Blog/Vlog

Vlog 001 – LA Farang Jam

Hitched a ride to LA with my friends Buck and Haley so that I could attend the team Farang jam at Tempest freerunning academy.

Parkour’s becoming a bigger and bigger thing in my life since I decided to start training at the beginning on this year. Teams like Farang and Storror inspired me to want to get in the kind of shape where these levels of movement are things I’m capable of.

What I’ve run into over the past 7 months is that I’m a 33 year old who had spent the better part of his adult life mistreating his body. The amount of prep that is required to avoid injury performing these movements is gargantuan. I’ve learned that the hard way and sadly I have found myself quite injured lately which very sadly meant that I was forced to be a spectator at the jam which was heart breaking as Tempest academy is fucking incredible. I really hope to go back soon.

I need to get better at putting all this info into the videos so that I don’t have to write so much expositional text as precursor.

Here’s the video

I hadn’t been sleeping…

It’d been 3 or four days since I’d had any real sleep.

I was homeless and couch surfing in the middle of summer 2013. I was paranoid, alone, and wearing out my welcomes casual acquaintance by casual acquaintance. I’d started to feel increasingly more tormented.

One balmy midwestern night I sat vacantly staring at some paperwork for a new job I’d somehow managed to acquire. In my present state of mine I was very much unsure that I’d be able to perform the job asked of me with even a hint of alacrity.

I was scared.

I was house sitting for 2 nights and had helped myself to a rather expensive bottle of wine. It went down quickly and as I approached the last couple of sips I grew frustrated and agitated that the whole bottle had barely provided me with anything a drunk like me might have associate with a buzz of any kind.

I held the wine glass in my finger tips rolling the stem back and fourth anticipating the rage I could feel bubbling up to the surface. Though right at the point I expected to explode, something happened. Like the anger slipped on a wet spot on its way up, tripping a little and losing all its momentum. Instead of hurling the glass as the wall I just let my fingers go loose, sloshing the deep purple liquid onto the blank side of an employee manual.

That’s when I saw it. The monster.

Just it’s shape at first. None of its features. But it was there.

Frantically I went about making this creature whole, so I could look it in the eyes and tell it with all my spite and malice to sincerely go fuck itself .

There was nothing in the way of art supplies in the house I was occupying so I had to improvise. I dropped and smeared candle wax, I ripped napkins and dipped them in flour and water molding the shapes of eyes and fangs. I scribbled the words that were swirling around my brain at colossal speeds. I punched myself in the face and bled down onto the paper(this was before I even knew who Dave Choe was). I ripped apart dried flowers I’d found in a neglected vase and attached them to the paper. I cried and i yelled until I sat silently looking at my oppressor. It had a face now.

I had taken the evil that was inside me and relocated it to a piece of paper then trapped it behind the glass of a picture frame.

I’d won, and now I would sleep.

Bad Luck Photographs

I came home from work the other night to find my full length mirror had, for no reason that I could see, detached itself from the wall and face planted, Shattering a million little shards of “FUCK YOU!” Into several pairs of shoes I’d lined up beneath the mirror.

I pondered for several hours the superstitious ramifications of this situation but came to no real conclusions except that god isn’t real and luck is just a scapegoat for our own personal failings.

Refusing to let a random act of bull-Shit send me into a funk, I decided to try and turn the event into something more creative.

I made the following video, painted my face, and went about taking some creepy photographs.

Now I have to clean up the large mess in my kitchen that I made out of the large mess in my bedroom…

CHAPTER 5 – Hero Moments

Buck doesn’t trust me. He doesn’t trust me to pay bills on time, he doesn’t trust me with the laundry, the man doesn’t trust me with scissors unless I’m under constant supervision. He certainly doesn’t trust me to depict the series of events that happen to him after we were separated with any kind of sincere accuracy.
When I told Buck that I was going to tell people our story he without hesitation hired a lawyer and ghost writer who have so kindly delivered the following to me to deliver to you, dear reader. I can’t verify if any of this is true because I wasn’t there. I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Buck took cover between two nearby houses. One was definitely abandoned; the other was only probably abandoned. This neighborhood wouldn’t be featured on any “top ten up and coming…” lists in the near future. While dead plants, wide open doors, and dried human feces scattered about the property might seem like evidence of an unoccupied residence, those were in fact all rather speculative clues in comparison to boarded up windows, eviction notices, and police tape. Those were entirely more definitive around this particular part of town.

He couldn’t believe how short of breath he was from that small sprint. Buck knew he wasn’t the zenith of personal fitness but he didn’t get winded from eating a sandwich too fast, something he’d seen happen to Dave a couple of days prior.

He listened to the pounding in his chest and thought about how fast his heart was beating when he’d walked out of his bedroom with the shotgun. Buck wasn’t a coward in any regard, but he’d never been the action hero type.

There was a monster. It was killing someone in your kitchen he told himself what the fuck else were you going to do? He really liked the idea of doing the kind of badass thing you’d see Bruce Willis or Steven Segal doing.

Of course Buck then remembered how he’d slipped in Bryce’s blood before he could throw out a slick one-liner and landed flat on his back, shooting out the ceiling above and antiquing himself with the debris that was most likely the culprit for his labored breathing.

He threw himself up against the plastic siding of the house he’d decided looked less likely to be covered in hobo piss and tried to catch his breath.He choked and coughed as he inhaled.

Buck tried to shake the dust from his facial hair. A long well kept beard that collected almost as many compliments as it did things like spaghetti sauce or soups. Dave had once speculated he might be collecting secrets in there but Buck had dismissed this idea as he did with most of Dave’s nonsense ramblings.

Go on dick beast. Shoot my truck again. Buck thought as he waited, listening for another gunshot. He knew the general direction of the shooter from which windows had been shattered, he just needed one more shot to confirm and he’d know which way to go. He felt confident that Dave was running away from the gunman. Buck had to defend his truck.

He was protective of his truck. It was the only vehicle buck had ever owned and if it was going to be damaged, he was going to be the one to damage it, not some local tweaker.

He was the only person that knew how to get the lights to work, he knew the cause of every dent, chip, and scratch. In some respect, Buck felt about that car the same way that Dave felt about his favorite pair of boots.

From not too far away, Buck suddenly heard the sound of tires screeching and a loud bang.

That wasn’t a gun shot but… Bucks legs started moving before he could even finish the thought. He was dashing between houses in the direction of the commotion.

As Buck hopped over a fence into a back yard, he almost lost his balance. Correcting with a clumsy stumble that looked more like falling that running.

Jesus. How much did I have to drink at HT? He wondered as he took a hard right between the next two houses. The sound of tires screeching cut through the night again, much closer this time. Buck sprinted for the street he could see lit up by a porch light when BAM!

What the fuck!?

Another shot was let off. The gunman was right around the corner from where Buck skidded to a halt.

He stood frozen for a moment as he heard the Ping…Ping… of a shell casing bounce on concrete. The sound of The Dead Kennedy’s began to rise up from the quiet of late night downtown Las Vegas. The bullet had hit something electrical and somehow turned the radio on. The volume slowly crept from a dull hum until it was at full blast.

“RIDE! RIDE! HOW WE RIDE!“ Jello Biafra howled

Not the fucking radio! Man, fuck this…

Buck threw his hands up and leapt around the corner to face his trucks attacker.

“C’MON! STOP SHOOTING AT MY FUCKING TRUCK!” The Dead Kennedy’s played on as Buck squinted, temporarily blinded by the bare bulb porch light. He could just make out the shape of a person, the silhouette. No actual features.

That shape turned its attention to Buck who stood frozen with his hands in front of his face.

“What did you say to me?” Spoke a calm, but very deliberate voice.

The words weren’t particularly loud but they weren’t marred in the punk rock racket coming from the truck in the middle of the street. They made their way to Buck so clearly that it was slightly unsettling. He didn’t immediately know how to respond.

The shape stepped forward eclipsing the porch light and letting Buck’s eyes relax a little. Bit by bit the features of the man began to reveal themselves.

He stood few inches over 6ft, the closer he got the more he towered over Buck’s 5’6-and-a-bit frame. He was Caucasian. Outside of his height he wasn’t a particularly large man. The most of him was made up of long gangly extremities that he covered in this instance with nothing but a loose fitting pair of jeans and a large butchers apron that, as Buck’s focus grew clearer, he could see was covered in dark red smears not unlike the dark red smears covering a lot of what he himself was wearing.

“I wasn’t shooting at your truck.” The voice stated in the same direct and emotionless tone.

A large dark black mustache grew over the man’s upper lip while the rest of his face seemed to be deliberately maintained stubble. His head was completely shaved.

Buck noticed the man clutched a knife in his left hand. It looked like a machete but Buck didn’t know a lot about knives. He didn’t know if there was something specific about the knife that made it a machete or if this one was just a regular big knife?

In the man’s other hand was the pistol. The weapon used to shoot up his beloved truck, but unlike the machete, the gun was pointed right at his heart.

He started to back away. The man raised the gun, now aiming at Bucks head.

“DON’T FUCKING MO…MmmmmMO…Mm. DON’T Mmmmmmm…” As the gunman raised his voice to Buck he found himself locked in a severe stutter “…MMMmmmm” His face tensed hip and his lips puckered.

“RIDE! OOOHOH! RIDE!” Jello weighed in from the truck.
Buck, suddenly a little puzzled, slowly began to lower his hands and make an assessment of the situation he was now in.

The man with the gun had seemed a whole lot more intimidating before Buck realized he had speech impediment. His mind was already formulating hilarious ways he could tell Dave about “the clown ass stuttering butcher”. He didn’t feel like he was in any real danger any longer and did what he felt in his heart of hearts was the best thing he could do to speed this whole thing along.

“Move?” Buck said mostly plainly, but with a hint of annoyed condescension “Don’t move. Is what you’re trying to say?”

“DON’T DO THAT!” The Man barked quickly back at Buck as he shook the gun. Knife still loose at his side.

“Look I get it” Buck replied, “It’s a pride thing? Right? It’s the whole midgets and barstools thing. I know you would’ve gotten there eventually. I’m just kind of in a hurry here so I gave you a boost up. Is that so wrong of me” Buck shrugged his shoulders in faux apology.

The mustached mans nostrils flared as he exhaled in cartoonish fashion before taking another deep breath and snorting like a bull a second time.

“I was not shooting at your truck” The man spoke with intentional syllable groupings in an attempt to emphasize how serious he was, but Buck didn’t care.

“You shot it 3 times asshole!” Buck took a step forward closing a little distance between him and the gun and the man matched the distance. The barrel of the gun was so close to Bucks forehead he could feel the heat still lingering in the metal from the last shot fired.

Buck tried to swallow his heart down out of his throat and started to consider that he might have been a little brazen previously.

Just because he can’t finish sentences doesn’t mean he wont blow your brains out chimed in bucks internal monologue that was somehow now speaking in Dave’s voice.

The Man tapped the gun against Bucks head

“I wasn’t shooting at your truck…” His voice was low and shaky now. His demeanor suggested his was holding back a tidal wave of rage. Buck could tell he had to focus on every single word to not stutter out of control again “…I was shooting at the gu gu guy that k k killed my pet.”

The man stuttered over a deep inhale through his nose as he gestured backwards with the machete at something on the ground.

Buck peered past him, and the gun, and his huge knife. There was a shape on the ground. But it didn’t look like an animal, not a dog or a cat, or anything that would immediately register as a pet in a normal person’s mind. And that’s because Buck wasn’t dealing with a normal person here.

It all clicked when he saw it…

Oh god…

Police Truck was entering its 3rd play through as Bucks eyes rested upon a black leather gimp mask (a la pulp fiction) that was still filled with a head but no longer attached to a body. The rest of the shape made horrible, terrifying sense now. It’s deflated sections, the dark liquid drying on the concrete around what used to be a PVC body suit. He knew exactly what had happened here, what that shredded mess on the ground used to be. It was the same thing that had happened to Bryce.

He now knew where the blob thing had gone and what it had turned into after it smashed through his and Dave’s kitchen window, its why he thought he saw Bryce on the way home.

His stomach sank.

I did this. He thought as he lowered his eyes to the ground and the feet of the crazed man in front of him. The man still pointing a gun to his head.

Now, Buck had no clue as to the whether or not the relationship between the gimp and his assailant was entirely consensual, but by the looks of things he decided that it was a fair assumption that The Gimp was being held against his or her will and that this man was less upset that The Gimp was dead, and more upset that he hadn’t been to one to do it.

Buck searched through the tidal wave of guilt he was experiencing over being the central cause of two deaths that day and found the desire to try and make good, to somewhat balance the karma of the past 24 hours.

Buck had missed out on one hero moment and didn’t want to let another one slip past him.

Bryce is dead, he thought The Gimp’s dead. Nothing can change that. Only thing left to do is make sure this stuttering creep doesn’t hurt anyone else.

Buck clenched both his fists and readied himself to beat the living hell out of his captor, but just as he was about to raise his eyes and lunge, he saw a flash of white and a sharp pain shot through his right temple. The Butcher had cracked him square with the butt of the machete.

He hit the ground and the world swam above him, it was like he was underneath everything. His arms and legs suddenly felt like they were attached to lead weights. All the sounds were overlapping. As The Dead Kennedy’s echoed in the mix it almost sounded like Jello Biafra was talking to him.

“Looks like you’ll have to do” Said Jello in his unmistakable tone of voice.

Buck felt the cold concrete on his bare back as his shirt slid up. He was being dragged.

No no no no no… He tried to struggle, but his head was still realigning from the hit it’d just taken.

“It t t t t t took weeks to prep the la la la la laerrrMmmmmm last one” Jello struggled through a reverberating stammer.

No no no…he thought before managing to mumble Jello Biafra doesn’t have a stutter”.

Things were starting to get clearer for Buck; he was retaining his motor skills, his vision less blurred. He could see that the man who definitely wasn’t the singer of The Dead Kennedy’s had holstered his gun but still kept hold of the machete. His gun hand now held bucks ankle as he heaved him down the path and towards the garage.

While he didn’t look too muscular, the man possessed an absurd amount of strength to be able to move Buck so easily.

Buck reached up and tried to pry loose the fingers that wrapped around his ankle but The Butcher swatted back with the machete narrowly missing Buck by an inch or so. He clumsily tried a second time and caught the sharp side of the blade to his left pinky finger, the blade slicing through the skin and bone with little resistance.

His severed finger spun through the air in what might as well have been slow motion. It flipped end over end before landing somewhere on the ground near Bucks head.

A sick smile appeared on the mustached man’s face, he liked hurting people.

Buck scrunched his eyes closed and brought the injured hand up to his chest crying out in pain. He vocally explored a variety ‘Fuck’ variations before bringing his free leg back as far as he could and kicking forward with the explosive force of…of a man who’d just had his finger cut off by a lunatic S&M butcher with a stutter.

The kick connected square in the man’s crotch causing him to emit a high pitch squeal that rivaled the trucks stereo that was still playing the same Dead Kennedy’s song.

The mustached man let go of Bucks leg and crumpled up on the ground sobbing in pain.

“My balls…my b b b b b balls…how could you?” tears were clearly welling up in his eyes and it was unclear whether or not this particular stutter was legitimate or a product of the violence that had just been inflicted on his genitals.

Buck and Dave had very few rules in their friendship, but one of them was a very stern but fair rule that friends don’t hit friends in the dick. It was one of the worst pains a man could feel and as much as they both gleaned sick amusement in regularly tormenting each other they both understood that there had to be a line, and that line drawn was a mans dick and balls. Buck felt the slightest twinge of guilt as he scrambled to his feet. Standing over the man, he swung his leg back and kicked the man again in the crotch.

“WE’RE NOT FUCKING FRIENDS!” He screamed, punctuating the kick before turning around to try to find his missing finger.

Buck mumbled obscenities to himself while he scanned the surrounding area. Cursing the man who unbeknownst to him was slowly pulling himself to his knees.

While Buck’s crotch shot had managed to knock the machete out of his hands, the pistol he’d been holding Buck hostage with was still tucked neatly away in his waistband, or it had been. Now it was shakily being aimed at Bucks back.

The Kicks had left him quite shaky. His shooting arm swayed back and fourth as he squinted through crocodile tears clouding his vision.

Buck knelt to get a closer look at the area he thought his finger had fallen, pulling out some bar napkins he’d stashed in his pocket and pressing them on the wound. He winced in pain and began to process the fact that finding his finger might prove to be a lost cause.

“You know, fuck you dude…” He began to berate the man but as he turned to hurl a slew of clever insults at his aggressor it became clear that he wasn’t out of the woods yet.

For the butcher, the time for taking another hostage was over and now was the time for killing. A foul grin oozed across his face as he pointed the gun at Buck and pulled the trigger.

Click.

Then silence.

The gun was empty, and the sick expression left the man’s face indefinitely.

It was the straw that broke the camels back for Buck. The search for his finger was forgotten. Right now he was going to make sure this guy wasn’t getting up for a 3rd round.

Buck cocked back the hand that still had all its digits and leveled The Butcher with a huge downward punch that broke the skin on several of his knuckles.

Chances that the man would be getting up from a hit like that were slim-to-none but to be sure Buck punched him a second time while he was down. Then again a third time to be absolutely certain.

He looked down at the white napkins that wrapped the nub where his finger used to be, they were completely red with blood now and his whole hand throbbed.

“Shit!” lamented buck, rubbing his eyes as he shook his head.

He scanned the ground again but the finger was nowhere to be seen. Lost in the debris that dressed the front yard. No one shape was easily discernable. one folded dead leaf looked as much like any of the discarded candy bar wrappers. Anything could’ve been his finger.

Buck picked up the gun and tucked it into the back of his jeans before widening the search further out into the yard. The gun was empty but he felt better about it being in his possession than leaving it next to a crazy person who probably had more bullets to load into it.

Even with the porch light Buck was still having trouble. He couldn’t see a thing. Realizing he needed something brighter he remembered the LED flashlight he kept in the glove box of the truck and looked over its direction. It was still very loudly providing a soundtrack and Buck knew that was eventually going to attract some unwanted attention so he made his way over to fetch the light and attempt to quell the racket.

The truck looked terrible and Buck allowed himself a rare moment of honesty about its actual condition before reaching through the broken window and turning the volume knob on the radio to it’s off position, which apparently no longer existed.

“Police Truck” roared on leaving the only course of action to be disconnecting the battery, which was as easy as unhooking a section of precariously placed chain that prevented the hood from flying up and covering the windshield.

“FUCK YOU!” Buck yelled in the direction of his would be captor and threw up his middle finger as he walked around to the hood. He technically didn’t have a middle finger on that hand any more but that didn’t diminish how severely he meant it.

Back up the drive way something was happening. From shadows behind the wet spot on the drive way that surrounded the severed gimp head something was moving. It was dark, but reflective. It had four limbs, but didn’t move like a person. Where you’d usually see strict joints there was a loose fluidity.

Buck peered passed his wounded hand that was still raised in the direction of the house and felt every hair on the back of his neck stand up straight. He knew what he was seeing and he knew what was about to happen. He’d already seen it once that evening and didn’t want to have to see it again. It was the monster that had killed Bryce, but now somehow it looked like the gimp.

It kills you, and then it becomes you he thought suddenly understanding a little more about the creature.

Buck backed up around to the driver’s side door and reached for the keys and made an attempt to turn the engine over. The truck wheezed, but failed to start.

“c’monc’monc’monnnnn just one last time” Buck whispered aloud as he tried again.

The monster hadn’t paid any attention to the sound as it edged closer to the body of the butcher.

The truck roared to life and Buck threw himself into the drivers seat, immediately putting the car into drive and pressing his foot all the way down on the gas. The tires spun as he took off in the direction of the house.

His heart pounded in time with his bleeding hand but he knew he couldn’t worry about a finger; he needed to meet Dave back at the house and get Bryce out of the kitchen.

Buck had a plan. He just needed to get back to the teleporter.

 

 

 

The Beach

The Beach was originally written in 2007 and for the most part is typed up here unaltered. My writing has come a long way since i penned it in a scrappy notebook stolen from the Walden Books store on a lunch break from…

The Beach was originally written in 2007 and for the most part is typed up here unaltered. My writing has come a long way since i penned it in a scrappy notebook stolen from the Walden Books store on a lunch break from a Sunglasses stand next to the food court at the mall so, as one might expect, i made a handful of minor alterations to the original text.

It was inspired by a chance encounter with a woman whom i had no business hanging out with, let alone sleeping with. We remained close, yet all of our encounters to follow were far removed from each others personal lives. She was, and still probably is completely out of my league, but hey, sometimes you get lucky.

Jade, as she came to be known in a lot of my writing to follow this piece, was my first muse. That sounds corny, but it’s true. something about her provoked me to write some of my favourite pieces. some of which I’ve never shown anyone besides her. She loved my writing.

Sometimes Jade and i would go years without seeing each other until we’d suddenly crash into each other and fall madly in love for short periods of time. Looking at it now, i think we would use each other as escapes from our daily lives. Believing, briefly, that we were actually the characters of Jade and David who shared this beautiful poetic relationship.
Real life has the worst way of creeping in and spoiling the most beautiful of dreams doesn’t it.

 

The Beach, by Davey Francis

Sometimes real life has the worst way of creeping in and spoiling the most beautiful of dreams doesn’t it?

The sound of birds, road works, children yelling, as I write this, the subject matter of this particular dream eludes me, but as the world around me began to wake up, so did I.

As the sounds of cars passing and the tide down the hill all crept into my barely functioning mind, so did the sound of her knocking on my window and calling me an Asshole for not answering my phone.

“…The fuck are you doing here?” I mumbled. I hadn’t realized how dry my throat had been until I attempted to speak.

Eventually my eyes decided they were able to peel themselves open and let in the light of this new morning.

There she was. She looked stunning, she always looked stunning, I cannot for a single second think of a time when I’d found her anything but.

“Fuck you David!” she exclaimed with a giggle, “What do you mean ‘what am I doing here?’ I’m here because you told me to come here 3 hours ago.”

I didn’t know. I’d spent the previous night attempting to forget the night before that by mixing red pills and blue pills I’d stolen from a stranger’s medicine cabinet at some after-hours soirée that I’m sure I hadn’t formally been invited to. I’m surprised she was able to rouse me at all. Needless to say, I had no recollection of offering any sort of invitation.

I rubbed my eyes and stretched trying to find some part of me that felt like a real person.

“Here, come get in my car” she said. I obeyed without question as I always did for her.

Jade drove a bright red Jeep Cherokee. It was never really a car you’d imagine a girl like her to drive. Looking at her, she seemed a better fit for something small, something sporty…but things aren’t always exactly as we imagine them, are they?

The conversation was typical for us. She spoke; I listened, offering occasional opinions here and there. She inquired about the previous night. I told her what I knew, what I’d been on. Jade just laughed and shook her head. I never fully got an understanding of what she actually thought of me. I always teetered between wondering if she just felt sorry for me, or if she genuinely enjoyed my company. Women like her don’t often take time out for men like me.

“I need something for my head, do you have any weed?” I asked. Pot was always my go-to when it came to evening myself out in the midst of a hangover.

“No,” she replied with a sly smile “I’ve got something even better.”

I already knew what it was; I didn’t even have to ask.

From a very designer purse she produced a small baggie that contained a brown powder followed by two sealed needles. I’d never mainlined anything before… I mean, not to my knowledge. My memory isn’t what it used to be and I black out more than I’d ever admit to anyone I know personally.

She went about the process like she was making her morning coffee. Sliding her slender belt off and fixing it around my arm like a perfect schoolboys noose. Slapping just below the ditch of my elbow to find a vein and almost painlessly pushing the point of the needle beneath my skin.

It was an action that felt so foreign, but so right.

Immediately I was some place new. I felt new things.

I rose up into the heavens and kissed every angel on all three of their eyelids, forgiving them for their sins while glorifying my own. God didn’t touch me; I was god! Reshaping the world in my own image.

Without any friction of reality I slipped from one heaven inside of another.

In the back seat of her car with the seats laid back her long smooth legs wrapped around me. Our lips locked and I witnessed each muscle in her body move in time with me own.

I lost myself, captivated for what seemed like an eternity by the curves of her back as the morning sun beamed in through the window playing on her olive skin as it threw shapes like the peaks of beautiful Venezuelan sand dunes.

As her chill skin moved against my own I felt passion like I had ever know and doubtfully ever will again. For a brief moment everything in the universe was perfect.

Each climax came and went until we eventually were taken by sleep, arms locked around one another. My dreams were either of darkness or of her. At that moment those were the only two things in this human existence I wanted.

Some hours later she woke me up, shaking me back to the land of the living, already dressed and looking stunning.

Jade explained that she had to leave and I needed to quickly get dressed myself and vacate her vehicle. As always, I didn’t question anything.

Leaning against the drivers side door of my car, tugging at her belt loops and trying to steal a few last and clearly unwanted kisses I pathetically asked when I would see her again.

“Soon.” She replied with a timid but utterly believable smile.

Soon never came, and I never saw Jade again. I’ll always have that morning at the beach though. What followed will stay with me until the day I die.

Such a sudden end, I know, but that’s exactly how live works, isn’t it?

Chapter 3 – Nina

The following was found in a Manila envelope that had been wedged in our back door. I didn’t ask for a contribution or a collaboration from anyone and Nina was the last person I expected to voluntarily throw her two cents in.

The following doesn’t exactly paint me in a the best light. However, If I’m being completely honest, it does clear up a lot of things that would otherwise not make a whole lot of sense otherwise.

So, yeah…go! Read!

Chapter 3 – Nina

At first it was just an empty pharmacy at 3am. Then there was static. Then there was Dave. “Fucking Dave…” Nina thought to herself as she wound the video back to the start and played it again.

Nothing.

Static.

Dave.

“Did he come through the ceiling?” she thought to herself. “There’s no possible way he’s smart enough to figure out something that…physically demanding”

She fast-forwarded through what without audio looked like a child of 3’s best attempt at impersonating the cartoon Tasmanian devil to the moment that Dave started having what appeared to be a seizure. She saw herself run back into camera frame and try to check on him and then just like when Dave had appeared, static. Then it was just her standing there looking bewildered. Dave was nowhere to be seen. After years with Dave she knew this must’ve been some kind of trick. Some new elaborate way to torment her.

He hadn’t taken the break up well and had always been the most spiteful and vindictive when they fought. She wondered if her leaving him could actually push him to do something this over the top just to get back at her.

The people from her department didn’t think much of her quasi-supernatural recounting of the incident in her report, especially after the reports given by the other officers on the scene mentioned that she had apparently known the suspect personally. Her higher ups all agreed that the most logical explanation was that Nina had let Dave go and because of this, she had been placed under review pending action.

She’d offered to go and arrest him, again. After all they did have him on camera burglarizing the pharmacy, but she was given instructions not to make any contact with him. Apparently the damage had been done and their focus was on punishing her, not punishing him.

Nina wound the tape back again as the shadow of her commanding officer loomed over the desk. She pressed pause.

“Got a suspect in interrogation 2 needs shaken down about the gang he’s affiliated with. Real nasty motherfucker, face covered in tattoos an’ scars. You want first crack at him” Her commander asked as a leering grin slowly exposed his mangled teeth.

“Absolutely sir!” Nina closed the laptop with a smile and gathered her things. This was her favourite part. If there’s one thing she was good at, it was rattling people’s cages and making them accidentally tell the truth. Years spent working her way through Dave’s labyrinth of lies and half-truths had sharpened this skill greatly.

As they began to walk out of the small office her commanding officer turned around, putting his arm across the doorway blocking Nina’s exit.

“You know, he’s handcuffed, shackles actually. The kind that lock into the table” he informed her.

“Good to know sir. Thanks for the info” she replied wondering why he’d bothered to share this with her. It was pretty standard procedure.

“Yeah, yeah, doors gonna be double locked. You got that reinforced shatter resistant glass.” He continued listing the security features.

“Sir, I’m not sure I follow.” Nina asked, but she knew what was coming next.

“Well, I just want you to be sure you can handle it before I send you in there” his grin was getting bigger now. “I mean, that guy’s going nowhere unless he can teleport himself out of the damn station now is he?” Her commanding officer burst out laughing and along with him 3 other officers who had been hiding behind a cubicle wall the whole time.

“Assholes!” she thought. “Fuck them, fuck all of them. And fuck Dave. This was all his fault”.

“HAHAHA! Don’t worry about it Ramirez, we’re gonna let a cop worth a shit take care of this. I just came down to tell you that a little bird told me about your review, and word has it this time tomorrow, you’re gonna be suspended without pay.” He glared at her with his smug eyes showing off his graveyard smile “why don’t you take off early tonight and let us handle the police work ”

Nina felt that tingling feeling in the bridge of her nose and swore to herself that she would under no circumstances cry. She simply said yes sir and made her way to the locker rooms.

As she changed out of her uniform she decided that she wasn’t going to let Dave get away with this. She’d given too much of her life already to him and his peter pan complex and wasn’t going to let him spoil any part of her future now that she’d gotten away from him. The problem was, she had no idea how to even begin to broach the subject. “Hi Dave, please explain to me how you blinked out of existence after I caught you ransacking a pharmacy, then turn yourself in so I’m no longer the laughing stock of my job”, it sounded crazy. He could just deny it and she’d be left looking like the insane person. No, she needed to plan; she needed to go somewhere she could think.

Nina didn’t want to go home. Home was just an inflatable mattress and boxes of things she’d gotten out of Dave’s house. It was the loneliest place she could think of. What she needed was a familiar place she could sit quietly and think, the Hunters Edge Tavern seemed like the perfect place at a time like this.

It was the bar her and Dave used to hang out, now it was a place that she went to get away from him. He’d been banned from the place after he assaulted a local homeless man who made wacky balloon sculptures for tips to buy drinks with. One day Dave developed an irrational hatred for the guy. There was nothing to it, Dave just suddenly decided he hated ballon art and the artist became his mortal enemy. One night, in the midst of a Tequila fueled rampage, Dave had reached his irrational breaking point and attacked him. She was thankful he had, though she did feel bad for Balloon Guy, she was happy to have a place that was a guaranteed Dave free zone.

The Hunters Edge could host, at a squeeze, about 50 people, but there was rarely more than 10 people there even at the busiest of times. At 4am, there were only 2 cars in the lot and she pulled her squad car up to a front spot with no hindrance. She liked doing this, she knew that every degenerate in this bar all sat up straight going through their mental rolodexes trying to pin point the crimes they’d committed that weeks that would warrant a visit from the police at this hour. Nina laughed to herself as she pushed through the front door.

“Well, well, well! Aren’t you a sight for old eyes!” The regular graveyard bartender, Artie, welcomed Nina in with a smile “At this hour I imagine you’ll be having the usual?” he asked, delighted to see Nina as always.

“That would be fantastic Artie, it’s been a real shit of a day” she made the kind of pouty face a little girl makes after she see’s something like it in a Disney movie.

“Coffee and a bowl of Frites! Your corner booth is open darlin’, I’ll bring it right over” The Hunters Edge had the best comfort food. The frites were Nina’s favourite. Even though she was sure they were just frozen French fries from the grocery store she loved the fact that Artie called them frites and served them with his attempts at different flavoured aioli’s.

Artie dropped the coffee off and Nina stared at her reflection in the dark liquid that filled her cup. She tried to give herself a pep talk but instead the tingling in the bridge of her nose came back and she let a few tears seep from her eyes and roll down to the tip of her nose.

Nina thought about her asshole coworkers. She wondered how they could turn on her so easily? Until this point she’d been an exemplary officer. Back in police academy she came top of her class, excellent in the field, and all her paperwork was perfect. Every time. How does one small turn her into the butt of the entire stations jokes? She cringed at the thought of hearing another one of those pricks ask, “wait, did you used to date this one?” again before she cuffed someone.

She didn’t let Dave escape, Dave didn’t even escape on his own; he vanished Right before her eyes. It was like he’d never been there at all. Then she had to try and explain that to the 2 other officers, which is when her whole life started to feel like there was a building falling on top of it. She wished she’d kept her mouth shut, said he’d bolted on her out of a back door. Maybe then this all wouldn’t be so bad.

“Fucking Dave!” she’d found herself thinking that a lot lately. Each time came with a warm wave of anger that grew larger and larger every time she experienced it. This time the wave was huge.

Nina took being a cop seriously and went out of her way not to truly abuse the power of her position outside of spooking the scumbags at the bar and maybe using the siren to skip through the occasional stop light, but damn it, she was the police, she still had her badge and she still had her a gun. She didn’t have to ask Dave nicely to turn himself in. She would tell him to.

Nina took one last sip of her coffee, left a twenty dollar bill on the table, and took off for the for the door just as Artie emerged from the back with a large steaming bowl of Fries.

“Where ya going?” he yelled to Nina “What about your food?”

“Sorry Artie, I gotta run, something came up” she called back to him “I left money on the table, you have them!”

Nina bolted for her car. She was running on adrenaline and rage, slamming the car into reverse and spinning the tires as she put her foot on the gas pedal. A dust cloud kicked up as she threw the car into gear and took off out of the lot narrowly avoiding a collision with another car pulling in.

As she sped down the road she ran hypothetical conversations in her head, what she would say to Dave when he came to the door. Saying phrases out loud over and over with different tone and cadence.

“NO! You’re coming with me now!” she yelled at nobody “NO! YOU are coming with me RIGHT. FUCKING. NOW!” yeah, that was it. If he tried to protest she’d just arrest him for one of the plethora of crimes he was surely going to be blatantly guilty of when she arrived.

“I don’t care Dave” she practiced “I DON’T GIVE A SHIT DAVID!”

Nina pulled up at the light a few blocks from Dave’s house and continued yelling at an imaginary version of her ex until she was distracted by a middle aged white woman wearing what seemed to be pajamas running through the intersection in front of her.

The woman was clearly in distress, but why? The cop in Nina woke up, throwing the car in park and getting out to investigate. She looked to the right, the woman still sprinting for her life and screaming like a mad woman. Then she looked to her left and saw…

“Bryce?” He didn’t reply.

She knew Bryce through Dave. He was one of Dave’s many many “friends” he used to not pay for drugs through. Outside of that and his name she didn’t know much about him. He moved like he was wasted. She’d seen him incredibly intoxicated at bars before, but she’d never seen him this trashed. He barely looked conscious.

Bryce just sort of stood there slightly swaying from side to side. Nina looked back at the woman who despite her efforts wasn’t gaining all that much ground. Then she looked back at Bryce who hadn’t made a sound, but had somehow gotten about 4 car lengths closer to her in the split second she’d looked away. It was now a mere 20 feet away from her and crouching down on the ground.

“Bryce, I need you to tell me what’s happening” Bryce just stood there, not saying a single word. Nina felt uneasy.There was an unusual clicking sound coming from Bryce’s direction. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him.

Now he was closer she could see him more clearly. She could see that he looked all wrong. Like a bar artist rendition.

Blindly she stepped backwards, into a better position to jump back into the driver’s seat.

“Go.” A small voice in the back of Nina head piped up. It was the same voice that had been rehearsing its skills in intimidation by screaming obscenities at a hypothetical Dave a minute ago. Now it was calm, collected. It came from that place deep inside you that knows you’re in trouble before you do. The part of you that pushes your body to act before your brain ever has a chance to process the action.

“Get back in the car and go. Now.” The voice in her head instructed and she edged backwards even further as the little kid, or whatever it was looked as though it was rearing back.

Nina went for it and threw herself back into the car at the exact second it lunged toward her. She slammed the car into gear, spinning the wheel to turn the car in the direction of the fleeing woman, accidentally turning on the red and blue flashing lights in the process.

As the car corrected she heard a loud thud from behind her and the car shifted slightly. In the rear view mirror she could see Bryce tumbling on the asphalt. At this angle, it didn’t look like a Bryce at all. The limbs were too long and the body too thin. It looked entirely alien, all stretched out.

The car screeched to a stop next to the woman in her pajamas where Nina threw the passenger side door open.

“GET IN!” She cried at the woman whose face was wrought with fear.

The woman took one step towards Nina’s police cruiser when the Bryce-thing tackled her out of view.

It hit her so fast and so hard Nina almost thought the woman had vanished the same way Dave had back at the pharmacy.

When Nina sat up she could see very clearly in the flashing lights that this thing had never been Bryce, it had always been a monster.

The parts of it that had looked like Bryce were all melting away down onto the poor woman underneath it. Nina could make out the shape of her through the dark translucent blob and she could hear her trying to scream.

The car stayed running and the red and blue lights flashed on. Nina’s mouth hung open and her heart beat pounded in her ears. She didn’t want to watch but she couldn’t look away from the macabre spectacle unfolding before her.

Suddenly the weight of the blob shifted forward and a something, presumably woman beneath it, exploded out from under as the heap of slime seemed to be consuming whatever was still trapped inside it.

The monster heaved slightly and something bubbled out from atop of it rocketing out of the slime and cascading through the air until finally landing on Nina’s windshield with a sound that was somewhere between a splat and a thud.

It was the woman’s face. No longer attached to a scull, the fleshy depiction slid slowly without definition down to the wipers leaving a slick crimson trail behind it.

“Go.” The voice in Nina’s head calmly demanded. “You can’t help her. Go.”

Nina pulled the wheel and floored it into a u-turn. The creature gave her and the car little acknowledgement, hissing at her as the car spun around, passenger side door still hanging open.

Nina sped up the street using all her might to not look in the review mirror. She wanted more than anything to believe it hadn’t happened at all.

Running on auto pilot Nina took turn after turn with precision and stability. She focused on breathing in and out, now was not the time to start panicking. Panicking wouldn’t help anything.

When the car came to stop Nina calmly took the keys from the ignition and placed them on the passenger seat then peered out through the front windshield. The woman’s face was still there. Fixed in place with coagulating blood and an oily slime left from being inside that creature. Nina started to cry.

Not the crocodile tears from the bar, this was a waterfall of uncontrollable crying. Her shoulders jerked and snot poured out of her nose.

This was the kind of crying fit you see in infants who have no idea how to express themselves and just explode in the attempt.

She pounded the steering wheel.

“Fuck…” she burbled from behind the tears “Fuck…” Nina hit the steering wheel again before screaming “FUUUUCK!” With the conviction of a banshee and then all of a sudden the hysteria ceased. Her tears dried, and the calm composure from the drive over crept over her like a cold breeze from an open window…or door, as the passenger side door had never managed to latch on the drive over to…

“Dave’s place” Nina looked around to be certain if her location “Nina, why did you drive to Dave’s house?” She said to herself shooting a look of disapproval at the reflection in the rear view.

Dave’s place had been the initial destination, but after what had just happened she needed comfort, some kind of security. Dave was the last thing she needed. This must’ve been some deep rooted symptom of Stockholm syndrome, a reflex she didn’t know she possessed.

Nina looked up the path at the house, the door was wide open and all the lights had been left on. She knew this was very uncharacteristic of Dave and his housemate Buck, who were strangely prudent about home security. It was the last place she wanted to be but it was the only place she had to go. Nina willed herself out of the car and up the path to the door.

“Dave?” She shouted as she timidly approached the door, hand slowly reaching for her gun undoing the snap.

“Buck?” There was no answer from either as she rounded the door way.

The living room was small, space mostly occupied by a coffee table that was covered with various pull bottles and a large old sectional couch that she’d begged Dave to replace. The space left defined a path along the grey tile floor into the kitchen, but the tiles weren’t grey anymore. There was something dark smeared everywhere. Thicker in some places than others. Looking back over her shoulder she could see it led all the way from the turn to the kitchen back to the front door. Foot prints in heading out to the front yard.

She knew what it was. She’d seen this before. One of those things you see occasionally working as a police officer and don’t quickly neglect to recognize, blood, the floor was covered in blood.

As Nina approached the kitchen she took a deep breath, she’d seen enough blood today.

“Go on three” she thought to herself

1

2

3

Nina turned the corner to the kitchen and in a split second she knew she’d seen enough. Spinning back around and vomiting over the arm of the couch briefly observing it pool into the a dent left in a cushion from over occupancy.

There was barely anything left of whoever’s corpse was in the kitchen and she wasn’t prepared to go back in to more thoroughly investigate.

Nina ran out the front door, leaving it open, and back to the squad car with the dead woman’s face staring lifelessly back at her, street lights beaming through the place where eyes and teeth used to be. She started to cry again.

“Dave…what the fuck are you involved in?”

To be continued…

Chapter 4 – The Brycis

Chapter 3 – The Brycis

Buck and me sat silently opposite each other in a corner booth at a bar called The Hunters Edge tavern. Technically I wasn’t supposed to be there, I had been put on the banned list, I’d been 86ed. This had all been nearly a year ago but I have a theory that you’re never kicked out of a bar permanently, only for as long as it takes for the person who kicked you out to get over whatever it was that you did. It’s completely situational. So how long can you actually be upset with someone for punching a guy who makes a living by sculpting penis hats out of fucking balloons? Hopefully not that long, because this was the closest bar to our house and we really needed somewhere that wasn’t covered in Bryce’s blood to get our collective shit together.

To be certain we wouldn’t be denied entry Buck insisted that I wear some sort of disguise and all we had was this piece of shit mask I wore a few Halloween’s back.

So there we sat, Buck whose face was still covered with ceiling and his anonymous friend known only as Lucha-Wolvie. A genius creation of mine that was a hybrid of a masked Mexican wrestler and the famed x-men character, Wolverine.

Both of us were covered in blood. If it weren’t Halloween weekend people would have lost their minds.

“druph fuph ar re gunuph duh” I said to Buck who rolled his eyes.

“I can’t understand a word your saying through that fucking mask man” Buck replied.

I pulled it up over my mouth “Hey! The mask was your idea!” I whisper-shouted through my teeth.

“If you could stop having imaginary vendetta’s against complete strangers you wouldn’t have to wear the mask, Dave.” Buck said matter-of-factly

“I saw him make a balloon donkey show Buck. A balloon man, fucking a balloon donkey…as a hat! This is a wholesome, family oriented establishment! We don’t need that kinda trash in here!” I replied angrily, I really fucking hated that balloon guy “Now what the fuck are we gonna do about our Brycis”

Bucks nostrils flared. His eyes sunk low. This was what I called his Shame-Face. I’d just pissed him off.

“Don’t start Dave, not tonight. Please” if Buck could have rolled his eyes with his entire body, he would of. He continued his protest through a comically poignant mocking imitation of a high pitched English accent “he’s Bryce, it’s a crisis…” he gave up on the accent “I get it, it’s funny, mostly for you, this is how you deal with things but seriously, not toni…” he was cut off

“Dave! Take that stupid fucking mask off! I know that’s you” it was Artie the grave yard bartender. I’d been rumbled.

“Not gonna give me any fuckin’ trouble are you?” He barked.

“No Artie! I promise” I help up three fingers like some kind of boy-scout salute as I pulled the mask off of my face giving Buck a self-satisfied look and said, as though no one could hear me and we were the only two people In the room “see, my theory about getting banned from places holds up!”. He could tell and flipped me the bird.

“Don’t make me regret letting you back in here” Artie pointed a stern finger at me “pitcher of Coors and 4 shots of well tequila?”

“Each” We said simultaneously.

Ordinarily we’d split a pitcher and have a couple shots each. That first round would either put us where we needed to be or it repeated until Irish whiskey seemed like a good idea and then I usually wound up puking out the window of Buck’s truck on the way home. Tonight we had to up the ante. Needed to.

Before we knew it there was beautiful problem solving alcohol in front of us and I lowered my voice, attempting once more to approach the subject of the corpse that was still in our kitchen aka The Brycis.

“I’m not crazy for thinking this am I? We can’t feasibly call the police about this right? I mean what the fuck would we say?” it might have been some kind of guilt complex I had buried away in me, or possibly the countless hours of procedural homicide shows I’ve watched, but in my mind it looked like we did it, or had something to do with it.

“We could say a wild animal broke in and…” Buck stopped and shook his head “what the fuck kinda animal can do anything like that?” My mind flashed back to the kitchen for a split second. The image of Bryce’s body, ripped open and lifeless was already beginning to haunt the thoughts that I didn’t actively keep occupied with more pleasant thoughts.

We said Cheers and took the first shot.

I suppose I hadn’t noticed how irregular i had been feeling until the first sip of liquor crossed my lips and into my body. The warmth of the shot emanated from the center of me and spread all the way to my fingertips. I was immediately beginning to feel like myself again.

“What about…It?” buck said

“What about it?” I snapped “’s’not in our house anymore, ‘s’not our problem!”

Apparently the more scared I get the bigger prick I become, and that fucking thing scared me shitless.

We clinked our glasses together and took another shot.

I could shoot a million monsters in a million videogames. I could subject myself the darkest most fucked up creatures the cinematic world could offer me for months at a time, but it would’ve never prepared me for seeing something like that in the flesh, right in front of my eyes. It had been the undeniable proof that there were monsters. They might not be from our world, but they were very very real and we’d just brought one here.

Everything had changed.

“Jesus Dave, this isn’t like we let an ill-tempered fucking dog loose. You saw what it did to Bry…”

“SHHHdon’t say his fucking name!” my face looked like I was yelling, but my voice was definitely a whisper.

Buck shook his head in dismissal then leaned in across the table and in a low and collected tone said “People are going to come looking for him Dave. Do you know if he told anyone he was coming over? This isn’t just gonna go away.”

He was right. I fucking hate it when Buck is right.

“So what do you suggest Buck? We strap on hockey pads and patrol the neighborhood with your shotgun?” I proposed sarcastically “…hope to fuck we see that thing before it see’s us?”

“What I suggest, asshole…” Buck lowered his voice even further “…is that we get what’s left of Bryce the fuck out of our kitchen before we’re in handcuffs trying to explain how we accidentally teleported a monster from a parallel earth here and inadvertently got someone killed”

There was a seriousness in Buck’s voice that I don’t so often hear. It was cold and lacked emotion. Up until a few hours ago Bryce had a living person. He had been someone we knew. now, he was just something that couldn’t be in our kitchen anymore.

Upon processing this notion I realised that Bryce was now just a reason for me to burn my shirt, Burn my jeans, and my boots. I liked those boots. I liked them so much I’d given them names. Persephone and Damascus. They’d been all over the country with me. Up and down mountains. I’d smuggled all manner of things across international boarders in them. We had a very special bond.

I’d like to correct myself. I loved those fucking boots.

Jesus, where’d I put my humanity?

“Don’t look at me like that man, I don’t have time to think about the morality in all of this. This is something we need to fix, and quickly before we’re blamed for it.” Clearly buck hadn’t correctly extrapolated the cause behind my inflection, but I couldn’t help but agree with him.

Cheers. Shot.

The power of alcohol was really starting to course through me now and after the last shot I could feel the gears of my mind easing up and beginning to turn. The terror had started to vanish into the fog of booze and too many prescription meds. my inner piece-of-shit was pushing back the lid on its coffin in preparation of joining us on this adventure. After that last drink none of it seemed all that bad and both of us kinda started to see the funny side.

Now, I know you’re probably thinking “what funny side Dave? Your friend’s dead and there’s a murderous shape shifting inter dimensional blob monster on the loose” and yes that all sounds pretty awful, but what were we supposed to do, stay scared and sober? Fuck that, my inner shit-bag is a man of action, and lucky for me he’s usually a solid aid when it comes to rousing the same sort of enthusiasm in Buck who was at that point, starting to look a little mopey.

“Listen…” I said “…I’m gonna go piss, you’re gonna brain storm, then we’re taking these shots and start figuring this out. Nothing is fucked here.” shot three had apparently put me in a much more positive place giving buck 2 thumbs up before excusing myself to the toilets.

The Hunters Edge toilets were everything you could probably expect from a dive bar in downtown Las Vegas. They were dirty, smelled atrocious and were the last place you’d ever sit down to shit, I looked like part of the furniture.

I pulled my red hair into a fashionably taboo bun and glared at myself past the smears on the mirror, which wasn’t even a mirror, it was just polished metal and was only barely passable as something one might call a reflective surface.

I looked like shit. Like shit that had been eaten by shit, then shit out again, it was bad. My eyes still looked like they had recently been glowing. There was blood on…everything.

I looked like I’d just gotten off the set of some prime time zombie show where I’d been the feature zombie kill of the week.

I leaned in and eyed the lump forming on my cheek. I couldn’t really remember at what exact point I’d been hit in the face. I tried to replay the nights events but there was no distinct moment I could recall getting hit hard enough to give me that kind of shiner.

I poked at it, it hurt, all the way up into my eye it hurt. The hurt made me laugh. A lot.

Yes, I know that nothing was funny. Not funny Ha-Ha anyway, but I couldn’t help but laugh. This whole thing was absolutely ridiculous. like, suddenly we have to start dealing with the realization that there were alternate, and possibly infinite dimensions that play as homes to sincerely terrifying monsters and here I am, half cocked at The Hunters Edge just 30 minutes after I watched my friend get murdered trying to figure out at what point I got punched in the face. C’mon.

Maybe my brain forced my coping mechanisms into a hard time-out or something but this was the only thing I wanted to think About.

I turned on the sink and threw water in my face. The blood that had dried on my face started to regain a more viscous consistency and Just smeared across my face making me look even more ridiculous.

I didn’t want to think about my life being in danger, or Bryce, or the feeling that Nina was probably going to rush in at any point In time to arrest me. What I wanted to do was not deal with any of this, I wanted to walk back out into the bar, order another round and drink with Buck until the sun came up.

I took a deep breath and before I could exhale the bathroom door flew open and Artie stormed in screaming

“God damn it Dave! You’ve been in here for 10 minutes! Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing in…” Artie paused and looked around. I glanced over my shoulder with a puzzled look.

“Uhh, hey Art’, uhhh, what’s up?”

“Why aren’t you in the stall?” He quickly asked

“Because I’m standing here…wiping this blood off of my face.”

“Well why the hell there blood on your face?”

Artie seemed a little flustered, I assume he’d just heard me giggling like a moron by myself in there and had grown suspicious.

“There’s blood on my face because I just watched a monster brutally rip my friend to pieces Artie.” I was playing a pretty reckless game of chicken with the truth.

Artie paused, looked around like he was trying to find evidence that I’d been doing something he could kick me out for.

“Man, There’s blood on my face because it’s Halloween and bloods part of the costume.” The Lie was infinitely more plausible that the truth.

“You’re not doing drugs in here?”

“No man, i did them at home”

Long, awkward pause…I looked at Artie, he looked at me waiting for a crack in my defenses to make itself known.

“AH HAHAHAHAHA!” Artie burst out laughing, playfully punching my arm a little too hard while I awkwardly laughed along with him.

“Get back out there!” He grabbed me and turned me toward the door “your buddy’s gonna start drinking without you!” I left the bathroom.

I don’t want to say ran, but I might’ve power walked to get back to buck who was reaching for his glass.

I put my hand over it stopping him. I’d had a slight moment of something that might resemble clarity, like the last death rattle of my conscious speaking up before I, once again, got involved in some stupid fucking bullshit with Buck.

“Wait,” I looked at him soberly “What if we just turn the machine over to the cops and plead ignorance? Maybe they’d go easy on us?”

Buck lowered both his eyebrows and gave me the kind of look I assume someone would give if I’d just politely asked if they’d be totally fine with me fucking their younger sister.

“What? Why the fuck would we do that?” Buck said.

I paused briefly and considered the various scenarios.

“No, Yeah. Yeah. No, You’re right.” I said flippantly and reached for my shot glass.

We said cheers for a fourth time and knocked back our last shot chasing it down with the remainder of our beers.

“Anyway while you playing grab-ass with Artie in the men’s room, I was coming up with a plan, we need to get back to the house ” Buck had a smile on his face, a real one. Not a I’m-4-shots-and-a-pitcher-deep smile. He was genuinely pleased with himself.

“YES!” I Stood up and gave a little fist pump into the air. I don’t know what I was so excited about; at this point I knew absolutely nothing about Buck’s plan. For all I knew he was going to use me as bait then execute the Thing Mob style while it was busy sucking out my insides. I was just excited someone had a plan, any plan was better than no plan, and if I’m being completely honest with you, things tend to work out more favourably for us when I take a back seat to the planning things part of bullshit such as this.

We paid Artie and headed out to Buck’s 1998 Ford Ranger. Bathed in the white neon light of the strip mall The Hunters Edge was located in you could see all of its flaws, and fuck, it had a gang of them. I assumed palpable Hope held most of the car together somehow but Buck swore that while it didn’t look pretty, its only flaws were cosmetic. Buck had every intention of driving the beast until it took its final breath.

The old engine rumbled to life and Police Truck by Dead Kennedy’s came blaring out of the junk stock speakers. The whole car shook, constantly. You couldn’t tell if it was your phone or just the car vibrating. It was so bad that you could feel it in your whole body for 10 minutes after you’d gotten out. Buck had only ever driven that truck the entire time I’d known him, it was part of family! That’s not to say I didn’t ridicule the ever living fuck out of him for still driving it around though.

We sped through the back streets. Buck always took the most ass-backwards ways to get too and from the bars we frequented. They weren’t necessarily short cuts, but they weren’t exclusively longer either. Buck claimed that it was to avoid the police, but we always saw them, and my previously mention guilt complex always had me convinced that we looked more suspicious being the only car rolling through mostly deserted areas of town in the middle of the night.

I looked out the window as the chorus to Police Truck hummed like music in another room. I was far away from it, thinking about how many people were probably dead already because of us. I have a habit of assuming the worst. My mind was like a pendulum swinging between being excited about everything and then feeling completely mortified. We shit the bed pretty bad this time.

I’d walked into that bathroom mere moments away from leveling up and being ready to fight the world but something between then And now really knocked me off my game. It’s so hard to maintain that perfect drunk.

Someone ran across the road in front of us forcing us to slow down. There was something familiar about the them but I couldn’t quite place what it was I recognized until the person glanced at over at us and…

“Is that fucking Bryce?” Buck took the words right out of my brain and said them for me but before I could process and respond.

Buck slammed the breaks and brought us to a sudden halt, the person stood still in the road vacantly looking in the trucks direction.

As far as I could see it was Bryce, right there in front of us all muddy and bloody lit up by the Rangers headlights.

There was a long, Erie silence as both of our jaws hung slack, unable to speak.

We looked at Bryce and Bryce looked back at us, I leaned forward squinting through Buck’s dirty windshield hoping that it was just my perspective or my overworked brain playing a cruel trick on itself.

“Uhhhhh, Buck…what the fuck is…”

BANG!

The back window of the truck shattered behind my head before I could finish.

I saw the Bryce thing dart off before I got as low as I could in the cramped truck cab. My heart pounded as tiny glass shards succumbed to gravity and toppled down onto our heads.

BANG!

Huge spiderweb cracks crawled across the windshield originating from a central hole that was about the size of a quarter.

“Is someone fucking shooting at us?” Buck grunted. The cold air swam in through the broken window and turned his breath to steam.

“I don’t think they’re shooting at…” I was cut off.

BANG!

BANG!

“RUN!” Buck hollered.

We both scrambled out of the car and scattered in opposite directions. Both of us taking cover between the vacant houses that surrounded us.

The neighborhood was mainly just foreclosed properties used as squat houses for the plethora of homeless that populated downtown Las Vegas. It was generally a very quiet place. Everyone who lived in the area kept to a don’t-shit-where-you-eat code of ethics because we were mostly all doing something illegal. We didn’t call the cop’s when Lenny from 3 houses down’s amateur meth lab blew up and left the neighborhood stinking like straight cat piss for 3 days because, at the same time, we had a kitchen full of grow lights and shoulder high pot plants. The point is that Nobody needed the extra attention; so you can understand what I mean when I say shooting at passing cars was generally frowned upon.

“YO! WHAT THE FUCK? WE COME IN PEACE!” I yelled but just heard another gunshot followed immediately by the sound of glass shattering. The Ranger took another shot. I wondered how much life that thing had left in it, every shot chipping away at its hypothetical power bar.

I reached down to grab my phone to try to contact Buck but I was only able to wrap my fingers around the feeling of disappointment upon realizing that I’d left it sitting in the passenger seat of the truck. Fuck!

“Buuuuuuck” I whispered through the cold hoping he was within ear shot, turning around and cutting behind one of the houses making sure not to disturb the mine field of sleeping drunks ready to wake up screaming their own private language of intoxicated mania. This was where they slept. They didn’t come to our house to sleep, so they didn’t take kindly to me wandering through theirs.

“Buuuuuuck” I tried again as I peeked my head out around the plastic siding. The shattering of glass had definitely been the driver side window. I imagined buck becoming quite furious.

I gingerly took a step out from between two buildings, cautiously checking my peripheries for rogue gunmen.

There hadn’t been another gun shot for some time now. I wondered if I’d have enough time to dash to the truck and retrieve my phone. Checking my lefts and rights again and seeing nothing I decided to take a chance and run for it.

Yes, I was about to risk my life for my phone. A small piece of plastic that connected easily to the internet and provided me with music and porn and free movies that were still in theaters. I can’t currently bring to mind a single human in my life that I’d risk getting shot for. Maybe Buck? But like, in the arm? Or leg? I don’t know, definitely not in the face or chest.

I planted my feet and readied myself to bolt for the car and retrieve what us apparently my most important belonging. Taking in a big breath of chill air, I tilted my head back and said a quick prayer to absolutely no one with the ability to hear my silent thoughts, then I launched out from behind the house with the force of an Olympic sprinter who managed to scam is drug tests.

I was One, two, three solid strides into my run when the whole plan, as most of my plans do, turned completely to total bullshit.

“OH FUCK THAT!” I yelled loudly as I was all of a sudden face to face with Bryce, but not Bryce. Bryce was dead and The remains of his body were splattered across the floor of my kitchen getting harder and harder to remove and clean with every moment that passed.

What stood in front of me was the thing that killed him, now wearing Bryce’s face, and apparently also wearing one of Bryce’s Bob Marley/Pittsburgh Steelers hybrid jerseys. I guess there’s no accounting for taste even when you’re dealing with monsters from other dimensions.

While the thing could look like Bryce at a glance, now getting a look at it just 6 feet away from me, I could see the cracks in its camouflage. I could pick out the more blob-creature aspects of it. the way the limbs stretched a little too far and how it couldn’t really ever stop moving, just drifting from side to side correcting the gelatinous weight shifting about. It had a total vacancy to all of its facial expressions. the mouth, eye brows, the way the jaw just kind of hung there, but it’s eyes, Bryce’s eyes, they looked hungry.

I have a thing about dying, ever since I was a little kid I have wanted fuck all to do with it, I just outright refuse. I’ve gotten good at it. Refusing death(which is very different than simply avoiding it) has become such a big part of my life that the second I read the look in the Bryce-things eyes I was gone, I didn’t need a fucking Teleporter for that. Not. Fucking. Today.

My reflexes activated in such a way that my legs were a full 2 strides into running away before my body caught up. I must’ve looked like I was trying to imitate an old Saturday morning Scooby-Doo cartoon.

I vaulted over the wall of a front yard and jettisoned myself to the side of the house, cutting through to get one street over and put more obstacles between me and that thing.

I only glanced back once, briefly, to see if it had given chase, but I didn’t get chance to turn my head all the way back to look. Before I could, there was the sound of tires screeching and a sharp pain in my hip. my head hit something cold and metallic. There was the sensation of falling, then my head hit the asphalt and I looked up at the stars, they were spinning like a babies crib Mobile, or maybe my brain was what was spinning.

I heard a voice, a woman’s.

“…Dave?”

Fucking Nina.

To be continued…

Chaper 2: Beverly Hills Cop 4

Beverly Hills Cop 4…and Bryce

After the pharmacy Buck and me had mostly both decided to leave the machine alone for a while. It was nearly a couple days past now and my eyes were only just starting to return to some kind of normal colour. Thank Christ whatever that fucking machine had done to me was wearing off .

We hadn’t talked about it, but I think we both grasped that this thing was way beyond our current level of understanding, we’d need to do a lot more work on paper before trying anything like that again. Even the base coordinates to the places we’d safely skipped to and from now retained a certain amount of foreboding. I’d gotten off lucky with bloodshot eyes and having to deal with looking like some sort of demon hipster for a week, but what if it had been something worse like my hands, or, god forbid, my cock! I know it doesn’t get much use, but one day, one day I’d really like to put some miles on the little guy.

There was also that whole business with Nina seeing me that I conveniently hadn’t mentioned to Buck. That woman’s not one who takes being humiliated lightly and I was whole heartedly shocked she hadn’t paid me a visit yet. I just told myself that was a bridge to cross when I arrived at it and went on subscribing to the whole ‘no news is good news’ philosophy.

Why the fuck didn’t we rob a pharmacy in another city?! So fucking stupid!

Thanks to the plethora of pills I’d acquired during the whole debacle I managed to will the thoughts of teleportation to a dark room in the back of my mind and boarded the doors shut with as many intoxicants as I could find. Business as usual!

Buck on the other hand; who doesn’t share my love of the emotionless drug induced abyss that many like us choose to call home, he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He had been certain of those coordinates.

Buck’s the frowniest of Frown Lords on the best of days, sometimes a total Fun Sponge, even The King of Carrot Town! He’s guilty of being a lot of things, but rarely was Buck ever guilty of being wrong. Even after losing the coin toss and having to work on sending us to my preferred location (He wanted to rob the local guitar center), he worked tirelessly crunching numbers to make sure nothing would go wrong, and it still went wrong. He took it personally and continued working on the math. I ignored it, as long as the machine stayed packed up in the closet no one was getting hurt. As far as me and my drugs were concerned, we’d waged war with the futuristic concept of teleportation and although we hadn’t necessarily won, we’d come out relatively unscathed. That was enough for me.

It must’ve been Thursday, or Tuesday…definitely one of the T days, when I was brutally dragged from my peaceful abyss by Buck aggressively kicking the side of the couch I’d adopted as my regular sleeping quarters. I sprung awake, feigning attentiveness.

“Whaa,tunn, gobey wa…?” I mumbled gibberish while visibly confident I was making perfect sense.

“You gotta call Bryce, I need drugs” Buck snapped at me.

Realizing I was still unable to make actual words come out I simply gestured with my arm towards the coffee table and scrunched my eyes up at Buck hoping to communicate the annoyed sentiment of “You woke me up for this? There’s fucking drugs everywhere” . You could barely put a drink down there were so many pill bottles.

“Yeah, Dave – Your drugs. I need uppers to stay awake man, I nearly got this thing figured out. I’m exhausted and I need to fucking focus!” he said with a kind of manic, strung out contempt as he moved around front of the coffee table picking up a bottle.

“Benzo’s…” he threw it at me.

“Pain killers…” he threw that one too while I made a pathetic attempt to shield myself.

“What the fuck is this…?” he read the label of another bottle “…dip…hphe…hydo…”

“Diphenhydramine.” I interrupted, peeking out from behind my forearms.

“Is it gonna keep me up?” he asked.

I shook my head no.

“THEN IT’S NO FUCKING GOOD TO ME!” he pitched the bottle square at my head and hit me right between the eyes.

“AAOW!” I exclaimed.

“Call. Bryce.” Buck said firmly.

I nodded and pulled out my phone. Buck wasn’t wrong; I hadn’t exactly gone shopping for anyone but myself at that pharmacy.

Bryce was a Barback at Tack Liquors, a bar I occasionally worked at when they absolutely had no other person to call in and cover a shift. He wasn’t a drug dealer per se; he was just a party machine always ready to get fucked up at a moments notice. He was super friendly with everyone and always had his pockets full of weird designer drugs and things you couldn’t get from the usual scumbags me and buck would cop shit from. Not only did he always have cocaine that was so good it might as well have been scraped right off of Pablo Escobar’s desk, but he also had a closet full of IV saline bags that he’d hook us up to if we ever had a hangover that Pedialite or more booze couldn’t quite overcome. He was a great guy to know, but you really needed to be in for the long haul if you were gonna call Bryce.

I inhaled deeply , took all of this into account, exhaled, and dialed the phone.

“Hey man, what’s up? Yeah? Tight…tight…you should come over to Bucks and mine. You gotta check out our…” I wasn’t sure what to say to ensure his arrival so I just said the first thing to come into my head “…come check out our…our teleporter?” I definitely phrased it as a question.

Buck glared at me mouthing the words WHAT THE FUCK. I just shrugged my shoulders mouthing I DON’T KNOW back at him as apologetically as possible.

I pulled the phone away from my ear as the sound of Bryce’s voice grew out of the phones tiny speaker “BUUUUUUUDDDDDYYYYYYY!” it sounded like I had a Pauly Shore soundboard running at full volume through my phone. Both of us winced.

Bryce frantically vomited audio of what I can only assume to be a sentence then hung up before I could even say goodbye, 15 minutes later he was sitting in our living room crushing up Adderal under a $100 bill with the TV remote.

Bryce had clearly already been indulging this evening and was talking a mile a minute, faster than either of us follow. We just sort of looked at each other maybe waiting to add something to the conversation but Bryce just talked and talked, switching between subjects the way a teenager would flip between radio stations on a boring road trip. I popped a Xanax and tossed the bottle to Buck.

I was walking to the kitchen to make myself a drink when Bryce paused and drew breath before jumping to his feet and snatching a DVD from one of the end tables.

“Buddy, Buddy, Budddyyyyy! Where. The fuck. Did you guys get this?!” he exclaimed, holding up a BlueRay copy of Eddie Murphy’s Beverly Hills Cop IV, a movie that to my knowledge didn’t actually exist. “It’s gotta be fake? Riiight? “

I turned around looking at Buck curiously

“Yeahhh Buck, where did we get that? That not actually being a real thing or anything”

Buck was a pretty matter of fact when it came to being questioned. He never usually had anything to hide, but he danced around my question like Floyd Mayweather.

This was the kind of curio that would appear in our home after one of my benders and I’d just shrug off as being an amusing symptom of my delinquency. This wasn’t the kind of thing that makes its way onto the coffee table at the hands of Buck. He’s not incredibly artsy either, so I knew he Wouldn’t have mocked it up for a goof. I was getting suspicious and pushing for answers.

“Look, I knew you’d get all fucking over dramatic about the whole thing” he said “I knew you’d make a big deal and, Dave it’s just way over the top. So I just went ahead without you”

“What are you saying Buck?” my brain was reallllllllly struggling to keep up “wait…” there it goes “… YOU USED THE TELEPORTER!!” I stamped my foot on the ground spilling some of my drink “We said we weren’t going to use it until we knew what the fuck we were doing! And how does that have anything to do with Eddie fucking Murphy!?”

“Everything you turd!” Buck retorted “It works Dave! It fucking works, and it’s not just North Korea or South America, this thing can go, I dunno how to put it…beyond that.”

As we lay into each other over deception vs progress we all but forgot that Bryce was standing there staring at us while we divulged secret after secret in the form of petty argument. He looked down at Beverly Hills Cop IV then back up at us. “wait, wait, wait…” we stopped yelling at each other and looked at him “…you guys actually have a teleporter?” we both looked at each other, then back at Bryce.

“look man, it’s complicated…” Buck said dismissively.

“yeah, it might even be dangerous” I added.

“Shut up Dave, you’re being a pussy!” Buck quipped at me.

“Don’t use pussy as a pejorative Buck!” I snapped back at him. Luckily Bryce interrupted Buck before he could escalate our squabbling any further.

“Buddy, no. Fucking. Way. You gotta let me try it” he looked back and fourth at both of us while we stood in silence until Buck finally said “…ok, lets do it!”

“Buck, no!” I protested, “This is human testing man. Remember that summer I was vegan? I still believe all that shit man. You don’t test weird shit on animals or humans! It’s like…” I struggled through my cloudy mind to come up with a viable argument “…turtles Buck! This is why we cut plastic rings on six packs! Turtles…”

“Nothing you just said makes any sense man. Less sense than usual actually. Are you sure you’re ok?” He gave me a look of genuine concern, I guess I might’ve been more than a little out of it “…look, he wants to. Let him,” Buck blew me off as he went to the cupboard to pull out all the wires and boxes that made up the machine while Bryce bounced up and down like a kid waiting in line to see Santa.

Buck didn’t really know Bryce that well. It was one of those “that’s your friend” kind of situations. I knew Buck, and I could tell that he saw Bryce’s excitement and willful participation as an excuse to test out the machine on someone other than himself. Let me be clear though. Neither of us were actually that concerned for his safety. We’re not the nice st of people. I just didn’t think any of this could happen…

Sorry I got ahead of myself

I threw my arms up “Fine Bryce, your funeral man, don’t complain to me when you come back missing…” The pile of powder Bryce had made on the table distracted me and i snorted a line quickly before quietly finishing “…all your drugs”. I exhaled in a haze and sunk into the couch, pouting as I examined the back cover of Beverly Hills Cop IV while Buck went about explaining the machine to Bryce.

It credited the entire leading cast of the original 2 movies as appearing and even touted Oscar nods for Best Action and Best Comedy. What the fuck was this thing? I popped in the disk expecting to, on the better end of my assumptions, get Rick Rolled (a harmless internet game where you trick people into listening to the Rick Astley classic “Never Gonna Give”), and at the other end of my assumptions hung flash backs to Mr Hands and Two Girls/One Cup. I shuddered and prayed silently for the former.

The movie opened with that familiar old “Axel F” theme that’s synonymous with the franchise. Eddie Murphy’s name flashed on the screen and then there he was, the real Eddie Murphy as fast talking Detroit detective Axel Foley.

Judge Reinhold was right there with him looking decidedly less like Billy Rosewood than Eddie Looked like Axel. I guess time can’t be kind to all of us.

“What the fuck is this?” Just kept repeating in my head over and over. I pulled out my phone and tapped the title of the film into the search bar. All that came back were rumors of a film in pre production hell, one that would, at best, maybe get turned into a straight to DVD release of a film bearing the name of the franchise, but none of the talent.

Behind me Buck was Duct taping a cellphone to Bryce’s chest with the camera facing forward. It was dialed into a video call showing on a tablet that was propped up on the kitchen table. “I’m just sending you to Symphony Park. You know that little playing field near the outlets. Then I’m bringing you back” I heard buck say “I just have to put in your height and weight here…”

“this is fucking stupid and I want to make it known that I’m whole heartedly against it” I called blindly into the kitchen.

“Buddy! It’s gonna be fine” Bryce giggled back at me before excitedly asking “Buck, can you send me to Burning Man?”

“No Bryce.” That discussion was over.

As buck clicked away at they keypad I became more and more concerned with the existence of this movie. I was as happy as the next guy to finally see some big movie studio deal a deathblow to one of histories last credible action trilogies, but this shouldn’t exist. I started really trying to focus; the pills were making my thoughts fuzzy. It was getting harder and harder to keep things in order.

“If this doesn’t exist…” I thought. “…Then where did buck to get it”. I was making progress on turning the feeling in the pit of my stomach into cognitive thought.

“…But it does exist. It’s right here” nearly there. Nearly… “And Buck went, beyond that…HOLY SHIT!”

To this Day the above reigns as the hardest game of putting 2 and 2 together I’ve ever played.

I leapt to my feet and tried to tell buck to stop but it was too late. POP! Bryce was gone.

I dove across the room to look at the screen on the tablet. All I could see was the clouds. He had to be lying on his back; not every landing was entirely smooth.

“Bryce!?” I yelled at the screen “can you hear me? Are you ok?” there was no response.

“BRYCE!” Buck barked at the screen but still nothing.

We both waited. I was holding my breath until…

“heh heh heh budddyyyyy! I’m good!”

My whole insides dropped with relief, but I was still terrified. In the opening credits of the movie I’d put together what buck had meant. This wasn’t just a machine that could send you anywhere on earth, this machine could send us much further than that…where movie studios apparently have enough Fuck-You money to keep churning out bombs like the garbage fire of a movie was playing on the television.

I know I’d only just gotten through the opening sequence here, but I’ve gone back and watched it since all this happened. It’s fucking atrocious. Apparently it’s from a world with much lower standards. Oscar nod for Best comedy? What the fuck was it up against? Home Alone 6: Marv’s Revenge? Gimme a break.

“Byrce, man, tell me what you see” I said,

“He see’s symphony park, Dave. Look, there’s the colour wall. There’s the highway…”

“Guy’s, why’s it so dark? I thought they’d have the lights on at night?” Bryce’s voice crackled through the speakers.

He was starting to move about. As the camera wobbled from side to side I caught glimpses of the buildings around the park, they were all dark. Their windows were boarded up or were just left smashed in. it was definitely Symphony Park, just not like I’d ever seen it.

“Buck, I don’t like this, bring him back.” I said

“Relax, it’s Halloween, that’s all decoration, you barely even saw…” Bryce cut him off.

“Guys. Hey guys, there’s someone here. I, I think it’s a little kid” the signal was getting weak. We could hear Bryce’s voice but it was marred in static.

The camera swung to the left, it flickered intermittently, but we could definitely make out a shape. Buck leaned in close to the screen then looked back at me.

“He’s right! There’s a kid there,” he said.

“Let me fucking see!” I pushed Buck out of the way to get a better look at the screen and he was right. About 20 feet in front of Bryce stood a little boy. He was about 3 and a half feet tall. His head hung low obscuring his face showing us only his short white-blonde hair. He wore red sweat pants and an oversized blue sweatshirt with arms that hung lower than his hands. He was swaying from side to side, slowly shuffling his way towards Bryce.

“It’s ok buddy, come’ere” I could see Bryce’s hand motioning for the boy to come closer “…he looks scared you guys. I’m not gonna hurt ya buddy. Come’ere”

I leaned in even closer looking at the kid. Was that even a kid? It had the shape of one, but those weren’t the movements of a person. Were they? All of his clothes looked stained and muddy. I thought that maybe he was one of the tunnel people who live in the sewers under Las Vegas. The smell would give it away.

“Bryce? Can you smell him?” I asked, genuinely thinking I was asking a valid question, but clearly I’d given the wheel to the pills for a brief moment.

“Jesus man, we’ve talked about this…” Buck was swatting me away from the screen “…first you think, then you speak. It’s not that fucking hard.” He turned his attention to the static on the tablet screen.

“Bryce? If you can hear me, I’m gonna bring you back. Ok?”

We sat waiting for some sort of confirmation that he’d heard us when the picture clicked back in and…the kid, the kid was down on all fours. He’d assumed a sort of defensive tackle position.

“Buddy I don’t like this, bring me back” Bryce said.

He started backing up, away from the boy when like a rocket it lunged forward, galloping on all fours towards Bryce.

“BRINGHIMBACKBRINGHIMBACKBRINGHIMBACK!” I shrieked at Buck as he fumbled clumsily with the controller, so startled he couldn’t make his thumbs press right button until…

POP! Bryce burst back into the kitchen with a flurry of limbs and screams knocking both me and Buck to the floor in the confusion. Most of the landings are smooth. You’ll wind up a couple inches of the ground, I’ve landed on my ass a couple times, but this was explosive. Bryce and the kid flew across the room smashing into the kitchen cabinets.

The little snot was perched on Bryce’s chest thrashing its arms and gnawing at Bryce’s throat.

We looked on in petrified awe as Bryce thrashed around on his back trying to push it off of his chest. There was a thick black ooze pouring out of the kid all over Him. There was screaming. A lot of loud loud screaming.

I ran in to pull him off of Bryce but the second my hands touched it I was swatted away and sent flying through the air back into the dining room.

Buck tried to help and met the same fate. Both of us had taken hard hits, way to hard to have been hit by a mere child.

It was very quickly made clear to us when we looked back over at it that it was not just s mere child, it have never been a child.

Both his arms were waving as though they had no bones. Impossible elbows bent backwards while they stretched and recoiled.

It was then i notice that the liquid wasn’t pouring at all, it was crawling. It was alive, moving with purpose, and that purpose at present was apparently killing my drug dealer…sorry ,“party facilitator”.

Looking down at Bryce I saw that the kids entire lower half had become a gelatinous blob that was now surrounding most of Bryce’s torso.

The part of the kid that was a mouth fell slack and melted as it made a sounded like someone had shot pressurized air through 500 rain sticks all at once or grabbed entirely too many rattlesnakes all at once.

“Oh fuck this.” Buck said to no one in particular as he dragged himself off the floor and into the darkness of his room, seconds later he reemerged toting a double barrel shotgun pointed straight at the insect. Pretty badass, right?

Buck and me, as two very stoned men in their early 30’s in possession of a Teleporter had grown quite fond of home security. I’d spent a lot of the past few months crafting melee weapons and scattering them around the house. Buck on the other hand went full on Rambo and bought a giant shotgun. I’d nearly pissed myself laughing when he brought the thing home. It was nearly as big as him! Despite all my paranoia of someone coming to aggressively retain possession of the machine, I was pretty fucking certain Buck would never have to use that big fuck-off shot gun. I reminded myself to start taking my paranoia more seriously.

Buck marched to the center of the kitchen and bellowed “HEY FUCKER!” at the creature but it payed no attention and continued mutilating Bryce.

He took aim and with one more split second before pulling the trigger, Buck stepped in the pooling blood that neither of us had noticed covering our kitchen floor. A dark river of red was pouring out of Bryce. Poor Bryce. He just wanted to party. Now he was a wriggling mess of leaking body parts under some kind of possibly inter dimensional!blob monster.

Buck’s legs went out from under him and he flew into the air before crashing down on his back. The butt of the shotgun hit the tile and inadvertently went off in a deafening explosion. It blew a hole in the ceiling above buck painting him in white dust. Buck winced and heaved trying to get breath back into his lungs. Those things were really not meant for inside use.

I couldn’t hear anything but the ringing in my ears from the shotgun blast. The creature was reducing Bryce to liquid, as the seconds went by less and less of him became recognizable as human.

With one last wet crunch whatever was left of Bryce Popped like a meat balloon sending a crimson mist of blood across my face before it sprung up, in a motion that completely defied the physics of what one might assume a life form such as this would be capable of. You know…if you’ve ever seen something like this(I’ve attached contact info, because if you have, me and buck need to talk to you). It attached itself to one of the upper cabinets then launched it’s self through the window and out into the desert night.

What was left of Bryce bore no resemblance to the kid I knew. It was just some skin with no head. Like someone had cut him in half then hollowed him out. I think his spleen or kidney was left, I’m not sure. I don’t know much about the internal organs of a human. I don’t even know why I’d try to speculate?

The ringing started to dissipate and I went over to tend to Buck. Slip-sliding in the blood trying to get to him. I tried to take the shotgun but couldn’t get a grip on it. Everything was slick with blood. Buck just stared me dead in the eyes with a look I’d never seen before. I imagine I had the same look on my own face. It was pure, unbridled fear.

“Buck! Buck!” I yelled but everything was a mess of echos “we need to get the fuck out of here man.”

To be continued…

Chapter 1: The Pharmacy

Chapter 1: The Pharmacy

One moment, it was just an empty pharmacy at 3am. Quiet as a cemetery and just as fucking lonely. Streetlight crept in through the closed shutters and the only things that ever moved were the shadows when cars piloted by probably too-drunk-to-drive bar patrons would pass by.

One moment it was just an empty pharmacy at 3am and then, a fraction of a second later there was me.

Hi! I’m Dave and I am an alcoholic…Sorry, I’ve had to say that so many times It just winds up slipping out whenever I introduce myself anymore.

So there I stood in all my monochromatic thrift adorned majesty casually smoking a cigarette behind the counter like I’d been standing there the whole time. It happened so fast that your brain would probably add a comedic POP! Sound effect every time you tried to remember seeing it happen. It’s that sudden.

You’re probably wondering what exactly is happening here. Your internal monologue is crying out “Why! Why on earth did Dave just appear out of complete thin air behind the register at a clearly shuttered and empty pill boutique?”

Why? Well because this is what happens when you give a machine capable of teleportation to two highly functioning degenerates.

Yes, you heard me. We have a Teleporter. We have the means for instant transportation of a human being to anywhere on the planet…sort of.

My phone buzzed. It was Buck, My housemate. He’s generally the one who runs the Machine and the only other person who knows about it besides me. He pushes the buttons. I call him The Pusher.

I’ve known Buck forever, we were drawn together through my desperate delinquent need to consume alcohol and his ability to buy beer due to him being he only person in our social group who happened to be over 21 at the time. Buck was also in this ripper band that, while I have a forum to bring it up, were genuinely before their time and the fact that I’m not currently suckling from the swollen tit of bucks Success and fame both shocks and upsets me.

“Did it work?” the screen read.

I looked around the room and let an uncontrollable grin etch its way onto my face and replied, “Dude… yes, yes it fucking worked.”

I was excited, and deservedly so. This was a big win for us, and I think both of us were in need of a win at this point. See, we don’t actually know how this fucking Teleport thing works. That’s the hilarious karmic irony of us having this machine. It’s possesses the ability to take me anywhere I want, whenever I want…as long as we read the instructions. Trouble is, we didn’t actually get any instructions. All we got was a series of numbers and a few locations frantically scribbled on the back of an envelope during the final breaths of a speed freak we found quietly bleeding out in the alley behind our apartment.

This posed a real problem. It’s nice knowing that you can get to Moscow or North Korea whenever you please, it’s something Buck and me have really taken advantage of since this thing fell into our laps. We’ve even got the coordinates to a Place in Columbia where I was able to use enough kitchen Spanish to talk my way into a relationship with a woman who vends generic Quaaludes. Quaaludes in two thousand fucking nineteen! What a time to be alive! Trouble is, once you get a taste of all that you want more. You can see the possibilities this thing could afford you if only you knew how it worked. We’ve been doing a little experimenting on paper and this particular excursion was the first set of coordinates we’d managed to work out all by ourselves. Well, Buck did mostly all of the math. I would’ve helped but this was all happening around the same time my on again off again girlfriend left me…again, after deciding I’d made her feel morally compromised. A whole thing about her being a police officer while also being in a romantic relationship with someone who…well, someone whose first thought upon obtaining a device capable of teleportation is to rob a pharmacy. I was preoccupied by gin while buck was working out the math. Whatever. This was a win.

The phone buzzed again and my screen read “10”. That meant I had 10 minutes to stuff as many pills into my bag before he pressed the button and brought me back to my comfy living room with enough drugs to make sure I would never have to deal with allergies ever again!

You didn’t think this was just about getting high did you? Shame!

I’d like to say that I went about looting those shelves with expert precision and the stealth of a ninja, but I didn’t. I pressed play on my “work-out” playlist and the headphones in my ears boomed with introductory horn blasts of Gloria Estefan’s 1985 smash hit Conga and took to dancing about the place like a delirious man possessed by the spirit of salsa (yes, I know that technically Conga was by The Miami Sound Machine, but technically Gloria Estefan was The Miami Sound Machine!)!

I’d begun emptying whole shelves into my bag without even checking what they were. I was drop kicking bulk sized bottles of pills I knew I had no interest in while at the same time trying to catch mouthfuls of the ones I loved as I sent them flying into the air. I was in narcotic heaven.

In retrospect I probably could’ve shown a little restraint, but this is the curse of the Teleporter, a life without consequence. Hypothetically we could run up $1000 tabs at the cities best restaurants and as long as we knew how to set the machine, we’d blink out of existence and anyone present would be left with no way to explain where the two heathen’s drinking Dom from the bottle had suddenly vanished to. I wasn’t thinking about getting caught because as Conga drew to a close all I could think was that I had 5 minutes and 44 seconds left to steal more drugs.

No consequences was the reason that after I did an 180 degree spin move in the throws of the techno intro to another Estafan classic, Turn The Beat Around, I didn’t immediately shit myself at the sight of four police officers pointing their guns at me demanding I get down on the ground with my hands behind my head. Instead I just smiled at the police and let a long drawn out “hiiiiiiiiii” escape from somewhere within me that lacked the fear of being shot to pieces.

I did get a feeling similar to that of shitting ones self when I noticed that one of the officers was my now ex-girlfriend Nina. It was dark enough and I was under my hood enough to where she hadn’t recognized me yet, though her persistent orders of “get on the ground you piece of shit” made it seem a lot like we were still living together at the house.

I figured that as long as I didn’t do anything that might be construed as threatening and kept hold of my bag all I’d have to do is keep the cops at bay for a minute or two and buck would have me home, leaving Nina to explain to her superiors how The Pharmacy Bandit vanished without a trace as they were shoving him into the back of a squad car.

I slung my bag over my shoulder hearing the last few seconds of Turn The Beat Around ebb away knowing that it was a matter of seconds before I’d be out of this predicament.

Nina hopped the counter and started coming towards me, gun drawn in one hand, cuffs in the other. I turned around so she couldn’t see my face, putting my arms out behind me allowing her to cuff me with ease. This really was starting to feel like old times.

A mental countdown started in my head as she approached.

5 – One cuff goes on

4 – and the next one. She hasn’t taken off my bag. There is now a pharmacies worth of drugs literally hand cuffed to my person.

3 – I start to think that getting out of these cuffs back home might actually be somewhat of a hassle. I wonder if Buck still has those bolt cutters in the garage at home…or does CJ still have those?

2 – She’s reading me my rights and I have a frivolous thought about whether or not she’s going to be able to finish before I’m gone.

1 – who gives a shit? I’m about to be higher than horse pussy!

0 – …

“…and if you are unable to afford an attorney one will be provided to you by the state…” my body gets that tingling feeling and it feels like my eyes are sweating. I snap my head around and make eye contact with Nina who is pointing her gun at my face.

“Dave!?” she yells with surprise.

“You know this asshole?” one of the other officers asks, but it sounds like it’s far away, like he’s saying it in another room and the plasterboard is cheap.

“Zero” I mutter. As if saying the number again will make whatever didn’t work start working but it’s no good. Panic is setting in and everything looks like I’m staring at it through a telescope. It’s all so far away.

“Will you ever stop being such a fucking embarrassment!?” I think I hear Nina say before my heart starts to beat out of my chest and it all goes black as I faint into a crumpled heap on the floor.

Back at home Buck was entering a similar state of panic, though scorned lovers were the furthest things from his mind. He was frantically trying to make sense of the long meaningless string of numbers and letters the screen on the Teleporter has started displaying when he pressed the button to bring me back.

It was nearly 2 minutes passed the mark; he knew something had to have gone wrong, but how could it? He entered numbers just like we always did. The only difference was that this time it was our numbers, not the ones the dying guy in the alley had given us.

Buck mashed every possible button on the console and got nothing, the machine was unresponsive and apparently in free fall. Just as he was about to reach for his phone to call me and apologize for the delay it all stopped. The screen turned dark and just flashed the words “REBOOT NEEDED”.

Buck quickly made work of unplugging the four power cables necessary to run the machine in hopes of bringing it back to normal upon the restart. As he unplugged and then re-plugged the last cable the machine beeped it’s two beeps and once again displayed its usual T:/ prompt on the screen. Buck immediately pressed the return button but instead of bringing me back it just screeched like an ensemble of faulty 56k dial up modems “FUCKING C’MON!” Buck growled at the device and as he hammered his fist down onto the table in frustration the noise ceased and Buck pressed the button again.

Back at the pharmacy I was regaining consciousness. I’d been propped up against the counter with my legs straight out in front of me, my hands still cuffed behind my back. All of the police officers had stepped outside leaving me alone. I tried to stand but as I attempted to get my feet under me a pain shot through my head, like it was coming from the center of my brain. I suddenly felt like my whole body was being pulled in every direction by a force that seemed like it could, if it wanted, rip me in two.

I screamed out, the pain was almost unbearable. The pulling switched up and then felt like a push, like I was being crushed. My screaming got Nina’s attention and she began to make her way back inside to check on me. She peered over the counter and saw me writhing on the floor.

I glared up at her, eyes bulging out of my head, trying to say words but no words could make it past the feeling of simultaneously being crushed and torn apart. I felt a cracking, or a tearing somewhere behind my eyes and the world took on a crimson hue. Nina’s expression twisted with confusion, she had no idea what was happening and was as fearful as she was skeptical.

“I don’t know what’s happening Dave, I need you to…” POP! I was gone.

I appeared about 3 feet off the ground in the middle of the kitchen and let gravity pull me down with a thud onto my ass.

“ohhhh, fuck! ohhhhhhh Fuck!” I whined, “What the fuck happened man?” I was trying to get to my feet but my hands were still cuffed behind my back.

“I don’t know man, everything was fine then the machine just went crazy. Why the fuck are you in handcuffs?” Buck aided me in sitting up but backed up in shock as his eyes met mine “Whoa!” he said.

“What?” I asked, “What’s wrong? Not my face!? That thing better not’ve made me ugly man!”

“No dude, it’s your eyes…look” Buck grabbed his phone and held the black screen up to my face and showed me. Both of my eyes were completely red. Not a hint of white remained in either of them. I looked like some sort of other worldly demon, but one who really knew how to put an outfit together.

I shook my head and said, “Ok, that was fun, lets never do that again”.

To be continued…