The Wretchules. Poem by James Finan

The Wretchules  (Little Hells)

The Wretchules slip into our lives, daily, nightly, often on the small scale. Disrupting teamaking, burning quiche, popping tyres, glitching technology. Things like that. Little hells which cause our brows to furrow, wrinkles to deepen, mouths to blurt curses, before we move to calmer waters. Pests which – being neither cute or welcome – are fleeting and soon cast aside. Remembered naught.

It’s when the Wretchules rampage that we sit up and scribble notes. For they can be vicious in encouraging misery. Most of their pincered meanderings are shades of smaller problem-causings – but writ large. Fluffy with crustacean form, and slitted black eyes, and mouthfuls of broken crockery, and skinny horned tails: they’ve been spotted about plane aisles, doing cartwheels as panicked passengers wail, their vessel darting a doomed trajectory. Snapping padlocks off hen coops to let ravenous wolves enter. Flitting visibility as they encourage electrical fires; slash bungee cord wires; work underwater to collapse sea defences.

The Wretchules promote nightmares. Their catalogue of accidents and catastrophes are only physical manipulations. Matters of the mind are a major concern, too: they visit us at night, as rain lashes the windows and we fret in dreamscapes turned sour. The Wretchules crawl about that post-midnight bed to fuck depression and gloom via the victim’s ear; a direct injection to the brain. Banging away, the darkness spreads from their curious sex like ink, roiling across the mind, engulfing it with worry, helplessness, stark nerves, futility, the feeling that nothing will ever get better. Oftentimes, a repeated Wretchule attack can lead to suicide, or worse: psychotic blowouts.

Knowing worst fears and amplifying them to insane heights, the Wretchules crawl over life like hungry disease. Spreading dry rot amongst ancient forestry or dysentery through farmyards, these creatures present complications to all organics where possible. Bacterial mutations? Their micro-level works, unleashed when most ferocious.

Akin to life, the Wretchules are flawed – chinks can be spotted in their soft-furred armour. What widens those weak points, opening until the Wretchule becomes nothing but empty space, is energy. Not the spurious kind; that only spins them to greater climes. But proactive, lemon zest energy, elevating the user to lofty pursuits, happy engagements, healthy thoughts. This magic acts as antidote, given the right circumstance, to quash the obnoxious nitrous they expel.

However, beware. The most vicious and desperate Wretchule rituals are inescapable webs, for the unlucky handful caught in tumult. There’s more of them than us. As they prod and push in an unending quest to discover what makes life tick (and expire), the Wretchules are a constant havoc. They slobber on.



Born in sparsely-populated Lincolnshire, James Finan worked in the London publishing industry for many years, and is the author of Red Gods (2013); a novel dealing with monsters, snow, and high-tech mercenaries. Currently he is working on a poetry collection entitled Deadworld – A Horror Potpourri.