Little bitch. Thought I’d never find out. I found out all right. Oh yeah, I found out. Knew it from day one. Just kept my mouth shut. Knew it all along. Six months and counting now. Kept my trap shut about it. Sealed my lips. Think I’m crazy, don’t you? Think I’m pretty sad for sticking around. Keeping her. Hey, I know what I’m doing, man. Been waiting it out. That’s right. Patience is the best revenge. Fucking hard to do, man. But I been waiting it out. My girl’s been playing a game.
Too bad by my rules.
You know the best part? My girl’s been coming home late at night. Shit, the wee hours of the morn. Me all in bed like I’m sleeping when I’m not. Watching her in the dark, eyes squinty and all. Watching her peel her clothes off. Feeling those titties I’ve had in my mouth a thousand times brush against my arm as she gets into bed. I make believe like I’m waking up and all. Run my hands over her tight little body even though I know she been worked over by other hands not too long before. Course, she’s gotta lay there and take it. Then my prick gets hard and we fuck. I fuck her hard too, cause she can’t deny me. Can’t make me suspicious. I fuck her hard. There’s a nasty grin on my face. It’s too dark in the room for her to see it, and I laugh to myself when I whisper all sweet shit into her ear.
I know what her guy looks like. Passed him a few times out on the street. Once in a bar. He don’t know who I am. Don’t know me from Adam. Besides, I blend with the crowd. That’s my way. None too special on the outside. Just special on the inside. That’s what momma always told me. I was special on the inside. Nobody else quite like me. Took me awhile, but momma set me right. Told the truth. If she was still around, she’d be proud.
I know where my girl’s guy calls home. Some apartment. East side of town. Where trouble lives, at least that’s what they say. Gotta laugh when I hear that. See, I was born on the west side and made trouble too shit scared to stick around. That’s the only reason trouble lives there nowadays. On account of me.
I told you, patience is the best revenge. Been biding my time like a big old dog slobbering over a bone. Never get too tired of gnawing on it. Oh no. Not at all. Tastes sweeter the longer you work it over. Understand what I’m getting at now?
Paid her guy a visit today. Don’t look at me like that. I had to do it. Only so long you carry a charade. Look at me, using big words now and all. Yeah, momma would be proud. All grown up and I finally know what I want to be.
A better man.
Yeah, had a nice face to face with her guy and all. Told him the way I see things. Good thing to talk your grief out with another man. Real good being social. Separates us from the animals. Told him I didn’t appreciate him fucking my girl. He understood. Told him I didn’t appreciate him getting my girl home late at night. Not safe. Plus it ruins my night’s sleep, especially when I get up early and all to open the machine shop. Boss depends on me. Got to give a good example. Can’t do that with eyes half shut. He understood that, too. Real good being social, I told him. We’re getting somewhere.
Then I slugged him with the claw hammer I had under my coat.
Gonna leave a nasty mark. But you never know. He’s got long hair and all. Might just cover up the dent. I apologized to him. I have a conscious, you know. Yeah, I apologized. Except he couldn’t hear cause I knocked him cold. Hey, I tried. Counts for something, doesn’t it?
Dragged him into his bedroom. Spread him on the floor at the foot of his bed. Yeah, the same bed he been fucking my girl on. Gotta make that right somehow. Gotta balance things out. So I strip the pillowcase off a pillow. Maybe the same pillow my girl’s head been on? Maybe. Probably. Don’t matter anymore. Drop the pillowcase at my feet. Close my eyes and jerk off across it. Think of my girl as I do it. Feel closer to her somehow. Like we just had…what do you call it… a menash ah trah, or something like that. A three-way, for Christ sakes, is what I’m saying. When I’m all done, I shove the pillowcase into his mouth and gag him.
He’s stirring a bit. Coming around. See, I didn’t hurt him all that bad. I slam the claw hammer across his knee. Just to make sure he’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Eyes damn near pop from his head. I grab his throat good and tight. Just getting his attention. I think I got it. Tell him if he wants to walk again, he best stop flapping his arms and leg around. He listens. Good. I pull pliers from my back pocket. A box cutter from inside my boot. Then give him his choice. Your fucking fingernails come off one by one. Or I cut your dick off and shove it through your fucking eye socket.
I find a Heineken inside his fridge. Import shit. But it’s beer. And it’s cold. Bites the back of my throat a bit, and that’s all I want. I scrub my hands real good. Pulp going down the drain makes me laugh. That poor fucker never had no choices.
It’s gonna be a long night. But I can’t wait to see my girl later. Gonna fuck her. Kiss her hard. Look into her eyes. Tell her I love her. I really, really love her.
There’ll be a nasty grin on my face. It’s always too dark in the room for her to see it, and I’ll laugh to myself when I whisper all sweet shit into her ear.
~ Joseph A. Pinto
© Copyright 2013 Joseph A. Pinto. All Rights Reserved.
Heed the Tale Weaver: A year of decrepitude we have suffered at the clawing hands of our Damnlings; now the punishment is upon us. Come forth from the shadows, “WANDERER”, and claim from us our Damned souls as your prize!
Visit this wicked, wandering one at secondstaronther.wordpress.com
The beast he calls to me. Gnawing about far below.
It spells voracious hunger. Of defense I little know.
Scraping out of need; I struggle to resist.
“I am too young you fiend,”
“…but this you shouldn’t miss.”
Vile whisper through the crack manipulates my head,
“I’d like to taste the young…. sweet, succulently fed.
Your peaches and cream skin. A place lips and teeth can run”
A growl from his throat slips.
I scowl, “This for you so characteristically fun.”
“What give you to me in exchange?”
I reply a restraining of my voice.
A strength I do not know.
I’ve changed with little choice.
“I can the rest set free. Upon my word, I’ll leave.
When I am happy, well, and sated. I promise I will flee.”
My family at liberty from this nightly terror. What I could not think.
What happens had I made an error?
For who would trust a beast who feasts on others’ fears?
But bravely I trod on, thinking not of memories dear.
“You will wait then beast. While I do prepare. For my final hour, I’ll dress in finest fare.
The gown in which I’m dressed. Of beauty I’ll be proud. When you take my life, wrap me in crimson’s shroud.”
Joan of Arc awakened as a dream. She a flaming star.
To death’s halls marching as one it seemed. Taking from life’s chalice, one courage filled draught.
So easily it slips. A golden fragrant drop which hangs upon my lips.
He snarled. I grabbed his snout,
“This will be civilized.”
Pleasure struck a laugh that I could only but despise.
“for me this sense it is quite new.” He said between his teeth.
The smile that it drew he’d wish that he could keep.
I licked gold from her lips. She bit into my neck.
I tore her fragrant arm. Never renting crimson, lest I forget.
She ripped open my belly, spat out balls of flesh and fur.
I realized before her gold and velvet, I was a miserable cur.
“I will this not to end,” of course he’d want his way.
“Were we to continue a price you’d have to pay.”
He snarled of foulish pleasure.
“and your promise beast will it ensue?”
“I’ve never kept a promise. I assure you that is true.”
“Then I will finish what you started. Your promise will be won.
Here’s a revelation I’m no longer a mere woman.”
Fire leaped into her eyes, swords unveiled and forged of steel.
I’d failed to see her disguise. She brandished some foul light.
I should have known somehow, as she carved me with delight.
The floorboards gave a howl. They folded pulled me down.
Into my lake as ghoul, I’d forever, never drown.
What happened on that night. I never will forget.
A turning tide when crimson replaced the soul I’d let.
~ Leslie Moon
© Copyright 2013 Leslie Moon. All Rights Reserved.
Heed the Tale Weaver: The one-year anniversary of the Damned draws to a close…but the celebration of the Damned shall never end. The winner of our comment contest shall be named May 21; your package of ghoulish goodies awaits. In the meantime, revel weekly in our angst and taint. We thank you, Damned Nation, for together we shall redefine horror. Now, go Damn yourself…
“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them.”
– Ray Bradbury
The sexton of Barnestone Cemetery hears the hum of nearby street lamps before he sees them, lighting up the road like an airport runway. Their activation might be a nod to the whole city, which seems to shine brighter, bearing down on him and the shadows in which he stands. The darkness scatters from around him. Alone, he drowns in light.
Windows illuminate even the tallest buildings against the backdrop of night, interposed with glowing billboards, bearing pixelated faces with wide, white grins and hair the colour of gold. Skyscrapers scratch the clouds. The roads beneath are no better; red rivers of brake-lights stopping-starting by the bright glow of the street lamps, which shine harsher than any lamp should, flashing, always flashing, burning spots into his eyes, his soul, like a strip of old film reel, grown hot and ashen–
He turns sharply from the city, his hand shaking where it grips the metal gate. Flakes of black paint rub from the railings, floating slowly to the ground, as anger wells inside him. He can only imagine the sight he must make; a solitary figure, small, barely a speck on a patch of grass against the enormity of the city around him. And yet it is the little things that he misses; the stars in the sky, bedtime stories, the owls, which he had once used to watch for through the window with his father and a pair of black binoculars. Stars and stories mean different things now; glossy magazine spreads, lurid as the lights around him. The owls mean nothing at all. There are pictures online, if anyone knows to search for them, and footage from old documentaries. He even found bird bones once, inside an old oak tree. He buried them where Rowling rests, in a grave by the north gate. That which he once thought fitting now brings a lump to his tight throat.
He focuses on the flakes of paint and their delicate descent, his anger slowly settling with them. His grip on the railings relaxes. So much is dead. So much is gone. The world, the word, everything that mattered now mad, or meaningless. The old ways are almost forgotten. But he remembers. He remembers the rituals, the rites, in this place where they might still be found, if one only knows where to look.
Returning to his work, he secures the cast-iron gates with lock and key. Chains snake through the bars, which he shakes, to make sure they are secure. Moving along the railings, he repeats this at the north and south entrances. He has worked in the cemetery his whole life, as his father did before him, and is intimately familiar with the grounds. When he reaches the east gate, he does not lock it but stands and stares a little longer through the bars. The city blurs, light running down his cheeks, and it is several minutes before he comes to himself again.
With the gate ajar, he turns from the railings and walks slowly back through the headstones. Sirens scream in his ears, traffic roars, and above that the digitized voices of a hundred adverts, proclaiming their products to passers-by. He laps the graveyard twice, depositing flowers at certain graves – roses for Hawthorne, lilies for Stoker, a basket of poppies for Faulks – before turning back toward the mausoleums.
The squat, grey buildings mark the hallowed heart of the cemetery. Approaching the closest, he climbs cracked steps to the entrance. The weather has done terrible things to the architecture, which has suffered – bled marble blood – beneath electric storms and acid rain. It is still more beautiful than anything in the surrounding city. He supposes he has always seen beauty in dead, ruined things. Now he appreciates them because he must. Because there is nobody else. Because otherwise they mean nothing, and the sad, sorry world has won.
Unlocking the rusted gate, he slips inside. Strangely, it is not the cold that he first notices, or the dark, but the silence. Only his boots continue to make sound, where they scrape against smooth stone. For a minute he descends through total darkness, feeling his way along the walls. He moves slowly, so as not to slip. Fingers find grooves they have found many times before, then he sees faint light ahead; the fire from the brazier he keeps lit here. Reaching the bottom of the stairs, he steps into a small chamber. Words drift through his mind: sanctum, sepulcher, tomb. The fire paints shadow shapes across the walls.
He approaches the sarcophagus, which dominates the center of the shallow room. The cold, or perhaps the silence, prickles his skin, but he is not uncomfortable. Quite the opposite, he stares down at the lid and the human shape engraved there. It is a knightly figure; proud, learned, like no man or woman he would encounter now. People no longer talk to each other but at each other. They curse and croon; incoherent sounds for an incoherent age. Fuck flows like poetry from furious lips, except they do not know the meaning of poetry, have never heard it, never read it, can barely speak let alone read. Language is lost, buried beneath a weight of blasphemies, generations buried with it, bones broken beneath text speech, abbreviated brutality, bound conscious to the internet, the Ethernet, the Ethernot, no sense, no individuality, no life at all beyond the small black mirrors in their palms, the bright, gaudy billboards outside their apartment windows–
Movement at the bottom of the stairs makes him turn. A man is standing by the brazier. He is followed by an old woman, and moments later two more. Gradually the room begins to fill, until a dozen people stand around him. There is no need yet for conversation. He thinks they look sad, and excited, and tired, although he could just be seeing himself in their faces.
When the chamber is full and everyone still, he removes the lid from the sarcophagus. The lid is made from marble, and it takes six of them to slide it from its place. Once, he thinks, as he applies himself to the task, it was a sin to disrupt the dead. Now it is required; a necessary necromancy, such that the written word might live again, that they might read, as writing was intended to be read. Together they lower the lid through the silence, resting it carefully against the ground. Reaching through the grave dust, he places his hand in the sarcophagus. When he lifts it up, he is holding a book.
There is no speech, no revolutionary jargon or ancient incantation. It is enough that those assembled can see the book, with its worn spine, faded font and tired, tattered pages. It has been a month since they last met; a month trapped in their wayward, prostituted world, and the sight of the volume is a visible weight from their shoulders.
As he opens the book to the first pages, some people sink cross-legged to the floor. Others perch on short statues, or lean against the walls. Firelight captures attentive faces, and in that moment, seeing their eyes shining back at him, he feels one thing, so powerful it is almost overwhelming; the rare, quiet rush of relief. They are a group; his group, the last literary coven. If it is necromancy to commune with the dead, to raise written spirits from their tomes, then they are necromancers; not death-dealers or charlatans but people, just people, who would read together and remember in this graveyard, this forgotten place, this library for the dead.
“We read,” he says quietly, remembering an old quote from a book buried now beneath a grave marked Lewis, “to know we are not alone.” Then he opens his mouth, draws breath, begins reading from the pages in his hands, and twelve people listen patiently, and for a chapter or two in a cold, dark tomb know peace.
~ Thomas Brown
© Copyright 2013 Thomas Brown. All Rights Reserved.
Heed the Tale Weaver: Celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Damned. Through May 7, 2013, upon each new post, a comment you will leave. A package of ghoulish goodies tainted with an offering from every member of the Damned awaits one fated winner – glorious books, personalized stories and eternal suffering at your feet. Now Damn yourself, make your mark below! But remember insolent ones, you must leave a comment, a “like” will not earn you a chance at our collection of depravity. Do not make the Damned hunt you down.