Outcast

I’ll be back to writing for comicommand soon, and should have an article for them around January 15. My first piece for the new year will be a piece on Ed Brubaker’s Kill or Be Killed. Until then, I wanted to share some thoughts on another ongoing series that I’m reading.

Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead is undoubtedly the comic that turned me into a serious comic book reader. It started with Rick Grimes, then moved on to Spider Jerusalem, Jesse Custer, Billy The Butcher, Mark Grayson, and now Kyle Barnes.

After binging on Invincible and then having to wait until February for the next issue, I eagerly sought out Kirkman’s latest series. After giving us a post-apocalyptic zombie tale, and then a superhero story, Kirkman delves into demonic possession.

Outcast follows Kyle Barnes, a man whose life is plagued with demonic possession and who is ostracized in his hometown after allegedly hurting his wife and daughter. While Kyle knows something changed his wife, making her attack their daughter, no one else believes him. As he returns home, Reverend Anderson helps to open his eyes to the truth of demonic possession.

Although I have not seen many films related to possession, I have always been interested in the subject. Firstly, Paul Azaceta’s artwork truly helps to bring the story to life from the first frame onward. The style is somewhat simple, compared to works like Punisher: Max, but is reminiscent of Invincible. Azaceta fits the comic’s atmosphere of horror by seamlessly transitioning from relatively simple frames, to ones that are genuinely unsettling.

 

Kirkman is also able to explore a religious theme, without creating a story that is pro or anti-Christian. Kyle represents the skeptic, while Reverend Anderson is the holy man who slowly makes Kyle accept the truth of exorcism. The story could come across as formulaic with this set up, but Anderson is a layered character who believes in the Lord, while also having his own doubts about institutionalized religion and God. Anderson’s thoughts are some of the most interesting parts of the story.

Kirkman also adds interesting modifications to the exorcism mythos, which are slowly explained as we get further into the series. In some ways, the exorcism links to several other issues in Kyle’s life. His mother abused him due to her possession and his wife abused their daughter. Both of these periods have significantly affected Kyle’s psyche, which leaves him in a dark place that aligns with the overall tone of the comic. Every triumph that Kyle faces is followed by another revelation that causes more pain or a setback from the forces that are working against him.

With each issue, we learn more about the possessed and the overarching conflict continues to build with Issue #24, which was released today.

Like The Walking Dead, Outcast currently has its own television show as well. One season is complete, and it has been renewed for another. Clearly, it isn’t the phenomenon The Walking Dead is, but maybe the show isn’t as hampered by filler. That’s a post for another day.

Hunter

Hello everyone,

I’ll be doing a review of Preacher for comicommand, which should be up on the site early next week. I am currently reading The Boys and will be writing a piece on that next week as well. I found 100 Bullets to be somewhat overrated but I loved Preacher and I am also loving The Boys so far. With that prelude, I present a poetry piece for you all, which is inspired by an earlier post on my @wmoviegrapevine (instagram).

The next blog post will be on Monday. Have a great weekend.

***************

My legs were burning almost as much as my lungs,

I couldn’t hear it behind me anymore,

Yet I knew it was still there,

I could feel its eyes watching me,

Looking around,

I could only see trees,

Dark towers illuminated by the moonlight,

Dry leaves shuffled under my feet,

A tell-tale sound that would give me away,

 

I moved on my toes,

Hiding behind the nearest tree,

If I couldn’t see it,

It had to be far behind,

It would give itself away as it made its way closer to me,

When it got close enough,

I would slip away in another direction,

I tried to steady my breath,

 

One minute passed, maybe two

My legs were still sore,

My breathing was slowing down,

My lungs and heart were relaxed once more,

Until I heard dry leaves behind me,

Less than fifty feet away,

It didn’t make sense,

I should have heard the steps sooner,

I looked to my left,

Barely holding back a scream as I saw a paw land on the grass beside me.

 

 

 

 

Alive: Part V

Hello everyone,

This piece will conclude the Alive series. I have finished a draft of The Visitor, and plan to start editing it in two weeks. I want to let it sit for a little while so I can return to it with fresh(er) eyes.

*******

The six-foot thick sheet of glass fell to the ground,

The scientists already vacated the room,

But their scents lingered,

Forming a trail that I could easily follow,

There was a door on the left side,

I knew I couldn’t fit through it,

With one slap I tore down the brick wall around it,

Showering the ground with tiles and revealing a hallway that led to the surface,

I could see the scientists now,

Running as fast as their legs would carry them,

They were about fifty feet ahead of me,

While a line of armed soldiers were less than ten feet away,

 

I screamed as a barrage of bullets hit me,

With the scream coming out as a growl,

Bullets pierced my chest, arms, legs,

I fell to the ground,

Knowing what the soldiers would do next,

They kept shooting for a few seconds,

More bullets hit my skull,

Grazing the skin but failing to break through the thick bone,

I barely refrained from smiling as I heard the click of empty magazines,

 

My body was already expelling the bullets,

Slowly pushing them out to make way for new muscle,

The pain would persist for several hours,

My mind would block it out,

My body was ready,

I leapt off the ground,

Swinging my right arm in an arc,

My claws severed necks,

Cleaved skulls,

Lacerated faces,

Five hits,

Five soldiers dead,

 

One more problem to take care of,

I waited a few more seconds,

I could feel some of the bullet holes were healed,

There were just a few more to go now,

One bullet was still being dislodged from my left knee,

Tearing through nerves and veins as it made its way out,

I heard it hit the ground,

Then I could feel my muscles stretching to sew up the hole,

I planted my legs beneath me,

Feeling their strength,

Knowing that I was ready,

 

I pushed off,

Sailing over the soldier’s bodies,

Another leap,

Then another,

The gap between the scientists and I continued to dwindle,

I could only make out grey figures with my eyes,

But my nose and hearing showed me more,

Their coats flapping,

The rhythm of their steps,

Sweat on their skin,

The scent of food on their tongues,

 

With ten leaps,

There was food on my tongue,

I tore through the first scientist’s shoulder,

My teeth collided with one another,

Rattling my jaw,

Compressing bone and flesh,

The man’s scream was almost deafening to my ears,

So I brought my right paw onto his head to silence him,

I felt his skull flex under the weight before it stretched and crushed his brain,

As I raised my paw,

His head was a single splatter on the metal floor beneath me,

Three more to go,

They were all running at a similar pace,

Separated by only a few feet,

 

Five leaps,

One swing of my right arm,

Two more carcasses,

I wanted to take my time with the last one,

He was the mastermind behind my imprisonment,

I wanted him to stare into Frankenstein’s eyes before he died,

Two more leaps,

A claw tore through his Achilles tendons,

Sending him crashing to the ground,

 

I heard screams again,

So loud, so grating,

Worse than gunfire,

The mastermind kept moving forward,

Trying to crawl to safety,

I slid a paw underneath his chest,

Lifted my arm to effortlessly flip him onto his back,

 

He saw me now,

Red eyes,

Bloodstained teeth,

Five hundred pounds of fur-coated muscle,

The scent of urine became more pungent,

The screams died down to a whimper,

Tears mixed with sweat,

Forming a tapestry that I found deeply satisfying,

Not because of the smell itself,

But what it signified,

The mastermind now realized that I was not his pet,

I was his damnation,

 

My teeth tore through his face,

Penetrating his eyes, mouth and skull,

As I pulled my teeth away,

I could only make out a severed neck beneath me,

A macabre fountain that was decorating the ground with coppery blood,

 

The scientists picked this area because it was remote,

Now that would be their undoing,

The sun wouldn’t come up for eight more hours,

My new body would carry me far away by then,

To freedom,

To peace.

 

 

Parasite

Hello everyone,

The below piece is similar to Worms, which is one of the first creative writing pieces I posted to the site.

***********

The pain kept building over the last hour,

It was an inconvenience,

Then an annoyance,

And then agony,

It forced me out of bed and to my bathroom mirror,

The pain seemed to move throughout the night,

But now it was firmly planted on my back,

I pulled off my shirt,

Twisting my torso to see what pulled me from my slumber,

Once I saw it,

I knew my next slumber would be my last,

There was a black lump to the left of my spine,

Pulsating,

I shuddered involuntarily,

The lump followed suit,

But it didn’t shudder,

It moved,

Gliding halfway up my back,

Until it was resting just beneath my left shoulder,

The mirror showed that my mouth was hanging open,

I wanted to scream,

But no sound would come,

I saw saliva drip from my mouth,

Yet I barely felt it,

I was hoping I would wake up from the nightmare soon,

It was a clichéd thought,

But a comforting one,

The lump started to disappear,

As if it was being absorbed into my skin,

Maybe my prayer was answered,

Once the lump was gone,

I held my breath for a few seconds,

Worried it would surface again,

I scanned the rest of my body for any signs of it,

Nothing,

I was safe,

For a few seconds,

The pain returned,

It was behind my eyes this time,

Pressure,

I looked in the mirror,

My vision was becoming blurry,

I could barely make out my eyes expanding,

Two white balloons that looked like they were ready to pop,

Everything went black,

Just before I felt my eyes burst,

Just before I heard them splatter against the mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Haunting

Hello everyone,

Wrote a piece for my @wmoviegrapevine Instagram account this morning, which inspired this piece.

********

I put the car in park, turning the wheels to the right so that the car wouldn’t roll down the steep driveway behind me. I pulled my scarf tighter around my neck, preparing myself for the gust of wind that would greet me once I opened the door. The door opened, but the wind never came.

I had to step out of the car only thirty yards away to open the gate. The wind was strong enough to shut the car door behind me. As I looked back at the gate, I could see it swinging, pulling and pushing against the chain. All around me, leaves were being ripped off branches and were sailing overhead. Yet as I took a closer look I saw that the leaves never blew past me. All around me, they seemed to hit a certain point, and then turn back.

The leaves were forming an orb around the house, striking against an invisible wall before they continued travelling around the perimeter. For about twenty yards in every direction, this house was truly separated from the rest of the world.

The house itself was dwarfed by the land around it: Three floors of decaying wood. The old pictures showed smooth, chestnut wood. Now the planks were all chipped, seemingly hanging on by a thread in many places. The wood looked silver under the moonlight, but that was their only beauty. There were two windows facing me, both boarded shut. That was a relief, there were too many times when a trip like this began with a set of eyes watching me.

I kept the car unlocked and made my way to the front porch. I gingerly put my foot on the first step leading to the porch, feeling the wood flex under my weight. The wind still managed to drown out most of the noise. My right foot came down on the second step, while I rested my hand on the railing.

As my bare skin touched the dry, aged wood, I could feel what awaited me inside. I could feel the entity’s anger, but there was much more. This wasn’t a malevolent one. It was scared, lonely. The emotions were more pungent than anything else I’ve experienced. They seemed to rise off the wood like steam. Enveloping me, suffocating me.

Alive: Part II

This is a continuation of my previous post, Alive

 

I am considering expanding this idea for a novel, once I finish my current projects- The Visitor and Hazard

##

 

I could only see four walls,

Three were brick, one was glass,

The guards, scientists and politicians were on the other side,

I would be giving them a sight to remember,

 

I couldn’t see the moon,

I could feel it,

No distance, no wall could prevent its strength from seeping into me,

It crashed through my body,

In one intoxicating wave after another,

The straps were holding me still, but I could feel my limbs swelling with blood,

It wasn’t just my muscles that were growing,

My organs, my veins, my blood itself was multiplying to accommodate a new body,

A new body that was rapidly emerging as the moon reached its peak in the sky,

 

The straps were meant to stretch,

But not this much,

They began to tear across my chest, my arms, my legs as my body kept growing,

The power never came without pain,

My skin tore and peeled as my body shed its old suit,

I could see exposed nerves and blood-drenched muscles,

I screamed as I felt my spine elongating, being pulled so tight I felt like it would snap,

I gasped as I felt my lungs and heart expand,

My chest burned as more air and blood suddenly made their way in,

I could feel the blood gushing through me, and as always, I felt like I was drowning from the inside,

I knew the feeling would pass,

 

Once it did, my new skin would grow,

Then the final part of the transformation would take place,

The one that all the people on the other side of the glass truly feared.

 

 

 

D-Day

The beach was swarming with tourists,

People who travelled from other countries and continents to walk along a once-great battlefield,

Some took pictures, and even more took selfies,

Making the moment all about them,

Showing that they weren’t truly there to commemorate other people’s sacrifices

 

I could not ignore the real reason I came here,

I saw it all around me,

My shoes were already stained with blood,

The sand was soaked with it,

Every step I took made it squelch beneath me,

While others took a leisurely stroll, trying to picture what happened,

I rushed through, wanting to free myself from all the images and sounds that were assaulting me,

 

Arms, legs, fingers,

Some were still moving, only a few seconds removed from their previous owners

The tourists all around me obscured my view of the entire beach, saving me from even more images,

But the tourists would also be witnesses if I succumbed to the uneasy feeling in stomach,

 

I was almost off the beach now,

Sidestepping, pushing, whatever it took to make clear path for myself,

I passed the bulk of the tourists, with only a few stragglers ahead of me,

As I prepared to sidestep someone ahead,

They turned towards me,

In my haste I never noticed the tattered uniform they wore,

But now I could see the face, torn apart by shrapnel,

Skin hanging loose from the cheeks, exposing flesh and nerves beneath,

Eyes reduced to red craters,

 

As I looked away, I saw another uniformed man making his way towards me,

His intestines were hanging from a gash in his stomach,

Reaching down and staining the sand as he walked towards me,

His face was intact, but I could see the shrapnel embedded in the top of his skull,

 

They said nothing as they approached,

I didn’t know what would happen if they reached their target,

I ran around them, making my way for freedom,

As I did, hands began to spring from the ground beneath me,

Bloodied, lacerated, dismembered,

All gripping me with immeasurable strength,

I fell, I screamed,

But my screams were quickly muffled,

The ground beneath me seemed to sink, and I was sinking with it,

Soon I no longer felt the sunlight above,

Only darkness.

 

 

Worms

I can feel them moving again,
Tearing a path through my flesh,
I can see their bodies, lying just under my skin,
Pressed so tight that my skin moves when they do,

I shiver as I feel one travelling down my neck,
Its body travels over blood vessels and nerves,
Moving over them or pushing them aside,
Its slow movements only prolong the agony,

I crash to the floor,
Serving only to awaken others,
I can feel a wave of movement starting in my legs,
My mind tells me not to look down,
Yet I choose not to listen,

The skin on my legs is stretched tight as they tear through,
Blue tendrils mark their presence on every inch beneath my waist,
I can feel the skin tearing apart now,
Blue gives way to red as the skin tears,
Coming loose from the flesh underneath with a thunderous snap,

They emerge, and death is my only escape.