An eldritch moon shines dimly
Tentacles, cagéd, writhing.
A figure appears, black-garbed,
Whispering soft prayers
Wrapped in the pow'r of the gods.
Suddenly, he calls aloud;
Light beams from above
Casting out the clinging dark.
Screams can be heard all around,
Shrinking in upon themselves.
Another yell, and blue fire
Flickers all around
Purifying tainted ground.
Then the darkness falls again
Revealing clear earth
The tentacled scourge is gone.
Written for @PurpleQueen's #MidWeekFlash prompt on twitter.
Peeps, it’s been so long since I’ve wanted, or been able to write. I think it’s something to do with the mind-adjusting meds; since I’ve been on them, I’ve been a lot calmer and less volatile as a human, but it’s also taken away an awful lot of my creativity. Swings and roundabouts, eh?
Anyway, this morning I just started writing, and got 1100 words down! They’re probably not awesome words, but I did it!
I really hope this isn’t a flash in the pan, and I can continue to write again. I’ve missed it.
This is a very short, slightly gloaty post. Sorry, and thank you for reading 😉
What to say? It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
Lots has changed since last I wrote.
I’m no longer a Christian; that ship sailed and went down with no survivors. I’m now a sort of free-range believer-in-the-universe.
The kids are now 22, 14 and 12 (where does the time go?) and still opinionated, amazing, lovely beans.
I’m still married to Paul. Poor bloke, he deserves better. We celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary last Christmas.
We now have two dogs, Lulu, a saluki(ish), and Summer, a lurcher. They’re both rescues, about four, and have three braincells between them.
What else? I still hate mirrors, love haribo, and don’t do enough housework.
I’m going to try to blog more regularly; it’s good therapy and free (ha ha ha). I might also try to get back to writing.
If you’ve read this far, thank you. Hope to see you again.
Slowly, painfully, I knelt before the old priest.
“Father, I need absolution for my sins, I need to be clean again,” I wept. “I know I am loathsome and I don’t want to be any more!”
His bony hand wove through my hair to cup my skull. “My child, you know I can’t offer absolution,” he said quietly. “I can offer a listening ear, a prayer, a blessing…but I’m the wrong kind of priest to absolve you.” He reached for a huge, old bible and released me so he could flick through it, obviously searching for the right verse or reading to ‘help’ me. But that wasn’t what I wanted.
“No!” I wailed, and reached to grab the Bible from him. I screamed and dropped the heavy book, staring at the smoking skin of my palms, the blisters forming on my fingers. The pork-like scent of burning human flesh mixed with a curiously sulphurous smell and the priest stumbled backwards, reaching for the cross around his neck.
Suddenly there was a tearing across my shoulders and I screamed, falling flat on the floor. I writhed as the tearing became agonising pain, hearing my bones crack as a stretching, unfurling sensation overtook me and huge weight pressed me to the floor. It was all too much: I blacked out.
When I came to, the priest was sobbing quietly, curled up on the floor with his back to me. The room seemed dark, and when I looked up, huge black wings spread above me, blocking the light from the stained glass windows. I tried to stand, but couldn’t. Reaching up, I plucked a feather from the wing nearest me, gasping at the small stinging pain I felt as I did so. The feather was a thing of beauty, glossy and dark with an oil slick-rainbow sheen to it. And apparently it was mine!
Concentrating hard, I furled my wings and slowly pushed to my knees, then up. I wobbled but eventually got used to the weight of the wings, swishing them about me and kicking up dust in the old church. Turning in a wide circle, I knocked over the vase of flowers on the altar table with a crash, and I smiled.
“Thanks, Father,” I said. “Looks like I won’t be needing that absolution after all…”
I responded to a question on Instagram today: what scares me? I answered ‘Death – both the process and what comes afterwards.’
This got me thinking about what, exactly, scares me about it and I’ve come to the conclusion it’s being taken and killed by a psychocannibal (I only saw fifteen minutes of The Silence of the Lambs, but the effect lasted!).
Naturally, this meant I needed to write it down…exorcism of fears through creative writing? I’m also following #verbuary2019 on Instagram and today’s writing prompt is ‘sandwich’ so I worked that in (poorly).
So. Here you have it. My take on psychocannibal horror in under 300 words. Enjoy. Or not.
I’d been here, bound blindfolded, for felt like eternity. My shoulders, knees and hips burned from the unnatural position I was forced to maintain, and in the pitch-darkness I saw kaleidoscopic rainbows of light. I’d long given up screaming as the crumpled rag in my mouth muffled even the loudest sounds I could produce. Suddenly there were heavy footsteps. I jumped, my breath coming faster, my heart thumping hard against my ribs.
He ripped the blindfold off, causing me to screw my eyes shut as light stabbed at me. As sight returned, I saw he was holding an oddly shaped knife in his left hand, the fingertips of his right hand softly caressing the flat of the blade.
“This is a Victorinox skinning knife,” he told me. “It allows me to skin prey almost effortlessly. Rabbits, deer, boar…humans…” There was lust in his tone as he trailed off.
An odd calmness possessed me as he came closer, taking me into a twisted parody of an embrace, setting the bladeto my skin. There was almost no pain as the knife sliced through my epidermis, and then the burn began and I cried out.
Blood welled up through the cut as he neatly flayed a long strip of skin from my upper arm. He breathed hoarsely and I felt his lust against me even as tears and snot streamed from me. I screamed into the rag and strained against my bonds while he cut.
Finally he was done, proudly showing me my own flesh, dripping with blood. He tipped his head back and slipped my skin into his mouth, chewing with evident delight. He swallowed and grinned. “Delicious! Although it would have been even better fried and served in a sandwich…”
Ask me how I am. Go on…
I’m ok, thank you. I’m fine. Bit tired, maybe. But ok.
But I’m not. Not ok. And I don’t know how to explain it. It could be my meds, the weather, stress…or brainweasels and shitgoblins!
As I write this, I’m sat in the dark eating my other half’s Toblerone. I’ve got a sugar-induced headache and my eyes are straining because I’m typing on my phone in the dark like a numpty…and I’m not ok.
What I really want is a Fairy Godperson (I don’t mind their gender as long as they have a shit load of magic available) to come and give me my Cinderella moment: the makeover, the one night of fantasy, the chance to step away from everything, however briefly, and be someone else. Anyone else. Preferably someone who’s not regretting a Toblerone overdose!
Failing that, maybe what I need is a good dose of leeches and a lie-down in a quiet, dark room…
Anyway, that’s enough self-pity: time for me to pull my metaphorical socks up and go make the spawns their dinner.
We don’t have a full-length mirror at home…mostly because a) my youngest is a total Narcissus and would be frozen forever, and b) I hate looking at my body because…
(There are several reasons for this, like heredity, illness, medications, a Haribo addiction, but none of them change the fact that I. Am. Fat.)
Anyway, before this gets too negative, back to the mirror.
Hubs and I were staying in a Travelodge overnight (the in-laws had the spawns! Frabjous day!) and it of course has not only a room-wide, harshly-lit mirror in the bathroom, but a full-length mirror in the bedroom. Eeek.
But this morning, instead of avoiding the mirror, and after criticising myself harshly after my shower (“too fat”, “huge arse”, “look at those thighs”) I made a conscious decision to stand before the full-length mirror and praise myself. (Hubs was off running round Ipswich Marina in the rain…)
And you know what? Yes, I am medically obese. Yes, I could do with losing some weight for the good of my health, if no other reason. Yes, in the eyes of society my body isn’t fashionable, attractive or acceptable.
I am valid.
I have worth.
My body is a miracle of nature (yours is too, y’know).
It’s also a miracle of science (thank you, pain relief and brain meds!).
And although my body isn’t perhaps all I’d want it to be, it’s mine, and I’m going to learn to love it. No more hiding, no more shame, no more hating.
This is me.
Over on Twitter today, I’ve been chatting about ‘Vagina Makeup’.
-Actually (I’m foof-splaining, here, note ‘actually’) it’s a cream for the mons, not the vagina*-
This led my deranged mind on some bizarre pathways, and other people got dragged along with me on the journey. We discussed female and male genitalia makeup and different ways of tarting up one’s nether regions. Plumping gloss for penises, rainbow lighting for the vulva, eyeliner and glitter and superheroes… It was a brilliantly funny conversation and gave us all a laugh.
But… When you think about it, it’s quite serious. Quite sad.
Women are already told that our natural appearance is unacceptable; we have dainty wee razors to get us in trim. We can’t have odour or natural secretions (both of which are entirely natural and serve a function), and now women are having surgery to get perfectly landscaped ladygardens… Yep. Surgery.
I know there’s also pressure on men to have the perfect penis, which is again wickedly irresponsible – penises come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re all ok.
It’s human nature to be curious-to-fascinated regarding genitalia; it’s part of the survival of the species (and you only need to try raising eight-year-old boys to realise it’s completely nature and not nurture). But we live in a culture which has gone beyond a natural appreciation of ‘sexy bits’ and now fetishises them to a degree which is unhealthy.
We already face immense pressure to conform. To be part of the herd. To be homogenous. Society tries to mold us via the press, entertainment, peer pressure into ‘perfect’ humans. And now that pressure is extended to having beautifully bald-and-Barbielike genitals…
Remember the Sex Hats in Demolition Man?** We are moving rapidly towards that state; where the act of sex is considered unnatural, unnecessary. Where making children is a sterile procedure and the sex itself is purely visual.
Sex is at the most basic level the act of procreation.
Tab A fits into slot B, nine months later, along comes C: end of.
But there’s so much attached to sex; emotion, sensation, connection. And all sorts of ways to get tab A into slot B…and while you’re at it, you’ll find fur and fuzz and lumps and bumps and scents and odours and outies and innies…and you know what?
It’s bad enough that we are expected to be homogenously perfect. That the world still only really accepts that we are male OR female, and can’t grasp that people fit anywhere and everywhere between. We can’t have zits or dandruff or wrinkles or fat**** OR bones. We shouldn’t have pubic hair, leg hair, armpit hair (unless we’re making a ‘statement’), but our head hair has to be glossy and go ‘swoosh’…
Being human is messy. And messy is good. Messy has worked for millions of years. Messy has put 7+billion people on this planet.
I’m here to tell you that (unless it appeals to you) your mons doesn’t need to sparkle like Edward Cullen.
Honest. It doesn’t. (Unless you want it to.)
Your body can be skinny, fat, smooth or fuzzy, and that’s ok.
Your body is where YOU live. YOU have to feel comfortable in it. If you want to sparkle-up your ladygarden, by all means do it – but only because you want to. Not because it’s what society demands on order for you to be acceptable.
In the words of Christina Aguilera:
You are beautiful/ No matter what they say.
*Autocorrect wants that to be ‘monster’, not ‘mons’…I think it feels threatened!
**If you haven’t seen Demolition Man, try it. It’s hysterical. And very violent.
***Really! Humans are messy. It’s cool.
****I have wrinkles and fat. The other week I described myself as being ‘fat fetish territory’. Nobody should feel like that. Yes, I’m fat. No, that doesn’t mean I’m just an object, sexually. I need to sort that shit out.
I am so sick of Magic Penis Syndrome in modern romance, especially Billionaire Romance.
I’m sick of billionaires, too, come to think of it.
I’m sick of feisty, go-getting women with interesting lives and backstory and inner monologues all becoming hormonal messes with no will after one glance from “his [incomparable/unusual/badly simile-d] eyes”. Women who, at the merest whiff of his super-strong testosterone, drop their knickers along with any previous sex issues they had – magic penises being able to cure all hang-ups and issues with one noticeable prod to her hip/tummy/side, depending on location and size difference.
I’m sick of jealous exes, mad stalkers, throwing caution to the wind, bathrooms ‘bigger than my entire apartment’ with handily-placed showerheads (see older blog piece), million-dollar cars, surprise luxury vacations, and a denouement three chapters from the end.
It’s Mills & Boon, just with bigger penises and a lot more swearing.
You think you’ve moved on, with your bondage and ‘mature themes’, but you’re writing the same stories than have always been told, just with bigger budgets and more gynaecology.
Give me ordinary fellas, with un-magical penises (and, please, some kind of refractory period!), mortgages, boring everyday jobs, who still make my heart flutter.
Give me women who aren’t a plus-sized twelve (horrors!!!) ‘but still sexy anyway’, or a perfectly formed whatever. Give me cellulite and knobbly knees and boobs that disappear when she lies down. Make her real and relatable.
I grew up on Mills & Boon. My expectations of sex were…if not completely realistic, then at least not over-inflated, pardon the pun. I worry that this generation are reading these books and thinking they’ve got to be perfectly formed, all-knowing, duracell-powered sex machines…and the prevalence and accessibility of online porn isn’t going to help dispel that myth one bit.
Get. Rid. Of. Magical. Penises.*
*I have a migraine and PMT. This doesn’t excuse the above post, but might explain some of it.**
**I am, however, enjoying the curmudgeonliness which has blossomed since I turned forty. Whingepower FTW!***
***_IF_ magical penises do, actually, exist (‘thick as my wrist’, ‘big enough to almost hurt’, never goes down, always get the job done, and gives it’s partner morality amnesia) I’m happy to be proved wrong.****
Oh, gods, I’ve had enough.
I am so bloody tired of all of it. I don’t have answers for any of the questions, not solutions for the problems. And I. Am. Tired.
Yes, I get like this regularly (every three months, according to my mood tracking app), and the lead up to this point is so predictable; I stop eating properly, sleeping well, I have nightmares every night and then I become, if not someone I’m not, then someone I fight hard not to be; crude and suggestive, obsessed with sex and wanting so desperately to feel attractive, to be wanted.
I could blame it on my daddy leaving when I was a kid; on being bullied for being ugly and undateable; on only just realising at the age of forty that I don’t actually identify as female a lot of the time, which answers questions I didn’t even know I had… But that wouldn’t be honest.
Truth is, I haven’t a clue why I’m like this. I’ve always been excessively moody, PMT had always been horrible for me and those around me, but the last year has been worse. The highs are higher, the lows are lower, and there doesn’t appear to be anything in the middle.
Being suicidal is new. Being suicidal and meaning it. Planning how to do it, where and when, so I disrupt or distress as few people as possible. Wondering if I can, because I want to, but feeling such a burden of guilt at the thought of the people I’d leave behind. And then hating on myself because I’m not strong enough to just do it.
There’s a scene in Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ where Richard, the protagonist, is facing a trial to win a key. He finds himself on an underground platform confronted with people from his ‘real’ life (and himself) all urging him to just kill himself, despising him for being ‘too weak’ to. And that’s my head right now. I’m pushing and provoking myself constantly, trying literally to shove myself over the edge. (Richard wins the trial by NOT killing himself and proving he’s stronger than the voices, by the way…)
And this time, for the first time, I hurt someone else with my actions. I never meant to, but I did. I wish to goodness I hadn’t done what I did, nor said what I said. I wish it could be erased so I didn’t cause hurt to a really good friend, so he’s not left hurt because of me. I wish an apology was a magic wand, but it isn’t because we are grown ups, not three year olds. So all I can do is apologise one more time, from the bottom of my heart. I am so, so sorry for hurting you. It was never my intention, and if I could make it up to you I would.
So, yeah. I’m fucked up. Fed up. Tired of hurting in my body, my head and my heart.
I don’t know what the answers are, other than Keeping Calm and Carrying On, and hoping that maybe finally, things are going to change. It’s not like I’m not trying.
Anyway. That’s me, brain vomit all over cyberspace. Thank you for reading/listening/being there.