Union [Writing Warm-Up #6, Final]

UNION [Writing Warm-Up #6, Final]
by T.A. Saunders

After five hundred and twenty years, I have returned. The last I saw this world, Europe was seeking trade routes to China, to trade silk, and Martin Luther sought to change the very foundations of your Christian religion. I saw Shakespeare rise, and Constantinople fall. It is truly a pity that the fine Muslim swordsman gutted the host I was using on that day, else I might have seen more of this world, slowly sinking into the mire of corruption. 

Oh, but my have things changed, and for the better I might add! As I soak the anguish, the rage and the despair from this host, I can also see his memories, his drugged delusions and I can see the hope he clung to till just now. There it goes! Out like a candle that’s burned down to its last, struggling to stay lit. Just a puddle of melted wax, and a charred bit of wick; that’s what’s left of his soul. Yes, Aaron was his name.

Going through his memories reads like a bad novel. All sadness, weeping and failure to live up to expectations. It’s this weakness I sup upon…well, all my kind do, really. Aaron wanted to be an astronaut as a boy. Loved his science, but struggled a bit with math. Grades. Yes, each ‘C’ was a lash from a father’s belt, between swigs of whiskey. He sought his mother’s eyes, but she always looked away, always said, “You should’ve done better. You need to obey your father.” Enablers are the best thing ever! Their passive role in torment, whether adult or child, is gasoline to the flame. Make it worse, make it so they break people like Aaron.

But he was spared a few lashes, wasn’t he? Spared because daddy was driving drunk and killed him and his mother both. That’s how he ended up with his grandfather. What that man lacked in the ability to inflict physical abuse, he certainly made up for in mental abuse. Honestly, if you’re going to abuse somebody, mental abuse is the best. No physical scars and you can claim the person is completely nuts. Another twelve years of being told he was a failure, being told he couldn’t go play with his friends and being forced to live like it was the 1950’s cracked what normality Aaron had. Fertile soil for the thing that lets me inside.

These early memories are the best. I can feel their deep, lingering pain like it was yesterday. Aaron still replays them in his head, sometimes even argues aloud, to himself. Says all the things he wanted to say then, to the dark, long after saying anything would have any meaning. So much easier to talk to the dark, when you want to say something, isn’t it? You don’t think anybody’s listening, but things do hear you. Things like me. Other things. Worse things.

All Aaron wanted was to be understood, to be accepted for who he was. But he wasn’t. Not at home, and not at school, where other children picked on him, pestered him and did what daddy wasn’t around to do anymore. Lashes of the belt were replaced with pummeling fists, hitting and smacking him for not conforming, not being as the rest of the herd was. Normal, normal, normal. Humans and their normal. Little prepubescent primates swinging their little arms, howling at whatever’s not like them and breaking it. It’s almost like having little, snot-dribbling minions really. Goblins that do my bidding, without me ever having to ask. Whatever resistance Aaron had to falling into the cool embrace of my shadow was destroyed by the monkey-goblins. Thank you monkey-goblins!

He never fought back once. Not one single time did he raise a hand to the monkey-goblin children, who beat their chests, howled at how different Aaron was, then beat him for not conforming. Not being a monkey-goblin. Aaron became something worse than a monkey-gobln. He became a dumpster for whatever chemical would make him forget, whatever he could drink to make him look cool to the monkey-goblins, or at least to other dumpsters like him. Misery does love company. Never forget that.

By the time everybody abandoned Aaron, he was a full dumpster. Full of anger, full of regret, full of dreams, visions and disjointed, impossible thoughts that could never be. The cracked glass of Aaron could never be a true, focused lense for anything real, anything that would be worth actually doing. Dealing meth, and smoking away half the product became more engaging than being an astronaut, or a physicist.

But even as drugs and misery sloshed and mingled inside broken Aaron, he never did quite become evil, did he? Angry at himself, weak-willed and tormented, but he never turned it on others. He always kept his torment to himself, let it harm himself, before he would let it harm others. Had this gentle side, hidden amongst the walls of pain and the gobs of drug-induced stupid. It’s why he felt so bad when he ran that poor beagle over with his grandfather’s Buick. The poor thing howled pitifully for a full half hour, after he sped away. Do old people always drive dog-killing Buicks?

But that will change, now that I’m driving Aaron. What remains of his struggling soul, I will consume, and add to myself. It’s an honor! I have devoured souls of Egyptian thieves, Roman harlots and British mass murderers. Aaron’s distinction will be in fine company to the other souls I’ve consumed, and made a part of me. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to enjoy killing people. It’ll give a power that drugs could never give him. It will feed him in a way that no approval could ever nourish him. He’ll feel strength when he clasps somebody’s throat, and squeezes. When life escapes in a gasp, from open lips that ask the unvoiced question of, “Why?”

“The why is power, Miss Chaise Michaels. Thank you for bringing me Aaron. Thank you for also bringing me your neck to squeeze. Aaron appreciates it, for all the suffering you’ve put him through.”

Now, to find a damned beagle, and convert it into a Hound of Hell.

 END

END

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I Can’t Get That Y’Sil Out of My Head! [Writing Warm-Up #5]

I Can’t Get That Y’Sil Out of My Head! [Writing Warm-Up #5]
By T.A. Saunders

My skin burns. It’s a pain that travels my entire torso, and I only have moments, between when this crazy bitch is making my skin look like a meat mosaic and when she’s wiping clean the knife she’s using, that I have relief. It’s a moment for me to reflect on how utterly fucked I am, for the person I am. If I were the bird I’d hoped I had been in a past life, I could fly away from all this, or if I was the beagle, I could just bite this bitch in the boob, and make a break for it.

But I’m none of those things. I’m an addict, a failure and I’m going to be the fuck sock for some primordial ass-wipe from Hell. At least, that’s the impression Doctor Michaels gave me, when she gave me the lowdown on my situation. I don’t know much about this voodoo witchcraft shit, but I know enough that once she finishes carving symbols in my skin, and chanting something that sounds like an unhappy Catholic mass done in Latin, I’m done.

For all the things that’s happened, for all the shit I’ve done to myself, I’m deciding right now, I’m not done. I’m not done with life, and whatever surviving braincells I have, I need to fire up now if I’m ever going to get out of this. To be honest, it’s taken me being put here, on the literal sacrificial alter of some demon, or whatever, to see that I want to live. I want to not be this jerk that mopes about his lot in life, wishes he was something else, and wallows in his misery.

The restraints are tight. I’m never going to break them. I had trouble, last week, tearing a t-shirt I was wearing, when I was doing a drunk impersonation of the Hulk; leather restraints are an insurmountable challenge. But if she sets that knife down on the tray, I might be able to get it. I might be able to cut a restraint, or cut her. For all this carving, permanent scarring I’m going to have, giving her a few stabs won’t even flicker on my conscious.

I should be dead though. All this blood is mine, she’s cut me all over and it stings to feel the air move across my body. I cry out more than I want to, but she’s making shallow cuts, inches at a time. She’s being precise, she’s being careful with every symbol. She’s making my flesh art to a dark god, that she hopes will take this body, filled with despair, frustration and a lack of beagles and use it for…well, I don’t really fucking know, do I? But she’s making art for him, is the point. Art I can vandalize, just by moving.

She lifts the knife just as I twist in my restraints. I snarl at her, and her expression is one of surprised shock. She eyes my restraints, and its here I know she fears me. She fears me getting free before she’s done. She uses her sweet voice to try and calm me, warn me she’ll use some chemical on me, but I don’t care. I want to be free. I wait for her to start cutting again, and this time she slips. This time I ruin her artwork. It’s a small victory, probably not important in the grand scheme of me being a meat tapestry, but it’s the fuck you of it that counts. Bitch.

Then I feel it. It. Each one of the carved symbols on my body burns like I’m on fire, but I can’t scream. Doctor Michaels is chanting in something that sounds like more of that angry-sounding Latin Catholic mass, and every phrase she finishes, brings It deeper within my body, through the symbols cut into my skin. I want to scream, for the discovery of a pain new and different to the one I’ve been experiencing for the last two hours, but it doesn’t come to my voice. It’s choked there, like a fat cat trying to push its way through a cat door that’s too small. Instead of the scream, I make this saliva-drenched gagging noise, thanks to the ball gag I’m wearing.

I can feel Y’Sil in my head now, coaxing me like I’m a prom date it wants to lay, in the back seat of his car, with images of power, conquest and women. He tells me he’ll let me kill the doctor first, if I want, or rape her, then kill her if that pleases me. Even as fucked up as I am, as mad as I am at this woman, the idea of raping her sits sour in my stomach, but killing her seems somehow better. It…he, whispers in my mind that together, he and I will have absolute power, to shape the world as we wish.

Somehow, the promise seems genuine. I give a little. I let him take a bit more of me, but not everything. I want something first. I want proof that he’s not going to jack me, and use my body as a wearable meatsuit. I have one condition, and I make it wicked simple.

I want a damned beagle!

Y’Sil’s Unlikely ‘Boat’ [Writing Warm-Up #4]

Y’Sil’s Unlikely ‘Boat’
By T.A. Saunders

Doctor Chaise Michaels wondered if she had truly made a mistake. Born of desperation to find a weak, depraved soul, that could be whisked away without much worry from significant others, parents or guardians proved more difficult than she had anticipated. Her position at Sisters of Mercy Hospital, she imagined initially, would give her a perfect opportunity, with the sorts of genetic flotsam that commonly found its way in through its doors.

But that really wasn’t the case. Many were gangers, or prostitutes that would be missed, even if it was by their pimps. Chaise was by no means a physically imposing woman, or had the ability to fight off an attacker. She was a delicately curved woman, with dark chocolate brown hair, and matching eyes, that gave her this innocent look about her. Most of the people she required for her needs were also quite capable of causing her great harm. She had to be careful, she had to apply two of her assets that those she required likely did not have: patience and wit.

And Chaise had been patient. Despite the murmurings of her dark master, Y’Sil, she waited and plotted for the right subject, the right moment. But even she was beginning to worry to her master’s willingness to wait for a vessel, one corrupt and weak enough for him to take over, and make his own. Aaron was surely a prime candidate, with his weak will, his already delusional frame of mind and his only living relative thinking he was really nothing more than living refuse. There was just one sticking point with Aaron, that had the doctor concerned that Y’Sil might reject this vessel, and strike her down. Aaron Thorpe was so bafflingly stupid, she had begun to wonder if even Y’Sil would not have him.

“Yes, Aaron.” She said with a soft, assuring tone. “You and He are going to go on a little voyage together. I just need to prepare you.”

“I had to be chained up to go on a trip?” Her potential sacrifice replied, while tilting his head vacantly.

“As I indicated, preparation can be…painful.” Chaise replied, while doing herself the service of pulling a ball gag she had dangling from Aaron’s neck, into place. “Now, I need you to be very still Aaron. Can you do that for me?”

“Mmmff! Mmhmmff Mh!” Chaise assumed by the tone of the muffled response and his bobbing head, that Aaron planned on being compliant, which was advantageous, since the next option was gassing the young man with Sevoflurane. No telling what Y’Sil would do if he was brought into a body knocked out by general aesthetic.

“Shh now.” She urged, while taking a small knife from a nearby table, to carefully cut the fabric of the “Keep Calm and Call the Doctor” t-shirt he was wearing. She found no small amount of irony to this particular garment, considering her position and the predicament poor Aaron was in. Probably thought this was bondage play, certainly not preparation for demonic possession.

As a physical specimen, Chaise felt Aaron was somewhat thin, and could probably do with a workout regimen that worked on building a little muscle mass. Hopefully Y’Sil wouldn’t be as discerning as she was. Still, she took pride in her work, whether it be to save a patient, or to place demonic runes on somebody’s skin. The body was her canvas, after all; making it look pleasing to her master was quite important.

“Mmmfh?!” Aaron mumbled loudly, as Chaise replace the small knife she had been holding, with a scalpel. She recognized the fear in his pale blue eyes, so much like his grandfather’s, and answered it with a gentle caress of his cheek, even while placing the edge of the cutting implement upon perspiration-slicked skin.

“Very still. You must be very still for me, Aaron.” She cooed into his ear, while carving the first part of one of many runes to come, into his chest. The point of the scalpel didn’t cut into the muscle, but left a clean split of skin, that quickly filled with the red of Aaron’s life. Another slice through the skin, and another, that was answered by more panicked mumbles through the ball gag.

Chaise had become exceedingly careful now, with her canvas writhing and bucking against the chains. She was still considering hitting him with the Sevoflurane, if only to ensure he’d keep still, but decided against it. While a mistake in cutting the flesh would mean waiting another three or four days while the wound healed, so she could try again, it was essential that Y’Sil’s vessel properly suffer, to accept Him. He had to bleed. He had to feel pain.

* * *

Her canvas was red now, streaked with the delicate little incisions that were fashioned into runes over Aaron’s chest, stomach, shoulders and pelvis. In total, there were nine hundred and forty-two little marks, tiny symbols of demonic importance lovingly etched into the meat of this degenerate’s body. Aaron had passed out from the pain, which while not conducive to building his suffering, certainly made it easier to accomplish the blood-wrought artistry now covering his body.

Chaise pressed a kiss to Aaron’s bloodied chest, then leaned her cheek upon it, as if she were listening for a lover’s heartbeat. Unbothered by the smear of red life upon her own pale cheek, she whispered gently against the ruined skin.

“He is yours, Master. Aaron Thorpe awaits to receive your infernal host.”

Flying [Writing Warm Up #1]

FLYING

By T.A. Saunders

I always dream of flying. It’s a world of grays, whites and overbrightness. It’s a world devoid of the joys of color, but one I’m pleased to suffer; I have a sense of elation, despite the minor sensory discomforts. I’m always squinting, always looking, but never quite finding. Flying around like a hawk maybe, but I imagine hawks usually catch things. Maybe more like one of those stupid finches that are always hitting windows, and mailboxes. I’m left unfulfilled by the end of the dream, which makes me think it’s more real than not. Makes me think I had been a bird once, in a past life. I really hope I wasn’t a finch though. Stupid finches.

The absurdity of those words is something that I both accept and further, feel no need to defend. Past lives are part of religions around the world, and there are people all over the world claiming to be Elvis, Jim Morrison or fucking Jesus. Jesus is the most popular reincarnated person I’ve never met. Considering these things, me thinking that I was once something so inconsequential as a bird in a past life, hardly seems insane, or even remotely far fetched.

Now, as then, I find myself unfulfilled. I’m trapped in this meat sack and I can’t get out. I can almost feel my brain wanting to claw its way out of this feeble body, with no care or consideration to bone, muscle or precious organs. Meat chains. I want to get out of this fucking body and fly like I once did, like I once could, but I can’t get out. I’m trapped in this reincarnation, I am trapped in this existence where I must heed the word of those who are my intellectual inferiors, I must smile, nod and seem pleasant to coworkers that, I’ve often postulated are really just well-trained chimps, that some asshole decided to shave and stick in a work force.

But there I remain. In here, trapped. Trapped with my thoughts, trapped with my dreams of a life that will not allow me to forget. The curse of a human mind is that it works so well. It remembers things you cannot make yourself forget. You cannot line item delete painful memories, sorrowful moments and the scars of abuse that the world, and people who say they love you carve into you. All I want to do is fly and escape that ‘love’ that does more to bleed than to nurture. Barbed wire round and round until its cutting from all directions and there’s no room to keep beating.

The dreams are so vivid, that I wake feeling more exhausted than I was when I went to sleep. I don’t believe in the Christian mythology, but I don’t believe in all the crazy New Age hoodoo either. This girl I know in Memphis claims to be a Wiccan and has had more abusive relatives, tragedies and heartaches than a season of “Supernatural,” and she tells me that I’m Astral Projecting. She also told me she can do it better than me. I think if she were any more full of shit, she would cause a fecal matter detonation of such monumental proportion, they would have to call the event, “The Really Incredible Shitstorm of 2015.” That, and I don’t believe in Astral Projection either, but something’s going on. Something I can’t explain, something that won’t stop, because my wonderful human mind won’t forget something my soul remembered. Should have been reincarnated as a fucking dog. I really like beagles.

So I’m standing here, doing the only thing I can do. The only thing that makes sense. The only way I can escape. Once I jump off the top of this building, I’ll know who I really am. I will know if I’m supposed to fly in this meat suit, or if I really am crazy. If I’m wrong, from this height, I won’t have to worry about medical expenses or a psychologist, that’s for sure. I’m not afraid though. Spent my whole life afraid of loved ones, not loved ones, afraid of everything. But I’m not afraid of this. I’m smiling. I’m smiling because either way, I’ll be free. Gonna fly now.

Oh shit, what if I was a beagle?

 

Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: Mister Bear and His Due

“Mister Bear and His Due: A Retelling of the Aesop’s Fable, The Bear and the Two Travelers”

 By T.A. Saunders

Mister Bear just informed me that I owe him seven hundred dollars and fifty fucking cents. Those where his exact words, not my own as he spat them from his mouth. A mouth that looked more like an orifice of some Elder Thing straight from H.P. Lovecraft’s own writings with crooked yellow teeth and jagged, chipped edges. This spitting, wailing maw was attached to an inglorious gray and red beard that swam down the bloated figure’s frame like a monstrous tail.

I explained I would have the money to him by the end of today. I needed to visit my friend Maurice, who owed me almost twice that amount of money. I helped him cover a few overdue car payments last year and I have yet to see that money repaid. Today, Maurice promised he’d pay up.

I picked up Maurice in front of his girlfriend, Sydney’s house. He greeted me with his usual, happy tone. If I had a curvy redhead to wake up to I might give people a happy greeting too. Instead, I live the life of an urban guerrilla, evading a ponderously overweight, rent-crazy mutant. I give Maurice a brief nod in greeting and as I put my car into gear, I ask him what bank we were going to in order to pick up the money. He gave me a curious look and acted like he didn’t know what I was talking about. After reading the unamused expression on my face, he winced and directed me to the bank on Grant Avenue. Maurice’s head flung back into the headrest as I peeled rubber out of suburbia and into the city.

As we were finishing our transaction at the bank and prepared to pull out into traffic, I could see the woman in the SUV behind us trying to frantically get out of it. She was tangled in her seat belt and it looked like the guy she was with was trying to pull her back in to finish chewing on her arm!

While focusing my attention on the road I tell Maurice to call 911. He tells me he left his cell at home. I pull over into an empty parking lot and use my own. Oddly, I get the rapid busy you get when lines are jammed. When I inform Maurice, he shrugs and asks me if I have any weed. My stare writes a legend of disfavor for my oblivious companion, who makes a surrendering gesture with his hands. I give him my phone to keep trying as we enter back into traffic.

When I pull into the driveway of my less than stellar apartment building, I see trash everywhere. Abandoned bags, shreds of clothing and belongings people don’t normally leave outside. I see Mr. Bear out there too, knelt next to Mr. McKinney. I thought he was helping him up at first, because there was blood everywhere. But as I watched him sink those gnarled teeth into the man’s shoulder I knew the only thing he was helping was himself, to seconds the fat bastard definitely didn’t need. Maurice, in his usual inability to perceive the obvious in any situation, opens the door of my car and slams it shut loudly. He mutters something about Baby Jesus and a cheese grater when he finally realizes we’ve stumbled into a damned zombie apocalypse.

Mr. Bear looks up from his tasty meal of tender shoulder meat and looks at us. Some vestige of his once human mind recognizes my car I think by the look on his blood-smeared face. I turn to tell Maurice to get back in the car, but I find my words are only for the dead in close proximity. He took off running and I have a bloated, monster-mouthed biker zombie shuffling towards me. I want to leave, but Maurice  just climbed into a nearby dumpster and there was no way to call him back. I’m strapped by morality and I decide I can’t leave him here, despite him abandoning me to what will likely be my end.

I know there’s dead people nearby. They haven’t risen and I don’t have the time to consider whether they will or not. I slowly open my car door and allow myself to flop out, as if I myself just died. Now draped across a half-eaten cadaver of what I think must have been the cute blonde in apartment 213, I can only hope the smell that’s close to making me spew my breakfast is enough to disguise my presence to the gelatinous zombie landlord.

His approach is slow. Achingly slow and every minute he takes to come closer is one more minute I’m fighting to not gag or breath. He leans in and looks at me and the girl from 213. His festering cavern of teeth is close enough to tear off my ear and his spittle napkin of a beard is tickling my nose. I’m going to die because of the idiot in the dumpster.

Just as all hope was about to vanish in a snap of teeth, Mr. Bear stood up again and shuffled off towards the sound of the car wreck. My ruse had worked, no thanks to Maurice who was peeking out of the dumpster and giving me a thumb’s up like leaving me to be sniffed by a zombie was somehow all right. I’m reminded of a fable I read as a kid; something about misfortune testing the sincerity of friends. I untangled myself from the blonde from apartment 213’s intestines and take a moment to vomit, before climbing in my car. I look up just in time to see Maurice scurry out of the dumpster, only to be hit by a runaway bus that careens right down my street. I close my door and start my car without bothering to check on Maurice’s condition. Given the screams and the sounds of tearing meat, I don’t think he has a thumb’s up for me anymore.