When Kenny got back from Atlantic City his father confirmed my suspicions. Kenny was on law enforcements radar. He closed shop and started making arrangements to move the family to Florida when he was done living out his security in East Islip. Kenny and I started doing a lot more coke. He had a lot left and my season was really slow that year. The both of us became obsessed with finding out exactly what was going on in East Islip. By then John was, for the first and only time in his life, happily married. I got him to come over Kenny’s by promising him a bag of coke that he could take home and do with Meryl. When he did come over, wearing his ostrich skin boots just for the occasion, nothing happened. John went on and on lecturing me that night. “See. You should know much more than I do. You have a way higher IQ than I do. You like to read books and I hate to read books. But I read a lot of books when I was in jail and I took them home for you to read. You have never even looked at them. They’re still sitting up in a box in my old room at my mothers. You can’t see the nose in front of your face. You’re like some stupid Guiney gangster in a bar.” I don’t remember much else about that night except John left early with his bag of coke and I consented to take a look at the books.
He came over my mother’s house a few days later with the box full of hardcover books, some quite old. He got my attention immediately when he said “you better read these. Your right there is something going on over there. When I left Kenny’s I stopped at that big club over on the corner. I don’t even know why I stopped. I have never been in there before. When I walked through the door there was a guy standing there with these two big muscle bound dudes who were afraid to even ask me for the cover. I go to push past them and this guy starts talking to me like he knows me calling me by my first name. “Hey John. John I been waiting for you.” He hung out with me all night. Turns out he was the owner and he kept giving me free drinks. He was talking about some really crazy shit. Saying he was with the Mafia and the CIA, that they were the same thing and that they had been watching me for a real long time now and they wanted me to work with them. I don’t know anything about anybody crawling through walls but this guy was clearly waiting for me at the door and he knew all about me.” I just looked at him and wondered whether he had consented to work with them or not. But as I have intimated before in this story there is a formality between me and John that should not exist between two guys who have known each other as long as we both had. I observed protocol and started looking through the books.
There was this huge blue book; The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie. It was full of symbols and rituals. There was Practical Magick by Aleister Crowley containing the same symbols and rituals and two volumes by Godfrey Higgins about Masonic lore. There was a thin white book called The
Holy Books by Aleister Crowley that John said was the most important. He snatched it from my grasp and started reading passages like some Jurassic Age Shakespearean actor having an orgasm during recital. From what I could gather from the obscure symbolism that I did not understand yet Crowley was saying that he had killed the old God, or at least he was going too and that he would be the new one. There were also other books including two more by Israel Regardie; The Middle Pillar and the Garden of Pomegranates. John explained to me that Regardie was the only man that wrote books about him that ever really knew Crowley, having been his personnel secretary. The Garden of Pomegranates would be the first book I would end up reading but not yet. I already believed in demigods. In fact I was already fully convinced that John and I were just such entities but praeterhuman intelligences had thus far been beyond my range of experiences. My father hadn’t taught me much about philosophy and religion but he had taught me to believe nothing of what I heard and only half of what I had seen. I was going with that for now. I still do.
of the area Kenny had moved to revealed that beyond the vacant lot and burned out fort, about a quarter mile down the tracks, was the Great River Train Station, a major hub for the Long Island Rail Road’s south shore line. East of the train station was Heckscher State Park and miles of virgin woodland. There was nothing unusual about the area geographically except that it was a bit more rural than the majority of Long Island’s South Shore. Carlton Avenue had some clubs and some bars and a lot of dilapidated stores. The area Kenny’s house was in was between Montauk Highway and Sunrise Highway. It was strictly White working class.
I took a look at Chief and his menagerie of a family. Chief himself skulked about. You would see him coming and going, sometimes with his family, sometimes alone, but never laughing or joking. He looked like a young version of Charles Manson without the beard but the same long dark hair and wild staring eyes. Sometimes I would pass him on the porch. When I glowered at him he would look down to avert my eyes. He always smelled like rotten eggs and the scent would linger long after he had passed. One of the neighbors had told Kenny that they had seen him climbing out of a man hole of the neighborhoods partially constructed sewers. The sister was a fat dyke just as Kenny had said. She was about eighteen. She had dark hair, a bad complexion, and the IQ of a door knob. The little brother as predicted only appeared after dark. He was an undersized twelve, skinny and frail, pale white with closely cropped dark hair. He either could not or would not talk. Billy had told us that when he played with the other kids he would communicate by whistling to them. You could hear whistling outside at all hours of the night. When questioned about the kid’s nocturnal habits Billy was evasive saying something about his father, whom the kid lived with, working at night. The mother didn’t look like anyone in her family she was bleach blond, well kept, and about mid forties.
Billy lived in the single family house next door on the side towards the lot. He was about fourteen years old and shared the house with his mother. He was as disingenuous as anyone that age could be. He spent all day practicing in his backyard with a bow and arrow. He would seek me or Kenny out and talk to us for hours. Somehow you knew he wasn’t really saying anything. Whenever he was questioned about the strange goings on in the neighborhood he would always intimate that it was Chief without coming right out and saying so. Flanking the other side towards the sump was the single family home that was the residence of Kim and her family. I rarely, if ever, talked to Kim. Her father looked like he was about to have a nervous breakdown. I figured seeing her speaking to me would push him right over the edge.
One day Kenny and I were over by the sump with the dog and I spotted a two foot long greenish brown snake in the sand by the fence. As I have said I have had a lifelong love affair with herpetology so knowing there are no venomous snakes on Long Island I immediately grabbed my prize to examine it. I was a little surprised when it spread a cobra like hood and hissed at me. It was a Hog Nosed Snake, the only one I have ever seen on Long Island. Although they are harmless they do a perfect imitation of a cobra, hood and all, to scare away predators. If that doesn’t work they will keel over and play dead, excreting a noxious foul smelling fluid all over themselves. I was going to keep it and put it in a fish tank at home but when I saw the fat dyke’s window was open on the van I couldn’t resist. Grinning like an idiot I threw it in the van. The next day when Billy saw me he couldn’t wait to tell me that the girls had found it and had nearly had apoplexy. They had to get Chief to remove it from the van for them. Billy assured me Chief said ‘that was a really good one.’
I needed to turn up the heat a little which I did by inserting Phil into the situation. Phil came up with the same solution he did for everything. He told a mortified Kenny that he would make Chief disappear. Kenny said “you can’t do things like that around here. First of all I don’t do shit like that. Second of all the police are watching this place. And third of all these are just kids.” Phil started hanging around the house. He told us “you guys are just doing too much coke. Nobody could walk around inside walls and even if they could nobody would be stupid enough to play around over here. Give me a few ounces of coke and there will be no kids left in this neighborhood. I have to see this to believe it.” Patty said “I already told them that.” Pointing to me she continued “nothing ever happens when he’s not here. The few things I have seen seem to all revolve around him. It’s as if he is the source of everything.” Kenny chimed in “he hasn’t been over for the past couple of days and the knick-knacks
on the entertainment center have been moving around. I marked where they are and I have been watching them. They are moving around!” Phil said “you’re probably just playing your stereo too loud. Or it’s the vibrations of the trains going by. What do you think, it’s ghosts? There are no ghosts or believe me I would have seen a few by now. Do you think Chief can make himself invisible? I can’t believe somebody like you is even saying shit like this. Eric already went over this whole house and he said none of the shit you’re talking about is possible. The guys a master carpenter. He builds high-rises in the city!” Phil was right. I had brought Eric over to check out the house and he had checked the attic and the basement, to Patty’s incessant objections. Eric had pronounced the house secret passage free. But he told me something else on the side that I never have told anybody. “Watch Patty. Whatever is going on there she’s involved.” Kenny had a native intelligence that he couldn’t articulate with his limited command of language but Eric had something else. Eric was half animal. The biting incidents, the over sized tendons and blood veins coiling around his arms were not the only manifestations of that fact. He was as sentient as any cat or dog. If Eric said something was going to happen it almost always did. Everybody knew this about him.
That day we watched the knick-knacks for hours. A glass figurine slowly but surely moved about six inches during the course of the day. Its movements were so slow they were beyond the realm of human perception, only about an inch an hour, but after six hours the figurine had moved six inches. Phil insisted it was the rumbling of the trains passing by every hour or so that moved them but he was being obstinate. The figurine was steadily moving which Kenny proved to him by placing another knick-knack next to it. In an hour the figurines had about an inch clearance between them even though no trains had come, no music was playing, and the entertainment center was perfectly level. Patty kept coming in the room and saying to me “it’s you. It’s you.” But she would not explain herself. It had rained torrentially during the course of the day and outside a brick chimney stack ran from the basement to about three feet above the ledge of the roof. Around dusk, very loud and very clearly, a suction sound could be heard coming from the stack as if something was scaling it outside making its way to the roof using suction cups. When we went outside there was nothing. Phil quipped “it must be Batman. Good, I always wanted to kick his ass.” Looking at me he said “you take Robin.”
It was after dark when we again heard the suction sound coming from the chimney stack outside. We all ran outside at the same time practically getting jammed in the doorway together. The sound of running footsteps were coming from over by the sump and Kenny and Phil took off in hot pursuit. I ran around the side of the house to see if anybody was by the chimney. I didn’t see anybody so I started toward the street to catch up with Kenny and Phil. I had the overwhelming sensation of being watched and I hadn’t checked the roof anyway so when I got out into the street where I would have a clear view of it, I stopped running and turned around. There on the roof with its long legs spread for balance and one arm extended to brace itself against the top of the chimney was the essence of my nightmares. It was not human. That was plain enough. It was at least seven feet tall with membranous bat wings semi folded into its back. It had no head, only two dinner plate sized glowing red eyes that seemed to grow right out of its shoulders. Its eyes did not stare but rather burned themselves right into me and for a long time afterwards I would see them in reflections at night and in my dreams. Years later I would read John Keels descriptions of what was called the Mothman, but at the time I had never even imagined that something like that could exist, at least in my waking hours. After what seemed like forever suspended in time with our gazes locked in what could only have been an ephemeral embrace, I broke free and took off down the block after Kenny and Phil. When I got to the corner Phil was climbing over the fence out of the sump saying “there’s no one down there unless you think their hiding underwater.” Kenny looked at me and said “did you see anything around the house?” Staring into space I said “no.”
I had never had a hallucination before, even though I had taken massive dosages of hallucinogenics trying to induce one in myself. I had always figured if I could just have a hallucination the mysteries of my childhood would be solved. Sometimes it had appeared as if the patterns on walls, rocks, and plants, were some kind of ancient and universal written language, but there is a big difference between a delusion and an illusion. Once I took about twenty hits of John’s mescaline and stared all night into the water from the docks at the Venice. After a few hours, the reflections of lights from the surrounding buildings seemed to dance like burning cities on the waves of the bay. But as far as seeing pink elephants or even spontaneously seeing visions I had never come close. What I had seen was real and it wasn’t something any ‘sane’ person would see so I kept my mouth shut. When we got back to the house Patty was waiting for us in the doorway. I was silent the rest of the night and we sat in the living room doing lines. Patty kept asking me “did you see something outside?” Phil said “there’s nothing out there but a couple of kids fucking around. Believe me.” But Patty was mocking and insistent “no. Look at him. He’s all white. He looks like he’s seen a ghost. You kept looking out there. What did you think you were going to do if you ever actually found what you were looking for? Turns out all you could do is run away from it. Why bother looking for something if you’re just going to run away when you find it?” I didn’t answer her but Kenny angrily did “what the fuck are you talking about Patty? I think you’re doing too much shit lately. There ain’t nothing but a few ounces left and I’m selling the rest to Bates tomorrow for whatever I can get for it. That’s it! Party’s over for everyone!”
There was a ringing in my ears all that night and the impression of children’s laughter right beyond the threshold of perception. When I went in the kitchen for a beer Patty had hung a wicker basket of burnished glass stones over the kitchen counter. Two of them were red like giant rubies and caught the stove light reflecting like a pair of eyes in the rain splattered window over the sink. They seemed to be reminding me that I would never be alone again. I had listened to the song Easy Ride
by the Doors since John had dragged me out of the water, now I knew. Eyes like burning glass. “The mask”, the veneer of the lie, had been ripped from the face of the liar. I could see him clearly now, as clearly as he could see me.
We kept shoveling coke up our noses and we kept hearing footsteps running around outside the windows. Every time we heard a noise Phil would respond by bursting out the doors in a futile attempt to catch the noises source. Around daybreak Kenny, Phil, and I snuck out the front door and made a mad dash to the railroad track embankment slipping and sliding over its rocky gradient. On the other side of the tracks we waited. As the first rays of daylight lifted the veil of darkness from Kenny’s house we watched in amazement. Billy was running around the house in circles, pausing occasionally under the windows. His body was hunched over as he ran like a marathon runner almost out of gas. Phil looked at us victoriously saying “should I go slap the shit out of the ghost now?” We crossed the tracks and stood watching as the kid darted first one way then another around the house. Although we were less than a hundred feet away, standing right there in the open, it was as if he could not see us. After no less than a dozen laps he ran around the back and didn’t come back. When we looked he was nowhere to be found. He had pitched a tent in the fenced enclosure of his backyard. We watched the tent for a while waiting for him to come out. Finally Kenny said “you guys better go home. That kids fourteen years old. I’ll handle it.”
I saw Kenny a few days later but I already knew all I would ever need to know. Kenny said “I caught up to him a few hours later. He says he was looking for Chief, they were camping out and playing tag. He seemed to be shocked that I had seen him. He didn’t know what to say. Then when I saw Chief he said he doesn’t know what the kid is talking about. He used to hang out with Billy but they don’t even talk to each other anymore. All I know is I never seen him hanging out with Billy and their both too old to be playing tag.” I said “well Kenny there’s a lot of things you haven’t seen, you and everybody else in this world.” He asked me again if I had seen something that night and again I told him “no.”
I told myself that it must have been one of the kids wearing a costume. That Patty was in on it with them and they all must have been pilfering Kenny’s coke all along. That would explain their strange behavior. The noises in the ceiling continued and by the time Kenny left for Florida they had spread to the rest of the house. I kept trying to set traps for Patty by getting her out of the house and telling Kenny to look here and look there. He never found anything and I never outright told him that I suspected his wife of anything. One morning right before they left I went over there with Eric’s shotgun and told her to bring the kids to her parents, I was going to settle it that day. She had a screaming fit telling me “everything that is happening here is all because of you. I really don’t think you should even be around my kids. You have no idea what you are. Thank God we are moving to Florida.”
Around midnight Kenny and I took a ride to the Seven Eleven over on Connetquot Ave by Heckscher State Park. As we pulled back onto the side roads we saw three young girls walking and noticed one of them was Kim. I pulled up to them and Kenny said “what are you doing out this late?” She laughed at him and looked at me and said “there’s been some changes. I decided to take you up on your offer.” She showed me the back of her hand and on it was carved a bloody cross. I said “what the fuck are you talking about? I never made you any offer. This is the first time I have ever even talked to you. Are you high on something?” She laughed again and said “I drunk some wine.” Then she said “oh yes you did. And I like it.” We pulled away as she continued to laugh and I said to Kenny “what the fuck was that about?” He said “I have no idea. And as far as I know she’s not even allowed out of the house, let alone this late and this far.”
About a month or two later Kenny called me from Florida and told me to read the paper. The big story in Newsday that day was a fourteen year old boy had been arrested in East Islip and charged with over forty counts of sexual assault. Turns out innocent little Billy had been sodomizing all the other little boys and girls in the neighborhood. A neighbor had called Kenny in Florida. The neighbor had also told Kenny that the reason Chief had tried to burn Billy alive in the clubhouse was to put a stop to his reign of terror. By now I believed none of it. Plato wrote that men were hairless apes who sit frozen in place in a cave with their back to a fire and watch shadows on the wall cast by the procession of reality that passes between their backs and the fire. If one of the apes was ever dragged from the cave and forced to watch the spectacle from a hole in the ceiling above, they could never go back to sit with the other apes and endure their bestial chatter.
© Jack Heart 2016
“Your gods will die with you” Gordon Duff 2012
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