Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Room Full of Wishes

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

The lurch of the boat was frightening but Steph calmed herself immediately for this was this land’s version of a door opening. This near-drowning was the way in to that place – the great unknown...

     Steph’s gradual awareness of the sweet tangy hit of river water was so far and above pleasant, that she thoroughly resisted in the opening of her eyes, preferring to exist only through the licking of her lips. However, curiosity has a habit of favouring what is seen over that which can be tasted.

    Intrigue forsook Steph’s tongue, the innate impulse of inquiry opening her grey eyes so that they might bear witness to thick vapours, multiplying mists rising from her water-clotted long coat and nightgown. A disturbance that had been adding to her discomfort bullied its way into her forethought, the stink within her nostrils - so awful. So rank was this copper fume that Steph continued breathing through her mouth. Her darting eyes located broken and dismembered bodies strewn carelessly and absolutely everywhere. Gathered upon her knees now, fingers rubbing her car crash injury (the slight but nonetheless bothersome gash upon her left thigh), Steph looked out of her noiseless enclosure, searching through tall windows spreading with her condensation.

She found familiar red fish there, the supposed Red Herring species, bobbing silent gill-crested watchers batting wide bulbous eyeballs. A faint blue light seemed to be shining through the murky depths and Steph momentarily fancied the sun far up had been replaced by a huge sapphire. Why not, she thought, if she awoke in a house underwater then laws of physics would surely become askew. The timelessness of this quiet place was at once eerie yet somehow secure - a lonely place, to think, a sub-reality far-removed from the reproach of anything or anyone else.

Her fuzzy attention returned to the school of fish spying into the living-room, an area that ought to be dark were it not for some sizzling fire…fire fizzling somewhere near? A lantern above?

    Maybe, thought Steph, swaying as she was from the effects of her unusual journey, far too disoriented to track the blaze, barely conscious – her quick standing resulting in a graceless misstep…a fall.

Fearful of the sticky contamination of the floor, Steph shot back up onto her backside acclimatising, slowly, badly. She began wiping her hands free of body fluid and dead flesh as her eyes took in specifics of the horrific scene. Only grizzly garish sights for Steph: an overturned dinner table, snapped in half. Three of its legs torn off...was that a crushed carcass underneath one of the halves? Yes, she decided, but unidentifiable. Posters and pictures and books cluttering up the wooden floor boards, and there, under the window by the furthest wall, a broken flat-screen television. It was running with the red wine plasma of slain pulped furry bodies, warrior Dilf’s from village Po. Steph noticed a severed body part. She shuffled over, staring anxiously at the limb – she couldn’t help herself. She inspected the torn off forearm, its gross occupancy at the base of a hacked and blood-smeared armchair. Steph prodded the density of blue-tinged Caucasian skin that had Vicky’s name barbed into it. That was precisely when the old familiar and dithering voice loomed from behind her.

The speech was nonthreatening, calm. Nonetheless Steph's breathing began to shallow. She span round to witness an oddity.

    ‘That isn’t really Vicky’s arm,’ declared the blue man, ‘Don’t fret.’

    This mystery man with the John Hurt vocal pattern had withered purple sleeves trailing down and into his lap, as if his arms had not been pulled or chopped off but had simply disappeared from within the garment. Steph stared wide-eyed at him, cross-legged and situated between the kitchen and the living room. He opened his mouth to speak once more,

    ‘Welcome back Priestess Stephanie,’ he said with a polite grin, ‘Are you ready for your quest?'


    'Oh dear,' announced the Blue man, 'It appears you have a canine inflection. Or perhaps an infection? You ought to have that looked at.' He looked down past his shoulders, staring where blue arms used to be, ‘And you must be starving.’ he said.

The notion that trespassed her lips was foolish, for Steph knew exactly where she was given the orgy of surreal and abstract evidence and yet, out rolled the redundant question,

    ‘Wh-where is this place?’

    The blue man’s mouth made a ‘shhh’ sound, his eyes closing as his face squinted a little, his head nodding at a measured pace, as if to say: Hold on, hold on…allow me to explain.

    The blue man began to speak, ‘The Matryoshka had to bring you inside. If it hadn’t, Saul would have eaten you.’

    Steph’s head sank into her chest cavity allowing her palms to run frustratingly through straggled black hair.

    ‘The Matryowhat?’ echoed Steph bewildered, fatigued. And oh, the copper stench, the putrid fumes…

    ‘The Matryoshka,’ replied her host, ‘my brother’s purple bus.’

    Steph looked into the blue man's eyes.

    ‘I’m inside my own mind aren't I? Jesus.’ said Steph turning to look out through smoggy windows at impatient hand-sized spectators, their inane insistence. Like the proverbial moth to its flame, her fin sporting audience chose to swim again and again into the foggy glass, ‘Red Herrings’ drawn toward some fascination that Steph could not detect.

    'Ah, the uncontrollable vehicle that rolls, between our ears, the swerving beguiling transit is never quite the constant. Unlike the storyteller, unlike a play’s set-design, the subconscious requires no piloting and is in fact an unruly ever unpredictable bastard.'

    'Woof! For fuck sake, what's wrong with me?'

    Sluggishly, without menace, the blue man went down on his belly, more snake-like than humanoid as his head inclined up from the floorboards to meet Steph’s gaze, his eyes locked with her own, not blinking, not one eye-lid flutter as he hissed. This left Steph momentarily speechless, although, not quite afraid (for she knew it within her soul, that this blue aspect of her psychology would not and could not harm her).

    ‘What on earth are you doing?’ she asked.

    ‘Body language my priestess,’ replied the blue man with a look of embarrassment, as if her question was wholly uncalled for, ‘I was merely expressing penitence.’

    Steph fixed her gaze upon one of the pulped deceased. Rather them than this purple shirted arm-less figment, whose slow but steady return to his former upright position proved most welcoming.

    ‘I don’t know what you want of me,’ announced Steph, ‘but I wish you’d – all of you – just stop being weird.’

    The man with blue skin politely grinned.

    ‘We are only how you wish us to be.’ he said.

    Steph pointed out at the carcasses shrieking, ‘Me? Wish this?’ she flicked her hands at the glass portals, a gross reminder of the house’s sub-aquatic immersion, ‘Or this?’ she stabbed her finger out at a heap of bodies in the left corner, then the corpses on her right.

    ‘Well, let’s take a closer look at this…place priestess,’ he said with a glint in his cobalt eyes, ‘Be thankful it is not He Who is Red that does the explanations. Ah, this…place.’ He gazed about leisurely in considered amazement, ‘Horrible memories that you share with your chosen divinity,’ announced the blue man, ‘horrors lit up by your growing suspension of disbelief – a true sign that he has chosen to work through you.’

    Steph heard the crackling then, just then, and the room took on a new luminescence as she realised that she was the light source here. Wispy locks of marigold buoyed above her brow. Fire for hair.

    ‘I – I can hardly believe it.’ started Steph.

    ‘The tales you spin, they are haunted Priestess. Can you believe that?’

    Bimpe Adebayo stood outside Sarah’s flat fishing around multiple pockets for keys. After relieving the jangly set from his back pocket, Bimpe proceeded to let himself inside, to race his wobbly build upstairs. There, he found Sarah Edwards in front of her computer, one hand pulling on her rainbow mass of shoulder-length braids, the other at the keyboard and mouse.

    ‘Woman, you’re always working?! Anyway, I’ve come to save you! Party time!’ hollered Bimpe hands aloft.

    ‘B,’ voiced Sarah nonchalantly her focus remaining squarely on the monitor, ‘It’s just gone three in the morning. I really don’t feel like going out anymore? And dude, remember to post your – my keys through the letter box on the way out please. I keep having to lend Foley mine, so not cool man.’

    ‘Yeah, I know - sorry,’ said Bimpe rolling his pink eyes around, ‘You have to come though, Celeste’s birthday bash is still going. I promised people the Edward's Twins would be there.’

    Sarah betrayed him a quick glance from the screen catching Bimpe flash his pearly whites.

    ‘Foley’s out.’ said Sarah her right hand clicking and moving the wireless mouse, her eye-line committed to photo-shopping her brothers face.

    ‘Oh, well then,’ Bimpe boomed clasping his hands above his head in mock victory, ‘it’s just me and my favourite insomniac side-kick then, isn’t it?’

    Bimpe skipped over to peer over Sarah’s shoulder at an image of Foley in full Spiderfingers gear but no sooner had he leaned in, he found himself pulling away, utterly. Bimpe had caught his own reflection, his albino Negro features superimposing upon Foley’s. Ambling away from his insecurity, manoeuvring round to crouch next to her chair, Bimpe laid his hands strategically on his friends arm,

    ‘Alan McKinnon turned up just after me. Heard him chatting about book cover design and I -'

    ‘- I know where you’re going with this,’ cut in Sarah, ‘but it just doesn’t work like that, he has a publisher.’

    ‘Saraaaaah,’ sang Bimpe with a child-like moaning, ‘It always works like that.’

    ‘Shut up, liar…he’s never even met me.’

    ‘He could tonight. Come on, I’ve got the car for another two weeks so no night bus drama. You need the money. Seduce him darling,’ His hands throwing a mock flurry of punches to her side, ‘Seduce him!’

    Sarah stopped playing with her braids to deflect his play-fighting, ‘Can’t we go anywhere without you pimping me out?’

    ‘Yeah,’ Bimpe replied with a chortle, ‘but pimping you out is soooo cool!’ said Bimpe. Sarah smiled letting out a chuckle herself as she began saving her work.

    ‘You’re what’s wrong with the world.’ she said as her friend began his ritual – peeking through the key hole of the room aside her computer desk.
    ‘Gone to see Pinder has he?’ Bimpe said spying the vacant room. He was able to spot the mess of beer cans and unwashed plates when he felt a hand reach under his trilby. Sarah of course, yanking him by his snow-white-afro Mohican, a jolly but assertive tug away from Foley’s door, ‘Ow!’ he yelped, ‘So like, overkill!’ Bimpe said realigning his hat in the wall mirror.

    ‘Yup, that’s me,’ replied Sarah under her breath making her way down the staircase, ‘God knows I should be in bed.’

    ‘You’re an insomniac,’ stated Bimpe flatly, his heavy mass trundling along behind her, ‘You don’t get to sleep, you get to paaaartyyyy!’

N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S
    ‘Assemble your forces,' cautioned the cross-legged sage, 'Minions have the scent of your smoke in their nostrils and they only live to spike your meat upon their teeth, their masters have raised them so.’

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