“Cacodemons haunted the steps of fear-ridden Halizbuk”
The curtains hung outside the window, but as I approached the house to draw them apart, I knew instinctively that there would be curtains inside too.
They were sodden from the rain but they slid easily on the runners; I peered into a black box, for I was wrong about the second set of curtains and, incredibly, no glass in the window. I stepped on my own shoulders, some say, to get over the ledge into the building, using my left knee as the first rung in a ladder ...
Once in, my eyes adjusted to the darkness and picked out a naked man in the corner. I could not decipher his exact activity, but it was akin to using his tongue as a cleansing implement for his body and even contorting joints to lap up bits and pieces of grime that had log-jammed along his spine and lower. I knew I had reached my goal, for this was the man who was to teach me further tricks of the trade, I hoped.
Roll up! Roll up! Halizbuk the Contortionist will amaze you with the very bending of the truth of reality. See him walk a ladder of his own bones — see them emerge like clockwork from his chest: a retractable construct that will cross-hatch the very air about you. Hear him transpose sneezes to his bum! Smell the bursting of his innards one by one! And, don’t laugh, give him space for the grand finale, which will only last for a few seconds, it’s dangerous otherwise, only Halizbuk can keep it going so long, the whole body turned inside out!!
I could hear the cheer-leader even now, I predicted the fame I would have. I approached the old man in the corner, who was now suckling gently on his own slightly protruding nipple. He looked up and, in the growing half-light of the room, he nodded imperceptively. He pointed to another man in the opposite corner of the room, whom I had not yet noticed.
The others who had watched me clamber into the window and now waited outside deserved some attention. I knew some were reporters on newspapers but others, no doubt, were toting huge money-boxes in some charitable purpose. One had even set up a blinding searchlight, to ease the strain of his TV camera, for I knew something had bolstered up the half-light in the room.
I raced to the window and shouted loudly enough for their microphones:
“One has a beard and straggly hair, and teeth that grow as long as his beard. The other has a stubbled face that rounder grows the more I look at it...”
“Have they started to join up yet?” came a voice out of the darkness, no doubt hoping for some pre-emptive scoop.
“They’re in opposite corners, like boxers, but bits of their thigh-flesh are sharpening and stretching out like tendrils, feeling for each other across the floor”.
A thousand voices brayed at me from the building opposite, where they had perched their equipment; they posed like winged demons, trying to suck out as much meat from the human tragedy still evolving ...
“Their privy parts are widening, lengthening and bending at several new joints that break out along them. They’ll splice at some point and the knobbled cross will soon prevent egress from the room…”
The spectators, more impatient, waddled closer to the open window, driving in like squealing herds of pig-meat. I motioned them to retreat, for they might have upset the equilibrium of the merging muscles, even now spitting like hot fat and sliding into each other’s snake-skins. One whiplash flesh-stalk had fastened on to my arm and grew there in a split second, until I tore it from me in disgust … losing part of my own body in the process.
Wild hair wove a texture around the walls of the room, with, here and there, fleshy buds, hanging red strings, white bone shells, flickering jabbering tickle-tongues ... all blooming around and from the snorting monster that the two men had become.
And, in unison, its thousand tongues announced a coming, a name of arrival: Etepsed Egnis, and it was equally spelt out by the wriggling bones encrusted in the ceiling above me ...
I travel round the country now with a family circus ... you know, the usual thing, tricksy cyclists, clowns with red dingdongs, trapeze artists with narrow crutch pants; and I do the splits and crack my bones in rhythm to “When the Saints...” A bit down market ... for my story was not held for long in the nationals, the mass of reporters scuttled off to new cacophonies and wilder scandals, my newsworthiness wilting away like the monster in the curtained box.
The magician uses the box in his act, it is true, but when you won’t come to meet your public on time, crouching mealy-mouthed in the top corner, leeched to the wood like a shrivelling worm, Etepsed Egnis, it’s not surprising you’re only what you are.
The drab tent had been set up on the outskirts of the town, where a
housing estate, bristling with TV aerials, had lately grown up.
Scrawny orphans, as soon as they saw the arrival of the ancient circus, ambled into the decrepit menagerie area on the off chance of catching a whiff of its fulsome stench.
Clowns were crouched on the ground tugging at their red bulbous noses to encourage further growth. Stilt men had not yet unrooted their limbs from the scrubby soil, in the process feeding sediments from the queen elephant’s weed hatch into the still unmanured outcroppings. Freak show keepers were busy pulling a long rubbery hose from the snake-man’s trousers, in an apparent attempt to pump his bilge ...
Halizbuk, one time contortionist, lately turned magician, was rehearsing before his curtained box; and the local scallywags squatted around his plinth in rapt attention.
“Roll up! Roll up! I’ve bent bones for years, showed their raw ends out of my very skin. But that’s nothing compared to what is to be revealed from the House of Hell. The Rabbit is nibbling at the silk innards of the chimney hat, but he has a friend nudging up to him, hankering for love but hunching in hate, hatching away beneath the Rabbit’s sweet haunches, munching the vile things with their heads and tails still on...”
Halizbuk drew the curtains along the well-oiled runners, prodded his finger into a far corner of the box, winkling, prizing, teasing out…
“Come on, Etepsed Egnis, you can’t carry on like this beyond eternities that I have not yet even dreamed up”.
The urchins were round-eyed, arms folded in their laps in the embarrassment of slight tacky tumescence... for the box seemed to throb and pulse as if on the point of throwing up a massive, orgasmic birth. The sides belled out like a tent and a huge claw of whitest bone forked out. The clowns turned their backs, for their harlequin tights were breaking out in unseasonable lumps.
“Come on”, screamed Halizbuk, “today’s today, the sole Double # E is Exploding into Existence ...“
And a wild wicked flashpoint of wrinkled, rippling skin ridden with writhing lengths of jaws ‘n claws entered fist ‘n fury nova, a hypernuclear prestidigitation of supermeshed sky and dogfight.
Halizbuk reeled back only to be circumscribed by the snakeskins unpeeling from the loins of mankind; he moaned pitilessly for he had released horror on the wings of truth. Etepsed Egnis, in glorious, unreproachable rebirth, wheeled about above the countless scuttling TV morons just escaped into the streets from their own personal boxes.
The rapscallions still squatted round the remains of the Halizbuk’s curtained box, their tubes and coily appendages irretrievably rooting down down down... and their bodies growing manly and mighty, from the new soil, the new hope…
Published ‘Dagon DF Lewis Special’ 1989
Posted at 11:23 am by Weirdmonger