Traveler by A. N. Gretly

Dry lips, sun licked face, wandering alien lands. Frying pan hot sand finds its way inside your worn boots as you stagger across the never ending land that spreads in every which way without a single sign of life or even memories of life that once was, just sand and more yellow sand. Empyrean recollections model themselves inside your mind, bending this way and that, and you lust for them, and you lust for them, you lust for them so much that you begin to drool, but of course, your throat is as dry as old bones that were left in the sun, or buried deep in the sand. Raspy love songs of yesterday play in your ears as the memories continue to bombard each other, forbidden fruits dangling from forbidden trees. Dry lips, sun licked face, wandering alien lands. And now the wind picks up, and your lips crack, and your heart breaks, and the storm howls at you, all of you, only you and no one else because you are alone and desolate, you are weary, your footsteps slow down, your footprints quickly disappear in the sand like apparitions wafting about in the land of the living, ghosts now long forgotten in this vast and mighty expanse. Dry lips, sun licked face, wandering alien lands. And you ponder your grave to be, and for some reason, you wonder if there are as many stars in the cold night sky as there are sand particles in this godforsaken desert. But that thought escapes and hides from all the sun boiled others, because wonderment is not allowed here, dreams are not accepted. Dry lips, sun licked face, wandering alien lands; it’s a long way home.

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These Hallways by A. N. Gretly

Staggering these hallways once more, walls plastered in madness, I wonder. Older memories have darkened the walls with filthy footprints of those who have lost themselves long ago, but found something to clench on to in their own wicked minds, something that growls and gnaws, something that snaps its rabid jaws and drools down its scarred chin, and the sick yellowish saliva matches the colour of its bulging eyeballs, and its tobacco stained fingernails. Staggering these hallways once more, walls plastered in madness, I wonder. And I hear them now, those incoherent mumbles that linger in your mind even though you strive to ignore them, and the screams, like sharp claws scratching the insides of your skull, leaving horrid markings like the ones left within Nazi gas chambers, and the sound echos, it rebounds off the once white walls like a stray bullet that finally gets lodged into your weary heart. Black blood oozes from your wound, tainting your straightjacket crimson, a jacket worn by many others like you, but you do not mind, not at all, for you welcome them on your skin, you welcome their ghosts inside your pores. Staggering these hallways once more, walls plastered in madness, I wonder. And I peer now at these corridors, empty, desolate, but alive with tell-tales of the ones who walked through them at one point or another. Bug-eyed, mad, beautiful. And the neon lights buzz their insect buzz, like they did before, and I am lost in this abyss at the end of the tunnel. Staggering these hallways once more, walls plastered in madness, I wonder; this is it.

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Day at the Races by A. N. Gretly

Running through thorn bushes toward petty dreams, the crowd watches in pity, their mummers seep into my ears like cold water dripping from a rust spotted pipe at the basement of a house long abandoned by its owners. I am but a vessel, cracked at the bottom. I am a person, nothing more, nothing less, or maybe, at times of desolate brooding or guilt, I am much less. I am in the crowd watching myself as I strive to make it. The people peer in awe at my attempts, they sigh when I fall to my knees, they sigh when I try to soldier on, they sigh as I crawl on wounded elbows toward that finish line. Running through thorn bushes toward petty dreams, the crowd goes wild. A crown falls in the manhole of existence, and makes its way along a human waste labyrinth. Glass hearts break, they shatter. Just a thought. Running through thorn bushes toward petty dreams, my lungs are ablaze. King no more, king, no more, nothing at all. And my royal blood, and my royal blood spurts out of my large pointed nose, down to my pale lips, traversing through the cracks, and I taste the rust, and I taste that toothsome metallic liquid, and the crimson blood creeps onto my chin, and falls in the green thorn bushes. Running through thorn bushes toward petty dreams, and the roses bloom a brilliant red. Someone says something, but it’s too late now, no one there to pick up the phone. The crowd is impatient, they shuffle on bent knees, flat feet, sozzled eyes. They vibrate. What a waste of time, a rip off, just running and running, staggering and crawling, and then, what? Running through thorn bushes toward petty dreams, the stands are empty, save for one person, I, watching another I fail once more. Oh, pity me, pity me, dear you, I am lost. Running through thorn bushes toward petty dreams, a day wasted at the races.

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In A Darkened Room by A. N. Gretly

image

Click.
A single bulb buzzed to life, shining a tender red hue, with the intensity of an eternal late afternoon sun. The light did not chase the shadows away, no, no; this crimson dusk strengthened them, it intensified them to a point where these sordid shadows seemed to have developed their own vulgar characters.

Jaded faces of mysterious men and women faded in from the dense mist of their eldritch lives, their eyes, they spoke of mortal tragedies, and lingering heartache. And all around the walls, they stared, they gazed upon me as I stood in the middle of this dark room, peering at their faces. The reek of chemicals crept into my weary lungs, leaving me with a faint sensation that enhanced the surrealism of the room. Time had no meaning here, space did not make any sort of sense, I merely existed in this black-hole of lost humans. These were my memories, the souls I have collected over the years. These humans, the stories they told, the memories they’ve shared with me in moments of weakness or trust or comfort or utter despair. They spoke with moist eyes, and quivering lips, transferring parts of their souls into mine. It was soul hunting, and I was bloody good at it.

Click.
Now you see it. Bloody soul hunting – their eyes spoke of quivering lips – weary humans share despair – they tell stories of black hole moist eyes collecting time and space in dark room – I merely existed in this enhanced surrealism peering at jaded tragedies of mortal chemicals – the mist reeks of strange heartache – vulgar characters in crimson dusk chase the shadows away – lingering light crept into my faint lungs – remember locked moments – don’t forget the comfort found in a strange land – hold them like you hate their memories – keep them lost – madness of weakness –  and I was good at it.

Click.
Ah, remember, remember. Remember. Don’t forget anything. Keep them in there. Damn it, keep them locked up inside your head. You shall never be alone again because you have them, you have their memories. You have their moments of love and hate and lust and happiness and loss and madness. Yes. Remember the eyes. Remember how they trusted you, how they found comfort in a stranger from a strange land like you. They warmed up to you and offered you their tales. Hold them now. Keep them inside. And remember. Remember their heaviness forever.

Click.

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Kaleidoscope Dreams by A. N. Gretly

Kaleidoscope dreams, kerosene eyes staring into space, something snaps. You scratch your stinking crotch that doesn’t itch, because there is some sort of sick sick comfort in that. Lawn chair in a bare yard, naked wind drunk trees standing with arms spread in eternal fright. You behold all of that at once, but a second later, all is lost. And then you remember those ancient times when you had the world right smack in the palm of your dirty hands, but that only brings you more drear. A feeling in your chest, something raw pokes at the base of your frost coated heart, bitter taste at the back of your dry tongue, what is this? Kaleidoscope dreams, kerosene eyes staring into space, something snaps. Sleep deprivation gets the best of you, dirt cakes in the grooves of your brain,  you begin to see things, eldritch things that dance before your mind’s eye in such vivid motions that you lose your comprehension of what reality is. You look at your sordid fingernails, cracked, bitten, and you dive once more into the unknown. The smell of rotten eggs grabs you by the nose all of a sudden, someone calls your name, you hear a scream, not of fright but dipped and fried in complete pleasure. Kaleidoscope dreams, kerosene eyes staring into space, something snaps; that is the sound of your brain reacting to the world we live in.

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Tweeprose: ‘Bite the Bullet’ by A. N. Gretly (For @deghaidiness)

 

Bullet in the head.

 

A middle aged man staggered through the streets of the city that wouldn’t sleep. The moon lurked behind a few layers of thick, dark clouds, watching, judging. It was Creekwell, the city of the damned, the lost, and the unfortunate. There he was, damned, lost, and very unfortunate, walking the streets in a state of half sleep and half drunkenness. Ian D. Kenneth, he was called back when someone cared enough to call upon him. He wore his grey suit, which was once of high quality, now nothing but rags upon rags upon skin that very much could be mistaken for rags. The man had everything at one point in his life, the house, the car, and gorgeous piece of ass he bought off the Old Man. But a few failed investments, and a pinch of bad luck resulted in him being kicked out of paradise, and into the blazing heart of hell itself. He walked like he always walked, around and around and around looking for something, and not knowing exactly what that ‘Something’ was. Even though he didn’t know what it was, he convinced himself that it was out there, somewhere in the middle of this chaos. It did not matter what that something was, the only thing that mattered to Mr. Ian Kenneth was that he needed find it.

Where are you? Where are you? Ian thought.

Inside his mind, through the weariness and the booze, Ian remembered the good times. He never actually forgot though. Ian D. Kenneth never forgot a single aspect of his once luxurious life. He thought about it all the time. His house, a mansion, overlooking acres and acres of green fields, with servants and butlers and footmen and on and on and on. Now he lived in a small apartment overlooking another small apartment overlooking an alleyway. The servants turned to rats, the butlers cockroaches, and footmen to a bug infested mattress that sagged too low, with springs poking into his back every time he tried to move. The sweet smell of grass intermixed with the aroma of well cooked meals that could make a cruel man’s heart flutter tuned into the reek of his own body. And so he walked. And walked. And walked.

He found himself on 62nd Street, where the ladies of Creekwell city sold themselves at what was known as the Meat Market. Even those turned away from him, some of them at least, and others weren’t too happy about approaching this raggedy man. With their wrinkled thighs bare, and their faces blotched with powder, they stood around him.

“Wanna have a good time, sweetie?” Said one of the women.

“I’ll do anything you want, handsome.”  Said another.

Ian just stood there looking at them, stared, really. His stomach made a growling noise that was a wee bit too loud.

“Oh, leave him alone.” One blue-eyed girl said “Go home, Mister.”

His face was blank. He looked at this beautifully sculpted blue-eyed goddess, and remembered his own mythical creature. Ian walked away, slouched, with his arms swinging back and forth on his sides in sync with his footsteps. He felt tears forming in his eyes, but the tears never fell. The moment he passed the alley right before his building, someone grabbed him from behind, and threw him into the darkness. Ian stumbled and fell. He landed face first into the ground, and felt a little bit of skin peel off his face. Ian stayed like this for a few moments, then he heard heavy footsteps behind him. He turned on the ground and looked up. Before him, stood a hulking man he knew so well.

“Where’s my money, Kenneth?” Eddy Dylan said “Where’s my fucking rent?”

Eddy Dylan, also known as ‘The Fist’, was the owner of the apartment building in which Ian had lived for some time; the bulky man also owned the shitty dive-bar called the Cave on the bottom floor of the that same shitty building. Now, he towered over weary Ian, looking like a very well fed grim reaper.

“I-I don’t have it, Eddy.” Ian sniffled, and the tears found their way out.

“I ain’t kidding here, you fuck!”

“I’m sorry, Eddy. I am sorry.”

“Sorry won’t cut it.” Eddy said as he produced a cannon of a gun, and pointed it at Ian’s face.

Ian felt his sweat instantaneously drench his worn-out cloths. He began to shiver, and felt his bladder about to let go.

“Please, Eddy, please!” Ian whimpered “I’m begging you, don’t kill me. I’ll have the money by the end of the week.”

The big man took a step forward, and smacked Ian across the face with his gun’s barrel. Ian felt the piercing pain on his left cheek spread all over his face. He took the hit, and landed on his side.

Where are you? Where are you?

His face burned with pain. Sweat and tears mixed with blood ran down his face, and onto his clothes. He tried to sit up again but he couldn’t. He tried to speak up, but his voice failed him. All he could do was lie there on the ground, and cry painful tears. Ian heard Eddy walking around him, like a predator waiting for the kill. He felt a shiver down his spin.

“Please…” Ian pleaded.

Eddy stopped by his head, and crouched down. He grabbed Ian by the neck, forced him to sit up. Eddy looked into Ian’s eyes, but all Ian could see was a blurred image of a mean face, a monster, really.

“Fine.” Eddy growled.

He let him go, and Ian fell on his side once more; his head hitting the pavement. Ian heard Eddy Dylan walking away, this, for some reason, made him cry even harder. But the heavy footsteps stopped for a slight second, then started again, quickly heading back towards him. Ian felt himself being grabbed by the neck again with those mammoth hands.

“I changed my mind.” Eddy said as he pushed the barrel of his gun onto Ian’s temple, and pulled the trigger.

There you are, my sweet. There you are, my love.

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Tweeprose: ‘After the Storm’ by A. N. Gretly (For @sajyahassan)

The blood dried, eventually. There on the tiled floor, a man’s body lay as cold as death itself amidst what looked like roughly drawn angel wings of crimson blood outstretched four or five feet from his shoulders. The body belonged to a middle aged man named Smithers, who used to be a  psychiatrist at the Creekwell Asylum for the Criminally Insane before he got that hole at the side of his neck right under the edge of his jawbone. Somehow, the dead body in the laboratory at the basement of the asylum did not look out of place, at least not to those who worked at the lab. Even the security guard just outside, with his throat slit clean, sitting on the ground, his back resting on the wall, and of course, bloody angel wings drawn behind each shoulder did not bother anyone. Both men were killed by the same dark haired, snow white girl; a patient of the asylum. People weren’t surprised because the place had a relatively dark history, even the walls themselves had witnessed more deaths than one could care or even bother to count.

Flash, flash, the cameras went with everyone pushing and shoving and howling and pleading, trying to get a good shot of that macabre crime scene. They loved it, they absolutely adored every single aspect of these murders. The location alone was enough to make any reporter’s pants get a wee bit tighter around the crotch, but the way the bodies were presented; that was something else. Smithers with his white coat covered in dried blood, the security guard with his thyroid cartilage exposed for all to see,  just beautiful. The bloody wings, however, looked simply mesmerizing on their own. Not only that, but the fact that both bodies had their hands tied under their chins in the same manner made things slightly more interesting.

A couple of coppers, Creekwell’s finest, walked  here and there doing their job, or at least tried their best to appear as if they’re doing their jobs for the cameras. Some trying to prevent the reporters from getting into the crime scene, but not so secretly negotiating which reporter would pay the highest to be allowed in, and take a couple of pictures and maybe a few notes. Others just stood around striving to look important, their uniforms clean from lack of use, and their guns shining bright.

“So, what’s it gon’ be then?” One copper said.

“Three hundred.” One reporter replied.

“Four-fifty.” Another yelled.

“Alrighty,” Said the cop “Any more?”

“One thousand.” Someone said from behind the crowd.

Everyone looked. A tall man in a brown suite, brown hat, and brown leather shoes stood there at the end of the short hallway leading to the lab, with a cigarette dangling lazily between his thin lips. Another man holding a camera stood by him, young faced and short, with eagerness jumping out of his eyes like sparks. The man in brown put his hand in his pocket, and produced a small leather bound notebook, and a pen.

“What’s it gonna be, boys?” The man in brown said looking around at the reporters “What’s it gonna be?”

Nobody said anything. For a moment, there was no sound but the heavy breathing of the envious. After that, all cameras went down, and all notebooks went back to their worn out resting place inside each reporter’s pocket. The man in brown stepped forward, followed by  the youngster with the camera. The crowd parted to allow the man through, they eyed him and his companion, even mumbled a few words as they passed by.

“Johnny Sinclair,” The copper said “The man with the big money!”

“Hello there, Officer Andrew.” Johnny said with a grin.

Officer Andrew, an old cop a little thick around the waist turned to the crowed and laughed his jolly laugh.

“Alright, boys,” He said “You know the gig, it’s all over when Mis’er Big Money comes along.”

The crowd turned, and began their march of disappear towards the other side of the hallway. Officer Andrew lifted the yellow tape that was blocking the way, and allowed Johnny Sinclair and his companion to pass through. They walked a little bit, then stood before the security guard’s body.

“Snap us a good one, Mike.” Johnny said.

The youngster took a few pictures. Every flash lit up the dim hallway, and made the entire scene more horrific. Not horrific enough for Sinclair though, he was used to this kind of business. Being the best crime reporter in Creekwell made him immune to petty emotions like fear. He crouched in front of the body, and opened up his notebook.

“Look at those wings, Mike,” He said “We’ve got a proper nutcase on our hands.”

“Aren’t they all, Mr. Sinclair?” Mike replied.

“Indeed they are,” Johnny began to take a few notes, his hazel eyes scanning the body “But this one is special.”

“How come, boss?”

“This here’s the work of Emma-Jane Hartnell,” Johnny said “I remember her very well. She killed four people a few years ago, said they didn’t believe her when she told them about her dreams. Oh, I remember seeing her being transported to this very asylum; she had this pretty smile on her face, and all she said was ‘Emma is always right, for Emma sees all, and knows all’. A proper psycho indeed.”

“What’s with the wings then?”

“Ah, the wings, the holy of holies, I am surprised you are asking.”

“I’m new here, boss.” Young Mike said “I haven’t even heard of this chick before.”

“Hmm,” Johnny said, still taking his notes “You have to do your research, boy. These four murders happened not so long ago, two years ago, really, in a little town called Engenton. That’s why all these other reporters looked very fascinated when they saw the wings on this poor fool over here. That’s how she displayed the bodies of those she sliced or stabbed.”

“What is it then, some kind of sick serial killer deal?” Mike said crouching next to Johnny to  take another picture from a low angle “As if they’re praying for her?”

Johnny Sinclair stood up, and flicked his cigarette. He placed his notebook back in the inside pocket of his brown blazer. The body did look like it was praying, with its hands tied up by the wrists, and its palms facing each other under its chin. It looked like she used part of her asylum gown to tie up the guard’s hands. Johnny smiled, thinking he’d bet good money that the other body looked the same.

“Not praying for her, Mike,” Johnny Sinclair said as he began to walk through the lab’s doorway “Praying to her.”

And on and on and on it went.

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