Ghosts of the Gully God
(excerpt from The Gully God Chronicles)
©Keith Kareem Williams 2010
I just came back from standing in this blizzard. I didn’t know what possessed me to step into the snow and the cold. More than the fresh snow called me and that’s when SHE saw me. We stood close without feeling cold. “But we should get inside,” I said and tried to pull her close. She left without leaving footprints and yelled back that I shouldn’t talk to ghosts.
And maybe she was right. But, I can’t help it because I’ve been haunted all of my life. The Ghosts of the Gully God surround me. Some protect my flesh like armor while others seek to destroy me. The love of some haunts me spitefully while others laugh heartily at my misfortunes and folly. To tell you the truth, these ghosts, apparitions, spirits, banshees, angels and demons are so familiar that they’re family to me. The realest thing I can say is that I trust these incredible intangibles more than I trust the living. Why? Because I know their purpose. I know their intentions and exactly what they want from me. I’ve kept knowledge of them to myself until now. It’s against the rules for me to say anything aloud so I’ve just decided to write it down, quietly. If I dare to speak these secrets with my voice, it would just spoil the magic. And, I’d miss them if they left me, even the monsters. I enjoy the fights with them from time to time because they keep me strong. And, my ghosts are always with me, even when everyone else is gone. As I tell this, please understand that I’m not that crazy. This is fact, not fiction and this is my reality.
THE DAISY MAIDEN
The Daisy Maiden is the “SHE” that I spoke of before; the one that walked away without leaving footprints in the freshly fallen snow. I’ve chosen to call her the Daisy Maiden even though she isn’t that dainty at all. I though t I had no weak points but she’s like the medieval torture device called the iron maiden. She’s gifted with thousands of inner needles and when she trapped me inside of her, one of her spikes was bound to puncture that weak point I thought to be so well-hidden. She’s the reason why some of you may find it impossible for me to fall in love with you. You see, to me, she’s as delicate as the flower I named her after. In fact, I know for a fact that they’re her favorite. On a quiet night in bed, she told me so herself. She even has one drawn on her body. But, I never forget that she’s dangerous. I’m lucky that she’s so quiet now because once upon a time, just one careless whisper from her lips was enough to trap me in her field of flowers.
THE WINGED WRITER
I want you to imagine my shock as a young kid, to wake up from a lazy, daytime, summer vacation nap to find that someone was standing on my fire escape. Yes, on the other side of the bars that protected the living room window, I saw the Winged Writer with a long piece of aged parchment in his hand. My grandmother’s one-bedroom apartment always had too many people home, (usually seven to be exact), but somehow I knew that he was there for me. He looked up from his parchment for a split second and I nearly jumped out of my skin when we made eye-contact. He calmly put away his pen, tucked away the parchment and smiled before he flew away. I used to wish that I knew what he was writing or what list he’d put my name on but nowadays, I’m not so sure I want or need to know.
As a child, I used to get sick and drift off into these fever-induced dreams where I’m almost sure I drifted between life and death. Under the light of my mother’s fearful face, it felt like I existed in two places at the same time. When I couldn’t see her face, I was sure that the Fever was trying to kill me and take me somewhere that I didn’t want to go. But, mercifully it wasn’t alone. Something else was there that, although I’m a writer and I’ve been told that I have an uncanny gift with words, I’ve never been able to describe. The words to describe the other presence escape me and hide, just beyond the edge of my memories and subconscious thoughts. All I know is that something was there that chased the feelings of death away and always came just in time to keep the Fever at bay.
I was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon. I find it ironic that I dreamed that one nearly ripped my head off while I was half-awake and half-asleep. Or, so it seemed to me. Since then, I’ve taken something that I’ve been fascinated with while being simultaneously fearful of and tamed it. I’ve taken the images of the dangerous mythological creatures that scared me half to death once and made them my protectors. I’ve had the Dragons permanently inked into my flesh to defend me like armor.
Now, I’ve hated the Fools with a passion for a very long time. I can’t really tell if they’re evil or good. Why? Because quite often, they seem to ally themselves with the kinder side of me and actually encourage good deeds. However, when people take kindness for weakness, or reward goodness with wickedness, the Fools laugh in my face. It never fails and they’re always there to laugh when things go wrong. But, I’ve learned to laugh with them and over since then, they’re not as noisy as they used to be.
- These are 5 of the Gully God’s Ghosts. There are more but we’ll save them for another day. Just thought you’d like to take a quick peek at a few of my roommates on the Gully Mountain’s peak.