Tomorrow there is a Snake by S.C. Denton

Posted in SURVIVING THE GAME on 05/25/2016 by scdenton

Henry Winklevoss adjourns to his study. A roaring fire helps to stave off the chill. The pungent aroma of tobacco permeates the room as he gingerly pulls from his pipe. His wife Loretta arrives at the doorway (she always hates this part but he insists she stand on custom), and she knocks before entering. She has brought him his traditional nightcap.

Henry  sets his pipe down in an ash-tray on the end table. He takes his drink from the tray, and Loretta places the tray atop the table.

“Thanks Loretta,” he says.

“You’re welcome. I’m off to bed now. You going to stay up and read awhile.” She always asks even though she knows the answer’s always the same.

“I am,” he watches her as she walks toward the door, “Love you.”

“I love you too,” she said.

“Goodnight.”

“Goodnight,” she said, trailing off.

Henry takes a few good swigs on his scotch on the rocks, then sets his drink on the tray. He picks his book up from the other table beside his wingback chair. It’s a book about Edgar Cayce, and his phenomenal abilities. Actually, it contains articles written by learned men arguing for, as well as against his being capable of all that is claimed. He turns up his glass till the rocks clink, a chunk of ice nearly cost him a trip to the dentist. Still, there’s been quite a lot of loss. He adds a few more cubes from the miniature ice bucket patterned after an old ice cream cooler.

It’s going down more smoothly now. He holds the book out, at arm’s length, while repeatedly sipping with the other hand. A stubborn piece of burning wood crackles intrusively, and he glances at the fire as if perturbed by its insolence. But for moments after he just glances around the room. Recessed bookshelves are floor-to-ceiling on nearly every wall. He gets almost all the periodicals, has at least a few books on near every imaginable subject, and has read the majority of them at least once. Henry is a college graduate, but it’s here, and in other libraries where he feels he has earned his true degrees. He knows a little something about everything, and of that he’s damn proud.

Lately he’d chosen to formulate an opinion concerning Cayce, ESP, and the possibility of a person possessing psychic powers. Just about now he wished he had psychic powers, well, telekinesis anyways. Jokingly, he thought to himself, ‘if I could just concentrate hard enough.’ He stared at his drink long and hard but nothing happened. It did not fill on its own. Nor did it levitate to his hand. Nor did a toad suck the remainder of the liquid down below eye level.

This psychic stuff was just not possible. It was far too difficult. An impossible task.

Henry gulped down the little bit of watered down liquor remaining and refilled his glass from the decanter. He was good and warm faced now, the ice was unnecessary.

He lay the book down upon his lap to focus on his contemplative drinking. In his mind’s eye he tried to fly away, to astral project. He thought just maybe, like Cayce himself, he might be able to remotely view.

For a time there was nothing, then slowly a picture bled in. First he saw the Washington Monument, then Mt. Rushmore, then he was standing before old Honest Abe, and then there was darkness. The revelry was over. He realized these were all just places he’d visited as a kid, while on vacation.

‘How does one do it he wondered?’

All that he’d learned about Cayce was quite interesting but it didn’t really provide you with the roadmap on how to achieve out-of-body successes.

He set the book on Cayce aside, rose slowly to his feet, and approached his bookshelf. The fire was dying down a little now, but with the spirit blanket warming him he forewent the log.

Henry had books galore. He knew he had some on astral projection, but was having trouble locating one. He found several books which contained in-depth research on the matter of astral projection but he opted instead for a bit lighter reading. He chose a stack of Tomorrows. The psychic journals covered a broad range of subjects both fiction and non-. With a pile of the readers digest sized books he sat back down. He selected the best few and sat the others on the table.

The clock struck six.

‘Jesus, is it morning already. It’ll be daylight soon.’

He normally ignored the clock but six-am was a real wake-up call. Quickly he read one of the articles on astral projection and thought again of how one might do it.

He looked up again at the grandfather clock. Obviously he hadn’t read as rapidly as he’d thought, it was now 6:39.

‘One last article he told himself, ‘then bed.”

Glancing through the contents he came across a story about a sighting of the Devil and since it was relatively short it suited.

Apparently the Devil, or some like beast was fond of taking walks on the beach. Or perhaps he’d come out from the ocean. Henry tried hard to envision this happening, but it was extremely difficult. He just found the whole thing laughable.

Just as he was about to put the little Tomorrow book down, thinking, (tomorrow, yeah, I’ll read it tomorrow, right now I’m going to hit the hay), a slinky shadow danced across the hardwood. At first he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him. It couldn’t be. Then its slinkily cast silhouette slithered out of the shadows and into the firelight.

“SNAKE!” he screamed. Henry drew his feet up tight, and onto the chair. He stared as the solo cast its shadowy performance upon the floor. It didn’t seem to have a care in the world, as if it had been here many times before. In fact it was too comfortable; it had to know he was there. He hoped Loretta hadn’t heard his feminine outburst. She’d probably laugh at ‘im once she saw the size of this thing. But here and now it was the context that mattered. Henry believed most people would have become more than a little alarmed if they’d been reading about Satan and lo-and-behold a serpent, a truly unlucky find at the end the rainbow. Then it dawned on him, ‘I’d been reading about Satan, thinking about astral projection, attempting remote viewing and suddenly a snake appears, quite literally out of nothing, and having come from nowhere.

Keeping his eye on the snake Henry placed his feet upon the floor. Evil, not evil, it was a damned snake in his house, (in his library of all places) and now it was going to die.

Henry returned from the mud room with a hoe Loretta used for gardening.

Where is Loretta? Why hasn’t she come down, angry about the noise?

Henry stood over the snake (just watching it) his hands held the hoe poised for a strike. Even now the snake was fearless.

He chopped at it. He missed.

He chopped again, he missed.

He chopped a third time and found his mark, cleaving the snake in two.

Two live entities both squiggling off in different directions. The head half mad seeking its exit. The tail writhed upon the floor in dazed confusion.

The snake head sought its shelter in the fire. It left a serpentine blood trail as it sluggishly propelled itself toward its death. As it slid out of sight it sizzled odorously, but somehow managed to disappear beneath the fire grate, sans bursted flames.

Henry couldn’t believe what he’d just seen. He was trying to make sense of it, but the snake’s tail just kept rolling over again and again, hypnotically. He told himself, that that wasn’t the bit that mattered, yet instinctively he felt it bear watching.

Finally it did quit squirming and he scooped it up onto the blade of the hoe, tossing it into the fire for good measure. There atop a log it sat burning, but began to roll over again continually, as if searching to reconnect with its front half. It quieted again but oddly did not seem to be burning as one might expect. There was smoke roiling about, but it seemed little consumed by the flames. A concern for later perhaps, for now he wondered again about Loretta. Why hadn’t she come down? He hadn’t been being particularly quiet, and she always came down to give him the business when he got uproarious.

As Henry rounded the corner and prepared to mount the stairs, a small little head poked up above the flames. It opened its jaw wide and grabbed its tail with its mouth before disappearing back beneath the flames.

At the top of the stairs,

“Loretta? Hun are you awake? Boy have I got something to tell you about,” Henry opened the bedroom door.

The daylight was just starting to bleed in through their bedroom window. Loretta seemed to be stirring.

Henry sat down beside her and relayed his serpentine tale.

“You sure are antsy. Are you planning on getting up?” he asked, pulling back the sheet from her head. From her mouth poked out the heads of six baby snakes. Her turned up gown revealed a pale but lively stomach. There he counted three separate entities seeking birth. Strewn between her thighs to her feet lay nine; nine eeling their way out and into the world.

‘My God, what has the Devil done to my poor wife,’ he thought. For him, her face would now and forever be expressed as the startled dead.

How many were there? He had to kill them all! He counted:

Six.

Three.

Nine.

Why the hell did that seem familiar?

Six, three, and nine, altogether, eighteen.

What does that matter just kill them.

It matters because there’s something to it.

They’ll still number the same, even after they’re dead.

6:39, he said, “oh my god, NO!”

357, whispered within.

Henry walked absently to the nightstand and retrieved the revolver from the drawer.

That metallic click was the final report.

Cold Stare

Posted in COLD STARE on 11/01/2012 by scdenton

Cold Stare

 by S.C. Denton

She was about to place it on her head when the woman’s screech gave her pause. Some might’ve considered it repulsive, she felt it possessed of great beauty. From the moment she sighted it, she knew it was special. She’d never known such a desire to own something. Usually her pursuits were merely business; rarely was she ever so taken aback.

“I’m sorry I can’t allow you to try it on. It’s precious. I hope you’ll understand,” the antique dealer said.

“Sure. This is my business. I should’ve asked. I don’t know what got into me. It’s just so… breathtaking,” Penny said.

“I understand dear. Happens to us all. Are you seriously interested?”

“Yes mam. But I don’t think I can go quite what you’re askin’.”

“What could you do?”

“Let me check.” Penny reached in her purse, removing the latest gadget still passing as a phone–barely. Zooming over the screen with the stylus, she confirmed her budget.

 “Twenty-five thousand. That’ll pretty much destroy my acquisitions allowance, but I’ve got to have it. So, please, please, please, say yes.”

 “Sold!” the shopkeeper laughed maniacally. “Lady you have yourself a deal. But I must request that if it is your intention to wear it, that you not try it on till you’re well away from here.”

“Why’s that? If my card comes back approved why wouldn’t you let me try it on in the store?”

“Some might call it superstition, but that item is cursed. It belonged to the illegitimate half sister of Medusa, and it’s said to bestow demonic powers on the wearer.”

“Hmm… that is interesting. But it doesn’t change how I feel. However, I’ll honor your wishes and wait till I get home before I try it on.”

“Thanks so much, sweet lady. It is a beautiful find. I’ve only seen it’s like one other time, and that I’d only glimpsed.”

“Thank you.”

“Come again won’t you.”

“Absolutely.”

Phillip Richards found Penny lying on the sofa, in what she called her wardrobe room. It wasn’t the first time he’d found her there, but this was definitely new. She was stark naked and with a rather odd-looking thing resting on her head. He’d almost say it was some kind of Mardi Gras accoutrement if the theme weren’t so dark, and archaic. His heart-thumps grew exponentially as he inched closer.

Had it finally happened? Had she been right all along?

For years she’d predicted her early death by heart failure. Congenital heart disease ran in her family. But he had always just chalked it up to her active imagination, and excessive worrying.

He crouched down on bended knee, putting his face right up close to hers, as if he intended to wake sleeping beauty with a kiss. He waited for a time that seemed interminable, finally noting the slightest hint of expelled breath. But that came in little hitches, and was so irregular that he could not fathom how she had a heartbeat.

 He dialed 911.

Moments later an operator assisted him. He put the phone on speaker, adjusting the volume to maximum. The operator kept him calm, consistently assuring him help was on the way. From one of the closets he gathered a few nights’ worth of lounge-around clothing, and hastily dressed her before the paramedics arrived. Lastly, he reached out to remove the tacky adornment which still rested on her head.

“Ouch! What the hell!?”

He shook his arm as if that would somehow alleviate the throbbing wrist pain. Raising his arm up to investigate, two runnels of blood trickled down his forearm. Momentarily they pulsed red, and then the puncture wounds disappeared. The blood vanished. Mere seconds later he was able to forget. No evidence = never happened; least that’s how he felt.

By the time the ambulance arrived, her lips had gone over an aquatic blue. Phillip repeatedly wiped sweat beads from his forehead. The ambulance came screeching to a halt and the emergency room doors flung open. A gaggle of nurses assisted the paramedics into the hospital. Once inside, the on-duty ER doctor looked Penny over, taking measured steps, going through the process, assuring himself he’d missed nothing before announcing–

“I’m afraid your wife has hypothermia.”

“Hypothermia! That’s impossible. She was just laying on the couch when I found her. Granted, she didn’t have any clothing on, but no way our apartment was that cold. It was actually pretty warm.”

“Well, that may be, but her core temperature has bottomed out. Frankly, I’m amazed she’s still alive. Her systems should have totally shut down by this point. Yet here she is, alive and breathing. It’s quite amazing really.”

“Amazing?! Fucking amazing. That’s what you choose to say?”

“Sorry. I just meant… if we could find out how she’s still alive it might improve many aspects of modern medicine.”

“I could give a crap about modern medicine. I just want my wife to be okay.”

“Certainly. I believe she’s going to be fine, but I’d like her to stay overnight just to keep an eye on her. Give her fluids, get her temperature back up. You saved your wife’s life you know. Getting her here when you did.”

“Fine. Good. Try not to kill ‘er.”

#

 Lennox Henderson followed all the greats. Each Halloween he stepped into their shoes for a single night. But Lennox had grown tired of his normal mimicry. It had become stale. He’d always known that one day he’d have to break free from the normal routine. The thought of recreating fictional scenes was compelling. The thrill of viewing the world he knew through that illusory lens was enthralling. He found himself thinking of almost nothing else as his day approached. His annual shopping spree had begun. Let the good heads roll.

Lennox was the epitome of nice guy next door. If ever he’d been discovered all his neighbors would have (shockingly) confirmed they knew of no one more neighborly. An ideal member of society. Considerate of the environment, but not a nut. He earned enough to stay afloat, but not so much as to draw attention. He and his wife were in good standing in the community, yet they were not pillars. Their children had just the right amount of intelligence versus brawn, so they didn’t get picked on. It was all a part of his grand scheme. He’d been planning it since he took his first, as a teenager. That kind of exhilaration he had spent a lifetime trying to recreate. Nothing so sweet as the first.

#

 Phillip and Penny returned to their apartment after her extended stay in the hospital. The doctors were truly perplexed. In the span of an hour Penny’s symptoms had completely disappeared, her core temperature returned to normal, and all her bodily functions were healthy. Technically, they could have left that first night, but the doctors pleaded for her to stay for overnight observation.

“How you feelin’?”

“I told you I feel fine. My back’s hurting, and I need a good bath but other than that…”

“What do you want for supper?”

“But I thought… It’s Halloween, Phil.”

“Yeah, so?”

“We have that costume dinner party tonight.”

“Surely you don’t still want to go to that? After having just got out of the hospital.”

“Phillip, you know I have been looking forward to this thing all year.”

“Fine, I just thought… well do you want me to run some bath water?”

“Babe, you’ve been great these past two days, but I’m ready to start doing for myself now, okay?” She leaned over and kissed him gently on the cheek.

A few minutes after he heard the hair dryer quit, he went in to see what masterfully creepy outfit she’d chosen this year.

Twenty years together and he found her just as sexy as ever.

 She was posed in front of the mirror, her milky-white skin beaming through the open back of the sequined dress. At this moment (before her hair had begun to shift to its winter shade), she looked sort of like a mermaid. Her reflection revealed a knowing smile. She still had it, and she knew it.

 “How do I look?”

“Perfectly sumptuous.”
“Really? I think it’s missing something.”

She reached out of his line of sight, retrieving the headdress. And for the first time Phillip recognized the mythological theme wrapped around the onyx swirled marble banding. Though it was not the prominent feature of the historical sculpture, one face jumped out at Phillip: Medusa. Before he could utter a word, she had crowned herself. He did not care for the look that came over her (reflected in the mirror), but the cold stare she greeted him with was by far the worst. She was blank, devoid of emotion, dead. Deader than she’d been when he had found her suffering from mysterious hypothermia.

 The second he looked into her eyes, all thoughts ceased, and he went to a place of darkness. His pupils clouded, and an obsidian swirl formed at the center; tiny phosphorescent crimson flecks emanated from the vortex and came to rest on his pupils, as the whites of his eyes blacked out.

 Penny screamed but no sound escaped her. A prisoner in her own mind. She watched (through goggle-like eyes) as her husband walked zombily out the door, her body in tow but completely out of her control. Then she heard them. The throaty utterances in the darkness. She now lived within a mask, and only the bounding orb’s light penetrated this terrible pitch. Yet there was something else which lit her imprisonment: a multitude of dripping fangs, set beneath gleaming hungry eyes.

  https://scdenton.wordpress.com/2012/09/15/surviving-the-game-episode-one-montagues-march-madness/

 Lennox chirped along happily, perusing the street wares with an ever-vigilant eye. He’d already found the perfect blade to replicate his fantasy. Now he searched for the mask. He wanted something cheap. More evocative of the early movies. Before his fictional kith and kin had taken a film hiatus only to be brought back by popular demand in the fourth movie.

Lennox peered through the window of a novelty shop, scanning the outfits and masks on display. He glared, noting the reflection of the man and woman across the street. His adrenaline spiked. He was almost certain they’d been following him. He tested, and walked inside. Milling around at the front for several minutes put his paranoia to rest, and he resumed his task. There were several aisles of masks and he cruised by slowly, taking it all in, reevaluating his thrill kill as he went along. When one broke from the strictures of afore, it paid to be flexible. Then he saw it and his heart leapt. It was perfect.

The pale chalky face; the ratty looking brown hair; the expressionless void.

Lennox was already wearing his maintenance jumpsuit. He couldn’t wait to put the face on which had inspired so much fear. Just as he was about to slip it over his head he saw a flash out of the corner of his eye, and his danger sense flared combustily. Spinning around quickly he just had time to think,

 ‘I was being followed.’

Just as Phillip’s eyes had gone over, so too had Lennox‘s. Penny struck out at the parasitic thing that had taken her over. Its only response, “For that, he is dead.”
Penny watched helplessly as her husband led the way, the man behind him clinching his killer mask tightly in his hands. Impatient to put it on.

 They plodded along until they reached the center of old town. Where the last historical buildings still stood. Not a one of them taller than three stories. Her husband made a left turn onto some railroad tracks which ran between two abandoned lots. Minutes later he halted his step, and stood patiently on the truss bridge.
When they caught up to Phillip, Lennox–having slightly more control–telepathically addressed the abysmal darkness within Penny. And as he nodded his head, Penny shouted, hoping her thoughts would highjack the brainwaves. The effort was useless. And as a penalty, she was granted a full panoramic view:

 She saw the Lennox-thing happily don his serial slayer of a mask, yank a chefs knife from his jumper, and plunge it into the back of Phillip, over, and over, again. The slung blood creating an abstract on the chalky white mask.
Vertigo overtook Penny as the creature within her leaned over, forcing her to witness her husband’s plummet to the river below. She shut her mind’s eye, and wretched in mourning, assuming, (hoping), that she’d soon be dead too. Most certainly she’d be entirely cut off from the world.

No such luck.

Regaining some bravery, she tested the waters, timidly allowing a view here, a flash there.

 The deadly duo was on the move again, heading toward what appeared to be a train station. The yard dotted with the hulking skeletons of railcars long since passed.

 There was only one train boarding. A classic, a recently renovated diner car. The windows were all decorated holiday appropriate. Witches here, black cats there, pumpkin patches everywhere.

 The setting sun was held firmly in Penny’s eyes and she’d yet to make out who the train boarders were. Just then the clouds drifted in, effectively covering the reddish orange fireball. Moments later, her eyes adjusted.

 “Oh god no! You can’t damn you! Please not them,” Penny pleaded.

Not one of the Drakinton first graders, teachers, or parents, had neglected their Halloween costume. The demon grumbled low in satisfaction. This was going to be too easy.

The End

It’s tough for techno-illiterate geezers & observations refuse to go quietly….

Posted in THE ACT OF BECOMING (Quotes from my Original Blog) & WHAT'S BEEN GOIN' ON LATELY on 10/24/2012 by scdenton

March 22 09′

It’s Tough For A Dinosaur & Observations Don’t Go Quietly Into the Night

All this time I’ve devoted to trying to find the solution to my (e-mailing a word document) problem could’ve been avoided had I simply asked my Dad (admittedly, not often an easy thing to do).

I’ve still got the same server problem, but I was able to bypass it, and mail out my submission.

I’ve never taken a computer course and thus had never had anyone show me how to use Work’s word processor. If I did take one I certainly don’t remember it.

All this time I’ve been using it like a typewriter, because that was what I was used to. Like an idiot I knew nothing of copy and paste, and have missed out on submitting quite a few stories because of it.

To find out  my problem could be solved so easily was sort of disheartening. It solidified the fact that I am technologically illiterate and almost without hope. And as someone who aspires to learn as much as he possibly can, this failing is an aversion to my nature.

All this makes me feel incredibly old and out of sync with even my own generation. We have grown up with computers, and should all  be able to manipulate them at will.

I know what happened. I know where my timeline skewed. It was the rise of societies’ scapegoat. No, I’m not talking about horror novels, or the movies based on them, I’m referring to the video game. Continue reading

Contradictions & Quirks

Posted in THE ACT OF BECOMING (Quotes from my Original Blog) & WHAT'S BEEN GOIN' ON LATELY on 10/21/2012 by scdenton

Looking back at my last two entries it seems as if there might be some contradiction, and I felt there may be a need for clarification. Using the internet as a tool to further your learning is a good thing.

But at what point does it become the crutch that allows you to rest on your laurels? Continue reading

Sample Contracts

Posted in THE ACT OF BECOMING (Quotes from my Original Blog) & WHAT'S BEEN GOIN' ON LATELY on 10/21/2012 by scdenton

Sample Contracts: March 14th,2009 1:37am

Of course any writer’s main focus in life should be writing. Equally important is: reading. But of no less importance is learning the business/craft.

It’s the real reason why so many of us fail. If you read often it should come as no surprise that there is some pretty horrible work out there being published. And not all of it is self-published. Like most of us you have probably read books and thought, ‘I could do better than this. In fact I’ve thrown away nicer prose.’ Continue reading

KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM….

Posted in THE ACT OF BECOMING (Quotes from my Original Blog) & WHAT'S BEEN GOIN' ON LATELY with tags , , on 10/18/2012 by scdenton

Sometimes a Helping Hand can Strangle: Wednesday March 11th, 2009 11:43pm

Lately, I’m becoming more aware of the time I spend on the internet under the guise of helping my writing career.

Untold hours spent trawling for writing related info. Oh I tell myself the pretty lie: that there is a world of free wisdom out there geared specifically for my kind, and that like a great sponge of gray matter I will readily absorb said knowledge.

And perhaps to some degree this is the truth. But the problem is: this educate thyself motto has taken a great portion of my time which could be spent writing.

I think the inherent malfunction may, in part, be, that I have lived most of my adult life without the use of the internet.

To me it’s like a new Christmas present, and I’m just as obsessed as I ever was with any of my shiny new toys.

Hopefully, this madness too shall pass. Though I’m nearing the three month anniversary of my true introduction to this compelling DEMONESS, and there seems to be no abating. Continue reading

Failure to Launch

Posted in THE ACT OF BECOMING (Quotes from my Original Blog) & WHAT'S BEEN GOIN' ON LATELY with tags , on 10/18/2012 by scdenton

Launch failure of a Long March 3B rocket with ...

Failure To Launch: Monday March 2, 2009 10:04pm

I’ve spent the last two days trying to figure out how to send a story out. If I ever do uncover the vast secrets behind sending out a word document, I shall praise the lord.

My self induced hiatus from technology is to blame. It used to be that I had an understanding of how to manipulate these electronic boxes. But that was ages ago when people were still required to enter actual program names and directives in that archaic language lost, which is DOS.

I’ve sent submissions via e-mail often, it’s just that when I set up my first e-mail account on YAHOO I used the servers an internet source  directed me to use.

Unbeknownst to me my instructions were dated, and thus useless.

Having fixed the compatibility/ port problem I still wasn’t able to submit my word documents. The centers of solution pointed in the direction of Windows Live Mail, and here I am writing in the blog rather than checking to see if I could NOW send out my submissions.

I guess my point is this: If you’re a young writer, and you don’t know much about computers, get yourself in a computer class, and fast.

If I hadn’t spent  years writing on a typewriter, I wouldn’t be in this fix, but I wouldn’t change that experience for the world.

There’s something inherently mystical about that harmonious clickity-clack. The bell just doesn’t quite ring the same with these newfangled devices.

Thoroughly Annoyed,

S.C. Denton

treebeerdstuff

Some drawings, words and peanut butter.

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This is the way the world ends--not with a whimper but a scream

SURVIVING THE GAME:

HOME OF FICTION WRITER: S.C. DENTON AS WELL AS A PLACE FOR MY SPECULATIONS AND THEORIES

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