[Destiny] Chapter 9: A Historical Monster

~~~

The room that Count Kurtain [or Kurzsan, as Sila realised when they passed a block of text on the wall referencing the name] led him to did, as advertised, have a lit fire, though it seemed unlikely that the warmth of its flames would reach any of the walls.

The sheer size of the place; if Sila had counted out the time it took from the door to the fireplace, he was sure it would’ve been at least half a minute.

But he’d been distracted, mainly by the deep purple cloak of his host, the bottom part of it caught on the top of his left boot.

Kurzsan neither noticed nor cared as he sat down on the rug by the poker and stared into the flames.

Due to the lack of chairs, Sila did the same.

To some people, this may have been something meaningful, but to Sila it was vacant, the flames being far too alive, flickering erratically, tracing the madcap ley lines of his own mind instead of giving something steady to anchor onto.

A black square.

Uranus from a distance.

Green hospital walls.

The Garden of Earthly Delights.

That’s what he liked to peer into.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 8: Count Kurtain

~~~

As with most other hostels, it was better to avoid the 16-bed dorms, or even the 8-bed dorms, as that’s where the collective drunks would be.

2-bed dorms were ideal, but the smallest the Innsbruck hostel had was a 4-bedder so that’s where Sila ended up, on the top bunk with a Korean man below, who at one point, got up and wandered off to have a shower wearing only his underpants.

Somehow, the Chinese stalker had failed to switch to the same room as him, probably cos she booked online, or he’d booked the last bunk in this one, though he knew she was still in the hostel somewhere; he’d seen her lurking in the reception area.

Unless she’d given up and left?

Either way, she wasn’t in this room, which gave him the chance to stretch out on the bed in peace and plan his next move.

Go back to the castle.

Go back to the castle.

Go back to the castle.

Go back to the castle.

It was incessant, the image of the random, wild-looking man slipping through the locked door of the castle, waiting for him on the other side, whispering, ‘come back tonight, come back tonight.’

Was there another cabinet, one without a tape recorder?

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 7: Innsbruck Castle Glum

~~~

Thirteen hours later he was in Austria, the head of the tadpole part, bussing into Innsbruck on a hunch.

A book he’d read said there was a cabinet in the castle there and nearby was a room with a bath dug into the floor and a painting of a wolfman at the entrance, and that was exactly the kind of detail that Professors of Dark Light wrote poems about, or he thought they would, mainly cos of the note he’d been left in Kagoshima, the story of the woman at Uji Bridge, with the bold underlines of

‘she bathed in the Uji river for 21 days, divided her hair into five horns, painted her body red with vermilion, and went on a legendary killing spree.’

He still didn’t know what vermilion was but he understood the weirdness of it and why Professors of Dark Light would be drawn towards the ‘five horn, paint your body red, 21 days’ part.

~~~

The castle was covered in snow when he got there because it was November 28th and the wolfman painting was exactly where the book had promised it would be, so the only thing left to do was find the cabinet and ditch the Chinese murderer, Joanna, who’d been walking fifteen yards behind him ever since he’d boarded the train from Ljubljana station.

It was weird, no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t shake her, not even when the train got into Salzburg and he’d sprinted out of the station and kept going for twenty minutes down side roads and alleys, then looped back and into the same station and onto the platform to wait for the next train to Innsbruck, it was no good cos somehow she’d known his plan and was sitting on a bench on the same platform waiting for the same train, her line being: if he were really staying in Salzburg, he wouldn’t have sprinted out of the station.

It was dubious logic, but it worked then and it worked in Innsbruck station too as, somehow, she knew it was the castle he was aiming for, which meant they’d ended up on the same bus, bought the same ticket and were now looking at the same row of paintings.

‘He looks like you,’ she whispered, pointing at the wolfman portrait nearby.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 6: Slovene To Chinese

~~~

The next day Joanna ignored the vial of grey vasic and walked out of the room that looked like a prison cell, that had been designed conceptually as a prison cell, and onto the streets of Ljubljana.

It was eleven in the morning and, even though the Triple Bridge was only a few streets away, it felt like it would take a decade for her conscious self to drag her there, a decade of passing one Slovene face every ten minutes, of the castle trap the night before, of the slight pang of disgust and failure and inability to trap the thing, of other distinct moments that weren’t quite distinct enough to override the horror show at least a year old now.

She thought it out and came to the conclusion that

a] the day was just a regular day

b] disgust was pointless

and

c] the things Slovenes did at eleven in the morning on what might’ve been a weekday were boring.

She turned on an actual heel and walked back to the hostel, picturing the vial of grey vasic in her head, but half a street in she got jumped by a bookshop, a bookshop she hadn’t noticed before despite being in Ljubljana for nearly a year, and inside the bookshop was a book on Slovene folktales and on page 57 was a chapter headed Krsnik.

As with the other books she’d read, it was all in Slovene so she edged over to a woman nearby and was about to ask her to translate but then she noticed a young man with a green bubble jacket and she asked him instead and because she was alone and it was a weekday the man said, ‘okay, I’ll do it because you’re pretty, but why…

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 5: Time Out Joint Of

~~~

Sila killed time by rolling snow and kicking it at the Dr Caligari poster. It was harsh, he didn’t mind the play they were doing, it was more the other guy, the Grand White Wizard. What was she doing? Did she not understand what he was saying? Was his accent too strong?

He tried to work it out before she got back but there was no solution without extra data from the enigma herself, so he kicked more snow and waited for her to return, which turned out to not be five minutes later, but fifteen.

‘The wizard reappears…’

She nodded, wiping something off her hand and onto her jacket.

‘Did you get your grey thing?’

‘This time, yes.’

‘Great. What’s next?’

‘We take it.’

Sila looked around, checking for cops hiding in snow-dressed trees. ‘You mean now? Out here?’

‘I told you, it passes the time faster.’

‘So does talking to racists.’

‘Roll up your shirt.’

‘I said so does talking to racists.’

‘What?’

‘Back there.’ Sila looked back at the café/bar in case she was confused. ‘You gave that caveman your number.’

‘We did this conversation already.’

‘Caveman white supremacist. And that stuff he was saying…I don’t get it. You didn’t even flinch.’

‘What is flinch?’

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 4: Vote Valentine, Klux Radio

~~~

Inside the theatre it was almost pitch black.

There was either no budget for electricity or there was no one around, and it quickly turned out it was neither as the lights came on and three women on stage asked him at the same time, in not bad English, what he was doing there.

‘How did you know I was here?’ Sila asked back, shielding his eyes from the light on the wall right next to him.

‘We heard your breathing.’

‘It was that loud?’

‘All men breathe loudly,’ replied the one with a cane, looking at him with her head slightly tilted, a pose that reminded him of that zine store lady he’d met in Brighton. God, that woman was intense.

‘Dami…’

Kaj? Šalil sem se. I was joking.’

‘I just wanted to have a look at your set design,’ Sila said, scanning the stage for a cabinet. ‘Your poster outside is pretty cool.’

‘It’s temporary.’

‘We’re printing one with our faces on it,’ added the one closest to him, a woman in a VOTE VALENTINE t-shirt. ‘For the first show next week.’

‘I think the one you’ve got is pretty creepy.’

‘It’s no good.’

‘Why not?’

‘Ni reprezentativen.

Angleščina,’ said the VOTE VALENTINE woman before turning to Sila. ‘She said it is not representative.’

‘Zakaj? Smo v sloveniji…’

‘No women,’ Sila said, pretending not to understand the Slovene part, ‘is that what you mean?’

‘Not just physically, but thematically. What is The Cabinet of Dr Caligari about? Control, of course, but control inside the general society. In our production, it is the schism inside feminism, the battle of the old guard and the new, the battle for definition and ownership.’

‘To ni nekaj, kar bi razumel.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 3: Breakfast With Asaji

~~~

Outside, it was deserted.

All the streets, all the alleys, all the buildings, as empty as a Petr Grenzic movie.

Sila walked the streets he vaguely remembered from years ago, his eyes pointing down. It was November so there was lots of snow on the ground and to pass the time he kicked the snow nearby onto other snow, smiled, bent down, took off a glove, picked up some dirty snow from a pile of cleaner snow, shivered, dropped the snow, turned a corner, saw more snow, disliked the snow so kicked the snow and grabbed some other snow, greyish snow, and threw that snow at the actress from Milla Feeling For Snow then stopped dead in the street and tried to remember his old job.

It was only three years ago…three and a half…before the Professor, before the green knife, before the green mist demon came. Before that, what?

Shit.

Ne.

He couldn’t remember any of it, only his childhood, events before 18.

Was he a teacher?

A prostitute?

Elizabeth Medina?

Something that may have been wind ambushed him from a side alley and ripped off a flyer on a lamppost nearby. He bent down, studying it. The Cabinert of Dr Caligari. A Metelkova production.

Ah, that’s right. He was a cultural theorist.

Ne, wait

not a theorist, a cultural theory student

with one dissertation, two pamphlets and

Slovene, too,

so always in the shadow of that great big moon man Žižek

his fucking beard

permanent cold

all that Die Hard bullshit.

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 2: Green Background Art

~~~

Back on Trnovska ulica, in his dead mother’s house, behind the door and the cage, which was supposed to keep out not only thieves and drunks and drunk neighbours looking for sex, but also Professors of Dark Light [as long as they didn’t have the power to conjure up a key].

But maybe this one did.

Maybe he had an ultimo key, like the one in Krvic Draclo.

Maybe he wasn’t a he.

Maybe he wasn’t a she either.

Maybe it was two thirds she and one tenth he and the rest of it something else, some gender that even gender enthusiasts would run in terror from.

Sila didn’t know, and

as soon as he sat down on his old couch, and stared at the TV he hadn’t watched in seven years, and the collection of Petr Grenzic films his mum had adored [minus the three he’d sold] he realised two things, one, he didn’t care and two, that sitting down was for giver uppers and always had been and there was a whole city out there, a small, parochial one granted, but still a city and who knew what the people were doing out there this late at night.

Painting rats?

Sleeping on water fountains?

Carving doors into trees?

Continue reading

[Destiny] Chapter 1: Cabinet Standoff

~~~

~~~

‘The ship accelerates, no visuals…they only had £50 per series…but we know the ship accelerates cos Su Lin says so, and Dayna says, Dr Plakson, she’s dead, and Avon says, who, and then…then the video cuts off, I don’t know why. Upload limit maybe. But it’s so cold, so un star trek.’

‘See, Dr Plakson dies and Avon doesn’t care. He even makes a joke of it.’

‘Avon, the show’s hero. The sociopath.’

‘No reaction?’

Sila rapped his knuckles on the cabinet door, trying to play the ‘Blake’s 7’ theme but getting stuck after the first three bars.

‘No music, professor?’

‘No sci-fi?’

He switched to the paintings on the wall, portraits of long ago Slovene men, stern faces, either poets or dictators, definitely not builders, definitely not Ugresic or Ivana Kobilca.

Was this it?

The best Slovenia could do?

Turning back to the cabinet, he tried another jibe, calling out the whole room for its blandness, its lack of technicolour and stern female poets.

‘Professor…really…you should be embarrassed to be here.’

Continue reading

Fritz Lang’s Destiny [Serial]

~~~

The beginning of a potentially never-ending web serial.

Follow the chapters below as they’re posted here on the blog, or go to the menu page to find the complete list.

Updates every Monday [or the next day if I get sick].

~~~

SYNOPSIS

Dared by a Professor or Dark Light to find and kill him in a cabinet [allegedly], Sila sets himself on a path to do exactly that.

His weapon? A green dagger.

Obstacles? A lost Chinese woman luring pervs up to Ljubljana castle at way past midnight, out of phase Krsnik, a Danish child demon that never stops coming, an Italian racist, other racists, a Pakistani siren on an overnight ferry, up and down responses to constant failure, the Sad Count of Innsbruck, stuffed Romulan dummies, vague ennui, and other mythology I haven’t made up yet.

Theme? Family. Sacrifice?