Sometimes it’s just too easy to remember, because it’s too damn hard to forget. The cryptic cliffs that descend to the shores of the sound, the dark navy ripples of its waters against the glittering pebbled shore, and the melting red sun slowly descending into the horizon. As I recall it now, pulling up its picture from the black depths of my mind, I realize that it’s never truly what it really is. It is just a synthesized re-manufacture of the many times I drank in that colorful scene. Sometimes it’s a little bit different, but most things remain the same. The wind pushes against my back as I stand on the rocks of the jetty, the crashing of waves against the jagged boulders to my side are the only sounds I hear, and the sky is a panorama of angelic clouds and the coming purple darkness of night. I look behind me to the shore and see her stare back at me.
I was walking along Southold Town Beach a few days back. It was a sweltering day and I was in skinny jeans and a sleeveless black band tee. I drew the eyes of cautious mothers and their beady eyed offspring wondering who the hell this mohawked cretin was stalking this family beach. I was just there to drink in the sights and partake in the cool summer breeze. My skin had become pale from the months skulking in my concrete cell back in that city so down south its up north. The demons of civilized living still prodded at my skin like fleas biting deep for fresh blood. The breeze was cool against my skin and the bright sunlight a steaming purifier to my diseased brain.
It was not long until I caught her form. She was dressed out of place, too. While other girls were wearing the bright colors of high fashion swimwear, she was clad in a dark crimson dress that did not refract the sun, only consume the luminosity in its bloody waves of fabric against the wind. Her long curly ochre hair partially covered her slender face. She had a languid almost sad look in her eyes, before she noticed my gaze. I hastily changed my view. In the corner of my eye, I could see the squalid ghosts of past ex-girlfriends hiss at me from the cornerstone of my past. I callously spit to the floor dispelling their heartbreaking memories, counted my breaths, and after two, looked back at the girl in red. She was already looking at me as I turned to her. She had a warming smile to greet me with.
Her name was Sally. She lived on some old wooded lane up at Orient Point. I must say, I enjoyed the time we had together. She was oddly quiet, but when she did speak it was with a soft overture of mind melting loveliness mixed with black licorice swirls of insanity. She was of a slightly crazy sort. She always said that she had friends in the woods and always loved to talk about old haunted places and the whispers in the wind. She had such pretty eyes.
Over the course of those hallowed days and nights we roamed the streets of Greenport enjoying cherry chip ice cream and overpriced Mexican food. We biked around Southold and scoured the depths of antique shops and used book stores scattered around the North Fork. I bought her a dictionary of the occult, she gave me a kiss on the lips that nearly sucked my soul from its fleshy cage and whispered something in my ear. She wanted to show me something the following night down by a beach farther up near the point.
I still remember standing on the rocks of the jetty with the setting sun to my back looking at her by the water’s edge. The rippling waves swallowed the melting sun as I made my way to her. She took my hand and led me into the thick woods. The leaves of the trees drenched us in deep darkness as the purple sky became the bleakest black. I could see a fiery glitter beyond the trees before us. She turned back and smiled. Her teeth shined like pearl fangs glowing on a shadowy featureless visage.
Three hooded figures stood around a blazing pyre of red embers and white smoke. Their eyes were hidden in shifting shadow, but the features of their faces were female. Their lips were coated in grey lipstick. The heat of the fire felt sticky and the smell of sulfur assailed my senses. Sally began to dance around me and my head grew heavy. The crooked woods began to swirl with crimson light and blackest shadow. Suddenly the hooded girl in the middle began to recite some prayer. The veins in my head pulsed as I heard the names of dark gods I neither cared for nor believed in were called forth in sadistic pleasure.
All the while, Sally danced around and groped at my chest. Her red nails scratched deep into my flesh as the witches before me chanted their unholy spell. Then I saw them cast things into the flames. They were gooey, red, and popped as the flames consumed them. Sally then draped her hand over my eyes and face, shrouding my vision in an empty void. I pushed her away and wiped my face. It felt sticky and oddly warm. Then, beyond the flames and the chanting psychos, I saw things shift and stir from within the woods. Large forms, small forms, all leering behind the shadows cast by the hellish pyre. I felt soft hands grasp my own pulling me down into the cold darkness below and a kiss against my lips that almost sucked out my soul.
I awake back in my bed in the cell of home in Florida. I’m in a cold sweat and the hour is less than holy. I can still feel the pebbled beach against my back, even though that was long ago. After that night I awoke on the beach, the taste of salty blood caking my gums. I had no cuts.
I never saw Sally after that night. The memories of her always tend to sway and shift every time I recall her. Sometimes I meet her in some high-class tavern in Greenport or in the deli section of the King Kullen in Mattituck. Sometimes she bought me the occult dictionary and I was the one who kissed her. Other times I break out and run during the Sabbath pushing through the demons of shadow as I make a run for the beach or in some instances I stay, have a glass of red wine, and chat with some guy with horns.
Yet somethings tend to always stay the same. The shadows that cascade across my bedroom at night bend and creak at the latest hours of the night. I hear her voice call out to me when I walk down an empty street. Sharp tongues lick my neck when I shower. Marks drape my chest when I get stressed. At night, I close my eyes and grasp at the memories, holding the good ones tight and close. The enigmatic cliffs that slope to the shores of the sound, the dark navy undulations of its waters against the gleaming pebbled shore, and the melting red sun slowly descending into the horizon. I try to hold that memory dear above all else, but no matter what I do, I always find myself turning back to gaze at the orange haired woman in red against the shore and the bleak darkness gathering behind her.