It was as good a time as any to start smoking.  The acne ridden kid had never smoked in his life and had, until that point, never wanted to.  Next to losing his virginity and not dying at any moment looming over his head, a cigarette was the best sounding thing in the whole damn world.

From the dead girl’s jeans, he pulled out her cigarettes and lighter.  He stuck one of the cancer sticks into his mouth and lit it.  Naturally, his body rejected the smoke and he coughed it up in great whooping spasms (the sound no doubt catching its attention), but that didn’t stop him from trying again.  On his second attempt, he was awarded the same result, but on the third he was able to suck down a mouth full of smoke.

God, how it tasted terrible.  Tasted like…hell, there wasn’t even a comparison to how it tasted.  The kid couldn’t say it tasted like shit because he never had tasted shit before.  He was sure that he had compared many, many things to shit over the course of his life, but never once had he been able to truly say that because he didn’t know for sure what it tasted like.  He wasn’t about to say it again, because he didn’t want another lie on his plate when he got to the gates of Heaven–if, indeed, that was where he was going when he died.

Awww, crap.  Who was he kidding?  He wouldn’t get into Heaven if he blew the guy standing at the gates.  He pretty much broke every commandment other than “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  Or maybe he was even more screwed than that; did masturbation count as adultery?  He didn’t know. 

Yeah, he was going to Hell, and he was going to burn with a stake stuck up his ass.  So, if he was doomed to eternity in the lake of fire, he might as well take advantage of the time he had left.  If that thing was going to kill him, then sure he could…

No, no, no.  He pushed that thought away before it could even surface any more than it had.  He didn’t want to hurt his chances any more than they already were. 

And it was just nasty.  Wrong.

He could hear it.  It was still out there, it was smelling him out.  Tracing the blood from the girl probably.  The girl, who he dragged in with him while she was still alive, might just be getting him killed now.  Thanks.

He took another drag from the cigarette (he thought he was getting pretty good at it now) when a queer thought came to him.  What if it smelled the smoke?  What if it smelled the smoke and thought the place was starting to catch ablaze and it ran away?  If that thing was anything like any other sane animal, it would fear the fire and run, right?  Then he would be alone with a pack of cigarettes, a lighter, a dead girl and his thoughts.  Just him and the dead-

It turned something over.  It sounded like maybe one of the school desks hitting the ground, but it was far enough away for the kid to still feel safe-ish.  Probably was still on the far side of the room.  Probably was tracking him like a fat boy that smells cake.  And why not?  The door between him and it wasn’t a thick one, and there was a blood stream to the girl.  What was preventing it from getting to him?  It could no doubt bust through that door as easy as a lighter melts through a sheet of plastic wrap.

He didn’t have long left in this world; he could feel that deep down in his bones.  It shook him, put a nervous gloom over his closet sanctuary.  It was getting closer to him.  He could almost feel its teeth chomping down on his neck, ripping it out and letting him bleed as it ate the rest of him.  He’d seen what the thing did, and it wasn’t pretty.  It didn’t give you the courtesy of snapping your neck before it ate, taking your life painlessly before it snacked.  No, no, it liked to hear you scream and gurgle out blood from your gaping holes that it puts in you.  It likes it when you beg for it to stop.

He changed his mind.  He wasn’t going to hell.  He was already there.  That little closet he stuffed himself into was the only hell there could be.  Maybe–maybe–if his dick was bitten off first.  That could make it worse.

The kid’s hands were shaking as he pulled that cigarette up to his lips and puffed away.  It was almost gone, about a fourth of the tobacco was left in the roll of paper.  He swore to himself then that if that cigarette was finished before he died, he would (by sweet Jesus) light up another one and suck himself to death.  Yeah, so maybe you’re not supposed to kill yourself, but to hell with that.  God could make one exception, couldn’t He?  Under these circumstances?

Well, not that it mattered in the long run, but…

Something else fell down, but it sounded more like a dry THUMP than the banging of a table.  This new sound might have been a book falling and planting itself on the ground.  He guessed that it pushed it off of the counter or the teacher’s desk; maybe it was balanced just wrong somewhere and fell, but that was a silly dream that, deep down in his heart, he knew wasn’t the truth.  It was just looking for him in every possible place.

Tears filled his eyes.  He let them fall.  It’s not like anyone was there to see him cry, to call him pussy or queer fagget as the bigger guys liked to call him.  There was no one to make him feel bad about who he was.  He let those tears flow, but he kept a tight mouth about it.  He didn’t want to attract its attention.

He briefly recalled a play he saw once.  There was something about squealing pigs and quiet men in it.  The pigs were squealing because they didn’t know they were dying, but the men knew to shut up about it because they didn’t want to face death.

Maybe there was some truth to that statement.

Or maybe it was total shit. 

Who knows?

The facts were that he was crying quietly, death waited outside the door for the right time to knock, his cigarette was almost gone, and he was alone with a beautiful dead girl, who kept on getting prettier by the damn sec-

No!  He was not going to think that way.  She’s dead, God damn it.

Using the palm of his hand without the cigarette, he wiped away the tears that he let loose, then sucked up the last of the smoke.  He lifted his left leg up to his chest and used the bottom of his shoe to put out the smoldering cherry.  In the dark it was hard to find the pack and lighter again, but he managed.  Without realizing it, he had put them between the legs of the dead girl when he got his first cigarette, and when he got his second, he did the same.  She was still warm, and he liked having his hand there.  It felt good, felt natural.  Oh, he could have her.  All he had to do was ask and…

He let his thoughts linger in his head as his hand on her thigh.  It didn’t matter at all.  Nothing mattered when you’re on your ass, waiting for death to take you into its modest embrace.

The only time the kid with acne took his hand away from his girlfriend was to light the new cigarette.  It returned to her thigh quickly thereafter.

He could hear it out there; it was right in front of the door now.  The pads on its paws made a soft sound on the linoleum tiles, its claws making low clicks.  It was right outside, it found him.  The thing was ready to pounce, ready eat.  It didn’t want to play anymore more games, no, it was done fucking around.  It was hungry.  Time to die, kid.  Your goose is cooked.

He put the cigarette into his mouth and held it with his lips.  He took up his girlfriend’s hand in his own, then put his other over her fingers and squeezed.  It made him feel like she was still alive, like she was still there with him.

Quickly, he took his smoke out of his mouth and kissed his lover on the lips for a long moment, then went back to his death pose.  The kid closed his eyes and waited.

He heard it break through the door and heard himself scream for it to quit, heard himself fighting back and trying to save himself and crying for his mother.  He fought and yelled and-

-and it wasn’t him.  He opened his eyes again and listened to someone else getting eaten alive in another closet nearby.  Probably the one right next to him in the same damn classroom.

The screaming died out, and he listened to it eat more.  He sat there for a long, limitless period of time, waiting to see what would happen next.  Eventually, the sounds of ripping flesh and snapping bones quit died out.  He heard it strut by his closet again, and then he couldn’t hear it at all.  Had it gone?  Was it never there?

Did it matter?

The acne ridden teenage kid laughed (quietly, of course–it might still be there).  He was alive, and so was his soul mate–he could still feel her warmth and (if he concentrated hard) her pulse beating in unison with his, almost as if he was powering her with his own…but that was a silly thought.

He put out the cigarette.  He kissed her.  They were happy together, but somehow he didn’t feel happy enough, didn’t feel complete.  But she knew how to make him happy.  She knew very well, and the kid accepted her and then they went to sleep together in their happy place, the smell of her drying blood masked by burnt tobacco and new found love.

 

Owner of Dedman Productions, a small production company that focuses on bringing entertainment in both fiction and film.

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