As he watched another one of his airships crash and burn Professor Lindquist realized that blimpin' ain't easy.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I swear to God that movies like SHARKTOPUS might be retroactively ruining the Cthulhu Mythos.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Al Bruno III
(for Ray Garton)
A rusted electric fence surrounds the walled facility and the facility itself is a series of squat single story buildings connected by hallways. Every window is barred, every door is bolted, every surface is gray or blue. In this way the Kaydeross Asylum keeps the murderous nightmares of its prisoners tucked away from the world of ordinary madness.
Orderlies move through the hallways and buildings like ants, jaded boredom has rendered them faceless and emotionless. They go through their routines but have long ago stopped seeing their charges as human beings. The physicians and psychiatrists assigned to this place are no better, any thoughts of rehabilitating their patients have long been ground away by the never-ending crush of State-required paperwork.
Only Dr. Annabelle Masters truly cared about what went on here. Despite being the director of the facility she still made it a point to oversee the progress of the women remanded to the Kaydeross Asylum. There is a framed photograph she kept on the wall of her office, it shows her standing within the center of a crowd of women wearing faded hospital gowns and slippers; she is smiling despite the fact she is standing with a group of convicted murderers.
As I went through Dr. Masters's office my gaze returned to the picture again and again. There was something about the patients that haunted me- despite their smiling faces their eyes seemed to be screaming.
I was just a temporary administrator sent in to replace Dr. Masters while the investigation into her disappearance moved forward. It was my job to restore some semblance of order to the facility but I already knew it would be no easy task.
A tall bookcase occupied one side of the room, some of the texts shelved there were the standards of our profession but others had fallen out of print after being dismissed as bald faced quackery.
After this I turned my attention to her desk. It was ugly, gray and metallic. It reminded me of the sort of desk a schoolteacher might have. I searched through the drawer and found one had been locked. It took some effort but I was able to break the lock and found seven files that were thick with handwritten notes and EEG readouts.
Dr. Masters's notes were written on cheap onionskin paper, her handwriting script was cramped and strange, reading it was hard going. There was one folder for each of the Kaydeross Asylum's more infamous charges. She had been interviewing and treating these murderesses secretly.
No it was more than that, she had been experimenting on them.
Even now I can recall some of her notes almost perfectly-
...the Precious Machine continues to perform better than expected on Leslie Knapp but she resists treatment. She claws at the air and calls the names of her children. The modified styluses titter and scratch at the paper, there is something beautiful about the patterns they make. When I playback the audio tapes it almost sounds like an animal is skittering in the background like a rat gone wild with the urge to gnaw...
A search of Dr. Masters's office revealed no audio tapes or electroencephalogram, and her notes were maddeningly vague as to what exactly she was trying to accomplish.
Exhaustion, confusion and the murky February afternoon conspired to make me drowsy. I sat down in Dr. Masters' leather-backed chair and leaned back. I meant only to rest my eyes but I was soon asleep.
The dream that came was at first very literal, I was sitting in the office with the cryptic files spread out before me. There was a hollow rapping at the door and I called for the visitor to enter not looking up from my work. Once the visitor stood on the opposite side of the desk I became gripped with a childlike terror. I did not want to look up but my head moved of its own volition and I found myself staring at a figure from my long-abandoned faith. I knew that frail, beatific gaze and those stigmatic hands. But the crown of thorns he wore was metallic and it sparked. My breath caught in my throat as the figure opened his mouth to speak but all that came out was a faint scraping sound like a record that had reached the end of its song.
I awoke then, choking and gasping like a nearly drowned man, but the scratching sound continued. Once the dream had faded away and I was calm, I realized where the strange noise was coming from.
Initially the orderlies balked at my request insisting that the moving of furniture was a job for maintenance but I insisted. Once the heavy mahogany bookcase had been moved a doorway was revealed.
We forced the door open and found what must have once been a storage closet. The so-called 'Precious Machine' was there and it was, as I had thought, a strangely modified EEG machine. A tangle of wires led to a web of sensors that resembled the crown I had seen in my dreams. The EEG had long run out of paper and the styluses scraped and scratched on the bare rollers.
And beneath that crown of sensors was a desiccated figure, she had only been missing for a little over a week but the flesh had an almost mummified look to it. We could only identify the body because of the name badge clipped to the lab coat, and by the eyes, the perfectly preserved eyes that stared back at us.
Oh how Dr. Masters's eyes screamed.
Albert walked up to the funeral parlour feeling happier than he had in a long time. For the last few years he had been performing his mortician duties listlessly, but today he felt that he had a purpose. He was about to enter using the front door, when he saw that the funeral director was in the reception area with clients. He decided to access the mortuary via the side entrance...
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I want to thank THE NIGHTCRAFTER aka Joanie M. Rich for recognizing and enjoying my work.
Each year the After Dark horror fest unleashes eight films onto a dwindling and skeptical public. The majority of films released by the imprint fall somewhere between inept and SyFy's Movie of the Week. The problem is so many of the films have been terrible; the proverbial diamond in a lump of coal can go unheralded. This year's Australian import Lake Mungo is such a film. It's been one of the best films no one has seen this year. Trust me, don't let the fact that it's an After Dark film frighten you (or in the case of AD NOT frighten you) from seeing it). Normally I pride myself in writing fairly non-spoiler filled reviews, but for some reason, despite writing a few drafts of this post, I find myself unable to talk about it without giving too much away. Don't worry; I've posted tags in order to provide fair warning. Better yet, feel free to watch the film first, then head back and see if you agree, or go on and tell me I've got cottage cheese for brains...
(and if you have not seen LAKE MUNGO then for God's sake do it NOW!)
There's nothing words and pictures cannot do,
He drags on the cigarette and lets the smoke out through his nostrils in a gray-blue plume. It clashes with the red vinyl of the stools, chairs and pocked countertop. A lump of adobe which used to be a pile of donuts fossilizes under a glass cover at the L-turn. A waitress is smacking her gum and flipping through pages of a bright magazine with tattered corners and a permanent crease in the center...
"You're treating the street people like pets," Everett said as he watched his new girlfriend pack squares of leftover lasagna into a foil lined cardboard box...
Monday, July 12, 2010
Matthew Fundo wanted to die. His internal thought processes had become external mutterings and people were giving him space as he walked away from his burning car...
In The Shadow Of His Nemesis
Chapter Seventy Two
By AL BRUNO III
Saturday, December 4th 1996
Someone was shouting his name and slapping his face. The shouts sounded far away but the slaps were up close and personal. Warren awoke, uncertain for a terrifying moment of where he was, of whose eyes he was looking through. He got ahold of himself, realizing that he was somehow still alive, somehow back in Laurel House’s chilly wine cellar and in Jack’s arms.
“What the Hell were you thinking?” he asked.
Warren struggled out of the man’s beefy arms and got to his feet, “I thought you said there was no afterlife.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Those things down there...” he pointed at the floor, “they were ghosts....they were damned souls...”
“Now calm down,” Jack said, “you don’t know what you saw.”
“Contrary to popular belief,” Warren turned back around until he found a bare spot on the wall, he pressed his face to it and shivered, “I’m not an idiot. Those people, somehow this place is killing them.”
“I think Hao wanted to tell you herself,” Jack paused, “but it’s a little late for that isn’t it?”
Those faces, those stones locked in eternal screams, Warren saw them every time he closed his eyes. Each death he had experienced played over and over again in his head. His mouth tasted like bile.
Jack said, “Lets go back upstairs to the library.”
“I’m not going anywhere until I get some explanations.”
“All right, but you’re not going to-”
“Tell me!” Warren turned away from the wall, his shout surprised both of them.
Jack asked, “What do you know about the dark gods?”
“Hao showed me some books,” Warren said. He thought of Kriely Fragments;
“There are creatures that come from beyond reality. From beyond the realms of time and space. Beware them for their purposes are unfathomable.”
Warren said, “I think I remember some of their names.”
“Then you know they’re in hiding. The Monarchs crushed them, banished them to the lost places of the world.”
“And there’s one of them down there,” Warren said, “am I right?”
“Damiea,” Jack grabbed a wine bottle at random. He pulled the cork and drank, “The goddess clothed in worms.”
“Oh Jesus...” Warren took the bottle when it was offered.
“She-it’s barely alive...” Jack couldn’t look Warren in the eye, “if a thing like her can truly be considered alive. She can’t feed herself unless she has something to focus through, a living mortal-or semi-mortal mind.”
“And in return she hides this place and makes it nice and cosy with all the comforts of home,” Warren handed the bottle back, his hands were starting to shake and wine spilled everywhere, “oh my God. Each of those faces, the wind chimes... They’re like trophies.”
“No,” Jack said, “it’s not like that. It’s...it’s what’s left over.”
“Do they suffer? Those people?”
“They’re dead Warren and dead is dead.” Jack explained, “What you and other’s think of as a soul is just a kind of remnant. A spiritual corpse made of memories. There’s no mind there, no feeling. They’re not just dead, there’s no suffering.”
“That makes it worse then, they lose everything and we’re responsible. How many does it take? How often?”
“A dozen or so each day.”
“300,000 people die every day no matter what we do. Who’s to say that it wouldn’t have always been them? Maybe Damiea just takes advantage of that.”
“Is that what you tell yourself so you can sleep at night?”
Jack didn’t answer.
“I knew a monster,” Warren said, “an honest to God monster hidding in the body of my friend. I won’t be like him,” Warren slid down the wall and sat on the chilly floor, “I won’t be a monster.”