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One of the purposes of this blog is to get my writing “out there”. Hey, it’s pretty “out there” alrea Unfortunately, publishing my stories on a blog such as this disqualifies them from being picked up by the majority of literary journals and e-zines. This limits, for the moment at least, what I can put up. However, one story that I can put up on this blog right this minute is the one that started it all: BEND AGAIN A SECOND BEND (we fed our baby bacon fat), which won the 2010 College Green Literary Prize and stands now as a real watershed moment. This story helped me realise that not only was writing what I wanted to do, but hey, I wasn’t too bad at it either! From this story sprang the idea to do forty of these linked stories (subsequently forty-five, constituting the sequence that I call Hot Nonsense Weeping– more on that later).

So, pull up your mother’s tumour or wriggle into a cosy bleach-basin; fill your hands with cool, cool bacon fat; bleat mercilessly at a squinting priest and, most of all, enjoy.

BEND AGAIN

A SECOND BEND

(WE FED OUR BABY BACON FAT)



Something came down with the rain.

.    .    .

At first they fed it a feed of flies—a quiet kindness before it died.

But when it grew, when it shuddered and groaned and burst through the bottom of that drawer, scarred hands shook and, clasping, shaking, moved it, cursing, darting then from light to shadow lest they be caught and new trouble follow old, moved it, locked it away, strong-chained and bolt-shut beneath red pipes, beneath the old cold clutch of concrete.

And still they heard it yawn, a half-screamed wrench of skin and still they heard it move, scrape wet flesh along the stones in pain and hunger.

And found themselves forced in fear to feed that thing.

.    .    .

A bubble on her sternum it had been, a bubble that shrieked when trembling needles pierced the onion-orb. Ears bleeding they left it to grow and hang, and taut one night it wrenched itself away from her, a sluice of oil, a coil of filth.

They caught it on the second step and tried for mashing with their toes, tried to crack the grape-growth stamping, but it bit elusive and would not submit.

The shock— an eye— it had an eye, it had an eye— a cold black pebble hanging on a thread of skin.

.    .    .

Never would it speak in a child’s voice, but dribbled dark and threatening things, jumbled liquid phrases tumbling from the gap where a mouth should have been, the gap wherein the flies were forced and mashed to nothing in the meeting of bone.

And it grew.

The covering that clung to it was not hair, for hair is dead— no breath runs through it, nor can black blood freely flow.

And as it grew, so grew its gap, and soon forced flies were not enough, not near enough to staunch or quench, and night-time whispers dripped raw hunger in their ears, dark halls ringing with the hollow meeting of bone unfed.

Flesh…

.    .    .

Bolt opened now and strong chain loosening it would roll towards them , gap presented, the hollow void ribbed and pink, and fat torn free in yellow worms poked between pale and wrinkled cheeks, have spat on them fine threads of  red, as fingers wrenched back lest a knuckle lost.

Newly fed on flesh it tried to smile, but the gap was rigid and would never yield  and so the effort soured to hate, days filled now with naught but cries for meat, calling forth the ginger poke of wet red flesh unending.

Flesh…

.    .    .

And growing out the pipes gouged runnels in its skin, the old cold concrete cracking, giving, as it grew until the door could not be locked against it, until the chains could hold no more and gave, giving in an instant.

Stumbling unsure it found them, and finding woke them, woke them with the mashing of bone on bone, and straining hard against its strength, tear-wet faces rigid as the gap they hated, they fought and pushed it back, down, thinking—it must smother, it must choke—so force bad bleach into the gap, kneel bad pressure on the thing, beat it, clog its wretched face with filthy cloths, end it, end it, end it all!

God forgive us but it has no right to life—

They tried, though sickness and love and hate and fear marched madness in their minds. It coughed them up; the bleach, the cloths. Struggled against the pressing weight of knee and fist. It healed— the raw gap scabbed and crusting, bruised skin fading back to blandness.

It forgave them. They would never forgive themselves.

.    .    .

And it grew so no single room contained it, ceiling sagging, walls wet and buckled from the rot of its stain, thrush dissolving bricks and stone, it owned the basement, it owned that lower floor.

And so it loved them neverending. Nightly pushing through the floor up to them, filthy, leering, as sleep lay wasted, and rising rag-hung it whispered what would happen if love was no more, if an end had come to flesh and meat. The things, all terrible, it would cause if love be leaving.

Could they run? Could they hope to run and hide and leave the thing alone to die? It warned them. It would find them. Drag them home where it would love them neverending.

Flesh…

.    .    .

And forced they were to feed that thing, to feed and fill the gap with strands of bacon fat. A finger lost, another followed, still they fed it as their stumps stung weeping, fed it and cursed it, evading the leer of its dead black eye.

A month now since the water swallowed; two weeks since the growth brought forth a fungal mound, a filthy thing that bit a hard black hollow on her chest; and now two days since food be found.

And so began the crying of the thing— soothing vainly they feared its finding, they feared the terror brought if found and forced from them. The horror was theirs alone; bound they were until it passed.

A bid for silence saw sacrifice, a hand, three wincing chops severed and shattered it from the bone and tossed, stunned and pale, into the gap, consumed and gone, a bite of bone, a burst of blood. All futile.

Flesh…

.    .    .

They had been spoken of, that couple that had disappeared, withdrawn from the world, the couple who emerged once more, dirty, dishevelled and pale, shuffling, fingerless. Haunted. Silent. A font for sullen gossip.

Dogs and cats were led from parks, were grabbed from gardens.

Now piles of collars, cold coils of cat hair, shat out or spat up, littered the floor while the gap was torn by claws and teeth, the thing shrieking, calling for a feed of pliant flesh that did not pierce the hot ribbed softness of the gap.

It screamed, it screamed and battered its bulk against the walls, all bad bending, glass shattering all meat piercing, forcing itself to be found in its fury. They couldn’t let that happen.

A small price to set against a greater one.

God forgive us—

.    .    .

And so to calm and have it fed, babies, pink and normal disappeared, just as the couple vanished home, and on and on the village talked, urgency mounting, as, yet unknown, parcels of pink flesh were shrilly kicked into the gap and crunched to nothing.

One handed, smiling, beckoning he would tease the children from their homes, two handed she would take the knife to them, slicing them into discreet halves and quarters, the knife point swiftly bone working, separating but taking care not to kill.

Not yet.

Together they would kick the warbling parcels across the rotting floor and down, down into the gap.

God forgive us—

Chewing with glee it would try to smile, with such hardness force a grin, the pleasure of the pink flesh slipping in, the loathsome threads foaming down, but the gap, the gap unyielding could not curve to testify its joy.

How could this last?

.    .    .

Now eyes were turning towards that village, turning towards the empty schools and silent homes, and so we came, uniforms and lights and questions, suspicions raised and followed to their source—the house, that stinking wreck of rotten stone, and watching watched the windows spill what ragged curtains couldn’t cover. Flesh; a pale tide flowing— hair-stained heaving with the hollow breath of it.

We stood there listening, watching with doubtful eyes—what to do? What thing was this? A ball of flesh queasy in a shell of stone.

What happened next we must assume from fragments found and sights observed—they must have seen or heard us from their wretched bed of rags. We think he took his own life first, acrid bleach staining, dissolving, burning— nothing like an easy death. And we think she tried to follow him, but drank too little or coughed it out.

Survived.

We know she survived because we would see her one last time.

But first we saw it— roaring like a thing unholy pulling from the house that held it, rendering it a cloud of dust and brick and rising in a mound of muscle, pink gap wide, thrusting forwards for release—the thing.

The thing.

In an instant stride amongst us, all were dripped in bleeding hair, the straggling foreskin across its hips, the faecal prolapse staining flanks, a sudden smell of heat and it was gone. Running like nothing living should, running though its muscles slid unsure, the hollow slap of bone-filled gap resounding.

And then we saw her in its arms, bound and bleeding, screaming from her mouth still melting, screaming from the crushing grip and carried on into the night. Carried on into the cold.

Love neverending.

And on it ran. Running as if it was forever falling, tumbling towards the wrongness of its shadow, running, toppling, collapsing into the darkness. And all were swallowed by the night.

.    .    .

We had seen the first of them.

But only the first…

.    .    .

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