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.

To be continued….

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 

 

 

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu in one comic strip

In between Dorley chapters, I sometimes draw Jackson and his thoughts in short comic strips, and it’s great fun, partially because I can’t really draw, but hold high hopes during the drawing process and mostly because I love comics and well, it feels good after its done.

I did one sometime ago, which you can check here: The Dorley Cycle: Homecoming & now I did another one and will be doing one more in the upcoming days.

Hope you enjoy this new small comic strip from The Dorley Cycle!

 

Dorleycomic2

The Dorley Cycle XII

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

AND FOR A LITTLE TREAT:  The Dorley Cycle in one comic strip

THE DORLEY CYCLE

BeFunky_toxictruth2

XII

 Oh, no, I thought, feeling something nudging me, gently at first then more persuasive. It was slimy and cold, then it was warm and soft. It slid over my skin, clumsily searching for my face; then it prickled me with tiny pinches. I curled myself into a ball, hands covering my face and waited for it to go away and leave me alone. I felt a stronger push and moaned. “Go away”, I thought, shivering, scared to speak out loud.

“Jackson, wake up! What’s the matter with you?!

I opened my eyes and rolled over, blinking at the light coming from the window. Mattie stood beside my bed rubbing her arm just above the elbow.

“Mattie?”

“Were you having a nightmare? You almost slapped me across the face – got the arm instead.”

She showed me where whilst making a sad face.

I sat myself up, hands still clutching at the covers of my old bed at home. My sister gave me a closer look.

“Are you alright Jackson?”

I nodded, my voice still a foreign attribute.

“Okay, not going to ask again. Mom sent me to wake you up, so now that you’re awake, let’s go eat.”

I slipped out of bed, finding my feet shaky and my head swimming, but I followed Mattie out of the room and down the stairs to the kitchen which was full of sunshine. The wall clock showed half-past noon. The table was set, crunchy toast and golden eggs mashed with bacon in daisy colored plates and a steaming cup of black coffee beside it.

I sat down, my back to the window and took a large sip from my coffee blessing its sweetly sour burn.

Mattie sat to my left and filled her mouth with veggie omelet washing it down with orange juice.

I had no taste for food, though my belly protested.

“Eat up Jackson, they’ll go cold.”

My mother filled another plate, this one with three bacon strips and a side of peppery jalapeno eggs, then pulled the chair to my right and sat, putting marmalade jam on her toast. She always ate sweet at breakfast and lunch.

“I’ll need some help with the car today. Damn thing chokes up more than before.”

I nodded at my father and took a small bite. The eggs were delicious.

“Hey bro, can I borrow your camera for later, I need to film for the school project, you know the one about a vacation. I’m making a horror movie – “The Massachusetts CritterNow terrorizing the city of Belmont! and two friends on a vacation.”

“Mattie.”

“What? It’s a cool idea!”

I listen to all of that, smiling to myself. It was nice being back here, at my parents’ house, seeing them both happy and Mattie enthusiastic about the school project she failed to make after all. I dropped the fork.

“I gotta go.”

“What do you mean honey, where?”

I listened to the distant thunders of heavy waves crashing against solid rocks. I could hear the furious winds tearing at the gaping fisherman cabins. The sun began to set. I stood up turning to face the window. Out there I could see gigantic waves, an angry see rising, almost a vertical of black mass threatening to spill all over and drown us.

“To Dorley.”

“Honey, your uncle died months ago. You don’t have to worry about that now.”

“But Dorley is alive.”

The sea was a wounded animal, bellowing at me through every wave, arching its watery back with every raise, spitting its foamy insides with each crash, glaring at me with its one illuminated eye.  I wanted to call back.

“I’m leaving.”

My announcement fell deaf.  I didn’t want to turn around and meet the quiet of their eyes, but I did.  The three of them shot white eyed glances at the ceiling and their mouths were rotting holes for the parasites that slid out and slammed heavy on the table, fighting one another for a grasp, limbs too weak to crawl on their own. They tied knots, sucker against sucker, merging in a pulsating cluster of wriggling arms. A fuckin’ squid king of tentacles, dragging a small and weak body after itself. A thing to kill.

I held up my gun.

“Go die.”

The two shots went silent when the wall exploded under the pressure of tons of water. It washed me and It away inside a whirlpool, but I saw it bleed, oozing black and screeching, before my laughing mouth filled with salt.

***

My mind woke with someone screaming over me. I was spastic on a cold floor, retching all over my face and someone’s hands holding my head up. Another pair of hands held my body down. Something sharp pierced my leg.

The next time I woke up I was lying on a hard bed. Not only my jaw, my entire face hurt. Hell, my whole body did. I sat up painfully taking in my surroundings. Bars. Grey. Silence. Stench.

“Shit”

I was in a prison cell.

 

Chapter XIII

 

The Dorley Cycle XI

Sorry, sorry, sorry for the delay. Won’t happen again. Back on track. Soon to finish. Enjoy! x

______________________________________________________

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

AND FOR A LITTLE TREAT:  The Dorley Cycle in one comic strip

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE

 

BeFunky_toxictruth.jpg

XI

The man in the crimson striped waistcoat, who offered to give me the Ferris wheel ride, was now offering to take my life away. I would flip a coin, but…

“It took you one night to kill that siren bitch and her whore mermaid and you got out in one piece. I didn’t enjoy their presence here. I’ve sucked dry their species for long enough to despise their every effort of survival. They’re food, basically. I didn’t even know there were any left after the massacre in the Atlantic, not until you fished them out. I heard that cry, that irritating, perverse croak. How did you kill her, the siren?”

He was baring his teeth in a smile that was neither welcoming, nor friendly. Something touched the his tongue, circling around its tip before quickly scuttling back inside the depth of his mouth.

“I shot a spear through her head.”

He gave me a slow clap.

“I’ll tell you, you did me a favor there, Mr. Jackson. But ever since you decided to come back, I’ve been thinking how less fortunate I am to know of your existence. Dorley has been uneasy. Oh it has been shivering, breathing cold and fear from every rotten boat, every dirty bar, every yellow sheet on every screaming bed in every beat down house, oozing from every pore, boiling every blood vessel inside every person. You are bad company, Mr. Jackson.”

“I had to kill Chief Wayman.”

Paulie’s voice was hoarse. He limped and stood next to the other man. He wiped his mouth with a bloody sleeve.

“You cause death. Why should you be the good guy and I – the bad?”

I thought about it. About good and bad. When I was a boy I believed in truth and in reality, not in good or bad. I had a firm grasp on my own world. Things weren’t always on the bright side, but they were simple and I understood where I stood and what I meant. Now I can barely fight the current, which shit, I don’t even know how to describe anymore. I drown in the flow, heavy on my thoughts and weak on my actions. But if I’m to die…

“Because of those kids. Because of Anne.”

He took the gun from my hand and threw it aside. It fell with a thump.

Then his hand grabbed my jaw with inhuman strength. I tasted blood right away.

“Anne? Pretty little Anne, with her tears and her muffled screams. Him here, called Guy”, he pointed at his face, his bluish eyes hazy of some satisfaction, “he was fucking her on the beach, that summer in 86’, while Paulie held her down and the others watched. The four of them boys played until she stopped crying and stopped protesting. I only fed on her afterwards.”

I clawed my nails at his arm, my heart beating to collapse. His grip tightened and his other hand grabbed my shoulder, digging his fingers till pain.

“It’s a nightmare living inside one of you. A constant rejection and need of repair on the unstable mutation; slow process of submission, but it is worth it. I survive. I multiply. We are growing in numbers, Mr. Jackson. See the bigger picture beyond a sloppy two kill”, he gestured his head towards Paulie, “and a cold case that no one but you remembers.”

My sea raged. My song skipped a beat and it went luring me back into what I knew and wanted before; it was a war march of decapitated mermaids and torn sirens, of beasts that swam oceans and seas and then walked on earth and spoke like men. The three people at the trailer park, their bellies full of toxic truth; five teenagers in the summer messing about with some upstate teens, dragging a girl away from them and never giving her back, setting the start of this chaos. I searched for Paulie, cursing myself for not killing him when I had the chance.

I fought Guy back, my nails already bloody and his skin bleeding. He held me in one place.

“Hush now, it’s almost over.”

But I didn’t want it over. Not anymore.

His mouth opened and thick and slimy arms dressed in big and round suckers crawled out, spiraling and the hooks swiveling, curving towards my own mouth. I tried to pull back, but two of the arms took the corners of my mouth and once his hand released my jaw and I cried in pain they pushed in, stretching my mouth wider, into a fuckin’ smiley smile that hurt so much I cried. Two tentacles appeared from inside him and one violently pushed itself inside my mouth gagging me. I could feel the small suckers pulsate on the corners of my mouth cavity making me light headed. The two slick arms holding me smiling crawled back.

“You taste of rotten, of that sea water splashing in your belly. I’ll take care of that.”

I raised my hand to grab, but a thinner arm wrapped around my wrist. ”While We are here, Dorley will remain. While Dorley is here, We will remain.”

With new tears running down my cheeks I closed my teeth harsh on the sucking tentacle. I bit on the muscle until I tasted sour, until it burned me inside and I heard him scream.

Until everything went to hell and haze.

 

Chapter XII

 

The Dorley Cycle IX

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

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu45

 

IX

 

Hangovers are a God-given gift opposed to the pain surging through my head now.

The spot on the back of my head where the gun handle had landed was bulged and it hurt like a bitch when I touched it. I sat myself up blinking in the dark, trying to make out shapes. When I finally did, I was looking at a dozen dent mobile homes. I was obviously outside of Dorley. Most of them looked abandoned, windows smashed and detached doors slamming, abiding the wind till they can. It looked like a damn overgrown with thin grass graveyard for shitty, rotten toilets, because that’s how the air smelled.

Last I checked I was in Chief Frank Wayman’s house with my gun at him and his ominous words against me.

I rubbed my forehead. Then there were gunshots. And Paulie..

Stumbling back to my feet I looked around for the guy.

“Paulie?”

I walked calling for him, receiving no answer, just the quiet being as quiet as possible.

“PAULIE!”

A loud thump came from inside one of the mobile homes. I stopped, my eyes searching for a moving figure.

“Is someone there?”

I climbed in peering into the dark. It stank of piss here too, but there wasn’t anyone in. I circled the tight space kicking cups and rusty forks. Then I heard a gurgling sort of noise behind me. I stared at the window, half expecting for a wild animal to jump in and attack me, but when nothing happened I went over and took to look outside myself. Two eyes were staring at me from below and when the crouched figure stood up I fell hard on my back with a scream on my lips.

I ran back outside cursing under my breath for the lack of my gun.

There was a man facing me on the other side of the mobile home. He had his hand pushed inside his mouth, but then he pulled it out and the noise that was rumbling deep in his throat like a growl was slurped even deeper, settling in his belly. I took a step back. The man walked towards me and I could see behind him more shadows joining.

“Who the fuck are you?”

They were two other men and one woman, wearing worn out shirts and short jeans, and she a dress that weren’t fitting her no more. They were just watching me now, scared and amused at the same time. Tilting their heads and drooling yellow spits from their loose mouths on their already stained clothes, they reminded me of Paulie, but a broken, abused Paulie.

The four of them simultaneously coughed out a word through missing teeth and it sounded to me like “andros.”

“All four of you are called like that huh?”

The woman grabbed the length of her dress and lifted it up to show me her naked bruised body and swollen belly. I would have thought she was pregnant if the walls of her stomach weren’t probed by something desperately trying to force its way out. She moaned, with pain or pleasure, I didn’t know.

“Get away from him you retards. Leave the man alone! Git, I said.”

Paulie moved passed me, a cigarette between his full lips. The four of them scattered like dogs.

He took me by the shoulder and led me away, down a steeper hill to a dirt road where my car was parked with the trunk opened.

His jacket was covered in blood.

“Paulie, why is there blood on you?”

“I a, had to dispose of the body you know.”

Oh shit.

“You killed the chief of police.” I looked at the wet stain in my trunk still mingled with red where it couldn’t wash.

“That I did. “

“Why?”

“You were getting yourself in serious trouble. I knew you’d go look for him as soon as I told you, just as I knew he’d be telling you bullcrap jus to mess with your head so he can put you back in that mental hospital. I saved you.”

I looked at him remembering what chief Wayman had said about all of Dorley talking about my return.

“That you did.”

He started the car.

“We’re 3 miles outside of Dorley. The trailer park was a rental camping site once. Safest place I know to bury a body.”

I nodded.

“And what about those people?”

“Ah, local folks, but deranged, you saw. Not much I know about them except they’ve been living here since forever.”

“Think me mad, but there was something off about them. Like they weren’t all human.“

“Must be from the blow to the head. Sorry about that one. You’ll get a good rest now.”

In the blackness behind my eyelids I looked into the bottomless hole again. I saw a truth that had evaded me.

“Wayman mentioned about some arrival around 86’, linked to the murder of Anne Henderson.”

I buckled my belt.

“He told me that I was being watched. He warned me something was coming to get me too. I wonder whether it already hasn’t.”

I reached out.

He took his eyes off the road just in time to see me grab the wheel. The car went off road and the wheels bounced giving the car a brief flight before it crashed, landing sideways.

***

I brushed a trail of blood from my forehead and unbuckled. I kicked the door open and climbed out of the car.

Paulie was laying 6 feet away, face into the gravel.

“You shouldn’t’ have lied to me.”

I turned him over. His face was sliced and covered with blood.

I raised my fist and brought it down on his face, feeling glass cut into my knuckles.

“This ends today. You tell me whoever is behind it all or I will end you right here.”

He grabbed me by the jacket.

“You don’t understand.”

“Fuckin’ explain then.”

His deep greens swam with tears.

“I’ll take you.”

 

Chapter X

The Dorley Cycle VII

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

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu3

VII

I knew that Dorley was incorporated somewhere in the 1600’s by some European fisherman and established as a town in the 1800’s, and all that it used to be in its earliest days was probably written down in one of the records in the archive. All the memories of my youth in Dorley are of struggling to spend a summer vacation in a fishy little town with a small harbor that held few solid fishing boats.

Inside the archives room was a metal shelf that ran from one side of the wall to the other and stacked some fifty yellow record boxes labeled with a red marker. There were a dozen brown boxes tucked into the corner of the room.

I knelt bringing my flashlight to those, first starting with their content.  I pushed the lid off of the first one and took out a thin file that bore the police department’s sigil. I went through three or four reports, all recent and all of minor violations from the outside regions. I pulled another box towards me. There was a moist scent soaked into the cardboard, the smell of old age and dark rooms and when I tore the dried glue and pulled the first file in had the same authentic stench of decay plastered onto it. There was a picture clipped to the first page. I brought my light to it, looking at a crime scene photo of a naked girl, arms, legs spread on the beach and a circle drawn around her. My heart sank as I recognized the markings on her body, dark, swollen all over her shriveled skin. They were identical to those of the two teens laid on the beach. I took away the light and stared into the darkness, rectangles and bright spots swimming before my eyes. The 86’ murder had fallen into my hands with a picture of the body of which the local lore spoke to have been missing and never found. I took the photo out and put it in my pocket without a second glance. The page underneath was smoke soaked and the ink was smudged in redoing the bleak writing, but I read the year all right, and the name of the girl – Anne Henderson, 17.  The rest of the file however was empty.

A voice above me hissed like a rattle snake in the quiet and the hiss sneaked to the pit of my stomach where it curled.

“The department archives got flooded couple of days ago, so some of the files were moved in here till’ the leak is fixed.”

I turned my light on Paulie’s face seeing the deep sores on his cheeks and the broken teeth in his limp mouth.

“Security will be here any minute. Got what you was looking for?”

I felt the picture in my pocket and nodded. All I needed was it, a verification that Dorley had secrets and someone was willing to sacrifice lives to keep them.

Outside the gulls were loud in their pathetic attempts to keep off the cold. The night had grown the wicked cold of the wind that came from elsewhere and it kissed my face in its harsh unwelcoming way, like a lover no more.

Whilst I shivered and cursed the change of heart of the weather, Paulie stood proud against the temperature, comforted in its embrace. I guess he was local after all.

“If you ain’t got a place to stay and do your thing while you’re here the place I rent in my room has an empty one just across mine.”

Paulie swallowed a big gulp of his frozen saliva and looked at me with his green eyes half-closed. He looked shit tired.

“I suppose I’m going to stay for a while after all, yeah.”

The building he led me into was one of the more luxurious, and few apartment buildings Dorley had built for the rich tourists that it never had. It looked less shiny today and with its glamour, its clientele had gone to waste.

“Landlord sleeps like a deadman, he’ll do you in the register tomorrow. I gots a spare key here in case someone comes and he ain’t around to serve.”

I was beginning to think Paulie was the Keymaster from Ghostbusters. Heck he even looked a bit like him.

“Paulie, do you know that murder from 86’ that was never solved? The upstate girl on vacation here?”

He gazed at me again with his sea deep eyes.

“I remember it. She was a pretty one, auburn hair and hazel eyes. Never found a body though.”

“Do you remember who led the investigation?”

“Chief of police Frank Wyman. Solid motherfucker.”

“He still around?”

“Chief then, chief now. He’s a righteous man and he’ll do his job.“

I nodded and bid him goodnight.

“It’s very strange how the mermaids got extinct and then the sirens stopped singing. I think scientists would say its total bull, but I go with the Old belief that the two species are very much important to one another, you know for their survival. This one guy in the pub said,” you want mermaid meat you gotta cut the tail with a diamond sharpened blade” and another said “behead the siren if ya want to use the feathers for the hooks.”

His words bubbled up and he laughed with his teeth clasped together. His eyes were mere dark slices that stretched along the sides of his face. I thought again how much I hated the tales and how much those people loved them.

“They will come you know.”, his hiss pierced my ears and itched down my system, putting needles in my guts.

He closed his door and locked it.

I sat on my bed feeling the cold wool cover, not wanting to get under it and shiver through my nightmares. So I left as quiet as possible, patting the inside of my jacket for the Smith & Wesson feeling its weight reassuring. I hoped chief Frank Wyman was a solid motherfucker as Paulie had said.

Chapter VIII

The Dorley Cycle V

To start the cycle: Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu

V

Behind the police line its dark, an infinity seeping out of a black hole,somewhere in the back of my head; it’s stretched to all sides but ahead, where the projectors illuminate the sand and the camera flashlights blink two at a time. And I am standing in that infinite darkness, body cold, but mind ablaze, insides burning up as an infection spreads and consumes me into blindness far thicker than the night, and so much wider than the sky; I dwell in it, floating without mass as only dead fish do. Raging is the memory. Painful is the comeback.

And I have comeback to Dorley, my universe, my anchor.

My eyes are pools which drown the image of the two deformed corpses laid side by side. I recognize a pattern, a similarity in the atmosphere. Can they not see it?

I pulled aside from the bystanders peeping for a look at the macabre scene making my way through police officers pushing watchers and reporters away. I had seen enough.

“Can I get you something?”

The bartender dragged his rusty voice over my ears and it felt like razors twisting inside my brain. I flinched and closed my eyes letting the mental attack pass away before pulling a ten dollar bill and passing it to him.

“Scotch, single, whichever brand.”

He nodded and took the money, shooting me a suspicious glance. Bartenders always do that, especially when they have a guy looking like me sitting at their bar. I felt his eyes glide over the scars on my forehead and smirked to myself for having grown a thick beard to somewhat conceal the ones on my cheeks.

My flaming senses began to calm and I relaxed my shoulders, breathing out the built up tension. I was succumbed to my thoughts, sunken to my past, and then again, I was back in Dorley. I was excused for having any mental breakdowns. I felt a void like a draft come inside me, blowing away my confidence to specks of dust. After two years of nothing and growing fond on the idea of it all being big bullshit, here it was again, the unmistakable sign that Dorley was a whirlpool spitting out monsters.

The glass was put in front of me and I took a sip. Even if the majority of the town was changed to fit the seaside resort criteria, the Old Side had kept the same shitty charm it used to have before, only now having the society in a tighter circle made it twice worst to be around. The absurdity of the place now collided with the surrealism of it.

I took in my surroundings not really remembering being inside this bar. The people clinging like moths to light, sat with their beers and their card games, heads bobbing up and down, dirty nails scratching sun-kissed faces. Sailers, fisherman, laborers, the lot of them. It seemed to me, having a classy hotel and a Ferris wheel pier made no difference to them. It didn’t work for me either, only set a slight unease; I knew there were winged and fishtailed humanoid skeletons lying at the bottom of the sea. So much for vacating safely. But they didn’t know.

There were times I wished the construct of my thoughts couldn’t reach past a barricade of the deepest ignorance. I was initiated by the revelations forced on me into something I didn’t and still don’t fully understand.

But thedead boy and girl, those two strange carcasses were my new enigma; they were pieces of my puzzle and they fitted in perfectly. They welcomed me back to my mythos. Whatever had done that to them was speaking to me and I would be rude to not respond back. I would slaughter again.

I emptied the glass, grabbing my jacket.

“What’s with the sirens outside?”

I looked up half thinking the bartender had gone all soft on me, but it was a middle-aged man dressed city-like taking the sit next to mine. A man in a checked red shirt, shuffling a deck of cards had called him up.

“Someone died I hear.” He said as he took his drink and untwisted the beer bottle’s cap.

“Yeah? Local?”

I eased on my sit, pulling out another tenner and gestured to the bartender.

“Can’t say. They won’t say. Would be in the papers though. It’s down by the old fisherman’s cabins.”

The checked shirt man nodded and went back to his game.

“Though what I hear is, two kids got overdosed on something.”

“You reckon some junkies?”

I eyed the guy.

“What else would it be?”

“Murder.”,  I filled in.

The city man said nothing, only took a large gulp from his beer, but I could feel the fat card player’s eyes on my back.

“There haven’t been a murder this side of town since 86’ boy.”

I spun on my chair giving my full attention to the checked shirt man.

“What happened in 86’?”

“Well”, he mashed up the deck of cards once more, “some local youngsters fooled around with upstate teenagers on a camping trip here. They were suspected of, what they call it…yeah, ritualistic murder, but they were never convicted. Some poor gal went missing, but I don’t think they ever found her too, only some weird markings on the beach. So that’s that. But Dorley is a good town with good people. There are no murderers here.”

The door of the bar slammed behind me. What a pleasantly fucked up seaside town Dorley is. I left here, fleeing in fear and anger, and I returned terrified of what I might find instead of closure. And oh, I need closure. 

They took a wrong turn, they all did, including me and they deposited into this scheme bones and blood. Years and years the defense of their isolation had kept the eyes of the world from their deeds. The people of Dorley. Could I believe they didn’t know?

Chapter VI

Monsters (Part two)

A bit late with this entry, my apologies. I hope I deliver with this conclusion.

Part one

Monsters

Part 2

 

As a breath on glass, -
As witch-fires that burn,
The gods and monsters pass,
Are dust, and return.

(“The Face of the Skies”)”

―George Sterling,

The Thirst of Satan:Poems of Fantasy and Terror 

 

 

“I think I brought memory to life. Did I Neil? Could I?…”

As I stood before my door Tom’s words came back to me and I asked myself what he meant.

“Did you Tom do something horrible in the past that came back to haunt you today? Could you have done something bad?”

I cursed me for doubting my friend.

My hand hesitated on the door lock. I turned to watch the lights of the departing cab with a tinge of disappointed. I wished I had stayed in it. Maybe tell the driver to keep on driving around town until the dawn comes and saves me from the questions solitude and darkness tend to evoke in one’s mind.

I didn’t feel like being home tonight. Not alone.

I sighed and opened the door.

The lights, as I switched them on, welcomed me with a vague, nonchalant gleam.

I prepared myself a quick dinner – macaroni and cheese with tomatoes – and watched the news, only for the voices to keep me company and distract me from the ones in my own head.

A young blond reporter spoke of a chain accident on the interstate. Five people were dead and a dozen injured. She looked frightened as if her life was the one depending on good Faith.

I turned the TV off and stared at my face in the black screen. Was that fear written on me as well? Fear of what I saw back at Tom’s apartment?

Once more my thoughts were taken back to the filthy living room turned into a studio and the paintings aligned staring at me.

I wondered what imagination dreams of such horrid creatures? What sort of agony makes the artist reach so deep in his soul, in that part which is unknown and foreign to him?

“Why, Tom?”

I had to know.

“How can I help you Tom when you told me I couldn’t understand. Why is that? For what am I so blind?”

I rubbed my eyes and poured myself a large glass of golden liquid. Even after a few drinks no answers showed to solve my mystery and cease my worries.

I decided sleep may be my remedy.

I went asleep as soon as my head touched the pillow and no longer after that a dream came to me, one that left me moaning and twisting in the bed; a poor mess of sweat and sheets.

I didn’t see myself present in it, but it felt as if I was the host, my body, soul and mind combined to offer a field for the events developing. I felt utterly exposed to some invisible invasion from outside, a fearful breeze of rotten nightmares.

The scenery was bleak and confusing but it reminded me of the cover of a book I used to own as a child. But the golden crops, the morning sky were different– they painted themselves in dark rusty-brown, before the sky cracked and only blackness was left, so vast and loathing it raised my curiosity of what lies beyond.

I remembered there were children painted too, playing and laughing but instead of them something else was celebrating under distant sounds of drums and horns.

A creature of scales and claws, multiple eyes, tongues and limbs descended from the blackness, towering above all and with an echoing roar of its billion mouths it shattered grotesquely and collapsed into monsters that scattered and possessed each piece of the dying ground; the spawns danced with rhythmic moves, but all I could see was a savage ritual of grunts and roars; the nameless ones caught in a symbolic moment of fierce copulation; a collision of bodies furry, wet and muscular. Some, I observed from my nowhere position, carried human parts and with disgust I had to watch as their sharp tongues lick thirstily the dripping blood and their mouths bite, tore and swallow down large pieces of red flesh.

This was a feast upon humanity. A celebration of prevail and conquer. It smelled like defeat, like losing all hope and I felt even greater fear emerging from each direction, cloaking the dream, the inhabitants, the revelations.

My childhood nightmares were there before me, but somehow altered, changed. More vulgar and shameless, more brutal and willing to kill my vision and memory of how monsters were supposed to look. Those were…

“No, monsters aren’t real. This is just a dream” spoke Tom’s voice but I knew it was I who thought so.

But these spoken in the subconscious words disappeared with the increasing throbbing of the drums. The melody so ancient and ethnic called me to come forward; an invitation of the sort you don’t simply turn down even if your whole being is trembling with fear. I felt myself do as told, and I tried to suppress the urge to touch skins, horns, furs and prove them real, proclaim them living and breathing and here. I hesitate…do I want to?

They are not real. I know that. They can’t be.

I push myself away; a far and rapid withdraw from this degeneration of the soul.

I woke up weak and destroyed from the dream. My head pounded with pain.

I didn’t enjoy this demented reflection of yesterday’s events, mostly because there were shadows which I didn’t see but felt. The art in Tom’s paintings had crawled into my sleep and hid underneath my pillow to invade my dreams and observe just as me.

Observe what? Me?

I reminded myself again it was simply a nightmare. Fiction of the mind.

Then what was that feeling of doubt nesting low in my belly making me uncomfortable?

Had I gone mad even for a second to believe monsters are real? To believe that those portraying Tom’s sickness are stalking me in my dreams and insist I participate from aside in a spectacle of horror?

God, I sounded like I do.

“Remember you believe in something once you’ve seen it and touched it” told me Tom’s whispering voice.

-   Hold on Tom, I’m coming.

I dressed and called a cab.

With a few begs my Arabic guide of city streets and ugly alleys drove faster and kept silent.

I decided on any cost to get Tom out of his place and buy us a plane ticket to Mexico or somewhere further.

Up ahead there was a construction site and the street was closed by large orange signs. My impatience overpowered me; I paid and jumped out of the car to run the last two blocks.

I dashed between faces and grimaces without my eyes registering any gender, age or race.

All I could think of were those monsters closing their rope of insanity around Tom’s neck.

When I got there a large crowd had gathered outside the entrance of the building. I spotted an ambulance and two police cars.

The officers were just starting to close the perimeter circling it with the “Cautious” yellow tape.

I maneuvered myself deeper into the whispering and gasping audience.

I needed to get to Tom’s apartment.

-  Excuse me? I need to get to apartment 8, Tomas Byrnes lives there, he is a friend of mine. I was supposed to meet him today. Could you let me pass?

The officer which I had just spoken to opened and closed his mouth, seemingly experiencing difficulty to offer me an answer.

-   I’m sorry sir. I’m afraid that will be impossible.

-   It’s very important officer. Can’t we arrange something?

-    I don’t think you understood me sir. Mr. Byrnes was found dead in his apartment an hour ago. My condolences on your loss.

-   Oh… – was all I could say, and then I mumbled – thank you.

Perhaps I had heard him the first time but was too shocked to realize.

I turned and walked away without feeling my feet touch the ground.

The monsters had won. They had found out I wanted to save Tom and had taken him away from me. They mocked me in my dream and showed me what future awaits those who deny belief in something so obviously real. I didn’t acknowledge them and they punished me by provoking my friend to implant their vision in me and make me question their authenticity.

“Oh Tom, please forgive me for running away. I was so scared and foolish.”

I stopped.

The people walking past me game me curious looks at my motionless figure. I looked in their eyes to seek some recognition, some response or understanding.

But they didn’t know of the storm in my soul and the guilt in my heart. They didn’t understand the fear in my mind and couldn’t explain the tears running down my cheeks.

But I knew what I’ve done.

“I can feel it. I have let the monsters in”