Category Archives: contemporary fantasy

Not Close Enough Encounters

Spider here, again.  It’s too early to have my eyes open, let alone be writing in this damn thing. I gotta go to work later, but until then I’ve got this big gap of time and I’m thinking this shit crawlin around in my head is just gonna get worse. I tried to go outside and smoke, thinking the air would clear my brain, but it didn’t help. These thoughts are all jammed up in there and I got to get em out, ya know? I see now why Res liked this blogging shit. It’s a place to get things like this into the open so the pressure in my head can maybe let up. 
I dreamed, or sort of dreamed, last night. It was like being and watchin’ all at the same time. Like I was someplace else, but still here. See, Stone (that’s my roommate) was smokin’ the fuck outta some shit last night and I guess I might have breathed in a little of it. It was good shit and by the time I got into my room and fell on the bed, I felt like I was being pulled backwards, like the mattress was sucking me into it. It pulled me so far in I thought I was going to be swallowed whole. I couldn’t really breathe. The covers were choking me. Then the pull switched to push and spit me out into space. 
Sounds like cosmic hippie shit, right? That’s how it went down, tho’. I flew out there and it was just like floating in nowhere. It wasn’t too bad, that floating. Then it was like some other sense inside me got sharper and then I could sense her; Resonance. I couldn’t see her or nuthin’, but I felt her. She was far away–really far, like a far I could never get to no matter how many miles I drove or how many planes I took. And she was hurt and scared and pissed off. But she wasn’t shouting out for me, or that dude Quinn, or anyone. With all that goin on, she was still o.k, in charge of her own shit, still the fortress she’d always been. 
And now I’m awake–not that I’m sure I was really dreamin’–and my head’s about to explode with it all. It was her. I know that. That’s not even a question. But where she was, and why, that’s what I can’t get my head around. And, if she’s so far away, so outta my reach, how in the hell am I gonna get her back? 
I’ve smoked half a pack already and all I can think of is I can’t get to her. I can’t help her. Not if I rob a hundred banks and raise ten million dollars. Not if I get that gun from under the counter at the shop and threaten everyone on the planet. Not if I stomp a thousand skulls into the pavement. I can’t help her. I can’t. And that’s pretty much all I’ve been goin’ on for the past couple months. 
I don’t know what to do. I can’t move on without her, but standing still is killin’ me.
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All ‘Bout Spider

Spider again. I’m still gettin’ used to this sharing thing. I’m glad for the love, but if I don’t answer y’all’s comments much, don’t take it personal. I’m not used to talking into space to whoever wants to listen. I’m not used to talking much at all–‘cept to those who know me. And that number is few and far between. 
I can’t even believe Res did this blog shit. She doesn’t talk to no one except me. Hell, even then it usually was like pulling teeth. Don’t get me wrong, the girl can run her mouth like a cheerleader on coke, but it’s usually not about much at all. Then she came here and poured out her heart and soul to all you fuckers. Yeah, it pisses me off. And, Res, we’re gonna have some things to square when you come back. You know what I’m talkin’ about, this–and that other thing.
I guess it’s ’bout time I told y’all a little something about me. Name’s Spider, you got that already. The other name I had before was given to me by a woman whose main purpose in life was to find the next bar, the next stash of gutter glitter and the next winner with a dick and handy supply of cash to finance it all. Didn’t matter if he hit her. Didn’t matter if he hit me. So, you can see where that name doesn’t mean shit to me anymore.
The winning bachelor for my mom’s hand turned out to be Steve, a jackass drunk who got together with her when I was fourteen. He did all of the above, once cracking me in the face with a beer bottle for taking one of his smokes. Mom did nothing. She was too afraid he’d up and split. It must’ve been my fault. I must’ve provoked it. Stop being such a pain-in-the-ass, Spider. You know, you’ve seen it on every cheesy-ass Hallmark movie going. I guess writers need to get their ideas from real life at some point.
Teachers really didn’t care. By the time Steve started slamming on me, I was already THAT kid–the one destined for jail. I guess thinking that made it easier for them to ignore the bruises. Since it was my fate to go to prison, I decided I’d go ahead and earn it. I smoked–still do. I drank–still do. Decided high school sucked. I pretty much ignored all my classes until I got tired of it all and left after my second stint at tenth grade. I managed to find jobs here and there. Some were legal. Others weren’t.
Then, some shit went down at home, and I had to go away for a while. When I got back–I guess I should say, ‘Out’—I found more trouble through a roommate who dealt. He made it easy. I got into heroin and I dragged Res down with me. We chased the dragon for two years. Then, people started dying. All around us, friends, associates–they just died. The party stopped. We cleaned up. I retched and barfed and shook and moaned while Res sat there holding my head, looking like she’d decided to stop eating spinach. I woulda been pissed if she hadn’t been so nice. Lots of chicks will come around to get high, but not many will stick around to mop up the puke. 
After I’d been clean a while, I ran into an old high school buddy. We’d had the same problem with school, not fitting in, not liking learnin’ shit we knew we would have zero use for in the real world. We both sat and drew in our binders while whatever teacher stood in front of us blabbering on about whatever. He remembered that. He remembered my work. And he said he could hook me up with his tattoo shop ’cause they were looking for an apprentice. I didn’t have much else to do at the time, so I said yeah. 
I figured I’d be there a month and quit. Almost did. Didn’t like people tellin’ me to scrub the nasty toilet or run and buy cigarettes and sandwiches for the rest of them. But, I did like the drawing. And once they let me practice on a pig’s foot, I was sold. I choked down more words in that time. Shit, I nearly severed my tongue biting it when I thought I just couldn’t take their shit anymore. 
But, I made it through. Now I’ve got a good number of clients and I’m getting a pretty solid rep. I’m even thinking of going solo. “The Web” tattoo shop. “Spider’s Lair.” Okay, maybe I’ll wait until my girl gets back to decide on a name. She’s better at that shit than me.
Now you assholes know all about me. Take it as the truth, or be a disbelieving shithead and go away. I really don’t care.
Res, girl, Christmas is coming. I don’t want to be the only one punting lawn Santas.
Call me.

Spider Again

Here I am, keeping my promise to keep this journal going until my girl gets back. There’s been no word from her, and the few leads the police had have gone cold. It’s like she just vanished. 
I went to Tyne a few days ago and talked with her mom again. Even tho’ we’ve never seen eye-to-eye, she actually let me in her house and talked with me for a while. I have to admit, it was pretty weird, us chattin’ like two people who could actually tolerate the sight of each other. She told me Res left without taking anything other than a few handfuls of clothes, the jacket she snatched from some girl I was with last year, and that army bag we doctored with band patches and spray paint when we were fifteen. And that was it. Nothing personal. No mementos. And–the thing that makes me so antsy–no money or credit cards. That just don’t fit how Res works. If she was going away, she’d have cleaned Meg out before she went. But she didn’t. 
If her intention was to vanish, then she did a goddamn good job of it. Something’s wrong in all this–wronger than her disappearing, I mean. First off, she wasn’t herself. I mean, she wasn’t herself since her dad kicked it, but when she found out she was moving to Hicksville USA, she got worse. In fact, she got downright strange. It was like she didn’t even want to talk to me anymore. She thought she was doing a great song-and-dance routine, keeping me in the dark, but she should’ve fucking known better. I know her better than anyone and I knew something was goin’ on. I could hear it in her voice. But she wouldn’t tell me. Now she’s missing, and it’s like she meant to take so little, like she was expecting not to, well, like she knew from the beginning of all this she was going–and then she just did it.
But to where? And why didn’t she come to me? Why couldn’t she trust me to keep her safe from whatever the fuck it was she was running from? 
I can’t worry too much about her, though. I don’t think there’s anyone that can take my girl down. There’s just something about her that’s pretty fucking scary. Maybe she’s just on a head trip, out walkin’ the earth or some shit, trying to figure out what’s what. The least she could could do is send me a fucking postcard, or something.
Christmas is coming up.  She used to ditch her family to hang with me, ’cause she knew I didn’t really have any. We’d go to a bar and get lit. I really dug those dives that stayed open on every holiday. Everyone in there was the same. They either had no one, or didn’t like the ones they had, so they drank and listened to shit music on the jukebox with each other, instead. Unification in Freakdom. Amen.
This year I have no one to drink with. And drinking alone with the loners just aint gonna do it for me. I volunteered to keep the tattoo shop open. I doubt there’ll be many walk-ins, but I have one appointment. This guy wants me to put his profile mugshot on the side of his neck, so when anyone looks at him from the side, they’ll see him as he is now, and then what he used to be. I guess it’s a cool idea, tho’ it probably won’t open up a lot of doors in the career department. But, the guy’s not too sharp anyway, so I’m guessing it’ll even out.
Some guys would refuse to do that kind of ink. Me? I don’t care. If that’s what the dude wants, well, who am I to tell him it ain’t? My job is to make sure it don’t look like shit, but other than that, he can get a tattoo of the Pope’s dick if he wants.
My next client will be in in a few minutes. I’m gonna go grab a smoke in this shit-ass wind before he gets here. If anyone wants to come in on Christmas, bring me a turkey leg and I’ll give you half-off your ink.
And to the dude who said after my last post, “Never trust anyone named Spider,” well, man, you’re probably right on that one, most days, and with most people.  Hell, with all people–‘cept her.

Changing the Guard, or Something Like That

I dunno how this all goes, what I’m supposed to say and all that.  Mass introductions and announcements ain’t my thing.  So, I guess I’ll just to go the important part first, which is where I need to be, anyway:
Resonance is gone.  
I’m Spider, Res’ friend from D.C.  No one knows where she’s gone off to, or why. From what I got from her mother (who is of the mind I’m the devil and am somehow to blame, even though I’m three hours away) she split not long after I came to visit. For a few days I expected her to show up on my doorstep, but she never did. 
I dunno why I’m writing this. I guess I’m hoping she’ll check in here and see I’m looking for her.
So, Res, if you’re out there, girl, let me know you’re okay. I’m gonna keep writing in this blog thing until you come back, so you know we’re looking for you–me, your mom, even that Quinn guy you’ve been doing whatever with.  
Look, I don’t care what you’ve done. Those people in Tyne won’t tell me, but I know something’s up. Whatever it is, I don’t care. Never have, you know that. Just come home, girl. Come back to me.
Until you do, this’ll be my candle in the window so you’ll know I’m here, waiting.
Spider

Revelations

You know how we all like to think of ourselves in a certain way? How we want to see the best person possible, even when all evidence points to the contrary? Why is that? Why can’t we just accept who we are, what we are? Would accepting that we’re less than perfect (or slightly better than totally fucking flawed) really make that much difference?
I’ve been finding out some things about myself, lately. Quinn (the guy from the funeral home) has been kind enough to play the part of enlightener. That’s not really fair. There have been others, too–others who gave me more solid evidence that the person I see in the mirror isn’t who I think she is. But it’s Quinn who drives the knowledge home, makes what they tell me seem more real. Along the way, he somehow manages to do what everyone else has failed to do–make me feel bad about it.
I’ve done some things, recently. I haven’t been a good person. Not remotely. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to be this big hero when all I do is fuck up. I’m trying, for once, really trying to do more than just get by. But it seems everything I do just causes damage. 
I used to be kind of careless as a kid. I was always rushing around, not paying attention to where I was, only to where I was going. I’d bump into things and break them. “A bull in a China shop,” my mom would always say. She was right. That’s what I was. And it’s still what I am. I’m still rushing towards my destination, leaving little broken pieces scattered behind me.

Expectations

When I was younger, my parents had expectations. They expected me to work hard and get good grades, and I did. Then, when I shifted away from being that girl, they expected me to up and switch back. After that, they simply expected me to stay alive long enough to move the hell out of the house. Now, my mom’s only expectation is to expect nothing from me. And you know what? I kinda enjoyed that.
Things are changing, though. Doing and being nothing is no longer an option for me. The deck has been re-shuffled and a whole new game has been dealt–and it’s for me alone to play. 
Even though my entire future is laid out before me, I don’t know what’s coming. Can I rely on myself to pull it together? Do I even care enough to try? Can I get by with just going through the motions and not involving myself any more than necessary in the situation at hand? Am I the one they all say I am? The one capable of doing what needs to be done? Or (as I heartily suspect) have the expectations been wrongly assigned?
I feel like a hiccup in that birthday party donkey game. I’m off to the side, watching fate being blindfolded and spun. Fate sets out across the living room with that little tail, wandering far away from the intended target. Dizzy and disoriented, the blindfolded fate misses the donkey altogether, and mistakenly slaps the tack in Reluctant Partygoer Number One. 
So, here I am with a braided yarn tail stuck in the center of my forehead while those fucking expectations surround me; crawling up my nose, clogging my ears, drowning me in their insistency. 
I really hate birthday parties.

In it to (Win?) It.

It keeps getting weirder. I have another tattoo, now. And I didn’t ask for this one.
I guess that statement is too random to start with. More strange shit is happening to me. I met this old guy in Mom’s nursing home. He gave me a black Stone carved with markings. I took it because he was old and senile and wouldn’t get off my ass about it, but after I got it… 
No. I can’t explain it. I really would sound crazy. And the thing is, I’d prefer crazy to this. But, that guy Quinn is helping me, or trying to, anyway. And he has an uncle named Wyatt. Wyatt’s been in town his whole life and seems to know things, things that might actually get me out of this mess I’m in. He’s really nice, too. He’s this calm presence that keeps me feeling like I just might make it through another day. 
And Quinn? Well, he’s–intense. He seems to have these ideas about what should happen and how, and if it doesn’t work out that way he gets weird, like his entire world has been disrupted. I guess he means well. Maybe he’s just eager to prove himself to his uncle, or maybe even to himself.
I’m glad these guys are around. I don’t know what I’d do if they weren’t, because it’s painfully clear now that I can’t run away from this. It’s too bad, too. I’m really good at avoidance. It’s the sticking around part I can’t get the hang of. 
There’s a first time for everything, I suppose.
If there are any gods out there willing to hear a prayer from me… Shit, there’s no point in going any farther with that, is there?
Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ll keep you posted.

How About a Little Crazy, to Go?

So, all that ranting I did about this town being strange and having this monster sense of foreboding? I was right. Now, ask me if that makes me feel any better.
Some really strange shit happened today. Mom got on one of her kicks and made me go to the college to register for classes. After a torturous round of ‘How Stupid is Res?’ with the resident bitch advisor, I headed back to the parking lot. Something happened on the way. Maybe it was just a gas leak somewhere on that old ass campus giving me hallucinations.  That’s what I’d like to think. The thing is, though, this guy, Quinn, popped up out of nowhere and acted like he not only saw it, but knew what it was all about. He said his uncle, some mortician guy whose been a lifelong resident of this town, told him all about some sort of power in Tyne that screws with people. Can you believe that? Chalking it up to too much inbreeding down his family line, I told the guy to leave me the hell alone.
I can’t figure out what exactly happened, even with some distance from the situation. My head gives me the rational explanation I want to hear. The rest of me says the exact opposite. Shit, I don’t know. All I do know is that I want to get the hell out of here as soon as fucking possible. 
Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to be that easy.

The Move

Avery, here.  Before I post Resonance’s blog update I just wanted to apologize to you (and her) for my week-long absence.  She’s been chomping at the bit to post (she’s oddly down with this blogging thing) and I haven’t been around to do it for her.  But, I’m back, now, and she has a ton of new things to say to you.  So, here you go–Resonance Murphy blogging on “The Move”:
I’m in Tyne. Just like that. I packed my shit into boxes, helped Mom do the same, and watched four guys load it all onto a truck. 
It’s funny, I was thinking there’d be something to stop this, like some major embargo by Spider, or maybe my aunt finally driving into Mom’s head her theory that this change is all too soon. In my wilder visions, I thought maybe a massive sinkhole would suddenly open and swallow the entire town. None of that happened. In fact, nothing happened. 
For a major turning point in my life, it was pretty blah. 
Our house is in a relatively crappy section of town. Those pretty Victorians with their candy-colored shingles are a few blocks over. Because of the shitty economy mom lost her shirt on the house sale.  Dad’s insurance wasn’t much and their life savings was even less.  So, Mom and I live in the spartan section, where people built homes to be sturdy and utilitarian, and not much more. There are six other houses on our street, but so far I haven’t talked to anyone. It’s weird, I pictured this Mayberry-esque parade of portly old lady neighbors with tins of cookies or giant, unidentifiable casseroles. But, no one’s come. They must be cautious around strangers. Gotta give them points for that. 
I managed to find a bar—a dark, dirty place where the drink choices are tap beer and rail booze served as-is in chipped glasses. The people in there mind their own business and don’t ask stupid questions like what a young girl such as myself might be doing there alone at three p.m.
Mom has started her job. She’s busy trying to deal with the switch to her new director position. She’s always been more of a hands-on nurse, and I think the upgrade to bossing people around (no matter how well she does it with me) is kind of hard for her. Of course, despite her long hours she still finds enough time to ride my ass without remorse.
And my future occupation? There’s not much to this place as far as finding job opportunities go. Aside from the harbor shops (ugh, retail) and the surrounding business district (ugh, filing), there’s only houses, schools and parks. There’s a giant forest at the northwestern edge, but I don’t do outdoors or bugs — not that I’d want to be a ranger or tour guide, anyway. 
Yesterday, the dude at the bar says he needs a cocktail waitress. “But the pay’s shit.” 
That’s alright
“There’s no drinking on the job.” 
Losing me… 
Then he added the clincher. “And you’ll have to get rid of those–” referring to my combat boots, –“and buy yourself a pair of nice pumps.”
How ’bout I just stay on this side of the bar, then? I’m much happier being a patron, anyway. 
So, after scoping the town yesterday and today, I’ve decided the time’s not right for gainful employment. This place isn’t ready for me, and I’m sure as shit not ready for it. I consider trying not to set anything on fire out of boredom a full-time job, anyway.
As far as the rest goes — the town seems pretty okay. Not my dream location by a long shot, but not the freakshow I’d imagined it to be. No other weird shit has happened. I’m still having the dreams, but I’m pretty used to them, now. I guess that bizarre thing with the obelisk and that “coming home” feeling was just my mind trying to point me towards some sort of stability it’s been missing since Dad’s death, or maybe some weird sixth sense trying to tell me moving here could be a new start.
A new start, huh? That’s a thought. Can someone like me really have a totally fresh start? I don’t think my mom would see it that way. In her eyes, some things — or people, in this case — never change. She’s probably right.
Well, at least my adventures in fucking up have a new backdrop.

Blending In

Competition. Even as babies, we’re compared to others–who walked first, whose first word was bigger. From the moment we pop into this world we’re tossed into a society that’s bent on forcing competition down its member’s throats. 
We get older, it gets worse. First, it’s grades. A ‘C’ is considered ‘average,’ yet god forbid anyone earns just average marks. Average is just not good enough. Even ‘above average’ won’t get you too far. In my high school, there were thirty people with a straight ‘A’ average. Still, the system managed to break their accomplishments down into an ordered list of best to worst. How that can even be possible? Ranking perfect scores so just one person gets to be ‘the smartest,’ is beyond me. 
Then comes college. In this day, you have to go in order to be considered worthwhile by society. “What college are you going to?” is the favored question of aunts and uncles everywhere. Nosy neighbors inquire about your plans after school, and if you dare to speak the unspeakable, “I’m not going to college,” they either shake their heads and moan about what a mistake you’re making, or they subject you to a twenty-minute lecture about, “Getting ahead in this world.”
Has anyone stopped to think just how fucking stupid it all is? To push yourself beyond the limits of desire or ability in order to get that extra ten, twenty, or thirty thousand dollars a year? What, exactly will that get you? A bigger house? Better car? Nicer clothes? More attractive spouse? The keys to the door hiding the secrets of the universe?
And, we’re right back to that phenomena we were subjected to in infancy; sorting out who among the throngs of people out there is the very best. 
Society never stops to think some of us aren’t ready to be its bitch. Maybe we never will be. I can’t think of a fate worse than having to wear high heels and a tan business suit. I can’t imagine sitting in front of a computer hitting keys all day while my view of this world I’m supposed to be living in is blocked by a five-foot wall of partitioned blandness. I can’t stomach the idea of playing nice with people I loathe in order to get ahead, whoring myself out spiritually (or even physically) so I can get just that much closer to the slightly bigger cubicle in the slightly more prestigious corner of the office. 
Because of my aversion to the corporate/consumer/drone lifestyle, I am one of society’s fallen children. I have been ‘left behind.’ I am to be pitied, or maybe scorned–which is mostly all right, since I pity and scorn them. The problem is, it’s several hundred million to one. The pressure comes from all sides; parents, government, do-gooders. They want me to join them–as if becoming part of the collective will somehow validate their own submission. They can’t just leave me alone; they have to preach the gospel of ‘responsible adulthood.’ They have to convert me in order to save themselves. 
Another log for the fire.
I’m finding out as I get older, some of my friends are collapsing under the pressure. Ricketts just caved a few months ago. He shaved off the remains of his mohawk, rolled down the sleeves of his white, button-up shirt so his ink wouldn’t show, and applied for a job as a customer service representative. The lure of money, the siren song of things, pulled him in, made him want to be one of them. Now he has a car of his own, an apartment of his own, and is buried by more debt than he can possibly climb out from under when making only thirty grand a year. But, he’s got a girl and they’re getting serious. He has to show he’s a good provider. A man’s man. 
More than a C-average. 
I understand there has to be some sort of compromise. Money is needed to survive. We can’t just take a sling out into the forest and come back with dinner. Our hunt is the job. Our kill is our paycheck. 
But, do we have to lose so much of who we are in order to get it?
I’ll soon be twenty-three.  Mom keeps saying, “Resonance, you can’t fight your future forever.”  But, I think I can. Fighting is what I’ve been doing my entire life.  No reason to change that, now.