Part two of some horror fiction.
The ride home was easy to forget, and Whitecotton did so as soon as the driver let him out and led him to his front door. The cab was nearly washed out by the heavy rains that had settled on the night, and the scenery, Whitecotton noted at the time, although disremembered the moment he was in his home, had transformed into a fluid, sharp black. The night lamps dotting the roadways hit the cobble and reflected in the their own light and the ebbing puddles and drain floods. The world was keen and whetted. The world was at large, and it was washing away, as he had stared through the carriage’s window, his receding hairline resting there. He did not delete the smell of barbecue from his mind.
Bolts of thunder locked as he cracked his door bolt clasped. He stumbled through the blackness of his lonely shotgun, grasping any vertical object for friendly support. He tumbled to his kitchen, then into his anteceding bathroom and stared out the closed window into his backyard. The coming down made splashes and punctured the yard, carving craters into deadened grass highlighted by the porch lamp. A briny foam rose from those pools, and the yard seemed to crave him. He stared there, and hardened lines formed in his face from thought, or attempts of, or from the patterns etched into the pane glass. The yard was ballooning with the wasted leaves and the deadened garden, forsaken weeks ago from lack of care and knowledge, pooled and overflowed, spilling black dirt like bile into the lagoon that had birthed. There were whispers that secreted from the bile, and the drowning mulch that caused Whitecotton to slip into the sink of sleep near the stained sink adjacent his toilette.
The rains continued to fall during that spell of ponderous slumber, grossly ruining the yard, and knotting Whitecotton’s mind. He had crumbled into a crumpled position against the wall of the washroom, and like a cat’s fit he twitched until hours later he awoke, bewildered and hunched into a harshly curved spine. He slowly took account of his surroundings: the profane drip of the faucet, accounting time in regulated plops; the argent gleam of the candle bleeding the action of shadow on the walls; the brumal wall, silting his face in a teeth-like embrace; the icy corners underneath the sink‘s pipes; the rustic toilette, stamped in indescribable stains and unpleasantness; the lullaby of pounding rains occurring beyond the wall in the yard.
He noticed he had removed his boots and socks, soggy, warm, raw and occupied, although not by his feet.
And still the whispers came from the yard, masked slightly behind the sloshes of drops and puddles. Whitecotton knelt his head against the wall again, listening to the dark rain that fell in the early morning. Ruminations of the ruin he had caused at the get-together hours earlier penetrated his softened skull. The morning still felt midnight, and the numb of dawn duly awoke his soured demeanor towards the results. His own assurances needled him; another speaking engagement funneled through the fuel of spirits and a fool, and again barricaded in a bag of delusions. The cold wall felt this worry, and responded with an increased bleakness. He felt a sickness, spawned by his own narcissism, bred in a company of rancor and self-condemnation, and it tired his teeth as his bones settled against the wall.
And again, whispers shivered from the yard, seeping through the wall. The thunder ran in decreased increments, allowing Whitecotton to feel the murmurs disperse through his frame. He continued attempting to ignore their presence, but his acknowledgement of the dogged perseverance of their existence only amplified their sentiments, and volume. His eyes grew wide as they stared sideways down the show of the wall, and he could no longer break his mind from its concentration on the slight calls for his name. With a sudden and furious shake, he was vertical, groping for the edges of the sink basin to allow his ascent to complexities of a standing position.
His stance swayed, and his balance balked, and as blood seemed to rush through his skull - and not necessarily his brain - he squinted and darkened. He paused to readjust to his new role, and to determine, again, if tricks were in the works.
Is this a bit too much rum? he ruminated. Perhaps the belated attack of a spoiled condiment from the braai? A bite of underdone pork, or even a cold sickness from soaking from the storm?
And the whispers made him green with goosebumps, his heart fluttering like a tot. His name, from the yard.
He felt vindicated in his sanity and perceptions, and began scrambling with his shed clothing, seethed from the rains. The taunts of Rags scolded through him, prodding his reactions. I cannot communicate the truth - oh the truth! - to others; and I cannot remain angry with them. The frailty of their lives, and sorry wastes of thought, cremate their ability for insight. If one cannot see the conventional vulgarities of common life, and one works, marries, and dreams in only that raped and lost state, how can one shed the daily bramble and understand the grasp of actual truth and thought.
Those grandiose sentiments rang with the thunder as he reached for his sock near the crack in the wall. Truth and thought. Truth and thought. Truth and thought. Truth and--
The bite was real, and it was shocking, and it was offensive in every sense to Whitecotton. His immediate reaction was a knee jerk and a kick, then a pitiful, but drilling and well-meant stomp against the worn tile of the floor, which increased the pain. He attempted a scream, and at first failed, only delivering a scowling open-mouthed swallow, followed finally by a savage but brief vocal report at the ceiling, with clenched eyes. Swift reconsideration brought another scramble, this time to remove the cause of the sharp agony, the sock. He was instantly on the floor, ripping the worn clothing from his foot. His heel throbbed, and there was blood. He examined his injury, unbelievably, as the shock designed a confusion throughout his own truths and thoughts. Maddened, he turned the cloth tube inside out, examining the cause, only to discover a rolled, crushed, balled spider, nearly smeared into the soils of his footwear, crumpled from the ill fortunes of its day. Another ruined web, leading to an unexpected attack, and wholly undeserved death.
The poison acted quickly as Whitecotton caressed, squeezed, wiped and patted his ruined heel. He leaned his back against the sink pipes, as though awaiting another assailment. His fingers gripped into his sole, and his eyes began to widen, the whites overtaking the overall area of the pupil. The shock had brutalized his already slipped mind, and he clutched his foot and the floor. Without moving his head, he glanced all around him in a rage, ready for attack from angles unknown.
A stiffness transfixed his body, and a sweat began covering his neck and limbs. There existed a numbness that outnumbered his bones, and he directly became deaf.
Except for the whispers. His body tensed in the aftermath, and his heart began to bruise his ribs in the stillness that became reality. And the whispers from the yard turned to vengeful, raging vociferations that called inside him. There was a taut moment, followed by an ugly authentication of crude action. The world raced.
Whitecotton’s body steamed as he rose, and his fever roiled, branding his intentions like scars into his brain. He shook with violence and, grasping rigidly for support, was again on his feet. With a weakened right heel, he sprung through the bathroom door, through the kitchen and, with a fumbling from perspiring hands on the lock, out the back door into the back yard. His movements were sporadic, and he shook violently; a raw, water soaked shake that penetrated every jerking step, every breath, every jolt of his eyes, still whitely rounded and widely surveying the planet around him.
The yard lay before him, doused and flooded, and screaming his being, brine swelling, a heavy wind laboring the limbs of the trees into his direction. He felt his blood clump in his back, and his fingers swelled and turned a purple red. Whitecotton was aware of these things, but concerned himself only with the mope of the yard.
Whitecotton’s stance was an embellished slant, a slapping together of the leftovers of drink, the pulsing sickness that was angling through his blood, and the madness that gripped his heart. The yard’s call, fused within his mind and with the simultaneous thunder, slid from faint calls of his name to unintelligible sentences; perhaps instructions. Whitecotton had to lean forward further to learn their meanings, and in the absence of plain sense, began silently mouthing the words, regardless of whether his discernment was correct in the non-negotiable noise of the weather. There come points when choices are made among certain species that believe they have the capacity to consider; this gift is mainly found in the breed called men, and especially those of a mediocre caliber bent on paths of dishonest trust in their simple perceptions of the world surrounding them. As with most braggarts prone to sweeping the backstages of comedy clubs, especially those wrapped in self-defeat and touched with a slight mixture of fever derived from an assured madness and clamored in their own selfish intents toward nature, the choices are not difficult, and nearly always incorrect. And so, without the safety of hesitation, Whitecotton listened to his own dulled opinions, and took a step ahead, leaving the confines of the wooden deck that separated him from the yard.
His bare feet snapped into the pools of water, as the thunder drummed a snare-ish arc. The dying weeds pushed into the mud as his step was steeped in puddles and pollution. The water swam above his ankles, and was a dark green. Whitecotton, nearly falling several times, followed the yard further, seeing only the end.
Only the trees, and the yard, and the dilapidated garden, and all that is contained here. I will write; I will produce, and reproduce; I will not perform for those left in society, breaking all kind open. Yes; the cursed genius, in the yard, simply put, pouring thought, pouring sod.
Whitecotton’s slow tread through the streams pursued the yard’s voices, calling from beyond the uneven swing, and the twin evergreens. He paused, and slowly glanced back at the deck, the house, the lights from the window panes, and his temples flared, and trickles of blood, brushed away by the rain, fell from his nose. The noise of the storm had faded despite its audacity, and his voice and the yard’s yell pounded unrelenting through his mind. A moat had formed between him and the house, and his head slowly swiveled back towards the end of the yard, and the piles and scrap and the tall black oak surrounded by haplessly strewn trash and overgrown bushes of incalculable natures. The moat swore passing an impossibility.
A mind swept away, arranged in tomes no one knows, understands, comprehends. Swing, saw, we heard them all, buried in plant,
Unsettled, but compliant, a trespasser, he advanced through the flood, the weeds wrapping themselves around his ankles. The wind, the rain, all warning and slashing through him, as he hummed.
Trees, trees, like tresses they’ll fall;
down the guard, down the yard;
down the guard, down the yard.
His feet were cut by the gravel, the rusted metals, and the oak’s roots, black and hidden in the dark standing waters. Whitecotton ignored the injuries, his fevers undetectable in the whitewashes of the rains, and stumbled, and fell, and then wrenched a sharpened object that had pricked his side, and stumbled and fell, and realized that it had pierced his side. He flung the object as he stammered toward the oak. Whitecotton cursed, unable to see, and unwilling to acknowledge, the blood from his ribs.
He fell forward, clasping the hard wrinkles of the oak, gripping and clenching the steel hide of the tree. It bruised and bloodied his hands, and no shelter from its branches stopped the storm’s squeezing wrath.
He held against the giant, the yard silent now. The poison cued Whitecotton to vomit, wrenching blots of blood from his punctures. A pile of bricks sat undisturbed under a copse near the giant tree.
My words do not dwindle,
words sound simple,
here we stand,
A laugh trembled from him. And he felt himself cry, and then the need to sleep.