Thursday, June 17, 2010



Moonlight Lullaby


Al Bruno III

Before you reach the scrapyard you smell it; motor oil, rotting rubber and damp earth mixed together into a mechanical odor, the stink of the modern era. When the wind is strong and comes from the east the whole Town smells like the scrapyard but it is something you learn to get used to.

The scrapyard is a sprawling maze of junked cars stacked one on top of the other; the most in demand parts have already been pulled and are stacked in in piles next to the office along. Deeper within the scrapyard are metal crushers and recycling equipment as well as forklifts and cranes. Equipment for big rigs and diesel engines are located near the center of the maze. Further back, beyond the stacked cars are storage huts crammed with odds and ends that have been abandoned here over the years. A swamp stretches beyond that. It has long ago been poisoned by the oil and other chemicals that the scrapyard’s management had dumped in the water rather than pay for the standard disposal procedures.

I am the youngest of the six men that work in the scrapyard and there is always work to keep us busy. We move through the organized wreckage occasionally crossing paths with each other or the mange-infested dogs that made their homes in the refuse. Sometimes we pull parts for customers that come from miles around to repair their own vehicles, other times we move stripped and decrepit cars to the crushers so they can be sold to recycling plants. The woman in the office gives orders via the speakers that are hung on weathered wooden posts here and there.

It was not a perfect life and not the life I expected but I had found a kind of peace. I was grateful to no longer be running from my past and to have avoided oblivion.

At least I had until tonight.

It was during dusk last night that I saw something that has prompted me to scribble down the hasty diary that you are reading now. I will never know you, I will never see you, you are most likely someone that has been sent to clear out my abandoned trailer. Will you even read this or simply throw these papers away with a disinterested expression?

The end began for me on a dreary weekday, I was hard at work pulling radios and batteries from recently acquired cars. The work had been hard going, my hands had become greasy with oil and sweat, bits of plastic had cut my palms in a half dozen places. The air had clammy with the anticipation for most of the day but there had not been a single drop.

While removing a tape deck I accidentally hit the button that released the trunk. I thought nothing of it, after all I would mostly likely be sent out later in the day to retrieve the spare tires or abandoned items from these cars anyway. Once the radio had been retrieved I went to the rear of the car to close the trunk and saw a figure.

I cried out at the sight of it but I could not turn away. It was a feral shape, long dead and mummified with time, the snout was drawn away from the blackened teeth, the fur was red and covered everything but the face and fingertips, the breasts were swollen and weeping milk that had long gone rancid. The horror I felt was not of the unfamiliar, the horror I felt was one of recognition. This was the creature that had driven me screaming from sleep every night until I had given up dreams forever and lost myself in a world that was only half-alive.

Even more terrible was the realization that this creature, this Mother-Thing, had pursued me not out of malice but out of love. The most terrible kind of love.

A kind of relief washed over me at the sight of its still body, however it had come to be it was dead now. The sight of the empty shell was a pleasure. I closed the trunk and turned away.

Then the crooning sound began, the lullaby of the Mother-Thing, it was muffled but insistent. It scratched at its prison with growing ferocity.

I fled the scrapyard and locked myself in this apartment feeling a panic so profound it felt as though my heart might burst. The instinct to flee again was as strong as ever. I even began to pack for a while but I soon lost all interest in it.

Where can I flee to? How can I escape a creature born of my own inner torments and memories?

A few hours later I began to write these pages you hold in your hand, the words came easier than I imagined as I captured each terrible and ridiculous incident. Now I am done and I am resigned to what I must do next.

The Mother-Thing is waiting for me in the scrapyard, I know this. I will go there tonight.

Running will come easy and I know it will give chase, as it always has in my nightmares. Fear and purpose will give me the speed necessary to lead it into the dark swamp that stretches beyond the ruins of the scrapyard. The mire will swallow us both and if there is any mercy in this world I will know nothing but oblivion.

Please let me know oblivion.


  1. Nice turns of phrase in this one, Al. The description of the Mother-Thing was fantastic and image-evoking.

    Good, creepy bit.

  2. very visual, very filmic.

    Marc Nash

  3. This mother-thing started off as something real in the back of the car being stripped and then went surreal. Freaky.

    Years ago, when I was out in Nebraska, I used to go to a scrap yard for parts on occasion. The place was called Monty's and you described it to a tee. Thanks for the memories.

  4. Dark and very sad in the end. I agree with J. The description of the Mother-thing was wonderful.

  5. Twisted love is one of the scariest things in the world...