A shoot-em-up, action-movie style music video?


Can someone please cram an entire 2-hour action film (one fierce enough for Quentin Tarantino) into one single five-minute viewing experience?
Yes, the “Biting Elbows,” can; and they do a commendable job in the music video for their single, “Bad Mother Fucker.”

On no occasion have I seen a cinematographer bring a music video to life in such a manner. The video depicts an assassination mark escaping from a stronghold of syndicated mercenaries. [Yes a guy’s movie]

Tunefully, the song “Bad Mother Fucker,” starts with classical music, which evolves, rising to a crescendo of hard rock, and finally a (proficient) rap style vocal lyric section.

Creative Interests Rating

Creative Interests Rating

Creative Interests Rates it as four stars.

Monthly Music Review

The Valley of the Shadow of Death (Horror)


Ever man owes the debt of his mortal life. Yet no one wants to Die

 

When the first domino fell, all the others came clattering down, and they did not stop until my life was in shambles.

It was Friday afternoon. My wife and the kids had all piled into the car hours ago. Barbara had driven halfway across the state, taking the kids to visit their grandparents for the weekend. She had called to tell me that they had arrived safely, were tired, and that she would call me the following evening.

I was humming; I had the whole house to myself, as I sat on the couch reading a magazine article in absolute peace. Meanwhile the television played quietly in the background. I finished my article just in time to catch the evening news, so I got up to go change the channel.

I had only walked a few steps when the sharp pains stopped me in my tracks. It felt as if I had taken a lightning bolt strike to the center of my chest. I instinctively clutched at my breast with my arm and a claw of a hand. Then I felt my knees give way, and my body went slack, and I fell to the floor. My head struck the surface with such a jolting collision, that it knocked me senseless.

After the fall, my mind merely registered blackness. As my brain labored to think thick thoughts, my mind soon succumbed to fatigue, and my awareness dwindled. I descended deeper and deeper into the darkness of my mind, finally slipping beneath the surface of a pool of nothingness.

After a long period of torpor, my mind flickered with activity, and I began to dream. In my dream, an utter absence of light produced an oppressive blackness that swallowed up everything for as far as I could see.

I found myself lost in what seemed to be a huge, stony valley. I wandered about like a blind man, staggering aimlessly across the rocky basin, in a cold sweat, my mind ruminating, wondering if I was walking in circles. I pushed myself onward, persevering for three grueling days.

My legs became so heavy that I stopped and I put my hands on my knees. I panted trying to catch my breath. I thought how nice it would be, just to stop wandering in doubt. I would rest, if only for a moment, and then press on.

I sat down on the rough rock bottom of the desolate valley. But I could not calm my restless thoughts. I was trembling, so I drew my knees into my chest and I wrapped my arms around them.  In my ruminations, I was rocking myself back and forth.

I decided that I was not going to get up and walk anymore. I bit my lower lip, as shook my head; a single tear rolled down my cheek. I did not wipe it off.

I spoke to myself saying, “You can do this, the worst part is being afraid. Everything else will take care of itself; you just try not to be so afraid.”

I rocked back and forth, and took some peace in the rhythm. I still had an uneasy pang in my gut but not as much as before. I tried not to think while I rocked, knowing that I would be alone when I died in the darkness. Inside I hung heavy and felt empty.

Then I saw it out of the corner of my eye, and my heart leapt with joy—it was the soft glow of a single candle burning. It rested in an antiquated candleholder, the kind with a ring for the finger. I noticed that the holder lay precariously, sitting askew atop the small rocks that lay scattered all about. I stared into the yellow flame. It was the only point of light in an infinite sea of ebony.

I anxiously watched yellow tongue quiver, and when the gentle breeze blew, it pushed the spitting flame all the way over on its side, where it hung tremulously, clinging to the wick.

I realized that the candle was a dream symbol. It was the candle of my life force, and that delicate flame represented my mortal existence, a thing so vulnerable, and so easily snuffed out forever. At this realization, I became terrified that something would blow out the flame, and I would die. I mentally anguished as I stirred in my dream.

Quite startled, my body jerked, and I gasped coming out of the nightmare. I soon realized that it was all just a terrible dream, and as I lay there with my eyes closed, the tightness in my chest faded as my heartbeat slowed down to a regular rhytm.

*****

My thoughts were finally clearing up. I was fully aware that I had suffered a massive heart attack. I still remembered falling and hitting my head on the living room floor. When I opened my eyes, I could not see anything. In fact, I could not even detect light. I concluded that when I fell, that I had received a head trauma. I was suddenly alarmed, but I calmed down when recalled reading that a severe concussion can result in a temporary, but complete loss of vision. It was a minor injury and the sight usually returned completely.

But then my mind dredged up the two worst words for a worrisome person, “what if…” My immediate thought was “what if it was not a simple concussion?”

After all, I had suffered a major cardiovascular accident, what if I also suffered a stroke.

What if the blow to the head caused massive bleeding in the brain, and resulted in partial brain damage? Suddenly a sense of panic completely overcame me, and I feared that I might well be permanently blind.

With no one at home when I fell, I wondered how long I had been lying on the living room floor unconscious.

Then I realized that I was not actually lying on the living room floor any longer. Having suffered a heart attack, my first thought was that the house cleaner had come in Saturday morning, found me lying unconscious on the living room carpet and called 911.

I naturally assumed that I was in the hospital. I yelled out, “Nurse! For God’s sake, help!” There was no response. I wondered what kind of a hospital this was. Then I began to think I might not even be in a hospital. My suspicions quickly grew. If I was in a hospital, why was it that I smelled none of the distinctive disinfectants or the odor sickness, urine, and disease? I felt no IVs in my arms. I heard no speaker pages for doctors or nurses. In fact, I heard nothing at all. There was a profound silence about.

I was lying on my back on a very hard surface. I swept an arm aside in my world of darkness, and scattered away bits of rubble with a clattering. I inhaled the air deeply; it was as cold as the air from a freezer. Except for the fact that the air smelled appallingly musty, stale, and like years of dust hung within it.

I had no I idea where I was. It seemed like I lay on a cement floor of a building under construction. But the floor was not smooth concrete like in construction, it was hard stone, and its surface was very rough. Also, the flooring lay littered with what felt like small, porous rocks.

That was when I had a crazy recollection. I remembered enrolling in spelunking, or cave exploring, thirty years ago in college, to blow off the physical education requirement. I had been in a few caves, and as ridiculous as it seemed, I had very serious thoughts that I was laying on my back inside the depths of a pitch-black black cave, as opposed to something civilized

I sat up, I found my footing, and I stood up on the rough rock floor. I walked about carefully, using my hands to feel about the dark, and stepped cautiously among the scattered stones that rolled and crunched under my feet. I was very curious to ascertain the physical nature of my mysterious environment.

It was darker than any lack of light I had ever experienced. I immediately assumed I was in a colossal cave, one immeasurably far beneath the surface of the earth, which would explain the cutting cold that burned my ears and bit at my nostrils.

However, after surveying with my hands, I felt no walls of any kind in the cavernous void. I felt no stalactites hanging either. Most importantly, unlike any other cave, this place had no evidence of harboring any life. There was no proof of bat guano on the flooring, nor did I smell its distinctive odor. I found no moss, lichens, or slime on the floor. I felt no insects moving among the loose stones.  I heard no dripping or trickle of water. And despite the bitter cold, I touched no ice anywhere. Lastly, a deafening silence hung in the air. There was no life in this dark, cavernous realm.

I concluded this desolate rock expanse was not any one of the many different known types of caves. I was certain of this conclusion because the air had such ancientness about it, as if no pair of lungs had ever breathed it before. All caves have at least one or more entrances and exits—air can enter into a cave from the outside. It is drawn and moved within caves by natural forces of pressure.

But the air in this black abyss did not smell like any cave. I had no idea how it came to be inside this place. I was positive it did not contain any air that had once existed externally. This stony hollow was undeniably self-contained; it existed as an isolated, vast hollow space— bordered by airtight granite on every side. There was simply no way into this strange realm. And consequently, there was no way out. That was the only possible explanation as to why this place harbored no life.

But with no way in and no way out, how did I wind up inside of here?

******

This damned place reminded me of a poem I read long ago. I could only remember one line of its prose.

…Oh, frightful black void, in this realm of plucked out eyes, what bone-chilling cold, like unseen frost cuts at my face. Oh baleful circumstances, why do you conspire against me and engulf me like a tomb…

Recalling that verse to mind, my hands began to tremble. The poem brought on a superstitious dread of my surroundings. The longer that I had been in the dark, the more wary I had become of this dark abode.

Soon an eerie unrest coursed through my veins. In my mind arose a nagging feeling—something was different…some change had occurred. One unsaid word lay silent on my tongue, “caution.” I blew warm breaths into my cold, cupped hands, trying to draw the numbness out of my fingers. Suddenly I stopped, my breath was silent, and I felt my heart pump harder, like a fist clenching inside my chest.

I could never explain or make reason of my sixth sense, but when I focused deeply, I could detect and feel the presence of things that I could not see with my eyes; dangers, which came lurking within close physical proximity to me.

As the moments passed, I strained, intensely, concentrating on the open space about me. I listened for any sounds within the silence; I strained to “feel” for any movement within the black curtains of dread that hung everywhere.

I felt my sixth sense arise with a tingling that always produced a state of heightened vigilance. Someone was in the dark lair with me.  My concentration radiated outwards like invisible concentric circles of energy. Then my mental awareness quickly wrapped around him like an invisible net. I sensed his form for a split second—arms, legs, upright, tall.

Who is this, is he lost in the blackness here as I am? Perhaps I should call out to him.

I heard the quiet crunching of slow steps on the floor. Surely, he had to take careful steps, so as not to fall, wandering blind in this darkness such as I did.

But my gut reaction was not to call out. I did not wish to alert him as to my awareness, so I did not make a sound. He was carefully stepping towards me from behind. I did not turn back towards him, as my feet would have made sounds if I twisted.

He drew in close upon me, and then suddenly halted directly behind me. He stood as still and as silent as a statue. I did not move. I did not even breathe.

We were obviously both aware of each other’s presence, as we remained frozen in the blackness. The silence between us was deafening. I wondered what his intentions were. If he had wanted to seize me, he surely would have by done so by now. Perhaps he sensed that I was a danger to him. I thought it best quietly to speak to him, in calm, reassuring voice,

But before I did, I felt an intense, unyielding stare on the back of my neck.

He does see in the black!

His abnormal ability to see me struck me as so disconcerting that it sent a shudder through me.

If he could see me and yet did not call out to me, then I had to consider him hostile in nature. Yet he stood like a stone right behind me. Another moment passed us in silence.

Then I felt something like a weak electric field tingle past my ear. I sensed what seemed like a huge hand as it reached around my neck and face from behind. The hand was much too big to be dark that of a man. It was that of a great beast. I wondered how a beast came to be inside this closed bubble within a sea of granite. Did some force transport him here as it had done to me.

This was perhaps the only thing here which possessed life But in this dead place, the only living creature? What would he eat to survive?

I felt the creature holding its bestial palm just shy of my mouth. Whatever this thing was, it was taking great care not to touch me.

Maybe the creature was planning to suffocate me. Or more perversely, maybe this beast was studying me, and amusing itself with the power it had over me. I could not deny my senses. I became convinced this thing was curiously measuring me up and nettling me, much like a child would do with an insect.

Tingling sensations crept about my face and cheeks. I perceived that the creature had extended a long bony finger and was lustfully tracing along the contours of my face.

It was almost a form of torture; the beast was eliciting feelings in me, heightening my fright, keeping my mind unclear of what the beast wanted of me—all this accomplished simply by not touching me.

But why was a brute stalking me in this isolated hollow lair? Was it just to toy with me as a creature insignificant in his eyes? Unless this creature… this beast so near to me in the bowels of this abyss… of course it must be…

The hand withdrew and disappeared behind my back. It had satisfied its curiosity; it decided that for the time being that I was not a hazard. It easily could have killed me. Hopefully he would leave, having grown bored with me

I immediately jerked, coming out of my thoughts. I felt something! It was a cold sensation… I felt it again. In the numbness of terror, I realized the monster had extended one of its bony fingers and tapped me on the nape of my neck two times. That odious appendage, having been chilly upon my neck, made we want to wretch!

Suddenly, the beast roared behind me furiously, I jumped in my tracks, terrified. The bestial snarl came accompanied with a rattling knock that reverberated like a tiger in the jungle.

Panic overtook my mind. I suddenly knew what it ate to stay alive. How could I have been so stupid?

Every man’s mortal life is a debt he must pay back when it is time. Yet no one wants to die. I did not want to die either. I stumbled ahead in the dark, stones rolling beneath my feet as I tried not to fall. The beads of sweat on my face were as cold as my panic.

Yet the brute knew I was vulnerable, and he followed my every step, cruelly, by waiting to slay me. He followed me patiently as I grew weary. I supposed he enjoyed seeing the panic in me. I knew that that he would follow, relentlessly, and when I was to weary too continue, only then he would finally seize and devour me.

My mortal life’s tenacity, and the instinct to live, forced me to press onward blindly. My legs grew heavy and I was losing my footing as I tried to flee. How much longer could I stave this monster off, in my blindness, and in my state of weakness? I was surely doomed.

But then suddenly, there in the infinite black—I saw a small spot of glorious light, it was just ahead of me. I ran towards the source.

Much to my astonishment, I recognized that I was looking at my candle of life…the symbol from my dream, and it was resting in its iron holder sitting on the stony floor just as I had dreamt it. The fluttering flame of my mortal existence was still burning. I was still alive!

But then my heart sank as I heard the monster swiftly coming up from behind me. He inhaled, and the sound of rattling, strings of mucous knocked as his lungs pulled in the icy air. My foe held his foul breath and prepared to spew it from his cracked lips, in order to snuff out my candle. It blew the stream of cold black air from his lungs forcefully. The repulsive breath hit my back and deflected around me.

Looking down before my feet, my flame of life still burned! The beast growled behind me with a primeval rage. Looking past my candle on the floor, I saw even more light. A few steps ahead of me, I detected a brilliant rising vertical line of radiant light. The line of light surged brighter.

The beast immediately took several steps back as if scared of this light. Then he turned and walked away. The crunching of the stones beneath his feet got quieter and quieter until he was so far away that I could not hear his footsteps.

Feeling safe and intensely curious I approached the line of illumination and found that it was actually the crack at the opening between two massive metal doors. I pushed at the doors with all of my might, and as they slowly opened, the dark cold lair was breached with divine, life-giving light. This light was as warm, blessed, and as alluring as the sun.

I walked forward into the vast glowing chamber of safety.  Never again would I suffer in darkness. Never again would I shiver in the cold.

I turned back one last time to look into the shadows of the dark abyss. That was the one and only time I saw the monster with my own eyes—the beast was Death himself. What an atrocity to the senses he was. Utterly vile and repugnant, he stared at me with cold black eyes and curved venomous fangs.

The infamous reaper of mortal life was standing just shy of the light. My fear of Death faded as I saw that he would not approach the light from the shadows. The brute seemed petrified of the lighted chamber.

Death did not appear angry, and instead of roaring at me, he coolly regarded me. For a moment, he was silent. And then he looked me and seemed to laugh aloud, in deep shudders of a croaking, then he turned away and slowly walked back into his dark abode.

I gasped in fear. I realized I had walked through the metal doors into the hall of light, and foolishly left my burning candle behind in Death’s lair, unprotected. Death slowly moved toward it, he inhaled, and then blew out a stream of air. I watched helplessly as trembling tongue of fire began to ripple and flutter. Then the flame of my mortal existence disappeared into the blackness, snuffed out forever.

I immediately panicked, and in a surreal numbness, my stomach sunk in a twinge of hopeless disbelief. Ten seconds of sheer fright consumed me. And unexpectedly I realized that I was unharmed. I was still alive. The sacred glowing light inside the chamber saved my life. I realized I had beaten Death. I said nothing and in the shadows Death turned his head back to look at me. But I could not help myself, and I laughed out loud at him.

That was the only time that he approached the light. Grimacing into it, he approached the light. He grabbed the metal doors, pulled hard at them, and they crashed shut between the two of us. Safely inside the chamber, I had no more worries about Death. There was a universe of living light about me; the chamber produced much more light and life than all the souls on earth would ever need. I walked further into the illumination and it began to pulse as it surged brighter. As I basked in the light, it grew exponentially in its intensity. The brilliant radiance grew warm.

That is when I heard a countless number high clamors start to sound. The many tones seemed as if a great chorus was warming up to play. Soon there was a massive increase in volume. There came a high vibrant range, a myriad of tenors—a sound like ten thousand trumpets.

Next, joining in, the din of thousands of piano wires all pulled too tight, then plucked, in dissonance. Then a tremulous cacophony—like countless fingernails screeching across a massive chalkboard. The squealing of the nails was sickening. The sum of the complete series of unsettling sounds unified and became recognizable. It was an unendurable symphony; the paramount agony of millions of hideous, screams, cries, and blood curdling shrieks.

Then I understood the chamber for what it really was.

The golden brilliance inside the grand chamber burst into a raging inferno of conflagrations, and rolling flames rose up in the air. All around me within the flames were a perilous number of molten pits; they boiled, and vomited up liquid stone and the stink of burning sulfur gasses.

A fissure cracked open in the floor beneath my feet and a volatile blaze came from within. Flames wrapped around my form like serpents and a burning cocoon of flames consumed me.

All I could think of was running, dropping to roll on the floor, and snuff out the unbearable flames. However, I dared not move near the pits of fire. For in all the burning sulfur pools, I saw flailing skeletons hopelessly more doomed than I was.

Those were the poorest wretches, those souls who ran in fear, and fell into the hellish sinkholes. They had become nothing but blazing frameworks of animated bones. The screaming skeletons wailed inconsolably. Their outcries were beyond what a scream should contain. Their skulls bobbed at the surface of the magma, tilting their cervical vertebrae backwards, and their jowls yawned cavernously, gasping for breaths of air.

Occasionally, a few carcasses managed to grasp the sides of the spewing sulfur pits. Skeletal hands arose, reached out to the edge, and the poor devils pulled themselves up to rest on the bones of their forearms.

Imploringly the skeletons held their arms out to me, begging me to pull them out of the flaming pools. The bony hands of panicking ones grasped wildly for my legs. I knew I must not move. I knew I must never run, no matter how afraid I was. I would surely be in one of the pits if I ran. The best things to do were to stand still and simply endure the searing flames as they consumed me.

Some of the damned were not in the pits and these skeletons bumped me as they clambered past.  These ones ran wildly in a panic, wailing aloud as their bones burned until they became dry and cracked with a pop; others were seized when blazes exploded, taking them into the air with the rising inferno.

The longer I stood there in flames, burning, the more I began to escalate into a wild panic. As I burned, languishing in agony, I smelled my flesh burning, and it began sloughing off of my bones like sheets of melting wax. In all the fear, I went mad. I could not help myself. And I began to run.

I am one of the countless runners in Hell now. We all shriek wretchedly to no avail. All we live for is to run away from the inescapable fires and try to jump over the molten pits. Some of us run and dodge the exploding flames, like soldiers running into mortar fire, and others fall and drown in the boiling hellholes. So hideous is all the howling that it commits an offence against the mind.  All here have abandoned hope. For us there is only panic, screaming, and torment beyond bearing.

Yet for all the fire that consumed me, I would not die. Never spared the agony, I felt everything. But this made no sense as Death snuffed my candle of life. I should be dead. And then I realized that I was eternally dead and that I was going to burn here infinitely.

I cried out to God, praying for mercy and forgiveness. I said he was a merciful God, and I plead, begging him to spare me this burden, an existence that I could not possibly bear. In sheer terror, I waited for an answer to my prayer of genuine remorse and shame.

And God was stony silent.

Cheating Death (Short Story – Horror)


The last thing that I remember was getting up off the couch to change the channel on the television set. When I stood up it was as if an excruciating bolt of thunder pierced me through the center of the breastplate. I became light headed. Confusion overtook my mind and I lost lucid consciousness, which dwindled away leaving me in a vague trance-like state.

I was aware of being in physical peril, but only in the sense as being a third party observing myself from the outside. I saw my arm clutch at the sharp chest pains grabbing my breast with claw of a hand. Then I saw my body crumple and collapse and fall hard towards the living room floor. I was surprised not to see myself lying on the floor unconscious.

Instead, the inexplicable began to unfold. I was back inside of my body now, but I continued to fall, my body unstopped by any hard surface. I watched as my form crashed through the living room floor and dropped beneath it. I continued to tumble, my body shattering the concrete as I fell through the foundation of the house, and I still I continued to drop away. I fell beneath the crust of the earth plummeting downward into the blackness. I fell like a stone, unimpeded. I continued to tumble for what seemed like hours on end.

During the entire event, my mind became weary and I dropped off into a deep sleep. I suddenly was aware that I was dreaming. However, the entry into the dream was inhospitable. It was a nightmare of sorts.

I dreamed that I saw a single white burning candle; this candle was in an old-fashioned metal candleholder with a ring for the finger—the kind people used to carry around by hand to see in the darkness before days of electricity and incandescent light bulbs.

I dreamt I saw this candle in the carrier sitting precariously on a rock-covered floor. I watched the candle anxiously, as the tiny yellow tongue of fire fluttered, tremulously clinging to the wick. I realized that this was a symbol. It was the burning candle of my life force and that fragile flame was my existence, so delicate and vulnerable, and so easily extinguished forever without warning. At the end of the dream, I was terrified that something would blow the flame out and that I would die.

At that point, I awoke. And I found myself lying here on the stony floor in this icy, black abysmal place.

Oh, frightful black void, in this dark realm of plucked out eyes, what is this bone-chilling cold that bites at my face bitterly, like unseen frost? Oh baleful circumstances, why do you conspire against me to engulf me like a tomb.

There would appear that nothing is here save the black hanging demise in the biting chill. Nevertheless, I had an overwhelming superstitious mindfulness that something was indeed there in the inky black with me. Yet I could not seem to feel it or hear it. I found my footing among the stones and then I stood up.

I turned round about looking wildly for any sign of light…but alas, darkness was all I saw.

May God, give me just a small crack of light to pursue, let him extend to me one thread of hope that I might find flight from this wretched place. All I need is a solitary pinpoint of light to gaze at for the briefest moment. I need to know. Tell me do I have eyes or am I blind! It is driving me mad…

But despite my plea, I see nothing. I find myself abandoned to the poison of sightlessness. In fear, I began to walk about the dark cavern aimlessly.

Soon an eerie emotion coursed through my veins. I suddenly sensed that some sort of beast was following very close behind me, biding its time before attacking me. A rush of panic washed over me, like a bucket of icy water. In this terror, I could swear a long skeletal hand reached from behind me. I sensed its palm cupped just shy of my mouth, perhaps to mute my screams, perhaps to silently suffocate me, or perversely, just to amuse itself with the great power it had over me.

I had an unshakable notion that its gaunt hand extended a long bony finger, and without touching me, lustfully traced along the contours of my face in the dark. I knew all this was happening even though I could not provide evidence of it.

But then I smelled a plague-ridden, putrid stench. And I knew then that something was indeed with me in the blackness and cold.

I quickly thought back in time to remember how I got here. I finally realized that I must have suffered a heart attack back in my living room, and that was the beginning of all this horror. Then I wondered if I, in truth was actually lying unconscious on the living room floor. Lack of blood to my brain could have caused me to hallucinate all of this nightmarish emotional chaos.

But I feel the stones rough under my feet on this floor and when I inhale, I experience the cold biting at my nostrils. I am here, wherever this place is.  This does not seem like a dream. This seems very real. And something dangerous is here with me.

I did seem to have a heart attack. I felt the stabling chest pains. If I did, I am fighting for my life. But why am I in this dark cavernous place of danger.

Unless this creature, of course…it can be no other than he…I realize that this beast so near me in the bowels of this black abyss is Death. Death is following me and he will try to claim me if he can. I must fight to live; I must get back to the living room. But how long can I escape Death down here trapped in his dark lair?

I immediately jerk with a shudder coming out of my thoughts. I felt something. It was a cold sensation…There it is again. It is he. Death touched me!

In the numbness of terror, Death extended one bony finger touched me on the nape of my neck. That odious fetid appendage, having been chilly upon my neck, makes me want to wretch!

My body jerks, startled and alarmed as I hear the beast roar furiously. Its low base snarl is a rattling knock that echoes like a tiger in the jungle.

How many souls has this executioner liberated from their living bodies? Mortal life is a debt everyone must pay to the reaper in time. Yet everyone evades the beast when he or she can, it is our nature. No one wants to die. I do not want to die.

Yet Death is following my every step. The beast is forbidding. He is methodic, relentless, and most cruel of all, infinitely patient.

My mortal life’s tenacity, never wanting to yield, forces me to press onward blindly, wandering in the black cavern. My legs are weary and heavy and I am losing my footing as I try to flee. How can I stave off Death? I can see nothing here and know not any way out of this black cavernous throat of stone, a realm that Death knows better than I know the back of my own hand. I am surely doomed.

But then then suddenly there is hope. What is this that I see? Right before I stumble from fatigue and Death can overtake me, a miracle occurs. There in the infinite black void just ahead—I see a light!

Oh wonderful, glorious, life giving light, It is just ahead of me.

I approach the illumination running as I head for the source.

This miraculous light in the lair of Death… it is my candle of life…the candle from my dream, resting in its iron holder sitting on the stony floor just as I dreamt it. The fluttering flame of my mortal existence is still burning.

But then my heart sinks as I hear Death coming up from behind me and he sucks loud, rattling, strings of mucous inside his lungs as they pull in the icy air. My foe holds the foul breath in his lungs, that when blown from its cracked lips, will threaten to snuff out my candle. But now that I am standing before the flame, maybe I can try to guard my fire of life from the creature that wants to extinguish it.

I feel and smell Death behind me and then I feel him blow the stream of breath from his lungs forcefully. The repulsive breath hits my back and deflects around me.

My flame of life still burns! Death cannot hurt me now. Indeed, he cannot snuff out my candle as long as I stand here.

The beast growls behind me with a primeval fury. However, for all of his ferocity, the beast roars in impotent rage. Death is singular in its insignificance now.

Looking past my candle on the floor, I see a brilliant rising line of radiant light on the far wall. I walk nearer to find that the vertical line of illumination is actually the crack at the opening between two immense metal doors. Peering through the crack, I see a vast chamber. It has no end. And inside it is a source of infinite life sustaining light.

I push at the doors and as they slowly open, the dark cold lair of death is breached with divine light. This light is a radiance as warm, blessed, and as dazzling as the sun.

I leave my candle burning on the floor of Death’s dark lair and walk forward into the vast glowing chamber of safety.  Never again will I suffer in darkness. Never more shall I shiver in the cold.  I shall live in this glorious warm realm of hope.

I turn back one last time to look into the shadows of the den of Death. Then I see Death himself standing just shy of the light. What an atrocity to the senses. The creature is utterly vile and repugnant as it stares at me with cold black eyes and curved venomous fangs. Nevertheless, I stand bold, as it will not approach from the shadows. The beast seems petrified of the living light.

Death snarls at me in anger and the ground shakes.

Then I realize that I am in peril. I am suddenly alarmed as I left my candle behind. On the floor in the shadows, I see its flame burning with no protection. Death inhales and blows against the yellow trembling tongue of fire and it flutters. Then suddenly the flame of my life is snuffed out forever.

I instantly panic, but in time, I realize that I am unharmed. I am still alive because of this sacred brilliant glow. I realize with joy that I have beaten death. I laugh at death, mocking him.

In a rage of defeat, my foe pulls hard at the metal doors and they crash shut between the two of us. I turn around and face the light. I immerse myself in its warmth. Light is everywhere, there is a world of life in here.

Suddenly I realize where I am. I am in Heaven.

I stand in the illumination of God omnipotent in fantastic joy. Then I wait for the holy sounds. I always wanted to hear the angels in Heaven sing like sirens.

I long for the angel’s mellifluous chorus. Yet, the music does not come. However, I hear something even greater. It is louder than ten thousand trumpets.

I hear what I never imagined I would hear in Heaven. I hear billions of blood-curdling screams come from within the sun like glow.

Then it hits me and I know where I really am.

I am in Hell.

The intense light grows with an escalating heat until it is so hot that my flesh begins to sting.  I see this endless chamber for what it really is. It is a place of raging fire, conflagrations, and a realm of infernos. There are explosions like geysers that send rolling flames rocketing upwards. All around me are a perilous number of lava pits; they bubble, boil, and vomit liquid stone and burning sulfur.

I dare not walk.

The floor at my feet cracks open and a volatile blaze consumes my body. It wraps around my form, like a serpent. I am in a burning cocoon of flames.

I want to run wildly, to roll on the floor, and snuff out the unbearable flames that overtake me. However, I dare not move near the pits of molten fire. For in all the burning sulfur pools, I see flailing skeletons hopelessly more doomed than I am.

They are the ones who ran in fear and fell into the hellish sinkholes. Now they are nothing but flaming frameworks of animated bones, thrashing, screaming, and trying to tread in the red-hot liquid. They scream, trying merely to keep their skulls above the surface. I see them grasp at the sides of the spewing sulfur pits. Skeletal hands arise from the molten lava, reach out to the edge, and rest themselves upon the bones of their forearms. Skeletal digits grasp wildly for my legs as the condemned attempt to pull themselves out of the depths of despair. I step back away from the languishers lest they pull me into the molten prison with them.

I stand still. I know I cannot run. I must not run as the others did.  The best things I can do are stand still and suffer the fire.

Some of the damned in Hell are not in the pits and I see these skeletons clamber past me.  These ones run wildly in a panic, wailing aloud as their bones burn until they become dry and crack with a pop. They suffer hopelessly as they fly up off the ground when a flare of the devils flaming tongue explodes upwards, taking them up into the air with the rising inferno.

I am escalating into a wild panic. I am on fire and my flesh is charred and falling off my body like melting wax. In all the fear, I went mad. I could not help myself. And I began to run.

I am one of the countless runners in Hell now. We scream wretchedly to no avail. All we live for is to run away from the inescapable fires and try to jump over the molten pits. Some of us run and dodge the exploding flames, like soldiers running into mortar fire, and others fall and drown in the boiling molten depths of despair. So hideous is all the howling that it commits an offence against the mind.  All here have abandoned hope. For us there is only panic, screaming, and torment beyond bearing.

I ran for a far-reaching distance but then I lost my footing, I stumbled, and I fell into a molten sinkhole. Dipping under the pool of spitting and belching lava, I tread in magma to brink my skull above the surface. Gasping for my breath, I draw burning sulfur fumes into my lungs. I cough up lava and fire as I suffer in unspeakable torture. Yet for all the fire consuming me, I do not die. I feel everything. But this makes no sense as my candle of life, was snuffed out by death. So I should be dead.

To my horror, I now realize that I am indeed dead and that I will burn here in Hell for eternity.

I am truly repentant for how I lived my life in sin. I was wrong and I know this. But God is forgiving. I cry out to God praying for mercy and forgiveness. I plead that God spare me this burden, an existence that I cannot possibly bear. I wait for an answer to my prayer of genuine remorse and shame.

And God is stony silent.

Religion Picking on Science and Atheists


I really wish Religion had never started picking on Science and Atheists. These two never did a thing to Religion. These two persecuted secular thought systems are instances of individuals just being true to them. But Religion came in anyway and told them that if they did not think just as Religion thought that they would all burn in hell forever. That seems a bit petty and abjectly rude. Continue reading

Lovers and the Antique Brass Bed


It was a cold November day, and as I lay in bed awakening, I saw the newborn sun’s illumination flare up behind the layer of condensation on the bedroom windowpanes.

golden mist coming in window

The light shone diffuse, coming into the bedroom as a gold radiant mist.

My ancestors had repainted those wooden, square borders that hold the glass, painting them again and again over the years. The wood had an accretion of paint layers, almost geological, and sedimentary, in sheets of white weather coatings. After many years, the layers of white paint flaked, and cracked into many fine lines and fissures.

The bedroom window I looked at was an old window, in an old house, a house of four generations, which in time became home.

The sun’s light, filtered by the fog on the window, shone diffusely into our bedroom as a gold, radiant mist. It filled the bedroom, as if gilded dust hung about everywhere in the air.

Turning my head on the pillow, I saw her sleeping next to me. The soft radiance revealed the graceful, contours of my wife’s face. Hers was a statuesque, symmetrical, bone structure, resulting in feminine loveliness.

The condensation on the windowpanes, attested to our warm life breaths, pulling in and out of sleeping lungs during the night. The layer of moisture clung to the glass as a memory. It held the traces of her whispers in bed, whispers which I had felt against the nape of my neck the night before. I vaguely recalled that softly spoken, “I love you,” fading away, as my conscious awareness sank, into the oblivion of sleep, as if I were slipping beneath the surface of quicksand.

brass bed

The Antique Brass Bed frame; The Family Bed of four Generations

Coming out of my recollection, I yawned. I rubbed my eyes, sat up, and leaned my bare back against the vertical bars, at the head of the antique brass bedframe.

Over many years, the dry country air discolored the brass bedframe’s slats, bars, and darkened the round brass knobs atop the bedposts. As a child, I loved to turn these brass knobs with my small hands, as the circular orbs squeaked and vibrated when rotated.

The antique bedframe now showed in gradations, a spectrum of tarnished brass in the colors from shiny to the darkest bronze.

Reaching back for more than a century and a half, that bed frame had been the marital bed of the previous three generations of my family. Each generation of my ancestors married, and as a couple, they slept each night in the brass bed, and they grew old together slumbering on their Sears and Roebuck feather mattresses.

In their golden years, I contemplated what their old minds dreamed about, and how each of them lived, acting out scenes, in the realm of their imaginings. I wondered if for a night, they were young once again. As I imagined them dreaming, I could picture white diamonds pulsing, scattered across the vast, black, velvet expanse of the heavens, hanging so high above the tin roof of this humble house.

I suddenly emerged from within the depths of my mind, and became again aware of myself sitting up in the Family Bed, leaning back against the cold brass bars of the headboard. Having laid my bare back against the brass bars for too long, I was deeply chilled. I shivered in the cold bite of the bedroom air, frigid inside the unheated house.

As I pulled the old patchwork quilt, that my grandmother had sewn by hand, from atop the bed, I pulled it gently, so as not to wake her. Yet I also pulled it all the way to me, so as to bundle it and wrap it about me. I removed the patchwork quilt, from the pile of the many others that warmed she and I during the cold nights of the winter.

I wrapped the warm cloth heirloom around my bare neck, my shoulders, and my back. Then I pulled it around in front of me, grasping both ends of the quilt in one hand, holding it at my neck.

I was careful not to wake her as I lowered my legs off the bed, and let my bare feet touch the cold wooden floor. I stood up to get the blood moving in my legs, and in seconds, the chill of the floor drained all of the heat from my feet. My feet throbbed, burning painfully with the coldness. I walked away from the bed quietly, and I headed in curiosity towards the window to look at the translucent condensation on the windowpanes.

At first glance, the moisture on the inside of the pane, looked just like frosted glass, but as I inspected the foggy film more closely, I saw that the condensation was actually thousands of microscopic beads of water, each clinging tenuously to the surface of the windowpane.

In wonder, I touched the layer of moisture. The glass was cold and it chilled my finger. The moisture of our exhaled breaths wet my finger as I swiped it across the glass. My finger made a clear streak in the condensation on the pane, and small drops of water ran down from its edges. I quickly exhaled on it, and the clear streak filled halfback with the fog of the moisture of my breath’s humidity.

Her Sleeping

She was beautiful as her skin basked in the morning light. In awe of her, my breath hung heavy in my lungs, like lead, and for a moment, I could not breathe.

I turned and looked back to the bed, and I saw my wife sleeping. I cherished her with my eyes. She was beautiful as her skin basked in the morning light. Her naked shoulder lay exposed above the blanket, supple, and ivory white. She was young and innocent, shapely and nubile. In awe of her, my breath hung heavy in my lungs, and for a moment, I could not breathe.

The night before, when we went to bed, her long, chestnut hair had lay splayed out, in voluptuous disarray, across her pillow. While nuzzling at the soft, white, nape of her neck, I had pressed my nose into the silky morass of her dark hair. I inhaled the fusion of many delicate, intermingling fragrances. I remembered the all-consuming, sensual nature of the smell of her hair.

Her hair bore traces of turned over sod in the fertile fields.

Deeply woven into her reddish brown waves were traces of the farmland. Her long lustrous hair bore the earthen, musty smell of freshly turned over sod in the plowed fields. Also was the scent of that distinct breeze, which always arrives as a fragrant announcement, just moments before a summer rain shower in the country. This was a fragrant breeze that undeniably smells like safety and home. It is the smell of a blessing.

My nose detected numerous, feminine, anointing oils in her hair, and of her flesh; the oils were a musky fusion that composed her unique, primal smell. No other woman alive exuded the same fragrance. My body knew the smell of her instinctually. And when I smelled her scent, I knew she was my mate.

Her scent whispered to my sense of smell, beckoning my body unto hers. It was an intoxicating bidding of her pheromones in the innocent concupiscence of our love.

Her hair bore the scented memories from the previous evening. Woven deeply within her long silken curls, was the smell of perspiration from our naked, entwined, exhausted bodies. There was the brackish biting smell of the ocean’s waves, whitecaps that surged, swelling, and rushing inland towards the untouched volcanic rocks. The waves struck the black, jagged, pillars with a fury, throwing expansive white froth, in wide fan-like dispersals and a fine mist of briny droplets.

waves crashing

It retained faint traces from the mist of the oceans passionate waves, crashing against the black volcanic rocks. The waves struck the rocks, spraying white froth in a mist of briny droplets. We made thunder in the night, as our bodies lunged and hove in the brass bed, and our bodies moved inside of each other. It seemed that the earth moved beneath us, and that high above the angels wept.

We made amatory thunder in the night, as our bodies lunged and hove in the brass bed, moving inside of each other. It seemed that the earth moved beneath us. And for one sacred moment, the boundaries that separated us dissolved, and our two souls fused, and we both inhaled, and sighed, in one shared breath of ecstasy.

As we slept, she was soft legs, which were warm against my hamstrings on a cold winter night. She had a perfect curve the neck, the graceful arc of a warm breast, the curving relief of a smooth hip, and a white delicate shoulder that I woke up to in the night, a bare shoulder that I loved to pull the hand-made patchwork quilt back over.

She was wide, sleepy, coffee brown eyes—eyes that compelled my deepest trust by never asking for it. Her eyes showed no sign of judgment nor embarrassment, of she nor I, nor our naked bodies. Her eyes showed only a loving acceptance, for my body, my strengths, my insecurities, and my foibles.

Hers were eyes that willingly unveiled the window into her soul and revealed everything about her to me, and in doing so belied absolutely nothing that I could not accept and love, and nothing that I could not forgive and forget.

Her dark eyes staring deeply into mine made me stronger, and somehow they made me more of a man. Her eyes loved me with their softness, and they humbled me with their profound tenderness. Her eyes brought me to my knees.

When I looked deep into her eyes, I saw her innocence, her virtue, and a deep love and gratitude for everything in her life. I revered these eyes, and looking into them made me want to be a better man.

At times when thunderclouds rained down angry and struck hard on our tin roof, her eyes looked into mine showing fright. When those eyes looked into mine, the worry melted away. I realized that I had soothed her, and she was no longer afraid. Then she wrapped one arm over my chest and the other underneath my neck and she pulled her body close into mine.

And when I understood what she felt emotionally, that she believed that I had the power to protect her, and give her succor, it melted away all my inhibitions. And I cried, and I was not ashamed. She whispered tender admiration into my ear; she kissed my neck in nurturing love, and laid her cheek on my chest, then she rapidly fell into a deep, safe, sleep.

Hers were the only eyes that I would walk to the end of the earth, simply to gaze into, as they told me that she truly loved me, and that she would stay with me for the rest of our lives.

They were the eyes that I wanted to grow old with over the years. And such eyes could never lose their resplendent love and acceptance with the passing of decades.

And I was not concerned about aging. Because I knew that when I was an old man, and looked into her eyes, I would always be young.

Forever

THE DEAD LITTLE BOY AND ANGRY ACCUSATIONS


The day seemed like a curse; unfortunately, it was not over with yet.

The Dead Little Boy in his Sad little Coffin


Back at the Cemetery there was only one car left in the Funeral Parking lot. It belonged to the parents of the dead little boy. The father and mother were still rigid beside the grave inside the cemetery. Even the Funeral Director awkwardly excused himself to abandon the unfinished burial ceremony to escape the unendurable iciness.

The father and mother were in an out-and-out state of helplessness and hostility.

The exodus was a big reason for why the father and mother remained there at the grave, standing silent and motionless.

The other reason is that they did not want to go home and be alone with one another. They might have given the impression of emotional numbness to the casual eye. However, beneath their stolid outer surfaces, emotional discord plagued the two spouses. And there had been a noticeable rift between the husband and wife ever since the death.

Be it the loss of the boy, the abandonment of the burial by others, or the ill feelings between them, they refused to face the problem, which they easily accomplished by not talking about it. And this is how they each dealt with their contaminated emotions in their marriage—disconnected and uncommunicative. And this almost seemed normal to them by now.

But all the horrible feelings that they had been pushing down and avoiding the whole time began to revolt. And repressed festering emotions and unsaid thoughts began to climb themselves out of each person’s throat unassisted, and they wanted to scream of their existence.

“Let’s just go, Joan!” the father barked without looking at her. He left her there, and took off toward the car.

The mother looked up, hopeless and crushed; she scurried after her husband trying to catch up. She ran behind him imploring, “Tom, Tom!” Her husband increased his gate but she still chased after him.

“Tom! We have to talk about this; we have not said two words between each other since the accident.”

The father did not respond, he just pressed on ahead of her, his face was red, his temple veins were visible, and his facial muscles were rigid..

“Tom!” she grabbed his arm, “It was an accident!”

“Is that what you are calling it now, Joan, a mere mishap?” The father jerked his arm away aggressively and her fingernails accidentally scratched at his suit cuff, fraying fibers, as her arm snapped back. The father swung his arms as he hastened his stride to the car.

“Tom, why not just say what you have been thinking all along? It is all over your face.” She started sobbing, “Just go ahead, and say it; say it, and get it over with!”

The father stopped, turned towards his wife, and glowered at her with sharp eyes and narrowed eyebrows, “What do you want me to say! Our only child is dead Joan” He talked with his hands in the air, gesticulating vehemently, “Caleb was 8 years old—8 years old!” he barked. “And he died with such a horrible death; his body bore a permanent frown that the mortician could not even straighten!”

He grimaced looking down at the ground in devastation, “For God’s sake, Joan, they had to drag his body out of the ice with a grappling hook.”

The father’s mood sank into a lull of despair. Then his anger surged back again. “And now I have to live with that image in my head! I have to see it every day, for the rest of my life.”

“And I don’t Tom?” she said angry and hurt, “Don’t you think I would give my life in a second to bring Caleb back for 5 minutes?”

The father shook his head in anger. “It’s a little too late for that Joan. He is dead.”

“You are not being fair Tom; I have to live with this just as much as you, and even more,” She said in cold, cutting tone, “Yes, much more Tom. I have to bear the burden of your silent eyes’ accusations.” I see what you think in your eyes; it is always there, every time you look at me.”

The husband said nothing; he just snorted air from his nostrils while shaking his head forcefully, and it was body language invalidating her entire statement.

As if trying to convince her she pleaded her point, “Tom, it was nobody’s fault. All of those children were skating on the lake. They all always have skated on that lake. Even in late August.

And there has never been any danger. The ice has never once broken, ever, even in September.” She begged, “Tom this was November. It was just a horrible accident. No one could have known this would happen, especially not in November.”

Both parents got to the car; each opened their own door and they got in the car. The father sat in the driver’s seat, blood boiling; he heard the pressure of blood coursing through the veins of his temples with a whoosh.

The mother sat in silent anger towards her husband, and also self-loathing, as she snapped her seatbelt on in the passenger seat. She had been so upset she forgot to shut her door. In fact, both doors were hanging wide open.

The husband’s key was not even in the ignition, his keys clenched in his left hand squeezing his fist around them like a nutcracker. Bob looked into his wife’s face with fiery eyes. He started fiercely pointing an accusing right finger in her face.

“Damn it Joan! This is not just another November! There has never been a November this warm in 25 years! You know that Joan, it was on the news every day for a week and you even commented on it!

The father shouted in her face, “Caleb never should have been allowed to skate on that goddamned lake this November!” He turned away and slapped his right palm on the steering wheel forcefully, slapping at it two times, and looked out the left open door, he bit his lower, he said nothing, he breathed, he thought, he shook his head. And finally, he shook his head. He turned his back towards the passenger seat, snapping his head to stare her directly in the eyes. “But he did go skating on that lake this warm November Joan, did he not? I am pretty sure that Caleb did not ask for my permission. In fact he never could have asked me that day because I was at the office at the time.”

“What the Hell does that supposed to mean!” screamed the mother defensively, “Well! What are you wanting to say?” she demanded, “You think I killed Caleb? Is that what you are you saying, Tom?” The mother’s eyes were horrified. “Oh my God, that is it Bob isn’t it, you think…do really blame me for this horrible tragedy?”

“All I am saying Joan…” He paused to think, “…All I am saying Joan, is that if I had been the only adult at home; Caleb never would have been allowed to go near that lake; and he would not have been out there skating, not even in November, not in this warm spell.”

“So that’s it after all isn’t it Tom? The mother’s voice became frantic; I let him go skate with all the other kids so I am some sort of a murderer?” She broke down sobbing. “How can you imply I did this knowing what would happen! How could you even say such a think?”

“I did not say that Joan, you said it!” barked the father. “Ok, you really want to know what I think.”

The mother cried, “Yes! Yes! Put me on trial Bob, no jury, and no appeal, just pass your sentence upon me, and send me to the executioner.”

“All right Dear, it’s simple, if I had been the one at home, I never would have let Caleb go skating on that unstable lake. You were at home though and you let Caleb go despite the weather reports. You knew better Joan! But you sent our boy out onto that deadly ice anyway!” He screamed, “If it had not been for you, Caleb would be alive right now! Yes, god damnit you killed our son when you sent him out on that dangerous ice! That was your child that you gave birth to, and he will never come back because of you!”

The mother’s eyes stared a thousand yards away, she focused on nothing, and she was in the hell of her own mind. Joan tried to speak but let out only a silent word; it failed to come from her terrorized face, which cried a torrent of tears in two briny streams. She could only writhe in a grimace of horror, and merely mouthed out mysterious words from a crooked mouth, mute and crooked from agony. She censured herself now.

And now that she agreed with what her husband had said to her so abusively, she now said those words, those accusations, to herself. Moreover her own accusations against herself, would forever speak at her, over and over, like a tape recorder playing inside of her mind, and the voice that Joan heard on that tape would be her own.

Thus, it did not matter what the truth was any longer. It would not change her mind. She believed what she told herself. She had tried, judged, and convicted herself of being guilty of all of it. And there would be no appeal or expiation for such a crime.

Similarly, her husband’s job was finished; he need not bother to exert the effort to accuse his wife any more. Bob did not need to blame his wife ever again, for the simple reason that she would endlessly do a much better job of torturing herself with pain and guilt and blame than he could ever possibly do.

And now she would never give herself no pardon from the felony, for the atrocity, for here sin of sins that she committed against her own flesh and blood. Emotionally beyond salvage, she would go to her grave with this.

Bitter shame soon overcame the father with regret for what he said. But the mother said nothing at all, completely defeated, she sat silently in the car, still staring at nothing with dead eyes.

She lost something inside of her that she needed desperately and now and it was gone. She did not know how to get it back. She did not even know what to look for.

She became limp and slowly slumped over upon herself, her face fallen between her knees. Her arms wrapped around her knees and she rocked silently.

Then at first the faint sound, a unsettling noise. And soon the sound grew louder and brasher as she rocked. Joan was forever marked from that fight, for she was not crying she was wailing, grieving in a helpless child-like manner.

Then in a primal, visceral fashion, she began to howl in a ghastly disconcerting manner. The distressed emission was not like a human. It was an eerie howling sounded much more like that of a wounded animal, than a cry like that of a person.

The father jumped out of his seat and stood up. He stood motionless for a few seconds, and then overcome with tortuous emotions; he began to take his fist and pound the roof of the sedan over and over, as hard as he could. The metal slightly dented under each blow. He was so worked up he could not feel his hands. Then he realized that they were bleeding badly and he gave it up and stopped.

He lay the side of his face on the bloody roof and burst out in bitter weeping and sorrow. His son was gone. He had hurt his wife. Yet he did not feel he was wrong. And he still blamed her and had not intentions to forgive her for the death of his son.

A surge of hate soon poisoned his natural weeping. It was hate for himself, hate for his wife, hate for the loss of his son, and hate for the ruinous curse of the funeral.

He wiped his tears on his sleeve, walked around the car and shut his wife’s door, he shut it so hard and quick that they glass almost broke, but his howling wife did not even flinch in her grief.

Bob walked back around the car and climbed in his side; he shut his door, and put the key in the ignition.

He reached for a cigarette, but then threw it away. He started the cold car and began slowly pulling out of the parking lot. He did not say a single word to his wife driving home. And all that while, his wife had never stopped howling, she could not control it, and as the car drove out that wounded animal-like howling was the only sound heard until the car was a good distance away.