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Akira Yamaoka “Silent Hill”
Perfect symmetry. That’s what we share, my Twinbear and I. It’s as though a sheet of glass has been slid through the very centre of my being, cleaving me straight to the vital pieces within as every sinew and membrane are identical. Yet we’re not of the same womb. Gestation didn’t bring us together any more than conception did. Indeed it wasn’t until much later that our spirits connected. But just like birth twins, I could always sense her presence. When I skinned my knee on the gravel as a little girl, I could feel her wince and vice versa. And when the urge grew too strong not to crawl slowly across fresh razor wire for the antiseptic sting, it was her abrasions yawning wide. In addition, we’re uncannily similar in appearance, right down to our indistinguishable dainty little feet and fascination with the morbid and grotesque. You could say the pinion that holds us together is darkness and I wouldn’t strike you down. It’s certainly where we first grew acquainted. You see, while other little girls my age played with their dolls, I pulled the pretty little heads off mine.
It wasn’t that I didn’t comprise sugar and spice, more that little boys were made up of slugs, snails, and other suchlike entrails. Rusted nails and other sharp found objects made for the most splendid decoration and an old blow torch I found in the attic proved exquisite at perishing the plastic. This was our grubby little secret of course and I played a most excellent keeper. It was here in my sordid sanctuary that I learned the tools of the butchery trade and I earned my leather apron strings the very second the dollies dried up. When you think about it, the two activities aren’t too dissimilar once you peel away the husk; although there’s far more of the good stuff to play around with once the skin is peeled back. Deep red was never likely to displace aged rust at the color wheel’s top table but I sure liked the way it trickled and spurted. I particularly enjoyed cracking ribs like brittle crab sticks and using them to tease out any intestinal odds and ends for my own whimsy.
Just to clear up any lingering doubt as to my emotional well being, I feel obliged to add that all subjects were stone cold dead on arrival and I’d never dream of harming so much as a money spider. That being said, it’s one thing being snagged in meticulously woven gossamer as you ramble through the thicket but entirely another realizing one such terrorizer has gained unwarranted access to your mouth, unbeknownst to you as occurred recently. Now I’ve already made it painlessly clear that my gut is wrought in oxidized iron. But even I draw a line at deep throating eight-limbed insects, irrespective of the fine work they do for the environment. Do you know what though? Before I spat this impertinent arachnid into the basin and retrieved the mouthwash, I couldn’t resist a quick gentle squeeze of its abdomen with my incisors, just to taste its bittersweet venom. There is unquestionably something amiss in my psychological make-up and no head doctor in the world has been able to figure out what that might be. However, that all changed in a cleaved pig’s skull-cap when I happened across my Twinbear.
Uncanny resemblance don’t you think? Hollywood truly is missing an A-lister there, not that she’d stand for their groping hands and hotel room nightcaps. Slightly off-topic but have you ever suffered from déjà vu? Well I did so most gladly on first sight of Twinbear as I could pinpoint every solitary instance that she’d been right by my side; making for a whole lifetime of catching up simply not required. Neither one of us had any intention of squandering this opportunity. Both of us embraced it with all that we were in that moment, had been before then, and were set to become with diamond-like symmetry. She knew all my secrets and I hers, without the necessity for anything careless like whispers. And it wasn’t too long before we earned ourselves a most captive audience. This isn’t to suggest these observers weren’t looking to turn the tables and snatch us away where we stood. On the contrary, the master of ceremonies was a visitor who neither one of us had extended an invite. And he was a constant slew of barbed thorn in the very chopped liver of both of us.
Every putrid suggestion, each dishonorable mention, hung in the murky mist of his masquerade like a lopsided portrait. There are only so many times a young lass so delicately off-centre can be gently but forcefully persuaded to “come inside” before she follows the trail of blood-soaked lily petals to its source. I almost did, on occasions too numerous to tally, but something always restrained me. Someone always held me back. Never once did I give this visitor of mine the satisfaction of claiming my excoriated vesture as his cloak. For Twinbear wouldn’t have allowed it, and neither would I her. Given that we achieved pure crystalline in diameters so bereft of exertion, my Twinbear and I became impenetrable to the crooked cold steel he wielded. Indeed, we preserved one another’s pelts like we were skipping rope in the yard without a care in our pretty little heads. Naturally, it was deepest red and scooped straight from whatever cut of the day had dropped on the slab. A butcher’s work is never done, I tell you.
What I may not have touched upon before now is the geographical distance between us. Not that it matters a solitary jot as one fine day we shall we united and, until that time comes, we shall be united. Once Twinbear grips my frosty palm in hers and I look down with my honey glazed browns, it’s right there in the fickle flesh every last time. Indeed, it’s her angelic eyes watching over me as I slumber. Her ashen breath on the tiny hairs of my nape as I teeter the taut tightrope of this tyrant’s taunting torment; double daring our tenebrous oppressor to do his bloody worst. Her synchronized heart that jacks up my ventricles until such time as they bulge and blush like menstrual pageant Queens. Without her I am quite simply half. A mere fraction of something. Devout to the hardened blood on my gums and gristle in my back teeth but ultimately divided.
And I get so scared. You see, for all my homicidal tendencies, I’m still the cute dimpled little girl who finds earthworms too icky to handle. Gastropods I can deal with but there’s something about these limbless vertebrates in particular that makes my skin crawl and this visitor of mine preys on such vulnerability, just to bank the crank a little more in his favor each time. I don’t savor his underhand tactics any more than I take them at all lightly. I may skip through the mulch of blackened suggestion from time to time, but I also happen to enjoy picking flowers down by the river’s bank. Sometimes I sit alone for hours on end, watching the sun bleed away behind the tall trees. Every girl needs a sanctuary and it is here, in my pensive moments, that Twinbear lets me just be. No need for explanation, feeble apology, or promises to do better next time. Just the love and understanding of two kindred spirits whose pathways happen to have been twinned before birth.
So you see, I’m never ever without her. Carry her every damn where I go. My sweet beloved Twinbear. Magnet to my steel. The Noir to Blanc and Blanc to Noir that fades both of us to grey. We’re protected, wholly impervious to these visitors of ours but never once insensitive to their needs. As with our most favorite dolls, we come and play every so often once the air in the moors start to thicken. And should the vista darken unexpectedly and our pale skin begin to blister, then we both know our way around a blow torch and back again to weep this vile gunk out. Mine is set to cobalt in case you were curious and, wouldn’t you know it, crazed minds think precisely alike. The Grey-Chapel Path I walk of free will is made for two as it transpires and playtime really does make for the most delightful of slaytime. What can we say? We’ve always played nicer with dismembered toys.
Click here to read To the Manor Bled
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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Brilliant, dark, twisted….nothing but the best Rich. Great collaboration.
Really thrilled that you dug this Susan. The Visitor was a deeply intimate piece and we plan to turn it into a fully fleshed sequence. This just felt like the ideal way to unfurl its petals and open the story up. Very excited about the Visitation sequence and it means so much to both of us that you enjoyed.
You really are awesome, did you know you have commented more on RoG than any other. That is so precious. Thank you. Truly.
Always a pleasure Rich.