The role of god is a maddening twenty four hour experience complete with overtime and few rewards. A job where there is no clocking out, no in house psychiatric care and no chance of early retirement. When the thing in the big chair loses the plot, whose job is it to save the world?
He buried the pleading in his head.
Vicky’s woe wasn’t allowed to exist. Not
in his world, not anymore. There isn’t even a V, he
thought, in my alphabet there is only the letter S, and S is for
Steph’s departure served his hypothesis; her leaving for the kitchen
provided proof of a swelling pride, a quality synonymous with her new role, a
character under his direction. Can’t
be in the room whilst I read your stuff, eh, Steph? Thought
Spiderfingers. Good. Lovely to see your ego bloom.
Spiderfingers inspected the writing pad
nestled in his hands, the jottings of red biro delivered the start of a stalker
story. A vulnerable pretty young thing
raped and stabbed by some lone nut. Predictable, pedestrian, and
it’ll win her no fans among the Feminists, he reckoned. Steph’s
writing what she thinks will impress me – that much is clear. Still, he
noticed glimmers of intrigue shine through the text. She almost has a handle on my voice,
he decided, ruffling his hair, thoroughly unable to focus on her scribbling,
not whilst the grey-skinned creature stretched out across the ceiling tiles.
Rooenn is the face of terror and his glistening, angular body can
manifest anywhere I choose.
It would only take a thought to provide the
Terrorsmith’s ignition, to have him crawl down the wall and dice Milo the
Walrus into blood-soaked pieces. The chaos god’s minion, that horrific
extension of darkest will. Rooenn bore glowing claws and gnashing teeth,
a chain mummifying the straggled-haired head. Rooenn the Terrorsmith,
under the thrall of a drunken god. And tonight, he’s hungry. S is – after all – for sustenance.
Spiderfingers resisted butchering the dozing
Milo. Instead, he sent the Terrorsmith out into the world’s darkness, to
shadow a drunken woman, stumbling through Brent Cross. She slurred at no
one, staggering in her broken heel as she reached out to a lamppost for
support. The horizon buoyed and bobbed from all those cocktails. Unluckily, this drunk had taken the wrong bus
home, and now she’d become lost in North London with no one to blame but
The dead phone battery.
Her ache from a two mile trek in ‘sitting
Her stilt-high stilettos being murder to
travel in became news with up-to-the-minute coverage. The world’s reply
included a shut up, that it had kids: “It’s a school night.” She’d taken
a short cut down an ill-lit underpass. Well, they always do, because
the victim is a species that breeds in the dark. She couldn’t fight Rooenn – she just spewed
all over him. But vomit turned Rooenn on. Vomit turned his master on, who
badly wished he was there to stick his cock in the potato chunks and cocktail
“Suck it off,” he’d rasp, “suck it all off.”
The promise to let her live? A lie. He
needed her like an advert desired the perfect placing. The bitch is a
way to make a living, he thought: “I’m the new Starbucks. You’re
gonna put me on every high street in the known world.”
Miles from what the media would label The
Brent Cross Horror, Spiderfingers sensed Steph returning to the room. The
room in that office block where he’d slumped into the luxurious black leather
swivel chair, eyes glazed, mouth slightly open. His retreat to the shell of
his homeless body granted Steph her lone audience member. But really, his
consideration poured over his victim like cling-film expertly wrapped over
fresh meat. The dead woman lay there broken; a carmine covered tangle at
the mercy of Rooenn’s industrious detached carving. No mere cadaver – she’d
become much more. This woman, no longer a fool in torn tights swilling in
alcohol, but now recast in her new life, a
reincarnation more billboard than mammal. He wondered what the top brass
of Scotland Yard would make of this carnage, especially the poor girl’s
mutilated face. The raw, blistering gashes engraved into her forehead
with something sharper than any knife:
Light filtered through shades, and the pink blush
of dawn yanked at his peripheral vision, whispering of morning’s stealthy
approach, the cheep-cheep of birds subduing his blood-hunger, dark
thoughts subsiding under the steady brightening of the land … Rooenn … nowhere
to be seen.
“When you first told me about Babushka doll lit, I
was really interested.” said Steph. “I just feel that maybe you’re trying too
hard to impress me.”
“And your slasher story isn’t supposed to wow me?”
he replied. Steph flinched on her corner of Milo’s desk.
“How about a story without the gimmick?” He said
nothing, although he desired to talk about his past life with Dilf culture, the
dependence on oral storytelling as the prime way of preserving societal
identity. Or he could offer a chapter on
his time hidden away from the world. The
derelict council flat, naked and afraid – a shaken creature, the stink of his
own making engulfing him as he shivered afraid, terrified of the supervillain
his mind put together.
An archenemy born to entertain his ego.
her about Doctor Chimera is completely out of the question, he decided.
Vulnerability would undermine so much hard work, and yet, he yearned to
tell someone. “And that’s another thing,” said Steph, “What do I call you
anyway? Are you Rumple or Spiderfingers? Or John?” Spiderfingers shuddered and
ran his hand over his face: “Listen,” he said, “I’ll give you one last tale,
yeah? No cheap thrills this time, I promise. Fancy something,
“Far beneath the hub of my entrenched and
bottomless sleep, in the strangest scene of fire-lit dreaming, we gather in a
circle, sitting around something burning in the centre. It’s not wood. We
listen to its story about faith and drive – an ancient story.” Steph slipped
down from the corner of Milo’s desk to rest with her knees supporting her chin.
“A fairy-tale and I don’t remember why, but when the formless thing in the fire
has finished telling it, the idols present always roll around, waking The Oma
with their laughter. Dearest listener, in this account you’ll discover
the length and breadth of a captive god’s jealousy. You’ll find out that
even against his own soul, the immensity of his twisted hate is boundless.”
Steph surrendered her disbelief. She
became a fly caught up in the strong silk of his voice: “In some circles, The
Fate of Flare translates as a comedy. I only hear the madness and the
tragedy. If you are human you’re not expected to laugh, but if the urge
takes you, please, feel free.”
The Fate of Flare
For an eternity now, Rao’s burning spectre – the
one they call Flare – has battled against fatigue and flown the cosmos,
searching for The Pale Faced Lady. His quest has been long and
fruitless. Some say he must stop his hunting, but he can’t. The pursuit is his life and will surely be
The nightmares! Oh, the premonitions of his
princess, his King’s favourite sibling, all dressed in silver and wreathed in black.
He sees her desperate storm eyes scan the horizon for an escape. The
tundra around her is overrun with foreign dangers; each menace using trickery,
many hiding behind familiar and distant faces. Each threat growing larger
as it feeds upon her secret fears. Poor Princess Luna – that’s L.U.N.A,
Luna – she’s learnt her lesson. If she escapes this dim region, you can
bet she’ll never again press upon dusty doors or stalk fleeting
footsteps. Luna is as clever as she is lonely; of course she knows the
entity chasing her cannot be Flare. She sometimes sees the faker, a
distant spark, his flaming hair flowing, just out of reach.
… In the morning, safe from the dreams of proud,
judging gods, I’ll awake in the reality that is London. Sometimes I cry
as I stare up, straight into the beams of the new rising sun, the moon’s
welcome predator. And what about Flare? He’s hunting on, unaware that
he’s the butt of an old cosmic joke. He’s nothing but a fleeting
amusement for Rao, himself dying and diseased, alone and friendless. Rao
– the poor bastard – he’s a troubled deity, one who tells these tales of
self-loathing from his prison in the Oma’s magma, just to keep himself
occupied. Rao spreads his stories to me, and to others like me, but only in
the dreamland. I’m only half divine and
I just can’t catch the funny side of this one. Show me the comedy – I’ll
reveal it to be the oncoming murder, the despair, the tragedy of Rao.
Spiderfingers sat back in the black swivel chair.
“Wow.” Steph bolted up and toward her coat, paper
and pen snatched from its folds, “It’s not polished – not by any stretch of the
imagination – but I think there’s something in there. Probably needs to be shorter …” She paced the
office, frantically wounding a page with red biro. “... Yeah, shorter.
And I don’t like the ending. Something’s … something’s too much?”
is an industrious instrument that hacks and carves at my story. And S is
now for scalpel.
“Maybe you should ask why Rao punishes his soul?”
“Another Babushka story?” she replied, “What a
surprise! O.K, you said Rao was imprisoned?”
“I did say that, didn’t I?”
“Well, it’s obvious who Princess Luna is, your Pale
Faced Lady, but really, couldn’t you come up with a better name? Princess Luna.
Lunar. It’s all a bit too easy, isn’t it? Playing around
with letters and puns seems a bit juvenile, don’t you think?”
“But isn’t that all we ever do, Steph? Just play
around with letters? Anyway, I’m knackered. Aren’t you?” She shook her
head. Spiderfingers hauled himself onto his feet heading for the door.
His time with her had been successful for the sale had been made.
“Wait a minute,” she asked, “how does this ‘Flare’
story hook up with ‘Man is the Meal’?”
“I dunno. I
guess that’s your homework, Steph.” He pulled at the cold metal handle and
stepped over the threshold into the hallway. He listened to her voice as
she tried to catch his attention, but he kept with the walking, stomping his
way to the emergency staircase going down, down, down, into the black. Lucky Steph,
now in possession of a small book. The aquamarine front cover; the back
ripped off; all of it covered with dirt, stinking of street grime; a gift
awaiting receipt upon carpeted office floor. A journal, a diary –
edited for anything revealing. He’d written out characters, amalgamated
others, bent rules of his world to heighten the drama, the untamed fiction now
in Steph’s safekeeping. Pages which mentioned her name were torn out.
Eaten. Devoured entirely. Inside, she
would find a reanimated Kurt Cobain and a handy reference guide to animals from
lands far, far away from Earth. There was also an explicit dossier
on each and every member of the Buchanan’s: a dysfunctional family with super
powers. The word suckle begins with the letter S, thought
Spiderfingers, grinning as he walked out into the dawn.
lay sprawled out on the tarmac of a car park. Daylight purged his eyes,
as if the great Almighty shone a light into his soul, inspecting the many signs
of abuse. He turned away, giving the eye
to a skinny mutt tied to the fence surrounding the parking lot. He
despised the animal. He wished the dog would try to find a way to free
itself, instead of waiting for some long gone owner to experience a change of
heart, to return with food and the promise of a loving home.He
sat within the folds of his crimson trench coat, grimacing at the scrawny
canine, wondering how long it lived in its limbo. He reached through his
delirium and found a small pebble.
What is a
writer without an audience? He thought chalking
furiously. What am I without somebody watching me?
The Killing Moon
I think of werewolves. They’re so selfish. Lately, I’ve had trouble
buying into the whole modern day chain-yourself-up variety. Wolf-men are not
heroic. You were dead the moment you realised the wolf-bite had a lunar
transformational effect, y’know? Killed by the moon, so to speak. So do
the villagers a favour, Wolfie; buy a gun; load it with silver and get it over
with; would you? Please? He stopped, unsure of
the reasoning behind scratching nonsense onto the car park concrete. He
became caught; a brief flashback to evening’s spent listening to deranged,
howling, incurable guests of Bellevue Asylum. I have to save the
world … before I fucking lose it, he thought, his ears picking up on someone
crying. At first he convinced
himself that the sobbing he heard was the dog, but he couldn’t pretend too well,
not at all in fact. It wasn’t a dog he could hear. The crying belonged to a girl.
The sorrow visited him in broken sentences, chipped
words and brittle meanings emitted from the wire doll fashioned for him.
She blabbed about her mother’s eternal headache, her dad’s agonising
“You ----- come back,” he strained his hearing, “--
need --- to rescue us.” There wasn’t enough detachment in his soul to let go of
the damaged instrument. The freedom of the previous night, his
impassioned dark compulsiveness thoroughly drained from him. No
story scrawled on car park tarmac could whisk his mind away, his words failing to outrun weeping truths Vicky sent his way.
Through twisted umbrella spokes; through hands; plight straight from her
brain swamped his. Vicky blubbered through talk of her mum and dad, her
sister and all of her families suffering. She pleaded on behalf of all of
her kin before addressing her own woe.
“Spider -- nose ---- stop
bleeding. --- won’t my nose ---- bleed---?” He hefted his wreck
of a body off the ground, making his way towards the dog, all zig-zag-like, so
dazed, weary. When he released the starving pooch from the fence it immediately nuzzled
a scruffy head against his calves. Like a cat, a pet exuding
faith against the legs of a potential guardian. He shuddered at the
prospect of another casualty and kicked the dog in the face. He
watched all the trust drain out of the brown eyes. There, thought
Spiderfingers, now you’re safe.
N E X T T I M E I N
S P I D E R F I N G E R S
Despite their easy chemistry, reasons for
distance flooded into his brain from all sides. But Vicky was a damsel in
distress, and it was always so easy for him to see himself the way she saw him.