Compound 38

They’d recruited me in April of 1945. Well, I said recruited, they said recruited; it was just a byword to make both parties feel better about the arrangement. I had a choice, my mind –and all of the secrets buried in that maze of neurochemical pathways- could be weaponised by the Soviets, or it could be dashed to pieces by the firing squad.

Some say that just before you drown, your body convulses in mortal ecstasy. Some say that freezing to death is preceded by the deepest and most tranquil sleep. Others say that the final stages of mortal torture are pure bliss.

I find it spurious that the final moments of the mortal coil could be so idyllic, what possible evolutionary advantage could that have? Still, the point is redundant, for theorising about something for which there are no facts is pure folly. How can anybody know for certain if these stories are true, when the only witnesses to such phenomena have passed?

So perhaps it was just an urban legend, or maybe the rumours are true, but they said that Compound 38 -the gaseous chemical weapon, to which I alone knew the secret of origination- smelled like rusted iron. Continue reading

Pecklow

I looked down at the town below us. The wind atop the hill was bitter, numbing my face and hands and freezing the rest of my body down to the bone. Pecklow was an old mining town founded upon a series of hills which jutted out of the tumultuous rivers below; a mountainous island upon which only the hardiest weeds grew. The name of the town had originally meant Low Peak, but had become bastardised and corrupted over time. The bridge joining Pecklow to the mainland was an old industrial revolution era bridge of riveted iron, which once had a train track running across it from the days when Pecklow was mined for its rich coal reserves beneath the earth. Continue reading

The Corpse Candle

The flame dances in the wind, like a liquid wisp, suspended in blue over the ground, swaying vertiginously, back and forth, beckoning me to follow it. I paw at the window lightly, convinced now that the flame is real, and not some off-shot reflection on the pane.

The light casts meandering shadows among the grass of the garden. Without scorching the blades, the flame hovers in a circular motion, as if it has a will of its own. Stopping in place, doubling in size, then shrinking once more, and shooting off up to the top of the garden and dissipating into the blackness of the night. Continue reading

Perfect Concussion | Part 1

Perfect Concussion

“We can take control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation.”
– Memorandum from CIA Mind control project, January 1952

The furious rattling of tin bells pulled him from his slumber; the little hammer struck against them in quick succession; so quick that each piercing crescendo of sound seemed to blend into one shrill, droning wail.

His hand flicked out reflexively before he had opened his eyes, shutting out the sound.

He had nothing to wake up for, and yet every night he wound the clock, and every morning it rang at eleven. But he never rose at that time. He was a creature of habit and routine; that was –he reasoned- the only tether of logic that bound him to the realms of sensibility.

Each morning, as that shrill wail rang out -echoing off the chip paper walls of his shoebox bedroom- he felt for a split second that he might be late for work. Relief would wash over him in waves when he remembered that he had not worked in years. His brief stint as a clerk at a post office had ended many years ago due to his illness, just as he had lost his place at Stanford University years before that. Continue reading

François McCandle

If a nation’s culture dies, so too does the nation.

These were the words that passed through my mind as I eagerly awaited the train. The London underground was a strange place at this time; a place where the underclass crawled from their hidden tenements and stalked the night.

Nobody knew my habit; by day I was a pretty normal teenager. I generally kept myself to myself, and didn’t ruffle any feathers. By night, I was François McCandle; graffiti artist and vandal.

A wise man once said that graffiti breaks the hegemonic hold of corporate and governmental style over the urban environment, and the situations of daily life. As a form of aesthetic sabotage, it interrupts the pleasant, efficient uniformity of planned urban space and predictable urban living. For us, graffiti disrupts the lived experience of mass culture, the passivity of mediated consumption. Continue reading

Divitiae

Amos Mallory was –I’d been told- an eccentric; a creature of particular habit and routine, whose needs were simple, and simply met.

I’d been working at the Silverlink Retirement Community Complex for less than a year before I was transferred to the E-Wing; that was where the luxury suites were. Silverlink was no ordinary nursing home; no musty hovel where the sick and elderly were left to die in a dirty room smelling of hot piss. No, Silverlink was a state-of-the-art retirement facility; a complex panoptic building of silver tubes, glimmering metal and dynamic sun-activated solar-smart glass windows. Continue reading

The Deadeye Murders | Part 2

Read Part 1

Fruits of the dark harvest

Oh Darren, I wish you could join me in the revelry of these meandering musings of my incorruptible mind. Tonight is a special night for both of us. It’s a night I’ve anticipated for such a long time. Tonight, we will have our most intimate moment. Tonight, you will feel closer to me than you have to anybody in your entire life. There’s one thing you’ll experience tonight Darren, it’s something only the slayers and the slain have ever experienced. You see, when I drive my knife into your flesh, and the life blood pours from your veins, when your futile attempts to fight or flee are all but extinguished, and you crumble to the floor, you will look upon me, and you will not see the face of a demon or a vengeful killer, you will see yourself, and as I hold you in my arms, you will embrace me, cling to me like an infant clings to their mother. You will look up at me, and in your dying whimpers, now void of intelligible language, you will beg for your life. In this most intimate moment, you will feel an unyielding love for me that you will have never felt since you were a helpless infant in the arms of your mother. And I will savour that moment, and indulge that illusion of destitute love -for a few precious seconds- right before I cut your throat open. Continue reading