Weird Mask 25 is a book of collected works from the original Zines. I am pleased to say that I have a story and a poem included. My thanks to Editor and Pulp Fiction Aficianado Matt Wall. More information can be found by clicking on the link: http://www.weirdmask.com
I’m not a cat person. It feels a little awkward admitting this as I am now someone who has a cat. And I’m not saying I don’t like our cat, the cat that I feed and worry about, because I do. It’s all the others that creep me out. The pampered, preening, purring, lap loving house cats who always know and can sense my discomfort, who sidle over, getting close, invading my space and forcing me to acknowledge and stroke them.
Cats are clever, much smarter than dogs. I used to be a dog person but now that I am someone who has a cat, I’m not so sure and I’m kind of stuck in this limbo and I don’t know what I am anymore but I do know that cats are the smarter of the two species. I know dog lovers will protest and say…
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When I was a kid, they said I had a good head on my shoulders and I was an old soul. I didn’t push and force them to explain – I knew what they meant. That I was sensible and not impulsive and could be trusted. It was a compliment and I couldn’t help feeling a bit smug.
But they also said I had an old head on young shoulders and this I didn’t like so much. It made me want to rebel, to stop acting so sensibly and to be impulsive but of course I didn’t because they were right.
I was six, maybe seven years old, and I couldn’t help but visualise it – my body with a different head, a bigger and older head. It was scary and I had nightmares. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and clutching my face, unsure…
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I don’t enjoy getting a haircut. I get stressed and I put it off and put it off and build it up in my head into something awkward and unwieldy. I’m not good at small talk and I try to time my visits for when the barbers are least likely to be busy. At least then I won’t have an audience as I am forced to admit, yet again, that I don’t really like football. I loiter on the pavement and peer through the windows, trying to decide whether I should be brave or come back again and try tomorrow.
But of course, this was all before COVID. Once they re-opened, we had to make appointments, didn’t we? We all have our own allocated time slots and everything is geared to limit interaction with others, which suits me down to the ground.
I decided to try…
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Growing up, Imissed out on a lot of greattelly, not because my dad was particularly strict or had some sort of moral agenda. He just pretty much hated everyone on the box. I’d be halfway through aprogrammeand he’d come and grab the remote. Back then there were four channels and so, unless it was time for the news or a football match was on, it was unlikely he was going to find something without at least one person he couldn’t stand the sight of and eventually he would switch it off and that was it – notelly.
I guess it was fair enough. It was his television; he had paid for it as he would constantly remind us. But when I went round my mates’ houses, Irealisedthat wasn’t how it worked elsewhere, that everyone had a say about what they watched. I reckon that was when…
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Looking down, the Investigator studies the spot where her blood has pooled and soaked into the carpet. It is still wet and he is tempted to reach down and touch it. Imagines his fingers coming away red and sticky. But what would he do then? Wipe them of course but where? On the edge of the sofa perhaps or one of the walls? Or would he simply leave them and let the blood dry? Pick at it later at the tiny scabs of DNA.
Stepping back and looking around, the Investigator is unnerved by the room, by its lack of character. He wonders what he can learn from it, what this room can tell him about the victim. Surely there must be something here, hidden in plain sight. Something perhaps that doesn’t belong.
The murderer didn’t break in. There aren’t any signs of a forced entry. Not inside nor out. No trampled flower beds and muddy footprints, no broken glass or fragments of china, kicked and scattered across the wooden flooring and trodden into the rugs.
The evidence of anything untoward is contained in just one room, the living room. And now that the body has been removed all that is left is the blood on the carpet. The Investigator moves in close and, gazing down, he tries to make sense of the patterns it has made.
They must have been close, the assailant and the victim, locked in an embrace. The former much bigger and stronger than the latter and easily able to hold her still. To stifle and contain it. The others would be able to tell him more; the angle of the knife and the number of thrusts and which of the wounds was fatal.
But looking down at the blood stains, the Investigator can see it was swift and that they had been close.