Thursday, November 26, 2015

The bathroom smelled like pennies and sulfur. John had painted sigils and other signs and names on the walls, the mirror, the ceiling. He had, as best he could, put to circles of protection around the bathtub. He filled it with ice and, still dressed, climbed in. He called 9-1-1 on the pay-as-you go phone and said, calmly, "There is a boy who is bleeding out in a bathtub full of ice, I think it was another cult killing." He told them the address of the house he had broken into, then he shouted: "Oh my god! There's three of them! They're all, they're all so blonde!" and dropped the phone in the tub. He took the ornate, pearl handled, antique shaving razor from his breast pocket and slit both his wrists. He splashed his blood onto the ceiling and onto the mirror, into both the circles of protection. He felt woozy. He closed his eyes. John thought through the incantation, then said it all out loud, syllable by syllable.

Nothing happened.

John's wrists pulsed and he pushed them together, but the pain medication had worked and his cuts were deep, tendrils of blood races between the chunks of ice and slowly diffused.

John laughed, a little hahah, and splashed at the source of the blood. "Huh." he said.

The tendril zipped between his hands and leapt out of the water and onto the ceiling.

"Oh!" John said and sat up abruptly; some ice bumped into his wrists and pulled the gash on his right forearm slightly more open --more blood jumped straight from his wrist out and onto the ceiling. It pooled, diffused, spread like a time lapse shadow of a person, stretched and stretched, then reached down, pinkish tendrils pushed at John's face.

"Out, off. There's a war duh. Ward," John said. He pointed at the floor and more blood splashed onto the two circles of protection. "Uh," he said.

The blood swirled and vaporized, then reappeared, smashed in the this space between the two circles.

"I have a deal to make. Half my soul and all this blood, for." John trailed off.

In the bloody swirl, mouths formed.

The demon towering over John looked down and smiled with all thirteen mouths. "This gonna be quick turn around, human boy who summed ______ ____ _____." it said with a voice like rolling thunder and the clap of horse's hooves. Each mouth said exactly one word. It continued, "What me give in exchange for half the boy's soul, all this  blood?"

John squeezed his eyes shut and shuddered. He gasped in the cold bathtub. "I need uh, protection from the other witches."

"Protect, how?"

"I can't let them kill me, or maim me."


"Seriously?" John spasm-ed and the ice in the tub with him rattled. The water was quickly turning from pink to deep red. He clenched his jaw until the chattering stopped. "They can't cut me up, or stop me from being fully mobile. Not for long."

"How long?"

"More than five seconds?"

"No dying, no damage? No stillness? In exchange for blood and half soul?"

"Sounds good."

"Can I I I I I I I I I I I I?"

"The deal is sealed with this blood?"

"Deal between ______ ____ _____,  boy is sealed with that blood, half soul." The demon's thirteen mouths opened then stretched and stretched and with thirteen progressively wetter tearing sounds opened and dropped all the way to the floor. "The deal is sealed. The deal is sealed. The deal is sealed, now," it said.

"Watch my skin, p-p-please," John mumbled and slumped.

The demon with thirteen mouths nodded and oozed around and into the bathtub, filling it, almost smothering John. The blood in the water disappeared as if sucked out through thirteen different straws.

"Holy mother of god!" One of the paramedics shouted then shrieked and dropped to the floor, clutching at his eyes.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

John looked at his phone, it's glare burned his eyes in the dark of his room. The text message read:
Hey, this is Mercedes. I got your number from the school files. I hope you don't mind. I'd like to meet.

He texted back: No thanks. I'm good. Then, moments later he added: Sorry, but I don't want to know you.

His phone rang, a few minutes later. The text message read: Whatever

John deleted the message, set his phone to silent and went back to sleep. He woke up the next day, a Thursday, and made himself breakfast. First hour started at 7:15. He owned a bike, the weather was warm so he woke up at five forty-ish and showered and dressed and made himself breakfast.

Getting dressed was easy, he choose a clean pair of pants, one of the ten that were essentially the same black, professional cut jeans then he put on one of his ten medium grey shirts; socks and underwear were all black, calf high socks; boxers.

Breakfast consisted of an orange, coffee with coconut oil stirred in and a large bowl of oatmeal. He wore a dark grey hooded sweater under a black, cloth, bomber jacket.

Before leaving he brushed his teeth and double checked that his tablets were in his backpack, along with his charging pack. One tablet for the ebooks, one for taking notes, and a military grade half brick of a charger.

At lunch he watched the same duo walk back and forth along the corridor between the temporary class room trailers and the three story second building. A boy and a girl. The girl had short hair in variously faded shades of blue and aqua-green. Her friend wore a black leather duster and a black leather, wide brimmed hat. The boy made John think of villianous cowboys. The girl's jacket matched John's, but on her petite frame it covered her butt and the sleeves scrunched funny at her elbows. Hers had patches on it and the back was taken up with a paint markered on, inverted triangle, the bottom tip flattened. He saw them every lunch, when he wasn't in the library poking around on the school servers.

They usually just nodded at each other but this time the girl walked up to him, her friend hanging back. "Like your style," she said. She nodded.

"Thanks. Your hair's pretty cool."


"I'm John."

"I know. You're in my friend Diana's second hour?"

"Sorry, who? I'm bad with names."

"She's blonde? Really tall? Plays volleyball?"

"Oh! Her! Yeah, I'm in her --right. Close Up."


The stale laundry smell of expensive cigarettes is still cigarettes.

Samantha Mills is pissed and drunk and pissed drunk. She's standing on the corner of State Street and Liberty getting soaked by a sudden down pour in early August. Her marijuana cigarette is wet to the point of unsmokability, but she's letting it hang off her lip anyway. For a few seconds she went cross eyed, watching raindrops bead and roll down the saturated paper.

"Fuck it," she said and inhaled and started walking down to main street.
I browsed porn late at night, in a bed borrowed from a close friend. Couldn't sleep, so browsed endless, naked, masked people in groups, compromised, powerful. Taken advantage of and taking the advantage. I searched for things like:
  • eye contact
  • brunettes with blue eyes
  • pale eyes
  • long legs
  • arched backs
I used all the usual pornography sites: pornhub, xhamster, redtube, youporn. Sometimes I found what I was looking for, but that was rare. Usually I settled and masturbated and fell asleep and dreamed. I dreamed of water, a river from when I was young, too young to know that masturbating in someone's shower wasn't appropriate. I still masturbate as much at thirty as I did at fifteen. Other people tell me they've slowed down, or don't talk about self pleasure, or talk in terms of sex and not gratification.

I haven't had sex in months and that was with a prostitute. No, a stripper. No, a girl I had dinner with. All these people, they're all the same person. Her name is Sonja. No, I call her Sonja. Her name is May Elizabeth Fedor, but that is none of my business and I respect her too much to call her that.

I knew a woman, a dancer who called herself alternately Shadow and Grace, depending on the crowd. Shadow for older crowds, Grace on college nights.

I sat and stared at passing Lycra and smile.

Being tense is hard for me, but with enough lack of exercise I've gotten pretty good at it. I shamble instead of walk. My hands tremble when I reach for my wallet. My left eye twitches and I sit and watch people walk. I can't afford coffee, so I sit outside.

The other day while I sat outside, it rained. A black girl, high schooler maybe, sat down beside me and sheltered me with her umbrella. She was fucked up: burn scars all over her face and a giant eye patch in white with an off center red cross on it. She didn't say anything and I didn't say anything and eventually the rain stopped. She didn't say anything while she closed her umbrella. She didn't say anything as she walked away, either.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"You're barking up the wrong tree," i said

My room, when I woke, smelled like him. 

I sighed. I looked at my phone. It was early-early Sunday and someone was at the front door of my house, banging on the door.

I knew this because in the lower right of my phone was a video feed of a camera, looking down at the door. Someone in a grey hooded sweater, average average average.

My phone vibrated and a second feed came up --someone was trying to shunt the lock on the sliding door. another grey hooded sweater. This camera, being inside the house, captured the face of the person trying to break in.

I sighed. In the darkness, swear to god, I said to myself, "Shit. It's them." I watched in satisfaction as the lock gave way, Patricia Liu quietly started to slide the door open and then cursed as it hit the metal bar on the bottom of the door. I chuckled.

I pressed her number on my phone and waited. I didn't hear anything, and Patricia didn't react. No phones, or not their regular phones, at least.

I waited until just before she figured out that the bar was locked in place on the far wall before I put on my jacket, pocketed my phone and raced through the basement, up the stairs and through the kitchen. I was at sliding door and had it flung open so quickly Patricia fell back on her butt, into the snow on the wooden deck. I laughed --probably weird given I'd grabbed a kitchen knife on my way through the kitchen. "Hello Patricia," I said, "Can I help you with something?"

Patricia thew something at me, and I swatted it away; immediately regretted my decision. With a POP I was covered in powder that burned my eyes and stung my skin. Through gritted eyes, I saw her scrambling off the deck and so help me I did it.

I froze time and everything turned red and, eyes half open, half closed I walked over to her frozen body and touched her foot. Hah. Grabbed her foot with both hands. Immediately she was wriggling and scrambling.

The red started to fade almost immediately, but all the snow on my house melted with a wet woosh of steam. Patricia screamed until I closed the sliding glass door and shut the blinds.

"It's sound proof," I said.

"Figured. Monster." Patricia spat at me.

"What are you talking about?"

"You. You're something to be cleaned up, like the Jons were."

"No! I didn't kill innocent peop --"

Her laughter cut me off and she didn't stop. While she laughed and laughed I walked into the kitchen and washed my hands, arms, and face. "So who's the guy was banging on my front door?" I shouted, head in the sink. I howled sank to the floor, She'd smashed something heavy over the back of my head and neck and the stars were closing in all around my vision.

I flattened myself with the next blow, let is smash me to the floor and waited. I heard the kitchen drawers open and when she was above me I smashed her knee as hard as I could. "Sorry sorry sorry sorry sorry," I kept saying while I punched her in the jaw, behind the ear. Four punches and she was out cold: breathing, unconscious.

I called 9-1-1 from my mobile and told them I had a subdued assailant in my house.

The emergency respondent was brusque, and when I told her my address she laughed at me. "Sure thing Mr. Metzger. We'll send someone over. Right. Away. Uh huh," she said and hung up.

"Well that's rude," I said. I sighed and slumped my shoulders. I shrugged. I went to my room and brought out some emergency rope. I apologized the entire time I was tying up Paticia Liu, reverse hog tied: restrained but not dangerously uncomfortable.

When she regained consciousness a few minutes later, she groaned. She looked at me and, no joke, growled. She said, "This place would be better off without you."

I stopped and sat. I said, "I haven't killed anyone since winter break, and I didn't want to do that and I didn't know what I was doing the other times."

"That makes it worse."

I laughed. "What part of that makes it worse?"

"That you didn't know what you were doing," she said.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Next thing I remember is someone laughing as I fell down a sharp flight of stairs. The fall went on and on and on and I couldn't understand how.

At some point I got my shoulders under me and tucked in, but not before something popped painfully and I skidded into a crowd of people at the bottom of the stairs. I tried to stand up and made it to my feet before my knees failed me and I crumpled. My knees sang so loud I threw up and then I don't know but after that someone was about to slam my face into the hand dryer. This was at least the second time that happened, I'm guessing, since I could feel my blood pumping out my face, hot and white.

"Please," I gasped. I must have slurred to hard, though and then I woke up on the roof of a parking structure in Detroit.

"That's fucked up." Said the man entirely in white. He was about my height, but walked with a limp and was missing two fingers from his right hand. "Why would you have gone there?"

"Why not?"

"If we're lucky -- No. We're not lucky, are we?" He lit a cigarette and didn't bother to finish his thought.

I looked around. The clouds were orange and all the lights were burned out. We were sat on the hood of a burned out old car. A husk. The wind howled. I wasn't cold. I wasn't warm though, either. My stomach hurt. I closed my eyes. I asked, "What happened?"

"You froze time again, Will. In a packed club on gay night you froze time for twenty minutes and." He inhaled for what seemed like forever from his cigarette. "And that's longer than the Halloween party, kiddo."

"Kiddo? My dad calls me kiddo."

"I am not your dad."

"Then.  .  .?"

"Doesn't matter. Listen." He pressed a button on his phone and a radio broadcast came on. We listened in silence as the DJ talked deadpan, serious. The same wise cracking DJ from the drive in was talking about, about what? About the time he and a colleague went somewhere and did something funny, I assumed. It was funny. I chuckled. The wind laughed, too, and then the DJ said, "May God take your soul, Gina. See you on the other side. We'll keep you updated as the tragedy unfolds."

I kept my eyes closed, but they managed to start leaking anyway. I said, "Okay. I get it now."

"Do you?"

"I do. I shouldn't go out. Ever again. This could happen anywhere. Any time. And now more people are dead and I'm going to jail."

"There's no footage. You burned it all. It melted. You could turn yourself in."




"Why not?"

I sighed. I sat and thought for a long time. Finally, I said something I don't remember that made him laugh. We stared at each other. We talked about what I thought I should do. We agreed I should never drink again. I decided I was going to

I hadn't had one of those dreams since I found the girl's car.

That was . . . I have no idea. This winter is messing with my sense of time.

It doesn't help that Mom hasn't come home yet.

The house is

Let's be honest. I keep the house at sixty-three degrees.

It's cold and dark earlier and earlier and I come home and do yoga. I cook dinner for myself and for lunch the next day and that's getting old too, but I want to save money, so I grocery shop and

And whatever.

The COLOR ZZZZZ granite top wipes down easily enough. There's a

I'm talking to myself.

I was talking to myself a lot, back then.

So, okay, listen. I was tired and depressed and I looked an easy twenty-two, twenty-three and it was a Friday and this is how these things go, when you're not a drinker.

I went to a gay club. I shaved my head and my face and my neck and I wore my bomber jacket and some jeans and a white t-shirt and boots that would make Mercedes proud. Before I left, I went into Mom's bedroom and found her eyeliner --liquid eyeliner, and I slid two thin lines: one under each eye.

I looked like an idiot, but. "Good," I said.

And I listened to the R&B station with the obnoxious DJ all the way there, and some of the music wasn't too bad. That's what I told myself.

I got in by flirting with the smaller bouncer, who also had a shaved head. We laughed and I touched his shoulder and lingered there. Just like he used to do.

The club had two distinct areas and I don't know how many flights of stairs. Down stairs, down a hallway down more stairs and some of these moments were black lit. Then, pissing, and later: throwing up. Puking. Lots of puking.

Before that, though, I looked around. The music was loud and bass heavy and right in the center of the crowd was someone wobbling about like Pig Pen, from the comic? In a sea of conservative color, this person wore white, tight pants, and a white, hooded sweater. White gloves, a white surgical mask. Twirling slowly, pistoning up and down. In sharpie marker on the back of the sweater was the word, "Anachronism"

"Well, that's obvious," I commented.

A guy next to me snorted and swigged from a bottle of bud light. "I wonder what he's like," he said.

"I don't," I said, and walked away, looking for the bar. The short (haha) bald guy at the door gave me a wristband and waved me with a wink. So when I walked up to the sparse bar and put my hands down the waitress