The Dorley Cycle VII

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


Part V ;  Part VI




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

A Christmas Horrortale

Daddy Longlegs was a shy and ancient creature. He lived under the stairs of the Flincher’s. Each day he scolded back into the shadows when he heard the children hopping down the stairs. Hop- hop- hop they went and laughed all the way. But the stairs were old, as the house was old, and Daddy Longlegs feared the wood might split and the children fall.  He was, you should know, a giant of his kind, older than the world perhaps, bred and fed in the moist of corners dark. His legs were long and thin, and he knit the corners of his web with them; his eyes were shiny black dots in the dark and he watched the insides of the house with six of them.  He wasn’t vicious, not at all; he grew fond of those who didn’t even know he kept in hiding under the stairs in their home.

So Daddy Longlegs decided what was best; he propped the stairs with his body and slept, assured the children would be safe.

One night a scratch inside the walls awoke Daddy Longlegs. Scratch-scratch-scratch. He felt the air with the tiny hairs on his round body and knew winter had come.  He looked from the gap in one of the ledges and saw lights, bright and many running up and down a tree…what kind of tree was that? Daddy Longlegs had forgotten that with winter came Christmas! But there they were again, the scratches; something fast and something large it was. Daddy Longlegs pulled away a wonky ledge and squeezed outside the hole; tip-toeing he came into the house. He crawled silently, his eyes rolling left to right.

The children were asleep in their rooms; the parents were asleep in their room. What was making that sound?

So down he went into the living room, where the lights of Christmas shone upon a figure, knelt before the tree.

“Oh no!”, he thought, “Someone is stealing Christmas away from the children!” and off he rushed, angered and enormous.

The figure turned in panic when a shadow crept upon him. His scream froze in his throat, for he had come from a land where there were no nightmares, and he did not know what to do when facing one. Thus, he ran, straight for the chimney. But Daddy Longlegs was faster. Swiftly he swung one of his eight legs and pinched the cloth of the running man, dragging him back across the floor. The man carried a huge bag and with it he swung. He hit Daddy Longlegs and he rolled until he smashed against the wall. Then the man took a dip into his pocket and filled his hand with sparkling dust. He blew it into the fallen creature and in the artificial storm created he tried to disappear again. Daddy Longlegs stood furious, and saw his leg was damaged; it had been squashed there in the middle. He saw the man half up into the chimney and jumped on the ceiling. From there he spat a thick layer of web that caught the man just by the leg.

Descending in a spiral way he pulled the man inside again and laid him off beside the tree, his mouth muffled and his pinched to the floor. He didn’t know this intruder, and nothing in him seemed right. He was fat and old, yet he moved fast as a child would; his cloths were bright, yet he came and went through chimneys. Daddy Longlegs didn’t like this man at all. He was a…burglar. Fat and naughty.

He sat upon him with all his mighty weight and began knitting his web around the body. He knit and he knit until the man had become a cocoon. Then he carried him inside the stairs and crawled low into the basement where and glued the man in a corner, where no one would hear him, ever. Then he left.

Daddy Longlegs was pleased. He had saved Christmas he thought, and the children too. So he propped the stairs and slept again, hidden in the dark and lonesome observatory of his.

Monsters (Part two)

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

Part one


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”

Monsters (Part one)


Part 1

 “Yes, my dear child, he would undoubtedly tell a terrified toddler tremulously seeking succormonsters are real. I happen to have one hanging in my basement.” 

                                                                                            ― Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist



I used to have nightmares as a kid. My father used to come into my room, sit on the edge of my bed and gesture me to come closer. Then he whispered “Tommy my boy, there are no monsters in this world. They don’t exist. And as long as I’m here, they never will.” I believed my dad, but a part of me still reached out to that part of my mind that believed in the monsters as well. The monsters stayed hidden at first, only under my bed or in my closet but after a while they got used to the surrounding, made my home their home and began creeping outside my door, and I saw their faces. Oh, God their faces! They lurked in every dark corner of every room.

Then, they were real.


* * *

9/8/2011 Chicago, Illinois.


You reached the voicemail of Tomas Byrnes. Please leave your message after the tone: BEEP!

“Hey Tom, its Neil. This is probably the tenth message I’m leaving. Where are you man? I’m worried.

Call me back when you get this. Hope you get this.”

-   No answer?

Ann stood on the doorway, dressed and ready to leave for a weekend at her sister’s place.

I shook my head.

-   He’ll call. He’s probably working on a painting and doesn’t want to be bothered.

I agreed with her with a fake smile.

I knew Tom for long enough to know that there is something wrong with this absence of his.

-  I have to go. I wish you could come with me Neil. You need some rest. And some fun.

-   I know. That’s why I’m staying home to finish the project. After that I’m all yours.

She placed a warm kiss on my lips.

-   I’ll be back before you know it.

* * *

As soon as Ann left I called a cab and gave the driver Tom’s address.

I rested my forehead on the cold window and listened to the roar of the engine trying to shut off the fears in my mind. My eyesight traced the curves of the scenery. The weather was changing fast. Summer was preparing to leave for another 10-11 months and in her place autumn was starting to manifest with colors gloomy and dead.

I wondered what had happened to my dear friend Tom.

Had he faded just as summer, turning into a pile of rotten leafs blown by the rainy wind?

I shivered.

Minutes later my yellow carrousel from urban Chicago left me outside a four storey building of gray concrete and narrow balconies staring at a “Fletch and Skim” bookstore, a second hand clothes shop and a closed Chinese restaurant. I always wondered why he chose to live in this neighborhood.

I paid the cab driver and proceeded.

Tom lived on the second floor.

I took the stairs in one breath.

The bell was dead so I pounded my fists on the wood and raised my voice to call his name.

He opened the door; the ghost of someone who looked like my friend but who wasn’t. He was paler, wearing a stained white t-shirt and a worn out bathrobe covered in spatters of dried paint.

-   Neil? Hey. I didn’t expect you. – His voice was no more than a whisper.

-    What happened to you Tommy? Are you sick? I tried to call you a dozen times.

He tried to put on a smile.

-    Really? My phone must be off. No I’m fine. I just have a lot of work to do. Painting you know. It’s a bit of a mess inside but come in.

He disappeared in the darkness and without a hesitation I followed.

The windows were tanned; only fragile bits of daylight entered to shine across the room but it was enough for me to observe. Dishes with leftovers of food were lying on the floor next to scattered clothes.

The air smelled like paint and dust, and it stuck in my nose and tongue, the smell pushing its way down my throat.

The sofa was occupied by a canvas still unfinished but familiar to me, and aligned on the wall facing me were a few paintings I had never seen before. I stepped closer shocked by the nature of the forms, the dance of the brush, the colors most of all. I was terrified and confused.

-   Do you like them?

I averted my eyes.

-    What is this Tom?

-    My new Art. I just woke up and knew I had to paint them. I probably never told you this but when I was a kid I had nightmares. My dad used to calm me down and tell me monsters don’t exist. You’d say he was right. I thought so too. But they are real. Always were. Like you and me. Listen. I…I had a revelation. – His eyes glimmered with an ill sparkle – I needed to paint my monsters to prove myself they are fake but then they became real. I think I brought memory to life. Did I Neil? Could I? Look at them. You believe in something when you can see and touch it right? Right? … But you are afraid.  – He had tears running down though I couldn’t tell if sadness or joy had provoked them. He spoke so fast and his mood changed with every word. His voice raised and then faded again   –   God Neil… if only you could see them as I do! They are beautiful. – He stopped – I need to finish another one…You must go.

-  Tom you need rest. Come with me. Let’s go away for a few days. You can paint later.

The look in his eyes then crushed me with its coldness.

-   If you understood. But you can’t Neil can you? Go now. I’ll be fine.

As I descended from his apartment I thought about the monsters on the paintings, and their faces starring at me as I went away; in the cab on the way home I thought about Tom not being Tom anymore.

What had happened?

To be continued….

Truth about terror

Friday flash time :) 

Enjoy this short piece telling you the

Truth about terror

These damn rope handcuffs are killing me.

I feel like they’ve literally grown with my skin, making my wrists bleed constantly.

I can imagine how my flesh peels with every deeper touch.

I can even smell the scent of dead meat on the rope. How pathetic.

Every movement is another wave of torment.

For how long am I struggling to rid of them I cannot tell… it feels like eternity.

After every attempt I can tell the handcuffs have tightened.

I breathe out a desperate sight, allowing one more stinging sensation to take over and shake me.

My whole body experiences these spasms of agony. I can’t ignore their momentum torture nor can enter some sanctuary in my head.

Becoming accustomed is a myth.

Once the pain has reached unbearable state it remains like that, to make sure pain is all I know.

Slowly I’m becoming embraced in this torture sensation, blind and deaf.  Will it devour me entirely?

I’m scared I will be forever captive in this terror delirium.

Time has stopped existing, completely forgetting about me, leaving me here do decay.

Nevertheless I keep some hope for salvation in my shattered consciousness.

And it makes my brain tick once again in my need to figure out a way to get the handcuffs off, to untie the rope before I go insane. Before I cry out, beg for mercy and give up.

Maybe, just maybe this last time, if I try this…

He turned to the left cursing in his sleep, for a moment colliding troubled dream with blurry reality. He swore again, something more of a mumble and removed the tight bracelet Amy had given him few years back. Why he still had it, he couldn’t tell.

Sentiment perhaps?

He tossed it across the room still half asleep, half awake.

Then he switched position and continued to sleep, freed and dreamed of some beautiful and distant Caribbean beach.