|Posted by gwermon on May 13, 2013 at 3:10 PM||comments (0)|
For the interest of my avid readers, we just drafted the climax of Book 7! It won’t be long now before we turn our attention to another project! In the meantime, here is the third part of our myth of creation:
Of the Time Before Creation, Part 3
The text continues in a different hand, and likely a different time; further, there is a gap between the previous text and where this text begins, suggesting that one or more pages might be missing, lost in the interim, or deliberately remove by persons unknown and reasons unknown. Without the missing material, it is not possible to determine which. . . .
The time soon came that Elker and Guengle and their followers could no longer hide their minds, if they ever could, and their discord became open rebellion. A battle was fought in our first home, in which Elker, Guengle, and their followers were driven from our first home. Elker would lead them all, but Guengle refused to accept his leadership, and the second battle of the heavens raged across the empty Void. This second battle differed from the first, in that we simply drove them out of our first home while they tried to annihilate each other. The fires and ice of their conflict filled the Void with flickering lights that are said still to be visible today. When only a handful remained on each side, the futility of their fight was suddenly realized; they collected all that remained and went their separate ways. For an age, there was silence in the Void.
We turned from their battle, and the silence of the Void, and took thought for how we would bring into being the things we had created in the song of our vision. When the age of silence had passed, Great God nodded, and we went into the Void to begin our labors. Each sang the song of his or her aspect, beginning with earth, a low, rumbling song of foundations, followed by the flowing middle harmony of water, culminating with the high, soaring voices of air. In the Void before us coalesced the forces that we sang, but they were three separate spheres of earth, water, and air. We then began the intermingling of these forces by the interweaving of our voices, some earth singing with air, some with water, some alone; some water with air, some water alone, and some air alone. And the mingling of our voices caused the mingling of the forces in their separate masses before us: air raised earth and water to the heights, making mountains and rain; water flowed down the mountains, carving them into new forms, cascading down and mixing with air, pooling to form lakes and oceans whipped into whitecaps by the movement of air. Thus the world of our second home was formed and we contemplated what we had created, ceasing to sing. Mountains stopped growing, water collected into lakes and oceans, and the wind ceased to blow. All was silent. The renewal of our singing restarted the motions on our new world of earth, water, and air, but no blending or alteration in our song altered the motions established or created the new forms we had seen in our vision. Our voices trailed away into silence; we returned after a time to our first home to ask Great God why.
Great God nodded and replied, “Something is missing.”
“What?” we asked.
“Watch,” He said, pointing into the Void where our new world rested.
We turned to observe, and waited, as we had been taught, watching for what might happen.
Elker was the first to notice our work, and the first to try and destroy it. He and his few remaining followers tried to burn our new world, but they were too few and could only melt some mountains, turn some water to steam, and had little effect on air, only warming it, causing it to rise and move. Frustrated in their efforts to destroy our new world, Elker and his followers dove into our new globe, descending to the center and thinking they could destroy it from within, but again, they were too few, only succeeding in melting our new world’s core, their fires setting the new world into motion.
At this point, Guengle discovered our new world, and with her followers, who outnumbered Elker’s by ten to one, also tried to destroy it, lashing it with frost. Although greater in number, they only succeeded in freezing the mountains Elker melted, freezing the steam, turning it to snow and ice and by the cooling of air, caused the frozen water to fall back to the surface. Their attempt to destroy our new world caused the top and bottom of our new world to freeze into polar ice caps, and the interaction of cold with the heat of Elker’s fires which caused our new world to spin, caused our new world to wobble and created seasons of cold and seasons of heat.
And Great God smiled. “Even in their rebellion, Elker and Guengle add to the beauty and wonder of our creation.”
We understood, and new thoughts came to us from our Father. We went to our new world, and with the aid of our Father, we sealed Elker and his followers inside the core of our globe. Elker and his followers raged, but could not leave the prison we had created for them. Again, with Great God’s help, we trapped Guengle and her followers in the polar ice caps, some of them north, but most of them south with Guengle. Guengle and her followers raged, but could not leave the prison in which we encased them.
We watched for an age, contemplating the beauty and motions of our new world. At the end of the age, we remembered other forms we had created in our original song, and Great God nodded; we went down to our new globe again, raising our voices in new, subtle harmonies, and trees sprang up from the surface of our new globe, their varieties as varied as our voices and covering our new world. We continued our song, and plants sprang up beneath the trees, some growing into bushes, some producing flowers, some growing into small trees that produced a multitude of fruits, the trees, plants, shrubs, and flowers as varied as our voices. And Great God smiled; for another age, we contemplated what our voices had brought into being.
From their prisons, Elker and Guengle raged, and their rages rose to the surface, descended from the poles, burning and freezing the trees and plants. And again, their rebellions added to the beauty of our new world, causing some trees in the cold to turn brilliant colors and drop their leaves, carpeting the ground. Other forms of trees grew thick needles to withstand the Guengle’s cold, new forms arising from Guengle’s rebellion. At the equator of our new world, the heat of Elker caused rapid growth, and greater rain; new trees and plants, bearing fruit and flowers, which came from Elker’s rebellion. And Great God smiled; we paused to contemplate our new world for an age, caught in the wonder of so many new forms.
After another age of contemplation, Great God spoke: “You have done well, my children, but there is more you can do.”
New thoughts and new, more subtle harmonies came into our minds; we descended to our new world and began to sing new songs. The intricate weaving of our voices filled the rivers, lakes, and oceans with a multitude of creatures that swam beneath the surface, painted with a myriad of bright colors; our voices filled the skies over our new world with creatures that flew through the air, with pleasant voices that echoed with our songs; our voices covered the dry land with creatures that walked, ran, crawled, and burrowed. As before Elker and Guengle raged from their prisons, and the raging of fire and ice across our world added more creatures to the waters, the air, and the earth, creatures that could survive the cold of the poles and the heat of the equator; and we again marveled at how their rebellious voices added to rather than taking from the beasts, birds, and fishes, offspring of our thoughts and voices. And Great God smiled; we paused again to contemplate our new world for an age, watching the beasts, birds, and fishes multiply and fill our new world with life.
When the age of contemplation passed, Great God spoke: “Again, you have done well, my children, but there is more to do, and it will be our last effort before you enter and dwell in the world we have made.”
New thoughts came into our minds, and we returned, at first separating into our individual aspects. Over the water some sang, over the salty oceans, their melodies and harmonies intricate; new forms emerged, the wedorem were born, creatures of salt water, and some of this group went down into these new creatures, giving them life and thought. A second group of water sang over the lakes and rivers, and new forms were born, the pludorem, creatures of fresh water, and some of this group went down into these creatures, giving them life and thought. Over the earth some sang, their melodies and harmonies intricate; new forms emerged, the themen were born, creatures of earth, and some went down and into these new creatures, giving them life and thought. Over the air some sang, their melodies and harmonies intricate; new forms emerged, the awem, creatures of air, and some of this group went down into these new creatures, giving them life and thought. Those of us who remained sang in combination with other aspects: earth and air combined, creating the awemem, some of each group inhabiting these forms, giving them life and thought. Water and air combined, creating the vedem, some of this group inhabiting these forms, giving them life and thought. Earth and water combined, creating the wethem, our own ancestors, and some of this group inhabited these forms giving them life and thought. The many of us who remained contemplated our work, and Great God smiled, then spoke.
“My children, you will all have your turn to enter these last forms, some sooner, some later.”
While we watched, Elker and Guengle walked among our new creations, our brothers and sisters who had gone down to live in our new world, capturing some of them and warping them with fire and ice. With fire, Elker turned awem into aperum, vedem into wedaterem, and wethem into purem. With ice, Guengle turned themen into ghelem, wedorem into morgle, pludorem into pleugle, and awemem into preusawi, these last failing to survive. Into these warped creatures Elker and Guengle sent their followers, to give them life and thought, instilling them with a hatred for the pure forms. Thus, war was introduced into our new world, and that war has raged ever since, until the chosen of the One come and seal Elker and Guengle into the Void, removing their influence from our world, and giving us peace. . . .
Here the manuscript ends; it is apparent to us that this version of creation lacks many important details, becoming vague at the end and failing to explain the source of many creatures of which we are aware, like the huge variety among the creatures of air, collapsing them all into the aperum–good and evil–making no mention of the many creatures we encountered in the air realm of Shigmar’s tomb. Nor does it give any reason why the corrupted awemem did not survive, although it does name them. We are left with a multitude of questions, in particular the source of creatures like the krugle, megatrem, moroskum, and so forth.
|Posted by gwermon on May 6, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Here comes the second part of our myth of creation:
Of the Time Before Creation, Part 2
Both groups returned to our company at the same time, and we had not been idle in their absence, learning that by combining our voices new forms were made. By combining earth and water, new things sprouted from the globe, their forms according to each pair’s combined thought. When the voices of air were added, these new forms grew, some reaching for the sky above, some producing vibrant colors–trees, flowers, grass, and bushes sprouted across our globe as we sang in harmony, growing and multiplying as our wonder and awe grew.
At the moment of our greatest wonder and singing, Elker and his followers sang in their new voices of fire, burning to white ash all that we had raised. Guengle and her followers, not yet in league with Elker, sang with their new voices of cold, freezing our new creations and bursting them into white crystalline powder. We were at first stunned by the suddenness of their two discords, and let our voices fall, but Great God nodded and we raised our voices again in opposition to the rebellious discord of our brothers and sisters, opposing their voices of fire and ice with our voices of earth, water, and air. And out of the battle of our voices, new forms were created, unforeseen by any of us, least of all Elker and Guengle, whose only purpose had been to disrupt us. Out of the battles between earth and fire, earth melted and flowed, cold blasted the molten earth, creating crystals and gemstones in many new colors and shapes, some crystal clear, some hard, some pliable, some jagged and sharp, some round and smooth, all increasing the wonder and awe of our new, unforeseen creations. Water battled fire and steam rose and formed clouds, carried around our globe by air and fire created wind. Cold blasted these newly-formed clouds and rain turned to snow; cold blasted water and ice formed; cold blasted the trees and water withdrew to prevent the trees from shattering. Some trees’ leaves turned from green to brilliant reds, golds, and browns, falling to the earth and blanketing the ground with their colors. Other trees put forth more energy, creating more needles to surround the trunk in an evergreen blanket of insulation.
When these battles had proceeded for an age, Great God held up His hand for silence, and for a second age we contemplated the awful wonder of our new creations. Softly, as we were still caught in the wonder of what our battles had produced, Great God whispered, “Even your rebellion has only increased the beauty and wonder of your creations.”
Elker and his followers, and Guengle and her followers, flamed and frosted their respective voices in anger that they had contributed to rather than disrupted our Father’s designs for our music. We raised our voices to cover and calm them, and again, Great God raised His hand for silence; we all fell silent.
We sat for an age contemplating Great God’s words while the rebels brooded. Our globe returned as before to its perfect state, its surface smoothing, the lights falling, the flows smoothing.
Again, Great God broke the silence of our contemplation. “Greater things than even these you have made are yet possible. What more can you bring to life if you further collaborate?”
We again took thought and into our minds came images of things not yet imagined. We began again to give voice to our thoughts, more subtle, more concerted than before, and shapes arose on our globe, shapes that moved about the surface of our globe, some so small they could hardly be seen, others so large that their walking shook the surface; still others soared through the sky above, still others swam through the waters, all things of beauty and grace.
Elker and his followers and Guengle and her company both watched for a time, gazing at what we had created. As if by common consent, both groups took some of our forms and added both flame and frost, corrupting the new forms into creatures of their own malice, beasts that attacked and slew our creations, staining the surface of our globe red as their new beasts of fang and horn consumed the creatures of our thought. And Elker and his followers and Guengle and her followers laughed at the destruction. And Great God frowned but did not raise His hand.
We altered our singing voices and infused our creatures with defenses–hoof and horn, tooth and skin–and fewer of our creations were slain and consumed while many of theirs were slain. They started to alter their voices when Great God raised His hand for silence. We sat for an age contemplating the new wonder and thinking of new ways to protect them from Elker and Guengle’s corruptions. Great God saw all our thoughts and smiled.
When the age had passed, Great God spoke: “Again, your rebellions have only increased the beauty and wonder of our creations.”
Elker and his followers, and Guengle and her followers again raised their voices in anger and frustration, that they had again contributed to our designs rather than thwarting them. Again, Great God raised His hand for silence.
“All your attempts to rebel will eventually rebound to enhance the greater good and increase my glory–this is the way of all things.”
We sat for another age contemplating Great God’s words, trying to understand how Elker and Guengle, and their followers, attempts to corrupt, disrupt, and destroy increased the beauty of our designs. We communed, first in small groups, later in larger groups and across our aspects, until we understood. The greatest among us, first thought of Great God, Elos, whose mind was a mirror of Great God’s, voiced our new understanding.
“Father, we see that everything must have its opposite: without the darkness of the Void, the light of our globe would not shine.”
And Great God smiled.
And while we contemplated, the rebels brooded, still angered by–to them–their failures. They, too, communed with each other, called a truce between their opposing aspects, and concluded that they must again dissemble their purposes before us, looking for a better time and place to wreak havoc on all that we might do. Elker spoke first.
“Father, we are sorry for what we have done and wish to aid you in your work.”
Guengle added her assent, speaking for her aspect.
Great God nodded. “Behold!” He pointed to the Void. “See what your voices have wrought!”
We saw all our creations–land, sea, sky; trees and plants; beast, bird, and fish–in the Void before us, a beautiful blue-green world riding on the bosom of the Void. We were again struck with awe at what we had, through our voices, created. And we saw new forms, distinct from those we created, moving across the world wrought of our thoughts and voices. And our wonder grew as we understood that these new creatures were us, when we would be clothed in mortal flesh, and the vision closed. Great God smiled at our awestruck silence. In us, desire grew–desire to give material form to what we had seen, desire to give material forms to ourselves, desire to experience mortal life.
The former rebels had different thoughts; in them grew a lust for power and dominion, a desire to rule all we had seen in our Father’s vision. And in their thoughts they remembered how their rebellions had turned to good and they remembered their frustrations. They communed together apart from us, having somehow mastered the ability to close the rest of us from their thoughts. In their communal lust for power awoke new thoughts: the way to this power could only be had through cunning and guile. “We must be model children,” someone said, possibly Elker or Guengle. “We must dissemble ourselves and our purposes until the time is right.”
And Great God spoke. “My children, you must prepare yourselves to make all that you have seen. You must prepare to go down into our creation, leaving our presence to take on mortal flesh. You will experience much joy and sorrow, living and dying before returning to our presence. But even that may not be possible, as clothing yourselves in mortal flesh is perilous, and few will be able to pass the test of life without help. One of you must go down and give his or her essence to break the barrier that will separate all who go down from our presence, for once this world is made, once you decide to go down, the Void will draw you and our world into the depths of time and space, cutting you off from our home and presence, else the mortal world could not be, nor the knowledge and experiences you will gain as you pass through mortality. The cost will be great, more than you can pay alone, but the rewards–knowledge and wisdom–greater than you can, at this time, conceptualize. Ponder these things before deciding.”
Elos spoke. “What is this knowledge and wisdom that we will gain should we choose this course?”
Great God nodded. “If you pass the test, you will join our ranks, and become like us.”
Elos spoke again. “Father, you are not alone?”
Great God smiled. “No, my son, we are legion, as great in number as the limitless Void; we are without end.”
The text breaks off at this point, and when it continues, a different hand writes what follows, lending credence to our supposition that it was not written by Shigmar, but after. The use of the term ‘Great God’ did not originate with the Founders; all records from the time, if they refer to Him at all, call Him ‘Father’ or ‘The One.’ This descriptor of the One came into use at the beginning of the second millennium, persisted for several centuries, and then disappeared, reverting to ‘The One’. It is our opinion that whoever copied this text from the original, altered the text to suit his own needs, sometime between atno 1000 and atno 1500, roughly, although some argue for a later date, since the term never appears in the writings of Headmaster Sheldu or Fereghen Wulfrik.
Coming next week–the final part of our myth of creation!
|Posted by gwermon on April 29, 2013 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
This week I would like to begin a retelling of my world’s creation myth, which will probably become the Prologue to the seventh book of The Redemption series; what follows is the first installment.
Of the Time Before Creation, Part 1
The following excerpt is from Lectures of the Headmasters, Shigmar Volume, and deals with the time before our world was formed, although its style suggests someone after Shigmar wrote it and added it to the work stated above. Others feel that it could have been written by Shigmar at a very early date, which would lend authenticity to this myth of creation. Regarding the source of this myth, we have no information; if it was written by Shigmar early in his tenure as Headmaster, he never shared the source with anyone, and no mention of it is found in any other writing of the Founders. However, Sedra Thalamar has claimed that he read something by Melbarth that included a reference to this work, but he was unable to find his source–another of the many records lost in the cataclysms of the Great Year.
We lived before creation in Great God’s presence, on the world called “The Great Globe,” a clear white sphere filled with light. We were the children of His thought and the light filling our first home. We gave utterance to the thoughts that were in us by singing without language, for there was no other language but music in the beginning. Each voice of our infinite number expressed the thoughts of Great God, given to each by our formation in His thoughts and the light of our Mother. Some voices soared high, flying in the expanse of the Void surrounding our first home, carrying light to sparkle in the empty heavens. Others were soft, soothing voices, flowing around our first home, weaving light with the smooth flows of their voices. These offspring of Great God’s thought became by choice female, voices of air and water. Still other voices sank deep into the globe of our first home, rumbling through the depths, shaking the surface beneath our feet. These offspring of Great God’s thought became by choice male, voices of earth. The rumbling of our first home altered the flows of air in the heavens, causing winds to blow, and where the voices of air and water combined, water was lifted by air and fell back upon the shuddering globe as rain that formed streams and rivers flowing across the face of our first home, gathering and returning to the seas from which it has been lifted. And Great God smiled.
Our voices increased in volume, sending the light higher, water rising and falling more quickly, the ground beneath our feet shaking more vigorously, surface of the sea troubled, waves rising higher, winds more furious, whipping more water higher in the air, creating music all its own. The vigorous rumblings of the earth voices raised mountains and sank valleys in the surface of our globe, both formed of clear, light-filled crystal, mountains that interrupted the flows of air and water, valleys collected more of the flowing water, creating great lakes and wide rivers, and in the heavens, more stars and planets shone bright against the Void. Great God smiled again and raised his hands for silence. Our voices ceased but the music and motion we had caused upon our globe continued for a time, and for a time we watched, filled with awe at what our voices had created. An age passed while we sang; an age passed while we watched the awful consequences of our singing, but our mother globe and father light were perfect, returning to their prior perfection: stars fell, water flowed back into light, the surface of the globe smoothed and returned to her perfect shape, the Void again empty, and silence returned. For another age we pondered in silence what our voices had wrought, and Great God smiled, knowing all our thoughts and our awestruck wonder at what we had witnessed.
When the age of silent meditation passed, Great God spoke in the silence. “A good start, my children; you have learned the power of your voices: what might you achieve if you combined your voices?”
New thought and new wonder filled our minds, and we mingled with each other, finding those whose new thoughts were similar. But there were some who were not filled with wonder at our creations; instead, they were filled with pride at what they had accomplished, each believing theat he, himself, or she, herself, had wrought the beauty alone. These refused to collaborate with us, thinking to find the secret power that must lie behind the beauty. The males of this group, led by one called Elker, dove into our globe, seeking the source of its power. The females, led by one called Guengle, were fascinated by the Void, soaring into its emptiness to discover its secrets. And Great God saw them both, all their thoughts, all the pride that filled them, laid bare to His keen sight, and Great God frowned. We did not see them leave, nor did we see Great God frowned, only the foremost among us, one called Elos, saw them leave and saw Great God frown.
Elker and his followers descended into the heart of our globe, and the light grew brighter and hotter. They were all singed by the heat, a thing none of us had known until they dared to descend. The heat grew, burning them black, changing their appearance forever. The weakest fell away first, unable to endure the heat, and the deeper the strongest went, the darker they became, their forms melting, becoming part of the fires that burned at the heart of our globe. Only Elker reached the center, and the agony of his burning never left him, but the ecstasy of his discovery–the living fire–filled him with pride and desire. He returned and gathered his followers, berating them for their weakness, showing them his secret, instructing them to dissemble themselves before us and Great God, waiting for the right moment to act. Some were shamed by his words, shamed by their rebellion against our Father and Mother. They left Elker’s company, some of them repenting and begging forgiveness of Great God, which He freely granted, while a few of them ascended into the Void, allowing themselves to be frozen, shattering and becoming part of the Void, the first of Great God’s children to cease to exist. And a red tear fell from Great God’s left eye, boiling away before rolling down His cheek.
Elker and his followers re-clothed themselves in light and returned to our company. But they looked, to our eyes, not as bright as before, the light subdued by the blackness of their hearts and minds.
At the same time, Guengle and her followers ascended into the Void, also seeking secret power and knowledge. They were assailed by emptiness and cold, a cold fire that burned, an emptiness that consumed. Color drained from them, and they turned empty white, and the further they traveled into the Void, the emptier and whiter they became, and like the males who rebelled, the weakest stopped first, the strongest continued, and only Guengle reached the heart of the Void and returned, heart and mind forever frozen, empty of all warmth and feeling, but filled with pride and desire. They too, disembled themselves before us and Great God, hiding their secret and saving it for a better moment. Some were shamed by her words and their rebellion against our Father and Mother, and they, too, left Guengle’s company, some of them repenting and begging forgiveness of Great God, which He freely granted, while a few of them ascended into the Void, allowing themselves to be unmade. And a blue tear fell from Great God’s right eye, freezing and shattering before it rolled down his cheek.
Guengle and her followers re-clothed themselves in light and returned to our company. But they looked not as bright to our eyes as before, the light paled by the white emptiness of their hearts and minds.
Tune in next week for part 2. . . .
|Posted by gwermon on April 22, 2013 at 2:05 PM||comments (0)|
For those of my readers who might find it interesting, this week’s post is a record of a typical day, or the routine I follow, in order to answer the needs of all parts of the writer’s fractured personality. . . . (Oh, ha ha! So very droll this morning, aren’t we! Stay focused!) Recall that we said ‘typical day,’ although in reality there are no typical days, since there are always interruptions (the phone rings, and a recorded voice tells me for the millionth time that ‘this is your last chance to lower your interest rates’–if so, why do they continue to interrupt the flow?), distractions (pain–I can only sit for so long before the aching joints, muscles, & bones, force me to rise and wander, haunting the short hallways of our empty–but for me–home), and the inevitable appointments with the local tribal shaman, to prescribe new concoctions that fail to do anything more than make one an addict or sick (sicker than one is already, we hasten to add). Barring these external incursions into our schedule, what follows in a typical work day. Enjoy!
A Day in the Life of the Poet/Novelist
Sometime between 5 and 7am, consciousness penetrates the sleep-fogged mind, and slowly, ever so slowly, the light invades our repose (along with the pain and stiffness associated with several hours of horizontalness) and forces us into a sitting position, where we fumble with masks, hoses, machines, somehow managing to stand and stumble into the master bath, where we are greeted by joy and happiness incarnate as she prepares for another day with her Fifth-grade class. We drag on some disreputable clothing, fire-up the desktop, and try to clear our vision with the ‘good word.’ We follow this with our morning prayer, giving extra thanks to Deity for the fact that we woke up this morning above ground, no one throwing dirt and gravel into our face. We continue our stumble downstairs, discovering the house is empty, and echoes hollowly, so we fill the echoes with something short and funny (like an aardvark’s adventures, perpetually in 3rd grade) while we re-fuel. We return to our upstairs office, load up the media player, crank out some tunes (we are currently listening to Chicago, as that is where we happen to be in our library of classic rock). This gets the blood flowing, clears our vision (once we have put those tiny bits of blue-tinted plastic into our eyes), and gives the impetus to change out of our disreputable house clothes and into something comfortable; the day begins.
Back in the office, we lower the volume to something that serves as background, keeping that distractable part of our mind distracted (Oh, ha ha, again!). We do some ‘scholarly work’, to keep that part of ourself active (we are currently studying Prof. Nibley’s works), and bring our laptop out of hibernation, turning our attention to the current chapter (we are working on Chapter 17 of Book 7 of The Redemption series–nearly to the dramatic conclusion! [it’s about time!]). We draft for as long as we can sit still, or until the limited energy supplies are expended, forcing us to stand, get the blood flowing again by some physical activity (like trimming roses, watering the garden, or cleaning something). We drag ourself back to ‘Frankenchair’–it would make sense if you saw our desk chair, a skeleton with missing feet!–draft some more, until just before lunch time, where we drag our old bones on a ‘stumble’ around the neighborhood, and return for another refueling session while watching something thought provoking (like a documentary on UFOs, Bigfoot [something sensible!], or Egyptian archeology, where we argue with the fallacious opinions of the so-called scholars).
We return to our upstairs lair, and if we have any poems drafted, we revise and enter these into the computer, further honing them; also, we spend time in the afternoon editing books (we are currently doing a final edit on Book 4, The Rod of Melbarth, to be published as soon as we finish, and our artist finishes the cover; she is currently working on a new cover for Book 1, since our original cover was one that we made ourself, and we are a hack artist at best). We are driven from the chair sooner, so we resort (when the weather is not too hot or too cold–our ‘two’ seasons!) to our back patio and compose poetry and read (we just finished A Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis). During this time, our two daughters return–one from high school, one from nannying–and since our brains have by this time turned to mush, we divert ourself with some computer game, depending on our mood (we are enjoying breaking bricks as Batman). We gather downstairs, turn on some TV (watching myths get busted), and try to invent something sensible, healthy, and available (this is key–most often, we are inventing new dishes from limited supplies) for dinner, and the teacher comes home, usually needing some time to ‘vent’ the latest school shenanigans (tests, tests, and more tests, with little time for instruction).
Once dinner and the venting are over, we resort to our in-house spa, enjoy some hot water, getting clean in the process, and gather again for more scripture study and prayer. We follow this with some amusing show or film (we are currently watching Bond, James Bond, along with a bunch of animated, silly monster movies). During this viewing time, one daughter leaves for bed (before the film gets done), the other procrastinates her dishes chore until the last possible moment, and the teacher falls asleep, requiring our waking her up to go to bed properly. We wrestle ourself to sleep . . . until the new day imposes on our repose, and it starts all over again. . . .
|Posted by gwermon on April 13, 2013 at 2:10 PM||comments (0)|
For those of my readers who have been waiting patiently, the wait is over! Book 3 of The Redemption is now available! This third book in the series, The Morgle Unmasked can be purchased from Amazon, Smashwords, and other ebook retailers.
Also, for those of my readers who lived and grew-up in the great north woods, in the north Idaho logging town of Priest River, we have published a collection of poems entitled, Ode to a Stump Farm: Fragments of Memory Lost. This collection can be found at Amazon, Smashwords, and other ebook retailers.
Information on these, and the rest of my books, can be found on my website. Visit us, like us, and share us will all your friends!
|Posted by gwermon on April 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
We progress slowly but surely to the end of Book 7, and the end of The Redemption series; we have made good progress in recent weeks, and look forward to finish this book and series, upon which we have worked for a quarter of a century. We saw this week for the first time a nearly finished cover for Book 3, which will be soon released for all of those waiting patiently. In the meantime, here is the tragic conclusion to “The Hunger.” Enjoy!
“The Hunger, Part 4"
Two weeks dragged by, guilt tormenting me, before the hunger returned to take control of my actions. Again, I tried flight. Into my shattered mind came a picture of the hut of a villager, who some claimed possessed supernatural powers. I think she was a shaman. Reflecting back on the events, I see that the picture was planted in my mind by my tormentors, placed there ensuring I take the next step on the road to demoralize me, to change me into a monster. I staggered into her hut, wild and babbling in my madness. She led me to a place by her fire, obviously expecting my appearance. I begged her to help me. She offered a drink of bitter tea, which, being out of my mind, I accepted and drank. My insides froze as if filled with ice. The hunger, delighted in the cold, grew, renewing the pain in me. The witch cackled, signaling someone out of my view. I watched, incapacitated by pain. She opened and dipped her fingers in a jar, then raked her long nails across my neck. The four parallel cuts burned, feeding the flames of guilt. My true self, what little remained, cowered in fear as the titans of guilt and hunger lashed me with fire and ice. Someone carried me back to the stone building.
For a short time, I fled and hid from the incarnations of guilt and hunger. But as before, my solace did not last. I felt something strapped around my forehead. I suddenly sat bound to a chair, the incarnations of guilt and hunger, in the forms of Rachel and Trina, stood before me. Guilt spoke first.
“Since you now have been unfaithful, and since we sinned together, I wonder how many others there were before we met and you stole my virginity?”
“None! Nor did I compromise you--it is a lie fabricated by this she-devil!” I pointed to the Trina-hunger. Neither woman seemed interested in anything I had to say.
“Let’s open some more locked doors,” Trina said.
As before, scenes from my past, altered, played before me. In each dream sequence, I drank the blood of some girl I dated in the past. In one scene, I stalked an unwilling girl, who begged me to stop. The Rachel-guilt exploded to flame, surrounding and burning me for my supposed sins. I tried to fight it, failed in my weakened condition, and drank the blood of Trina Barrett as she drank mine.
“It would be simpler if you’d just accept it,” she said, smirking as she pushed herself off me. I stiffened and screamed, watching them smoke and mumble, “Dreams,” to each other as the puffed their way into insensibility.
The hunger came again after a week. I tried to resist, gave in, and went to her. Afterwards, guilt consumed me. Three days later, it happened again. And two days later. Then, everyday. Two weeks passed with the hunger coming each day, satisfied each night by Nurse Barrett. But instead of the guilt lessening over time, it became as all consuming as the hunger. By night I would drink the blood of Trina Barrett. By day, I ran aimlessly through the jungle, screaming at the trees, seared by the fire of guilt. At the conclusion of the second week, Trina took the locket from around her neck and placed it around my neck. In less than three months, I had been broken. My high moral standards had been eroded and washed away by a flood of uncontrollable hunger. The parson, my parents, and others were fully right--once the door was cracked there was no closing it. A message was sent, the jeep came to collect me, and Nurse Barrett bid me a fond farewell.
“It has been nice tasting you.” Her smirk told me she meant something other than what she said. As the jeep carried me away, I heard Nurse Barrett whisper “dreams,” followed by the echoes of her laughter.
But those who planned and accomplished my ruin had not finished with me yet--I had not drunk the cup of bitterness to its dregs. As is normal with the military, things moved slowly. I was delayed for day while being examined at an army field hospital. When night fell, the hunger came, and with it, a vision of what I must do. I left my room and stalked the halls, seeking a victim. I found her, sitting alone at a nurse’s station, reading a magazine. I opened the locket, breathed on the insect, bringing it to life. It jumped into my hand, glowing with red light. The nurse looked up, noticing the light in my hand.
“What’s that?” she asked, trying to see what I held.
“Show me.” She leaned over my hand. The glowing insect leapt onto her neck, bit her, and leapt back to my hand. I placed it back in the locket. The nurse moaned once before fainting. I caught and carried her to an empty room where I tried to satisfy the hunger by drinking her blood. As her blood touched my tongue, I knew how Nurse Barrett had duped me--I saw the pleasant, erotic dream this nurse was having. I acted in the same way the man in her dreams acted. When we finished, I left her where she lay and crept quietly back to my room. Guilt lashed me as I lay, tortured on my bed. The hunger returned after an hour, as strongly as before. I returned to the room where I left the nurse. She lay in a swoon on the bed. I drank her blood again, becoming another man in her dreams. Recalling that my first “dreams” came in trios, I waited until the hunger returned, drank her blood a third time, becoming a third man in her dreams. She sighed, the wound closed, and slept more soundly on the bed. I ran back to my room, consumed by guilt and screaming my voice raw. They sedated me, thinking I was reliving some horror of the field.
When I revived many hours later, they put me on a plane to Hawaii, where I stopped for debriefing. The hunger came and with it, the worst indignity I could possibly imagine. I was trapped in an army compound populated only by men. I tried to leave the compound and failed, turned back by a pair of grinning MPs. I did what I could to relieve the pain, but without blood, I could not satisfy the hunger. Madness at the pain took me screaming and running about the compound. No one noticed; no one came to sedate me. I stopped suddenly before the only lighted window, saw a young soldier, a clerk, working at some project. I saw what I must do, driven insane by the hunger. I breathed the insect to life and went in. The clerk looked up, boyish features, startled by my sudden entrance. Before he could protest, I held my hand to his neck. The insect, glowing more orange than red, bit him and leapt into my hand. The young clerk sighed, slumping into his chair. I put my lips to the wound, drinking his blood, and saw his dream. I shrank from what I saw, but the mad hunger forced me to fulfill his wishes. Three times I drank his blood and three times I fulfilled his perverted fantasies. I screamed at the heavens, filled with more guilt than before. My religious past, revolted by my acts, lashed and burned me more fiercely than the guilt of being unfaithful to my Rachel. I ran screaming toward the gate and the grinning MPs.
“Please!” I begged. “Shoot me! I’ll run out of the gate and you can say he was shot while trying to go AWOL!”
They grinned and laid their rifles aside. I ran at them, but was no match for even one of them. They easily held me struggling between them. A third soldier came out of the guardhouse, holding a large hypodermic. Without stopping to sterilize my shoulder, he jammed the needle in, pumping in the sedative. Blackness silenced the guilt lashing my broken mind.
When I came to, I was in a jetliner over the Pacific, on my way home. I had layovers, planned no doubt by my tormentors, in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. In each airport, I stalked another victim, drank the blood of each and lived three of their dreams--two women and one man. Afterwards, in each place, guilt and madness followed with someone coming to sedate me and put me on my next flight.
I’m nearly home--the hunger grows within. I ache to see my Rachel, but fear what she will see in me. I cannot conceal my “illness” from her and simply feed on her each night--she hasn’t enough blood for that, nor do I possess the means of inflicting her with the same disease--at least we could satisfy each other. And what will Rachel think, when I return from my nightly feeding, howling with madness? I can hardly believe there will be agents of my tormentors on hand to sedate me, bring me home, and explain to the authorities what happened to my victim. If Rachel does not have me locked away, the authorities will. I’d be in a cell unable to stalk and feed nightly. Remembering my torment when I tried to resist the hunger, I cannot imagine what might happen if I were unable to hunt--likely I would die in great pain, leaving many questions without answers.
Someone has tapped me on the shoulder. I look up. The stewardess hands me a small package with my name on it. Opening it, I find a syringe and a bottle with a name I recognize--the coward’s way out. I look around, trying to see who sent the package. I imagine seeing the smirking face of Trina Barrett. I look again and see no one I recognize. I slip the package into my pocket and fasten my seatbelt--we are about to land. The plane taxis down the runway, coming to a stop near the air terminal. I search the crowd for the face I both long and fear to see. I leave the plane, jostled by the crowd, looking for Rachel. Perhaps they did not tell her I was coming. I dial my own number and am surprised there is no answer. A cold feeling grows in the pit of my stomach--has something happened to my sweetheart? I call for a cab and am surprised when we reach my house to see both cars in the driveway. I throw some money at the driver and run to the door. Inside, dust covers everything. I call out her name and hear no answer. On the dining room table I find a piece of paper, the only thing in the house without dust on it.
I’ve been through Hell. I cannot face you knowing I’ve been unfaithful to you. Please don’t hate me for what I’ve become. I love you more than words could describe. I just wish you could help me.
I notice a set of footprints in the dust going toward our bedroom. I find her, lying on the bed, looking like an angel. Yet something appears wrong. She looks pallid; I cannot see her chest moving and touch her outflung hand--it is cold. On the dresser I see a package like the one I was given on the plane just before landing. But, its bottle is empty and the spent syringe rests in her other hand. I turn her arm and find the needle mark. I check her pupils--she’s nearly gone. My screams of agony fill our empty home. When my voice is gone, I pull the package from my pocket. . . .
I embrace warm darkness, riding upon her bosom into eternity. The sound of a door closing intrudes upon my flight, coming as if down a long, echoing tunnel. My fleeing mind rouses enough to listen to high-heeled footsteps across the floor. They stop suddenly. The sound of a guitar, plucked in a mournful key, comes floating to me across the void. A deep masculine voice sings slowly--something about an end. I open my eyes, struggling to see through the haze. I focus, finally, upon the smirking face I have come to loathe. She mouths a single word, “Dreams.” I try to scream, but have sunk too far.
Her face moves close to mine. “You did this to yourself.”
The truth of her declaration crushed my failing mind--I had betrayed myself. I try again to scream, but only a gurgle escapes my lips. Her laughter echoes about the darkness into which I’m sinking. The bass voice repeats its haunting refrain; the guitar weeps for me, and for Rachel.
The End of "The Hunger."
|Posted by gwermon on April 1, 2013 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Happy April Fool’s Day! Here follows Part 3 of our twisted tale! Enjoy, and beware of too obvious pranks!
“The Hunger, Part 3"
Several weeks passed before the subject was raised again. Nurse Barrett showed me our responsibilities, which involved the medical care of this and several nearby villages. She went about instructing me, while she smirked, fully knowing I would bring up the subject again.
“Even if what you claim were true, which it’s not,” I said, “I could not be responsible for actions committed while delirious.”
She laughed. “Yes, that is usually the claim: I was possessed of an evil, lecherous spirit and therefore, not responsible for my actions,” she went on, in a mocking voice. “I tried to save her from sin, but the devil took control and forced me to do it--that’s bunk.” That is not the word she used--hers was more profane. Even after all they have done to me, I cannot bring myself to use similar, profane language. “Let me assure you, however,” she continued, “that you were wide awake and in full possession of all your faculties.” She casually stripped off her uniform, smirking and watching me. She lay down on her cot, not bothering to put on her robe.
“You see, there is no cure for the disease you’ve caught. Soon the pain will grow; the pressure will become unbearable. The hunger will grow with it.” Her voice lowered to a whisper. “You’ll come crawling to me, begging me to help you relieve the pain and hunger. Even now it begins to grow intolerable.” Her eyes stared at my obvious interest in her declaration. I struggled to throw the thoughts from my mind and failed. I knew I should flee, but stood enthralled by her nudity. She was right--the pain and hunger grew. My restraints crumbled. A cold hunger formed and filled the pit of my stomach. I took one step toward her. An image of Rachel flashed into my mind. How could I be unfaithful to her? In that moment, my psyche split in two--guilt and hunger. The two parts battled across my mind--Rachel representing guilt and Trina hunger. My body responded to every pull from each, stepping toward or away from Nurse Barrett. I heard myself screaming, head in hands as if the pressure on my temples could force the shattered halves of my tortured mind together. I turned and ran from the building into a steamy jungle afternoon. Nurse Barrett’s wicked laughter followed me. “You’ll be back!”
I fled, screaming, into the jungle, stopping only when I tripped and fell flat on my face. I slipped from consciousness. For a short time, I found peace in darkness, fleeing all thought. It was not long before the specters of my guilt and hunger found my hiding place and tortured me once more. I woke with a start, lying on the ground, the hunger unbearable. Madness took me and I ran again, screaming and cursing. I finally struck my head against a branch, causing the welcome peace of unconsciousness.
I recalled later, through the darkness, being carried to the stone building. They laid me on my cot and strapped something to my head. The specters appeared immediately, with Rachel the incarnation of my guilt and Trina my hunger. Rachel seemed bound. Trina spoke.
“It is interesting how every man has secrets hidden in the deepest recesses of his mind--he locks the truth away and pretends to be something he is not. Like your relationship,” she pointed to Rachel, “you claimed to be virgins when you married, yet that was a lie.”
“That is not true!” I said. The Rachel specter echoed my denial.
“Oh, really? What about the time, a month before you married, when you went for a picnic in the park?”
It was a warm day. We lay on a blanket in our shorts and T-shirts, enjoying the sun’s warmth. I remember Rachel standing suddenly, suggesting we should leave. However, in this dream sequence, she kissed me more passionately than normal. We looked around and pulled the blanket over us. Every explicit detail paraded before my mind showing how we sinned, according to our moral values. The Rachel specter mirrored my own feelings of disbelief, blurring and losing her form. The guilt became a raging flame, searing my mind. In the background, the Trina-hunger laughed wickedly. The flame of guilt altered form and became the ghost of Parson Smythe, sitting behind a judge’s bar, looking down at me over his reading glasses. I was suddenly bound to a chair before the bar, awaiting his judgment.
“So, you lied to me?” His deep voice rumbled, cutting my soul to its center. I tried to reply, deny the accusation, but the guilt had choked off my utterance. “How many other things did you lie about?”
The Trina specter appeared beside the bar in a business suit, looking over a folder with my name inscribed on its cover. “What about the Valentine’s dinner you had together, when her roommates were gone for the weekend?”
Rachel sat across a candlelit table from me, eating daintily. She wore a silk blouse, cream colored, with pearl buttons. Her hair was tied back, away from her face. I recalled the incident clearly and believed we had nothing to hide. She stood, straightening her black skirt, whose hemline barely reached mid-thigh. I was shocked and shouted a denial. A chain came from nowhere, binding me more tightly to the chair. I knew Rachel would never have worn a skirt so short. The idea was a fabrication coming from somewhere else. I tried again to speak, but a cloth gag covered my mouth stopping all utterance. I noticed the Parson’s disapproving glance. Rachel led me to the living room of her apartment, sat carefully on the carpet, and pulled me down beside her. She leaned back on her elbows, kicking off her black pumps, and turned toward me. After several lingering kisses, I flushed and tried to turn away. I felt, rather than saw, my mouth clamp down on her shoulder, heard her scream of pain, and tasted her salty blood as it gushed into my mouth.
The Parson shook his head slowly. “Liars go straight to Hell where they burn forever in a lake of fire and brimstone!”
A pit opened before my feet, glowing with orange flame. The chair leaned forward; the chains fell away. I fell into a lake of fire, screaming as the flames charred my flesh. A voice in my mind shouted: “You fool! It is only a dream! Wake up!” But the roaring of flames filled my ears; the stench of burning flesh penetrated my nose. The pain of burning seared every nerve. Even as I recall the nightmare, I feel heat on my skin, hear my flesh crackle as it burns, and I can still taste the blood.
I could not lose consciousness, as that is what brought the dream. Something, or someone, prevented my waking. I was tormented, for a time, in my own private hell. Laughter pierced the roaring and I looked up, seeking the source of the sound. I looked into the glittering blue eyes of the specter of my hunger, Trina Barrett.
“I can save you from this,” she purred.
“How?” I croaked.
Her form appeared before me, clad in sheer red rayon. “Embrace me,” she whispered.
She smirked. “Then burn.”
The flames, which shrank as we spoke, roared back to life. I screamed in agony, tormented again by the fire of guilt, the ache of a hunger that would never be satisfied. Twice more, the Trina specter offered to release me from the pain--both offers I rejected. However, each rejection came more slowly as my will crumbled. The next time she appeared, her tactics altered.
“Look,” she said, with a hint of desire, “we’ve seen your secret acts of sin, including what you did with me, one more sin will add little to the flame of your guilt. Why not be free from the pain of guilt and the hunger?” Her sheer robe disappeared and she reclined before me, naked and perfect. I had to admit, it looked more pleasant than the flames continually burning my flesh, the hunger twisting my guts. She looked toward me, spoke in a voice that resembled a moan, “I could give you much pleasure.” I felt tears, like trails of fire, run down my cheeks. I whimpered my rejection. The flames flared higher than before, causing more pain than anyone could possibly endure.
Somehow, whether by my own volition or by the choice of my tormentors, I escaped the nightmare. I found momentary peace in blankness. However, the she-devil in charge of the destruction of my soul did not allow me long to rest. I was soon returned to the world of dreams and forced into a new nightmare. The dreams I had before of Rachel replayed, the difference this time is that the dream ended before I tasted her blood, or she, mine. The pain and pressure grew with each dream sequence. Each dream replayed three times in rapid succession. The sequence changed to the fabricated dreams of our alleged premarital sex. As before, each dream stopped immediately before I tasted blood three times in succession. I could hardly stand the pain and hunger building inside.
Finally, the she-devil, Nurse Barrett, appeared in my dream. Reality superimposed itself over the dream, and she knelt over me, eyes glittering in the red glow of her crystal locket, her lips stained black. The dream of her and me on the cot repeated. Reality reimposed itself; she still knelt over me, red glow coming from one hand. The dream repeated and froze. Reality--she held the glowing insect to her own neck. Pain shot through her form from the glowing insect’s bite. Dream--freeze. Reality--she brought her hand and the insect to my neck. Sting--fire racing down my nerves. A trickle of blood flowed from the bite on her neck. Dream--reality. The two scenes rolled forward; I lived in two realities. In the dream, I put my lips to the wound on her neck, drinking her blood. In reality, she put her lips to my neck, drinking my blood. The dream faded. She lifted her bloody lips from my neck, turning her head so I could drink her blood. It burned like fire in my mouth, but not a fire to consume fuel--it consumed the cold hunger within. For a moment, I felt whole, tormented neither by guilt nor hunger. The hunger and pain were gone from me.
The glow faded, she opened her eyes. “Isn’t that much better than the pain? The hunger?” I heard Saunders laughing in the background. Trina looked toward him, nodded, and laughed, her laughter ringing of triumph. I stiffened beneath her. She pushed herself into a sitting position, smirked, and stood up. “Dreams,” she whispered. Guilt hammered at the walls of my sanity. Saunders handed her the glowing pipe and helped her into her robe while she took a long drag. The walls guarding the huddled remains of my sanity tumbled, leaving me to be lashed by the consuming fire of my guilt. As pain and blackness grasped me, I heard Trina whisper again: “Dreams.” I screamed until my voice faded into silence.
Look for the tragic conclusion next week!
|Posted by gwermon on March 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM||comments (0)|
Here comes Part 2 of “The Hunger”:
I swam for a time in a sea of pain and blackness, unaware of Nurse Barrett methodically removing the leeches. The pain subsided when it seemed as if something were strapped to my forehead, causing a slight dizziness before overcoming the pain. I had a rather odd dream which replayed a memory. I dreamed of the day when Rachel and I married--the memory causes my cheeks to flush with embarrassment. I was surprised and shocked by her actions in the dream, actions so different from reality. My upbringing screamed that it was wrong, I should stop her, and I should not enjoy it. Curiosity broke down the barriers raised in my fundamentalist youth, and I began to enjoy it. At that point, the dream was cut off. I struggled to consciousness.
I lay on the cot, still naked. I flushed, as Nurse Barrett leaned over me, apparently checking my wounds. I tried to roll over, to hide my nakedness, but found myself strapped to the cot. Saunders was absent. I noticed Trina only wore a short, loose robe of red satin, Chinese dragons embroidered on the back. As she leaned over me, the robe fell open revealing a naked body like my Rachel’s. My cheeks flushed intensely. Nurse Barrett smiled, touching me lightly with one finger.
“I see you churchgoers have passions like the rest of us.” A smirk replaced the smile, and I noticed again her crimson-stained lips. “I always get a kick out of your kind--preaching of the sinful nature of sex, pretending piety. Yet, in the dark, all you men are animals, no matter how religious you claim to be--slaves to your passions.” She loosened the straps which bound me to the cot and turned away. I rose slowly, stiff and sore, pulled a dry uniform from my duffel, and dressed quickly. Silently, still smirking, she led me to a trap door in the center of the room. I opened the door and heard Saunders’ voice, backed by radio static. Trina held the door, smiling or smirking, and watched me descend. The door slammed shut with a dull thud.
Saunders sat at a small table, covered with electronic equipment. He gave me a pad and pencil, saying I should write my serial number down so he could report my arrival. We exchanged the information and waited in silence for a response.
“She is an odd person,” I noted.
“I enjoy her,” he replied. However it seemed he meant something other than he said.
Confirmation came. They exchanged some cryptic remarks which I now realize referred to me and my placement in this place. I now recognize each step of their plan was carefully laid out--each swing of the ax undercutting my standards precisely placed.
“That’s all I need. Nurse Barrett will show you the rest of your duties.” A hint of sarcasm colored his declaration.
I tried for several minutes to open the trap door, but something prevented me from opening it. I asked Saunders what the trick was. He looked puzzled as he tried the door himself. He pounded, shouting for Trina.
“Open the damn door!”
“I can’t-- it’s stuck.”
Saunders shrugged. “Happens regularly--damn humidity!”
He led me to a small window in the cellar’s wall. After opening it, he gave me a leg up and out of the window. It clanked shut behind me. I crawled under the dense foliage, seeking a way out. There seemed to be a clear space, running away from the building. I could see little, the ground before me obscured by the gloom under the dense jungle growth. A hole opened beneath me; I tumbled into a dark pit. As I fell, I felt the pricks of a thousand tiny needles. I hit the bottom with a crunch, feeling as if a multitude of insects crawled all over me. Pain crashed against all my nerves from the thousand stings I suddenly received. A scream of pure terror rent the darkness which held me in its claws.
Hands grasped and pulled me from the pit. Through the haziness of mind inflicted upon me by the venom of a thousand stings, I could see Saunders dragging me through the foliage toward the back door. I wanted to aid him but could not get my limbs to respond. He dragged me into the house and laid me in the cot. I believe I was mumbling about how I would feel better after some rest. Trina came into my view holding something in her hand. Lifting her hand to her mouth, she breathed lightly upon what she held. Red light flared to life in her hand. I watched, unable to move, as she lowered her hand to hold the glowing object in front of face. An insect-like creature, gold colored and glowing red, shaped like a large beetle, waited in her palm. The light on her face made her look hungry, ambitious, and made her lips look black. I tried again to flee, but failed--my limbs still limp and useless. The insect leapt from her hand to my neck. I flinched and felt its sting, which burned like a hot coal touched to my skin. My mind went blank before I could scream, as if someone flicked off a light switch.
I suddenly entered a dreamlike world, reliving events pulled from my memory. Even in that dreamlike state, a flush colored my cheeks--the man I was offended by the things I must relate. Guilt rises; the words of the parson ring clear in my mind--these things should not be openly discussed. They are, nevertheless, necessary to understand my story. As I said before, my parents are wealthy. For a wedding gift, they sent Rachel and me to a friend’s cabin, secluded in the Alps. On a certain day, we hiked across a meadow covered with daisies. I rested among the wildflowers, staring up at the few wispy clouds floating across the sky. My mind wandered; I drifted toward sleep. One of the clouds changed into Rachel, sitting on me and pulling the white cotton dress over her head, but unlike the actual event, she bent and bit me, the pain searing like fire. The dream halted, returning to the cloud reforming into Rachel. The sequence repeated, with attention focused on her mouth on my shoulder and excruciating pain. I shuddered as the dream faded, awakening enough to feel a weight taken from my chest. Black dreamless sleep took me again.
Sometime later, I dreamed again. Like my parents, Rachel’s were also wealthy--they gave us a week in Hawaii. We lay resting on our bed, sweating from the still, oppressive afternoon. No breeze stirred the air, thick with evaporated water. Breathing felt like drowning, and the less one moved the less one had to breathe. The surf rolled against the sand monotonously. Our bungalow’s small electric fan did little to cool us as we sprawled on the bed, naked but not touching. A bolt of lightning split the clouds, releasing a tropical deluge. Rachel rolled onto her side and closer to me, her hand reaching out to stroke my chest, but as her fingers touched me, her nails became sharp claws, scratching across my chest, her face transforming into the face of a harpy that resembled Nurse Barrett. I tried to scream, but no sound issued from my gaping mouth, and the scratches across my chest bled and burned. As happened in the first dream, the dream was repeated, from Rachel rolling closer until I attempted to scream. The dream faded to reality. I heard the sound of rain pounding the roof before fading to blankness.
After more time passed, a third memory was replayed in a dream. I dreamed of the last night I spent with Rachel before coming to southeast Asia. We spent the entire furlough in our hotel room, shutting out the world. The dream focused on our last moments together, except that now she pleaded with me to take her away; her blood leaked from wounds on her shoulder and chest. I held her tight in my arms, her tears wetting my cheeks. For the third time, the dream returned to the beginning, detailing each action. However, at the end of the repeat, Rachel’s hair changed from brown to blond; her face altered, replaced by the smirking face of Trina Barrett. I jerked myself out of the dream and felt myself helped onto my cot.
I awakened, thirty-six hours later, in a darkened room. Nurse Barrett reclined on her cot, holding an object in her hands that glowed with soft red light; it looked like a crystal locket hanging from a chain around her neck, lit by some bloody fire. Her eyes sparkled, reflecting the light glowing in her hands. She noticed my gaze; the habitual smirk returned to her lips. She dropped the locket into her robe.
“I see you’ve survived your bout with jungle fever,” she purred. “I hope you realize you’d have died if I weren’t such a good nurse.”
I sat up slowly, groaning at the exertion, stiff and sore. “I’m grateful.”
“You’re grateful?” She laughed wickedly. “You’d better be more than grateful to buy my silence.”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
She laughed again. “That’s typical! You religious types with your pretended piety deny the incident, believing your reputation versus that of a whore’s will exonerate you!”
“Are you saying . . . ?”
“You had sex with me three times while you were sick.” Her smirk widened into a triumphant grin.
“I don’t believe you.”
She stood slowly, grin still wide. With the speed and grace of a cat, she flicked on the light. The silk robe whispered as it slid from her shoulders. She stalked forward, stopping next to my cot and pointing to teeth marks on her shoulder and parallel scratches across her chest, duplicates of those Rachel had given me in my dreams. She pivoted on one heel, and stalked away. “You had three dreams of making love to your wife. Each time, you called and begged for her to come. When she did not, you crawled over to my cot, begging and pleading I make love to you. Knowing that is an effect of this particular strain of the fever, I obliged you-- not that I minded. I’ve found your types enjoy sex with a gusto not found among ordinary men--must be all that talk about sin,” she smirked. “You left me the marks to remember the wonderful time we had.”
For a moment, I sat gaping at the marks on her perfectly shaped body. I was appalled by the thought that I might be responsible. I quickly thrust the thought from my mind, struggling to regain control. “They were only dreams--I could have spoken of the marks in my delirium and you could have duplicated them to blackmail me.” I shrugged.
She stalked forward again, holding a mirror in front of me; ice flowed into my guts when I saw the same scratches on my chest, the same teeth marks on my shoulder. She turned away. I could hardly control the desire to touch her perfect curves. She put on her robe and reclined again on her cot. The smirk returned to her lips and I noticed for the second time their deeply stained crimson color. She laughed as she picked up a long stemmed pipe and filled it with hashish. “Dreams.” She lit the pipe and took a long drag. She exhaled slowly, laughing again. Saunders entered the room. “He thinks they were only dreams,” she noted, handing him the pipe.
He took an equally long drag, which he held for a moment before exhaling. “Dreams!” He laughed before taking another pull at the pipe. They passed it back and forth, taking long drags and mumbling “dreams” as if it were some kind of litany. Their voices slurred as they smoked; their movements slowed. When they finished, Saunders knocked out the pipe and handed it back to Trina. “Lesh show him hish dreamshs,” he mumbled, removing his clothes. She laughed, opening her robe. I fled into the night, but could not shut out the sound of their slurred litany, echoing all around: “Dreams.”
Come back next week for another edition of this twisted tale!
|Posted by gwermon on March 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
I grew up during the 1960s, a decade plagued by many social ills, including race riots, war protests & peace marches, women’s liberation, etc., but probably the worst of all was the war in Vietnam. One of my uncles was a navy flier, a navigator on a jet fighter; he would come home on leave and tell us all of the horror stories of things happening in southeast Asia. Being a sober and impressionable lad, I soaked up all his stories, along with the news reports of the day. The result was some very horrific–to a child–nightmares. Given an already overactive imagination, which added to the horror I already felt, these memories were sublimated by my subconscious, where they remained, percolated, and by distillation (as Freud named it) resurfaced, after I began writing creatively when I went back to college the second time, in the following dark & twisted tale. I urge caution on the part of the reader, as what follows is best described as ‘horrific’.
“The Hunger, Part 1"
I was once a religious man, committed to the high standard of traditional moral values. This you must know in order to comprehend the tragedy of my life. What I have become--I know not--some kind of animal which feeds on the blood and passions of others.
I believe it started in my college days, when I studied medicine--the details lost with the memories purged in the trauma I suffered. My past is like the seeds of a dandelion, drifting on an afternoon breeze. I recall little of who I was before the hunger came. Even now the hunger grows within, consuming the shattered remnants of my true past. Only by sheer will do I hold the hunger in check long enough to write down what truly happened before I forget. Opposed to the hunger is the guilt--guilt rising like a wave out of the past drowning me in sorrow and remorse, borne by the specter of who I was before they changed me into something not entirely human. Somewhere between hunger and guilt, my true self cowers in blind fear, seeking vainly to live the life that should be mine.
As I was saying, I think it began while I attended college, studying medicine. Because of my religious beliefs, I associated with others, who were of like mind--persons whose morals sailed far above the norm. In the early days of our involvement in Vietnam, we formed a religious coalition proposing to oppose peacefully intervention. We did not riot or burn our draft cards as many did later. We were patriots who loved our country and sought to change policy, working within the limitations of law to pressure the government into withdrawing from the war. In a short time, we found many supporters across the nation, arousing the ire of those who wished our presence in Southeast Asia to continue. Whether they were part of the government, associated with those in power, or controlling those in power, I could never learn. However, they commanded incredible authority and resources. Each successive spokesperson for our league found himself drafted and shipped to Vietnam, never to be heard from again. Now I know why.
My turn came on the eve of a national convention of our Christian league. The proceedings were to be broadcast across the nation. Two grim-faced MPs showed up before the conference opened, bringing me greetings from Uncle Sam. They claimed an error had prevented me from prior notification and that I must report the next morning for induction. Their sudden appearance surprised me not in the least--I expected it.
Rachel--Oh my Rachel! She is the only pure, wholesome thing left in my shattered life. Rachel pleaded and begged that I flee. Our families were both well-to-do. It would have been simple for either of them to send Rachel and me someplace where the government could not touch us. Our wedding vows recently made, we had not tired of each others’ undivided attention. I should have allowed her tears to convince me to flee. However, my patriotic upbringing constrained me to obedience. Like those before me, the MPs led me away. Soon, I raised my right arm and swore to defend the Constitution.
I stood on a dirt airstrip in South Vietnam, medical kit slung over my left shoulder and duffel in my right hand. From there, I traveled by chopper to a remote area of the country. A jeep carried me to my final destination, a village secluded and high in the mountains. However, if you asked me to find it on a map, I could not--the details are unclear. As we approached the village, the road stopped at the edge of a small river, swollen and muddy from heavy rain. A path crossed the river by way of a rope and wooden foot bridge. The driver halted and pointed across the bridge to the only stone building in the village. He left me standing by the bridge. I watched him disappear into the jungle before shouldering my medkit and duffel. Halfway across the bridge, I heard a click and part of the bridge gave way, pitching me into the small river. The cold water stung and scratched my skin as I floundered in the muddy flow. I crawled out, grateful the medkit and duffel were waterproof. I walked back to the bridge and saw that a rope had broken, spilling me into the river. A voice called my name. I turned and saw someone waving me toward the stone building. I followed a dirt path upwards and shook hands with a tall man who spoke with a southern drawl.
“Name’s Saunders, communications.”
“Bailey, medical officer.”
“How’d you get wet?”
“The bridge broke.”
“Why that son of a two-bit harlot! Didn’t he tell you how to cross the bridge without setting off the trap?”
“Must’ve slipped his mind.”
At the time, I thought nothing of it. Now as I reflect over the events of my recent past, I realize the accident with the bridge was part of their elaborate scheme to inflict me with this disease of the mind and body.
A curse exploded from Saunders. “Damn, are you going to be sick!”
Light leaked past the shutters, dimly illuminating the building’s single room, blue tinged smoke obscured the air. In one corner of the room on an army issue cot lay Trina Barrett, army nurse. In the terms of my former theology, she was the female version of the devil incarnate. Her hair, long and blond, framed a face teenage boys dreamed of. Blue eyes glittered in the shadows where she lay; her lips, dark crimson, wore a perpetual smirk, as if she laughed at something beyond the ken of any man. She rose with iron grace, taking note of my awestruck stare, her smirk widening into a smile. Had I known in that moment the horror which faced me, I would have gladly surrendered to the enemy rather than subject myself to the cruelty Nurse Barrett inflicted upon me. Even as I remember, a coldness grows in the pit of my stomach over my first meeting with Trina Barrett.
She looked me over, smirking, and noticed my wet condition. Her contralto voice purred. “How did you get wet?” She looked toward one of the shuttered windows. “Is it raining again?”
Saunders cursed again. “Mr. Moron driver forgot to tell him about the bridge trap.”
Nurse Barrett frowned, wrinkling her brow. “Strip.”
“Strip!” Her voice no longer purred.
Saunders took my bags and pulled off my shirt. Trina squatted in front of me, undoing my belt; I tried to stop her, slap her hands away, but her grip did not loosen, and she pushed my pants and shorts to the floor. I saw that it was not the icy cold of the water which stung and scratched at my skin--my body, from the middle of my abdomen to halfway down my thighs, was covered by oddly mottled leeches. They were roughly the size of a man’s thumb, with blood-red spots, concentrated around my middle. Saunders, anticipating that I would pass out, looped a short piece of webbing over my wrists, and attached the webbing to a hook in one of the rafters. I went limp, hanging from the rafter.
To be continued. . . .
|Posted by gwermon on March 12, 2013 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
Here is what you have all been waiting for: the exciting conclusion to “King Brian’s Bells!”
I spent three months “resting” in State Hospital North. During that time, Ductworks was investigated by the FAA but found not guilty of any infractions. “Metal Fatigue” was listed as the cause of flight 191's crash. I went back to work on September 1, but did not receive an order until the 14th. Even though we had been cleared, few were willing to take a chance on our refurbished parts. When I entered the warehouse on the 14th, a pair of red, glowing eyes looked at me for the instant before I flicked on the lights, and I heard the familiar sound of tinkling bells. I stopped mid-stride, but saw nothing. I flicked off the lights and the eyes reappeared, closer, the tinkling bells, louder. A tinkling, bell-like voice whispered my name: “Dave.” I leaped back, pulling the door shut. I sat on the edge of the cement dock, head in hands; I could hear the tinkling voice still whispering in my mind: “Dave . . . Dave . . . Dave. . . .”
I looked up and saw Ron leaning out of his police car. I waved him over. I knew he had been told to keep an eye on me, but he was the only friend who would still talk to me. I pointed to the door. “Take a look inside and tell me what you see, but don’t turn the lights on.”
Ron climbed up on the dock and pushed the door open. “Nothing,” he began, but stopped and limped into the dark warehouse. I held my breath, waiting for his surprised shouts. He limped out moments later, smiling. “Do you mean the two points of red light?”
My eyes opened wide. I nodded.
“There are two small nail holes in the siding on the west wall--the sun shines through putting two dots of light on some red lettering on the side of a carton.”
The breath exploded from my lungs; I giggled. “Thanks, Ron. Just making sure I wasn’t seeing things.”
“Have you got much to do?”
I shook my head and climbed to my feet. “No--just need to package one duct.”
“Need any help?”
“I’ll be fine.”
He patted my shoulder. “See ya’ later.”
I packaged the long air tube and shipped it to Montreal. The commission on this part would go a long way to pay for my three-month “vacation.” Two weeks later, the dispassionate Texan related of the near disaster of an Air Canada flight over the Atlantic, which lost part of its tail cone under a sudden depressurization--the DC-9's cargo door mysteriously opened. The passengers only lost their luggage.
When I returned to the warehouse during the last week in October, I saw the two red “eyes” and heard the tinkling bells; I laughed before I flipped on the lights. I thought I saw movement in the shadows around the warehouse. I was so startled, I flicked off the lights and saw many pairs of red eyes staring at me, along with a renewed tinkling. I flipped the lights back on, caught what must have been movement even as the tinkling fell silent. “Imagination,” I muttered to myself--the eyes, the bells, did not exist--they were only figments of my troubled mind. While I packaged a duct, I slapped at my arms, feeling tiny pinpricks--just bug bites, I told myself. Then I remembered the stubby pitchforks carried by the gremlins that had troubled my dreams since that day--I thought I saw them, all around me, poking at me with their tiny, sharp forks. “Absurd!” I said out loud. I slapped at the occasional sting, cursing the mosquitoes that had long since gone into hibernation. The “bug bites” were replaced by the bells, tinkling voices, whispering my name: “Dave . . . Dave . . . Dave. . . .” I shrugged off the whispering, thinking it the product of loneliness. I had visited Smitty a couple of times after getting out, but he remained aloof, cold, and distant. He complained he was too busy to stop and chat. I stopped visiting him. My family and other friends acted similarly--none wanted to be seen associating with a “certified looney.” Only Ron continued to visit, not bothered by my perceived mental state. I spent more time alone in the warehouse. I began to speak to the voices I heard--the tiny gremlins I imagined.
“Hello, Dave,” said a voice sounding like the movie computer, but the voice tinkled. “What are we doing today?” the voice asked, now sounding more like a bell then a computer.
“I’ve got two orders to fill,” I replied, as if someone were actually there.
“Two, in one day? How nice.” The voice paused, as if to take the time to move to my desk and look over my arm. “One for Western Airlines in LA, and a second for Air New Zealand--I’ve meant to visit the land down under.”
“Dave, do you know what special day approaches?” the voice asked as I looked for the parts.
“Halloween?” I ventured.
“You are so very smart, Dave. We will do something special--to commemorate our re-introduction into your human world. And for you, I’ll see that you live comfortably for the rest of your life. Goodbye, Dave.”
“Whatever,” I replied. I packaged and shipped the parts--a cockpit fresh air duct to LA and a control line for the yoke to New Zealand--and returned to my apartment to sleep away the remainder of the night.
My dream that night was stranger than normal, even unsettling. I dreamed I knelt, bound hand and foot, in a small throne room. A gremlin king, naming himself Brian in the same tinkling, bell-like voice, sat upon the throne telling me over and over again: “It’s Halloween, Dave. We must commemorate our re-introduction into your world. You will be rewarded for releasing us.” A small bell tinkled. I opened my mouth and one of the devils tossed another pellet of rat poison onto my tongue. I swallowed reflexively. King Brian grinned and nodded. Another voice spoke. “It’s Halloween, Dave--we must celebrate.” The bell rang; I swallowed another pellet. “You will be rewarded for releasing us, Dave.” Another bell and pellet. “It’s Halloween, Dave.” Ding, swallow. “Celebrate, Dave.” Dong, swallow. The voices, bells, and pellets came faster. “Rewarded, Dave.” Ring, pellet. “Halloween, Dave.” Tinkle, pellet. “Celebrate, Dave.” Gong, pellet. “Rewarded, Dave.” Ding, pellet. A cacophony of bells and voices; poisoned pellets shoved down my throat. I tried to scream, but no sound could escape the constant stream of poison pellets forced into my mouth. My guts burned with fire. “Halloween . . . celebrate . . . rewarded . . . Dave.” More pellets. I struggled to be free from the voices shouting, the bells ringing, the poison flowing into my stomach . . . voices . . . bells . . . pellets . . . voices . . . bells. . . .
I jumped out of bed, tangled in the sweat-soaked sheets. How could I be so foolish? I admit I’m not the smartest guy, but even a half-wit would not have missed the cues. I threw on my clothes, still hearing the voices whispering around my room. I ran out of the door, jumped into my pickup, hoping I wasn’t too late.
I flew down the Eighth Street grade, pretending to speed without speeding. I glanced at the billboard and slammed on the brakes. Angry horns followed as several cars swerved around me. I slammed her into reverse, backing up the hill to see the sign. “It’s Halloween, Dave--we must celebrate!” I stared at the six foot high letters and heard the gremlins’ tinkling laughter. More angry honking dragged me from my stupor; I sped onward. The billboard at 8th and Main read: “We will reward you for releasing us, Dave.” The First Federal Time/Temperature sign flashed the words: “Halloween--Celebrate--Reward--Dave.” I flew down Main and crossed the Clearwater River. The sign on the Pepsi warehouse flashed the same words. I believe I started mumbling to myself at that point.
“Sorry, Dave,” Bill said, “your freight was shipped out three hours ago. Did you forget something or ship the wrong part?”
“The gremlins are planning to wreck another plane,” I replied.
Bill laughed at me. “Oh sure, and Peter Rabbit is coming to my place for dinner!” He turned away, laughing and making jokes about gremlins.
I made two calls when I got home--Western Airlines laughed before they hung up; Air New Zealand just hung up. I made a second trip downtown to the Tribune, but the reporter only shook his head and gave me the number of the Daily Gossip. I called the radio stations and the TV station with similar results. Finally, I called George.
“Maybe you should take more time off,” George replied. His words sounded guarded and careful. “I’ll get someone to fill in until you feel better.”
“Dammit, George! I feel fine! The gremlins are planning another accident! They are going to wreck another plane! Why won’t you listen?”
“Hold on, Dave. I have to take another call.”
Elevator music did little to calm my anger. I cursed several times while waiting for George.
“I’ll be over in fifteen minutes--wait for me.” The line went dead.
“Damn!” I slammed the phone down. In the silence that followed, I heard their whispers: “It’s Halloween--we must celebrate. You will be rewarded for releasing us . . . Dave.” A bell rang. I swallowed reflexively. “Halloween, Dave.” Ding. “Celebrate, Dave.” Dong. “Reward, Dave.” Ring. . . .
“No!” I screamed. “There are no gremlins!”
“Halloween, Dave.” Ding.
“You’re figments of my imagination!”
“Celebrate, Dave.” Dong.
“You don’t exist!”
“Reward, Dave.” Ding.
“You’re not real!”
“Halloween, Dave.” Dong.
“No little men!”
“Celebrate, Dave” Ding.
“Reward, Dave.” Dong.
“Noooooooooooooooo . . . !”
Ding. Dong. Ding. Dong. . . . Dingdong. Dingdong. Dingdong. Knocknocknock. Silence. Knocknocknock. I looked around. I stood at the center of a disaster. The furniture and tables were overturned. Pictures had been torn from the walls and added to the wrack. Knocknocknock. I checked my watch--thirty minutes had passed. I heard the door forced open.
“Dave?” George’s voice called. “Are you okay?”
George came into the room followed by two beefy men in white hospital uniforms. I spun to flee and heard the back door open. Trapped--trapped in my lair. I collapsed to the floor, sobbing. Grips of steel lifted me from the floor and draped the canvas jacket over my shoulders, then buckled the leather straps tightly in place.
“It’s not my fault,” I moaned. “The gremlins did this to me. They must celebrate Halloween . . . they will reward me . . . they’re going to wreck more planes . . . please . . . I’m telling the truth . . . you must listen!”
On October 31, Western Airlines flight 113, from LA to Mexico City, referred to as the “night owl express,” crashed just short of the runway in Mexico City. The last words of Captain Gilbert were, “The little devil has blinded me!” At about the same time, an Air New Zealand sight-seeing flight over Antarctica crashed on Ross Island. The DC-10 did a nose dive into the ground after all control was lost. One week later, a hearing was held to decide if I was fit to stand trial for the deaths of nearly seven hundred people. The hearing lasted only fifteen minutes--I raved about the gremlins dancing across the judge’s bar, playing with the gavel and making faces at the judge and attorneys present.
“Didn’t I say you would be well-taken care of?” Brian noted with a grin.
I lunged for him; he vanished in a puff of sulphur scented smoke. I crashed into the wall again--I’ve lost track of how many times this has happened. It is good that the walls are padded--I might have a better chance of catching him on the rebound.
Stay tuned next week for the beginning of another tale, one arising from the deepest darkness of this author’s twisted mind!