Sunday, May 29, 2011

Casey (Backseat Session)

My best friend Casey pulls me up from the depths and out of the water, onto mainland. We fall together down to the grass and then fall through it, and then somehow we're no longer in the marsh but in a tiny room at the back of the fancy diner he served in. He's smoking his smokes and I'm waiting for his shift to end. It's a lonely night and it's just us.

We were drinking. We were drunk. His shift was about to end and then we were heading out on the town for some good times together. Philly was amazing with Casey. He made everything feel so alive.

I remember that night the most. We were having a candid discussion about our pasts. What with his broken home and drunk father and my broken home and my drunk stepfather. How he tried his best to get him and his siblings out of that house and how I tried my best to be in denial about my stepfather.

I told him about how I would always feel left out and last in everything in comparison to my siblings. About how Peter tried his best to raise hell in our household and in his arrogance almost got beat to death on many occasions by the old man, and about how John shrunk into a shell of anxiety. I told him a lot of things that I couldn't even tell a therapist.

And then I told him: I wanted to burn out. That I wanted to quickly blow up and away like a comet and disappear. I wanted to crash and never rise up from the wreckage. I wanted to be consumed by flame, so maybe, finally, the chilling ice inside would melt away and I could finally realize what my true purpose is.

He told me I was one stupid bastard. And I was, I really was. But then he comforted me. Told me that I "don't deserve to go out like a bitch." Told me that I "deserved a much more fitting, and boring, death."

And then he he told me: That I wasn't put here for that shit. That I had a purpose already, and that was my family. That I was blessed with three siblings who, despite their faults, were quite kickass. That at least they weren't taken away like his was. To forgive and listen. To not burn out but let the tide roll in and float out with it. To love and to be loved.

I cried, he cried, we both cried, but we were so fucking happy even if we were so fucking miserable.

We were survivors. Maybe other bloggers of my nature can understand that sentiment, or are even survivors themselves. When life throws all it can at you, and then some, and crushes you over and over again, and yet you still get up each and every single time to meet with fate and attempt to give it a run for its money, you are a goddamn survivor and you are a goddamn giant among men.

Maybe some are lonely giants, but they're still heroes.

And then his face melted away and the memory fell away like a stage prop and I was in my bed, sweating profusely. Or maybe I wasn't in my bed, I was in a hospital bed. I was in a hospital, and it was reality.

I lay there and an hour later Boss walks in with an associate and attempts to talk to me. I felt better but I still was in a daze and I began to panic when I noticed the girl he brought along had a cobra tattoo on her upper arm. I think I may have passed out, I don't remember much.

So I'm back in the goddamn hospital. I frankly don't remember much of writing any of the past entries. I don't remember what really happened in those entries either, except for some of the events directly preceding this post, the cobra tattoo being the most prominent memory.

Boss says there's been a major disruption in the world which triggered an attack on me by a particular Fear known as the Dying Man. I'll.. fill out some info on that later, maybe. I'm still a bit confused to what actually happened. All I know is...

all I know is that I'm so grateful the flames are out. Jesus Christ, I don't think I've ever felt any pain that can compare to that.


Friday, May 27, 2011

In Corolla

My journey ended with a rusted brown marsh, among a green, green coast. The stench wafted from the reeds and the burn of saltwater creeps up with the wind. I make my way towards the line of reeds.

The dusk was arriving quickly. I wanted to end it in the sunlight so I hurried. I pushed through the reeds and into the marsh. The waves crash and swish up around me, tugging and pulling my clothes. I sighed in relief as the warm and yet cold water soothed my shivering and yet boiling body.

Smiling, I looked up to the sky. It was an emerald tapestry, angry and defeated, and the tattered clouds were giant masses of jade smoke. I laughed, it was just so funny! All of it, the entire situation. The color green had envied and wanted me my entire life and at the end of it all it would have to watch me be absorbed by blue.

Wild sage floated away among the weeds.

I fell into the ocean and desired to float away but the mud grabbed me and I began to drown in place. The Atlantic rushed into my body and put out the emerald fire and I laughed and cried. The itching stopped.

The hurt quit.
I said my goodbyes. I said a few prayers. I said a lot of things.
It wasn't enough but it was all I had left.

I thought it to be my grave, but it wasn't, even if it felt like it and I wanted it to be so badly. No, I wasn't permitted to die. I thought I was truly alone, but I was wrong. I thought everyone in my memories had been burnt away, but he was still there.

Casey's hand grabs onto mine and he pulls me out from the depths.

Cobra Tattoo

Really though, this grand escape of yours is becoming tedious. I'm ashamed to have chosen you, I thought you would have submitted to me by now. But you're not, instead you seem to be rebelling. I thought you had given up, James? I've waited all this time for this moment and now you're ruining it.

We're on the path of greatness and you have something I can't ever have myself but I still need. I've waited too long for this moment, and goddammit, James, I'm hungry. So, so hungry. I need more than this, and I want to be more than this. I'm going to evolve.

So don't screw this up for me. Submit. Submit, James. Now. Or I will break you, absolutely and totally and forever. You think you're broken now? Just wait. I will tear. you. apart. 

It's only a matter of tiI'm walking along a green, green forest and I can't stop seeing this image in my head. It reminds me of Holly but it's not Holly it can't be Holly. This is a different person. So much different. She's younger, maybe even just out of high school, and she's a brunette.

On her arm, there is a cobra tattoo.
She's beyond the ocean, among the blue but past it in the yellow sunlight.
Far, far away from the green, green, green.

Wild sage growing in the we

I can see it now. I'm finally there, where I can put this to an end. 

If You See Light

I run across my living room and I hit the ground and slide under the table, just as the window breaks and rocks fly through. I can hear them all now, chanting and yelling for my imminent demise. I could practically feel the heat of their torches then and there.

They were at my door now. They were at my door and they were going to get in. I could smell burning. My house was being burnt down and they were outside and screaming and angry. I felt so unwelcome, I guess I wasn't really ever a good neighbor.

I crawl out from under the table and grab my coat from the closet, just as the front door began to splinter from their tackles. I ran into the hallway and headed for the back door, but they're there too so I turn around and head up the stairs to my bedroom. Their torches' lights shine out in the twilight under the stair window.

I slam the door and lock it, and then I head to my closet and shut the door. I hid among the dusty jackets and forgotten books, and I almost vomit when I smell her smell. I fall against the wall and sink down to my knees, all the while panting and choking on the rotten air.

I felt the door give way and the crowd charge into my house. I smelt the burn of the emerald torches as they headed up the stairs. I heard them enter my room and yell and scream.

And then I saw the light of the torches. The green, green torches.

I try and float away, to get away and survive, but I can feel them grabbing me and pulling me into the crowd and I feel them tear into my chest and begin to pull my organs out and then the emerald fire burns through my soul and surrounds me and I feel the smoke leak out of the corner of my mouth.

My blood. Blood. It evaporates. I didn't think blood could do th
 Blood red.

But then her red hair. Her red hair tickles the side of my face and I grab onto that memory like a rope.

Woke Up New

It's as if there's no roof to my former home. I'm lurking above, inside of the green, green tapestry, and my past self slumbers below. Before I even recognize anything, the alarm clock goes off and he gets up. At first he just sits there blankly, but then he gets up and begins to go about things as if it was just any other day.

But it wasn't just any other day. This was the morning after you were gone and I was returned from the hospital. This was the morning where I thought everything was fine when it was most definitely not. This was when it hadn't sunk in. This was when my true hell began.

The poor man below seemed so lost. He wandered the house and you could see how much he longed for her, even though he couldn't recognize the full extent of it yet. He mutters to himself, as if he's talking to her. I just watch and wait and cry.

I wanted to drop down and embrace him and tell him to end it all, dear christ please end it all soon.

I feel myself slowly fall, like a burning leaf, towards the past and my self. I feel my limbs tremble and my head rumble and my body burn away. I was almost completely one with the emerald fire by that point.

This was the last piece left.
Soon, everything would be buried and dead and done.
It would all be burnt and blown away.

He's so unsuspecting, wrapped up in his own little world. He can feel the heat but it comes off as cold to him. He shrinks away from me and yet it doesn't do any good, I'm closer than ever. He can hardly breathe and his chest is heaving and sweating and convulsing and collapsing. Wild sage growing in the weeds.

I've almost consumed him when the walls of the stage collapse outwards. The memory gushes out from the area and we're pulled away and flushed down through the pool of memories surrounding us.

Song For Lonely Giants

I'm falling down with the leaves.

The green, green leaves.

I'm inside of the green. The burning green.

I'm One with the Green.

I am One with the Lonely Giant.

Her Green Eyes. I've always been lost inside of them, haven't I?

but this wasn't how it was supposed to end.

i was supposed to

i was supposed to live

not fall

but stand

not this

but live

Can't I

I don't want to be blown away. I don't want to fall alone.

I lay down in the field of clovers and sleep. 

In The Hidden Places

I'm running home from the bus stop because I thought I saw Her there on the bus and the autumn leaves are falling down so slowly like snow, greengreen snow. The leaves fall and grab onto me and I'm reminded of Elementary school when I was walking to school and it was so nice outside and the wind picked up and all these nice looking leaves fell down and it was so calming and I was happy and yet so lonely and my two brothers were walking on ahead and I felt like I was being left behind and Peter never even looked back ever and John looked back but it seemed like he looked through me.

I remember rubbing my arm and cursing under my breath after what Peter did up on those train tracks and then I felt so fucking short and scared and I ran up to him to talk to him but it was like he was ignoring me and I hated that so much. We're crossing the street and it bleeds away and It is back and I'm falling into it and then it's a rainy day and the bus I'm on the bus and it's gray and cloudy and She's on the bus and her name is Holly and I think I'm in love with her we're going to get married.

I felt so awkward sitting near her on the bus and it reminded me of how out of place I am at school and how none of my friends seem to like me and I'm so lonely and she's gone and what the fuck am I supposed to do. I can feel it watching me, from above the falling leaves.

I'm collapsing onto my bed and it's my last night there before I leave for the apartment but it feels like it's only just begun. Consciousness almost slips away and flashes of wild sage growing in the weeds invade.

Moon Over Goldsboro

Memories of passion. Memories of loneliness. They clash and stir and bend, until they mix into a fine green, green powder overlay that everyone is destined to one day immerse themselves into. The soft and soothing comfort of bed sheets. The hard and cold roughness of grassy fields. They are both inside of my head and yet they are drifting away, as if I'm losing all of her.

One moment I'm jumping a fence and the next I'm pushing against her, panting and sweating and then I'm back to the cold outside where I'm lurking under the moon, alone and frightened. I can feel sunlight prickling against the back of my neck and yet I feel the moonlight push against my face.

I grab the grass and the soil as I feel her fingernails dig into my back. Tears roll down my face as my chest heaves up and down and the green rolls over me. Her red hair tickles my cheeks while the grass pokes against my body. I breathe in, breathe out. Wild sage growing in the weeds.

Next thing I know I'm forced out from the underworld by some attendant and I feel your embrace fade away. I'm walking home, under the moonlight and the streetlights, and I try to whisper to you, urging you to come back, baby, come back, please.

You're almost back, I can feel you, when some police siren scares you away. I curse under my breath and fall to the street and the light above turns Emerald and everything burns into nothing.

And then, I can see It, lurking behind all of my memories. But only for a second, not too long, for me, for me to notice, I didn't, couldn't, wouldn't, shouldn't, will never.

Maybe Sprout Wings

I don't know what's happening I've woke up I think but it feels so weird and I don't know it's steamy in here and it seems like the apartment is burning away from reality. I smell the burning of wild sage and the smell of the ocean has faded and I need the promise of sand and surf but jesus christ my head hurts.
All of my memories are coming back and bleeding into the present. I think something has taken over my reality and pushed me into its own fantasy land.
I want to escape but I don't know how. I want to escape but I'll only escape to reality and is that really an escape at all? What happened to my resolve. What happened to letting go, James. I thought you were letting go, James. What about Arnold, James. What the fuck about Arnold? He's dead James I know James.
 Who are you and who am I.

I'm sweating and I took off my shirt and it's not today it's many yesterdays past and it's about maybe a couple of months after her deamurder. It's pitch black in my room and I almost trip over my nightstand when I make my way to the bathroom. I feel the urge to vomit but it subsides and I start a shower and it felt so warm inside of the apartment and I needed to escape the heat.

I wash away the dream. I wash away Holly. I wash away the burns from the Emerald Fire.

Get Lonely

The day I went back to work was a cold and yet soothing day in March. I woke up an hour early, worked on packing up my stuff to move, and then got ready and left for the office. I remember, distinctly, walking out that front door and thinking, "Well, this is it. You can do this, James." I shivered a bit from the biting wind, jumped into my car, and left. I tried not paying attention to the sign in front of our house marked "for sale."

Our house... my house.

The roads were slippery and moist from the dew and a brief morning shower that passed through. The sky was gray but in a optimistic way, if that makes sense. When the sun began its climb into the sky, the gray began to wash away and be replaced with a faint wash of cerulean.

Into the city, away from the miserable countryside.

I remember parking in that garage and taking the elevator down and then finding myself in a crowd. I was surrounded, utterly surrounded, by so many bodies with beating hearts and shaking lungs. I tried to find some sort of relation to those bodies in that crowd. I tried to think: "Well, I'm still living, aren't I? Be happy."

But then the panic attack began and I fall against the wall and I'm gasping for air and crying and it feels as if everyone's looking at me when all I want is for them to keep along and be ignorantly happy. I scream through my teeth and tears flush down my cheeks and her name escapes my throat and into the air. Her name floats out and up towards the sky like a cloud composed of millions of tiny cotton balls.

Someone asks if I'm alright but all I could see was green, green eyes. They begin to pull me towards the hospital but I shake myself back awake and push myself away from them and I drop my suitcase and I run. I run far, far away from the office and the city and the crowds of people.

In my mania I tried to seal away the panic but it didn't matter because I ended up right back where it all started: in that damn church. That damn church she took me to for a morning service one Sunday and that damn church where I promised her we would elope. That damn church where I dared to dream.

I looked up to the windows above me and I felt her name escape my lips again. It floated up and disappeared into the blinding light of the sun's cascade.

It wasn't until a solid month later and a couple of therapeutic sessions until I was able to return to work.

Half Dead

It was hell throwing her stuff away. It was hell a few months afterwards. We had moved into a house. We were going to build a life there. But now it's time to throw it all away.

I wanted to burn it but I didn't. I went around collecting with plastic bags for the lighter stuff. I tried to block her out of my head. Tried. Couldn't get her out of my head.

It's night and now I'm laying on the cold floor. My head feels so hot but when I close my eyes all I see is her green, green eyes. I wish I could just burn this house down and let the smoke carry me far, far away.

when she diwhen she was killed i lost half of me

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Monster Avenue

You know when it sometimes feels really good to be alone? Like in the middle of the night when it's just you and the moon, or rather more functionally in my case when you're awake around 4 or 5 in the morning and it's the little sacred in between time from night to day where you feel like you're transcending death. It's those times when it doesn't feel good the pain's just numbed. It feels good but it's going to hurt again.

The smell of the grass and the lonely house and the sky above and you below.

That's what it was like but then it's all changed and gone and destroyed when suddenly your neighbors want you to get the hell out and you're suddenly forced from your home and you're nothing but a scared demon that needs a home but you've got no damn home.

Forced isolation. Stolen unhappiness. Love's ruined, shattered shell. Destruction of civilized deliberate living.

They come for you, with lit torches. Fire. Fire. Fire. They'll burn you out and smoke you out an

I can hear them now. They're coming. I can see them now. They're coming.

I can smell the smoke.

Wild Sage III

Traveling down a road along a hill. A green, green hill. The roads seem so hot but the grass seems so cold and the wind whispers into my ears. The sky is blue but it's so dull that it seems gray. The sun was in my eyes and would not leave them. I felt something watching me through the sun and behind me.

My body shivers and aches and itches. I feel as if I'm about to collapse but I won't because I still have a few miles until I hit the Atlantic and dammit I wasn't going to give in yet. The color green pervaded and leaked into everything including my soul.

Am I dreaming? Am I asleep? Is this a nightmare or is it a haven or is it hell or maybe even heaven?

I lose track of time. I lost track of time. What is this space? Where am I? Am I walking along a dirty dirt road or am I burning alive in emerald flames? Am I alone or is Something watching, waiting, working?

I can see the marsh and the beach and the Atlantic. I'm approaching them slowly but surely. I scratch my head and rub my eyes. A sense of peril pushes through my veins and heightens my fear but I push it away; nothing was following me, right? Nothing could be following me. Nothing would follow me. Why would anything do that? No, of course not. Nothing stays. Nothing.

I'm going East.

The highway begins again and I'm walking alongside it and I imagine trucks passing by and imagine them stopping and asking me what I feel like and I imagine not knowing what to say. I met a trucker earlier. No, really, I did. He picked me up and dropped me off. He did I remember.

The squeals from the trees below won't stop. They squeak and scream and creak and I can't hear them without hurting. The trees, at some moments, resembles a sea of green fire. It hurts my eyes to look at and a taste like ash and blood and wild sage floods my mouth.

Where am I going again?


I had a friend named Casey a few years back. He was probably my best friend.

I met him in Philly, on one of my numerous trips up there with Peter. Peter introduced me to him, and he was familiar with the Fears. He was aiming to become a Lonely Hearts agent too, which I think was what we bonded over. Either that or our mutual love of getting absolutely fucked up.

We were so close. In one night, we bonded. We would talk to each other almost every single day whether it be through text messages or emails. Until I moved up there, of course.

I moved into his apartment and I helped pay the rent. I was able to get a job at the same place we worked. We had so much fun up there.

He was hired as an agent about the same time I was. He was my first partner, even before Holly.

I miss those days, and I miss how things used to be.

Anyways... I mention Casey because he's in my apartment right now.

But Casey's been dead for a while now.

His rotting body is leaving a stain on my floor. I can't tell if this is a Fear's doing or just me going crazy...

A quarter of his torso is still missing... the memories from that mission...

I'm fighting back my own past right now and I'm afraid that soon, I'll be absorbed into it.

Wild Sage II

My parents are fighting and I'm just a little kid. A little kid in a big world. I'm hiding underneath that old table in that giant living room. John and Peter were off somewhere else and I was alone and scared.

My father was screaming at my mother. My mother was screaming at my father. I was crying.

And then dad walks in and walks past me as if I didn't even exist dad look down at me put down that damn bottle for once in your life dad come back don't go away again please we need you at home please.

My mommy was crying and I was holding on to her. I wasn't crying anymore I was just worried.

I asked her why dad had to leave again, he had just gotten back.

She looked me in the eye, and I could tell that she couldn't answer. Just like the last time I asked.


Casey's gone, but the damage is done. The apartment is its usual sunset orange, but it's still the same. The whispering is gone, but the dull thunder of the city remains. I'm still here, but not for long.

Reality bleeds and memories attack each other for dominance. All of the happy memories were eaten away long ago, and now the worst of my memories are fighting each other. Which one will win out, I wonder?

The day Anna Beth rejected me in the fifth grade?

The day Johnny Galfin pushed me into the river?

The day my dog Pungo was killed by that car?

The day when Lily died, or the day when Marguerite died?

The day Casey was killed?

The day dad left for good?

The day Peter and I fought?

The day mother was diagnosed with... that?

The day granddad died?

All of them are formidable, but of course many of them are to be eliminated. Only one memory triumphs as the worst of them all. And it hides beneath them all, but it's the most obvious besides that.

Holly emerges from behind the memories. She walks through my apartment, carelessly, and looks it over.

"James, ...babe, you're still not very good with interior decoration."

I roll my eyes.

"You're not real. Get out."

She looks at me fiercely, but I stand my ground.

I repeat myself.


She closes her eyes, and looks down at the ground. She rubs her temples.

"James, I'm trying to speak to you. I'm trying to give you a chance. You need to bow down before me, or I will eradicate your mind."

"Do it."

I sit down on a chair in the kitchen.

"I have no reason to live anymore. Just... let the memories consume me. Go on. Do it. I belong in the past anyways. I can't run forever."

The memory sighs, and accompanies me at the table.

"I can help you. I want to help you. Do you not understand that? I am like a God, you know. If you had me within you... don't you realize how powerful you would be? I wouldn't be controlling you, and you wouldn't lose your identity. You'd just have new interior decoration."

"You're lying... it's always the same with you eldritch beasts. You think you're different than us humans, but nope. You even lie the same, ...hell, you're even worse than humans when it comes to lying. Cut it out with the obvious. I don't have time for that anymore."

"Fine. You want me to tell you the truth?"

"Sure, why the hell not?"

"I need you intact. Without that "you" aspect, you're not very useful to me."

"What do you need me for?"

The memory laughs.

"That's for me to know... and for you to find out."

"Tell me now."

I think that's the point where the eldritch being became pissed off, because my memory's eyes opened upm and green flames leaked out of them and began to burn away the reality of my apartment.

"You'll wish for death by the time I'm done with you. Your mind will burn inside of my flames for years upon years and you will cry and laugh and sing and cry and then you will be silent for the rest of your years. Human, you think you know pain? You don't. I can show you though. And I will. Come here."

I just sit back and let the flames engulf me. I deserved pain, didn't I? I wanted to feel something. Anything.

Maybe this would be my heaven; ironic it may be, but pleasant it shall always remain.

But then Holly steps into place, and the apartment's reality pieces itself back together. Holly walks over to the fake memory of herself, and pushes it away. She walks over to me, and kisses me.

We stop, and I ask her what she was doing.

"James... you never listen, do you?"

"I'm listening now."

"Yes, but to the wrong thing."

"Then who the hell am I supposed to listen to? Who am I to trust? Why should I open myself up to anyone? All I do is get hurt."

She strokes against my cheek with her soft hand.

"You're stronger than that. I'm sorry, but you're not the man I loved."

The words hurt. Hurt more than anything. And you know what? You fucking know what?

I was done with that shit.


"Huh?" she asks as I push out of her embrace.

"No more. This shit is over. I'm done with you, and I'm done with the past."

"What? But-"

I swat her memory away, and she vanishes in a haze of red dust.

I turn, and bits and patches of the green and machine washed grey remain. I approach it, and tear it off of my reality. I kick it and punch it and pull it and rip it all apart until it was all gone.

"I'm done with her. I'm done with my brothers. I'm done with my memories

From now on, it's me. Only me. Nothing else matters."

Cold Grass

I can't tell what's fake and what's real anymore.

Reality keeps bending in and out and I just can't get a hold of anything.

The nightmares are my reality now and reality is nothing but an illusion.

It won't stop talking to me. I don't want to hear it at all but it just won't stop.

Stopstopstop please stop.

Everything is green and a machine-washed grey.

Wild Sage

She didn't take me. Something's wrong. And I've had another nightmare.

I spent most of the day at the beach. I took my time with my final novel, my final playthrough of my favorite album, my final beer... I took my time so it could all sink in.

I called up my mother. I wanted to say sorry for everything, and I wanted to thank her for everything too... but I couldn't do it. So I just checked up on her really quick. I didn't call John. I didn't want to bother him. I thought he'd probably be busy at work or something.

And Peter...

I got back to the apartment around 5. I went into my room, and took that old chest full of photos out of my nightstand drawer. I gently picked out that picture of Holly, and I fell asleep with it facing me.

I was consumed in those memories once again, but this time, I knew from the start that something was wrong about them. Everything felt so fake, so unreal. Like we were literally on a movie set, just reciting from an actual script.

It started off at the earliest part of the end; us getting into that car. We were teasing each other, as usual. We didn't think about it at all, just leaving that office behind and heading towards our new mission.

Usually, in the memory, Holly reads out the info surrounding the case, and we discuss it. But this time, as soon as we entered the car, ... she disappeared. I couldn't even really fully register that fact because then something wrapped around my throat, and I'm pulled back through something that wasn't my chair anymore.

I'm drowning in water. Bubbles escape in a flurry away from my mouth; my oxygen was leaving me behind. I don't try looking back to whatever was killing me. I decided to just accept death.

But of course that didn't work. My lungs are filled with air once again, and I'm standing in a field. The sky radiates green, and a foul creek-like smell blows with the wind.

It feels like I've been here before, but it's become something different in this nightmare. It feels like something took something familiar and their presence made it... foreign, to me.

Something manifests behind me. I'm afraid to look back, but I do it anyways.

A green substance floats in the air. It felt so alien to me, that substance. It was like a cross between smoke and some type of liquid; and yet, also like some type of flame.

That presence felt so wrong. It didn't belong in my dreams. It wasn't a piece of me, it was something else.

And then it spoke.

"Hello, James."

That's when I woke up. It's morning.

What was that thing?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


First day of my proper vacation. And probably the last day I'll live. I don't know why She didn't take me last night, but I know that I won't be so unfortunate today. There's no way I'll survive long enough to see the sun go down. Her blood lust is stronger than ever now.

I don't know how I'll spend my last few moments. I think maybe I'll spend it down at the beach. I might call my mother, and maybe my brother John too.

My father doesn't need to know about this. Peter can go fuck himself.


Peter IV

She didn't take me.

The phone was ringing. I got up and answered it. I expected her voice but it wasn't her. It was Peter.



"You're going to hear... things about me."

"I haven't heard anything."

"...Are you alright?"

I don't answer.

"Anyways. I just wanted... I don't know. Things are crazy here. I don't know what I've gotten myself into. And I don't think I'll be getting out of it. I just wanted to tell you... I've held this back for long enough, but I-"

I hang up, and turn the phone off.

I don't have time for anyone's bullshit. I threw my cell phone out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ordered Mess

I'm back in my apartment. It's exactly how I left it; an ordered mess.

Everything is in its place, but nothing feels right. It feels like the entire apartment is wrong. Feels wrong. It doesn't feel like home anymore, and it doesn't feel like I'll be spending very long here anyways.

Let's face it: The Wooden Girl is going to have me, no matter what. There's nothing I can do about it. Nothing. I'll probably be taken in the morning. The strings left marks and they burn with her anger; and that anger reminds me of her, and the promise that she will have me, sooner or later.

Just take me. I'm leaving the door unlocked. Take me and don't give me back.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hospital III

The boss stopped by.

"James," he calls from in the doorway.

I stir myself from my daze, and see him. His head was wrapped up in a few bandages, but otherwise, he seemed fine. He walks in, and sits down in the chair next to my bed.

We sit there in silence. He stares off into space, while I try not to drift off into space.

"What happened back there; it wasn't your fault."

I say nothing. I look towards the wall to my left, burying half my face into the pillow.

"Not only did you miss that this wasn't an open and shut case, so did everyone else in the organization. If blame needs to be thrust upon someone, it isn't for one man to bear with his shoulders alone."

I don't respond.

He sighs.

"James, you can't do this to yourself. You're going to burn out..."


He gets up, and begins to walk out.

He stops though, and looks at me.

"Arnold's death, though; that was your fault. You're getting too attached. Your father warned you about this, and this is what killed your grandfather. You can't keep doing this.

That's why, as soon as you start work again, you are being reassigned. You will return to work after your vacation ends. Your vacation will end when I say."

He leaves. I wanted to protest, but I had drifted away again.

Hospital II

Chris and Brandon stopped by today. It was nice because they brought me some goodies to eat, that their wives had baked. I told them to tell them at the cupcakes and muffins were delicious... even if I had only taken a few bites. They told me they would. That's good.

They were around for about an hour. They tried to get me to agree to go with them somewhere next month. Told me I needed a vacation. I only nodded, and said I would think about it. We discussed some stuff. Lonely Hearts business. A lot of shifts in organization's direction. They didn't ask about anything that happened. That was good.

They thought I was joking when I asked them to smuggle me out of the hospital.

They're gone now. The TV's on but the sound seems so far away.

Tallahassee VIII

In restless dreams last night, everything changed, inside of my head.

My dreams were tampered with last night. I know this because they were changed, for the first time since it happened. It was the usual part of the dream, where Holly and I are driving down the road. Clouds traveled slowly across the sky, and it was hard to keep my eyes on the road when they drifted past like that.

But this time, she strayed away from the usual dialogue. We were at the part where we discuss a recent Lonely Hearts case, but then, she...

"...James, you love clouds, don't you?"

Myself, my dream's version of me, is surprised. And alarmed. Myself knew he had a script to follow. In all of his years acting out these events, he had never had to improv.

"Sorry, but, what? How do you mean?"

She smiles, and looks at me. Something about her eyes. They seemed alive. Not like a memory's glance. She looks out her car window.

"They aimlessly wander, letting the wind take them without a care in the world. They don't stress about anything. They just go, go, go. Sometimes they're sad, and sometimes they're angry, but they're always able to let go of those feelings; when it rains, they're crying, and when the rain stops, they're feeling better. But they're always restless, no matter how they feel. So they keep going, going, going."

She was scaring my self. My self started to shake. As she kept on talking, the clouds seemed to be sharper, more focused. Threatening. The sky transformed, painted over with a bright blood red. 

I'm in the actor's place now.

She turns to me, and her green eyes...

The green in her eyes leaked, and a green fire engulfed the car. I let go of the wheel, and the car spins, and then flips. We don't contact with the ground. The car falls into the sea of red. The clouds drift past slowly and the car accelerates.

I'm screaming, but Holly's silent.

She's smiling.


I woke up at that point. For some reason, I smell a carnival like smell, all around me. It's just strange.

Maybe this is a sign the nightmares will end soon. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I hate hospitals. They're like jail, but far smellier. I hate the hospital smell. The one that lingers on you as soon as you enter any corridor. It clings to you, the smell of sickness. It gives your nostril hell, reminding you to keep clean, to keep healthy, or you could be next.

It's even worse for Lonely Hearts agents. We're paranoid. Any doctor could be aligned with a Fear, any doctor could be planning on killing you silently. Of course, sometimes this paranoia is irrational. If a Lonely Hearts agent is hurt, it's made sure that that agent is admitted to a Lonely Hearts special district hospital or clinic as soon as possible. In these sections of the healthy industry, it's usually made sure that there is no foreign influence from the Fears. Of course, some things slip through the cracks sometimes...

But the worst part is, that restless feeling. That beats all of it. The smell, the danger... it has nothing on that feeling. You want to get up and move, to do anything, but you just can't.

That's what I hate the most about right now. I don't want to think of anything except for my dislike of this hospital. That's all there is right now. Nothing else.

I'm in this hospital, and I hate it. That's all there is to life. This bed, my body, and my restless dreams.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Halfhearted Burial

The little girl scout looks up at me from the doorway, with an impish grin. She seems satisfied, but even more than that, amused; amused with my disheveled, angered appearance. I'm breathing fast, hot, heavy, and clutching at the doorframe, making sure not to keel over and vomit.

"What... are... you doing here?" I say, despite already knowing the answer to that, and more. 

Charlotte giggles, and backs up a bit into the darkness of the house.

"Mister, I think you need to take a chill pill. Come on in here, join my tea party!!"

She runs into the shadows. I stand in the doorway. I wanted to chase her, but I couldn't. My legs wouldn't move. They just would not listen.

She calls out to me. "What, are you afraid of the dark, Jamie boy?"

My legs gave out, but it wasn't because of her insult. It was due to a noise I heard from inside of the house. It reminded me of Arnold's final cries. I rushed in without thinking about it, out of pure instinct.

I winced when I immersed myself into the darkness. I was blind without a flashlight, so every few seconds I ran into something. After a couple of minutes of trying to find my way about the house, a sudden flash of orangeish light flares up everything around me. I fall to my knees, with my arms attempting to block the light.

The light dims. I see a figure, and I almost recognize it, before something hits me across my back and I slam to my side in pain. 

I'm rolling about, and then I look up, and in the haze of consciousness, I see her.

The Wooden Girl stands above me, staring down at me with victorious eyes.

"I have you now, James." She says.

I roll around onto my palms, grab at the hidden knife under my sleeve, and try to slit her throat. Unfortunately, I'm hit again across the back, and pushed down to a hard, cold floor.

A man in a hoodie, ripped jeans, and some type of rubber clown mask stands before me. He's completely silent as he stares down at me. He raises his hand torso level, and wags his finger.

The Wooden Girl laughs it up as I lay there, defenseless. The orange light reflects off of the deadly strings feeling the air around her. One of the strings silently touches down on my leg, and slowly digs into it. I feel it slip into something vital and I scream in horrendous, insane pain.

"Oh, I missed that scream! So very much! It's like music to my ears, hun. You have no idea."

She walks around my body, her hips swaying. Her dirty, bloodstained tennis shoes tiptoe around my limbs. She pats the man in the mask on the back.

"Good job for a first timer, old man. I might reward you later if you keep it up."

She looks back down at me.

"Oh, James. It's been a while, hasn't it? How's life been? Has Jack been keeping an eye on you? He's told me a lot about you. We discuss you quite frequently. We always argue over you, too. But we're working out a deal currently, yknow? And I think that we may have finally gotten to a sufficient compromise; which is why you're here now. See, I just couldn't wait for permission! That's how much I love you."

She gets down to her knees, and into my face. Her greasy hair brushes against my cheeks.

"It's time to come home. To me."

The strings started to descend upon me. And that's when I gave up. That's when I was done. I was done running. I just wanted to stop, for once in my life. I was going to accept my fate for what it was.

What more could I do anyways? What could I have done to stop it?

I felt the strings begin to burrow into my skin. But what hurt me the most was when she embraced me. I was crying, but she was giggling. The stench of her body was transforming. At first, it reeked, and I'm still perplexed by how I could have even controlled my stomach. But as the strings ate their way into my nervous system, the smell of her changed into a sweet, loving smell.

Like Holly. Exactly like Holly. So I accepted it.

And I truly thought that was the end.

But that gunshot rang through the dark space, and the man in the clown mask falls down, in a haze of pink mist; brain matter. The Wooden Girl lets go of me, and is greeted by a bullet straight through the side of her head. Chunks of her face fall down upon me, but no blood. Just... some other type of black, darkened substance. And dust. Some bone, I reckon, too.

I was so out of it, that the sight didn't horrify me. No, I was more interested by the man standing before me. The man I had known for years. The man who I probably should have known would never let me go out like this. My boss.

"Get away from him, Woody."

 "Oh, Roger! It's been a long time. I missed you.Why are you here though?" She says, despite half of her mouth being gone. The voice doesn't seem to be halted by the fact though, but if anything it sounded louder.

 Roger doesn't say anything. His eyes say it all. He aims the gun directly at the Wooden Girl.

"...You'd shoot me, Roger? Really?"

"I sure as hell would, and will. I'm not afraid of you."

"Big talk for a small man like yourself."

 "Yeah, well. It's big enough. I'm not here for chit chat anyways. So shut the fuck up."

"...You'd really risk it? Shooting me? You know a bullet, or five, or hell even ten, wouldn't stop my strings."

"Yeah, but it sure as hell would inconvenience you. That body's falling apart. I'm thinking, that maybe you'd rather not have that. I'm thinking, you're having a hard time finding a suitable candidate, aren't you?"

"...Just a bit. Don't you know, girls are so ugly these days?"

"I don't know any ugly girls. I live in South Florida."

"Yeah, well, it's not the outside, it's the inside."

"Such. Bullshit."

It seemed like their bickering would go on forever, but the boss finally started to ignore her, and walked towards me. The Wooden Girl... and I'll never forget this, smiled, despite half of her mouth shredded to bloody bits, and backed off.

I knew that the Wooden Girl was planning something, and I even saw it coming. I tried to warn my boss, but I couldn't move my mouth; the strings were preventing me from speaking.

The boss noticed how strange that was too, and sort of just froze in his tracks. He squinted, as if he was putting all the pieces together. A tiny sliver of light passes over his shoulders, and he turns around.

Only to meet a metallic baseball bat with his face. He's knocked to the ground, and Charlotte stands over him, giggling. The Wooden Girl dances over to her little demon, and laughs as well.

"You like my new body, darling? I certainly do. She's very promising. Probably the best body I've had since..." she looks at me and says, "her."

Boss turns over, to face Charlotte. He was clearly furious, but as soon as he saw her, his face sort of just drained its beet-red coloring.

"She's... she's just a kid. A damn kid!"

"Mhmmm. Ain't she beautiful? She's going to make a fine body, I can already tell."

"What happened to her family? What happened to her?"

"I took everything away from her, including her own mind; her self. It's all mine now, her body is mine now, everything's mine. And I'm not going to stop. Never, ever. Not until I have everything of hers, yours, his, everyone's. And who, exactly, is going to stop me? No one. James is mine."

The strings began to crawl through my skin again, and saw many of the strings writhe and slither towards my boss. I felt the faint hope of escape that glimmered for a few seconds slide away, and rested my head on the floor. I looked over to the boss once more, to catch his eye and say something final, but he wouldn't even look at me. He was busy adjusting his bulletproof vest for some reason.

"...Any final words, Roger?"

Roger doesn't answer again, he was busy shuffling through his vest pockets.

"...Helloooo? Well?"

He gives her one slight glance, and goes back at it.

The Wooden Girl's looks down to the floor, her hair obscuring her face. She holds out her hand, and Charlotte gives her the bat.

Her dead eyes pierce through her hair.

"Answer me."

She holds the bat up, and just as she's swinging it, her back explodes in a shower of dead skin, black liquid, and bone. A tall man with an assault rifle, and dressed in a Lonely Hearts Special Units Officer uniform, stands there.

"Target down, rise is imminent. Recovering targets."

 He picks me up, and another officer runs in and grabs the boss. They takes us out of there. In my final moments of consciousness, while I was being carried out of there, I look back at the Wooden Girl.

She doesn't smile at me, or wink, or anything of a flirtatious nature. Instead, her dead eyes stare into my restless eyes. She holds her left hand towards me, and closes it into a fist.

I'm gone.

I failed. The Lonely Hearts found their bodies buried halfheartedly in the backyard, excepting the father. The father was the man in the mask.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

you're not getting him. not if i can help it.

Tallahassee VII

She stabs into Holly with her knife. She's no longer laughing.

Once, twice, thrice. She pulls the knife out, licks it, then stabs again.

She looks over at me. She flicks her wrist, snapping the knife in an arc.

Blood flies through the air and splatters over my face.

I cry. I try to yell, to scream, to roar, to convey my outrage, but my voice was gone.

All I could do was whisper Holly's name.

The strings start to crawl over Holly's skin again.

They begin to dive into Holly's skin.

They are punctur


Distance VI

That morning I ran after out of the door. She was laughing and teasing me, telling me to keep up or I'd get left behind. I didn't run as fast as I could, I took my time. I knew I would catch up to her.

She led me into the forest and we ran underneath the branches of those magnificent trees. The Summer sun bled through in between them and fell upon us. I smiled as I felt it warm my skin.

We ran down many trails and twists and turns, but we didn't care about getting lost. We knew we would find our way out, somehow. It was only a matter of time.

We eventually reached a field. She stopped running, and looked over at me. I stopped too, and caught my breath. We stared at each other, over those bright green clovers.

She fell down into the bed of clovers. I ran over and fell beside her. The clovers were cold and a bit wet, which contrasted with the blanket of summer heat.

Her green eyes. Pale green things surrounded us, but they were brighter than them all, combined.

She kissed me as the Summer breeze pushed at us. We had absolutely no idea about anything. We were young, dumb, stung. And yet we knew more than anyone else in the world.

About ourselves, about love, about life.

As long as we had each other, we were unstoppable.

At least, that's what I thought back then.

Tallahassee VI

I was laying on the ground, in a pool of blood. My body was bruised, broken, battered. One of my eyes wouldn't open due to being swollen. Cuts ran up and down my legs and arms. It seemed like my body was just leaking blood at this point. Everything hurt.

But that pain was nothing to what I was going through inside.

I won't ever be able to explain that sadness, that anger, that sense of loss. I can hardly understand it, let alone explain it. It's something that, I would rather die, than experience again.

The blue morning glow arose outside, and I knew that an hour later, the sun would rise. That didn't matter much, though, did it? I had lost all track of time. It could have been the pitch black night for all I cared. My mind kept trying to go back to that moment, that perfect moment of looking upon Holly's tender, alive, happy face once more, before we entered this goddamn ruined shack; but it couldn't.

I lost all desire to move, and soon, I even lost consciousness. I just slipped away.

A man shakes me awake. The boss. My boss looks at me, and something in his eyes... alerted me that this wasn't a nightmare. That I would never dream again. That I would be stuck in a new nightmare; something that transcended normal nightmares, and even night terrors.

This thing is called reality and it haunts me every single night when I lay down to sleep.

I didn't look at her body as they dragged me away. I couldn't. I couldn't. I couldn't.

Distance V

It was July the Fourth; it was the height of the Summer's climb, and the two of us were at our peak. Our love reached its highest capabilities on that night. It was just a ride out to see some fireworks, but it became so much more than that. On that night, I decided I would marry her.

I promised I would see them with her months before, and finally I could follow through. We had taken a flight up to my hometown, Portsmouth, and had stayed the night in my old house. Then we drove out to Virginia Beach the next afternoon and saved a place at the beach.

Every year, they shoot off fireworks near a certain place on the beach, near the Bay-Bridge Tunnel. It's dazzling, it's amazing, it's beautiful. I've went to it almost every single year with my family, just like I did that year. And just like last year, everyone was there, excepting my father (of course). Peter and Lily, John and ____, and my mother, and a few other members, such as cousins and uncles and aunts and just the whole family. We swam in the ocean, built sand castles, watched the sun drop under the horizon, gazed out to the stars, and in general; had fun.

I've never felt that completeness before, in our family. My brothers, I was finally comfortable around. We were all... happy. Too happy. It was only a matter of time.

It would never be like that again. Only a couple of weeks later, my life would come crashing down. I was oblivious to it then, but looking back, I could see the signs. The approaching sound of silence that awaits us all near the near the end of happiness.

But I guess the happy moments outweigh that defining night, right?

No. They don't. Not at all. Not for a second. I used to think that. Used to.

But I would give anything to get rid of her pained, bloodied face.

I would give anything to replace it with the image of her laying beside me on the beach. Her red hair falling into her face... strands of it flowing along the summer breeze. Those beautiful red lips, whispering the sweetest things to me. And those green eyes. Those bright eyes.   

Those eyes that I never want to see fade away again. Just like those fireflies did, at the end of that Summer.

Distance IV

It was Christmas, and it was cold. I had taken her to my parent's house, to introduce her to the family. It had been a great evening. A warm evening. It was freezing outside, but inside? Just right, almost toasty.

We were sharing a room. I won't ever forget that night. We didn't fuck each others' brains out. Not that night. That night, we just held together, keeping ourselves warm.

I pushed her hair away from her face, and slid my fingers over her lush skin. Her eyes darted back and forth from my lips to my eyes. It was almost like we were using telepathy to communicate. But it wasn't anything paranormal. It was almost mundane, even.

Her green eyes. It felt like, whenever I stared into them, they took me somewhere else.

All of the teenage bullshit was over with. All of the petty drama. Every single ounce of it was over and done with now. We were together. We were in love. And nothing would ever change that; nothing could ever change that. Our hearts belonged with each other. And that was it.

It was snowing that night. Just a bit. But we ignored it. There could have been a tornado outside and we wouldn't have noticed. It was just the two of us.

I can't remember the warmth. I can feel the lingering afterthought of it, but I can't feel it.

And I won't ever be able to again. 

Tallahassee V

She kicks my lover across the floor and then dives down upon her, scratching and biting and clawing and gnawing at her. I hear her cry and yell and scream, while the monster assailant above her just laughs. They scuffle and tumble all over the wooden floor, in a barrage of legs and arms.

I push as hard as I can with my body to the side, against the restraining strings, but it's no use. I was stuck, strung up like some sort of theatrical puppet. I was going nowhere, and I knew it. I screamed and roared and yelled as I pushed, but it was useless.

The monster punched Holly into the floor, and then pulled her up by the hair. Holly cried out in pain and I winced. She holds up her head so that her pained face is visible.

"Look, James! Look at my caged birdie!! Isn't she purdy?" she screeched. Her voice was sweet and yet ugly. She walked over to me, dragging Holly over, and she laughs in my face. A smell drifted over from her. It reminded me of the smell of old attics, decomposing flesh, fresh gardens, moth balls, my mother's perfume, opened graves, and something else that I couldn't identify.

Her face clears itself of its whimsical manic and shows a fake pout.

"What? You don't like her yourself? Are you suuuure?"

I'm breathing hard, fast, heavy. I try to push myself out of the strings but it was all futile. Her frown disappears and she's laughing yet again.

"You're not going anywhere, babe. I've got you...."

She takes one of hear hands, dotted with bits of Holly's blood, and touches my cheek, slightly. I was blind in my rage, and attempted to bite her.

She let me. She let my skin tear into her dead skin. I pulled away after a couple of seconds; the stench, the taste were too much. My stomach lurched and I had to control myself.

 She giggles.

"I've got you, and I'm never letting go."

She gives me a bit more space, and paces to the other end of the room, carrying Holly with her. Holly is still kicking and screaming, but the Wooden Girl's clutches refuse these actions any payoff. 

This nightmare is bleeding into reality and I can smell her in my apartment.

I can't. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Distance III

One of my first memories with her was that night on the boardwalk. I don't think I'll ever forget that night. We were young, dumb, stung, and yet we knew that we were onto something enormous. We both knew that we had the potential to be much more than just together.

She was there with her friends and I was there with my friends but they were all unimportant at the end of it all. I don't think I even talk to any of those sorry fucks anymore.

I used to tag alone with the fake crowd. We thought we were Gods among men. I had the money, they had the status, we went wherever the fuck we wanted. I had girls by the cuff while my heart was on a sleeve. They didn't know what they were getting into. I was such an asshole back then.

Her friends were just as fake as we were, so we got along just fine. Holly, though.

Holly was different.

She seemed like she didn't want to be there. And she probably didn't. When I first tried talking to her, she ignored me practically. But she warmed up later that night. I somehow got her away from our friends, and we were walking down the boardwalk together.

Somehow, we ended up getting into some philosophical discussion. About fakeness, actually, if I remember right. I don't remember! I wish I could.

I think I was distracted. Her eyes. I was truly distracted by them that night.

I miss those eyes.

She got me to rethink things. I'm who I am now only because of her. 

Distance II

I've been going through some of the stuff I have left of her. The memories are rising to the surface like dead corpses in a still lake.

This darkness slips out of each and every single photo of hers. I want to tear them all apart. I want to burn them. I want to throw them into the ocean and never look back.

But I'd regret it later, wouldn't I?

Why do these memories have to resurface now, at all times? It always seems to hit me at the weakest of times. These dreams, these memories, these thoughts.

I ran away from the pain. I ran away from the misery. And now it's catching back up with me.

I can shoot at it as many times that I want, but that'll never stop it from devouring me whole.

The nightmares and dreams are bleeding into reality.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Distance I

The last few days have been a blur.

I don't know... how to pick myself together.

This is what happens when someone gets too close.

Why do I always fall for it?

I have to keep my distance. From everyone.

The nightmares are worse than ever before now. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Say Yes

This was all a big mistake.

I should have known that they weren’t done with Arnold. No, not at all. Arnold had everything taken away from him, except for one last thing; his willingness to move on and make a new life for himself. But those… monsters. They took that away from him by taking him out of the equation. Forever.

There’s no body to bury, there’s no blood spilt on the ground. There is absolutely no clean up involved in this case. 

The things left in Arnold’s apartment are his last remnants in this world.

I was Arnold’s last bond to this world.

I drove to the reported location, and I could tell immediately that he was still in the surrounding area; or at least, something related to him was happening there. The entire area was engulfed in an artificial darkness. You wouldn’t have noticed from the outside, but once you entered the area, it was pitch black. I had to go back to my car and get a flashlight.

I searched in that blinding black mist for at least ten minutes before I heard any sign of human existence. A wail… one piercing shriek, echoed in the darkness. I turned to it, and ran towards it. I thought that Arnold was hurt… or something even worse than that...

And I was right, but not in the way I thought I would be.

I almost tripped through the doorway of a house. I pointed the light into the house, and spotted tiny blood splattermarks everywhere. I think that was the point I started screaming out Arnold’s name.

A long hallway later, and I finally trip over something. I crawl over it, noting its mysterious, skin-like texture, and get up. I shine my flashlight on it, and…

A body. A dead one. Not Arnold, but a man about his age.

I hardly noticed before, but at that moment my hand felt sticky and wet. I raised it before my eyes, and saw blood drip off of my fingers.


I called in the death. Not only had there been definite Fear manipulation, there was definite Fear aggression as well. I needed backup, pronto.

I got up, and began to search for Arnold again. I ran into furniture and stumbled over corners as I moved though the living room. I entered a hallway, and called for Arnold.

Something in the darkness whispers. The flashlight shakes as chills run up and down my arm.

“James… I’m right here…”


He doesn’t respond.

I try to shine the flashlight down the hallway, but the light stops, as if there was some wall in the way. I take my hand and try to feel it, but there was nothing there that would logically prevent the light from shining down the hallway.

“Arnold, I’m going to need you to show yourself… where are you?”

“I can’t do that, James.”

I had a bad feeling. I had it ever since I got to this place. Something just wasn’t right.

I gulped. My throat felt so tight, so scratchy.

“Why not?”

He doesn’t respond in words this time, but with footsteps. The steps get closer and closer, and yet I do not see any sign of him.

My blood started to pump faster, faster; heart danced along with the pumps, beating to a standard rhythm, that I was quite familiar with: the pattern of beats when violence was about to arise.

And then Arnold’s face appears, out of nowhere. Only his face is visible… everything else is covered in shadow.

“Ar… Arnold?”

His facial expressions, instead of being ones of a slightly tempered persuasion, were now dull and unmoving. He looked upon me with a slight amount of transcended arrogance, and nothing else.

“James Rivers; the one who the Stringed Brat continually pines over.”

And then I knew. I knew from the start, and I tried to deny it. Arnold had been dead for a long time. This wasn’t Arnold. This was…

“The Nightlanders…” I whispered.

I backed up a bit.

“What do you want?” I asked them.

I could feel the darkness around me begin to spiral. The shadows were on the move, dancing around me. I had to get out, as fast as I possibly could.

I ran, and the house turned into a hurricane of shadow. The physical parts of the house transformed, into something more. I wasn’t really running, but swimming through darkness, as if it was some deep lake. I didn’t feel anything; everything was past the point of touch.

I don’t know how I made it out of the house. Hell, I don’t even know how I made it out of that area. I just did. And as soon as I escaped, as soon as I felt the sunlight bounce off of my skin, as soon as I felt that warm concrete, the dark, enshrouded area collapsed in on itself.

But that wasn’t the end of it. The darkness was now centralized, focused, on one area of space. All of the land and sky distorted towards. I felt myself being tugged, lightly. I won’t ever be able to fully describe what it looked like… the best I can say is like, a whirlpool, with reality spiraling into it.

The whirlpool itself then morphed into something else. The space around it started to… widen? And a white, blank space suddenly popped up. It’s as if it finished tearing off, and chewing up reality, so that there was only pure space left. The ball was tiny, and yet I felt as if I was staring at something that seems tiny from far away, but was actually incredibly big.

Like the Sun.

I stared at it, like a complete idiot. I was perplexed by it. I felt drawn to it. I should have gotten into my car, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave.

The manifestation changed again. The ball bends, and contorts, until it starts to resemble a shape. It changes into a man-shaped figure. It starts to refine its shape, becoming much more detailed.

The shadows convert into skin. A naked man appears before me. He looks like Arnold, except for the eyes. Instead of white pupils, dark holes filled with leaking shadow replaced them.



“I took care of it. I set right what was once wrong.”

“Wait…what? What are you talking about, Arnold?”

“He lived. The man who killed my family. He lived. He was in prison, but he got out. I waited for him. For years. I waited, without knowing I was waiting. Inside of me… I wasn’t missing a soul. I was missing purpose. And when he was released, my insides… these insides… knew…”

“Your… insides?”

“These creatures. They were with me, all along. I never knew it, but they were… they were with me! They lived inside of me! I was never alone! They were there… always… even when you weren’t…”

The Nightlanders had apparently outsmarted our detection techniques. I do not know how they were able to. I guess, even with the best equipment… sometimes it just misses stuff. It’s understandable, when something such as the Nightlanders are involved.

“James, they knew my pain. They had a purpose for me. They wanted to help me! They knew about justice! They knew that nothing would be right unless wrongness is destroyed! That’s why. That’s why I let the shadows take me away. At first, I resisted. But I eventually gave in. I tracked that man down, with their help. I broke into his house, with their help. I had a weapon, with their help. And then, when he was alone in his living room, I snuck up behind him, and stabbed him 27 times in his back.

The blood stained everything but I felt cleaner than a whistle.

Revenge may be bad, but let me tell you James.. it feels really damn good.”

My hand was shaking. My grip on the dying flashlight tightened.

“This isn’t the Arnold I know. This isn’t the Arnold I know.”

He smirked. That fucker smirked at me.

“Maybe you never really knew me at all. How would you…? You agents are all the same… how could you even BEGIN to understand the pain I’ve been put through!? How dare you! How DARE you act as if you could ever know me!

My life has been a neverending struggle. I’ve never been happy. Even when I thought I was… I genuinely did want to, James. I did feel happy about getting a new life, all because of you. But it’s too late now. It was too late years ago. My heart has always been dark. It’s about time I just let it consume me.

They latched onto me because they could sense my heart had no purpose. So they gave it one.”

“Except that’s not true.”

He seemed startled by me saying that. As if he didn’t expect it.


“That’s just not true at all, Arnold. We both know the truth. You got weak. That’s why you let them overtake you. You’re a good person, with a good heart. There isn’t just darkness in that chest of yours, there’s much more. Don’t let them, for a second, try to change what’s right about you.”

“But… but it’s all I have…”

“No. No it’s not. You have yourself. You have me. You have all the people at the sanctuary.”

“It’s too late.”

“It never is. Reject them, Arnold. You’re more than a just a shadow of your former self. You’re more than just what happened.”

“But… I killed a man… how can I ever rectify that?”

“No one needs to know about that… think about it. You just absorbed all the evidence to the crime. There’s no court in the land that will be able to convict you now. Just tell me, Arnold. Did you mean to do it? Did you really mean it.”

“…No. I. I didn’t Honestly. I didn’t mean any of that. I wanted revenge, sure. But. This doesn’t make me feel complete. This makes me feel empty.”

I couldn’t believe it. I was talking him down. I was actually convincing him.

If only I knew that it wouldn’t be that easy. It never is easy when dealing with these Monsters, is it? I never get any breaks. There is always a catch.

“Arnold, you can redeem yourself. Reject them. Push them out.”

“Can… can I really… come back?”

“Yes! Of course, you can always-“

That’s. That’s when Arnold disappeared, for good. His skin melted away and the shadows overtook his entire body. There was no scream. No final yelp or screech. Arnold probably… hopefully, never felt a thing. He was gone.

And then, the strongest Nightlander I’ve ever encountered in my entire career stood before me. I haven’t encountered many, but from my experience, they are nowhere near as powerful as that was. The shadows it was composed of were solid, its eyes were blood red, its head resembled a cartoonish crown, and it seemed to be far more pronounced in its body shape; as if it was quite muscular.

But the appearance change wasn’t what tipped me off, truly, to its strength. It was the space manipulation. The blank space where it stood started to vibrate, and then slowly increase. I felt the ground under me push away from it, like a carpet.

It spoke, with a loud, commanding voice. It used Arnold's knowledge to speak in English.

“James Rivers, you are now staring into the abyss. You are staring into the lake of shadow. You are staring into a multitude of us, the ones of the nightlands.”

I stutter, but try to sound confident. “I… I h-heard.”

“With our business finished, we will now leave your realm. We do not wish to cause any harm to you or any other humans. We were only here for the man and the man he hated. We were only here to set right what was once wrong. Surely, you, of all humans, can appreciate that.”

“Fuck that. Fuck you. Fuck all of you! You bastards… why Arnold!? WHY NOW!?”

“Puny human. Puny, foolish human. You know why now. And you may not know why Arnold, but we know. You may never know. But we will always know.”

“Because you… you Fears just know everything don’t you, huh?”

“No, we do not. But we do know more than you, in all of your life, would never have the chance to fully learn, let alone grasp at, understand, or even be aware of.”

“You all are really clean freaks, deep down. OCD motherfuckers. You just couldn’t sit back and let things… be? You go around trying to fix things, saying that it’s better for all if things are how they are naturally, and yet you use chaos to do this. What’s your justification for that?”
I was pissing them off. They were holding back, because I was claimed by another Fear. But I could tell they just wanted to snap my neck and be done with it.

“Human, we are not here to argue. We are lea-“

“I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU FUCKS. At all. Come on…. I know y’all want to… kill me. Tear me apart.”

That’s when their voice escalated into a shout.

“Oh, do you know how much we would LOVE to do that!? If we could, we would! We would make you feel the heat of a sun, the pain of a dozen swords piercing your side, the terror of your nerves popping!”

I smirked. Even chuckled.

“Then do it. Set right what’s wrong on this earth. Set me right.”

I was ready to die. I was ready for them to tear me apart. I wanted to die. I had reached my limit. The last few months had been too much. I know I seemed normal at the start of this blog, but the unrest had started far before it. I was alright for a while. I somehow numbed the pain with alcohol and women. Those were some dark days. And I couldn’t get past it. So I decided to stop running.

What I said angered the Nightlanders. They roared, and began to shout something in a human voice, but soon it evolved into something foreign; something alien. An alien language pierced my ears.

They charged. And as they did, I retreated into my own mind. I had… a sort of flashback.

I heard, faintly in the background, Elliot Smith strumming his guitar and singing lyrics to his song “Say Yes.” I always loved that song. So beautiful. She loved it too. I think that’s why.

I was sitting on a bed. If it was a clichéd movie, I would have been smoking a cigarette. I felt confident, but also vulnerable. But that had nothing to do with being naked, which I was. The ceiling fan pushed the imaginary smoke away. The pre-Summer air clung to my skin just like the lust had.

She walks back into the room. I forget what she was wearing. She might as well have been naked, it wouldn’t have mattered. I saw her as her now.

She jumps onto the bed, and crawls to my side. She was so sexy, but also beautiful. And I couldn’t believe she was mine.

What she says now isn’t what she said years ago.

“James, what’s your purpose?”

“I have none.”


“Because you’re gone.”

She frowns. Her frown…


I acted like I hated it when she switched to French… but I always loved it.

“In English, please?”

“But why.”

“There’s nothing else. My family is in shambles, my job is shitty, and I have no hobbies. I have no reason to live anymore.”

She laughs.

“What? What’s so funny?”

“James….” She looks at me, as if she expects me to know. “You’re being quite silly.”


“You know you’re not that type of person. Why make such a big deal out of it? Where’s that boy I knew. The boy I knew who told me that the only reason he was alive, was to find a reason to be alive. And to keep living as well.”

“That boy is dead…”

“Stop being such a cliché, James. You know as well as I do that boy is simply a disillusioned man now.”


She nods, and smiles.

I look away.

“I’m just afraid of the dark still. I’m afraid because I know that whenever I go in with someone else I always come out alone....why is that? Why does that happen?”

“James… I’m going now…”

And just like that, it ended. The vision. It always ends abruptly like that. I don’t know why. Elliott Smith faded away and the warmth of her skin disappeared. I was back on my feet, and ten feet in front of me were the Nightlanders, about to rip me to shreds.

I closed my eyes, and remembered her scent. It comforted me.


They were stopped. They didn’t make it another three feet.

Because that bastard, Jack of All, had stopped them. He stood there, facing me, with the back of his hand blocking the Nightlanders. It shined on as a brilliant red, and it seemed as if there was some sort of invisible shield helping him block them emanating from it.

“You really thought we would just let you die that easily, James?”
He laughs.

“You… you…” I couldn’t even say it.

He turns towards the Nightlanders, giving them his full attention.

“The Wooden Girl has two things for you. First, a message.”

The Nightlanders growled in another language at Jack.

“The message is as follows: You idiots. The man is mine. Don’t cross me again.”
The Nightlanders quieted down, and seemed to use a calmer tone for their response.

“Yes, she’s aware. See, she simply doesn’t care. Next… she has a delive-“

Before he could finish, the Nightlanders were trying to escape. Because the delivery Jack was about to mention… it was deadly to them.

He opened his palm, uttered something under his breath, and a giant beam of red light destroyed them.

“There’s your delivereh! Fucking. Fuhgeddaboutit.”

He turns towards me. “That was on the house. See, I treat my clients nice and swell.”

“Didn’t want to… saved…” I cried out. I was practically in tears. I clutched at my body… her scent had left me.

“I wasn’t talkin aboutcha! I was talkin about the Girl. By the by, she gives her regards.”

I think that was about fainted, because I don’t remember what happened after he said “regards.” Next thing I knew, I woke up in a Lonely Hearts makeshift ambulance.

I’m typing this out a week later.

I don’t know.


I said that I was Arnold’s last bond to this world. That was false. He had the memory of his family.

What do I have?