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"You can kill me too, love, if you’d like. But I’m a rather dangerous kind of prey to chase, and I will bite you back.” Her staticky figure somewhat materialized. She was Scéléra after all. She was glowing bright neon blue, just like the color of her hair. We were floating in some kind of hollow, frigid, primordial ether. She fell into me and our lips fell into each other once more. Something warm and soft bloomed inside my chest. Lights, that appeared as multicolored radio waves bounced off of invisible walls all around us. Where were we? Ding! We were coming out of the elevator and into the hotel lobby.

“Hope you enjoyed your stay,” said one of the hotel staff. She rotated until she was horizontally floating. In the flash of an eye, Hotel Obscurité was somewhere off in the distance. Scéléra was still beside me. We were outside…the night was rather cold. Wasn’t it? Now I wasn’t quite sure. Maybe it was warm. As I looked back toward the hotel, red and blue lights began to flash beside us.

It was the police…goddamn it. Had they come for us? They moved closer, closer…this was it, they were here for us. But then they passed by. We weren’t their targets tonight. They were driving toward Obscurité, which would make the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper: “One dead from drug related causes; major drug bust at Hotel Obscurité, seven detained.” But we were already gone.

“Where are we going?” I asked. She was still glowing blue and my vision was still woibbling rainbowedly in and out, along with my consciousness.

“I don’t know.” She leaned up against the side of one of the buildings along the sidewalk and pulled me into her. “Why do we have to know where we’re going? I hate knowing where I’m going. That’s just no fun at all.”

It made sense to me. What didn’t make sense to me was how she was handling herself so much better than I was. I knew that she had taken at least as much as I had of…whatever it was that we had taken. We were around the same age, but I was also pretty sure that this wasn’t the first time she’d been to something like the 13th floor of Obscurité. You could say “it wasn’t her first rodeo,” if you’re someone enjoys clichés.

“What about the Glassway?” She asked. So, she knew about it too…but going there would have been a very bad idea at the moment.

“Well, you see, tonight has been sort of ridden with death. Someone fell off of the Glassway earlier. I was there to see.” This seemed to amuse her, but she agreed that we should definitely avoid the scene of the incident.

“Ooh, well let’s not go there then. The Glassway is a suicide hot-spot around here, you know. It’s sort of like our almost mini-metropolis’ version of the Golden Gate Bridge.” That was interesting, though suicide wasn’t quite what had happened. Shadowshade plus a bit of bad luck had happened. And ‘almost mini-metropolis’? Had she really just used the term for our city that I thought that I had invented? Was I just hallucinating? No, she definitely said it. She probably thought that she invented it too. I began to feel that she and I were connected in a strange and unexplainable way.

“It was quite the sight to see,” I said.

“I think I’d like to die that way someday, I often imagine jumping from the Glassway.” I supposed that it might be better than a lot of other ways to die that I could think of, like being poisoned by toe-sucking. “Maybe one day we’ll jump off together. I’ve always thought that couple suicides are very romantic.” I could picture it in my mind…it would feel much better than dying alone. Were Scéléra and I a couple?

“But jumping from the Glassway is illegal, and we’d certainly be caught. What do you think they do when corpses break the law? Cremation? I would want that anyway, I think. Suicide, illegal…” I let out a practically inaudible chuckle. “…how does that affect anything at all?”

“Well,” she said, “some people might reconsider killing themselves simply because they don’t want to break the law. But, as has been proven by now, that fear has eluded us…either it passed us by or was fucked away. As for what our penalty for suicide would be? We’d never know. If we’re dead when we receive it, it will forever remain a mystery.”

She had a splendiferous mind, splendiferous indeed. Maybe this was meant to be. (But note that I do not mean ‘meant to be’ in a traditional predestinationy sort of way. I mean we were almost perfectly compatible for one another, and could imagine being destined to meet. Though objectively that would make no sense at all, if we thought it into reality then it could be real to us. Since we were the only people that we would ever have to be, then certainly what was real to us was real enough. Perception becomes reality.) I no longer knew where the hell we were. I was hoping that she did, but she was right. Getting lost was kind of fun.

“Ha-ha, we’re simply free! We’re being blown and flown around by the wind, love. We’re alive tonight.” We were at a crosswalk and very few cars were driving past at this hour. Was it almost daylight? Now we were in a park. There were no swings or slides, much to our disappointment, but it was a park nonetheless. The grass underneath our feet flowed like a single stream of greenness, an emerald kaleidoscope of life, breathing in the night. “Come and catch me, Ivan the Terrible. Best not let me run away.”

“Be mean,” Veia said.

“Forever haunted…” spoke Shadowshade. “My name was born in her mind.” How very strange…how very disturbing. I wondered if Veia was still in juvie. And then the park was gone. We were walking down an enormous cement pathway, unfinished construction in progress all around us. There was orange shit everywhere, we were probably trespassing. Everything melted into black darkness, dark blackness. Orange, then black. The change reminded me of Halloween.

Where were we? Were we still awake? We were swimming in the ocean, weren’t we? No. An abandoned building, could that be it? I felt Scéléra’s skin pressed against mine. We had lost our clothing somewhere along the way. I wasn’t quite sure how, but that was irrelevant. Her hand found mine and placed it against her chest.

“What do you feel, Tristan?” How did she know my name? Who was I kidding? It didn’t matter. I felt her heart as it bubumped inside of her chest, and knew that she was feeling mine.

“Your heart is beating so fast.” I could see her heart as it sent a red pulsing glow out through her veins.

“Oh?” She said. “I wonder why that could be. It’s such a mystery…” And then our hearts came together like magnets with the strength of the sun. We were fully caught up in each other’s orbits. She sank her teeth into the space between my neck and my shoulder as I lifted her up. We were having sex; was I really so wonked-out that I only just took notice? No matter…this was nice, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious really. I was sure that the feeling was better than most, if not all of the feelings that I had known before it.

Then it happened…there was no Henri to frantically bump into us. He was fucking dead! Why did thinking of that cause me to nearly break out in laughter? Maybe the people who said I had ‘no soul’ (the term the laypeople use to mean no adherence to traditional ethics) were wrong, or maybe I was just absorbed in the moment because the soul-gasm that came was unlike anything that I had ever experienced. Shivering in ecstasy…we weren’t merely having sex. We became a single entity altogether, a single ethereal being, if only for a moment.

“I love you…” she whispered in my ear. I was terrified of loving someone, but still I felt it growing inside of me. Love was what was blooming so warmly and softly inside of my chest, wasn’t it? All at once, we were back outside. The sun was peeping up from beyond the horizon.

“Peep. Peep,” said the sun.

“Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun…” the song started playing in my mind as clearly as if it had been playing on the radio. I actually felt content. We were in the park sitting on a bench, then lying on the bench and falling asleep. Sound asleep…lost in a calm and forgettable dream.

“Get up, ya stupid mother fuckin’ kids!” What? We were just sitting on a park bench…what was happening? We were pulled off of the benches and hurled onto the ground as my eyes flew open. Who the hell would do this to us? “Whaddaya you doin’ out here, huh? Huh, ya stupid little shits?”

“You little shit!” M. screamed. She was still there somehow, even after all this time, standing right next to our attacker. I looked up to see who he was. This wasn’t okay. We were being assaulted. We needed to call the police.

“Get the hell up!” He shouted. He was going to hurt us now. Just like father. It was a cop. Jesus Christ. I would never think of calling the police again! If he wanted me to get up, why the hell did he throw me to the ground? Maybe it was to let us know that he could do anything he wanted to do to us. There was nothing that we could do to stop him. I bet that made him jizz himself. Just like father.

He was addicted to having control, like they say the rapists are. Maybe he was going to make us wear his handcuffs and make us ‘play daddy’ too. He was really no different than the people in the jail for battery, except for being a socially justified metaphorical prostitute: S.J.M.P. The state was his biggest customer. Why not just go ahead and be a literal one?

“The hell are you shits doing out here?! Ya been drinkin’? Ya high? Ya tryin’a run away?” Why was someone able to get off to bellowing in faces and dominating kids? “Both your parents been lookin’ for ya, ya know that?!” He grabbed Scéléra by the arm and roughly dragged her toward his car. “Now follow me, or you’re gonna get shot!” He was talking to me. Seriously? He was about to gun down a minor in the park? When we made it to his ‘cruiser’, he opened a rear door and tossed her into the back of the car. Next he walked over to me.

“Now I’ve gotta stand here with ya and fuckin’ wait for my buddy to come and pick ya up! You’re both goin’ back home, and ya can’t ride in the back with her anyways.” What? This all seemed just so…unreal. It was as if all of it was some preposterous video game that I was losing horribly. “Don’t want the two of ya rubbin’ all over each other in the back like little fuckin’ crack whores.”

Is that what he called it when he and his wife had sex too? ‘Rubbin’ all over like little fuckin’ crack whores?’ Or was that ridiculous string of words reserved just for us kids? Maybe he didn’t have a wife. I couldn’t imagine who would want to marry him. Then I thought of M., then Cindy…silent Cindy…okay, never mind. Someone would marry him.

A few minutes passed before another Impala appeared. The officer who exited this one was exponentially fatter than the first, and a Dunkin’ Doughnuts box was clearly visible in the passenger seat of the vehicle. He stomped toward me to the tune of cartoon trombones that sounded in my mind. Wahmp, womp, wahmp, womp.

“Whee!” I exclaimed as he opened the door and slung me inside.

“Shut up, shit head.” The city looked a bit different through the grating of the back windows. It was interesting though. I felt a timeless bond with all of the others, before and after me, who had or will see the world pass by through windows like these. They looked a bit like little tic-tac-toe boards…‘hashtags’, I guess those were called. I imagined playing tic-tac-toe with Baby Face Nelson or Charlie Manson on the window gratings of a squad car. What interesting games those would be. Then we arrived back at Anthony and Cindy’s house. It happened so suddenly…Baby Face must’ve had me entertained.

“Get the hell out!” The revered guardian of the state yelled. Anthony was already storming toward the car. It was like I was his pet hamster more than I was his adopted son. He was about to pick me up, kicking and screaming, and put me back into solitary confinement with my running wheel.

I consciously dissociated, as in purposefully zoned out, and wasn’t really perceiving what was going on around me. I was in shut-down mode, so I’m not sure what was said. But I did understand from my cloudy recollections that I was ‘absolutely positively’ going to military school. I wasn’t quite eighteen yet, so Anthony was determined to exercise his legal to fuck me over while he still could.

“And we’re taking you to see a psychologist in the morning.” Cindy came in and told me. I was alone in my room once more. Well, not really alone. Anna was still here. She hugged me and spun me around as I came in. Shadowshade was probably somewhere nearby too. It was time to get comfortable. Anthony and Cindy weren’t going to let me come out of the room.

“If you ever venture out beyond the hallway just outside of our room, you will die an unimaginably horrible death. There were monsters there that will tear us limb from limb and swallow you whole,” Mother warned me.

“Damn it! Leave me alone!” But it was okay that they wanted me to stay in my room, because I didn’t want to be lashed out at any more than I already had been. I turned on my laptop and went to Facebook to stalk Scéléra, but she had beaten me to it.

“They’re sending me away to another state to live with my aunt and uncle, but there is no way in hell that I’m going. I know people who will let me stay with them…and no, it isn’t a man who expects me to pay him with sex. You could come with me. I’d like you to. I’m leaving in two days. Let me know~” She had left me a message. Of course I’d go. I wasn’t about to go to fucking military school. That was ridiculous of them to believe.

“Have you found someone better than me?” Anna asked. I supposed that I had for the time being. Would I tell her?

“Run away into the night. You will no longer be constrained, not by these people.” Shadowshade was as insubordinate as always, just like me. So it was settled. In two nights, we would be gone. It was time to leave predictable yet random, bold yet timid, safe yet dangerous, unique yet commonplace, 1950s-esque suburbia behind. Too-da-loo, bitches. But I’d at least go and have a talk with the mind doctor first. I wanted to see if he or she could out- mind doctor me.

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