A Love Letter To Stephen King

Red Coffin


“The things we hold dear, are the very things that ground us in the real, the now and the ever after. Release your grip on the precious and all things turn to face the wind – gone forever with the dust.”

Within a tall man’s paradigm, brush strokes of violent winds scatter amber particles onto a scenic canvas.

Moments pass impatiently as the air whistles and howls fearsomely.

Then from within the eye of this microclimate, a barely realised silhouette stood. Its head stooped towards the earth to shield it from the fervently blowing dry rust. This shape belonged to a man…born of flesh and bone – of mother’s blood and mother’s love, but raised in a land of stone. His name was unknown…The inhabitants of this small mountain town believe that only the angel of death knows, and even it lost the will to speak it. To those from the far away city of endless night, he is referred to as The Dust. Nevertheless, the more important question for those living on this mountain is why has he travelled this far? Surely, no man or woman here has earned an audience with him? This was a nothing place…even those who lived here prayed to be elsewhere…crops grew impotently, for rain came inconsistently and the soil lay inhospitably. No business worthy of his all-encompassing blight could be found here…yet here he was. As his reasons weren’t substantial enough for city legend, urban myth, or even village folklore, he avoided his usual musical score of murder and shadow-cloaked fornication. Instead, he left the turbulent weather and gently entered the first building to become visible.

 The building was home to a family…one interesting enough at first glance to nullify his blood lust, coagulating it into a paste that couldn’t flow freely. Whereby this lust often found itself, pooling in arms that were choking life from flesh, in this moment it couldn’t and his arms were instead resting patiently by the man’s side. With all the noise of the erratic winds crashing on this wooden box of a home, the family didn’t even notice the man had entered. He stood tall and broad, covering up the doorframe like an eclipse. He wore a long heavy black winter jacket that was creased and laden with scuffs, scratches, and loose threads. His large rimmed, jaguar-skinned hat rested on his head, still tilted forward like a jaded and weary companion – it covered most of his battle torn face. There was a strange gentleman to his right who lay dormant on a ragged looking sofa, sprawled out like a cat content with all that made up its existence. It was cold in the house but he wasn’t wearing much, a dirt covered singlet, oversized boxers that visibly yearned for fabric softener, and exposed bare feet with toes that cried their own individual stories of neglect and pain. To his left a women standing in a room that was kitchen and bedroom combined. She stood by what the people here called a sink, her back to him with her hands fiddling inside it. She was peculiarly tall for a woman, she wore a cream skirt that reached her knees and a light blouse with a summer print more common in the city. He wondered again, why in this weather someone would be dressed so nonchalantly? She then flicked her blonde wiry hair from off her face revealing blood soaked hands, ‘she must be gutting some small animal in preparation for the family’s dinner he thought.

 A little boy was sitting on the floor playing with cloudy marbles, probably trying to pass the time until dinner. He was nothing more than skin and bones, covered in brown rags that were masquerading as clothing. He was pale with jet-black hair that covered most of his face. Only a mouth with thin pink lips that moved as if softly reciting an ancient curse were visible. The boy’s hair and frailness resembled that of the horizontal man in the other room. ‘Like father like son’ he mumbled…the notion of which lead him to focus on how different the mum was to the rest….

 “Are you going to stand there all day?” a soft voice said. He looked at the boy but his focus was still gravity bound and following the marbles rolling around in his palm. The child-like voice was the mother’s, realising this he turned directly to her. “Are you?” “No, just for however long it takes me to finish preparing the baby.” He didn’t understand what she meant; it appeared that she was conversing with herself. He wasn’t a patient man, so decided to approach her, but he wasn’t a stupid man either so he did it slowly…his killer instinct had taught him that much. “Come in and have a seat…I’ll be finished preparing the baby soon,” she says noticing his advances. ‘Her senses are as fine tuned as mine,’ he thought…before saying another word he scanned the room again, noticing that only she seemed to be aware of his presence. The boy hadn’t even flinched although he was standing only inches away. This proximity to both persons was calculated – being the beast that he was, he’d already planned the distance needed to sever her spine while using the boy as a battering ram. All in the blink of an eye and without even interrupting his approach and following statement.

“You are not like the other people of this village, turn and face me woman, and state your name.”

“In a second, the baby’s almost done,” she responds casually. He didn’t like her flippantness, he was a man used to be being feared by all who knew of his gruesome legend. Man, woman, child or beast would cower at the mere mention of him…children even sang songs on the hallowed eve about his victims returning from the abyss. His blood lust started to flow again…

“Woman, you are already using up countless lives just being in the same room as me, I suggest you turn around and correct your tone.”

“Relax…I mean no disrespect…I know The Dust is to be feared…I just don’t.” He was so shocked by her answer that for the first time in his inhumanly long life he took a backward step. How did she know who he was without even a look in his direction? Even more disconcerting, she didn’t care. Stood behind her was the man who was said to have retired death itself, yet no danger did she see. The man with the kill speed of a puma, yet no distance did she heed. His startled gaze quickly changed back to a more familiar one, the predator’s stare he wore like a mealtime apron. “Ah it’s done…she’s ready to go back home, look.” The woman gently turned around to face him… her body rotating, every inch gradually presented revealed scars and sores that detailed her insanity like tapestry work of the tormented. The horror of it could even give pause to a man such as him. Her face unnervingly familiar to him, looked as though it were an imitation of flesh, life and vascular prosperity. However, her scent had the same poignant sweaty stink of a caged animal full of the verve that fear and desperation bring. Her thin blouse was mildly transparent at the front, and through it, his acutely sharp eyes could make out a tribal tattoo, one of a forbidden magic he had the displeasure of encountering before. Just below the ink scratching of mystic scripture on her skin, her hands waited patiently for his gaze. They were close together and cupped as though containing a neighbourly offering, the truth though…far from it. Within those palms were the red-ish pink and fragile dismembered pieces of a newborn child, thick clumps of blood and innards were dripping off the little, pale skinned limbs and landing onto the woman’s boney toes. As he watched her wriggle the human sludge off them, he began to hasten his plan to kill her. Not in retaliation for this offering, but simply because his instincts screamed of a future danger he could not yet understand in fullness.

The man, for the first time in his long life of brooding and slaughter, took a backward step. His body seemed to understand the situation better than his mind, the long bristly hairs that covered his body began to awaken from the static in the air – caused by the friction of wills between the two. The previously stale air within the room seemed to be resuscitated by it, and crawled into all the cracks between flesh and cloth, like the cold perverted midnight wind that reaches underneath a sleeping woman’s gown – its light inquisitive fingers passing over the goose bumps that lined his skin. He’d never felt such sensations before and wanted them to cease immediately, he quickly deduced that however demented this woman was, she would still hold a semblance of care for the family members still breathing this electrified air. He turns quickly back towards the boy playing with marbles on the floor, so quickly as to make a mockery of the laws his large frame should be slave to. Grabs him by his frail neck and lifts him up into a defensive position, he was the shield to his sword. The boy’s body flaps about like a rag doll, but he doesn’t make a sound. The man prepares to use this emotional leverage in his vicious assault of the women – still standing there, presenting him with the scarlet soaked baby parts. Before he can begin, the woman says “What’s the use in bringing him this close, if he can’t see what I’m about to do? You should at least pick them up for him first” The man could still think as fast as ever and so knew straight away the meaning of her words; he jerked the boy’s head around without care for any damage he might do. There beyond the scruffy dark hair that stretched over his face like wild vines were the empty oozing sockets. He then switched his gazed to the floor were the boy had been playing, just as he anticipated, what used to be eyes were now the cloudy ill-shaped marbles he used for some kind of perverted amusement. His experience of these sorts of ungodly things lent itself to a rapid understanding, that this brittle-boned boy he had hanging by his neck in his left hand, was long since dead. He must have been an earlier victim of hers and now was being kept alive by a holistic dark magic. Sorceresses of this level were believed to be extinct in the west world, but here one was, plain clothed, wild-eyed and blooded with infant carcass. The man known as legend the entire region over was in fear for his life. Unintentionally his pupils darted right like an exasperated hound, then instantly bounced back to centre view as though that hound was chained to a pillar. The woman did not miss this momentary glance, and she responded to it in eerie tone, “You thinking about my husband in the other room? Worry not, he won’t come in here and interfere with the ritual. I ate his heart about a week ago.” All avenues for tactical advantage were being closed off; he was realizing that a death match with an nth level black raven witch was all that remained. Unplanned, closed quarter fights with such creatures were suicide. He gritted his cavity-ridden teeth in preparation, readied his grip to crush the boy’s neck and ensure this undead thing could not be used against him.

Before any of those thoughts were transferred into action, the blonde haired creature of darkness, still maintaining an unassuming earthly form whispered, “Be still your bones, and be fixed your stare.” The man found himself frozen to the stone floor beneath his boots; she had effortlessly snatched all motion away from him – not even the sweat on his brow dared disobey. Another few words left the woman’s lips, but in a language he didn’t understand. This time the tattooed scriptures on her stomach glowed a deep yellow in response. Before he could digest how ominous a moment that was, she began, with both hands to insert the thick, dripping and lumpy morsels of baby flesh into herself. Never, among the countless murderous acts he’d committed or been a party to, had he seen a sight as bone-numbingly repugnant as this. Her eyes recoiled back into her skull as she hunched over, the vertebrae of her spine visible through her blouse, as if a prehistoric creature were about to hatch from the sack of skin that concealed it. Her legs spread, feet barely gripping the floor on account of the bodily fluids that continued to drip and trickle down from her crotch. Grunting deeply like a possessed animal, she forced more and more of the soft-butchered baby inside her.

The man’s vision began to become blurred, a feeling of warmth slowly enveloped his body. He was trying to keep his vision focused on his adversary but the warmth kept washing, further and further inland from the coastal shores of textile perception, until the heat was all he could think of. It was familiar…almost paternal in its radiating kiss. The only thing that seemed to linger from the satanic scene of the woman’s ritual, was the unmistakable iron laced stink of blood and human insides. The lethally sharp cognition that had overcome foes of the past began to regress together with his vision, like father and son walking hand in hand into a soft oblivion. Just before all turned to darkness, two voices from a distant past are heard – 

“Are you sure this is what you want? We can still save her if we use the philosopher’s stone…”

 “The things we hold dear, are the very things that ground us in the real, the now and the ever after. Release your grip on the precious and all things turn to face the wind – gone forever with the dust.”

 To be continued

By Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh

© Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh – Storyteller, Poet & Intern at Wordsmith Inc 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Alpha Maurice Cidade Cauwenbergh – Storyteller, Poet & Intern at Wordsmith Inc with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.