Tag Archives: Chris Benton

False Prophets by Chris Benton

False ProphetsFalse Prophets wander everywhere, through everything, through every-body. A few may remember these midnight poles of magnetism. A few may remember and go mad, but a few may simply remember.  I remember the night Holland came into our home, our father had called him. It was nearly one in the morning, deep inside a sweltering summer, and our mother was completely catatonic, convinced somewhere in the black mountain of her mind that my sister, her daughter was dead… dead and forgotten.

Holland was our local Pastor, who had inherited the mantle from the late Richard Gaines, who baptized my sister. I want to talk about Holland tonight because the first night he came into our home, the first time he came into our home, nothing was the same or sane again. I want to talk about Holland because I’m driving very fast right now, searching for that fateful tree or a telephone pole, dying from a brain tumor.

I want to talk about Holland because he was alone with my mother for over an hour, but they weren’t truly alone. I was there beside the shut bedroom door, yet I could hear, and see, feebly through the ragged hole my father had punched through six months ago the night my sister found her true voice with a bread knife.

I was listening through the Minotaur hole in the bedroom door. I was listening to this:

“My daughter, my first-born is dead, dead, DEAD, Christopher. Can you lay down with me now, so we can dream together?”

Holland spoke very softly to my mother, “Your daughter is alive, Marie, because I have seen her,” he bent over and whispered something, the only word I could catch was again.

My mother began laughing, a sort of sibilant cackle – she sounded like a bride of Dracula.

“Is she home again?” I heard my mother hiss. I couldn’t see her face, and was grateful. Holland blessed her with his certainty that she was home again, and indeed she was. On her way home to confirm the prophecy, but something happened then, something I couldn’t comprehend through the Minotaur’s hole in the bedroom door.

Twenty-five years later I met Holland again, in the Barbary Coast, the bar my father dropped dead in ten years earlier. He was exactly the same; he looked twenty nine years old though his black curly crown was completely white. I was what I am now, a fully functioning disaster with his front teeth still intact, but bearing the blue eye-bags of a hobo clown. I bullied my glaucoma, truly focusing on what I thought was a hallucination, but it was him, it was the Preacher who brought my sister back from the grave. I got off my stool and walked a thousand miles before I gazed away – a moronic child who was about to open his hole to him.

He recognized me instantly and smiled warmly. I detected plastic surgery, head transplantations, black magic, invisible Calcutta clinics. I sat beside him and he offered to buy me a beer.

“A dollar Icehouse tonight, Christopher. Please allow me.”

I accepted, because Icehouses were a dollar that night.

I drank my beer in four swallows and met his eyes, and his eyes didn’t own any pupils, they were pure beast-green, and I was ready to drink them dry.

“How have you been Christopher? Not too well, I imagine.”

I could see now, I’d been falling face-first into the holes of destroyed wives my entire life, seeking the riddle of a single night, and here it was, before me, and its name was HOLLAND. He saw me truly see him and cleared his throat, spitting something large and dark into his palm, swiftly fisting it, and putting it into his pocket.

“It’s been awhile, Christopher, how the hell are you?”

“How the hell,” I echoed.

“How are your sister and mother, still everlasting?”

“Everlasting, yes, always.”

“Not too many tears in the etheric plane?”

“Many tears in the etheric plane.”

“I’m sorry son, I did the best I could that night. I’ve gotten so much better though, please, believe me. There is 70-80 percent less sadness from the lingering, they go back so much more faster now, it all depends on the sensitivity of the vestigials. Are you still mourning?”

I looked at Holland, and my mother and sister were trying to devour his head with glorious maws grown from the dream of their resurrection. It was a futile feast, they consumed nothing. And nothingness looked like a blessed relief, for I was consumed every evening by their bottomless, wordless wishing wells and within them I looked toward the buried stars like a doomed explorer, and found the murdered moon of my mother’s face, remembered the red amnesia of my sister’s smile.

“I have a confession to make,” I declared. And it was true.

“I’m all ears, son, I’m all ears.”

“I need it under the stars, under the moon, under the Milky Way.”

“Okay.”

We walked out the back door of the Barbary, into the alley of between Cracked Street Oyster Bar and Hellashiss Deli. A light rain was falling.

“On your knees now son, beneath the god that is weeping for us now.”

I got on my knees, and felt everything, felt the cool wet puddle my knees were drinking, felt the needles of the rain on my neck, felt the cold density of my mother and sister flanking my flesh.

“Tell me now, my son, tell me now.”

And I did. My dead sister’s bread knife break-danced between his ribs, finding the ass of his heart, or what I thought was his heart, a core that screamed like a spider. Holland was smiling the entire time.

And here I am, and fuck you Bill Bacon, because you were always a shitty sponsor, and fuck you Holland, I guess this old oak will finally unlock every secret for us now.

CHRIS PROFILE PICBio:  Chris Benton’s tales have appeared in A Twist Of Noir, Plot’s With Guns, Thriller’s Killers ‘N’ Chillers, Black Heart Noir, Crimefactory, Thrill’s Kills ‘N’ Chaos, and Shotgun Honey. He lives in North Carolina.

 

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Uber-Death Translator by Chris Benton

I was trying to warm my bony ass upon a cold drift-wood stool at the Fat Pelican, when Megan walked in wearing a delicate black dress that the sea wind wouldn’t dare tear off.  Megan was more than a Pelican confessor, she was a colleague; she never gave a breathing fuck about the addictions, physical afflictions or mental illnesses of parents, she was only wanting, waiting, even panting for the moronic miracles of two, maybe four students that could be possibly snared within the terminal web of her passion. I was fascinated by her, more than fascinated; I was madly in love with her, and I’d only known her for nine gestating months before the tragedy.

She sat beside me with a fleeting glance. Most of the denizens were standing, screaming about what had happened, perfectly oblivious of us. I didn’t know what to say to her, but she said it for me.

“Hey David, wow, this shit is growing some serious wings.”

“Yeah, some of it,” I said.

“You know all of it,” she told me, and she was right.

“I’m sorry Meg.”

“Why the fuck are you sorry? I wasn’t even there.”

“I know, but I already heard about Julian’s diary.”

“Wow, that was fast, I never even get a chance to fucking read it. Mae, give me a shot of Old Crow, with a red Bud chaser.”

Mae was fast and Megan was faster, swallowing the sad marriage within a minute. She slowly unhooked her hair and her long red mane began to burn through the dim, doomed space; a blessed lantern lighting the drunken darkness, giving migraines to the bitter Mermen and failed fathers flanking us.

Megan lit a Salem, and I couldn’t help brooding upon her brand. I never knew she smoked. I never smelled it. I nodded and she proffered one. I quit smoking two years ago, but when she lit it for me I felt the smooth arms of hell welcoming me home once more.

“David, it’s men like you that created telepathy.”

“My silence was always notoriously transparent.”

“Is that why your wife left you?”

You sagacious little slut, I nearly said, instead I raised my shot glass. “Cheers.”

“That was a cunt thing to say David, I’m sorry.” She palmed my right hand, which was clenched on the bar’s scarred skin. Her own skin was cool, clammy and so terribly tender, a small biography of lifelong, relentless terror. My dick stirred with the sudden intimacy. She was probably still fucking with me; she was smoking Salem’s for Chrissakes. Who the fuck knew what other casually cruel spells she had in store for my bony ass? As far as I felt, my heart was just another chew-toy, like Julian’s.

“When did you first fuck him?” Not why, but when, it was a ninety yard fucking pass of a question. Try catching that one, my darkly damaged beloved.

“I didn’t first fuck him, I sucked his cock,” she said, before ordering another round for both of us. She lit another Salem and added, “It was the coldest cock I’ve ever tasted. I sucked it long and hard for nearly twenty minutes, even breaking a sweat. It still tasted like a fudge sickle. And he didn’t even come, which bummed me out; cold heart, cold cock, minus the cold cum, the formula shall remain tragically incomplete.”

She caught the ball alright, and tore it to pieces with her teeth. I downed my shot of Old Crow and it swam coldly down my throat, into my belly, forever failing to be warmed.

“So what did he say about me?”

“What do you mean?”

“David, bullshit does not become you. One of your strong suits, that and your gigantically sad fucking eyes. I swear, you have the baby black holes of a molested child. Did your Aunt ever suck your cock?”

“Yes, I read it.”

“And???”

“He loved you.”

“More than you do?”

“Maybe, in a more distorted way.”

“So you are in love with me.” She lipped another Salem and pushed the pack towards me like a malign passport. I took another, of course. “Distorted,” she echoed, “What a disgusting fucking word.” She lit her cigarette and buried any remaining disgust in smoke. I decided to bare my soul, what was left of it anyway.

“Yeah, Meg, I fell for you the first time I met you during lunch break, you were theorizing about the lonely orgasms of Flannery O’Connor, and my heart has been a fucking hostage ever since.”

“That’s nice, David, why didn’t you wine and dine me? Separation still too fresh?”

“Maybe. Perhaps I’m a fucking coward; perhaps Julian is the true romantic.”

“Was, you wannabe amputee. What exactly did he say about me, what do your dirty little cookie-jar-hands remember?”

Ok, she wanted it, so I gave it: “December 17th, 2012, My English teacher Megan Winnow is a profoundly sad little woman, yet her urine burns brighter than memory. Megan shall be my long companion, and I shall be her Uber-Death Translator, she will never be afraid before the shivering turn, our brains are impervious to pain and our hearts are impervious to hell.”

“His last entry,” she said. She gazed into her empty shot glass like a gorgon and when Mae asked if she needed another she turned Mae into stone. Like the clockwork of all ruined lives, the TV’s over the bar were suddenly wearing her face, her smile, a smile so bright it drank the whole, hacked apart purgatory of the Pelican for ten timeless seconds. After her smile were the even brighter smiles of her dead, and the face of Julian, Julian the true romantic, Julian who knew the hidden temperatures of Megan’s mind and body, Julian, the Iceman never cometh, Julian, the Uber-Death Translator.

Megan finished her beer in the cathode silence; the frail, black flower of her dress had withered into seaweed from the thousand putrid thoughts around us. She smiled at me, not the blinding network smile that held all our ravaged souls rapt, a smile that spoke again of another Megan beyond her bitter words that terrible distances bred. She kissed me, laying this memory on my tongue, and left forever without paying.

CHRIS PROFILE PICBio:  Chris Benton was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina where he still resides until his parole. His stories are lingering at A TWIST OF NOIR, PLOTS WITH GUNS, THRILLER’S KILLER’S ‘N’ CHILLERS, THRILLS, KILLS ‘N’ CHAOS, BLACKHEART NOIR, CRIME FACTORY, AND SHOTGUN HONEY He can be found on Facebook…

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After The Storm by Chris Benton

Our heavenly father was horny last night and decided to fuck our trailer park into countless pieces. I was fine with such destruction; I despised most of my neighbors, especially the younger ones, whose faces were already bloated by endless streams of beer and screams. What I wasn’t fine with was that my son, David, was missing after the storm. David was about to turn ten this Good Friday and both of us were looking forward to eating shitty pizza and watching fuzzy robots singing for us inside a safe, dark space.

I woke up in a bed of cattails nodding proudly at me. The sun was smiling like a maniac through a true Carolina Blue and I was strangely content within these kind reeds. I wanted to linger there for another hour or two, but unfortunately, my son was waiting for me.

The only thing I was wearing was a Slayer T-shirt. My legs and bush were bright with blood. When I found a handful of balance, my body began screaming, so I screamed with it. My legs were already beginning to go bye-bye when I stepped on Kelly Paulson. She was beneath a mattress and moaning like she was freshly grudge fucked by her crack head husband who was executed last year. I didn’t feel bad stepping on her; she was beyond insult and injury. Something had taken the top of her head off, showing the world just how bad her memories were. I knelt beside her and told her, “It’s alright honey, just stay calm, help is on the way.” It was the greatest lie of our age, and I was amazed how hot my tongue was when I told it. I felt like telling it to the world, right then and there, felt like becoming a prophet of its absurdity, traveling through ravaged land after ravaged land, preaching the futile infinity of its gospel.

She opened her eyes and smiled at me and said. “Travis, South Dakota.” Her eyes got the fuck out of earth and I continued my search. I heard the wails of the fire department, but there were several long leaf pines dying on the street. It would be some time before help would arrive. There was a cheap, brown, round kitchen clock hanging from a branch of one of the downed pines. It must have still contained its batteries because it was still counting the seconds, seven forty eight, David would have been finishing up his scrambled eggs with toast and strawberry jelly.

My legs gave out, but I kept crawling, kept searching, throughout the shredded ghosts of laundry and strangely intact toys and beds whose broken hearts were laid bare at last. There were no signs of children. Not a single limb. I knew then, the demented wisdom of disaster, how our Heavenly Father used storms to steal children, inhaling them into the vast, black vacuum of his urethra, so he may reward the winged brains of his psychotic firstborn with our purest souls.

Such revelations demanded a drink. So I crawled over to the remaining pile of my neighbor, Alejandro Gomez. He was there, dead, but there. And he was clutching a miraculously intact bottle of Montezuma. His son, like mine, was nowhere to be found. He looked pretty bad, though not as worse as Kelly. Close though. His face was painted red, ready for sacrifice, but he was still smiling from the dream he was having beyond the storm. I smiled with him and when I tried to take the bottle of Montezuma from his hand, his arm came off with it. What does one do in such circumstances? One holds the heavy limb of a loving father, and illegal alien and drinks deeply in memory of all those who are trying to find their home.

I finished the bottle and began crawling once more. The world began to lose its final colors; the world began to lose its final children. I found the surviving pile of my trailer. There were several papers I was grading the night before, garnishing the bed of my beloved boy. The bed was whimpering. I lie beside it, find his trembling face beneath it, and smile at my terrified miracle until the world turns blind.

CHRIS PROFILE PICBio:  Chris Benton was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina where he still resides (though not for long, thank Christ). His stories have appeared in A TWIST OF NOIR, PLOTS WITH GUNS, THRILLER’S KILLER’S ‘N’ CHILLERS, BLACK HEART, CRIME FACTORY, and SHOTGUN HONEY. He can be found on FACEBOOK…

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