The Society of Misfit Stories Presents: The Year of the Heddagh

Some of you may remember ‘The Year of the Heddagh’ as Friday blog posts some time ago and even if you don’t or do, I’m happy to announce Bards and Sages Publishing decided it was good enough to put into their anthology of Misfits. So now you can get ‘The Year of the Heddagh’ for only 0.99$ , available at a bunch of places – Apple, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo, Scribd, Smashwords, Angus & Robertson!

The very helpful link to “The Year of the Heddagh”  in all its splendor!

The cover is also very in tune with the themes of myths, legends, old gods and old folklore…

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The Dorley Cycle XXVIII

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 ; Part XXIV

Fifth segment:

Welcome to Dorley, Population: O

Part XXV ; Part XXVI ; Part XXVII

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

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

welcometodorley4

XXVIII

Paulie gave me one of the damnedest times and I was dressed for the occasion now, stiff neck and bruised all over, my garments colorful in red, sat on my ass, thinking if it were him to have the squid fuckin’ crown. He seemed weak and sorry-like before, then showed his teeth and now was being wise, the last of his kind and I had no true words from anybody what he was really like. Only my gut feeling, and it wasn’t much good now was it, running me out of breath. I took my precious time looking at him my mind ticking.

Fascinating what months, years can do to a man; feeling different than yesterday, yet the same freaky anger sitting and waiting for me, the cold in my palms and the tune of the sea back in my ears, my mind searching for the stone that bashed the mermaids head. Finish him and be done with it all, I told myself, finish him and it’ll be finally done, what I started two years back to back now.

His face was freckled with blood, and he tried to pull his broken lips into an unpracticed hurt smile. Paulie had managed to take hold of my hand despite me looking at him the way I knew I was. Resentful.

“How does it feel?” I shot back at question at him, watching the uneven rising of his chest.

His voice had a tremor when he spoke, ignoring my question, a gruff string he pulled with difficulty now more than ever, every face twitch showing me more of the wound I gave him sticking the shard in his face.

“Jackson, hey Jackson, he’s dead isn’t he, Guy’s dead?”

“Yeah”,I nodded, “He’s gone.”

“I knew it. I felt it.” He swallowed, and then spoke again. “I called for help ya know. That fucker….Kevana… Saw me and didn’t help. He saw me and left me here. But you’re ‘ere now, aren’t you Jackson.”

Even though he was beating me dead hours ago, even though he was ready to lay me to waste I made myself look at his glassy eyes and stifled a cry. I felt a sudden rush of affection for the bastard, like I hadn’t for anything else on this earth, except Mattie. Paulie wanted to take the gift of life from me, but in my stomach tension coiled and I swallowed down the anger, the hate, the pain, the betrayal and searched for forgiveness. I squeezed his hand that held mine and stroked his messy black hair glittering with water.

“I burned down them sheds”, he said breaking the silence.

“Why?”

He laughed and blood came out, his teeth in that crooked smile red.

“Cause’ I ain’t good, Jackson, I ain’t like they were. I wasn’t perfect enough, I couldn’t make other like me ya know though I tried. I’m broken. I could see it in their eyes, mockin’ me even Guy, cause he made me jus’ like he made them and I was wrong. I loved Dorley man, I love it, but Guy went crazy abou’ you, and all them FBI agents…it all went to waste and I rather see it gone, all of it.”

“Paulie, I…”

“Not need to say nothin’, it ain’t like I done it for you.” His eyes lost me for a second there, rolling in their orbits before settling back on my face.

“Jackson, listen, I gots to tell you somethin’… there are more like us.”

Go on now, don’t wait, chapter XXIX is jus’ over there. 

The Dorley Cycle XXVI

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 ; 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 ; A Short Portrait 

 THE DORLEY CYCLE 

welcometodorley2

XXVI

“Oh shit, sorry. Sir, are you in need of medical assistance?”

The light was lowered and when I blinked away back into darkness I had a glance of a tired moustached face and a red cross stitched on his jacket, reading below of St something’s hospital. I knew him, he’d been the desk guy at the cell who had injected the needle in my arm.  Another cop joined and turned his flashlight on, returning the painful light.

“Everything all right here Stephens?”

“Would you look at that Kevana, our friend Victor from the cell, the drunk fella you sent home.”

Stepehns pulled aside the bulky guy who had unsuspiciously let me go with just a warning.

“Fuck I think he’s really badly injured, we should get him help.”

Then he turned back to me, shifting gaze from my hand pressed against my side to Eli, reciting out what he’d probably been doing ever since the whole place blew up. “Sir you shouldn’t be here, this is a danger zone. I can see you’re in need of medical assistance, and it’s my duty to see you get to an ambulance. The hospital here is over its capacity so we’re taking lesser injuries out to Salem and fatal wounds and higher degree burns to Boston Medical. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

Kevana took a step back, his flashlight going dim and all I caught was a ghost reaching for Stephens’s head and bashing it against the wall with a loud crack. His body slopped down in an awkward position, the wall all hair and blood and skin. Kevan sidestepped, lazily pulling his gun out of the holster and aiming it at us.

He looked down at Stephens bleeding his brains on the macadam and then laughed shaking his head, his calloused hand absentmindedly brushing away tears or sweat or both. Then his features contorted, mangled with some insanity just coming in.

“Get here boy. Now you little shit, move.”

Eli left my side and Kevana put a firm grip on him, the gun at the temple of the boy.

“Now you walk.”, he told me.

“What do you want?”, I asked him teeth now chattering too. I don’t get him, this cop, his nervous gestures and his gun swinging at my cousin’s face. He gawked at me like I was an enemy.

“Start to fucking walk Jackson or I’ll blow his brains out.”

I heard my name like a panic alarm, because it had been all over, there on the rocks, hadn’t it? Now Eli was struggling and Kevana had his sweaty mouth on his ear, whispering foul things and violent outcomes, and I, I was very cold. I crawled, not strong enough to walk. Kevana’s boot came at my side and kicked hard. I wailed, snot hanging from my nose as I cried at the pain that made me almost piss myself.

“Keep walking, Jackson.” Kevana prompted me. “Stand the fuck up you worthless shit.”

I climbed my body to a standing position, palms planted on the wall. I walked missing where the alley ended and the street began; missing where the world ended and the sea began, again. I tripped over the sidewalk curb and rolled into the main street where no one was because it was black and it smelled of gasoline and rubber, a detonation site of yellow tapes flopping at the breeze that lived inside me, chilling from within. This was the real face of Dorley, abandoned of all humanity, men slaughtering men, everywhere a state of ruin. A police car, I guess his was parked nearby lights on and doors locked; protection false.

“Why are you alive?” His voice was weak; it wobbled in his throat, the big bully guy feeding tremors of fear and tears through his massive body. “Why did I have to stay and look for that spastic, stuttering fuck Paulie when I could have been there and saved him, saved Guy from you two?!”

I understood now, that pain choking in his words – the left out son, the one that wasn’t trusted enough to be a part of the final game. I met him briefly, proud and doing his duty like a good son would. Now he felt betrayed. He was ready to punish, prove his worthiness after all, nevermind the lack of audience. It was his sick soul that wanted it.

“Guy isn’t coming back.”

Kevana quivered strangely and gave Eli a shake, pressing the tip of his pistol hard against his cheek. He turned his head absorbed by something in the dark and stayed like that, looking behind him for a long time, toneless and stiff. Then he focused back his wide eyes on me.

“You know what I should have done? Killed you in the cell. I told him I should.”

He pushed Eli aside and kicked again, the tip of his leather boot finding the hurtful spot that made me cough steel. I lay there just listening to him.

“Just put the gun down, it’s over. You lost.”

I admired Eli for his bravery, standing tall for execution, but it was me Kevana was mad at. He laughed again, giggling at some joke of his own rolling in that thick head of his.

“Jackson, I’m going to show you something better than my tongues.” He blurted that out and whistled and I heard car doors opening.

Chapter XXVII

The Dorley Cycle: Prelude

THE DORLEY CYCLE

fishtail4

 

Dorley, Massachusetts

2 years later

The tourists took the flyers from their hands reluctantly, many crushing the colorful piece of paper into a ball and shooting it at the bin, and some others threw a glance at the written text “DORLEY – THE BY THE SEA RESORT YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR! COME STAY WITH US AT THE MERMAID GRAND HOTEL!” and again crushed the offer, not needing another advertisement being pushed in their hands.

The summer workers, as their mentors referred to them, kept on their pretense smiles and stomped their weary feet up and down the fully restored pier which the said tourists loved so much, taking selfies and long and dramatized sunset and sunrise photos with the Ferris wheel in the back – Dorley, the resort you had to visit before you die.

Darryl counted the remaining flyers in his stack – he had about thirty left and without giving it much thought he pushed the majority of those in his pants handing the remaining ones out fast.

“I’m all done losers!”

Megan tilted her head at him.

“Cheater. Really Darryl if Benson finds out he’ll be pissed.”

Darryl shrugged.

“It’s a crappy job and you know it. Handing out something no one gives two fucks about and boiling under the sun. I should have been a life guard at the hotel. Give me a pool and drowning chicks to save.”

“More like limb numb grannies.”  Joe laughed as he pushed his hands into his pockets and retreated towards a weak shadow to have a sit.

“You all done?”

Megan and Darryl looked at him suspiciously.

“What can I say, I get the job done, I get to run the Ferris wheel tonight.”

“You little shit.” Darryl punched him in the shoulder and sat next to him. He watched as people paced down the white-painted pier, the waves of the summer sea  brushing against the pillars underneath their feet, making the sound of creaking planks inaudible. It was a beautiful pier for sure and the wheel made a nice touch to it, gathering souvenir shops, sweet corn and all kinds of candy stands around it. The Grand Mermaid Hotel though was where the money came from, and being a valet or a pool boy, or hell any kind of working boy in there made the summer work much more profitable and practical. Darryl however hadn’t made the cut, and was assigned to maintaining the pier. That did not give tips.

The rich hotel was built last year after a few controversies over the ground on which it was supposed to be built. They had to move the old cemetery to make place for the hotel as that point made for the best possible view over the sea from any floor. The road was redone and swerved down to the coastal line and the pier. Darryl traced it up to the hotel which windows reflected the late sun.

“I’m going to have a smoke.” Megan announced and roamed through her purse. Darryl snapped out of his thoughts and jumped to his feet

“Spare one? I forgot mine.”

She nodded and led the way. Joe shook his head and Darryl flipped him a bird.

The safest place to smoke without being scolded were the old fisherman cabins down at the Old Side beach. When the town began its renovation, parts of it were left out after numerous protests from the fisherman society, the old folks born and raised here with beliefs and traditions no law stood up to. It split the town in two, the main area getting its renewal, and what was left becoming a remote fishing harbor maintaining the traditional business and soaking the air with cheap beer and dead fish.  The cabins were deserted now, all rotten wood and broken windows.

“There are some rumors about this place. Sometime back this guy supposedly killed a mermaid and then went seriously mad after hearing a siren sing to him. He drowned himself. Or went to a madhouse.”

Megan lit Darryl’s cigarette and leaned into the sidewall of the cabin. He shifted uncomfortably when she didn’t say anything.

“What are you planning to do after the summer is over?”

She made smoke rings.

“University I suppose. You?”

“I’m saving up money so I can travel a bit before getting into life.”

She laughed and her eyes glimmered.

“Maybe I’ll tag along.”

His jaw dropped. He was a shy guy in front of girls he liked and Megan, he definitely liked. She put her smoke out and moved closer to him.

“Would you like that?”

He nodded.

“Yes, a lot.”

Something made the door of the next cabin slam open and shut. Megan jumped and pushed into Darryl who clumsily grabbed her shoulder for balance.

A single brief gasp tore from her lips as she was taken by surprise from behind and thrown against the side of the cabin, crashing through the wood. Darryl spun around but a strong hand gripped at his throat and began crushing his windpipe. His vision blurred in and out, the figure before him unclear and he felt something sticky and sour penetrate his nostrils. It made him very dizzy and he found he couldn’t move a muscle. But he heard a voice ordering him and he found himself obeying.

Open wide now.”

The grasp eased and his mouth swung open, saliva bubbling up inside and spilling from the corner of his lips down his chin. The attacker’s hands moved to his shoulders to steady him. Something thick and slimy licked at the tip of his tongue and was rapidly and forcefully pushed in his mouth, moving itself down his throat, gagging him. Thorny hooks clung to the sides of his mouth forcing it wider. His eyes whitened as a second parasite invader probed the gaping void of his mouth and nestled itself inside him, sucking at the core of him, making him empty. He could feel such things crawl upon his face and over his eyes and around his ears, little suction disks planting on his skin before he dropped dead.

Megan stumbled to her feet, her wrist aching, blood on her forehead and her eyes darted around before settling on Darryl.  She screamed. For a brief moment she couldn’t breath and her voice died in her throat when she tried to call him, so she ran, tripping, in the opposite direction away from Darryl’s body, before the same sour smell breathed into her face, sticking, and she fell back, the late summer sky blurring crimson red and burning orange.

Chapter V

Down by the river

Down by the river

Schlange stehen! Bewegen!”*

The group of chained people moved forward. They were dressed in civilian clothes, although the days spent running and hiding had made them look more like torn pieces of dirty material stitched together only to resemble clothes. They were about to be executed in those dreadful outfits, stripped from their true identity.

Some of them whimpered, howled, screeched as their feet sunk into the mud, as the barrels of the guns touched their necks, pushing them forward, faster. But the majority of them remained silent, their eyes dim, staring into the blazing horizon.

They had nothing to speak of anymore. They were betrayed by those whom they trusted the most. It was all over. Their era was to be no longer.

The soldiers took them to a crumbling farmhouse, down by the river and ordered them to stand before the wall, their backs up against the solid structure. They faced five machine guns, surely fed by wanting release bullets.

A woman with once golden hair turned to the man beside her. His black hair was damped and his eyes were hollow but still she could recognize the King of the fairies, her beloved husband.  The forest spirit was gone; the sparkle of power was gone, only a shell of a desperate man trapped in human form remained. The woman, who was the Queen of the fairies traced each face as much as it was possible, trying to remember those forsaken, forgotten and sent to death – the Minotaur was there, his face trapped in the transfiguration of a beast to a man. His horns were cut in the middle, the blood dried on the edges; the Werewolf trembled and growled, the cuts on his face burning with pain, his human eyes glowing yellow; the Dragon was no longer resisting the restraints on his hands – he no longer desired to rip his own heart out; the Nymphs were pale and one by one were about to be consumed by madness, so they begged the fire to start sooner and vanish them from the realm of people forever; the Unicorn had lost its shine- a young boy he stood with eyes glaring to the ground without truly seeing. A red circle like a burned wound stained his forehead where his horn had once been. The queen averted her eyes. She could see no more of this torture.

There was a click coming from each gun; the sound was short but made the condemned push their backs further into the wall.

Before they could shout, or plead or run the soldiers fired for what seemed like hours, the thundering cries of fast flying, skin piercing bullets prolonging into the day, and extending more into the night. When it ended the silence was so fragile, the world thought it shouldn’t exist.

The only ones to blame for this massacre were the people, who had forgotten them over countless bloodshed wars. In fear they turned to selfish Gods who wanted only blood sacrifices in their name. Humanity asked them for help, for victory neglecting that they have won their victory many eons ago and the help had always been there with them, carried within those who protected their homeland, their sanity, who kept them alive.

And so, their protectors, the offspring of their imagination were left aside to rot and only watch as their world decays. All the creatures of myths and legends and folklore fell dead that day. Imagination fell that day.

 

*“In line! Move!”