Sunday, March 23, 2014

SINKERS~~~~ Unbelievably Slow Death In A Warm Dark Wet Silent Place... 3/22/14

Not a usual Vampire Wonderland post, but a taste of something that may be expanded in the future. PLEASE share your thoughts via COMMENTS. Thank you.

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Being alone can be lethal. There are places solitary people should not go. The North Marsh is one of them. It connects a cozy, little seashore barrier island to the mainland. Some parts look like wheat, tall, thick sea-grass.... all gold in the late September sun. Ducks nest there. Dragonflies dance around like so many Tinkerbells. Tight, little woods butts up to the mainland. Covers maybe sixteen acres. Just big enough to get lost in, if you're dumb that way. Ain't no real roads through there, not even for bikes. Ground's not made for that. Few little footpaths maybe. Don't know who made 'em. Everybody around here knows you don't go in the marsh, especially not by yourself.

Dolan knew that. He's from here. Not the storybook town on the island. He lives inland, a chipped paint kind of place with cracked cement and weedy yards. Did lawn care. Not inland, on the island. Lots ain't big, but real pretty. Fixed up like Walt Disney was in charge, or Leave It To Beaver's father. Got lots a flowers... all green... little 'water features.' That means tiny lily ponds that gurgle and all. Dolan does everything. Trims trees. Cuts grass. Kills them 'no name' mongrel plants. After Labor Day it's easy. Homeowners ain't in town. Not on weekdays. They just pay money to keep it fancy. Lawn guys do what they gotta do. Don't take much time. Cut what gotta be cut. Feed what gotta be fed. Trim what gotta be trimmed.  All the crews know where to hide. Some little backyards perfect for that, all fenced in and private. Good place to eat hoagies, potato chips and drink soda and all.  Quiet, peaceful, salt air. Patio furniture still out so they got plenty a chairs.  Good job for a guy with high blood pressure and like a 'baby' heart condition. Dolan don't know exactly what kind it is. Doctor at the clinic never says. Guess he thinks poor folks can't understand anyway. 

His daughter works  'on the island' too. Tends bar in a cozy, little 'bistro,' or what passes for a bistro on a seashore island. She's called Tina. Wears black pants and a white shirt with a bow-tie. You know what kind a place. Got 'bee' lights all over the outside on the doors, windows and potted evergreens. In a cute, little business area. Got old fashioned benches, streetlights with flower baskets hanging off of them. In fall they got autumn leaves, corn, gourds and that kind a stuff. Tina's boss a real bastard though. His name's Frank. He's divorced. Ex-wife cashiers at the supermarket. Girls at the bistro hate him. Always comes on to them. Brushes up behind the bar and all, or in the supply room. Grabbin' chests. Grabbin' ass. Husband of one of the waitresses wants a kill him. Beat him up, I mean. But Frank's too big... retired cop. Still keeps in shape.

Followed Tina out to her car. She parks 'round the corner, down a residential street. Nice houses. TV's and lights on timers. Some blocks got a fair amount of all-year-round people, but not where she parks. Frank comes up behind her, grabs her shoulders and starts kissin' her. She yells - Get off me, you sickening bastid!.... But he just chuckles and bites her ear. She bashes her fist back, right in his face. Wears a big ring. Sharp edges. Cuts the side of his head from eye to temple. He yells. Lets go. She runs. But now he's mad and comes after her. She keeps running. Takes out her keys. Got a fifteen year old Sable. Hand shakes. Fumbles with the lock. Boss grabs her neck. Calls her all kinds a names. He's drunk by the end a the night, but that ain't no excuse. She jam her foot down his instep, where some 'perp' once bit him and broke a couple bones. He yells, winces and lets go. She spins 'round, slams her open hand over his face and pushes back. He slips, skitters on some white, smooth landscaping stones, lousy kids steal from flower beds and play with, falls over and dies. Not the fall that killed him, but the smashin' his head on the jagged gray rocks 'round the 'water feature' part. Tina's all shaking and sweating. Gets in her car and drives away.  Only thing is the house where she parked wasn't empty. Flickering TV light's for real.  Owner's kid (just out of college) down for a long weekend, peeks through the drapes and sees it all. Don't like having no dead guy right by his mom's 'water feature,' so he calls the cops. They're there in like three minutes. Not one car... two cars.  Dead guy by the 'water feature' big stuff 'round here. Right away they see his clothes... black pants... white shirt... bow-tie. They know he's from the bistro. They know he's a retired cop. And the kid describes Tina... car and everything. Ten minutes later they find her parked behind the closed supermarket, shaking and crying.

Trial starts tomorrow. Dolan's got a suit and everything. He's scared. Tina's a good girl...mostly. Got a prior for shoplifting.... Not like t-shirts from Old Navy.... diamond studs from the nice jeweler at the rich folks' mall. Rich folks' jeweler got a retired cop too. He grabs her and that trampy friend real fast. She fall and smash her knee. People lookin.' Owner screaming how she switched real rocks for crap. That's it. You think county prosecutor ain't gonna bring that up? Maybe not admissible, but he's gonna say it and jury's gonna hear it.

Dolan parks his truck on the mainland and rides over the causeway in the big truck with the rest of the crew. They drop him off after cutting some grass and eating hoagies and all. But he don't want to go right home, so he walks out into the North Marsh instead. It's quiet. He can think... maybe relax a little. Air's got that late afternoon-early evening, September orange look. Nobody around. Even sees a short eared coast rabbit. Bunny looks right at him like it knows. Hops down a path. Dolan follows. Now he's in the wooded part. He ain't thinkin' straight. Nobody goes in there. Probably fill a ticks. Might even hide a South Jersey rattle snake or two. Who knows? But Dolan don't care. He don't wanna think at all.

Something catch his eye... shiny and close to the ground. Well, he likes shiny stuff. Tina ain't the only one. So he steps through the trees and itchy scrub to an empty space, maybe ten yards across. And right there, on the ground, in the middle of flat, yellow sand is a pair of glasses... expensive lookin' too... vintage Ray-Bans. Might be worth something, so he goes over to get 'em.  Maybe they ain't prescription? That'd be nice. 

Sand feels a little sticky. Sucks at his shoes real hard. But them Ray-Bans look real good. And it's so quiet. And it's so peaceful. Who knows? They could be worth three hundred dollars. So he bends over and grabs them. Hey, they ain't scratched up or nothing. Look brand new. And thank you, Dear Lord, they ain't prescription. Genuine article. Hot damn... Folds 'em up and stows 'em in his shirt.

Trouble is, when he wants a leave, ground won't let him. Already in to his ankles and sinkin' fast. Screams... yells, but nothing. Ain't no houses close by. Marsh backs up to big parking lot. Lot belongs to big church. This ain't Sunday, so it's a ghost town. And he's far from the edge anyway. Trees block a lot a sound too. Can't reach any branches... Too far away. Dolan cries. He prays. Keeps mumbling - I don't want to die. I don't want to die.... Well, he won't die... not for a real long time. 'Cause this ain't quicksand. It's a live, lose, living, fungal mass... And it eats stuff... organic stuff... critter stuff... people stuff. Guy what lost them glasses right there under him, maybe thirteen feet down. And he ain't dead. Fungal mass don't want him dead. Fungal mass like live food. It passes dissolved oxygen right through people's skin... nutrients too. Guy what owned them glasses grabs his foot. Dolan shrieks. In his mind it's a giant bug, like a huge ant lion, or something. He don't know, but there's other people below that guy and a couple dogs too.

But just 'cause they ain't dead don't mean fungus ain't eatin.' It start with the wings and drumsticks. Arms and legs get liquified first. Then the ass... Then the belly... Then the back... the ribs, chest and neck. Head's still livin.' Oozing, fungal mass preserve life real good, even when you don't want it too. Sometimes it never eats the head. Might be something in the brain it don't like... some dangerous prion... some poisonous element. Takes eight months to finish a body. Head can live down there forever, or almost forever... Who knows how long... all the time sinkin' down in warm, dark, wet silence...

And a little bit later, when the sun disappears, Dolan does too, til nothing's left, not even the glasses...

Well, nothing on the surface anyway...

The short eared rabbit sees it all... But who's he gonna tell?

And next morning at the courthouse, Tina never learns what happened. 

Boy do I feel bad for her mama...

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