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Saturday, December 24, 2011

How Rock Saved Christmas

Jesse and Fin didn’t have the same affinity for making custom-built toys that the other elves had. No, they wanted to rock. For Jesse, it was the electric guitar. Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Jimmy Hendrix. He prayed to them like they were his gods. For those about to rock, we salute you and he’d always salute back. When his fingers ripped across those taunt cat-gut strings, he felt the spirit of Christmas, Hanukah, Knwanza and any other holiday there was.

For Fin, it was the drums. Taunt canvas. A couple sneers, a bass drum and some symbols would do him fine. It wasn’t quite a religious experience for Fin as much as it was something primal. Smashing and bashing. Faster. Faster. Noise. More noise. Bang. Bang. Bang. Make the earth tremble in fear beneath him and the heavens crumble down over his head. Faster. Faster. He didn’t quite care about his drumming predecessors. It just felt good to drum. Bang. Bang. Bang.

Now, Santa had grown tolerant of oddball elves over the years. Ones that wanted to go into dentistry and Fashion Design. Ones that wanted to repair old cars and ones that loved baking. He found uses for them all, finding squared holes for the less round pegs. However, he wouldn’t- he couldn’t tolerate Jesse and Fin’s love of rock. For one, it scared the crap out of the reindeer. For another, Jesse had managed to repeatedly shatter the candy glass windows when his guitar solos crawled up into the higher frequencies. The glass would first rattle in its gingerbread frames and then explode outward into the frigid arctic air. Jesse had been quite pleased with himself the first time he’d managed it, but it spelt out doom for rock in the North Pole.

Jesse’s ax and Fin’s skins were stripped from them and locked away. The two of them were dragged off to work the assembly line, sticking wheels on toy trains. Left wheel. Right wheel. Left wheel. Right wheel. Hand to the elf to your right. On and on for what seemed like forever. The world’s population had grown to seven billion. A lot of trains to make and a lot of splinters as well. It might have been a dark day for the pair and for rock, if it wasn’t the fact that Rock and Roll has a long and honored history of harboring rebels.

It was Fin, doing what he did best. What he loved. Bash. Bash. Bash. He bashed the machine that made the little wheels that went on the little toy trains. He did it early on the second day of their time on the assembly line, before the elves came in for work. The other elves found the machine in ruin, but did not dismay, for fixing was a kind of building. They got to work and didn’t notice that neither Jesse nor Fin was in their ranks. The two were off to Santa’s tomb of Unchristmasy things, knowing that’s where their instruments would be.

Fin, again, got to bash. This time it was a lock, barring them from their prizes. Bash, bash, bash and the lock fell, along with the door that held it. They found their prize at the end of a long hall, along with a man in a cage. He was all curled lips and hollowed eyes, what might be called very metal. Atop his cage, there was the legend: ‘Here is Black Peter of Dark Christmas’s past. He who rode alongside Santa Claus, punishing the wicked children of the world. Who kidnapped misbehaved ones and stole them away to Spain.’ Very metal, indeed. Black Peter followed the two elves with his coal furnace eyes, towering over them like some Monolith of Metal Christmas. Chains bit into his tree trunk sized wrists and he breathed black ash. Too goddamn metal. More metal than Fin could possibly stand. He succumbed to the Black Peter’s metal and bashed and bashed well, releasing the obsidian skinned imp from his incarceration. Jesse had cried, “No!” as the heavy metal dead bolt that secured the beast had clattered to the ground. Black Peter might have been metal, but releasing him was not.

He was out from his confines in a flash of smoke and hellfire, sending the pair flying to either side of the long hall.
“Why? Why would you do that, dude?” Jesse cried, waving smoke away.
“I’m sorry. He was too metal. It was awesome.” Fin said.
“Do you know what you did? Do you even understand?”
“I said I was sorry. How much trouble can he really cause? Him and Santa were riding buddies back in the day.”
“Until Santa decided that a black guy kidnapping children was too racist for his modern image. Santa threw him in chains and Black Peter swore to destroy Christmas and Santa for the betrayal. We have to warn Santa!”

But Black Peter was swift to begin his vengeance. As they scurried across the bitter snows to Santa’s house, they heard a titanic roar and the earth quaked beneath their feet. Brilliant rushed up into the sky like an upside down sun, spewing heat and liquid magma. Smoke rushed outward, turning their white world an ashy gray. Shadowy figures rode on the volcanic winds, their mouths filled with glittering, sharp teeth. They laughed and snared and snatched up elves at random. Some were off in a clearing slaughtering a red nosed reindeer. It cried and squealed until it went still forever more.

They moved closer to a yawning chasm in the ground where all of hell was spilling out onto the earthly realm. Santa was being held aloft by two horned demons. They laughed as the jolly, old elf was slowly roasted by the flames of hell. Jesse had his ax slung on his back and Fin had a sneer under one arm, his bass drum under the other and his sticks in his back pocket. Black Peter was holding the portal open with shredding rifts off this sick ax made from the bones of children off the naughty list. Jesse peered down into the fiery maw and saw a crimson fist rising through the flames. The hand of Satan. Black Peter was using Rock to summon the Devil. No, Black Peter was bastardizing Rock to summon the Devil.
“Get set up, Fin!” Jesse cried, taking his guitar off his back.
“All I got is this Sneer! This Bass! You don’t even have an amp. We won’t stand a chance against those killer chords!” Jesse pulled out a pick he’d concealed in his hat and put it to the strings.
“You and I are more metal in our sleep than he’ll even be. Amp or not amp, I’m going to rock this bitch. You with me?” Fin pulled his drumsticks out from his back pocket and spun them once in his fingers.
“We might die, but I can’t think of a better way to go.”

The two of them stepped up like men on a mission,
Determine to send the Prince of Darkness back into Perdition.
Black Peter roared and cut a killer rift off his ax
And the force of it sent them both on their backs.
Neither was deterred. Neither cried off.
They both got back up with a laugh and a scoff.
They gave as good as they got. Jesse strumming. Fin bashing.
The Prince of Darkness in his pit started up thrashing.
“You rifts are too sweet. Your metal is too pure.
Please I beg, little elves. Shred no more.”
Did they stop? Did they show mercy? No.
They played harder and faster, preparing their death blow.
The Prince and Black Peter howled and fell. Both of them made humble.
But to Jesse’s dismay, the ground began to open and started to crumble.
“Fin! Stop! We’ve already won.”
But Fin wouldn’t hear. He was having too much fun.
In a wild fury, he played. Bash. Bash. Bash.
Hell was seconds from claiming them when along came Slash.
With the sickest rift of his legendary Gibson
He sealed the portal leading down into Perdition.
Long, black curls and a black velvet top hat.
He nodded approvingly and said, “Your sound is pretty Phat.”
He walked off into the tundra with his Gibson on his back
And the elves were speechless, All words did they lack.
“That was Slash. Slash was he…”
“Yeah. That was Slash.” Fin did agree.
“ He liked our sound. He thinks we’re sweet.”
“You think he’ll let us play with him? Come on, man! Move your feet.”
The two of them chased the rock star without any pause.
Not even stopping to help up a coughing, ashen faced Santa Claus.

Extraordinary as the tale is, I swear that it’s true.
Remember, Merry Christmas to All and We Will Rock You.

The End

Friday, December 23, 2011

Twas The Night Before Christmas...

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nanowrimo Novel: To Live And Die In Lowell

Chapter One: Alan Miller, The man who died twice

He was looking at me like I had tricked him, somehow. This little man standing before me was looking at me like I had made him call me. It became part of the job, but I never got used to it. It was always an itch at the back of skull. I knew what he was thinking, that I was a freak. I was a weirdo. That I was a fraud trying to steal his money. I charge so much because I don’t like my time wasted. Exhaust every other option and then pay through the nose for me.

This little man had my check crinkled up in his hands, but I didn’t care. The bank would still accept it. He had me come in because his walls were bleeding. His wife and kids had moved out of the house, but this little man was dead-set on keeping the house. Real Estate Agents are supposed to disclose any illicit activities that occurred on the property before purchase, such as murders, rapes, etc and the agent had done her due. This idiot had brought the house anyway.

“Holden. You can do it?” This little man asked through clenched teeth. He looked mad, but that could have been that I was smoking in his house. What was he going to do? Made me leave his bloody, haunted house? I really didn’t care. I had enough money that I didn’t need to bother trying anymore.

“Yeah. I can do it.”
“Because you’re not getting paid until…”
“Alan Miller.”
“My name’s Paul.” Of course his name was Paul. I never liked or could truest a man named Paul. I never liked a P name for a man, but Paul was the worst of them.
“That’s the name of the man who died here. Alan Miller. Violent deaths are the worst. When you die fighting, you think your still fighting.
“You’re wrong. I had the blood tested. It’s menstrual blood. Like from a woman.” Little man Paul said.
“Easy question: Do walls bleed?”
“Well, no. They shouldn’t.”
“So, we’ve established that weird shit is happening. Alan Miller died over a woman. He’s fixated on that woman. Annie Watts, Miller’s girlfriend, was cheating on him with Nathan Miller, Alan Miller’s father. How much does that suck? Nathan Miller is currently serving fifteen years for the accidental murder of his son. I do research. Do you?” I hadn’t actually done any research. Alan was telling me all of it. He wouldn’t shut up about his father and about Annie.

I had made up a rating system for ghost. The longer a ghost was left to stew on any particular thing, the more that ghost began to degrade. A level one ghost appears human, because their fixation hasn’t dug in deep yet. A level two ghost tends to look like a gray mist. The ghost begins to fall apart like a decaying corpse would. A level three ghost begins to pull himself together and he doesn’t look anything like a human anymore. For some reason, they like to reconstitute themselves with horns and fangs and in the case of one remarkably disgusting womanizer, several penises. Alan was a level three. Level fours existed, but I didn’t mess with them. Picture horns all of a hulking frame. Out of his ears and eyes and out of his nostrils. Beneath the horns, there were snakes and maggots slithering and writhing. No flesh was apparent.
“Paul. Can I have a minute alone?”
“Excuse me?”
“Alone. Me. Leave. You. That’s the gist of what I’m asking.”
“This is my house…”
“And it’s a nice one…you, know… except for the blood. That’s why I’m here. Remember? Mind if I get to work?” Paul looked like he wanted to say something, but he left with his arms crossed over his chest.

The door slammed and I pulled some sage from my black overcoat and lit it with my lighter. I swayed the smoking sage back and forth, spreading the smoke around.
“Al? Al?” Alan wasn’t paying much attention. He was preoccupied with screaming for his father to come out.
Dad! Dad! Come out here! Where are you! When he screamed the windows rattled in their panes and began to frost.
“Alan Miller! Shut up!” Alan was finally looking at me. I couldn’t be sure, but I tried to be safe. Sometimes level three ghosts attacked people, thinking that they were objects of the ghost’s fixation. The sage was good for calming them down and helping them think about what was going on.
“Dad?” Alan asked.
“No. I ain’t your daddy.”
“Where’s my dad?”
“Daddy’s in prison. Going to be for a while.”
“What’s that smell?”
“That’s just sage. Don’t worry about the sage. I got bad news for you, kid.”
“It reeks like farts.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“No, it does.” Alan started coughing and gagging, which ghost shouldn’t be able to do. To cough, you need an obstructed airway. Ghosts have neither an airway nor anything to obstruct it. I had assumed it was psychosomatic. That he had a negative association with the smell of sage. Then, he started to smoke and then he burst into flames. Alan was screaming and flailing about and I was figuring that he just really hated sage.

I was wrong, however. There was a second ghost, one that I wasn’t messing with. A level four ghost was pure hostility and normally roved about where ever they felt like going. They burnt themselves out of existence, but they also managed to warp reality around before that could happen. I wasn’t sure why the hell a level four ghost was showing up, I wasn’t going to find out. The smoke wafting through the air turned into snakes, fucking rattlesnakes and I don’t even know how to deal with that. They were lunging through the air at me, creating distance between me and Alan, who was shrinking. His horns were retracting and snaky, maggoty skin was turning into human flesh. What the hell was happening. Alan turning back into a level one and I had never seen that. Alan had apparently died, bare foot in a pair of acid-washed jeans. I didn’t much of a view of it before he exploded and exploded as if he was made of real flesh. Blood and brain matter splattered over my clothes and there was a streaming, red skeleton laying in the middle of the floor. Paul came barreling in and then froze in his steps.
“What the hell did you do?”
“You can see that?” I asked, pointing to the skeleton.
“There’s a dead body on the floor.”
“Yeah. Weird. Got rid of your ghost for you. My payment?” The check was still in his hands, but I slid it out easily. I slipped out the front door and got the hell of out there.

Chapter Two:

They don’t make water hot enough. I was working my fingers through my hair, picking out little bits and pieces of Alan Miller’s skull and hearing them clink against the porcelain floor. My mother’s bathroom wasn’t very clean and I didn’t feel too bad about making a little bloody. My old ma had gone on in years and I probably should have put her up in a nursing home.

The floor beneath my feet was a swirling pink and above that there was a faded ring around the tub. The shower was suited for an old lady. A seat, a hand grip and little pink daisies scattered across the floor. It was awkward to move in the small space, but for the time being, my ma’s place was the only place I had. My ma’s place was quiet like other places weren’t. A lot of the time, the dead don’t know they’re dead. They just know they’re being ignored. That they’re cut off. They figure out that I’ll look at them, hear them and they start bothering me.

I had thrown my clothes in the garbage. I wasn’t going to put them in the wash and ruin the washer. I had brought that machine in with my father when my father was still around. I turned off the water and watched the pink slither down the drain and all of a sudden, I felt guilty and decided to scrub down the tub. Maybe I’d do that later.

“Ma.” I called down the stair. My mother spent all her time in the basement, by the old washer, watching the tiny black and white. The washer knocked against the stone wall down there and I called for her again, a little bit louder.
“Ma. You kept my old coats? I had to throw mine away.” The washer was the only thing that answered me. I went down the stairs and they creaked beneath my feet. I had cut my leg up on those stair and actually put my foot through a step to do it. I never trusted them and now everything was so damn cold down here. I stopped at the landing and between me and her was a swirling bath of shadows.

The basement was shaped like a long rectangle and she was sitting at the end of it by the boiler, puffing on a cigarette and looking at the tiny black and white television. Overhead, there was a flickering, yellow bulb that cast sour light onto the floor. She wasn’t looking at me.
“Ma. You warm enough down here?” I knew I wasn’t. I was tucking my hands underneath my armpits, trying to keep warm.
“I’m fine.” Ma said. She had her sweater tucked up around her ears and her free hand concealed in her pocket.
“Why don’t you come up stair?”
“I’m happy down here.”
“I mucked up the tub a little bit. Sorry.”
“I don’t care.”
“Ma. I had a weird case, earlier. I saw a dead guy die again. He blew apart and sprayed blood everywhere. There’s a thing. I call them Level fours. It did that. I don’t know how or why, even… but it did that. I want to figure out why. I think I ought to find him.”
“Mmm.” Ma said. She sounded so tired and distant. She wouldn’t look at me and I wouldn’t get close to her.
“So, ah… I had to throw away my jacket. Did you keep my old coats?”
“You can check up stair in the hall closet. I don’t know.” She blew out a lung full of smoke and then tapped the cigarette into an old Dunkin Doughnuts cup. Every time I saw her, I thought I should do more for her, but I always walked away.

My mother had died. She had fallen down the stair, doing a load of laundry. She had died from dehydration. She had broken her leg and spent a day and a half at the bottom of the stairs calling for someone to help. Something about this place and the fact that she died here kept other ghosts away.
“Thank you, Ma.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

War Of The Worlds Radio Broadcast Part 1

The Raven by Edgar Alan Poe

I'm sort of busy, but I wanted to do something for Halloween. This was in the Public dominain.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visiter," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
"'Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door--
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"--
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
'Tis the wind and nothing more.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door--
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door--
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered: "Other friends have flown before--
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never--nevermore.'"

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!--
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted--nevermore!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Can You Tell Me How to Be Like Sesame Street?

Sunny days were long away from this particular street. Ghouls and monsters ran unchecked and unafraid, mingling with children and adults alike. Buffy didn’t necessarily have a problem with such a practice. Heaven knew her romantic and personal life was checkered with such colorful characters. Not one, but two vampire ex-boyfriends, a saggy skinned demon for a poker buddy, a witch for a best friend, a sentient inter-dimensional key for a little sister. Buffy had absolutely no room to dole out judgement about which bedfellows these people chose. Buffy wasn’t even walking these streets in her Slayer capacity. The fiends and goblins on these streets taught children how to read and write, to do math and how to share. Meanwhile, everywhere else in the world they would be eviscerating the innocent and plotting to bring about the end of days. There was something about this place that turned horrible things into things benign and almost adorable. She could use something like that. It would mean a permanent end to demons looking for strange, new ways to wipe everyone else out. It would mean the end of fighting for her and her Slayer ilk. It was worth investigating at least.

The streets had been lonely and lonely streets put Buffy on edge. She kept her stake at the ready while she moved down the sidewalk. Her heels echoed off into the shadows and the shadows answered back. A trashcan rattled and shook around in a pile of loose pallets and garbage bags and beneath its rust speckled lid, a nasally groan sounded.
“What’s all that noise?” Buffy nearly staked a green furry thing with tangled, bushy brown eyebrows. His disproportionately large eyes lowered down to the position of the gnarled wooden stake, realized how close he came to having said stake puncture his insides and then shivered like a paint mixer and not metaphorically. His entire body shook violently and she thought he was having a seizure for a moment. He dropped back into his trashcan, slamming the lid shut behind him.
“Sorry!” Buffy cried, trying to reopen the lid. The thing inside had a good grip on the top and wasn’t about to let it go. She could have overcome him with her slayer strength, but that didn’t seem appropriate. She was hoping to gain secrets and she figured that terrorizing the locals didn’t seem a great way to do it.
“Can we talk? Just for a second?” Buffy asked. The lid shot up along with the green creature.
“No!” He cried before descending back into the trashcan.
“Please.” She said with a weaker tone. She was shocked that he would come from his hiding place just to refuse her.
The creature shot up again, cried ‘No’ and then shot back down.
Nice one, Buffy. She thought to herself. You find the one place in the world where demons and human live peacefully and you nearly kill the person you find. She decided to leave the furry, green creature to his can and then wondered if ‘Person’ was the proper term for a demon. People were people where ever you went. Even if they weren’t people. It felt dehumanizing to call something with a name and a mind and friends ‘a thing.’ If she called the thing in the trashcan a thing, it would almost be the same as calling her sister a thing. True, she looked more like a person than what lived in the can, but so didn’t Angel and so didn’t Spike. For that matter, so didn’t Glory, The Mayor and the First Evil… although that one was incorporeal and probably asexual.
“Oscar? Oscar? Why such a commotion at this hour? I heard one…two …two loud bangs in the night. Ah. Ah. Ah..” Buffy spotted a purple faced vampire at the end of the street. He was remarkably short and was dressed in a cape with an upturned collar. He had a monocle in one eye and tiny fangs in his mouth. Buffy reminded herself that she wasn’t here to slay.
“Hello.” She said, hurrying to the diminutive vampire. “ I’m Buffy Summers from Sunnydale. Can we talk for a moment.”
“Of course. Of Course.” The purple vampire said, sweeping his hands through the air in an unnecessary grandiose gesture that involved nearly his entire body.
“Thank you. I’ve come a long way and… wait!” Buffy said as the vampire began to walk away.
“Oh! Yes?”
“ I was talking to you.”
“Yes. You asked to speak with me for one…one moment. Ah. Ah. Ah..”
“Okay. You’re being intentionally ridiculous. Can I speak with someone in charge here?”
“I don’t know. Can you?” The green monster shouted from behind her. She turned and he slammed down the lid, disappearing into the can. Buffy rubbed her forehead and took a moment to lower her temper.
“May I speak with someone in charge? Someone who might know how the demons and humans coexist so peacefully here.” The purple vampire stroked his frizzy black beard, pondering the question.
“Possibly Big Bird. Ah. Ah.. Of all of us, he seems the most like an adult. Ah. Ah. Ah.”
“Okay. Can you bring me to him?”
“And then, there are the actual adults. They may know as well. Ah. Ah. Ah.”
“Okay. Can you bring me to them?”
“Then there’s Elmo. Not an adult at all, but everything seems to revolve around him nowadays. Ah. Ah. Ah.”
“Okay. How about this. Can you…Might you take me to someone, anyone who can answer my questions? Or that can answer any direct question?”
“Of course, of course. Ah. Ah. Ah. Well, I suppose I could answer that question. Ah. Ah. Ah..” Buffy felt a sting of anger, but she bit it back and offered the vampire a strained, toothy smile.
“Can you? So, how do the humans and the demons here maintain peace?”
“Powerful Sedatives. Ah. Ah. Ah.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Excerpt From A Superhero Story

Big Bill was out on I-90, fighting traffic again. Big Bill was more of a reactive type with no more malice than a school boy. He was only a problem because he stood three-stories tall and could dead-lift a couple Mac Trucks. My sister, Anna and I were more or less his babysitters, in that we figuratively put him to bed when he got up to nonsense, like tearing up the mall or in this case, flinging cars left and right. He probably wandered out on to the interstate and got himself hit. He’s a big fellow and probably would have done more damage to the car, than the car to him, but he’s reactive like I said and he’d probably he saw something like that as an attack.
The Army had redirected traffic away from I-90, which was all that they could do when Big Bill got in his stride. Apparently, Big Bill had a couple cars pinned down. They were flipped on their roofs and were crushed so the people inside couldn’t get out.
Anna was the better flyer and got down before I did, which I had advised against. Big Bill and her had a testy kind of relationship. She’s the type that’d break a jaw rather than let the owner talk. I could sometimes get Big Bill to calm down if I were alone, but that possibility goes out the window when she’s around. I was frustrated about that to start with, that she insisted on coming along. I descended down on a full mile of busted up road, busted up cars and torn up trees littering the road. I-90 stretched through miles and miles of maple wood forest and low hanging rock faces which kid came out to spray paint their names on. The sun was low in the sky and washing everything in dull shades of red and purple. Big Bill had gone off on the interstate, tearing up great chunks of pavement and driving cars into the dirt. A dozen roadside lanterns had been knocked over and sparked harmlessly like sparklers. Bill probably would have tired himself out if Anna hadn’t come. She had one of the torn up trees in her arms and she was swinging it like an oversized baseball bat. Big Bill took the hit she was giving and splinted the tree, sending wood shards all over. He was swatting at her like she was a bee. She was a quick one, so I wasn’t too concerned. Big Bill did end up catching her and she flipped him. His body hitting the ground shook the Earth beneath my feet, so I figured that she had him. I went to the trapped people and started flipping them right side up. Couple of the cars needed their doors ripped off. I personally hit doing stuff like that. People work hard for their money and Insurance Companies are bastards when it comes to paying out for repairs. My sister, who’d seen far too many Hollywood movies, was of another mindset. She was actually ripping more trees up out of the ground to chuck at Big Bill. The way I figure it, I pay taxes. Therefore, it’s partly my interstate, or at least the government is going to take money out of my check to repair the road and re-plant those trees she was breaking over Big Bill’s head.
I had freed all of seven people and all of them wanted me to fly them away. I used to not mind doing that, but if you so much as touch any of them, they start going around saying you’re their personal friend, or they start saying you copped a feel. It’s better to have the Army come in and take them off. Once they were clear, I thought ‘d help out with Big Bill who’d smashed my sister straight into the ground. She looked a little dazed, but she had worse. Bill was advancing on her and I flew up and popped him in the chin. His head snapped back, but he kept on his feet. He swatted me out the air and I bounced into the field that my sister and Bill had just made. I recovered before I got too far away from the action and then sped back at him, aiming for his gut. My shoulder connected with him and that sent him on his ass. By this time, Anna was up and ready brought him down completely, driving a fist across his jaw. Spittle flew from his mouth like in those Boxing movies and he thudded against the road.
“Eric!” Anna yelled breathlessly. “Took you long enough.”
The Army came rushing past us with their rifles drew once they saw that he was out. They carted him off and we had our post brawl thank you from one General or other. This particular one was surprisingly small compared to the one’s we’d seen. Normally they’re big fellows with their chest puffed out like blowfish. I offered my hand to the man and he shook it, not trying to overpower me like some of his predecessor had. Big man of power tend to make a bad habit of trying that with me and instead of explaining that my hands can crush diamonds into powder, I let them squeeze as much as they like. Anna got the same treatment and she’d broken a couple hands.
This particular General told me his name was Arthur Greenberg. I had decided I liked General Greenberg after Big Bill was carted off on a flatbed truck and my sister and I flew up into the night’s sky.
My sister and I were inexorably linked together or at least power wise. The best we could explain it, we were like battery chargers for one another. We didn’t grow up together. I grew up down South in Atlanta and went to school in New York. My sister, on the other hand, lived in New York and got arrested in Boston. Anna didn’t like talking about why she got arrested. What I gathered was, she moved to Boston with a man who ended up beating on her. She took this abuse for the whole a couple weeks before she got herself an idea to scare him. Or I believe that she meant to scream him. In any case, she was officially charged with Man-Slaughter. I don’t know how he died or how long she was in jail. All I know is, she found her way back to New York while I was still in New York and the two of us started to have dreams.
It’s a vague sort of clairvoyance that the two of us got. It’s hardly ever been useful except for us finding each other. That clairvoyance itched in the back of our heads like little bugs, invading our dreams. The two of us met in the world famous Time Square, with a bustle of tourists bumming shoulders with me and her. My eyes drew to her and her eyes clung to me. To the outside observer, that fateful meeting might have been confused for the beginning of a love story. She was a pretty enough girl with her long dark hair flowing down her back and her emerald eyes like pond water and me, I’d like to think I’m a good looking fellow. I’m a tall one with broad shoulders and I keep my hair short in the army fashion. That habit, I got from my foster-parents, an ex-military man and his wife. Well, the two of us went into a Pizzeria and made awkward small talk for an hour before she claimed that she need to be somewhere. The two of us somehow kept running into each other after that, in line at the ATM, at a corner liquor store, at the odd party. The way we figured it, we were two incompatible pieces that the world was trying to force together. We forged a flimsy sort of friendship based partially on her love of my beer and how neither of us knew our real parents. More and more people kept thinking that the two of us were siblings and it started to make more and more sense that we might be. A blood test proved it and proved that something was different about our blood. For one, they had trouble putting the needle in our arms. They couldn’t figure out our blood types and they noticed how rich our blood was with oxygen. If they tried to do the same tests now, they wouldn’t be able to. Our skin would snap the needles. That would be an issue, if we ever got sick. We don’t.

Excerpt From My Boyfriend Had A Kit

My boyfriend, Paul had a kit, which he hid in a closet in the basement. He kept the kit inside a locked box, but brought it out for me one night. It was a heavy thing and stank of tobacco. It was a bit big to be a cigar box, but had been fashioned to look the same as one. He had placed the box on our shared bed and creaked the lid open on its rusted hinges. He opened it so I couldn’t see and the deference he showed kept me where I stood. His fingers shook as they disappeared into the reddish wooden box. They reappeared holding a long folding knife. He opened the blade and placed it to one side. His hands disappeared again and another knife appeared. This one was smaller and had a clouded pearl handle.

Next, he removed a clear, plastic bottle of rubbing alcohol. Next, he removed a bundle of fluffy, white gauze. Next came a box of double-edged razors and scalpel in a protective plastic covering. Lastly, he removed two stacks of Polaroid photographs secured together by crisscrossing rubber bands. These he offered to me, his hands shaking. I undid the bands as he settled down on the edge of the bed, staring off toward the wall. The first photo was of a girl with blonde hair down past her shoulder. She was thin and beautiful in a sickly sort of way. Dark shadows hid beneath her eyes which made her smile somewhat hollow and eerie.

The next one was of the same girl, nude on a motel bed. Her arms were wrapped around her knees, concealing her scanty breasts. Her head rested atop her knees and again, she smiled for the camera. I could see every how thin she was. I could count her ribs and could see the sharp curve of her pelvis. The next photo was of her bleeding. Cuts etched along her breasts and arms, drizzling rivets down along her body. She bared her arms for the full effect and again, she had a smile plastered on her face. I looked to Paul, understanding, without asking, that he had done this. It was one of those understanding similar to fitting a puzzle piece and seeing that it belonged in that spot all along.

Excerpt From Paranormal Magnet, Episode 1: “Mr. Alien”

Ernest Jay Mason –
Alison Cole
Andy Murphy
Mr. Alien

ACT 1: SCENE 1 – ERNIE moves through the forest, a rifle in his hands. He’s clad in an orange hunting vest and army camouflage shirt and pants.

SETTING: A sprawling forest, evergreens ebbing in a gentle wind. Sunlight spills downward through the branches, causing the light to glitter on the soil and rocks. In the distance, a stream babbles and shimmers like diamonds.

ERNIE breaks though a thin wall of undergrowth and peers down the babbling stream. In the distances, a vague shape bows its head and drinks from the stream.
ERNIE aims his rifle, lining the shape in between his crosshairs. A crow caws and it echoes off into forever. Ernie pulls the trigger. The creature falls and makes an implicitly human cry.
ERNIE gasps, then drops his gun. The creature continues to make human noises as Ernie hurries over to it. As he approaches it, he realizes that it doesn’t look like a human being. Maybe a man in a costume? The creature writhes and cries, bulbous and gray. It appears more like a large lizard with long, strong hind legs. It’s tail swishes as it wriggles and rolls. Its blood is green and is splattered across the reddish dirt.

ERNIE – Oh, god.

ERNIE moves slowly to the creature, removing his hunting vest.

MR. ALIEN – (Long strings of improvised profanity mixed in between gasps of pain.)

ERNIE - (Notable fear in his voice) Are you okay?

MR. ALIEN rolls to look up to Ernie. His face was all large black eyes screwed up in anger.

MR. ALIEN – You shoot me?

ERNIE – (Stepping backward ) What?

MR. ALIEN – (Leaning forward) You shoot me!

ERNIE – (Stepping back again) No. No. Of course, not. I mean, I had a gun.

MR. ALIEN – Did you use it to shoot me?

ERNIE - I should appeal pressure to the wound.

MR. ALIEN – You really shot me. Motherfucker, you really shot me.

Ernie moves in and presses his hunting vest into the gushing wound on the alien’s massive leg. The alien twitches and moans as he presses down.

MR. ALIEN – (Pounding what would be an arm on a human against the ground.) Fuck you. That hurts.

ERNIE – What are you doing out here? Are they filming a movie or something?

MR. ALIEN – What the fuck are you talking about?

ERNIE – You’re in a costume, right?

MR. ALIEN – What the fuck are you talking about, asshole?

ERNIE moves his hand onto the flesh of the alien and instantly recoils, realizing that it’s flesh.

MR. ALIEN – Hey, pervert. Keep your hands under control.

ERNIE re-appeals pressure on the wound and MR. ALIEN moans aloud.

ERNIE – (Breathless) What are you?

MR. ALIEN - What do you think I am, dick-head?

ERNIE – (In a whisper) Not a person.

The two remain silent except for their shuttering breaths. A crow caws in the distance and sweat beads and rolls down ERNIE’s cheek.
ERNIE peers down a fleshy, cylindrical mass extrudes from between MR. ALIEN’s legs. The mass is throbbing and sliding toward ERNIEE’s hand. The fleshy mass pokes ERNIE in the hand.

ERNIE – Jesus. Is that…? Are you getting off on this?

MR. ALIEN – How could it be? I’m not a person, right?

The fleshy mass ebbs over ERNIE’s hand.

ERNIE – God, it’s warm.

MR. ALIEN – It’s not that bad.

ERNIE – It’s heavy.

Excerpt From Speechless

The wind banged on the window like it had a grudge and was looking to kill someone. It might just do that, considering the storm behind its dusty, but blood-sticky surface. Beyond the window, there was a man stumbling around in the gale, getting the sense beaten out of him by hale and rain. Becky flicked her eyes to the door, making a silent command. Luke took up a poorly cut board up off the floor and then worked a hammer from his tool belt. The poorly cut board had a few nails peering out from it and Luke hammered them into the door and into the frame beside it. He doubled up on the nails with new ones from his belt, while Becky search for more boards to barricade the door with. They’d have to do the same to the window, which might have been bad considering that they wouldn’t be able to see strangers coming.

The man outside didn’t seem to be trying to make his way to the door that Luke was barricading. No, the man was just trying to keep his feet under him. He kept failing, falling on his backside and rolling with the violent wind. He got to his feet for a moment and caught a newspaper or a diaper or something white in the face and he hit the ground hard. He wasn’t moving for a while and Becky held hope that he had died. No Luck. He rolled on his belly and apparently realized that he’d have better luck with staying low. He crawled on his hands and knees toward the house and Becky made nervous puling sounds with pointing out the window.

Luke had the door secured and gripped Becky by the elbow, pulling her away from the dusty, bloody window and toward the stairwell. She understood what he might and started up the stairs, her feet pounding on the thin wood. Luke spun around, searching around for something to secure the window. He noted the man had made it to the porch and was soaked to the bone and was shivering painfully. Luke spotted the coffee table, made from particle boards and stained with blood and spilt milk. He lifted it to the window and put it up against the window, awkwardly driving nails through it and into the wall. The table didn’t much hold, but that was just to get it up there. Luke worked nail after nail into the table, locking the light out from the house.

The man outside had noticed the bang-bang-banging of Luke’s hammer and moaned aloud.
“No. No. Stop.” He said breathlessly, from the soaked, soggy wooden floor of the porch.

Where And When

Earth and Heaven would shake and burn. The indescribable fear would be pungent in the air and it’d happen far before anyone else would know about it. So reeking of that fear we walked forward in hopes of proving our fear unjust. The char and blood stained walls of the mausoleum proved a trusty sanctuary from the horror beyond the horizon. The screams of Geo rang in our ears and flooded our hearts with guilt and fear. At this time with hell about to erupt from the earth I couldn’t help but think of the way it began those 2 months past.

“SOLDIER!” yelled my father. I knew for a fact that he and myself were never enlisted in any armed forces, but he liked to pretend he was and I humored him. “Sir, yes, Sir, sir!” I barked making an over gestured salute. “State your full name, soldier.” This crap again I thought. “ Sir, Benjamin Soer JR Sir, sir.” He grinned and nodded “Good now remember that. I really don’t care what you become up there in Boston, just remember that soldier.” It gets a bit awkward when he gets to be sentimental. “Sir, Soldiers don’t cry, Sir, sir.”

“Of course, Soldiers don’t cry.” I thought I should try to get out of here before more feel goods came out his ass.

A few hours (6 and a half hours to be exact.) I was on my plane and waiting to take off. I was in coach and somehow ended up in the centerest of center seats between a fat guy and a fatter guy with digestion problems. I practiced Zen meditation and just with all my being wanted to find my core center. Remember your breathing, through your mouth, through your mouth I told myself. Breathe in through your mouth, breathe out through your mouth, and don’t think about being so god damn uncomfortable that you might kill someone. I repeated these words over and over again until I noticed the whispers. “Oh god, what is he doing.” I hear from one end of the plane. “Oh god, you think he’s going to try and hijack the plane?” A stuadess tapped me on the shoulder and whispered “ I really think any signs of religion would be a bad idea right now.” “ I was meditating?” I looked at her with all the fear and confusion I could muster. “ Still, It would be best to do that sort of thing in the lavatory.” I daftly nodded my head and climbed over fat guy A and made my way to the bathroom.

Sitting in that bathroom smaller than a coffin and that smelled just as bad, I realized that I could hear the wind rushing by outside. It wasn’t a very heartening feeling. I just wanted off now and than it happened. The entire plane shook and everything not nailed down flew everywhere. “Oh god, He set off a bomb!” I heard from the cockpit. I thought that I’d yell that I had nothing to do with that but I also thought I was about to die and didn’t see much point in it. The plane seemed to be in complete free fall and everyone (including myself) is screaming ourselves hoarse and suddenly it all stops. I grabbed the doorknob and tried to leave the coffin-sized bathroom but something was blocking the door. I tried forcing it and I heard a low hoarse groan and a guy shout "Stop!"

“Can you get up?” I asked, my face pressed against the door. “Can you get up at all?” I heard some shifting and groaning “No” I never thought myself clositaphobic, but I could actually feel the walls closing in. “ How badly are you hurt?” “I’m.. I’m not hurt, I just can’t get up.” “Why” Then that familiar smell crept into my nostrils. “Fat Guy?”

“Are we still in the air?” I regretted asking that question the millisecond it exited my mouth. “ I don’t think we are.” But that would have made no sense. We were I don’t even know how high in the air and we would all be dead if we were on the ground. “Are you sure?” Also a ridiculous question. “People are getting off the plane.” He said trying to get up again. “Why isn’t anyone helping you up?” I asked with my shirt over my nose. “Is anyone else there?” I shouted trying to get someone to free me. I was starting to freak out in there, desperate for clean air and a space wider than 2 by 3 feet.

I spent an hour just patiently waiting for someone to get him out of the way and when I got out I found he wasn’t as big an idiot as I thought. The entire plane was completely landed in a field somewhere in Ohio. On that day, for what ever reason no man made aircraft (not even paper planes) would fly.

But that was only the beginning, things took more clarity just before my friend Jonah’s death. He had described a dream he had. It involved the apocalypse and the horrors that would precede it. He spoke of a giant being with awesome and terrible powers. Its existence in this world would herald the death of millions and hell on earth. Jonah desperately wanted someone to believe him. He kept repeating that he knew exactly where it was going to start and that He, I … anyone needed to stop it from happening. Later that month, he was placed in an insane asylum and on the 31st of November, he committed suicide.

I spent time just thinking of the unfortunate way he had died. He spent his last days alone and considered insane. I wanted to see how much of what he said was madness and how much was fact. He had described a night in which there was no moon, but the sky stayed bright enough to see. The night would be cold and foggy. The creature of which he spoke would emerge from a mausoleum in New Jersey. He spoke of fanatics who would come to the beast’s aid and he spoke of the need for help. I found the mausoleum of which he spoke. It was nothing to be impressed by, but I did get the feeling of danger and doom from that place. I knew that something had or will have happened there. It’s Grey stones were completely engulfed in vines and dirt. It smelt of ash or soot and I feared approaching it.

Well, you can imagine what happened from there. I got that desire to find things out and got a couple friends together and we pried that thing open.

Oh, Geo. I mentioned him. Let me tell that story. This was the night everything was supposed to happen. We, Geo Joe Bobby, and myself had gone down into the mausoleum several times prier to this night and knew its ins and outs. But this night we weren’t alone. Outside sitting patiently and wantonly were thousands of cats. Just a ridiculous amount of them. So at this point, the score card read one for Jonah’s sanity and one for Jonah being completely insane.

“I thought you said Fanatics” Geo said slightly disheartened. “ I thought they were fanatics” I explained. Geo ran over haphazardly to the site hoping to scare the cats off. Poor Geo.

In moments, thousands of cats were pouncing on him scratching his face, eyes, ears, everything. Thousands jockeying for prize position on him. He screamed in horror for relief that could not come. Joe wanted to assist Geo and had to be restrained. Anyone near that horrible mass of fur and claws would suffer the same fate.

But something like that makes for a great distraction. We slipped into the crypt and closed the door behind us. But we could still hear him screaming for help. “ Christ, we need to help him.” Joe protested. “ Then go out there.” Kenny said “Hell no.” Joe retorted. I admit that I was ashamed to leave him there, but those cats weren’t messing around.

I closed my eyes and prayed for some kind of solution. Then the ground began to quake and crack and groan with the sudden ferocity of a car crash. The ground split open and black ash spewed from the ground and fire embers floated into the air. It stung at the eyes and we had to evacuate. We stepped around the ferocity of thousands of cats when the Geo problem solved itself. The cats poured into the mausoleum and away from Geo. Joe and I approached Geo after the bulk of the cats left him. Thousands of tiny cuts ran across his face, neck, arms and chest.

“It doesn’t look that bad.” Kenny said, half distractedly. His and our eyes and mind stayed square on the door to the crypt. The black ash died down and the earth steadied. The cats rushed out of the crypt as if in blind fear. The four of us watched as the cats raged past us and down the streets to where even they came from.

The next sound had nothing in common with the shifting of the earth or the spewing of ash but seemed to compliment them. As if destruction and chaos was it’s native tongue. Fire, that was all that could be seen, but it was understood that there was more underneath the flame, more than just mindless burning. Then the flame extinguished and standing there was a man, nude and chard. “Name thyself.” He uttered in his chaotic voice. “ Ben Soer” I said nervously. “Name thyself” He said again. We looked at each other and each of us in turn gave our name. But still he asked us to name ourselves. He stood there in the archway, smoldering.

“What are you?” I finally asked. “Name thyself”. I was perplexed to say the least. This man continued to say these three words without fail. Then I understood. “ I an Benjamin Soer JR, son of Benjamin Soer SR of the United States of America sir?” I had hoped he just wanted me to give my name and affiliation. “ I am the Dark traveler, the lone rider, The keeper of villainous men, The reader of dark knowledge, the mouth, mind and heart of the Apocalypse, I am Zelmone Tutimki” The man announced proudly.
I wondered if he knew that him being naked weaken his position of power. It seemed that he was going to stand there waiting for something. In honesty, he didn’t look all too formidable, more like bony. I thought back to the cats. “Jonah might’ve just been crazy.’ I approach the steps of the crypt and he began to back away until he was completely inside the mausoleum. I grabbed the door handle and closed the door. “ I guess Jonah was just crazy. We can go home guys.” I announced and we did.

We marched into the sunset fulfilled with our new knowledge.

Excerpt From This Beach Girl

The sex her and I had was wholly unremarkable. I was a little too drunk and she keep calling me Robin. My name is Steve. I would have been satisfied with the idea of never seeing her again, but that wasn’t the case.
I had first seen Rachael at a beachside bar near midnight. The bar’s soured yellow lights spilled across the sand and only the bartender and I had shoes on. She had lovely feet, though it was her legs that caught my attention. She was alone at the end of the bar like all the special girls are. Once I got pass her long legs, which were made longer by her black leather mini-skirt, I saw emerald eyes like sea glass. The two of us were the closest to the same age, the next youngest person was at least 20 years older. I sat beside her and put two fingers up for a beer.
I said something like, “I thought I’d regret it if I didn’t say hello to you.” I can’t remember all that well because I’d been drinking a little at another bar higher up the beach. Whatever I said, she’d smiled at it and offered me her hand. I took it in mine and I spent two hours with her, getting drunk and swooping dirty jokes. I thought I was filthy minded, but she never ran out of Dead-Baby Jokes.

What’s the difference between a dead baby and a elephant? You can punt a dead baby.
What’s the difference between a pile of dead babies and a goat? One goat can fit in my garage.

By the end of the night, the two of us were falling over each other and everyone else along the way to my hotel room. The two of us spilled on my bed and she left me there for the bathroom. She left the door open and hiked her skirt around her waist to pee. I was near sleeping when she mounted me.

The Girl Of My Dreams Prt. 2

It ended with me on a single sized bed, saying something stupid to some who had seen two of his friends leave in the back of an ambulance. His face was painted yellow to make him look more like a smiley face.
“I’m sorry all your friends are hurt,” I had said to him while he sat on his bed and I sat on mine. I had realized that that was a stupid thing to say, though I don’t remember why it was now. Possibly because it’d tempt fate. He looked at me with a benevolent face filled with understanding and grace and then he began to sing some stupid little tune better suited to send children to sleep.
“Sometimes bad things fell in my blanket.
And I’m not sure if I can take it.
But then, what I do to find myself a grin.
I put them all inside and I seal them all in.”
I don’t know most the details to this story, but it’s worth telling for one reason. Someone out there wants me to know it. She’s been trying to get through my thick skull for a while now and I feel like I should start listening.

I know that her and I didn’t met prior to the Marina. That’s what I’m calling it because that’s what feels right. It was a hotel by the water and as soon as I got there, some of us had hoped in and were splashing about. The Marina, every time I’ve ever seen it, has been under a gray sky. I don’t know where it is in real life or if it exists in real life. I keep on dreaming about it and this girl who goes there.

I knew her name for a moment. She had blonde hair, not black and she looked as though she jumped in the water with all her clothes on. She wore a dripping wet, tan foi-fur coat and black eyeliner. She looked up to me as we past on the stairs. Before I descended, I took a flyer for a tattoo shop. I didn’t read it. I ought to next time. I need to compile clues. I need to find her. I almost had her name. Someone had said t and I knew it, but dreams take place in the short term storage section of the brain. If you don’t do something fast they’re gone forever.

I want her to know that. I’m not being intentionally dense. Dreams just go there like she goes to the Marina. I want to know her name. I want to now where is. I feel as though I need to protect her. I don’t know if I’m too late. I’m getting the messages, but they might be echoes. I think that that’s why the man with the yellow smiley face sang his song. He was soothing a failed protector. Those girls weren’t hurt, they were dead. They were n body bag, but I wanted to believe that it wasn’t…
“Sometimes bad things get in my blanket.
I don’t know what to do. Don’t know if I can take it.
But then, what I do to find myself a grin.
I put them all inside and then I seal them all in.”

I wasn’t alone and she wasn’t alone. She was with friends and I was with family. I’m not sure if that’s important, but I need to remember as much as possible. It was my sister and my elder brother. I can’t remember if my young brother was there. She had another friend, one who I didn’t make any connection with. She had black hair and might have been…

This is crazy, but so is trying to connect with a dream. The girl with the black hair might have been the original girl, the one I failed. I believe she was in the body bag, being carted away. The blonde girl is the new one. She’s important because I can still help her.

The frustrating thing is, there are so many disunited details; the tattoo shop, the yellow faced man, the dripping wet blonde, the Marina, the color yellow itself, light bulbs. The paramedic had yelled something. He sounded angry with me as I tried to tell him that the girls had swam in the river.

Die Or Swim
I had thrown a girl in the river and my Aunt had shouted either Dive or swim which I think would be meaningless or Die or Swim, which would be meaningful. I don’t know which, but I think the girl I threw in was the second girl in the body bag.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sexy Myths And Misconceptions

I intend to discuss a number of truly surprising myths and misconceptions concerning sexually transmitted disease and sex itself. When I first started my research into this topic, I didn’t expect, how odd and sometimes foolhardy some of these myths might be. For example, I came across a myth regarding pregnancy, a belief that being pregnant protects a woman from sexually transmitted diseases. It’s this ignorance and naivety that is a major cause of STDs prevalence in our society, people fail to understand how these diseases are spread and in effect continue to spread them. It is my goal and the goal of this paper to bring these misconceptions to light and expose them for their inaccuracy.
I’ve decided to start this paper by discussing the more forgivable misconceptions and gradually moving toward the more ridiculous. The first myth I’d like to address is concerning safe sex and monogamy. It’s a belief that if one only has sex with one person and uses some sort of protection with that person, one is completely safe from sexually transmitted diseases. This makes sense and one would be blameless for believing it, but it is also untrue. Although practicing safe, monogamous sex is a good way to stay safe, there also is not guarantee for safety beyond abstinence and in some cases that’s not even true. For example, god forbid you were in a car accident. If someone in the car has AIDS or HIV and they’re bleeding and you are bleeding as well, you run the risk of contracting the disease. Also, just because you are practicing safe, monogamous sex doesn’t necessarily mean your partner is.

Another misconception is that once an infection appears cleared up, you’re cured and don’t have to continue with prescribed medication and don’t have to go to a follow up visit. This is slightly more foolish, but is at least based off of apparent reality. The experience most to all people have with disease is the cold or the flu and with both up, you take the medication (cough syrup, aspirin etc,) until you feel better and then you stop. Why? Because you assume if it’s not doing damage it’s not there. But STDs are completely different animals, (well, to be accurate they’re bacteria, viruses, algae, so on and so forth.) The M.O of a lot of STDs is laying low and spring up later, for example, Clamidia and Syphilus. Only a trained professional like a doctor can tell you for sure.

The next myth is similar to the last, in that it’s based off of apparent reality. This myth is if an infection is clearing up on it’s own I don’t have to seek treatment. This is obviously untrue. As I stated before a lot of STD’s M.O is laying low and waiting. Syphilus, for example, can remain in your dominant in your body for 10-15 years without a single sign of further infection, but left untreated it can lead to blindness and insanity.

The next myth, I laughed when I heard it. This myth concerns doshing with soda and other carbonated drink to kill sperm and infections. The only logic I could think of to defend this line of thought is cola is sometimes used to clean pennies. Okay, true- sodas have a decent level of acidity and in theory could kill something, but most sodas are sugary and will most likely feed the infection and encourage growth. Also, introducing a foreign fluid into the vagina will in a high likely-hood change the PH balance and make thing far worse.

I’ve refrained from using the terms “stupid” or “dumb”, but I think I have to his next myth. This myth is that oral Gonorrhea can not survive on the gentiles and Gentile Gonorrhea can not survive in the mouth or throat and therefore its safe to perform oral sex when infected. There is absolutely no logic, I’ve found or can think of that would justify this train of thought, it foolishness beyond foolishness. Gonorrhea is caused by a bacterium known as neisseria gonorrhoeae. When someone is diagnosed with gentile or oral Gonorrhea, that oral and the gentile part of it is just stating where the gonorrhoeae bacteria is. So, therefore performing oral sex on an infected person is wildly unsafe. Gonorrhoeae Bacteria, likely all bacteria enjoy dark, wet places like your mouth and gentiles.

I hope that armed with information presented above, the reader is more prepared to protect themselves and advance others. As I stated in the opening paragraph, most of the spread of STDs can be attributed to ignorance of STDs and how they are transmitted. I know I am safer and more entertained for writing this paper and I hope the same can be said for the reader for reading it.

Excerpt From A Short: First Church Of The Scalpel

The sunlight broke through the stained window glass and washed over the congregation. Reverend Elton Mills shone before the red-green glass as his hand rose high above his head. Those of the congregation that could rose slowly, raising their own hands above their hands. Reverend Mills rolled himself to the middle of a carpeted platform and gripped a microphone stand. He struggled with the stand’s adjustment for a few moments, causing the microphone to knock and whine.

Jessy Phillips scurried over to aid the Reverend and adjusted it with ease, though he had three less fingers than Reverend Mills. The old man placed a wrinkled hand on the younger man’s arm, winking his single, good eye.
“God bless him.” Reverend Mills announced into the microphone and there were random hoots of amen for Jessy.
“Wish I didn’t have to mess with these things.” Reverend Mills began with Jessy returned to his seat.

“There was a time when I could put something like this…” He said, waving the microphone around from everyone to see. “…to shame. I had a booming voice like thunder, once upon a time.” Some old women cackled their agreement. There was another round of hooting amen.
“Today, we ain’t talking about ‘Once upon a time’ though. Congregation, we’re here to somebody into our fold. A lovely girl who yall are going to love dearly. Luke. Bobby. Can you gather Crystal.” Luke Allen and his younger brother, Bobby Allen rose from their seats closest to the back exit. Mama Mills started up the pipe organ, applying wait pressure on the keys and weaving the music beneath her husband’s sermon.
“It warms my heart like nothing else when a young person is shown the light. Is saved from the darkness. This world we live in. I shutter at it. Young people today, they are so utterly lost. Amen?” The congregation answered Amen in unison.
“Reverend Mills, don’t take this poison from my lips. It is so very sweet. Amen?” The congregation answered again, louder this time.
“Reverend Mills, don’t take this yoke from my back. It’s garnished with jewels and gold. It is beautiful. Amen?” The congregation called back and their combined voices made the air shutter.
“Reverend Mills. Don’t make them stop lacing my back. It makes my cum, though it makes my bleed.” He didn’t ask for an amen and the congregation remained silent.
“I get passionate about it because, as you know, I was lost along with them once upon a time.”
“And I!”
“And I was lost, too!”
“ I was lost, too!” People stood in the pews and called to the Reverend as if he’d asked for it.
“Ain’t nobody perfect. Near all of us were lost in sin at one time, but now we’re here. Nobody’s perfect but God and God…” The Reverend paused for a moment, attempting to summon something, but soon decided that he couldn’t
“And God said, if thy right hand should offend him, thou would do better to enter his kingdom minus one hand than go on to hell with the two.” There were cries of amen and applause.
“Strong Jessy Phillips. Good a man as any there ever was. Jessy came to this fold with his full ten fingers and he’s got the most of all of us.”

Thursday, September 1, 2011

It's All Okay, Folks

I couldn’t help but think, ‘She’s someone’s daughter.’ I’m not sure how evil a man that makes me, that I thought that and enjoyed the sight all the more.
She was a thin one with fleshy cheeks, both on her face and on her haunches. She wore a silken sun dress, but that was only a pretense for the creamy tanned skin that rested beneath. She stripped it away slowly, the process had to last and all she had was that sundress and a thin pair of cotton panties. She broke the thin spaghetti cords that held the dress up one at a time. The dress fell, sliding past her modest breasts to a stop at her waist and she helped it the rest of the way to the ground. Once she was free of her dress, she did a slow dance, turning around to show the camera her ass. She rolled her hips side to side, looking over her shoulder to show she was smiling.
It’s all Okay, folks.
She stripped out of her panties rather unceremoniously, peeling them from her wide buttocks and allowing them to drop to the ground. She kicked them out of view once they reached her feet. She gave a playful laugh and smiled to the camera.
It’s all Okay, folks.
She then rested herself on an orange two person couch and began rubbing at her breasts and abdomen. She teased herself again and again, venturing ever closer to the destination it would eventually find. She danced her fingers around her belt line as the camera focused on her navel and exposed lap. The very tip of her middle finger brushed the hood of her clitoris and she raced the finger to her mouth and sucked on it. She moved her hand along her frame and rested it in between her spread legs. She breathed out a cool shutter and started playing with her labia, started dragging her nails along her inner thighs, started rubbing the areas of least sensitivity and working towards the areas of most. She omitted breathy moans, each one arriving sooner than the last. The camera adjusted to reveal the whole picture. Her eyes were shut and her lips were parted.
A man walked into frame wearing the pretense of a black t- shirt and blue jeans. A long, rod shaped bulge disturbed the fabric of his jeans and gave the tacit impression than he was enjoying the show along side me. He remained wordless as he extended a hand to her left breast and with the other hand, he fondled himself. She continued playing with herself with one hand and aided him in stroke himself with the other. He backed away and hastily stripped off his cloths. As the last article fell to the ground, he re-approached her, masturbating his large manhood as he walked. He removed his hand and his penis hovered stiff and throbbing, waiting for her mouth’s approach. She stared at it and smiled to the camera.
It’s all Okay, folks.
Her lips tentatively tasted the tip of his penis, tonguing the helmet. Her moist fingers brushed around the shift, softly and slowly. As she dragged her tongue along the tip, he began slowly thirsting his member into her mouth, heralding the fall of the pretext of filesio. She gripped the hard shift and allowed the large piece to slide into her mouth. She had her hands serve as an extension of her mouth, mouthing only a few inches and masturbating the rest. As her tongue, lips and hands worked the man, he took firmly grasped her strawberry blonde hair at the base and aided her moving more of himself into her mouth. It seemed he had pushed her too far in this action because she took the dick out of her mouth and coughed, but she smiled to the camera and put him back in her mouth.
It’s all Okay, folks.
He started up shoving his cock deeper down her throat and she gagged on it, eyeing the camera as she did so. When it reached as far as it would go, the man created a small space between himself and her and palmed the back of her head. Once the proper footing and area was found, he began thrusting himself vigorously in and out of her mouth and throat, her eyes wetting all the while. He gave her a number of good thrusts before backing away, grunting heavily and saying in a deep baritone, “Turn around.”
She obeyed the command and presented her full buttocks and pudendum to the camera and as high as she could. He fingered at her vagina with his thumb, shoving it in before moving it to the clitoris, pushing the hood up and stimulating it directly. She exhaled noisily like icy, cold water was being poured on her unexpectedly. He slid his hand upward toward her anus and plunged his thumb deep into it. She moaned deeply and inched slightly away from it. He gripped her at the waist and started rubbing the perimeter of her anus. She moaned louder and then pressed her face into the orange fabric of the couch to stifle herself. The man wrenched her head back by her hair and she yelped in surprise.
He dragged the fingers he used to play with her asshole along the crack of her buttocks and up toward the small of her back, cooling her loud cries. He moved the hand from her back onto his hard member. He stroked it twice and then shoved it down to the testicles into her anus. She pressed her face back into the couch and scream out. He thrusted slowly, in and out, making her feel all of his manhood as it worked itself deep into her. He repeated the slow action a few more times before picking up the rhythm up high, being more and more forceful with each throw. Her moans and cries remained muted by the couch padding until the man gripped her back the hair again and pulled back, holding on this time and letting the screams burst further from her and drown out the sound of their flesh smacking against one another. He eased up on her, released her hair and gripped her round the waist, lifting her off her feet and turning. He dropped onto the couch with her on his lap. She eyed the camera, but forgot to smile.
It’s all Okay, folks.
He scooted forward to widen his lap and began bouncing her up and down on his dick. She moaned with her eyes shut and her mouth closed, breathing wildly through her nose. He removed his arms from around her waist and left her to the task of bouncing herself. He moved his strong hands around her neck and closed tightly. She continued bouncing as her eyes wetted more and grew red. He aided her slightly from where he held. Her face started to burn red before her eyes rolled into the back of her head and she stopped bouncing altogether. His heavy breathing was the only sound as he released and let her flop to one side. He stroked her unconscious body. He exited her quick and began stroking her breasts at first while stroking her penis. He then moved to her abdomen and to her pussy. He rubbed the clitoris directly and re-entered her limp body via her flower. He thrusted slowly and smoothly, his breath was unsteady like waves breaking against rocks. It grew louder and louder, more and more shaky. He exited her quickly and ejaculated on her side. He moved swiftly to shot the last of it onto her slumbering face. The warm fluid dripped down the valley of her lips as her eyes opened, dazed and hesitant. It took her a moment, but she smiled.
It’s all Okay, folks.


Sexy, Sadistic September...

Since August kind of Sucked, I'm going to make it up with Sexy, Sadistic September. All September I'll be posting on a theme: Sex and Cruelty. Get your ball-gags ready, because September is going to be brutal!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Duel For Lady Branford's Hand

Look, a young man on the ground. His name is Lawrence Hamilton and he is dying and before his twentieth birthday. He is puffing up blood in spraying bursts. He’s wearing a dark blue petticoat, stained a darker shade by a sucking wound, a bullet hole. He’d been shot by a duelist’s bullet in a fair tournament.
George Branford was the other duelist. Ironically, he won the duel but he ended up dying first. His body is somewhere around here, in several places. Oh, look there. There’s his hand. I can tell by the ornate sleeve.
Lawrence’s second, his younger brother, has just died. His head should be bouncing into view any moment now. There it is, Charles was such a handsome man. Now claw makes mar his tender cheeks and that look of horror. Nothing would ever sooth that fear. He’s not likely to be chasing the girls about London anymore. Yes, I know. That was in poor taste.

Do you see the smoke that crawls across the field. The women, dressed in their elegant party dresses, are fleeing it. There is a thing inside that smoke. It might pursue with less lust if they would just stop screaming. Indeed, something is in that smoke, something with teeth, claws and a malice not found outside of man. The thing inside of the smoke has legs. I am quite sure. You can see all six of them. Just now, leering out from the smoky dregs. Look, the foreleg is crushing Mary Branford right now. She was the reason for the duel, you know. You see, Lawrence Hamilton had implied that he was familiar with Mary in the presence of George Branford, which he was. Lawrence had had her repeatedly over the course of the past year. She’s dead now, her skull crushed into the grassy soil. She was such a pretty thing. George Branford had her as his ward for almost six years before he made her his bride. The mean, old hags about town had a good laugh at Branford for taking such a young bride. Seventeen years old, I believe.
He found her in an orphanage, don’t you know.
The groundskeepers may never repair the grounds. The beast had torn the earth up in great mounds and it has thrown men down the hole from whence it came. They screamed as shadowy figure sunk fangs into their flesh. You see what you miss when you insist on being fashionably late?
Come now. We might want to retire inside. We can still see everything, I assure you. It’s just that the creature in the smoke is coming closer than I would like. Come, I’m sure Lord Branford has a nice Port or Sherry that we can sip. He won’t miss it, I’m sure. Yes, I am just wicked. Come now, up the stairs.
See now. The blood is beading on the window glass. Were we outside, the blood would have ruined our nice dress. Oh, see there! The last of the girls have fallen to the beast.
Oh, the wind is kicking up and the smoke is clearing. The beast is finding form. Arms, massive arm like black pistons. It’s all black as pitch. My word. Oh, the beast has gotten at the horses. I was right, it has teeth. Fearsome sharp, would you agree? Do you see it ripping into Lady’s hind? She was to be yours. I know, we’ll get you a new horse, a better one.
Oh, look. Lawrence Hamilton is still alive. Some spirit to that man, I dare say. He’s dragging himself, ruining that pretty petticoat. I thought I might have taken it once this was over. I know it’s bloodied and torn by a bullet, but I thought I could take it to the tailor. I’d need to let it out a bit anyway. Yes, just a bit.
Say, when do you think that this affair with the beast might end? When the creature winds down. Of course, silly question.
Oh, look there. Hamilton is going to Mary Branford. Silly man, he might have saved himself, but he’d rather play ‘Lover-boy.’ He’s cradling her now and there in the distance, the creature is coming. Its mane, its beautiful mane, rippling in the wind. It really is a beautiful thing. It’s like the centaurs of Greek legend, but made wrong. But still, it’s made quite right as well. It’s face, it has a man’s face. It has the face of a Moor, at the very least.
Hamilton doesn’t see, maybe he doesn’t care. He’s cleaning the dirt from her bloodied brow. Oh, my. He’s kissing her. His face is so pale. Surly, he should be dead for loss of blood.
The creature, its towering over them. Do you see its shadow? The shadow nearly reaches us. Hamilton must know that he is soon to be killed.
Oh, my. It’s teeth. It’s bearing its teeth. Isn’t it a wonder? Isn’t it breathtaking? Am I? I hadn’t realized that I was teary eyed. I’m being silly. I’ve gotten caught up in the excitement.
Oh. Oh, my. Hamilton is dead. He is still and the beast has done nothing to him. How odd. Is the creature moving toward the house? It’s shadow seems to loom closer, wouldn’t you say? Do you feel that? I can feel the ground shutter beneath my feet. The beast is coming upon us, I am sure of it. I would say we should flee, but the horses. The beast had gotten to the horses and we can not out run it on foot. I fear we will do as well as the women in the party dresses. Why would it ignore Hamilton? Of course, I’m sure you would not know.
Oh, lord! It is upon us now! I can hear its booming breaths. Oh, god! The beast, the beast is tearing the roof from the house! It will bring it down on our heads! We must flee! We must run, even if it means dying under its heel!
Do you hear it? Do you hear its roar? I can feel it in my bones. Keep moving, damn you! It draws near!

The Last Supper

Claws raked against the wood of my kitchen door and ragged puffs of air washed through the seams of the door. I peered out the clouded windows, my eye drawing on a looming figure silhouetted by the dying light. It wanted in, but its inhuman hands couldn’t work the doorknob. I dropped my hand to the doorknob to help it in. If the creature did as it was used to, it would break down the door. That wouldn’t do. I swung the door open and peered upward to a towering rat with an elongated torso. It was soaked with sewage water and clumps of brown mud. It had rained all morning and afternoon. The clouds had only parted as the sun descended behind the distant mountains. The purple Mountains majority had given way to gray mounds in the west. Everything was ash gray at the end of everything, except the grass. The grass was white, spindly and cluttered with broken bottles and other bits of trash.

The rat stood a full foot above me while on its hind legs and its foul breath mussed my hair. I stood to one side and gave it a this-way-please gesture and the giant rat fell to all four legs and walked in. The typical verb for a rat in motion would be, ‘scurrying’, but a creature of such size couldn’t possibly scurry. It lumbered to a counter where I’d left a loaf of banana bread to cool. I had drizzled a simple icing atop it and it bled down like it would on the cover of culinary magazines. The rat snatched it up whole and devoured it, wincing and hissing at the loaf’s heat. It ate greedily, dropping large crumbs on the ground. It finished it and then dropped to the ground to lick up the crumbs. I went to the refrigerator and took out a glass bottle of milk. The bottle was icy cold in my hand, sweating with condensation. I poured the milk into a glass bowl with a gilded rim. The bowl had been my grandmother’s. She’d brought it over from Poland after the Germans had evaded. I placed my grandmother’s bowl on the floor close to the rat. It hissed at me with mistrust and then moved a couple steps away from me. I stepped away from it and then the rat stepped back to find any forgotten crumbs. Once it was sure it had cleaned the floor of all the banana flavored crumbs, it licked at its whiskers with a long, thin, serpent like tongue. It spent a few moments enjoying the icing on its whiskers and muzzle before it examined the bowl of milk. It dipped its snout in the milk and then licked its nose. The rat eyed me mistrustfully and I stepped back a step. It started to tongue at the milk once it was sure I wasn’t posing it any harm. Its eerie serpent tongue dove in and out of the milk, splashing its face with beads of milk. It finished the milk and then flipped the bowl in its enthusiasm. Stray flecks of milk sprinkled the wooden floor.

I walked over to the old floor-model radio and turned it on. The static startled the rat and then I turned the dial trying to find the right music for the occasion. I mostly found more static, most of the stations went away when all the people went, but some stations run independent of people and probably would run forever. I stopped on a station playing old standards because it was the clearest station I could find. Dean Martin crooned “Is you is or is you ain’t my baby. ‘Cause lately, I’ve had my doubt.” The music filled the room and the rat seemed to approve because it went back to sniffing around for more crumbs. I walked over and took the bowl up. The rat had chipped the bowl when it filled it. I grasped the milk bottle and filled the bowl again. I placed the bowl away from the stove and the counter, so I could make our meal without bothering the rat. I’d left two steaks to marinate in lemon juice. I took them out of the refrigerator and tested the meat for tenderness. My finger left a deep depression in the dark red meat that was slow to recover. Just right. It wasn’t very hygienic, but I sucked the bloody lemon juice off the tip of my finger.

I dropped the steaks on a paper towel to allow the juices to drain a little. The Andrea Sister took up their half of the song. Their voices bounced in unison.
“Is you is or Is you ain’t my baby. ‘Cause lately, I’ve had my doubt.”
I sprinkled pepper on the steaks as they drained. The meat was tender, but I massaged it a little more, working the pepper into the meat. Juices bled onto the paper towel and then I lift the steaks to take out a pan. I set the propane burner and put the pan on. It needed to heat for a while. I wished the rat had given me more time. The bowl flipped over again and I looked over to the rat. It had finished the bowl again and was licking milk off its muzzle with its thin tongue.

The pan was about right, as were the steaks. I dropped the steaks in and they sizzled and popped. The sound startled the rat, though it shouldn’t have. It had been here for similar meals; grilled chicken breast, broiled Salmon, Veal. The meat was cooking cleanly and evenly. Great plumes of steam swelled into the air, only to fade into nothingness. I stabbed the meat with a fork and checked how pink the center was. The rat liked its meat slightly bloody. I flipped the meat and pricked my finger. I squeezed the blood out onto the pan. The blood sizzled on the browning steaks and the silver metal. It liked my blood. I put the pricked finger in my mouth and sucked the wound. It flipped the bowl over again, with more force than it had before. A large bit of the bowl’s gilded rim broke loose and slid away from the rat. I looked over to the rat and it was looking over to me. It’s black eyes looked fierce and hollow. I filled its bowl a third time, emptying the bottle. Milk leaked from the broken edge of the bowl as the rat drank.

I had a bottle of red wine on chill atop the refrigerator. I brought the bucket and bottle over to my dinning table, readying the table for the meal. The steaks were done and I transferred them to a plate my grandmother had also rescued from Poland. I took that over to the dinning table as well. The rat sniffed the air, its ear raising at the smell of bloody meat. I sat down at the table and put a napkin in my lap. I grabbed the neck of the bottle of wine and laughed to myself. I had forgotten the wine glasses. I got up and retrieved the glasses. By the time I sat back down, the rat was sniffing about the table, its body hunched low like a plotting theft. I laughed again, looking at the chair across from me. I stood up again and pulled out the chair for the rat. It looked to me, its eyes wide from the noise of the chair creaking against the wooden floor. The rat never could sit properly in a chair, but it would sit if you pulled the chair out for it. It was a minor concession the rat had made for me. It climbed in with its tail dangling down on the floor.

The rest of its body crowded the chair and the chair took the rat’s weight with creaking sounds of distress. I poured it a glass of wine and it licked its snout at the sight of the steaks. I cut up one of the steaks and then placed the slivers of meat onto a golden trimmed China plate before it. The plate had been a wedding gift from my mother and had mine and my wife’s initials.. It sniffed and then began to devour the meat. The rat always finished eating before I did and never used the fork or knife I left by its plate. I carved my steak and drank my wine. The steaks were cooked evenly and the meat had a gentle tang to it. It was still very hot and the juices rolled down the curve of my chin. The rat sniffed the wine and tipped the glass over, licking the wine up off the table top. The wine glass broke, but that didn’t seem to bother the rat. The wine glasses weren’t anything special. I’d picked them up at a department store, so my wife and I would have something to toast out of. We were celebrating my restaurant being review in Zagot’s.

The rat had finished its steak and had licked up as much of the wine as it could. It was eyeing the reminder of my steak, of which I had eaten a fair proportion. I offered it my plate, tilting it so the meat would slide into its reach. It devoured the little meat I still had and licked the juices off the plate. I sipped at my wine glass and peered at the rat as it licked grease off its whiskers. The wine hit my tongue with a dull, vaguely sweet warmth. The bottle was a 1967 Merlot, taken from my personal wine cellar.

The rat cleaned the juicy from its muzzle and whiskers and then it started to eye me. Its black eyes seemed to be calculating, though I knew better. It was just a rat, mindless and hungry.
“What a wicked thing you are.” I told it and then passing more wine over my tongue. It didn’t seem to get offended by the accusation. I placed the glass on the table and looked over to its broken glass. I took the napkin off my lap and placed it on the table.
“I’m the last. No more after me. No more good things after me. You’re the last as well. You’ll be alone, forever.” I reminded it. It just kept staring at me. I couldn’t bare to be alone and I hoped that it couldn’t bare to be alone, though it would never tell me. I was reminded of the tale of the Scorpion and the Frog. I thought of it almost every time it and I ate together. Its kind had killed my kind. My kind had killed its kind. The two of us were victims of our natures.

The two of us were the last survivors of the survivor species. Rats and people could live anywhere on Earth and, most of the time, did. I was feeling tired. I had poisoned myself and in doing so, poisoned the rat. I made a glass of lemonade laced with arsenic earlier in the day. I had the thought of just killing myself, but my thoughts turned to the rat, utterly alone. I needed to believe that the loss of me would injure the rat, that my presence mattered after all.

Later, I mixed more arsenic into lemon juice for the steaks. The poison gave the steaks a smoky taste. Rats normally tested food before eating it. Sniffed and sniffed and nibbled a little off to see if they got sick. Maybe it was careless, assumed that I didn’t have it in me.
I offered it my hand and it bit into it without apology. Blood bloomed across the table top and the rat lapped up that as well. It had taken the hand completely off. I hadn’t known it had such sharp teeth. The poison was affecting me or maybe that was the blood loss. I put my head on the table and the rat sniffed my flesh. Its breath was growing more ragged, deathly ragged. It was good to know it wouldn’t be alone. I fell from my chair and it laid down beside me. Our breathing slowed, mine slowing a little bit quicker than the rat’s. We both died on the floor and no one would ever mourn as but each other. We died alone like two rats in a gutter.


Why Bad Horse Is the Boss (Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Fan Fiction)

The shadows swirled in smoky tendrils in the stables as Dead Bowie walked forth. Sweat worked down his cheeks in beads, smearing his eye shadow and foundation. Dust and debris played about in icy, blue moonlight which bled from a small, broken window.
Dead Bowie stopped in the shift of moonlight and peered around him. Mutated spider spun massive webs and stared at him with filmy-grays eyes. . His knees were knocking beneath him. Each and every atom in his body wanted him to run out into the night, to scream. The doors swung shut with a gust of wind and he knew that was no longer an option.
There was a snort in the distance; where the darkness was so pungent that it was almost tangible. The moon past behind a storm cloud and stole Dead Bowie’s light.
“You wanted to see me, Bad Horse?” The silence was aching in his ear.
His cowboys appeared from the shadows, humming his theme in a grin, dirge like key. They all wore handlebar mustaches and big Stetsons. Two of them went to either side of him and the third stood at his back, humming the tune in his ear.
“What’s this about, Bad Horse?” He tried to sound calm and collected, but sounded more like a frightened child.
“Bad Horse. Bad Horse. The Thoroughbred of Sin.”
“ You’ve lined your pocket. Pinched the till and soon, you’ll be done in.” Bad Horse’s sang slow and somber, gripping Dead Bowie by the arms and marching him forward. He dragged his heels and wrested wildly.
“No. No! It isn’t true! I would never! I swear!” He screamed on and on as the darkness enveloped him. The death whinny boomed like thunder and the ground shook. Dead Bowie screamed and howled and then made noise no more. All that remained with the shivering silence and a lonely, loathsome clip-clop.

Little Miss Holly And MR. Thomas

MR. Thomas was a simpleton my Mama hired to move furniture in the living room. That’s how I met him, being scolded by my Mama after he’d sent a glass cabinet straight through the living room floor. I came down after the crash and witnessed him and my Mama standing on either side of a perfectly rectangular hole in the floor where no hole had been.

He kept insisting that he’d put the cabinet down right, but sometimes thing went down further than what they were supposed to.
My Mama kept screaming at him, saying that was ridiculous, saying that he wouldn’t be getting one red cent and that he’d better pray her grace didn’t fail her. That she had the sheriff wrapped around her little finger and if she asked, he’d hang MR. Thomas, just for her favor. Mama was great for giving out her favor, whatever that meant. I’d see her take men upstairs to her room. Or I’d see her on some man’s arm, dressed to the nines and smelling like flowers. Or I’d see her coming home in some man’s arm, all silly from liquor and wanting to dance, and not caring that I was up past my bedtime.

She sent Mr. Thomas out of the front door and I went out the back one while she went back to staring down into the basement. Mr. Thomas had long legs and I ended up running full out, just to get to him.
“Don’t worry about my Mama. I don’t think she’d ever let anybody kill for her.” I said, once I was in ear shot of him. He kept moving along the road as if he didn’t hear me.
“Mister? I said, I don’t think my Mama would ever have anybody do anything to you.” I repeated. He kept moving along down the road.
“MR. Thomas?” I said helplessly. I was puffing badly, but MR. Thomas had stopped and turned to see me, seemingly surprised that I was talking to him.
“MR. Thomas, I was just saying you didn’t have to worry about my Mama. She gets upset some in the early afternoon, before her drink.” He still kept looking at me with that shocked look on his face.

“How’d you manage to put the cabinet through the floor like you did? I don’t think I ever saw again like that before, Mr. Thomas.”
“Things don’t go where you put them sometimes.” Mr. Thomas finally said, kneeling to look at me.
“My Mama said that’s what messy people think. They’re always losing their things and they want people to believe it just sprouted legs and walked off.”
“No. Not, never. Nothing sprouts legs. Things just fell though one another from time to time.”
“Nah-uh.” I told him plainly.
“Yeah, so.” He insisted. “You can see it easy if you look close enough. All the ground is, is a whole lot of shifting bits of dust. It’s a wonder that more stuff don’t find its way through.”
“How you mean that the ground is dirt?” I looked down to the floor beneath me, it didn’t look like he said.
“Well, it’s smaller than dust bits, but I don’t know what’s smaller than that.” I remembered hearing something about Atoms from some of my Mama’s friends.

My Mama had two lawyers ever one night and they were talking to each about some silliness called Atoms, that somebody had it in his head that the world was made of tiny Atoms after looking at a piece of cork. They were laughing pretty loud about it, but they’d probably be laughing at anything. My Mama and them had come to the house, pretty boozed up.

“Atoms, you mean? Two lawyer men my Mama know say that’s ridiculous.”
“Everything’s ridiculous at some point.”
“How’d you mean?”
“How’d we get here?” Mr. Thomas said, waving his hands around. I looked around, expecting to see the street we left out on, but we were standing by the river. I let out a little scream and Mr. Thomas let out a little smile.
“Yeah, that’ll happen sometimes. I wasn’t expecting you to follow me, little miss. Sometimes I hear voices when I slip through, but you’re the first to be talking to me.”
“How’d I get here?”
“You slipped through after me.”
“Slipped through what?”
“The air is all.”
I looked behind me, expecting to see a big hole in the air, but there was nothing. To the left of me, Mr. Thomas must have set up some little shack for himself. It looked rackety and weather-beaten, and its door was a flower-print sheet. Mr. Thomas started toward the shack and I called after him.
“How am I supposed to get home?”

“Oh!” Mr. Thomas slapped his palm to his head and turned to me. He walked over to me and offered me his hand. I took it and marveled at its size and how rough it was. His dirty thumb nearly eclipsed my whole hand as the two met. “My name is Holly.” I whispered, looking up to him. He led me forward and in the silence, I could just hear a slight rush of air.

“I almost forgot. Most people won’t let themselves see what I do. Most people have trouble believing in what I do.” Mr. Thomas said through a lopsided grin. I wished I was looking when we slipped through, but I was fixated on that strange man towering over me. Before I thought to look and Mr. Thomas released my hand and I was standing on the street before my Mama’s house. The front door was opened wide to let the cool air in and I could see my Mama moving about in the house. She called my name. Called it up the stairs where she’d left me. I didn’t answer, of course. I ran up the stairs and into the house and turned to waved goodbye to Mr. Thomas, but he was gone.

I hadn’t seen Mr. Thomas around for almost three weeks. Mama had paid a man to fix the floor and soon, it was like the incident never happened. The busted cabinet was taken out by the trash-hauler and Mama had her eyes on a new one, as well as a new man to pay for it. Mama had brought a thin Yankee man to the house. He was dressed in a fancy, white suit with black pin stripes. Mama told me to call him Mr. Hobbs.

“You might be Holly Hobbs, if things go well.” Mama added. Mama and Mr. Hobbs got friendly over the following weeks. They got silly in the night time and they got grumpy in the mornings before their next drinks came. Mr. Hobbs told her nasty stories about how he tricked so-and-so out of a nickel or how he snatched a farmer out of his land.

I saw Mr. Thomas on the street in town, helping to load feed onto the back of a wagon. He was hefting four of those big sacks in his arms while the other man was struggling with one. Mama and Mr. Hobbs went into the Woolworth’s and didn’t notice that I wasn’t following them. The two of them were arguing about some silliness they got into at a cocktail party. I didn’t understand any of it.

I walked over to Mr. Thomas, who pulled the last sack of feed from the other man’s hands and dropped it on the wagon.
“How do you slip through the air, Mr. Thomas?” He spun around, trying to see who was speaking to him. His head swiveled about, looking for somebody adult sized. He spotted me finally and his lopsided grin appeared.

“Hey there, Little Miss Holly.” He said. The other man called to Mr. Thomas and told him they had to get the feed back to the farm. He told him to wait a minute, putting one of his massive hands in the air.

“ I gotta go, Little Miss Holly. Slipping through is easy, though. Keep yourself still and keep an eye on the air.”
I tried what MR. Thomas said, I stared at the air until my mama said she thought I’d gone soft in the head. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I kept at it. I found what MR. Thomas was talking about while in bed, one night. It was like the fold in an open book, but not as deep or broad. It was a seam in the moonlight and I didn’t even wait to put shoes on. I jumped up and put my hand to it. My hand disappeared, so I pulled my hand back. The seam disappeared as soon as I did and I felt a little cheated. I was hoping that it’d come back. It didn’t that night, but I caught another one while playing in the front yard. Mama had sent me outside after Mr. Hobbs started tickling and kissing on Mama.

The seam appeared in the corner of the yard and I raced over. I did like I did in the night time. I put my hand in the seam. I felt a rush of wind streaming through my fingers. I moved forward, keeping my eyes open. I wanted to see what happened.
My hair wiped and rushed about as the seam enveloped me.

I was all light and sucking wind inside the seam and all of a sudden I wasn’t where I was. I was in a cotton field. The sounds of hoes tilling soil rang out in the distance. Field hymns rose up over the cotton. I didn’t understand how any of this worked, so I didn’t want to lose my way home. I had made it work. That fact had been enough for now.
I worked backward through the sucking void and fell backward into my front yard. The seam sealed itself off. It popped straight out of existence with a soft sort of crack like a twig snapping.

The sun was different in the sky, though I hadn’t notice at the time. I raced back inside the house, wanting to tell somebody something. Mama was aloe in the kitchen, sobbing on the floor. I stood frozen in place as she sobbed, not really understanding what I was looking at. Mama was holding her face, but I could just see a bit of ugly purple creeping out from under her clasped hands.

Mama had been hit before. Daddy was the hitting kind of man and so was a couple of other men Mama brought home. She seemed to have bad luck like that. She’d turned them out again and again, threatened them with the sheriff too. She wasn’t puffing and raging like she did with the others. She just sat there, crying like I was the Mama and she was the child. I did what she would have done if she found me crying. I couldn’t take her up in my arms, but I put my arms around her. That seemed to be enough. I drew my fingers through her hair and she put her head on my shoulder. I wasn’t sure if she knew that I was who I was, but that didn’t seem to matter.

She stilled herself and looked up to me. She had a nasty looking cut across her left cheek. It wept blood slowly, but the wound wasn’t bad at all. I thought about kissing it better like Mama had every time I had gotten hurt. She stopped me before I could and then she wiped her eyes. She got up in a hurry, giggling like she hadn’t been crying. She stepped to the water basin in the corner of the kitchen and wet a rag to clean herself up. She kept her cut cheek away from my sight and she was smiling as wide as she could.

Footsteps fell on the wooden staircase over head and I couldn’t think who it could be. Mr. Hobbs’ white pinstriped pant leg appeared halfway up the stairs. Mama hadn’t cursed him out and threatened him with the sheriff. I couldn’t understand what I was seeing. Mama ran to him and he put his arm around her waist. He put his lips to hers and then examined the gash on her cheek.

“The things you make me do.” He whispered in her ear. She whispered a quiet apology. None of this made sense to me.

Mr. Hobbs stuck around the house more and more. I kept my eyes on him, even though I wouldn’t be able to do anything if he were to raise a hand to Mama, which he did. He never slapped her when I was around and I never caught Mama crying on the floor again. I started sticking close to Mama for fear of what happened when I was gone. It still happened and something else started happening. Mama’s belly started to swell, as did her cheeks, chest and feet. I asked Mama about that and she told me that I was going to have a baby brother or sister. She didn’t tell me it, but I knew it was a bad thing that the baby was coming. Mr. Hobbs would be here to stay if he had a baby in our house.

For the first time in my young life, I understood impending calamity. Mr. Hobbs was the hitting kind of man and was looking to stay. I sought out Mr. Thomas as I realized how little I could affect my home life and Mr. Thomas kept coming to me in more and more improbable ways. He would call down to me from up in trees or he would come crashing out of my closet or he would fall straight off the roof, moaning but unbroken. I started to wonder if Mr. Thomas was a real person or if he was imaginary like my friend, Daisy Perkins, had.

“Are you real?” I asked Mr. Thomas while climbing up to meet him on a tree limb. He smiled a broad, crooked grin.
“Well, are you?”
“Course I am.” He said reaching down to help me with my ascent. I reached up and he took me by the hand, pulling me up to sit next to him. The two of us stared out onto the waning sun. Orange bled through the swaying trees and over distant houses. The tree we sat in was sticky with sap and the world was washed with the smell of pine.

“I’ve been slipping through, but I can’t go where I want to.”
“That’s easy. Just sniff the air.” Mr. Thomas said, miming the action.
“Sniff the air. Close your eyes. It’ll be easier since you’ve been slipping.” I shot him a look and his grin broadened.
“You having fun?”
“No, just do it. You’ll see.” I closed my eyes and then cracked them open a little, just so I could watch Mr. Thomas.
“Wait a moment. Now. Sniff now.” Mr. Thomas said. I drew in air and smelt the Cocoa butter Mama got from a shopkeeper that was sweet on her. Mr. Thomas brought his massive hand to my back and pushed. I screamed as I fell. Wind ripped through my hair and across my face. The ground raced toward me, faster than I could imagine and then it was gone. It disappeared and was replaced with Mama’s spacious bed. I hit it and bounced harmlessly. Mama’s thin goose-down comforter enveloped me in a soft embrace as Mr. Thomas laughed breathlessly. I untangled myself from Mama’s blankets, my face screwed up in anger.

“That wasn’t funny.” I said, getting up off Mama’s bed. Mr. Thomas stood in a corner with his arms crossed over his chest.

“You can’t control where the world opens up, but if you sniff, you’ll know where you’re going. It’s easier to go places you’ve already been, because of the smell.” I looked back toward Mama’s bed. There were leaves everywhere. Mama was going to be mad.
“You ever smell eggs?” Mr. Thomas asked. I looked to him again.

“Since you’re slipping through more and more, you ought to be careful. Sniff the air before you go through. Don’t slip through if you smell eggs.”
“Where will the egg smell lead?”
“Somewhere horrible.”
“You read the bible at all? Preacher man talks about a lake of fire. I saw it once. That’s where it leads.”

Mr. Thomas opened up Mama’s closet and disappeared into her dresses. I followed, moving past Mama’s perfumed evening gowns and slinky sundresses. Where the back of Mama’s closet should have been, a long, low hanging branch was. I pulled the branch away and the river came into view. To the far right, Mr. Thomas and his shack came into view. Mama’s dresses disappeared as I moved further away. Mr. Thomas moved to the riverside. Mr. Thomas took his worn, leather boots off and put his feet into the river. I ran over, discarding my shoes as I moved. My feet dangled high over the water, but it was nice to watch it rush by.
“My Mama’s met somebody, but he’s a rotten sort of man.” Mr. Thomas frowned, staring down at me.

“He hurts her, sometimes. She’s going to have a baby and he’ll be around forever when it comes.” Mr. Thomas didn’t say anything, he just stared down at me with his miserable eyes. He brought his arm around me and pulled me in for an embrace. I gripped him as tight as I could as tears welled in my eyes.
I laid in my bed, hearing Mama and Mr. Hobbs laughing downstairs. Mama’s laughter sounded forced, not like it was when Mama could go out and get silly. Mr. Hobbs didn’t let her do that anymore. Mr. Hobbs was telling her one of his mean spirited stories about how he got over on someone else. He was getting over on Mama. That was the thought that led me to a plan. It wasn’t terribly well thought out, but if it worked, it would fix everything.
Mama was barefooted in the kitchen, making breakfast for Mr. Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs rested, stretched out on the couch with a wet towel on his forehead. Him not letting Mama drink, didn’t stop him from getting silly in the evenings.

“Smelling good in there.” He called weakly. I sniffed the air and was reminded of Mr. Thomas’s warming about staying away from the smell of eggs.
“Almost ready for you.” Mama said, shoveling eggs and bacon onto a plate. I was sitting on the kitchen floor with as she rushed past. The idea I had in bed the prior night was racing through my head. I peered out into the living room, watching Mama watch Mr. Hobbs eat. The two of them looked happy. Mama looked adoring and Mr. Hobbs looked sweet on her, too. I hated him as much as I’d ever hated anything and it was because of the lie they held up. The real Mr. Hobbs was tucked away in solitude. He’d rose his hand to Mama, but only when he was alone. I had to figure out what he’d do if I was alone with him. I’d make him mad. I had to get him alone and make him mad.

My opportunity came when Mama was napping in her bed and Mr. Hobbs was sitting on the porch with a drink in hand. He was close to napping himself. I sniffed the air and smelt rotten eggs. I also smelt pine needles. The sweet and rotten smells mixed and soured my stomach. I picked up a rock and chucked it at him as hard as I could. The rock broke the glass, skittering glass and smelly, brown liquid across Mr. Hobbs lap. The smell of eggs faded quickly as I moved toward the smell of pine needles. Mr. Hobbs got up, his face screwed up in anger. I laughed aloud to get his attention and Mr. Hobbs scanned the yard for prying eyes. He stepped off the porch and toward me, the muscles in his temples twitching. I backed away slowly, feeling the seam sucking me in. At the last moment, when his hand was cocked high to slap me, I gripped and pulled as hard as I could. We fell backward. I caught onto a branch and Mr. Hobbs bashed his head on a lower one. He kept falling and he didn’t land safely on Mama’s bed, like I had. He smashed against the ground and remained motionless. His body was twisted in unnatural ways and blood trickled from his mouth and nose. He looked up at me, his eyes wide and shocked. I climbed down the branches, scraping my hands in my haste. I finally hit the ground and stood over Mr. Hobbs. His eyes still stared straight up to where I was, but his hand crept along the ground. It landed weakly on my ankle. I knelt down and saw a single tear roll down the side of his face. I put my hands over his mouth and nose. He didn’t struggle. I don’t think that he could. He was soon gone forever and I walked home.

Mama cried when the sheriff came around and said they found Mr. Hobbs. They said it looked like he just fell out of the tree, though they couldn’t imagine why a grown man would be climbing a tree.

The house was quiet after the sheriff left. I stayed with Mama in the living room. She kept rubbing her belly as tears rolled down her face. I put my head in her lap and she started to stroke my hair.

“I’m sorry you’re sad, Mama.” I told her in a sleepy whisper. She didn’t say anything to me, she just dragged her fingers through my hair. I fell asleep there, with her repeating that moment.

I awoke in the night, darkness swelling through my room. Mama had carried me to bed. She’d be asleep in her bed and I wanted to climb in with her. I swung my feet out of bed and slid out of bed.

“Little Miss Holly.” Mr. Thomas said in a somber voice.
“Mr. Thomas?” He was sitting in the shadows, still as the night around him. “What are you doing here?”
“Bloody branches. Broken and torn.” He said.
“Mr. Thomas?” I said again.
“I know.” He whispered.
“The voices. They spoke to me. Brought me to you.”
“Mr. Hobbs.” I said softly.
“Why?” He was close to crying. His voice was shaking. I crossed the room to see him better, but he shrank deeper into the shadows.
“Why?” He said again.
“He had to go.” I said, flatly.
“You don’t understand. You don’t understand and I don’t have the words to explain.” He was crying now, his breaths rippling harshly. I moved closer to him, but I only hit the wall. He had slipped through before she could reach him. I left the room and climbed into bed with Mama. I didn’t see Mr. Thomas around anymore, but I always remembered him. The smell of rotten eggs woke me up in the middle of the night. Mr. Hobbs’ voice whispered in my ear. He told me mean-spirited stories and then told me he’d be waiting for me.