Voodoo

There was the familiar break.  Her mind shifted from reality, from the monotonous grind of life, to an inexplicable darkness. Alien to most but to her, familiar and comforting; a welcoming escape.  She let it fall. She let her mind drift.  She let her feelings shift.  Her pupils widening as the hit of delirium consumed her.  She did not struggle, did not fight in fear; instead choosing to fall into the delusion like a voodoo priestess succumbs to the spirits.  She let it lure her, lead her, down, into a deep abyss, like a snake bite draining it’s victim of life.

The rain soaked streets glistened under the street lights as he hustled across the parking lot.  Pressing the button on his key fob, his car blinked and beeped in response and he felt a small rush of gratitude.  The late October chill filled the night and crept into his bones as he slipped into the drivers seat.  Pulling the door closed with a satisfied thud he quickly started the car and turned up the heat.  He breathed deep, filling his lungs, and releasing the days tensions as he released his breath in a calming sigh.

The road glistened in the rain, his headlights creating a tunneling effect, as he made his way through the night.  Autumn leaves littered the medians, orange and yellow, and barren trees lined the horizon.  He squinted in the heavy rains and darkness feeling the tension in his shoulders.  Slowly making his way off the exit, meandering down a winding dark road, he clicked on the high beams and suddenly slammed on the breaks as a figure randomly appeared in the center of the road.  A dark hooded figure standing stock still shocked his system.

She blinked in the glare of the headlights feeling her heart racing at the sudden shock of a car stopping inches from her.  He cursed, opening his door, the rain momentarily ceasing.  “What the hell are you doing in the middle of the road? Are you trying to get killed?” He shouted angrily.  The hooded figure raised its head slightly revealing a pale face, lips bright red, and green eyes captured by the light of his high beams.

A breeze blew across the road causing a swirl of leaves to dance and the hem of the cape to sway.  She ducked her head as if bowing in apology but remained silent.  His anger cooled, “Do you need help?”  She turned away in response.  “Are you okay,” he asked concerned, stepping a little further from his car.  She lifted her head again and he saw her deep emerald eyes like a cat staring in the darkness as a chill passed through him.

“No need to fret,” she said softly, almost imperceptible, as the wind blew the leaves again.

He hesitated unsure what to do next when the chill he felt moments earlier turned to a soothing tingle, like the feeling of fingers softly trailed over his skin, and his shoulders released the tension he felt while driving. His mind blurred, thoughts dissipating, but his vision focused on the silhouette that stood before him.  Crisp and sharp like a fresh image embedded in his mind and the cat-like green eyes pierced his perceptions of time.  He had no idea how long he stood there, motionless and silent, but he felt nothing but a peaceful embrace as he waited for time, and his senses, to recalibrate.

He felt the shift from reality to delusion in that moment and instead of fear or struggle, he let it slip over him like slipping into a warm bath, the water soothing and relaxing instead of bracing.  He heard a voice in his mind, embrace delirium, she is gentle. He couldn’t identify where it originated since the figure before him remained motionless and silent.  Her lips did not move yet he heard the voice as clearly as if he wore headphones.  He asked, “Did you say that?”

“No,” the hooded figure said softly, “but she says the same to me.”
“Can she be trusted?”
“That is for you to decide,” her green eyes blinking slowly like a cat.
“I feel unusual,” he said calmly.
“So did I, the first time,” she responded just as calmly.

She blinked a few times clearing the dryness from her eyes and she slowly shifted back to the mundane.  Staring out her office window, she watched a man rush towards his car in the rain.  A Cheshire Cat smile lifted her lips as she knew within the hour she’d stand at the crossroads of a dark, windy rain-filled autumn road and discuss delusions with a stranger.

*Photo Credit

Sunset

Watching the sun set, burning the sky in bursts of orange and purple, she downed another shot of bourbon.  She felt the numbness, the feelings slowly burning into ash, like the sun burning the sky.  It was all a heartbeat away from darkness.

How are you doing

A simple text.  A simple question.  The answer fraught with tumultuous responses.  Her thumb hovered over the keyboard; how should she respond?  She wanted to talk, needed to talk, wanted the connection but hesitated.  Aloof?  Perhaps pithy.  Anything to hide her desperation.

How are you doing?

A simple avoidance.  She wanted to talk; correction, needed to talk, but a simple deflection to keep the focus off herself.  She didn’t want to lie, didn’t want to say I feel like shit, as usual. Easier to deflect and ask about him, keep a conversation while avoiding anything to do with her state of mind.  The conversation flowed.  Stalled.  Flowed again and turned to music.  Songs perfect for you he said.  How does he know the perfect way to break her?  The songs to make her speechless; bring her to tears.  How does he see her so clearly even when she tries to hide?

The sunset slowly burns the sky to darkness.  Trails of color falling, fading, as she watches, heavy lidded from alcohol, until the stars sparkle in the darkness.  Her heart aches, sensucht, yearning for something indescribable, something that will never arrive. She checks her messages. Nothing.  She waits, hoping, holding the phone like a precious stone, the only connection to someone.  The only connection to him. Sensucht.  He is what she yearns for; a connection.  Love.  Someone to see through the darkness that haunts her daylight.

Are you okay?

She hesitates.  She downs a shot of bourbon.

He waits.  Checks his phone; nothing.

Are you there?

She watches the sun set.  The light burning into darkness.  Her thumb hovers as her mind races through responses.  Don’t lie, no, don’t say fine, don’t tell the truth, I want to die, her mind shifts slowly, drunkenly, through responses as the sun falls beyond the horizon.

*Photo Credit

Nine

Sitting in the meeting room staring out the window as someone droned on about deadlines, goals, and new branding Jake watched vultures circling above the office building halfway down the block.  As he watched their lazy circles, dark against the blue sky, a buzzing began in his left ear.  The meeting came to an end and walking back to his cubicle, the buzz became an annoying hum in both ears.  He asked a co-worker, “Do you hear that?”
“What?”
“I don’t know, like  strange buzz or hum?”
“Nope.”

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For days Jake’s ears kept buzzing.  He thought he’d go crazy if it didn’t stop.  The doctor said there was nothing wrong, his hearing was fine, no sign of infection or other problems.  Riding his bike, commuting to and from work, he’d see the buzzards, too.  Circling over various buildings throughout the city and he started wondering if they were related to the buzzing in his ear.  He thought, maybe they’re the first signs of my psychotic break.  Wearing headphones covered the buzz a bit but he couldn’t avoid seeing all the buzzards.  No one else seemed to care, or notice, but Jake noticed there were more every day.  How did no one else notice?  They looked ready to consume the city.

On the corner near his home, he noticed a flyer taped to the light pole.  It said: If you notice them, too, hear the sound, send self-addressed postage page padded envelope.  The pull tag had the address listed.  Out of curiosity, Jake ripped a tag and stuck it in his pocket.  He stopped at the post office on the way home and sent an envelope, as requested, to the address.

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A few days later, Jake opened the envelope carefully.  Inside was a thin blue vial, no longer than two inches, with a glass stopper.  The note read:

Do not drink until exactly nine minutes after midnight on September 9th, then turn over and read further instructions.  If you drink earlier or later or on a different date you must request another vial explaining why you did not drink at the exact time as instructed.  Upon review of request a new vial may be sent.

When he turned over the note it was blank.  He peered inside the envelope looking for another piece of paper but there was nothing else.  He was tempted to taste the contents of the vial but wasn’t sure that would constitute “drinking before 12:09 a.m.” or in some way invalidate the instructions so he waited.

At exactly nine minutes after midnight he pried the stopper, which gave a little pop, and drank the viscous, bitter fluid inside.  He didn’t feel anything and waited a moment expecting something to happen but nothing did.  He was pissed and turned the page over expecting it to be blank, feeling foolish.  To his surprise, in glowing bright green handwriting were further instructions.  It detailed exactly how he should walk from his apartment to the final destination ending with when destination reached you will know what to do next.

Reading over the directions before heading out he wondered why it gave such a circuitous route.  There was a much more direct route but he didn’t want to take a chance and did as instructed.  When he stepped out to the street he noticed a strange faint magenta light close to the ground leading the way.  The light was so faint he wasn’t sure he actually saw what he did.  It reminded him of the traces left on the back of his eyelids when he closed them after staring at the computer screen in the dark.

Finally, after twenty minutes weaving through the city streets, he reached the underpass of the pedestrian bridge with an old stone troll underneath.  He’d seen this same stone troll many times but now he looked larger, as if crushed under the bridge, and its arms were pushing up, it’s eyes blinking.  He stepped back nervously wondering what exactly was in that vial.  As he studied the troll he noticed a shimmering ray of light near a large stone pressed against his armpit and when he stepped closer to inspect it he had a strange taste of purple.  He didn’t know purple had a taste but that was all he thought, I taste purple.

He reached out to touch the shimmering ray and the stone boulder shifted.  There was just enough space for him to squeeze in.  He had to duck his head and he felt the walls pressed against his shoulders but there was a set of stairs leading upwards and as he climbed the space widened.  It was dark and he carefully felt for the next step with his foot.  He finally reached the top which opened to a room that looked carved into a giant stone boulder, with rounded ceiling and walls.

Various strange looking dried herbs and plants hung from wooden poles drilled into the stone.  He saw familiar dead animals hanging as well.  There were a couple of rabbits, a duck and squirrel, but there were other strange creatures he’d never seen before.  Creatures with oddly colored fur and strange hoofs or horns curling from their heads down along the length of their bodies.  Along the back wall was a shelf filled with jars and vials of all sizes.  He saw similar vials to the one he drank earlier and jars filled with unidentifiable things floating in strange liquids.  There was a jar filled with tiny slender bones that looked like finger bones and a jar with a large spider attempting to escape.

In the center was a round wooden table with a tiny woman sitting hunched over tracing blue powder with a black stick creating intricate patterns.   On the outer edges of the blue powder design were black candles, all the exact same length and width, burning blue flames.  The woman looked up, “Jake, little sick boy, about time you stopped believing all the lies they’ve made you swallow every morning.”  He didn’t know what she meant, “who are you?”
“You sought me out.”
“I wrote to an address on a flyer.  I thought it led to some party or something, it was vague.”
“You found what you needed.”

He was ready to leave this strange place and this strange woman but she had mesmerizing gray eyes.  They were silver-gray with a black ring around the iris and when she spoke the black ring bled down into the silver-gray and swirled like ink.  She was petite with delicate bones and looked fragile.  She bent over the table again, struck a long match, and gently blew across the flame.  It flared bright blue and struck the powder on the table causing the room to fill with the scent of fresh rain.  Above her head smoke circled, rising until it touched the stone, then popped into brilliant sparkling light like a firework.

When he looked down again, the blue powder appeared untouched and in the center was a clear crystal that glowed the same silver gray as her eyes.  The silver gray light inside the crystal pulsed like a heartbeat and he stepped closer.  “It is yours Jake,” she said so softly he wasn’t sure she actually spoke.  “It will rain for nine days then you will be clean.  Do not trust the vultures who want to pick your mind apart until you no longer think for yourself.  Nine days, at 9:09 a.m. and you will be free.”

He picked up the crystal expecting it to be cool but it was warm.  It pulsed brighter at his touch and he felt a pleasant vibration.  As he walked home holding the crystal, the vibration felt stronger, caressing up his arm and over his back.  When he slept he dreamed of water flowing and boulders walking the streets, of strange little witch women with gray eyes hanging in gibbets as vultures plucked their eyes.  In the morning he felt restless and calm.  The crystal sat on the coffee table pulsing softly.

Nine days later and 9:09 a.m. he was heading to the pharmacy when the rains stopped.  He felt his mind open and saw not only the sky but the universe beyond.  All the people rushing the through the streets, morning traffic crawling along the roads, the people in the gym windows running to nowhere on treadmills all seemed like the strange creatures in the jars at the little witch’s hollow.  The sky suddenly darkened as thousands of vultures descended, people scattering, screaming and he thought about her warning, do not trust the vultures but they paid him no mind.

At 9:18 a.m. he stood horrified on the street surrounded by bodies, torn apart by the vultures, blood running into the gutters, staining his shoes.  The vultures plucked their eyes out making strange crww sounds as if delighted by their meals.  He ran heading back to the underpass where the stone troll sat and the vultures all took flight.  He heard their wings beating overhead, felt a wingtip graze his arm, and his heart beating in his throat.  When he reached the troll there was no shimmering light, no boulder by its arm, and Jake didn’t know how to find the little witch, didn’t know what she did to him.

9:37 a.m. he sat panting on his sofa holding the pulsing crystal as if it would give him answers.  The vultures preened in the trees outside his window, sitting along the roof of the buildings all along his street, and he felt as if they were watching, waiting for him.  He stood up, angry, and threw the crystal across the room, smashing it against the wall and shattering it into tiny pieces.  The vultures took flight again and Jake collapsed.

Another nine days later at 9:09 a.m. Jake sat in the hospital as a nurse with gray eyes readied to give him a shot.  She held up a small vial filling the syringe with a strange viscous solution and telling him, “don’t worry, this will make you right as rain again.”

Ink

Photo Credit: Unknown

Photo Credit: Unknown

“Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all — the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved.” ~~ Mark Twain

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He laid on his stomach, head on his hands, naked. She straddled his waist using his ass as a cushion, knees bent, naked.

In one hand she held an inkwell filled with deep indigo blue ink and in the other a feather quill with a gold nib.
Her hair cascaded down over her shoulders with rippling waves down her back. He felt the spring of her pubic hairs against his flesh.

“What should I write?”
“Whatever you feel.”
“No, that’s too dark. You tell me the story.”
“No, I want your words.”
“I can’t do it then.”

He felt the bed shift with her weight as she leaned over to put the ink and quill back on the nightstand.

“Yes you can. It doesn’t matter what you write, just write from your soul.”
“That’s even worse. No, definitely can’t.”

He sighed. She bent forward, he felt her hair caressing his back and light kisses over his shoulders. He didn’t move.

“You’re mad.”
“Not mad.”
“Annoyed then.”
“Frustrated. I want your words, it’s simple. What are you afraid of? I have your body.”

She sat back. He still didn’t move, only closed his eyes, feeling her breathing. A few heartbeats later, the bed shifted again. She leaned over to take up the quill and ink once more. She started slowly, tentatively, at his upper left shoulder, writing across his back to the other shoulder. He felt the quill, the nib a little rough, dragging across his skin. It was pleasurable, an odd sensation, the ink feeling like blood and the nib needle-like. As she fell into her thoughts, dragging the nib against his flesh, dipping the quill more often than for paper, her pace picked up. By the time she reached his mid-back her writing was frantic. He smiled.

He remained quiet, passive, allowing her to manipulate his body as she required. Quickly writing down his back and over his ass. She spread his legs so she could write on the inside of his thighs. The sensation of her touch, the intensity of her silence pouring thoughts through her ink onto his skin, her breath quickening as emotions crescendo within her, aroused him. If she noticed she made no effort to acknowledge his need.

When she reached the soles of his feet she began blowing across his skin like trying to cool a bowl of soup. She wanted to make sure the ink was dry before turning him over. He waited motionless until he felt one of her hands gently push at his hip, then he rolled over to his back. She began in reverse, starting at his feet, teasingly sitting on his stomach, his hard-on now aching. He resisted the urge to grab her ass or touch her in any way. Forcing himself to be content with the vision of her bent forward, hair, breath, ink and quill mingling across his skin as she worked her way around the rest of his body. He pressed his head back against the pillow, the agony becoming almost unbearable, when she reached his hips. She held his cock, not stroking it or licking it despite his mind willing her too, but holding it steady to write.

He thought he would explode with the unexpected as she continued to scrawl words around his cock, balls, over his hips and finally working his abdomen. She backed up, rising up, her pussy tantalizing near his face, and her scent made him dizzy. A moan escaped his lips. He closed his eyes. Remaining still becoming a heady, excruciating test of self-control.

“Finished.”

She stood up, shy but proud of her creation.  He stood before the mirror, his skin stained blue, words gently cascading in swirls from her touch.  He touched her face.  She stood shivering, tears threatening to spill from her eyes.  Pouring her words across his flesh left her emotions roiling inside, the darkness coming alive, clawing its way up, choking her throat, spilling its tarry blackness through every internal crevice.  He watched her green eyes darken and took pleasure from her internal pain.  He owned her body, easily, taking it when he pleased, she gave it away without resistance.  Her soul, her inner self, her mind and emotions, however, she protected fiercely and forcing her to spill her words across his flesh opened the well within her.  Watching her struggle with the sorrow that danced inside, seeing her attempt to remain standing, to not fall to her knees, fulfilled a gluttonous desire.

He waited, wiping the tear that finally fell with his thumb, watching her crumble, slowly.  Her arms wrapped around herself like a child trying to self-comfort.  Her body trembling.  Silent tears and the struggle to keep the black dog from shredding her core apart.  He waited until she finally fell to her knees, sobbing, shaking uncontrollably, her strength finally breaking under the strain.  Her madness burst forth and he listened to her sobbing, drinking in her keening cries.  She began rocking herself and his self-control ended.  He kissed her breasts, licking her tears, made love to her there on the floor, in front of the mirror.  He felt her clinging, her tears dripping down his back mixing with her words causing blue streaks, and with each sob he felt blissful release.

Her breathing became ragged, gasping, feeding his arousal more than her moist pussy or stiff nipples.  He became rabid, insatiable, and she scratched his back creating a kaleidoscope of ink, tears and blood.  With each thrust she released more darkness, flowing out of her, smoke-filled intensity.  He tasted the salt on her cheeks, she clutched him tight, their chests pressed together and heaving, becoming like feral animals.  She keened.  He moaned.  When she felt like she was splitting open, her skin splitting like a cicada breaking free from its cocoon, she stiffened, holding her breath; he shattered with release and she breathed again.  Her mind spiraled into silence.

“Thanatos, when will you finally kill me?”
“Never, my love, without you I am nothing but a shadow on the edge of life.”

Unsteady

Photo Credit: Unknown

Photo Credit: Unknown

Her skin felt sticky with dried blood.  Her hip hurt.  Her vision blurred along the edges.  The quick, and rough, implant of her tracker left her dazed. She heard the judge speaking but her comprehension remained fuzzy.

“You are sentenced to runner.”

Runner.  Her thoughts slowly coalesced around the word.  Runner.  Her incision itched.  She is now a runner.  They opened the large walnut doors leading to the open courtyard and the birds preening in the barren trees stopped to watch her stand, confused, in the doorway.  On the other side of the courtyard the wrought iron gates swung open.  Someone shoved her shoulder.

Run.

She looked back hoping to understand, to find a familiar face, but stumbled farther as another shove across her back launched her across the threshold.  She felt unsteady.

Run.


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She blinked trying to focus.  She felt a hard surface beneath her.  She heard muffled talking.  She smelled wood burning and heard a teapot whistle distantly.  Her stomach grumbled and she vaguely made out a slim figure in a black jacket with white shirt hanging loose over black pants.  She closed her eyes, rolled her head, opened again trying to gain focus and heard a voice say, I think she’s waking.

The familiar panic fluttered in her gut and she tried to swing her legs over and stand but she didn’t have the strength.  She felt a hand gently push her shoulder back.  “Don’t move.”

She struggled feebly, trying to get up, trying to focus, trying to gather thoughts enough to figure out where she was, what was happening, but in the end her head remained heavy against the cushion.  She felt a little unsteady while she dreamed of snow falling while being wrapped in a blanket of ice.


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Everything remained unfamiliar.  The room warmed by wood burning in a large fireplace smelled inviting yet her mind raced to focus on escape.  Her hip ached.  Her legs felt rubbery.  Her thoughts swam and she desperately tried to hold on to something to steady herself.  The figure dressed in black with white shirt walked towards her.

He squat down to make eye contact with her while her pupils desperately tried to focus.  She wanted to grasp her surroundings, to understand what happened, where she was, who this man was, but she kept falling.  She felt drunk.  Unsteady.

Blue eyes stared at her.  Dark hair, day old stubble, black jacket.  She held onto these details hoping to lock her awareness onto something.  Smoky, soft voice.  Dark lashes.  Indigo eyes.  Short black hair.  White shirt.  Black jacket and white shirt repeated in her vision and mind.  A scent of cherry pipe tobacco filled her nostrils.  Pale skin, amber voice, vanilla touch.  She rolled her head trying to shake clarity back.  Her hip continued to throb.

“Relax.  You’re safe.” 

She struggled against the comforting words in distrust.  Desperately she fought the madness to remain still, to remain complacent.  Her vision remained devoid of color and focus.