The devil is in the details, they say. But they say a lot, don’t they? Well they do to me: over and over and over again. Telling me what to do, how to do it, how not to do it, when to do it; really, who in Hell do they think they are? But up here, I can no longer hear them: the wind’s too loud, and holding on so long, makes me tired, and unfocussed, so much so that my sight is blurry and my mind is finally blank. It’s strange after trying alcohol and drugs, pre-scripted meds, and none of it working, none of it stopping the chattering and babbling in my head, I find out all I’ve got to do is sit on the tallest building in the City and its like I’m out of their range or so far away from it all, they no longer know where I am.
I can see my flat from here, over the river, just beneath the sun as it begins to set on another day. I hope and pray (yes pray, not done that for a long time) that this will be my last, and I find the courage to do what needs to be done, the reason I’m up here. But are all these just words, with no real intent behind them, can I really do what needs to be done? Then, suddenly I hear them, you’re not going to do it, you haven’t the fuckin’ balls, we’ll catch you before you hit the ground, and then, you’ll be forever ours.
Now or never, I think, now or never. I open my arms out as if to take flight but I don’t jump: I fall, just let myself go, and the wind blasts at my ears and whips around my coat and my heartbeat quickens and……
I hear nothing but a slow, steady beat. It’s monotonous and repetitive, yet soothing, calming. Opening my eyes I see my arms are extended out, huge and white and wide like angels wings but as my vision starts to focus in on them, I realise they are just in plaster. A smiling face comes into view and I am told that I am very lucky, because if I hadn’t hit that worker’s tent, I wouldn’t be here. A tiny torch light flashes in each eye and I hear a calming voice telling me everything is going to be alright. The doctor flips through a clipboard, smiles and wishes me goodnight. She closes the door behind her and… then… suddenly… well, well, you ain’t going anywhere now… you’re ours to do with what we want… you can’t even go to the fuckin’ bathroom on your own… you pathetic piece of shit… we’re gonna really enjoy this… and you? You’re gonna wish you’d hit the pavement. You poor bastard… it just looks like we caught ourselves a lucky break.
As tears welled in my eyes I could just about make out three shadows moving towards me. I could also hear a strange, distant, muffled noise; it took a moment for me to realise it was me, hidden beneath the bandages that were wrapped around my screaming mouth.
JJ Breech is the Curator/ Editor/ OversEEr of bizarrEEye Creative Community. He writes @ the UNSEEN & the OBSCENE blog (amongst other places) and has had an interest in Horror and the Fantastique from an early age, when he saw An American Werewolf In London, and realised that’s exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up!
Something made Detective Boll feel uneasy as he stepped into the hallway of the house. Perhaps it was the stillness, the eerie silence broken intermittently by a distant drip as of yet unplaced. Boll stepped carefully towards the kitchen, a pile of garbage spilled from the bin onto the floor. The lino was sticky under his feet. And he still felt uneasy.
He saw the broken chair and the table on its side by the door. The back door lay slightly ajar and began to rock quietly as the wind caught it. Boll looked around for his suspect, his victim, his witness and saw nobody. A dirty trickle of blood on the floor and a red hand-print on the glass window gave it away. He unclicked his holster and let his fingers rest on his revolver. He silenced his breathing and began to step backwards, towards the front door, away from the silence.
Silence comes first. Then the laughter. Then the screaming. He was the last detective left in his team. They always lured them out like this. The child’s swing in the front yard, the freshly mowed lawn and the sparkling SUV on the drive. The eyes were watching him.
He knew there was no point in running, he just stepped back slowly out the door. What chance was he taking by not reporting this? What if it was a real burglary and kidnapping like the screaming woman said?
“Next time.” He shouted. “You’ll have to get me next time!”
Boll drove away, the last remaining Detective. Away from the freshly mowed lawn, the child’s swing, the blood on the window and the eyes in the cupboard under the stairs.
Richard David Lawman is the chief Writer/ Director/ Producer of ‘The Putty In Your Hands’ production company. He can be found and contacted at http://richarddavidlawman.com/ andhttp://uk.linkedin.com/pub/richard-lawman/24/966/182
A last ditch attempt at mercy
Leave it by the door
For aren’t we looking for peace?
A once round world turns into a sphere
I have no fight for you or you for me?
Latitude and straight lies
Unconventional truth is an hour away
When you go through that it’s not funny anymore
Time go go go
Ring me when you’re ready but not before
David Partington is a well respected ceramicist and artist whose work can be seen at http://partingtonspots.tumblr.com/ He can be contacted through http://www.facebook.com/partingtons.pots
Udo sat at the counter in Samovar, making his liquorice tea last just that bit longer. No sign of jobs on the sites he’d been scoping, and his positivity was wearing thin. Which was another reason Samovar was his favourite hangout. The music was chosen by an algorithm that selected tunes for their upbeat elements. Karl was sniffy about that, but he was sniffy about a lot of stuff.
And yes, Udo knew Karl was paying more than half the rent for the fourth month in a row, but Karl had always earned more. Sometimes Udo felt Karl treated him like a servant, expecting things to be just so when he came home.
Actually, if he was a servant, Udo would probably be bringing in as much as Karl. With bots increasingly visible, there’d been a revival in personal service roles for humans supporting quality of life for the truly wealthy.
Jan called. “Got you an interview for a hotel receptionist job at two. Finish your tea, have a shave, shine your shoes. I’ve sent you the route. You’ll need to leave by one fifteen. Good luck.” His sister had positivity enough for them both, no need for algorithms.
Coming back from the hotel, Udo pondered what he was going to do next. He didn’t look his age, but when he was calibrated by HR his responses were found to be on the downward slope of the bell curve. Never mind the appreciative references he’d received from nearly a dozen employers – what counted was neural responsiveness.
Udo dwelt on this for a while more as he walked through the city, in the process nearly walking in front of a taxi. That only confirmed the problem, and pointed to the solution.
“We prefer not to think of it as a loan. It’s more – an investment in your future.”
“Which entitles you to 10% of my future earnings.”
“People opting for Axiom wafers boost their income by an average of 17 % in the first 12 months after insertion. Think of it as a way of paying in instalments.”
“For the rest of my life.”
“Your working life.”
“Whatever,” Udo’s mouth was dry. ”The…procedure?”
“The wafer can be fitted in about 90 minutes.”
“It says there’s an overnight stay.”
“Matching your neurology takes a while. Think of it like wearing contact lenses for the first time.”
“A lot less easy to lose, sewn into my head.”
The consultant’s smile was glassy.
Like Karl said people with a wafer looked.
Less like contact lenses, not that Udo ever used them, than…what, exactly? As soon as he considered it, three analogies popped into Udo’s mind:
Like wearing new shoes.
Like driving a new car.
Like getting an upgrade.
Would that have happened before, or was he being too self-conscious?
He recalled no dreams from the sleep that he woke from next morning.
As long as he had all the steaks printing by 5, giving them time to settle before cooking, Udo was confident that he could get through a shift. Restaurant management was a new role, but it drew on all the other work Udo had done, and he guessed the wafer had something to do with it, if only getting him through the door for an interview in the first place.
The way Udo figured it, the wafer was a placebo. It made other people look at him in a new light, for evidence of his enhanced capabilities. And that could only help him feel better about himself, in turn.
Karl had been an ass about it at first, but even he had been won round, saying Udo was taking better care of himself and the apartment now.
Udo woke around 3am, a happy tune running through his mind. So why was his mouth dry, his heart racing?
There was a kind of whirring in his head. And a soothing voice, urging him to get back to sleep.
When Udo awoke properly, he launched out of bed and into the bathroom with a vigour that surprised him.
“In six months, I increased turnover by nearly a quarter by paying attention to what competitors were doing, promotional campaigns with local businesses, and doing targeted offers for existing diners.”
“You’ve got no history of entrepreneurial ventures.”
Udo smiled. “I’ve been biding my time. Learning my lessons in different sectors, putting together what I’ve learned now that I’ve got a concept that consolidates what I’ve learned running the restaurant, in combination with the other service jobs I’ve done. You’ll find all the figures add up, and I’ve identified the key team members I need.”
“It’s an impressive proposition. And historically, some of our strongest investments have come from people who’ve started later in life.”
“One of the reasons I came to you,” said Udo. That smile again.
“I hardly see you any more,” said Karl.
“Why not be happy for me?”
“I’m happy you’ve got something of your own.”
“You don’t look happy,” said Udo.
“I don’t know how much is you, and how much is the wafer.”
“So I’m just the hardware for the wafer to work in.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“It’s not like it was.”
“I’m paying my bills, I have something to focus on. Something for both of us.”
“Both of us meaning you and me, or you and the Axiom Corporation?”
So that, thought Udo, was what the end of a relationship sounded like.
He felt desolate, but a picture in his mind presented a better, pixelated, future.
There’d be another time for remorse, if he wanted to bother with it.
Time now to have a look at the first month’s figures, plan marketing for the next quarter. And there it was, just steps away: Caffarsis. His favourite hangout. The bell rang as he opened the door, and ordered a latte.
Adrian Reynolds is a scriptwriter who loves working on genre projects. His short sf film White Lily is in post-production, and online sf comic Dadtown is set to launch in July. To find out more, see about.me/adrianreynolds
It lay on the floor, in thousands of pieces, a shattered symbol of people’s faith in me. And I watched it, staring for hours, hoping the drugs wouldn’t distract my attention, or cause my mind to dream up blurred visions that would confuse me. As I watched the clay pot, staring intently for hours, a lump of guilt built inside of me, as piece by piece, the pot reassembled itself, and inch by inch, drop by drop, I was filled with the faith others have shown in me.
Being a creator is scary. One can’t comprehend how it’s done, as one doesn’t want to become aware of the process, of all the tiny wheels and cogs, their alignment and relationship with one another, or see the blueprint of the mind; because once someone sees the blueprint of the mind, it crumbles away, your awareness of the part of the universe least discovered by yourself will kill you. It’s like fumbling in a darkened garage for a screwdriver, but realising that the whole point is not to find the screwdriver, it’s to fumble around, discover other objects, put them down, rearrange everything, and then one day you might find the screwdriver – but that’s not the point. Whatever you do, don’t turn the light on.
I had no idea how I came to be like this, in an old, weathered terrace, red bricked and tired, housing my creations in it. The lives of those next to me seemed so crushingly plain and unexciting, and frightening, but most of all, alluring. I knew I needed normality, some mundane responsibility to ground me, but it never seemed to come. How old am I? I have no fucking idea, absolutely no idea whatsoever. Maybe forty, fifty, or even twenty. I can’t remember. Nothing in this shell bears any mark of time, no comparisons can be made, no calculations carried out to determine how old this bag of bones is. But that’s not the point. But what was the point? I needed to reach a level, find a place whereby I was unaffected by the world around me, find a place in which I could create my masterpiece, the one that would let me go, the one which I could sell to an art collector for millions, retire and rejoin the real world after so many years. I needed to find a place in which nothing touched me. Nothing at all.
The creating happened when it needed to happen, and it came in every form. I am a painter, a sculptor, and a writer – although I haven’t written for a while. The problem with my painting and sculpting is the fact that with such acts of creation, came the need for my inner self to balance the world I was living in. In the heightened ecstasy of creation, came the desire to destroy, to undo and to reset everything so the process could be started over again. I have no idea how many paintings I’ve painted, but there aren’t many left to show now. Most of them have been destroyed, by myself, in fits of the most violent temper. Burnt, on a fire, whilst I wept sorrowfully beside them, wishing I could undo what I had done, but realising, that by this very process, I was undoing what I had already done. The world didn’t deserve my creations, and with my temper, came a worldly responsibility which compelled me to relieve us all of my hideous creations.
But there was something which stood out, something I had never destroyed, and never could. It wasn’t made by me, but it was affected by me. My son made it, years ago, the son I never saw anymore, and fleeting reminders raced through my mind: blurred pictures, muffled voices, echoing and drowning each other out, making it impossible to manifest a figure or a voice in my head, to remember what he looked like. That was my guilt. It was something I could never destroy, because my son made it because he had faith in me. Why? Again, like with most things, I had no idea.
The gift was a small clay pot. It wasn’t atheistically beautiful, or particularly well made, it wouldn’t have ticked the boxes those retards who call themselves art critics. It did its job, like all art should – it moved me. It made me feel something different, an emotion which dripped bright sky blues into the inky reddy-brown of my world, drop by drop, the colours would change and everything would become lighter and more beautiful. It made me feel like nothing touched me.
I can’t remember the last time I ate, or the last time I drank or the last time I slept.
The fury came over me again. It came from the back of my head and rushed forwards, drowning my consciousness with rage. I tried to fight it, I tried to reason with it, but it made me feel so furious. It came all because when I picked up my cup of tea the glass coaster was stuck to the underneath, and before I could catch it, it peeled off, crashed down and shattered on my perfectly clean floor. It fucking shattered everywhere. I could have remained calm, and brushed the pieces up, but I didn’t. I threw everything near me at the walls, I grabbed the side table and turned it over, I frisbeed my only remaining glass coaster into the television, spiking the glass and sending a delightful spiders web across the screen. I tried to fight it but I couldn’t. Next, I found my hammer. And then it all really started happening. My latest sculpture, the bust of Orwell, something I had been working on for months, my greatest work to date, met my hammer and blow by blow, it was reduced to crumbles of marble on my carpet. A nose lay here, an ear there. It was horrific. The tears welled, and I crashed to my knees. Exhausted, I crawled through the splinters of glass and marble, cracks of the TV glass delicately filling the air. I gasped for breath, for some sort of explanation; it took me five minutes to breathe. It wasn’t long before the comprehension of my actions hit me, and sure enough, as it always happened, the rage filled me in seconds again.
I found it and held it, for the last few seconds, this old, clay pot with it’s badly carved inscription, “I believe in you”, and I savoured it, knowing I wouldn’t be able to resist. And then I hurled it against the wall.
The next morning, I left the house for the first time in months. It was windy and there was a chance of rain, but the cobwebs, thick and sticky, couldn’t cling to the rafters of my mind. I didn’t need to comprehend what I saw, for I knew it already. I savoured every moment of it, as I watched that small clay pot reassemble itself, magically knowing how to piece itself back together, and leaving no traces, no marks, nothing other than another blurred memory thrown into the depth of that haunted mind of mine. I knew that other’s faith in me would always outlast my own, that without others I was nothing, and that was something, that with a gentleness and a subtleness I always dreamed of, pushed me out, into that dreamland, that state of mind I always fantasised about – and now I could create my masterpiece, the thing people would remember me for.
The end was in sight.
But had I been here before? How many times had that old clay pot reassembled itself before my eyes? How many more miracles would need to take place before the message sunk in? I still had no idea, because as I walked out in the light, I thought to myself,
Richard David Lawman is the chief Writer/ Director/ Producer of ‘The Putty In Your Hands’ production company. He can be found and contacted at http://richarddavidlawman.com/ and http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/richard-lawman/24/966/182
From within my cage they think that I can no longer get to them. They smile and laugh, drink coffee, rattle a large set of keys, shake their fingers at me as if scolding a naughty child; they believe they are safe and, of course, they are wrong and, if I wanted to, I could prove it. If my eye lashes were to flutter, the first guard would die of a heart attack. If my left hoof was to rise a little, I could snap the tallest guard in two and use him as bloody sticks upon the cells bars, making a hellishly sweet tune- Ha!
If I so desired I would smile sweetly, tear the walls down around me, build a box to hold the rest of the day’s corpses and cadavers in. Then, hour after hour, I would sacrifice the humans before each other, so they all knew- in those tortuous last moments- what was waiting for each and every one of them. If I wanted I would create obscene jewellery to wear- wristbands of babies flesh and a necklace of an elderly home’s collective cancer.
For a day I would travel from city to city and ask those in authority to bow before me and beg for forgiveness, and for my pleasure I would make them describe, in great detail, what they would do to their fellow humans to escape my wrath. And when all self-worth is gone and dignity has left them all- as one by one, they have sold out those they use to call ‘loved ones’- I will show them not the mercy they cry for, but instead they will watch as everything around them burns, knowing their punishment will be the last. And the most creative.
Then, if I desired, I would begin to grind the Earth together between my claws and hooves, and as it stops turning and all the Universe’s eyes are on me, as Armageddon becomes a bliss filled reality, I will finally do my very worst and — but I should stop, as I am getting myself a little… worked up… and… excited, and also I’m not actually going to do any of this. No, no- none of it all. I could if I wanted too but I don’t have anything to prove. These are mere fantasies, erotica, day dreams to pass the time as I wait.
For I have to bide my time and bide it well. So I will stay upright on my hind legs, with closed eyes and I will remain perfectly still. And wait. Why? Because Mother is coming and Mother knows best. And Mother will do, far, far worse than I ever could.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–(JJ Breech is the Curator/ Editor/ OversEEr of bizarrEEye Creative Community. He writes @ the UNSEEN & the OBSCENE blog (amongst other places) and has had an interest in Horror and the Fantastique from an early age, when he saw An American Werewolf In London, and realised that’s exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up!)
In the next coming days we have work from Adrian Reynolds (of http://www.dawnoftheunread.com/ fame [amongst other things]- a seriously great creative mind!), Richard Lawman (writer,director and all round renaissance man of ‘The Putty in Your Hands’ Production Company http://richarddavidlawman.com/) and my favourite musician- Haroon Mushtaq, known also as Theanon Wonder and Music From the Back Seat (find him @ https://soundcloud.com/theanonwonder)… and with more to come!
These are certainly exciting times but this venture won’t be possible if it wasn’t for YOU! We need fresh blood, new hungry writers and creators. Even if you have never written anything before do not be afraid, as you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is here! We are looking to create a comfortable, positive, pro-active yet thriving creative community where writers can blossom and find their feet.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your Horror/ sci-fi/ fantasy/ weird and bizarro fiction and poems submitted in today! We are looking to collate enough work to publish an anthology in the future but everything needs a beginning and today is that beginning.
Submit to- email@example.com
IT WILL BE A BLOODY MOON TONIGHT….