strange creatures

apparently, i’ve made a podcast of fictional stories as a side, creative hobby, just to explore the idea of it. but WARNING: i have no idea what i’m doing. i have adopted a motto that alfred hitchcock once coined, “always make the audience suffer as much as possible.” i’m sure that he personally meant suspense in a story, but for anyone who tunes in, the suffering will mainly come from having to listen to my voice.

click the image to listen.

 

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PART 14

AWAKE

 

In the downslope of evening dusk, which leaves a cut of blood on the horizon like a knife wound, she starts awake from the nauseous scene in her mind and the clangor of the nightmare weapon. The floor that her contused cheekbone lies on is scented with kitchen rag mildew and dried piss. Her heart still limps to right itself, but she’s awake now lying on a warm floor in a pool of her saliva and coagulated blood. Fully awake and here, where ever here is, with it’s sheer, colorless curtains stained from being used as napkins swaying with a tender, curious breeze slithering in from outside, shapeless dark and grainy figures as furniture that her eyes aren’t ready to discern in their widespread shock of regaining sight so suddenly.

I have a sickness, a man’s voice says with sediment in the throat and whining in the tone, the fortune teller said that I’d marry somebody named Lisa or Elizabeth, but she was wrong, she was fucking wrong and it was supposed to be Miranda, and Miranda got married.

The detective remains unmoved, quiet; breathes in as silently as she can, deep as she can without being overt in an attempt to steady the pulse that’s hammering in her left ear.

There’s no light on, but she can see the broad-shouldered figure in a trucker hat leaning over his knees, face buried in his hands as he bitterly weeps. There’s another figure sitting on the couch and when the moon, full and white, becomes the only light inside the small trailer, she recognizes him. I’m a good Christian man, the words repeat, and repeat, and repeat, ricocheting inside of her mind. It’s that old man, but who’s the one sobbing?

Boy, the daddy says, you better know where to put her body. She’s a cop. None of that fruity ritual shit from the bible like that other whore.

I know, I know daddy, the other one says, I know just where…

Can’t be stupid like Miranda, boy! The old man speaks rigidly, strictly yet underneath that, fearfully, spitting the muddy pool of his grizzly wintergreen dip into the carapace of an empty coca-cola can with a loathsome squirting sound.

It doesn’t have to be like this. You can let me go, the detective says, you can untie me, you still have time.

She’s lyin’, don’t listen to ‘er, daddy says to his son. He slaps his kneecap hard as he can to let out his frustrations, stamps his foot to let it out, too, as if it had traveled down the shin and got stuck in the tendons. She’s a DAMN liar! You let her go and she’ll run ‘n tell all her little piggy friends who you is and what you done! She’ll throw that ass of yours in a cage and they’ll strap you straight into an electric chair!

There was a distant howling outside and the detective shifted from the bruised bone of her hip onto her back and stared outside at the impending dark. She suddenly felt calm.

You still have a chance, I’m not lying, the detective says.

The man sitting down ejects himself so quickly out of the creaky folding chair he’d been pathetically nesting in and sobbing that it flies back, teeters and scrapes its heels before it collapses stiffly onto its side like a bloated deer on the shoulder of a highway. He throws the obstacles between he and the detective out of the way with a growl as he rushes to her, repeating the phrase, shut up shut up shut up through gnashed teeth, stomping toward her theatrically like a child.

You’re a damn liar! He shouts a mere inch from her tight-lipped face when he harshly genuflects beside her. She can smell his filthy hair and coors light, conceals a gag and scoffs, shuts her eyes. The drizzle of his rage-spit from shouting freckles her eyelids.

You’re right, I am. You’re all outta chances, the detective says, opening her eyes. And the man stares down with his mouth dumbly agape searching for the human quality of her formerly big brown eyes in the dark, but he finds nothing gawking back but a preternatural yellow and though the trailer was the stuffiest, most humid nook shoved into the back of the mouth of these woods he felt a chill like fingers hiking up his spine when he gazed into them, when the wolf fur began to sprout and the unexpected strength ripped through the plastic ties they’d bound her with.

It all happened very fast.

 

To be concluded tomorrow…

PART 13

She asks in that rehearsed tranquility; that silver voice, that comely voice in control of the drumming song of the hummingbird heart, because she’s the immovable rock. She can still be the hero.

What’re they gunna do to him?

And with the wet-blanket heat and the soft strangle of anxiety that makes the swollen edge of her nose trickle with an oval of sweat and imperceptibly tame tears tumbling down one-by-one from her smoke-burnt eyes that she can blame on the crushing stench that’s becoming insistently more putrid; she is that immovable rock. She is that silver voice in the simmering, nervous night.

They already hurt him, so now they eat him so no one can find him, the little girl says, But no hands and feet, that’s bad luck, you don’t eat that.

Can you untie me?

Mmmm, no, the little girl says in that childish way kids do with moony, large eyes, and she moves back to sit on her haunches and rocks back and forth for an absent comfort; she’s jumpy, but she’d untie her with the right coercing, or at least try to. The night is starless and peerless to all other dark nights and the little ones sunken-eyed stare bleeds out into the rest of it, making her look like a tiny, swaying skull.

The chanting and crying of the other child is loud, but there’s another shimmer of a noise quivering faintly close by. It rustles in cold-blood fully alive on nights like this and it curls, watches from somewhere. The detective says, stay still, there’s a rattler.

A snake? It won’t bite, it’s a toy, wanna see it?

No, don’t touch it. It’s not a toy.

Trust me, I play with it. It was my toy. I think it just came to life now, i’ll find it.

The little skeleton stands with difficulty, must’ve stood too swiftly, because she crashes into a brief lean onto a tree and breathes before darting out, and vanishes into a curvy palisade of shadows and thick-thighed oaks.

You just had to be the hero, the broken corpse of her father says, shaking his head, tsk tsk, from the ground where he lies.

No! Stop! The girl shouts, the detective can can hear dull thudding against thin skin, stop biting me!

The chanting dies for a moment, long enough for howling to raise itself up between the distance of it, and of her, and she looks back again even if it hurts her head where the shock had once shunned the reality of the wound, which began painfully to throb along with the gallop of her pulse.

A nude man walks down an aisle strewn with miniature bones, could be avian, limping familiarly from the right hip, wearing a paper mask similar to Baby Mikey’s, but his is a bigger dog–a wolf, with a scarlet streamer for a tongue that affords it either more primitive an appearance or sinister–yet it has antlers reaching up. The worshippers swoon to the ground and bury their faces and fingers into the hot earth, smearing their loose hair with it, bowing to him. He raises his hands up to the sky, says something that sounds more like a gurgle, but she can hear the words, lord, hear our prayers.

That’s when the gunshot strikes him in the chest.

TO BE CONTINUED…

PART 12

RIGHT NOW

Don’t worry, dad said, you worry too much.

But what about—?

Don’t worry!

They said no going outside, no exposing yourself to—

To what, air? Don’t expose myself to air and breathe like a human being just because I’m dying?

You’re not dying wasn’t the right thing to say, because it was a lie, and so instead she said, don’t worry, dad, you’ll live forever.

Nah, I won’t. None of us do. And when you’re my age you realize that’s a blessing. You stop being afraid; you start being ready. You know what’s funny, though? I thought you’d save me first. I didn’t think you’d just let me die… my only daughter left her daddy to die to go save someone else’s kid.

But you told me to.

It doesn’t matter what I told you; it matters what you did. You came back too late, remember? Had to watch your own father die, just to let someone live, you had to be the hero. You didn’t even know them, they didn’t even say, thank you. And then what happened to you? Huh? What’d you become?

She’s been in the dream too long; dad’s face is just as realistic as the day he died in her arms, and she’s there again holding him while he smiles and asks again, what’d you become? The way she can tell she’s been in the dream too long is that it’s taken a turn for the worse. He never said those things. He was just dead when she came back. Everything starts out as a dream and ends up as a nightmare. The troubled mind can’t dream with itself for too long without an unwanted injection of horror.

The eyes are what she saw first, before the height of the thing. They were pale yellow underneath the murky light of the round moon, which darkened its grey fur into a blue, dismal pelt as it prowled quietly to her. The shoulders were broad and half-clothed with a red plaid shirt ripped apart and glistening, the opened maw was wet and dripped onto the concrete as it walked to her on its hind legs, the teeth long and yellowed. It was taller than any dog she’d ever seen, well over six feet, and it was so slow, unblinking.

I don’t have a good feeling about this, she says to her partner, who’s in the backseat of her empty, rotten car. She’s safe here in the decrepit car that’s covered in moss, with puddles on the floor and cottonmouths slithering inside the fluid pooling up around her ankles. She’s watching herself. Watching that thing coming up to her and her dead daddy.

Then why are you going? He asks.

Because I don’t have a good feeling about it.

She wakes up bound behind a tree and breathes as if it’s her first breath; and somewhere deep within her the desire to weep is rattling, but she cages the urge with trying to move, trying to break free. She can’t remember how she got here, because she never left the woods and only remembers the old man’s face, just a nip of it, after he’d hit her with something. She remembers him limping away on that cane of his, him muttering, and her thinking out loud to herself before she lost consciousness, I’m supposed to come back later, when I’m ready.

You’re going to die, but I die first, the little girl says to her with a tiny, shaky voice. She’s not tied up because fear keeps her tethered to this place. There’s a fire burning from behind them and an eerie chanting in a strange language she’s never heard, and a smoky, meaty scent drifting over to them both. She hears the girls stomach growl. The little ones always die first, the girl says, then the older ones. I’m not the littlest one yet, so I’m in the middle.

The detective can almost recognize her as a missing kid from not too long ago, but with the malnourished face, dirty, knobby knees and protruding ribs of the slight body, the shadows of constellations of bruising, the pieces of her scalp missing, it’s difficult to get a positive I.D.

You won’t die, the detective says, you’ll live forever, and the detective cranes her neck as much as she can manage to see what’s happening behind her.

Baby Mikey is being lead up to an altar decorated in a folk piece acting out the Last Judgement. The eyes of Jesus are black beads that flash anytime the flames palpitate, with crayon-blue tears dolloped thickly down a pale paper face. The robes are a collage of greasy newspaper and old painted sheets, the arms are wooden, the fingers broken tree limbs. The angels encircling him from thrifted tree toppers. His halo is tinsel wrapped around rope, and Baby Mikey is naked and crying, trying to take a crudely painted, paper mache mask of a dog off of his face, but he’s struggling, he can’t do it.

Miranda’s mother is leading him toward the altar, nude except for mud and a swamp-crown, her pubic hair decorated with leaves. She’s shushing him, smiling, as the others chant in rows so that she can walk up to the fire and the flimsy image of Christ.

TO BE CONTINUED …

PART 10

DETECTIVE

The light left when daddy died. The world started to get a grain over it; dimmer and dimmer went her waking life, until the doctor said it was all in her mind. Migraine auras, they’d said, without the migraine part sometimes, blind in this eye one day, blind in the other tomorrow. Get some sleep. Get some help.

Sometimes she’d think she saw something out of the corner of her eye, a loitering figure, a hunched posture, or she’d catch the heavy scent of an unbearable perfume, the kind that festers in the throat, the kind you can taste.

Everything was too loud, everything had a strong smell that made her head hurt, and sometimes she never wanted to leave the dark loam of her room. With all the lights out, she could imagine what it would be like to die.

She understood what it meant now: light of my life. Ever since the accident, she was never the same. She can still see his gasping face from when he was dying in her slender arms, and the hot flashes of the bloodied grin and the trembling sound of the death-gurgling up from deep inside of him; they wake her up at night when she’s alone.

The detective carries herself as if this burden is nothing to her. She is tall and rigid as a classical statue, saving the opportunity to pretend to be lax only for when she’s questioning suspects, with her dusky skin blemished by nothing but worry. The mother was standing outside already as she approached the weathered, molded trailer, that like a wilting flower stooped lopsided as if somebody had kicked the back of its knees and it never fully stood back up again.

Can I help you? The mother asks, she can spot a cop a mile away.

Yes, I’m looking for Gabriel, is he home? I just need to ask him a few questions about the disappearance of Miranda Delano, the detective asks. Her hands in her pockets, relaxed as she advances in her weighty boots that crack the spines of fallen sticks from the scrawly angel oak. She ignores the amorphous shimmering that’s begun in her peripheral; it’s just a migraine, like the doctors said, hormones.

He doesn’t live here anymore, ran off last night, mother says, and she stubbornly crosses her arms in the universal posture of a shut door, clearing her throat with a rattling noise as she loosens sediment there, spitting into the dog-piss grass. She’s stout and tubby and bejeweled, her eyes lined dark with black eyeshadow.

It ain’t that boy! A voice exclaims, and from what she instantly measures it’s come from behind her. The detective turns around to face the limping approach of a feeble-looking, toothless white-haired man. His cane has the image of an open-mouthed wolf on it, and he continues.

It’s them satanists, he says, age making his tone tremulous.

Satanists? So you’re saying you saw what happened? The detective asks.

No, but I heard it. And I’m a good christian man and know a satanist when I seen one, he says, stopping in front of her and leaning on his cane. It sinks in faintly and he glares at her with one bulbous eye, the pores of his nose covered in blackheads. She can smell his sweat.

What did you hear? When?

I heard a buncha howling dogs the same night that girl went missing, and I heard her screamin’ too.

Is it possible you were asleep?

He laughs, no ma’am, he says, I never sleep. You should know. By the look of you, you ain’t ever sleepin either.

What makes you think satanist just by howling?

It’s the loup garou, he says, and behind her the mother clicks her tongue in irritation. They all satanists because they been cursed by god.

What’s a loup garou? The detective asks, where do they live?

A man or a woman who takes the form of a wolf when the moons right, ya’ll call it werewolf, I call it fairytale bullshit, mother says. Ain’t no truth to it.

And where are these fairytale creatures living?

Both of them pointed her into the right direction, told her to go about a mile in, and told her to never come back at night. She wouldn’t listen; she’d be back once the sun sank down, but for now she went to see what she could find in the day.

All there was deeper in: a deer bloated stiff, shredded apart, it’s intestines alive with ants, patches of its fur strewn across the woodland floor and far away behind a thick valley of oaks, a dog staring back at her.

to be continued … 

part 9

night

 

Everything was a different color than it should be when the world began to exist without Miranda. In the filthy mouth of his blighted room, which he had torn apart with rage, he was like a chewed piece of gum. He’d wadded himself in rancid blankets despite the heat to torment himself into comprehending what she had gone through; a pathetic fantasy of her last moments.

He’d gazed without blinking for so long at the water stains spreading in the sepia pits of his room from the leaking A/C, inexpertly self-installed, that he was convinced he’d seen the powdery green fingers of the spotty mildew unfurl in slow millimeters.

And then, all of a sudden he knew what had happened. The realization made the sweat covering his body freeze.

He’d flung his door open with a snarl and the wood whimpered. MOTHER, he’d bellowed, what’d you do to her?

Mother was making potato salad and chain-smoking, sending ashes into an old disney world tray, where Mickey mouse’s eyes had cateracted with age. She’d gasped and dropped the mixing spoon, mayonnaise on the blemished kitchen floor.

I didn’t do anything to her, she’d shouted back.

Then where’d she go? Why’d she end up dead?

It was them, she’d said with her head low, her voice grave.

Them? He’d asked.

Them.

The night was alive with howling outside. The moon full and white.

 

 

to be continued …

part 4

12 hours ago

 

He’d raised the toy up to eye level and inspected its cylindrical shape and strange writing and holographic paper stuck around the circle of its body with one eye squinted. He’d turned around the noisy confetti in the kaleidoscope and peered through himself first to test it out, and then took it down to the toddlers eye level and pulled him close lovingly the way a brother or father would.

He’d piped out an elongated Mickey mouse, wooooow! for effect, and his tickling beard wowed with him. He’d patted baby Mikey on his bony shoulder.

Isn’t that cute, Miranda had said, perching her soap-chapped knuckles onto the hew of her hips, he likes you, Gabe.

The sound of keys and the sound of the keys’ metallic intercourse with the door had arrived, and the doorknob was thrust, flopping, in need of repair too long ago. Gabriel was agile and out of Miranda’s window before mom could’ve sworn she’d heard something. Bye bye dada, baby Mikey had said.

Miranda, is dinner ready? Mom creaked in her slurred voice with that bubonic black hair rheumy with the wet of work.

And yet Gabriel dared back through the dirty Disney sheet-curtains thumb tacked over the bedroom window and implored of Miranda a farewell kiss before he’d gone back out into the dusk with a groan.

Miranda had whisper shouted, Seeya later, as he’d run into the firmament of cricketing trees where he was embraced by an intruding dark.

 

to be continued …

PART 3

 

TRAILER PARK

To a child all things rise. Mother rises in the morning when the sun rises. The moon rises and mom and baby go to sleep. Miranda would rise to feed him. The dead girls name was Miranda and she never rose today, and baby Mikey wondered why his sister never trickled in with the sun as she usually did with it thrilling through her saltwater hair like a bright comb.

He faintly recalls a damp kiss on his temple between alphabet dreams, but she never rose with him. He was so hungry now he’d cried and made duck noises and horse noises he’d learned from the toy in his broken bed next to Miranda’s empty one.

Real mother staggered in belated expecting that Miranda had fed baby Mikey.

Where the fuck is Miranda? Mom squawked too loud in her talon-voice, and baby Mikey flinched.

Baby Mikey made a cat noise and then said, bye bye dada, because he’d also dimly recalled his toy making an opaline of harmonious colors and grinning like a kitten kneading fat and seeing Miranda’s friend with a beard; all men with beards are dada, but he’s too young to explain.

to be continued … 

part 2

 

NEW ORLEANS:

Morning rose and the wallowing sun divulged trace litters of a lady’s’ under things and a stringy rip of shredded denim. The evidence was fixed up in a concrete drainage ditch by a humid water line, with alien pale rocks that jutted out circling it like delegates from the moon and carefully placed on top the tatters to keep them from disturbance.

When the nutria scattered after having nibbled at coagulated blood spots dry and sweet to them like hard candy, they’d arrived. A set of shadows, which frowned and overlooked the mystery pile like mourners hovering over a peeled casket.

But where’s the body, one asked, yellow lettering dramatically over the heart of her windbreaker spelled out the words S-T-A-T-E and P-O-L-I-C-E. She shifted and bent her knees to crouch and lean over it thoughtfully, making the chunky coat swish and her arthritic knees click. She grimaced as if the evidence could spring up and shout BOO.

We don’t even know if this is hers, the other one says sardonically in his gloomy suit.

Detectives, a voice asks from behind, come have a look at this.

 

to be continued …