An open letter to America

Dear America,
Firstly let me just say I’m not jumping on any anti US bandwagon and judging the many by the actions of a few. I like America. I’ve been there twice and met some amazing people. I’ve met Americans outside of their own country and liked them a lot as well. On the whole, I think you’re okay. I’m just very concerned. You see the rest of us are watching these election campaigns with a great deal of interest and a massive amount of worry. We’ve all seen what happens when a country in turmoil and economic desperation turn to a charismatic leader who seems to have answers. Firstly they never directly answer a question, they tell you how great things will be after they are in power, they point to a group and demonise them and say “this is the problem. These people. What we need to do is control them, restrict their movement, keep them out, they are causing the problems so for now let’s get rid of that hassle and THEN we can sort out everything else. We can’t get anything done while they are still distracting us.” They don’t say what the solution is but they have a great one. They don’t respond to criticism, they point out the faults of others, until even sensible people think, maybe this person is right. Maybe if we can get a grip on ‘that’ group and ‘these’ people then we can start fixing things. Who wouldn’t want that? It short term, we control their movements and maybe stop them meeting in groups, that would mean where they worship as well, just in case. In fact maybe we should make sure we know exactly who they all are, maybe a mark in their passport, a special kind of ID, a badge? 

Evil triumphs when good people do nothing. Evil starts by treating people as things. Because first they came for that group and I did nothing because I’m not part of that group… Well, you know how that quote goes. Letting evil happen and doing nothing and justifying it for the greater good is evil by any other name. It doesn’t take bravery to stand by and be a ‘good citizen’, it takes bravery to stand up and say ‘No. You cannot do this and you don’t do it in my name you do it for your own selfish, power hungry ways’

So American, home of the brave, we are all watching.

Standard

The Van De Hornes.

Beryl Van De Horne stared out of her penthouse office, with en suite window and valet parking. She hadn’t made it in the world of cut-throat high end photography and monorails by beating around the bush. She turned and arched her back throwing caution to the wind and one of her shoulders out, she perused the young artist in front of her. She had seen his type eleven or twelve times before. Skin and bones, with killer cheekbones, a mop of tousled, sun kissed hair, eyes like an Italian pool, half finished, paint still drying on his hands and an enormous package. It was tied up with string and nestled under his thin yet strong yet manly arms, like a kitten being held by an Australian Vet. “So.” She said in her powerful business like way. “More of your art or your dry cleaning, Victor?” She snorted down her equine, patrician business like nose.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico…

Caprice Van De Horne signed off on the contracts, candy barn Stables were no longer hers. Twelve long years and two failed marriages, nine haircuts, fourteen lovers, hours of Pilates and a lot of salad, that’s what she had sacrificed to build up the biggest stud farm in New Mexico. Now she had just sold her dreams, lock stock and every last barrel of horse semen. Was it worth it? Would all that money finally bring her the peace she had sought all her life? There was a knock at the door. It was her head Horse Wrangler, Flex Manly. He touched a leather gloved hand to his dusty cowboy hat, the bunched muscles of his biceps straining against the worn cotton of his shirt. “Ma’am.’ He growled in his sexy cowboy drawl. “Zeke, Deke, Jeep, Pappy, Pepé and some of the other boys are a-gathered out in the yard. They was… I was a-wundrin if Y’all might say a few words?” Caprice shook out her hair and grabbed her rhinestone, pleather jacket. “You bet you ass, Flex.” And what a fine ass she thought, you could bounce a quarter off it and still make change out of a Twenty.

Standard

It doesn’t need to rain.

The sky is clear. There is a handsome man at the next table. He is ignoring his tea and is smiling down at a well read old paperback. I imagine welcoming him home from work, kissing his cheek and listening to his day. He looks up for a second and catches my eye, I look away embarrassed at being caught.

The clouds are dark and the wind is colder and harder. I stop at the corner shop. I need milk. I stare at the soup for a while but can’t decide. The young girl behind the counter always looks bored to tears, I’d hoped it would be the tall lad with the red hair. Sometimes he speaks to me about music or bands that he has seen recently. His eyes are so green and they get shiney when he gets excited. He’s not working tonight. The girl hands me my change and sighs without making eye contact.

There are specks of drizzle sparking in the down light of the street lamps. I close my front door and lean back against it for a moment. I make tea and sit on the sofa as it goes cold. I can’t remember the last person I spoke to or what I said. Last night I fell asleep on the sofa with the TV murmuring in the background, it was the closest thing I had felt to company in weeks. I want to go to bed but it’s not even Ten. I know I will wake in the early hours and not be able to go back to sleep. Wednesday night I woke up with tears on my face, I can’t remember what I was even dreaming about.

I open my eyes. My room looks like it has been hung with grey sheets. The pre dawn light has washed the colour out of everything. The silence is like a weight on my chest. The curtains are never fully closed and I can see rain running down the window. In a few hours it will all start again. Breakfast alone, shopping alone, coffee alone, walking, eating, waking and being alone. I feel like I am being punished and I don’t know why. I must have fallen asleep again because I woke up to sunlight.

The warm sun hits my face as I step outside. Inside I want to scream or cry or lie down and not get up again. It doesn’t need to rain because every day is a corridor of empty rooms. Some days I would just turn around and lock the door behind me and lie under the duvet but today I walk to the coffee shop and hope that someone asks for directions somewhere or to pass the sugar. Anything, just so I can speak to another person. Even a hello. Just please something.

Standard

So Excited!

After the massive success Of Hu Yuen Park’s Black Rabbit: Beyond the Pail.

rabbit fear 2

He has announced a late summer release date for Black Rabbit: Asylum. No mention of whether this is a straight sequel or if it just uses the mythology of the ‘Ghost Rabbit Demon’ from the first film, in a new setting. Here are some stills, released yesterday on CinemaFantasyK.com..

rabbit ghost rabbit haunting rabbit madness rabbit points

Park’s use of colour and symbology and a delicate touch with blending the ethereal and the everyday have made him a legend among fans of independent horror. I really can’t wait.

Standard

Elizabeth Mary Grant parked her car in the underground garage and took the lift the lift to the third floor. When her sister first got sick she didn’t need much help but now she could barely make it out of bed. Lizzie used her spare key to open the front door and set down the bags on the kitchen counter. “Helen, I managed to find that horrible Chinese soup you like, I’ll warm it through and bring you some… You Okay?”

There was no reply but Helen slept so much just lately that Lizzie thought nothing of it. She was humming an old ABBA song to herself when she turned and saw Helen standing behind her. “Hey, are you okay?” LIzzie took a step forward but Helen brought up her finger to her mouth. She pointed to the bedroom and then walked away into the bathroom. It was the smallest noise, no one would have even heard it.

When the soup was warm enough Lizzie poured some into a bowl with some crackers. Helen didn’t have much appetite anymore. She was already in mid sentence when she walked into the room. “I’m not sure if you want to but Harry and me were thinking about a drive out at the weekend, we thought we could…” The words dried in her mouth. There was what looked like a child standing next to Helen’s bed. The child was weeping and screaming but all of it silent as though behind glass. It turned to its left and was gone like smoke or a shadow.

Lizzie put the tray down on the counterpane and grabbed Helen’s hand. “Helen! Helen?”

Helen opened her eyes, they were blank and unfocused. “Hello Liz. I was just dreaming about you. Do you remember when we went camping with Dad on The Isle Of Man? I seem to keep dreaming of the , all the things from so long ago. Do you remember when we were in York? That little boy that ran out into the street and the car in front of us hit him? I think I keep seeing him. I’m very cold Liz. Would you mind getting the other duvet from the blanket box?” She smiled and turned over almost already deep asleep.

Liz walked out into the hallway and remembered she had left the tray on Helen’s bed. Not wanting her to spill anything she walked back and moved the tray to the nightstand. She called Dr. Garland who came within the hour. “Helen’s sick, i was wondering… I mean is it time to…” She couldn’t finish the though, not even the sentence. Dr. Garland stroked her arm “Shall I have a chat with her, then we can make a plan?”

The kettle was near to boiling, it barely seemed off just recently. Liz took two mugs from the top cupboard, when Dr. Garland came to the doorway. “Lizzie, why didn’t you tell me? I’m sorry, I mean I know it must have been a shock but Helen is… She’s cold. She must have been dead for at least five hours or so.”

Lizzie just stares at him. Behind him Helen is standing in the corridor. She has two children by the hand and many more are just watching her. “He doesn’t need to know. They were lost. Now I can take them home.”

The tears that fall from Lizzie’s eyes are not just sadness but in some way joy. Helen is right. There are somethings that Men should not know.

Standard

Once upon a time there was a small boy called Raul…

It was so very, very long ago. I was just a child. What you would call now the Inca Empire was my home.  My Father was a State Official and ordered road building and the carvings at the great temple. I was Sixteen years old when I wandered out into the eastern woods, I wanted to see the Lake. It started to get dark and I realised I was lost. I was so tired, I just wanted to sleep but a noise from above frightened me. It was a woman, as she drifted through the trees she became a Raven, then when she touched to the ground she became a she-wolf. When she saw me she moved faster than a shadow and pinned me against a tree.

“What are you?” She barked into my face.

“I am Raul… I am a boy.” I started crying, I know that I shouldn’t, the warriors at the games competed to have their death honored by the Gods. But I was just a boy.

All trace of the wolf was gone and I could smell her musk and feel the heat of her skin. “Little Raul, I have a treat for you.” So very long ago.

It is now 1793, Louis the XVI has been executed. I managed to smuggle myself aboard to a ship bound for London. I try not to change my form but I though another rat would go unnoticed. In my human shape I am still just a Sixteen year old boy and there are few sailors who pass up the chance of a bedmate, even if it meant exchanging clothes or food or good drinking water. Those that tried to take advantage of me became my food stock and were thrown over board, When we arrived in London I took to my paws and ran as far as I could from that damned ship.

1851. The world has changed more and more. There are now engines that are fueled by steam. I have manged to employ a man Called Gardener to act as my Father in social situations. I first met him in the market where he tried to pick my pocket, though small I am very strong. I broke his wrist with great ease and regular payment and ample amounts of whiskey seem to keep him happy. I am almost at peace with myself. I sleep in a bed, we rent rooms in a well known location and are accepted, apart from the odd raised eyebrow at my dark skin. Deep in his cups, I once tried to tell Gardener what I am, although there is no word for what I am. But that I will never age and must from time to time eat living blood, yet he was too drunk to hear what I was saying. He does not know it but he is dying. The leaf he smokes has made some black sickness in his lungs which will kill him before the year ends. I will end him before then.

It is 1921, Grace. An ex-prostitute is my ‘Mother’ now. We are at Wimbledon watching Tilden play Norton. I can’t say that I much care for tennis but Grace seems to like it and I like her to be happy. The English have a dog like resilience.  That terrible war scarred them all but everyone just carries on as best they can. I feed less and less now. I do not seem to need the blood anymore. As I hold Grace’s hand and we cheer the results I realise that I must be almost 380 years old. I don’t know if it was the bright sun, the feeling of the crowd or Grace’s warm hand in my cold dead one. I wanted to, needed to feed, the desire in my was a giddy, drunken sickness. Once in 1908 I was brought to the house of a wealthy and titled Gentleman, who had me bathed and dressed in fresh clothes. I don’t have to imagine what he intended to do to me but when alone in his chambers, I became a Jaguar and ate his heart out through his chest. I swallow down my thirst and squeeze Grace’s hand. It has been six months since I fed. I do not harm the innocent. It is my own law and unbreakable, sadly their are too many people, men that would take advantage of a, well what looks like a sixteen year old boy. I knew that within minutes I could find food if I wished, Grace was laughing and waving her ticket and seemed so full of joy. I ignored my base appetite and joined her in the cheering. That was one of the happiest days of my very, very long life.

1986 – I have just watched the news the a nuclear reactor has been destroyed. I cannot help but cry. Some unpronounceable city in Russia is now a no-Go zone and will be for thousands upon thousands of years, I will still be here when it is safe for man to return there. The stars can burn out of the sky and I will still be here, the oceans and mountains swept away and I will still endure. I am not proud of the life I have lived. I tried never to hurt the innocent but I am a haemovore. I did not chose this life, it was forced upon me. My new Guardian, Richard is a Dealer at the stock exchange, I paid off his debts as long as he tells people he is my ‘Uncle’. He has been passed out for many hours. Coke and champagne are his two greatest vices but I am cold and lonely so I settle down beside him and put his arm over my chest. We both sleep for fourteen hours, the longest I think I have ever slept in my preternatural life.

2015 – For a short time in the late 90’s I hustled off the streets, killing those that needed  it. I woke at 5am one day knowing that I was among the last one of my kind. I grabbed whatever would fit into my rucksack and ran. I was never taught any rules about us, the one that made me was gone long before I ever woke up. As far as I know, not one of us has ever turned someone so young before. I don’t have the ability to do it. I tried and failed. When I knew Gardener was dying I tried then and he bled out. Richard, my sweet kind, silly Richard. I tried to turn him but he has a fatal heart attack. Perhaps I lack the skill, the strength to do it. I have always been able to sense others like me but they always kept their distance. Perhaps they wanted company as much as I preferred solitude. I never tried to seek them out, they were like distant music carried on the wind. Now there is almost nothing, like white noise. Perhaps this was the gods’ plan all along, that we are a mutation of the perfect order and should be eradicated. I have, in the last near on 500 years been shot, stabbed, hung, burned and beaten. I always heal. How are they, my kind dying? I like churches and crucifixes and holy water do nothing to me. I love garlic. I have a silver ring that I took from a German rapist in 1982 that I have worn for the last thirty-three years. How are we dying? Can I die? I have been a twelve year old boy for four hundred and eighty odd years. I have killed thousands upon thousands of people. Do I deserve to die? Am I truly a monster?

That’s when I felt it, a foreign, alien mind behind my eyes. The door to my apartment blew back off it hinges and there stood a tall black man with a light in his eyes. “Raul?” I nodded, already I could feel my nails growing and my teeth lengthening in my mouth. “I have no time to fight you boy, come with me now!”

2017 – We have lived in Canada now for nearly two years. Saebow my new Guardian is even older then me. He was turned in Egypt, centuries ago. He is kind and patient and likes to laugh. He shares my belief that we should only kill the dangerous ones. The Vatican issued sealed orders to a secret sect called The Brotherhood, who killed almost all of us. Saebow has had dealings with them before. In Egypt we were worshiped as gods. Anubis, not a Jackal but a wolf was thought to be the very first of us. He decided the guilt of men and killed the unworthy. The Brotherhood calls us ‘Vampires’. As if there were such a thing! For the first time in a very long time it is a pleasure to sleep in someones arms who means you no ill will. I have not been a human for a very long time but I did not die that day, I still want my home, my pleasure, the comfort of others. Saebow means me no malice and welcomes me into his bed, he behaves with tact and dignity. Finally I can sleep and dream of distant music on the wind.

Standard