Estimated reading time — 16 minutes
This journal was found in the attic of a fully furnished and abandoned town house in 2007 next to the last purported owner’s death certificate.
My life is so perfect that it scares me. I see smiling faces from my wife and coworkers, my boss tells me that I’m doing a fine job, and the pastor pulls me up in front of the choir to set an example for the congregation.
They know nothing of my desire. If my priest knew what I was meddling in, he would condemn me to the fires of hell.
When my life was difficult, I felt more alive. Each day when I open my eyes as a successful family man, I feel as though I’ve slipped one rung further on a downward spiral of age, wrinkles, and systematic failure of my body as it repeats a daily crucible of perfection that most would envy.
I know some are jealous of my life when they see me on the street, and yet I would trade life, limb, and soul to live in their shoes for one day.
I crave INTENSITY.
The easy life is mind numbing.
Routine, routine, routine. Every day is exactly the same as the one before it. There are a few minor details that I barely have a measure of control over. I can order a ham and swiss instead of a turkey and pepper jack for lunch, and I can scratch my dog’s left ear before his right. Coors Light, Michelob Ultra, Budweiser Select, Sam Adams Summer Ale. It doesn’t matter if I fuck my wife from behind, if I finish up on her glasses, or if she swallows.
Drunk is drunk. Pussy is pussy.
Everything is always the same. Soon, I’m going to try it.
I’ve waited long enough.
This is the last week I’m going to keep myself locked in this prison of endless repetition. I have all my affairs in order. I’ve written a note to my family and provided for everything and everyone.
In case I get senile, this is a typical morning in my life on a normal day.
I wake up at five thirty on the dot because my bones have internal timers in them, and my hip catches on fire at around five thirty four. I take a swig of mouthwash on my way to the toilet to save time, and I spend a three minute stretch swishing Listerine through my mouth and managing to squeeze out inconsistent bursts of urine. I’ve had to prop my hand against the wall since I was fifty. Standing straight up to piss is beyond me these days.
My third young trophy wife Margerie can only make decent eggs over easy, and sunny side up is out of the question unless we go out. The bacon is microwaved for two minutes and thirty seconds because although her rack is perfect, she can’t cook to save her life. She spends every morning breakfast session explaining to me that my children from previous marriages are ungrateful and deserve to be cut out of my last will and testament. This all comes while I’m chewing spongy bacon and drinking cofee that tastes like engine oil.
By seven thirty, after I’ve shit, showered, and shaved, I’m in my boring Saab, puttering twenty minutes to work on economy cruise control. This twenty minute window is the highlight of my day. There’s no traffic, the morning show I listen to is sometimes funny, and I take my first valium as soon as my rear tires hit Nutwood Street.
For the record, my life was once gritty and unpolished, but also glamorous in a way that it was poetic. I miss being piss poor, living paycheck to paycheck, and not knowing what the next day would hold in store. I miss my first marriage, when everything was new, including some positions that I can’t do anymore because my fake hip would crucify me with pain for trying. I miss my 1970 Oldsmobile 442 that got six miles to the gallon. It was a one fifty five big block with a superstroke and a twelve second ignition top out. You felt like you were going to die if you lost even a smidgeon of control on a country road.
I was young then. It all comes back to age.
Old people all go out the same way. Heart attack, stroke, brain aneurism, cancer.
I want to be different.
It’s still sitting on my mantlepiece, but it doesn’t have to beg me anymore.
I’ll soon be determined to take it down and use it of my own free will.
I did it. I’ve been carrying it in my jacket pocket. I can feel how cold it is through my shirt.
In case I lose my mind, let me describe a normal work day, more for myself than for you. I am the second in command under a tyrannical office crone by the name of Jana. She runs a tight ship and she’s only been in the business for five years. She inherited the company from her father —- my old business partner. Soon, she had the support of everyone else, and I became the sideshow with some measure of plastic authority. She still wields the iron rod.
I usually sneak a second valium in for the morning meetings, and I smile and nod more than anything else. I make Jana feel like her ideas are good, like the employeees actually care about what she has to say. When we break for lunch, I use my hour to go to one of five places.
I can’t go anywhere the costs more than eight bucks. I made one hundred and sixty two thousand dollars last year, but Margerie doesn’t put out for me if I eat expensive food without her. She IS a trophy wife, after all. My choices are always limited to the Taco Bell Pizza Hut two in one, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, or the China Spring. The best deli in town is open before three, three blocks down, and I get to eat there once a week when our meetings cut short. They always have to put the meat back out because I stroll in at two fifty eight, and they glare at me with the utmost loathing. There’s no telling how many pastrami and loogie sandwiches I’ve had, courtesy of Jana’s rambling motor mouth.
When I get back from lunch, Jana is always gone, and I spend three hours walking around the office and telling my employees how good they are at their jobs. The truth is, some of them really ARE good, and they know they deserve a raise. I have to tell them that I need more out of them because Jana is too much of a tightwad bitch to pay them higher salaries. She saves the extra cash for botox and the newest Corvette every year.
No matter how good my day at work is, it ends in absolute frustration. I live eighteen miles from my office in the city, but in five thirty traffic, it takes me ninety minutes to get in to my driveway.
The best day at work I ever had was the last day for one of our interns, Sally. It was about ten years ago, but I still remember when she unzipped my fly, pulled out my cock, snorted a line of cocaine off of it, and then drained me dry.
It took me two hours to get home because of a jack knifed tractor trailer that day. Work always ends on a bad note, even when Sally is there for your afternoon delight.
I hope my wife doesn’t find this diary if something goes wrong. I never cheated to hurt her. I just like to feel intense. This fucking crazy thing is so cold in my pocket now that I have a red spot on my chest from where my skin is chafing against my shirt. I think I’ll sleep with it under my pillow tonight.
I’ve had enough of normal.
When I wake up tomorrow, I’m opening it.
For such a long time, it was a smooth, hard stone, not unlike something you’d pick up out of a creek and throw through Jana’s front windshield. It’s been that way since I was ten.
When I was young, this town wasn’t much more than a church, a gas station, and a diner. I rode my Schwinn to service on a normal Sunday morning.
He wandered in after the offering prayer, and I know most of the Methodists thought he was a homeless vagrant, sliding from town to town with three handles of whiskey inbetween. He wasn’t.
He pulled me aside behind the cemetery graveyard in broad daylight before I went home because my folks weren’t at the service that day. Everyone talked and gossiped and I got plenty of warnings about talking to strangers afterward, but he was different than anyone I’d ever met. He didn’t have much to say, and he had to be at least a hundred years old, but one thing sticks in my mind, seventy one years later.
“You’ve got the blood to use it, boy. I have none left. It’s someone else’s turn.” he said with dry, cracked lips.
I wasn’t interested in his gift at first. Here’s an old man waving a rock in front of me and gibbering on about some lost art called “necromancy.” I told him I wasn’t interested in any work that was not of the good Lord’s. I was brainwashed.
To persuade me to take the rock, he used it on my bike. As of right now, you’re the third person to know about this.
I watched a clumsy, rusty contraption that had been handed down from poor kid to junk yard to dirt poor kid transform before my eyes. The stone glowed almost digital green, like the display you’d get on a high tech wilderness watch or something.
The problem is, back then, digital didn’t exist. Neither did color television.
I watched rust melt away in liquid red flakes, and dents faded like the metal was made of silk. In a few seconds, my bike was brand new.
“I’ll be dead soon, boy. Use it on something that breathes.” he said. He looked to be in such ill health that I was scared by the prospect of his death. He dropped the stone in my pocket, and I fled.
Back then, I thought honesty was the best policy. I told my parents an old man fixed up my bike for free in the graveyard with a rock. They kept me locked in the house for the next three months and told me it’s not nice to lie. I never told them about the stone. I kept it hidden in a safe place. It stayed in the back of my mind, but I ignored it for a long time.
When I was fifteen, my dog Becky got caught in the wheels of the neighboring farm’s tractor because she liked to chase things. It was an accident, but she lost an eye, broke both her back legs, and she was on her way out. It was horrible.
Of course, my father wanted to spare me the pain and grief with a blast of buckshot. Everyone told me it was the easiest way — that Becky would die an agonizing, slow death if my father didn’t end her life now.
An hour before he got home from work to put an end to it, I took the stone and wrapped Becky in a blanket. I still remember her crying from the shifts in weight as I carried her broken body to the graveyard. Every footstep was painful to her.
It took me six hours to figure out how the thing worked. I had to cut myself and give it some blood. As soon as my blood touched the surface, it opened up and became soft, like a fleshy sponge opening its mouth. The more droplets I gave it, the more it glowed, and the more frozen it became in my hand. My skin was numb with the cold — I couldn’t even feel my pocket knife.
I know I didn’t do it the way he did, because I ended up with a puppy with both eyes, but two broken legs.I couldn’t bring Becky back to my family as a pup without them asking questions, so I gave her to a gypsy trying to hitch out by main street.
My father tanned the living shit out of my backside when I got home, but luckily, he was the type of man who would beat you and stop asking questions afterward. He considered the matter finished, and I was grateful for that.
After feeding my blood to the stone, I felt a few years older, and my body showed the signs of it. I shot up to six foot three, got hairier, and started looking at girls more often. I can never say for sure, but I think giving that time back to Becky cost me most of my adolescent years. I went through high school as a twenty year old pretending to be a teenager. My birth certificate said otherwise, but for all intensive purposes, I was older than everyone around me.
I’m not asking for sympathy. I just want to pull you in to the sad affair that has become my life. My past is interesting. The present? Not so much. If I don’t explain all of this, then you’ll think I’m a horrible person for what I’m about to do. The future holds the most potential of the three.
Maybe these words can put you on my side. The only explanation I owe the world is “why.”
I don’t want sympathy or forgiveness; I only want you to understand.
I always had an inkling that my own blood wouldn’t work if the target of the stone was myself. It’s much worse than I imagined.
Here’s the last part of my daily routine. I know you have no interest in it, and that by now you’ve certainly heard enough of my babbling about how terrible normal can really be. I need this from you, and you can skip ahead to the end of the grimoire if you’d like, but it will help me to write it down. I feel so old that I can’t keep it straight in my head anymore.
When I pull in to the driveway on Nutwood Street, Margerie meets me when I open the garage. She tells me whatever concoction she’s left in the oven for me. It’s a game of mundane surprises. Tonight it’s meatloaf.
Before I can open the door in the garage that leads to the kitchen hallway, I have to shell out some cash for my darling wife. She’s most fond of Ulysses S. Grant and Bejamin Franklin, but today, Roosevelt will have to suit her.
To this day, I truly have no idea where my wife takes that money, or what she does with it. I’ve never asked, and I never will. This is possibly why I’m in my third marriage, but the intensity in life that I crave does not come from prenuptial feuds and accusations of infidelity. She shows me the movie tickets and provides better reviews than Ebert and Roeper. I’ve grown quite fond of her cinema rants.
After I pay my wife and she leaves, I spend a brief moment of time at the dinner table. Usually, I attempt to eat the food as quickly as possible, and I rarely finish half of it. Mostly, I’m looking forward to the after dinner valium and a glass of wine.
When I finish dinner, I watch recorded episodes of Jeopardy on the DVR with my new mutt, Sasha. I have her trained to bark in time with the bells when someone hits the Daily Double. Usually by Final Jeopardy, I’ve fallen asleep, but sometimes I keep my eyes open long enough for the Skinemax porno. More often than not, I fall asleep with my cock in my hand, and Margerie wakes me up to escort me upstairs for a goodnight romp.
You think these nights of the routine don’t sound so bad, but after so many years, it gets vicious. You can substitute Margerie for my first or second wife, change the house, and put new cars in the driveway, but the routine will never, ever change without something drastic to pour in to the mix.
Tonight, after forcing half of her dry meatloaf down my throat with a generous helping of Heinz 57, I opt to place the rest of the scraps on the kitchen floor for the dog before I lock the house. I grab this grimoire of my darkest confessions, and then I get in to my Saab and start the engine. I rarely see the dashboard lights and I’ve driven the Saab after the sun goes down less than a dozen times.
Driving on the open road with a dying sun rehabilitates my sense of danger and excitement. Not a single human soul knows where I am right now.
My first destination is the vast library at my country club. I haven’t used my membership in three years. My second destination is a back alley by the corner of Norfolk and Phelps Avenue, where the railroad tracks intersect the city between the haves and the have nots. There, I will surely find a soul in desperate need of my resources.
I’ve read enough, researched enough, and toyed with this stone enough. I should have known you can’t drain yourself to make yourself younger. It’s like moving money from your checking to your savings and saying that you have more money, when really, nothing changes. Eventually, if you do it enough times, the bank will get pissed off at you.
It won’t go from soft to hard again. It’s sitting here in my pocket, gaping wide open, expecting what it knows it’s eventually going to get.
I need someone else’s blood to make the magic truly potent.
She looked vulnerable enough. I never would have imagined that she was packing a Smith and Wesson.
The struggle was brief, but exciting. I didn’t open with a ruse or story. I told her that she looked hungry and down on her luck, and that I would like her to accompany me to dinner at the Cajun Kitchen, a short distance away.
She ordered a shrimp po-boy with red beans and rice and devoured it with an intensity that I truly envied. I’ve never suffered the pains of true hunger. I paid the tab and we left to walk a few blocks back to her alley.
She pulled the revolver from her torn coat around the same time that I shanked her with the dinner knife I swiped from the back of the restaurant. I waited until the train passed through at nine, and thank the heavens I did, for someone surely would have heard the gunshot otherwise.
Her eyes bugged out around the same time that her finger depressed the trigger, but the shock of being run through with a butcher knife overpowered her sense of depth, timing, and perception. She didn’t have time to aim the weapon and shot herself in the stomach. She made it easy for me.
I tried scooping her blood out with the stone, but that wasn’t enough. I used mason jars to store it in my trunk. When I got home, I went straight to the attic to give it what it needed all at once. Margerie wasn’t back yet.
I was able to retrieve large sections of the Munich Manual of Demonic Magic, despite the odd stares of the librarian hussy and her ill repute towards my interest in the subject.
I learned about the power of circles and the danger of using the stone without standing in the middle of one. I learned about fire and ash and the requirement of sacrifice to complete any true necromantic ritual. My sacrifice tonight was the neighbor’s cat —- or its organs, if you want to be specific.
Kiss my routine goodbye. Nothing will ever be the same again. Do you know how it feels to stand side by side with the spirits of eternity?
With each new drop, I saw the lives the stone had consumed. I could only guess which ones were victims of the old man who possessed the artifact before me, or how far back the lineage of sacrifice went. My homeless vagrant was last, and her stomach still had a gaping hole in it. She gnashed her teeth and tried to lash at me like a demon, but the barrier of the circle impeded me from harm.
If I’m going to be alive forever, I need some form of companion, and Margerie won’t cut it. She’s a terrible cook. God, just the thought of eating her eggs for eternity makes me want to find a random sewer rat on the street and give it a brand new lease on life at the cost of my own. I used the blood of the homeless woman to rejuvenate my dog. Sasha growled at first, but once she was in the circle with me and the stone took its hold over her, she seemed to enjoy it.
Even animals aren’t beyond the lure of eternal youth.
I still don’t know whose soul I will use to make me youthful again. A few names come to mind —– it’s choosing one of them and not the others that really challenges me.
The ritual ran in to the early hours of the morning, and Margerie was wary of my secrecy in the attic. How many owners has this thing had?
I doubt I will ever know the answer to that.
Sasha has been bouncing off the walls when I get home and she paws at the locked bedroom door when Margerie and I have sex. She hasn’t done that in five years.
The term I’ve coined for the accuracy and power of these rituals is “necropotence.” The sacrifice, the environment, the time of night —- these are all factors that determine the extent of your success.
These small details could be the difference between your body evolving in to an eternal medium for the dead, or shaving decades of wear and tear off of your lifeline. The line I walk is so very thin. I’m lucky I didn’t unleash something by mistake when I was younger. Sasha turned out halfway good, and halfway possessed, but at least she’s not human. If she becomes dangerous, so be it.
All spirits serve me now.
I’ve realized that this power makes me greedy, and I’m ashamed to say that it feels wonderful. I won’t relinquish this for anything.
I don’t seek revenge on them for letting me lock myself in to a lifetime of mediocrity. Instead, I will use their lives as an apology. They will become part of something greater. They don’t realize who they have become or how miserable they make the rest of the world around them, but I do.
I have a duty to find a meaningful purpose for them.
I have seen the dead face to face, restrained from consuming my soul by nothing more than a line of chalk on the hardwood floor. Their rotting smiles form insidious and leering grins at me when I funnel the blood of my subjects through the stone.
I call them subjects and not victims because they become a part of the kingdom of the dead when they pass in to my prized artifact. This is above and beyond anything they could have hoped to achieve on this plane, because I have chosen them by the very classification that their lives are pathetic.
As of right now, I am no longer a man of the routine, but a necromancer.
Sasha and I didn’t have to sleep last night. We went for a walk.
She helped me chase down another vagrant across the railroad tracks. Something tells me that it’s not exactly Sasha inside anymore. Whatever’s behind those amber eyes is in this with me for the long run. She’s better for it.
I concocted an impromptu ritual in the woods and used most of the old bum’s blood. Right before the sun came up, I fed the last of what I’d gathered to the stone. I was back in time to take my morning piss at five thirty five, and guess what?
I can piss standing up now, and I flushed my valiums. Soon, I’ll be on my way to work.
I made my own eggs and bacon and I told Margerie that she’s never been good at it. I also told her I was donating my entire estate to the local funeral home and cemetery. I found it fitting. The owner and I run in close circles.
When I got to work, I quit on the spot and told Jana I hated her more than I hated her old man. I spent time writing checks to various people around the office who have never received a Christmas bonus, but earn more for the company than Jana does herself. People told me I looked good —- ten years younger, even.
I waited in the parking lot until she left and I followed her to her condo on the other side of town. I wasn’t surprised to see her whip out a bottle of Early Times as soon as she hit her living room.
Jana won’t have a drinking problem anymore, and if I were to approximate the years she gave me, I’d put myself right around thirty years old.
When I got home, I told Margerie that I dyed my hair and I’ve been exercising. She’s threatened by my new outfit I have going here, but she also can’t resist the urge to fuck me.
I waited until she was riding me reverse cowgirl, and I thought myself a warrior poet as I slid the knife inbetween her third and fourth ribs. The sheets did a marvelous job of soaking up all the blood. I was able to wring them out in to the circle.
I should bleed more people out in bed. I feel like a teenager again.
Those were all my changes. Maybe you’re sitting in my attic and you’re the first person to come across this monumental discovery. I can’t give you any more of the names on my list or reveal my plans for the future. You understand, I’m sure. Although I have the forces of the underworld on my side, I can’t have anyone meddling in my affairs.
If you’re the detective type and you have some great sense of right and wrong, I can imagine you’ll probably be on your way out the front door of my empty house to contact the authorities.
Maybe you are the authorities. My place has been condemned for so long that society has been forced to notice. In that case, good luck. You’ve never seen my old face, much less the face of my youth. Will you take this dirty journal to a precinct and place it in a folder where it will grow cold over the next twenty years until the statute of limitations expires?
Or, perhaps there’s a chance that you’ll change your routine.
Look around. I’ve left the stone in the basket of my old Schwinn in the corner of the attic. To have any chance of chasing me, you’re going to have to reject mortality.
Will your magic be potent enough to find me? How much are you willing to bleed?
Will you bleed for justice, or become one with the dead like me?
Do your research. Without enough necropotence, you’ll be nothing when you finally face me.
CREDIT: D.A. Wilcox
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