Saturday, 6 August 2011

Jacob's Crackers

Had the sky fallen? thought Jacob as he munched on a cracker. What had fallen where the many crumbs that abseiled like golden dust down the front of his blue and white checked shirt. While he munched on another cracker, Jacob contemplated the end of the saga. That bloody saga that ended with a nosebleed and a headache. From Alpha to Omega; in a single night.
          His eyes ached and his eyelids hung heavy like the weight of hanging horses over a cliff face. The hairs on his forearms were stiff and prickly like cacti. Was this morning glory or morning dread? All around the land was still, desolate, at peace. This must be a positive sign, thought Jacob as he stood and stretched out his crumpled body, bones cracking, skin unfolding, followed by a long lethargic sigh that filled the room with renewed apprehension.
          Was Jacob standing on the threshold of a golden dawn? Whether he was or whether he was not, Jacob did not want to venture out; to move about, scream and shout. He had done enough of all that throughout the night, up until the coming of this new dawn.  Jacob poked his head up and looked out from behind the scratched window. The demons were invisible again. But so were lost souls.
          The landscape were deserted. The sun hidden, cowering behind a large black unmoving cloud. Then he could here a voice, deep and endless, calling out his name. Jacob now understood. He had been told to fully exit the shed and enter the garden. Jacob wisely contemplated the garden sheers for protection, but realised that such an act would be frowned upon as a ‘weakness of the soul’ – so he ditched the idea.
          Although the shed door was unlocked, he had felt safe behind the closed door. He name was called out again, only this time the voice had changed, words now seemingly spoken behind tightly applied shrink wrapping.
          “Mother?” he said as he remembered the story that she had once read to him when he was bad, those dark nights when he could not fall asleep.

“…Old Nat Crawley had a daughter he named Creepy.He never wanted a daughter. Nothing original in that. But that was his reason for keeping her locked away in the shed. He blackened the window. And left her alone, day and night; in the dark. Where she could be at home with the spiders.He wanted her to die. He wanted to forget. Wanted her to die. Just like the others. But his daughter survived. She was visited in the black of night by the ghost of her mother. The ghost of her mother told her daughter she must avenge. To do this, it was of paramount importance that she had to survive, gain strength. Therefore she had to eat. Creepy began eating bugs and soon learned to use her imagination to get by. Sometimes she pretended she was outside, at the fairground or by the seaside and cobwebs would become candy floss. One time during spring she ate the meat of a dead mouse while fooling herself that it was a chicken wing from KFC and when some mouse hair got trapped between her tiny dulling teeth she began to choke  and then she…”

          “Jacob, is that you?”
          “Mother, but you’re dead.”
          “Always had a reason to find a negative, you haven’t changed.”
          “Is everyone dead now?”
          “Oh here he goes. Yes, of course everyone is dead.”
          “Am I the Daddy now?”
          “You certainly are.”
          Jacob opened the shed door and raised clenched fists towards the heavens.
          “Fucking well have that!” he said, triumphantly, fists still raised and shaking.
          Then the voice spoke and his arms fell.
          “So what exactly are you going to do now then, son?”
          Jacob paused to ponder.
          “I dunno. Mooch about, see what I can get up to.”
          “Oh Jacob. As much as it pains me to say this: but perhaps your father was right all along.”
          Jacob frowned towards the direction of where the voice of his mother appeared to travel from; northwards.
          “What do you mean?”
          “You know what he once said to me? Jacob is a selfish self-centred egotistical cunt and I can’t never deal with him woman; he’s your problem now.”
          Jacob had every right to be angry.
          “That’s not very nice. Fuck him though.”
          “You can’t say that about your father.”
          “Yes I can. You’re all fucking dead anyway. I’m the Daddy now.”
          Jacob would never hear the sound of his mother’s voice again.
          After a while of strolling around his deserted hometown, he suddenly began to appreciate how he would probably never hear another voice of anyone else ever again either.
          Hours before, this new and tranquil way of life had pleased him. But now Jacob was becoming depressed. Fuck it. Everyone really was dead. And this now presented Jacob with a harsh truth – how he knew that the dead couldn’t give two fucks that he was now the Daddy.
          Jacob collapsed face down in the road and began to cry. If only there was one living soul left alive in the world to run him over.

An extract from 'Nothing Poetic', a forthcoming collection of poems and short fiction.

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