Ghost Dance

In Minneapolis, it is raining. The weather has cooled from the mid-nineties to the low sixties. I’m feeling a bit thoughtful today and have since last night when I started posting strange nonsequiturs on Instagram and Twitter. They read well but were symptomatic of the shift in my mood from aggressive pursuit of financial security to the more easy going thoughtfulness that comes with the achievement of my goals. I still have more work to do and not to rely on cliche, but I feel a weight has been lifted.

Today’s story is a piece of erotica I wrote in New Orleans around Halloween last year. It is short, strange and a lot of fun to write. Please enjoy Ghost Dance.

Sleeping_with_ghosts

“The house is haunted. That’s apparently a selling point.” My potential landlord said in a perky tone.

“Really?” I repeated.

“Surprisingly yes. A lot of people enjoy the thrill of living with a ghost. I don’t believe it myself, but it’s definitely been brought up by more than a few tenants.” she went on as she moved through the house.

“I’ll take it.” I found myself warming to the idea of a supernatural roommate. She smiled and brought me to the kitchen to fill out some paperwork and worked through the details of the lease. I nodded absently and found myself already looking for signs of a presence other than our own. I felt nothing. Saw nothing and felt hustled by the absurd pitch.

The apartment was definitely worn. The walls were painted spirit blue and the floors were hardwood. The bedroom and primary room had what looked like an ancient fireplace caked in decades old white paint. It had apparently never functioned as anything more than sound insulation according to the landlord. The apartment had a balcony, a fairly large kitchen, and a spacious bathroom. The place had the smell of age. I stood in the bedroom as she left waiting to see the mysterious wraith. I half expected the walls to bleed the moment she closed the door. Still nothing.

I wanted to believe. I wanted to see something of this hidden world others claimed to have experienced. My grandmother showed me pictures of fairies in the garden and ghosts in her hallway as I grew up. I believed, but only because I was a child. As a grown man, I saw nothing that supported her claims and those pictures never resurfaced in any photo albums and she never spoke of them.

I moved in. Days passed and still my specter refused to appear. I all but forgot about the dubious selling point.

I crept into bed on a chilly night. The sheets chilled me as pulled them over me. After the heat of the previous month, the drop was a welcome change, but it still sent a shiver down my spine. My mind was releasing the work of the day and shedding the last of my tension.

I felt something lightly catch on the hem of my sheet. I shifted and pulled the sheet closer to my chin. Again the sheet shifted and a breeze flowed down over my chest. I pulled it up again and settled onto my side gripping the covering. Something gently touched my cheek and I swatted at it. I opened my eyes to the darkness. The ceiling above was bare and there were no insects buzzing. I shifted upright and sat against the wall. A hand touched my shoulder from behind. I felt a thrill pass through me. My ghost. I let the touch linger tried to focus on it. Every detail. I wanted to remember and tell people later about my haunting.

The touch stayed and moved gingerly down my back and crept over my flank. I let the sheet fall from my chest. Another hand touched my chest and I felt pressure on my lap. A whisper touch on my lips and a flush warmth rose through me. I reached my hands out hoping to find something. I felt skin. The smooth slope of an ass and the crush of invisible breasts on my chest. The ghost’s hands moved down my torso and reached into my briefs.

I held my breath. The world stood still. Nothing in my life had prepared me for this meeting. My eyes opened and closed in rapid succession trying to find my unexpected lover. Feathery hands pulled my penis free. Hot and cold laced together as her phantom hands stroked me.

There was weight and mass, but no image. Nothing for my eyes to focus on, but the spirit blue walls and the foot of my bed. Whatever demon form she took I wanted to see her face. The image must’ve been absurd. My hands hanging in the thin air caressing curves that couldn’t be perceived. My mind filled in her form from the braille of her exquisite body. Sharp shoulder blades. The fan of her hair became clear with my eyes closed.

Her tongue swirled with mine. My hips were bucking against what felt like her thigh. Her hands guiding me into her and I felt the warmth engulf me. There was nothing in my world that could tear me from that moment. The traffic sounds outside dimmed. The dull monotone of the refrigerator. I was still in the waking world. This wasn’t a dream. Her weight shifted and pieces of my will evaporated and I began moaning. Making sounds I hadn’t made since I discovered and explored sex with Becky back in high school.

Spectral nails raked my back. I could hear the slapping sound of our thighs smacking each other over and over again until there was a shudder and the pace had to be started again. Her smell. Her moaning and finally her form materializing like a wash of watercolor in front of my eyes. Her eyes were such an absolute black that it pulled in all light. Her skin was alabaster. Her hair was black and stuck to her forehead from her exertion. She shuddered once more and she smiled before her weight was suddenly gone. Nothing remained.

“Now I believe.” I smiled and drifted off to sleep.

As always, thank you for reading. Please submit a story.

Kristopher Bishop 

note: Image was lifted from a Placebo album cover. I found it on a google search for public use images. I claim no rights to the image.

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This is my Body, This is my Blood

As I’ve gotten older I’ve been finding inspiration in new places. When I was younger and playing a lot more roleplaying games than was probably healthy I would flip through the phone book for character names. The names are often all I needed to craft a fully realized background.

In recent years, I find someone in the bar or restaurant I’m at and I make up a little story about them. Whether or not the story matches closely to their actual life is irrelevant. It was just a thought experiment to help me write better. I had a hard time pulling those ideas out when I sat down at home to write and that brings us to what I’ve been doing lately.  Last week I pulled a series of phrases and crafted a short story out of those phrases. It’s not exactly cut up style, but I have found recently that when I’m stuck with where to go I can look at a phrase within the context of the story I’m writing and give it a new meaning. I have found it to be incredibly helpful.

Below is a new piece of flash fiction I wrote using a few phrases I lifted from twitter. It is an original piece apart from the handful of words I used for inspiration.

Enjoy.

Criminal turned actor, people called him Jack. Criminal turned actor read well on paper like maybe he turned his life around. “That’s the sound of Thunder.” He said as he lit the blunt.

We were standing next to a bench next to a large gothic church. There were people nearby, all of them focused on their own strangeness. This is where the refuse sleeps, out on these benches. During the day, it is teeming with performers and fortune tellers, but the night was for the unwashed stinking reprobates. My tribe as much as I hated it.

The criminal turned actor said, “Smoke of this blunt for it is my body, drink of this forty for it is my blood.” Jack’s face cracked into a smile, “Is it raining or just moisting?” He looked at the sky in a wistful way. I shrugged unsure of the answer. I hadn’t felt any rain, but the rain came and went with mysterious stealth in this part of the world. He extended the blunt to me. The joint cherry cracked gently as its blazing core decimated the paper. I focused on the smoke rising from it, took the joint and pulled it to my lips. I inhaled deeply and remembered I shouldn’t take such large hits, but it was an old habit.

Jack kept smiled, I couldn’t look at him when I was high. I turned to the others. A homeless man mumbled to himself as I drew in the sweet smoke, “I been here for forty years! Right here! I got them dirty motherfuckers. I got them dirty motherfuckers and I’ll kick your ass! You fucker. I been her forty years. I’ll be here after your gone. You don’t know shit, motherfucker.” The bum’s name was Kermit, like the frog. I knew him. He was my future. I could see it in his wrinkled dry apple face.

“Drink of this forty.” He smiled again.

I finished the phrase, “It is your blood.” He nodded. “I’m going to go.”

He nodded as I tipped the bottle back. The sick sweet beer was warm. I coughed as it washed the back of my throat. “Do you want company?” Jack looked interested in personal time. I told him before I wasn’t interested, but he still tried when we were together.

“Sure.” I responded.

We walked to the river’s edge and stood on the beach passing the bottle between us. The joint was already finished and the effects were starting to fully present themselves. I felt the plush sensation of THC hitting my nerve endings and I felt my face smiling.

There was  a snap in the distance as if a firecracker were set off somewhere. “That’s a gun.” Said Jack. He turned to the bank and ran up.

I followed. “Why are we running towards the gunshots?” I asked still grinning.

“Could be something worth seeing.” His eyes sparkled. They were mostly balls of shadow, but there was the tiniest reflection running along the rim of his iris.

I smiled back, couldn’t help myself and for an endless moment I reconsidered his intentions. Another crack broke the spell of darkness and another. “We should get out of here.” I said.

“Okay.” He nodded and we turned back to the lower ground of the beach. I shifted and fell in the loose sand. I felt Jack’s posture change next to me. I picked myself up and saw his back was to me. I was about to speak, but the forty fell from his hand and his body shifted uneasily and he fell forward just to his knees. I moved closer unsure and unwilling to believe what I knew was happening. I stood for a moment and then reached to him. My hand grabbed his shoulder. I couldn’t get any closer.

Another firecracker and I dropped to the ground. Jack still knelt beside me, hadn’t moved. I got to my knees and grabbed at his shoulders, “Stop it.” He said, almost too quiet. He turned to me and I could see what had happened, what I knew had happened. In the yellow sodium light, I was spared the grisly details, but I knew his right eye was gone.

The story ends abruptly because I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to continue it or not. I kind of like ending things this way even if  I never pick it up again.

Thank you for reading, and please feel free to submit stories I would love to post more.

Kristopher Bishop

SunDance/Middle American Cults

I have a lot of unfinished material on my hard drive. This site is where I will put the material that I have been working with. A lot of it will be unfinished, some are scraps of other stories. I like to think that somewhere down the line it will lead to a novel or a short story collection, something so that whatever good parts aren’t wasted in the cobwebs of my crap computer.

Today I will present two pieces. The first is a vampire story I was working on. I hit a wall and haven’t been able to go further.

As before this material is the first draft and may be a bit raw.

SunDance

Monsters are real. Sometimes they’re men and women who do horrific things. They perpetrate torture, murder and rape. Sometimes they aren’t human, or maybe they were, but they were changed into something else. Werewolves were humans until they were bitten by another werewolf and like a virus the curse was transferred. Sometimes it was a gypsy curse or drinking water from a werewolves footprint. There were all kinds of ways to be changed into a monster. A vampire sucks your blood and you rise from your own grave another vampire. A bite from a zombie would transform you. Faeries steal babies and replace them with their own children who walk each day as a human until something alerts them to their nature. They hear faerie music or fall asleep in a toadstool ring. Suddenly they know they are no longer human and they do whatever it is faeries do, which isn’t always very nice. Redcaps would eat children and dye their caps in the leftover blood. Selkies would drown men and women by luring them into the water. Sidhe employed poisonous arrows. Demonic possession could change you as well. People have forgotten the old stories and forgotten why the dark is a terrifying place. We still fear darkness, but we never really know the reason. Here is my testimony that dark things exist in the world.

Continue reading

Once more into the breach

When I feel that I am not the man I am supposed to be, or the man I was meant to be I feel dread. Not as a slow creeping malignancy, but as this all consuming fire that swallows my rational mind. I am supposed to be a writer and when asked I tell people I am a writer, but I don’t write. I drive, work, clean, and philosophize, but I don’t write. I have this problem that I’m afraid of rejection and success simultaneously.

I have written sporadically over the last year. I have always written sporadically, but it is increasingly troubling as I am trying to move further along in an effort to become a professional writer. I enjoy writing, but often it becomes a slog where I feel an excitement and the words come easily and freely, but soon after comes anxiety and then boredom. This is the cycle. It is a cycle that I struggle with constantly so it is with this is in mind that I am writing now. I want to move forward and become a better writer in order to do that I have to force myself to write consistently. There are no awards. There is possibly no one reading, but it has to become a habit like brushing teeth or exercise.

I will write. I will move past this longstanding roadblock and progress.

This blog is designed to feature my creative writing and the creative process as a whole. I listened to a radio documentary about William S Burroughs presented by Iggy Pop. The documentary was entertaining, but what inspired me was the concept of the Cut Up process that he became involved in. I thought to try it out but didn’t have access to a newspaper so I instead turned to Twitter, lifted three phrases out of context and created a story around them. The story evolved naturally and despite the lifted phrases it is a completely original work.

Note: I do not condone violence towards women. The piece below is a work of fiction and not meant to display any politics on my part. I am proud of the piece. It has an underworld quality that reminds me of Tom Waits or Nick Cave in regard to subject matter.

He believes she’s a hooker, a reject from Hell returning to Earth for a life of depravity. He thinks about her, this hooker and wonders what Hell was like, wonders if he’ll ever see its shores. He believes what he wants to believe and he hears Dennis Hopper screaming “Feel my muscles. Feel it. You like that?” and all the old stereotypes resurface.
He believes she is a hooker, but he hasn’t asked her. He sits quietly in the cafe dreaming of her life of depravity, dreaming of her return to Earth to test his will. His will is a weak and flimsy thing and despite his knowledge of her demonic origins he knows if she were to approach he would let his soul be damned. He believes what he wants to believe, but his soul is weak. He can’t have it. Dinner with this hooker in his sight. To him, she becomes more the whore with each movement, each breath. Every second she is transforming trollop, harlot, adulteress. Where is her man? Where is the cop to arrest her indecency?
He wishes now, in the pit of his heart that he had read the scriptures more carefully. He wishes he were better defended. She is beautiful and he can see her leg from his vantage. She touched it lovingly as she drank her coffee. How could he not? Her skirt was so short and her skin was practically glowing in the florescent light of the cafe. There is a twist in his stomach, a slow churning that comes before vomit. He can’t stand the sight of her, but he also can’t look away and has become caught in her devilish spell.
He closes his eyes and hums to himself. Sixteen years sober today. He believes she’s a hooker. He picks up his coffee pot. Grips it tightly as he stands. “Feel my muscles.” the words sing to him. He walks to her table slowly, deliberately. Each step is a victory for heaven. He looks her in the eye. She stares up at him and smiles. He believes she’s a hooker, “You like that?” He says as he raises the pot. She can see what’s coming now, but it’s too late. She is going to feel pain. The coffee pot shatters on contact with her head. “You like that?” He screams and hits her again.
She was reading a book. He didn’t see the book before, but he sees it now. Its title is obscured by her blood. He keeps hitting because now the demon must know he is righteous and that he will not back down from Satan. He keeps hitting her until a waitress, a cook and three other customers pull him from on top of her. His eyes sting with tears as they lay him on the cold tile of the diner floor. His fingers feel the texture of grime beneath him and he cough and then laughs at his victory over the devil. He believes she’s a hooker.