This is a New Year’s story.
Imagine a Christmas story, only a few days later, with a werewolf the size of Dikembe Mutombo and a set of teeth like shards of broken teacups in a burning trash bin. Happy New Year by the way.
Yes, this story not only imbues brief moments of entertainment to your time, or so I sincerely hope, but also shines a bleach-like light on the mildew that has engrossed the Blow Show Official Blog – a New Year’s story in February? The 29th no less.
With a lunatic that has tiny mouths for eyes and a comb-over you would want to start fire with running for president and Guns ‘n’ Roses returning for one last time to shoot up in their dick holes, writing a blog should come a little easier. The truth is, sometimes I’m drunk as hell and don’t want to write anything.
Where were we?
It’s almost midnight at Cape Byron and we’re running out of time. On a dewy stretch of lawn in sight of The Railway Friendly Bar, the monster extends its long hairy limbs like a dying insect before leaping 50 feet across the old tracks into the parking area outside the pub. Its bones are still teething. The change is only just complete and that thing is still driving every cell in its body mad with rage. That lighthouse, it thinks, if it could only stop.
Stop. Two things I nonchalantly omitted from my introduction to this New Year’s story.
Firstly, it’s not New Year. Not yet. It’s actually New Year’s Eve. 11:50 PM to be precise, and you’ve guessed it, midnight will play quite a role in this one.
Secondly, the lycanthropy described here is a rather obscure form; not the folkloric favourite in which a man grows into a monstrous wolf creature by the light of a full moon. This lesser known condition and subsequent painful skeletal overgrowth is brought about by spinning lights. Bright lights. Lighthouses? Damn right. Which is only one half of the reason why our story takes place at Cape Byron. But in any other way the transmutation from man into a bipedal monster that benches a pickup truck is the same repulsive ordeal for the popular werewolf as it is for his pharos-lycanthropic cousin. Imagine 200 something sprouting bones in the meat bag full of nerve endings that is your body. Thankfully, we missed out on the gory nitty-gritty set in motion by about 1,000 watts and a fresnel lens earlier that night. I told you, we’re late.
No one notices the shivering behemoth of bone, muscle and teeth now clawed into the concrete as if it was bracing itself against a huge wave about to wash the parked cars like toys across the nearby field. If one of the mostly drunk and alternatively intoxicated patrons at The Railway Friendly Bar would have put down their drink and walked outside the outdoor seating area to take in a gasp of fresh air (it was surprisingly cold that night ), they might have seen it sitting there, coiling its muscled, pale body back on its hind legs; right there, next to a brightly coloured camper van that has ‘Virginity is curable’ spray-painted on its side. Might have – maybe not. The air is like tar around the lighthouse werewolf.
The beam over Cape Byron comes around once more and the thing takes off towards the headland. It leaps and dashes along the small streets of Byron Bay and across the sporting ground just a few hundred meters from the famous Bay Leaf Café with abnormal, traumatic, speed.
On the eastern side of the last of the great 19th-century Victorian era lighthouses, which at night time is truly hypnotic, a boarded walkway leads out onto a tiny platform – the easternmost point of mainland Australia. When the Cape Byron lighthouse was constructed just after the great century commenced in 1901, to help mariners safely navigate the coast of this part of New South Wales, this minuscule, wooden protrusion from the jagged rocks of course didn’t exist. Just standing on top of the cliff would have been good enough to welcome 1902.
On the break of the New Year 2016, backpackers and new age hippies will have gathered on this geographic apex of the cookie shaped continent to be the first to experience the international date line washing over them like a virtual orgasm your phone has set an alarm for. A small group of dancing, introspective soul searchers determined to be the very first this year – in Australia only, needless to say.
A sweaty, throbbing version of a sinewy tall nightmare in an old bear suit reaches Clarke’s Beach Holiday Park at the foot of the densely vegetated conservation area around the lighthouse at 11:53 PM, only two minutes after we left it at the friendly Rails, 1.5km across town.
I’m not even sure if the dateline actually travels across the globe in the wave-like fashion envisioned by these late adopters with Buddhist bead bracelets. Doesn’t it simply jump from time zone to time zone? It doesn’t matter now. It’s almost midnight and the creature with the dagger smile and eyes like burnt-out furnaces is most likely only taking a quick breather somewhere in a parking lot before starting a feverish uphill sprint. I can easily imagine the idea of the New Year advancing across the vastness of the Pacific and to a degree, I understand why they feel like they have to be there. But this is where our similarities end – not this New Year’s story, unfortunately.
The long claws of the lighthouse werewolf dig into the bonnet of a RAV4 as it descends from the roof, where it sat down for a few seconds to look up at the swirling light and suck breath into fiery lungs. So close. Another white beam dissects the night sky and the creature explodes into the shrub around Cape Byron. You would have been surprised too, how little noise it makes.
It is seconds from New Year and we have finally arrived at the baptismal climax of this story. Where else would you rather be right now? The ocean that has so dramatically carried the date line over thousands of sea miles to these bohemians celebrating atop the cliff is now calmly washing against the rocks below, clearly not giving a fuck about another year.
Shrieks of joy and sheer thrill erupt among the small crowd gathered on the platform. People are kissing and falling into each other’s meaningfully tattooed arms. It’s 2016.
The creature has blocked the small boarded path leading back to the lighthouse from the lookout. With harrowed, staggering steps, like a badly-maintained animatronic werewolf from a house of horrors that couldn’t hurt a fly, the lycanthrope advances its tall, drawn body towards the cheering congregation; still shrouded in a cloak of black, boiling air. The swirling lights are now its eyes. It empties its lungs like two smouldering plastic bags too close to a bonfire, haemorrhaging terror through every pore, like sweat. Out… and in. One big breath of air through the rifts of razor sharp enamel and into the blackness of those lungs before the lighthouse werewolf is ready.
The bongo drums, played by a whole gang of people in cheerful three-quarter Tibetan cotton pants, pick up again. The dancing continues and they all become one rhythmic being of like-minded souls on the same spiritual journey to find themselves, first and foremost, in places and moments like this.
That is of course until your mind goes blank with fear. Evolutionary fear. And not just blank either. A violent and unsettling rush of darkness and real pain – maybe like dropping a big wrench on your bare foot or hitting your head on the transmission of a car, I’m sure Polynesian mechanics can emphasize – that swallows any sense of one’s self; as if it never existed to begin with. Like a Big Bang that never happened. The kind of fear, that lets you know, it’s truly and once and for all too late to begin.