"One of the surest tests [of the superiority or inferiority of a poet] is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion."


Let's all be good thieves together.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Upcoming Stories

I just realised how many stories I'm actually planning to write in the near future so I've decided to provide a list, in no particular order, with the current status of each.

Love is a Goat - On hold for the moment. I think I know how to get around the block but I want to take care of one or two other stories before I go back to it.

Game Over: A tale of the Brotherhood of Editors - Just started and about 250 words in. I'm going back to the third person narrative with this piece as I feel I need more experience with that, mainly due to most of my recent work being first person.

Secret Ethereal Gazette Project - Almost completed my initial draft, but all details are being held by the editor. It should be fun and educational though if we can pull it off.

Undeath Row - The idea feels solid enough but this one is on the back burner for now until I can get some feedback.

Damnation Observes - I like the title and I have a rough idea about voyeurism which may change depending on how I feel after looking at the reviews and the few pages of Nicky's Damnation Observes that Google turned up.

Nickolaus Kane and The House of Spiders - We have an idea so Nickolaus Kane, sex detective is coming back folks.

Culwch's Seat - A fantasy story that I've had the first paragraph or so of sitting in a word document for over a year. I'm determined to finish it in the next two months.

Nickolaus Kane in Frankie goes to Hollyweird - All I have is a very sketchy idea. So whether or not this happens will depend entirely on how I feel The House of Spiders pans out, since that will be my first sequel story.

The Library of Bones - Necromancy, necrophilia and a hidden library of arcane tomes? The idea needs to stew more before I begin work on this one I think.

Ghosts of War - A WWII crow fan-fic is something that I have to admit appeals to me, but whether or not I'll be able to do it justice is another thing entirely.

And there you have it folks, between real life and writing I'm going to be a busy beaver over the next month or two. I think I'll put up a poll to see which story people are most interested in.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Hello to any visitors from Vampirefreaks

I see Nicky's provided a few links to my blog on one of the cults so I feel I should welcome any visitors and spell out exactly what I do here regarding ma little dumpling's stowies.

First why, since it's possibly relevant and always a good question. Now while I think his stories are generally terrible, poorly written, and weakly plotted that has nothing to do with why I mess with him. Simply put I began after I felt he went too far in harassing one of his critics, a favourite pastime of his, however you may notice that there's practically no mention of him on this blog for most if not all of 2009. During that time period as far as I'm aware he wasn't harassing anyone and so I didn't feel the need to aggravate him. Then a few months ago he started up again. I was content to watch at first, though I did leave a positive review for one of the parodies; what can I say, it was funny. Then dumpling decided to email a friend of mine regarding a comment left on this blog over a year ago wishing him an anal death sentence... Now that's not cricket and so I rediscovered my inspiration and started up my rewrite project.

As to how I do my rewrites, I simply examine one of Nicky's stories, pick out an idea that interests me and write my own, unique story, based on that idea, something I'm sure I'm not alone in doing. In fact I can think of a famous example from LotR, both the Ents and Eowyn killing the Witch King appear to have been inspired by issues Tolkien had with MacBeth. Anyway if you can be bothered to actually compare my versions to Nicky's I doubt you'll find more than a single sentence the same, and that's probably an extremely short sentence that easily features in a dozen different works. However I keep a title, a character name, a stupid acronym, or something similar because I know how much it annoys ma little dumpling to see it.

This is less a defence of my actions and more a simple explanation, providing my side of the story to allow you to make a properly informed decision of your own. I'm fully aware that neither Nicky nor I come across as healthy, balanced individuals, but if he issued a proper, general, public apology to the people he's unfairly harassed and started acting like a man instead of a child I would be happy to remove any story inspired by him. But we both know that's never going to happen, don't we dumpling?

Friday, 2 April 2010

Nickolaus Kane and The Spectre of The Exile

After running into a mental block on Love is a Goat I rented Final Fantasy XIII to take a little break, and while I still need to get through the block after completing the FF story Peaches and I felt inspired to write this little piece.My apologies to Garth Ennis for playing with his idea of sex detectives, though I hope he'd get a laugh out of the spine-tingling tale of:

Nickolaus Kane and The Spectre of the Exile

The name’s Kane, Nick Kane to my friends, Nickolaus to my parents, and Mr Kane to every sleazebag within 30 miles of Chicago. I’m a sex detective you see, and the best goddamned sex detective in Chicago; unkind folks say that’s because I’m the only one in Chicago, but the truth is there could be fifty of us and I’d still rise to the top, like cream, or pond scum. I learned my trade in San Fran from the original sex detectives, Bob and Freddy, they taught me that you crack the case whatever it takes, whether that means swallowing a mouthful of baboon semen with a smile on your lips or suffering the attentions of a boatful of horny Turkish sailors who haven’t seen a fresh piece of ass in six months, it doesn’t matter, you take the hand that’s dealt and you crack the case. Of course if there’s one thing a sex detective knows it’s that sometimes you have to bend a rule until it snaps like a hooker’s inhibitions in the face of an ounce of blow and five hundred bucks, and this story is about one of those times when I had no choice but to kick the dealer in the nuts and claim it was a Royal Flush ala Illinois.

Like most of my cases this one started with a phone call, one that woke me up from a steamy dream about a threesome featuring myself, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, and a vat of hollandaise sauce. As I struggled back to consciousness I discovered that my neighbours cat had left a half-eaten mouse on my head again, whether it was critiquing my hairstyle or simply trying to be friendly I couldn’t say, but one day I’d figure out how the little hairball kept getting into my office. Of course I answered the phone with my usual savoir-faire.

“Five more minutes mommy.”

“Nicky darling, I’m not your mommy and it’s past noon, time you were up and at ‘em.”

I recognised those dulcet tones straight away; it was Babs, the proprietor of Chicago’s hottest gay club: The Exile, and the sweetest little drag queen to ever crush walnuts between his perfectly toned butt cheeks. Babs was also the only person I’d ever let call me Nicky; we’d had an on again, off again love affair for the past five years that would have been far more “on” if I’d been able to give up the sex detective gig and get a stable job, but I was too addicted to sniffing the world’s dirty underwear and Babs deserved someone who would always be there for him.

“Babushka, whatever can this poor weary soul do for you today?”

“I’ve got a job for you Nicky.”

My ear’s perked up at that, it had been a couple of weeks since my last case and my wallet was getting depressingly thin.

“A job, one that Frankie can’t handle? Tell me more.”

“We’ve been getting complaints about a strange smell and noises coming from the toilets.”

“Babs, I’m a sex detective not a plumber, why the hell are you calling me?”

“Because I’ve already had the plumber out and apparently everything is in perfect working order. If you do this for me darling… I’ll clear your tab.”

Damn, he really knew my weaknesses; a clean bar tab was worth crawling on broken glass for.

“I’ll be there as soon as I wash the dead mouse out of my hair.”

“Dead mouse? No, I don’t want to know, see you soon darling.”

A quick shower later and I was driving through Chicago in my old Road Runner munching on a slice of stale bread covered in salad dressing, I really needed to get some shopping. Sure this case seemed unworthy of my talents but if there’s one thing a sex detective knows it’s that you can’t judge a porno by its cover, I’ll admit most of the time what’s on the box is what you get, but sometimes… Sometimes there’s a midget in Marilyn Monroe drag inside.

As I pulled up to the kerb I wasn’t surprised to see Frankie at the door. Now for those of you poor slobs unacquainted with Chicago’s gay scene and The Exile, Frankie is the doorman, bouncer, head of security, and the only man I’m genuinely afraid of aside from Mr Mulligan my kindergarten teacher. There’s a stereotype that gets bandied about that gay men are sissies who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag, but no one who ever met Frankie would believe that; he’s just under seven foot of solid muscle and scars. He’s ex-special forces to boot, and the rumour goes that he was court marshalled after eating his commanding officer’s dog for a bet – raw, something I could easily believe. And no matter how tempted you are never ask him if he’s been to Hollywood as he doesn’t have anything close to a sense of humour, but on the plus-side even the most fervent of bigots soon learn the joys of tolerance after a few minutes of his tender ministrations.

“Hey Frankie, Babs asked me to come over, ok if I go on in?”

After staring at me for a few seconds he slowly nodded his scarred, bald head and opened the door so I could step in to the foyer of The Exile. Ah The Exile, every time I visit I have to stop for a moment to savour the sight. Babs had a vision when he built this place and he didn’t cut corners on anything; the finest leather and marble imported from Europe; a hand carved mahogany coat check table; genuine works of art; deep red carpets, and a stuffed pink flamingo on each side of the doors for some reason. Of course Babs couldn’t have afforded all that by himself, in fact I first met him while investigating his blackmailing of several prominent senators and congressmen from his time as a Washington rent boy and I still think The Exile is the best misappropriation of tax dollars in this country’s sordid history.

All too soon Babs was prodding me in the ribs to remind me that I was here for a job, he was almost as stunning as the décor, wearing a stylish pink Armani women’s suit hand tailored for him, his blonde highlighted shoulder length hair was carefully styled to frame his soft, clean shaven face and his lipstick was a dark mulberry shade, my favourite.

“How do I look?” He whispered coquettishly as he did a little twirl in front of me, before laughing at the hungry growl that was the only response I could make.

“Business first Tiger, pleasure… Later perhaps, that is if you do a good job.”

I stared at his ass in frustrated lust as he sauntered towards the toilets… I had to punch myself in the crotch four or five times to convince my hard-on to go away. Damn it, if there’s one thing a sex detective knows it’s that you have to think with your head and not your dick, but Babs was special, always had been and always would be, so with a mournful sigh and a whimper of delayed pain I scuttled after him.

The toilets in The Exile were of the same kind of quality as the rest of the place and were possibly the cleanest, nicest, toilets in Chicago. In fact this was the first time I’d ever smelt anything more unpleasant than the sweat and bodily fluids of the couple fucking in the stall next door, as it was it took all my self control to keep from puking my guts up at the rancid odour that wafted up my nose. It was worse than an unwashed baboon, worse than being thrown face first into a hillbilly’s outhouse and taking three hours to climb back out; it was as if someone had taken a Godzilla sized dump, sprinkled it with half a dozen rotting skunks, and then added a bucket of distilled raw sewage. I gazed at Babs to see only a slight look of disgust on his face

“How the hell can you just stand there like that?”

“I spent the summer working at a mortuary when I was in college, this is bad but I’ve smelt worse.”

Before I could enquire as to what could be worse than this stench I was interrupted by a high pitched moaning, coming from one of the cubicles. I glanced sideways at Babs.

“I’m assuming that’s the strange noise? Has anyone looked in there?”

Babs flashed a perfect smile at me.

“That’s why you’re here, go get them Nicky.”

Steeling myself, I gently pushed the cubicle door open, ready to run at the first sign of trouble. I don’t know what I was expecting to see in that cubicle, maybe a Yeti with diarrhoea I suppose, but what I got was a flickering white, almost translucent image of a fat midget in a Sox cap and a hoodie. I stood staring at him as he floated back and forward through the toilet bowl.

“Fuck,” I said, “you’re a ghost.”

“Hey do you suck your dead mother’s phallus with that mouth asshole? I prefer living-impaired, it’s a hate crime to call me a ghost and I’ll go to the press and tell them all about it.”

I stared in disbelief at the dumpy little spectre, of all the possibilities in Heaven and Hell I had to deal with Casper the Douchebag ghost.

“Excuse me a moment.”

I stepped back, closing the toilet door as I went, and turning to Babs.

“Well you’re haunted, only two ways to take care of it. Either you get a priest in…”

“Which is pretty unlikely given the club’s reputation.” Babs interrupted, “What’s the other option.”

“We find out what his unfinished business is and help him take care of it so he’s free to move on. It might be expensive though.”

“Nicky, do you think I can possibly open with my toilets smelling like that? ‘Whatever it takes’, as you always like to say.”

I’d hoped that Babs would be able to get a priest in to exorcise the little git but it looked as though when push came to shove it was up to me, and if there’s one thing a sex detective knows it’s how to push, though usually it’s pushing something up someone else’s rectum.

“All right Babs, I’ll try to find out what’s keeping him here and we’ll take it from there.”

Muttering a prayer to whatever deity might be listening I pushed open the door to the cubicle again.

“Hey, Mr living-impaired,” I said cheerfully, “mind if we have a little chat, man to ex-man?”

I watched as he floated there for a few seconds turning what I had said around in his head trying to see if it was in any way insulting. I barely managed to repress a shudder as I watched an ectoplasmic bead of drool form at the corner of his mouth and dribble down his goatee to land on the floor, clearly I wasn’t dealing with an intellectual titan here.

“All right father fucker, but call me Nickolaus because that’s my name, Nickolaus Patchyowne, and I was the greatest horror writer in all of Chicago before I was accidentally smothered to death in my sleepsack.”

“You don’t say Nick…”

“NICKOLAUS! I bet you rape your dead sister’s dog while videotaping movies in a cinema with a camera you pirate asshole.”

“All right, Nickolaus then, can you tell me why, out of all the clubs, in all the cities in the world, you had to haunt the toilets of this one?”

He hesitated for a minute or so; then his ghostly shoulders slumped in shame.

“I was a controversial and conservative author and I was always afraid that if my fans found out about my secret desires they’d abandon me. So all I could ever do was stand in the alley outside watching people come in here wishing I could join them so eventually I died regretting that I’d never known the hot sweaty pleasures of gay sex and then I woke up here.”

“I see, do you think that if I could arrange for you to finally taste that forbidden fruit you would move on to the next world?”

“Of course you cocksucker!”

“Only when I’m running late with the rent Nickolaus,” I said with a smile on my face, “give me a little while to work out the details and we’ll soon get you to your final destination.”

Backing out of the toilet I already had a plan formulating in my head, it was going to be expensive and painful, having to deal with a lifetime of repressed lust in a few hours always was, but Babs had said whatever it takes and as long as my bar tab was cleared I’d survive the aftermath.

“Babs, pass me your mobile.”

“Nicky,” he said, a look of frustration on his face, “when are you going to get your own mobile; it’s 2008 darling.”

“Everyone knows the government tracks you through them and credit cards, I’d rather stay of the grid as much as possible.”

He chuckled as he threw me the phone.

“Whatever you say darling, so who you gonna call?”

“Not who you’re thinking about.” I said with a wink while dialling, “Our little friend in there has a lifetime of regrets from being stuck in the closet and we have to burn through it all in a single afternoon. We need The Sisters.”

Babs raised a querulous eyebrow.

“I told you it might be expensive, but if you can think of a better option than having him possess me and live out his fantasy then I’m all ears, it’s my body that’ll have to live with the aftermath after all.”

I could tell by the look on Babs’s face that he was all out of ideas. I quickly explained the problem to The Sisters after they picked up and while they were sceptical they were also curious and professional enough to take the job anyway. Now odds are dear reader you’ve never heard of The Sisters and why should you? As two of the première gay dominators in America they don’t advertise in seedy magazines or phone booths, the only way to get a hold of their number is to have a friend who knows it, or to have done them a favour once.

I spent a nervous half-hour pacing back and forward in that bathroom waiting for Pain and Pleasure to arrive, and when they finally swanned in with their professional gear I was almost ready to call it off and try and blackmail a priest. Pain and Pleasure are more than just professional names, it’s their work ethic as well, they believe that only through contrast can the purest responses be obtained thus for every pain and torment there is an equal pleasure. Though of course people always get their names wrong, Pain is the thin young man in a mix of leather and feathers who looks as though he would never hurt a fly but knows exactly how to make a man scream for an hour and never leave a single mark, while Pleasure is the giant mute in the gimp mask with the burn scars on his arms whose gentle touch earned him a role as Oprah’s personal masseuse, before he met Pain.

“So Nickolaus, my little sunflower,” Pain said with a sardonic smile on his face, “where is this ghost client you have for us? Pleasure is simply dying to meet him.”

I pointed wordlessly towards the toilet cubicle where our spectral visitor had taken up residence, and watched as both of them swung the door open to peer inside. After a few seconds they closed the door and Pain turned to face me with a look of amusement.

“Well Nickolaus, you never fail to surprise us.” He said, “But how do you expect us to work on a client with no flesh to touch, no nerves to stimulate, no orifices to pleasure?”

“Possession,” I replied, “I’ll let the dwarf take over my body and then the two of you will go to work on me, but he’ll feel everything as well so once he’s had enough he’ll move on and I’ll spend the next day in a bath of ice with a bottle of whiskey.”

“Very well,” he nodded slowly, “go and assimilate our incorporeal friend, and I promise you that this will be our masterpiece.”

Not exactly reassuring as I would be the one having to deal with the aftermath, but like I said, you do whatever it takes to close a case. I ventured once more into the cubicle to explain what was happening to our unfriendly ghost.

“Hey, Nickolaus…”

“Who were those two faggots?”

He interrupted before I could even finish my sentence. Masking my irritation at his homophobia, surely a tragic side-effect of years spent in the closet I began to go through the details of our plan.

“Those ‘faggots’, as you called them, are here to help you experience all the homosexual pleasure you dreamed of your entire life so you can finally move on.”

“But how the fuck can they do that? I don’t have a fucking body you dumb shiteater.”

I counted to ten under my breath, reminding, myself with each digit that this was really for Babs and not the little turd floating before me.

“That’s where I come in Nickolaus, you’re going to possess my body and then they’ll give you the time of your afterlife.”

“I’m not sure I can do that and besides isn’t it a little gay? Don’t you have a woman I can possess instead?”

I stared at him dumbfounded; surely he couldn’t be this stupid.

“Nickolaus, you spent most of your life dreaming about cock, after you died you wanted it so badly you wound up haunting the toilets of a gay club, I think it’s a little late to be worrying about doing something gay don’t you? Now let’s get on with this.”

Muttering about what an asshole I was he still acquiesced, realising that this might be his only chance to live his unfulfilled dream. He reached out his hand and touched mine and I watched in horror and awe as I felt his ectoplasmic essence begin to flow into my pores making them tingle before turning them numb. A feeling that slowly spread up through my arm and throughout my body until I couldn’t move and everything seemed to be covered in a milky haze.

“All right,” Nickolaus said as he swung open the cubicle door, and it was bizarre to hear his squeaky voice overlaid on my deep rich tones, like some bizarre mix tape. “let’s get started you fuckers.”

And they did, oh Lord they did, for the next four hours we went through every pain and pleasure you could imagine from two dedicated dominators with a varied selection of tools. After each one I prayed that this would be enough but Nicky the ghost’s appetite was insatiable and he demanded more and more bizarre and twisted acts as the time went on, even with the numbness of possession I could still feel most of what he was experiencing, The Sisters were just that good. Finally Pain called a stop, and it was the first time I’d ever seen him covered in sweat with his hair mussed up while Pleasure was wheezing like an asthmatic kid running a marathon.

“Nickolaus, my dear fellow,” he said, “I’m ashamed to admit it, but for the first time in my career I’m at a loss. Is there anything else we can do for you to help you pass on.”

“Well, there was this thing I’d read about with a gerbil.”

And sharing his mind I could see exactly what perverse act he intended to commit, and with my gerbil no less! I know I’d said whatever it takes, but this was one step too far and with a titanic effort of will I reclaimed my body and vomited his ectoplasmic form out onto the bathroom floor where it mingled with the sweat, tears and semen from the previous four hours.


I could feel everyone looking at me in shock as it seemed that I’d just wasted the past four hours, but after sharing Nicky’s mind I knew exactly what would finally get rid of him for good: the truth.

“What the fuck are you doing you faggot?!”

“Oh shut up you homophobic little shit. I know everything Mr “Controversial Author”, the only person who didn’t regret publishing your crap was you; even your family had trouble finding nice things to say about it. And as for never having experienced gay love, remember your visit to Poe’s grave? Yeah I thought you did. Newsflash dumpling, having another man’s cock rammed into your oesophagus counts as gay sex.”

I stared at the flummoxed little ghost who seemed to be growing smaller and smaller with each jibe.

“You’re so pathetic that even as a ghost you could only make it into the toilets in a place like this, now you’re going to get the hell out or I’ll read every last page of the goddamn Twilight series to you and do the voices. ‘Oh I’m such a special flower of a whiny, clumsy teenage girl that despite my angst every man wants me.’ ‘I tried to stay away from you for your own safety because even though I love you for some reason, I’m a vampire and want to have you for lunch, now watch me sparkle’”

That seemed to be the last straw as Nicky collapsed inwards until he was little more than a pinprick of ectoplasm floating in the air that finally imploded with a little popping sound and a final faint whine about how I was a shiteating plagiarist who never had an original idea in my life that quickly dissipated into nothingness, taking him and his stench away never to return.

Babs looked at me with a raised eyebrow while Pain for once was as speechless as Pleasure.

“Really Nicky, Twilight?” Babs said, “I don’t think that’s recommended for use in exorcisms.”

“Well Babs, if there’s one thing a sex detective knows it’s that you do whatever it takes even if it means going through the depressing realisation that all the good guys are straight fictional werewolves. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to crawl into a tub of ice and forget this ever happened.”

And that was how I closed the case of The Spectre of The Exile, I’d like to say that was my only brush with the supernatural but then I’d be lying and if there’s one thing a sex detective never does it’s lie.

The End

Chicago's greatest sex detective may return in Nickolaus Kane and the House of Spiders if I can think of a hook and manage to buy enough liquid inspiration.

Monday, 15 March 2010


Yeah sure man I got a bit of time, you want to buy me a drink? Just so you know I don’t swing that way, if you’re ok with that then I’ll have a double of Jackie D with some ice. So if you’re not after my beautiful body then what do you want? You’re a writer, and that prick of a bartender told you I had a good story… Motherfu— you’ll pay me… How much? All right then, sit yourself down because that asshole was right, I do have a story and it’s a Moby-fucking-Dick sized whale of a tale, if you’ll pardon my French.

You see that pretty lady in the corner, the brunette in the leather jacket? That’s Patricia, she’s my little woman, my muse, the love of my fucking life, and that smile on her face means she probably just pissed her pants. That’ll be the third time today. The good news for the cleaners is that she’s wearing a diaper; the bad news for me is that once we’re done talking I’m going to have to go change it. She never used to be like that and she wouldn’t be today if we hadn’t moved to Iowa. No, that’s not right it’s all my fucking fault, well me and three bucks.

Three fucking bucks… Christ, it’s always the little things that get you isn’t it? Al Capone, the original motherfucking gangster, and they finally get him because he fiddled his taxes and me… If I hadn’t been such a cheap son of a bitch and ponied up another three bucks she wouldn’t be like that. She was so alive! She had this smile that made you really believe everything was going to be all right, even if you knew you were screwed six ways to Sunday. Sorry man I know I’m rambling but this isn’t easy for me -- another drink? Yeah, I’m going to need it.

Right the three bucks. Well we were living together when this happened, had been for six of the happiest months of my life. I was playing bass in a garage band, doing some local gigs and she was selling jewellery in a New Age store in the mall. One night I went to the drug store because we’re out of condoms, and instead of getting the usual ones I grab these knockoffs that were three bucks cheaper so I could get a pack of smokes as well. Yeah you can see where this is going, so one split condom later and we were looking at a pregnancy test telling us the stork is on his way. Only problem was we couldn’t afford a baby, at that point we were barely keeping our own heads above the fucking water, she couldn’t go to her parents for help and mine died when I was a teenager. In the end we figured the only thing we could do was get an abortion.

I pawned my amp and borrowed as much as I could to afford it. The day came and I took Patricia to the clinic and sat in reception while this nurse led her through. The nurse was one creepy bitch, she had this big friendly smile but her eyes were cold and hard, like a rattle snake trying to decide just how it was going to bite you. That was the longest wait of my life, and I can’t imagine what she was going through in that room. When she came out she was shaking, pale and had tears in her eyes. I swear that creepy nurse snarled something at me when I took her in my arms and held her while she burst into tears, but the only thing I could hear was her sobbing.

She didn’t say a word during the drive home and I didn’t push her, when she was ready to talk she would and besides I think there was nothing I could have said that would have made a difference. The only thing I could do was be there for her and I was determined to do just that. She almost flinched from my touch when we went to bed, I heard a panicky whispered no, but soon she crumpled into me when she realised that all I wanted was to hold her. She began to cry again, and all I could do was whisper into her ear that everything was going to be all right, that we had made the right choice over and over again in the vain hope that she’d start to believe it, or maybe it was to convince myself. I don’t know when either of us fell asleep, but there’s no way in hell I’ll forget when we woke up.

It started as a dream. I was dreaming about a kid, she was a little girl maybe five years old, blonde curls, with a smile to break your heart, and she was our daughter. We were happy watching her play on a swing, a perfect family living in a house in the ‘burbs, perfectly cut green lawn surrounded by a white picket fence with a lazy old dog lying in the yard watching the traffic go by. Then she fell off the swing, the clouds covered the sun, and all I could hear was her crying. in the dream we were frozen in place just watching her sit there on the grass crying. Then I woke up and the crying didn’t stop. It was coming from in-between me and her, along with a smell of rotting meat and this sticky, slimy… thing pressed up against us.

I threw off the blanket, jumped out of bed and turned on the light just as Patricia started to scream, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I screamed right along with her as she scrabbled backwards off the bed trying to get away from it. It was just lying there in the bed crying its milky blind eyes out, this lumpy, misshapen red thing that smelled like a slaughterhouse and was covered in blood and slime that glistened in the electric light. It was like someone had taken a baby and dumped it in battery acid, and even before it started calling out, “Momma! Dadda!” I knew it was ours, our aborted child come back to haunt us. The lights flickered all of a sudden and the crying stopped. It was gone.

The evidence we weren’t just fucking nuts was still there though, the two of us covered in slime and gore and the big, red, stinking stain on the bed. Patricia was in shock, she just sat there on the floor rocking backwards and forwards, not saying a thing. I had to manhandle her into the shower, and strip her nightgown off so I could clean us up. She stood there just blankly staring at the red water swirling down the drain, it wasn’t until it was nearly gone she started to cry. After we dried off I went back into the bedroom and got us some clothes to wear, I didn’t want her to have to see that stain. We sat on the couch silently, her in my arms until morning and neither of us slept.

We didn’t talk about it but we both knew we couldn’t spend another night in that house, so I called around and found a friend who’d be willing to put us up for a few days. Then I threw as much of our stuff that would fit into the back of the car. Sometimes being poor can be a blessing in disguise as the only thing I really had to leave behind was the furniture, most of which belonged to the landlord anyway. Once she was sitting in the passenger seat I went back into the bedroom, dragged that mattress out the back and set it on fire. If we came back I wanted nothing there to remind her it was anything more than a nightmare.

Our friends, let’s call them Jack and Jill, were very understanding even though we couldn’t tell them the full story. Jill took Patricia through to the guest room for girly talk while Jack and I had a beer. I couldn’t tell him the truth about what had happened that night so we just talked about football and the new Metallica album, nice safe topics and when Jill and Patricia came through to join us for dinner I could see she was feeling more like herself, in fact at that point I began to wonder if the whole thing hadn’t been a hallucination. That night would prove me wrong.

Again it started in a dream, this time I was teaching the little girl how to ride her first bike while Patricia was watching and shouting encouragement. Then the little girl fell off the bike, the clouds came rolling in again, she began to cry and I woke up to Patricia screaming and our… child? Could it even be called that? Well whatever you want to call it, the thing was sucking on her breast while Patricia flailed at it, desperately trying to get it off her. I grabbed it, every inch of my flesh crawling in disgust at the feel of its slimy, unformed flesh and threw it against the wall, where it made a soft splat of a sound and slowly slid down the wall. It was at that point that Jack and Jill came running in to see what was happening.

I couldn’t explain it at the time; I mean how the hell do you tell someone you’re being haunted by the ghost of your aborted daughter? We grabbed our things and went looking for a motel. We didn’t get back to sleep that night. Come the next day I had to go play a gig, we needed the money more than ever, otherwise I’d have called it off. I tried to convince Patricia to come with me, thinking that being around people might cheer her up a little, but she just looked at me like I wasn’t even there and told me she’d be fine, that everything would be fine. God I wish I’d stayed with her, that I’d seen the signs… I guess it’s true what they say, if wishes were fishes, beggars wouldn’t starve.

Look man, I’m going to need another drink before we go on, do you mind? Thanks, you see Patricia had picked up a little souvenir from Jill’s medicine cabinet, something I didn’t find out until I got a call from Jack in-between sets asking me, oh so politely, where the fuck were his wife’s sleeping tablets. I may have hurt his feelings when I dropped the phone and ran for my car, but at that point I didn’t give a damn. I tried to ram the accelerator through the goddamn floor and I was driving like a cross between a racing driver and a maniac. I had two police cars chasing me by the time I got to the motel, and it was a damn good thing I did. I ran into our room to see her lying on the bed, so still, so fucking still. The empty pill bottle was sitting on the nightstand and that familiar bloody stain and smell of rotting meat was floating around the room like cheap perfume. I was trying to shake her awake, screaming at her not to leave me alone when the cops burst in and dragged me to the floor. They called for an ambulance and performed what first aid they could, while I tried to explain what was happening to them.

They let me ride to the hospital with her and sit in her room, I owe those cops more than I can ever repay. I didn’t sleep that night so I actually saw the thing make its appearance: it was like a shadow lying on the bed that grew darker and then began to expand until it was the size of a baby. Then the shadow began to lighten and you could start to make out some colour, eventually all that was left was it lying there in all its slimy, red glory. I watched it for a few minutes as it vainly cried out for its mother and tried to get any kind of reaction out of Patricia. Then I stood up, I knew what it was and what I had to do. I wrapped it up in my jacket and held it until morning rocking it and singing lullabies until it stopped crying and just lay there in my arms. At some point I called it Lucy, we’d always said we’d call our first kid Lucy if it was a girl and that’s what it – no, what she was, Lucy my little angel. I never saw her again.

Patricia was in a coma for a week, and after that first night nothing out of the ordinary happened again. Jack and Jill came by to visit and we mended bridges, they also brought me a newspaper which was how I figured out what had actually happened to us. The front page was about how a nurse at the abortion clinic had been killed in a traffic accident, that same creepy nurse with the rattlesnake eyes. Normally that wouldn’t have been front page news but what they found in her apartment definitely was. The bitch had been stealing the remains of the aborted foetuses and using them in some fucked up ritual. The paper couldn’t go into any detail but they mentioned that according to her diary she was barren and was punishing women who had had abortions out of some kind of fucked up hatred at them squandering a gift she could never have. I knew that’s what had happened to us, that fucking bitch had stolen Lucy’s body and used it in some fucked up black magic ritual to make her ghost haunt us. Though I suppose I should be a little grateful since I got to hold my daughter once, but the price she charged was too fucking steep.

When Patricia woke up she was suffering brain damage from her suicide attempt. Her parents didn’t want anything to do with her but she still trusted me, even if she didn’t recognise me at first so I took care of her. It was the least I could do, you know? The settlement we got from the abortion clinic was enough for us to live the rest of our lives on, could have been more but I settled for a reduction in exchange for Lucy’s body, which I buried in the jacket I held her in at the hospital, it just seemed right. Still look at her in the corner, giggling away, it kills me every time I see her because I remember how she was before this mess, but that’s my fucking penance isn’t it? For the sake of three dollars I turned the most beautiful woman in the world into a fucking I.O.W.A….

Hmm, oh you don’t know what I.O.W.A. is; some stupid greasy little Italian Goth wannabe called her it. It stands for Insane Out Walking Around, of course I kicked his ass so badly he ran all the way back to his Granny’s basement in Illinois but fuck, it sums her up doesn’t it, I.O.W.A.. Come on, one last drink for Patricia and Lucy, and for me and you, Mr Writer. When all’s said and done we’re all fucking Insane Out Walking Around anyway, so let’s knock it back and you can tell me what you’re going to do with my story.

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Tragic Tale of Nickolaus Albert Poe

There is a website lost deep within the bowels of the internet. No blog or journal links to this site and of those few still living who know the url none will share it, but still every year a handful of hardy souls will stumble across it hidden within the results of a Google search composed of tragically misspelled words and hate filled epithets. Awaiting those curious individuals is an amateurish, almost labyrinthine layout composed of broken images, dead links, garishly coloured text in illegible fonts, and missing pages. Only one thing is truly noticeable or memorable: the title which reads, “I am the writer Nickolaus Albert Poe, behold my words ye mighty and despair!”

They may stare for a few minutes, shocked by such a blatant display of ego but soon they will leave in search of more exciting sites. However now and again there will be one whose curiosity is greater than their desire for titillation and they will piece together the few remaining facts of his life and work; a path which eventually leads to me. I am perhaps the only man alive who knows the full story, and today I will tell it to you, exactly as my father told it to me and his father told it to him.

Despite his proud declaration Nickolaus Albert Poe was as much a writer as Pol Pot was a humanitarian; over 30 years old, he squatted in his grandparent’s basement like a troll beneath a bridge. His only real connection to the outside world was a flickering computer screen, where he would spend hours slowly building his stories, word by torturous word, unburdened by such concerns as plot or grammar. When they were done he would publish them in his own magazines and anthologies that he would then desperately try to sell in nightclubs or at concerts on the few occasions he left his basement lair.

Now such an individual would normally elicit feelings of pity in the hearts of his fellow men but Nickolaus had an unfortunate character trait, an inability to accept any criticism of his work or even to see it as others might. In fact if anyone dared to provide a less than flattering opinion of his writing he would respond with hate filled rants, insults and death threats. No one was safe from his vitriolic attacks, neither man, woman, nor child; even his critics’ friends and families were fair game to this stunted dwarf of a man. One of his favourite tactics was to write obscenity laced revenge fantasies and it was this that would ultimately lead to his great crime, and tragic fate.

Of course like many such men he was a coward and would never have dared to act on his threats and fantasies, it was a cruel twist of fate then that delivered him the tool that would seal his doom and that of so many others. As with most tragedies it began with an act of kindness done with the best intentions; a relative bought him an antique typewriter for Christmas, and though the provenance was unproven it was said to have belonged to H.P. Lovecraft himself and to have been the very typewriter he had used to write The Call of Cthulhu. That kind hearted relative would have done less damage to the world had he given him a rifle and directions to the nearest bell tower.

Nickolaus immediately became enamoured with the typewriter, he claimed the hammering of the keys provided inspiration for his writing, and he began to type out all his stories on it before transferring them to a digital medium. One night he discovered another poor review; consumed by a fit of rage he sat himself down to the typewriter to compose one of his revenge fantasies and pulled out the Barbie doll he had stolen from his half-sister so many years ago. His only friend and companion in the dank and gloomy basement lair he called home he had named her Patricia and began to mutter to her.

“What should we do to this one my darling?” he paused for a few moments listening to a voice only he could hear.
“Ooh that is nasty, what an evil woman you are Patricia. But yes a car crash, a fatal one. Should her head be decapitated? Of course it should, what kind of a fatal car crash would it be without decapitation.” And so he continued, his muttering hidden by the click-clacking of the typewriter’s keys. As he typed though he noticed something unusual, with each key he hit he began to feel drained, sweat formed upon his brow, and his eyes felt heavy. The farther he went into the story, the more difficult it became to continue until by the end he was barely able to hit the keys, with his tale finally concluded he collapsed by the typewriter and slept until morning.

When he awoke he read over his piece and was excited, it was the best work he had ever done and he couldn’t wait to show it to his critic. Quickly copying it to a word file he visited their blog only to find a post from their brother informing people that they had died in a car crash last night. Surely it was a coincidence, Nickolaus thought, his story couldn’t have been responsible. Feeling equal parts excitement and dread he tracked down the details of the crash… It had happened exactly as in his story: the foggy night; the tired lorry driver; even the decapitation. For a moment he was consumed by guilt and fear that he would be caught and punished but that passed all too soon. What was his critic but a glorified fanfiction writer who had tried to poison his career! Who had lied about him to publisher after publisher until no one would touch his stories. No he had deserved the death Nickolaus had written and he was not alone, as for getting caught… Well who would believe that one man could control the fate of another with an old typewriter?

But how to be sure that it wasn’t a coincidence… There was only one answer. He would write another tale, one featuring even more detail, and if it happened exactly as he had written then he would know for sure. Picking out another of his critics he crafted a story in which that individual was raped and murdered in a robbery gone bad. Once again he felt drained as he typed and upon waking he noticed some grey hairs in the mirror where the day before there had been none. He spent the next week anxiously checking the news and blogs, hoping to hear that his target had died as he had written, he had almost given up hope and began to believe the car crash had been a mere coincidence when his critic surprised a burglar as he was robbing the critic’s home and was raped and murdered exactly as Nickolaus had written.

Now knowing of the power he had stumbled upon Nickolaus had to decide how best to employ it, for while it had been satisfying to exact revenge upon those he felt had wronged him surely there was more he could do. Had he been a better man he might have chosen to exact justice on terrorists and murderers who eluded justice, on those who destroyed the lives of others on a whim, but Nickolaus Albert Poe was not a man but a child in a man’s body, and as such all he cared about was his own dream to become a famous writer. And so he came to the conclusion that if all the other horror writers were dead then the publishers would have no choice but to publish him and finally expose the world at large to his genius.

Over the next year he wrote the deaths of hundreds of horror writers from beloved bestsellers to amateurs who posted their fiction on websites, anyone who was a better writer than Nickolaus Albert Poe was a target and so no one was safe. They died by drowning, by electrocution, by fire, poison, noose, blade and gun, and in one particularly bizarre case being crushed under a gnu accidentally fired by catapult, since Nickolaus’s spelling was as good as his personal hygiene. Eventually the papers caught wind of the mysterious number of deaths and soon the entire world was wondering about the horror writer’s curse. All this while Nickolaus still remained unpublished, as for each writer he struck down another seemed to take his place in spite of the danger to their health.

Of course Nickolaus himself paid a toll for his crimes, each life he took drained more and more of his own life force until at the age of thirty-three he looked to be a man of eighty, his remaining hair grey, his skin dotted with liver spots and wrinkles. And still he sacrificed more and more to the cursed typewriter always believing that just one more death was all he needed while the rejection letters piled up. In the end he died at that typewriter a bitter old man damned by the blood on his hands.

My grandfather, who was a neighbour of the Poes at the time, helped his grandparents clear out the basement which was how he acquired Nickolaus’s journal and the typewriter itself. It sits in my study and every now and again it will start to type on its own, the soul of Nickolaus Albert Poe still bound to it, writing tales that no one wants to read while the world at large has forgotten he ever existed. In fact the only evidence that he ever lived at all is that solitary website in the wilderness of the internet with its proud declaration, "I am the writer Nickolaus Albert Poe, look upon my words ye mighty and despair!"