Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chapter Twelve: Once

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 12:
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who told stories about herself. Once, there was a little girl who wanted to be famous and claw her way into being in the stories. "Once upon a time" consumed her life. And once, the little girl grew up and was average, or below average, at almost everything, and this once hopeful and limitless little girl grew up and got pregnant young and dropped out of college and married her abusive boyfriend. Once, or twice, or three times or more, this girl pretended that what she had was a happy ever after. She grew up to know that she was common, that she was dull, that nobody would mourn if she were to die. Nobody would mourn because she could not help but isolate people. Try as she might, she couldn’t help but grow up under the knowledge that everyone was so small they might as well be average. So this little girl, so full of promise, grew up to be another nobody in a blank cast of thousands.

There was something that made this little girl special, though. The White King watched her. You might say that she wasn’t special because of this—the White King sees everyone, his eyes are everywhere.  But everyone is special, being graced by the White King’s eyeless gaze. He holds us all and cradles us to sleep. He loves us. The little girl was having her story told, like a footprint in the snow that would quickly be closed up by the swiftly falling snowflakes. The story would be memorial to her and the White King’s footsteps, but nobody would read it. None but her most dedicated biographer would truly know her, much like all of mankind. Alone inside shells that crumble like dust, humanity lives in isolation, forever.

Once Elizabeth tried to run. Once she failed. One more held in the White King’s arms.

She had been in the empty city for three weeks. She ate what she could, choking down tasteless food that wriggled and felt rubbery under the tongue, and occasionally crumbled to dust beneath her teeth coating her lips with the limp flavor of death. Elizabeth learned to run, and to run fast, as night and day the long shadows became reaching arms and formless silhouettes in the dark became formless men that had long abandoned mankind. Elizabeth learned to read and learned to think, and she felt more alive than she ever had been capable of before. This was something solid and interesting and new, a way of breaking from everything she hated about herself. But there was still the matter of her son to consider. Michael weighed on her mind day and night. She knew she had to save him.

So she appealed to the internet, that faceless, soulless amalgamation of crazies and busybodies. She trusted her fate to them, let them guide her, and perhaps that was a mistake. She cast her nets into the unknown, darkened waters that were filled with strange and terrible fish. And she waited, oh how she waited, for the world to begin anew. She waited for that spark of inspiration, which would light up the world and show to her the path forward, that would illuminate the truth from the fiction. Elizabeth was foolish to think she could ever discern the two.

She foolishly wrote a chapter of the story herself. Elizabeth didn’t see the elegance of the tale, didn’t understand that her meddling meant nothing in the grand scheme of things. She understood nothing. Elizabeth followed what she thought was the story she had written. Instead she followed the original path, so similar to her own tale but better written and grammatically correct. She crept out of the window of the house she had been staying in and stole onto the street.

The streets of the city were darkened and empty, but for the too long shadows and the hollow, vacant windows. The vacuum of a world was grey, and looked as akin to dust as its food tasted. Elizabeth’s footsteps brought up clouds of powder that quickly fell back to the earth, covering her footprints. The world went back to being undisturbed, and dead.

She waited, as she had written and as the Author had written also, for the shadow men who were not quite human to walk past. She crept along the alleyways, sure that they couldn’t see her and sure that the shadows could conceal her. Several times, the yellowed air became oppressive, like the clammy hands of a nervous first date. The thick air grasped her, and she felt sweat roll down her back. Even as she clutched the grubby, graffiti-ed wall behind her back she felt numbed too it, like it was a distant dream of another place. Elizabeth turned sluggishly, trying to be quick, as she felt something brush her shoulder. Of course, there was nothing there. She did not feel it as the shadows tugged at her clothes or suckled on her feet. The woman trotted on through the increasingly oppressive city, gulping down the stale air as she followed the monster men.

The further she walked, the sicklier the world became, an odd mix of grey and yellow with an edge of green. The light began to creep away from her, a nervous and fleeting ally. As she reached the toyshop darkness had fallen but for the lampposts, and as she crept inside, she tried to avoid thinking of the strange redness the room contained. Her hands touched against sharp toy cars, jumbled jack in the boxes, tiny cloth puppets. The floorboards creaked ominously, and she worried that the ground would collapse beneath her feet, not noticing of course that it already had.

Elizabeth knelt. Her fingers brushed against a cheap, plastic carpet, and she grabbed the scratchy underside and pulled the rug back. Indeed, it was almost too obvious, too cliché, but beneath it was a trapdoor. Curious, and desperate, the little girl in her adult shell dropped her pale legs down onto the ladder. She descended the rickety metal ladder, feeling the blistered and rusty paint and the ominous creaks of the steps beneath her. She climbed, and climbed, and climbed. It took hours, but finally she reached the bottom, and then…

It was a library, lit by the bluish glow of the computer monitors that lined the walls. The stench of old books was not enough to cover the new and plastic smell. There was a faint whirring of fans, and the slight crackle of pages. Elizabeth saw a hulking shape hunched over a desk. Eyes glancing back to the ladder, the single door, and the thousands of old tomes, she crept towards the shadowy figure, realizing some part of her plan had gone terribly wrong. Swallowing her rising panic, she choked out a foolish, “Hello.”

The Author turned around, and beneath the shadow, he smiled, “Good evening, Elizabeth.”

Her voice breaking slightly, Elizabeth murmured, “You’re him, aren’t you? The Author?”


Elizabeth choked back an insane sob and clenched down on a peal of laughter. “Tell me—what do you want? Why are you doing this?” She couldn’t bottle her emotions any longer, as she burst out, “Where is my son?”

“Oh, dear Elizabeth. You’re just a character. A puppet. A single tiny part of an intricate tale, woven as closely as the web of a spider. I don’t owe you anything but a stage, which has been set, and a plot, which has been in motion. There is nothing more for you. As to why I am doing this, you can take your guess—I am sure, or I hope to be sure—that the readers will. Maybe I’m your helper, maybe I’m the White King’s, or maybe I’m a character myself following the rails of another, more incompetent author. Maybe I’m trying to sacrifice you for myself. Maybe I am you. There are no answers here. A magician leaves some tricks a mystery; otherwise it’s just no fun.

As for your son—perhaps those cries answer your question?” The Author grinned devilishly once more, as a child’s sobs echoed through the single door, “He’s in pain. The cultists are foolish, inelegant, and perfectly willing to put a child in pain if they believe it will aid the White King. He garlands the children as his crown. Now think, what are you going to do? Run for your son, perfectly, but know, if you continue with the story, you will die. The story will end with your corpses side by side. And I shall rewrite the story so as to improve it, over and over and over again, and you will relive it each time in the knowledge that this choice is coming and you will always choose the wrong one. Or you can leave. The doors will unlock. You will have to run, but you will survive. The story will be too boring to rewrite with no real conclusion. There’s your choice—perpetual torment, or freedom.”

It would be false to say she didn’t hesitate. A life lived in pain is no life at all. She could be free again, she could be happy again. But she couldn’t, not without Michael. It was the awful truth, and it was terrifying, because he was writing her life and he knew what was going to happen next. Nevertheless, she moved past the computers to the door, and grabbed the handle.

She said a name. The Author smiled.

She pushed her way through the tunnel and she could remember the description she had read in The Author’s drafts, of the eldritch and creeping halls, filled with the ghosts of the long dead and the yet to die. It was dark, though her eyes picked up faint reds along the corridor as the light in the distance bounced along the long and winding tunnel. The walls were covered with some kind of ichor, oily and sticky beneath her hands as she scrambled along the jagged rocks. She slipped slightly, bruising her ankle, and stopped for a moment. Then, the crier of her darling son forced her onwards.

Something sticky was dripping on the ceiling to the floor, a strange spongy tissue, like the inside of a pumpkin baked on the sidewalk of an October day. There were odd lumps within the stringy matter, and it was unnervingly warm. She slipped on the ground and gasped, a part of the string slipping into her open mouth. It was sweet. She shuffled onwards blindly, her stumbling toes battered and her breath shallow.

She broke from the tunnel, and was suddenly deposited into a dark, red room. There were mutterings along the walls. Michael’s crying was suddenly very close to her. She slipped again, and fell forwards, onto a level, clean platform with some sort of symbol carved into the stone. Her fingers explored the cracks, as she felt too tired to stand back up. And then Michael’s sobs crescendo-ed again, so she pulled herself to her feet and stumbled onwards. Her eyes grew used to the new light and she noticed humanoid shapes in the darkness. The whispering was everywhere, in the air of the room, in her throat.

Hazily, she saw below her, quite close to her feet, the little, shivering figure of Michael. With a dreaded finality, she collapsed onto the concrete next to him, the sound of her landing akin to the banging of a coffin lid. She was slippery with blood not her own, and he was covered in his own blood, already dying. It was at that moment that Elizabeth knew she was ended—both she and her son were over and dead. Elizabeth held out her worn, calloused hand, and grasped Michael’s pudgy mitt. His face was wet with tears, but as the whispering turned into a high pitched hum, he stopped sobbing and stared upwards, his large eyes staring into the dark.

Elizabeth glanced at her son, and began to cry herself. But she couldn’t move. She and her son were both dead, because she was tired. Because she was pathetic. And she knew her last thoughts were to be those of a drying fish far from the sea, wheezing and whimpering and unable to protect her own. Elizabeth was caught by a coughing fit, as the lights seemed to grow warm around her, and Michael’s quivering lips switched into a smile.

Elizabeth looked up from the slab, barely able to force her head upwards. She saw, in a final choking hopelessness, the White King rise from the musty dark. He was tall, yes, and stately, as the stories had said. He could see her without eyes and he knew her without thought. He was finality, more so than death. His steps left footprints, in the blood. He was still there after Elizabeth had closed her eyes, and she sighed in relief, almost laughing at how ludicrous the feeling of relief was. Then he held his arms aloft, waiting for his children.

Michael stood first, and tugged on his mother’s hand. “Come on, mommy. Don’t be scared. It’s not going to hurt anymore, and it’s going to be forever.”

Elizabeth began to sob again, almost blind with fear. Michael, smiling, his body shredded and falling apart, tugged on her hand again. “Come on, mom. He can wait forever, but we can’t. Can’t you hear his song? It’s time to go.”

Elizabeth shakily stood to her feet, no longer at the whims of her own will but the will of something or someone other. She leaned down and pulled her son into her arms, holding him into her shoulder. She felt his warm blood coating her shirt, and sobbed. The fear was greater than ever, now, but also distant. She stared at the White King, and he waited, for he was patient. Shakily, she nudged the fading Michael. “I love you, Mike.”

“Love you too, mommy.”

Slowly, trembling profusely, she began to walk towards the White King.

Once upon a time a hoarse little girl began to sing;

"You're a lost little lamb,
Come into the fold,
Come into the fold,
Come into the fold,
You're a lost baby sheep,
Come into the fold;
Your mother will keep you warm."

Holding her son, she walked into the White King’s arms, and he greeted her.

End Chapter Twelve

The White King Exists

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Chapter 12

“Elizabeth walked down into the streets. She ahd to find her son, and she knew the only way she was going to be able to do that was to find the terrible men who didn’t look like men so she started to search the city for them. For a while she didn’t find them and she started to give up hope, but it was as she got sadder because she thought her scheme had gone wrong that she realized that the terrible men who weren’t men were coming towards her. So she hid for a while until they had gone past and then followed them back into their layer, which was hidden very close to where she had been working. It was underground in a creepy basement beneath a toy shop which was even creepier. Down there there were a group of men in hoods alongside the men who were not men and they were standing in a circle chanting for their evil lord to turn up. There were candles and blood marks on the walls and standing over it all was a man in a gaudy robe who was writing surrounded by several other men in robes who were all muttering while looking over his shoulder, and he knew she was their, and she knew that he knew she was there. She wanted to run but she couldn’t and anyway at that moment they brought Michael out . He was scared and looked very cold. Elizabeth needed to help him so she ran right into the circle and grabbed him and then ran away and she could hear the cult behind her and the men who were not men and then she grabbed a rock and bashed one of the men in the head and he died and then she got hit in the leg but she and her son got to the edge of the town and it faded back into life. She knew they had to run and would probably run forever so she got some supplies and took Michael in her hand and they walked off to run from the monster forever. The end.”

She wrote.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


i changed the password and i'm looking through the drafts, but...

 this was a draft

every time i start writing again it changes to what i've written, a draft from weeks ago, due at midnight tonight. but it keeps changing. i'm not changing it. i've rewritten this so many times...

but at the end it ends with me running more.

i've been running. the men- no, they aren't men, they're monsters- they've been following me. they get closer, every day they get closer and i need to get out. but they're so fast.

one of these drafts. i keep reading it, but it can't be true, can it?

it's about michael. it describes his death from every perspective.

he's in pain.

he hurts.

i can't help him.

and then he's going to die. it says i'm going to watch him die. he's in a room, it says. the men take me to the room. he's going to be sacrificed for the slender man before my eyes, it says. it talks about how he is torn apart piece by piece and i can't move, i can't do anything. but i have to. i have to save my son. but i don't know how to do it.

he's hurting right now. i know it.

the room is described as small and big at the same time, and in and out, and dark but in a chiarascuro way (i don't know how to spell it...) and his blood is spilled. my son... i'm his mom. i have to do something...

someone, tell me what to do. please...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


it's me, elizabeth. michael's name was  the password, broekchen, what else would it be? and there are notes and things in the drafts section... this guy knows everything about me, including every job i've ever had and every person i've ever dated, every hospital visit and all kinds of things. what am i going to do?

it's so violating. and why is his password so obvious? he knows i'm looking for michael. he knows that. so why...

there are drafts. i don't want to look at them, but

shit, there are people downstairs, i heard something break. i'll post this, and if i don't comment quickly, well... you can use your imaginations. or maybe you won't have to, i'm sure the author would be happy to fill you in. see you later. i hope.
You really thought you could get away with it, didn't you?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chapter Eleven

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 11:
Elizabeth stared at the computer screen for what seemed like hours. Nobody was helping her, nobody was reaching out to her, nobody was answering her pleas. She didn't know what to do, and she was most likely going to die. There would be no way out for her, no place for her to hide, nothing left. She shuddered, trying not to cry again, and again she failed, her tears falling to the floor in a waterfall of pathetic sniveling and whimpering. She couldn't control it, some other force had taken over her life, had taken over everything. 

Even her perception of the world was breaking. Elizabeth felt ill again; it was like her very thoughts were under the control of some other person, some malevolent being was making her thoughts seem rushed and inconsolable. She couldn't focus half the time, and as she attempted to read the blogs, her thoughts stopped half way through. As though there was something else there.

It was the Author, whoever he was, manipulating her, destroying her. It was the Author who had brought the curse down around her, breaking her family and burning down her life. It was the Author who had such power to make her mind melt and meld to his will. She had to find him, and make him pay, of this she was certain. She stood, and glanced at the clock, and at that moment the whole world seemed to freeze around her. It was six o'clock. It had been hours since Dacre had left to collect Michael. He hadn't called or sent anyone round, nothing had gone wrong. But something had to have gone wrong, they shouldn't have been gone for so long. A long way gone...

She panicked, dressing herself into more workable clothes and grabbing Dacre's keys. They shouldn't have been gone for so long. She paused for a moment, thinking, trying to think. She had to be sensible and do the right thing for Michael and Dacre. She grabbed the phone and called 911. Nobody picked up. Once again the world seemed like it was melting around her. She sprinted down the stairs, barely noticing the unnatural quiet that was settled around the apartment building, around the block, around the city.

She had to walk to Michael's grandmother's house, which was when she noticed how very wrong everything was. There was no traffic in the streets, there were no animals in the trees, no people in any of the buildings or in the restaurants. The city was, empty, dead. Which made it worse when Elizabeth arrived at the house, and there was nobody there. An open gate, and abandoned meal, and no sign of the Grandmother, Dacre or Michael.

She would soon feel their pain.

End Chapter Eleven

The White King Exits.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Chapter Ten

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 10:
Elizabeth had been bedridden for several days. There were no burns on her arms; in fact, there was no evidence at all that the fire had existed even for a moment. The certainty that Elizabeth had felt faded quickly, and as she woke up on Thursday she knew that she had been stupid to think for a second that she had been on fire, that there had been anything but the blood. The blood was still overwhelming her senses, her every thought. All she could think about was Rebecca's eyes, hollowed out and empty, her life spreading out over the floor. Elizabeth was numb as the doctors spoke to her, explaining her situation, talking about "trauma" and "stress", about broken bones and splints. She felt too numb to really comprehend anything, too distant to even want to.

It was Dacre that came to her rescue. Dacre organized the health insurance, talked to the doctors, and made sure that Elizabeth was getting the treatment she needed. He talked to Michael's school and kept communications up about Michael's well being, making sure Michael had a place to stay. He negotiated with the press and with the insurance companies. And he made sure that the police left Elizabeth alone for as long as possible, and stayed by her side when they came to talk to her.

The police were gentle in their questions in any case. She was a victim, bloodied, battered and bruised after all. Bones broken. Heart broken. There was no reason for her to be suspected. None at all. She answered their questions mechanically, barely glancing at their faces, her eyes on the ceiling as she thoughtlessly picked at the plaster cast on her arm. She told them about Rebecca, everything they knew about her. She told them about her job, and the people at her job. She told them, briefly, about her ex husband, and her sister, and the troubles. They gave her information in return, they told her about Rebecca's family, about Michael's mental health, and about the state of her workplace and the crime that had been committed there. They had found no bodies, and that was worrying, even though the fire had been so all consuming. There were so many patrons and employees there, they should have found something, a bloody charred hand, or a cracked and bubbling skull, or a baked and well-cooked eye.  The police were theorizing that the fire had been aimed at her, it had started a little after she should have arrived and had consumed the entire building within minutes. Witnesses had spoken about a tall man at the scene of the crime, but they had been unreliable hobos, druggies, drunkards. The police told her as much as they were allowed to.

They went on to say that the police were organizing with a therapist to meet with Michael and Elizabeth, though it wouldn't be able to be for too many meetings, as the insurance wouldn't cover it. Dacre nodded politely, and then noticing Elizabeth's worried frown and her sick and tired eyes, shooed the police out. Dacre sat back at the end of the bed, tenderly looking at Elizabeth. She seemed so small, so tired, so weak and afraid. "Tall man?"

"What?" Elizabeth replied, the words catching in her throat.

"You blanched when they mentioned a tall man. Why?"

"N-no reason," Elizabeth lied.

Dacre took her into his apartment when the hospital released her on Monday. She sat on his worn couch, counting the cracks in the walls, willing the blood stay back. Elizabeth was scared and sick, and the only thing she felt control of was the safety of her son. He was staying at a relatives, he was safe. Or was he? Panic caught rose in her chest, was he safe? Really? Surely nowhere was safe, nothing was safe, not with the monster hovering at every corner, in every window. Surely there was nowhere safer than your mother's arms... Elizabeth felt guilty for sending Dacre off to collect Michael, but there was no other way for her son to be safe. Not even with Elizabeth's own mother.

Elizabeth herself didn't know what to do. She couldn't run, not with the plaster and bandages and broken leg. She could  hide, and hope that the people who knew how to deal with the monster would advise her. She didn't know what to do, only take instructions from the outside. She sat at Dacre's computer and tried not to sob again.

She couldn't feel it, but a countdown had begun. Eight... She couldn't see it, but the tendrils were all around her. Seven... She couldn't know it, but there was no way out. Six... She couldn't think it but it was hopeless. Five... She couldn't help it, but it was all intertwined. Four... She didn't know it, but she was going to die. Three... She couldn't stop it, but her son was dead in his eyes, as well. Two... She couldn't halt it, but the world was ending. One... She would find out for herself.

Soon all would be dead.

End Chapter Ten

The White King Exits. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chapter Nine

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 9:
Elizabeth was still screaming. Her knees gave out from beneath her once more, and she fell to the floor retching and sobbing. Rebecca's blood crept across the floor and soaked Elizabeth's knees as she desperately tried not to vomit. Her mouth tasted sour, her head pounded and she was shivering as though she were freezing though the room was as warm as a sauna. The blood was congealing quickly, painting the door and walls in a morbid decoration, a sticky, bloody mural. Michael was using the blood to draw on the walls. He painted what seemed to be his family, flowers, cars, superheroes but there was something else there... Beyond the  happy scene with a painful medium. 

"Michael... Michael... Mike..." She stumbled over her words, still sobbing, still screaming. She couldn't do anything but repeat herself.

Michael smiled happily, still painting with the blood, "Rebecca went out with the man and he said I had to draw. She said she would be back soon."

"But she's... she's... Michael-"

The panorama Michael was creating was coming together. A tall figure dominated the scene, its long limbs reaching around the other stick figures. Elizabeth wailed more, as she at last saw the creatures tentacles made up the rest of Michael's picture. The wavering limbs made up each figure, each house, each flower, each hero and villain; the message was clear. The monster was everywhere and everything. It built up the world, from the roots to the branches. Everything was his.

Elizabeth stared up at the roots. The blood was surrounding her. Was this what Rebecca had discovered? What Michael might have learned?

Dacre burst through the front door, and stopped at the sight of the blood. Trembling slightly, the young man moved towards Elizabeth, slipping an arm around her shoulders. "I- it's-" he tried to speak, but the words caught in his mouth and spluttered out like a broken engine exhaust.

He took a deep shuddering gasp and tried again; "Michael? What are you- what happened?" 

"Rebecca went away so I stay here to play," hummed Michael in a singsong voice.

Dacre shivered, looking seriously unwell, and pulled Elizabet up off the floor, moving her away from the growing pool of blood, "Stay here, okay? Don't move. Don't look. I'm going to go call the Police but I won't leave you alone, okay? I'll be right back. Okay, Elizabeth? Don't move. You're safe here. It's going to be alright."

He left her alone in the room with her son and her thoughts, both of which were difficult enough to deal with. She wanted to feel in control again. There had never been a time she had felt more uncertain, more unsafe, and she wanted to get out of it, she wanted to escape, she felt sick and scared and sorry. Her world was burning, and she was losing everything, and she couldn't handle it. She felt tight across her chest and her muscles were aching, her skin prickling, and the world was... her world was burning. A singed smell mingled with the blood. Her fingers were burning, smoke rising off her skin as the fire burned her flesh. She screeched again, the pain terrible and all consuming. She leaped up from her seat, as the flames consumed her arms, her legs, her head. She fled the room, blinded by the flames. She felt like her blood was boiling and bubbling under her skin, that was crisping beneath the fire that was consuming her body.

As she ran, she couldn't see her own feet, and she tripped. Elizabeth fell down the stairs, her bones crunching as she hit each step. As she crashed into the wall at the bottom of the stairs, her vision began to fade, but was clear enough to be able to see that there were no flames on her body. Her hysteria had been unwarranted; there had been no fire at all. Was she going mad? Perhaps. But in the end in either case it was her own mental weakness that drove her to fell such pain, see such hallucinations.

She would wake up in hospital three days later, on Thursday the Fifth of May.

End Chapter Nine

The White King Exits.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chapter Eight

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 8:
Elizabeth stared. It was all she could do. Her body couldn't move, it wouldn't move, she wanted to sprint away but she felt too weak, she wanted to run into the building and save everyone but she was too weak, too scared. She was shaking, and felt sick once more. But in the midst of all the angst, the fear for Dana, lay nestled like a viper amongst the eggs memories of the awfulness that had been her life at the "Greasy Fork." She felt relief. She felt relief as the world burned around her, relief as the dank and dark and sick place was destroyed. It was terrible, but she felt happy; she had wanted that place to fall, she had wished those people dead, and she had her wish. She began to laugh hysterically, a choking, mad thing that bubbled out of her lips like thick black poison. She laughed until the tears, unbidden, returned to her eyes, tumbling out and mixing with her snotty nose. She laughed and sobbed as the police and the firemen and the ambulances came; she laughed as they put a blanket around her shoulders and she was prodded into the back of a police car; she laughed all the way to protective custody. 

The police were questioning her and she was answering each time entirely automatically, occasionally letting loose a new uncontrollable giggle. She hated herself for it, really. But she was free. She felt free from her work and free from the earth, spiraling out of control and burning herself, soon to be dead, soon to be dead. Elizabeth was discovered to be the woman who had complained of a stalker days earlier. Suddenly the stalker became the biggest priority for the police. Elizabeth was kept in the police station for her protection, and a few hours into the morning she finally stopped her hysterics. She was shakily let out of the police station.

She walked home in a daze as the sun rose above the buildings, illuminating the streets. She was tired and shaking as she walked home, and utterly unprepared for what she would find there. She opened the door to the apartment, to find blood smeared all over the walls, all over the ceiling and the floor, as her son merrily painted pictures in the blood and organs of Rebecca. Her head was on a plate, dripping down to the floor. Her organs were strung up like Christmas decorations, her heart placed neatly in the fruit bowl, her eyes in the toybox. There were words painted in the blood.

"We gave him a name."

And Michael continued to play happily in Rebecca's organs, as Elizabeth screamed.

End Chapter Eight

The White King Exits.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Chapter Seven

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 7:
Elizabeth stumbled back from work like a drunkard, much as she always did. She could barely make it up the stairs, feeling much more tired than usual. She had barely slept for days; dark bags were shadowed under her eyes, which themselves were bloodshot. Her feet stumbled and tripped as though they were comatose, and she pulled herself up the stairs as though she were ascending to a higher plane of existence by means of her own willpower. She saw the door to her apartment ahead and could feel the exhaustion lift slightly.

She stepped through the door into apartment, and stared. Rebecca was standing in the center of the room, her eyes looking at something just beyond the walls of the room. Michael was sitting on the floor, chattering happily to himself about something she couldn't comprehend in a language she didn't understand. Elizabeth could do nothing but watch for a few moments, in terror and horror, as her world fell out of her control once more. She gently moved towards them, trying not to startle them out of the bizarre trance-- she'd heard that doing so was bad, but she was getting her information about trances mixed up with her information about sleepwalking. 

"Why aren't we going to the church, mommy?" Michael asked abruptly.

"We... just can't, okay?" Elizabeth said, feeling ill. Her outburst seemed to shake Rebecca out of her reverie.  

"You're going to be late for work, E, get going."

"Rebecca... I just got back from work."


Neither Rebecca nor Michael could remember if anything had happened that night, but both found themselves with crippling headaches and stomach cramps. Elizabeth gave Rebecca a glass of water, as the girl promised to come over and watch Michael again once she had slept off the headache. Then Elizabeth put Michael to bed, tenderly resting a damp cloth on his forehead. She created him a hot drink out of lemon and honey, and gently closed the door, hoping he would sleep. She crept across to the bathroom and took off her work clothes. They were sticky with sweat and alcohol, and smelt like smoke. She inhaled deeply, staring at her aging face in the mirror. Then, barely suppressing a yawn, she stepped into the shower. 

She had to stay under control. She wanted to stay under control. But she wasn't brave, or smart, or strong, and so her shoulders began to shake and she began to sob. She rested her head against the cool concrete as the water poured over her body and wailed, hoping the bathroom door would block the sound. Elizabeth didn't cry, not to other people, not if she could help it. But that night she cried at a world turned upside down. She took a deep breath, and halted her tears. Then, on automatic, she turned off the shower and stepped out, toweling herself off. Suddenly the exhaustion of the last few days hit her like a train. Yawning, she stumbled to the bedroom and collapsed onto the bed next to her son.

She woke up and was already five minutes late for work. She sprang from her bed, cursing violently and waking Michael slightly from his slumber. "Muh?" he mumbled, cheeks puffy with illness. 

"Shh, shh, shh, sweetie, go back to sleep, it's all fine," Elizabeth cooed, pulling on her clothes in blind panic. She wondered where Rebecca was, remembering an article she had read about how black people were stereotypically late. She caught herself thinking about it and felt both sickened at her own latent racism and terrified at the public scrutiny that came through the blog "Once." She knew Rebecca would be hurt by the thoughts of her employer should the babysitter read it. In any case, it wasn't true, Rebecca was never late. Except at that moment, undercut another thought. Elizabeth tried not to throw up and bounced back and forth on her heels, waiting for Rebecca to arrive. Rebecca finally burst through the door, panting, but before the girl could even apologize Elizabeth was sprinting down the stairs to work. She needn't have bothered running so fast, by the time she arrived the place was already aflame.

She stared, not knowing that she was only on the cusp of a life that was about to get much, much worse.

End of Chapter Seven

The White King Exits.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chapter Six

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 6:
Once or twice Rebecca had proved, at least to Elizabeth, that she was trustworthy enough to be given a key to the apartment. Therefore she was already sitting in the front room with her crappy cheap laptop settled neatly on a box, stealing wireless from a neighbour, when Elizabeth and Michael returned. Rebecca pulled off her ratty, second-hand converse and collapsed backwards onto a pile of boxes, lifting her hands away from the computer in exhaustion. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow and busied herself making dinner for Michael, who was beginning to complain about being hungry. "This 'The Author' dude, he updated again while you were out. There's something creepy as f*ck about this White King thing. Something to do with chess. And these commenters... people, they seem to know something. I'm going to read through the blogs of the people following this guy, try and figure out what's going on from that. How was your day?"

Elizabeth sighed, pulling her hair back, "Fine..." She lied, like she always did when she didn't want to face the truth, "Michael can stay up and watch something tonight, or read. Or something."

Rebecca gave Elizabeth a pointed look from her spot on the floor, "I read about what you did today on the blog, you know. I know about Michael's... song-thing. Why'd that freak you out so much?"

"I don't want to talk about it, okay?" Elizabeth said, as calmly and icily as possible, all the while thinking about the implications of the song, of the fears she had about her son's education, about her fears of not being a good enough mother, the fears that her son would go the way of his father, her fears of the lost children, the murders, the deaths. She was terrified, but she didn't want to say it, didn't want to think it. So she pushed away the only woman who was willing to help her, all because she feared her own past. She didn't even understand how foolish it was to do so.

Rebecca began to click through blogs, reading slowly. The stupid babysitter was semi-illiterate, not intelligent to be able to read more than a few sentences a minute. She would never be able to understand Elizabeth, not properly, not like... other people could. No, Rebecca wasn't good enough for Elizabeth, not that either of them could tell. Michael began to bug Rebecca to use her Netflix account, and they were settling down to watch cartoons just as Elizabeth ran out the door, late for work.

As she jogged to work as quickly as her legs could take her, she thought about The mysterious Author. Who was he, or she, and what did he want with her? Why did he care about her? He seemed like some disgusting stalker, a creep jerking off in the bushes outside a naive but attractive young girl's window. But there was something more to it all, making it weird, bizarre, creepy. Though his descriptions of her were fetishistic, sometimes he seemed to, well, care about her. He was writing about her life, and exposing her to the world, but, and she hated herself for thinking it, she felt like she was freer the fewer secrets she had, the more she was exposed. But what did it mean? Was it simple narration? Was it a warning? Or was he directing her life, like puppets and strings? Was he watching her through her windows? How did he know what she was doing all the time, how did he know her thoughts? She didn't understand, but her thoughts buoyed her to her workplace.

"You're late," her manager said. He was a porkish, fat, southern man who sweated profusely and chewed tobacco. He left stains in every carpet and on every wall he touched, and his hands were greasy enough to mark cash with a thin layer of fat and salt. He glared at her through tiny, beady eyes, "The police came round today. Said you were being stalked. Said they had to talk to the staff. Said that there might be a problem."

Elizabeth cursed inwardly, but forced herself to smile. "There won't be any problems, sir, no trouble, I promise. I'll tell them not to bother you again."

"You see to that."

Elizabeth sighed heavily, wondering if her life could get any worse; ironic, considering what was to come.

Her shift that night was mostly regular, apart from the church preachers who came in at 10 o'clock. There were two men and two women, and they seemed almost inhumanly normal, proportioned and ratio-ed to be as average as possible. They stood at the center of the "Greasy Fork," whose patrons ignored them, and began to preach. They spoke for what seemed like hours, trying to convert people, or at least convince them to come to church. They talked about the end times, about their Lord and their Saviour, their sacrifices, their love and devotion; they talked about the fear, and the release from fear; they talked about the church's lofty morals, and it's use beyond even religious applications.

"Repent," they said, "And make your way to our church, for to serve his open, wavering arms. Repent, and grin, and become one with him, become one with the light, the White Lord, our King."

Elizabeth dropped a platter, and cursing, ran into the back room. She could still hear them.

"Repent, believe, and follow him. For the end is coming, oh so very soon; in fact, it's already hear. Follow him and simply die, for if you do not, you will suffer eternity unto yourself. Bleed and die, bleed and die, but he will save us all. Follow him, follow the light, follow the white, follow the bright. Follow the Aura, the Aula Permanere."

It was at that point that the bouncer stepped in, asking the churchfolk to leave as they were making people uncomfortable. He slowly pushed them out of the cafe, as all the while the group kept talking, kept preaching, kept wailing and repenting, praying for the souls of the drunks. Elizabeth didn't want to watch them leave. She felt sick, like her whole world was out of her control once more. She caught her manager glaring at her, and looked away, afraid. She was on thin ice at work, her home life was a mess, and her entire life had simply been one failure after another. She didn't know what to do other than sob, but she couldn't even do that.

There were people to serve.

End of Chapter Six

The White King Exits.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Chapter Five

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 5
One long moment passed. Rebecca stared at Elizabeth, her mouth agape, her eyes boggling. The babysitter rested her thick hand on the smaller, older woman's shoulder. "You need to get some sleep yourself," Rebecca said, dark eyes lighting with concern, "Honey-- you look like death warmed up."

Elizabeth nodded in feeble agreement; she felt shaky and sick, and her brittle fingers felt like ice, her circulation failing in its duties. She felt tired and anemic, but she new at the pit of her stomach she would be too worried to sleep well. She voiced her concerns, "I'm not sure I'll be able to sleep; I mean, what am I supposed to do? How can I got to bed with all of this-" she gestured wildly at the world in general, "-sh*t hovering over me?"

Rebecca firmly pushed her employer towards the bedroom. "Let me deal with 'all of this sh*t' for a bit. I'm going to search your house to make sure there are no cameras or recording devices anywhere. Then I'm going to check on your neighbours-- I'm sure Dacre will tell me if he has seen anything suspicious." Dacre was Elizabeth's good friend, a failed musician who worked at one of the logging mills. He was an unkempt man, with a kindly face and sad eyes. Rebecca continued her spiel as Elizabeth's eyes began to flutter closed, "And I'm going to put a watch out for your ex-husband.."

"What makes you think he's involved?"

"I'm just making sure that every possibility is covered. If it's him, well, he deserves jail. H*ll, he deserves worse than jail."

Elizabeth nodded wearily in agreement, collapsing onto her bed as her knees finally gave out. But she couldn't sleep. She was too scared, almost to the point of sickness, of throwing up; her stomach was in knots, she felt weak, and her life was suddenly out of her control, out of her hands. Indeed, as Elizabeth listened to Rebecca clatter around the house, moving shelves, shifting cabinets, emptying cupboards and boarding up holes in the walls, she felt like even Rebecca was more in control than she. Elizabeth continued to listen as Rebecca made a call to the neighbourhood watch, describing Elizabeth's ex-husband as closely as she could. Elizabeth listened distantly, not wanting to think about his cold dead eyes again.

She finally slept, and dreamt of skin against skin and cold sheets, of romance without money, and of a creeping darkness; cold hands reaching out to breach the silence that had fallen. She was alone.

After a fairly typical night at work, Elizabeth felt weirdly energized. She needed to take control of something, and what else was there but her own flesh and blood? So on that nice, Saturday morning, she decided to take her son to the Redwood Park. They hopped onto the shuttle-bus that took residents to the smaller town, and hiked the half mile up the hill that led to the park. The playground was a big one, with slides, and stairs, and tubes, and climbing walls, and swings. They played there for an hour, before Elizabeth decided it was time to go explore the woods. As they walked, they managed to have a conversation for once. Elizabeth felt happy, being outside, wandering through the woods with her son, looking for faeries and forest folk. Michael was convinced that he had seen a dragon, though Elizabeth blamed that more on his love of dragons that had infused with his childhood. They skipped and played and pretended to be elves. Slowly as the day wore on, they lost energy. Michael squeezed his mother's hand, "A bunch of kids at school are going to church. Why don't we, mom?"

His mother felt vaguely guilty for a moment, "Mommy's very busy, you know..."

"They say it's really fun there, though."

"I guess it can be, but-" She couldn't say anything about it. She didn't know what to say about it. What did you say to an eleven year old who wanted to find religion?

"They even taught me one of the church songs, listen!" Michael exclaimed, taking a deep breath and singing in a playful way;

"You're a lost little lamb,
Come into the fold,
Come into the fold,
Come into the fold,
You're a lost black sheep,
Come into the fold;
The slaughter will keep you warm."

Elizabeth was suddenly so shrouded in concern-- about her life, about the song, about her son-- that she didn't notice the White King.

End of Chapter Five

The White King Exits. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Chapter Four

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 4:
One, two, three chapters already? "What's wrong with you, you sick f*ck!? How the hell did you find all this sh*t out? How the f*ck do you know who I am? How do you know where I live? Leave me the f*ck alone, I'm calling the police!" she typed, dialing the final "1" with her other hand, trembling slightly. But even as she stormed out, describing to the police her situation, she realized how truly useless it would be. Even as she described what was happening to the cop on the other end of the line, she felt foolish, as her words didn't explain enough, and the situation seemed ridiculous. The policeman promised to keep an eye on the situation, but apologized, elaborating that there had been a series of arson attacks in the area and the investigations into that and a few child disappearances were taking up all the time the small police force had. Feeling defeated and terrified, and above all unsafe, Elizabeth walked home.

Elizabeth decided to walk to Michael's school instead of letting the bus pick him up; she felt restless and uneasy, and in any case she wished to speak to her son's teachers about the situation. She walked up to the elementary school and caught Michael on his way out of the classroom. "Hey, Mike, you go play on the playground whilst I talk to Mr. McKinley, okay?" She watched him run gleefully off, and then stepped into the classroom. It smelled like paint and paper, and refreshed her senses slightly. She smiled wanly at Mr. McKinley, who gave her a big, teacherly grin. He was cleaning paintbrushes, but turned off the sink and wiped his hands on a towel, turning to speak to her directly.

"Ms. McFee, it's so nice to see you!" He said, genuinely. "What can I do for you today?"

"I'm just wondering if anything odd is going on with Michael. I've got a couple of problems at home, and I'm hoping that nothing is happening to him at school as well..."

Mr. McKinley gave her a kind look over the top of his wire-rimmed glasses. "Problems?"

"I might have a... well, a stalker."

"I'm so sorry, Ms. McFee. You don't have to worry about Michael; he'll be just fine here. We've really bumped up the security since..." He trailed off slightly, but recovered, "Since the beginning of this week."

Later that evening, Michael and Elizabeth sat down to dinner together amongst the boxes that served as furniture. They were eating macaroni and cheese on plastic Disney plates; just right for the young boy, but Elizabeth felt foolish. Nevertheless, she was willing to go without her dignity if Michael would just eat his meals without a problem. Elizabeth tried to initiate conversation with her son, in an attempt to savior what little time they had together. "How was your day at school today?"


Elizabeth bit her lip, but persevered; "What did you do?"

He shrugged, "Stuff."

"What kind of stuff?"

"Math stuff."

Elizabeth sighed heavily, and concentrated on her pasta. She felt so distant from he son, but he was all she had left to care about in the world. And it was such an uncertain world as well. That blog, with the moments in her life laid out plainly for all to see... She shuddered. Elizabeth wanted to forget all about it. She put Michael to bed, telling him a few quick stories, and prepared for work. At least at work she would be distracted from thinking about the stalker-- the thing that had to be a stalker. She nodded to Rebecca as she walked out the door and began the hike to the "Greasy Fork".

On her arrival, she was once again greeted by smoke and beer, rank smells of the underclass. In the corner of the room a man sobbed into his beer as his friends obliviously and drunkenly sang the chorus of a vulgar song about sausages. One of the few women who frequented the pub spat into her husbands beer whilst he was distracted by Dana's breasts. A couple of men were telling rape jokes and raucously laughing as the got worse and worse. Some of the loggers sat to the side, sharing smokes and complaining about their boss. One spat tobacco onto the floor beneath Elizabeth's feet as she stumbled into the back room.

"What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" The words became like a mantra to her, as she threw herself into her work. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" She had to concentrate to ignore the curses and catcalls, forcing herself to stay calm as Dana felt another untoward advance make its way up her skirt. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!"  She restrained herself from strangling the chef as he giggled his throaty, burbling laugh. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" She worked to stay as calm as possible, to ignore the horror of her work and the Lifetime movie her life had become. "What can I get for you, sir?" "Have a nice evening!" And as the night ended, and Elizabeth began to close up the bar, she noticed that Dana seemed to be close to tears.

"Hey, Dana, honey, what's wrong?"

Dana's bottom lip quivered and she began to sob, loudly, "I had sex for money and I feel terrible and filthy but I gotta pay for dad's surgery and I need to go to college but I feel so sick and I'm sorry to dump this on to you but you're the nearest thing I've got to a friend.."

Elizabeth stuttered, "Oh," and as the younger girl burst into tears they hugged. But Elizabeth couldn't help but notice the nasty voice at the back of her head. Why me, it said in her voice, my life is already crazy enough, and now I've got to deal with other people's problems? I'm not crying now. I didn't cry when my husband beat me, I didn't cry when he left, I didn't even tell anyone about any of it. I didn't cry when my sister was committed to that mental hospital, no, I didn't cry when our parents died. No, I buckled down and dealt with it, the evil, envious little voice said, as it glared at Dana from behind Elizabeth's eyes. Elizabeth swallowed those thoughts; they were sick little things indeed.

Dana cried, and Elizabeth finished closing up the shop. Feeling motherly, Elizabeth then walked Dana back to her home in the more inner city (though the area was far too rural to have a real "inner city"). The poor girl was still crying when they had finished the four block walk. She hiccuped, and turned to Elizabeth; "Thanks, E. I'll see you tonight." Elizabeth held onto her smile until Dana had disappeared from sight, and the yawned into a grimace. Sluggishly, she walked the six blocks back to her home. Rebecca stood up to greet her, "I can stay for the morning if you want-- Michael is already awake. He had nightmares."

"Oh I'm so sorry," Elizabeth yawned apologetically.

"Naw, it's not a problem. Just thought you ought to know." Rebecca frowned, "You look awful, is everything alright?"

"Help me get Mike off to school and I'll tell you."

Michael was off in his own room, pretending to be a Pokemon. "Oh no, humans have come to capture me for experiments! I don't wanna go to the training grounds!"

Elizabeth grinned- most kids had grown out of Pokemon, but her son stilled loved it, giving her an easy pass on certain aspects of parenting. She grabbed some of his clothes and shouted "Pokeball, go!"

Michael shook the shirt off his head, "I escaped! You'll gave to weaken me first!"

Elizabeth laughed, and launched an attack of tickles against her son, who giggled profusely, "Alright mom, I give!"

"Cone on mike, it's Friday! Get dressed, Rebecca has your cereal all ready for you."

Eventually Rebecca and Elizabeth got Michael packed off to school. Rebecca turned to Elizabeth. "What's this all about?"

Wordlessly, Elizabeth went to the kitchen where she retrieved the papers that she had found on the windowsill. She waited as Rebecca read through them. "I'm not sure I understand, E. Did you write this or..."

"I found it on my windowsill."


"There's more at that blog site as well! It's someone who knows all about me, everything I do, everything I feel. I don't feel safe, and I cant stop it from being shown to people! I don't know what to do!"

End of Chapter Four

The White King Exits.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chapter Three

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 3:
Once more, the day was ordinary. Elizabeth emerged from her uncomfortable bed at noon. The sun was shining brightly through the window, illuminating the bedroom's every crevice. She groaned, as a couple of cockroaches disappeared through a hole in the wall, after scuttling between the mounds of clothing, books, toys and dishes that made up the architecture of the bedroom floor. She slid slightly, revealing her stomach, which was covered in stretchmarks-- the only smooth area was around her belly button. Her hair was tangled, and her make up running, marking her face with dark blotches. Her eyebrows were fuzzy and scraggly as well, frowning as the sun fell onto her eyelids. She yawned, revealing her yellowed teeth, and the scar on her tongue where she used to have a piercing. Then, slowly, carefully, her every muscle aching, she moved out of the bed, her feet nudging piles of clothing out of the way as she staggered upright. Smacking her dry lips, her brain raced, as she tried to decide what the more important option was-- coffee, or a shower? In the end, cleanliness prevailed. She stepped into the rundown bathroom, eying the new spiderweb of cracks in the wall suspiciously, and undressed. The water was cold, as it always was, but she didn't want to risk talking to her landlord about it. She yawned again, and was rewarded with a mouth full of cold water.

She stepped out of the shower and, wrapping herself in a towel, made her way back to the mirror. Squeezing toothpaste onto a toothbrush and jamming it into her mouth, she glared at her reflection, which served to remind her only of her fading years. The wrinkles, the bags under her eyes, the hints of grey in her hair; all served to warn her that her life was slowly being left behind. She would never be able to be young again, never not be in a position of weakness and responsibility. She saw this in the mirror-- the years of work that her future held, the years of misery, of poverty, toil and then death. She could feel the opening gap in the future gaping, the abyss of time looking into her soul and telling her how worthless her life would be seen by the universe, the universe that cares not, the universe that knows not. She spat into the sink, and rinsed.

Towling herself off, she walked into the kitchen and popped on the kettle, pouring some instant coffee into a chipped mug. Elizabeth walked over to the front door, which had been jammed with leaflets from some church, "The Church of the Last." She snorted at the obviously fake joy of the too clean people on the pamphlet and tossed it into the trash. She went back into the bedroom, and picked some clothes up off the floor. She sniffed them, and satisfied that they were at least clean-ish, she pulled them over her head. Dressed in a rumpled t-shirt and jeans, she moved back into the kitchen. Soon, cheap instant coffee was bountiful. Elizabeth sat at the box that served as a coffee-table and sipped at her breakfast, her eyes staring into the distance as she made plans for her day. She yawned again, and finished off her drink, stepping back into the kitchen to place it in the ever growing pile of washing up. She sighed heavily, and went about cleaning up the house. 

She put clothes into the a bag for laundry, and scrubbed the kitchen. She placed Michael's toys back in his toybox, and piled the books as neatly as possible. She went to the window to let some air in. She leaned out, enjoying the fresh California spring breeze, staring out at the bay beyond the buildings, when she noticed something on the ledge of the window. Intrigued, she leaned out the window slightly further. She grabbed the object-- it turned out to be a sheaf of papers-- and pulled it back inside. She glanced over the title page, "Once" by The Author, and, confused, began to read. She was pulled in quickly, for it was her own life, chapters one and two. Elizabeth felt like the bottom had fallen out of her world, felt sick to her stomach, felt shocked and appalled and violated. Someone knew who she was, and where she lived, and what she did every day. What she looked like. Someone knew every intimate thought and fantasy she had. The final page had the url . 

In a fit of rising panic and bad-decision making, she sped from her apartment, and ran the 11 blocks to the library. She clattered in through the front doors, earning herself dirty looks from the other patrons, but she didn't care. She sped to the computer lab, almost out of breath, where she sat at the computer, her fingers trembling as she typed the address. And yes, there it was, two pages-- no, three-- all about her, her life, her thoughts, her family, impeccably detailed. Enraged, sickened, and threatened, she scrolled to the bottom of the mysterious blog's new post and jabbed at the computer keys, typing quickly, as she called 911 on her phone.

End of Chapter Three

The White King Exits.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chapter Two

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 2:
One night at work was much like any other. Elizabeth spent most of her evenings amongst the more family-unfriendly patrons of the restaurant at which she waited. Walking in through the front, she greeted her friend Dana briefly as she arrived at the "Greasy Fork", a place that held delusions of being a family cafe during the day, but quickly slid into the Hyde of the night. Elizabeth quickly made her way to the back room to prepare for her shift, trying not to trip over the many holes in the flooring. She was wearing inch-high heels-- part of the uniform-- but found it difficult to balance when already woozy from the smoky air and her own hunger. She knew at that moment that it was going to be a long, difficult night. Elizabeth put her few possessions on her shelf, punched in onto the clock, and, smoothing back her hair one last time, she plunged into the drunken revelers. They were besieged that night, as they were every night, by unemployed loggers, alcoholics, potheads, druggies, and other dregs of society, each clamouring for a cheap meal, a cheap drink, a cheap grope of a waitress. It was really Dana who had to bear that affront; Elizabeth had no chest nor bottom, nor was she attractive outside of her hair. Once, a man had grabbed her and spent a good few minutes fondling and sniffing her hair, and her complaints to the Fork's owner had fallen on deaf ears. Dana had it worse, and Elizabeth knew it, but neither of them should have to go through that amount of humiliation.

Nevertheless, there was no way out for either of them. Elizabeth didn't have enough money to do anything outside of keeping her son happy and well, and Dana herself was supporting her senile old father. The women were trapped in an unfair, unjust situation of which there was no way out. Elizabeth grumbled to herself over the unfairness of it all, as she stumbled through the tables, carrying order after order, drink after drink. The chef, a middle aged man with a gut the size of a barrel, who chain smoked into the food, giggled, his belly wiggling like jelly, as Elizabeth's face turned from a perfect mask of a smile to a frown of hatred and discontent. She glared at him-- he had no family himself, and spent all his money on alcohol. She didn't know about his past, but judged him all she could. She hated him at that moment, as the ash from his cigarettes made its way into the food, and stained the stove-top he worked at. Dana stumbled into the kitchen, the skin at her collarbone bruised a little, a clear sign of calloused, filthy, grabbing fingers.

Dana and Elizabeth worked in the innards of the Fork's sweating hog of a body until four in the morning. They dashed from table to table, taking order after order, feeding the filthy maggots that sucked at the grease and pus that coated the insides of the restaurant. It was a villainous thing, a monstrous thing, but it was the only work the poor logging town could afford the two women. They worked until morning, for the patrons refused to go home even after the drinks stopped flowing, and sweat ran down their faces and mussed their hair. Finally, at four in the morning, the last of the dregs slipped out of the cafe, and Dana and Elizabeth could work on cleaning up. Elizabeth mopped the floor; though she was the older worker, Dana had diagnosed back problems that severely limited her ability to mop. Instead, Dana wiped the tables down, and stacked chairs. It took three hours of work to clean the bar ready for the morning. They finished the night by carefully registering half the tips they had earned, and pocketing the rest. It was unlawful, but they didn't have enough to pay the taxes they owed, not if they wanted to eat. Then, nodding to each other, they left the restaurant just as the morning crew arrived, ready to take on the rush of truckers coming in for a cup of coffee. 

Elizabeth staggered home, her heels in her hand, utterly exhausted. She didn't have a car, nor were there buses or cabs in the town. Instead she walked the six blocks, blinking the dark spots out of her eyes. She saw a strange figure out of the corner of her eye, but dismissed it as a figment of her imagination. She climbed the three sets of stairs to her apartment, and wobbled into the bedroom to wake up Michael for his day of school. Rebecca awoke from the couch, and quickly excused herself, after Elizabeth pressed the babysitter's pay into her hand. Elizabeth made Michael a quick breakfast-- Lucky Charms cereal, she knew it was bad for him, but they couldn't afford much better, and it was easier than arguing for a healthier option-- got him dressed, and rushed him out to the school bus. She watched drowsily as he clambered on, and the bus pulled away. Then she climbed back up the stairs to her apartment, and collapsed onto her bed, dead to the world.

End of Chapter Two.

The White King Exits.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chapter One

The White King Enters

Start Chapter 1:
Once upon a time, there was a girl named Elizabeth Katherine McFee. Elizabeth was a woman in her thirties, with red, curly hair with a hint of bronze that spun around in tight ringlets. She had tired grey-blue eyes, framed by early worry lines that laced across her face like frost. She was thin lipped and snub nosed, with a long face that gave her an undeserved air of haughtiness. Her figure was average in size, but her fingers were too long, like writhing spiders, and her stature leaning forward, uncertain, unbalanced. She lived in a very small apartment with her son, Michael. Michael was much the same in figure as his mother—skinny and awkward, looking to be at the edge of flight. He was, at 12 years and 2 months, an odd, antisocial child, reminding all who saw him of a chicken. His neck was too long, his head balanced on top like a coconut at a coconut shy, his legs being far too skinny, with knobbly knees sticking out like a sore thumb, and his arms flailed and wobbled like gelatin from beneath his counterfeit Ninja Turtles t-shirt. His hair was not so outstanding as his mother’s was—a dull, sandy brown, which reminded Elizabeth of the boy’s father. The child’s face was puckered, and freckled; and despite his bright brown eyes, he was far more interested in the exploits of Optimus Prime than in any academic calling.

The mother and son lived together in the apartment, Elizabeth wasting away her life and talents at a thankless waitressing job that barely floated them at the poverty line. The apartment was a small, dank, one bedroom affair, on the edge of being utterly empty but for Michael’s toys. Scarce pictures scattered the walls—Michael playing with other children at his daycare, at his school, Michael playing with his mother at the Redwood Park, perhaps one or two pictures of Elizabeth and a similar looking woman of perhaps a few years older. Plastered around the photographs were Michael’s early pictures, at first stick figure drawings of his family and imaginary friends, then later still-young images of cars and robots; young boy exploits into artistry.

Elizabeth sat at the camp bed her son kept and began to read him a story; poems about crooked men filled the air, and Michael found himself floating to a different world—a world of dreams and faerie tales, and soon he was asleep. Elizabeth kept reading quite a while after, knowing it silly to still be so entranced about children’s stories, but knowing that nobody would know about her secret evening’s entertainment. She finished the story, and stroked her son’s hair for a moment, keeping comfort in his safety. Then she stood, turned out the light, and greeted the babysitter, Rebecca. Elizabeth pulled on her uniform, relaying the same tired routine of instructions to Rebecca, who knew each word by heart. She knew to keep the thermostat down, to not use the cooker, to read Michael poems should he awaken, and that she could help herself to anything in the fridge. Satisfied at last, Elizabeth hurried towards the door, tying her hair into a tight bun, and disappeared into the night.

End of Chapter One

The White King exits.