White Rabbit

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Photo Credit

One by one they march

Their swords drooled blood of the enemy

They won’t stop

It was time to claim the divine reward.

 

Even the seas of magnetic dynamite they pass in stride

A cynic’s illusion, He should have done better

The purest magic wilts against stolid steel, they assure each other

Their eyes glued to the glacier palace, they keep marching.

 

Though the crystalline keep was anything but.

With every inch closer, the tower transforms.

Dreamy beryl walls to tarnished silver

Glimmering treasures to bleached ash

 

The Ivory Prince rises from the levitating tomb

His gaze reverts the silver suits to searing ingot

The soldiers’ knees buckle, but still they march.

He won’t let them stop.

 

Roaring razor storms consume the East

Corrosive lizards creep from the crevasse in the West

The forked tongue of darkness flicks at their heels.

All that remains is the Prince and His keep.

 

One by one they march

Crippled under concrete crowns of thorns.

They’ll be royalty, too

Dreaming of crystalline treasures in the furnace.

For the Silence

 

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Photo credit: Flickr

The way you look at me,

Hide yourself from me.

These euphoric dreams

Are all I need.

 

It’s not impossible

To cure this madness.

It courses through my veins,

But never lasts.

 

Now they’re calling me,

These hollow demons.

Please let them take me.

I’ll be their last.

 

The walls are closing in,

Going dark again.

It’s reaching for my hand;

Nightmare begin.

 

Devils Dance, Ch.4

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Read previous installments:

Chapter One,
Chapter Two,
Chapter Three

They had been on the road for five days, with no hope of ever returning home – not as free citizens at least. Commissioner Davis and his band of taut merry men had caught onto their use of a third party to intercept 911 calls as they reached the station.

Moran hated to drag her nephew, Todd, into all of this, but with his intellect in rather underhanded tactics in receiving information, using him was a no-brainer. “He’ll be okay, won’t he?” Moran asked Robert, closing the door of the 1998 Suburban they just purchased.

The truth was that Robert had no idea as to the security of Todd, or either of them for that matter; that’s what he continually told Moran, too. “Stop your worrying and focus,” he said. “I called Todd yesterday and told him to lay low.” He tossed a folded map over to Moran. “Tell me how to get to Vindeville from here.”

Stephenie trained her eye on a passing squad car, strangled with anxiety. “Just get on the interstate off Herstam and continue for about thirty minutes.” She placed the map into the glove compartment, to Robert’s surprised glare. His bright blue eyes shone under a heavy eyebrow shelf. “What?”

“You’ve been there?”

“I have. We used to have Christmas there, when my uncle still had his river property. The last time I was there was about twenty years ago; the entire town was in shambles.”

Greer started on Herstam and found the interstate. He seemed distracted, but Moran figured he was tensed from the entire situation.

Driving in total silence almost killed Moran. Every opportunity, she would shift in her seat or pretend to thumb through the map – anything to keep her occupied. Each breath and every thought were audible. “So, can I ask?”

“Hm?”

“What’s in Vindeville?”

Greer swerved to avoid a semi in the shoulder. His instincts called for him to stop and assist the semi driver, but then he remembered he was a fugitive, on the run for a crime neither he nor Moran had committed. He had to remind himself many times throughout all this that that was the reason for everything they were doing: to prove their innocence, nothing else. “Something’s going to be there.”

What’s going to be there?”

“I don’t know.”

Stephenie sighed. “You don’t know? What are you saying?” His subtle glance to Moran was plenty an explanation. She gasped. “Again?”

Nodding, yes, Robert reiterated, “Around four last night. Woke up drenched in sweat, with its fucking voice still in my mind. I can’t get it out of my brain, Stephenie.”

“What did it say?”

Robert dared not recall the entirety of the nightmare, or risk their safety on the road. He sipped from a blueberry Slurpee, in hopes of that cooling the hot tinge blistering the back of his throat; it did nothing but leave him with a brain freeze. “I saw it this time, Steph. It didn’t say anything I could understand – just stood there, whispering.” Or sat there, Robert decided would be a better description. He winced, feeling a caustic tentacle scrape his uvula – he swallowed hard. “Something is going to happen there, or already has.” Closing his eyes, he recalled the brutish sight. “If Vindeville is as small as I’m told, I’m sure we’ll pass right by it and I’ll remember. Maybe  we can prevent the catastrophe from occurring.”

“You really think that, Rob?”

“I’ve got to.” He turned to Stephenie, eyes full and face bleached. “By god, I’ve got to.”

Moran held Greer’s hand for the next twenty miles, until they reached the Vindeville welcoming sign. As they passed the sign, her heart dropped. The town was exactly as it was when she left it.

With a population lingering around 2,500 on good years, Vindeville was the last stop anybody would make on their tour of Wisconsin. Every building was run-down; every house chock full of bird shit and useless junk – the place was evidently popular amongst pack-rats and the like. Save for a small gas station, a dilapidated school, a food department, and a few antique stores scattered here and there, the next bout of civilization was an hour away. It was a day trip for Vindevillians to do pretty much anything.

“So what do you remember?” She asked as they passed a shoddy residential area. “Was it a junky house, or a junkier house?” She joked.

Greer abruptly pulled the car to a pull-out and pointed. “That’s the one. It’s hard to see for the hills and trees, but that’s the house it showed me.” Images flashed in his mind, ones of torture and terror confined in a dank room. His recollection of the tarnished chains, broken liquor bottles, and the screams – oh god, the screams – pulsated with a glimmering kerosene lamp. His hands grew hot on the steering wheel, his resilient soul reduced to that of a quivering child. “That’s it,” he repeated.

Stephenie tilted her head, confused. “Rob, that’s not a house,” she said. She remembered her uncle’s wedding ceremony, recollecting its peculiar location despite being one of the town’s hot spots. “That’s Wakersbade First Baptist.” She cleared her throat. “What would it being doing within a church?” She asked, noting that none of the past murder-suicides were committed within a house of worship. This would be a change in its seemingly ironclad pattern.

The two sat still for what seemed like hours, stunned, looking out onto the horizon at the white building, before Robert took the Suburban down a graveled road to Wakersbade. An unsettled silence hushed the vehicle, Greer horrorstruck and frozen. He retracted his lead foot as the white chapel skitted into view, and came to a stop.

Greer could not help noticing the resemblance between himself and the skinny staked man atop the church’s twisted spire. And he felt just as helpless. He felt something calling him, wanting him to approach the courtyard. The air hummed with aggravated energy as Robert hopped out of the vehicle, spellbound, to face the horrors within the church and deep within himself.

Blue Skies

Nothing seemed real after thirteen years in space. The ground felt too mushy, the buildings too large, the people minuscule. This had been Ethan’s second successful mission, the first of which he only spent a few years at ISS so the transition wasn’t that rough, but this time was different.

Ethan watched as his comrades left the station, warm under their family’s embrace. He had been waiting nearly an hour for his beautiful wife Sharon and daughter Beth – the last time, Beth brought him a coffee mug she had painted in Mrs. Gella’s class and Sharon gave him unbelievable sex that night – but they never showed. Suddenly the space exhibition didn’t feel as extensive

It didn’t take long before the taxi arrived. Despite his insistence that Sharon would be there – he needed only be patient – Sergeant Blymh ushered the exhausted astronaut into the yellow cab and called it a day.

On the road, Ethan saw his girls’ faces in everything: they were in the bricks in the sidewalk, they were the faces on the billboards, and they were ripples in the water. Every sound was that of Willie Nelson – not only was he Sharon’s favorite singer, but he woke up to Always on My Mind every morning on the shuttle. It was another way he felt closer to his girls.

The only thing keeping him from going into full panic mode was their crumpled portrait in his pocket. He distinctly remembered taking the photograph during Beth’s seventh birthday party at Giggy’s Pizza – Sharon looked so goddamned beautiful even with a mouth full of pepperoni and his daughter was just as striking.

Suddenly Ethan felt a rise in his stomach: Beth was going to be twenty-one this year. After thirteen years, he wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t even remember him; hell, she’d probably moved away.

“Don’t do this, Ethan,” he thought. “All I need is the driver to think I’m a big-ass cry baby.”

But he couldn’t stop. He imagined Sharon wrinkled and gray. Their corgi Vinnie was probably dust in the ground by now, and, shit, she could’ve sold the house and be living with a tight 20-something surging with stamina and a jawline for days.

What an idiot he was to think things could simply go back to normal after he returned, he thought. He pressed his head against the window and firmly shut his eyes, allowing the darkness to drown him. Obscurity was his only friend. He should have told the doctor during the post-exhibition physical of his night terrors and the depression, but all that was on his mind at the time was kissing his girls.

Ethan’s reservations disintegrated as the car came to a stop. The house looked just as he left it; the only difference was the addition of a purple Volkswagen, but his white Saturn was still parked in his spot.

He rang the doorbell three times to no avail; however, he let himself in with the key concealed under the second stepping stone in the front yard. Sharon should have moved their key to a better location, but Ethan was overjoyed that she kept it there throughout the years. Ethan never felt more welcome.

The interior of the house had been renovated, Ethan’s grandparents’ old furniture had been replaced with a modern leather love seat, and the wall was nearly nonexistent behind a massive plasma screen. He heard footsteps in the back. “Sharon?” Ethan called, heading down the hall near their room. “I’m… Oh –”

Sharon had her back turned, fixing Beth’s golden hair. Ethan could not believe his eyes. The last time he saw Beth, she was picking boogers out of her nose waving goodbye.

“Hello?” A voice piped from the bathroom. It was a man’s voice, and something about it felt familiar to Ethan.

Abruptly, Sharon and Beth turned around – their faces horrifyingly cracked, frosted glass. Tiny whispers and raucous whimpers filled the room. Blazing fingers and checkered tongues swiftly tore through the walls, shattering picture frames and setting fire to the floral wallpaper. Thick gobs of black bile dripped from the ceiling, covering the two women in obsidian vomit. Beth charged, narrowly missing Ethan, before shattering into a million pieces on the floor. Sharon emitted a blood-curdling shriek.

Ethan ran before Sharon could attack him. He whipped past Beth’s old room turned office, and hopped over the chic glass coffee table in the living room. He dodged spiraling silverware and planet mobiles in the kitchen. Burning candles exploded as he past them, covering his shirt in clumpy red and orange wax. Tattered scarves and jackets latched onto his hands and feet. The plasma television sparked and blipped, static scrolling the screen.

Hundreds of pages of Ethan’s graduate research blanketed the floor; one in particular – the third page of his dissertation – caught his eye. Etched in gold ink on the page was a peculiar symbol. He recognized it and had seen it somewhere, but couldn’t remember where.

A covered figure blocked the front door. Ethan tried to run for the back, but was once again met with the same shadowed being. He lunged at the dark entity, hoping this was all a twisted dream he was having in the taxi cab.

But suddenly time stopped. Boiling water droplets and broken pickle jars hung frozen in the air, fragments of their family portraits and knives merely props. Ethan’s short breaths stopped. His heart was in his throat as the figure approached him, its brown eyes cutting into Ethan’s own.

“You really shouldn’t have returned,” it croaked. “You don’t belong here. Or don’t you remember?” The entity dropped its cloak and stroked Ethan’s cheek. It had Ethan’s face. It was Ethan. “Let me help you.”

Ethan was released from time’s grip and he closed his eyes. He couldn’t dare look the monster in its face – his face. It didn’t take long for a wave of relaxation to wash over Ethan. He found solace imagining he was back on the shuttle, alongside Blymh and the others. He missed looking out onto the bright expanse, dreaming of being outside cuddled next to his girls stargazing, looking right back at himself in the shuttle years away. The heavy weight of anxiety and loneliness lifted off his body, Ethan embraced the darkness.

Moments pass and suddenly the lyrics of Always on My Mind graced Ethan’s ears, penetrating the thick silence. He opened his eyes and smiled.