P R E V I O U S L Y I N
Caramel coloured Foley stretching and contorting in response to her considerations, the fringe celebrity swaying in the bath (a heavy drinking marathon in Soho’s Mohida Club still pumping around his skeletal frame), whilst Sarah swept his dripping dreadlocks, those spider-legs out of the way.
Mustn't conceal that vacant stare of his.
And Sarah remembered vividly how Foley’s hand pushed the spider-legs right back over his furrow. Foley opted for profile shots, his self-worth funnelled through the prism of a media that valued small white noses, and lips. If he could just purse his lips close together enough. Brother Foley had a determined eye on the prize. To be truly loved by those with the real power, He would most definitely feel alive, so utterly and properly thrust into a higher existence. A media presence was not enough; Foley desired a sustained invasion, his image ballooned here there and everywhere.
‘Hold on!’ screamed Saul as he and Handy Andy roared into the black.
'Oh yes,' said Steph aloud to herself,
'The bus, it came to save me...saved me from Zombie-Boy. But I had to get out of the bus...had to escape He Who is Red...Woof!'
Rodents she would catch sight of but only momentarily; always at the corner of her eye, dashing about in their fuzzy need-to-stroke-them coats, with speed, each and every fur-ball evading easy identification. That couldn’t be blue hairs sprouting out of them, could it? This alien place was simultaneously welcoming and foreign in its presentation. Just like last time Steph decided.
Wet greenery underfoot except the grass seemed otherworldly, cobalt, the colour hinting over all shrubbery so that in fact thought Steph on a whim, the term greenery couldn’t apply here, not really. There were large birds up in the firmament (or at least creatures that resembled such, for like the groundswell of scurrying mammals, these flying animals were too far away for classification). Steph batted away insects. Each and every flying speck was a supernatural blur, as if the life-forms here were in some way hiding from her, somehow shielded from full comprehension. Soon she came upon tall rocky structures, ruined stone monoliths towering high and they too shared the atmosphere's theme of eerie navy. Steph looked up at the sun. It seemed coated behind all of this, her surreal environment. The unreachable star seemed to glow bright and wonderful but as if it were outside of Steph’s immediate reality – like a torch attempting to shine through heavy shaded limousine windows.
Steph clutched at the painful area on her lower thigh and attempted to keep moving.
Not far ahead she could see what she was really looking for: The vastness, Steph could see a great lake and she knew when she hopped into the boat beached there it would be to no avail. She would row-row-row her boat toward the twinkling lights on the other side and they would remain distant. Whatever that thing is beneath the water would put paid to her reaching any civilisation that she could recognise. Beneath the liquid surface was the way in.
He Who is Red? He was her shepherd and all of this place, the surreal ecology, the trees, the bus? These elements all belonged to Spiderfingers and now they belonged to her. The iron pillars of reality that Dr Capgras and Silberman and erected in her mind? Steph broke them down now, she rendered the safety of psychiatric precepts molten. Redundant. She clung to this brave logic in the hope that the blue man could confirm everything. He had to, and there had to be an order - a sense to things, even in this chaos – how else could she map her eventual way out?
‘Awake in a dream.’ she muttered and she yawned realising her fatigue. She ought to be reading a bedtime story to…Gideon, because that’s what mothers do.
Steph allowed the influx of memories, numerous instances of tending to her boy, her spending time with him, she permitted these warm images to wash over her mind’s eye as she walked nearer to the gravel strewn coast. Such times of old were blurred, like bad photographs. Each inner snap was accompanied with a gross unfamiliarity. Her reminiscence of walking through Mothercare to buy his first buggy may as well have been via the shops CCTV footage. Steph may as well have been a droopy-eyed security guard constantly checking the snail pace of the monitor room’s clock. So far removed was she. So distant was that simple time.
Steph would be in control this time. She shook herself free of his grip and edged away. She took deep breaths. He Who is Red continued his riddle-speak,
'You haven't seen Mr Lime about here have you?', he said poking his grey hat up to reveal his third eye to Steph, 'Wee man, Einstein-type hair? Has a knack of slipping between universes?'
'Keep your distance if you see him,' warned the red coloured man wagging his finger, 'He's figured out the who and the what of this place. If you come across him just run and find me Steph, for your own good.'
In the world according to Sarah Edwards, twenty first century attractiveness was measured differently – darker skin tones plastered every skincare billboard, noses that might otherwise be considered too spread-out or ogre-like were the top choice in a plastic surgeons menu book. In Sarah’s fantasy realm the green skinned Shrek looked more like Tom Cruise than George Foreman.
Sarah’s imagination had factored in more than the one concession for the people that would read her work (as if she could ignore the geeks and the comic nerds that formed a good segment of Stephanie Tent’s readership?), For instance, a mediocre superhero called White Stag, a king in a fictional land located on some remote and impoverished isle called Gaeland was the token Caucasian on the popular superhero team, The Protectors. In Sarah’s alternate universe, The Protectors had a movie based on their exploits that omitted the blonde haired White Stag from the mainly black cast.
How it cloaks around London’s skyline.
Bare hands and bare feet pound along pigeon-shit-stained roof tops and the man that these feet belong to is fast asleep.
In his future alertness, when the day has fully returned, he will consider the snatches of blood pools, the vague and distant memories of ritual murder as best-forgotten nightmares.
This man will consign the clicking and clacking chimes of a silver chain to dreamscape's eccentric plotting.
Up he goes, leaping gaps between buildings, his body possessed by a dead god's stray minion. The naked man’s brain is captained by a dark force of nature, one that has commanded his innocent hands to bind a metal chain over its face.
It has inscribed a message into the abdomen of a security guard of an industrial estate in Northern Ireland. The night watchman’s remains scattered throughout the compound...
...and now the creature is using its considerable will to grant inhuman strength to a vessel it must keep safe, shielded from the blood swilling actions that it lives to carry out.
This man is a means to slaughter - a weapon whose preferred signature is the ruinous cadavers heaped in its wake.
Yes, behind manacles drooling wet crimson life force, a man somehow hisses out an internal mantra, his meat strewn teeth gritted firmly shut,
N E X T T I M E I N
S P I D E R F I N G E R S
'He's playing me in Nirvana the movie -.’ his voice trails off. He’s seen Rooenn.
(N.B The comments posted below pertain to an extended version of this story, truncated due to issues of pace).
WARNING: THESE COMMENTS INCLUDE SPOILERS.