The Dorley Cycle XXV


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 ; Part XV ; Part XVI ; Part XVII ; Part XVIII ; Part XIX ; Part XX ; Part XXI; Part XXIIPart XXIII ; Part XXIV

Fifth segment:

Welcome to Dorley, Population: O

Part XXV ; Part XXVI

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




Ulysses Face, that’s how they called the white cliff. I remember something about hearing in the monotone withdraw of calm waters a tempting call and following it to a spleen cracking jump on those jagged rocks below. To me it sounded like lyrics from a Simon & Garfunkel song, that one I always get chills from because it plays out like a dream I don’t want turned into a faceless and voiceless nightmare.

Eli found the right place for me to put my feet, he helped my slow and unsure grab and hold of the rock upwards supported by his hands taking mine, pulling me up to him, and then repeating that. He tried, his jaw clenched and his forehead wrinkled with the sudden weight of unlived years added on his young face in the matter of days. He was as strong as he could, silent about my blood staining his shirt too, my blood on his fingers whenever he pressed his hand there instead of me. He pretended to be deaf for my involuntary whines whenever the bitch wound hurt.

It had gotten dark, the kind of nighttime that creeps up when you’re not watching and catches you stumbling to find your feet suddenly forgetting how the ground you walked on looks like; the highland wannabe weather blew its foreign winds, the ones I knew from before, and urged its newborn waves to slam headfirst in the base of the cliff, sending little tremors my way, vibrating sensation worms churning in my bleeding out guts.

I wished they could stop.

When we had the high and lay panting on the mossy plain, my mouth drank with dry and salty lips the water pooled there I knew they would soon stop.

Ulysses tempted himself to hear the siren’s song even though he knew it would drive him insane and probably kill him. He tied his men and filled their ears with wax, but they too struggled when the siren sang her tune. He made a pact with them, put them through that torment, fighting against the ropes to join the blissful melody and touch whatever lips sang the words to it.

I was one like Ulysses; I couldn’t resist, I dived into all that shit mythology of this beat down, side mapped little town and enjoyed it, I swear I did, and damned be this confession, but I went on, blind and raging for all the wrong reasons; underneath it all, I needed it because it gave me reason, it made me real after being a shade and even the foulest smell made me think I can breathe again and feel all those things I never felt before. False or not, I believed in it to the point of obsession. Look where that got me, just like Ulysses too scared to sit alone in the boat, never having a friend, but already sacrificed so many, so much. For what it’s worth at least some rest in peace.

I looked up to see Dorley’s red and blue flashing mute, the fire barely a sign here and there, lighting up the charcoal structures of once houses. The town was gone.

Eli picked me back up, leading the way down the plain towards the highway junction instead to the other set of rocky trail sliding down the beach.

“Wait, Eli..”

“No, I’m taking us both away from here. Screw the town, it’s over.”

“We’re heading back to town.”


“I said we’re heading back to town dammit!”

He caught the sparkle in my eyes, or at least I think he did, because he swiveled us both and supporting me took us down the large blocks of rock. I wanted to see it one last time. Hell, I deserved at least that.

Down on the beach the air was ash and I could still feel heat stealing away my inhales. My cheeks flamed like I was hitting the degrees of combustion. Eli took the weight of my body on one shoulder and carried us both.

Now Dorley looked like Bradbury’s Venice; its Ferris wheel was down, rolled and dumped there, washed by the tide, looking like and old timey attraction put in with the rest of the trash, clothes and fading color flyers, booths and floating sweets, dissolving cotton candy and a bicycle among shards of glass, and the pier was a white skeleton disappearing beneath the waves and surfacing up like an underwater bridge to the below kingdom of sea legends.

We left the beach for the street, emerging in the mess of a town, ambulances passing us, taking away the seriously injured, medics kneeling beside second and third degree burn, giving air, whilst breathing none. I could hear the helicopter roaming above again, thinking it scared by the presence of the storm repeating itself, or the waves catching up, building higher. I had a feeling they would soon wash over the whole of Dorley, heal it from me and my disease.

Firefighters armed with hoses aimed to calm down whatever was left ablaze. Whoever was still here was just waiting to be taken away; whoever wasn’t dead was evacuated.

Seemed every street corner was occupied by a reporter wearing a some made up protective suit, the camera wrapped in whatever they could find in the moment; shocked, mostly women, the reporters, were talking fast of the “sudden disaster in the blackened by the deaths of two teenagers not three days ago town of Dorley”. I wondered aside from me blowing the hell out of the pier who else had taken the risk to light up the fuel sheds.

“Maybe we should find a car.”

Eli looked around. I had to agree. Besides I really wanted that last tour Paulie had promised he would give me before I die. My nerves, before coiled from just being back here, got used to the soundtrack of inner seas and outer waves, and after I did what I did, I now have inside me the dull idea of a man, not fearing the town or the corpses, not even caring much about all those two headed skeletons in his closet. I opened my mouth and found I still had strength to speak, spilling lies, I don’t know, for comfort or stealing time tricking myself into believing what I was saying.

“When we find something, make sure we get to Boston and if I’m still kicking or not, find either someone to stitch me up or dig a deeper hole.”

We took a detour from the lively disaster center and sneaked into quiet and growing darkness with the stench of melted cables, looking out for an abandoned vehicle. Little by little Eli caught the side streets of the administrative lane, zigzagging without direction, hoping to find a way out. I dragged my feet as much as I could, looking down, seeing nothing but my hand pressed against my gut.  Around the corner rushed footsteps stopped to block our way and a flashlight blinded us. I lifted my head, dreading who I would see, hoping it might be him.

Chapter XXVI


12 thoughts on “The Dorley Cycle XXV

  1. The less frantic pace of this episode gives the reader time to catch their breath again. The aura of Dorley as it is just now kinda put me in mind of the town in Silent Hill when the ash is raining down.

    I do wonder if Jackson has yet to face the final confrontation too.

  2. Lots of amazingly intense phrasing here. “[W]orms churning in my bleeding out guts” was my, erm, favourite. I like how even with the action ebbing, there’s no redemption per se. It’s not so much I enjoy bleakness, but I admire the narrative choice.

    • Thank you, Katherine, it’s me slowing down too, because it’s so very close to ending. Next Friday I’d have something else written as a story, or I’ll take a small break. Action is back up again, jetting nerves and cracking skulls, with more intense phrasing here and there.

  3. Like XXIV, this is another well-told and -oiled piece. And all the better for slamming into a masterful cliff hanger! Extremely well done, Miss V! But I can wait, I can… I know you’ll deliver the killer goods!

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