Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dream the Big Brown Dog (or The Fate of the Burley Frank Jones)

It wasn’t something that made Frank Jones nervous anymore.
     He’d been kidnapping dogs most of his life and had faced almost every obstacle imaginable—but he’d never been caught.  There had been some close calls, but not once had Frank failed to capture the beast he was after.  If he did, there’d be no fights (he was one of the only ones passionate enough to go out and obtain the dogs used in the fights).  Basically, along with the clientele, he kept the ball rolling, and had done so for years now.
     Now, laying before him, was another fallen beast.  Not dead—just tranquilised, waiting for Frank’s big, calloused hands to pull it up and carefully carry it to the van.  This part was the hardest part.  It isn’t easy carrying such large animals silently across dark backyards; people are often more vigilant than thieves give them credit for.  But Frank had learnt all these lessons.  Frank was a professional.
     This particular animal was quite muscular—a Rhodesian Ridgeback with an exquisite build, perfect for fighting.  But it was one of the heaviest he’d captured, and stalking through this particular yard required extra concentration.  This animal was still moving about, too, as if dreaming, so Frank had to make sure he held it extra tight, at least until he was on the other side of the gate.
     Perhaps, Frank thought to himself, I didn’t use enough tranquiliser.
     It had happened before, but usually he managed to get the animal into the van before it started to really stir.
     Frank was nearing the gate—‘lucky gates’, he called these ones.  The kind of gate that could be unlatched and re-latched in almost complete silence.  It even made Frank smirk in relief—he was almost home.
     When suddenly he felt a slight prick in his backside.  Nothing really painful, just a little jab in the fatty part of his lower back.
     With little time to investigate, he kept walking toward the gate.
     The dog grew more unsettled, its feet now starting to thrust out unpredictably.  The gate, all of a sudden, seemed a little further away.
     Frank’s world began to change a little at this point.  Without knowing it, Frank had actually been stumbling toward the gate, only barely able to clutch the unsettled animal against his chest.
     Something was wrong.
     Just as he turned to his side and reached for the latch, holding the beast firmly with his forearms and spare hand, Frank, an immense and quite powerful man, fell helplessly to his knees and slid slowly down the gate, unconscious.
     The two great beasts lay in a heap on the ground, the rattle of the gate echoing into the silent void about them.

When Frank woke up, what he saw around him would change his life forever.
     Where he was looked like it almost had to be underground.  A huge cavern stretched out into unfathomable darkness, like a burrow of some kind with jagged cave-like walls.  There was no daylight to be seen—only fire, burning deep orange and creating strange shadows about the cave walls.  Shadows of creatures, stalking about pensively.
     Frank strained to see through blurry, sedated eyes; but the blurry shadows he saw being reflected onto the walls were distinctly those of beings.  There was movement, out there in the dark.
     A tightness gripped Frank’s throat.  But this tightness had been re-routed; it took some moments for Frank to realise that there was a stronger tightness binding his wrists and ankles.  Jagged rocks pushed deep into various parts of his back.
     I’m being restrained.
     And Frank was being restrained.  He had been captured and was now tied down in the middle of a huge rocky cavern, somewhere far from anywhere he’d ever been before.  And after a few more moments of adapting to this new light, these new surroundings, Frank Jones came to the pinnacle realisation that the beasts surrounding him, whose shadows danced so calmly and with such vigour about the walls—were dogs.
     Hundreds of them, everywhere; creeping about the little rocky contours of the cave, seemingly orienting their movement around the large rock bed onto which he was strapped.
     The animals did not seem aggressive, however.  Frank took note of this almost immediately.  He’d been around lots of angry dogs and these dogs weren’t exactly raging, or worked up at all really.
     They were almost contemplative.
     Beside the sounds of the dogs’ claws scratching about the cave, Frank could hear the deafening sound of his rapid heartbeat.  Thunk, thunk, thunk.  Sweat poured onto the cold stone around him.
     There was, amidst all this, a certain presence, too.  He’d felt it as soon as he had regained consciousness, but was overwhelmed by the environment in its entirety to pay it immediate heed.  This presence now reminded him of dreams he’d had—recurring dreams that had manifested in various forms for almost as long as Frank could remember.
     Almost as long as Frank had been catching dogs, in fact.
     This presence, which in the dreams had been either seated or standing at the foot of Frank’s bed, was now seated at the foot of the rock he was tied to.  And now that his visual field had adapted to the light of the cave, Frank felt compelled to raise his head and direct his eyes toward this presence.
     Breathing heavily, Frank pulled himself up as far as he could.  As expected, a figure sat, calmly, a few feet away from his shoes.  The firelight illuminated the figure’s smooth, brown skin—its eyes glowed with the reflection of fire.
     There, sitting in a disturbingly calm and collected way, sat the brown dog.
     Oddly, it had around its neck a collar and a silver tag.
     It sat and regarded Frank in such a strange way, that he immediately turned away in immense fear.  The dog just sat, regarding him; it blinked once in a while, or moved its head about as dogs sometimes do.
     Frank closed his eyes, waiting to wake up.  Waiting; and waiting; and waiting
     Things began to stir in the cave.  Something moved right up next to Frank.
     It was the brown dog.  It had come up to him, somehow without making a sound.  Frank’s terror grew as he opened his eyes to find the beast’s face so incredibly near to his.
     But still so calm.
     Shaking uncontrollably, Frank began to roll from side to side in a panic he’d never really experienced before.  He didn’t know what he was doing; he felt like a child, rolling around in a fit of discomfort, unable to express anything to anyone.  Having no one to express anything to.
     As though the situation couldn’t get any stranger for Frank Jones, he turned to the silver dog tag hanging below the terrifying face of the brown dog and saw the dog’s name etched into the silver: DREAM.
     Things began to escalate further.
     The other dogs, in a matter of seconds, burst into frenzy.  Frank could only listen and shake in fear.  Something was going on; the scuffling echoes around the cave penetrated deep into his skull; the brown dog still just sat soundlessly next him, not doing anything at all.  It felt so much, to the now hysterical Frank Jones, that the other dogs were circling around the cave, around him.  Herds of them, like crazy sheep.
     The sounds got louder.
     Dream, the brown dog, now leant down and calmly held its muzzle a few centimetres from Frank’s face.  Frank was thrashing about now; he felt the cold nose of Dream, the brown dog, against his sweaty face, its head now resting on his chest.  Madness began to fester within him and just when he thought he could handle no more, a huge, wet tongue lapped at his face; and as if on cue, the hundreds of dogs in the cave flocked to the pedestal of rock, their tongues hungry for Frank’s face, even battling one another to get to the face, to lick it as vigorously as possible; as many times as possible; as intently as possible.
     Frank’s screams could not be heard amid the din of the frenzy.  Even to him, now, they sounded more like whimpers.  Soft, helpless whimpers.

Dream, the big brown dog, backed calmly away from Frank, regarded him one last time, and walked away into the abyss of the cave.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Tony sat staring at the computer screen, a thousand knots forming in his little stomach.

Somewhere outside a sprinkler hissed in the darkness of the night.

A newspaper sat unnoticed outside a door.

A television grumbled and rumbled away, pulling two faces deep into itself.

Streaming away on the screen was video after video of people attacking Tony’s character, his appearance and the way he spoke.

Some videos were cut together from different occasions, creating a stronger illusion of stupidity than Tony was really comfortable with.

Other videos were simply combined with superimposed footage, making fun of Tony’s looks, or habits, or hobbies.

And even though for some reason, Tony couldn’t stop watching, he felt incredibly sad watching them all.

It was almost as though the world had taken the chance to make a fool of him, just because he finally had a chance of being listened to, of representing the people who were watching.

Tony didn’t quite understand it and felt, quite frankly, confused and upset over this vulgar display.  He didn’t mean to come across as an idiot.  He really was trying to help.

When Tony woke up the next morning, he’d forgotten about the night before.  All the videos, all the online comments concerning his public image, had faded away with a good sleep.

Tony got up, went downstairs and started preparing his breakfast without a worry in the world.

But, when he sat down at the table to eat, there was a low grumbling coming from outside.

The window frame began to shake.

Angry screams started to sound from somewhere outside.

Tony, confused, rose from the kitchen table and went to the window in his kitchen, leaving his vegemite toast to grow cold on the table.

Outside, to poor Tony’s dismay, a huge crowd had gathered.

The signs they held displayed similar sentiments to those he’d seen the night before and all of a sudden everything came rushing back.

My God, Tony thought.  They’re going to kill me.

The crowd drew nearer to Tony’s house.

And nearer.

And Tony, not knowing at all what to do or how to appease the angry crowd, shrank down, clutching his knees down below the kitchen sink.

Across from him the vegemite toast grew colder.

A loud banging sounded from the front door.

And then the sound of wood splitting.

Tony, not knowing what to do, remained crouched below the sink, very, very afraid.

I’ve done something wrong, Tony told himself.

I’ve done something very wrong.

Blip and Bleep

There was once a Blip. A particular type of Blip, this Blip was. One of a kind. For now, its name is simply Blip. Blip the Blip (or Blip the unique type of Blip).

Blip did not know exactly how long it had existed for. It knew it had been quite some time, though. During that time, from what Blip could recall—things were, admittedly, a little hazy for Blip—things had been generally okay. Nothing too bad had happened.

Blip had come to exist, at some point, and had continued to do so right up until now.

And now.

And right now.

But just now, Blip began to feel something different. Something had, as if from absolutely nowhere at all, appeared; and this thing made Blip feel a different way to what Blip would normally feel. This feeling, though of course Blip couldn't put a name to it (Blip didn't really speak, but rather made little noises whenever they decided to arise), was a feeling of being unsettled; eventually, this very same feeling would turn into sadness; and finally, though Blip don't yet know or feel it, to loneliness.

When the change first came, Blip made a new noise. Blip sighed.

(The sigh would be equivalent to the words, Oh no! I feel different and I don't know what to do!)

But Blip couldn't speak. Blip could only sigh.

And sigh and sigh and sigh.

Blip wandered around more than ever now. The world Blip inhabited had been relatively small until the coming of the sigh; only this new feeling, this new expression, had driven Blip to explore the boundaries surrounding what Blip already knew.

Who knows, Blip thought, Maybe there is an answer out there.

And, in a way, there was. But it didn't come from the world Blip was exploring; it came from Bloop.

Bloop was kind of like Blip, but in some ways very different. When Blip first saw Bloop, the world seemed to shift in its entirety. Like the universe had sneezed and in the tumultuous uproar had produced something new.

And though, again, Blip couldn't quite explain it logically, another new feeling arose. This feeling was something like what we would call ‘fascination’.

Bloop was, it seemed, a very beautiful type of Blip. A very, very beautiful one indeed.

From the get go, in fact, Blip experienced a shortness of breath. This took some time to subside. Often, Blip would find that no breath was moving at all; nothing in, nothing out.  It was almost as though Blip was choking on thin air.

For longer and longer moments, things would be quite still for Blip, but a tightness would form inside. This, Blip would figure out one day, had something to do with the sigh. Though for now, he didn't quite know what the link was.

All the while, Bloop would prance and dance around as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Meeting Blip hadn't really affected Bloop too much; if anything, Bloop danced and sang more. Because that's what Bloop had always done: danced and sang.

One day, some time after Blip met Bloop, Bloop stopped dancing and singing and went over to Blip, who was still choking on air trying to breathe.

Blip, Bloop said, Are you alright?

Blip, at this point, was choking harder than ever.

In fact, the only point at which Blip stopped choking was when Blip needed to release a sigh.  So, really, all Blip could do at this point was choke, and sigh.

Poor Bloop simply couldn’t understand what was wrong with Blip.  All Bloop could think to do was to take Blip’s little hands, sway them back and forth, and try to get Blip to dance with her.

When she did this, Blip began to change.  The choking redness of his face changed to a colour much like the blueness of the sky.

Anf for some reason, which Bloop could not at all explain, she became very pink in the face.

As if on cue, Blip now stopped choking.

And stopped sighing.

And Blip and Bloop started dancing and breathing together.

And the way they danced was so beautiful, that neither of them really took notice of the world anymore.

Blip could breathe and had stopped sighing, while Bloop finally had someone to dance with.

It was almost as if Blip and Bleep were meant to find one another.