The Life I Hyde: a tale of what is to come

Posted in Uncategorized on April 11, 2009 by scribblespectre

 

 

 

edinburgh2017th20cent20tenements_530x704

Under the glow of the lantern beside his bedside, the boy’s face was lit on one side, while the other was wreathed in shadow. It was a winter’s night that made the bones feel as though they were cased in ice and, as the fog began to crawl along the cobbled sets of Edinburgh’s streets outside, the boy’s nanny turned up the lamp.

Robert Louis Stevenson lay with his head on a soft pillow, curled up in the covers of his bed. His nanny was sitting on the chair next to him, reading from a large volume. They both sat illuminated by the soft throb of the gaslight, listening to those old tales as well as the distant sounds of the cities night-time agents.

  “From the book of Romans.” she spoke softly, as Stevenson shifted in his bed. “God’s anger is shown from heaven against all the evil and wrong things people do. By their own lives they hide the truth. God shows his anger because some knowledge has been made clear to them.”

Outside the footfalls of a late traveller could be heard crossing Heriot Row where the Stevenson’s lived. The elegant houses sat in the affluent New Town where fires burned late into the night, warming the rooms of the occupants within. Over the bridges, and under the cover of the Edinburgh fog, lay wicked lights burning in the dark recesses of Old Town.

“Yes, God has shown himself to them,” his nanny continued, glancing up from the book to catch the young boy yawning quietly, “There are things about him that people cannot see.”

  She closed the book with a soft thud and smiled in the boy’s direction. “Not really tales for a night like this, are they, young Robert?”

 He looked at her quizzically before shaking his head to see what she would say next. Instead she lifted herself up out of the chair and walked across the room, before slotting the Bible with others upon the bookshelf. “Such humdrum and wary tales are for Sunday afternoons spent in the pews. Not for an exciting and dark night in a warm bed. Tonight is a night for haunted traps to wander the streets; strange sights and mysteries in the fog. Don’t you think?”

  “Are you going tell me a different kind of tale, then?” He asked, with half of his voice enthralled, the other more than a little anxious of what his nanny could conjure.

  “I’ve been warned off such stories, Robert, your parents tell me you have vivid dreams.”

  “Yes. But my nightmares will fade when I get older and your stories will seem less frightening.”

 The nanny seemed to stand by the window, looking out into city beyond. She turned and smiled at him.

  “Very well, then.”

Robert pulled the covers up to his throat and twisted his toes, making sure his feet were surrounded in the sheets. She sat on the chair next to his bed. “Perhaps a wee one”, she said, before turning up the lantern once more.

“I once knew a woman; a beautiful and sad woman; who could read your future.” The Stevenson nanny leaned in, and her gentle voice was all that could be heard inside the quiet bedroom. Shadows flickered on the wallpaper, comforting and grave in the same breath.

“She told me that the future is a place full of secret lives. All manner of noble folk and lady alike will have hidden depths, and the motives of men will be unclear and complex.”

The young boy’s eyes appeared wide in the half-dark of his bedchamber. His nanny smelled of bath oils and old books. “She spoke of a group that would draw together, themselves holding secrets aplenty; a collective of bizarre agents with a mission for the new world. They consisted of a broken toy soldier, a ghost, a lady of the night; a troubled count, a man who dreamed of insects, a gypsy from the east and a scholar.  The woman who could read the future did not understand why she was drawn to such individuals, but she understood that they would each have their part to play in what was to come.” 

The nanny looked out of the great window of Robert’s room then. She stared at the tendril clouds that rolled over the sky, and the lights of the city, and the blade-like moon that hung above it all. The nanny looked sad, as Robert drifted off into slumber. Whether he was to endure dreams or nightmares was yet to be discovered.

“She believed that this troupe of misfits would inspire others to follow,” she whispered. ‘Though inspire them to do what she would not tell me.”

 

The End of the Guerilla Poets.

Guerilla Poets Attack Again

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2009 by apricotdreams

If you click on the page to your right entitled ‘R-Fest Installation’, you will see photographic evidence of the Guerilla Poets’ latest art attack on the Royal Holloway campus. At 0830 hours this morning, they infiltrated the Windsor Auditorium, and managed to foil security thanks to a contact within the network. The Installation will be there until approx. 1700  hours, and there are free zines and flyers for those members of the public who wish to be a part of the literary revolution…

An Old Dream

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2009 by entomologist

An old dream from a meditation room:

The angel and the horse walked through the burning village. Smoke bit into their eyes and whipped their throats with pain, but they’d have to fight its smothering embrace if they were to reach the Queen. The corroded wasteland of a village stank of burned animal flesh and the presence of evil spirits, and mingling with these smells was the stench of dying, discarded machines. Rejected from their former mechanical paradise, the brown metallic creatures could now only crackle and fizz with agonized glee at the recreation of Hell before them.

The horse and angel trod carefully so as to avoid stepping on the rusty beasts and meandered onwards, passing crowds of burning buildings. Clangs and drones spat at them from the distant hills where the factories toiled, and crows arrived to join their search, hovering overhead and adding their part to the industrial symphony, dropping cogs and little scraps of metal as they squawked. Though the angel and the horse didn’t care much for these gifts, they nodded towards the filthy sky to show some gratitude.

A goat lay in front of a burning house, a bloody heart in its mouth, its body whipped with fire. Two dead goats lay either side of it, their faces smeared with Suffering. Another angel with burned wings tried to nurse the hysterical creature back to health, even though it flailed at the spirit with its jagged hooves. The animal’s tarnished body throbbed as it shrieked desperately at the crows and their fellow travellers below. It claimed to have a new message from the Queen…

Popis Boj

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2009 by Francis

I left the grounds of Lady Marie’s home at a sprint. Consumptive lungs screamed me to a wheezing halt. In foreign surroundings I scanned the sky for signs of the familiar. To the West, the setting sun was engaged in a lazy descent, shadowed and pockmarked by the black industrial belch from London’s many mouths. The road I was on was threatened on all side by nature, battling on many fronts to hold back the invading grasses and roots. Neither side was going the direction of my misasmic home, but the left turned quickly to tree covered darkness, while rightwards took me back past the house towards a small cluster of hovels down a hill. The trees whispered upon the wind for me to come join them in the darkness.

I had not travelled far. It seemed I had barely moved, the fields passing either side of me a barely changing tableau. My aching soles told me I was not stuck in stasis and had travelled a not insignificant route already. London remained a mere decoration upon the horizon. My walking continued monotonously, a gradual slowing that of unwinding clockwork.

A sudden stabbing throb sparked through my midriff, knocking me off my feet. A heat radiated from my stomach, consuming by body with a needling heat. My vision blurred. Not a temporary blindness, a bending of the corners. The creeping in of that other world that lies inside me. Fingers tore at the back of my eyes, fighting to be let out of their psychic imprisonment. A screwed by eyes tight and drew my arms and legs inward. Foetal, I lay on the ground for a moment attempting to absorb the pain. Evening birdsong shrieked through my pain, sent it scattering outwards to my fingertips and into the chill air. I lay limp for a few seconds before thoughts began their whirring processes. I need to find a book. That deep want inside me needs satiating. My hidden dark dependencies demanding attention. I set off at a run. The pain already hitting of panting lungs and deadened feet mere esuna compared to that which was threatening to return soon. A signal of hope was carried to me, a grey spectred pillar was rising from a near distant chimney.

The farmhouse was solid, its foundations rooted in the deep crust of the earth. I burst through the door, unlocked in the innocence of country living. A man turned open mouthed and open eyed, his features as cragged and old as the ancient granite of his house. His hair the grey of London snow. I opened my mouth to tell him of my plight, but words were cut off at the back of my throat, razor sharp lashings thrashing through me. My eyes dimmed again as I was brought to my knees. The man the last thing I saw, running past me, escaping the demonic tendrils pouring from me. Smokelike and dark, tipped in red, figures and shapes curled around me, pressing down upon my chest, pushing at the inside of my skull. I fought back, willing words of the real world to burst forth. A primal scream emanated from me, banishing the visions back to their falsehoods. Another would claim me, would end me. I must find a book.

I wished, I prayed, I called out to all things of aid to the innocent and in peril. I paced the rooms, searching for a desk, a case, a stand, anything of writing and words that could satisfy the urges of hyperreality. None were forthcoming. A house bereft of literature, uncivilised, uneducated in the ways of the city. A simple life I could only wish for. I sat down upon the hard wooden floor and held my head in my hands. A last reminder of my tangible existence. Then I saw it. An incongruity below the table. One leg was missing its foot. Its replacement a thing of paper and ink. Tattered and battered and forced into menial servitude. I lunged at it. Pulling it from under its wooden master, sending the table toppling with a rattling cacophony. I tossed the book into the fireplace. The flames licked hungrily at the pages. The author’s name flashed briefly in orange, illuminated by the phosphorescence of the crisp page burning. I immersed myself in the swirling smoke and gave myself to Kafka Dreams.

Above

Posted in Uncategorized on March 12, 2009 by entomologist

(A development of Martha Hayward’s short story, The Entomologist)

Yesterday, I took the step I had been avoiding for so long. I stepped into the elevator, pulled the lever, and rose to the surface.

The sky was disgusting – a filthy great rag stretched out above me – and the grey light ripped into my eyes like a mantis’ claws into a cricket – but I was finally in the world above. My nose twitched in the smog that strangled me, and my flesh trembled at the sight of teams of people bustling along the cobbled streets. Then I saw him.

The hooded figure crept down the street, limping every so often. I occasionally caught a glimpse of a crooked smile beneath the hood, and I noticed the bag that was slung over his shoulder was blacker than it had ever been. Once he was near enough to me, he tapped a manhole three times. I looked at him directly, trying my best to hide the revulsion I felt towards his rotten, pasty face.

“Have you got them?” I asked.

“Only the very best.”

“Let me have a quick look.”

“Not here. Come with me; we’ll go somewhere hidden.”

We slithered into a secluded alleyway. The desperate, ugly breaths he took with each step were irritating enough, but then he began to speak to me again. If the specimens he brought had not been what they were, I’m not sure what would have happened to him that day. I might have invited him down a secret manhole, brought him into the blackest meditation room I could find, and allowed my most poisonous child to bite his finger. He would be plunged into blackness, and his corpse would make good food for the maggots.

“Do you ever miss Victoria?” the dealer asked, “Or the asylum?” he added, with a nasty wink.

“No. She’s been dead for too long. I’m not sure I ever loved her – I’ve realized that I don’t like people. And I don’t know what you mean by ‘the asylum’. I’ve never been to an asylum, and I never will go to one.”

The dealer laughed. I hated his laughter.

“Well, take a peak then. Go on.”

It was a tarantula, a beautiful female Mexican Redknee Tarantula. I didn’t need to scramble down to look at the other cages; I was happy enough with this creature. He could have packed yet more stick insects for all I cared – my male now had a mate, and I wouldn’t have to put up with his constant visions of female spiders.

“Thank you.” I said. “I will look at the others later. You must come down with for a visit some time soon.”

“Oh, I certainly will. I certainly will…”

I didn’t like the way he said it. It was as if he regarded me as a fool.

The Scribble Spectre Strikes Again

Posted in Uncategorized on March 11, 2009 by apricotdreams

Scribble Spectre

Remembrance

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9, 2009 by scribblespectre

train

11th November 2008: Remembrance Sunday.

He sits on the train platform reading. People mingle on the platform, but it isn’t busy. He wouldn’t call it busy. He’s reading ‘Regeneration’ by Pat Barker and Billy Prior is at the beach for the weekend. The tannoy bleats out into the warm air.

 “At eleven o’clock, this remembrance Sunday, we would like to offer our staff and customers a two minute silence to reflect on the human price of conflict.” It’s ten fifty six.

Next to him an oriental couple talk quickly and in staccato. He doesn’t understand it. A forty-something year old man with a granite jaw sits next to his blonde wife. He calls her Pammy. A few others dot the platform, moving around in a malaise as one often does when waiting for a train.

In his novel, Prior passed amongst the tourists and holiday makers like a ghost, as they suck their fingers and swirl their tongues around ice cream cones.

 “At eleven o’clock this remembrance Sunday we would like to offer our staff and costumers a two minute silence to reflect on the human price of conflict.” It’s ten fifty eight.

Pammy’s phone rings and she answers, relaying to the hard-jawed husband, “it’s me sister.” An older couple, somewhere in their fifties, stand just outside the platform, locking their car.

In the novel, Prior is still on the beach, watching all the holiday-makers squeeze every last drop of pleasure out of their day.

 “At eleven o’clock this remembrance Sunday we would like to offer out staff and costumers a two minute silence to reflect on the human price of conflict.” It’s ten fifty nine.

He closes his book. Looking up and down the platform, he pays more attention to the sounds.

 “It’s me gran’s ninetieth, Martin. Dawn wants to know what we should get her? She’s having her party, yeah?” The oriental couple continue. He doesn’t understand it. He holds the novel in his hands and watches each for a time.

 “This remembrance Sunday we would like to offer out staff and costumers a two minute silence to reflect on the human price of conflict beginning now.”

 

The oriental couple next to him continue their sing-song conversation. A couple of students arrive late and discuss the eleven fifty-four to Euston. He watches as a woman answers her mobile phone, she walks out into the car park.

 Pammy says, “what about a stripper for me Nan?”

 “Yeah a big black stripper,” said Martin in the background, “with a big black cock.” The man locking his car came inside, his wife runs after him saying, “I need one pound eighty for the car park!”

 The back of Martin’s suit jacket is stretched over his shoulders, the beef-pink skin of his neck visible over the collar line. The straps on his wife’s shoes dig into her heels. A laugh that rings from the diaphragm comes from further down the platform.

 “I know,” says Martin in his growl, “get her some jewellery, at least you know you’ll get it back pretty soon. Har. Har.”

The two minutes pass and he turns to his book, opens it, and continues reading.