The Dorley Cycle XV


First segment:

It’s only a siren’s song baby

 Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV


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

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






I suck on my nicotine stained fingers, nibbling on the nicotine stained nail and the dead tissue there, while the sunlight breaks through mornin’ clouds and mornin’ sickness; dead giveaway the tired, humid day; could be a storm later.

I chewed my dead skin and spat it. The sun, I don’t like much, not really. There’s scarcely any sun in the deep of the sea.  But I figure, adapt to survive. This skin, unlike some other needs warmth, and sometimes it feels good, tickling on my fingers, on my face. And besides thinkin’ of the deep and what it was like before don’t do me no good. I shiver like a man that’s thought a bad thought and light another one, evaporating in the dry draw in of smoke the never-ending fluids swimming in my mouth.

Guy, he was mad. I watched him stand up. Then he sat down again. Then he did the same. He wiped the blood spittle from the corners of his mouth and looked around, seeing me just there. He threw at my feet his bitten off piece of limb. I looked at it, kinda wriggling, oozing still and felt the bite in my throat, sharp teeth digging into the thick skin of my babies and tearing one out of me. Like a kick in the balls.

“Your incompetence cost me that Paulie.”, he had said to me.

And I had gestured down, just like that.

“What now, you making a laugh at me? You think it’s too small to be worried over?”

“No, Guy. “, I had said, ”I’m jus’ thinkin’, might have been worse.”

Guy has eyes like the sea. I get nervous lookin’ into them for too long, cause then it’s like seein’ beyond the surface, where it’s cold and its deep.

“Find him, Paulie. Let him have one last look at Dorley as it is. He owns at least that much privilege.”

Now I’ sppose, it will get worse.

“He’s locked up and sedated. I can, you know, take care of him for you. Wouldn’t make no scene, sign him for overdose and all that after.”

I leaned against the lamppost, rolling a new smoke between thumb and index finger.

Hand on the holster of his gun, like a proper cowboy this Deputy Kevana.

I shook my head.

“Guy said I should take him for a walk. Make sure he understands before he goes. Be good n’ fetch him for me, will ya bud?”

“Whatever Guy says. Just make sure you don’t screw up again Paulie. The FBI is breathing in our necks. John Does don’t do us no good right now.”

“Don’t you worry bud, I’ll take care of it.”

He walked back inside the station. I waited.

I like this town; it’s a quiet place and livin’ with the view of the sea and the familiarity and simplicity of it makes it not bad at all I’ sposse. My imperfections, slurring, spitting, slow Paulie don’t matter in Dorley, in its community.  I live the man forgetting all his would be problems. We all do.  But some are weaker. They know what Guy is, they know the rules and follow them. They breed in a closed circle, families, relatives, down to third cousins and little known nephews. Some stay and never leave. Some stay and never live. It’s a thing about purity in the line, Guy had once told me, and how important it was for growing a stronger seed. Familiarity and simplicity, like I said.

I don’t know about tomorrow, about how we ought to get on with it, and I swear by the old tales, I didn’t give a damn to know. I was livin’ a life, seeing dusks and dawns, and not long after things like that dead girl’s lighter in my pocket meant nothing. But Jackson took that away, he took it all, even my will to survive, he faked that too, with them delusions and anger and grasp of what, humanity. He made it clear, jumping into the back of that boat with blood on his face that he would survive too. Hell, survive us, for all I know. Mad is mad. So, like before, I’sppose, the sea will rise again, and wash, wash, wash, mermaid tails and siren wings, watery graves and the rotten wood of inland burial sites, the sourness of a piss pint and the gleam in the stranger’s eye. Just like Jackson wanted it all along, it will drown everything.

But we can swim.

Chapter XVI


17 thoughts on “The Dorley Cycle XV

  1. A slice of reflection from Paulie’s life, I kinda feel sorry for him in a way, he seems to be manipulated by everyone.

    There’s a flavour of malevolent menace in that last line.”But we can swim.” It smacks of the will to face the coming slaughter, and the confidence of survival – not good news for Jackson I think.

    • Paulie is hard to describe I think, he seems weak, but there’s something about the way he speaks that makes him feel too calm to be good. He’s definitely hold onto his human side. For now. Bad things are coming, bad things for all. Mostly Jackson.

    • I’m not a really good swimmer, so I’d be screwed in the upcoming scenario. Maybe I should buy a boat…

      Anyways, there will be swimming and there will be drowning soon enough. Ta, Roslyn!

  2. The bitten off piece of limb wriggling, oozing still… Oh mercy! Things are heating up. I can barely wait to see what these creatures do… What Jackson does… Gonna take care of him, sign him for an overdose… Ditto, Helen. Great, real voice here. A building, creeping menace throughout. And what an inspired chapter wrap-up!

  3. Nice to get Paulie’s angle and a bit into his head. The episode presents an interesting challenge that I’ve faced before on a web-serial: after spending much time exclusively with one character’s perspective (especially written in first-person), switch to another character perspective.

    The first two paragraphs are similar in writing style, but the feel and voice is different enough (especially for read-at-once readers) to guide the reader and by the dialogue, the mechanics anchor those that may have been thrown a bit by the switch. With both voice and some mechanics, you’ve handled it well, probably better than I had in my web-serial.

    This is one of those structural things I probably spend too much time thinking about. The best part of sharing are the little learning opportunities like this. For that, the biggest thanks for sharing your work.

    • Don’t mention it, David, I’m not at all experienced, I just tried something that felt right when written down and sounded different enough in my head, but wasn’t at all sure as to how it would transfer and sit with readers. It’s a very interesting structural switch and I’ve read it’s not a very smart decision if you’ll just use it for one chapter; critics treat it as a big distraction, but I’ve settled with keeping Paulie’s voice and perspective for at least one or two more chapters, so that should be okay, I guess.

      I really appriciate you giving it credit. Success huh?

      I might try to tune it a little bit more, play with the writing style at parts, but writing the next chapters will see how it works and then of course how I get back to Jackson’s voice.

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