15 July, 2013

Jim Gains a Familiar!

"Oh, sweet merciful goodness! I think it sunk its teeth in even further!" I think I reached shrieking at this point, but I was very much against it biting my arm clean off. Diego ran over and began prying its jaws apart while I punched it in the back of the head.

After several seconds of tugging, Diego found a nerve on the little demon and it shrieked, releasing my arm from its jaws. Instead of letting go, it wrapped its stubby arms and legs around the wound it made, and clung to me as though I were a life raft to save him from drowning.

"Why the hell are you being so goddamn stubborn? What's the point of you?" I asked through gritted teeth and threw myself at a wall, using it to cushion my impact. It let out a pitiful squeak and let go. Instead of dropping straight to the floor, though, it hovered for a second before exploding to shreds. Diego and I just stared, dumbfounded.

When the dust settled and the strips of garden gnome flesh fell to the ground, there was a stereotypical-looking demon, red skin, black horns, bat-like wings, et al, hovering at my 6'3 eye level, flapping its wings to stay aloft. It immediately began flying toward the stairs to escape, but before I knew what I was doing, I barked out a couple syllables that might have sounded close to "No! Stay! Me!" and some other things I couldn't make out.

It looked like a cartoon at that point, with the way it seemed to collide with an invisible wall, and fell to the ground. When it landed, it dusted itself off, whipped its barbed tail along the ground and stared straight into my eyes, which made me want to take a step back, but some base, lizard-brain instinct told me not to budge, so I didn't.

We stared at each other, oblivious to Diego going back and forth between stammering about something and tilting his head back. It seemed like an eternity that we stared, having unknowingly entered a contest of fortitude against a full-fledged demon. My eyes started to burn, but in the end, it blinked first.

Almost immediately, as it looked away, down to the ground in defeat, did I realize that a segment of my brain I had no idea I had partitioned off suddenly became accessible. I could tap into the senses of this demon, an imp, as it was known where it came from. I didn't press for details, but they came anyway. I watched the imp fight amongst its kin to survive bursting forth from the stomach of a poor human woman, its brothers and sisters falling, dead, from the hole in her stomach. I vomited.

A whole lifetime of being a literal trickster from hell, pitting other demons against one another, all the while acquiring knowledge by pouring over books in some horrible library in the abyss, and how to access that information became clear to me. This imp owed me everything it had or ever will have, so all I had to do was demand it tell me what it knows, and it will. I also realized that the transfer of information was going the other way, too. The imp was learning about me and my life.

"Whoa...amazing. No, horrifying. No...whoa...." The imp flapped its wings a several times before launching up to a perch on my shoulder. It coiled its tail around the arm it bit into, and instantly the pain began receding. I was back to myself. I turned to Diego, excited.

"Hey, dude! Remember how Esther at that bookstore is always going on about her cat being her familiar? Now I've got one, too! This imp challenged me and I won! Kick ass!" I was so excited.

It was at this point, however, that I noticed we had an audience. Slowly, I turned toward the possible statue of Tandamum to see the bewildered faces of my neighbors.

"Well...shit."

08 July, 2013

Into the Belly of the Beast

The stairs were covered in moss, so Diego and I had to be absolutely sure about our footing. As we gingerly descended, we kept having to grab on to vines and other wall protrusions to keep from tumbling head first down the rest of the stairs. I had never felt so foolish going into my basement, but the last couple of days had changed how I feel about a lot of things.

"When we bought this place, did you ever think that this is where we'd end up? Going into the basement to slay a demon, armed only with a whip made of some vine and two axes?" Diego chuckled to himself as he spoke. The situation definitely had a sense of black humor about it. I felt like I was in a very bad B-movie.

At least we'd come out alive, though, so that was good. I had a girlfriend, so she would survive. Cliff and Sal, though.... Well, Sal may already be dead. That snapped me back to the present as I arrived at the bottom of the stairs. There was some sort of low humming coming from around the corner and towards the center of the basement, but I couldn't quite decipher what it was. Either way, it was rather unnerving.

We peeked around the corner and almost fell over in pure shock. What we saw, clear in the exact center of the cellar, was Tandamum with some sort of circle drawn around him on the floor, which didn't really bother me once I realized who the body bound and gagged (still unconscious) at the statue's feet was: Sal. I couldn't really make anything else out, as most of the neighborhood was down here, sitting cross-legged with their backs to us. The low hum was coming from them. Some sort of chanting, I supposed.

"Holy shit, Jay! It's fucking Tandamum!" Diego exclaimed in a whisper when he got around to seeing the demon-worship.

"Don't worry, dude. It's just a statue; it's not like that's actually him! Also, Jay? What the fuck?" I whispered back.

"I don't know, I'm experimenting with new things. Also, it totally could be, dude!"

"What? Are you dumb? Why would you think that?" I was getting kind of annoyed, as we needed to focus on getting Sal away from the statue, and our crazy cultist neighbors, not whether the dead body of the ultimate evil was petrified in front of us, or just a statue. Diego lightly punched me in the back of the head.

"Dipshit! Tandamum, Pacifi, and all of their people were made of stone!" I flashed back to Allendriel's story. Shit, he was right. My right bicep received a pinch.

"Ow! Cut the shit, dickhead! You already made your point!" I hissed, rubbing the impact site with my other arm.

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

"You pinched me! Or bit me. Either way, ow!"

"Dude. Why would I go for such a girly move immediately after punching you in the back of the goddamn head?"

I looked down into my arms again and realized that since entering the basement, I was missing a lot of things that were going on around me. For example, that creepy garden gnome with the smile with too many teeth was the real culprit, having sunk its needlelike teeth into my arm. It grinned at me.

"What do you want? To offer some unwarranted criticism, too? Too bad, I'm full up on that precious commodity. Pick something else."

It seemed to ponder that for a few seconds and then shrieked a "Pik pik!" before sinking its teeth in once again. I screamed and started flailing around.

"Flex! Flex your muscles! It'll make him explode!" Diego shouted, being less helpful than I'm sure he thought he was being.

"It's not a goddamn mosquito, Diego! It's-" I began screaming back.

"Yeah, it's a demonic garden gnome with syringes of who knows what for teeth that works for the Ultimate Evil, and it's trying to kill us! I'm sorry I didn't read the guidebook a million times to get the proper method of killing it!" I wanted to deck him, but I started hitting the garden gnome instead. It just held fast.

"Stand back-I mean still! Stand still!" Diego roared, lifting one of his axes up high above his head. Shit, he was really going to do it, so I did the only thing I could think of doing: act on impulse. I'm going to also take a moment here to let you know that I have always had very, very poor impulse control, which explains why instead of screaming and moving, I screamed and punched him in the nose instead.

"Oh, god! My nose!" He immediately dropped the axe to the ground with a clang, and put both hands to his nose to check for bleeding.

"Relax, dude! Relax! It's not broken!" I went to offer as much assistance as I could, but he waved me away with his elbows. Turning from me and muttering, Diego tilted his head back toward the ceiling. I don't think he believed me about his nose being broken, but one crisis at a time. Before that, I would have to deal with-

"Oh, sweet merciful goodness! I think it sunk its teeth in even further!"

05 July, 2013

(a chaotic missive from the one who lived)

How do I begin? I honestly have no idea, so I suppose I'll do stream-of-consciousness and see where it takes me. I apologize in advance for the scattered thoughts.

On Sunday, my baby brother died. No. Took his own life. That morning will always be seared into my brain, and my usually shitty memory won't ever let it go. I remember what I was thinking on the drive home from work that morning. I was thinking about taking him out for that beer I owed him for his 21st birthday, back in January, once I received my permanent work schedule.

.....

(1 hour, 16 minutes later)

.....

A conversation between a bard and a writer:

Bard: I like what you have so far. You can read the one I put up for Nate .... When you're ready. Its "My Immortal"
Writer: I can't. I'm mentally blocked. I tried continuing, but all that would come out was sdhga gsigh sig...gibberish. I physically cannot write about it....

Bard: Don't force it. Dy, it took me fourteen years to write about my son. I stupidly made two of the main chars [in the zombie book] dealing with the loss of a son and a friends suicide. You KNOW how much I avoid that book. Fuck, horror is my genre. And I'm a cynic And I'm writing romance and erotica! It'll flow when it's time.

Writer: Not good enough.

Bard: You can't force it. It will happen when you are ready. Sitting around and talking yourself into believing you can't write it before you've even tried won't help either. /toughlove You are the best writer I know, and I believe in you. You're in pain right now. It's still very new.

Writer: I think I'm about to round the corner to rage real soon. I can feel it bubbling up within me.

Bard: That's part of grieving. A very normal part of it. Embrace it. But don't hurt yourself.

Writer: It's shades of red and orange, a hulking juggernaut proud to exist, fully confident in its purpose. There is a smell it doesn't recognize in the air, and it stirs feelings of remorse, regret, pain, grief, agony, terror. It knows that these feelings are gateway feelings. Not in the typical sense, in that they lead to other emotions, but a gateway to freedom. It has never seen the outside world, but it lurks, hungry. When it rounds the last corner and discovers the source of these feelings, it will throw its head back into the sky and scream a terrible, soul-rending scream.

Bard: Put THAT into the blog, Dy. That's a perfectly real and honest portrayal of grief. And beautiful

Writer: The thing is that since it has never seen the outside world before, I am afraid of what I will say and do. There is a rage inside of me I have not known, and it is waiting for the tiniest bump in the road, the slightest inconvenience. What bridges will I burn?

Bard: You ok?

Writer: No. Not even a little. I feel the same sense of dread that I would imagine those unable to leave the path of an oncoming storm feel, the quiet before the sound and the fury incarnate.

Bard: No one will blame you for acting out at a time like this. No one that really cares. Remember, I threw a Christmas tree through a window once. I get it. I understand. Yell at me if you want to. I am here. If you need me. Always. I appreciate your concern, but I am your friend, and I care. Just know I'm here if you need me, okay? For anything. To vent to, to edit your writing, to share beautiful memories, or just someone to talk nonsense with to get your mind off of it. I wish I could do so much to help you and lend support. I'll do whatever I can from 500 miles away. Okay? *big hug*

Writer: And just like that, it's rerouted down another corridor. A temporary standoff. Not much, but something.

.....

(1 hour, 4 minutes later)

.....

I am empty. Drained. I know not how to deal. I begin to think of fairness and what's "right," as if I can will my desires into being simply because I know what is the best universal course of action. The earth still turns and the sun still races across the sky. Lives are still lived and things don't care. I am left to deal with all of my angst and all of the my complex emotions that come with the suicide of my brother. (I have spent so much time writing fiction lately that it doesn't matter how many times I write those last five words, they, too, seem like fiction to me.)

.....

(12 minutes later)

.....

I just don't know. I haven't cried all that much, and I worry that I'll be driving or working at one or the other in-home direct care jobs I have when it hits me, and then I'll be unable to function. What do I say at that point? What do I do? I tried reading a blog authored by someone who went through this also, but the words don't seem to have any relevance to my life and my situation. I just haven't found any way to connect to what she's writing. Part of me thinks it'll come in time. Part of me thinks it never will. Part of me just shut itself off from thinking.

I am lost, confused, sad and angry that I'm not more sad and angry.

I was originally going to put Lawn Gods and all other projects on an indefinite hiatus, but then I realized that I shouldn't do that. I'm going to need to keep busy. However, I will take the rest of this week off, and we'll see where I am as far as continuing the story of Jim and Diego on Monday.