Fiction text Nauseumistic
Previously published in BARE BONE 7
There are cracks between the floorboards of the cafe, wide enough to lose a large coin down, sideways on. They are a constant wonder to me, and I always spend a few minutes each day, sipping hot sweet tea and mopping up egg yolk with a chunk of bread, watching the lights flash through the gaps...
...and hearing the screams of joy as the ghost trains rattle beneath.
Only if you get down on hands and knees will you catch a glimpse of a terrified face, a grasping hand. But that would be rude, to steal terror and enthralment from someone else's ticket, so to speak. I was brought up to respect things like that, as no doubt you were. Another man's fear is his own business. If you are lucky, as my fellow cafe friends and I are, you may find a place such as this, where the floorboards don't meet or the walls are too thin.
Then, and only then, is it correct to share another person's yells of terror, as they plummet from some skeleton infested precipice, into God knows what kind of blackness.
Not that my envy is a dark one. They deserve their particular mode of transport, according to the sum of their worldy goods. I myself, as you know, am merely a retired librarian with a pittance of a pension to get by on. I can just about afford a meal at the cafe every day, and a few hours of TV before I go to bed. Nope, no subterranean ghost rides for me, I'm sorry to say. No dangling, heavy cobwebs, no coffins expelling their inhabitants. Oh well, eh?
At least I have my bus pass.
It's a fair old distance away is my home by the industrial lake. I used to walk it in half an hour, when I was a young man, free of school and my family. Savouring the empty stinking shells of houses and the dark trickling ditches breaking through scraggy gardens. Walking the streets gave you a taste for better things. I was aware even as a tiny child, wandering alone through litter clad alleyways and crossing rusting walkways, that something bigger was going on, somewhere else. Unseen.
Aye, that was when I was young and fit. Can't expect to stay young and fit for ever, can you? And besides, the buses, although not in the same league as the ghost trains, do at least attempt to stir up a bit of fun for us. A sudden detour past the asylum on dark winter's nights. The occasional lump of rotting meat left inside a flat cap or stuck to a seat. One day the driver let on a gang of youths dressed as ghosts and they performed all manner of strange deeds under their sheets. It's not much, but it helps.
It's very much appreciated.
For some of us, though, it's just not enough. Not all the time. Some just can't take not knowing, you see? They have to know, even if it means breaking into the train tunnels and...well, the rest is hearsay. There's always someone with a story to tell. People cut down by the speeding trains, trains full of screaming faces. Others captured by the ones who run the trains...and provide the entertainment. All rumours, you have to understand. No real evidence.
Those that listen to rumour tend to fair better, and go to live in the old factories, swimming about in brown pools, running naked through dark corridors, in the hope that enthralment shall fill their hearts and then they shall have their own eternal ghost train. I can see them during the day, dressed as God knows what, standing about waiting for night. And at night I can only hear them, their echoing screams as they search through darkness for something that will always elude them.
I know, because I've searched too.
Sometimes, when I'm at peace, sat in the cafe, mopping up egg yolk with a chunk of bread, I'm almost convinced that my search has come to an end.
And then the trains come rushing beneath.
Previously published in BARE BONE 8
Name This Film
I think it was a seventies film. English. I saw it when I was a kid, snuck down in the middle of the night. I was just shaking off a dose of the flu, or something. The doctor didn't know what I had. Just kept sticking her thermometer in me until I eventually passed out.
Anyway, I saw this weird film. Missed the beginning, so I don't know the name of it. Maybe you'll recognise it. First off, there's this mad guy in a rubber suit, like something off Sesame Street, except weirder. He was all yellow with this big round head. His face was just like a man's, but his eyes and his mouth were fused to the shiny rubber of his head. A great effect. Looked like he was really made out of rubber. They had stained his mouth blue, on the inside. Horrible he was, riding around in a little kid's car.
He seemed to be lost in an underground shopping centre, with endless grey corridors like a maze. He would drive around, quite fast, beeping his horn and stopping to look in the shop windows, which were full of odd stuff. Not like shop windows, more like mini theatres. I remember this one display was of a gigantic heart, bristling with thick black hairs like antennas. It filled most of this little room beyond the glass -beating, beating. He watched the heart for a while, this horrible look on his face, and these things began to appear behind the mass of the heart. I think they were little men, but all grey and featureless, covered in webs.
Another thing I recall is a window with this room painted entirely black. Walls, floor, table, chair, and a man who was sat in the chair. The rubber man watched for ages before the scene came to life, the seated figure's mouth gaping open, full of all these weird colours, glittery and alive like snakes or fingers, spilling out and waving about. How they did that effect I don't know. Maybe it wasn't made in the seventies, but just made to look like it was. There were all these other windows with dolls running around being chased by giant spiders and spooky cemetaries spinning around upside down. Weird sh*t.
Another thing was this weird house, nothing to do with the yellow guy. It was in the middle of a misty wasteland of pebbles. Pebbles as far as the eye could see. There were these strange women walking about in the mist, holding big bunches of flowers. The flower heads were like flames, fizzling and smoking. The women looked burnt. Burnt rags and mangled up skin. The camera got a good look of these burnt women and then flipped to the interior of the house. A horrible kitchen. There was another woman, not burnt, wearing this bizarre dress made from maps. She was sniffing something in the sink. The camera came close but turned away at the last second. The thing she was smelling must have been like a drug, because she came away looking really off her head, falling about the place and making a weird noise. A creaky wood noise. Only it wasn't her, it was this blue door, slowly opening inwards. This black thing, like a towel, came dangling down over the top of the door. It just hung there, jerking slightly. The woman watched it, fear in her eyes. Then she grabbed the door handle and slammed the door shut on the black towel.
It made an awful racket, screeching and writhing about in agony. I had to turn the volume down so my parents wouldn't wake. Horrible it was. Stuck in my head for years. I must have gone to bed after that, or fallen asleep on the couch, because I don't remember seeing any more of the film. If you know what it is let me know, because it's been bugging me for years.
More coming soon