Here is where I’ll compile my 100 Word Song serial, for quick and easy reading. Click on the links to see each week’s song “inspiration” if you’d like, and I hope you enjoy…
“Why are you fading away from me,” I murmured. Her shrugged shoulders gave me reason to believe that her answer would once again be simply a denial of the facts.
“Why are you running away,” I pried. Her silence was deafening.
When she finally spoke, she once again uttered the words that I already expected to hear. “I’m fine,” she said curtly. “I’m not fading away. I’m not running. I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”
The rest of the drive, we sat motionless. She, inch-by-inch slipping further away from me; and me, continuing to spin myself in circles.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said.”
“I wouldn’t say that I’m ‘fading away’, but maybe I’ve been a little stand-offish.”
“Listen, I know that you’ve never been terribly expressive. And I worry about you. That you somehow feel you have to “do it all” alone. You’re not so much fading as you are just distant. I wish you weren’t.”
“I’ll try to work on that. As long as you work on giving me space, OK?”
Well, “OK” is what I meant to say, had my daydream not been interrupted by our car smashing into the unobserved tree.
A flicker of an eyelid was how long ago it happened, and how long it took.
I opened my eyes slowly, to make sure that they wouldn’t fall out when I did. Fearful of making movements too quickly, I next drew my tongue across my teeth. Odd, they felt cleaner than they should have. Funny how your mind distracts you with idiocy right when your world is exploding in your face.
Peripherally I glanced over at her, to see thick red life oozing from her mouth. The air smelled a hint of lilies. I whispered, “Kathy…?” There was no answer.
“KATHY!” I shouted it this time. But still, there was no response. I felt like some sort of virgin priest in a room filled with whores – woefully ill equipped to deal with the situation.
“KATHY!” Again, as I shook her vigorously. “KATHY!” Again, with no response. She didn’t even stir. My heart grieved while waiting for her reply.
It wasn’t that she didn’t even stir – she hadn’t even moved.
Those damned teeth. What was wrong with them again? Oh yeah, they felt too clean. Sort of like they had been scrubbed.
Or, like they had never been used before.
The rain began to slide effortlessly through the cracks in the windshield, dripping onto our heads. I could smell the life-giving freshness of it, but felt not a thing. All the pain I should be facing, absent.
I had been sitting there for hours. For seconds. For years. Who knew? As shortly after the accident, Time had left altogether. Trailing off quietly to find a happier place.
One solitary drop, larger than all the rest – almost majestic in size – trembled meekly as it clung to the windshield, afraid to jump. Finally it did, and with its immolation, Kathy awoke.
Spotting a patch of red hair coming towards us through the rain, finally, help was coming.
“We’ll be out of here soon Kathy.”
Kathy turned to me and wept. “I shouldn’t have worked so hard to keep that space between us. I should have… have written more compassion into our story.”
“We’ve time for that” I whispered. Kathy ignored me, saying “I wish, oh God how I wish that I saw then, what I see so plainly now…”
Her words trailing off, an unfamiliar voice from behind said “hey kid, don’t you think it was about time you’d be going?”
I could’ve sworn someone had been coming. Where had he disappeared too?
As I sat there confused, the radio suddenly screamed to life. The damned Beatles, invading through the car’s tiny speakers.
Kathy jumped, her sobbing beginning anew. I couldn’t blame her; the Beatles always were the one thing we could agree upon hating whole-heartedly.
“That’s all well n’ good pal, but you really should be goin’ now.”
The man. I’d forgotten he was there.
In the car.
“How… how did you know what I was thinking?”
“Well, you was thinking it loud enough, now wasn’t ya?”
“How long have you been here?”
“As long as you have dumbass. Well, more to the point, as long as She has. Can’t be separated from my meal ticket, ya know? I mean, let’s face it, it is all about me.”
With that, he bent forward, wafting his way between Kathy and I. He formed lips and pressed them hard against her slumped back. I sat paralyzed by fear and confusion deep within.
Sucking hard, he extracted from her a dark, snotty string of pain and hurt, drinking it in. Turning only his head to face me, he grinned maliciously.
Slurping, he said “what? I told you I couldn’t be separated from my meal ticket. You, however, can. Now get the hell outta here!”
I didn’t know how to respond. Looking pleadingly at Kathy, her return gaze to me was focused elsewhere. Just slightly to the left of where I sat.
How couldn’t she be as terrified as I? How could she just sit there?
“Listen, waterboy. She’ll never look at you again, and there’s no ‘beauty of grey’ about that. I don’t know why this is taking you so long to process, but you’re dead dumbass. And she’s not.”
Kathy stared solemnly out the window of our apartment, stumbling through her memories, feeling much like a mere prop to my fading story.
She didn’t say as such, she didn’t need to. I felt her emotions oozing from her, much like radiant heat. Her fear, anger and loss permeated the room. I stood there, helpless to comfort her. Helpless to do the one thing I’d promised I always would.
Of course he was there as well. Standing directly behind her, uncomfortably close. Feasting on it like it was Easter candy.
Snickering, he growled, “Halloween’s a better analogy, don’t ya think?”
She was an angel, looked like an angel. That was what I always said of her. But now I came to realize that maybe I was wrong.
Where were the angels? Since I had died, I hadn’t seen a one. No pearly gates either.
“That’s what I’m saying, roadkill” chimed my new and unwelcome companion, “you have to go to them, they ain’t comin’ for you.”
I understood him, and knew I could, but I didn’t want to leave her alone here, with him.
“Please. Please stay just a little longer.”
Interrupting my thoughts, this time, the voice was Kathy’s.
“Oh, who am I kidding,” Kathy bemoaned, “it’s not like you’re here anymore. Maybe you’ve found a better place. I need a better place.”
She wept softly, leaning her head against the dirty glass that separated our apartment from the world outside. Her tears slowly streaking the years of build-up that I’d failed to clean while alive.
The man continued to stand behind her, gorging himself upon her grief. Looking to me, he sneered, “you really should try some, dumb ass. It’s the only thing that’ll keep you ‘alive,’ and this shit tastes even better than the rape did…”
The rape??? The one secret that Kathy had imparted to me alone, the one mark of needless shame she felt. How had he known?
I screamed, “you filthy son of a bitch! Are YOU the… the “man” who did that to her???”
“Nah, I didn’t know her then” he calmly retorted with a wink, “but it was the thing about her that caught my eye. Her grief, so goddamned delicious, I decided to stick around.”
Kathy. Oh, Kathy. I would’ve died for you. Hell, I would’ve killed for you. And now it was too late. Now, I could do neither.
“Hey, you can hit me if you want” he snarled innocently, “but like I said, I never laid a hand on her.”
“You’re a prick” was all I could muster. I’d already tried to hit him, but this only caused him to laugh, as my hand disintegrated into a puff of smoke upon impact.
“Just like a woman…” he had said, in between clots of laughter.
Kathy began playing Johnny Cash’s “Hurt.” I moaned as the first note hit the air. He in turn, pretended to grab fork and knife, after tucking a make-believe napkin carelessly into his nonexistent collar.
Click to view a stand alone piece, words 1500.
Like a wanna-be jazz pianist slowly trailing their fingers across the keyboard, I could feel myself getting tired. Not in the normal sense though, as I hadn’t slept ever since I… well, ever since.
“You gotta eat, if you wanna survive,” he snarled unexpectedly, while slurping up another ounce of Kathy’s grief.
Survive what? I already hadn’t survived. This ass, this hell bound-less prankster, confused me.
“Listen doink, you’re dead. And seein’ as you’re not goin’ anywhere, would ya drop your mask already, and just eat?”
With these words, the unwelcome stranger continued to kick me square between the eyes.
Listening to The Waterboys “World Party,” Kathy loudly sang her favorite line, the one we used to scream together, “but it’s your head, it ain’t mine.” She stopped abruptly, murmuring quietly “your head. Not mine.”
“GodDAMN you,” she shouted to me “all you ever wanted was sex! If you could’ve been patient, we could’ve worked it out… we could’ve… you could’ve kept your eyes on the damned road! All you had to do was give me time. Honey, why didn’t you want to go there with me?”
Leaning over, my unwelcome friend cruelly smiled, saying “wink, wink, nudge, nudge, ehh?”
Pieces of me lay scattered across the floor, as Kathy organized pictures of us, filing them away for safekeeping. Not to forget, but so she didn’t have to constantly remember.
Gratefully, she was moving on. I was as well, daily becoming more translucent.
He however, was as dense or more, as when we had first met. Waddling up behind, he whispered into Kathy’s ear – how could he even do that? – with whatever he mentioned causing her to drop the photos, sobbing.
Smiling innocently he said, “what? I only told her the truth. That you’d be coming ‘round again someday.”
I didn’t bother asking why I became less as he became more, for I knew that merely thinking it would propel him to answer.
He didn’t disappoint when he said, “You stupid fuck. YOU HAVEN’T EATEN! That’s WHY you’re fading, dumbass!”
“You mean… like you eat?” Having to ask this aloud – the words felt wrong as they escaped nonexistent lips.
“Of course” he retorted dismissively.
The idea hurt like a sucker punch. But still… I wanted to be there for her.
Kneeling down, readying myself to suck I whispered, “This is only so I can wait for you, Kathy…”
I didn’t have to ask how, as I had seen him do it so many times before.
Softly I leaned into her, just a little beneath her heart.
As my non-existent lips caressed her back, I was swept away to a distant memory; a time where we laid together naked, relaxing in our love for each other.
I remembered Kathy smiling as she said, “Can we just stay here? Forget the world altogether?”
“Ha!” I replied, “You’d get too hungry for that! Before long you’d need to eat.”
“Then just eat ALREADY, dumbass!” he screamed, his words interrupting my reverie.
“It’s so somatic,” he softly purred into my ear. “You’ll feel much better afterwards.”
The time had come. It had to be now or never. “Forgive me,” escaped my lips, just before inhaling her life force.
The air was torn by her scream, while what seemed like a million years of pain and agony filled the void where once a man had stood.
As I was filled, I watched her convulse in pain – a pain unlike what she ever felt before.
I became more solid as she collapsed.
I had drained her from power, and now felt strangely ambivalent about it.
The ambivalence felt became tangible. Like an unwelcome wholly new being living within.
“Enjoy the experience?” He asked with a giggle.
“Shut up.” I replied.
“Finally ready to let your little world go?” He furthered.
“Shut. UP!” I screamed. How could I’ve done this? How could I’ve hurt Kathy – used her – without feeling any remorse about it?
Ambivalence tried to shoulder in on my internal dialogue, but the spell was broken. I realized, in order to “live” in this plane, you had to kill in the other. It then dawned; he’d been slowly doing just that to Kathy for years now.
“How can you experience that, just to survive,“ I asked?
“Oh, it’s not exactly like that for me,” he said wistfully. “No, you get the good stuff, seeing as Kathy is ‘yours’ n’ all. Me, I just get plain old chow. ‘Mine’s’ been dead for years.”
“Did you kill her?” I implored.
“I suppose so, eventually.”
“Where is she now?”
“She left. Went to heaven, or hell, or wherever. Wouldn’t eat with me. Said it had changed me, that it was criminal. Dumb bitch…”
He trailed off, as if remembering some great sin. What that was, I didn’t ask.
As usual, he read my mind almost before the thought occurred.
“What?” He asked, “You think I regret this? That I would’ve done it differently had I the chance? Hell no, dip-shit!”
“But… but aren’t you discontented?” I inquired.
His response stung, “AND? What’s so wrong with that? What the fuck’s the point of ‘contentment’ anyway? I’d rather be drunk on discontent and alive, than just OK and dead.”
Stating the obvious, I said, “But… You are dead.”
“Shut up, you bastard!”
It was the first time I’d been able to get to him, the first chink in his armor.
Glaring, he stared at nothing in particular, mumbling, “It’s not about regret…”
I used the opportunity to rest a bit with Kathy. It was a new tactic I was trying with her since I, well, since I had done what I did to her that once. My idea was that if pain can feed, then so could love.
Recovering, he all but sputtered, “Love? Love can’t feed! Love doesn’t stay – it goes Upward. Feeding on love is like feeding on air, dumbass. Only pain can make you whole.”
He had lied before. I had to give it a chance.
I’m sure that if anyone could’ve heard me, I would have sounded silly calling out to her, she being on the other side of Living and me, on this.
He heard me of course, but his warped laughter was more like white noise now, than an actual menace.
Laugh as he might, I still needed to move ahead with my plan, to find some way to reach Kathy. Tapping into her love; somehow increasing it, so I could consume the overflow.
“I ain’t helping you go backwards, chumpy,” he drolly proclaimed.
This, more a blessing than a curse, I sighed.
My “mouth” pressed against her ear, he cackled while I implored, “Kathy!”
Wishing for her response, it suddenly struck me: love comes from the soul, not the ear. Love is lived, not heard. He had always ravaged her from behind. This must be where her soul rested. Where the real Kathy resided.
Bending down gingerly, I began to feel disgust over my previous attempt. Edging away, I remembered he’d said, Love goes up. And “up” goes forward, never back. Realizing this, I came around towards her chest, watching his maniacal grin begin to slide from his face as I did.
Seeing this, I knew I had him beat.
Grimacing, he seethed, “you dumb fuck, love is not LOVING!” Ignoring him – into what I hoped was the core of her soul – I gently blew, “Kathy…”
Immediately a Brightness exploded forth, enveloping both he and I, blasting us like the leaves we were to the floor. Laying there, I absorbed its warmth, while he scurried for some imaginary corner to hide in.
The weight of her light had knocked me senseless. As I faded, I saw him cowering, waterless tears streaming down his face while he repeated over and over, “idiot love…”
Coming around, I saw Kathy smiling oddly, almost as if she were looking straight at me.
Hurriedly beginning to search him out, I heard her giggle, “He’s not here, silly.”
“Kathy… did I kill you?”
“No dear, you opened a door. You lit a fire. You freed me all those years ago.”
“But it only just happened…”
“For you. But you freed yourself as well Michael. We’re both on the Other Side now, time doesn’t live here.”
“But… he said that I’d come back ‘round for you.”
Smiling, Kathy pulled me up saying, “That he did. And now, you have.”
The light died. And HA! That stupid little shit was gone! Must’ve gotten himself sucked up to heaven, or hell, or wherever.
Well now Kathy was all mine, and I deserved a treat.
But… the bitch was all locked up – firm, tight. No gaping soul-wound, she was whole and I couldn’t get in.
I COULDN’T GET IN!!!
Come ON! My beautiful disaster, she freakin’ healed. She freakin’… whatever.
Now I need to find another meal ticket. Now I gotta go through all that work again, and I gotta do it quick.
I can feel myself… already fading…
© t – 2o13