She's a Keeper
Looking up at the sky, rainbow auroras banded the expanse. Butterfly holograms floated all around us. Multicolor strobe lights flashed every other second. The Drimethials, the Hypnographs, the Yealies--no one cared what planet we were from, all we knew was everyone was just having a good time. Though I could only hear selective sound waves vibrating in my ear drums, I remained content as my body followed the rhythm it heard. All I wish is that I could have felt the music in my soul like her. She truly felt it. You see, she vibrated at a higher frequency.
I looked to my right and there she was, tentacles and all, the love of my life. Admiring her from afar as she swayed side to side, she soon caught my eye.
“I’m getting tired though, let me sit for a bit,” I mouth to her over the music, gesturing that I was going to head over to the couches. I felt a bit dizzy.
This triangia is intense, I thought to her, which I should have done in the first place. She could hear me better if I just thought with her in mind.
“Don’t be such a human. You know it’s a short-lived experience,” I heard her voice echo in my mind. I saw her grin as she swiveled closer beside me.
How could I rest now and deny her gleaming purplish green eyes?
I leaned in and kissed her soft velvet lips.
“This drug will be the end of me,” I shouted above the music. I was less self-conscious if I spoke like people on Earth. I leaned in and whispered in her ear, “But I can’t get enough of you, you know that?”
A grin gradually spread across her face and she spoke to me, “Aren’t you due for a refill of the pills? How will I see you again after tonight? Without the triangia, you won’t be able to--” she paused mid sentence with a look of concern, her eyes wide in worry.
I don’t know what to say. I forgot that she could hear that.
“I knew you would be like this…” she sighed only to take a sip of her cocktail that she manifested into her hand.
“I promise--” I said aloud.
“Promises are for the weak,” she frustratingly looked me in the eyes as I began to descend.
As the triangia began to wear off, the dance floor began to give way. I maintained eye contact with her as I fell gracefully back into my body resting in the field near my farm house. As I looked up at the night sky, all but the milky way could be seen.
“I’m home,” I say to my mother as I run up the stairs to my room.
I flop on my bed, partially tired, partially in pain. My head is throbbing. I try to catch my bearings, because there are more important things I need to focus on tonight, like finding more triangia so I can see my girlfriend again in the Ether Realm.
There are only two places I can get it. My friend Katsuo, my main supplier who actually introduced me to this in the first place. But He’s in America now with his dad on a business trip and won’t be back until summer’s over. I don’t want to waste a whole summer without seeing her again. So, that only leaves the last option.
Would I really go to hell and back just to see her this summer? Couldn’t she just wait?
Nah, she didn’t look too happy.
And I would rather her not dump me for one of my doppelgangers in the multiverse.
Yeah, she’s a keeper.
Alright, It’s decided. To hell we go.
After saying a quick prayer at the kitchen table with my parents and younger brother, I scarfed down dinner. Munching on my last bite, I look between my parents and ask, “Can I head over to Katsuo’s for a bit?”
“You know I don’t like you hanging out with that kid, he’s a boy,” mom said; “and you know all boys your age want is--,”
“--It’s not like that,” I was embarrassed; “Can I go, please?” I begged, with other intentions.
“She needs to be around kids her age,” my father said and laughed half-heartedly; “That’s her only friend anyway--”
“--She needs to be around girls her age. And when are you going to start wearing the nice skirts I bought you, dear? If you are going to visit your guy friend, at least dress nicer--”
“--Mom,” I couldn’t believe how oblivious they were to everything, if it wasn’t something to do with our rice farm, they had no clue about anything--Katsuo being out the country--not even about their own daughter’s preference, “Dad can I go please;” I was almost begging.
“Fine, just be home before it gets to 11,” he finally agreed.
I bowed my head slightly and held my hands in prayer to show my appreciation. I quickly ran to the entrance of the house and put on my shoes from the shoe rack. With an innocent smile, I glanced back. “I’m leaving,” I said as I left the house.
Katsuo always would say that hell was where he got his supply. I never believed him. He told me one day when we were sitting on the swings in the park next to school, “You know that huge tree that is in the back of our high school?” He pointed towards it, “If you go there by midnight, a door appears in its trunk. If you open it, it will lead you to a pathway to hell.”
“And why are you telling me this?” I remember asking him.
“Because you’re my best friend. Just come with me sometimes,” he told me.
“No way,” I jokingly said to him at that time.
But here I found myself at the location on this warm summer night. The time ticked by. My pink and grey Nokia phone rang. It had been a quarter past 11 and my parents were worried. But I had to stay and see if this path to the underworld was even true. It could be my last hope.
I looked up from my phone. Nothing was happening. I thought I had gone insane.
As I turned away from the tree I faced, I soon stopped in my tracks as I heard the unclick of a door opening. My eyes widened in disbelief as I looked back at the tree. At the tree’s enormous base now stood a crimson red shrine that led to an open doorway. It was pitch black within.
Unreal… Katsuo really was good for his word. Looks like I was going to score some triangia tonight.
So, I went in of course. I’d enter hell for my heavenly lady.
I walked crouched over almost on all fours for what felt like hours in a dark tunnel full of creepy crawlies and spider webs. But at the end I saw a dim light. Reaching the end of the tunnel I was finally able to stand up. I was now in another tunnel that led perpendicular to the one I had exited. Rowed were candles in each direction of which seemed to stretch out into eternity. Before me was a sign. “FOR A HEAVENLY STATE OF MIND, A HELLISH DEMISE. CHOOSE YOUR PATH.”
Choose my path?
Katsuo didn’t say anything about this.
I looked over to a smaller engraving in stone on the path to my right.
I looked at the opposite path’s markings as well.
No. How can I possibly choose between these two things?!
I turned to return to the tunnel but it was gone.
Katsuo you son of a bitch!
I had to make the choice just as he did; all those times he asked me to join him to make the decision less difficult.
But, why Katsuo?! Why did you need this triangia? I just don’t understand. It isn’t worth it.
I sat down, mentally drained, and stayed there for what felt like hours.
I made my choice, as I was alone and this was the only logical option. I went to the right.
I walked and walked down the candlelit path and in a marble bowl ahead, I found my triangia as promised. Continuing and not looking back, I finally emerged out of the tunnel and I left hell. Turning back, I saw nothing but the silent forest loom above me. I went home.
As I approached our home, the sound of sirens increased. The smell of burning wood spread throughout the atmosphere.
Walking slowly, I knew what I would witness would not be a coincidence.
My father and mother stood behind the police lines and once my mother caught sight of me she rushed over and slapped me plain in the face.
“He was supposed to be your friend?” my mother asked, one hand holding her mouth as she spoke trembling.
“Oh god... Oh god!”” I looked over to my father who wailed.
Policemen had passed through the growing crowd with a medium size body on a stretcher covered in a white sheet.
Another policeman walked a bloody Katsuo out of my house and guided him to the police cars…
Wide-eyed, my hand moved without my control, to my pocket.
Within was a pair of scissors. “Mom!” I stabbed her. Right in the gut as hard as I could pushing the scissors deeper and deeper until we both dropped to our knees, leaning onto each other.
“Mom!” I began to sob. “I didn’t mean it… I didn’t mean it! I don’t know why!”
The police ran over and swiftly arrested me as well and put me in the back of the car with Katsuo roughly. Father had passed out at the sight.
Us both restrained, and me in shock, I looked over to him, “Katsuo! What did you choose?!”
He began to laugh, “Machiko! You’re so stupid! I told you to go with me, not alone!”
“Why? So you could kill me off? Was that your little sick plan?”
“What?” he stopped laughing and became serious, “What was your other option?”
I looked at him bewildered.
He said, “When I went the last time, there was only one path. I walked for days and it led me here. It’s always the same, another tunnel, another murder. But you look scared… You saw something different, didn’t you?”
I looked perplexed. Could I have misunderstood…
The writing flashed in my mind again.
Walk left, and your friendship ends with death.
Walk right, and your actions will finally light up the night.
In tears, I remained faced down, purposefully not looking at the monstrosity of a scene beyond the police van’s door. My friend killed my brother; I killed my mother. All for this triangia.
“And where is it now?” The psychologist enquired.
Shackled hands and feet, sitting in the chair across from the therapist, I explained.
“I don’t know...It was here. In my pocket...But now it is gone. But I still see her, you know,” I smiled.
“Who?” the doctor asked.
“Etsuka,” I said in an awed fashion as I pointed to the ceiling.
The doctor looked at the ceiling.
“Increase dosage by 1000 milligrams,” she said to her colleague behind the one way mirror, before turning back to me, “Let’s meet another time shall we?”
I paid her no mind, however; for those purplish green eyes captured my soul once more as the music began to play again.
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