A Millennium of Shadows, Pt. 4 (Poetry)


This broken-down hometown of mine
Was an increasingly confined cage;
I had to avoid many streets
Because any of Bear’s goons
Could ambush me to insult me,
Steal my money and beat me up,
But I’ve been visiting forbidden streets
So I could catch a glimpse of them,
Of the remaining three, that is:
Sunglasses, Flute, and Duckson.

We track two to a working-class high school,
Where they intend to entice sluts with weed.
Those two goons are Sunglasses and Flute.
They are smoking dope at the entrance,
And a kid is buying some from them.
The two goons are twitching like frogs,
As if their skin were too tight.
Their leader has been missing for days;
His family is even running a missing person ad.

One goon wears his orange, plasticky sunglasses,
Like always, even if it’s dark outside.
He also wears a faded T-shirt
With the words ‘Lone Wolf’,
Which features two large holes.
His pants sag below his waistline,
And his yellowed sneakers are too big.

This guy spends his weekends in club land,
Drinking, smoking, presumably dancing.
His neck often twitches and jiggles
As if he just snorted lines of coke.

The other goon, nicknamed Flute
Is rotund and baby-faced,
His voice annoyingly high-pitched.
He has long, crazy curly hair.

Flute wears baggy jeans
And an oversize shirt under a hoodie.
His mouth hangs open like a dead fish
While he holds his smoking joint.

Flute was the one who held me down
While his pals punched and kicked me;
This thug is the weakest minded,
Eager to submit to their leader’s authority.

I heard from a bunch of people,
Because they kept talking about it,
That Flute once tried to rape a girl,
And it took Bear threatening her
For the big guy to avoid the police.

Their gang roamed around the neighborhoods
Stalking people they thought were weak.
They beat up anyone who crossed their path
And didn’t know their place or couldn’t fight back.

I avoid the groups of fresh-faced teens
As I approach these two drug dealers.
The stench of pot smoke fills the air;
They stink worse than a dead skunk.

I’m close enough to hear their retard-talk:
This shit is good. Man. Fuck yeah.
Check this fuckin’ shit out, man.
Hey. You hear me? Dude.
Don’t you want to hit that ass, bro?
‘Cuz I think she’s ready. How about it, huh?
Yo, you ain’t gonna fuck with us.
Fuckin’ fags, yo. I’ll rip their nuts off.
Get out of here. Leave us alone, bitch.
We got our own problems, yo.

Flute is the first to react
When he hears my footsteps approaching.
He looks up at me with wide eyes
As if he couldn’t compute why I am here.

No sane victim would come to Sunglasses,
The shithead who usually stole from me,
And who once hit me with a bottle.
The guy stares as he takes a drag off his joint.

“Well, well. Lookit who it is!
Volcano Face, the creepy freak!”
Flute grimaces as he looks at my face.
“What are you doin’ out here?”

I see myself from these bastards’ eyes:
My face is covered with huge, red pimples,
Some of which are infected and smell awful,
And are constantly itching and stinging.
My body is scrawny, thin, with small genitals,
A long neck, large ears, and a flat chest.

I hate being looked at and don’t trust people
Who try to get closer to me with a smile.
I hide in dark corners and dream of killing.
I hate humans and everything they stand for,
Because they always mock and ridicule me.

My head is filled with worms
Which gnaw away at my brain.
The worms can never be free,
But they still try to crawl out.
They call me Volcano Face
Because that’s what I look like.

“So how’s your life been treating you lately?”
After I speak, Sunglasses chuckles in disbelief.
He knows I was afraid of him,
And he enjoys intimidating people.
“What’s wrong with you, freak?
Man, I can’t believe my own fucking eyes.
You look like a rotting zombie.”
Flute laughs and shakes his head.
He pulls out a tiny bag of weed from his pocket,
Which he hands to a young kid.
After the kid hands back some coins, Flute smirks.
“Yeah, what kind of mutation you came from?”

“Well, I think I am something special.
I’ve always been alone,
I don’t know how to talk to people,
And no one ever wanted me,
But now you’re going to love me
For my ugly face.”

Both goons are stunned and speechless.
They thought that I would run away in fear,
But I have boldly walked up to them
And I’m smiling like a friendly dog.

Sunglasses looks around nervously;
I’m sure they’d love to beat me up,
But we are surrounded by normies
And lots of girls they want to fuck.

“Don’t talk to me, dude,” Sunglasses says.
“I’m sick of freaks everywhere, yo.
Get lost. We got shit to do.”
Flute tries to push me aside
As he avoids my gaze, but I stand strong.

“Why don’t we take some drugs together, boys?
You must have lots of different types.
We can roll up a fat joint and watch movies,
Play video games, or listen to music.
Let’s get fucked up and laugh at ourselves!
That’s what life is supposed to be.”

Sunglasses grimaces, then looks at Flute.
They must have to come to a shared conclusion,
Because they both stare at me again.
Sunglasses smirks, revealing his crooked teeth.

“You’re really fucking strange, dude,
Your head is full of crap.
How did you end up like this?”
I shrug.
“Just one bad decision after another.”

“You must have run away from home!
Are you trying to befriend us, dude?
No offense meant, yo,
But this ain’t how we roll!
Ours is a kind of prestige crew,
So we don’t take new members easily.”

“Let’s just hang out for a bit,” I say,
“Because I know we’ll have a good time,
And whenever Bear returns,
You can tell him what a good boy I am.”

Flute looks impressed,
But Sunglasses is only annoyed
As he takes a hit off his joint.
He sneers at me and chuckles.
“Well, fuck. That’s pretty fuckin’ sick.
You’d better be ready to back it up.
When Bear finds out about this shit,
He’ll cut your balls off, for real.”

I grin.
“Alright, so let’s go somewhere, huh?”
Sunglasses looks at his pal, but Flute shrugs.
They start walking away from the high school
As their clouds of pot float into the air.
“We’ll find a spot and smoke dope,” Sunglasses says,
“And we can also listen to some techno.
Just walk a distance away from us, dude.
We can’t be seen with the likes of you.”

They lead me to a nearby park
Adjoined to a small conservatory,
And that is carpeted with dried leaves.
It’s deserted except for a few dog walkers.
Sunglasses guides us to an isolated bench.

Flute sits down, but Sunglasses aproaches me
Until he stands so close
That I could just snatch his stupid glasses.
“Forgot to tell ya that you gotta pay
For the privilege of hanging out with us,”
Sunglasses says, “but we’re cool guys,
So you can get your drugs for free.
C’mon, pull out your wallet like usual.”

These two losers are acting crazy
With their fake smiles, false bravado,
Fake respect and false politeness.
I thought I hated these guys before,
But now they seem almost sweet.
All of our lives are filled with lies, deception,
Dirty secrets, dark desires, and lustful greed.

“Of course! Here it is.”
I hand him my wallet eagerly,
Which unnerves him,
But after he opens my wallet,
He takes out a fifty euro note.

“Fifty!” he says. “Sweet, yo.
And because we’re cool guys,
I’ll let you keep that twenty,
So you can buy anti-acne cream.”

I chuckle, then shake my head.
“If only they worked, I wouldn’t be here!
But keep the twenty as well.
And wait a second, I got more!”
I pull out the rest from my back pocket.
“Here’s a hundred fifty euros.
My father gets it from the government
Because as a kid he got hit in the head so much
That instead of a father, he’s just there,
And my mother was so disgusted by our family
That she abandoned us and never spoke to me again.
My old man gives me this money to buy food,
But why don’t you just keep all of it?”

For a long moment, Sunglasses is paralyzed
As he holds my fifty euros note.
Flute shakes his head, and lowers it.
Sunglasses inhales deeply from his joint,
And while a cloud floats in front of his face,
He studies me with suspicion.

“You make my skin crawl, freak,”
He says in a nasty tone, spitting venom.
“Nobody would want to be your friend.
Who could stand to look at your face?
This world doesn’t need you. Go kill yourself.”

Sunglasses spits a big wad of saliva.
He pockets the fifty, he turns quickly,
And the both of them walk away.
I stand there as I stare at their backs
Until they leave the park and vanish.

The sun is sinking slowly,
And the breeze makes the trees shiver.
I follow the path those two goons took.
As I approach the main throughfare
While the streetlights start blinking on,
I spot the backs of Sunglasses and Flute;
They are walking on the opposite side of the road.

People pass me on their way home from work.
I’m a ghost that watches as they go.
Sunglasses must have felt my determined gaze;
Past a zebra crossing, he looks towards me,
Does a double take, then they stop on their tracks.

They are frozen and unnerved.
After they exchange a few words,
They continue on their way, faster,
But they keep looking back at me anxiously.

I follow them across roads,
Past parks where kids play,
Past a large square with lots of pigeons,
Past the parking lots of bars,
Through an alley that smells of piss.

The sun sinks below the horizon.
The sky is a deep purple
With a few thin clouds drifting across it.
We reach an area of workshops and factories,
Close to the train station and its many rails.
It’s a desolate industrial zone
That these guys would have never visited
If they didn’t intend to ambush me.

They walk faster until they disappear
Between abandoned, train-related buildings.
I walk past marooned locomotives
With rust-covered wheels.
I can tell where the two goons are hiding;
I stop and turn to face them.

Sunglasses glowers as he strides towards me,
Followed by Flute, who is wiping his sweat.
I can sense their fear, their quickened breaths,
The same I can smell the stench of weed.

I can’t blame them for being anxious;
Instead of a human being, I’m a beast, a monster.
I stand before them tall and broad-shouldered.
The muscles underneath my clothing
Ripple and flex with each breath I take.

Sunglasses grabs my arm tightly.
His fingers are trembling.
“The fuck you think you’re doing, freak?”
I sigh, then shake my head.
“First off, when you talk to people,
You have to take your sunglasses off.
Why do you wear them all the time, anyway?
Do you think they make you look tough?
I bet your parents used to say
That you’d grow up to be nothing,
A nobody, some bum, some loser,
And a complete fucking idiot, too.
Stop wearing those shitty glasses,
Because you look like an imbecile.”

Sunglasses freezes with his mouth open.
Flute’s hands shake as he taps the butt of his blunt.
“What the hell did you just say?” Sunglasses asks.
“Just that you guys are trash,” I answer,
“The kind that harass young girls
And pick fights with middle school kids.
Nobody would stoop low enough
To become friends with scum like you.”

Flute is sweating profusely;
As he keeps wiping his forehead,
He flicks drops onto the overgrown grass.
Sunglasses scowls, and pulls me by the collar
To shower my face in spittle.
“Fuckin’ retard! Disgusting freak!
Who do you think you’re messin’ with?!
We’ll beat you up and bury you in a shallow grave!”

I burst out laughing, and that pisses him off.
His fist slams against my nose, which cracks.
It blocks my vision. I stagger backwards.
Blood pours down my lips and chin.

I hear Flute’s high-pitched, nervous voice:
“Dude, he’s snapped. Let’s get out of here.”
“You shut the fuck up!” Sunglasses says,
Then focuses on shouting at me.
“When Bear comes back, he’ll know.
He’s going to break you with a bat,
And shove the handle up your ass!”

I smile at Sunglasses with a nasty grin.
“That rotten garbage won’t return, dudes.
My girlfriend picked Bear’s bones clean,
And we fed his organs to some pigs.”

Sunglasses’ lips tremble, his hand shakes.
Flute walks up to him, taps him on the shoulder.
“Let’s go. His eyes are dead. He’s crazy.”
Sunglasses is gritting his teeth,
But his menacing glare meant to intimidate me
Hides behind the lenses of his shitty sunglasses.

“We’ll teach you a lesson like Bear would,
Show you how you deserve to live.
I’m gonna hurt you so bad
That you’ll wish you had died.”

He pushes me towards an alleyway
Where two derelict buildings loom overhead.
I can’t even see silhouettes
In the thick darkness behind the thugs.

Sunglasses and Flute stand in front of me.
I feel their fear, how their hearts beat fast,
How they try hard not to breathe loudly.
Sunglasses raises his fist to punch me
When a fleshy whip lashes from the shadows
And tightens around both of their necks,
Bonking Sunglasses’ and Flute’s heads together.

Both goons grasp at the tail that strangles them,
But Glyca yanks them backwards into the darkness,
And a sneaker and the orange sunglasses fly off.

I stand there as I listen to their shrieks,
Which end quickly in wet gurgles and crunches.
From the shadows rolls out someone’s head,
But Glyca’s greyish hand is quick to grab it.

A bit later, her hand beckons me to come closer,
So I step forward and hold her three fingers.
As the darkness closes in around me,
Glyca rests her hands on my shoulders,
And plants a soft, electric kiss on my lips.
“Good job, my handsome boy,” she whispers.

She holds my fingers as she teleports me back
Into the dark basement of the abandoned house,
Which stinks of dust, mold, and dried urine.
I smell hot blood, and guts ripped open;
Glyca must have brought the corpses with us.

“Excuse me for a while, but I’m hungry!”
Glyca says, and I hear her chewing eagerly.
I sigh, then lower myself to the dirty floor.
Now those will serve as food for my worm larvae,
Or perhaps we’ll feed them to a pack of rats.
Yes, we can use them both as fertilizer:
We’ll plant vegetables, and we’ll eat them raw.

‘A Millennium of Shadows, Pt. 4’ by Jon Ureña

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