Working on the new novel this morning, moving things forward. Still too early to share the context and plot, but I thought I’d share this brief
[and beg forgiveness for the first-draft-iness of this writing]
The first thing you need to know is that they’re not a who, they’re a what.
And they’re a what that steals.
A what that sucks.
I never noticed them, until it was too late.
I played my harmonicas, sang for the ladies. My bib-overalls flapping in the breeze and bare-feet kicking up a dust storm. My teenaged me, just howlin’ to the moon and to anyone who’d listen.
Oh, how I wailed.
Me and Woody, we knew something of the world.
And all the time, they were closin’ in.
I was blind.
Youth is always blind.
Until it’s too late.
Came my seventeenth birthday and I began to see things.
Eyes that didn’t match, mouths that didn’t connect.
I saw faces like roofer’s putty.
Like ice cream melting in the noon sun, dripping down a cone, over fingers and thumbs, dropping to the ground in puddles to be fought over by the wasps and bees.
Faces that just weren’t right.
And I tried to warn them. I did.
I shouted, and sang, and talked, and ranted.
And they took me to the hospital; long, gray corridors that never seemed to end. They marched me down there, past all those closed doors, some with voices behind, some with screams. And some, the worst of all, with silence.
Deep, dark silence.
And they shut me in a room.
Poked and prodded.
Asked me questions.
What did I know? What had I seen?
Who had I told?
And they forced my mouth open, and they gave me pills, they gave me syrup on a spoon, and I had no choice but to watch the syringe as it glimmered in the cold electric light.
That light; so dead, so cold.
The doctor in his mask.
And me, knowing that his face was melting behind the green fabric.
The cold warmth of the syringe in my arm. I tried to shout, to scream but one of them was behind me, holding my chin up so my teeth bit into the gag, and I was trying, but the room was ripping apart behind the doctor, tearing a hole in the ceiling and walls, swelling behind him like a mushroom cloud.
And he was melting.
And the black was swallowing his melting head and the hands let go of my chin and the gag fell to my chest and my body…
In the silent, dark, dead blackness.