Monsters we are, monsters that hide under flesh, gleaming eyes, sharp teeth, foul breath. We wait for dark to settle, for the shadows of ignorance to blanket the mind, then we sink our teeth and claws into your cold dead flesh. We don’t like the live ones, but that isn’t a worry since there’s so few of them, the live ones. We sink and we tear and we rip and we shred, then we mash meat and gargle blood and floss our jagged teeth with the sinews. We live like this because we want to wake people, we want to scare people from their desultory dreams, but we find that not only are these people unmoved and unperturbed, they’re altogether dead. There is no heinous crime desecrating the sleeping dead.
Flowers line the walkway. Little children in white dresses saunter ahead dropping petals as they walk. Oak trees sway as rays of light poke through the branches and land on the path before me. I grasp her hand and squeeze gently an affirmation of assurance, of our bond. The children vanish and I am left staring into a hand holding only a pen, a slender cylindrical pen dark as the ink it jets. I continue weaving these fabrications onto paper before I hear a ring for supper. I close my book and head downstairs to discover my family laying on the floor, in a heap, dismembered and bleeding, their eyes still open, their mouths still gaping their last gasp. They’ve been dead for weeks now but the stench is hardly the concern, rather its the putrified puddles of blood and bile now squirming with fly larva. I grab a stack of books on the stairs and lay them before me in the humors, like stepping stones, and make my way to the kitchen. A waft of turkey liver titillates my nostrils just as I pop open the microwave. My favorite.
The hedges trimmed nicely, I thought. The sidewalk is swept and the mailboxes are full with new news. I observe a serry of school boys across the way huddled under the stop sign. They were probably in college by the looks of their swagger. Boat shoes and collared tees, frayed hats and cigarettes, all coupled with a laughter that bellowed into the air like toxic smoke that choked my lungs. I wanted to go over and begin strangling them all, one by one, but prudence stepped in.
Prudence was my dog. He had long white hair, as most sheep dogs do, and it dragged through every puddle and dirt pile he made his way through. This dog had particularly bad taste in women. He was always fond of the older types, the ones with fake teeth and hair rollers who wore stockings whenever they made trips to the seven eleven. It was their flesh he liked most of all. Maybe it was because Prudence was old and his senses were far less keen than what they use to be, but he loved to nuzzle and lick the crotch of these old ladies to their delight. It was a dog thing. They understood it. But they loved it. And if it wasn’t entirely inappropriate they would have taken Prudence home and made’em their own.
I pressed the weight, squeezing my will against the bar, pressing the fibers, contracting them together with enough force to pop the blood vessels in my face. When I was finished with the last rep I fell down and collapsed to the ground, grabbing my chest in pain. The hate, don’t go– I yelled– don’t leave me. Surely enough the hate returned and I began to reharness that focus and apply that hate to the weight. This is how strength is born.