MR. ABERYSTWYTH AND THE THREE WEIRD SISTERS
They peeled themselves from their cobweb shrouds, emerging like
forlorn moths from cocoons immemorial, groping for the
remnants of their long-buried lives.
Then he saw
the faces, gaunt, ghost-pale, and faintly glowing, countless blanched moons, turning toward him and waxing full by the light of the
candle flames, their eyes shadow-craters, their hair
wispy strands of cotton or black twine.
Hermes loped down Lethe
Street, tail awag, tongue aloll, ears aflop like broken wings.
LADYLOVE AND THE OLD NICK OF TIME
So what if
she was only a mannequin? Before today she'd been nothing more than a
recurring dream, his splendorous but insubstantial Fata
Morgana, a shining mirage in the murky desert of sleep.
But now . . . now she was real.
off not so bad. Just a whimper or two from Mama beyond the bedroom door. But
as time went on, her whimpers got louder and lasted
longer, turned into moans and loonlike wails that made
my blood run cold.
rain fell upon the landfill where Tin-Can Molly was buried. It sank through
the unhappy marriage of earth and trash, down to her
deep resting place, anointed her rusty hide, and filled
with wonder-working sludge the copious empty vessels of which she was made.
And for the first time ever, Tin-Can Molly stirred.
o'clock came. Eleven thirty. A worm of nervousness squirmed in the pit of his
stomach. Of course there was no way he was going to
comply with the directive on the red strip of paper, but
just knowing that someone thought he might was downright maddening.
back the covers, revealing naked curves, and traced the crescent of her upper
lip with the tip of a naughty tongue. "Come to bed,
KINGDOMS IN THE WIND
had died bringing him into the world, but that didn't stop him from talking
about her all the time, telling stories about stuff she
told him in the middle of the night, when his no-account
daddy had drunk himself to sleep--crazy-sounding stuff about old ways and old gods and kingdoms in the wind.
RICHARD CULPEPPER'S ONE-MAN SHOW
the night. Richard Culpepper, actor, well past fifty but certainly (make no
mistake) nowhere close to sixty, would give them the
performance of a lifetime.
I climbed to
the top of the rock and the creature rose to greet me, never missing a note.
Face to face, eye to eye, song to silence, we stood.
Slowly, tentatively, I reached out. Then the creature
was in my arms and there was no telling its bones, its flesh, its heartbeat
from my own.
Lady curled up on her side and whimpered like a baby. She reached into a clump
of hay, pulled out a dingy, half-bald doll, and hugged
its mauled face to her breast, suckling it on the milk
of her festering gashes.
lingers, waiting for the next wave. And Will lingers, waiting for the
bottle--just as he has waited every day since boyhood,
since FDR's third term, since World War II borrowed his
father and failed to give him back.
HER AND HIM IN THE COLD DARK UNDERNEATH
Her just woke
up. Her wanted to stay asleep because Her was dreamin' of the Big Bright Place again. But now Her awake in the Cold Dark Underneath
where Her ALWAYS been. And now Her wait for Him to come.
other human beings was no longer possible; that delusion had been laid to rest
a century ago, at least in America, thanks to the
Butler, who had helped them see the light.
doesn't lie, as they say. But what they don't say--what they don't know--is that the mirror sees so much more than the naked eye can see: ghosts,
past lives, and hellish transformations such as mine.
TILLMAN'S LITTLE DEVIL
reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the gun. It gleamed like ice in
the moonlight. He set the little devil down and squatted
beside him. "Now remember, son, here's the safety on the
side. Keep it on till you're ready to shoot."
KUDZU AND POISON IVY
every night beneath a natural canopy of kudzu and poison ivy. She brought the
black candle and he brought the match. If the match
didn't strike, they went back home. If it did strike,
they got right to work.
THE EATER OF HEARTS
Even from a
distance he could hear the hearts of the city, beating, throbbing, loving,
hating, fearing, mourning, longing, breaking. It was a
symphony he knew by heart. And somewhere in that vast
pulsing orchestra he would find the heart whose craving matched his own.
MOTHER AND SUN
zombie-man reached her bed, proffered the chalice. She shook her head, tried
to hold her arms down, but they rose like puppet arms
drawn by unseen strings. Then the chalice was in her
grasp, tingling her hands, arms, every eggshell inch of her wasted body.
RETURN OF THE RED DEATH
read a lotta writers, but that didn't stop him from knowin' Poe was best.
Besides, him and Eddie had a lot in common. They was
both little and from the South.
HITHER AND YON
No one knew
about the dark spot on the floor at the back of the little girl's closet--no
one, that is, save the one who crawled up out of it late
every night to stand beside her bed and watch her while
THE HUNGRY PURPOSE OF PECULIAR URGES
feeling for the first time that the compulsion came not from within but from
without, that the will of someone or some thing was overriding my own, and
that perhaps--just perhaps--such had always been the
case with my so-called peculiar urges.
A MOONDANCE FOR ANGUS
He had never
seen anyone dance with such reckless abandon, with such jungle wildness, with such blood-on-fire lunacy, and
alone to boot, and late at night--a school night,
mind you, when every kid in the neighborhood (except
himself, of course) had been in bed for at least an hour.
glassy-eyed mob sluiced down the aisle, filling the front row first, then the
second, then the third. The oddly merry faces were a
blur of twisted familiarity, the faces of friends and
loved ones in a dream gone suddenly awry.