Prologue One: Scarred Dreams of the Bastard Son
“I saw the devil again
gave me deliverance
I saw my angel and then
I couldn’t tell the difference…”
Kidneythieves . Trickster
There it was, the creature from her womb – her son. Her and her husband had decided to name him Joshua a few nights before, and in her arms, he was cradled closely to her ample bosom. If it weren’t for his father, he’d have ended up the same was as those who would have been his elder brothers and/or sisters: swirling down the drain, into the decrepit sewers of the largest city near their hometown of Nowhere, Mississippi – Biloxi.
As the hospitals chaplain entered the room and laid eyes on the still damp infant, he quickly turned on his heal and exited over the threshold, a deep screaming in his chest. A train wreck of screams coursing through his body. Out of fear; the moment the boy came into his view, he knew there was something about him that just couldn’t be, well, normal. Something slightly skewed.
On the heels of the priest, Joshua’s father left the room and chased the clergyman down, speaking in a hushed whisper; “Father, why did you hightail it from the room?”
“Because, my son – there is something about the feeling the boy gave me that just did not quite settle properly.” Joshua’s father gave the man in black a stern look; slightly worried, slightly confused, but in dire need of an answer. “But, it was probably just be. I’ve periodically been having weird feelings for the past few years, perhaps it is merely an unholy presence in the room. But, none the less, I just didn’t feel right stepping foot in there.” Father McConnell lied, unable to speak the truth he had assumed through deduction. “Personally, I’m blaming the post-trauma of the silly-season leaving. The lights are gone, and it’s darker than the pits of hell anymore, even here in Nowhere. Now, good sir, if I could part ways with you, I’ll assure you that shortly, I shall come and pay the proper respects to…”
“Yes, Joshua it is, then.” The priest smiled a bullshit-smile and continued down the sterile corridor.
Ronald, may have not been a religious man, but open-fear from a collared man, worried him that there was something wrong with his youngest child. Leaving the room, he reflected on the first fourteen days of nineteen eighty-two.
Prologue Two: A Turn of a Boy
“long you live and high you fly
and smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
and all you touch and all you see
is all your life will ever see…”
Pink Floyd . Breathe
The phone was ringing, he could hear it through the murky cloud of sleep that shrouded his brain, and he didn’t want to pick it up. He knew he should, it was probably Beth – she said she’d call when she knew what was going on, but this blanket of sleep was too comfortable to leave. He just couldn’t do it, not at all.
“Hello?” He heard his voice, deep and raspy – still filled to the brim with sleep.
“Josh, its Beth. Meet me outside in ten, we’re all heading to the park. Jami scored, and she’s sharing. So get your ass out of bed, and on we go.”
“Alright, hun, if you say so. I’ll be out. Is it still raining?”
“Yeah. Now, no more lollygagging, get out of bed.” A few seconds later, he heard a click, followed by dial-tone.
Grumbling, he threw the covers off and dropped his feet off the edge of the bed, hearing them thud quietly on the carpet. Standing up, his mind swayed slowly into a state of vertigo, and returned to normal once his body adjusted to standing upright. Throwing on an old and worn t-shirt, he raked his hands through his hair and found a pair of black jeans, pulling them on before stuffing his shoes quickly and sloppily into the pair of Vans. Collapsing back onto the bed, he lit a cigarette and stared across the silence to the blinking green light fixed somewhere near the center of his computer. Returning to his feet, he rubbed the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, taking each awkward step across the room, bumping the mouse with his hand, he heard as the monitor kicked on, casting him with the cold blue luminance.
In front of him, he saw that there was a new email from an acquaintance in Texas, but he didn’t feel the desire to open and read it, he knew it’d be long, and he knew it’d take longer than the four minutes he had until Beth would be tapping on his window because he wasn’t outside. Sighing heavily, he pulled on his hooded sweatshirt and moved closer to the window, knocking the ash from his cigarette onto some random point on the floor. Popping the window open, he climbed out, and was greeted by Beth, standing there, her hands clasped behind her back, he face as eager and anxious as a puppy.
“God you’re a weird kid.” He said, fixing her with a whimsical stare.
“But you love me.”
“Indeed. Now, which park are we heading to?”
“Hyde Park. It’s the closest between all of us.”
“Who all’s going to be there?” he asked, flipping his hood up to shield him from the rain.
“A few people, not sure who, Jami didn’t say. But, I’m assuming she has quite a bit, so more than likely, quite a few.” She let out a miniature laugh, and took his hand into hers, leading him to the park. “Wait! Let’s do this proper-like.” She giggled again, removing one of the lengthier chains attaching her wallet to her belt loop. Turning, she fixed the retractable clasp around the stainless steel ring dangling from his choker, letting it hang loosely between them as they walked.
Their feet left the wet blacktop and moved to the soggy, dead leaves of the park. Cutting across a soccer field, they moved silently towards the playground, from which, they could faintly hear the Tool song, Third Eye. Following the coaxing of Maynard’s voice, they found a small tribe of their peers; mostly smoking, some on their backs, and some tucked away in the shadows with their significant other of the moment, enjoying their mental-experience.
“JOSH! Muh boy! How’ya doin’?” his friend David slurred, approaching him in a curious state.
“Good, Dave, doing good. What’s on tap tonight?” Josh asked, lightly fingering the chain that now stretched from the bondage-ring from his neck, to his front belt-loop; Beth relinquishing her grasp a few steps upon entering the park.
“Some really grand tie-dye blotter. Jami has a ten-strip for each of you. She’s over there, laying across the jungle-gym. You should go find her before she’s too gone to remember where it is. This is some pretty good shit. Kicks in quick, kicks in hard… and kicks you right in the skull.” He turned and left, sporting a conspiratorial grin.
Josh shook his head at his friends dwindling sanity and headed off to the jungle gym, trailing Beth by three steps. Mounting the rain-slick, red mass of steel tubing, they reached the top, and greeted Jami, each of them running their cool, wet fingers down each side of her face. Her body jerked upright, and she stared around in an intense state of confusion, her eyes finally meeting Beth’s.
“Oh. It’s you, did Josh come as well?” she asked, her voice and words spacey, at best. Beth nodded in the opposing direction, followed by Jami’s languid head, her eyes now fixed on Josh’s. “There you are! Marvelous! Now, a present for my birthday!” she exclaimed, removing two miniature zip-lock bags, obviously designed from an aficionado, since they were a perfect fit for the ten strip held in each one.
“Thank you, Lady Jami.” Josh spoke softly, kissing the girl on the forehead; her short, choppy black hair clinging madly to her brow, as he palmed the baggy. Beth did the same, and slipped down the cold steel monstrosity, next to Josh. Hand in hand, they made their way across the gravel surrounding the jungle gym, and stepped across the grass a dozen feet, and slid into a quiet and dry concrete tube; each end open, and a man-sized hole in the top-center.
Once inside, Josh removed the slim strip of acidic paper, and from the watch-pocket of his jeans; a handy, folding razor-knife contraption. Like a guillotine, he held the paper by the edge, the blade at a forty-five degree angle; he brought it down, closing it, a presumed length of three hits landing on the top of his knee. Slipping it under his tongue, feeling the first second of dissolving, he repeated the severing process for Beth, slipping it under her tongue as well. They each smiled to each other, returning the remnants to their respective envelopes, and engrossed themselves into a nonsensical conversation concerning the de-evolution of man, to pass the time until the acid would take its hold on their melting minds.
Outside of their concrete abode, they heard the chatter of the rest of their pseudo-goth acquaintances; Jami must have invited a good twenty in all.
I felt it swarm around me, my mind melting, dripping down my throat and settling warm and comfortingly in the bottom of my stomach. Burning bright like the lime green of antifreeze, sloshing around with the stomach acids, it lifted me up; lighter than a feather, stronger than a bird – I was flying on high. The orange and royal purple slaughtering against the atmosphere, up and beyond I went. Further and further, until my head touched the cosmos; a swirling, spinning nebula of intricacy and perfection. It was like being touched, loved, and caressed by the hand of god.
Reaching up, my hands caressed the planets and watched as they shown brighter than the sun, filled with the energy of a million burning organisms. Further I went, swimming past the Milky Way, and even further. Inching past each planet, naming them one by one, smiling back at all their moons as they smiled comfortingly at me. Beyond Pluto, in his moon-sized glory and chill, where I reached the fabled Planet X; deciding on a whim to set foot on the icy plain. But I knew, as I now know, as I’ve always known – I was drawn there by more than just a whim, or even coincidence. I’ve never had an experience since or before on LSD that has equaled this – it was intentional, subliminal: Fate or Destiny, if you happen to believe in such things. It was meant to be.
Touching down, I smiled, and was greeted by an enormous light, much brighter than what the sound could produce from so far, and a warmth so pleasant it was like home. Step by step, I moved with purpose, I knew where I had to go. Across grassy plains and deserts unnumbered, my destination was the center city. On the way, I was greeted by creatures, not quite human, but not quite alien. They glowed magnificently, and nodded curtly in my direction, without speaking a word, a song following in their wake of such subdued intensity, it could only have been the words of angels. Closer I neared, like Dorothy approaching the Emerald City, and in my body, my heart, my soul I felt excitement, as such.
Suddenly, without warning, I was face to face with what could only be described as a man, but without a true form or feature, it was only in the presence. It had to be. Speaking without words, a series of synapses in my brain, told me what had to be communicated.
Joshua, I thank you considerably for coming. It is a pleasure and an honor to meet you. You may call me Yahweh if you so desire, or as with your species, God will suffice. The reason I have called you here is to tell you; you are the next one. My replacement, so to speak.
“What do you mean?” I asked, beyond puzzled.
Well, my son, you are the next in line for this position. I see it, as my former saw my coming several millennia ago. We see our own ends, but not our beginnings, or the endings of any others, only the one we replace. And, some wish we could see the course of our replacements, but even if we could, there is nothing we could do; morally. It is out of our power, you see. If you choose to unmake the world, there is nothing any of us could do to stop you. But that is all up to you, my boy.
“I see.” I spoke quietly, unsure of what to make of all this, and beginning to wonder if it was solely the drugs talking to me.
No, my boy, it is not the chemicals, but they are what help bring you to me. The deal is this; Joshua – you will remember none of this, our meeting, your adventure to Heaven, none of it. That is not possible; it will queer the spin of existence. No, you will return to your home and remember nothing. You will go about the course of your life, without this interference, the only reason you are here, is because I wanted to meet you. I felt the utmost need to meet my killer. Now, my boy – be gone, and remember: none of this ever happened.
I felt the presence smile to me, and without a word of warning, he was gone, and I was on my way through the vastness of space, continuing back over the planets, winking at the moons, a memory of our meeting nonexistent. As I neared the planet known as Earth, known as home, everything kicked into fast forward. Jupiter, the Milky Way, Mars and boom, I was back in the tube; the sunlight licking at my face and bare back.
Rolling over onto his back, the cold concrete bit his back and Beth shifted in his arms, her warm breasts pressed firmly to his chest, and her hair spreading out over his arm. Nudging her awake, her bright green eyes smiled at him; her lips, as sweet as a lollipop brushed against his, and together, they slowly began to dress themselves, without anyone in the world noticing. Nipping softly at his ear, she whispered ‘Happy Sweet Sixteen, baby – I love you.’ With a tight hug, they slipped from the tube and worked their way across the playground to where everyone had congregated the night before. They were utterly alone, everyone apparently dispersing through the night.
As they made their way to her house, without words, only the occasional knowingly happy glance, they couldn’t help but smile at each other. This was what life was about, and they were both more than content with the hand that had been dealt. Together they were, and for eternity, it seemed. At the mouth of her drive way, they kissed softly for a long moment, before she broke away and made her way to the door. Quietly she opened and closed it, as not to wake her parents, and with that, he made his way home, a flutter in his stomach and heart, he had never felt before.