Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Work In Progress, August 2010

The beginning of a story that won't let me go...a weird western.

You can thank H.P. Lovecraft and Red Dead Redemption.


Jakob Kleist was an old man, and so he woke early most days. Today was like most days. He rose and put a coffee pot on the stove, and poured water for his morning ablution. The low chime of his gate wards rang as he shaved. He carefully wiped the large razor his father had left him, patinaed with age, folded it, and slipped it into his back pocket. He did not hurry as he washed the remaining lather from his face and dried his hands. The mother-of-pearl buttons on his shirt glinted in the morning light as he closed them. He put on his hat.

He opened the door and watched the shuffling figure approach. It was a man, young, clean shaven and dressed in a well-worn uniform of dusky green and brown. He was dead, and had been for some time by the color. Smoked glass lenses covered his eyes, and a wide-brimmed hat shielded his face from the sun. The skin of his face bulged and twitched like the belly of a gravid mare. Jakob’s stomach contracted, cold inside him.

“You stop, now. That’s close enough.”, Jakob said, as the dead man approached the covered porch. The dead man stopped. Jakob stepped onto the porch and he looked quickly to each side, expecting ambush. Nothing was there. He slowly stepped foward, cautious of trickery.

“Why’re you here, boy?” he asked of the thing, not at all sure if it could answer.

The corpse opened his mouth, and a voice came from inside it, distant but clear. It said “I’ve come with a message.”

“You shouldn’t be here. You shouldn’t be able to be here. How’d you get through?” Jakob asked.

“Things have changed, the walls wear thin. We are coming.” the dead man said.

Fear started to pulse in his throat, but Jakob didn’t let his voice quaver. “That your message then? You finished?”

“No, Jakob Kleist. My message is this...” There was a pause then, his throat worked strangely and a new voice came from between dead man’s lips. “Hello father. I’ll be seeing you soon.”

The world seemed to shift a little under Jakob’s feet. The voice stirred up memories he preferred to keep locked away, and their rising shattered his self control. He blindly put out a hand as if to steady himself on the porchpost, but the dead man moved suddenly. He leapt forward, grabbed the groping hand and shifted, pulling Kleist into the air and throwing him rolling in the dirt. The old man felt something give in his chest, and the pain took his breath away. He blinked away the black spots dancing in his vision, fear spurring him to roll over and scramble backward, trying to keep away from the corpse shambling toward him.

The dead man must have used all his energy in the sudden attack, for he now moved weakly, stumbling drunkenly toward the old man rolling in the dust.

Kleist crabbed backwards until he backed up against a tree, and he used the leverage it offered to get to his feet. His breath escaped in a pained wheeze, and the world spun around him, but he stayed upright and managed to slip the folded razor out of his back pocket. He flipped it open and ran the blade over his left palm, just deep enough to let the blood run freely. This he flicked at the corpse, and as it hit his skin the crimson liquid exploded, knocking the corpse to the ground. Jakob slid down the tree to his knees, and slapped his bleeding palm to the earth. The ground rippled, like a pond disturbed by a dropped stone, and the ripples spread toward the dead man now trying to struggle upright. But when the first ripple reached him, the earth reared up in a wave and crashed over him and then hardened again into solid earth. The corpse was suddenly imprisoned in a small hill, hard as kiln-fired ceramic.

Jakob relaxed, breathing shallowly against his broken ribs, and stood. He stumbled over to the hill and, using his still-flowing blood, wrote a few scrawled figures across the smooth surface of the hill. When he finished, the hillock trembled then withdrew back down into the ground, leaving a clean patch of earth in its wake, leaving behind no sign of the abomination it had swallowed.

Jakob’s world went blank.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice! Hey, I'm living in Shimonoseki, and found you through the shaving blog...about to take the plunge into DE shaving and would love to get your advice. AND I'm a huge sci-fi geek.
If you're interested in contacting me, send me an email at skyguym42@hotmail.com