Revamping the Wall-Spider (Artwork)

Having recently completed the general and rough manuscript for Butterfly Gate and passing it off to a trusted editor, I suddenly have time to work on my other stories and art projects. Re-reading and editing the same 460 page story three times within a week is hard work, but also really engaging and fun for me.

So this week (Spring Break!) has been all about planning new art for my other work-in-progress Saving Hadley and tackling a new arc. I also had time on the side to start writing my third project, Wall-Spider in a more serious capacity. As soon as I finished the rough short story (now chapter one of Wall-Spider) I knew I wanted to take it farther, but I already had a few engulfing projects. It was great to really delve into developing a new book, and infinitely less stressful than the first two times.

It’s a little mind-blowing and encouraging how visible the improvement has been. I started by  re-working the short story. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t up to my current standards or style, so I improved the flow and counter-play between the first and third person narration. Then, having a good six months of ideas and notes about where I wanted to take it, barfed out a cool sixty pages, which was a new record for me.

But there’s other clerical work I do when I approach a novel. Part of that was taking the art I’ve already done for Wall-Spider and reworking it.

Before:

Hunger Demon
Hunger Demon

After:

Hunger Demon

The main challenge was retroactively fixing the perspective issues with the first sketch. Then I drew as realistic of a padded cell backing as I could in Photoshop. The rest was simple lighting.

Obviously there are still some lighting and perspective issues, but I felt good about it for a simple three-hour session. One of the main takeaways from this for me is to really spend more time planning perspective. Messing up the two-point as badly as I did on a drawing that was otherwise very solid and emotionally personal/important to who I am was a little silly. I could have avoided the issue by spending two minutes with a compass to measure the two-point, but I free-handed the lines and rolled with it.

Your Light (Poem)

An open challenge:

Your Light<—–Click here for Poem (PDF)

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Thoughts: Definitely a dark, brooding, piece. It was written in a cumbersome over-syllabic manner on purpose. It’s meant to portray someone who feels overwhelmed, done, so much so that they are lashing out against the one good thing they have left. Once they push away that last light, it’s over.

Never push away the lights in your life, no matter how grim it gets.

-Bluebeard

Written: 9/8/17

Daily Blog: 9/3/17

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

Previous chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/02/daily-blog-9217/

 

Happy memorial-day weekend everybody!

*Explicit language and brief torture/violent scenes.

VII

Present Day-Silgan

 

Lethargically, Silgan walked to the observation window closest to the technician. He felt empty, helpless, as Alex walked through the door. “Who are you? Where am I?” Nessa asked, frantically trying to get a look at Alex. Her voice echoed clearly through the observance PA system. She had short-cropped black hair and wore a yellow tank top with a cartoon mouse Silgan didn’t recognize printed on the front. She wore loose, black pants, and had no socks on. She’s too young…this isn’t fair.

Red welts branded her wrists, neck, and ankles; where she was strapped down to what appeared to be an old psych ward apparatus. “Please help me! I don’t know why I’m here…Please!” Alex, ignoring her, pulled the metal table within her view and set down his toolbox. “What is that, si…sir please don’t hurt me.”

Alex paused, slowly looking up to meet her gaze, and said, “I don’t have to hurt you, but I will if you don’t answer a few simple questions.” His tone was flat, emotionless.

Nessa’s legs started to quiver, as she shouted, “I’ll answer anything, please, what do you need to know?!” The poor girls already cracked. She can’t know anything, look at her!

Silgan felt a rush of anxiety as the voices responded, “Do what you have to Simon, it’s either us or her, and no matter what you do she leaves in a body bag. Either man up or join her.”

I can’t hurt her, I can’t let Alex hurt her. She looks like a young Hadley for Christ’s sake.

“So what? You gonna do yourself in like you did Hadley?” mocked the voices, cruelly.

It wasn’t me who did that to her…

                Alex removed a small, metal razer. Nessa stared at the tool. “So, where’s your father?”

Eyes wide and confused, Nessa responded, “I don’t know who my father is! What are you talking about, what are you going to do with that.” Please Alex…don’t, I can’t watch this.

                Sneering, a gruff voice shouted, “We can watch it…and you can too if it means survival.”

Alex brought the razer to her right shoulder as she struggled against the cruel straps. Suddenly, he dropped the razer on the table next to her shoulder. She slowed her struggling, looking at him warily. “I should disinfect the area first, sorry, I almost forgot.” He said, smiling slightly. Reaching back towards his toolbox, he picked up a small packet. He opened it, exposing a small alcohol wipe. He quickly wiped a small portion of her right shoulder, discarding the wipe afterwards. Nessa started to whimper and struggled back and forth as Alex picked up the razer. Silgan put his head down as she started screaming. Alex dug the six-blade razer deep into her shoulder, and pulled down quickly, deliberately removing the top layer of Nessa’s dermis. Nessa’s screams were high, full, and accented by tears. I…I can’t…I’ll stop this.

Silgan went to the technicians PA monitor as Alex moved the blade back into position a few inches to the right of the first cut. Quickly, Silgan pressed the broadcast button, and said, “Alex, I think I have a more effective idea than…well, that thing you’re doing there.” Alex moved the blade away, turning around with a small, innocuous smile.

Shrugging, he responded, “Be my guest.” Alex put his razer back in the toolbox and walked towards the door. The large man gave Silgan a suspicious glance.

Silgan put his hands up defensively, and said with a humorous inflection, “Hey man, you really think she knows anything? I’m just trying to get this over with, and my chemicals will get the job done a lot faster, with a lot less screaming.”

Smiling, the large man responded, “You’re the boss, chemist.”

Silgan gathered his briefcase and headed for the door, Alex patted his back as they passed. Silgan closed the door behind him and moved to the metal table near Nessa. Her arm looks terrible, it was only one cut too. Three-by-two inches of skin was peeled off her shoulder. She was contorted in fear, tending toward the left, away from Silgan, and the metal table. He could hear her crying and whimpering from where he stood. I don’t have much time. I will save her.

Silgan set his suitcase on the metal table and opened it quickly. He scanned the various chemicals he’d packed. Thank Christ I brought the muscle relaxants. He grabbed an empty syringe and put it on the table. As he reached for “Part 1”, he asked, “Nessa, what do you know about where you were being held?” She relaxed slightly, but didn’t turn her face towards Silgan.

Quietly, she responded, “I don’t know that much about it. But there were men, who’d come throughout the day… I’d have to help them or the mean people would hurt me.” What the fuck. How did the boss think this was a fucking lead, this girls probably the kid of some other poor girl Sullie raped. “That’s really all I know, I don’t know anything about my father or who ran that place.”

Silgan released the cryo-tube “Part 1” was trapped in and set the solution on the table. I need to hurry before the reaction gets too far along. Picking up the syringe, he said, “I believe you, Nessa. So let me fill you in. The man who ran that prison is a…political adversary of the man I work for. He seems to share your DNA. Which honestly, considering the circumstances, makes him a real fuck. You see we thought his daughter might know something about her father’s operation, but he didn’t treat you right, and I don’t respect that.” A father using their child this way… makes my blood boil. Nessa had turned towards him, studying his face, cautiously. Silgan glanced up to meet her gaze, giving her a quick, and reassuring smile. Her eyes shot to his hands drawing “Part 1” into the syringe.

Panicking again, she asked, “What is that?! Please don’t hurt me anymore, sir, I’ll do anything!”

“I’ll tell you exactly what this does as soon as I finish mixing it. It’s a very time-sensitive process, I’m afraid. Let’s make a deal, you and I, you stop talking, and I tell you what it does when I finish?” Silgan responded in an even tone. He gave her a reassuring nod before turning to grab the type-B muscle relaxant. He set it on the table next to “Part 1”, opened it, and drew about half the volume of “Part 1” he’d drawn. Approximations will have to suffice. 2:1:1 should do the trick, she’s small.

Finally, he removed the two Lortabs from his pocket, set them on the counter, reached for his damaged surgical knife, and crushed them with the butt of the knife. He took a small plastic cup from his briefcase, swept the Lortab dust into the cup, and added a small amount of deionized water. After swishing the cup around a little, he took the now bubbling syringe, and drew about three fourths of the Lortab solution into it.

Syringe in hand, Silgan moved close to Nessa’s ear, and whispered, “Keep your eyes open as best you can, I’m going to get you out of here. This will slow your heart rate and put you in a temporary coma. They will think you’re dead. I’ll come collect you before you wake up if possible, but I can’t promise they won’t kill me for uh…killing you. I’ll put my surgical knife in your back pocket, if you wake up in a bag, remember the knife and use it to escape. Please scream now.”

She started screaming as Silgan brought the Syringe to her right inner elbow, he slapped the skin and found a vein quickly. She really is malnourished. Silgan pushed the syringe into the large vein, and injected.

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Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/04/daily-blog-9417/

Daily Blog 9/1/17

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

Previous chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/08/31/daily-blog-83117/

_________________________________________________________________________________

Chapter five brings us back to Silgan, and the main plot. He and Alex arrive at their “workplace” and are briefed on today’s “client”.

*Explicit language warning  

Enjoy!

V

Present Day

Silgan secured his briefcase, careful not to knock Alex’s tool box off of the seat, and opened the door. Immediately, the below-zero November air assaulted his eyes, nose, and hand. I love that sting, the numbing chill. Stepping out, he observed his surroundings, hearing Alex’s door open behind him. In front of him, an unmarked building that looked to be a re-purposed lumber mill, abandoned and ominous. Looks like a God-damn horror house. Various tools, covered in supple, fresh, snow were scattered about the floor.

As Silgan turned to close his door, Alex mused, “Gotta love these Rhode Island winters! Makes a man remember what life feels like, don’t it?”

“That’s one way of looking at it.” muttered Silgan, frowning. The pair started to walk towards the semi-frozen glass doors as the car pulled away. I don’t like this.

Alex gave Silgan his best “suck it up” look and said “Man it ain’t you we gonna work today, not yet. Gotta be thankful for that, at least.” Better than working a kid, you brute. 

Annoyed, Silgan responded “For a man from the south, you sure don’t know when to shut up. I’d give anything, short of die, to not have to do what we’re about to.”

The anxiety started seeping through Silgans muscles, as a chorus of voices became audible. “We made ourselves clear to the boss after that kid in upstate New York. Why the fuck is he messing with us.” Shutup!

“What? After all the great decisions, you’ve been making? You got us in this mess and we are supposed to keep quiet? Maybe we should make more of the decisions.” responded the voices, offended.

“Too bad the only possible outcome of you turning tail is death, aint it?” asked Alex, meeting Silgan’s eye with a knowing glare. “You good man? You look a little pale.”

“You’re worthless. Nothing. Can’t even do your job without trying to drown us, the useful parts of you, out with drugs!”

Nodding at Alex, Silgan reached for the door. The rounded metal handle was cold to the touch, but swung open smoothly. It had clearly been maintained better than the rundown mills exterior brick and the tools littering the ground.

“We protect you, you know. From the shit you’ve done, we contain it, so it can’t hurt your fragile ego, chemist. Pfft. You can’t even hurt a little girl without crying to Alex.” Mocked the voices.

You’re sick.

Laughing, the voices continued, “We know we are and so are you. You NEED us to survive, you’re weak, worthless, dreadful, you piece of human refuse. How can you be so fucked and be such a pussy at the same time? Running from us, changing your name time after time­–”

“Hey, buddy, gonna need you to focus up. Swipe your card.” said Alex, looking worried.

Confused, Silgan responded “Sorry, I’m fine.” Light-headed, Silgan reached for the RF-ID stored in his right suit-coat pocket. “This marks got me all out of sorts, the boss should have sent a different team to handle this one.”

“You know you’re the best, and this is pretty fucking important.” Noted Alex, as he shuffled into the opening elevator door. “That said, I gotta say it’s pretty unlikely she’s gonna know the creepy shit her daddies been planning. Sullie is a fucking ghost, and his family is probably as in the dark as we are.” I didn’t even realize Sullie had a family. He’s usually the one doing the black-mail, not the other way. The kind of man who’d shoot his parents to improve his image. 

The elevator was clearly much newer than the building, made of what appeared to be burnished nickel with steel. No, its texture suggest titanium. Expensive. Ding: U2–Silgan and Alex both took black latex gloves from the small dispenser on the back of the elevator shaft–Ding: U3–and started to put them on.

“Keep your head on straight in there man.” Alex said, looking straight ahead–Ding: U4.

“I know the drill. I just hope she knows something.” Responded Silgan, steeling himself–Ding: U5.

The elevator opened smoothly, revealing a dimly lit room. Stepping out of the lift, Silgan noted the observatory structure of the room. There was a chamber in the center of the room was lined on each of its four sides with glass. Probably one-way glass. The chambers four corners pointed to the middle of each of the surrounding rooms four sides, forming a diamond shape within a square. There were metal hand rails protruding from the glass, as well as speakers lining the ceiling. Those are gonna be hooked up to mics in the glass room, hard to say anything without being heard. 

A small woman sat at a desk in the far left corner of the outer-room. On his desk was an expensive looking Dill-Man laptop surrounded by various recording equipment. Really going high tech on this one. If I had any hope of getting out of this before, it’s gone now. These thoughts were further enforced by the two sets of guards in unmarked body armor holding what appeared to be automatic shotguns, with LMGs strapped to their backs. Normal ballistics, doesn’t look magnetic. One soldier stood on either side of the elevator, while the other pair guarded the entrance to the chamber.

Standing behind the small woman with the recording equipment was a tall, muscular man in a Navy blue suit. He wore dark sunglasses despite the already dim lighting. Those are probably tactical glasses. The guards have them too. He also had a wire trailing from his collar to his ear. As Alex and Silgan approached the desk, the tall man looked up, his face stoic, and hard. If his stature wasn’t imposing enough, his cleanly shaven and low cropped military hair surrounding a stone-like jaw were downright intimidating. Anabolics, hell of a drug.

“Gentlemen.” He said in a cracked base. Christ, where did they find this guy? Alex and Silgan both nodded in acknowledgment. “I’ll be briefing you today. I’m not going to lie, we don’t know if she knows anything. We know she responds to Nessa. She was captured in a semi-prison during the raid on her father’s hideout in upstate New York along-side a mutilated corpse. We think she did it with a make-shift iron hook that was lodged in the man’s glabella, just below his forehead. Her medical examination revealed she’s already been the victim of significant abuse. We didn’t realize who she was until we tested her DNA, which matched Sullies DNA. For these reasons, it is clear that she has little value as a hostage, your mission is to extract whatever she has, by any means you deem necessary, and then dispose of her.

Silgan’s heart dropped to his stomach. That’s it, then. No two ways about it.

__________________________

Thanks for reading!

Next chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/2017/09/02/daily-blog-9217/

WallSpider

This is part one of a three-part short story. It’s well within the horror genre, so, be aware. This story is an interpretation of my drawing above. Having personally struggled with OCD and an eating disorder, this story is important to me. I wanted it to display the frustration, anger, and helplessness that OCD can cause. It can be a crippling disorder, but with the right therapy, can be diminished, made weak. It doesn’t have to control you, it is something that can be beaten.

*Trigger warning: This short story contains graphic depictions of bulimia nervosa and OCD. It also contains vulgar and unsavory language. If you find this type of content offensive, for any reason, please do not read the following paragraphs.

 

I

“You really should eat more of your dinner, dear. Your mother worked very hard to make it, and these sweet potatoes are delightful!” Frank Moore said, breaking the habitual dinner-time silence. Amy examined the red-orange mash she’d mixed her roast-beef into, forming a disgusting, muddy brown mass.

To Amy’s left, a black puddle materialized on the wall, a large object slithering into her periphery. Just what I need. As she kept her eyes on her food, the WallSpider crept forward. Pausing a foot away, its steamy breath harassed Amy’s bare shoulder, before whispering “You will not eat any more than you h…have, you fa…fatbulbous…whore.” Amy bit her lip, hard, focusing on ignoring the creature.

Looking up to her father, Amy matched his forced smile, responding “Yeah, Dad. It’s real good, I just ate a lot at lunch, you know I have an easier time eating at lunch. Having Derek and Samantha around calms me down, makes it easier to eat.” That fake-ass smile makes him look like a neurotic clown, even without makeup. Frank’s grin faded, changing to his normal, disappointed perma-frown gate. Sighing, he looked to Annie, Amy’s mother, who had her head down, quietly chewing her food.

Rolling his eyes, he looked back to his own food, muttering “Can’t even have a God-damned conversation in this house anymore.”

Annie paused, stricken, dropping her silverware with a loud clank. “Frank Moore, watch your language. This is God’s table, you foul man!” Annie half-shouted, as her hands twitched and her jowls quivered in anger. Oops, looks like you pissed mom off again, dad. Thanks for that.

Frank recoiled, slightly, and put his hands up, quickly apologizing “Sorry honey, I didn’t mean to take the lords name in vein, I was just frustrated.” Annie’s gaze tightened, teeth bared, and fists clenched. Frank bit his lip before continuing. “Amy, if you’re done with your mash and beef, why don’t you head to your room, do some school-work so your mother and I can talk.” Thank Christ. Two less monsters to deal with.

Amy pushed her seat back, stood up, and walked around the right side of her chair, away from the shadowy creature. As Amy walked through the dining-room door, into the worn living room, she could hear hisses and cracks as the creature forced its way through the wall. Amy tapped her fingers against her sides, quickening her pace, rushing for the curved stairs. As she got to the base of the stairs, a large black pool materialized above the first two steps, right before the stairs curved right. The WallSpider’s ugly head pushed through the tar-like puddle, oozing magma-like goo onto the ground, blocking the stairs. Jaw tightening, Amy whispered “What do you want now? I’ve eaten all of eight bites today? One for breakfast, four at lunch, and three small ones at dinner!”

WallSpider lifted its worm-esque body a few feet above Amy, looking down at her. It never fully leaves the wall, it’s like a giant, fucking snake. The creatures lower jaw was split by what looked to be a fibrous, folding gland. Its eight eyes studied Amy, appraisingly, before it said “You’re far too fat today, b…buttercup.” Amy’s lips quivered, as tears welled in her eyes. Don’t, make me do it, WallSpider. Please. “Ta…take a trip to the bathroomfixxxs yourself, make yourself worthy, you dough-like c…cunt.” WallSpider moved a few inches closer, and opened its mouth wide, the folds on its bottom jaw splitting into two separate jaws. Its long tongue moved to Amy’s small, ravished, stomach, and traced along her prominent ribcage, before moving to her angular, overly defined left hip-bone.

“Please, don’t make me do it, I’m so hungry.” WallSpider’s tounge quickly retracted, it’s mouth opened even wider, making a disgusting, crack, as it’s jaw tore from its hinges. It started to scream. No! Not again! The sounds were simultaneously deep and shrill. The screams waves penetrated deep into Amy’s skull, irritating her inner ear, and causing her to lose her balance and fall to the ground. Amy covered her ears, struggling not to scream in terror, as she curled into a fetal position on the purple shag-carpet.

As suddenly as the screaming had begun, it stopped. Breathing heavily and shaking, Amy opened her eyes, looking to where WallSpider had been. Gone. Better listen to him, though, if I want to sleep. Her parents had started to scream, viciously, at each other. I wish they’d just fucking split already. Amy pushed herself up onto her knees, wiping away the coagulated tears and snot. She got to her feet and walked up the stairs. Why does he make me do this? I feel like I’m dying, losing myself. Will I ever be pretty? Ever be skinny enough for WallSpider to leave?

Amy had to catch her breath at the top of the stairs, her legs and arms had felt like lead all week. When’s the last time I ate? Two weeks? Tears streamed down Amy’s face as she turned left at the top of the staircase, heading towards her bathroom. Amy’s parent’s screams were drowned out, engulfed by the sea of WallSpider’s approval.

Amy felt a wave of euphoria antagonize her spine, as she closed the bathroom door, keeping the lights off. I don’t want to see myself. Feeling her way forward, she grasped on the sinks counter, quickly turning the cold-tap, and taking a few gulps. Don’t want to see what WallSpider needs me to do. Satisfied, Amy turned, leaving the water running, and walked forward. She kept her hands out in front of her, feeling for the wall that separated the toilet and shower. Almost there. Her hand closed around the walls edge, and she knelt, grabbing the edge of the toilet, pulling herself towards it. Don’t want to see WallSpider, I’d rather be blind.

Opening her mouth, Amy reached for her uvula with her right hand, trapping it between her pointer and middle fingers. Gagging slightly, tears thickening, she tightened her grip and pulled the uvula back and forth. I hate this. Her stomach started to grow nauseous, she felt blood between her fingers as the persistent chaff reopened. I hate myself. Amy’s gags grew more intense as her stomach fought back, trying to retain its much-needed prize. Make myself pretty. Amy vomited on her fingers, and into the toilet. There. Done. She removed her fingers from her throat and rested her bony jaw on the toilets seat, panting.

Again, my sweet” murmured WallSpider, sounding amused. Amy’s blood ran thick, stuffing up her throat, accelerating her tears. I’ve given you everything. There’s nothing left… Amy reached her burning, acid-soaked fingers back into her throat, letting out a moan, as the dull, sticky pain returned. It was quicker this time. After a few jiggles, Amy tasted iron, tasted blood, as she dry heaved. Choking on her tears, she removed her fingers, again. It hurts so much. She fell to her right, hitting the ground with a thud, before curling into a ball. Acid dripped from the corner of her mouth, burning her pale, chapped lips.

Again, you know you deserve this…this is what you needCleanse yourself, fight to be worth something.” No! Please…God. Struggling, Amy moved her twig-like knees under her small frame, leaning back of the smelly toilet. Quivering in agony, Amy reached into her throat, head swimming as one thought blurred with another. Please…Help me…Anybody.