Hey hey groovy mover’s, heart breaker’s and life takers! Each day for the next month and a bit I will be putting up chapters of something I have had on the go for a while. You may have seen snippet’s of these chapters before. I have been toying with them for a while now, and whilst far from being edited, the flow should be enough for you to follow.
Tell me what you think, even if it does stink.
If you can’t be bothered with the read, click on Paul MacDermotts artwork above. Fishies from The Cat Empire should follow.
Hamish, more cowbell please. xxx
- Chapter One – Beginning of the End
‘Death’ may walk beside you.
‘Death’ may linger over a battlefield.
‘Death’ may lurk in Hospitals and places of ‘Respite’.
What ‘Death’ actually likes is a good cuppa, a biscuit, a natter, and a crossword. She also likes her Grandchildren, her fox terrier Mr. Darcy, spying on neighbours, talking just out of earshot of her sons and daughters in law with a severe look on her face, and terrifying souls Worlds over. She has an hour off most afternoons to watch day time soaps, and any chat show when she can catch it.
‘Death’ is a blue rinsed, horn rim spectacled, five feet tall, twin set wearer in comfortable shoes. She does not ride a dazzling white charger, but is driven everywhere by her berated, horse faced daughter ‘Maude’ in a clapped out 1968 Volkswagen beetle.
‘Death’ carry’s an unremarkable looking pair of spectacularly sharp secateurs. Scythes’ being too phallic to be taken seriously, and so ‘very’ Old Testament.
‘Death’ is the blue print of every ‘Mother-In-Law’ to ever have been conceived, loved, and hated. She is every aspect of every minute of every angle throughout every stage of a mother in laws life. Rolled into one. She gives the appearance of a fifty to eighty something year old lady of complete misery in YOUR house. She can hear through time zones.
Noise. Halogen derived white light. Pain. Darkness. Faces. Darkness.
A wet nosed, ticklish sniffing sensation started in the region of Mini’s chin. Whatever is doing this, progresses around his ear, through the hair on the side of his head, over his forehead, and down the bridge of his nose. Unexpectedly, blinding white hot pain explodes from its tip.
Arms flailing, ferret from nose dangling. Not only does Mini give his spectators a spectacular show, he also instils within them a humorous idea for charades as a cliché Dutch windmill in a heavy gale. The ferret releases its grip and falls to the ground, leaving Mini holding the bloody tip of his nose gingerly, tears streaming down his cheeks. With a twinkle in its eye, it runs straight up his left trouser leg, only to increase the general amusement of those that enjoy a bit of low brow street entertainment. Elvis had nothing on Mini’s moves; gyrating forward, back, up and down, and so on. His voice was heard two centuries away.
Amidst the ferret created disarray, Mini witnesses Brigid Bardot stroll past, and dismisses the notion as absurd.
The oddly garbed on lookers, and Brigid Bardot, revel in the delight of this new found sport. They shuffle about, allowing the push within the throng of ex-humanity to pass them by, or sneak further in to take in the show.
Mini begins to take in three thousand years of peasant orientated fashion on display around him. Looking at, but not quite registering all that is on display. Everything from ‘nudity with badly applied dirt’; the ‘off the shoulder, bare foot’ number; and not quite last, but in far greater numbers, ‘bloodied with a hint of horrifically mutilated military dress and uniform. All from 100 or so different regiments, their countries of origin no longer in existence. Each and every one of them, uniforms spanning century upon century of the immeasurable incompetence of every military commander within that time span. All being the source, and the consequential result of their troop’s attire. Rag tag children and animals move amongst them causing no major inconvenience.
“Alright there Coque?” enquires a grotesquely deformed, horrifically burnt chap in a dress with an antique grin. “Love the ferret trick. Got any more?”
Mini, in a state of complete life free embarrassment, offers a tear stained blank face, a bloody nose, and a suggestion that his trouser filling partner in pain, was far more creative than he let on, as it was now attempting to cross from this left to right leg without leaving his trousers.
“Nnnarghrhjgh!” Mini’s initial wit coming to the fore.
“I said ‘Alright are you Coque’?” genuine concern attempts to cross a cracked charcoal face. “Hells teeth, you’ve only just got here and you’re still necrobilical too ain’t ya?! Merde’! You IS ain’t ya? Not to worry me old Coque, we’ll have that bleedin’ necrobilical chord cut just as soon as I can get that bitch ‘Death’ over here.”
The last half hour of the ‘Mini Matinee’ flicks past behind his eye’s, flittering along the pathways of the brain, or the lack there of, landing without complete understanding right through to the moment of the impact with the Volvo truck. After those images fade, the unconventional nose piercing, and the image of the extinguished human torch before him, rocket him into the reality of the moment.
Uncanny sensations wash over him, all baring a deja vu like quality, and a sensation which was not entirely one of discomfort. His sense of smell, sight, touch and hearing being inexplicably enhanced, and he seemed to be able to understand the language everybody in the immediate area, no matter what era or locality they seem to have come from; all at once.
The air was no different to what it was a minute ago when he stretched and stood up straight, waiting to hear the contest winner over the radio. What he breathed was no lighter or heavier to before. Those smells that surrounded him, although somewhat heightened, were no different to what they had been earlier. A bad joke regarding ‘the brown acid’ and Woodstock hobbled through his semi functioning mind, cheering him momentarily.
“Ok now Coque, here she comes. Say ‘yes ‘mum’ and ‘no ‘mum’, when she speaks to you. Don’t laugh at her jokes cause they ain’t jokes, an’ get back from the curb NOW!”
After the smoke and swearing had cleared, Mini stared aghast at the most famous of the ‘Four Horsemen’, and the fact that she was getting out of an old VW Beetle. Death, resplendent in rollers, shuffled toward him with a half smoked cigarette lolling from the corner of her mouth. Her slippers, complete with rabbits face and ears bouncing at her toe, covered her small feet. The rest of her was wrapped in a purple old lady dressing gown buttoned from neck to knee. A steaming mug, ‘World’s best Grandma’, was clasped tightly in her dainty right hand. Mr. Darcy trotted at her side. He looked like he was smiling.
She is yelling “Maude! You hit the bloody curb again! Why is there smoke everywhere? Get out of the car and clean my seat, that’s good tea I spilt there with that bump, you bloody useless lump of a girl!”
It is not often you meet a being, that up until five minutes earlier, you believed to be a myth. And then when you do, it will be with remembered only with regret, asking yourself ‘Why the hell did I do that?’
“All right boy, let me have a look at you.”
Mini is appraised as a fish monger appraises a feral Tom doing its best to haul the catch of the day off his chopping board.
Holding him by his shoulders, Death stares intently into his watering eyes.
“Hmmph, no one important. Never done a thing and amounted to even less. Not too happy with what is planned for your stay here, but that is an interdepartmental issue, that I for one do not give a hoot about. Seems you will meet a girl, of sorts. This is odd. There has been some cross over baggage which doesn’t happen too often let me tell you.”
“Merde!!!! You’re ‘Death’?!” a nervous snigger follows, something he will soon regret.
“Yes boy, and this wouldn’t usually have hurt a bit”
Quicker than a cocaine fuelled mongoose, ‘Death’ produces her secateurs, and in a sweeping arc brings them open jawed across Mini’s necrobilical chord, severing it instantly. In the same deft movement, Death sheathes these, her tools of trade in the fluid movement of a true professional. To which, she turns on her heel while yelling at Maude to “get the bloody car going, Qi is on soon!”
Maude “gets the bloody car going”, and she and Death vanish into the night. The old Volksy disappearing in a cloud of smoke you couldn’t have thrown a brick through.
Pain filled his every nerve. It upset his vision, giving him bouts of nausea, leaving him sweating like a Clan member at Black Panther rally.
“Old Coque you should ‘ave done what old John told you!”
“Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! Merde! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Merde! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! Merde!!!!!!!!” was all Mini could scream incoherently as he lay in a perfect foetal pose.
“Yes Coque. That was “Death”, and she is an old bitch. Come, raise yourself, you are born.”
She is five years old.
She is not enjoying herself.
She had been immensely enjoying herself, but the interruption of her parents has stolen that snippet of brightness from her previously mundane existence.
Her five year old brain has no concept of the enormity of the situation, nor the danger she has inadvertently placed herself and her family in.
Semi concussion raises confusion in her wee elfin like head. Pain is slowly beginning to register, and the tin taste of blood is beginning to make itself known. She is nauseous.
Rolling on to her left side, she can see the feet of her parents close together; their rough woollen shoes are pointing at one another. A hushed excited conversation is exploding above her, her parents close to frantic.
A floor of dirt, bulrush and old straw is now beneath her tiny feet, she lifts her left hand to the side of her face, tentatively prodding an area of numbness with slender underfed fingers. Sticky warmth is found, “why” fills her head. Her parents loved her didn’t they?
Her filthy feet are now leaving the floor; her mother lifts her into a love filled embrace, holding her tightly.
Father begins to yell and storm within the small round hut she calls home. He rants and rages; he catches his head in a low spot beneath the thatch, and is angered further.
Then he calls her “demon”, then “witch”, then “devil”. Her sobbing mother continues to hold her ever so tight; she can smell the smoke of the cooking fire in her hair.
Now Mother is running through the small door. Outside there are low grey skies; the smell of snow and the bight of cold. She can still hear Father yelling as mother flees, cursing her, for what?
Can’t all little girls fly?