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.

Advertisements

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

The Dorley Cycle XXIII

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

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

 THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires11

XXIII

He prayed, perhaps for the first time in his life, calling to God, then swearing scared, and his hands came to rest on my shoulders and to lift my head as I coughed out in tearing spasms the salty water that clogged my system. My eyes stung but I blinked the hurt away until I could look and see him bent over me, his lips blue and his teeth chattering. He wiped his leaking nose with a shaking hand and swallowed down hard.

The world was still dim, but the sounds were hushed, and as it tumbled, rolled and fought to find stance, like a picture frame OCD tilted and fucking up the view, the sound was still too soft.

Eli squeezed hard and my thoughts shifted back to him; I couldn’t understand why he did that.  His eyes were wide and their white was red and I couldn’t tell why. But then my painful inhales for air became sharper and bigger and the weakness showed itself when I tried to move my body, and I remembered fragments.

Eli had grabbed me, there in the depth and pulled me back up. I had felt his hand clutch mine, and then an arm embrace my body.

“I thought you were gone.”

I groaned and lifted myself on elbows, shaking my head. I spat some more wanting to forget the taste in my mouth, that seaweed stench stuck between the cracks of my teeth.

Eli helped me up to a sitting position. I was sat on one of those few rocky islands patched together to form a drunkard’s path across the sea’s throat. The sea bed was spiked with sharp rocks here and there. Not a jumping spot for them tourists I thought.

Above our heads merciless waves crashed with a clatter, but the peaking hat of the rock formation banned them for swiping us off our small land.

“We have to get out of here, before it comes out again.”

I wondered if we stayed who will drag our bones away and whether the sun would warm up the rocks and then dry our bones to dust. It wasn’t for me to say whether to stay or run; that had already been decided and it was fine by me. Just fine.

“Not now Eli. Just a little bit longer. Gotta stay here a little bit longer kid.”

He took a long glance at me, weighting down chances and life and what was worth all of this, but then he nodded and cast his gaze to the uneven surface of the sea. I did the same, thankful for his presence and trust here and still in my own darkness, searching for Guy’s moving shadow.

He broke surface close to us, and my eyes skipped along the curling whites of the waves,  adjusting to his camouflage in the deep green waters. Guy split waves open to swim to the shallower waters where we, castaways were stranded. He pulled the shipwreck with his thick tentacles, dragging a ghost boat back to life, to glide on top of the monsters.

I stood up steadied myself, leaning against Eli.

I didn’t have a plan and Guy knew it. I barely had my life, and he knew that too.

I waited to see what he’d do, what he’ll say and soon regret it. Guy hovered the wreck above his body. His tentacles snapped back, creating a giant slingshot, and he hurled the wreck at us.  It spun and slammed sideways against the rocks above us. Eli shoved me aside and fell on top of me just as the ship fell backwards with a protesting groan, dragging along rain of pebbles and small boulders. The metal body fell down inches from where we were and tilted sideways lying back down into the water with a splash, a rusty skeleton peaking from the shallow.

Eli gasped and his weight was lifted from me. One of the ill brownish tentacles of Guy was curling itself around his ankle. His fingers fumbled on the slimy skin and the large suckers opened and closed around his hands, little breathing mouths with tiny rows upon rows of sharp teeth leaving bleeding marks. I grabbed hold of it as it pulled Eli towards the water and wrestled it, stomping with feet the wiggling body of it fighting against me, but a second one whipped from below and slapped me across the face. I dropped down and rolled on my back to see the tentacle tight around Eli’s ankle. It flung him upwards and I reached to catch him, but wet fingers failed to grasp mine stained and swollen and Eli disappeared through the dust cloud still closed around me. My world became faint as I picked myself up.

Chapter XXIV 

The Dorley Cycle XXII

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

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

 THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires10

XXII

The water felt heavy and my body heavier, but I somehow was carried inside the prickling cold tunnel of this underwater cave extension. My eyes were red, but I could still see Eli in front of me, his feet kicking as fast as he could make them. The tunnel narrowed and quickly led us out some two hundred meters from the cave to wider waters, bashed on by the full intensity of the storm, now upon all of Dorley. Our heads bobbed out of the water and I heard Eli’s sharp inhales and felt his fingers fighting for a grasp at my collar, but the waves, monstrous and ever-growing separated us and carried us further then nearer, tricking distance and changing depth. And I looked at my pale hands, instinctively I guess keeping me afloat, my broken wrist swollen and in the mercy of the water’s cradle, carrying it left and right.

“Jackson we gotta swim for land!”

Eli pointed at the rocky beach and tried for my body again, but then I heard a sound, a new voice the sea used to talk to me and I found I knew the language already. The sea vibrated like a giant machine just turned on and the sound was so delicate pressed under the erupting thunders and the stammer of the drumming rain, yet building, and it resonated inside my bones and Eli’s too, because I could see his eyes widening suddenly and him panicking, looking to find the source. It was just a warning, like before an earthquake when the sea groans and calls for the disaster about to happen.

And it happened.

The sea exploded, sending us both underwater for a shocking moment, and then scooped us back up to see.

Guy, or fuck whatever was left of him towered above us, a skin and face far scarier than the one glued to the cave wall. This… creature was well alive, gangrene-like skin and all sucking mouths on tangled together tentacles and arms with many thorny hooks lashing at the sky. His whole body bent forward and slammed back into the water.  Guy circled us, motoring his disfigured body with the help of all the conjoined bodies and their limbs tying it all together; he mimicked the motions of his former body, propelling fast, creating a whirlpool to suck us in.

The boy ducked beneath waves and I drank a mouth full of the salty water. Then I was sucked in too. All sounds soothed and somehow the water seemed warmer now. Nothing was around me, but then a shadow from atop plunged itself towards me and Guy brought down his wrath, dragging me further down with speed and weight.

Smaller arms had joined together to form improvised long tentacles which now slashed the water and caught me wrapping around my chest. Smaller arms sprung to action slapping me across the face, and it burned when they lingered, like a jellyfish touch though harsher. I felt those suckers leave marks, or gashing wounds that stung. The water boiled around me from their enclosure.

I came face to face with them people as he arched his body, limbs pushing it forward, swimming for him, and they were white eyed and empty, just attached now, a piece of meat to help propel this giant. A fuckin squid king, I remembered, all ties and knots and just one brain at the center of it.

I tried to wriggle free. Another thick fake tentacle shot at me and wrapped itself around my waist and stomach, tightening its hold to squeeze at my ribs, my lungs and leave me gasping for breath. I tried to twist my body to escape and swim faster away but the pressure was too much. Then I spotted something. Those that came whipping at my face now fell short, an easy lick and quick withdraw, like they weren’t strong enough anymore to cling to me with their small convulsive suckers and their portruding hooks.

A fuckin’ squid king it is. I should have seen it before, the mantle of naked bodies that entered the water headfirst and now displayed all those arms and tentacles was no mythical creature, like the siren or the mermaid, whose lives I took so carelessly away. It was an abomination that fed on humanity, a predator belonging to another time. It was a thing to kill.

My free hand reached and grabbed. I pulled, twisting the limb around my arm, ignoring the burn of the suction disks, and it came off, a spray of black blood coming in spits. The pale twins of that one, I made aim for them too as they came for me, madly grabbing and kicking for them. Guy dialed up the pain and closed completely around my body.  Breathing became impossible. The beat of my heart hammered in my ears, while red spots danced before my eyes. But I took them, all I could reach in the last moment I probably had, tearing them off of the purple veined faces they came from, and letting them fall to the bottom. It bled, dark ooze floating in clouds around me. Lifeless limbs abandoned their engine function and sprang to life, swinging at me, clawing at me, a desperate way to hurt something.

Guy whipped his own large tentacles fully extant, and I saw their lenght like two skinless anacondas compared to the others in thickness and even larger circular disks spotted here and there with pointed teeth inside them too, but tapped at his own body, now at a halt under my attack and missed me among the meat, ripping flesh where they connected. He caught the dancing tongues of the people of Dorley who were people no more, just marionettes for Guy to feed off.  He was so wrong, unnatural and undone in this quick-tempered attempt to be king. He preached for wanting to create a new family, but all I could see were innocent people used as parts, inbred fuck-ups of his that would go to waste and detached be buried in water graves. I had burned down his town and jeopardized his kind, and now, oh now desperate as he was, he had created this freak. His movements were difficult, not precise, his whipping charges uncoordinated and mad.

Let go Jackson.

My chest clenched, ripping flesh and excruciating pain.

Let go boy.

His voice crept in my head, the same pleading tone I had heard before; that poison living inside me ever since Guy first attacked me on the pier. Let go I won’t.

You are never seeing another day, Guy, I thought, hoping he’d hear me.

My mouth opened to search for air at last, but inside I screamed. I drank like I was thirsty filling my body with buckets of new pain. Guy’s tentacles unwrapped from me, lifting the weight, but leaving the ache, and I floated, light and unable, faint and almost, almost gone, catching just a glimpse of Guy changing shade in the water, becoming murkier and battling the depth on his own, but then I saw him planting himself on what was that, a shipwreck below me? He took hold of it and pulled with his four strong tentacles like he wanted to dislocate it and squash me under it; the metal corpus that was still whole groaned and little fish scattered from inside of it as he released it, lifting it slowly.

He wouldn’t need that now. He wouldn’t need any second now.

Chapter XXIII