The Dorley Cycle XXIV

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 ; Part XVIII ; Part XIX ; Part XX ; Part XXI; Part XXII ; Part XXIII

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

 THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires12

XXIV

My tongue darted out to lick my lips.

“Guy.”

I urged my voice to be heard loud and clear through raging waves and rain and all.

“Let him go Guy. He has nothing to do with this. Don’t punish him because of me.”

I stood embedded into the rough rock that slipped beneath my feet, like some abandoned lighthouse casting words instead, a challenging tone for Guy to find and follow home to me.

Sure enough he surfaced fully before me, and I tilted my head catching Guy’s piercing gaze on a transparent face with pulsating veins. The rest of his parasitic bodies seemed to be morphing, their entire bodies slick with the slime fluid and showing bleeding red circles where new suckers were splitting the skin, forming. The familiar smell of uncooked seafood came uninvited, twice as foul. Others around those I had plucked tongues out of seemed dead too, their thin and short arms shriveled and discolored as their sticking body parts.

I shifted my gaze, brows furrowed. Eli’s feet were dangling, and his hands now trying to fight the thick limb that held him around the throat were growing weak. His face was a color close to that of Guy’s.

“I’ll make him a part of me.”

The limb around Eli’s throat loosened and slid up his chin and forced his mouth open, slipping in. I turned my attention back to Guy, keeping calm.

“What would be the point? You won’t survive for long enough. Adding one body more won’t make a change. You think you’ll just swim back to your blue hole in Andros and no one will notice a massive fucking anomaly like you. They’ll catch you and cut you and make a circus freak out of you. Or hey, whoever gets to you first.”

The mantle of bodies moved him closer, tentacles tying around the edges of the peeking wreck.

“But you got to me first, so what am I to be worried about, eh Mr. Jackson? What bad thing will you do to me, now that you have me?”

I knew what to tell him. The way things had played, the events unfolding in the aftermath of that fire and even before it, they all lined up, leading to this moment, to this reverse. My intervention had been something after all.

“You won’t survive Guy, you’re unnatural. How long do you think those parts will last? We humans aren’t much durable cut in pieces and sewn back together. How long before they start rejecting one another huh, just like you said it happens, one system not matching the other, superior organism trying to invite itself inside the body of a lesser one?”

Guy’s face twitched.

“But I’ll win. I’ll be alive.”

I spread my arms reliving every pain from the past hours.

“And I’ll be dead, so what? Even if I die you lost everything. Dorley is a ruin and you did my job for me. You ruined your legacy by becoming this thing. You rushed your whole process just to make me pay and have me dead. Now you’re done too.”

The pain was short and sharp and I thought it lasted only a second, but the surprise of its sudden introduction had me stumble back a step. A thin arm wriggled free from the hole it had punctured in my belly and I saw its tip dripping with my blood and it seemed so dark.

“I’ll have the pleasure of killing you myself. You are not winning this. I am.”

His smile spread cheek to cheek just like before, a world of laughter existing in those two dimples.

There was a popping noise, a bursting vibrating noise that I heard in the gaps between one clashing wave and the next, and I looked up. I saw an opportunity but didn’t let it creep into a telling smile.

I pressed a cold hand against my bleeding wound and counted.

One.

Two.

Three.

A large boulder of rock slid down from the protruded hat with a loud pop and came crushing on top of Guy. His body caved in and he was pinned between shipwreck and cascading layers of stone.

I hoped the tentacle had released Eli in time and he had pulled himself together in the sudden plunge. My eyes were busy watching Guy.

Sure enough Eli surfaced face down at my feet.

“You alright?”

He managed a nod and looked up at me and then back at the water which was becoming blue, then turned ink and painted everything black.

“It’s over.”

He couldn’t believe it, crawling out to stand next to me. I didn’t think it over.

I stepped onto the shipwreck finding balance and losing sight in the pain, but I wanted to see, I wanted to be sure that below the stone that sunk fast now, Guy was dead.

The wreck was bend inwards where the stones had smashed it, tut below the disappearing deep large rock were floating all kinds of sick limbs, lifeless and now truly lost. I spotted Guy holding on to the railing, his amputated unevenly feet, bone white and glistening in the middle of the hanging loosely raw meat, where the people of Dorley had clawed their way to connect with Guy swimming in a pool of ink, a punctured liver or piss I didn’t know. His skull had a depression on the right side and his jaw showed teeth where tissue and skin should have been. He waved for me with a flesh torn arm and changed patina stained rails, coming my way slowly and painfully.

My boot found his fingers and I stepped on them, crushing every fucking bone till he let go, till he let go for good and sunk to the bottom no fucking smile on a mingled face, just the intensity of his blues never leaving the miraged orbits of his fractured skull. I waited, watching in the hole, the tricky deep that seemed shallow from the rocky island but he didn’t swim back up.

I turned my back and welcomed Eli’s helping hand back to the small rocky island. He had a pale smile, but it faded.

“Jesus fuck, Jackson you’re bleeding.”

His palm pressed against the blood soaked form on my shirt.

I managed a small laugh. It hurt more now. Blinking pain away didn’t help, but smeared the landscape even more; my coming up night sky was a sloppy drawn sunset, smeared colors and duplicated objects. I managed a small smile feeling a rush of blood escaping from between my fingers.

“All’s good now kid. We can go home. We can leave this town.”

Him supporting me, we made for the slow walk towards the climbable rocks around the tall hill, leaving behind a trail of blood and one more funeral at sea.

Chapter XXV

Advertisements

The Pendulum and the Mosquito

The Pendulum swung, slashing the air as it picked up speed. The mechanical shrill scream of old and taut parts coming back to life filled the vast temple and the rusty monster soon roared with full power.

Standing in safe distance the Mechanic slid his finger down the glowing screen, going through the list of task performed and tasks about to initiate. He tapped on each running task, making sure the procedure was performed as planned. He smiled behind his mask at the excellent results reading on his screen.

On both corners of the chamber under the fluorescent light the Mechanic had installed prior, two crystals glistened; one ruby, one emerald. They were both grand, an impressive size, artificially grown. The Mechanic traced their crystalized roots descending all the way town to the floor of the chamber and digging into the foundations. But what mattered to him were the cocoon crystals that embraced the vessels carrying the virus and the antidote.

He checked the time. According to his statistics for the Pendulum to interact with the crystal fully and begin piercing through the thick material the estimated time was 16 hours. The Mechanic nodded. It was a hard task to crack the alien armor that had formed around the core, and the Pendulum would only suffice to penetrate inches inside and weaken the core. After that it was time for the Mosquito to play its part.
After 10 hours the first glistening ruby pieces started falling off. The Mechanic smiled once more.

Outside a snow storm was in its culmination, mad and swooshing, a white freezing fog that hid the peaks of the Himalayas. It was a ghost storm, a phantom wind that pierced through leather and skin and bones.

The mage was meditating in the midst of the happening, his palms upon his legs, opened upwards, two small balls of nature’s fury forming in each.

The mercenary’s were sitting in the throat of the cave serving as entrance to the temple inside the mountain.

“We’ve got company.”

Inside the howling storm, aside from the voices, another sound was making itself persistent, drawing nearer, sounding louder. It disappeared only to be replaced by an even louder one.

An aircraft swam out of the cloak of the snow, firing rounds from two Berezin B-20’s attached to it.

The mercenary’s scattered, picking on the run their weapons and firing back. One of the machine guns bursted into flames.

The mage was on his feet, charged with ice spells. He casted a rain of frozen spears which punctured the airplane top to bottom and it lost control, smashing into the surface of the mountain.

Two new crafts of the same model appeared from left and right. The mage built a resistance wall, giving time for the mercenary’s to load the RPG. His spell shattered just as the missile was fired. The airplane saw it and dodged it. Four of the mercenary’s were shot in the moment of distraction. The second airplane moved away, whilst the first one was spitting rounds at the walls of ice the mage was continuing to cast. Seconds later a squad of dark clothed soldiers with goggles and shotguns was dispatched at the narrow terrace. The mage was taken down and the remaining five mercenary’s took three more lives before getting thrown off.

The first group of soldiers was followed by a second, and the two squads entered the cave.

The Mechanic was witnessing the almost complete process of core removal. The shards were nearly destroyed, and now that the Mosquito was piercing through the created gap, neatly puncturing the surface, the vessel carrying the virus was pealing off even more. Soon the tip of the Mosquito would be able to poke and extract.

There was a series of thumps echoing throughout the temple walls.

The Mechanic turned at the sudden noise.

Soldiers were aligning at the top of the stairs, their rifles and shotguns pointed at him. Between the heavy-armed lines an admiral walked. His face was pink from the biting cold and his hair was sandy blond.  His voice carried an accent when he spoke.

“I’ve dreamed about this discovery ever since I can remember. I’ve read so much about the crash, about the myth that a ship carried two artifacts, one of sin and one of purity, but they were a myth, always a myth, though I believed with my entire being. My scholar said they couldn’t be created, because no human being had ever created perfection. But this is the perfection of life and the perfection of death. It is the most dangerous weapon known. I wanted to own that kind of power. It would cleanse me too, no? Knowing I could do so much good. Help people. Kill people. The ultimate antidote! The ultimate plague! Imagine the wonders!”

The admiral walked down the crumbling steps of the temple. He stopped when he was next to The Mechanic, staring at the Mosquito working on both the crystals.

“I could have never gotten here without your help and your brilliance. Your devices are magnificent.”

The Mechanic cocked his head to one side, the black orbits on his gas mask reflecting the glow of the crystals.

The admiral gave him a smirk and a funny look came to his glassy blue eyes.

The Mechanic knew that look. It meant he had just a second or less. It was his goodbye moment, the frame he would to death, a neo communist’s smirking pink face.

In his pocket he kept the small tablet, the navigation program still working. He gently slid his finger upwards, maximizing the speed of the Mosquito. The machine freaked out instantly and charged at the crystal, breaking the needle, setting the arm on fire as it pulled out and swung sideways, smashing into the other arm still working on the antidote crystal.

“What are you doing you bloody fool!”

The crystal shattered, crimson red liquid dripping from the sharp edge, evaporating when meeting the still air in the temple. The virus dispersed everywhere, silent and invisible.

The Mosquito hit the ceiling of the temple, bringing down chunks of rock and the remains of the core. The whole place began to collapse like in a dream, simultaneously, slowed in time, slowed in realisation. The soldiers opened fire on The Mechanic, but their shots were dodgy and missed him. The Mechanic used the opportunity to kick down the admiral and make a run for it. The air was becoming horrid, Pandora’s box opened, skin decomposing, blood spitting, choking.

The Mechanic ran.

The temple collapsed without warning, shutting itself inside the belly of the Himalaya, blockading the discovery of the centuries.

One body sat on the snowy terrace, breathing fresh air through the mask. His inventions were destroyed, his life’s work and research gone. But on the tablet in his pocket, a formula was writing itself, and it was one element away from becoming dangerous.

Evil spirits, Mighty exorcists

K U K E R I : THE SPIRIT OF THE BALKANS

For another year the drums echoed and the wine was poured as the annual Masquerade games set the beginning of the three day festival to chase away evil spirits with the traditional ritual from my neck of the woods aka Surva.

Now last year I blogged about the event and offered a more literary observation of the unhuman aspect of the ritual itself and of its performers. I wrote about the amazing transformation from man to animal, about the rich costumes consisting of wood and fur and heavy chimes, about the ancient feel and the lasting memory of days of slavery which the ring of the heavy bells portray.  This time I choose the shorter way to show you what this festival looks like. To check last years post  click here

Every year more and more foreign ensembles arrive and their purpose is to contribute to the festivity of the event. This year we had troupes from Spain, Palestine, Indonesia, Aruba and many more.

They are interesting to watch and to meet as they too have their rituals and their story to accompany it, but the sole entertainment remains within the area in which the main groups, the native ones perform.

The simplest way to put the description of what these man (and now allowed women) do is that they, on several occasions mainly around New Year and also before, uniform themselves with these horrid, horrid masks and furry costumes that bring the smell of cattle and hay (and believe me not in a repulsing way, in fact it reminds me of earth, of hard labor and of a place far, far away from the city) and dance through villages to chase away evil spirits, to bring good harvest and health to the villages and their occupants.

Trust me, in three days a town can become a village. In a very cheerful way though and with the weather holding up for two days before pouring like hell, it was perfect. And we are a contender for UNESCO for being the “capital” of the Masquerade games. Neat.

I thought it would be nice to share some photos I took. Not the sharpest photography, but with an amateur camera and an ever moving object I can’t complain of the results. Click to enlarge 🙂

The chase

The chase

 

A devil before me

A devil before me

 

To wine!

To wine!

 

The heavy bells

The heavy bells

 

Masters of the drum

Masters of the drum

 

Big bells!

Big bells!
A scene from the ritual

\ A scene from the ritual

 

A huge mask with feathers

A huge mask with feathers

Fun fact to add is that the southern Mali tribe Dogon, have a similar ritual and their appearance doesn’t differ much from what our performers have. It’s a bit colorful, but you can see that certain elements seem the same. Maybe some ancient connection there, who knows? Maybe it’s UFO again…

Dogon mask