BERRYDEARTH

There was always a cult in Berrydearth, always a skulking flock of freaky white-breads and stray hats hacking up feral cats with box cutters, tempting the local sweethearts to spawn, synthesizing psychotropic drugs from industrial poisons and creepy-crawling through your bedrooms babe.

 

  By 1986, one man emerged as being most torturous in sentiment, most powerful in authority as regarded his own illusions and so was awarded the right to determine the actions of almost every other cult-bum doing time.

 

Straggling hair and deep-set blue eyes that did not baulk at utterly beholding you. Scanlon Drowds was his name.

 

Berrydearth itself was a scene of even more progressive dilapidation than that of Fume further south. It had once been a mining town, but the mine had fallen into the ground during the summer of 1932, taking most of the miners with it, and miles underfoot it still burned. Most had moved to the mainland or to marginally preferable climes in Fume.

 

What townsfolk that persisted, cobbled together a primitive existence in the monolithic tenements on the main street of Belling's Row. All still kept televisions astutely cabled, antennae raised and percolating dread. That cold cathode was the absolute centre of their souls and psychologies. Nothing got between a Berrydearther and his T.V time. Generally from 10am until lunchtime, and from 7pm till sometime before midnight.

 

Every public house was shut down by ten, excepting "The Witch's Boon" when it was here. Every shop battened down by the hatches, every front door left to, and "Channel Dethry" showing a cut scene of some innocuous marvel to pass the time till opening hours resumed again.

 

Scanlon Drowds had ambition, and by 1987 the cult of Berrydearth was everywhere. From those that must remember him, his pervading personality seemed to be one of fawning callousness, which masked some sense of huge conspiring darkness. Like a reposing cat, his eyes often darted upwards and behind you mid-conversation as if following the movement of an inter-dimensional animal only he could see. This left you incredibly uneasy, yet still lodged in his grimy spell.

 

 His rag taggle band of drug bins, cracked beauty queens, brain-damaged gas-huffers, blood-famished vampires, gypsy werewolves and cyndi lauper acid casualties contained a set of close confidents: Karrakin, Sue Khlysty, Annie Pie, Pearl Cash, the Blood Bitch and Oyster. This wasn't the Manson Family, this was something altogether more simultaneously chaotic and insidious.

 

Karrakin was mostly part-Russian, and a explicit portion of Chinese, with extras that noone knew how to address. She had twelve fingers and had lost many toes to freezer-frostbite. She was an expert calligraphic artist, and left intimate texts on the walls of high art bedrooms she'd creepy-crawled. She wore a fedora, and had torn off the pockets of her jeans and let them rag. Every morning she'd bite into her own lips and let them bleed. Drowd was in awe of the woman, she could never have existed outside his sect, he would have been too afraid.

 

Sue Khlysty was bastard blonde, had the look of a ventriloquist's puppet ham. Likely American, Drowd was always asking her why she was here. Little remains in the way of information regarding the origins of Sue, but her lasagna was a threat, she could whisk a plucked hen to grease, and nobody knew where she slept.

 

Annie Pie was Karrakin's sister. Ate a lot of bread, drank mainly milk and rumour had it carried a flask of tears. Probably the prettiest terrorist of a long while between crusades, she had greying blue hair, circles of scars around her eyes and her pubic hair was black and mohawked. Drowd kept her close, she looked almost as dangerous as he wished he felt. She was reputedly still in school.

 

Pearl Cash died before anything could be gleaned from Drowd. He would choose never to talk of the dead. This I respect him for most of all. What we do know is that her teeth were kept very clean, she was local and intermittently, talked to animals, choosing to tell them her secrets.

The Blood Bitch came with Oyster. Oyster was just a guy from Glasgow, a ned sod. Never listened in school and never learned how. Unfamiliar to sobriety. Killed everything, even thought, fire, dreams, sex. Four ten in heels and mousy. He had a barely intelligible accent and lived to smoke kings. King cigs.

 

The Blood Bitch was also male, but there was some suggestion he might be something more. Some days are always  androgynous days. 6" 7", always bloody barefoot he kept notes of every moment, intensively editor of the universe. He died his hair red, then assured himself he was bald. From Kirriemuir, or Dunkeld, or beyond the fucking Thunderdome. Never Kemnay though.

 

The Drowd Gang then, the Shitty Misfits, The Clingfilm Voiders, The Demons of Sleep. Still fucking there kid.