Here for your enjoyment is the second part of the opening to the hallucinogenic road thriller/horror The Violet Dark. The previous part is in the previous post. Again, first draft, work in progress! My aim is for you to follow me along my own road; that of crafting a new novel from scratch.
Bigger than us
She didn’t know how long the night span on but on it did. The world wheeled past. The bikes crunched through on the infinite scrawl of the road. The whites, the blacks. The thin grey desert carved through the hollow thickets of the land.
See the brambles and thorns as scissors with the sky. See the howl and thump of the air. Feel it, feel it pour through you. Her hair swung out behind her, each strand a pagan goddess, swaying seductively, amorally. The motes in the air the audience, rapturous, hushed. Waterfalls in the night when the lights go low.
The bikes seemed to run slow, but who really knew. Time couldn’t keep up with the moving world. The bushes and dark ones did not whip along, but watched in a gradual impermanence. Each skull grin, each wide eye, caught in the crazed obsession of the blackness, all caught and replayed. Things took their time here, the route the orbit of the spirit. She remembered each beautiful nightmare. Each slide in the film. The projectionist looking down on her. Turn it down, dad. Wind it on, turn it down.
Ahead of her he came closer and closer, and she realised he was slowing, or she was still and he was riding backwards. He turned into the side and came off the motorbike like a falling tree.
‘What?’ she said, the word moving through her like the ocean’s sigh.
‘I thought it might be getting tough to ride for you now. The road wants us to take care of ourselves. Come in. Brake, brake, come in.’
She took the hand of the great pardoner and stepped off into his kingdom. Her princess dress nothing but the cobwebs blown through the early hours.
‘Lie down,’ he commanded. She followed after he did.
‘Enjoy,’ he commanded. She came first.
At first the grass tickled her, a thousand hands invading her, laying siege to the wall of her back. And then she closed her eyes, and the hands pulled back in deeply held respect.
She breathed in waves, feeling the rise, the crest – then exhaling the spume off the bare shore. Blowing the rolling hills back to the blue depths.
She felt the motions of the world, felt its pulse. As she breathed the ground beneath her feet breathed. A thousand giants below the surface, pounding anvils and raising steam, jumping, stretching, fighting and fucking. Each cough a storm, each sneeze volcanic.
No, just one, one behemoth, bearded and brawny, his hair the grass and trees, his beating heart the Earth’s core.
She saw through the soil, saw his rolling mad eyes, his tectonic fingers prying, probing, turning valleys to mountains. Then his eyes were the moon, two moons, except cast below deck by an intemperate God. Then whites go red, and the eyes were the twin cores of the Earth, still watching, still pulsating, melted blind and pupilless.
If only others knew the truth: that the rhythm of the world was the monster Gaia, the great, terrible wild man of all impossibilities. Wild man of the woods, the rocks, the deserts, the oceans; the mists in the sky his fogging breath.
All the time or none of the time. That’s how you live, that’s how you love. They lay side by side in the motherly guardianship of the stalking trees. Fingers so close. They could feel its each other’s existence, more aware than any two beings ever had been before. A devil’s angel and an angel’s devil.
She opened her eyes when the trees moved. She saw the eyes in the trunks, saw the nests of the damned, saw everything watching. A silent crowd watching, moving slowly in gnarled twitches.
She made a noise and her body sat her up. Somebody was still running the thing, while all those upstairs either lay in a stupor or were petrified like stone.
He sat up next to her, and she cried out again at this sudden zombie. She thought she was trembling all over, but when she looked at herself she was still. Her body looked alien to her. She swore there were eyes on her skin, looking at her through wrinkles, just out of sight. Mouths in the crooks of her arms laughing. And the corpse of him.
‘It’s okay,’ he said.
‘No it isn’t.’
‘You’re right, it isn’t. But it will be. You need to brave it out.’
‘Brave . . . what . . . out.’
‘The violet dark.’
She’d been running. She knew that from the sweat, from the punch of her heart, from the army drawing its breath inside her. But she couldn’t remember, not really; just a rush of shapes, crawling patches of darkness, bogs of the pitch-dark sky sucking at her feet.
Why had she ran? The eyes… the laughter, the chorus of the owls perched all around like the bloodhungry at the Coliseum. The birds on the branches examining her with surgical eyes, just rotten old plague doctors; they’d not seen any in some time. Watched by all parties as she made her way through this house of trees with stoned terror.
Now she was in a drunken, wheeling panic. She felt like a girl who had woken up in a room alone at a strange house, drugged and ripped, a foreign chatter above past sprawled corridors that never ended. A date gone foul.
She struggled to make sense of the panic, to take action on it, to exchange information body to brain and back. He was not there.
The first drops of the storm landed on her fingers, then her nose.
She slipped through the trees as the rain ate at their leaves. It was a chatter that continued to increase in volume, a party of souls with as much wine as they could drink.
She imagined she was on a ship, an old galleon with high masts. Reading the stars by the lamps of the owls. Guiding the vessel through a maze of rocks, hands dancing at the helm – the trees crowding in, coming at her left and right.
When she bumped into him and he put his hands on her she thought that maybe life had ended. Everything stopped for a heartbeat, a freeze frame. She thought of it as a photograph in a book of her life. A baby in her father’s arms. A child playing on the farm. A woman in the arms of the dead.
Her fist clawed at his head, and he tripped her up, sending her flat to the ground. Surely this was dying, she thought, but then he was there, his breath against hers, urging her that it was okay and stroking her hair as the rain came on.
The sky rent and gnashed, great holes appearing and reeling drunk like gaping portals to the black clutches of alien space. The air bellowed and screamed, swooping banshees in their ears and the ears of all creatures big and small.
I am drowning, she thought, and yet she breathed through the water, writhing in transformation to mermaid. The world was a waterfall, and it all came down.
They were offering themselves as a sacrifice to the storm, laid in a small clearing as trees melted around them and sank into the earth. She swallowed the rain and it filled her belly, and she wriggled in the mud like a fish.
Watch the world drip away
Drip drip drip
It all falls down
Every last bit
The heavens ripped open with atavistic savagery, some calling of primeval gods ending in their destruction and the birthing of their blood fouled sons and daughters.
A homicidal night, and watch as the spindral hands of God come down from on high, from the tears in the cloud – or the hands of that Gnostic demonking, spectral and skeletal, crooked and shining in the blue white of the newly dead. It reached out, darting and jagged, and fingered the holes in the earth.
She rolled on the ground, hands clutched over her head, and he lay prone yet soaked and trembling, half concussed and with asylum eyes. Mouths were opened and mouths were shut and –
All words were lost in the screech and holler.