Greetings and salutations, faithful followers of this blog! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and THIS is Story Time With Tim! An ongoing series presenting my works from the past, my works from the present, and works yet to come all for your reading pleasure! Most are just trunk stories, but others are materials that I’ve self-published on several sites. Links of which you can find below.
Here we have part two of two. A story called Nocturnal Emanations that plays off of the old tale ‘Of Mice and Men’ by featuring a different take on the lead characters. It’s a bit more challenging to get on a first read, I feel it came out really good. Another work that was meant as a contest entry for Scribophile, the work didn’t exactly break down the door to success. I still intend to include it in a collection at some point.
Thanks for reading and I’ll read to you again next week!
NOCTURNAL EMANATIONS PART TWO
Oh, God, don’t you say anything more, Harold! Let’s get going! Let’s hit the road! Let’s beat the dust! The rain is too hard here! Too full of those old memories I’ve been trying to bury for twenty years now! Come on, cuz, let’s put our backsides to this place. Bury this stiff already and let’s beat it.
“And… I loved him. More than any man alive could ever manage. I loved him so, so much. And love him still. I love him more than you can ever imagine, whatever God is out there listening. My heart is still his and he is still mine and here he is, how many years later? Here and struggling to find closure. Just as I am…” Harold took in a deep breath. “I still remember his name, y’know, Lenny? I still remember it as if it were yesterday.”
Oh, by all that is holy… don’t you do it, Harold. Don’t you do it! Don’t you put those memories on me!
“His name was…”
Lightning flashed. Thundered flared. The earth reverberated as if the drumbeat to hell had been struck. Yeah. I remembered his name. Not that it mattered now. He’d been six feet under for decades and it wasn’t necessary to go drudging up the buried secrets of our pasts now. Yet, here was Harold, speaking that old spirit’s name as if it were some magic spell. A sacred word to a secret heart exposing the demons of one man’s life. Baring it all for any who had eyes to see.
Yeah, I knew his name. But I didn’t want to hear it again. Harold’s eyes fixed on mine. Full of sorrow and rage and hate and pity. I hated that look. I hated that gleam. I hated that judgmental gaze. So, I did what I was always so good at: turned and ran. Ran deeper into the forest trying to escape that grave so deep within. I fancied an idea that that corpse was crawling out of that pit of despair ready to give chase and tear me down. I knew what it, he, wanted. Revenge. Isn’t that always what the dead want? Revenge? Revenge for horrors visited, the traumas delivered, the theft of loved one’s granted, and the absolute incredulity that such crimes could be deposited upon them? Yeah. Everyone is a victim in that case, and I wasn’t interested in giving them closure.
O’course, that didn’t stop them from trying. My demons were pretty alive and willing that night. Looking for some recourse in the injustices I’d given them. Sure, there were a lot of people I’d done dirty. You don’t get to where I am without that being the case. Yet, you don’t expect every specter looking to make you their next feast as a result. You can claim faith and go to church and pretend you’re a good guy, but, at the end of the day, turns out those spectral dalliances are out for blood and they won’t accept anything less than your immortal soul. Something you don’t realize until you’re racing through a forest trying to evade every spook and dead donor to your rise up through the ranks. Then, and only then, do you realize just how much you’ve done screwed up. Everything. Everybody. Every past haunt reminding you what kind of scum you really are.
So, I ran some more. The shadows growing longer my own subconscious guilt I was certain. Oh, I did some very bad things, yes I did. Should I go to hell over it? Probably. That might be best, honestly. I didn’t deserve the life I’d led. Yet, I led it because I didn’t feel like I had any other choice. You either fit in or you don’t. That’s it. Then and then.
‘Your hands around my throat… you push down into the water. Smile wide on your face. You enjoyed your crime. You enjoyed seeing my last breaths as my chest heaved and my eyes widened and my mouth gasped for a breath that was never going to come again. You did that and you loved it, didn’t you?’
Cheryl Marcus. Had an affair with a preacher after she found out her husband was a murderous gangster. Didn’t reckon he’d have the brass cojones to hire an assassin to do her in, which, if you haven’t figured out, was me. Yeah, I did enjoy that one. It brought me pleasure. Some broad thinking she can sleep around and not know her place? O’course, seeing her skeletal corpse snaking out of a copse of darkened wood wasn’t something I enjoyed. Not by a long shot. However, she had a point, didn’t she?
‘My stomach…. knife up the belly button… cleaved towards my chest. Guts hanging out for all to see. You laughed, didn’t you? You laughed because you became sadistic. There is nothing left of that child from so long ago. That child who wanted to be an aerospace engineer… He’s gone. In his place, a monster…’
Couldn’t argue there. Devon Carrol. Big Brother at the local community center. Crossed paths with the wrong local warlord. They wanted him dead. Bad. I was willing. Because that’s just who I was. Damn, am I so unredeemable then? Why would I do that? Why would I agree so readily? What’s wrong with me? Damn. I think a lot. No sense stopping now. Gotta keep running. There must be some way to escape. Right?
Nope. Not really. You can never escape your past. That’s just the way it is. You know it. I know it. Hell, dogs know it.
‘Gun between the shoulder blades. Supposed to be quick. But I lingered on for hours afterward. You stood there watching for nearly forty minutes of the first. Staring down at me as if you weren’t sure what to do about it but enthralled by my struggles for breath nonetheless. You stood there. You know what you did yet it didn’t shame you. Just like now. Nothing shames you. You run, but you’re only trying to get away. Not mournful over the pain you’ve wrought.’
Another valid point. Skeletons with half flesh hanging out of the shadows of the forest as I run through the myriad of foliage and broken trail. Yeah. Marianne Douger. Took her a while to go and I didn’t have the time to make sure she went all at once. More than one bullet would have tied it to me. Didn’t have a choice. Had to flee the scene. Felt bad she didn’t just die there in the first shot. However, how was I supposed to know she’d linger on for so long? Maybe I should be more sympathetic to my victims. I really should. But it’s always been about survival. Survival is key. That’s it. Plain and simple. You live or you die. Then and then. I’m not trying to be anybody’s savior. Not now, not then, not ever. I’m protecting my own hide. That’s what counts.
So, I run. Just like I always have. As fast as I can, as far as I can. The rain pours harder, the lightening brighter. And then I’m standing at the edge of a cliff. Looking down into the abyss of an even greater forest going on for as far as the eye can see. I don’t even know where it ends but there are mountains out there, that much I can tell. Silhouettes against the dark horizon. What am I to do? Where am I to go? I’ve nearly forgotten about Harold in my flight. He isn’t even a registered concern in my mind. The only thing that matters is getting away. Away from it all.
“Do you see it now, Lenny?”
Harold’s voice. Behind me. I turn around. There he is. Standing in the bare offering of a slight meadow at the edge of the woods. All around him, shadows. Shadows from every person I’ve sent to the grave and more. Oily shadows with dark blue eyes and grimaces as tight as the angriest indigent. It chills me to my bones.
“I don’t see anything, Harold!” I reply, petulantly. I don’t know what else to do. “All I see is you being as creepy as I’ve ever seen! Why you doing this? What do you want?”
Harold offers up a sad expression. Even so, his eyes are still beady in the sparse light flittering all across the sky. “I just want you to say his name, Lenny. It’s the only way.”
“The only way for what?”
He waves his hand through the air animatedly. Like he’s trying to swat away flies at his chest and succeeding in only pissing off some eldritch horror.
“I don’t need salvation! I’ve got everything I need!”
“Then why we runnin’, Lenny? Why’d we pick up and leave?”
“You were there. You were just as culpable…”
“Was I?” Harold’s eyes sag as he speaks. “We were together, sure. But you’s the one what used that knife. You’s the one what slit her throat.”
I shook my head. “I had no other choice!”
“There’s always a choice! You have a choice now! Just… say his name. Say it and you can find some measure o’peace.”
“And if I refuse?”
“You won’t be able to step through, Lenny. You have to repent to step through. Just… say his name. I loved him. You took him from me. I love you too. I always will. But I need you to see that there is no further recourse. It’s the only way, Lenny. One day, after you’ve repented, you’ll come back. I know it. But first you have to say his name.”
I had no idea what he was on about. However, I turned towards the ledge, a strange electrical buzz on my neck. There, a portal to God knows where. It wasn’t quite an abyss. Not quite a black hole. But it was spinning. An electrical discharge all around its edges. I had this distinct idea that it was a gateway to some other place and Harold was trying to get me to step through it. If that was the case, there was nothing doing. I turned back on him.
“What do you think I’m gonna do, eh? Leap through some black void in the sky? Ain’t happenin! I’ve been havin’ your back since you were only twelve! And now you wants to call me out on what I’ve done did?” I howled matching the rage of the storm around us. “Alright, fine! I made some bad decisions! I hurt too many people! What do you want from me? Huhn? I ain’t got nothin’ fer you!”
“Say, his, NAME!”
“Fine! It was Emory! He was a young guy of sixteen! Thought he had all the answers! Young, blonde, and understanding!” the words fell from my mouth unbidden. I didn’t want to talk about him. Not at all, but I really didn’t have any other options, did I? It was then and then. Rainwater poured off my fedora and down onto the ground in a great puddle splashing angrily. The portal behind me buzzed its awful sound. A whirring whooshing cacophony of eager pain. “I didn’t know you yet! I never met your father or your brothers or your sisters or your family! He was just one more indolent mark getting in the way of those who ruled the roost! What do you want me to say? That I felt guilty about it? Fine! You’re right! I’ve always had a sour stomach over that hit! However, you don’t get nowhere if you ain’t willing to be anybody’s nobody!”
He smiled then. A knowing smile. Full of compassion. His eyes closed temporarily and when he reopened them, he looked at me. His hate gone the shadows easing back into the forest beyond the rain becoming little more than a drizzle.
“You’re ready then. Then and then, as you always say, Lenny. Just step through and the pain will stop and you’ll heal. You’ll heal in that void and make amends. Because we’re all looking for that one moment when we can take everything back, right?”
I really didn’t know what he was talking about but when I turned back to that void I felt compelled. Relief, even. That all of the pain would soon end. I nodded to myself and took a step into that portal. I entered and when I crossed the threshold of that great, unfathomable maw I—
“WAIT, SO WHAT happens next? Where’d Lenny go?”
Harold stared at me with that strange glare of his. Like he’d seen some unfathomable darkness that nobody else was privy to. After a moment, he smiled.
“Well, I suppose he’s still out there in the void. Learning how to atone for his mistakes. The story is still in motion, mind you. But I have no doubt that he’s still learning.”
I put down the manuscript and stared at him. He was a big man. Scary. A rather intimidating offering of humanity. Still, I’d been with him these many months in the Sanctuary Battalion prison. Whatever he’d done to get thrown into here, he’d never said. But something told me I really didn’t want to know.
Harold stood up and walked over to the window where the cell bars cast shadows across all the inmates. He stared up at it, the storm outside brewing ever fiercer, the lightning making the bars long and hard across his bulky form.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, his mouth contorting into an unnatural smile. “We all have to face our demons sooner or later. If we don’t, we go mad. And if we go mad, we lose all connection to the humanity around us. Wouldn’t you say?”
Harold’s glare fixated on me as he twisted his head over his left shoulder, that smile broader and more exuberant than at any time I’d ever known him. And I wanted nothing more than to return to my own cell ASAP. He was scary when the storms started up and he was wont to tell his tales. They never ended well and they always left a hallow spot in one’s stomach. I only nodded and stood up.
“I think the guards are looking for me to get back, Harold. But, uh, you, you tell good tales and I can’t wait for the next one.”
I beat a hasty retreat not willing to stay around any longer. Harold said nothing. Just kept his gaze on me, that broad smile one of infinite knowing. As if then is then and he could see the worst things I’d ever done in my life. I don’t know what happened to him after that tale he told me. All I know is that he went back to staring out that window above us all seeing something nobody has any right to see. And I did everything I could to keep getting thrown into solitary.
Because when you see the Cheshire Cat grinnin’ at you, you run the other way and never look back.
Thanks for reading and hope you had fun! There will be more to come next week! Until then, have a good week!
~Timothy S Purvis
Amazon Kindle Author’s Page–> Timothy S Purvis
Smashwords Author’s Page–> Timothy S Purvis
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION STARTS!
I would appreciate if you have Kindle or even if you want some paperback goodies if you’d head on over to my page and maybe show me some love there. I mean, if you’ve been reading a while and see something you like, wouldn’t you like to have it in your personal library? I have some cool short stories available for cheap. Also Tales From A Strange Mind that collects my short stories (there’s also a Kindle edition but, for some reason, Amazon wouldn’t let me link them together) , Tales From A Strange Mind II which collects my old novellas, Red Star Sheriff (Which also has a Kindle edition but Amazon, am I right?) my first novel ever released, though, yes, it does have some grammatical errors and drags on for way too long, sigh. But I still love it and I will be writing a follow up sometime within the next few years. I have a collection of my poems called MisAligned: The Heart Waxes Poetic which collects my old poems but not some of my newer ones included those flash fictions! I’ll probably do that in the future as well. And if you love the perfectly inane, why not check out my Star Cloud scripts presented in book form? Star Cloud The Original Scripts. Another one where Amazon was being difficult with me in connecting the Kindle and PB versions. Still, the paperback they let me sale for cheap and it’s well worth a look if I say so myself. Or, if you don’t want to click on individual links (all of which will take you to my author’s page anyway), just click on my author’s page directly by tapping my name: Timothy S Purvis See for yourself what all I’ve published since I began this venture in 2016.
I mean, if you like my work, of course. No pressure. Just trying to find my way in this world without working menial tasks and suffering physical and mental issues as a result. If only I could merely stay home and write. That would be my most epic fantasy brought to life. Well, if you don’t want to do that, you could also donate to my cause down below after all is said and done. It would help. You know, if you liked what you saw and all. Up to you. I don’t have a lot of reviews on my materials because of low sales. I mean, very, very low sales. In the single digits. Right now, I have to rely on Pubby for reviews and those people only read your synopsis and recap it for a five star review. I want honest opinions. Not mean ones, but honest. So, if you ever find yourself buying some of my work, I’d certainly appreciate some feedback. Again, up to you.
Also, I’m selling my work for cheap over at Smashwords.com! Check out that page here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TSPurvis
END SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION!