Christopher Patton

One Night: An Introduction

    I got there too early. I mean, the sun had gone down, but the freaks
weren't out yet, ya know? Everything was still normish and too light.
There was still Disneyana in the air and I was looking for a little
more Anne Rice. So I sat in my car through three songs. This damn CD.
It had gotten so boring, already, and I just bought it yesterday, from
the bargain-bin thank GOD, cos it like, totally wouldn't have been
worth sixteen dollars. Whatever.
    I couldn't just sit in the
car anymore without looking like some kind of predator or freak or like
a narc on a stakeout, so even though it was still embarassingly early,
I headed to the staircase that would lead me to the entryway to the
cavernous club.
    The guy at the door was new, so I got carded.
    "Really? You really wanna know if I'm old enough to drink?"
    "Yeah man, is that a problem?", he puffed up.
    "Ha, no no, go right ahead."
    He snagged the license out of my hand and got kinda wide-eyed for a second or two.
    "Are you really...?"
    "Yeah", I cut him off. "I'm really."
    Dick.
    So I looked young for my age, get over it and shit.
    The guy at the cash register recognized me, so I got to skim by paying a cover.
   
I was kinda surprised, though, when I turned the corner into the main
hall of the club, to find that the place was already kinda
thump-thumpin'. Maybe forty people on the dancefloor, some of them hot,
some of them tragic, but ya know, at least it wasn't all dead. Well,
maybe partially dead, but that was a whole other angle that I can't
even get into right now.
    Two of my friends found me
immediately, Dink and Wiggy, and they both looked completely ready to
get fucked up. Actually, Wiggy probably already was, but, he looked
like he was amped for more. Boring.
    "Uh oh, uh oh" said Dink, in his quasi-street-DinkSpeak.
    ( uh oh, uh oh, in this case, meant, "hi, how are you?" )
    "Sup Dink", I said. "Wiggy...", I nodded, almost afraid to acknowledge him.
   
Wiggy was a tall lanky dude who liked to jump on your back or give you
noogies or twist your nipples as a sign of greeting. Tonight, thank the
goodness in the universe, he just gave me a big hug and said, "God I
LOVE YOU!", and then bounced away, ten glo-rings on each forearm,
thoughts of getting laid no doubt dancing in his mind like sugar plums
gone bad.
    "Really?", was all I could say as I looked at Dink.
   
"Yeah yeah man, he's already ten sheets of happy, he all bouncin' and
crazy like a horny rooster with his claws on fire, bounce bounce,
jiggle, ya know?"
    "Yep." Sadly, I did. I completely comprehended everything Dink said.
    "So what's up tonight?"
    "Tha yoojul, ya know? Bounce, drop, unzip, zip, roll."
    "Nah man, fuck that. What's... up?"
    He caught my meaning and dropped his patois, and a bit of his bravado.
    "Oh. Yeah, well, thing about that is... I'm just not sure man."
   
"And why is that?", I asked, all of a sudden impatient and tense, my
shoulders bunching up like dirty sheets at the foot of a hooker's bed.
    "It's just. It's a lot, man. It's intense. Dark. I mean, I guess that's the point, right? But, I'm just not sure I'm down."
    "Well, you better get sure. Fast. Like within the next two hours. Go time."
   
I walked off, cool as the dark side of the moon. I needed to know if
these two were gonna play ball or not. If they bailed, I'd have to
start searching for new prey, and soon.
Just as the douche was
walking off, the DJ kicked the night and my mood up a click or two by
playing the bangin'ist song to emerge from the electro-underground in
years, and I actually hit the dance floor, bumping and grinding and
slithering all sexy and twisted to the hard crack-thump and grinding
bassline, undulating myself into a sweat-dervish, a bit of tornadic
acitivity on the floor. I was letting too much of my true nature show,
which was bad, but as the hour got closer to midnight, my true nature
was oh-so-hard to hide.
    After two songs I had to stop dancing. It was too much and I
was too much. I was letting too many people see too many clues, colors,
and hues, and besides, I had to find out if nitwit and dumbass were
down for the ride tonight.
    As it stood, I only had ninety minutes to find two substitutes if they bailed.
    I found Wiggy in a corner, on a plush couch, with his tongue in someone's mouth.
    I smacked his ass.
    "Yo."
   
He whirled on me. "'Tha fuck?! OH! Hey man! Right. What time is it?"
The thing he had been making out with, some cross between a hot tranny
mess and a runway vixen, stared at me all feral and pissy, but Wiggy
was immediately perky.
    "Good, so you're still in?"
    "But duh!. Why?"
    "I think Dink's gone all limp dick on us."
    "Aw. Well, don't be too hard on him, he's a nice g-"
    "Fuck him. We need to find a sub before 11:45. That'll give us just enough time to get on the road and get to the site."
    "Gotcha. Lemme just make sure I can't sway him really fast. I know exactly where he is."
   
I watched Wiggy amble off into a cloud of chemical fog, pierced twenty
ways by dancing lights and a half-hearted attempt at a laser show.
   
The club was so different now, what with the smoking ban, and the
lowering of the entry age to 18+. The vibe, as they said, had shifted.
Everything felt a little less dirty, a little less evil, a lot less to
my liking. I hate not being able to lite up, not being able to walk
from one side of the dance floor to the other without being bumped and
bopped by ten or twenty teeny-sceney kidz who thought they'd taken the
place over. Assholes. I'd been coming to this place since before
MySpace even existed. Whatever..
    That didn't matter right now, though.
    I had appeasements to make. I had a ritual to perform. And I had to get moving.
   
My instincts were telling me Wiggy wasn't gonna be able to get shit
outta Dink, but surprise of late-night surprises, there came Wiggy,
leading Dink out of the bathroom, helping him put something in his
mouth.
    "'The hell's that all about?" I asked, a tinge too annoyed, as they approached.
    "I gave Dink a Xanadu, just so he can, ya know, mellow."
   
I wondered for a few seconds if the presence of Xanax in Dink's system
would affect anything, would in fact royally piss of Leaderman, but
then I thought, "nah, L is too strong for it to even matter", and
shuffled the worry out of my brain. Dust in the wind, ash in the
ground.
    I looked at my cell.
    It was 11:25.
    Time to get our asses in gear, on the road, and prepared.
Three doors shut in succession.
    Whoom-whoom-whoom!
    And there we sat. Dink in front with me, and Wiggy in the back, trying to get his mellow back.
    "You guys wanna hear anything in particular?", I asked, playing the host.
    "How about Sympathy for the Devil?", Dink said.
    "That's not funny. Leaderman would not be amused to know you said that."
    "'The fuck? You gonna tell him?!"
    "Relax, Dink, you think I want my ass getting fried along with yours?"
    And then he giggled. The fucker giggled!
   
Screw it all, anyway. We had to go. I threw the whole thing into gear,
sound and air all ablast, and we sped away from the brightest part of
the city, onto the two-lane highway into the dark of the night.
   
As the city drew back, further from our view like receding gums from
the rotting tooth that was my car, and the scenery turned more to brush
and foliage, both sides of the world seemed to speed by my four windows
like a giant film of a nightmare, playing out some secret movie that
only our eyes could see. The six eyes in this car. Two eyes ready to
make a deal, four eyes ready to die, if they had to.
    The drive,
which was in its entirety all of about twenty minutes, seemed like half
of my sorry lifetime. Blacks, purples, and not-exactly-midnight blues
raced by as I gassed and gassed, pushing the car to do its max, hugging
curves like a lover, gripping the wheel with my sweating palms, willing
them not to slip, anxiety mounting as I put on layer upon layer of cool  Maintain dude, maintain.
    The whole point of this was for my sorry life
to not be so sorry any more, and it had begun with a long convo with
Dink and Wiggy over the internet in a creepy chatroom for alt. / occult
practices.The two of them had honed in on me right away, almost like
they could sense my desperation for a change, a magical shift, a
shortcut to bliss. Dink with his funny street talk ( which was even
more obnoxious when combined wiht his uber-leet-ness on line ) and
Wiggy with his over-exuberance had certainly been a charming enough
pair, and I let them chat me up, knowing I could turn the situation
around, and end up ringleader.
    They had no idea I was an energy
vampire, or that I had connections with the guy they kept referring to
as Leaderman. Leaderman and I used to deal X back at raves in the
nineties, and these two fools were talking like he was a new sensation,
and clearly hadn't known him that long. Sure, the guy was evil and
spooky, and I never got too close to him, but these two spoke of him in
almost dark overlord tones.
    Whatevs.
    Once thing one and
thing two had entrusted me as the leader of what we needed to do, they
had let me fall in with Leaderman, and get in all good and cozy,
finally even securing an invitation to one of his midnight
transformation rituals. This is what we'd been waiting for. If you could
get to one of these things, you were all of a sudden climbing way high
with the elite occultists on the west coast. I wanted change for
myself, and Dink and Wiggy sure as fuck needed it
for themselves, so we agreed to the terms. One leader would make the
plea, and if his "seconds" were seen worthy, all would receive
immediate life enhancement, but if any of the three were seen as unfit
to stand before Leaderman, or receive his transformation magic, all
would suffer and be banished from his premises forever, and forbidden
to practice magic within a one-thousand mile radius of the place where
there disgrace had been displayed.
    My ride slowed to twenty as
we approached the gravel drive to Leaderman's sleek domain in the
hills, the music doing nothing to mellow the mood or mask the terror
that cut the atmosphere.
    The unknown has a way of scaring the shit out of you.
   
And while I was confident in my own ability to pass muster with L, I
wasn't sure about Dink, even though we'd drilled a thousand times over
all the rules and manners he should abide by in L's presence. L had, in
fact, tutored me privately about how to counsel Dink and Wiggy when
the time came. He had wanted to give me a leg up. L was kinda into me.
He thought I had my shit together, and that three of us, Dink, Wiggy
and I, could form some sort of new supernatural troika to be reckoned
with on the west coast.
    But still, Dink had done nothing to ease my worries with his behavior at the club.
    "Yo. Feelin' all as if jell-o runs throughout my innies, ya know?", Dink managed.
   
"Yeah. I don't think any uf us are without a bit of fear right now, but
we need to think of the reward we'll nab once we prove ourselves", I
tried, probably sounding more shaky than I should have.
   
"Personally, I'm stoked! I love L! And I love you guys! Everything
about this night is going to be amazing! It's only 5 'til midnight,
let's get in there."
    And we did.
    We didn't even have to ring the doorbell. The door, of course, swung open silently for us as we stepped onto the porch.
   
The entire place was lit with red candles. This much I'd expected.
Leaderman had said red was a power color, and that the energy needed to
be at a fever pitch for the ritual to go off.
    The first part
of the ritual would be the judgement, when Leaderman and his entire
coven would encircle us and judge us worthy or un. Once that was done,
the ritual would either go into reward mode, or banishment mode.
   
We followed a trail of candles through a maze of hallways, which
eventually opened onto a large room in the back of L's house, which
clearly served as hit ritual chamber, and there the man stood, all
slick and rock star up on his neon altar, one male and one female
servant flanking him on either side, all of them dressed in red.
   
We stood at the entryway to the chamber, taking in the surrealistic
view. All a-shudder. Besides the servants, there were maybe 75 people,
all in read, all gorgeous, some of whose faces I recognized from the
club scene, most completely unfamiliar to me, and they all stared at us
blank as an anchorman on CNN.
    "Welcome", Leaderman intoned.
"Please step into the center of the room, so we may begin part one.
This will take a very few short seconds, and then part two will
commence."
    "Yo, so, like, this is all it and stuff...", Dink said. Poor Dink. The fucker. Would he ruin us, in the end?
    Only one way to find out.
    We stepped into the center of the room, and the circle closed around us.
   
Just as we had planned, I made sure Dink and Wiggy stood on either side
of me, leaving me in the power position in the center.
    I
started to twitch, on the inside, then slightly outward, a slight
finger jump here, a slight eyebrow spasm there, and I hoped nobody
noticed.
    I looked at Dink.
    I looked at Wiggy.
    Nothing. Cool as two fucking cucumbers. Their faces practically relaxed.
   
Then I started noticing people in the circle, some of them starting to
smile, others smirking, and then I looked into Leaderman's face, and he
shook his head, slowly, then took a deep breath, and began to speak.
   
"Roger Connolly, years ago when you were my, business associate, you
were always a vile snake. You sold indiscriminately to minors, while I
always catered to the already-addicted adult, you slept with your
clients, while I kept myself clean and never mixed business with
pleasure, and worst of all, you witheld thousands of dollars from me,
thinking I never knew."
    My stomach turned into an ice chunk.
   
"But mostly, Roger", he continued. "You made the mistake of stumbling
into my two greatest and most loyal servants in a chat room set up
simply to snag you and your life essence. Call it a sting operation for
energy vamps if you will. But we, all of us, call us what and who you like, the finest occultists on the west
coast, elitists, whatever, are sick of your kind and your ways. Too many of our spells have
been weakened by those like you, too many have been debilitated, only
having to create elaborate spells to regain their strength. And the
worst part is, your kind only does what they do for fun, for
indulgence, almost as a lark, never thinking of how you are affecting
either those who practice magic or especially the more vulnerable
non-practitioners. But you, you have used  your ways to bed more than
450 people, to lure people out of money they didn't owe you, and even
to make people purposefully ill so you could take advantage of them at
their weakest, and we are also aware that you were just starting to
create a following, attempting to round up disciples, as it were, in
the underground. Yes, we knew that. All of us. We've been watching you.
For months."
    Now I looked at Dink and Wiggy, and I could see they
were in no way what I had originally thought. They looked
practically... brilliant, flanking me. All goth handsome and almost
regal. The fuckers had snared me.
    "Yes. You, in fact, are the
only one you should have ever been worried about, and we are all
judging you unworthy. Consider part one of the ritual done. And now,
part two. It will not be quick, or painless."
    Those were the
last actual words I remember hearing, before everything went chaotic.
First, I saw everybody move away from me, and they all took up a chant
that I could not make sense of, lead by Dink and Wiggy, as Leaderman
simply stood on his neon altar, all smiles. The first thing I felt was
my eyes implode, as if two steel thumbs were jabbing them further into
my head, then I heard a noise of reverse suction as my two orbs were
sucked from my head. All I could see was the floor bobbing up and down
beneath me, and I felt a searing pain course through my head as I knew
my eyes had been plucked from their sockets.
    Two hooks shot
from the far walls on either side of me, and tore into my ribcage, then
began digging in, into my intestines, into my internal organs, as the
hooks sprouted spawn hooks that moved and worked their way through my
innards, until a thousand writhing organic hooks had a hold of every
part of my inside, and in one terrible tear, ripped me inside out,
scattering my guts to all corners of the room, bathing the laughing
audience in a spew of filth, as they all let out a tremendous cheer.
   
And now my mind is locked away in a 20' x 20' steel room. Leaderman
discovered a spell that encapsulates souls in earthly bondage, and now
my existence, my essence, simply sits, rests, is, in this room. I am
nothing but the verb to be, and all I can do is replay the last night of my life, over and over again.

    "Man that was the fucking best!", said Wiggy.
    "Yah yah man, like we skewered him for sure!", Dink answered.
    "Aw, Dink man, I love you!"
   
The room was writhing in a sick ritualistic ecstacy that only Dink,
Wiggy, and Leaderman were not a part of. They were above that. Roger's
death had made them even more powerful than before.
    Wiggy looked up to the neon altar.
    "So, Leaderman, you happy?"
   
"Extremely", he beamed. "But I have many more missions for the two of
you, that will not be so easy. Are you up to the task?"
    "Man like are we ever up up to it like up in the sky to it!", chimed Dink.
    "Yes, Leaderman", said Wiggy, "I believe we are."

 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Christopher Patton.
Published on e-Stories.org on 29.07.2008.

 

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