Nocturnette 9: The Hazelwood. By Jan Lakowski.

I am convinced that Hazelwood is haunted. Up behind Airyhall, at the dipping neck of the Hazelhead. They are still throwing up houses like blank eyed, slack jawed, ravenous and sprawling infants. Expensive, mediocre, vacant.

 

When they begin to populate that housing estate with the overpaid, sanctimonious, narcissistic denizens of Aberdeen's mutant parasitic business district, trailing off into the countryside like a massive, diseased, gene tree tendril,  sinister happenings will drift in like spiders to the cosy eaves.

 

I know it is haunted, I can sense the evil in the agricultural browns and greens that discolour the evening and smell death in the competing rabble of stove aromas during winter mornings.

 

Presently, I move in, many miles across the way, and I am browbeaten with that clinical vista, every morning as I breakfast. Though I cannot discern it through 40 miles of hills and pasture.

 

This morning, Anya has smoked herself seasick, and drowning drunk she watches me from the otter window of her green bathysphere.  I'm keeping an eye on Hazelwood, in case I can discern any anomalous hijinks over which I might obsess to lose my mind. Or really, I'm too tired to care. I'm too lost to latch on to any tangible shard of paranoia's bones. Some days they parasitize every natural limb, until they choke even my ballooning viscera.

 

I have only known my true self in fear. My perfected adolescent flu-fevers, outlive me, sprawling like fungal whiskers, pooling like the neon vomit of halloween gluttons. Yet they have also unnaturally extended my youth, till I am a shattered screaming milk tooth sealed like a hot coal in a wet purse of mouth.

 

Anya, is as intimate with the bulbous glass, as the lioness is with the slain gazelle. Both lap their wounds with a frightening satisfaction. When the bottle begins to lean, and the head is filled with  hot rains, the eyes blacken as though her inner light has been consumed by a wine dark tide. Through her lip's stained foliage, she begins to talk.

 

"I read that poetry you left me, about a Gaelic visionary. Why must it puzzle me so? It forces me to forget its proposed purpose before I can decipher its meaning. I have a head like a hobnail, and my brain is salted like a slug. Sling me the bottle my love"

 

I comply. Observing the majesty of her cocoa hair, and the hallucinogenic light that slid through her eyes.

 

"Another thing, this babble that you're scrawling, and dragging through that bloody website like a trapper drags a deer to tempt the wolves. It's not even pretending to be about agates any more, is it?"

 

I answer immediately.

 

"It's about me, always was! Listen, I make no qualms about it. Agates and their sources are merely inspiration for all this. They're a mandatory part. Just as you are to me, I mean, we're not married or anything are we? We're flesh."

 

She is beaming now. No teeth showing. Just a glorious smile pulling her face tight like a circus top in a gale.

 

I must confess, someone's been kicking my head as I sleep. Puncturing my eyelids with invasive filaments. Talking to me as I dream and trying to sink my heart. Somebody wrote a book and breathed acid into my dreams. I only snuck a look. My husk of head aflame, candling bedwards, towards the wharf of duvet, the stern pillow, the oak stance supine as an medieval pier. We will set sail.