Big Bad Demon Bitch Dream

I was in France it seemed, making my way along a city block on foot. It was a faded, local part of the center, where crummy real lives were being lived up above my head. There was traffic passing and cars parked along the roadside, but no-one to be seen on foot at that moment. I had stopped to have a gawk at the only shop-front in the vicinity: A old green awning extending a little crookedly out over the pavement, beneath which were a couple of foldaway tables bearing nothing at all. The place looked like it had been cleaned out of goods. Even so their door was ajar- business welcome. Further down from this was a tiled entranceway into the block, presumably leading to a stairwell area. I was nervous about something so I ducked into the entranceway for a second.

Suddenly it was raining heavily and I had made the decision to go for a drive around the city-center. On a whim I turned down into an underground car park. I took a 360 degree spin round the mini-roundabout down there. This caused the attendant in his glowing booth to stand up and, looking concerned, gesture that I should continue on to the next level down. I took the circling ramp down as directed and came off at the bottom into a claustrophobic little area- a cave of sorts- smooth concrete and lit up like a car park, but too small to be useful for car parking, and tapering off into irregularity and shadow at the end furthest from me. I could have just continued my circling trajectory and aimed the car immediately back up the up-ramp, though it was unusually steep. However my attention had been caught by something -there was a woman down there in the shadowy bit, stood facing away from me. I was intrigued so I stopped the car and shut off the engine, bringing a total stillness to this subterranean space. You could have heard a pin drop. The woman was up to something- fixing herself in some way, facing the wall. She was tall and sturdy and blonde. She looked ungraceful: her long hair was frizzy and she was wearing drooping stonewashed jeans with heels. I could tell she was large-chested, even from behind.

As an excuse for remaining there I had begun smoking a cigarette with the window down. The smoke hung thickly in the air around the exterior of the car. Once the cigarette was done I needed a new excuse. There was a sink on the wall near to me, above which was a simple public-toilet style mirror screwed into the concrete. I stepped out of the car and went over to wash my hands. When I looked up the woman was there in the mirror behind me, very close-up, horror-movie style. It gave me a shock. She began studying her chest in the reflection, with just that area filling the whole mirror somehow. She was tugging at and rearranging her bra under her thin pullover. This was a little arousing- it was a pretty intimate situation. I rotated on the spot a bit and with a knowing half-smile extended my hand out towards the fixtures, offering to make way for her. Then I straightened up and looked directly at her. She stared right back at me. There was something off about her- she was beastly in some way- her skin was caked in stuff and perhaps her eyebrows weren’t all there. She continued to look at me blankly, and I became very afraid of her. She turned herself then, tottering back to her original spot. Now I saw that her back was slit open in a few places and simply creasing apart like card, revealing that there was nothing within. She was making a show of this to me. She continued over to her spot by the back wall to begin doing again whatever it was she had been doing before. Shitting myself somewhat, I walked all casual towards my car, which was now parked on the very steep up-ramp. I got in and locked it, panicking, trying to get the key in the ignition. There was a thumping on the back window. I didn’t dare look round, but I craned round a little to see if she was still over by the back wall. She wasn’t. Just a moment later, while I was still panicking to get the car started, I felt a pair of arms reaching low from behind the driver’s seat and encircling my waist, which was when I woke up with a fright!

Edit, like about 2 years later: This is shite. The dream was a cool neat little package, but the writing is awful. Even I can’t visualise anything from this, and I’m the one had the dream. It’s all stiff and laboured as hell. I was so excited too when I first produced it. Jesus. Lesson: I’m not good at writing descriptively. In fact I’m bad at it. That’s demoralising. It’s fairly clear you either have it or you don’t. It’s not something you can learn. You either have soul or you don’t. Fuck. Some of my other opinion and criticism-type posts are still quite entertaining though, even reading back two years later. So, yeah. Fine.


Spontaneous Human Combustion

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Bedtime Stories.”

What was your favorite book as a child?

Anything macabre was good with me, I’m remembering. Yes, macabre. I like that word and I’m sticking with it. Macabre covers ‘scary’ but also the likes of Roald Dahl’s collection of otherworldly tales, such as the one about the poker player who goes to India to train with a reclusive yogi to see through cards and ultimately also levitate, which I loved. He fears his wayward use of the clairvoyant power will result in his death, which indeed it may have, you discover at the end. ‘The Book of the Unexplained’ was another- it was a big encyclopedia-sized hardcover thing, hundreds of pages thick, crammed with text and black and white photos. How it got to be in the house was a mystery to me. It was just there, downstairs in the little study room. There was no telling where it had come from as far as I was concerned. That made for a great experience reading it. One image in particular really spooked me- a small, grainy photo of a living room. You had to hold your face close to the book to make out the detail- but there on the carpet, in front of an electric fire, lay a pair of stocking-ed human lower legs- all that remained of an isolated pensioner who had spontaneously combusted.

Near-Death Experience

I taught English in Vietnam for 18 months three years ago. On balance it was a brutal experience that I wasn’t equipped to handle, but that’s a separate story. It’s day two of my write something every day resolution and I’ve had to turn to prompts. ‘My scariest experience’ jumped out at me. It was thus-

I went with my girlfriend to a seaside town called Vung Tau two hours (by hovercraft, no less) from Ho Chi Minh City. We surfed and swam and played pool and ate out then caught the hovercraft back the next day. When I got home I realised I had forgotten to get my passport back from the guesthouse people. I would have to make the trip again to retrieve it, which I did, alone, the next week.

The heat was terrible on the day I went, as it was every day in Vietnam. I got the passport, then crossed the empty sand and weed-strewn coastal highway to the beach, to have a lonesome swim in the sea. Nobody on earth knew where I was. I wanted to add to that effect by swimming out beyond the waves.

[This is starting to look very stupid of me actually, but there you go]

There were smatterings of Vietnamese folk chilling on the beach all up and down the long stretch of coastline. I stowed my t-shirt and shoes under a plastic deck chair and swam out. I was surprised at the size of the waves up close, as you tend to be. They were forming in scary swells a distance from the beach and crashing down from a neck-craning height above me. But I pushed on and swam underwater and got past the area where they were breaking until I turned round and it was quiet and the people on the beach were very tiny. I drank that feeling in for a minute or two treading water then started to head back in, aware that I’d have trouble on the return leg where the waves were breaking but not worrying myself about it.

When I got to that area however shit got real without warning. A huge wave broke right on to me, leaving me gasping in the wash, then exerted powerful dragging forces while the next one loomed up behind. People on the beach remained tiny and after fighting to escape two or three big waves and their aftermath I quite suddenly reached failure and could no longer bring any force to my stroke and started to flail. I was being overcome, and I thought ‘fuck, I’m going to die’. It was a really lonely moment and scary but I also felt incredulous- can’t fucking believe this.

A last ditch attempt to save myself was to see whether my feet were anywhere near the bottom despite being so far from the beach, it might have been one of those weird beaches. I pointed my feet down expecting fathoms below me and it turns out I was standing at neck-height amid the crashing waves. So that was that. But still, scary stuff for a minute.