Saying ‘I love you’ over and over again a few moments after I walked in on you…and her is the worst thing you could do. It hurts when I know you don’t mean it, when you just proved you never did.
Saying ‘I love you’ over and over again a few moments after I walked in on you…and her is the worst thing you could do. It hurts when I know you don’t mean it, when you just proved you never did.
I’ll be your sick-bird,
you be my blood-hound,
My hearts in your mouth,
Breaking neck spins round.
You’re not the one to blame,
You see; I can’t complain,
This is all you’ve known.
Blackened bloody mold,
Just doing what you’re told.
Your love was a warhead,
A straight time-bomb,
You taught me this lesson,
That I ain’t so strong.
Take your pound of flesh,
Don’t matter if it’s right,
Hit me while I’m fresh,
You know I’ll never fight,
As long as you let me,
Love you more than this life.
So here’s to that jaw,
Tightening ‘round me,
I’m just your dead-bird,
So be my blood-hound,
You’re the one with teeth.
And all I am is meat.
7×11 cut watercolor, Pen and marker.
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/
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?”
Must be freeing to know, that when you destroy the last thing worth chasing, you’ll have nowhere to go. Nowhere to be, alone, so you can fly to the only place you see, and conquer your world.
Yeah, okay, I get it. I hope you find someone who helps you love yourself as much as I loved you.
You brought me flowers,
The beautiful things.
Those late-night hours,
Your touch made me sing.
Those flowers withered,
Hanging from our string.
A fractured blizzard hides,
Our now-forgotten rings.
That now you are gone,
And our son’s almost three,
There is no-one out there left,
Who will ever love me.
On the Mantle,
Those same flowers rest,
Let me light the candles,
I’ll try to forget your death.
Long dead roses,
Till-death they’ll remain.
Their blackened fruit imposes,
A hurt I can’t abstain.
Cause’ baby I’m numb.
Every time I see them,
I feel the warmth of your skin.
A momentary bliss,
That helps me reminisce,
Your soft and gentle kiss.
Cover-Art note: 8×11 ultra-white watercolor stock, blue colored pencil and black ink.
A major tonal shift from the first two chapters serves to mirror the alcohol’s progression. A lot of the prior details come into play in this, and the next chapter. Foreshadow’s Chapter one’s malicious and disassociated style.
Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/13/third-degree-part-1/
Sighing, Casey stood, nearly falling as a head a rush blackened her already-distorted vision. It’s been like four minutes or something stupid, how long does it take to get drinks? Guess I’ll have to go find him. Lethargically, Casey walked up the hot-tub steps and headed towards the towel rack. Better to not track water on those expensive carpets. Reaching the rack, she took one of the course, white, towels and dried herself from the legs up. She wrapped the towel around her waist to help the shorts dry faster, before walking towards the now-open sliding door. What time is it? I swear, there were not these many people when we got here. Okay, made it inside. Where are the drinks, anyway?
Casey tried to squeeze past the coagulated party-goers, but stumbled, accidentally knocking the drink out of some guy’s hand. “Damnit! I just waited five minutes to pour that shit.” She ignored him, pushing through the crowd as an unwarranted anxiety gripped her chest. I don’t feel so great, another drink will help take the edge off. Where are you Matt? I can’t handle these many people. As her eyes started to ache, she blushed in embarrassment. Come on Casey, this is supposed to be an awesome night. First big date, first big party, don’t go and start crying, please. I’m enough of a nerd as it is.
She couldn’t help it though, as the crowds overwhelmed her, so did the alcohol-corrupted tears. I don’t know these people…Spotting an empty part of the wall, she pressed her back against it, breathing deeply in a vain attempt to quiet the burning tears smearing her dramatic eye-liner.
“Yo! Casey, you alright?” asked a voice she recognized but couldn’t place. Frantically, she looked around, wiping her eyes. Casey’s throat fell into her stomach as she spotted the source. Just my luck. Jacob pushed through the crowd before continuing, “Don’t cry! What’s wrong? Where’s Matt? He seemed real self-important about lookin’ after you tonight.”
Voice cracking weakly, Casey answered, “He went to get drinks. He was taking a while so I came to find him. Was a mistake, obviously. I hadn’t realized how many people were here.”
“Uh yeah, that wasn’t the best idea. These parties get real packed. Glad I found you though!” He smiled, obnoxiously. Is it a scientific fact that polo-shirts make you look like a fucking douchebag? “How about you go wait for him near the top of the stairs, I’ll do my best to find him for you and tell him where you are. Here, take my drink, you…you need it more right now I think.” Okay, maybe he isn’t as bad as I thought.
Casey took his drink and smiled, slightly, before replying, “Thanks, Jacob. Sorry for what I said in the car, I guess I wasn’t being fair.”
“Ah no worries ‘bout that! I figured you were just joshing around. Besides I like a little fight in my girls.” Nope. I was right. Just grin and bear it so he finds Matt for you, Casey. Feigning a laugh, Casey thanked him for his help and started towards the crowded steps. She took a sip of her liquid courage before tackling the masses again. She managed through the crowd without pissing anyone off this time around. Alcohol really does fix everything, I guess. Christ, I’m not looking forward to discovering what a hangover feels like, though. She turned right and climbed up the stairs, noting the ‘Do Not Enter’ rope at the top. What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll just sit at the top and wait, that way no one will bother me.
Casey nearly tripped on the penultimate step of her booze-soaked journey. She sat down and took another gulp as her vision started to swim. Is that normal? I didn’t realize alcohol made you so dizzy. Ugh, my stomach doesn’t feel good all the sudden…I don’t want to barf on the carpet. There’s gotta be a bathroom around here. She finished the drink and struggled to her feet, grabbing the wall as her towel fell to the floor. Shit. Oh shit, I can’t see right. What’s happening? I feel tired. Turning the corner, Casey headed for what appeared to be a bathroom. It’s hard to tell though, my vision is swimming. What’s wrong with my legs?! It’s like walking through deep water. About ten feet from the white-tiled restroom, Casey’s legs buckled, and she hit her face against the carpet. She painstakingly managed to push herself onto her knees before she noticed the bright red stain on the white carpet. Slow and steady. It’s just alcohol, you’re young, you’ll be fine.
Crawling now, she worked her way to the toilet, cold tile harassing the frayed nerves of her knees and hands. The nausea passed, but I can barely move. Somethings wrong with me, what was in the drink? Her arms failed her and she crumpled. She tried to call for help, but her throat was as useless as her muscles. Stay…Awake…Plea…
An interesting chapter, I had fun re-working some of the subtler mechanics here. It introduces some of the first adventure elements in the story, something that’s more salient in Act 3. I think the chapter would be very dark without the elements of comic relief. It has a bi-polar structure in a lot of ways, and it experimental in that regard.
Start at the beginning: https://bluebeard-art.com/prologue-2/
Silgan locked the apartment behind him, anxiety high, as his thoughts raced for a solution. Where do I go now? The Governor and the Police are going to be on my trail once they find out about Harold. Silgan had forced Harold’s limp body into the industrial-sized freezer near the back of his room, neglecting the blood-stains in the kitchen. He’d also grabbed Harold’s house key, which he now used to open Harold’s apartment. The room was huge, and disgusting. Old clothes, pizza boxes, soda cans, and ambiguously stained porno-mags littered the floor. I need to find the phone he was using to communicate with Haskell. If they used a text-based channel, I can throw Haskell off my trail. Silgan only had forty minutes to meet Alex, and an hour and twenty minutes until Nessa would, hopefully, awaken.
Hurrying forward, he examined his surroundings, scanning for loose electronics. Harold’s bed was a luxurious looking king-size, disheveled and blood-stained. I don’t want to know whose blood that is. There was a ladder in the back corner of the room, leading to a small loft. Silgan set his briefcase and duffle down before climbing the ladder. Reaching the top, he found a small desk with an intense looking desktop PC. Probably has crazy specs. Approaching, Silgan noticed that Harold was still logged in. Hurrying, he sat at the computer and looked for any open communications services. All that was open on the desktop was an amazon shopping cart, filled with differently colored knives and an unsavory looking pornographic film from the nineties, entitled, ‘Rubber Ropes’. The fuck, Harold. Using the dark web to buy porn? Disgusted, Silgan closed the tor browser, navigating to the “advanced search bar” where he unchecked all of file types aside from the common note taking extensions. Then, he typed “Password”. The first result popped up as a notepad file labeled ‘Passwords and sht’. Harold, you always were a dumbass. Silgan clicked the file and reopened dot onion browser. Choosing the “maximum mirroring” option, Silgan opened his personal email server, before clicking back to the file. There were eight different passwords:
“RobertEL33reborn” No surprise there, I knew he was a supremacist scum-bag.
“HaggardHaroldDomYourSub” You wish, Harold.
Amused, Silgan drafted an email to himself, and clicked ‘browse for files’. He searched “Passwords and sht” and attached the file before pressing send. Closing the email server, he shut down the computer. Getting to his knees, Silgan crawled behind the desktop and under the desk. Shame, it really is a nice computer. Silgan reached into the open system and unplugged the hard-drive before removing it entirely. He secured it in his pants pocket for the time being. I’ll destroy it later.
Crawling back, Silgan stood, and turned to the ladder. Carefully, he lowered himself onto the small, wooden ladder, before climbing down. Next, Silgan walked towards a small night-sill to the right of Harold’s ominously stained bed. A green Digitex alarm read 8:20 AM, but the rest of the sill was empty. Silgan reached down, opening the sill’s drawer. Oh, come on, man…fuck. The drawer was filled with various sex toys, male and female, two of which had dark-black blood-stains. Silgan backed two steps away, kicking the drawer closed. Looking to the bathroom, Silgan thought of places where he’d hide an important phone. Do I really need to see what Harold has in his bathroom? Nobody deserves that kind of exposure. Maybe later. Decidedly, Silgan moved around the foot of the bed towards Harold’s three-drawer-dresser. Opening the first drawer, Silgan ruffled the clothes around, searching for any solid objects. Nothing. Silgan closed the drawer before opening the middle. Rummaging, Silgan paused, suddenly grateful for his latex gloves.
There were sticky pictures of a young woman Silgan didn’t recognize. Could this be the woman he mentioned? Turning through the photos, Silgan started to feel sick. The photos, clearly amateur, clearly predatory, and clearly taken without permission. The first was a shot of the small, brunette, woman through what was presumably the window to her kitchen. The second, pictured the woman, smiling, surrounded by other people in an outdoor hot tub. The point of view of the photo was disconcerting, as there were trees creeping into the side of the frame. He was stalking her. The next three photos were like the first two. The sixth, however, showed the poor woman sedated, retrained in an upright cross-like position. The seventh, from the same scene, pictured her awake, clothes torn, tears streaming, and blood gushing from several small wounds. Silgan had to put the pictures down after the eighth, in which the woman, still on the cross, was screaming as a small blow torch was being held to her breast.
Silgan tore the sick, darkroom style, photos to shreds before throwing them into the nearby trash, where they belonged. You sick and perverted bastard. You really did deserve to die, no regrets there. Moving back to the wardrobe, he opened the final drawer. Ruffling the clothes, he found nothing besides a few boxes of cigarettes. Turning, Silgan headed to the bathroom, directly across from the wardrobe. As Silgan approached, he noticed the lights were on. Interesting, all the other lights were off. Why leave the bathroom lights on? Apprehensive, Silgan pushed the door, letting it swing open. Christ be spared the cross…There were towels covering the entire bathroom floor. The showers curtain was drawn, a pale hand protruding from out behind it. Silgan noticed a phone on the bathrooms sink. Moving forward, he grabbed it, and stashed it in his left suit-pocket. Do I even want to know what’s behind that curtain? No. Creeping forward, Silgan grasped the curtain, and pulled it aside.
The blaze returned. How could he do this to a person? In the tub, rested the remnants of the woman from the photos. Her midsection and legs had mostly dissolved in the corrosive acid. Probably a mix of hydrofluoric and fluorosulfuric acid. The bubbling gives it away. Her face had a permanent expression of fear and disdain on it, as her upper body sank lower and lower, dissolving. The right-hand Silgan had seen, was detached from the body. The acid had eaten through the bone of her forearm before she had sunk low enough to pull the rest of the hand into the tub. A large, diamond, ring remained on her slight, young hand. Poor girl.
Crestfallen. Silgan left the bathroom and opened the burner-phone. It was locked. Quickly, remembering the password list, Silgan pulled out his smartphone before opening his email app. The smartphone quickly downloaded the notepad file. Glancing over the list, only one password could be entered, because the burners animated keyboard had no alphabetical input. Holding his breath, he typed: ‘569142’. He smiled as the phone played a small unlock animation, leading to the home screen. He navigated to the phones history, which contained texts to a lone number.
Interestingly, any reply from the number was either deleted, or nonexistent. Well, that makes things simple, doesn’t it? The most recent sent message read, “He’s just left the room” dated today, and sent at four thirty AM. Silgan typed out a quick message, similar in style to the previous messages “It sounds like he’s gone to sleep.”
Most equate you to the seething, euphoric, and acute joy one feels during an accomplishment. That feeling of well-being and contentedness, whispers promising safety as you engulf us. But, that’s not your true face. You’re a conceptual construct, a platform, an unrealistic ideal.
Happily ever after?
How could you exist, when acute joy is so fleeting. Do you refer to a plateau in which we achieve permanence in euphoria, a chronic dose of endorphin-dreams? Those wisps we’d do anything the infuse, to caress, if only for a moment. Pretend, for a moment, that you are real. What then? After a year of the pleasant mist, doesn’t the equilibrium shift? The extraordinary is the new ordinary. Do we want that? Are the ever-shifting dunes of the human mind really that terrible? To fore-go all moments to crystallize our being into a single emotion. That elusive and momentary bliss.
No. I don’t think that’s what we really want. So I’ll keep chasing the fragments of hope, follow them through the glaciers, through forest-fires, and give myself the time to figure it out on my own.
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.
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.