Can Dead Lips Kiss

I'm getting towards the end of the library of books that I've completed over the past quarter of a century and now we have the nasty one. Dead Lips Kissing started off as A Bed of Snow Flowers but that title, though relevant to quite a lot of the background, didn't give an appropriate flavour of the content. With a title as anaemic as that a little old granny with a sweet outlook might have picked it up and been monumentally disturbed by fat middle-aged men with voices in their heads and murder on their mind. So Dead Lips, Kissing it became, though I included the original title as a sub-title, and left it in for chapter headings, for no particularly good reason, though laziness may be involved.

I've categorised it as Horror, but like just about all of my stuff it crosses genres. The trouble is, I couldn't think of what other box to shove it into, so Horror it is. Personally, I wish there was a genre called Nasty, but there isn't, so I'm stuck.

There's one thing I want to advocate. If you're worried about a) the cost of buying a book that might be absolute nonsense from an unknown author, or b) adding to the environmental damage that buying a book always causes, then why not try here to see if there's an alternative.

One thing the observant reader will observe is the presence of a foul, reprehensible and domineering mother. The woman's repulsive and has generated an obscene amount of control over her son, to the extent that aged 54, he is still, sexually, a virgin. It's not the first such mother in my books, I seem to have a "thing" about them, freakish women with a penchent for bullying and hating anything to do with the reproductive organs. and to be fair to my own late mother these harridans are in no way based on anyone I know and if they were it certainly wouldn't be her.

Check out more of my observations on the subject by clicking here.

I've used a strange device in this book - that of sequences. If you read it as printed (which is how I wrote it) then two convergent strands of the wretched life of our hero alternate and, to make things a little bit obscure we start in the middle of the story and proceed both backwards and forwards in time in order to discover what created him and where he was going. If you wanted to you could read all of Sequence Two and then follow it with all of Sequence one, in order. That's if you wanted, but I wouldn't.

Well, here's a sample. From Chapter One, it sets the scene (I hope) and pulls you, oh best beloved, in. I have purposefully left it short because I am aware that there is no control over the ages of people who visit our site and I don't want to include anything that might upset a minor.



Chapter 1

Between the rambling untidy heaps of near-sterile black rock to the north and a rolling suburban sprawl to the south lay an area of Mother Earth long forgotten by God and neglected by man. It was a rocky nothing of an area, a place that would never attract the developers because of the prohibitive cost of hewing down pinnacles of ancient rock and shoving aside the many huge sandstone boulders that had apparently lain where they were since the birth of time, slowly, grain by tiny grain, crumbling into dusty sand. And to compound the problems of the place, there had once been a coalmine not so far away, and in order to further deface a once beautiful planet men had piled its debris in black hillocks all around the area.

Few people went there. Mothers warned their children against the place, afraid of falls into deep chasms but disguising their true fears by hinting at bogeymen who, though horribly anonymous, were capable of disgraceful bouts of evil doing. And over the generations those bogeymen had assumed a flesh-and-blood kind of reality, which was good because it kept the children away from dangers that were far more real than fancied ogres.

If any of those mothers had been privileged with a life-span of centuries she would have been privy to a truer overview of things, and would have known that in actual fact the bogeyman was a personification of a species of rat peculiar to the Rockies, one that untold centuries earlier had been trapped in its subterranean vaults by geological shifts and was now restricted to a maze of stygian tunnels where they lived and breathed and had their miserable half-starved beings, living almost entirely and not at all like rats ought to live on a fungus that was just as peculiar to their subterranean world as they were. But occasionally (and this is where evidence of their existence manifested itself so that the truer overview might have caused craggy heads to nod with the wisdom of the truly ancient) weather conditions conspired to cause ancient dried-up to steams run again and where they found their oozing way under the Rockies they flooded the subterranean chambers favoured by the rats and washed a number of them abroad, to the world above the ground. And those rats were the essence of ogres described by caring mothers, though the danger lay not in they themselves but in what they carried on their blind backs.

It was shortly after such meteorological freaks that outbreaks of a variant of bubonic plague reduced the local population considerably, and most school children have learned to associate the Black Death with fleas from rats. However, such nonsenses only occurred every other century or so and thus were explained away as the anger of an indigenous tribe of bogeymen rather than as the work of a sub-species of flea that populated the fur of the Rockies rats.

But those rats existed in a dark world and, as is the manner of living creatures, evolved to adapt to their disgusting environment, had been growing slowly blind over centuries as they struggled from day to day, entombed in their own subterranean hell - and so had the fleas. There was evolution going on in the hideous dark, evolution of rat, evolution of flea and evolution of plague. But it was all far away in the bowels of the Earth, and consequently lost to the wit of man, who tends to believe only in that which he can see and touch.

Those fascinated by the wilds and all things natural sneered at the place because of its proximity to old colliery slag heaps (the north) and rows of terraced houses (the south), and so went further afield for their bird-watching and frog-counting. The odd rock climber, though, would occasionally risk life and limb on its ancient crags, and a motley selection of drug-crazed juveniles periodically sought the isolation of its black shadows in order to pursue their brain-destroying habit away from the public eye and its disapproval. There was always a scattering of used syringes on the flanks of the place, and often the wild demonic cries of the crazed echoed in the air.

This paradise was known locally as The Rockies, a name derived more from its haphazard geological construction than from any similarity it bore to its namesake across the Atlantic.

In the summer it was fair enough with verdant green reaching over crumbling stone edifices and hiding them from all but the closest of inspections, which would reveal how feeble that verdant growth really was, and how straggly. Yet it had a strange beauty to it, one given birth by the presence of clusters of small white flowers that covered the more ugly boulders half the summer long.

The locals called them Snow Flowers, but it is a sad fact that in the winter, when snow might be expected, they were gone. In that season everything about the place represented the very ugliest of eyesores, a factor which very much influenced the pricing policy adopted by local estate agents as they hummed and hawed over the value of this or that less than desirable property that had foolishly been built amongst the skirts of The Rockies. Nobody, truly, wanted to live there and the sad consequence of this was the fact that the houses closes to this Hell on Earth were the domain of the weak, enfeebled, or troubled, those who had no choice.

It was one particular summer, however, that The Rockies finally claimed its most dreadful place in the public consciousness. After generations of merely being there as a sort of perimeter to the lands where decent folks might go it gained a new kind of notoriety. And to some, to Wendy Cartwright and her daughter Justine, it became the very epicentre of what was to become the worst of nightmares.

But first to Wendy Cartwright and the trials and tribulations of her life.

Wendy was one of those who had no choice: she was a single mum, one of an apparent army of such women who (if one is to believe those politically charged with the care of the public purse) were doing all in their means to undermine decent society and bring the whole social fabric crumbling down upon the shoulders of the hard-working and decent and moral amongst us. Her own forefathers had arrived upon these shores in the fifties from the Caribbean, her father becoming an industrious (but never wealthy) bus driver and her Mother entering the Caring Professions, spending the greater part of her anglicised life as the most respected Midwife in the area.

Wendy had been given a happy childhood due largely to the fact that families with the ethnic mix provided by hers can contrive to be both carefree and careful at the same moment, which, contradiction as it might seem to be, generates what is possibly the best atmosphere for the socializing of young children.

She had left school and was on the very first rung of what may or may not have become a fulfilling career ladder when Justine came along, a tragic accident forced upon the mother as an unwanted consequence of a Christmas office party at which many things had soared out of control and the innocent (herself) had suffered.

It had been like this. Wendy had been sitting in a corner, a mere sixteen years old and the office junior, socially out of her depth and not particularly happy or comfortable. But there was one person there who’d caught her eye, Samantha something-or-other, several years her senior and unkindly referred to by the men folk as the office bike when she wasn’t listening (and sometimes when she was). Office bike she may have been, but to Wendy (who was only beginning to come to terms with a perverse sexuality that mocking Nature had bestowed upon her) she was the most beautiful and desirable creature in Creation, and she just sat there gazing at the other woman knowing that the feelings that were struggling through her own system would never be reciprocated, not in a million years by one who made a reputation out of the wild extremities of her heterosexuality.

The party had sort of droned on with everyone getting more and more drunk and most of them developing a tendency to become more and more wild. Except for Wendy, that was. Wendy was sober because Wendy didn’t drink, not because she was blessed with a noble insight into the evils of alcohol but as a result of being only sixteen and consequently inexperienced in the world. She watched ruefully as Samantha something-or-other disappeared with the Manager into his inner sanctum and Wendy was left with precious little to think about other than how boring office parties were to a girl who chose not to get drunk.

So on an impulse she did get drunk, swiftly, by swallowing several small but potent measures from a bottle that observation of her colleagues had indicated must surely contain a lethal distillation of liquid fire.**

Well, there we have just a fragment of the first chapter. I hope it sets the scene okay. What I do know is it contains none of the nasty bits, for obvious reasons.

For a little bit more about it, try clicking here