purple jelly monsters

I’m in clearing in the middle of a rolling thick forest. It’s dark. A fairly large community of people started living here ever since a Black Magician put a spell over the land. We live in trailers and eat whatever we can scavenge. There is a political science club that holds classes on political theory — I am in this club — and we are currently studying for a national test that will award a monetary scholarship to those who score in the top 5 percent. I couldn’t care less, but I’m still kept up at night trying to solve annoying practice test questions. The teachers of this preparatory class are my former high school professors — I know they don’t like me very much.
Life in the forest has a very cinematic quality to it. Everything feels predetermined, as if at any moment someone much larger will hit an otherworldly fast-forward or rewind button. Tension is running high through the community. Word is out that the Black Magician will be up to something particularly sinister this evening (and this is the night before the big test on political theory!).
The ground begins to tremble and the surrounding trees are swaying frantically, though the sky is nursing no wind. Over the treetops an enormous glowing purple mountain begins to amass . . .  no, not a mountain . . . .   It has eyes! And a dreadfully large mouth lined with razor-sharp teeth! A giant beast is approaching! It’s body is a bit translucent through a hazy purple hue, with stout arms and legs protruding from its robust round figure.
As it enters the clearing I can see that it is at least thirty trees tall. Almost immediately it explodes into hundreds of large jelly balls . . . and then those balls explode into thousands of smaller one. This multiplication of itself happens about four more times until the earth is covered in millions of balls the size of a human hand. Deep dimples form in the balls, two of which fill in with mean glaring eyes, and one which hollows out into a sharp hungry hole. I have a gun that shoots lightening. I take aim and fire, but my weapon is useless against the ravished jelly beasts. My childhood friend (Joe) drive up in a cardboard bus. He is going to save the day (or at least that is the sentiment that his arrival elicits). About thirty people dressed in white assemble against side of the bus — they form a wall, three people high, standing on top of each others’ shoulders. Suddenly a massive saw blade begins slicing through the bus, and it passes smoothly through the bodies of the people whose white clothes are now red with blood. They collapse into a withering pile of limbs and heads. The monsters are hypnotized by the spectacle, and quickly begin to gorge themselves on the human offering. After being hypnotized, myself, for a few moments over the feasting monsters, I make my way to a quite trailer at the edge of the village. I have to inquire about a particularly difficult question that I’m nervous is going to be on the test in the morning.
Freakin’ test! Do I really need to take it? I hate these kinds of tests!

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blood thief

In a land of perpetual night I took to sitting in the bed of a red pick-up truck on a fairly regular basis. The truck was parked in my suburban childhood neighborhood, down Graeloch Road. I would just sit in it and think, and I always left it neat and exactly as I found it. The owner sometimes starred at me from his house window, but never said anything; I suppose he knew I wasn’t doing any harm. One time as I was getting ready to leave, he came outside. I was nervous, I didn’t know what to do. I took nothing from the truck, although this time it seemed to be lined with bait: a tube of cookies, a nice coat (that I initially thought was mine), even a little money. The owner didn’t say anything to me. In fact, I knew him — he was a kind new-agey man in his late 30s, too kind, to the point that he was a bit stupid.
One of the neighbors emerged from him home from across the street. He was in a panic. He immediately asked if we were donors, and said franticly, “she needs blood right now!” I didn’t trust him at all, something about his face and tone wouldn’t let me. I declined to aid the situation and made up an excuse to take my leave. The new-agey man did not. I was nervous for him, and asked for his phone number as he climbed into the strange man’s small car; but I didn’t get it all, he was too caught up in the situation’s distraught energy.
I later found out that he was drained of all his blood and left out in the woods for no particular reason. That man across the street . . . I see him sometimes, in other dreams. He has shoulder length hair, and he’s always sweating and in a frenzy. His greeting smile is a bit crooked. I’ve seen him before in waking life too, but I don’t recall where. ♨

the conjuring bells

Something is coming for me from the inside. It began one day when I was walking home alone through an autumn forest on a cloudy afternoon. Out of nowhere I heard the melodic ringing of bells. I sat down against a tree and listened. A strange high started coming over me, and I soon realized that the sound was coming from within. That first time I welcomed it, and allowed the ringing (and the high) to build — its song filled my head and all my thoughts vanished. It felt as though my skull melted and then murmured voices began to speak — but they were too hushed for me to make out any meaning from their words (nor to know if they were speaking English). I had a sense that questions were being asked, fairly banal questions.

The ringing bells starting coming for me multiple times a day, and every time I ran away to be alone and steady myself. The high lifts me out of time and space, and I am swept up into a pulsating and rhythmic tornado while still sensing my feet firmly planted on the ground. Every time feels as if I am being turned inside out — my inner life exposed for all to see, but with no one there to bear witness.

I lived in a roofless house in the middle of a forest. Helen would visited me there, and I would often find her sleeping soundly on my bed. One particularly disorienting afternoon, I was handed a typed letter by a tall, gaunt, faceless man. It was from my brother Bobby. It read:

                I’m dying.    I’m dyinG. 
  I’m dying.    I’m dYing.                     I’m dyiNg.
       Everything is made of Green.
   There is a GUN ship in Hanoi.
…it was used by ghosts to shoot down US Bombers.
                        I’m not ready to see you.            But soon. 

The paper was a work of art. It was stained in colors I had never seen before, and the ink from the typewriter seemed to endless drip off of the paper but leave no marks. I wanted him to know how beautiful it was — but I knew he wouldn’t believe me.

I raced home with the letter when the ringing came for me again. I grabbed a tree and rode the high out. I was tired of this unexpected visitor (or visitors), and I hoped Helen was at my house so I could hug her. I went in and, thankfully, she was there and held me as I wept frustrated tears. Whalen was sitting at my desk. He mentioned the ghosts — he said he spent 8 hours one day teaching them the alphabet.

In Helen’s arms the ringing came for me again. I ran out of the house into the dense forest — the melody became more insistent and began drowning out my vision. I started sliding between two separate worlds…. My eyes would open and I would be in my bedroom (in Hanoi) in a trance, motionless, staring at the ceiling . . . then my eyes would close and I would be back in the forest, stoned, the bells ringing louder and louder. This happened about three times, and on the last time I willed myself to stay in my bedroom — in this world, from where I type this entry. ♨

a hungry owl

I’m in the forest behind my parents’ house, it is much thinker and more tropical than I remember. My friend, Florian, is back there with me. A beautiful owl is flying around catching game in her mouth. She is mesmerizing to watch. The owl ends up catching a white cat. She’s proud of it, and lands on a branch less than a meter away from us. Her eyes are huge and gleaming. She swallows the cats tail, and stares at us. I debate whether or not to go fetch my camera. It’s in the house, not too far away. I go for it, hoping I don’t miss much. When I get back Florian explains that the feast is over, and that it wasn’t very pleasant to witness. His description makes it seem as if I have been gone for much longer than what I sensed was under a minute. Apparently the owl started by carefully removing the cat’s spinal cord and then, after eating it bit by bit, swallowed the rest of the little creature in an unnatural fashion. I’m disappointed that I didn’t see this happen nor get any photos of the act.
– – –
I’m in a gorgeous lagoon of turquoise blue water with giant jagged boulders surrounding it. There’s a performance happening. My friend, Alice, is about to go on. Moments after she starts, she swims over to me and my brother, Bobby. She drags us into her show; in what appears to everyone else as a very rehearsed act — but it isn’t. We have no control over our movements, yet we are swimming in unison and weaving in and out of symmetrical patterns. It’s not frightening, in fact, it’s rather pleasant. This lasts about 15 minutes and we are greeted with some cheering when we are finished. ♨

carousel of mud

I am sliding down a muddy hill on a mattress inside a wooden house that is lit by thousands of candles. Everytime I reach the bottom of the slide the floor swallows me and the ride begins again. I am never tired, I will ride this muddy slide forever, and I am at peace.

– – –

It’s night, I am with Katie on a shifty, oddly constructed carousel. It rotates and spirals up and down a very modern, unconventional house. It is as tall as a tree and has many portals of entrance and exit that resemble round steel ship doors. Steam shoots out of some of them with an eerie screech. The woman in front of us is annoyed that I keep holding on to her bullet-shaped car. She stands up and starts dismantaling it with her bare hands. We are hundreds of feet off the ground; a few times she comes close to falling or being knocked off. Eventually she reconstructs it and sits back down. I hop off our seat to go in search of a special pocket knife. I only have a few minutes to find it, during the commercial break — I’ve paid good money to watch this show on this carousel and I don’t want to miss a minute of it. I roam an endless, beachless boardwalk, lit by floating yellow lights, looking for the shop where I saw the knife — there are shops in every direction I turn. I never find it, and call Katie — she tells me the show is starting. I race back and get there just a few minutes after the show has started. But everyone is missing. They must have entered the house. I start shouting into one of the portals and my echo streams out of all the ports in different tones. The home shrinks and becomes a musical instrument. I know all the people are still inside, but the sound it makes is so beautiful and I am hypnotized by it. I continue my shouting into the shrunken house and the sound emanating from it starts shifting the trees on the forest’s edge not to far away. A path forms as a dark hole in the woods. My cell phone rings, it’s my buddy Ken, he wants me to meet him at a bar in the forest. I go in search of him through the dark woods and find my way into a hostel with wooden beds. The halls are narrow and to get to the front desk I have to crawl over countless sleeping people. I am with a woman. I don’t know her well, but we have been flirting for a long time now. I don’t know if we will be sharing a bed or not. She hands the desk clerk $18 and vanishes down the hall. The face of the woman at the front desk is obscured by her long curly blond hair, but I can see she has many scraps and scabs and is wearing deep red lipstick. I know her. She knows me, but pretends she doesn’t. When the beds start mysteriously shifting beneath us she nervously tells me we have met before . . . a long time ago . . . in a land with a sun. ♨