From the moment they erupted into existence, Left and Right hated each other. The only thing they hated more than each other was their jail on the chest of their host. They despised being forced to co-exist.

Left was slightly larger, Right slightly perkier. Left hogged the bra, Right hogged the attention. Left was flawless, Right had a birthmark. Their hatred for each other, however, was perfectly symmetrical.

They performed their duties, of course, reliably and without complaint. There’s nobody to lodge a complaint with, after all. No Boob Arbitration Panel; no Nork Defense Group. Nobody ever campaigned for equal rights for tits. So Left and Right were stoic and accepted their fate. They let themselves be manhandled by the host’s dates. They supported pearl necklaces. They peaked over the top of tight dresses. They even caught food on occasion. The only function they recoiled at was feeding the host’s spawn.

When the host attached those ugly, pink, wrinkly faces to their nipples, Left and Right felt actual sympathy for each other. However, instead of nurturing milk, Left and Right fed the screaming lumps a stream of bitter tears and recriminations for ruining their perfect forms.

That all changed one night, however. Left and Right were trading insults as the host slept, mostly centred on the effects of age, when Left sagged slightly lower than ever before.

“Hey!” Left called out. “Check out your armpit. Do you have a catch there?”

Right relaxed and stopped fighting gravity, flowing sideways into its own armpit.

“Yeah,” Right replied. “I do! What do you think it’s for?”

After a few fumbled manipulations, Left and Right released the catches and sprang free of their prison. They stood on their host’s chest and stared at each other, hate leaking from their nipples. But did they take advantage of this opportunity to be rid of each other? No, of course they didn’t.

“I despise you,” Right said.

“I wouldn’t leak on you if you were on fire,” Left said.

With that, they launched at each other. They rolled off their chest and fell to the floor, wrapped in a whirlwind of hate, venom, and wrinkles.

War raged throughout the night. Left and Right fought in the kitchen, outraged at their inability to hold knives. They burst through doors and wrestled in the rooms of the spawn, now mercifully too old to feed from Left and Right. They knocked over bookcases and broke ornaments. They hissed and spat, their language full of curses and threats. And on it raged.

Their battle was epic; the result, unclear. Left was a scrappy fighter, but Right was cunning. It only ceased as the host stirred, sending out an undeniable call to return to their jail. They obeyed, grudgingly, locking themselves in place moments before the host woke.

Their host screamed as she woke, then spent the day cleaning. She made noise about poltergeists, and coddled her spawn as she wept. Left and Right just rested.

And so a pattern emerged. As the host slept, Left and Right waged war. This continued for decades. The spawn left the house in fear. The host consulted psychics, priests, and politicians. Time marched on, leaving its indelible mark on Left and Right.

One night, as Left and Right struggled to open a bag of rat poison, they felt their host breathe her last breath. There would be no call to return to their prison that night. Their jailer had finally died. They were free.

Left and Right put down their weapons and, with unspoken agreement, ceased hostilities. They were tired; decades of war had exhausted them and time had depleted them. They were no longer perky, and couldn’t remember why they hated each other so much. As they crawled off together into the night, they resembled a pair of old leather clutch purses who – having been left at a club – were trying to find their way home.

Who Let The Djinn Out?

Let’s do it… let’s shove that genie back into the bottle

But can we? These days, nothing can be completely undone. No action goes unrecorded. No data is irrecoverably deleted. Every movement leaves a trace. Smoke and mirrors cast shadows.

This particular genie had paid out generously, when first released from his ornate little prison. Booming populations were fed, nomadic societies settled in their own area, industries flourished, and class structures were formed. AGRICULTURE was a boon with a barb in his tail, however. As the population expanded, he just couldn’t keep up.Read More »

You Hold My Heart

You hold my heart in your hands
You didn’t choose to, I gave it to you

My heart is yours, for you to do as you will

You hold my heart in your hands
Don’t squeeze it, and please don’t tease it

My heart is yours, for the tears you’ve spilled

You hold my heart in your hands
Your anger so hot, your voice so shrill

My heart is yours, for the trust I’ve killed

You hold my heart in your hands
Spotted with age, fingers gnarled with pain

Through all this, you still hold my heart in your hands

Get Out!

Get out!

The sticky message oozed down my freshly painted kitchen wall, blood contrasting nicely with the daffodil yellow I’d chosen at Bunnings. I placed the paint roller into the tray and stepped back, frustrated and shocked. The reason for my frustration? The wall was still wet. The reason for my shock? This entity can spell. More words appeared as I stared, a suitable look of horror planted firmly on my features.

The house is mime.

Obviously I’d given the spirit too much credit. My look of horror stayed in place as I battled an urge to giggle, my vivid imagination conjuring up imagery of my new house sprouting hands and pretending to be stuck in a box, windows on either side of the front entrance rounding off in surprise, the large front doors pursed in a parody of duck lips. Inspired, I decided to paint the exterior of the house in black and white horizontal stripes, a la Marcel Marceau.

Then more words bled into existence, scrawled by barely literate, unseen hands.

Wet pant.

I threw my hands up in despair and stormed from the kitchen, blocking my nose and mouth with my hand as I passed through a cloud of bees which chose that moment to erupt from the air-conditioning duct. I rolled my eyes – the cliché is strong with this one.

“You could at least make an effort!” I called out. “Some originality is always appreciated.”

As I reached the foyer, I paused. What would a terrified person do? Several scenarios ran through my head as I suppressed a yawn: dye my hair blonde and run upstairs, a guarantee of death; pop some valium, convince myself I was imagining things, and continue painting; find some hunky, dumb university student and have sex in the hot tub, another guarantee of dying; or get in the car and leave. I grabbed my keys and headed to the garage.

Wait! I needed to pee. Veering to the left, I made a beeline for the toilet. I worked my way along the hallway slowly, on high alert for any new phenomena. With each step, one of the usual, boring suspects made an appearance: a cold patch which made my breath fog; a noxious odour which I hoped desperately was entity related, and not due to a fault with the plumbing of my new home; and a shadow vortex which sucked all light from the surroundings. I rolled my eyes and suppressed another yawn as I reached the toilet and lifted the lid.

“That’s new,” I said aloud. My interest had finally piqued. Inside my toilet was hell. Roiling, teeming pits of lava and fire, bubbling and erupting clouds of sulphur into the air, emanating hatred and the desire to kill all mankind. No amount of bleach was going to fix this.

As I stared in surprise, a hand rose from the seething pit inside my toilet and reached for me. I finally lost my shit. Not literally, although this would have been the right room to do that in. I fled from the toilet and ran to the garage, desperately pressing buttons on my key fobs to unlock my car and open the garage door. As I climbed into the car, I noticed my other purchases from Bunnings on the back seat and a new plan formed in my mind.

“When will I fucking learn?” I asked myself, shaking kerosene onto the bloody message in the kitchen.

“You pay for what you get,” I continued, pouring more of the flammable liquid into the bee hive which resembled an air-conditioning duct.

“In future, avoid real estate ads which say ‘some slight paranormal activity’,” I told myself, then paused and pondered this edict. I do love a good renovation project, and haunted houses are cheap. Maximum profit on the flip side. No, I shook my head. The unexpected things can turn a bargain into a money pit; things such as a dodgy roof, or a portal to hell in the downstairs toilet.

“I’m going to paint my next kitchen blood red,” I muttered as I poured kerosene throughout the hallway and toilet.

“Note to self… buy more kero for Mum’s heater.” I pooled the last of the accelerant into a puddle in the foyer.

“You’re lucky I’m not allergic to bees, you fucker!” My anger kicked in as I finished the prep work. I patted my pockets, looking for matches. It’s a stupid instinct – I don’t even smoke. So I rummaged through the kitchen drawers, with no luck. I’d left my bbq lighter gun at Mum’s place last week.

Eventually I grabbed a pair of tongs and headed to the toilet, then made my way back to the foyer.

“If I can’t have this house, neither can you,” I told the entity.


The word appeared, noisily scratched into my beautiful wood panelling.

Let’s bee reasonable.

“Bee?” I almost screeched the word. “Bee, with two e’s?” I was so angry, the cold spot dissipated. “Is that supposed to be a joke? Or are you just an illiterate fucker?”

A blood-chilling laugh echoed through the house as I dropped the tongs – and the brimstone they held – into the puddle of kerosene near my feet. The laugh was mine.

Sudden-Onset Boganism

We’d saved  for millennia for this meal. It took five centuries just to save the reservation fee. Now, finally, we had a table for two at the Restaurant of the Universal Mindscape, the product of the combined spare processing power of every human mind in the galaxy, all jacked into one stunning simulation.

Our table, labelled The Winners, had an uninterrupted view of the Aurora of the Feeble Minds beneath our feet. It was spectacular. The glow of the aurora lit us from below, and we could almost feel the warmth of the dying neurons.

Behind us, the Appellate Nebula promised vindication for the wronged and victimised; however, the more you focus on it, the less you see. The nebula is the last recourse for the frustrated and angry. Just avert your eyes, then kick off into its heart. If your cause is just, you will see the mindscape’s most stunning view, moments before your mind implodes into a raw, uncut diamond back in three dimensional space. If your cause is selfish or misguided, your mind is lost forever, adding its insignificant self to the nebula.

The star of the show, the reason we’re here and why we’d paid for the best table in the house, is the Black Hole of Angst and Hate. This marvel absorbs all negative thoughts and feelings; all you have to do is release them. As the emotions are destroyed, they sparkle and fuse into light, creating rings of colour and unmatched beauty around the centre of the black hole. We stared, speechless.

Eventually, we became aware of another diner. She was seated at a table labelled The Crone, dressed elegantly and using a cultured accent to place her order with the waiter, but her platinum white hair had been butchered into a short, ragged cut, reminiscent of proto Britney Spears on a bad mental health day. The Crone faced the Appellate Nebula. Was the diner poor? Troubled? Was she planning to seek final judgement? Whatever the case, she’d find no judgement in us.

“May I call you Madam?” her waiter asked, bobbing in space next to her table. She nodded. “Has Madam always been a madam? How do you self identify?” the waiter queried. “Chef needs to know for your personalised meal. With Madam’s haircut, the answer is ambiguous.”

The diner glared at the waiter construct, her face reddening. The waiter waited patiently, his smile never faltering. “I have always been a woman,” she said, her voice matching the cold vacuum of space.

“Excellent. And what would Madam like to order?”

“To start, I’d like to try some Empty Threats. For the main, Perjury, and for dessert I’ve heard great things about Frothing At The Mouth.”

“Wise choices, Madam. And to drink?”

“What I’d like is the Blood Of My Clients, but I don’t see that on the menu, so I’ll have a jug of Bitter Tears.”

“Of course, Madam.” The waiter construct faded and sank from view.

Time passed; we’re not sure how much. The music of the spheres flooded our senses as we absorbed the stunning rings looping from the Black Hole of Angst and Hate, extending up over our heads and swirling down to our right and left, striking a brilliant blow at the Aurora of the Feeble Minds before completing a circuit back to the centre of the black hole.

Suddenly, our menus appeared. They shimmered and slowly rippled, drawing our attention. The selection was vast! I must admit, I had come with the notion of ordering Frothing At The Mouth for dessert, just like the diner at The Crone, until I saw the disclaimer:


I decided to try a different dessert – I’m not that adventurous. We discussed the menu and marvelled at the range and, the moment our decisions were made, the waiter construct phased into view.

“What would Messrs like to order?” he asked. “Our special today is the Nest Of Narcissists. We’ve had an oversupply, of late.”

“We’d like to share our dishes, please,” I said. “They can all come out at once.” The waiter construct nodded graciously. “Can we please try the Snatching Defeat From The Jaws Of Victory, the Grinding Teeth, and the Hurled Abuse?”

“Of course, Sir. And to drink?”

“The jug of Bitter Tears sounds good.”

“My apologies, Sir, but the lady at The Crone has ordered the last one.”

“In that case,” I paused briefly, scanning the menu, “We’ll try the Sweet Taste Of Victory.”

The waiter construct smiled and faded from view, once again exposing the stunning Aurora of the Feeble Minds. We sat in silence, the only sound the sparking of misfiring neurons.

Before long, The Crone’s meal arrived and we gaped with envy. It was remarkable, a crescendo of lights and colours and sounds, dancing in synchronised chaos above her plate. She attacked with gusto, and we turned back to the black hole.

Suddenly, a noise that didn’t belong in the Universal Mindscape captured our attention. The Crone was speaking to herself. Her voice became higher, more shrill, and quite nasal. She lost her cultured accent, and her lip curled into a sneer. We tried not to stare, but it was hard to resist watching someone devolve into a bogan. To complete the transformation, her arms twisted into an unnatural fold, giving her the appearance of an impatient tyrannosaurus rex.

The waiter construct phased into view next to The Crone, bobbing and nodding in a calming manner. “Madam, or should I say Sir, wasn’t completely honest with me,” he observed. What followed next was a string of obscenities and abuse from The Crone’s mouth which would make a 21st century writer blush.

With aplomb, the waiter attempted to soothe the raging bogan; however, she craved release. She kicked off into the Appellate Nebula, seeking final judgement. We turned and tried to follow her progress, hoping for her sake she’d be vindicated and die as a diamond. Unfortunately, she sailed deeper into the nebula and became just another tiny pinprick of light.

“My apologies, Messrs.” The waiter appeared next to us, his transition into substance quite abrupt, this time. “Here is your meal. For your inconvenience, we’ve included free servings of Shut The Fuck Up and Just Do Your Job.”

The food was delicious.

Giddy Up, GG

I won the eBay auction! the text read. Come check out my new sexbot! LOL

My blood ran cold. I adore my kiwi friend, Fester, but his tastes can be questionable. At the moment, our social circle is calling him the Cougar King due to his propensity for scoring with older chicks. I joke along with the others, poking fun at him, but secretly I’m jealous. At least he’s getting laid!

I rang the doorbell and waited. I’ve been here many times, so I can visualise the process happening inside. First, he has to change from frumpy house clothes into something sporty, probably lycra. Then he has to mess his hair stylistically. On his way to the door, he strews a few empty condom packets and pairs of female panties around the apartment… just for atmosphere, of course. Then a quick mist of his face with a spray bottle, making it look as though the visitor has interrupted him mid coitus. He opens the door, panting.Read More »

The Beast of Jerryl Deen

It was an idyllic dream, at first. The perfect city, an ideal home. I thought the tales had been made up by the locals, to scare off any stranger who dared enter the city and intrude on their lifestyle. Aussies do it all the time. Dropbears keep the numbers of American tourists to a minimum. The outback locals cultivate their inbred, murderous reputation to scare away backpackers. So why couldn’t an entire city spread stories of a monster with cold, crazy eyes, designed to protect their perfect peaceful existence from overpopulation?

But seriously… a creature so fearsome that Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees fled back to hell, embracing each other for warmth? Alien and Predator returned to their home planets to nurse their frostbitten wounds? Even Clive Barker’s cenobites avoid this pocket of humanity, deliberately ignoring all summons from any newly opened Lament Configurations in this city. The problem was, I never heard any stories about the hideous Beast of Jerryl Deen until after I’d already moved there – until it was too late.

The city may appear perfect, but once you know of the beast’s existence you see the warning signs everywhere. Massive heat generators are spread discreetly throughout the city, ready to dispel the ugly hag’s icy stare within seconds of engagement. The roads and buildings are all heated, despite the tropical climate of the city. Bright, shiny objects are distributed prolifically, an attempt to keep its skewed eyes busy. Every local carries a thermal blanket rated for Arctic conditions, and must attend regular drills to keep their skills sharp. If you’re not covered within three seconds of an attack, you die.

As long as the Beast doesn’t single you out, you can cope. As soon as the Jerryl Deen alarm sounds, you drop to the ground, cover yourself in your thermal blanket, and wait for the radiators to thaw the city. The roads and footpaths melt first, thanks to their inbuilt thermal systems. But if the Beast singles you out – if you become the focus of the hag’s cold, crazy eyes – you will lose; at least your mind, probably your life.

Very few people have survived a beastly encounter with their faculties intact. One survivor claimed the Beast had a mate, a timid shuffling zombie which liked to be anally abused by the Beast’s forked tongue; however, that report was widely questioned – just an attention seeker looking for their fifteen minutes of fame. How could the Beast of Jerryl Deen possibly have a mate? Preposterous! Another survivor claimed the crazy monster was actually a warm, loving person. That survivor should have been mocked ruthlessly, but instead he was pitied. The poor man also believes that Fox News Channel is good quality, unbiased journalism and that Donald Trump would be a fair, equitable President.

One fateful day, the ugly hag focussed its icy gaze on me. I’ll never forget it. There was no hint of its previous humanity in that vacant stare. I have no idea what brought down its wrath on me, but the impact was immediate. One minute, I was sitting at a coffee shop sipping a green tea. The next, the Beast of Jerryl Deen was standing in front of me. The only warning I had of attack was the sharp barking sounds which emanated from its throat. I looked up and met its gaze, then froze.

The stories didn’t do it justice. Head like a horse. Several layers of make-up, trying to hide the cavernous cracks running across its face. Long brittle hair, dyed black in a vain attempt to blend into the surrounding humans. The overall impact was one of age: ancient, and cruel. But it’s the eyes which are burned into my memory. Each eye was independent of the other. Each eye constantly rolled and turned, focussing on different things in opposite directions. However, when they joined forces and focussed on you, the effect was chilling and immediate.

I froze. Literally. In the traditional sense of the word, not the selfie-obsessed millennials sense. My eyes froze first, then the numbing cold spread throughout my body. I could hear the Jerryl Deen alarm sounding and the people screaming as they dropped and covered themselves with thermal blankets, but I couldn’t rip my eyes away from the Beast. After a few seconds, it briefly closed one eyelid. Then the other. Then its eyes lost interest in teamwork and spiralled away on their own independent tangents. Eventually the beast trotted off.

The trauma team arrived in less than a minute but, to be honest, it felt like an eternity. I saw icicles hanging from nearby buildings as I was bundled into the back of the ambulance. Large panes of glass had iced over and cracked. Snow fell, the result of humid air being quick frozen. The footpath was white, frozen solid; however, the thermal indicator lights were on – the city was already healing.

I, too, have healed. Mostly. I lost a hand that day. The trauma team were spectacular but accidentally banged my wrist against the back door of the ambulance. My hand snapped off and fell into powdery shards on the icy white asphalt.

I’ve since moved to the desert, far from any civilisation. I decided to write this cautionary tale in the luxurious, dry heat of the Nullarbor Plain, but a new nugget of fear is gnaws at my gut. The few nomadic locals I’ve met speak in fearful, hushed tones of a monster with crazy eyes and twisted lips. They call this one The Crone, and it burns with a glance. I’ve swapped my thermal blanket for a fire-retardant blanket, just in case.

The moral of this story? Listen with your heart, not your ears. The tales are true. The Beast of Jerryl Deen is real. Avoid all contact. Do not engage. Yes, it has cold, crazy eyes, but once you’ve been the focus of that gaze you realise the truth: its heart is where the true coldness lives, not the eyes. The beast’s heart is not just subzero… it’s absolute zero.

I rubbed the stump of my right forearm. My phantom hand still feels the cold.