Monday, April 25, 2016

A VAMPIRE'S ORDEAL.. Jonathon Among the Tunnels... 4/25/16 ...

I saw something tonight. It was under the city. I was in the deep, never-used subway tunnels of the mole people. I had sunglasses. I had new sunglasses for Aura and Sylvia, for when they come up to the surface. Their father, the current 'mole king' doesn't want them to live hobbled lives. He wants them to come up every once in a while... to see the decorations around Christmastime, or the cherry blossoms along the drives coming into Center City. Some mole folk never come up. They see fuzzy images on little old, dusty television sets hooked up to converter boxes so they can get the 'new' sharper signals.... Picture, sitting on a pile of old quilts shoved into the end of a small, side, storage tunnel, filching a bit of current from ancient wires that are incredibly still 'live.' Contorted coat hangers and wadded up tin foil decorating the rabbit ears.... tiny little specks of light flickering out of greasy, Sterno cans. They wear old hospital gowns. Maybe four or five tied around their bodies every which way you could imagine. Aura has a smidge of style sense, so she doesn't look crazy, like her sister... strange, but not crazy. They are beautiful girls though. I used to mush up with them, but Sarah began to resent it, so I stopped. I told her vampires don't have to worry about fidelity. It's not like we have to worry about offspring. She didn't agree. You know how essentially mortal she is in her thoughts and ways. It can take decades, even centuries for those patterns to go away.

We 'patrol the territory.' There are miles and miles of tunnels down there, originally meant for a multilayered subway line, but they never used them. One layer, in a few places two, was enough. Mole folk, as many of you know, leach a living tapping a little current out of long forgotten power lines and gathering drip-drip-drips from ancient corroded pipes. They grow mushrooms in carefully tended dirt patches. Most of the floors are plain dirt. They were never finished. They raise pigeons (minus flight feathers) and rats too in little pens. By now, after generations, both meat sources are 'domesticated' and essentially 'clean.'

Everything's down there. It's another world. In winter homeless people often stumble onto entrances and find ways in, but they're not part of the 'tribe.' Most die in knife fights. They have ossuaries for the victims, piles of bones collected over I don't know how many years. I've seen them, meticulously sorted bones... skulls... femurs... pelvises... like disassembled Tinker Toys... We navigate the passages with tiny Sterno lights. Ghosts are nothing. We see ghosts all the time. Well, not 'all' the time, but often enough. Most walk passed like we're not even there. Some are from before the subways were ever built... A few died in construction accidents. But considering the safety standards of the day and working class rights, they weren't accidents. They were 'acceptable losses.'  Others moan continuously. A few crawl on all fours and never straighten up. One's just a severed head that rolls and laughs maniacally. In rare instances something will focus on us and mumble, but that's very rare.

Mole folk never address them. They're afraid of the soul catchers. That's what they call them. Some you see. Some you feel. But they're out there... not a lot. They're very rare. Maybe they trace out a territory but just aren't here that much? Edith and the Piney Folk call them Ho-Ho's. Nobody likes them. Word is they open their mouths and suck you right in,  just like the vapor in a hookah. I don't know if that's the end, or if you continue to exist somewhere else. In the Pines, they whisper about 'the gray mist,' an infinite space where souls just float eternally. Sometimes lucky ones drift together and manage to hold on to each other, but you can go a star's age and never see a thing like that. The universe, both in our world and the next, is a very mysterious place.

The thing I saw looked like the remnants of a person after they had a few meaty layers soaked off in acid. Just stood there at the end of a little passage. No ears... no eye lids... no clothes... skeletal hands... ravaged sex parts... all pearly-gray-swirls like the ghost of a lava lamp. That's what I thought it was at first, a ghost, I mean. then I felt the 'pull,' as it stared with dead eyes and 'inhaled.'

I was swept off my feet. The force was that strong. Aura screamed. (she was with me). I dropped my tiny, Sterno lamp. The weak orange light was gone.

I prayed. I cried. I dug my nails into the dirt. My ribs vibrated and trembled, as every fiber of my body flew apart.

Aura laid there, speaking in tongues and convulsing in the clammy gloom radiating out from the creature's body.

Pulled in like an unfortunate bit of matter toward the maw of a black hole.

Putting it into scientific terms make it seem less frightening....

The spirit world is a strong, unbending place...

<more next time>

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