I unfold my sweating fingers and release the troubling plight of Mr. Deadman, a man who slipped away, a man who lost touch...or did he? Similar worlds die every day in much subtler ways. These things happen on the inside as emotions crack apart and fall into darkness like shards of glass. Here is the place that we scream into nothing, dig our nails into the shells of ourselves, fight to hold on through that which tears us down. The biggest horrors of all happen to the ones who fall blindly laughing the whole way down. Deadman fights but things are way beyond his control in this haunting metaphor of his soul, revealing the hopeless degradation of his state in a clever battle against one Wicked Bitch that he cannot defeat...Eva Camilla.
Look into the magnifying glass as it lowers from a starlit sky and brings Deadman into view, open your soul, open your eyes, open your analytical powers; shut off your fear and observe the clues of his plight enlarging in the lens...as an old steam engine rolls in.
Richard stared at the night table with regret.
"I should never have let her in," he said to himself.
The Hidden Valley Motel sign jiggled under rising winds as unseen forces cut through the barren winter hollow where it stood. The structure shoved its concrete claws into the earth and held on despite all of it. With its cold tile floors, and 1950's color schemes of pale greens and blues, the motel turned to brick with black shingles and there it was. Invisible things, gifted with great visions of destruction, now crawled from its binding fibers while peeking into windows and manipulating the fragile world beyond.
Richard Deadman now looked out through the hazy window…to a dying dream... as ice clung to the rusty chains of wind-blown swings. What a cold world it had become out there. He felt things looking at him, but who would believe the inner workings? He'd explained it to himself many times, and things never checked out. The logically illogical was in it. What a clever design it was. If no one believed him, did that mean it wasn't real? What a strange series of events he seemed to be slave to analyzing.
All around him, the cyclone quietly raged, running him down steel rails that stretched into a lost realm that she designed just for the attack of his sanity.
Surely, she couldn't be behind all of this.
Where were the days of toy trains and bright childhood eyes? He believed in things then. The past drifted so far off that he wondered if he had dreamed it or was he always right here…in the middle of All…centered in the eye of the storm. As a child was he falsely sheltered by paper walls that protected something unvalued but now longed for once again?
Nothing warmed a thing inside, and this thing grew outward, rising up to claw down and gnaw upon his deteriorating framework and chomp it to splinters. Time sure played some dirty tricks; it was a wicked game. If he could erase the past and only get those eyes of hers out of his mind. But that would never happen. Her green stare was now branded into his brain.
Even Judy had now strangely turned into a diabolic bitch with much evil plotted behind her twisted stare.
"Is something troubling you?" Judy had said.
She hung her head, and hair draped over as one deep brown eye peeked out from behind a curtain of wavy brown hair. His insides squeezed in with that old agonizing grip as she mockingly laughed. He wondered... could she hear his internal screams?
"I have destroyed you," Judy softly said and smiled. "You are defeated from the inside."
"Yes," Deadman replied. "You are very clever to go right for the guts. You may as well have my insides hanging from your hand." Dark hair fell over his brow as he looked to the floor, "I am broken."
Judy laughed and bit down on her index knuckle.
"I did the vilest, of the most wonderful feeling, things," she added. " You just wouldn't believe."
Deep within raging thoughts fires and steam clouds pumped hot vapors into the tragedies of Deadman. Angry gray faces arose in steam, casting manipulative distortions into his head like shovels full of coal.
The train was all ready on its way; it picked up speed as the distortions wove together, creeping like fiery vines and penetrating the intangible factors of who Richard was... who he had always been.
Judy brushed her hair back with her fingers and smirked.
Deadman looked at her standing there by the door while rattling her keys.
"Are you going to leave now?" he asked.
"Yes,"she said, "It isnearlyover."
Deadman looked puzzled, "What did I do to bring this out in you?"
"Nothing, she has her own nature."
Deadman coiled up inside.
"She… and is Eva still working through you to destroy me in some way?"
"And do you want me to believe this crap?"
"It doesn't matter if you believe. I just need that car of yours."
"You have a good damn car Judy."
Their silent eyes shifted.
"She wants yours. You have been such an excellent liar so it should be your sacrifice."
"Why? What is so special about that car of mine?"
"I think you're a link of some kind. I think it is the sickening way you take care of it, like your dreaming of something. You are so constructive with that car. But she dreams of things too, and you are in her way now. It's only fitting that you pay."
"Well, whatever,you're not getting my car!"
"Richard. She will get the car of your own free will. You keep resisting her. It's not good for your withering soul. She will shrink you down to zero and then find a way to take it all."
"This is a twisted game you're playing Judy. I don't think I want you around anyway. I think you have lost your mind, and I will get custody of Billy because you are unstable."
"So I am the unstable one," Judy laughed.
"All your plans will take time Richard. Time is something you haven't much of. When Billy isn't a child anymore, she will get him too. I did what I had to do to give Billy some time. Now do what you have to do and give me what she wants. You started this mess. I know that you did; even if you won't admit it."
The door banged open and the wind howled in, bringing little Billy Deadman in on cool gusts of earthy outdoor scents.
Little Billy pulled his mittens off as Richard noticed the chrome forks of a toy chopper sticking out from a coat pocket.
"I thought I told you to stay in the car," Judy said.
Billy's cheeks were rosy and his lips chapped from deep artistic concentration. His toy looked better in black marker.
A cold wind slid over Richard's face then swept over his clothes. All came alive with a zing, a charge of uncertainty sparking over him. There was a strange land out there covering his existence, bringing in factors that didn't seem to add up, off-kilter kinks. His head felt all screwed up.
"This ain't real! What kind of fucking witch are you Judy?"
Little Billy stopped in the living room and quickly stared at the hardwood floor. He pulled the toy chopper from his pocket and quietly rolled it over the furniture, popping wheelies over pillows as chrome spokes sparkled in his clear young eyes.
Silence softened everything after a door clicked shut, except little Billy's chopper sounds.
Richard looked at Billy playing. His son stood up and took off his coat and as the coat fell to the hardwood floor... Deadman's eyes enlarged, hispupils awkwardly spun; simply holding his eyes open becamea taxing effort. Suddenly Billy evilly stared at him. Deadman looked to Judy andhereyes sparked luminous hues of green. He shrank backinside himself but the sudden sight of wounds on Billy's arms pulled him back…to be.
"What are those marks on your arms Billy? Are you into marking up your arms now…your arms now…arms now?"
"I was coloring my Chopper and my arms kept itching. It started on the way over here." Billy suddenly scratched at his marked up forearms and whined.
Richard tensed up and drew back as welts rose up on Billy's injured skin.
He winced at bloody traceries of devilish faces surfacing on Billy's little forearms; his heart pounded as the images reached out of Billy's skin.
"This shit can't be real!" Deadman stormed off down the hall then into his room and slammed the door. Bang! He locked it. Billy's arms still squirmed and shifted in his mind.
He hated to admit it, but this bitch was everywhere.
"What's the matter with daddy, momma? Is he sick?"
Judy slyly smiled, "Yeah, he is so sick."
"I'm hot momma. Are we leaving now or can I take my coat off?"
Judy saw the whole wicked scene in her head again and grinned at the impact of her influential ways.
"Just keep it on," she said, hiding her smile behind her long brown hair.
Mr. Deadman sat on the corner of the bed and stared at the closet door.
Click. Poof. Fire.
Dust burnt from haunting puzzle-piece memories as the furnace fire rumbled up. Deadman stood and flung the closet open, grabbed a suitcase and packed it with clothes. He'd never give her the car. It didn't make sense. It had nothing to do with the car. She had lost her mind. This was psychological war. She was slowly taking him over with her clever game, playing on his hidden guilt and fears.
'She' is 'Eva' now, he thought.
"It's all fucking crazy!"
Richard pictured those filthy men doing things to Judy and her liking it. That's right; he had to do what he had to do. Judy wasn't herself, and he wasn't either, madness. Why did she have to use such graphic detail? Something wasway off; that bitch was plotting with Judy or something.
Deadman walked down the hall to leave, and he knew what he should do. He should do what any normal father would do and inform Billy. There Billy stood sadly looking right at him, with a lower lip sticking out, while rolling a finger over the wheel of his toy chopper. Deadman glanced but said nothing as he walked on.
"You're making a big mistake Richard," said Judy as he passed her at the door.
Deadman stepped out that door with his heart beating then leaned back in to say his parting thought.
"Billy, there is no god."
Billy stared blankly then looked down at his toy chopper.
"But there has got to be a devil,"Deadman said.
He searched Judy's eyes and went on his way. He kept looking at the ground as he walked to his Chevy II. He opened the door, tossed the suitcase in the back seat, fumbled with his keys and fired the six-cylinder up. As he left the gravel drive, the back tire spun a pile of rocks and dust. He reached over and turned on the AM radio.
"Actress Sharon Tate was found murdered in her home today…"
Click. Deadman switched off the radio.
"The whole damned world is going nuts!"
The little Chevy II drove off into the night with Richard cussing the planet, patting the metal dash and looking at the red needle on the gas gauge falling below empty…
(That fucking figured.)
…his guts twisted and growled.
As he rolled into the gas station a powerful image flashed in his mind.
The image repetitively dripped, and he had to say it out loud as he shut off the key.
"Blood," he said, then came a great realization, "It's fucking everywhere."
It was a realization that he would never get a chance to understand.
Deadman noticed the man at the other pump drove a 54 Chevy truck with an engine block loaded in the back. The guy wore a service station jacket with a Standard Oil patch on the front. He appeared to be in his forties and had a greasy rag hanging from a dirty back pocket.
Deadman pulled the nozzle from the tank of his little Chevy and replaced the cap then hung the nozzle on the pump.
"Hey man, you want to buy my car…cheap?"
The guy smiled and looked at the deuce, "Money is tight buddy. Can't help you. I wish I had some doe 'cause I love those little cars. I noticed that one as soon as I pulled in here. It sure looks good, nice and clean."
Deadman paused in sudden thought and stuck his hands in his pockets then seriously looked into the man's face.
"Well, I'll just have to give you the damned thing won'tI."
The man's eyes popped open reflecting an intense moment of confusion.
"Give it to me?"
"Yeah, give it to you." Deadman smiled. "It might do me some good."
Are you serious? You've got to be kidding. Is it stolen?"
"Not if I have anything to say about it. Take the car and you'll be doing me a great service. Pick it up at the Dark Chasm around three in the morning. The papers will be signed and in the glove box. The keys will be under the seat.
The man appeared leery.
"I don't know buddy...that place isn't too cool, I hear."
"Man, I am battling things no one understands, things I'm not going to explain. If you want the car, it will be there or the bitch gets it."
"This all sounds fishy to me mister, but I think I get it."
"If you want the car it's yours. I hope you take it."
The man scratched his head. "So I guess this is my lucky day then? This feels like one of those oddball moments in my life. Why did you pick me?"
"I don't know why buddy, and I never do."
Windows creaked and popped under the wind at Hidden Valley Motel.
Richard awoke to the sensations of tiny legs running rampant over his body again. He bolted up shouting and brushing his hands over his arms then switched on the light beside the bed. The feeling quickly faded as usual. He spun to the side of the bed and dropped his feet into broken glass.
There was one good thing about cold tile floors. Whiskey bottles shattered like bombs after he choked down the last drop.
Then he thought of her; she was always moving, calling to him through intrusive visions. She slipped about and teased now. She was never out of reach, yet never in touch, but always there spinning delusions into him, building falsehoods in unexpected places. He sighed and placed his head in his palms.
'What a far out fucking dream,' he whispered and began to replay it in his head.
He breathed in a black void, feeling his way through nothing while expecting the injuries of misdirection. Then she was kissing him, but she wasn't there. He smelled her wonderful scent as she brushed against him. Her hair tickled against his skin, but where was she? Where was he? She had him in some other place where there was nothing, nothing but invisible her.
The sounds of her voice amplified tin echoes that rose and lowered in volume around his head.
"You are with me…" she said,"…in the darkest corner of All." Hot breath puffed over his lips. Slimy finger-like things touched and stroked over his face. Saliva dripped down his chest, yet his mouth was bitter-dry.
"So you are the witch?" he said.
"Witch, is entirely too shallow of a word."
"What's with you and my car, and why can't I see you?"
Eva laughed and flames blasted out of the darkness.
Then Eva was gone.
Deadman screamed alone in the dark, his blind eyeballs searing with heat, his heart beating in his ears and his face sizzling.
There were so many legs that he heard all the tiny things moving as floods of spiders crawled up his shins.
Fangs, and Hot Venom.
A shard of glass punctured Deadman's bare foot. He felt it. He looked at it. He sat back on the bed and trembled over it, but didn't care.
"She's trying to defeat me through my own actions…and she continues winning."
He didn't make a sound as he pulled the shard from his foot. He shook the blood from his toes, grabbed a dirty sock from the nightstand and slipped it on over the wound. Shoes came next.
"She's slowly killing me. I can feel it; I'm dying."
Deadman stood up and crunched his way to the bathroom.
"Walking on broken glass," he mumbled and limped beyond the restroom door.
Deadman fumbled with his keys then the little six cylinder fired up. He gunned it a few times. The car warmed up in a matter of minutes, and the little deuce buzzed down the road. He was tired of it all. It was time to dive straight into the mire of the muck. "Whatever happens… happens," he said. The Chevy II passed over an old iron bridge then hooked a right where he viewed the words Dark Chasm painted in purple and lit up by spotlights hidden in the weeds.
So maybe this was it. Dread washed over him as he rolled into the graveled lot. Everything was so quiet except rocks crackled under the tires. There was only one other car in the lot, a red '67 Camaro. Deadman gave it a glance as he shut his little Chevy down. Here he was. What did he care? He stepped out of the car, backed up a few steps and stared in every direction as far as he could see. The whole world had warped; it wasn't a place for him anymore.
"Richard Deadman. 1935-1969," he said and shut the car door. He pulled his coat tight. He gave the deuce a final pat on the quarter panel and walked away.
"Bye, Bye, Baby. It's been nice."
When he walked in the door, there was a soft screaming inside him, smudging the lines between life and death, the barriers being bled across rusty trestles and severed by hot steel wheels spinning backwards for salvation…yet finding none. The screeching metal wheels threw sparks over his withering soul, cutting pathways through blackness with flashy orange light and ever observant green eyes surfacing in the confines of All.
She was closer now. She whispered from dark corners of the smoky room, promising passion and filthy deeds wilder than his dreams had ever been.
Deadman heard something gurgle and turned to see a long-hairfrothing into a scraggly beard. The man wore an army jacket and bell-bottom jeans. He bobbled in the chair then thudded to the floor and twitched uncontrollably.
Deadman stared at him lurching.
"You're better off dead, man."
He walked on as sultry invisible lips toyed with his ears, sending warm chills up his spine. She had his number. If he could not escape her, he would jump into her heated lap and hold on to her until the time came...as if that would ease the pain. His soul was all ready down to nothing, spinning like a shrinking funnel cloud, and she had it by the tail… slowly drawing him in with her clever tongue.
From shadowed corners fine bodies gyrated and moaned, pushing against things and grinding into the firing synapses of his hard wired biology. Slender fingers displayed damp places, sending his pulse through worlds of conflicted reasoning. She was everywhere he looked, doing everything from beyond his wildest dreams and calling out to him by name.
Deadman sat down at the bar. A blond woman brought him a glass of whiskey, half empty, and then she dropped in some dark yellow cubes. She had a certain sway in her walk, that same sway that had caught his attention once before. He rolled the ice with his index finger and looked it over then glanced back at her.
"For the soul," she said and stared into his, giving a sexy laugh.
He took a deep breath and a first taste. It was unexpectedly sweet. He never tasted anything like it. It was real good and sent a hot feeling through him on contact so he drank it down; it was a familiar warmth he hadn't felt in a long time. The stuff could be a lethal poison; it didn't matter to him anymore.
A flash of little Billy crossed his mind. Billy sure liked that motorcycle. Then devils reached out from Billy's little arms again and Deadman saw his own old toy train set, the only good memory he had left. In his childhood he saw the smoke stack pumping hot clouds. He heard the chugging and the whistle blowing. Just like at the station when the steam had rushed around his young legs. Except then he had his father's hand to hold.
He laid his head on the bar and exhaled, "What happened to me?"
A tremendous force hit Deadman from the side and knocked him from the bar stool to the floor. His spine cracked. The impact took his breath and left him gasping as a man fell on top of him, grabbed him by the shirt collar and growled.
"Get me out of here!" the man shouted again and again with spit spraying out of his mouth on exploding bursts of, "She's killing me!"
Then a shower of froth spattered Deadman's shocked face. The man fell into a seizure and his body turned rigid. He bucked and jerked across the filthy floor. Deadman quickly jumped up. The guy's army jacket had blood on it this time and so did his face and hands. Deadman checked himself for wounds and found none. Then a wave of bubbling blood leaped from the guy's mouth and covered his wretched face. The guy went limp, giving a final twitch and expulsion of air. Deadman suddenly turned away and gagged to the smell of a stranger's final shit.
Maybe dying was not such a good idea.
Richard heard something squish and winced at the horrible sight. He recalled his nightmare as bloody, black spiders forced the man's lips apart and scurried into shadowy corners.
Deadman's vision blurred and swirled as each small creature vanished.
He caught his breath and leaned over to the bar to drink down the rest of his drink. It was good stuff. This guy just died before him in a grotesque display of blood, frothy-spit and arachnids, but Richard quickly wanted another taste of his tasty drink again. He noticed this as an abnormal reaction but only wanted the taste in his mouth. It was fabulous. It seemed to make him see something strange; these beautiful women were turning ugly, and their ugliness appeared even more beautiful. He didn't want to feel this way anymore, but Eva had a way of strapping him down and making him feel things that he should've rejected.
Suddenly rancid bodies bumped against him. Women now moved All around while arching their backs and showing him things he had only begun to pay for.
The women had sunken eyes that bled. They smelled foul and unsanitary. Their tongues were too long and the tips were split. Their bodies were rotting, sagging and wrinkling before his eyes. He knew his feelings were fucked, but they all looked so sexy.
"Oh Richard, we are here for you. We will love you forever."
Richard limped and turned around as the women circled him while feeling on his body. Hands kept touching, gripping and ripping at his clothes. Suddenly his shirt shredded, and the animals rushed their cold, trembling hands over his skin.
Richard's eyes rolled back. "Oh yeah," he mouthed and then panicked.
He knocked and punched them to the floor as they moved in, but the vixens kept getting up even more determined than before. The beings tore at his pants. These beautiful monsters licked and touched him in many places then grew sexually enraged to the point of eminence.
Jagged teeth snapped at Deadman as he fumbled and tripped over the hippie's dense corpse. Sharp points chomped at his legs. He saw his blood on their attacking faces as bits of muscle and shredded jean hung from bloody twisted mouths…and it felt fabulous. Richard grew overwhelmed with pleasure and groaned. He wouldn't last much longer. The vixens moaned frantically and feasted on his thrashing legs as fear slammed across his brain like a pipe with one still frame of repetitive reality repeating in his brain…get the fuck out.
Deadman dug at the floor with his fingers while drooling vixens tugged and pulled at him, taking more bites from his body as he tried to escape. He moaned with ecstasy and screamed as he reached and tripped the door open with a bang to see the taillights of his Chevy trailing away from the lot.
"Help me!" he screamed into the outside air.
A vixen growled and yanked him back inside buy his hair. She crawled on top of him. Her beauty sickened him for the world, as blood, flesh and drool dripped over his face. Her tongue extended as the mixture of rank fluids blinded and sent him spinning backwards to the swirling sounds of wicked eroticism and into the great empty pit of his soul.
"She is a beauty." The Chevy II purred down the road. Hector Miles reached and opened the glove box. He pulled out a paper. "There it is, signed and everything.Free! Didn't cost a dime. Thank you," he turned on the dome light and looked at the title, "Richard Deadman." He gripped the steering wheel and laughed out loud.
"Thank you, very much. I love you man!"
Then he kicked it into passing gear, and it wasn't fast enough.
Deadman awoke screaming to the throbbing pains of his wounded body while slopping around in the warm wetness of his own blood. He wanted to pass out or die in this darkness. He even pleaded with god, yet never got an answer.
The bites to his flesh radiated big circles of pain, but he couldn't see well and didn't dare to touch the ragged wounds. Now there was no pleasure, only the agony of this painful existence.
He heard tiny legs gathering around and prayed it wouldn't be much longer.
"Richard Deadman," a feminine voice said. He listened as footsteps approached while strange music arose in the background. There was the sound of a church bell and falling rain.
"Do you like Black Sabbath?"
The voice came from all directions.
"What do you mea…?" he said as his voice cracked and fell apart.
"Would you like another drink?"
He heard ice clinking in a glass then felt the glass press to his lips. What followed was sweet and wonderful to him, a pure candy relief as a dim green light slowly revealed the Dark Chasm's crimson walls. The place slowly surrounded him again but was much different than before;
The walls shifted and moved with thousands of spiders. The floor bubbled with the creatures. And the greenest eyes he'd ever seen, stared back at him.
"Eva…you're one wicked bitch," uttered Deadman.
As he lay on the floor, he watched her smile from the center ofan evil stage of spiders and rotting, hungry vixens. He swallowed the whiskey down, savoring the taste from the sweet cubes.
"Very good," she said. "Do you feel better now?"
Deadman weakly struggled and sat up. He spit blood on his lap then dropped his head and briefly choked.
"You have been through a horrible ordeal here," said Eva in a most compassionate tone. "One more drink from the glass in my hand and all your pain will be gone. Would you like that?"
Deadman struggled and barely nodded his head, yes.
"It will be an even trade then, for your car."
Deadman didn't respond at first then a faint burst of laughter spewed blood from his mouth. The laughter paralyzed him, hurting his whole body like he himself was a single gaping wound.
"F-Fuck you. I gave it…away."
"Now, why would you do that?" Eva shouted.
"Evil bitch," Deadman said and choked again, "I'd rather die."
Eva leaned down to him and kissed his head. He jerked away.
Then she licked her lips as she stood above him.
"What a damned fool," she said, and the Dark Chasm began to rumble and shake. Spiders rushed towards him then burrowed into his wounds as he tensed up and screamed. Snakes slipped over him, striking at and injecting poison into his face, time after time, as a deafening train whistle blew the sounds of All away.
White light lit up Deadman's bloody hell as a locomotive-wall of steaming steel blasted through the center of his brain, its wheels thumping violently down red hot rails, its trudging sounds shrinking away into his blackened void.
Deadman's body exploded on the wall.
Eva snarled, "Blood" she said, "Enter the scavenger."
She sneered and drank the last of Deadman's drink then licked her sultry lips.
"Choo- Choo, mother fucker," she said, "Your last good memory."
Then she slammed the glass on a table.
"It was all that you had left."
Little Billy Deadman turned on his night light and pulled the covers over his head.
"Please, let there be a god," he whispered and stuffed his toy chopper under his pillow as Judy tucked him in.
"Sweet dreams Billy."
The magnifying lens spins the Hidden Valley Motel to a blur.
I close my fingers, bow my head and sigh as my tri-skull cap fades to black.