Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Benny Hill

Dreamt of the past, walking towards the stadium, through the old neighbourhood, and I see McMahon, in a plastic cubicle, looking at me, shrivelled in dust, by time.

Move towards the shadow, huge dude, to sneak back in, why does the past look so old now?

And mate, you never used to do this alone, did you?

Remember the people, the young people, just beginning, carefree, stupid, drugged with joy and the illusion of never ending time.

Bearded now, we talk of Brexit and diets, connected to eve’s apple, convincing ourselves that we are not alone.

Spoiler mate, we are, and you can’t put your arms around a memory, as Johnny used to say.

Our stadium is gone, and the manic youth of the past are the old men of today.

You didn't expect it to come around so soon did you?

And I have another question for you.

Do you remember Benny Hill, and what we did to him?

I remember.

And if you don’t know what I'm talking about, you’ll get it, in time, if you’re still here, and if you still care.

And that’s it for today, as the buzz outside reminds me that the day is almost done, and I haven’t even opened my blinds yet.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Pandemonium: Chapter Four: Refuse/Resist!

by Mark Anthony Pritchard (aka Rorshach)

Everything has changed.

'Get up.’ I screamed, as the creatures lurched into the room, dog-like paws grasping the window sill, lifting their large bodies through the battered frame, and revealing the hirsute forms behind the terrible eyes that had awoken me to their presence.

The creatures were different in form to the troglodyte monsters of my first night, but just as terrible. Seven feet (at least) in height, emanating a wet dog scent that I dimly recall from a brutalised memory of my life before this, standing on two crooked legs, the creatures formed a wall of assault, and prepared to attack.

Waking at my cry of warning, the sleeping people reacted as they did on the first night, and began to scramble for cover, heading towards the main door in the room. The beasts, angry at my warning cry, let them flee, and immediately set their sights upon me, striding awkwardly on two crooked canine legs towards my supine location on the damp mattress, their intent was murder, and I was to be their prey.

But, just as my bloody and violent demise seemed imminent, something most peculiar began to manifest itself, a sense of defiance that came from a place that I still cannot locate.

Whereas before, when confusion and fear took hold of me, and I ran with the others, this time, I refused to fly into the night, and instead made the immediate decision to stand my ground, and fight back against the intruders.

Why I chose such a seemingly suicidal course of action, I do not know, but my mind was made up. I would fight, and I would fight to the death. I would not run, and I would not cower in fear. I was going to take them down, one bloody beast at a time.

As amazing as it might sound, this is what happened next.

The first beast threw itself at me with the force of Armageddon unleashed, aiming for my throat, but in doing so took it’s eyes away from the pencil that I still held in my right hand, which I used to devastating effect. Side stepping it’s awkward, blood-crazed lunge, I deftly pivoted my bodyweight backwards, then violently forwards, thrusting the pencil through it’s left eyeball, a strike that elicited a howl of rage from the surprised beast, that rocked the room to it’s very foundations.

With the beast writhing on the floor, incredulous in pain that it had never suspected would be forthcoming, it’s comrades, equally shocked, howled to the ceiling in a gnashing wail of rage that spoke of utter surprise.

This was not supposed to happen.

Why was one of the victims fighting back?

Surveying the room, as my fellow refugees continued to flood through the door, and the motionless beasts slobbered and growled in stilted incomprehension, the one thing on my mind was, find a weapon, and use it, now.

There it was, on the floor, exactly what was required, a plank of wood, four feet long, and a discarded old T-shirt.

With a surge of aggression thundering through my body, a jolt of electric life that thrilled me more than I could ever possibly describe, I took the plank of wood, wrapped the shirt around it, and lit the cloth with the candle at my bedside. With fiery implement in hand, and with the beasts dithering with indecision, I set to the pack, determined to press home my early advantage.

The first beast, howling on the floor at the treatment I had dealt out, was my initial focus of attack. The thing was wounded, not deceased, and death had to be dealt out, as a warning to them all. Mess with me, and I will leave you dead on the floor, a bloody corpse of permanent extinction. That was the message, and I was the perfect vehicle of delivery.

Kicking the fallen form of the wounded beast square in the groin, a strike that elicited a squeal of complete surrender, causing it to squirm over onto it’s belly, I thrust the flaming torch directly onto it’s hairy back, and stepped back to enjoy the result.

The monster burst immediately into flames, creating a bonfire effect that illuminated the entire room in bright light, a fiery spectacle accompanied by deafening screams of the dying beast, a death cry rattle warning it’s brethren of what was to come if they continued their attack.

As the creature burned, a rage enveloped me, a ferocious frenzy that is beyond explanation, a blood-lust of violence for the pure sake of violence, and a desire to smash and burn until nothing was left.

Screaming my battle cry, a genetic memory from another time, another life, another existence, the beasts, seeing the madman roar before their fallen comrade, completely unafraid, began to back away. My immediate instinct was to charge, and so I did, straight at them, six awful beasts versus one ferociously determined man.

It was no contest.

Discarding all concern for their fallen soldier, the creatures panicked into a hasty and ill-disciplined retreat, and began to fall back out of the very window where they had made their initial incursion.

Shrieking, crying, punching and beating each other, they were a routed army in full desperate flight, it was each beast for itself. Comradeship vanished, and the desperate need to run and hide was now, finally, being experienced by the predators themselves.

Watching their retreat was not an option, and I chased after them, determined to wreak my violence upon them once again, which I did, catching one of the beasts as he fell onto the ground. With it’s large muscular arms raised in terrified surrender, I refused all notions of mercy and thrust my flame encased receptacle straight through it’s mouth, staking it into the muddy ground, as I roared my final victory song at it’s fast retreating, escaping troop.

Now, an hour later, with the adrenaline of battle slowly subsiding, I sit comfortably in the centre of the same room, two dead predators cooking on a bonfire outside, a meaty feast for my hungry human companions, and everything has changed.

The people, individuals no more, they want to talk to me now.

They have wanted for me to talk to me for a while, but first, they must wait, as I write, and record, the great victory of today.

In a few short sentences my pencil shall go down. The pencil is a weapon, and the lesson here is to use it well. There is blood on my hand, on the page, and my rage is simmering down. It is time to address my tribe, and this is what I shall tell them.

When attacked, you do not retreat, and scurry away as individuals to be picked off by the advancing tribe. Do so, and you lose, and losing is no longer an option, not here, not now that I am fully awake. The time for retreating is over, now is the time to attack.

I look now upon this bloody stump of pencil, extracted from the eye of a dead monster, and finish the final line of my journal, before the speech is made.

It’s time to talk to my men, to feast on beasts, find lieutenants, and plan for the next stage of our joint operation. For together we REFUSE to lose, and together we violently, aggressively, triumphantly RESIST.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Pandemonium: Chapter Three

'I' & Eyes

By: Mark Anthony Pritchard (aka Rorshach)

I'm writing in what must be the early hours of the morning, though time here is confused, for there are no timepieces, digital or otherwise, and I have yet to see the light of day. Two days have passed, and those two days are the only memories that I possess.

In this windswept ruined house, where I sit, surrounded by sleeping forms, I, nameless as the rest, search for answers, but answers refuse to come.

The only thing that I know for sure, is that I think, therefore I am. My mind exists, and because it does, so do I.

I don’t know who I am, but today when I gazed into a cracked mirror in this ruined house, I could at least see the exterior face that holds this relentlessly questioning mind.

That face was neither young, nor elderly, but the exact age was impossible to tell. Am I in my thirties, forties, or perhaps even early fifties?

I do not know.

I have a mop of thick, black unruly hair, and my deep blue/grey weary eyes peer out of a pale, gaunt bearded face. My beard is dense and sprinkled with dashes of distinguished grey, strands of wisdom in a still youthful face. My nose bends slightly to the right, like it has been broken, and inexpertly reformed, and my jaw-line is strong, the jaw-line of a fighter, a man who can take a punch.

I like my face. It is a strong determined face, the face of a fighter, confirmed by the thick bull-neck that is attached to the body of an athlete, a man of action, not words. My arms are heavily muscled, scarred, but not tattooed, and my shoulders are broad and strong. I do not know who I was in my previous life, but I know that I was a physical man, a man with a body that speaks of strength and determination.

With my mind on my physical form, I think back to yesterday, when fear evaporated, something clicked, and my body exploded into action, with a speed that surprised me, and I begin to speculate on my previous life.

I look at my clothing for further clues, and see that I am wearing loose khaki trousers (dark blue) a red T-shirt (sporty?) a blue sweater (no-logo) and a black zip up jacket that has a high neck to protect me from the cold. I check my pockets, but there’s nothing, no wallet, photographs or any other clues as to my life before.

The clothes are practical, informal and loose, and do not hinder my physical movements at all. Was this a deliberate choice that I made before? My missing shoes could have perhaps given me another clue, but at the moment I have to make do with some old white tennis shoes that I was lucky to find in this derelict old building. My feet still hurt, but they are tough and callused, and the damage was merely superficial. My body is tough, and used to physical discomfort. Is that another clue to my identity in a previous life?

I clench my fists, feel my biceps contract, and continue to speculate about that life, and what I did on a daily basis. I think about the status that I did or did not enjoy, my work, my family, my hobbies, my personality itself, and then spin-back and marvel at the contradictions in my mind.

How is it possible for me to theorise and speculate about work, family, and hobbies, when I should have no idea about what any of these concepts mean? How can I write? Was I writer? How do I know of family? How do I know of a career? It doesn't make sense that I can speculate on anything at all, but confusion and contradiction is the norm here, and in that delirium is there somehow a deeper meaning?

I do not know, but in the not knowing, is there a key? Something has to make sense. There has to be answers here, there simply has to be answers.

In searching for those answers I have attempted to engage in various conversations with the people here, but they do not last for very long. They appear lost in their own minds, and talk in single sentences, with closed statements of safety and suspicion. The impression is of isolated individuals living in their own personal vortex, tormented by secret problems, thinking only of themselves, running, hiding, but deliberately shutting themselves off from their fellow travellers.

I suspect that the confusion and isolation that dominates can only exist because in this world of isolation and silence, nothing is being recorded and so therefore nothing can be known. If nobody talks, and nobody writes, what is there to ever know? There is humanity here. I am certain of that, as I benefited from it myself on the first day that I awoke here. I was warned, and helped, and if one person here cared, surely there are others that feel the same way?

The question, of course, is why don’t they? Why do people seem so shut off from each other? Why do I sit here (this morning?) having endured a day of limited human interaction, even though I am surrounded by people who suffer just as greatly as myself?

My working theory, at the moment, is that the people here are stuck in an endless cycle of run, hide, repeat, and lessons are not learnt, as nothing is communicated, and nothing is written down. The people care only about themselves because they think only of themselves. Empathy is lacking, as the people do not see themselves as people at all.

Everybody is I, rather than we. Does that make sense? It sounds like a strange thing to write down, but there is truth there, even though the truth seems very odd indeed.

I will record my experiences in this journal, and in doing so hope to break the cycle of I, rather than we. These words are not for me, but for those that come after, those yet to experience the same feelings of confusion that I have felt, and continue to feel today.

‘I’ must become ‘We.’

This journal then is for tomorrow, and the intent is to break the isolated cycle of today.

Reclining upon the same damp mattress where I composed the previous chapter of this journal, tiredness begins to assail me, but before I surrender to it’s pull, I feel duty bound to record my first experience of sleep in this strange realm of isolated confusion.

Why write about sleep? Because in sleep there are dreams, and the dream that I want to record was too strange to ignore. On the first night, when I woke with such a fright, my only concern was for bodily protection. Did I dream? I do not know, but if I did, it was lost in the terror of the night. On the second night, however, I dreamt, and that dream is still fresh in my mind.

Here are the fragments that remain.

I see light blue eyes of liquid purity, flowing auburn hair, and a countenance that beams with the optimism of spring. The beautiful girl smiles at me, kindly, not because I have said or done anything to deserve this blissful reward, but simply because I am there.

A jolt of happiness shoots through me, and I don’t know what to say, but I feel perfectly okay, and I understand that silence is not isolation here, as there is a bond beyond verbal communication, a bond that ties everyone together, in the shared warmth of human contact.

Shivering in the cold of my nightmarish waking world, the warmth of the dream makes me wince in comparison, and all I want is to return to that infinitely better place.

Thinking hard on the details, trembling in the darkness of this derelict house, I start to recall a feeling of weightlessness. I am walking in the dream, but when my feet touch the ground it’s like there is no ground at all.

Perhaps it is the pain still emanating from my bruised and bleeding feet, but the memory of painlessly walking on weightless ground makes me long even more to fall back into the realm of dreams.

Why do I have to be here, in this dark place of loneliness and fear, where it is cold and scary and dangerous, where people are huddled together, but there is no connection, and no warmth? This is not where I want to be. Why am I here? Why do I have to be here?

Oh, to dream again, and walk on weightless ground, that’s where I long to be. I want warmth. I miss the warmth.

Longing overcomes me, and I feel, for a moment, reconnecting to that realm, as sleep again tempts me away.

Warm, so warm, walking, with no destination, for the destination is already here. Independent, but not apart, feeling overwhelmed with bliss, unconditionally belonging to a fraternity of humanity, no more I, just we, and a connectivity that can only be described, as love.

The dream pops, and I awake again, reclined, sore feet, with pencil in hand, staring at the words on this thick notepad, sentences scrawled out, confusion overwhelming me again, and my eyes begin to well with tears.

I miss the dream. I want to live there, in the dream, forever. This reality is too cold, too harsh, too painful, too lonely, and far too horribly real.

I’m weeping as I write these words down.

I want the dream. I want the dream. I want the dream.

A cruel wind howls through the cracks in the broken panes of glass, whipping through the room, obliterating the dream entirely, and reminding me of this harsh isolating reality that I cannot escape from.

It’s ominously quiet here, everyone sleeps, and I count their sleeping forms, jealously wishing that sleep will once again take me away.

Thirty souls I count, sleeping amongst towels blankets, rugs, bags and coats. Some snore, occasionally a cough breaks out amidst the silence, but overall the impression is of blissful escape, like each and every sleeping form is attempting to connect with the warmth of the dream that I myself had experienced.

Is this the case? I do not know, though I hope that it is, for these people, quiet as they are, isolated from each other as they are, share one common experience, and that experience is to exist in a world that none of them want to be a part of.

I don’t want to be here, and they don’t want to be here either. In sharing that one fact, I guess we have something in common after all?

As my feeling of empathy grows, and I start to identify more and more with the isolated people around me, a flicker of movement warns me of a danger lurking outside.

There is something stirring in the window.


I can see eyes, yellow eyes of cold predatory hunger.

Do they know that I have seen them?

I watch, silently, as they multiply, two, three, four sets of eyes now.


No more time.

I have to do something.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Pandemonium: Chapter Two

Chapter Two: Endless, Nameless

by: Mark Anthony Pritchard (aka Rorshach)

I write these words by the light of a single candle, struggling for the answers that will not come. In this world of confusion, the only thing that is concrete and clear is the black animalistic terror that clouds the night sky outside, a threat too awful and real, to be denied.

It is late evening on my first day, after I awoke here, and I have no memory of my previous life, at all, if such a life did indeed exist. Am I insane, or does my mind instinctively protect itself from a truth that I will not be able to take?

After witnessing the events described in Part 1 of this journal, I followed the barked orders of the fearless young girl, and lagged behind her rapid step as she led me away from the alley, and the filth encrusted safety of my place of concealment.

The girl was not alone, and did not slow her pace for me, as she sprinted away, joining a group of refugees who were rapidly accelerating from the recently vacated tall and foreboding building where I had so-recently awoken in confused terror. I struggled to keep up, barefoot as I was, as the crowd passed me by, and watched in panic as they began to board a large articulated vehicle that was parked at the side of the road.

I wasn't going to make it. I was too slow. My body was locking up again, and the vehicle was going to speed away, and leave me here, in the slime encrusted streets, defenceless against the strange beasts that patrolled the night.

I was wrong, as panic accelerated my step, my frozen limbs kicked into gear, and I flew past the crowd, into the waiting vehicle, as it’s engine roared into life, and it sped away into the cold night’s streets, leaving dozens of desperate faces behind, to fend for themselves.

I had made it. I was safe, for a while.

Struggling to keep my balance in the uncomfortable, cramped quarters of the steel-floored vehicle, as it sped through the dark silent night, I looked from person to person, and what did I see?

Reflected in terrified faces, eyes avoiding contact with the people around them, focussed on the metal floor, wide open in horrified recognition that the nightmare was real, I saw fear, and the awful truth about myself, and the situation that I had found myself in.

There I was amidst the horror, confusion, vulnerability and fear of a shipwrecked people, battered remains of torn humanity, slowly drowning, in a deep pool of shark-infested brutal, horrific inevitable demise.

There was no comradeship there, no bond of familiar or tribal loyalty, just helpless individuals in a horror show of predator and prey, treading water, with the mute understanding that the jaws of death could drag them down, at any moment, into the depths of the black abyss, forever.

But I survived, and now, by candle light, I record events, surrounded by my fellow survivors, in another building, dark, cold and foreboding as before, and my memory returns to the brief interactions that I have had, in this quiet world of terror and confusion.

Seated on the hard floor of the canvas covered vehicle, shivering with cold, my feet bloodied and sore, I began to study the blank faces alongside me, searching for the blonde hair of the young girl who had bade me to follow. At first I did not see her. The people blending into each-other, crouched in shivering balls of cold fear, their bodies covered in dirty brown clothes and blankets, attempting to retain their rapidly diminishing body heat as the chill night air throttled through the vehicle as a whip to the rear of a broken beast of burden.

How to detect a ray of hope in a sea of brown misery? The thought splintered through my mind as I failed to detect her, then suddenly, there she was, in the middle of a row of filthy and unkempt people, a mixture of old and young, men and woman, of different ethnic types, most speaking in tongues that I did not understand. Her hair was covered in a grey hooded top, protection against the ruthlessly cold night’s air, but one stray blonde lock dangled down, a smile of colour in a sea of brown and grey.

Apologising for my rudeness, not that any complaints were forthcoming, I haphazardly forced myself through the packed carriage, eventually muscling into a space alongside the girl herself.

‘Thank you for warning me out there,’ I said, as way of introduction, and her fierce eyes starred directly into my own, in a look far closer to irritation than friendship or concern.

Waiting for an answer, that did not come, her aggressive glare returned to the floor, and she tucked her blonde hair back into the hood that was now wrapped tightly around her head, and obscuring most of her face.

I pressed again for a small titbit of information.

‘What is your name?’ I asked, the answer to which came in the form of look of extreme astonishment, and a tremendous bout of laughter, a reaction that confused me, for what was so amusing about asking for a name?

A response to my look of confusion came immediately, but not from the girl herself, instead from a haggard looking old man alongside her, having heard my question, he could not help but to interject his own words of mockery.

‘Don’t ask stupid questions,’ he said, a look of incredulity writ large upon his heavily lined face, ‘a man your age should know better than that.’

Leaning back, his head rebounding against the soft canvas cover, he began to chuckle softy to himself, and as I struggled for something to say, a sharp dig in my ribs diverted my attention, again, to the young girl beside me.

‘You’ll get used to things around here,’ sighed the girl herself, finally speaking, and there was a resignation in her voice, sad to hear from somebody so young, ‘if you survive, of course,’ she continued, ‘and nobody survives for very long.’

‘I don’t understand,’ I stupidly replied, feeling instant embarrassment at my verbal ineptitude as the confusion in my mind intensified to a fever pitch of incomprehensible panic.

‘Of course you don’t understand, none of us do,’ she replied, her voice lowering now as a sense of deep melancholic resignation set in.

‘Don’t get your knickers in a twist about it mister,’ she continued, looking up at me again, revealing sorrowful brown eyes of long-suffering truth, though there was a return of the previous defiance in her tone that I was happy to hear.

‘They chase, we run,’ she said, ‘what else is there that you need to know?’

Hearing these harsh words of hopelessness caused some kind of metaphysical breakdown in my soul, and I sat back in horror, understanding at once that what she had said was true, horribly, horribly true.

Hours passed by in silence, and the vehicle thundered through the streets, to eventually stop, and deposit me here, in a decrepit old city house, where I sit, surrounded by my fellow survivors.

I record these experiences now, with a thick stub of a pencil, and on a voluminous notepad that I found stashed away in this new hiding place, and I still do not know the name of the young girl who bade me to follow her here.

I asked her again, later on, as we settled into this house, and she replied with a question that finally gave me the answer that I required, even if the answer itself was as terrible as not knowing at all.

‘Tell me your name first, and I will tell you mine,’ she said, a knowing look of strange sadness writ large upon her small child’s face, as she established her claim on a tattered sofa, where she will sleep for the night.

Struggling to recollect a name that did not come, realisation dawned, and harsh reality numbed me into a somnambulist epiphany that was there all-along.

I did not know my own name.

There are no names, not here, and thus ended our conversation, terminated on the terrifying fact that here I am, a nameless mass of flesh, hiding in the night, from black lumbering beasts, moving from building to building, hopelessly lost and confused.

Now, as I recline on a wet mattress, in this broken windowed, wind swept, decaying old building, struggling to find a soft space free from damp, I finish this journal entry, and hope for sleep to take me away to a better world.

Will the beasts find me here? Will I be awoken again and told to run? I do not know, but I do know this. Somebody has to do something, as words alone will not change a thing, and if solutions to do not present themselves to me, I shall find them, for myself.

Yes, I am nameless, confused and afraid, but in this dying candle’s flame I am reminded of something old, eternal, and thus new.

There is the faint light of warmth here, and it speaks of life and hope, and when I awake tomorrow, I know exactly what to do. I will not surrender, and I will not live like the shipwrecked survivors around me.

To run, and hide, waiting for the inevitably of death, that is not life, and though I do not even know my own name, I know these facts for sure.

I will not surrender, and I will not run. Tomorrow morning, whoever I am, wherever I am, the resistance against the monsters outside, will officially begin.

Chapter Three: Out next week. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018


Part 1- Whisper in the Darkness 

by Mark Anthony Pritchard (aka Rorshach)

I woke with orders screamed into my ears, ‘Get out, get out, get out,’ and before I knew what to do, where I was, or who I was, I obeyed.

Terror makes you do that, follow orders, blindly, unthinkingly, as the genetic instinct to preserve body, heaven let us not speak of the soul, kicks in, and we the animal, care only, for the moment, and the potential for pain, or worse, to come.

Cold and naked, I scrambled for my clothes, found them on the dark floor, put them on, haphazardly, my jeans loose without a belt, and my T-shirt inside out, shoeless, adrenaline crazed I cared for nothing but escape.

I saw a light, and that was my destination, helped along by the screamed cries that beckoned me to follow, already distant as they rushed ahead to save themselves, but from what?

I was shortly about to find out.

A drumbeat of terror enveloped the room in further alarm, as screams of the unfortunate cried for mercy, their location the floor below my own, and I ran, finding myself heading towards an open window, a fire-escape, with steel steps leading to the rain-soaked pavements on the ground below.

Searching for that initial voice of warning, hoping for recognition, a friend, anybody, I found nothing but scurrying human forms, wet hair, panic, the people half-naked, like myself, falling over themselves in a desperate bid to escape.

A lady in front of me, aged and weak, crumpled to the floor, and, to my eternal shame, I did nothing to help, but stepped over her prone form, throwing myself down the rusty steps, and the haven of potential safety below.

Hitting the wet pavement bare feet bleeding and sore, guilt kicked-in, and I paused, for a second, and turned back, thinking of the fallen lady, only to witness a vision of the horror that we were escaping from, and as self-preservation returned, I turned again, and shamefully, ran.

I did not get very far.

Inexplicably, my legs began to fail me, and the paralysis of fear was fast shutting me down. Freezing up, I searched for a place to hide, quickly, and found one, fifty yards from the building, behind a dumpster spewing a stench of rotting meat, a vantage point where I will shiver in fear, and watch as events unfold.

From behind my rank hiding place I see the squat dark shadows of our pursuers emerge from the building, and feel a sense of almighty relief when instead of descending the metal steps to pursue us further on the ground below, they remain, stationary, on top.

From the high vantage point of the fire escape stairs, their yellow eyes briefly scan the darkness below, piercing white beams from soul-less orbs lighting up the murky streets below, but they miss me, their scan being merely perfunctory, and they turn their attention to their captured, elderly prey.

Shivering in the wet gloom, the cold rain splattering painfully through my barely dressed form, confused by remnants of sleep that have morphed into a world of horror that is all too real, my attention is immediately fixated upon the nature of the creatures themselves.

There is a simian aspect to their forms, standing as they do, on two legs, their bulky torsos leaning forward, with unnaturally long arms that almost touch the ground, muscular appendixes that seem designed for pursuit on all-fours, at tremendous speeds that are beyond human capacity.

In colour they were black, unclothed, as the beasts that they are, and as the rain fell on their broad shoulders and backs, the moonlight revealed a fur-like texture, almost a coat, but patch-bare, like a moulting animal suffering from a terminal disease.

Two of them were on the floor, securing their elderly prey, one at her neck, the other at her feet, holding not to kill, but to control. They appeared to be waiting, and I could heard strange grunted conversation emanating from the four creatures that circled around their grounded companions, discussing something perhaps, but in a form of language that was unrecognisable from anything that I have ever heard before.

As the horrifying pursuit lulled into a temporary lull, a flash of lightning crashed through the dark night sky, and for one horrifying moment I saw the facial features of one of the creatures clearly, the horror enough to drive a sane man into unrecoverable madness.

How to describe such figures of inhuman cruelty? How to convey the monstrous aspects of the form that I was witness to? How to describe what surely cannot be described?

Heaven preserve my sanity as I try to reconstruct, in mere words alone, the grotesque horror that was revealed to me by that strike from the heavens.

The face, that appeared black as night in the shadows, was as pale as death in the light of electric revelation. Hairless on top, bulbous of frontal lobe, the eyes were set cruelly deep, black orbs with pins of fiery damnation burning with a hell-fire intensity of nihilism realised. The mouth was too big for the face, stretching from stubbed ear to stubbed ear, a wicked joker grin of malicious intent, lined with jagged fangs, teeth designed to rip and tear. The nose was that of a tracker, large, drooping downwards, designed to sniff, hunt down, and capture the scent of it’s prey. But as demonic as the face indeed was, there was something all-too recognisably human about it as well. Perched atop the body of a simian monster, with eyes and mouth of intense cruelty, it was the smirk on the face that scared me the most, as it was a scarred reminder that the most sinister and evil creature in existence, is, often-times, as history shows, humanity itself.

Swallowing down the urgent need to vomit, I steadied my nerves, and struggled to regain my composure in the wet filth of waste, the stench becoming a background inconvenience as the horror before me continued to unfold.

My initial theory, that the monsters, for monsters they most certainly were, had paused for the arrival of a higher authority, was confirmed in an instant. Another figure, with a body like the rest, only larger, emerged from the shadows of the building, barked what had to be orders at the standing members of the group, and approached the grounded figure of the elderly lady, still held securely in place by two of the creatures.

Releasing their grip on the lady, the two creatures nodded in supplication to their commander, and returned to the building, leaving just two forms at the top of the fire-exit, the largest monster of them all, and an elderly human who I could now hear was gently sobbing in fear.

Seeing just the two of them there, something akin to my old courage began to manifest, and I felt anger rising within me, and the urge to rush back up the metal steps, and engage the creature in hand to hand, mortal combat.

‘Don’t be stupid,’ whispered a voice from behind me, anticipating my desire to intervene, and I turned to see the face of a child, a young girl of no more than ten-years of age, blonde of hair, and inexplicably fierce of attitude and demeanour.

Her lack of fear instantly confused me, and I was about to question her when a terrible scream erupted from atop the fire escape. Turning back, expecting to see the bloody demise of a human being that I had stepped over just minutes before, I instead was witness to a bizarrely supernatural spectacle that was too unreal to be real.

Electricity concentrated in a circular form around the elderly lady, and she floated high in the air, twenty yards above the kneeling figure of the monstrous creature, on it’s knees now, it’s long arms raised high in what appeared to a religiously inspired supplication to a power greater than itself.

In a language of guttural moans, screams and impishly malign evil incantations, the creature offered up the suspended human sacrifice, with a voice that rose and rose and rose, until finally, an answer for what must have been cries for recognition, arrived.

Invisible evil screeched through the black, rain drenched night sky, creating a white noise din of terror that knocked me back from the safety of my observation post. The impact upon the suspended lady was as a hammer on a fly, terminating the electric charge that surrounded her, as all trace of the lady herself disappeared into the ether of the night.

Stillness hit the cold air, as some unspeakable deed had been completed. The monster at the top of the steps paused, roared a deep sigh of self-satisfaction, and re-entered the building.

Paralysed by fear, my body fast shutting down in frozen disbelief, I felt a small hand on my shoulder, and turned to see the face, once again, of a fearless young girl.

‘Come on mister,’ she snapped, a chord of irritation in her tone, ‘Sort yourself out mate, it’s time to go.’

Pandemonium is an ongoing series. Part Two will be released next week. If you enjoyed the story, please share on social media. Thank you.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

#Comicsgate, Uncle Ethan, Vox Day and Fourteen Words that Say It All

Last night, in two separate YouTube livestreams, #Comicsgate was offered a choice between completely divergent pathways into the future of the movement. One path was apolitical, and the other the pathway that #Comicsgate has often times being accused of taking, a road leading to the much criticised and demonised ‘Alt-right.’

The first pathway is that offered up by Ethan Van Sciver (aka ‘Uncle Ethan), a long-time comic book artist who has recently left DC Comics largely due to political differences between himself, and the Democrat party supporting consensus that predominates within the industry. Uncle Ethan, seeing YouTube as the valuable tool for commerce that it is, has steadily grown his channel by producing anti-SJW content, mostly focussed on pointing out the laughable incompetence of Disney Star Wars. His videos have been funny, and culturally relevant, surfing on a wave of growing discontentment with the far-left ideology that has began to make itself very evident in mainstream entertainment media today.

Uncle Ethan has seen an opportunity, and taken it with the strength of his engaging, welcoming, and dryly humorous personality. It’s hard not to like Uncle Ethan, because he’s an eminently likeable guy, and more than that he is extremely adept at creating a community around himself. Interfacing with the customer directly on YouTube livestreams in a fun and informal way, he is filling a gap in the market that was not being exploited, or catered to by his fellow comic book peers, and his success is very well deserved. But other than community and witty critiques of the Cultural Marxism messaging/programming of mainstream entertainment, what does he have to offer, in terms of comic book product?

Looking at his IndieGoGo campaign (CyberFrog) we can see that Uncle Ethan offers spectacular artwork, and a story about a superhero frog fighting a plague of hornets. Analogous to his own fight against SJW’s in mainstream comics? I think so, but the political messaging is kept in the background, and the blurb to sell the book states, ‘quality, and a lot of fun!’ Looking at the artwork itself, and hearing him talk about the book on his livestreams. I’m taking him completely on his word here, and I am certain that it will be everything that he says that it will be.

Ethan Van Sciver is a very talented artist, and Cyber Frog is his big push to break away from the far-left mainstream. His book will be the best that he can do, and the best that he can do is better than anything you’ll get in the mainstream today, artistically speaking at least, plus, you are guaranteed no far-left silliness if you back the book.

Apart from Cyber Frog, EVS also uses his YouTube platform to publicise the work of his friends, fellow comic book pros who can no longer go along with the far-left ideological consensus of the mainstream comic book industry. The comic books they are offering, and they increase on a weekly basis, are also crowd-funded, and appear, at least so far, to be largely apolitical, and focussed on taking the politics away from comic books, and making them fun, and inclusive for all.

Uncle Ethan and his friends, whilst openly supporting the Republican Party in the US, and President Donald Trump, are not political ideologues. They are not extreme, and certainly not what they are often accused of being by their enemies in the mainstream comic book industry.

Then there is Vox Day, a man who is a little bit different, and by little, I mean a lot, and the path that he opened up for the future of #Comicsgate last night on YouTube, is in stark contrast to what is being offered by Uncle Ethan.

Vox Day, writer, publisher, and a man who identifies as a ‘libertarian nationalist’ is certainly a better fit of the ‘Alt-right’ stereotype often used to demonise Uncle Ethan and the #Comicsgate movement as a whole. Last night, in his own livestream, Vox elucidated on his decision to set up a comic book platform under the ‘ComicsGate’ brand name, a move specifically designed to gain publicity at the expense of Ethan Van Sciver, and the more inclusive movement that he is creating on YouTube and IndieGoGo.

Here’s what Vox has to say about the ongoing drama, and the pathways into the future that have been opened by the two opposing camps.

‘Let the ComicsGatekeepers gnash their teeth all they like. While they have been talking, talking, and talking some more, we have published 22 digital editions and 11 print editions in the last eight months. And based on an author who signed with us last night, it is safe to anticipate that some of the loudest voices raised against us will be publishing with us in less than a year.’

The 'Dark Lord' Vox day.
Vox Day appears to know exactly what he is doing in claiming the name of 'ComicsGate’ as his own. It’s cheeky for sure, but it is a calculated move, designed to steer Comicsgate away from the largely apolitical goals of Ethan Van Sciver, and into more identitarian territory.

Last night, in the two livestreams I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this article, two very divergent pathways were revealed.

The first is with Uncle Ethan, a mainstream Republican, who wants to make comic books available for everyone again. The second path is that of Vox Day, an alt-right identitarian who wants to make comic books for a very different group of people.

As I write these words, Uncle Ethan is doing another livestream, with the title ‘Vox Day Aftermath,’ and is discussing Vox Day’s use of the fourteen words.

What are the fourteen words? They are, as follows:

‘We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.’

In these fourteen words we see the stark contrast between Vox Day and Ethan Van Sciver, and the difference in the two pathways that were revealed for #ComicsGate last night.

Uncle Ethan disavows people who use the fourteen words, and in disavowing people who use these words is going directly against everything that his enemies in the far-left mainstream of comics claim him to be.

Ethan Van Sciver is not Alt-Right, is not an identitarian, is not a white nationalist and he never was.

Vox Day is all of those things, and he always was.

Alt-Right, or apolitical, all-inclusive ‘normie?’

These are the two pathways for #Comicsgate to consider, and the choices that will be made shall dictate the future of the movement as a whole. Will #ComicsGate become what the mainstream left always said that it was, or can Uncle Ethan lead it into the middle-ground of apolitical escapist fun, if that is even possible during these deeply divided, politically and culturally incendiary times?

We’ll see.

Choices will be made, and the pathway will be chosen.

Which one shall it be?