Keeper & The Phantasm: Vanilla

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I stumble forward into utter darkness and the door slams behind me stealing away any last remaining light. No turning back now it would seem. My new digs are anything but hospitable and, as my eyes acclimatize to the blackness, I can make out a low-hanging mist congregating about my ankles. The air is cloying and every last tooth in my head has begun to tingle. There is a vague scent hanging about my nostrils; comprising a crude mixture of candy and formaldehyde, and I feel unsettled to my very core. I don’t know what I was expecting when I walked across the threshold but it certainly wasn’t this. I’m half awaiting somebody to flick on the light and for me to be surrounded by The Tall Man’s mischievous minions but instead there is only quietude. Well, that and a faint sound of jingling.

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I need to snag myself a weapon as right now my best defense is my razor-sharp wit and I would imagine that won’t be cutting it from hereon in. This is a signal of intent from my opposite number; he is fully knowledgeable of my presence which makes this his welcome party. Some welcome party; there’s not a soul to share in any celebrations or, at least, none with my best interests at heart. Instead I am at the height of vulnerability; frightfully exposed to any shadowy lurkers who may be looking to feast on my life-force and ill-equipped to deal with any forthcoming threat posed. Is it just me or are the edges slowly closing in around me? It’s hard to tell for sure but my oxygen supply appears to be depleting with every passing second and I’m struggling to catch a breath. Yet, still I can discern the tinkle of bells from an anonymous location. They’re still vague but growing more persistent and not sounding altogether congenial either.

Suddenly any movement has become constricted and I cannot budge a single muscle. I feel utterly nauseous, and the ever-intensifying tang at the back of my palate shares none of the coppery seasoning of common bile. Moreover, I can feel it gushing about my skull-cap, flushing every single ventricle as it passes through. I want to scream but predictably nothing is forthcoming. I am mute. Even more disconcertingly that low fog has dissipated and has been replaced by even deeper darkness. My eyes…they’re sewn shut. Lips too. I have now deciphered the aroma and feel less than encouraged by my findings. Embalming fluid; I knew a mortician once and she let me hang out while she worked her graveyard shift. Panic is the operative word now but, alas, I have no way whatsoever of voicing my disenchantment.

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I feel somewhat cheated. I escaped my vile fate thirty years ago and the scars never have healed. All my life I have carried that burden and now I am asphyxiated by it with no means of release. To rub vinegar in my abrasions, a new audio has now commenced and it isn’t filling me with assurance. It sounds like soil being scattered; I suspect I’m being buried alive. No sermon, no impassioned eulogy, no celebration of my life or past achievements, and not a solitary mourner. My life has been for nothing it would appear; my entire existence bereft of worth. If I could give up I would; the white flag is reserved for moments as bleak as these, but I can’t even accept defeat while this cruel fluid flows within me. I never thought I would wish for decomposition but that is precisely at the top of my current wish list. Allow the earth crawlers inside; let them quench on my cadaver, anything to stop this agonizing pain.

It would appear that somebody has become privy to my suffering and I can hear a scurrying from the other side of my casket, as though they are preparing to release me from my seemingly perpetual torment.

“I’ll have you out in no time squire
’tis no hardship you know
Just answer me one riddle
and I’ll gladly let you go”

Did you hear that? I didn’t just imagine that did I? Sounded suspiciously like terms to me. If you ask me; it’s one sick puppy who offers you a lifeline in exchange for words you are in no position to offer. Does it look like I’m in the mood for games? Hold on; there’s light. Finally I can discern its glow and both my eyes are free once more to roam. It’s widening and, with it, the blood has begun returning to my veins. I could attempt communication but am more interested in breathing that pent-up sigh of relief than making small-talk right now. Besides, I’m curious. Who would see fit to come to my aid in my darkest hour? A jester that’s who; a grimy harlequin has set me free from my tenebrous incarceration but at what cost? I didn’t even answer her riddle as requested.

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“I’m not a clown
I’m not a clown
I’M NOT A CLOWN
I’ll beat you down”

 

Okay, I get it. You’re not a clown. No need to repeat yourself. So who the fuck are you sweetheart? It looks like that data may not be forthcoming for the time being as something else has grabbed her attention and she has lost interest with me altogether. I feel a tad used; but otherwise grateful. Wasn’t looking to make friends anyway; there are far more pressing matters at hand than dancing to her tune, as merry as that may be. I have movement again and that is the only thing I need concern myself with at present. Time to sit up and smell the coffee beans; maybe that will ward off the funk of death which still lingers on every nerve ending. Let’s see exactly what kind of madness our jester courts shall we? One thing is for damned sure; I’ll be keeping my distance. I can’t trust anyone inside this infernal place, least of all a jester.

 

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Now it all makes perfect sense. I never thought I would be saying that at the sight of a dilapidated ice cream van in a well-lit interior with no apparent exits, doused in ominous crimson light. It shouldn’t make a lick of sense but it does explain any sudden lack of priority from the jester. Ordinarily, I pride myself on being at the tip-top of any orderly queue whenever a long chilled cider lolly is concerned but I am second best here and, considering how crud-infested the van in question is, I’m more than content with waiting in line on this occasion.

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There he is. Service with a smile, albeit a rather dubious one. Not sure whether I would welcome a cornet from this guy. He’s looking her up and down and sizing her up by the looks of it. I doubt the depot would be too enamored by his work attire. Leather as cold as the ice cream he scoops; but only from the waist down. Upstairs he is keeping up appearances and it looks like he’s snagged himself the first customer of the day. Fuck it, I’m a voyeur, this is what Peeping Toms do right? We letch from a distance and this looks like some freaky shit about to play out. Dream or no dream; I’m not missing this.

“Billy’s Cones. How can I help you miss? Perhaps I could interest you in a special Neapolitan cornet, freshly scooped and sprinkled while you wait”

 

“I don’t desire an ice cream cone
You make this jester frown
for that is what a clown would want
and I am not a clown”

 

Well this just got a lot more weird. Maybe she is only interested in a thirst quencher. If you ask me, she’s wasting her time, mine too. I can’t just stand here gawking while The Tall Man plots my demise somewhere nearby. Having said that; my dick is rock solid as a frigid python. I certainly don’t recall that being a part of the phantasm when I was ten but I think I’ll roll with the punches.

“So what precisely can I do for you little miss not a clown?”

 

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“Let me lick that big bald head
Mr. Ice Cream Man
let’s see if Billy can stay soft
let’s just see if you can”

 

If looks were words then this guy would be in danger of talking himself out of a trading license right now. There’s good old-fashioned customer service and then there’s “I’m going to fuck you uncomfortably on top of my freezer with your panties round your knees”. This stare suggests the latter. No words; but he is leaning forward.

 

“I’ve no use for an ice cream cone
for me it’s just too sweet
I would much sooner lick your head
Prefer the taste of meat”

 

He is utterly unflinching which is quite a feat when you consider she is standing a full three feet away and still her impossibly long burly tongue reaches his cranium. It started at the very back of his neck and has proceeded to slide tantalizingly towards his brow, savoring every salivating slither en route.

“What does it taste like? Vanilla? Oh, I think not!”

 

“Mmm…soft scoop as I hoped
no need for sprinkles here
Now I must go as I discern
The Tall Man getting near”

 

“Don’t you want to take one for the road little lady?”

 

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This appears to have stopped her in her tracks. The look on her face, already decidedly suspect, is now as chilly as his sorbet and a demented grin is spreading wide across her painted cheeks. No more keeping her distance, she has advanced to the vendor’s window and is grasping the man’s soundly slathered cranium with two bloody hands, fingernails chewed down to their grungy cuticles. I still can’t bring myself to divert my eyes; despite her use of those three wretched words. The Tall Man. In just a few moments I shall return my attentions to the overhanging threat at hand but not before observing what debauchery plays out here.

He is screaming now and I can’t ascertain whether it is sorrow or pleasure which informs these cries. Her mouth has opened wide, jaws fully protracted, and his entire face is inside her as her lustful licker is put back into use a second time. This time it’s evidently more than a lick that she craves as she pulls back with all but that magnificent tongue, which is wedged inside his open oral cavity and continuing its foul work from within the vendor’s skull. With a less than satisfying squelch, his right eyeball has vacated its socket and her verbal rapier plunders through the tattered optical nerves, swiftly making its way to the opposing socket and pushing the other eye back into its recess.

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I’m pondering whether or not I have ever been made privy to something so truly repulsive and precious little is springing to mind. Yet, I still cannot bring myself to divert my surreptitious gaze. I too desire a lick; it seems as though he is enjoying this mastication as much as she as his smile is stretched taut despite his cerebral fluid being extracted so unceremoniously. Maybe her tongue is facilitating the smirk as it zigzags through the bone acting as puppet master. If this is indeed a phantasm as it appears then I really should pass up the bedtime cheddar binges. Why can’t I dream normal like everyone else? Travel the world on a magic carpet or become a world-renowned jet fighter pilot or revered matador? No, my penance is this sick shit. Still got that hard-on though.

“Boooy!!!”

 

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That’s him. The Tall Man is nearby and has seen fit to make his attendance known. Instantly flaccid; while it would appear that this sudden turn of events is also calling time on Ice Cream-Gate. The jester relinquishes her grip on the vendor’s vertex and her elongated pile-driver vacates in the same manner as it entered, albeit at an escalated rate of knots. She is clearly also rumpled by the audio, while Billy is the only one exhibiting nonchalance right now. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that his entire head space has been hollowed out crudely which informs his indifference.

 

“That’s him you hear?
No time to hide
The Tall Man
will not be denied”

 

“Wait up jester. What should I do?”

 

“I cannot supply
the answer you crave
I bid you adieu sir
Not feeling that brave”

 

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Scuzzy bitch. She’s only gone and scarpered hasn’t she? With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she’s scampered away and left no traces other than a trail of dense slobber which leads to nowhere. Think I prefer her cubby hole to mine; out in the wide open with both balls resting precariously upon the chopping board and with no fathomable way of fencing my demon. The only option available is that blasted ice cream van. Maybe inside I will find sanctuary. No time for procrastination; I sprint to beneath its crimson glow and push hard against the rear entrance. Without further deliberation; I step inside.

Click here to read Verse III:Trauma

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Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,

 

Keeper of the Crimson Quill

Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2015

 

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