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Shattered Glass

shattered glass


Estimated reading time — 12 minutes

Glass breaks in random and chaotic ways. In a near instant the cracks can ripple throughout, separating the shards from the inside until it finally crumbles under its own weight. When this happens, its fragility is truly realized. But how random is it really? Glass can sometimes break in a clean snap – other times a pebble can rip a hole in it without causing a total catastrophe. Why the difference? Perhaps it’s some… precondition. Maybe it’s just a matter of time. Either way, one thing is for sure. At all times, glass is moments away from shattering – all it takes is the right amount of pressure.

*****

Smash!

Hunter got it on his first try. Upper left pane on a garage door window. He stood proudly, reveling in his aim, but squandering all the same. He had driven down this road before, but on this day there was something different – an allure to a decrepit home. He parked at the end and snooped around the property a 5. There was no 4, and there was no 6. Maybe one day there would be. South King st. became quiet once the shards of glass settled into their new home. As he gazed upon the abode, he couldn’t stop those little synapsis from firing – igniting a signal down to the pits of his lower extremities – forcing him to walk forward.

As he neared the structure his curiosity was playing games with him. He craved for there to be more than just an old, musty single floor of once-living space. He desired something exhilarating, something he had not experienced yet in 18 years of breathing. He yearned for an escape from the addictive troubles. Maybe one last rush would set him free. Free from not sleeping. Free from not dreaming. Free from the night and daymares. His eye lids were a screen, and his memory was relentlessly projecting one thing … every… single… time… that he even dared to blink.

Stevie Miller.

He could see it, like it was in front of him. The hangout spot in his basement, the wood paneling on the walls. A metal post covered in a dark red paint. A still frame. It wasnt a scene of gore or violence. Sometimes he wished it was. Because what Hunter saw when he closed his eyes was far worse. It was another pair of eyes staring back. It was the last time that Stevie saw anything – a shame it had to be the eyes of his own taker. When Hunter closed his eyes he saw a stare of the last staring second, before it was all over.

You take one look at Hunter and you would think he was unphased. Heck, he wanted this. He wanted to know what it was like. And now that he got it, he became trapped in his own twisted replay. When his eyes got burned out, and thirst for the slightest moment of quenching savor… he put up a fight for as long as he could… but alas even the strongest-willed succumb to the most innocent of muscle spasms. And when it happens, there he is, in full-grim-fidelity.

Hunter had made his way up a small set of steps. He stood face to face with the front door. Every sign was telling him that this place was abandoned, and had been for years. The front of the property was overgrown and out of control. A rain gutter hung down and dangled over a sunken garage. A spider had made a home in the doorway.

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Without hesitation he twisted the knob and pushed the door open with ease. The kitchen greeted him with a hungry smile. As he entered, each foot step creaked. The nano-vibrations resonated though the floor, the walls, the ceiling, and into the attic.

The attic.

A terrifying thought that attic was.

In that attic… it waited.

Hunter continued making his way through the house. A lifeless living room. A layer of dust filled the cracks in a wood table that fit to a T in the corner. As he scanned the room he noticed that every inch of the place had that same look to it – dust – thick coat of dust on just about everything.

As he made his way to the hall, he stopped. Something out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. The ceiling was cracked and chipped all over, but Hunter’s gaze fell upon something much more interesting. A large hole in the ceiling, large enough to climb through. He marveled at the size of it, and ring of tapering darkness at its edge. As he neared it, he started to see more of the rafters in the attic through this hole. It was a completely void portal to the lair above. A few steps closer. Hunter could have reached up and touched it. A few steps closer. His position on the floor changed his field of view through the hole.

Rafters, cobwebs, insulation, rafters,… A dark silhouette.

Hunter froze. His eyes narrowed in on this shape. It was familiar, the curves. Undeniably alive, but not human. Unmistakably creaturific. Then his eyes met the eyes of this attic dwelling thing. He was frozen. Hunter wanted to run. This moment almost elicited a tear to form in both eyes. He was stiff – rigid with a swath of emotions.

Then it spoke to him.

*****

Hunter was an only child, and in recent years he might as well have been less. His dad slowly distanced himself from the exhaustive parenting of this wild child. And his mom was lushed-up and unaware of much. So that meant that Hunter had to find clever ways of occupying his own time. And he did. The drug rush of any thrill seeker starts off innocent enough. A simple spin-in-place to get those endorphins juicing. Over time it gets hungrier and hungrier. Harmless pranks turn into vandalism. Childhood hijinks turn into crimes. Tomfoolery turns into … man slaughter. At least for Stevie Miller it did, when he went brainless – sending a bullet through his own head – all because Hunter provided a sense of trust. A false manipulation of human connection.

His friends were a revolving door. But there was one constant in the constant churn. His neighbor Hazel Rose Friarberger. He used to make fun of her last name, but his stomach ached from the jabs she dished out.

In high school he found companionship with Shawn Hayes, a fellow reject of the in-crowd. Neither of them were star athletes, artsy enough, or geeky. They just were … there. Steven “Little Stevie” Miller eventually found this slowly growing group as well. Then finally, they found Tommy Muto the one and only kid in the group that didn’t grow up in town. The foursome became a quartet of mayhem, mischief, and misfittery. While in the group of four, it was somewhat harmless. Vandalism here and there, theft from time to time, but never intentions on hurting anyone. But when Hunter was alone, on the prowl in his blue Ford F150, it was a different story. A violent story.

*****

At the start of Senior year, Hunter pulled the plug on the ‘whole school thing’. He made that decision on a crisp, September morning, not long after his Senior year had started. That day, the early fall sun beamed throughout town. That day, his father became a son-beater. Hunter’s old man was most often distant from him, usually pissed at him, frequently disappointed, rarely outraged, but in the past 17 years… not once laid a hand on him. That streak ended when he left the outline of the back of his hand on Hunter’s cheek, lips, nose, and chin. And then again. And once more until Hunter looked like he had been baking in a summer sun all day. Hunter was stronger than his father… physically. He could have snapped his Pop’s wrist if he wanted. But he didn’t.

Later that day, the F150 was out on the hunt. He was looking for something, he didn’t know what though. That’s when he turned onto S. King st. – a short, stubby road that ended with train tracks running across it at a near perfect perpendicular.

He saw a small sedan parked at the end of the street and decided to see who might be around. As he did, he couldn’t help but notice the last house on the right. A small, run down, old house with a gutter that dipped low in front of the garage. Hunter had been in this town his entire life, and he became gitty when seeing this beat-up structure for the first time.

His focus changed. Three of his ex-classmates appeared from beyond the sedan where a short railroad maintenance strip ran along the tracks for about 200 feet. Hunter heard the sound of a can being crushed. The three boys were laughing and emptying the last of their beer cans, squeezing them and twisting their metal shells, then tossing them toward the tracks. They noticed the blue truck and we’re surprised, just as much as Hunter was.

“Fuck’you starin’ at?” One boy yelled. It was Jace Schuler. He was speaking on behalf of his small pack of football jocks.

“Nothin’ much” Hunter’s reply was anti-inflammatory. He had other plans, and starting a pissing match with this trio might have ruined it.

“Give me some drugs.” Jace said sarcastically and with a impression of Cheech, or Chong. His cronies chuckled. They new Hunter took part in the hush-hush world of recreational drug consumption and distribution.

“Naw… I got some booze though. Wanna continue this party?” Hunter suggested. Jace had a puzzled look, he wasn’t expecting Hunter to be this friendly.

“I dunno. Boys, you wanna get smashed with Jabba the Hunt?” Jace said, turning to the two other Varsity-jacket-types.

“I’m out bro.” Spanky Coughlin said.

“Ya, same.” Tony Sprigg added.

“Fine, you assholes are gonna’ miss out.” Jace was annoyed with these two. But Hunter was delighted.

The two others took off in their car, and Hunter presented a bottle of Wild Turkey to Jace. They took turns taking swigs and walking parallel with the tracks. Hunter’s first sip was genuine, and it burned deep in his stomach and throat. It was to calm his nerves and ease his tension. But each sip after was a show. He wanted Jace to think he was keeping up, gulp for gulp, but Hunter needed to keep his focus.

The pair made small talk, and ironically began to bond over this bottle. They were both townies, and grew up in similar circles as kids – town recreational sports, that kind of thing. How easy it is to forget. They came to section of the chain link fence that had a seam, large enough that an average-built person could squeeze through. By this time, Jace was getting a bit incoherent in his speech, slurring his words and rambling about how much he feels bad for past treatment towards Hunter and that he loves his new “Best Friend”. Hunter gestured that they fit through the seam in the fence, and they did. Jace was being clumsy and snagged his jacket causing it to ripped a small piece off. There was a long string hanging off of it that dangled like a spider’s web in the sunlight.

The rocks crunched under their feet as they walked within feet of the steel tracks. Hunter knew that it wouldn’t be long until a train went speeding past. He took the opportunity of Jace being in an inebriated state, where it would be difficult for him to fight back, and swung as hard as he could, hitting Jace in the jaw. Jace fell over and made a “oof” sound. Hunter grabbed him by the back of his jacket and the back of his hair and pulled him closer to the tracks. He delivered a few knees to Jace’s ribs which ensured he would stay down on the ground in a fetal stance. Jace’s head was up against the tracks, but that wasn’t good enough. As Jace moaned in confusion, wondering why his newly made ‘best bro’ was doing this to him, Hunter pulled him a little more so that the back of his neck was on the track.

Hunter looked in the direction that a northbound, guillotine express would be making it’s way. Nothing at first. But then finally, Hunter’s wish was coming true. Hunter looked down at this helpless young man, too weak to defend himself.

“Hu- Hunter what are you doin, man” Jace mumbled.

The train was getting nearer, and once Jace realized his situation he began to flop around in an effort to get out of the way. Hunter kicked him again and put his foot on Jace’s throat, pinning his old T-ball team mate down onto the steel.

In shallow breaths, Jace managed to get out, “Hunter… please.”

The train began to blast it’s whistle. Two Hundred feet. Jace tried to use all of his strength to twist Hunter’s leg off of him, but it was useless. One hundred feet, Hunter could hear the brakes squealing, and the whistle was deafening.

Fifty feet.

Prying and praying.

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Twenty.

Horn blasting and steel blazing.

Ten.

Five…

As the train sped by, Hunter and Jace lay off to the side. Jace had tears coming down his face. Hunter grabbed him by the coat and told him “You’re going to stop being an asshole to me. You got that? Pull some shit again and I’ll fuckin kill you.” Jace nodded his head as he sobbed.

Hunter darted back to his truck and took off. The train had almost come to a full stop and he didn’t want anything to do with that. Jace also disappeared through the woods.

The next time these two would interact with each other was the day when Stevie Miller, Shawn Hayes, and Tommy Muto had gotten into a scuffle with Jace and his lackeys in the school parking lot. When Hunter showed up, Jace immediately remembered that feeling. When his neck was on the cold, dead tracks. He saw the look in Hunter’s eyes and ended the brawl – for he knew what Hunter was capable of, and didn’t want to have his head on the chopping block ever again.

*****

He waited.

Patiently.

A hungry shark waits for a seal to leave the pack.

Each car speeding by – the potential for food. But not for his stomach.

Each car also a disappointment as well. As it passed over the pile of carnage that Hunter left, he started to believe there would be no show. Then the tapping of a brake pedal ignited the air with red lights. Blood in the water. But it is only a faint sniff. Disappointed again.

A small car passed by. Looked like a Prius. It came to a full stop as the driver eyeballed the assortment of nails and screws that Hunter splashed onto the road.

Then, the moment he had been waiting for. Lead-foot-syndrome was common on this strip, and the W-RX was just another example. The driver didn’t have time to stop when he saw the Prius at a dead stop. It swerved and lost control. It splashed in the water, away from the shore and rocks. Hunter grinned ear to ear as it entered the kill zone. The driver tried to correct but panic overcompensated. The sports car left the ground as it passed the stationary Prius. It flipped and rolled across the road and into a ditch on the opposite side.

The windshield glass filled the air – thousands of sparkling diamonds in every direction. Its catalyst was the forehead of the non-seatbelt-wearing driver. It shattered like brittle ash in the wind.

When it was all over, Hunter soaked it all in. Every… last… drop. And when he was finally satiated, he turned over his truck and sped away from the scene. He wasn’t sure if the driver survived, but it didn’t matter to him. The chaos was his doing no matter the ending.

*****

Hunter took the first piece of a paper that he could get his hands on. In black pen he wrote ‘5 S. King st. after scool’. He wasn’t sure why he did this. Maybe we wanted to see one last spectacle. Or maybe he just didn’t want to face it alone.

He knew he could beat Shawn to his locker that morning, and despite being a dropout, navigated his old stomping grounds with ease. He spend the rest of the day driving around town. He drove past the baseball fields were he spent much of his youth. He drove by the beach at the lake in the center of town. It looked different now than it did when he was young. As a kid, the beach felt large, with acres of freedom to leave footprints in the sand. But as a young adult, driving past it, it looked narrow. Then finally as he made his way across town. He neared the farm where Stevie Miller typically could be found. But not anymore. Hunter couldn’t get himself to go past it. Instead he took the long way back toward South King st. It was nearly time for the last bell to ring, he hoped he would be joined by Shawn.

To Hunter’s surprise not only did Shawn show up, but so did Tommy and Hazel. Hunter used the theme of a dare and coerced these other kids into continuing an on-going stupid game. Each of them took a turn entering this house that Hunter had been in before. When it was finally Hunter’s turn, he walked slowly, he knew deep down it was his final twist to a life that was bent and cracked. This was the final blow, and it would all come shattering down. But it had to happen. Most people think of glass as a protective barrier – keeping unwanted things from entering. But in the case of Hunter Twombly, it was the opposite. Bad things needed to get out. It was time for his glass to shatter.

As he walked up and entered the house, Hunter thought about the first time he had been there. That thing, lurking in the darkness of the attic. It spoke to him that day. It’s voice rattling in Hunter’s memory – two simple things…

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“Take… Lives”

“Return”

*****

One boy, two boys
Soon one will be a blue boy
I’ll choose one to be my chew toy
When he’ll scream, I will too – with joy!

I hear them outside, a little chit-chat
I want the one with the most guilt-fat
And the other two will tit-for-tat
A tumor and a baseball bat

I crave the one with the biggest sins
The one with the most sins. Most sins, I win!
The one with the most sins makes me grin
I’ll slurp it all up with a bottle of gin

A stupid game sends them into my domain
One by one, their steps send shivers to my brain
I feel a vibration like blood filled veins
And soon I’ll relieve these hungar pagnes

I eye a fool whose come in first
First to enter into my hearse
The first is too skinny, the first is the worst
I let him go with only a curse

Then another boy comes into my cave
I lick my lips, I hope he behaves
But alas this boy is not what I crave
Not guilty enough and so, I am still depraved

Ah but finally a fly, juicy and plump
I make my move, it is my turn to Hunt
A slink into place and spring at his front
I make sure that this is his final stunt

I wrap him up and stick him to the ceiling
I then begin peeling away his feelings
He sends his God pleads and dealings
It’s time to end this life of lives stealing

First I muffle his screams
Turn his insides to cream
Cut open a seam
And drink from the stream

One bite, two bites
I’ll feast on this beast into the night
At least a tease didn’t put up a fight
Then I’ll finally cease when my belly is tight

I have heard before that you are what you eat
Unfortunately for me this is guilty meat
I quench my thirst but I cannot beat
A forever feeling of inevitable defeat

I was once my father’s golden child
Before we landed in a frozen wild
Broken promises of Earth’s beguile
Beauty and freedom and forever smiles

It turns out that it was all a lie
We followed a siren’s cry
And now on this rock, left to die
I gave up my will to try

I could do no wrong, as his first born
But now deep in his side, a scorning thorn
A twisting storm without being forewarned
His plans have been devastated, ripped and torn

I am now but a hideous, wretched, old fiend
Lurking in the shadows, between cold beams
Forever cursed by wenches’ bold means
To starve and rot and sleep on sold dreams

Its my fault, mine eye caught with the shine
I truly thought the whole lot would be fine
Power’s glimmer, fraught with false devine
I was tricked and bought into this crime

And now here I am, full from the sauce
I can ease my pains, but at what cost
Another poor human soul is lost
I wish that our two paths never crossed

But alas I will remain here and wait
The hunger will return, never a clean slate
Here I am in a lousy, old crate
Here I am, and forever my fate

Credit: Dranek

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