©2021 Michael Raven
The leaves danced down the abandoned asphalt street, the sound of dried, hollow bones in their wake. Logan had not wanted to be here, had not asked to have this so-called gift, had not wanted anything at all to do with the past few eons other people measured in months. But no one had bothered to ask for his opinion on the matter, had even thought to ask him. Even now, the only reason he was here was yet one more thing he could not control: love. He loved her, and so he had fallen victim to the final sordid conspiracy surrounding this whole affair. Were it not for love… No. He didn’t want to think about such things.
Logan was unsurprised to see the man who was the cause of all these problems step from the shadows of the tangled tree like something from one of those cheap matinee monster movies from his youth. Everything about Klein oozed a plastic pastiche borrowed from some kind of camp warehouse. “You came,” he said, his voice slick with oil, and this, too, was something entirely predictable for Logan.
“I did,” he said without emotion. “Where is she?”
“We’ll discuss the girl after you’ve opened the door.” In his hand, the glint of metal reflected in the light of this place between worlds. Behind the tree, then.
It could be any door, Logan knew, so he walked up to the wrought-iron cemetery gate and put his hand on the rusted metal, cold to the touch. “Give her to me,” he said.
“THE DOOR!” Klein shouted. “Open the fucking door and you get the girl! That’s the deal! You stretch this out and I’ll slit her fucking throat!”
Logan cracked the gate, letting sunshine pour into this October country. Klein flashed a toothy grin.
“Give me Klaris, or I shut you in here forever.”
“I’ll slice her…”
“You slice her and I don’t care if either of us leaves. Do it, or give her to me.”
Klein paused, considered. And then dragged her into the dim light and pushed Klaris, stumbling, towards Logan.
Klein squealed as he ran to the gate, anxious to be rid of this prison. Until Klaris tripped him and he slid on his face to Logan’s feet.
Brushing herself off as she stood, Klaris spoke. “Not so fast, you bastard. We’re not done talking yet…”
Exploration. I occasionally consider returning to a terrible, no good, very bad novel I’ve been rehashing over and over in my head since about 1996. Actually, I wrote a two-pager in 1996 and forgot all about it until I stumbled on it around 2001 and I wrote the better part of a novel in serialized format until I painted myself into a corner with the plot. It was called “Drifter” and the biggest issue it had was that I never got around to connecting that initial fragment to the story enough to justify what the character “Drifter” was all about. But it was terrible in a number of other ways, while still having some promise in fits and starts.
After I had written about half of it, I rediscovered Siouxsie and the Banshees after a long hiatus of listening to earlier albums. One of the albums I hadn’t purchased carried a track called “Drifter” and this was probably another reason why the whole story fell apart so badly — I loved the lyrics and started to model the character after the song. In fact, if I were start from scratch, I think the song would be the primary inspiration for Drifter instead of the reluctant pseudo-vampire ash cursed thing he was supposed to be originally.
Anyway, the above is improvised, working off the ghost of a scene that I might write if I went back to it.
The lyrics are:
Drifter sleepwalk, drifter sleep talk Awake to who is following Moving like water, moving drifting on the wind A drifter coming in Then I dreamt that I awoke And all around was asleep With eyes in the back of my head Awake to who is following Drifter coming in Never touching down, never leaving ground A twilight world in which we roam Still we don't belong, drift on At daybreak, we walk At daybreak, we talk Ready to tear up the world Drifter sleepwalk, drifter sleep talk Your everywhere is home yet you never take hold Wanting to live everywhere not wanting to live anywhere A twilight world in which you roam Still you won't belong, drift on Drifter... Dream on.