ewhightower

Woodminster: South Pacific, Day Eight — Dark Carousel IV

In Fiction, Horror, Theatre, Writing on December 4, 2017 at 11:43 am

(Welcome! New reader? Avoid spoilers; start here.)
Day Eight: Wednesday, 26 July / Friday, July 12, 2001 – Dark Carousel IV

It’s Judy! She’s come to save me!

Then Laurabell-Beaujolais Grausamkeit bursts into tears and I realize, in horrid clarity, how this looks. There was a thing! I want to say. A giant, jiggling, fleshy scorpion’s tail! Yeah, no, that’s not going to help me.

“Who the hell is that you have with you?” Judy says. “Is he hurting you?”

I want to run, but I realize that would be the worst thing to do. I turn to speak.

“Whoa! What bit you in the face, mister?!” Judy steps up close. “Thirty years as a nurse and I’ve only seen an allergic reaction like that once or twice! Looks like you kids might have rolled in something nasty up here. There’s rats, you know. Better come with me.”

Which is how, I now realize, Harriet knew who I was when I came to that audition. Judy separated us, got the story from Laurabell-Beaujolais Grausamkeit – calling her only Laurabell the entire time. I overheard her correct Judy again and again, and I realize now that Judy was intentionally mocking her.

All this as I sit in Judy’s office, blinking into eye cups filled with saline. Someone keeps filling them and handing them to me. I hear a voice I now recognize as Harriet’s saying, “Who gets rat poop in their eyes?!” Before a door opens and she gasps. I’m focused on rinsing my eyes over this trash can, and I’m deeply embarrassed and ashamed to look at anybody. “Do we need to take him to the hospital?” Harriet says, closing the door.

Judy says, “I don’t think so, let’s give it a few minutes …” and they move off.

“You’ve probably noticed that you can’t move in this memory,” a voice says, and I about hit the ceiling. I turn my head and there, barely visible through my swollen eyes, is a Weedbeard in his late fifties – his hair and beard are more salt and pepper than silvery white.

I try to speak; I can barely croak.

Weedbeard laughs and hands me a refilled eye cup. “Can’t speak out of turn, either. That’s because this memory is so distant for you, and because it’s fixed. You’ve been marked. While all of this is rinsing out of your eyes, and while your lungs and mouth will recover, it’s the cut on your low back that festers. And, long after it’s scarred and faded, you find yourself injuring that leg, that foot, that hip – in theatres. Or in times of turmoil. And now you’re drawn back here, because it craves you all the more for having been denied its chance to devour you the first time.”

I want to ask so many questions!

“I have to make this quick, our time is short. No doubt you have some questions; and here’s the thing, Edward: you can ask them. But you have to get back to the now first,” Weedbeard says, and now he’s spraying saline solution into a small plastic cup.

I try to nod a question of what are you doing at the cup in his hands, but it’s impossible. And I’m dimly aware of another conversation, the one that happened at the time: he was asking me about myself, which lead to questions about how I knew Laurabell-Beaujolais Grausamkeit, where I was going to school, my goals in life. I was pontificating on Sondheim, of course. Like an ass.

In this memory overlay, Weedbeard is adding what looks like more salt to the saline solution, from a pouch in his pocket; and from another pouch, herbs. He’s saying, “In order to do that, you have to fall farther back, to the first time you saw her. The first time you saw the truth of her eyes. Because you’re one of the only people outside of our group who even knows how to look beyond her mask.”

I smell Chamomile, Rosemary, Cinnamon – with something darker, earthier. Weedbeard stirs them together with a wooden coffee stirrer, leaning in to say, “And, if I may speak frankly, you have unique insight because you’ve been physically inside of her. But that moment, when you first noticed her eyes, that’s the dandelion umbrel of connection from which this insidious weed has sprouted in your heart, soul and mind.”

Weedbeard dumps the salty herb brine over my head and says, “Iter cito per iter Deorum!”

I gasp, shaking my head, completely clear of all allergic reaction. I can move! I turn to ask him a question, and Weedbeard throws a handful of Dandelion umbrels into the air.

I say, “Teach me to do this stuff!” Before I can finish the sentence, they tornado around me and I’m flying in their giggling embrace. And though I feel warm and safe right now, I have the distinct feeling of impending doom.

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  1. Delightful to have you back again spinning your yarn!

  2. wow you write very nice! I write horror too!

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