Treatises on Dust

Antic Found Texts

A Skulk – Part IX

Part IX of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.

Soundtrack: 

It was vulpine. Its fur was gore-matted, sparse; it was bald in cankered patches. It was snaggletoothed. Its eyes were jetty orbs.

Then, one night, following a week of muggy weather, there was an electrical storm. Waclaw, woken by thunder, got up from his bed to watch the glaring knouts from his window and to smoke. After a time, the clouds burst, and it began raining hard.

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A Skulk – Part VIII

Part VIII of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.

Soundtrack: 

...a phantasmagoria of his homeland...

Some days later, Waclaw was walking past the front of Holly’s block and saw the young man, the one he’d seen with her, in her bedroom and on the street, waiting outside. Slowing his pace, he watched asquint, saw Holly answer the door and the young man reach into his bag, take out a bottle of wine, present it to her. She stared at the young man as if she’d never seen him before: bemused, but placid. He clasped her hand. She began shaking, and he loosed his hold, stepped back. Huddling down in a corner of the porch, she retched a few times, then spewed an off-white froth. The young man moved closer once more, muttering comforts. Holly began to wail, high and eerie. Reaching out, the young man went to stroke her hair, but flinched away on touching her. He dropped the bottle. It smashed, and the wine flowed out, pooled in hollows. After staring aghast at Holly a moment, the young man turned, ran away. She ceased her keening, grinned horribly. Then, looking up, glared at Waclaw. There wasn’t the faintest sign she recognised him. Shuddering, he hunched into his coat, strode on.

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A Skulk – Part VII

Part VII of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.

Soundtrack: 

...the site of an old nuthouse...

The next morning, Waclaw was on his way to work, nearly there, when Melanie attacked him. She tore barefoot off the common, clutching, in a two-handed grip, a gnarled and heavy stick, with a fox’s skull nailed to one end. She bore down, smote him repeatedly with this fetish; he tried to fend her off, but she was strong, bizarrely so. But, though she clubbed him to the ground before turning, running off, she stopped short of real injury; he was merely sick and shaken, not much hurt. He got up, staggered on, blood running from a cut above his eye.

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A Skulk – Part VI

Part VI of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.

Soundtrack: 

...a friend whose father made okovita in a still at home...

About three weeks later, Waclaw saw the girl on the street, railing bitterly at a young man, the same young man he’d seen in her room. She ranted, wrung her hands, he stood, knuckling his eyes, shaking his head, repeating her name, ‘Holly’, over and over, wearily. As Waclaw neared them, the young man turned to go; Holly put a hand on his arm to restrain him, but he shrugged it off, walked away. She sat down heavily on a low wall at the side of the pavement, fists in her lap, nails digging into her palms. Passing by, Waclaw saw a smudge of mascara on her brow, a cinereous daub.

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A Skulk – Part V

Part V of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.

Soundtrack: 

...the heroine had clambered out of the trench and was running across the miry no man's land...

One Saturday night, some time after he saw the young woman and her boyfriend fucking, Waclaw stayed in alone, rented a horror film, Littleblood. He sat down to watch it with some beers, rolled himself a joint. The film began well – a bizarre, brutal opening – but then palled, settling into stale stalk-and-slash. A little drunk, a little stoned, Waclaw found his mind drifting to other things. He thought back to the morning Melanie had appeared on his doorstop and fell into a reverie in which, instead of making bizarre romantic declarations and obscure threats, she stripped off her clothes, closed her eyes, began swaying, dancing, to some music in her head. Then his thoughts turned to the woman whose flat he could see from his window.

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A Skulk – Part IV

Part IV of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.

Soundtrack: Seaworthy and Taylor Deupree, ‘Hollow

...was sat at his desk in front of his typewriter, working, into the night, on a lengthy autobiographical poem he was composing, in a neologistic blend of Polish and English, about his immigrant experience...

The following morning Waclaw woke early, headsore, gutsick, took a gulp of water from the glass by his bedside, heaved, then, after struggling out of bed, made for his bathroom with a lurching gait, knelt by his toilet, brought up a mess of bile, drink, and kebab. When he’d finished throwing up, he fell back and sat huddled on the tiled floor for a time, shaking and sweating.

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A Skulk – Part III

Part III of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.

Soundtrack: Goldmund, ‘My Neighborhood

...the pub’s battered, out-of-tune, upright piano.

After the paramedics had stretchered away the injured man, Waclaw, queasy with shock, wandered off, out onto the common, and, hunkering down, was sick. As he walked back towards the site, he heard the noise of blows and a bitter clamour, then, rounding a corner, saw several of his workmates kicking at something with their steel-capped workboots. Nearing the scuffle, he saw they were venting their fury on the carpenter who’d dropped his hammer; he was prone on the ground, spitting blood and teeth.

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