Note: The fourth of the twelve shorts comes in shoddy prose! What the hell did I just write? Maybe even I don’t know…

 

Through the silent neutrino haze

Into the mind of Aleph’s maze

Out of the center of time and space

Straight to the heart of our incipient race

The mistrals carry it from coldest ice

Sweeping across the wastes so wild

Path sinistral, the road there lies

In the sparkling eyes of the feral child

Uptaken by the wily haste

Of newborn thought, the taste

Of stardust in the tongue

The windy blight that would here fall

The same as did before the call

Of demigods with lances long

For us to heed and lay all down

To salt the earth and raze the ground

In dark, convened the throng

To make it once again His place.

Old Habits

Note: It’s a hard habit to break, in my case, the having to live outside my writing, involved in real life. Ergo, my publishing schedules is invariably disrupted. Having briefly gone over this short before publishing, I can’t say it’s a great edit, but at least it’s somewhat legible and that’s good enough for me… hope it’s good enough for you. Now, this is the third, and we’re on the fifth day since I began this challenge, so I owe you guys 2 shorts more, 3 if we count tomorrow’s. I can compromise to post another today, and two more tomorrow, and maybe that way I will actually catch up. Now, in regards to this actual short, the story was inspired by a sad situation in my home country of Costa Rica where many elderly persons are being abandoned with nothing but a note stating their state of unwantedness. It’s terrible and I’m sadly sure that it’s something that takes place the world over. It got me thinking and, as my mind is wont to do, I segued from charitable thoughts to what sort of story might lay behind such terrible abandonment. While i may protray things a certain way in the story, I do earnestly believe abandoning your elders is a terrible thing in general, and you should go hug your elders right the f**k now, be they grandparents, parents, or some other manner of sibling or friend. Seriously. Do it!

 

 

He found himself in the street, ambling aimlessly, disoriented and hungry. He couldn’t quite remember why he was there, what his name was, where he was going, and all he felt was fear taking grip of his heart slowly, its cold hand closing harder until chills ran up and down his spine. A strange sadness grew in him and knotted his throat, tears threatening to flow over the dam of his eyelids.

A young woman, perhaps in her mid-twenties, approached him. She was fair-haired and had blue eyes like sapphires. Her smile was kind and warm, the warmest thing he could recall every seeing. It warmed him just so and gave him a strange sense of hope that almost pushed his tears out in relief.

Her soft voice like honey asked “Are you alright? Are you alone?”

“I don’t know,” he spoke in a voice so tremulous and creaky he nearly started at the surprise of hearing it coming out of him. He was… old? He couldn’t remember that, either. “I don’t know!” he repeated, and this time he did break into tears.

The young woman touched him, took him gently by the arms, handling him as though he might break. How he must look, he wondered, oh, how frail and brittle he must seem for her to treat him thus.

“My name is Amanda,” she said, her smile intensifying radiantly, almost obscenely so. “Come, I will take you somewhere safe where we can see to you and find out what your situation is. Come.”

He let her lead him off… to where? He could not guess.

 

*************************************************

 

The Wilsons had been good to him, to Aiden – that was his name, as he recalled it after a few days in their household.

They were a benevolent, well-to-do family with some means brought about by a long-running family business that spanned a few generations. They were old money.

When he had come upon Amanda, or rather she upon him, he had been wearing tattered clothes that could have easily been worn for months on end. He had been unwashed for some time but had been thankfully parasite and disease free, so it was unlikely that he had been on his own for more than a few weeks. He’d had no actual possessions save for the near-useless clothes he’d been wearing and a small gold pendant, the kind that would hold a pair of small portraits, but would not budge open when pried. It had been a wonder that he had kept it despite being on the streets and at the mercy of the vultures, as it were.

Aside from the few items on him, there was a note, covered in plastic so it would not deteriorate, where scrawled upon it in block letters it read:

DO WITH HIM AS YOU WILL. HE IS NO LONGER WANTED HERE.

He could only imagine what sweet, kind Amanda Wilson might have made of that terrible note, but he was glad she had made no more of it and taken him in. She and her husband, Roderick, had been a blessing on him. And their children, oh, the children! They had been a boon; instrumental to the slow but steady recovery of his memories or what little may remain of them in his addled brain.

Molly, Adrian, Ernest, Ronald, and little Holly; ages 10, 9, 7, 5 and 3; they were the life of the expansive household, the Wilson Estate, and had been Aiden’s companions since he was first brought in on that hazy, sunny day. Having had no living grandparents to speak of on either side of the family due to illness and old age, the children were immediately taken with him, making him their ad hoc grandfather right out of the gate.

He was sure they had been pivotal in his recovery, he clearly remembered being enfeebled and confused, what bits and pieces of memory he could summon from the time he was lost showed nothing of substance or note, but in the few hours after he was introduced to the little ones his brain seized upon their rambunctious energy and moxie as if feeding off of it, drawing health from them by sheer proximity. He had come to love them, he felt, though he wondered, did he have grandchildren of his own, out there in the wide world, where some family related by blood to him carried on, feeling now free of the burden he had represented?

No matter. He was confident all he needed to remember would eventually come back to him, as he had been able to recall so much in the past weeks. His last name – McDiarmid –, bits of his childhood growing up in a small, rural town that had a railroad being built… he was a little unsure about some of the details, as what he saw in his mind seemed to be far older than any age he could possibly be within reason – that was another thing, darnedest really, that he could not remember how old he was! –, and many situations seemed culturally anachronistic… but he chucked it up to his faulty memory.

He felt he was, somehow, happy, truly, finally. He wasn’t sure why he felt that last adjective, “finally”, weighed heavy, pregnant with significance. Another darned, odd thing…

*************************************************

 

Awakenings.

Awakenings are things of wonder, Aiden thought as the sun pierced through the drapes, now drawn so as to allow the sun’s full fulgurous glory into the room. Sometimes beauty, sometimes horror, but always things of wonder, he mused. One has beaten the night, after all, staved off death for one more evening after giving oneself up to the whims and terrors of sleep, bereft of real autonomy and any sense of agency. What a glorious victory we mortals earn every single morning after slumber!

He got up from the bed, his blue, two-piece silk pajamas wrinkled and hanging on his not-so-decrepit frame. His mind was aflame with activity, it was abuzz, it was churning like an ancient engine, digging deep into the recesses of his deepest memory coffers in an attempt to bring back what was hinted at in oneiric reveries during the dark hours of sleep.

It was strange, this mixture of feelings. He was feverish in his elation, his feeling of euphoria at being on the edge of revelation. It was good, was it not? He wondered, musing at the sense of foreboding and resistance, a growing little seed of dread that began to grow inside him as the knowledge lost to the years loomed ever nearer. Why should he feel reservations at recalling, at recovering all that was he from before his good fortune of having happened upon the Wilsons’ generosity and love?

Suddenly he became aware of his surroundings again; he had made his way downstairs to the ground floor as he was lost in his self-reflective avenues of thought without realizing it, his body taking him on instinct to where he could fully recover. He was at the door to the estate’s backyard.

He opened the wide double doors and stepped out into the glaring sunlight, its warmth maná from the heavens themselves, seeping into his being and reviving that which had been dormant, the memories of his former life flooding back into him.

He could still feel his mind divided; there were two persons in him. There was the Aiden who had been taken in by the Wilsons, stricken with fear and confusion, almost childlike and, in many ways, exactly that; and then there was the Aiden who was awakening now, recovering from the ravages of age that he had managed to fight off and delay through means better left unspoken, un-thought of until they were necessary to harness that which kept him longevous, eternal.

He was two persons at once, for the first time in a very long time, almost since the first time when he had still been young, or rather young for the first time, back when he had first split into the man he had been and the man he would become. The dichotomous debate was beginning anew, although the matter of debate, the question of who of the two was the true Aiden, had long been abandoned in favour of the adage that might makes right; that is, who was the real person was no longer an important subject, it was moot. Nevertheless, the simultaneous duality was a strange pleasure, a rare phenomenon that had been long inexperienced. It was welcome, to the Aiden who was now rising from a slumber long and dangerous.

He looked upon his surroundings while the younger Aiden within shrank slowly, filled with ever-growing dread. What a fine turn of events, the rising one thought, that we have turned up at such a bountiful place. The rising one had sequestered himself in one of the buildings under their name, knowing that the frail nature of their human brain was giving in to the ravages of time and he would soon lose full cognition like many times before over the last three centuries, hoping in a way that he could find a method to fully prevent the decay cycle but failing yet again. On that occasion he had gambled on the generally kind nature of humanity in modern times, as they had grown soft over time thanks to the commodities of technological advance, and would not likely just kill a senile old man walking the streets without a clue to what his current situation was, and scribbled the note to draw pity and, perhaps, a helping hand he could eventually leech some energy from.

When envisioning this plan, he had not hoped for such a wonderfully rich bounty! He had seen it happening in increments; a little energy here, a little energy there, and eventually a payload that would allow him to turn back the effects of time on his mortal frame once again. He had hit the motherload, this time. Oh, what fortunate turn of events!

He recalled the locket pendant and realized he’d still had it with him through it all. He fished it from where it hung around his neck, and deftly opened it by placing his fingers in just the right configuration. Ah, there it was, the old formula, and the little device. All was good with the world again, for him.

He looked out at the large yard, at the green, freshly mowed grass, taking in the scent and rejoicing in it, at the sheer pleasure of being alive and sentient. He turned his attention to the children… what were their names again? Ah, yes, Molly, Adrian, Ernest, Ronald, and little Holly. They sure seemed full of life, did they not? The rising one said to the one subdued within. Had the Aiden waning any eyes, they would have been wide with increasing terror at the realization of what would ensue, the poor children. Having control of the only pair of eyes shared between the Aidens, the rising one simply blinked and squinted at the bright little souls. It had to be done, you see, it was necessary.

As the waning one succumbed to the mechanisms of the shared mind, trapped in schemes of distractions devised by the rising one long ago, the echoes of cries of denial rang within the proverbial halls of that mind. The rising one was now effectively risen. He was dominant, as should be.

Now, it was time to do what must be done.

Goodnight

I had spent many years trying to forget about my loss.

The world was making sense again, I was finding purpose and making my way back to what life was once before.

I had gotten a new job doing what I loved and found a new person, Reba, with whom I could share my life. After a year or so of being together we decided to move in together.

The apartment was small but charming. It was elegantly furnished and the price was quite reasonable. The building itself was old and had a reputation for both being a great place to live, if you got the right apartments, or being a difficult place to bear life in if you got the wrong ones.

We got what was supposed to be one of the good ones. At least, that’s what the realtor told us.

About a week in, things began to gradually manifest. Odd, barely noticeable things; small objects of importance getting misplaced and then turning up in strange places, places where they had no business being found in. Later, the little things were not quite so little any more.

We had bought a small dog, a black Daschund, as the building was pet-friendly. Reba thought it would be good for me to have something I could be responsible for while also serving as therapy of sorts. Ebon, we christened the pup. Ebon turned out to be a trembling bundle of energy and excitement. By the time we moved in, she was already about 6 months old and quite the handful.

When we started really noticing the issues it was because of Ebon. She would seem to interact with the empty air itself, just as she would interact with Reba or me. It was quite unsettling, but it did not appear to be an issue as no harm was being done. That, however, did not last long.

Things began to take a turn for the bizarre when objects like cutlery and dishes would fly across a room, often hitting Reba or Ebon. Whatever was living there with us – by then I was sure this was a conscious, sentient entity – was either trying to hurt them or simply being excessively mean.

This entity would interact with me differently, however. It would never try to hurt me, but whenever it manifested itself in my presence alone it would do things like gently move objects or pull lightly on my long hair. I did not understand it at first.

As the weeks went by, it appeared to be gaining strength. It manifested itself with increasing frequency and with a boldness that it did not have when we had first moved in.

It would bite Reba and scratch her. Often, after going out, we would return to find Reba’s clothes strewn about the house.  Pictures of her would often fall, as though being knocked over.

But its attentions were far worse for Ebon, as the entity began to tease and hurt the dog more and more. This distressed me greatly as I had really become attached to the pup.

Things were really getting out of hand and we were considering moving out. We had thought of finding a priest or some other religiously ordained person to come and purge the place, but had found no one willing to do so. So instead we put in a bid for one of the bona fide good apartments in the building. We were put on a list and waited patiently, bearing the manifestations as best as we could.

It was about 3 months into our stay in the apartment that we got the news; a neighbor on the same floor was leaving the country and her apartment was ours if we wanted it. Reba and I held each other in relief upon hearing the news. I nearly wept with joy.

That very night things would change forever, though.

I took a nightly shower and found that the entity was with me, as she often was when I showered. It began to play with the water stream and move the bottles of shampoo around. I tried to pay it no mind but my head began to feel heavy, as though I was in a dream. It felt similar to an episode of sleep paralysis, where I was aware of everything going on around me but was unable to move. I finally manage to move but only terribly slowly, as if gravity had increased its pull on me. I took a towel and got out of the bathroom.

I went to the kitchen where both Reba and Ebon were and I told Reba that we had to go, that we had to leave right at that very moment.

It was at this point that it began to attack Ebon. It first started to push the pup as it walked and then began to pull and pinch its hide, making it whine audibly. At this, I picked the dog up and hugged her close to my chest. I decided I had had enough of this and began to yell at the entity. I did not care what it could do to me; I just wanted it to stop.

And then I heard it. I didn’t trust my ears at first and stood there, dog in my arms and towel around my waist, my eyes wide with shock.

It said Goodnight.

It wasn’t what it said, though, but how it said it. No. It was who said it that left me cold.

The voice was that of my daughter. The little baby girl I had lost in an accident seven years before. She had been a little over a year old, riding in the back of her mother’s car, my wife. They had been hit by a truck whose driver had fallen asleep on the wheel and been pushed off a bridge. They both died.

When she was still alive, I would put my daughter Lila to bed every night and every time I would take her to her room’s window, with the lights off completely, and would recite a litany saying good night to the world.

Good night moon.

Good night stars.

Good night trees.

She would say good night with me every time, her eyes so wide looking out into the world that once held a future for her. Her voice so soft and sweet as only a little baby girl could have.

It was that voice that spoke to me then, and I lost all resolve.

A moment later after the realization was made, through an eternity of memories rushing through my head, I felt warmth within me which I had never felt before. I smelled my daughter, this phantom scent overtaking me, and I wept tears of joy and sorrow.

I put the dog down and Reba stared at me, she was trying to make sense of what was happening.

She could not hear my darling Lila, though. She simply couldn’t.

I tried to explain, she wanted to leave, said it wasn’t healthy, that this couldn’t be Lila.

This tore us apart.

She moved out; I stayed.

It has been a year since she left me and, while I miss her, I cannot be sad for I have my daughter back.

It had taken me five years to cope with the loss of her and now I had her back. Reba couldn’t understand.

I have spent this time interacting with Lila in any way I can. I tell her stories. She is with me every day and every night. We look out the window in the living room with the lights off and we recite the little litany.

Good night world.

She is my joy returned.

In this time of thought, joy and reflection I have come to the conclusion that my time here is done. I have no need for the world any longer and have no reason left to remain.

Whoever may find this, please do not discard what you read here as mere fancy. Please let Reba know that I love her and hope to see her again, some day. I miss Ebon, too.

Good night Lila.

Good night Ebon.

Good night life.

I am happy.

Fancypants

“She had something I fancied; her daughters”, the blond, athletically built man in ninja garb said with a smug smile on his face.

“Verily! But wherefore would you place yourself in such danger? There must be myriad means by which to gain entry to the hall of the Queen Hag.”, the droning noise of the dozen or so washing machines were no match for the booming voice coming from the flaming shrub. “To venture into the abode of the abomination surely sits low on the list of reasonable methods.”

“Oh, don’t be so uptight, Enoch. Alex is only doing what any brash, young man would do,” said the well-tailored, well-coiffured gentleman as he gestured with the martini glass he held in his left hand.

“Of course, you would approve of something like that. There are more reasons such as this why you cannot enter past the pearled gates any longer, Mr. Scratch,” said Enoch the flagrant shrub.

“It was rather fun, I’ll tell you that much, fellas,” the blond ninja leaned against one of the washing machines, looking at his friends expectantly.

The gentleman Scratch obliged.

“I know you want to tell us all the gory details, so go ahead, talk already!”

Alex the ninja chuckled.

“If you insist, then… As you may know, the Three Witches have always had a soft spot for shiny, ancient jewelry, much like their hideous mother. So I thought to myself what sort of bauble of power could I get my hands on to woo them?

“The Labyrinth’s Pearl, of course,” said the gentleman Scratch.

“Precisely, Mr. Scratch; the pearl it is.”

“However did you manage to get past the abomination?” asked Enoch the burning shrub.

“That took some thinking, my leafy-pyre, so I went to the altar of the bleeding god, where my best ideas often spring to my mind. As always, to my eternal delight, the old perverted priest was there. As I lay there naked, receiving the treatment the pious dwarf always subjects me to, I grew most tired of the embrocation and his insistence on rubbing his liniments on my sensitive areas. There’re just places no man should be touched!”

“I know a thing or two about those filthy priests…” said the gentleman.

“I bet you do, but this annoyance proved useful to me, for once. I quickly hatched a plan in which I would both retrieve the pearl and get rid of the priest. As the priest asked me to turn myself over to the other side I let myself fall to the floor, where I proceeded to act as if I had gotten hurt. The priest became so alarmed at the thought of the Holy Mother finding out about my getting hurt while in his care that he was quite easily swayed into going with me to the Labyrinth. So little do these men of the cloth know about the world outside their church… ”

“Clever. I like where this is going,” said the gentleman, shooting a smile to the flaming shrub, who somehow managed to quietly project disapproval despite the limitation of not having a face.

“You will like it even more, Old Scratch,” the blond ninja beamed. “So the priest went with me, seeing as I was a veritable invalid because of his attentions, and how could he allow me to venture into a dark place alone?” he stifled a chuckle.

“Once in the Labyrinth, I made sure that his voice would sound the loudest by pretending not to understand what he said, effectively causing him to nearly yell. By the time the Minotaur’s hooves could be heard I was already running away, leaving the priest in the dark to fend for himself. A perfect distraction for the abomination who would fall asleep after gorging itself on the pious dwarf.”

“That is quite low, Alex, quite low,” said Enoch the burning shrub.

“The man was a fiend and all his claims of the treatments being beneficial to me were baseless; I never felt anything but disgust,” the ninja said.

“Indeed, the man has a nice niche set for him in my realm, as we speak,” chimed the gentleman Scratch, smiling.

“It took about an hour but once the Minotaur was asleep, I made my way to the center of the maze by going left at every turn.”

“The left-hand path is the way, truly,” said the gentleman.”Don’t you grow tired of the noise in this place?”

“The pearl was there in plain sight, no larger than my fist,” the ninja gestured with his right fist to illustrate. “Left at every turn again and I was home-free. But I knew getting to the Hag’s daughters wouldn’t be so simple. So I went straight to the Queen Hag pretending that it was her I was interested in. Using the pearl’s blinding beauty, I ensnared the hag and slit her throat as she was mesmerized by the light.”

“Most cunning, I must say,” the gentleman said, raising his martini glass to Alex the blond ninja. “It is concurrent with the zeitgeist, after all.”

“If it must be said, that was a rather brilliant move. I continue to find it beneath you, nevertheless,” the burning shrub said as his flames flared up momentarily.

“All three of the Witches were quite appreciative of the gift.”

“And you merrymade with them, forsooth,” said Enoch the flaming bush.

“How do you know that?” the blonde ninja was astonished.

“I am the Metatron, after all,” the shrub chuckled, his flames flaring up.

“I knew that, as well. You know what they say about me being wise because of my age and not who I am and what not… Debauchery, wantonness… the works, if you will.” the gentleman said between sips of his martini.

The blond ninja joined in the shrub’s laughter.

Alex, it’s time to go.

The sound of his mother’s voice broke into his trance. His friends dispelled for the time being, Alex was left sulking in his wheelchair. In each of his mildly atrophied hands he clutched a small action figure; a spy in a tuxedo in his left and a ninja in his right. On his lap sat a diminutive pot that housed a bonsai tree, little more than a sapling.

“Now, honey, don’t give me that look. You’re mommy’s little man so act like it,” his mother said and gently kissed Alex’s forehead. “Have a peanut butter sandwich,” she produced the sandwich from her black leather purse.

“Do we have to go to church?” Alex did not relish the thought.

“You know it, young man.”

Alex knew it was a battle he simply could not win. He carefully removed the plastic wrap off of the sandwich with his hands and took a small bite.

“The clothes are done, honey. Time to go.”

Alex’s mother took the clothes out from the dryer and placed them into a woven basket which she hung from the back of his wheelchair. She pushed him out onto the street where his mother’s fat friend was waiting for them. The woman greeted them and dove in for a kiss, planting it on Alex’s left cheek. He despised the smell of her perfume, and the exaggerated amount of makeup she always wore tended to rub off on his face.

“Girls, say hello to Alex and his mother,” the hideous woman squealed to the three identical looking girls that stood behind her. The girls greeted them in unison as Alex sheepishly stared at them.

As was customary, Tina took over wheelchair driving duty as the grown women walked ahead of them. Gina and Deena walked along on each side of the wheel chair.

Alex placed the action figures on his lap along with the discarded sandwich and fished into his trousers’ pockets, looking for something. When he found it, he called to the triplets, “I got you girls something.”

Gina and Deena both squealed with excitement at the surprise while Tina remained quiet, though clearly curious about the unrequested gift.

All three looked to Alex’s hands, where he held the gift, and peered with curiosity as his twisted fingers unfolded before them.

“What’s that?” asked Tina from behind him.

“It’s a pearl. I found it with my dad when I was with him last week. We went to the beach and he dove for oysters,” he explained with some pride.

“Just the one pearl?” asked Tina with disappointment in her voice.
Alex remained quiet as he contemplated his latest failure.

Women, sir, women,” said the gentleman resting, diminutive, on his lap. “They never appreciate what you do for them and are always looking for a better prospect. It’s why I chose her back in the old, old garden.”

“I cannot argue against such wisdom, old friend Scratch,” said Enoch the burning shrub.

“Perhaps we should consider the elimination of the priest, non?” said the gentleman Scratch.

Alex simply stared into his lap, the blond ninja’s silence was deep.

Uncle Jacob?

Damnit, Danny! I told you to be careful. I know I’ve only got a few moments at best but that doesn’t mean I want to spend them getting banged up by an inept bastard.”

Sooorry, Uncle Jacob.”

“Sorry, my ass! Now, be careful with the wheelchair, it ain’t a shopping kart.”

“Just a couple more ramps and we’ll be getting on the cargo elevator.”

“Make it quick, I don’t have all night, kid.”

Yes, Uncle Jacob.”

“Did you place the electrostatic field equipment like I instructed?”

“Of course, Uncle Jacob”

“You know, when I initially built this hospital, I hadn’t really given much thought to these… matters of the spirit. It is only throughout the years, while I was getting on in age, that I considered what might lay ahead.”

“Matters of the spirit?”

“I never did tell you about your mother much, did I, Danny-boy? No, I guess I didn’t. I mean, you obviously knew your mother, but you didn’t know her quite like I did. She was a terribly sweet woman. When our own mother died, she took me into her arms, weepy little boy that I was, and simply whispered into my ear that she would make sure everything was ok… that we would be ok.”

“Um… Uncle Jacob, do we really-”

“I know, I know… the old fool is rambling on and you likely just want to get this over with and return to whatever gallivanting and merrymaking you young people do nowadays.”

“Not at all, Uncle Jacob.“

“Ha! Like hell you wouldn’t!”

“I think you are grossly misjudging me, Uncle Jacob.”

“Nah, kiddo. If I were you I would be cursing my luck, too, at having to take care of an old coot like myself.”

“Here we are; the 35th floor, sir”

“About damn time, kid! Now, let’s get to the show-floor quickly. I can’t allow myself to miss this appointment! ”

Yes, Uncle Jacob.”

“What was I saying before? Ah, yes. Your mother. Well, she was the most iron-willed woman I ever did know and if it hadn’t been for her I certainly wouldn’t have lived to build my empire and amass the fortune which you likely hope you will be inheriting.”

“Uncle Jacob, that’s not why-“

“Shush now, kid, the grown-up is talking. Now, all that I ever achieved I did because of your mother’s selfless sacrifice in bringing me up. Every single privilege I ever had was because she put herself on the line for me, always letting me have the best opportunities while she toiled in positions that were always miles beneath her mettle and intellect.”

“The point is, I can only repay her in one way and that is by giving you everything she gave me, except it just happens to be exponential in this case. I promised her as much when she died in this very hospital when you were just 5.”

“I know, Uncle Jacob.”

“Yes. Of course you know. But do you really? I wonder… In any case, when she was diagnosed with Cancer, the world simply ceased to matter to me. Everything I had ever built, everything I had ever created was nothing if she wasn’t there to see it, to revel in its brilliance. You see, I have never been a particularly good or kind man. No… and don’t try to argue with me about this, I know this to be true. I made peace with who I am many, many years ago when I was a young man myself. You don’t get to create an empire by being kind…”

“Uncle, I don’t see what-”

“But back to my point, the idea of your mother simply not existing in this world any longer shocked the living daylights out of me. It filled me with such dread that I thought I would stop breathing from sheer sorrow.”

“So the hospital I built, I applied to the task healing of your mother, the only woman I have ever loved. Don’t look at me that way, it wasn’t like that at all. No, this was love of the purest kind. I adored your mother. I still do. This fraternal love was the most amazing thing I have ever felt and I only truly realized it when she fell ill.”

“So for about a year she hung on, for you. When she grew tired and wanted to let go, she would remain because of you. And for that, I thank you, Danny-boy. You were the reason she fought to remain. But in the end, well, she simply had no strength left and all the billions in the world could not get her well. No doctor, no medicine, no treatment could reverse what fate had decided for her.”

“I really don’t recall much of that time, Uncle Jacob. I wasn’t allowed much around mother when she started turning for the worse.”

“No, I suppose you don’t… You do miss your mother, don’t you, Danny-boy?”

“We’re here, Uncle Jacob.”

“Oh, good! Now, let me see… I must say, I’m pleasantly surprised; you did everything just as I asked!”

“Of course, Uncle Jacob.”

“What time is it?”

11:43, Uncle Jacob.”

“Yes, yes… it’s almost time, now.”

“When your mother died, on that night when she simply ceased to breathe as I held her hand, I thought I would die myself. Had it not been for the promise I made to her on her deathbed that you would receive everything I owned, I would have killed myself right there. So I thought that I would simply wait to take care of the necessary paperwork for that purpose and then seek an exit out of life.”

“I stayed in the hospital for a while after she was pronounced dead, in one of the doctors’ offices. I remained contemplating how I would end it for myself when the oddest thing happened. “

“I felt a change in the air, in the temperature. Something was with me. And then I smelled her, your mother. She was there. I felt her.”

“Don’t give me that look, boy! I know this sounds crazy. But I assure you, it is not.”

“I wasn’t implying anything, sir.”

“For years, I kept coming back to the hospital. Involving myself with all the activities I could in order to justify my presence while delegating as much as I could to my underlings so that business would continue as usual. All just so that I could somehow remain close to your mother.”

“At first, it was rare for her to manifest herself, and all the times she did it would be something subtle; her perfume, personal items that would go missing and would turn up in places where we would have hidden when we played hide and seek as children, things of that sort. But they invigorated my desire to remain near.”

“Are you saying my mother is-”

“It was soon after her death and the realization that she had hung on in the hospital that I decided I would make it so that I could remain, as well.”

“I see the look of dawning realization on your face. Yes, that is what brings us here, tonight.”

“This meeting of mine isn’t some silly flight of fancy. No. I will meet with your mother and be reunited.”

“For over a decade I have toiled and commissioned certain changes be made to the hospital. The addition of this 35th floor, for example… many other modifications that would ensure that a strong electromagnetic field would be created and maintained…”

“You see, the brain is the house of the soul and It only inhabits it because of the electricity therein. Without all these currents and fields the soul, the mind, would simply not be. So I amplified these so that when I pass on, my mind will transfer completely as my soul departs from my body.”

“All the equipment I had you prepare earlier was for this precise purpose.”

“But there was still the matter of your mother… how much of your mother’s soul and mind remained? Was it just a lingering residue of her? I decided to re-educate her, to recreate her as much as possible, not unlike creating neural pathways. So as the modifications amplified the field over time, I would come and spend time with the presence she had left behind. I read to her, spoke to her, about the many things we did, about you, about who she was.”

“Uncle Jacob, I don’t think-“

“Over the years, her presence has become stronger. Staff have witnessed many of her manifestations and she has garnered quite the reputation, much to my amusement and hers, apparently”

“I am not gonna stand here and be part of some crazy stunt, Uncle Jacob. I mean no disrespect, but it seems to me that you have lost it.”

“I know this is hard to grasp now, but I ask you one more thing: with all you are to receive, you must maintain this. You must make sure the hospital continues to run and that the field is maintained ever after. And you must come visit with us once a week. Your mother will be most pleased with this. Think of this floor as your new, second home.”

“Sir, how do you suppose I am going  to do this? Are you telling me I have to euthanize you?”

“Don’t be silly, Danny-boy. I will expire quite naturally, I have assured myself of this. Now, be quiet and turn the equipment on.”

Jaysus…

“Good, well, fetch me a glass of whiskey now, will you? I’m feeling parched over here. And be quick about it, you snivelling fool!”

“Here you go, Uncle Jacob… Uncle Jacob!… Uncle Jacob?…”

“Reverie”

The moon’s glorious face was partially shrouded in darkest-blue clouds, their lining shone silver as the light fought to get past them. The wind was gently caressing my face.
Staring into the night, the memories of events past cascaded from my mind and into the vast unknown, parading before me in a beautifully grotesque menagerie of crimes and transgressions, passions and confessions.
The band, or what was left of it, made haste into the wilds in a futile attempt to escape the Admiral’s hounds. Sitting there on the promontory as they scurried and made their way past me, disappearing into the trees, my weariness showed flush on my face. My body, no longer the home of vigor and strength; my soul, no more a bastion of steadfast resolve. My former brothers understood and recognized the sheen in my poise. My battle was long over. The clash of wills no longer held sway on me.
The scars decorating my body were manifold. Each one was a poignant memory. Not all of them stemmed from battles; some of them were the marks of love. So many left behind: Lovers, enemies and friends… so many… life had been full and reaped as ably as this incarnation allowed me. Perhaps the Crow of the Eye would carry me gently.
The baying of the Admiral’s dogs and their handlers drew nearer. Their sound was no longer a source of fear, but rather a promise to my ears. The howls came like a lover’s whisper, an oath of touches and intimate caresses to come, the allure of rendering oneself an offering to sweetest slumber. It would not be too long before they were upon the band. There would be much bloodshed, many would struggle, but all would inevitably fall.
To taste the wines of Lucius once more, to kiss the mouth of Enora, to lay again with the maidens of Anar! My mind brought back all the pleasures and offered joy even in revisiting the falls and stumblings of my meaningless life. The wounds, the singing, the dawns, the mourning. The vivid memories of those who came before me, remembered and yearned for as they now felt near, as if they were ready, waiting to embrace me on the other side.
Again the hounds, some hundred meters off, now. Bittersweet was the taste in the mouth of my spirit. Like the palest ale one could ever down. Like the darkest berry one could find in the forests of Mehrr.
They were upon me, the hounds. They stood large and fantastic, like the creatures of myth they once were. Myth, but now alive before me. Myth, but so painfully palpable.
The screams of the stragglers rang throughout as the snapping maws found their marks. They met no resistance, here. They found no fear of death but rather arms outstretched, and a smile as bright and sincere as that of the most mirthful child.
The blood ran easy, fountaining as this body’s thick neck yielded, offering no obstacle to the gnashing teeth and crushing jaws of the hounds of the underworld itself.
They found their mark and the sweet darkness, once afeared, made in itself a home for me.
But was not the moon showing its brightest face that night?

The Veil: Prologue

Note: This is the prologue to a series of graphic novels I concocted with the help of a friend and oft-times partner in crime. The first of the novels has already been scripted and may see the light of day sometime this decade… or before I die, or it may be turned into a novel instead without the purdy pikchoors, but it will be out some day. Life being as full of irony as iron, I may end up living in a cardboard box lined with torn pages of it! Right. Like anything I write will ever get printed, eh, chaps?

The streets of San Jose are a festering wound with prettied up dressing; bandages of neon and black light concealing the purulent sore of society. For twenty-odd years I´ve been walking these streets as something else, something other than human. A wolf guarding the sheep? A dog gone feral that still keeps an eye on his charge. I am a detective – have been for nearly ten years and was a regular stand-up cop for over a decade before that. Not just a job, a condition.
The living, they walk with aimless glee, going about their meaningless lives while we, well, we watch and, when we fail to protect them from themselves, we are given to the task of sorting the corpses out.
Roberto Vega – Bobby -, my long-time partner and friend and I had been on a case for a couple of weeks. A murder – as if there was any other kind of case these days a detective could take on. The picture so far had a dealer, a nun and a hooker in the frame; the whole thing smacked of the bizarre and neither one of us much liked the bouquét. Sure, a dealer is a common type in any violent situation and working girls, well, they never end up well; but what the hell does a nun have to do with this grouping of colorful mugs? We really didn´t have much to go by at the time and from what there was, the hooker had them all done in is what we figured. The question, however, was who had done the hooker in?
Bobby’s take on it was that the hooker had taken her own number off the list and sure enough it was the easiest way to look at it, but something in my gut told me that wasn´t how it had gone down. Something about the rictus on the girl´s face, the frozen expression of what looked to me like fear in her cold, vacant eyes… and the fact that it didn´t look like her throat had been slit with the same knife that had cut the other stiffs – you pick up on these sorts of things with time. Add to that the fact that nun and hooker were sisters and you´ve got one hell of a plot. I´d sure like to meet the parents of these two; makes you wonder what sort of upbringing can produce such different results. Deeper down the stinking rabbit-hole we go.
For days now we´d been looking for clues; hanging on what forensics could dig up so we could get some sense of direction. My hunch was confirmed early – about the second weapon – and a few other details that gave us a possible fifth person involved in the frame: blood. More specifically even: menstrual blood, so our fifth was a female, one not overly concerned with hygiene at that. Further tests revealed a strange virus never before seen. What the virus did, though, we still wouldn´t know for some time. Our next step was clear; find the bleeder.

**********************************************************************

I´d once been one of the living…

Carlos Hernandez Farias. That is what they christened me. Born to a family of cops: my pops, my two uncles, my grandfather and his father before him, my upbringing was rife with tales of back when things were done the old way. We all had blue running through our veins. An orthodox catholic education was the basis for my character; a hard-nosed kid with a love for family and justice.
The life on the beat took my pops´ life when I was fourteen but that didn´t stop me from following in his footsteps and joining the academy. My uncles went out at the job as well; that didn´t alter my course. A charmed life, I thought. I´m living a charmed life.

I´d once been one of the living. At least, I once made an effort to be more like them. Even while walking the beat I kept a positive attitude. Things had gone well for me for a long time; I´d made it out of the academy with honors, loved my job, had made many good friends during training and afterward. I´d made my way up the ranks of the OIJ in good time so things became economically stable, which made the prospect of actually meeting someone and getting hitched all the more logical and sensible.
Things went easy for me in that respect; an old friend of the family came back to visit after a few years abroad and a girl who´d once been a play mate of mine when we were kids had become a beautiful, charming woman. Lucia Otero, Lucy Doozy when we were kids, now just Lucy to me. She had studied children´s education and started work in one of the best private schools in the country making a pretty decent salary; she was happier than anyone I´d ever met at any other job. She loved the idea of me being a cop – “a real life hero”-, she´d say.
We dated formally for a couple of years and then I popped the question on the second anniversary of our reunion. The rock cost me about a year’s wages but she was worth it. We tied the knot three months later and we bought a house. Nothing too fancy but just right for having a family. I soon made head of my team, finally getting the checks I’d been after and we decided it was time to start the numerous family we’d always wanted.
Andres Hernandez Otero was born on a clear Wednesday morning. I named him after my pops. He made our world so happy.
It turned out we never did make the family any bigger than the old magic number three. I was injured on the job and lost the ability to have kids. That was the start of when things turned around for us… for me. Lucy and I both felt sad at the loss of that dream, the big family never to be. It was when little Andres got diagnosed with leukemia that things began to crumble.
Ramon was only five years old, only just discovering the joys of a moderate independence, the magic and wonder of early childhood; it wasn’t right for a child to go through a sickness as grueling as that one.
I am immensely grateful that the end has not come and it hasn’t all been too painful for him. That he doesn’t really understand what may happen to him, the idea of a heavenly playground ever in his mind. But for Lucy and I the end came entirely too soon, our cancer metastasized too fast for us to salvage our marriage.
Andres Hernandez Otero was diagnosed on a rainy afternoon, like the sky itself wept a slow, grey deluge that numbed my soul to the abyss of despair that lay ahead of me, just a step away. I lost my faith that day. It wasn’t something sudden, starting with Andres’ illness, but something that had been waiting on the edge of my perception even before the diagnosis. It had built up around me very gradually through all the years I worked the streets, a stolid monolith of happiness and satisfaction amid a sea of misery and injustice I seemed, the disparity not going entirely unnoticed, gnawing away at my will and belief that things in the universe have a purpose and that a being greater than us all loves and cares for us. Like wolves lying in wait, my soul beset by the encroaching darkness, the barrier of resolve whittled away like rotting enamel, until our world became a frigid, listless landscape marked only by the grief of imminent loss and impotence. And so when Ramon fell ill I knew in my heart that there cannot possibly be a God. That the universe is a barren place where life is simply destined to drive itself to inevitable extinction.
Lucy simply seemed to stop caring about life altogether. She took a leave from work – something she would never have considered before – and never went back. I thought we would need of each other, to hold together and perhaps face the road ahead, but she was lost to me. The only other thing left in the world that truly mattered, her love, was no longer there. I don’t know when I lost her. From thereon the rift between us would grow and become an insurmountable breach in our relationship despite all my efforts, though I can’t say I had much force of will left.
My mother passed away 3 months after little Andres’ diagnosis. I tried to drown my sorry self with whiskey, all I got for my troubles was Detox and AA meetings every week.
Lucy left a few weeks following my last episode. Even though we didn’t even talk anymore the house feels too empty without her. I’ve been begging her to come back. She’s stopped taking my calls and her mother is fed up with my incessant questions. Bobby’s the closest thing to family I’ve had for a good while…  Now, I’m all out of life lines.

**************************************************************************

So Bobby and I hit the streets of the Red Zone, San Jose’s seedy side of town. Looking back I have to wonder how, with all the change that’s come over Costa Rica in the last two decades, this area has only gotten darker. Sure, the place no longer looks quite as dilapidated and run down as it once did; the whole district has become a streamlined engine of criminality and a haven for society’s more lurid secrets.
In any case, we got ready to do the usual routine: hit up the surrounding area of the crime scene and, failing that, go through the cluster of “businesses” where one might wrestle some information from the patrons. Turns out we didn’t have to go too far before we got a nice piece-of-pearl from one of the junkies on 12th street.
The gist was that some guy the junkie knows says he saw an incident much like the one we were investigating. The junkie gave us the man’s description and a possible address, all for a little financial lubrication.
We thought we’d have the junkie take a look at our mug shot collection on our PDA’s from the main database and, surprisingly again, we came up with only one match. Better yet, the guy was a registered sexual offender. Pure gold! I couldn’t help but feel that this was going a little too smoothly of a sudden; it made me all the more suspicious.
Having an ID of a possible witness, we now needed to see the guy; we went looking for his stated place of residence. The joint was an apartment building on the outskirts of the Red Zone, five stories and four one-roomers to a floor. Our guy was on the third floor, 3-B. Three series of knock from Bobby and a fat slob in a stained wife-beater with a day-old stubble for a face opened the door. Not our guy.
We get the skinny form him that he shared the apartment with our target but the man had shacked up with a hooker some days earlier. This girl – the slob said – wasn’t the type of night girl you see often, she looked high class, what she was doing with his buddy and in this area he couldn’t imagine. The address where she was shacking up, coincidentally, was right across the block from our crime scene.

*************************************************

Costa Rica was once a country known for its apparent freedoms. A small republic founded on a doctrine of peace after the initial troubles every new nation must go through; the growing pains of geopolitics. In the years after the political climate had settled the country abolished its army and its people gained a reputation worldwide for their easy going demeanor.
At the start of the 21st century the rot at the foundations of its structure began to spill into the general populace like so much sewage from a ruptured cesspit. The rampant corruption that had remained hidden beneath the surface for decades had blown its cover; the people knew now what kind of government they had and just how much damage had been done to the country throughout.
Crime had become a problem that went from the lowest rung of society to the very cusp of the social strata. Politically, the country was in turmoil, unrest which kept building as the Central American Free Trade Agreement came into effect; an international trade agreement that only got passed by the slightest of margins when submitted to popular vote. It was, nonetheless, the country’s great economic hope – quite frankly the only feasible and realistic one as well.
The country – as my father often put it – was going to hell in a hand-basket. Things were becoming increasingly unhinged, the CAFTA’s implementation clearly gone awry, when a then recently booming scientific and industrial giant decided that Costa Rica was fertile soil for its many diverse designs.
Morning Star Corp. made offers to the country that symbolized a lifeline to the drowning economy. What Morning Star did was move all of its research and production facilities to Costa Rica; a multi-billion dollar business, spanning everything from weapons development and industrial design to pharmaceuticals and satellite broadcast operations, making a diminutive third world country its home.
M.I.C. (Morning Start Corp.) moved in and swiftly became so entangled, so intrinsically enmeshed in the structure of government that the very Corporation seemed to be calling the shots. At first, there was some worry from certain political and social parties but MIC quickly swayed all dissenters, and those it couldn’t sway would conveniently get out of the way somehow. Despite this appropriation of power things actually began to improve, even crime became a much more streamlined kind of biz; no longer was petty theft and armed robbery a worry, these seemingly cordoned off into notoriously dangerous areas. Economic prosperity brought a different kind of criminal to the front, although the odd violent crime in the good part of town did crop up now and then.
M.I.C. poured so much money into Costarican infrastructure that you can’t escape their contributions in any of modern life’s amenities. Much as I hate to admit it, the entire police force is indebted to the corporate giant for its bleeding edge technology. They built better buildings, gave us better pay, practically made us the paragons of police-matter in the entirety of Latin America. The state universities got the most out of the deal, though; had a person seen the old campuses 20 years ago they wouldn’t believe their eyes at the marvels of architecture that now house the learning masses.
But for all the good that came from M.I.C. many of the issues we had prior to economic prosperity were only exacerbated. Corruption, for example, only becomes more prevalent when funding is flowing. Some people make the mistake of associating drug use with the lower rungs of society where, they think, these substances come in to replace the absence of food and luxuries. They may not be altogether wrong, but what drugs are used for is a bigger, wider purpose in the big picture, that of sedating the human species with a spiritual palliative that makes society’s rot painfully evident to those who care to sober up and look closely at the horrifying picture. So the wealth for the country didn’t get rid of drugs, it just made them more accessible to the general public. Kids started getting a little out of hand; the dealer got craftier, having found a new wealth of sources for new clandestine products: MIC. I guess it’s only a matter of time with these things, before secrets get too big and start spilling into the streets, where the kids play, so to speak.
Some of these drugs were never meant to be consumed by just anyone; they were part of some reseach project or another. The things they did to people… it changed them in ways far deeper than could ever be diagnosed by any range of physical examinations, somewhere deeper than their mere bodies. Most of those exposed were taken away by MIC under the pretense of providing treatment. I think they all became lab rats. Those that didn’t get the “treatment” died or ushered themselves out the door of this mortal coil.
Children in their majority, the toll this incident took made most realize just what they’d really bought into with MIC, what the country had truly become. Costa Rica had gotten into bed with the devil and might likely never get out.

*************************************************

Not long after we’d turned in some blood samples forensics got back to us with a whole-lotta info that seemed to make the picture darker, muddier, rather than clearer. One more person at the crime scene confirmed, our bleeder, this same person infected with some sort of virus that seemed to target the host’s genes, entirely too much info pointing in wildly dangerous directions and somehow nowhere at all.
What first made me feel I was out of my depth were the reports on the menstrual blood samples after a few third parties with a higher degree of means and know-how had a go at them. It all started to look like something out of a sci-fi movie and I didn’t feel comfortable with the questions these new developments brought to the fore, especially when the first point of origin that popped into my head was none other than this very country’s benefactor.
The gist of it: the virus is a retrovirus – meaning that it writes itself into the host’s RNA and becomes part of its entire cellular structure – that drastically changes the way the host’s sexual reproductive organs function. It appears to target women only – though it is theorized that it might be carried in a dormant state by males as is the case with many venereal diseases – and it feeds parasitically on male genetic material, sperm. That requires the person infected to have sexual intercourse quite regularly in order to keep the virus, and herself, alive. Undisclosed changes may also occur to the host’s physique but further testing is necessary, yadda, yadda, yadda…
So there it is. After 24 years dealing in security; 11 of which specializing in homicide at OIJ, we happened to be dealing with some absurt sort of cum vampire, for lack of less crass terminology. That alone should’ve made me quit the force. It all felt wrong; I felt sick to my core, as if something was there, awaiting, glimpsed just out of the corner of my eye, just beyond the periphery of my vision.
If only I’d known that I was just stepping onto the outermost edge of sanity… things only get weirder from here on out.

****************************************************************

It’s a typical muggy Monday morning in the rainy season. Bobby and I head out to the apartment where a Mario Venegas – our purported witness – is reported to be staying. The place is rented by a woman, Paz Cruz a career hooker as we’ve been told by the land lord, not that her career choice is rare for the area, in fact, I’d wager most of the tenants in the building ascribe to said profession. He does say that the lease is recent when prodded and that she’s higher class than any tenant he’s ever had.
Apartment 3-F, says the oddly forthcoming superintendent, who looks as though he’s quite used to cooperating with police inquiries, a certain non-challance and disdain that stains his overall demeanor. We thank him for his help and hit the stairwell towards the back of the building.
A few short moments later we’re knocking on apartment 3-F’s door. Initially there’s no answer from within but then, just as I’m about to fist the wooden door again, it opens slightly and a grimy, gaunt looking face peers at us from within, the look on the man’s eyes that of being mentally elsewhere, or completely subsumed in opiates.
We ask him if he’s Mario Venegas, he nods. We identify ourselves and I ask to be let in. He obliges. We go in, the place is small, a one bedroom affair, and it’s filthy as evidently no care has been given to picking up anything – food, dishes, clothes – or even slightly dusting the place.
Mr. Venegas sits down on an old couch. Bobby and I prefer to remain standing, the sofa proffered to us a collage of fast food packaging and bits and pieces of what may have been food at some point in the recent past.
“You guys here about her, huh?” Venegas pipes with what seems equal measures of relief and trepidation. His eyes forlorn as if fixed on something not in the same plane as his physical body.
“We are here to ask about certain events you have been witness to, Mr. Venegas”, I reply.
“Yeah. I know. It is about her. About the alley”, he says, his expression such a wide mix of emotion that it makes it hard for me to read him.
Bobby and I look at each other.
“Tell us, please, about what happened”, says Bobby after a short, pregnant pause.
Venegas obliges and spills his guts on the whole deal. Says he was minding his own business, the way most junkies do – skulking in dark alleys, rummaging through trash containers, trying to overhear something which might be useful later on-, when he heard a discussion quickly growing heated farther into the alley.
He recognized one of the local dealers, a real nasty type, arguing with one of his girls about not paying her dues and a nun that looked much like the hooker – related, he thought – trying to defend the girl and getting slapped hard for it.
He described the working girl pulling out an ornate-looking knife and stabbing the man repeatedly in a blind rage. Which is when he noticed that there was someone else there, just standing in the far end of the alley – or more like he noticed the person as the person came out of the shadows.
It was a woman. She looked like a high-end call girl, walked calmly towards the girls as the trick was helping the nun back up. The Call Girl – Vicky, as he now calls her – told the girl to stand back, which she did with evident fear. Vicky gently yet forcibly held the nun’s head and looked intently into her eyes, the nun looking back as if she’d been hypnotized. For a minute or so they remained in that position, holding each other’s gaze, while the girl asked in a voice hushed with fear what was being done to her sister. Then he heard the nun say as if repudiating the words, as if she’d recognized something about Vicky: “Mother Babylon”. At this point Vicky turned the nun around effortlessly, while still holding her by the head, towards the girl. The girl, despite audibly crying and repeating denials, slit the nun’s throat as if compelled to do so.
Vicky held the nun up until the life had left her and the girl watched, wracked with sobs, seemingly unable to look away. Then Vicky told her she never should’ve betrayed them and swiftly slit the girl’s throat.
Venegas, thinking the incident over from his hiding spot, said he literally loosed his bowels when, faster that he’d seen anyone move, Vicky was suddenly upon him.
He explained the she said she could smell the chemicals in him, that she would suck them out of him, at which point she undid his pants and straddled him, shit and all, his prick inexplicably hard despite the circumstances, and started whispering sweet nothings with an unearthly voice in tongues, gibberish.
He then described that, as she was in evident orgasmic throes, he felt tens of needles on his member, the pain excruciating yet unbearably pleasurable. He said that she had marked him as hers to feed on and that’s how he ended up there.
At this junction I knew I must’ve gone insane. Surely, I was really secluded in some mental institution as I lived this perverse fantasy and not in the real world any longer. Venegas’ insistence on showing us his prick in reaction to what disbelief showed on our faces brought that reassuring notion crashing down. There they were, perhaps a hundred incisions on the wretch’s erect member, sure enough they looked like teeth marks from the glance I took before turning away in disgust.
“She keeps me hard”, he offered dumbly, grasping his cock with his hands, “she’s got teeth down there so’s she can feed from my dick without me pulling out”.
Sanity gone out the door, away on a permanent vacation somewhere far away, Bobby and I found ourselves at a loss. We didn’t have much time to adjust, however, as Vicky arrived just as we stood there trying to digest what we’d just been shown.
“He’s told you more than he should have”, she said, her voice sultry and seducing as if imbued with some unknown power, stirring something inside of me. Her eyes fixed on us.  “I’ll have to punish him for that sleight”.
Faster than we could move to intercept her, faster than we could even shout “Stop!”, Vicky was across the room and at Venegas’ side. She took him down, jumping on him, wrapping her legs around his waist, in full mount by the time they hit the floor. Venegas screamed in agony. All of this in mere seconds.
Vicky stood up, her pants torn between her legs, her privates exposed. Blood trickled down her thighs and flowed from her inhuman, gaping labia. Rows of serrated teeth lining the walls of her insides as she plumped down of the couch, flash images of the mythical Charybdis invaded my head. Her nether-mouth was exposed in its full, hideous glory. Venegas’ manhood replaced by torn flesh and sputtering blood as he lay on the floor. She was changed; human a few seconds before, now some creature, too many joints to her limbs and all at unnatural angles, the face almost lupine. Her maw exposed a series of sharp canines. The look on her face was one of hunger.
Bobby and I were trying to follow what was happening but our minds refused to cope.
Bobby drew his gun before I could react and shot at the woman.

*********************************************

What followed happened entirely too fast for me to make sense of it. One moment Bobby draws his gun and fires a shot, the next he’s got his neck slit open as he’s falling to the floor.
Before I could even check to see if I could stop Bobby’s bleeding I felt myself hoisted up into the air. The whore was holding me up with her left hand, arm outstretched, my feet dangled in the air struggling to find a foothold. Then something changed in her expression. As I was getting ready to face a God with whom I have more than a few bones to pick, Vicky the whore seemed to suddenly sober up form her murderous stupor as if spooked, dropped me on the floor and was gone before I could even draw my gun.
I immediately turned to help Bobby, trying my best to staunch the blood’s flow while I called on my Tab for help.
I guess the cut wasn’t deep enough, thankfully, as Bobby survived, but he has since fallen into a coma and the prognosis isn’t something I find particularly encouraging.
So what I’ve got now is a case that’s been blown wide open in my head, if it hasn’t yet in the actual physical world, so to speak. My partner’s hanging on to life by a thread, my personal life’s in shambles – the one thing that mattered the most ripped from me – and I have taken one-too-many steps into a slasher film enthusiast’s rendering of the fucking twilight zone.
Again, my gut tells me things are only gonna get darker and weirder as I go deeper into this one. Hell, I don’t know if I’m gonna make it out one end or the other, but what really surprises me is the realization that I don’t really care. I’ve got nothing left, really. I don’t know if this will be found if I do bite it, but I have the need to lay this down in writing, so that at least there’s a chance for some of the truth to be known at some point. Now that I’ve gone underground… well, I can only hope.