July 11, 2012

(Another novel finished, another novel started. Such is my life. The new novel is inspired by the modern myth of the Slender Man, shared with me by my other half. I’m only two chapters/pieces in and I still have a considerable amount of planning to do.)

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     they whisper a name. SLENDER. [SLENDER? who is SLENDER, i ask.] between the concrete slabs, tucked into the bricks, we are all shadows and i can only see their long silhouettes when they move. they lean towards me, dry mouths cracking as lips break apart and fall to the ground, writhing like dirty worms. lips fill cracks. lips break backs. i stare at the empty mouths and tongues flick up and down, scraping the sidewalks, roots burrowing in the stony ground. light fluctuates by their cheeks, pale flashes illuminating a gum line, a toothache, an eye hollow. i press my fingers against gelatinous chests and they recoil, spines snapping like rusted springs. [i don't know SLENDER, i whisper and they suck their lips into their throats and claw brick walls open.] bricks roll down their arms and smack the ground, edges crumbling and powdering. i kick the powder and ground stone specks rise into the air, then swirl in a cloud, catching the light and reflecting it back. i cover my mouth. i shield my eyes. light sucks into my lungs. i vomit. i vomit the light and dust. i rest my head against the brick and they grasp my hair in their fingers. [SLENDER, they hiss.] their fingers slip away from my hair and my head drops forward, colliding with my clavicles. my neck bends too quickly and pain shoots across my forehead. i slide against the wall, my back scraping as i move. the shadows fade. the brick walls expand. i sit in a wide space and my bones ache. [there now, the bricks whisper. did you listen? suffer the SLENDER. know his limbs. when the SLENDER leans into your throat, give him a slice of kidney pie. it is a trade. organ offering for bit of sanity. do not charge the electricity. they sit between the bricks, waiting for SLENDER to open his mouth. do not let him open his mouth. come armed with the thread spool and a silver needle. not an iron needle or a steel needle. a silver needle. it must be silver. the degree of silver does not matter. but it must be silver. even a silver coin, melted down and recast in a needle's body. resurrection of the silver molecules. salvation of the silver elements. these bricks are yours, if you can pry them free. they never leave mortar willingly.] i tap my knuckles against the bricks and they wince. [do you mean the bricks or they, i ask.] ruddy red fades from the brick’s facade. [they, the bricks scream. it must be they. they know about SLENDER. they fear SLENDER. do not let SLENDER know you. SLENDER will maul you like their throats.] i pull away from the brick wall. i push my tongue out of my mouth and taste the air. [are you a snake now, they ask, shadowed bodies settled deep into the brick. tasting the air, as if your muscle is so well-endowed. do you think you've developed reptilian features? you cannot taste that protein. you are not allowed.] they open their mouths and swallow brick. they twist their necks to one side and bricks salivate. [you've made stones water, i say.] [we are not as strong as SLENDER, they say.] [is SLENDER a god, i ask.] [SLENDER is SLENDER, they say.] [then what is SLENDER? a condition? a disease? an organ? a piece of fat? is SLENDER really something to fear, i ask.] they pry their jaws apart and scream. shrill voices echo against the bricks and collide with the walls, condensing between stones and puddling up by my feet. i kick the water away and the shrieking grows in intensity. i pinch my tongue with my fingernails. my bones ache. my bones salivate. [i'm leaking, i cry.] they whack against one another. bony flashes appear in front of me, long spinal columns that bend to the left, then snap forward, hitting the walls, smacking the gristle. [stop, i shout. this isn't right. you're breaking me.] they retract and snap. they break and crack. i look up the alleyway tunnel and a shadow passes through the light. they fall silent, bones creaking as they swing to a stop. [he is there, they whisper.] i fall to my knees, exhausted. my liver twists around my intestinal tract and squeezes tightly, suffocating the meat until the protein strings dry to filed mica. they shake their joints frantically, rocking back and forth, tensing their muscles until the meat is like jerky dyed with charcoal. i reach for them and they twist away. [do not touch, they hiss. SLENDER is listening. SLENDER is hearing everything. do not touch.] they tuck their joints into the small stomach sack in the center of their bodies and retreat into the brick, figures rolling into balls as they move. they wriggle into the stone pores and i dig my nails into my cheeks. the skin bleeds. i watch the street. the shadow passes again. [is someone there, i ask.] the shadow stays near the far edge, dark mass silent and still. i step forward. the shadow snaps away. i step again. the light increases, nearly blinding me as the yellow-white becomes white-white, then blue-white. i cover my eyes and bend at the waist. the light burns my skin. a heated feeling comes over my wrists. my skin cooks. i smell salt. i smell roasting muscle. i tuck my hands into the crooks of my elbows and breathe shakily. slowly, i lift my head and the light is gone, no longer bright but a slightly white shadow. [he'll trap you, they whisper.] bricks fall out of the walls, shattering on contact. sharp stones slice my legs and blood seeps down my skin, streaking my calves with red. i reach down and wipe the blood away, smearing the red all over. [he is there, he is there, they whisper.] my bloody hands push against my mouth. i stare at the alleyway opening. SLENDER, they whisper, concrete bones creaking.


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