So, I thought I’d give people who have or haven’t bought “Sinister Sextet: Six Supernatural Stories” a look at what I managed to write while listening to Robin Thomas Quinn’s (Artie Q’s) song “Good Morning (The man who lost his smile)”. I had the song looped and pumping into the room at high volume at the time.
“Good Morning: (The man who lost his smile)” can be found here, and I suggest you sample some of it at your convenience.
Now if you listen to the piece, it’s quite nice, actually, and has nothing to do with horror, diseases, destruction, or natural disasters…but that opening guitar, synthesizer, the underlying beat, and the cool guitar riff that comes in shortly after the three minute mark is what did it for me. It’s like musical caffeine. It fired the neurons and dendrites.
Hemingway needed booze to write, and I seem to need music. For whatever reason, the way this song marches on motivates me to do the same.
The music was written by Artie Q. with guitar played mostly by other musicians, most notably Mindmovie (Achim Wierschem) – and LRW.
And so, this is what I wrote…. This is the draft version of a snippet from a story entitled “Sores” in which the world is afflicted with a terrible swarm of diseases, all at once. The published version has been modified quite a bit. What follows is just what I wrote “on the fly,” so to speak…
“I’ll sit down here on the floor. Just sit tight,” I said, and reached over and grasped her hand.
That’s when we heard the “train.”
The wind cycled up from nothing into an outright howl, and it sounded like a ten coupled diesel engines going full throttle. It was a combined hiss and a growl.
The hills to the west must have obscured the sound, but the natural cut between two of the hills made the perfect pathway for the funnel to come through, and come through it did. It came through and cut through.
We could hear trees getting ripped out by their roots and being flung into the air. Gravel and rocks began to pelt the house. We heard a colossal
as something metallic crashed down in the street and rolled away. We would discover after the disaster was over that it was a John Deere tractor picked up from a farm a mile away.
Some heavy, wet, soggy objects that sounded like scraps of soaked carpet hit the roof and the side of the house, and then the wind began to dig its fingers under the eaves and pry.
We heard wrenching sounds, as of nails being pulled out of wood, except it was multiplied twenty fold, and then the whole house rumbled and shook.
We could not hear anything above the combined roar of the wind and the cracking and crunching of the destruction going on. The noise was now increasing to near-deafening levels.
One of the house’s exterior side doors was peeled out of its frame like the lid off a can of sardines and we could hear debris being blown into the house.
As if that wasn’t enough, lightning struck and we heard the transformer on the power pole on the other side of the street explode, but the damage was temporary. The pole was soon ripped off close to its base and flung into the house behind it. We didn’t know it then, but it cut through the house directly across the from ours like a knife, and the second floor collapsed on top of the first before the wind from the funnel tore the debris away and flung it across distant farm fields.
Many of the debris falling on us now was coming from homes and buildings that were destroyed miles back, and when the roar increased even more, we realized that what we had been hearing was just the onset.
In fact, the actual tornado hadn’t hit us yet.
“Get down!” I yelled, and my wife bent over to protect the cat. Neither of us could see anything, but the almost the last thing I heard before the noise overwhelmed us was the cat yowling beneath my wife.
I wasn’t sure what we were going to do. You cannot imagine what it is like to be in a situation like that unless you’ve experienced it for yourself.
“Mike!” Ellie shouted. “What should we do? What should we do?” She was obviously having similar thoughts.
“Pray!” I yelled. “Pray to God! Pray to God for our salvation!”
We both prayed.
But the wind cycled up.
We had thought the hills had been shielding us from the sound of the tornado until it was upon us, but we were dead wrong. The range of low mountains behind us looked almost centipede shape from a satellite, and the tornado had been jumping them one by one. All that racket we had been hearing had been coming from between the last two “legs” of the centipede.
Now it was upon us. Now, it was cutting through the final barrier. The trees were being torn out and flung into the air with the ease of a frenzied man pulling out handfuls of grass.
It was excruciatingly loud now, pandemonium ripping at our ear drums.
Had we thought we’d heard trees crashing down outside? We had no idea. That was just the small stuff. Bushes, branches. Limbs. Saplings, and small trees. Petty debris.
Now the trees began to crash down. Whole trees. Trees which had grown tall and robust in these low mountains for over two hundred years smashed down outside with gargantuan crunches.
Russell’s house was to the left of ours as you faced the street. There was another house to our right. It was at the very end of the cul-de-sac between our house and the one that had been lopped in half by the telephone pole.
We heard a tree come down on top of it and pulverize it. Boards from the wreckage flew into the side of our house.
At its peak, we couldn’t hear anything. Sound seemed to ceased to exist. There were only concussions, pounding, thrumming, rumbling. It was the wind, and through it all, there was a steady hiss that wouldn’t stop.
We had hiked the Smoky Mountains quite a bit on many different trips before we finally decided to settle down here. On some of those trips, we encountered waterfalls that made this same hissing sound when the cascades hit the pools at their bottoms. It particularly happened when water fell from a great height, and when the water was thick, heavy, and unobstructed. I have also heard that same sound when waves break on a beach and the foam retreats back into the sea.
There was another metallic bang outside, and later I would discover that the tornado had thrown down a deuce-and-a-half like it was some child’s toy. It had been squeezed like a pop can, its middle compressed to an unrecognizable twist of metal. We would see some bodies wrapped up in some of the steel like meat in a burrito.
There were a dozen lightning blasts in quick succession. These originated not from any rainstorm, but from the static electricity conjured up from so much debris spinning around in the storm at high speed.
Lightning came down again and again, and continuous thunder rocked and shook the house for a full minute, if not more.
And with that volley began a slow de-escalation of nature’s hostilities.
The wind was still terribly formidable, but we could detect an infinitesimal fall off, discernible only because the sound of the continuing lightning strikes and ensuing thunder claps seemed to increase in volume.
It was at this time that we also noticed the floor was trembling, and we realized it had been since the tornado first came on. But now the vibrations were lessening.
Okay, maybe it’s not the absolute best thing I’ve ever written, but if you could hear the music while I was writing the above words, you’d know that the power of the music was transferring/translating/transmogrifying into what I believe are some pretty powerful words.
Interestingly, I needed absolute silence to do the revision. The revision, of course appears in the book.
So my thanks go out to Artie Q and his entourage. Perhaps I can return the favor some day.
Thanks for reading!