GFD: Bloodstained Duet – Chapter 2

“Bloodstained Duet 2”

Was it the thick, sticky, texture? The unmistakable warmth? Or was it simply the slightly salt-bitter bite of its unique taste? As I slept in my bed that night, I dreamt of being showered in blood. The life. The essence. The honor of the offering.

Sexually aroused by the very sight of it n my mind′s eye, I found myself wandering through a subconscious state of murder and mayhem.

My God…it was like I could SMELL it.

Plagued by visions of the chaotic moment when I finally got to sink the tip of my knife deep into Ginger’s most sensitive and unguarded spots. Feeling the helpless stomach muscles contract around the sharp intrusion of the unforgiving blade. My breathing increasing to the point of fevered gasps as visions of the very first splashes of blood ran out over the back of my hand entered my troubled mind. A waterfall of warm, liquid, humanity. Spilling. Leaking. Gushing. Traveling down, down, down, to the cold concrete below.

Would she scream? Would my sweet angel elicit a sensual scream for me that was worthy of her last moments on Earth? A soothing hymn to carry her into the afterlife. The shock in her eyes. The following rush of adrenaline. Of fear. Of utter PANIC!!! And then…the release. The unbelievably climactic feeling of release. Where her body could no longer hold on to the life that it had once protected with such furious dedication. That is the moment I craved most. The surrender. The ‘letting go’ of this plane of existence…and finally allowing herself to simply drift away into oblivion. Bringing an end to her personal story. That’s what we’re all searching for, isn’t it? The ‘end’. Otherwise, life just goes on and on and ON without me being able to finish the story right away! Right NOW! NO! I can complete her. I can put the final punctuation mark on her life, and have it be told as one complete story, even if it ends in tragedy. Better that than having to live through another 24 hour cliffhanger. I don′t want to wait for my ending. I want it now. And I want her to end before her story takes a turn for the worst.

This is how I feel. This is what I dream about. This is who I am.

A killer with a purpose. A goal to keep things sweet by ending their story before any other outcome is possible. Hurry up. Let′s get it over with. Nobody stays innocent for long.

Let me end her story while the protagonist is still young, and fresh, and free from sin. Let me rush to the arousing conclusion and walk away knowing that I, and I alone, was a part of bringing her saga to an end that was as satisfactory as it was functional.

The dream couldn’t have been more beautiful if Mozart, himself, had composed the score for it. The flesh is so fragile. So flawed. But there is beauty in its weakness. In its ability to rip open with such little pressure. Only those who are worthy of the blade can puncture the body’s surface. Only those willing to give you the ultimate exit are permitted to cut you open…and gain access to what is inside. The fantasy of finally sharing such an intimate moment with Ginger…her final intimate moment…it thrilled me beyond my ability to sleep.

Waking up in my bed, I found myself so incredibly hard that I couldn’t wait, even a few fleeting seconds, for the lingering images of the dream to evaporate before I began to masturbate furiously on top of my sheets. My God…the climax that followed left me breathless. Totally breathless.

Weak from such a powerful eruption, I stared up at the ceiling above my bed. Still panting, still fatigued, still covered in the sickness of the sticky seed that had spewed forth from the erotic indulgence in my addiction. But there were still a collection of intrusive thoughts of this ‘Victor’ boy that now clouded my mind. That overconfident grin, that unrehearsed lingo, his underachieving style of clothing. There was nothing pure about him. Nothing worth saving. I could gut him like a fish and throw his lifeless body into a hole so deep that no one would ever find him again. Human trash. A forgettable waste of oxygen and resources.

And yet, I was intrigued by his sudden appearance in my life. There was a certain fascination. An excitement involved in being so close to being discovered for my crimes. I could almost feel the titillating surge of adrenaline as thoughts of being found out danced around as playful little images in the most twisted parts of my mind. What would the civilized world think of my work? My art? How many would secretly praise me for my completion? For my bold and aggressive pursuit of an ending of life of my choosing? They’d jeer in public, of course. But in private? In those lonely, dark, hours where no one is watching? They’d silently shower me with questionable levels of praise and worship. Wishing they could be like me. Wishing they could have held the handle of that blade as it was roughly inserted into her ribs. Feeling that power. That divine moment when life and death became MY choice over God′s. Yes. They’ll talk, and they’ll wonder, and they’ll speculate. But they won’t ever figure me out. They’ll never know what I know. They’ll never feel what I feel. And that gives me an edge. An advantage. A ‘goal’.

I’m going to do the things they could never do. I’m going to live the life they could never live. And I’m going to take a lot of young angels with me. Believe me.

The mundane tasks of my morning routine seemed even more stale and boring than usual. Morning piss, shower, teeth, coffee, breakfast. Day after day after day. No loved ones. No family to speak of. I had a high school sweetheart once. The most amazing girl I’ve ever known. When I broke things off with her to run off to college and explore my options…I thought I was being so smart. Hindsight is always 20/20.

I often wonder what it would be like if I could go back and trade in all of those weak, temporary, campus flings with shallow bitches and glorified whores for a life of unprecedented bliss with the girl of my dreams. Perhaps I wouldn’t be alone. Perhaps I could have woken up to the smell of warm pancakes and an ice cold glass of milk this morning. Comfortable. Happy.

Instead? Morning piss, shower, teeth, coffee, breakfast. Again and again. If I had some other joy in my life, perhaps the urge to kill wouldn’t have such a strategic hold on me.

Perhaps…I′d be normal.

The sun was bright that morning as I walked out to my car. Driving down to the construction site to check on things. I wouldn’t have to stay long. It’s just enough to show my face every now and then to make sure things get done. But, I have to say…seeing the people in this city sometimes brought a feeling of distaste and disgust that was hard to conceal. They were diseased. Every last one of them, just teeming with sin. Lust, greed, selfishness. Complacent with all the evils they commit, so long as it pays off for them in some self important fashion. Instead of mastering the art of preserving what little value their hearts and souls have left…they instead master the hypocrisy that allows the sin to continue. They choose to descend. Most people would much rather fight harder to protect themselves from a ‘guilty conscience’ than they would a life of negative action and reaction. Adding fuel to the eternal roasting over the hottest fires in Hell. People prefer the darkness within. They are only afraid of being made to feel bad about it.

That’s why I feel it’s my duty to be a guardian of the light. In angels…like my Ginger. She hasn’t been ‘ruined’ yet. So many angels get corrupted over time. They begin as respectable and innocent, and then they willingly allow their self worth to sour and spoil. They become weak. Dirty. The utter filth of temptation creates a cancer within their hearts, eating away at everything that ever made them good, and true, and worthy. Eating…eating…until there’s nothing left. And the last of our angels fall from grace right before our very eyes. Never to return.

Into despair. Into hypocrisy. Into total darkness.

I won’t let that happen to you, Ginger. No. Not to you.

I will save your light. I will maintain your grace. Just a moment of pain…and your beauty will live on forever.

I always took notice of the newest ‘Coming Soon’ posters as I drove past the local cinema. Some horror movie named “Carrie” was set to debut just two weeks from Friday. On the poster was the picture of a young teenaged girl, happy and smiling on one side…and drenched in blood on the other. I felt a certain connection to the image. I felt as though someone finally knew the difference. As if they truly understood. Perhaps I should find this Stephen King author and reach out to him some time. Surely he could appreciate what I’m doing.

My daily rounds didn’t take nearly as long as I thought they would. Something that I found comforting. Sometimes a sensation of hatred burns within me when I find myself forced to smile at people. Held hostage by their inane chattering. Suffocated by their valueless small talk. But society is what it is. There’s no way to escape it. You can only avoid it. And only for so long.

I don’t belong among them. I don’t believe I ever will.

Luckily for me, I enjoy my isolation. I lust for it. It allows me time to think. Observe. Gain perspective from a distance. Silence intimidates most people, but only because they have no understanding of it. No real appreciation. The silence ‘speaks’ to me. It tells me all the things that I need to know about the world. And it can guide me…even in the darkest of times.

I came home and immediately shut the blinds. Fixing myself a small supper of frozen burger patties and freshly cut potato fries.

I turn on the television, but I barely pay attention. Reruns of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’. Stuffed with prime-time commercials for products that I will never need. Still, the moving pictures provided me a minor distraction as the glow of the television flickered in the ever darkening room.

I had a six pack of beer in the fridge.

I wish I had more.

The urge to see ′her′ was beginning to creep up on me again.

I began to lightly bite my nails and gnaw obsessively at the skin on either side of my fingertips. I could feel it building again. That thirst. That hunger. It bewitched me so. It was difficult to keep my breathing steady. I need her. I needed to see her.

I needed to think about her.

To taste the horror of her inevitable death at my hands was a craving that wouldn′t leave me alone.

I sighed to myself as I listened to the relentless ticking of the clock on the wall. Forever counting, counting, counting. It never stops.

‘You have to finish it!’ I thought to myself. ‘You have to claim her before it’s too late!’

The thought of someone elses hands on her enraged me. Touching her skin. Staring at her in lewd and sickening ways as she brought them their food at the diner. Such a pretty girl. Such a delicate angel.

I must be quick about this. I need to take advantage of my window. But I have to be calm when I do it. I don’t want to hurt her. I don’t want to make a mistake on my canvas. It has to be perfection from beginning to end. And I must accomplish this on the first try.

The waiting…

God…the waiting!

The horrible ticking of that ceaseless clock.

And then…a knock at the door.

Why was there a knock at my door?

I don’t engage the other tenants in this building with any interaction for a reason. I don’t need their interference. I don’t need the anxiety of feeling an obligation to speak when I see them in the street. I simply want to be left alone. I WANT my silence!

I ignore the knock. Hoping they will simply think that I’m asleep and go away.

But they don’t.

The knocks continue. In fact, the become louder and more frequent.

Anger wells up in the back of my throat.

I grit my teeth so hard that I have to unclench my fists and control myself before the enamel cracked like an eggshell.

Go away. Just, fucking, go AWAY! Leave me to my solitude!

The knocks continue to be pounded against my door. The assault fanned the flames of my fury, and I stood up from my chair to stomp my way to the door. Determined to scare the living SHIT out of whoever dared to remain standing on the other side, so that they never darken my doorstep again!


I found that my breath had been taken from me as I snatched the door open with a sour look.

Standing there, his wide grin at an even more annoying tilt than when we had spoken last night, was Victor. “I know ya heard me knocking, man.” He grinned. “No use pretending you’re not home. I’m all in your head, chief. It’s just gonna end up making you look like a jackass. Jack…ass. Hehehe, crazy…”

The boy stepped past me and walked into my apartment without invitation. I was instantly insulted by the nerve of him, but more than that…I was curious as to how he found me here.

“What are you doing here? This is my HOME, goddammit!” I snarled.

“Mellow out, old man. You’re so uptight. I already told you…there′s no way for you to hide from me. I’ll always know where you are. Rain or shine, Daddy-O.” He reached for the volume knob on my TV and turned it down to a low murmur. Then he sat down on my small couch and rudely put his rather large feet up on my coffee table. “So…what’s on the menu for tonight, hmm? I’m ready to get started whenever you are, ya dig? I’m feeling a little ’empty’ at the moment, if you know what I′m sayin′.”

“Who told you where I lived?” I asked.

“You did.”

“I did no such thing!” I barked, and he gave me a look that told me to ‘mellow out’, once again.

“Come on, Jack. You and I…we’re a team now. Understand? And teammates don’t keep secrets from each other, do they?” He said. He crossed his ankles on my table as a few shakes of dirt fell off of his oversized sneakers, and he leaned back on the couch, running his fingers through his long brown hair. “We need to go out. We need to find you a little lady so you can carve her up good and I can get my sauce and relax.”

“What are you talking about…?”

“I’m talking about our deal, Jack. You didn’t think you just dreamed that up last night, did you? You may be a sick bastard, but you ain’t crazy, man. Hallucinations aren’t a part of your jam.” He said, then he sat forward and put his feet on the floor again. “That’s why I LIKE you, man! You’ve got precision. A method. A purpose. You’re one hell of a find in this day and age. The 60’s got everybody so high and whacked out that even I had to worry about what those fuckers might do out in the streets. Between the dope and that crazy Charlie Manson shit, feeding got a bit risky. Nowadays, folks have calmed down a bit, but there are plenty of leftovers from the last decade still running around out there. Makes it hard for us 70’s boys to catch a break. Am I right, Jack?”

“You need to go. Get out. Leave…go on…”

“I’m not going away, Jack. You should save your energy on that, brother.” He said. “Say, can you grab me one of those brews you’ve got in the icebox, man? I sure could use a sip of something cold tonight.” Then, with a lazy grin, added, ″I′d love it even more if you had something tucked away in a sock drawer somewhere to burn. You get me? What′s your ′baggy′ situation lookin′ like right now?″

Still trapped between rage and curiosity, I found myself speechless once again. A part of me want to yank this punk kid up by his collar and toss him right out of the fucking window! But then…I remembered those eyes.

Those…those horrific eyes.

The eyes of a demon.

“The beer is gone. I drank the whole sixer with dinner…”

“No, you didn’t, man. Come on. You′re so dishonest. Not cool.” He said before I could finish. I watched Victor pick up my TV Guide and start thumbing through it as if this meeting of ours was as normal as a trip to the convenience store. Then, he noticed the room had fallen quiet. He sighed to himself and said, “Don’t sweat it, man. I can get the beer myself. Sit. Go ahead. I’ll bring you one too. Might get you in the right frame of mind.”

I watched the skinny teenager get up and walk right over to the fridge as if he owned the place, and I found myself sitting down in my easy chair to rest my shaky legs. Like a guest in my own house.

Victor handed me a Pabst Blue Ribbon can and kept one for himself as he slammed his skinny ass back down on my couch again. He popped the top and smiled at me as he reached out to give me a cheer by banging his can against mine.

I couldn’t figure him out at all. He seemed so invincible. So cocky about his position in the world. I had never really been witness to anything like it before in my life.

I opened my beer and took a few healthy gulps as Victor relished the ‘less than hostile’ moment between us. He said, “You see? NOW you’re getting it. This whole situation can be a whole lotta fun for the both of us, if you let it. You’ve just got to be willing to enjoy things as they are. Am I right?”

I didn’t answer at first. I wanted him gone. Out of my life for good. But…those eyes. He knew how to really intimidate you with those eyes.

“I want a girl tonight.” He said, his beer already half empty from the youthful guzzling that came from an inexperience with alcohol. It wasn′t a root beer float, for Christ′s sake. “She doesn’t have to be pretty or special. Nothing like that. I just want you to find one, and I want to watch. I want to feel it. The rush. The release. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for you…having such a variety of lives for the taking, but widdling it down to a chosen few. Being their reckoning. You get a real thrill from the kill. I picture it as being something truly wild, man.”

“That’s not what I do. That’s not why I do it.”

“If you say so, man…” He snickered, but I was quick to correct him.

“NO! You don’t understand my work at all! And I don’t just go out and pick people at random. They have to be right. They have to be worthy of the final masterpiece.” I said.

“How is one chick more worthy than another? Explain that to me.” He asked. “Find ’em and grind ’em. What’s the big show all about? I’m hungry, man. Can’t we just grab a hooker or something and call it a night? Nobody’s gonna miss her, Jack. And even if they do, so what? Whores come up missing all the time.” Victor looked closer at me, and asked, “You wouldn’t be deliberately stalling on me, would you, Jack? Because, I can tell ya right off the bat…it’s not a very good idea to keep me hungry.”

“You have no respect for the process. For the meaning behind the process.” I told him.

“Well, I’m all ears, Daddy. Lay it on me.” He replied.

I doubt he could truly fathom the beauty of my genius. He didn’t have the mental capacity to view it as more than just the taking of another human life. The joy I felt from the deed was wordless. Not to be explained, but ‘experienced’ by those who already knew the truth of this world. That wickedness and evil was chasing us all. And the only way to escape it was to bring our lives to an end before it caught us. Changed us. Made us less than what we were meant to be.

“To choose…that is the most important part. To find someone who radiates that innocence that we have all had stolen from us over time, and deem it worthy of protecting. To immortalize it. Freeze it in time, and hold it sacred. Like the beauty of a photograph from our youth…taken at just the right moment. To capture something that will inevitably be lost forever. That is where my work derives its truth and meaning. That is where it retains its grace and beauty. But I don’t expect a snot nosed kid like you to understand that. All you care about is the blood. The temporary rush that it gives you. And then the feeling is abandoned. Forgotten. Until you get another taste. There is no honor in that.”

Victor giggled to himself as he turned the beer can up and finished the rest of the contents inside. “Do you even hear yourself talking crazy, man? You don’t really believe this line of trash you’re giving me, do ya?” Victor stood up and moved closer to me, invading my personal space. “You…*KILL*…women. Period! And, hey…I don’t judge you for that. I think it’s major, man. But you waste SO much energy trying to justify it by wailing about love and beauty and purity and all of those little fucked up reasons you use to bypass your own moral compass so you can go out and do it again later. Be straight with me, chief! You do it because you LIKE it! You break the law and you cut up those young girls because it feels GOOD to you, and because you can’t ever get enough of it! That’s all it is. There are no rewards waiting for you at the pearly gates for murder, my friend. Not a one. And no matter how many fairy tales you tell yourself, no matter how many ‘innocent’ excuses you create in your brain to justify the wicked things you’ve done, and the many people that you’ve hurt in the process…at the end of the day, you just did what felt good to you. That’s the beginning, the middle, and the end, of it. You hurt good people for your own enjoyment, and I applaud you for that! Bravo! Take pride in wickedness, man! I do. Most people are AFRAID to sink to your level! But, I say, if you’re gonna go to Hell…go driving a Cadillac, and get a loyal ‘fanbase’ before you get there! Hehehe!” He said. “I’m sure they’re cheering you on every step of the way down there, Jack. They’re cheering for us both. So let’s enjoy ourselves while we can. You dig? Because it’s not gonna last forever. Not for you.”

I didn’t like this game. I convinced myself that he was simply too young, or too socially manipulated, to understand my motivations. I just began to tune him out. There would be no killing tonight. It had no reason. It served no purpose.

I finished my beer, and as I saw the boy sitting there, I began to contemplate my next move. I had already grown tired of his company. Sick of his bratty, uncensored, comments.

He knew too much.

He knew what I had done. He knew where the bodies were. He knew where I lived. And what I did for a living.

He may have been more than human, that was for certain. But whatever he was, I doubt that he couldn’t be…’taken care of’ as I saw fit.

Normally, I’m much more cautious. This was my home. Killing the boy here would be a bad idea. I knew that. I had no way of knowing if he was working alone, or if he had someone else feeding him information about me in secret. But…at that particular moment, I was feeding off of pure emotion. It was as though I could feel my mind split into two completely different entities. The mask he saw on the outside…which worked to comfort him and put him at ease. And the REAL me…who could only think about the freshly sharpened blade that I kept in the slide-out kitchen drawer by the sink. It was sharp enough, long enough, to nearly sever his teen head clear off of his shoulders, provided I could get behind him and apply the right leverage and pressure before he realized what was going on.

I don’t think I had ever taken any real interest in killing for the sake of killing before. But something about Victor brought out the worst in me. And while it was nowhere near what I felt for Ginger outside of that diner…I have to admit to feeling a certain arousal in taking this boy’s life tonight. To watch the flagrant confidence drain from his wide eyed expression as he finally realized that I was not the wisest choice of people to fuck with.

I had to hold back a smile as the thought of slicing his vocal chords clean to the point where his attempts to scream would only result in silent gasps of air…followed by the gurgling sounds of warm, freshly spilled, blood.

“You want another?” I asked him, pointing to his empty can.

“For the first time in this whole mix up…you actually read MY mind, Daddy-O!” He chuckled. Good…keep smiling. Just like that. I want to keep that smile on your face. I want to remember it…when I cut your throat from ear to ear.

Sometimes, it’s best to leave dangerous people alone.

Victor is going to learn that the hard way. And he′s going to learn soon.

I walked around him, and into the kitchen where I quietly pulled open my knife drawer.

I was surprised by the giddy feelings rushing through me as the thought of silencing this brash boy and his lack of common manners. I’d have to be quick. Sever the larynyx on the first slice, and then let him bleed out for a moment. Let his brain process what is actually being done to him. Let him feel the fear of death. Let him experience the terror involved. And then…when his eyes are focused on me, and ONLY me…sink the steel into the very center of his heart…and watch his last few breaths leave his lifeless body for the last time.

Not a work of art. Nothing that I could be proud of. But enticing, nonetheless. Silence him, Jack. Teach him. Take that snooty sensibility of his and cram it down his throat where he’ll choke on it in the afterlife. Do it, Jack. DO IT!

I opened the fridge to grab an extra beer for him with my left hand. And my right? With my right hand, I clutched the blade. A long butcher knife from the drawer.

No one will miss him. The end of his arrogant attitude and smug approach would be celebrated once it was gone from the lives of the people who tried to put up with it. He was nothing of value. Nothing at all. Gone and forgotten…in the blink of an eye.

I handed him the beer over his left shoulder, concealing the blade in my other hand.

He didn’t turn to look back at me. He just popped open the tab on the new beer can and took a sip.

Then…without so much as a tremble in his voice, Victor asked me, “Are you sure about this, Jack?”

I was confused by his question. I didn’t quite know what to make of it. But as I gripped the knife tighter, I saw Victor shaking his head.

Then, before I knew what happened, it was like he completely vanished from in front of me! I saw, what appeared to be a slight blur for a moment, but it was unreal to see him move from a sitting position on the couch to standing beside me and holding a rather painful grasp on my wrist.

“Drop the knife, Jack…” He said. And it was then that I saw the glow return to his eyes. The pointed fangs reappeared in his toothy grin. I hadn’t imagined it. He really WAS some kind of a freak of nature! “DROP it, Jack!”

“Agghhhh!” I cried out as his impossibly strong fingers gave my sore arm a brutal squeeze.

That’s when he said, “Your thoughts are getting pretty heavy right now, man. And we were getting along so nicely.″ His vice like grip increased in pressure. ″Drop the knife, Jack. Your work is going to be SO much less inspired if you force me to break your ‘artistic’ wrist, man. Let’s be smart about this.”

With no other choice but to comply…my fingers let go, and the butcher knife dropped to the floor.

Victor said, “Good. Good boy.” Then added, “I can see that we’ve gotten off to a shaky start, you and me. So…to make sure there aren’t any further misunderstandings…” I suddenly felt his hand grabbing me by the throat, his strong legs pushing me back against the kitchen wall. I heard a deep, throaty, growl as his thin arms actually lifted my body off of the ground and HELD me there! How could a boy so young, so slim, have the strength to DO something like this???

I felt my heart almost come to a complete stop as his eyes not only burned a hole in me with a golden glow, like before…but I witnessed them turning a deep shade of blood red that chilled me to the very core! I was helpless. It was at that moment that I realized that I was completely at this boy’s mercy…and killing him was no longer an option for me.

“WHAT PART OF OUR ARRANGEMENT ARE YOU NOT UNDERSTANDING, JACK???” He shouted, the grip on my throat tightening with his increased anger. “YOU may be picky about the lambs you lead to slaughter, but make no FUCKING mistake, Jack…my tastes aren’t NEARLY as selective!” He said. “I NEED blood! I need it now! And the longer you make me wait for my payoff…the more ‘tempting’ the idea of erasing you from the rest of the world becomes! So make up your mind! Because this isn’t a game for me anymore. Get with the program! Or I’ll cash you out and find somebody else, man!”

Feeling the air leave me, my face turning purple, my feet kicking helplessly at the wall, I nodded in agreement. I would agree to anything at that point.

I saw Victor lick his fangs, and smile at me, as his hand finally released its hold on my throat and he let me fall back down to the kitchen floor.

I coughed and wheezed, sputtering out obscenities as I tried to get a healthy dose of oxygen back into my lungs.

Victor just stood over me. Powerful. Superior.

He said, “I’m willing to give you your space, man. Provided that you stick to your end of the bargain. Maybe, one day, I′ll be able to go out and feed without getting losers like you to do my dirty work for me. Maybe, one day, there will be security measures in place to clean up the mess I leave behind when I′m done. But until then? You and I are just going to have to learn to be two sides of the same fucked up coin. Just keep in mind that I’m the one holding all of the cards here. You’re better off just going along for the ride and not thinking too far into this situation and how you can bring our little ′play date′ to an early end. You get me? I’m TRYING to be a friend here, man! But if you go bananas on me, then I swear, I’ll bleed you just like anybody else! Believe me!” He stepped closer, and used his fingers to lift my chin so I could look him in the eye. “You’ve got until tomorrow night. You hear me? I don’t care if it’s Ginger, some other special girl, or some random SLUT you have to pay for a piece of ass! You get me my blood supply, and we won’t have any more problems for a couple of weeks. Ya dig?” I didn’t say anything at first, but he kicked my leg and shouted, “YA DIG?!?!?”

“Yes. Yes, I understand.”

It was like Victor’s face went back to normal almost instantly. Same obnoxious smile and all. “Cool, man. That′s what I needed to hear. Hey, look, I’m sorry if I had to bust you up a little bit, but that whole knife scenario was killing my buzz. You’ve gotta be NICE to me, you understand? How else can you expect me to be nice to you in return, huh?” I watched Victor kick the knife out of my reach, and he lightly patted me on the head.

“I’m going out tonight. Clear my head. But when the sun goes down tomorrow…no matter where you are, no matter what you do…I’m going to know about it. You hear me? I’m going to be right there with you, every step of the way. And if you think you can bring the big bad joker out of the deck on me and walk away scott free…you’d be sadly mistaken, man. So, WATCH it! If I’ve got to come looking for you, you’re not gonna like the outcome. So stop being a queer and give me what I want! NO MORE delays!” He said. I nodded again. “Good. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going out to find myself the ′burn′ that I was looking for from whoever′s got some to spare. But I’ll be back, Jack. Believe me…I’ll be back.” Just before walking out of my apartment again, he looked back at me and said, “The next time I knock on this door…answer it on the first knock. Dig? I′ve gotta lot of time to waste, but I don’t like wasting my time. Quit making a ′chore′ out of everything, man. Not cool at all.” And with that, he was gone.


I sat back in my chair, rubbing the soreness out of my wrist. Was he the Devil himself? Is that what this was? Some creature from the bottomless pit that had come to Earth to punish me for my endless sins? My heartless crimes against all those people that I had wronged in the past?

I now know that he is definitely real. That he knows where I am. What I’m thinking. And if I’m going to beat him at his own game, I was going to have to come up with a completely different approach. A different way of talking to him. Dealing with him.

I haven’t played the whole of the hand I was dealt. Not yet. Victor was strong. That was undeniable. But if he ends up being half as smart as he is powerful…he will lose in this game. I haven’t come this far to be beaten by some teenager with a chip on his shoulder.

He’ll learn.

Oh yes…he’ll learn!

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