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!

Advertisements

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 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 XVI

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

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

THE DORLEY CYCLE 

squidkingsandgreekfires3

XVI

PAULIE

_________

 Previously in Dorley: Jackson made an effort to get back in the game  and found an unlike ally in the face of Eli who admitted to have witnessed the monsters; Paulie then took the POV lead for an insight in the duel between humans and ancient critters and his position in it all. 

Now…

Soon enough I caught up with Jackson, letting him see me jus’ there for a brief, puttin’ the fear of whatever he feared in him. Then I scuttled and followed without being seen, knowin’ my back alleys and my anti-tourist roads. Jackson held the boy close to him, like a daddy mad at his kid for runnin’ at the coast when the flag is up and red. Jackson went back to the rental, throwing glances left and right, lookin’ no doubt for me. He went in. After a while I did too.

It was quiet inside, the kinda cool quiet you get in the middle of the night. Old walls made no voices audible and all I could hear was my breathing and the heaviness of my footsteps coming down on old wood. His scent though, Jackson’s, lingered in the air and it smelled now jus’  like Guy had said it did when he had tasted him- foul, comin’ from a belly full of sea; a breath carryin’ salt. To Guy he smelled familiar, to me he smelled like a dyin’ animal, shedding its skin to appear new. Fuck that crap. He was scared shitless now that he knew what were really the stakes.

A key turned in some lock and golly me; the landlord, Arnold, was pushing his nose in the chain restrained hole of his door.

“Heya, Paulie, I hoped I’d catch you around. This fella you brought in, he hasn’t signed a thing and I was wondering if you knew something about that.”

His slender figure slipped out of what seemed to be that gap in his door and he stood there pinching a loose button on his shirt. He was a nervous guy, one I always assumed jerked off on child porn then regretted it in the mirror. I picked my words carefully around him. A man barely livin’ outside his room is no man I trust.

“I’ll remind him, don’t worry. I’ll slip the filled in form under your door if you want to, it’s fine by me.”

I took a step up. He did the same, fingers drumming on the handrail.

“Thing is, I haven’t even seen him, and he is renting one of my rooms. Seems, ya know, unfair.”

I used some simple talk.

“I’ve been thinkin’ about that too Arnie.”, I said, “ I’ll tell him to stop by, knock and give you a nod, is that allright with ya?”

He licked his lips, moistening the dryness. He kept drumming.

“I was wondering, actually, with all the police around and about if he’s an okay fella”, he added.

Then all of a sudden he squeezed past me, climbing stairs to the second floor where Jackson was, mumbling all the while.

“Maybe I should go check on him, say hello. He’s in here now, isn’t he? I heard some knocking and stomping earlier.”

I grabbed him below the elbow and dragged his body back the two steps, till he was back standing next to me in the tight space of the staircase.

“I’ll see he comes to you”, I repeated, glaring for the imply, thinkin’ he better let it go. My mouth was full of spit. I needed a smoke. He had gone silent, buyin’ time, I guess, with my fingers dug into his flesh.

“I don’t know about that”, he finally said.

I shook my head and swiftly span him pinning his body to the wall, my hand hard on his mouth. I took him down, kicked his door in and pushed him after it. He stumbled in and I picked up a lamp from the small table, slammin’ it against his head. He fell in my arms and I put him to lie on the carpet, adding a little of my spray to keep him there longer. Then I listened for any movement outside, shit, fuck and more fuck on my lips for the racket I had just caused.

When I heard none I took the steps, quietly as I could, coming closer to the sobs of somebody and the hushing of another.  I crouched beside the door where my shadow couldn’t be seen and listened, now making out full words.

“Will you help me, Eli?”

A pause. I leaned in.

“Yeah, yeah I will. Tell me what to do.”

That was the boy I reckoned, crying his tears of fears, ha-ha, to the really frightened one.

“I need gasoline. Can you help with that?”

“Some folks keep bottles stored in the shacks down at the docks. Plenty actually.”

“Can you get some of those?”

“Yeah. But why do you need it?”

“We need it, Eli, to burn the nest, the one in the trailer park. No one else will get hurt, just them. You got me on this Eli, don’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“Good man. You kept your daddy’s boat?”

“Yes. She’s in order, runnin’ and ready.”

 There was another pause. I heard a chair slidin’ across the floorboards and then the slow pace of a man plotting giving them the hard time. Jackson did the walk, he sure did. Then he spoke again, his voice, just like when he had spoken to me about bullets and winning.

“We go now, load it up with as many bottles as we can and drive the boat below the pier. No one will see us hidden there. We can take my car from there and go to the trailer park.”

I moved back. His car was totaled, thrown over the side of the road. Jackson was playin’ the kid, but why I couldn’t yet tell. A fire I could see though, a blazin’ disaster.

“We’ll do this together, blast the fuckers up.”,  I heard him say, walking down the stairs. And the kid asking oh so innocent like:

“And no one else will get hurt, right?”

“Not a soul, I promise. Let’s go.”

Not a soul, sure.

I heard him unlock upstairs and pushed open the back door.

 

Chapter XVII

The Dorley Cycle XII

TO START THE CYCLE :  Part I ; Part II ; Part III ; Part IV

Prelude

Part V ;  Part VI ; Part VII ; Part VIII ; Part IX ; Part X ; Part XI

AND FOR A LITTLE TREAT:  The Dorley Cycle in one comic strip

THE DORLEY CYCLE

BeFunky_toxictruth2

XII

 Oh, no, I thought, feeling something nudging me, gently at first then more persuasive. It was slimy and cold, then it was warm and soft. It slid over my skin, clumsily searching for my face; then it prickled me with tiny pinches. I curled myself into a ball, hands covering my face and waited for it to go away and leave me alone. I felt a stronger push and moaned. “Go away”, I thought, shivering, scared to speak out loud.

“Jackson, wake up! What’s the matter with you?!

I opened my eyes and rolled over, blinking at the light coming from the window. Mattie stood beside my bed rubbing her arm just above the elbow.

“Mattie?”

“Were you having a nightmare? You almost slapped me across the face – got the arm instead.”

She showed me where whilst making a sad face.

I sat myself up, hands still clutching at the covers of my old bed at home. My sister gave me a closer look.

“Are you alright Jackson?”

I nodded, my voice still a foreign attribute.

“Okay, not going to ask again. Mom sent me to wake you up, so now that you’re awake, let’s go eat.”

I slipped out of bed, finding my feet shaky and my head swimming, but I followed Mattie out of the room and down the stairs to the kitchen which was full of sunshine. The wall clock showed half-past noon. The table was set, crunchy toast and golden eggs mashed with bacon in daisy colored plates and a steaming cup of black coffee beside it.

I sat down, my back to the window and took a large sip from my coffee blessing its sweetly sour burn.

Mattie sat to my left and filled her mouth with veggie omelet washing it down with orange juice.

I had no taste for food, though my belly protested.

“Eat up Jackson, they’ll go cold.”

My mother filled another plate, this one with three bacon strips and a side of peppery jalapeno eggs, then pulled the chair to my right and sat, putting marmalade jam on her toast. She always ate sweet at breakfast and lunch.

“I’ll need some help with the car today. Damn thing chokes up more than before.”

I nodded at my father and took a small bite. The eggs were delicious.

“Hey bro, can I borrow your camera for later, I need to film for the school project, you know the one about a vacation. I’m making a horror movie – “The Massachusetts CritterNow terrorizing the city of Belmont! and two friends on a vacation.”

“Mattie.”

“What? It’s a cool idea!”

I listen to all of that, smiling to myself. It was nice being back here, at my parents’ house, seeing them both happy and Mattie enthusiastic about the school project she failed to make after all. I dropped the fork.

“I gotta go.”

“What do you mean honey, where?”

I listened to the distant thunders of heavy waves crashing against solid rocks. I could hear the furious winds tearing at the gaping fisherman cabins. The sun began to set. I stood up turning to face the window. Out there I could see gigantic waves, an angry see rising, almost a vertical of black mass threatening to spill all over and drown us.

“To Dorley.”

“Honey, your uncle died months ago. You don’t have to worry about that now.”

“But Dorley is alive.”

The sea was a wounded animal, bellowing at me through every wave, arching its watery back with every raise, spitting its foamy insides with each crash, glaring at me with its one illuminated eye.  I wanted to call back.

“I’m leaving.”

My announcement fell deaf.  I didn’t want to turn around and meet the quiet of their eyes, but I did.  The three of them shot white eyed glances at the ceiling and their mouths were rotting holes for the parasites that slid out and slammed heavy on the table, fighting one another for a grasp, limbs too weak to crawl on their own. They tied knots, sucker against sucker, merging in a pulsating cluster of wriggling arms. A fuckin’ squid king of pale tentacles and scrawny arms, dragging a small and weak body after itself. A thing to kill.

I held up my gun.

“Go die.”

The two shots went silent when the wall exploded under the pressure of tons of water. It washed me and It away inside a whirlpool, but I saw it bleed, oozing black and screeching, before my laughing mouth filled with salt.

***

My mind woke with someone screaming over me. I was spastic on a cold floor, retching all over my face and someone’s hands holding my head up. Another pair of hands held my body down. Something sharp pierced my leg.

The next time I woke up I was lying on a hard bed. Not only my jaw, my entire face hurt. Hell, my whole body did. I sat up painfully taking in my surroundings. Bars. Grey. Silence. Stench.

“Shit”

I was in a prison cell.

Chapter XIII