Epitaph

Here lies Jacob Joe.
He lived a life full of woe.
Never knew where to go.
Now he lies down below.

Bought my plot today.
Guess I own it now.
My very own patch of dirt surrounded by dead strangers.
Lovely thought.
I’ll be found by strangers, when I go. Taken to a morgue, by strangers. Prettied up by strangers for a viewing of sorts. Buried by strangers.
Should I even have a viewing? Who would come? Seems kind of pointless.
Dreams of having my own wife, my own kids, are so long abandoned now.
Just another lonely old dead fucker to put in the ground.
Sure, I had friends. Maybe one or two of them will get word and shed a thought for those old fun times we had. Those laughs before they all got on with their real lives and their families and stopped buggering their lives away at menial, meaningless jobs and the same old bars.
Or they’re dead, I guess.
I’ll have a viewing anyway. What the heck.
I suppose I’ll have to buy my own tombstone next. And my own coffin.
How does that work?
Do I bring the tombstone home with me? Stick it on the mantel until it’s time to stick me in the ground? A nice reminder of approaching death?
Do I try out the coffin in the store?
Seems comfy. Roomy.
Does it come in red?
I’m particularly apprehensive about dying.
At this point, it’ll probably be alright.
Gotta write my own epitaph too, I suppose. What’s that supposed to say?
“Here lies so-‘n-so.
Born and died some when and such.
Wasted his entire life.
And now he’s dead.”
Sounds about right.

Here lies Mr Wouldn’t.
Spent his life saying he couldn’t.
For fear of failing he decided he shouldn’t.
And now he’s dead and..

And he can’t even do a silly rhyme right.
Bloody useless.
Sitting alone in this old rickety kitchen, thinking about my epitaph.
Fine Saturday this one turned out to be.
Not that much different than the last thousand mind.
Thousand or so.
Done asking myself where it all went wrong.
That parts easy.
I had dreams. Wanted to be a weather man. Meteorologist. Or a biologist. Journalist. Archaeologist. Even anthropologist. Any gist would have done really.
I wanted to do them all. Ended up doing none.
Sat on my arse for years didn’t I. Putting it off. Drinking at the bar with the lads, hitting on the ladies, slaving away at that bloody call center week after week after week. Years and years of getting by, slowly trading my dreams.
Traded for hangovers and television.
Got fat. Lost my hair. Never did anything. Never went anywhere.
What woman wants that?
Friends all worked hard. Found their dream jobs, moved away.
Family forgot about me.
Cushy boring job got the best of me.
And here I am.

Here lies a lazy slob.
He sat on his couch and became a blob.
Wasted his life at a useless job.
Never made a girls heart throb.

That’s not bad.
Doesn’t need to rhyme, I suppose.
Anyway that’s a lie isn’t it. There was Keri, and Chloe, and Lorraine, and Fiona.
And the rest.
We we laughed didn’t we. Laughed and made love and went for brunches.
And they said common Joe. Get your arse in gear.
And I didn’t, did I.
They all went on to their successful careers didn’t they. In business and music and the government and all that.
With their handsome successful husbands.
What I could never be.
They all left and I wallowed around for it looking for things outside myself to focus the blame.
Deflect the responsibility.
Deny that it was me, all along.
The waste of space.
No one is going to recoil at the announcement of my passing.
No one is even going to know.

Here he lies.
Covered in flies.
Under grey skies.
To no ones surprise.

For real now. Let’s see.
He wanted to do something, but couldn’t quite figure it out.
Na.
Regrets a wasted life.
Would do it all differently had he another go.
Yeah, I suppose I would. Maybe it isn’t too late. I could still give it a go. There’s life in these old bones yet.
Maybe I can still make an epitaph. Something to be proud of.
Here lies Jacob Joe. He died a happy old man.
That would be a nice one.
Anyway it hasn’t been all bad has it. There’s been laughs.
And loves.
Good living, that. Not everyone can say it. Maybe I’m being too hard on myself.

Here lies Jacob Joe.
Had a good run.

Yup, that’ll do.
For now.
Anyway it doesn’t have to be done now does it.
Lot of life left in these bones yet. Few years or so.
Few good years.
To waste.
Well, better get started.

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You Can’t Write Horror on a Beautiful Day

Scene Manifestation.  Start. Horror. Still, cold night. Iced roads. Iced breath. Boots smashing through frozen puddles like hammers on glass.

It’s too nice to write here. It’s too sunny. The sunlight is pouring into the apartment from the cloudless sky outside, filling everything with that easy warmth love stories are made of. A bright blue aura over a labyrinth of clean cut high rises that makes you want to jump into lakes and eat gelato. That’s not inspiring. The only thing this weather makes me feel is lazy and unproductive. Disconnected from that world and disconnected from the world inside my head. How am I supposed to manifest this story with that sunny, angry love confining me to a place of frustrated happiness? How dare it be a beautiful day outside!

Perhaps I should wait until dusk to describe the scene properly. The stage I need for our opening act is cold, dark, and silent. It’s lit by moonlight and the distant glow of gas stations far beyond the malicious woods.  It’s so still each footstep seems to shatter grass and gravel under his boots, like thinly frozen puddles on one of those flash freeze city nights.
But you don’t need to know this, dear reader. I’m telling you a story, not painstakingly feeding you the every labored thought of a writer without a muse. But the story can only come to life in the darkness. And here I am being devoured by the brightness of the most beautiful day, the exact opposite of the scene I need in order to tell the story.
Okay perhaps we should start the story earlier. On a beautiful day before the tragedy occurs. Set the scene a little bit for you.

How about a prologue with a really good introductory line that gets you hooked from the start. Something that doesn’t make any sense perhaps, or is so riveting you have no choice but to keep reading. That’s what I need, a snare. I need to ensnare you, dear reader, but how?
A cloud hovers over the spot in the sky where the sun sits, mocking me. Suddenly the world is thrust into… into a slightly dimmer version of it’s former gloating glory. That’s not interesting.

Okay. So it’s a beautiful day in the beginning of this story. How drab. There’s water not too far away. A fast moving river, just beyond the circle of trees. It sounds fierce, determined. Just like this day is determined to ruin my opening stage, so the water seems excited to break the otherwise silence of this forest clearing. Okay, so there’s a clearing in the forest with water rushing by somewhere just beyond it. Around the clearing the forest presses in like the bystanders around the taped off scene of some horrific, fatal crime. The crowd wants to know what happened, wants to stick their egos in and feel knowing and important on the subject. They want to know what death looks like. They want to know if it could have been them. People don’t like to admit it but death excites everyone as much as it scares them. That’s why we crane our necks every time we see flashes of emergency lights on a street corner as we drive by, slowing our pace to get a glimpse of something primal, something unknown. To see something truly terrifying for once, something to jolt us from our autopilot stupor and remind us what it really is to be human. Death and sex, all we have left connecting us to a past we don’t understand, but desperately yearn for. A past when being human meant something less robotic, more alive.

So the crowd of nosy trees, big and oppressive, filed in from all sides blotting out the forest beyond but dared not to go any further. For in that clearing of gentle shadows and perfect rays of penetrating sunlight was something as unknown, and terrifying, as death.
In that clearing was love.
The man and the woman, they didn’t talk to each other. They didn’t need to talk to each other. What could possibly be said with the throaty, grunty sound we pass for language that hadn’t already been said with their eyes and their fingers and their lips? With their noses and their ears pricked they sensed every vibration sparking from the body of the other. The smell of their love mingled with the earthy excitement and terror the trees felt upon observation of this sweaty writhing mass in the middle of their forest. The water became angered that the intruders were not perplexed by its great and powerful intrusion of the silence and roared again with renewed intensity, desperate to reclaim their attention but knowing it would fail.
And the intensity of their love roared stronger in response. Flesh mingled with grass and dirt, mingled with flesh again and for that moment, a moment immeasurable, neither the trees nor the lovers nor their grassy bed or even the river could tell where any one of them ended and the next began.
The man and the woman became still, quiet, lying in the bosom of the forest sucking at the sweet nectar of the evening air. The river returned to focus on its own flow, ever moving on to search out new curiosities. The trees, content that there was nothing more to see here and the frightening show was over, turned their attentions back to farming the sunlight and conversing with the birds.
That had been the first time they had made love.

And by night time, once the warm glow of light basking this dear writer in unproductive rivulets of fuzzy emotions mercifully begins to fade and shadows begin to dance between the city blocks; once darkness descends across the land and the writer is in the perfect sadistic mood he so craves – murder will come to the forest clearing.

Or not. Suddenly I’m rather attached to these two characters. Oh bother, beautiful day, you’ve gone and spoiled my scene.

Aurora

Just concept.
An ocean.
An ocean of light, shimmering, dancing. A woman, her face turned upwards, mesmerized by the ocean of light. She stands on the earthen beach below, her hair blowing gently in the midnight breeze. The ocean is in the sky, the light shimmers and shifts, and the woman stares up at it, her eyes shimmering and shifting along with the aurora borealis. She is in a field, a wide and wild field. There is tall green grass all around her, and distant mountains cupping her peripherals. She feels a million things, but is lonely. And that’s okay, the world will keep her company. She feels very small in that moment, very insignificant within the vastness of the breathing world around her. It’s moments like this she realizes the world really does acknowledge her existence on it’s surface, however. The shimmering ocean of dazzling colour above her is proof of that. Something so beautiful could only exist to be deeply appreciated by a perspective that can fathom the concept of it’s existence. And so she stands, the grass gently grazing the tips of her fingers, the chill night air kissing the skin on her face, the hem of her skirt billowing with life, her boots wet with condensation collected from the grass. She stands, head tipped up towards the endless sky and she watches the ocean of light dance.