Black/White

“We have to find it…”

The words whisper as they left my lips as I sat down next to my Father.

“I understand you want to protect us, but I don’t think it will change anything, Aaron.” He said in response, his tone hushed.

I press a finger to my lips to indicate to keep it down still as I look at his kindly and tired eyes hidden behind a mask of dirt, unshaven beard, and wild unkempt hair. He reminded me a bit of a black haired lion for a moment.

We were both seated on the floor of an abandoned building. It’s defining markings and edifice had long since disintegrated along with any knowledge of its original purpose. He and I sat with the meek but still warming fire in front of us. On the other side was my little sister, Kaylee. Her small body was fast asleep and being kept warm by the amassed blanket nest we had made for her.  Every so often, she would scratch at her nose in her sleep.

Rain poured down from outside with a steady but light rhythm giving our night’s fire a percussive accompaniment to its crackling. I looked outside from one of the many windows or what I assumed had once been windows since no glass adorned them anymore. Out there it was a cold and wet land of verdant greens and urban greys. Empty and hollow building upon building jutted in haphazard scatterings across the landscape while an ocean of trees and green grass connected them all together. And all though it was a rainy night, I could see across it all perfectly by the ever bright white moon’s shining light through the clouds overhead.

From here I could see the final member of our little band of… survivors I suppose would be the word. He was our friend and my boyfriend Darius. Unlike the three of us, sitting around the fire and keeping warm, he sat just on edge of a sheltering awning outside. Dressed warmly and keeping a vigilant watch. Though throughout the entire time we’ve all been wandering, we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of any other living human being, we had seen animals but they weren’t the cause for a need to be guarded .. there was something else hiding in the world that wanted us…

I see him catch my eyes and he half waves at me and goes back to being a sentinel over this empty world.

So much of this world was now empty. ..

Before, it had been so very different. Streets lined with people and cars, airspace filled with helicopters, planes, and the clawing talons of skyscrapers, and the whole world was just so… cold, emotionless.. loveless. No one gave two shits about each other. Rushing from day to day, barreling through each other’s lives as if other people didn’t exist. Even my own mother treated me and the rest of us that way….

And then it all changed.

I had started walking one night, staring at these people who cared nothing of each other pass me by on the street.  As I watched, one by one, they started to become sparser and sparser. More and more, the bustling street became emptier and emptier. I wondered at it until I at last saw what was causing the dispersal of the crowds.

I saw a woman walking forward, her baby bundled in her arms. The child cooed in her embrace as she smiled down at him and played with his nose with her fingers. A veritable scene of maternal love.

Suddenly, as she stepped down the sidewalk, a black ooze shot out from seemingly every crevasse in the ground. Long wet and viscous tendrils made of pure jet black color flailed and thrashed about her. Reaching and grasping, they latched to her and the kid, slowing her progress and slowly tearing away at her. I watched mouth agape, as the oozing tendrils ripped at their bodies in slivers of crimson and black. Ripped and torn until nothing was left. But what made my blood run cold was not the gory display, it was the fact that she didn’t seem to notice it at all. She just kept walking as pieces of her were torn away bit by bit. By the time she was nothing more than small bits of flesh strung together by slivers of bone and muscle, I finally gasped loud.  What was left of her head and face, turned my direction..and she appeared to have smiled at me. Then she was nothing and the blackness disappeared into the pavement.

I looked around frantically and not only was this occurring everywhere, people being torn to shreds until they were non existent, but they all were unaware of the terrible blackness and of even their own demises. I bolted home, running as fast as I could. Doing my absolute best to dodge any obstacle in my way, I moved as swiftly as my legs could carry me towards the 2 story house I called home. As I got to the door, I turned and looked around at the once busy suburban streets and saw nothing more than empty roads lit by the orange spot lights of the street lamps and dotted by the various homes whose lights were still on.

I strained my eyes to try and see if anyone else was around.  No one was within sight.  I turned the handle to the front door as a sudden loud groan came from streets.  A sound as if the world itself had been wracked with pain. I looked again to the streets and watched as one by one from each directions I could see, the lights slowly began to be snuffed out. Rhythmically, each light turned to blackness, plunging the world into foreboding darkness.  I strained to see if anything was in the dark and for a moment saw nothing, but then a flash of light illuminated the void for a moment, there were writhing masses of black and wet tentacles crawling forward in that dark abyss. Suddenly the light was snuffed out as I saw what it had emanated from. A car whose driver was equally being torn to shreds inside had driven right into the abyss of black.

I ran inside and was prepared to scream for my mother, when I saw her standing right in front of me. Typical as always she was dressed in her very finest business attire. She always wanted to dress in the way my Father had gotten her accustomed to. The best clothes and home money could buy. A stern look was on her made up face. Her arms were crossed in an angry stance.

“Aaron…where have you been? I have..HAD a meeting to get to and you just walked off. You know damn well, I can’t just leave without ha..”

“Mom, shits going down outside, I don’t know what’s going on .. I don’t know what…but people are dying…People are fucking dying…black..fucking..tentacles…And people are just oblivious…Mom! We have to find some place safe..it’s coming here! Its coming this way!”

“AARON! You do NOT interrupt me.” A hand flapped across my face. Enough force and anger was behind it that I found myself reeling away into the living room.

“I swear, I don’t even know who the hell you are.. black tentacles..what the hell is wrong with you. There is nothing going on outside, stop making fantasies up to get out of your responsibilities!” Her voice calls after me.

I look up and see my dad, sister, and Darius sitting in the living room. All of them dressed in their Sunday’s finest and looked as if they had all had just gotten haircuts. For a second I tried not to think of how dressed down I was in comparison. They looked to me and Darius whispers the words, “We Know….it’s going to be ok..”

I turn around to look at me mother “Mom, see dad and Kaylee and Darius know… just look outside.. please.. you’ll see..” Another slap.

“I don’t even know you…I swear.. I really don’t…stop it. All right? Just stop it…”

I look at her…and see that it was already too late…The tendrils had come through the cracks in the door and were already tearing at her. She stared at me with a fury and frustration in her eyes. “You have to stop it! Its annoying!”

“But mom! Its already…”

“AARON! YOU’RE A GROWN MAN! THERE IS NOTHING OUT THERE AND THERE IS NOTHING IN HERE!!! Why do I put up with your childish ways?!” Those proved to be her last words as the blackness tore away her face and lower jaw. Leaving behind a fleshy skull.

I screamed and fell backwards.

Darius caught me.

I looked up and  somehow.. something in me knew what to do next.

“I.. I know what to do.. everyone get up to my room.. quickly!” I bolted, grabbing Kaylee and putting her in my arms. Darius and my father trailed behind.

I heard Kaylee’s little voice say, “Don’t do it..just…go with it…please, big brother.”

My father said from behind, “Listen to her son, it’s ok… just go with it, you don’t need to do anything..”

Darius caught up to my side and looked at me with a stern and understanding look, “Do what you feel you need to do, but personally Aaron, I’d ignore what your dad and sis are saying… it’s going to end badly if you don’t..”

I couldn’t help it and yelled, “I’m trying to save you all…How the fuck do you guys even know what I’m planning on doing?!” They all were silent.

I ran into my room, we had been painting in here the past few days. Changing the once blue and scratched up walls to a white. 3 of the walls were all painted, except for one. It was still bare with pieces of the paneling having been ripped out revealing the brick behind it. I grabbed  the white paint bucket and started writing on the brick with my fingers.  

Something in me knew the truth of what was happening and I had to write it. Something in me just KNEW what it was…and I had to preserve the knowledge. Something in me just knew that it would save us all in this room. Me..my father…my sister… my boyfriend…

I heard the blackness given life slithering and crawling up the stairs As I finished,    I heard the door to my room groan. As I turned around, it shattered, I suddenly found myself forgetting what it was I had written, and then it was all black…

When  I woke up again, I found myself on the floor of an abandoned building. My sister, father, and Darius stared down at me as they stood around me.  It was night out and the rain was falling. Time had passed, I could tell. The three of them had lost their nice clothing and were all dressed in warm but dirty clothes. My father and Darius had grown quite impressive beards while my little sister’s once short hair was now a tangled mane.

“How..how long have I been out?” I asked weakly.

“A long time. Try not to dwell on it…. but if you look outside..” my father began.

“A lot of things have changed…” Darius finished for him.

I slowly picked myself up and walked towards a window. “A long time..” said my little sister from behind me as she walked over and grabbed my hand. We both looked out and saw what we’ve been looking at since then…the urban decay and reclamation of the earth. Empty shells of civilization now filled with the natural world’s flora and fauna. We had seen from time to time animals big and small mostly deer, squirrels, and various insects and arachnids but never another human.

What further cultivated the strange new yet familiar environment was the sky. Never again did we see the sun or a clear sky. The luminous white moon shone always, hour after hour, day after day, month after month. The rain never stopped falling either. Though it would fluctuate from steady to torrential down pour to such a light drizzle it could be mistaken for mist rather than rain, it never let up.   

And it’s been that way since then…the only four humans alive as far as I was concerned. Walking alone in this verdant apocalypse under the watchful moon and the sky’s weeping clouds.  

We scavenged, we passed the time, we hunted, and we played. Not once did we go wanting for food or for shelter. Rarely did we feel threatened or scared walking this world alone and when we confronted those fears of the sounds in the dark, it was always the simplest thing from wind, to rain, to a startled animal. We had lost civilization but in truth we had found a twilight paradise here.

Not once did I feel lonely or sad. I had my father to talk to and comfort me with his wisdom and paternal love, my sister to play with and teach, and Darius to love. Everyday I felt as much joy and happiness in our little surviving family than I did before this mass destruction. From the genocide of humanity, came my greatest joy.

And then there it was… the undoing of all of this.

At some point during the most torrential of rain falls, for the first time, lightning shot through the sky. It terrified us all at first as it was the first true disturbance we had encountered in … however long we had been traveling. It tore the night sky illuminating the clouds. A single stroke at first followed some time later by the roaring thunder. Then another.. and another and another… it went on and on for what seemed like hours.

My sister was terrified and had frantically climbed me and wrapped her arms around my neck. Crying and screaming “Make it stop! Make it stop! I don’t like it! I don’t like!!!”  

My father behind me and said in a stern but still comforting voice, “Don’t worry Aaron. We’re still here.”

I had thought to myself, why on earth are you telling me this, its Kaylee who needs the comforting.  And just as that thought had entered my mind, a racking pain shot through me. My entire head felt like it was on fire and I couldn’t keep myself from screaming in pain.

Darius quickly was to my side, hugging me close and putting Kaylee between us. “We got you. We got you” he said in most soothing voice I’d ever heard him say. My father wrapped his arms around all us from the opposite side.  And as suddenly as the pain had arisen, so too did the pain subside by their comforting.

I blinked away the tears the pain had caused me and looked around.  Nothing had truly changed save for our fire had died out.  I sighed in relief and we all four sat back down. Relighting the fire and gathering around it for warmth.

But the relief would not last long. Some time later, as we traveled again, I spotted out in the distance something that made me cry out almost instantly in shock and fear and sorrow.

Off in the distances I saw them slide and flail to and fro. Reaching out and grasping at anything in its vicinity. Buildings, Animals, trees, and other vegetation were being torn and ripped to shreds. In a terrible obliterating homecoming the slithering, undulating, and wretched mass of disintegrating tentacles had returned. Save for now, instead of blackness, they were the purest white. The same white as the lightning. And instead of only assaulting the living things and structures, the very places they slashed and whipped at, left nothing more than a white ominous scar. As if they … no.. somehow I knew… they were tearing a rip right into the fabric of reality.

Fear gripped me. And I knew I had to protect us all again. One more time. But I couldn’t remember what it was that I had done in my room so long ago.

And so I urged and begged my father, sister, and Darius to help me. To lead me back home, back to my room that we had abandoned so long ago, in hopes that what I had written there was still there. And I could replicate it and save us again.

“It won’t change anything,” My father said sadly.

“I don’t want to go back there.. please don’t make me go back there big brother..” my sister cried.

You have to do what you think is best, Aaron. It’s .. It’s going to be painful…but I’ll lead you back if you really want to do this.” Darius’s voice was saddened but resolute.

And so, we began to travel back. Running as long as we could before we were too tired to. Once our legs began to give out we would find shelter and pray the white tentacles would not catch up to us and void our existence.

I was brought back again to the present campfire, pulled out of the memory that dragged us here as the fire let out a loud crackle. I looked back at my father and sister and smiled. Kaylee was awake and my father was playing a game of I spy with her.

I smiled and for a moment, I forgot the terrible thing looming on the horizon. I looked back to Darius and he was still standing guard. He was looking towards me and I was about to tell him to come back to the fire when he raised his hand to the sky, pointing.  

I looked up and saw lightning crackling across the clouds. I felt the pain welling up in my temples when suddenly the flash and crack of lightning and the booming rolling thunder came. Bringing with it the shuddering excruciating pain.

I fell to my knees and screamed aloud. The three were to me again, the two men with their hands on my back. When I opened my eyes again, my little sister was in front of me. She was holding my hands and pressing her forehead to mine.

“I don’t want see you in pain anymore Big Brother, let’s go find it..” she said sweetly

“You’re not scared anymore?” I asked weakly

“I’m scared and I don’t like that place, but I don’t like you hurt.” She responded

“She’d rather suffer her own fears than see her brother in pain.” My father said proudly.

I was about to say something in thanks when Darius cut me off.

“We have to get going. Now.” He raised a finger towards the horizon.

There the white crawling mass had grown larger and was moving at a much more accelerated pace than before. It would be on us soon if we didn’t start running. A sound roared from it like the screams of a thousand people rising in anger and frustration. Hatred was in that sound…and it felt so familiar….

“I can’t run that fast..” Kaylee began, hopelessness in her voice.

“I’ll carry Kaylee..” Darius said. “We all go together or not at all…”

“We all go together or not at all..” My father repeated. “You’re sure this is what you want son?”

“Yes.” I said quietly..

“Then move your ass…”

And we started running.

Darius lead the way as we barreled through empty fields and crumbling buildings. Fear and determination driving our exodus towards my old home and I though on the surface I wondered if it was actually still there considering the state of the other buildings, but something in me knew full well it would still be there.

Behind us, the monstrosity raged and flailed. Ripping apart building and tree and animal and earth. Where it moved through, nothing was left but blinding white. Even the sky and horizon were blotted out by the vacant white.

And we ran and ran…

I don’t know how long we ran for, it seemed as if we would never tire and the lack of day or movement of the moon gave us no indication of the passage of time.

And there finally, at the lead of Darius, upon a hill, standing solitarily on the precipice, was the ruins of my home. It was unlike the rest of the abandoned buildings in that instead of being gray and blank, it was specific and had color. Where there were no identifying marks on the other buildings, this single one withstood it all with each bit of its distinguishing features still present. But the color and features were not exactly the same, they were brown and black. The wood and brick were rotted and  wet. Tiny black pits were in the outside walls in clusters that oozed and regurgitated a black viscous substance.   It stood out as a rotted tooth from the ground in all its vileness.

I started to walk up to it slowly, the three trailing behind me. My little sister was crying softly as if we were walking towards our doom.

As we got to the door, I turned around and was hit with an immense sense of Déjà vu. The white slithering masses were surrounding us. Encroaching and moving at a steady rhythmic pace, like a heartbeat. Each throb of the mass making it get closer and each throb giving me an uneasy and dizzying feeling.  I pushed my way through the door, giving no care to the wet and soft wood and entered inside.

The three followed in.

The interior of the house had not fared any better than the outside. It was cold and wet inside and the fixtures and architecture reflected that in its molded over and warped states. All over the floor, walls, and ceiling, the black liquid creeped its way towards each exit it could find.

I made my way to the stairs and began to ascend and making my way towards the room. The three walked up with me slowly but as steadily as possible. None of us wanted to fall face first into this filth.

The slow moving and silence somehow gave it all a peaceful feeling amongst all this wretchedness.

I found the door to my room. It was just as rotted as the rest of the house and it opened by merely pressing my hand to it. We all four walked slowly.

My room was empty save a single chair in the middle that seemed to be unaffected by the black ichor that permeated the room save for its legs that the blackness lapped at like the columns of a pier. I walked passed it and headed right to the wall it was facing. The wall I had written what protected them. The wall that bore what had caused all this.

It was black bricks, covered in a  layer of the blackness. I reached out and wiped it away. There underneath was my writing still in the white paint upon the red brick. I wiped and wiped and wiped and uncovered the whole wall. All the while, my father, sister, and Darius had remained behind the chair. Never moving.

I looked back at them triumphantly and turned back to the now visible words to try and do whatever I had done again. And found them illegible.

The letters were there and the fact that they made up words and sentences was clear, but nothing made sense. I couldn’t understand anything at all. Even focusing and straining to look at the writing in front of me made my head spin and spin.  To my eyes it looked like nothing more than a bleak mess of white and tainted bricks. Hopelessness began to set in as I walked back towards the three.

Downstairs, I heard the groan and thrumming of the white destroyer pressing against the door.  

“I’m sorry…I’m sorry… I just thought…I would remember…but it doesn’t mean anything..”

As I unceremoniously dropped into the chair, collapsing into a bottomless self loathing, Darius placed his arm around my neck and whispered, “It wasn’t your fault..”  

I closed my eyes and wondered how he could be so forgiving  for having lead them to their deaths…

“no..it’s my fault…I..” my eyes opened to look up at him and found not him nor my father or my sister standing besides me but an almost empty room with a blinding white buzzing light over head. Not only empty, but clean and white. The only thing adorning the room was the chair I was sitting in and a small table by the door that held a small white fountain trickling and gurgling water. I looked around frantically, calling their names, and saw that this was indeed my room but the walls and ceiling were painted a white that hurt my eyes. The floor had been replaced from the thick blackness to white tiles.  

Even my clothes had were a simple white shirt and white pants. I began to stand up and found myself weak. Barely able to hold my own weight, I tried to steady myself before I felt a jolt shudder through my body and I fell to the floor.

I shut my eyes in anticipation of falling to the floor and when I re opened them again, I found myself back in the rotted version of my room. The real version I felt.

Darius and my father helped me as my sister ran to me and hugged my side, she was crying again, “Don’t go away.. please don’t go away like that again…”

“What the hell just happened?” I asked weakly.

“You left this place..” Darius said.

“And we would have faded into nothingness..” my father added.

“But..” I thought for a moment as I walked towards the wall with the unintelligible writing, “I knew where I was… it was here. But everything was if it was clean and the world hadn’t gone to shit.”

I put my head to the wall and closed my eyes, “What the fuck is going on?” I whispered.

When I opened them again, I was greeted with the white wall. I looked around and found everything back to the white and cold color. I turned around to the wall and put my fingers to it.. it was wood. Painted wood…

If this is my room..perhaps behind here is the same writing.. maybe there is a chance…

I reached over and grabbed the chair and with what little strength I had, Slammed it with all my might against the wood panel.  It shattered the chair and tore a hole in the wall.

I dropped the broken shards of the chair and walked to the hole I had made and put my fingers to it. Tearing at it, I pulled away a piece large enough for light to illuminate the other side. There it was.. my writing. White writing on the red bricks that had not been painted over just covered.

I could make out the first two hastily scrawled words “Aaron, If..”

“what the fuck…” I said

“You selfish brat… all this time and the first things you do is break things and use foul language in my presence..”

The voice was angry..cruel…and familiar. I turned around and I saw my mother standing there. Dressed as she always was, in business attire and severe makeup.

“Mom..what..what’s goin on?”

“You insufferable child!” she screamed, “Look at what you did to my wall.. It was bad enough you had to graffiti the brick with your idiotic self loathing now you have to tear through my nice wood paneling.”

“Mom I don’t.. I don’t understand what’s going on…”

With in a split second she closed the gap between us and struck me in the face, “NO you don’t, No you don’t get to pretend like you haven’t been a lazy worthless thing while I’ve been here dressing and feeding you.”

The the blow makes me see stars for a moment and I stumble against the wall, breaking just a bit more of it, “Mom I..”

I was back in the rotted home again.

My father was at my side, “Son.. I asked you if this is what you wanted and you said yes.. please make it worth it..”

“I.. I can dad.. it’s where ever the white place I’ve seen is… it’s there.. I can read it. I have to go back…”

“Then go back and do what you think is best, Aaron” Darius says to me.

I shut my eyes as Kaylee holds my father, crying.

I open them and find myself sitting on the floor. My mother hovering over me. In her hands was something black with two tiny metal prongs jutting out.

“He left everything to you…EVERYTHING! It should’ve been me the one he loved and made bear him children but no.. he left it to you! You spoiled brat.. “

I got back up on my feet “Mom.. what.. what are you talking about?!”

“You should’ve died with them!” and with that she shoved the black thing to my side and I felt a pain that I had only recently come to know… the shocking pain of the lightning was wracking me. A pain that was being resurrected by a simple Taser on a Drive Stun setting.

In the shuddering and unbearable pain, I jolted and twitched back and forth. My sight shifting in snapshot visions of the white room to the rotted one back and forth. From my mother’s cruel and hate filled face to my father’s, Darius, and Kaylee’s faces.

“NO! NO you don’t get to go away into sleep this time. No! I want you to stay awake for all this until you finally die!” She removed the Taser from my side and wrapped her fingers around my neck.  “I hoped you’d just die of a heart attack from it or go fully brain dead but no.. you had to be persistent. You had to keep yourself alive somehow and fight it off. But now.. now I don’t even care about the money.. I just want you dead.. DEAD DEAD DEAD!!” she slammed my head back and forth against the wall. My vision again going back and forth.

My eyes searched frantically in both rooms for some way to fight it off.

“It’s ok big brother…you can do it..” I heard Kaylees voice say. I looked for her and saw her  sitting at my side, pointing down wards. My vision went back to the white room and there was the taser on the ground.

I grabbed it flicked it on, my mother gasped, and I rammed it into her neck. We both jolted and twitched from the shock. She let go and fell to the side, shuddering and shuddering over and over again. Wailing in pain.

“Mom..please.. I don’t.. I don’t want to hurt you… just tell me whats happening…” I cried.

She was silent for a moment as she  composed herself. “You don’t need to understand.” She said in a quiet voice. “You just need to die..” she said coldly as she stood back up, a sharp piece of the broken chair in her hand.

She leapt for me and did the only thing I could do.

I fired the taser and the two electrodes landed on her chest. She shook violently as the electricity crackled in the air before she fell backwards onto the pile of broken chair. I closed my eyes hoping to be brought back to the rotted room with the three. Instead  I heard the loud squelching sound of something piercing flesh. I opened my eyes and saw  my mother on the ground. There was a piece of the broken chair piercing right through her neck. Blood oozing onto the floor as her life drained out of her. The face she made as the life finally left her was a contortion of hatred and pain and her eyes fixated on mine.

I turned back to the wall to avoid the sight of my mother’s hatred and let out an agonized moan. I didn’t want to kill her.. I didn’t want to but she was going to murder me.. and I still didn’t understand.

I slammed my fists against the wall and it broke down further.  

I could see more words…”Darius, Kaylee, and Dad…

I started to tear at the wood with all my might, ripping it bit by bit.

As I did so more and more became visible.

And finally after the last piece was moved out of the way, the message I written to myself so long ago was finally visible. I let out a cry of pain realizing now why Kaylee was so afraid to go back, why Darius left it up to me, and why my dad advised against it.

I slammed on the wall with my fists. Crying and screaming.

“NO! NO! I WANT TO GO BACK! LET ME GO BACK PLEASE GOD LET ME GO BACK!!”

I punched the wall until my fists were bloody and leaving red marks on the white writing.

I shut my eyes hard, I focused as hard as I could to go back. And for the briefest of moments I heard their voices in the blackness of my closed eyes.

“Please just let me go back…” my words choked in my throat.

I reopened them and stared at the writing on the wall and read it out loud:

Aaron, If you are reading this, I wrote this for you as your mind began to unravel. I wrote this so you could remember. There was a car crash, you were driving. Darius, Kaylee  and Dad were with you.

Dad and Kaylee died instantly.

.I left it all to you son… and now you’ll have all you could ever want except one thing…

You knew it wasn’t your fault. Someone had ran a red light forcing you to swerve and roll off the side of the road.  But your guilt over being the driver was too much for you to handle. Darius died after you pulled him from the wreckage. He told you what you refused to admit.

It wasn’t your fault Aaron. You wouldn’t admit that but that you know…you’re not trapped here anymore.. you’re free”

Mom did her best to make you feel guilty. She hated you and Kaylee because it was in dad’s will that you get everything. But know it wasn’t your fault.  She didn’t love you but Darius, Dad, and Kaylee did.

“You wont be able to play with me all the time big brother…but I still love you…”

If you’re reading this, you’re free of whatever fantasy world you made up to escape the guilt that was never there.

Love,

Aaron

I stared at the wall for a long time and wiped the tears from my face.

I turned and to look at the door and slowly walked towards it. As I did so, I paid no attention to the greedy woman’s corpse that had once been my mother on the ground.  I walked away from the prison I had been put into and left behind the prison I put myself into.

It’s been 10 years since then.  After much investigation my mother’s intentions were clear and I was found capable to not only live on my own but to receive the inheritance owed to me from my father’s will.   

I now live in a nice home afforded to me by the money my mother could never fully touch as long as I still lived.  I’ve grown to know comfort of other people and even love again outside of those cold white walls and away from the place I had created in my mind where my Father, Kaylee, and Darius dwelt.  Though I’ll always love them, I’ve learned to move on.

I don’t quite know what the significance had been of the blackness from my collapse and the white from my resurgence but I can guess. I presumed the blackness was my mind’s depression and self hatred obliterating everything that reminded me of my guilt and removing everything except the things that I thought were important. Which was seeing those three again.

The white I think was my mind’s response to the electrical storms being created by my mother attempting to murder me. I was trying to bring back myself to that room so that I could wake up again.

That’s why Kaylee didn’t want to go back, I knew that it would destroy this world.

That’s why my dad didn’t want to go back, I knew I would have to face this terrible place and truth.

But that’s why Darius let me decide on my own, I knew underneath it all, I had to  face the fact that I was not to blame and that I couldn’t live in a fantasy anymore even if it meant giving that life all up.

I miss them all terribly. But I have moved on finally.

And while I don’t have them in my waking hours, I can still wander with them in dreams.

 

Epilogue

“Son,  I love you but here is what I would do with my money..”   

“Aaron, tell me about the new guy. I’m happy you’re finally dating again but I want to approve of him..”

Not now…I’ve got something more important to do..

“Big brother! Did you come to play?”

Always….

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Professional Differences

Mikhail- Hello

Viktor- Hi!!

Mikhail- So, you’re still quite chipper and over indulgent of your emotions still?

Viktor- Of course! Can’t you see from my smile? And you! Aren’t we always the man of too many words to say somethin’ simple. hehehe

Mikhail-Perhaps my vocabulary can be toned down a bit. But, regardless of what you think, this is how i talk. Same as in regards to how you act.

Viktor- Heheheeheheheheheheheheheehhehehe

Mikhail- Speaking of acting. I saw your little enactment on the news. Care to explain yourself there?

Viktor- Why are you worried that you’re gonna be get caught? Huh? huh? big bad Mikhail gonna get caught? hehehe

Mikhail – hardly. I worry however that your antics will cause an uproar. While it may lead to your eventual discovery, it will most likely, intrude on my work making it slower if not forcing me into hiatus for a time.

Viktor- SEE! Told ya! Told ya! youre gonna get cauuuught you’re gonna get caught. Me? I wanna get caught. I wanna get it all out in the open..but i want it to be big…really big.

MIkhail- your penchant for the dramatic is always amusing Viktor. But you really do have to think about things in the long run. I understand your love of being a gibbering nihilist can get in the way of your foresight, but if you get caught in one large fel swoop of an event, you won’t be able to continue the work.

Viktor- What’s your point?

Mikhail – (Sighs) Lets consider this shall we. ( a loud thump is heard) This is my most recent work. Notice no cuts, no destructive contusions or shows of blunt trauma. As a matter of fact, i might say he is rather content and happy in his repose.

Viktor- OOOOoooo I love show and tell days. (a loud wet slosh is heard) Lookie what i did myself. Notice the..umm.. well..you cant notice much.

Mikhail- no you cant. What exactly did you do?

Viktor- hehehe I snuck into their garage..snuck into the bedroom…and REVVED UP THE LAWNMOWER! heheeh NNNNNn nnnn nn nn n n n !! SPLASH! SPLATTER! hehehe

Mikhail- Their? You killed two at once?

Viktor- Three technically!

Mikhail- You disgust me. Why i continue this with you I don’t know. I would get far more work done with indulging your child like need for Show and tell.

Viktor- Oh you know why you continue this Mikky. If you don’t, you lose sight of me. And you don’t get to keep tabs on me to make sure that i don’t go too far. Heheh plus…you love me. Viktory and Mikky sitting in a tree…K I L L I N G!

Mikhail- Ever astute in your mad clarity. And stop dancing on him. I need to return the body prior to his wife returning from cuckolding him.

Viktor- Cucka whata?

Mikhail_-(Exasperated sigh) Cheating on him. She’ll return and think that he died of a sudden onset of the congestive heart failure his family suffers from. She will run to the embrace of her lover afterwards whom she has not done her research on. based upon his violent past he will most likely beat her. After a few incidents of domestic abuse, I will arrive and take care of her and him in my own way. In this case an attempt of murder on his part and self defense on hers will suffice.

Viktor-uh huh…..well…don’t you have it all planned out..unless of course some jerk did this!!! (loud splatter)

Mikhail- Congratulations. You’ve contaminated my work of art with your immature sanguine finger painting. …a smiley face on his peaceful countenance. How droll.

Viktor-No one appreciates my art. Humph!

Mikhail- And no one appreciates the meticulousness it takes to ensure that a corpse appears to have died of one malady as opposed to malevolence. Skilled hands and a far less excitable personality.

Viktor-ARE YOU INSULTING ME?! I’ll shove a cherry bomb up your ass and make you watch Bambi’s Mother’s death scene over and over again until you apologize!

Mikhail-Case in point.

Viktor-I should have strangled you in the womb.

Mikhail-Your stubby digits at the time wouldn’t have been able to perform the gesticulating mo..

Viktor-YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!..but you’re my brother and i have to love you….

Mikhail-Yes of course. Love is the tie that binds. But that won’t stop me from turning you in or killing you myself if need be. Now, calm your chaotic work and attempt to do some more planning and forethought.

Viktor-Ya ya sure sure…spoilsport.

Mikhail-Good. Now i have to return the corpse, go home and prep for the day ahead. Perhaps make an appearance at my office since I will have to receive news of one of my patients passing away of heart failure.

Viktor-Ta ta…by bye….is he gone? oo yes hes gone…its just you and me now. Just you can me my sweet Variola Major. Whats that? You want me to share you with the world? BUt ill get jealous…Ok ok..lets compromise. I get to pick all the lovely people I get to share you with first. Hmmm? But of course! In the end you and me will be together…forever…and ever…

I Miss Halloween by Barnabas Deimos

I miss Halloween, I think to myself as I stare blankly about the empty stone walls. Only the bare essential of a toilet and what passes as a bed occupy the room aside from myself. Not even a blanket or sheet is present to fight off the cold.  A deep chill that lays heavy in this cell making my bare feet and face feel almost numb. The only illumination comes from the flicker of lights from the other side of the tiny window. It hangs at eye height in a door that serves as the only entrance in and out of my cell. The scratches marking the previous tenant’s unstable or panicked mind line it’s perimeter and it makes me shudder. I do my best to stave off the unease with memories of happier times..

Halloween.

Most of my happier memories are of Halloween. Every year, I’d wait with bated breath for October to roll in and bring me the orange and blacks.  I’d do my absolute best as a kid to find as many opportunities to dress up or to do some sort of activity that held the Halloween spirit. It was such a fun and mysterious holiday in the eyes of an innocent child. And my mother did her best to make it even more special.

Though it was just me and her, my father having passed away when I was still an infant, my mother would do her absolute best to accommodate me when it came to Halloween.  Money was always tight but when I was little she still managed to piece together costumes for me from the most unconventional and cheap places. Eventually she even taught me how to make costumes myself and I did just that every year. She would get me the fabric or materials and then eventually, when I was old enough, I would buy them myself.

She was so proud when I had shown her my first really well done costume. So much so, she cried as much as she had done when I graduated high school.  All my first costumes were clearly amateur and ventured on silly as opposed to scary, but this year I had saved and managed to make a truly terrifying Zombie outfit. She was so proud of me over it, she grabbed the zombie outfit I had thrown together and danced with it. She jokingly said that when she passed away, she would want me to make her a costume to be put in the ground with. Just so she could be aptly dressed when she rose again during the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

I laughed. She laughed.

Later that year, we discovered she had cancer. And by the following Halloween, my mother passed away. I wrapped up the costume and put it her coffin. Kissed her forehead, and told her forever sleeping face that she can put it on at her leisure.  

I come back to the present and find my eyes filled with tears.  I do my best to wipe them off as I hear commotion behind the cell’s door. I hear the orderlies walking about outside speaking amongst themselves in their native German. I look out through the small view allotted to me and take in the surroundings I’ve grown accustomed to for almost a year.

A sprawling dank of greys and whites line the hallways and seemingly always wet concrete floor are what I can see. I can barely make out the form an orderly as well, a man dressed in white walking through the hallway .The hanging lights flickering away with inconsistent veils of darkness give him the illusion that he is teleporting forward with each flash.

I don’t need to see to know that there is at least one more orderly in the hallway. There is always a guard standing out of my line of sight and adjacent to my cell. I can hear him speaking with a raspy voice that spoke of two packs a day. In answer a younger albeit deep voice of one of the incoming orderlies speaks. Very few words I could understand let alone grasp, but it sounded what I had come to know as the changing of the guard shift.  

As I see the owner of the younger voice, I smile. He reminds me of someone I once knew….someone who I had met on a Halloween night.

As I had grown older, the love for Halloween didn’t stop. If anything I got more and more wrapped up in it. Parties with the big kids, turned into nonstop parties that would rage well into the morning hours. Street fairs with that sprawled across blocks with free flowing booze and debauchery.  And I myself, as self-absorbed as it sounds, had grown into quite the looker and it made those parties of debauchery ever so much more fun if you know what I mean.

All in the magical sense of Halloween and I swear, there was some real magic in the air every year.  Sure there are plenty of mythological ties to the holiday from its roots such as Samhain, but I don’t mean that kind of magic, just the magic of fun, socializing, being someone else for a bit or being everything you were just showing it on the outside. Hells even the magic of love.

I met my first boyfriend at one of those sprawling Halloween parties. I was introduced to a black haired blue eyed man named Patrick and he loved the holiday almost as much as I did. He was dressed as one of those massive locust guards from Gears of War and he had done an amazing job on his costume. I had gone as the angel of death complete with nearly working wings. It was an amazing night that became the start of a long relationship.

Every single year we dressed up together and made the Halloween season our month long macabre anniversary. A disgustingly happy duo enjoying the parties, events, haunted houses, and yes, even as adults, Trick or Treating. Granted we were taking Patrick’s niece out trick or treating when her mom couldn’t and we were just taking the opportunity to join in.

Then almost a year ago, Patrick and I decided to do something different. We wanted to take trip to Europe and visit creepy places all throughout the month of October that would eventually culminate in Paris on Halloween night.

It was the most amazing trip at its beginning, having started in Amsterdam and then continuing on moving from hostel to hostel. We lost track of time practically and lost track of ourselves in our fun and laughter. I don’t think I had ever been happier.  I was excited as it was as well to show off since I had painstakingly made us custom Hellraiser’s Cenobite costumes. So much work and as you can imagine love went into them.  

Then it all happened in a flash, I remember coming into Germany.  Discovering that in our trip that one of us had misplaced the costumes. I grew frantic in the hostel room that we shared with several other people. And then I foolishly flew into an argument of blame. So furious was I that my voice rose and rose as I lifted the suitcase that held only sewing implements that should have held our costumes and dumping its contents on the floor. Then our roommate began to argue with me in his language…Dutch I think. Amidst the lack of communication and the amassing anger, arguing soon rose to an altercation and then… all was red.

I snap back to reality as a flash of light shines on my eyes. The Orderly is flashing his phone through the tiny window. I can see the tiny and even familiar icons for his applications and most importantly, I could see the date. It was October 30th at 11pm.

I smile as best as I can muster at him as he removes the phone and grins back at me. A handsome face with blue eyes and slightly messy black hair that had caught me off guard the first time I’d seen him scans the room.  The face that seemed so much like Patrick’s turns in profile as he checks to ensure the other orderlies were gone. He says something I don’t understand but I can tell its intent. I step away from the door and sit on my bed.

Every night, that handsome face hated to be bothered with work. So he’d do his best to make certain that he wasn’t going to be bothered. Every patient that I shared this hallway with knew full well what it meant to bother him: A vicious beating with a baton and a shot of sedative if they weren’t knocked unconscious. I had been lucky on my first night here…

I had been inducted into this ward the same night as another man.  I was still reeling and still attempting to piece together everything that had put me here in stunned silence but the other man had no intention of being stoic. Instead he raged and rattled in his cell. Yelling and thrashing causing every bit of ruckus he could. But it was quickly silenced by the opening of his cell, and the yelling and thrashing turned to the sounds of flesh being beaten and screams of anguished pain. Then the cell door closed followed by that handsome and lightly sweating face coming to my window. He pressed his fingers to his lips and let out a silent Shh at me. Every time a new patient would arrive and He would have to teach them. And each time, I remained silent as could be. Fearful silence…

The same fearful silence had gripped me what I had realized what had happened that night. When the red haze of anger had finally subsided I was being lifted off the ground.  Several of the hostel occupants were dragging me out of the room and I was covered head to toe, in blood. I was terrified, I was confused, I had no clue what was going on other than the terrified and angry faces looking back at me. I screamed Patricks name over and over again even as I was dragged outside the building and greeted with flashing blue lights. And soon thrust into a police car. I screamed his name from beyond the windows until I saw the gurneys leaving the entrance. There I could see Patrick’s limp body with a disgusting protrusion in his neck. His once handsome face now terror stricken and staring vacantly and lifelessly upwards. Tears flowed freely from my eyes commingling with the blood that covered my face. My Halloween mask was that of a broken man held in terrible frozen silence…

Fearful terrible silence…for almost a year since then…

Fearful silence haunted by a face that so resembled Patrick’s…

Sitting here day in and day out, night in and night out as I listened to others be beaten by that very face …

Sitting here alone and bereft of anyone else in this world save the mad men that are locked up and mad men who guard us…

And I realize, on top of it all, I am going to miss Halloween this year…for the first time in my life, I would not be celebrating October 31st

And for the first time since arriving here, I find no way to keep it in.

I attempt to stifle a sudden sorrowful gasp but tears are begging to pour..

My body is shaking… the weight of everything is finally pushing down on me so hard I can’t breathe…

I don’t want to be here…I want to be home… I want to be free…

I realize I am sobbing loudly but am unable to control it. I need so desperately to be away from here…I want mom…I want to show her every costume I’ve made since she’s been gone…

I hear shouting but pay it no head as I let the pour of emotion

I… I want Patrick…I want to go out with him dressed up in the streets…I want to be happy again..

I hear the door open and the handsome orderly with His face walks in shouting angrily holding his baton.

A flash of memory strikes me of the man who spoke dutch yelling at me and Patrick…

I want my Halloween back..

I leap at the orderly….

I remember the Dutchman had thrown he first punch..

I surprise the orderly as I make contact..

I had ducked and the Dutchman had missed me and hit Patrick..

Grabbing the orderlys’ head, I slam with full force towards the ground.

I remember Patrick had fallen and hit his head with a sickening crunch against the bed post and suddenly going limp…

The orderly’s skull makes a loud sickening slap of flesh and bone meeting the concrete…

I remember leaping at the Dutchman and grabbing slamming him to the ground…

I grab the orderlies baton and with a howl lift it into the air…

I remember grabbing the scissors and bringing them down…

I slam the baton into the orderlys face…

I slam the scissors into the dutchman’s chest

Again I bash the orderl’ys skull

Again I stab the dutchman’s chest

Bloody bits of bone and brain matter that once belonged to the orderly begin to spread across the floor with each wet strike of the baton…

Blood, skin, and pulpy meat fly up in sloppy chunks as I drive the sharp instrument into the Dutchman’s chest…

Again the orderly …again the Dutchman. Again..and again.. the Dutchman..the orderly…simultaneously I see them both in my vision The Dutchman’s bloody chest the orderly’s bloody skull the Dutchman the orderly….

Then only a bloody mess of teeth and hair fill my sight as I am brought fully into the present…

I heave in gasps of ragged breath as I find that I am slamming the baton on concrete….

I find that I had been weeping while destroying this man…

And as I wipe the tears from my eyes…I realize that my cheeks and corners of my mouth hurt…I had been smiling as well…

I pick myself up and look down at the Orderly’s carcass on the ground….and a thought comes to mind..

I tear off the clothes and replace mine with them…

Grabbing the keys he had and the baton, I leave the cell and walk down the hallway.

I smile and wipe the last remaining tears off my face as I walk past each silent cell and unlock them.

Once each one was done…and each lunatic began to emerge from their dark isolation….I turned my attention to the exit…

I walk purposefully to it in my hastily put together costume…

I can’t help but smile and think….Happy Halloween to me…

“Dr. Black” by Barnabas Deimos

My Dad and I are the best thieves in town.

Well at least we like to think so.

Ok, I like to think so. My dad thinks I’m just dead weight and should just stay home with ma. Which is usually his way of saying that I’m utterly useless to him considering how Ma is. Hell she hated the whole crime life. She would’ve tried to get out of it if it weren’t for the fact that it kept her comfortable and rolling in the eccentric art she loved so much.

Anyways, all my life I’ve known my dad to be a thief and a part of the crime world. He thinks up the heists, big and small. He plans out everything as meticulously as possible. He always makes sure that there is no evidence left behind. Never above robbing the rich or poor and definitely not above killing someone to get what he needs.

And Me? Well dad may be the brains of the operation, but he’s still human. He’s getting older and can’t keep up the physical aspects as well anymore. This is where I come in. I’m pretty much his mook and lackey. I like to consider myself an apprentice, but he’d just as well call me Mary queen of Scots first. He’s the brains, I’m his brawn. Don’t get me wrong though. I’m not stupid. I inherited his cunning and intelligence and can keep up with him on any plan. But I’m also smart enough to know that if he suspected me of being able to rival him let alone surpass him…he’d kill me.

That’s why I let him plan this job even though I didn’t like the smell of it. And I definitely didn’t think it would pay out as much as he thought it would. He had been keeping tabs on a guy who was relatively new to the city. A traveling doctor by trade named Adam Black. First thing that set me off against the job. Guy with a cryptic name who doesn’t stay in one place? No thanks. And while he did drive a nice car, he didn’t quite live in the most luxurious homes. He lived in a nicer neighborhood sure, but it was pretty..I dunno, run of the mill. Nothing special.

But this was dad’s job.

“So why this guy pops?” I had asked.

“Shut the fuck up.” He had responded.

“Well what’s the plan?” I asked, maybe if he talked it out, he might realize it just didn’t feel right.

“I swear you’re so fucking stupid ya piece of shit.” He had growled back, “Ya need it spelled out for you? Can’t just follow orders as I give em to ya? Fine.”

I did my best not to sigh in his face.

“This piece of shit doctor isn’t exactly normal. He’s a freelance mob doc if your ignorant brain can believe it. Travels from town to town in order to not be tied down to any specific syndicate. “

“That doesn’t quite make..” I stopped myself when I saw his eyes light up with irritation and immediately shut the fuck up.

“Being a part of our world, he sticks to a strictly cash basis. And I’m going to either find where his money is hidden in his place or torture him till he sings. “

“How’d you hear about him?”

“Your mom told me actually. She may hate the world, but she’d be dumb not to learn an awful lot about it. Oh, and he takes walk ins.”

“How are we going to just do a walk in?” I asked.

And in answer, he shot me in the leg.

After long bouts of cursing and makeshift binding, dad drove us to the place in the middle of the night.

My dad called via one of his many prepaid cells, “Yeah, I heard you can do things for guys like me when we’re in trouble. Yeah, we’ve got a bit of a problem with one of my men. His fucking dumb ass got shot in the leg, can you fix him up?”

I heard the voice on the other end, it was soft and kind of pompous. I couldn’t quite make out what was being said as I was starting to feel weak. Fucking never been shot before. This whole career with my dad, and I’d never been shot before. He must’ve thought this could bring in quite some haul if he was willing to take this risk. At least, that’s what I tried convincing myself on the way there.

We arrived in an alley way, and my dad dragged my ass into the guy’s backyard. His house was pitch black in the dark of night. No lights were on at all save for a single red dot floating in the middle of the air by what I assumed was the back door. As we got closer I was able to see what it was.

Dr. Adam Black was standing there, keeping the back door open. Taking light drags from a thin white cigarette. I couldn’t quite make out his features let alone what he was wearing in the dark.

“Gentleman,” he said with a slight nod of his head as we crossed the threshold into his dark house.

As soon as we were in, he closed the door and plunged us into blackness. I didn’t like this..I really really didn’t like this. Then as if to answer my prayers, he flipped on a switch and fluorescent white light filled the room. The pace we had entered looked like a workshop of some sorts. For the most part white with metal tables and various cabinets. Several power tools lined one wall and other large and bulky machinery I couldn’t quite recognize.

The thing that seemed out of place here was the horde…yeah horde is the right word here…of stuffed and taxidermied animals. They looked so life like that I couldn’t quite tell immediately if they were actually alive. Upon first inspection they seemed mundane, but as my eyes adjusted and I was able to take in my surroundings better, I realized they weren’t quite normal. Sure I could see deer and rodents and birds, but they weren’t on the right bodies. Rodent heads were placed in reptile bodies. There was a bird body with so many wings and no head that it looked like a ball of feathers at first. A dog was manipulated it had no muzzle but a new mouth had been created In its belly. Full of teeth. The most interesting piece was a black goat head whose horns had been replaced with snakes and its body was made up of a vast variety of animal legs, arms, and tails.

“Oh..my holy fuck wow..” I heard my dad say.

“Are you here to peruse my taxidermy or are you here for medical attention, “ we heard the soft voice of Dr Black ask.

Turning around, we were able to make out man that looked like skeleton in an Armani suit that had the same color as his name sake. He was pale and thin. Incredibly thin. His eyes were sunken in and so deep set that I couldn’t make out what color his irises were. His thin gray hair was parted to the side and so we’ll cut that it looked like he had it cut with a ruler. His thin lips parted and smiled revealing pearly white teeth.

“My man here, he’s been shot, just like I said over the phone. Can you fix him up?”

My dad said.

“Of course I can. Lay the boy on the table and I will begin to review his wound.” He said gesturing with a bony claw of a hand towards one of the metal tables.

My dad did as he was told and stepped away as Dr. Black walked..almost glided forward, covering his hands with white latex gloves. From pockets hidden within his coat, he produced a syringe filled with something green, scissors, and a scalpel. Immediately he went to work. Cutting open the makeshift bandage and my pant leg all the up the side of my thigh. Once the bloody wound was exposed, he let out a disapproving sound.

“Tsk tsk tsk, tell me gentlemen, what did you commit that had you shot at?”

“Stole a car, gangbangers shot at us.” My dad growled out. “Idiot here got himself shot.”

I couldn’t help but eye my dad as the doctor worked his way around the wound, cleaning it up. I don’t even remember seeing him pull gauze out.

“This shall provide, what I assume, a welcome release from the pain. Do be aware that it may cause some grogginess. “ He stuck the needle directly into my inner thigh. I suddenly felt my leg go numb. At first it was absolute relief from the searing pain. But then I noticed, I couldn’t feel my other leg. Or my stomach..my chest…my arms… Fear rushed through me. I tried to say something but was cut short by my dad. He must have caught the look of fear on my face and pulled out his gun, pointing it at the back of Dr Black’s head.

“Put down the scalpel and needle, Dr. before I make a mess of you. What the fuck did you just pump into him?” my dad said through gritted teeth. I couldn’t quite tell if he was more upset that his son had been jeopardized or that the job may have been.

Slowly Dr. Black put down his scalpel and needle, smiled, and winked at me. If I wasn’t numb..I probably would have started shivering. Slowly he turned around to meet my father’s gaze.

“Dad..” I said, my voice coming out weakly.

“SHADDUP! I asked the Dr. a question you dumb shit.” He commanded.

“So your “man” is your son? Such a wonderful family you must all be. As to your question, it was a numbing agent and sedative.” He said matter a factly “strong enough for most large animals.”

“It’s not going to kill him is it?”

“Quite the contrary. Your son is in excellent shape and will weather it quite nicely. It’s simply easier to work on a subject while they are unconscious. “ He said, “And considering what I must do, your son will not want to be awake.”

I watched as a long scalpel slid out of the doctor’s sleeve in his palm. Out of my father’s sight. Shit…he’s going to try and do something stupid. Dad will probably shoot him and we’ll be SOL of the money and me out of medical treatment.

“Dad!” I did my best to shout but it came out as merely a whimper.

“WILL YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP! And quit calling me dad while we’re on the job. You dumb fuck. I swear you’re so fucking stupid, I knew I was right when I told you mom to keep the afterbirth instead of you. It would’ve been smarter and easier on the fuckin’ eyes.” My dad yelled.

I found my lips and tongue unable to move anymore as they too succumbed to the numbing agent.

“That is a shame that you would insult your progeny so. He is actually quite a beautiful subject actually.” The doctor said still palming his blade.

“You trying to make the moves on my boy you fuckin perve? You know what I think I’ve had enough of this place.” I saw him put the gun to the Dr’s temple. “You fix up my boy. And then you show me where you hide your fucking cash. And maybe, I won’t do to you what you’ve been doing to these animals.”

“Excuse me?” I heard the eye quirk in the doctor’s voice.

“You heard me you piece of shit.”

“Ah yes, the premise of this whole evening. I was so enthralled with you two, that I had almost forgotten that there was going to be work done. “

He grasped the blade in his hand tightly.

“The fuck you talkin’ about? Show me where your fucking money is. NOW.”

“No.”

“SHOW ME OR I WILL FUCKING BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF!”

“No you will not.”

With a quick motion, he slashed at the top of my father’s hand before he had the chance to pull the trigger.

“The fuck..I can’t..I can’t pull..the fuck did you do to my hand?!” my dad screamed.

“Severed the tendons preventing simple dexterous hand movements. Such as bending your fingers to cock and fire the gun. “ He sounded as if he had said this many times before.

My dad took a swing at him with all his brunt force.

The thin man in black simply crouched down and side stepped quickly. I heard another slice and my dad tumbled forward on the table and collapsed on the ground. The gun skidded across the floor.

“And that, was your Achilles tendon. You should’ve worn thick high topped shoes or possibly boots.“

I tried to scream for him. But my mouth had lost all its feeling. I felt my eyes starting to roll back.

The last thing I heard before I lost consciousness was my dad scream

“I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU YOU SONOVA WHORE!”

and Dr. Black give a small laugh in answer.

“No you won’t. “

I came to in a dark room. I was standing . I think I was standing. I still couldn’t feel my arms and legs. Not entirely pitch black. I could make out a dark red curtain in front of me. A wooden floor. And small pools of lights were shining in the space where the curtain met the floor.

I could hear my father. Babbling incoherently to the top right of me.

“Motherfuckingidiotson.Peiceofshitdoctor.Illfuckingkillyou.Illfuckingkillyou.fuckingwhorebitch.Illfuckingkilyou….”

Suddenly a bony clawed hand rubbed my cheek.

“Ah you are awake, my boy.” Dr. Black moved into my field of vision. The weak light gave him a skeletal look and his sunken eyes were just pits of blackness.

“It is good you are finally awake. It is best that the subject be conscious during presentation.”

“My dad…what..what happened to my dad…what’s going on..?” I stammered out. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.

“Ah…I suppose it makes no matter, for you will realize all soon enough. When crime bosses, businessmen of wealth, or people of eccentric tastes find that they require unique lessons or skills put into use, they contact Adam Black.”

My mouth went a bit slack. I wanted to scream but instead I just blurted

“But..but how did you .. we were told you were a mob doctor..”

He bowed in a fluid motion and with emphasis he clapped his hands together. “And Doctor Black procures the subjects that have raised the ire or interest of his employers and turns them into works of art for their amusement. You saw my taxidermy did you not? Yes. You and your father admired it so. As such, I am certain that you are able to realize what forms of Art I create. As for your father…I left him awake during the creation process. I told you that you didn’t want to witness the work. Your father on the other hand, annoyed me. So I kept him conscious all the while.“

I started to panic even more. I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. I couldn’t see my dad. I tried flailing, but found nothing moved except shoulders and stomach muscles. I couldn’t even move my head. It felt held in place. Suddenly I felt something slap against the back of my head.

“Ah, I seem to have forgotten to secure the IV line. A moment.” He walked behind me. I tried to see but couldn’t. I heard him sing something in another language..German I think. “Silly me”

He returned to my field of vision. “Now then. It’s time.“ he smiled a grin so wide I thought he’d split the corners of his mouth. He slid to the side.

“Oh, regarding the rich mob doctor façade. I typically allow lies of my stature to be passed around in order to entice the subject to visit me. Usually it takes some time, but in this case, the employer ensured that the word got to your father quicker than most.”

The curtain raised and a bright light filled the room.

I was on a stage. A large empty auditorium was before me. A single empty seat sat in the middle.

At the back, was a large mirror.

And I could see myself and my dad. I saw what Dr. Black considered art.

My father and I were in the position of the famous Abraham and Isaac sculpture. Where my father was Abraham towered above me, his hand holding me by the head as I knelt down. Another hand with a knife just under my neck. That’s what I recognized instantly. But as I got accustomed to it, I could see that my father and I both had no limbs. We were feeble torsos stitched to pierces of animal bodies and bones. We had become macabre chimeras. My father’s hands were snarling fox heads. His limbs made of squirrels stitched tightly together to make them look like a solid mass. His lower half had been supported by a mound of grinning pig and boar heads. My arms and hands had been replaced with glistening snakes bound together. Hanging limply from where my shoulder socket. My lower half had was the top end of great skinned cat of some kind. Just dried muscle and bone that stretched out under me ending in a roaring skull.

I screamed and screamed. Joining with my father’s mad ranting.

A door at the end of the auditorium opened loudly.

“Ah, here comes the employer.”

Loud clicks of heels on the wooden floor reverberated through the large empty space.

“Ah my employer! I present to you a work I call “The Father and Son of Iniquity”. It is ready to grace your gallery or where ever you would like to display it. And to your request, it has been fitted to remain alive for quite some time thanks to the intravenous network I have created. I would go so far to say that with proper cleaning and upkeep of the fluids, they might remain active for at least several years if not decades.”

A giddy clap came from the employer making jewelry jingle. A giggle of excitement left painted lips

And my eyes met the eyes of the employer.

I let out only one word; in it were utter hopelessness, sorrow, and fear. In it was utter collapse.

“Mom..?”

“Charlie the Comedian’s Going Places’ by Barnabas Deimos

Charlie the comedian is goin’ places.

That’s the punchline..but i’ll be damned if i can figure out a proper set up. What the heck kind of set up could i bring to the table for this? I mean, it’s funny, its kind of dark if you think about it, I dunno, maybe it’s too intelligent? Do you think i should take my name out of the punchline? Make it less selfish and more general so people can empathize with it better?

The cabby simply looks at me as i gatling gunned questions at him. He had asked in his broken english what I did for a living in an effort to make small talk and I think I may have exhausted his linguistic skills already. He just stared forward and didn’t respond at all.

I was about to ask another when the cab stopped and he spouted the only other words he clearly knew which consisted of dollar values for the ride.

After plopping some crumpled bills into this hands, I grabbed my one small suitcase from the other seat and stepped out into the cold late night air and loud annoying sounds of the Los Angeles airport. it had to be almost midnight and the noise this place was making  was like three goats and a herd of elephants mid coitus with some excellent reverb.

I step through the sliding doors, ticket and ID in hand. Check in with one of those amazing little technological wonders: A Self Kiosk.

After it yelled at me in several different languages other than english and warbled for 10 minutes about I may or may not be Charlie Masterson, it finally vomited out my boarding pass.

Wonders of the modern world.

Hauling my ass to the security check like a cracked out Miley Cyrus ..wait is that redundant..and not only redundant wouldn’t it be running away from the security if it was miley..whatever…I ran my ass to the TSA check in and was greeted with a long long..long..LOOOOOONG line.  Oh the joys of Airport security. Removing our shoes in order to enjoy the stank of each other’s feet. The chucking of important electronics and private toiletries into the little plastic tubs. And as I strut my way into the giant capsule like detector and tell me to lift up my arms, I decide to make a couple of devil horns and rock my head out. Hey, its the middle of the night, I bombed in LA and I’m all but broke, you gotta find the little things to keep ya smiling.

Unfortunately, the machine and the TSA agent didn’t quite agree. It beeped, he yelled, I got dragged out into the side screen, and Voila! I’m getting the ol’ touchy touchy in the crotchy crotchy by some older fat guy. Hopefully this isnt a sign of the rest of the night.

After I will myself with all powers of self control NOT to respond when he asked if i had anything to declare that I declare he had bad dandruff and I could see his sasquatch butt crack, he let me go.

The delays had given me just enough time to run again at top speeds to the gate. You see, this where that Miley joke would have been better. I barely managed to get to the door just as they were closing it. Bustling through I try to find my aisle seat. I dont know what kind of double edged sword this was but in this full flight of jerks, there were two empty seats in a row right next to the emergency exit. Hooray i get to sit unmolested with no one next to me. Damn it that i have to have the idea that If something were to happen, I have to help out with getting these jerks to safety.  I flop into the seat and let out a massive sigh.

Red Eye flight out of this place and back home to Portland. Charlie the Comedian was goin’ places.

After stowing that little suitcase under the seat, I settle in. I wiggled around like a dog with worms trying to scratch his balloon knot. You gotta un-assgroove the last person who was sitting here.

I shut my eyes and exhale a bit and reinhale the plane’s air.

God.

I hate…airplane air.  It doesn’t smell rancid or anything, it’s actually the opposite. It smells sterile. Like I’m in the air conditioning system of a hospital. But unlike a hospital, it’s not free or roaming. Its pressurized. It’s pressed up on you like a big invisible iron lung. Filling your lungs with the breath of life but still smothering you all over. I don’t know how other people deal with. But it to me, its annoying, it’s frustrating, its fucking maddening. I hate it. I fucking hate it.

I’m vaguely aware of my cabin mates. Their rustling, Their crying. Their low murmuring. Their snoring. I hear someone come out of the lavatory. Sniffling and coughing. How can they possibly handle this irritating air?

I’m rustled out of my head space by a man’s voice. “Excuse me.” he blurts out testily.

My eyes go up and see a middle aged man in a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.  Oh geez. He’s sitting next to me. Great there goes my one last little bit of silver lining. Jerk.

“Am I gonna get ass or crotch?” I ask with a sarcastic smirk.

“Excuse me?” he asks gruffly.

I take a look at the guy and instantly realize, I’m not going to like him. Hawaiian shirt. Jeans. Sunglasses over his forehead sitting on a military cut. He’s not exactly ugly, but it’s clear he’s had his face beat the hell out of over his years. Its clear he’s athletic but he’s got this big girth around his shirt. Its like looking at someone’s hard ass retired dad.  I. Don’t. Like. Him.

“You know. Are you going to shove your crotch or your ass in my face. I just wanna know if I have to get magnifying glass or a gas mask.” I realize my irritation and my predisposition towards him are guiding my mouth. And he’s clearly picking up on that based on how he glares down at me without answering.

I let out an apology and retract my legs. “Sorry man. I’m just having a rough day. Guess I can’t even be a comedian in or out of a gig.”

“Your apology is accepted.” He states flatly and walks through giving me a face full of ass. At least he didn’t fart.

He plops down with a Harumph.

“Again, man I’m sorry. Let’s not have a shitty flight next to each other. Names Charlie. “ I put my hand towards him after he’s done putting on his seatbelt.

“Viktor.” He says grasping my hand and shaking it. It’s like shaking hands with a shaved bear. Good god I thought he was going to break it off just with his calluses. There’s a joke here somewhere about severe friction burn but I’m going to take the high road.

I smirk a bit as I notice the annoying sound of a cat getting strangled trying to speak vietnamese at the same time. OH wait, it’s the trashy looking stewardess telling us the safety features of this POS 74 something something..I dunno I wasn’t paying attention. HEY! Im a comedian not a…person who pays attention…? God I hate this air.

I hear her blather on about the emergency exit and if you feel you can’t perform  the function that we need to ask to be moved. Eh, this plane is full..may as well not even bother. Plus I have Viktor the jerk face sitting next to the door anyways.

“Well Viktor, looks like its up to you and me to save these people if we go down.” I remark trying to lighten my faux pas.

“Hmph. Judging by how you look and our first impression, I’m guessing I’ll be doing all the work while you mouth off. Last thing a plane in danger needs is some guy who thinks he’s a comedian.” He says

“WELL! This plane DOES have a comedian. I mean..that is what I do for a living.”

“Really? Tell me a funny joke then Chucky the Comedian.” He demands. He cuts off his response with a series of coughs.  Does he have the consumption or something?

“Umm ok, Well…how about this? If there is a bombed so badly in los angeles I’m surprised I didn’t get a full cavity search and sent to Homeland security of being a weapon of mass suckage.” I smile wryly as I do.

“Huh you’re right.” He says with only a slight wheeze.

“Told you I was a comedian.” I beam a bit

“Not about that. About the mass suckage.” He faces forward and plops his head on the window.

Dick. I think to myself as he coughs again.  As I watch him attempt to evacuate his lungs, I see a disgusting red blotch on his neck. Eww. What is that? Is that the herp? I’m going to convince myself it the herp. That way when i’m talking about this ass hat on stage, I can have even more conviction.

I shut my eyes as the plane gets ready for take off. The air is just suffocating. And sitting next to coughy herp man over here is in no way helping me out. Just a few hours and I’ll be back on terra firma sucking in Portland.

I wake to a loud sound. I realized I had dozed off. How long could I have been asleep. People are murmuring amongst themselves loudly. Jesus Christ what part of Red Eye don’t they get. The air is still as oppressive as ever. Clean but still thick and heavy. I wonder if people blathering on are chewing that air rather than breathing it. I hear the sound again and notice that the talking isn’t what woke me up. It was viktor. I look over and see he is face first in his air sick bag. Upchucking in a symphony of sloppy wet clumps and gargling noises. Loud and obnoxious as his vomit is just flying out of his mouth into the bag. He pulls away and a long food laden rope of drool just hangs from his lips. Slithering down onto his Hawaiian shirt. Perfect camouflage….

“You…you um ok there Vicktor?” I ask cautiously.

“The fuck does it look like? No I’m not ok.” He snaps back. I notice bits of snot and food also resting on his upper lip. Clearly he used every hole to get his stomach empty. “I fucking hate flying. Stupid job has me doing it though.“ His voice is wet and gurgling.

“Uhh….what do you do?” I ask.

“None of your busine..” he doesn’t even finish the retort when he’s back in the bag letting loose some serious violence. God the smell is horrendous.  Like he ate a dead squirrel. Shit it out. Then ate it again…with some Arby’s.

I shudder as the stink fills my nostrils. Mixing with the sterile smell. Mixing with that great pressure of air. Mixing with that sound of all these idiots yammering and his upheavals.

Then I see the rash on his neck. At first it was gross…now …. It was sickening…

The rash had covered just the side of his neck when I first saw it, but now I see it covered his entire neck and lower jaw. And worse it was populated with little tiny pustules. Small and white or yellow  things that undulated with each of his retchings. I swear at any moment those things could pop…

What the fuck was wrong with him? And worse…is it contagious?

“You..uh…going through puberty there buckaroo?” I ask timidly.

“FUCBLARGHHHGH” he attempts at an explicative and instead pukes.

Ok, I can’t handle this right now. Too too much. I get up and walk to the lavatory.  Somehow the lavatory of a plan always seems to be less confined than the actual cabin. Which makes no fucking sense but hey, nothing in this world does. Like Viktor’s stomach pyrotechnics and his …what is that shit on his neck?!

I relieve myself and wash up. Toss some water on my face and wipe up.

I look into the mirror at myself and try to smile. Its hard. Its hard to smile. But hey, I’m a  comedian. I gotta smile. How can I make someone else smile if I can’t? I force myself to. There we go. Charlie the Comedian…the sucky comedian who screwed up his chance in LA…

I wipe the moisture from the rest of my face and straighten up.

Then…my suspicions about Viktor get a hard kick in the balls.

There on my neck…red.  Bright red. A rash right on my neck…that was there before right? RIGHT? Razor burn…yeah..razor burn…no…No its too late for that at this time of night…I would’ve noticed it by now…No…

Viktor gave me something. Whatever is fucking him up is now getting ready to pummel me…

God no.

Ok…ok…let’s get some control Charlie the Comedian. You’re going home. You’re gonna get home, Get this thing checked out at the free clinic, and then go bomb somewhere else but at least be home…GOD DAMN IT THIS AIR! That insufferable sterile chunky air of the airplane is in the lavatory now too?!

I walk out of the lavatory. I want to sigh and take a deep breath but no…Not going to let that air back into me more than I have to.

I make my way back to my seat…my seat right next to Victor. Victor the vomit machine. Victor the man whose neck is covered in pustule rashes. Victor the dick head who probably gave me something!

I sit down and he’s no longer puking. Thank god.

He’s asleep just laying his head against the emergency exit door’s window. Just awkwardly stretched since the window is a good foot away from the seat. Awkwardly stretched out, giving a full view of his nasty looking neck. Just giving me every raised red bit of skin. Every glob of yellowish pus. Every bit of whatever infection he’s given to me….no I’m not this bad …am I gonna get this bad…? Do…Do I even have it? God I don’t know. I want to shake him awake and ask what he has. God…this air sucks.

I reach out and grab his arm and give it a shake. “Hey man, I need to know, what the fuck is on your neck?” just as I finish the last word, he snaps his face towards me.

I think he says, “Dude, fuck off.” Sleepily. But i’m not listening. No.

All I’m focused on is that one of the pustules bursts open like a water balloon on his neck. Squirting a stream of clear fluid mixed with swirls of cadaverous white pus right onto the hand I shook him with. Like some sort of defense system.

I feel the warm stream slide slowly down my hand leaving a wet trail on my skin as it aims to fall on the floor. I lose it. My hands fly to the sick back as I feel my throat engorge with the contents of my stomach. I feel bile and stomach acid mixed with food fill my mouth and nose as it hurls out of my face into the bag. Heaving repeatedly in sloppy wet clumps just like Victor….just like victor.

I pull away when I’m devoid of anything. God…I can still smell the air through my own vomit!

HOW CAN I SMELL THE AIR THROUGH MY OWN VOMIT!

I look to Victor. He’s back to sleep already… he didn’t even clean that pus wound on his neck…the hole breaths when he breaths. Opening and closing as his neck rises and falls with his breaths.

Breathing in this god damn air…HOW CAN HE BE SO CALM AND SLEEPING WHEN HE’S CLEARLY DISEASED!?

God fucking damn it…I don’t know what he’s given me…

I don’t know if I can take another second in this air…this sterile air…

What’s he given me? What’s he infecting me with just be sitting next to me…God…how much worse is it now that it’s touched me?!

We’re going to end up infecting this entire plane!

THIS STERILE AIR RIDDLED PLANE!!

I gotta get away …no place to sit…no place to go…The lavatory is filled with the air too…Cockpit filled with the air…the below decks filled with the air…its pressurized air…it’s everywhere…

Its circulating and circulating this disease of victors..it’s giving it to everyone…

I’m marinating…i’m incubating in it….Only safe place is outside..outside the plane…

OUTSIDE!

SILVERLINING!

HAH! We’re sitting right next to the damn emergency exit!

Mother fucking silverlining!

I fling my hands to the door’s emergency handle.. And yank up as hard as I can….

“SEE YOU IN THE FUNNY PAGES JERK ASSES! ENJOY YOUR DISEASE! IM GETTING THE FUCK OUT! CAUSE CHARLIE THE COMEDIAN IS GOING PLACES!!!”

I hear screams.

I hear Victor yell something that a sounds like Air Arsehole…

I hear a loud thunk  come from the door.

I feel weight on me.

I hear a gunshot.

I feel a sudden excruciating pain…

I breathe in…expecting a gasp of.. clear…air….

But I get nothing but the sterile air

Victor is looming over me…

“God damn it Chucky…not only did you have to make fun of my severe acne and my Food poisoning…but you had to try and kill us all?”

Oh ..Air Marshall…hehe .. he said Air Marshall….

I cough up blood…my nostrils fill with blood…and finally the sterile air is gone…And then…so … am I.

If anyone asks…Charlie the comedian…went some place….

“Monsters Are Real” by Barnabas Deimos

When i was around 5, i would fear laying down to bed. As the lights would shut off, and darkness engulfed my room, all i could think about was that She’s at my bed again tonight…

I lay my head down on my pillows each night and try to close my eyes. BUt i see her there. In my mind’s eye i can see her hovering over my resting form.

I see her dressed in that white gown, her black hair thick and tangled, dropping over her pale face. And she’s just standing there….

I open my eyes and look into my bedroom. My mirror, i can see the window behind me in its reflection, and no one..no one is there.

I close my eyes again, i remember the morning breakfast…

“Papa, my head hurts..i can feel bumps on it…” I complained while i drew with crayons and a napkin

My dad looked at me stoically and asked “how’d that happen?”

“The monster did it. She bashed my head in my sleep…”

My dad shook his head and chuckled. “The monsters you keep drawing son, theyre getting in your dreams.”

I looked down at my drawings, creepy monsters, blood and guts, people dying in the only way a child could render it..

My step mom, Always trying to look beautiful, checked her hair for the day. “Siempre esta diciendo mentiras.” she said in spanish staring at the mirror. Which effectively meant That i was always lying…

I only quietly drew in anger. She knew the monster was real. She just refused to admit it….

I snapped back to me in the bed. Lying quietly praying that she doesn’t show up again…praying like a good little catholic boy.

I place my ears tightly to the pillow and close my eyes. I hear the beat of my heart, but to me it sounds like footsteps. The monster’s footsteps coming closer and closer.

I lift my head, a bit, but i still hear the steps…closer and closer…she’s not in here. She’s not in here. i say to myself out loud. I hear the footsteps stop..

I open my eyes. I look into the mirror. No on outside. No one on the side of my bed. I timidly look underneath…nothing but blackness…

I lay back down…head facing upwards at the ceiling…

Then i see her. Hovering over me. Standing at the head of my bed.

The white gown. the tangled black mess of hair. the pale face.

She raises her hand.

I stare in fear of what’s coming next

She brings it down on my head

Again and again….each blow to my head reverberating the monster before me’s existence.

I’m in tears, curled up beneath my covers when the monster is done. She walks out…her words as she leaves reminding me every night that monsters are real…

“Siempre diciendo mentiras.”

“Flesh On the Dance Floor” by Barnabas Deimos

Jakob walked down the alley way. The sounds of nearby clubs , people, and cars.

His head was still feeling fuzzy from the last club he had been where several AMFs and droning bass had done a number on his sobriety. However, Jacob had found it boring still.

Years of bouncing from club to club, even from before he was technically legal to do so, had somewhat drained his repertoire of places he could go. At this point, the only places he hadn’t gone or been thrown out of had been some of the seedier bars and the even hardcore fetish places.

His shoulder dragged against the alley walls. Pushing back his hair, he looked around and noticed there was no one around save for those that passed down the street.

He took a moment to relieve himself behind a garbage can. Closing his eyes and exhaling into the night air, he muttered “Need something for the rest of the night. Only midnight. But all this shit is done to death.”

He finished, closed up shop, and ,slumping his head against the wall, he sighed.

“You look like you’ve seen it all sweetie,” a woman’s voice rang in his ears. Seductively almost.

Jacob snapped to attention.

There standing there was a lithe bodied woman. Dressed in a simple tiny black dress that accentuated her ample curves and tiny waist. Legs that were clearly made for sin. Long silkey black hair framed her face. Deep black rimmed eyes. Light flawless milky skin. Pouting black lips. In a well manicured finger she twirled a white faceless mask.

Jacob’s eyes were instantly focused on her. His mental capacity slowly drowning in her beauty.

“Yea..everything’s just kinda boring these days.” he stammered a bit.

“Well sweetie, if you want, follow me. We have a little underground club but I need a date and you’re cute enough..i guess. Come on.” She said, almost condescendingly. She turned and went deeper into the empty alley way.

Due to intoxication and some loss of blood supply to the brain, his mind did little to protest following a strange beautiful girl down a dark alleyway.

He followed.

Entranced by the wiggle in front of him, Jakob, unerringly trailed behind the girl. The light in the alley slowly starting to fade.

“So uh..whats your name?” he mustered as the shadows grew on them. His eyes slowly adjusting to follow the pale mask.

“Don’t ruin it with talking.” came back the response.

He gulped and followed. At least if things went well she didn’t seem like she would be the cuddly talkative type in the aftermath.

For a few more minutes and several twists and turns and a few bumps to the shins from unseen things on the ground, they continued through the urban canyon. Jakob following the bouncing white mask and pale skin like a bouncing ball. They came to stop. Jakob did his best to get his bearings in the dark, with only the light of the stars above and glow of the streets above the buildings high above his only way of knowing that he was still in the alley way.

“We’re here. Just come in, dance with me. And You’ll get to be inside me by the end of the night. And maybe some of my close girlfriends if you’re in the right spot at the right time. ” her voice was dominating and almost menacing.

Jakob gulped with excited anticipation as he heard a low grinding sound. A door in the wall slowly opened allowing light from within to pour out. The greens and blues of laser lights came out from behind the door cutting the darkness like a shining techno blade. The sounds of bass beats and electronic sounds ushered out. She walked in, a single hand beckoning him to follow.

Hypnotised, he followed. As soon as he crossed the threshold. The door closed behind him. Looking back, as his only exit disappeared, he realized he couldn’t even distinguish the wall from the door. Effectively. It was invisible.

Jakob turned his attention back. It looked like the inside of a large cathedral. Gothic architecture and statues covered the walls giving an antique feel to it. Large chandeliers swung high above holding torches that lit the ceiling. Black banners covered with white symbols he couldn’t understand covered what he assumed were stained glassed windows A huge throng of some 100 people danced and grinded amongst each other, half naked if not almost entirely in some cases save for pieces of clothing covering nipples or crotches. All as mists wrapped around their legs and obliterated the floor. Laser lights of green and blue thrummed and bounced to the sound of the music. The one thing he did take notice of, was that they almost all wore the same white masks his guide did. Men and women. Those who did, seemed to dance and act as out of place as Jakob did.

With a low scoff, he took a moment and recognized this place. They must’ve walked quite a ways. This was deeper into the more seedier part of town. He used to came here as a kid a couple of times when his parents were down on their luck. He always remembered the priests, altar boys, and nuns were really nice and would see new faces added to their numbers but they really kind of kept to the church and its grounds. Then again, being nice people in the harsher part of town it made more sense to stay sequestered in their church. He used to wonder how they even managed to convince people to come out here with them. Pretty ballsy of these clubbers to make this into an impromptu dance floor. Regardless of the location, he disdained the fact that it was still somewhat mundane. Caught up in his memory and musings, he felt a hand clutch his and drag him towards the dance floor. Looking down, he saw his beautiful guide now wearing the mask. Dragging him towards to the dance floor.

Shrugging, he followed. He was gonna at least get something outta tonight, he laughed.

As the music droned on, and the dancing went on, Jakob found himself lost in the group of people. Completely giving himself over to the hypnotic tune and grinding and dancing as the group did. The oppression of body heat and the exercise of constant gyrating against people had forced him as well as the others who hadn’t been wearing masks, to start shedding clothing. All the while his companion had stayed close to him. Pressing against him.

He looked up at the ceiling for a moment. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. Time to take the plunge and seal the deal. He felt her bare arm wrap around him. He leaned in, slowly sliding the mask up, eyes closed, he pressed his lips to her.

He found no lips. He must of missed. Smooth, How stupid of him he scolded himself. Slowly he kissed upwards. Still bare flesh. Again. He pulled away again. Only to find his lips were sticking. Like he was kissing gum.

The hell kind of nasty ass skin does this girl have, he thought.

He opened his eyes as he tried to pull away again.

The music stopped.

Her face was blank. No eyes. No nose. No ears. No mouth.

If he could’ve opened his mouth, his scream would have overtaken the sound of the music. Instead, it was muffled in his mouth.Where his lips pressed, her flesh was slowly twisting in with his own. Making the soft tissue of his mouth indistinguishable from her pale skin.

He tried to yank away, but found where her arm was wrapped on his flesh, was slowly fusing into his own skin.

He felt his skin grow taut, his muscles straining as it felt like they were being moved about in his skin. His stomach lurched, and he wasn’t quite sure if it was a nauseous reaction or if his organ was truly moving.

His panicked loose limbs failed about. Slapping against others. Only to find where his arms hit, was the same consistency as the girl. Sticky. Traping. Engulfing. His arms were soon trapped to one girls bare back, and another man’s bare stomach. His eyes wide with fear looked around as he saw the same scene that was happening to him, was happening all around him.

Everywhere he saw people melting into each other. Flesh indistinguishable from person to person. Men indistinguishable from women. White from black. A conglomeration of flesh and meat about him obliterating the individual. He felt his legs become attached to someone else’s flesh. tightening and undulating his skin and muscle to become apart of of this thing.

He started to feel his body grew weaker. He could feel things rupturing inside him as his organs could no longer take the stretching and melting. He felt weaker and weaker. His mind trying desperately to hold on, staving off the darkness of unconsciousness. All the while the girl kept her face pressed against his. Until. Engulfing his noses with her face. Twisting his cheeks into hers. And soon her eyeless face, stared at face that was only wide terror stricken eyes that slowly rolled backwards as they too found themselves slowly dragged into and against her flesh.

Jakob was soon nothing more than a piece of pink colored flesh amongst the gigantic, undulating, throbbing mass of meat, muscle, hair, and organs. Appearing as a tumor on the misty ground.

In a single wet shudder. The flesh began to rupture. The skin breaking into dark crags and spreading open like a wound. Black blood and dessicated viscera issued out.

Unfolding like a blossoming flower, the flesh spread away from the center. There, only a small number of people stood. Naked and covered in gore. Wet and crimson with flesh and blood. The girl that jakob had followed stood in the center. Beautiful as ever save for one thing.

As the meat steamed about her, and the blood oozed down in globules.

She smiled as she caressed her pregnant belly.