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Fantasticoe 1998 Contents
 
The Talisman

Ryan Nelson

 
     Cavall awoke before dawn. This was odd, he never got up before noon usually.

     <the time for purification has come>

     The thought in his head made him jump. what was that! Normally thoughts didn't make him jump, granted he wasn't the smartest guy around, but he could still think on his own.

     <the time for purification has come, there will be no more sleeping in. you are to take me where I desire to go. I will guide you.>

     What the ... I'm not going anywhere, and why am I responding to...nothing. I want breakfast.

     <you eat then you go>

     Must be delirious with hunger. How about happy food, Mmmm, Golden Grahms are happy, I'm sure those drive nasty voices from our brains. Where could I be going? I know, I'm going no where. Just because the voice speaks doesn't mean I have to listen.

     <Yes it does>

     Happy Golden Grahms.....If I answer does that mean I admit I am crazy. What if I really am? No, not fair, I have just gotten things the way I like them. I have a great house, high paying powerful job at the firm, soon I will be partner. I have women in and out of here like there is some kind of revolving door. I have never been laid so much in my life. You now what, I think it is the car, the chicks love the car. Not to mention I think they can feel the sex coming off of me. I love the beautiful babies parading through my house with no clothes on. They come and go when I ask them to. Every man's dream. I'm Livin' it! I am unstoppable! Bring it to me baby, come to me, you know you want it. I got it, you will beg for it....oh, forgot about my honey toasted goodness in a bowl. I'm not crazy, men like me don't get crazy. We get rich and we get women. I wonder if Mike put something weird on that mirror with the coke. I bet he did. That is why I'm hearing voices.

     <Keep eating, we must go now. There was nothing wrong with the coke. You are not crazy. You will soon wish that all you were was crazy. >

     That coke was 3 days ago, plus what in the hell kind of drug can you snort that makes you hallucinate? I have never herd of one....Wait! Just wait a second. Cavall why are you listening to this newcomer to the ole brain. You have been here the longest, you have seen all the shit you have been through, you know what is down with me. These are your eyes! This is your space. Send this new thing away.

     <You are wasting too much time, the cleansing must begin. We go now. You will leave this behind.>

     You can go to hell! I'm staying here. I've made all this you can't take me away from it. I've got babies coming over later. They'll want their daddy, they'll want him to give it to 'em real good. I'm not going.

     <Be prepared, I am going to be extremely rude to you>

     Cavall stood straight up from the table knocking the table over and the chair onto it's back. The Golden Grahms went flying. The bowl shattered on the floor, milk spattered everywhere. The spoon clanged to a rest.

     "Uh!" Cavall gave a weak high pitched whimper.

     What is this! What is this! I didn't request to stand! Down! I want down!

     The anger burned in his chest and his body clenched. His rage was painful.

     Control! Give it back!

     <Shut up, you whine too much. Take your medicine and stop being a baby.>

     Why is the voice so calm, it's so stern. Why can't I move!

     Cavall's kitchen was really nice. Large, spacious, lots of extra cabinet space. He had a gas stove and a full size stainless steel fridge, but this is all irrelevant. He was walking towards his new Chicago Cutlery knife set.

     Walk! No walk! Not move!

     He strode easily over to the knives. It would appear to the observer that he was walking normally in all regards, despite the power struggle going on inside his brain. He nonchalantly picked up the cleaver and walked over to the free standing chopping block in the middle of the kitchen.

     My best cleaver! Hands off my best cleaver! Not for you! Expensive! Mine! My block many a beautiful ribs have been cleaved here. Me and my culinary genius at work often, seducing the babies. It was Meg that I had on this block. I gave it good to that baby. Hand on bock? No, No hand on block! NO! No hand on Block! Lifting cleaver?

     <we were to leave. You refused. The cleansing begins>

     Chop.

     Cavall didn't scream as he watched the cleaver go through his left pinky and ring finger. His mouth just fell open and he gave a silent scream.

     excellent swing. It would be hard to hit those two fingers holding a cleaver in one's right hand. How did I get such a good aim? Why are my boxer's wet? Is that urine I smell?

     <Bandage that. Then to the car. Get the rock.>

                Cavall awoke in a pool of his own sweat. He sat up in bed with his heart pounding in his chest and ears. Quickly he drew his hand out from behind the covers to inspect it...thank God, no blood.

     What happened last night? Last night, yes last night when that guy came to him when he was getting out of the car in the parking garage. He remembered how agitated he was with an armload of groceries under one hand and a six-pack of Blue Moon in the other. It was somewhat cold, so he was in a big hurry to get inside. Just as he closed the door to his car and turned around he saw a young guy, probably in his 20's, in a nice suit. But the suit wasn't in that great of shape, it was all torn and ripped, the knees were all bloody and the guy's face was swollen and scraped. He was somewhat reminiscent of a looser in a Rocky movie. Cavall couldn't speak, he just stared. Not usually a man of action, he preferred to sit and think about how he was to take over the world by exploiting those around him who were weak, Cavall just stood there and let the Blue Moon fall from his hand.

     "It says you should have it," slurred the bloody man.

     "Don't touch me! I'll give you my money, here is the keys to my car!" The bloody yuppie took a step forward and held out something to Cavall. The grocery bearing coward screamed and dropped his payload of urine and foodstuffs. The grocery bag ripped on impact spilling condoms, Dinty Moore stew, creamed corn, fresh oysters, shrimp, and a broken bottle of cabernet. Cavall fancied himself some what of a master of the ladies. He found they bowed easily under his superior charm and gently woven web of lies. But his libido wasn't on his mind at the instant as the urine and the wine mixed together around his shoes. The yuppie fell landing face first in the puddle with his hand extended. His eyes were wide open staring intently into the pavement, while blood and broken teeth ran out of his mouth.

     Cavall gathered himself and saw that the man wasn't moving anymore. He wanted to make sure this bedraggled human would never be a problem to him again. This now lump of a man had done the unspeakable. Cavall was scared, had screamed, wet himself, and dropped a $40 bottle of wine. The contempt for the bloody yuppie grew and grew.

     "No one breaks me little man," Cavall had started a discourse with the seemingly dead man. "No one crosses me, now you will never have the chance to do it again" His voice was a frantic whisper. Cavall felt that he had sufficiently warned the evil doer, so a savage kick was delivered to the suited figure's head. The neck bent in an unnatural position after making a loud snapping noise. The body never moved a muscle, the yuppie had died when he hit the ground.

     Cavall took the man's wallet. He had no need for the cards, those were too easy to trace but he did take the $150 in cash.

     "AAHH, nice chump change. This should about cover the cleaning bill for the pants," The thought of the urine and humility angered him so he kicked the body again. Then he saw what the man had been carrying. It was a dark, well worn, ancient looking leather pouch. It easily fit into his hand. He opened the drawstring at the top to look inside. There was a stone about the size of a pool ball only flat on both sides. Cavall had skipped many a stones just like this at his grandparent's cabin in Minnesota.

     He used to love to skip those rocks over the flat water. Dusk was his favorite time, the whole lake was flat, the sun was setting with a dull orange fade streaking across the water. He liked to skip at this time because he was the only one on the lake, it was his lake, on one else's. He had complete control. He could skip a rock anywhere he liked. He could skip it over the buoy, over the dock, his favorite was when he would skip it into someone's boat and try to aim just over the captains chair where a person would be sitting. He would pretend to hit them in the chest and give them a heart attack, or he would pretend it was some old retired asshole who was with his wife out fishing. He would pretend to hit him in the head with the rock and watch him fall over in a pile while his wife screamed and ran to him almost tipping the boat over. He loved plying the rock game. Where could he hit the invisible old man today?

     The only game better than the old man game was the 'Loon Game'. There were lot's of loons on the lake in those days. They wold sing their loon song and disappear under the water for three minutes. Then come up some other place halfway across the lake. Part of the loon game was the 'no fly/no swim zone'. If any loon came into the zone he would be punished. The stone would strike with deadly accuracy. One night he left three dead loons floating in the lake.

     On one of his last trips he was playing the 'Loon Game' when the game changed just a little. In the cabin next door was his grandparents friends. Usually at the same time his family was there the neighbors had their son, his wife and kid too. The grandparents in both places thought that this would be a fun time, the thinking was they could all get together and play games and go fishing and water skiing together.

     That was all fine and dandy, but the little kid was a waste of good skin in Cavall's mind. He was annoying, he would always want to play with Cavall, then tell on me when I swore. The kid was better off to stay home as far as he was concerned. One night Cavall was playing the game and the neighbor boy jumped off the dock right into the no swim zone. 'look Cavall, I can swim, all by myself! I am big boy, I didn't even ask mom if I could go, I just jumped right in! She doesn't know I'm here,'

     "Good for you!" shouted back Cavall in the nicest voice possible. He looked around and no one was watching. He was surprised at himself for the superb placement of that rock. It tagged him right in the temple. He didn't even scream, he just laid there, face down in the water. Cavall looked and stared for just s second, but only for a second, then his gears started turning. he wasn't about to take the fall for delivering justice the boy deserved.

     Cavall started screaming and ran inside to his mother.

     "Mommy, Mommy! Johnny is dead, I think he drowned. He was running on the dock and slipped and hit his head." Cavall, a mere nine years old, was a master of manipulation even then. He buried his face into his mother's waist and cried and blubbered. Needless to say, he got off scott free.

     One side of the rock he was looking at now was flat and smooth. He flipped it over and saw a design. Carved around this perfectly round stone was a border. Inside this circle was five wavy lines. It looked like some kind of ancient representation of water. This is what Cavall thought when he stared onto it. It was so simple and so beautiful...but then he started to feel sick to his stomach, the waves began to sway up and down. He heard his name in his head, but it wasn't himself talking as it usually was. Was it the rock? Cavall chided himself for being so foolish. But the paranoia was too much for him so he put the rock in the leather pouch. The near vomit experience subsided.

     He called the cops. They were a bit surprised to hear that Cavall was attacked by a man in an Italian suit with a wallet full of credit cards. Cavall insisted that they guy had asked for money and demanded the keys to the car, Cavall denied him both items so the man jumped at him. Cavall claimed he then dodged and swung the bag of groceries at the man knocking him down, he then he kicked him in the head for fear that he would get up again. The police felt satisfied and closed the case calling it self defense.

     Cavall was more than satisfied with himself at this point, hadn't he looked like the hero.      'I can't wait to get to work on Monday and tell my story to the bosses new secretary. She'll be so impressed that she'll want to go home with Cav and see how big of a hero he really is,' he thought to himself. With this thought of supremacy and power he drifted off to sleep with a grin on his face.
 

     He awoke the next morning with a deep sense of longing. He thought it might of had something to do with the fact that he didn't brush his teeth last night, so he went into the bathroom to finish last nights ritual. To no avail though, he didn't feel any better. The he washed his hands. They felt dirty. He washed them again, but they still felt greasy and gross. He washed his hands over and over again until they were rubbed raw. He gingerly put his bleeding hands on the sink and stared at himself in the mirror.

     "I have to go" Cavall spoke aloud. What in the hell made me say that? It's Saturday, do I have some meeting with someone and I forgot? I don't think so...I did forget to call grandma this month, then again I forgot to call last month too....

     With that thought he suddenly felt nausea creeping inside of him. He looked down into the sink to take some deep breaths to try to push the vomit away. It almost didn't work, due to the glob of toothpaste and the intense minty smell in the sink. After five breaths and a good pursing of the lips Cavall looked up into the mirror.

     He didn't see his own bathroom with the burgundy towels hanging on the gold colored rack directly behind him that he usually saw when he was brushing his teeth. The wall paper that he picked out with that interior decorator last year was gone too. He remembered having sex with her in the wall paper department at Menards.

     "What the hell was her name?" he thought.

     That had all been replaced by rocks and sand. Behind him was red rocks, not just little red rocks, but big boulders and cliffs. Beneath the rocks was a white sand and some scrubby trees swaying in the gusts of wind. Dust devils danced by his little window/ mirror whipping at the trees and rocks. Cavall quickly turned around.

     'Wha...this must be some kind of flashback. I never should have tripped in college. No rocks, not real. I must be dreaming still. I must have eaten something nasty last night. Let's try a pinch that usually wakes me up.'

     Cavall pinched and nothing changed. The wall behind him was now a view into this desert canyon. He could see men crowding around the lip of the canyon. He felt a gust of hot wind brush against his face, the sand that it carried stung at his eyes and cheeks. He closed them to prevent himself from becoming blind.

     'Good, now that my eyes are closed I can try this pinch again when I open them I will be inside my bed very warm and toasty.' He inhaled through his nose and caught a whiff of the dry desert air, it smelled so clean and pure compared to the city air that he sucked down every day. He pinched his arm hard, hard enough to draw blood, but he knew, he just knew that this wasn't going to work. He was going to open his eyes and the scene would all be there just like he left it. He kept right on pinching anyway, in the hope that it still might. Also the pain was an escape from his new desert reality. The pain was easier to endure than the thought of having a desert for the back wall of his bathroom. He felt blood run from his fingernail down his finger to his hand, then drip off his elbow.

     'Drawing blood, no, no, no desert, let go with the vicious death pinch and every thing will be O.K. I will be safe in bed'

     Cavall let go and opened his eyes and let out a quiet whimper. The mirror was gone, the whole front wall was gone. All that surrounded him was the desert. He looked up to the top of a ridge that wasn't far off and saw men, lots of men, but they weren't dressed right.

     'I'm trapped in some kind of gladiator movie! Those guys are wearing leather skirts and holding spears! Where is my bathroom! What am I wearing? That doesn't feel like silk...no, I don't think so. I don't think I am seeing that I am wearing a leather shirt and skirt like all these other guys. I am crazy. I have to be. No that's not right, if you think you're crazy then that means you aren't, right?

     "Is there any one among you man enough to challenge me?"

     'What was that! What was that, it was so close, was it behind me? It sounded like it was right on top of me.' Cavall desperately tried to turn around, but he held still as a statue, a very tall statue. 'Well look at that, my feet have never looked that small before, how did I get so tall?'

     Behind him he heard a mass of voices shouting in celebration. He wanted to turn quickly to see, 'could there be more?' he questioned, but he turned slowly, deliberately. As he turned he held his hands up and noticed there was a spear in each of them. He shook them vigorously and gazed at all the men with leather skirts and brush helmets cheering at him. 'Great I'm the most popular cross dresser ever. These guys really like me, I'm their leader, I could get used to this.'

     "I am not afraid to face you," came a weak voice from behind. It sounded like that of a boy. This time Cavall did turn quickly. What he saw was a boy, maybe 14 yrs old standing in front of him with a ragged little outfit on.

     'That kid is wearin' some custom made burlap bag with a belt made of goat ass. What is that in his hand?' The boy looked small and weak.

     Cavall looked down at himself, just to see what this boy might have seen. It was a sight to see alright. 'I've got to be seven foot tall or more. Holy shit! What does this kid think he's going to do to me? I'm gonna smear him. Let's get this over with so I can go party with all those guys. Maybe we can find some babies, I wonder what their leather skirts look like...'

     "Of all the men in your army, you send this boy to challenge me?" Cavall tried to turn around again to see this voice that was so close. 'who in the hell is laughing right in my ear? That is annoying as hell.' The laughing stopped and Cavall felt his right hand raise up and hurl the spear at the boy. 'nice shot, take that you little dumpster diver!'

     The six foot spear flew through the air at the boy. Cavall could see that the throw was true to its mark and would probably turn the boy into a prepubescent-kabob. 'as long as I don't have to clean it up.' But then at the last second the boy dodged out of the way. 'What the...that throw was right on how did it miss? That's O.K., I have another, this one find it's way into the boys weak little heart and sever it. Cavall gritted his teeth and threw the spear. This throw was better than the first, heading right at his heart, just like he wanted. Then there was a scrape of the little boy's sandal on the gravel and sand, cloud of dust and a solid 'thunk'. The spear had hit the ground behind him and was stuck there vibrating back and forth slowly.

     Just then the boy started swinging that thing in his hand. Cavall watched intently as his body crouched low to avoid something. But then he stood up. There was that hearty laugh in his ear again. This time he didn't turn, he just watched the boy swing this leather strap. It whistled through the air at each revolution, faster and faster.

     "Am I to be felled with that little stone?" 'that voice again, what is that kid doing?'

     Then the boy let go of one end of his leather strap and let a small missile fly. Cavall could see it tumble towards him. All he could hear was that laughing sound. The wind and sand pricked his face. The air was fresh and dry. He could see what it was flying towards him, it was a small stone, about the size of a pool ball, only flat on both sides, it was a lot like the rocks he used to skip at the cabin in Minnesota. Only this one had little wavy lines etched into one side.

     The rock rushed closer and closer. The closer it got the faster it went. Just then he remembered a story his aunt had told him. That Aunt was not well liked by Cavall. She was always stopping by and telling him 'The Word'. Cavall didn't know why she called it 'The Word' because it was usually a whole bunch of words. In fact she would go on for hours about God and Jesus and how he died for our sins. Cavall though it to be a bunch of garbage. Some of the stories had entertainment value though. He liked the story about the guy with the boat and all the animals. Two of each animal was too fascinating to him. He envisioned it to be like some sort of great big two chest filled to the top with animated stuffed animals.

     The scene he was having now was also like one other story his aunt told him.

     'The little boy who kills the giant from the other army with the sling thing. What were there names? Oh, yea David and Goliath. In the end Goliath gets a rock right between the eyes. I liked the David guy, he could throw a rock almost as good as me. But wait...If what I'm seeing is David, then that means I'm Goliath. Oh Shit.'

     'Why can't I move?' thought Cavall as the rock struck him right between the eyes.

          Cavall saw one of the soldiers pull the rock from his forehead. He had to put his foot on the skull and pull hard, the stone was lodged deep. Cavall knew this guy, but then he didn't. He didn't now his name. But he knew he was one of his soldiers, it was one of his buddies. They got along so well because of his taste of warfare. His buddy liked nothing better than to rape the women and children right in front of the men they would tie up. With this guy war was fun. Then he fast forwarded. He saw his buddy laying in a heap in a strange land. He dropped the stone in front of a thief who liked to cut people. Then Cavall jumped again in time and saw the thief drop the stone with his bloody hand in front of a tax collector. Then he jumped again, and again, this time a catholic priest that liked little boys, this time a blacksmith that removed chastity belts and asked for nasty sexual favors in return, again he jumped, and again. He saw the inside of a torture chamber, men in red cloaks (Spanish inquisition?) Jump, jump, jump. He couldn't keep track of all the jumps. He saw a young man who had killed his brother to inherit the throne receive the stone and then die. Jump Jump.

     A bloody man stumbled into the middle of a KKK meeting and pass it off to the grand wizard. The wizard died handing it to a cop that beat prisoner's for fun. Jump, Jump...soon he saw it end up in the hands of the man with the nice Italian suit. He dealt drugs, crack, coke and crystal methane mostly. He could get you the other stuff, dope, acid, PCP, but he didn't like to. The real money was in the powders. The real way to make the money was to give it to the kids. Twelve was about the right age, they didn't know any better and they were very impressionable. It was an easy score. Cavall saw the man stumble up to his car and hand it to him. It was almost the same way it had been handed off to all the others before. The bloody hand and the cruel recipient. He then knew what he was supposed to do.

     Cavall ran to his car an drove. Soon the car ran out of gas. There was no time to loose. He must keep going, he must not stop! He got out of his car and started to run. He didn't run along the road, he just ran in as straight as a line he could make. 'which way is it, I don't know. I'm sure the stone does. This is part of the cleansing.' The stone did know where to go. Cavall followed.

     He ran for two days. The car had almost made it on the one tank of gas, but he didn't have time to get more gas, he was probably 20 mi from his destination, that didn't matter. He sprinted through the brush and trees in a straight line.

     Cavall arrived at the lake around dusk. He was exhausted, dehydrated, and bloody. His clothes were ripped and his hand was dripping blood.

     'Where was he, where was the person he was supposed to hand off to?'

      He was near death.. He had been pinching himself all day in the car, and all during his run. He had lost a lot of blood.

     'Sleep, must rest.' With that thought in mind he pinched himself again and drew blood, this time on his thigh. He trudged the last few feet into the lake. He stood there, about up to his shins, bugs biting him all over, the cool water flowing into his hot shoes, the damp air being pulled through his nose, with the scent of fish and lake water. He heard a scuffle in the gravel on the beach behind him. He turned. It was a boy with a rock in his hand.

     "I've been here before. Here, it says you are to have this." Cavall held out the stone to the 14 yr old. The boy looked back at him with a nasty look on his face.

     'Take it, why won't he take it' thought Cavall.

     The boy ran up and kicked Cavall in the shins. It was all Cavall could take. He fell down into a heap, face first into the sandy gravel. Right next to his head was four dead squirrels and two dead ducks.

     "You're in the 'no lay zone' fucker!" whispered the young boy as he threw a flat polished stone that hit Cavall right in the temple. 2 inches from his bloody hand lay the Talisman, wavy lines face up.


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