Sunday, 20 January 2013

Saul and the Ceremony of Knives (Extended cut)

…The dense and rather damp waft of decomposition wrenches Steph out of her inner surrealism. Her undisciplined fantasising has suddenly become a weaker rival to the utterly existent pong hooking her nose, shunting the writer right back into her room at Bellevue with an unfeeling violence. It is in these four walls of sea-shell white that she finds her reality dominated by the scruffy and overly dank young man who Dr Capgras has shown in: Saul Buchannan.


    Saul wears a long dark blue trench coat, a cape-like garment that flows below his ankles. Stephanie recognises this streaming gush of what often passes for black. In Steph’s recollection of Spiderfingers’ diary, all his appearance details are there, and now they’re stood before her, dribbling more than a few droplets of Mother Nature’s tears, the dire Sunday weather having become quite abhorrent this early eve.
    Time’s ticks and tocks laze into forever increments, as Steph begins to analyse he that should only exist in a mad tramps fiction. The author is sure that if she releases her thumb and forefinger from their nasal clench, she’ll detect the faint whiff of weed under the fog of pestilence. A body fume this pungent can only force Steph’s writer mind into the horribly graphic realm of simile, that such scent based repellence is like if not worse to the using of a toilet immediately after a previous occupant; an acute sufferer of ‘Delhi-Belly’. She wants to ask him about the attention his over-garment grants him because for this character, the foundation of adoration is a basic nutrient. The blood all over his garb isn’t recognised as blood; not on earth. No, the fluent spits of verdant lumpy fluid that slick Saul’s clothes look a lot more like paint. Your average human really wouldn’t believe that these strong smelling splashes, those unpalatable streaks that smell of moulding oranges were once pumped around internal organs. Dilf’s; warriors from the village of Po, they attacked Saul and his family…but oh my, and forgive me my dear audience, your narrator is getting rather ahead of himself. I want to, so very badly need to show you all the drama Saul’s been through.
    ‘You’re a character, you don’t exist.’ says Steph her voice all nasal, muffled, her statement seeping through her hand that plugs her nostrils. Steph carries on with, ‘You can’t be real.’  
    Dr Capgras glides politely but swiftly toward her patient’s bed. Dr Capgras suggests in calming diplomatic intonation that,
    ‘Maybe family is a bad idea today?’ but Steph is trying to look past her female doctor and at Saul who clears his throat to say,
    ‘I won’t be long Doc, and she is my half-sister. Wanna know she’s alright yeah?’
    ‘Yes so you said,’ replies Capgras wiping her brow unable to make eye contact,
    ‘I’m just going to borrow Steph,’ says the trainee psychiatrist quietly and she escorts her patient dressed in the misty rose gown to the corner of the room. She whispers in Steph’s ear, ‘You do know this man don’t you?’
    Steph Tent is frozen, unable to move.
    Dr Capgras takes a deep look into Steph's eyes before stating, ‘I’m buzzing Silberman…should have done that before -’
    And Stephanie Tent's face is pure astonishment, the ripple of wide-eyed confusion spreading out across her arched eyebrows and forehead. This startled cyber novelist wants to bark out at the trainee doctor - that Jean should quit fiddling with the pager and look out, that Saul has swung an elbow into the back of her head. 

    Pity the online scribe as she sways almost motionless, like an abandoned pet engulfed by the blaze of road-swallowing headlights that will soon illuminate her sudden and bloody tragedy. And it’s already happened she thinks as Doc Capgras slumps forward unconscious and against her and look at how Steph is too frightened to properly embrace her withering therapist. Steph realises the cinematic lie of someone keeling abruptly over; that in real life and maybe only sometimes, a forehead makes an unnerving cracking sound when it speeds into contact with an Out-Unit’s ultra-clean reflective floor.
    Steph can clearly see that Saul, pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness of his lone martial manoeuvre is a real live person. Zombie-Boy can’t be real Steph thinks; he’s another wild splurge of vomit that my minds thrown up – but Steph is glancing down at the undeniable weight upon her toes, the tall blonde Jean Capgras all slumped up along her feet. Jean was a real person last time Steph checked. 
    Steph, she looks across and into the mirror at the far wall to find Keira Knightley in a misty rose gown that matches her own. She’s staring back and just as statuesque in her own snout-pinching cluelessness.
    ‘I should feel a bit bad about that shouldn’t I doc but look at who you’ve let in eh?’ says Saul using his teeth to roll his left arm's dark blue sleeve up and flash the scars, bites and entry wounds (made by god knows what) toward the unconscious physician. Saul offers his left hand out toward Steph who doesn’t need another person privy to the wild barking that she’s been forcing down and out of mind. She stifles the dog in her, masking its eruptions as coughs and clearings of the throat. This mothers teeth have not clamped quite this hard together, not since she pushed a life out of her.
    ‘Hello nice to meet you sis; welcome to the family.’      
    ‘You killed her, you murdered Jean!’ screams the online author startled, both her pale palms, they cover her face – storm hoary eyes peek between the gaps.
    ‘No,’ says Saul his rotten egg whites rotating up and away from the outside world; two eyeballs seemingly in consultation with unseen grey matter innards, ‘the good doctors still in the land of the living,’ he affirms, ‘now I bet you’re gonna ask –
    ‘How are you doing that?’ questions Stephanie P Tent as Saul’s eyes revolve back to their natural place, ‘What happened to your eyes?’
    ‘Spiderfingers happened to my eyes; my face, my hand…my family.’
    ‘What do you want me to do about it?’ Steph asks trembling as she backs away against the wall in silence, like a confused creature caught in the extreme close up of flood-lit bewilderment, waiting for an explosion of white wash; the finality of vehicle-thud against fur, skin and bone.
    ‘We need you – we all need you. You have to help me.’
    ‘Why should I? You said you were my brother to get in here, what else are you fibbing about? You could be anyone and look at where I am…you might not even be here.’
    ‘Er, hello?’ says Saul pointing at the floor covered in blonde and long white coat, ‘Oh wait don’t tell me, maybe you knocked her out and you’ve invented me to pin it all on innit? Christ on a Segway…’
    This wraith in his early twenties has awful skin, pimples here and there, Steph can’t help but stare at puss swollen islands that thrust out upon both his cheeks.
    ‘What’s go…let me – let me see it…’ is all Steph can say to him, ‘you can’t exist, let me see your…’ Saul sighs as Steph’s voice crunches up into a ball of silence.
    To know Saul for a short while is to wonder why his right hand is always tucked away in his pocket. To ask him is an emotional trigger, pride being an explosive device and boom – out comes the fleshy stump where his right palm should be. Such aesthetic disadvantages act as a casual self-reminder of his unattractiveness. The one hand, the acne speckled skin, these are the secret codes that activate a repulse, a force field of self-delusion that makes him overly awkward around women.
     Saul’s bent down to collect Dr Capgras off the floor.
    ‘C’mon then Mrs, help us out please?’ he asks.
    Steph can’t move even though her Keira-starring-bio-pic can ably accommodate and in fact requires such stock thriller moments.    
    From her two dimensional province Steph’s A-list doppelganger says, ‘Trust him…this is living, this is what books and movies based on books are made of,’ Keira walks up to Steph in her misty rose gown several sizes smaller than her reflection and the actress opens her mouth to exclaim and with a fervent passion, ‘Trusting Saul will get you closer to all this.’ and Miss Knightley’s hands grope and touch her face, that marvellous regal chin that Steph hasn’t even a hint of, Knightley massages the cleft with the sensuality of a trained narcissist.
    ‘Jesus, O.K fine,’ spits Saul, ‘just stay over there and gawp at yourself then.’ and he drags the doctor toward the bed, heaves her body onto it, making certain that the duvet cover reaches right up to her face. After he stands back and scratches his flaky chin Saul asks Stephanie,
    ‘That looks pretty natural innit?’
    Insecure and angry Saul Buchannan, bad enough that he is so emaciated that his clothes (as his sister Vicky has often pointed out) seem to be wearing him. And Saul has a few blades of red in his tied up pony tail of black hair. He’s pulled out these follicles every other day because the growth reminds him of his god. So then, mirror usage is a morning ritual that reflects Saul’s strange genealogy right back into each of his egg white pupils – the red hair that he pulled out the day before, well these red rose locks always grow back. The toilet bowl noxiousness of the boy necromancer elicits speech from his one woman audience,
    ‘Are you Zomb -’ 
    ‘Before you say it just stop O.K Mrs? ‘says Saul his left finger stuck straight up and inches away from her face, ‘Seems he's neglected to bloody tell you how much I hate being called…listen, it’s Steph yeah? Just call me Saul and we’ll be cool.’
    Steph nods automatically and she has to ask, ‘How do you know about me, my name? Who told you I was even here?’
    ‘Handy Andy can see the flame on your head...he can see it from miles away.’
    ‘He’s here too? Hey, What? A flame…? What?’
    Now my captives, I could allow you to witness Saul telling you the deal but the Zombie Boy ought never to be in charge of delivering a story; he’s just too self-involved and a lot of the good bits don't present him in the most heroic of spotlights...So, how about you people follow your new friend Mr Lime and go back back back in time?  

    Yeah, I figured you’d like that.
_________________________   

    Late May last year and the evening is upon our invisible selves as we watch everything here in Number 3 Forrest Avenue. The exact location is the Buchannan’s living room, it’s completely open to us and absolutely nothing can escape your eyes or mine.

    Not one conversation is clandestine.
    This residential space is surreal in the extreme for see, the colour scheme is a strict array of three primary shades ; the crimson of the dining table, the vermillion of the carpet that covers the wooden floor, a burgundy layer of dark oak strips. The computer desk, the coffee table and various lamps not to mention the ceiling, why, note these tints people…cyan, lemon chiffon, golden bark and sunny savannah. Looking at the cornflower blue of the armchair and its worn out sibling of a sofa, an idea of who was in charge of décor easily forms yes? The walls and the door that leads through to the kitchen are sky-blue and well…    
    In these rainbow furnished living quarters we are far from alone - we join the company of six individuals: See over there at the dinner table, it’s Saul inspecting his knives and look my friends, just behind him at the computer, that girl with the NHS specs and grey blazer, well that’s Saul’s sister Vicky; playing Connect Four online. She’s getting quite adept at commanding the computer, the little wonder playing the classic game by merely stroking her free hand against the monitor’s sides. Her other hand holds a tissue dotted with red splodges. Check how she chucks it into the waste-basket underneath the desk and then fetches a fresh one from the box next to her. 
    Later, her mother will exclaim how ‘Vicky’s been nursing that bloody nose…for weeks.’ 
    Oh and have a gander at those gloves she’s got on! 
    You people in the back row see em now? Underneath her grey blazer (Such a Smiths fan) Vicky’s gloves are actually quite long and slink right past the elbow. 
    Take a look over there, the flame mopped face of chaos languishes across the ceiling of red in a Superman hoodie, faded blue jeans and yellow belt. You-know-who’s liberated a new pair of red trainers out of his imagination and in this fresh garb he’s chosen to fix his eyes at Saul’s back. You see? Don’t ask me what he’s up to, or what he’s thinking.
    Your guess is as good as mine.
    On the other side from these three sit the remaining of the six; the long haired brunet with the earthy brown dress with the emerald hemlines is Saul and Vicky’s mother; Florence Buchannan. Come over by the sofa and investigate the concentration on her forty something face as she kneels down in front of house guest number one - the much much older and wheelchair bound Celia D’Angelos. Next to Celia sits her husband Anthony D'Angelos. See him seated at the edge of the lemony sofa cushion…with the hat on. He’s been convinced into staying. Check how his right hand won’t stop beating out rhythms on his knee caps. Restlessness on the Buchannan’s cornflower blue sofa is not his preferred look.Why’s Florence waving her hands in front of this granny’s face?
    Come listen – eavesdrop on a conversation involving Salabaster’s egg-yoke.
    And so, Florence says, ‘The yoke of Salabaster’s egg is a cure. For too long now,’ and she says all this whilst gesticulating in front of the senior citizens bandaged gaze, ‘Spiderfingers has been sharing neo-corporeal space with Rooenn, a night minion.’
    ‘Neo-corporeal whattchamcallit?’ exclaims Celia, and what’s a Rooenn when it’s at home?’
    And to this latest question Saul speaks from the dining table, no his eyes don’t leave his set of knives laid out before him, ‘Spidertwat said you met Rooenn a few weeks ago. Grey skin? Chain wrapped around the face? Rooenn the effing Terrorsmith.’ Celia flinches and Anthony immediately tightens his grip around her shoulders, 
    ‘It’s alright Ce-Ce,’ says Anthony D’Angleos to his wife, ’he’s gone O.K? The grey man is gone,’
    ‘Spider’s pet aint no man,’ butts in Saul, ‘that’s just what your brain wants you to see.’
    Celia, she's so blind under her bandages as she asks up at the ceiling to where she last heard her chaos god last, ‘That monster with the chain around his face, he works for you? I thought you saved us from him?’
    ‘It is my…way,’ answers Spiderfingers, ‘but only because at night I’m morally…compromised shall we say in my attempts at gathering new flock.’
    ‘You set him on us?, Celia exclaims, 'You’re all crazy…Tony I want to go, now.’ and the old lady grips onto the knee of her husband.
    ‘I told him to fetch,' says Spiderfingers, 'And I called him off didn’t I, Anthony?’ look my friend, notice how the old codger can’t look chaos in the eye.
    Anthony nods with a frantic energy agreeing that, ‘Yes you did Spiderfingers that’s right, you did. He saved us Celia,' says Anthony D'Angelos as he swivels towards his wife's cheek, 'he protected us. Remember the deal?’
    Florence’s face is stony. To see her is to notice a flash of sternness offered upward, a direct line of defiance at her ceiling-bound idol with the tar skin. Isn't it amazing what idolisers subject themselves to? 
    ‘And so, ‘continues Florence, her fingers tapping at the air in front of Celia’s bandaged face, ‘Spiderfingers and Rooenn are inextricably…well they’re linked. Think of their souls the way you do about conjoined twins.’
    ‘O.K, I see…very well.’ says Anthony as he begins to massage Celia’s left shoulder, ‘everything’s going to be alright Ce-Ce.’
    There goes Spiderfingers crawling away from his spot above Vicky to hover over Anthony. Hear the confusion king say, ‘We’ve been looking for a cure to separate me from Rooenn and it seems like O.G’s reconnaissance has paid off in the shape of Salabaster’s egg. Poured its magenta yoke all over me in the shower earlier and shazam! – no more Terrorsmith.’
    ‘What’s an O.G?’ wonders Celia.
    ‘I’m an O.G,’ sings Vicky, ‘O.G as in Object Girl. Hey Spider, you sure you don’t wanna maim all of us and have sex with our dead bodies or anything?’ says the youngest Buchannan pushing her hand into the box of tissues next to the keyboard. Some of the blood trickling out of her nose evades the trap of handheld tissue and hits her blazer, ‘Shit-sticks and dildo juice!’
    ‘What was that Victoria?’ asks Florence.
    ‘Nothing mum, spilt more blood on my clothes. Greeeeat.’
    ‘I’m not looking too sharp myself O.G.’ says Spiderfingers inspecting the logo on his chest.
    Sorry to interrupt but I must show you - look at Spiderfingers' chest...see the reds slowly running into the yellow and the sky blue, you see it my friends? Dear or dear. A nasty limey gunk has replaced an iconic amber and crimson isle.   
    ‘Humph, anyway,’ says Spider prowling back to the spot above Vicky, ‘in answer to your earlier query the answer is nope, no necrophilia for me. Thanks to the egg; there’s not a bit of psycho left in me. Thing that I like about the yoke is that it smells so good. Better than any shower gel.’ 
    ‘Listen to him,’ grunts Saul, ‘he’s so effing proud of what he does at night.’
    ‘Did at night.’ corrects the face of chaos.
    Dismissively, with his remaining hand, you see Saul wave away the common knowledge. 
    ‘I still say we keep a close eye on him.’ cautions Saul. Again, the young man’s putrid white on white eyes don’t leave the dining table where he’s seated arranging cleavers and blades and knives, a sword…
    ‘Oh do relax,’ says Florence turning her body away from Celia to face her decrepit son across the room, ‘I can’t feel any of Rooenn’s vibe, and I don’t hear any chains. Relax.’
     ‘Yeah, relax Z-Boy.’ adds the god with the fringe of fire cascading its sweet smelling smoke around the room.
     ‘You’re so…,’ his frustration attempting to pull a lid over a limited vocabulary, ‘so…show-offy; so high and mighty. You sit cross-legged and upside down like that, it’s not for comfort. Think you’re all cool in your Superman hoodie and fiery haircut. Love you, hate you, but don’t dare ignore you. Indifference –
    ‘A big word for you Saul,’ interjects chaos, ‘indifference yeah? He’s really going for it team.’
    ‘Indifference,’ continues Saul, ‘aint no good to him. He gets your attention by sitting upside down or rearranging the living room in a few seconds flat or….or -
    ‘Or by using x-ray vision to identify something that you might have missed during your last bathroom visit, right Zombie-Boy?
    ‘Eh?’ says Saul.
    ‘Two flaky chunks.’ states the chaos god.
    ‘What are you on about now?’ replies Saul adding, ‘and don’t call me sodding Zombie Boy, I’ve had enough of it.’
    ‘Two flaky chunks poking out of that crack of yours; you know what I’m talking about.’
    Vicky turns to look up at her friend and pseudo-saviour, asking through her gathering chipmunk mirth, ‘Spider, what are you banging on about?’
    ‘I mean it can’t be hard,’ continues the half deity reciprocating her knowing giggle with a mad grin, ‘I know you’ve got one hand but for like, how long? You’re twenty three now and as far as I know, wiping ones arse doesn’t require any great degree of skill.’     
    ‘Don’t know what you’re on about.’ says Saul who must be fighting to not spin around and grant his god acknowledgement.
    ‘Yeah you do,’ laughs Vicky, ‘oh guys, where’s Handy Andy?’
    ‘Kipping in my right pocket,’ says Saul, ‘leave him be – he needs strength for the fight and shouldn’t we be er talking about battle-strategy?’
    ‘Oh whatever,’ continues Spiderfingers pointing at him, ‘bet you miss having a right hand eh Z-Boy?’ says Spider grinning, ‘Two flaky chunks.’ sings the dread-locked idol drawing a laugh from Vicky. Watch her as she inspects the on-screen blue grid. And how amazing, her mind dictates through her gloved hands where the next yellow counter should drop.
    ‘Chocolate chips.’ says Spiderfingers.
    ‘Shut it Spiderfuck!’
    ‘Saul!’ shouts his mother, ‘We have guests.’ 
    ‘Oh come on Nightingale,’ says Spiderfingers ruffling his fiery hair, shaking the sweet smelling smoke about the ceiling,  
    ‘There are ways and there are ways, ‘states Florence, ‘times and places. It’s bad enough that Saul has to do that terrible demonstration with the knives…’
And Florence’s voice trails off its tracks for a beat before she recovers with,    
    ‘Hmph, Spider?’ 
    ‘Yup.’ he replies.
    ‘You called me Nightingale. Don’t.’
    ‘I can’t promise that.’ croons the demi-god with a sing-song nursery rhyme lilt.
    ‘Seriously dude,’ says Vicky, ‘Mums right; we can’t all be angry with you otherwise we’ll lose our focus in the battle.’
    At the table Saul clashes two blades together saying, ‘Yeah trampy fingers, save all the wind ups for yours truly.’     
    ‘Don’t worry about that…Z-Boy,' chides the master of madcap,'…and do you know, I Googled Zombie Boy and found a model whose gone and tattooed himself as a decaying rather authentic member of the un-dead. Real names Rick Genest.’
    ‘Why should I care?’ says Saul.
    ‘He looks like a corpse?’ wonders Vicky.
    ‘More or less, 'croons Spider, 'and I was so proud of the name too.’
    Knives clang down upon a crimson dining table.
    ‘Well why don’t you effing use it then?, exclaims Saul, ‘I’ve got a name. Maybe you’ll have the good sense to forget your silly fantasy about us all being superheroes and call us by our real names yeah?’
    Spiderfingers face just crescents into that awful devil smile.
                               _________________________ 
    In the now, months from all of that pandemonium, in a room with seashell white walls, Saul is looking at Steph and how his story isn’t as effective as a knife. He can perceive the desire in her eyes to hold onto the rules of known biology and physics and monsters being the marauders of the imagination, not ‘real life’. Saul can recognise the disbelief in Steph’s stare because he’s had to use his knives on himself to cancel it out of house guests so many times. This missionary of mayhem will soldier on; he'll continue bringing Steph up to speed despite his knowledge that storytelling is just not as powerful as a knife drawing his own blood.
    His awareness drifts reluctantly and grudgingly back to the narrative that he edits and preens, tailoring past events so that the intricacies of certain exchanges are nowhere to be found. Just the bare bones are exhibited to Steph whilst we my loyal worshipers of tale and adventure, we fold back the flesh of delicate past.
    We witness it all...
                                      _________________________              
    Florence continues waving her hands in front of old lady D’Angelos who won’t be needing her eye bandages soon. Seeing isn’t an option said Celia’s Western physician but Florence’s hands waive and twist and tighten and stretch. The air in front of Celia’s face is an invisible canvas receiving particular imagery via sublime intention. Magic is a loaded word but it is close enough to describe the unseen pastels that Florence flicks and with a certain mastery. 
    ‘This is so exciting!’ says Vicky to Spider who winks back the sentiment. But look audience members; look at Vicky’s smile fade and just a little. You see?
    ‘Going into a weird arse country to have a barney with an evil wizard isn’t exciting Vick - its life threatening. I could be out there saving people.’ says Saul as he slashes a sword above his head.
    ‘Bullshit,’ says the chaos god above us all, ‘you’re only good for one thing,’ and with a wave of his wrist Spider sets Vicky tittering when he adds, ‘and it certainly aint wiping you’re backside.’ 
    Vicky’s mouth bursts with a sort of nervous laughter.
    ‘Oh my heavens!’ cries Celia her hands groping her bandaged eyes, ‘I think it’s working!’
    ‘I think we’re about done.’ says Florence easing herself up off the floor next to her patient.
    ‘Can you…what do you see love?’ wonders the older chap next to her his arms bracing his wife.
    ‘Oh my!’ Celia exclaims arms outstretched, ‘I can see! I can see all of you.’
    ‘I giveth and I taketh away,’ confirms Spiderfingers, ‘and as you can now see, ha! The process is open to reversal.’
    Florence says, ‘Vicky…’
    ‘Yes mum?’
    ‘Your dad and Lilith aren’t here yet so do us a favour and -
    ‘I’m on it,’ says Vicky hopping off her chair to allow her palms to spread flat out upon the wooden floor, her eyes glaze over, ‘Mr floor says give or take five minutes…and she also says that Spiders old clothes really, really stink they’re fucking-
    Florence gives her a bold look and so Vicky slows herself down and turns to tell her mother, ’they’re very filthy. Sorry Mum.’  And she spins back to face the yellow and red counters displayed on the monitor.
     Then Saul asks, ‘Can we burn them?’
    ‘How about if you all put them on?’ says Spiderfingers.
    ‘Good idea,’ seconds Saul, ‘and it’s not like we’ve seen where that road leads is it?’
    ‘You said that my Celia and I can help Spiderfingers save the world?’ says Anthony, ‘how?’
    Florence takes his hand and look, look how her eyes avoid his,
    ‘Listen Mr D’Angelos…’
    ‘Call me Anthony.’
    ‘Anthony, we’re all in a bad way.’ The mother of three points up at the ceiling, ‘see that sludge forming on Spiderfingers’ chest?’ The old couple both nod as Florence uses her finger to direct their gaze at the formless mass on a chaos gods chest. Then her finger indicates downward and across the room, ‘now look at Victoria, always with the bloody nose,’ says Florence as Vicky waves her bloody tissue at us.
    ‘My daughters been nursing that bloody nose…for weeks. As for Saul, well,’ and Florence looks at him in the way only mothers can look at their children, ‘I do wish you’d tell us how Aronson’s been affecting you?’
    Vicky, between sniffles says, ‘You don’t wanna know mum.’
    ‘Shut up Vick.’ says Saul as his rage eeks out through his teeth.
    ‘Kelly told me,’ chuckles Vicky, ‘it’s on his back. Saul’s got a vag–
    ‘Shut up!’ says Saul and with a push he is away from the table standing over his sister.
    ‘Sit down Saul, now.’ commands Florence as she looks into Anthony’s faded blue eyes, ‘Sorry Anthony. Erm, Kelly’s our bathtub and as you’ve gathered, my daughter has a unique relationship with inanimate objects.’
    ‘Call her O.G, call her Object Girl.’ adds Spiderfingers,’ and yo Saul, I’m up to speed with your fishy smelling secret…’
    ‘Leave it or I swear you’ll pay.’
    ‘I’ll ignore that,' replies the man-god, 'I’ll forget your threat if you tell me what’s it like to finger your back first thing in the morning and last thing at night.’
    Nobody says a thing until, 
    ‘Erm,’ blurts Florence, ‘So, Anthony, Celia - you ought to know what you’re a part of. We’re all afflicted by a war that’s occurring in a place called Un. Un is a land in a place called The Oma. As soon as the others arrive, that’s where we’re going.’
    ‘Others?’ inquires Celia, ‘what others?’
    ‘Man I can’t take it,' exclaims Spiderfingers and quite suddenly, 'that yoke was so damn good. I’m off for another shower,’ and with that he crawls along the ceiling toward the stairs, ‘you’re in good hands guys, trust Nightingale and remember our deal Anthony.’ says the chaos creature stalking up around the landing and then completely out of sight.
    ‘Don’t call me Nightingale.’ shouts Florence toward the stairs, ‘such a twit.’
    ‘Our help?’ starts Celia, ‘I still don’t understand what god’s helpers need with two old fogeys?’
    ‘I’m sure Spiderfingers has his reasons Ce-Ce.’ says Anthony.
    ‘You’ll see,’ says Saul grinning, his decayed row of incisors brought into view, ‘you’ll become true believers.’
    Anthony asks the room, ‘Were you all er…shepherded by Rooenn?’
     ‘Oh no,’ corrects Florence, ‘Rooenn came later. Rooenn was one of the reasons why Spider had to leave. I couldn't abide that thing. No, we were like any other family. Spiderfingers was two people – I mean, one was a person – our lodger John Clay, the other was Boleraam…the god of chaos.’
    ‘That’s what he says,’ interjects Vicky ‘but I don’t think there is such a thing as the god of chaos. If you think about it, he’s more like your god of mischief and–
    ‘Vicky - ’
    ‘Mum, c’mon, think about it.’
    ‘No, you think about it. Think about what we need to do and why we’re here,’ affirms Flo, ‘now as I was saying, John Clay and Boleraam the chaos god coalesced…they became Spiderfingers.’
    ‘I see,’ says Mr D'Angelos playing with the rim of his hat, ‘this is a lot to take in.’
    ‘This is nothing,’ says Spiderfingers whose climbed his way back onto the living room ceiling, ‘the chaos principles been occurring for millennia. So many human hosts willingly giving themselves up for Boleraam so that they can become whatever it is that I am.’
    ‘Aha!’ says Vicky pointing at chaos with a wild stare, ‘so you admit there is a principle! How can chaos have principles, eh Spider?’
    ‘Not now O.G,’ grates Spiderfingers, ‘sod showering, it’s time for my reveal.’
    ‘You didn’t want another wash, god you’re such a liar,’ spits Saul, ‘you just like to make your exits and entrances.’
    ‘Yeah, like…duh. So yeah, guys,’ he begins facing the old couple his hands notably more animated in conjunction with his excitable tones, ‘I’ve been created through a pact with Gaia so that I can guard the god–hex, a barrier that keeps destructive greedy gods off the earth.’
    ‘Oh and of course you’re not at all destructive or greedy are you?’ motions Saul from the table.
    ‘Whatever cadaver face…the relevant point is Anthony, Celia, like any other god I needed disciples. My subconscious grafted certain archetypes upon the Buchannan’s here. Death, healing, communication. Ha, and listen to me breaking my own rules. No more talk from me guys, get on with the show – seeing is believing.’ And the blaze-headed deity exits. Again.
    ‘So now we all have superpowers,’ said Vicky, ‘you wanna see?’
    ‘Of course they wanna see; they've probably figured out for themselves that that’s why they’re here.’ says Saul to Anthony and Celia who by their blank expressions clearly need more explanation.
    But Anthony shakes his head militantly stating, ‘We’d rather not and…Celia?’ wonders Anthony as she places her hands to her eyes,
    ‘The worlds all gone black again…‘ cracks her hollow voice,  
    ‘That would be me,’ explains Florence, ‘my healing power is temporary. For the last few weeks it’s sometimes completely absent. If we don't stop Aronson from his ethnic cleansing our powers will fade. Spiderfingers reckons we might all die.’
    ‘It’s O.K love, I’m here,’ says Celia’s loving husband, ‘How do we get to this place?’
    ‘Un,’ confirms Florence, 'we need to reach a village called Po. We must kill Aronson.'
    'Aronson?' wonders Anthony.
    Florence’s gaze seems to fix on a far away location lodged somewhere in her mind’s eye. I’d love to tell you what she’s thinking…
    ‘Aronson,’ Saul explains, ‘is our oldest enemy. We just have to beat him and his army and everything will be back to normal. Sounds so easy when you say it out loud right? Listen, it’s time and maybe its best that only Mr D’Angelos gets to see me do my thing yeah?’
    Anthony looks around at everyone a little confused, ‘You mean I have to watch you talk to the dead?’
    ‘Connect four!’ hollers Vicky at her flashing monitor display, ‘level six is for ages twenty and up? Like, whatever.’
    ‘We start with the basics first pal.’ says Saul reaching for a knife from the table. He points it in on himself. With each sinew torn, every drop of stomach blood that pools upon the floor, Anthony D’Angelos screams with authentic fear as we watch him take in the awfulness of this, his newfound god’s angel of death slicing into its own abdomen. There is no scream like this; no human alarm can pitch into the high end register of undiluted fear, not without direct and undeniable spiritual intervention. Saul is emptying intestines onto the floor as Celia asks her husband, ‘what is it dear, what is the boy doing?’
    ‘Believe me,’ says Florence who is herself an avid watcher of Saul’s show, ‘There’s no other way.’ The mother then moves to Anthony’s side and swings her arm around him mirroring his own stretch around his wife,
    ‘To look at my son,’ continues Florence, ‘is to look upon a guy constantly in Halloween costume but the hole in his cheek is very real; his yellowing dentures are very very real. Say it!’
    ‘They’re real!’ shouts Anthony and he buries his head into the his wife’s neck.
    ‘Let’s go please, Tony?’ Celia cries.
    ‘I don’t want it to be like this,’ whimpers Florence who grabs Anthony’s jaw to force his head back towards Saul’s macabre cabaret, ‘but your faith can save so many people.’ says Florence who has a tear rolling down her chin.
    ‘Look inside my mouth guys,' says Saul his voice too calm for his act of self-affliction, 'don’t look like I got corn in here anymore does it? Where we’re going is dangerous and I’m cutting myself open to keep you safe. You don’t think I’ve slapped on make-up to pull off some sick joke do ya?’
    I can only suspect that you all see it too yes? Saul’s eyes are not even slightly blue, they are the ill-looking grey on white one finds in the sockets of cinema’s undead.
    ‘Whatever you’re doing,’ pleads Celia jostling with Florence over Anthony, ‘please stop, please -
    Saul continues to chop and cut away as he says, ‘There is no Ashton Kutcher type T.V host who’ll walk in here and say surprise you lucky couple you - you’ve been punked and smell the air…that’s the smell of Spiderprat’s smoke.’
    ‘Make him stop!’ hollers Anthony, ‘I believe, make him stop!’ he screams releasing himself from Florence’s grip as smoke and ash from on high coat his awareness in the physicality of faith, the discharge of true religious experience – it’s sizzling and crackling everywhere. And just look at Anthony D’Angelos coughing from the choking insidiousness of chaos’ grey smoking.     
    ‘Nah, I’ve never seen it.’ whispers Vicky has her hands to the floor.
    ‘Who’re you speaking to Victoria?’ asks her mother over the wailing.
    ‘Floor. Floor is speaking on behalf of Kelly whose relaying a message from Spider in the shower.’
    ‘What?’ asks Florence again because Celia and Anthony weep so hard and so loud.
    ‘Chatting to Spiderfingers.’ says Vicky.
    ‘What’s he…? Saul, you can stop now.’
    Saul obliges and puts the knife down and scoops up his guts.
    His mother lifts herself off the sofa and makes her way towards Saul. Her hands wave about his abdomen for the Ceremony of Knives is over.
    Vicky begins to talk but has her eyes trained on the computer screen,  
    ‘Remember that scene in Terminator Two when Arnie has to cut his arm open to show Miles Dyson that cyborgs from the future are real?’
                                    _________________________               
    Saul, he understands Steph just like we do because we’ve been her haven’t we? We’ve all walked passed a Saul on many a crowded Camden high road; an Oxford Circus side street; a twisted concrete of a back alley leading to a bar in Hoxton Square (where presumably the clunk-clunk of computer constructed sonic harshness provides the soundtrack for a congregation of shadow-clad alt-rockers). We have a lifetime of gawping to recount upon; we’ve noted tribes of zombies and filed their appearance away under the grouping of Goth/Marilyn Manson fan/outsider. We’ve all seen Saul and allowed his face so covered in gangrene and misshapen uneven cheekbones and allowed our brains to compute him as human (is he terminally afflicted we wonder?). To notice his orange upon blue name badge is in itself a feat of Holmsian elementary. After a hard day at the checkouts, Saul never musters the energy to change out of his uniform – his dark blue jacket is his costume. Neither you nor I will think to question beliefs about what is possible, that creatures of the night do exist.
    He hasn’t eaten and on such a ‘bad-face-day’ the flaky lobe of Saul Buchannan’s ear breaks off in the brisk winds of Spring; there, right in front of us, and we chide ourselves for not remarking on the authenticity of his make-up. We want to say how damn convincing the fake hole in his right cheek is but our Englishness restrains such observations in effective inner grappling.
    Is he an extra from a nearby film shoot?
    Can we get a part too?
    ‘Hey, we ask him, (if we’ve given our standoffish nature the slip) ‘are you going to a cosplay?’
    Never once do we actually decide that he is a supernatural, that he is more than human. Only after ‘the ceremony of knives’ do we believe in the impossible and vicariously in the idol that created him.
    So and in one of Bellevue’s Out-Unit enclosures we are voyeurs who have anticipated this ritual Saul feels compelled to perform.
    He produces a knife from his back pocket.
    He takes the blade to his forearm.
    This young man doesn’t make a single sound.
    And Steph has to blurt, ‘Crazy people don’t feel pain. Things like intense weather conditions don’t faze them.’ 
    ‘Oh alright then…for fuck sake,’ says Saul to the right pocket of his trench-coat, ‘don’t wanna believe in me? Fine. Come out and play Andy, c’mon.’
    Caucasian fingers crawl out of Saul's right jacket pocket and into the illumination of the electric lit room. Steph’s shriek is more piercing than any Baptist in religious fervour. Any of you bore witness to a person devoured by the religious experience? That whole talking in tongues whirlpool of sound? To Steph’s fear drenched screaming, talking in tongues seem like a series of mild yelps, a hint of surprise escaping someone who’s tripped up a little. The hand crawls onto the bed and on its stump; the sprightly creepy-crawly gives Steph a thumbs up.
    'Now if you still think you're crazy I swear,' says Saul pulling on his ponytail in frustration, 'I swear I'll eat your brains.'
                                    _________________________           

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