Hour 16: The Wolves Were Out

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out and scared.

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out and running.

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out of breath,

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out and couldn’t run anymore.

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out and they were getting closer.

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out and tripped over a rock.

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out cold and lying in the snow.

The wolves were out and they were hungry/

She was out and they began to feed.

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Hour 15: Downfall (By Kyle Willis)

Sadie Sullivan became Sadie Caldwell on October 17, 2009.

She and Anthony Caldwell had exchanged their vows in front of nearly 150 of their closest friends and family members amidst the redwoods in northern California.

Then, Sadie was an office manager for an e-commerce start-up; Anthony was a contributing writer to 17 blogs and cheapie publications.

Sadie filled her resume with her experience; Anthony filled his with heart.

Anthony had always made around half the salary as Sadie; but she’d always known his success would ultimately be her undoing.

Their marriage contracted with elation and tension. Ups turned to downs; downs turned to ups.

Up until September 23, 2016, when the cold muzzle of a .45 slid between Anthony’s lips and opened an escape hatch for its bullet in the back of his skull.

The 150 friends and family who witnessed the Caldwell union didn’t think much of the suicide, Anthony being the artistic type he was. Passionate, tragic. It wasn’t expected, but it wasn’t a surprise, either. Even if he’d just stepped into his greatest splash of success with a book deal inked with one of New York’s leading publishers.

The publishing house of Killion and Wade had commissioned Anthony’s novel INTO THE RED earlier that July. INTO THE RED was a story of a young couple navigating marriage with a deepening hatred for each other.

The ink on that deal dried just two weeks before Anthony fellated that .45

Here, five weeks after his death, Sadie sat in the offices of Killion and Wade.

Anthony’s relationship with Killion and Wade had been partially forged by Ron Forrest, one of those 150 at the wedding who’d known Anthony for nearly two decades. Ron worked as an editor at Killion and Wade, and happily oversaw the progress of INTO THE RED.

Ron entered the office in which Sadie waited. In his hands, a bound, hard copy of INTO THE RED. He presented it to Sadie.

“For you, Sadie.”

Sadie had to admit to herself she was impressed by this work of accomplishment by her late husband. This book was real, and it was heavy, and it was responsible for the seven figures in her once-joint bank account.

“There’s a dedication to you. In the back.”

Sadie eyed Ron with a smile. She was touched. She opened the book.

And immediately regretted doing so.

On the back page was a picture. A printout of a photo taken from a camera mounted in a corner of the Caldwell’s living room.

A photo that showed the .45 in Anthony’s mouth; the butt of the gun wrapped tightly in Sadie’s hand as she pulled the trigger.

His success would be her downfall.

Hour 14: Good Samaritans

The rain stopped an hour ago.
The streets were slick and muddy.

Their car was going slow.
It was only 5pm but it was dark.

 

“Holy shit. Stop the car.” She shouts at her husband.

 

He slams on the breaks.

 

In the headlights stand two dirty toddlers.

Naked, crying, covered in mud.

 

They jump out of the car and run to the children.

 

They talk to them as nicely as they can. Ask if they are okay, where their parents are, ask where they live so they can take them home.

 

The kids stand silently, holding hands.

 

Kneeling down, they touch the kids.

 

Bad move.

 

The kids stop crying and open their mouths wide, showing rows of bloody sharp teeth.

 

The next night a woman screams at her husband to stop the car.

Two children, holding hands and crying, covered in mud are walking down the street.

Hour 13: A Halloween Poem

It’s Halloween.
When the veil becomes thin and the old gods press against our world.

When children dress up for free candy and parents hope and pray they come back alive and without razor filled fruit.

The night of darkness.

The night of witches.

The night to light a candle and recognize the dead.

It’s Halloween.

The night to watch your back and sleep with the lights on.

It’s Halloween.

Say hello to the ghosts.

They are watching.

And waiting.

Hour 12: W.W.J.D?

At first Benny thought it was the fever, then he remembered he didn’t have a fever. He wasn’t even sick.

So, in fact, he had no explanation for Jesus Christ sitting at the foot of his bed,

Jesus. Christ. All shiny light and peace and warm tummy feelings.

 

“My child…” He reached out his hand and touched Benny on the forehead.

Benny began to cry, tears of hope and happiness.

 

“Jesus?”

 

“Yes, my son.”

 

“You’re really here?”

 

“Yes, my son. You were calling for me. And I am here.”

 

Benny jumped off of his bed and fell to his knees at the foot of the heavenly man.

 

“So, you forgive me?”

 

“Ask and you will be forgiven.”

 

He places his hand on Benny’s shoulder.
Benny’s skin began to burn but he didn’t want to pull away.
This must be a part of forgiveness.

 

“Yes, I forgive you, Benjamin. All you ever had to do is ask. I was listening.”

 

The burning became more intense and Benny let out a cry.
Jesus slapped him across the face.

 

“Jesus?”

 

“Shut up, Benjamin.”

 

“But…but you said…”

 

“I say a lot of things.”

 

Benny’s stomach sank.

 

“You really think I would forgive you? After what you did to those people? To those animals? ANIMALS!! You’re a monster!”

 

“Jesus…?”

 

“Jesus? Ha! I can’t believe you thought for even one second that Jesus would forgive you.”

 

Benny opened his mouth, trying to scream, but a thick black liquid spewed forth.

Jesus stepped closer and looked down at Benny.

 

“What you’re drowning on…those are your sins, Benny. You’ve been a very bad boy.”

 

The halo over Jesus’s head turned into a crown of fire and horns began to grow from his long, now dirty, hair.

 

“Well, Benny…Benny the Montana Monster…are you ready to go to your new home?”

Hour 11: I Saw You (By Kyle Willis)

Billy and Buck had been best friends since the day got into a knock-down-drag-out fight to claim ownership of the cubby at the far-east corner of Miss Pendleton’s kindergarten classroom.

Both boys were born in March of 1984, with only thirteen days in between their respective introductions to the world. Now ten years old, the boys had spent every day of the last five years together (with the exception of the two weeks Buck went down south to visit his grandparents each year).

This summer of 1994 was the first Buck hadn’t gone south; Grandma was getting a hip replacement.

It had been a week since Buck and Billy watched the fireworks over Brewster Park from Billy’s rooftop. Summer was nearly half over.

Over the past couple of weeks, the boys had been engaging in rousing games of prank phone-calling. It started innocently enough. Billy told a few people to go catch their running refrigerators. Buck surveyed a few neighbors on whether or not they shared their residence with a man named Seymour Butts.

Two nights ago, Billy got an idea to pinpoint Lawrence Kelly in the white pages and tease him with an unprovoked threat.

“Kelly Residence”.

“I saw you Lawrence. I know what you did. And if you want your secret to stay a secret, you will put twenty bucks in a yellow envelope and leave it in the trash can down at the corner of Higley and Halstead. You have until four PM.”

It turned out Lawrence Kelly did have a secret, and his guilty conscience treated Billy and Buck to a burger and Slurpee apiece.

Phillip Welling and Alicia McCaffrey were hiding something too.

And Billy and Buck were taking in movies and sharing pizzas.

Brenda Fitzgerald wasn’t hiding anything; she wasn’t donating either.

Tonight: Allistair Guillory.

“I saw you Allistair. I know what you did. And if you want your secret to stay a secret, you will put twenty bucks in a yellow envelope and leave it in the trash can down at the corner of Higley and Halstead. You have until seven PM.”

On their way out the door, Buck and Billy were commissioned by Billy’s mother to help clean up some leaves in the yard so that she could plant her garden the next day. This detour of interest assured that Billy and Buck would not get to their usual spot in the bushes in time to snicker to each other while they watched Allistair Guillory leave his offering.

When they finally reached the trash can at the corner of Higley and Halstead, Billy reached in with glee and pulled out a yellow envelope that was now brown. Wet and warm. It was fatter than normal.

Billy opened the flap and went sick at the sight of what was inside.

A heart. Human? That of a dog or a cat?

Billy and Buck fled the scene in such a hurry, Buck’s red Angels cap flew off his head and onto ground next to that trash can at the corner of Higley and Halstead.

The boys returned to Billy’s and combed the pages for Allistair Guillory’s listing. They knew they had to go to the police.

Billy’s phone rang. He answered without thinking.

“Hello?”

“I saw you Billy. And you know what I did. I suggest you keep a secret unless you want to end up in that trash can at Higley and Halstead. Piece. By. Piece.”

CLICK.

Billy knew the voice was that of Allistair Guillory.

The thought of going to the police had run cold upon receipt of Allistair’s threat.

Buck went home around nine PM. When he stepped onto his driveway, his stomach fell as his eyes locked with something on the front porch.

His red Angels cap.

There was a note next to it.

“I saw you, too, Buck.”

Hour 10: The Mercy Seat

My phone is off. I’m on the 6 train following up a lead of my own.
The throne of God is under Brooklyn Town Hall.
I’m going to sit in it.

I first heard about it in Washington Square. A raving man ran through the park, enlightened and enraged.

He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone. He’s gone.

The throne is empty.

The 6 Train comes to a stop at the end of the line. Everyone leaves, newspapers and coffees in hand, going to work, some in costumes.
It’s Halloween. The air is electrified with short bursts of fear and excitement.

The train turns around. All goes dark. Bits of faces flash by the windows. Screaming angels, laughing children.

Dim light breaks the darkness. Skylights filtering in dirty, cloudy sky  illuminating dusty floor to ceiling tiles.

In the middle of the platform sits an old wooden chair. Stained with rust and blood, dusted with white powder.
A low hum vibrates from it, growing deeper the closer I get.

I toss my phone onto the tracks and set my computer up to record my voice.

I’m afraid to sit on the chair. I’m afraid to even touch it.
I can hear muffled voices coming from above. The clack of high heels from somewhere.

I’m about to sit on this chair. It looks simple. Plain. Something that would be set around a small kitchen table.
I’ve been told it’s the throne of God.
On the seat “Souwick” is carved. Jagged block letters.
I don’t know why I’m doing this.
Barbed wire is wound around the legs.
The lights just flickered.

I’m sitting in the chair. It feels strange.
I’m trying to think of the right words to describe it.
But…I just can’t. It’s a brand new feeling.

The lights are flickering again. I hear a rumble.
I think a train is coming.

The train is approaching.
The seat is starting to get warm.
It’s getting hot.
The lights just went off.

The chair is starting to spark along the barbed wire.
My head is starting to burn.
I feel a warm, sick breath on the back of my neck but I can’t see anyone.
The hair on my arms is standing up.

I smell alcohol.
I hear horses.
Someone is yelling at me in German.
Bottles are breaking down in the tunnel.
Electrical wires are coming from the chair and burrowing into my arms.
It doesn’t hurt.
It’s just warm.

Electricity.
I can feel it flowing through my blood.
My blood vessels look like they are bursting.
Still no pain.

I can’t get out of the chair. Something is holding me down.
The German is getting louder.
I can see his shadow staggering against the wall.
I don’t see him.

My mind has gone white. Bright.
I see words spelled out on rotten teeth.
E.V.I.L.
G.O.O.D.
Rotten tattoo script.

My watch stopped eight minutes ago.
I think I’m crying.
I smell burning flesh and hair.

Another train is coming.
The lights are flickering on again.
I’m going to be sick.

Everything is quiet as I stand up and collect my computer.
Dust falls in the rays of light from the windows.
The antique tiles on the walls seem to shine with new light.

I’m not sure what I saw or what happened.
The chair looks like a normal chair. Wooden and old.

I’m back on the 6 train, heading away from Town Hall.
It feels empty, lifeless.
All around me, though, are people. Grey and silent.
I think I can see through them, but when they move, the light shifts and their faces change.

No one responds to me.

I wave at a girl dressed as a ballerina.
She waves back.
Then she disappears.

A low moan starts to come from the mouths of all the passengers.
I put my headphones in, close my eyes, and try to think about anywhere else.

Hour 9: Panic Attack

You’re going to be okay, she says to her reflection.
It’s just a panic attack. You’ve had them before.
You took your pills so it will pass.
It will pass.

 

The bathroom lights are harsh.
It smells.

Women’s bathrooms are supposed to be clean.

But not in this bar, not in this town.

 

She splashes cold water on her face.

 

You’re going to be okay.
Just breathe.

In.

Out.

In.

Out.

There you go.

In.

Out.

In.

Out.

Keep that up.

 

The door opens and a group of giggling girls comes in to fix their make up. They don’t acknowledge her. Just blow in, fix themselves up, and blow out.

The music is loud, pounding.
It hurts her head.

 

She forces lips into a smile, the lipstick smudged and needing a touch up.

The reflection smiles back.

You’re going to get through this and then get back out there and dance with your friends. You’re going to be okay.

 

She closes her eyes.

Takes a deep breath.

Okay. Lets do this.

One.
Two.

 

She opens her eyes.

 

Her reflection smiles, reaches through the glass and pulls her through, breaking bones and tearing skin and forcing her through the unbroken glass.

Hour 8: Swipe (By Kyle Willis)

Hook-Up Culture is alive and well.

Is she the one?

Maybe.

How about her?

Hell no.

Swipe to the left. Swipe to the right.

Hook-Up Culture is alive and well.

A room full of people. Half of them women. Half of those in the palm of my hand. Literally.

Swipe to the left. Swipe to the right.

There’s one without a photo. There’s always one without a photo. It’s a gamble. No photo usually means a creature fit to live in the woods. There are exceptions.

No photo almost always mean no strings.

“Hi.”

The one with photo has spoken. And she is less than fifty feet away. I scan the room. Eyes on their screens. Eyes on each other.

But no eyes on me.

“Hi.”

As soon as I hit SEND, I see her.

Standing against a wall. Typing intently.

Milky white legs sheathed in black fishnets, climbing into a red and black plaid skirt. Midriff exposed, lines slicing down to her pelvis. A red crop top containing a significant amount of tit. S. Yes there are two. No uniboob. Curly tendrils of auburn hair.

Full, red lips that need to GPS right down to my southern border.

I look down at those three dots. Awaiting transmission of what her fingers are typing.

Then it happens.

“No bullshit. No excuses. I’m a big girl. It’s been a rough week, and I need to fuck.”

NO WAY.

My bottom jaw is slack. I look up at her. Intently waiting.

Eye contact.

 

  1. FUCKING. WAY.

 

She smiles and saunters toward a door and slinks out underneath the neon EXIT light into the night.

I think my feet were 4 paces ahead of the rest of my body.

The door leads to an alley. A beat-up sedan is parked along a wooden fence. The girl leans against it.

I try to keep my cool as I walk up to her, but if I don’t get there soon, she is sure to see just how excited I am. And that’s…just…virginal.

“Thanks for joining me. See? It can be easy. Only hard part has to be…”

I yelp like a cartoon dog.

She’d made her way to the ground by the time my eyes grazed the side mirror on the sedan. The reflection was familiar. Too familiar. I’d seen it every day.

But I didn’t see her.

The girl with no photo also had no reflection.

VAMPIRE.

I’d rethought my request for a nibble as soon as a fang grazed it.

VAMPIRE.

I want to scream but the hand she had just run up my chest has now clasped my throat.

So much pain. As above. So below.

She swiped to the left. She swiped to the right.

And my intestines are no longer organs of the internal variety.

Hook-Up Culture is alive and well.

That makes one of us.

Hour 7: Interview

INTERVIEW WITH BETHANY S. CONDUCTED BY DR. VILLANOVA.

 

B: Why am I here?
Dr: You’ve done something bad. Do you know what the means?
B: Duh. I’m seven, not stupid. It means I did something not good.

Dr: Do you know what you did?

B: I killed them.

Dr: Who did you kill, Bethany?

B: All of them.

 

[Indistinct shuffling]

 

Dr: And why did you do that?

B: He told me to.

Dr: Who did?

B: He did! Are you blind? He’s right behind you.

Dr: Now is not the time to play games, Bethany. You’ve done something very serious. Something very bad.

B: It wasn’t bad.

Dr: Bethany, you killed your family. That is very bad.

B: Not bad. It was fun. He liked it.

Dr: Who did?

B: He did. He did. He did!

Dr: For the record, Bethany is pointing behind me at the wall, where there is no one.

B: Ah, you’re right, bitch.

Dr: E-excuse me.

B: There is no one back there. I’m right here.

Dr: Bethany, now is not the time for games.

B: Games? Do you think this is funny? You have me locked up in here while the night is going by. Games? Bitch, if you only knew what you were stopping, what you have ruined.

 

[Heavy sigh]

 

B: Let me out.

Dr: I don’t think I can do that….please sit down…

B: Stupid, stupid, stupid doctor.

Dr: What are you doing?
B: Fulfilling the reason that stupid girls parents called me here.

 

[Crunching]

[Screams]

[Glass breaking?]

[Silence]

[End of recording.]