Wednesday, 15 October 2014

With The Lights Out

P   R   E   V   I   O   U   S   L   Y      I    N 
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

'And get this, Steph, our biggest opponent yeah, his evil nemesis - Aronson - he was really some old geezer from the hospital down the road. Spiderfingers had done the whammy on him. When we rumbled him, Spidertwat said he did it to keep us alive. Aronson and all the attacks on my family, yeah - Spiderdick called it practice.'

    As he crawls along, Handy Andy's imagination fills with remembrance, the warm cat-fur feel of Vicky’s gloves - oh her stroking. Ah thinks Andy, but not now, not here. Not any more. His focus must remain on speed speed scuttling speed.

Andy sends a small prayer to Eris of Confusion – he prays for the crazed and blinded beast tracking him to snuffle itself toward the smeared flesh on the open road. Surely this subterfuge will buy him badly needed getaway time as he crawls away in a maddening pain, a smarting that has been given no valve for relief. The agony that Andy lives through has no orifice to blast out of, a basic necessity denied by his surreal biology. No, this Discordian must retain the hellish discomfort for himself. No potent sonic discharge, no saddening lonesome cry vents its existence into the gathering mechanical rumble of London’s Monday morning.

    'What I can't figure out is why he left you with so much power? You can disappear and reappear wherever you like! What was he thinking?' said Saul tugging on his ponytail, 'think he was trying to start another load of Discordians?'

    ''s something else...' said Steph trying to second guess her dead god, 'or maybe he knew he couldn't live the way he was forever, that he'd need someone to take over being the god-hex?'

    Steph shrugged before noting something black and shiny on the beige coast, ‘What’s that?’ she said as her curiosity channeled a new power to her legs. She ran toward the chiming surf.

    ‘Careful, last thing we need is something random killing you.’ cautioned Saul as he hung back running his only hand through his pony tail.

Steph approached the item, inspected it and then finally picked it up – a folded black card with bold text, instructions to those admitted to a play. Saul advanced to peer its wording over her shoulder.

    ‘With the Lights Out?’ said Saul his eyes scanning the damp dark polished card, ‘If by some mad-arse fluke we beat Aronson and get out of the Oma alive, how’s about’s we go see it, yeah?’

    Steph gave him an I-can’t-believe-it look, ‘No way are you the theatre going type?’ she said.

    ‘Full of surprises me,’ grimaced Saul looking out toward the Sea of Stars, ‘Plus, it’s not often I get to see a play in someone else’s head is it?’

    ‘Oh yeah,’ smiled Steph her olive fingers toying with the programme turning it over and over. It felt so expensive, a pleasure to the touch.

    ‘May as well take being self-involved to a whole new level…Jesus Saul,’ said Steph looking out over the starry tranquility, observing the lowering of the setting sun, ‘is everybody’s mind like mine?’

    ‘Dunno, maybe…Fuck knows…it’s alright here innit? You got the sun and talking food. Sweet. Oi Steph, not being funny,’ asked Saul gawping up at the sprawling skyscraper-high text, ‘are you supposed to be Wigloo?’

    Steph looked up at the story, her eyes running through its details,

    ‘That’s a radical interpretation of the text.’

    'Oh yeah?' challenged Saul clearing his throat dramatically, ‘The Big Unknown?’ he said, ‘and oh look, here we are headed to the Oma; the colours of the fruit being red yellow and blue? That’s easy, that’s the colours of Spiderfingers right there. I was never awake in English but let’s be real yeah, let’s not mess about here luv, I’d say the words you’re looking for aren’t radical interpretation, more like that Freud fella.’

    ‘Jung had more depth,’ replied Steph smirking to herself.

    ‘Jung?’ echoed Saul rubbing his chin, ‘I never read that one. Loved Origin of the Species though.’

    Steph flicked a dubious look toward her companion and upon receiving an unambiguous look of anxiety she muttered, ‘Don’t worry about it, hey, reckon the entrance to The Oma is through the Big Unknown?’ she said pointing out across the shimmering oddity, its tide washing in washing out, washing in washing out...a glorious orchestral jingling as it did so.

    ‘Eh? You mean you don’t know?’ asked Saul.

    ‘Well, I had a dream about your house...the mirrors in the attic and - look - I’m winging it here,’ Steph picked up a rock, ‘this is my subconscious, you got a map to yours?’

    ‘No, but you looked like you knew what you were doing. Believe in me you said. We should be at my house, with Alice and hey, just how safe is this place?'

    In a musky and shadow strafed basement Andy lies on his back, the battered and sentient palm side stretched out on the dusty concrete foundation. Is he finished? Has he come here to die?

Whilst others will wait upon his curious self to advance their understanding of the situation, Alice concerns herself with what is obvious, the remedy to bizarre scenario’s ever clear to her blue eyes. In seconds she has produced a crayon out of her dirty denims. She places it in the twisted limb and the twisted limb grips it tightly. Handy Andy writes upon the floor so that Alice may confirm her supposition, Spiderfingers’ death.

Her hair is dirty, unkempt and had it been placed under the scrutiny of daylight would reveal its stark blonde hue. Alice Is short, nearly dwarf height and her impish face helps cement the notion for first appearances. This woman however only looks like a girl.

    ‘Spider’s told me about you and the rest of your family,’ croaks Alice with a voice seldom used, ‘but I want an up to date and complete breakdown of all your abilities.’

    Handy Andy complies for the Alice girl. He tells her everything in extreme detail. His endurance, his attack speed and meta-strength, his exceptional tracking skills, second only to Object Girl in its usefulness.

His nuanced and unique power is that he can determine the location of anyone who believes in Spiderfingers. Handy Andy is a living spiritual compass. There is nowhere in the world that Steph or any other Discordian can disappear to without Handy Andy’s knowledge.

He writes this all down in barely legible short hand. Were Alice a normal human being then scribbling would mean nothing.

    ‘O.K, how many Discordians are left? I want locations and a damage report.’

    Andy writes out the required facts:

    Object Girl: dead.

    Lilith, Steve and Nightingale: captive in the Necrosphere.

    Saul and Steph are off the grid. They might be in Steph's subconscious.

    Spiderfingers’ subconscious and Stephanie Tent’s have merged.

    The location of Po and all the safe houses: compromised.

    All Spiderfingers’ effigies have been ruined.

    ‘Not all of them,’ voices Alice her every word permeated with the coldness of android-like assessment, ‘Stephanie Tent’s power is some form of escapism, correct?’

    Handy gives Alice a flick of his thumb but then collapses back to the basement floor shaking from the torment of injury. Alice bends down next to Andy and prods his damaged body. She rips off a good portion of her Sonic Youth T-shirt and wraps it around Andy’s palm of a torso – to keep his pinky stump from pumping out precious blood.

    ‘I’m sorry about Vicky and you’re probably wondering why I didn’t come up and help. I have a specific skill set and besides, I’m a last resort – you can’t surprise an enemy if it knows you exist.’ 

Handy continues with the writing. Because he needs to, he still hears the wise words of a fallen comrade.

    The hero is defined by the weight of their sacrifice

    Andy scribes how he saw Saul and Steph teleport away from Anubis’ wolf minion. Alice moves fast – she wriggles out of her torn and faded blue jeans; she changes into her blue dress and white apron, her white socks pulled up to her knees, and on go the black shiny shoes she unpacks from the long box beside her.

Alice grabs her rucksack and collects Handy off of the floor.

    Up the basement steps Alice darts, running up stairs she’s never travelled down – so many years it’s been since the auctioneers delivered her here. So many many years since Eros was tricked into letting chaos’ greatest weapon go…

    ‘After we get Steph and Saul we’ll catch up with Nightingale…she’ll fix you.’
    Steph played with the stone in her hand, tossing it up and down,

    ‘I had some monsters planned for Wigloo’s adventure,’ she said, her eyes gazing out at the crystalline shine of the sea, ‘I was gonna write them into Wigloo’s adventures over on the Big Unknown, but unlike my so-called-life in London, Limbodia is like totally monster free.’

    Steph coiled back and then unravelled her arm letting loose her stone, a naturally formed missile sinking into the calm but enchanting glimmering swell, 'If Wigloo can swim across it, maybe we can.' muttered Steph with a hint of reservation.

    ‘Monster free?, questioned Saul, 'Like, totally?’

    ‘Yeah?’ confirmed Steph searching Saul’s face for a way into his current thinking.

    Saul punched the air with both his left hand and the stump on his right, ‘Shit Steph, then we could y’know, live here - see that play whilst we still have our lives yeah?’


    ‘Woohoo!’ whooped Saul whipping off his hairband to free up his black strands, both them and the red dyed parts riding the breeze, ‘Let’s stay here,’ said Saul his hand and stump clutching Steph’s shoulders, his face snapping from side to side fully absorbing the details of his new home, 
    ‘At least for a little bit you get me? I could do with a tan.’

    Steph inspected the face of her decaying cohort, ‘That’s humour to take the edge of things right?’ she said flatly, ‘Cos I gotta say the delivery’s pretty damn convincing.’

    ‘No jokes here missus,’ and Saul’s face was naked of any twitch or tell, just a slight frustration via his incessant blinking. His smile beamed effervescent, ‘I’m not taking another step.’

    Steph stood open mouthed, her jaw jutting wide then closed then wide again - like a fish deprived of water, ‘You’re serious aren’t you? Saul, I need you out there! Your family needs you, without them to protect me I’m dead!’

    ‘You’ll adjust,’ said Saul matter-of-factually his face still radiant, ‘– we all adjust. I’m gonna go tell some fruits a story. Y’know, to take the edge off.’

    ‘What about your family?’

    ‘I’ve given them enough.’

    ‘You can’t just sacrifice your…come back!’ shouted Steph after him. Saul kept with the walking, his long dark blue trench-coat flapping in the gust.

    ‘What about your family…Saul?!’

N   E   X   T      T   I   M   E      I    N
S   P   I   D   E   R   F   I   N   G   E   R   S

'How do you kill a product?'

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