Saturday, June 17, 2006

Terrifying Story

Terrifying Story is from Alistair Vogan's short story collection Beyond Good and Eviler.

Note: the following is the first three abreviated chapters of a novel-in-progress. Please pardon any indecisiveness that may appear to exist in terms of theme, character, style, story-line, genre or raison d'etre. And also pace. Pace and tone... and maybe direction. Really, it's a work-in-progress. It's to be published by Double Day, though, in the spring of 1999! Maybe. They don't seem to be answering their phone. 'Cause, have they relocated then?

A Disclaimer

This is possibly one of the most frightening stories you will ever encounter. This cannot be overstated. You are forewarned. I suggest, if you are weak-hearted, easily anxious or find comfort in animated films with talking animals and sweeping orchestra scores, you move along and find yourself elsewhere. Basically, this isn't for little girlz.

Ivan Von Noshrilgram, Sr.'s
Terrifying Story

Chapter One

The way it happened (Brace oneself)...

It was not long ago. It was a dark and humid night. Frightened, I ran from my house into the street. To where I ran and for how long, I can not really be certain. I would rather not think about it.

That night, thick, lead black clouds slid over the moon like glaucoma. Visibility was low. I bumped into things my mind could not identify. A thick humid wind swept across the landscape and tore at the shrubs, trees and my lone slouching figure as I entered the threshold of the Necropolis. A tree limb cracked and tumbled over a rooftop like a discarded corpse. Glass was heard shattering but only momentarily because the deep rumble of thunder muted it. Presently the rows of cold stone and the caste iron gate were released from the dead black night by a long artery of lightning cutting across the sky. A duck quacked menacingly overhead and with sinking dread I realized I had left my hairpiece on the dresser.

No. It was a woman's throaty scream I heard - perhaps of a cheerleader - emminating as if from the darkness itself, causing the hair on the back of my neck to bristle. Then, as I entered the threshold of the Necropolis an actual duck, (Anas Platyrhynchos), most certainly hovering menacingly directly above, unleashed such a most blood-curdling quack as one would not expect this side of Hades. Without hesitation I passed through the first row of dusty tombstones stealthily, then the next, and it was there that I saw a lone figure, in possession of a large rusted shovel, slip behind the base of an ancient tree. Watching his shadow cast upon the bushes I made out his awkward attempts to hide the shovel in his fedora. Naturally, being a private detective and familiar with all things evil and malicious, I was one step ahead of him. Ever so slowly, very slowly indeed, I slipped my hand inside my Holt Renfrew sports jacket and reached for my trusty revolver but, somewhat dismayed, I discovered my cordless electric shaver, by Braun. Reflexively I switched it on, began to shave - starting with precision at my left cheekbone and progressing with carefree movements towards my chin, even whistling a short section from Guys and Dolls! - and therefore gave myself away. Immediately I sensed the moist odour of rotting flesh. I began to gag when from behind two powerful, icy hands grasped my nostrils, and began to "yank" in opposing directions...

Chapter Two

No. Not quite right. Indeed...It was my throat. Yes. I distinctly felt the hands upon my naked throat. I dropped the blasted razor. Of course it is moments like this that action is required, decisive, precise and effective, even brutal. However I attemped to scream. Cold fear stifled it, and then, perhaps out of denial, while tapping my index finger upon my protruding lower lip I began to ponder why I would have allowed myself to leave the house anyway without the hairpiece. I am always punishing myself that way. In fact I can spend hours devoted to it. Was it intentional on a subconscious level? Was I my worst enemy? One cannot have an afro one Monday, then not Tuesday, but then have one again on Thursday. There are natural laws after all that everyone recognizes, I said to myself as I was being strangled and my razor buzzed at my feet.

Another "Quaaaack!" - this time yet more blood-thirsty, creating an expanding circle of waves over the black blades of the Necropolis lawn - and the violent flapping of wings too which pulled me from the security of my dream world. The "Anas Platyrhynchos" continued to hover above, periodically slapping its massive webbed feat - as dry as Dorothy Parker - against the sides of my skull. Oh its cry! Its heartless cry! "Surely this must be the winged messenger of Satan," I said aloud. "Kuuuwaaaaaaack!" it seemed to respond in its filthy avian code.

The assassin's hands laid upon my throat, to my surprise, seemed to vaguely lose interest in their quest; and I instantly changed form, very cleverly assuming the attitude one might when shopping for retirement gifts at Walmart for a loved one. But I was out of luck that eve. He was not misled, no, and so the talons returned with renewed vigour - though I was certain I had delivered a convincing imitation of discovering the perfect cow oven mitts for someone dear in middle-management. Perhaps my hearty, "Do I get air-miles then?" lacked the necessary emotional depth... Nonetheless, I found myself at the tipping point, struggling for my life, trying to free my neck from these shackles of bone and flesh. I wrestled as a young Charles Bronson, or Clint Eastwood might have; perhaps even reminiscent of stolid Russel Crowe in Gladiator. Finally, against my will, I let out the pitifull scream of a seven year-old girl, a math whiz, and mockingly it echoed from across the endless rows of tombstones. Also adding to the torment my roller skates caused me to falter - my right leg slid forward, my left back - ripping my slacks and I, losing my balance, shot sideways forehead-first into a pine, a sapling, really. It was more damaged than I was. Also, I dropped my Fran Lebowtz action figure. ...All this apparently unnerved the dark assailant.

Chapter Three
(the terrifying denouement)

And just like that the well-girthed bird arose into the night air and began moving south, its body black against the cold and sparkling indifference of a canopy of stars. Exhausted, I collapsed on the ground in a heap, and wept beside the sapling... now barely alive. My antagonist? I do recall his unfavorable laughter, and the sound of his footsteps as he stomped across the dry grass through the rows of tombstones, then over a gravel road and finally disappeared into the bushes... with my cordless electric razor, by Braun. Was I shaken? Oh yes! For a moment I was a man beaten perhaps. Delirious, and seeking comfort, I reached for a telephone and ordered a large Hawaiian pizza with double cheese, making sure to check for any existing drink specials cause they won't always tell you about them, will they? I like cream soda. However, none came! No part of my order. Because there was no telephone. Just as their was no gun; as there was no hair, as there was no "digity". Only terror. Terror. ...Terror.

Then, I slipped into the Void and experienced a dreamy nothingness - as if I was at that moment in my Remembrance of Things Past pajamas - and later, since I would spend the entire evening and much of the morning on wet grass, hives and a real zeal for scratching.

the end

Important Terrifying Facts

Terrifying Fact # 1: In 1975 ninety-seven people were murdered in the safety of their homes, while sleeping.

Terrifying Fact # 2: In Texas forty-nine people await the death sentence. Method: lethal injection.

Terrifying Fact # 3: I like cheese. (Maybe not so terrifying, in retrospect.)

Terrifying Fact # 4: The serial killer is often highly intelligent and a integrated member of society. He is not unlike you or I.

Terrifying Fact #5: I am not unlike you or I.

Terrifying Fact # 6: It takes a rotting cadaver 47 days before the lungs begin to collapse.

Terrifying Fact #7: No one knows why, but sometimes, often 15 hours after the time of death, the deceased's heart begins to beat again.

Terrifying Fact # 8: Death is a real commitment most are reluctant to make.

Dead people are good listeners.
Dead people are cool to respond with uproarious laughter but, alas, rarely snicker.
Dead people are the least productive in the workplace and frequently

Ivan Von Noshrilgram, Sr
(Distinguished philosopher botanist, wild game hunter, exotic animal trainer, extinguished firewalker, writer and humanitarian lecturer. And terrifier.)
Edited by Alistair Vogan

1 comment:

Harold said...

Love it. I say put it to the cannon.

H. Bloom
Literary Critic