Chapter 54/ Book of Worlds

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The stereo was hooked up in the garage, playing The Rolling Stones to drown out the screams. Jordan didn’t think anyone would come anyway. Not many people went outside at night these days, no matter what they heard. Except those who were out hunting.

Jordan had been drunk all day, and he’d been satisfied for most of it, too, but the burn was coming back in force, and after sitting and biting his tongue to pieces and pulling his hair out in messy red black clumps, he went back into the garage to see his parents.

True to his word, Jordan had taken out one of his father’s eyes, and it lay beside the corvette, partially mashed into the concrete from when Jordan had stepped on it. Frank Silic himself was still standing, but a lot of his wounds were deep enough that it was possible to see bone. Jordan had worked his left hand with a coil of barbed wire, and now his wrist was hanging by a thread. Dina was still conscious, but hanging with all her weight on the ropes. Her yellow dress was more red now, her face so covered in blood and wounds and swollen that it was barely possible to tell that she was human – she looked more like raw meat.

When he walked in, Jordan felt a last shudder of the grief that had racked him all day. Remorse came to him each time he’d satisfied whatever it was inside him that was feasting so hungrily on the pain. When it was eating, it released him from the burn and he was almost himself again. Those moments were the worst, because that was when he had to face what he’d already done, and what he still had to do. A few moments later, it was gone and he became more concerned about how he was going to feed himself properly without letting his parents die.

Tourniquets, a low, hideous voice whispered to him. Take limbs. Luckily, he’d already collected a bunch of strong belts from the cupboard under the stairs, remnants of gear he’d had when he used to enjoy indoor rock climbing. He wrapped them around his father’s legs, pulled them so tight he thought if he just left them long enough Frank Silic’s legs might just fall off by themselves.

He laughed at the thought, and then his father kneed him, hard, in the face. He reeled back into the shelves, laughing, and his father screamed something at him through his gag, only he couldn’t hear because The Rolling Stones was playing loud enough to make the garage door shake. I can’t get no… sat – is – fac – tion.

It was a game. He committed himself to the rules: use only a pair of nail scissors to amputate the right leg, and only his fingernails for the second. No breaking the rules, and if his father passed out he’d have to wake him up and start again.

It took a long time, and by the end of it all the fight had gone out of Frank. He was covered in his own vomit. The tourniquets held tight, but even so there was a pool of blood practically deep enough to swim in under his hanging body, covering half the floor and seeping under the car. Jordan had to stuff some old couch cushions under the garage door to make sure no blood ran out onto the driveway. He himself was covered in sweat, breathing hard, sleepy and satisfied, like he’d just had a rich, filling meal.

He dropped to his knees in the blood before he made it to the door. One of his father’s legs was lying in front of him, blue and swollen. Eat it, the lizard voice said, but it was far away now and had no power, and instead Jordan bent down and hugged it, and before he knew what he was doing he was crying again, deep, racking sobs that shook his whole body.

In these moments of clarity he felt like he’d gone to sleep a young boy, tucked in by his mother the way she used to, putting his teddy bear beside him, and then he’d wake up here, now, soaked in his parents blood, having killed his dog and mutilated his parents so badly they might not survive the night. He hated his father, despised his mother, but the idea of hurting them… And then suddenly, here he was.

Brian did this. Him and Matt. It had all started after that big fight, the one where Brian had beaten him and the other two so badly. Yeah the other two, who had just happened to disappear soon afterwards. What had happened to them?

‘I don’t know.’ He said aloud, eyes still closed. He felt his father’s cold hairy calf against his cheek, sticky blood clinging to his clothes.

Brian killed them! Brian and Matt! And he remembered after that first fight, Matt flipping him the bird with bloody teeth. They’d put some kind of demon curse on him. One way or another, it was them. It was them.

He stood up, slowly, and turned his dazed eyes on his mother, who had woken up and was staring at him with wide, panicked eyes. Eyes that wouldn’t have touched him twenty minutes ago, but now went right to his heart. What are you? they said. What are you?

‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘But I’m going to put an end to all of it, now. I’m going to end it tonight.’

She moaned, thinking he was going to kill her, but of course he could never do that. Now was the time to act, when he wasn’t driven mad by that damned burn. He could take the time to think, to search. When he found them, then he could satisfy his hunger. Then he’d have a meal to end all others.

He turned and left the garage, locked the door behind him, and went for a quick shower, made it hot enough to raise blisters on his skin. Then he got dressed in black, stuck bony long nailed hands in deep pockets, and left the house.

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