Firstly, apologies for the website being down for so long. Blame my behind the scenes fiddling.
Anyhow, here is the third part to the hallucinogenic road thriller/horror The Violet Dark. Again, first draft, work in progress! The second part has also been updated. My aim is for you to follow me along my own road; that of crafting a new novel from scratch. If you find any mistakes I have missed please don’t hesitate to point them out.
The rain stopped first. The clouds hung around, waiting for something that didn’t come. One by one they slunk off, freeing the sky, the lightning and thunder gone to their beds in other lands. The orchestra over. Time, gentlemen.
She got up, so sodden and heavy and filthy with the mud that the rain had not washed away. Not a mermaid or a fish, just a fat, slow woman, creaking the ground with her ponderous weight.
She followed him back to the bikes. She didn’t know how he remembered their location so well, but then again every tree was different, as was every bush and every blade of grass. After a time she noticed that the trees were pointing the way, and ushering them along. Their impatience was evident when a branch whipped her backside, and they hurried their pace, leaving a leaking trail as they went.
Perhaps it was the time dilation, but it seemed to take a lot longer to find the bikes than she’d have thought. How far had I run? The walk got easier as it went on, as the water fell from their clothes and hair, and after another sip of violet her body lightened even more. The air blew fresh and clear around the amaranthine trees, curling and singing sweetly as it sought them out and kissed them dry.
They sensed the silence of the road before they came upon it, and their bikes lay there like sleeping metal tyrants.
He walked past them to the road, and laid himself down.
‘Are we not riding?’
‘Not yet,’ he said.
She lay next to him and blew invisible smoke rings into the firmament.
Watching as you sleep
She looked up into the sky, that lonely chasm. Each star a little slice of heaven, some sharp, needle holes poking through the blanket to something better, to the paradise of whiteness beyond.
And the moon. Fat and bulging, it dominated the sky, a bulbous eye watching, ever watching. It grew whenever she looked away, whenever she blinked, whenever her gaze unfocused.
Not grew – came closer. Everything did it – the trees, the rocks – creeping closer behind your vision.
It reminded her of a TV programme she had seen as a child. There was a bunch of standing stones near a house, and they kept coming closer, and closer, but you never saw them move, not an inch. Eventually they were right outside the windows, right outside the front door. You turned your back and they were right there.
The show had terrified her. The terror of the inanimate, the unknown mysteries – worse than undead, never meant to be alive, never seen to be alive, and yet –
It was like spiders, one of her fears. The horror, the real horror wasn’t in the movement, but in the non-movement, the waiting for movement, the dreadful anticipation, wound up like high tensile wire. The lock of the legs. They crouched, and did nothing. When they moved, as quick and horrible as it was, it was never as bad as how it had been in your mind. Horror always truly lay with what you didn’t see, with what you made up, with the imagination giving graveyard life to the shadowed objects around you.
The moon seemed to fill the sky now. It was no mere eye of the night but a pale Sauron, a single staring eye for the cyclopean Anti-God. The eye of Death’s negative.
The black pits on its face seemed to wink at her, and it grinned.
‘The moon scares me,’ she said, and it did not sound ridiculous at that moment but rather the words consolidated her fear.
‘I know,’ he replied. ‘It’s always watching. It watches everything. It wants you to be scared of it.’
He gave her his blanket and she wrapped herself in it, while he lay out on the grass in nothing. Sleep came on her like a coma. She moved through the bellies of demons and angels with diamond eyes fucked her softly.
He watched her for a long time before closing his eyes.
Stepping through mouldy sunshine
She tried to blink away the sun, but it would not go. Her head swam and when she tried to sit up everything was too sharp, too bright and painful. Everything newly angled, even the grass was carved with a knife.
He was at her side stroking her hair and she wondered how long he had been there.
‘I’m thirsty,’ she said.
He had the flask already in his hand, ready to touch her lips.
‘Do you have water?’
‘This will keep you hydrated.’
‘Hair of the dog, huh.’ She took a tiny sip of the drink. Anything to make the land soften.
‘You’ll need a bit more than that.’
She rolled her eyes, but that made her skull ache. ‘Get me a proper drink first.’
‘This is a proper drink.’
‘I want a fucking coke.’
He stood up and looked down at her, then walked off to find their bikes. A few minutes later they had steered them back onto the road and were on their way.
She’s forgotten what the day had looked like. There was something pale and harsh and sad about it. She kept her eyes half-closed. The violet had taken a small effect, had taken the edges out of the world. She could feel them pushing to come back though. An artist’s hand waiting to re-sketch, to draw every line harder with thicker, meaner pencils.
She watched him from behind, watched his hair run with the wind. When she drew up closer she sometimes saw his eyes closed as he drove, and then as if he could feel her eyes he opened them slowly and smiled at her.
Who was this man? Why had she shacked up with him? Was he dangerous?
She thought of the farm and the big house, now empty and loveless. She thought of the thing in the mirror and she suddenly realised she had not taken her father’s body out of the road.
The thought was so awful that she drew a sword against it and cut it out of her mind.
Some tombs are best left undisturbed. Sometimes suns die and yet they never leave the sky. Just don’t look at it. Don’t let it hurt you.
They stopped off at a big store by the wayside. Both somewhat sobered; he was taking another as she pushed open the screen door.
‘It doesn’t belong here,’ he was saying. ‘It doesn’t fit. Where’s it gonna go? No place at all.’
There was only a couple of people in the store but they peered at her strangely and she felt uncomfortable. Well fuck you too. She wandered the aisles, feeling as out of place in this man-made artifice as the store itself was in the country around it. The man at the till coughed loudly and it echoed down the aisles. She concentrated on what she needed. All these names, brands, bullshit. She remembered when she would come to a place like this and how she had always wanted more than she could afford. Now little took her interest.
She bought a sleeping bag. She bought biscuits and bread. She bought vodka and coke.
They drank the coke, squinting in the muddy glaze of sunshine. They crouched under the jutting roof of the store. Less aggressive. A cool hand in service of the night. Helping the strangers who go all hours by the wayside.
‘I feel like I’m growing horns,’ he said.
He laughed at her with hard eyes. ‘We need to move on.’
Leave life behind and follow him, came the unshakeable thought. It’s easy. Just follow. Follow until you are ready to lead.
‘Where are we going?’
‘There is no where. There is nowhere to go. We just go.’
‘The dark will come soon. Then we go again.’
‘For as long as time takes us.’