Fiction: The Horrific Perpetual Theatre Of Bartholomew Theramiscus by Brian Joseph Johns

[10:00 PM December 16, 2019 Major revisions and cleanup abound through the whole story as it stood and many additions. Re-read it if you wish to follow it.]

If you're out there taking works of fiction like this to pass your homework assignments or for some other endeavour, remember that is theft and piracy. Honestly, I'd love for you to pass your school courses or earn income, but earn it yourself and by your own effort. Not by stealing the effort of others and taking credit for it. If you choose to share your work with others, then share your work as yours, not my work as yours. Enough said on that matter for now.

This content contains mature subject matter. Parental discretion and guidance is advised though there is no swearing and violence is implied if minimal. There are references to sex.

Please, as a responsible parent, ensure that your children understand the context of any content they consume on the internet and that it doesn't always reflect the real state of affairs in the world.

Dedicated to my parents, Rita Johns, David Schindler and my brother Darryl, who'd made every Hallowee... er Hallow's Eve a wonder and adventure. My mother as the most incredible costume maker, predating Cosplay by more than twenty years, and my father who told us great stories and who'd accompany us and ensure our safety and that we'd enjoy the spirit of Hallow's Eve.

Also dedicated to the cast and crew of Hocus Pocus. My family have always been admirers Bette, Sarah and Thora. Thank you from the bottom to the top of my heart.

This is a work of horror. Tragedy. Comedy. Adventure. Mystery.

It takes place on the Hallow's Eve before the events of Wounded Aerth.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

I am Brian Joseph Johns and this is


Bartholemew's Introduction

We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel; But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the wheel depends.
Carl Gustav Jung

With or without us, the show must go on. No really, it must!


Greetings and salutations. Please allow me to introduce myself and I will do so by name, however: it is not by the name that we are known to others. Nooo. I can guarantee that few remember a name insomuch as they remember a tale. So how futile would it be for me to give you a name before I give you a story? In fact, by which could you claim that you know me that much better? A few consonants and vowels, perhaps a handful at best, or by a few thousand words carefully chosen to describe the events which serve to define?

Perhaps then before an introduction, it would be more fit to tell you a story, for in doing so you will truly and most certainly know me then and only then. Please do come in and sit down. Make yourself comfortable in a chair of your choosing in this, my salon. My place of rest and retirement after a long day at the show. What show you may ask? Is there any other show? I speak of the show of the Horrific Perpetual Theatre. And why horrific? Well, the only way to answer that is with a story. The very same story by which you will come to know me.

You see, I happened to have a gathering last year, much like this one that you're attending now, however with a completely different set of faces and of course names to go with them. In fact I had sent out the invitations no sooner than thirty days prior. RSVP of course as how would one know to adequately prepare for those they'd not planned? So a plan it was and it began thirty days prior to the night of Hallow's Eve.

I'd spent the night of the first of the tenth month squinting and scrawling in my best cursive a series of invitations that would introduce just the right amount of mystery into the recipient's cranium. Like an echo chamber from there it would reverberate until it was just thunder of curiosity. In fact to all whom I'd sent them, there was no absentee of reply. All invitations were sent and all were received, s'il vous plait. Leave it to the French and the Frankish to make formal any excuse to gorge themselves in wine. At least it is usually drawn from a cellar of their own rather than that of their host. Hence the RSVP. As good a host as one can get, though the weight is all upon the guests for if they fail to reply, well, that's an unknown and in life, there's already too many of those or perhaps there's too few.

So I'd received the last of the replies just the week prior to my soirée. It would seem that one of my invitees had procrastinated doing his part to keep things timely pushing rather towards tardy. Needless to say that left much to be done for the final preparations but as it was done this year, last year's plans were completed impromptu.

What is that? You'd like me to get on with my story? Cut to the chase? What is it with this generation and their propensity for instantaneity? Everything in an instant and all for me, me, me. Perhaps with a bit of patience, one such as yourself might learn the finer qualities of life. Would you put a painting to a wall without an appropriate frame? Would you simply place a roast upon a plate and call it a dinner without the side dishes? How ironic and perhaps cathartic that you should be here then of all people.

Perhaps your idea of a romantic evening is all of three minutes? Cutting right to the chase of sex. That one moment that seems to stand in eternity but lasts only for thirty seconds. Even sex needs the context of attention, patience and love to give it definition as romance. And you would just cut away all of the frivolous and time-consuming intimacy to get to the finish line more quickly. I do so hope there's a resurgence in anticipation lest this world fall to the pressure of pragmatism and production. Life is so much more, yet so many are bereft of truly knowing it. We're telling a story and as with any story, there is no time. There is only the story and now.

My dear friend. I do so urge you to enjoy this time, for time is the one thing that is the most fleeting of all. Never apologizing for its passage nor giving refund for its romp. Once it's gone, it's gone for all and done. So savour it, like those last drops of water a thirsty traveller might find upon an oasis. There's no guarantees you'll make it to the next oasis, so do enjoy.

Allow me to turn off your phone. You see, it doesn't work here anyway. Something about the nature of electromagnetism and the discombobulation of some other rigmarole. There's a broken transformer nearby. Since its dysfunction, portable phones and all sorts of electro-mabobic appliances nearby fail to operate. I doubt you'll be needing it anyway. Besides its kind of distracting from the story don't you think? I'll just leave it right here, on the cocktail table between us. Please. I do remind you to enjoy your time.

...And this story of course. Then you may truly know me, for what's in a name? But perhaps I should no longer delay sharing my name with you because without a name, what is a person but a face in a memory? At least I can afford you my first name. For now.

I am Bartholomew. No, not the Saint Bartholomew. I've been told there's a Saint by that name. I'm not a Saint lest they award Sainthood by their familiarity and prowess within a wine cellar and helping others find their way to the bottom of a glass. Then a Saint I'd be for sure. Saint Bart of the Wine Cellar. Speaking of which, allow me to top up your glass. I've found that a glass or two can take the edge off the most awkward of situations.

Do you see how confusing it can be when you only know a person by their first name? Why the possibilities are so few. Without a story and a surname or family, how can one truly be defined or even known? Is it fair to define one in the absence of their name? Only with the truth of their story, for it is their story that defines them and the name that identifies them. Truth can be so fleeting as is time, for it is, unfortunately, oh so subjective. But a name and story with the space that our body occupies, that can be quite convincing. A sure expression that we've been here and affected others as can be done, though that depends upon the severity of the story now doesn't it?

Therefore I can only tell you things from this one side of a three-sided fence if philosophy can even fold in such a way to accommodate, for there are always three sides to any tale. The one side. The other side. And the truth. Somewhere within, you'll truly get to know me, however according to your interpretation thereof, you may not like what you find and how you interpret that might affect your current fate.

So please do enjoy your time. Next to our living body and life, time is the only thing that any of us truly have. Oh and please allow me to get your drink for you given your current predicament, I'll be your hands. There now, isn't that better?

Now lean back in your chair and do enjoy for the real story is about to begin...

The Horrific Perpetual Theatre Of Bartholomew Theramiscus

Part I: The Meeting

The darkness was the only sure thing that any night could off and this night was no different, for it was that of Hallow's Eve. The night for which darkness was wrought from the absence of light. At this hour though, the pirates had paid their penance and the ghosts had gotten their ill earned gains. The undead had utilized their undying hunger and the werewolves had wound up their wool. The witches had wallowed in their wayward wake. The night had lead them to their own stake.

All had turned in costume and counted their loot.

For candy unbound none could they refute?

Though all had turned in for their autumn night,

a few strayed forth to endure their own plight.

"What may I ask are you scribbling into that digital notepad of yours?" asked Mila.

"Honey, I'm just recounting our wonderful Hallowee... er Hallow's Eve together. Poetically." Barris responded, his concentration broken by his favourite distraction of all.

Mila, paused still enamoured of their love. Her long dark hair wrapped up beneath an eloquent hat and tied into a bun. Her skin nearly pearl white with a hint of pink. Her lips a red that pieced even the blue of night. The moon silhouetted her thin body, stripping her of her apparel and leaving only Barris imagination of what his eyes could not fill in.

Barris, by contrast, was also thin though a bit heavier than Mila. His glasses concealed a handsome and confident face. Casual yet formal attire for their night. Though he'd lived a life with etiquette, Mila often found herself brushing him up on such cues. Not by her own perfectionism but rather by her feeling and understanding his sense of comfort with her. He wanted to fit in with her. To appear as if they should be together especially in the face of the fact that they would be together. They were the closest team either of them had ever known. They had each other and the Sanctum Of The New. Yet Barris now had a tablet that seemed to be in competition with her for his time.

"What, by paying attention to a device more so than your own beloved?" Mila responded slowing slightly so he could catch up.

"Mila. You of all people should understand. Its a canvas. Just like any of yours. My palette of choice is words. Yours, colours." Barris responded to her a bit defensively.

"Arrgh! Don't throw that Shepperton charm out at me..." Mila stopped and confronted him at once.

"Well Mila! We've nought had a real argument yet. Our first argument! Dammit! Statistically, we're supposed to have our first argument within our first year together! That's serious! We do want to make this work, don't we?" Barris faced her timeless beauty in the night air.

"Barris, you can't learn everything about relationships from outside the relationship. From statistics. Speculation. Just because we don't statistically fall into a category you've found somewhere by your research, doesn't mean that we are destined to follow that path. Sometimes you just have to live life rather than analyzing it. Even the difficult parts. We'll get through. Together." Mila stepped up to him pressing her nose ever closer to his so that her lips brushed his own with her words.

"Mila. I want this to work. More than I've ever wanted anything in my life." Barris spoke, annunciating the term want.

"Want, is such a proactive word my love. It requires your constant vigil. So please do. Want. Want me. I appreciate your vigil. Believe me, I do. More so than your digital notepad does." Mila replied to Barris as he blushed at the touch of her lips.

Barris paused a moment to appreciate her in the midst of an important night. Hallow's Eve.

One of the most important nights for all of the Wytch-kind of the Aerth.

Many had seen it as a pagan ritual, though most farmers had seen it for what it truly symbolized. The ultimate realization of fertility and harvest. A communion of the fertility of the womb and the field. The ultimate manifestation of fertility through the divine feminine. Even in the absence of a woman's ability to conceive, of a field to become fruitful, there was so much potential yet to be, for that was the true power of perseverance.

Farmers the same for many had oft regarded the Aerth as the ultimate manifestation of the feminine. The essence of procreation. The essence of birth. The essence of the nurturer. The power to give life. Perhaps more so the power of love itself.

Something Barris always held close to his heart. As close did he hold Mila.

They stood silently in the midst of the night air, their lips slowly progressing towards one another when the air beside them suddenly moved.

"The love birds are at it again." Shaela appeared from the darkness of mist undetected by either Barris or Mila.

Her long red and rose-tinted hair punctuated the night while her long black dress concealed her. Shaela was a mystery of the day as much so as she was the night, which she'd owned to anyone who'd known her. Her pale white face was accentuated with artistic darkened streaks of eyeliner and deeply red saturated lips. She was the Gothic amorphism of the night and moon become one, as any Night Wytch as herself should have been. A giant amongst the shadows.

"Oh, how unexpected and unpredictable that a Night Wytch should show up at our most intimate moment on Hallowee... er Hallow's Eve." Barris scolded her for interrupting their moment.

"If you'd have valued that time with her then you'd have been paying more attention to her!" Shaela shot back standing in defense against Barris scathing sense of humour and sarcasm.

"So you admit that you were watching us! Spying on us! Can you believe this Mila! She was lurking in the shadows and delving into our intimate secrets!" Barris pulled Mila in close attempting to set the teams.

"Well she does kind of have a point, honey." Mila didn't resist Barris nor did she flow with his grasp.

A large bird suddenly swooped down and plucked Barris' digital notepad from his hands. With the tablet in claw, it flew onwards and landed carefully on the arm of Nelony, who'd been standing fifty feet from them in the open.

The bird opened its left claw, suddenly releasing the digital notepad into Nelony's hand and she held it up high like a trophy.

"Barris' most intimate secrets are mine to behold!" Nelony yelled at the top of her lungs taking advantage of the situation.

"Easy there Nelony. That's my husband to be you're speaking about." Mila suddenly tightened her grip on Barris' hand and pulled herself closer to him.

Barris didn't resist but instead accommodated her.

"Well if it isn't the bird lady. How ironic that you should accompany the giant cat lady. Perhaps the two of you should settle down together and open a cat and bird refuge? Oh wait, then you'd only have each other to clean up the poop!" Barris shot at Nelony and Shaela.

As if on cue, the bird dropped a wet loaf on Nelony's freshly cleaned jacket. The bird droppings stubbornly clung to her as she watched, amazed. Shocked.

"They said this jacket was sealed. That it was bird poop proof." Nelony shook her head in sudden disappointment. She then shewed the bird from her shoulder in disgust like a discarded lover. Nelony spent a moment brushing herself clean of bird poop before continuing.

"Easy there loverboy. That doesn't sound like you're negotiating for your notebook. Oh and by the way, I'm an Aerth Wytch, a nature Wytch in case you didn't know. Not a bird wytch." the bird that had once perched on Nelony's arm squawked harshly at her statement from the trees.

She looked to the canopy and smirked back at the bird.

"Well, you're certainly not an Ambassador for the birds. Perhaps you might do much better with a dead parrot?" Barris responded alluding to Monty Python in an attempt at diplomacy.

"Its not dead I tell you. Its only moulting. See the lovely plumage?" Nelony responded drawing laughter from both her and Barris.

Mila and Shaela eyed each other completely lost to the whole idea of Monty Python humour.

"Nelony and Barris are both from Shepperton or at least nearby. What do you expect?" Shaela assured Mila who'd recently become uncomfortable with Nelony's attention to Barris.

Nelony was a Wytch of the Order Of the Aerth Mother. A Coven of Wytches of Druidic origins who'd pursued the knowledge of existence and being through the sacred language of nature. She was a woman in her late twenties. A natural renaissance beauty with wide hips and a small chest comparatively. Had she lived in the 17th or 18th century, she would have been a romantic and sexual bombshell. A celebrity by today's standards. Instead with her body shape and living in modern times, she was often disregarded by members of the opposite sex for her shape, weight. Something that had weighed upon her greatly.

Her hair was illustriously blonde and yet orange and even perhaps red in some places. It flowed elegantly onto her shoulders and chest where it stopped, perhaps waiting for her patience to keep it rather than trim it. Her curves were sharp and bold. Pronounced. Her breasts were both plump and present and well hidden behind her button-down shirt and waistcoat. She was a beauty misplaced of time.

[Added November 1, 2019 6:30 PM EST]

"Well it would seem the three are reunited once again." a familiar voice spoke from behind Mila and Barris.

Yirfir stepped out from the shadows of the October night and into their midst.

"Well. It would seem that this is very obviously a conspiracy." Barris challenged.

"Return Barris' digital notepad. Now!" Yirfir turned to face Nelony.

"As you wish my ever so confused instructor. Do you even have any idea at all of what was happening here?" demanded Nelony much to the shock of her peers.

There was a moment of awkward silence as Nelony stood against Yirfir, their Master Instructor, as if ready to engage in a battle of the weave. Nelony stared intensely into Yirfir's eyes. A few moments later her siege of vision broke, and Yirfir stood confident as Nelony responded.

"Oh dammit. What am I saying. I'm sorry Yirfir. I'm sorry Mila. Barris. I believe this is yours." Nelony hefted the digital notepad Barris' way.

"I'm ever so glad that I did not have to step into this conflict. Its good to see that the Wytches of the Sanctum are still capable of conflict resolution towards the ends of peace without the interference of a sorcerer and veteran of the Sanctum like myself." Jasmer stepped out from behind Yirfir, immediately breaking the tension.

"Well, it would seem that we are all gathered here. All except one in our absence." Barris commented quite happy to have his digital notebook in hand.

"It would seem that you're happy to have your notebook in hand as much so as a baby is to have a pacifier. In fact, I fail to see the difference between the two!" Sato barked at Barris, stepping out from behind Jasmer.

"Oh if it isn't my friend Sato and his ass before mind sense of humour! I thought I could smell it coming from a distance!" Barris responded immediately pulling out all the guns in defence of Sato's immense wit.

"I'm surprised you could tell the difference, especially from a distance much less the fact that you're obviously acquainted with my ass. Speaking of ass, Mila how's that mule Barris of yours doing?" Sato turned his attention completely to Mila, completely ignoring Barris much to his further frustration.

"He's doing fine though I suspect that he'll spend a few weeks recovering from your crushing blows to his ego, and at my expense." Mila replied comforting Barris before the actual impact of what Sato had responded with had hit him.

"Well it would seem that we're all comfortable again. So I'd assume that we're all heading for the same place?" Yirfir confirmed with her peers.

"I personally don't know a Bartholomew Theramiscus, but it is a party, not to mention it's at night and on Hallow's Eve," Shaela responded.

"I came only after conferring with Shaela," Nelony assured Yirfir.

"We only decided to come here a week ago. Barris had checked the mail and put the invitation in the wrong pile, so I'd only read it a week ago. Needless to say, I was a bit upset. We both agreed to come, though. A good excuse to attend as a couple with a possible future together?" Mila ever so delicately hinted at Barris' anticipated marriage proposal.

Barris flushed nervously not sure of how to handle the situation. He looked nervously to his best friend Sato, who subtly pushed his hands downwards indicating 'play it low'. When Mila looked over to Sato, he quickly pulled his hands upwards as if pretending to be a ghoul or ghost of the night. Sato even made a few ghastly noises to hide his rather obvious signs to Barris before coughing at the sudden effort.

Barris calmed momentarily and rubbed his hand comfortingly across Mila's back to both convey his love for her and to distract her from his best friend Sato's effort to signal him. It was Jasmer who immediately recognized the calamity of the possible revelation of Barris' current conundrum. He quickly spoke to assist his brothers in keeping Barris' potential secret from Mila.

"Good to see us all together again. We did good in Alivale as a team. So why not enjoy it in the midst of a party like this? Enjoy times like this. They're few and fleeting." Jasmer posed to the group relieved to see that his ploy had worked unbeknownst to the Women.

"Agreed. So shall we venture forth together?" Yirfir suggested.

"Let's do it." Mila agreed.

And with that, they ventured forth together to the gathering. Party. The Soirée.

The Leaders, Lost In Night

"Oh dammit! I cannot believe that I just broke a heel! I cannot believe this!" Jexelen fumed pulling her broken shoe from her foot.

"You mean that you possess the weave and all and it just broke? Like that?" Lannay queried her in sudden confusion unsure of how he should respond despite the fact that he was her date.

She appeared to struggle with her own temper, she contained the conflict with diplomacy and then angry assertion. When she'd finally won (much to Lannay's good fortune) she replied to him.

"These were shoes, rather, boots handed down to me by my mother's mother. They've been in the family for a long time. A very long time. You're my date tonight. Be a man and show some compassion. Maybe even a solution. I mean you're a Sixth Class Elemental Sorcerer. I mean isn't wood an element?" Jexelen urged him.

"You know Jexelen, I admire your ability to administer the New Sanctum but I cannot relate to your handling of crises. Even crises such as this." Lannay did his best to assure her.

"Dammit Lannay! I just lost a shoe! Hello Lannay! ONE SHOE DOWN! Dammit, I'm you're date. Help me!" Jexelen bent over to remove both her shoes from her feet.

To be continued...

Copyright © 2019 Brian Joseph Johns