[i]Continued from: HERE.[/i]
It didn’t go anywhere. A bedrock whereby no body could have escaped except upwards. The body must still be there buried like a ghost with the visible remains of its cancer making it seem if it was buried forever with the cause of the body’s death itself outlasting it.
“Hey! There’s nothing here except stinky muck!” shouted an eager student girl, commissioned to discover the tomb of the unknown soldier.
Her boyfriend gave her an excited kiss on the cheek as they playfully managed to cordon off the area of the digging as soon as they realised that this could be an important historical site. Then they scooted off to find the professor so that he could give the grave his imprimatur of archaeological provenance.
“Is it Hiver Jawn himself?” asked another girl meeting them halfway.
“Yes, it could be.”
“All the burials were for the same person, the same body,” a loner student shouted across the field with a degree of impatience, being a stern clump-eyed individual who was jealous that he had not stumbled upon the find himself. Knowledge made him unknowledgeable with the confusion caused by frustration that others were less knowledgeable than him. Nobody knew his name. But he was a student that everyone thought everyone else knew.
The students gabbled. There were several theories about vampire-killers and how each version of Jawn (having visited several writers’ sites with their own stories to tell about him) was buried at different stages in his life from along the fictional spectrum that had been set up variously within and without mutual consultation between those responsible for each slant on his supposed existence. A spectrum of death without the earlier life to support any subsequent death at all, let alone a spectrum. It made more sense to those willing to widen their brainstorming to contain nonsense as well as the deeply serious repercussions of not brainstorming at all.
Each tomb or hive or pod or egg were dropped one by one in a ‘paper-chase’ of muckheaps along a yellow brick road … leading from clue to clue towards darkest Africa, counting each forgotten footstep from Congo to Zanzibar as if each were an earth-embedded beacon to light the future … downward if not along.
Away from the city after which he was named (or vice versa), Rider Haggard galloped upon a wild stallion of flying hooves towards the towering rough-hewn stone-carving that was his own gnarled and barren face overlooking, like a mountain, King Solomon’s Mines themselves. Dive-bombed by vultures whiter than the blazing sunless sky. And She-who-must-be-obeyed stalked into view, holding the youngest version of Jawn that had managed to remain unburied.
“Welcome, Rider, to the next stage,” she-called-She said. “The hunting and hounding of the dreaded pest in the motor of carcinomal disease. The God in the Machine. Deus ex machina. Tabula Rasa with no easy ready blank to scrawl over. Here…” (and she indicated the latest Jawn to be unhived) “…we have the hero you can call your own to use as you wish with words if not deeds. The best pest-hunter of them all. Just seek out Lovecraft and Poe and other writers of Horror in their namesake cities to accompany you towards this worthy goal that all worlds will thank you forever more for trying to do than for not doing at all because you knew you'd fail.”
In ripping yarns, there were no diseases at all. This would be no ripping yarn. No boyhood adventure. This was a story built on muckheaps rather than imagination.
And Rider took Jawn from the black lady … and, then, as man and boy, mounted on steeds that snickered at even the slightest whisper in their pointed ears, they both set out to find the cities where writers factored in the same cities to help hold our future bones in sacred literary groves growing skeletons not trees. Cities of Fiction. Cities that hid the pest. As well as the past itself. The pair of them needed to exhume every trope till they reached the pest – a pest not nesting at the core-of-things (where the angel megazanthus was meant to nest) but on the edge – at the periphery – along the circumference – where we writers already worked around it without recognising it as the pest. Till the Coming of Jawn.
Jawn thought Rider resembled a man he had once forgotten forever. But Jawn was now too young to have ever known him in the first place. Or till later. And the question remained – would he be able strictly to remember someone he had not yet been able to forget?
And the young students, still gabbling, eventually reached the professor who smiled at their crazy brainstorming.
Continued from: HERE.
When Count Congo arrived, Jawn was surprised that this was no fey gentleman in a portly decorated suit from turn-of-the-century Anatole France. He was slim, decidedly manly-by-penchant and concerned to betray no quirks of behaviour that condemned him to any possible caricature (effeminate or otherwise). However, he was accompanied by another gentleman who did resemble the inverted archetype of a person that Jawn had expected the Count himself to have been prior to seeing him.
“This is Lord Egg,” said the Count.
Lord Egg himself strutted about heavily in a baggy black uniform sparkling with medals that he had obviously not won in any war for bravery. He simpered like a huge woman. He examined Jawn in his hammock as if visiting a patient in a hospital.
Count Congo eventually asked Lord Egg to leave the vicinity. Lord Egg was obviously only expected to meet Jawn briefly and then leave, as if simply, by his presence, to bring out the Count’s own sharper articulations by contrast.
As the Count prepared to conduct the interview of the stranger-he-did-not-know-was-Jawn, Jawn himself saw that Lord Egg was crouching in the willowy shadows of darker yellow waiting to see if the Count failed in his endeavours to draw any salaciousness from an otherwise dry-baked cake that Jawn first appeared to be. Congo and Egg were rivals in love if not appearance. Their respective ranks unclear. Perhaps they took it in turns to make the first attempt at conquering any innocent stranger who happened to sail into Proust on a chance tide.
The Nurse was also present in a secondary shadow by a frond of torn parchment. Yesterday, Jawn had managed to claw himself from the darkness of mixed motives towards some position of empathy by seeing himself through her eyes via his own eyes. Today, she seemed to be fully aware of the whole tableau vivant (the interacting ballet of desire and mimed confusion), even without Jawn’s empathic help. She was the manipulator without needing any particularly adroit people-skills other than an air of womanly wisdom to organise affairs like a conductor of an opera composed by Poulenc or Debussy. Today she looked more like a Nun than a Nurse. Certainly not the family cook she yesterday pretended to have once been. More Shakespearean than Proustian.
She soon departed to fetch the tea to accompany the plate of cake that the hammock-net had steeped in yellow sleep most of the previous night. Her infusions of oriental leaf were currently giving off a burning haze in her ancient kitchen having earlier been thus fired into existence by the hob’s brightest gas-ring : piping hot within the capaciousness of a priceless samovar that came from an even more writerly precinct of preciousness than Proust city itself.
The scientist carefully prodded the dead beetle with his stethoscope with no idea of the context of any apocryphal findings so was quite gulled into believing it was what the earlier part of the sentence said it was: a beetle. How it had infested a work of art in a gallery was neither here nor there. His religion was amply provided with proof of nearly everything. A scientist-with-faith was so convinced of his faith that even its unscientific nature was sufficient to increase its strength time and time again by circles of powerful kaleidoscopes of convincing illogic that even plain-spirited logic itself could not withstand.
An art parasite, therefore. Things that fed off creativity like worms in sculptures or spiders that climbed the staves of music or one-bee bee-hives within blown bookspines. These seemed so natural he needed no further empirical delays.
But the ‘beetle’ wasn’t dead. He heard it breathing within the leathery outer-casing of itself that was also itself as well as its container. By dint of such expression, it was clear that scientists were thus evidently clearer thinkers than fiction writers. And he smiled in pride as he proceeded to search with some difficulty for one of his precision instruments of surgical investigation.
Continued from: HERE.
I had to leave the place called Lewis sooner than I expected. I renewed acquaintance with Sarah. Julie was mysteriously no longer on the scene. And Sarah’s skin appeared thicker, perceptibly wrinklier, as if she had been through a lot of heartache. She maintained a youthful beauty, including the sleek charms of her race and colour, and at my then age of 22, I radiated an admiration towards her, one that I now wore like a badge of reciprocity, as I had learnt to be more confident about my own attractiveness as a human being. This was despite my earlier disaster with the young teacher of fiction.
Indeed, it had been a one-night stand with the teacher in her place near the pier. And I threw sickies thereafter as I could not bear her near me any more. It was the beginning of my downfall in the city. I slouched most days around the backwaters eyeing houseboats to see if any were habitable, when I should have been in the classroom. I stopped writing altogether. But I always returned to the foster home, where I now stood out like a sore thumb amongst delicate fingers. My sexual act with the teacher was barely describable, even within the realms of fiction. It was neither erotic nor romantic. It was because I had never done anything like that before, I suppose. I was confused. And she expected the pungent soul of my fiction also to be apparent in my own body. She must have been bitterly disappointed at my clumsy pre-maturity. She, I guess, must have aged over night, and became again the humourless authority figure I had originally assumed her to be. Prior to that night, she, too, had been innocent. I never learned her real name. Or which bits were true, and which not so true.
Sarah, on the other hand, found me down by the pier (why was I there that day so close to the teacher’s house – through guilt? hopes of meeting her again?). It was off-season. No day-trippers or saucy hats or laughing children with candy floss. Just a wind off the turgid creeks. Wind? When had the weather returned? I must have been so beached upon my own emotional breakwater, such matters had passed straight over my head. It was symbolic of deeper things. The return of weather along with a sense of reality. A sense of futility.
As I say, I suddenly spotted the dark face of Sarah as it glistened like mangled eels between two piles of fishermen’s netting.
“Hi,” I shouted.
This was not the first time we had experienced such a chance encounter in recent months. I never mentioned Julie. Nor did she.
“Hi, Jawn. You look sad.”
“There are no happy endings.” I laughed as if this statement was just that – a happy ending.
“Had enough?” Her face smiled, the teeth standing out with the striking whiteness of our earlier times together - against the skin that framed them.
“I don’t think this place was what it once was,” I said. “Or it never was what I thought it was. You see, I dreamed last night of a wardrobe and a lion…”
Sarah looked knowingly. She must now be in her thirties, I guessed. And I yearned for her arms to enfold me. Not as a mother, but as a lover. Instead, she quickly got up, took my hand (as of old) and we walked down the windy pier together as if there was an expanse of sea at its other end instead of creeks.
[i]Continued from: HERE[/i].
Having attuned his eyes to the haze of the hothouse, Jawn proceeded to pinch himself.
He was real.
Events, admittedly, had not been amenable to character-building as a real person in real situations, but Jawn was completely satisfied that he was real, had real emotions of surprise together with growth as an individual from toddler to his current stage of beard-teazled youth. A young man in an ever-failing search for his lost youth as his own past vanished with each event transpiring towards completion – a past that indeed vanished, given the normal course of events of a typical young man’s mindless search for excitement and challenge. However, to obtain a graspable sense of his own being, Jawn needed to be captured by each moment with such moments later being pulled from some future hat like magic tricks of himself to assist his natural development as a unified character facing a known and believable reality. Thus, he needed to build yester-hives of himself along the way for when he needed to travel back there one day. A phalanx of deja-vus that maketh the man.
As long as the past moments thus stored were not false moments.
He felt unaccountably sad about the departure of Congreve. He read too much into it to cause such sadness. But, meanwhile, he needed to acclimatise himself to the variable levels of haze that stained the air around him, through which he glimpsed apparently blind girls in stiff plain frocks crawling about the floor continuously striking matches. He felt the urge to pinch their legs but, when he did just that, his actions evoked no visible reaction to his presence as the girls merely continued to groan and mouth nonsensicals of sound. However, he did eventually discern two other girls who were seated together on a sofa. They beckoned him over.
“I’m Sarah,” one said. A pretty girl who made no attempt to flirt with Jawn. She was just a person rather than a sexual animal. “You need to stop breathing so hard or it’ll choke you.” She pointed to the atmosphere. “You can’t smell it but it’s there all the time. Sometimes you can’t even see it.”
“Leaks?” asked Jawn rhetorically, the first word he had spoken since Congreve’s departure. He noticed that the atmosphere was clearing (as if in tune with Sarah’s prediction that it might) and he was now able to make a whole from the room. A bare utility working-class parlour from a real post-war London. Jawn recognised it from a depth of memory he didn’t know he possessed until this very moment. Hopefully, not one of those false moments he had earlier feared, but a real memory during an equally real trigger of such memory as represented by the room. He watched the blind girls curl into a corner and simper in a strangely satisfied manner.
“Don’t worry about them. They’re not really there. So blind they don’t exist.” Sarah spoke with intelligent conviction, in contrast to her outward dizzy winsomeness as a vision of attractiveness.
Her words made a strange sense within the context, and Jawn turned to the other girl who looked even more becoming than Sarah.
“I’m Julie,” she eventually said. “We’ve been waiting for you.”
“You expected me?” said Jawn.
“Sort of. Sarah didn’t believe me, but I told her you would come. And that’s why the haze is clearing…”
“Well, now he’s here, what next?” Sarah asked. Both girls were a match for each other’s winning wit and wisdom.
Jawn turned to look at the corner where the blind girls had crawled – only to find them gone. Despite the clearer view, things that had once been there weren’t there now, as if a new invisible or non-characterisable haze had intervened between him and them. However, the room retained its character. Not so warm. And he felt the beginnings of a cough from the after effects.
Jawn thought of Congreve and cried. Then, just as suddenly, he shrugged off such thoughts as he turned towards his new friends, Sarah and Julie both of whom smiled at him, ready to participate in a silent vigil for memories lost - with new ones waiting in the wings ... in the making.
Sarah, shivering, eventually got up to switch off the fan.
Congreve, having left the vicinity of the hothouse, laid down as close to the London Magnet as it was possible for any commoner to reach. While the white snow around him gradually turned into faint tinges of yellow and, finally, to a deeper more diseased form of the same colour, he beckoned the wheeling shape of the vulture from the sky, inviting it to descend and cuddle him close with its huge white wings. The hefty weight of the bird settled upon him, with a flutter of feathers, as the beak’s fang opened his face and fed on the brain. Congreve – before the destruction of his brain – had known instinctively that was what the bird’s fang was about to accomplish – an assisted suicide for the loss of a loved one. And despite the brain’s destruction, the remains of Congreve cried … cried for longer than Jawn had managed to cry in earlier reciprocity.
Eventually, the vulture lifted into the sky, itself temporarily stained by its lengthy feed, leaving a muckheap of a brighter red and yellow (separate and mingled), a muckheap that steeped the otherwise virgin snow of London’s Magnet precinct with its landmark of memorable colour.
Continued from: HERE.
The wide-flighted birds-of-prey cast their individual twirling shadows over the vast blank plateau – seeking the toddler Jawn – in absurd pretence of assisting the villagers scattered (in alternately separate and joined-up examples of handwriting) over different sections of the same plateau … with the additional precisions of shadow that represented more ground-based search-parties in seeming competition with those masquerading as such in the skies above.
Jawn himself was oblivious to those interchanging patterns of pursuit as well as independent of the shuttling shapes in variously hopeful staged rescues of the yesterfang.
Jawn knew no such terms. Simple-mindedness could never stretch that far. And as each day went by, his wanderability knew no bounds. Only human minds that had been trained by self-enforced complexities could subsequently stay on board bodies that constrained their wild adventures by always returning home – if crestfallen – into the arms of loved ones. With simple-mindedness, any wanderability was infinite. Hence, Jawn running away … escaping into the bottomless pit of simplicity and honesty where no search-parties (friendly or otherwise) could follow.
In Hell, one needed the strongest fans possible to waft life-giving draughts of air towards any who had inadvertently wandered there. The birds-of-prey screeched with scorched wings. And the villagers stood far back from the flames for fear of being burnt into even blacker versions of their own rorschach blots. Beyond the wild curtains of infernal orange, they saw the silhouette of Jawn, dancing and jabbing like the clown puppet of all dreams but yours.
Jawn, meanwhile, still toddled across the snow – having left a decoy in Hell.
In the distance, he saw – with simple-minded clarity – a cage-on-legs following him, evidently not deceived. Motherly love knew no decoys.
A maroon-party is a picnic over several days, rather than the more usual single occasion spanning, say, a single afternoon. Old Dick had arranged this particular shindig for no obvious purpose: with several stellified ladies, buckets of sloshing trash-ice, slubberdegullions of the village performing pirouettes in pierrot costume, nigh birthless kids with their vanishing-fractions and shilling-dreadfuls, old men with fatty livers or waxy kidneys, geldable steeds, boning-sticks, cantilena-boxes, night-fossickers, lopping-shears, caged horny-winks, whirring orreries, two-seeded slowbacks, makeshift horse-hitching hooks and simple tablecloths. Of course, unlike an ordinary picnic, a maroon-party needed a focussed purpose. And settled weather. Old Dick had been watching the skies for several days now and, also, scrying a deer's grallock and testing the warmth of tree-coffins near the village. The young maidens who were an important ingredient of the party's festivities were prevented from bringing their umbrellas which would have tempted feckless fate - until one particularly comely wench winsomely suggested that they could pretend their parapluies were parasols.
So, in short, one optimum day, when the dirt-beds were low and the dog-teeth retracted in the gums, the whole village, except Chuck Will's widow, set off under a blazing star, past the brick-nogging works, through the frost-smoke of the eggery and, in drowsy-flighted ailerons of fancy, stuck their noses high in the air to avoid the foot-level cess-pipe clysters. They spent cherysshed days in water-bewitched jollity. Only one silly pierrot suffered a greenstick-fracture of his funny-bone and, yes, I nearly forgot, I fell into a donkey-drome rescuing a bespangled lady's currish lopping-shears from a natural cess-pipe. They all laughed and pointed, called me cockle-brained. They claimed it served me right for crack-trysting little Ruth all those years ago, before she became Chuck Will's wife. Old Dick then reeled off by rote a series of my vanishing-fraction liaisons with the fair sex and, it was then, I screeched NONE OF YER BIZNIZ! But I soon realised that the whole maroon-party was for my benefit or, rather, for my being strung up from horse-hitching hooks, for my dunking in the trash-ice, for my prodding by sunshades, for the ripping out of all my wires, for my stuffing with the loamy livers, for my being terror-smitten by the birthless childer, for my being cess-piped and clystered in grallock. And, oh, yes, lopped by the lady's shears which I'd rescued from the donkey-drome (and then gelded by night-fossickers as belt-and-braces). I wish I'd stayed home in bed with a shilling-dreadful. Or, even, with Chuck Will's widow.
(published 'Ball Magazine' 1993)
Continued from: HERE.
Mrs Celia Mummerset missed a number of people.
She still visited the living body of Mrs Rachel Milledges at the hospital whilst the real friend who used to exist within that body was missing, presumed lost forever. Mrs Mummerset also missed her own son: she knew not where or why. She kept her mobile switched on day and night in the hope he would ring – with the combined hope that her latest male admirer (another missing person) would also ring: from abroad where she believed he was currently travelling on business. She missed Mrs Lettuce Weggs who had drowned in her own septic tank. She missed another friend: Mrs Maria Morales who had died one wash-day…
The circumstances concerning this death of Mrs Morales are still sub judice or, at least, subject to a version of their own circumstantial evidence. Her son, Modal, one Monday morning, left his corner shop – having shut it with a card on the door saying “back soon”. He seemed to have deterred most regular customers, in any event. He was intent, today, upon setting off to visit his Mum for some advice regarding the pests that had attacked him. She was an expert, he knew, upon old-fashioned complaints that bore names from old wives’ tales and that only the old wives themselves - versed or steeped in the real past as they were - knew how to suffer properly or with dignity.
Ever since the pests – as he knew them – had attacked his shop, he had felt one such pest eating away at him from under his skin. To help palliate it, he needed simply for it to be named. His Mum was a wise woman, better than any doctor. Modal loved her in his own quaint way. In any event, he was, today, finally, at the end of his tether, having decided to shut up his shop and tell his Mum, without further delay, about his own worst fears. But he had forgotten it was wash-day. He should have guessed, however, judging by the breezy blue of the sky and the fulsome white billows of configured clouds veritably racing above him like the airy ghosts of cattle.
“Hi, Mum!” he shouted as he spotted her pegging out smalls on the washing-line. “How’s Sidney the Suds and Albert the Clothes-Horse?” he continued shouting as he thus joked across the street from where he could already see her waving at him.
Yet, from that distance, he spotted that she seemed skinnier than her habitually jolly wash-day plumpness. Now as thin as when she was a young slip of a girl during the Spanish Civil War all those decades before. The matter somehow concerned the ancient rusty-handled mangle through which she’d just been strenuously wringing the sodden clothes. Nobody could later fathom exactly the nature of any available circumstantial evidence – other than that she turned out, upon investigation, to be quite dead, waving like a flag from where she was pegged out upon her own washing-line.
[b]'Weirdtongue' continues HERE.[/b]
Continued from: HERE.
During the height of the panic caused by the unexpected air-raid over Wagger Market, Suzie found herself hustled into a surprisingly available shelter that was almost ‘fit for purpose’. It was better than the ones in London – i.e. those hastily dug for the Blitz proper by means of Anderson Shelters in city-street gardens together with makeshift kip-points on Underground platforms – but, even so, it was too dark to see very clearly in this subterranean part of Summerset and the walls were still earthen without any attempt to finish them off by plastering.
Later that night Suzie was to fall asleep with difficulty, creating dreams that she was sheltering, along with others, within a bodily cavity still warm from continuous life that had been fortuitously provided by one of the terrestrially in-built ‘animals’ of the Glistenberry Zodiac. But, whilst still awake, she was faced with harsh reality, despite the best intentions of those who had built this particular shelter.
At times, she also believed she was within a chamber that would soon be full of a deceptively pale yellowness, but she could not fathom this belief.
For a while, the shelter’s inhabitants looked bleary-eyed, cowed, taciturn, rather than outright scared or at risk from suffering any renewals of noisy panic. They could all hear, no doubt, the dull thumps of bombs distantly shaking the ground. Suzie feared for the integrity of JCP House, even the pinnacled brick-built Tor stuck up high on the hill above Glistenberry for many centuries. The Abbey Ruins would be ruined even further, she thought. She also feared for the safety of someone she did not know. She ached for this very stranger’s arms to enfold her.
Before finally falling asleep, she had cast glances around her co-shelterers, some now mumbling in odd twos and threes. She forced back the dreams that teetered upon the brink of sleep’s approaching onset. She spotted – for real – a figure that looked remarkably like Mary of Mangle herself. It was surely, indeed, that very woman. Suzie had often seen her on regular tours of JCP House. She looked less imperious, now, less certain of herself, but still with an air of tallness despite sitting down on the rough floor. Pitiful to see such a downfall, despite the imputed cruelties of her reign.
Mary of Mangle opened her empty mouth widely meeting darkness with darkness. Some of her flunkeys and sycophants approached her. One tried to force-feed her with a large amount of tripe-like slobber that the Weirdmonger had earlier been seen (if not seen by Suzie herself) cutting up as an elixir-of-life on his Market stall. Mary of Mangle refused to swallow it but kept it in her mouth, like a spoilt child. As some of the substance was now missing, the words she eventually emitted by its means - via the curds of it thick slobber – appeared incomplete: “Gout … Spout … Watch ... the … Sprout …!”
Others turned towards this sound of her ‘voice’, half-heartedly mystified. Then they returned to further attempts at sleeping, as helped by what they put down as a dream. If one was dreaming, then one must be asleep. A great psychological help towards real sleep itself.
In another corner, a rank-smelling man tossed and turned in his premature sleep, using a filthy rucksack as a pillow. Suzie thought he would have been more comfortable without the pillow. She bum-shifted away from that man as far as possible because he was now speaking of things in his sleep that she did not wish to hear together with the sound of farts she did not wish to smell. She was, consequently, nearer Mary of Mangle herself who had, apparently, fallen asleep, still ruminatively chewing the curdish cud with a renewed air of sway and swagger and pride that only the oblivion of sleep could have brought to someone so fallen from grace.
Modal Morales picked up one of the papers in his shop. There were news agency photos of a freak storm in Somerset. Glastonbury Tor had been toppled. Amongst the crowds that subsequently gathered (in one of the more detailed photos) around Glastonbury Abbey’s shattered remains, Modal half-recognised a face he did not wish to recognise at all, one which gave him an inexplicable frisson of fear. He fingered the black rosette in his lapel and replaced the newspaper in the delivery boy’s pile – and looked up as the shop door went ‘ding’!
[b]'Weirdtongue' (The Glistenberry Zodiac) continues HERE.[/b]
Continued from: HERE.
Whether senile dementia is nemophilia or nemophobia, the result is the same.
When Suzie left the hospital, after seeing her Mum, she took some time to recover her own equilibrium. She popped into her local corner shop only to be confronted by its proprietor. He told her that her newspaper delivery bill was owing. She mindlessly listened to his rant before settling. She was mad, not bad, she implied. She only wanted a pint of milk, today. They ended up inferred friends again. She failed to realise the connection between him and the clown who had performed with Goldfrapp the weekend before. The connection that there was no connection at all made any thought that he might have had such a connection very strange indeed: and strangeness is strangely (in itself) the strangest connector of all. Establishing a connection by needing to say there was no such connection.
Greg was still asleep when she got back to the flat.
“Don’t bother to get up,” she called sarcastically.
No reply. She shrugged. No connection, there, either!
Feemy Fitzworth examined his own hand. It was certainly smaller than he remembered it but, literally while he thought about it, the hand’s margins seemed to grow again with further inches of itself reconstituting even as he watched the process. A peculiar feeling for Feemy to feel. He had recently grown smaller and smaller, scrawnier and scrawnier, ever since dragging his body back towards England from Poland. Indeed, earlier, during transit, there had grown hazy yellow borders replacing the outer limits of his body – then vanished into thin air – then grew again as they replaced the new more inner outer-limits, leaving only bits of himself to wrinkle and harden like stale food. Today the process seemed to be in reverse again – new areas of body replacing new areas of yellow haze. He couldn’t account for such a reversal of a reversal of his body margins. And which was the direction of emaciation, and which the direction of fattening, became as inscrutable as the difference between nemophilia and nemophobia.
He should have taken the opportunity to ring his latest lady friend – Mrs Mummerset – because, soon, in fact in the last few lines of the previous paragraph, his fingers had grown too big to manipulate the holes in his mobile’s tiny dial. He wanted to reassure her about a few things including his continued love for her and to establish whether he could extend the various investments she had made in his business venture as well as in his very state of existence. Words were more important than money. Even words sent via mouthpieces rather than mouths.
Later, in what he saw as moments of greater clarity, he continued his trek across the desert between Middle Europe and the white cliffs of England. He watched the ever-widening motor-kites heading to bomb some of the remaining cities that had survived Hitler’s first bombardment. He felt he was being dragged down by more than just his own bodyweight. He imagined he had grown a huge tail that was leaving a deep slimy trench in his wake and that some telephony company would probably take the opportunity to lay a land-line along it in due course. He had left a charged-up webcam at one point in the desert pointing at his proposed onward route, a webcam with a connection to the tiny screen of his mobile, whereby he could now see himself progressing into the distance until his body eventually disappeared.
I woke up at the sound of her voice.
“Why did you just wake me?” I asked.
“But you spoke first!”
I couldn’t see her in the dark. I felt huge pouting or pulsing things on my face, things I couldn’t differentiate from the skin of my face beneath them. They were a “Why did you just wake me?” monster in bits and as a whole – its interrogative hook actually now buried in my face. But what had it said first – to wake my wife?
[b]'Weirdtongue' continued HERE.[/b]
Continued from: HERE
Glistenberry sat, on one side, within the shade of the Tor-on-the-Hill, and beneath the sun of an over-hot British Summer, on the other. The animal zodiac was snoozing, next to invisible … it was never awake unless in rain or cold. Indeed, only a few people believed in the landscape containing or representing an animal zodiac at all. You needed to go up in a helicopter so see it plainly. And, even then, there were doubters. And people scared of flying.
When the seasonal fairs and festivals and circuses and markets came to settle with their sails upon the ocean of green and earthy-compartmented farmland – one wondered whether that was a metaphor at all but, rather, the intrinsic truth about inward voyages to the self itself. But, even in the bright sunshine, one found thoughts turning to darker visions that went above the heads of the jollifiers and holiday-makers and music-lovers and sight-seers. Rudiments of myth and melancholy.
Today, carts and wagons and tent-carriers dotted the trunk roads towards this part of Summerset, building up in volume as the traffic cycles revealed their propensity to rhythmic jamming. Together with henge-dwellers and romanies in caravans … plus ready-made canvas conveyances that were none of these vehicles but their own very special breed of transport particular to the ethos of the Glistenberry Romance.
John Cowper Powys House was, however, a dark stone building lurking quite close to the Tor area (or as the locals called it, Torus) where the scratchings of the first animal sign could be discerned in the loose contours of scrubble underfoot. An animal sign that belonged to no sane horoscope or natal chart.
It is that house to which we must later divert our attention. New, as yet unnamed, protagonists are about to open the house’s shuttered gloom and take root there – not as squatters, as such, but, rather, as budding contestants in some form of race that had not yet been defined (both in margins of eligible track for racing and the race’s rules). They had been given permission to camp out in the derelict, dark, damp house free of charge. In the sun of daytime, the drawbacks didn’t seem to matter so much. It was only at night or in gloomy weather that the darkness, dampness and dereliction crept back. A 'Big Brother' house with no audience or other ways of spying on them … except by us.
[b]'Weirdtongue' continued HERE.[/b]
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