Saturday, 31 March 2012

A new world burns

On 28th June 1914 a Austrian Archduke next in line to the throne and his wife were shot dead by a Serbian terrorist, now I did not witness this event and normally would likely have never heard about it, unfortunately, over years alliances had been made and tension had built; the Austrians had been waiting for a reason to take on Serbia and they had been given one. Unfortunately Russia mobilised in support of the Serbs which led to the involvement of Germany and France and less than two months after the fatal assassination the world was plunged into the First world war. It spread quickly, young men were sent to fight, sent to die and those who didn’t were killed by their own for cowardice; I watched it unfold, I saw the death toll rise, saw the evil that men did without conscience and for the first time I felt sick, I was sickened by the what the world had become, by what humanity was capable of and I was sickened by myself, for the first time I thought about what I did, what I had done and I decided it was time to change. Change was not easy, I had spent years watching people struggle with change, fight against it and now I was suffering my own battle against it. When I couldn’t stand my own demons any longer I joined up to fight some.
The battle of the Somme began July 1st 1916 and I along with many came face to face with some of the heaviest German fortification; the battle was bloody and savage, there were 65,000 British casualties alone on the first day and the battle did not give up until late October. Rain washed away the blood and pain of the men who had died, those who had come so close to losing everything, by that time there were 400,000 British casualties and 200,000 French and only a small amount ground had been gained for such a huge loss of life. I continued to fight, in those days you did not abandon your country. In 1918 when there seemed no end, hope came, thousands had been lost trying to advance upon the Germans and little to no ground had been gained and when, on the 21st March the Germans launched a 6,000 gun barrage and gas attack leading to 350,000 casualties new troops were rushed in from across the channel, America finally joined the war. The first great war ended late November 1918 when the only German who had kept fighting finally surrendered leaving the world in devastation. It was now time to start the return to a normal life, to start to rebuild and recover and I was right in the middle of it. 

A new world

'Here comes the bogeyman dressed in black, stealing children, a loaded sack on his back.
Upon a tiny mound of bones he likes to sit, picking his teeth removing fleshy bits,
If you are naughty or tell a lie, if you disobey or cry, then you may be next to die.'
The children chanted this, every village I passed through every rhyme I heard, they were terrified of me, though they did not know this. They believed the bogeyman to wear a shroud of shadows, his face distorted, his figure long and ragged and his fingernails sharp and jagged dripping with the blood of naughty children. That is what I had become a deterrent for naughty children but I was far from what they believed me to be, I was normal, I looked normal I did not eat naughty children, I just ate and I know that is just as bad but children tasted so good. Their flesh was tender and succulent un-tarnished by drink and by gluttony or sin; I developed a habit, one that long out-lasted the witch trials and the 17th century. In fact I pandered to my addiction far into the 19th century, I travelled the length of England until I had reached the end, until I had feasted upon a child or three from every region and then I spread my legs and my legend even further. I sailed the globe, I ate dark meat and light, young and old. I had one near miss with a boat of travellers during the late 1800s however no bodies simply meant no crime that added to an un-solve able mystery meant I had once again gotten away with it.
What I must mention now is that I am not an ancient old man with a scruffy white beard and thin brittle bones, I am simply eternally young. I am not sure when I stopped ageing, I think it was in my 25th or 27th year, what I am sure of is the cause; my diet. When I figured this out, as you can understand, I was terrified that if I stopped eating the food I was that I may begin ageing once again and back then I had grown too fond of the perks of having a young and handsome appearance.
     I carried on with my 'wild' ways for many centuries, I met and broke the hearts, some literally, of many beautiful women, I feasted upon exotic flesh and I watched the world change before my very eyes; I watched countries go to war with themselves, saw the bloody civil wars unfold and , I hate to say, I reaped the benefits. I saw horse and cart become near obsolete, I watched people circle the world in less time than it took to sprout a seedling, I saw them fly and drive on four wheels, I spoke to people on the other side of the world in a matter of minutes and listened to people on the radio. I watched great big, ugly brick buildings spring up over night to spew toxic smoke into the clean air and I watched plagues eradicate whole towns, whole civilisations. After the things I had witnessed growing up and living through centuries nothing bothered me so much anymore, I was in essence a monster myself and I continued to be, without conscience or regret, until I witnessed the world begin to turn on itself, to ravage its young men and it’s green lands, to rip life away and destroy peace. I had never before witnessed anything on such a scale, I had watched wars unfold because of material things and religion but never because of greed, because of revenge or wealth not on such a scale.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

A Nobel man brings trouble

As I grew my hunger became more and more ravenous; after I had taken the man in my village I had to run for fear that someone might come looking for him; I'll never know if anyone did. I made a home for myself deep with-in the woodland, feasting on lonely travellers, I lay traps for their horses and their feet capturing and killing them before they had a chance to see my face. Of course I never took the equines life choosing instead to let them free. This life worked out well for me, no one knew I existed, I had no family, no friends and the disappearances were put down to some form of wild beast roaming in the woodland, my life was a happy one, I saw no wrong in what I was doing, people eat bovine and poultry, I could not then determine a difference.
My happiness was not to last for one day I found myself, unknowingly feasting upon a Nobel man. You must understand I did not keep up with the 'news' I did not know who was who and could not tell a Nobel man from a. Simple black smith. He rode into one of my traps, knocked unconscious by a tree branch. I feasted for days upon his flesh and was unawares of anything out of the ordinary until a group riding upon horse back thundered through my forest. I had learnt from a past mistake that it was not wise to capture a group, especially one as large as this one and so quickly moved to 'un-arm' my traps. I watched and listened then for any indication of why they may be there and to my horror I found out. The men had been sent into the woods to find, capture and kill the beast who had been taking travellers including their Nobel man. They were determined, out for blood and if I wasn't careful I would become their target.
I fled from the forest with nothing but the clothes on my back and my hunting knife, I moved quickly and far through towns and villages, across land and rivers until I felt I had run far enough to be safe. I made a home in the woodland surrounding a town, a town that was larger than the one I had left; a town that like many others was suffering. You see during this time, I was in my 25th year, something had as you say, come back with a vengeance witch hunting.
I had seen the repercussions however when I was small the witch trials had somewhat died down in England though a few still preached and secretly hunted. Now in our 17th century it was to make a devastating return though its return would be my saving grace. During the witch hunts I was presented with one problem: people no longer entered the forests alone. They were too afraid of the 'witches' to ride alone and this presented me with a problem; I may have been tall and strong but I could never take on a group of fully grown men. There fore I had to find an alternative source of food and I did. I was very resourceful, I had to be, I had always had to be and so one day when I saw a pair of small children wandering through the forest I took my chance, anyone would.
When I took those children and ate every last morsel of flesh from their tiny bones and picked my teeth with their shin bones I had no idea what I was starting. I left the bones piled and took my leave from the village, I thought it best to go since I had taken someones children and I had expected to hear the uproar in the surrounding villages when they found their bones but instead I was presented with two entirely different stories.
The first I heard when I was stalking two men through the forest, they raged about the 'new low' witched had reached, taking and murdering small children, using their flesh for their spells, I couldn't believe it, I had gotten away with it scott free and the blame had fallen upon the witches. The second story I heard was one that chilled my bones much more; I was tempted by a group of small children when I heard them whispering about something, the bogeyman. A man dressed all in black who lurks in the shadows and pounces when you're not looking. He takes you when your naughty, he eats you flesh and chews on your bones, he is the bogeyman. Shivers ran down my spine, I left those children alive that day and wandered for hours contemplating what they had said; I was not to know that this label would stick with me forever and would strike gear into children's hearts for years to come.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone on O2

Monday, 5 March 2012

Meet Lister Kane

Here comes the bogeyman dressed in black…

    I’m Lister, Lister Kane and I am the bogeyman; I say ‘the’ in the sense that I am the one and the only one bogeyman in the world. I am evident in every culture, in every corner of the world there will be a story, a legend, a myth regarding a man, a man who will take naughty children and punish them, in some cases eating their flesh and gnawing on their bones. I’m not denying this, we all have to begin somewhere but what we begin as we do not necessarily remain and so here I am to tell you my story, the story of Lister Kane.

    I was a child once, I was conceived and I was carried and I was born but the world I was born into was vastly different that the world today, in fact it could have been an entirely different planet but no such look, I was simply born during another time, a time of witches and hunters, of famines and village devouring diseases, the date of my birth: 31st October 1587.  My mother died during child birth and my daddy hated me, he despised me and so on my 6th birthday he abandoned me, I don’t mean that he died, I mean he walked away one day and never looked back. I was left in a crumbling home, in a village being ravaged by a disease of no name and no cure; so there I was alone, no food, no friends and possibly going to die.  I watched the villagers drop one by one, bodies piled up, no one would come to help for fear of the death and those who were no taken by illness starved to death, I was quickly becoming the latter. I had exhausted my supply of food, I had even ventured into the homes of the dead, where others would not and took their food; now desperate for food I wandered into the surrounding woodland, it was the dead of winter, snow was knee high and fell still, in thick, soft flakes, I had not only taken food from the dead but also furs and blankets, they no longer had a need for them but I did. I had wrapped so many blankets around me that I resembled a boy six times my size, I waddled along, struggling in the snow, my feet frozen and my finger tips turning blue, I found berries that tasted bitter and washed the taste away with snow, I chewed on twigs and bark; I had hoped to chance across a dead rabbit or hare or even a bird fallen from the sky but I found none, I walked deeper and deeper, the day grew dark and finally the snow ceased to fall.

     I began to give up, tired, my legs protesting, I sat on a fallen tree, the collected snow melted with my body heat, soaking through the layers of blankets, I shivered, my stomach growled and gurgled; I wanted to sleep and had begun to allow my eye lids to fall shut when I saw it; a crow. A jet black crow as big as a small feline, it pecked and clawed at the ground, jabbing and pulling at something buried beneath the snow. I shed a few of my blankets, no more awake than I had been when I had sat down, I crept, a stolen knife in my small hands, toward the unassuming bird; had I been able to see my path beneath the snow I may have taken the bird however I stumbled on a large boulder buried beneath the white blanket and was sent sprawling through the air, I landed close to the bird which fled into the sky something hanging from its beak. I was angry, I flung the stick into the air after it, my ankle ached where it had caught the stone and my front was soaked through. I was ready to give up, return to my broken home when my curiosity called me back, back to whatever the crow had been so enthralled by. When I looked down into the hole created by the crow, I saw a nose, a blue tinged nose, an empty eye socket, I dug frantically, my fingers ached by the time I had cleared enough snow to see who was beneath, my father.

     I had never expected to see him again, I believed that  he would have found a new home by now, he was happy, safe but he was not, he had fallen in the woodland, lame and starving, when the first snow had fallen he had frozen to death; I will be honest I did not cry a tear for him, I did not mourn for him, I hated him, I was happy that he had died in the woodland like an animal it was more than he deserved, in my opinion. I was now ready to return home, still hungry but now a little happier than I was when I set out I turned and took a step but was again pulled back by something by the crow. I thought about what the crow had been doing, eating, it had been using my father as a source for food, why couldn’t I do the same. It may seem strange to eat human flesh but when you are so starving, so cold anything will suffice; I scrapped back snow until I found his lower body, his stomach and legs, it took me a while to saw through the frozen flesh which had been preserved by the weather, but when I had I held in my hand a thick piece if stomach flesh, pale and white on the outside but deep red on the inner, I sucked it into my mouth, it tasted of iron as it melted on my tongue and once I had consumed it I felt satisfied, a cut more and more from the body washing it down with snow, compared to what I had been eating it tasted like heaven. Once I had had my fill, rather than leave the body to the wildlife, I cut as much meat as I could, packed it in snow and carried it back to my village in one of the blankets. There were so few people left that no one noticed, if they did they didn’t care what I was doing, most were fleeing or dying and so I was left alone. 
     I had enough meat to last me 1 whole month, with 1 meal a day, I still evaded the death that had befallen the rest of my village which had fallen empty, dead bodies were buried beneath snow and home were left to rot but I was thriving, the only thing, I grew tall and stronger, I had never before in my six years felt to good; then the food ran out, I began to feel hunger quickly, hunger like I had never felt before, I felt ravenous there was no food left, no meat, nothing but my body was screaming to be fed, I foraged berries and foliage but nothing dampened my hunger I needed meat, I wanted flesh. In my desperation I turned to the dead buried beneath the snow, their diseased limbs turned my stomach but my mouth still watered at the thought of flesh, of thick red meat. I was just about to slice into a body when I heard a voice calling for any sign of life, I turned to see a man, he pulled a horse behind him, he was tall and thick haired but most notably he was alone. My stomach growled in anticipation, I stood hiding the knife behind my back, leaving the rotten flesh of the dead, I moved toward my next meal.