepened and more teeth were bared.
I felt the blood freeze in my veins as sheer terror washed over me. My testicles fought with each other in a futile race to hide inside my stomach. The crap I had earlier managed to keep in let loose and with a warm, liquid splurge filled the seat of my pants. Wonderful... just bleeding wonderful!
The first rays of sunshine hit the ocean as the creature raised its head skywards and opened its jaws wide.
What began as a deafening, throaty howl, gradually diminished over several second to become a squeaky whimper.
I watched disbelievingly as the creature literally shrank before my eyes. Claws retracted, hair receded, limbs shortened and thinned. The snout flattened and the ears rounded.
What now stood beside me on the ledge was a slightly podgy, naked, middle aged man.
He sank slowly to a sitting position, his back against the rock face, holding his head in his hands. Almost mimicking my own position.
We sat side by side like that for a few minutes, the silence growing like a tumour.
He was the first to break.
“Errr... I don't suppose you have a cigarette you can spare?”
“No... sorry. I don't suppose you have any toilet paper you can spare?”
“Err.. no, sorry.”
We both lapsed back into silence again.
I don't know what was going through his mind, but I was wondering what would happen if we were both still on the ledge when the moon came out again.
When he spoke again, the sudden noise, quiet though it was, startled me out of my thoughts.
“Look... I'm err... sorry about your err... friends.”
“It's not your fault.” I replied. “You can't help being what you are. No hard feelings, eh?” I said, and offered him my hand.
“Well, that's awful decent of you.” He said as he reached sideways and clasped my hand in a soft handshake.
I gripped his hand tighter, rose half-way, and putting all my strength into the action, dragged him up and around in a swinging arc, letting go just as he reached the tipping point. I watched dispassionately as he sailed, arms flapping, off the ledge and disappeared from view. His shrill scream ended abruptly as I heard the crunch when he hit the rocks at the cliff base.
I looked down, his body was draped over the sharp rocks, all odd angles and over-jointed. Well, that was one problem taken care of, and I had the ledge to myself again now, a bit more room to spread out.
I must have fallen asleep again, because the voice seemed to come from far away. A distant whisper that grew in volume until it dragged me back to reality.
“HEY!... HEY!... HEY YOU DOWN THERE!”
I looked up to see two faces peering over the cliff edge.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” One of them called.
“My arm's injured.” I replied.
“Hang on, we're gonna get you out of there, just hang in there.”
I almost wept with relief, salvation was at hand. How the hell I was going to explain all this, I don't know.
The stink coming off me was kind of self-explanatory though.
My arm began itching annoyingly. I lifted the bandage and took a look. Impossible as it seems, the wound looked almost healed, and poking out from the skin were several thick, bristly hairs.
A sudden, chilling thought hit me like a hammer blow. Was I infected?
I think the moon is due to be full again tonight. I guess I'll find out then.
Continued in:- On the ledge (Part 3)
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 27 June 2014
I was reasonably comfortable sitting on the narrow ledge, despite my left arm being torn and shredded, that was sure gonna hurt when the shock wore off though.
I could hear the thing pacing about at the top of the cliff some twenty feet or so above me. The stealthy silence it used before the attack unnecessary now as it prowled about impatiently, a horrible symphony of snapping twigs and clickety claws, overlaid with deeper growls and incisor-gnashing snarls.
At least these noises were easier to deal with than the earlier ones of snapping bones, tearing flesh, and slurping mastication as what was left of my friends were disappearing down its throat.
The camping holiday of a lifetime, yeah, a beer and a laugh around the camp fire had changed rapidly into something else the moment John's hand slapped me wetly in my face, just his hand, the rest of him was hitting other places as he was torn limb from limb.
By the time I had recovered enough to run the creature had almost finished with Paul and Billy. I caught a slashing blow from one massive claw across my upper arm as I dodged around it, just before I tripped and went headlong over the cliff edge.
Something warm dripped onto the top of my head, then trickled its way down the back of my neck and under my collar, cooling as it slimed its way down my spine. I ran my hand over my scalp, then looked at my fingers, slick with globs of drooly, blood-slicked saliva. I didn't need to look up to know the thing was staring down at me. I could almost taste its hunger, and rage.
Occasionally the clouds would part slightly allowing the full moon to peep through and reflect yellow off the dark sea below. It had been a beautiful sight earlier in the day with the sun glinting off the water. We had sat drinking and joking as the sun had gone down, making plans for the morning.
Well, those plans were in the bin now.
I considered my options, such as they were.
I couldn't climb back up, although I guess the creature at the top of the cliff would be absolutely delighted to see me. I couldn't go downwards, the view from the cliff was magnificent during the day, affording a beautiful seascape, also a grand view of a sheer, two hundred foot drop onto the rocks below.
Ah well, I guess I'll just wait.
I rummaged around in my pockets. Keys, comb, a stick of gum, two hundred and sixty dollars plus change. Ha! Maybe I could buy my way out of this mess?
I unwrapped the gum and stuck it in my mouth, chewed on it slowly as I put the wrapper back into my pocket. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. I suppressed a hysterical giggle. Yeah, leave nothing but footprints, and bloodstains, and friends.
I felt my stomach lurch slightly as the sugary spearmint worked its way down. I was gonna need to take a crap soon. Jeez, could this night possibly get any worse?
I know one thing for sure, whatever happens I won't coming back here for another holiday.
Continued in:- On the ledge (Part 2)
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 20 June 2014
“She's not the only pebble on the beach. Once we're married I'll be rolling in it, then I'll have my choice of any pebble that takes my fancy.”
Rachel had slipped back out of the bathroom to grab the forgotten towel and overheard David on the phone. She froze in shock. Her mind refusing to believe what she had just heard.
She returned to the bathroom and climbed into the hot foamy water, tears of grief rolling down her cheeks. How could he? Why would he treat her this way? He loved her. Her money didn't matter, he would love her just the same if she had been penniless, that's what he had always said.
As the water cooled, so did her feelings for David, she felt hollow, empty inside. A seething anger boiled up within her, filling the void.
By the time she had finished bathing and dressed she had retained her usual composure. She walked into the lounge smiling as if nothing had changed between them. Her voice betrayed no trace of the rage she was holding inside.
“I want to go down to the beach this evening and watch the sunset, it's so romantic, don't you think?”
“What? Uh... oh yeah.” David pasted an interested expression on his face that didn't quite reach his eyes.
And so before long they were strolling side by side, their shoes crunching deeply into the shingle.
After only a few minutes Rachel stopped suddenly, and fixed David with an icy stare that would have frozen lava.
“What's wrong?” Said David.
Rachel didn't reply, she bent down and selected a pebble from the beach, she placed it in the flat of her hand, holding it out so David could see it clearly. Pushing it up right under his nose.
“Take a good look at it David. Don't you think it's beautiful? Do you see the patterns? The way the different shades of grey follow each other? They look so much like a heart within a heart within a heart. Do you see it David? Do you?”
“Yes, yes I can see it. What of it? It's just a goddam pebble.”
“Oh, this isn't just any old pebble David, this is a special pebble, a very special pebble. Look at it.”
David stifled a yawn. “ I am looki...”
“LOOK AT IT!”
David started, alarmed at Rachel's sudden temper, and the snarl of her lips. He had never seen her behave this way before.
David stared into her eyes as Rachel drew her arm back and threw the pebble as far as she could along the beach. He heard the faint chink-skitter as it landed somewhere far behind him.
Rachel turned her back on David and began to walk away, the last rays of the setting sun pinkening her ivory blouse, she called over her shoulder.
“Bring it back to me before dawn, or the wedding is off.”
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Friday, 13 June 2014
Even though he was under heavy sedation Richard was still vaguely aware of the sensors and probes working their way through his subconscious mind.
He felt his imagination being stretched ever so slightly. The occasional frisson as a stray negative thought was terminated. A slight tickling here and there as some of his emotions were enhanced and others dulled. From time to time he experienced a prolonged cerebral itchiness as major re-routing or rewiring work was in progress.
Richard awoke to the beaming smiles of the doctor, and technician. He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes.
“How did it go Doc?”
“Oh, extremely well.” Replied the doctor. “You see, happiness has absolutely nothing to do with possessions or achievements, it is purely a state of mind. Now, if you would just sign these papers, here... here... here... and here. And then you can be on your way. The new, happier you.”
The doctor's grin grew even wider as he passed the pen to Richard.
Richard scanned the main points on the document. It would mean selling almost every possession he owned to pay the initial medical costs. House, car, electrical equipment and such. Forty percent of his wages would be deducted at source until he reached state retirement age too, but Richard did feel deliriously happy as he scribbled his signature.
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.
Monday, 9 June 2014
Today I am very happy to say that I have the honour of being the SOUNDTRACK TO MY LIFE guest on Nickie O'Hara's very successful blog TYPECAST.
The “Soundtrack to my life” slot is a regular Monday feature on Typecast, an extremely popular post that has been running for over two years now. Guests have to choose five of their favourite songs that have particular memories or emotions attached to them, and write a short note explaining the story behind each each song. Nickie then adds all the Youtube videos for everyone to watch, listen to, and enjoy.
Anyone can be a guest on “Soundtrack to my life” so pop on over to Typecast and check it out.
Nickie is an excellent writer and blogger, and Typecast covers many different topics and issues. Some personal, some comical (Nickie also has a razor-sharp wit too), and sometimes controversial and debatable issues. So while you are over there have a good browse.
Nickie also occasionally puts her talents into fiction writing, and some of you may recall her guest post on The Twisted Quill to celebrate its first birthday, she wrote a short piece entitled “AS LONG AS HE NEEDS ME” The post was very well received, and enjoyed a massive amount of readers.
Nickie is the person almost solely responsible for my venturing out into flash fiction writing almost four years ago, and hence The Birth of The Twisted Quill. Thank you for the support and the confidence boost that started me down the fiction writing highway Nickie, I've had much enjoyment and met a great many nice people along the way, and thank you for giving me the guest slot today. It's been quite a while since I was on Typecast, and it feels really good to be gracing those pages again.
Best wishes Nickie.
Friday, 6 June 2014
“This ain't over yet.”
Those were the words spoken by Rory McHat when his eldest was brought to him, the blood still drying on his clothes, the life gone from him. It had been a fair fight Rory heard, but he never saw that, he only saw the husk of his son.
That was the start of it. Twenty three years later and the feud had claimed almost seventy lives. Coyfields and McHats had perished in equal numbers. The hatred for each other bred into them from infancy, and nurtured throughout their lives, sometimes their very short lives.
The pointless, senseless slaughter had reached out into their homes, sometimes met them on freeways or in bars, occasionally even into the classrooms.
And now it was down to this.
Jason McHat glared over the table at Raymond Coyfield, his eyes burned with hatred.
“Well, I'm here, like you asked. Is there anything you want to say before I tear your throat out?”
A tear trickled from the corner of Raymond's eye. Jason watched unbelievingly as it wove a meandering path down Raymond's cheek, hung from his chin a moment then dripped to the floor. He had never seen a Coyfield cry before.
When Raymond finally spoke his voice was gentle, compassionate. “After all the years, all the waste, there is only you and me now Jason, the last of our lines. There was a time I had a wife and four children, and like your kin the feud has claimed them all, one by one they've all been taken. This ends here, now, today.”
“It ain't over yet.” Snarled Jason. “Not while one of us still lives.”
“I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine.” Said Raymond quietly. “Someone I met not so long ago, she showed me another way to be, a way I never thought I could be. You treat this lady nice now, you hear me? Listen to what she has to say.”
“Bring her on in then.”
“I can't, you'll understand why when you see her. She's waiting for you in the parking lot.”
“What, and ten more waiting in the shadows?”
“No, just her, you have my word. We need an end to this thing. Too many lives have been lost, too many graveside gatherings. Too many brothers, sisters, children. All gone to a cause that never was, that never should have been. It ends here, today.”
Jason rose and followed Raymond outside. In the centre of the parking lot stood the fattest woman Jason had ever seen. Jason was built like a quarterback, but she must have outweighed him by at least a hundred and fifty pounds. For a fleeting moment he wondered if she were a threat to him, but quickly dismissed the idea, the aura of serenity about her made the very idea seem ridiculous. She smiled at Jason, and the whole world seemed to light up.
“Okay, say your piece lady, but this still ain't over yet.” Said Jason, and he fired a flinty glance in Raymond's direction.
The lady opened her mouth, but instead of talking she began to sing. Her voice beautiful, angelic, echoed around the parking lot. The nearby buildings began to shimmy as they thrummed to the sweet vibrations.
As the dulcet tones reached Jason's ears and drizzled into his brain, something changed inside him. He felt his whole body relaxing, softening as the hate inside him shrivelled and died. His shoulders slumped and he tried in vain to wipe the tears from his eyes, but failed to keep up with the flow as a lifetime of venom, heartache and suffering poured down his cheeks.
Jason walked over to Raymond and they grasped each other tightly. There was real love in that embrace, a forgiveness for the past, a hope for the future, for all the futures to come.
“Yeah.” Whispered Jason. “I guess it's finally over.”
©2014 Stephen. J. Green.