by Mike Lera
The following is an excerpt from 'Patterns,' a story by Mike Lera, published by Bete Noire Magazine (under former pen name Michael Lizarraga).
Synopsis:Mr. Louis Arroyo, 29. Occupation: Security Officer. A recovering junkie who fosters a most unusual addiction, yet suppresses it with the most unusual allies. A 'higher power,' if you will. Not the conventional constellations or mystical mists, but faces and figures he finds in the contours and constructs of plastered walls, floor tiles, ceilings, table stains or cemented sidewalks. Any place he could pattern a mouth with a pair of eyes, or a torso with a set of limbs. A wince or a wink or an occasional sound from one of these silhouetted characters; an obsession since childhood he’s always referred to as The Line People. Pals and protectors who have cradled, calmed, cared and, at times, corrected Louis throughout his life...
In a moment, Louis will find out just how real his 'higher power,' The Line People, actually are...
He was aroused moments later by
low-soft whispers. Fragmented words,
as though searching for a radio
frequency. Eyes still closed, he heard a
calm, clear quiet voice.
We’re right here beside you.
The voice could have been a man or a
woman’s, and sounded eerily distant
He staggered out of bed, as though
He flicked the
light on, and on a blue plaster wall just
before his face stood a contour image
more apparent than any other 'Line
Person' Louis had ever seen. Almost as
if looking at a blue abstract painting of
an oval shaped, balding head,
“Einstein” hair waving behind it.
Multiple lines formed what seemed like
sagging skin along the face, as though a
melting wax figure. The mouth was a
small crooked rectangle, cradling three
squares resembling piano keys – its
teeth. Its eyes stood out the most. Light
blue, almost white, like two round
hardboiled eggs with little yokes as
pupils, staring at Louis as if someone
under a spell.
The blue face suddenly jutted toward
Louis, like a 3D movie, the wall plaster
expanding behind its head in a
dream-like, surrealistic stretch.
Simulating an elastic band, or someone
teeth-pulling on a thick, chewy taffy bar.
The plastered face came inches from
Louis’s, its round eyes gazing into his
with its trance-like stare. Close up, the
character reminded Louis of The
Elephant Man, or a zombie shrouded in a
shredded burlap scarecrow mask. The
bottom of its square mouth lowered, and
with the sound of a distant underwater
echo, in a mixture of taunt and
condescension, said, Let’s talk. Blood
pounded through Louis’s head as if
pumps had been shoved in his ears and
were trying to suck him dry. Aghast, he
couldn’t move other than to tremble.
Again, that calm, quiet voice.
We’re right here beside you.
# # #
For complete version of Patterns, you may purchase issue #12 of Bete Noire magazine at "Goodreads" :