Archive for November, 2013

Machinations of the God-Like

Posted in Horror Fiction, Works Published Elsewhere with tags , , , , , on November 25, 2013 by stantonmccaffery

Excerpts. The full story was published on Schlock Webzine and can be found here: http://www.schlock.co.uk/pb/wp_426dc0be/wp_426dc0be.html.

“I’m writing from the city of Frankfurt, Kentucky, alone, far from any large body of water and far from the meddling influence of whales. I did not always despise whales. Indeed, for most of my life I wasn’t even aware of how they manipulate our free will. I considered them benign, majestic creatures. I believed the whaling traditions of 19th century New England to be excessive and barbaric. I now consider it a travesty that such whaling did not continue until every one of them was wiped from the planet.”

***

“Elena Peldritch, also hearing the shot, ran from her front door. When she entered the Peterson’s I heard an indescribable scream. It was a sound that belied what the poor woman saw. In that second I knew she had found the body of her dead son. I saw in my head his blood splattered on the white wall, spotted with white brain matter. A gun had accidentally gone off in his hands and sent a bullet through him.”

***

“Gradually, Abraham’s ideas and thoughts about the Cetaceans – as whales are called by experts – became more fantastic and bizarre. He said they were God-like. He’d read blogs claiming whales came from outer-space to inhabit the earth. God abandoned the earth, leaving it to them, not to mankind. There was a precedent for God trusting man to whales: the story of Jonah and the Whale in the Old Testament of the Bible.”

***

“When we came to Queequeg’s address, we found the door ajar. Abraham shouted hello, but since no answer was given, we entered uninvited. Inside, we found a dead man lying on the kitchen floor. His face was covered in fake tattoos that had been drawn on with black permanent marker. An old- fashioned harpoon was plunged through his chest. On the counter was a severed and shrunken human head.”

 

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No Safe Place

Posted in Essays and non-fiction with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2013 by stantonmccaffery

(Non Fiction)

The great American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in “Good Bye,” about the cruelty of modern civilization and contemplates abandoning it for the natural world. In the piece’s opening he said, “Good bye, proud world! I’m going home. Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine. Long through thy weary crowds I roam; a river-ark on the ocean brine, long I’ve been tossed like the driven foam: But now proud world! I’m going home.”

I’m with Emerson. The hustle and bustle of the modern world certainly seems at times to be too much. It’s like being on a tread mill; you have to run just to stand still. I only have to turn on the T.V. during this time of year and watch a few “Black Friday” commercials to feel harried and aggravated, like I’d rather live in a secluded cave than be part of such a meaningless society.

Anyway, Emerson’s poem continues:

“When I am safe in my sylvan home, I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome; and when I am stretched beneath the pines, where the evening star so holy shines, I laugh at the lore and the pride of man, at the sophist schools and the learned clan; for what are they all, in their high conceit, when man in the bush with God may meet.”

Again, I’m mostly with Emerson, but there is one thing that gives me pause. I think you have to be more than a little naïve to think you can find lasting safety in the nature world. Nature is brutal and unforgiving. In the documentary “Black Fish,” about the multiple deaths that have occurred at SeaWorld amusements parks as a result of angry and confined Orca Whales mutilating and drowning their trainers, this theme resounds throughout. You need to respect nature and even view it in awe, but you still need to keep your guard up because humans are not capable of fully understanding the world and all its creatures. They can eat us after all.

What does this mean? Well, for me, it means that there is really no safe place; no solace. Wherever we go there will be pitfalls and dangers and monsters that are real – whether at the shopping mall or in the middle of the woods.

This is all heavily philosophical – so much so that it may bore a reader if included in fiction – but I’m going to give it a try. I’m working on a short piece about a man who’s eaten by bugs and I want to work this idea in as a theme. We shall see.