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The Camera never lies anymore



Edmonds knew he would have to find an older shop to buy the particular jumpers that he favoured, some old boutique with traditional brown paintwork around its display windows. These newer shops had clearly no idea when it came to jagged patterns rendered in bright primary colours. In fact he could find sign of patterns whatsoever. The camera would make mincemeat of most of the stuff he saw stretched over the bald, and quite frankly, beardless mannequins posturing in the high street shops. You had to stand out on daytime tv or no one saw you, they just see the colourful sets and that would never do. No, he had to find something to replace the yellow and blue sky-patterned sweater before he went on air again.

God he would miss that jumper.

He looked around the bigger shops once more, noticing his arched centre parting hairstyle as often as he could in the full length mirrors.Then he asked around for the nearest mens public lavatories. An old man wearing a rather fetching turquoise tank top assured him that the toilets were down a certain street and that the street was a bit too secluded, yes. Perfect, Edmonds said, perfect, and how much would you have paid for such a wonderful garment may I ask ?

The conversation ended as quickly as it started, leaving Edmonds to wander further in search of the shops he needed.

After he`d left it as long as he could and went back to the van, a sob tugging at his guts.

The van stood out from the rest of the cars in the car park like a mass of Sunday morning sick. But what could he do? It was the only thing he could find at such short notice. It was big enough for the job at hand anyway, that`s all that mattered for now. Even if it did compete with his sartorial magnificence.

A couple of small boys with messy hair were hanging about by the boarded up dispensing window, as if waiting to be served. Edmonds considered giving them a clip around the ear hole, but as he neared them his anger had turned to sorrow.

"Hello kiddies, no ice cream and lollipops for sale today, the magic man in the sun melted them for his bath time treat, so off you go."

They looked at him quite nicely and their eyes told him all he needed to know.

"We want to see the funny man, Mister, is he coming out again?"

"He`s all big and fat and daft."

Oh God.

"I think you must be mistaken, you bright little buttons on the Day-Glo cardigan of my life you, no fat funny men here."

One of them pointed at the ice cream vans passenger door window, his tiny maggot like finger writhing.

"He is there, he`s in there going like this."

And the boy began to shake his head about, puffing up his red cheeks and crossing his eyes.

"Look, here`s a couple of quid, push off and buy yourself some fags will you."

He glanced around at the busy roads and the places where security cameras might be hidden and fished a five pound note from his bright green plastic wallet.

"Just promise me that you won`t say a word about me or the fat funny man alright? ALRIGHT?"

The biggest of the two ripped the crumpled note out of his lady like hand and then they sped off smiling and cheering .

"And make sure you both grow nice beards when you`re all grown up, ok?"

He doubted his sage advice would have made any impact on their glee of being awarded a five pound note however, people rarely took the advice of TV presenters these days.

And he smiled, as he looked for his van keys.





"Look Bobbie, it`s your turn to buy the milkshakes; I bought them in Scarborough, Cheryl got them in Whitby, and Jay coughed up in Grimsby, so get your cash out."

Bobbie Gee squinted at Mike, trying to recall just who had bought what where, and had to admit defeat.

"Ok, dammit, four frothy milkshakes please madam, don`t spare the cows."

He slammed all his spare change onto the plastic counter of the cafe and tried to smile. Mike noticed his straining face.

"Cheer up Bobby, you need all the fluid you can get you know. "

"Yeah, I know, it`s just that I always seem to be the one paying for stuff. I just think I should get...special treatment, you know? I am the one who got his group together aren`t I? I did write all the songs."

"And what songs they are Bobbie, hits to challenge the might of Abba themselves, possibly. Well, we were better than Brotherhood of Man anyway."

"Yeah, and then some. But look at us now, racing around the coastline like a bunch of ants. We should be touring for real, and getting paid for it. We could do the gay circuits, and the Granny nights. It doesn`t have to be like this, i`m telling you."

Mike nodded, feeling his gut begin to crawl.

At least you don`t have to carry this thing around with you all the time you sorry tit.

"Look Bobbie, it`s not forever, really, you`ll see."

"I know it won`t be, Mike. He`s here somewhere, Edmonds is in this town."

The milkshakes came then, and they scooped up their tall glasses of cold frothy milk and took them to a booth in the corner, where the cloud mottled sky dominated the scenery, even the lazy might of the sea.

Cheryl had to use a straw to get at her drink but that didn`t bother her much, as long as nothing jarred her rope. It had been a couple of vital days since the find she had made in that charity shop in Grimsby.

She slid out of the plastic booth, ready for another go with the scissors. Determined more than ever before.

"Mind my shake will you guys. i`m just off to the toilets."

The three remaining Bucks Fizzes nodded and smiled for her assurance. They understood. They were her best friends. Her family.

"I won`t be long."

"Take as long as you need Cheryl." Jay said, before quaffing half of her strawberry milkshake, making her head blank out slightly from the joy of the cold drink.

"Thanks.Thank you."

She was half way to the lavatory door when the fear struck again. She stood still, feeling it making advances on her mind, shoving aside her courage. It would hurt, it said. It would really, really hurt.

How could she deny it would? She knew full well it would hurt. But it would always hurt, unless she dealt with it now, finally.

Remember Slough? It hurt in Slough.

Yeah, that was bad. Bad in Slough. Bad Slough.

She stroked the rope. Feeling its tightly plaited fibres. It was warm. Not as warm as the rest of her face, but still it was alive, dangling thickly from beneath her left eye.

She looked over her shoulder, brushing the tattered end of the rope against her breast. The others were watching her. Their top lips bright with milk.

"I won`t be long, save me my shake won`t you."

She didn`t wait for a response, she just pushed the toilet door open and let it flap shut behind her. Then she looked for an empty cubicle.

It had to be today, she knew. Or at least soon. The few cuts she had made in the last two days had been fairly deep, deeper than she would have thought possible for her. But she had noticed today in her make up mirror, that the cuts had already begun to heal. In fact, there was only a slight nick in the top of the rope now, where before there had been a gash.

It HAD to be now.



Every time Edmonds put the van radio on he expected the shrill chimes of the ice cream mans theme to come blasting out. But it never did. It was just a private little joke, one of many that he never shared with anyone else. Who would he have to share them with anyway?

No, stuff like that had to be kept inside, until such time that it was safe to blurt it out.

Just as the radio was now blurting out the worst kind of music that Edmonds could imagine. Nothing like the music he played and liked. Nothing at all. More like the sounds of someone vomiting maybe, or worse.

"Tut tut no good."

He started the engine and put the van in gear.

"Have to get out of here now don`t we, because of you. No time for me to make a new friend or two if those kids go and talk is there."

The brown curtain behind Edmonds head wobbled slightly, perhaps due to the violent turn that the van was undergoing to guide it out of the car park.

"If those kids tell, then god knows what trouble you might have brought down upon our heads, again."

And he checked his baroque hair in the rear view mirror. Cursing once again McDonalds for thieving his insignia.

"You`ve been a silly, silly man haven`t you."

He put his foot down on the accelerator, forcing his way into the summertime traffic. Glad now that he had chosen an ice cream van to take him to new places.

"Hah, they always let the ice cream man through. It`s as good as having an ambulance. Neee Norrr Neee Norrr."

The road by the sea front was flanked by so many colourful shops, selling all manner of plastic toys and food. He slowed to watch the metallic pink pin wheels spinning in their yellow containers, and the many spades and buckets waiting for some sticky child to come and make good use of them. Then there were the sparkling robotic grottoes. That`s what he liked to call them. Channelling their ten pences to some underground lair he reckoned, in exchange for the chance to win more, or just to kill a few aliens maybe. That`s what he could hear now, the zapping of alien flesh and bone.

"ZAP ZAP!"

And the clucking of the robot chicken.

"CLUCK CLUCK!"

Who wouldn`t find fun here, by the sea? Only someone without a bright blue and green jumper surely. He loved the seaside more than any other place. People were always trying to make new friends by the sea, and that was why he would always be near it, making new friends. That was his life really, to make friends with people and to give something to the towns he visited, time and time again. Something special they would never forget that would change the way they saw the stretching banks of sand, and the eternal crash of the sea. Something that would brighten even the dullest jumper, and thicken even the smallest of beards. This was his destiny, his brightly woven pattern around the dump of Britain. His shining tour of the coastal towns of old. Forever and ever.

"It`s no good, we`ll have to stay here tonight. Just for tonight mind, and none of your silly tricks."

He made for the cliff top by the chalet park, a favourite spot for him. He had spent many a happy hour there a few years ago, waiting for dusk.

So why not now?



Bobbie looked out across the constantly turning sea, the wind fiddling with his hair like a cold fingered lover. A question needed an answer and he could wait no longer for someone else to ask it.

"Has Charly said anything at all lately? Nothing? Not even a bit of scratching?"

Mike tossed a pebble out to sea and watched it fall far short, losing itself amongst the other pebbles on the dark, wet edge of the beach.

"Nope, nothing but his usual shifting around of legs and stuff. But maybe he has nothing to tell us, maybe we are just too far away from Edmonds. I knew we should have followed the pattern; I said, he always skips a town, he alternates."

"Yeah, he does that, but not this time, I can feel it, the weather is hotter than it`s been for years, and he`s at the end of his run."

"So?"

"Well he`ll want to make a meal of it won`t he, that`s what Charly says, and he knows."

"What would you know about what Charly says? you don`t have him crawling around in your guts, I do."

"Look Mike, I found Charly, I held him for two years before he chose you. I know what he thinks about Edmonds, and he knows that Edmonds is an opportunist, a greedy grabber. How else could he do the things he does."

Mike picked up another pebble and investigated its glass smooth surface, seeing just a faint shadow of his hair whipping against the sky. As soon as he started to think about thin waggling legs he tossed the stone away, not even attempting to hit the fizzing water.

"Where are the girls?" He asked.

"Well, Cheryl needed someone to cry over so they must be in the car."

"Cheryl and her bloody rope. We ought to chop it off when she`s asleep, make her a nice pressie of it."

He picked up a collection of dark pebbles, checking them for tiny fossils.

"I don`t think it`s our job to do anything to Cheryl and her rope. She`ll work it out in her own good time, just like we did. These things happen for a reason. Just like with Edmonds and his chum, wherever they are."

"Yeah, but Edmonds is a monster, we are good guys. He might have undergone certain changes but he doesn`t care like we do."

"Still, he is like us. You couldn`t say he was exactly human could you? Look at what he`s capable of. "

Mike tossed his pebbles out towards the hiss of the sea and saw the things he didn`t want to see again. The dead, and the almost living things that Edmonds left behind for them to clean up. Any maniac could kill, but what Edmonds did no normal man could ever hope to do, or wish to.

"What if he`s on to us again, watching us. We could end up like the rest of `em. I don`t want to look like that, all fucked up."

"Well Mike, as long as we stick together, we will have a chance. He`s going to slip up soon, and we`ll be there to do our thing."

"I can`t wait to get back to London. Get back to a normal life again, with no more bogs and..."

"Bogeymen?"

"Yeah, fucking bogs and bogeymen, with flippin` jumpers."

"Maybe it`s time to move on, to the next town. He can`t be far ahead of us. We nearly got him in Whitby."

"SHIT!"

"What?"

Mike had fallen to his knees, clutching his guts with both hands. His face had all the tell tale signs of a visitation.

"It`s fucking Charly, he`s got another bastard message AW GOD!"

And he fell to the pebbles, face down, moaning. Bobbie quickly turned him over and watched. Nothing happened at first, for a good minute in which Bobbie thought of many things; the sea, the sky, the pebbles.

Then, as he hoped it would, Mikes throat began to move.

"Come on Charley, we haven`t got all summer, it`s tonight I know it is. Come on."

The movements were quickening with each passing moment now, rising up past the slight lump of the Adams apple to the base of the head. Eventually they vanished all together, hidden by the mass of Mikes face.

Then in a sudden flurry of energy, Charlys thin blue legs began to sprout from Mikes mouth.

"Hurry."

"Relax," said Charly in his upperclass mans voice."Relax, I`m here, safe and sound dear fellow, safe and sound."

"Alright Charly? How`s Mikes stomach just lately? Did you like all those nice baby mice and crickets we sent you?"

Charly crawled totally out of Mikes mouth and sat on his face, his long sky blue legs covering most of it. It was a sight that Bobbie had never grown accustomed to, not in four years.

"The mice were lovely and juicey, and the crickets divine. Less of the milkshakes though if you please, they play havoc with my webs. But enough of all that, we have a couple of monsters to stop, and stop them we shall with luck, and my intense psychic abilities, oh yes."

Charly skittered about, turning around to face the town, a distant model drying in the heat. He was attempting to get a better fix on Edmonds, using his sensitive mental organs to track him down to his lair.

"Mmm, yes. Hang on. Mmmm, I thought as much. Yes. Yeeessss."

Bobbie knew well enough to keep quiet when Charly did his stuff. Still he had to stifle an urgent demand for information.

He`s here, I just know he is.

"Yes, he`s here Bobbie my good friend. He`s in the town, and I know he will strike tonight. Without a shadow of a doubt."

"I fucking knew it too!"

"But as to where is a different matter entirely. He has struck here before, back in `83, and again in `91. He`s bound to want to use the same toilets again, as is his way with these things. He`s a creature of strange habits this Edmonds, but habits nonetheless. We shall have him this very night dear Mr Gee. This very night."

"YES!"

"Just as long as you can get past his bodyguard. I can just get a glimpse of him, not much. But enough to know that he`s big, and strong. You better have your wits about you Bobbie Gee, or he`ll make you into just another knot in Edmonds bright pattern. Mark my words."

Bobbie rubbed his lower abdomen tenderly, wondering if he could feel a slight bulge.

"I`m ready for anything they chuck at me Charly. Anything."

"Really? Well, there`s something you should know, about tonight, and the days beyond it if there are any."

"Sounds worrying mate, you better tell me everything."

Charly crept around to show Bobbie his tiny black eyes. He always did this when he was about to send a mental image. It slipped into Bobbies mind with a slight ache, and a sparkle of lights.

Bobbie began to swear.



Mikes eyes eventually opened once they were back in the car, purring along the country road to the town. He woke to see a hypnotic myriad of trees flashing by the open sunroof, glowing and twinkling with a sun that was just on the cusp of its descent.

Already, the ghost of the moon sat waiting in the background, ready to take its place.

"He`ll be alright,"Bobbie told Jay."He`s probably in heaven now, come to think of it; A reaction to Charlys surfacing."

Yeah, he used to love that himself. Not much different to being doped up. Being Charlys home had it`s perks, and it`s drawbacks.

Mike took a deep, rusty breath.

"Ow, my bloody throat. What did he say? Better not have been asking for more bloody baby mice again."

"Nope. Just wanted to prove that I was right to stay in the area, rather than moving on. That`s all."

"So he`s here? Edmonds is here?"

"Yep."

Cheryl, still nursing her rope, stirred from her self pity, and self hate.

"But where?"

"That, Cheryl, is our job to find out. Charley gave me directions to the likeliest locations. Unfortunately, they are on either side of the town. We might have to split up, or at least break the speeding limit a few times."

"Cheryl looked to Jays worried face and they shared a look of fear.

"I vote we stay together Bobbie. We aren`t ready to pursue solo careers just yet I think. I know i`m not."

Bobbie chuckled, yet feeling none of the amusement.

"Are you still worrying about your rope Cheryl? Don`t. Wait until you`ve seen Edmonds wiped out before even thinking about your rope."

"But the scissors?"

"The scissors will wait too. Trust me, you`ll be as brave as you need to be once this caper is over and done with. You`ll probably just snip it off in one go and never even feel it."

Bobbie burped, tasting chocolate milkshake. The roads were still thick with traffic in the town. Near naked tourists leaping into the buzzing traffic to get somewhere. Horns blaring out, streets burning with sunlight colours. Amongst them were monsters, free to kill and terrify. It was down to them to prevent another massacre, and their only true advantage would be surprise. He had to get a good look at those toilets before nightfall, to increase their advantage, but the town was against them.

"I`ll park up and we can walk. It will be quicker."



The sea lapped against Edmonds naked legs, caressing and washing away the stress his calves and upper thighs had stored up since yesterday, when he had bathed in the same sea, several miles up the coast. The beach had been as empty as it was here, just the odd man walking his dog, and the occasional family who enjoyed the expanse of sand and shale in the same way he did.

Well, not quite as he did.

He sat down in the tug of the water, to better feel it`s power against his solar plexus.

Did they comprehend the ancient spirit of the coast? It was after all, the meeting place of two of the classical elements. Earth and water. A constant arena for natures battle of supremacy.

The thought was awarded by a show of strength, the sea rushing in over his naked chest, pushing him back towards the shore; back to the van and all the trouble it caused.

"No!"

Let me have my time with you dear sea, let me smell like you, taste like you.

And he took a mouthful of its flesh, before the tide roared back again, dragging him just a few inches with its mighty urge. It wanted him too, he realised. It could use him to bash against the hulls of boats, sinking them like boulders. Or maybe to frighten children, who had waded out too far. He would gladly do the seas bidding, as he had serviced the earth, the soil of Britain. It made sense. And sense was all he had left.

He took another drink of the sea, savouring its powerful tang.

His body fought its intrusion, as the land attempts to keep back the tide. But he was stronger now, and could re-order his priorities. The sea was inside him as he was in it. His power was the eternal promise of the seas eventual dominance over the land, and over the entire planet.

He let his arms flop slightly, allowing the sea to rush over his shoulders lovingly, and eagerly. It wanted to rush around his neck, over his mouth and his nose. He wanted it too, wanted to lie back and float away into the all encompassing love of the depths, where he belonged.

Where I belong.

Where I belong.

Where I belong.

There were things out there in the ocean, things as black as blindness, and hungry. He could feed them, if they liked what he had to offer. And why wouldn`t they? There was nothing sweeter than a man who liked to make new friends.

And he was well acquainted with the joys of making friends in dark places.

His mind began to fill with those dim shadows again, allowing them to take a seat at his table once more. The fat ones the, the thin . The old and the young. He didn`t know their names but he knew something about them that no one would ever know. Not even themselves.

In the dirty, dank and dripping night caverns of their final moments he had discovered their one and only worthwhile secret.

A dog barked and a child screamed.

He felt himself being dragged by rough hands, pulling and tearing at his flesh.

People were shouting all around him as he his entire body was drawn across a carpet of stinging pain.

"His he alright? Are you alright mate? Fetch that towel, go on, fetch that towel."

Lips on his mouth, mans lips. Grains of sand stuck into his buttocks. A throbbing in his groin.

"He`s naked look, fetch that towel."

The inks worn away. God, the ink!

He fought back against the strong lips crushing his mouth, pushing himself to his feet, then kicking at something furry and white that bit back with alarming speed.

"Fuck off!"

His saviours quickly lost their sympathetic faces as the naked Noel Edmonds punched and kicked his way through them, screaming obscenities as he ran, back towards the general direction of the van.

The bathing shorts he had drawn on to his flesh with black ink had washed away with the tide, leaving him shamefully naked all the way back up the stone steps and along the cliff top to where the van waited. Luckily only a small old lady wearing a rather fetching gold and emerald jumper was witness to his pink flight. Her jumper depicted, for some reason, a fat mustard coloured Santa half stuffed down a chimney, similar to one that had been sent to him many years ago, by an adoring fan.

He hadn`t felt like stopping to ask her where she had purchased the garment, however. All that mattered was covering up his mistake and finding somewhere else to hide.

Dusk wouldn`t wait for him to get his act together, and get his act together he must.



"I think he`ll go for this toilet Bobbie, it`s all dark and...secluded."

"Yeah, but Mike, suppose he wants to guarantee he`ll get a customer? Once he`s broken the doors down, he wants someone to notice doesn`t he. There`s no streetlights anywhere near this block. Who would see an open door in the dark?"

"Maybe, yeah, you could be right."

"I only hope I am. What do you think Jay? Cheryl?"

Cheryl was giving slight tugs to her rope, crying out each time. Bobbie hated to see her like this, but more urgent matters were at hand. If she didn`t concentrate then she may as well not be here.

"Jay, take her back to the car will you, give her some sandwiches to eat or something."

"Ok Bobbie. Where will you two be?"

Bobbie thought for a moment, weighing up the possibilities.

"Mike and I have some shopping to do. We won`t be long."

Jay put her arm around Cheryls waist and lead her back to the main road. Bobbie and Mike watched them until they vanished amid the brightness of the pedestrians and then they headed for a side street, the side street where Bobbie had spotted a particular second hand shop.

It was no coincidence that the proprietor of the shop was called Buckfasts. His or her name was clearly emblazoned across the top of the dusty frontage of the shop, above the wide and grimy window. A window stuffed with a miasma of trinkets, books and baubles.

"It`s open look Mike."

At least the door was ajar, frozen in the act of knocking against a wind chime.

"What will we be looking for Bobbie? Another sword? I wouldn`t mind another sword if we are to tackle Edmonds."

Yeah right, like you`ll be doing all the tackling will you?

"Just look for anything out of the ordinary, anything that has a certain feeling of familiarity to you. I can`t explain it really."

They pushed the door open wide allowing a wave of incense to flow out. The wind chime registered their arrival with a tuneless song of steel.

"Hey, Bobby, I used to have a jacket like that."

"That`s not what I meant. Just go and look at the toys, go on."

The tiny glass counter opposite the door was unattended, but somewhere at the back of the shop, amidst a rainbow avalanche of books, stood a young man with a pony tail. He was either another customer, or the owner checking his stock. He satisfied this question by slipping himself behind the glass counter and its sparkling contents. Was he supposed to find an amulet then? Or a fob watch?

No, that was too obvious; it would be something less expensive. Something unpretentious.

Mike turned from a basket of plastic figures, brandishing a wind up mouse.

"Nope." Bobbie said quickly as he headed for the books. They were mostly Mills and Boon by the look of it. Curled up against one another like slices of dried bread.

Mike swung round, smiling, with a pink tank.

"Nope."

I`m like a Mills and Boon novel on the shelf of neglect...

Rubbish. It was no wonder the band was going nowhere; just like most of the things in this shop.

"I know you don`t I?"

The young mans voice betrayed more than a tint of Scottish.

"Sorry?"

"I`ve seen you on the telly, haven`t I? Ripping skirts off women."

Bobbie was tempted, just for a few seconds he was really tempted.

"Nah, mate. Never been on tv in my life."

"Oh, I could have sworn."

"Nah, got any swords?"

The man shook his head, returning to his role of shop owner.

Mills and Boon, Mills and Boon, tear stained copies of Mills and Boon...

Tragic.

Mike produced a naked action man, the type with a butch beard.

"Nope. Keep looking. If you feel 'you know who' doing 'you know what' then shout out."

Mike frowned, staring at the action mans impossibly pliable limbs. Too spindly for a man of action surely.

"Don`t worry, I will shout out."

Turn another page of my Barbara Cartland heart baby, I wanna` love you like those books never knew how to...



"...oh, and can I have seven sticks of rock please. Yeah, them ones with the pink and yellow stripes. And a big bag of candy floss."

The girl stuffed all his purchases in to a big pink bag and he gave her a ten pound note.

"Keep the change, and buy your Mum a prezzie, if she`s not dead yet, bye."

And he was off again, weaving through the holiday crowds, avoiding tiny babies in pushchairs who stared at him, knowingly. People were odd things, he pondered. Yet put them on the street in their thousands and they became just another thing to dodge around. Like a tree or a dustbin. As long as you didn`t knock one of them over, or stare at them too long, they never noticed you were there at all. Which was fine by him. You didn`t have to spend all day making friends. That would be nice, but implausible. Better to leave that for special places, and special times. Then it became a special event to think about when there was nobody around to talk to.

Like on the beach...

Bastards!

He ducked down an alley, full of big black pipes, and made a fist with his free hand. He squeezed and squeezed until all the blood had drained out, and his fist looked like a little yellow apple.

"Fucking fuckers rapist fucker fucks!"

He dropped the bag and began to make another fist. Soon he had two little yellow apples, glowing sickly against the squirming mass of pipes.

"Kill, murder, massacre!"

And then he listened.

It always took a few moments to take effect, like waiting for the billions of switches in the brain to click on. Once they had reconfigured themselves to how he wanted, the effect was profound. Like the opening of a summer fete and a jumble sale all rolled in to one big jamboree of making new friends.

Oh yes...

The applause was deafening.

It rippled down from some high up balcony, ascended in sparkling columns to the height of the blue auditorium. It crashed in circular waves from all sides at once and all this love, this utter adulation, combined in his head and heart to form a mighty answer to his anger and all the work he had tirelessly sweated over for many, many years.

Yes, I want to be your friend.

And he drank the vast ocean of love, quaffed its sluicing meanings with an open throat. It filled his stomach with milk; it rushed into his eyes and bleached his retinas white. It pumped into his veins and found it`s bright way into his racing heart where it churned and churned. It streamed into his organs and stretched his bladder to bursting point. Soon he would be pissing milk, spraying it across the audience in a final and ultimate exchange of friendship.

Yes, I want to be your friend. Yes, yes yes I want to be your friend.

Just like on the beach...?

His fists were like two small apples, glowing sickly against the squirming mass of pipes. The pipes, all slimy and thick and writhing up the walls of the alley. Spitting steam like warm venom they struck the triangle of sky and roared. Roared like the thunderously single-minded applause of his friends, like the thousands of pairs of shoes striking the pavement behind him.

Shoes flopping against tarmac.

Shoes.

Shoppers shoes?

Shoes.

He relaxed his fists and tried to pick up his pink bag of goodies. It seemed to leap about, avoiding his aching hands. Then once he had caught the thing it was impossible to keep a hold of it. His hands were still dead, like he was wearing several pairs of gloves.

"Come on, COME ON!"

He rubbed them together like he was trying to make fire, and watched them flop about like a seals flippers. Still it did the trick, and soon he was on his sweet way again, back to the side street where the van waited patiently. He could still hear the applause as he walked, but now he found himself to be just another member of the audience, clapping for someone else.

Someone unseen.

He jangled his keys as he stood by the van, reading the ice cream menu.

Unless i`m clapping myself of course.

He unlocked the van and threw the pink bag through the brown curtain, into the back of the van where no light shone; No light but that of a tiny tv set, and the twin reflections it cast on the two bulbous eyes watching it.



"Nothing?"

"Yes, Jay my dear, nothing whatsoever. Oh, Mike bought an action man with a beard."

Mike climbed in to the heat of the passenger seat and waved his new toy around, it`s arms held out waiting for crucifixion. Which didn`t seem all too unlikely a prospect now that Bobbie thought about it. Once Mike wasn`t looking. He chuckled as he sat back, watching the seagulls dogfighting over the shops. But he couldn`t be too harsh on Mike could he? He was the same after a visit from Charly, back in the old days when he was the vehicle. The special blackouts were a necessary part of the act, unless you wanted the host to be totally traumatised by the movement of a large blue tarantula in his throat. And who would want that? But it wasn`t just that, there was Charly to think about too, he might have the mind of 1930`s socialite but he was as frail as any other spider his size. A panicking host could quite easily just crush poor Charly with his teeth if he wasn`t totally knocked out first.

And he had to admit he quite liked having Mike out for the count now and then.

"Look, my action man is shaking his fists at you Cheryl. Grrrr, Grrrr."

Cheryl, felt her rope brush dryly against her chest as she glanced over at Mikes doll.

"So he is, how clever Mike."

She grabbed her white handbag and held it against her hip, feeling the rigid blades of the scissors through the leather. She thought she heard them click together, but it was probably just her lipstick knocking on something. Or more likely spare change sliding about in her purse. Still, it got her thinking again. Why not here? Here with all her friends around her? Doing it alone was a mistake. You needed support for a thing like this. You needed an arm around your shoulders and the others cheering you on, goading you. Ready to mop up the mess and tell you how great you looked now there wasn`t a purple rope dangling out of your face. Yeah, that was it. Why hadn`t she thought about this before? It was so obvious.

She looked at Bobbies steely, hooded eyes as he watched cars creeping about the car park, looking for a space. How could she not have courage while he was right next to her, screaming at her to do it, do it woman, cut the thing, slice it off. While Mike punched the air like he was at a football match, his eyes wide open like a paparazzi telephoto lense, waiting to see the scissors slam shut, so he could take a picture of her bloody stump. And Jay, she would be right by her, kissing her other cheek, her normal cheek, just waiting to hold the severed rope in a tissue so that she could toss it away on the motorway home, like an old Ox tail.

Because that was what it was, a lump of weird meat that had out stayed it`s welcome; not that it ever was welcome, not since the day it began to grow, to form from a mere Bee sting, some twenty years ago. She was allergic to all kinds of things, including insect bites. But to grow a purple rope? What kind of Bee had a sting like that?

Mind you, a rope growing out of your face was one thing, but what Bobbie was capable of was something altogether weirder. Easily stranger than what she had to put up with. Although his burden was at least useful, from time to time. He could make a living out of it if he wanted, if he could put up with the embarrassment of doing it in public. Yeah, at least he could hide his 'gift' if he wanted to, she couldn`t. Not unless it was gone for good that is.

She opened her handbag, and sunk her hand into the assortment of rubbish that meant nothing to her, the tubes of mascara, the paint. Glittery gunk that would never cover up the fact that she had a rope growing out of her face. It was all worth keeping though, it would come into use, once the scissors had done their duty, and the rope was gone, being eaten by crows on some hard shoulder to London.

And here, in her hand, were the scissors that would bring all this about. How odd they looked, green as beer bottles, sharp as broken glass. They dazzled you with their slenderness, and their length. Like the beak of some exotic bird. But they were still metal weren`t they? Two steel blades fastened with a single pin?' Honed and adjusted for maximum slicing efficiency.' the woman at the charity shop had quoted from the box that came with them. Although how such a flimsy cardboard container could have safely held such a device was beyond her.

But this was her just putting off the inevitable yet again. No more, Misses Cheryl Baker, no more.

"Watch this guys, i`m on my way to normality again."

And she held up the emeraldine shears for them all to see, and chomped them down hard around the very base of her rope.

The car exploded with piercing and sickening screams; three of shock, and one of agony.

And finally, a cry of defeat.



"Aw, you could have warned us first Cheryl, poor Jays puking her guts up."

Bobbie was trying not to shout but Cheryl knew he wanted to, he always wanted to. She just wanted the pain to be gone from her face, from her rope. It was still well attached, although it was streaming with blood. The ache was terrible, like stubbing your toe over and over again.

"Help me Bobbie! Help me."

He was picking up the dripping scissors, careful not to get any of her blood on his fingers. He gave her several sharp glances as he folded the implement up in a roll of tissue paper, and shoved them into an old plastic bag with a colourful fish on the side.

"Next time tell us, ok?"

Jay still had her head out the car window, croaking now that her stomach had given up her sandwiches. Cheryl hoped she`d stop soon so that she could help her bandage up the damage she had done to her face.

"Where`s Mike gone to Bobbie? hadn`t you better go and find him?"

At last she was being sensible, and not just a burden to the group. She would show them, she was was no failure. even if she couldn`t go through pain to reach happiness.

Bobbie climbed out the car and tried not to step in the river of Jays vomit. He couldn`t see Mikes blonde head anywhere amongst the sea of cars. Unless he had vanished into the nearby warren of busy streets. Why would he have? He rarely went off on his own, not without telling someone. He knew what had happened to Jay in Morecombe when she had wandered off to buy gifts. Edmonds had spotted her. Luckily she had more sense than to go off with him, even if she did tell him too much.

Cheryl, with a new bandage wrapped around her bleeding rope, stepped out of the car.

"Any sign?"

" Nope, we better go and find him, are you up to it ?"

"I`ve taken a couple of painkillers, don`t worry about me, i`m part of this team aren`t I?

"You better be."

"What about Jay?"

Bobbie knelt down to where her long blonde hair streamed down across her face, almost dangling in the sick. She was still groaning, and occasionally grabbing her mouth. He knew what a weak stomach she had for stuff like this. She would never watch when Charly made an entrance.

"Are you ok on your own Jay? Me and Cheryl have to find Mike."

She nodded slightly, making a noise that might have been a yes.

"Lock all the doors and wait for us to come back then. We won`t be long, he`s probably just around the corner, or hiding behind a car."

Bobbie slammed his car door and Cheryl followed suit.

She had an odd look in her eye Bobbie thought, like shame mixed with anger.

Maybe it was determination.

"We`ll circle the car park first, then search the streets."



"Excuse me; have you seen my action man? He ran off and won`t come back. He`s wearing blue shorts and has a beard."

The fat man with the tattooed arms shook his head in disgust and carried on walking. Mike was getting nowhere with the suntanned people today, normally they were at least curteous. Didn`t they care he had a spider inside him? But of course, they didn`t even know. He wasn`t never to tell anyone his big dark secret or any of their secrets, or they would be in trouble. Maybe he could tell them now though, seeing as he had lost his action man. They would probably help him look for it if they knew he was special, and that he was going to stop them being turned into corpses. Why not just tell them it all then they could help to capture that Edmonds with them.

Mike ran towards the open blue sky, trapped between two white buildings. Beyond a low brick wall the sea unfolded, taking his breath, like when he fell out of that tree when he was young.

I still am young. I`m still alive and free, free enough not to go back to Bobbie and the others.

But then he wouldn`t be a hero would he.

The beach was shrinking and growing, as if it was breathing the white frilly edge of the sea in and out. In and out, in and out, in and out. It never stopped, not unless you weren`t looking and then it did stop. He had to look at something else, to get rid of the dizziness of the constantly moving waves. Little dots of colour swarmed on the bright sand like marbles, gently rolling about on a wobbly table. One or two of them were screaming with laughter. He wanted to scream with laughter too, so he did. He laughed until his throat ached again. The spider had made him ache in the first place. He couldn`t tell them about the spider. But he did have something to ask them.

"Have you seen my action man?"

Silly, they were too little to hear his big voice. He had to shrink down to their level first, by climbing down the cliff face. It looked steep, and sharp though. Too steep and sharp for him. Have to find a ladder then. It will have to be a ladder that was big at the top and small at the bottom, so he would be able to reach the rungs once he was tiny like the marbles. He couldn`t see any ladders on the curve of the cliff top, and none leant against the backs of the shops and the houses. He would have to buy one from the sweet shop.

And he ran as fast as he could, back to where he thought he had seen the sweet shop. All he found was lots of buildings that could have also been sweet shops and people who looked like they were wearing sweets, but they were just clothes, the colours of which made him want to sit down and think for awhile. Part of him was trying to remember something important. Something that was changing shape the more he thought about it. He was thinking so hard that people around him began to think too, screwing up their eyes and staring at him. They wanted to help him remember the important thing. That was nice of them.

"I`m going to buy a ladder from the sweet shop to find my action man, and i`ve got a spider in my belly called Charly."

It must be alright to tell people stuff like that really, because they were thinking even harder now, making faces, trying to help him find his memory. Maybe they were also thinking about where his action man had run off to. Maybe they had seen him running like he had seen him, his shiny thin legs all jerky and fast. He was running away from Cheryl and her green scissors. He didn`t like those scissors either, he couldn`t tell if they were glass or metal or plastic.

"Have you seen my action man, lady?"

"Sorry, no."

Sorry, no?

"Sorry, no. Sorry, no. Sorry, no no no."

That was like a song. He liked songs. Bobbie wrote songs and he helped to sing them, before the spider turned up. Maybe the spider didn`t like their songs so he made up some story to stop them singing them. Maybe his action man was a part of the spider, and was sent to stop them thinking about songs. All they thought about now was spiders and toilets. He didn`t like either.

Sorry, no. Sorry, no. Sorry, no no no. Sorry, no. Sorry, no. Sorry, no no no.

"I need to buy a ladder from the sweet shop, Mister. Where is the sweet shop?"

"Fuck off you spazzie."

The man looked like he had spent too much time thinking already, best to leave him alone.

Sorry, no. Sorry, no. Sorry, no no no. Sorry, no.Sorry, no. Sorry, no no no.

The pavement was going to the sea, like a ladder but with the rungs filled in so you could walk upright. There were people already shrinking and growing on it so it must be alright for him to use it to get to the beach where he could look for his action man. It would take longer to shrink if he didn`t run so it`s best to run as fast as you can to shrink quicker.

"Help me, i`m getting smaller. I`ve got an action man in my belly called Bobbie who shrinks ladders. Help me."

It was fun to shrink. The beach was under his feet now, just the right size for him to walk on. People jumped out of the way if you ran at them fast. Some of them scream with laughter. He screamed with laughter too. Screamed and ran, screamed and ran, screamed and ran.

Some of them shouted things at him. Maybe they had figured out where the spider had gone and were trying to tell him. Where was 'fuck off'? Where was 'go to hell'? He didn`t know them places. Try again silly people.

"Try again, try again, go to hell, try again."



Bobbies eyes flicked to any blonde hair he saw. None of them belonged to Mike. He hadn`t been hiding behind any of the cars in the car park, and he hadn`t been in any of the amusement arcades. They had searched all the busier streets and found nothing but the throng of traffic and the crowded pavements as the day lost it`s heat, and it`s friendliness. The lads had begun to transform with each empty can they tossed away, their voices loudening into song. Or what passed for song in their world. Gone are the days of spunky pop ballads. What did they fill the gap with? More football chanting. That was the sound of hell; thousands of angry voices screaming the same words in unison. All soul gone, lost amid the mob.

But how did this help him find Mike?

"It`s going to start getting dark in a couple of hours, Bobbie. We`ll never find him then. Maybe we should just go back to the car and get ready. He might be there right now."

"You could be right. We don`t need him anyway, Charly won`t be back tonight. We can fix Edmonds ourselves."

I can fix Edmonds myself.

"We`ll just keep looking for another..." He checked his watch."half hour and then we`ll go back. Can`t leave Jay on her own too long or she`ll eat all the sandwiches."

"There`s only crab paste left, she hates crab paste."

They both laughed.

"Hey, Bobbie, maybe he`s hiding in this pub. Shall we go and search all the beer barrels. You`ll need to fill up anyway. What better than booze?"

"What and face Edmonds smashed out of our heads?"

"Yeah."

"Sounds like a plan. Just a couple though, I don`t want to peak too early."

The Sauntering Cockerel Inn was half full with red faced giants wearing pressed shirts and gold bracelets. They had squeezed into dark wooden booths and positioned themselves around the stretching curve of the bar, as if waiting for a medium to contact their departed loved ones. There was a space for a thin one, a chink of darkness and sparkling glass.

"I`ll get the drinks Cheryl, you find a table. Are you having the usual?"

"Yeah, thanks Bobbie. Oh and can you get me some nuts?"

"Cheeky."

Bobbie watched her vanish behind a leathery outcrop of men, and then he slotted himself into the bar, tinkling with empties and fresh ones.

Instinctively he found himself looking for anyone with blonde hair, as the barmaid tipped her brassy handles, and the jukebox competed with the overlapping nonsense of the customers conversation. Who needed to get plastered when the room itself made you dizzy. He leant on the bar, holding a five pound note out like a stiff toy flag, trying to catch the eye of the barmaid. He liked to think he was good at this game; all part of the joy of being a celebrity. Yeah, he liked those days. Stepping outside was like coming home; everyone knew you, wanted to greet you, Shake you by the hand and introduce you to their mothers. Everyone knew you, and they worked damn hard to make sure you knew them as well. Fans? People with low self-esteem more likely.

Being a real hero was so different. You couldn`t swagger about drawing attention to yourself. It might mean exposure you couldn`t deal with. If everyone knew about what he was, they would want him even more than ever.

"Ah, a pint of Stella and a Bloody Mary please."

The fans wouldn`t be satisfied with autographs and pictures then, it would be his flesh they wanted. His flesh.

"Oh, and a bag of nuts please, ready salted."

And his very soul.

"Four pounds nine, love."

Edmonds would have all their souls if he failed tonight. And not one of them would thank him for it afterwards. Not that he cared, for them or anything else. In fact why bother to save them at all? Why not just let Edmonds do what he has to do...

That isn`t me saying that, it is not me.

Or was it? It`s only natural that he should feel a bit scared, going up against a man that wasn`t really a man. A man who had killed more times than he had hit songs in the charts.

"Are you going to stand at the bar all night mate? I need a drink if you don`t mind."

The man was a foot taller than he, and a foot wider too. Why wasn`t he going out tonight to kill a monster? It would be no task for him, the big ape.

"Sorry, lost in my thoughts."

"Yeah?"

He grabbed the drinks and snagged the nuts under his finger.

"There you go."

"Twat."

Fucking wife beating nonce, go and fuck your Dad.

Is this what you`ll be saving from Edmonds? A man who would probably kill you, and ten others just like you for the price of a sovereign ring?

Hell, he`d do it for fun if he thought he could get away with it. Is he the one you`re risking your life for? Your soon-to-be-recovered career? Do you think he will thank you for lengthening the Gehenna of his pitiful existence?

You fool, you stupid fool.

Cheryl was stood by an open door, beyond which was the last of the sun, sinking into the distant mass of the cliffs.

"There`s a pub garden, Bobbie, we can watch the sun go down."

"Ok, Cheryl. Lead on Mac Duff. Here`s your nuts."

The garden was a spacious slope with the odd bristling clump of privet clinging to its curvature. It reached as far as a dry stone wall on the cliff top, leaving just enough space for a rugged pathway to separate them from the drop. A table with a few sticky looking pint glasses sat on it gave them a perfect and almost uninterrupted view of the sea and the shrinking beach. People were on their way home, back to caravans, tents, bed and breakfasts. Even what looked like a rescue boat was skipping out to sea, back to its station house up the coast.

Time was ending, or so it felt. Life was on the brink of some endless blackout, and only they knew it. Them and the man who would be the cause of it. God help them if they failed, because he had only hindered them so far.

"Cheryl?"

"Yeah?"

"What`s a Gehenna?"

"It`s hair dye."



Bobbie screamed at the empty car.

"Now where has Jay bloody got to? I can`t take much more of this Cheryl, What`s the point?"

"She can`t have gone off on her own and left the doors open. She will be at the toilets maybe..."

"Don`t say it Cheryl. Don`t even think it. We can`t go looking for her now, we`ll have to do this alone."

We don`t stand a fucking chance.

"I`ll get the stuff from the boot, it`s dark enough now."

Bobbie fished his keys out of his tight jeans and opened the boot. Four large silver suitcases sat in the dim pool of light issuing from the built-in lamp. Each had a sticker with their insignia on; a spider for mike, a rope for cheryl, a simple letter J for Jay, and last of all his own case, bearing a pair of yellow wings. He pulled it out by the handle and unlocked it. Inside was a garment folded into a perfect square: his costume, mostly orange in colour, complete with a yellow zoro style bandana with slits in it. Next to the outfit, held in place by a black velcro strap, was a blue charity box. The words 'save the world' were painted onto the side of it; perfect and apt disguise for a costumed hero.

This is the night of the final heroes, storming into the darkness of a nightmare city.

Bobbie stared into the blackening depths of the car park, still full of cars, and began to take off his street clothes.

Cheryl took her own case and went around the side of the car, her stomach churning with fear.

"I`ll change in the car Bobbie, won`t be long."

Bobbie, barely heard her as he stripped off his jeans. He was eager to get going. It had been five weeks since he last used the costume. Five weeks since he had opened his bladder too, longer than he had ever waited. If anything was going to win over Edmonds it would be his straining bladder. And modern science dictated that a liquid couldn`t be compressed did it? How wrong they were.

Jet man to the rescue, jet man saves the day...for what it`s fucking worth.

But what could be of greater worth, than his very life, and the lives of his comrades. If not that, then what?

He yanked the orange aerobics suit on over his legs and covered his nakedness. It fitted snugly to every part of his body, keeping his entire body warm. They were especially made for him by a small firm in Bolton. No questions asked. They would just assume he was a pervert anyway. Let them think it, he knew what he was.

The worlds only true super hero!

His suit was fitted with a tough plastic nozzle that helped to direct his power in a thin stream of force that could fire holes through steel if he really pushed. What he could do to human flesh didn`t bear thinking about.



A small groan leaked from the brown curtain.

"Don`t struggle my dear, he`ll just want to bite you."

Edmonds turned the van off the main road and stopped to let a group of drinkers parade past, no doubt on their way to another pub to celebrate the end of their lives. He kept a good look out for anything out of the ordinary, seeing as the situation had come to this: a head on battle between the forces of stupidity and super-amazing ness, namely him.

"You better tell me how many there are of you my dear, or my friend will want to know why."

Another groan escaped from behind the brown curtain.

"What`s that? Oh, never mind, they won`t stop me from completing my run. No one could do that now the power of the sea rips through me."

Rips and tears and murders through me all the time.

"I can hear the sea in my ears, you see, like it`s sending me its special language to learn. Swish, swish, like that. Can you hear it too? I made you hear it when you wouldn’t open the car door. It made you want to touch me, just like my friend is touching you right now. Oh, don`t struggle my dear, don`t struggle too hard. If your good he`ll give you some of his sweets too. "

Edmonds put his foot down, sending the night time world into a deep blur. He had no idea where he was, or even if he was still alive.

"Wouldn`t you like some of his rock? Go on, Blobby, give her some of your rock. She`s been a good girl. Is your mummy still alive?"

He slowed the van when he noticed a couple, kissing by a phone booth. They had hands going to each others backsides, trying not to giggle as they smeared each others faces.

"Rapists fucking in the streets like animals? Ransacking each others bodies like squalid bastard-asses?"

He stared at their twisting figures, their simple attire, wondering what special jumpers they got for Christmas when they were young. Jumpers they wore for a few weeks and then discarded, like sick puppies, into some filthy canal. Did they know what they were? Did they think, even for a second, of why they couldn’t wear those brilliant rainbow jumpers to school, as he had done?

Time to hear the seas eternal promise of solitude too my friends. Listen and you`ll hear it swishing, swishing around your ankles. Swishing around your tiny minds.

And they did hear it, they did.

As he drove away, laughing like a girl, he watched them ripping each others clothes off and throwing them away, ripping and ripping and ripping until their innards shot out and their bones shone through.

"Is your mother still alive? Buy her a pressie, won`t you."



"Give money to save the world, give us all you can spare sir, thanks a lot, god bless you. Save the world. Save the world Madam? Thanks anyway. Save the planet, give all you can."

Bobbie and Cheryl had jogged past the toilet block four times and had made a few quid at least from the stretch of main road that formed a third of the circuit.

Everytime they passed the pub on the corner they got a beery cheer from the displaced customers. Would they question their constant reappearance? Could they know that they were cheering on real heroes, fighting to save their lives?

"Let`s just... get...our...breath back...Bobbie...I`m fucked."

"Ok, let`s check the toilet door again, I think it`s still locked."

He trotted over to the dark mass of the toilet block, on the edge of what looked like a half constructed park, and shoved the door. It held firm, as firm as if it had been painted on to the bricks itself.

"We could be here all bloody night Cheryl. I just hope he`s not at the other toilet right now, with some poor drunk sod who was just dying for a wee."

Just like I`m dying for one myself.

"What are we going to do Bobbie? maybe we should break in ourselves, save him the trouble. We could hide in wait, in a cubicle."

Bobbie flapped his arms around his chest and belly.

Why didn`t I think of such a stupid, stupid suggestion?

"He might get suspicious Cheryl, go somewhere else. No, he`ll be along soon enough. It`s just a matter of keeping warm while we wait."

Cheryl looked down at her light blue fairy costume, at the frilly dress that was speckled with glitter. What did this have to do with having a rope dangling out of your face? Why did she have to wear the bloody thing at all? She didn`t have any fairy powers for gods sake. She didn`t have ANY powers at all.

But she knew what he`d say if she questioned his motives.

Shut up and put on your fairy boots.

"I suppose if we fail to stop him we can just start again next summer, can`t we Bobbie?"

He grabbed her plump arms, staring her in the face.

"I have something really, really quite horrible to tell you Cheryl. If you can bear to hear it. Can you? Can you take it?"

She stared into his eyes, as hard as she could. What could be so bad that...

"Cheryl, we are all going to die tonight. All of us, gone, gone forever."

Cheryl felt her rope begin to sting at the base. She wanted to stroke it better.

"You see Cheryl, Death has been saving up his coupons, and he`s cashing them in tonight. Unless we stop Edmonds` pattern from reaching it`s end, then it`s the end for everyone, including us."

What do you think to that Cheryl? with your rope and your scissors.

"But how can he kill us all Bob? he wouldn`t be able to. What do you mean for gods sake?"

"Charly told me everything, at last. We aren`t up against just Edmonds and his lackey, we are up against the..."

"What?"

"...I don`t know how to describe it. I don`t even know what it is. It`s been casting a spell, using Edmonds...as a kind of wand. The killings are just a part of the recipe...the locations too."

He let her arms go and stared into the darkness. The sound of cars revving and the calls of drunken men floated through the night like slow trash on a muddy river.

"No god gave us our gifts Cheryl, it was Edmonds himself. Edmonds and his killing pattern. It`s...affected us, poisoned everything with it`s magic. We are just mutants from it`s mutating power. Not heroes at all, that`s why we can`t stop him.We can`t stop him, because we are him."

"Well said Bobbie Gee, is your mother still alive? And where DID you get that outfit?"

Edmonds stepped out of the ocean of darkness in the park, entering the spot light of a lamp post.

"I`ve got a Roger Jones in Hammersmith who wants to swap his skateboard for a Big track, any takers?"

Bobbie laughed out loud, taking several steps towards the park railings, which were either in the process of being taken down, or being put up.

"You? You?"

"No? well who in their right minds, Roger Jones from Hammersmith, would swap his Big track for a shitty, fucking skateboard? COME any closer Gee and I`ll have a big surprise for you both. And it won`t involve me reading out your names over the air for your mums to hear either, assuming they are still alive."

He raised his child like hands, as hairy as they were, and began to waggle all his fingers.

"Listen to the whispering, the endless glassy whispering of the seas black tongues, the seas dark messages filling up your lungs."

Bobbie Felt his arms go first, losing all sensation in them from the fingers up to the elbows; like someone had just switched them off.

You fucking bastard.

"Hark, and take a moment to just taste the lapping laughter of the dead and ever after, the murdered sons of all your dreams, the bodies rotting, flow down stream, I am the oceanic scream. I`m screaming at you Bobbie Gee."

He was feeling his chest go now, and with it his trepidation, and his sense of failure. This is what it felt like to die, to not matter anymore, to lose control.

"There are no routes left undesirable, for the waters take them all, I say the waters take them all, I say the waters take the lot, and you too now are going to rot...."

And as Bobbie lost his neck to Edmonds will, and felt his legs begin to go too, he thought to himself...

Sometimes it`s good to lose control.

And Edmonds vanished back into the darkness, propelled by several gallons of Bobbies piss.

He could hear Edmonds screaming in his head, as he himself flew back against something soft. Something that did a good impersonation of Cheryl crying out in pain. He himself felt nothing, not for a good thirty seconds in which his piss skewered a tree on the edge of the park.

You like salty water do you Edmonds? How do you like the sting of my own personal brine?

"Cheryl?"

He gained a grip on his bladder and managed to re-employ his limbs into getting him upright. Cheryl was either dead or knocked out cold, he hoped desperatly it was the latter. But he didn`t have time to find out. Edmonds was screaming in the park. Screaming his name.

And someone elses.

He leapt into the air and let his bladder go again. The force of the issuing urine cast him into the cold midnight air like an orange speer. With several years of experience he had learned to keep himself airborne for anything up to ten minutes. But it took great concentration, knowing when to point the nozzle forward, to direct the force beneath his weight. It was working well, despite the lingering numbness still hugging the edges of his thoughts.

I`m coming for you Edmonds, and your big fat freaky friend too.

He was clearing the tops of the dimly sensed trees, the power of his mighty bladder giving him a good fifty or more feet of distance off the ground. What would anyone think if they saw this spectacle? What would Edmonds think when he saw this tangerine piss-missile soaring in for the kill?

"Where are you, you son of a dirty god. I`m going to piss on you till I see your skull. Where...AH HA!"

There were few lamp posts in the park, few and far between. And trust Edmonds to drive around in an ice cream van, AND park it under one of the few lamp posts. How`s that for self-belief? he might be the psychotic tool of an envious demi-god, but he certainly could teach them a few things about confidence.

And there he was, dragging his skinny carcass into the van itself, still screaming his name.

"Get out of my fuckin` head you bearded has been!"

Bobbie allowed his yellow jets to slacken slightly, lowering his form with each sizzling burst. Soon he was level with the top of the van, about to collide with its rear.

Fuck I’m dead!

And the van roared, as it sped away, closely followed by Bobbie.

Edmonds was bleeding to death, Bobbie could hear him saying so. His god had forsaken him, and his time was over, and he would never wear another sparkling Christmas present jumper ever again, because of Captain Bloody Piss stream. He would never trim his beard to perfection or swap another toy for another toy, or kill another man in a midnight toilet...

It`s over, the pattern is over, ruined by one dropped stitch in the weave. One frigging missed knot...

The van began to fly, or so it seemed to Bobbie. It began to leave the ground behind in one startling moment of disbelief.

"Anything can happen, ANYTHING!"

But his exultation quickly turned to fear as he realised that although the van was indeed off the ground, it was only so because it had fallen off the top of the cliff.

And he was pissing himself away right behind it.

But, I`m the flying piss man. The soaring captain urine, aren`t I?

The vans back doors burst open in a flurry of action, spitting three figures, no, four figures into the midnight air, clearly lit up by the vans internal lights. Bobbie recognised some of them in the few remaining seconds of their shared descent.

Edmonds, screaming, arms flailing, a massive hole in his chest.

Jay, and Mike, their bodies no longer bodies, but jerking, screaming skeletons with their faces nailed back on to their bleeding skulls.

And last of all, the oddest of the lot, a thing totally unknown to him, and a thing that could only be descibed, as an overweight puppet, spongey and bright, smiling with a mouth so wide it could have swallowed him whole, which it seemed to do as he smashed right into it.

"Blobby, Blobby, Blooby."



Cheryl was in pain, her arms were in pain, her head was in pain, and her arse was in pain. And of course, it goes without saying, that her rope was bothering her too.

"Bobbie?"

She felt her head spin in two directions at once, as she tried to turn herself over on to her side. She had to get to the car and find the scissors before it was too late. The thing had to come off, and it had to come off now. But how could she even stand up.

"Can I help you Miss Fairykins?"

The voice was too funny sounding to be a shock to her, far too boy like and unthreatening. In fact she hadn`t ever heard a less threatening voice before.

A boy was grabbing her around the waist, dragging her to her feet. It would do no good unless he carried her to the car, she could barely stand.

"What`s a fairy doing out here in the middle of the night? Have you been drinking, that`s naughty, naughty that is. Naughty, naughty, naughty."

And he laughed, like he was trying to swallow a golf ball at the same time.

"Help me, boy, help me to the car."

"Oh, I`ll help you alright, I`ll help you into this toilet."

And he rammed his fist against the toilet door, smashing it in, opening a rectangle of darkness through which he was now dragging Cheryl.

"My names Keith Chegwin, by the way. I`ve been sent to...what was it? oh yes, 'start the pattern anew.' Do you know what that means? It`s funny isn`t it. Oh, and I`m not a boy at all, no no no. Do you see?"

And he lowered his drooling jaw, groaning with what sounded like sexual passion, and began to eat Cheryls rope.







------
Get used to it? No, you never get used to it.


Related Items

Comments

The following comments are for "The camera never lies anymore"
by albie

a
It was definitely an odd story. Very quirky. I liked Bobbie's power the most. Felt the initial superhero dialogue sequence was unrealistic. End wasn't satisfying, at least to me. The pattern? What pattern? What is the greater evil? I don't like having to conjecture; hurts the brain you know. Anyway, it was good.

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: June 5, 2003 )

?
This story was done as a kind of bet amongst pals on a the Ramsey Campbell messageboard. I suggested this as an improbable story to write.The main charcters are the members of BUCKS FIZZ an eighties feel good pop band.Edmonds is from the same period and was a happy tv presenter with big hair. His friend in the van was Mr Blobby; a costumed character who worked with Edmonds on tv. I agree with you about the hero speech though, that stuff always sounds so fake.
Pattern of evil? Didn't I make that plain? Edmonds goes around killing people in public toilets around the British coast.

( Posted by: albie [Member] On: June 11, 2003 )

OK
I just realized that I very infrequently check to see what devastation I've reaped upon writers with my 3 A.M. comments. Now I have. So yeah. Anyway, if you can, work on the first hero dialogue fluidity. The killing people in toilets thing, don't know why I didn't see it sooner. So it all works out in the end.

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: June 22, 2003 )





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