.........MUTANT RAIN FOREST ISSUE........JUNE, 2016
Illustrations above by Shasta Lawton.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

A SILENT NIGHT (FOR A DEMI-GHOUL): V

by Vincent Daemon




Chapter V







Red Exposure



John had broken down and called Corman anyway, on the hospital phone, sending the unsympathetic bastard into a fit of profane, stressed rage of highly uncalled-for proportions, especially considering the situation. Jesus Christ it’s like I have Joan for a boss and Corman for a girlfriend John angrily thought as he left the hospital to return the truck, which according to Corman, the cost to fix was coming out of his pay. 
         
  Afterward, he waited in the cold, yet again, this time for a bus, to go back to the hospital and not only check on the woman he had helped, but to try to figure out just what they had seen.  

 While waiting for the bus his phone finally rang. It was Joan. Begrudgingly, he answered the call.  “I’m not going to deal with this anymore, John. Your shitty job, your shitty attitude, your shitty writing, your...” her tirade continued. He could tell she’d been smoking crack or something by the awful dry-muck smacking sounds of her dehydrated mouth as it raged its misappropriated venom in his direction. All he’d done was be there for her when she’d have her weekly psychotic breaks, or some drug dilemma, or any other number of idiocies having to deal with her dancer-drama lifestyle. He felt that his seemingly limitless patience had finally run its course. The fact that she also considered her own artwork some sort of brilliance, when it was barely more than smeary morbid crap, was also something he’d really had enough of. Her chronic small lies and omissions of truth, her incessant infidelity until it was finally declared (again, by her choosing) an “open relationship,” meaning in her language “I do what I want, you stay alone and deal with it yourself.”

 Standing there in the freezing cold, waiting for a bus that he may not have enough money to get on, and essentially just dealing with December 23rd’s general non-stop parade of strange and horrible happenings already, he’d reached his limit. “You know what, Joan? You can fuck off,” he said with the greatest of ease, a twisted smirk rising on his face, “I don’t need your problems, I don’t need your bullshit, and most all, I don’t need you.” The deadest of telephone silences he had ever heard from her strung itself out for a moment, before Joan replied. “Johnny, don’t be...”

 “No, Joan, fuck you. I know where you’re at, what you’re doing, and quite frankly, I can’t stand you anymore. Really, I just want you and your bad ju-ju gone, out of my life. I don’t need it anymore, any of it. I’m done. Goodbye.”

 He struck the hangup button on his phone with his finger hard enough to hear a faint crack, and couldn’t believe he just did what he did. But, for the sake of his own sanity, his own self-preservation which, until recently, was something he never gave a damn about, it was necessary. Still, knowing it shouldn’t have, it hurt. John knew he’d never really been anything but a novelty to Joan anyway, and just stood there alone in the cold, holding it in and accepting the situation for what it was. Paisley was right. He should have gotten rid of this grief-machine long ago.

 Now he had finally done just that, and it wasn’t really making him feel too much better. But not worse. Really, more confused than anything else.

 The bus finally pulled up, John flicked his cigarette to the ground before entering the bus and bumping straight into one of the cutest, most adorable-eyed strawberry blondes he’d ever seen. She wore thick glasses, intensifying the lightly hazel green eyes that shimmered in her temporary befuddlement of just being bumped into by this longish haired, leather jacketed stranger that reeked of petting zoo, cigarettes, and pot. Apparently, in their knocking into one another while both lost in their own thoughts and attempting to simply board the bus, John had accidentally knocked the cute blonde’s book to the ground, a typically klutzy move for him.

 He bent down and quickly retrieved it from the curb. Upon standing back up he bumped the back of his head right into her heavy and overfilled purse-satchel. “Oh dear, I’m so sorry!” she exclaimed with embarrassment. “I’m a bit of a clumsy arse, and new in town, please excuse me, I am so very sorry...”

 John, blush-red in the face as could be, and stricken with awe at the beauty that stood before him, managed to stammer out “No, apologies are all mine. I wasn’t paying attention, its been a long day, and I’m a clumsy ass anyway,” not really knowing where to go with it from there other than saying “after you” and offering her onto the bus first, accompanied with a not-entirely-comical chivalrous gesticulation of his arms. 

 They entered the bus, she first, and by default John found his face right at her backside as she paid the fair. He tried not to stare but it was almost impossible. She had the nicest little heart-shaped buttocks he’d noticed in quite some time, donned as they were in a tight and faded dark-blue denim stretch fabric that seemed painted on to shapely, strong legs, the denim disappearing at the knee into a pair of black faux-leather boots. 

 She took a seat all the way in the back, where it was empty, and John went to sit in the middle somewhere but she waved him back, calling out “Here, sit with me,” as she did so. Of course, he followed her suggestion and took a seat right beside her. “I’ve always preferred the backs of busses, personally,” she stated whilst rummaging aimlessly through her purse. 

 She stopped and looked over at him, from above the rim of her glasses, a look that instantly melted his heart. “I’m sorry. I’m Julie Adams,” and she smiled, her face lighting up like a million watt bulb, and extended her hand.

 “I’m John. John Agar,” he replied almost sheepishly, gently taking her soft and creamy-white hand, fingertips a shiny crimson polish, and accepting her gesture of a new found friendship. He was also a bit flummoxed that this adorable little thing he had just made a fool of himself in front of was so friendly and, well, seemed interested orsomething his gut was telling him that he desperately tried to ignore.

 Not quite knowing what to say next, nor what to do, it occurred to him the book he had so clumsily knocked from her hands moments ago was none other than one of his own favorite novels, I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson. “Amazing book. My favorite actually.” She didn’t seem disinterested yet. “In fact I happen to be a fan of most of Matheson’s writing.”

 “You’ve got to be joking. This can’t possibly be your favorite book. This is my favorite book. We can’t have possibly both have the same favorite book, now can we?” In an abnormally comfortable silence they each slowly began to chuckle with the other. “I’m in town to cover some sort of goofy Holiday Carnival. Not the gig I wanted, but it’ll suffice,” she nonchalantly blurted out to John. “It’s money, I guess.”

 “You’re a journalist then?” John was hoping his nervousness was well under wraps, and that the redness in his cheeks looked like nothing more than slight wind-burn. He wondered if he should mention he was a writer as well.

 “Unfortunately,” she smiled sarcastically. “What do you do?”

 “I work at the infamous, one and only Corman’s Petting Zoo,” John replied with all the zest and zeal of stepping barefoot into a pile of warm dogshit. 

 “Oh, the place with Cyimir the Polar Bear! And Quacks, the nine-hundred-seventy-five pound duck!” she exclaimed, knowing intuitively that both not only was something horribly amiss with this uniquely odd petting zoo, but that shadily acquired polar bears and mutant ducks made better infotainment (how she loathed that ridiculous, meaningless term, used by her boss incessantly) headlines than a mere hundred year old small-town carnival. Plus, not only did this John Agar fellow actually work for Corman’s, he had great taste in books (meaning he was literatea quality she justifiably found rather rare these days), seemed intelligent yet somewhat mysterious, and was incredibly cute to her eyes, as well. 

 They each seemed to feel a shy and mutual magnetic draw toward one another. “I write,” John suddenly blurted out himself, out of nowhere.

 Another unexpected intrigue with this fellow visibly registered on her face. “You do? What? I thought you worked for Corman’s?” 

 “Nothing I really get paid for, and I’ve only been published a couple times. It’s more that I just love to write. Always have. My brain is like a perpetual-motion engine, and that’s how I get it out, I guess.” Julie sat completely silent, enraptured with what he was telling her, which John noticed, so went on a little more. “It’s horror and sci-fi mostly, some verse. Nothing much. Pulp mostly, I guess, heh.”

 “I want to read some, and I highly doubt its ‘pulp’.” Her tone was gentle yet almost chiding. “Do not defamenate what you do. And yes, I said defamenatemy word.” Julie smiled a silly smile, then looked back down and began to nervously rummage through her mess of a purse again, chewing her lower lip on the left side, seemingly in a sudden state of thought. A moment later: “I think I’m going to tag along with you today, if you don’t mind. Or even if you do.”

 His heart almost jumped from his chest with an almost teenage-feeling of excitement. “Yeah, sure! I mean, if that’s really what you want to do. I don’t want to throw your little Dolton holiday history article off or...”

 “Oh fuck no, John, this is far more interesting, believe you me. And you seem like fun to hang with for the day or next couple, anyway.” The warmth of her smile seemed to radiate an angelic glow before him; he swore he could feel it like the heat from the searing comet he had seen just twelve hours prior. 

 Trying to keep his astonishment and quite sudden change of heart about the day very well contained, he gave her a caveat in case she suddenly opted on an out, as this seemed absolutely impossible to him. “Well, I have to go to the hospital first and check on someone, before I go back to Corman’s.” He thought for a second, looked into her eyes (which apparently had already most dreamily been staring at his) and decided to divulge what he thought perhaps he should not. But this chick was obviously already tapped-into the strangesomething he could just telland he had an unusual instinctive trust. “I’m going to tell you why we are going to the hospital, the exact reason.” He figured, fuck it. “Something very strange happened last night, and it may have something to do with why this woman is in the hospital.”

 Her expression became one of both instantaneous excitement and seriousness, as well as complete attention, though her eyes still gazed right into his. “Do you mind if I record this, John Agar?” she spoke into a little old-school mini-cassette recorder she had pulled from the mess of her heavy black and skull-patched purse. 

 “No, not at all. In fact, I’d like every word of this documented, because, Julie, I feel like I’m losing my goddamned mind.”

 “You did mention it was a ‘long day.’ Do tell.” She was genuinely intrigued. 

 “Heh, long doesn’t even begin to cover it. Hope you have enough tape on that cassette, or a very good memory.”




Click Here to read
Chapter VI of
A SILENT NIGHT

(FOR A DEMI-GHOUL)
by Vincent Daemon








              Click Here to read
       FINNY MOON
by Keith Graham






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Archive of Stories
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