Joe Pitt 5 - My Dead Body

Joe Pitt 5 - My Dead Body by Charlie Huston Read Free Book Online

Book: Joe Pitt 5 - My Dead Body by Charlie Huston Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charlie Huston
Buddy, I hear wolves what were meant to be, dressing in sheep’s clothes, baa-baa-baa.
    He takes the new cigarette. He doesn’t have lips anymore, just a hole slashed in the hide sucked back onto his skull.
    --Buddy, I told you once, I told you a hundred, I told you we don’t belong up there. Walking their walk, talking their lingo, living their rules.
    He cat-coughs again.
    --Know what’s funniest in it, buddy?
    I spark another match and he lights up.
    --No. Tell me what’s funniest. I could use a laugh.
    A tremor rattles through his bones, his body blurs for a moment, then he resolves again.
    --What’s funniest is now they’re fighting a war for the right. That’s what’s got me up late slapping my knee, buddy. Idea of all them, them and their values, killing each other over which color sheep they’re gonna dress as. What kind of prey they want to pretend to be for the privilege of living in the flock.
    He takes a drag, only sucks down half of it this time.
    --Should be ripping their skins off, howling, running pack mad, buddy. Just for fun.
    I light my own smoke.
    --Old man, got to tell you, you’re getting a little weird being down deep all by yourself.
    That laugh.
    --Buddy, I’m the real thing. Or close to it. I’m just about the end of the road.
    He’s been squatting, knees up by his ear, elbows out, looks like a spider someone sprayed with the wrong chemicals. Now he rises, spider morphing into a skeleton, assembling itself from its own jumbled bones.
    --Want to see the future, buddy, look into my eyes.
    I’m game. But there’s nothing to see. They’ve gone black. Blacker than the deepest tunnels below our feet. Light sucks into his eyes. Black like I’ve seen only once before. I look in there, and something rises toward the surface.
    A cold lance cuts through the heat of him.
    I step back, cigarette dropping from my fingers as my hand goes to the gun.
    --Right, buddy, pull the piece. That’ll help ya.
    He smokes the second half of his butt and exhales.
    --We all got it inside, buddy. Waiting to come out. Just it needs to be nurtured some.
    I take another step back.
    --It’s dark. I didn’t see anything. You’re crazy.
    He raises the notched bone of his finger.
    --Two of those three is true, buddy. Pretty good average, two out of three. But the one that’s a lie, it’s a doozy.
    My hand is still on the gun. Just because it likes being there.
    --You’re crazy. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t even know what you’re thinking.
    He looks up at the vents.
    --Me buddy? I’m thinking about what I always think about. Daylight.
    --Then you’re thinking about dying.
    He looks back at me.
    --Too late for that.
    He takes a step toward me.
    --Hey, buddy, know why we burn? Know why we get so damn hot when we finally embrace the Vyrus?
    I take a step away.
    He comes closer.
    --It’s ‘cause of what’s growing inside. Buddy, it’s so cold, it just drives the heat out of you. Tell you, it’s like winter in my bowels.
    I’m leaving, I’m walking backward, some lesson about never turning your back on the mad, but I’m leaving.
    --There’s nothing inside of you except crazy. Nothing growing except your own stupid death.
    He’s still following, shimmering at every step.
    --You got one too. Stick around, let it come out. It’s what we’re for. To become what’s real, buddy.
    I’m not walking backward anymore, I’m just going, I’m just leaving.
    --It’s not in me, old man. I’m infected, not possessed. I’m diseased, but I’m me.
    Cat coughs behind me.
    --Ain’t that what I’m saying, buddy? Ain’t that the joke of it? It is you. What we are, it’s what we are inside. Just you have to work at it to make it come out.
    I’m down the tracks now, looking at the rails to where they fade into darkness ahead of me, meeting at a point I can’t see yet.
    He’s crazy. That wasn’t a lie.
    It’s dark down here. That wasn’t a lie.
    And I didn’t see anything when I

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