Events in my life have conspired to prevent me from completing the goal of fifty thousand words within a month’s time. I am loathe to set the blame on external circumstances, but it is true enough. This here is an excerpt from the CHESTER section, which concerns a zombie’s odyssey. He will interact with Vogina and Seamus, another character I have not (yet?) shown in this blog, though minutely, despite their convergence being of the utmost importance (to the plot, if I threaded it correctly). Chester remains largely unwritten and exists in the rough chunks of excerpts, so forgive any discontinuity. I just might finish this novel, for the hell of it, having just read it after a couple of weeks dusting. It’s not too bad. A bit weird, yes, but that’s the type of fiction I subscribe to. Well, happy readings, and do share your thoughts of Chester, if you managed to read through the entirety of this unusually long post, hell, even if you didn’t make it through.
Dripping, mouldy Chester Chadwick emerged from his final resting place, brushed the dirt from his decayed trousers, and surveyed the seedy graveyard with a critical eye. He observed jagged yellow tombstones covered with undecipherable writings jutting from dirt with a sky of grass… and groaned. He wriggled his foot and the tombstones wriggled accordingly. He reeled in his eye severely and secured it in its socket. That was better. He sighed, phlegm clattering in his throat. He wasn’t very good at being undead, having spent most of his non-life scratching against solid oak. His coffin was lined with fingernail splinters. Damn his family for being so rich! A pine box would have been a lifesaver, he thought, chuckling at the bad pun. It was moonlit, like an opening scene in a B-movie, and it was so ominous in the graveyard he’d just unearthed himself into that it gave him shivers. Fog wreathing gravestones, looming pines, groaning wind sounds, the usual fare. But then, in a horror movie, all you had to worry about, most days, was losing your life… that part, he had cinched.
He groaned involuntarily. B-b-brains! His nostrils, inept in life, could contest a bloodhound in death. He smelled gray matter miles away. His half-eaten brain sloshed in its pan with anticipation. On limbs like rancid bags of noodle soup with onions for elbows and knees, he put a foot ahead of the other, congratulating himself on his exquisite b-brains! and authentic shamble. As he walked, or tried to, a philosophical spirit settled onto him and despite the overwhelming hunger for a chewy cerebellum or a finger-lickin’ amygdala, he wrestled with b-b-brains! metaphysics and metempsychosis, his thoughts launching into a lengthy discourse with himself about his death and subsequent resurrection. Considering his circumstances, he was sensible enough to lend credence to the idea that a body, or a brain, for that matter, was not necessary for consciousness. B-b-brains! He was the living heh heh proof. He shambled past the wrought iron gates of the graveyard, remembering.
Eight and engaged in a chess match with his father, Chester Chuck Chadwick Senior, who was then lecturing at him the sanctity of the military establishment and the tactical advantage afforded by a more than rudimentary knowledge of the going ons of a chessboard which would greatly influence a man on the battlefield, Chester thought about his father’s words for a long moment before sweeping the pieces off the board, crying, “In war, there are no real rules but those created by the players! The pawn may become a king.” He stuck a finger high in the air, proud of his point. He was a rather dramatic child. If his father had been a beet farmer instead of an intensely patriotic soldier, the shade of his face would have matched his produce, and Chester Chuck Chadwick Senior’s precisely trimmed toothbrush mustache bristled with indignity at the offense visited upon the noble and sacred establishment of the chessboard as he spluttered, “Off to your room, boy! No green beans and carrots for dinner!” He was a particularly peculiar child as well, his interests running against the grain of conventional children things. He had gone to his room and pored through the pulps, searching for mannerisms to adopt, from the swelling chest of a heroic aviator to the ponderous hand on chin of the ever clever detective.
The father’s hopes for the military future of his son suffered a hairline crack that night, a progression which was, within a few hours, to result in a complete shattering, when he promptly died from an over-stressed heart. His mother, throwing up her hands (which a second ago had contained a butcher knife still red wet from the preparations of dinner) fell onto her husband to shudder violently before slumping motionlessly. This Chester saw from his door, slightly cracked open to admit his sight. She had fallen on the knife, and the media, unsure what to make of it, called it a suicide pact.
Chester was admitted to an orphanage. It was filled with the cruel gestures of welcome that young boys specialized in….
Unwritten sequence leading back to the present.
He burst into the clearing in a way only people who shambled could, slowly and awkwardly, attracting the attentions of the three figures seated around a boisterous fire pit.
“Hey, man have a drag!”
Chester shambled over, and struggled with his trembling fingers to finally grasp the outrageously fat spliff proffered, hoping it brains! would distract him from the all-consuming hunger that b-b-brains! made his etiolated limbs tremble and his consciousness waver. He sniffed at it with grey nostrils, though the smell scarcely cut through the intense scent of fresh brains, and sipped at the joint, delicately at first, then urgently, the thick smoke curling from his ears.
“Say, man, that’s a nifty trick!” The youth whistled appreciatively, a laugh bubbling quick and easy from his expressive face. His female companion had gotten up and started dancing around the vigorous fire, her movements dictated by some internal beat, primal, feral, carnal, her hair flashing like loops of copper wire, her nipples, when she tore her flimsy shirt off, stiffening into pink rosebuds billowing as if in a soft wind. Her friend, emerging from her piss stop in the bush, tugging her cut-off jeans into place, joined in, capering along, her ample flesh and blonde coiffure gelling nicely with the redhead’s movements.
The urge to gnash his teeth on the fair-haired youth’s skull contrasted strongly with a consuming curiosity as to why he did not run away screaming when approached by someone who had bits of flesh dropping off his bones every so while.
He discovers that the trio have dropped acid. He gets vague explanations about the current Gregorian calendar date. Chester succumbs to his urges and inadvertently consumes his companions.
Their brains, moist memories on his swollen tongue, were sweet with remembrance, as if the essence of their beings merged with his by virtue of raw osmosis leaking into umwelt, bringing to surface unknown sensations and experiences causing him to lay prone against the trunk of a tree, dribbles of white matter frothing down his chin. Childhoods, miseries, joys, failures, prosaic slices of lives spiraled into his consciousness helixesque, twining then bursting apart like delicate dreams, candy shards of bitter and sweet perusals…
…brunette plump as a child, enduring the ridicule of her schoolmates, doubly cursed by her parents with the name Ethel, which conjured visions of cheek pinching grandmothers wearing horn rimmed glasses. Consequently her soul became fossilized early, so young, the inner landscape contrasting congruously with her cherubic appearance, and the intellect that shone behind these eyes pierced like the glare of winter sun off ice. When she hit puberty, the weight fell off like fat off meat roasted over an open pit. Her breasts bloomed, catching the eyes of her former tormentors and elevated the malice of her female peers. By then, her father, a successful importer / exporter, discovered by the authorities to be providing products and services of a highly illegal variety, was integrated into an institute of incarceration. Her family became destitute and was forced to relocate to a less effluent, more squalid neighborhood, her mother taking to amphetamines when she started working three jobs in a classic lament of single motherhood. Sixteen was a rough year for her. She was constantly battling off rape attempts with an increasing repertoire of self-defense techniques. One day, she was assaulted by a pack of youths, obviously aged ten or eleven, and as they held her down the leader penetrated her downy swath of pubic hair. She broke free, her fingers scrabbling finding a large shard of a fractured window. She thrust the sliver of glass deep through his abdomen with a groaning from deep inside her gut as they both burst wetly with a shared cocktail of ecstatic pain. The youths, mouths Oing, returned to the boys they really were and fled to their mothers. He lay there gasping on her like a beached fish, the contents of his stomach pumping across her torso, flecking her lips. It stank. She stared cruelly at his dying eyes and when he had finally expired, crawled from under. She had an abortion, and the scars on her fingers, inside her abdomen, and her soul never left her. From that day on, she was never able to achieve orgasm without a pattern of violence, and selected men who would beat her. Until she met Felicity, she had no hope of finding herself in a real relationship, one unblemished by the dream of violence…the blonde, whip smart despite appearances, belying stereotypes, was from the city. In her early twenties, Felicity lived in an apartment complex and every day, if the sun was shining, her progress to work, without fail, would be punctuated by catcalls and wolf whistles from the Mexicans and Italians who crowded truck beds and lined the curbs. It was all right, actually a bit exciting at first, but it grew old before long. One evening out with the girls, drunk on a lark, she purchased an authentic looking strap-on at an adult entertainment store and the on the very next day, she slipped into her tightest miniskirt and a flimsy shirt that flaunted her voluptuous torso. She also buckled in the strap-on under her panties and when she strode down the street towards the inevitable ogling, she commenced a bump and grind routine with what many considered an extremely lucky streetsign, unfortunately causing collateral damage when thunderstruck drivers with vested interest in the female anatomy plowed into bumpers and dented side doors. After plenty of jazz hands and throttling hips exhibiting a dizzily acrobatic rump, Felicity let her fingers snake down to the hem of her skirt, teasing it upwards, reveling in the groans of randy men straining brute fingers towards quickly cramped crotches, then titillated with a slow downward descent of lace trim, tortuously tempting until boing boing boing an erect phallus sprang out like a demented Jack-in-the-Box. The response was immediate, as if they became suddenly pious Christians averting their gazes from a foul demon. Begone! She strutted away, their groans music to her ears, and in subsequent days she no longer had problems with unsolicited male attentions on that street, though upon arriving at work that very morning after relaying the tale to her boisterous co-workers she discovered her boss was a dyke quite skilled with the usage of sexual paraphernalia, the subject on which she was enlightened during a disciplinary hearing brought up on trumped up charges. She decided she would misbehave a bit more frequently on the job, for she found the punishment quite satisfactory…Vaseline smeared on a mirror, distorting the greased mohawk reflected…big strong arms gripping girlish hips swinging wide circles airplane airplane airplane wheeling world big strong smile big strong mustache big strong daddy swinging airplane airplane airplane…bubbling cheese on the lasagna, checkered apron draped on bustling mother busy fretting green beans and wine, splashed soda…finger pointing staccato giggles, “I’ll touch yours and I’ll let you touch mine!” bits of bright plastic proffered smooth to the feel…harsh draw in of burning throat smoke coff coff ow!…bottle glass shards sudsy dizzy property wheeling to meet glance grassy roots tickling the cheek…chasing dark alleys…menacing glow bursting from the closet in thin tendrils of light threatening to creep into retinas and infiltrate frightened thoughts huddled under blankets…
Then the LSD hit. The memories swept away with the advent of high velocity auric waveforms that steepled from objects, buzzing. Color spaces converged and tore apart, throbbing into their component hues. Shafts of red blue green like a great television screen dramatically zoomed. Growth. Shrinkage. Chromatically. Dimensionally. Exchange of values, sensory chits trading places, purposes. Smelling the movement of an arm. Seeing the cascade of sound as it sprang from the hickory tang of flame. Stones trembled, their customary stolid silences revealed to be illusionary. Inhaling the incredibly loud, astonishingly colorful world, a whirlpool of cartoon zephyrs sweeping through the esophagus and breathed out of orifices, whistling from nostrils, trickling from ears, farting from sphincter, jetting from eyelids. An exhalation of stillness: he was the order maker, the re-arranger of things. Out of the chaos Chester plucked meaning, pulled it into boxes—words—he knew to be meaningless without context, without breath. These boxes, he parceled out of the locomotions of his larynx, solid bubbling thoughts into the effluvia in which his flesh wallowed. He named all he saw and by lengthening his legs and throwing them like rubbery ropes, he strode from the clearing, his heavy crotch crossing continents teeming with to be named life marveling, momentarily moonshadowed, words to be experienced. Passing oaks and firs and maples swaying, his arms long bark of timber whirling finger foliage flailing crescendos of primal music frothing out primeval life from organic soup tattooing space-time threads of pulsating change tracing flea trajectories out of the atmosphere tiny metal spore puffs of dandelion dusting the hard husks of mineral crumblings in a void spread wide in universal dreams a wide wild rushing cosmic river carrying leaflets of galaxies little sparkles in a vibrating tapestry filling out the spaces between moments quarking the mesons and leptons in a giant baryon dance fermioning toe-deep in loam fingers bursting green sparks flurrying like intoxicated butterflies around Chester’s head as he stopped at the shore of a shimmering sea. It drew itself up in a sad, long history of a city, dramas playing across its beaten earth to culminate into a giant boiling carcass of crumbled, decaying technology, rising above him like a stiffening nipple.
He saw things that did not make sense to him. Windowflashes of sound and sight: It smells a cooking good smell, says the metal cobbler restling his gnarled feethings on a moist stool, crashing off his metal charms rusting to the beaten floor. Hidey-ho, says his wife, girthy handfuls of spud eyeing the fresh cabbage cut degracing husband’s pate; etiolated trunk limbless despondently masticating midst dirty sheets, the laughing teeth of bright rogued nurse slopping soupy spoonfuls towards sour maw of bedraggled chinny chin hair; rats shifting through the lofty remnants of garments, sniffing for unspoored regions and leaving behind pungent markings; bright-eyed children chasing paper bats past cat black sentiment of the dull sailor sipping at pipe; a drafty draught of yeasty breath through the doors of a stainless steel pub; rows of ghostly visages green glowing suspension in the high rise darkness, pale fingers pressing at muted keyboards; a tattered scrap of cloth on flagpole flaps pathetic remnants of municipal pride; frantic pace of marathon runners with slabs of steak pinned to their hips pursued by dark slavering dogs; the tangled air of ion trails traces a strange mandala against the cold sky; wild gaze of horses enslaved to trot endlessly through the same broken roads; the spirit leached from this place like time slowly strips the color from a photograph, the souls that forget they live wander through the motions of half-remembered customs. A stink permeates the air, of waste, of burning metal, ionized air. The iron red rank of freshly spilled blood. The bitter bile of vomited resentment and rage. The ground salts itself with tears, and timely hate crumbles the ferrocrete to dust under leather soles.
Further unwritten sequence in which he meets the others (Vogina and Seamus) and is damned to hell. He is supposed to retrieve the Necronomicon.
He lay crumpled on a flesh junkyard, strung up in angles on alien rib cages, half-rotted femurs, translucent pelvises, and horned skulls daubed with dried brains. He lay that way for a long moment, absorbing the setting: pillars of fire that rose and fell with the stink of brimstone, the quavering mirage of a constant heat haze that made his flesh contract involuntarily, an opera of pain with an obvious xylophone of cracked ribs and tinny clatter of fingerbones on brainpans.
A man emerged from the waste to fill his vision, condensing slowly in the heat haze, dragging a something behind him with a length of chain. He had sandy hair and wore spectacles. His suit and red tie was filthy and patched with holes. “This is a philosophical treatise,” he said to nobody in particular, hauling the gigantic object out of the morass, “encompassing my life.”
It was a single volume with pages that must number in the thousands, bound by some rough bark tied down with scraps of ligaments and a trio of humeri. Its vellum was a patchwork of human and some alien skin, carefully stitched and cut in large rectangles. Majestic calligraphy decorated its breadth. The man with the sandy hair sat down on his book and mopped his brow with his stained tie. “In Hell, Time acquires a distinctive quality,” his red lips lamented from under piercing blue eyes, “that derives predominantly from its immense quantity. All moments become alike. In infinity, there is only one. Infinite quantity cancels out any real temporal progression.
“That being said, I begin to write myself. Once upon a time…”
“Hey, wait! A-Alhazred?”
The spectacled man looked myopically at Chester, pursued his lips.
“You’re not from around here, hmm?” he said, more to himself. He drifted, losing focus. “No you can not, your flesh has not acquired the charring distinctive to the impoverished, as yourself, in flesh of the area.” He stood up and resumed his struggle along the rough terrain, the book cutting a uncomfortable furrow of vague order through the morass.
“Sir! Wait!” Chester struggled to his feet, caught the man by the arm. The man paused and stood waiting. Chester fidgeted in the heat and said, “That book… is it the N- uh Necronomicon?”
Chester endured the direct gaze of these bitter blue eyes before flinching as the man guffawed.
“Ha ha, hoo hoo ha!” He slapped Chester’s back, dislodging a clavicle. Chester watched the laughing man with disgust as he set his bone back in place. “That’s rich! (My name’s Rich, by the way, and in no way Alhazred! Do I doff a turban? Do I seem mad?) I have not had that good a laugh for centuries!” Rich beamed brightly at Chester.
“No, my friend…” Rich let his question linger.
“…Chester, this is a philosophical treatise, encomp—“
“Your life and yadda yadda,” rudely interrupted the zombie, angry and disheartened. Of course! Had he expected it to be this easy?
Rich, wounded, and daubed his eye with his tie.