The Dorley Cycle XII

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


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




 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.


“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.”


“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 pale tentacles and scrawny arms, 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.


I was in a prison cell.

Chapter XIII


16 thoughts on “The Dorley Cycle XII

    • Me too! Mostly because the first one I wrote I deleted in the morning and wrote this instead. And let me tell you, the first one was messier! Ha!

      Thanks for commenting Marc, glad you enjoyed!

  1. A nightmare within a nightmare?
    It put me in mind a little of the hospital scene in “An American werewolf in London” Where he thinks he’s awoken from a nightmare, only to find he’s still in one.
    I think all this may just send Jackson completely insane… if he isn’t already.
    The domestic setting threw me off balance at first, I thought I must have missed an episode somehow, but no, the horror was there, just waiting to manifest itself.

    • You know, I’ve never seen “An American werewolf in London”, but I know what you mean. It actually may be one of the scariest things, to feel relief from escaping the obvious at last nightmare only to wake up still in one, in fact thrice as dangerous and actually real. I have my fingers crossed dear Jackson maintains his insanity and channels it in a winning way for him. But, who knows…

      Thanks for commenting, Steve!

  2. I imagine that many of us would take a giant step away from reality when faced with a terrifying experience. Jackson is no different in that respect, an it strikes a good human cord in him. Again, so glad I read XI before moving on to XII; it wouldn’t have made much sense without that context. Well done.

    • I don’t know if Jackson would agree with you. His humanity is…fragile to say the least. But it’s good once in a while to remind he is human and he is afraid.
      Thank you, Stephen! I’m glad too you didn’t stumble into this chaotic mess and read XI first.

  3. Usually I think of the Dorley stories as belonging in the same realm as Stephen King and (obviously) Lovecraft, but this one seemed to share a borderland with Luis Bunuel. Maybe I’m just getting a better feel for its psychic space. There’s some really great phrases in here — the one about the narrator’s voice being “still a foreign attribute” was the first one I noticed.

    • Big thing to say about the realms, not sure I live up to such criteria, but big cheers for Bunuel, Katherine, I’m a fan! If nothing else I try to make it go such places. It’s interesting, you say you’re getting a better feel for the psychic space of the story – that’s brilliant, since the story is grounded someplace, but it’s still shifty.
      Glad you enjoyed and thank you for being here and reading!

  4. Cindy, your flow from peaceful to horrifying is outstanding! You really know how to set the pace and atmosphere, and do so beautifully (or should I say terrifyingly?)
    (Deanna Schrayer)

  5. I’m new to the series, so ditto Marc. It was so well done I didn’t care if I knew which end was up, I enjoyed the writing and understood enough to know Jackson was in some unearthly deep shit! Look forward to more : )

    • Thank you! I very much appriciate your comment!
      And a thousand times welcome Miss Alister! Hope you enjoy your time in the blog and with Dorley in particular – no worries you have plenty of time to catch up on which end is up and which is down and what the hell is actually happening to Jackson!

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