Sagittarius (Art in progress)

IMG_7389

Spent a good amount of time getting the outline done and some preliminary shading so I know where to put the watercolor. Tried a new technique using metals and glue which turned out pretty cool for the first try. I used my fingernail for most of it to be honest. Still need to put in the Shadows and clean up the contour before I get to painting, though.

A few mistakes, but I’m pretty happy with how it’s going.

Finding Happy: Chapter 3-To Normal

Ignorance is a bliss that most fail to appreciate. Truly, sometimes not knowing, forgetting, is the purest mercy life can deal you. How knowledge can taint an otherwise euphoric reality. 

Enjoy!

Start at the beginning, if that’s your thing: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/

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III

To Normal.

Casey had regained control of her emotions by the time her mom pulled up, twenty or so minutes later. I still can’t get up…The pains only grown sharper. Her mother nearly tripped as she raced out of the car. Her hand covered her mouth, tears flowing, as she flew to her daughter’s aid. “Baby, what happened to you? Oh God! Sweetie, you’re bleeding. Can you stand up? We need to take you to the hospital!” Bleeding?

Apologetically, Casey muttered, “I can’t walk…my stomach feels like it has a hole in it.” Pale and distraught, her mom wrapped her arm under her daughter’s knees and back, lifting her with a wordless grunt. “I’m really sorry, mommy. I went to a party last night. I know I was drinking, but I don’t know what happened. The last thing I remember is being in the hot tub with…” Best to leave that out.

“With who sweetie? With who?”

Lying, Casey said, “I…I don’t remember.” Straining, her mom managed to open the old VW’s passenger door.

“Don’t worry about it sweetie. Everything’s okay now. I’m not mad, don’t worry baby.” She said as she lowered Casey into the VW’s shabby and torn faux-leather seat. She’s always mad when I do bad things, why not now? I almost like it better when she just yells at me.

Casey pulled out her phone to check the rest of the messages as her mother started the engine. She tabbed to Matt and read:

‘Hey, Casey! I got the drinks and came back to the tub, where’d you go?” Where did I go, anyway? I just remember waiting and thinking how he was taking forever. ‘Hey, kinda worried, these parties can get pretty crazy, hope you’re okay <3’ Damnit. Now I feel even worse. I probably ruined his night, too. ‘Hey I’ve been looking around down here for like thirty minutes. If you headed home or something, I just wanna say how great a time I had with you. I know you think I’m a bit of player or something, but I’ve never really had a real girlfriend. Like I’ve gone on a few dates but I’ve never really connected the way I did with you there. Oh goodness, look at me getting all cringey. Sorry about that, but I mean it!’ He’s so sweet. I felt that too, though. ‘Alright I’m heading back with Jacob now, he drank wayy too much lol, I’m good to drive though, so don’t worry!’ I hope he was… ‘Hey, I made it home safe, hope alls good on your end <3’

Casey jumped, yanked from her reverie as her mom said, “Just a few more miles to the hospital, Casey. Hang in there!”  

Casey looked back down at her phone as it vibrated twice, indicating a new message. It’s from that same unknown number…It read ‘You get my msgg, bitch?’ Furrowing her brow in confusion, she tapped the new message notification and looked at the previous message, an ill-lit still frame with a play-symbol in the center. What the fuck? An ominous wave of anxiety surged up and down Casey’s sore limbs as she tapped play.

The video was black and void of detail, aside from two guys laughing softly. Is one of them carrying something? It’s so hard to tell with the piss-poor quality. Where does this dick get off calling me a bitch anyway? Wait…Is that someone? It looks like a body…The camera moved erratically and she heard someone whisper, “Take the camera so I can fuck the bitch.” What the hell is this? “Turn the flash on, dumbass.” Casey’s eye’s widened as a light illuminated what looked like a corpse on the bed. She’s not moving, what the fuck is wrong with these people!? No…The man who’d handed off the camera got on top of the girl and started to touch her.

Casey’s hands started to quiver, silent realization paralyzing her, as if she’d kissed a train that had somewhere to be. The man–the coward–pulled his large frame off of Casey’s limp body and started to undo her shorts. Broken, she held the power button, letting her phone die. Her entire body started to shudder, in shock, as the excessive vasoconstriction stole her viscera’s light, their liquid life. Again, the tears fell, but no sound left her gaping mouth. As the pain started to ravage her fast-fading willpower, she shut her eyes tight, let out a quiet choke, and leaned her fore-head against the back of the raggedy front-seat. In a vain attempt at stealth, she bit down hard on her tongue, and tasted crimson-iron. Why?

Noticing, Casey’s mom screeched, “What’s wrong, are you okay?! Casey!” Casey couldn’t respond as naked and utter despair washed over her sense of self. Failing at suppressing the pain, she let out an agonized, blood-tinged, wail.     

 

Saving Hadley: Chapter 19

The continuation of chapter 16, and Simon’s decent into revenge and anger, a shadow of his former self. A disheartening chapter, as it really illustrates how far he’s fallen from the kind and altruistic nature he displayed in Act 1, before the accident, before the suicide.

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/

 

XIX

May 25th, 2017-Simon

                As Simon finished compressing his largest syringe, he looked to Clifton. The man’s face was sullen, empty, resigned to his fate. His sweat and feces had fused into one, with a hint of red introduced by the tears of blood streaming from his left eye. He smells about right. Simon approached Clifton, smiling, and asked, “You look strong, Clifton. Do you work in construction?”

Confused, Clifton replied, “I’m a personal trainer. I work in a gym thirty hours a week.”

Simon made a show of nodding, feigning interest, before saying, “Well, you did work in a gym thirty hours a week. You might find moving difficult after this next one.” A shadow of fear fell over the man’s face. “You see, the problem with large muscles, is that they become stronger than the supportive organs and tissues surrounding them.” Clifton’s working eye opened wide and his lips began to quiver. Simon got onto his knees, leaned forward, and brought the syringe to his victim’s right quadricep. Clifton frantically struggled away from the needle, only managing to gain an inch. Pausing, Simon whispered “Relax while you can, Clifton, you’re about to get a workout.” He cut a small hole into Clifton’s pants using a large hunting knife.

Whimpering, Clifton rasped in response, “Please, don’t, man! Just please, I get it man, I get it!” Simon forced the large and unwieldy syringe deep into the muscular tissue of the man’s middle thigh. After forcefully injecting about half of the neuro-muscular toxin, he withdrew the needle. Clifton’s leg began to slowly spasm as Simon rapidly injected the rest of the solution into Clifton’s right glut.

Simon stood, stepped back, and watched as the muscles in Clifton’s legs started to spasm. Like tectonic plates shifting, the defined muscular tissue bagan contracting, pronating, and extending randomly. Clifton was screaming again, but little sound left his frayed vocal chords. A large crack filled the quiet air, as Clifton’s own quadricep broke his knee against the restraints. Impressive, Tibia’s aren’t soft bones. No longer held back by skeletal restraints, his legs movements grew more erratic, and tore skin from bone. A moment later, a small pop radiated through the quiet barn, as Clifton’s upper quadricep tore, shooting violently towards his patella. Unfortunately for Clifton, his hamstrings, antagonistic to the quadricep, remained intact, and kept firing. Disgusted, Simon spat, and said, “You really should have stretched more, looks like your hamstrings are a little more flexible than the other parts of your leg. Stretching really is important for body building, you know.”

Clifton’s head fell backwards, eye closing, mouth gaping, as his Hamstring dislocated the proximal end of his Femur, where it met the hip. Well shit, he’s going into shock. I suppose he’s losing a little bit of blood with the bone sticking out like that. Simon stood there a moment, letting a wave of sick euphoria crash down his spine blackening his sweltering heart, and allowing the twisted ice to spread, erasing the pain. Regretfully, Simon left the perverted reverie, and said, “Okay buddy, I know it hurts. Don’t die on me now, Dr. Sheffield has exactly what you need to keep that heart ticking.” He doesn’t appear responsive. Simon rushed to his briefcase and pulled out a small solution comprised of adrenaline and type-two vasoconstrictors. The solution would keep Clifton alive while reducing bleeding and increasing pain. Carefully, he drew a generous dose into a small syringe before compressing it. He moved towards the listless man, and said, “This might sting, just a little.” He brought the small syringe to Clifton’s neck with his right hand, using his left to palpate the common carotid artery. Finding the weak pulse, he released the solution into the major artery.

Simon stepped back and waited for the disheveled man’s consciousness to return. After about ten seconds, Clifton gasped for air, breathing harshly, and his hands began to quiver; good eye darting back and forth in confusion. Delirious and crying, Clifton asked, “Dad, is that you? Where am I, why does my leg hurt so much.” That’s right, Clifton, experience the confusion, the pain, she felt. “You…You’re not my dad, help, my…my leg. It hurts so bad.”

Cruelly, Simon sneered, and responded, “No, I’m not your father. I’m your god, and your soul is mine. You did a bad thing Clifton, this is divine penance.”

A haggard shadow of his former self, he murmured, “I’m innocent, you’ve got the wrong person. I haven’t done anything!”

“Shh… it’s almost over, Clifton.” said Simon, walking to his briefcase, and taking a surgical scalpel in hand. “You’re close to peace now, just a little bit more, and you can rest, forever. Would you like that?”

Crying, again, Clifton responded “I…I don’t want to die.”

“But you don’t want to live, not like this? Do you?” he countered, moving towards Clifton with the scalpel.

“Not like this…no.” Clifton whispered, choking.

“Then let the good doctor set you free, just a few swipes, and it’ll be over.” responded Simon, tears welling. Simon pinned Clifton’s right arm, making a quick and clean horizontal cut at the base of his wrist, beneath his palm. Clifton cried out, voice cracking, and Simon moved to the left arm, repeating the cut. Silent now, the bleeding man hung his head, giving up.

As Simon moved back to Clifton’s right arm, Clifton whispered, “I’m so sorry about your son, and about your wife.” Simon paused, jaw tightening, suddenly numb as he cut about seven inches vertically along the radial artery. Across the woods, then down the river. To hell and back we roam.

Coolly, Simon responded, “Not…good enough.” Simon moved to the left arm, repeating the cut. Feeling empty, he dropped the scalpel, backed away, and watched his wife’s murderer die.

As Clifton grew still, the bearded man, still standing near the barn’s entrance, called out, “Well that was something, wasn’t it?”

Saving Hadley: Chapter 17

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/

A brief chapter, but one that provides both context and an introduction to one of the major antagonists of Act 3.

Enjoy!

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XVII

November 1st, 2021-Nessa

            They’d strapped Nessa to an uncomfortable chair after giving her a clean set of clothes. The room had an obnoxiously bright fluorescent light that accented the concrete-mirror structure of the room with something that felt like despair. From one prison to another, at least these clothes are comfortable, I suppose. After the soldier had knocked her out, she’d woken up in what appeared to be a hospital, but the presiding doctor wouldn’t answer her questions as he performed his various examinations and blood tests. Apparently, something in her tests had made whoever these people were decide to keep her alive, for now.

A few moments passed before the white painted door opened. A man in an expensive looking black suit walked in, smiling. His strong jaw was accentuated by grey eyes, grey-black hair, and a grey five o’clock shadow. Enthusiastically, he asked, “So! What’s it like being the daughter of the infamous Donovan Sullie!”

Confused, Nessa said, “Who? I don’t have a father, sir.”

The man looked up, pursed his lips while jutting his jaw forward, feigning a thoughtful expression. Looking back to Nessa, he said, “Well, you seem polite, but I’m not sure I believe you. Obviously, you were in quite the predicament when we found you, but I still can’t believe Sullie would sell his own daughter without a good reason. What’d you do to piss him off?” Who the fuck is this arrogant piece of shit?

Annoyed, Nessa repeated “I don’t know a Donovan Sullie. Where am I?”

The man’s smile curled, cruelly, as he said, “As a whore, strapped to a seat, do you really think you’re the one who gets to ask questions? Now I’m going to have my best two boys down here tomorrow morning to get the truth out of you, no matter what you say now. Honestly, I just wanted to meet you to see if Donovan would even want you back, which he clearly, does not.”

As the man turned to leave, Nessa shouted, “You act all posh, but I know you, you’re just another fucking coward, hiding behind money while you abuse children, pretending you’re a real man…Scum!”

The man paused, and called over his shoulder, “Now I know how that gutted corpse got in your room. I like that fiery spirit, do me a favor, never lose it, Nessa. You may refer to me as Governor Haskell, of the state of Massachusetts.” What the fuck?

Daily Blog 9/16/17: Chapter 15

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

Silgan returns from the appointment to gather his materials per Alex’s request.

*Explicit language and gore. 

 

XV

Present Day-Silgan

 

Silgan hurried into the apartment lobby, the fluorescent nightmare had diminished in response to the morning light creeping in through the many windows. Ms. Caldwell, Lauren, was still working the front desk. Noticing Silgan, she smiled, flirtatiously, and asked, “Rushing like that, Mr. Sheffield…might give a girl the wrong impression. You trying to dodge me?”

Silgan paused, embarrassed, and returned her smile. Indignantly, he explained, “Me? Never! You know you’re my favorite, Lauren. I’m in a hurry for something related to work and I need to meet an associate in about forty minutes.”

Blushing, she caressed her bottom lip with her left thumb, and said, “I hadn’t realized we were on a first name basis, you know, there’s a lot of things you can do in forty minutes. I’m sure your friend wouldn’t mind if you were just a little late.”

Taken aback, Silgan stuttered, “Any other day, Ms. Caldwell, but this could be a matter of life and death.”

Pouting, Lauren said, “Well, I mean, move your pretty little ass if it’s really that important. Besides, you know where to find me.” She winked coyly before turning back to her ledger.

Relieved, Silgan said, “Take care, Lauren.” as he turned towards the elevator room. Silgan walked past the first two, public, elevators, and swiped his RFID on the old management elevator. The old gate opened slowly and Silgan stepped in, turning to press the button that read “13”. As the elevator began its sluggish ascent, he shuffled his feet, fretfully. Okay, we need to clear out everything I can’t easily replace.

“That’s seventy percent of what’s there, dumbass.” The voice of an elderly woman mocked.

Then we can booby trap the room, as a precaution.

Cackling, the woman’s voice gained power, “So you can piss off Haskell even more than you already have? Quite the headache he must have, pondering how to deal with his star extractors insubordination.” Silgan’s spine tingled with anxiety as his right hand started to tap his suit-pants to the tune of staying alive. “I bet he’s already got a man waiting for you up there, no time to prepare now. See what you’ve done? You’ve fucked over all of us, all your friends, we, he guided and supported you when you needed a push to do the right thing.”

Does torturing an innocent woman qualify as the right thing? The elevator came to a halt and opened. Silgan walked out, turned right and headed towards the narrow hallway. At the intersection, he turned left, walked five more steps, and inspected his tan colored door, marked “1304” in silver lettering. You do raise a good point though, I need to make sure no one’s waiting for me on the other side of the door. Silgan set his briefcase down, opening the side pocket opposite to where he had stored the tracker gun. He pulled out his customized 220 Sig Sauer and slotted the chamber back. Loaded. Turning the safety off, he leaned down to examine the doors lock. It’s scratched up. Fuck. Expecting the worst, Silgan took out his key and slowly inserted it into the lock, Sig Sauer loose in hand. Slowly, he turned the lock, and heard a click. Leaving the key in the slot, he stood back, tensing his quadriceps and gluts, preparing a kick. With his left hand, he pulled the handle down, pushing forward slightly. His hands were perspiring, his breaths came shallow and fast. With a small grunt, he kicked the door open, quickly recovering his balance, and raising his pistol. Looking through the holo-sight he started forward, scanning back and forth rapidly. As he walked through the doors small frame, he could hear a quiet movement. It was coming from behind his bed.

“Hey, come out, I see you!” Silgan shouted, snarling in his rustic baritone. Abruptly, the rustling stopped. Silgan felt light headed, as his vision became hazy. Realizing he’d forgotten to breath, he gasped for air, trying and failing to keep his aim steady.

“Worthless!” the woman’s voice mocked. “Can’t even aim a pistol without nearly passing out, you’re going to get all of us killed, Simon.”

Shut up!

Biting his lip, he moving forward. He could hear a pathetic whimper, a forlorn moaning. It reminded Silgan of the time he’d hit a deer, getting out of his car, only to find the deer dying, struggling through the door to its next reality. Moving quickly around the foot of his bed, Silgan shouted, “Hands up!” He lowered his weapon, mouth parting, eyes widening in horror.

“I’m trying Simon, my arms, I can’t move them.” Wailed Hadley, with deep crosses cut into her wrists. Her skin wasn’t right, it was cracked, a dark and hallowed green. She’s not real, Simon, she’s dead…you buried her. Taking a deep breath, Silgan stepped back from Hadley. Hadley’s eyes grew desperate as Silgan backed away. “Please…Simon don’t leave me here, it hurts baby, it hurts so much worse than when I did it. I’m so sorry, help me Simon!”

Tears welling, Silgan responded, “I…I can’t help you. I failed you, I’m sorry Hads. I miss you every day.” Silgan turned away, forcing himself to look his cabinet. Focus. Productivity, what will help you survive. Grabbing a small duffle at the foot of his bed, he walked to the cabinet, set the Sig Sauer on the cabinets counter, and zipped open the duffle before throwing it back onto his small bed. Opening the cabinet, Silgan suddenly felt overwhelmed. There must be two-hundred separate ingredients here, how the fuck do I decide which ones to bring? Christ, I have room for fifteen or so. If that. Silgan cringed at the terrible moaning as he reached for a case of empty dart-syringes. Ignoring Hadley, he put the pack into his bag, eyes darting across the various chemical labels.

Silgan froze, as the woman’s voice returned, “You’re going to let her die, again? You coward. And for what? So you can turn tail and run?”

You’re right, I am a coward. But why show me this, I know I can’t save her. But I can save that poor girl, Nessa, and that’s what I’m going to do.

Suddenly determined, a wave of clarity drowned the wails and Silgan realized the chemicals he needed. Quickly, he grabbed a fast acting spasmodic, a cyanide potassium solution, and three cryo-contained vial of , or mustard gas. He packed each vial in a rubber stabilized mold before setting them next to the darts. I only have one more pressure resistant mold, I need to pick carefully. A moment later, Silgan grabbed two clear and unlabeled solutions, and packed them into the mold. Hurrying, he reached for two small vials of adrenaline, a small tub of batrachotoxin–he’d scraped it off the backs of poison dart frogs himself–and a cryo-vile, containing VX. He’d have to be careful not to be caught with the VX if he traveled, as the UN classified it as a weapon of mass destruction. The worlds stockpiles had been destroyed twenty-five years ago, but it was relatively easy to synthesize. It was essentially a liquid nerve agent that had a low boiling point, making it an easy to use gas.

Silgan packed the rest of the vials into the rubber chassis before gently resting it in the duffle. Finally, he ran to his chemical work-bench and retrieved three gas masks, as well as a few extra filters. He packed these into the side pockets of the duffle, carefully mounting the valuable bag over his shoulder.

Turning to the cabinet, Silgan picked up his Sig Sauer and turned the safety on before holstering it into the specially stitched pocket in his suit coat, hidden by his left lapel. Just the pills now. Moving to the kitchen drawer, he wiped some of the lingering dirt off his white dress shirt. Silgan opened the small drawer before rummaging for his painkillers. He removed the oxycodone, Vicodin HCL, Secobarbitol, and Compro, before setting them on the counter. He unsaddled his duffle and set it on the counter, then stashed the Vicodin and oxy in the duffle’s left pockets. Those are less conducive to performance than the Compro. Silgan opened the Compro, took two pills, then closed it, before stashing it next to the Vicodin. As Silgan opened the Secobaritol, his shaking hands jerked unexpectedly, causing him to spill the pills on the floor. Shit, my nerves are frayed. He fell to his knees, gathering the pills back into their container.

Freezing, Silgan focused on a small black circle on the bottom of the counter. It can’t be…was someone in here after all? Moving closer, he squinted at the black smudge. A transmission mic. I’ve been bugged. A nauseous anxiety spread from his core as he finished picking the pills up. He left one out, and dry swallowed it. “Eh, Silgan everything alright in here?” asked a voice he couldn’t quite place.

Turning, Silgan saw his neighbor Herald looming ominously in the door-way. “I’m good Herald, did I make too much noise or something?” asked Silgan, ambivalently.

Smiling easily, Herald stepped forward, and said “Nah mate, I mean I heard you talking to someone, you sounded upset.” Herald leaned forward examining the room, looking back and forth. “Musta been on the phone though, it don’t seem like nobodies here right now, besides me that is.” Herald chuckled at his joke. He wore a dirty T-shirt and torn jeans. He was probably in his early fifties, though his voice was clearly smoke damaged and made him sound much older. While his facial structure was handsome, his meth-cracked skin and teeth were not. His eyes were jaundiced, his nose was the kind of red that only twenty years of binge drinking could lend.

“Yeah, I was fighting with my brother, a financial matter.” Lied Silgan.

Laughing loudly, Herald responded, “You know, Hadley is a weird name for a brother if you ask me. But my parents weren’t too creative either. Coming up with Gerald than Herald, I mean who rhymes their kids name?” He must have been the one who planted the bugs.

Face hardening, Silgan asked, “Herald, I don’t suppose you know anything about who might have tampered with my lock there, do you?”

Herald tensed, responding, “Eh, what you tryna say, bud? Man ought to be careful about accusing a co-worker of something like that.” That face, no way in hell it wasn’t him.

Silgan’s muscles tensed, anticipating a fight, as he said, “You know, it’s the funniest thing, I just found a small microphone glued to the bottom of my counter, right before you walked in, Harold.”

Harold sighed, relaxing, and said, “You got me Silgan!” raising his arms above his head in mock exclamation. “It’s not like I did it for fun though, order came from Haskell himself, just a few hours ago. He wanted me to keep an eye on you.” Harold paused, smiling cruelly, he continued, “So imagine my surprise when I hear you, one of our most skilled laborers, over my lil radio talking to your dead wife. I don’t suppose Haskell would be happy to hear you’ve lost your fucking mind, eh bud?” Harold croaked loudly, laughing as Silgan blushed and looked down. “Don’t feel bad, bud, you know I kinda miss that girl I got pinched for assaulting. Sometimes I talk to her too, mostly when I got a whore up here who’s willing to act though, you know.” Haskell already suspects me, it’s now or never.

“I’m going to give you one chance to get out of my way, Harold.” Silgan said, flatly, meeting Harold’s eyes. Harold looked amused, and took a step forward.

Closer now, Harold whispered, “A’ight coach, what you gonna do? Cry to your bitch an’ tell her ol’ Harold’s given you a tough time?” Harold shoved Silgan, hard. Croaking again, as Silgan stumbled, Harold followed up with a wide right hook which landed squarely on Silgan’s left cheek. He fell hard, head hitting the floor with a crack. He shouldn’t have done that. Silgan reached for his concealed Sig Sauer, clicking the safety off with his right thumb. “That all you got big man? You a fake bud, can’t even take a punch.” Rolling onto his back Silgan aimed the Sig Sauer’s holo-sights at Harold’s face. “Oh shit! What the fuck man, it was just a tussle.” Harold raised his hands, desperately murmering, “What? You gonna shoot me with that thing, unsilenced? Whole buildings gonna hear it mate.”

Silgan pushed himself back to his feet, keeping the firearm trained on Harold. Quietly, Silgan said, “I’m crazy, remember? How about you apologize for calling my wife a bitch, scum.” Harold stayed silent, smiling slightly. Moving forward, Silgan grabbed Harold’s dirty T-shirt and shoved him up against the wall. “Say…you’re…sorry.” He set the guns point to Harold’s left jaw.

“Man she musta had a vice grip on your tiny balls, I’d never let a bitch–BANG!” Harold’s eyes twitched wide in surprise as the lower half of his face was torn off by the Sig Sauer’s blast. His broken jaw dangled from what remained of its right hinge. Bleeding heavily, he slid down the wall, and let out a hideous, gurgling screech. Silgan stepped away, letting him fall, letting him struggle. Harold’s tongue waggled back and forth wildly, finally coming to rest near the base of his throat as he fell to his left. Blood quickly pooled. Silgan felt sick. What did I just do?

                “Well I can’t say I approve, but at least you’re showing some initiative now.” Said the woman, malevolently.

Daily Blog 9/15/17

Had to take another day off because of school, work, and volunteering. This chapter kicks off Act 2 as we find out what happened to the drunk driver. It’s a very symbolic chapter, in that we see Simon outside of his happy-go-lucky state. He’s descending.

Enjoy!

 

XIV

February 22nd, 2017-Simon

 

The funeral had been a quiet affair. Simon’s extended family had come to Adams funeral, leaving for their respective states a day or two later. They were all so, terribly sorry they couldn’t make the trip again, not for Hadley. The excuses had all been the same, I can’t take off work, I can’t afford another plane, can’t you have it closer to us? Each call, each message, had reinforced the icy fire, a brutal tyrant reigning over Simon’s esophageal cavity. The ice festered outside the tyrant’s region, pulling its tentacles into every part of his being, erasing any emotion that previously resided. The fire, well the fire never left his throat. It burned, slowly consuming his soul, his thoughts, his mind.

Simon stood, alone, over Hadley’s open casket. He wanted to cry, he couldn’t, not anymore. She’d left him, sparking an ever-growing void inside of him, a void, that was winning. Softly, Simon asked, “Is this what you felt when Adam died, Hadley? Is this why you did it?” Moving closer, Simon took her right hand in his, turning it over, examining the scar. “You know, they really did try to clean you up, but you didn’t want that, did you? You needed to do something, anything, in retaliation for what had happened to Adam. You needed to send a message, I’m sorry I never listened, never understood. But I do now. You see, I need to do something too.” Leaning down, Simon brushed her cold cheek, softly kissing her ice-dead-lips before standing back up. “I’ll make him pay, for Adam, for you. I’ll make things right, no matter what.”

Simon closed Hadley’s casket. For a moment, he stood there, letting the fire deepen its roots. Simon turned towards the small mausoleums entrance, and walked. This…hate. I’ll use it to make things right. Simon nodded to the short coroner, signaling Hadley’s decent into the cruel and murky earth. As Simon walked toward his black McLaren, he flipped open his family phone. There was a new voice-mail from his brother, Tom. The verdict of the Bud Clifton trial was set to be reached this morning. Chest tightening, Simon pressed play, and listened.

Tom’s sullen voice played over the phones small speaker “Simon, not great news. They hit Clifton with the DUI and revoked his license, but the jury bought the defenses argument. Their claiming that Adam must have been in his car seat incorrectly, the way it flew forward.” The fire raged, pulsating like a malignant tumor that’s found its way into the lymph, fraying Simon’s nerves. “They used Gia’s survival against us. He’s not going to prison, Simon. They’re going to let him off. I don’t understand it. I’m sorry.” The fire, metastasized, consuming Simon, utterly. Immolating, Simon roared, throwing the phone into his car. World turned red, he punched the passenger side window of his McLaren, shattering it. His hand bled, but the ice numbed the pain. It was nothing, not compared to the blaze.

A voice whispered, we need to take matters into our own hands, the court is useless.

Another voice chimed in, let’s hurt him, bad, like he hurt Hadley. Let’s kill him, like he killed Adam!

A chorus of voices, now, we need to isolate him, torture him, hurt him like he hurt us, we will teach him that actions have consequences, choices have meaning, teach him what pain is.

Feeling empowered, Simon walked around the front of his car, opened the door and got in. Flatly, Simon whispered, “Bud Clifton, I find you guilty of murdering my son, and driving the one person I loved more than life to suicide.” Simon turned the ignition, and sped out of the parking lot, tires screeching as drifted right onto the county highway. “May whatever god you put your faith in have mercy on you, because I won’t.” The voices egged him on, feeding the vindictive, sullied, blaze.

Daily Blog 9/12/17

*Violent, disturbing, and graphic content. Bad language.

The aftermath of chapter 10, and the first chapter of Act 2. Revenge, no matter how much someone deserves it, isn’t gonna fix what they did.

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

 

XIII

October 30th, 2021-Nessa

 

Nessa watched Ben fight for every breath. She’d desecrated him, like he’d done to her. Unfortunately, the euphoria had been short-lived. Ben’s white golf-shirt was now a satin-red, his small wound had four and a half feet of his intestine trailing from it. She’d removed his testicles, where a steady flow of blood and other unsavory liquids continued to flow. His screaming had stopped five minutes ago, at which point he’d started to choke up a mix of blood and vomit. His eyes were wide open, flicking from one end to the other in shock. He’d defecated, messily, off the foot of Nessa’s bed.

Nessa watched him die, not because she enjoyed the suffering, rather, she had to see him pay. She was waiting for the moment when she’d suddenly feel what she imagined justice was supposed to feel like. The longer she watched Ben pathetically struggle for air, drowning in his own vomit, the more she feared that the feeling wouldn’t come. Then the guards would come, and they’d beat her, maybe rape her, and kill her. What was it all for? What’s the point of life if all that exists is cruelty. Cruelty that can never, truly be paid for. Does justice even exist?

                Frustrated tears welled rolled down Nessa’s cheek and onto her blood-stained nightgown. Anger welled deep in Nessa’s core, igniting every synapse of every muscle. The rage built, bursting to boil. Ben gurgled. Pig!

Nessa walked up to Ben and screamed, “Why did you do it you disgusting shit-stain! What? Did it make you feel powerful?! Does the pain, the suffering get you hard?! Because I don’t get it, I get no satisfaction for doing to you what you did to hundreds of little girls, you sick fuck! You hurt people who can’t fight back, all so you can stroke your fucked-up ego!” Nessa hit his forehead with the hilt of her hook-knife. “Come on! Fight back, cunt!” She hit him again and his eyes rolled back, exposing his jaundiced whites. “Don’t you die, coward, fight back!” She hit him a third time, a bloody hole appearing on the spot. “Not so strong now, are you!” As she hit him again, the hilt of the hook-knife broke through his skull with a loud and sickening crunch. Nessa tried to pull the hook-knife out, but it was stuck. “Give it back, you’ve taken your share!” she screamed, struggling to get her weapon free. “It’s mine–BANG!”

Turning towards the noise, Nessa froze. Two men with ski masks and automatic rifles stood at the now lockless door. “On your knees!” the man on the left shouted. Nessa got on her knees, abandoning her knife. The right man moved forward, quickly, keeping his gun pointed at Nessa.

Noticing the mess on the bed, he whispered, “What the fuck.” Calling back to his partner, “She’s massacred him. What should we do with her?” The left soldier moved forward to examine the mess. Just as quickly, he backed up, audibly gagging. Pussy.

“Take her in.” Said the soldier between retches. “Those were the orders. I can’t though, not with that smell.” The sickened soldier left the room. One down.

                Amused, the remaining soldier said, “Well, you’re a sick little fuck, aren’t you?” He lowered his weapon. “What’d this guy do to you anyway to deserve that?” Nessa stayed quiet, assessing her situation. Obviously, I won’t win in a fight. Especially with no weapon. Maybe if I do what they say I can escape at some point. “Well, I didn’t really want to know anyway, he probably deserved it. Turn around, gonna cuff you.” Nessa did as the soldier asked, lowering her hands to her lower back. The soldier got down behind her and cuffed her left hand with a “SNAP”, before doing the same to the right.

WinterSmith (Updated)

Karl Wight felt a smile creep across his face as the orderly undid his restraints, moving to open the old iron gate. Today’s the day. Freedom. The wind flew into Karl’s old bomber-jacket with reckless abandon, needling his flushed cheeks. This is what the world feels like. Alive. The old gate complained loudly as the orderly struggled to push it open, muttering “Damned frost…Just had this thing fixed last week.”

Karl liked the frost though, reminded him of the good old days. God, I miss that old farm. Preparing the fields for every harsh winter was more fun than harvesting ever was. The cursed, familiar, tightness choked Karl’s Heart. He’d felt it, craved it, every night he spent in Bridge-Brook Asylum. Nostalgia. He’d been trained to forget the old days, encouraged to destroy the memories by his physician, Dr. Crest. Flashbacks of Crest’s office started to seep into Karl’s periphery. Hand’s shaking, he pushed the bad thoughts away, looked forward to the orderly motioning him out the gate, and walked forward. What now?

Karl knew how Crest would answer that question. He’d speak sternly, executively, trying to hide the fact that Karl disgusted him. Karl heard Crest’s voice echo “Now Karl, you must simply move forward. What happened in the Great War is over. Your friends will never come back, and to accept this truth is to be cured. These harmful delusions are crutches, a bridge to a past we must burn, together.” But I don’t want to lose my friends, lose the good times. They make me feel, something, anything. But Karl had nodded, accepting Crest’s words,

accepting Crest’s pharmaceuticals,

and accepting Crest’s apathy.

Anything to feel the breeze on my face, just one more time. Two years of swallowing Crest’s orders had led to this day. Was it two or three? No matter, I’m out now. The January forest surrounding Bridge-Brook was breathtaking. The leaves, long dead, had vacated their summer homes. Leaving the simple, frail, and beautiful skeleton of each monstrous tree to dream alone. Thousands of branches hibernating under a viscid coat of fresh snow, layered over older, frozen snow. That old snow, frozen into long and perilous icicles, could fall at any moment. When will I fall? Have I fallen, just now rising?

A brown flash of movement caught Karl’s eye as he continued down the snow-caked drive. A lone fawn? Poor thing. Where are your parents? Who cares for you now? As quickly as the fawn had appeared, it retreated into the icy kingdom, leaving soon-to-be-filled hoof-prints. How can something so beautiful, this Winter-gust, be so destructive? You, who designed this crystalline palace, what was your aim?  The asylums drive widened as Karl continued, revealing a little-traveled county road. The village lies beyond. I’ll go find a phone, dial my Pa. Tell him the good news, let him know his son is better.

Karl paused, examining the small village before him. It looked near-deserted, a thick frost enveloping most aspects of the village. The modest homes had the same layers of snow and ice. It’s different though, this human forest can never compare to nature’s. But, I suppose human creation is a type of nature. Karl continued his walk towards the village, setting his sights for a small tavern at the top of a hill, near an elaborate Victorian-style church. Something just feels different about it, the layers of snow resting on the trees, were beautiful, natural. Here, it screams death, life-lost, cold. It was cold before, but it was ordered. Now it’s attacking these homes, imposing its icy-reign. Is that the point, WinterSmith? Do you hate Humans, do you wish to desecrate our hovels, the way we desecrated your sister-summer? Maiming your trees, hunting your denizens to extinction?

Karl reached the log-built tavern, hesitating outside the door, anxious. What do I say to him, say to mom? They left me here, said they’d come back. They didn’t, but I understand, I forgive them. Will they want to talk to me now…now that I’ve been fixed?

Karl steeled himself, and swung the carved-oak door wide, exposing himself to what lay beyond. As Karl walked in, one of the two men at the bar looked up, scowling, before quickly averting his gaze. No surprise there. Karl studied the homie interior of the pub, looking for a phone. The hostess approached Karl, and said “Hey, you’re going to have to leave. Your kind ain’t welcome here.”

Karl nodded, responding “I’m sorry, I really need to use a phone, I’m stranded out there.” The hostess bit her lip, looking Karl up and down, before nodding to her right towards a small payphone. Karl smiled, gratefully, and turned to the phone. Karl checked his pockets, pulling out two nickels. Reaching the phone, Karl inserted the two nickels, picked the phone up, and dialed his father’s land-line. (843)732-1228. Karl shifted away from the patron giving him a dirty look as he listened to the phone ring.

On the fourth ring, a man picked up, asking “Hello?” That’s Danny. He sounds…older.

“Hey Danny, it’s Karl. I’ve been released, was hoping I could talk to Pa, if he’s around.” Danny started, stuttering, and falling silent. “What was that? Is Pa there, Danny?”

Slowly, Danny responded “Pa’s dead, Karl, he’s been dead for six years, you know that.” No. Six years? No, he can’t be dead.

Burning tears welled in Karl’s eye’s as he asked “Danny, I don’t remember that, how…how did he die?”

Karl could hear Danny stifling tears over the line, “Karl, you locked him in his shed, the frost got him. Remember? That’s why you went to Bridge-Brook.” Danny’s voice faded, cruelly morphing into a dial-tone.

The man from the bar called to the hostess, shouting “Look, that Negro ain’t even talking to nobody, I can hear the dial-tone from here! He’s probably one of those Bridge-Brook nutters, escaped or something! Kickem out, I can’t stand the smell of them.” Karl dropped the phone, before falling to his knees, tears falling. Why…WinterSmith?

The hostess approached, wearing a concerned, not un-kind expression. She helped Karl to his feet, ushering him to the tavern-door. Face flat, tears streaming, Karl said “I’m s…sorry. Thank you for your kindness” before exiting. The hostess closed the door behind Karl, as he looked around, assessing his options. Freedom isn’t as easy as you’d think. Eyes fixating on the dense forest to the right of the village, behind the old cathedral, Karl walked.

Half-way to the forest, Karl’s tears froze, mouth parting into a small smile. It’s not so bad. Pa’s still up in heaven looking down on me. WinterSmith couldn’t have meant to hurt me, he wouldn’t. Smile widening as his face numbed, Karl walked past the first set of trees, admiring the kingdom’s gates. Every part of this forest, every detail, is perfect. If only I could have been perfect, like this. Teach me, WinterSmith. I know you won’t leave me. Karl sat against a large oak, then, unzipping his bomber-jacket, letting WinterSmith’s frost enter him, engulf his senses. He looked up, examining the dense web of snow-layered branches, forming an indescribably complex pattern. Not even Michelangelo could make sense of that pattern. It’s the ultimate painting, the only reality. Today is the best sort of day.

Then, the world shattered. The sky shifted from painted blues to a deep, malevolent, purple and black. A half-smile crept from the left corner of Kurt’s mouth as his eye’s widened in anticipation. He’s here. Karl heard thunder to his right, turning in surprise, he shuddered, taking in the gigantic husk-like creature pulling itself out of a tree. It was at least twelve feet tall, with tight metal horns curling behind each of its long ears. Thick and glossy wood-ice veins traced up and down the creature’s skinless frame. As it struggled to free itself from the tree’s bark, blood-stained white fur started to grow, covering its wounds. Freeing itself from the tree, it roared, mouth opening unnaturally wide, cracking, as its eyes folded into themselves. WinterSmith…you came!

 Suddenly, as the creature turned to Karl the forest grew eerily quiet. Silently, it’s long legs covered the twenty-meter distance in a few strides. Euphoric, Karl pushed his knees under his core, looked up to WinterSmith, and let his arms fall limply to his sides. Reverently, he asked, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” WinterSmith’s dolichocephalic skull fell left, resting on his left, bulbous, shoulder. Am I good enough? Is he judging my sins? WinterSmith’s arms were now covered in the beautiful and glistening snow-colored fur. He raised his left arm, extending his long and pointed claws, and gently rested them on Karl’s shoulder.

Abruptly, Karl’s elation morphed to a rotten, scathing, pain. What’s happening? My…my bones…they’re moving! Karl let out a scream accented by tears and a clawing agony, as his insides started to re-arrange. The pain blinded Karl, as his ribs expanded, inverted, and broke through his burning flesh. Thick brown fur started to replace his gouged and broke flesh as his heels extended and became one with the balls of his feet. The pain stopped, momentarily, and Karl rested on his back, looking up at the portal-like black sky. Is this what you needed, WinterSmith? Okay. Karl convulsed as all ten fingers simultaneously broke and started to shift forward, elongating. The bones pushed through his finger-tips, forming sharp points, as his jaw unhinged, shattering. Make me the instrument of your will, please…

 

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Thanks for reading, part 2 and original artwork coming soon!

Daily Blog 9/10/17

So I took yesterday off for the most part. A good friend of mine was visiting from Illinois and we saw It. Was a really solid take on the book. It is one of my favorite King books, so it was cool to see such a well produced movie in that universe.

Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/27/daily-blog-82717/

Anyway, Enjoy!

XII

Present Day-Silgan

Silgan pushed the syringe down as fast as he could, but it was a thick solution. Nessa, still screaming, began to convulse after about half of the solution had been infused. As the last drop was pushed into her circulation, Silgan removed the syringe and set it on the metal counter near his open briefcase. Her screams were shrinking, less force being exhaled as the seconds’ past. Hurrying, he opened the outer pocket of his briefcase and removed the tracker gun. He pulled the release on the gun to check if it was loaded, it was. Turning, Silgan placed the gun to Nessa’s lower neck and pulled the trigger. Dropping the gun to the floor, he brought his right middle and fore-finger to Nessa’s external carotid artery, just under the right side of her neck. The pulse was slowing. Please, fight.

Silgan heard the door to his back slam open, followed by quick, heavy footsteps. The angry bass of the giant radiated, “What the fuck are you doing, chemist!? You can’t kill her yet! We’ve just started!”

Still feeling her pulse–twenty beats–Silgan, in a condescending tone, said, “I don’t know how many marks you’ve worked buddy, but she didn’t know anything. I was saving us time.”

Taken aback, the large man shouted, “The boss is gonna here about this one, I don’t care who you think you are, arrogant son of a bitch. It doesn’t matter how good you–ten beats–are with your little mixtures, blowing a job this important could get us all killed!”

Smiling, slightly, Silgan responded, “If Governor Haskell has a complaint regarding my ability, I’d be happy to field his–three beats, constant–constructive criticism. An ongoing dialogue tends to produce productive results on both ends. For instance, maybe I can instruct him how to pick marks that aren’t useless little children.” Silgan removed his fingers from Nessa’s neck as the large man left the room, muttering inaudibly. Okay. This is not how we expected the morning to go, but we aren’t dead yet. Just play it close, Simon, play it close.

Silgan closed his briefcase, assuming a flat, innocuous expression, lips parting. Breathing deeply, Silgan turned, and headed for the open door with his briefcase in hand. As Silgan passed the guards, he half expected to be hit in the back of the head with the butt of a shotgun. He wasn’t. Alex and the large man were standing close to each other as he approached.

Silgan paused, as the large man said, “To be clear, the only reason you’re not dead right now is because Alex here swore up and down you know what the fuck you’re doing. I trust another veteran over some doctor any day.”

“Really? You’d kill me for doing my job efficiently? She’s dead, isn’t she? I don’t know when I became a glorified veterinarian.” Silgan responded, callously. As the large man shook his head, chuckling, Silgan looked to Alex, “Let’s go.” Alex, face blank, nodded, following Silgan towards the exit lift. Alex was silent as Silgan swiped his card. Somethings wrong. The pair stepped into the elevator. Alex pressed the ground floor button and the doors closed.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Silgan?” whispered Alex, broodingly.

Facing forward, Silgan said, “You know what’s wrong with me. Besides, she didn’t know anything. Just saved us some trouble by ending it early.”

Eyebrows raised, Alex turned to Silgan and asked, “So how come her screams sounded so…fake, after you injected her.” Silgan’s blood ran cold. Fuck, he knows. “Look, Silgan, I didn’t want to hurt her either, I ain’t like that, and I get why you’d put her out of her misery. What I don’t understand is why you’d place a tracker in a dying girl. Now, I got your back, and I thought you had mine, so, please tell me how the fuck this don’t end with a bullet in both our brains.”

The elevator opened, revealing the disheveled and time-worn lobby of the old mill. The pair stepped out and started towards the glass door. A dim-blue morning light illuminated Silgan’s anxiety-torn face as he responded, “That giant couldn’t tell what I’d done. Her pulse should be averaging around two to five beats per minute. Her eyes won’t blink, via the muscle relaxants stacked with the anesthetics. She’s conscious, but barely, she won’t be able to respond to external stimuli for at least three hours. All goes well, I find her body, get her out, set her up with a new ID, SS number, and send her on her way. I couldn’t let that poor girl suffer, let alone die in that place, not after what she’s been through. You saw the fucking scars and bruising, didn’t you?”

They were outside, the cold morning pecked at Silgan’s face. The driver wouldn’t have expected us so soon, he probably wouldn’t be back for another five minutes or so. Silgan turned to appraise his partner. Alex’s face was stony, his glasses hid his eyes, but the surrounding skin was contorted in a way that suggested they were closed. As Silgan averted his gaze to the cold earth, Alex swung his tool box violently into Silgan’s stomach. Gahh! What the hell.

Silgan doubled over, dropping his suitcase. Angrily, Alex shouted, “Don’t you ever do something like this without telling me first!” Alex kicked Silgan’s face, hard. “Don’t you ever play games with my fucking life, without even giving me a chance to fucking help you self-important prick!” Alex stomped on Silgan’s left hand, digging in with the steal plated heel.”

Silgan cried in pain, gritting his teeth, as he struggled to respond, “I’m sorry Alex, I should’ve told you!”

“Fuck you, man.” Said Alex, coolly, as he removed his boot. Silgan, struggled to get up, failing and falling back down. “God damn it. Too late to turn back now, chemist, clean yourself up.” Silgan managed to push himself onto his knees, before wiping the blood from his lip. Alex reached his hand out, Silgan eyed it, warily. “Well Christ on a cracker, take it before I change my mind, you death-wishing ballsy motherfucker.” He took Alex’s hand, who pulled him to his feet before continuing, “Besides, that plan of yours was pretty fuckin sly. I don’t know how you whipped up such a complex solution on the spot.”

Smiling, Silgan responded, “It was luck, I’d brought plenty of relaxants and anesthetics. You were right about the painkillers though, couldn’t have done it without a psychoactive opiate.”

Shaking his head, amused, Alex said, “I shoulda known you could do even more damage with those lil pills outside you than inside you.” Alex pulled out a small blue pen and a check book as the black sedan pulled around the corner. “Look, Silgan we gotta meet after we get dropped off. Gather what you need and go to this address.” Said Alex, scribbling on the back of an empty check before handing it to Silgan. What have I gotten myself into?

 

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Thanks for Reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/11/daily-blog-91117/