The Dorley Cycle XX

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 ; Part XVIII ; Part XIX

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

 THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires8

XX

Previously: Jackson made his move: the town of Dorley is burning; the monsters are on the run and Guy is nowhere to be found; Paulie is presumably dead and Eli is missing in the raging sea; Jackson found a hidden cave and hoped to find vengeance most of all in there. Now..

I sat down working a way with shaky fingers to strap my broken wrist. I tore at my sleeve and I continued shredding it till there was a reasonable looking piece that I could tie and swing around my neck. I rested the broken bones, flinching at the injection of pain and stood up, feeling the throbbing of snapped bones slightly eased.

Behind me swelling tides were reminiscent of the storm that was so near I could smell the sweet strong aroma of fresh ozone. I took that remarkable scent of new beginnings and filled my lungs with it.

Then I climbed the steps and disappeared through the jagged fissure of the cave.

Inside the moist quickly damped my clothes and stuck them to my shivery skeleton. In some fury of their own the waves threw themselves inside and bathed my numb feet. I walked in cold pools of water, slipping to hit hard stone, scratching at the wall, my only solace to steady myself up again. For what was darkness in my first blind steps, which led mostly down, I lost the break of the waves and above all the deep gulping voice of the sea groaning from its core. This cave was the silent pass, the ritual chamber of Dorley’s people. Bad memories and ill fates stormed the air along with the fragrance of moist and sweat.

I started hearing my own blood hammering inside my ears, trying to fill in the emptiness, which seemed impossible and delusional, or maybe I was those. I coughed and thought it be someone else standing behind me, his coarse throated whisper brushing at my earlobe. I rushed along the uneven path and discovered in the echo someone else’s footsteps catching up in the dying splashes. I stopped unable to move, forgetting distance and time in the pitch black. My eyes adjusted as much as to find stalagmites and stalactites looking like the sharp teeth of this monster mouthed cave. I shut them close sinking into my own darkness which seemed more familiar and comforting. Then I heard a buzzing sound and with wide opened eyes found the faint flicker of electricity.

The light burned out when I stood before it, but in a chain along the wall the others were working, old timey electric arc lamps modified from their floor vintage selves to those, deeply nailed into the stone. Their rusty enclosures were ancient. I wondered if Guy had put them here once upon a time.

Now with the light on my side the cave seemed shorter, but casting me shadows I didn’t want to see. I thought about man’s ability to find faces in objects. I thought about how diverse that shared horror power was, because all I could see where monsters with spread whipping arms. Ain’t something one would want to walk among. Dragging my chains, without a body to hold my hand to the bottom of this journey, I walked, a prisoner of twisted fate and the good lord I presumed.

The light showed me the cave was after all just one large chamber which walls wept in small rivulets. The slippery slide that guided me to its center was nothing but 200-300 meters in half of which I had lost and baffled myself. The suicidal arc light beamed here and there, just enough for me to walk a circle.

If the group of people I followed came in here they were either long gone or hiding in the shadows my artificial lights couldn’t reach. But there was only one spot which caught my attention, crawling along the far wall of the cave which slept in total blackness. So then, I was open prey. I was in a spotlight from which any of them could steal me in the dark and induce their poison down my body. My face stiffened. I was, in this state, vulnerable to be have and be killed.

Killed…But the darkness lured.  The longer I stared, the less emptiness I found. Suddenly the opposite stared back.

I crossed the chamber balancing my numb and heavy body, the sensation of solitude lifting up from me. I had something here with me, without a breath, without a heartbeat, but definitely present.

The whole of the dark smelled foul; the closer I got the stronger the odor got.

My trembling hand, outstretched fingers fumbled in the ghost air, penetrating the curtain which I tried to blink away; but it was unforgiving now and it no longer molded me and guided me. I grazed with the tips, my nails scraping at something soft and mushy and I pulled my hand back quickly feeling my fingers sticky. I stepped closer, determined to examine more.

I got the idea of something growing on this wall, something I was certain I wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. I ran my hand up and down measuring in my mind the size of this parasite, shaking with tremors genuine fear of the big and possibly asleep, possibly alive. But then a brighter beam of light from behind me bathed the entire wall and mouth agape, not caring of who stood there, I saw it.

Its eye, the size of a basketball, weak in color, a white pupil rotated upwards, glowed somewhat alive with the light on it and I saw myself inside it, shivering uncontrollably now. I traced its full length, from the mantle to the very tips of those whipping tongues – it covered the entire of the wall glued to it in a slimy cocoon, the massive bleak reddish- purple body of the creature preserved in some final charge, eight arms wild and spread, crimson-red veins mapping the semi-transparent skin. The same limbs as those Guy and Paulie had shown me, but ten times the size and ornamented with subspherical suction cups bigger than my palm; its two long tentacles though, were clubs hiding enlarged suckers gifted with rows of small sharp teeth.

I stepped back from this colossal cephalopod creature that extended beyond 20 meters and beyond any of my so hated childhood stories. I fell back, my body pressing against that of another, who still held the light high. 

To be continued…. 

The Dorley Cycle continues 8/15 with chapter XX!

squidkingsandgreekfires7

AND  

ALSO:

BIG MONSTERS

LOTS OF MONSTERS

TENTACLES

SCARY SEA DEPTHS

ORIGINS

MYTHS

BLUE HOLES

BLACK HOLES

FIGHTS

SECRETS

HORRORS

DEATH

SALVATION

DESTRUCTION

PAIN

LOSS

TEARS…..

and possibly more!

In the mean time you can start the mythos, monster, horror flavored cycle here:

The Dorley Cycle

I

The Dorley Cycle XIX

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 ; Part XVIII

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

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires6

XIX

The whiteness bleached and blended back to color, the pier reappearing engulfed in flame. The ringing in my ears though remained so as I was flung away from the blast, the burning heat pushing my body, I watched, deaf, how part of the pier collapsed into the sea, and how Ferris wheel caught fire. It was in an instant that I hit the water with a force that left me breathless and invited a mouthful of water inside my lungs.

I sunk along with floating pieces of coal-black wood, but I was alive.

Slowly my limbs came back to life, brushing the heaviness of the sea in a mad churn in search for up, but finding down, facing what I couldn’t see. I felt raindrops like bullets rain over me.

I swam frantically, kicking fiercely to push myself upwards and find the surface. Not long after my fingers dug into wet, hard sand, and I crawled into the very shallow, breathing in the salty water that clung to the whole of my body, biting into my open wounds. I vomited blood and water till I had those to vomit, feeling my stomach hurt and my guts shrunk in my belly. Then I just lay in it, cold as the water was, warm as the air was, harsh as the rain was.

Noises came and went around me, my eyes finding seizures of bright explosions swept away by black skies that expanded in bursts.  I smelled the smoke and choked on it, fits of confusion and alarm overcoming me. After heartbeats, clearance came, having me hear sirens loud and clear and thunders dry and overhanging. I stood up, whiplashed by the rain that did nothing to stop the spreading disaster.

Dorley was burning.

I watched mesmerized the sight, admiring the aggression I had set free. I let ash stick to my face and I welcomed the heat of nearby fire, letting it dry me up. To my right ol’ Dorley was in flames too, puffing out the blackest of smokes and combusting in the brightest orange that reflected dark red in the water.  At first I couldn’t tell where the fire had started but there was one place that could have ignited such a beautiful spark. I wondered who had set the fuel shacks on fire.

Kicking sand and half-running I tried to get myself back on the street. The fire had caught on the entire length of the pier and had spread, taken by the wind to the buildings across the street. The bottom of the hill was fiery speckled and I had no doubt it would soon spread further and climb up to the hotel.

The Ferris wheel protested, its lights popping out. The cables sizzled and snapped free from the arm of the wheel, flapping electrical tongues that transformed the air around into a sparkling net, charging the raindrops as they fell, absorbing. The wheel flickered and went dead, the leather seats shedding in lumps of stench down through burned holes.

People ran past me, frantic in their own try for rescue. I made my way through their ricocheting screams, tourists, reporters, desperate policemen, children crying for their parents, all black-faced and terrified. I didn’t care which of them were monsters.

I didn’t see Guy’s burned body anywhere near the pier. I didn’t see him limping away. I kept looking, almost tempted to call his name over the roar of everything else.

It had become Hell in less than fifteen minutes and no one knew where to go. No one, except those that amidst the chaos were different. I found them burning in the middle of the street, melting but still alive, their weak tentacle arms darting helplessly from their coal parched mouths as their bodies lurched into a mindless flee in and out the fire. I heard them screech, such a low and hurting noise that would exist otherwise only submerged, and I knew that what I saw in that dream of mine was true – it was weak, and it could be killed.

But then as I walked further, I also saw them hurrying in groups towards the beach over which the pier was collapsing and I followed.

I kept my distance from the path of falling things. Wannabe survivors made a run for the sea and shadowlike I moved with them, hunched in my mess of a figure. My group was making way down the coastline to the end of it where the largest of white stone sea cliffs stood rough shaped. I found footprints, quickly washed away by the ever-growing ill foamed waves and I stepped in them before they disappeared. Treading like this, towards whatever comes I kept thinking of miracles and weighted in my chances of winning right now, because it wasn’t over, that much was clear. Guy was not dead for sure, but he wasn’t human and he was a fast healer. He had lived here long before me, molding Dorley in his own liking. He wasn’t going to let go easily.

The sea-washed my feet. I half expected Eli’s body to wash at my feet and blame me. I was alone again, and that mesmerizing, powerful sensation of being in control evaporated. Realism hit hard; me, bare handed and broken, steamed by the fire, shaken by the cold, cold water, soaked to the very bones.

Soon the sand was gone and I had slippery stone under me. I curled my fingers for a grip somewhere on the slick rock that extended large into the sea. There was a man-sized arch cut into it and I carefully squeezed through it. On the other side there were small inner islands of sharp rocks that led to a piece of land, three steps carved into it which ran to the entrance of a cave.

I watched my way going there and then I stood on toes on the first step looking up into the gaping void feeling the cool breath of its insides.

Chapter XX

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, unscrewing one of them, reaching for the second before stopping myself. 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.

Chapter XIX

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 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