Of all the fears I experienced as a child, none was more prominent and constant than the idea of stumbling upon a half decomposed human corpse. Just the thought of laying eyes on the leathery brown separation of mollasses-like liquid skin slipping away from a broken and twisted skeleton. I could visualize the pulsating of vast amounts of beetles and maggots as they fed on the organs of a months old carcass. And I could smell the hideous odor that can only be explained as the putrid smell of death rising from the stain left burnt into the ground around the corpse by the heat and humidity of summer. If I ever happened upon a large plastic bag on the side of a county road i couldn't help but suspect that inside were the mangled remains of a child tossed into the ditch by a maniac as he drove to the power plant for the morning shift.
Everytime I stepped out into the world I knew that someday, anyday, I would find the body of some poor victim or trip over the bones of an elderly man that had gone missing some time ago. Maybe my friends and I, in our endless search for pristine steelhead water, would discover the scattered remains of D.B. Cooper. And I had a pestering feeling that the next house my friends and I deemed abandoned would hold the festering remains of a married couple who died choking on the carbon monoxide of poverty.
The fear was not unfounded by any means. At a young age, I walked the street that ran through our neighborhood daily to play with my friends after school got out for the summer. I remember passing a little yellow house that gave off an odor that I didn't recognize but was sure I wanted to stay away from. As the days of summer slipped by, the odor became stronger and more foul. I would pull my shirt up over my mouth and nose and run by the house as fast as my little legs would go. I had no clue what the aroma could have been and I didn't care. It was baseball season and I had red sox cards to trade for.
About eight weeks into summer, on a particularly hot july morning, police cars and ambulances surrounded the house on the way to my friend's. The door was open and the stink was stronger than ever. Most of the officers at the scene held their hands over their faces, some vomiting in the grass, as they entered and exited the dwelling. Inside i could make out nothing but a sillouette of a grotesque and disproportionately fat man lying on his back surrounded by tall standing shadows. The police were swarming around the place in small groups looking, pointing, and shaking their heads. The sound of swarming insects and radio chatter was overwhelming when combined by the smell. I was old enough to know that nothing good was happening here but I had no concept of what that might be at that age.
On the journey back home the house was devoid of any activity at all, except the now quieter sound of insects. The windows were boarded up and covered with plastic. Signs hung on the door warning anybody who dare of the penalties of entry. I didn't stop to read them but, as far as I knew then, red meant stood or danger. I passed by the house in my usual manner and ran home to have dinner.
At the table I was catching bits and pieces of a phone conversation my mother was having with her best friend. I kept hearing the words dead, towels, and other insignificant mom talk. The look on her face was what gave me the feeling of dread. She had her hand partly over her mouth, phone to her ear, whispering "no shit' and "oh my god". There was a look of disgust as well as terror in her eyes and her voice seemed to crack more than usual. I knew something bad happened but I didn't know what. I knew it had to do something with the commotion at the little yellow house. My mother was always on top of what was happening in the neighborhood.
After dinner I managed to build up the courage to ask my mother what was wrong. I could tell she didn't want to tell me but I kept after her until she finally started to explain the grim details of the day's events. An elderly couple lived in the little yellow house that I passed by every day. They were on a fixed income and due to that hard economic times of the Reagan administration had not been able to keep up on their bills. The winter we had was unusually cold and long and the power company had disconnected their service when they failed to pay their balance. Inside their house an antique wood stove wood stove became the only source of heat in the waning days of winter. In a desperate attempt to conserve fuel they had stuffed towels into every crevice they would fit and taped up any crack that would allow a draft to enter. This was commonplace at the time. We didn't have CO2 alarms or really a knowledge of what it did in the home. In their ignorant frugality they had failed to realize that the chimney had plugged and dangerous carbon monoxide gas slowly became trapped in the house. They died from asfixiation where they stood and lay rotting inside until the neighbor called about the smell. The first time the cops came they got no answer and concluded it was the garbage. The second time they were called was due to the mailman complaining about mail piling up in their mailbox. They had been inside that house decomposing for four months or so. The inside of the house was so contaminated with the putrid smell of the dead and the crawling of carrion eating insects that the scene was treated as a biohazard and burned to the ground by the fire department the next day. The smoke rose above and dispersed into the neighborhood for a better part of that day, charring the aroma of decay already in the air. It was a scent I have never smelled before but didn't think much of it. Mt.St. Helen's had erupted a year ago, which also introduced me to the smell of vulcanism.
After hearing my mothers story a feeling of naturalised horror came over me as I realized that what I had seen inside the house was the rotting corpse of the man bloated with insect larvae. My mother didn't spare me any details. She knew how smart I was and she knew there was little she could hide. The smell was still so fresh inside my nostrils that it helped along the burning of this atrosocious trauma into the farthest reaches of my brain. I didn't vomit however. I wanted to know more. It was almost fascinating to me. I started asking all kinds of questions regarding death and decomposition until I finally got all the sick answers my young mind needed to make sense of the whole thing. Most of them came from the twisted opinions of my neighborhood homies.
The initial horror I felt became locked away inside my brain transforming itself into a constant nagging that this wouldn't be the last time I would bear witness to such a horrible scene. Somewhere, sometime, I would stumble upon the horrid spectacle of decay once more. I was absolutely sure and prepared for this inevitability daily. Eventually the dread would become weaker as I grew older with age and eventually would seem to dissapear forever. As the days went by I never did open a black garbage big stuffed with festering limbs or uncover the bones of an old prospector underneath a tumbleweed and grew less anxious every day. I still don't open the bags or move the brush aside. There were not bodies on every turn. I believe this experience fueled my love for horror fiction, horror movies, and the occult.
I would discover later in my life, however, that a corpse is nothing to be afraid of. It is just an empty vessel, carriage of the spirit, soul, astral self.......it goes by many names.
There are far more sinister things in existence to fear. Horror as I knew it could not begin to compare to the terrible things I would experience in the future. Death is constant. As constant as a thing can be. It is everywhere we live and everywhere we've ever been. It follows us routinely on a daily basis, creeping closer as the days go by, patiently waiting for the one day we will surrender to it. We all do, at some time or another.
But death is not the end. It is only a transition. A stepping stone in the road to higher understanding. A link to the greater consciousness. If a person is so adept, he may even be able to control his "spirit" after the moment of his death, to roam the ether in search of knowledge and gather power. There are those that have tapped this ability during life. Psychics, Parapsychologists, Sorcerers, Alchemists, Preachers, Healers, and Shaman just to name a few. The theme runs deep in religion, paganism, and the occult. No one group of mystics has more knowledge on the subject or has been able to keep this knowledge secret more efficiently than the The Vatican.....and they dictate their follower's lives with the fear of sinning and eternal damnation. That's a lot of fear to be in control of. It's no wonder the catholic church since Constantine has waged more wars in the name of god than any other religion or government, save the USA of recent times.
I could go on and on about the reasons for this, but I think that information would be best savored in a future book. What I have learned, and by no means do I claim to "know it all", is that there is a spirit world. A world most folks think they understand but actually have had minimal experience with or even desire to explore. The do and act as their respective churches tell them to. Then there are those of us, for whatever insane or stupid reason, decide to investigate for ourselves this world of wonder and terror. We learn things that would make most people lose their minds or single us out as maniacs to the moral majority when we try to show them the truth. But we still search. We still research and we still learn and we still face the horrible realities we discover through our experiments. Thus far, all I can say for sure is:
1) There is a spirit world that runs through the universe, through all thins living, dead, or innanimate. You can feel it in the sun. You can feel it in the plants.
2) The energy of the spirit world can be manipulated for the greater good of for selfish indulgences. Some know this more than others and, finally,
3)The unknown factor....If we, in certain states of consciousness, can manipulate this energy alive what can we do after we die......and what can the ancient beings that have always inhabited this world do? Can they harness our souls like grains? Can they control us like puppets? Are they good? Evil? Both at the same time?
Whatever it is, it is not something those small of mind or weak of will could endure sanely. One of my best friends, Austin told me once "You can never unlearn what you learn". Nothing could hit home harder than that statement. There are things I wish i never learned or saw and there are things I was not ready to know. I have felt things. I have seen things. One thing I can be absolutely sure of is things have seen me, felt me, and visited me. Have you ever seen that odd shadow out of the corner of your eye that you shrugg off as "tripping". Ever witness something on LSD that nodody's sick imagination could ever come up with? Have you ever had a lucid dream and have the control pulled right from you? Have you ever seen a tall, pale skinned man dressed in black, with a black large rimmed hat, smiling down on you after you wake from a nightmare and became frozen in place when the stare of his empty black eyes meets yours? Have you ever seen the shadows? Have you ever seen the shadows sober? If so, continue reading this as the novel it's meant to be, for much of the "facts" of this story may strike a familiar fear into your soul. Hopefully that fear someday will turn to awe and wonder, but for now we do not know.
If, at some point in this book, you get the urge to research something macabre or taboo, be careful. If you have a strong flight response, stop and ask "Do I really want to know?". That question is one which I never asked and, although I know some disturbing and traumatizing facts and ideas, I'm richer for it and wouldn't have it any other way. Just remember; This is a novel. Any facts or similarities to places, people, and events contained within are merely, uh, coincindental. Some parts may be exaturatted accounts of actual events. In any event, the most important thing I can say here is, THIS IS A NOVEL. Do not lose sight of this fact. I in no way expect anybody to take literally the contents of this book but at the same time hope the story will open minds. If it does not? If it's just a good horror tale to you? Awesome. I have done my job.
If it's more than that for you? If it moves you to investigations or creations anew? Good. I have done my job.
If it hits way too close to home? If it says things you only thought before? Excellent. I have done my job.
Makes you smile? Remember? Lose sleep? Settle an argument? Start one or end one? Then I have done my job.
If it is too much for you and your associates, and for those that dictate your tasks, and theirs, and those above them? If you feel I've said too much? That this author must be discredited and must be stopped?
Unfortunate. I have done my job
At times the words in this book may be too much to wrap your head around. Other times it will read like drunken dialogue from a high school party. You may come across a defiant dread. The feeling that you know what's is written on the next page but don't want to read in somebody else's words for that might make it too real. Who knows? You might read it like a textbook for a seaker of arcane knowledge. Remember, it is fiction. I just want to tell you a scary story. ha ha. For those who believe it is more, take from it what you will. George Orwell wrote the book 1984 in 1939. He wrote that as a fictitious novel.....
"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear. The oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown" H.P. Lovecraft
Dedicated to my Mother, Father, Family, Friends, Slaves, and all the people who have been there.
Bel Awilum Sa Sipetusu, Ipusma Ayyu Suqamatisu'
Sumerian translation: "Lord of man who closes his mouth with silence"