Nigh Cries, Part Eight

StranglingBy

Timotei

Erik did not consider himself to be overly brave.  In the normal flow of events, bravery was another emotion to be discarded like any other.  It was an alien concept anyway since, until today anyway, it was not necessary.  Cold World did not have any crime.  The more society divested itself of emotion, the less likely strife and turmoil arose.  People didn’t steal, kill or destroy one another.  The people of Cold World were simply too involved in the pursuit of knowledge.  All other occupations were a waste of valuable time.  Erik could not even remember if he had ever had a fight, an argument, or anything with anyone.  Just the thought made him feel lost and confused.  Having never raised his hand in anger toward any other living being, how was he supposed to confront the nightmare waiting for him in Professor Voguebuk’s lab?

Erik tried asserting his rational mind over the question.  Whatever had shredded the professor was probably done.  It stopped with the professor when it could just as easily have ended his life.  But it hadn’t and he was still alive; therefore, he wasn’t the target and could proceed to investigate further.

Erik stepped cautiously towards the professor’s lab, careful to step over the pool of blood that was spreading slowly around one half of the professor’s body.

The door to the lab was not locked and gave way easily to Erik’s gentle push.  The lights inside flicked to life in starts and bursts of pale green and yellow until a soft white light filled the open space of the lab.  The lab wasn’t very big Erik thought.  His own study hall was far larger not to mention his experimental space.  Somehow Erik expected more but with a shrug he moved towards one of the work benches that lined the eastern side of the lab.  There spread out on the bench surface was a large but deep saucer type plate with trailing wires that ran through the liquid in the plate.  The liquid itself was not quite sheer enough to see the bottom of the plate but seemed to shimmer as tiny waves crossed its surface.  It was then that Erik noticed a dull hum that lingered about his ears without any apparent direction.  Erik wasn’t sure exactly where the humming was coming from but it did appear to be strongest just over the plate of liquid.

The wires leading out of the liquid were connected to patch panels that fed a row of circuit cards that pulsed with translucent green and yellow lights.  Small LEDs pulsed in rhythm to the tiny waves dancing across the surface of the liquid.  Erik centered himself in front of the work bench and slowly peered into the liquid.  The liquid had a metallic appearance and Erik could almost see his image on the surface.  He wasn’t sure exactly what he was seeing but the liquid seemed to react to his presence.  The tiny waves that had been gently racing across the surface of the liquid froze then proceeded to move in a directly way as though orchestrated and on cue.  A small image appeared to Erik on the surface of the liquid.  It was a planet but it wasn’t one Erik had ever seen.  It was dark and menacing.  This was the dark realm Erik reasoned.  The professor had discovered a gateway of some kind to the dark realm and Erik was looking right at it.  How had he done this Erik queried?  This was stretching his imagination to believe that the professor had achieved something like this without his knowledge.  Erik put the selfish thought aside for the moment and peered again into the face of the liquid.  A new shape began to take shape and when Erik realized what he was seeing; her hand had full possession of his throat as her arm stretched out from the center of the plate.  Erik tried to jerk away from her terrible grasp but her grip was like steel.  The liquid in the plate was splashing all over the bench surface and some of the trailing wires came out of the liquid altogether.

Erik could not even scream.  He knew that he had only a few moments before he passed out.  His air supply was completely cut off and his vision was starting to blur.  He had never encountered another physical force so powerful.  He felt helpless, stuck like a fly in maw of a Venus fly trap.  Just as Erik was about to pass out, he tried one more time to dislodge her hand from his throat.  He failed and as he felt himself starting to slide to the lab floor his flailing hand disconnected the wires from the plate and with a blood cuddling scream she let him go.  Her hand paused briefly, her arm extended above the liquid’s surface to the elbow.  Her palm was facing Erik like a cobra preparing to strike and then she curled her hand into a fist and started trembling in rage as the arm started sinking back into the plate of liquid.  In an instant, the hand was gone and what liquid remained in the plate was unmoving and clear.

Erik gathered his thoughts and on wobbling knees he backed away from the bench.  In the space of a few minutes, Erik almost died but he also discovered what Dr. Voguebuk was trying to tell him.  There was a way to bridge the distance between Cold World and the dark realm.  There was something in the dark realm that wanted him dead and Erik thought he knew why.  Erik was one of two individuals that could understand what adhesion breakage was and how to stop it.  With the professor dead, he alone held the key to stopping this cataclysmic event and someone or something in the dark realm knew this.

Night Cries, Part Seven

Lab 5

Erik’s earth mother came running up the stairs in a panic. Little Fran was standing at the bathroom door with a look of fright upon his face. The bathroom door shuddered violently but ceased as Erik’s earth mother approached.

“Erik”, his earth mother called cautiously. “Are you alright? What’s going on in there?”

On the wet floor of the bathroom, Erik stirred. His eyes opened weakly and he stared about the room in a haze. She was gone. The tub was filled with water and looked as if a bomb had exploded inside of it. Grimy hand prints were draped around the tub’s edges. The finger scrawl on the medicine cabinet mirror was still there but she was gone.

Erik stood to his feet and began wiping the grime from the tub. He then proceeded to wipe the mirrors removing any trace of her presence. His earth mother began rapping harder at the door, calling out his name and demanding a response.

After a quick inspection around the bathroom room, Erik opened the door. His mother and Fran stood there staring at him in confusion. Erik quickly gathered his thoughts and began to explain.

“I’m sorry for all the noise and the mess on the floor. I got water on the floor and lost my balance”, Erik explained.

“Erik”, his mother sounded unconvinced. “All that banging up here, it sounded like you were wrestling in here or a party was going on.”

Erik looked up at his earth mother with sheepish eyes and said, “I’m sorry. I was slipping all over the place. I’ll clean all this up.”

Erik could not meet his mother’s eyes. He wanted to reach out to her and collapse in her arms but he dared not. He didn’t want to chance exposing her to the very emotions that may have created the thing that stalked him in his dreams and in the present reality. The whole thing just made no sense to him. He shouldn’t even be experiencing these emotions towards his earth mother. But he was and they were strong. He even felt attached to Fran his little earth brother. Just the thought that his wayward nightmare could have hurt him last night sent shivers down his spine.

“I have to use the bathroom Erik”, Fran exclaimed. I have to go really bad and you wouldn’t let me in.”

The little boy stood in the doorway, knees locked, shaking and fidgeting anxiously.

Erik’s earth mother looked at him with a very stern look of disapproval. 

“I’m all done Fran and I’m sorry. Are the pancakes ready yet mommy”, responded Erik as he moved out of the bathroom? He was glad to be out of that bathroom. He was glad to be out of that space but he was more relieved that no one had been hurt. He needed to get ahead of this phenomenon and figure out how she, this apparition of ghostly hate and rage, made it across the sky bridge. Time was running out for his home world and if he didn’t act faster, earth itself could be doomed to the same fate.

“Erik, I don’t know what’s gotten into you lately. I want this mess cleaned up and I want to see you and your brother seated downstairs in twenty minutes for breakfast. Your father will be up shortly if he isn’t already so get going, hurry up, no dawdling”, his mother said patiently.

Fran darted into the bathroom and slipped on the wet floor. His head bounced off the plaster coated floor and he started crying and wetting himself. Erik’s earth mother moved to his side and cradled the little boy carefully in her arms. She spoke softly to him, soothing him and reassuring him as she began removing his wet clothes. Erik stared at the two of them and started recalling his own childhood on Cold World. How different the two realities were.

On Cold World, the familiar bonds of family just didn’t exist. The Great Divestiture was so efficient and so complete that the children of Cold World ceased addressing their parents as mother and father. They were birth constructs and that was all. They had one responsibility and that was to provide initial shelter, food, clothing and access to the archives of knowledge. Mothers didn’t breastfeed anymore. Fathers did not await the arrival of their new born infants. Families did not celebrate the coming of new souls into the world. There were no lovers. There were no friendships. There were only detachment and a singular focus on technological development and growth at all costs.

Lab 2

Outside of the pursuit of knowledge, Erik had no other passions. He was truly an island unto himself. He preferred it this way too. He was his best teacher and disciple. There really hadn’t been anyone more gifted, more possessed of an innate ability to think in four dimensions. His was a lonely brilliance and the absence of emotional bonds made that existence more than bearable. He didn’t even register the concept of companionship. He didn’t need it or anyone.

As Erik started sorting through his things in his bedroom, his mind continued to retrace the steps that brought him to earth. He had done this countless times leading up to the events of last night. He thought through what he believed was every possible derivation, every possible algorithm, and all the possible probabilities and yet he must have missed something. She was here. She had crossed the Sky Bridge. His formulae had been wrong. It just didn’t make logical sense to his calculating mind.

Going back to the beginning, Erik laid out the facts as he knew them. Something from the Dark Realm had crossed over to Cold World which in and of itself shouldn’t have been possible. This thing which resembled a female had first appeared to him in his lab and she was angry on a berserker level. He didn’t recognize anything about her except for the sense that she had been hurt or wronged in some way and that he was the object of her hate. On Cold World she started appearing in an irregular form, half in and half out of sync with time. While she didn’t appear to have a real material presence to anyone other than Erik she was very real and had an extremely disturbing effect on Erik. Erik was afraid of her. This fear was palpable and registered an alien emotion within Erik. His encounters with her always left him on the brink of stark raving terror. He was sure that this had to be due to the fact that he was dealing with emotions he knew nothing about intellectually. He couldn’t explain the feelings he was having but he did feel them. They were not mental projections or some faded part of his imagination. He was experiencing emotion. Then the thought hit him…the more he felt, the stronger her presence seemed.

Lab 1

 

Erik thought back to that day he entered Professor Voguebuk’s lab after the professor had been slain before his eyes. Even this had unsettled him when it shouldn’t have. He remembered his thoughts as he watched the lifeless form of Professor Voguebuk sprawled in a bloody heap, half his body shredded and missing. It was a grisly scene but it shouldn’t have bothered Erik and yet it did.

Erik could remember the lab and all the lights and sirens that rang throughout the complex. He remembered the last words of the professor who urged him to find the solution to the pending disaster approaching Cold World. Erik was confident he could, given time. He just didn’t know how much time he had. He remembered walking towards the lab door and opening it to a sight that would alter all his plans and that of the future of Cold World.

 

 

Manhood Foolishness

Juanita_Story3Manhood Foolishness

by

Juanita Story

From sinew to bone, from my eyes to yours, I am struck by this thing called manhood!

The halls ring all day long with the caustic sound of your half-truths and lies.

Shades of a man that once was are in evidence everywhere.

Upon the desk, scattered and painted with the fine caress of dusts’ playful anguish, I can see it all.

Piled high now, your unkept words, your wayward responsibilities laughingly haunt my dreams.

Such arrogance.  Such bravado.  Such shame.  Yet you find glory in the hunger pains of those too weak to say enough, too weak to stand for themselves, too young to understand.

This then is your glory and your legacy.  Yours is a heritage now begun under the clouds of deceit and cowardice.

There is no pause button here.  Life has no more time nor riches to waste on what should have been glorious days of love and births and songs sung without hope’s loss…

I for one cannot abide your silence yet I crave your absence.  I desire this void be filled with another more worthy than you.

I cannot teach you to love yourself.  What fields of folly called you away on that day of learning is lost to me.

I cannot put steel in your spine.  The water damage is too severe to repair.

I cannot give you sight.  You poured too much hate into those soulless sockets.

I cannot open your understanding.  Ears closed and capped with lies and whispers of false pride prevent further hearing though truth sings as loud as the siren song of a thousand space shuttles.

From sinew to bone, from my eyes to yours, I am lifted by this thing called womanhood.

Night Cries…Part 6

Techno City 12Night Cries Part 6

By

Timotei

Erik waved over his data pod and found the name he needed, Dr. Voguebuk.  Dr. Voguebuk was one of Erik’s earliest mentors and one of only a handful of people that had the intellectual capacity to understand him.  If anyone could help explain what Erik was experiencing it was Dr. Voguebuk.

After Julia’s shapely form disappeared from Erik’s peripheral, he started on his way to Dr. Voguebuk’s office which wasn’t very far from his own lab.  Erik didn’t walk much, not when sky boards made physical locomotion redundant. Today, he needed it.  The events of the past few hours had drained him.  He felt weak and off balance.  This was a new experience for him and he didn’t like feeling lost and uncertain.

Techno City 7

The sky boards were whizzing by him, various people in all manner of unified dress were headed this way and that.  Some stood motionless atop their sky board reading from their data-grams without a care in the world.  They were completely disconnected from reality it seemed.  The data-grams floated in front of their eyes, flashing the latest world event before them.  Others were speaking into the air, conversing via electron probe-lines with colleagues or whomever.  No one walked anymore and the sight of Erik making his way across the great bastion way went unnoticed.  No one cared and Erik wouldn’t have either but today was not a normal day and Erik noticed a little of everything as he walked.  There were weeds growing along the bastion way!  There were rustic streaks of oxidation painted across the base lamps that lined the bastion.  Pieces of paper flirted and tumbled across the picturesque lawns that abutted the office spaces on either side of the bastion.  There was a faint odor in the air near one of the rain run offs.  Erik glanced around for the origin of the foul odor.  Down into the run off lay a lumpy hairy form.  A cat, from the looks of it, lay sprawled along the grating, its hair and flesh rotted away.  Erik paused, starring at the dead thing in amazement.  He had never seen so much garbage and debris in Center City downtown.  The rover bots ran on 24 hour cycles and these things should not have been missed.  Erik made a mental note and continued on.

When Erik reached Dr. Voguebuk’s office, he found the old man wheezing slowly, hunched over his desk.  The adjacent lab was dark but looked empty.  None of his normal attendants were on hand.  He was alone, something Erik found disconcerting.  The professor was never alone.  He always had students about.  His lab was always abuzz with graduate student activity and his desk seemed perpetually surrounded by candidates seeking an audience with him.  Erik approached the slumping man.

Dr. Voguebuk was 76 years old and he looked every bit of it.  As Erik got closer he could see the deep lines of age etched into his worn face.  He really looked old and tired.  He barely registered Erik’s presence.  He slowly lifted his face to look directly at Erik.  His shoulders were heaving slowly as he appeared to struggle to draw enough air.  Erik was puzzled by this because although Dr. Voguebuk was old, he was in very good health last he heard.

“Dr. Voguebuk, are you alright”, Erik whispered.  There was a pause and Dr. Voguebuk glanced around his office and then at his lab window.

Slowly and with strain, Dr. Voguebuk replied, “No.  I am not.  Why are you here?”  His words were barely audible.

“I saw something I cannot explain and I was hoping you might be able to help me understand what it is I saw”, Erik said.  At that, the doctor’s breathing slowed.  He straightened himself and looked up into Erik’s face and into his eyes specifically.  Eternity seemed to pass before he spoke.

“I am afraid Erik”, the doctor wheezed.  “If you can’t explain it, and the event has brought you here to my door, then I am afraid the trouble is far bigger than any explanation I provide can handle.  What happen?”

Erik shared the whole story with his mentor.  He left out no detail and was precise in his telling.  He even shared his observations during his walk to the professor’s office.  When he finished, Dr. Voguebuk’s face was pale.  The professor nodded his head and looked down.  Erik thought the professor was about to collapse and moved towards the old man.  Dr. Voguebuk lifted a hand to stop him and pointed at his workstation instead.

“There at my workstation is the answer I believe you seek”, the professor said.  His breathing grew labored again.  Erik walked to the workstation and saw the various hand written notes and pages of formulas.  They all looked the same as through the professor had been repeating himself over and over again, performing the same proofs with the same results.  Erik sat at the work station and began pouring over the professor’s notes.  It didn’t take long.  Erik spun in his chair and looked directly at the professor, a look of incredulity spreading across on his face.

“Is this what I think it is Sir?”

The professor rose, his legs shaking, weak with strain and said, “Yes, it is.  One of my graduate students came across a particular effect after applying the Third Theorem of JorgonBass.  We had never encountered this particular effect and started running tests to confirm the results”, said the professor.  The Third Theorem of JorgonBass suggested that when anti-matter was held at zero molecular activity, a chain reaction occurs that produces solar radiation equal in proportion to the mass of the anti-matter being held at zero molecular activity.  It was JorgonBass’ theorem that made the great skybridge possible.  It was a breakthrough in modern quantum physics and it was one that Erik himself often applied in his many inventions.

Techno City 14

“We ran countless simulations and always the same results”, said professor Voguebuk.

Erik asked, “what was the effect Dr. Voguebuk?”

“Adhesion breakage across the fifth and sixth parallel”, responded Dr. Voguebuk.

Erik’s jaw dropped.  “But that’s not possible Sir, it can’t be”.

“You’re looking at the results in your hand my son.  You saw it and I didn’t have to explain anything.  You saw the results for yourself Erik”.

“Professor”, Erik began to pace the office as he spoke, “If there is adhesion breakage, and across the fifth and sixth parallel…that means, that means that our world could phase into…” he couldn’t bring himself to say it.

“Immaterial sludge”, the professor finished for him.  “Once the fifth parallel collapses, our world will cease vibrating at its present frequency. Once that happens and the sixth parallel cracks, we will start a wobble that will change our solar orbit and bring us into complete phase with the dark realm”, the professor finished and sat back into his chair.

“Sir is it possible that we’ve already started a glide path into the dark realm”, Erik asked.

“Erik, I, yes I suppose it is possible”, said the professor.

“Could that explain what I saw and experienced today?”

Techno City 13“Son I believe it might.  You didn’t imagine this.  Given our current phase and influxuity, you may have experienced inhabitants of the dark realm but since no one has ever encountered any of these entities this is speculation on my part”, explained the professor.  “The question I would want answered were I you is why you?  Why and how did it find you and appear to you?  Why was it so personal in its attack?”

Erik mulled over the professor’s statement silently.  Something had to be done.

“Sir, have you shared your findings with anyone else”, Erik asked.  I noticed your office and lab are completely empty.  Where is everyone?”

“Erik…what I didn’t share with you is what happened after each experiment.  Each time we ran a model simulation and reproduced the effect of the Third Theorem, we would lose an attendant or a graduate student.  They would just vanish.  It was as if they were never here.  We simply could not find them or account for them in any physical or meaningful way”, retorted the professor.

There was silence between them.  Except for the low hum inside the professor’s lab, the office and surrounding area was completely still.  Then Dr. Voguebuk spoke.

“I may have solved part of the effect Erik.  I started working a reduction on the effect, something that would not involve any other person or put anyone else at risk.  Each time I ran the reduction however…it cost me.  I can’t explain it, but parts of my internal organs have started phasing in and out of the present space.  My heart stopped last week and had it not been for my health tech-bot, I would not be here speaking with you now”.

Erik’s face brightened.  A problem had presented itself and now he had a purpose, something he could devote his immense intellect towards solving.  “How can I help professor”, Erik said, hoping rising in his voice.

“My derivations are inside my lab along with the last reduction model.  I also have additional notes on my system processer”, professor Voguebuk exclaimed.  The professor started to rise again when sirens started blaring inside his lab.  The whole room began to shudder and the floor beneath them vibrated violently.  The whole left side of professor Voguebuk started to pulse and shimmer then vanished in a bloody shredding of flesh and bone.  The horrified scream of the professor lasted but an instant as he collapsed in a heap upon his office floor.

Erik stared in utter disbelief.  His mind was being assaulted.  His ears were overwhelmed by the sirens screaming from within the lab.  He felt paralyzed with fear.  He had to move, he had to do something.  He closed his eyes…and the sirens stopped.  The floor stopped moving and all that remained was the twisted ragged remains of his mentor, Dr. Voguebuk.  The floor was thick with his blood but Erik stepped cautiously through it and made his way to the lab.  Looking back at his mentor’s form Erik felt a sudden pang of loss.  He couldn’t really process it but it was a new sensation for him.  He felt something.  He couldn’t dwell on that right now.  The professor died trying to solve the effect of the Third Theorem.  Erik would see to it that he did not die in vain.  The answer was in Professor Voguebuk’s lab and that’s where he needed to start if he was going to save Cold World.

Go Home Charity

Juanita_Story4Go Home Charity

by

Juanita Story

Charity begins at home. What if you don’t have a home? What if every door knocked upon denied you respite? What if only the soles of your feet could tell the story of your departure?

Where then is charity? Where is she when only the painful comfort of blacken asphalt remembers your name? Where is she when black eyes and crows call you cousin and friend? Where is charity when the dew of night’s fallen mist is your blanket?

Come now to me lover. Explain your absence. Explain my broken heart.  Come now to me my champion.  Pull my hair and release my darkness.  Explain your travels.  Explain the means of your great escape.  Take me down and reveal my tear.

If the sounds of her Nubian experience frighten you, disarm you, make you pale with regret, then charity has found her home. Open wide and welcome her in. Her chains rattle for but a moment. Her back is yet unbowed. Glistening is her many sorrows but she has found her home. Pull back the curtain and watch her dance in the firelight of a new tomorrow.

Charity begins at home and home is where her heart was.  She is out there, somewhere.  Her heart is at home, out there, somewhere.

Charity is home. Her company is well fed. Their beds are warm and well slept. Charity is alone.

Night Cries…Part 5

Fear of Dark 7Night Cries Part 5

By

Timotei

 

Soft echoes rang against the inside of his skull, bouncing vague thoughts and memories through his cluttered mind.  Erik felt himself shaking back and forth, a still yet small voice calling his name quietly at first and then with increasing panic.

“Erik, wake up son”, he heard his mother say…his mother?  Erik opened his eyes slowly, fearfully, not sure of what he was going to see.  His mother’s soft smile greeted him.  Erik launched himself into her arms, trembling as he clung desperately to her.

“Mom”, Erik gasped.  “Are you ok”?

“Erik, of course I’m ok.  Are you ok”, she responded.  “You’re drenched.  Why were you sleeping in my doorway?  Where you sleep walking?”

Erik paused; his mind began processing the night’s events.  He had to remind himself that his earth mother was not aware of Cold World, or for that fact who Erik really was.  To her, Erik was just an eight year old, curly headed boy, who likes to play all day and tell fantastic stories.  In truth, Erik was a 25 year super genius from an alternate world known as Cold World.  He had effected his greatest invention in a quest to save himself and his world from the after effects of Divestiture.  Divestiture was the process wherein the citizens of Cold World cut off all social and emotional development in pursuit of pure knowledge.  Children were indoctrinated at the earliest to shed emotional contacts including parental ties.  Everything in Cold World was driven towards the development of pure knowledge and technological advancement.  The sages of Cold World had long ago reasoned that human emotion hindered evolutionary growth, that society could never outpace its suicidal tendencies unless it divested itself of all human emotion.

Slowing his breathing and regaining his composure Erik said, “I don’t think so mommy.  I think I had a dream and it scared me, but I don’t remember what the dream was about.”

“Let’s get you back to your room then.  How about I make you some pancakes and maybe some of the dream will come back to you.  If it doesn’t then don’t worry about it because the bad dream is gone and you never have to worry about it again ok”, his mother soothed.

“Ok, pancakes, yes”, Erik feigned excitement.  Pancakes always fixed everything and they were his favorite so that would help distract his mother.

She carried his little body securely back to his own room and sat him down on his bed.  She brushed his blond hair away from his eyes and said, “Get yourself cleaned up and ready for the best pancakes ever.  They should be ready in about fifteen minutes ok.”

Erik nodded his head with a bright smile.  As his mother departed, his mind again started racing through the images of last night.  His earth mother was alive.  She had not killed her.  He must have been dreaming but was it all a dream?  His earth mother didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary in his room.  The stench was gone.  His bed was dry.  He looked at Fran.  His brother was still asleep.  But it was all so real but there were no signs, nothing that he could detect lingered from her.  Erik rubbed his eyes and headed to the bathroom.  As soon as the bathroom lights came on he saw it.  On the medicine cabinet mirror just over the sink, scraggly writing stretched across the entire mirror surface.  The words, I’m not done with you boy” dripped eerily across the mirror as though a boney finger had traced the words through a hazy, frost covered surface. 

Fear of Dark 3

Erik started to make a sound but nothing could get through his constricted throat.  He was suddenly paralyzed with fear.  He started to turn when the bathroom door slammed shut so hard the floor vibrated.  The lights began to flicker when Erik heard his earth mother shout up to him, “Erik, what was that?  Please don’t slam the doors this early. You might wake your dad.”

Erik tried to reply.  He wanted to say something, anything, but the sounds wouldn’t come out.  The lights continued to flicker then they died.  The bathroom was dark.  The room was engulfed in silence and all Erik could hear, no feel, was his own heartbeat.  He reached for the light switch and flicked it back and forth and the lights again sprang to life.  The tub was full of water and in the water a form appeared just beneath the surface.  She opened her eyes and grinned at him.  She started speaking and through the bubbling water terror laced words burst into Erik’s hearing, “I’m going to end you boy”, and with that she started thrashing around in the tub in an attempt to get out…but she could not.  Her efforts splashed water all over the floor and walls.  She raised herself halfway but could get no further.  Boney, scaled fingers gripped the tub’s edges as she sought to pull herself free.  She stretched out her gaunt, encrusted hand, elongated fingers tipped with broken but razor sharp claws, towards Erik.  Her eyes blazed out pure and simple hate and she was focused on the boy.  She started screaming and howling so loud that the bathroom walls vibrated.

“I will have you boy, I will have you boy, I will have you boy”, she shrieked over and over again.  Her sunken chest heaved violently with every word.  Her face was twisted with effort.  Her eyes were red with bloody passion and determination.  She spun around in the tub, kicking and screaming until the tub began to rock itself loose.  The plaster and molding started cracking and falling to the floor mixing with the already splashed water and creating a white paste on the bathroom floor.

There was a pounding on the door.  Little Fran called to Erik, “Erik…what’s going on?”

Erik withdrew to the far wall and sank to his knees.  His whole body shook with fear.  He closed his eyes and started screaming as loud as he could…

Night Cries…Part 4

Blood Screams 5Night Cries Part 4

By

Timotei

She hovered, unmoving yet shimmering like the heat waves off a summer baked street.  The boy’s blond hair briefly obscured his vision but he didn’t move a muscle.  She drew in a deep breath and opened her mouth ever so slightly.  There was no sound, but the stench filled the room with the acrid odor of dry rotting garbage.  Erik cringed but she remained unmoving, her eyes blank now, devoid of the thunderous rage he had experienced on Cold World.  Then she lifted one long pointy finger at Erik and he heard her in his mind.

“You are ready to die?” The question was tinged with anticipation and hope and…confirmation.  It was as if she was…answering herself.  In his mind, her voice sounded alien, hurtful and filled with bitterness.  The notes in her sound carried hints of betrayal and pain.  Erik could not control his body any longer and he trembled uncontrollably.

“At last, we may begin”, she murmured.

Erik wheezed, “Noooo”, his voice receding inside his small frail body.  “Don’t do this, please”, he said.

She shuddered and recoiled from his weak plea.  She steadied herself and repeated, “You are ready to die?”

Then Erik’s calculating mind regained some of its’ composure and the boy uttered, “How did you get here?”

Blood Screams 6She paused, staring at the boy through wounded, hollow eyes.  “You know”, she rasped.  Her body began to quiver again as if on key.  Her translucent body was shimmering and she appeared to be moving from side to side like a panther stalking its prey.  Erik noticed that her body was appearing in and out of phase with the night’s light.  He could briefly see right through her in between her shimmers.  Then it occurred to Erik that tonight was not going to be his end.

“I will ask you again”, his voice now more confident.  “How did you get here and who let you cross the bridge?”

At that she started convulsing within the small space she occupied.  Her clawed feet started swinging back and forth, her toes curling as though she sought to grip the lush carpet below her.  Her body arched, her bowed legs extended as far as possible just missing the floor.  Her twisted face was tilted upwards.  She looked like a toddler trying to ease his way down to the floor from a high perch, one foot at a time, reaching, extending, and carefully testing the gap, fearful of missing his footing.  She seemed to be stuck at one fixed point in the air.  She started spinning around, her eerie, translucent gown flowed out from her and the Erik could see her mangled torso torn rib cage to pelvis.  Then she stopped spinning and glared at Erik, murder again in her eyes.

“I will not be denied boy”, she howled and Erik felt the room shake with her hatred.  “I will have my time with you boy and you will say my name.  Nothing will keep me from taking you.  I will have you she shrieked!!”

Before Erik could let out a breath in response, the room exploded in a shower of bluish, crystalline light.  She was gone.  From the spot where she hovered, darkness reverberated and began to coalesce like oil flowing into a floor drain.  Slowly, the darkness receded and condensed until it was no bigger than a baseball.  The blackness spun slowly and with a sickening, wet popping sound it vanished.  All that remained was the fragrance of rotting garbage and spoiled fruit.  It hug thick in the air and Erik felt his insides convulse.

Erik moved slowly from his bed and stalked over to the place where she had just been.  There was a slight sensation of heat as he got closer, then that too ceased.  Erik looked around his room.  His bed was wet from his sweat.  His brother, Fran, lie as still as a church mouse, breathing ever so quietly, unshaken by the brief visitation.  It had worked Erik thought.  It actually worked.  He should not have doubted himself.  Now all he had to do was get back to Cold World and begin phase two.

His step now more confident and sure, Erik moved to the bathroom in the hall.  He needed to change his clothes.  His earth mom would be so furious if he didn’t.  Erik walked into the hall and noticed his mom’s bedroom door slightly ajar.  He heard gargled moans from within.  Tinges of fear started caressing the back of his neck.  It almost sounded like someone was pouring water on his mother’s carpet, then it slowed to nothing…and the gargling stopped.  Erik called out to his mom.  No answer.  He walked silently to his mother’s door and slowly swung it open.  He could see nothing.  The curtains were open and the starlight should have illuminated the room, but he saw absolutely nothing, no shapes, no sense of anything in the room.  He reached for the light switch, too afraid to venture into the darkness and flicked it on.

Blood Screams 7

Erik cried out in horror.  His mother was sprawled across her bed, her head hanging down over the edge of the bed.  Her throat was ripped open.  Her eyes were frozen open in terror and confusion.  The last vestiges of blood were seeping from her neck, oozing down her cheeks, filling her gray head with streaks of crimson.  On the wall directly over her bed, written in scrawling lines of blood were the words, “I will not be denied boy.”

Erik collapsed.  His eight year old body could not withstand the pain and anguished look on his earth mother’s face.  His head was spinning with pain.  Erik closed his eyes and gave in to the overwhelming weight of exhaustion and fear that pressed in on him.  He felt himself slip into unconsciousness and he embraced it.

Night Cries….Part 3

Screaming 4

Night Cries Part 3

By

Timotei

Time seemed to stop for Erik.  Before him stood a visage of death, poised to end his very existence.  Erik’s mind and body was moving in slow motion.  Everything grew still and it looked to Erik that even she stood frozen in a block of cold, poisoned silence.  Despite all his efforts and safeguards, she remained, she existed, she was here…and she was intent on ending him.  She was a mistake.

Of all the technological achievements and modern marvels that flourished on Cold World, no one really understood. No one foresaw what such extreme emotional isolation was doing to the souls of men.  With so many emotional connections severed and with society fully engaged in the practice of Divestiture, no one was paying attention to the after effects.  She was an after effect.  She was a malignant reflection of the darkest aspects of Erik’s soul.  She represented all the demented and savage lusts of Eriks heart and soul unbounded and unchecked.  With no emotional anchor or cage, she was set free from the inner most sanctums of Erik’s soul.  She was a birth defect of his soul.

She first manifested in Erik’s dreams, dreams that grew steadily more macabre, darker and vivid.  Erik, so exhausted from his daily ruminations and rituals, never gave the dreams a second thought.  They were unimportant to him since they added nothing to the discoveries he sought in advanced theories about Cold World and the planets above.  But one night, the dreams stopped.  The nightmares became blank echoes in his mind.  He ceased dreaming.  He could not even recall the slightest remembrance or piece of his night thoughts from the night.

Erik was not too troubled by this.  After all, his inventions waited.  He had more than enough preoccupations to busy himself with.  He brushed it off.  But then it happened.  Erik cried.  Tears rushed down his cheeks like a ravenous beast starved far too long.  In the middle of his laboratory, Erik found himself balling like a baby, his face blank in confusion but his heart singing out with pain like none he had ever experienced before.  What was happening to him?  What was the meaning of these tears?  How was this even possible his thoughts exploded?

Erik rushed to his bathroom and stared in the mirror.  The tears were real.  His head was starting to spin and he staggered out of the bathroom seeking a place to sit, no, lie down.  The cold of the lab floor embraced him and Erik lie there staring up at the ceiling.  His mind was awash with questions.  This was his saving grace.  His mind.  He would focus his genius on discovering the nature of this event.  He doubted the divestiture failed.  He was beyond committed.  So what just happened?  As his mind searched for answers his pulse calmed and he started feeling more like himself. Erik rose from the floor and walked over to his lab bench.  A reflection in the tech screen caught his eye.  It wasn’t the look on his face that he noticed as he stared into the screen.  It was the murderous eyes that blinked back at him that sent chills up his spine.  They weren’t his eyes.  They were the eyes of a woman, a woman insane with rage and hatred.  Today was a first for Erik.  Today was the first time in his life he felt what he would later describe as fear.

Erik stepped away from the screen and sought a quiet corner in his lab.  He needed to gather his thoughts and assess the situation.  Erik looked around the room and then found the screen again.  She was gone.  Had he just imagined it all?  Maybe he was overworked he thought to himself.  Perhaps a brief walk in the midday sun would help him gain clarity and clear his mind.  Erik headed to the sky walk and waved his hand over the floor direction indicator.  Once inside the doors closed silently and with a low hum the sky walk began its descent.  Inside the sky walk the lights flickered briefly and the front door panels shimmered and almost bowed upon themselves.  The doors glimmered with the visage of a woman silently screaming bloody rage and intent at Erik.  There was no sound but Erik could feel her rage.  In a fit of panic Erik started screaming and the doors of the skywalk swung open.  The ground level had been reached and a crowd stood outside in the campus sunlight staring blankly at Erik’s sweat drenched hair and face.  Erik choked and coughed roughly in an attempt to gather his wits and step outside.  His pulse was racing and pounding in his ears.

Julia stepped quickly to Erik’s side and asked, “Are you ok Erik”?

Erik was shaking like a leaf in the autumn wind and replied with a small weak voice, “I…I don’t know”.

“We heard screaming from inside the skywalk”, Julia offered.  She peered inside the skywalk’s travel box to see if anyone else was inside.  There was no one.  Other people started conversing and re-engaging in conversation with their voice printers having been interrupted by Erik’s screaming.  No one save Julia seemed the least bit curious by all the screaming and went about their tasks as though nothing had happened.

“Julia”, Erik rasped.  “Something is happening that…that…,” Erik paused, “I can’t explain”.  The words were so alien to his ears.

Julia responded with a look of mild curiosity.  “There was screaming coming from the skywalk Erik.  Was that you?”

“I believe so Julia”, Erik said.  “But I don’t really understand why I was screaming” he lied.  “I think I need to just get some rest.  It will become clear to me later why my body did that.  Please don’t concern yourself with it.”

“I was not concerning myself Erik.  I simply wanted to know why there was screaming coming from the skywalk and why you looked so, so…afraid or something.  It was very odd and completely out of character.  Were you experimenting with the void bugs again?  You know what kind of hallucinogenic effect they can have on the nervous system”, Julia said flatly.

Erik hesitated before saying, “No, it wasn’t that.  I use full precautions now.  I never leave things to chance.  I just think my mental state was, uhh, I failed to achieve synchronicity with my divestiture programming”, Erik stammered.  “I will have it all in order soon so don’t worry about me.”

Julia looked puzzled.  “What do you mean worry Erik?  I don’t think that’s possible.  Don’t you recall, I’m at 45% divestiture now?  Worrying is a vague concept to me now.  My curiosity was merely peaked by the unusual sounds you were making.”

Erik just stared at her.

“Ok, so you will regain synchronicity and explain the source of the noise you were making later”, Julia asked.

“Yes, yes, of course Julia.  I have got to go now, but I will be in touch”.

With that Erik turned and walked off, not looking back, not wanting to see what might have been reflecting on the doors of the skywalk.  His palms were wet with perspiration.  His legs felt like rubber.  He needed to sit down or he was going to collapse in the street.  He needed answers and the thought occurred to him that there might be one place, one person who might be able to provide some.

To be continued…

Night Cries…Continued

Cold World-Nightmare 2

Night Cries – Part 2

by

Timotei

There is no movement.  The boy lies completely still, the ripples of budding terror caressing his pale skin.  He wasn’t expecting this right now.  It’s too soon.  He’s unprepared in almost every way.  Huddled motionless in his bed, Erik’s mind races back to the beginning of this long, twisted road that is about to culminate in his massacre.

Cold World.  His life on Cold World was simple.  He had purpose, almost divine purpose at that.  He had his place in the techno world and understood what his path.  Erik was further along in the divestiture than many of his people.  He had cut off his emotions so completely and thoroughly that he became the envy of his cohort space.  He had worked harder than any other to devolve his feelings and isolate them.  He was so successful that by the time he was fifteen most stones on the Absolusion Bay shore displayed more emotion than he.  He often marveled at how so many people seemed to struggle cutting the last vestiges of emotion from their lives.  For Erik, cutting emotional ties to life brought increased benefit and vitality.

Cold World

For the people of Cold World, a life devoid of emotion meant increased clarity and freedom to pursue increasingly advanced technology.  The tech machines of Cold World were the fuel of the people.  Each and every Cold World denizen lived to build and develop ever more advanced technology applications.  People were judged by the sophistication of their inventions and its benefit to the greater good of society.  In this Erik reigned supreme.

 Erik’s inventions created life sustaining innovations, new carbon free energy generation techniques, and travel methods that allowed the people of Cold World to explore the nearest solar system.  Because of Erik’s genius there was no more need for war.  People did not need to compete for living space or for food resources.  Capitalism did not exist in Cold World and neither did crime.

Cold World 4

Long ago, before anyone can really remember, the Elders of Cold World theorized that if people had no emotion or lived outside the confines of it, life would be better for all people.  The Elders taught that war, famine, crime, greed and all kinds of avarice and depravity was precipitated by emotional outbursts and stirrings of the heart.  The Elders taught that despite the good that came from being connected emotionally to other people or places, this good was far outpaced by the damage such emotions caused.  And so the Elders initiated what became known as the Great Divestiture.  The Great Divestiture became canon and scripture for every man, woman and child.  It was drilled into the people from cradle to grave.

The Great Divestiture guided people in the daily process of living without emotion or feeling.  The Great Divestiture moved the people of Cold World to cut ties with family and friends as soon as possible.  Relationships were shunned and people that developed emotional ties to other people, places, or things were ostracized and subject to exhile.  Over the eons, the Elders were proved right in a great many respects.  Wars began to cease.  Divorce rates fell and more than anything else, crime disappeared like fog on a bright desert morning.  Competition between people simply ceased.

Cold World 5Erik learned early on how to implement the Great Divestiture in his life.  He became so good at it that to those around him Erik seemed like a man born of a virgin.  He just was.  From age five he cut his parents off.  At age eight he had no friends and was completely focused on his tech studies.  He was distant and aloof.  He didn’t need anyone and spent all his waking moments in his cubicle pouring over volumes of Elder knowledge and teachings.  He was an emotionless prodigy and his knowledge grew rapidly.  By the time he was 18, Erik had 100 inventions that replaced 55% of Cold World’s life sustaining activities.  By age 25, Erik was completely divested.  The majority of people on Cold World did not reach full divestiture until age 175.

For all his techno ability and knowledge, Erik was about to die.  His mind was in a state of panic.  He had planned so well, documented his steps, run his pilot studies, had his theories proved a multitude of times and yet here he was as death’s door.  His calculations had been flawless…even elegant one might say if he still had a soul that could create beautiful things.  Beauty is an emotional term however and Erik had no emotion left or so he thought.  But, he was lying in bed…afraid.  Terror held him like a steel vice.  He could not move.  He could not even scream for help.

To be continued…

Night Cries

Terror at Night 4Night Cries

by

Timotei

It’s midnight.  The moon is doing its thing high in the sky.  The streets are silent except for the mewing and cry of beasts seeking purchase upon one another.  There is a nervousness about the night, a kind of unsettling mood that wraps around the street lights like a damp blanket, cold and insensitive.  No one is aware of this moment, this break in time that captures the purity of waking nightmares.  All eyes are closed and breaths draw deeply in the warm embrace of blankets and comforters.  From house to house no one sees, no one is alert.  She creeps from yard to yard, leaping fences, gardens and alarms and no one is aware.  She tests doors, gently turning handles, testing for movement and the slightest stirrings from within.

One by one she is met by resistance at the door so she moves on, methodically, silently drifting from home to home, door to door.  One door welcomes her entreaty.  The light of the still silent night pierces the inner sanctum of the doorway as she glides through the threshold.  She pauses, listening, her blood dancing with anticipation and hunger.  She need not adjust to the darkness inside.  Darkness is her lover and she is home within its soft embrace.

She tests the air inhaling deeply the stories of a home at rest but unaware.  The smell of the day’s activities lights her imagination and stirs her animal passions.  She is alive and eager to begin the nights’ grim tasks.  She is not swayed by the thought of failure.  These hold no value or meaning for her.  She is on target and ready to do what she was created to do.

Terror at Night 2

Gliding, she moves without further hesitation to the stairwell, heart racing and juices flowing now with ever increasing fever.  Is it really happening she thinks to herself?  Is tonight the night at long last?  After so many eons of trial and error, failure after failure, one disappointment after another, can this be the night she becomes whole again?  The thought is almost unbearable.  She shudders in anticipation.

With one shaking hand she grips the banister, feeling her way, caressing the grooves and ripples of the crayon scarred wall as she makes her way to the top of the stairwell.  The moon’s light is her chorus now, breaking through the windows of the upper landing, painting a sheer but soft glow upon the juice stained carpet below her mishapened hooves.  The moon light flows over the fire truck and baby dolls left on the floor by little hands.  The abandoned toys seem to come to life in the moon’s eerie glow, shaking in fear as she approaches.  Oblivious to the approaching danger, the halls before her remain silent to her passing.  She is so close now, so very close.

Terror at Night 3

The door before her lithe form is ajar, beckoning silently, urgently…persistently.  The little bodies inside are huddled and cuddle close to one another.  Little arms and legs hang carefree in every direction, poking out from powder blue blankets and pink rose colored sheets.  The scent of innocence is stifling.  She pauses taken back by the sheer power of the moment.  Her eyes are fixed on the little blond boy.  His heart wants her.  She’s sure of it.  Her tools are unsheathed and gleam silver in the rooms soft night glow.  She paid dearly for these weapons of mayhem and despair.  She will test their full value this night.

She moves toward the bed, heart dancing and beating without restraint.  Little breaths escape from little mouths.  None is aware.  None sees.  She reaches for him.  His eyes open and …

To be continued…