TO START THE CYCLE :
It’s only a siren’s song baby
Hey there Mr. Cthulhu
Got some toxic truth?
Squid Kings and Greek Fires
Welcome to Dorley, Population: O
THE DORLEY CYCLE
I let go of his hand, violently, angered. The hell was he saying to me? More, more?! The world wasn’t dark enough right there to have all the fuckin’ hate my heart pumped through my punctured veins clogging every nerve in my body.
“They left some time ago Jackson.”
“I don’t know where to, somewhere in Boston I heard, but they were good those, they were strong. Guy liked em’ a lot, he told me I ought to be like em’ and maybe someday I would be if I sustained my body jus’ the right way.”
“I don’t want to listen, I don’t want to know!”
I was dying and he was stirring my blood, telling me chase stories of other towns and other fuckers like him and his dead pals. They were all dead why couldn’t he understand that? He was the only one and he was already dead. There were none more. I put my hands over my ears, but he grabbed my shirt and pulled with whatever was left of that monster strength of his, so I’d look at him.
“Listen you bastard”, he spat at me.
I let it all calm down, the rage mixed with fear.
“There are no more Paulie. Every squid fucker of your kin is dead. I put them down. I watched them die.”
His grip on my shirt loosened and his fingers slipped. The cold in his face shaded some pleading human stare.
“I’m tellin’ you the truth, Jackson. I saw em’ leave, I swear, gone to make more, make em’ twice as much like Guy wanted em’ to. I ain’t lyin’.”
It was hard to breath, a pain to think, a curse to exist. His words sank in slow, swamp-like thoughts in the dark. I cradled his head and turned it so he wouldn’t gag on the blood no more. “Why are you telling me this Paulie?”
He tried and failed and then tried again drawing the words out of his tired mind but losing them before they could be spoken.
“Try harder Paulie. Why would you tell me that?”, I asked again and he whispered his confession to me.
“Cause’ I don’t want no more like me or Guy. “
He was crying now, tears washing the dirt off his face.
“I didn’t live a good life and nor should they. We ain’t right, I always knew that, all them folks that died, the two teens that was me and poor Annie, he made me do her too. But fuck it I wanted to live one way or the other, regardless of all, ya know. I wasn’t ashamed. I don’t think I am now too. Ya think God will let me go to Heaven, Jackson? I think I might jus’ see hell instead cause of all them bad things I did. I ain’t afraid though. You ain’t afraid too. You never were pal, you never were. “
He convulsed in my hands his words coming down inaudible . “Please Jackson, please, find them and kill them. Please. Please Jackson. Please…”
His eyes lost me and found the starless sky. I wished there were twinkles up there, something to give some peace to his soul. I looked down at him again, not hearing his breathing, not hearing mine too. I don’t know if I promised or not, but I wished I did even for the sake of a peaceful passing. I kicked back, whimpering, hearing myself weep, frustrated because I was hurting for a monster.
I noticed I was seeing red spots on a black canvas inside my mind and felt Eli shaking me awake. Paulie Glass was asleep. Maybe I was too.
Closing eyes, opening eyes, I smelled the old smell a timeworn car keeps in her and heard the engine jump into life, a sound coming from the distance. The backseat of the car was far away, but I could see on the dashboard Mary nurturing a faith no one had time for, like the small chapel with its doors hanging on their hinges we drove past. Eli steered the car to avoid split tree branches and unscrewed mailboxes, spilled trashcans with the wind carrying burger wrappers and newspapers everywhere. Only The Grand Mermaid Hotel seeped light on this dark town, tails splitting the night with luminescent colors.
“Jackson, listen, I gots to tell you somethin’… there are more like us”. What a screaming thought he gave me. A whole new pack of squid freaks, har, har. Screw them. If I pull through this crap I’ll have them wherever they happen to pop out. I won’t stop hurting them. But if I don’t…
“Eli. Don’t go after them kid. Not alone.”
He nodded from the front seat.
“I won’t. Promise.”
Dorley’s cycle is over now no matter what, two years of clouded sun and raging seas inside and out, and me getting no sleep. Was it worth it? It’s quiet now, so I suppose. Killing them all, even from before looks easy when I think back. When I close my eyes I see them floating, the whites of their skin porcelain in the sun. All I had to do was raise my hand and be hateful. I don’t want to be hateful, not just now. Maybe tomorrow. Just maybe…
I remember, strangely, sitting on the rocky beach as a young boy, hugging my knees and scrapping the sand from them and those small broken shells stuck there in a red bruised spot. No one really had time here, to talk to you or entertain you; there were no amusements and no playgrounds, and children weren’t allowed where adults crawled to shed off the day and nurse their sun bruised faces. I could only sit there on the cold beach and stare at a sea I didn’t want to go near, because I was afraid. There was evil here even before I found it now when I came to say goodbyes. I half-remember, blurry and somewhere adrift in my memories this older boy with hazy blue eyes and a bright smile, and his friend, eyes hidden away under a truckers hat too big for him. They showed me that one day how to catch baby lizards in a glass soda bottle, but I always let them go afterwards. It was exciting looking for them in the tall grass around the tourist homes that were never really tourist homes and then be quick, very quick to catch them and be careful for them to not trick me and snap their tails and run back into the grass becoming hard to spot.
I don’t know, I might be imagining them two knowing me before I knew them truly, but hell, whoever said memories flood the mind in a bright and impulsive and beautiful flashback was a good hearted liar. Memory leakage and washed out Polaroid’s in a collage, distorted flashbacks with no faces or sounds, an imagination depraved of air and purpose, that’s more like it.
Even these simply fading, it’s scary.
*photo taken somewhere in Greece at a squid market. Courtesy of a friend who visited.