Apocrypha: Crib Death

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Apocrypha

This story takes place during “47°9′S 126°43′W”.  It originally appeared in Pill Hill Press’ Daily Bites of Flesh 2011.  

Amanda knew something was wrong when sunlight woke her instead of the baby.  She found him ashen-blue and lips purple.  Patting his belly, she called his name, first in an unbelieving and hopeful coo, then rising into a panicked scream, ending in an accepting whimper.  She lifted him from the crib, held him to her chest and wept.  She sat in the rocking chair and demanded answers from God.  The empty room did not respond.

She did not know how long she rocked there before the baby stirred. He made no noise, just snuggled closer to his mother.  Amanda laughed between tears of joy, thanked the same God she cursed moments before.  Dozens of sharp teeth bit through Amanda’s nightgown, into her chest. She screamed and threw the baby from her.  A piece of her tore away in his jaws.

The baby hit the floor with a screech of protest.  Though too young to crawl the baby jumped on to all fours, each limb distended and disjointed like an obscene spider.  Hissing through a maw of teeth he did not have the night before, the baby chased his mother as she fled the room.  He slammed into the door just as she shut it.

Howls filled the house as Amanda ran to the kitchen.  She pulled open the knife drawer too far, spilled the contents.  On hands and knees she pushed away knives until she found a serrated blade, without any real thought of what she intended to do with it.  When she stood she noticed the howling had stopped.

She crept down the hallway, mindful of every creak in the floorboards.  Her entire body quaked.  Amanda reached for the door, drawing in a tear-wracked breath.  The baby heard and threw itself against the door with impossible strength.  Fright twisted Amanda’s feet around each other, brought her to the floor.  Propelled by elbows and the back of her heels, she scurried away from the door until she met a wall.  The baby beat the door in a fury.  Each shudder of the wood sent a flinching sob through Amanda.  She closed her eyes, pressed the balls of her hands to her temples, tried to wish it away.

The baby roared, a sound too clear to be mistaken.  “Mommy!”  His first word.  Amanda opened her eyes.  A tiny hand reached through the crack between floor and door, the fingers contorted into talons.  Amanda shook her head, sputtered a “No,” over and over.  “Mommy!” the baby roared again.

“No!” Amanda screamed so loud her throat tore.  The baby screamed back in words Amanda could not understand.  They sounded like the curses of a dead-language.  Each word mocked Amanda, pummeled away any will she had to confront the thing that had been her child or pick herself up from the floor ever again.  She began to saw at her wrist with the serrated blade.

Creative Commons License
Crib Death by Bruce L. Priddy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

pink, winged and clawed

Posted: April 25, 2011 in Background

“He screamed and when I looked back, something was carrying him away. I didn’t see it clearly but it was pink, winged and clawed…”

Image by Nicholas CloisterDo not use without the permission of the artist

A Letter to Donald Wandrei

Posted: April 22, 2011 in Background

“All of this was predicted in a letter to Donald Wandrei in 1927…”

“After walking for some distance, I encounter’d the rusty tracks of a street-railway, & the worm-eaten poles which still held the limp & sagging trolley wire. Following this line, I soon came upon a yellow, vestibuled car numbered 1852—of a plain, double-trucked type common from 1900 to 1910. It was untenanted, but evidently ready to start; the trolley being on the wire & the air-brake pump now and then throbbing beneath the floor. I boarded it & looked vainly about for the light switch—noting as I did so the absence of controller handle which implied the brief absence of the motorman. Then I sat down in one of the cross seats toward the middle, awaiting the arrival of the crew & the starting of the vehicle. Presently I heard a swishing in the sparce grass toward the left, & saw the dark forms of two men looming up in the moonlight. They had the regulation caps of a railway company, & I could not doubt but that they were the conductor & motorman. Then one of them sniffed with singular sharpness, & raised his face to howl to the moon. The other dropped on all fours to run toward the car.” — A Letter to Donald Wandrei, November 24, 1927

The Corpse City

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Background
“When can we sleep? Every time I close my eyes, I get dragged back to the corpse city.”
Image by Jason Roberts. Do not use without the permission of the artist.

Rubbertown

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Background

“The smoke and ash from the fires makes it hard to breathe, stings my eyes and lungs. Smells of explosions in Rubbertown, burning flesh.”

From Wikipedia:

Rubbertown is a neighborhood of Louisville, Kentucky located along the Ohio River. During World War II it became the home of many industrial plants which remained after the war and lead to its name. Its largest businesses include American Synthetic Rubber, Borden Chemical, DuPont Dow Elastomers, Noveon, Rohm and Haas, & Zeon Chemicals.

From the West Jefferson County Community Task Force:

The largest source of industrial emissions in the Jefferson County area is a petrochemical complex located in West Louisville known as Rubbertown.  The complex is composed of 11 large chemical plants that account for approximately 20% of the state’s total industry releases of air toxics and 42% of all industrial air emissions in Jefferson County.

The West End

Posted: April 19, 2011 in Background

“The whole West End is on fire and it’s spreading.  They’re coming out of the fire, all burning, like it don’t bother them none.”

From Wikipedia:

Louisville has traditionally been divided up into three sides of town: the West End, the South End, and the East End. In 2003, Bill Dakan, a University of Louisville geography professor, said that the West End, west of 7th Street and north of Algonquin Parkway, is “a euphemism for the African-American part of town” although he points out that this belief is not entirely true, and most African Americans no longer live in areas where more than 80% of residents are black. Nevertheless, he says the perception is still strong.

World Painted Blood

Posted: April 16, 2011 in Background

The first storyline “47°9′S 126°43′W” is finished; I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it.  Tonight, the second storyline, “World Painted Blood”, begins.

Point Nemo

Posted: April 14, 2011 in Background
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Point Nemo is the nickname of the oceanic pole of inaccessibility, the spot on the planet farthest from land.  Located in the South Pacific near Antarctica, roughly halfway between Chile and New Zealand, the closest land to Point Nemo is Ducie Island, 2688km away.