Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Handy Andy: Sidekick Supreme


P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S   L   Y      I    N 
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

Caucasian fingers crawled out of Saul's right jacket pocket and into the illumination of the electric lit room. Steph’s shriek was more piercing than any Baptist in religious fervour. The hand crawled onto the bed and on its stump, the sprightly creepy-crawly gave Steph a thumbs up.

    'Now if you still think you're crazy I swear,' said Saul pulling on his ponytail in frustration, 'I swear I'll eat your brains.'
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    As soon as Dr Silberman walked into Steph’s room, Handy Andy, that lone and grizzled palm majestically back-flipped out of his thumbs-up-welcoming-gesture (merely one of his special manoeuvres) to land palm down, spider-like.

The little critter sprang right off Steph’s white seashell bedding to skim across the black and white tile floor, scuttling towards a screaming Dr Silberman. He pounced upon the doctors left trouser leg, crawling up on to the white of his shirt. Once there, he managed to hero-leap again…up and further up so that he could vice his five feelers around Silberman's neck. This vibrancy of movement was in direct contrast to Handy Andy's thin and flaky digits. There was not a day that went by that Saul's former limb wouldn't find himself doodling accounts of his former health. The nails of this artist's fingers lost to sickness over the last few weeks...


    Andy clamped his dismembered self tight around Dr Silberman’s throat as Saul sprinted for the doorway shouting,

    ‘C’mon!’ at Steph, 'C'mon for fuck sake,' who sat there, gawping through her thick layer of shock.

Steph could only flick her eyes from Saul and then on Silberman and then to Jean Capgrass ‘sleeping’ in the bed.

    'Woof! Woof!'

    ‘C’mon you nutter!’ Saul shouted turning on his heel. He'd rushed back into the room, right past Bellevue’s head psychiatrist whose predicament had him on his knees. He was choking from Handy’s human necktie routine.

    ‘What are you waiting for?’ cried Saul as he drew her by the wrist and out the exit. Out they shot into the long passageway, a long snake of door after door stretching towards the egress at its far end. The corridor was bleached by the overhead spinal of electric light. And it was swamped, congested with residents drawn by the noise. Yes, all the mentally fatigued of Floor Two had responded to the curious outpourings from Silberman. In her misty rose night gown, shuffling by her rescuers side, Steph struggled. She tried to keep up with her smelly abductors stride, hauled forward, bobbing and weaving round pyjama clad Bellevue clients.

    ‘They’ve got security,' she huffed, 'You know that right?'

    But Steph got no answer from Saul and yelped a little as others screamed out pointing behind her in disbelief. The sight of a hand sprinting through the mass tangle of legs caused a few mental relapses. Soon, the wisps of Pseudologoi sifted along the corridors with them, slicing out the bizzare happenings, eradicating all memory of Handy Andy.

Handy Andy: Nail-less. Small yet seemingly unstoppable, he climbed at speed and then off the floor, frog leaping up onto the midriff of Saul’s dark blue cape-like coat. With a few more clawing’s, the abominable palm finally arrived on Saul’s shoulder. He firmly attached himself as a five-knuckle-shoulder pad, flicking his torn and slightly crooked index finger straight ahead.

    ‘I know where I’m going!’ Saul shouted.

    ‘Bellevue’s got ex S.A.S men for guards.' announced Steph. 

    ‘I eat ex S.A.S for breakfast.’ replied Saul.

    ‘Not these guys,’ whispered Steph, ‘They’re armed with tasers, nightsticks and years of beating up cowardly zombies.’

    ‘I’m not cowardly and I don't like being called a zombie, so shut up. And why are you whispering?'

    ‘Sorry,' spat Steph at Saul's decayed cheekbone,' 'I’ve never been kidnapped by a work of fiction before. Maybe I should be doing this?’ And out it came – an indecent yodelling that could have roused the departed. Saul stopped abruptly to face her as he covered her mouth with his un-dead hand,

    'Don't be a dick. I'm trying to be the good guy here.' he hissed. Taking his hand away Steph was motionless for a fraction of a second before she began screaming again. Saul grabbed Steph, his left hand grasping one elbow whilst the stump of his handless right forearm, it aimed toward his open mouth,

    'Keep pissing me off and I take a bite, got it Missus?'
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    Steph, Saul and Handy Andy crashed through the swinging double-doors that led to a stairwell. That's when Steph felt it. Saul’s clasp of ice-box cold did something she’d been expecting since his grip had come about. Through arctic cold fingers she detected Saul trembling.

    ‘Andy,’ said Saul, 'check the way.’

    Andy scurried down his partners arm and took to the handrail and skid down its slalom out of sight.

    'Woof!'

    'So what's your story?' Asked Saul, 'Did your pet pooch die? Send you barking? Pun intended.'

    ‘Forget my story,' blurted Steph, 'What's yours?’

    ‘What?’ replied Saul searching down the spiral.

    ‘What is this?’ asked Steph.

    ‘What d’ya mean what is this?’ Saul wondered looking away from the stairwell with a nervous exasperation.

    ‘What d’ya mean, what do I mean? What do you want with me?' asked Steph.

    ‘Trust me,' answered Saul looking back down to the floors below, ‘Before he died, Spiderfingers told me to find the one with the brightest flame, the one that believes in him the most.'

    'Spiderfingers is dead?' Steph asked.

    'Yeah,' replied Saul,  'and I don't see any gods invading Earth, do you? I knew he was a liar.'

    ‘This can't be happening...it was just one of my weird dreams that I wrote down...' but Steph didn't finish her sentence. Perhaps lying to herself just wasn't appropriate any more?

    '...where are we going?' She asked.

    ‘Back to the house,' answered Saul looking down the flights of steps, 'Listen, there's no time for messing about Missus.’

    'Please stop calling me Missus...I'm not married, y'know!'

    Saul threw a confused glare over his right shoulder as he replied, 'Odd place for romance. And I'll tell you another thing - '

    An orderly grabbed Saul from behind and thrust his rather sizeable arms around the skinny chancer.

    ‘Let me go man!’ said Saul as his opponents arms constricted round his mid-section.

    ‘Go back to your room Miss Tent,’ said the moustached man with the ginger hair, ‘I’ve got the blighter.’

    Steph obliged.

    ‘No, come back! Help!’ shouted Saul as Steph scampered down the hallway.

    ‘Take it easy sir. The police are on their way.’ declared the orderly struggling at Saul’s back.

    ‘Fu-fu-fuck…you.' said Saul struggling, 'The S.A.S can kiss my stone cold bollocks…Andy? Help! Where the shitting-hell are you?'

Suddenly, the official of Bellevue bellowed out in pain, his arms unwrapped themselves from around Saul. He was confused as his ginger-headed cranium was pulled right back. His blue eyes ripped wide open, full with the terror of the unknown. Saul stood back and pinned himself a few steps down off the landing, his left and only hand clenching the handrail as he watched the orderly swing this way and that, thrashing aimlessly at a fearless adversary gripping the back of his neck.
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    Outside her room, Steph was surrounded by fellow patients and doctors and nurses and some plain clothed men and women with Walkie Talkies and puzzled faces and oh dear, one guard was trying to talk to her but Steph was ignorant of English now. A plump lady with spindly arms waved a large notebook in her face blabbing incessantly, wild talk of Spiderfingers and a fantasy story meant for him. Steph shoved the mad woman out of her way, for this had never been a place to entertain fans. She certainly wouldn't be signing autographs now. Seemingly, steph was mentally ticking off a list of devices and keepsakes as she collected them into her hands. Into the suitcase they all went. Into the baggage that Milo had fetched from her flat weeks ago.

    Laptop. Journal of Spiderfingers.

    'Woof!'

    Steph pocketed her phone into her long overcoat. She unplugged and shoved it's charger in the other pocket and then wrapped herself in the long and comforting deep sea green, nodding faithfully away to instructions only she could receive. She ran to the entrance of a her room but someone with a badge and a suit blocked her way. That’s when the doors at the end of the corridor crashed open, spilling the tumbling mass of yet another orderly on the receiving end of Handy Andy's petite but potent martial energy. Everyone took a collective step back as Saul burst through into the corridor shouting, ‘Stop making love to your new pal Andy, we’re outta here!’

Steph dashed round the man guarding her exit-way to join the onlookers. In what can only be described as a flash movement, Handy Andy dismounted his quarry and splat flat on his back, his index finger curled and uncurled in Steph’s direction. Saul screamed,

    ‘Forget Woofing-Girl…she’s not gonna be any use. Look where we're trying to bust her out of for fuck sake!’
    In the window nearest to her, Steph looked into the night and found a reflection that wasn't her own. The character that mirrored Steph's movements stared back from the glass realm winking...wearing a smile. And this translucent visage, waif-like Miss Knightley, she sported a head full of fire; the A-lister crowned in a tiara of flames flickering and sprouting upwards to the darkness of the frame that held it. Imaginary celebrity lips parted:

    'Run Stephanie Tent. Run with the Discordian's. Their path will lead you to me.'
    'Woof!'

The journey from Bellevue (Surrey) to Turnpike Lane was…complicated. In their stolen car, Handy Andy had been annotating the A to Z since it fell out of the glove compartment, but for every road that would appear to take the trio into London, there was a grassy dead-end.

Numerous turns had lead the troupe over and over again to the edge of a vast night-infested woodland. And this is why Andy had taken it upon himself to jot down a preferable route back to the big smoke. 

    ‘You don’t know where we are do you?’ remarked Steph as her eyeballs failed to rise from their engrossed scan through of Hero-worship. The grammatical ruler-slaps of Hattie Strickland’s Face the Face review fueling Steph’s lexical operation'Maybe you read the last road sign wrong?’

    ‘N-n-no I didn’t!’ roared Saul as his greying eyeballs locked momentarily on Steph via the rear-view mirror, ‘And how can you t-t-type at a time like this?'
    Steph ignored him. Her fingers continuing their obsessive dance along the keys.
    'Listen y-y-y-yeah?' stammered Saul, 'I’m following Andy’s directions exactly but…this is we-we-weird...Spiderfingers weird.'

    ‘Isn’t he dead?’ asked Steph halting in her typing. She was sure she had caught him – Zombie Boy eyeing up the neckline of her misty rose nightgown.

    ‘Yeah…other things though missus, always other things hiding here and th-th-there.’ Saul wiped away beads of perspiration with his right arm whilst Steph opened her mouth to ask him if he was sick, though she already knew,

    ‘Andy? Give Saul a neck rub?’

    Andy quit with his sketching and crawled along the front passenger seat onto Saul’s lap. The lone limb then traversed Saul’s dark blue sleeve of trench coat. He journeyed spider-like onto the collar and…

    ‘So Spiderdick t-t-to-told you something about…me at least.’

    Steph nodded her head, ‘Yeah, he mentioned your appetite in his notebook. Erm…so…when did you last, er...eat?’

    ‘Don’t worry, I neeeeed you alive – my family needs you alive.’

    Steph felt the dog noises in her jugular. She coughed through them. She followed her release with a question, ‘How am I important?’

    ‘S-s-s-s-spid-sp-sp-spidertwat just said I should get you to the house – that Alice could…heeeelp.'

    ‘O.K,' began Steph with a pause, 'so who is Alice?’

    ‘Many…th-th-th-things…five minutes yeah Missus?’ replied Saul as he brought the car screeching to a dead stop. He shook his head vigorously taking deep breathes, long inhales and exhales in a rhythm that had to be his long relied upon coping device. Steph dared not ask him for confirmation.

    ‘O.K,’ began Saul his lone hand gripping the wheel so hard Steph could hear a crackle in the bones, ‘Alice…Right…she’s loadsa things really. A weapon...a girl…Spider's da-da-da-daughter. She can put things right.’ Saul pushed the accelerator pedal, hard.

    'So,' Saul asked, 'how long have you been worshiping Spiderfingers?'

    ‘I don’t worship him.’

    ‘Whateverrrrrrr,’ continued Saul spinning the wheel round a tight bend, ‘Hard to believe he’s d-dea-deaaa…d-dead though, eh?’

    ‘Are you sure he's –

    ‘I s-saw,’ and Steph jumped back a little as Saul turned his head to face her, though his eyes lingered upon her milky calves in snap glances, ‘I watched him die myself - H-hor-horribly.’

    Steph looked away, searching through the passenger window as if the night-time might deliver a hint as to what to say next. She would have done anything to have the guidance of a certain lady celebrity.

    ‘Aronson killed him. Aronson's been locating and corrupting Spiderfingers' followers – Dilf’s mainly – big strong shaggy things. Aronson’s using them to build an army, destroying dolls, toys and statues – any motherfucking thing that B-b-b-b-oleraam lovers might use to focus their p-p-p-prayers through.'
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    Saul’s speech had slowed significantly in the last forty five minutes and Steph thought it rude to point out the drooling. With every bad turn that arrested their venture to London, Steph would mentally practice throttling her brain hungry driver.

She tried in vain to think up insulting quips that mocked his child-like regression. Amid her fantasy, Steph recollected how in tight corners like this, where strength just might not be enough, the typical protagonist would be endowed with enough cunning to survive. It was time for intel. It was time to learn more about this yarn's bad guy…

    ‘Who the hell is Aronson?’ asked Steph.

    ‘Wouldn’t believe m-m-m-m-me.’ replied Saul as his tongue lolled weakly out the corner of his diseased and stinking mouth.

    ‘Try me.’

    ‘You’d…laugh,' replied Saul, 'You really shouldn’t. L-l-l-laughing…make me… wanna tear out your skull and eat you but…story sounds like bollocks to me too s-s-sometimes.’

    ‘Please tell me,’ pleaded Steph acting calm, ‘I wanna get everything straight.’

    ‘Been…used…lied to, manipulated…picked on and sacrificed by…by…by...'

    ‘Spiderfingers?’ she interjected, not knowing how she'd reached the conclusion.

    ‘Yeeeesssssss!’ affirmed Saul grimacing into the rear-view mirror, 'your “inspiration” is a fuck!’ Saul was looking squarely at Steph’s jugular. She held the neck of her gown instinctively.

    'C’mon Saul, you need to tell me about Aronson. It would be cruel not to -’

    ‘Cruuuuel? Meeeee missusssss? N-n-no…f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-f-uuuuck…fuck faaaaace letting hisss…biggest fan diiiieee...that's major cr-cruelty.’

    ‘What are you talking about?’

    ‘Vicky. She ad-ad-adored him. N-n-n-n-need to stop…Neeeeeed…to eat.’

    ‘Woof?! Stop the car? I’d rather you didn’t.’

    ‘Won’t attack y-y-y-y-y-you – will fiiiiiind…someone. Urrrrr.’

    ‘Yeah but - ’

    ‘Urrrrrr….Saul only eat b-b-b-baaaad…people...Urgh…'

    'Woof! Woof! Woof!'

    The Audi released itself from Saul's control. Spinning, Steph tried to keep upright as the car flipped over and over. Before she blacked out, Steph was sure she saw a violet bus brake alongside her cracked passenger window.

N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

Handy Andy focused his formidable talent upon a pound shop note-pad. He was busy rendering a cartoon likeness of Vicky snoozing on the sofa back home. He drew Vicky's hands cradling him in her lap. Unfortunately, it didn't matter how much Handy detailed his art, he couldn't escape the sound of death. Chomp and crack and snap went the bones in the policeman’s body. Handy knew that zombies merely begin their dining at the cranium. Everything must go.

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