An unpredictable panic sets over me, like the eruption of a volcano thought to be dead, as I write these words. My quaking skin, spasmodic muscles and aching chest—cruel muscle memories—marry the deeply lugubrious and mortifying feeling of emptiness that I recall from my first night with Sandy Asbury.
If they come up in the future, I will refer to everything that takes place in this entry as events and nothing else. I will never use that noun to describe any conflict that has taken place before or since then.
November 18th, 2012 10:30AM
The coarse brown fabric of the man’s woolen suit made a low, quiet noise when he walked. The top of his pork-pie hat was an unnecessary additive to his height, and it often brushed against the blades of my ceiling fans when he made his uninvited transit through my home. His mountain-like stature and symbiotically threatening demeanor imposed on an otherwise quiet morning. He defied the human anatomy with his deep, quiet breaths; seeming to never expand or contract—probably something he evolved to spare the plain, white dress-shirt he wore, which was tailored so close to his muscular body.
(Reader, I apologize for this repetition of something which I have already written about in entry 4—something which was taken from an allusion to Sandy that I had written in an entry which I will not be sharing. I have left that past description because I believe it does justice in conveying my thoughts on our first visit more perfectly)
The phantom and I remained silent and, save for the up-and-down movement of my observing eyes, mostly still for the first few minutes of his visit. His brilliant smile, warm and friendly, was an oxymoron to the terror I felt with his presence. For a moment, as he stared, I felt something passing through my mind. At first it was like vowels and consonants which were not formed into words. Then, before the silence was broken, a word, then, a sentence in my own voice forced its way into the forefront of my thought.
“Don’t be afraid.”
I waited. In bitter irony, I was petrified by the following thought.
“Hello, M boy.” Said an unfamiliar voice.
Not without the feeling that I was being helped along in some way, I closed my eyes. Like a child was playing in my brain, I began to see repeating images of lines and something like an ink splatter. After a few minutes of psychedelic colors and shapes being forced into my thought, a room with cream colored, sheet-rock walls began taking shape—its features oozing in and out and shifting color intermittently. There were two wooden chairs—the type you might see in someone’s unbearably pretentious fine-dining room—which were sitting in the middle of the room, facing one another. Observing it all from a distance, I watched as a tall, blonde man walked into the room and sat in the chair to the right. He sat, with his hands on his knees and turned his head towards me when he said, “Sit up straight and still, self. Smile and don’t talk back.” I felt immediate astonishment, for the man, though he was not me, spoke in my voice.
The man, after sitting in silence for a few vacuous minutes, was joined by the man in the brown wool suit.
“Hello, Miles. My name is Sandy Asbury and, for all intents and purposes, this blonde fellow is you, alright?” he said.
“Yes, sir.” Said the blonde man.
The man in the brown wool suit addressed the blonde man as though he were me for the entire conversation, never staring toward this place—like the fourth wall—from where I observed. The man with my voice spoke in short responses.
“Hello, Miles.” He said. “As you have recently found, the man who visited you only a short while ago is not the only carbon based life form with a knack for manipulating his surroundings. He is also, as Rumple Minze warned, not the most vicious. ‘T is rare that such wise council should come from such a deranged, cryptic source. Wait a second, something isn’t right…”
He paused for a minute and pointed upward, signaling the beginning of a song called “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” which played quietly in the background while he spoke.
“It also should not go unnoticed that I am forcing this information into your brain. It’s very difficult as of right now, because I don’t know your mind very well. As a result, it takes up a great deal of time and energy to convey something that, normally, would only take up the span of a few minutes, so you may notice a slight jump in time. It is not actually time travel, though it might feel like it when you snap out of our little interactive adventures through the exciting and the metaphysical.”
“I am excited,” the blonde man said.
“I’m sure you would like to know more about the rest of your guests, but I don’t like butting my head into other’s business. But, this one time, I will throw you a bone. So, tell me M boy, who would you like to know about?”
“Rebecca” said the blonde man.
(The following, dispassionate words officially introduce you to the final character in my story.)
“Rebecca, Rebecca. She’s poisonous in touch, as well as character. She salivates a higher concentration of Cyanide than an overzealous member of the Hemlock Society ingests in an evening. So, you should probably try to squelch any semblance of burning desire for her, as kissing her would serve as an untimely doom to you, and an unfortunate end to what is sure to be hours of fun for me.”
The same paralysis of the senses that overtakes you when your teacher scratches the chalkboard to get your attention caused my thoughts to seize up. After that painful chill subsided, I thought about the blonde man. I wished I could speak for him.
Suddenly, culminating every question I had, the blonde man simply uttered, “Why?”
“It’s very simple,” said Sandy. “I’m responsible for your well-being. It is my duty to make sure that you get everything right, no matter how difficult a challenge it may be to your ethics—which, as it seems, are in a state of disrepair. All that to say that I am, in a way, your fairy godmother.”
Sandy waited for me to process the information before walking out of the room. After a few minutes in my silent prison, the blonde strangers head exploded and he slumped over, lifeless in his chair. I opened my eyes. It was 4:30PM.
Rebecca was still sleeping upstairs, but I didn’t disturb her. I was still reeling from the newly gleamed knowledge of her toxicity. Rump’s warning that she had a “kiss of death” could not have been more accurate.
Sandy and I waited for a few more uncomfortable minutes. I scratched my leg, stood up, and went out of the back door for a cigarette. I sat in my rocking chair and covered my face for a minute before feeling Sandy’s last exercise on my psyche. I felt the range of my emotions from the most jovial to the most depressing in just a few short minutes, followed by a pulverizing headache. I dropped my cigarette on the concrete patio and grabbed onto my aching head. Smoke from my cigarette wisped around in the stagnant, frigid air, stinging me in the eyes as it rose. I fell out of my armchair onto my knees and pulled myself to my feet with one of the columns supporting the canopy over my head.
After the aching in my head subsided, I felt intoxicatingly calm. I picked up the remainder of my cigarette and finished it before going inside. I sat, facing Sandy, and he spoke.
“I’m going to be honest; I’m flying be the seat of my pants right now. I’m sorry if my experimentation inconveniences you.”
“What do I have to do to get you to stop?” I asked.
“Everything you’re told.” Sandy responded.
November 18th, 2012 5:30PM
There was a loud beating on my door while I showed Sandy around.
He expressed a particular fondness for my writing, specifically my comics, asking to see many of them. I spread out a number of various strips in front of him and he gave a heartily laugh to each. “You’re very talented.” He said. While he was reading one strip, that loud pounding at the door began. I ran to see who it was.
Luke and Annie Simmons were standing on my doorstep when I answered. The sleeves of Luke’s white sweater were bunched up midway between his wrists and elbows and his arms were crossed. Annie stood behind him with her head towards the ground in a black dress. Her arms swung lazily behind her back, held together by her intertwined hands.
“Hey there, Miles.” Luke said.
“Luke Simmons, of all people. How the hell are you, neighbor?”
“Fine, Miles. Just fine. The wife and I were wondering if you wanted to come over tonight for an informal little dinner? It’ll just be the three of us. We’ve noticed that you’ve been going to sleep later and later over the past week and we just want to make sure you’re doing alright. I’ve got a lot of free time, so—“
Luke offered his help, which I neither needed nor wanted. I agreed to visit them for dinner. They said to be there at 6-6:15 and they would be ready for my company. Finally, they left. I went upstairs and changed. I woke Rebecca to let her know that I would be out late, but that she could help herself to anything. She mumbled a thank you and went back to sleep (she was unbearably hung-over).
I showered, dressed and walked over to the Simmons’ house. Sandy and Rump followed behind me on the walk over, but after looking behind me I noticed they had vanished. I trusted that they would be silent and quiet, so I left them alone.
When Luke came to the door, the wind current carried a light puff of his cigarette’s smoke outside. I watched it float by, distracted by the beauty of it.
“Feel free to light up, if you want, pal. It’s the least potent smell over here.” He said.
The Simmons kept three cats indoors for hours at a time. Though sweet, they were filthy animals that were poorly taken care of. Luke was inept at housekeeping and Annie was so overworked that she didn’t even bother to argue with him about it. They maintained a mutual aloofness in their relationships, especially during their arguments, only straying from that formula on the night of our dinner.
Luke led me through the door, down a hallway and into the kitchen. The walls to the hallway and the rest of their home were adorned with family photos in bulky, gaudily colored frames and Luke’s shitty, Avant Garde paintings. Luke fixed the two of us a drink before showing me his abominable “brainchildren,” as he called them. Luke’s pride and passion for his clearly missed calling became more lengthy and unbearable as liquor and time eroded my patience away throughout the night.
During dinner, Annie was very active in the conversation. Towards the beginning she kept our topics small—the weather, books, and other small talk—but as time wore on and Annie’s inhibitions were robbed by the glasses of wine she kept refilling, her conversation started feeling flirtatious. It’s hard to tell, though, because she is so adept at the art of communication that her intentions were never clear. She often emphasized and shouted specific words for no discernible reason, which made talking to her even more annoying and unbearable.
“Your haircut looks wonderful.” She would say. “I wish Luke would get a haircut. He would look so much more refined. Less like a flit, more like a man. Don’t you think so, Miles?”
“I don’t know what a flit is,” I responded.
“It’s a fag!” She said, laughing obnoxiously. “I bet you like the girls, don’t you M? I’ve seen that young lady you have over. She’s a total knockout! Do you usually have such luck with pretty girls?”
“I do alright, I guess.”
Luke, clearly the more sober of the two, chimed in.
“You’ll have to forgive Annie. She entertains this delusion that bigotry is acceptable when it’s masked by kitschy, fifties slang.” He said.
“Fuck you, Luke!” she yelled.
Luke got up from his seat and went into the kitchen to grab the bottle of liquor and an ash tray, which he placed between us on the table. He poured himself a glass full of scotch while Annie continued.
“What do you like in a woman?” she asked, smiling and fidgeting with a silver locket that was dangling around her neck, when it wasn’t stuck between her comically large amounts of cleavage.
“Sobriety, probably.” Luke snapped.
“No one asked you, asshole.” She hissed back. “Why do you have to butt into our grown-up conversation?”
“God Dammit, Annie, can you stop flirting with our company! Jesus Christ, you vapid Bitch. How about a little consideration!”
As they argued, I stood up from the table. I felt a swimming sensation in my head and turned toward the wall to stabilize myself.
“Are you alright, Miles?” Luke asked.
“I’m sure he’s fine.” Annie said. “You on the other hand…”
Sandy’s voice crept into my head as they continued their bickering.
“I’m growing very tired of this, M boy. I’m also quite curious just how good of a puppet you are. So, for the rest of the evening, remember my advice: the best thing for you to do is what you’re told.”
(The events that take place from here to the end of the entry are actions which I committed under Sandy’s control, and they were based on no desire of my own. My perception was not harmed whatsoever and I have a very vivid memory of the events themselves. I hope you will find that my details are poignant, without sacrificing verisimilitude.)
As if his voice drained it, all feeling left my body when Sandy spoke his commands. Pulled along by my rogue thoughts, I picked up the wooden dining chair I had just removed myself from and began smashing it repeatedly against the table. Luke pushed himself away while Annie laughed at the spectacle. Before he could get his footing I hit Luke over the head repeatedly with a piece of the chair’s leg that was left in my hand. As he started to collapse, I turned towards Annie and swung the chair leg at her head with brute force. I could hear her neck snap on contact. She fell over onto the table, warm and lifeless.
Luke was beginning to come to. I pinned him to the floor and put the broken chair leg across his larynx before he could sit up. Luke began a tantrum for his life, kicking at the floor and trying to claw at my face. I pressed against the chair leg with my entire body weight until I heard the sound of his larynx being crushed. Despite his best efforts, Luke died quickly.
My heart raced and sweat dripped from my forehead onto Luke’s white sweater. I turned to glance at Annie, whose face was still staring lifelessly away from me, into nothingness. I walked toward where Annie’s body lay, picked up a steak knife which was among the silverware in her place setting, and plunged it through her left temple, into her brain. I did the same with Luke. After I ensured they were both dead, I removed the table cloth from their table and wrapped Annie’s body in it. The Simmons’ car was in their garage. It provided stealth as I transported my fellow victim’s bodies to their car. I went back inside their house and smoked another cigarette.
I sat in the Luke’s chair drinking liquor and smoking cigarettes. Rumple Minze and Sandy appeared, standing across the dining room. Sandy wore the same charming smile as he had earlier in the day. Rumple Minze, however, began crying as soon as he saw my dead hosts. Sandy did his best to calm Rump down so that he could remind me of my motto:
“Do everything you’re told, Miles.”
Following his instructions, I stumbled, still swimmy headed, from my chair to the middle of the living room, where I started using the coffee table to hold me up. Seeing doubles (which I was) did not improve the quality of Luke’s paintings. It did, however, give them a Kafkaesque element of terror that stole my soul without stealing my interest.
I crashed into walls and knocked down pictures as I clumsily made my way down the Simmons’ hall, toward their bedroom. I quickly went to sleep. Around midnight, Sandy, Rump and I left the Simmons’ home for a secret burial service for the two of them.
November 19th, 2012 1:30PM
After driving for an hour and a half through cold, dusty wilderness, Sandy finally foreclosed on a large, flat clearing. I parked and used the shovel I had taken from their garage to dig them both a grave.
The sound of the shovel piercing fresh dirt over and over took a great toll on Rump. He started fidgeting with his gun, and blabbering nonsense. He paced around the grave-site over and over until I had finished digging.
After I moved Luke’s body to the fresh hole, Rump, in a moment of clarity, offered a warning.
“You can fix every future mistake right now, Miles. Turn yourself in.”
He spoke as though I had control over my actions and, for a moment, I was inclined to believe him. But, quickly stealing that relief from me, Sandy’s voice repeated “everything you’re told,” and I went back to dragging my neighbor’s bodies from their car to their grave.
I finished burying the two of them in a few minutes. Rump grabbed my attention.
“You are more villain than victim.” Rump said. Then, he put his Taurus .357 in his mouth and pulled the trigger. An aerosol of blood and brain matter sprayed across the clearing, but after a few seconds each drop disappeared, along with Rump’s body.
I did not know the Simmons or Rump very well, nor did I like them, so I did not say anything. I simply lit a cigarette and drove home.