Author Archives: Fresh Hell

There may be such a thing as too much perspective

 

Life has been on earth for five billion years.

We’ve seen five mass extinctions. We’re currently undergoing the sixth,.

There have been many geological and biological factors for the extinctions. The famous meteor impact. Volcanic activity. Thriving plants altering the chemistry of the atmosphere. Imbalanced ocean water. 

Have you ever looked up a video of the tectonic plates shifting? Landasses are just the dried pudding skin on top of a swirling hot ball of magma. Watch them float and mash into each other.  https://youtu.be/IlnwyAbczog 

I looked at Google maps today and zoomed out until I could see the earth as a globe. The land masses still look like liquid. They’re clearly made of a slow-flowing substance. Look at the tip of Africa. It’s crumpled.

How small we are. We run and scream and fret about the mess we’ve made of things. What absurd hubris. We aren’t the first and we won’t be the last. And unless something integral about us changes, we certainly will not survive as a species beyond another few hundred thousand years.

Only one thing is for sure: the algae always wins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Dumbass

 

Namcy sits quietly in her bed, coloring.  Her brother comes in and glances at the work. She tries to hide it. He overpowers her and holds it up.

“Pink, purple, purple, pink!” He jeers. 

Her mother, drawn into the room by the commotion, catches him by the ear. “Give that back to her, Aaron,” she says.

Nancy snatches the papers out of his weakened grip. “Dumbass,” she hisses.

“Nancy!” her mother says. “Nice girls don’t say nasty things. And they color inside the lines, to practice their hand-eye coordination.”

After they leave the room, Nancy puts her crayons away.

 

Nancy sits in the back row in her high school class.

“Who knows the answer?” The teacher calls.

Nobody answers. If no one else is going to try… Nancy raises a timid hand.

“Yes, Nancy?” the teacher says.

“Twenty-three?”

The teacher shakes her head. “No, that’s incorrect. How did you get that answer?”

“Um… in my head.”

“Come up to the board and show me.”

Nancy feels a flush spreading as she walks up to the board, in front of everyone, and slowly hashes out her incorrect question in front of her bemused classmates. The pressure makes her slow, awkward. She can hardly hold the chalk, much less think.

“No, see here,” the teacher says. “You’ve skipped this entire row.”

 A titter from behind her.

“Don’t worry about them,” the teacher says. “We’ll go as slow as you need to go.”

 

The family eats together at the dinner table, Aaron declares his acceptance into Penn State.

“Of course you were accepted,” her mother says.

“We’re proud of you,” her father says.

Nancy focuses on her potatoes. 

 

He walks into the drugstore where she works. Underneath his T-shirt he’s lean as a whippet, unlike herself. She appreciates the nape of his neck as he picks out a drink, making sure to avert her eyes before he makes his way back to her register. She’s good at watching people without being noticed.

He pays for the drink in cash. As she accepts the money, she risks another glance at his face, and is caught like a moth in his electric blue eyes. 

He isn’t looking at her the way others do.

He sees her.

 

Nancy’s hands are shaking. She sits crumpled next to him on the bed.

She should have been smarter about it. But she could never say no to him. No, that’s not right. She can’t blame him. It was her responsibility to prevent this kind of thing. She has simply failed again. What will her mother say?

“You don’t want to get it taken care of?” Robby says.

She cradles her hands around her belly. “If you think I should,” she whispers.

“Well,” he says, pausing to irritably suck his cigarette, “we’ll have to get married then.”

Even when she doesn’t ask, he always knows what she wants. She’ll be able to move out of her mother’s house. He is doing this for her. He is saving her. She feels a rush of gratitude.

 

Nancy is six months along. She is making dinner when she delivers the news to Robby.

“A girl, huh,” he says. “Shit. She’s not going to be much to look at.”

“No, Robby,” Nancy says softly. 

Robby glowers at her. “What did you say.”

Her voice remains low. She can’t even look at him but she must say this now. “You don’t get to talk about her that way. Not her.”

“You don’t get to fucking tell me what to do!”

He hits her for the first time. She turns to protect her belly from hitting the stove as she falls.

They never talk about it again. He quits drinking and doesn’t hit her for a year.

 

When their baby is born, Nancy watches, tense as a predator, whenever he draws near to the baby. Robby senses that anything directed at Elsa will be the end of them. Eventually he learns to avoid their daughter.

Nancy isn’t always safe. She can accept that as long as Elsa is safe.

 

Elsa is four years old, coloring quietly. Robby sees the pages on the floor, bends over to examine them. Nancy stiffens, but Robby is focusing on Elsa and misses her warning. She sees in his body language what is coming.

“C’mon Elsa. There’s no such thing as a green dog,” he says.

Before Elsa’s eyes even have a chance to widen, Nancy is there. She scoops her daughter up in her arms. Robby and Elsa are both startled by her interference.

“What?” Robby says. 

Nancy heads to the kitchen counter, grabs the car keys.

“Are you crazy?” Robby says.

She leaves the house through the front door. Elsa starts crying.

“What is your fucking problem!?” 

Nancy shuts the car door and calls out the window at him. “You dumbass.”

She drives away, leaving him standing in the doorway, unable to believe.

She fears the future, protecting Elsa alone against the world. But she’ll figure something out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Hell Show

This is a nightmare I had, so it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I often dream in third person.

This a horror story! Turn away, ye faint of heart!

 


 

Before she went to war, she saw her doppelganger in the crowd. It was hiding something bulky under its cloak. Its eyes had a peculiar shine to them. It felt her gaze and looked at her, and she sensed great hate, warning her of things to come. It disappeared in the crowd.

Later, when she tried to tell others about it, they wrote her off as afraid of battle.

Years passed…

She was hanging up laundry to dry late at night. Her stepson was watching TV and she made small talk as she worked, the way mothers do. Gradually she noticed that something was wrong with the channel he was watching. It was a picture of hell. Twisted flesh illuminated in violent orange. Heavy screams.

It leeched all light from the room around her. 

She tried to maintain normalcy, changed the station. “Let’s not watch this scary channel,” she said. He waited until she set the remote down and changed it back.

The atmosphere of the room was sapping her. This was the end of her peace. The same darkness she had seen that day in her doppleganger had returned to claim her. She could barely move.

Rolling her head to tear her eyes away from the TV, she focused instead on a coat rack leaning against the wall which she’d planned to mount in the entryway, for visitors. All the wet laundry she had yet to hang. Simple household things which she’d held on to and tried not to take for granted.

A self-protective instinct kicked in. Weak with horror, she staggered to her feet and stumbled into the bedroom next door, throwing herself onto the bed on top of the covers. Absentmindedly she wondered if she wasn’t going to get cold, falling asleep this way. It didn’t matter. As long as she wasn’t forced to watch that channel. As long as reality held fast.

Her stepson followed her. His eyes shone in the very same way her doppleganger’s had. And something else had entered the room with him: the stifling, odious presence of another being, more felt than seen.

“No, no no please,” she managed. It was hopeless. Fear sapped her limbs; paralysis suppressed her fluttering will into hopeless, taut submission.

The room darkened.

Thick, strangely humid air settled into the room. A small buzzing gnat of mad rationale whispered in her ear, at least it’s warm

The room was opaque with darkness. There was no TV in here, but he didn’t need one. He was going to bring that hell to her anyway.

The boy went to the window. An ominous brimstone glow limned the solid blackout roller shade. 

He raised the shade, and hell was there. An enormous corpselike thing looked through the window at her with dead eyes, a boa constrictor jammed down its throat and wrapping its fetid body in torturing coils. It screamed, impossibly through the snake. The sound was deep, low, primal. The sound of pure evil. 

She screamed back.

She screamed until she ran out of air, kept on spasmodically screaming. Paroxysms of wordless pain and terror tore through her, leaving actual tatters. She screamed until every blood vessel in her eyes burst. She threw her head back and screamed until her neck broke.

Her body jittered unnaturally. Her face was changing. She would be one of them soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

For the Unwanted Children

 

For the unwanted children:
All the sparklike souls who have been wished, prayed, gut punched out of existence
The ones we feared we couldn’t feed
The ones our bodies couldn’t survive
The ones our shame would make the bearing of unbearable
The ones who sensed something wrong through the umbilicus
Swallowing too much adult stress
Growing into a faulty womb
Or missing some vital element
Feeling that they are too sick already, or misshapen
Who, being incapable of tenacity
Threw themselves into the sharp cold air or the filthy toilet water
Their parents ignorant, never knowing nor suspecting
That their future has just been protected
By their potential progeny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

On Secrets

 

Going through my poems
Looking what to post
There are some powerful things I’ve written
And hidden.
There are a lot more
Terrible things, atrocious writings,
Embarrassing nonsense
I’ve hidden that too.
The best of me and the worst of me
Still under the rug
Am I even doing
What I set out to do here?
Am I a writer
If I can’t write what bleeds
If I can’t share what hurts?
If it’s all a secret
What’s the goddamnfucking point.

I want to be a monster.
If I ate people
I wouldn’t have to worry about a job
About relationships
About anything except the next meal
I could spend hours hiding in dark places
Or if I were one of the big ones,
I could go city-wrecking,
Send it all to hell.
But I wouldn’t be either of those things.
If I were a monster
I would end up
A Jekyll and Hyde type
Or a werewolf who transforms on the full moon
Someone who has to keep up a human pretense
And deal with human problems just the same
While also dealing with monster problems secretly.

When I was young
I loved secrets.
They made me feel special, unique.
I liked knowing I could do something the others couldn’t
That I’d seen something the others hadn’t
That I knew something the others didn’t.

Now I hate secrets.
I can keep the secret of another for a lifetime
But my own secrets eat at me
Like a wet infection
So I air them
Systematically.
And every time I do
I find
Everyone has a wolf inside.
Everyone’s like me.
There are no such things as monsters
When we all pretend humanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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