“Sadie, get the fuck back in the car! Now! And stay there until I tell you otherwise!” young Johnny shouted in his gravest don’t-you-dare-disobey-me-now voice. He then waited unmoving until he heard his girlfriend, Sadie, slam the door shut and settle back into his beaten-up painted-blue junk-car parked behind him down the sun scorched and cracked blacktop. Lack of rain had dried the green of the coniferous forest flanking the remote road on both sides. After waiting a moment more to be sure that Sadie was not coming his way, Johnny finally started whimpering to himself, “Oh, shit. Oh, fuck.” Snot ran down his face unnoticed. He felt very cold despite the summer heat. He grabbed and pulled at clumps of his vibrantly dark hair in desperation. What the fuck was he supposed to do now? It was such a mess. And it was already starting to fester under the indifferent glare of the sun. The only positive was that Sadie was still so wasted, that she was completely oblivious to what was going on. Johnny wasn’t, not anymore. By God, he wasn’t. If this kind of thing didn’t clear your head, then nothing would. Oh, fuck, fuck, fucking hell. That’s straight where you’re going, Johnny-boy.
No. Wait. This was just a nightmare, he reminded himself. The dream is the same one as always. Johnny did not need to turn around to know that the other man was there, standing behind him. He could sense the willingness, the hungry eagerness, to take away his pain. Then it was confirmed as the man laid his comforting palm on Johnny’s shoulder. “I will take your corporeal punishment and carry it for you,” the man said in a soothing tone that was not completely corporeal itself.
The sacrificial man, had he really been there the first time? Johnny couldn’t tell anymore. The memory had mingled with the dream so often, that it had become twisted beyond repair by now. Whether he had always been there or not, the sacrificial man now always offered to put himself up in Johnny’s place. To carry this burden for him.
Johnny brushed away his hand and refused his offer. The same as always.