The Dorley Cycle Epilogue: Eli

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

Epilogue

ELI

_________

If I close my eyes and keep them shut for long enough will I wake up with what was days ago? I can catch my breath coming in streams of steam and I know today and now won’t go anywhere anytime soon. I wish I can taste alcohol right now even if it makes me stupid and reckless, because maybe that’s what I need to start this car and drive it stolen through and out of Dorley.

I’m shaking scared.

If I sit here and do nothing would I be a bad person? After ten years in prison, cause’ I’ll go there, will I have a clear memory of letting Jackson die in the back seat of a police car? Would I be able to look myself in mirrors and forget that it was me that let him down after he came back for me and saved me? Looking at him right now forehead pressed against the window his chest barely rising… I wish I could decide who I want to be.

Man I hated the guy ever since he came to see us. He made me feel like shit and I was afraid of being alone with death in that stupid cabin and I was afraid of staying alone with the wind outside. The only thing he saw and cared about was me stealing his money, when all I wanted was a quick escape from his hate and dad’s dying coughs. I wanted to be normal, not have to look down when I walked through town because I was about to become an orphan. I tried impressing him but he found reasons to be mad and to treat me like a spoiled kid. He seemed to hate the place, hate me, hate my dad. And my dad, he thought I was ashamed of him, because all he wanted was for us to have a decent life and hoped I’d trust him enough for him to try when in truth I knew he was just a wannabe skipper and only managed a small boat and caught little to none.  I couldn’t bear that, not after he got worst. I told myself that that’s why I ran all those times when I should have stayed.

Honestly I don’t know if I’m a bad person or not. After today I just don’t want to be afraid. I won’t leave Jackson to die just like that.  I owe him his life for what he did, for coming back.  I was a coward. I will not be one now.  For all that’s worth I’ll get him out of here.

“Hang in there cousin.”

I drove fast through Dorley, just another police car leaving town, losing in its rearview mirror a ghost town with shadow buildings swallowed by the waves. I heard them, Jackson and Paulie talk about monsters out there somewhere, new ones, scarier.  Even leaving Dorley behind, I don’t feel safe. I don’t have a breath of air. Maybe I won’t for a long time, not after I knew where we’re going they might be. I promised Jackson I wouldn’t go after them on my own. I can’t say I’m brave enough to anyway, but if I have to I know enough to defend myself.

I stopped on the highway junction seeing cars drive past fast not paying attention.  Then suddenly there was a car approaching slowly, casting long then short lights on me. It had its turn signals on, wanting to make way and take the road to Dorley. My heart knocked against my chest.

I can do my best or worst here, but I don’t know a better idea, and for sure it wouldn’t be dumber than a teenager driving a stolen cruiser with an unconscious guy in the backseat. I flashed my lights, red and blue slowing everything down in an instant, and stepped out as soon as a station wagon pulled over. I ran up to it, catching the window going down.

“Listen officer I know I didn’t do nothing wrong. I’m just on my way to see someone in Dorley and…”

The woman in the driver’s seat fumbling for her documents from the glove compartment rose up and looked at me with her mouth open.

“I need help. My cousin is in the back seat of that car bleeding. I have to get him to Boston or somewhere and help him or else he’ll die. Please, please help me.”

“Hold on, hold on kid.”

The woman flung the door open and got out keeping her distance from me. I stood in the way of the lights of my borrowed car, shaking, I could feel it. She said nothing so I got nervous even more.

“Listen Dorley burned down, the whole town. We were attacked in the panic and he got hurt real bad. No one wants to help me and I wasn’t thinking when I took the car. ”

“Alright slow down kid. One thing at a time. Is the whole town dead or…?”

I shook my head at her sticking to lies.

“Some got evacuated, some got body bags.”

She looked at the sky and I knew she could see black smoke floating above. Then she turned back to me.

“I have family in Dorley. Do you know where they might have gone?”

“Boston”, I blurted out, dismissing Salem, hoping she’d have this lie too. “Everyone is taken to Boston Medical. Family and relatives should check there.”

“That’s where you want to go too, right, Boston?”

I nodded.

“But not Boston Medical?”

I just stared at her unable to think of a way around this. For all she knew me and Jackson could be responsible for the fire.

The woman fished out her phone. I looked at my hands greasy with blood and covered in scratch marks.

“I’m not lying to you. He needs help or else he’s going to die. And I can’t leave him to die. He’s the only family I have. You should understand if you have someone you care about.”

She took her attention away from her phone and her hand dropped. I could see 999 on the screen, but not dialing.

“What’s your name kid?”

I opened and closed my mouth.

She put the phone back and grabbed me below the elbow quickening me to go back to the cruiser.

The woman opened the back door and let go of me staring down at Jackson.

“Is this your cousin?”

“Yes.”

She kept quiet just looking at him for a long time not saying a word to me.

“What’s wrong?”

When she finally turned to me her face was paler and she was biting down hard on her lip. She stroked her short hair, tangling a thick lock around one finger. The woman reached a hand to me, like to stroke my face, but it fell to my shoulder, bony fingers digging there.

“You better help me get him to my car and fast.”

I didn’t ask why she helped after all. After a few I was sitting in the backseat of her wagon, a blanket over my shoulders and Jackson resting his head on my knees. I kept silent and kept pressure on his wound with an old t-shirt the woman gave me. He was still breathing. I pulled another blanket tightly over him.

Just like that we were going to Boston.

Thank you for reading!

The Dorley Cycle XXIX: The Conclusion

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 ; Part XXVIII

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

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

Conclusion

end

XXIX

  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.”

“Stop it.”

“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.

THE END 

Epilogue

*photo taken somewhere in Greece at a squid market. Courtesy of a friend who visited.

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 XXVII

*Warning* (should have put that way, way before) mild gruesomeness and swearing.

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 

welcometodorley3

XXVII

I saw them, bare footed and plain dressed, 1986 coming back alive and well through my tipped over world and smudgy view. I recognized the white dress of the lady monster I’d met at trailer park and saw her aborted, purplish wasted arms hanging loose from underneath her red stained gown, dragging dried suckers on the dirt; a dead embryo still attached to its sickly mother. Another pair of legs belonged to one of the men, absent-minded and eyes rolled up. I raised myself, trying to back away from them and their mindlessness.

“I’ll let them tear you to pieces, because frankly that’s what they’re good for.”

But their panting and incomprehensible moans caught the whiff of another bleeder. Stephens stumbled out of the alley fingers scratching out skull pieces from the side of his head. The creatures took him for bait.

“What the fuck, what the actual fuck?!?” he screamed a high-pitched noise, walking uneven lines while his brain leaked out and I closed my eyes as his face  froze in the twist and snap of his neck and he dropped, before Kevana could breathe a word. The freak in the short jeans that had twisted his head lowered himself to the body and the fat female did so too, poking holes with hardened fingers, trained to find cavities one way or another and fill the disease of sick little squid creatures. They were fuckin’ dumb and it angered me they’d been Guy and Paulie’s friends once, standing on that same beach Anne Henderson got her life fucked and sucked out of her. So maybe they deserved this.

Eli shot aside, pulling away from distracted Kevana and wrested the gun from the clutched fingers of the officer, still looking back at the corpse and at the approaching trailer park freak all rotten teeth and horror, looking seemingly lost and excited at the same time. Eli took his chances and bit Kevana, drawing blood from his fingers, and he dropped the gun with a clatter. To me it was all slow motion, how the kid got fast, fear giving him speed and courage and he threw himself, snatching the gun first. He fired clumsily hitting the coming monster who fell back, but the next one went through Kevana’s head. He took the ground knees first then spread on his side and didn’t move again. Eli still held the gun, looking at it with absent eyes.

“Shoot her too”, I told him.

He went slow and towered above the woman hunched over Stephens body, trying plan B to infect him, to put the dead arm inside his mouth and not understanding why it still didn’t work.

“I don’t think there are any more bullets left.”

I watched his back and his hand weighting the gun at the nape of her neck.

“Eli…”

“I don’t want to pull it.” He sounded distant and I feared I lost him there, finally giving in to all the madness.

“If you want to live you pull that trigger now Eli. Pull it and we’ll be safe.”

The shot echoed. He dropped the gun and came back, lifting me off the ground and resuming his carry.

“We’ll take his car over there Jackson, hang on just a little longer, yeah?”

Eli kept sounding fake, muttering about the car and I half-nodded, more concentrated on hearing my own voice being called all of a sudden.

Where Kevana had looked aside, in the crumble of a building, taken down to shatters of wall and glass, that’s where the muffled call was coming from. There it was again, but not in my mind; it was real, weak, but real. I heard it again, the echo of it, “jackson, jackson, jackson” slurred over and over. I derailed, detaching myself from Eli’s support and searched the dark corners and the danger zone ahead, thinking of exploded bottles of fuel and shattered houses, pubs and glasses and fabric from a red checked shirt imagining hallucinations calling me. Then I saw him stuck under a collapsed pile of concrete boulders and iron rods sticking out. Paulie’s eyes found me and the corner of his mouth itched up into a half-smile.

Chapter XXVIII

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 XXV

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 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

 THE DORLEY CYCLE 

welcometodorley1

XXV

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.”

“Jackson…”

“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

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