Wednesday, March 18, 2020


DANI BROWN


Dani Brown’s style of dark and twisted writing and deeply disturbing stories has amassed a cult following featuring horrifying tales such as “56 Seconds”, “Sparky the Spunky Robot” and the hugely popular “Ketamine Addicted Pandas”. Merging eroticism with horror, each of Dani’s titles will crawl under your skin, burrow inside you, and make you question why you are coming back for more. 

The Servante of Darkness Blog proudly presents a short story by Dani Brown. 




The Daisy’s Song
By Dani Brown

Trapped in poverty everlasting and never allowed to look up. Another whirlwind bad romance. Hands grabbed at her. Sharp nails clawed at the thin flesh protecting her ribs. Dragged her down. Pushed her down with the weight of other people’s problems.
Joke at Marcy’s expense. Pillow over her head. I’m only joking. Four blue walls beat in time with the endless drum loop. Blue’s bedroom. Squirmed against hands pressed over the fabric. You’re going to give yourself a panic attack.
Child’s laughter bounced off the gravestones. A cassette destined to rewind and play the same track forever penetrated the endless drum loop. A trick to lure in the weary. Everything always a joke. Begging on the floor for something to eat.
Marcy sat on top of her motorcycle jacket. The zippers silent. They only sang for Faded Star. They needed to sing for Marcy. Cracked sexbots from another world stared with glass eyes from the forest.
Blue fell out of bed and banged on the floor. An image stolen from someone else’s dream. Someone else’s nightmare. Marcy had to cater to Blue’s every need. He’s only looking out for her. Repayment for the mistake of being born. Silver spoon in her mouth. The walls danced with loud music on the council estate. Football against the wall. Eggs thrown at the windows.
Dew in the graveyard held the icy chill of the dead. Those lucky enough to be buried in coffins scratched at the lids. Restless. They needed their waxed thread back to hold themselves together. Wander the Earth. Force the daisies into silence with a different industrial beat. Change the drum loop. Change the track. Start again. The trees shrieked. Forever frozen with the faces of those trapped inside.
Wings stretched out. Marcy stroked the one green feather. Jealousy to break up the greys and blues. Honey had the world at her feet. Too distracted to see and bask in Faded Star’s love. Bask in the blue light of the touchscreen phone.
Marcy pulled her knees to her chest. Scents of juniper berries and Imperial Leather held back by the dead trees. Their limbs still strong. No leaves would ever bloom again. The occasional piece of skin hung from the branches. A final plea for help from the screaming dead.
The dead climbed over each other beneath the soil. Dropped limbs. Restless. Each bone would need to find its way back to the owner. Marcy held her hand over the dirt. Feel their movements. Trapped in their own agony. Pillow over her head. She couldn’t breathe.
A single daisy grew. Its face always protected by grey petals. A gift from another world. A Maypole in a meadow. Someone else’s dream.
“Wake up.”
Marcy waved her hand. Love can never die.
The Earth bubbled. Stopped. The dead held still. A brief moment in time, lasting four seconds. You need to settle down. Souls trapped inside, never to move on. Four seconds of white noise.
The flower opened. Golden light struggled to brighten up the blues and greys. Her bleached blonde tips highlighted in gold for a dull yellow effect. Blue wouldn’t let her dye her hair anymore.
The dead waking. Why did you take so long? I’ve been banging on the floor for fifteen minutes. I fell out of bed. Resumed the banging. Clawing. Scratching. Endless drum loop. Blasted for four seconds of white noise.
Marcy caught a glimpse of Honey’s golden hair behind the trees. Illuminated by the blue glow of a touchscreen. A different shade of blue from the supernatural light. All the road side shrines and grave offerings sent to decay in the Forest of the Dead. Honey’s bare feet stepped on them with indifference. Sexbot eyes followed her through the forest. Too cracked and used to pull her hair.
“I can see you.”
Marcy could see two. Tiny life growing inside Honey. Daisy chain in her hair. Grey aura around the flowers, waiting for death. Plucked from her meadow beneath the Full Moon. Honey didn’t know of the tiny life in her belly yet. It wouldn’t change the addiction to her phone. A Knight rode off into the night without her.
The Moon lacked spare light for Marcy’s secret refuge. Away from the pillow held over her face. It has holes. Look. The four blue walls pulsated with maggots and rats. Trapped within. She struggled against Blue. His four walls. Never allowed to look up. Rarely allowed out of the bedroom they shared. Except, to pee. A shower, a rare luxury. Only allowed a slap to the knee.
The Moon could have been the Sun, but nothing ever grew, except her daisy. Gift from Faded Star with love. Love for Honey, never for Marcy. The light of a galaxy contained within its golden centre. Death on the air wouldn’t let it travel far.
Nothing warm. Forever winter. Never spring. Blue took away Marcy’s rings and earrings. Faded Star wanted to give them back. Only, he didn’t know where Blue hid them. Warm the graveyard with the light of the daisy open under the Moon.
A party of death below the soil where no grass grew. The scratching added another beat to the endless drum loop. A new industrial song for DJ Donnie to play in a different world with Honey’s heart bleeding out in his pocket. Engagement ring for Honey. Cock ring for Marcy with her legs in the air, shoes still on.
“Have you come to discuss retrieving your heart?”
Marcy waved Honey into the graveyard. The song of the daisy couldn’t drown the screeching of the dead.
“Did you get lost chasing the Knight?”
Honey stepped out from behind the trees. No answers for Marcy’s questions, unless staring at her phone counted towards one. She didn’t notice the decayed roadside offerings stuck to her feet. Sexbots with eyes that burrowed through her skin, searching for a weakness in her system. Implant a virus.
Her hair offered competition for Faded Star’s lonely daisy. Show the graves the light of day. Death on the air. Death in the soil. Hanging from the trees. The light from Honey’s hair couldn’t travel far. Total darkness all around.
A heart beat inside Honey. Tiny one, protected by her womb. Marcy’s womb forever barren. No children for the Knight. She could give one to Faded Star. Rejected. Deleted. Blocked. He belonged with Honey.
A safe place away from the blue walls. Pulsating with threats from beyond. Rats ate the maggots between the wall and the Void. In the land of the dead. No one to grope at her and hold a pillow over her head.
Slap on the knee. You look like a slut. Blue expected her to control the actions of others. Their eyes. If you’d only X, then everything would be perfect. I’d be happy. The pillow pressed against her face. She kicked. Blue wouldn’t let go. Marcy wouldn’t be happy until she escaped into the night, listening to the dead scratch.
Hand on the small of her back. Grey tendrils of decay spread through the new flesh. Never allowed to regrow. Ripped away with each pillow over her head. Demand from some man. Offered on a plate by the college tutor. You were born with a silver spoon, it is time to let someone else have a chance. She didn’t listen to the council estate blasting through the closed window into the night. Beating pulse of decay ran through the town. Every little thing made ten times harder. Graveyard the only refuge. Bask in the warm glow of Faded Star’s daisy. Imagine what could be in some other time. Some other place.
Blue couldn’t comprehend he made problems worse. Eyes downcast. She wasn’t allowed to look up. This is how a relationship is meant to be. You have no reference for how relationships work. Your mother has been divorced. My parents are still together. I’m only trying to protect you. In her safe refuge, she watched the dead trees. Rats scurried up the branches after a taste of flesh. Feast for the reanimated flies. Eyes only pointed down to bask in the glow of the daisy. The daisy’s song travelled through her, keeping her safe from harm.
Honey tainted with each hand around her back. Four seconds and it’ll all be over. Honey stared at her phone. Same pictures of Knight Donnie. He couldn’t control the results of a Google search.
Empathy simulation. Oh you poor dear, your parents are divorced. That means I know more about relationships than you. Pillow over her head. Mind over matter. Tainted. Run away. Cemetery. Only place to go. Dead that wouldn’t stay dead. Marcy waved her hand over the soil. They tapped back with a pulse through the dirt.
No one took in what she had to say until it was time to carry them away. Screaming into the night. Agony on a never-ending loop. Enough relief sought through clawing chunks of dirt from above. Not even worms existed below the soil. Totally infertile. Hostile environment. 
Marcy’s instincts erased after years of programming. A pillow held over her face. Slap to the knee. Thrown into manufactured chaos on an endless loop. Faded Star’s daisy brought peace even if she couldn’t suck the Imperial Leather from the air. 
Love under programming. Mind over matter. You’re being negative. Magical thinking. Positive thought involved acknowledging the negative and action. Grow wings. Transform. A virus in the system.
Gravity pulled free drinks with expectations of sex and relationships. But you were raped. Pillow held over her face. It has holes. Mind over matter. Same words uttered one million times before. Said enough times, some sick mantra, they might hold meaning. Erase Marcy. Rub out her intuition. Honey didn’t notice the world changing around her. Each groping hand could have belonged to the Knight. Pressed against his window for the world to see. Dead flies around her ankles.
Bad karma written into their aura. They scream when she comes in the middle of the night, unexpected. Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. With one touch and a special incantation. Ugly bodies with contorted faces left behind. Death mask howl carved into the trees. I’m only joking. Marcy lacked a sense of humour when she came in the night, wings out stretched. Green feather brushed. She reached her hand for Honey. Grabbed her around the wrist. A taste of what Marcy goes through thousands of times each day. Implanted into her brain with the drum loop. Four seconds of white noise. Start again.
Marcy’s heart belonged to Faded Star. It still beat in her chest. The daisy sang with her heartbeat. Love under will, not duress. She wouldn’t give it away. Replace the drum loop. The screams of the dead. Their faces forever carved into the trees. Watched over by used sexbots with cracks in their skin. Oozing tainted honey. Food for the maggots and rats.
Manufactured chaos in Marcy’s general direction. Shot into Honey’s brain. Virus in the system. She wouldn’t put down her phone. No signal between the graves. The dead tapped on the Earth.
Never good enough for Faded Star. Bringer of death and decay. No one is immortal. A place below the dirt, where not even worms lived.
Save Honey from herself. Show her the reality behind the masks. Emptiness is contagious. Scars on display for the world to see. Do you want to see me? Load blown in 56 seconds over the WiFi connection. Hide behind his range. Cumshot designed to impress. Marcy pulled off his mask. Shone light onto his filters. Saggy cheeks. Eyes outlined with wrinkles. Directions for her frozen tongue.
The ring in his pocket next to Honey’s heart belonged to Marcy. Honey claimed back her heart and let go. Offer it to Faded Star in the meadow. Jam the tape deck and let the daisies sing.
A deeper connection between Marcy and Knight Donnie. Still a dick. Still a jerk. Riding into the night. Two star crossed lovers dance through the sky. Stars are born. Stars die. Honey looked up, into Marcy’s eyes. Her phone sat silent with no signal. Heart broken in Donnie’s front pocket, next to Marcy’s ring.
Love can die. All over the sheets. In the middle of the afternoon. Springtime ejaculation carried over the WiFi signal. Do you want to see me? Honey should be the one with green wings in the meadow. The daisies can sing songs of jealousy. Marcy left to cry with the dead clawing at the dirt below.
“Faded Star loves you.”
Wake in bed next to him. Pillow never held over her face. Pressed against Donnie’s window. Scars on display for the world to see. Up to her ankles in dead flies. Honey pants. Breath condenses on the window. The stars in the sky dance obscured by cloud cover. Honey and Marcy can feel them overhead.
Marcy hiding in the shadows. A wave of the hand and the flies come back to life. Somewhere between the maggots in the walls and the beyond. White noise. Erase the drum loop. Drown the song of the daisies. The dead clawing at the Earth.
Marcy looked at Honey. Phone dead in her lap. The dead clawed beneath them, looking for a way out.
“I have no signal once I step into your refuge.”
Honey’s red dress covered in grave dirt to the knees. Struggled to keep tears from her eyes. Her voice cracked. Four seconds away from staring at his pictures. Burger grease wiped down his jeans, hands clean enough to paw at Honey’s flesh. Squeeze her breasts, turn her over and slap her arse.
“You can live without the Knight for four seconds.”
“Four seconds is eternity.”
Marcy held a bowl of plump green grapes. Occasional substitute for eyes when the grey tendrils of death claimed them for the Void. A tongue pressed against one. Arms held in chains. The only way out is through.
“Grape?”
Honey shook her head. The dead, too weak to be hungry.
“The Knight doesn’t love you. He’s off in the forest fighting his own battles. Throwing burger wrappers to the rats.”
The dead scratched beneath the Earth. Honey tapped on the dirt. No words for Marcy, lost in her daydream. The daisy hummed. Faint song to bounce off the gravestones. Memory of late spring in the meadow. Dancing around the Maypole at midnight. Marcy watched from the forest with the broken sexbots and burger wrappers.
“Have a grape. They weren’t grown out here. Nothing grows here, except Faded Star’s daisy. A gift he gave to me. From your meadow.”
Faint hint of jealousy in Honey’s glare. She couldn’t have all the men, forever trapped in her daydream. World of her own where Faded Star becomes the Knight.
“Each time I’m here, I pick it. The petals never decay before it tells me he loves me.”
Marcy’s organic love story. She didn’t say who he was. Faded Star. The Knight. Love at first swipe through the thumb of Honey. Superlike notification. Love unexpected. Donnie’s face stared back at her. Head held at an angle. Hair pointed up. Carefully waxed in front of the mirror. Filter applied. Love lost on the stiff sheets. Pillow held over her face. Feathers fell from her wings.
Resisted. Neither wanted it. Two star-crossed lovers in the middle of the afternoon. Too soon. Honey looked better on the Knight’s arm. Riding into the night. Heart held in his front pocket.
Marcy stalked Faded Star in the night. Watching him sleep from a corner hugged by the shadows. Reanimated flies quiet in the dark. I’ll phone when I get home. Still trapped under Blue’s pillow. I don’t want other men looking at you.
Surface level similarities that reached deep inside. Fill each other’s Void. I’m bursting here. Messages sent to Honey instead of Marcy. Do you want to see me?
Marcy wondered how many other women the Knight courted with those same lines. All of it implanted into Honey’s brain. One squeeze of the wrist. All it takes. Marcy wouldn’t let go. Trace her icy fingers across Honey’s warm flesh. Blood beat through her body, swirled around by the black hole inside her chest.
Blow his load over the WiFi connection. No one to lick him clean. Total lack of social skills dead on the sheets. Honey banged on the bars. Virus in the machine. He never phoned. Messages erratic when he needed to get off.
Two star crossed lovers danced across the sky. Even in the cemetery, the fog clears long enough to see for four seconds. Their lives forever entwined.
Marcy’s daisy grew bright. Competition for Honey’s hair. Light cast through the cemetery. Another green feather. Donnie. Still a dick. Still a jerk. Forever a dick. Forever a jerk. Cock ring in his pocket. Engagement ring in his pocket. Next to Honey’s heart.
Honey one click away from his home address with Faded Star’s love dripping down her thigh. Stain her red dress. Marcy’s clothes robbed from a grave. The dead wanted their threads back. Marcy didn’t need it anymore. Sew themselves together. Haunt the living and cleanse the Earth. No signal in the graveyard for that fatal slip of the thumb.
“Did you think to clean yourself before you chased him into the night?”
Honey’s daisy dead in the corner of her meadow. The ring next to her heart wasn’t the engagement ring. Cock ring for Honey. The daisy died for no reason. No heart to beat inside Honey’s chest. A black hole to suck in Faded Star’s love. Push out a baby.
Marcy would come for him in the night before his time. Save him from a fate worse than death. Carry him through the Void on her wings. He wouldn’t be warm.
The daisy died for lustful obsession. Hidden from Faded Star in the tall grasses. He searched but could never find it. Marcy knew the location. Kept out of the meadow, she couldn’t tell him where.
Gagged half asleep next to Faded Star with her own reanimated flies. He could feel her chill in his cheap hotel bed. The dead scratched at the windows. Safe in Marcy’s arms. She’d never let go. A promise made. Wasted away without Honey’s heart singing in the meadow. It started with icy fingers on his dick. Jerk off into the stiff hotel sheets. Morning surprise for housekeeping. Tainted honey dripped down the walls. Food for the dead.
“Ever think there’s no reason for anything?”
Honey looked at Marcy. Phone held in her lap. The cemetery sucked its battery away. The dead clawed at the Earth. They needed every bit of light. They couldn’t claim the lonely daisy. Recoiled against its song. They weren’t strong enough to climb out of the dirt. Rats danced around the gravestones. Their fleas jumped looking for fresh flesh. Boils to drown in. Honey immune.
“Just chaos.”
Marcy picked the flower. Pillow held over her face. I’m only joking. She stopped struggling. No need to play dead. One living daisy. From the dirt that didn’t even hold worms. No faint hint of Imperial Leather for her. The scent washed away in the cheap hotel bed with stiff sheets. Only Honey could smell it. And perhaps, his wife. At home, working up a ton of debt.
“Billions of lives snuffed out for no other reason than I wanted to hold a pretty flower. Bask in its dying glow.”
“What did you do to my phone?”
“Nothing. The dead below sucked the battery. A bit of life to climb out of the Earth.”
Honey squeaked.
“Don’t worry. They aren’t strong enough yet.”
Marcy pulled waxed black thread from her fingers.
“I still have their grave thread. See?”
She held it over the light of the daisy.
“They’ll fall apart if they climb out of their graves without it.”
“Yet?”
“One day soon, the dead will wander the Earth.”
Honey stared at her.
“Why?”
“Why not? The dead already wander the Earth, staring into their phones. Dreaming of a love that isn’t meant to be while life passes by at the speed of light. Ignoring the love that is true.”
Honey shrugged her shoulders. Marcy’s own image stared back, dressed to the nines in a red ball gown with dirt up to the knees. Blue took scissors to her bleached locks. Each strand of hair cried as he chopped. I told you I don’t want you dying your hair.
“Why did you invite me here?”
“To get you to focus. Faded Star won’t be around forever. He loves you.”
Reanimated flies buzzed around. Honey raised her hand.
“They won’t drop dead. Not here.”
“They don’t stay dead in the meadow either. They buzz below the Earth. Faded Star might notice.”
“Then love him.”
“Why do you have more power than me?”
Power only an illusion. The pillow pressed into her face. Fabric sucked down her throat. Tasted the sweat. Decay. Dust mites. Blue only showered once every week. Never changed his clothes. Blamed for the tangles in his hair. Marcy didn’t have any power.
“Focus.”
Marcy stretched her wings. Another illusion. Trapped within someone else’s drama on an endless drum loop. She couldn’t hear the daisy sing.
Honey ran off. Back into the trees. A shimmer from a white horse glowed in its own light. Off to chase her Knight. Marcy all alone. Wrapped within the delusionary chaos of Blue’s mind and shoved into a box with four blue walls. Face the problems before her own get buried. Knight ran off without her. She needed to be ready for when he called moaning down the telephone. 
Never allowed to look up. Marcy sat in class, eyes cast down. Blue wouldn’t allow her to speak. Every time she opened her mouth, a fresh slap to the knee. Pillow held over her face. Time to go back. Face the music. Struggle. Blue looked for any excuse to be miserable with his favourite post-punk album on repeat.
A bow of human skin kept Marcy’s prison locked. A feast for the reanimated flies. Taunt the rats. Marcy pulled her knees to her chest. Water for the daisy. Back tomorrow morning.
Her fingers twitched. Blue pressed the pillow into her face. The fabric sucked down her throat. Hidden strength reached her hand. Her wings no use when locked within his four blue walls. Flies buzzed against the window. Rats climbed over each other in the walls. Marcy reached for his hand holding the pillow and scratched. He slapped her ribs. She kicked.
“I’m only joking.”
He pulled the pillow away.
“You have no sense of humour.”
White light blinded Marcy. She struggled for air, remembering the Song of the Daisy sucked away by the graves.
“You’ve given yourself a panic attack.”
His voice came from far away. Cut off the music.

Long life ahead of him. Torture some wife from a far-off land. Submissive and demure. Marcy would come for him in the end. A special place saved in an ugly tree. 

***********************

The latest Release by Dani Brown


Becoming...is here.

This is the story of how Marcy died. He punched the wall and told stories stolen from other people’s lives. Trapped in another bad romance. A robotic demonic shapeshifter from Mars with a life tale ripped from a Doctor Who storyline.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Bridget Wishart And The Band of Doctors






Bridget Wishart & the Band of Doctors were formed in response to a call out on Facebook in 2017 by Rob Mellor for musicians to contribute tracks for a benefit CD in aid of Syria Relief. Rob stipulated that each track must prominently feature a homemade instrument. Ask Rob why! Gabe, Russell and some of the Collective had recorded a track with a veritable slew of homemade instruments but were without song. Bridget had failed miserably to make anything sound worthy with her elastic band creations but had a song waiting. B and G having worked together before were immediately amenable to pooling resources. Via the power of the internet and the talent of each musician, Sorrow was created and sent to Rob for inclusion on One String Inspiration. A CD that was to catch the eye of, and end up in, the British Library Archive. Facebook was also the venue for the naming of the band and Rob it was, who was responsible. To be truthful, Bridget and Gabe are mere Masters but try hard not to feel diminished in Russ and the Collective’s ‘Doctorly’ company.

Their forthcoming CD Ghost is a project three years in the making and will be released on Submarine Broadcasting record label. All proceeds from sales are going to the charity REFUGEE ACTION


Submarine Broadcasting Company


Sorrow, by Bridget Wishart and the Band of Doctors
from the album One String Inspiration

Sunday, January 5, 2020


Anthony Servante, 1963-2019,  R.I.P.




A Caution of Life
by
A.C. Espinoza

I know you
from your picture,
a portrait of sky
by way of clouds,
a mountain range
shy in repose
not unlike a frame.
You, the centerpiece,
you're the face,
the yawn, the aperture,
the unblinking eyes,
caught by the camera,
forever and ever.
I know you
from the ashes
of a lifetime,
the cancer of the crematorium.
I scatter you,
the dust of death,
into the sea,
into the morning mist,
the smile of a red tide
as dawn awakes.
We've waited
an eternity
for you to arrive.
Only for you to leave.
I know you,
sought your path,
caught your echo
in a bottle of gin.
I take your picture
from a memory,
you pause politely
to pose unshadowed
in the perspective
of my twitching mind;
you wave goodbye,
the white foam crashes
against the shore,
and retreats,
dragging you out to sea
like a riptide.
You and the waves,
I know you.
And you knew me.

FOR ANTHONY SERVANTE.

Copyright A.C. Espinoza
2020, January 4th
All rights reserved.
Please do not use without consent.  

Saturday, November 30, 2019


Trauma & Therapy Series
Post Addendum:

The Last Dreamer Wakes:
Bridget Speaks

by
Beniko "Bridget" Namura 
as Dictated to Sara H.



"Notte" (Night)
The Professor's favorite Cactus Pet
from his collection.
Given to Bridget at the Zuma Beach Service



Bridget Speaks

When I woke up, I was alone in my bedroom. It was dark and the window was foggy. It was raining. I could hear hundreds of drops hitting the roof, tapping the glass, making little streams on the Steamy pane.

The words were there waiting for me. But my legs weren't. I couldn't stand.

Where was my phone? I wanted to text Norie. I wanted to ask why I was left behind.

I must have been crying because my mother entered the room, turned on the lamp by my bed, and called to my dad. He was in the room a second later.

My mom and dad asked so many questions that I could only hear a humming, like insects buzzing.

My aunt who is a doctor came by some time later. Even though she alone asked me questions, her voice too was like a drone.

So I didn't talk. I stared at the three of them. Until the ambulance arrived.

At the hospital, the doctors and nurses buzzed around me. Every now and then I heard something familiar. Bridget. Coma. Atrophy. Thar means I can't stand. I already knew that. I needed new information.

I needed Norie. Before I fall asleep again. 

The doctors decided to keep me overnight to observe mental state and schedule a physical therapy regimen. I was in bed, looking at the Servante of Darkness Blog on my cell phone. My parents sat quietly with me. Finally, Norie, Suzie, and their parents arrived to visit me. I was not surprised to see Mr. Torinko Hanasaki, Norie's dad, with them. But I was a little scared. Lucky Priest Horaguchi came with Sara and my English teacher, Miss Johns. Miss Johns looked like she lost a lot of weight. You could see her skull through her facial skin. Her smile only added to the skeletal look of her face. 

But I was happy to see them all. I had to wait for about an hour before I could talk to Norie and Suzie alone. The nurse said that we only had a few minutes before visiting hours were over. My first question to Norie was, What happened to Miss Johns? Don't you remember? she asked back. No, I said, and when did your dad get back? Norie and Suzie looked at each other with concern. 

I changed the subject. I've been reading the Professor's blog. Did he forget too? Forget what you're asking me to remember? Yes, said Suzie, but he remembered at last. Priest Horaguchi helped him to remember. He was finally at peace when he passed over to the other side. I got chills. "The other side." 

The Professor died?

Yes, but Priest Horaguchi prepared him for the afterlife in Diyu. 

I was there. Stuck there. Halfway here. Halfway there. I couldn't wake up. The doctor said I was asleep for for a year. But there were dreams. So many dreams. It seems like only one long night went by. I remember you and Suzie and your father there. The Professor too. But I wasn't with you. I was separate, on a cliff of fire and ice. I melted the ice. It turned to steam. The steam turned the wheels. The wheels started the fires. And then I fed it more ice to keep the steam coming. 

I looked at my hands, but they looked like normal teenage girl hands. No burns. No frostbite. I had all my fingers. All my fingernails. But my hands--they did look older, thinner, skeletal. 

The nurse then came in and chased the girls out. They promised to visit again. After they left, I cried, not because I was alone, but because I was afraid to go to sleep. I got back on the phone and continued reading the Trauma & Therapy series on the Servante of Darkness Blog. When I woke up in the morning, my phone battery had gone dead. The doctor said I could go home. 

Norie and Suzie were with my parents as the nurse pushed me out in a wheelchair. I was told to start my physical therapy to rework my leg muscles as soon as possible, that my parents would explain it to me. And they did explain. We were all going to Professor Anthony Servante's service at Zuma Beach in two days. The day after that I would begin my therapy. 

Norie asked, Did you sleep? I nodded yes. Did you dream? I nodded no, but I added, At least nothing I can remember. And for that I'm glad. It's time to catch up on reality. What's happening at Zuma Beach?

Suzie answered, Sara is scattering Mr. Servante's ashes into the ocean that he loved. 

Will his soul reach Diyu? I asked.

Norie answered, It's already there. Don't you see? You're awake. He left when you woke up. It's so simple you don't even need to believe it. You just accept it. The Professor woke you up. 

You guys helped, I told Norie and Suzie. Norie smiled as she said, You helped too. It took the three of us to open the door. But it was the Professor closed the door behind us. 

I know, I said, thinking of Mr. Hanasaki, Norie's dad. I know. I hope we recognize the Professor when he returns. 

Maybe he'll be a butterfly, Suzie said.

Or a fish, I said. 

No, said Norie. He'll be a bird. 

We all nodded in agreement with smiles of happiness and tears of joy.


Editor: I took liberties with the writing of Bridget's vocabulary for clarity's sake, but these are her words. My edits. The Namura family gave their blessing to this post. 
Sara H 

_____________________________________




The Latest on the Servante of Darkness Blog:

This is Sara H. As I've been going through Professor Anthony Servante's Facebook messages and blog emails, I found a few items that I wanted to address. First off, I put up the poems, second, I featured the Michael Moorcock release as I've seen Anthony do, and third, I came across this email from Beniko "Bridget" Namura, and her parents, Daishin and Mayu Namura. I thought it should be included as the Trauma & Therapy series conclusion.

I also wanted to tell you about some old files I found on the blog storage archives. I'm not sure if he wanted to keep these articles from the blog or if he just wanted to make space for new articles. I figure I'll put the files together and see what I can do with a little editing. Maybe make a chapbook of the Professor's early blog entries. I also found an old blog he used to write for called "The Black Glove: Horror Culture and Entertainment". Maybe I can do something with those old articles and interviews also.

Maybe that's what my heart was telling me to do by not closing the Facebook account. Maybe I should let his readers and friends know that I'll be editing together his old work into little books. I don't think I can do the poetry or the short stories; they're probably the property of the authors, not the Professor's. So I'll just stick to the work that I know for sure is Anthony Servante's. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, November 25, 2019







HAWKWIND Collaborator MICHAEL MOORCOCK & THE DEEP FIX Release Third Studio Album!

British Author/Musician MICHAEL MOORCOCK releases Live At The Terminal Café

Los Angeles, CA – As a novelist and short-story writer, Michael Moorcock stands with one foot planted firmly in reality and the other in fantasy. He has won and been short-listed for almost every award in the sf/fantasy world as well as in the wider literary world. The London Times named him one of the fifty best British writers since 1945. He scripted ‘The Land That Time Forgot’ film and his Jerry Cornelius novel ‘The Final Programme’ was filmed with Jon Finch. His much-imitated and most famous character, Elric, is currently optioned for TV/movies and the BBC have his Hawkmoon series under option. As a journalist, he has written for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The New Statesman, and The Spectator.

His music career has been no less laudatory. When performing with Hawkwind, Moorcock won a gold disc for Warrior on the Edge of Time. He has also worked with Blue Öyster Cult, Robert Calvert, Spirits Burning, and developed his own music project dubbed The Deep Fix. Moorcock’s long friendship with the legendary guitarist-bookscout Martin Stone (The Action/Mighty Baby, Savoy Brown, Chilli Willie) culminated in their decision to do an album together. They had grown up in the same town and had similar influences as musicians and readers. Both lived in Paris. The result is the new studio album Live At The Terminal Café.

Moorcock explains the genesis of the album: “Martin contacted Denis Baudrillart, the outstanding French drummer, and bassist/all-rounder Brad Scott and we rented a rehearsal studio. Eventually, the basic tracks were recorded in Montmartre and after that it was up to my friend Sean Orr in Texas to add fiddle and friend Don Falcone in California to perform his magic, adding Catherine Foreman and Jonathan Segel (Camper Van Beethoven), and our first psychedelic Country & Cajun record was ready to go. Like a lot of my music, it’s intended to complement certain books of mine, in this case, the ‘Blood’ trilogy set in Texas and Louisiana where the Earth’s polarities are reversed, with bizarre consequences.”

Moorcock wrote or co-wrote the 11 songs, sings lead vocals on all tracks, and also performed harmonica on two songs onLive At The Terminal Café. The album was mixed and produced by Don Falcone, who runs the music collective Spirits Burning.

Both the CD package and vinyl version include full lyrics, plus artwork by Walter Simonson (best known for Marvel Comics’ Thor), who drew Moorcock’s DC series ‘Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse’.

Track List:
1. The Effects Of Entropy
2. Terminal Café
3. The Dream Of Eden
4. Sam Oakenhurst’s Story
5. St. James Infirmary
6. The Heat Of The New Orleans Night
7. Lou
8. A Man Like Me
9. Mississippi Turn Round
10. Blood
11. Eden Revisited


Buy the CD here: https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/michael-moorcock-the-deep-fix-live-at-the-terminal-cafe-cd/
Buy the vinyl here: https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/michael-moorcock-the-deep-fix-live-at-the-terminal-cafe-limited-edition-blue-vinyl/
Buy the digital here: https://orcd.co/michaelmoorcockandthedeepfix

Band links:
www.multiverse.org
https://www.reverbnation.com/michaelmoorcockandthedeepfix

Press inquiries:
Glass Onyon PR
Billy James
PH: 828-350-8158
glassonyonpr@gmail.com



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Sunday, November 24, 2019


Professor Anthony Servante 
1963-2019 R.I.P.

by Sara H





Professor Anthony Servante, writer, scholar, and creator of this blog, passed away on November 9, 2019. His family tells me that it was something to do with his lungs. I didn't ask after that. Rather, I remained true to the guidelines left to me by the Professor should something happen to him. I don't think he had this in mind, but nevertheless, I carried out his wishes. I stayed in contact with his younger and older brothers, who conducted the family services for Anthony, whom they referred to as "Tony", and the day after the services, I collected the urn containing the Professor's ashes. On this day, I met with the younger brother, (who asked not to be identified), at the home where Anthony was staying. As I drove up to the house, lightning and thunder crashed, and it started to hail. It looked like snow covered the front yard (see picture above). All I could think was the God Himself was welcoming Anthony to his new home, for the Professor loved rain, and what better rain than sleet and hail as we drove his ashes to Zuma Beach, where we scattered his ashes.

As assistant editor of this blog, I've decided to finish the last projects the Professor was working on for the blog. After that, I hope to continue the blog in the spirit of the themes and columns that came before. My appreciation of music may be a bit different, but I believe you will enjoy interviews with these bands and solo artists that I follow.

I, by the way, am Sara H. The Professor spelled it SaraH. I don't use my last name online and the Professor respected that by only using the H. I've known Anthony for a few years. He's been coming to the Starbucks where I am a manager. I wasn't a manager when we first met. We fast became friends and have loved helping him with his blog and with his research.

Lastly, I asked friends of Anthony Servante to submit final words for him, and I received these poems.

Here they are.


Brande Barrett
November 20, 2013 at 12:07 AM ·

After midnight poetry post...

The ghosts in the ribbon
Dusty typewriter left long ago
Words spelled with letters raised
Impressions of expressions
From the past
Laid out in waiting
Timeless weaves the tomb
As cobwebs raise and fall
And time wears the room
Sun raided curtains
Fall apart to reveal
reflected light and dust motes
Dancing in air




Unfriending the Dead

Cold pages and necrophilic newsfeeds
Postmortem posts and rigor mortis weeds
Plateaus of pathos and depths of dread
Clearing corpses, unfriending the dead.

My friendship circle is full of life
Political fisticuffs and strife
Lungs that breath both air and airs
Hearts that fear both death and scares.

The Black Wagon has arrived on time
Escorting them without reason or rhyme
You shut your curtains and peek the cracks
Watching the wheels on the tracks.

Heaven shakes her cloudy locks
Hell readies the fiery stocks
On Earth we tsk-tsk and sigh
We wonder why you do not cry.

You choose instead to block the dead
To wipe the posts never to be read
You delete any trace of old friends
Who remind you that life indeed ends.

And so the sun shines bright again
And onwards strokes your potent pen
No kind words for those who’ve died
Another spin on the carousel ride.

A.C. Espinoza
11/20/19
(Upon seeing the exodus from Anthony Servante’s newsfeed at the announcement of his death.)




Dormant Torment

Cursed without cause
In Morpheus' claws
Dormant rose
In a bed of briars
These walls are liars
Promising refuge
Harboring misery
Snug in the arms of death
Awaiting a kiss of breath
Through the hourglass
Time's sand drips
Upon her rosen lips
Every grain, a day
That she is away
Dormant rose
Oh God! How deep
Can this beauty sleep
Sleeping flower
In a thorn tower
In a bed of briars
Until eternity expires
Death deserves no bride
Free her from his side
That she be mine
Torment rising
Dormant rose
Snug in the arms of death
Awaiting a kiss of breath
© Jerry Langdon 2014


Deadman’s Heart
Why do I fight?
You will always be right.
No matter what I say
You will turn it anyway,
And throw it in my face.
I know I’m a disgrace
You don’t have to remind me.
My heart is out dangling from a tree.
Swinging dead in the wind,
Waving to and fro in the wind.
An old salty hag; beating it
With a raggedy old stick.
Chanting, “Here sways, dead from a tree
For all the world to see
A foolish man’s heart,
That will have no part.
Come the Reaper, he might,
But certainly not tonight.”
I just don’t know why
I even take the time to try.
Why do I fight?
You will always be right.
Outside it may seem clear
But that is not my atmosphere.
The rain just won’t quit.
Not anytime quick.
The air around me is so dense
I’m dying from suspense,
And my dead heart sways in a tree
Swinging to and fro; waiting for me.
© Jerry Langdon 2018



Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Update 16

Trauma & Therapy

Pajama Therapy
Last Flight of the Dream Drifters

By Anthony Servante


A crammed version of Diyu



Dante's Inferno, similarly as crammed as Diyu


"Diyu, a state of mind
When trauma and hell merge"
Taoist saying




Introduction
The clarity of denial teaches us that reincarnation is a machine that grinds our souls for rebirth. When the machine is broken, it cannot distinguish living from dead. When the demons who work for the machine continue their job even while the machine is broken! the living are the dead and the dead living. Purgatory and transition become one blurred objective. Those who never received proper burial and those descendants of these victims, become targets for rebirth. It is said that love is blind. So, too, is the machine blind. The demons are the eyes and arms and hands of the machine. Just as the dead can enter the world of the machine, the machine can enter the world of the living. The demons of Diyu have found a doorway between the two worlds: Dream!

And so we've come full circle. I dealt with my own trauma in isolation for many months. Then I decided to turn my attention outwards, to others, to learn more about trauma. I heard from fellow sufferers of violence, terror, pain, and loss, in every occupation, age group, and nationality. Now, here at the end of the Trauma & Therapy series, I focus not on myself, but on three children whose lives have touched me, so much so, that I can now say I have learned to face my own trauma with their courage. Here I give you the account of two young girls who plan to find a way to reach their school friend who has lain in a coma for over a year. I have been invited to participate in their attempt to reach their comatose friend, via her dreams. I will try to set aside my skepticism and cynicism in order to help these girls reach their friend. 

This event happened last Sunday, October 20th, 2019, dreamtime. Because the two young girls go to bed around 10:00 pm, and I go to bed between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning, I needed assistance to coordinate my sleeptime with the girls. Don't judge. I took an extra spoonful of my codeine cough syrup and fell into a weird fever sleep. I'm pretty sure I was dreaming, but because the opioid induces a waking dream quality, I was aware that I was dreaming. It didn't matter as the dream developed organically even as I watched it unfold like a neutral observer of the events. I was both participant and chronicler. 

On Monday, the 21st, the girls, Norie and Suzie, send me their accounts of their dreams. What follows is the combined dreams of three people wearing the Plumage Pvnk pajamas (of course, I only had a elbow length glove made to look like a bird wing. For those of you who haven't been paying attention to the last few updates on Pajama Therapy, these Plumage Pvnk pajamas are designed to protect us from death and evil during the dream, just as the Cactus Costumes of the Tokidoki Kids and Pets are protected from evil by their thorny outfits. Norie and Suzie designed the pajamas, and their moms sewed them together. An extra pair was made for Bridget, who remains in a coma. Bridget's mom dressed her in her pajamas for the 10:00 pm dream meet. 

I minimized the editing and tried to let the three dream accounts unfold as their were written in the email. I did take some liberties to organize the accounts in a logical order. That is, I put some of my account to begin, then some paragraphs from Norie's account, then Suzie's, back to me, and so on, changing order to keep the dream sequence rational. Well, as rational as a trio of dreams can be. 

Well, enough jibber-jabber. Let's get to the dream accounts and see how Pajama Therapy fared.



The Dream of Diyu

Anthony
I knew I was asleep. But I also knew I was aware that I was asleep, which meant I was still awake. Right away I recognized the place where the dream was taking place. It was Diyu. I was awake in the Buddhist Hell.

[Note: See The Last View from a Troubled Mind for background on the religious aspects of these accounts. 

I was on the lowest level of Hell. There were ten floors from bottom to top, each made of some type of rock. On each of these levels, there were naked people. I stood apart from the bottom floor, though I seemed to be standing on it. About forty yards from me, I could see tall bird creatures with blue and red skin. Some were beaked, others faceless. In addition to wings, they had arms. The hands at the ends of these arms were either fingered or taloned. In each hand, there was a type of speak that was used to poke the screaming dissidents of the level. The sounds of their agony had the quality of being far away. Above the first floor was the second. There all the dissidents were blue from the freezing cold. I could see their frosty breaths. I found it funny that these apparently dead souls could still breathe. These souls were moaning. They didn't have the strength to scream. Their guards were also blue. They looked like stereotypic genies, bearded and sporting pony tails of blackest hair. They had no wings. Yet they floated, for they had no legs. Their forms ended at the waist. Wisps of hanging flesh flapped from their midsection as the genies whipped the souls with icy strands of barbed wires.

I stepped closer to the first level to get a better view of the third level.


Norie
At the edge of the cliff, I can see the Professor. Is he looking for me? I wave to him. 


Suzie
I joined Norie at the edge. What is she waving to? There are so many things here to see: Flying people. Almost people. Mostly bird. Lots of colorful flames: Blue, red, green, black, white, pink. No, not flames. People. Real people. Naked. No. Smooth. No ears. No nose. No face. Almost a body. No sex. But people nonetheless, I'm sure. They writhe like worms. The mostly birds claw at them with their clawed feet, slap them with their long fingers and fat palms. 

One of the people is wearing clothes. And wears a Plumage Pvunks pajama suit over the clothes. It is the Professor. I wave to him. Norie and I laugh. We are not alone. 


Anthony
There are two birds with human faces waving at me from above. I wave back. I see that my arm is covered in feathers. I am dreaming that I am wearing the pajamas. The dream doesn't care that I only wore a single sleeve. I don't have arms. I have wings. I feel my arms. I make fists. But it's the wings that move; they curl, they spread, they flap. I look up again. The girls are gone. I start to rise. And then it feels like a dream.  I feel free and afraid. Free to fly. Afraid to fall. I head for the girls.

 

Suzie
Our waving has attracted some attention from the bird people. Several of them are flying toward us. Norie flaps her wings and floats up. I jump and flap my wings mid jump. I am next to Norie. She swoops and I follow. The birds are close behind, squawking like parrots. 


Norie
This is Diyu. It is not Diyu. It is a dream. Which is why we fly. Which is why there are only ten demons here. These are the creatures that followed us out of Diyu. They're trapped here. In dream. This is their hell. Only, they can escape when we sleep. But now they are trapped here because we are equipped with the Plumage Pvnk outfits. But they are on our tail. We are not expert flyers in this dream world. They are. All we can do is soar upward and quickly. Then it occurs to me that if this is a dream, what if I fall? Will I wake? Or will these creatures catch me. Again.


Anthony
I recognize the demons. They are the ones described in Horaguchi's notes. Which is why I must be dreaming of them. Just as I believed in my state of trauma, so do I believe in my dream: Each of us possessed one of the ten demons, possessed it since we left Diyu. These creatures have nested in our dreams and escaped to wreak havoc on the living when we slept and dreamed. Now they too are trapped here in our dream of Diyu. They have not figured out that this isn't the real Diyu. Here we the dreamers possess the strength to rein them in. I hope.


Suzie

I kept my eyes shut the first time. I refused to see what was making those shrieks and screams, both human and nonhuman. I heard the cracks of whips, the metal tines dragging on the rock, the sizzle of living meat touched by fire. I imagined pure horror. Now I fly with my eyes wide open and see the beauty of this place. I see the Buddhist treasures of eternity and karma, the gift of reincarnation and the roles these demons play. They are like children when they are outside in the backyard. We need to rein them in to resume their duties in Diyu. Souls are in limbo till they return to their work. But their backyard play is dangerous, for that backyard is our dream life. We must exorcise them. We must try to reopen the door that we closed that day. Together, perhaps, we can lead them back inside Diyu, where they belong. Their mischief has caused too many deaths and too much mayhem. Norie and I must work together with the Professor to open the door and push the demons through it. 

But first we must escape the claws of the angry demons who must see us as living trespassers in the land of the dead. Somehow we must get to the bottom level to open the black gateway. The Professor knows what to do. He did it before. This is an old dream. Only now the Professor and Norie are visiting. I hope I don't wake up. My mom must be worried. 

I swoop upwards. Norie follows. The Professor is climbing to reach us. The demons wing their way to meet us. I have seconds to tell the others of my plan. 


Norie
This place is so horrible. So lonely. You could be with a thousand other souls and still be alone, as I was that first time. Suzie kept quiet and kept her eyes shut, repeating prayers, tapping her fingers on her knees, moving her head about like a blind person. We never talked. Bridget was taken to one of the other levels. I wrote about it in my journal. Whenever someone new arrived, into my journal it went. I didn't know there were levels for a while, but I figured it out. I'm not as religious as Suzie, so I don't know why there are even different levels. In American Hell, there's just one big place the way I understand it. But I learned the different levels quick. Each one had a different guard. A blue ram-headed angel. A red bird-headed bull. A black faceless, wingless bird with shadows for wings. But no matter their shape, they all could fly. They could carry dozens of souls in their giant arms and drop them into the level chosen by the main demon boss, Yuan Gui, the one who determined the place of redemption for the new souls. The one who was leading the flying demons who were chasing us now. 

I had to go faster. Suzie was struggling to keep up. The Professor was catching up fast, but he had to pass the demons to reach us. But he could do it because the demons weren't paying attention to him. They were after me and Suzie. 

Wait for me, I heard Suzie cry. And for a moment, it felt like she really was in my dream, not just a part of it. She was wearing the Plumage Pvnk outfit. In here, it looked like a second skin on her, like a Manga comic strip costume. I slowed just a bit for her, and she reached me, touching my wing with hers. She felt real. Were the demons real? Could they touch me? I didn't want to find out. That's what the pajamas were for--to escape evil and danger. We flew upward, passing level after level as crowds of souls stared after us with their lifeless curious eyes. 

Hurry, Professor, I thought. Then I heard the words in my mind, I'm almost there.


Anthony
I pass a flock of flying dinosaurs with human faces and limbs, some with bird wings and human arms, some with only leathery wings. Their faces are sad as they look at me, like pathetic pantomimes trying to communicate via facial expression, displaying their disappointment with my actions. Then I slip into a reverie by the seaside, a night-tide rises, the full moon sinks, the seagulls hang in the air with their wings at their sides, as if they are walking to and fro, watching me. I look around. It is Zuma Beach, playground of my youth. The beach is empty. The waves silently reach my toes and stop. Time pauses. No, it yawns. My wings are gone. I am in street clothes, 70s style Levis and Uriah Heep souvenir T-shirt. I am happy here. I will stay a while. The waves retreat and sound returns. But before I can sit on the sand, I hear, Hurry, Professor. I am in mid air, my wings seem inappropriate to the task, so I summon the strength to flap furiously, and pass the sad-faces demons. I see the girls just ahead. I call, I'm almost there. 


Norie
We're in a big cave with fires everywhere. There are lots of people moving around, their shadows stretching across the walls. There are groups of people moving in herds. There are shepherds guiding their groups around the fires. These shepherds are tall and faceless, more shadow than face. They have claws, long uncut nails, more knuckles than fingers. They have dirty cloaks that look like wings. They are wings. They float above their groups. They emerge from the black walls like bees from a honeycomb. They are all different. They pluck people from the groups. They fight with the different-colored shepherds. They are the shepherds from different levels. Their fighting is fierce but short, like two birds fighting over a scrap of food. Then who is chasing us? These are not shepherds, are they? 

As I hover in the air, Suzie beside me, the Professor cutting through the things below us as he reaches us, I can see the same scenes playing out on the ledge below, on the ledge above. Not so much on my ledge. There are many ledges. It is the same all the time. There is no day or night to measure weeks and months. This sameness is comforting. I don't get hungry. I am not scared. I stop watching the fights. The moans and screams of the groups become background noise. It becomes normal. It is the moments of silence that are scary. In the last moment of silence, I see Professor Servante emerge from the pack of things trying to reach us. Is he even real? The walking and flying shepherds hide in the shadows as the demons following us begin to howl with children's voices. Then I see my father and Priest Horaguchi. I am confused. Familiar faces. I fall asleep to wake up. 


Anthony
Norinko, this isn't a dream. We can't all be having the same dream. We are here. This is Diyu. This is Hell. Still, it's a dream, and we must continue to act as if it were so. So keep flying. Hold hands with Suzie. Keep climbing. I'll bring up the rear. 

There are ten flying people. No, birds. No, reptiles. Old friends. No, familiar faces. Chameleons of the mind. I flap my cloth wings and rise as I face the tangle of slimy arms reaching for me. I kick at them. I can feel their bony sharpness against my bare feet. Am I bleeding? How I worry that I will bleed. Will my feet get infected? Will the doctors amputate my feet? Why do I think this? This is just a dream. These are rational fears in a fever dream. I am in bed. The flu is affecting my sleep. I am dreaming that Norie and Suzie are dreaming me. 

Oh, God. My feet are bleeding. In this black and white world, there is red pouring from my feet. 


Suzie
Professor, don't look at them. Keep climbing. 


Anthony
Where are we going?

Suzie
Follow Norie.


Norie
Don't follow me. I'm waking up. I'm going to fall. I can't fly anymore. My mother is trying to wake me. I'm back at home. The window is open. There is a large gray face filling the window frame. Its great head sits atop my mother's body. I open my eyes. I'm back here, flying upwards alongside Suzie. What's happening?!


Anthony
The demons are in our heads. We're asleep, each in our own beds. It's as Priest Horaguchi described in his notes: We each carry a demon with us; when we left Diyu the first time, we each brought out a demon with us. We think we are in the same dream, but we're not. I'm dreaming of you and Suzie, Suzie is dreaming of you and me, and you're dreaming of me and Suzie. It seems that we are in one dream. These things that are chasing us are actually leading us. We must turn and face them. We can't let them take us where they want. On the count of ten. Nine, eight, seven..., 


Suzie
I'm scared. 


Norie
Me too. 


Anthony
Just remember, we're flying. The bird outfits protect us. Seven, six, five, four...,


Norie
Are you ready to turn around, Suzie?


Suzie
I'm ready.


Anthony
Three, two, one. Turn around. And we did. The ten bird creatures with their human faces, human arms, human legs, and Diyu colors, ten feet tall at least, screamed in unison as we turned. They had caught us. There was no waking from this, and they knew it.

Then between the demons and us, a light appeared. Layers of brightness in a twenty foot circle, the brighter beams on the edges, softening toward the center, where a little girl in a Plumage Pvnk pajama outfit floated in dazzling beauty, like a Manga heroine. Her costume was shiny and sparkling, with thin, sharp rays of light emitting from her suit. Her wings were rainbow razor blades, her face was so white that it was angelic, her feet were talons of glass that shone ocean blue beams. 


Norie
It's Bridget


Suzie
Bridget!


Anthony
Don't move. The demons are afraid. The light is cutting a hole in the dark wall on the bottom level. It's the doorway out. It's open. But the ten creatures of darkness and dream stand in our way. It's Bridget screaming into the horde like a banshee that gives us the time to get past them. As Suzie and I fly around the scattered demons, Norie scans the first level to find her father. 

The flying bird-human hybrids surround Bridget, who explodes in a ball of light that burns the demons. Oddly, the light does not affect Suzie and me. Bridget's wings stretch beyond normal range and blue beams of light strike at the bird-shepherds. Their already burnt skin falls away and the beams cut into their hellish flesh. The smell is sickeningly sweet. Two injured demons break off from the group and attack Suzie and me. That's what we get for staring. 

But Suzie spreads her wings and mimics Bridget; red rays fire into the two bird-demons. Their human hands are burnt down to the bone. They back off. I try to replicate the attack, but fail. Gloves alone must not suffice. Either that, or I believe in the dream that they don't work. Either way, I can fly but little else. 

Norie shouts from below. Let's go. I swoop down, but Suzie calls to Bridget, who remains engaged in battle. I tell Suzie that Bridget is creating a diversion for us to escape this dream. The sooner we leave, the sooner we can leave. Suzie agrees and joins me as we land by Norie and her father, Torinko, who welcomes me with a bow. Honored to see you again, Professor. Forgive me for finishing the work you started. Perhaps now we can escape together. 

I nod yes. Norie, Suzie, Torinko, and I run through the tunnel in the black wall of the first level of Diyu. Norie and Suzie stop and look back, waiting for Bridget to appear. Instead, they see the opening to the tunnel seal like a shadow falling across a black emptiness. 

I awake. I glance at the clock. It's just past five in the morning. The sun is rising. A ray of sunlight peeks through the curtains and stabs me in the eye. I squint. How much did the sun rays alter the dream? It seemed so real. I go back to sleep. 

The dream that comes next involves college life and bad decisions I made. It is dark. I drive to a hilltop and park. My foreign exchange student date snuggles up to me. I ask her if she's seen my wings. Then it is no longer her. I am alone. There is no road and no car. I must walk. Along the way, I am back on Skid Row. I enter the hotel and find my room. The TV is talking about the end of the summer. The butterflies, the dragonflies, the birds, are gone. The trees will soon be bare. 

I awake again. Crying. I survived the trauma. I can live with it day at a time. In dream and nightmare. With friends I trust. Without friends who no longer trust me. I understand. Although I am still sleepy, I get up and brew some coffee. I must write all this down before I forget. Before even I do not believe my own words. Let the words speak for themselves. They, too, must learn to survive as I must learn to live with the trauma. For the nightmares now have hope, and the darkness now has light, and my loneliness now has friends. 


Norinko Hanasaki
My father Torinko Hanasaki came home. He had been missing for over a year. He knocked on the door, my mother answered, and they fell into each other's arms. I am glad he is home, but I keep my distance, for he has his own trauma now to overcome. We'll convince him to join our group. The Professor will be glad to see him. I think my father was in my dream, but the dreams vanish so quickly after I wake, they do not linger like they used to. 

Suzie and I visited Bridget. Suzie says that she dreamed of Bridget and believes that she is awake in her mind. Her body needs to catch up. As her friends, we must be patient. We must continue to let her know we are still here for her in the sunlight. 

And what of the Plumage Pvnks? I ask. 

She answers, We'll make more for the kids, you know, the ones who are afraid to go to sleep. We'll make special dolls, one of a Bridget Swan of Light that kids can take to bed with them. 

Sounds like a good idea, I say. Can we charge?

Of course, she says. The money will help Bridget out for when she wakes up. 

My dad pulls the car up to Bridget's house. We enter her room. She is still fast asleep. The nurse smiles, bows, and leaves. My dad is talking to Bridget's folks. Suzie sits on one side of the bed, I on the other; we each hold one of Bridget's hands. 

Thank you, Bridget, for saving us, I say, and Suzie and I bow very low. When we rise, we both have smiles. Not tears. No sadness. Suzie begins to tell Bridget about the Plumage Pvnks Bridget Doll, and we talk the afternoon away. For now we know that Bridget really can hear us. It's not that I remember my dream. It's the happiness that Suzie and I both had with we woke up. We know Bridget is that happiness. She's here with us. In body and spirit. In trauma and nightmare alike. And one of these tomorrows, she will join in the conversation. Like old times. 
*********************


Note from SaraH:
Anthony gave me three dream accounts, one from Suzie, Norie, and one from Anthony. It was my job to edit them three accounts into one dream. I tried to keep the integrity of each dream whole, but there was some sacrifice for the sake of entertaining reading. Anthony and I agreed that since this was the last update for the Trauma & Therapy series, we'd create a mash-up of the three dreams into one. 
SH