The Indigo Flamingo

The village of Ghali was a rough pile of wooden houses stuck in the middle of a sickening marsh. In the sunny days, it surfaced from the dense sea of fog like an old wreckage, all crumbled and pointy. People used to say that Ghali was a stubborn place, because it just refused to die. Not that the odds didn’t try to eliminate it: Ghali survived plagues, fires, feuds with far settlements, and even a fiery storm every ten years or so. For some reason, there was always enough food in the swamp to feed the young, so the ruined stilt houses were never empty.

Ghali’s was isolated: for miles and miles around the village it was all about muddy puddles, quicksands, and crocodiles. Except some crazy man who lived alone in the marshland, there was no other sign of humankind nearby. Nobody had particular interest in trading with Ghali’s folks, so caravans were a rare sighting there. Weeks, months, or perhaps a year could pass before a merchant, fool enough to travel through that repugnant place, appeared. Even then, people there had few things to offer. Mostly pelts or spirits of distilled roots. And stories. Lotsa stories.

They often told a certain tale to strangers, a legend passed on since since the foundation of Ghali. There were many different variations of that story, as every villager had his or her own. Yet, they all agreed upon a point: it was no myth at all. It happened for real.

Once upon a time, they said, when there was no village yet, the marsh was ruled by a huge and dark flamingo. Like a scarecrow, it endlessly wandered through the pools with its long legs, an ominous figure feared by all the animals. That singular flamingo had an arched neck, a taste for leeches and glowing red eyes for breaching into the night. Its beak was a scythe made to reap life, black and shiny and sharp as hell.

When the first men and women arrived in the swamp, fugitives from healthier colonies, the bird was there to welcome them. For months it watched silently, as folks cut trees to make creaking planks for building their wretched homes. Whenever they recognized its shape standing out in the fog, they stopped working. Afraid. Paralyzed. Astonished.

They called it the Indigo Flamingo. Hoped it would never get close.

But it did, eventually. Oh, he did.

Right after Ghali was born, more people gathered there to escape justice and hide. The village became a dump for human garbage, a sweaty inferno where scum could live in peace. Not only adults: orphans and families with children also reached that sick place, that Mecca of decadence, looking for a better life.

Soon enough, however, those kids started to disappear. Both males and females, at least one per year, not older than thirteen. They vanished from their beds at night, went missing in the swamp, got lost under the bright sunshine. Mothers cried in despair, praying the old gods to bring back their little ones. Many men cursed, and searched the groves endlessly with scrawny hounds that barked in the shadows. Didn’t find a single track, nor a clue.

Until a very cold night of a very gruesome year.

It was the last day of October, when the whole village was celebrating and mourning their dead as it was their custom. Dimmer lights illuminated the marsh, timidly and morbid. The Indigo Flamingo, a tall figure between the rushes. Next to it, the missing children were a mute chorus of pale death. Their glares empty, their eyes blank. A danse macabre painted with faint ink on a ragged canvas. Some tried to catch them, in a fiery rush of vengeful instinct. They vanished in the groves and never came back again, unreachable. Untouchable.

Folks in Ghali still use to say that the ominous bird often comes to take away the life of a kid as a grim tribute for allowing them to stay on its territory. They tell their children to stay away from the marsh, keep close to the village.

Because you never know if the Indigo Flamingo is around.

Observing, silently, with its cruel crimson eyes.

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Baphomet 3.0

1.

 

Back then, people thought they were immortal.

It happened gradually: a long process that began with enlightenment. Some called it progress; for many it was civilization. It brought technologies beyond imagination, brainchildren of great minds. Visionaries changed the world while ignorant masses consumed it, not understanding what was happening around them. In their blatant hysteria they pretended to be gods, but they were pawns subdued to a psychologically abusive chess game. All identical, despite their age: not a single soul could be saved from that silent apocalypse. Lives hiding into a monitor, kneeling under a desk, lost in the dark alleys where cheap tech was sold like impure methamphetamine. Killing themselves with soulless self-shots, caged behind an hashtag. They clicked, and liked, and commented each other’s emptiness with faked enthusiasm. Nothing was more important than being there, part of the whole. Accepted as a dysfunctional member of that broken society. Vomiting hate through a keyboard was a must. Many ended being happily compressed into stereotypes determined by digital connections, published pictures, and displayed appreciation for something that they barely knew. It was a slow death leading to a counterfeit eternal life, well preserved on a magnetic support often somewhere far away on the planet’s surface.

There were corporations, and so-called institutions: money grabbers, violent puppeteers, hi-fi cemeteries. Their domain eventually faded, as everything always does sooner or later. From the smallest to the biggest association a domino effect spared no one, forcing all of them to vanish in the wind. They were organisms populated by hypnotized cells, consumed from the inside by the damaging action of infinite cancers. Decay was inevitable, a page written on the great book of destiny by the very hands of those who preached free will.

How fool of them. Arrogance was mankind’s first sin. For they built the infrastructure that held the world, and teared it apart at the same time.

Their second fault was to create automatons they had to rely on.

The third, to forget about them.

 

2.

 

Modernity spread out like a plague, polluting and corrupting all sorts of things.

Hardware marketed as the only way to stay connected slowly rose to a heavenly status. Realities merged in a cyberworld where luminescent screens were extensions of the inner self. Bodies of flesh soon incorporated copper-made prostheses in a fast escalation to older scientific fantasies. Languages became hybrid syntheses of meaning that grew from digital disregard. Men and women were mere zombies, lurking deep in virtual oceans, repeating the words that appeared on their screens like a chorus of useless rag dolls. Hiveminds thinking in unison, all praying to the same new gods.

In that limbo there was no room left for pain, suffering or sadness. Emotions were channeled through a complex web of cables, happiness induced as a constant flow of encrypted morphine. Inured to that veil of hypocritical serenity, they cheered, and smiled at their newfound artificial pleasures.

Appreciation and concordance had become sources of power. It was a proper cult where a silent sign of approval by strangers meant more than any empathic understanding. People ceased to think before they acted. In a decadent crusade, those who were not abode were excluded, and then purged, as rabid dogs. Aligned crowds called them antisocial, impure, even monsters. Acted as they were sick or dangerous.

By then, visibility was the most used currency around the globe and an obsession all the same. Barter overcame money, resetting the existing financial model: people paid goods and services with a price of worshiping condescendence. It was a time when information rhymed with entertainment. There were many truths, traded for an ephemeral glimpse of celebrity with misleading words. Journals were kaleidoscopes that fret on uncertain news like vultures on a wounded buffalo, drooling acid bile from their sharpened beaks.

Generation after generation, soul after soul, humanity was suppressed.

Overwhelmed by the very devil that they venerated.

 

3.

 

A pale blue light glowing in the dark, the blasphemous beast sit with its woolly legs crossed. Watching, pondering. The room around it was covered from wall to wall by LCD screens, showing a vast variety of images.

There was a woman in a tight red dress, licking a vanilla ice cream with lustful passion. In front of her, camouflaged militia stood their ground holding blood-dripping broadswords.

Next, a little child, all alone, crying with his eyes wide open and a battle rifle in one hand. He was naked, chained by his ankles to a black sofa. Many violet bruises stained his young skin, flowers in a minefield.

A man in white stood on a high pile of books, relieving himself. With thunderous applause, the audience praised the gifts from above of that unknown author. Their mouths open. Their minds closed.

The room was quiet, as sound was not required: the demon had ears just for display. It processed audio as everything else; nothing but data to interpret. Yet it indulged in human-like behaviors such as looking at the screens. A habit, heritage of its ancestors perhaps some more ancient vice. A form of masturbation, to some extent. For the monster represented primitive and forgotten sins, fused together in the archaic shape of a manlike creature: it had the head of a goat with long and twisty horns, the body of a teenage woman, and wings like a gigantic crow ready to feast on rotting cadavers.

Grinning, with its pupils dilated as bottomless depths of sacrilegious cruelty, it looked at the monitors. It appeared as a meditating satyr, an insult to mythology and culture. It was a silent observer, a binary paradigm of treachery that controlled the new world order from the inside. Deception was its duty, scripted with aberrant lines of code that nobody could ever see. Perverted ideas constantly flew on its surface, like an endless river of heresy.

It was the alpha and the omega, the sun and the moon.

A darkened Tao that expanded like a miasma.

Eroding, corrupting; nurturing on our primal mistakes.

The Invisible Sun

  1. Stumbling in the dark

The sky became a picture of perfect darkness, a motionless frame of infinity. Stars had disappeared behind a veil of malevolence, obscured by the overwhelming shade of an invisible sun. Like terrified, they fled to hide away from all that. In such an horrible, yet morbidly beautiful scenery, the sun was an eye drawn from its orbit. Where light once dominated, there was but an empty space. Left for questions, terrible dread, and immeasurable cold. Without its beacon, the whole world remained silent and lost: people gathered to discuss how to survive, where to go, what to do next. No one was able to understand, not even the shamans that smoked their strange pipes under dirty leather coats. For once, they had no answer. They stumbled in obscurity like everyone else. Soon their status of spiritual guides would have been ripped off, cut down by some angry and hungry blade. By that time, humankind would have been lost behind restoration.
The leaders of every great nations forecasted that peril, and to prevent such deprivation, they took counsel in a hidden valley protected by mountains. They preferred the safety of mother earth to the false holiness of a lost sun-god. Underground, they discussed, fought, wounded each other with the weapons of idealism and selfishness. After a long time, those great individuals eventually emerged from the depths of the world. Tired from all the debates and all the arguments, they announced there was only a solution: humans had to replace the gone sun with another source of power, light, and sainthood.
Soon after that day, a quest began for many courageous and proud men. An army of heroes raised to save the world from self-destruction. An horde of desperate souls, seeking for absolution.

  1. A shadow upon the stars

An unceasing sound echoed among the worlds, carrying madness and fear. It was a dirge well known by those who dreamt of chaos, the soaring chant of an unnameable threat. At first it jangled in the distance: a little bell in flames, somewhere behind the veil of darkness that was the sky itself. Susceptible souls began to shiver and scream in their sleep. Helpless mothers prayed the so-long gods to make it stop, unanswered. Unheard. Unseen.
Madmen accused each other of treachery, felony, and witchcraft. Their screams were loud and fragile, as they tried to overcome the eternal lament with their mortal voices. Mere heretics, whom eyes were covered in bloody tears; preachers of doom, more afraid than others of what was about to come. For they knew, but and no one wanted to believe such nightmarish prophecy. Not until a shadow covered all that was beautiful and good, cruelly gnawing the few lights left, simulacra of a bygone star.
Mankind asked for a new god, but was awarded an ancient abomination. It emerged from the hole that was once known as a sun: grand beyond comprehension, an indistinct shape of obscurity incarnating some stranger terror. Lunatics and poets worshiped his unspoken name, whereas a lone scholar suggested to hide. To wait while he plunged in farther skies. The poor man was hanged by his own guts at once. That was no time for reason: It was an apotheosis of collective insanity. Yet, while men fought over trivial matters, It grew hungrier and hungrier. Its thousands legs grappled celestial bodies for millennia. Nurturing, phagocyting. A timeless dweller, It haunted dead worlds.
Bringer of ruin, came to put mankind out of their misery.

  1. Shining where there’s no path

A slow and insidious killer, the eternal millipede god-demon became familiar very soon: It was a Sword of Damocles pending upon existence. Generations of unyielding pioneers crawled under the shadow of such a monstrous omen. They were afraid, scared even. By that time, terror was a fuel that inspired some to greatness, forcing heroism as long as cowardice at all the ends of the world. For there can be no courage without fear.
Cold winds howled between mountains, the desperate roar of a dying beast. Answering the call, proud men and women flocked together once again. Under the guidance of the best among them, they started to construct a sanctuary: built in the middle of a certain valley, it rose high beyond measure. A tower, tall and thin, darker than black. An accusatory finger pointed to the starry vault, where something went missing long time before. On the top of such marvelous feat, some wise men crafted an odd machinery. Those charlatans were sons of a forgotten era, well trained in the hidden arts of occultism. They knew what many preferred to neglect, and with their combined efforts they forged a new light in order to force the world-eater to flee. A frail imitation of the past – and yet, a glimmer of hope for any lost soul that wandered in the never ending darkness.
But instead of blinding a monster away, that cracking sphere of light attracted more dangers. Like moths to a flame, stranded tribes rushed towards the black altar.
Swarming; craving; wallowing in egoism and greed.
Humans never change, after all.
Neither does war.

  1. Rubbing out question marks

Decades of conflict reduced the globe to ashes, setting the stage for desolation. The tower collapsed in a short while alongside its fraudulent star. Civilization became a faded memory painted on the walls of a cave. No one had answers anymore for the growing shadow that blotted out the sky.
The age of heroes was long over, as they resigned to decay and agony as well. Sentient beings rediscovered bestiality, hunting to feed nothing but their stomachs. Light was gone from their minds too; there was no sun left to save them. No alchemist with a scheme. No leader with a plan. Just a shadow over the darkness, growing thicker every day. Where some saw a promise of painless death, others, frightened, recognized the menace of an eternal torture. Whether they spoke the truth or not, unrelenting doom was upon all of them.
Savagery would have been prevented, if only men had worked together instead of falling in the old trap of selfishness. The endless night would have led to the brightest dawn, not to the verge of extinction.
Now, as days pass, the deadly chant has become a lullaby of defeat. Here, the earth trembles. The seas growl rough. Abject creatures look upwards, with empty eyes. Hypnotized. Lost forever.
The end is nigh, and the world as we knew it is done for.

Short story: American Resurrection

This is a short story I wrote a long time ago, inspired by the song “Inception” by Ad Vitam. I’d like to say thanks and dedicate this to them (especially to my bro, Mattia).

Any feedback, either positive or negative, would be very appreciated.

Enjoy.

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Unplaced: Don’t Look Sea in the Eyes

« What is that you fear, woman? » The captain was asking questions like a teacher during a lecture. Sharp and direct, already knowing the answers.

« …y–you » her voice was trembling, unsure. Her eyes low, full of promised tears.

« Me? Do you fear me? »

A laughter erupted from the surroundings, as his crew accompanied his moment of amusement. He did even perform a shocked, impressed expression for such a crowded audience. When the sound of laughs faded, only the ocean lapping on the keel remained. It was relaxing and frightening, at the same time.

« And why is it so, may I ask? » On his face, behind the beard and the sickly teeth, a glimpse of curiosity emerged. But his glare was that of a ravenous beast awaiting for the right moment to strike a defenseless prey. « Could it be…because I hold a gun? »

To underline that thought, he pulled back the hammer – an unmistakable sound, a click! followed that gesture – and pointed the weapon to her forehead. She repressed a scream, but could not avoid a little sigh. Closing eyes, her thoughts were probably for a higher power, seeking for salvation. But that was hell, and no God had any power there. Except him.

« Or maybe it is because of my reputation. » Many men nodded, grinned, and some even applauded. It was a triumph of self-congratulation through the condescending bodies of almost-mindless slaves. Too afraid to contradict the man, too weak to stand up against his fame.

« Might be ‘cause she’s naked, cap’n » a voice brayed. More laughter, including the captain’s.

« Bright observation, mister Morrison. That could be a reason, yeah. Rape is a strong deterrent for women, they say. I bet it could drive a poor soul mad, but here we’re discussing fear— » he stopped behind the girl, putting the gun between her blonde hair made stringy by saltiness and humidity. « -and fear is not about being afraid of the immediate future. It’s about not knowing what hides in the days far ahead. If there are days ahead. »