Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

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How Hillary Will Lose

August 26, 2016

Radical feminism undermined Occupy Wall Street in 2011 when coincidentally feminist Gloria Steinem stated the movement about economic equality was really about gender. The movement Atheism Plus was asphyxiated in 2012 when dogmatic atheists like associate professor PZ Myers dictated cutting edge feminism must constitute the foundation. And there was Gamergate in 2014, when radical feminists such as the dubious Anita Sarkeesian trespassed into video game development: saying Feminists don’t like butts or cutting the digital heads off sprites. Now, in 2016, Black Lives Matter is endangered by the same self-serving element.

Feminism itself is a good thing, well, now a good thing after coming out of the late 1860s when the Women’s Suffrage movement stood in the way of Blacks being allowed to vote (women wanted to vote, too, and would not have black people gaining the right before them). Equal rights is essential for sake of egalitarianism – hence the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The Feminist movement itself is not evil, individual feminists are not bad, but its study is complicated. Novices gain what little knowledge is available to them in undergraduate courses and they, themselves, become dangerous. They sling words as if they were weapons.

As I have written about previously, and even wrote a poem about, the language now passed from barely educated protesters to the unsophisticated American masses is counter-productive, even hostile. I’ve heard statements like these come from the mouths of vernal radical feminists…

“All white people are racist”
“Only white people are racist”
“All men are sexist”
“All men rape”
“All cis-gender people (those happy with their sexual identity indicated by the genitals) suffer trans phobia (fear of people who have mangled the boy or girl parts to resemble the opposite sex)”

I believe each are misinterpretations that have arisen from Peggy McIntosh’s article, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies,” 1988. In the article, the feminist and anti-racism activist defined “privilege.” She used subjectively observed models to illustrate how white men experience America, and she qualified herself by introducing “intersectionality,” otherwise her Venn diagrams were too easily redefined by substituting the word “race” with “class”, as in economic class.

Outside institutions of learning, Academia, out of the mouths of amateurs, phrases such as white-privilege and male-privilege even sexism, sound like accusations, blame for historic events beyond the control of anyone alive today. And I believe the street-level usage is intentional as in those are the stated meanings aggravated protesters intend to communicate. The hostile backlash is understandable. The surgically inflicted wounds are especially prevalent on white conservatives of all economic classes. These are people who vote in elections with hurt hearts, their now scarred feelings.

So I say with expectation, radical feminists will strangle Black Lives Matter. The movement will likely vanish as had Occupy Wall street. Radicals will be instrumental in the election of assumed Republican candidate Donald Trump in 2016. And a renewed Black Suffrage will be met with the same revolt as Senator Bernie Sander’s movement called Our Revolution. Because radicals will never think of the future nor take account of broader perspectives and shut their mouths.

 

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As I Was Saying Before Some Guy Started Flinging Poo

August 24, 2016

Since Feminist and anti-racism activist Peggy McIntosh wrote an article in 1988, “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies,” the ideas of white-privilege, male-privilege, (all hosts of privileges) have flowed into Academia and none are yet adequately defined. Hey, it’s only been thirty years and roles are changing. Academia has kept them all together in a loose bundle called sociology, then it all got out of the hallowed halls and onto the street.

The layperson terminology of “privilege” has been tossed about for decades, causing sparks. But as I was trying to tell an angry, male self-identified radical feminist, it really didn’t start blazes until 2015. That is when Black Lives Matter gained media attention and young, well-off women were learning about a modern further-Left leaning Feminism in their college classes. This green understanding of new theoretical ideas was then bled over Conservative parents, employers and even the average passerby on sidewalks. Right-wing media found yet another abomination to set spikes against. They felt threatened by aggressive young actors who apparently didn’t know what they were talking about. And neither did nor do the victims.

Poorly-educated mouth pieces arose again on both sides of a growing political bush fire. Where foul mouthed and insensitive elitist graduates spouted dynamic misunderstandings about Feminism, the Right wing propaganda machine spun horror stories about the quality of education, money, and the wrath of the Lord himself.

Hence my disbelief in “privileges,” for now. Let’s call what we have “Rights,” as had our damnable patriarchy titled the Founding Fathers. Let professors better define just what privileges exist. I think they’ll maybe be sure by the time I am dead. Until then, let us treat everyone equally, like those “men” who signed the Constitution wanted. Egalitarianism does not mean misogyny.

Matthew Sawyer

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The Horror of ISIS by Mr. Binger

March 8, 2015

The Horror of ISIS by Mr. Binger

The Horror of ISIS is a short story set in modern Iraq, wrecked and pillaged by terrorists and made askew by the mythology represented in Matthew Sawyer’s Pazuzu Trilogy. This is another tale by Mr. Binger that brings the alternate reality into real life. Atheistic in tone, the demons in his rash of stories are only possible because God abandoned the world. Others waited to take His place. Pazuzu awoke in the Middle East.

The Horror of the Islamic State
Mr. Binger

Captain Mitchell and his squad of ordinary United States Army Reservists remove themselves to Shingal, Iraq. Radical terrorists had recently held the town. The savages had swallowed some eighty thousands Iraqi Kurds into the belly of an over-gorged nation-monster. But as had the children of Chronos, the people in its guts did not perish. They fought back after time. The Yazdani, Christians in their own right, returned and surged again. They had come much like Constantine, under the banner of Christ.

Disguised, the captain and his team of acculturated soldiers today go to the recaptured Shingal and survey the territory. Their first objective was to assess the conditions; take pictures of carnage. Secondly and equally important, they were to locate Professor Christopher Mithrasen. The entire United States military was looking for the man. ISIS claimed they had captured him seven months ago. Any further information was available upon a “need-to-know” basis. Captain Mitchell himself never needed to know much.

The squad debated without input from their superior officer while they came up from Baghdad. Traveling at night, they come through the county-sized oil fields of northern Iraq. Though bombed into oblivion thrice in as many decades, the oil wells are working again. These likely never stopped pumping crude despite any damages. Oil and smoke and fire has forever choked this land.

While driving the armored Humvee everyone rides, Corporeal Ben Dinholme conjectures about their operation and its surroundings. He says, “That Mithrasen… did he find another gospel in a place like this?”

Private First Class Singer states, “I think they were all written here; the originals, that is.”

“Shut up,” Private Scott Kalkoff warranted on faith alone.

Singer comments, “Just so you know, the stories probably come from the Caucasus. Armenia, probably. That’s not so far north from here.”

“Snub it,” Sergeant Schindick shouts from the front passenger seat. “I’ve had enough argument between you two. We are just eyes-on-the-ground, no mouths.”

“It’s okay, sergeant,” Private Kalkoff tells his superior. “I am curious what the Yazdani say about Christ, even if it is blasphemy.”

“Hey, now,” Corporeal Dinholme jokes. He bounces in his seat behind the steering wheel, acting as would a child waiting for a favorite movie sequel to start playing.

“I said let’s not get them started,” cautions the sergeant.

Scott claims, “No, I’m curious. What do you know about the Yazdani faith, Singer?”

Next to him on the backseat – there with Captain Mitchell furthest right on the passenger side of the vehicle, Private First Class Singer tells Private Kalkoff, “They got a Jesus.”

“Well, that is mandatory,” Scott blurts.

Singer nods and he continues delivering his objective summary, “And they got seven angels who rule this world. There’s Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel…”

Kalkoff interjects, “And Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen.”

“Not quite,” Singer retorts. “Anyway, they – your seven holy beings – they do all the legwork for God, like all the little gods of the Hindu pantheon do for Krishna.”

“Krishna is not God,” asserts Scott.

Singer tells him, “You’re right about that. He’s closer to Jesus.”

“Shut it,” Sergeant Schindick orders. “I’ve heard this one before.”

“We’re coming up on Shingal, sergeant,” Captain Mitchell informs everyone.

Schindick answers “Yes, sir.” And the other conversation ends.

Silence carries the covert team of solders in their marked military vehicle toward the dark and ancient Arabian city. Today, after the terror wrought by ISIS, and at night, the only artifacts that may conceivably remain here are ash and bone. The civilized world hoped these marked the beginning of the end of sedition. Captain Mitchell and his team of soldiers were drawn to the aftermath.

A quarter-mile out from Shingal’s boundary, a living obscenity to God distracts the Humvee driver. Corporeal Dinholme spots a native man he believes commits a sin in the eyes of these people’s regional deity, Allah. The Iraqi Kurdish man had taken off his checkered head scarf and now waves it in the air. Well within the range of the truck’s headlamps, the Kurd signals as if the American vehicle had finished a race through the desert. This squad of Reservists win automatically, chiefly because they were the only team running.

“Can they do that?” Corporeal Dinholme wonders aloud about the native man. “Can they take off their hats like that? Is it against their religion?”

“Stop,” Captain Mitchell commands. “That’s Bob.”

Sergeant Schindick echos the order before the vehicle is slowed. His voice rings until the transport stands before the man waving a kaffiyeh. Meanwhile, the Kurd wraps the scarf around his balding scalp once more.

“Bob?” Kalkoff wonders to himself while seated next to the captain.

Captain Mitchell tells everyone, “He’s a contact.” The explanation remains brief.

“Bag-pants Bob,” Sergeant Schindick clarifies for the squad. Rumors and recollections betray themselves on the faces of the men.

Corporeal Dinholme comments, “I thought his nickname was Bob Baggins, like the Hobbit.”

Schindick answers, “Well, that’s the guy.”

The native informant rushes to the driver’s side of the vehicle. Although this summer has been hot, the reservists had come to Shingal with the windows rolled up. They came through haze and incendiary vapors protected inside the Humvee and the men still reek like gasoline.

“Kill the lights,” Captain Mitchell tells Dinholme. The corporeal follows the order and he turns off the truck’s headlamps.

“Roll down your window,” the captain then also states from the back seat. Dinholme does so, too. Bag-pants Bob immediately throws his damp head into the vehicle. Sweat had washed his face clean and stained his loose shirt.

Simultaneously, the man exhales. His breath overwhelms the acrid interior aroma with the scent of antiseptic paint thinner. The informer also slurs his broken English sentences. Bob interrogates the badly concealed soldiers.

“Who are you? CIA? Mossad?”

“We’re just regular army,” the captain tells him. “United States of America. No SEALs nor Marines, not even Green Berets.”

“You can take him back to America,” Bob slobbers. “Shingal does not worship the devil. Sunni worship the devil.”

“What is he talking about?” Scott quietly worries from the backseat. No one listens to the faithful army reservist. The squad is transfixed by the rambling of the informant.

“Don’t believe it… don’t believe… anything you see.”

“What are talking about?” insists Captain Mitchell.

“You know,” Bob begs him. “The beheading, the movie studio. It is here.”

“Where they make ISIS videos?” blurts Dinholme.

Sergeant Schindick shouts at him. “Quiet.”

Bob, meantime, nods. The Kurdish man pulls his head from the Humvee and glances about into the dark. “It’s okay, now. They are gone,” he says over his shoulders.

The captain seeks affirmation and he asks their contact specifically, “ISIS is gone?”

Bob nods again and never truly stopped doing so once he first started. Captain Mitchell wants confirmation. “We wouldn’t be here if the radicals were still around. Did they execute the hostages here? Where is the studio?”

“Yes,” Bob said. The affirmation seems too general. The word becomes more vague after each second. He then says, “Doctor Mithrasen.”

“Professor Mithrasen is here?” Singer asks shocked.

Sergeant Schindick glares at the soldier. On the opposite side the backseat, Captain Mitchell raises his hand. The officer invokes silence with his gesture and he is obeyed.

Captain Mitchell tells the front seat, “Sergeant, get directions to the studio’s location.”

Bag-pants Bob speaks over the captain’s instruction. “It is an aircraft bunker – no planes. No airfield. No pilots.”

“Yeah,” Private Kalkoff snickers next to Singer. He teases the informant. Their exchange stays unnoticed.

Singer whispers to him, “It’s the moonshine.”

The intoxicated informant then spears his hand into the vehicle. He waves an open and empty palm up and down below Dinholme’s nose. In response, Captain Mitchell throws loose American dollar bills into the front seat. And coordinated, Sergeant Schindick collects the money and he verbalizes the officer’s wishes.

“Pay him,” he tells the corporeal.

Having exchanged his information for cash, Bag-pants Bob abruptly walks away from the army vehicle. Stumbling the length of the Humvee toward the rear, he says again, “Don’t believe what you see,”

Hearing him, Corporeal Dinholme steps on the brake. Doing so illuminates the truck’s rear red lights. Bob’s back is painted with blood.

“Where are you going Bob?” asks the corporeal. The reservist imagined only the desert while he watches the native informant walk the greased way the Army Reservists had driven.

Bob tells him, “Sinjar.”

Dinholme did not know what Bob could mean. And it was too dark to see. He asks the soldiers inside the Humvee, “Sinjar, that’s this province. Right?”

Scott tells him, “He probably going to the mountain.”

“Captain,” Private Singer addresses the officer. “Sir, what was he talking about? What are we not suppose to believe?”

“ISIS was making movies,” replies Captain Mitchell summarily. “And it’s not important. The man was drunk.”

The captain tells Sergeant Schindick, “Sergeant let’s find that bunker. Professor Mithrasen has become the priority.”

“It doesn’t sound far, sir,” the soldier assures his commanding officer. Sergeant Schindick tells Dinholme, “Go,” and he points. “It’s right there. I can see it.”

Everyone knows the sergeant can’t see squat, but Bob’s map was simple and the landscape is flat. An intelligent man could make a reasonable assumption where an aircraft bunker stood on the nearby cusp of the city of Shingal. Confidant in his own assumption, Corporeal Dinholme takes the squad slightly left of where he had been pointed.

Nearer the city, visible yellow candle light plainly flickers in windows. There are instances of electric bulbs lighting outdoor entrances, but the team of reservist are yet too far away. They cannot define what the glowing blue-tinted orbs might be. Closer toward Shingal, the squad finds lights of all sorts are extinguished in an ominous circumference around their target. The concrete aircraft bunker where Bag-pants Bob had sent them is engulfed by the same flat darkness behind them.

“Singer, Kalkoff,” summons the sergeant. “Scout the bunker.”

All wearing woolen coats and vests over their uniforms, and with their ranks and other insignia concealed, Sergeant Schindick and Corporeal Dinholme get out of the Humvee the same time Singer and Kalkoff respond to their command. Captain Mitchell is left alone in the vehicle adjusting a checkered head scarf when the headlamps go extinguished. He watches while his higher-ranked non-commissioned officers ready their M4 carbine rifles and cover the scouts.

Privates Singer and Kalkoff bring their weapons and helmets with them, visually more wary of traps before each footstep than the building ahead of them. Schindick and Dinholme monitor the bunker. They are the ‘eyes’ in this maneuver. Yet in the dark, Singer, Kalkoff are more practical. And they could be more effective only if their boots were feelers like those of a cockroach.

The Army Reserve had come upon the oblong profile of a solid windowless bunker. There is one steel door that Kalkoff checks then reports, “Locked.” Singer tells the sergeant, “Clear, this side.”

Sergeant Schindick tells Corporeal Dinholme, “Bring the vehicle and the captain. Follow us to the front.”

“I’m behind you,” the sergeant then tells Singer and Kalkoff. “Move to the front of the building.”

The enlisted men do as they have been told and now raise their rifles. They spend equal amounts of time looking ahead of themselves as they do each of their own boots. Meanwhile, the Army vehicle comes swung around on packed ripples of sand and bounces beams of white light against their backs. Sergeant Schindick, too, is caught in the bobbing swaths of illumination.

Once the staggered U.S. team is around the bunker, the sergeant spins and raises a fist. The vehicle stops tens of yards before tall and marginally parted hangar doors. Sergeant Schindick then draws his open palm against his throat and the truck’s headlamps are killed. He tells his two advanced scouts, “I got your backs – get in there and check it out.”

Singer and Kalkoff do as they are told. Kalkoff leads them then he stalls inside the concrete structure. He pulls a flashlight from his shoulder suspender. Singer does the same and together they throw sanguine spotlights into the air of a spacious chamber. The filtered beams paint dashing colored ovals across the scaffolds of an arced ceiling.

Once the pair have scanned wreckage thrown about the interior of the bunker, Singer tells Kalkoff, “There’s no one here… just video tapes, broken electronics…”

“Anything radical or fundamental is full of Luddites and torture porn,” complains the private first class.

“It was a studio,” comments Kalkoff. The private reservist kicks over a broken camera and finds an M16. “They left their weapons, too.”

Singer teases his compatriot and his use of pronouns. “They?” In his godless perspective, someone like Kalkoff and the terrorists were essentially the same. “Essentially” was the most important operative word in that sentence.

“ISIS,” Kalkoff tells him.

Singer abandons the distraction. “Let’s push the doors open, get the truck’s lights in here. I still can’t see shit.”

“Good idea, for once,” answers Private Kalkoff.

Agreed, the two United States reservists each pick a hanging panel and they press open the aircraft bunker. “Clear,” Singer tells Sergeant Schindick.

“All right,” Schindick grumbles. “What do they got in there?”

“Can we get the truck’s lights in here, sergeant?” Private Kalkoff answers.

A brief time passes while Sergeant Schindick goes and consults Captain Mitchell in the back of the Army vehicle. Meantime, Private Kalkoff scans the interior the bunker again. He sweeps a red beam diagonally across the width of the single room. The light touches upon a unique video monitor – special in that it appears undamaged and it still sits elevated upon an upright table.

“They missed a television,” he tells Singer.

“Was that there?” Private Singer responds. His befuddlement is interrupted that moment when the Army Humvee shines its high beams into the unsealed chamber.

Hidden nearby in a ray from the light’s source, Sergeant Schindick speaks to his subordinates. “Professor Christopher Mithrasen,” he reminds the soldiers. “Anything?”

Captain Mitchell appears with Sergeant Schindick when the pair step outside the beam of illumination. “We will need to hunt, sergeant. What is on these video tapes?”

“Rehearsals, sir?” Schindick conjectures.

Private Scott Kalkoff is careless and he interrupts the speculation. “Look, the television is still hooked to a camera. I think there’s a tape in there.”

Before the sergeant demands respect from his direct reports, Private Singer reminds Kalkoff with an emphasized, “Sir.”

“Sir,” Private Kalkoff tells the captain. “I think they were filming something when a raid, or something happened.”

Sergeant Schindick suggests, “The Kurdish insurgence.”

“Play it,” Captain Mitchell commands. “Can we play the tape? Is there power?”

The Humvee driver, Corporeal Ben Dinholme, joins the squad the same time Private Singer reports, “Fortunately, sir, we’re in luck. There is power but everything is busted… everything but this stuff.”

“Convenient,” Corporeal Dinholme personally comments while he makes his own assessment of the scenario.

“Well enough. Play it,” orders the captain.

The sergeant reiterates the command with the phrase, “Let’s see what we got.”

Right away, the television is switched on and a video tape is played from an overturned camera on the floor. Nuclear green overwhelms the first scenes until a close-up shot is pulled and Professor Mithrasen’s bloated face fills the screen.

Both loud and strangled, the infamous scholar and atheist insists his captives, “Say it. Say there is no god.”

He shouts to militants standing off-camera, “Deny his existence.”

“Deny the existence of god or you welcome chaos and evil into the world.”

Young men laugh and a record of their sounds is played on tape. Now in the overturned bunker with stark light against their backs, the squad of American Army reservists stand sharp and silent. They quietly witness what had become of this place.

An unseen terrorist on the tape shouts in Aramaic, which prompts Corporeal Dinholme to wonder aloud, “What did he say?”

Captain Mitchell responds, “They’re going to cut off his head.”

“That’s what I thought,” adds Sergeant Schindick. “Sir.”

“What did they do to his face, sir?” Corporeal Dinholme asks the captain. “Torture?”

“Maybe,” Captain Mitchell replies. “Watch the tape.”

Hypnotized by the concept of post-production propaganda, Sergeant Schindick this time does not repeat the officer. The video continues to play. And a recorded Professor Mithrasen warns his captors, “Say there is no God or you will hold open the door!”

An accented voice says on the video recording, “Tell your president to take your evil home.”

“No,” Mithrasen shouts. “The US brought it back.”

Amidst indecipherable shouts, the professor is also heard begging. “It belongs here. Or space. Don’t wake him.”

Corporeal Dinholme whispers, “What is he talking about?”

Singer speculates. “Is it the gospel he found?”

“Unlikely,” Scott instantly scoffs.

All three enlisted men are hushed once the sergeant glares at them. In the fraction of a second that Schindick wastes turning his head, the playing video tape has progressed straight to decapitation. The scene on the TV portrays callous, tanned hands fondling an Olean, New York KABAR knife. The professor’s throat goes sawed with its blade. Mithrasen still speaks at the beginning of his execution, after the knife had cut his flesh and he had yet not bled.

“Pazuzu comes from here,” he tells his killers.

Tufts of threaded black smoke seep from his nose and his mouth. The opaque vapor oozes from the expanding wound across his neck but there is no blood. The professor’s head is a quarter-ways sawn off and the man does not bleed. Feces comes out of the opened throat instead. Its appearance is unmistakable. There it was and a smell. The terrorists on the video decry the stench the same time the team of United States Reservists detect a comparable odor now inside the bunker.

Corporeal Dinholme says, “What?”

Professor Christopher Mithrasen’s head is severed from his body the same time Private Kalkoff comments, “It suddenly smells like a pig farm in Ohio.”

Overhearing him, Captain Mitchell responds. “Not many farms of any sort left in that state.”

“Yes, sir,” replies the private. “It’s either because of global warming or God’s judgment, sir.”

In place of suppressing laughing at his teammate, Private Singer shouts, “Whew,” and he waves his unencumbered arm over his head. The other soldiers start holding their noses shut.

“Who is Pazuzu?” Dinholme asks anyone while his nostrils are pinched closed.

Also nasally, Captain Mitchell tells him, “Watch and see.” Terrorists on the video screech over the words.

“Nas-nas,” they squeal. “Nas-nas.”

“What are they talking about,” insists Corporeal Dinholme.

Private Singer tells him, “Nas-nas are djinn, evil spirits. They drink your blood by licking the soles of your feet.”

“Yummy,” Dinholme wisecracks.

Simultaneously occurring on the video tape, a pig’s nostril comes regurgitated from the murdered man’s severed esophagus. The animal’s snout next appears then out comes its head. The creature squeals and squirms inside Professor Mithrasen’s prone corpse. Its head substitutes for the man’s lost own.

Terrorists shoot the living obscenity but the thing is already dead. Each of the five U.S. Reservists had witnessed what emerged from Mithrasen’s stump. They had seen it never lived. The pig’s wide eyes had gone flat white. There was no sheen across the ivory orbs. The professor’s body then animates. The dead pig inside the corpse squeals and it lifts this part of the late Christopher Mithrasen unto its feet dressed in shit-smeared orange prison garb.

“God,” Scott finally invokes. No one standing around the soldier hears his solicitation.

Corporeal Dinholme says, “I know. The smell, right?”

Reanimated and upright on two legs, the dead pig in possession of the just-as-dead man attacks the terrorists. The evil spirit disappears off-screen followed by screams and wreckage. Bits of electronics fly in and out of the recording as regularly does bloody carnage.

“Holy crap,” Dinholme chants.

Sergeant Schindick corrects him. “You’re half right.”

At the center of an omnipresent stench and watching what snippets of slaughter are available on the recording, Private Kalkoff dares hypothesize. “The pig monster looks like Muhammad. Maybe he’s come back to do some spankings.”

Singer responds, “Because it can’t be Jesus, right?”

Never removing his eyes from the video monitor, Sergeant Schindick tells his pair of privates, “End it. Peace be on his headstone. And that’s the only place he’ll get any. Right, brothers?”

Private Kalkoff answers, “Praise the Lord.”

Private Singer rolls his eyes. And feeling outnumbered, he shuts his mouth.

Finished presumably eating the terrorists, every piece of each, the bipedal corpse of Professor Mithrasen stumbles back into the view of the camera. The bloodied monstrosity collapses and oinks. All of him remains visible on screen, kicking the ground and beating his arms against the shattered electronics. Quills, long, like those of a porcupine, pierce themselves out of the dead professor’s shoulders and his back. These further shred apart his already torn clothes.

The quills come out then the living dead pig wriggles itself free of the human cadaver. It crawls out from the severed neck of the professor. While it does, almost as an anxious newborn might crawl from its dead mother’s womb, the animal grunts.

“What was that?” Corporeal Dinholme wonders. “I heard an animal.”

Sergeant Schindick tells him, “It’s on the recording, soldier.”

There on the television is a mutant. An impossibly big pig with quills on its shoulders and from its back; tusks project out its nostrils. Seventy-two sagging teats (Dinholme counted them), their purple nipples brush against the ground until the undead monster learns to stand and walk on four split hooves. Its dead breasts fall flat against its bristled and warty hide when the pig lifts itself upright. And its horrible birth was caught on tape.

“I think it’s here,” answers the corporeal. The man already doubts he detected anything.

Free from one mortal coil and under flickering set lighting, the demonic pig walks off-screen. More animal sounds come issued from the recording. Hearing these, Corporeal Dinholme knows he hears others and the noise comes from nearby.

“How about if I secure the Humvee, captain?” he implores the officer.

“Do you think something is here?” Captain Mitchell asks him. “I do too.”

The video ends. The television monitor changes to black and Mitchell says, “And it’s not coming back with us.”

“Professor Christopher Mithrasen stays here,” he tells his squad of reservists. “What is inside him, or if he is inside something else, it stays here.”

Private Singer asks him, “Sir, isn’t Professor Mithrasen dead?”

“Apparently,” capitulates the captain.

Uncommonly curious, Private Kalkoff asks, “Captain. What was it exactly, sir?”

Captain Mitchell says only, “We do what we’re told, that’s all I know.”

“Yes, sir,” replies the private.

Despite the recording having reached its end, the team of soldiers still hear a pig. The fetid smell of manure never dissipated. It only becomes worse.

“Let’s get the tape and pull back to the vehicle,” Captain Mitchell suggests.

Sergeant Schindick tells Private Singer, “Get the tape.”

He mentions to Private Kalkoff, “Take some pictures.”

Trailing the strategic withdrawal, Private Scott Kalkoff walks backwards with his rifle slung over his shoulder. He kicks debris behind him as he rummages into his utility belt. The Army reservist produces a compact digital camera and he takes flashing snapshots. All the while, snorts and grunts go around outside the aircraft bunker. A thought comes to Scott. He thinks, “How can I even hear anything through concrete walls? Maybe explosions, maybe.”

The reservist is almost outside the long sliding doors and joined with the rest of his team when the animal noises echo inside the structure. And he escapes without ever having his curiosity ignited. Outside and out from the beams of light the military Humvee throws, the soldiers listen to their commanding officer.

Captain Mitchell’s voice shakes when tells his squad, “The remains of Professor Mithrasen is one American resource we don’t want to fall into enemy hands.”

“What remains, sir?” Sergeant Schindick begs his captain. “Are we going after the pig, sir? Captain, pardon me, sir, but it looks like it ate everything that can’t be plugged into a wall socket.”

“It looked like it killed all the terrorists single-handed – captain,” Private Kalkoff reiterates.

“You didn’t see anything, Private,” commands the captain. “You heard noises and gunfire on a videotape. None of us saw anything. No one will say anything.”

“Yes, sir,” replies the team. The five soldiers then simultaneously climb into the Humvee. The doors shut and the animal sounds go away.

Everyone agrees for a moment and the engine is started then Singer says, “We’ll be asked what happened.”

Dinholme states, “Shit.”

“We saw a pig,” Private Singer specifies. “Wreckage. I have to tell investigators about that. I can’t lie.”

“You saw a pig,” hisses Captain Mitchell. “You men saw a pig and you saw all that ridiculous stuff on the videotape. HQ will watch the tape.”

As the team of reservists drive away upon the path they came to Shingal, Sergeant Schindick raises a responsible detail. “Sir, there were those noises, like an animal,” he says then he snorts like a pig.”

“Captain,” finalizes the sergeant.

The team travels back to Baghdad near dawn. On the way, Captain Mitchell confesses. No one is sure the man means to speak aloud. “I heard rumors Professor Mithrasen was working on a secret weapon for the U.S. government. Maybe he was, maybe he was it. I need to give my report to HQ. They might know something. Let them watch the videotape.”

“Holy Mother of God,” he mutters. “Whatever he found must stay here.”

Private Kalkoff hands the evidence to his superior officer. And he draws the captain’s focus when he asks, “Are you catholic, captain?” The officer does not answer.

Himself suffering post traumatic stress, Sergeant Schindick yells inside the vehicle. His rage goes directed at Private Kalkoff. “Dammit, soldier. Didn’t you hear what Professor Mithrasen said? ‘Don’t believe.’ Bag-pants Bob said, ‘Don’t believe.’ Don’t.”

– END.

Read others..
Lazarus The Pig

Matthew Sawyer’s Pazuzu Trilogy
And visit the author’s store front at Smashwords

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About R’lyeh: Those Things I Will Tell Your Child

December 31, 2014

about cove-smlr

About R’lyeh: Those Things I Will Tell Your Child

Matthew Sawyer

I was telling my second-generation niece, Rilynn there in pink pajamas, that her name sounds like R’lyeh. She is only five. “No,” she tells me back. The child lives with her parents in the country not very far from where I was born.

Rilynn explains to me, “They don’t rhyme.”

I tell her something incomprehensible; something even a smart little girl her age would not yet understand. I say, “The consonants don’t have to rhyme. The words just have to sound the same.”

“Nuh-ahh,” she replies and in that moment, I conclude she must know what I am talking about, or she has a solid idea.

“I’ll tell you a rhyme about the sunken city of R’lyeh.”

“What?” Rilynn peeps and jumps up from the Living Room floor. The little blond thing pops onto her bare feet like she does forty times forty times a day, She joins me opposite a laminated coffee table small enough that the girl might rest her elbows on stacked magazines atop the surface. She does not relax and instead regularly shifts her inconsequential weight between her feet.

Late on my cue, I recite, “That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even death may die.”

Rilynn’s mother yells at me. “Matt!”

And Rilynn admits, “That rhymes.”

“It’s a poem,” I beg the mother. The woman’s name is Brenda – for the purpose of my narrative. I admit I have de-purposed the names of other relatives for the sake of that same said narrative. So, there is my first confession.

I cite for Brenda, “HP Lovecraft wrote that in his short story Call of Cthulhu.”

“One of those old stories?” she wonders knowingly.

“A great old one,” I say. “It’s like a hundred years old.”

Rilynn interrupts us when she demands from both the only adults in the room, “I want to hear the story.”

Her father is at work, delivering packages, and the girl is an Only-child. Her mother, Brenda again, hovers on the threshold between this room and another. The grown woman frowns at me. She issues a warning. “I have heard about you.”

“Probably from my sister-in-law,” is my answer. “She is a religious nut.”

Brenda admits, “Holly does now wear the Shield of David and a Cross around her neck.”

While I nod she explains, “But she lives there in Wister Town with your brothers and sisters… and your mother… and you can go back to your home in California. Don’t cause trouble.”

“I am an old man.”

Brenda denies my factual report.  “You look twenty-five.”

My automatic response lists, “Exercise, eat right…”

“You look younger than me.”

“It’s what you read,” I then support.

Rilynn stomps her naked soles and whines. “I want to hear a story!”

“Okay,” her mother condones. “Your Uncle Matt can tell you one.”

“About R’lyeh?” I inquire from Brenda while simultaneously her daughter claps.

Brenda states, “Nothing about death or monsters or anything gross.”

I stammer, “Well…”

The woman stops me. “There was an earthquake the last time you were there in Wister Town – an earthquake in south-central Wisconsin. And you said a house walked away – monsters came out of the hole it made.”

“It was a story…”

“It makes no difference, bad things happen when you tell bad stories.”

“Bad?” I do wonder aloud. Despite what critics will say, I withhold judgment on myself for that judgment would end me and my very life. And hypocritical with my skepticism, I tell Brenda, “There is no difference between religion and being superstitious.”

“The earthquake started fires that burned down half of Wister Town!”

“I never talked about that,” I counter.

“Small blessing,” Brenda supposes above her breath.

“I’ll tell you what,” I proposition, “I’ll clean it up. And I’ll try not to be creepy or scary.”

“All right.”

Grinning at Rilynn I paraphrase, “Sunk somewhere in the South Pacific ocean, a corpse-city called R’lyeh…”

“Matt,” screeches her mother.

“It’s in the story, I didn’t write it,” I present for my defense.

“It’s the same difference.” Brenda states once more, “No dead things or death.”

“Okay, that was only an adjective. It was about a city but no more. That’s the last one and I can tell Rilynn about R’lyeh.”

“Yes,” the small girl screams and she claps her hands together again and harder.

I grumble loud enough for Brenda to overhear. “It won’t be exciting.”

“Just make it fun,” she answers me. “Keep her attention for an hour or so.”

Observing Rilynn squirm while she stands on her feet, I tell the girl’s mother, “I’ll last for a couple minutes.”

Brenda nods and vanishes beyond the doorway. Rilynn leans completely over the table, lifting her legs off the floor, and she whispers nearer my ear. “Are you gonna talk about dead things?”

“No,” I chuckle. “I’m going to tell you who lives in R’lyeh – the city beneath the ocean. Cthulhu cannot die.”

“Catsup!” Rilynn announces and leaves me disorientated. I swim with my thoughts atop the ruins of an undersea R’lyeh. Yet the city itself is not ruined and appears as it had newly built eons ago. Erected in my imagination, the immense construction merely threatens to topple.

Finally able to comprehend my niece, I try correcting the young child. “Cthulhu. Ka-thoo-loo.”

“Ka-choo,” answers Rilynn. “Ka-choo-choo.”

“Ka,” I started to say again then decided my effort was futile. I play with the girl. “Ka-choo,” I repeat with an exaggerated exhalation. I wipe an imaginary expulsion from beneath my nose.

Rilynn laughs and she repeats the word until I believe she makes herself truly sneeze. She refuses to acknowledge the genuine rivulet that has run down and clung on her upper lip. “Does he come out?” my niece asks me. “Is R’lyeh like his house?”

The strange question makes me wonder if the girls has already heard the story. “Is R’lyeh like his house? As a matter of fact, it is. Ka-choo-choo is big, he’s huge.”

“Say it right,” Rilynn requests. “I can’t say it, but you can say his name right.”

“Cthulhu.”

“Yeah!”

“He can only come out when the stars are right,” I educate the impressionable mind. “The thing is, the stars will never be right.”

“Why,” Rilynn pouts. She looks sad for real.

“Well,” I say making preparations, “There is a difference between where the stars were when he came to our planet and where they are now.”

“Why?”

“Because space is expanding.”

“Why?”

The distress on Rilynn’s face reflects the frustration I experience as I try to explain impossible concepts to a five-year old brain. “Cthulhu was originally an extra-dimensional being. He was an Outer God until he was trapped on Earth and he became a Great Old One. They don’t really understand how our three dimensions work.”

“Why?”

“Because, where they come from, they can be anywhere at once, be everywhere. Their space doesn’t move.”

“Matt,” Brenda declares. “You’re confusing her. I’m confused.”

“I’m confused trying to explain it.”

“Make it simple,” the mother begs me. “Or else I will get questions I can’t answer.”

“Okay,” I consent. “Cthulhu can’t come out. Besides there are Elder signs everywhere.”

“Older signs?” Rilynn questions.

“Close: Elder signs, like the elderly. They grow in nature, you can see them in the tree branches, the veins in leaves and even the veins under your skin. HP Lovecraft drew a picture of it.”

“Can I see it?”

I hesitate. “It might be hard to find. Let me draw a picture for you. Do you have paper and something to draw with?”

Rilynn runs away laughing. The girl returns in an instance with a single clean sheet of typing paper and a handful of red and blue crayons. A green wax stick had fallen from her grasp whilst she had come but Rilynn never paused and retrieve it. She presents to me my requested tools.

“Draw Ka-too-loo,” she insists.

“Cthulhu?”

“Yeah.”

The request frightens me without explanation, so I stall. “I thought you wanted to see the Elder Sign.”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.”

“Yeah, but draw Him first.”

“Oh,” I stutter. “You should never summon Cthulhu without an Elder Sign. What happens if he demands a sacrifice?”

“Matt?” Brenda inquires of me.

The woman startles me as if I have been caught speaking the unspeakable. I scuttle my argument against a juvenile and I decide what comes next. “Let me show you the Elder Sign. Then I will draw Cthulhu.”

Before Rilynn objects, I sketch together six broad hashes, making the red image of a branch. Three twigs project from its top, two from below. Rightward on the picture, two opposite twigs reflect each other as would a mirror. The second bottom twig appears sprout from the branch in the space between the two remaining leftward twigs on top.

“Humph,”Brenda says looking over my stooped and sketching upper half. She tells me, “It looks like something you would find in nature.”

“Who put it there?” Rilynn asks.

Dissuaded against trying to explain the Outer Gods again, I reply to the girl and her mother, “We’ll make your one aunt happy and say God put it there. And he looks just like Santa Claus.”

Unafraid now that I have constructed a ward for my protection, I intercept any awkward confusion and I say, “Here is what Cthulhu looks like.”

I have been to Art School and I have always been naturally drawn to doodling, so much I am more talented with a blunt pencil than any other drawing implement. Knowing so, my sketch immediately takes form. The representation of Cthulhu is a simple image of an octopus – one octopus with eight radial tentacles in place of the head of a primate. Although I do not provide any scale, this abomination is larger than King Kong.

I say primate because I have often seen paintings of the Great Old One in which He has a spine and four limbs besides a pair of colossal membranous wings. Those four jointed appendages always terminate with five clawed digits, these usually webbed. Rilynn reacts to my visual interpretation.

“Icky.”

“Matt?” Brenda cautions me. “I don’t want her awake tonight.”

“It’s okay, the Elder sign…”

“Stupid,” Rilynn states in verdict. Her mother shakes her head.

“It’s okay,” I presage again. “There is another Elder Sign. August Derleth made it – he was a cheese-eater, just like us. He was from Wisconsin – Sauk City.” Having revealed an alternative, I start drawing a second archaic symbol on the same one sheet of typing paper.

“You know,  August Derleth was the first guy who published HP Lovecraft. He wrote stories, too. He also wrote about a lot more than horror.”

“There,” I tell Rilynn and her mother. The second Elder Sign comes presented to them as a blue, five-pointed star. A red eye engulfed in red flames flickers at its center. “The star is actually supposed to be green, but Rilynn dropped that color on the floor.”

“Get it later, sweetie,” Brenda absently tells the girl.

I boast in tangent. “Now that would scare Klingons.”

“What are Klingings?” Rilynn asks me.

My outrage is a showy mockery. “Brenda, your daughter is eight years old and still no Star Trek?”

“She’s five.”

“But still…”

The mother ends the silence that follows my lacking an excuse. Brenda asks me a serious question. “How did you learn about this?”

“I don’t know,” I answer honestly at first. “Read?”

“You should write about it when you go home. Did you and why not?”

“It wasn’t in my stars,” I tell her in accordance to the mythos we discuss. Brenda does not understand. She probably won’t until I do write down something. I let the woman know, “There are tons of other authors who could tell you the stories. I’ve got something parallel, but it’s about what happens in Wister Town.”

“I know,” Brenda moans. Before the woman runs out of that same breath, she tells her daughter, “Put on warm clothes, we’re going to that toenail of a town… like Uncle Matt calls it. Let’s visit your great grandma.”

Once Rilynn is busy upstairs getting dressed, and Brenda and I are alone, I make a cordial appeal to the woman. “Brenda, my nephew would never allow it, your husband would forbid that you ever speak to me…”

The woman steps back from me but she does not flee. Snared by curiosity strengthened by her agnosticism – her disbelief in a Creator that she confessed against long before – Brenda listens to my corrupt words.

“You are right, I will be young until I die. I will die young at the age of one hundred and twenty-five. Rilynn can remain young, too, but she must know. The earlier, the better.”

“My daughter is not going to visit you in California,” she tells me. Knowing who I am and being closer to my family than I physically am or ever was, my in-law, Brenda, has heard all my other relatives have rejected my similar notions.

“What is in California?” she nibbles still. I expected she would ask before I had come two thousand miles to visit her family.

“The sun,” I say generically. “That’s where it stays, and its home was made for the Divine.  There is power in California – power for those who know how to tap it. There is more power there than in that hole in Wister Town.”

“The Jews sense it, and the Mormons. That’s why they are there. There are big cults and Moonies and Scientologists and Jehovah Witnesses – you name it. They crawl down from the palm trees. They all feel the secret power so few people can actually ever know.”

The woman I speak with gnaws her bottom lip. When she soon starts shaking her head, I promise, “Rilynn will know more than me. She will see the future. Maybe she will see R’lyeh.”

When my words cease to make impact, I escalate the strength available to the female child. “She will foresee every consequence of every action she takes. And she will know there is only one course through life. The sun is the root of all religion. Praise Hastur.”

Once I am shut out of the house, I warn Brenda, “Hastur has corrupted in the American Midwest – the power of the sun does not manifest in cows. All of that is Egyptian perversion. The providence here is made base and unhealthy! Defiled and there is no protection. There is no God. We still live blind in the Age of Babylon.”

– END –

Impressed by my writing? I hope so. Read more from me, as Matthew Sawyer or Mr. Binger, at Smashwords.

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He’s Not The Same Monster Anymore

September 23, 2014

Do you remember those very old horror films Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943) and House of Frankenstein (1944)? You may recall the same gimmick in The Monster Squad (1987). All these films star Universal Studio monsters. These creatures were transformed from their sources in literature and removed further from their mythological inspirations. Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker first altered their archetypes when these authors brought those same monsters into the Modern Ages.

Authors such as Stephen King and Anne Rice have been diligent and maintained the evolved fiction of these cryptids, but then there’s been Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. Whereas the story was hugely popular, the images of vampires and werewolves were gravely injured. Granted, comic books and television had already shook the genre ragged.

Yet I reawaken Frankenstein’s monster in my story The Abhorred. I’m taking vampires and werewolves back to their roots. I’m reassembling the fabled golem – no, Frankenstein’s monster is not a zombie. And with guidance from the dead author HP Lovecraft, I pitch all these creatures against each other. This fight is not a Battle Royale nor a game. This story is the paranoid life of a professor of nuclear engineering. Professor Hebert Stock is on sabbatical here in Northern Wisconsin. It’s Thanksgiving and the man is alone. At night, he scavenges graveyards.

– Mr. Binger

The Abhorred by Mr. Binger

The Abhorred
Genre Horror
Word Count Approx. 91,758
Page Count 611

Synopsis…

Professor Hebert Stock is a good man. This professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay truly believes he is a force for good. All alone, he considers himself a mortal god. His accomplishments support his delusions – Strock here has harnessed cold fusion. He has shrunken this miraculous engine under the size of a clay pot. Not only that, he has brought the dead back to life.

Professor Strock has revived whole specimens and their amputated constituent pieces. Raw energy revives and intoxicates each of the monstrosities the man has packed with batteries and sewn back together. Each nameless creation is a step toward immortality. Yet Strock’s discoveries are not primarily for himself. He helps mankind combat a scourge of vampires.

As much as Strock’s genius, vampires and werewolves are real. Unchanged by time, these monsters now flourish in the Mack State Wildlife Area – ever since a Hellmouth had opened the earth south of Madison. The Hellmouth itself rent the earth then walked away.

The vampires in The Abhorred are immaterial, blood-sucking ghosts. They become solid when they consume blood. The master of the horde in the Mack State Wildlife Area is a pudgy, Midwestern-looking fellow. His name is Vlad Blaski. This vampire has discovered semi-permeability. All vampires need do is boil the blood they drink.

Having decimated the prey inside the Wildlife Area, the hungry ghosts eat werewolves – hairy Wild Men of Eastern European folklore. They look closer to Lon Chaney’s Wolf Man than actually wolves or upright demons. And they do not transform under a full moon. The werewolves in the Abhorred are emaciated, wildly hirsute naked men cursed at puberty. How this curse is transmitted is an unimportant mystery.

Hunger drives werewolves unto Strock’s private property – a hobby farm between Appleton, WI and Greenville, WI. These trespassers discover the professor’s secret experiments. They meet his reanimated monster – a discolored, walking corpse that calls itself Angst. The reassembled boy bleeds motor oil. And a union is made. Professor Strock, his assistant Gloria, and Angst join forces with werewolves and they fight Blaski and his vampire horde.

Printed Pocket Books of The Abhorred is available from LULU.

The Abhorred Ebooks are sold online at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etd… but I prefer readers purchase them from Smashwords.

I hope everyone finally likes this one…

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I Remember One Saturday Night When I Was About The Age For Middle School

July 31, 2014

 

It must have been a Saturday night. According to a Rule of Life as revealed by the Wisconsin PBS on a Three Stooges television episode, my twin brother and I each took separate baths. I was in my bath.

We didn’t share baths, not anymore, because we were growing up and had become conscious of our anatomy. I don’t know who got the tub first and that does not matter. We never used the same water – Wisconsin is far from California. H-two-O comes to the Midwest from underground springs. And this was my bath.

I was soaking alone when my now-deceased dad barged in. The man had to, “Crap.”

I am pretty sure that’s what he explained and he used that word. He couldn’t wait or even ask how long I might take and finish. The option to abandon my bath never occurred to me nor was suggested by my father. He rushed into the unventilated room, dropped his drawers and immediately squatted upon the pot.

Gad, the odor was horrible. I swear I smelled death coming out of the man. Yeah, by my age then I knew precisely what dead things smelled like. At the same time, I remembered my dad coughing up blood before, in the same house. He left his diseased phlegm in that same un-flushed bowl. His liquid stew was now added to the contaminated cauldron. Thinking back, I recall my family had not yet lived in that house long.

I am certain the bowl had been flushed a number of times between these incidents. And I do mean I imply there anyway grew some infectious disease. Such was my imagination as a child. And being a sharp kid, I rationalized because my family no longer lived in the country or depended on a septic tank, the danger was carried by the city sewers, professionally strained and dumped a decent distance away into Honey Creek. Us kids or those before us, I can’t claim credit, nicknamed that thin waterway, “Shit-crick.”

At home and in my bath, I protested my father. “Why can’t you use the toilet in the basement?”

Nobody hardly ever used the toilet downstairs – it was used that often. The antique throne was in the laundry room. There was a lock on that door.

There was also a lock on the door beside that second toilet, which admitted, the exit opened into an attached garage. The architecture of the house and its plumbing was fashioned upon the foundation of the original stables of the city’s fire department. As were many abodes in my hometown, its prominent features were often cock-eyed.

The second toilet was taller than it’s younger upstairs cousin. The porcelain was cast that way, way back in… I don’t know when. It was old but it worked. I know in order to properly sit upon that particular John, in order to feel as if you have retained your balance and traction – Hey, those about to poop know the movement I’m trying to invoke – one had to sit on the tips of his or her toes.

I loathe to think my dad told me, “The toilet downstairs is broken.”

I knew it worked fine, but I think he said something in that respect. He didn’t know. Dad never did laundry or park the car in the garage.

“How could he know,” I grumbled to myself and held my nose. I am sure I answered something equivalent. Such was my attitude back then.

I crouched naked in the tub and grew anxious I retain some peace and dignity. Yeah, the man was unquestionably my biological father but I just did not know him well. I slept on the sun porch each morning he woke before dawn and smoked himself hoarse in the adjacent kitchen and I just never really knew enough to trust him. I didn’t want to know him, especially after suffering the second hand odiousness of his lungs. I would not because of random absurdities like this evening.

I didn’t like what I did know about him. For example, I knew he had not even considered using the second toilet because he was short guy. His legs would have dangled free from atop the seat. Swept like blowing curtains, his squashed and inverted trousers would have brushed silverfish and daddy longlegs across the bare and cold concrete floor. My own feet then already touched the ground but barely.

He hated being conscious of himself. He was that guy who refused to try on new hats because he believed his head was too small, smaller than anyone he knew. And dad never hunted for alternatives. He never explored, ask other people or just pick a different hat. Dangit. His static self-destruction was infuriating. Religion cemented my distrust of him.

For on that Saturday night years ago, I interpreted the Curse of Ham had come down and been revisited upon me. Satan engineered my damnation beyond my control. For that night, as had the iniquitous son of Noah, I glimpsed the Junk of My Father. I wondered if my dad or mom knew my tragedy. Neither of my parents regularly attended church and they usually went only on Christmas and for weddings. So I doubted either understood me.

I knew right away I was preordained for Hell. The United Church of Christ helped me realize everyone’s general fate. Here was mine in particular. The shameful vision was all that was required. The sight of the man’s spud-ish cudgel knocked me into the Lake of Fire. I felt the shame of Adam, and I sat naked, cowering beneath the noxious and invisible cloud of an indifferent god.

Mortified and left alone after a sponge-inducing ten minutes or forever, I collected myself, dressed and shunned the desecrated chamber. There was nothing more to my Fall. At bottom, there was no more to go. Even there, I did not wish my father to Hell. Soon after, a truthful stranger told me the place could not exist.

Almost twenty years after the death of my father and much further away, I do regret I could not say to him what I have tried to tell him so abrupt and at his end. There is nothing my father must answer. He missed me as much as I did him. And I decided I would make my own standards because no true ones were dictated to me. While I took care of the ‘me,’ I needed the man to save himself. Even today, I expect this miraculous thing from a father. I got a stinking memory.

 

– – Matthew Sawyer

 

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It’s Not a Revision

January 15, 2014

January 2014 has come and so have my latest self-published book editions. They’re not revisions, for the most part. Sure. I corrected instances of missing dialog punctuation but these fixes do not truly set the 2014 editions apart from those of the previous year. There are exceptions, but these are so minor that I let the refreshed publication date record their histories.

Take a look at my printed books at Lulu or my identical ebooks at Smashwords.

A big exception is Pazuzu – Manifestation, the first book in my Pazuzu Trilogy. I made clear alterations to its ‘Prelude’ and the first leg of chapter one, ‘The Wilderness’. And here they are…

 

Prelude

Rage makes the swollen hands of this ranked priest tremble. Captain Ioannu is the victim of extortion, that or lacking amphetamine makes him angry. He tugs a collarless white shirt and finally removes his heavy black uniform jacket. The UnChosen caste calls his choice drug ‘Ape’ – the street name for a new junk that typically changes users into anxious, howling gorillas.

Such base consequence could never happen to a priest, a born member of the upper echelon of the Chosen caste and an officer in the Church. The associated pomp and dignity granted the position guards against that uncivil lunacy. No, the unquiet phases of the chemically grown monkey would not drive Josiah Ioannu into madness. The Church had promoted this middle-aged priest to captain because his genetically endowed discipline gives him immaculate willpower. After all, Captain Josiah Ioannu had been born a Chosen. Even without a rank, birthright grants him authority over his Mortal God.

Nonetheless, his responsibilities crush Ioannu under stones. “The Church presses too much work on mid-grade priests. They drive me to use the damned drug.”

The wretched soul rationalizes, “I’m old.”

He also confesses to himself, “The problem with Ape isn’t the drug, but rather not having any. Nothing at all.”

Sobriety-sharpened nails press into his chest and head. Beneath his tormented rut, the priest tells himself, “Being clean banishes the blessing of knowing exactly what to do in any situation… and making sense of other people. Nobody listens to me when I don’t have Ape, they just babble and interrupt me when I talk.”

Sobriety truthfully compromises the man’s ability to control his god – the Mortal God and all those forsaken UnChosen dwelling inside his squalid quarter next the Wall.

Materially, he deals with an unprecedented crime inside the walled city of Khetam. Very recently, there on the sands of the Chosen’s Promised Land, Reverend Elmer had been murdered. The man was a subordinate priest Ioannu had assigned the parish custodianship of Saint Erasmus. He thinks aloud, “A sympathizer killed him.”

The Wall separating Khetam from the world of the Shur foremost protects the city from the ravages of heathen terrorists. “No full-blown heathen can get into this city,” Captain Ioannu mumbles. He righteously believes no one passes through the Wall without the approval of the Church or its military. He tells everyone, “The Chosen exercise exclusive entrance into Khetam.”

All UnChosen once permitted behind the Wall now live in desolate parishes like Saint Erasmus. Ioannu thinks, “A suitable batch of hovels for those spineless degenerates.” Still, the caste and status of the murdered victim raises the severity of the crime to an act of terrorism. The Church and its military’s censors had debated if news of the crime should be made public, but the single body never made a decision.

One thing Ioannu was certain – the presence of pagan tablets on the altar inside Saint Erasmus will never be reported to the public. The Church had immediately confiscated and destroyed the sacrilegious objects. Whatever the dead Reverend Elmer had once planned with them is better undiscovered. The blasphemous controversy goes with him into death. Withal, the late Reverend Elmer brought the awful fate upon himself.

In the midst of Ioannu’s coping with his withdrawal from Ape – that and the murder of a priest too curious about an archaic and forbidden religion – the phone in his office rings. The man on the other end of the telephone line calls him, “Sir.”

Reverend Benedict Gage calls, again. The Aper is a non-commissioned bastard from the city of Gomorrah. Captain Ioannu had just hung-up on the irreverent extortionist.

“Why do you keep calling here?” Ioannu shouts into the phone inside his dark and private office at the Church. He tells the caller “Stop calling me.”

“Captain – Ioannu.” Reverend Gage stutters with the aggravated squall of an addict. “I know you don’t know me from Adam, but you have something I want.”

“A demotion?” threatens Ioannu. “How, in the name of the Mortal God, can you even dare speak to me with such lack of respect?”

The two priests share an addiction to Ape, with a difference. Ape helps Reverend Gage lose respect for his superior officers, sending him out-of-the-way to a place like Gomorrah. The drug gives the non-commissioned priest arrogant hopes and ambitions – whereas Ioannu had already gladly achieved his own pinnacle.

Uncovering his hand, Gage says, “Listen, I know you’re related to Judah Ismael, the crime-lord in this city.”

Hopefully, despite the truth, this blackmailer didn’t know how complicated the relationship between Captain Ioannu and Judah Ismael had become. The captain is the crime-lord’s connection with the Church. Although, in-law Judah’s patience had grown thin with Josiah, resulting in Ape becoming difficult to find in Khetam and impossible to obtain. Like Ioannu, many of the priest’s brethren in the Church had stopped coming to their offices at headquarters. Those nervous wretches who report this morning are useless and hide in the dark behind locked doors.

“That is a sad coincidence,” Ioannu claims. He speaks of his relationship to the UnChosen crime-lord.

“I know you keep the military away from Gomorrah,” Gage states. “And I know Ismael is your Ape connection.”

“I know you are a dead man, Gage,” Ioannu shouts over the phone. “How dare you call me with your crazy accusations.”

“Listen.” Gage shouts back. “Military patrols will come to this city, whether you like it or not. Ilu Yehowah is here in Shur’s northwest. Colonel Onesiphorus himself is coming here.”

Colonel Onesiphorus’s trip to Gomorrah presents a bigger problem, one Ioannu should have anticipated – he knows the colonel sweeps through the region annually. Captain Ioannu reports to the colonel, as would Gage when the bishop arrives at Gomorrah. Gage, the tattling Aper, may tell their superior officer anything.

Ioannu capitulates. “What do you want?”

“An assignment away from Gomorrah and heathens,” Gage barters. “This city will fall to terrorists next, Yehowah is here.”

“Let me think,” Ioannu replies immediately. The solution comes to him with a staggered breath.

The situation seemed to work itself out – a custodian position has recently opened at Saint Erasmus and a priest materializes who will shut his mouth if he’s invited into Khetam. Josiah does not think when he offers the position to Gage, though this wretched extortionist may again one day twist Josiah’s neck. Nevertheless, the treacherous possibility fails to occur to him and does not stop Josiah from asking Gage a more crucial question. “Will you bring Ape into Khetam?”

“No, of course not,” Gage denies with a strained snort.

“Please, there’s none here. You won’t find Ape behind the Wall.”

Gage thinks he cannot trust Captain Ioannu with the truth. To his treacherous ear, his supervisor’s plea sounds like a trap. “No,” he squeaks.

“That’s unfortunate,” answers Ioannu before hanging up. Josiah had looked forward toward another batch of Ape for himself.

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The Wilderness

This morning, the colors of the sky possess weight. At the faraway horizon, where a wide, blue bruise is caught between dark and light, the hues are luminous gases – layers of yellow, orange and pink pressed together by the nothingness of the previous night. The rising sun pushes warm colors upward, burning them away, and bleeds sore purple from the sky. A stumbling, shirtless man then falls into the morning.

He knows where he is, but the bare wraith cannot remember who he might be. Beneath caked dust, he appears overall red and covered with angry pustules. His torso resembles an antique table dusted by careless strokes. With each of his heavy steps, the dirt encrusted upon his chest and back drops off in flakes.

His own shoulders bear upon him with a foreign weight he wants to throw off. The extra fleshy padding around his waist only adds to his burden. The gain had crept upon the smoldering man with stealth, over years of denial and through moments of complacent acceptance. Growing fat once seemed a natural process of age. The extra weight had introduced itself as a hobo trespassing the rails, a sneaky hanger-on who refused to be shaken off. Overweight as he is, he feels he is Chosen.

The tired posture and swollen, blistered gut of the man make him a forlorn caricature. His arms swing with the weight of pendulums knocked from their paths. And this broiled devil lumbers across a desolate, alien world – the only living thing exiled and cast into Hell. Desperate thirst comes without warning.

He feels his insides bake and he imagines his already bulging belly will bloat until the skin bursts and all his juices bubble out. The very last of his fluids will evaporate even before dripping to the ground. Such is not the death the empty man desires. He will not die sizzling in his own fluids. Instead, he prefers drying-up. He wants to disintegrate, to become part of the dust – blood red dust.

A clear, familiar voice speaks into his left ear and sounds like his own. “You have certainly wandered enough.”

The disconnected specter speaks with finer clarity than the stumbler – absent of the muffled hesitation he struggles to overcome in ordinary conversation. This voice sounds rehearsed and confident, far from his own verbal fumbling. His voice, like a nasally monologue recorded on an answering machine, seems an amputation, separate from any concept he believes about himself; whatever that could be now.

The better voice resonates as if echoing inside an empty room. Just as abrupt, it vanishes and a second of stillness fills the void. Leaded footfalls on packed dirt and a muffled ring in the man’s head dispels the silence; much like listening to a radio station when an announcer misses his or her timing – until a burst of sound jolts the dead air. Yet the voice is not scratched with static heard on radios. Nothing disturbs its dismembered words. The voice and the man’s plod across the dry waste remain exclusive and opposite each other.

The wandering man does not bother looking around, because the sporadic company of the invisible voice is his only companion. It had joined him earlier that day, or mayhap the day before. Time passes as fleetingly as the voice. This moment, the sun has traveled only a quarter of its path across the sky when the waste becomes miserably hot and bright.

The suspended days and endless expanse of dirt disorient him. There is no, and there was never relief. The previous night had been sweltering, and the man had stumbled through the darkness, unsure when one day ended and another began. Yet he must walk and find his way or die.

From the road, the desert had never appeared so large. He would have easily spotted scant landmarks if he rode in a car or truck. Regardless, the man thinks he can recover his bearings. His sense of direction had always been amazing, or so he believed.

Though he could not recall why he found himself in the middle of nowhere, he suspects he had a destination when the dangerous trek began. The ‘when’ is now long ago, hidden beneath hours and unending dunes of sand. If he had brought any water, it was now gone. He did not know what supplies he had packed for this journey, and he now lacks a pack and even a shirt. All he apparently owns are a pair of scuffed laced boots and crusted khaki pants with empty pockets.

“Hey, wouldn’t a tall glass of cool water be great?”

The voice, barely noticeable beneath hot winds, teases like some subtle siren – hidden within whirlpools transformed into sand dunes. The thought of a gulp of water lights in the mind of the stumbling man, but he deliberately quashes it; none is to be found here and he will not torture himself. Entertaining pleasant fantasies seems more conducive to his survival.

The wanderer dreams he finds that siren and she takes the poor, baked fiend to her dune. They lay down and her bare skin is cool, like the ocean in which she was born. Her eyes, green as kelp, compete for admiration against lips that flirt and glisten with the sheen of pearls. Rescued and transformed, he tires of the colorless desert and travels back to her sea. He will never be thirsty again, and never care and recall how or why he discovered himself alone in the desert. Finding the bliss of love and the sea are the answers, and she is the reason for his journey.

Dehydration had afflicted him long time ago and stumbling on his feet was currently just a pretense; he was already lost and dead. Heat exhaustion was near, but still, the voice calls. It names him.

“Benedict.” This time the voice shuts out every thought. “Ben.”

Ben jerks leftward with such violence, he twists completely around, a marionette thrown into a clumsy pirouette by an amateur puppeteer. The momentum pulls him off his feet and he falls forward as if his strings are cut. His shoulders remain hunched while he lies face down in the sand.

With a huff and small cloud of dust, Ben flips himself over and sees the orange cauldron of the sun over his toes. He had stopped sweating, which is not a good sign, but he lacks any will to worry. His name will be forgotten, if ever really known. He recalls it now, because the voice had reminded him. His name is Ben.

Ben closes his eyes and pictures rippling waves drift upward from his body. He feels stuck to the ground, a part of it. This land might also be called Ben and he is merely a piece of desert, like the dust stirred by his steps. The particles will eventually settle back down and rejoin the suffering man; misplaced specks relocated from one part of the desert to another, but still part of the whole.

His breath becomes the hot breeze and he exhales a gust that singes the inside of his gaping mouth. When Ben opens his eyes, the sun hangs directly overhead as a white whirlpool in a smooth blue ocean. A mighty hand had polished away the waves and ripples; “Not God’s hand.” The Mortal God was gone. The voice told him, although the man already suspected.

“Ben, you’re wasting the day, dreaming.”

****

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