Last Chapter, at last…
Even the smallest character is a sealed letter, a steady loathsome repression stamped on sticky wax. Johnny’s dénouement had been clear from the very start, in both genre and intentions. If it’s a horror then it’s the exquisite horror of the reality inside. If it’s a tone it was always melancholy. If it’s a ghost story it’s where love was dying deep in a flank of world and revenants wept alone. And something heinous watches over. It’s where the spine is never behind you and the slithering boundaries are little slices of loathsome mood. Johnny had learned to peer back at the onrushing dark. When he rose into the upstairs' landing at night he bent himself backwards to frighten the monsters there. He was the strange boy in the last room along. He rhymed grey glances and folly’s trances. As was nearly always the case, it probably all started in poetry. And a carnivorous childhood. Fright is when your feet dance epileptic horror. He was tarnished and afraid but not mean. He was complete in a weathered way and common in that he was unusual. There was a need for the honour of cannibals. Eyes checked him out through gaping mouths . His were those of someone soon to be buried in time and brief flashing moments of hell. He always meant to be taller.
He set off that evening with no particular aim. The track bent off through the wood some mile away and then opened up onto a gently rising hill. There was a wind, rooks jeering from darkening trees and a buzzard glided like an unwarped primal world carried higher to wondrous heights where you might find a hidden God. You could see the small mining village like a coral insect on the firmament of the watery countryside way off with a church spire like a spike in a womb. The countryside’s frantic weal and absurd indifference made no sense of the emerging stars in the uncanny sky. Groves , lawns, the heightened colours of the sedge and wild flowers, some tangled regions in dark cold, he passed them by without thinking of much else but the hideous murmur of bees, the primordial breeze and the coarse sense of a possessed freedom walking out its vile absurdity. He walked along the curved undulant track, scuffed his shoes, lit a fag and smoked with a sort of calm drowsiness.
When he veered off it was because the building greeted him like some ruined, green galleon crossed by shadows and cryptical lines. And as the moon crashed out from the clouds and darkness sheered a terrifying vista of dissociated knowledge he felt the strange intoxication of walls slowly weighted towards immortal deathliness. He was in that strange mood that intones the eeriness of existence. It’s a mood that keys memory and wraith-like terror. The rotten barn seemed to be lying down. Too tired or maybe dying, it held a malevolent incomprehension in its broken door and baleful, empty windows. Johnny shuddered as he stared at the dimenions which were off. He could glimpse the inner dark of its bent shape. It held an interior pitch like an impossible unreality. He was shocked by a sense of recognition. It was as if the dreadful building held visual symptoms of dimensions he knew and loathed and feared. There were portions of a bad life. Nameless acts of horror and cruelty. They filled his lungs. He doubled over and tranquility fled. When he looked again the open door, shattered on its single, remaining broken hinge and weathered by countless storms, it was an obscene pulse of a gaping mouth, horribly feeding . There was now just the silence of night. The wind had fallen. The moon shone. The cold was dead witch.
Johnny scratched a match and set the barn alight. Then he ran back home. The fire was a slow and dark thing like a perilous way at a trees summit. Johnny lay in bed with bright eyes seeming to listen. But he couldn’t hear any burning. He made as if he hadn’t made up his mind. From his bed sheets he felt as if his soul was abroad in a watching ecstasy. Yet nothing was said. Nothing happened. He hadn’t expected anyone to knock on the door and haul him away to jail. But he did wonder why the burnt barn wasn’t a focus of anyone’s attention. It so happened that by the time it was discovered it had burnt out. He imagined its blackened corpse hunched on the land like some gigantic grotesque frog, and then in horror saw it stir and open its vast dirty eyes to stare insanely through the smoke and time and space and never cease to see him.