“It’s Cancer.” I said.
I may as well have shot my mother through the heart. She wept and wept in that way mothers do where all lesser problems are swept away in a cleansing wave of tears. Her sounds of sorrow pierced my ears with the crackle of the telephone line.
She paused to bite back more sobs. I stared out the window at the birds that swirled around the skies in a swarm without definite edge. Those birds all struggled on in spite of the cold and the rain. The birds always knew where they needed to go; even if all that place amounted to was around and around my flower beds.
“Is it treatable?” She went on; cutting through my calm again.
I thought about ‘Brainstorm’. It was one mana to draw three cards. Sure you had to put two back but that was free card draw for basically nothing. It was breaking formats and had whole other cards created just to equalize with it. I thought about the implications of that. I thought about the power of blue; the analytical mathematical raw power of the mind defeated the chaotic rabbles of red or the raw natural force and dynamism of green. The mind conquered all including the bodies of the hordes of chaos. Order beat chaos every time. That was the fundamental truth.
“It’s consuming my innards at an alarming rate mother.” I said, almost offhandedly, as my distraction led me to neglect her feelings and resort to brute honesty. She sobbed a little more.
“Doctors said there’s a chance of fully removing the tumours but it’s slim. They say it’s far more likely they’ll just delay the inevitable.”
A cat had killed a bird and left part of its entrails across my lawn. The flies buzzed around it in ecstasy at the feast. Normally I would be disgusted but I actually found it kind of fascinating. I supposed they were just trying to make a living after all. They lived barely a week each; but what made me any more permanent?
I answered a few more questions and let my mother gush. I simply sat and let the slow beast within consume me; quietly enjoying the company of a vast uncaring universe.
It started as just a story; a very dark one but a fully fictional one. But the problem with truly terrible stories like that is they have a habit of bleeding through the pages and words and spaces of their world and into our own.
I was working about four jobs at the time whilst trying to get something published. I wanted to write serious works on my life with perhaps an existential or transcendental edge. But there’s no place in Capitalism for such things apparently and soon I was resorting to sappy romantic novellas and ‘gripping’ action thrillers. It was all very demeaning and extremely fruitless. I managed to sell my manuscript for one book to another guy who would edit it and publish it himself and he bought it for a dollar. I considered that a good deal after fifteen rejections for publication. I was running out of inheritance and any day I might miss a heating bill and the entire house of cards would come crumbling down. In short I was desperate and would write just about anything if there was a chance it would sell.
And it was a very lonely and very drunk Thursday night that I wrote the story that this story is about. I only hazily remember the actual process. I was so soaked that I shook as I tried to type and my vision blurred and warped. The hallucinations were not uncommon when that tired and drunk but this time they were truly terrible. I saw all the furniture in my room begin to melt and my body sink through the chair and then the floor. Strange aberrations and faces rose and dispersed amongst the walls and from the shadows. It was very frightening and just then the summer snooze was banished and it started to rain. Then the rain accompanied thunder and the whole house shook from sudden storm. The light drained from the world and the crows and owls outside seemed to squawk and shriek and writhe in protest at all the water dumped upon them by a bellowing sky. I wanted to collapse and cry like those birds and writhe on the floor in defeat; but instead I typed with a fury the likes of which I had never experienced.
I woke the next morning to the light summer breeze and light again. My head was splitting from the strain but I was painfully dreadfully sober. I woke to find almost a hundred pages. I read and I read and I was deeply afraid.
The story was about some man who was investigating the murder of a little girl. He kept chasing these barely explained loose ends (the story was still in its first draft and by no means a masterpiece) before arriving on this strange old house where the girl grew up. Now, out of fear of the consequences, I will not repeat in further writing exactly what was discovered in the house but suffice it to say that what followed had rather more potency than the rest. I stood up with a start and went to the other room for coffee in hopes of waking myself up to better comprehend what I was reading. In the kitchen I found it trashed and the window broken as if I’d been burgled. Searching I’d found nothing missing but simply disturbed and it followed not the methodical approach of a burglar in search of valuables but of a wild animal desiring to be free. Following this bizarre line of analogy I realized the window left no shards of glass beneath it as if it had been broken from within.
Then on closer inspection I saw a scratch on the sill like a claw had been scratched against it and I froze.
I cannot describe the following four months to you. I cannot describe the monsters or the horrors or the many many gruesome deaths.
Because I already did that once when those things fictitiously happened to a man investigating the death of a young girl.
But some things cannot be contained in stories.
The worst horrors always break out.
Leaving scratch marks on the windowsills of madmens’ minds.
“You always must stay cheerful. No matter what happens.”
My father had always a face of stone, his features worn by the wind and waves of the world. But when met by the actual wind and waves they found themselves buffeted and he squinted in a way not becoming of a man in his forties. He had been divorced, lost his house to my mother and both of my older brothers to the slings and arrows of misfortune, and spent the last twenty five years trapped in a relationship with a women so insufferable it would have driven me to suicide in the same situation. My father was not a fortunate man but he kept to that mantra even by those twilight years as we stood by the thrashing sea.
The sky was a monotonous slab of grey hanging low and puffy over the wild water whipping in the wind. We were less than ten feet from the edge of the cliffs; not another soul in sight anywhere.
“…must stay cheerful”
He took out one of the long grey tubes from his coat and lit it. He hadn’t smoked in thirty years.
I asked him why he had asked me to meet him here. Why after all this ti-
“If fish didn’t stay cheerful they’d probably all leap out onto the beach and kill themselves.”
He handed me a key with a number and a bank logo on the lanyard.
“Everything worth owning is in there. Don’t let the bitch keep a thing.”
He was talking about the woman I mentioned earlier.
He turned to me and smiled as he backed towards the edge.
“You must always stay cheerful son.”
He turned to face the water and leaned back his head as his eyes closed.
“Because I wasn’t strong enough to.”
Standing in my room late at night. I’m reaching for the glass on the table when the door swings open behind me. I don’t have time to turn before I hear footsteps running my way.
I thought in that moment about mother. She would miss me terribly. I mean she still had my sister and her friends (although I didn’t know them so they could be a blessing or a curse for all I knew) but losing me so suddenly and so soon after my completion would be a major strike to her. In my death would be shock; but also terrible melancholy for one woman if not any other. My death would matter at least to her.
I thought then of my Father and the thought process was similar. He’d be hurt but would survive to remember me. In him was another place where my death would matter. I wouldn’t be forgotten right away.
There might have been others too, there was a case to be made for my wife and maybe my sister. I probably had more friends than I knew and they might miss me to. I would, in all likelihood, be missed.
But that did little to comfort me as the heavy fast footsteps drew nearer. My skin crawled terribly and my heart pounded painfully. I felt sick and numb and knew I would soon be dead. I was forced to endure an eternity of turning round only to be interrupted halfway by claws tearing through my back. The pain and the panic mixed and I grew even queasier as my head felt itself sucked through a tube by the mix of adrenaline and other shit that made my final seconds desperate and cold and terrifying. I died screaming and alone.
But then don’t we all?
How’s my favourite face-of-the-website doing?
Hate to bother you I’m sure your very busy cranking out more material but I got a little advicerino ( :p ) from the creepydailyweirdshorts marketing team and thought I’d just run it by you.
Now our focus groups are telling us that your content isn’t really appealing to direct demographics. I hate to say it but I’d have to agree. I read some of the things you submit and wonder to myself “who is supposed to be enjoying this?” Sometimes I think all the rebellion and dislike of authority stuff might be appealing to young people but then all the doom and gloom just bums me out and I think “no 15 year old is gonna wanna by our merchandize after reading this!” You’re totally a great writer I love the whole ‘dark occult’ thing really get it it’s really just so cutting edge but it’s clear some changes are gonna be needed if we’re gonna hit those key user bases. Here are the biggos:
-16-24 year old males. Particularly Caucasian males.
-This is the major one! Horror is for young white men: you need to be appealing to that. There’s too much sadness and futility and way-too-many old people. You need chicks in your shorts! Young attractive babes the guys can tear into reading about and to perk up their interest. And that’s a big part of it; sex sells! Bros love a hot babe almost as much as a hot babe getting plowed by a substitute them! xD Try and find ways to write this stuff in and try not to make it too weird. We want straight missionary; no freaky stuff and definitely no sex monsters you tried that before and it was good but didn’t exactly poll well. This needs to be your man priority (see what I did there haha!)!
-Kids buy stuff, or at least their parents do, and that is a market focus you really haven’t emphasized. Perhaps more cool monsters that can be turned into toys. Another thing to remember is kids have short attention spans so we need to make the posts much much shorter! A hundred words maximum if we’re gonna keep kids attention. Another things is we need to avoid many adult themes like alternate sexual activity! This is why it’s so important all the sex is exclusively straight missionary; kids have plenty of time to be corrupted in the big wide world but we need to keep it acceptable here. Also try to cut out the politics that will confuse them and, for that matter, divide your audience.
-It’s important to put romantic subplots in because otherwise women’s feeble little brains might just explode (haha just kidding don’t kill me feminazis calm down)! Those hot babes the protag’s will be banging have gotta be strong and independent to keep women interested (but mainly they need to be hot!!!!) and have to be able to prove their worth to the man. This could get you in so many more views than you’re getting currently.
So there you go these are the sorts of solutions you need to make your content have a broader appeal. So remember the posts need to be much shorter, much less scary, and appeal to as many people as possible! I really think you can do it!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” -Ghandi
“What is Civilisation if not a denial?” The Professors voice insistent; it seemed as he spoke the normal world were things made no sense and every fact was ambiguous ceased to be. As he spoke what he said became inarguably true in virtue of how firmly he insisted it. We felt ourselves accept the new reality and had the word of God revealed to us (our God just happening to be a thirty-something PhD in a tweed jacket).
“A denial of what we as human beings really are. A denial that we are creatures born to do whatever is required to convert as much matter and energy as possible into more of us. Morality, Civility, Democracy, Government, Art, they’re all denials of that fact. They’re all simply side effects of us, chemical rearrangement factories that we are, trying to make our chemical rearrangement processes more efficient. But what about people who don’t won’t kids? You might be asking.”
The Professor seemed to relish this next part.
“Why do we experience pleasure? Well it is all to do with endorphins. Love? That’s adrenaline at first followed by an oxytocin afterburner. Awe? Adrenaline again mixed with maybe a dab of serotonin in extreme cases. All these things are just our atom-rearrangement-machine bodies being in chemical arrangements that compel them to continue their current behaviour. Originally that was so we would compel ourselves to do things that left us better able to turn more matter and energy into more little arrangement factories. Now we have co-operated to teach each other to react this way to other things so we can maximise compulsions. Civilisation is just a bunch of crackheads setting up a rota that lets them all use as much as possible forever. We’re all just addicts. What’s so great about feeling happy? Congratulations you fulfilled your chemical compulsion with maximum efficiency! Great!”
There was no joy in any of our faces any more.
“So where’s the denial? It’s in the fact that in a couple of minutes this class is going to end and you’re all going to take the revelation I’ve just given you and forget about it because you have dinner to make or friends to hang out with or TV shows to watch. Society will let you deny the reality and slip back into complacent compulsion states again. You’re all addicts and you’re all going to do your best to forget that if I just end this class but guess what? I won’t let you.”
The Professor pulled out a .45 magnum handgun. We all started to scream. The cacophony shook lose the early morning sleepiness of an 11am class. A few shots into the air brought us to silence.
“I am going to stop using now.” He said; matter-of-factly
He put the gun in his mouth and sent brain in a fountain across the projector screen and the whole front wall of the auditorium. We all sat in stunned silence for a few minutes.
My daughter is in Love; and that’s so beautiful. The boy she loves lives half the world away and writes beautiful songs about her. Those songs are so beautiful millions of porcelain skinned doll eyed girls like her all buy them and they waft out of coffee shops and out of car stereos. My daughter needs this love of course; she feels so terribly alone and has that strange childish idea that the world is a cruel heartless place. It’s so helpful to be able to pay just ten bucks to have true love pumped out of her headphones. Perhaps the songs’ repetitiveness lay in trying to pin down exactly what it is about my very special and unique daughter and the millions like her that makes the boy love her so much.
The boy’s name is Dreamsy™ of Dreams-Corp Media® and he loves my daughter very much. He loves her and loves her for who she is so it seems quite fair that he should be paid for his troubles; after all loving all those millions of girls just for who they are can’t be cheap and he’s gotta earn a living after all. Sure he lives in a mansion and we live in a Trailer park but he loves her. It’s like a rags to riches story its romantic love crossing boundaries- how can love be wrong- what’s wrong with you you you…. You Scrooge– shut up no I’m not being played life isn’t meaningless stop it stop it stop it –LOVE HAS TO CONQUER ALL OTHERWISE HER LIFE IS JUST AS WORTHLESS AS MINE OH GOD NO-
My daughter’s in Love.
How could Love be wrong?