Monday, May 27, 2013

Warmup Part 02

The fireflies flitted --fields of them, row after row of houses fallen in on themselves (these fields, made of houses somersaulting)  in and through their black hole basements. Collapsing houses, strange geometries and jagged, crooked windows all giving way to a flood of fireflies from a mild winter.

Peter scowled and turned the air conditioning in his car up, the radio quietly crooning.

Naara also scowled, but at Peter, not the heat, or their local lack thereof. "Your hoodie smells like the back of a butcher shop, you know that don't you? Don't you do laundry?" She poked at Peter with two mis-lengthed feelings.

"Ouch." Peter said, without meaning it.

"Seriously though," Naara asked, "How do you know you'd rot in the heat?"

"It's what dead things do." Peter replied. He unbuttoned the collar of his immaculate white shirt and pushed his seat back. "We rot." he said to the ceiling.

They sat.

They waited.

Outside in the summer, fields of fireflies flitted through the bone sills and sinews of dead houses.

Peter broke the silence, he said: "It's coming." He buttoned his shirt back up, zipped up his baggy black canvas jacket. He turned the car off and stepped into the humidity.

Naara hoisted the hooded sweater, some oblique obelisk design --she assumed a defunct band logo-- on the chest, over her head and followed suit.

"Thank-you for closing the door quickly and not slamming it." Peter said, staring into the fireflies. He remarked: "There's so many of them. They're so pretty." Then started walking down the street.

Naara stood for a minute in contemplation of Peter's dark outline, the shock of lip-like bubbled skin on the back of his head the only light in the otherwise black silhouette. She sighed, adjusted her headband and strode to catch up with her supposedly dead companion.

The duo walked past three front porch stages, their wooden curtains torn down by neglect and a wave of        , their roofs jilted and obviously aching.

They passed a house studiously swept clean, a new copper roof, and a cobblestone walkway lit bright by ornate lantern porch lights, swaying softly in a breeze that didn't reach the uneven sidewalk.
Without slowing, without looking back, Peter told Naara, "That house is a house of magic and barter."

"It looked out of place."

"It would look out of place where ever its tenets were."

"Like the opposite of a cloaking device."

"Like Yoda."

"Like a retarded chameleon."

"Like a Michigan winter in New Orleans."

"Like blossoming apple tree in mid October."

"During the fit of warmth or --?"

"The day before."

Peter nodded, then stopped, abruptly. "Here we are, then." he said, sounding somewhat surprised.

Naara looked back, only two house spaces since the house of magic and barter, but its porch lights were city moon wan. Before and around her, around them (she corrected herself) the blackness was desert dark. Peter took her hand, but she shrugged out of the gesture. Naara felt him shrug: shoulders brushing in the blackness.

"Here, drink this." Peter said, "It'll help you see in the darkness."

"I'm fine without, thank-you." Naara replied, with a gently denying push.

"You'll be night bind."  Peter stated, but Naara laughed. She patted his shoulder, three slow times. She twisted his wrist, the vial, back into his jacket pocket.

She chuckled.

Another shrug in the dark.

"This is the basement."

"More like a hole."

"A grave."

A long moment to notice the line fireflies dared not cross.

"This again?" Peter asked; strode into the enveloping, shallow dark, his scar quickly fading in the night. He crouched for a moment, toed his way around the edge of the foundation, then bent down. Naara heard a deep sniff and a stifled cough as she caught up with him. Hunched on all fours Peter scampered around the corner, shouldn't have disappeared --nothing there of the house left-- but did.

Naara hopped to catch up and felt the air change as she rounded the corner.

A moment to notice the hard, pastel pink of the knife held against Peter's throat, a shoddy leather glove: a hand on Peter's windpipe. Peter's eyes bulging --fear(?), impatience(?). Within this same moment, a moment the size of no fire flies, not even wan moons: teeth like lightning, moving, silence; glowing next to Peter's ragged (was it always ragged?) ear. No blood. The moment began to end and

And the end of the moment, ushered in on the bloodless the edge of the pink knife beginning its seesaw into Peter's throat; the whir of springs and hairpins.

The next moment: a muzzle flash through a homemade silencer looking like a victorian children's night lamp; teeth splintering, the pink knife shattering; a scream like a fast deflating balloon.

The next moment: the shoddy glove hit the ground, mangled under Naara's thin shoe, her right hand pushing Peter away, behind, back around the corner. Out.

Peter stumbled, fell to his knees and laughed a bark of a thing, cut off as he crossed some ghostly ley line, but so what? Naara was busy.

Naara's heel twisted on the glove, ripped it, as she crouched; dove hands, arms, head first over the edge, into the desiccated basement, gun in hand.

Peter's attacker's back turned to her as it fumbled with the wrong hand in a coat pocket, the correct arm deflated, useless; maggots or some other twitching and convulsing pupae dropping --plip plop plop-- from out the wrecked sleeve.

"I will shoot the fingers holding the key before they're out that pocket." Naara shouted. Her voice was eerie, brittle, in the basement.

A moment to wonder: Did he jump across the --was it a-- pit?

Another wheezing balloon.

Another children's lantern flash and the soundless skittle of fingers and keys --keys?-- disappeared into the --yes it was-- pit in the middle of the basement.

The assailant turned. A melon of maggots run through (sewn together?) with kelp for a head. No Neck. Upturned collar. Naara steadied herself, gun pointed; waiting, watching the maggots delve and revolve.
Eventually, tooth shards emerged as rows. "You." The maggots formed. "Why you?"

Naara shrugged in the darkness.

The maggot man jerked, good arm flailing, windmilling, before it fell into the pit in the middle.  Peter called out across the pit: "You lost us the key, didn't you?"

"Keys. Yeah. Couldn't tell it was a pit, Peter."

"You lost us a bunch of keys?"

"I lost us a bunch of keys."

Naara could hear Peter's sigh all the way across the pit in the desiccated basement. "I'm going to need a scarf." He said. "And a very specific purse."

"Nope!" Naara said.

The door through which the assailant failed to escape opened and

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Warmup Part 01

They sat, staring and smiling at each other as an indian summer storm tried to drown their shambling city. Naara sat cross-legged on the under stuffed, salvaged, tapioca leather couch. Her clock hand fingers toyed gently with the african fertility charm ironically slung between her breasts. Her perfume was loving and invasive, licking Peter's nostrils like a clean, cloying cat. She asked, "So, we're really going to do this, huh?" The half dozen stark lights in Peter's apartment flickered.

In Windsor, Canada, lightning struck a casino; sparks cascaded as if from a sloppy welder.

A moment later, thunder set the apartment's monastic windows and Naara's tiny teeth rattling. The lights, hanging on laughably long and patchy extension cords, went out.

Neither Naara nor Peter cared about the sudden immersion.

Peter grinned, invisible. Rather than answer, he distracted himself by trying to examine his knotty knuckles in the dark.

Naara poked Peter's chest, scooted closer to him. "I'll take that as a yes then." She said. She shivered. She asked, "Why is it that no matter what season it is, your apartment is always, always frigid?"

John's smile faltered momentarily. He kept staring at his cauled, eldritch finger joints.

"No, seriously, though. Why so cold?" Naara asked.



More lightning and sparks from another high rise like a gigantic, infinitely modern lighter, bereft of fuel.  More thunder, then car alarms. Then, all of Detroit went dark.

His grin returned, Peter lurched onto Naara like a fish's last flop. His breath smelled like a river with an algae bloom. His finger tips were rough, under her t-shirt, digging at her hips. He whispered, teeth to her right ear: "So I don't rot."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Toa's Happy Close

Toa wondered about the creature she'd left in the tide pool of tears --was it grown? Had it left? She remembered being curious, but there was no direction, suddenly, no pull on her, so she decided to head back to her camp.

Toa remembered being curious about something else, too, though she couldn't remember what. She --there was something, a nit on the back of her head, the base of her skull, and its teeth were a dream of a duty.

Toa shrugged. The sun was bright and the forest verdant. The air was crisp, and clear, and warm.

Toa had been gone a long, long time. She should return to the tide pool and check on the creature; she should return to her village, summon her grandparents and ask them how things were, how things had been, how things might soon become.

The trip back took her more days than the trip to the tree, but Toa did not wonder why.

When she reached the tide pool of tears there was a note delicately drawn in the sand:
Gone fishing. Back at sundown.

There was a corner of the pool where leaves floated, woven together, in a mat, and there was a trail of sand leading into the forest.

The river was cooler here, deeper by the edge of the water fall as it was, and so Toa sat and waited for her friend to return.

At sunset, as the orb dipped below the tree line, she heard a rustling in the foliage. Toa turned and broke into a grin: three bright red tentacles rolled up and out from under leaves, striking in their color, but smaller than she remembered.

The Octopus smiled at her: three wavy limbs in U shapes with mustaches. It pounced on her and hugged her tightly, before sliding off and quickly signing a welcome back message.

They grinned in the twilight and The Octopus, killed, skinned, and de-boned a fish so pink and succulent Toa cried with joy as she ate. The Octopus wiped away her tears with an arm and smiled.

The Octopus asked her if, when she went back to her village, he could go with her and Toa laughed and agreed and laughed some more. "You can live with me!" She said.

Okay. Good! Came The Octopus's reply.

At dawn they set out, The Octopus gently nudging Toa here and there among the thickets.

It lead her around a particularly fragrant patch of flowers and