Floyd Hyatt sez:
The Second P.O.V
Probably one of the least used, and most vilified points of view, second POV still has a place, beyond writing “Pick your Own Ending” schlock, and the occasional text adventure game. However, because it separates itself almost completely from the lead, or any other character of the story, it remains in some sense, a character of its own.
It’s presence may well be too heavy handed, unless there is some over-riding purpose for using it, such as forwarding the humor, or, brooding attitude of a tale on its own. Thus its use in seasonal horror, where it is found more often than anywhere else.
The following example, combines both uses, if poorly. -A couple thousand words only. I’ll recycle the characters from Barbarian Feast, which I’ve used before here, in the example.
The fire of Sutur
The deep chanting thrums in your ears as you creak closed the Tome of Sutur, and consider the progress you have made. Your night black cloak flows open in the sulfurous wind that flows across the rank of baby-fat candles, held in thirteen Hands of Glory.
“Set me to my labors, that I might gain the gifts of Sutur”, you cry.
Thunder shakes the basement shrine, and your thirteen acolytes wail and bow low. You note with satisfaction that the two you had to hire from Mc Donalds to complete the unholy number get it right, and cower on key with the rest. You pull forth the wand of cottonwood, carved on solstice eve from the dead wood of a cemetery gate. Closing both eyes, you strike out at the codex, nailed to the alter before you.
“Read the engram, let Sutur’s will be known!”
As arranged, Dominick, the head acolyte, rises to peers down at the wand.
“Um, landed on number twenty-three, Boss”
You recall the verses.
“Therefore you shall keep the feast of Beltane, as according to your customs. Two Ghouls must you raise by my will, and bind to service. With thirteen Icons of Beltane shall you adorn that place as houses my shrine. Then attractive to my power shall you be. Feast all that celebrate the night, for dark am I. Abjure the waters of lake and stream then, for its opposite am I. Upon the stroke of midnight my full power shall invest ye, and evermore in my name shall you wield it.”
Shook from reverie, you turn gravely to pierce your acolyte with an unholy stare.
“Um, its um, like nine-thirty, and I told my mom…”
“All are dismissed! Pick up your checks in the morning.”
“Ok, g’nite. Great service, um, your worship.”
Alone now, you seek through the arcane tomes. Bound in human skin, and ancient, except for the cheap Naugahyde knock-off you settled for last week when it turned up at a flea market…but never mind, arcane enough. Ah, your boney finger traces down a yellowed page. Ghouls…raising of...
The cemetery gate creaks open, minus one missing board, and you stalk through the fog and gloom, a wraith, a shadow, a flux of vapor, lost in the silence of death and…
“Hey you, tall guy.”
Two forms assemble within the mist and rot. They approach you, stealthily, uncertainly.
“Hiya. I’m Greentooth, and this here’s Moldenjaw. We kinda both saw your ad inna Goomy Times? Sez your looking for a couple good Minions? Part time? That was you?”
You look broodingly at the pair. Short, one with a slashed cheek through which a few yellowed molars peer. The other mange ridden and humpbacked. They lear at you in the cold dark…
The mange ridden one opens its hole, and gassy words roll out over the moor-like desolation. “What’s the job? Just general minioning? Corpse eating is my game but you know, times are rough right now…”
The one called Moldenjaw pushes at the speaker’s shoulder, dislodging a poorly attached ear. “Shut up. Its a job.” Then, to you, “We’re your boys…well not real boys, but you know what I mean. Any benefits?”
You raise your cloaked arms to pronounce their fates. “Just need you for Beltane, general help, nothing to strenuous, A sabot, of sorts. You’ll be well fed.”
“Eh, heard that one before.. You know a girl named Strongoak?”
“Never mind. Well take the job.”
Your minions follow to your dark dominion, just this side of the classy west-end, really every bit as good, just with a different postal zone because of the recent redistricting. And anyway, you think, the land taxes are more reasonable. You loom before yard, casting a moon forsaken shadow, that lengthens until it engulfs the very … nice primrose hedge you installed last year.
Your voice writhes like a tortured soul in the dark. “We must accouter the property in the vestments of the Feast of Beltaine.”
“Feast?” Your attention is drawn to the hopeful voice of Moldenjaw, your cringing creature.
“Yes, Candles, Jack O Lanterns, that sort. Try the A&P. Here’s my Visa. Don’t overdo it.”
“Ah. Candles. Jack-Ah-Lanterns are?”
“Pumpkins” you intone. “You carve toothy faces in them. Put candles in them. It is …”
… you shall keep the feast of Beltane, as according to your customs.
“You’re the Boss, but eh, me and Greentooth here, we kinda stick out. Sort of foreign-to-these-lands type of thing. Sure they’ll do business with us?”
“This night and tomorrow especially, you’ll fit right in. Trust me. Pumpkins. Thirteen of them. At least as many candles. Take the wheelbarrow out back, You’ll need it.”
The winds howl around you. Already you feel the power of Sutur. Within your black and shriveled heart, heat within heat build. Rouge fire courses through your veins. And, a little gas, maybe.
Just pass nine clock now, you see the grotesquely humpbacked and fetid forms of your minions approach through the starless night. The barrow they push is loaded with the orange fruit grown of earth hugging vines, a last harvest before the fall of winter bleak, the…
“Wow boss, these things sure are heavy. We got a discount ‘fer buy’n a dozen, but,” the one called Greentooth burbles to you, “we had to buy some back-packs, cause the wheelbarrow overloaded, with the candles and all. The shop-boy offered to help carry them out to the car for us. Nice folks. What’s a car?”
You watch as Moldenjaw shrugs the round-humped sack from his sholders, and aids Greentooth with his, chiding, “Cars is those long black carriages what pulls up before the catacombs all’a time, you idiot. Pay attention to current events, I always says. Right Boss?”
You roll your yellowed eyes upwards and shake your cowled skull. “These will need to be carved tonight, you intone. I have some pictures for examples.”
By midnight, you look with satisfaction upon thirteen bloated effigies lining the manse front, glowering like shriven heads piled before a gallows. Next to these, a pile of scooped out pumpkin waste, already attracts the small souls that fly by night, or creep the earth.
“Lotta bugs boss. What now.”
“Now, you can do what you ‘do best’.” You retire to the sucking sounds of ghoulish feasting as the waste is consumed. A few low moans reach you.
“Okay, Moldenjaw. You and your jobs, jobs, jobs. This eat-it gig familiar to you?’
“Shut up and finish your vegetables.”
“Got any salt?”
You prepare the candles yourself, dedicating each one to Sutur, God of Fire. A simple ceremony, requiring the souls of twelve still-born infants, a six hour chant while walking widdershins around the Alter of Hestus, and cleaning out the basement toilet with your tongue. Though the last part was possibly a miss-translation from the Naugahyde bound tome from the book fair, better safe, you somberly consider, than sorry.
Dawn of the day of days breaks, and after brushing your jagged teeth, you retire for a few hours well earned rest. But then, you recall:
Feast all that celebrate the night, for dark am I.
“MoldenJaw!” Your sibilant bid pierces the waking dawn. Belching, the creation of chaos slumps into sight.
“Get back to the A&P. Have the clerk provide you with a few large bags of candies and All Hallow’s Eve treats.” I will expect most of them to be uneaten upon my rising this eve. I suggest you two rest after, we will have work to do come the dark of Beltane.”
Your Minion Yawns. “Read my mind Boss. On my way. Should I take the wheel-barrow?”
“Gods no.” Half one of your backpacks will do. Don’t go crazy, and this time, give me the card back. Pick up some toilet paper while your at it, for the basement,” You mutter.
You notice on his return, Moldenjaw has acquired half a sack of various day old meats, supplemented with an assortment of roadkill picked up off the street, so you explain carefully once more your requirements, and send him back to the A&P.
“Perfikly good chow, ” you hear him mutter as he walks away. You notice a throbbing at your temple has increased, and take a aspirin, then retire till the evening.
You wake energized, for tonight is the night of nights!
You note that all is prepared in accordance with the engrams of Sutur. You afix the unlit candles, the lights of Sutur, within the cavern effigies, and set them without the shrine, especially along the porch railings and steps, but under the banister where they will be out of the way. The offerings of sugar for the Feast of Beltaine are set in two large bowls beside the door.
Your minions are passed out on the front room couch snoring in counterpoint. Anger rises within you, to note one has shoved his dirty toes through the very nice lacy afghan your mother wove for you last year. One of your good china plates is balanced on the sofa arm, a half eaten rat on it. Still, it is the night of nights, and at least they will not be underfoot for a time. You return to the basement and use an electric curling iron to touch up the arcane scars on your back.
Evening draws down upon you like a burial shroud.
For the celebration,you decide on the short opera cape, and high starch gull-wing collared shirt, with a purplish smoking jacket and tuxedo pants. Perhaps your attendance ribbon from the Society of Sorcery, as a final touch.
Soon the celebrants will be appearing, so you roust out your minions and have them light the evil squash lanterns. As each is lit, the yellowed flames bend toward you, yearning.
***Then attractive to my power shall you be.***
Small persons in varietal clothing began to appear out of the foggy evening dank. You descend the porch steps and prepare to hand out the beneficence you have provided. As you pass, Small flames lick out like tongues from the Jack O lanterns on the porch behind you, caressing your bottom.
“Hey Boss. Boss? Your pants are on fire.”
You turn, to the sound of children’s derisive laughter, and swat at flames eating away the back of your tuxedo pants.
A multitude of murmurs and shrieks fill the night.”Oooh, Hee-hee, ‘s pants r on fire! Hee hee”
“Gah! Put it out! Put it Out!” You leap about like an Imp in celebratory dance, under the waxing moon.
MoldenJaw runs to pull at the yard hose, but you wave him back frantically, for it is Reservoir water. “Not the hose, something else! Put it out!”
***Abjure the water of lake and stream then, for its opposite am I.***
Moldenjaw jumps back and forth , then motions helplessly to Greentooth,
A soothing drizzle hisses at your back, and the flames extinguish. The snickering of trick or treaters increases.
“Hee-hee – lookit, funny man’s butt is sticking out– Trick or Treeeat!”
A dampness and the feel of wind rises from you posterior. You turn to see Greentooth behind you, zipping up.
“All set, Boss.”
Moldenjaw raises an eyebrow , and points his thumb at at the laughing children, partially drawing a dagger from his belt. Then his eyebrow falls off.
“Just.. hand out the sugar, ” you rasp, one hand spreading over the large hole in your pants. The children squeal in delight at the Ghouls appearance., and for the treats of the night.
The revelry has finally ended. The curtain of darkness draws to midnight, and you wait under a setting moon for the gifts of Sutur. You feel a power running through you, building , building…
Upon the stroke of midnight my full power shall invest ye, and evermore in my name shall you wield it.”
“Hey Boss? Me and Greentooth, we gotta go. The deal, it was just on till tonight, you know? “
You wave them off, caught up in the rapture of Sutur, and the bestowing of his power.
You sit alone now, the cement of the porch cold against the hole in you pants. Past the gate, a man in a somber trench coat approaches, enters the yard and looks at you. He pulls out a package of cigarettes. Taps one out and speaks to you.
You slowly raise your hand to him, and with a fearsome incantation, a small flame appears at the end of your index finger.
Surprise passes over the mans face as he lights the smoke from your finger. “nice trick. Can you do anything else?”
“No. That is the extent of my…gift”
“Hmm. I’m Saul Wetherby,. Detective Whetherby. Sorry about the hour , but Halloween, you know, lots of calls. We had a complaint against you for public exposure and another for public urination, by a guest of yours? Wild Party was it? Here’s a ticket. Normally we’d hall you in, but, Busy night. Court date is on the ticket, pervert. Oh, and happy Halloween.”
~ * ~
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Try your hand at using second person POV.