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Archive for May, 2011

Vasovaga Syncope is a fainting episode mediated by the Vagus Nerve. Tabor’s Medical Dictionary describes this as a “feeling of impending death.” David compared it to already being dead. No dreams, no ability to tell if any time has passed, one moment you’re sitting on a couch with a girl drooling on your crotch, the next, you come to sick, quivering, and covered in sweat with a beam of light burning through your retina. In spite of his knowledge of the subject, this had happened to him only once before.

David was shaking and sweating in an apartment bathroom where some asshole had already passed out on the floor in a pool of his own piss and puke. Sitting on the sink with his feet on the asshole’s back, David kept himself from getting the contents of someone’s stomach on his Converse. As he waited for his head to stop spinning, he gazed at a half-digested pepperoncini that surfed on a sea of bile with other formless masses of undigested whatever. David wasn’t sure, but he thought the poor bastard had also shit himself, which was deduced from what seemed to be a brown warshak forming on the back of his pants. If this asshole had managed to cut himself and ejaculate before he passed out, the floor would’ve been the ultimate mélange of bodily fluids. David’s feet rose with every labored breath that the asshole took, which didn’t help with the nausea. Combined with the aroma of half-digested Papa John’s and Vodka, the breathing motions swelling under his feet were only making David feel worse. He hoped that the asshole would just stop breathing, but, considering a liter of Smirnoff didn’t get the job done, David suspected that his hopes and wishes wouldn’t be able to kill him either. “Fresh air,” David swallowed. Using him as a floor mat, David balanced on the asshole’s lower back, opened the door, and leapt over the river of puke that separated him from the hallway. Throwing on his coat, David almost got out of the door before some other asshole asked where he was going.

 

“Hey, where you going?”

David wasn’t sure. “Get some food,” is what he assumed he answered with, and he was correct in his assumption.

“Where?”

“I said I was going to get food.” David misunderstood the question.

“Where are you going to get food?” he clarified.

If the guy wasn’t so damn blurry, David might’ve punched him for asking stupid questions in a time of great distress. “White Asshole,” roared out of David’s mouth, but he wasn’t sure that he responded at all. He was too occupied watching the rest of the room filled with people dissolving into a hazy mass of drunken blurs.

“Why aren’t you wearing a shirt?” One of the other drunken blurs called out.

Wasn’t it obvious? David didn’t say anything.

“Hey! Are you all right?”

David knew that ‘Hey! Are you all right?’ is a phrase that he would never want to hear while partaking in massive amounts of drug and alcohol abuse. ‘Hey! Are you all right?’ is a universally redundant question. If it’s asked of someone, the person is already pretty fucking far from all right, and the person you are asking is already well aware that he or she is about to die. By the time the question hit his ears, David was already on his way down to the floor. Even though he didn’t feel anything, he knew he hit the floor hard by the unanimous roar of “Holy Shit!” called out by every drunken blur in the living room.

David couldn’t see anything and couldn’t move, but he was able to hear, which was even more terrifying. No bright light, and he didn’t notice any relatives at the other end of a tunnel. Probably better off anyway. I’m sure that if any of my relatives were aware of how often I masturbated and snorted coke, they would just shake their heads and wag their fingers. Although David didn’t see any signs of an afterlife, he did hear a single voice calling out to him out of the black.

“Dude, Don’t be dead.”

After the poorly timed Bill and Ted quotation, David’s next memory was of him sitting on the couch, breathing heavily, where the drunken blurs were just a minute before. He guessed that he was still alive, but he wasn’t relieved.

 

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Monday finally decided to show its ugly face, and Dom welcomed its ghoulish grin as a relief from a weekend wrought with unrelieved sexual frustration and drama. While belligerently stumbling down the halls of Streamwood High, he lifted his head just long enough to see Tara distracted with someone else. Didn’t know who it was and didn’t care. He wanted to be left alone in a puddle of built up angst, and the fact that Tara was torturing some other poor bastard was a good start. He walked past her without being noticed and dragged his squeaking Converses down the linoleum halls till he reached Algebra. Slamming his head down on his desk with a smack, Dom closed his eyes, hoping to catch up on the precious sleep that utter turmoil had robbed him of throughout the weekend. Kids always sleep much better when someone is trying to teach them something.

There wasn’t any sleep to be had, though. Cursed images coursed through his head in a steady stream of bloody entrails and semen. Like A Clockwork Orange, where that guy had the things holding his eyes open while he was force fed brutal images of rabbits raping a puppy, Dom too was being force-fed the results of the savageness of nature and human kind. A malicious omnipresent being was skull-fucking him, ejaculating into his frontal lobe.

Besides the gruesome carnage, which Dom believed he could deal with, various images of vegetable girl would occasionally interject themselves between acts of bestial-necrophilia and homoerotic-cannibalism. He wasn’t so sure he could deal with that. One moment, she was lying peacefully in Tara’s bed in a sundress with one strap hanging off of her shoulder, staring at him from behind sleepy eyes, then her image quickly left and was replaced by a gorilla donkey-punching a dead monkey. “That’s better,” he thought to himself. Then, she came back, and the blood in Dom’s body slowly made its way to his penis where it bore an erection. At least, he was hoping she was the reason for his erection. He knew it would’ve given him good reason to be concerned if a dead monkey was getting him hard. Although, he figured it was hard to tell since the dead monkey did look like it was enjoying getting donkey-punched.

For some reason getting wood while thinking about vegetable girl felt like getting hard looking at naked pictures of his cousin. But he knew it would’ve been better off to masturbate to naked pictures of his cousin than to let this tragedy invade his brain. “At least my cousin has bigger tits,” he mumbled to himself hoping afterward that nobody had heard that out of context. Well, even in context it would’ve been difficult to explain. It would be best just to kill anyone who had heard him, bury them in Bode Woods somewhere. He tried to bring back the comfort of gruesome images to his mind and push her out, but she mercilessly eliminated them like a five-foot-four Charles Bronson with long hair and perky tits. It was too damn easy for her.

Annoyed, he opened his eyes but kept his head down, staring at a sliver of light that reflected off of the top of his desk. Someone told him that you could smell a storm coming. Probably one of those southern sayings that his mother had thought to impart to him. Occasionally, his dialect would fall into southern speak depending on his company. If he was around it enough, he would be stuck talking like he was from Alabama for days, confusing the hell out of everyone, including himself. Anyway, yeah, so, you can smell a storm coming. He speculated if the same could be said of shit-storms. After a lot of thinking, he came to the conclusion that you can only smell it after you’ve already stepped in it.

Irritated by his mind’s fascination with vegetable girl, he started bouncing his forehead off of his desk, bludgeoning himself in the hopes of making a hole big enough to let the images escape. He didn’t think there was any reason for enthrallment; he had definitely seen better-looking girls, and most of them never even tried to puke on him. At first, he thought it was because the only hands to touch his dick at the party were his own, but he knew, unlike most days of his life, this time it wasn’t his dick that was the problem. Remembering when she called him her “guardian angel” caused his stomach to spasm, pushing bile to the back of his tongue, reminding him of the first time he snorted heroin. After projectile vomiting all over the side of his Bronco, warmth pulsed from his head, pushing itself down until it touched his toes. Not knowing that when you snort heroin, it’s best to find a place to sit as quickly as possible, his knees buckled and he slammed his forehead against the passenger side mirror and knocked himself out. After waking up face down in a pool of blood-vomit milkshake, Dom put his heroin days behind him. After careful consideration, he realized vegetable girl’s words had the same effect on him, compounded with an erection that could hammer a nail through mahogany.

Nauseated and aroused, he didn’t wait for the bell to ring and bolted out of class, holding his book bag in front of him in a Navy-Seal-stealth-like attempt to hide the fact that he was looking for a good time. Mr. Tack knew by now it was best not to ask too many questions and continued teaching the Pythagorean theorem to a class of kids that would much rather be doing something that would force Mr. Tack to question his belief in god.

The first recluse of the newly damned is seclusion. Keep yourself from the rest of them. Don’t let their sin soak into your skin. Dom was doing an admirable job of avoiding confrontations with them for approximately twenty-six hours and twenty-two minutes and thirty seconds before one of the sinners hit him square in the nuts. And, with a baseball-bat-like erection, he regarded getting hit in the berries not dissimilar from having his dick split by an iron boot.

Caving, falling to the linoleum floor in a lifeless heap, he tightened his lips to keep the vomit that had erupted into his mouth from spewing out. A savage perpetrator fell on the linoleum in front of him with a smack. “Poor guy must’ve really hurt his knee on my nuts,” Dom thought in-between blinding flashes of searing pain. His eyes quickly blurred with tears, which made him briefly wonder if anybody would mind if he started to cry. The crippled young man only hoped that, when the haze cleared, whoever hit him in the scrotum would be a ravenous monster thirty for blood and organs so that it would just devour him completely and get it over with. Unfortunately, he was sure that the blurry form was human and unlikely bloodthirsty. But it was still a bastard nonetheless.

After his tear ducts were spent and the blurry forms in his sights began to coalesce into form, he noticed an auburn-colored mane of hair whipping from one side to the other in confusion, and connected to the whipping form was vegetable girl, fully awake and seeking ball-crunching vengeance. Apparently, vegetable girl’s hair was auburn when it wasn’t soaked in greasy sweat. He thought about how etiquette would require him to say “hi” and to politely thank her for cracking his testicles into fragments, but he was afraid he would only inconvenience her further by puking blood all over her face.

She stopped, flipping her head around in confusion, and stared at him wildly like she was going to say something like “Watch where you’re going!” or just call him a dick, but she didn’t. Instead, she smiled like a puppy that had just shit on the carpet.

Dom jumped up so quick that he almost fell on top of her. With bruised nuts and a still waning erection, he didn’t think it would be a good idea to slam his body on top of hers and get arrested for attempted rape. When he finally steadied, he tried to say something witty like ‘I’ll take this as a thank you for saving your life?’ but all that came out was “I’ll take this…” before some of the vomit that had filled his mouth moved into his lungs, choking him like a bastard. Dom threw his hand around his mouth to keep from throwing chunks all over the smiling girl. Uncontrollably, he twisted around and stumbled away as he gagged and coughed. As he ran away, he noticed a warm wet sensation in his crotch. Unsure if it was bloody semen or piss, he didn’t bother to stop and check.

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Beyond the fire, among the wild things and shadow, he found the child, and the child was his, to be held with care and to be guided through dark places, strange and distorted, and through the world, twisted and contorted. He would provide, and the child would learn from him. The frightened man lies broken on broken earth. He kills the wild things. The distance to here is too much for him, so he seeks out others.

…best to finish him off…

…probably…

…but you’re not going to do it…

…no…

The wild man stayed silent with his child in his arms. He anticipated that he would push through and find whatever waits on the other side, if anything at all. It would tear at him, shred his skin, and leave him broken. He knew that. He would take those scars and make them his.

They traveled when there was light and rested when there wasn’t. No words were spoken by any of them. They just moved. The wild man had set the frightened man’s arm, and it healed completely. The frightened man’s side was still so sore, though, and he still had trouble keeping up with them. He couldn’t help but walk behind the two. He watched the wild man’s back, gazing at his long dangling locks, tangled and twisted, brushing against the black mud that stuck to his skin.

Reuel longed for a bath, to find a cool spring to wash away the sticky blood from his chest and arms. The slathered mess smothered and choked him. He really wanted to speak, but he didn’t. Most of Reuel’s kill was already eaten, but the rest spoiled quickly. The wild man didn’t cook it enough, too red and raw to keep, and now it stank sour. He watched as the wild man sniffed at it, flaring his nostrils and curling his lips, then sniffing it again like something would’ve changed from a moment before. He watched the wild man throw it into the brush without any care. It could’ve lasted them much longer if it was properly preserved. Reuel knew of better ways to keep the meat. He thought of freezing it, but he wasn’t sure when the cold times were coming. He thought of using salt from the shores surrounding water to cure it, but they only found salt on the coasts, and they had been inland for some time. Drying it would work. It would hold longer. He wanted to say something about it, but he didn’t.

He looked to the wild man and the child resting from the distance they had traveled. The fire bathed the wild man’s naked muddy body, emphasizing his muscles underneath. Reuel looked down on himself, adding more to the leaves and mud that hid him.

Eventually, he couldn’t stand to keep his silence anymore, and he spoke to the wild man. “I…I was thinking that we should dry our meat next time we…” The wild man wasn’t paying attention to him. He just lay there on his back, holding the child to his chest. “Ahem, I said that if we dry the meat….” The wild man’s eyes opened, raising his head to peer down his chest at him. He didn’t answer. At least he was looking at him, Reuel thought. Reuel waved his hand at the wild man, hoping to get him to speak. The wild man raised his hand from the child and waved back. Then, he put his hand back where it was, lowered his head, closed his eyes, and started snoring.

“Well, I guess we could talk about it later. Um, goodnight.” Reuel turned and walked closer to the fire. He wasn’t sure why he kept building these fires. It was still warm, and there wasn’t any meat to sear. He could use it to boil roots and vegetables, but the wild man seldom ate them. Reuel just couldn’t live without a saving light, a dancing flame. It held his gaze while the others slept. He watched its sway as it kept to some old rhythm, some old thing dancing an ancient dance that was lost to him. It was as foreign to him as all old things were.

Reuel tried to speak often, needing to speak to the wild man about things, but the wild man never showed any interest. He only kept to the child, only moving for him.  The child reached for the wild man’s long brown locks, unwashed and unkempt, like the rest of his body, darkened with dirt and sun. The wild man lowered his locks, swaying them back and forth, taunting the child until he could reach them. When the child grabbed a bit with his small hands, the wild man quickly pulled it away. He smiled as the child smiled, a smile of young things that still find things new. There was always time for play.

This is irritating. Why won’t he say anything. Reuel tried to keep his silence like the wild man, but he found his silence was impossible to keep. Finally, after a fifth turn, he spoke to the wild man again. “Wha…what’s the child’s name?”

The man looked at him with some surprise, his eyes held wide. That gaze held on him for so long without a word, holding still to someone who seeks to speak. Then, looking to the earth as if he had lost something, he answered. “My son’s name is Joseph.”

Reuel stumbled. “Oh. Where’s your, I mean his mother?”

The wild man didn’t answer. He looked to the child again. His green eyes found his child sleeping. He pushed his bearded face to him, touching the child’s nose, tickling him. Startled, the child moved his head with his eyes still closed, pulling away for a moment, only to return and bury his face deep against his father’s course cheek with a whimper.

Reuel didn’t speak for another three days, and, when he finally did, he did so with care. “What’s…your name?”

The wild man was watching the fire, flames dancing on his mane that hung so gangly on his forehead. Despite the flame, his face was still black, covered with soil, blood, and dirt. He had been kept from the touch of water for so long. “Marc,” he murmured as he scratched his beard. He moved his eyes from the flames and looked to the sleeping child at his side. He put his large hand on the child’s back.

“I’m Reuel.” He waited for a moment to see if Marc would respond, but he didn’t. He just gently rubbed the child’s back. When he didn’t speak, Reuel continued. “Where…are you from?”

He kept his gaze to his sleeping son but pushed up his brow at the strange question. “Um, here.”

“Where? No. I mean…” What the hell is he talking about. “I don’t think you understand. I want to know where you came from.”

The wild man took his gaze from the child, his brow furrowed and his face serious, and stared at Reuel. He seemed, to Reuel, like a man irritated by questions. He must’ve thought of those same questions. He couldn’t move without them. Impossible, I can’t be the only one with them. Still, this wild thing didn’t want to talk at all, much less about such things.

For the moment, Reuel had nothing else to say, so he left it alone.

As time passed, Reuel put more questions to the wild man, but no answers came, just more silence. There wasn’t even the recognition of conversation. It had been so long that when Reuel tried to remember what the wild man’s voice sounded like, he found he had already forgotten.

Although speech was lost, Reuel did find trust and was allowed to help care for the child, such a delicate thing. Always still and smiling in his father’s arms, the child never calmed for Reuel. He was almost always struggling, especially when he would try to bathe him. The only thing worse than when the child squirmed was when he was still. Reuel hated those times. Gaze would catch gaze as he found the eyes of the child, each a different shade. One was the color of green earth and the other the clear sky above it. Those eyes showed old things that pushed too deep, shaking Reuel unnaturally. He found fear in those things and the eyes that held them there. He soon learned to keep his eyes from the child, shuddering when he remembered those pushing things. He always remembered them. That he could never forget.

As they continued to travel Reuel tried to speak less and less, leaving whatever questions he had unanswered. Time passed without words and came out only in need. They hunted, they ate, and they kept moving. He followed the wild man’s lead, unsure to what end. At first, it bothered him not knowing where they were going but not anymore. He had a companion, and he felt safe.

After a long time had passed since their last words, Marc spoke. His eyes fixed on a piece of bark that he moved between his finders, tearing a piece from one corner and rubbing his thumb on another. “Monsters.” He turned the bark over and found its smooth belly. “We’ll find monsters.” He gently brushed the dirt free. “If I die, take the child and leave me be.”

Reuel’s eyes shimmered as they widened.

Marc continued to roll the piece of bark over in the palm of his hand, looking at all of its sides. “Leave death be.” He pulled a piece off of the corner and threw the rest of it into the fire. He stood up and walked away from the light of the fire, away from the companion, and away from his child.

Reuel found himself unable to speak. He was shocked at hearing Marc’s voice again, and it was different than he remembered. He had never heard so many words from him. They still bounced around in his head, trying to escape, but they were held there so tightly. He stood up and tried to follow him, but he stumbled. Look to where the wild man moves and you’ll find nothing but shadows, shadows that look to each other, still finding shadows themselves. His hand reached for something to touch, something flesh, something with breath and something with warmth to help him hold and to help him keep whole. His mimics reached out too but found no flesh, breath, or warmth. Like Reuel, they found nothing. But there was something he found. He found the wild man’s death.

He closed his eyes.

Overwhelmed by a towering beast, the man is beaten, and his companion is helpless, kept still by a bond, a simple word. He sees the man being pushed into the dirt, rising with a bloody face only to be pushed back down again. Blows come from every direction and tearing claws come with them. Flesh rips off from his bones. His blood wells and pools in the wounds left by a savage beast, blood and dirt, shred and tear.

He moves to aid him, but the man reminds him of the bond. He says to leave him be. The man is pushed farther and further into the earth, each time rising smaller and smaller. He fights every blow with one of his own, but his blows soon become weaker and weaker until they lose control completely and hit nothing but air. Still, though, he tries to fight, swinging his arms helplessly. The last moment comes, a time that he can move in and save him, but he does nothing because of those words. I can only watch while you die. The man looks to his eyes for the last time, and the last blow ends him, killed. It’s over, and I couldn’t do anything.

He opened his eyes.

The wild man was gone, and the father didn’t return for some time. Reuel feared being alone again. He stayed at the camp and cared for the child. The day’s light came and left, and still the man was gone. There, waiting by the fire, Reuel felt a sudden pressure in his chest that pushed the air out of him. He struggled to pull his breath back in, but the pressure wouldn’t allow it. It left him on the dirt. The pressure pushed harder, popping his ears, bleeding them and bleeding him. He thought the pressure was going to tear him apart. His stomach twisted, and his legs went taut. Involuntarily, they kicked, cracking sharply at the knees but hitting nothing but air. His fingers forced themselves deep into earth, dragging and tearing at it, finding only deeper dirt.

As suddenly as it had left him, his breath returned to him. He pulled it in hard, tearing at his lungs. He pulled his muddied hands from soil and pushed them to his ears, smearing them with blood and mud. He stood, stumbling and wiping the blood from the sides of his face. He smeared and shaded his skin with its crimson hue. He let his breath out and pulled it back again sharply, fearing he would lose it again. His ears heard a cry, and he ran to the child. The child’s face crinkled and winced. Reaching for him, he found the child untorn and unblemished, no blood, mark, or scar. It was a long while before the child finally calmed down.

Light came and left again, and still the father was gone.

The wind was moving, blowing through the tall and swaying green. He stumbled forward slightly, taking a step in the wind’s pushing direction. The child was still behind him. He couldn’t leave him here. He turned to grab the child, but lost his breath again. Pulling his breath too hard, he choked and coughed out everything that was in him. Nothing stayed inside, and he couldn’t pull anything back. Things swam and spun around him, twisting around his head in a taunting game, mocking and laughing at his spinning state. He couldn’t stay any longer. It was becoming too much for him. The child would have to wait here for him to return. He turned away from the child again, breathing so hard that his chest and belly were sore. Another gust pushed against his back, and his foot fell forward again. He tripped and fell. His face hit the dirt as the harsh winds rolled over his back, moving past him. He lay his head to the earth. He couldn’t leave. He would have to wait and endure. He pushed himself up from the dirt, weak and weary, and walked to the child, binding himself to him with words left unspoken.

…until the end child…

Light came and left again, and finally the father returned, his body covered with clothes and his nakedness gone. His tangled mane was pulled behind his head, and his beard was braided. The man carried with him more clothes for Reuel and Joseph. As he reached for the child, the child started to cry. He rubbed the tears from the child’s face and finished dressing him. When he was done, he looked toward the east. “We move west. Come back when we’re ready.” He turned his back to their path and took up the child. Reuel looked to the path and saw the dark things that waited there. The light had already left them, resting somewhere in the opposite direction. They followed that direction and chased the falling light.

…I wasn’t ready…

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