Saturday, May 16, 2009
Take THAT Jonas Brothers!
Kindertrauma waxed philosophical about David Cronenberg's The Brood.
Darcknyt made us wonder if pb&j and audiobooks were safe to use in tandem.
Gone and Forgotten reminded me that even my beloved JLA/JSA crossovers could be lame.
MonsterCrazy showed off the original cover for Låt Den Rätte Komma In (Let the Right One In)
Final Girl sported a gallery of Phamtasm movie posters.
Francis Hogan's My Supa Life went there. Oh yes. It did.
Plaid Stallions reminded me that once, a long time ago, the GI JOE teak fought alien cavemen.
The 10 Doctors continues to be better written and more involving than some moments from the actual Doctor Who comic.
I learned from The Drunken Severed Head that Shane Briant, an actor that appeared in some of Hammer Films latter day output, is now a writer living in Australia. Neat.
That's it for this week!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Well maybe not but it still makes me laugh.
I've had this story in mind for a while but since it was inspired by the actual terrible things that happened in Sierra Leone I decided to wait a while before I touched on the events. Plus I had to work up my courage, monsters are easy for my, human cruelty is hard for me write about.
Well I hope you liked what you read. For those of you looking for funny stuff I promise it will be here soon. I tend to go from horror to humor and back again.
Of course Keep Circulating The Blog!
And for gosh sakes get some folks from North Dakota and Montana to visit so I can complete my collection!
Al Bruno III
The Kriely Fragments
Usually the classroom was loud and busy but today Sheku’s students were all nervous glances and halting replies. The adults of the village had tried to shield the children from the chaos erupting in Freetown but they knew; they heard whispers of the wholesale slaughter committed in the name of the Revolutionary United Front. They snuck radios to their beds and listened to the news from under the covers. They had all seen that man stagger into their village a week ago, his dark skin pallid with blood loss, his arms and lips hacked away.
The schoolhouse window was propped open with a length of wood, warm air and the bustle of the spring afternoon wafted in over the lesson. Fathers and older brothers were coming back from the fields; mothers were out and about, talking and keeping busy. Anyone with a time to while away congregated on the steps of the church. The priest, Father Warrick, had left some two weeks ago claiming he had business back in Rome but Sheku suspected that the stories of he Revolutionary United Front had been too much for him. Of all the things that were happening now, that had left the children the most unease. After all if even God’s messenger was afraid what hope could there be?
But in truth, Sheku Banjah was glad to see the back of Father Warrick. All the man ever did was carp on and on about the end times and the book of Revelations. He told everyone that 1999 was their last year on Earth and the last chance to repent their sins. It always amazed Sheku that someone supposedly schooled in the hope of Christ’s resurrection would be practically salivating at the thought of the apocalypse.
He asked them another math question and one of the girls had the answer- it was Fatou, she always had the right answers. Sheku liked to imagine that someday she would leave Sierra Leone to study in Europe, just like he had.
The Beings from Outside”
The Kriely Fragments
From his vantage point in the shadow of the foothills of the Loma Mountains, Major Ishmael Mayta watched his troops make ready. Battle hardened men and cold eyed children took long drinks from plastic jugs filled with wine and other spirits. For the more jaded or weary there were methamphetamine and crack. The officers had a little bit of everything and knew what to dole out and when.
Mayta was in his fifties with thick muscular arms and a swollen belly; a decades-old bullet wound marked his right cheek. His uniform was stained with sweat, dirt and blood. He stood in on the drivers’ side of his battered old jeep and stared through a pair of binoculars, tracing a path down the dirt road to the village. His glance flickered from the overworked, arid fields to the small, sturdy houses that clustered around the schoolhouse and church. Everyone was going about their daily routine, children were rushing home from school, and men were coming home from the fields. Smoke from a cooking dinner slowly wafted up from each chimney. Mayta wondered how many of those houses in the village might have guns.
Not that it really mattered, in over a dozen raids he’d yet to meet one community with the will to defend itself. He put the binoculars down and turned his attention back to his troops.
The three supply trucks were being arranged in a circle, one carried scavenged food, the second weapons and ammunition, and in the third the camp wives crowded together. The camp wives- women and girls as old as fifty and as young as fifteen were kept manageable with Quaaludes and malnourishment. The clustered together in the back of the truck, trying to keep as far as they could from the stinking bloodstained burlap sacks they had to share their space with. The wounded and older men would be left behind to guard the wives and the supplies. They knew that Mayta would call them down once the village had been pacified and The Cuttings had begun.
Seems a lovely little town.” A voice rasped, “Do you even know its name?”
Such things are not important.” Major Mayta glanced at the emaciated man in the passenger seat. The ragged yellow cloak he wrapped himself in barely hid a faded gray uniform; the mask he wore was snout-like and the color of bone, the clear glass eyepieces revealed pink skin and dark eyes. If any of Mayta’s loyal soldiers or conscripts could see the figure they gave no indication.
These empty gestures, I expected more from you.”
These are my orders.”
Orders from above. I understand.”
Mayta had been seeing the shape for weeks, ever since he found the book with the image in it. At first hovering on the outskirts of battles and celebrations, fading in and out of focus like a wisp of smoke until Mayta had begun to worry about his sanity. The shape had drawn closer and closer over the days and nights until finally Mayta found the figure in gray and yellow waiting for him in his tent.
In the end, how many villages with you burn?”
And what about the people?”
Mayta made a dismissive gesture, “The people are weak. They voted for full bellies now and famine later. They must be shown the error of their ways.”
A nation is an eye blink in the lifetime of a world.”
The shape called it the Hierophant. Mayta reading the name in the book but he was sure he had heard it before; a white man’s word for a white man’s demon.
Mayta thought of the promises the specter had made the allusions and prophesies. One had saved Mayta’s life but still the questions lingered, “What is it you want? Do you enjoy watching what happens? Would you like a hatchet so you can try it yourself? Maybe I should take a hatchet to you.”
The Hierophant shuddered and blurred for a moment, it reminded Mayta of a film being mis-threaded through a movie projector. When the Hierophant spoke again his voice- and it was a man, Mayta was almost certain- his voice was stronger, “You already attempted that Ishmael. How many bullets did you fire? Did it matter? I live in the future, how can I die in the past?”
Mayta bristled at being called by his first name, “What do you want?”
The jeeps and troop transports were lining up; a few of the officers were fussing over their video cameras and burlap sacks.
“I am searching…” The Hierophant juddered, “…for a vision of the future.”
“Know THEM as BODGE LOYAR -- the harlequin in rime;
ANZON - - pallid and murmuring;”
The Kriely Fragments
The RUF moved with the sunset. The child soldiers led the way, jittery eyed and firing wildly at anything that moved, Major Mayta’s regular troops moved in after, blocking avenues of escape. By the time the inhabitants of the village of Kono had realized what was happening, they were trapped. Already a handful of villagers were lying dead in the street or slumped over in their doorways.
With practiced efficiency, they herded the citizens from their homes and forced them to the center of the village. The officers moved from house to house, filling their pockets with anything valuable. Other officers had video cameras; they jokingly interviewed their captives, asking them who they had voted for in the election. One of the older men of the village was shot in the face by an eleven year old boy. No one knew why.
The officers separated the prettiest girls and women from the rest and told them they would be the camp wives. They ordered them to strip, their camcorders at the ready. Mothers and fathers began to scream and sob, but none of them moved forward.
Fatou resisted, tried to run away. The RUF made a game of recapturing her until finally a tall rebel soldier dragged her back to the center of the village by her hair. Her face was bruised and she was bleeding here and there. She was ordered to strip again. She told them no, she dared them to kill her.
Major Mayta frowned, in situations like this hope and bravery were best dealt with harshly, “Kill her then.”
Who are you?” Major Mayta walked up to the smaller man.
Sheku tried to stand his ground, “I... I am the schoolteacher.”
The supply trucks were slowly approaching the village; one of the officers was placing a chopping block near the church steps.
A schoolteacher?” Mayta smiled, “I consider myself something of a teacher as well. You see these children here? I have taught them more about the truth of things than you ever could.”
Don’t do this.” Sheku said again, “Don’t.”
I think I will teach you a lesson too.” Mayta called out, “Where is my Princess?”
A girl approached them, she was short and chubby with narrow eyes; unlike the other child soldiers she was completely sober. She wore a white t-shirt with ‘Princess Cut Hands’ scrawled on the front. She carried a worn but sharp-looking hatchet in one hand and a burlap sack in the other; she looked to be almost twelve but she might have been younger.
The older men were chanting “Princess! Princess!” over and over again while they dragged the schoolteacher to the chopping block. The girl had not always been Princess Cut Hands, there had been another name but she worked hard to forget it. When Mayta’s men had come to her village they had mistaken her for a boy. She had always hated when that happened but when she saw what Mayta’s men had done to the other girls she was glad. It had given her a chance to prove her mettle. The boys of the village were given a choice, conscription or the hatchet. To prove their loyalty to the RUF the boys were ordered to chop off their fathers’ hands. Most of the boys wept at the very idea but Princess Cut Hands had found it easier than she’d thought.
By the time someone finally had realized her gender Princess had added a dozen hands to the burlap sack that held her father’s. Mayta had laughed long and hard at this, but she understood was not mocking her. With a single embrace he had made her his Princess and treated her like one.
She traveled with the officers in relative comfort. One officer had taught her about guns and tactics, another made sure to keep her hatchet sharpened. They all brought her gifts scavenged from other people’s homes. In truth jewelry and dolls meant little to Princess Cut Hands but she liked the attention so she made sure to reward each one with a hug and a kiss.
The schoolteacher was screaming and struggling. It took five men to hold him down. She stood over him listening to him beg. Princess Cut Hands asked, her voice gentle, “Are you right handed or left handed?”
She twirled the hatchet, “Right handed or left handed?”
right handed.” He said with a defeated posture.
With a single, well practiced swing Princess chopped off his right hand. Then she took his left. His feet took longer, the bone was thicker and he kept thrashing. Then she asked one of the officers for a bayonet and she took out the schoolteacher’s tongue and turned his eyes into a weeping ruin.
Princess Cut Hands could feel Major Mayta beaming with approval. They brought a pregnant villager before her and Princess asked for the bayonet to be fixed to a rifle.
DELPHANOS -- the broken seraph of desire;”
The Kriely Fragments
One by one the men and boys of Kono were led up to the chopping block; many of the men had to hold their sons down for the hatchets before lying down meekly themselves. The burlap sack slowly began to fill, just like all the others. The men and boys that screamed too much or cursed the rebels had their faces mutilated or their ears cut off. A few of the boys were given the chance to join the rebels if they could muster the brutality to win Princess Cut Hands’ approval. After the hatchets those that could stand were told to run to the next town and see if the government could give them new limbs. Most collapsed in the town square, broken and bleeding; their last sight was of their daughters of wives being passed from rebel to rebel by the light of their burning homes.
The older camp wives had learned to keep themselves busy at moments like this, otherwise they might be forced to join the rebels’ parties or worse yet, to be found tiresome and killed with a bayonet to the throat. The camp wives took the farming implements the officers had set aside for them. Using picks and shovels they dug a shallow trench and dragged the bodies of the dead to it; the school teacher, the village elder, the defiant girl and a half-dozen others were piled atop one another without ceremony. Major Mayta always nodded approvingly at such initiative, he liked to burn the dead before his troops moved on.
A number of his men were standing guard on the outskirts of the village, men with no real stomach for the work being done here or men that had displeased the Major in some way. They kept watch for government troops or UN forces, there had been a few close calls recently; escapes marked by gunfire and human shields. Sometimes Major Mayta wondered at the expressions on those troops faces were like when they found the remains of his work, when they heard the stories of the survivors. He liked to imagine a line of anguished faces, one after the other leading all the way back to President Kabbah.
Drinking from a bottle of wine Major Ishmael Mayta watched the fire spread from house to house like a living thing, dancing and licking at the air. Something was screaming in one of those houses, high pitched and keening- it was either a baby or a pet that had been forgotten in the chaos. He offered it a toast. After all didn’t we all burn in the end?
Mayta glanced over at the church and the schoolhouse, they would both have to be razed to the ground, along with the fields; nothing salvageable would be left behind.
A shape was moving in the schoolhouse, flitting like a shadow. Mayta told one of his officers to keep watch over things and headed towards the building. Just in case, he kept his sidearm ready. Mayta didn’t see the Hierophant until he closed the door behind him. The cloaked, masked figure was whispering to himself; he held a piece of chalk in his unsteady hand and drew his sigil on the blackboard with practiced care.
Mayta drew closer, “I wondered where you had gone.”
I found it all so very tiresome.”
The Hierophant glanced over his shoulder, “Do you and your men think this is original? Do you think that transgressions like this haven’t been committed before?”
An entire generation will remember what happened here. A hard lesson but a necessary one, they will have to deal with us and address our demands.” Mayta glanced out the window to watch his men, “Besides, the government troops are no better, I know what they do to rebels when they capture them.”
A nation of browbeaten cripples.” The Hierophant turned, “Is this your goal?”
The old house had been stripped of anything valuable, they only room they had found furnished was on the second floor. One of Mayta’s officers had found it while scouting for snipers. It had been a study, with fireplace a mahogany desk, and an entire wall of books. The desk however had begun to warp and rot, its drawers now holding only nests of spiders. The chimney had long ago collapsed into the fireplace. The books had been in a dozen languages but Mayta found that most fell apart the moment he tried to page through them. There was only one that he found legible and untouched by age-
Broken Pantheon: A Socio-Archeological Reexamination of the Kriely Fragments.
NOGGAR-DALLIEON -- the shapeless and everlasting;”
In THEIR madness they are never cruel; in THEIR wisdom they are never uncertain”
“THEY are less than MANKIND and THEY are more than US
THEIR dreams are our FLESH; OUR dreams are THEIRS”
“In the wake of THEIR passing into the secret places a HEIROPHANT was left behind
HE safeguards THEIR memory”
HE will choose the FLESH and DREAMS to make THE WORLD ready.