Suggested Audio Candy:
Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime
So we’ve managed to ascertain the whereabouts of Bleeding Lotus on that fateful day back in May when he mysteriously vanished without trace. We know of him powering down his studio for the evening but everything from that point onwards is a little fuzzy. Like a super-sleuth it has been necessary to back pedal to around the time of his sudden departure, in an endeavor to locate this slippery charlatan once and for all. I solemnly vow that there will be no more procrastination from hereon in; it’s time to crack this case and return to the retirement village to finish my game of draughts with Les. By hook or by crook; I shall fathom out Whatever Happened to Bleeding Lotus.
His studio was left as you would expect; lights dimmed, sleeping temporarily as it awaited his scheduled return. There was even a half-eaten Waldorf salad left for consumption the following morning. He never did get to finish it off. I tried to suss out what Poirot would have done should he have been in my shoes and decided to search for clues or a visible trail to provide some inkling as to what foul play had occurred. Nothing; not so much as a chin whisker or the customary yellow vapor cloud hovering at nostril level as a result of his incessant cooped up flatulence. It’s as though he simply disappeared into thin air; was swallowed up in some wormhole and spat back out into a parallel cosmos. At this juncture, Scooby and Shaggy would’ve no doubt crept back to the Mystery Machine for light snacks, but the Keeper of the Crimson Quill never did concede defeat that easily. After dusting for prints and coming up with squat, I was left feeling soundly discombobulated.
In Lotus’ very own words he was admittedly a little shady. He had been known to disappear for lengthy periods before but never as long as this. No suicide notes, ransom demands, or traces of any kind of struggle. Even a small pile of blood-sopping organs in the corner would’ve given me a faint whiff of hope, albeit likely fleeting. So I decided to do what any man in my position would do given the circumstances: I took a pew on his small leather stool. What transpired next was beyond messed up! No sooner had my posterior nestled on his perch, than I came over rather queer, and everything begun to spin wildly around me like a whirling dervish, so I squeezed my eyes shut momentarily in order to regain my bearings.
On re-opening my peepers, I instantaneously jolted into a fresh state of unease, as my dubious new surroundings looked far from hospitable. Gone were the cosy studio, discarded tossed salad leaves, and aroma of man colon and in their place was a most suspicious looking chamber, packed out with dread and decay. The walls were decorated with bloody handprints and jangling chains, whilst the concrete floor was awash with deep red, about an inch in-depth, and clotted in congealed clusters of cruor around the base of the stool.
Bizarrely my perch had made the transition with me, although that wasn’t of much consolation as my locale had otherwise taken a rather large turn for the more sinister. The sole audio was that of snivelling infants and the torturous groans of tortured souls, never the most comforting audio but even more disconcerting when your nostrils are stinging with the scent of putrid flesh.
All in all I had the distinct feeling that I would soon be drained of my bodily fluids and my pelt hung out to dry like a sullied body stocking. This was not the demise the Keeper had planned; I was supposed to be going out with chin held aloft, battling swarms of heinous creatures, and taking a fair few of them with me. Not like this; not in these pokey confines, alone and demoralised. I had to find the means for escape at any cost and refused to go out like some punk-ass bitch, whimpering like a mutt and soiling my hosiery like a prolapsed pensioner. Not Keeper, I couldn’t let this be the final verse. All of these thoughts raced rampantly through my subconscious as I surveyed my surroundings once again, frantic to flee this infernal prison.
On further inspection I noticed what appeared to be the outline of a door along one of the walls, barely noticeable as it was so heavily caked in grue. I leapt from the stool like a hopeful salmon, sensing hope, albeit diminutive and began to claw at the door frame in a similar manner to how an unfed vagrant would rifle through the contents of a dumpster. Chunks of compacted tissue fell away in my hands, revealing the frame of what was indeed a door and I exhaled with relief as I pushed my weight against it and it commenced to free up from its fleshy origins. For a moment I felt a little like Steve McQueen, ready to hop on that conveniently discarded motorcycle and rocket off to vault that prison wall. Instead I was greeted by something truly abominable.
As the aperture widened, it revealed the shadowy figure of a maniacal butcher, apron covered in brownish dried surplus and meat clever held ominously by his side. He must’ve been around the seven-foot mark and seemed the equivalent in breadth also. There appeared no conceivable way around this towering juggernaut and it seemed as though my cards were marked; thus I shuffled back forlornly and began to accept that this would represent the end of the line for Keeper. My legs felt leaden as the life-force began to drain from me and, upon the realization that I could retreat no farther; I seated myself once more on the stool prepared to finally meet my maker.
There was still a vague possibility that he would fumble the cleaver and, instead, decide to join me for a game of patticakes but, as he rose aloft the abnormally oversized blade which resembled a guillotine with a handle, my hopes seemed all but dashed. I winced, clenched my eyes tight and readied myself to become carvery fodder but, as I embraced the brisk breeze of it plummeting down towards my cranium, nothing happened.
Had he suffered cardiac arrest during mid-swing? Perhaps the weapon had become too over-encumbering and slipped from his grasp? Or maybe he had recalled his anger management classes, thought better of it, and spared me the brutality as a parting gesture of goodwill? I opened one eye and was beyond thrilled to drink in a far more affable environment.
I was still perched on his stool, although I appeared to have relocated to within a harem of sorts. As I rubbed my wide eyes to soak in the dozen or so well-oiled naked sirens from wall-to-wall, my first thought was “thank you Lord” and it was followed directly by a sizeable boner as I would ordinarily be required to pay subscription fees in order to ogle at this much naked flesh but apparantly I’d earned myself a freebie. After a good few seconds of snapping menatl pictures for later, my next consideration was that I had somehow traded places with Quantum Leap. I looked around for Dean Stockwell but all I could see were bare writhing hard bodies. While this was no hardship after almost becoming the Butcher of Baghdad’s personal cut and paste tool, my objective still remained unfulfilled. I was still absolutely no closer to finding out Whatever Happened to Bleeding Lotus. However, right now, I wasn’t complaining.
Truly, Clearly, Really, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013 (Revised 2015)