TKnC welcomes Richard with...
He lived alone at the top of the hill where the crows’ nests cast shadows longer than the burnt out cars.
He would sometimes drink whisky at the corner of the pub and stare at the couples.
Bull Stone had been going to the Cutthroat Razor for as long as anyone could remember.
No one spoke to him except for Ace Butcher.
Ace was the barman and no one was quite sure how he got his name.
All that was known is that if you played him at cards he’d win. A lot of people lost their ears playing him.
He had a parade of them swimming in pickle at the back of the bar. Once when the local constabulary paid him a visit he caught an officer staring back there in the gloom and said ‘pigs’ ears, fancy one?’
The officer choked into his beer.
They’d paid Ace a visit because a spate of corpses had turned up in the town.
Of course it had nothing to do with him. Everyone knew who the real culprit was, but Ace played along with the officers.
When they left he poured Bull a pint and sat down with him.
‘What did they want?’, Bull said, sipping the brew.
‘To come in here and act the big shots.’
‘And what did they get?’
‘A couple of pints full of my piss.’
‘All the way down.’
As night fell like black ash outside the window the crows maundered on the deserted lawn that fronted Bull’s house, picking fragments of flesh from the shrubs that lay wasted there. Ace served the final few customers and shut up for the night.
When he and Bull were alone he got out his finest malt and they sat sipping it until the town lay quiet as a warm corpse.
‘What we got for the Mailman?’, Ace said.
‘We got a couple of snoopers on Lawnside.’
‘Know them’, Ace said. ‘Stuck up couple of silver spoon merchants.’
‘Yeh, they’ve had em in their gobs for a while and don’t say much. Know what I’d like to do with them.’
‘Guy’s a fat queer?’
‘Yeh, little asslicker.’
‘Seen the boxes at the back of the farm.’
‘What about the monkey?’
‘Not seen him.’
‘So we do em.’
There was a cackle by the window as if some presence that approved of their nocturnal deal was stating its approval of their plan.
The wind outside smelt of dried blood and the trees dripped at the top of the hill that gazed down at the shadowless town.
And at Lawnside the woman with the silk scarf lay next to her grotesque mate who stank of manure and putrefaction and they dreamed their last dreams of money and acclaim.
They awoke the next morning to a bright day that gave no sign of the doom that awaited them.
And they moved on a rail placed there by the hand of fate.
The stepped out into a bright sunshine, the woman looking like a cipher now and the man obscene and fat beyond measure.
They went shopping as the knives were being sharpened.
As they did Bull could see the sky turn red from his window. And the trees coupled in knowledge that they would be fed.
He made the call to the Mailman.
‘Puncture them’, he said.
Then he hung up the phone and tied string on some boxes wrapped in brown paper.
And Ace opened up the Cutthroat Razor.
As people read their post the Mailman emerged on Lawnside.
He wore a red hat and polished buckles on his epaulettes. His gait was military and he stood at over six feet tall. His entire bearing belonged to another era. It was hard to see his face beneath the stiff brim of his hat.
The couple were returning home with their shopping as he approached.
He stood at their doorway with a parcel in his hand until the man noticed him there.
As he opened his mouth to speak the Mailman produced his Wowie Bowie. It was a Bowie knife mounted on a steel spring and had a neat action. The blade sprung back into any flesh that resisted its path. Its severing motion could cut through a tin of tomatoes.
‘You have nothing to say’, the Mailman said and sliced his carotid artery with a movement that was almost balletic.
The redundancy of his interlocutor was evident as he staggered and reeled in true vaudeville style clutching at his neck which wept blood weakly as if his veins were struggling with all that fat.
As he collapsed to the floor there was a moment’s stillness in which you could hear the trees knock their branches together like so much applause.
The Mailman entered the house and wiping his shoes on the mat stepped over the lifeless body.
He found her in the kitchen.
She turned, gasped and he removed her head with a brief motion that ended with the final vein in her neck popping and spraying blood on the wall.
Then he went about his work, neatly dismembering them with his array of knives and laying their body parts in a row on their foul smelling hearth.
The sun set in the valley that was Lawnside and the Mailman emerged with the boxes which he delivered to the Farm where he ended his business for the day.
And the crows cackled in the branches of every tree and in the undergrowth where red eyes looked hungrily out at the coming blackness.
Bull and Ace arrived as the Mailman was leaving.
They watched him shut the heavy door and walk into the fields at the town’s edge and disappear.
There was only darkness on the horizon and they never left the town.
They opened the heavy oak doors to the barn and entered.
Ace pulled the cord and switched on the light.
‘They’re all here’, he said, looking down at the pile of boxes.
‘We better get them out of here’, Bull said, pointing at one which was leaking. Blood was seeping through the brown paper and there was an oily film gathering on the surface. ‘See that?’
‘Maybe they didn’t stir their grease with their fucking silver spoons.’
Beyond them at the end of the barn the monkey swung down from a beam and baring his yellow teeth in mockery laughed and paraded his ass.
‘Spoon’s hungry’, Bull said.
‘He’s always hungry.’
Ace opened the top box and removed a pair of eyeballs which he threw at the baboon.
He rolled them along the floor as if dusting them prior to ingestion and dropped them in his mouth treating his companions to a popping sound.
‘That won’t be enough’, Bull said.
‘You’re right, I’ll give him some tit.’
Opening another box Ace pulled out a flabby and disfigured breast which he launched in the monkey’s direction. He caught it and tore the flesh apart, wiping the blood from his mouth with a hand dripping with ragged flesh.
‘I think he liked it’, Bull said.
‘Spoon likes a bit of tit. We’ll save fatso for the crows.’
They locked the barn and left in the black night using their knowledge of the terrain to guide their way.
And as the town slept they scattered the fragments of the Mailman’s visit on the discoloured lawn of the park known as Hunter’s Patch.
There was the noise of hissing and the tearing of flesh beyond the rusty blades of grass that were as stiff as bristle.
They stood and watched the feasting.
Then they walked to the Cutthroat Razor for a drink where they washed the blood from their hands.
Ace placed the ears in the glass jar at the end of the bar.
They landed in the pickle with a splash, spraying the walls of glass with a shower of drops.
‘They were the scum of the earth’, Bull said.
‘All these people who come here for an easy life, lording it over us think they can start asking any questions they want. Why here?’
‘Cause it’s so beautiful.’
‘Don’t they ever ask themselves why it’s so beautiful?’
‘They don’t know shit’, Bull said.
‘Don’t they ever ask themselves why it’s so green?’
‘Feed the town, we been feeding it for years’, Ace said.
‘Nothing grows without sacrifice.’
‘The monster always kills, whoever that is.’
‘The monster man be a man, ultimately it just is’, Bull said.
‘Soil needs bodies soil needs blood and guts.’
‘An we give it to the rich pasture we dwell within.’
‘You see, they ain’t farmers.’
‘We’re the end of the fucking line, there are no crimes in this fucking town cause there are no laws. Don’t it ever occur to them that there are no mailboxes here?’, Ace said.
‘Seems not to. I don’t think they see anything other than how green it is.’
‘They’re feeding our god.’
They drank and parted at dawn when a pink sun saturated the emerging skyline with a hint of blood.
Hunter’s Patch was as clean as a whistle as the trees moved in the morning breeze.
They were shadowless on the lawns.
I am a produced playwright whose stories have been published at many magazines as well as in the recent anthologies 'Back In 5 Minutes' by Little Episodes Publishing and 'Howl' by Lame Goat Press.
My crime novel has been accepted for publication by Pegasus and will be available at major bookstores later this year.
If you wish to check out my writing credentials further please do so by using this link to my blog...