INTERVIEW ON DEADMAN'S TOME
Friday, June 3, 2011
THROUGH THE DARKNESS copyright m.s. 2011
When Harry Grant saw the Geisha doll in the glass case at the museum, it took him back to when he served in the army just after ww 2. He was stationed on the island of Nagasaki, just a year after the atomic bombs were dropped, nearly destroying the island. Harry was nineteen then. He remembered he was blond and broad-shouldered, not what he became, bald and hunched-over. Women paid Harry a lot of attention, but he was shy, barely saw life outside his family’s Oklahoma farm.
Harry was an MP, helping to keep order in Nagasaki. Mostly helping people with shelter, food rations. He didn’t mind being an MP, except disliking the partners he had. Harry tried not to judge, but his partner, Braughton, was not the kind of guy Harry would let his sister near. Braughton always spoke of women as nothing but “ass” and always found ways to get his rocks off with any woman he came across, usually hard-up, and living on the street. Harry witnessed Braughton pinning a many of these unfortunate women against a wall during their beats. Braughton had picked up a prostitute that was no more than thirteen; she carried a puppy that had been a victim of the radiation from the bombing. When Braughton refused to pay, she dug her nails deep into his cheek. He shot her puppy. Harry did nothing to stop him, just watched as the the young girl wept holding the dead puppy close to her.
Braughton took Harry to a bar that Braughton referred to as special. He said he was doing Harry a favor by breaking his cherry. Whatever it was they were drinking, Harry had never felt that way again in his life. He spent most of his adult life becoming an alcoholic looking for that feeling. He just remembered the many half-naked Geisha girls that entertained.
His eyes were opened to a whole new world.
Harry was the only security guard left in the museum that night. Levitz, who usually worked with Harry, called out. The captain said Levitz had the flu, but Levitz had told Harry in confidence he would be in the neighboring town with a female friend. Levitz was twenty years younger than Harry. He lived with his mother after being divorced by his wife, who decided being a housewife was not as exciting as being a groupie for what Levitz called “hair bands”. Levitz frequented many strip joints looking for a woman who wouldn’t mind his adult acne and overbearing mother.
Harry was in the security room watching Tour of Duty when he noticed one of the glass cases was wide open. The alarm for that room hadn’t gone off. Harry went to check it out; he discovered how cold the room was. His mind-set felt slightly altered. As if he was walking through a dream. Everything felt off-kilter. When he approached the glass case, he saw the Geisha girl was hanging out of the case facing downward. Harry picked up the doll and felt an immediate head rush.
She was soft. Warm. Not hard, cold, like the glass she was made from. Warm, living flesh.
Harry felt a rush of adrenaline and testosterone rush through his body, a sexual charge he hadn’t experienced in years. Harry decided to take the doll upstairs into the office and let the staff place it back in the glass case. Every few minutes, Harry would touch the doll’s hair with his hand as he sat watching the security monitors. Again he felt that rush, that charge through his body. He heard a whisper saying, “Take her. She’s yours.”
Harry didn’t think for once that the voice wasn’t real. He answered it as if he were speaking to a person standing in front of him.
“No,” Harry said. “It would be wrong.”
“How so?” The voice croaked. “It’s not stealing if I give it to you. Take her. She is yours.”
Harry shrugged. “The museum owns it.”
“No one owns Ikuru,” The voice scoffed. “Remember how she made you feel years ago, and a few hours ago? Take her. She is yours.”
Harry sighed. “I guess no one will know what happens if I’m doing the reports. The alarm didn’t go off. I’m not even on the security tapes in that room. Just my flashlight appears to be shining inside the room.”
The voice echoed Harry’s sigh. “Ikuru is beautiful. Even after forty years.”
“Yes,” Harry’s fingers traced the doll’s face. “Yes. She is.”
Harry sighed. He looked around and placed the Geisha doll in his lunch pale. He smiled to himself.
“Yes,” the voice screeched. “You will be very pleased with Ikuru.”
Harry stared at the short , hunchback Japanese. Braughton whispered in Harry’s ear. “You’re gonna cum buckets, boy.” He backed away from Harry and let out a bellowing laugh. The hunchback smiled, his lips drew back, revealing several small broken teeth , blackened gums. Harry looked in the corner of the dingy room where a young girl sat on a bed with satin sheets. She was dressed in the Geisha apparel. She sat with her back to everyone. In front of the bed was a silver tray sitting on the floor. Sake, two glasses, and fruit on a plate. On another tray were several knives in different lengths and blades.
“what…..shall be the yanks desire…….?” The hunchback said.
Braughton leaned in, whispered in the hunchback’s ear. The hunchback gurgled, which turned into a screeching laugh. “Certainly. My friends, she is yours to do as you please.
The money……I think……is fair.”
Braughton stopped grinning. “Hey look, my credit is good. I was told that last time I was here.”
“If the price is too rich…….” the hunchback let his words trail off.
“I don’t think you understand me, you little bastard. I’m connected with Haruku. He owns this stinking city!”
The hunchback raised an uneven eyebrow. He turned a hand over to Braughton.
“I……too …….am connected, friend.”
Braughton drew his .45, placed it in the hunchback’s forehead. “You threatening me, you little shit?!”
“Hey,” Harry walked to Braughton slowly. “Go easy, Braughton. Whatever the price, I’ll pay. Put the gun away.”
“You can’t give up three months pay, Grant. I’m telling this louse, its free of charge.”
Harry put his hand on Braughton’s arm. “Then lets leave. It’s no big deal.”
“You’re gonna loose your cherry, Grant.” Braughton had a malevolent smile on his face.” It’s gonna be on this little bag of shit.”
The hunchback turned another hand at Braughton. He nodded and left for the door. “Have a good….time……friends…..I will be……..back…………..”
Braughton holstered his weapon. He wiped perspiration from his forehead with a hand. “God,” he said. “I’m sweatin’ here. I need a drink.”
Harry let out a sigh of relief.
The door to Harry’s one room apartment opened slowly enveloping darkness. Harry stood in the doorway, shaking his keys. It was five a.m., the sun was slow to show it’s face. Harry always crept inside his apartment every since his daughter was born. Harry worked at Darnell then, making bolts that held planes wings together. Harry sat down in his chair in the living room, sat his lunch pale on the nightstand. He turned the TV on to wait for the Today show to see how smug Bryant gumbel was and how bitchy jane paulie was. He thought how depressing it was, to remember he had always worked at nights and barely saw his daughter or wife.
Harry looked at the telephone. He should call Judy. He was sure she was busy with her own family. Life had passed him by in a flash. As soon as Judy was off at college, she rarely called to talk to him, only his wife Nan. Some reason, Judy and he never developed a relationship. The only time they hugged was when he found her lost on the streets when she ran away when she was fifteen. When she graduated, they only nodded at each other. When she was married, they waved. When Nan died five years ago, Judy took him to a Chinese restaurant to eat in silence.
No, he wont call her. It’s a waste of time.
Harry looked around his apartment. He was lonely. He saw all the trinkets his wife had collected years ago. The angel figurines, cartoon character magnets, replicas of houses and European villages. No photographs of his daughter or other relatives were around. Just of him and Nan from nineteen fifty-five when they were married.
It was a good marriage. Both were so quiet, you hardly knew they existed. They were introduced to each other by Nan’s cousin at the movies. When Harry came home from the service he worked at the movie house as a projectionist. He knew Nan’s cousin through a high school friend that dated Nan’s cousin. Whenever Harry and Nan went anywhere with them, they were forgotten. Harry always felt they married each other because it was expected of them. No one else really wanted them around. Through Nan’s father, Harry worked in the aircraft warehouse. He kept that job until they closed down in nineteen eighty.
Harry looked at the lunch pale on his night table. He remembered the Geisha doll was in there. He reached for his lunch pale and took out the doll. His fingers gently traced the outline of the doll’s body. Again, Harry felt a sexual charge. A jolt through his body. His hands slowly began to undress the Geisha doll. Only pausing for a few seconds to look at it’s body.
Harry swallowed hard when he saw what was etched into the doll’s lower back.
A haiku. It read:
THE WAY THROUGH DARKNESS
“How true………” Harry said to himself.
Braughton laughed as he fell from the Geisha girl, who lay on her stomach. She brushed back her hair and glanced at Harry. Harry was sitting in a chair across the dingy room smoking a cigarette. He tried not to watch what Braughton was doing to the girl. But he was curious. He stole a glance from her. He noticed the Geisha had several scars across her face and a harelip. She took the sheet and tried cover herself with her left hand. The hand was missing all fingers except the pinky and the thumb.
“You were good, baby. As usual.” Braughton grabbed her hair, at first softly, then he tugged hard. He gave out a hearty laugh. ‘Your turn, lil’ trooper. Get in there soldier!”
“Do I have to do what you described?” Harry asked in a panicked voice.
“Hell yeah. If you don’t, She wont respect you, you goon. Now get the ropes and tie her up.”
Harry hesitated. Braughton shifted his eyes to the Geisha and smiled. She wiped tears from her eyes as she stood. Harry saw her back. The top was missing flesh. But on her lower back was the haiku burned into her. Harry knew Japanese. It was part of the job of an MP to know the country’s native language.
THE WAY THROUGH DARKNESS
“Give me the ropes!” Braughton took them from Harry angrily. He began to tie the girls arms behind her. “Lay down!” He commanded her. She did so and began to weep. She buried her head into the pillows. Harry heard her recite a Buddhist prayer under her breath. “Get ready,” Braughton smiled at Harry. Harry started slowly, undressing. He didn’t want to do this. He knew it was wrong. But he felt the tide was carrying him out to sea. Braughton took a thin blade from the tray on the floor. He was smiling at Harry. Harry realized how ugly the man was. The thin blade was jagged, but it sliced into the girl’s back as if it were cutting into a stick of butter. She screamed out, trying to muffle the scream and keep the pain down by biting the pillow. Blood ran down her back and across the seared Japanese lettering. Braughton offered Harry a piece of the girls flesh. “Take a bite,” Braughton’s smile widened.
Harry sighed, closed his eyes as he bit off a piece and chewed it. He couldn’t believe he was doing this. He swallowed and felt sick.
Braughton laughed. The girl was sobbing uncontrollably. Braughton ate the rest of her flesh. “After your done being sick, boy, go to her.”
The phone rang. Harry nearly dropped the Geisha doll. If he had broken it…….No, he thought. Let’s not think of that.
He sat the Geisha doll on the night table. He picked up the phone and whispered hello.
“IT’S Bob, Harry.” The director of the museum.
“Hi, Bob,” Harry’s voice was shaky. “What can I do for you, Bob?”
“Harry, I read your report.”
“Look, why don’t you come down and we’ll talk about it?”
“If you reads the report, Bob, no reason for me…..”
“He’s trying to take Ikuru from you,” the voice creaked. “You can’t let him do this.”
Harry tried to tune the voice out. He closed his eyes and bit his lower lip.
“Harry, I saw you on the tape. I don’t know why you did it.”
I looked at the tape, Harry thought to himself. “Bob….” I wasn’t on it.
“Just come down here, will you,” Bob was curt. “I don’t like doing this over the phone. Just come down here.”
Harry sighed. “Okay Bob. I’ll see you in an a few hours.” Harry put the phone on it’s craddle. He looked at the Geisha doll that stood on the night table. “I shouldn’t have done it.”
“You did nothing wrong,” The Geisha girl said in Japanese. She was standing in front of Harry. She let her robe fall from her and led Harry by the hand towards the bedroom. She lay on the bed, holding her arms behind her back. Rope appeared at the foot of the bed. She looked back at Harry. She said, “Please…….”
Harry was excited, but unsure if this was real. He heard her say it again.
Harry took the rope in his hands.
The voice spoke to Harry once again. Only the voice belonged to an ugly creature that knelt beside the bed as Harry was engaged with the Geisha girl. The creature was short in stature and it’s yellow eyes had no pupils. It’s small round teeth showed when it spoke. It looked as if it wore an overcoat, but it was apart of its grey skin. “I gave her to you, friend.” The demon said, his pointed ears wiggled slightly with every word.”I can help you keep her. Just give me permission.”
Harry said nothing. He sat on the end of the bed, bedazzled by the recent events. The Geisha girl rubbed his back, kissing Harry’s ears.
“What do you get out of this?” He said to the demon.
The demon was inches from Harry’s face. It’s tongue slithered between it’s lips. The words took Harry back to nineteen forty-six. “You know what I want………” The demon opened his skin to reveal an inside coat where several human faces hung from wires. Each face depicted a different expression at the time of their death. “Trinkets…….souviners…….”
It was Harry’s second go at the Geisha girl. She had passed out earlier from the pain of the flesh being cut away by Braughton. She made very little noise as Harry became more animal-like in his sexual act. He pushed her face into the pillow. Bucking harder and harder. When Harry opened his eyes the Geisha girl looked back at him. Her face morphed into the hideous face of the hunchback, which morphed into the demon with his small teeth bearing at Harry. The demon was hissing at Harry. Harry pulled away from the demon. The demon morphed into the sobbing Gisha girl, then the grimacing hunchback . Back to the hissing demon. It’s small teeth began to grind together. Harry backed away and fell from the bed. He momentarily felt pain in his back, but continued to move from the demon that now stood on the bed. It showed Harry it’s gruesome collection of faces in the lining of it’s skin.
Harry grabbed his clothes and tried to run, only tripping. He was on top of the cold body of Braughton. Braught was lying in a twisted form, his face was a blood mass of flesh, his face, what made Braughton recognizable, was gon. Torn or ripped away. Harry wasn’t sure. He only knew he had to get out of there and fast. He left it all behind. The Geisha girl, the hunchback, Braughton’s dead shredded face. He ran naked down the stairs of the Japanese bar and out the door. He ran through the streets of Nagasaki until he found an alley he felt safe in. He fell on his knees and immediately vomited. Maybe from running too hard, maybe from what he had just witnessed. It was mostly from fear that the demon would catch him. He straightned himself, put his clothes on clumsily. He found himself pleading with God to help him.
Harry sat in his chair in his lonely apartment caressing the Geisha doll. The demon hissed as he placed Bob’s face in the lining of it’s skin. A facial expression contorted in a mix of disbelief and horrible pain.
Bob’s body lay by the glass case at the museum in a twisted form, his face an unrecognizable mesh of ghastly flesh. He was just waiting to be discovered.