Southbound and down

Life. Funny how it gets in the way sometimes, isn’t it?

Hello once more, people, and an apology for my absence: I would hope that your hearts grew fonder and more desolate without me in them. Four chambers of emptiness, waiting to be filled fully…

Here is an older piece, designed for elsewhere but present here: I hope you like…

Southbound and down

Neon migraine punctured Stan’s vision; dancing colours and lights sped past his window, and the combination of the two did a fine job of compacting the slices of pain he’d been dealing with for most of the interstate journey neatly into a walnut sized lump slap bang in the middle of his skull. The driving rain didn’t help any, refracting the oncoming headlights into a thousand splinters of light that daggered right into the back of his optic nerve.

Lucky me he murmured, popping the top off his water bottle and downing half of the luke warm refreshment in one. Ain’t I just the lucky sonova bitch that caught the cream? Such a beautiful night for a drive, not a cloud in the sky and perfect company in the trunk… Like hell!

Cynicism had always been a friend of his, and when he was faced with any kind of stress – high school, job, home – it always crept out and coloured his world a wonderful shade of gray.

Sometimes, a kneejerk reaction can stay with you all your life, and Stan’s habit of looking at the worst in everyone and everything he saw never seemed to disappear, even in the happier times of his road-weary life. He tried to turn his mind to happier thoughts, like finishing the job and then grabbing a beer in one hand and a nice fat cheque in the other. He pictured the beer, long necked and tempting, beads of cold water trickling down the side to slip down across his fingers. Come to me, my best Bud. Be mine you gorgeous beauty…

The exercise didn’t work and he swore, tossing the water bottle into the passenger seat and the dream beer back into the cooler. Stan reached into his battered jacket and fingered out two NyQuil. Ah, my faithful friends, you’ll never leave me, will you? He snorted, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, and then over his face in a pointless attempt to ease the headache, before popping and swallowing the medicine in one.

He wound the window down, cursing the rain that hammered in but welcoming the fresh air that stole its way across his neck, cooling him and bringing involuntary shivers.

Damned sweats.

Always grabbing you when you least need ‘em. Bastards.

Ain’t I got ‘nuff to worry about with a damned migraine and ‘flu without getting the sweats as well? It ain’t right.

As if in answer to his question, there was a muffled squeal from the back seat. Not loud enough to attract any real attention, but just audible enough to ensure that, should anyone be listening – Stan, for example – they would hear clearly.

He sighed, wiping a damp sheen of rain from his face and winding the window back up again. Why was it that all his trouble came home to roost at the same time like a dozen moronic chickens?

The traffic slowed as it came to the usual toll bridge back-up. Stan powered down through the gears and turned his head slowly to the rear of the car, noting with satisfaction that the noise quietened instantly.

Southbound and down, Stan my man. Southbound and down. The car gently rolled forward, following the flow of the traffic.

Southbound and down, and delivery’s done…





Magpie Tales 224 – The Custom of the sea

Always wanted to read Narrative…Gordon Pym of Nantucket, not just because I’m a big EA Poe fan, but also due to the fact that it seems to be a very intense novel, produced at a time when so much of the English language was being pushed to it’s limits…and it still is! This piece is a reflection of a man who has lost his way in a world of spiritual certainty…


He could never look himself in the eye again.

Immaculate, unlike his soul, Art maintained more facade than candour and prayed daily to the God that had left him for strength, sustenance – spiritual sustenance, that is; nothing else – and forgiveness. Of the other Trinity, he held little regard now, bereft as he was of their cloying sanctities and meaningless platitudes – not through choice, however; circumstance alone.

He sighed.

The sound was ghostly within the room, within the stillness, its sibilant vibration seemingly at odds with the Damascus of light that streamed from the window, and the echoes of it’s utterance lingered eerily at the corners of his hearing, mingling with the other sounds that crowded there for his attention. He hated them, loathing their incessant tinnitus whine within his skull, and he wished that the discipline that had failed him when drawing lots could have been reinstated inside of his soul, such as it was, so that he could grasp with both hands that sweet relief from the torments that haunted his every movement.

Art breathed in and held his breath, holding the life in his lungs for as long as he possibly could before any tinge of red blossomed on his cheeks. When it did arrive – inevitably – he fought hard to keep the colours from deepening within him, forcing his sparkling vision to clear and the complexion of his face to remain unsullied and calm, despite the burning pain within his lungs and the hammering frenzy of his heart.

With ultimate control, breath was inhaled and barely a murmur escaped his lips. Art repeated this three more times, as was his daily custom, and each time he forced his controlled breathing to continue further than the last until, dizzy headed and starburst eyed, he would concentrate on the light from the window and by sheer force of mental exuberance, will himself back into a calmer state, thoughts of the sigh gone. Satisfied he could hold his breath for longer once more, Art turned his attention elsewhere.

The outside world bustled away before him, framed in the window, pirouetting itself in vulgar displays of colour, of sound and of life. The beauties with their parasols, gaily making their way along the roads, beau’s in hand and rose scent behind them, burned his eyes with their honesty and shamed him with his own dishonest thoughts. The street sellers cries, raucous and joyous with fiscal promise made him dewy-eyed at the memories of his voyage, and the devastating price he paid for the return ticket home.

Unbidden, memory crashed upon him, and he found the gay ladies becoming gray horses, champing at an ocean bit, swamping the life raft he was in, sweeping all three companions into the frozen ocean, away into the depths…The darkness. The hunger. The crew. The men. The drawing of the lots, of the blade, of the throat…cooking…oh God, the cooking!

Art turned away from the window and steadied a shaky hand upon the frame, his one eye catching sight of the missing fingers there that were a reminder of the choices that had been made in desperations name, and he cursed once more the God that had left him and had forced him to wander the world as a half eaten outcast. His stomach suddenly retched at the taste that sprang into his mouth and he cursed once more the saliva that dripped from his lips in want of forbidden food once more.

Such was the custom of the sea…


NB If you are unsure as to what Custom of the Sea refers to, follow the link:

VisDare 65 – Virtuoso’s in Retirement…

Having a little riffing around with the World Cup idea here, and the fact that children all over the world will be exchanging stickers and comments about footballers day and night. Wondered what it might be like in a post war, pre cold war setting… Do please google the names btw, all are real people!


Shafts of memory splintered themselves down the outsides of the stucco painted houses, each finger of light exaggerating the history behind it in the same way that those who sat behind the cool shuttered windows exaggerated the darkness of their lives in order to provide meaning in the twilight of their years. Watered down wine, false teeth lies and an old record player provided entertainment in the evening’s sun.

Outside, lower aspirations considered more immediate needs.

“No way. In a straight run, Mehuhin would own De Vito. Look, outside of Europe, who’s heard of her? No one.”

“Really? Are you serious? Spivakosky. Greatest in the 20th century. Prodigy, I’ll give you that, but Tossy kicked it hard and fast. Unbeatable.”

There was a snort of derision. Both boys looked up at their elder brother. He smiled.

“One word:  Paganini. Now, shut up and listen to the oldies records.”

Thus the evening cooled and the conversation heated up.

Mid Week Blues Buster 2.13

Ah, The Ace of Spades!! What a track! Pounding baseline, dirty as hell guitar wailing over Lemmy’s glass-gargling vocals… Play it in your head now and follow along…


The tip of her boot tickled his crotch under the table, knocking his inspiration sideways and his concentration even further down the losing streak that his evening was turning into. Saul adjusted himself, slapped his wife’s foot to the ground and lay down the hand that was going to lose him more than just dignity.

“Shee-it. I gotta fold guys.” There was a pause, and he fished out a battered roll-up from behind his ear and lit it, aiming blue smoke across the green felt. A second pull, and he was ready.

“Goddammit Lexie, how many times have I told you to leave me the hell alone when I’m playing? Jeez girl, I’m trying to break even here babe and you’re teasing the shit out of my…” he raised his eyebrows knowingly, shades dipping low to cast a sly glance at the rest of the gaming table briefly, “My concentration, if you know what I mean gentlemen?”

There was a chuckle from the table, as low and guttural as the homes they all should have been back to hours ago. In the background, exhausted bar staff buzzed around the exits, trying to pluck up the courage to leave their final unwelcome customers.

“Win some, lose some darl’ that’s just how it goes, yeah?” Lexie knocked back her fifth of Whiskey and sat up, pouring another as she lay her cards down onto the table. There was a groan from the rest, muttered swearing, and a flurry of hands folded down just like a house of cards. She grinned, a vicious twist of cynicism hidden behind her pouting apology,”Oh I’m sorry bay-bee, did I do a naughty thing?” She scooped notes and coins towards her, loving the way that the rest of the players sat back in their greed, waiting for the next in. Typical men, she thought, flashing a smile and a wink, always playing for the high one, double up or quits. Idiots.

“Just a minute sugartush, let’s just see what’s going on underneath that jacket of yours…” Saul took another drag of his cigarette, struggling to peel his eyes away from his wife’s cleavage. Damn she was fine!

He rocked back on his chair, arms folded neatly across his chest, face stubbled and stony. Gambling was for fools, no matter which way you threw your dice. Snake eyes were watching you from every corner of the room, and each pair had an axe to grind or a vested interest in your success or failure. Even though the table was full, here, the pair of them only had eyes for one another.

Lexie sorted the cash casually, tossing her hair to the side as she took in her husband’s accusation. She slowly placed the coins into towers, folding notes into even piles of $100, all the while keeping her eyes fixed upon his.  Something in the room began to build between them, some kind of heat, tension.

“I know you wanna see me, loverrrr,” she let the word roll from her tongue, dripping intent in a glance. She spread her hands out, hooking back the cuffs of the leather jacket, “but read ‘em and weep – nothing up these sleeves, darl.”

She sat back in her chair, raising a toast to his suspicion.

“Dammit Lex, I see it in your eyes. You are up to something lady!” Saul slammed the chair back down to the floor and kicked it backwards, standing up furiously. He dwarfed the others in the room and they knew his temper of old, so suddenly the table was cleared, the bar staff found a good reason to finally leave the club, and Lexie had a good view of her man. My GOD he was impressive!

Without breaking eye contact, she leaned back on her chair and put her boots up on the table, making sure that Saul could take in all she had to offer. She felt the heat in the air between them, and knew what was coming next.

She toasted him once more, “What can I say, Lover? I’m holding all the Ace’s, in spades…”

Visdare 64 – Drunken Philosophy

This is hosted at and needs to be visited and enjoyed!

I am on a journey, internally and externally, seeking that which I cannot find from those that surround me with the dross of their lives and the mediocrity of their existences. This is my lot, my Eldorado quest – to find the solace that only those who are enlightened can experience and then, by ritual and circumstance, pass on my divine guidance to them. This is a path few have trod, few have understood and even fewer have attained. I shall be one of them, I shall attain, I shall become! Yes, I shall become!

Elkie sighed and mopped up the whiskey for the fifth time, flicking the paper boat into the ash filled bin she was holding at arms length.

“Bill, Derek’s out of it again and spouting total crud…”

“Uh shudd bekkom…”

I shall become!!

Visdare 63 – Immured

A new one for me – and hopefully one I can find the time to contribute to regularly! I was searching for some kind of weekly ‘photo’ challenge – not that I consider myself a photographer, more a dabbler! – and I found this contortion picture pop up in my reader. Intriguing, isn’t it?

Her heartbeat slows, circadian versus cardio, tranquillity versus skittering synaptic chaos: life dancing with death. The fear in her eyes vanishes as the curtains are pulled and she becomes objectified yet again, such as Woman has since Eve’s blame.

She forces herself to be calm, claiming the claustrophobia that encases and the cramp that dances irony across her soles in hot waves, as hers and hers alone, owned by her and none other.

The word ‘Passion’ obscures her view as the lights encroach on her nakedness, turning her humanity into vulgarity. She refuses to cry and, instead, challenges those who mock to look deep inside themselves, to refute what they know to be false and embrace who they truly are, who they could be, were they not scared.

Her thoughts become smog thick and dull, as the oxygen depletes and her defiance rises once more. ‘I love, you my Gwendoline!’

Getting a bit annoyed at the human race’s hypocrisy here – soz!

Beautiful Youth

Youth sits, coffee in hand, wifi enabled and socially disabled, informing the world of nothing with the twitch of a thumb.

Youth knows, as they always have done since the Vedas were first written, that their thoughts are more real than that of this world; for – as they alone know – this world is mere facade, brought about by the illusion of flesh and the billion-fold vibrations of atoms that Science has proved only provides input and stimuli to a brain that is, at best, a transient visitor to this earthly veil.

This knowledge, mistaken by many as arrogance, foolishness and stupidity, has confounded many over the years, and has done little to increase the currency that Youth trades in with the elders of the planet. They, who have studied so hard and so long the ancient texts, have experienced life in all its myriad forms are, ironically, not as advanced as Youth in this world.

One souls study is another’s insight.


Lol! No idea where this one is going, but having fun playing around with the sarcastic / annoyed / cheeky tone. There’s more to run here, just not right now!

The depression

I sit here and watch the hairdressers hands, supple and assured, glide through the blonde strands of my wife’s hair and I find myself praying to a God with no name and a Trinity that has less to do with faith and charity and more to do with hope, desperation and isolation, that this professional touch will do more to lift her mood than all the Amitryptaline and Sertraline that went before it.

The depression that has gripped her mind is not destroying her body -not yet-but it is in the process of removing her soul from it, replacing the brightest and most vivid eyes with dull, expressionless blanks. There is no reflection of reality in there, no sight of who I am or what I mean to her buried beneath the confusion of her gaze; just the merest grasp of recognition from my touch.

In my hand lies hers, hot and limp. Segmented joints in her fingers twitch independently of one another as they touch and outline my palm, spidering their way backwards and forwards across my skin as they take on sensation and translate it into conversation.

“You’re cold.”

Two words, three if I’m being optimistic, and her voice lifts my expression involuntarily, autonomically, much in the same way that ones breath causes the rise and fall of ones chest and reassures  you that life is not only present, but is continuing without your conscious effort. The lift her voice produces in my heart is born of effort, and all the more precious because of it.

My ears are attuned to hope and heart is full of longing.


I’ve seen my best friend wither today.

She became no more than a sliver of life in less than a moment; the vitality of her eyes dimmed into the recesses of skull and left her emotions protruding from the sockets, wet and glistening, angling from beneath her brow towards mine in a desperate attempt to reach me.

Her face was hollowed, puckered; no character remained within her skin; only infinite desperation seeped from her gaze to mine, and my heart burst towards her need with my own selfish need to comfort guiding my arms to cradle her shoulders, taking the withered soul into my chest and holding it close. Together, we clung to one another; I the guide, she the wounded explorer. I found myself cradling her head into my chest, feeling the damp skin under my fingers, slack and yielding. It seemed to be lighter to my touch, not as firm as I remember from our drinking days, all those student years ago, and I found a tiny part of my mind recoiling from the unfamiliarity of her intimacy. 

The breathing was ragged and as un-coordinated as I remembered from our drinking days, but the reasoning behind it now was not the 14% proof we downed regularly over kebabs and Wonderstuff records, but  was now 100%, loss.


(Trying to capture a more tactile experience. Any suggestions, all appreciated!)

Trifecta Challenge 77 “Deliberate”

Trifecta Challenge 77

1: characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration <a deliberate decision>
2: characterized by awareness of the consequences<deliberate falsehood>
3: slow, unhurried, and steady as though allowing time for decision on each individual action involved <a deliberate pace>

  • Your response must be between 33 and 333 words.
  • You must use the 3rd definition of the given word in your post.
  • The word itself needs to be included in your response.
  • You may not use a variation of the word; it needs to be exactly as stated above.


Her world died the moment his began and, in that bastard moment of creation, she knew exactly the fate that was to be hers and the toll it would also take upon his system as well. There was a grim satisfaction in it, a balance the like of which Yin and Yang were designed for.

Her stigmata poured red, visceral life onto the floor and she saw it lapped up eagerly by tongues of rock and stone, each smooth surface steadily drinking it in with no rush at all, no care as to the pain etched onto her face or the gentle tearing of her skin that  happened each time she breathed.

She remembered the deliberate way in which he had chosen each stake and placed it almost lovingly in place on her body. He took the time to take in the sight, sliding the wooden phallus along her skin until it reached a pulse point, whereupon he hammered it home in a crimson burst of joy and agony. It was only the first one that was rushed and fumbled, trying as he was to subdue her before she could clear her eyes from the burst of sunlight he had reflected into them.

The rest? The rest he took his time over, bleeding her undead form as slowly as he possibly could, making her feel every death, every soul she had consumed in wet spurts of pain.

“Damned Vampires, never could stomach them…”


Just an interesting take on staking an undead critter…

Might develop this a little at some point!