Here is the fifth little part of the hallucinogenic road thriller/horror The Violet Dark. You can buy the full novella for mere pennies/cents/whatever on Amazon.
No Ordinary Man
You cannot share a voice
He put his hand on her bare arm, and she shuddered as if struck with some kind of charge. Her flesh seemed to give way before him, and she tried to stiffen, but her body was relaxing, pooling itself. Her skin spongelike as it bathed in darkness.
‘You are not like ordinary men,’ she murmured, and as she saw the crescent grin of bone she thought of men, men in herds, trampling the jungle and raising barrels of dust on old tracks. Men with their trunks and horns of all sizes waving and cutting through the air. And then, her eyes deeply closed, she saw their sight, their destination, and as if some cabaret parody of the reverse she saw the women, the lithe vulpines, twitching their tails and swaying serpentine, ballooned calling cards on their chests and lower backs, and the herds of men and women raised up their voices in song and shouts and screaming and roaring, all notes of chaos, pleasure and pain.
And then her eyes snapped open, the herds of the sexes snapped out of existence, and she knew how wrong it all was.
‘You see that it is wrong,’ he said, as if courtesy to her visions. ‘I am not like ordinary men because there are no ordinary men. There are no men and women. There is just a man. And there is a woman. And another man, another woman. Do you see? We belong no more to these groups than a cast rock belongs to the hillside. Society feels the need to categorise, and especially for the biggest groups of all, splitting the world into a mere two. But nobody is alike. There is nobody, no individuals or committees who can speak for these groups, because they are chaos. The wall of sound gibberish of billions speaking is the same as having no voice at all. There will be no agreement. Never.’
He paused to smoke. ‘I do not understand these gender wars. You look at me and say no ordinary man. I say no ordinary woman and I could say that to any woman anywhere. There is nothing in gender. You have the animal sex of your body. Beyond that two possibilities. No gender at all. Or every gender, an individual gender for every person that ever walked the earth. Either way it is meaningless. Your gender is your personality. You hold no membership cards to these sprawling groups. They are not your team. You cannot win, you cannot lose.
‘These women and men are shapeless, allowed to become a brick in a living, pulsating wall. They defend “their own”’ – he danced his fingers in the air – ‘by attacking the other side. Us and Them . . . the most primitive of human behaviours, so regressive as to be embarrassing. There are no sides! No sides but every side for every one. Too many sides. You are on your own, do not permit someone to speak for you. You are an individual. You are never a group. Anything more put on you is a direct insult.’
Alright, calm down, she thought. Barely talk and then it all at once. Didn’t ask for an essay. And you’re still no ordinary man.
He touched the skin of her arm, and felt it ripple. He closed his eyes and saw the throbbing wetness between her thighs. Under her flesh, the pump of hot blood.
He moved his face closer, and she turned her head, shaking.
‘What?’ he said.
‘I don’t know,’ she said. ‘I’m struggling to keep hold . . . after what’s happened . . . I don’t know you, I don’t understand what’s changing . . .’
‘I don’t know you either.’ He spoke softly, purring the words. ‘You do not need to struggle. Let life wash you away. Nothing has happened. The past has no existence.’
He took her by the face. ‘Look. Look around at the serenity violet gives you. This gothic theatre. A lurid opulence. This is where you are needed.’
‘Needed by who?’
‘By yourself . . . By me.’
She tried to smile and yet turned her head away again. ‘I need time.’
He inclined his head. ‘Of course. I know that. Time to develop, time to grow, to fall away . . . Time to love again. It took me long, too long.’
He moved away from her, closing an imaginary door behind him. He sighed, reaching for a cigarette, and stood smoking in the cool dark. Clad in a shroud of deep sea blues and the side of his vision bleeding garishly from the bright spectre of the moon.
‘Need,’ he whispered. ‘There’s all the time about us, she won’t be needing that. She’ll be needing a lot more soon. She will be needing me.’
The thought didn’t make him smile.
What is left when all things are empty
They saw the first one when they were on their backs. Lying on a quilt of grass in the hole of the night, loomed over by the skulls of houses.
The air was brittle, and from time to time he would reach out with piano hands and snap it. Fingers ivory keys in the blackness. Palms of the dumb. He’d grope up blindly, eyes tweaking like a pink mole rat rising from the earth. Fat raw limpdick. Loin maggot. Wait till you’re out of your infancy. Snuffling round holes laid in the dewy dawn.
His silverback hands rustling the tins hidden in the sheets of the wind, which hugged and poked them relentlessly, attention-seeking. His fingers curling, crab-like, scrabbling at the elements above. Finding a purchase among the nooks.
She felt it snap. A bone of air. She could hear it, like the click of fingers in her earlobe.
She shuddered, as he did it for the fourth time. ‘Please stop.’
He turned his head on daggers of grass, and looked at her, holding a grin. Werewolf-in-tow. ‘Am I breaking it?’
That’s when it came. Slipping from the edge of a wall.
She shot up, the rush of new perspective disorientating her and she staggered. He took her arm.
There’s one there looking at us. No sudden movements. Don’t want her to –
He saw her rise to her feet like a pillar birthed from the soil. His eyes hooded and he climbed to his feet slowly, carefully, just in time to catch her stumble.
The shadow listed closer to them, hugging the wall. It was making sounds. Submarine sounds of the unconscious. They had always sounded so far off, incoherent. Drowned whale songs.
‘I’ve got a gun,’ he said.
The thing in front of them, a cut-out of the paper maps of the world and all its inanimates. Only oily space beyond.
The thing moved as if it was falling and melting through the landscape. A handpainted nightmare tripping between the pages of a comic book. Moving in slides. Falling apart and gathering in patches in a Rorschach mime.
She shivered in disgust. There was something deathly about it. Something corpuscular and yet without body – an un-thing, a gap in things. Negation in shape.
When she started registering the sounds she took a step back and gave a little helpless cry of fear. The sounds of dull rotting pines banging together in an empty forest. The foghorns of old animals crawling and crashing out the mountain. Booming and braying at the pus of the moon.
‘Stay back,’ he said. She didn’t know if he was talking to her or it.
‘What is it?’ she whispered, and she noticed he was pointing at it with a twisted metal stick, some set-eyed guru shaman holding the demon back with voodoo.
She blinked and looked between them and saw a shotgun aimed at a quivering, crumbling blur. The noises gibbering and sullen.
‘Don’t shoot,’ she said instinctively. He glanced at her, eyebrows furrowed, and his arms lowered.
In an instant so vacuous, so robbed of living moment, the shadow jumped at them. It was a window pane of time that smashed them in the face, the flesh of the world in the shutter frames of a strobelight. It touched her; some greasy black flap waved over her bare skin. Its huge and hideous face garish in ugliness, in its spits of soot, its streaking lines of black blood. A face amorphous. Porcine and canine and that same naked mole rat twitching its eyes.
She fell back and her spine cracked the grass.
All eyes, mouth eyes. All mouth, eyes mouth.
A second had passed, and yet the scene moved in waves, slow laps at the shores of consciousness. The shape was wrestling with the gun, and her man – person, beautiful real person! Her man! – was roaring angry and wretched. He kicked, and the demon fell. Its shifting coal features once more a smudge. No-face, no-body.