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 XVI

TO START THE CYCLE :

First segment:

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Second segment:

Hey there Mr. Cthulhu

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

Third segment:

Got some toxic truth?

Part XIPart XIIPart XIII

Fourth segment:

Squid Kings and Greek Fires

Part XIV ; Part XV

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

 

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires3

XVI

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

Now…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I used some simple talk.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Will you help me, Eli?”

A pause. I leaned in.

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

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

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

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

“Can you get some of those?”

“Yeah. But why do you need it?”

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

“Yeah.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Not a soul, I promise. Let’s go.”

Not a soul, sure.

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

 

Chapter XVII

 

The Dorley Cycle 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 

 

 

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 X

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

Prelude

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

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

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhux

X

Paulie made small whimpering noises while I searched the car for my gun. I punched the glove compartment and it fell off, still bearing two bullets inside.

“Get up.”

He looked at me pathetically, blinking blood off his eyes. His face was beginning to swell.

I pulled him up, the barrel pressed to his gut and pushed him to walk in front of me. He tripped and fell, crawled on all fours, stumbled back to his feet, and limped down the dirt road like a drunk, struggling to find his feet and not cry, and I didn’t move a muscle to help him. He lied. He deceived me. I found a piece of Dorley that was sane and innocent enough to balance all the bullshit accumulating around me. He even fuckin’ saved my life! So, what was I supposed to believe in now?

I licked my dry lips. There was only one thing left in that black pit inside me that I could trust – the cleansing I came back for. Correcting the wrong that has corrupted Dorley. Draining the whirlpool.

I grabbed him by his jacket and knocked him off stance, pulling his body towards mine, shoving the gun in his cheek. His hands went to mine, trying to push the gun away. I moved my free hand to wrap it around his throat.

“Who is the reason for it all Paulie?”

He screamed when the steel pushed deeper into his cuts, reopening the steaming wounds. I loosened the grip on his wind pipe. His voice trembled.

“I tell you, you shoot me right away.”

I was glad I couldn’t really see his face right now. The words bubbled up in his mouth more than before and I could imagine spits of saliva sliding over his chin, dripping like slimy tears all over his front.

“You don’t I do it either way.”

I grabbed hold of his hair and jerked his head backwards, sliding the gun inside his mouth. He bit the steel and cried out again. I whispered in his ear.

“I will be quick if you tell me where to go.”

He mumbled something and gagged. I slid out the gun and shoved him off of me. The look on his face told it all: he wasn’t going to spill. I was to follow. Fuck to this. I had him at aim.

Paulie pointed at the gun in my hand.

“You ain’t got enough bullets to shoot a whole town.”

In the distance behind him, Dorley shinned like a black pearl, swimming in a black sea of waves curving like the intestines of a giant beast. It was calm, but secretly dangerous. I feared what it would be when awake. Him, Paulie, he made no difference alive or dead. He was a speck that irritated my eye right now.

“I will win.”

“You won’t. It’s not about winning or losing. It’s about survival, Jackson. You can’t adapt. Your mind refuses to accept Dorley as it is and that’s slowly killing you. You drifted away from yourself. Who were you before this? I don’t think you know anymore. You’re not a survivor.”

I laughed.

“What makes you so fucking sure?”

“The way I see it, difference between you and me is that I want to live. I want to continue to exist, and you don’t. You’d bury yourself along with Dorley. You push me down the road aiming a gun you know you won’t fire, because you know death awaits at the end and you don’t give two shits about it. You just want it over with. “

He spoke fast and confident, not scared, not alerted.

I lowered the gun, staring at him. It would be easier, won’t it?

“It was never about the others. It was about you meeting an end fit for your story, am I right Jackson? I am taking you there, friend. I will help you finish this. Everything that’s been tormenting you for the past two years will go away.”

The gun rested in my hand.

He is taking me to die. He will help me accept there is no rescue, only in death, only when the eyes are closed and the heart is beating no longer. I will hum her song no more, nor dream of the blood in her hair. I will forget their tormented faces, and her, the sacrificial lamb. I will be free.

“I am not fit.”

“I was going to tell you when we got back in town. You didn’t need to do this. But don’t worry, you’ll get rewarded nonetheless.”

***

The semi-darkness turned to ash, the morning near. We were back in Dorley, back on the streets of ignorance and Paulie was leading me, I no longer the assailant.

He carried his lame body along the pier, quickening his step, his boots hitting hard on the wood. He sighed with relief.

“Here we are, Jackson.”

I looked up.

There was a soft click-clacking noise and one by one the Ferris wheel’s light bulbs buzzed with green, drawing back into life the frame of the wheel. It casted ghoulish highlights on me and Paulie.

The music rolled into its repetitive rhythm, but it was low and it was just a playful background on which the most cheerful laugh I’ve ever heard sounded.

“I told you you’d come back later.”

 

Chapter XI

The Dorley Cycle goes comics!

BOOM! HERE YOU GO – A COMIC STRIP OF THE DORLEY CYCLE!

I love writing Dorley and I love receiving feedback on its progress, but I wanted to do a little something, something for it, and for everyone, just for fun. I’m by no means an artist – I draw cheap looking manga when I’m bored! But stubbornness and passion (some stencil effects and studying perspectives heh) helped create this comic strip. It’s a million and one light years away from being perfect, but I think at the end it worked out pretty sweet! So befor chapter X, enjoy this little thingy. xx 

this2

 

 

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 VIII

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

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII

THE DORLEY CYCLE

HeyThereMrCthulhu4

 

VIII

The radio station was transmitting some gibberish in my beat old 87’ Buick Grand National, noises and wheezes that played on a loop, giving birth to words that probably meant something, somewhere, to someone.  I drove into new Dorley and parked by the pier. Past ten thirty pm, the place was empty and all the shops were closed. There was some of Venice crawling by, milky and going on thick, settling above my head. The only thing that broke through, were the Ferris wheel colored lights, which now shone in bright green. I breathed mist and it tasted sea rotten, clams and squids dissolving, uncooked in a pot.

I sat on the hood toying with the gun in my hands, feeling it light and comforting. My thoughts were marbles rolling away, down the pier and into the sea, where they sank to a bottomless hole, which I could see into when I squeeze-shut my eyes.

In the blackness a phone rang. I opened my eyes. Across the street a phone was ringing. Payphones in Dorley don’t ring, because they don’t work. I went over and picked it up nonetheless, listening to the breathing void of a line gone dead, hearing the sea in there, closer and closer.

I put a coin in silencing the waves and dialed 999. The line went live.

“Wake up Frank Wayman if he’s asleep. Call him if he’s there. Tell him I know about Anne Henderson. I will wait by the pier. Tell him that too.”

I hung up before the woman on the other side could protest and made sure the phone stayed silent. Then I went back to the car, swinging the gun in one hand. There was a man standing by the ticket booth dressed in a crimson striped waistcoat and matching trousers, and the same colored wing tips.

“Care for a ride sir?”, he said gesturing at the Ferris wheel.

“Ain’t it a bit late for that to run?”, I asked nodding at the attraction behind him.

He pushed back his straw boater hat and laughed, and I’d be damned if that laugh wasn’t the most cheerful one I’ve ever heard. It went on forever and his sharp draws for breath chased the fog away.

“It’s never late to take the wheel! I’d be happy to run it just for you if that’s what you’ll wish for.”

His lips were stretched in a pearly white smile, cheek to cheek. I smirked, thinking he either didn’t see the gun or didn’t care about it.

“Maybe another time.”

“Perhaps later?”, he raised his eyebrows and laughed again, a universe of comedy and cheer laughing with him in some celebration that jolted aside the horrors of death and reborn myths.

“Perhaps.”

He tipped his hat, then pointed somewhere behind me before disappearing inside the mist. I turned around to see a police SUV nearing. A moment later the Ferris wheel went dark, three rings shutting down one after another, leaving a faint glow of green to linger as they went.

The SUV pulled next to me.

Frank Wayman was a sixty something year old pissed off looking man, the same one I presume exists in every small town all around the US. He had the squinted eyebrows and the bags under his dark eyes. His moustache was smoke stained and his chin skin hung a tad bit. He had a face carved from stone.

“Get in.”

I climbed on the passenger seat and shut the door. He spoke after a while.

“Anne Henderson? Haven’t heard that name in twenty years. I got nothing more to say there. “

“Yet you came.”

“I wanted to have a look at you.”

He drove through the administrative lane where everything was the same. It was as if I was looking at an old snapshot; highlighted colors, but the same failing façade. A few minutes later I was looking at the dark pier in the rare view mirror.

Wayman stopped in front of a house near the highway junction. I followed him inside a poorly furnished living room.

“I saw the crime scene photo of Anne Henderson, Wayman. The two teens dead on the beach have the same markings on their skin as her, and she was murdered in 86’ under some weird circumstances. I want to know what killed her.”

“That’s a strange way to put it. You say what instead of who; kinda gets me thinking you have a different idea.”

Chief Wayman was solid and I could tell that just by the way he looked at me then, his eyes popping blood vessels. I slowly took out the gun and aimed it at him. He wasn’t impressed, but kicked over his gun on my account.

“I want to know what killed those kids.”

“You know I should put you down like a dog for even questioning me about 86, because it’s not your goddamned business, but now that we met I’m curious.”

“You said you wanted to have a look at me. Why?”

“I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. Everyone in town is talking about your arrival, Jackson. Everyone in Old Town.”

My hand trembled; suddenly the gun’s weight more than I could take.

“I wondered why you called for me, but you couldn’t help it could you? Coming back, reliving it all. You want to know all about Dorley, all about the murders. Going around town with Paulie Glass, searching for clues, I know all about that. Well it’s your lucky night, Jackson. I’ll tell ya, this one is a real mess. I’ve kept this town safe ever since They came, kept it locked to sick and lonely drifters such as you, but misery knows no rest so here it came, bringing every damned agent in the state. And you.”

I took out the photo from my pocket and tossed it at him.

“You’re worried they’ll find out about what happened to Anne. You worry I’ll tell them.”

He picked up the photo and tore it in two.

“She drowned.”

I half-squeezed the trigger.

“Yeah? Let me put a bullet through your skull and say you slipped.”

“You got courage, but you’re reckless. They will fuck you up and no one will hear about it, and I’m fair in giving you a chance right now to take a different road and leave Dorley.”

I urged my gun at his face.

“I want to know the truth.”

Wayman’s voice rumbled low in his throat.

“The truth is that there is more in the eyesight of people then they see. They neglect what sleeps in the womb of darkness. The only difference between what lays in the deep and what surfaces and crawls on shore, is that the latter knows about you and its coming. You don’t know what you’re up against.”

My words fell unspoken as warmth spread over my neck, pain surging through my skull. I dropped to my knees, taking down a blurred, distorted vision of Frank Wayman, before I slammed my face against his hard floor. There were two quick gunshots thundering inside a vacuum around my head and I felt something drop on the floor beside me. Last thing I saw before blacking out was Paulie fucking Glass’s face looming over me.

Chapter IX