CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
Jack said, “Yes, it’s marvellous,” and left the kitchen.
On the following morning he moved the soap and towels back to their proper places, then again on the next morning, and the next. This same thing happened to the objects on his living room shelving. He would move them back to their proper position only to find they would seemingly move again of their own accord. He came to seriously believe a poltergeist had taken up residence in his flat.
Due to his training, his senses were focused on detecting energy—both the energy emanating from all people, and also the energy they left behind—and he could sense the presence of this poltergeist in the same way he sensed the energy of a martial arts opponent. It felt as though some force—which was separate from Maryanne—had occupied his flat, though it had obviously been brought there by her, as though it were the mind of some malicious entity that had attached itself to her. In the kitchen, when he now picked up a jar, it would fall from his hands, its lid having been left unscrewed. He would tighten it, only to find when he next picked it up, it would again drop from his hands. His laundry was now folded differently and placed on the wrong shelves; his books, left open for convenience, were now tidied away; objects, which he lay in certain places as a reminder to perform certain tasks, would disappear; and in the kitchen he would take out a knife and a few seconds later would go to use it only to find it had vanished. It was as though some supernatural force had been set upon him to erode his sanity.
He began his daily practice by holding a stance for one hour in his living room. The following morning he was standing in the Praying Mantis Takes Flight position for forty minutes while pondering the poltergeist’s antics. He imagined a jar lid slowly turning and he could sense the poltergeist nearby, as an invisible cloud of energy. He watched one of his books fold itself up and levitate back onto the bookcase, and there too was that cloud and for the first time he saw clearly its intention. Its purpose in life was simply to oppose him. He imagined the cloud moving the cups in his cupboard around, destroying his efficiency, his economy; it seemed as though it were unpicking his every thought of the past eight years. Any design he developed, to either save time or space, or to improve flavour or texture, it seemed the poltergeist had been set upon him to destroy—to, perhaps, feed upon his designs. Perhaps (he mused) that was the purpose of such a force. It fed upon human designs and sought to restore the randomness of nature. Perhaps, perhaps.
He recalled Maryanne saying, “That was nice,” and saw her smiling face.
Of course he knew it was she who moved these objects and of course he said to her, “You keep leaving the lids unscrewed.”
“Oh really? How interesting,” she said.
 “Where are my shoes? I always leave them here,” he said on another occasion, to which she said:
 “No, shoes should go here; it’s more tidy.”
And when he said: “I left that there to remind me to pay the phone bill,” she said nothing, but merely glanced at him while deep in thought; and recalling this now, he could see the meaning in her glance. It was the poltergeist that was looking back out at him through her eyes and it was saying, “Yes, I am here to resist you; my purpose in life is to un-build human endeavours, and the more focussed they are, the more they attract me,” and, silently, from within Maryanne’s eyes, the poltergeist fixed him with its combative gaze.
In the living room of 52 Niggling Grievance Street, Lily Smithe was sitting in her easy chair, Helen Smithe was sitting at one end of the sofa and Peter Softly was sitting at the other end with his shopping basket placed on the floor beside his feet. Helen had been eyeing Peter from head to foot, and she now started making insinuating comments about transvestites.
Peter lifted the front of his overcoat, pulled out Lily’s letter and told Lily, ‘I’ve come about your letter, Mrs Smithe.’
Helen abruptly stood, said she would make some tea and headed for the kitchen.
Lily started talking, but Peter could not quite get to her meaning. He gave up trying, leant forward, rummaged through the basket and gripped the hatchet’s handle. But then his hand start trembling so much that he wondered whether it was right that he should be contemplating using this weapon.
Lily said, ‘But are you eating enough, Peter?’ She saw that he was bent over that basket, playing with something within it, and she called, ‘Peter!’ He looked up, but distantly—as if he were playing in some playground in his mind, some fantasy playground that was miles from anywhere. She repeated, ‘Are you eating enough?’ He did not respond. She said, ‘I mean, who’s looking after you, Peter?’
He looked back down to the basket and saw the hatchet in his hand. He could now barely hold it; all the strength seemed to have gone from his arm, and the muscles in his arm had begun aching with the effort of holding this great weight in his hand. He dropt the hatchet, took his notepad and pen from the basket and mentioned Lily’s letter to her again. She started saying, ‘There’s crowds of people coming to read the gas meter...’ He wrote this in his pad, so that he could study the words, to try to more clearly understand their meaning. While doing this, he heard her saying something about somebody drinking her tea, and her milk—these people always drank her milk. But he was already frowning at the words on the pad, trying to make sense of them. Then he thought about Sally, about the monster that had so successfully possessed her head, causing them to come to hate each other. He thought about the way it was now impossible for him to battle through her hatred in order to communicate with her—her just shouting incomprehensible things at him whenever he got near her. He thought about her affair with Roland, which he was sure she was only doing to show him how much she hated him. Then he recalled the man he had met earlier, the way the monster in his head had made him try to manipulate Peter into jumping to his tune by trying to make him feel guilty. The man had then said, ‘You’re just the sort of person who causes all the problems. Are you stupid——?’ and he had nodded to indicate that Peter should answer ‘Yes’.
Trying to understand Lily’s words on his pad, and listening to what she was saying now, he knew that she too was possessed by one of those invisible monsters. He looked up at her, and he could almost see the monster inside her head, possessing her personality and working her mouth.
He stood up, placed his shopping basket over his arm and made his way round to the back of Lily’s easy chair. He could still hear her words, which now sounded like mockery, as though the monster in her head were making her mock him—as that other woman who had made comments about transvestites had done. He told her not to worry—he was helping her; he would soon stop them; he knew what to do now——
Lily was sitting with her hands in her lap, smiling proudly and saying, ‘Oh, I am impressed, Peter; you’re so clever now.’
He stood behind her chair, looking down at the back of her head. He could feel the presence of that monster inside that had possessed her, and also all those wrong ideas that were the seeds of yet more and more of these monsters; he could clearly feel all this down there in her head. He reached into the basket and gripped the handle of the hatchet, telling that mocking voice that he knew what to do now—It’s okay; don’t worry. He raised the hatchet above his head, and his hand was now trembling so much that he could hardly hold the hatchet any longer, and he was sure he was about to drop it, but he knew he was about to experience a tremendous release, if only he could keep defying those monsters for a moment longer, only seconds now. He felt his whole body climbing into place up there above him, and just when that weapon had become so heavy that he was sure he could not go on holding it any more, his hand then became steady, rock steady, and the hatchet wedged down into the head, again and again and again.
While this release was taking place, a single thought entered his mind; he saw himself transforming into a malicious dark mist and then engulfing Sally; he could see himself—in the form of this mist—pouring all over her, and he could see the horror in her face as he attacked her again and again and again from inside this mist. But he could not let this happen (—They’re trying to make me behave like them; but I won’t let them; I have to find the seeds before these monsters can make me——), and then he thought he could see the seeds and he started spooning them out with the hatchet’s blade (—Get them out! all of them—stop this horror; you won’t do it again; I have to stop you—it shouldn’t be like this—get them out! out——).
He wiped the hatchet clean on the back of the easy chair and made his way to the kitchen. In there, he saw the back of the second head as the other person stood against the sink. He could hear a woman humming, and also the sound of metal clanking against china. He raised his trembling hand above his head again, and he found that this was so much easier now—now that he knew what that release felt like, and also that he was doing the right thing. Then the hatchet wedged down into this other head, and he tumbled with the head to his knees as the body fell to the floor. He bent over it and continued wedging down into the head, digging for those seeds (—Get them out—stop this horror; it’s wrong! You won’t do it again; I’ll stop you—there they are!—out! get them out! out! out!).

 

Fiction and nonfiction by Fletcher Kovich and also classic writers.

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