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Who Stole Know

Who Stole Know

By Lucus Anthony Ren


Lucus Anthony Ren

Who stole Know

© 2017, Lucus Anthony Ren


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher. Limit of Liability and Disclaimer of Warranty: The author / publisher has used its best efforts in preparing this book, and the information provided herein is provided "as is," and makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose and shall in no event be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damage, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

Who Stole Know

Chapter 1

I Dont Know

Chapter 2

See What You Think

Chapter 3

On One Finger

Chapter 4

Couldnt Be Seen

Chapter 5

Had Gone

Chapter 6

Your Leg

Chapter 7

Did it Even Happen?

Chapter 8

Simply Left

Chapter 9

Just as this

Chapter 10

Dont Hold Back

Chapter 11

For Just a Day

Chapter 12

I Cant Operate

Chapter 13

Stopped Rocking

Chapter 14

Out the Door

Chapter 15


Chapter 16

With Reality

'If you were supposed to know it, you probably would.'

- Just about everyone -

For my beloved wife, who taught me what was real

Chapter 1

I Dont Know

Waking that morning not sure, now in the sun without a shadow, a darkness named Ping, was a very frightful thing indeed.

Certainly strange. Your mother acted strange when she came into your room that morning mumbling, Get upschobutdont. why.When she turned to leave you saw she was wearing her shirt backwards.

Your father reading the newspaper in front of you at the table, was not strange, but the voice lowly muttering something you couldnt understand because your father never talked while reading. As you walked past him father with your orange juice you stopped and looked at the paper. Surprise at first, then you burst out with a great laugh. The paper, was upside down.

And that was your morning before going to school. Now, waiting for the school bus, the heat from the sun began to bother you. And where was Ping? And why had you no school books? And where was the lunch box your mother always had ready on the table filled with all the yummies for that day? You didnt know. But you werent alone. Other children gathered at the bus stop just as always each morning. Today there was something wrong with them. Something very wrong indeed.

All either stood quietly or stumbled, wondering aimlessly about. Billy who lived two houses up from you, rocked himself slowly from to side looking directly into the sun. His head twisted round so strangely you would think itd crack off and fall onto the dirt. Susan had on one foot her pretty pink dress shoe, while the other a hiking boot from her father which rose almost to her knee. Mark was a complete mess. Which he never was for Eric always wore the finest, newest, most expensive cloths, in fact you wondered why Eric was even here at all because Erics father always drove him to school. They had an enormous car but never took any of the other children with them. Eric said his father didnt have time to take anyone but himself to school. It wasnt that at all, but everyone knew the real reason.

Looking at them all you thought, what are they all doing here? Some where from other bus stops. They must have walked all the way to this stop. But why? Then you noticed a most horrid smell. A mixture of vomit and from your breakfast was fast approaching, at least this is what you thought, but then a firm hand grip your shoulder causing you to leap. Turing you looked into an unbuttoned shirt, holding its fat hairy stomach. Slowly your eyes followed the shirt upward and there Bruce Randens father stood. Now, Bruces father as everyone knew, was the principle of the high school, and a most respected person in the community. Looking at him now, one would think hed just woken from sleeping is a trash heap smelling horrible. Why arent you in school?he whispered with one eye closed and the other eye hidden behind a broken pair of dark sun glasses.

There your brain simply stopped. It had to. It tired understanding all of what it saw, and had seen from the time it woke up till now, looking, hearing, touching, and smelling this world. It tried to think what your father was doing with the newspaper. Where the lunch box was. What the hidden eye of Bruces father was looking at, and where Ping was, for that was the most upsetting factor in all this crazy uncertainty, which could not be the same place it went to bed last night in. Your brain was thinking, but couldnt think. It knew, but couldnt know. Because knowing, it seemed, was gone from everything.

Oh yes. That was the secret part. In all of this. You see. Your brain did know the answers to all the questions you were thinking, but like all the other children and grownups in this world your brain had forgotten something. And like all the other brains it was trying to remember what it was it had forgotten. In fact it was trying so hard to remember, it was not aware something all around was slowly changing. In fact, it was changing for some time, but no one really noticed it. Some thought they had noticed, but not really. In fact some did, but didnt.

And thats when you woke up with upside-down newspapers, and backward shirts. A world of children like yourself, mixed with scary, stinking grownups, all wandering without any idea, all brains thinking, and a few actually saying allowed.I dont know.

Chapter 2

See What You Think

Now, how could any of this really happen? Or better, Are you kidding me? You might say to yourself, or your friends, or even your family. You might also be thinking, just a thought. Which, in fact you were just having. But are you sure? Of anything. And if you are, what would it mean? Would you be right? Or wrong? A yes, or a no? What sound would it make? This thought you just had, or hadnt? Could it be seen? Or not? Was it felt? Of what was going to happen next, could you know before it did happen? Would you want to know? Should it matter if you did?

But you are afraid. You remember what was under your bed? You remember if you looked there what would happen? In fact you wanted to look but were too afraid. There was something. Calling your name. Sometimes late at night you would hear it. Whispering. Softly. Over and over. And oh, you were soo afraid. Pulling the covers around your head thinking, If it doesnt see me, then Im ok. But it does see you. Yes. It sees everything. It knew even more. Right now, you are wondering what happened last night. But you cannot remember. Anything.

So, you find yourself standing in the middle of a room filled with a large number of people. All the people are interested in one thing. And they are all doing the same thing with, that one thing. All of them are not talking. At all. All of them are standing. All of them are dressed in different colors. All of them are different in the way they look. All of them take no notice of you. And, all of them want the same thing.

Well, what is the first thing you will do? Before you answer, have a look, at the day before yesterday. The day when everything, when everything, was normal. You might remember normal after having a peak. Wont you? Dont be shy. Just a quick look. What could it harm? Yes, thats right. Rest a little. Youll feel much better. Not to worry any. Everything will come back. You will see. But, mind you there is one, very small 'something' you should understand before you have a look. You might think it is silly, you might say, I dont need…’ but, wait till you hear 'what' this 'little something' is first before having your look, because once you do look, you may not like what you see. And you may not understand what it is you are seeing. That is 'the something.' Well, those actually are two 'things'; some and thing. Being small, you would probably not have notice much. Had you known of course. But how could you? Its gone. Taken. So, have a look. See what you think.

Chapter 3

If You Dont Kiss Me

The speaker blared fully. Your head turned trying to catch what came after the sound ended. The sound started some time ago. And you werent sure exactly when it did start. In your thinking you cannot remember ever, being, without the sound. It was always there. Till a moment ago. Till its end.

You remember your mother explaining how all things come to this. All things. That nothing, ever escaped. Even time. Though, then, you had no idea what she was talking about, you knew it was serious. You thought your brain would stop working with all the thinking it was doing around this subject. So you decided it best to simply nod, agree with all being said. 'Cherish the chance' your mother would say, as she saw the light go out of your eyes meaning you werent paying attention, or had not a clue of what just happened or being spoken. You do remember the sting from her hand after those words, and the heat on your face from that sting your head whipping back. Growing up in a small desert town you knew what to watch out for when walking around, though not often did you come across a rattlesnake or worst, those sidewinders, you did recognize the similarity of your mothers hand with those snakes reaching out their poison bite trying to get at you. Rememberto cherish.

Older, you crossed the worlds oceans, learned languages other than yours from birth, now settled in that place you will never own, while on long walks in the very early morning, because sleep is something you find more and more useless, there, a quietness reaching out, wrapping around the noise, the noise which never really stops, that keeps you awake even in sleep. And there, the wonder begins. As the child never left, it grows stronger. A guide of sorts, yet itself always becoming lost, always questioning, 'How does all this work?'

You would wish at times your mother had beaten you harder, and more often. That you had studied more. Achieved more. If youd become that fireman you were destine for, how none, and all this, would never have begun. That you would not be standing here now wondering where the sound had gone. But the pain in your shoulder started again. It gripped you as before, and tighten while pushing down with a growing force. You felt the tears in your eyes from this pain rolling down your face. You yelled but could not hear the wailing. Your mouth opened and closed like a dying fish gasping for air, which of course a fish does not need but that was the picture you had in your mind of what you must have looked like. How funny it all seemed you thought, how the sound stopped and the pain started. How none of this day was like any other day you had ever known. That is before this day you had not really known anything at all. In all those days before this day, had not really meant anything. And you started to see this. You started to see how much you had not done, in all those days of your life. And you knew then it was not the pain in the arm causing your tears, but of thinking now what you had just thought about.

You tried to free yourself from the hand which held your shoulder by turning and thinking to run, but the more you moved the stronger the pain became. You felt the power of the hand pushing you down, the whole side of your body twisting under the weight of this power. Your knees bending, you were falling backwards and down, down toward the hot black road that always stank of gasoline on hot summer days, down onto its surface you knew would burn once touched no matter how brief, down nearing that melted pool of darkness taking you where all had gone who lost their way, holding dear in their eyes the profiting miserable means of simple madness, down where even shadows die. But not one. For it reached out from the road and stood quick as it did, with something very sharp and nasty in hand. With a dragging sound it came, hissing slowly, 'Boy' it said. 'Why arent you in school?' It did not sound like that before, you thought. It did not hiss that way. Falling back your knees finally giving way, you saw a quick shadow raising with that horrid sharp tool held high, then swiftly thrusted it into the throat of Principal Randen over and over, again and again. What terrified you most, was not this sight, but that of the shadow's widening, crooked, smile.

The grasp let you free, you struck the road with your right elbow, then the back of your head. You felt cold and heat together like hot fudge on vanilla ice cream, your favorite. How delicious. Eating hot melted, sweet chocolate fudge on cold ice cream in a plastic dish standing outside Foster Freeze the only place in town where you could get such delights for you, was better than staying the weekend at your oldest brothers apartment looking through Playboy magazines, which you didnt understand very well anyway, but did it because your other brother, the brother you had to live with in the basement, who kicked the shit out of you any opportunity, which in later years, would grow into a group of his friends chasing you throughout your high school years, kicking the shit out of you there.

The cold and heat brought on through sweat from panic and the scorching of the road on your bare legs as no one wore long pants that time of year, was a welcome relief. Your arms fell after the rest of you, they too felt what mother nature intended of providing, that glimpse we often see throughout our lives but often miss, of final Hells resting place workshop for those deemed fit to attend. Knowing this at point in life much later, your thoughts now wondered into territories undiscovered. That being, what was that climbing out of the road, and what was it doing with Principal Randen causing him to screech such in a way as a cat skinned alive? True, it was doing awful things to the principal, causing him to thankfully release holding your shoulder. Also true, it moved terrifyingly quick from holding the principals' throat and dance around, to beating at the air with both hands like a drunk bat. And true, it being the most horrific event ever experienced.

Then why was all this going unnoticed? You watched as Principal Randen stubbled, lurching into the middle of the street, a puppet whose master had forgotten which string pulled what, when taking your attention from all this came Maria straight up to you, then bent down inches from your face with her long beautiful black hair, for Maria was of Mexican decent and brown skin that seemed to glow when the sun struck it just right, but not on a today such as this. No not at all. Today she looked twisted and broken. Her hair a mess with pieces of what looked like dried spaghetti, fish, wet mud and mashed potatoes all mixed together. Her lips covered with huge swipes of purple and deep orange lipstick turning her mouth into a grotesque smile of a madden doll. She open her mouth to speak and out fell half eaten apple onto your face and down the front of your shirt, its juice dripping with long, thick strings shining in the sun. Then she yelled spraying you with chunks of whatever else she had stuffed in with the apple, of browns and greens, and something blue that looked like a crayon sticking onto your forehead.

If you dont kiss me NOW Ill scream!!Vomit splattered on your chest, its stink causing you to choke keeping your breakfast from flying out your own mouth. But the final act was not complete. Maria lifted her dress, leaned forward touching your forehead with hers, gave a heavy grown and released a huge bellowing fart of rancid, gaseous air. This immediately allowed in the release of your breakfast with a jet stream directly into Maria's face, with such force it bounced back onto your own. For a moment nothing happened. Nothing move. All you could see inches away, Marias once beautiful brown face covered in technicolor puke. Her eyes were closed. A smile slowly formed on her insane face, reaching out, she patted your head, and whispered, Good monkey. She straightened, stepped to the side, looking down the road she took another step and stopped. Principal Randen passed along side Maria shaking with spasms, his dark glasses gone reveling a rolled back eye showing only its white. Your wondering why Maria had stopped lasted only a moment, as blackness rose from the baking street and the sun went dark.

Youd had enough not interested any longer with suns disappearance or vomiting girls, tears starting their downward march mixing with spew; your sobbing made breathing sound like an old women. 'Yea. Crazy day.' A voice said not far from your left ear. You froze. This voice had not a sign of things which happened today. Made not a loud scream nor threat of any kind. You knew this voice bringing comforting peace. Looking up there stood Ping balancing this sickening tool on one finger.

Chapter 4

The Darkness

Why couldnt you just sleep? Watching your dog drop off in a few seconds you sat there envious of its ability of simply beginning within a moment, to loudly snore with its head always twisted on to one side. So how is it this animal at times while laying on its back, twitching with dreams of chasing rabbits and cats, produce a noise loud enough to wake a person in the other room, was able one-second in raising from such a unworried condition, to complete awareness should instincts be triggered, while we as humans top of the kingdom, lord of all things, capable of using thumbs, on average, take a full 20 seconds upon waking to understand, where and who we are. We need time to think. You live with yourself at the center all your life, yet still have trouble gathering thoughts, condensing the world into reason. For we need reason as a guide. If we dont have reason, things seem to slide around causing unwanted discomfort. Trauma. Even death.

You woke, as far as you have known yourself, aware of surroundings and self, in a second, or perhaps two. The problem with this, is your inability of resuming sleep. And should you nap in the day, of only a couple of minutes, you awoke energized; others, they require a longer time refilling themselves. You fell asleep quickly within a few seconds, toward a deeply unknown place, and awoke refreshed, ready for tasks, a full head for new adventures. With Pings shadow upon you, you felt the minute of sleep pass instantly. Time wound down, everything froze. Principal Randen had tripped over a lunch box, broken open, its content spoiling on the now furnace-like road, and was inches away from slamming face first into the side door of a speeding car, which it too, was caught in time. Faces of driver and passenger showed both covered in red and purple paint which they must have poured throughout the inside of the car, each holding a thick brush in their mouths with a great smile smeared across each face.

Your eyes moved to the front of the car passing only a few feet from you where Billy Bob the class clown for the entire seventh grade was caught working a math problem God only knows how he had come by with a blackboard now directly in the path of the that car. You thought, how damn crazy it all is. Math being your favorite subject and you being top in the class, glanced over his calculations finding them to be correct, with the twist of it all being Billy Bob could barely read let alone construct any simple outcome of any simple mathematics problem proposed to him. Yet the fact stood aloud on the board, clear as the cloudless sky above for which your eyes gazed up at while you leaned back laying your head and shoulders on that hell temperature road, saying aloud, Dont sit when you can lie.But the heat and glare from the sun was blocked when Ping leaned over separating you from those two, with a slight laughter in that voice, as Ping always did when he knew something you didnt and said, Wait till tonight. Thats when it really happens.

Laying there thinking, when it really happens was not a promising thought. It wasnt anything really. How could it be? Does it make any sense? Whats real, that is going to happen, that isnt already real?

Thats stupid talk Ping.You replied. I told you about that kind of talk.

'True.' Said Ping. 'But birth will tell.'

'Birth will tell? What the hell Ping. Look around. Birth will tell. God. What are you saying here?' You spoke in a slightly angry voice as you could not really get angry at Ping. It was just his way of having fun. And Ping was always looking for fun especially, the mischievous kind. Yes. Naughty Ping the shadowy boy who lost his way till found on winters day. This was a song sang when Ping was especially wicked. Oh it wasnt evil things Ping enjoyed, it was more in the field of ill-mannered joking. Ping would move around things especially at night. Children never slept over since Ping played the famous Hat Trick, which has gone down as the infamous Brainless Wonder Night.

It was the usual heat, smack in the middle of August. Hotter than most some say when recollecting the events of that night where six children from your sixth grade class were having a sleep-over at your house. With sleeping bags in hand they set up their beds for the night in the Quiet Garden behind the large house made from adobe clay your parents had moved into when he just turned eight months old. It was indeed a very quiet place with a large, old weeping willow tree shading the entire garden, cooling that side of the house during those long, dreadful summer months. Ping of course was having a grand time switching the beds, putting things into the beds, and removing things from the beds. For Ping, everything that night was about the beds those children had brought. As soon as he heard there was an event taking place involving children staying the night, his attention focused solely upon how to keep those poor visitors as long as possible in the garden throughout the night, while at the same time scaring them to near death. You knew this and was all in favor of anything Ping could produce. You also knew for Ping the Quiet Garden was his domain. And no one not even you were allowed to stay the night there unless invited. And Ping never invited anyone. Animals were allowed to come and go freely, but men, women and especially children, had to pay the price. Thus, admittance came in the form of the Hat Trick. But that night the trick had gone terribly wrong.

The children all brought their own form of night lights. From flashlights to the modern gas filled Colemen lanterns whose intensity you could adjust from a soft glow to a bright sun, who produced a hissing sound when lit along with their own peculiar odor from the gas. Marvels of that day for the outdoor campers. They brought their own snakes as well, consenting of anything from potato chips to ice-cream, liquorish sticks, bubblegum and Snickers bars to Cracker Jacks. A wide array of sugared goodies any dentist would love seeing a great deal more children eat, and drink for Cola, Fanta, 7up, and Dr Pepper where on course for that evening too. Before the electrical power went out.

At five minutes past nine all the lights in town twinkled like so many stars for a second, then with a thud nothing but darkness slapped down upon the small town. It as was if youd been hit in the chest. You could actual feel a change in the air that very moment. The old adobe sat aways from the center of town about four miles and higher up into the mountains for the town sat in a small valley. You had a great view of it every evening, often siting on the low wall surrounding the property your parents invested in. The cats and dogs often sat along with you as things cooled from the days heat, sat there for hours, listening at creatures venturing out at night. Cats would hunt what ever moved. The coyotes would hunt the cats. The dogs would hunt them all. When the coyotes were on the chase, no one moved far from the house. The howling and yelping aroused a primal fear, intensifying throughout the chase till the final load, hard, pricing scream from the animal caught fell into the night. When very young after hearing such an event, nightmares crept into you dreams, of you being the hunted. Or worse. That which what lay under your bed finally rose from beneath, grabbed your hand, then began its slowly wayward descent, a grotesque smile formed, your silent screaming unnoticed, all those in the house are still sleeping, wrapped tightly in their own terror.

All were enjoying their youths and the moments holding them, when first a distant flash crossed the sky in a northwesterly direction. Then the thud. Then blackness. Afterward people spoke the thud sounded just as if you were hit in the chest. They all agreed, it felt like it too. As if someone had just knock you hard right in the middle of their chest with a closed fist. Some of the elderly had to be hospitalized suffering from shock. On the other hand, the youth sampled some of life's secrets. And one very important: you never really know what will happen next.

Everyone siting on the wall including yourself were thrown back, tumbling over each as you sprawled on the ground. Comments and suggestions ran wild as to what the hell that was, one had the wind knocked out, but lucky no injuries and most important, no vomit. Ping mentioned later it was good, seeing it probably would have cause a reaction in everyone producing a spew party seeing all the candy everyone devoured. But think of the colors!he added laughed shaking his head.

Rising from the ground, leaning against the wall all the children froze for they had never seen such a site. History recalls this being a first, as all the lights in town were out. Only those of a few passing cars could be see. At no time in the past ever occur. Sid Nerton lived here the longest, seventy-three years this fall. He said later 'Once part of the town lost power, cus Jimmy Tindel got drunk and hit the power pole. Snapped right in half. Broke Jimmy too.' Sid is ninety-six still active taking care of himself, his three dogs and numerous chickens. If anyone wished they could check the hospital records, indeed Jimmys neck was broke in three places along with most of his body. Out celebrating at The Round-Up Room his raise at work with several friends, Jimmy was buying drinks for all. The bartender closed and told Jimmy to call a taxi, but Jimmy was full of fire and wanted to drive in the cool spring early morning air. He was thrown through the windshield at sixty miles an hour when the car hit the main power station pole for the Northwestern side of town. He landed some fifty-five feet away. Dead at the scene they brought him to the hospital due to the early hour, having nearly eighty percent of bones broken, everyone agreed hes better off this way. Recovery would have taken years, unable to walk as the spine being fractured in four places, doctors said that and the costs would have taken all his money. Asked if he felt anything when he hit the ground, doctors said no way telling. Another thing the doctors could not explain, even though Jimmys face was pretty broken-up why did it have a smile on it?

The desert town of just over 10,000 residents formed as homesteaders arrived in early 1860. Not much happened since. The center of downtown, known as The Corners by residents, crossroads to nowhere, being several hundred miles in any direction lay only desert. Wide. Burnt. The desert does not lie to you. It does not have favorites. It does not have compassion. It does not give. Only takes. With the lights out, gazing into the darkness of the town, you felt something pull. Something not friendly lay in there. Something that wanted. Hungered. You felt it growing. Your hands started to tremble. You pushed back the pressure and fearful feeling of having to urinate, right there and now.

Damn, you thought, why cant it just get on with it?

What does IT have to get on with exactly? a voice said behind on your left. It was Ping.

He continued, What do you think is out there?

Something that just woke up, you thought.

Ah, right. And what of it? Things wakeup all the time. Said Ping.

Not like this.

Now stop that Ping laughed. Youre starting to scare me.

Its no joke Ping. Stop fooling.

Have to pee do we? Its always the same with you. The slightest thing sets you rotten, and you go running around like a chicken without its head.

Shut up Ping.

Or what? Ping laughed again. Youll tell? Who? Who will you tell? You can barley stand on two feet. If youre not crying youre peeing, if not peeing youre running, no wonder your brother beats the crap out of you.

Shut up, shut up, you whispered your temper and hatred building.

Some of the children heard this glancing at you. You stood shifting your weight from one foot to the other. Nervous, and fearful written all over you.

Oh thats right. Youll get upset. Ping started in. Poor baby will go tell running to mommy crying what bad boy Ping is. Ping is so mean mommy, youll spit and pee all over yourself


Yes, you did say that. But to no one in particular. No one that anyone saw anyway. For Ping being a shadow, during the night, couldnt be seen.

Chapter 5

Had Gone

You gave up all hope. No wonder. It was defiantly out of the question. Not only had the chance passed him, but it was taken. By your brother. Every time you showed any interest in girls your brother swooped like a vulture, grabed them, flying away to safety where he would take his time feasting. You pictured bones with half eaten flesh attached, rotting, spread across the desert from his doings. In fact your eldest brother was the same. There was a 13 and 14 year age difference between them, and you hardly saw your two eldest brothers. When the oldest did show up it was often with a different woman and different circumstances. Married three times, each from three different continents, you had talks with his mother about this. She confirmed time and time again saying, Listen. Its in the genes. Your father was like that. His father, your grandfather too. Its only my side of the family controlling any sanity in any of you.

High school became worse, your brother hunting anything. Drastic action was needed. You walked along the trail out back behind the house leading into the flash-flood gully where youd made a simple fort of old boxes, dead tree branches, anything really wash down with the summer floods. It consisted of over 100 different items collected in the years since you were allowed to venture this far from the house on his own. A fort. Refuge against marauding indians, pirates, and brother. Luckily it sits high on the bank out of reach from summer rains that literally wipe everything out with their deluge and following floods, cleaning out the gully at least twice a year.

Thinking this dilemma over while watching one of the dogs sleeping with its eyes open, legs, ears, and paws twitching as they do when dreaming of a chase, either being or giving, when the thought popped in your head. Ill get someone to help me with this.

And that was it. So simple. As most plans usually are. Plain, straightforward. Except one small item. Which was of courseWho. And maybe The How. But Who is a fine place to start, without a Who, How really wouldnt matter. Unless How was important in choosing the correct Who. If that were the case than How, Oh will you PLEEEEEEASE shut up? yelled a voice behind your right hear, so loud you fell off the broken Kings Chair constructed yourself landing on the side striking your hip on a protruding stone. The dog yelped and barked at the same time looking continuously around for the dangerous animal attacking that must surely be attacking.

You froze on the ground a moment then jumped to his feet and turned to face where the voice had spoken. There was no one. The dog ran outside the fort and around smelling and barking at the air. You watched, following, knowing the dog was far better then you in finding and guarding. It circled the fort still barking and running back inside stood next to you sniffing the air again then bolted outside for another tour. You still watched the dog closely as it smelled around, this time keeping its nose close to the ground. Suddenly it stopped dead in its tracks. Frozen. You almost laughed seeing such a sight. One second the dog was wild with the hunt, then next it didnt move. Stupid dog the voice said next to your left ear. JESUS you screamed stumbling back over the fallen chair. In trying to regain balance you grabbed an old branch but it cracked as your weight shifted. With the breaking of the branch spinning you around, in that final fall you saw a thick, darkness move quick as a light being turned on. It was the blackest of anything youd ever seen. It reached out with a thin long shape, and grabbed your arm, stopping your further falling which surly would have broken bones.

In the afternoon heat the desert produces at least some sound, yet the moment your fall stopped, so did everything. A dead quietness took hold, as if life had run away. You looked directly at the darkness in the fort, looked at what prevented landing butt first in the dirt. Youve seen movies, read stories about such things. Called dreams, you were having one. A rather disturbing one. One you wished to wake from. Better, one youd wish never to have happened.

If you pee yourself Ill let goit spoke.

Wwhat you stammered.

Correct it replied.

Waw.awa. all you could put together.

You were closer the first time.it said slowly pulling you closer together.


Even worse nowit.


Stop thatit said. And wet yourself. The darkness let go. You crashed into the chair crying out in pain and surprise. And the dog started barking. And the desert started its noises again. And you rolled onto your side trying to look up. And the darkness had gone.

Chapter 6

Your Leg

There is nothing more misunderstood than death. More outdated (everyone goes when its their time). More corrupt (funerals are big business). More mistrusting (I am young, I will live forever). More manipulated (everyone dies, dont waist time, or I love you till death do us part). You didnt understand this much, till watching life as it passed through animals and trees, flowers, even the rocks. Many never see death first-hand. Right at the moment when life takes its leave. And we are always mystified by it so. Wondering when our turn will come preoccupies our life till no end. When we are near, we often regret not having done enough with the time we had. We seek acknowledgment weve achieved something, that we have left something behind of importance. That we wont be forgotten.

Is it the same for birth? Are we waiting on the other side wondering what this life will be like? How it will turn out for us? Will it be rich and rewarding, or pure hell? Can you separate the two? Ones anguish is bliss to another after all. And how much of any moment do we truly control? Thinking this through you paused. Could you move between the two, as you would say, going from one room into another? What then? Part of the time you are on the side of death, the other part with life. You could get the best from both. The possibilities.

In looking down into that blacked-out town you realized the joke was on all of us. That I have and probably, continue till I die, think I have the upper-hand. That my belief in something greater than myself will save me. That what I am doing with my life, is true and great. That no harm will come to me if I do good things. That I will be rewarded for my great deeds. That I did something with my life. But it was all a lie. Because of one thing which stopped all of this. Fear. Fear closed the door just as sure as I am born with nothing and die with the same, yet I continue holding on to rituals and materials I think will benefit myself and others, though thinking of others comes a distant second. Because I, firstly, no matter what I think, always look out for myself. And staring into the blackened town you knew, everything you thought was important, just slid down the hill.

The few headlights from cars whose drivers feelings were more complex thought. They sat in the middle of this darkness. Blanketed in it. They heard it scratching the metal of their cars trying to enter. They saw it in clouds too thick to drive as it ate the light from them. They felt it crawling upon their skin. Their headlights began to twinkle, like distant stars, then one by one go out. Gone. From the West came the police. Red and blue lights, siren whining. Its lights too flickered and died along with the siren sounding like and animal grasping for its last breath. But that wasnt the strangest part. What you noticed next was to much to understand your brain simply couldnt manage what it was seeing.

In watching all of this you noticed something wrong. You were focusing on the cars and the fact that everything was dark. Different. Scary. But when the police lights went out is when you noticed the difference. The stars. Something changed with them. The town was small with so few lights from business and traffic, any given night you clearly would see stars to the horizon. As the town sat in a valley whose mountain rose around it to a certain height you knew, was taken into account. But something else was different here. Normally the stars ended at the mountain line. Not now. Either the mountains are growing, or the sky is shrinking. In the night sky, stars were disappearing just as the dying headlights and police siren.

It is a fairy tale of dark things. That comes not at the night, but from the soul.The whispering said in your right ear. Snapping with a jerk, turning to see who the trickster was scaring blood from your face. There was no one. Looking to the left everyone silently stood, not a motion, watching the blackness. Quiet. Not a sound could be heard from them. Or anything. This is truly dead you thought. Nothing was moving. The droning from the TV inside had stopped. The dog up a ways from the house that barked at anything, and usually all the time, was still. The air seemed itself to hold its breath, waiting for what was to come. Turing to the darkness you saw along the state highway running just two miles away, a semi-truck full of the usual lights they drove with at night. Its lights followed along the body showing an 18 wheeler, with a heavy load from the sound of its large engine straining from the trip probably started out east and ending at the western coast. Those driving during the hours of darkness were the long-haulers and night gave them cover from high-way patrol units who themselves drove great distances searching out offenders. As the speed limit dropped traffic had to slow this near to the town, but not this truck. It kept on with the same intensity. All the lights on the truck made it stand out like a streaking square sun without a center, flying through nothing but desert night and stars. Then, sensing something, the driver dropped gear grinding them reducing speed, while blowing its massive air horn only used by the truckers in emergencies. The air breaks locked, tires screeched, the driver frantically doing everyone possible to back down in the shortest time and distance. Then it disappeared with only a dyeing echo of the horn leaving any sign of ever existed at all.

I wanna go home.It was Donny Willer. He was the fat kid with a rich dentist father. Could get anything, do anything. His voice off somewhere whispered, causing you to turn seeing the others, still frozen but now with the same look of disbelief you must have had. Your stomach began twisting. Gathering sweat you felt the dry wind on your forehead turn cool. You felt very tired suddenly and only wanted to sleep. Just to lay down on your sleeping bag, smelling its unmistakable cotton thickness which kept you warm on many campouts in the cold desert night with the scouts. How many hours laid looking at all those stars. Talking with your best friend. All the wonders. Dreams of yesteryears. How it all was so

This aint rrrrright.Donny spoke shockingly, a higher crying out type of pitch this time. He came only because Lory was here and he was crazy for her. And he told everyone. But she hated him and told everyone. He invited himself, obviously not fitting in with any of the other children as they were from a more 'simpler' background Donny was always seen as one thing. Incompetent. He thought because his father had money anything was possible. With that, in later years he opened a mattress store, dealt in selling cocaine and was eventually arrested. Who would have know looking at him now fear written all over his already fattening face, he would at one time control all the coke that passed through the town, which was at its peak a serious amount. Then again, why would you pursue such activities if your future was pretty much set for you in finical terms. What possessed the thinking at times of people amazed you, causing you to wonder, how they could reproduce in the first place. Yet here they are.

The trucks air horn fell away. You thought, where it might be blowing now, and what the look on the drivers face must have been and continues to maintain. Was it shock? Horror? Contentment? What did he see making him pull the cable blasting the horn? Was there something on the road? If you cant see ahead of you wouldnt you slow down and come to a stop?

You felt something next to you. Something touched your arm making you jump, again. It was Sarah. She was a year younger than you, in a different class but smarter than most who already graduated. The aim of growing up in this town had one out come. Getting the hell out. Sarah was certainly on the way towards that. Smart, understood how the world works, it scared most people, especially boys. She came from a poor family like many, but her grades were always high giving the chance she needed. She was thin but had long blond hair always tied back. Not very pretty, her two front teeth were slightly larger then they should be giving her the nickname, 'rabbit' and as children can be horribly mean at times, in calling her this it carried all through her schooling. Later, with excellent grades she was about to graduate with high honors, became rebellious, hooked-up with a guy who abused her. This seemed to scare her even more. Nearing an end, she was found to have a secret friend no one knew anything about. It wasnt till much later while returning from college one time, you mother told you, thus the mystery finally was explained.

Sarah never made it out of the town. After graduation she stayed, turning down several invitations from outstanding universities in joining the ranks of higher education. After graduation you left never looked at the background noise that youth produced. You had very little contact after the first few months entering college with those youd gone through school with. Rightly so. 'Moving on' was your mantra.

Sit down theres something I have to tell you about Sarah, your mother clipped at you as you came through the door. Now the interesting thing in all of this is one might believe there was something between you and Sarah, at least that is what your mother would have liked. True there were occasional dates, together with long talks and walks together. But nothing amounting to something called 'relationship'. It just never happened.

In the moments before hearing what happened with Dona your mind turned in the direction, those places where, still, moments had not yet escaped. Or lost their influence. Were you found elegance in everything but didnt know what it meant. Where everything was a surprise. Where everything still had a 'wonder' attached to it. Now, the onset of adult life began laying its footprints upon the path, where youd have choices, not of ease, but rather necessity, all carrying the weight bending you towards that caverness pit of eternal sleep.

'Are you listening?' your mother.

You nodded.

'Storys been driving me crazy so Im trying to get all the facts here.'

But you were thinking how good it felt to scratch the dogs ears while rubbing their eyes especially in the spring as the pollen caused such problems for them. They loved it, and so did you. How it was with animals so easy, and people so boring.

'Last week I got a call from Marcella…’ You felt being in a 5th grade school room while talking with your mother, sitting in the dinning room you remember used only twice. You loved the large wooden table and all windows whose growth from the ivy and apple tree nearly covered light from entering. You begin to think how always cool in the summer, but freezing in the winter, that it was the adobe which seemed to grow from just simple water and plants. And there was the that part of the house. Built later, not from adobe, such a cancer drawing life from everything near it. Actually it was energy which diapered into that part. After the second war that part of the house was added using conventional building materials. But the adobe was hand made with stones constructed fifty years earlier, as a result, the house always fought with itself, two sides from different times and manners. Passing between the two you felt their argument. Over the years it overtook rage into something more.

Living there, you witnessed a final advanced war, having no hope of peace. The ground surged with waves in resistance, struggling to be free of this burden in having such a homestead upon itself to bear, which showed when northern winter winds prevailed, yet the adobe stood soundless. The other half moaned, vibrating loose any sense of hope in a restful sleep while your bedroom resided in the basement of this groaning half. You had moved there with your brother at the age of seven. Your mother wanted your bedroom in the adobe, away from your father. Their bedroom on the other side, was directly above the basement. But she had enough of him and told you both to move out. In less than ten-seconds, the length of her discussion with you, your life had changes forever. Not only to move out, but move out to there. You thought at first youd misunderstood. Even your brother looked shaken, and hed already been smoking marijuana for the past two years. You would later reflect upon that point in later years, knowing there was no difference if he smoked or not. It was just at the time of your mothers declaration, you though smokers were resilient to anything natural, or unnatural, and seeing the later as extremely profound concerning your new accommodations, there was a rare but definite connection with your brother that moment both your eyes met directly preceding your mothers words, meaning, who is going to sleep closest to the stairs?

You would not go as far in saying the basement was haunted. But you would say, it had its own rules. It seemed from the closet, unnerving till the very last time you stepped foot in it, you were nearly thirty years of age, continued giving its presence at the top of those stairs. Its warning. Your mother was sensitive to these things, and told both you and your brother it was nothing and pay no attention. But she wasnt sleeping there. In fact since you moved down there you recall her entering the basement extremely seldom. And only for the briefest time. Sort of like a quick inspection tour of the area making sure you hadnt killed someone and stuck them there thinking no one would look. In high school your brother thought this a wonder and started growing pot replacing the sun with a light bulb. It grew to almost 15 inches and was called the Sunless Experiment he had to do for his science class.

Your father came down once over a period of several months thinking he should visit as you were all close neighbors now, noticed the plant, mentioned a quick 'looks goodthen retreated back up the stairs to safety. And this is a man who fought the Japanese on Iwo Jima and survived, yet now clearly showing discomfort in voice and body expression. Had he ever stepped off the last step onto the cold cement floor, he probably would have shrieked and bolted the hell out of there, just as you felt doing every waking moment. Christ even the dogs wouldnt go there unless you beat them into submission, and desert dogs are some of the toughest. Most people think city dogs are sturdy, rugged beasts, but a dog that survives in the desert are some of the most cunning around. Not only the similarities of city survival required for these dogs, but faced with a lack of adequate food and water plus snakes, spiders, scorpions, coyotes, lightning, flash flooding, it becomes very apparent these animals rein supreme. And if they didnt venture down there, why should you, or so you thought would be case enough which you presented to your mother, who rightly took under council with a verdict in a matter of two-seconds without a word, but a look telling the entirety of her thoughts upon the subject, including should it every be mentioned again, then hell will be paid. And that kind of look you never want to find out what action will follow. Anything unnatural coming into contact with that look would find itself wishing never been formed, created, born, what so ever, and would certainly be on the retreat to wherever it came from crying a message with the highest urgency that it never go near that look again. Should that carry effectively into the area of the basement all would be well. But it didnt. There you stayed.

Depending on the location of your bed meant everything. In the first place, you could see the stairs leading up and the door to the closet. Second, you were next to the wall of the closet itself. The first, if anything came out of the closet you would see it first and might have chance up the stairs, which did not have a solid wall between the two, so whatever did come out had a good chance grabbing you on your way up. The second, if something did come out of the closet it might not see you because its direct line of sight was of the first bed, which most likely, it would to go first, allowing you to slip behind it and get up the stairs safety. Now, if both were trapped you had an alternative, which was out one of the three small ventilation windows, but the angel you had to crawl threw was at best, slow then most likely it would grab you by the legs and pull you back in.

Looking at all possibilities you rehearsed these scenarios and a few others each and everyday. Then day your brother moved out. He studies during summer school, passed the exams and in graduating early, got a job and rented a one room apartment in town. You had the basement to yourself. You had your life to yourself. For the first time. No more ass humps where hed grab you from behind by the shoulders, pull you down while the same time raising his knee into your butt. No more gang attacks from he and his friends during school where theyd pants you in front of your friends, or drop you head first into the trash can right after lunch which being the most opportune time, was full of left-over meals dumped straight in from the cafeteria. All this had passed. Without your brother the gang felt diminished and spent most of their time skipping school. Later you heard of the members two were sent to jail for drugs along with breaking and entering, one was killed when his motorbike ran into a car which had stopped at a red light, one disappeared, and one went on to a vocational school studying auto mechanics but was arrested for thief of school science equipment.

And now, you were alone, in the basement. Not exactly. You had a seven year old goldfish, and a two year old hamster. They would defend you from what was in the closet, and what lay under the bed, which was strange because what was under the bed had disappeared when you moved downstairs. It never bothered you. Till now, when it would return, which you knew for sure. You had both the closet and bed issues to deal with. The only thing remaining of your brother after moving out was his old bed.

'and the next time you here such a story you tell them the same thing. To mind their own damn business. Learn to defend your friends goddamn it, else you become no better. Small town white, trash good for nothinsons of bitches.' Your mothers voice broke in.

I will indeed, mumbled to yourself, not hearing anything shed spoken concerning Sarah, but you already knew the story. Your thoughts lay back in the basement, that very moment looking at your brothers bed. Sitting there remembering you felt happy, the size of the room had doubled, nevertheless afraid because you were now, the only meal, for the closet. Then, from under your bed, a thin black arm reached out toward your leg.

Chapter 7

Did it Even Happen?

It is often said, with the greatest misrepresentation and understanding, you will never see the silver lining every cloud possess unless you look for the open window when the door closes. It is often said, men still have one foot in the cave, while women have conquered half the world. It is often said, I am going to rip off your arm and beat you over the head with the bloody end. The last of these being directed primarily at you for actions done without thought and or reason. When nothing clear could be gauged, nor the wish to do so as it would cause further damage to the brain. You were about to make a call when reaching for the receiver you noticed a very, clearly placed message standing out against all others, directly above the faded, yellow rotary-dial telephone, stating 'Make Sure Brain is Engaged Before Operating Machine'.