Below is a fictional short story written for a university project in 2015. Every once in a while I will come across stories I’d written in the past, and will be publishing them here so I can have them all in one place. This is not a very “warm” story, and has not been edited from its original form.
She reached her arm across the table and laid her hand across mine, nearly spilling my coffee and rejuvenating a sort of comfort in myself knowing I would be able to perform my actions alone – those actions which certainly needed privacy and could not be observed. The latter point of which, Jessica, or Jess as she so liked to call herself had been quite a personal burden and moreover a horrible hindrance to my work and progress between the ranks of the order to which I had associated myself.
“I’m sorry,” she began. “I just don’t believe you’re quite my type. I apologize for how long it’s taken me to realize that.” she picked up her coffee and sipped it softly, perhaps in an attempt to quell the awkwardness that she thought enveloped the two of us.
“That’s alright,” I said. “I understand where you’re coming from.”
“You do? I’m so glad. I thought this would be much worse.” she said.
“No, no, I’m quite alright.” I responded, looking around the room. She began to speak again when I noticed a couple that sat just beyond my left shoulder in an embrace over their terrible choice of food. They snickered and laughed, though inaudible, I could feel their radiance. My heart began pounding and thumping, forcing my blood through the veins of my neck, which I felt would burst soon. Yet they did not, and continued to expand my arteries in a fashion perhaps similar to the urethra, moving ejaculate through its tiny tunnel into whatever may lie in waiting on the other side.
I sat there, in that squalid blue booth of the run down diner in the middle of our small town and peered into the young lovers, my brain beating in euphoric hunger, my hands twitching, my teeth grinding, my feet tapping, as Jessica sat across from me, uttering slow dead words into my closed ear. The girl wore a light blue dress with short white heels, she had good skin, smooth skin. It was lightly tanned as well, but I could see the tan begin to dissipate as my eyes felt their way up her legs. Her hair was of a light blonde hue and softly rested itself over her shoulders, which was as far as it could reach. The boy dressed himself in darker colors. He sported a hideous dark brown collared shirt and black pants. It appeared as if he had taken to wearing sandals, a choice which one might say was untimely given the season. His hair was a smooth brown and parted to the side, yet it looked like he may have been wearing a hat shortly before. The strong fluorescent light, which was far too bright, floated down upon me and blistered my skin.
“Are you listening to me?” Jessica inquired.
“I am,” I answered.
“I just want to know if you’ll be okay with all of this.”
“Yes, I assure you I will be fine,” I answered. And, out of some cosmic coincidence, or perhaps a stroke of luck, the young couple stood from their booth. The boy removed himself first, then the girl, who tripped ever so slightly on her way into the standing upright. She looked into the boy’s eyes, expecting him to laugh; he did, and they shared a long kiss before clutching one another’s hands and making their way towards the diner’s exit. I could feel their radiance again, but much stronger now. Both had retained their virginity in their young age and were both obviously nervous of the date, or possibly what was to happen next. After all, that had not been the first time in which I would move my predatory eyes onto one or two beings of this nature to find out some time later and after a good deal of exhaustion that I had been correct about my assumptions. I watched as the boy opened the door for the girl, and they stepped into the night, letting inside a flutter of cold air, which lingered in the cheap diner. I kindly informed Jessica that she would be finishing her drink alone and that I was to be leaving then.
Standing up, I felt the blood beating in my head even stronger now, and it had spread to my chest, as it always does. The beating is like the flow of a slick parasite, eating its way to my every extremity and burrowing itself inside, bumping with life. It would be in my legs soon, and I made my way out of the diner into the cold air outside. I turned to my left as I watched the young couple slowly make their way down the avenue. A cold breeze swam between the wretched gray buildings surrounding me and touched my skin. I removed a box of cigarettes from my jacket and slipped one between my lips. I lit the end aflame and deeply inhaled its earthy taste. Upon exhaling, the smoke seemed to swirl with my visible breath and spun into a slim vortex before dissipating a foot or two away from me. I began walking in their direction, slightly faster than they were walking. I reached into my pocket and found my small black tin. I stopped for a brief moment, unscrewed the top of the tin, and lightly clutched the spoon that hung from its top. I used it to scoop a small amount of heroin up towards my nose. I insufflated the substance and almost instantly, the beating had subsided and my blood cooled itself. I began walking behind the couple once again. The Light Bearer spoke to me:
“You’re gonna do it again?” he asked. “Yeah, you’re gonna do it again.”
“Should I?” I asked him.
“Yeah, that beating is driving me fucking insane. And I need to eat, very soon.”
“Are you sure?” I asked again.
“What the fuck are these two worth?”
“I don’t know,” I began. “How am I supposed to know?”
“We know these things.”
“I suppose so,” I said.
Breathing in deeply through the filter of the cigarette, I made the decision to stop speaking aloud, lest the couple hear me. They passed under and out of light, appearing and disappearing quite often. I was gaining on them, and through another stroke of luck I managed to crawl through my shadow. I am not sure if the Light Bearer had pushed me through, or if I had managed to control my psyche enough to release those modes of conduct which I felt reasonably sufficient for complex human interaction into much more primal modes, which at the core of my self I had learned to love. The transition hurts, not in a physical manifestation of pain, but rather, an emotional one. This, my Shadow, this was the virus of life. My brain bled its previous depressed and undetermined state into the void, and I felt a strong urge to weep as I felt memories and simple pleasantry wither. All that was to remain was the ecstasy in all that I had loathed just moments earlier. I rubbed my knuckles into my eyes as the maggots of my Shadow slinked their way into the every crevasse of my consciousness, binding it together once again in determination and disgust. I rested for a moment, but persisted that there was still a job to be done. I opened my eyes wide and shook my head wildly before pressing onward.
I saw them move beyond the remnants of the weak yellow street light, and knew that they would soon be out of my reach. It was quite simple, really. I moved quickly and quietly closer and closer to where I assumed them to be, and once I was near – I saw they were sitting at a stop, waiting for a bus – I crept into an alley a few feet from the small shelter and began weeping for whatever artificial affliction I would describe if they would be so kind as to help me. This was typically the nature of humans, even if they would not assist me, they would at least be curious enough to peer into the alley to find the source of the wailing. Clutching my stomach and staring at the ground, I waited. I became focused on the ground below me, which was littered in disgusting filth. I kicked empty containers and crumpled papers away from me as I cried. I wanted to slide down to the ground if they looked at me, but at this point the filth was too much to-
“Hello?” I heard a boyish voice whimper from my left. “Are you alright?” the boy asked.
Oh yes, this would most definitely work. After all, I was a handsome man of twenty-seven at this point, I was well dressed, and my hair was quite tame given the circumstances. I assumed the boy to be around seventeen or eighteen based solely upon his looks and style of dress. He most certainly knew that I was not homeless, and he would probably believe himself well-mannered to help a man that was not too far from his own age. Still looking up, I saw his female friend standing in the threshold of the alley, so that she may think herself safe from the mysterious things that lurk in the darkness. The boy was walking towards me.
“This hurts so bad, man,” I began. “I don’t know what to do. I think I might need to go to the hospital.” I whimpered. He moved even closer now.
“Dude, what happened? Hold on…” he turned around to the girl. “Chelsea, can you bring the water over here? This dude is really hurting. Is your phone dead yet?” I could hear her mumbling in high pitched concerned bursts as she tip-toed her way into the alley, occasionally snapping her eyes around her friend to try and get a good look at me. She handed him the water, and he waved it towards me. “Hey, hey, come on man, you’ve got to drink some of this.” he said. I took sips from the water, periodically looking up at the two with a twisted face, continuing to emulate some sort of ridiculous pain.
“Thank you,” I began. “Will you guys sit with me for a moment?” I said, pretending to be out of breath.
“Of course,” the boy began. “Let’s sit with this guy for a minute, Chelsea,” he said turning around. Her voice was still a shrill inaudible mousy squeaking. How the fuck did he tolerate that? They both sat on yellow milk boxes that the boy managed to find around the side of a garbage can in the alley.
“I’m sorry,” I began. “If you guys miss your bus I can drive you wherever you need. I hate to be a burden, I just have these anxiety attacks every once in awhile. And thank you so much for coming to chill with me. Sorry about the circumstances.” I laughed for a moment, and they felt comfortable enough to do the same.
“Were you in the diner?” the girl said.
“I was. My girlfriend dumped me, and halfway down the alley I just couldn’t breathe anymore.”
“You were coming down here on purpose?” she asked.
“I park my car on the other side of this alley sometimes,” I pointed down towards the darker part of the alley. “My car’s down there.”
“Oh, okay.” she said. It got quiet for a moment, and I fidgeted with my hands and feet, trying to look nervous.
“What are your names?” I asked them.
“I’m Donnie, and this is Chelsea,” the boy said with a light smile.
“I like those names,” I started, “they fit well together.”
“Thanks,” the boy said as the girl giggled. I smiled back at them.
“What’s your name?” the boy asked.
“Uh,” I began. “Charles?” I said.
“It’s good to meet you, Charles.” the boy said.
“Look, I’m really sorry about this whole-” I began.
“No, don’t worry about it. You are totally fine. We’re here to help” the girl said. The boy nodded his head.
“I appreciate that. At least let me give you a ride home. I’m feeling much better now. It’s the least I can do for you.” I said. They looked at each other and both gave a careless shrug.
“That would be great, Charles.” the boy said.
Is there a baseball bat in my car? Shit… wait, yes, yes there is.
“Awesome,” I said, standing up. “It’s just this way,” I pointed to the end of the alley. they followed me, but remained a few feet behind laughing and talking to each other quietly. As we approached the end of the alley, I turned to them. “Give me just a second? My car is parked in a squeeze. I’ll just back up over here and you guys can get in. Sound good?” They both nodded and remained in the alley holding hands.
As soon as I rounded the corner near the parking lot at the end of the alley, I sprinted for my car. I stepped inside and reached into the back over the empty bottles and packages of cigarettes for the baseball bat that I knew waited for me. I grabbed it and set it neatly on the back seat of the car. I turned the ignition and put the car in reverse, backing up towards the alley. I saw their faces in the red brake lights and took a deep breath through my nose before peeling a cigarette from an almost empty package in the passenger seat and pressing a flame to its end. I stopped neatly in front of the alley and slowly stepped out of the car. I could feel the Light Bearer watching me. I smiled at the couple and motioned for them to come towards the car. I made my way to the back of the car and opened the door. They were less than two feet away from me when I reached for the bat. It was smooth and wooden. Its reverberation against harder objects always felt… interesting in my hands. They stood near me as I stared into the back seat with my hands on the bat.
“Light Bearer?” I said aloud.
“Yes?” he answered.
“Bring me rebirth.”
“In due time. Bring them to me.” he said.
“I will.” I inhaled deep once again and heard the girl speaking to me.
“What was that, Charlie?” she asked.
“Oh, nothing,” I laughed. “Chelsea, can you hold something for me?”
“Sure,” she said.
I drew the bat from the back door, cocked it quickly,and swung it directly at the girl’s head. The bat cracked a bit and the girl limply dropped backwards against the wall of the alley. The boy had been looking away until he heard the crack, at which point he started to quickly back away from the girl and I, however, he did not run. I easily caught up to him and beat him in the head as well, but I hit him repeatedly and with quite strong motions, similarly to one attempting to chop down a tree or perhaps chip away at the stump where the tree formerly was. The anger in my shadow must have driven me to that. There wasn’t really any reason to hit him as many times as I did, yet it felt good at the time. There wasn’t much left of his head by the time I had finished.
I popped my trunk and removed a large black tarp that had been rolled up under hammers, axes, and a couple other tools of the trade. I flattened it over the asphalt and rolled the friends up in it together. The boy’s head had been caved in to the point where he was completely unrecognizable, and various types of bodily fluids draining from his head poured out into the tarp and over his friend. I was not even sure if she was still alive or not, and I did not care to check. I carefully rolled the tarp up into one heavy sack which I lifted into the trunk after what seemed like hours of laborious struggle. I threw my jacket into the trunk with the bound lovers and slammed it shut before lighting another cigarette and stepping inside my car once again. The trip home remained quiet. I did not play any music, nor did I hear much from the gloomy town’s faint glow. When I arrived at my home on the far outskirts of town about twenty minutes later I stopped the car near where the forest began. I pulled the tarp and its contents from the trunk and dragged it slowly across the forest floor towards the Den. After thirty or so minutes of pulling and struggling I reached my destination. The Den was a large hole in the ground not far into the forest where I would come for these and similar endeavors. It was covered by plywood, which I flipped over before dropping to my knees to look down inside. I tried to see the Light Bearer in all his glory, I begged for some clue or movement to help me know what he looked like. Maybe a hand or a wrinkled dead arm which would reach up to grab the sacrifice which I prepared to present to him. Yet, as always, he was not to be seen.
“Light Bearer?” I asked.
“Yes?” he responded, impatiently.
“What would you have me do?”
“Set them ablaze. A trial by fire.”
“And send them to you?”
“I will.” I responded.
I rushed to my house and back, retrieving a bottle of lighter fluid and my cigarette lighter. I opened the tarp and gazed upon the victims’ innocence one last time before flooding their bodies with fluid. I shook the tarp from under them and lit them ablaze before lightly rolling them down into the Den, where I could hear their skin popping and squealing for the Light Bearer.