Entry 0096: Three Sentence Stories with the Starman

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LP: Diamond Dogs by David Bowie

1976 RCA Victor AFL 1-0576, reissue, gatefold

Favorite Track: Rebel Rebel

 

  1. Teenage Wildlife

There was a snort from the Diamond Dogs and a rustle of leather and chains. The old man pleaded, swinging his cane at ferocious snickering faces, spinning off-balance to fall in to the wet litter of the alleyway. The dance of youth, bloody in its intent, stomped away the mistakes of the past.

2. Criminal World

The Starman surveyed his kingdom from the 23 story of the burned out Butler Tower. His lightning bolt-shaped telescope spied dissenters huddled around a trash fire eating InstaProtein wrapped in pages of old newspapers. The Starman ran his fingers through his hair, a pang of pity and a reverie of love floating in the back of his mind.

3. Valentine’s Day

Tam and Gilly were asleep in their bag while Frost kept watch. The lovers were strangely silent tonight, which perturbed Frost more than he would like to admit. He sniffed the air for traces of the Diamond Dogs, never taking his thumb off the blade of his knife.

4. Lazarus

Gilly was missing in the haze of smoke. Tam and Frost ran despite their injuries through the maze of rubble and fire, trying to shake the Diamond Dogs from their heels.  One was dead with a knife in his throat, but the others were on their cycles, bright beams penetrating the disappearing darkness.

5. John, I’m Only Dancing

Frost was slammed against the wall, something sharp digging into his shoulder blade, but he was able slip his hand around his attacker’s back and pull out his secret dagger. The Diamond Dog was ten years younger than Frost, his face so boyish and fat with adolescent tenderness, Frost felt something as he paralyzed him. What he murmured haunted Frost for the rest of his life.

6. Star

Starman rode out on his Devastator, a sleek black cycle with the handles set on either side of a dragon’s head, mouth open and ready to spew forth fire. He flew past most of the Diamond Dogs searching in vain in abandoned apartments and bombed out factories. The prey always hid in the same spot: under the bridge where once a monster lived.

7. Breaking Glass

Tam couldn’t stop his tears for Gilly, a wine bottle smashed at his feet. Frost had a gun now and contemplated rejoining the lovers, but then he would be alone. With courage, Frost admitted to himself that people were needed in one’s darkest days.

8. Running Gun Blues

Frost fired rapidly killing some of the Diamond Dogs that had repelled from the top of the bridge. Tam was dying, half submerged in the water, one wrist limply held as if grasping some ghost’s hand. The Starman’s cycle roared and Frost met a blast of fire.

9. Ashes to Ashes

His entire body wracked in pain, smelling his own crispy flesh, Frost crawled to the paused cycle with the dragon’s head. The Starman wore a gold and black cape, his hair spiked wildly to the sky, his teeth were filed down to fangs, and his triumph smirked in each black eye. Slowly, The Starman inched the cycle forward to put out the flames.

10. Chant of the Ever Circling Skeletal Family

The explosion caught everybody off guard. His last searing thought, The Starman realized the dissenters were not eating, but preparing explosives. The dying screams were caught and carried by the wind, never to be put out.

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Entry 0095: Silverfrost Forest, part two

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LP: Blues for the Red Sun by Kyuss

2014 Rhino Records R1 61340, Dali Records

Favorite Track: Green Machine

 

“The thing about Silverfrost Forest is that it changes shapes. The trees are sneaky: they stand tall and proud while you view them, but as soon as you walk past, they slouch and tip-toe around, their branches dragging through the snow and wiping away your footsteps. One should never travel about alone in Silverfrost Forest, but I was seven, impulsive and cocky, probably believing I was creating the world around me and in complete control.”

Stan paused and looked at the stranger. His somber face gave him strength to continue. It had just dawned on him how long it had been since he told this tale. How long he had bottled it up.

“The trees move because the witches command them. I even have reason to believe that the witches planted the first ancient trees eons ago so as to hide their foul treachery and to be guardians. But I will get to that later. At this point, I was merely lost. I was bundled up good with heavy boots and jacket. I didn’t wear a hat, but my wool scarf was tied around my head and ears. I knew there was a river somewhere west of the house and if I could follow it, I could come to a bridge that I knew to be not far from the back of our cabin. But everywhere I looked I just found more trees, taller trees as if they had giant hands with goliath fingers that blocked out the sky despite having no foliage.

I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to build a fire and had started to gather up some stray sticks when I saw something move. It was a blurry, squat shape, hairy but not fur. Long, unwashed hair. For her…if it was a her, I never realized that witch was a gendered term that might not necessarily apply so easily to these things I met called witches…for her stubby legs, she moved in a sleek manner as if she were skiing. I don’t think she saw me, but that made me more afraid for she came from behind me and walked past with great indifference. Now the idea of a fire seemed terrible, but was still a necessity. The temperature was dropping.

My father raised me to be an outdoorsman. I knew how to make a snow cave and to slope it upwards so cold air stays lower. My father was fond of building benches into the side walls to sleep on, laying on his pack and staring up through the ventilation hole and whispering stories about the forest being alive. I guess maybe that was why the appearance of the witch didn’t completely shock me. In all ways, my father taught me how to survive.

The light was bad and getting worst. I know it was the trees fault. But I dug up snow and started packing it, swiftly but methodical. Panic is your worst enemy. I was just about to finish the cave when I felt strange and dizzy for a moment. I put some snow in my mouth and sucked on it while I looked around. My heart began to beat faster and inside my mind I recited a mantra in an effort to calm myself. There was nothing out there but the white snow made gray in the falling darkness. And the trees which seemed to form a solid wall around me. And an owl hooting but not visible. And the cracking of branches as the weight of snow became too much. Some ice flashed like lightning in the far distance.

The river!

And then came the witches…”

The stranger interrupted, his hand lifting his piece and exchanging its place where Stan’s knight sat. “You are lying to me.”

Stan frowned. He knew this story…it was his story…he knew the truth, had witness the brutal events, how dealt with those…things…yes, they couldn’t be women or men or human or even of this world…what did this stranger know about any of this.

“I have to beg to differ, but I was there and I…”

“You were hexed. The story you think to be true is false. A cursed memory. Not yours. But go ahead and tell me it if you wish,” he said in a flat voice and dismissing hand, “then I will tell you the true story, if you can stand to bear it.”

to be continued…