Grim

Grim sat with his feet on his desk, reading the obituaries–making tick-marks on a sheet at his side-table, a boring but necessary task. “Brad Jones?” he said to no-one. “Who the hell is that?” That name wasn’t on his checklist. Damn. That’s the third this week. Why the hell are people dying when they are not supposed to?
grim
Grim buzzed his secretary, “Susie, we got another one.”
A voice squeaked back through the ancient intercom system, “At least you’ll get out of the office again.”
“Sure, but these things are always complicated and often messy. Want to come for a ride?”
“Not now, darling, I have a headache. And you need the exercise anyway.” Ouch.
“Okay, call Bob and ask him to meet me at the transporter.”
“Sure, boss,” and the intercom clicked off with an annoying crackle.
He tapped ‘Brad Jones’ into his computer, which was networked to the death server, but of course, ‘NOT FOUND’ flashed on his screen. Verified. This guy was supposed to be alive. He glanced back at the Obituary column. Funeral today. “Sugar!” he exclaimed, as he was trying to give up swearing.
Grim took his black leather coat from the rack. He didn’t bother to fasten it, as he couldn’t any longer. I must get more exercise. Centuries of sitting at his desk, ticking boxes, had not been kind to his weight, still slim, but not deathly skeletal any longer. Slipping off his loafers, he pulled on the long black leather boots. Damn, these things are tight on my legs. Almost painfully, he zipped them up, breaking one fastener when it reached the top. Mental note: need new boots. Today.
As he exited the office he smiled at Suzie and exclaimed: “To the Grim Cave!”
She rolled her eyes at him, “If you must. Catch you later.”
###
When Grim arrived, Bob was waiting by the transporter. Grim used to call it the Grimmobile, but Bob had convinced him that was just too cheesy. Shaped like a long, black, sleek car, it was, more technically, a Hyper-Spatial- Interdimensional-Space Vehicle. Neither had liked that name. Grim was already scowling.
“Hey there Boss”, greeted Bob, “another one?”
Grim scowled at him, his best ‘death warmed over’ scowl.
Bob laughed. “Man, you need something new, how long ya been using that scowl for?”
Grim put on his best ‘death voice’. “I am Hell Fire, and I come to bring you…”
“Fire, yeah, right. Okay?” Bob sighed, opened the wide door and they both climbed in, Grim in front, and Bob in the rear.
“Houston, we have a go situation, lift off in T-minus 10, 9…” started Grim.
Bob reached over and hit the ‘fire’ button.
“I didn’t get to say ‘lift off’!” exclaimed Grim.
The Transporter vanished.

…And reappeared behind a line of already parked cars, also all black. Fifty yards away they could see a group of mourners surrounding a coffin. Distant vague words could be heard coming from a minister at the head of the grave.
“We got a bad one this time Boss,” said Bob, “Want me to come with you?”
“Good idea, we may need some crowd control here. Let’s move.”
“Sunglasses?”
“Sunglasses on.”
“Half a pack of cigarettes?”
“Check.”
“Full tank of gas?”
“Okay, stop it, Bob, we gotta move it, now.”
As quickly as could be deemed respectful, they hurried to the graveside and joined the mourners. Grim closed his eyes, concentrating, and then made an unobtrusive wave with his hand. A loud knocking came from the coffin. Somebody screamed. The minister tripped backwards. In the sudden confusion, Grim reached out to the coffin shouting “He’s alive! He’s alive!” He pried his long fingernails under the coffin lid, at the same time mentally removing the screws. He flipped the lid open, grabbed Brad’s hand, and pulled him out and to the graveside. “It’s a miracle!” he shouted to the wide-eyed and horrified onlookers. Then he and Brad vanished – not that anyone saw, for them, apart from Bob, of course, Time had been frozen.
###
Brad stood, wide-eyed, with a very confused look on his face, his hand still gripped by Grim. He looked around but could see only blackness, and Grim. “What the heck…” was all he could splutter.
Grim allowed Brad several long seconds for him to reach a semblance of ‘calm’, before he said in a firm voice, “Brad.” Brad paid no attention. Louder now, “BRAD! Look at me.”
Brad slowly turned his head and looked at Grim. “I’m dead… aren’t I? Dead. And who are you? Where am I? Where is God?”
Grim sighed, “God’s a little tied up right at this time.” Hoping God hadn’t heard him, he continued, enunciating his words. “Okay, first, Brad, you are not dead. Second, you are unconscious, and we are in No Man’s Land. Third, my name is Michael.”
It was important that he never told his clients his name otherwise they may guess his surname, and then panic–typically wildly. Brad was trying to pull his hand away from Grim. “Brad, I have to hold onto you, you nearly died, and I rescued you, if I let go of you, you will die.” Not quite the truth, but it stopped Brad pulling. No, not death, he thought, but–eternal nothingness–and that is so far from being so-called ‘dead’, not even a comparison could be made.
Brad stopped pulling. “Michael? Arch-Angel Michael? And where is No Man’s Land?”
They always ask the same questions. Maybe I should stop using Michael; the religious ones always ask that. He wondered how many thousands of times he had asked himself that question, not the Arch-Angel part, as much as using Michael.
“And what’s with the sunglasses? This is crazy”, added Brad. “This is just a dream, right? I’ll wake up any second, and I’ll be dead again.” This kind of nonsensical reasoning was normal for the not-supposed-to-die people. Though for some reason, Brad knew he had died. Uh-oh…
Man, I really must invent a name for the not-supposed-to-be-dead. Or ask Suzie. Though she’ll probably just roll her eyes at me again.
“No Brad, you are not dead, and, I’m not that Michael–just–Michael. Yes, this is a bit like a dream, it’s normal to be confused. You are just experiencing a near-death experience. You’ve heard of them, haven’t you?”
“So, I am dead now?”
“No, you are alive, you never died, just very close, and you are now at the end of your near-death experience.”
Grim was about to continue but Brad interrupted. “Where’s the light? There’s supposed to be a light, and a tunnel, and…”
“Quiet!” boomed Grim–losing control. “Please be quiet and let me explain what has happened, and what will happen next.”
Brad calmed down. “Okay, but why the sunglasses?”
“Why not?” replied Grim. “Just my style man. Now please be quiet.”
“Okay, but…”
###
Maybe I’ll just let him ramble for a while, thought Grim as he lit a cigarette. He took a long drag and visualised a large wet cod–which he mentally slapped across Brad’s face. It made him feel slightly better, so he did it a few more times. Maybe the sword. I’ll just chop his head off and be done with it. Meanwhile, as Brad continued to ramble on, Grim considered merely letting go of his hand. It was so, so tempting; but also, on the absolutely nope–never–do not even think-about-it list.
Finally, Brad calmed. “Did you listen to a word I said?” asked Brad.
Grim, who had conjured two chairs from the blackness, looked up. “Err, no, to be honest, I was considering consigning you back to that grave I pulled you out of while you blabbered like a lunatic”. Grim saw the colour drain from Brad’s face. “Now, are you going to stay quiet, not interrupt me, stop rambling, and just listen, because otherwise, you will be back in that coffin, no-one will hear you knocking, and you will be buried alive? Capiche?”
Brad nodded his head.
“And I may ask a question or two,” continued Grim. “I will allow you to answer them, but keep it brief.” Brad nodded. Finally, I hope…
###
“So, technically, you died.” Grim had retrieved Brad’s details. Bob, ever efficient, had found the information for the right Brad, and uploaded it to Grim’s temporal brain implant. “Your heart stopped, and could not be restarted. Science is still rather barbaric as they think this means death, which it doesn’t.”
“What does it mean?” Interrupted Brad.
Grim rolled his eyes. “It just means your heart stopped, now please, shut up unless I ask a question, or back in the coffin you go.”
Brad gulped, nodding.
“You fell when an upstairs window ledge you sat on collapsed. You hit the concrete drive, connected with your head and smashed your skull, severely damaging your brain. You were supposedly dead when the paramedics turned up. Now, a question: when the window ledge collapsed, what were you thinking?”
Brad looked taken aback. “Yes. I built that house, and I know my skills. I thought ‘How on earth did that window ledge collapse’. Then–nothing”.
Grim’s face screwed up in a weird thoughtful look, glad he was wearing sunglasses. “Hmm, I see. Interesting.” I hope the complex automated soul reaping system is still working correctly—must check.
“Why?”
“Shut up. Let me finish, we gotta get out of this place. Soon I hope.”
“Good, I don’t like it here or your sweaty hand holding mine.”
Sweaty hands? I have sweaty hands? Must ask Bob. “To cut what would be a very long story short, you technically died, but didn’t, and I was sent to rescue you. You never saw any light, or tunnel, because you were never dead. Okay?”
“Okay.”
“When we get back, you tell people that your last memory was falling out of the window, and then being trapped in a coffin. The only reason you can think of is that a miracle must have occurred. This conversation never happened.”
“Yes, it did!” exclaimed Brad.
Grim sighed as he was getting a headache. He rumbled through his pockets with his free hand. Damn, no aspirin.
“You don’t understand. This is like a super-top-class-secret-undercover-mission. This conversation never happened.”
“But it did.”
God, why do I get idiots such as this, instantly regretting the thought.
“Because I don’t like you,” boomed a voice into his mind. “And I’m starting to like you even less. I may replace you.”
Grim shuddered. Now God was on the case. Could it get worse?
“Infinitely,” boomed the voice. “There is obviously a bug in your automated soul reaping system. Don’t forget, I am omnipotent”. A bug?
“Brad,” whispered Grim, “you need to pray now, pray deeply to God and keep praying until you are back at the graveside–no time will have passed there.” Grim waved his other hand over Brad’s head, erasing almost the entire conversation.
Brad held his head low, in deep vocal prayer.
Good, that will keep God distracted, especially as he’s had dementia or something for the last couple of hundred years and was far from omnipotent any more.
Grim thought quietly about God, not the kind of creature you would want to meet. Remembering his second meeting with ‘It’ many millennia ago, he shuddered. And now it reckons there is a bug in my system? It’s worked perfectly for several hundred years… We need a new God, one that was not a giant alien bug from an alternate universe. But how… “Okay, we’re outta here, now!”
##
Grim appeared, leaning against the transporter, as was Bob.
Down at the grave, Brad was being surrounded by the once-mourners-now-praisers. He could hear shouts of “It’s a miracle,” and “Praise God” coming from the crowd.
“You were gone a long time Boss. Hard case?”
“Understatement of the year Bob. And ‘you-know-who’ got in on the act. Reckons my system has a problem”
“No, not – It?”
“Yup.” Grim pulled out his pack of cigarettes. Empty. “Got a cig, Bob?”
Bob flipped his pack open and offered one to Grim.
“Menthol?”
“Trying to give them up, Boss,” taking one for himself. They both lit up and took long hard drags. “Back to the Grim Cave?”
“I suppose so. I guess I’d better have a look at the system.” Then remembering, “Shit, not yet, I need a new pair of boots. We need a boot shop.”
Bob laughed, “You gotta be kidding, Boss, those boots are centuries old, they just don’t make them like that these days. Ask Suzie, she’ll make you some.”
“Suzie?”
“She knows more than you think, Boss.”
“Okay, let’s hit the highway then. No countdown today, I’m tired, I have a headache and we gotta get out of this place. You drive.”
“The Animals?”
“Just drive Bob.”
They got in the transporter, which promptly vanished.
###
“Suzie?” Grim said questioningly.
“Yeah, Boss?”
“Um, is there any way you can get some boots like these,” and he motioned to his boots.
“Sure, Boss, I’ll have them ready by morning. I’m clocking off now, it’s late”
“Got any aspirin?”
Suzie opened a drawer in her desk. It was full of medicine. “How about some morphine, you can have a good snooze as well”
“Way cool! Morphine, man”. Grim was almost drooling.
Suzie expertly filled a syringe from a glass bottle and promptly injected it into Grim’s outstretched arm. “Now get to your couch before you collapse in my office.”
“Yeah, man, “drawled Grim, already getting high. “Is there anything you can’t do?”
“Not really,” replied Suzie, as she headed out of the door.
###
Grim’s eyes fluttered open as the dawning sun reached through the window blinds. “Oh yeah man,” he whispered. “Mm… I feel like, wow man, chu-uh-illed out baby.” He remembered the apparently-needing-fixing system and stood up. It was in Suzie’s office, but she wouldn’t be in for another couple of hours. His vision blurred, and he staggered a bit. Maybe not just yet.
A new Big idea popped into his head, though he mentally kept it quiet. It involved you-know-who. He picked up his phone and dialled ‘1’. Bob answered. Grim, still slurring, “Another mission Bob, a strange one. We need the heavy guns”
“Way cool Boss! Um, you’ll find some uppers in Suzie’s drawer. I’m on it; see you in the Grim Cave?”
“On my way,” and he put down the phone. His head was starting to clear now, and he popped a couple of uppers he found in Suzie’s drawer. He took the door to the Grim Cave.
###
“Okay Boss, here’s what I got. Made ’em myself. I call these “Deathcom I”
Grim looked at the rifles. “Just Mk I? No Mk II?”
“The Mk I was even more spectacular in tests than even the simulator expected. This Mk I model–one shot on target from one of these things should destroy a Russian T-14 Armarta from 2 miles.”
Grim’s eyebrows raised and a wicked smile crossed his lips. “Good. How many rounds?”
“Just one in each, pre-loaded. What’s the target?”
Grim bent to whisper in Bob’s ear. “You-know-who”. He expected surprise or shock from Bob. He got neither.
“About time. I’ve been expecting this for many years. These–were developed for this situation.”
Now it was Grim who was surprised. “You’ve been developing arms to kill G… ‘you-know-who’? Why?”
“Inevitability. The thing controlled most of humanity, like slaves, for thousands of years. Now it’s lost even that control, and we’re killing each other.”
“Let’s do it then,” replied Grim
“The plan first.”
“Simple. Fly to ‘you-know-who’, kill it, and bugger off,”
“Not so simple Boss. I’ve already planned this–if you will oblige me.”
“Um… how long you been planning this, Bob?”
“A few centuries. Had to wait for technology to develop though.”
“Okay, shoot.”
“Right. Bug-eye will be on his dais, surrounded by numerous concourses of worshippers worshipping it and singing praises to its name. That’s why it has so much power, it feeds off them, and they ‘gladly’ give it to him…it”
“They gladly worship an 8-legged bug-eyed alien?”
“Mind projection. They see a man in white robes with white hair and a beard.”
“Oh, of course”, replied Grim, as if he knew this all along. When ‘God’ had recruited Grim, he had seen the man-form. It had only been an accidental second meeting several centuries ago he had seen his… or It’s real form. “I have a question though”
“Yes, Boss?”
“Um… when we kill… It… Will everything just vanish? Us included?”
“No, because It’s not the real G-o-d. When It arrived, there was a great battle, and the real G-o-d was a bit tired, after spending infinity already directing every atom in the Universe, so he…or she… decided to let the bug have a go, and went into hiding.”
“Err… hold on; do you know the real G-o-d?”
“Yes, but I can’t blow their cover, not even for you.”
Grim felt a bit miffed. Why did Bob know so much more than he did? After all, it was Grim who recruited Bob, as his side-kick. “Okay… whatever. What’s the plan then?”
“Right, as I said, bug-eye will be on its dais, feeding off the mindless masses. Close up, it will be omnipotent, it will know the instant we arrive and know our plan. Distance and speed are crucial so I’ve calculated we have about half a second to kill it.”
Grim grimaced. “Half a second? We’re doomed!”
“I’ve run multiple simulations on this, Boss, it works every time. We need to arrive precisely a hundred yards behind bug-eye– it will need time to turn around. Oh, I presume you are a dead shot at a hundred yards? We have one shot each.”
“Walk in the park.” In his duties, Grim was also a skilled assassin, taking out those that hadn’t-died-when-they-were-supposed-to. One shot though? And just half a second?
Bob continued. “I’ve modified the transport door so we can just kick it, opening instantly. We arrive, one hundred yards–so we don’t also blow ourselves up–behind it, kick the door open and shoot. Big bang, bug-eye is splattered mush. I’ll drive, I have the exact hyper-spatial coordinates on this stick,” and he held up a USB memory stick. “Ready?”
“As I’ll ever be,” Grim replied, slinging the rather light gun over his shoulder. Why am I getting this horrible feeling that I have lost all semblance of control, this was my idea; and I’m now going to die? He smiled at Bob.
“Okay, let’s kick some ass then!”

###
They both got in the transporter–Grim noticed that Bob had stencilled ‘Viva la Revolution’ across its sleek, black exterior. Here goes nothing.
Bob was in the driver’s seat. He pushed the USB stick into a panel Grim had never seen before, and the dash lit up and started humming. A voice responded, “New programming accepted, ready for take-off.”
Grim raised his eyebrows. He was good at that. “Who…?”
“Just modified a few features, Boss. Ready?”
“Ready.”
“No, you’re not, Boss, take the gun off your shoulder, and point it at the door. Half a second, that’s all we have. I hit ‘Fire’, we arrive, kick the door, aim and shoot, so get ready to shoot now.”
Grim sulked. He felt patronised now, though as always, Bob was correct. He pointed his gun at the currently closed door.
“Right, on three,” announced Bob. “One, two,” and on ‘Three’, he hit the fire button.
##
They kicked the door open, already aiming… at nothing.
“Ha!” Boomed a voice from above, “Got you!”
They looked up and saw the would-be-God bug-eyed monster above, hanging by a spider thread. Bob was quicker and fired.
Mr Bug eye just exploded, twenty yards above. Thick slime splattered Grim and Bob in huge blobs of ooze.
“Eeww,” said Grim
“Yeeeuk,” said Bob.
###
They returned and hurriedly sought much-needed showers. Grim turned his attention to his automated soul reaping system. Suzie, fortunately, was running late, so her office was empty, of her at least.
He removed the back, of the large computer-like box, covering his fresh clothes with a large discharge of dust. Man, this thing is filthy—I’m gonna need the vacuum cleaner. He was giving the thing a good dust clean, when he saw, and then heard–something was sucked up, clonking into the collection bowl. Switching off the cleaner, he opened the dirt collection bowl, instantly releasing an even bigger cloud of dust all over him, which pervaded the office. Shit, Suzie is gonna kill me when she arrives. He saw the object and fished it out of the remaining dust.
His face contorted into that ‘very puzzled’ look. He took the object into his office–blowing off dust–and searched through an untidy mess, eventually finding his strong magnifying glass. Inspecting the object through the looking glass, he exclaimed, “It’s a damn bug! A real Computer bug!” He noticed what looked like very small writing on the bug’s carapace. The writing was hard to make out as he moved the magnifier back and forth. Finding the right spot, he slowly deciphered it.
Goosebumps broke out on Grim, and a strong shiver spike ran up his back.
It read: “Viva la Revolution”. Bob?

###

Suzie entered her office, fifteen minutes late, and exclaimed, “What the blinking blue blazes? Grim!” she called through his open office door.
Grim walked in, “Err, yeah, sorry. I was hoping to clean it up before you arrived.” He noticed Suzie was dressed, head to foot, in black leather. Odd. “But I found the bug in the system! It’s a real god-damn bug!”
Suzie rolled her eyes. She is the epitome of the art of ‘rolling eyes’. “Bugs usually are,” she replied, placing his new boots on her desk. “Your boots. The legs are slightly wider to accommodate your… err, maturing legs”
“They look great!” exclaimed Grim. “Thank you. You really are amazing.” He then exclaimed “And we killed God! Blew it to f… err–little bits.”
“I think not, but good job anyway,” as she donned a black leather hat. Bob walked into the office, also dressed in black leather, complete with a hat. He never comes up here. Not normally…
“We didn’t kill God?” quizzed Grim.
Suzie smiled. “No.” She put on dark sunglasses, as did Bob, who she now turned to. “Ready?”
Bob nodded.
Also nodding her readiness, Suzie and Bob vanished.
“Oh my God!” exclaimed Grim.
He distantly heard Suzie’s voice… “And stop taking my name in vain!”

END

Too Long

I’ve been an idiot. How many years have dragged by while I suffered (not in silence!), bemoaning almost my very existence on this rock; how many years have I struggled, often greatly, with this lot we call life? How many sad, dark poems have I written expressing how rotten my life is? Way too many years, and way too many poems.
And the solution to my dilemma, my endless torments, literally stared me in the face all the time. It was right there. I was just too dumb, or too prideful, or too “I know-it-all”, or too [insert anything you can add here]. Too damn blind. I should have known better, but I didn’t.
Eight long years spent blind. Unable–or unwilling–to do a damn thing about it (although I spent a small fortune on self-help books). Hell, that’s a lot of needless suffering. But I knew best, and so I decided I would go on a self-torture rampage. I decided I would create my very own personal hell and no-one was gonna take it from me. And yes, I had 13 years sober so I knew it all, didn’t I? I lived in hell, without even picking up a drink.
Tonight, I went to an AA meeting for the first time in eight long years.
Tonight, I returned home. Thank you God.

drydrunk

Society

Recently I wrote a poem regarding ‘society’, the ‘thing’ we live in. What is it supposed to be, or be, or used to be and is not?

It’s supposed to be a mutual gathering of people who all work together to achieve whatever it is that each person within that society needs.

I ask you to consider: does our ‘society’ do anything like that? Are our needs fulfilled by the structure of collective reality which binds us together? By Governments?

Excuse me while I finish laughing…

We don’t have any kind of true society at all. Maybe deep in tribal jungles, or Outer Mongolia, but not in probably 99% of the world.

We, the common people, and that includes all the middle classes now – we are just slaves labouring under dictatorships, whether they call themselves Democrats, Republicans, Communists, Socialists, Monarchy.

Of course that’s where it all started, the beginnings of ‘Monarchy’.  Savage barbarians who gained power over others by – plundering, murdering, burning villages. Yes the so-called ‘Royal Blood’ is the blood of savage barbarian killers.

And we just sit here and take it, don’t we?  Next time you think you are free try walking out of your job and still surviving.

We shall sit here and take it, blinded by lies until the extinction of the human race.

Soon.

slaves

The Brules of Writing

Ever heard of a Brule? Commonly known as a Bullshit Rule. It exists because someone, probably decades or 100’s of years ago (in writing) invented it, and either said “You must do this,” or “You can’t do that.”  By the same process as perpetual self-brainwashing (AKA social conditioning), these became passed down from teacher to student, from generation to generation. If we step back, and say “Why?” we will no doubt – in our minds or from another – hear another Brule – B to ‘prove’ that Brule A must be true.  And of course Brule C supports Brule B, and Brule A proves Brule C.

Other than perhaps putting speech into quotes (why?) and using a period at the end of a sentence, there are no solid rules.  There are only temporary publisher/agent imposed Brules (“Do it my way or take the highway” (OMG a cliché)), fashion-induced Brules (no use of the word ‘very’) or plain old always-existed Brules.  They are all brules because all one sees are marks on paper…

Let us then start from a level playing field.  There are no rules.  All of these lists of do’s and don’ts, ‘banned’ words, speech must be in double quotes, ad infinatum…. go read some classics the same people hold up and see how many of these brules they followed.  Across, the board – none.  And they tell far more than show – lmao.

There is an ever growing crowd of published clones, robots, androids filling the shelves with the same books.  Read one and you’ll have read them all, just using words in a different order.  The old ‘conform or die’ mentality.

Isn’t it about time “we” – writers, editors, publishers, agents – got real? (Damn, another cliché).  Let us just (oh, a banned word) write for goodness sake (Ah! Cliché).  There will always be good writing and bad writing, the reader can tell. Not a measuring stick generated mostly by computer programs (nope, it only scores 4.7 – reject).  Read the damn manuscript.   To fellow writers.  Write.

Suddenly, the world is a very happy place and we all live happily ever after…..

elephantPix (c) John Tonn

Meaning

Originally published by Spillwords 2018

Meaning

I write, I write, my fingers bleeding out words,
Soul aching and striving, looking for meaning,
In a world,
So Crazy.

In a madness,
So real.

How can I, may I, see I… truth – perhaps,
Or in a daydream,
Another reality, there… it reaches, beckons from afar –
Beyond all meaning, it calls,
Beyond all hope, it waits,
Beyond life,
Giving breath again,
To that which was dead.

And no more, no more, no more…
Have I fingers of blood.

rebecca wear robinson

Fri 13th. Horror?

“We’ll go through the graveyard, it’s quicker.”

“You’re joking right?  It’s almost midnight Mary.”

“Oh, is poor Jim scared of little ghosties?”

“Don’t be daft, I just… well… um…”

“You’re scared.”

“Okay, but if anything happens, it’s your fault.”

Mary laughed and walked through the ornate archway and onto the path through the graveyard.  Reluctantly, Jim followed, casting his eyes left and right, though the path leading upwards to the church was just surrounded by more recent neat graves.  They didn’t worry him much, but what did, was what he knew surrounded the path behind the church, leading back to a street-lit road. He’d once gone that way in the daylight, and it scared him them.  He had never gone in there after, until now.  Now  dark, nearly midnight, and crowned by the fact it was Friday the thirteenth.

“Get a move on Jim, this won’t be a shortcut if you don’t shift yer ass.”

Jim decided that was a good idea, and rapidly caught up with Mary, and passed her.  He didn’t want to hang around here now.

“Hey, it’s not a race.  What’s up with you?”

“Okay, I am scared.  Can we get through this place as quick as possible please.”  Mary muttered something that Jim didn’t catch as he was now ten paces ahead.  Jim reached the church first, and moved into the doorway, as if the proximity afforded some protection.

“Look.” Mary had caught up and had now joined Jim. “When was the last time you ever read about creepy ghouls dismembering or eating people?  Eh?”

Jim wasn’t really in a mood for talking, though he did reply “Never.”

“Never.  Exactly.  Never, ever, ever. So what’s the big deal?”

“Reptilian brain.”  Jim and Mary both burst out laughing at the same time.

“C’mon,” said Mary, and grabbed him by the hand, pulling him into the ancient, overgrown part of the graveyard.

Basking in the white glare of a full moon, giant angels towered over the heads, entwined with twisted climbing plants, bases covered in dense undergrowth.  As they rounded a bend in the path, they stopped in their tracks.  Ahead, around the next bend, they could see an eerie blue light.

“Oh shit!” Exclaimed Jim, as they stood there.

“It’s probably just someone walking their dog with a torch, come on, let’s look.”

“I’m going back, now.” But as Jim turned around, the path had vanished, blocked by a giant tomb.  He felt the warmth run down his legs and the world started spinning.

Mary pulled him hard by his still clasped hand.  “Follow me,” and she half dragged him toward the next bend. As they rounded it, they found the light was coming from an orange shaped ball in the middle of the path.  “How odd,” said Mary.  Jim just stood, frozen and silent.  “Stay here, I’ll look.” But Jim was going nowhere anyway.

Mary walked the few paces to the ball and picked it up. Blue light began to run up her arm. “Fuck!”  The ball shattered as she dropped it and ran back to Jim.

 

And there, bathed in the full moon, now stood – a demon, skin as back as coal and glowing embers for eyes.

“Thank you for freeing me, it has been a great many years trapped in that prison.” It’s voice has harsh, raspy. “Do you have a drink? My throat hurts.”

Mary fished a bottle of Cola out of her back and threw it to him, noticing the long claws as it’s outstretched arm and hand caught it.  He drowned down the bottle until it was empty.

The demon let out a huge burp. “Thank you, that was… interesting.”  He didn’t sound as hoarse now, just kinda, well… deep and demonic.  “It is good to see both of you, I presume you have come to join my battle.”

“What battle is that?”, said Mary.

“Why, Good vs. Evil of course.”

“And you are evil.”

The Demon boomed with great laughter. “Me, evil?” He laughed again. “Excuse me, I do not wish to demean your obvious concern, but it appears in my absence that perhaps the forces of evil have turned what is evil and what is good backwards. Or do you now live in a time of great goodness on this planet?”

Mary was fully aware that the world was a mess and evil did seem to be running rampant. “Um, no, I would say the world is a full of much evil.”

“Hmm… and I wonder how that could have come about, with myself and my powers encased, useless, in that accursed crystal ball?”

Had everything Mary ever been taught, mostly by religions – religions that spent billions on trying to kill each other – had it all been lies?
Had her own disillusionment with life brought her here?
Had fate led her here?
Jim had vanished.

“I’m in,” said Mary.

satan

Beta reader’s and Editors

Note: in this day of crazy PC, ‘he’ means ‘he/she’.  I should have written ‘she’.  Sod it, sue me…

I Frequently hear writers mention they are in the depths of despair (or similar words) because of what a Beta Reader or an Editor has said/done to their manuscript.  Well, all is far from lost.  Disclaimer: I am talking about some Beta Readers and Editors.  Some may be excellent.  Let’s have a good look at Editors first:

1) Editors are not God.
While this may seem strikingly obvious, most people assign “God-like attributes” to an Editor.  ‘What he says must be right’, as I am but a Writer, and he is an Editor.  ‘He knows more than I do’.  These and many other similar ideas exist in the minds of most Writers and are total nonsense.  Often, as it is your work, you may know better than the Editor.

2) Editors are human and Writers are human.
Equal footings.  Also, anyone can write and call themselves a Writer.  Similarly, Anyone can call themselves an Editor and edit – I’ve thought about doing this myself based upon feedback I’ve had from some editors, I can pull better BS from my butt very easily, charge people £5 per page, and laugh as the unsuspecting writer re-writes their manuscript from scratch while I grow rich. Personally, I think that’s where most Editors are born.  From their butt-holes where their head is firmly stuck.

3) Editors have a preferred writing style.
If your style is different, they will attempt to enforce their style while destroying yours.  There is nothing wrong with your style (unless it’s just rubbish, that style isn’t in the list of different writing styles); there is merely an Editor/Writer conflict.  Dump the Editor, don’t dump your style.

4) Editors can be wrong
Blasphemy?  No, just stating the obvious, which many Writers seem to miss.  I recently received a comment on a paragraph in one of my works: “Where has this come from?  You need to write something early explaining it.”  I didn’t bother replying “Try looking back two paragraphs dumbo.” – I just dumped that editor.

5) TRY the editor before you buy.
A bone-fide editor will, for example, offer to edit 3-4 pages or even a chapter, free, before you commit to any formal paid agreement.  If They refuse, there is a reason, and that reason says “keep away”.

Bottom line, and this applies to good Editors also, it is your book, and it is quite okay to ignore editors comments (Unless you started a sentence with ‘Suddenly’).  Take what fits with YOU, leave what does not; but always remembering – ‘Is there anything I can learn from what he says’.  A good Writer is always learning. Do not though, especially if you are new to the craft, just ignore a comment.  Reason it out. This is how you can learn much.

Beta Readers

See comments above for editors except: some beta readers are just twats that can’t write and enjoy tearing peoples work apart for no reason.  Take anything and often everything a beta reader may say with a huge pinch of salt.  If you don’t like or feel hurt by a beta reader, for goodness sake, forget them and what they said, and NEVER use that person again.

Addendum:

I have just remembered I have a PhD. in Editing from Urglesborough University, and have been editing work successfully for the last 30 years.  During this time I also became Professor of Linguistics at Piddletown University, where I taught for 20 years.  I only charge £10 per page, and your work then will be accepted at anywhere you submit it to.  Too many people ask for freebies, so I only accept work for which I rightfully will get paid.  Please contact me for further bullshit… um, I mean details.

satan

 

 

They Call My Name

Originally published by Spillwords

Written at the end of a very dark period in my life when I had found that alcohol was a “good cure” for … past events … but the drink turned on me, as is common for people with PTSD, and a new nightmare grew.  Written in Feb 2006, I am now 12+ years sober and this particular nightmare is no more.  It is still real for many, we never chose to be alcoholic, no-one does.  So look down not on “the hopeless drunk” for he/she suffers more than you will ever know………..

In the black night of my soul, they beckon me, possess me,
They call my name; they scratch my skin with talons and claws of fire,
Itching, tearing, burning,
They pervade my mind with fears unknown – yet terror, doom, despair, and guilt,
Memories – of a life before – now long lost,
Replaced by my Demons,
Who call my name.

I awake and they still beckon,
With thunder-beats my heart runs fast, for this is not a bad dream,
I know my fears are real, I am damned, forever caught in my hell,
As a river, my sweat pours, drowning me and engulfing the night,
And still, they call my name.

For how long shall the torment and terror be here?
For my Demons inside, to be still and give me rest?
I know not, it is still dark, still silent,
And the dark knows my secrets, my life, and my soul,
The dark, who calls me by name.

The dark slowly fades; dawn awakens, redemption comes near,
The torments do fade; my mind waits: for release from bondage and fear,
I will now rest, soon,
My sweet, dark lady beckons, a smile on her face,
And I call her name.

I drink of my dark lady, it has to be done, and soon,
My terrors, fears, all feeling driven away and banished,
My dark lady, once more my friend, my lover, and my enemy,
She gives me my rest, wings me to oblivion…

…Until the dark reappears,
And they call me by name.

demon1

 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:

This poem has been personal for many years, the fact I have now been sober for 12 years, I feel it is time to release that part of me to the world.