Check out an extract from the hallucinogenic road thriller/horror below. This does not follow on from my previous TVD posts, but is an extract from later on. It can be found in full here.
The Second and Third
Close Encounters of the Netherkind
They were driving slowly along when they saw them. Two shadows coming in from the side, reaching out with clawing hands. Waving in the air like black weeds.
Horror gripped her heart in savage hands. She was frozen by these elongated demons, unable to move, unable to turn her bike or stop or speed past. She proceeded with ghastly inevitability towards their outstretched hunger, and the closer she came the more a sense of terrible decay festered within her.
With the anger of a rising engine he overtook her, and the shadows seemed to shrink, to gabble with sudden uncertainty even as he decelerated. He raised his shotgun and blew through one of them. The other emitted a shriek and contorted, spider-like, ready to spring. The gun span and there was empty space in its chest. The bike growled to a stop.
She stared at him and at the twitching grotesques. Inky clouds seemed to seep from the ground beneath them.
‘Move,’ he said, revving the bike and taking off, and as her bike rolled past the scene she felt control come back into her body, and with tight fingers she accelerated.
It was no use. Her mind was scattershot and wild. Around her hedgerows and fences were paintings of carnage, of orgiastic horrors gorging themselves on human bones. She saw her face everywhere, plagued and in pain, and she saw her limbs eaten like corn on the cobs. Everything satanic and diseased, everything them, all watching her, ready to jump from the trees, from the sky above; legions of shadows eager to break through the road and pull her down into Hell.
Around bends she sometimes lost him, and then she was a doll of blood-coloured china, petrified and shattered with the smallest push. A minute would feel a lifetime, suspended in perennial shell. She could not even close her eyes, although she knew doing so would only deliver her into a blacker perdition, an abyss of no escape.
When she saw him again, that soft blur streaking through the night air, the relief rained on her in a hot shower. She would tailgate him, bewitched by his presence and his guardianship, and he would look back and through everything she could always see the smile.
The blue lights came up on them from behind. That same colour blue that had flickered through the trees while they were naked and bestial. A supernatural blue, a blue of Reykjavik ice caves, a blue of Roswell experiments on beings with tennis ball eyes.
Whatever was coming drove the lights before them, and when she turned her head to see she could see nothing but the sheen of abduction blue.
Something new. Is there no end? But her thoughts lost themselves to the cerulean haze, as though it were an occult fog designed to bend her mind to dumb wonder. Space. Ocean. I am theirs. Up, up and away. Neptune. Perhaps I am the alien here. Vivisection. Ice. A cold flood. The blue cheeks of death. I must. I must see. I must see the sea.
‘Don’t let them bewitch you. They’re not good.’ Her half-closed eyes opened to see him riding alongside her. She blinked and turned to look at it hard, and saw beyond the lights.
A great cat? Was her first thought, but she couldn’t be sure. Slowed down this seemed something different, though perhaps of the same dimension. Through the fuzz and watercolours and casts of fog she made out the heads and tentacle arms of shadows inside.
So, they have their tricks. They have those that would carry them, those that would shine the beacons.
She clasped the throttle just before he did, and as they raced through the muddy world the shadows and their lights chased them. She did not look back again.
Fear kept her in control, as everything about her turned to a smear. She was leading now, and they crossed onto new roads.
She turned onto a smaller road, then a track, then off the track and through woods. She rode off a bank – her heart was in her mouth – and landed with a thump that tottered the bike and she fell off as the bike curled itself onto the ground.
He came soon after, making the jump and swerving to a stop just before he hit a tree. They pulled the bikes to the rim of the bank and crouched there, knees pulled up, listening.
‘Why are they after us?’ she whispered. If not for the violet’s effect on her night vision she would have been nearly blind.
‘They know we’re a threat.’
‘But why are we? Is it because we killed some of them?’
‘They came after us first.’
‘Then why?’ she pressed.
He sighed. ‘Because we’re not like them. We don’t live in their world.’
‘What world is that?’
But he wouldn’t answer.
Light flashed through the wood briefly, and they heard grunts and sunken hoots like netherworld gibbons, but after that no more lights came, no seeking shadows nor the roadbeasts that carried them. They stayed to make sure, and soon their eyelids blinked heavier and heavier, and the abyss clawed up to them and dragged them down with hungry arms.
Too high to fall
She dreamt she was high up, looking down on a rug of white mould. Level with her passed a procession of spirits. They ignored her as any ethereal might do to a mortal.
Leviathans of snow and cold cotton came and went. She heard him, but the murmuring words were indistinct.
She drifted lower and passed through the carpet. Beneath it was the night. A black sea in all directions. The endless, sucking void.
Spider webs of amber lights defied the empty. Breathtaking mosaics spaced as far as the eye could see. Civilisation. The world of man was nought but a Halloween decoration. Man and woman, she corrected herself. This was hers too, and all must be held accountable.
Connecting these lonely outposts were trickles of moving lights that snaked through the ink, fighting through the black swamp that threatened to engulf them from all directions. She knew the trails must also be bridges without supports, balanced or hovering by some magic across the void.
Stay away from the dark, she heard him say. Love it with fear and stay away. When you leave the paths of light you fall and you fall forever.
He dreamt of monsters with human faces and the shuffling dead. Of cold blue prisons, and a mantra, murmured through unconscious lips.
The hour is black, I do not sleep. Shadows they are watching me.
Do not answer the door.
He dreamt of a boy traumatised, not by the actions of others but by his own; struck dumb with all that he had seen, with all that had come and not come from his being in the world.
This torture of innocence excited the man he was, and while he dreamt of darker things and his head swam giddy, the boy in the locked cage cried and cried and cried.