The scene of the crime was a sad little studio mere steps away in Soho, superimposed above a salacious store front whole seductive stock stimulated the shopper with synthetic sexiness and skin, stripped starkers. Above this gaudy Gomorrah the gutted gudgeon of the latest grotesquerie was laid gaping on the ground in his garret.
St. John helped our heroine into this horrific home and held back, leaving her to hem, haw and hash out her hunches.
“The previous victim was a businessman, is that what you said?” Mimsy leaned her three-lensed Lennon’s back upon her locks as she looked.
“Yeah, that’s right luv.” St. John poked in a perturbed process at the piecemeal possessions of the person (now deceased), placed on the parquet.
“Well, this one was an artist.” Mimsy certified, confident, conspicuously so, in her certitude.
“How on Earth do you know that?” St. John saw no reason to reach such a robust result in reasoning so readily.
“Poor, but honest. Dressed shabbily, but carefully repaired. Cheap food to eat, cheap accommodation to live in, surviving on sugar, caffeine. I can smell the clinging smoke of marijuana all over the few furnishings that he’s got.”
St. John sighed, surprised and stirred by her show of solid speculation, saddened by his own slapdash study.
“If I get shot of the constables here, can you work your particular brand of special magic to find anything out?”
“On a dead man? It’s a bit dangerous but if you really want me to do it, I can have a go at it.” Mimsy crouched, catlike, concurrent to the corpse and considered the conspicuous crater in the cadaver’s cranium. “Stabbed in the head again, same spot.”
St. John shooed away the shower of sheriffs intent on showing their own skill and stood sentinel for the sorceress of the street.
Mimsy sank with great delicacy into the remnants of the mind of the dead man, following the drifting piano-key steps, ebony and ivory, down into the man’s wilting subconscious – or what remained of it.
The brain’s cells starts to die off a few minutes after the flow of oxygen stops, but bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, a few scintilla of mentality remain for some time and it was into this storm of Escher shapes and fragmentary memories that the less wise call ‘near death experiences’ that Mimsy stepped, flitting from crumbling dreams to hard and glassy regrets in her search for any trace that remained of the man’s memories of the brutal attack upon his person.
Everything was flaking away, disintegrating into the darkness of death like the burning edges of a film in a grindhouse projector fire as she tried to stay one step ahead. Lévy curve wings sprouted from her naked back in plastic-fantastic black and white as she leapt the gulf of death to the last bastion of the dead man’s naked consciousness; the fragmenting memories of his childhood home, scorching away with a scent like burnt toast and petrichor.
Soft, bare feet touched down upon the grey-scale grass and the rings on her toes glittered in the light of the nostalgia-sun that beat down from the herringbone-clouded sky. She could hear the desperate sobbing of a child within the crudely recalled house and folding her wings behind her like a monochrome ladybird she turned the decomposing door handle and stepped within.
The inside of the house smelt of plasticine and daffodils, mingling with the meaty undertone of something delicious cooking in the kitchen oven. The man, the boy, all that there was that remained of him, sat in front of a half-remembered television, staring at the flickering screen and crying. The tears streamed down his face and ran away in a river, an image from Alice in Wonderland that had, apparently, made a lasting impression when he was a boy and lingered even as the light of his mind went out, inch by inch.
Mimsy trod gently forward down the luridly patterned carpet of the hall but before she could get close to him a monstrous, spidrous thing, all limbs and scissors and chattering, broken, teeth, blindingly yellow came juddering and stuttering towards her. Canary, mustard, jaundiced, sickly, painful to the eyes in this place without colour it was a thing pieced together from childhood nightmares and given life, a creature designed to stop her, shadows and sharp edges and a desire to snip and cut.
“Snicker-snack.” It said, and went for her thumbs with a clamorous snipping that rent the air.
Mimsy fell back before it’s assault, surprised and terrified to find such a thing here, lurking in his mind, so powerful when everything else was fading.. Everyone had personal demons, she’d fought many, cured people of their afflictions, addictions, hang-ups and madness. This helter-skelter creature was something new, something worse, something unnatural; empowered by some other force from outside this mind.
“Snicker-snack.” It said. She bled paisley from a dozen cuts as the thing span around the corridor, chasing her back towards the front door like some crazy Meccano gecko, leaving ink-bleeding marks in floor, walls and ceiling in its manic, crab-like gait. Hissing with pain she reached into her belly through her navel and drew forth her roseate uterine pistol, arming it with the mother-load.
“Snicker-snack.” It said, again, the great curving shears of its hands surging forth for the killing blow.
The nightmare was engulfed in a warm haze of kisses and hugs, of soft bosoms, of the reassuring warmth and sweet smell of a mother’s arms. It shrieked and shrank as it fought, growing smaller and smaller and smaller until it was nothing more than a shrunken, angular foetus, a glimmer and then nothing at all.
Wary now, Mimsy kept the gun held tight in her hands, warily covering herself with the three-pointed weapon as she crept closer to the boy. Already the outer walls of the room were crumbling, the fight had done more damage to the dead man’s mind and there was little left.
She drew the sobbing boy to her breast as she looked past him to the television, there in black and white, flecked with snow, were the last things he had seen. His girl, his lover, his truest one, eyes mad with hate and lust for something other than him, striking at him with her scissors, a yellow gleam behind her eyes that was now disturbingly familiar. The Snicker-Snack had been this thing’s familiar, it knew she was onto it, it was protecting itself, trying to ward her off.
She held him into his tears stopped and his body crumbled to ash, leaving her hanging, alone in the darkness and then she went back to her body, sadness dogging her every metaphorical step.
Mimsy felt febrile, her flesh factually flensed, as well as in the fantasy of the now completely dead. She held up her hands in horror, hesitant as sanguine humour ran down from her hurts.
St. John’s hand found her fingers and fetched them close. “You’re hurt. I’ve never seen that happen before. What happened, are you alright?” His eyes were effusive with empathy.
“Bad trip,” Mimsy whimpered, wiping away the blood with a washcloth “But I think I know a few things more about our murderer now. I just have to be sure and that means we need to find this man’s girlfriend, before the killer leaves her.”
“I have, absolutely, no idea what you’re talking about.” St. John fumbled a fag into his face and fed upon the fumes, drawing fortitude from the feeling it gave him.
“The murderer isn’t from this world, it’s something inside them, in their minds. It left a blue meanie to try and stop me. It’s powerful and dangerous, a native of the psycheverse. We’re going to have to be more careful and can’t hurt the girl, or the other ‘murderers’. It’s not their fault.”
Together the tenacious twosome left the tenebrous tenement, tracking the terrified sweetheart. Mimsy could smell the fear, like a fog, rising from the filly and in fleeting time they found her, frightened and frenzied in a foxhole. Surrounded by rubbish and wracked with regret, bloodied, blubbering and batshit she was not the best beholder to the battle.
Mimsy held St. John back and bit by bit beseeched the barmy bird to becalm herself. Jaundiced eyes gaped at her. The lemon light in that limpid leer made her leery. Fingertips touched and in a solitary second Mimsy was transported for a second time.
Disoriented, blinking, Mimsy found herself in the ruined landscape of the poor woman’s mind. Everything was yellow and red, the yellow colour draining out of the landscape towards a distant Dali landscape, rendered the sickly colour of stale piss by the corruption of the presence, squatting in her mind and growing stronger, yes, definitely stronger than it had been before. This was Mimsy’s world, her playground but the yellow man in the distance, the power he had, not knowing what he was, made her… scared.