Friday, July 29, 2011

Dark Pools

The liquid pool slowly gained momentum, growing outwards to cover any signs that ground once existed beneath.  Blood and water, mixing together in a lover's embrace.  I always loved how the blood could empty from a body in a matter of seconds; or made to last for months.  Personally, I preferred the extended version.  Thus my present situation.

I did love the taste of blood. A little strong when pure, water from beneath the mountain made it so much more delicious. The mountain had fed of the blood of my people for thousands of years.  The shamans say the water is filtered through the souls of my ancestors. 
Each kill is sacred in giving back to the bowels of the beast.  Keeping the soul from leaving the body keeps the blood at its freshest; but the key was keeping the soul at the edge between life and death. Here was where I got my magic; and made it more powerful than my brothers. The thought brought a rare chuckle, remembering how furious,  to this day, my brothers got trying to discover my secret. You'd think it was they key to everlasting life. Ok, maybe it was in its own way; but that's for another time. Now it was time to feed.

My contraption was built by my ancestors, specifically my bloodline. It's secrets a closely guarded secret among my family. The victim could be sat comfortably in the chair and our delicate work performed without worry of the victim escaping or thrashing about. The bowl-like impression below caught every sacred drop of blood until reaching a designated volume. At this point a lever activated the water from the mountain, still warm as it filtered through the lava rocks that made up the belly of the beast. The two combined in perfect harmony, reaching perfection than releasing into the polished steel goblet below. The ritual's key element was complete.

To complete the invocation, the remaining items were removed from their hidden niches beneath the chair and placed within the ash circle I created around the altar.

**In Progress**

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


To the casual observer, the head flying through the air would have been a gruesome sight. Far beyond recognition and yet the mouth and eyes could still be made out. Layers of various leathers had been patched in to keep it intact. One side had a patch of wolf skin, another a swath of sandworm skin, while still another section was covered in scorpion skin. The neck opening had been covered in and closed with some reptile skin. From a distance it actually looked like a ball.

To the CHOTA children it was a ball and it was their favorite. They were playing a mix of many games from a time past, most of the rules lost with time. They didn't care, it relieved the stress of survival. It kept them together while their parents fought and struggled to keep their own clan as one. Their mutations were not allowed to be used in the game, allowing them all to play on an even playfield.

Gristlejaw gave the head a mighty kick into the air, hoping it would reach the pile of bones. It never did. The impact to the head almost split it apart, knocking some of the coverings loose and sending it careening off at an angle. Following almost immediately was the all too familiar echo of the gunshot.

All too familiar because this had been happening more frequently lately. They always thought it was the Enforcer patrols getting bolder and messing with the different CHOTA clans of the area. The children scattered as they had been trained, mutations kicking in to quicken and conceal. Even though they appeared to head in opposite directions, the six of them ended up at the heap; a large pile of cars, steel, and various other pieces of old tech. The old gray van was their usual meeting spot. It had decent protection, sat in the middle of the heap, and had been stocked by the kids with some crude weapons, food, and dirty water.

While the children anxiously peered through cracks and holes in the van, the rest of the clan was already searching for the source of the shot. Greenfoot emerged from behind an old brick wall with 2 crudely sharpened blades in each hand. Bone-arm had an old sharpened fence post. Clawfoot had his usual spiked bat. They all faced outwards searching, eyes piercing the distance, muscles tensed from mutations kicking in.

After many minutes, Gristlejaw grabbed a stashed piece of venison to gnaw on, waiting for another shot. The only sound was his exposed jaw working the rough piece of meat. Another shot never came. It never did.


Atop the hill, resting against an old light pole, the figure grinned. He tucked the scoped rifle back into its cloth carrier, both disappearing beneath the long weathered trenchcoat. The CHOTA wouldn't see him, they couldn't see him. Not only was he too far away but too well hidden. When the clan finally started returning to normalcy and the shadows lengthened, he left his spot and crept to the back side of the hill, nimbly descending the slope till he reached his horse. In one swift movement he was on its back, easing the horse into a slow casual trot across the darkening plain.


Among the Enforcers, order was everything. It kept them alive, focused, and aware that order was the only thing that would save the world. So, in typical daily fashion, the small squad mindlessly went through the motions of their training. Most everyone in the squad wished they were elsewhere, maybe smashing some CHOTA heads or shooting live targets. None wanted to be going through the same drills they went through every day. But in today's world, Pit Venger knew that keeping order in this small squad was all that stood between them and their enemies. And so one of many squads, this one known as Fistfull, paraded across the field in perfect harmony.

The rising sun glinted off of the lightly buffed armor plates. Rifles oiled and cleaned moved in unison, carried batle-ready across their chests. The only thing they weren't required to wear during these exercises were their masks. The stiffling heat even at this time of the morning made it too hard on the troops and so Pit allowed a small concession in an otherwise grueling task. After a few hours of marching, mounting and several offensive and defensive drills, training was almost complete.

The squad leader, Drek, dutifully carried the flag to the front of the squad and rammed the pointed end into a well-worn place in the ground. The wind caught the cloth and unfurled the fist for the day to behold. At that moment the carefully crafted steel fist which covered the top of the flag pole shattered into a hundred pieces. Several pieces found the side of Drek's face, sending him reeling to the side. When the shot's sound finally caught up with the bullet, the well trained troops hit the ground, guns ready and searching. Not finding anything inside the walls of their compound, scopes began rising and searching the hills outside.

It seemed an eternity they searched and waited for another shot. Nothing came and nothing was found. Patrols were immediately dispatched into the hills. Hours later they returned with the same nothing they had started with.


The figure actually chuckled on this one. The Enforcers were even more fun because they required so much order in their lives. He made sure their order was disrupted just enough to at least entertain himself. But at the same time, he also enjoyed playing with the Enforcers because he had to be very careful with them. They possessed powerful scopes capable of seeing him if he wasn't careful and well-trained snipers probably able to hit him if spotted. Not as good as himself, of course, but capable.

Before the nanites that he injected to help him stay concealed had worn off, he had slithered out of the tall grass and made his way back to his horse. He would be long gone before the patrols, if the patrols, found any sign of him. He regretted someone getting hurt this time when the finial had shattered. His intention was never about hurting and he would have to work harder next time at choosing his targets.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dark Blob

I wasn't thinking about much except driving as I meandered up the road. I was busy hoping a logging truck wasn't waiting for me around the next bend; and there were bends every hundred feet it seemed. Logging trucks were notorious for screaming down these single lane Forest Service roads without a care in the world. Temperatures had been well above the hundred degree mark for over a month now. The dust enveloped everything behind my truck like I was being followed by a brown monster. Hunting season has started a couple of weeks ago so the report of a dead body way up in the hills wasn't unusual and I didn't think much of it. I stuck to focusing on the road ahead, listening to the CB for truck traffic, and glancing at my GPS each time the dirt road forked.

My GPS signalled that I was close and as if on cue, the road abruptly ended at a small cul-de-sac with barely enough room to turn around. I immediately noticed 2 vehicles here, a Forest Service truck and a larger pickup with a camper on the back. As soon as I opened my door the smell hit me. It was the familiar smell of death but the intense heat seemed to enhance every quality of it. After the initial pleasantries with the Forest Service employee, he pointed to the camper and told me it was in there. "What do you mean, 'it'?" I asked. "You'll see", was his only response, given with a look of disgust on his face. I grabbed my latex gloves, gave them a big puff of air as if to create some finger-balloon, and slapped them on my hands. I headed towards the camper, my eyes scanning the ground, the smell of death stronger the closer I got.

I noticed a fresh patch of vomit in the dirt as I approached the camper door. A quick yell at the piss-fir (our affectionate name for Forest Service employees) gave me its source. I carefully twisted the door knob on the back of the camper and was instantly greeted by the worst stench I had ever encountered in my days of crime scene investigating. It was even worse than the accidental puncture of intestines or stomach at an autopsy. Even my seasoned nose was assaulted and caused my whole body to take a step back. I kept the door open and tried to figure out what I was looking at.

Time can do amazing things to a body. Now add to the mix extremely hot temperatures and an enclosed environment like this camper (all windows closed, of course), and time can do wonders. Towards the front of the camper was a converted sleeping platform in the area where seats and a table normally were. Straight out of a horror movie, a black blob was creeping towards me. After the initial shock I realized it wasn't really moving towards me (I later attested this to too many horror flicks) but was, in fact, moving. I tried desperately to grasp what I was looking at. The entire sleeping area was covered with this black gooey substance. A good portion had dripped off the shelf and fallen to the floor where even the dripping tentacles of goo were alive with motion. I wondered what the camper's owner could have possibly had in the back. The thought was short-lived as I realized I probably was looking at the owner, accosted by death and tormented by the heat and flies.

I retrieved some Vicks from my truck, placed a bit under each nostril, and returned to the camper. This time I stepped inside, careful not to step in any of the black substance. Writhing in unison throughout the black substance were tiny white maggots. This was how the mass of black became alive. They were everywhere and such large numbers made the black mass seem alive. Any semblance to it's original human form was gone. Imagine Frankenstein's Easy-Bake oven stuffed with black pudding and maggots. The heat and bugs had literally melted every piece of flesh and left behind a mess of black which the bugs still climbed through, searching for that last scrap to digest. I had never seen such an incredible account of decomposition. I had to poke through the black mess with a rod to confirm that there were bones within.

The investigation didn't take long. A carefully crafted note left behind revealed the victim's last moments and no other evidence suggested other than suicide. I wondered how we were going to get these remains out and waited for the coroner to arrive to help me figure this one out. While disgusting, the method was actually quite simple. We used flat-nosed shovels to scoop the remains into a body bag. Even the Vicks and the mask now on my face couldn't hide the overpowering smell. The maggots weren't bothered by the action and burrowed deeper into the mass. I pitied the coroner for having to drive the long winding roads with this in the back. The coroner was ready for such cases. The coroner brought something I had never seen before. Towed on a trailer behind their van was the 'stink tank'. The circular steel tank was airtight and evidently used for especially bad bodies. The bag was unceremoniously dropped into the tank and sealed from the outside world. Because the cause of death was known and no crime was involved, I never saw that stinky mess again except inside my head. The smell, however, would never leave.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Dark Origins

The early morning phone call startled me; I wasn't used to being on call yet. I must admit the excitement of my first crime scene brought a peculiar elation to me. I quickly threw on some suitable clothes; jeans and a long shirt with a light jacket under my arm to combat the cold outside. I hopped into the truck I had just been issued a few days prior, the windowless camper shell concealing a plethora of tackle boxes and equipment few people would recognize.

A short trip through windy country roads ended in an old farm house, nothing made it stick out any different than the hundreds of other houses scattered throughout this country. Several vehicles were already here: two police cruisers, an unmarked detective vehicle, and my new partner's rig, a vehicle not unlike my own but a different color. A single officer stood outside and looked up as I stepped out of my truck, a knowing grin on his face. He joked to me about my first scene being a bad one as I approached but I didn't respond; my nervous head was already overloaded with the unknown.

Anticipation was building as I opened the door, instantly greeted by an unfamiliar smell, the smell of death. A tense energy was in the air. You couldn't tell anything had happened by looking around the living room. Family pictures in simple frames containing smiling faces and happy times lined the tables and fireplace mantle. The cleanliness only added to its seeming innocence. The furnishings suggested the residents were probably older, everything covered in an air of a time long past. Another officer was in the living room busy scribbling on a note pad, his radio crackling with unheard chatter. He glanced up and signaled towards the hallway leading to bedrooms in the back of the house.

I passed one bedroom, took a left, and was at the threshold of another bedroom. What confronted me didn't seem real. Immediately visible and covering an entire wall and ceiling was some gruesome Picasso painting. But the red was unlike any color I had ever seen, complete with small chunks of debris stuck throughout, some hanging by an unseen thread, waiting to fall and join their companions on the ground. I wondered what could possibly have created this blood and flesh painting. I never had time to formulate any emotions, my eyes were too occupied in awe. After fully entering the room I could finally see the the artist, or what was left of him.

There was nothing special about the body. It was laying on the ground sideways next to the side of a bed, dressed in jeans and a flannel top. Any semblance of humanity ended at the shoulders. What should have been a head on those shoulders was a twisted mass of flesh and bone, resembling a clay sculpture which had gone seriously wrong on a pottery wheel. The entire area where should have existed a face was gone. In fact everything that should have been behind that face was gone as well, leaving only an empty cavern of flesh. A partially coagulated pool of blood rested under this head, mixed with tints of dark and bright red. Across his lap lay a shotgun, amazingly clean for such a messy task. Already busy with their various tasks the detective and investigator informed me of the cause of death: suicide by shotgun in the mouth.

It was incredible what a shotgun at such close range could do to the human head. It wasn't the tiny shot that caused the damage but the powerful gases escaping from the end of the barrel. Brain was instantly pulverized into nothing, leaving behind only small pieces of tissue, all scattered across the wall and ceiling like swatted flies, smashed into oblivion. After asking if I was all right with this scene, I was told to begin picking up what was left of the skull. I hadn't noticed these upon first entering but now I could see them. There were several fragments of skull on the bed, floor, and even on the dresser against the wall. Each fragment varied in size and each had varying degrees of flesh and blood on them. Some were surprisingly clean of any blood or flesh. One fragment was the size of a curved dinner plate while more numerous were smaller, quarter-sized pieces. My latex-covered hands picked up each piece and placed them all into a paper bag. If I had actually thought about what I was collecting I might have had a harder time but I didn't think about it.

Usually I would have been tasked with photographing the entire scene but this chore had already been done. After everyone was satisfied no foul play was involved, it was time to move the body into the blue body bag waiting nearby. Thankfully my partner let me take the legs while the seasoned pro was at the 'head'. As we lifted the body slowly, a sound emanated from the head area that could only be described as a slurping sound. What remained of the head didn't want to leave the pool of blood easily and when it did the suction from the blood created a sound I will never forget. Blood matted hair followed reluctantly as we carried the body a few feet to the bag, now open wide and waiting. An easy zip and that was the last I saw of the body, the waiting coroner now taking over and taking the body to the hearst outside.

There was little left for us to do here since no real crime had taken place. I asked about the mess which now had transformed a bedroom into a nightmare. It was no longer our problem, left for an already traumatized family to clean up on their own. This brought the first emotion upon me. I couldn't fathom how a family already faced with such an horrendous act could face having to clean this up. I was glad the family wasn't around for me to see their emotions. I was glad to be leaving this tragedy, even if only to be waiting for the next, possibly even more horrific scene, always waiting around the next corner.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Night Bliss

I was hot with desire. Even the cool night air couldn't quench my passion. My hairs were on end, electric energy coursing through my veins. Each exhalation created a new pattern in the air, mesmerizing me until the next one came, repeating like a slide show that only my imagination understood. The changing forms were fed from within, deep in my body, deep in my soul. Tonight was the night; tonight was my night.

The window had been open long enough that my room might have been mistaken for a meat locker. Soon, soon. My naked body should have felt the coldness but it was obsessed with other things this night. If the two candles were giving off any heat it was quickly abducted by the cold. The candles did add to my mood; a mixture of sexuality, resignation, and pure bliss. The circle I sat within encompassed me within it's world, carefully created specifically for this moment. My moment was approaching. Tonight was the night.

Reflections of the moon were like reflections of my life. Each glimmer another moment in time. The moon came streaming through that open window, eager to play witness. I welcomed the company with open arms, understanding why the night was its domain. Because in the darkness all things of the mind could breathe life; all things were possible. Those endless possibilities the reason I was here now. Tonight was my night.

The outside world was dead to me. No one would be there to mourn my passing; passing from one place to another. This was between me and the next world, no one else. Lack of the outside world in this life freed me from concern of what might be left behind. I could focus on the task at hand. I could fulfill my destiny and join my other brothers in a world beyond. Tonight was the night.

As I grasped the cold steel I could sense my warmth spreading along its length, seemingly shimmering with the same excitement I felt. The sharpened steel knew its purpose here and was eager to proceed. The intricate patterns along the shaft had twins within the circle, mirroring each other, dancing their ritual within my head. As the moon's light was grabbed by the edge of the blade, purposeful cuts were made to each of my wrists. The next moments only existed within my mind, inwardly finishing the ritual that would take me home. As conscious thought faded, the moon grew within the red pools beneath me, seemingly caught in the ritualistic circle. Tonight was my night.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Death Watch

I couldn't grasp the reality. It didn't seem real. However, here I was once again, back in the morgue. I spent many days in such a place but today seemed entirely different. The smells, sounds, and emotions were all absent this time; only existing in my memory. I tried to comprehend who was laying on that cold slab of death, ready to have any form of humanity drained away forever. I couldn't. Emotionless was how I always approached this sinister place and now was no exception. And so, as usual, I observed- locking any semblance of emotion in a deep place within my head. Not that I would've felt any emotion today, even if I wanted to.

Any form of dignity was stripped and gone, the body wrapped in it's own nakedness for the world to see. A body looks so unreal in this state: unmoving, pale, and seemingly content. It reminded me often of some huge porcelain doll, ready for clothes and a small child's home. I wondered what brought him to this place; why these people were gathered around him; where he had come from. This kind of attention was only given to those whose death hadn't come under normal circumstances. Another was taking the pictures this time, even though that was my job. Not that I would've taken those those pictures today, even if I wanted to.

With an emotional detachment, even more so than usual, I watched the coroner perform his dance. The simple and quick slice from each shoulder met mid-chest and then continued in one line down to the pelvis, forming a perfect Y. Ribs were spread with an archaic looking device and body parts followed each other to either a dissecting table, a scale, and sometimes both. The casual and quick way the entire body was emptied only added to my distance. It seemed like a slab of meat being prepared for some gruesome barbecue. The usual stench of death that always accompanied an open body was lacking this time. I barely noticed, so used to this scene from the years of investigating deaths. Not that I would've smelled anything, even if I wanted to.

The head was always the one that bugged me. A clean slice from ear to ear that followed the hairline and then the skin peeled back like a latex Halloween mask, revealing what seemed like another mask, smiling in skeletal bliss. Before continuing on the skull, everyone but two left the room, as I usually do. This time I stayed and watched the vibrating saw scream with joy as it sliced into pure bone, sending wisps of dust into the air. The cut was so clean and the insides so perfect all I could think about were stories I'd heard of people eating monkey brains at restaurants. I almost thought the coroner was going to do the same as he carefully scooped out the brain with his hands and placed it on a shiny silver platter. Like a seasoned butcher he weighed it then sliced it into thin slices pieces, setting all aside for future examination. Future examinations I wouldn't participate in, even if I wanted to.

I had been through all of this a hundred times before but this time something seemed very different. The smells, sights, and emotions were gone. As the familiar group came back into the room to finish their macabre dance a strange feeling seeped into my consciousness, spreading a fear I only had moments to realize. I was not a part of this autopsy, I was the center of it. The severity of the situation evaded me as I began floating away; memories of my life flashed before me as my now defaced body drifted further and further away from me. Not that I would've recognized my own body on that slab, even if I wanted to.