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

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11 thoughts on “The Dorley Cycle XVIII

  1. Lat week’s pace continues as the final confrontation looms.

    My favourite line – “Guy licked his lips with a crippled limb, one I had vague memory of having bitten into.”

    Yeah, I remember that bit (Or maybe that should be ‘That BITE’) 🙂

    I also liked the short line “I lied”. Heheh! Whatever it takes to get the job done Jackson. I reckon ol’ tentacle mush there won’t have had much practice in the art of honesty either.

    Looking forward to next week’s episode Cindy.

    • Thanks, Steve!
      I guess honesty is a rare trade in the world of monsters and madmen. What was it, “desperate times call for desperate measures”? Sounds about right here and as you said whatever it takes to get the job done.
      Time to set sail and see what happens next.

  2. I love the image of one of the Great Old Ones running a pierside circus. That would look great in a comic. All this destruction to life and limb, what’s left? Guess we’ll find out….

    • I love the idea! And that can be done in a comic, yes. Like they say, watch this space (in this case blog). There might be a circus comic, or a circus story spin-off thingy. Something.

      As for the destruction to life and limb, what’s left is madness, dedication and something else. Guess you will find out, very, very soon. Ta, Katherine!

  3. So! A little change in the plan, can’t be helped, not when the action is sizzling hot and fixing to blow!
    Right off, I wondered with each word if that blessed shard of glass had pierced Paulie’s creepy tentacled limb–just for added “fun” you see–but the nasty factor was well covered with the tip of the shard sticking down, out his chin. Bleck!
    Next, in my opinion, the Big Delish in this episode is the inspired reflection of Jackson’s from out of his black pit haze, and again, amidst it I get hits of him maybe being one of the monsters. It’s the last four sentences in that paragraph that do it–doesn’t matter if I’m right or wrong–it’s the entertaining of possibilities that I like!
    I wondered about the mechanics of the lighter staying lit on the way to the fuel and finding enough of it in the fumes and on the containers to go to the moon on…
    In the end, on this side of the white explosion, I’m left sad, I feel sadness for Eli and for the faithful old boat…I know it’s just a boat, but…no, it’s much more…
    And I’m on your well-crafted cliff, waiting, waiting for the smoke to clear to squint one eye toward the aftermath : )

    • Bleck! I love that! Thank you for the lovely, long and inspiring comment Miss Alister!
      Now, Imma start bottom to top!

      Squint no more, because the day is unveiled and it’s the witness of a disaster! Poor Eli, I know, he’s been slapped so hard so many times, deceived all the way by Jackson, and he even sacrificed his boat for that suicidal mission. It is much more than just a boat.
      I kinda did forget to slide in one sentence about the lids of the bottles being unscrewed by Jackson, so I hope that clears up the confusion about the fumes a little. Sorry! As for the lighter…I trust a Zippo to stay lit. Those lighters are bad-ass!

      I absolutely love the fact that you can view and believe Jackson to be one of the monsters, and I’d wish that idea of him to stay with you to the very end. It’s lovely when something like this happens. It means to me this character is unpredictable and untrustworthy and thus able to oblige unorthodox, all time crazy things! So, thank you for that.

      I expect that shard to have caused not such a minor damage. It bleeds! They do have more than one tentacle though, so it’s a win/lose situation there. Paulie will be back soon, so we’ll see!

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