Red-Wat-Shod, by Jason V. Brock

Hellraiser

Jason V Brock has been widely published in magazines, comics and anthologies such as Dark Scribe Press’s Butcher Knives & Body Counts; Bluewater comics' mini-series Tales from William F. Nolan's Dark Universe; Animal Magnetism; Calliope Literary Supplement; Ethereal Tales; Black Wings II; Like Water for Quarks; San Diego Comic-Con International’s Souvenir Book; Dark Discoveries (where he serves as Managing Editor/Art Director); Fangoria; Weird Fiction Review; American Rationalist and several other venues around the world, in a variety of languages. A collaborator with esteemed critic S. T. Joshi, Brock is currently finishing multiple novels.


Brock served as co-editor/contributor to the award-winning Cycatrix Press anthology The Bleeding Edge: Dark Barriers, Dark Frontiers with William F. Nolan (Logan's Run), which showcased new, unpublished works from authors John Shirley, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Joe R. Lansdale, Gary Braunbeck and more. Brock and Nolan also teamed for the follow-up anthology, The Devil's Coattails: More Dispatches from the Dark Frontier, which features never-before-seen writings from Dan O'Bannon, Earl Hamner, Ramsey Campbell and Norman Corwin, among others, as well as a book about the life and works of Twilight Zone scribe Charles Beaumont (The Intruder), entitled Strange Interlude: The Worlds of Charles Beaumont.


Brock also assists Mr. Nolan on various other projects, including the Bluewater Productions comics Logan’s Run: Last Day (Story Consultant/Costume Design) and Dark Universe (writer);as editor for Nolan's Arkham House collection Dead Man Walking and Other Shadow Tales (out in 2012); and as co-writer for the upcoming addition to the Logan's Run saga entitled Logan Falls.


Brock's films include the highly-regarded documentaries Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man; The AckerMonster Chronicles (about legendary agent and Famous Monsters of Filmland editor Forrest J Ackerman), and the forthcoming Image, Reflection, Shadow: Artists of the Fantastic (featuring H. R. Giger, Roger Dean, Ernst Fuchs and many more artists from all over the world). An outstanding artist and musician himself, Brock has had multiple showings of his artwork and illustrated his own books in addition to creating posters and packaging for his films and his progressive rock band ChiaroscurO.


A health nut and gadget freak, he lives in the Portland, OR area, and loves his wife Sunni, their family of reptiles/amphibians, and practicing vegan/vegetarianism. Visit his website at http://www.JaSunni.com.

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“What do you see?”

“Well... she’s walking toward me... slightly out of focus, with these visual trails, like bad video... she’s – gliding, in slow motion; sort of drifting... back and forth – like she’s hovering off the ground...”

“Is she?”

“I don’t know; I’m tied to the bed. I can hardly see anything – feels like I’m strapped down at the forehead, too; My eyes are straining in the dark –”
“What else is happening?”

“She – she moves very – erratically – I intuit more than see how she moves, if that makes any sense... it’s like a video tape on fast forward: darting left, then right, then behind my head, all crackly... it’s like she’s in more than one place at a time – The room we’re in is long and narrow… like an MRI tube almost, and there are – how would I describe it? Kind of – flashes: very intense red and green cutting through the gloom, like strobes or something...”

“What’s she wearing?”

“Hmmm... She’s in like a -- a long gauzy cloak thing with a hood, but her body underneath is naked; she’s voluptuous: curvy hips; tiny waist; big, bouncy breasts; flat stomach; her pubic hair is neatly trimmed... where her skin appears, though, it’s raw and... fluoresces like under a blacklight… And she’s – she’s torn up... bones pushing through the pulp.”

“Is there more?”

“Yeah: her body emits this sickly yellow aura; her face is fuzzy, indistinct, but her eyes -– her eyes are quick and black, like a shark’s...”

“What happens then?”

“Except for the weird jumpiness, her other movements are slow, ponderous... I can feel the blood rise in my face – my heart’s pounding so hard: I’m just hoping it won’t beat a hole through me... then, there’s this – this whooshing in my ears, right when the temperature drops –”

“Does the woman ever speak?”

“No, never. There’s no other sound; in fact it’s utterly quiet, like a vacuum, except for the wooshing... I try to scream, to cry out, but my mouth won’t open; it feels like I’m paralyzed... I can’t even blink, I just move my eyes around...”

“Is she alone?”

“Yes: at first. After a while she’s at the foot of the bed, or whatever I’m strapped onto. Slowly she crawls up my body – still jerky, out of focus... Then the whole room starts rotating, and I start feeling sick... the strobes are synced to my heartbeat – after a while, in the distance, there’s a another sound – an intense pounding noise...”

“What is it?”

“I-I don’t know... As I'm trying to figure it out, she’s suddenly kneeling on my chest, her breath dirty, like decay... That's when… That's when he appears at the far end of the tube we’re in...”

“’He’ who?”

“You know: the guy I sold the lighter to.”

“The one that you’re upset about?”

“Yeah… yeah… The guy I'm upset about.”

“Go on, tell me the rest.”

“But I’ve already –”

“Tell me again.”

“He just – just appears – I don’t know how; maybe he walked in or ‘materialized’ or whatever. She’s on my chest – it’s hard to breathe – and her face is like three inches from mine; she’s still out of focus looking… the room’s still spinning -- and… and…”

“Yes?”

“And I’m scared! I can’t move, remember? I’m tied down, and that -- pounding is getting louder and louder. The guy keeps walking toward us, too... He has the weirdest look on his face, like he’s smiling and at peace; resolute...”

“Keep going: that’s not all...”

“Why are you doing this to me?”

I’m not doing anything – you said you wanted to do this for the record –”

“I know… I know I did... it’s just -- tough; very tough... So, anyway, he walks up to us, and he says: ‘I need a book of matches, please’. So... so I tell him that I only have lighters; he buys one. I can’t remember how I communicated this, as I still couldn’t speak... I was still strapped down, so I don't know how I got this lighter to him; I can't remember any kind of transaction or anything. It was just like a mental conversation…”

“And then?”

“And then, he thanks me, and slowly walks away.”

“No... no, you left something out –”

“Please don’t make me say it... I'm feeling sick –”

Say it! I have to hear you say it for the record. You started it anyway; you think I’m enjoying this?”

“Okay! Okay, so I sold him the lighter... I-I didn’t notice that he had a gas can he was carrying... as he’s walking out of the room, he pours the gasoline all over himself; just dumps it onto his head. It makes him gag; he yelps when it hits his eyes... he’s gasping and sputtering -- then he lights the lighter...”

“What happened then?”

“He-he still had that strange flat half-smile, just before he goes up... The fumes ignite and he’s instantly engulfed in this intense fireball... All the while she’s still sitting on my chest. The gasoline smell is overwhelming. Disgusting. My heart is just flying, then I smell this – this other, sweet kind of smell... it’s -- it’s him...”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s- it’s his skin burning. If -- if you’ve ever smelled burning human flesh, you never forget it... It’s like scorched sugar and tar mixed together. And the sound... it pops… like popcorn or water across a griddle. I-I see him just out of the corner of my eye: he’s melting – sort of in slow motion, like he's in outer space or something. I see the flames wrap around him... little fiery tongues licking across his face and clothes. His hair is disintegrating, like he has a nimbus made of cinders; his fat is frying, bubbling. I can feel the burn of the heat on my skin...”

“What is she doing during all of this?”

“She’s just staring at me, her face orange with the fire’s illumination. My eyes are drying out, and her breath is foul; the heat, the oily smoke, his stench, the sound of his skin searing is… breathtaking... You know, he never once screamed or lost that eerie expression: the grin, the million-mile stare...”

“Then?”

“Finally, his skull just appeared under his blackened face – the ashes of his flesh drifted away on the breeze from his personal inferno...”

“What else?”

“Well… As he is crumbling to a heap on the floor, she leans down to my ear and says something... I can’t quite figure it out –”

“You can’t hear her?”

“No – I hear her, just barely, but I hear her... No, it’s like she’s speaking some foreign language. The room is still spinning: it gets faster. My breath is shallow: I’m trying not to breathe – him -- into my lungs... the smells, the noise... the strobes are making my head ache; all the time there’s the intense flicker still coming from his immolation... From his cremated remains…”

“Go on: you’re almost finished...”

“She-she whispers in my ear again, thrusting her tongue in there. My heart is still pounding, pounding; then it suddenly gets dark – pitch black. My heart slows... slower... slower... finally the universe disappears… I am in oblivione...

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(C) 2011 Jason V. Brock

 

 

 

© Paul Kane 2003-2017. All rights reserved. Materials (including images) may not be reproduced without express permission from the author.