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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Beware Forever

There are two holidays on which I often publish a short story. Halloween is my favorite. Although, honestly, my Valentine's Day stories are better. They are less juvenile and always more bloody. Wait, before that admission chases away prospective readers, if anyone follows my tales, he or she sees I drift out of the Horror genre.

I write science fiction and urban fantasy, too. I tell a lot of stories about forgotten gods and breathing life into new creations. This one is absent that whole bringing-creatures-into-existence mythology. There are no monsters or devils in Beware Forever. This is not a meditation upon evil. Instead, here is the Greco-Roman god Cupid. And he has dating service in the foothills of Los Angeles, California. Could anyone do a better job? Especially in this Modern Age.

Beware Forever

Beware Forever


Matthew Sawyer

Forever opens upon the cross streets of Foothill Boulevard and Commerce in the Los Angeles suburb of Tujunga. Identical the surrounding businesses, the new establishment opens late in the morning and closes later at night. Unique among these strip mall shops, this enterprise is that of personal relationships. This place, Forever, is a match-making service. And it is the last of whereabouts I suspect I might find my fiancee.

By the bye, her name is Alicia with a 'T.' Everyone calls her Tally. I call her engaged and I wonder why she would come here to an impersonal and cold mediation service. Sure, I recognize our relationship went downhill the moment I proposed six weeks ago this past and especially windy February – Valentine's Day. But, what brought her here?

“Don't worry about her,” Tally's mother told me when I called her parents house. My fiancee lives at home with them.

“I haven't spoken to her in two days,” I complained when the stiff and cordial woman suggested I hang up the phone and get some sleep.

“Have you heard from her?” I begged before the short conversation ended.

“Sure, we got a letter from our daughter postmarked today.”

I said, “That's unusual but it's not the same. Have you spoken to her on the phone?”

“She left a message this morning,” Tally's mother explained.

“What did she say?”

“She said she was in love.”

“I hope with me,” I told her mother then uttered, “We're engaged.”

“Oh,” her mother sighed the same time I stated, “Goodbye.”

The discussion was done and my mobile phone committed its prerecorded “Click” when I pressed 'End' before I realized the woman sounded surprised.

“Paranoia,” I rationalized then. I think pretty-much the same right now. Parked outside Forever and sat inside my American-made, economical and compact hatchback, I console myself with a senseless platitude.

“Just because you're suspicious doesn't make it true.”

Even I don't know what I mean. The whole possibility of infidelity makes me senseless. I can think, all right, but faithlessness does blur lines. My judgment grows fuzzy and I see my thoughts aren't straight. And if my fiancee has lied to me, I know I will lose my mind.

Lost in horrible ideas, I let my hand, all by itself, grope for the radio. This piece of me knows there is pattern in broadcasts, there is rhythm and purpose in music. Years and half a lifetime of finger-tapping steering wheels in San Fernando Valley traffic have trained my deaf digits. Without thinking, they automatically follow the vibration of FM and analog then digital beats.

There is no music this afternoon. Instead, a radio announcer predicts, “Rain today. Hey, you communities in the foothills better watch for mudslides – there's been a drought these past three years.”

The phantom man talks about the area of Los Angeles where I and Forever are. No one here is concerned; not a drop of rain has fallen and the sodden gray clouds are yet scattered. The anonymous radio host is equally lackadaisical and he immediately speaks of more urgent news.

“There's another Los Angeles serial killer, a brand new one.”

The same time, I listen to myself speak in my head. I make vindications for myself while the announcer reports, “Two victims, so far.”

“I had to do it,” I say aloud. Back inside my head, I tell myself, “The NSA looks at phone records. All that stuff they collect is now public record. If I wanted, I should be able to search it on the Web.”

I assume that latter point and I justify my wish to no one with the mighty, civil power of the Freedom of Information Act.

The radio host says, “The middle-aged man and woman were found with unusual holes in their chests.”

On impulse, a surprise female co-host asks the virtual personality, “Were they a couple?”

“They were married... to each other.”

“They still are,” exacts the female radio host.

I think, “I was right to open the bill from her cellular carrier. Tally left it at my apartment for days even before she just disappeared.

“What do you mean when you say unusual holes?” The female host asks the male.

He tells her, “They were opened up like envelopes.”

“Don't get gross,” she warns him.

Listening only for the tone of their digitized voices, I gaze across the boulevard at the painted vinyl Forever business sign. As clearly as the black letters stand there on the white canvas, they stood up in printed capital characters on Tally's phone record. The sight of the word makes me furious even when I don't have reason to feel angry.

“I'm stalking this place,” I inform myself.

When I finish my revelation aloud, the male radio announcer states, “They were missing their hearts. There were no instruments used, no sign of any of them. It's like the organs tore themselves out.”

When the female radio personality says nothing, the male wonders on the air, “Happy Valentine's Day, huh?”

“I'm being ridiculous,” I tell myself.

The female host asks, “How do you know this, Donald?”

The named announcer reveals, “I have inside sources at the California Sheriff department, Dawn.”

“I'm only making myself irrational,” I remind myself. “Just go inside.”

Dawn confronts Donald. “You can't make up things about something serious like this.”

I open my car door when he responds. “Sensational. Isn't it?”

The radio still plays and the keys remain hung from the ignition while I step outside. Donald tells Dawn, “Go back to the morning show if you can't take the heat in the afternoon.”

“Maybe I will this summer,” she replies and the door closes. Dawn and Donald stay in the small car and argue with each other. I dodge across the busy street and think I feel a little more clearheaded.

The personally offensive sign is the primary aspect that puts Forever apart from the separate rented retail spaces defined by floor-length show windows and white-washed stucco frames. Also unlike the other storefronts, the window into Forever is closed. Uncommonly tall vertical blinds shut the showroom away from curious passerby-s.

“It makes sense,” I suppose. The interpersonal business largely seems a backroom operation. And given this Modern Age and with the immense population on the planet, lots of office workers are inevitable.

When I grab the metal handle of the tempered glass door, the overhead skies also suddenly shuts. A raindrop falls and strikes my left cheek below my eye. And once I am inside Forever, I use one finger and slash away the artificial tear with the force of a muscular tap.

Despite a cleaner sight and a better state of mind, the radiance inside the business is duller than under the eminent storm outdoors. And in no consequence of the darkness inside, there is nothing here. There are no cubicle partitions nor furniture of any sort. Forever is empty with industrial strength carpeting lain all across the abyssal floorspace.

A single figure stands in the visible center. The darkness does not hide this is a boy, a tall ten or twelve year old kid. Matching his hair and skin, this kid wears pale slacks and contemporary colorless outerwear. And in betrayal of shadows, gold hints reflect off his scalp and his hazel eyes shine. Green flashes out his sockets when he lifts his face.

“Welcome to Forever, Mister Bether,” he tells me with a voice I expect would come from him.

I ignore the odd fact he knows my name and I first say, “I'm not staying here very long.”

“Oh, do you know where you are going?”

I pause and I ponder the peculiar question. And sensible again, I immediately consider the context. His odd presence alone makes me mad. “What is this place all about? Who are you? Does your dad run this scam?”

“Do you believe I will let you leave?”


“Do you have any concept of immortality?”

I profess to the kid, “I have no idea what you're talking about. Who are you?”


“C'mon,” I shout before the shining pale boy says more.

“I am a god,” he insists.

I laugh and make a solitary uproar and 'cherub-cheeks' does, too. Suddenly, I feel I am not alone. I feel the kid's bearing upon my very bones and I laugh harder because I am joined. Once I run out of air, the blanched godling speaks. He smiles the whole while he tells me wicked things.

“I expected you would join Talicia here, but I was rash. I acted too hastily. You are an abnormality.”


“You are tainted by lemures. Even now, I see through your shirt and watch them suckle your teats.”

“There's nothing there,” I yell and pat my chest repeatedly. And truthfully, there is truly nothing hanging there. I am desperate and I do not consciously know why.

He tells me, “Bitter anger forbids your passage into the higher dimensions. You do not love her, Mister Bether.”

“This is bull-”

Having vented a small bit of profanity, I am cooled enough and I think about what the pretender-kid said. “Is Talicia here?”

“Are you so blind you cannot hear?” Eros Junior inquires of me. “I am your savior. Alas, you cannot come with us.”

“The latest in an ancient line,” I summarize.

He tells me, “It is that attitude that stops you from finding love, from experiencing an eternity of bliss. I wish you would call me Cupid.”

“How about cute kid,” I joke. I also make disclaimers because legalities concerning children this day and all. “Not in that way, if you know what I mean.”

“I know everything in your thoughts, Mister Bether. Your head is a darker place than anything my words conjure for your one-track mind.”

“Hey,” I protest. “I'm quite comfortable in there. It's roomy and I don't like company.”

Even as I tell the boy this, I feel his shadow lift from beneath every layer of my dermis. And I know it is him. I feel him pass out of me. The kid is unnatural but I am too skeptical and I will not admit the truth. I will not ascribe a human child super, godlike powers.

I can't explain why, but I ask him about my fiancee. “What did you do with her?”

Then I realize a small part of me, tinier than a nail from one of my self-directed fingers, that piece believes the kid genuinely is who he claims to be. And knowing the Earth has essentially been abandoned by the God who no longer believes in man, I can't pretend and claim the Greco-Roman immortals have awoken and now run every bit of Creation. Yet, here is the bastard child of Aphrodite.

Repeating myself, I ask the kid again, “What do you do here?”

Cute Cupid tells me outright, “All gods have fallen out of favor with mortal beings. Yet we have labors assigned to us, our birthrights. And we secretly fulfill our chores by any means available to us.”

I say, “Most of that went over my head. I still don't know what you're talking about.”

“Is it any wonder why your Creator never spoke to any of you?”

“He gave us something to read,” I propose in defense of faith.

“Words first spoken for the attention of crowds then written and written again by the hands of men.”

I am glib and reply, “Because the first guy had bad handwriting.”

I don't agree with my own flippant opinion. In fact, I don't care at all about the authorship of the Holy Book. I implore the extraterrestrial. Yeah, I admit to myself some kind of Cupid can be real.

“Just tell me. What's the story with this place?”

“And you want to know about your fiancee.”

I pause then shout, “Of course.”

Candid, I inquire more softly with him, “Seriously, is someone coming? Your mom, maybe?”

The prominent thought crosses my mind I would love to see the immortal paradigm of classical beauty and grace, even in this dull place. I can't help myself against conjuring an image of the ideal nymph even when I am reminded what Cupid said about visiting my head. The eternal child sees pornography and I feel he deserves to bear lurid witness because his trespass.

He tells me, “My mother is more beautiful than any mortal can know. One sight of her would strike you dead.”

“I've never been good with crayons, so my mental paintings can't be that impressive,” I say and tease the kid. I can be more cryptic than him and I accept the challenge.

“Besides, she's a planet now. Did you hear about that? You can see her in the sky at night.”

He replies, “You are deluded. Mankind has forgotten so much of us. You have all been confused for generations. And you are too easily distracted. My mother, for instance, she does not know what love is. Love is what I know.”

I relent. “All right, where is my fiancee?”

“You don't love her,” he accuses me.

Raising my volume, I demand, “What is this Moritz Schlick all about? You said that before.”

I then stop him before he answers. “No, take me to Talicia. Show me, now.”

Instantly, my disbelief is dispelled then there is a flash of light. Cupid spoke in my mind and my eyes were opened. I need no other credential. And my belief brings us into Egypt.

Egypt! And I know because my faith and all the sand and I see stone pyramids faced with lustrous limestone bricks. We stand in the Valley of Kings on the west bank of the Nile. Against the Pyramid of Giza, that seventh and last wonder of the ancient world, the pale contemporary clothes of modern Cupid remain dull even under an afternoon sun.

“You really are for real,” I mutter. My mouth stays agape.

We are alone on the desolate landscape; no one works in the heat of the day. Empty and loaded carts linger in places where toting cattle were temporarily led away. These creatures, too, do not suffer the afternoon and they toil in slavery only whenever the weather is cool. Modern folklore three thousand years from now claims these animals were the only slaves in Egypt and “Moses begins with a moo.”

Cupid tells me, “This is one thousand BC. Talicia is here... the living part. The part housing love.”

Though I believe who he says he is, and our trip through space and time is truly extraordinary, I can't trust a bygone god. I make an accusation when I say, “What, is Tally in pieces?”

I follow Cupid to the Great Pyramid while he explains, “I told you, there are duties gods must perform whether or not they are worshiped. Mine is love the flavor of true and eternal bliss.”

“Muslim suicide bombers have the same wet dream,” I crack to the boy-god. Only for a moment, the sky darkens into night and the sands under my polished dress shoes change into the firm carpet on the floor of a Los Angeles dating enterprise.

Cupid brings me back in time to Northern Africa. “Your faith falters. Can you understand why you do not love Talicia?”

“Of course, I do,” I assert. There is nothing more I can say.

He tells me, “Your doubt and pessimism belongs no where in eternity. There is no place for you, Mister Bether.”

“Now what is that suppose to mean?” I demand. At the same time, I'm not interested to learn. I tell him, “What I really want know is where is that piece of my fiancee you keep here in this parallel dimension.”

“You will see,” he tells me then we sink under the ground. Immaterial, we float down into a burial chamber hidden beneath our feet.

Once the tip of my shoe touches the stone floor of the underground space, we become material again. That Cupid remains in the form of this sweet pubescent boy and he is smaller than me, he drops a foot from the air. The thud of his hiking shoes echoes either direction down unlit corridors.

“Shh,” I say impulsively.

“We are still alone,” he assures me. “And I am a god.”

“Never mind,” I comment in a futile effort to extract my warning. Cupid does not reply.

I point at shelves I plainly see carved into the grainy bedrock wall opposite me. I see the craft-work despite the complete suffocation of any illumination. And I imagine my vision is a gift from a forgotten deity. There are clay Egyptian funeral urns crowded into the man-made crevasses.

“Are those what I think they are?” I ask Cupid.

“One of those is where you were suppose to go,” he states. “And you were to enjoy bliss with Talicia forever. She is there now, alone.”

“What happened?” I shout and yet do not understand what the boy-god tells me.

“You don't love her, Mister Bether.”

Using both his arms. Cupid removes a five gallon urn from a low shelf. The boy breaks the red wax seal around the lid of the ceramic vase. He takes off the flat onyx cover and shows me the human organs inside. There are two hearts bobbing in boiling brine. I plainly see them. They, themselves, are aglow in the bubbling red bath. Their lights flicker through the broth and shine against the high gloss glaze inside the pot.

“Neither of them are Talicia,” Cupid assures me.

He says, “This is a happy couple who are in love.”

“Eviscerated,” I claim. All the same, I cannot comment on what I see. Simply, the hearts beat. I watch them throb synchronized with one another.

“And you were to join her here,” he says to me.

I yell, “Dead?”

“No, do not question trust in a Lord. These people are yet alive and they bring bliss to each other. This is my heaven, Mister Bether.”

“But,” I stutter.

Cupid attests, “They can still use their bodies and perform menial, corporeal tasks. But that means they must leave utter bliss for that little while. A soul might project itself from an endless dream they share with their true love – if he or she would ever want to do that – and inhabit the shell of themselves until the physical body rots or it is destroyed.”

“There is cremation and burial,” I insist. My demeanor is inexplicably rabid.

He tells me, “In much older times, people took care and properly preserved themselves.”

Cupid says, “Love never dies. This infinite longevity is a gift from a god.”

“Wait, are you harvesting people?” I demand an answer and recently heard something about what Cupid is doing on the radio. “What do you do, pickle them in ceramic pots?”

“They come to me,” Cupid declares. The boy grows three inches before my eyes. His hands increase twice their size and appear menacing when he lifts his arms. “No one dies here. Except, there is a problem with Talicia.”

“My fiancee,” I needlessly clarify.

He admits, “I took her heart too soon and assumed you would follow. You did, Mister Bether. Here you are. But you don't love her. The anarchy inside you would destroy her celestial fantasy.”

Confused and beginning to panic, I tell him, “I don't want any of this.”

“That is obvious,” he says very reasonably despite his disproportionate deformities. Regardless, his unnatural growth has made me afraid. I have an impression Cupid intends I stay that way.

The overlarge boy threatens me. “I can't let you leave.”

I beg, “You can't leave me here.”

“I should drop you to Ammut.”

“Put me where?”

“The pit,” he tells me. “There lives the Devourer of Souls. He will eat you whole, body and all. He is half hippopotamus, half crocodile and substantial parts of lion.”

“That doesn't add up,” I accidentally say.

Cupid recommends, “Use Non-Euclidean geometry.”

Nonchalant, the godling muses, “I will feed you to Ammut. We can't have lost souls wondering about – that's like leaving scraps on the dinner table. Leftovers lure pests.”

“Wait,” I solicit urgently before we go anywhere. “I didn't sign up for any of this. I didn't sign any paper for Forever.”

“These unloved days, Mister Bether,” Cupid reminds me, “We gods do anything necessary to finish our jobs. Now the Creator is gone, we take liberties.”

We are back in the empty twenty-first century Forever business office before I stake any standing in our travel plans. Cupid confesses to me, “You don't love her, but an old high school crush does.”

The bleak godling offers me a deal.

“I will spare you if you hunt him for me.”

“Why me?” I immediately ask him merely in outrage of his scheme.

“I am fickle,” he admits. “I can choose whoever to do whatever I want. But you, sir, are vested. I know you will do my work and do it quickly."

“What do you want me to do?” I ask him and again harbor disbelief.

He tells me, “Find the man who loves your ex-fiancee. Bring him here so that he and Talicia might always be together.”

Cupid sees me fidget and he intimately knows I hesitate. He says, “It's good for everyone. I don't need all of him. Just bring me his heart so they can be together in bliss.”

“That is comforting,” I say.

Cupid reminds me, “I am the god of love, the only one.”

I go do what my Lord commands.


Purchase ebooks by Matthew Sawyer at Smashwords.

Paperback novels are available at Lulu.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's Not a Revision

January 2014 has come and so have my latest self-published book editions. They're not revisions, for the most part. Sure. I corrected instances of missing dialog punctuation but these fixes do not truly set the 2014 editions apart from those of the previous year. There are exceptions, but these are so minor that I let the refreshed publication date record their histories.

Take a look at my printed books at Lulu or my identical ebooks at Smashwords.

A big exception is Pazuzu - Manifestation, the first book in my Pazuzu Trilogy. I made clear alterations to its 'Prelude' and the first leg of chapter one, 'The Wilderness'. And here they are...

Rage makes the swollen hands of this ranked priest tremble. Captain Ioannu is the victim of extortion, that or lacking amphetamine makes him angry. He tugs a collarless white shirt and finally removes his heavy black uniform jacket. The UnChosen caste calls his choice drug 'Ape' - the street name for a new junk that typically changes users into anxious, howling gorillas.

Such base consequence could never happen to a priest, a born member of the upper echelon of the Chosen caste and an officer in the Church. The associated pomp and dignity granted the position guards against that uncivil lunacy. No, the unquiet phases of the chemically grown monkey would not drive Josiah Ioannu into madness. The Church had promoted this middle-aged priest to captain because his genetically endowed discipline gives him immaculate willpower. After all, Captain Josiah Ioannu had been born a Chosen. Even without a rank, birthright grants him authority over his Mortal God.

Nonetheless, his responsibilities crush Ioannu under stones. “The Church presses too much work on mid-grade priests. They drive me to use the damned drug.”

The wretched soul rationalizes, “I'm old.”

He also confesses to himself, “The problem with Ape isn’t the drug, but rather not having any. Nothing at all.”

Sobriety-sharpened nails press into his chest and head. Beneath his tormented rut, the priest tells himself, “Being clean banishes the blessing of knowing exactly what to do in any situation... and making sense of other people. Nobody listens to me when I don't have Ape, they just babble and interrupt me when I talk.”

Sobriety truthfully compromises the man's ability to control his god – the Mortal God and all those forsaken UnChosen dwelling inside his squalid quarter next the Wall.

Materially, he deals with an unprecedented crime inside the walled city of Khetam. Very recently, there on the sands of the Chosen's Promised Land, Reverend Elmer had been murdered. The man was a subordinate priest Ioannu had assigned the parish custodianship of Saint Erasmus. He thinks aloud, “A sympathizer killed him.”

The Wall separating Khetam from the world of the Shur foremost protects the city from the ravages of heathen terrorists. “No full-blown heathen can get into this city,” Captain Ioannu mumbles. He righteously believes no one passes through the Wall without the approval of the Church or its military. He tells everyone, “The Chosen exercise exclusive entrance into Khetam.”

All UnChosen once permitted behind the Wall now live in desolate parishes like Saint Erasmus. Ioannu thinks, “A suitable batch of hovels for those spineless degenerates.” Still, the caste and status of the murdered victim raises the severity of the crime to an act of terrorism. The Church and its military’s censors had debated if news of the crime should be made public, but the single body never made a decision.

One thing Ioannu was certain – the presence of pagan tablets on the altar inside Saint Erasmus will never be reported to the public. The Church had immediately confiscated and destroyed the sacrilegious objects. Whatever the dead Reverend Elmer had once planned with them is better undiscovered. The blasphemous controversy goes with him into death. Withal, the late Reverend Elmer brought the awful fate upon himself.

In the midst of Ioannu’s coping with his withdrawal from Ape – that and the murder of a priest too curious about an archaic and forbidden religion – the phone in his office rings. The man on the other end of the telephone line calls him, “Sir.”

Reverend Benedict Gage calls, again. The Aper is a non-commissioned bastard from the city of Gomorrah. Captain Ioannu had just hung-up on the irreverent extortionist.

“Why do you keep calling here?” Ioannu shouts into the phone inside his dark and private office at the Church. He tells the caller “Stop calling me.”

“Captain – Ioannu.” Reverend Gage stutters with the aggravated squall of an addict. “I know you don’t know me from Adam, but you have something I want.”

“A demotion?” threatens Ioannu. “How, in the name of the Mortal God, can you even dare speak to me with such lack of respect?”

The two priests share an addiction to Ape, with a difference. Ape helps Reverend Gage lose respect for his superior officers, sending him out-of-the-way to a place like Gomorrah. The drug gives the non-commissioned priest arrogant hopes and ambitions – whereas Ioannu had already gladly achieved his own pinnacle.

Uncovering his hand, Gage says, “Listen, I know you’re related to Judah Ismael, the crime-lord in this city.”

Hopefully, despite the truth, this blackmailer didn’t know how complicated the relationship between Captain Ioannu and Judah Ismael had become. The captain is the crime-lord's connection with the Church. Although, in-law Judah’s patience had grown thin with Josiah, resulting in Ape becoming difficult to find in Khetam and impossible to obtain. Like Ioannu, many of the priest's brethren in the Church had stopped coming to their offices at headquarters. Those nervous wretches who report this morning are useless and hide in the dark behind locked doors.

“That is a sad coincidence,” Ioannu claims. He speaks of his relationship to the UnChosen crime-lord.

“I know you keep the military away from Gomorrah,” Gage states. “And I know Ismael is your Ape connection.”

“I know you are a dead man, Gage,” Ioannu shouts over the phone. “How dare you call me with your crazy accusations.”

“Listen.” Gage shouts back. “Military patrols will come to this city, whether you like it or not. Ilu Yehowah is here in Shur's northwest. Colonel Onesiphorus himself is coming here.”

Colonel Onesiphorus’s trip to Gomorrah presents a bigger problem, one Ioannu should have anticipated – he knows the colonel sweeps through the region annually. Captain Ioannu reports to the colonel, as would Gage when the bishop arrives at Gomorrah. Gage, the tattling Aper, may tell their superior officer anything.

Ioannu capitulates. “What do you want?”

“An assignment away from Gomorrah and heathens,” Gage barters. “This city will fall to terrorists next, Yehowah is here.”

“Let me think,” Ioannu replies immediately. The solution comes to him with a staggered breath.

The situation seemed to work itself out – a custodian position has recently opened at Saint Erasmus and a priest materializes who will shut his mouth if he's invited into Khetam. Josiah does not think when he offers the position to Gage, though this wretched extortionist may again one day twist Josiah’s neck. Nevertheless, the treacherous possibility fails to occur to him and does not stop Josiah from asking Gage a more crucial question. “Will you bring Ape into Khetam?”

“No, of course not,” Gage denies with a strained snort.

“Please, there’s none here. You won’t find Ape behind the Wall.”

Gage thinks he cannot trust Captain Ioannu with the truth. To his treacherous ear, his supervisor’s plea sounds like a trap. “No,” he squeaks.

“That’s unfortunate,” answers Ioannu before hanging up. Josiah had looked forward toward another batch of Ape for himself.

The Wilderness
This morning, the colors of the sky possess weight. At the faraway horizon, where a wide, blue bruise is caught between dark and light, the hues are luminous gases – layers of yellow, orange and pink pressed together by the nothingness of the previous night. The rising sun pushes warm colors upward, burning them away, and bleeds sore purple from the sky. A stumbling, shirtless man then falls into the morning.

He knows where he is, but the bare wraith cannot remember who he might be. Beneath caked dust, he appears overall red and covered with angry pustules. His torso resembles an antique table dusted by careless strokes. With each of his heavy steps, the dirt encrusted upon his chest and back drops off in flakes.

His own shoulders bear upon him with a foreign weight he wants to throw off. The extra fleshy padding around his waist only adds to his burden. The gain had crept upon the smoldering man with stealth, over years of denial and through moments of complacent acceptance. Growing fat once seemed a natural process of age. The extra weight had introduced itself as a hobo trespassing the rails, a sneaky hanger-on who refused to be shaken off. Overweight as he is, he feels he is Chosen.

The tired posture and swollen, blistered gut of the man make him a forlorn caricature. His arms swing with the weight of pendulums knocked from their paths. And this broiled devil lumbers across a desolate, alien world – the only living thing exiled and cast into Hell. Desperate thirst comes without warning.

He feels his insides bake and he imagines his already bulging belly will bloat until the skin bursts and all his juices bubble out. The very last of his fluids will evaporate even before dripping to the ground. Such is not the death the empty man desires. He will not die sizzling in his own fluids. Instead, he prefers drying-up. He wants to disintegrate, to become part of the dust – blood red dust.

A clear, familiar voice speaks into his left ear and sounds like his own. “You have certainly wandered enough.”

The disconnected specter speaks with finer clarity than the stumbler – absent of the muffled hesitation he struggles to overcome in ordinary conversation. This voice sounds rehearsed and confident, far from his own verbal fumbling. His voice, like a nasally monologue recorded on an answering machine, seems an amputation, separate from any concept he believes about himself; whatever that could be now.

The better voice resonates as if echoing inside an empty room. Just as abrupt, it vanishes and a second of stillness fills the void. Leaded footfalls on packed dirt and a muffled ring in the man’s head dispels the silence; much like listening to a radio station when an announcer misses his or her timing – until a burst of sound jolts the dead air. Yet the voice is not scratched with static heard on radios. Nothing disturbs its dismembered words. The voice and the man’s plod across the dry waste remain exclusive and opposite each other.

The wandering man does not bother looking around, because the sporadic company of the invisible voice is his only companion. It had joined him earlier that day, or mayhap the day before. Time passes as fleetingly as the voice. This moment, the sun has traveled only a quarter of its path across the sky when the waste becomes miserably hot and bright.

The suspended days and endless expanse of dirt disorient him. There is no, and there was never relief. The previous night had been sweltering, and the man had stumbled through the darkness, unsure when one day ended and another began. Yet he must walk and find his way or die.

From the road, the desert had never appeared so large. He would have easily spotted scant landmarks if he rode in a car or truck. Regardless, the man thinks he can recover his bearings. His sense of direction had always been amazing, or so he believed.

Though he could not recall why he found himself in the middle of nowhere, he suspects he had a destination when the dangerous trek began. The 'when' is now long ago, hidden beneath hours and unending dunes of sand. If he had brought any water, it was now gone. He did not know what supplies he had packed for this journey, and he now lacks a pack and even a shirt. All he apparently owns are a pair of scuffed laced boots and crusted khaki pants with empty pockets.

“Hey, wouldn’t a tall glass of cool water be great?”

The voice, barely noticeable beneath hot winds, teases like some subtle siren – hidden within whirlpools transformed into sand dunes. The thought of a gulp of water lights in the mind of the stumbling man, but he deliberately quashes it; none is to be found here and he will not torture himself. Entertaining pleasant fantasies seems more conducive to his survival.

The wanderer dreams he finds that siren and she takes the poor, baked fiend to her dune. They lay down and her bare skin is cool, like the ocean in which she was born. Her eyes, green as kelp, compete for admiration against lips that flirt and glisten with the sheen of pearls. Rescued and transformed, he tires of the colorless desert and travels back to her sea. He will never be thirsty again, and never care and recall how or why he discovered himself alone in the desert. Finding the bliss of love and the sea are the answers, and she is the reason for his journey.

Dehydration had afflicted him long time ago and stumbling on his feet was currently just a pretense; he was already lost and dead. Heat exhaustion was near, but still, the voice calls. It names him.

“Benedict.” This time the voice shuts out every thought. “Ben.”

Ben jerks leftward with such violence, he twists completely around, a marionette thrown into a clumsy pirouette by an amateur puppeteer. The momentum pulls him off his feet and he falls forward as if his strings are cut. His shoulders remain hunched while he lies face down in the sand.

With a huff and small cloud of dust, Ben flips himself over and sees the orange cauldron of the sun over his toes. He had stopped sweating, which is not a good sign, but he lacks any will to worry. His name will be forgotten, if ever really known. He recalls it now, because the voice had reminded him. His name is Ben.

Ben closes his eyes and pictures rippling waves drift upward from his body. He feels stuck to the ground, a part of it. This land might also be called Ben and he is merely a piece of desert, like the dust stirred by his steps. The particles will eventually settle back down and rejoin the suffering man; misplaced specks relocated from one part of the desert to another, but still part of the whole.

His breath becomes the hot breeze and he exhales a gust that singes the inside of his gaping mouth. When Ben opens his eyes, the sun hangs directly overhead as a white whirlpool in a smooth blue ocean. A mighty hand had polished away the waves and ripples; “Not God’s hand.” The Mortal God was gone. The voice told him, although the man already suspected.

“Ben, you’re wasting the day, dreaming.”

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Bad Relationship

I've gained nothing but negative criticism from Goodreads - that sinewy site for readers to find new books and write reviews. And I am heartbroken because the fact. Nevertheless, I try. I present an honest epitome of myself and hope for sympathy and understanding. I only wish folks at Goodreads recognize I'm the losing dog in this scrap - I've gone belly-up and I have my skull trapped in the jaws of you starving wolves. So, again, I plea and this time I write another biography. I have this now at Goodreads...

The only thing Goodread readers think about me and my stories are all those grammar errors in my original Pazuzu Trilogy and my Horrid Tales of Wister Town short stories. C'mon, already, always download the latest revisions – those now copyrighted 2014. Readers here just don't know me well enough. I feel they don't know me at all. The only other site on which I've met such hostile reactions is craigslist – and folks there seem to only enjoy short anecdotes about accidental homosexual sex. There is a history behind me – yeah, baggage. And I imagine, the literate just don't care. All readers want to do is 'want' to turn the page. I do, too. And that is why I make changes to my stories – I have no editors and the folks who volunteer to proof read my manuscripts either talk out their butt-holes or they are simply incompetent. And that is a judgment based on unproductive years of typos and shoddy vanity press editors. It is merely me against such odds, and Goodreads has been nothing more than enemy territory.

(Give the page at Goodreads a day or so to update itself - I just wrote the text today. Otherwise, you will read only a quote from Doctor Who.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel - Chapter Sixteen

The Chosen of Matthew Sawyer's Pazuzu Trilogy have only one gospel. And this is that corrupt Book of Mark. Download the free ebook from Smashwords...

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel

Chapter 16

An Empty Grave

When the Sabbath ends, the mother of Immanuel, Mary Magdalene, and Salome, the wife of Herod, bring spices so they might anoint Him. The dawn the day beginning the week after, they come to His grave. They speak to one another. “Who will move aside the stone from the entrance?” And coming upon the tomb, they look up and behold there is no stone. Entering the chamber, they see a thief on the left side, dressed only about his loins. And they are fearful.

He tells them, “Don't scream. You are looking for Immanuel of Nazareth, who was killed. He is not here. He is not here. I came only to collect His seeds. Tell His Disciples, an UnChosen man took His seeds. And I'm leaving Galilee, and no one will see me again. This He told Thee.”

They flee outside the tomb. Shock made them tremble and they were truly afraid. For this was John the Betrayer, and with two heads.



The Chosen Gospel is based on the Gospel of Mark in the Christian Bible. It is neither a parody of scripture, nor sacrilegious toward any part of the Bible or Christianity. Rather, it reflects a parallel reality, what possibly the Judeo-Christian religion would look like in a world in which God abandons creation.

Reference Sources:

The New King James Version, NKJV, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, NRSV, copyright 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel - Chapter Fifteen

The Chosen of Matthew Sawyer's Pazuzu Trilogy have only one gospel. And this is that corrupt Book of Mark. Download the free ebook from Smashwords...

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel

Chapter 15

Pilate Examines Immanuel

Hast early morning, having consulted with Chosen scholars and the Sadducee, the Chief Pharisee leads Him away in restraints, and hands Him to Pilate.
Pilate examines Him. “Thee are the Living God?”
In answer, He sayeth to him, “Thou say so.”
And the Chief Pharisee charges Him with one hundred impurities. Pilate examines Him again. “What do you say? I'm listening.”
Pilate is astonished when Immanuel answers no further.
Every festival, he sacrifices one prisoner, the one whom they plea most against. And there is one bound with the rebels named Barabbas, who killed a Chosen guard in an uprising. And when the crowd comes, they ask that Pilate sentence one prisoner to death hast his custom.
Pilate answers them. “Shall I sacrifice the Living God of the heathen?” For he expects they thirst for the blood of Barabbas.
Yet the Pharisees stir the crowd and they beg for the death of Immanuel instead.
Again, when Pilate answers, he sayeth “How shall I kill a Living God?”
Crucify Him,” they shout back.
Wanting the crowd pleased, Pilate sends Immanuel first to be scourged, and the impurities removed, before He is crucified.


The soldiers lead Him away and into the Praetorium, where the whole cohort is called together. They drape a red cloak over Him and set about His head a crown of woven thorns. And they salute Him. “Hail, the dead Living God, the Mortal God!” And they strike His head with clubs and spit on Him. Then drop to their knees and mock homage to Him. Stripping off the cloak, they leave Him nude.

The Crucifixion
They lead Him to his crucifixion, and a Cyrenian passes from out of the country, a certain Simon, and he is conscripted and helps carry His cross. They take him to Golgotha, the place of the “skull.” They hold out to him wine mixed with opium, and drinks it and more. And because he is naked, they have no garments to divide.
And at nine in the morning, He is turned upside down and crucified overturned. The crowd murmurs, “The Mortal God, He is killed by the Chosen tribes.” No one else dies with Him. And those passing near defame Him. They shake their heads and taunt Him. “Where is your kingdom, now? Evolve yourself off the cross.”
The chief Pharisee likewise makes sport of Him, saying, “This is the end of Him, and His monsters. Let the Mortal God live and come off the cross, so that we may hear him speak.”
Even His Disciples shame Him.

Immanuel Is Killed

The skies rains blood at noon, and darkness comes over all the land until three in the afternoon. Immanuel cries in a loud voice, “Mine own Creation betrays me. Why doest thou hate thine Creator?”
Bystanders hear others sayeth, “Behold, he calls John the Betrayer.” And one runs and fetches a sponge soaked in sweet vinegar. Lifting it to His mouth, he commands, “Go away. Only Chosen enjoy this torment.”
And Immanuel is killed, and eviscerated when a guard makes certain He is dead.
The doors of the temple are shut. And the tribes of the Chosen plot for control of this old kingdom. None think more of the sacrificed man other than name Him, “Mortal God.”
Women watch from a distance, and among these are Merry, the mother of the Living God, Mary Magdalene, and Salome; she who is the daughter and wife of King Herod. They who followed Him from Galilee and provided for him and so many others who had come with Him from Jerusalem.

Immanuel Is Buried

Evening arrives and hast it is the day before the Sabbath, a respected council member, who also listens for the kingdom of the Living God, takes courage and asks Pilate for the corpse of Immanuel and His parts. He is Joseph Arimathea. Pilate doubts He is already dead and summons a centurion, and asks him if He is dead. Knowing this from the centurion, Joseph is granted the body.
Having linen, he takes Him and wraps His body and parts in burial cloth, and lays Him in a grave hewn from rock. And a heavy rock is lain over the tomb entrance. Merry, the mother of Immanuel, and Mary Magdalene watches where He is lain.

- continued ...

The Chosen Gospel is based on the Gospel of Mark in the Christian Bible. It is neither a parody of scripture, nor sacrilegious toward any part of the Bible or Christianity. Rather, it reflects a parallel reality, what possibly the Judeo-Christian religion would look like in a world in which God abandons creation.

Reference Sources:

The New King James Version, NKJV, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, NRSV, copyright 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel - Chapter Thirteen

The Chosen of Matthew Sawyer's Pazuzu Trilogy have only one gospel. And this is that corrupt Book of Mark. Download the free ebook from Smashwords...

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel

Chapter 13

Sign Of The Times

Going out of the temple, a Disciple sayeth to Him, “Lord, is your kingdom permanent? Look at these great buildings!”
Immanuel tells him, “There will be nothing left of these these great buildings if I am killed.”
He sits opposite the temple on the Mount of Olives. Andrew, John and James ask him secretly, “When can this be? What authority will kill thee? And is there a sign and might we stop it.”
Immanuel proceeds and sayeth to them, “See I am not assassinated from behind and where I cannot watch. This must not happen, but the end is near. All the Chosen tribes rise against me. This is unnecessary.
But, be careful. For they will kill thee, too. And they will drag thee through marketplaces and beat thee inside churches, if I am killed. My seed first need be dispersed through all nations.
So if thou are delivered to trial, thou will not be afraid and speak. My kingdom will hast already arrived.”
And when purity is preserved, a sibling will not betray a sibling to death. And children will not hate parents and kill them. Thou will be loved because of me. Human beings as a species will be rescued.
But when you see desolation wrought by Chosen garrisons, listen, then flee Judea to the mountains. Jump off the rooftop, if thou must, but do not go inside or take anything from the house. Him in the field must not turn back and recover his coat. Alas those who hath taken seed and that which gestates inside them. Pray this does not happen in winter! For though short, those are days of suffering, not since I drowned the world and regret it until this time. The day is short. If anyone sayeth to you 'Immanuel is not the Living God,' do not believe it. For there are no others but false prophets. And they will make miracles and cast signs, but do not believe it. For they deceive thou. Thou, be watchful; listen to Me.
And after the suffering,
'the sun will not rise,
and the moon will fall to the ground.
and the false kingdom
will turn to dust.'
At this time, they will see abominations come from the clouds, with smoke and blood. And alien gods will send dying angels, who will harvest human beings to the farthest points on the horizon, to the furthest corners of the earth.
Learn from the parable of the unclean tree. Even whilst polluted, thou knows the summer is near when its twig is tender and puts forth leaves. Thou knows summer is near. Likewise, when you see horror, know I will not return. I hast abandoned this world.”

The Hour Revealed

That day, that hour, you will know. My holy angels will be removed with Me. Be watchful, for thou are responsible if this happens. My servants are given this authority to keep watch. And thou must keep watch, for thou doest not know who will kill Me; whether in the morning, or at midnight, or when the locust sing. I will be killed if they come suddenly, and find you asleep. Listen to me, everyone. “Stay awake!”

 - continued ...


The Chosen Gospel is based on the Gospel of Mark in the Christian Bible. It is neither a parody of scripture, nor sacrilegious toward any part of the Bible or Christianity. Rather, it reflects a parallel reality, what possibly the Judeo-Christian religion would look like in a world in which God abandons creation.

Reference Sources:

The New King James Version, NKJV, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, NRSV, copyright 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel - Chapter Twelve

The Chosen of Matthew Sawyer's Pazuzu Trilogy have only one gospel. And this is that corrupt Book of Mark. Download the free ebook from Smashwords...

The Plagiarized Forgery Of The Chosen Gospel

Chapter 12

Parable of Tenants

He speaks to them in parables. “A man plants a vineyard and builds a hedge about it. He makes a winepress and tenant-farmers rent the property. And he journeys away and expects the tenants will pay him the fruit of the vineyard and its press. At harvest, he sends his servant so that he might collect his property. And they seize and force him into the ground. A different servant goes and he escapes and will not go back. Another goes and that one does not return. Others are sent and none return.
Last, he finally sends his beloved son and sayeth, 'They will respect he is Chosen.'
And the tenant sayeth to each other, “This boy is from a Chosen tribe. Let us put him in the ground. And we will prosper off what comes forth. The take and bury him alive.

What will his father do, the landowner? Will he come and see what is born out of the vineyard?”
Have you not heard?
'Cleanliness is not intention,
it is not deed;
'Purity is an untroubled mind,
a heart without guilt.
A settled soul.'”

And the search how to detain Him, for they recognize this heathen parable. But they are afraid because of the crowd. And they go away and leave Him the crowd.

The Tribute Tax

Some Pharisees and vassals of Herod come to trap Him. They inquire of Him, “We know thee are honest, and thou conscious remains without sin, that thou creations are made more pure with the confession of sin. So we ask truth from thee, is it permissible to pay the tithe to a Chosen church, or not? Should the UnChosen pay, or shall they not pay?”
Perceiving hypocrisy, He sayeth to them, “Is this a test? Bring me a denary and I will answer thee.” And they give Him one. He sayeth, “This seed is unclean.”
They tell Him, “It is but a coin.”
And Immanuel sayeth, “Give it to any foul parasite who will swallow it. It will not be born.”
They are amazed.

Descendants And The Kingdom

Some Sadducee then come visit Him. They also are made one of the Chosen tribes and sayeth the Living God trespasses. Their questions include: “Moses wrote 'if the brother of a man dies and his barren wife lives, the man takes the woman and she will bear fruit.'”
There are several brothers. And after each dies without an heir, the woman also dies and there is no descendent.”
In thou kingdom, how will they be remembered?”
Immanuel sayeth, “Is this important? They are lost genetic code and the woman and all the men are forgotten. If there is sin, then preservation belongs with the government. Have thee not read the scroll of Moses, when the prophet speaks with the bush, and he hears, 'I am the Creator, Living God of the ten tribes and all the heathens.' My kingdom will preserve their memory. Thou governments sin.”

The Heaviest Command

One of the Chosen scholars who listens to them debate recognizes Immanuel answers truthfully. He asks Immanuel, “Which command is the heaviest?”
Immanuel answers, “The heaviest command is the one not heard. The Creator is our God, the Living God. Thou shall love Him with all thine heart, thine soul and with all thine strength. Ignore polluted thoughts that do not come from the Living Good. Listen to Him. Second-most is preservation. There are no other commands greater than these two.
The Chosen scholar sayeth to him, “True, my Lord. Thou speaks without sin. Thou truly are the Messiah. And it is the Pharisees and Sadducee whom listen with only half their minds. Thou shall preserve us and others will burn us as offerings and make our guts a sacrifice.
Seeing him, Immanuel considers he answered with his heart. And He sayeth to him, “Thou are near my kingdom.” No one dares speak anything else.

The Father Of The Living God

Continuing his teaching at the temple, Immanuel sayeth, “How do Chosen scholars say the Messiah is the son of David? Who was David, does he exist? Is he a prophet? His name is not written.

'The Creator becomes the Messiah,
'He is the Living God
'And He begets Himself
'And His kingdom.'
If there was never a David, how is it he hath a son?”
The large crowd is delighted with this revelation.

Immanuel Denounces Chosen Scholars

He also teaches, “Watch the Chosen scholars carefully, those who love the wealth of the Chosen tribes, bribes in the marketplaces and chief seats in the churches, and all places of honor; who starve the UnChosen and persecute heathens with lengthy prayers. They are damned and will go lost and forgotten.

The Offer Of The Widow

Sitting opposite the temple treasury, He watches the crowd drop coins into the donation chest. Many rich people put in little, and one poor widow puts in all the copper she hath brought. Equivalent one quarter a penny, this is the whole of her wealth.
Calling over His Disciples, He tells them, “Truly, this poor widow put in all she owns, mine wealth. And it now goes to Chosen churches. She will be forgotten and now lacks everything in life.”

- continued ...


The Chosen Gospel is based on the Gospel of Mark in the Christian Bible. It is neither a parody of scripture, nor sacrilegious toward any part of the Bible or Christianity. Rather, it reflects a parallel reality, what possibly the Judeo-Christian religion would look like in a world in which God abandons creation.

Reference Sources:

The New King James Version, NKJV, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV, Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, NRSV, copyright 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.