Jackson vs Paulie

 

collagedorley

 

 

“I guess everytime I reach out for a friend I shake the wrong hand. I end up being the madman and the other guy the manipulative bastard that tricked me into being one. But as things turn out being a madman can work miracles sometimes. I don’t care anymore about living or dying.  I guess in the current situation I owe him [Paulie] at least that.” 

- Jackson on Paulie

The Dorley Cycle XVIII

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV ; Part XVI ; Part XVII

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires5

XVIII

Paulie sat down hard and when I turned to see my damage he was tracing his shaking fingers along his face. In my panic I hadn’t noticed how long it was, but seeing it pierced through his cheek down inside his mouth and out of his chin, a dripping half tip that his finger grazed I understood his shock. His eyes filled with tears and he moaned into the cold glass, his tongue darting to lick away the pooling blood. He wanted to grab at it I saw, pull it out. I picked whatever adrenaline I had and surged into one mighty kick and tumbled Paulie over and left him laying, a close call from falling into the dark waters.

I stood up and limped back, holding what was broken close to my chest.

Eli had just untied the boat. He jumped in and started the engine.

“Jackson, get in.”

There was about a two feet gap between the dock and the boat. I prepared to leap over it.

“Jackson!”

There was a gunshot. I turned. Paulie, dear ol’ broken Paulie had saved the best for last, aiming my own gun at me. His face was contorted.

“You gotta jump Jackson!”

I jumped and at the same time the gun fired again. The bullet sliced, hot, burning hot. I fell in the boat among red bottles of fuel

I curled into a ball, squeezing my leg, blood seeping between my fingers. I tore at the fabric, clawing my way through the denim. The projectile had struck me in the thigh, living a fresh bleeding wound, but as the blood soaked into the torn piece of cloth, I saw it was nothing more than a deeper scratch.

“Are you okay?”

Eli drove the thing as fast as he could, flying bullets shattering the glass of the cabin.

I managed a positive sort of hum and peeked out from my hiding. Paulie ran along the dock till there was a dock. Then he disappeared out of sight and soon the pier along with the Ferris wheel came into. I heard sirens coming to life in the background.

We had the pier ahead of us and the boat rumbled lowly towards it. The drizzle had turned into a steady rain. A thunder rolled in the distance.

“Okay what now? How do we load this stuff to your car?”

Ahead, the Ferris wheel swam, rotating in a counterclockwise mirage conjured by my pain and exhaustion. Even in the beat down daylight its bright green lights shone emerald. I scanned the pier further on.

“Is there a ladder there?”

Eli nodded.

“Steer her near it.”

Eli aimed the boat for the narrow gap between the widest pillars, just behind the ladder, and turned off the engine. He walked out of the small cabin holding a lighter in his hand. I took it.

I ran my bloodied fingers along the lids of the bottles. The boat rocked gently in the quiet dark and I rocked back and forth in my own black pit, setting my feet at the bottom of it. I was lead, I was an anchor, I was the skin that made the hole, I was the sea that filled its belly. Washed, I remembered, cleansed, the gentle flesh though no longer hurting, no longer sensitive. It was, beforehand surreal to think me in the pattern of death, but now as Dorley is at its weakest I have a different taste for surviving. I’ve made my peace with the sea and with the constant growl inside my ears. I’ve been cold, but now I’m warming up.

I gestured Eli to climb up. I suffered a little with my one-handed grip, but once up he grabbed me and pulled me onto the pier.

“Jackson…”

His voice trailed off and I could see why when I got to my feet. Guy was there, striped and entertainment like, but no smile.

“Hear those sirens Mr. Jackson? I haven’t heard ones like this in twenty years. Sounds like murder to me.”

He pointed at me like trying to imply my murder.

“Hope they find Paulie where I left him.”

A nerve convulsed on his perfect face at my lie. Paulie no doubt was coming here, knowing we would come, like he knew about us going to the docks before. I’d be more than happy to have them both here with me when I light everything.

“You’ll be dead too, Guy. In fact we all will.”

“By what right?”

“By the one that put us four limbed fucks on this earth and not you tentacle sons of bitches.”

“Primitive of you. Imbecilic. Don’t think of this as devolution of your kind and evolution of ours. We are merely trying to coexist, have some solidity. Merge perhaps, no?”

Guy licked his lips with a crippled limb, one I had vague memory of having bitten into.

“Are you so injured and tormented Jackson that you would waste yourself and that poor boy’s life? Can’t you just give up and go home? Make it a nightmare, nothing more than sweat on your brow.”

He smiled at me.

“Look at you, battered and abused. What now, are you going to die? After all you went through? In fact why don’t you let me help you forget everything and put this lunacy behind us. Let Dorley be peaceful again. Let us keep it safe.”

I shook my head violently, looking at my feet, seeing a crack instead, and through it the bright red of the fuel bottles. Why not now?, I thought, why fuckin’ not?

I smiled back at him.

“This is my home. This is me keeping it safe.”

I showed him the lighter.

“There’s a boat full of fuel bellow me. I let this Zippo go we all fly up.”

Eli pushed away from me.

“You promised no one will get hurt Jackson! You promised!”

“I lied.”

I took him by surprise giving him one hard shove with my shoulder sending him flying off the pier and down to a big splash.

“Swim fast kid.”

I flicked the lighter and dropped it, watching the dancing flame fall through the gap, licking the fumes first and spark a fiery cloud. Guy was already turning to run. Where to, I don’t know; as the pier shook between our legs, I ran too, but the groundbreaking groan filled the space in an instant, and grew into an eruption of fire from below. A second one boomed somewhere near as the explosion made everything go white.

To be continued.. 

The Dorley Cycle XVII

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV ; Part XVI

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires4

XVII

It lingered, the question; precious as it was to him, the answer clogged my throat.

“And no one else will get hurt, right?”

I sat back in my chair, taking in my little cousin’s wet, snotty face. His chest rose and fell with the hushing sobs. He was terrified, looking at me in a way I had never seen him do, like he wanted a parent to shelter him right now and that parent was me. His tough bravado had gone to waste, and I had watched him shift from the stern man he put an impression to be, to the child I knew he was, beaten and scarred, stuck in Dorley with the drunks and the monsters, making his living gutting dead fish. Not a life for an eighteen year old, I know.

I rose from my seat and put a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it lightly.

“Not a soul, I promise. Let’s go.”

***

It was drizzling lightly from a pasty sky that stretched above Dorley, a dome over the whole of the town. It was, I figured staring at it, in mourn with the folk.

“Smells like a storm.”

Eli brushed away the raindrops like they were his own tears.

“Come on it’s this way.”

He led me near the place where I first met Paulie, down at the ol’ harbor where the smallest of the boats were tied.

There were three red shacks all the way at the end of the dock, narrow buildings with scraped out tinted windows, breathing through finger wide cracks. I spotted Salpa, my uncles’ old green and yellow boat floating by herself, pulling on the rope when the water pushed at her.

Eli waved at me to come shelter him from passerby if there were any at all. He picked up an iron rod from the junk piling around a barrel turned trash can, a mass of empty beer bottles, metal shards and what not.

“It’s this one.”, he pointed at the shack in the middle, “They keep most of the fuel here. I don’t bother asking for none.”

“Yeah? Where do you get yours from?”, I asked shielding him while he slid the rod behind the rusty chain holding a fist sized padlock. He pulled at it.

“Kieran buys it cheaper from some guys in Salem. Shit, this won’t budge!”

He struggled with the resisting chain.

“Let me.”

Eli stepped aside and I griped tight the rod with both hands. I gave it a couple of good nudges and it broke the ring, the chain along with the padlock hanging loose now.

“Ain’t too bad huh?”

I pivoted in time to catch a figure leaping at Eli. It caught Eli in the chest and sent him flying through the shack’s doors. Holding the rod I swung, but the hand grabbed it and returned it with force towards my face.

I slumped back tripping over my own feet.

Paulie stepped over me, rod in hand.

“Thinkin’ about goin’ down in a blaze eh, Jackson? Ain’t goin’ to happen son.”

I came to myself in time to see the rod flying down. I rolled over and when Paulie tried the same thing again I was quicker and kicked him in the crotch. He bent over in a short wail of pain dropping the rod. On knees and elbows I managed to pull myself to a standing position. He raged at me. I ran along the dock, but slipped on the wet stains while trying to evade him. Paulie caught me by the jacket and threw me back.

I realized, slowly and painfully his inhuman strength. I dropped down, head first and rolled, lying there on my side, spitting out blood. My hand hurt and when I shifted so as to be on my back it snapped in an odd way the flushed me with nasty nail biting pain. I saw my wrist was broken along with two of my fingers, already purple and swollen.

Paulie’s boot kicked me in the chin. He straddled me, throwing down punches; his where short and fast, but they hit like bags of concrete.

“How does it feel, losin’?”

I spat my answer in his face. His weight on my body was impossible. Then he looked at me, that deep green of his murky and washed, distant, like I was staring up at the monster not the man. He opened his mouth, showing me his poisonous limb. I did something that surprised me. Suddenly his tentacles were inches from my face. I used my free, unbroken hand to grab at them and pull, trying to yank the monster out of Paulie. He panicked and pulled back, gagging, unable to take them back in or close his mouth. I felt them wriggle in my grasp, desperate to free themselves. Paulie gasped for breath.

“Jackson!”

Eli’s weak scream came from within the shack. I screamed back.

“Load the boat!”

I dug my nails into the slime, before letting go of the limbs, unable to hold any longer. They snapped back. He slurped them in, rocking back and forth in pain, rambling.

“What did you do? What did you do?”

I crawled along the dock searching for something to defend myself with. There was a sharp piece from a beer bottle and I grasped it in my palm.

Paulie’s arms grabbed me tight around the neck. He had me for the choking idea in seconds, tilting my head, hushing into my ear while pulling me to a kneeling position. I arched my back responding to his pressure, giving way for him to kill me faster. I saw the sky, grey cloudy whirlpools colliding with one another, creating a monster, consuming the vastness. Breathing became so hard, the day unclear as my eyes shot back. I didn’t have the strength to fight free.

Then I remembered; the shard slicing into my own palm from me squeezing it tight. I swung my free hand with it, connecting with something. The tip, I felt, sunk in, deep in. I let go of the shard. Paulie’s grip instantly loosened and I inhaled, thirsty for air.  His body left mine.

Chapter XVIII

The Dorley Cycle XVI

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment:

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires3

XVI

 Previously in Dorley: Jackson made an effort to get back in the game  and found an unlike ally in the face of Eli who admitted to have witnessed the monsters; Paulie then took the POV lead for an insight in the duel between humans and ancient critters and his position in it all. 

Now…

I followed without being seen, knowin’ my back alleys and my anti-tourist roads. Jackson held the boy close to him, like a daddy mad at his kid for runnin’ at the coast when the flag is up and red. Jackson went back to the rental, throwing glances left and right, lookin’ no doubt for me. He went in. After a while I did too.

It was quiet inside, the kinda cool quiet you get in the middle of the night. Old walls made no voices audible and all I could hear was my breathing and the heaviness of my footsteps coming down on old wood. His scent though, Jackson’s, lingered in the air and it smelled now jus’  like Guy had said it did when he had tasted him- foul, comin’ from a belly full of sea; a breath carryin’ salt. To Guy he smelled familiar, to me he smelled like a dyin’ animal, shedding its skin to appear new. Fuck that crap. He was scared shitless now that he knew what were really the stakes.

A key turned in some lock and golly me; the landlord, Arnold, was pushing his nose in the chain restrained hole of his door.

“Heya, Paulie, I hoped I’d catch you around. This fella you brought in, he hasn’t signed a thing and I was wondering if you knew something about that.”

His slender figure slipped out of what seemed to be that gap in his door and he stood there pinching a loose button on his shirt. He was a nervous guy, one I always assumed jerked off on child porn then regretted it in the mirror. I picked my words carefully around him. A man barely livin’ outside his room is no man I trust.

“I’ll remind him, don’t worry. I’ll slip the filled in form under your door if you want to, it’s fine by me.”

I took a step up. He did the same, fingers drumming on the handrail.

“Thing is, I haven’t even seen him, and he is renting one of my rooms. Seems, ya know, unfair.”

I used some simple talk.

“I’ve been thinkin’ about that too Arnie.”, I said, “ I’ll tell him to stop by, knock and give you a nod, is that allright with ya?”

He licked his lips, moistening the dryness. He kept drumming.

“I was wondering, actually, with all the police around and about if he’s an okay fella”, he added.

Then all of a sudden he squeezed past me, climbing stairs to the second floor where Jackson was, mumbling all the while.

“Maybe I should go check on him, say hello. He’s in here now, isn’t he? I heard some knocking and stomping earlier.”

I grabbed him below the elbow and dragged his body back the two steps, till he was back standing next to me in the tight space of the staircase.

“I’ll see he comes to you”, I repeated, glaring for the imply, thinkin’ he better let it go. My mouth was full of spit. I needed a smoke. He had gone silent, buyin’ time, I guess, with my fingers dug into his flesh.

“I don’t know about that”, he finally said.

I shook my head and swiftly span him pinning his body to the wall, my hand hard on his mouth. I took him down, kicked his door in and pushed him after it. He stumbled in and I picked up a lamp from the small table, slammin’ it against his head. He fell in my arms and I put him to lie on the carpet, adding a little of my spray to keep him there longer. Then I listened for any movement outside, shit, fuck and more fuck on my lips for the racket I had just caused.

When I heard none I took the steps, quietly as I could, coming closer to the sobs of somebody and the hushing of another.  I crouched beside the door where my shadow couldn’t be seen and listened, now making out full words.

“Will you help me, Eli?”

A pause. I leaned in.

“Yeah, yeah I will. Tell me what to do.”

That was the boy I reckoned, crying his tears of fears, ha-ha, to the really frightened one.

“I need gasoline. Can you help with that?”

“Some folks keep bottles stored in the shacks down at the docks. Plenty actually.”

“Can you get some of those?”

“Yeah. But why do you need it?”

“We need it, Eli, to burn the nest, the one in the trailer park. No one else will get hurt, just them. You got me on this Eli, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Good man. You kept your daddy’s boat?”

“Yes. She’s in order, runnin’ and ready.”

 There was another pause. I heard a chair slidin’ across the floorboards and then the slow pace of a man plotting giving them the hard time. Jackson did the walk, he sure did. Then he spoke again, his voice, just like when he had spoken to me about bullets and winning.

“We go now, load it up with as many bottles as we can and drive the boat below the pier. No one will see us hidden there. We can take my car from there and go to the trailer park.”

I moved back. His car was totaled, thrown over the side of the road. Jackson was playin’ the kid, but why I couldn’t yet tell. A fire I could see though, a blazin’ disaster.

“We’ll do this together, blast the fuckers up.”,  I heard him say, walking down the stairs. And the kid asking oh so innocent like:

“And no one else will get hurt, right?”

“Not a soul, I promise. Let’s go.”

Not a soul, sure.

I heard him unlock upstairs and pushed open the back door.

 

Chapter XVII

 

The Dorley Cycle XV

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment:

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires2

XV

I suck on my nicotine stained fingers, nibbling on the nicotine stained nail and the dead tissue there, while the sunlight breaks through mornin’ clouds and mornin’ sickness; dead giveaway the tired, humid day; could be a storm later.

I chewed my dead skin and spat it. The sun, I don’t like much, not really. There’s scarcely any sun in the deep of the sea.  But I figure, adapt to survive. This skin, unlike some other needs warmth, and sometimes it feels good, tickling on my fingers, on my face. And besides thinkin’ of the deep and what it was like before don’t do me no good. I shiver like a man that’s thought a bad thought and light another one, evaporating in the dry draw in of smoke the never-ending fluids swimming in my mouth.

Guy, he was mad. I watched him stand up. Then he sat down again. Then he did the same. He wiped the blood spittle from the corners of his mouth and looked around, seeing me just there. He threw at my feet his bitten off piece of limb. I looked at it, kinda wriggling, oozing still and felt the bite in my throat, sharp teeth digging into the thick skin of my babies and tearing one out of me. Like a kick in the balls.

“Your incompetence cost me that Paulie.”, he had said to me.

And I had gestured down, just like that.

“What now, you making a laugh at me? You think it’s too small to be worried over?”

“No, Guy. “, I had said, ”I’m jus’ thinkin’, might have been worse.”

Guy has eyes like the sea. I get nervous lookin’ into them for too long, cause then it’s like seein’ beyond the surface, where it’s cold and its deep.

“Find him, Paulie. Let him have one last look at Dorley as it is. He owns at least that much privilege.”

Now I’ sppose, it will get worse.

“He’s locked up and sedated. I can, you know, take care of him for you. Wouldn’t make no scene, sign him for overdose and all that after.”

I leaned against the lamppost, rolling a new smoke between thumb and index finger.

Hand on the holster of his gun, like a proper cowboy this Deputy Kevana.

I shook my head.

“Guy said I should take him for a walk. Make sure he understands before he goes. Be good n’ fetch him for me, will ya bud?”

“Whatever Guy says. Just make sure you don’t screw up again Paulie. The FBI is breathing in our necks. John Does don’t do us no good right now.”

“Don’t you worry bud, I’ll take care of it.”

He walked back inside the station. I waited.

I like this town; it’s a quiet place and livin’ with the view of the sea and the familiarity and simplicity of it makes it not bad at all I’ sposse. My imperfections, slurring, spitting, slow Paulie don’t matter in Dorley, in its community.  I live the man forgetting all his would be problems. We all do.  But some are weaker. They know what Guy is, they know the rules and follow them. They breed in a closed circle, families, relatives, down to third cousins and little known nephews. Some stay and never leave. Some stay and never live. It’s a thing about purity in the line, Guy had once told me, and how important it was for growing a stronger seed. Familiarity and simplicity, like I said.

I don’t know about tomorrow, about how we ought to get on with it, and I swear by the old tales, I didn’t give a damn to know. I was livin’ a life, seeing dusks and dawns, and not long after things like that dead girl’s lighter in my pocket meant nothing. But Jackson took that away, he took it all, even my will to survive, he faked that too, with them delusions and anger and grasp of what, humanity. He made it clear, jumping into the back of that boat with blood on his face that he would survive too. Hell, survive us, for all I know. Mad is mad. So, like before, I’sppose, the sea will rise again, and wash, wash, wash, mermaid tails and siren wings, watery graves and the rotten wood of inland burial sites, the sourness of a piss pint and the gleam in the stranger’s eye. Just like Jackson wanted it all along, it will drown everything.

But we can swim.

 

Chapter XVI

The Dorley Cycle XIV

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment:

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ;

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XII; Part XIII

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires

 

XIV

An ambulance, led by a police car, no siren, only lights drove past us. I kept myself to myself, head hanging low, arm tight around Eli, and thought they’d finally found him, the Chief, or some other body with peculiar discoloration, a hollow stomach and a rotting pit for a mouth. When the silent convoy was away I quickened my pace, looking around, finding faces where there were none.

The old coast had turned into a memorial and people made lines carrying flowers, pictures, cards, teddy bears, placing them in a circle near the spot where the bodies were found. I heard sobs, remembering there were mothers in Dorley, and whereas the fathers were stern, the harshness had spared the mothers and they wept.

He finally escaped my grasp, jolting me aside.

“I just want to talk, Eli. All I’m asking for is five minutes and then if you don’t understand or don’t care about what I’ve said, I’ll go away.”

Eli looked anywhere but me. My eyes found a female officer standing guard to the grieving ceremony. He looked at her too.

“I don’t trust you.”

I grabbed his arm thinking he’d make a run for it, screaming murderer for the whole of Dorley to hear.

“Let go of me!”

“I was here when no one else cared about you, not your mother, not your father, no one in this family. I stood next to you when your daddy got put in the ground. I was going to take you with me, back to Boston if it weren’t for the things that happened. I’m trying hard to get to you kid, but you’re not helping. Be angry, fine, be doubtful. But give me a chance to say what I gotta say.”

He stopped fighting me and I let go of him.

“I got a room nearby. It’d be best if we talked there.”

After a long pause Eli nodded.

 

The building seemed empty and I pictured the landlord dozed off again in his dungeon of a room. The front door was locked and I fumbled my pockets for the key. Maybe Paulie was here waiting for me, sitting at the foot of the stairs or breathing in the boiled sea stench that escaped into my cold and lonely room. Maybe I’d fight him there and show Eli what hid inside his mouth. Maybe he’d try to talk to me and convince me again how good it was to die and be over with it. One way ticket away from Dorley. I glanced back feeling goose bumps.

There were eyes on us, motionless figures with carved grey faces, boring their glimmering black orbs into me and Eli. The men from the pub stood across the street, a procession of their own, carrying a decorated wooden cross. I smiled to them, letting them know I knew. The man with the checked red shirt was there. He offered me a salute. I was to know I was surrounded. Good.

The door opened with a creak.

There was a note attached to a piece of paper pushed under my door. If it was convenient I was to fill in the form, put down my name and period of stay. It was signed with a scribble more than a name. I tossed it aside. Eli sat on my bed and I grabbed the only chair in the room and sat facing him.

“Why were you at the police station, Eli?”

He looked at the floor then at me.

“I was called in for questioning.”

I leaned in.

“Did they ask about me?”

“Yes.”

The two officers dealing with me were clueless to whom I was, but I had the feeling Eli met with the black suited gentleman instead. My heart thumped in my ears.

“Did you tell them I was here?”

“Yes.”

It was a matter of time before they found me and locked me, this time for good.

“What else did they ask?”

“If you murdered those two kids.”

“And what did you tell them?”

“I said I didn’t know.”

Eli rubbed his palms against his jeans.

“Did you?”

I looked at him, and he wasn’t asking angrily, he wasn’t judging. He was frightened of the truth.

“No. I tried to tell you before there are things in Dorley that are scary and deadly.”

“One of the detectives showed me a picture of a girl from twenty years ago, then he made me look at the close-ups of those two kids. I don’t understand how they can look like that.”

It was a genuine confusion.

“They’re very old, he told me, venomous creatures that had once roamed seas. Now they’re here, making a king. They killed the Chief of police, they killed those two kids and they will kill more. I don’t know how far the FBI will dig into this before they get harmed too, but I know I can make it stop. This thing is still weak and I can kill it.”

“You are talking about monsters again Jackson. And they aren’t real.”

“You saw those photos. You saw the marks, those sucker marks. Your daddy taught you the marine world didn’t he?”

“Giant squids.”, he muttered.

“Something like that, yeah.”

He kept on babbling.

“He said he saw one of those when he was little. He said it was bigger than a house. He said many crazy things while he was dying.”

“These aren’t stories. These are real Eli and they are here in Dorley.”

He began to cry, uncontrollable sobs mixed with snot. I sat back in my chair. The boy wasn’t arguing my sanity. He was fighting back denial, refusing to believe he knew some truth. Then he began talking.

“We were fooling around, Kieran and I. We got drunk and smoked, and went on his motorcycle up the hill to the trailer park. He told me we could fuck around with the retards make them say stupid shit and I went with him. Only they weren’t like he said. There was something coming out of this woman, coming out down from her. And it wasn’t just her. There were more and all these things came out of them and burned in the fire. I don’t understand, Jackson, I don’t understand.”

I grabbed him, steadying his shakings.

They sacrificed the weak to make room for the strong. Only there weren’t strong ones being born.

I stood up, excitement washing over me. The bottomless hole stirred, a clearing creeping in, smearing the blackness away.

“I’m going to kill them all. Will you help me, Eli?”

 

 Chapter XV 

The Dorley Cycle XIII

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ; Part XI; Part XII

AND FOR A LITTLE COMIC STYLE TREAT: Homecoming & Hey There Mr. Cthulhu

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE

3

 XIII

“Still nothing on the Chief?”

“No. It’s a fucking nightmare out there, I tell ya. The blood sample from his house tested out negative for a second base, but it matched with the one from the trunk of the car that was found outside of the trailer park.”

“They ran a check on that?”

“Aha. It’s  registered to Desmond Dee Ross in Belmont, who reported it stolen last year. Ran a check for any references on the name, and get this, his son, Jackson Dee had some trouble here in Dorley in 2012.”

“Yeah? What kind?”

“Pulled off some crazy stuff after almost drowning in the old coast. Got admitted to a clinic for a while. Been missing since then.”

“You reckon he has something to do with the Chief?”

“Heck, I don’t know, but I wish it were that simple. Then we’d have something to chew on, a name, a motive maybe. But it don’t sound about right. Files all messed up from the leak and what was in the computer is the clinics report, which now has stamped him as deceased. Says he’d been possibly assaulted, admitted to hospital, three days later admitted to the mental institution with signs of schizophrenia, had two suicide attempts. He didn’t use no credit cards, didn’t rent no cars after 2012. He either ran or is dead.”

“Could it be the work of some passerby then, the Chief?”

“Hella, I don’t know. First these two kids get killed, then the FBI shows up followed by every single news channel in the state and now Chief’s missing, and I tell you that much blood I saw spilled all over his carpet, I sure don’t want to think what it might mean.”

“Jesus.”

“Yeah. He was a great guy. Can’t think of what sad son of a bitch will see a badge and shoot, and above all, here in Dorley. World’s gone to hell. “

“That much it is. Listen, I don’t mean to bother you, I know you’re on patrol next, but I have this guy in cell 3, no ID on him. He was brought early this morning passed out near the parking lot. I had to call on Robb and Stevie to hold him down so I can sedate him. He sure gave us a fight, rambling about some fellas all the while. Haven’t run prints on him yet. You think you might clear him up for me? Doug’s taking my shift for a couple of hours, I promised Linda I’d take her to the hospital myself.”

“Yeah, yeah sure. I’ll check if he’s responsive and send him off. I don’t need another drunk, junkie, damn tourist right now. Say hi to Linda from me. Hope her leg heals soon.”

His footsteps were light, squeaking against the freshly cleaned floor. I heard him clear his throat and my jaw clenched with pain. His key chain rattled against the bars.

“You feeling less feisty fella?”

I turned around and slowly stood up, patting dust off of my jeans. I had listened to that entire conversation, thinking of how easy was to lose someone and have him dead, how easy was for him to believe it and feel dead. The officer stared at me blankly, his hands at his belt, right one near the gun.  How easy it had been for the sea to wash away the leftovers of a person, his name, his face, his motives, and bathe his naked body in its dark and deep waters, scrapping at the pink flesh, till it bleeds and the salt burns inside it so the body can be clean. Then he can come out new and unknown with the taste of corrosion on his lips and the breath of the desolated depths in his lungs. Then, only then after what was done to him, can he understand what needs to be done by him.

I smiled at the officer, but didn’t feel Jackson smile with me, because Jackson was obviously dead somewhere I didn’t care about. I cared about what was to come after.

“Yes officer, feeling grand already.”

“Yeah? Gave my colleagues a helluva time.”

I shrugged and smiled again.

“Drinking never did any good for me officer.”

He looked at me for a moment too long and pulled back the key from the lock.

“Seems you came in with no ID. “

I scratched my cheek. I didn’t remember how I got away from Guy and Paulie, didn’t remember how I stumbled through Dorley in my hallucinating state. I was alive and that was enough. I was a nobody to them and that was enough.

“You remember what happened to you…?”

“Victor. Got out for a walk from my rental, see been here looking for a summer job, but no luck…anyways, I  bought some booze, cheaper, you know, got a little too drunk, made a scene with some locals. Got punched”, I touched my forehead and my jaw, “I guess after that I passed out officer.”

His face changed and the key slipped back in the lock and turned.

“You stay out of trouble and make sure you stick around. Nobody leaves town. Be sure to mention you got your documents stolen. Faster to get them back that way.”

***

I slipped into the daylight, giving time for my eyes to adjust from the 24h sleep and greyness, and scanned the parking lot outside the police station. Every space was taken by either a black SUV or a sharply dressed lady facing a camera and gesturing towards the station. Every now and then a suited badge with a serious look would walk past me, carrying the weight of sleepless nights and unsolvable crimes. I pitied that. Then I saw someone pitying me with a gloomy look and a sleeve on his mouth, wiping away the tears of his disease.

“Jackson? What are you doing here?”

Damn that kid.

Turning around I grabbed Eli and swung an arm over him, pressing him closer to me, ignoring his protests. I glanced back but Paulie wasn’t there anymore.

 

Chapter XIV