The Crying Man
NaNoWriMo Day 1
“So the guy ended up in the end, not just cycling all the way to work in the first place, but all the way back home and then all the way back again. Not because he wanted to, but because he’s a fucking idiot.”
The table roared with laughter, everyone doubling over in their seats, John doing his best not to spit as he drink and nearly choking. If anything, that caused me to laugh more. I always had this image in my head that one day he would just regurgitate it all out at the person across from him, and be stuck apologizing profusely to them for the next hour or so.
“So what?” Anita said, who had only just arrived, missing the best part of the conversation and allowing him to repeat it. “All you did was forget your pass?”
“Yeah, pretty much,” AJ muttered, his cheeks blushing furiously red as he tried to join in laughing with everyone, his fingernails picking away at the bottle of beer in front of him.
“That’s stupid,” she said, sitting down on the edge of the seat, having to push John in slightly. The lad was still choking away at the mouthful of beer he had ingested due to humorous forces, and didn’t even notice her, not that he would have tried to anyway. “You work at the supermarket, right? You shouldn’t need to…”
“Yeah,” he repeated, interrupting her. “It’s some new kind of security setting they have in place there. You need to scan it to show you’re there.”
“But don’t you have to do those hole punch things as well?” she added, “you know, the ones where you slot them in, and it records the time.”
“Timesheets, yeah. We get them as well, but you…”
“Hey, are we getting Chinese after this,” Barry asked Donna off to the side. Donna, who was usually the brown haired, hard assed temptress of the group, was insulting herself by involuntarily falling asleep. Her head rolled over to the side to look at him, her eyes slowly lifting as she regarded him with shocked curiosity.
“What? We just ate,” she stated.
“I don’t know why it is really,” AJ continued. “I hate it there, but I need the money before Uni starts again.”
“Did you just do expository dialog?” Samson quipped, but it was ignored after a quick laugh on his behalf.
“Egg Fried Rice would be good about now, with lots of curry sauce. Oh, and those chicken things that you get in batter.”
“How do you not get fat?”
“Metabolism, baby!” Barry cheered to himself. “I have a metabolism, sixteen times better than God’s. No one can stop my Leet eating skillz!”
“Waffle,” John added, though only a few of us understood what he was trying to do. John spent far too long by the computers, although it was just a little more than me and he did far less.
“Oh, you’re still doing Uni, aren’t you? Oh, you’re so lucky,” Anita whined, her hand moving to answer her phone even as it silently vibrated beneath her. She barely glanced before answering.
“Too lucky in my opinion,” I said, looking at him with mock suspicion. “If I didn’t know any better, I say he was working for the Nazis. Or worse, the Communist Nazis.”
The table erupted with laughter again. I felt a little bad. I had stolen that particular joke, and sincerely hoped that John wasn’t in the mood to point out the technicalities of the political standings of the two words I had just used.
“Why would they have him going to Uni?” he asked, settling for a mere jab to the face this time when he could have gone for a full body blow.
“All communists go to university.” As far as I was aware, this was true.
“And so all university students are communists?” he bantered back quickly, stirring his J2O with his straw as he leaned over it.
“Not Communists,” I corrected him. “Communist Nazis.” Dumbass.
“Hey, let me pass,” AJ said, squeezing through before anyone even asked granted him the permission he sought, his voice promptly changing to sound like a pompous gentlemen. “Just going for a slash.” His words reminded me that my bladder was been providing messages for a while. IT was beginning to become a bad thing for me to screen them for so long, and I stood up to join him.
“Hey, I’m coming too.”
“Gayyy!” Samson chimed, as if he had been waiting for the opportunity all night. We ignored him and headed for the pub’s corridor. It was the most dingy looking part of the pub.
Thick white paint covered the walls in far too many layers, and drabs had slithered their way in the direction of gravity, before having been picked off by those passing through. On the floor, the Landlord’s cat slept peacefully in front of the men’s door, and AJ took a moment to play with it. The ginger tabby remained completely unresponsive for about five seconds, until he went to stroke its stomach, where it instantly went for him.
AJ didn’t even tried to move, and smiled sweetly as he let it bite his fingers. I cringed slightly, watching it chew away at his thumb like a toddler might its own, before letting go of him again and allowing him to continue.
“That thing’s wild,” I commented, waiting for a few seconds more. AJ loved cats. From what I could tell he loved all animals, though cats were probably number one on his top ten list. It had even become one of those mild nuisances, and Samson would often scream warnings to cats as the man approached them, telling them to get away, lest they be petted.
“It’s because it knows me,” he replied, not making any sense. Why would a cat… It didn’t matter. I pushed aside them, stepping over the cat and going to open the door, when it did so for me. The Landlord was standing there, coughing as he did periodically under his gray, unkempt mustache. He bounced back, his hands lifting up as if to show he was defenseless, his half glazed eyes staring at both of us at the same time.
“Hold on lads,” he grunted, coughing one last time to get it out of his system for a while- I’m glad I only smoke occasionally. “I have to warn you…” His voice went tense for a moment, as he waited for us both to look at him, “That I left a bit of a stink in there.”
AJ laughed, as I showed him an appreciative smile. The old man, Ted we thought his name was, though we were never quite sure, laughed the loudest as soon as he saw us do so and moved on passed us. He was strange for his old, unfunny jokes, but we could never complain. He had been letting in the small majority of our group in here since we were sixteen. He knew John’s dad, I think, and that’s why we seemed to have some special treatment.
“You coming to the quiz on Thursday? Got a treat for you if you do.” He always asked everybody this, so we knew it wasn’t a special invitation. He preferred a full house on quiz nights. It kept the party lively for the whole night. I was always against it though, as it soon ended up being us against our parents in the tie breaker, and my dad was far too rowdy by that point, as well as a master at everything in terms of the years of music bands and everything.
“We’ll see if we can,” I replied, seeing AJ finally stand up and letting the cat go back to its hatred of mankind. Glaring at me as we went through, it quickly rested its stupid little head on its legs again.
“It doesn’t smell too bad,” AJ commented, stepping up to the urinal and pulling his trousers down. I hesitated. He had gone right in the middle of the main five, which was always filled with the fag ashes that someone left behind. I never liked using that one, as it always repulsed me seeing those stray little ends float about in your own piss. The amount of nicotine in most people’s urine was already disturbingly high.
I hovered over to the sink, staring down into the sink. The cleaning lady must have been in today, or whoever it was that cleaned the men’s. The stains had gone from before. Whoever had brought in a cup of tea must have been crazy to put it down there, but there was no way of knowing now.
I heard a flush behind me, and feet quickly scattered in a small confine as they moved to put their trousers back on. For some reason, I looked on for a moment longer, watching those fine, suede shoes fumble about, before my eyes caught something bobbing at the top of the stall. A shiny, bald head looked by at me, before kneeling down to get under the doorway.
A ruffled, leather jacket swayed from top to bottom, as the man walked out, his sunglasses glinting at me, almost as if he was staring. To say he was tall would be to dishonour him by using such a plain word. We had all been sitting by the corridor leading to the toilet in the first place. How could we have missed this guy? He nodded to me for a second, and I realized I was staring, but he paced out of the room.
“He is the One,” AJ quipped, reminding me where I was. My bladder physically complained to me one last time, and I realized I had to hurry before it was too late. I stepped up next to the urinal, seeing someone had actually dropping gritty ash into this one, apparently unfearing for any damage on their love machine.
“Wasn’t that John’s messenger name for a while?” I asked rhetorically. We already both knew the answer, and knew exactly where the conversation was gong. He had it anyway.
“That ‘Morpheaus- OMFG I found the One!” thing,” AJ laughed as he said it.
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“Yeah. That was good.” A few seconds of silence passed, and we both sighed loudly, almost in unison, before his zipper told me he was finished.
“See you out there,” he said, patting me on the shoulder with an unwashed hand. I flinched for a second unwillingly, and hoped he wouldn’t be offended if he noticed. He tossed his hands under the spray of water for about half a second, and then went out through the door. A little bell sprung to life for a second and I was left in silence.
My phone rang. I ignored it, despite the potential hilarity of answering someone while peeing dawned on me, I couldn’t risk it being my mother, and I waited to finish before answering it.
“Are you guys at the pub?” Shit.
“Hey, Nicole,” I said, hastily reacting and trying to sound casual. “No. Well. I’m not anyway.”
“Are you sure?” she asked again, her bratty voice screeching into my ear at the high pitch that she had so easily mastered, making it sound like she was shouting when she wasn’t. “Mom said she saw you guys heading out.”
So her mom had moved out. I knew that had happened. It was the intensified arguments between her mother and father and their extra connubial relationships that had caused Nicole to be such a pissant lately. The old lady must have called her to ask if she wanted a closer place to stay on the way back and pretty much told her that she hadn’t been invited.
“Don’t think that was us.” Shit, don’t say us. It shows that you’re not alone.
“Then who was it?”
“I don’t know!” I shouted back, sounding pissed. “But I’m alone here. Look.” Choosing your battleground is always an important factor in a fight, but making use of one you didn’t choose is pure genius. The silence of the toilet assaulted the ear piece, telling the occupant on the other side that I was alone in my room, and probably masturbating.
“Right, sorry about that,” she said, apparently calming down to hide her own embarrassment. “So what are you up to?”
“I’m a little busy actually,” I complained. “I’m working.”
“Oh sorry,” she replied, sounding downcast. “I’ll leave you alone then.”
“No wait,” but she had hung up. I stared at my Nokia for a moment, and then hit the green button. Nothing happened, and I tried to remember how the damn things worked. I hated doing that to her really, but she was not fun to be around at the moment. She was a messed up as it was, and it seemed to give her more permission to be an angsty Goth girl. Now the problem with her parents…
I breathed heavily, hitting the red button and no longer hearing that stupid dial tone. I was going to have to act happy again. I’m glad I’m such a good actor. Reaching for the door, I put on my little smile, the type I use to try and not look too suspicious and overacting. The smile faded, an arched eyebrow replacing the fake emotion for a genuine one of concern. The door was locked. I tugged on the handle again, a little harder this time. This door had been getting more and more jammed for a few years, and it was probably just in the mood tonight.
Another pull confirms that it wasn’t just the door. It didn’t scratch slowly across the floor like it usually did. Planting my foot against the wall, I pushed firmly against it, using the leverage and many complicated rules of science to pries it open. It felt like it gave way a little bit, but did nothing more.
“Is someone there?” I shouted, immediately putting my ear to the wall to wait for some kind of muffled giggle. It wasn’t past AJ to play a practical joke, even if he was the more serious of the group, but his immaturity would show, even beyond the wooden plank between us.
I heard nothing, and quickly became aware of the small layer of grease on the door. Wiping it, I stepped back two paces, loudly, telling the person behind the door they could let their grip loose slightly. A fatal move for their joke, as I swung out and ripped out the handle, completely shocking myself as the brass piece hung, dangling in my hands like a broken coffee mug. This was now kind of bad.
“Oi, whoever it is,” I shouted, getting as close to the door as I could now without scraping it. “Go tell the Landlord that I’m stuck here. The handle’s fallen off.” Waiting, I heard nothing, not even the slinking of footsteps. I knew my ears weren’t the best, but I should have heard something in the silence.
What I did hear surprised me. All the lights in the toilet fell to darkness, all humming loudly for a quick burst, their pitch warping before going silent, leaving me stranded in near total darkness…
That was kind of weird. They were only light bulbs, and there were only three of them. , but it sounded more like the power had been cut off for an entire building mixed in with that special effect that you always heard getting added into television blackouts.
I froze in the darkness, like I expected a predator to come sneaking out of the shadows. Hesitating for a moment, my hand moved slowly to the light switch, flicking it a few times haphazardly to see if I had lent on it or something, despite my new found dislike of touching the wall. Nothing.
“Hello!” I shouted, only the periodical flush of the urinals answering me. I turned to them, and saw them spluttering out their contents, a thick mash of brown liquids, spraying out in all directions, covering the floor in putridness, as more and more of the bits were pushed out, a metal wire slowly piercing itself through the tiny hole of urinal no. 3, Green mushiness that looked like the peas had been mashed into the remains out of the child’s one.
My throat contracted, and stayed there until I remembered to breath. I rushed back to the door a one step away, and banged on it this time, instantly remembering that my behavior was probably exactly what the person on the other side wanted. This had to be a joke, but one this elaborate. How did they fix up the urinals? It wasn’t worth it for a quick laugh.
They stopped, again in unison, the one at the end coughing up one last bit that had got stuck, and then all that was left was the dripping. The water had came out at the same time, but the brown and green stuff had blocked the holes, meaning it was now spilling out onto the floor, the small dripping created the only noise in the toilet.
I stared down at it, part of me wanting to know what the hell it was, the other part waiting for that guy from Trigger Happy to come out. I never did know if he explained to his prank victims what had just happened. I always remember John telling me that the guy had to get their permission for when it came to filming them.
“Hello?” I shouted once again. This was getting either stupid or serious.
A noise on the other side of the room caught my attention, snapping it up and demanding I focus upon it. It sounded like a person. Was someone else here? If so, why weren’t they doing anything? Chiding myself for the stupid question, I went to approach the prankster, hearing them sputter under their breath, trying to hide their laughter. I never needed an excuse to hit Samson, but it looks like I’d have one today.
The voice stopped me. It didn’t even sound like a man’s voice, more a little girl’s, but what was more important was that it didn’t sound like it was laughing either, more like crying.
End NaNoWriMo Day 1
NaNoWriMo Day 2
“Hello?” I called out, slowing approaching the toilet stall. The door was shut, but not engaged, the handle revealing a scratched up green paint even in the darkness. It was ajar, just a fraction, making me feel like someone hadn’t bothered to lock it. Or couldn’t. Some of the doors in this toilet needed a serious fix up, but the Landlord had no real intentions of doing so.
The person on the other side didn’t speak, but their muffled sounds continued. It sounded as if their face was in their hands and huffing and puffing away, like a girl trying to hold in their tears… or a man doing his best not to burst out into laughter.
I looked around, just to check that there was no one else in the room. How I missed this guy I had no idea. After the Landlord and AJ and the guy in the Trench coat I was fairly certain I was the last one in here. Clearly I was wrong
No answer made me feel a little uneasy. It would have been best to just shout up and ask them, but it also felt a little rude to interrupt. Maybe I was just being a little paranoid. Three bad events happening in tandem. The door, the lights. Maybe the pub’s pipes had suffered some maintenance problems and got blocked, spewing up everything that was in the toilets. That made the most sense. Well, at least over some highly elaborate practical joke.
“You okay in there?” I shouted to the stall’s occupant. Make it look honest at least. Fake a little concern, just to make sure I wasn’t being a total jackass of myself. He didn’t reply again, but sniffed loudly, or was it snorted? Considering how quiet it was in here, the only other sounds being my feet tapping on the white tiles beneath me, as well as the strange brown liquid that was now dripping from the urinal in slow, intermittent blobs, it was weird how I could barely make out what the person on the other side was doing.
I turned back to the door. Maybe I was just being a retard. It was a good thing I hadn’t slammed on the door for help. How would it look if the person on the other side opened it with ease, especially if it was someone I knew? The jokes would be made in my direction for a change, a string of laughter directed at me as the king was replaced with the jester for a change.
Reaching the door, I took the door handle and compared it to the metal stick that pointed out hollow, white door. Sliding it back in, I twisted it and jammed my thumbs through the crack and tried to slide it open slowly, knowing that if I went too fast the handle would just come back off. Nothing budged, save the brass in my hands, creaking slightly under the pressure. Increasing my force, I tried for another few moments, before the handle slid off.
Stupid thing. Throwing it to the floor, I turned back to my little temporary dungeon. Maybe something had happened to the pub in general. A small explosion might have bust the fuse box and called the circuit breakers to trip, explaining the strange hum when all the power went out. Also, if the plumbing was connected to the electricity in some ways- it had to really; how else do the urinals come on at specific periods- then it might have caused some kind of weird feedback.
It didn’t smell like faeces though.. More like vomit, the mashed of remains of three dinners mixed in with the cheap lager I had been drinking earlier. My stomach complained about the nature of my thoughts and I stopped there, eying that strange wire one last time before moving back.
“Hey mate,” I shouted to the guy in the stall. “I don’t want to interrupt you, but I think we may be trapped in here. There had better not been some recently dumped ex-boyfriend in here or something, or some glorified angst teen. Things were bad already, and I really didn’t feel like babysitting some stranger at the end of a really good day going bad.
There was no answer again.
It was always amazing how some guy you never met and were likely to never meet again could somehow really piss a person off. It happened in the street plenty of times, when some jackass was being loud and annoying everyone in his vicinity or a person coming into your workplace with the sole intent of harassing you over something which wasn’t even your responsibility. I felt like pushing the door forwards, just to face the guy and confirm what he was actually doing. For all I know it could have been drugs. That would have really screwed things up. Two guys in the toilet and one’s taking drugs. If I weren’t careful I might get mixed up into being with him.
“Oi. Are you in there?” I shouted, now not wanting to take the risk. Pushing the ajar door too, I looked in to see an empty stall staring back at me, the only thing filling it being a small odor from when the last person hadn’t flushed his crap down there.
For a second it felt like I was in free fall, having been caught unexpectedly by the guy behind me, pushing me off the plane before I said it was okay. There was definitely someone in here. How could that be? I looked up. People who had disappeared in the toilet were always on the room. Even if they were all secret agents, it was worth it just to check. Nothing.
Standing on the seat, I gave myself an aerial view of the whole room, seeing no place to hide. Now that I could see everything, it was weird how completely dark it was. Even outside the small port window just to the left of the sink, only shadows covered the glass. Dropping door, I moved to flush the toilet, only thinking of the problem with the pipes when it was too late. I watched as the anonymous man’s crap spun round the bowl and out of sight, my eyes spinning as it twirled out of view. Looked like that toilet was fine.
So I was alone in here, it seemed. Heading over to the sink, I leaned on it, looking at myself in the mirror and seeing myself look back. The gel on my hair had wavered more to the left than I usually allowed. My comb was in my jacket, and a few wipes with my hand made no real improvement. It was the end of the day anyway, so it would really matter if I was spiky all the time.
I had to get out of here.
“Hello!” I shouted out, now holding back, as the entire room thundered with my voice. If I just shouted normally, the chances of being heard in here were small. The Landlord played the music in the bar loudly, and that was between the toilet and the lounge. Even worse, if Jim were here then Queen would be playing most of the night. Then no one in either part would be able to hear me.
Silence replied to me, telling me there was no one on the other side of the line. I banged heavily on the door a few times, briefly considering a violent attempt to smash it in, ripping a hole in the weak, hollow wood and burrowing out the other side. That was perhaps a bit extreme though, not to mention illegal.
The cracking of glass caught my attention, and I instantly bounded for the window. Sounded like someone had dropped a glass out there. Peering through the small, square window I saw nothing. It was too stained to see anything anyway, bit I at least expected some kind of blur.
“Is someone out there,” I cried out quickly, and pressed my ear to the window for the response. I was pretty sure that it would help, but worth a try.
Beating footsteps filled my ear, making me rap on the window to call attention to it. “Get the Landlord, I’m stuck in here!” I shouted, before I realized that the person was running. His figure streaked passed my eyes. A shadow, even in this darkness, created a layer of darkness on my eyes for just a fleeting moment and disappearing completely. Shit, some kid must have broke a bottle, and then realized he had been caught, or thought he had anyway. “Come back!” I shouted one last time, but it was useless.
“Dammit,” I smacked my open palm into the tiles surrounding the porthole, and dropped back down onto the tiles. This was stupid. This was fucking stupid. How could I get myself locked in the toilets? I should have at least had AJ wait with me, and then at least we’d be trapped together. At leas rate, I would have to wait until someone come and open the door on the other end, where hopefully it was working fine.
I paced the empty room up and down a few times, thinking through my options. Playing the waiting game was annoying, but it seemed the only choice. Getting locked out two months ago meant a three hour wait for Barry to show up half wasted. At least he had brought Chinese food. That guy sure loved his Chinese, though he didn’t like curry.
The empty stall glanced at me, and I turned back round to stare at it. What had I heard? Was it just the pipes complaining? That wasn’t possible, was it? Pipes didn’t sound like somebody crying. Groaning maybe, but definitely not laughing. I closed the door, all the way this time. Maybe the noise would start again and I could confirm it for what it was. It was certainly weird.
I froze, my foot flattering back but still catching my step, mouth dropping slightly as I saw the words displayed in front of my in thick pink…lipstick?
“What the hell…?” I muttered to myself, examining the two words. They were written like they would be on a blackboard, large and scribbled, the two canceling out any illegibility.
Staring at it, I saw that it rose just a little further up than usual. Bringing my finger up to it, I dabbed against it softly. Still wet. In fact, it would remain wet for a while. “Lipstick?”
Was that person a girl then? No. That person didn’t exist. I spun round, part of me imagining someone standing there with a camera ready to take a shot, and again saw nothing but the emptiness of the room, spirally around me I was realized I was truly alone.
Who had written this? It was actually kind of freaky, like some kind of scorned woman who had used the contents of her handbag to write death threats to the boyfriend she just realized had been cheating on her. But how had it just appeared like that? Some kind of chemical effect, but why? This series of events were feeling more and more elaborate and complicated. Why would someone go to so much effort to confuse and prank me? How could someone do it without me noticing them scurrying in the shadows?
IT certainly felt like there was someone in the room with me, but it wasn’t like it was a big place, where could they hide? Sticking to the roof was the only obvious option. After all, like the brothers had stated, no one ever bothers to look up. But I wasn’t that stupid, and the room, specially the roof part of it, was clear of any and all pranksters.
The door handle rattled. Finally, someone had come to take a slash. It took a little longer than I thought, but it was a Wednesday. Not many people showed up on a Wednesday. That’s why I liked the place really. The place just got too noisy, too uncontrollable. You couldn’t hear yourself think, let alone hold an intelligence conversation with your peers on a Friday night. Not that I expected to hold too intelligent a conversation with those around me.
The rattling stopped as I reached it, and quickly started, pushing against the door to suffer the same problem I had. “It jammed, mate. Go get the Landlord.” That was a relief. If it was bust on both sides, then it didn’t make me a total fool for breaking the damn handle, just a victim…
My patience growing thin through all the trials, I waited for a response, and growled loudly when none came. Don’t tell me the guy had just wandered off. There was a second set of toilets in the Family Room, but surely someone here wouldn’t be so irresponsible to just ignore me. Luckily the door handle rattled again, and I figured the guy must just be trying again. Quickly picking the handle up off the floor, I slotted it in at the angle the bar had been turned and braced myself as the man stopped.
“Try again mate,” I shouted, ready to pull alongside his push. It was very possible this might go bad for me and I would be forced to witness a Newtonian demonstration of a wrist being caught between a brass handle and a hard place, but it didn’t matter for now. Pulling all I could without getting causing the handle to fall off, I tried to pry the door open.
I was expecting it by now. Something had well and truly jammed it shut, but I couldn’t tell what. My quick witted instinct told me perhaps super glue or a stick of wood. But the second would be obvious, and the first, someone would have probably caught the perpetrator in the act.
I waited for the man to try again, but he decided not to bother. I must have missed his footsteps, and he had gone off to inform someone of my dilemma. This was getting to be a right pain. I still had to tell everyone of the near crash situation I had had early that day. That was pretty cool, although I can’t believe how I nearly screwed up like that. I knew the car was getting old, or else I would have lost that much control. The tires had been getting pretty screwy with me the other day ion the rain. At least I didn’t lose the suspension, although I should still tell dad to take a look at it. It’s what I get for trying to drift round a corning all Takumi style, and I was only going about forty miles per hour.
Could have been very bad. If someone had been on the other side of the road, or in the car with me something would have gone flying. Good thing I was dumb enough to only try it on a back road, where if I crashed and died no one would have noticed the fecal mater of my corpse slowly decaying for at least two hours.
What was taking this guy so long? He isn’t rattling the door, so he must have gone to get someone. If there was a crowd at the bar, there might have been a problem. I opted to wait a little long, wandering back over to the lipstick infested door. Should I get rid of it? Bad enough the lights went out and the plumbing got shot to hell. I grabbed some paper from the biggest roll I could find. It looked like some kind f heavy duty, industrial toilet paper in the flaky darkness of the stall. It was cheaper to buy this size, but it didn’t exactly fit on the roll holder, and you had to hold it down to keep it on.
Wiping it off easily enough, I stared at the last word for a few more seconds, wondering what would have happened if I hadn’t been as careful as I had earlier. (NaNoWriMo day 2 ended here) (NaNoWriMo day 3)It didn’t matter, worrying too much about the past, caring too much about the future, it never led anywhere. Wiping off the last of it, I sat down against the toilet seat, waiting for my inevitable long release.
No one expects you to get trapped in the toilet after all, and even if you do, they expect you to handle it yourself. I probably would have if this wasn’t such a weird situation, but instead I’m caught here, playing the waiting game. Did I finish my beer before I came here? It’s strange how I can’t remember already. I think I got half way. That meant if I spent too long stuck in here Samson would start drinking it. The buffoon. That guy owes me everything, and yet he still takes more.
If I hadn’t have saved his life that day, I would probably have a much easier life.
Samson was the type of guy at school you never really wanted to admit was your friend. He was hilarious, the class clown if you will, but not the popular one. Whilst the popular class clown got his laughs by humiliating other students through mild taunting and copying Monty Python jokes that the rest of the class hadn’t seen, Samson did it by trying to be innovative and original.
In other words, he did his best to freak people out, catching their attention through weird noises and relating common day events to the most senseless deaths he could think of. He was the type that, if you weren’t careful, would one day be blamed using video games as a training simulator for his massacre of all the cool kids on a hot summer’s day just after the graduation ball.
We never understood Samson fully. Well, we did, but we always thought it was a case that there was more to him, that there was a method to his madness in that regard and that deep down, he had dreams and ambitions like the rest of us.
The day I learned them, I realized I had learned everything about Samson that I ever needed to know, and instantly lost the majority of the respect I had for him.
I first met Samson, that’s not his real name by the way, his real name’s just Frank. I first met Samson properly during lunch break. We had just had English, and the old perverted English teacher had just been relating everything in Alias Grace to sex. Whilst I admit it was true to an extent, the old weirdo was going a lot further than he should. Back then, Samson spoke to no one and everyone at once. However, his attempts at getting noticed often resulted in trips to the toilet accompanied by Derrick and Dominic; two guys that together weighed around half of the total student body mass. Despite this, I have only once seen Samson sad, but I’m getting ahead of myself, and this being my dream, it’ll just warp things up.
When I first met Samson, he was sitting, and this was the first cool thing I had ever seen him do. The main point of this sitting was that he was doing it without a chair. Our common room was spacious you see, but with near to no chairs in it, and most of the cliques were the ones that had snatched them up. At that point, Samson was the guy I had generally noted as the person to avoid if I knew what was good for my reputation. But this time I couldn’t help it, I had to ask him what he was doing.
“What are you doing?” I asked him. I suppose my tone was forceful, perhaps even mocking. His answer totally distorted that.
“I’m sitting,” he replied, and as if to make a point, he switched his legs over. That was perhaps the truly impressive thing about it. He was sitting with his legs crossed; his back against the wall straight and one leg lay horizontal against the other. How he could do that without looking flush in the face or shaking in the knee over it was so good that I actually had to make an effort at the time not to compliment him.
“Whatever,” was my response, before turning to leave. I think I had gone in the common room to look for AJ and the rest of them and went to do that just so that I could stop talking to him. Now I don’t want to paint a bad picture here. I don’t want to imply that if I hung around him for two seconds that two cheap thugs would show up out of nowhere to taunt my new lack of social standing and that a huge fight would have to commence where we would end up defending each other and beginning a friendship that would last for an eternity. But if I wasn’t careful, that would start to happen by the end of the day.
“You want my crisps?” he asked, distracting me for a moment longer. “Mom gave me cheese and onion by mistake today.” To be honest, it shouldn’t have seemed so bizarre. If a friend asked the question to another friend, it might not have been. But right then I should have…
“Sure, thanks,” I replied, taking them off him and walking away. My eyes already scouring the room for anyone else I knew. It took me a few moments to hear the pacing behind me, someone sneaking up, and not doing a good job of it.
“What?” I asked him, with an impact to my voice which would have caused even a loyal dog to back off. He just looked back to me, waiting.
“How did you know I didn’t poison those?” he asked me sweetly. Yes, actually sweetly. That was how Samson was. He treated death like it was nothing more than a casual annoyance that, if handled right, could be turned into a humorous anecdote.
“Because the packet is sealed,” I said bitterly, hoping to draw attention to us in that one moment. A few of the higher year girls glanced at us for a moment, but only because they were disturbed (this might have been considered treason in some schools)
“And the packet itself?” he sprung back at me. I couldn’t help but grin a little, right cheek twitching as I examined him to figure what the fuck he was going on about.
“Then wouldn’t you be infected too.”
“Nuh huh,” he replied. “I’ll be immune, won’t I?”
“I don’t know,” I said, my voice pitching up a tone in frustration. Back then, things were a little bit of a rush for me, regardless of how slow I could go. “Let me put it another way. The packet of crisps isn’t poisoned because that’s the packet of fucking crisps isn’t fucking poisoned.” Holding the foil to him by the tip, I waited for him to take them back off me, and swatted them away the second he did, watching them fall harmlessly to the floor.
And that’s how I became friends with Frank ‘Samson’ Freeman. Don’t ask how the rest happened because I don’t have a clue. It just did, and it didn’t make sense how it did. It wasn’t even like it was a buddy movie, where our personalities contrasted so much but when placed in a life or death situation would hilarious comedy antics we quickly learnt the true meaning of friendship. He just start hanging round the damn group, producing jokes like a hunter would fire shots at the shooting range, missing nine out of ten times but occasionally scoring a hit and pitching the whole group into mirth.
When we were in school, we were sort of forced to start hanging out around him, mainly because he showed up around us, and none of us were never too nasty to tell him to get lost. Also, Tracy had this amazing ability of saying ‘Oh, leave him alone,” and immediately stopping us from harming a hair on his neck. Tracy’s dead by the way, and maybe if I hadn’t heeded her advice, she might still be alive, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
The reason I began to generally hate Samson was because he was the biggest idiot in the world. That’s not an exaggeration. He really is the biggest fucking idiot there is and I know I shouldn’t swear about it, but he is. The guy had absolutely no ambition in the world and probably shamed his parents simply by existing. (I think my point is further proved by the fact that he didn’t actually live with his parents. They had kicked him out a while ago for some reason I never found out and he ended up living with his strange grandfather who always treated us like we hadn’t reach puberty yet.)
I’ll admit it when I say that I was actually beginning to get to like the guy. He had been hanging around with us for about a year and a half by the time I would actually call him a mate and was even remembering to invite to events we had planned rather than blow him out again and again. Sometimes I wonder if the guy actually knew we didn’t really like him, and just kept him around out of pity. It wouldn’t surprise me if he had just decided he would stick to us until we had no choice but to consider him a friend, because I’m telling you, that’s exactly what he did. And in that regard, his determination was his second biggest bonus point.
That boy did not give up on things. When we were eighteen, we were all trying to jump over this large bush on a drunken night out. Me, John and AJ could do it while Barry never even bothered (the girls naturally declined, something to do with it being unladylike like and bleeding from their rear ends). He was the only one that couldn’t do it by the third time (me and John had succeeded by then, while AJ did it first time, the fucking nigga). Eventually, after long periods of pulling sharp branches out of his jogging trousers, he leapt over on his eighteenth try. The guy never gave up, not even once. Even when it got to the point of him trying anymore was stupid and not really worth the effort, he still kept it up, refusing to give. He once told me that if he didn’t do it now, when would he?
So there I was, actually beginning to develop a little respect for him where it all bombed one day. It was a social studies class at the time. We were actually stuck with that same, perverted teacher I mentioned earlier. For a more detailed description on the man, just search up pedophile and voyeur and try to fill the blanks with the parts of your imagination that haven’t already imploded upon themselves in an attempt to get away from the idea.
It was our last year before entering college. The school didn’t have a sixth form, so there was a large chance we’d be parting ways after this. I think, because of that, everyone was instinctively drawing together. Barry and Donna had started dating by that time, and had already made plans to attend the same college. Donna wasn’t as smart as Barry, at least not in the sense that actually mattered to an academic board (she was in all other areas), but he had agreed to go to the polytechnic instead of an actual university just to be with her. Me and John were heading to the same place, while AJ and Tracy were staying behind and getting the type of high paying jobs that all our university experience would actually prevent us from getting once we graduated.
Samson made his intentions known during that one class lesson.
“Right class,” Mr. McGregor said. He had actually said it for the third time, having mastered the technique of gaining an entire class’s attention by making them slowly end their conversations into whispered twittering that would continue even after the lesson had started. “There’s a paper going round, and you don’t have to do much. Just write what you want to be doing after this. Just be honest with yourself and your dreams and ambitions. You know how it goes. Anything you want. Banker, Lawyer, Sex Slave.”
Half of the class giggled, while the girls at the front seats just groaned. They always sat there and they seemed to do it just to tell the man how wrong he was about everything in life. It seemed a waste to me. Just let the old man talk and do something else while you wait.
For me the answer was obvious. I had decided a while back that I was going into business. I had sucked at the general theory but had made the most profit during an actual practical assessment. Even now I’m still able to sell T-Shirts with witty logos on them off of eBay and the local area. It’s cheap to make the shirts and if I just test a few at a time I know which ones people want and can spend a little extra in producing a hundred or so of one of them. After a month of doing so and I’ve sold all of them. Beats getting a silly job to cover my university and automobile exploits anyway.
So after we all wrote our one word answers on the sheets of paper the entire class was expectantly freaked out for when he asked for them back and started to announce them to the rest of the class. Although I couldn’t explain to you why we felt that way now, we viewed what he was doing as a form of betrayal and blasphemy. I suppose we had all trusted that what we were writing down to be kept secret. A few of the them had either expected it or not taken it seriously, and so got away with answers like Candyman and john Romero’s bra, but McGregor ignored them and got to those of us that had put actual answers down.
“So, why do you want to be a businessman?” he asked me plain as day, actually getting up and sitting on my table, like the two of us were in a private conversation not being observed by twenty other people who would then tease me relentlessly for my answers.
“Because…” I said, a huge ‘eeerrrrr’ filling a gap that I knew to be bottomless, “because I’m good at it.” Somebody giggled for some reason, for something that did not make the tiniest bit of sense in even the most irrational mind, when Mr. McGregor just puffed out to himself, the way all respecting gentlemen didn’t do, and moved on.
“So you do want to be a Sex Slave, Tracy?” he said to her, as if a previous conversation had somehow tipped him off.
“Now being a Sex Slave is quite the ambitious job choice. You need to be a person who’s willing to take orders to the letter, so you should be attentative at all times, as well as full of initiative. Not too much though, otherwise your master will think you’re trying to be higher than you are.”
“Sir!” A few of the lads at the back were giggling. She was sitting next to me so I had to squeeze my noise to not join in. The look on her face was priceless, like she thought everyone around her was in on the joke while she sat in the middle in desperation and despair.
“You’ll also have maid duties, so you’ll have to know how to clean, serve guests, both in the bedroom and out of it, be quick on feet and thoughts and willing to work mixed hours. Most of all, you need to be top class at sucking up.”
I swear to fucking god and each of his disciplines in turn, that Mr. McGregor’s cheek flew back the split second before she slapped him, the force of her attack being so strong as to leave a red welt the size of an army boot without even touching him.
I always remember her staring at him. I reckon she was more shocked that she had done it over everything else. She hovered left, caught between standing up to face him straight on and sitting back down meekly. Mr. McGregor didn’t even blink twice. “I think you’ll be an excellent Army Officer,” he said to her, before moving on.
We never asked her about the incident, but she didn’t seem all that bothered about it afterwards.
Next up was Samson, to which we all weren’t really paying attention to. Everyone was still staring at Tracy. Tracy was still staring at Tracy, her head downcast towards her legs, her hair hiding her features as she made a point for it to get in the way. It wasn’t until the teacher finished speaking that we all paid attention to what he had said.
”I have already achieved my dream. I have friends who care for me. That’s all I need.” Normally, Mr. McGregor said all these things in a lively manner, as if he was trying to take away any serious meaning that came with it. But this one came out monotonously, like he had missed it the first time and was just noticing it now.
“That’s right,” Samson said with a nodding smile. I think I remained frozen at the time, knowing he was talking about me and the others right off the bat. I hate not being sable to react to something, to be thrown off like that. But there I was, a car could have came up in front of me, revved its engine twice and then just rammed into me and I still wouldn’t have noticed it.
“Care to explain,” Mr. McGregor said. This is actually what he was saying to everyone else so far. He just missed it with me and Tracy.
“Do I need to? I thought I covered everything.” Looking back at the teacher for a moment, I think he failed to register the man’s confusion and yet answered it at the same time. He stood up, and turned to face us. We were all bunched up in the tables to the left hand side of the room and so he could see all of us like a spotlight in a darkened prison yard.
“You guy saved me from the pain of being alone, so I wanna return that to you a thousandfold, and always be there to make you laugh.” He waited a moment, before turning back to the teacher and sitting down in his now pin labeled seat. “That’s all I need from life.” A few seconds passed, and the guys at the back laughed again.
Samson passed Social Studies that year with a top mark. He was predicted a D
I couldn’t say I lost respect for him because of the embarrassment he had caused all of us. Like Tracy said later, it was kind of sweet for him to say that. Even brave and noble. The girls always seemed more willing to say stupid stuff like that, but I thinking I actually kind of agreed with them.
The thing that made me lose total respect in him was the context of his ambition itself. What was the point of a dream that you thought you had already accomplished?
I could never do that.
What was the point of having a dream with an end to it?
I woke to the pain of the artery on the left side of my neck feeling like it was going to create a crimson shower against the wall. Lifting my forehead up, it instantly dropped back down and sprung me awake with a small thud. I was crushing my arm, large air bubbles pumping up and down my veins. I absently wondered about it falling off and dropping to the floor. I never used my left arm for anything anyway. Nothing too important.
Widening my eyes, I soon remembered where I was. The toilet, I was still stuck here. Well, that was potentially debatable, and I stood up to find out if it was true. For some reason I had locked the toilet door before dozing off. I couldn’t help but feel impressed for myself for being able to do such a stupid thing during I time where I might actually get into trouble if I wasn’t careful. Why I would close it, I had no idea, but obviously I must have been the one to do so. The left side of my brain must have thought it was a great idea or something, prevent people from walking in on me just before I dropped off and save me from more embarrassment.
Stepping up to the door, I went for the lock where I realized I had stepped in something. Holding back an instinctive cough, I failed as I caught sight of what I was in. It was only up to my toes, but the excrement beneath me covered cheap, ten pound trainers. Thank god I was only wearing these tonight. I spluttered saliva into my hand a few times, being reminded of the time I had gone to the university dorm freezer to find it had been left open over night and the chicken had gone rotten, filling the entire kitchen with a putrid skank that was only made worse by the presence of the half dead mouse and his partner in crime slowly eating him to pull the rest of the peas out of his stomach.
Clearly the urinals had continued to suffer whatever problem they were faced with as I had slept, pumping out their noxious sewage all over the floor. I supposed I should have been glad that the toilets weren’t facing the same problem, so at least I had somewhere to sit.
Hesitating briefly, looking down to the Swede and carrot that littered the contents of the liquidated floor, making it look surprisingly like a chicken and vegetable soup broth than the remains of someone’s dinner, I moved up to open the door, letting it swing open before move.
I waddled out, seeing now that the entire bathroom was covered save for two of the six corners. Taking a small breathe again, my lungs told me to not take any more passengers abroad and actually tried to make my stomach get rid of some. Stuck in a haze of coughing and holding my breath at the same time, I made my way to the exit door, my throat buzzing loudly. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it still being locked or jammed or whatever was wrong with it was sort of the obvious answer. I thought it kicking it for a few seconds, a forceful push to the pulling I had been trying, but stopped short when I saw a suspiciously shaped log floating just before my feet.
I backed off, looking back to the rest of the flooded room. How long had I been asleep for this to happen? I had actually taken my watch due to the heat of the restaurant from earlier and so had no way of telling the time now. It had been near half past nine when they got there. And another half hour before me and AJ went to the toilet. So, ten minutes of sleeping, if it had been that…
No, it couldn’t be. This couldn’t happen in just two flushes. For the first time I began to think seriously of how long I had been asleep. They flushed every half hour right. This would have taken five or six at the least… Was it passed closing time. The toilet still echoed with the same silence that had filled it earlier, and my heart dropped down passed my lungs so it could avoid the argument it was having with my stomach.
“Oi, OI!” I shouted, banging on the door with all my might. Someone had to have noticed the water seeping through by now. AJ or John must have noticed I hadn’t returned. Someone had to know I was missing. “I’m stuck in here. Somebody get h… someone get me outta here!”
No response. I banged loudly three more times, and then waited. Had to remain calm. Someone had to have noticed this. Noticing something was wrong. A power cut alone should cause them to check the toilets out so they can empty the building. A power cut, a slippery, discolored leakage all over the white tiles, a vomit inducing smell and a series of large bangs should get the whole pub coming to my attention. Someone had to have noticed something!
I considered, for a moment, that maybe everyone had all left, and just assumed he must have as well. That was possible, and it wouldn’t be the first time he had skipped out on everyone, although it was usually for a girl.
Even if that was true though, the Landlord would have come back to check. He lived here, for fuck’s sake. This was his home. He would have at least have opened the toilet door to check for the damages, even if he then went to stay at somebody else’s.
It was clear I was alone now. At least, I probably was. Why did I have to fall asleep? For all I know someone opened the door and called in to see if there was anyone about, and then just gave up when they discovered otherwise, closing the door behind them and accidentally jamming it again.
Come to think of it, where was the handle.
I had left it sticking on the door after it had fell off, but left it there hanging after the person on the other side had tried to help him get out. Now it was gone, and the water wasn’t deep enough for it to be hidden. I kicked out at the shadows trying not to slip into something particularly nasty to see if I just couldn’t see it. I felt nothing however and tried again a few more times to make sure.
Had I taken it into the toilet with me? I had locked the door, hadn’t I? I might have taken it with me and just forgot about it. Feeling a little groggy with fatigue, I waded through the two inches of water over to the toilet stall where I had been snoozing. Nothing. There was no point in checking under the seat. That would just be dumb of me. Doing so regardless, I turned around and looked elsewhere, still revealing nothing in my grueling search.
I shuffled restlessly. Why was I doing this anyway? I should just head to that door and kick a hole through it, or even smash that window and crawl through it. Something wrong had clearly happened. For all I know all of humanity was in danger while I was stuck in here, and I had just missed the big important broadcast. That would have been weird, not to mention highly unlikely.
I strode up to the door. Best way to do this would be to slam my foot right through. It was just light wood after all. Not exactly balsa, but still pretty thin. The Landlord had gotten into the habit of buying it cheap after drunkards kept breaking them anyway. Not that that happened on a regular basis, but it was only a door to the toilets after all.
Thinking that, the door was also supposed to be easy to open. Again, designed so that the underaged alcoholic would have no problems reaching their quest for the hole where their vomit goes when they realized they shouldn’t have had that much Red Bull. If that was the case, how much effort would someone have to go to jam it? It shouldn’t even reach the bottom.
Holding the door in place, an act as futilely unnecessary as the next one would be, I stuck the stub of my polished shoe under the doorframe. IT fit snugly in place, sewage water slopping around it, before getting jammed in there. I felt water splash against my socks, making them soggy. My calves stiffened slightly as I thought about the dirty water below me.
Was it possible that someone had been cruel enough to jam a doorstop in there? If so, it would be impossible to push open. Kneeling down, I braced myself for a better investigation, my hand hovering tentatively above the surface of the water. Merely bending down had caused the water in my shoes to squelch loudly. Instinctively tapping my heel to hear it some more, I darted my hand down to the murky depths. I would have to grin and bear it.
The underside of the wooden door was unfurnished, and I could feel each individual grain of wood as it soaked up water, all had been bluntened by the damp, preventing me from getting a splinter, so I ran my hand under the bottom of the door when…
I gasped loudly, my hand flinching back taking my unprepared body with it and allowing shock to steal away my balance, landing my ass on the floor. Realizing where I was, I shot back up again, only to slip on something akin to a banana and fall back on the floor again, this time my shirt getting drenched as the water catapulted into the water and smothered me with what looked like mouldly carrots.
Something had bit me. I almost couldn’t be sure now as my whole body was racing, blood rushing through me like it wanted to find the exit. I got up again, this time making sure I clung to the wall, dirty hands leaving patterns in the dry plasterboard. I examined my finger, unable to tell too clearly in the darkness. Was that a rat? Had to have been. During the five years I had been visiting this pub I had never seen a rat scamper across the floor once, or heard any news of an infestation. The Landlord’s cat may have been the grouchiest cat in the world, but it was for a reason. It did its job well, and expected a high standard of treatment as a result.
Must have let one slip past.
It didn’t matter. I had to leave now. One rat wasn’t going to stop me. Not even if it was King Rattius of the Great Kingdom of Rats. The stupid pub was in a bigger state of disrepair that I originally thought. Jammed doors, broken lights. Fucked up plumbing and rats waiting to ambush you. And I needed to leave now!
Slamming my foot into the door, I was instantly met with the same amount of pressure I had forced into the block of wood plus a fuckton extra. Bashing me back, I fell against the wall. This shouldn’t be this hard. I may have quit the University kickboxing class during my last year, but I knew how to do this. I went for another strike, thrusting my hips how I had been told, feeling muscle and sinew ricochet against it, and hit straight back at me.
I moved to just whacking it, repetitive flurries at a door that was gives me more trouble that I originally thought it would. If I was lucky it would begun to go after constantly bashing. It was, after all designed to be cheap and easily replaceable. I would be completely in my right to break it, seeing as it had been able to trap me.
I stopped, panting hard. Not an inch. Clearly this King Rattius built his doors well. I backed up a few steps. If I was lucky now, then I would just settle for the hope of someone hearing me and properly coming to my aid (that guy had to have got someone’s attention by now). Even more optimistically, that someone would be impressed with my Bruce Lee Super kick. I bounced at the door, my kick slamming it square in its center, right next to the handle. I felt it give for a second, a moment of faith on the other side, before I realized it was my leg that was going, my knee buckling on itself. Balance left me again, and I fell to the floor.
I oughta just roll in this stuff a few times! Get used to it! If I was going to be falling in it every five seconds from now on. I flung my useless arms about, a twenty two year old throwing the temper tantrum of a five year old. My hands meeting foreign objects that I did my best not to think about.
Falling back, I let the gel in my hair intermingle with the icky fluids beneath me. How was I going to get out? What was even stopping the door from opening? This had clearly gone past a simple jam. A picture sprung to mind of a table being backed up by the brick wall on the other side of the small corridor. Some jackass thinking himself hilarious to do it, stopping all on the inside from opening out into the corridor. It had to be something like a table, a chair would have given under the force of the kick, or at least rattled and gave itself away. I imagined something bulky in the way. If that was the case…
I stopped thinking, my brain giving a silent monotone that encompassed the whole of my thoughts, looking to the door hinges that faced me, glinting brass even in the darkness in the room.
They were on this side…
I was wasting my time.
Window then. Time for subtlety was gone, and replaced with an ever increasing need to wash and never go to the pub with friends again. Feeling the half temptation to wash my hands, I refrained for obvious reasons. The window to the left of the mirror was small, a square about the size of my forearm across. It was also down a meter long, extremely narrow corridor. Sort of like the unrealistically large air vents seen in movies. A dog would have problems crawling in there, and one did in fact get stuck last year when it chased the Landlord’s cat in there. The cat had eventually chosen to fight back once it realized it was trapped and the poor canine ended up smacking its head on the wall above. I never knew a dog was strong enough to knock itself out if it tried, so an unintentional head bang knocked it out for six and several billion more.
They eventually dragged it out to find the cat sitting there comfortably, licking its paws clean. The reason for this is that even when the dog had fallen asleep on account of its own stupidity the cat had decided it wasn’t finished. Although it was impossible to tell the exact number, the dog had an estimated thirty five individual scars against its face and nose. At on point the cat had apparently dug its claws in around the bridge of the nose and held them in there for a few seconds and also scratched an eye clean out.
The cat was awarded a status of royalty within the pub for ever onwards since then. No dogs were ever allowed in the pub since, not so much by the request of the landlord but by their owners.
The biggest problem with the window was that it was too far out of reach to be punched. A dog was able to fit in here comfortably enough to fall asleep with enough space left to fit an angry feline. My arm wasn’t going to reach it and my leg couldn’t get that high. The only problem was, there was nothing really in the room to toss at it, save perhaps my shoes.
I headed back to the line of four toilet stalls, figuring there might be something there to help me in my vandalizing of the windows. I knew there wasn’t any in the first or last ones as I had already occupied those once already. Heading for the second, I saw nothing particularly out of the way within the three walls that could be used to poke at the window. At this rate it might have been a good idea to just climb in smash it with my hands.
I paced around for a few minutes, eventually becoming used to the sloshing and even making a small game out of it. It would take me another moment or two to realize an answer was staring right in front of me the first time I looked into the stall. Grabbing the black plastic seat itself, I sought to wrest it free from its porcelain trappings. It gave easily enough, and my kicks proved successful this time.
I still had to hoist myself up, making me wish that one of the others were here. Maybe even Samson. That was one of the few good things left about Samson. He was the sacrifice. The others were indecisive, and would generally fuck about until the one with the lowest resolve gave up first and actually made a decision about what to do that evening. Samson would volunteer for the craziest of things. One night, he was even willing, after a few litre of extremely cheap cider to be absolutely honest, to put his hand under the wheel of car and let it roll onto the first two fingers. While the immediate and completely expected hospital trip proved he had no physical injuries (John was ringing up for the ambulance even as I let go of the handbrake), it was proof his mental facilities were well and truly misplaced somewhere where he wasn’t quite sure of their location and had never really got round to doing a proper search of his room (his words).
With toilet seat in hand, I made the grubby crawl up through the window hole. I had to prep myself against the still surprisingly clean sink bowl in order to get up and through in the same motion and ended up getting the toilet seat jammed behind me. Struggling a bit in my new confined space, I was able to bring it up so it was still goddamn stuck above my back with an arm a contortionist would be proud of. Slowly, telling myself I wasn’t given up but in fact turning my brain back on, I slipped back out, letting the toilet seat drop to the floor. It would be better to just toss it at the window, rather than the thrusting motion I had thought would be so great a moment ago.
Besides, glass wouldn’t shower me this way. Yes, this way was best. I had seen glass enter a person’s face at fast speeds previously. It was not an experiment I longed to repeat on myself. Hearing the seat drop to the floor, I followed it and went to pick it back up through the murkiness beneath me. My actions were stopped when I heard the urinals spurt to life again.
This time they started before the water came out. Not just the few brief seconds of a person’s life when they know it’s about to come out and so take a small reflexive step back to prevent getting their member wet. This one was a long slow, spurge of information hitting the ears, telling the person to zip up their pants and shoot out the door. Since the first option was indisposed to me at the moment, I chose to jump on the sink.
When they finally started their synchronized possession act, the urinals appeared to vibrate sporadically, horribly shuddering the confines of their own pipes as rock like water traveled through the narrow confines. The toilet seat was still down there, but I didn’t want to care for the moment. When the abominations finally started, I looked on as mud like ooze spurted out in small spirals like there was something wrong with the ice cream machines. For a few moments it continued as such until someone apparently changed the shower settings and it turned into a spray torrent. The contents being released by the fountain of obscene grim actually looked like the usual stuff to an extent, and with it being especially dark it was nearly acceptable for it to be that colour.
Like is until it was blood that started to come out of those pipes.
I looked on, my finger’s tightening around the cold water tap like a vice trying to crush the metal. In one moment I stopped taking in everything and felt only the individual strands of cartilage in my bony fingers seize up upon themselves, my eyes straining at the crimson cascade that now simply ignored the urinal and ejected onto the floor below. For thirty seconds I watched as residue caught the white ceramic and dyed it forever in my eyes. The waters beneath quickly took in the new ingredient to its foul smelling concoction and blended the brown with the red, making it even murkier, reminding me of what happened when you were a kid and got too caught up in mixing paints. I always remember the spastic kid in the class taking a drink one day, thinking it was coka cola and ending up spending the week in hospital. His tongue always looked like it had a taint of brown to it after that.
Leaning back, watching all this go on, I failed to rely my own hand, and turned when I heard the sound of water escaping from the faucet. Watching, more thick liquid started secrete from the shining tap, filling the bowl beneath as if the plug had always been there. Having crouched up there like Spider Man, I used my agility to drop to the floor beneath hand first, the palm slipping in the liquid and bashing my elbow into the hard surface below.
Groaning loudly, I cursed loudly. Three times, each louder than the last. What was going on? My brain temporarily ignored the flooding of blood in the room to flail around angrily once again, the temptation to just jump into the hollow hole, with window at far end and huddle there until more now high. Something bad was happening here. Beyond regular bad. Worst than Lemoney’s series of unfortunate events. Now it looked like something was definitely conspiring against me. Now, all I felt, was the overwhelming urge to go home crying.
To do that, I needed to forsake this place, abandon every vestige that I had once come here for. It no longer mattered that I had left my coat here. I would never come back for it again. Everything lost would just be bought again, and I would probably be incinerating these clothes once I get home and using their ragged remains to take this place down with them.
I fumbled around for the toilet seat, doing my best to ignore the fact that this blood must have come from somewhere, and all I had so far as a small bite from a rat. Whosever it was, they were a dick, and a retard and a puissant. They were every bad thing on this smelly planet rolled up into one and allowed to collapse on their own gravitational pull. As far as I was concerned right now, they shouldn’t have been carrying around so much blood in the first place. It was easier to lose that way.
Where was that toilet seat anyway? I had tossed it down somewhere around the sink, although I couldn’t even remember hearing it land now, let alone the general direction of it. Fumbling around frantically in the darkness, my eyes still holding out even though it felt like the place was fading again. I couldn’t have lost it, but what did it matter? There were three others to choose from and it wasn’t like it was a competition. Opening the first stall door, I ripped off the second one, a brief thought of finding the original entering my head. Raising it above my head, I turned straight from the window and chucked it, watching it clatter against the mini roof and slide harmlessly a few centimeters in front of the window.
I wanted to cry. It would have been so much easier than trying, yet impossible in comparison.
Someone else seemed to do it for me. At first I figured it to be the pipes, as the sounds appeared to come from my left and travel across me before I heard them properly. They were the same groans that had filled the end stall…some time ago, only now they were more obfuscated by the putrid remains swimming around underneath. One thing was for sure though, it still sounded like a person. Even more so than before actually, as their presence felt clearer than it had been last time, even if as they groaned, the liquid from the tap bubbled and poured over the side, creating a waterfall that signified the death of something that gave evidence to be larger than a human.
“Hello?” I said, my voice unintentionally registering as the loudest noise in the room for one thick second. As soon as none came I knew my greeting was going to remain unanswered. Hearing the person sniffing and snorting through their noise, I tracked them down to the stall again and headed for it, my rapid pace taking water up to my already soaked back.
I looked to the door. It was locked, the small engaged sign staring right back at my as I kneeled down, intending to take a look under before deciding that, even if I was trying to ignore it, I still didn’t wanted to put my head in diluted blood.
“Who’s in there?” I called out through the clanking of the room, banging on the wooden frame and hearing nothing but sobbing in their reply. At least I knew they were crying now, and for a brief instant I found myself wondering why, before realizing that I definitely didn’t care. This person had to be responsible for whatever was going on. And whilst they were able to get passed me without me even noticing…
How did they get pass me? Just how long had they been in the room?
Why did I feel that they had always been in the room? That wasn’t possible, but it made me feel, just for a second, that they were as trapped as I was.
“Who is that?”
“Why did I do this to me,” the voice answered.
I suppose the reason I told you about Samson is because of Nicole. Nicole was, for all intensive purposes, my first major girlfriend. She was the person who I found hanging out round the back of the squash courts and ended up getting hot and heavy with. She was the first person who I was able to get on with long enough to actually obtain a one year’s anniversary status alongside and she was the first member of the human race who I was allowed to touch with the both of us naked.
On top of that, she was the first person who my parents instantly informed me that I shouldn’t associate around, because they might be a bad influence (got that right, ma) and the first person to cause me to severely hate myself for a prolonged period. And I’m not just talking angst here. I’m talking world is ending, darkness is swirling round my lonely form depression, causing me to write bleak poems of the afterlife and consider cutting myself. At least that’s what she told me she was feeling anyway.
It was during our last year in school that I met Nicole. Now, Nicole had apparently been to our school a year above us previously, but somehow I’ve never been able to confirm this, nor do I have any memories of her, and believe me, this was the type of girl that would be scorched upon your mind in perfect ebony detail, whether you wanted it or not.
It started off, as most encounters between members of the opposite sex, in a night club. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of nightclubs. I have only ever tended to see them in one of two ways, and that depends solely on the size of the place. The first is an open stage, ready for a comedy of errors that would cause Shakespeare to forever regret the creation of the term. Where the rejects of human society can clamber together and make idiots of themselves without prejudice. Here, you can engage in wanton self destruction, flamboyantly bad dance maneuvers, fisticuffs of all shapes and sizes and somehow still get laid by the fittest bird in the club.
As far as I can see, this has never been because social skills, or your appearance, or even of your ability to be a comedian. Most people seem to fail to notice, that is, when they enter the building with the intention on finding a mate for the night, that a night club is, in technical terms, the worst place for social interaction. A nightclub is designed to be filled with noise. It is not even the noise of the occupants of the building. It is the noise of their favourite bands. This noise alone means that any one, and not just the females, are going to wake up with a sore throat the next morning if they event try to tell their friend they’re off to the toilet.
On top of this, it’s generally dark. A typical night of dancing means a high chance that you’re not even going to see who you’re really dancing with until you get out to the lobby. In many ways this isn’t a completely bad thing, as the majority of night club inhabitants wear things in a night club that would generally get them shot if they wore it outside of night clubs.
However, for some people, the reason why a night club is the best place to be on a Friday night is for these exact same reasons. Attractive woman are often boring, and so any attempts at conversation are futile with them, save for shouting ‘you’ve got great eyes’ straight down their ear hole, completely bypassing the drums and inputting the message directly into their brain. Of course, because the brain interprets sounds differently to the ear, these vibrations instantly make the woman a malleable target for the night.
The other type of nightclub can best be described as a Storage rooms. These places exist in the cities where University students ruin as rampant as zombies in a George Romero film, without much difference once inside the nightclub. Normally, a local businessman sees the opportunity to jump on the bandwagon, and creates a new club for the students to go every night when ten minutes of studying becomes too hard for them. These clubs are often viewed as a great place for all kinds to hang out, as one night will be RnB and the other will be Alt Rock Punk classics night. The drinks also tend to be cheap too, so it quickly becomes heralded as the place nightclub in the city.
In reality, the nightclub is nothing more than a place to squeeze as many of he abominations known as students into one place and pump them full of mind numbing drugs to make them reasonably harmless for the rest of the night, before cramming as many in and ‘entertaining’ them for the rest of the night. For a few short hours, the non students of the city will be able to get out and relax in smarter ways.
So, that night I had suggested we head to the raddest nightclub in all of history. Some of the others weren’t all that fussed about it really, and the rest wanted to stay in and watch a video, so it took a lot of effort from me and John to eventually convince everyone to go. (the above is comedy)
We had headed to the pub beforehand on that occasion too, which led to a series of events that meant we could no longer go in John’s car as originally intended, but instead have to take the bus. Once there, John had to instantly leave. Something about being underaged, while the rest of us got in safely.
“Due,” I shouted down the phone, my voice sounding incomprehensible to even myself through the din of the crowd. “What happened?”
“As**d *e for ** I.D,” John replied, though I caught none of it.
“I.D,” he repeated, and I got the general gist. He had been four places behind the queue of me, but I looked a lot younger than him. The bouncers must have been in an on/off mood that night.
“Shit.What you doing then?”
“I’ll ***g around to*n for a bi*,” he shouted down the phone. “Try a**** later.”
“Call me when you get in.” I hadn’t really heard him, but it was our usual insertion method. Bouncers didn’t exactly have a specific method of not letting people in. they were, after all, designed merely to not let those in who looked underaged. However, we had come to discover that there was various ways of getting passé them even when below eighteen. The first one was to shave. No sixteen year old looks older when he has a beard, especially a fully grown one. It looks weird, and kind of suggests that you might take steroids. The main one was o get in around the time of a sexy girl entering the building, who would act as decoy. The third was to be a skulky loner, wearing a short leather jacket. That was probably how I got in tonight for that matter. It certainly wasn’t for the trace amount of acne I had.
I remember that not having John around made the trip a bit boring. John was second on Samson for being the most excitable of us. However, Samson got quiet when in the club. It was probably the only place it took him a while to get the handle of, and then only by the consumption of alcoholic beverages could he really get into the swing of things. In fact, Samson was always the first of us to head straight for the bar and buy three of the cheapest drinks he could get hold of.
Me and Tracy were technically dating by this point, the definition of the word dating here meaning to generally associate with each other as if we were friends. Tracy was a very conservative catholic girl who you always felt that if she finally ever went wild it would threaten the balance of the space time continuum. As such, the closet I ever got to her was close hugs and the assurance that ‘yes, I do consider you my boyfriend.’
Being a raging youngster back then, it really messed up my feelings. From what I could tell, it wasn’t exactly a normal relationship, and yet had all the makings of a proper one. We held hands, giggled at each other’s silly jokes, and generally got groans from fellow friends whenever we walked into class together.
But sometimes I found myself constantly thinking of walking up to her during common room time and grabbing her shirt by the seams, bracing it with all of my strength and ripping it off, revealing her bra covered chest, her large bosom staring back at going, going stiff and letting me know it wanted what she thought she didn’t. I could often imagine her asking me what the hell I thought I was doing and just plainly ignoring her, slamming her up against the wall as I felt her up and started licking her neck (I was never entirely sure if I was meant to kiss or lick it back then. Even now I’m not sure if I have the generally accepted answer) Then I would hold up her leg and rub against her thigh, feeling the flesh beneath her long socks before trailing up to her panties as she began to pant. By this time, I always thought of her becoming filled with lust, unable to speak for the hormones filling her she had long denied.
After that, it would become impossible to properly explain my feelings. I would start ripping her clothes off one by one as she started to groan like a slut, no longer caring for her upbringing and getting lost in the moment I had provided for her, pounding into her and she bled and begged for more, even calling me her devil because it made her so hot, the conservative clothes she had always worn even when in proper school uniform becoming mere rags that failed to hide even an once of flesh and yet making her all the more sexier for it.
That was what I had generally imagined. But at that time it had been pure fantasy. Her breasts weren’t even that big and our uniforms didn’t even have thigh length socks for the girls. (I had no idea where i got that from)
So we entered into the club together, yet not touching. After three months of ‘dating’ you have figured I could at least enter with my hand around her shoulder, like the sixteen hundred other couples were doing. But no, we weren’t even doing that. Tracy seemed to have no idea about men that they at least wanted to inform other males of their territory without getting on stage and announcing it.
“You wanna drink?”
“Sure. Vodka and coke.”
That was another thing about her. The girl could drink. I already knew in that night she would be drinking more than me and Samson combined and yet would look like she had been on weak orange juice all night. Since her time of entering bars and clubs she had won fifteen drinking contests, one of which was with a serious pro who had gotten angry at me for messing up his pool shot. That was kind of embarrassing actually, as she was the one who had jumped in and challenged him to a game, taunting him with not being a real man who could fight fairly. The look on his face when he thought he had one up on her and suggested a drinking again, only to have her readily agree was pure twenty four billion carat gold, yet the downcast look on my face must have been a lot worse.
The events of the nightclub would have been as boring as I originally depicted them. Worse than being rendered blind, deaf and dumb, the nightclub filled each of our senses with so much information that it was impossible to decipher it all, and we spent most of the night swallowing shots, listening to heavy rock and bouncing up and down for the better part of two hours, generally having the best time we had for weeks. Tracy never danced by the way, a reflex action I think having a 2:1 alcohol: water ratio.
I think we had an hour left before we got to Nicole entering my life. I had just done an awesome breakdown maneuver that had led to me and John (who eventually got in) running away from the bulky man who looked concerned for our well being, and had headed back to Tracy. She was just sitting there at the time, perfectly straight and tying Donna’s hair into Barry’s with knots that looked nervously complicated. There were both sleeping it off as they were prone to do after half a pint of beer. I reached for her, intending to balance all my weight on her shoulder as I spoke to her, her quick reflexes swatting me away with a hand, making me rest against a beer soaked Donna.
“Wanna dance?” I asked futilely into her ear. It ended up being a lot louder than I had intended it, the latest punk rock emo band stopping halfway through a verse, and giving us fifteen seconds for a quick conversation that we both already knew the answer to.
“I think I’ll watch over these guys.”
“Ah, okay.” I tried to sit down.
“You go have fun. I’ll be fine.”
“No, no. It’s…”
“I’ll be fine.”
“Yes…” And with that, the music booted back off, a feminine man screaming for all he was worth and around a million dollars more down the microphones, destroying the ears of many people who were standing by the loudspeakers. I got up, and staggered away, muttering something bout first period the next day. It was Saturday by the way.
Actually, now that I’ve gone through the events in my head, it wasn’t there I met Nicole. I had spoken to Tracy, with Barry and Donna present, and moved onto the toilet to get rid of any unnecessary water that was still left in my system. Standing by the urinal, I remember a man standing next to me with sunglasses on. I always hated standing next to a man with sunglasses on in the toilet. You never knew what he was looking at. I was even worse that we were in a nightclub, even worse by the fact he was clearly looking at my feet.
“…………………………” he said to me, but the music had ripped away any chance for me to hear him. I rested my head against a bunch of stickers that suggested taxis for us to call on the way home, and waited for him to disappear.
“Surprise!” a voice shouted straight down the ear hole that a few seconds previously could hear nothing. Jumping with the shock of disturbance, something in my skull told me there was something wrong with my feet and before I knew it gravity had decided to change a few laws without informing me. I lay there on the toilet floor for a few hours, before Samson’s head popped into my field of vision. “Gotcha. You’ve been ownereds.”
Leetspeak has been something gripping the nation recently. I will never understand. Back then, I could only assume that he was talking his usual dribble without a care for reality and its strict laws on what you do not do to people when they are on the toilet! It took me a few seconds to find out I wasn’t alone.
“Ewww, it’s so tiny…” she said, her face appearing just outside of my blurred visions. I froze up, realizing that Samson had not only broken the basic laws on toilet society, but he had also committed a blasphemy. “I going get rid of it using that trick from Fight Club.”
To this day I have not seen Fight Club for this one thing alone, but for a few moments back then I honestly thought my balls were gone forever, without even having a test run. If the movie includes the mutilation of a grown man’s most precious parts, then I know it’s not a movie I’m going to enjoy, even if it does have Brad Pitt in it.
And that was how I met Nicole, that same Raven haired temptress I would later form a crush on and end up dating. It turned out that the reason someone like Samson had gotten to know someone like Nicole was the Internet. It was probably this fact alone that actually pushed me to use it regularly. After all, someone like Samson would never have a chance with someone like Nicole if they knew him physically for more than five minutes. In that way, the Internet is useful, at least as a Samson effect dampening sponge, allowing humans to generally get used to him in the same way that Shaolin Monks are conditioned to withstand rock hard blows and missile launchers.
I later came to learn that they had met online. Both of them had apparently set up an account with some kind of online dating service. As we all know, dating services only have two types of clients: the fat, old and skinny sub groups that rationalized their afflictions as jolly, experienced and defined muscle tone without bulk; and the clients who sign on to take the piss and thinking it will be a quick laugh. Samson and Nicole both fell under this category, and the high tech computer databanks that makes it connection choices through random associations of similar subjects ended up throwing them together.
The dating website actually deserves a lot more credit than I originally gave it because it actually made a perfect choice in regards to these two. Their chaotic attitudes made them perfect for each other when it came to the most childish and immature practical jokes ever. The only thing that ever seemed to get in the way of them getting together was Samson’s completely androgynous nature, and my own subsequent dating of the girl in question.
I was dreaming about stepping on snails. Only for a moment, but it remained a vivid dream, even as the sound woke me up.
The sound was blurred, hidden as it was by the haze that filled my thoughts, trapping me from the real world and holding tightly onto a concept called sleep.
I was slowly being pulled away from the concept, drawn not only by the sound now but by a large buzzing that tickled my chest and vibrated against my heart.
It got louder, or at least I think it did, moving in time with the intermittent tone that, were I a cartoon, would cause my ears to shoot up.
I woke up. I was on the toilet again.
That was twice I had dozed off now, not that I could remember even how I got so tired, nor why I had decided that the best place to fall asleep would be with my butt sticking down the toilet. Pulling myself out, I quickly came to regret my haste in pulling out of the entire toilet seat earlier. IF the posterior wasn’t already soaking wet, I would probably be feeling extremely agitated by now.
Lifting up, yanking myself out of the toilet by use of the toilet roll, I became aware of the sound that had woke me. My phone. Fuck. How could I have been so fucking stupid? I had it with me all this time. Hell, it was the reason I got caught up in this stupid fucking situation. Kicking the lock, which I realized I had locked before my nap, I fumbled inside my leather jacket and pulled out, amazed that it still felt non short circuitry dry, even after I had spent a few minutes freaking out all over the sewage filling the room.
It was up to my thighs now, making me once again ask one of the many questions that had been filling my mind since I realized that I was here for the duration. Just how long had I been trapped here? Since it wasn’t a continuous leak, it must have been well over five hours.
The phone went a few strokes louder, Samson must have sneaked on the ‘annoy’ setting for when we were in the cinema. Who was it anyway? The number didn’t say anyone in particular, and it was a number I didn’t recognize. All I could tell was that it was another mobile. Hesitating for a few seconds, my finger hovered over the call button. This would be a really bad time for a wrong number from someone in another city. But what if it was, I didn’t have too much credit on the phone to call somebody.
I pressed it, and pulled it to my ear, in those few seconds of space that existed only on phones, I noticed that I shouldn’t really sit back down. “Hello.”
A whining pitched my ears, assaulting the drums worse than any club music or klaxon. I yanked it away, still able to hear it even as I pulled it away as far as possible without dropping it. The noise was unmistakable. It was the sound you heard from an old modem where you were trying to start up the old 56k connections.
Carrying on venomously for an odd thirty second longer, it clicked off as if it realized it had dialed the wrong number. Drawing the phone aback to me, I stared at the number, trying to think what it could have been. Was it even possible to dial up a modem from your mobile? I had never heard of something like that, not even WAP did stuff like that. Not having to think long as to what to do next, I hit the call button, watching as the numbers danced across the screen and back to the destination they had just come from.
I tapped the red one. Something was telling me that wasn’t the right thing to do. Mom had got me to call her back about two hours before we went out, and ii had spent a lot of the day before hand speaking to John and AJ over the arrangements of the night. My credit was probably low, and it had been a few week since I last topped it up. If I should be calling anybody, it would be help.
The only problem I had to take into account here was the time. Living alone and away from my parents, no one would be suspecting me missing yet, and if it was as into the middle of the night as I thought it would be, and then certain more grouchy members of my party may not be a good idea. The parents were out in Spain for the week, and everyone else would still be half drunk and not willing to take this as seriously as it was. My mind wandered over the idea of calling the pub itself, but I didn’t have the number and besides, if I could hear the phone and yet no one hear my banging then they probably weren’t going to answer anyway.
Then, I don’t know how, my mind settled on the idea of calling Nicole.
That actually did make some sense. Nicole, of all people, would still be up. Being the unemployed black hole of benefits that she was, no doubt she’d be up late on the internet. It had taken me a few months of determining it, but I had recently discovered that, as far as logic would allow me to go, Nicole never slept, would always be online, and always be able to answer within a few seconds, no matter how much I tried to catch her out. Going back on the call registry, I hit her number.
Again there was a pause, and for a few seconds I thought I was going to mysteriously be unable to get a response, but seconds later it roared to life like a jet plane ignition. If it was ringing, then someone would answer. And if someone answered, then I would be free within the hopefully.
It clicked, and my brain felt clear in those few seconds between the last ring and her voice. Everything went down after that.
“Sorry for getting angry at you.”
“You weren’t at the pub earlier. I know now. Mom said she called your parents, and they were at your place.”
“You should have said so earlier,” she continued, as I began to wonder what my parents would be doing standing outside my house for the last ten or so hours. “You know I’ve been getting angry lately. You shouldn’t give me more excuses.”
“Sorry.” It came out instinctively. In a way I was apologizing for being a complete and total jerk, and yet still successfully hiding the fact.
“So…” she said, after a few moments of pause. “What’s up?’
“What?” Our phone conversations were often like this.
“You called me remember,” she said, a little giggle on her voice that I had so rarely heard recently. “If I remember correctly, or IIRC as I might say, usually when one rings someone, it is to request knowledge from them, or request personal favors, which have not done recently, yet was once common practice.” I pulled the phone away from my ear. This was also common practice. “…unless they were both females, which I don’t think you are. Sooooo… What’s up?”
I paused again for a moment. Telling her that I was trapped in the same public toilets as the ones I was insisting I wasn’t in a few…hours, was it- ago seemed like a very nasty thing to do to her. Telling a lie was one thing, but then having to admit to a lie when they’ve already forgiven you and apologized for being so accusatory was just something I couldn’t do.
“I…just wanted to apologize,” I finally said, after her tone of voice had begun to sound concerned.
“Apologize? I should be the one apologizing.”
“I…” This felt weird.
“No, go on,” she said, sounding reasonably calm. “I see you’re putting a lot of effort into telling me this. I shalnt spoil it.”
“It’s just…we‘ve all been a little mean to you lately,” I said, sounding as downcast as possible. “”The truth is, we have been avoiding you to an extent.”
“You have?” she replied, her own voice sounding so desperately lonely right now. I remember how beautiful it used to feel to hold her when she was in that state. She would often cry in a moment of angst that I could only get used to, and she’d feel so warm with tears running down her eyes.
“It’s just…we want to be there for you, while this whole divorce thing goes on, but I…and I think I speak for a few of the others as I say this…” I don’t know why, but for a moment I thought of thunderous applause, and going up to receive my trophy. “It feels awkward. We want to be there for you, but we don’t know where we stand on all this.”
“You stand beside me,” she said softly, tears streaming down the phone and into my ear. “That’s all I ask. There’s not a single person involved here who isn’t finding it hard. I know that, and in know my parents aren’t just doing this to upset me.”
“Please, just stand by me, and we’ll sing Ben E King for as long as need be.” Sniggering slightly, I agreed, and we engaged in five minutes of obligatory small talk just to make her feel like I was by her side.
“Okay, talk to you later,” I said, feeling a complete dumbass for not asking her help. How did women always turn it back round on themselves? It was as if their very voices hypnotized you into nothing but complimenting or reassuring them. I swung round impatiently in the small stall, water rushing around me, keeping my smile fixed so I sounded perfectly normal.
“Are you in the toilet?”
I laughed nervously. “Well, we have been talking for a while.”
“Okay,” she said, joining in on the truth she thought t be a joke. “I’ll let you get on with it then.”
“Thanks, oh and Nicole.”
“We’ll be there for you, for as long as you need us to be.” It felt like she was hiding some feelings as well, but I swore I heard a small sniffle in the darkness of the earpiece.
One of toilet society’s many rules was that of telephone conversations. In the public toilets, all phone calls were either an update provider (this was especially useful for when in nightclubs) or sacred, angst filled monologues. In a toilet, you could say whatever you want on a phone and it would never leave the toilet. In many respects, it would never even get to the person on the other side. You said what you wanted in a toilet, whether it be your personal feelings or…well, that was it really, and no one overhearing would ever say a word about it. There wasn’t even a punishment for this law, as no one ever broke it.
However, one of the biggest complications of this rule is that you were near allowed to speak about it either, even if it was you speaking to the same person on the toilet again.
“Fuck!” I screamed throughout the room, kicking the door and feeling my trousers complain about their newly found weight. My flared slacks were starting to bog down. It wasn’t too much of a problem, as I didn’t expect to have to be swimming in this stuff anytime soon, and could afford to wade about in it for a bit. My phone sprang to life again, and I saw I had a text message, informing me I only had 0.03 left on it. This was a great time to learn that my credit and top up cards were still on the table in the lounge, or more realistically, AJ had taken them home when he realized I had forgot them (hadn’t you guys forgotten something as well?)
Going back to smashing the window was the obvious choice now. It was scary how it was taking me so long, almost as if there was an unseen force preventing me from doing so, telling me that it was for my own good that I didn’t, common sense overriding the crazy, delusion unseen force for now, I reached for the lock, turning it to get out of the stall. The second it was able to open, the door flung forwards towards me, straight into my nose, apparently unconcern for the water that should have been slowing it. I felt the tip try to reach for my mouth and I fell back, submerging myself up to my chest in the foul putrid beneath me.
The groaning returned and my eyes shut wide, fearing for a second whatever it was that had hit the door would approach me. I felt my heartbeat race around the track of my circulatory system, hitting bumps where fattening ice cream clogged my arteries. There was a splash, like someone jumping into a swimming pool, then silence again, only the quiet ripples of the septic tank that had once been a toilet remaining.
Looking up at the now open door, I saw…nothing? A shadow flickered momentarily, like a candle was dancing to Sinatra in the wind but it disappeared just as quickly, and I was alone again. Even more so than before I realized. My hand had fallen into the water along with the rest of my body, and without looking, I knew my phone to be ruined.
I didn’t wait. I wanted out of here now. How could I not have noticed sooner? Something was definitely out to get me. It was impossible for me to tell what, but it had me completely at its mercy as I long as I stayed here. Had some creature escape a local zoo and was now hiding in the pub through many holes that I was unaware of. It seemed possible. The place was falling apart and we had heard the Landlord being warned many times that kids could climb into these holes.
On top of that, it would explain the electricity and plumbing being messed up as well. If some savage predator had gotten to the wires and started chewing at them. Done right, the damage an escaped animal could do without being noticed was astounding.
All the more reason to escape.
Not hesitating a moment longer, I leapt to my feet, opening the door again and rushing out without so much as a glance at my surroundings. My broken phone did still have a use in the form of a chisel. Chipping away with as blunt an item as a phone seemed a little pathetic, but I no longer allowed myself the time to fish out the toilet seat from the madness below me.
It was only a quick turn, but it the insanely heavy bog water beneath me it felt like a few minutes of irrelevant struggling. The darkness seemed to be getting worse somehow, and now I couldn’t even see what should have been an easily visible sink. Knowing where it was anyway, I reached for it, and was welcomed by the cold water tap. I dreaded the thought of turning it on, and so immediately relinquished it, pushing instead for the mirror. It felt greasy, but I couldn’t care less, instead shifting slowly to the side. How did it get this dark so quickly? If it hadn’t been for the light of my mobile phone, I might have noticed sooner, but now it was impossible to see even my reflection in the mirror.
Although thinking about it without intention, this grease was a little too thick. Was it covering the entire mirror? That would explain the absence of some of the light. I began sidestepping, not intending to lose the wall when I had lost all my other senses, feeling for the window, and then, salvation.
For a second I could imagine the whole group laughing at me. Bastards. Didn’t they know my pain? My intense agony? My unbridled angst? Laughing to myself in a small mutter, I noticed that it was taking longer than it should to reach the window hole. I searched round with my hands, letting them hover over each individual cracked tile. All of them felt as smooth as the day they had been vanished, save for the large chips and cracks in each and every one of them. And somewhere, around where I was expecting it, a rough surface, about the size of my forearm squared, looking very thick and dense to the touch. I patted it. There should be nothing like this here.
Someone had blocked it. Filled my only hope of escape with fast setting cement. I tapped hastily on the compound in front of me, hitting harder and harder until my knuckles began to regret it, and then giving up and using the phone I had intended to shattered against the window When? How? Without me knowing
It wasn’t just the appearance of the blocked passage that surprised me, the notion t hat someone had to have entered the room with me in it (me, the light sleeper), and then proceeded to spend what had to be at least twenty minutes filling a hole in with the craft of a true artist, making it smooth to the touch, making one doubt that it was never there before. It wasn’t just that, it was also the fact that it had hardened so quickly. Becoming this dense in such a short time. That shouldn’t happen, should it?
And the one final thing, that one thing that made me smile the grin of one who had just achieved a breakthrough.
“I know you’re in here!” I shouted. “Show yourself!” I started to wade back into the darkness that was once behind me, moving into what I assumed was the center of the room. “What the fuck is your problem?”
The cement had been smoothened down, the work of an artist. If it had been rough and jagged, then it could have meant that he had done it from the other side, dumped the cement and moved backwards through the window and out to the freedom I once desperately sought.
But he hadn’t. He had to be on this side. Trapped, and more importantly, human. An animal couldn’t have done this. Not even a gorilla could have done this. He had made a fatal mistake, and I had beat him by finding it.
“I know you’re here. I know you’re hiding…” I found the toilet stall and slammed my fist unto it, reverberating my hatred throughout the entire room. “I don’t care why you’ve done this, because I’m going to kick your fuckin’ ass no matter how good the story is.”
“Now show yourself.” Empty space filled the room and I waited tense, expecting some one to jump me from all sides, anticipating the splashing of water being pushed aside as someone tried to moved through it stealthily, waiting for the breath of a human about to make a mistake. Something, anything.
The urinals sprung to life, their half hour delivery of sewage coming through strained pipes. I turned towards them hastily, hearing water splash around me, and the groans filled the room, blanketing my ears in pains as it twisted and contorted upon itself, creating a cacophony that would surely drive me to madness were it to continue. I shouted over it, listening profanity over obscenity until I could no longer hear myself.
Then, in a flash of white amber, the lights came back on, all at once, filling the room with a terrible brightness. They were higher than usual, around ten feet higher than the roof was. It had become a glass of sorts and, for the first time, I could see my attacker, my instigator. The one responsible for my sufferings. I could see it all now.
Above me was the cess pit. I had no idea what it was doing up there, or even that the pub has one. It was full, a peat bog contained in a glass structure, the creation responsible for the smell of death now around me. I could see the pipes that connected the five urinals, which were now beginning to get covered themselves by the sewage, leading from the pool of mirth above me, spreading the darkness above into my own prison, trapping me in the decay of human excrement.
And there, in the middle of it all, lay the one I knew was responsible for my imprisonment. He looked at me, his featureless face impossible to see for all the crap surrounding him, his bloated, disfigured corpse groaning through the pipes a sing which bought only pain, his voice impossible to comprehend, his words, raging clearly in my mind as I refused to listen to them, unable to tell if he was reveling in my chaos.
There he lay, swimming around in the muck that was slowly filling my world.
The Crying Man.
That may have been the first time I met Nicole, but it wasn’t an hilarious antic filled night or anything like that. It was simply the first time I met her. I don’t think I even spoke to her properly after that. The knock down to the ground seemed to activate all the latent alcohol stored up within me, and I spent the rest of the time in the club in some flashy, techno beat stupor.
After that however, I saw her constantly. It turned out Samson originally met her through online gaming, and had no idea that the girl who was a level forty four Night Orca was actually one of the same girls who, back when he was eight, stole his underpants from his locker during a swimming trip.
I don’t understand much about the online RPG’s, so I’ll keep it short. They’re a form of gaming where people spent otherwise productive hours pointlessly leveling up a small character based on a random set of variables that they had somehow chosen and then claim that they are engaging in social interaction by wandering around mediocre landscapes killing the same bug-like enemies over and over again, the only thing really differing being the colour of the enemies and the size and name of the weapon you are using.
So apparently they came across each other by chance while in the same world and ended up engaging in a campaign or something for about a month. The second time I met here, which was in our local pub, they spent a whole hour discussing this with us, going into the various details about which class and races were better than others and that’s all I got really because it was the same type of tedious boredom that you got from a history lecturer who had died and forgot to tell his mouth.
The next time I would be seeing her was at the baths. Swimming was my regular way of preventing myself from feeling inactive and fat, and one of the few places where Toilet society just felt awkward and sat in the corner. This was mainly because our changing rooms were unisex, a series of parallel stalls that filled the changing rooms. Here, toilet society is felt like it’s meant to take place, but doesn’t. Luckily, you don’t have to stand next to members of the opposite sex here while you urinate. You do however, have to stand around in a brightly lit, non decorated room with various rules about doing stuff all over the walls alongside hand dryers. This time with members of the opposite sex.
Now I had been going to this pool all my life, ever since my father started taking me to teach me how to drown in a way which would provide him and mother with many hours of amusements afterwards as they talked about it as loud as they possibly could with me sulking in the next room, and I had never had a problem with other members of the opposite sex being there.
The only time when this rule might have been broken is back when I was three. My mother had to take me swimming that week because dad was recovering from a fourteen hour drinking session (he wasn’t really an alcoholic, but him and his associates still engaged in random binge events that I was doing back when I was thirteen and could get drunk on four cans of J20). I can only recite this story from her words, but it basically went along the lines that she had tried to take me, and I had started to cry, insisting I wasn’t a girl. How I ever got this into my mind in a place where women wandered around in one pieces and bikinis I have no idea, but they taunted me about it regardless.
Late night it was, I remember that distinctly, mainly because of the problems that occurred afterwards. I had gotten into the my little changing stall, and was just stripping off when I heard a pocketful of change make a dash for salvation, followed by a small profanity.
“Shit,” a girl’s voice exclaimed loose coinage erupting from the stall beside me and sprinkling over the floor like chocolate chips. There wasn’t many, but I do remember them all being copper pieces. With the individual stalls right next to each other, this sort of thing was fairly common, and I knelt down to pick them up, sliding them back to the person who hadn’t gotten careless with their jeans or whatever.
“Thanks,” they had replied, and that was that. Or so I thought. A few seconds of disrobement later heard shuffling, and looked to the wall, almost as if expecting it to burst out on me, wooden shrapnel tearing into me. Instead, a head popped up from under the stall. “Hey, I said thanks!”
I still vehemently deny that the scream that occurred was not me. But in actual fact, my much uglier, goatee wearing evil identical twin, but there was no one round to really believe me anyway, and Nicole had saw me do it. Back then I must have looked pathetic, holding up my small pair of Y fronts to hide what they were usually paid to hide as I shrank back into the corner, looking at her as if she were some mouse that had just dashed out of a hole in the floorboards, and I was the old woman whose face you would never seen.
She either grinned at my weird position, or because she realized it was me. “whatcha hiding back then, Slim? It’s not like I haven’t seen it before.”
Let’s just say it was a humbling start.
Swimming would quickly become a regular thing for us after that. Thinking even further back, she must have been going there quite regularly, and I do have faint wonderings that, after I had seen her in that amazing black one piece, I was sure I had seen her several times and soon, she was all I ever saw in that swimming pool. I think that, to this date, we’ve only gone alone three times since meeting up that one time.
That one time was a little confusing though. I remember keeping the urge to stay some distance away from her. This was the thing that pretending to remove my manhood in a place she should not have even been (ignoring the fact that it was an over 21’s, and none of us should have been there), and thus deemed to be avoidable in my book.
Keeping the distance relatively safe doesn’t work in a swimming pool. Similar to a urinal, if you inch too far one way to keep distance from another member of the society, you either end up bumping into another or missing. My swimming away from her was interrupted as a race to her competitive nature, and soon it became my perspective on the whole situation as well. Races between genders are always tense, and it’s even worse for the male mind, ass you start thinking of the climax of the race becoming sex. Aiming for the goal means you have to try your best not to put out early, and when your opponent is really, really hot that’s impossible.
Proving herself to be faster than me, I showed my endurance by continuing to swim even after she wanted to leave. Swimming around five more laps, I left exhausted and panting as I entered the showers. No one was there due to the lateness of the hour and I quickly wandered through to get changed.
“Are you man enough for yourself now?” I think she asked me. The words didn’t get through properly, as the two lumps on her chest were distracting my higher brain functions, turning them to lower brain functions and falling through the mush that was the rest of my brain. “I can’t stand those stalls half the time,” she said, as if feeling the need to explain to a brain dead mummy. “So claustrophobic. I need to be free as much as I can.”
I replied with a witty comment about the freedom of certain other aspects of her self, which later led t a detailed discussion about the trappings of society in general and the self imposed limits we put on ourselves in accordance with the varying levels of peer pressure that existed all around us, not just through our friends, but by everyone, from neighbors to strangers to people we met in the toilet. IN between our conversation I made a series of hilariously witty jokes that sincerely impressed her, forcing there to laugh as she had never laughed before.
IT came out as ‘gleeeerrrr.’
“Aw, you’re seeing a girl naked for the first time,” she replied. “That’s so sweet.” Her words came out as if she had just seen her friend’s four year old daughter come in to give her a biscuit without being prompted. My words continued to come out like a two year old’s. She didn’t seem to mind.
“You wanna hang out after this? Revalation’s doing a techno and trance night.” She paused to stare out me with a grin that showed she knew how sadistic she was being, pinning down the man she had beat with her awful nakedness. “You look like you know a thing or two about being in a trance.”
“Are you crazy?” I finally asked her. “What if they see you like this?”
“This place is maintained by adolescent school boys. If they saw me they would react even worse than you just did. But they won’t, because it’s fifteen minutes until they close the place up and they’re trying to relax in the back of the store room one last time before having to come out and clean up. The only one here is the lifeguard, and he’s too busy making sure no one drowns in an empty pool. You may not have noticed, but we are the last two here.”
This time I stared at her for a reason which wasn’t resting on her chest.
“In fact, we could do anything here,” she said. “And as long as we kept it quiet, no one would be the wiser.”
“R-really,” I think I replied. Things felt a little searing at that moment, so I might have commented on the economic state of the Great Wall of China and not noticed.
“Yeah, really, she continued, getting closer to me. “So let’s play with ducks!”
“Ducks?” I snapped out of it completely, and wondered where the two yellow animals she had just produced out of nowhere came from. There was a kids section in this pool as well, so it wasn’t too much of a mystery.
The only problem that came with the solving of this mystery was that the game she wanted to play involved her throwing the ducks at me and dodging perfectly when I had the gall to throw back. I remember now, us rushing around the stalls and lockers, through the showers and just past the lifeguard before he noticed anything, spraying these little ducks full of water at each other and then tossing them. I felt like apologizing for every kid that had messed around in the swimming baths when they were crowded and me getting angry with them, imaging images of me wandering up to them and throwing them out, teaching them a lesson at the same time.
However we got dressed in time before the attendants started cleaning up I have no clue, but we left soon afterwards, assaulting the nightclub with our presence (the ducks helped us gain access for some bizarre reason. I can only assumer they think that teenagers don’t carry plastic ducks.)
From there on in, for just one night, we became legends of the club. With the repetitive mind numbing music of the techno beat surrounding us, we followed our whims, our stolen plastic fowls following us as we engaged in the mass slaughter of everyone’s rationality. For the four hours we were in that club, without an ounce of alcohol, we lost ourselves in the haze of quacking and excitement. They would fear the ducks, and we would control them, creating their dance, fulfilling their dreams. As she ate away at my inhibitions, I ate away at everybody else’s. For four hours, we were totally free, existing only in the small nightclub that contained our souls.
The dancing was equisetic. ON that blackened floor, nothing existed but us and the lights. The creature around us became clay, molding and merging to keep away from us as we enjoyed the peace of the music, taking us away. I forgot Tracy. To say I ever knew her would have been difficult, and this girl became my everything. Her cocky mouth as she grinned, her tiny hands as she sprayed vodka shots through a plastic toy right into my eye. Even the elongated bridge on her nose wasn’t enough to stop me dedicating myself to her in that one moment. For four hours, we were king and queen of Revelation, ruling over all these who dared try and dance alongside us. I had honestly never had a better night at a club, before or after then.
And then I nearly ruined everything.
“That’ll be thirteen pounds,” the man said. We both looked at him, as if he had just insisted we pay him with our kidneys. The price had jumped, and we had actually told him a shortcut as well.
“Hey, that’s not…” I began, but she overrid me.
“Relax, it’s only paper we obtained from our parents,” she handed him three five pound notes, clapping his hand down as she did so. “Keep the change you cheap ass bastard.”
He drove off quickly, and we were alone. There was an oddly quiet moment. I could write a whole paper on walking home after a night out society, but that would be silly. During the time left from a taxi to about ten meters down the road, there was always a silence. This wasn’t because of nervousness or a lack of anything to say though. It was because of the same nothing that inflicted Toilet society.
“Good time tonight,” I eventually said to break the ice.
“Yeah,” she replied. “Insert generic comment here.” Releasing a light snigger, we both instinctively turned off down another road. A group of five boys were still littering the road, and both of us knew that nothing should be said until we were out of range. “It was cool. The swimming, the ducks, the huge battle between the forces of good and evil being resolved by the dolphins.”
“Uh,” I mumbled coherently when we were well away. “I have school in, like, five hours.”
“Yeah,” she replied. “I have to be asleep in five hours too. So what’s your name?”
“I…I” And that was perhaps the hardest part of the nigh, even past the nakedness and. One of the stranger rules about toilet society is that, when it comes to meeting new people, the toilet is the place where you ask their name. During it outside the toilet beforehand breaks the current conversation, making everyone feel slightly awkward. Doing it afterwards never happens, as you find yourself unconsciously thinking how stupid it is and avoid it, hoping you’ll overhear someone else saying it.
Members of the opposite sex are, naturally, are the exception to this rule. You must be introduced to a member of the opposite sex either by your teacher, who will tell you and the rest of the class their name during register, or by a friend. Asking their name is not allowed as again it breaks the conversation. This causes huge complications when you’re on your own with the girl. Technically, for me, this was Samson’s fault, as instead of telling me, he tied my shoelaces up and laughed at me when I fell down.
Even though she had just asked, and the response should have been an obvious one, it just felt so weird that it hadn’t came up yet. In the middle of the street, she embraced me, and smiled into my eyes, threatening to eat them up. It was a moment that you wanted in a romance scene. I could feel my heart beating up against her chest, trying to rip itself out and entwine with hers. I could see her breath cross with mine. Our noses touched, and she said.
“Don’t worry. Names only matter as labels.” Then, as if to prevent me from answering, her lips came over mine, rolling over them as if she was trying to match the same lines. I caught a hint of blueberry, and then passion. “I’m Nicole, and I like you a lot.”
I had ruined the night, but she had saved it and took me along fro the rescue, literally pulling me out of one pool and throwing me into another, showing me a side I had never seen before, promoting me to King of these new waters and letting me stays there by her side.
And after that night, I went from a man whose girlfriend I wasn’t even allowed to touch to a two timer who no longer had his virginity- with both girls completely unaware that I was dating the other. At the time I couldn’t really resist her, even if I had wanted to. In terms of dominance we were actually equal, and I think it was that alone, and the fact I wasn’t used to it, that allowed her the one up on our relationships. She was perhaps a little more decisive than me, which was actually quite helpful, seeing by the nature of most of our group.
I was still the man in the relationship though. That night, even as we took something away from each other without a second thought, I was the shark, sneaking behind it, chasing it around the waters, catching it in my jaws and dancing with it as it squirmed for life, to escape and yet never want to leave. I took my prey and enjoyed every minute of it, bringing the creature held in my arms to a fiery death that they loved every minute of. Showing a bleeding hole pleasure for the first time ever.
I only remembered about Tracy the next day, when she called and asked me why I wasn’t at school, but my swimming gear was.
With her, I didn’t have to imagine. There was nothing to imagine. She was everything I wanted at face value, the perfection of my contentness. There were no thoughts about ripping off her school uniform and doing her in the common room. We did that three times. And she provoked all three encounters. It was a great relationship, and that one night, was the start of something great.
The problem with a dream has always been the unfortunate fact that one day, you have to wake up and realize it’s the same ceiling that you’ve always fell asleep under. A wild night of passion and fantasy can be devastated in seven seconds when you finally walk in the door and have your mother ask where the hell have you been all night. Being unable to answer, your mother can only assume the worst.
That’s what happened to me after the third greatest night of my life. Mother was furious, and in a way, it was understandable. I had been gone for the night and next day without as much as a phone call. My understanding and apologies of course, weren’t enough however, and like most women even when the point had been driven through and nailed down, she still kept on at it until it became an annoyance. There’s nothing quite as socially confusing as having your parents ground you at seventeen. At eighteen, you can never be house ridden again, but seventeen is just one step before, and you’re trapped in the urge to disobey, and yet not make things worse.
Once you’ve gone high on the see-saw, you’re always go straight back down.
School was an issue as well. Missing out a day should have been a minor point, hidden by the claim of sickness. That wouldn’t have even been necessary had the reason for me not being there is because I spent the entire day in bed with a chick, but telling this story to my friends probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do (though it was pretty cool that I could boast to be the first to lose it) until I had at least confronted Tracy with it.
Shocked to find I hadn’t even thought of Tracey that entire night I was with Nicole, I was genuinely surprised how everything went on normally the next day in school. It felt like a secret agent, knowing a secret that would stir up an entire nation of the school’s pupils- at least for a day or two. Me and Tracey were a pretty famous couple around school. We probably wouldn’t get an award for it during the end of school Ball, but we would certainly come close.
Finding Tracy alone was an issue though. Even worse was getting her not to think anything too suspicious of it. I can’t count the amount of times when I tried to take her ‘behind the bike sheds’ if you will, but I couldn’t usually get her to even ‘sit on the couch’ with me.
That day afterwards went by pretty smoothly class wise. I can’t remember having actually learnt anything now, but I’m pretty sure I took it all in.
It would have been when school came out that it all started.
“So I held the bag round his head, and throttled him until he died.”
“Yeah, great Samson,” I replied, not really listening. My mind had been off all day, for the obvious reasons. Now it was just the three of us. Me, Samson and Tracy. Samson wasn’t getting the point, neither was Tracy. Right next to me she was, her hand held out lightly as we trod down the dirt path that led around the school. Theoretically it wasn’t the end of the day, but for us it was, and that meant going the long way to avoid people staring at us. This was one of those things that Tracy insisted upon, saying how it wasn’t fair that all the lower years saw us leave early, and how she remembered how much she hated it when she was younger.
“You guys have to join us for a multiplayer sometime,” he continued. “We’ll have lots of fun.”
I could tell that Tracey could tell that something was up, not something completely serious, but still there, waiting to be addressed. She was looking to me constantly, waiting for my hand to grab hers. Never had she initiated contact between us, and yet she controlled it all the time. Intending to end it that day was a natural choice for me, but something was getting in the way. It should have been easy to dispose of the creature next to me. To just walk away and leave her, but this was something that had to be done in a certain way and, really, I had to respect that I was the one screwing her over. Mortally wounding her heart was the last thing I wanted to do, yet it was going to be pierced anyway. Internal contact, she would have probably hated that.
“Sorry, Samson,” Tracey said, when she noticed I wasn’t replying to the guy. “What’s a multiplayer?”
“Should not the term be obvious?” he replied, a look of confusion despite his wit. “It is a dance for all. A place where people of similar ideas and interests gather together and shoot one another.”
“It’s an online game thing,” I said, hoping any sentence I said would be enough to end Samson’s. I really wanted to tell her before we left school. I still needed to use the computer room to print off an essay I had written. “Just fighting each other, like that Street Fighter game.”
“Oh, I was good at that.” She had been actually. Years of intensive training and memorizing techniques were knocked aside by simple button bashing in around ten fights. It wasn’t until she had actually begun to understand what she was doing that I began to lose. Luckily by then, she had become bored.
“Nicole!” Samson shouted out, knocking me from my bitterness. To think that even a name could completely change my emotions was an interesting difference that I had never realized before. Had it always existed in me, but never with the capacity to try it? It was such a feeling of happiness that I almost completely forgot that meeting with the two girls in the same place was a very bad thing. It didn’t help that Nicole was running at me.
“Papa!” she shouted, in response to Samson. Not looking at him, she sprinted down the dirt trodden path. Even with the massive rain from yesterday (we had missed it in its entirety), she failed to slip or slid and fall over, bouncing agile round large puddles until she got to us, catapulting into me with the strength of a train hitting the coyote and taking me to the ground.
What happened next was great. Completely different from the passion of last night. Without the music or the lights to guide us. All I had left was my focus and rationality. Even with the knowledge that Tracey and Samson watching us, any number of emotions possibly appearing on Tracey’s face, I couldn’t stop the moment. We moved into each other like one of us was the other from the future and our existence was creating some kind of freaky time paradox and the only way that the universe could resolve it was by merging the two of us together and creating one. Luckily it didn’t go that far.
“Miss me lover?” Nicole asked, finally breaking off. She was still resting directly on my lungs however. And they didn’t exactly have much air in them at the moment. “You better have.” Her voice became mock threatening. Tracey’s had hung open, her eyes showing more white than usual.
There was something in me that was glad to see that much pain in her, and in that minute, it was like I spoke in her mind. “I did mean something to you. And now you’ve lost me.” Hesitating, she took a few steps back, before coughing fiercely, like her heart wanted to get out, but unsure f it should run away or ask me what the hell did I think I was doing. Eventually, it chose the first.
Nicole hadn’t noticed. Hell, I don’t think Samson had really noticed. Two of his closest friends were in the mud going at it with each other, and there had been no explanation on either part. Samson only tended to learn stuff off us by explanation. He somehow always missed the big moments, whether he was there or not.
Even though four of us were there to witness the big break up between me and Tracey, the other four still did not catch wind of it until the following Saturday, when we all went to the Club together. I had been so excited at hanging out with Nicole again that I didn’t even think of Tracey until we saw each other there. For some reason, it felt like we hadn’t seen each other in weeks, like two ex’s accidentally bumping into each other at a party.
“Hey,” she said to me that night, and nothing more.
I didn’t see much of her after that. The night was filled with Nicole again. It hadn’t been as good as the night previously, somehow the fantasy had overtaken the reality again; leaving it as road kill, but it wasn’t that bad. If anything, I saved a fortune on not buying alcohol, though I was still moderately surprised by how much a simple coke cost.
The monarchy of a Dance Club is one filled with constant revolts, and by that night we had already been deposed and others had gone up to take our place. We never met these others, but their presence was known somehow. The songs the DJ picked were entirely for them, and half the dance floor was allocated to their existence.
I wasn’t sure at first whether it was true, but it seemed just silly for AJ to point it out to me like that. IT was sort of a big thing, but at the same time was just something bound to happen eventually, like a friend who never drank alcohol, but was constantly being snared by the invisible leash of peer pressure.
“You guys are dating now?” I remember Barry saying. He had had about four pints of lager already, and at the point where he was insisting we should all partake of tequilas, sans the salt. “Don’t you think that’s really shitty? He made a point after that to disown me for a while. Donna was more covertly pissed, and spent a lot of time just being near Tracey. I think she wanted to do the womanly thing of condoling her, but Donna’s was horrible with words and just stayed quiet most of the time.
Although it hadn’t gone how television told me it would, the break up was pretty smooth. It was too much of a break up really, like a chasm had opened between us and completely separated us, with no chance of rejoining or even saying goodbye. It might have been a little depressing, had Nicole not been there for me.
I was still a little angry though. It was like she hadn’t even cared. If anything, it looked like she was happier without. Finally, she seemed a bit more relaxed, the gyrating on the dance floor being a big clue. Her alcohol consumption didn’t really changed (having already been past superhuman standards anyway), but her wardrobe did. Although it still hid many parts of her body (up until she died, I never saw her shoulders), the cleavage she was showing off was amazing, more like my fantasies than the reality of her school uniform.
It would have been the last four hours of the night, when I realized how much I had broken her.
Barry had eventually convinced us to do Tequila. Nicole wasn’t as against it as I first thought she’d be. Since I had met her, she hadn’t drank a drop, but it turned out she only drank when she wanted to, and then was a time. After a few shots of the stuff I had found myself wandering for a toilet, not so much dodging the crowds of people as falling into them and ruining their whole evening.
Through the crowds I traveled, wading not just through the students and drunks and heavy rock fans with hair with hair that looks like it came out of the candy floss machine at fairs, but through the music pumping through my ears. It was the impossibly loud rock music night at Revelation, and to attempt conversation that night was to attempt suicide with your throat. Between the people and the music, I lost track f where I was going right around the third tequila. Before I knew it I had bumped into her. Failing to notice me, it took a few seconds for my mind to discern reality from fiction, and realized she hadn’t noticed me, or anything for that matter, saved the lips of the biggest nuttier in the school. Connected to the one they call Dominic through her tongue, I watched as they made out, this serious, conservative Christian catholicon girl with the guy that flushed heads down toilets and spread the rumours of every sexual act he ever made a girl do, whether it be true or not.
Tracey hated this guy. She hated the notion that she could hate people, it being a weakness of emotion that she couldn’t stand not being able to control. Like a headache that wouldn’t go away, even if you tried to calm it down, Tracey couldn’t rationalize a liking of anybody that she had a reason to well and truly hate, no matter how hard she tried. Dominic fell into that category. He was a bully, and a thug. His idea of fun was to taunt and humiliate the quiet kid one ahead of him in the dinner line and refused to stop talking to them no matter what their reaction. Tracey had stood up to him many a time, one of the few that would even try, even among the teachers. But with such a guy it was fruitless.
Now she was making out with him, and I could tell by their sloppiness that this was definitely her first kiss.
The kiss she hadn’t given up to me.
At the time it was impossible for me to reply, not just because there were no words to explain my shock, but because the high volume mexicano concentrate in my system had stalled my brain like a cheap 86 Corena. Stammering- at least I think I was, I ended up waiting for them to notice me. Dominic did first, and smiled at me, a lecherous, lusty smile. For all I knew that was his first kiss too. I can’t imagine any girl ever wanting to go out with him. You couldn’t even see him as the ‘bad’ type. He was just too fat for it.
When she noticed me, she shot away from him like he was an opposing magnet. Like I had just caught her cheating on me, she stammered, getting hot and flustered, unsure of what to do. Dominic strode off, the potential need for him to act like a real man not even showing up on the sensors.
And that’s when she kissed me.
Like she was trying to make up for the moment she had just irrevocably lost from me forever, he lips dominated mines, her tongue going so far down my mouth I thought I might be suffocated by it. Too lost in the alcohol, I got lost in the moment too, kissing back as deeply as she was, letting her rub her hands all over my body, like she could take me back if she just touched enough of me.
Thirty full seconds passed, and we left each other in unison, coming up for air. Nicole stood by her, holding two more shots of tequila, one of which I knew was for me.
Like a caught thief, Tracey disappeared, not even giving me time to call out for her to wait. Nicole said nothing either at first, and merely walked over to the nearby bar. Following her, I slipped and slide through the crowd, nearly collapsing in heap due to a broken pint glass trying to keep its contents. Reaching her, I gave a very detailed explanation and pattern of course for what I had just done and why I deeply regretted it.
“I…I…” I said, nearly vomiting.
“Relax, I could see,” she said, showing me her face and revealing the light grin that I knew forgave everything. “She started it, but you had to get it out of your system.” I sighed internally (I don’t think I could have managed a proper one), glad that the lesson of two timing that teenage drama had taught me hadn’t come true. “What was it like?”
I had to reswallow the vomit that nearly came out. It was a horrible question really, but that didn’t seem too important. My replies was as instant as it were honest.
“A little disappointing to be honest.”
“It looked it, to both of you.” Stamping her foot hard on the ground, she brought the shot up to her mouth, and downed it in one gulp, releasing a loud exhale of satisfaction, swinging her head back down as if to mark its strength.
“You should have told me you had a girlfriend,” she said bluntly, indicating to the barman that she wanted another.
“Sorry,” I replied, looking down to my own shot, watching it beg me to be just as tough as she was. “It’s just…you know…I just forgot.”
“Heh,” she laughed. “Can’t have been that important.” Seeing the bartender not responding to her, she took my shot without hesitation and downed it as well, releasing the same excess of joy as she crashed the glass on the bar.
“No, I guess it wasn’t.”
How did I ever think she was strong willed? She was weak. Her focused attitude and conservative demeanor was just a shield, something to protect her from the real lives she was scared of. The life of sex, the life of pain. Hiding behind her god, she knew nothing, and now that she had the dream blown out from under her, the pathetic little slut was revealed for what she really was.
Everything she was had gone, taken from her in a sweaty puddle full of mud. The shield that had long been sustained to protect her, made as it were out of the hardest substance known to man, and that no man could ever thought to destroy, had finally been shattered like a thin, cheap material. Only now that it was gone, there was nothing to discover. The giant fortress that had once piqued my curiosity and forced her to become everything that was in my life was revealed to be the only real thing of value there. Within it, only a small, pathetic creature lay, devoid of anything that made it special, anything worthy.
It was good that I hadn’t waited around to obtain the goal in the end, that I gave up on that particular endeavor. In the end there was nothing to it, a waste of my precious time. My time was now better spent. There was no obstacle to overcome with Nicole, just a precious treasure that had sought me out and I was just as valuable to her as she was to me.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the creature that was left behind after Tracey left. It quickly became clear, as her studies dropped in performance and she started dating whoever she could, that her life never existed in the first place. It was like she was playing a supporting lead in a play, but the writers hadn’t the common sense to make her disappear when her character was finished with, and instead added less and less poignant plots to her storyline.
It probably wouldn’t have been that important a factor in the long run, but for the next four years, she would be in my general presence (we had decided to go to university together, and everything had been arranged just recently) and I would be forced to witness the creature whom I had revealed behind those once flawless marble walls. If anything, it would be dangerous. To become this bad a human, this much of a slut, in just a few days, her entire life would slowly drop, and I would only serve as a constant reminder of her destruction. I imagined it slowly getting worse, falling to drink (if that were possible), falling to drugs, becoming a sexual deviant in the worse possible sense. IT made me shudder to think of the once beautiful creature to become like that.
And, I think it was then that I knew it had to be stopped. – that I had to stop the creature before me, before it devolved any further down the food chain. She would have to become my prey. She was my prey already to be honest. I had hunted for her and caught her, claimed her as my own, played with her and then chewed her up and spat her out. It was only right that I finished what I started.
So the next day we got tattoos.
Back then I had never really given much thought to the notion of body fashion. It wasn’t like I put much effort into it, but then I wasn’t a slob either. My hair has always been spiked, but not as stuck up as some of the guys out there that spent about five pounds a week on hair accessories and reapplied gel every four hours. I was the one who actually bought those 39p tubs of jelly to put it your hair so it stuck up at least while you looked in the mirror.
Tattoos were something I had at least a bit of a policy about. It had to be something that would last. To get something of my favourite band at the time would be a reason for self loathing in later life besides the need to buy a fast car, and even a Disney character had more point to it than a latest craze thing.
Still I like the idea. There was something about engraving a symbol into myself that spoke to me, slicing the skin and leaving something within the folds that identified to me. It was like allowing myself to become something I wanted to be, and getting closer to that ideal.
It was Nicole’s idea, that much should have been obvious. A few days previously, the consideration getting one never entered my mind in the slightest, but then I had become strangely eager, being the one to eventually persuade the others to get one as well.
Getting into the tattoo parlor, I remember being assaulted by the many pictures scattered over the walls in a warped form of order. Animals and symbols and creatures and stripes stared back at me, AJ announcing his againstness of the idea the second he walked in and saw them all.
“Shouldn’t we think about this for a bit longer?” he said, still admiring a piece of tribal work that looked set to go against your back. “A tattoo is not a fifteen minute decision.
“Well, that’s how long it’s going to take the others to get here,” Samson replied, clicking off his phone, Barry disappearing off the other end. “Why don’t we just find out if it is or not.”
We started to roam the store, annoying the single man that appeared to be in the store to act as a desk clerk. Thin and half bald, yet strangely looking as old as us, the man sported no visible tattoos, even under his short sleeved shirt. He failed to greet us in any way as we wandered the room.
“Hey, here,” Nicole called out to me, beckoning me to her. Her arm wrapped into mine naturally as I approached her, and she pulled me close to see the picture. “I want this one.”
It was a Puma. I couldn’t tell what it was at the time, having always believed Puma were black for some reason; this one was displayed in white, apparently representing its firm, ginger fur. It sat, more like a domesticated cat than a wild animal, with its ears pointed upwards and looking to the right, the tail nowhere to be seen. “It’s so cool. I’m having it on my shoulder.”
With that, she ordered it, walking right up to the half bald man at the counter and asking for feline to be imprinted on her shoulder. I always thought you had to book such things, but he took her round the back in the same moment. I guess they don’t want the possibility of the customer chickening out or something.
Wanting to see it straight away, I was kind of disappointed where she came back wearing a bandage over her right arm. Although there was something about it I couldn’t help but find a little sexy about seeing her bandaged up. Still having not decided one, I waited for Samson to go in, cuddling up with my kitty as she whined about her pains to me.
“It wasn’t that bad really,” she muttered, doing her best not to try and rub it. Nothing happens if you do runa tattoo, but I guess it was a case of paranoia for her, that her Puma might have turned into a deformed jackal or something.
“Then why you holding onto me so tight,” I replied cockily, holding her just as close. My eyes scanned the room at the pictures. I hadn’t gone through them all yet, but nothing spoke to me.
“Because I’m about to pass out from blood loss.”
Donna coughed hard. She and Barry had showed up ten minutes into Nicole’s willing mutilation session, and for some reason brought Tracey with them. She hadn’t said a word since she had entered the place, but was looking around all the same. Other than that, all she had managed so far was a weak smile to Samson, and a profound interest in a tattoo depicting a bunch of flowers with one lying dead on the floor beneath the rest. I remember loving the irony, regardless of the fact that it wasn’t ironic at all.
The trip back home was tense, and not just because there were six of us in a small, mini beetle thing that was my dad’s before he turned his brain back on and gave it to me in exchange for a VW much more suited to holding six people, two of which needing spreading out as much as possible.
Driving along the long winding lane that separated our town from the city of Sheffield, everything was quiet. Mainly in part due to Samson’s decision to forcibly grab shotgun. For a moment I was beginning to think he might have been getting jealous that me and Nicole, whom he considered his two best friends, had replaced him with one of the other. The biggest problem with this was that AJ and John had been polite about gentlemanliness, and allowed both girls to enter the car first, effectively sitting them against each other.
“This seatbelt feel weird,” Samson complained, as he fiddled with the strap. He hadn’t yet noticed the knot. Jumping at the chance for conversation I told him about it.
“Car’s falling apart. I had to tie a knot in that to keep it together.
“And now I want to leave,” John quipped.
“I’m not stopping; you’ll have to jump out.” It was forced humor, the type that had to be rushed out of the factory and delivered so fast that they couldn’t even open the gates and so chose to push it out through the barbed gates.
“Isn’t there something illegal about broken seatbelts?”
Broken seatbelts were in fact very illegal. The chances of one breaking or even fraying are low in general, but when a car is twenty years old and was used to carry unfurnished timber around from place to place, it’s understandable. It had only really happened in one place, near the top where the wood had been rested against where there was too much of it to lay flat in the back with the seats down. The snapping had occurred two weeks previously, and with an M.O.T just a few months away that would undoubtedly fail a car that consisted of two back tires with about 15% grip left on them and an engine like an Old Yeller dog being dragged through hoops as a county contest.
The seatbelt was a hazard really, giving a false sense of security to whoever made be tied up underneath it. The knot wasn’t even that good. I was certainly not a Boy Scout at it, and had just tied in multiple knots until it looked like it might not cause someone to eject from the window should a crash ever occur. Samson wasn’t helping by trying to get it tighter and in fact becoming quite counter productive in his efforts.
Tracey hadn’t still remained silent at this point, and Nicole wasn’t helping with this by continuing her attempts to make friends with her. It occurred to me, during the silence that followed, that the girl must have been going through a very confusing time. From what she had seen, she did not know that me and Tracey were dating, and from my actions there was no reason to believe we were. There was n point left in talking to the shell next to her. Looking from my windscreen, I only felt loathing at the creature I had found beneath what was Tracey. How easy could it have been, to be rid of her from my life forever? At this moment, I doubt she would have even met with much resistance. Caught in a trap of her own making and sprung by me, she merely remained to be finished off.
My tattoo stung as I swerved round the sharp corner. Samson yelled with discomfort as the car started to drift to the right. Taking a little too sharply, I felt the regret of letting the tires getting in some bad shape. Having bought this car off my own dad, I pro0bably should have been putting a little more effort into maintaining it to some degree. With no plans to get a new one ion the future, the notion that maintenance costs were in my future was a pain, even more so than the idea that I may be setting myself up for a crash sometime in my future.
A paranoid feeling of crashes has always existed in me. Whenever I try to take a corner fast, I always swerve in the opposite direction when a car comes to meet me on the opposite side, regardless of how far on my side of the road I am. The moment of trepidation only exists then though and before and after I stayed focused on the turn, loving the fact that I can catch up with even the fast sports cars if I swing round just right, my crappy old beetle humiliating a lion, if only for a second.
The shark bit into me. It wasn’t happy being where it was- I could tell. The shoulder wasn’t so much the problem as the bandage it was trapped behind. It didn’t need a bandage, it needed to be seen. What was the point of a tattoo that couldn’t be seen? I wanted to rip off the sterilized cloth and throw it to the wind behind my car, uncaring for the blood and the scarring that would appear on my skin.
Holding it in for now, I dropped everyone off one by one. AJ and john disappeared first, living a block from each other. Samson and Tracey were the same. I normally dropped her off at her own home but I had no wish to see the girl’s cage.
“Hey, dude, can I get a lift later?” It was a regular request from Samson. I allowed it. It was like allowing a jester to entertain his King some more, and it was feeling awkward between us recently. I wasn’t used to feelings of anxiety and uneasiness around Samson. The only thing I usually felt was a sort of annoyance whenever he did a ‘funny’ that wasn’t funny. “Oh, I’m bringing Tracey too.”
My foot jerked on the accelerator, making the battle roar with my frustration. Having already said yes, I couldn’t do anything about the tactless idiot’s stupid request. “Fine,” I said, seeing the creatures own mystification about the situation. I couldn’t tell why he had to bring her. At this point it would be like bringing a fly that was tied down by dental floss-uselessly flying around, any attempt at reasserting strength causing its own self mutilation.
That night would be Tracey’s last on earth.
To say it happened intentionally would have been false to an extent. Tracey’s life was already over before that point. If she were ever to get it back, it would have been a long way down the line, and it would have been nearly impossible to say if it would have been worth the wait. Regardless, that never got round to happening and to focus on potential futures were far too long.
Not being able to stay here for much longer, I’ll make it quick.
It was already dark when I came to pick them up, the beetle humming quietly as I sat outside Samson’s terrene door. The doors had been locked, as I wasn’t too keen into letting those that walked these streets into my car. \It wasn’t out of any paranoia, but more of a precaution to prevent being bothered.
The two of them stepped out. I knew I should have just driven off when I saw Samson wearing his cape and horned helmet. How he could ever think of doing that in public was beyond me. I begrudging opened the door, waiting for the two of them to step in.
My hands gripped the steering wheel as she got in, in the front. This creature was no longer fit to sit at my side like this and I felt my nails scratch away at the rubber that they held, feeling shards roll up and fall off onto my legs.
It had to be Samson’s idea, his way of pissing me off. He was never one for malice, but he probably thought it hilarious to talk her into sitting me in the front with her, either hoping for extreme tension or an all out argument that he could watch from the sidelines.
Setting off, I turned off the first road and into the dark lanes that littered the fields, farmyard animals surrounding us as they slept peacefully behind the fences that separated us from them. Sometimes I think, judging by the space that the cows have and the space that we have, do the cows assume we are the ones trapped behind the fence, constantly roaming up and down as if searching for a weak point, but moving too fast to ever find one, with any that show up being too bothersome to act upon.
To those cows, who could not tell that the different cars mean different people, it must be like watching a futile act of escape over and over again, like watching the same movie repeatedly in the futile hope that it may all of a sudden become good, that something obvious may pop out at you and surprise you, but knowing that you won’t. But, because the book was so good, you keep trying.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
For that rudimentary split second where only emotion sits I honestly thought Samson had said it. The voice sounded gruff, rusted cogs that hadn’t been used in days now turning and realizing only too late that they weren’t ready to talk in public yet. I looked at her, to see her still staring out at the road looking through the darkness that occasionally perturbed where I flashed the beam lights on.
Samson pulled out a handheld console and flicked it on, leaning back and beginning to rearrange shapes tat appeared on the screen. He was real good at those sorts of games. It was like the only thing he was smart at.
“I didn’t have chance.” It was the truth really, in a disjointed sort of way. I did in fact have plenty of chance after the act of having amazing sex with Nicole to announcing my actions over the school’s intercom system, but the timing had been bad. The only place where timing is never bad is in the toilet or the dance floor (although sometimes there’s no difference)
“We were together that day for four hours.” Her voice came out as a whisper this time, like she had realized she wasn’t at full operating capacity yet. I found myself knocking it up on the speed gauge, keeping it concentrated on the speed limit. I usually sped all the time when it was light, but even in these roads I was familiar with, I never went past 60 at night.
“It just wasn’t right, okay?” I shot back at her quickly, knocking a glance at her and seeing she still wasn’t looking. Her hand was fiddling with the seatbelt. It had a lot more slack to it than it should. “Samson was there. I at least wanted to tell you in private.”
“Well, you should have asked him to leave us then,” she snapped back, exploding for a quick second, reminding me of the person she used to be. “He wouldn’t have minded. He’s a lot more decent than you are.”
Why did I have to explain to this broken sex machine anyway? There was nothing left to our relationship anyway. The only thing left in common was similar friends.
“I didn’t know Nicole would be there anyway,” I shouted back at her, my voice now rising to go past hers. “I wanted to do the decent thing and tell you away from others in private. It was no one’s fault.”
“It was yours!”
“I didn’t know Nicole was going to show up!”
“Are you sure?” You sure seemed happy to see her.” Tracey’s black comedy. I didn’t realize how much I would miss its occasional appearances. “What made you choose her over me anyway?”
“She let me touch her!” It snapped out instantly. Her face contorted briefly, before returning to staring at the road ahead. It was like she knew what was going to happen.
“That was it! Just because I wouldn’t have sex with you yet.”
“Not just sex!” I shouted in her ear. “Everything. We never kissed. We never hugged. The only reason we held hands was because I pretty much had to force you. Do you know how it feels, to have to question whether or not you have a girlfriend- whatever it is in your case?”
“I Guess I pretty much know now, don’t I?”
“What?” I shouted indignantly. Her body wasn’t moving at all. That sharp turn was coming up. I pushed faster.
“Don’t you dare relate the two? Do you know how confusing the past few months have been to me?” My shark throbbed, screaming for release.
“Why don’t you tell me? Why don’t you fucking inform me of something in your life for once?!”
“You know what? Screw this!”
The warning came too late. Failing to hear the horn of the oncoming car yanked the steering wheel hard to the right, feeling the back wheels complain under the sudden change in orders before being forced to quickly switch back, as I finally noticed the car and moved to get out of the way. Braking hard, I watched as my body remained stationary, my view twisting to show what was to the side of me.
Feeling Samson’s head slam into his window, I held on for dear life, trying to turn the steering wheel round to meet the direction it was supposed to go, feeling the car refuse to answer as an unseen force took the car towards a turning bollard, hitting it at a force of seventy miles per hour.
Slowly, with the speed of a bullet, Tracey threw herself out of the windscreen mirror. I watched as seatbelt finally gave up on the oppressive conditions it had been put through and revolt right out of the car alongside her, her body acting as a shield for the hundred of glass particles that skewered through her as head met bonnet and legs followed through to the floor, feet resting on the bumper as she slowly slid off, the sudden force of the unmovable wall defeating me. I heard another loud horn deafen me, and then, nothing.
Toilet society allows for anonymous contact. In the 1980’s, complete strangers were able to meet up in public toilets and have sex with each other. These strangers were often thirty year old, white middle class men, who after swinging their two horizontal poles together would never see or hear form the other again. Although not as gross, most contacts in toilet society work this way. You can meet with a person, engage in a five minute conversation with each other where you reveal your own personal philosophy and beliefs on the way things work, discuss your favourite footballs teams and then never remember each other again as you part from the toilets. This happens to most males around three out of ten times they enter the toilet, and even if they do meet again, they will never remember each other.
Toilet society is a series of rule and regulations that are as old as the first time man went behind the trees and told everybody he’d be back in a second. It is what ever man, and as far as I’m aware, woman, instinctively knows and obeys without hesitation. These are the simple, common sense things that make us feel like an idiot if we ever break them. Walking into the toilets of the opposite sex for example, is considered a minor violation in toilet society. It is punishable- for males, that is, with the traditional scream of a woman shortly followed by praise from fellow males, who in actual fact think of you both as a dumb ass and a figure to be jealous of. There are basic rules, and complex rules in toilet society. I would address some of the more complex rules merely for the sake of reference, but as we all know this would not be allowed
Water filled my lungs as dust would have filled a vacuum cleaner. The pressure hit my chest, springing me awake. Choking instinctively, I lunged up, unable to see anything, and began to clear my lungs out in the most forceful way possible, hocking up as much as I could and falling straight back down to the liquid below.
I forgot everything, like it had never been there, a distant memory in a life that felt like it had ended ages ago. All that existed within me was the pain in my lungs, my attempts to get it out, and the liquid panic running through my veins. Nothing worked for a few moments, and then I was clear.
My eyes opened, but it need not have mattered. There was nothing there now. IT smelt like a sewer. For all intent purposes it was a sewer, and then I remembered.
The Crying Man.
My gaze shot upwards, looking to the creature that had floated above me. Nothing. IT had gone. I felt the adrenaline in my body skip a few beats. Where was he? Was he in the room again? I couldn’t even tell if I was in the room again. Choking a little more, between witching to plain coughing and a few sneezes here and there, I tried to make my way back up to a standing position. The walls of a toilet stall were still around me, meaning I had somehow ended back up in one of them. Getting the last of the water out of my system, I felt a lump in my throat as I realized just how much of it had been in my system. Feeling my throat clench at the thought, my ears gave up on me, and unleashed a stream of vomit into the liquid below me.
Three times the torrent came, covering the small cubicle around me. I smelt my own oral excrement and contributed some more to it, unable to control myself now as my knees started to shiver, the coldness of the room adding to my own disease. I slipped slightly and fell back down to where I was a minute ago, my head crashing nose first into the water.
In the haze of my mind, I felt no revulsion for the pile of sick that I must have just head butted, but instead reached for the toilet door. Going against convention, I realized I had to get out of the toilet stall as soon as possible, less I be sick again. Fumbling for the lock, I felt my numb fingers turned the bolt and try to rip it open, muscles feeling incredibly weak as they tried to pull against the tide contained within the toilet. Slowly managing it, I waded out in a panic, arms flying everywhere as I tried to find the nearest coherent surface. I crashed back down into the water, eyes and nose now streaming liquids of their own.\
I just wanted out, I didn’t deserve this. What had started out as something that felt like a practical joke had turned into a carnival of insanity. I felt the urinal bowl, half underwater, and tried to pull myself up again, still sobbing recklessly to myself as I waited for everything to calm down.
It didn’t matter whether my eyes were opened or closed now, and for a moment I felt like keeping them shut forever. I didn’t need to see more of this place. Hopefully, if anything, I would just have to wait until morning, then someone would have had to notice the problem.
The thought sunk down into the bottom reaches of the toilet. Somehow I knew that the comfort thoughts would no longer work. Ever since the man on the other side turned into nothing more than a hallucination, I knew that they wouldn’t work. Now, I was nothing more than the pawn of the crying man, a sick victim of one of the biggest practical jokes ever.
“Let me out!” I roared, heading over to where I remember the door being, my spatial awareness contained entirely within my memories, not even my ears being able to figure out the dynamics of the room thanks to the ungodly amount of water in here. I ran over to where I remembered the door being, and slammed right into a brick wall.
MY nose betrayed me as the bone snapped, blood squirting out as a fountain amid all the other fluids pouring out of me. I groaned loudly as my knees buckled. I grabbed one of them, and refused to let myself fall.
With that, I broke loose of everything that was me. I screamed and shouted and tossed and toiled. I threw water in every direction there was, uncaring for whatever was caught in my hand as I tried to pick up the sewage infested liquid. I fell several times mouth, feeling the dirty water seep into my mouth, and uncared for the fluids I tasted, even as I begun to vomit again, letting out wail upon wail of liquid pain, letting it cover my face as it splashed upon the water. I lay there, and realized I could do nothing.
Upon me, the world groaned. The creature sobbed above me, causing the urinals to turn on once more, their putrified excrement hitting the water straightaway, causing the crap beneath it to bubble. I knelt down, doing my best to remain quiet, hearing the complaints of the plumbing system around me, its attempts at sanitation failing as it threatened to collapse upon me. Nothing entered my mind as I focus solely on the sound, the clanking and hissing of unknown pipes that played a melody of flushing
Kneeling down, I realized the water was touching my chin.
At first I figured I didn’t have to worry too much about flooding. There was no real reason to. After all, this wasn’t a sealed room with no escape, nor some air tight container. IT was a toilet for god’s sake. Nothing should be able to get trapped in here..
And yet, here I was, a man trapped in a situation that was progressively getting worse. The water was up to my shoulders now, which meant it was not leaking under the door somehow. That was impossible, I had already checked it myself and knew there was a gap there. But right now I couldn’t even tell if the rat had drowned or not. Was I in danger of drowning too? At this rate, I might not have been able to last another few hours, before I found myself swimming in sewage to survive.’
Slowly, the sounds stopped once again, the cranking of the creature being sated for whatever reasons could possibly make such a monster quiet. I assume I stared upwards, though I had no way to tell even common sense had left me, and wondered of the Crying Man was still there, waiting to see if I moved again. Perhaps it could only hear me- it was pitch black down here after all, there’s every chance that if I just stayed sit until morning, I could still get saved.
I started shivering again, teeth chattering in the three colds- the water, the air and my own diseased carcass which had suffered under the first two, I tasted a multitude of disgusting flavors as my teeth chattered and chomped up what had fell into my mouth earlier, releasing the full tender smell into my blood stream. I sniffed mucus out of my nose and added blood to the concoction. Remembering that I had just broken my nose, I leant forwards, unsure which direction I was actually supposed to move to stop the blood flowing.
Hearing it drip in the water made me feel uneasy, but I had nowhere to sit in this place at the moment, and I could no longer tell where the toilet seat was. Not wanting t risk the Crying Man hearing the liquid drop, I lifted my face up, feeling the crimson trail down my cheeks now. I’d have to stay like this until it clotted.
As I sat there, I decided that this had to be supernatural in some way. There was no way this was common society just having a bad day. This was reality accidentally leaning on the wrong fucking switch and fucking stuff up. This was an operator spilling his coffee on the button with my name on it and doing nothing but watching as it short circuited.
Maybe that was it. That must have been the Crying Man above me, watching his mistake. I could imagine him banging against the keyboard watching the coffee drip into my world. That was probably the brown liquid filling the room. Not sewage, but coffee. And the constant clanking I heard must have been him trying to fix it. If I could maybe get in contact with him I could…
I stopped myself, breathing as hard and as heavily as I could. What was I thinking about? God-like operators? Trying to fix my problem as though it was a technical one? No one was trying to fix this problem. They were just all surrounding the Crying Man as he mourned over his broken panel, his lost responsibilities. Abandoned without even realizing it before it was too late.
The phone rang.
At first it seemed so alien a noise I didn’t know what was happening, it was like a saucer had appeared from nowhere, and revealed itself to be a giant circus top from the stars. Then I tried instinctively covering it up, as if I didn’t want someone to know I had hidden the phone in the room. Then I stood up. Where was it? It wasn’t on me, but there was no where else it could have been. Everywhere else was under water. Unless it was on top of one of the cisterns.
Its tone covered the room, filling it with a high pitch melody that reminded me of happier days. It was a tone Samson and Anita had shown me a few weeks back, a carnival tune playing along peacefully until what sounded like a clown burped loudly and send ‘Hold on, let me get this.’ The Original flash was accompanied by a set of children looking at him disappointed, before getting up from their seats and pelting him with saxophones. It sounded lame now, but back then I thought it was hilarious and nicely surreal, perfect for a ring tone. No sooner had I announced this out loud, than Samson said it was pretty easy to make it into one.
It blared throughout the room again, like a klaxon, killing my ears with an intense nerve shredding pain that caused me to cringe, my mouth nearly dipping back into the water again. Where was it? The Crying Man would hear us, and soon those pipes would start to twist and turn their porridge at me again. It didn’t feel like it was anywhere, it echoed and bounced off all the walls of the room, telling me it was both above and behind me, below and right in my face. The sewage wasn’t helping. I waded about a bit, ignoring my pains, trying desperately to find it, only just questioning how it could still possibly work after being submerged in the skank below me, and who it could possibly be.
It stopped. I heard breathing, loud, like someone had gotten too close to the microphone.
“Hello?” It was Nicole, I gasped and looked around pointlessly, determined to find it. I had to tell her this time. No messing about. It had cost me this much already.
“Hello,” her voice went on, as if wondering if she had just missed me speak. I spun round, hoping that the motion would give me some indication as to where the phone was. Again, nothing.
“You there, you fucker!” Her voice boomed out. I couldn’t tell if she was joking or not, the words coming out forcefully but far too full of static for me to make out emotion. Her cry reverberated off of every wall of every stall and entered my ears in one compressed heap, for a moment I swore the water rippled and vibrated with her sounds.
I couldn’t take too long. Soon she would just hang up, and there was no way I’d find the phone in this place, in this state.
“Hullo,” I shouted, hearing the break in my nose painfully. Annoyed at myself for sounding stupid, I called out again, wanting to make sure she heard me. “Necoole?”
“Where the hell are you?” She heard me? And clearly too by the sounds of it. Was the phone close to me then? “Your parents called. They’re worried sick about you.”
Mum and Dad? Had did they know I hadn’t returned. Motherly instinct wasn’t this reliable, was it? Half the time my mum wasn’t even aware of where her knitting needles were, yet I do have the reaction of times where she just seemed to know I was having trouble. In Uni, she always called where I needed a bit more money and even when I hadn’t’\t told her I had exams, she’d always wish me luck. Either she was like a great mother eagle, or she was just some kind of freaky stalker lady.
I searched around for the phone, my arms waving about madly. It might have been on top of one of the urinals.
“Hold on, I’ve got to find the phone,” I said, hoping I wouldn’t have to explain further.
“What?” she replied, sounding seriously pissed off. “You’re talking on it? Are you that drunk?”
“No,” I said, seemingly unable to find a wall. “I haven’t drunk anything today.” It was a little lie of cause. She knew Red Bull made my hyper, and was just as bad as four shots of vodka followed by a punch to the stomach. Why was I still talking about this? I needed her to bring help.
“You don’t need to lay to me you fucker,” she screamed. “AJ told me you guys were at the pub. Told me that you said I hadn’t wanted to go. Why didn’t you just tell me you didn’t want me to go?”
It was late night sci-fi night, a random thought entered me. AJ would be on the science fiction channel for the rest of the night. It made sense that he would have still been awake and given Nicole a call during commercial. They often made jokes of the plot, turning a simple dictatorship into the tyrant’s eternal quest to find his missing sheep.
“You know what? Don’t bother.” Terming her as pissed off would have probably been classed as a further insulted right now, but I couldn’t remain quiet. At this rate, I really was not going to tell her again. “You just dump me like you dumped her, you selfish arrogant bastard.”
“Are we just holes to you, mister?” she continued, sounding like she had wanted to say this for a long time. “Just places to fulfill your twisted desires. I know you never got off with Tracey but I’m sure the craving drove you crazy with your pervert lusts.”
“I could have handled it if you kept on being nice, but as soon as you realize you have to have some responsibility in the relationship which isn’t fucking my ass! Which is really weird by the way, and then you just jump ship without even telling anyone. Do you have someone else now?”
“I didn’t know. I had fallen back down, feeling a pain well up behind my throats.
“I’m struck here. Someone’s locked me in the toilets and I can’t get out.” An image of a turtle fell into my head for a second.
“What are you talking about?”
“I was at the pub. I’m sorry but I… I… Then I got stuck here and really weird stuff’s happening. The lights have broken and the…”
“Hold on, you’re breaking up,” she said clearly through the phone, quickly becoming a lot more concerned for me than she sounded a minute ago. “Where are you? I can hear water.”
“In the toilets.”
“The pub toilets.”
For a second I imagined her telling me she’ll be right there’ and then donning a sexy PVC suit of latex and equipping herself with the latest in high tech gadgetry, before jumping out of her window, using the latest new and improved grappling hook to grab onto the nearest roof, swinging over four buildings in one shot like a wall crawler, landing precariously on the roof of the public tavern and crashing through the ceiling, though the cess tank, dispatching the Crying Man with ease And coming into to rescue me.
“And you’re trapped.”
“I can’t get out, and my nose in broken and something’s gone wrong with the plumbing and there’s shit everywhere.” As if to make a point, I splashed the water hard. As it crashed back down, several distinct plops were heard that I wasn’t expecting. I felt the urge to hurl again, only the person on the other side stopping me from doing so.
“How long have you been there?”
“I don’t know.” I felt like crying too. I felt my cheeks, still numb with cold, crunch up on me, threatening to shatter. “I need you to get me out… He’s here with me.”
“Who?” she asked, more like she was hearing a piece of gossip or the ending to a movie than acknowledging my situation.
“The Crying Man.”
“Okay, okay. I’m coming over,” she finally acquiesced. “But if this is just some fucked up joke, or even some surprise birthday party with immense tactical planning, I am dumping you mister.”
“Please just hurry,” I sobbed, hoping she could tell how serious I was being.
“I haven’t got much credit left,” she pointed out. “Call me when I one tone you.”
“I can’t,” I replied. “I don’t have any credit left.” Not to mention I had no idea where the damn thing was.
“Well, hopefully, I won’t need to,” she said, in a way that I hoped was her trying to sound reassuring. “I’m on my way. Just hold on.”
The phone clicked, bringing an end to any contact I might have had left with the sane side of my world. I looked back to what was left. The dark, the sewage, the little trace of sound that filled this empty void. I felt my nose for a brief second, hissing as it complained back at my actions, telling me I shouldn’t do that again.
Nicole would save me, I could reply on her. She had saved me many times below. If not for her, I would still be trapped in a life of celibacy, living out my days holding hands with a creature that was better off a corpse in a car wreck than a rational human being. Not that she ever was. Tracey had lived solely by fear. If she had lived longer, she might have been able to fix that, but a lot of people might have lived longer if they did many things, and even then those things still wouldn’t have changed the society they were constrained by.
For a second I became aware that my phone still hadn’t been found. How had I been able to have that conversation? From what I could tell I was still in the direct center of the toilet, with nothing but the sewage around me. I hadn’t recalled setting my phone’s volume that high, nor was I sure if I was able to. There were only three places it could be at the moment. On top of one of the cisterns, balancing precariously upon the urinals, is it the pipes bars or the ceramics themselves.
Or it was in the water.
The last choice was the clearest choice and yet obviously wrong. Whilst I’m sure that a hundred thousand volts of pure electricity weren’t\’’t burning me to a cinder right now, I was pretty sure it had to be in the water and completely non function. If that was the case, then I couldn’t have had the phone call with Nicole just now, sand she couldn’t have heard my pathetic pleas for rescue.
Was anyone coming to rescue me?
The Crying Man hadn’t heard me either. Either that or he had decided not to respond. Slowly kneeling back down, I opted to stay quiet. This close to rescue, I couldn’t risk him finding me again; doing something that might finish me off. For a second I briefly wondered why he had done this to me. What terrible time could I have committed that would have this lunacy sent upon me like a pack of wild dogs.
I would have to wait. Hopefully, I would never have to find out.
It wouldn’t be long now. I had no idea how long it had been, but the period between me getting out of here and me getting trapped in here should be much shorter from now on. It seemed ludicrous how long it had taken me to do it. Not even telling her the first time, instead stalling like a moron, and even the second time letting her finish what she had to say before doing anything. I had been an idiot.
These were unusual circumstances though, still not a regular night out. Covered head to toe in sewage, stuck with a cold after spending hours up to my knees in water, falling in it several times and being sick all over the place. Quite possibly my worst day ever.
I sniggered to myself a little bit, quickly remembering to be quiet. To class it like that seemed all too normal. This hadn’t just been a stressful day at work where ten things happened at worse and all seemed centered around me, or a term paper that was about to be late. This had been horrible. What was happening to me wasn’t normal. In fact, I’m sure it’s still just as dangerous now as it had been before. The Crying Man was still up there, waiting. If I remained quiet, he couldn’t tell I was here. If I made a sound, I had no idea what would happen next. For some reason I felt like I had an angry neighbor who got angry at me if I turned my music up even a little higher. It wasn’t the case of wanting peace and quiet but controlling my every move, and that’s what the Crying Man wanted at this point. I didn’t know why, but I knew that was the case. Keep me trapped. Keep me contained. As long as I wasn’t noisy, the Crying Man would let me continue as if there was nothing wrong.
That didn’t mean I had to keep it up for much longer though. Even if we were to put ourselves in danger, the second Nicole opened that door- wherever it is, I intend to sprint out of there, leaving her behind in confusion if I had to. Remain quiet until then, and then be free. IT was a simple plan, and it had stopped me shaking so much.
I needed the toilet.
The second I felt my bladder twitch beneath me I almost wanted to laugh again. Where would I go? I didn’t have a clue where the toilet was anymore, and I certainly didn’t want to move about. I could probably manage a quiet waddle, but if I went any faster, I would disturb him and I was in a bad enough state as it was. I ha\d gone to instinctively breathing through my mouth, my lips overlapping to provide as much filter for my lungs as possible, and still tasting the raw faces that I was now bathing in. It was probably a good thing it was pitch black now. I imagined seeing carrots and spinach and other things I was saw I hadn’t eaten that day, all displayed upon the surface of the liquid, floating onto me and sticking without me noticing. I was going to need the world’s biggest shower after this. I should probably just burn the clothes and buy a new mobile phone, though could imagine the challenge of trying to make them look brand new again.
For a brief moment, time existing only in short instances now in my head, I wondered if I should perhaps try to clean myself up. Having anyone, especially Nicole, see me like this would be terrible. The smell alone would be enough to make them gag, and I must look terrible. My hair f3elt all greasy with things that matted it down and it felt like I could scrap off solid mud with my fingernail off of my shirt.
Come to think of it, I couldn’t even smell myself really. The multitude of smells that permeated the air was like a choir with a different part to sing for one major stink. I should have asked her to bring some clothes. Even a dressing gown would have been a suitable replacement, though I’m not sure it would be wise to ruin more of someone else’s clothing.
Sighing loudly, instinct rushing to halt any further noise I might make, I went to look at a watch I could neither see nor was there. It didn’t take that long to get to the pub from Nicole’s mother’s house. Fifteen minutes tops, and I imagine Nicole would be running down to help me out at this point. I probably should have told her to bring a crowbar as well, or something along the lines. That door wouldn’t go easily on either side. Hopefully, a combined effort would work to break it down.
My need for the toilet still bugging me I slowly stood up, wishing my eyesight would hurry up and adapt to the darkness. I thought it would have by now, leaving some kind of general image for me, but I couldn’t even see where the nearest wall was at this point. My legs trying to stay firm, I pushed through the water as light as a skater fly, making nothing but small ripples. The destination being the sink, I should at least try and wash my face. Hopefully I would be able to tell if there was a problem with the water without having to test it.
Struggling to find the sink occurs more in toilet society than one would expect. There have been countless times where a man has gone into the toilet just to reach the sink and found it impossible. This is due mainly to his alcohol bloated belly, both weighing him down and keeping him uncoordinated. The sink is also sort of the temporary elite station for people. There, people are never allowed to have conversations with strangers, only their friends. If a conversation starts at a urinal, it will finish, or even apparently stop if one of the participants heads for the sink. This is in part due to the change in scenery. It is also symbolic, a way of washing yourself of the conversation, thus keeping it a part of toilet society.
The wall hit my palm, welcoming its presence with a greasy resistance. What was covering my hair was also all over the walls, even where the water hadn’t reached yet. It was like the sewage had begun to leak from the edges of the ceiling now, slowly coming down like water just starting to boil from a kettle. This bit was dry, though I couldn’t tell if it had been wet earlier, my own hand too soaked to confirm anything.
Having completely lost track of where I was, I decided on moving slowly to the right. If anything, the sink was to the right of the toilet stall and I doubted I had got lucky enough to go in between them. Etching along, I thought I felt the wall vibrate for a brief second, when a sharp tone pitched through the air, before falling into the carnival theme again.
She was ringing me again? Why? Had the Landlord locked up for the night? I had assumed by now the place would have been evacuated, leaving the biggest victim of the piece stranded within with no knowledge of his presence. That may be why she was ringing actually. They may not be allowing people in here.
All this was pointless though if I couldn’t find my phone. With a connection to my physical world again, I tried to detect where the phone must have been. I let my ears search the roof, as the clown spoke to the audience, the sound of a phone clicking opening before his words. “Hold on, let me get this.”
“Hello?” It had picked itself up again. It was unlikely the clown was doing it, but even now I couldn’t pick up the mobile’s location. Even now, my senses were telling me it was both in front and behind me, as well as above and below me. “You there?’
“Yes,” I replied. “I’m here.”
“You’re a sick fuck, you know that?” Her voice was fierce, ready to pounce and rip the neck out of even the most strongest predator. It took me by surprise.
“Dragging me all the way down the pub this late in the night. You’re not here at all. There’s no-one here.”
“Nicole, please…” What had she done? The time it had taken her. She hadn’t gone to the wrong pub, had she? No, judging by the time, she could have only got to this one. Her mother didn’t have a car. Even if she had got one, she would have known I meant this pub.
“No more bullshit mister!” she shouted. “I’m here with Ted now. I had to wake him up and plead with him to check it out. Now as far as I’m concerned, I’m redirecting all his annoyance onto you.”
“What are you talking about?” I said, feeling my voice raise a few octaves higher than it should. My heart was beating fast again. It had had enough, it wanted to get out and jump through the smallest of cracks without me. “You’re not here. I’m still stuck here.”
For a second, I felt my nose sting. The talking had disturbed the scabbing, and I could feel it bleeding again. Sniffing a little in by mistake, I listen to her continue to bitch at me. Wish I could have chosen who to have helped me. Samson would at least have brought a toolbox and found me without going to the wrong place.
“Whatever you twat,” she said. “We’re in the toilets and everything’s fine. There’s no sewage or broken pipes or anything. I think you should get ready for never being allowed back into this pub ever again, assuming you’re not cowardly enough to never even try and come back here again.”
My teeth clenched, grabbing a piece of my lip between them and biting hard. I couldn’t shout back at her, ask her why she was being such a bitch when I was in this much trouble. The Crying Man didn’t seem to care too much for the noise of the phone, but if I spoke loud enough I’m sure it’ll do something again. For a second, I nearly put my hand to my mouth, trying to stifle myself into a whisper, forgetting there was no phone. IT didn’t make sense how she could hear me, or even where her voice was coming through. It bounced throughout the room like the echoing clown had before her. It might have made sense that my phone had some kind of very loud function, but she still seemed to pick up my voice no matter what.
“Nicole, please,” I tried whispering. “I don’t know where you are, but I am stuck here. I need someone to help get me out.”
“What? You don’t believe I went to the effort of rescuing you,” she exclaimed. It felt like she was holding the phone in front of her now, screaming down it with ear nowhere near my mouth. “Here, talk to himself yourself.” Her voice went quiet instantly. She was clearly talking to someone else. “Here. I hope you bar him.”
“Hello…” The tone filled the room before he could even get assed the first word, an intermittent beep that told me that the conversation had ended prematurely. I waited to see if it had been a mistake, that maybe someone had leant their cheek on a button somewhere, but its continuous monotone told me it was over.
That had certainly sounded like the Landlord, but I still couldn’t be sure. What did it matter? There was a second gentleman’s toilet in this place. They had to be in that one. I just had to hope they weren’t stupid enough to just check the one and then assume I was joking. If anything, Nicole would probably force him to check anyway.
She said her credit was low. It was understandable why the phone hung up like that.
What was she talking about? None of this was understandable. It was like I had tumbled down the rabbit hole and landed in sewage instead of next to Alice. There was a creature swimming above me, threatening my life and my sanity. I could feel my brain trying to give up. It wanted to pass out, only my resolve keeping it functioning, and where the hell was that damn phone. If I could just find it, I could call the police. The batteries should be fine by this point, and judging by the quality of the sound, I should have good reception in here.
White fear spreading through me, it failed to illuminate the darkness, and I felt the urge to escape deep run deep through me again. If I just kept hold of the wall, I should be able to find a way…
Holding too tight, I didn’t expect it to disappear on me. Falling, my hands smacked water long before they touched the floor, pieces of unmentionably soft objects colliding into my before splashed down completely, feeling my hands bruise even with liquid to slow my descent. I gasped loudly, and then fell quiet, throwing myself under the water before anything could happen.
Moments passed as moments did in here, with me having no knowledge of how long it actually took. I could have drowned several hours over in that short space, but I wouldn’t have known. Time had stopped meaning anything.
That would have been the toilet stall I had just fallen off. With no idea as to how it became made of brick, I fumbled for it again. For once in a long while I had control of my surroundings again. Knowing where the toilet was meant knowing where the exit would be located. Clasping my hand around the precious brick, I would have jumped for joy were it not for the Crying Man. Instead I held still- if this were the stall entrance, then the entrance to the actual toilet would have been behind me and to the left. I could almost imagine the wall just a few meters near me. I could jus reach out and…
My bladder told me it had to go.
I had found the toilet. To not go now would have been stupid. There was a small chance that I might never find t again after this, that I might never dared leave from being near the door, and remain clutching to it until they found me. Mind you, they were literally just round the corner now. How funny would it be, after all this, to tell them to hold on while I finish up in the john. Nicole definitely wouldn’t have been able to come in, and it would save a bit of my pride at least.
Having decided, I slowly edged forward, other hand stretched out as my left stayed firmly clamped to the toilet wall, not wanting to risk losing it. Approaching the right hand side of the wall, this definitely had to be the toilet side. My fingers tapped the darkness as if testing the keys for a piano, and were answered with wet porcelain. This was it.
With no need to go slow, I got up and moved to it, searching for the zipper on my trousers. Tearing them down, I felt like I was shredding a second skin, the demin hugging to me as if they were shrink to fit. For a second I imagined the girl who had to be cut out of them by the fire brigade, as well as the woman who had jumped into the bath to get the best fit, and ended up being crushed by mere fabric. To die for fashion was one of the highest honours a woman could receive, and they had been doing it for centuries as well.
Getting my member out, I pointed him towards the toilet and let loose the torrent. Allowing myself to sigh loudly, I barely noticed that I seemed to be hitting the bowl and not water. That was kind of weird, seeing all that had happened to date, but I’d be out of here soon so it didn’t matter.
The toilet started to bubble. Two large ones floating to the surface and disappearing as they met the rest of the air in the room. Looking up, I tried to imagine anything else but the room. So close to escape, all I had to do was keep peeing until they came to rescue me.
A small scratching began, like something was trapped down there. I couldn’t help but look this time, even though I was still rendered blind by the room. It sounded like the pitter patter of little feet running down a school corridor, like dribs and drabs of a waterfall. It certainly didn’t sound like it should be underwater.
My flared with white again, telling me I should be getting out of there. For that moment though, I did nothing. I waited, watching carefully, as f something might come to light any second now, waiting for something magical to happen, waiting for one more miracle that would actually help you for a change.
Then slowly, it came.
It got louder, its struggling disturbing the toilet water and causing waves upon waves that accumulated some centimeters above my face. I got lower down, desperate to discover what it may be. Something from the Crying Man again. No, this felt different form all the others. No pipes were complaining this time. The sounds were quieter, not like they were trying to be, but more that there was no thought about the sounds being made.
Bit by bit, it came closer to the surface, until I could see it. A hand! For a moment I could only stare as a white fleshy finger came into view, followed by its partner and the thumb that they were commonly associated with. It stretched wide just millimeters from my face, and I backed away for a moment to watch it further, unsure of what to do about it. What was a hand doing there, and how…?
It didn’t matter. With no further hesitation, I hastily grabbed the appendage in front of me. Whoever it belonged to was still underwater, and probably couldn’t breathe at this point. Getting a good grip, I pulled, hoisting my foot on the toilet bowl and pushing even harder, looking with all my strength to get them out of their predicament. In a way, I was actually more concerned with have company than I was with their life.
I yanked, feeling their arm come out further. It was too dark to still get a proper view of the person I was being out, but I could make out the thinness of their arm, its dainty nature. Now positioning myself by the elbow, I pulled again, stretching them out and getting more leeway in return. “Hold on!” I shouted, trying to reassure them. It felt like they had stopped trying, but my muscles were complaining at me, insisting I continue yet saying I should stop. I ignored all calls and just kept on pushing. Two people would have no problem getting out of this pace, and with them around I’d have no reason to fear the Crying Man anymore.
Turning round, I hoisted the arm over my shoulder, using my full upper body to get a good pull and used leverage to get them out. They jammed at first, probably having some trouble at the U-bend, but then soon starting to just come all the way. Like a snake, I felt them flow out, myself moving across the room and through the water with a staggered grace. Then, like a ripe had been cut, we both fell out of the stall and into the water.
Sitting straight back up, I cared not for the shit I was in and instead turned to the one I had saved, feeling their cold hand in mine. “Oi,” I called to them, trying to search for their face in the darkness, but still unable to see nothing. They weren’t moving. It was understandable. I didn’t plan to move several days after this. I didn’t have anything planned.
The lights came back on.
As if they had never been off, they came back with a flooding resonance, filling my eyes and catching them unaware. Hand instinctively covering face, I saw nothing but the shock of sudden brightness. Why had they come back on? Was it above me? For a moment I didn’t dare look, and stayed facing down, slowly removing my hand from my remaining peripheral vision. Whatever had happened, at least I would be able to see the face of my rescuer, the one who…
It was no one…
Or rather… it was the Crying Man.
Staring back at me with a faceless head, I saw the creature in front of me, tears leaking out of an eyeless, socket less surface that was deprived of anything that might have called it human. The creature was unmistakable from eh one that had been tormenting me earlier, but now, now was so much different.
It was clearly dead, though had it ever been alive while in my presence I wouldn’t have known. Had its trip round the toilet been its defeat? Maybe it had decided to haunt me the cubicle again and somehow got stuck when I grabbed it. I took little pride in the knowledge I had defeated my opponent, only a sudden relief that it may have been all over.
I still didn’t dare look up, just in case there was something even worse there. I had no doubt that the Cess pit had disappeared on me/ was still there, but it probably would hurt to check in this case. Instead I observed the Crying Man, the featureless mannequin stared back at me with the nothingness of its soul. It would have just been a dummy, were it not made out of flesh. I was sure of it, this was skin, and underneath,m bone. This was a creature, whether human or not, I failed to tell. The only thing I could be sure of was…
On the shoulder of the Crying Man, it stared at me, stained black like ink wiped across a sheet of paper, but form still visible, Pointed ears looked ruined as the face stared at me, a tail in mid swish making it look all the more cute (this descrip needs to match previous one more). And there, were the beautiful eyes that had made her pick it in the first place.
The eyes of a Puma.
A sterile smell entered my nose as we pushed into the entrance of the emergency ward, the hustle and bustle of many of the dirty crowds making me wonder where it was possibly coming from. I was following behind the cart where Tracey laid, bandages covering her face like an Egyptian exhibit. She was in critical condition. The doctors say she may not make it. I couldn’t be less concerned.
Samson came rolling in behind me, wheelchair being pushed by a paramedic whose name I had not yet learned, nor probably never would. He had three suspected fractures in his leg, arm and skull. His only concerned looked to be towards the girl being carted away.
I was fine. Somehow the steering wheel had actually helped me survive. There were no airbags in my old beetle and I had seemed to survive unscathed mainly by hugging t tight to me as Tracey catapulted from her chair as if a tense rope had been cut off from behind her. In the end all there was some minor bruising on my chest from the thing that had saved me. The doctors would probably want to do an X-ray, but it would have to wait.
My beetle was wrecked, bad enough the windscreen had been shattered when the body went through it, but the tree it had crashed into had ripped the front part almost cleanly in two, jagged edges had cut into the bark of the large oak, and I had to question how she hadn’t landed into it head first.
The costs were going to be huge. The other car had gone speeding off, perhaps only slightly aware that there was the possibility of an accident. Behind a blind turn at fifty miles and hour, anything behind you becomes of little important and even a dead rabbit is quickly forgotten.
I watched as they carted Tracey away, unsure if I was t0o follow. The receptionist lady looked busy as she watched them pass and I find myself just sitting down. I had never been in a hospital before. I was too strong for it and so was the rest of my family. From hat I had been told I wasn’t even born in one, my mother had preferred a natural birth, and had insisted let I be let loose upon the word in a specially designed paddling pool at the bottom of the garden with half of my bloodline watching.
Looking around, I eventually settled to wait in the waiting room. Somehow I had been forgotten, but I didn’t mind. I soon found myself heading to the toilet. In hospitals, I found that Toilet Society is one of pure isolation. No one dares talk to another, and when they do, it’s even smaller talk than in a night club. No one wants to meet someone in a hospital Toilet. You never quite know what you’re getting into.
I sat on the toilet for quite some time after that. Hearing people wander in, not saying a word but trying to. There were so many older men just wandering in and saying hi to each other, but looking lost for words. This was the emergency ward after. There was nothing good to say here.
It would have been four hours before anything happened next. Even then, I don’t really know why I stayed. Samson’s parents had come by then, and Nicole was apparently on her way before I asked her not to. Tracey’s parents didn’t show up until three days later. They were apparently stuck abroad on holiday in Ibiza and it wasn’t until her aunt had come to check on her that they even knew there was an incident.
As a result, it fell down upon me to be the one getting questioned about them.
It was eleven o’clock when it happened. Hospitals don’t seem to care about the time of day and with no windows in the waiting room and bright lighting everywhere I had begun to question the time it said on my watch. A woman approached me; failing to introduce herself, so I couldn’t even distinguished the job title that she held. Asking me to follow, I wandered past wards of full of grieving families and bodies without souls. I felt moody by the end of the first corridor, seeing all the pitiful creatures breaking out in pain as their loved ones died. By the third, a tear was dropping from my eye.
When I saw Tracey though, bound tight in that hospital bed, machines doing everything that her useless body no longer could, it all went away. The whole world was falling away for that matter, like I had been set free from everything, I can\’t even remember what the doctor nurse person said properly, so you’ll excuse me if it’s incorrect.
“How is she?’ I asked curiously.
“She’s stable for now, but with her condition…”
“She’s going to die, isn’t she?”
The doctor/nurse hesitated, not expecting the boldness of my words. She didn’t answer. The look on her face seemed to show that she was expecting something and had received it.
“I have something to ask you,” she said, moving over from the door to the other side of the bed. The look on her face was so serious. I felt relaxed, yet tense. Her release had been promised to me, but not confirmed, like I gift I had not yet opened, I was forced to wait as I always had.
“Can you explain these?” the doctor asked, removing the shirt and revealing flesh that should not have been injured by the attack. And within a second, I could, but not in the way the doctor was expecting. Welts marked her shoulders, deep gashes all over her chest and (as I was later told) her back. Breasts that I had never seen looked like they had been punched by sandbags. They were even smaller than I had come to believe, and I could not help but feel glad that I had never touched them. There was even some burn scarring, years of abuse patterned upon her body like a tapestry.
I coughed loudly, my body feeling sickened in my place. Now I knew why she had never allowed me to go any further than her hand, why her clothes had always covered the majority of her body. Clearly she had kept secrets from me and the rest of the world. Something only her parents must have known
My answer seemed to confuse her for a second. It would have been the answer that anyone would have gave, whether they were responsible or not, but my own small surprise must have been enough to sway her. Later her parents would state that it would have been the martial arts that she had never rigorously trained in and the injuries she has received over many years. I never bothered to find out, though the funeral later told me they were catholic, and it gave me a few ideas.
As if knowing I was safe, she left us and again, not knowing what to do in a hospital as knowing what to do in a toilet, I just hovered there, as if expecting something to happen. It soon did. Through the heavy breathing of her mask, Tracey slowly stared to rouse herself awake. I think I would have preferred being surrounded by ten or so of my closest associates, either that or completely alone. Even so, I wouldn’t have been happy waking up with the one who had dumped me standing there, no matter how pathetic I was.
“Hey you,” she said, her voice sounding sweet, even though there was so much wrapped around her it no longer sounded human. For a second I was flashed with the notion that she may have amnesia, and remember nothing of the past few days. Hundreds of events passed through me, thinking up the different looks on her face as I revealed to her the truth in the worst possible ways. Telling her straight, messing with her head as she drifted in and out of consciousnesses, fucking Nicole right in front of her. But there was no need, the look in her eyes told me that she knew everything.
“Yo,” I replied after a moment of silence. “How you feeling?’
“I don’t think I can,” she said, unable to not laugh at her own predicament. The morphine was having as much effect on her mental faculties as liquor did. At this point, all she was her brain.
“The doctor’s said you’re probably not going to make it,” I told her, seeing her expression remained unchanged. I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for her. Dying young must suck.
“I wanted to die old,” she said aloud, her eyes looking around her, taking in the scenery of a closed window on a dark night, a plant pot, and about six hundred machines, only one of which was for entertainment.
“Sorry about that,” I said, finally sitting down on the chair that had been provided for me. The world became silent save for the ticking of the clock. It made me wonder why they had them in hospital rooms like this. The last thing a patient wants to see is how long they’ve got left to leave. The ticking continued for a few minutes, before anyone said anything again.
“I suppose you know now, don’t you?” she said, her voice low.
“Yeah,” I replied, my curiosity perking again.
“It was my parents.” I figured that. In these cases, it was either the boyfriend or the parents- or the person themselves, but the doctor had told me these wounds weren’t self inflicted. Since I knew it wasn’t me, it had to be her father. “It was to help keep me focused on my faith. Though I don’t know why. Those two breaks the bible like it was made out of glass.”
“And that’s why you never…” Something made me stop. Again I felt like I was acting. Playing a part I had been paid and hired for, but never quite really into the role, instead doing something on the side that was more important to me. I felt cheap and tacky, but continued none the less. “Why didn’t you tell anyone?”
“I couldn’t,” she admitted. “They are my parents, and they are nice people…”
“Nice people,” I interrupted. “No one nice could do this. Nice people don’t beat their children to keep them in check, especially when their daughter is one as sweet as yours.” Now I was doing ad-lib. I had to add to the performance what I could after all. Even if I was forced to work for people lower than me, it didn’t give me an excuse to be lazy about it.
“They are…” she said, her voice straining as she tried to defend them. “Thy do everything for me. They just care too much. I…” she stopped; the tears she had been trying so hard to hold back were starting to come out. I couldn’t bear seeing another second of this creature.
“I’m so sorry,” she whimpered, tears now streaming down numb cheeks. “If they hadn’t of done this, you’d have never been forced to…”
I shushed her, bringing my mouth to her lips, silencing her words with what she wanted all along, letting my tongue travel to the only part of her body that was left. She relished it, her first real kiss. For a second I felt like I was biting her tongue off, ending the madness that had become her life. Instead, I was merely choking her.
“It’s okay,” I told her, as her life slipped away. “It’s over. You can rest now.”
It was then when the machines screamed bloody murder out at us, causing doctors to shoot out from all around me as if they were ninja hiding in the roof, surrounding her with further machine, and a nurse almost crashing into me with her cart. I watched for a few seconds as they started to shout medical commands to each other, doing everything to bring her back. Her lifeless eyes told me there was no reason left for me to be in there, and I walked out, whispering goodbye to her as I turned away, knowing even before they brought the deliberators in that there was no reason for them to continue. If they could bring her back, she wouldn’t want to. I had given her the ending she had wanted, and there was nothing more to it than that.
I wandered down the corridor, spying a doctor that had come to talk to me earlier about my ribs. Knowing there was nothing wrong with them, I told him they could wait, and continued past the scores of people who littered this place like it was a crowded bus. I kept walking straight, spotting a vending machine in the distance and deciding it was time for a drink. As I moved towards it, another cart with someone on it came at me with full speed, and the doctors had no choice but to swing out of my way. Nothing could touch you in certain moods, especially when a satisfied predator had finished his kill. I plopped some loose change that was still miraculously in my pocket and bought a large coke. It was a time to treat myself I figured, and I guzzled down the whole thing before sighing with refreshment.
It took me a moment to realize he was standing there.
“Samson.” It looked like they had cleared most of his injuries too, though they had given him a stick to hobble on. His arm still hung limply too, though I later learned he was doing that on purpose to prevent further damage to it.
“H-…how is she?” he asked me, making me look at his face, and for that moment I saw a chance I couldn’t afford not to take.
“She’s dead,” I said, my voice growing bitter, leaving the words hanging as his own jaw fell. I wanted to smirk at his reaction, but held it in. My joy would be a pleasure felt only on the inside.
“What?” he asked in shock. If it wasn’t for the stick, he would have probably fallen down. Parts of his body gave up on him, a sign of his sanity threatening to break. I pushed it.
“I said she’s dead,” I shouted, my voice sounding bitter and angry. Several people stopped in the corridor to stare at me, but then quickly continued. A child started crying, nearly causing me to stop the entire thing. “And it’s your fault!”
“What?” His weirdness disappeared, along with everything that he once was. It might regrow in time, but for desert, I would prefer this.
“If you hadn’t of shouted at me, I wouldn’t have gotten distracted,” I began to tell him. “If I hadn’t gotten distracted, I wouldn’t have crashed.”
“But…but…” he began to mumble, his knees shaking. I watched with relish as he looked like he was ready to be sick, his rational mind trying to hold on. “You were arguing. I was trying to stop you…”
“And why were we arguing Samson?” I shouted at him, as he finally dropped to the floor. “Because you brought her with us! You knew how tenuous the whole thing was. What were you thinking bringing her in the car?”
“I wanted you to settle things!”
“Well, that certainly happened, didn’t it,” I retorted morbidly. “I would say things are pretty fucking settled now, aren’t they. All that’s left is the goddamn funeral.” I kicked him in the gut, and he accepted it as willingly as a stunt double, bursting into tears and finishing off where Tracey had left me. I looked at him for a few seconds, deciding to end it in silence, but quickly changed my mind.
“You should be glad,” I told him, now not even facing him. “From now on, you owe me and I own you.”
Soon leaving the hospital, I called Nicole again. She was worried sick, so I’d told her I’d meet her at her place after I checked in on my parents. I probably should have discharged myself, but the truth was I desperately wanted to see her. My hand was still shaking, and I could no longer tell what from.
I was never blamed for the accident strangely enough. Apparently, Tracey still hadn’t told her parents that we had broken up, and they were under the assumption that we were still together. I allowed the illusion to maintain itself, not for my own sake, but more because I felt I had to. I was not a selfish man, despite my actions against Samson, and could not allow her family to fall further into despair by telling them I had tossed the tramp for someone else just a few days previously. In many ways, I owed them for all that they had done for me. I now felt a freedom that could have only come by the events they instigated in their abuse of a sweet, vibrant young girl. I could only thank them so much though, as it was their fault that that creature existed in the first place. In that way, it was easier to tell them that the lack of tears I hadn’t cried was out of shock, though it did become annoying when those who didn’t know were beginning to think I had repressed it.
There is always a difference between repression and simply not telling anyone that you’re glad they’re dead.
There is always a difference between making someone satisfied and just covering your own tracks.
After all, a predator can’t strike again if everyone knows he’s there.
An echo pierced my ears, reminding me once again that I was still horribly alive. My mind played no tricks on me this time, there were no thinking of bad dreams or thoughts of life that I had held previously, just the cruel existence that was the public toilets. Enough. I had had my fill of it. To even open my eyes would be allowing it to continue, to see the same wretched game being played upon both me and the Crying Man. I did not even know where its corpse lay. Out of the water, I could not sense its bobbing presence.
But then, with that I realize, I was not surrounded by water, poisonous sewage that slowly sapped my strength and will had all but vanish. I lingered for a moment in my sense of darkness. Still I dared not open my eyes. To risk hope was to fall prey to a pretend salvation, but I could not hold back my hesitation. With tense agony, I opened my eyes.
Gone was the water that had slowly filled my prison. Gone was the corpse that had mocked me all these hours. Gone even was the room I had started in, with no toilets nor sink nor urinals that spat blood and copper wire.
Instead, I lay within a church, larger than any I had ever been before. It must have been more of a cathedral, for the roof stretch high above me and was held up by marble pillars. As I stared, getting up to obtain a better view of my surroundings, I could not help but remain tense. Even if it was a church, I should still have not been in one and, to be honest, it came to me as being very surreal, more along the lines of what my imagination saw of a church than an actual church. Large, majestic, yet the darkness hidden 3within the corners screamed at me with a curious fear.
Had the Crying Man sent me here? Taking small steps, I scanned my surroundings, feeling the urge to run build within me again and again. Yet there was no point, I could telling without even turning around that there was no door behind me, instead something that I knew I didn’t want to see.
The altar lay before me. Only three of the candles were still lit. I instinctively went for my leather jacket, the pocket of matches I always kept there soon being found missing. The amount of times I had fallen over in the toilet it was understandable I might have lost them. A shame really, I so wanted to light these candles. I could just imagine their light glittering within my eye. There was so many of them, and yet they had all but practically died. Even with so much wax left, it’s like there had no reason left to be on. I watched as another slowly sizzled out.
Behind me, I hear a tearing sound, the sound of something that had never been touched being torn asunder. On the altar, I spotted a bowl of fruits. Had long had it been seen I ate now? Before I had felt no hunger, yet now I was ravenous. I rushed up to the fruit, grabbing the first apple and sinking into with my teeth and chewed hard, reminding myself of my broken nose.
As I munched away, being unable to have my fill, I quickly took to fixing up it. I was no expert, but I felt it had been moved out of place slightly and it would need fixing up if I wasn’t to get to a hospital soon. Whatever had happened to me, whatever was happening to me, this church could at least act as a resting point, a place to relax and replenish my strength.
Practically ripping the banana apart, I took the first half of it on one gulp, nearly choking myself as it turned to mush in my throat. I didn’t even bother with the second half, hastily moving onto a peach and biting all the way down to the stone, I clutched it in my molars and ripped it out, keeping it between my teeth until I sat it out to the side, watching it land with a plop on the cold ivory floor.
It came to me that I probably shouldn’t be eating this food. IT was no where near Christmas, but there was any number of events a church might be involved with that meant that this food was supposed to be for someone in dire need of it.. I did not have much concern for it though. At this point, I viewed myself just an important in terms of need. I had been through an incredible ordeal and needed something to boost my energy levels. This fruit, however, wasn’t doing the job.
“Why not join us?” it said. “We have meat.”
The bible caught my attention, looking suddenly interested. I probably had some time to waste here before I had to move on. The hospital should be the next stop. If I could reach it. Wherever I was, I viewed getting past the decrepit toilet as somewhat a mark of progress.
I must make a point; for once I have escaped all this, to actually get around to reading this book. I always meant to. The amount of times I’ve dismissed this stuff and yet I’ve never read the main text its based on. I mean, it is all trivial really. All life is really about is eating, survival of the fittest, one animal consuming another.
“So true…so true…”
I turned to the first page, scanning the lines before me, as if trying to see if I could fit the book into twenty six seconds. One point one. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God… I carried on, muttering the verses under my breath, barely takin g them in as I tried to ignore it.
“Come onnnn, aren’t you hungry.”
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters…
I stopped, or more likely my body did. It couldn’t continue, the words hanging off my tongue as it slowly retreated into my mouth, the eyes confirming what the mouth already knew.
In front of me, as I now turned around, was a cross, as tall as the impossibly high roof, it was impossible to miss it now I turned around, and I would never know how I would have missed it for as long as I did now that I had seen it, its arms stretched out, casting a shadow over all the benches. It loomed over me like a spectre, and, indeed, for there was a spectre tied upon it, being consumed by a small, imp like creature, who giggled greedily, his lips covered in blood like a child’s might be covered in ketchup. It grinned at me, and pushed its hand through the torso of the spectre, cackling as it pulled something out, an organ that I didn’t recognize, and ripped its teeth into as I had the apple but a moment ago.
“It good, you should try.”
I didn’t respond, not sure if I couldn’t wouldn’t or shouldn’t. The creature merely looked at me bemused as I stared back, chewing lazily on its snack, who larger parts were currently releasing a trail of blood down the crucifix. It didn’t drip, but rolled down gradually and I watched, mesmerized, as it came down that sleek, bronze cross.
“Don’t tell me you don’t like it,” it said, its squeaky yet grotesque voice traveling like a broken accordion. “It’s not like you haven’t had some before.”
Both it and the Spectre stared at me now, waiting for my decision and, god help me, I could not help but feel as if I wished to take it up. I was still so hungry, the fruit failing to sate me, that my stomach growled for every second that I hesitated. I wanted to climb that cross and join that thing, reveling in the dish of the Spectre, which looked on as if it willingly wanted me to feed upon it.
My feet lingered for a moment, and then started to take small steps forward, heading toward that magnificent cross where my meal lay trapped upon. They both look at me with ecstatic joy, staring me in the eyes as I took hold of that cross and started to pull myself up
Feeling my muscles complain, the numbing cold from earlier now disliking the energy that was put into them, I pulled myself up, shifting ever slowly to my feast. It stayed up there. It looked as if it could float down to greet me, but chose to stay above me. I didn’t mind, and pulled myself up inch by inch.
The Church didn’t matter to me now. The altar and the candles and the bible were gone in my mind. I couldn’t’\t think of the toilet, where I had spent a hellish night trapped among faeces and puke. My mind did not even travel across the thought of the Crying Man. He was nothing to me now. I had an old snack to enjoy, and I was going to feast upon it like I had long before.
But as I continued my solitary climb to where the meal lay, I noticed my ascent was slowly. Not merely of muscle fatigue, I found myself slipping slowly, seeing my sleeves become tinted with crimson. Scrambling back up in a flash, I tried desperately to keep a hold of the bronze cross, but continued to fall all the same. My breath quickened, as if trying to grab onto the pole itself, my fingers became moist with the blood and I fumbled, trying to instinctively wrap my legs around the stake and failed, gravity giving up on me as it always had and letting me fall to the floor.
I landed with a splash, my back hitting he water. Suddenly, my mouth was filled with a taste so bitter, that I could not help but being a violent splutter, choking on dirt and hacking out whatever it was that was in there. The water entered my lungs, and I had no time to even regret my instinctive actions. My arms roamed around me helplessly, as they tried to search for a way to stay alive, finding nothing but the flotsam that existed in the pool.
I died many times in those few minutes, spinning around, my eyes clamped shut as I lost all track of the church that ad once existed. I imagine the candles shining brightly out of my reach, flickering at me as if disappointed. Confused wracked my brain, and then I was still.
Would it not be easy, just to die?
It is just as hard to let yourself die as it is to keep yourself living through the pain of existence. Your body doesn’t allow it. It fights with every fiber of its existence to prevent you from leaving it, and will do anything to get its own way, even completely disobey you.
It only gets to be alive for a few years. You get to be dead for eternity.
So why then, do you spend the little time you have doing nothing but hunting? Consuming the lives of those you love?
I fell through the water, deeper and deeper, crimson depths turning to murky brown. My mouth clamped itself shut, letting nothing in or out. I felt like I traveled thousand of fathoms in hours, yet had barely moved at all. Neither was possible to determine. Soon, I ripped my eyes open, letting them see what it would be that was slowly crushing them.
A whole school passed me, a hundred children staring at me for a brief instance, before they moved on, anxious to catch up with their classmates.
The ocean was a brilliant blue. It felt surprinsgly comfortable seeing it at that colour. I never recalled seeing it like this before, this deep below the water’s surface. My ears filled with silence, water trapping in it like a cork in a bottle. I felt nothing but sight and smell and touch, my vision red, I hungered for what my nose was telling me.
Feeling the water rush by me, flickering onto me like a fly on a windscreen, I rushed down, watching all the critters of the sea move out of my way, like a peasant would royalty. I couldn’t help but feel superior, dominating over all of them. They only lived because I chose it. Let them all free for now, I only had my target on one thing. My prey.
The hunger still coursed through me. Not sated by neither fruit nor blood, and only provoked by the Spectre whose flesh I could now never have again. I pushed down further into the depths. If it was gone, I would have to settle for something less appetizing. Tasting the water in my mouth, I let the water enter me now. It was of no consequence. Nothing was save the prey.
I couldn’t see it yet, but I knew where it was, its scent traveled through the water like gourmet food through the air. It was behind the rocks now. Unaware? It did not matter.
I slowed, letting my descent gradually pull off to a stop. Floating the water for a moment, I allowed a school of fish to travel on by harmlessly. For a second I considered an appetizer, but mere creatures that I did not know would fail to provide me with anything and so I choose to let them pass, only imagining the taste as their tiny, brittle bones cracker beneath my razor sharp teeth.
Then, from behind the boulder, through the flotsam that lay adorned across the rocks like jewelry thrown down by a thief, the clownfish lay.
It lay amongst the others, its bloated presence bobbing before them like it was on display. The other fish hovered meaningless, their presence sated by their existence. It didn’t not matter that they were there. They could not save it. I looked deep to it, both impressed and insulted by its vibrant colours. It had grown large by being with the others and yet had taken so much off of them. By absorbing them, it had become part of them, and now had no knowledge of why it had any longer.
I waited for the right moment to strike, keeping rested behind the rock. I could see through the flowerbed of the ocean, while they merely played within it. It would just be for the right moment to go at it, to tear it asunder like a common piece of bread. The moment between actions tormented me, but only for a moment. As it swam round on itself, as if needlessly chasing its own tail, I sprang, only just noticing the school of fish returning, alerting everything to my presence as they scattered across the scale of the sea. The Clownfish swam away, and the chase began.
How much had the Clownfish ever meant to me. Had it always been a snack, merely left to ripen on the side whilst I pursued other exploits. Maybe it was something to be saved for on a special occasion. To be eaten after a spectacular conquest, and ripped apart with a cheer, feeling its fleshy limbs comes off one at a time, and disappear down my mouth, watching it cry as its life ebbed away
Whatever it had met, it now only served as something to eat before the next time. Whether I had wanted to save it didn’t matter now, and I jumped to the thought of filling myself for now. I could always find another to replace it anyway. I had plenty of replacements.
In its panic, it dashed into a clump of fish sitting there, sending them dashing away, a few hitting me full force as they failed to notice my presence, their own alarm defeating them as they bounced off my thick skin, their lives ending in an instant out of stupidity. I refused to open my mouth. Despite my hunger I knew what I had chosen to eat, and I was intent on that alone.
It swam fast, and for a moment I began to wonder if it might not get away if I let it pay around too long. With one powerful kick, I pushed myself closer. I would let it tire itself out first, weakened its resolve and let it feel the full impact of its destiny ending. It would be tenderer that way.
Bouncing into a bolder, it skimmed along the bottom of the ocean, skimming like a flat stone four times before finally getting away again. I felt the gap close between us and I felt jovial on the chase it was giving me. I had a feeling that, if I had tried any other way save exhaustion, that it might have got away from me. It was still a clownfish, and still agile. The unpredictable nature of its holding in my life had meant that I never truly knew what was to happen with it. Given time, it may have been able to kill me.
As it was, it enter my mouth before it could even try to twist in another direction and escape to the side, but my jaws had clamped shut before it had any chance to harbor any further plans. As it stayed, trapped upon my tongue, just swimming directionally, the light now gone from its mind, I felt a slight disappointment at the end o the chase. I knew I could continue it. In another life I had. But that would be met only with a feeling of meaninglessness, like a game of hide and seek when you knew all the places to sneak off, it felt irrelevant to continue playing it.
And so, with great release of seawater, I opened my mouth, allowing the Clownfish to see its life one more time, before cutting it in teeth, massive jaws giving it the final pain and release it had never wanted. I could only feel relief as it took slow bites on it, picking apart fins with my teeth and tongue before swallowing the carcass in one large gulp. I could not feel my hunger being sated.
I had only begun.
Seeing its fellow fish draw near, either out of complacency or stupidity, I no longer cared which, I dived at them, taking the first one in an instant, not even feeling it go down my gullet as I swallowed it whole. Moving straight on, I passed by the large stingray, shifting off to the right and taking out two rather fat fish, munching off them in unison, one on each side of my jaw. My jaws alternated as they crunched down upon the partners, before bringing them together in union, being consumed at the same time.
The others quickly followed, meaningless creatures who considered each other friends in a world of constant noisy silence. I was glad to be rid of these, their constant existence was a shame to the companionship they shared as neither even thought of the other as they rushed to save their own skin.
The black one was final and in the moment I thought I had lost it I smell the telltale marks that were embazelled all over its scent. With a snap I turned around and took it by the fin, severing it from its direction controls and watching it take a nose dive, following it only for a moment before it became a part of me and bumped the back of my teeth. I felt it bob about, trying to move as if it hadn’t realized it no longer could, relishing the fear that it oozed out of its gaping wounded. I swallowed it all, accidentally taking the fish down my throat and not even noticing it was over.
When it was over, I felt nothing.
I had ever needed to eat them. They were not a cure for my hunger. They had ever meant anything for me save for a source of entertainment, the mere joy of tracking them down and removing them one by one had been the only nourishment I had gotten from these pathetic lonely creature.
But with them gone, I knew what I wanted. The only thing left.
In but an instant I turned my course for the bright light that lay above me, shining in my eyes. The murky brown that had once haunted me was gone, and I knew now what it was I needed. What made me complete. I had taken it before without even thinking about it, as if it was natural, rightfully mine. It would become mine again, death or no death.
Head to the Puma.
Head to the Crying Man.
Staying in the water for just a few moments longer, I lingered on what I was about to do, letting my brain rest on the notions carried. This was the time to be focused, to be ready for what I was soon to do. To defeat the Crying Man here and now, and free myself from the trap he had woven me into.
The Crying Man had always been my target, I saw that now. I had not been his pretty, but he had originally been mine. I had merely fallen prey to his defense mechanism. But now that I was free of it, I could continue with what I had planned. Then, I would be free to start anew. To continue what I had always done. To live my life as I saw fit, forever onward into my own little spiral of eternity.
I had to thank it. I really did. Before, my life had lacked the focused, I was probably one step away from becoming the silly little angst child that I saw round the street, wearing make up regardless of gender and telling people on the Internet how stupid they were. The meaning in my life had been outlined by it, clearly defined in big black marker. I felt the death of everyone I had held dear around me, and I moved for the final part of this little game.
To kill the Crying Man.
With a quick step, I pushed myself out of the water, shredding my previous skin and feeling it disperse into the water around me. To change skins was another freedom now. In many ways, it was what allowed me to keep my freedom.
The Crying Man appeared to have chosen the location for our final battle. I had wanted it to be in the Toilet. Defeating the Crying Man within the small cubicle would have signified the end of my directionlessness. To kill in that society, would free me and bind me to it forever, but trapped within toilet society, I would be free forever.
The plain stood out before me, the sun beating down on us as if with the intention to melt the grass like it would an ice lolly. Between my bare toes I felt the slick feel of the grass as it found its way to stick in there. Absently mindingly I picked at it, pulling out a few tuffs between my toes.
There was nothing here yet, save for a few trees. In the distance, I heard what sounded like a flock of birds, flying off to hunt in their own ways. I found myself wishing them luck, honour among the thieves of life, and set off to hunt my own target.
I started off at a slow pace, ready for any traps that may be sprung on me. The Crying Man, like all of its kind, was a cowardly creature, and would not wish to face me directly. Whilst I had no idea what I would face, I knew that it may come soon. I continued through the grass, looking off to a tree in the distance. It looked a perfect place to climb up, with low branch but a high tip, and scout out the area. I headed to it, my pace now speeding up.
Getting it the tower of bark faster than I thought I should, I hesitated not in grabbing the first of the branches and pulling my way to the top. The tree was just as deserted as the plain. I thought for a moment that I may have had to scare away a few monkeys, but my path to the top was free of intrusion.
With a final effort, I lunged up to the top branch, passing the last of the foliage and peeking my head out of the top. The plain stood beneath me still. That was good; the Crying Man had kept the location unchanged. This at least met that it was not yet expecting me. The possibility that my entrance had been too dramatic entered my mind for a moment, but I ignored the feeling of paranoia. I would be led there too fast if I focused on it.
I looked to the hill, where the plains seemed to end and shift to the endless blue horizon. It was over there. That was simply the last place it would have to be, that blind spot. It would hide there and…
I froze, feeling my legs tense and wobble the branch below me. Something was appearing from the horizon, a body of something that traveled upon two legs. Was the Crying Man coming to challenge me directly? I thought of a few possible strategies, the most obvious being to wait here until it got closer and strike at it when unexpected. The tree was the only thing here where it would go, unless it too was scouting out the area, perhaps to see if I was there. It is entirely possible that the creature does not think I am up the tree and I would not be able to see it at the level it was standing.
I watched it for a few seconds longer, waiting for it to get closer, when I realized it to be a lot shorter than I had thought. My sight was distorted by the distance, but it looked to be more of a child, sweat dripping, heavily tanned skin reflected off the sun behind me, and I saw it to not be the crying man. A child? Seeing it glance around, I dropped down to a crouching level, hidden safely within the trees.
Was this the first trick then? Was the child the Crying Man’s scout, a division, designed to lure me out on my curiosity, or was this plain not just a creation of the Crying Man’s, but something deeper. I stayed hidden for a minute more, and then stuck my head back up. The child was gone, the shadow of its former presence failing to reflect anything to me. Had it gone? Was it ever really there? Finding myself falling to the mind tricks again, I scratched it out of myself, and dropped down to the floor, breaking three branches in the process and nearly flipping onto my head as I slid down the bark.
I landed with barely a heartbeat, and this time broke into my faster run. Glancing for but a second in my direction, I saw it to be clear and moved with haste to head t where the boy was. I could have been running into a thousand trap, but I knew that the moment would be lost if I did not press on it. Catapulting myself over miles in second, , my eyes closed as I sought to keep my breath steadying, my forehead slamming straight the reality that I had failed to perceive in front of it, knocking me flat back and into a world much darker than before.
I hoped I was up in an instant, but I had no honest away to tell. There was a wall in front of me, or to be more exact, what appeared to be a small cave. Its presence confused me, but I doted on it only for a second. This had to be it, its lair. The Crying Man was still more in control of the surroundings than I was, but that would be over once I had confronted it.
I peered round to the entrance of the cave, seeing nothing but peripheral darkness inside. For all I knew there was a wall about two feet into the dank cave, but it was that chance that I had to take now. I waited a moment, letting my ear catch any and all sounds, before being told I had received no messages. Silently, I crept in, feeling the stone crack underneath me, light treads causing no echoes as I slowly moved in.
There was no wall just a few feet in, but judging by the size of the cave I had seen before I had entered, there was a feeling within me that I should have hit one by now. Space was impossible to tell within here and it was only the dying of the freshness in the air, humidity soaking into my pores as I fell deeper underground, that told me I was making progress.
In toilet Society everything is scared, especially your privacy, yet it is where we reveal ourselves to all who are willing to watch. There, we can truly be ourselves. We can tell strangers our darkest fears and leave with a smile on our faces. We can tell secrets to our friends, and know that they will keep them. We could even kill in there.
However, there is one thing we can never do in Toilet Society, sand that is see members of the opposite sex.
Which is why I had wanted to be rid of the Crying Man ever since I met it. The disgusting creature broke all the rules. It takes our secrets and belittles them to the public. It holds our darkest fears and uses them against us. It even pretends to cut off our balls.
This is why it had to go, why I had to destroy it. No one understands the importance of Toilet Society, not even I can fully explain the significance of it. It exists in our hearts, we are taught to go there from when we are young whenever we feel pressure. It is our escape, our refuge, a hiding place to be free from the prying eyes of the rest of society. The Crying Man negates all that. It even mocks it. With the freedoms of the world disintegrating, to have this one ruined is another light put out on the countdown to mankind’s destruction.
My quest is holy! If I can stop my own Crying Man, then others could soon follow! We could learn to take back our place, reclaim our freedoms, both the self imposed ones and those place upon us by others. Our sacred freedom would be reborn, and free to grow again.
The Freedom to grow again.
I hit a stop in my path, the end of the cave had finally hit me, and reveling in the dead end it had created for me. I turned back around to realize I was trapped, the remaining half of the path having now disappeared behind me leaving me enclosed. Was this supposed to be the next trap?
I couldn’t help but find it pathetic. After all it had put me through throughout all this it could only think of something a little more claustrophobic than before. I waited, half tempted to tap my foot, to see if it would come out of no where to meekly apologize at its worst effort to date, but no such thing occurred. I couldn’t help but be proud of myself. The ordeals set up by the Crying Man had strengthened me beyond all that had been before. There was not much else for me to do.
The walls started to close in, hidden mechanisms turned invisibles cogs as they shrank the walls from around me. It pleased me greatly. The Crying Man was running scared. I didn’t even try to resist the rock as it fell around me, shattering as if it were made out of dried up mud breaking into itty bitty pieces and crumbling to the floor below.
I walked on, the tunnel having now come back to me. This time I could see a light, just ten meters ahead of me and just out of sight to the left. Hugging the wall, I etched up to it, wondering what I might find waiting for me. Had I reached its lair, or was this just another division. I wished for both. To meet with the Crying Man and to keep proving myself its superior was both likable options. Its fear would increase with each trial I overcame, leaving it the quivering mass I had always intended to slaughter.
The light flickered, still hiding just out of sight, dancing for the one that hid behind it and the corner. It occurred to me for a moment that I had no weapons, but I had killed my last one with just my mouth and a ton of passion. I could just go with improvisation for this one as well. It would be what made the end of the hunt so delicious.
“You can come out from behind there,” it said.
For a second it all returned to me. The hours of trapped isolations, the deprivation of light and sanity. The broken nose and the faces and vomit and numbness that it had made me face for countless eternities. For a second, I wanted to turn tail and run, to write this one as a loss and get on with what I had always been doing. That life was an acceptable choice, and to leave for it would have got me appreciated by all those that I would have once killed.
Only for a second though, then I removed myself from the wall, and turned the corner.
It was not the Crying Man this time. It was the puma. Its golden mane reflected in the dance of the final candle, that sat just a few feet from it, acting as a guard between the two of us. It was close to the end of its thread now and it told us both that there was only a few minutes left now.
My stomach growled, reminding me just how hungry I still was. The hunt had deadened the pain for a while, but now I was this close, mere moments away from the glorious tearing, I growled as deep and as loud as any noise I have ever heard, a nuclear bomb plain gin comparison to its desire.
I almost jumped the candle there and then, imagining my teeth sinking my into the puma’s neck, ripping away its fur as I did its life, feeling ecstasy as its blood dirtied my teeth and hair, watching its precious life simply fall out of the body and onto the floor below. I could not tell why I didn’t. It felt more appropriate to take it slowly.
“Sit down,” it said politely, indicating a cushion as it went to scratch behind its ears, licking the underside f its paw as it made itself more comfortable. It was not sitting on a cushion, the dusty ground below it being disturbed by its long tail swiping down onto the floor.
I looked down at the seat offered to me, contempt brimming from my eyes. The Puma looked sullen for a moment, but then seemed to accept this. “Is this really what you want? To eat and shit for the rest of your life, never achieving anything more. I don’t understand.”
“What would you understand?” I spat out. “You’re just a Puma.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t get through to you.”
“Don’t be. I learn everything I needed to know tonight. The only thing that I regret is that you found out.”
The puma closed its eyes for a moment, and I considered striking, but something told me it had not yet accepted its fate.
“It is too late for you. Let us hope that it is not too late for him.”
Its black eyes stopped looking at me, now focusing on the creature behind me. It lay there standing, and I turned round to meet its featureless gaze. The Crying Man. I was momentarily shocked, and looked back to confirm the existence if the Puma, which just stared at me before wrapping its tongue over its lower jaw. So there were two of them, or was this merely another trick. It didn’t matter anymore. Take them both out.
I moved to the Crying Man, as it hung there limply. Not waiting a moment longer, I lunged at it, knocking it to the floor in a discarded heap. My first jab went straight to its face, and the merest touch of my knuckles on its skin reminded me of the pain in my own nose, the pain it had caused. I hoisted myself onto my hands, landing my knees on its crotch and chest, watching with glee as the tears erupted from the head like a fountain of blood, my own tears meeting them as I relished the moment. I tore into again and again, now laughing as I ripped it apart. Seeing its neck hanging there, I took my teeth down upon it, feeling to flesh pull away as if it were a seam on a pair of trousers, coming off far too easily. Like a hungry wolf I tore the flesh away, watching the sewage pour out of its corrupted body, almost immediately feeling a pain in my own neck. I ignored it for now and plunged my clawed fingers into the gaping hole I had made, grabbing as much internal oddities as I could and tearing them away as if I was trying to destroy a cardboard box.
Almost instantly I stopped, a stabbing pain interrupting me from my one man massacre. It drove into my head like a hammer had just dropped from a n high shelf onto me and I leaped away from the dying creature below me, feeling my sense give up on me, my vision going blurry as I coughed loudly. I was covered in something. I knew it but I didn’t. I looked to the puma, it was sleeping now.
I circled the cavern blindly, desperately grabbing onto my throat as if my hand alone could stop the dam that had been torn down. Had I lost? Had this been the Crying Man’s final plan. A martyr to the cause that only it and I fully understood. I gargled on my own precious life blood, feeling it drown me. It came out faster as I began to fall, knees giving up as they ran out of fuel, now pumping through my system as if trying to get away from something. My every orifice leaked with something as I tried desperately to get to the candle, seeing it only feet away and yet an eternity. I thought we would both meet again soon enough. As the candle’s life extinguished, its own wax no longer able to sustain it, I felt conscious being eaten and spat out, and collapsed into silence.
Myself and the Crying Man, unable to hear anything.
So you understand now, how I got to where I am. I don’t really understand it myself. These things have always just happened. One of the biggest problems about living in the real world is that events happen without your control. Real life just goes on by too fast for you to keep up and so you rely on what you’ve learnt to keep you going rather than trying something new. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, even relying on past experience means you can just end up copying on a melodrama you watched the other week.
That’s why toilet society remains important. You never get told how to act in the toilet besides take your pants down and let it out, and don’t look at other people while they d the same thing. These are really the only two laws of Toilet society. The rest is just what happens. It’s not law, but it certainly feels like it at times.
The only other important thing really, about toilet Society, is that it all relies on us not realizing it. As soon as you realize Toilet society exists, you screw yourself over. In fact I may be ruining a good portion of your life just by telling you this. It made lead to some attempt at rudimentary understanding. But I shouldn’t worry too much. Other people won’t allow you to fuck it up. Or at least, you think they won’t.
There isn’t too much left to tell you about what happened after Tracey died. Samson went into a deep depression about it, and I think I did too (sometimes my acting is too good, I can’t even tell if I’m doing it). He ended up throwing himself into a lot of online games, paying obsessively. It seemed a good way for him to get it out of his system, although we were all worried about him for a while.
Nicole and I continued dating, I guess that’s over now, but it remained nice while it lasted, kind of like having the best job you could ever get in the career path you have chosen, knowing it was easy and fun at the same time. We actually had a scare a few months back when she became pregnant and I thought I’d have to leave early. Luckily, it all blew over, though the rumours I heard that she had had an abortion did concern me. It wasn’t that I wanted a kid, it was that I wanted the choice not to have one. I know she didn’t want one, but I don’t think she wanted to take the risk otherwise.
All the others are still at Uni. Donna is pregnant and at times when she looks seriously she admits that it is Barry’s. He’s worried that she isn’t eating enough, but she seems to cover it well with ice cream. I didn’t actually know that was true.
Tracey is still dead. I haven’t actually heard from her parents in some time, though occasionally I dial for the last number and I think it’s there. Not quite sure about that though.
That’s it really, I guess. Thanks for listening, kid.
How long I spent dying? I don’t know. It felt like I had had a blood enema, shooting it all out until there was none left. IT was a lot more refreshing than I thought, emptying myself completely and then filling it back up again, though I don’t remember doing the last bit. My body groaned as it shifted. It felt surprisingly light, but the gears were complaining about a lack of use. I felt exhausted, like I had ran a marathon and the first prize was a point blank shot to the stomach.
My eyes opened. I shouldn’t be alive, my body lifted itself and I got a look around. The toilet again. My panic alarm raised a few octaves as I swung around, but stopped in mid cry.
Everything was normal. There was no sewage covering the floor, a mix of blood, vomit and faeces now having disappeared as if it had never come. The door and the window were now in full site, the cement having disappeared from the former. I never knew what had happened to the former.
Most importantly, the Crying Man appeared to have disappeared. Above me, the roof was as white as ever, the lights now back on and shining on the room below me, bathing us in its radiance. I clambered to my feet, looking around. It was truly as if none of it ever happened. The floor was clean, yet not freshly scrubbed. It reminded me that the cleaner had apparently not shown up this week and the bin needed emptying.
The window porthole however was near spotless however, and missing any signs that cement had ever touched it. There wasn’t even the smallest of traces that suggested someone had done the best amateur job in the world on it to me contain a few hours longer.
Finally, the smell. It actually smelt nice in here, the mix of perfumed toilet cleaners and the spray that periodically shot itself into the room made the place smell like a pristine chapel rather than the cess pit I had ejaculated my stomach into earlier. I wandered over to the mirror, still feeling a little nauseous from just waking up (and I think all my internal wounds). My face looked a little shit, like I had been sleeping on top of it, but no broken nose, and no bloody remains or other marks. My hand shot to my neck for a brief instant, but fell back down to the sink once I realized there was nothing there.
Had it been a dream then? No, more than the most enlightening nightmare I had ever suffered. I had fell to the bottom of my soul, and came out a lot stronger. Understanding was now within me, having been forged from a rock of ignorance that welled up in me and carved to the perfection of mind that I had been seeking without even realizing it.
The problem now was what would be happening next. Were they all still out there- my so called friends? Waiting for me to reemerge from the toilet and continue in their pointless debacle of chatting away at nonsense. I had better things to do. I still needed to handle the Puma, and the Clownfish for that matter. Does that mean I’d have to continue the act? It was part of the hunt after all, and I knew that all along, but it still felt tedious when was ready to begin anew.
Perhaps I should just go visit her. The Clownfish will spoil itself if I am to leave it, it had only been able to exist further after the incident because of me, and it would quickly die without my constant aid. If I leave now, I can tell her things that would break her. Se is still weak after all, being unable to take the pain of her parents splitting- probably the best thing her father has ever done.
Yes, maybe I should go tell her that I had never stopped truly loving Tracey, and that I missed her terribly. I could imagine the Puma going to comfort me, wishing to help me. Then I could slap her away, scream at her for all the terrible things she made me do to poor Tracey. Accuse her of horrible atrocities that she made me do. Maybe I could even claim that I’m sure she drugged me at certain parts of it to make me more susceptible. Maybe I should try and attack the tattoo she gave me, saying I never really wanted it, when really it was the best thing she ever did to me.
Then she would apologize and I wouldn’t accept it. She’d try and hug me to make me feel better and then I’ll hit it and act like it were reflex, going to apologize, but instead getting angry, screaming at what she made me do and what she turned me into, before telling her I never wanted to see her again. I could probably fit the whole uncertainly about the pregnancy thing in too, and demand to her to tell me if she really did have an abortion, and effuse to accept whatever she tells me.
To my right, the toilet flushed, bringing me out of my beautiful thoughts. I watched as the man came out, her long leather jacket swaying as he spun round to shut the door. He looked at me with a piercing stare from behind his sunglasses and I grin, before heading for the door.
“Next time try and make it to the toilet before passing out. It gives strangers the wrong thoughts.”
The door shut with a thud and I barely thought about leaving. I saw my grin appear in the mirror. Just thinking about it had made me hungry. It would be a joy to finally be rid of her. Maybe it would do me good to take her one last time before I do so. An appetizer if you will.
With a few minutes to spare, I took a moment to spruce myself up. Figuring I should at least look my best while waving everybody goodbye, I straightened my hair up and washed my face with water. Water will always be free as long as there are toilets and I was glad to drink some of it down without getting blood in my mouth again. Fixing my dinner shirt I turned off and headed for the exit.
There was a moment’s anticipation when I reached what had been the cell to m door. I may have just seen another man swing open as easily as any other door but that didn’t mean I have going to be able to do it as well. A thought struck me tat I may still be in the would of the Crying Man, and all this may shatter around me the second I grabbed the handle. Taking a moment to shake the fear off, not longer willing t be distracted by it I easily as I had, I grasped the once broken handle and pulled it open.
The wall on the opposite side greeted me, and I responded with my grin. Resisting the urge to run up and try to hug it, I instead hesitated. Looking down to the door guard on the floor, I felt like I was crossing a threshold, to abandon the toilet brought a moment of uncertain worry. I had faced this place and become a better part of it. To leave again, even though I would return, brought mixed feelings of content and anxiety. I held my breath, and then crossed over, releasing it when I saw that I was truly outside.
To the left was the little black boy that I had seen on the horizon.
I paused, the urge to escape with a nothingness that chilled the very core of my being. I recognized the little black boy now, close up and with the full use of my senses returned. His fuzzy hair and concerned with the broken paint on the wall that he now picked on reminded me so much of a memory of long ago, now forgotten as if it were never there.
So this is why it had happened.
This is why the Crying Man had trapped me in the toilet, left me there to suffer and starve and sweat and vomit, warping my very soul until I understood myself for what I was. Now I knew the trials and tribulations I had gone through were for more than myself.
They were for this little black boy here.
And this is why I was here, in the room of the Crying Man.
Wandering up to him, the urge to escape filled me as it did in that cave, in that toilet. Knowing the full consequences of my actions was a painful learning, for I could only understand too clearly what was going on, what was to happen next.
This boy was not my prey, and yet he had died all the same.
“Hello there,” I said, crouching down to his level. He looked at me for a moment, then shyly turned away, becoming a lot more fascinated with the paint he was picking at. A thought struck me of how angry the Landlord would be if he saw this, but then I knew it didn’t matter. He wouldn’t even be able to mind after this.
“What’s your name?”
“Mu’az,” the little boy said, before giggling and turning away. I couldn’t stop my grin turning into a genuine smile as I saw this. His shyness was cute.
“Where’s your mother?” I asked him, if only to get his attention.
“She’s waiting for me,” he replied, now turning to me and resting his hands on my knees. I smirked as I saw him press his palms down, almost making me lose my balance. “You’re supposed to take me back to her.”
“Oh am I?” I said, sounding teasing. His face became blurry, and I could not help but feel as if I had taken a bullet to the heart.
“Why you crying.”
“I’m not,” I said indignantly, though we both knew I was lying.
“Yeah you are,” he said, before wrapping his arms around my neck. Without waiting I took him in my arms, hugging him tight as if t let go would be to lose my existence.
“Mum has sweets.”
“Oh does she?” I replied with a chortle, picking him up and looking to the door. It seemed different from before. It looked nicer, like it had a fresh coat of paint and new Victorian door handle. The Landlord had said he wanted to do that for years.
“Come on then kid,” I said, knowing now what I had to do. “”Let’s take you back.”
Reaching up to the door meant passing the toilet one last time, and I stared into it, seeing the Crying Man’s faceless features staring back at me through the crack, its neck still red from our fight. I covered the kids head in my shoulders as I turned to face it one more time. For a second I wanted to curse it, to drop the boy and take care of it one last time, finish off the wound I had started and rip its head off once and for all. But I couldn’t. It had won after all and if there’s one thing I’m not (or at least try not to be) it was a sore loser.
I opened the door in front of me; it was supposed top lead to the lounge, back to where everyone I knew was. Now I had no idea where it led, but first, I hoped I would find the boy’s mother and return him to her. If anything happens, I’d at least like to do that. Just to make up for some of the thing I’d done.
I grabbed hold of the handle, and for some reason thought of Tracey.
We got the call in twenty minutes ago, it was annoying because it wasn’t a house that was listed. It was just some nameless road in the middle of nowhere. We had to actually get the map out for as proper look for ourselves, and even then the road we were meant to go on was on the damn thing. It was the epitome of a back end country lane, and we had to fine it as soon as possible.
Mick ate the doughnuts as fast as he could. I was savoring mine, after being pulled out of our break we’d have probably been allowed an extra one, especially with us now in the middle of nowhere.
I left the village, kicking it up to fifth gear as soon as we passed the last row of houses. Even in our mode of transport and in our situation, there’s just something wrong about going too fast in a place where you don’t know if a kid’s about to appear out of the corner of your eye and into the front windscreen.
It was probably the call that had spooked me, I held it in. Kids got to me, they always got to me, and I never wanted to see one hurt ever. Even if it was just them getting scared, I never wanted to see a bad thing happen to a child. I knew that now that would never happen. What we were going to see was worse than anything found in an abandoned shack.
The road we were going to wasn’t even accessible by the normal roads. Janet had told us that someone she knew the area and had asked them about it. We had to trail down a two hundred meter dirt road before we got to the road in question. Where in the hell were we going? All roads had to lead somewhere. Whey was this road only accessible by one dirt road.
The question was tossed aside as the whole truck started to move erratically. The suspension was well serviced and highly maintained, but that didn’t stop the ground from being the most uneven service possible. For a moment I thought it was going to tip over, and had to stop myself from braking too hard, less I throw us all over.
We got through it pretty quickly, and I hoped that the person we’d be bringing back wouldn’t be too fucked up to require stable driving. We were close now. Just round this tight bend. A bend like this I was amazed we didn’t get calls round here more often. It looked the type of place designed to skid onto the wrong side of the road. We took it at twenty, wanting to go slow so we wouldn’t’\t miss it.
How the hell we would have missed it, I would never know.
The car was still half in the road, peeking out into it like a frisky guy at a junction, edging slowly forwards. Judging by the marks on the road, the guy was skidding even before he had to force himself to stop. What made me think it was a guy I don’t know. They say woman are dangerous drivers, but it’s the men that get into the extreme accidents.
We pulled alongside a group of five people, the first of which ran up to me and started wailing. Asking the necessary questions, I found myself being led not to the car, but to a young boy about ten feet away. He had been walking his dog when the car swung round the corner, the driver’s actions or motives unknown. The dog appeared to have taken most of the impact for him, and lay only a few feet away, a messed up corpse that had been the unintentional hero.
The people had moved him, apparently because he had been in the ditch. You’d have thought people would have watched enough medical dramas to know not to do that by now, although I guess it was all dependants on the type of drama.
The first thing I noticed was the worst. He wasn’t breathing! A woman shrieked a friend of hers insisted that he was a moment ago. She started to check his breath for me and I had to push her away. Grabbing his nose and straightening his neck I began to breathe my life in for his. I had never done this before, I thought as I breathed into him, moving to his chest to start compressions. Thoughts of fucking it up filled me. I had heard one urban legend that a paramedic once got nervous and pushed down too hard, breaking a rib and piercing an old lady’s heart. I couldn’t help but imagine that I might do the same thing, and so went easy on him, my mind telling me I was being an idiot and made me push hard. Almost too hard, I was wasting time over a personal battle of nerves.
Panicking, I looked over to the lady, who seemed to go little freaked out herself by my look. Probably looking like I was about to faint, I moved to his mouth again. There could be a hundred more things wrong with him that didn’t require breathing into him. But other than what looked a broken leg I couldn’t tell too much. Nothing that…
I stopped, feeling something above me. I turned and caught a glance of the woman’s face as she looked at me, apparently appalled that I had stopped. I was sure that I felt… I shook it off. This was not the time! Did you really want your first resuscitation to be a failure? I moved back to him, aiming to just restart with the compressions, when coughing stopped me.
I looked down, seeing two brown eyes look by up at me, and a mouth that dribbled spit. The boy coughing again, and the woman looked overjoyed at me, apparently placing the blame of his survival on me. For now I ignored it, telling the child to stay down as looked him up. As I thought his leg was broken, but other than cuts and bruises it really did seem that the dog had saved his life. I breathed with relief that at least one would make it back to the hospital. Looking back up I saw Mick staring at me, looking a little proud of himself, Mick had been sort of a teacher and mentor to me the past few weeks, and I could tell that this small act had told him it was all worthwhile.
It took me a moment to remember that there was more than one.
I looked over to the car, and was met by the grim visage. In the driver’s side of the beetle, now smashed up by the large oak tree, an arm hung limply from outside a shattered window. The siren I had heard every since I got closer, every since I had switched the ambulance off, was revealed to me in its location.
On op of it, sitting there rather uncomfortably was the head of the man that had injured this poor boy and his dog. There might have been a million and one reason why he had crashed, but the truth came to me instantly. Street racing. The guy had been driving fast round such a corner. With this many warnings, there was no way he would have taken it this fast.
I exhaled loudly. There was no need to check up on him. He was quite clearly dead.