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Messages - Rivers

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1
Midnight Marinara & Undercooked Analysys / Re: The Divide
« on: 10:20:12 PM 05/15/18 »
I can give my personal observations on FSU and how it stands at the moment. To me it's drawing a lot of similarities to troubled projects I've seen before. The pushed deadlines and extended wait times is one worrying factor. DP as far as I know did address this in an update video and if I'm remembering correctly, put it down to inexperience with dealing with a project of this size. Which is a fair statement. People are usually forgiving when it comes to those things, more so when the project lead can cop to their own shortcomings. Usually means their gonna work on it. The issue that does arise from that however is when there's no end goal in sight.

Lack of communication is another factor that crops up too. Not keeping people informed on a regular basis is rarely a good thing and leads to apathy as the months go by. Discussion and interaction regarding the project die down as people loose interest. I know some things went down before the split on UCA that also contributed to the delay (DP got sick, flooded apartment etc.) of the project but some constant feedback to the community would've been helpful in keeping everyone up to date. A thread on here would've been ideal.

As for the split itself. It came out of left field for sure. I'm not going to hold it against anyone who feels the need to step away for a while after something like that happens. Again though, without any clear indication on what the state of the project is, I can only assume personaliy, even longer delays or cancellation.

There's a few ways it can go as I see it.  The project could be handed over to someone else who can take full responsibility on seeing it through to its completion. That might be a big ask though. The other option is to let everyone know how it stands now honestly and work to get a solid plan in action. Or it could continue as is which to me would be to its own detriment because even if it does reach its end point I think it will lose a lot of interest and participation as well as any excitement people may have had for it. You can only hook participants for so long before they move on.

Honestly, this project needs a new coat of paint and a swift kick in the teeth to reinvigorate it.

It's not my intention to hold DP and the former judges in a negative light. I don't believe they had any malicious intent regarding FSU. I'm sure they're heart was in the right place and they wanted to do well by everyone involved. I do believe however that there are valid criticisms to be made on how it's been handled up till now. I really hope the project gets back on its feet soon and succeeds on what it set out to do. Cause it would kinda suck for all those involved if it didn't.

2
Gah! I think your discovery of the reason behind the sticky floors is the real horror story here. That's the kind of knowledge that'll wash any nostalgia away.

I've never felt truly scared at a horror film. I've always found them more entertaining than terrifying. There was on instance though which I can still remember to this day. It's the scene in Terminator 2 when Sarah Connor is dreaming of the nuke hitting the city and she gets burned to a crisp. That scared the shit out of me when I was young. I had nightmares for years after of being outside and looking up to the sky to see a bomb dropping.


3
General Discussion / Re: Fleming Storage Units Discussion
« on: 01:57:31 PM 02/16/18 »
Hmm. From what I can gather, you just need the address for the server and add it in the + section of the drop down menu. As to what the address is, I don't know. Sorry. Like I said, not too up on that stuff. Maybe try PMing one of the mods.

4
General Discussion / Re: Fleming Storage Units Discussion
« on: 05:57:26 PM 02/14/18 »
You'll have to make a Discord account I think and it should be accessible from the front page here on TooSpooky.

5
General Discussion / Fleming Storage Units Discussion
« on: 04:16:05 PM 01/11/18 »
Hey, is there any further updates on the project yet? I know Dead Palette was ill and hasn't got around to finishing Custodial Corpse yet. But thats all I know. I'm not up on the Twitter or Discords and the like.

Also, how is everyone feeling about their stories over 2 months on?

I'm still quite happy with mine. I did the best I could at the time though shit was crazy in my personal life. I'm a bit bugged that I couldn't post it sooner at the time so as to get some feedback. I don't know how it's going to stand up to scrutiny rules wise because I bent one of them so far I may have broken it! On the plus side, there is a radio station slot in the lore.

6
Your Stories / Re: Walking home.
« on: 03:21:15 PM 01/01/18 »
I so want to draw a one page comic strip of this. It's perfect.

7
Your Stories / Re: Trick
« on: 03:20:23 PM 01/01/18 »
Nice little Halloween tale. Shame I only got around to reading it now!

What I like most about this is the authors obligated action of sticking to this seasonal social contract and the weird/spooks arises from those that subvert it.

[spoiler]I honestly thought it was four mannequins dressed up indicating the "Trick" in the title with some sort of motion activated voice doodad. I like the supernatural ending too. The four of them more than likely having been killed after his house and their spirits caught in this loop.[/spoiler]

8
Your Stories / Re: Serious Inquiries Only, Please!
« on: 02:42:55 PM 01/01/18 »
What a delightfully macabre story. I really like the wanted ad structure and the voice of the narrator who lays out this disturbing plan (it's for science!) in such a calm matter of fact way. I think it's the determination that gets me the most. It's clear that there is no straying from the path on this venture.

If you were ever to do a follow up, an idea could be from the point of view of the person or persons who carried out the authors wishes. I think as long as you kept the same premis, taking something mundane and injecting the creep factor, it would deffinately pay off.

Good stuff.

9
Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Master List of Summaries
« on: 06:41:25 PM 11/28/17 »
Unit #25: Wailing Woods

Narrator: Martin.

His brother owns the unit. They both live locally and it's usually Martin who calls to the facility. He has the appropriate paperwork. Their unit is filled with boxes of empty jars.

10
Hey Rika84. I really enjoyed reading this. I got quite a few chuckles at the start there and the bit with the rat was great. You have a way of injecting humour into your writing that is admirable. Overall, I like the pacing and characters. The story itself feels very low key and straight to the point in a good way.

And let's not forget the lemonade!

11
Fleming Storage Units WIPs / Re: Location Collaboration
« on: 03:27:28 PM 11/15/17 »
Hey, #25 here. Still writing my entry but there's a few events I'd like to note.

My character reacts by dropping and smashing a box of glass jars upon hearing the saxophone playing, Thursday afternoon Oct 12. He yells out "Shit!" Nobody need approach.

Shortly afterwards, he'll make his way to Hopper's consignment and upon exiting will speed out of the Flemming Plaza parking lot in a black pickup truck.

That's all for now. If there's anymore I'll post up.

12
Fleming Unit #25: Wailing Woods

Raising the metal door on the storage unit in the chill October morning air, I blinked the sleep from my eyes and peered inside. Neat stacks of cardboard boxes almost filling the ten by twenty-five foot space stood at the ready, reminding me of what had to be done. I tried and failed to suppress a yawn when grabbing hold of the first box, feeling the jars rattle around inside as I dropped it in the back of the pickup. I hadn’t been getting much sleep and it was all because of that damned wailing.

It had first come to my attention about two weeks earlier, waking me from a deep sleep well past two in the morning. I jumped up in the bed in a cold sweat, heart racing like it was going to explode out of my chest. As I sat there in the pitch dark trying to slow my breathing, that racket outside continued droning on.

When it became clear that it wasn't stopping any time soon, I leaped out of bed and stalked my way to the window, peering cautiously outside. The fields out the back of my place were in complete darkness making it hard to see anything at all, not that I had expected to really.

As I waited for my eyes to adjust, the sound rose up again, seeming louder than before, cutting through my bones leaving a chill in its wake. I'd heard before that a crying fox can make strange sounds so concluded that it must've been what I was hearing. Yet it returned every night after that, sometimes low and distant, other times as if it was coming from just outside my back yard.

There were a few occasions when sheer frustration won over. I'd make my way out into those fields, freezing my balls off, looking for wherever or whatever the source was. Thing is, it always seemed to shift farther away or change the direction I thought it was coming from. I must have looked like a right idiot going this way and that in the pitch dark, torch beam swishing about randomly.

Eventually I resigned myself to spending most nights in front of the TV, trying to drown it out. Maybe I shouldn't have given up so easily on those searches, but at the time, I felt any effort on my part was useless. So, gone was the idea of a good night’s sleep, which left me more tired and haggard as the days dragged on. Needles to say, I wasn’t in a good way.

Back in the storage unit, my thoughts were suddenly interrupted by the ringing of my mobile phone, nearly causing me to drop the next box destined for the truck. It was completely clear to me that my nerves were shot at that point which was not a good way to be in my line of work. Digging the thing out of my pocket, my brother’s name flashed on the screen which is what I had expected. Taking a deep breath, I answered.

“Well, howya.” I said.

“Well Martin, how are we gettin’ on?”

“Not bad, not bad.” I replied. “Just started loading up the jars there”.

“Good good. Remember to try and take as many as you can. We’ve only got four days to empty the bloody thing. The email said to have everything out by October fourteenth.”

I sighed and paused for a moment realising once again that my brother would always repeat things to me, afraid that I was going to forget or something. “I’m the brains of the outfit” he was fond of saying.

“Yeah yeah, I remember.” I mumbled eventually.

“Fucks sake, last thing we needed was some fucker to turn up dead in the place. We can kiss Fleming Storage Units goodbye I guess. Shame, but we’ll just have to find somewhere else to store the goods.” he said in a matter of fact tone.

“So... I’m bringing them straight up to the place yeah?” I asked, simultaneously realising that maybe he had a point in repeating things to me.

“Yeah, like I said already. I’m up here waiting so don’t take too long. I’ll see you then.”

With that, he hung up and I was once again alone with my thoughts. I tried to shift my focus to the task at hand and when that failed to take my mind off the prior two weeks events, I began to reminisce about how the O’Brien boys from the Emerald Isle ended up in Montana, USA; land of the yanks.

We'd arrived in New York ten years earlier with a song in our hearts and dollar signs in our eyes. It was to be a fresh start for the both of us, a clean slate and chance to make a decent living. Then the crash happened and we heard from family back home that the Celtic Tiger had the back broke on it. So there we were, stuck in the states, with no way nor reason to go back home.

When the city provided no work, we headed out to the open country and slowly worked our way north. Making a living wasn’t always easy but old habits and quick thinking saw us through the rough patches, even if we did see the inside of a cell or two along the way. It was late 2013 when we finally settled into Havre Montana, a decent sized town with a unique opportunity for the both of us.

I finished loading the truck, satisfied with the amount of boxes piled in the back plus a few in the passenger seat to boot, then locked the unit. It took a couple of tries before the engine rumbled into life and I drove out of there taking note of the police presence dotted around the facility. Soon after, I was cruising down Beaver Creek Road outside of town, making my way to the national park.

That’s where we had set up our distillery. I'd asked my brother once, “Why so far out?”

“Better to be safe than sorry.” was the blunt reply.

I guess he was right because for all the years we were brewing, we never saw any trouble. Moonshine is what our clients called it, and we had quite a few of them, even over the border. But it was a good old fashioned family 'Poitín' recipe we were working from. Sure it was legal to own a distillery in Montana but there was no way we were going to get a permit with our history. Like I said, old habits and quick thinking.

The familiar scenery of the heavily thicketed trees flew past me on either side as I tried to stir my mind awake. The restless nights were catching up to me in a bad way making things fuzzy. When taking the first turn off, I could’ve sworn that I spotted a figure standing just beside the road, which would've been unusual that deep into the wilderness. A quick glance in my rear view mirror revealed nothing of the sort and I told myself it had to be a tree stump or something.

Needing some sort of stimulation, I switched on the radio and turned the knob through various static and chatter before finally settling on my favourite local station. “Welcome to Richard Little’s Rock Marathon Hour” cried the presenter cheerfully. Some classics kept me company on the rest of the journey, offering a small reprieve.

I bumped and jostled in the truck down the little known dirt road to the distillery and spotted my brother waiting at the start of the trail beside his green Ford. Getting closer, I could see his arms folded in clear impatience, red shock of hair similar to my own wild on his head and bristly beard formed into a scowl. Pulling up alongside him, I rolled down the window and awaited the inevitable tongue lashing.

“What the hell took you so long Martin?” he said in that familiar tone of disapproval.

“Sorry, I’m loading as fast as I can.” I said a little annoyed myself.

“Jesus, you look like shit.”

“I didn’t sleep so good last night.”

He grabbed two of the boxes from the back before I could switch the engine off and was well out of sight by the time I stepped out of the cab. Taking hold of a couple myself, the dirt crunched noisily under my boots as I rushed to catch up.

“You’ve been saying that for weeks Martin. Why don’t you go and get some pills for it or something. We don't need any slip-ups, especially now”

“I’ll be fine” I replied, making it clear I wasn’t interested in discussing the matter further. He took the hint and we walked the rest of the way in silence.

Eventually we arrived at the shack where we’d set up shop. I don’t know who built the thing; it was old as shit, but suited our needs down to the ground. My brother opened the squeaky ramshackle door and the smell of malted barley on the cook wafted out. He set his load down inside by a dusty cobwebbed corner and gestured for me to hand him what I was carrying.

“You keep bringing them up and I’ll fill them. I want to get as much product ready to go, use up as many of the jars as I can until we find a new place to store them. Did the cops give you any trouble?”

“No, nothing.” I assured him.

“Good. I’ve pressed enough notes into that fucker Platt’s hand to look the other way in case anything ever went down.”

William Platt was a member of the local police and always ready to be persuaded not to do his job. We had happily obliged. Thankfully he was one of the officers who ended up assigned to supervise the shuttering of Fleming Storage Units. So any suspicions about piles of empty jars could be easily swept away. The cops knew about our little venture for sure but could never pin us on anything and to be honest, didn't seem too interested. Still, there was no need to give them a reason.

A quick inspection of the shack made it clear that all the boxes we had to move wouldn't fit. I said as much to my brother.

“Yeah I know.” he replied snarkily. “Look, we'll fit as many as we can and take the rest to your place. You can find room for them I'm sure.”

I knew that the plan wasn't up for debate, like always, so nodded and turned to make my way back down the trail. He quickly called out to me after a few steps.

“Hey, before you go, you didn’t see anyone suspicious knocking about did you?”

I froze on the spot recalling that figure I thought I'd seen on the drive up, mulling over the possibility on whether it had actually been there or just a figment of my frazzled mind. More importantly, I wanted to be absolutely sure so as to avoid any further barking from my brother.

“No no, not that I’ve seen.” I told him, choosing the easier answer. “Why, what’s going on?”

“Probably nothing, probably something. Those Moore’s over in Fort Benton got their knickers in a twist over that last shipment. Said we short changed them and that they’re going to come looking for their money. Them fuckers can be unpredictable at the best of times so best to keep an eye out, just in case.”

I nodded in understanding and made my way down the trail a little more wary, peering into the wooded landscape on the lookout for any possible elusive figures. I was annoyed too because my brother had delivered that shipment short. It sure as hell hadn’t been the first time. He was always looking for ways to cut the corners.

That night, I lay anxiously in bed trying to fall asleep but my mind was racing with the thoughts of mysterious figures and disembodied wailing. Eventually, fatigue won over and I drifted off into an uneasy rest. I awoke in a start at 4am, the time glaring back at me from the red glowing digits of my alarm clock. My forehead and back were drenched in sweat, chest heaving, hammering like an out of control motor.

I sat up immediately, breathing heavily through the complete silence, ears pricked for the unwanted noise. I remember in those few seconds pleading to whoever would listen but more to myself, “Please God, let it not start tonight, let that be the end of it.” There was to be no such luck for me.

It started low at first, creeping over the dark landscape outside and then raising in its hollow cacophony like the waves of an angry sea clashing off the side of a cliff; the wailing. The haunting sick melody seemed to be getting louder than ever before, so much so that I found myself covering my ears in sheer exhausted frustration.

After trying to ignore the problem away, I shot up out of bed making a beeline to the window, viciously wiping the sweat from my brow with the back of my hand. Anger at this point outweighed all the previous fear and doubt so I flung the window open shouting, “Shut the fuck up!”

It didn’t make any difference and the horrid noise continued unabated. I bunched my hands to my eyes trying to wipe away the haze and spotted something just outside the back yard fence, standing in the shrouded dark of the field beyond.

The similarities were uncanny to that of the figure I had seen earlier that day. Getting a better look than before, it's silhouetted shape seemed familiar and alien to me all at the same time. I kept my gaze locked onto it, unwilling to blink, trying in vain to make out any actual features. Before I could however, it seemed to shift out of existence, like my mind had willed the shape into being then decided against it.

“Just my eyes playing tricks on me.” I murmured.

The following day went without any event of note, though I kept my eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. I continued to empty the storage unit, shifting the jars out to the distillery. My brother quipped idly that I seemed more on edge than before. I didn’t let any of my nightly experiences slip, which on the surface was due to some sense of pride. Deep down however, I feared he would confirm a suspicion that was steadily growing in the back of my mind. I was going crazy.

That night, the wailing continued its torment and when I ventured to the window again, the figure seemed to be closer than before, standing rigid just by the fence. When I dared to look closer, I got the feeling it was staring up at me, even though the face was still a blur. A quick blink later and it was gone. Some reruns of bullshit talk shows kept me company until I finally fell asleep.

The morning after, on a Thursday, my drive over to the facility was plagued by mysterious figures appearing on the side of streets, peeking from behind abandoned office windows. It was my exhausted mind I rationalised to myself, hallucinations of an addled brain.

Sometime in the afternoon was when my composure finally toppled completely. I was taking another box from the reduced stack when a noise suddenly began to emit from outside the unit, low and haunting. My heart began to beat faster, thoughts shifting to the possibility that the wail had come to visit me during the day. The cardboard slipped from my hands striking the ground, smashing the jars inside on impact.

After the initial shock, I realised that someone in another unit was playing music, a saxophone it sounded like. I sat down on some boxes and tried to gather my thoughts. The wailing, the figure, my brother’s warning about the Moore’s all added up to a set of circumstances ready to drive me over the edge. Mulling over my options on how to handle my situation, I decided it was time I took matters into my own hands before things got any worse.

I slammed the door down and locked it, taking note of the other people emptying their own units before getting into the truck. They all looked relatively normal and content compared to how I felt at the time. I took the short spin over to 'Fleming Plaza' next door and pulled up in the lot.

It wasn't a large area but had a healthy mix of business's which included a couple of restaurants, a doctor's office, a dentist and 'Inspector Moo Moo's', whatever the hell that was. Without any further consideration or second guessing, I made my way briskly to Hopper’s Firearms and Consignment.

The store was filled with various items like lawnmowers, electric drills, children’s toys and of course guns. These mostly consisted of bolt action rifles and shotguns but Peter Hopper always kept a few handguns under the counter. His large overweight frame was busy with some task as I approached and only spotted me when I was nearly in front of him, a friendly smile breaking across his face.

“Well Martin, how’s things? You look a bit worse for wear”.

“Hey Pete, I’m not too bad all things considered.” I managed with a straight face. “Just been busy clearing out the old storage unit next door. Few late nights is all”

“Yeah, that business with the body sure is unfortunate. Shame the place is closing down”.

Then lowering his voice and casting his eyes about for any unwarranted listeners he asked, “Speaking of which, this won’t hold up a few jars of the stuff coming my way will it?”

“No, I’ll get you some by the end of the week, no worries. But that’s not why I’m here.”

I paused momentarily before continuing on. “I need a gun, pistol preferably, quick, and I don’t want to fill out any paper work if you get my meaning.”

Pete’s smile returned at this and he nodded in approval. “You finally taking advantage of that second amendment you Irish bastard?”

“Yeah, yeah Pete, come on, what you got” I enquired.

He reached under the counter and pulled out a few small black cases, lining them up in front of me in an almost ritual manner. Flipping them open, he gave me the low-down on each model, some 1911's and a couple of revolvers. I didn’t really care at that moment so picked a silver six shooter and dropped the cash into his hands.. Pete gave me a wink and said he owed me one and not to worry about the paper work. I liked Pete and always gave him a few extra jars on delivery. It sort of  ironed out the cut corners my brother was fond of taking.

Once back outside, I made my way to the truck, case tucked securely under my arm and got inside. As I sat in the comfort of the seat it must have been the new possession in my hands that put me at ease because I quickly drifted off. My ringing phone awoke me from a much needed rest. Taking note of the time on it, I realised I’d only been sleeping for five minutes yet it had felt like hours. My brother’s name was flashing on screen.
I answered and the tone of his voice instantly put me back on edge.

“Where are you.” he said in a hurried fashion.

“I’m out at Flemings. You said that I was to start brining the stuff back to my place last night remember? I replied defensively.

“That's not it!”

He sounded almost panicky and I knew straight away that something must be wrong. He wasn’t the type.

What’s going on?” I blurted out.

“You need to get up here quick. I don’t know what the hell is going on but something is going down. So get your ass up here now”.

He hung up abruptly, leaving me to quickly gather what was left of my senses. I must have left some rubber on the asphalt with the speed I tore out of the parking lot. The drive down Beaver Creek Road felt almost otherworldly. Sheer exhaustion mixed with raw nerves had all been topped off with an uneasy and uncertain panic creeping in.

It seemed that those figures were behind every bush and tree on the side of the road. I harnessed all my focus to keeping my eyes dead ahead and switched on the radio. “Welcome to Richard Little’s Rock Marathon Hour” crackled out of the speaker.

“That doesn't seem right,” I remember thinking. “Wasn't that slot on earlier, or was it later?” Those past few days all seemed like a blur to me in that moment. Static quickly drowned out the first bars of a song and my attempts at tuning that station, any station back in were useless. I switched it off angrily, telling myself to get a grip.

When I finally veered onto the road down to that oh so familiar trail, dusk had set in, the sky showing the first sign of stars.

I nearly lost control of the truck a few times in my haste, forgetting how bouncy the dirt road could be at high speed. When I reached the trail, I pulled out my phone and rang my brother. There was no answer to the multiple calls, each time going to voicemail. I could see his car parked in its usual spot so he had to still be there. Opening the gun case, I retrieved the weapon with shaky hands and filled the cylinder with some shells.

I exited the truck and began to make my way slowly up the trail. Shining lights on my back made me realise that I had left the headlights on and engine running. Deciding it could wait, I continued on warily, deeper into the woods. I was a fair distance in when that damned wailing rose up abruptly out of nowhere.

A cold chill cut through me on hearing it, a sick feeling rising in my stomach. “It can’t be happening, it can’t be happening” I repeated to myself over and over again, desperate to drown out the horrid racket.

I broke into a sprint, muscle memory taking over spurred on by fear. The closer I got  to the shack, the louder it seemed to get, more potent in it’s torrential assault. I pressed the palms of my hands to my ears, yet still held tight to the gun, trying to block out that endless unyielding wailing.

My brain began to scramble as it interpreted a sick reality from that nightmare. I could feel this endless loneliness emanating from deep inside the guttural noise, mixed with a terrible pain. Stumbling unsteadily up the end of the trail, the shack finally came into view. I could barely make it out in the shade of the high trees and encroaching night. Then a figure stepped into view.

It looked like the one outside my window, like the ones I'd seen on town corners, behind office windows, behind bushes and trees. As far as I was concerned right then and there, it was the cause of it all; the sleepless nights, the wail, the endless torment, my shitty fucking life, all of it.

I raised my weapon it its direction and fired once. The gunshot blasted out, echoing into the vast wooded expanse. When it subsided, the wailing had stopped and the figure lay in a heap on the ground in front of me.

I emptied the rest of the storage unit the next day to keep up appearances then packed up a handful of my gear and left town not long after.

I’m going to head back to Ireland, back to home and see if I can finally find some peace.

13
Narration & Review Videos / Shining Lights - Audio Drama
« on: 08:54:18 AM 11/05/17 »

14
Your Stories / Shining Lights
« on: 03:53:50 PM 10/25/17 »
{Authors Note: You can also listen to the full audio production here. http://toospooky.com/videos/shining-lights-audio-drama/}

Shining Lights

Entry 1: March-16-2017

It was raining today. I like the rain. People rush all around me when it starts, trying in vain to escape the downpour. It’s the same for those not adequately prepared for the inevitable event as it is for those with their slickers and pop up umbrellas. The suffocating crowd develop a quicker step, rushing, scrambling to get to their various destinations, like ants caught in the deluge.

I slow down however, allowing the mass to move around me, jittering and jostling on the slick puddle ridden street, their footsteps splashing, adding to the cacophony of the never ending noisy cityscape all around. It’s in these moments when I truly feel like myself; the sometimes dormant thought surfacing again to remind me how apart I really am.

I’ve always had an eye for details, ever since I can remember; an ability to take in all those minor intricacies that everyone misses in their pointless rush. I see the water droplets collecting on my hands forming rivulets, taking paths of chance dictated by the texture of my skin; a wave of spray bouncing off the dark surface of an upturned umbrella. Looking skyward past the tall looming glass enclosure, I see the subtle movement of the dark grey heavy clouds as they slowly move on their meandering way. When I really concentrate it’s almost like time slows down and the individual drops reveal themselves to me, clear and in focus on their falling downward journey, reflecting light outwards, encompassing the entire visible world within; shining lights for a brief existence. I like the rain.

Entry 2: March-19-2017

Sometimes I ask myself “Why bother?”

At night I sit at my small window in my small shitty apartment looking out at the countless lights of the city beyond, glancing down every so often to the street below, seared orange by the glow of the road side lamps. Even then, people are rushing around in their cars or walking or cycling, going to places I don’t know nor care to. This is when the question hits me, “Why bother?” Something is missing inside.

During the day I work in an office, in a building shaped building the same as any else. I’ve been employed there for more than five years, my designated space a small cubicle situated on the dark end of the floor away from the glare of the large framed windows; my only light a single florescent fixture on the stained tiled ceiling.

My work consists of data input. Rows of figures that need to be checked and transcribed, click click, onto the next row. Every day.

My boss tells me I’m good at my job. I have an eye for details. Yet my pay is still the same and I’m working to live while living to work. Others in the office get promotions that have not been there for as long as I have.

Others like Greg; one of those suave loud talkers in a pressed suit with his blonde hair combed straight, a stupid smile on his clean shaven face. Am I being stepped over?

Peeking out from behind my enclosure I always spot him hanging around the water cooler, high fiving with his clique and saying things like “Did you see the game on Sunday?” Does he ever work? It doesn’t seem so to me.

On those rare occasions when I make a trip past his presence, he’ll turn and say “Here’s the quiet one”. That’s what they call me in the office because I hate talking and hate small talk even more. I’m there to work after all. I see those blue eyes of his moving up and down on me, taking in my lithe body, small breasts and cropped black hair; their intent clear and that stupid grin widening, showing a row of perfect bleached teeth. Greg is a fucking pig.

A dog howls in the night, a car horn echoes in the distance. A group of women stagger on the street below me, laughing in a drunken stupor, dressed up in their finery dictated by ritual.

This city is killing me.

I think I’ll take a trip this weekend, somewhere outside the confines where nature runs wild. A walk amongst the trees with nothing but the chirping birds might alleviate my thoughts; the fresh air might alleviate my lungs.

Entry 3: March-24-2017

Fucking Greg. The hate I feel for him is something I haven’t experienced before. This is new.

Yesterday as I was getting ready to leave the office, he approached and explained that he needed me to work over the weekend, and I needed to work late; a problem with the data. Someone had made an error and now it had to be fixed, making me the best candidate because of my efficient work rate, click click.

Greg doesn’t fool me. When I looked at the figures it was easy to see that the mistake was on his end. He’s the team leader for my department holding responsibility for the final output. So why was I shouldering his responsibility? Even my boss agreed and said some shit about how we all make mistakes sometimes and that I really am the best candidate to clean up the mess; that the data needed to be ready for the new business week. I’ll get paid overtime and my trip outside the city is cancelled.

I’ve never been in the office that late into the night before; I never had a need to be, my work is always exemplary. The rest of the floor lay in a shroud of darkness and my cubicle was for once the brightest beacon in the gloom. Any thoughts of peace and quiet I might have had in the empty floor were quickly dashed by the constant hum of the breathing city outside and my own working hands on the keyboard. I knew it was going to be a late finish but that didn’t bother me; I don’t sleep much anyway.

It was nearly twelve by the time I finally left; the only other person that remained in the building was the cleaner manoeuvring his floor buffer methodically in the front lobby, large earphones separating him from the rest of the world. Once out on the street the din was less but still ever present as I began my walk home taking my usual route of the 12 block journey. Public transport is an institute I try to avoid as much as possible. During the day it was exchanging the crowded street for the sardines of the bus or train, the sweat and odour in those tightly packed spaces assaulting my senses. At such a late hour those modes of transportation saw less use of course but I decided not to break tradition. I’m a creature of habit after all.

The journey home was uneventful, that was until I came to a particular alley I would always cut through. During the day it’s always empty; the rusty shuttered doors long since drawn closed after taking in the early morning deliveries, discarded plastic and paper gently moving in the breeze, like the vague signs of life on a small desolate wasteland. I quickly spotted something out of place there however in the shape of a man, which initially gave me pause due to the unexpected and unusual nature of the event.

I decided to press on, not wanting to add an extra fifteen minutes to my nightly excursion. Keeping one wary eye on this unwanted stranger, I slowly approached. He was leaning against the wall, a brown paper bag clasped in his hand that moved every so often to his mouth, tilting back to pour its contents in quick greedy gulps. I was finally noticed when only a few feet away. He took an immediate interest.

His face was shrouded, covered as it was by a filthy grey hoodie, as he turned to say in slurred fumbled words “Hey babe”. Of course it was a drunk for what else could it be in this damn city at this damn hour? I ignored him and continued to walk on, quickening my pace in the hopes of avoiding any exchange.

My heart began to beat faster when I heard, “Hey babe, c’mon now, don’t walk away” echo out behind me, followed by footsteps which were surprisingly stable given the drunken state this asshole was in. Then it was as if my heart was going to stop entirely when a strong hand grabbed hold of my shoulder.

I don’t know why I froze when that happened, my body deciding to seize up. Slowly he circled around in front of me, revealing his unwashed greasy stubble ridden face. He was definitely homeless, one of those wandering vagrants who spends their pitiful days looking at the end of a bottle rather than improving their station in life. I work, I pay my taxes. Doesn’t that entitle me to be left alone by these types? When he spoke again, the smell of thick heavy liquor emanated from his rancid breath.

“Hey bitch, don’t walk away from me when I’m talking to you”. I was the bitch?

I held his gaze as a stupid grin began to spread across his filthy weathered face, a grin like Greg’s. I felt that anger rise inside me again; renewed and fresh, for here was another mouth breather ready to step over me among the many others. Who the fuck did this guy think he was? His hand was still on my shoulder more gently now, almost caressing as he said “I just want to talk is all baby”.

I closed my eyes tightly feeling the blood soar through my veins, rushing over every inch of my body inside. My fists clenched in anger and everything began to slow down. I could smell the rank stink of unwashed body odour mixed with the stale stench of alcohol, the usual sickly sweet smell of the cramped alley, and beyond, the damp worn concrete of the city encased by the polluted air. My breath began to steady into measured intakes and exhales and when I opened my eyes, I had my response.

I swiftly lifted my leg and kicked the man directly in the groin causing his eyes to bulge out in shock and surprise, his mouth opening agape as a scream of pain cried out. He stumbled unsteadily before dropping to his knees holding the afflicted area, the brown bag containing his livelihood lay forgotten to the side. I stood still, staring at him as he slowly rolled onto the ground, lying on his back squirming in agony, his eyes closed tightly.

“You… you fucking bitch” he managed to murmur through clenched yellow stained teeth.

His grunts of pain caused something inside me rise up in response and told me the moment wasn’t over yet. I turned my attention to the brown bag and on picking it up, I noted that the bottle inside was still intact. It was light due to sparse amount of liquid swirling around inside, yet there was still heft from the dense glass.

I stood over his still squirming from, raised the weapon and brought it down with all my might aiming for his head. The first two blows glanced clumsily off his outstretched hands as they tried in vain to shield him from my target. The third blow slipped through and connected with a satisfying thunk. He let out a disassociated groan. I hit him again and again, my arm feeling separate from my body in its speed and fury until a red welt began to appear on his forehead.

He was whimpering quietly as I walked away, dropping the makeshift weapon behind me. Exiting the alley I took a deep breath feeling euphoria grow inside me, a response to this release, to this weight that lifted from my being.

I feel like a different person now. No more being stepped over. I’ll be working late again tomorrow so I’m going to carry the kitchen knife to protect me just in case. If I meet that man again I’ll be sure to make him realise that I’m through keeping my head down. Next time I won’t stop.

Entry 4: April-4-2017

Greg has increased his flirtations with me, ever since I fixed his mistake. He had come over to my cubicle and said he personally wanted to thank me for my hard work in getting things back on track. I just smiled and nodded as I usually do upon receiving praise. He tried to engage in small talk and I replied with the usual cursory responses. Now he calls me by name as I walk past the cooler. Is it because of the work I undertook on that long weekend or is it because of how I walk now; more confident with my head held high since that night in the alley? Maybe it’s a combination of both.

I never saw that man on the second night; no doubt he crawled back to whatever hole he came from. I like to think he is afraid of me and this power I could have over another fills me with a deep feeling of joy after such a long time lying dormant. The mundane of everyday life however fails to give me that sense of euphoria delivered on that fateful night. Now I’ve switched from looking out my small window and observing the nightly landscape to wandering those looming darkened corridors aimlessly until the early hours of the morning.

What I’m looking for exactly, I can’t quite tell. Is it that man or an encounter similar to that one? All I do know is that it’s a primal urge inside me that is seeking out a feeling.

No, it’s that specific feeling I’m looking for again in the hopes of reliving that experience. The sense of oppression from this city has grown these past few days, its hum seemingly growing louder. So now this is my nightly ritual, my obsession. I’m not going to stop. No point in going back.

Entry 5: April-7-2017

It finally happened tonight and I’m struggling to try and convey what I’m feeling right now. It’s like what I experienced that night in the alley but more potent; A huge release from deep inside my body, I almost want to laugh out loud in giddy delight.

I had been wandering around my usual route, keeping to the back alleys and quieter parts of the streets. Tonight however I decided to switch things up, mostly out of frustration and stalked my way to the local park. It’s not the same as the woods outside the city, too small and polluted.

The trees were sparse and limp, a sickness afflicting them from inside as they moved painfully in the cold nightly breeze. As I walked, my thoughts drifted to how they could survive in such a place, in a patch of nature set purposefully in the concrete maze. Then I saw a man.

He was standing by one of the lit tunnels that led through to the other side of the park, a single figure carved out in stark silhouette. It wasn’t the man from the alley but he was of the same ilk.

I stopped for a moment to collect myself, asking if this is what I really wanted, if I should just turn around and go home. Yet the decision had already been made, this was going to be it. The time had come. I began to stroll slowly towards the tunnel keeping my eyes on the man, hands planted firmly in my pockets. My approach confirmed that it was indeed another drunken vessel, his greying unkempt beard matted with grime and dirt, his nose red and bulbous from a lifetime of abusing spirits. I was close enough then to see his eyes, glazed over in a film of an alcoholic fuelled trip.

He stared at me as I ambled past into the tunnel and then… nothing. I glanced behind to see that he had his back turned to me, taking another swig from his bottle. He was ignoring me. I was nothing to him but didn’t he realise that he was everything to me? That same anger and rage began to build up inside my body at this thoughtless affront. I was through with being ignored, through with being “the quiet one” sitting at her desk in her dark cubicle, tucked neatly and conveniently out of the way on the office floor, typing in the data, click click!

I turned slowly, deliberately, making sure not to make any undue noise and silently on the balls of my feet, approached the man. Lifting my hand from my pocket I took a firm grip of the kitchen knife, readying it to deliver a downward blow, the ceramic black handle comforting to the touch. My heart was beating so violently that I was afraid he would hear it, yet my breath was steady and my hands didn’t shake. I paused only momentarily and then plunged the knife down just below the right shoulder blade.

It grated off something hard and veered to the side but found an opening to embed itself in, the keen edge guiding true. The man cried out in agony and I felt that euphoria rise inside me once again, the hum of the city growing louder, less oppressive somehow. He staggered forward falling flat on his face, ragged breath laboured and steady. The moment wasn’t over.

I gripped the knife with both hands and yanked back hard; surprised with the amount of effort it took to release it from the flesh. Blood that looked almost orange under the lights of the tunnel covered the lower portion of the blade, gently dripping its excess. My heart began to slow, beat steadily as I brought the knife down again, this time driving it in deeper. Its slick surface slid easily from the man when I drew it out again, the sound like a boot stepping off wet mud. A spray of blood erupted, releasing a copper smell into the chill night air and I could taste it in the back of my throat. I plunged the blade in again and even more of the life giving liquid sprayed out, glittering in its elegance of random chance as it hit both me and every surface around, like the rain.

A long slow exhale escaped his lips followed by silence, a foul smell told me that the moment was over, it had passed. I took a pause to take the whole scene in, letting everything wash over me, even feeling wistful when I reached for his shaggy grey hair, brushing it back from his cold still face. He was my first of what I know now will be many and I’ll never forget him.

I rose to leave and walked a few feet down the tunnel before suddenly remembering the knife, forgotten in my new elation and returned quickly to collect it. As I slid it free, voices in the distance echoed out, a group was approaching, talking leisurely amongst themselves.

Slipping the knife into my pocket, I darted through the tunnel running faster than I’ve ever done before, my only thought then being to get home to my shitty apartment as soon as possible. Out of the park, I stuck to the alleys and shadows moving silently with purpose until arriving at my building. Thankfully, there was no one on the stairs up or in the hallway leading to my door. I was the only nocturnal animal prowling around at that hour. Once safely inside, I looked at myself in the mirror taking in the intricate spray of red on my face and clothes. This won’t do. The knife was too clumsy and my clothes will have to go. I’ll dump them out at the pier tomorrow night. I don’t want to get caught when I’ve just begun.

Entry 6: April-20-2017

It’s been a while since I felt that primal urge rise inside me once again but I have not been idle. Nothing in my daily existence has changed much. I feel it’s more important than ever to keep it that way. I don’t want anybody else interfering with my true work, my true purpose. Greg asked me out for a date and I politely declined; the brief disappointment in his eyes clear as he looked away clumsily to my answer. He managed a fumbled reply speaking of potential reconsiderations and future opportunities then walked back to his clique at the water cooler, talking in that loud and obnoxious manner once again. It’s strange but it was almost like he was a different person then. Does he have two sides like me, one hidden deep inside and the other left open for everyone else?

My nocturnal activities however have taken a change for the better. I’ve planned out my routes more systematically and bought myself a black hoodie, pants and a pair of dark grey runners to wear on my excursions. My instrument of choice is a nine ounce steel head hammer I picked up at the hardware store. Its plastic moulded yellow handle fits comfortably in my hand and I’ve taking to swinging it in practice, perfecting my technique. It reminds me of the bottle, a blunt force object instead of the cutting edge of a blade.

My careful strategy paid off tonight. I have come to learn of certain social gatherings for the vagrants of this city, places where they like to congregate in small bustling numbers, hands outstretched to the open flames of burning barrels. I had chosen one particular spot in the shadow of a bridge underpass that gave me a clear view of one of these sacred conclaves and waited patiently. It was past eleven by the time there was only one left; the rest having long since wandered off to their own nightly proclivities. 

His form was sharp against the glow of the dying embers in the barrel that was providing its warmth, his back facing me, making it the opportune moment. I approached silently on light practiced feet having to duck behind a ramshackle piece of plywood boarding only once when he gave a brief bored look around him. It was surprising how quickly and easily I closed the distance between us while avoiding detection. Gripping the hammer in my gloved hand tightly, I recalled my practice and raised it slowly over my head in a perfect angle. When I was finally within reach the muscles in my arm took over and whipped it downwards in one swift and precise blow.

It connected with the top of his head and the bone buckled under solid steel, a sound like a wooden mallet striking heavy meat accompanying the brief yet satisfying action.

My target fell instantly, landing flat on his face with a hollow thump. The head was tilted sideways on the tarmac allowing me to see that he wasn’t that old, maybe nineteen or twenty. I wondered briefly how he had managed to end up where he was, living rough on the streets at the bottom of the rung, no longer any use to the rest of society. But what sweet twist of fate guided him through all the choices of his short existence directly to me?

In the course of my newly discovered work, I have given him purpose once again. At least now he has significance by giving his life so that I can finally live mine; a fair exchange.

The moment was over so quickly but it was enough to sustain me. A single strike is all it took. I’m already getting better.

Entry 7: May-16-2017

This city is afraid of me. I can taste its fear in the air now, the continuous hum my sustenance. At first it was only during the night where I carry out my work, my purpose, but now it has seeped into the daylight hours. In the office, my co-workers whisper furtively, regularly about the “Claw Hammer Killer”; the name I’ve received from a news hungry sensationalist media. Reports on the television and radio speak their scripture often of the seven homeless vagrants discovered, connected by the nature of their end, a single blow to the back of the head. I smile to myself when I hear them. There’s a few they still haven’t found.

The Mayor says he’s going to crack down on my work, divert resources accordingly but they have no leads to go on as of yet; I’m efficient that way. I’ve been taking the late rail to different parts of the city, expanding my hunting grounds to throw them off the scent. Habit and tradition must evolve.

But it’s getting more difficult now. My prey of choice fearfully group together, huddling close when the darkness falls, terror their only protection. Opportunities arise less and less leaving those feelings of euphoria I yearn for wider apart.

I can usually stem this emptiness by examining my growing collection of trinkets. I began to take them on my fourth, always something small and what I felt was something intimate, like a ring or a coin. Now when I abstain from venturing out I sit at my small window in my shitty apartment looking on the nocturnal expanse, my selected item glinting in speckled light as I turn it, caress it; feeling its shape and form. It helps me to remember the moments more clearly. These are my treasures, a small fortune amongst the decay.

Yet even when I’m successful, the feelings of release don’t hold the same value. I’m going to change things up, find a new instrument for my craft and search for new prey. The hammer will be interred to the bottom of the pier tomorrow night; its work is now complete. That will keep the police at bay. It’s only practical.

Entry 8: June-3-2017

Sarah Longwood had long Auburn hair with a bright smile usually decorated by a particular shade of light pink lipstick. Her skin was creamy white, her face dotted with freckles. She always wore stylish flower patterned dresses over her thin tall frame and had what could be described as a bubbly personality. She was new to the office and was dating Greg. He’d long since given up his hopes of courting me and had once again taken to saying “the quiet one” when I happened to cross his path. If only he knew about my true self.

I can’t explain exactly why I chose to focus on her specifically but the raw natural force inside me screamed out in confirmation. I began to follow her after work, discovering where she lived, where she shopped and which dry cleaners she frequented.

The weekend had arrived and Sarah ventured out on the town with a couple of her friends, the group laughing loudly as they traversed the streets, like those women I used to observe from the perch of my apartment on those long nights a lifetime ago; when I was a different person, a lesser person. I trailed them from the restaurant to the bar and waited in coiled patience outside, across the street in the now comforting black of an empty cramped alleyway.

It was close to midnight when she emerged from the side door of the building talking on her phone. My being cried out that the moment had come; it was risky for sure but the long sought reward outweighed any doubt. Stalking closer, I could see her stood by a high cinder block wall amongst the empty steel casks ready for collection the following morning. I reached inside my coat lifting my new instrument from its carefully sown loop. The sharp edge of the hatchet glinted red in the flickering glow cast by the bar’s neon advertisement.

I had stood staring at it in the sterile white light of the hardware store, hanging on its designated hook amongst the other implements; the slightly curved form elegant and functional in its design. It had called out to me, singing a song of purpose, telling me of the work to come. Once secluded at home, I was disappointed with the factory machined edge and discovered the necessary steps online on how to sharpen it. Upon procuring a wet stone and strop, I dedicated hours to honing its edge, my movements slow and methodical.

As Sarah faced the wall I stalked closer, hearing her conversation on the phone coming to the end. I was right behind her when she hung up and my instrument flashed down connecting with the side of her neck, bedding in deep; my hours of refinement paying off in full. The arc of blood that escaped was beautiful in its spray, hitting the wall and barrels in a thousand tiny drops. Sarah slumped to the ground letting out a single gurgle and then was still, a dark pool of red rapidly flowing outward guided by the worn surface of the concrete slab.

The release inside me was incredible, the sight of the blood reminding me of my first. I took a deep breath inward, letting the hum of the city envelope me, the hot night air fresh with my work, with my purpose.

It’s a part of me now.

I felt myself expand outward in that moment, as if I could be everywhere in that manufactured expanse all at once, a spiritual connection with the whole. I own the night, my true form emerging, unfurling its petals like the Night Scented Orchid revealing itself to the pale sickly moonlight. This is the summer of my awakening.

I took a ring from her pinkie finger, a cheap adornment with a fake brown opal likely purchased at one of those pop-up market stalls littering the sides of designated streets. It is priceless to me. Once back in the shadows of the alley I heard the side door open and turned to watch. A man carrying another steel cask to add to the stack lumbered out and upon seeing my work, let his burden fall from his grasp in a short shocked gasp. A loud metallic thump followed by a steady rumble rang out as the barrel rolled noisily onto the street. I turned away then. The moment was over for me and the rest is for everyone else.

Entry 9: July-12-2017

Sarah Longwood, Michelle Humphreys, Lisa Chu, Robert Foster, Bridget Darlington; I remember all their names, their importance outweighing my treasures, my trophies. It seems only fitting after spending so much time getting to know each of them. They’ve contributed to my evolution after all; lives ultimately fulfilled by my divine purpose.

The police came to the office of course after Sarah, asking their questions, everyone getting a turn to sit in the small cramped break room across from detective Henry Glick. He is a short portly man in his late forties, balding with a neatly trimmed moustache, a tired yet sharp look to his eyes. He performed his duties well, enquiring about my relationship with Sarah and if I’d seen anyone suspicious around the building in recent memory. I answered truthfully for the most part but the alibi pertaining to my whereabouts that night was unsurprisingly the weakest of my interview. Being home alone with nobody to vouch for you doesn’t exactly paint a most trustworthy picture. But who would suspect the quiet office worker, slight in stature with an impeccable work record?

Greg was visibly upset at the news and took a two week break from the job before returning in slightly better form but no doubt scarred forever by the remnants of my work. His boisterous behaviour is tempered now; the water cooler talks less frequent. He was the primary suspect at the beginning of the case as is customary in those matters, leaving me to continue my nightly activities.

I underestimated detective Glick however as he began to suspect a link between the “Claw Hammer Killer” and my newly chosen prey. Experience, suspicion and intuition have formed a theory in his mind that won’t shake loose, with his interest circling around me. After Lisa Chu, I was called to the station for follow up questions on Sarah’s case. It took all my will to hide behind the mask of my office persona as I sat for over an hour in the small green painted room, the large two-way mirror the only fixture. The verbal ring he spun required complete flexibility to dance around and the heat inside the tight space added to the oppressive atmosphere. Ultimately he could find nothing suspicious outside of me being a loner, a person enjoying their own company.

I’ve spotted him a few times after that, a face in the crowd when walking home from work, on the same rail as me when I venture to the pier. There are others too no doubt, faces I won’t recognise. It took immense planning and subterfuge to get to Robert Foster. I had to be even more careful when it was Bridget Darlington’s time.

The hum and connection I feel with the city is now a dying ember, slowly burning out alongside the forward march towards the end of the summer. The instrument of my awakening has been discarded; I managed to dump it secretly into a random trash can along the rail line. It likely rests in a landfill now, an ignoble end compared to the kitchen knife and hammer. My treasures do not hold the same allure they once did. I barely look at them anymore.

But I know I’m not finished yet; one more is needed. I’ve been missing something all along, a certain detail that has, as of yet, eluded me. It’s not going to be easy with detective Glick’s keen attention but I won’t rest until that final detail has been revealed to me. It’s the eyes; I have to see the eyes.

Entry 10: July-29-2017

My final instrument I discovered in the confines of a hunting shop. It had to be special. A Helle GT knife drew my immediate attention with its six inch blade and polished birch wood handle. My entire being knew it to be perfect, that my last would be completed with an implement similar to the first; a simple object, yet pure and whole in form and function. I took it home and like the hatchet, honed the edge over many long nights. It fits snugly in my hand, becoming an extension of my arm, of my spirit.

I approached Greg as he was leaving the office, another working week complete. I explained quickly that there may be a minor problem with the data and asked if he could take a quick look.  We walked silently along the empty office to my isolated cubicle and after giving the numbers a check; he noted correctly that there was no error.

“I must have made a mistake I said” giving him a nervous smile.

I looked away momentarily then back, letting my eyes, normally obscured fall on his. I chose to wear my hair different that day for just that occasion. He smiled slightly in response and said “That’s unlike you”.

I held his gaze then placed a hand on his elbow. I could feel his body stiffen slightly at this unexpected advance. “I never really said how sorry I was about Sarah” I spoke softly.

He frowned at this and took a moment to collect himself before answering one silent word of “Thanks”.

With the subtle idea planted, I broke away turning off the computer. We walked slowly towards the lift without looking at each other and once inside, descended mutely facing forward. Eventually Greg broke the ever growing silence.

“Hey… do… do you want to go get a drink?” he asked. I remember those awkward pauses with delight.

Weeks of my prior subtle advances made it too easy. I gave him my best nervous smile and nodded yes then explained that I wanted to go home first to get ready. We exchanged numbers and agreed to meet up later, waving our temporary goodbyes outside the building, each going our own separate ways. Back at my shitty apartment I began the foundations of my alibi which involved primarily, my neighbour’s vacuum cleaner. The frail old woman was eager to help after I explained that mine was temporarily out of commission and awaiting repair. I had in fact sabotaged it a few days earlier in preparation for this event. I promised to return hers much later; my apartment needed a good solid cleaning.

After plugging it into a timer I turned my attention to getting ready. I had bought a long black form fitting dress for just the occasion. It hugged my body leaving my shoulders exposed, the silky fabric shining darkly. This was my garment of the night, my shroud enveloping, containing my entire being, the final uniform of my awakening, my second skin. The high heels accentuated my legs, the cherry red lipstick was inviting and alluring, the handbag pragmatic, necessary; my transformation complete.

Sneaking out of my building undetected was a simple affair. The landlord never did get around to fixing that alarm on the back exit. I took a circuitous route to the pier, sticking to those little used streets of the hour before boarding the rail on the final leg of the journey. When I arrived, I made my way to the chosen spot, within the shade of a large building on the water front not frequented. Making sure everything was ready, I finally called Greg.

He was confused at first, expecting to meet in a bar somewhere more locally. I confessed to him that the pier was my favourite place to visit and we could easily find an establishment to drink in.

“I’ll be there shortly” he said, and I knew he would be; the adventure of the mysterious quiet girl from the office a lure not to be ignored.

While waiting in silence by the cold metal railing, breathing the sea air in deeply, I felt the city hum louder, fluttering to life, calling out to me once more on this; the final hunt.

Eventually my phone buzzed and I asked Greg to come meet me, giving him my exact location. Before long, he was walking down the boardwalk in a newly pressed charcoal suit as I lay in the dark, emerging only when he was close, giving him a bit of a start.

“Wow, you look… you look beautiful. So what are we doing all the way out here?” he enquired. “I mean, I like a bit of peace and quiet as much as anyone else but this is very isolated out here don’t you think?”

I approached him slowly and he grinned nervously. Loud Greg from the office, who hangs around the water cooler, high fiving and talking about the game, was nervous of me? I placed my hands on his face and drew myself towards him, kissing him hard and passionately. He began to return the favour almost immediately. Greg is a fucking pig.

I led him towards the shadow of the building, to the darkness I’m most intimate with and I could certainly imagine where his thoughts lay. He pressed me up against it, our presence the only ones in this small isolated patch amongst the field of bustling activity. His hands snaked slowly around my waist as his passion took over, his attention turning to my neck, breath hot and heavy on my skin. Then I planted my knife into his belly to the hilt. He jerked away in shock, staring down in disbelief at the birch wood handle protruding out. Looking up at me; face painted with confusion, he swayed unsteadily and finally fell onto his back.

I loomed over as he gripped the handle weakly, the automatic fearful movement of a desperate human being. I kicked his hands away, burying my heels into the tendons, then reached down and slowly pulled the knife out of the wound, relishing the action. Its blade was wet and slick, yielding no resistance, a supernatural force parting flesh; anointing it in a crimson wash.

I never took my eyes off of his, anxious of missing the moment. He managed a pitiful “Why?” through those perfect bleached teeth speckled in red. Why? As if he could ever comprehend, ever understand. I was above and he was below; this is as it should be.

I grasped my instrument in both hands, its divine presence pulsing outwards silently in a song of joy; raised it above my head and with all my might, I plunged it down into his chest piercing his heart. A short gasp escaped his lips, tainted with a gurgling from deep within. I quickly leaned in closer studying his eyes.

Everything slowed down in focused concentration, my breath was still as the hum shuddered louder than I’d ever heard before. I could see the glow behind his eyes in crystal clarity begin to dim slowly, the moment stretching on for what seemed an eternity before finally, ultimately winking out. I am complete.

I raised my head to the intense orange sky, brighter in its splendour than I ever could have imagined and gently closed my eyes. Something primal inside cried and clawed to be let out in the only way I knew how. I filled my lungs and screamed a loud guttural sound that bordered on a howl, taking no heed of idle ears on that hot heavy night near the end of the long summer months.

Entry 11: August-3-2017

It’s raining today as I sit in my newly purchased car parked on the side of the road. The torrential waves tap noisily and soothingly on the light metal frame, washing over the windscreen briefly as the wipers move back and forth clearing the way.

I handed in my final notice to the office two days ago, early in the morning to the surprise of my boss. I didn’t stick around afterwards, that cage is now obsolete. My landlord I rang last night and told him I was moving out immediately, roots finally untangled. It hadn’t taken long to pack my few meagre possessions into the car. The dress and treasures were discarded; they no longer hold any meaning to me. I’ve outgrown them. The hunting knife and Greg lie at the bottom of the river, held in place by four cement blocks I carefully tied to his legs.

The police were called after he failed to show up for work two days in a row, colleagues becoming worried when efforts to contact him yielded no results. Detective Glick had made it his business to come to the office, the look on his face a clear declaration; I was his prime suspect. We danced again, spinning our own separate narratives, but the absence of a body meant Greg could only be considered a missing person. My alibi involving the elderly neighbour was built on shaky foundations yet afforded me some temporary reasonable doubt.

I’m outside of the city now, the mist veiled buildings small in the reflection of my rear view mirror. I’ve outgrown it, the hum is silent. I’m thinking of heading out into the woods to hear the chirping of the birds, and after that, who knows? The world is my sandbox and I feel unchained and free at last. The shy quiet girl from before is gone but not destroyed, instead hollowed out in the shape of a mask ready to be worn when the need arises.

My awakening was a force of nature, unstoppable and inevitable. I’ve become the person I am finally supposed to be. Those moments on every step of my journey are clear and concise now, laying in sharp contrast to the mundane existence of before, individually and as a whole; a jigsaw that affirmed its pattern upon my completion.

Yet still, it’s that final moment that calls out to me most of all; for when I really concentrate, the hum rises from deep inside once again, revealing the entirety of details in sharp permanent focus, and I see Greg’s eyes, reflecting light outwards, encompassing the entire visible world within; shining lights for a brief existence.

--Jane.



Written by:
Paul Rivers

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