Jacqueline’s Audi Avant is climbing up the incline that passes by the rain-dirtied bunker of the Lugaritz train station. I would love to sink in her passenger seat and relax. Knowing that my beloved is in charge of driving us to her apartment, my brain would give up on its need to scan the environment for threats, and for as long as the ride lasted I would commit myself to oblivion. But Jacqueline’s grip on the wheel is too tense, and she’s gazing through the car’s windscreen with unfocused eyes full of concern and worry. She has been on edge since I dragged her along to see the bunnyman.
I’m a chipmunk trapped in a narrowing crevice. Although I want to escape, one wrong wiggle will cause me to slide further down, and the rock walls will trap me and suffocate me. I was convinced that drafting Jacqueline in as an escort against the otherworldly intruder was a good idea; her presence invigorates me and relights the delusion that I deserve to exist. But Jacqueline’s sanity spared her the sight of that abominable bunny, so from her perspective I hurled insults at the empty space of that hallway even as I wept. I should have kept mum instead of ruining Jacqueline’s day by forcing her to witness my pathetic breakdown, like that of a drunkard screaming malarkey into the microphone at a karaoke bar.
Does my girlfriend resent having pressed her warm flesh against mine, or even having allowed me to guzzle her holy juices? Maybe she feels that I contaminated her, and she’s trying to figure out how to get rid of me in a way that won’t cause this raving lunatic to go on a rampage. For my queen, our relationship is likely a passing, feverish fling, but if she were to go down on one knee and ask me to spend the rest of my life with her, I would faint, collapse backwards and crack my skull open against the chewing-gum-stained pavement of the seaside promenade that Jacqueline would have chosen for her proposal. As dark blood leaked over the chunks of my brain matter, my lips would sport the loveliest smile imaginable.
What would be better than to die suddenly at the height of happiness? Someone should have invented an instant suicide button that people could buy and carry with them, and if for once in your life such a bliss coursed through your veins, a press of the button would sever your consciousness from its organic frame. How sweet it would be to free myself from the panic that roils the depths of my mind, to free myself from these visions of Jacqueline turning her head towards me and stating with a variety of words that our relationship would never work, that I’m too deranged and depraved for love, that due to the putrefaction that I spread to everyone I touch, her cells are necrosing one by one on their way to transform my beloved into a desiccated prune.
Past Jacqueline’s profile, a short-haired woman in her forties is pedaling up the steep slope on the bike lane, framed against the slender, skeletal trees that line the path. Beyond, the platinum-colored, concave façade of a building towers over the road. Three sections of the building bulge out like the projecting towers of some ancient capital’s walls. Jacqueline should exit the roundabout through the path that runs up the hill; she would continue driving past expensive residential buildings with hedged lawns, past the last isolated shops, until we reached the neighborhood at the end of that winding road, where my pimp girlfriend bought her quiet abode. Instead, Jacqueline passes the exit on purpose.
My heart gallops in my ribcage, my nerves are frayed like tattered strings.
Jacqueline is biting her lower lip as she steers into the parking lot of the concave building that looms over us like some stern sentinel. Two cars, one pastel-grey and the other silver-colored, that likely belong to workers, are maneuvering out of the parking lot. Jacqueline pulls over a few parking spaces away from the nearest car.
My queen shuts off her Audi’s engine. After she leans back on the seat, she traces the back of her right hand with the fingertips of her left one. Through the branches of a copse of pines, the slanting beams of the setting sun pouring into the car are shadowing the right half of Jacqueline’s face, and highlighting her outline with a golden light.
“Let’s talk,” Jacqueline says.
This is it: she’s going to abandon me to the darkness and the pain. She’s going to crush my heart then throw my corpse in a rubbish bin.
My body goes numb, and I let my head droop.
“Let’s not,” I utter in a hollow voice. “Let’s just sit here and remain silent. Like, forever.”
“I can’t hold it in anymore, Leire.”
It’s okay, I tell myself. She’ll have a better life without me. In a matter of years I’ll get sent to a mental institution where I’ll be confined until my mind rots away, and even then I’ll still be held responsible for all the crimes I committed in my psychotic bouts.
“W-well, what is it?”
“Leire, do you have telekinetic powers?”
I lift my gaze at Jacqueline’s face; I must have heard her wrong. Her ivory skin has a splash of red on her cheeks, tendrils of her raven-black hair are peaking over her shoulders, and those cobalt-blue eyes look upon me with their limpid beauty, threatening to sweep through me and make me disappear like dust in the air.
“What a weird question to ask seriously,” I say with a tinge of hysteria. “Could the answer possibly be ‘yes’?”
Jacqueline stares at me intently as her forehead creases.
“No, no telekinesis,” I say. “Never got to learn that one at school. I’m also unable to fly, I can’t turn invisible, I can’t read minds. Hell, I can barely read my own mind. I’m very clumsy and prone to injuries, I get tired easily, I have difficulty concentrating, and I’m very nervous. I am a pervert to an extraordinary degree, though. W-would you care for me to list all the things I lack, to please you?”
“Not at the moment, sweetie, but thank you.” Jacqueline draws a deep breath. “Either you have telekinetic powers or that… person you referred to as ‘bunnyman’ opened the bathroom door.”
“Huh? That he did. Then he slammed the door as if he were a tantruming teenager. Well, more like a giant, matted-haired rabbit with bloodshot eyes and an obscenely fat cock.”
Jacqueline touches her temples as if they ached.
“Leire… there was nobody in the bathroom.”
As I’m trying to figure out what she means, I remember that after the bunnyman slammed the door, Jacqueline remained frozen for a few seconds, then she strode in pursuit of the demon like some Hellenic heroine, bursting into the bathroom as if she intended to punish the bunnyman for having annoyed me. She searched around frantically, she opened and closed the stall doors, but the intruder had already fled into the netherworld.
I have a moment of this morning etched in my mind: Jacqueline’s skirt, the color of Irish coffee, hugging the plump mounds of her ass as she, crouched, wiped the puddles I had left in my wake after I jumped from the toilet, as if I were a wounded beast whose heart pumped piss through her veins. The sight of my beloved cleaning up the liquid by-product of my metabolism permeated me with a snuggly warmth, and it took all of my willpower to avoid touching myself.
“I already figured out that you couldn’t see the bunnyman,” I say, short of breath, “although I had hoped that you would, because of Spike’s revolver.”
This ordeal has stunned Jacqueline into silence unless she wrenches herself out of that state, yet I remain calm and in control of myself; I’m a veteran of humanity’s war against these otherworldly harassers.
“I should have warned you that a whole variety of demons is visiting our dimension, but can you imagine me saying, ‘Don’t masturbate, because a demon may be recording it for blackmail,’ and expecting you to stop? Wouldn’t I have sounded like an idiot?”
“I suspect you would have.”
I reach out and stroke Jacqueline’s neck. The sternocleidomastoid feels firm against my palm.
“I understand how troubling this encounter must have been for you, but I have survived through all of them, so I suppose I’ll be alright no matter how much they insist on wasting my time with their shenanigans. Did I tell you that once I was masturbating in the kitchen when one of these abominations approached me and showed me on his smartphone a picture of my pussy? They aren’t above using smartphones to record a naked woman, but at least they’re honest about it. After that I was visited several times by a big-titted succubus. She told me that if I didn’t hand over my money, she would stuff my mouth with dicks until I suffocated to death. Well… to be honest, I lied just now. I don’t know why I felt the need to hyperbolize my experiences, because they are terrible enough on their own.”
“Leire, the door opened and closed,” Jacqueline says hoarsely.
“That bunny bastard did open the door and close it, yes. What’s the matter? If I recall correctly, I told you that Spike had headbutted my living room window into a hundred tiny pieces. These demons have no respect for the objects in our world.”
Jacqueline shakes her head slowly as her unfocused gaze rests on my lap.
“This bunnyman terrified you, didn’t he? Was it because of how he looked?”
I wish I could reveal to Jacqueline that the awful rabbit has always showed up in my dreams, that he haunts and tortures me, that he keeps returning to remind me that death is preferable to being a broken freak. The instant that fiend appeared under my butt this morning, I should have called the police so they would have shot him like a fish, and all of his demonic essence would have been sucked out through the bullet holes.
“He was a big brute with overgrown incisors and completely unremarkable genitals.”
“You referred to his cock as ‘obscenely fat’. And I was standing behind you as you berated him for intending to have a normal conversation while he was showing you his monstrous dick.”
I shift my weight in the passenger seat, trying to ease the discomfort in my crotch.
“Jacqueline, it was just a dick.” The word ‘dick’ made my lips vibrate like a phonograph record on its last groove. “The truth is that I’ve never understood how people get aroused by those hideous appendages. A man should only show his penis to a trusted friend, who should then cut it off and bury it as a token of friendship. And perhaps some salt should be sprinkled over its grave; an old Germanic tradition to ward off trolls. Anyway, my point is that every one of the bunnyman’s utterances was a cacophonous clatter unbefitting of an intelligent creature. His ugliness did give me goosebumps, but the terror came from his essence: an ooze emanating from him in waves of unconquerable malice, a leprosy of his soul. Even better, let me put it this way: your first impression of someone can last for the rest of your life, right? Think about pets. If you fail to introduce a new cat to the previous one properly, you may end up with two cats who will despise each other until the day one of them dies, after which the remaining cat will likely believe that his nemesis gave up and surrendered the territory. In the case of this bunnyman bastard, he entered the bathroom through the toilet as I was peeing in it. My piss is too precious to waste it on such scum.”
“I get it.” Jacqueline’s voice sounds tired. “Something weird is going on.”
I chuckle bitterly.
“Something weird has always been going on, mommy. The world is full of monsters.”
Jacqueline reaches over to hug me, and before I know it, my face sinks in the hollow between her shoulder blades. As she squeezes me tight, her hair drapes around my cheeks, and I fill my lungs with her sweet perfume. For a moment, my mind empties like a gutted balloon.
“Whenever any of these creatures visits you again, please, tell me all about it,” Jacqueline whispers as she rubs my back in circles. “I bet you felt like you had to keep this nightmare to yourself because I may have thought less of you. But you are my baby and I will help you however I can.”
My throat constricts, and I close my eyes to dissuade the incoming tears from falling. I can’t understand how Jacqueline prefers a sick freak like me to a normal man with whom she could enjoy a normal life, but I’ve ceased trying to comprehend this world’s obscure logic.
Although I want to sink into a long, soothing slumber, Jacqueline pulls away from our embrace. My head is swimming with hazy, drug-like euphoria as I stare at the colorful spread of my queen’s face.
“I would have been grateful if you merely obliged me whenever I brought up some craziness, but you actually believe me!”
Jacqueline fiddles with a strand of my hair.
“I would be delusional otherwise, wouldn’t I? As you said, we must accept we are living in a dimension where it’s possible for a horse to gift you a gun. From my perspective, the bathroom door opened by itself. So either you are visited by otherworldly intelligent creatures that only you can see, or you have dormant telekinetic powers that manifest themselves through your interactions with hallucinations. Either way, something supernatural is going on. I think it’s more likely that intelligent beings are visiting our world and are able to affect it physically. But if they can manifest a revolver, what else could they do?”
A chill spreads throughout my body and turns my nipples to icicles. I had categorized Spike, this bunnyman, as well as a myriad of other foul abominations, such as the black carpet of slimy blobs that proliferate near the garbage bins at the entrance of our office building, as hallucinations caused by a mental illness of mine, a product of some genetic defect, lifelong loneliness and having been treated as an unwanted guest my whole life. But if these demons are real, then I’m fucked, as that Alberto voyeur wrote on the dashboard of my car. I shudder at the thought that I might become the main course at some cosmic banquet of horrors.
“Wh-where the hell do they come from, these demons?”
“You should be the expert on that subject.”
I rub my eyes and take a deep breath.
“There are lots of things I don’t know, and I understand even less. I don’t trust anything beyond my immediate existence and my ability to interact with it. Who knows how planets form, how cells live, how computers function, why plants grow, how dinosaurs survived a catastrophic extinction, how ants communicate, how light travels, how humans blink, how my blood pressure changes when I masturbate, how children grow, why my little toe is smaller than my big one, what I’d be doing right now if my parents weren’t dead, what will happen when the sun burns out…”
“I could probably answer a few of those questions.”
“The truth is that I can’t control anything in this world, I have no intrinsic purpose or meaning here, I can’t deceive myself into believing that in some inexplicable way I’m part of a grand plan, and until I met you I wished to forget all about it, go back into the womb and fall asleep, because from the moment I took my first breath I knew that I’m a horrid abomination doomed to wither away for decades until I died an early death. Perhaps the demons are dreaming all of us and we don’t even realize it. But don’t you think that the government is aware of these intruders from the netherworld and have operated a cover-up all these years?”
I can’t tell if I’m delirious or if I’m a puddle of quivering gelatin. Jacqueline touches her index finger to my lips.
“Did the visitors explain what they wanted from you?”
“I mean, they babbled plenty, but I don’t have the patience to listen to nonsense. They likely want nothing from me; they hate me like everyone else does, and I’m a living embodiment of their loathing.”
Jacqueline’s cobalt-blues are shining as though they are aflame. I’m feeling guiltier by the second. All those times Spike intended me to pay attention to some message he wanted to convey, could it be that he wasn’t annoying me for his own amusement?
“I-I thought I was dealing with the effluvia of my subconscious mind. At the most they knew as much as I did, right?”
Jacqueline takes my face in her hands and gazes into my eyes.
“Even if that were the case, sometimes your brain needs to blow off some steam, and you should listen to it. But please, try to pay attention to these visitors from now on. Maybe they just want something reasonable from you, and once they are satisfied they’ll leave you be.”