Those who’ve read my earlier posts know that I seem to find darkness wherever I go. It’s a bad habit that I clearly have no idea how to break, which is why my current situation should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. Apparently that’s a list that doesn’t include me though because, upon finding an old desktop computer tower hidden behind the water-heater in my girlfriend Alice’s condo, my first reaction was to bring the computer home and dig through its files. In my world that’s called “asking for it.”
I already had the remnants of a similar Dell model stashed in a closet at my place complete with a compatible monitor, A/C cord, etc. which made setup quite easy. I turned the computer on and was greeted by a Windows XP password-entry screen for a user named “Enid.” Apparently, the original owner of this computer was a 90 year-old woman.
Because a lot of my friends are terrible people, I knew that there were ways around Windows passwords that required little more than a thumb-drive and several dubious keyword searches. But first, out of simple compulsive habit, I typed “password” and hit ENTER. And of course it worked.
The computer unlocked to reveal a desktop with a painting of the DC villain Harley Quinn as its background. Yup, definitely a girl’s computer, though maybe “Enid” wasn’t 90 after all, but simply the victim of parents with an unfortunate taste in names.
At this point, I feel it’s worth noting that I am not a monster. I wasn’t on some mission to invade this poor girl’s privacy. I wasn’t looking to steal anyone’s identity. I was simply curious.
The maintenance guy had found the tower when he was replacing a part on the water-heater, which was located at the back of Alice’s bedroom closet. Enid was most likely a former tenant of my girlfriend’s condo who had used the closet for storage but that doesn’t explain why she had felt the need to wedge her computer behind a water-heater.
There were seven folders on the desktop along with a small assortment of program icons: Microsoft Word, Photoshop, a program for live-streaming video that I had never heard of, etc. The seven folders were labeled, from top to bottom: “music”, “movies”, “pictures”, “art”, “writing”, “video”, and finally “logs.”
Call it the power of placement, but I clicked on “logs” first mainly because every other folder had a name that was self-explanatory. The “logs” folder contained over a dozen Word documents. The name of each document was a month followed by a year, starting on “February, 2012” and ending with “January, 2014.”
The computer itself was from the mid-2000s at the latest. If my girlfriend’s condo complex hadn’t been so upscale, that fact wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But I had to wonder what someone who could afford over a grand a month on rent was doing using a computer from ’05 in 2014. I started skimming through the earliest log and it quickly became obvious that Enid was no air-traffic controller.
The following is a transcript of the first page of the earliest document.
BESTinLIFE – starts: 12:40am
Client requests that I position myself with my spread butt cheeks held close to the camera and stay that way while occasionally calling him a “dirty little limp-dick slave boy.”
Ends: 12:51am [11 mins]
MarcosPoloTX – starts: 1:05am
Client requests that I urinate into a bucket. I lay a plastic sheet down on the floor in front of the camera and do so.
Ends: 1:10am [5 mins]
Gorgeous Randy Flamethrower – starts: 1:24am
Client requests that I put on my Freddy Kruger hat, toy glove, and striped sweater with no panties and then play with myself while reciting lines from a Nightmare on Elm Street. As the client ejaculates, he shouts “oh god!” and I respond by holding my gloved hand up in front of my face and saying in a deep guttural voice, “THIS… is god.”*
*That made the client super happy. Think I have a new regular.
Ends: 1:42am [18 mins]
pocketfullarollos – starts: 1:47am
Client requests a voice chat but says nothing. It sounds like he is sobbing. I don’t know what to do so I just sit there, staring at the camera. After a few minutes, he screams “Why?! WHY?!” and then closes the voice chat.
Ends: 1:51am [4 mins]
TonyMontanaLIVES Starts: 1:58am
Client requests that I kneel on the bed and expose my butthole to the camera. Client occasionally asks me to “thank daddy” and each time I say “thank you, daddy” to which he responds “good girl.”
Ends: 2:07am [9 mins]
That’s right, Enid was a cam-girl: a woman who live-streamed herself acting out various requests from what was usually a lobby full of horny onlookers. Though Enid’s specialty was private video chats; more costly one-on-one sessions that presumably created an illusion of intimacy between cam-girl and client (I say “presumably” because I wouldn’t know. I get my porn the old fashioned way: off of free streaming sites.)
An added bonus that came along with this presumed intimacy was that it made Enid’s session-logs read like a window into the darkest recesses of the human imagination. Think H.P. Lovecraft if he had been really into butt-stuff.
I couldn’t stop reading them. I’ve never considered myself a particularly perverse guy but there was this surreal quality to the dry tone of Enid’s logs that fascinated me. Plus, the requests were often far from what I personally found erotic, so it’s safe to say it wasn’t “like that.”
I’ll be honest. In a weird way, I did start to feel attached to Enid. I spent nights sitting there, listening to her weird-ass music (mostly stuff like the Cure and Four Non-Blondes. I actually really liked one song by New Order called “Temptation ’87”) and I would read through months of this girl degrading herself in every possible way and describing it all in the most matter-of-fact terms and eventually it was like I knew her.
I realize that sounds weird but there’s really no other way to describe it. I wanted to find her. I imagined showing up on Enid’s doorstep and handing her the computer and telling her that it was okay now. That I would make everything alright.
You may recall how I mentioned that I found this thing at my girlfriend’s condo. So, before this gets any more awkward, let me just reiterate: Not a monster.
I wasn’t really going to do any of that but merely emphasizing the effect her writing had on me. Though, it wasn’t until I started reading the log for “October, 2013” that the proverbial shit got real…
FirstNameLastName – start: 4:37pm
Client Requests that I strip naked. His video feed is just a black screen at first but then something is moved out of the way of the camera and I can see another naked girl who is laying stomach-down on top of what appears to be a large dog kennel. Her arms and legs are chained to the kennel and her hair hangs down around her face, hiding it from view.
There is a man sitting in the darkness behind her. His face is covered by a black mask and he is vigorously masturbating. After a moment, the girl begins to scream, “Oh, god! He’s coming!”
I quickly end the session and just sit there for a while afterwards, staring at my own dumbfounded expression in the video-chat program open on my computer screen. Then I write this log. Then I quit for the day.
Ends: 4:49pm [12 mins]
This was the first mention of a masked man but then he returned a week later, using a different name…
HumbertSquared – starts 11:32pm
Client requests that I strip naked. His video-feed displays a shot of a poorly-lit bedroom. There is a partially open closet to the right of the frame and a closed door to the left. I don’t see anyone in the room so I say “hello?”
Someone begins to bang on the closed door from outside and I let out a startled yelp. This is when a man in a black mask leans his head out of the closet and looks in my direction. He is masturbating.
There is another bang on the closed door and someone screams, “He’s fucking coming!”
I end the session. It was the same masked man as before. I’m sure of it. I write this log and forward it to Donna along with the one from last Wednesday. I receive a new session request but I can’t. It’s not that I’m afraid.
But I am.
Ends: 11:41pm [9 mins]
And then again, in November…
A King of Infinite Space – starts: 9:37pm
Client requests that I strip naked. I start to but then stop when I see the video-feed. It’s of a woman working out on one of those at-home elliptical machines. She’s watching TV and seems oblivious to the live web-cam pointed at her.
The woman soon finishes her workout and steps down off of the machine and that’s when I spot him in the window behind her. The man in the black mask is looking directly into the camera like he’s staring at me.
Even before I see his bouncing shoulder, I know he’s masturbating. As the woman uses a towel to pat herself down, the power is cut and the room goes dark. I hear the woman mutter something and then breaking glass and then screaming and then the session is ended.
After the last incident, I decided to install a video-capture program to record my sessions with just in case this fucker showed back up. Sure, it’s a huge no-no in my line of work, but what just happened makes me glad I did it. This has officially gone too far. I’m calling the cops.
Ends: 9:55pm [18 mins]
Well, the cops think I’m insane.
First, I call 9-1-1 in the middle of the night to report a home invasion that I don’t know the location of. When detectives arrive to question me, I pull up my video of the session to find that I successfully recorded 18 minutes of a silent black screen. Not sure how that’s possible. I had already tested the program and followed the steps exactly.
I spend the next hour convincing the detectives that I’m not crazy-pants and/or attempting to file a false police report. I tell them about my job and the man in the black mask. Then I have the bright idea to mention that the past few nights I had this feeling like someone was following me during the walk from my car to my apartment.
This makes the two detectives exchange a look and after that, they start to give me a lot of reassuring nods but I can tell they’ve stopped listening. Just another troubled girl living alone, no man to support her, paying the bills through devious sex acts and hallucinating masked stalkers. If you’ve placated one, you’ve placated them all.
I’m taking the day off.
Realizing I needed to start documenting all of this, I located the eighteen-minute “black screen” video and copied it along with the “logs” folder to a thumb-drive. And that’s when Enid’s hard-drive crashed.
It was like the moment those files where extracted, the computer just keeled over and died. I sent the video to my friend Jay who specialized in extracting useable data from corrupted files along with an email explaining everything. He agreed to come over and check to see if he could salvage the hard-drive.
That night after work, I met Jay at my house and he showed me what he was able to pull off of Enid’s video. “The file was mostly corrupted but, after loading it into an editing program and going through frame-by-frame, I was able to extract an image…”
Jay brought up the image on his laptop and my heart actually skipped a beat. It was a close-up photo of a man in a black mask. The picture quality was poor, like it was taken with a web cam, and the longer I stared at it the harder it was to tell if what I was looking at was even a mask.
It was then I saw that my phone, which I set to silent when Jay arrived, had a list of “missed alert” notices now illuminating its screen. I unlocked the phone to find two new messages and a bunch of missed calls from my girlfriend and was immediately knocked out of my fixated stupor by an overwhelming sense of guilt. I had been so obsessed with this whole Enid thing that we hadn’t spoken in almost two days, which is a long time for us.
I tried calling her twice and got her voicemail both times. A sudden feeling of dread began to mount in the pit of my stomach as I checked my messages. The first one was my girlfriend saying she had just gotten home and was hoping to hang out tonight and that she missed me.
“Plus, and I’m sure you’re gonna say I’m just being paranoid, but you know how my parking spot is at the back of the complex and I hate it because it’s like a million miles away from my apartment? Well, I swear the last like three nights now I’ve had this feeling like someone was following me on the walk from my car. I was hoping to talk to my boyfriend so I wouldn’t be so freaked out this time but I’m almost at my door now so I won’t hold it against you. Call me when you can, sweetie. I love you.”
The second message seemed like a pocket-dial at first. Nothing but rustling sounds for about thirty seconds. And then suddenly my girlfriend whispered, “…He’s coming.”
That was the last time anyone has seen or heard from her in over forty-eight hours. I went with her parents to file a Missing Persons report today and played the two messages for the detective who took our statements. I didn’t mention anything about Enid’s computer or the masked man because, though a part of me desperately wanted to, I was still reeling from everything and simply couldn’t think of a way to arrange the words in my head that didn’t make me sound bat-shit insane.
Jay texted me a couple of times about having something important to show me but I haven’t called him back yet. I needed to write all of this down first, if only to help me mentally process everything.
Chapter 2: This Rabbit Hole Is A Sarlacc Pit
By the time I finally called Jay back, I ended up getting his voicemail. I tried two more times but he never answered. Eventually, I decided to simply drive over to his house.
Despite the stereotypical depiction of the computer nerd as some kind of perpetually lonely super virgin, Jay was actually happily married to a fairly attractive girl named Amy. She’s who greeted me at the door later that night, a somber smile on her face as she said, “Hey… I’m so sorry about Alice. That’s crazy. She never seemed like the flighty type.”
“I know. That’s what worries me.” Amy’s smile faltered and I immediately felt bad. My whole woe-is-me, my-girlfriend-might-be-murdered vibe had been really bumming people out all week. I quickly forced a smile of my own and asked, “Is Jay home?”
“No. He left me a note saying he would be out late doing research on something and that if you came by, I was to give you this…” She handed me a thumb-drive.
“Did he say where he was going?”
Amy shook her head, “I figured you would know. I called his office, because that’s where he always works on stuff, and the guy who answered said he hadn’t been in all day. I tried his cell but of course his phone’s off. You know how he gets when he’s working on something.”
“Yeah. I do…” I said, probably a bit too ominously as I stared down at the thumb-drive clutched in my hand.
The drive contained a video file labeled “Watch Me First” and a folder titled “Logs (FILTERED)”, which was pretty vague as far as folder names go. I had to actively resist the urge to open the folder first just to find out what the fuck “(FILTERED)” meant, so in retrospect I guess the name of the video file was a pretty smart idea on Jay’s part.
The video opened on Jay turning from his computer to look into the wireless webcam mounted on the wall of his home-office, a gesture I immediately recognized from countless TF2 scrims that we spent Skype-chatting with each other on our laptops because we both hated wearing headsets and verbally communicating with people we couldn’t see. You might say that Jay and I’s entire friendship was built on a uniquely similar variation of Asperger’s but then you’d be kind of a dick.
Jay began, “Since you’re not answering your phone and you never check my voicemails, I figured this video would be the next best thing. Anyway, I used a list of specific keyword searches to isolate all of the pertinent data from the remaining logs. I filtered out all the sex stuff that didn’t contain a reference to the masked man. From there, you can see for yourself that it’s a pretty quick read. Once you do, call me or email me if I go into work mode and switch off my cell. I’ve got a few more things to check out but you’ll see for yourself. It’s nothing good. I’m sorry man… I’m so sorry… He’s coming…”
Jay suddenly looked off screen and began to shout, “He’s coming! He’s coming! Don’t let Amy…”
Jay screamed as a tall shadow flickered across the wall and then the video cut to later that evening. The man in the black mask was now sitting in Jay’s computer-chair. He seemed to be staring into the camera but I couldn’t see his eyes through the mask. He slowly tilted his head, like he was listening for something.
A moment later, the doorbell rang. I could hear Amy opening the door in her living room as I pulled out my cell and started to call her. On the computer screen, I could hear Amy say ““Hey… I’m so sorry about Alice. That’s crazy…”
The masked man began to masturbate as Amy’s voicemail answered the call. I hung up and started to dial 9-1-1 when something dawned on me and my arm went limp, the phone dropping from my hand and thudding to the carpet.
“How?” This was a video file on a thumb-drive that was given to me during a conversation that I could hear on the video that was on the thumb-drive that was…
And then the masked man came and I turned off the video and retrieved the handgun that was under my bed. I left it unloaded and still in its case as I placed it in the trunk of my car and then raced over to Jay’s house, because somehow I still had the presence of mind to realize that if a cop was going to pull me over for speeding, the last thing I needed at this point was a gun charge.
Ten minutes later, I was parked half a block from Jay’s house and loading the forty-five caliber colt. It was at this point that I realized just how ridiculous I must look. I thought about calling the cops and trying to figure out how to explain everything to them without including the more nutty bits, when finally I decided to try Amy’s number one more time. To my surprise, I got an answer on the first ring.
“What are you waiting for, Fraidy-Cat?” His voice wasn’t what I would’ve expected. It was kind of nasally and surprisingly human. “I thought you were the big man with the gun.”
“You’re goddamn right I am!” I said, holding up my gun and then quickly lowering it as I realized how stupid that was. “Where is Alice?”
All of the lights were off except for a single lamp which backlit the very distinct figure standing at Jay’s living-room window. The masked man leaned close to the glass and said, “The same place as your balls, apparently. Seriously, dude, grow a pair. Move on. This one digs my ride more now.”
“Are you fucking INSANE?” And the stupidest question ever goes to…
“I am many things. What the wolves howl about, the cold night wind on the back of your neck. I am the darkness that fills a room when the lights are turned out. I am the shadow that stains your mind forever. The thing that cannot be unseen. I am doom and my favorite food is girlfriends.”
“That’s fascinating,” I said, cocking my gun. “I notice you didn’t mention bullet-proof.”
From the spot in Jay’s garden that I had managed to crawl to during the masked man’s diatribe, I sprang up and quickly fired two shots through the living-room window. They both hit their target, one stomach and one shoulder, and the man went sprawling onto his back. Holy shit, that worked!
I couldn’t resist letting out a triumphant “HA!” as I rounded the house and plowed through the open front door. I kneeled on the man as I tore his mask off to reveal…
Jay, trying to cough blood through a piece of poorly secured duct-tape.
See, kids? This is why violence never solves anything: You shoot someone because you think they’re a monster but it’s really your best friend who the monster was using as a decoy and now you’re on the run from the cops because you shot your friend with a gun registered in your name and that just sucks.
This segment won’t contain any transcripts of Enid’s logs and, for that, I apologize. I realize, by this point, a more fitting name for the series might be “Memoirs of Some Guy Who Read a Cam-Girl’s Diary and Proceeded to Make Increasingly Poor Decisions” but A.) that’s kind of a wordy title and B.) I’ve got bigger fish to fry at the moment so back off.
I’m far enough away now that it felt safe to stop for a night and finally go over Jay’s condensed version of Enid’s logs. I will provide a copy of the filtered logs as soon as I can.
Oh, and I almost forgot: Of course, the video on that thumb-drive would only show a black screen after the first time I watched it but I WAS able to grab a screenshot from the initial play-through of the masked man seated in Jay’s chair. Maybe I’m just going crazy (and I’m sure that wouldn’t be too hard to believe), but I swear to god it looks like the mask is smiling in this one.
Chapter 3: Enid’s Logs (FILTERED)
[November, 2013] THURSDAY, 28th
JoylessLushClub – starts: 2:34pm
Client requests a private video-chat. His camera is aimed at a large flat-screen TV playing my least favorite moment from the movie “a Serbian Film.” I am almost positive this is that masked asshole again but then the client grabs the webcam and turns it to face himself, revealing a young Asian guy in what looks to be a college dorm room (either that or an exceptionally disgusting motel that had unframed Dali prints on all of the walls.)
“Isn’t that fucked up?” he asks, nodding at the TV. I tell him yeah but when you consider what the Serbian people have been through, it’s clear that the film is actually a poignant metaphor for their struggles. It’s just not something that I ever cared to watch again, if he didn’t mind.
“Oh my bad,” He says, sounding genuinely apologetic. He switches the TV off and turns back to the web-cam. “So…”
“Would you like me to take my shirt off?”
The client unbuckles his belt. “I would like the shit out of that.”
I remove my shirt and ask if he wants me to rub baby-oil on my breasts. “Hell yeah, and can we lose the panties too?”
He pulls off his own underwear and I start to apply the oil as he says, “I’m so glad there’s actually someone on here on Thanksgiving. I was SO fucking bored.”
“Right? I was worried there’d be nothing but total creeps on here today…”
“Yeah, I bet,” he says and nods. “Show me your feet.”
Ends: 2:55pm [21 mins]
[December] TUESDAY, 17
iLikeFrogs – 8:45pm
Client requests that I “scurry around the room” while wearing nothing but my plush Pac-Man mask as he sings an acapella rendition of the Miss Pac-Man theme song, occasionally speeding up the tempo which is my cue to chase down as many ghosts as I can before time runs out.
The client imitates Pac-Man’s death-melody with pitch perfect accuracy as he climaxes.
Ends: 8:59pm [14 mins]
[January, 2014] SATURDAY, 4th
LEGION R US – Starts: 4:00pm
The masked fuck is back.
Client sends a chat-request which reads simply “strip naked.” The familiar wording immediately tips me off and I don’t respond. He resends the request and I tell him to activate his camera first. He does so, revealing a kitten in a cardboard box. After a beat, the masked man leans into frame, holding a lit blow-torch.
The request appears in chat a third time and I quickly begin to undress. “OKAY, you sick bastard! I’m doing it.”
He switches the blow-torch off and then lifts the box containing the kitten, revealing a scarred wooden table on which the masked man then sits, balancing the box on his knees as he begins to undo his pants.
The words “COME ON, WE BOTH KNOW YOU CAN STRIP FASTER THAN THAT” appear in the chat window.
I scowl at the fucker and yank down my panties. The masked man begins to masturbate as the kitten peaks its head out of the box and meows at him.
Another message appears in the chat-window: “YOU’RE SO SEXY WHEN YOU’RE DISGUSTED.”
Ends: 4:07pm [7 mins]
DOCTORWHOISON1ST – 10:42pm
Client is a regular, which is the only way I accept private video-chats anymore. The money I’m losing is a fair price if it means I don’t have to deal with that creepy masked asshole.
I open the video-chat to see the client seated behind the desk in his home-office just as always but there is something off about him. For the longest time he just sits there, forcing a smile as he stares at me.
Eventually I ask, “So what did you have in mind?”
“I’m so sorry.” He says in something slightly louder than a whisper.
“He’s here.” The web-cam pans to reveal the masked man sitting beside the client, his penis in one hand and a cattle-prod in the other. The masked man jabs the electrified prod into the client’s gut and he collapses to the ground.
The masked man stands and uses the prod to pin him to the floor. He continues shocking the client until his flesh begins to smoke and the masked man climaxes.
Ends: 10:55pm [14 mins]
That’s it. I don’t care if it means he wins. I fucking quit. It was a great job until this motherfucker but you know what? It’s not fucking worth it. I might as well go back to stripping. At least there they have bouncers to deal with these creeps.
I wake at 10:00am and immediately double-check my alarm-clock to make sure it really says “AM.” There must be a big storm coming because the sky is so overcast right now that it looks more like 10:00pm outside.
I try to leave my apartment to go check the mail but the front door won’t open. I make sure the bolt isn’t turned and then pull on the door as hard as I can but it doesn’t budge. I hurry over to the window and raise the blinds to find a set of iron security bars mounted to the outside that weren’t there last night.
Glancing out at the complex, I see that the units across from mine also have bars on their windows and their doors have been boarded over. The building is shaped like a horseshoe with a large courtyard containing a pool and several communal picnic stations at its center. I scan the courtyard, searching for some clue as to why my apartment complex was suddenly one giant fire-hazard.
It’s so dark outside that it takes me a few moments to actually process what I’m seeing: There’s a man sitting at one of the picnic tables, his back to me. He’s staring at what looks to be some sort of abstract sculpture made out of rebar and… potato sacks? There’s a pile of something beside his chair, too. It looks like… arms. And legs. And that’s because it’s a pile of severed arms and legs.
Some of the potato sacks are twitching and I realize that the “sacks” are actually the limbless bodies of several of my neighbors who are all clearly still alive and surprisingly lucid for what are basically just heads on what looked like melted torsos. One of them, a sweet old lady named Linda, spots me in the window and her mouth falls open.
Linda frantically shakes her head and mouths something at me, which prompts the guy seated at the table to turn and follow her gaze up to my window. With the hand he isn’t using to pleasure himself, the man in the black mask gives me a casual wave and shouts, “Don’t worry; we didn’t forget about you!”
As I back away from the window, I finally register the series of strange noises coming from somewhere inside my apartment and growing louder by the second. Ugh, that SOUND! Like a bunch of dogs gnawing on rawhide… It’s at this moment that I finally realize the noise isn’t coming from inside the apartment. It’s coming from inside the walls.
I grab my laptop and phone and barricade myself inside the walk-in closet in my bedroom. Of course, I’m not getting any cell reception and the internet has mysteriously stopped working. The gnawing sound is so loud now that I can’t even hear my own panicked breathing. Plus, I’m pretty sure I just saw something move in the vent at the back of the closet, so it’s safe to assume that this will probably be my final entry.
There’s an old desktop computer from high-school in here that I’m going to copy this hard-drive onto just in case something happens to my laptop. If you somehow find these logs and read this far, let me leave you with a warning: I’m pretty sure you’re fucked.
See I have this theory that, like most truly evil things, the masked man’s power is derived from the fear he causes. Which means simply knowing that he exists is like painting a target on your back. It gives him a way to find you. Those poor dismembered bastards outside? They all have one thing in common. At some point, I had mentioned the masked man to each of them.
If my theory ends up panning out, then I am seriously sorry. I wasn’t looking to ruin anyone’s life but I also don’t wanna end up a limbless sack-person trapped inside some sick freak’s erotic fantasy. Honestly, I was about to delete the entire folder but then he promised to make it quick and painless for me if I didn’t. How awesome is that? Once you get to know him, he’s actually a pretty nice guy.
He says my writing is vital to the cause and now I guess we both know why. If you value the people in your life, you won’t share a word of this with them. And it should go without saying but whatever you do, DEFINITELY don’t post any of it on the internet. I mean, could you imagine?
I clicked “SELECT ALL” and was debating whether to copy the text and post it on here or simply hit backspace and be done with it, once and for all, when I noticed something at the bottom of the last entry. A line of white text that hadn’t been visible until I highlighted the document; it was two sets of numbers. Coordinates. Followed by a question:
ARE YOU COMING?
I’m currently about 20 miles from my destination, using the free wifi at a truck-stop that is also a combination Pizza Hut/Taco Bell (yes, like the song) outside of some town where most of the male population seems to be allergic to shirt sleeves and the main export is A&E reality-shows.
I was going to drive straight there until I started scanning through the radio stations, desperate for any kind of distraction from the foreboding silence, and Alice’s voice suddenly cut through the static. “Can you hear me, baby? It’s okay… I’m fine. Really. It’s not so bad here. I know about everything with you and Enid and I’m not mad. I understand.”
There was a muffled whimper, followed by a sniffle. She was crying.
“What we had was great but things change. People change. There will always be a place for you in my heart but you have to let me go. Okay? You’re only going to make things worse… You always do.”
I had turned the volume up to hear Alice and when the static suddenly cut back in, it startled me so much that I nearly swerved off the road. It’s going to take more than that to stop me though. I’m about to finish this post, maybe have a steak quesadilla. Then I’m gonna go save my girlfriend and kill some fucking monsters. On a related note, if this is my last update on the story, just assume that’s exactly what happened.
Chapter 4: An Inaccurately Named Conclusion
So I’m still alive, which is cool. There’s more good news but, considering how the previous update ended with me hell-bent on continuing to make bad decisions like it was my job, I should probably start by filling you guys in on what happened the other night.
Using Google Maps, I found a location that matched up with the coordinates from Enid’s final entry: It was a sizable structure positioned behind a long row of smaller interconnected buildings located near the center of a town so tiny; Google didn’t even have a name for it. Which is, of course, always a good sign.
Looking at how the buildings were positioned, I assumed that my destination was a warehouse located behind a long strip-mall. And it seemed as if I had guessed right. In fact, the narrow two-lane highway that acted as Nameless Town’s impromptu main street was practically lined with strip-malls from one end to the other.
Most of the stores were pretty generic: women’s boutiques and sandwich shops. There were a couple of electronics outlets too, a few sporting-goods stores, etc. All of them were closed and, from the looks of it, had been for quite some time. I slowed as I neared the end of “Strip City” and glanced down at the GPS app on my phone. I was almost on top of my destination now.
I looked back at the road and reflexively slammed on my breaks as the final strip-mall came into view. The car screeched to a halt in the middle of the street, stopping beside a sign that read “MR. MYSTERY’S ADULT VIDEO AND ARCADE!” Above the sign was a 10-foot tall painted wood cut-out of Mr. Mystery, himself. Care to guess what he looked like?
If you answered “a creepy bastard in a black mask”, congratulations! You have a basic understanding of how to utilize narrative clues. Call your dad. Tell him he was wrong. You ARE good for something.
On a related note, it was at this point that I became almost certain I was on the right track. I was about to pull into Mr. Mystery’s parking-lot when an uncharacteristic moment of foresight made me decide to drive a little further down and hide the car in the lot of a nearby gas station instead.
I pulled into the abandoned gas station, which was half a block down from Mr. Mystery’s arcade. Then I realized there was a very real chance I would be running for my life when I left here and that it was probably best if my car were parked as close as possible. I made a U-turn and exited the gas station parking-lot, Bruce Willis’ irate voice in my head asking “Who’s driving this car? Stevie Wonder?”
As a compromise I passed up Mr. Mystery’s and parked one lot over in the Bed, Bath, and Beyond next door. I even backed into the space so that my car was facing the exit. Keeping my eyes on the adult arcade, I pulled the gun from the back of my waistband and checked the magazine to make sure it was loaded. I let out a deep breath and then switched off the safety.
As I prepared myself to exit the car, I glanced in the rearview mirror and caught a glimpse of the wild-eyed sleep-deprived unshaven ne’er-do-well staring back at me. This is when, for the second time in less than two weeks, I found myself having a genuine moment of personal introspection while sitting in a parked car with a loaded gun in my hand. And it dawned on me then that I was bad at learning from mistakes.
But you know what? Not this time. Ole’ Clarence was too smart to be THAT stupid. I slid the gun back in my waistband and took out my phone to do what, admittedly, I probably should’ve done a long time ago. I dialed 9-1-1.
I put the phone to my ear as the line started to ring, which was weird because the ring had sort of an echo to it. Probably just the terrible reception out here. It rang again and this time the echo sounded like it was coming from the backseat of my car. I lowered the cell as a third ring, clear as day, sounded from my backseat.
My hand fumbled for the door-handle as I glanced at the rearview mirror just in time to see the masked man spring up behind me and say, “Well this is awkward…”
I was too stunned to react as the masked man grabbed me by my hair and clamped a damp foul-smelling rag over my nose and mouth. So this is what chloroform smelled like?
I held my breath and fought against the initial wave of wooziness long enough to reach a hand back and yank off his mask. The last thing I saw before my vision became one big blur was the reflection of a familiar face in my rearview mirror.
Jay smiled at me and said, “Shh, it’s okay… There’s no such thing as ghosts.”
And then darkness…
The first thing that came back was my sense of smell. My sinuses were still lined with the stink of chloroform. It was awful. Hollywood made getting ‘formed look so glamorous. Like it was all just…
“A rag on my face? Oh no, I’m asleep! Oh no, where am I?”
I didn’t give a FUCK where I was. The first five minutes of consciousness felt like an hour. I could barely keep my eyes open. No response from my limbs. All I could smell or taste or feel or see or think was the god-awful scent of chloroform. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I realized Jay was saying something…
“…Probably a bit too liberal of a dousing and I apologize. But let’s both try and be adults here. You wouldn’t have come without a fight and I’d hate to have to taze a bro.”
I forced my eyes open out of sheer spite. I wanted to look this sick bastard in his face when I told him to go fuck himself. Everything was still blurry but I got the gist: I was tied to a chair. There was a laptop on a desk in front of me and Jay’s stupid face was on the laptop.
After a few moments of concentration, I was able to focus my eyes enough to glare at Jay. I told my mouth to open and my tongue to form the words ‘go fuck yourself.’
My jaw fell slack and a stream of drool poured from the corner of my mouth.
“I forgot you have awful sinuses, don’t you? Maybe chloroform wasn’t the best solution after all. Oh well, as they say… Hindsight is a bitch.”
“Your mom… bitch…” was the eventual reply that I managed to force out through the corner of my partially open mouth.
Jay turned and beamed at someone I couldn’t see. “Three coherent words, fellas! He’s coming around.”
“Hey-ewe-you-talk…” I started to ask but then furrowed my brow as a more pressing question suddenly came to mind. I gave Jay what I hoped was an incredulous glare as I shouted, “Didn’t I SHOOT?!”
He had a nice laugh at this before finally replying, “Yes, you did shoot. Unfortunately for you, what you shot were blanks.”
“I switched out the rounds in the gun-case you kept under your bed with blanks. You were so excited about shooting me that night; you failed to notice that my ‘bullet wounds’ were actually just prop-squibs.”
“When did I switch the rounds? The night I came over to ‘help’ you try to save Enid’s corrupted video-file. The same night I installed all that stuff on your laptop that let me create time-and-space defying illusions…” Jay looked up and batted his eyes, pantomiming naivety as he continued in a falsetto tone, “How am I watching a video on a thumb-drive of me receiving the thumb-drive with the video on it? It’s not like anyone I know is able to remotely access computers or make them look like they’re doing one thing when they’re really doing another.”
“WHY?!” I screamed, only vaguely aware of the tears welling in my eyes.
Jay tilted his head at me in a condescending gesture. “The same reason I wrote that folder full of fake logs and planted it at Alice’s place.”
“YOU wrote the logs? Like ALL of them?”
Jay nodded, looking almost proud as he said “I knew you couldn’t resist a good mystery. Especially one involving a creative, attractive, vulnerable girl specifically designed to make you fall in love with the mere idea of her.”
“There never was an Enid,” I muttered to myself and Jay scoffed.
“Oh, there were a THOUSAND Enids… But, hey! At least you’re speaking in full sentences again.”
“So I am,” I said and spat at the computer screen.
“Your next question should be how I managed to snatch Alice WHILE I was at your house.”
I considered this for a beat and then turned back to Jay. “Yeah, wait! How the fuck…”
“To quote a true artist, ‘I get by with a little help from my friends.’” Jay reached an arm off-screen and pulled another familiar face into frame.
Amy waved at me. “Hey, Clarence… Sorry we had to put you through all this.”
“Fuck you bitch! I’m gonna choke the life from your husband with my bare fucking hands!”
“That’s cute. He still thinks we’re married.”
Jay chuckled and pointed at Amy, “This one is ‘totes lesbian. It’s cool though. She lets me watch. We just do the holy matrimony thing because her ‘rents gave us a huge dowry and plus it keeps my folks from asking too many questions because let’s be honest. Most of the women I sleep with don’t usually survive long enough for me to pop the question.”
“It amazes me that you think I care right now.”
“Dude!” Jay motioned to Amy. “I’m telling you I have access to interactive 3D lesbian porn…”
“And I’m telling you I’m gonna cut both your cheeks open before I bury you up to your neck so the sex-starved baboons I let loose on you won’t have to take turns FUCKING YOUR FACE! DO YOU HEAR ME, YOU GOOFY GRINNIN’ SON OF A BITCH?! I WILL BURN YOUR FUCKING LIFE DOWN…” I was now screaming at the laptop with every fiber of my being and pulling at the ropes holding me in place until the chair almost tipped over, cutting me short as I paused to steady myself.
One of the people off-screen said, “Ewe, I like this one’s energy. Very creative.”
“How many demented assholes you got back there?!”
Jay turned to address one of said assholes and shrugged, whispering “I’d say it’s as good a time as any.”
“It’s your pledge, your call.”
Jay turned to address someone else and asked, “Wes, thoughts?”
“Hello?!” With Jay and his inane rambling no longer holding my attention, I felt a sudden mounting dread begin to overtake me as the reality of my situation finally and truly set in. I glanced around what appeared to be a break room and saw nothing particularly nefarious looking; jut a kitchenette, the table I was sitting at, and an old pre flat-screen television mounted to the corner of one wall. Near the door was a hand-dolly with a stack of small brightly-colored boxes. The picture on the boxes was of…
The picture on the boxes was of a large purple dildo.
I continued to struggle against the ropes, this time even more frantically. The chair began to tip back and I tried to force my weight forward but the ropes held me in place as the chair crashed to the floor. I banged my head pretty hard but was thankfully still a bit numb from the chloroform.
I blinked and my vision refocused to reveal a very tall, very muscular, very naked, VERY erect man standing over me. He was wearing one of those old-timey doctor’s plague masks with the long beak-like appendage that admittedly acted as a fitting parallel to his turgid member.
From the table above me, I heard Jay say, “Toby, be a dear and assist Mr. Worley here.”
Large, naked, erect Toby positioned himself almost directly over my face and began to crouch down and for a moment it was like Cthulhu coming in for that awkward first-date kiss. They say in these situations that the abyss stares back but I wouldn’t know because I recoiled in terror far too quickly to find out.
I shut my eyes tight and then started to scream as I felt my chair being gently lifted upright. A moment later, I opened my eyes to find myself now facing a room full of people staring back at me from the laptop. They were all wearing creepy homemade-looking black masks and seated around Jay and Amy in what looked to be a small theater.
“Meet the Order of Smeghead. Over the years, it has counted among its members some of the most powerful and influential people the world has ever known,” Jay said as he lifted his arms and motioned around the theater. “World-renowned artists, business moguls, reality TV stars, former heads of state, and even a Time Magazine Man of the Year…”
“Was that last one Hitler?”
“Specifics are not important.”
One of the masked audience-members raised their hand and said, “I write children’s books.”
I grinned at him, “Oh, really? Which ones?”
He started to say something but Jay quickly interrupted the man by shouting, “Damn it, Randy! Don’t TELL him! He hasn’t passed yet.”
“Passed what?” I asked.
Several people groaned and Randy lowered his head in shame as Jay turned back to face me, saying “You wanted to know why I would kidnap your girlfriend or enact a cunning plot that required countless hours of espionage and planning; all to lead you on a desperate journey of fear, isolation, and eventual catharsis? It was all a test. There you go. THANKS, Randy.”
“Hey, I’m not the jerk who said ‘passed!”” Someone grabbed Randy by the shoulder and he turned back around, his hands clenched into fists.
Jay sighed as he looked at Randy. “You know what? You’re right. I was about to tell him anyway and I was just mad at myself for not sticking the reveal. I’m sorry I blamed you.”
Randy’s fists unclenched and his posture relaxed. “I’m sorry I yelled.”
“No, you had every right…”
“GUYS!” I shouted, getting Jay’s attention. “What do you mean test?”
“The order has an opening and we’d like to invite you to join.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
“To be honest, you’re the only candidate who’s made it this far into the initiation, so you might as well hear us out.”
“Hear you out?! Jay! You abducted Alice, made me think I shot you, fucking CHLOROFORMED me and basically ruined my life and all because you want me to join your stupid sex-cult?!”
Jay lifted a hand to quiet Randy and then smiled at me as he said, “It’s not a sex cult. It’s a secret all-powerful order that worships a pagan god that, YES, happens to use sex to eroticize the most deeply rooted fears of mortal men so that he may one day fill their hearts with his own darkness. All I’m asking you, Clarence, is: Will you let his darkness come inside YOU?”
At this point, the entire audience including Jay shouted in unison, “He’s coming! He’s coming! Oh god, HE’S COMING!”
“Yeah, you guys might wanna cut the singular refrain from your ‘not a cult’ sales pitch.”
Several people in the audience began to murmur between each other and Jay smiled awkwardly as he turned back to me and said, “I feel like we’re getting off on the wrong foot here…”
“Yeah? Kidnapping someone’s girlfriend will do that. Make a note!”
“Toby, can you untie Mr. Worley? Maybe get him something to drink? Would you like a Vitamin Water?”
“Is the vitamin in that water Cialis?” I asked as Toby finished untying me and his erect penis once again entered my field of view. I quickly glanced up at his masked face. “I mean damn, dude… It’s cold in here and everything.”
“Ah yes, Toby is a brood of the dark one… He is truly blessed.”
Toby grunted at me through the plague mask and I tried not to whimper as I said, “I can see that.”
“Let me ask you, Clarence, have you ever been a member of a secret all-powerful order?”
“I have not.”
“Do you like money, fame, beautiful women throwing themselves at you, all the free drugs you can ingest, and the power to dictate your own destiny?”
“What’s the catch?”
Without missing a beat, Jay smirked and replied “A single sacrifice.”
The entire audience erupted with laughter and Jay had to wait several moments before it was quiet enough to respond, “That’s a bit of a common misconception among outsiders. See, people like us? Our souls are useless when we’re done with them. Selling your soul to an evil entity is like telling someone you’re going to trade them a cheeseburger after you’re done eating it. What’s left isn’t really worth the effort.”
“Yeah, I get the analogy. So what’s my sacrifice then?”
“The flesh and blood of someone you love.”
Jay nodded off screen and suddenly I was looking at Alice through a security camera feed. She was sitting in a small room surrounded by steel doors with tiny windows set into them at eye-level. “Alice!”
Jay’s voice was still audible through the laptop. “I’m sorry to say she can’t hear you. Trust me. It will make this next part a whole lot easier.”
I leaned in close to the screen. Alice looked just as confused and terrified as someone who’s been kept in a small room for almost two weeks. “Do you really expect me to kill my girlfriend?”
“Oh, no. That’s what we have Toby here for. He’s big into wet-work. A real natural. All you have to do is watch.”
“That’s it, huh?”
“Either that or Toby kills you both. Though, spoiler alert… With him, rape and murder are sort of a package deal. You’re not Toby’s typical type but he seems to be fond of you.” Toby nodded and I was suddenly aware of the heavy muffled breathing emanating from behind his mask as it intensified and grew more labored.
“You sure those are my only options?” I said as I reached back to feel the gun still in my waistband. Amateurs…
I pulled out the firearm and Jay scoffed as he said “I already told you that thing is loaded with blanks.”
“Apparently you’re not familiar with former television actor Jon-Erik Hexum,” I said as I quickly pressed the barrel of the gun to Toby’s chin and fired before he could respond.
The explosion of compressed gasses and paper wadding slammed against Toby’s lower jaw like an uppercut from a sledgehammer. His plague mask went flying, along with a splatter of blood and several small bits of debris that I assumed were teeth, as Toby’s limp body toppled to the floor. “Or, you know, how blanks work.”
“DUDE!” I heard Jay scream through the laptop as I hurried out of the room.
I exited the break-room and found myself at the back of a dimly-lit warehouse full of porn DVDs and assorted sexual paraphernalia, just as I guessed I would after seeing the inventory on that hand-dolly. This was the large building behind the adult arcade, which meant I had a good idea where Alice was.
I hurried across the warehouse and then into a utility hallway lined with several doors. I found one that said “PEEP SHOW” on it and pulled it open to reveal a small room containing an open doorway to my right and three curtained-off sections to my left labeled: BOOTH 1, BOOTH 2, and BOOTH 3.
I yanked Booth 2’s curtain aside and entered a dark foul-smelling recess with yet another door at the other end. This one was steel and had a window set into it at eye-level.
“Alice?” I practically shouted as I hurried to the window and peered inside.
There she was! I let out a small cheer as I banged on the door, which got her attention. Alice threw a hesitant glance at the window before pulling a literal double-take and turning back to shout, “Clarence?”
“Oh my god…” She smiled as tears began to pour from her eyes. Alice jumped up and hurried to the door. “It’s really you! Clarence, how…”
I examined the padlock on the latch holding the door closed and then held a finger up to the window. “Give me a sec. This is gonna be loud.”
I pressed the barrel of my gun to the top of the padlock, shielding my eyes with my other hand and praying this would work as Alice shouted, “No, wait. There’s the key right there.”
She pointed to my left and sure enough there was a key right there, hanging from a small hook. “That’s convenient.”
I returned the gun to my waistband and unlocked the door. As I pulled it open, Alice pounced on me and gave me the tightest hug I have ever received. And then we kissed and it was like something out of a movie. Then she hugged me again, even tighter this time, and said “I’m sorry. I must smell terrible.”
“It’s okay. You’re squeezing me so tight that I can hardly breathe, let alone smell anything.”
“Always the smartass,” she said and sighed and hugged me even tighter. I rested my cheek on the top of Alice’s head as I held her in my arms and glanced inside the enclosed dance floor that had been her cell. And that’s when I finally noticed the pale figure huddled in one corner.
“Um…” I said and Alice turned to glance at the young woman seated with her face buried in her knees. “Who’s that?”
“I don’t know. I think she’s been here a while. She doesn’t talk.” Alice leaned closer and whispered “I know she CAN talk because they would give us a piece of bread with every meal and she would always give me hers and I asked her why one time and she said ‘carbs’, so… But I don’t like know her name or anything.”
I knew her name.
Alice looked more than a little baffled as I pulled away from her and began to sing, “And though it hurts me to treat you this way… betrayed by words I’d never heard… too hard to say.”
The girl in the corner lifted her head enough to see that she was now staring at me.
“Up, down, turn around. Please don’t let me hit the ground. Tonight I think I’ll walk alone. Find my soul as I go home…”
Alice suddenly gasped as she saw the girl’s lips mouthing the words to the refrain along with me, “Up, down, turn around. Please don’t let me hit the ground. Tonight I think I’ll walk alone. Find my soul as I go home.”
The girl gave me a baffled smile as Alice asked, “How the hell?!”
“Is your name Enid?”
Enid slowly nodded.
“I’m Clarence. This is Alice. We’re getting the fuck out of here. Care to join us?”
Enid nodded again and then stood up. As she started across the room, Alice turned to me and muttered in an irate tone, “You have some ‘splaining to do.”
“Baby, you just said a mouthful but right now we need to get you two out of here…”
I was suddenly interrupted by the door to the utility hallway slamming open. Enid froze in the doorway of the cell as Alice and I turned to see Toby tearing open the curtain divider to our booth. He grinned as he spotted us, revealing a mouth full of shattered teeth and blood.
I pulled the gun from the back of my waistband in the same moment I remembered that it was still loaded with blanks. Enid gasped and quickly pulled the steel door closed, shutting herself inside the cell. Thanks!
I pulled Alice behind me and backed us into a narrow corner beside the door. I held the gun out in front of me as Toby charged at us. This was it. I was about to be mauled to death by a giant naked madman while my girlfriend watched. Hell of an obituary though.
And then, just as Toby was about to reach us, the steel door suddenly flew back open just in time to nail him square in the face. There was an audible “CRUNCH” as his nose was flattened and Toby slowly stumbled back.
I felt someone pulling at my hand and turned to see Enid trying to take my gun. I let her have it and she slowly approached the still-daze Toby.
“They’re blanks, so you have to hold it super close to do any real damage.”
“Thanks,” Enid said as she pressed the gun to Toby’s now finally flaccid penis and fired. Toby howled in pain and I quickly looked away, wincing out of reflex as she fired two more rounds. I heard his body collapse to the floor and turned to snatch my gun away from Enid.
“Damn, girl… Can I get a heads up before you start shooting dicks off?”
The three of us exited the booth and I lead them back through the utility hallway to a door marked by a sign that read EXIT in glowing green letters. I pulled the door open to reveal a large pitch black room that I at first mistook for a lobby. I spotted a second glowing EXIT sign on the far wall and turned to wave the girls inside…
Then I saw Jay standing behind me and holding a gun to Alice’s head.
“Aw man…” Jay said as he spotted Enid. “You ruined your surprise.”
The lights came on behind me, revealing the small theater I had seen on the laptop earlier, the seats still occupied by several dozen masked creeps. I heard Enid mutter, “Oh god no…”
Jay motioned for us to enter and what could we do but comply? He led us up onto a stage containing a bare altar and under the house lights I could now see that Jay had been crying. “I mean fuck, dude… I told these guys you were cool! And then you’re nothing but completely rude the entire time. You insult our order. You maimed our brood. Poor Toby is probably gonna need twenty grand worth of oral surgery after this.”
“Actually…” I said, holding up a hand. “We also shot his dick off and he’s surely bled out by now. So all you freaks are gonna need is about six feet of hole and one big fucking casket.”
Numerous audience members gasped at this and I nodded at them. “I know. I had to see it and believe me… Not pretty.”
“You’ve dismembered the brood?!” Jay shouted in disbelief. “The ritual had already begun! The brood must spill his seed in the corpse of your loved one or the dark lord will not be sated!”
“Yeah, that’s not happening, so…”
“FOOLS! You have doomed us all!”
I was about to ask Jay who he meant by “us” when the ground began to shake and an inhuman moan erupted from the utility hallway. Jay slowly lowered the gun from Alice’s head and started toward the open doorway, looking transfixed, and the rest of the order seemed just as dazed as him. Alice and Enid noticed the same thing and the three of us cautiously started toward the exit sign at the opposite end of the room.
No one tried to stop us. They were all too busy watching the hallway as a loud sound, like gnawing, began to filter into the auditorium. I pushed open the exit door to see Mr. Mystery’s parking lot and hurried both girls out through the exit as the source of the sound reached the auditorium doorway.
It was Toby, at least in body. Though it was clear that whatever was controlling him at this point was not something accustomed to walking around in human flesh. Jay dropped to one knee and bowed his head. “Dark lord… please forgive us.”
Toby’s body bent backward, twisting into a full-on spider crawl with his hands and feet flat on the ground and his belly pointed toward the ceiling. Then, what can only be described as something resembling a four foot long jet-black lamprey eel erupted from the mangled mess that remained of his genitals. The gnawing sound was coming from the eel’s circular mouth, which was rapidly opening and closing, revealing a razor-sharp ring of blood-stained fangs.
Toby’s contorted form began to crawl toward Jay at an inhuman speed. Jay screamed as the Toby thing pinned him to the altar and the monster eel protruding from his groin began to snake its way toward Jay’s rear. I heard the tearing of pants and turned to exit the auditorium as Jay’s screaming crescendo’ed into a final solemn whimper of, “Owe…”
Alice and Enid were waiting for me outside, both looking more than a little weary. Boy, was THAT an awkward car ride home. I wish I could tell you it all had a happy ending but that would be a lie.
Enid asked if I could take her to the nearest Western Union and then maybe a bus station. I offered to give her money for a bus home but she refused, saying “I’m sure my boyfriend will wire me the cash.”
She borrowed my phone to call him and I could hear the excitement in his voice even from the front seat. I smiled at Alice as I remembered our own reunion but she was staring vacantly out the passenger window and didn’t notice. Enid used my phone’s browser to find where she needed to go and then directed me to exit the interstate a few miles later.
Thankfully, the small town we entered had a 24-hour place that did wire transfers. I brought her to pick up the money and we offered to wait with her at the bus station but she declined. I don’t think she wanted us to know where she was going and so we didn’t question her. Enid never asked about the New Order song or how I knew her name. I’m pretty sure she had more important things to worry about and so that was where we parted ways.
On the nine-hour drive home, I told Alice everything. From Enid’s logs until the moment I found her. I showed her my previous entries on here and then things got really awkward. I was hoping it was mostly just exhaustion setting in to the both of us but now that I’ve had time to think, I realize that she couldn’t help but at least partially blame me for everything she’d just been through. And that’s fair.
So, we broke up. I also lost my job because I disappeared for a week without even a phone call, but in my defense I thought I was on the run from a murder charge at the time. But yeah, I am now officially alone and unemployed. Ladies…
One last point of interest worth mentioning: After we got back last weekend, I cleaned out my car and found Jay’s mask under the front seat where it must have landed after I pulled it off his face. I was going to burn it but I don’t know. Maybe it was simply the fact that I lost so much over the past two weeks and this fugly black mask was really all I had to show for it, but either way I kind of wanted to keep it.
Honestly, it wasn’t even that scary-looking in reality. The mask appeared to be made out of a patchwork of cloth gaffing tape which made it look slightly different depending on which way the light hit it. But just holding the mask in my hands made me realize how silly I was to have ever been afraid of such a cheap hobo-prop.
Then, last night I awoke to find myself standing half-inside my bedroom closet while wearing the mask and holding my phone out in front of me. Apparently, I had been taking pictures of myself and texting them to random numbers in my sleep, along with the message: HE’S COMING!
So, yeah, I’m starting to reconsider holding on to it.