Tales From The World Of The Dead
(Caged walkway/uncredited – Photoshopped by Joe)
As the night wore on, the sickness took my thoughts, my emotions, and then my breath. Soon after I began to slide, first off the couch I had been lying on, then down through a colorless abyss. Ineffably, the living, breathing, sentient world, was all around me, yet I was not part of it. I was dead inside, and was somehow being mocked by the forces of life. I remember being touched by a paralyzing sadness that didn’t penetrate my skin…
I woke to find that I was on my feet and already in motion. I blinked repeatedly as I tried to get my head right. I was on a dark city street. Rows of gray buildings loomed heavily. Twinkling lights were scattered all around, even hanging in midair. It looked like 50-something Street by 1st or 2nd Ave, but I can’t say for certain.
It took a moment to realize that I moved through a caged walkway, perched about 6 or 7 feet above the sidewalk. At every step, what seemed to be a shadowy mob kept ahead of me, just outside the cage. Some of them banged on the underside of the walkway. Others reached up and pushed wadded paper and plastic bags through the grated exterior. I didn’t know who or what they were, or what they wanted. But they were curious as shit to watch. It was as if they were all part of the same fabric, lapping at the cage like a single wave.
A lone man was slumped in a doorway. He was missing the bottom half of his body and his eyes were open. ”Welcome to the world of the dead,” he said with a crooked smile. (He didn’t actually say that. He just mumbled with a daft smile on his face. But that’s what I took “his words” to mean.)
I kept on moving, I don’t think I could have stopped if I wanted to. My attention was drawn to the walkway as I stepped on what felt like squirming crustaceans. It was someone’s fingers, extended like squiggly worms through a crevice. A few feet ahead, a bony arm stretched up through a gaping hole. It hit me how those bastards on the sidewalk below, really wanted to get inside the cage.
Luckily, the walkway was clearly lit. I noticed the light was shaky as if someone held a flashlight. I glanced back to see a tall skinny being, who had a bug-eyed face. He was a few dozen feet behind me. His bulbous head was bent, so as not to hit the roof. He was one of my demon nemeses, who for the past few hundred years have been conducting what seems to be a massive science experiment in NYC, and I have become an unwilling participant. But I don’t feel like going on about that right now.
So, anyway, the light came from the palm of the skinny bastard’s hand.
F–k him, I thought and continued on.
A line of people cued alongside a building across the street. They were behind a fence that ran in the middle of the sidewalk. Two behemoth bouncers stood in front of open double doors. Pink neon lights flashed behind them. I made out a central figure, who stood under the watchful eyes of the bouncers. It was a woman in a tinsy, leather bikini. She held a gun with what looked like a condom, swinging from the butt of the weapon. She selected patrons from the line, then stuck the gun to their mouths and fired. It made no sound, nor did it do any harm, as afterward, the person headed inside the club.
It was the pillshot…
I realized that the whole scenario, including the caged walkway I was on, was a scene from a short story I had written titled “No More Fairy Tales“. The woman in the leather bikini was shooting pills into the club goers’ mouths. The catch was, that one of them was poison. Inside the club they were having a party known as a death rave. The person who got the poisoned pill, would drop dead inside the club to everyone elses’ delight.
I quickly got the message. Those demon runts who love to terrorize me–they wanted me to know that not only did they put ideas for stories inside my head, but the stories had an element of truth. As mentioned, the tall skinny bastard behind me was one of them. Maybe they were showing me the future, too… Whoop-de-do. They can bl-w me.
(Sorry for the language. But I had that thought while I was stalking through what I thought was the world of the dead, and that’s how you talk when you’re dead. Unless you’re from Jersey. Then you still talk like you’re from Jersey.)
Not a second after I came to that conclusion, as I still moved along the walkway, one of the demons spoke to me. I knew the voice. It wasn’t the tall skinny one. It was the other one, the shorter, square-shaped creature.
“We wanted you to have the dose of demon blood,” came its lively voice, that was a touch mechanical in tone and elocution. The demon blood came from a vampire child I had killed. Click right here to read about it. “It’s so we can welcome you into this world. We can now more clearly light your way through it.”
“What the f–k do you want from me?” I asked.
“We are mapping the future, and need to do it through human eyes–”
And that was it. I woke the next day on the couch.
Okay, so those demon bastards give me all my ideas for stories. I don’t care. I think I wrote somewhere, that I knew that the ideas for the books I wrote about Max Beckley, the revolutionary war soldier abducted by those same demons, came from them. (I haven’t published those books yet.)
My friend Benny, “the cigar store Indian” has told me not to write about them. But I didn’t stop. Maybe I can’t. So what?
Dunno what to think about them looking through my eyes. I know they do it through Max Beckley’s.
Maybe it’s like that poem called “Footprints in the Sand?” That’s the one about the man who looked back on his steps through life, and asked God something like, why when life was toughest, did I see only one set of footprints. And God answered, it was because He had carried him during those times. If you don’t know the poem, it’s below. (I think it’s a poem??? But wtf do I know. (Why the hell am I putting so much crap in parentheses??? There must be a rule against that.))
Anyway, I’m thinking, when I look back at the end of it all, the footsteps in the sand that I see will be those of my demons. Bastards probably have webbed feet. I’m screwed. So what.
(“Footprints in the Sand”, uncredited)