The Wind Through the Keyhole
Giggling in the tones of Ashley and Jeremy Blake gives Albey ample cover to glide down the stairs and slip through the house towards the back porch undetected.
There are other sounds coming from the bedroom of his adoptive parents, horrible, nightmarish sounds, truly the most grotesque and squelchy noises Sidney has ever had the nauseating displeasure of being exposed to, but he pays them no mind. No, no mind at all. He has his bowl – it’s pressed into his nose so the smell of tarry terpenes floods his senses, blocking out most everything aside from his sight – and that’s plenty enough to get him through this most macabre of darknesses. The inside door to the porch is unlocked. Albey does not lock it behind him, because that would be stupid. Just like the pattern of the cushion he just sat down on.
“It’s not that bad, I guess,” he says to himself as he caresses The Peace Piece with one hand and his white Nic lighter with the other. “There could be uglier cushions… hell, there could be no cushion at all. I could be sitting bare-ass on a wicker chair right now… well, not bare-ass, I’m wearing pants,” Albey explains to himself, as if he was unaware that he was wearing pajamas. Gray pajamas with a black and white plaid pattern, like you’d find on a flannel shirt worn by some asshole who considers himself to be a woke bloke because he buys everything that remotely resembles the yin yang color scheme. Albey’s not one of these assholes, though. “I might be an asshole, but not that kind of asshole. My mom bought me these for Christmas, and that makes all the difference.”
It occurs to Albey that he’s thought of that phrase more than once today. …and that makes all the difference. But does it? Does it make all the difference?
“I guess it depends what I say it in reference to… like, the cushion. It’s ugly, sure, but there doesn’t need to be a cushion. Doesn’t need to be a chair at all, nor does there need to be a back porch. But there is, my parents have all of those things, and even though I flunked out of school, I had my parents to fall back on. And that,” as he raises The Peace Piece to his mouth, “makes all the difference.”
Albey takes a long, slow hit. As Stephen King said, hard writing makes for easy reading, and a slow hit makes for thick smoke. Thick smoke and thin air, just how Sidney Blake, heir to the throne once held by Logger’s Pond’s royal marijuana family, likes it.
“What a wild day,” he whispers, as if it’s not over yet. “Y’know, for a bunch of semi-hairless apes living on a wet rock floating in a great vast void, we certainly get up to some wild shit out here. Smoking plants whilst floating above a circle of stones in the woods, smoking plants with some random kid you took into your home many moons ago out of the goodness of your hearts and little else, writing epic tales and putting them together into books that go on to be read by millions of other semi-hairless apes… wild shit, ‘man.”
With each toke Albey slouches further down in the wicker chair. There shall always come a time when a ‘man must smoke the last of his pot, a sentiment Albey is oddly vibing with right now, especially considering how this isn’t the last of his pot. Not even close; dude’s got at least an ounce left.
“Watch, when I go to check there’s only going to be a third of an ounce. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pisser.”
‘Twould be indeed, but like a sudden apocalypse, that’s nothing Albey has to worry about. Sudden apocalypses, like suddenly opening one’s weed jar to find it far emptier than it was when one last closed it, is the kind of thing that only happens in books. In other words, not something Albey has to worry about, because this is real life, and as wild as it is, nothing so tremendous really happens in real life. Not without a reason, at least, or rather a chain of reasons leading to it.
“I guess it might seem random though,” he argues, “if you weren’t paying attention. A bunch of stuff could be happening all around you which seems to be leading up to something big – like Roland getting to the Dark Tower after his long journey, for instance – but if you’re not paying attention, when the thing finally gets to happen, it would prob’ly seem pretty random. Prob’ly seem pretty tremendous, too.”
He goes to hit the bowl again, flicks the Nic and everything, but the bowl is empty. Not even ashes are left now, as Albey cached them onto the floor of his parents’ back porch after unflicking the Nic.
“Should prob’ly clean those up,” Albey says, then decides against it. “They won’t mind. Probably won’t even notice. Imagine having parents who notice a little drift of ashes sitting on the back porch? Jesus Christ.” He pockets the bowl and the lighter, but stays sitting. It’s nice out here, a very peaceful atmosphere. “That’s probably what my birth parents were like. Fuckin’ assholes… what kind of twisted fuck gives up a kid?”
No, there are no noises coming from right outside the screen door. Don’t be crazy, Albey. You can walk that line all you want, just don’t fall. Okay?
“Well, I guess I can’t blame them. I didn’t know them. Everything happens for a reason, right? Worked out pretty well for me.”
That’s not the sound of chewing, the sound of rustling, the sound of feet crunching dead fallen leaves. The sound of breathing, heavy and insatiable. There are no noises, Albey, you’re just hearing things.
“Who knows? Maybe they even did it out of the goodness of their hearts. Maybe they knew that they were twisted fucks – what kind of twisted fuck has a kid and then just gives him up, right? – and they didn’t want me to end up like them, all poisoned and twisted and shit. And illiterate, they’re probably illiterate. Probably eat squirrels, too, the hillbilly fucks.”
Yet he still hears the crunching, the rustling, the breathing; Albey tries his very best to ignore these obvious hallucinations but yet he still hears them, still catches them, he still drowns in these frightful noises whispered to him by the wind through the keyhole.
“Stop,” as Albey stomps his foot, silencing the noises both outside and inside his mind. “My life is not the Dark Tower. The screen door doesn’t even have a keyhole, it’s a–… I don’t know what the lock is called, okay? I’m a stoner, not a doorsmith. There is nothing outside, I’m just hea–”
Something stomps its foot in the back lawn, silencing the noises coming from inside the strange wooden cave with black spiderwebs blocking most of the entrances.
Slowly Albey stands, ignoring the screams in his lower back. His jaw hangs low so he may breathe freely and silently; there he stands as the seconds slug on like bottomfeeding snails. The crunching soon resumes, as does the breathing – which is more of a huffing now that Sidney’s come to grips with the current situation – as does the busy rustling. Stepping toe to heel he sneaks across his porch, thankful to said porch for not creaking, and comes to the door. He peers through the screen and sees nothing, as it’s a particularly dark night; while the rain stopped drizzling on the drive back up Sawblade, the clouds have not passed. A star peeks through here and there, but what is a dewdrop of light amongst a sea of darkness?
Holding his breath now, Albey reaches and pinches the hooked arm of the screen door’s lock between his fingers, lifting it out of the loop screwed into the wall. He positions the hook to hang, so it doesn’t make a sound, and the maker of the noises doesn’t seem to notice – whatever it is, it’s still out there, crunching away.
‘Hungry,’ says that asinine little voice making its way from the back to the front of Sidney’s mind. ‘Mordred’s a-hungry, smoke the green daddy and eat him for munchies.’
Closing his eyes doesn’t make this moment any darker. Drawing air through his nose, Albey settles the trembling in his legs, his arms, his core. He opens his eyes in tandem with his exhaled breath, then shoves the screen door open with all his might, roaring at the top of his lungs.
No less than two whitetail deer, one a grown doe and one much smaller, still young enough to be scattered with white spots, take off through the backyard. The whites of their tails vanish before they cross through the treeline, consumed by the cloudy night.
“I thought it was bigfoot,” Albey, dumbfounded, admits to himself. Then, he laughs. He laughs like a child, he laughs like he and Keaton did in the days of The Foothill when Carl stole the cooksies and let them crumble in his pockets. “I really thought it was fucking bigfoot. That’s what the Commons novel should be about, Albey’s go’n’a fight bigfoot! Hah! What do you think of that, you stalkish sonuvabitch?!”
The stalkish sonuvabitch does not answer. It only watches from the trees, hidden under the cover of darkness and human arrogance.
Still laughing like an escaped mental patient when the men with the big fish nets lose track of him, Albey walks down the stairs and crosses half of his backyard. He cups his hands ‘round his mouth and WHOOPs until his lungs are empty, then WHOOPs again when they’re full. He WHOOPs and WHOOPs and WHOOPs over and over again until he’s forced to stop when a rock the size of a golfball clocks him over the head.
Then, Albey screams, but not in pain. It’s only rage he feels now, the sudden burning rage of falling off that fine line between brilliance and madness not because you lost your balance, but because the rope snapped beneath your feet.
Albey finds the rock and throws it into the woods. He scours the grass for branches, twigs, hell, even leaves, and he throws them all into the woods, but he doesn’t stop there. That’s just not enough, this big-footed asshole took it to the next fucking level, it forgot the face of its goddamned father and now, Albey has to remind it.
The Peace Piece, still warm from all the smoking it facilitated on this most crazy of nights, beams through the wind like a slug of hot lead out the barrel of a big iron with a sandalwood grip and breeches the treeline. Seconds later it hits its mark, whatever that mark may be, shattering on impact.
“FFFFUUUUUUUCCCCKKKK!” Albey screams in anguish, arching his back and stretching his arms behind him. “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCKING FFFFUUUUUUUCCCCKKKK!”
It came from behind him, frightened. A man’s voice.
“Sidney, what happened?!”
A woman’s voice, on the verge of tears.
A Poet’s voice, one on the brink of Madness.
Arms, burly and haired, wrapping around him. Hair in his face, warmth and pressure all around him, holding him still, calming him down. Tears, wetting his face, soaking his clothing. Crying.
Asking if he’s okay.
“Sidney, are you all right? What happened, Sidney? Why are you screaming, what’s going on Sidney?”
Sidney. Sidney Blake.
Who is Sidney?
There is no Sidney.
There is only Albey the Poet. The Poet gone Mad.
But Albey the Mad Poet is not alone. There is something lurking out in the dark wood, something vile. Something wicked.
Gobon the In’Flu-Enz’a, the ‘man in white, the sorcerer behind the Plague of Decay. The one who broke The Triad.
That motherless bastard, it was him. It had to be, there’s nobody else left. Iuqon the Mage is dead, Ram’rl the Unfallen is dead. They were both felled at the Battle at Jericho Tower. Only Albey the Poet survived. Their deaths drove him Mad.
But that’s all right. That’s on the beam. That’s ka.
Ka like the wind.
All things serve the beam.
He will avenge them. He must.
He has no other choice.
Jeremy Blake stumbles backwards, clinging to his balance by the damp soles of his slippers. Ashley Blake tumbles down into the cool dewy grass, shoved by flailing limbs. Gobon fled into the dark wood, and Albey the Mad Poet follows.
Hello Commons, this has been the last subchapter of the second chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Untitled Bigfoot Project and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~