Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Boy Named Nod: Part 3 of Milk Carton

The Face on the Carton

Even as the Wrecking Crew lined up in front of me to face the onrushing tide of imps, I was looking at the three bullet holes I had made. They were in the chest of a lifeless imp whose tongue was lolling out. He was the first dead thing I had ever made. It felt different when it was you that did it, rather than infecting someone’s mind and letting a dream kill them.

It wasn’t an entirely pleasant feeling. To tell the truth, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant either. It just was. I had killed something and it was lying on the floor and would not be getting back up again.

I had seen too many corpses to get riled up about another one lying at my feet. Particularly seeing as it wanted to kill me.

Oh, time to look alive. They’re stampeding through the door. How about that? They’re all the same sea green color with nasty teeth. I wonder if the holes will look the same in their chests. Chests with hearts and lungs. Important organs whose purpose is to be pierced by bullets so that their owners die.

Moving on. Yes, moving. Pulling in fact. On a trigger. The trigger causes the action on my revolver to strike the bullet. The powder ignites and flings the lump of metal. The metal does a swan dive into the eye of one of the lagoony colored imps and digs until it reaches its brain.

I bet that really hurts. No. I know it hurts. My body remembers Trevor being shot. It DID definitely hurt.

The boy continues to scream. I wonder if he’s trying to heal the dead too. I pull the trigger again and give him something else to do.

The Wrecking Crew isn’t having fun either. They’re killing cousins and lots of them. For the first time ever, James is already out of knives. The heap of pincushions in front of me tells me where they went. He’s plucking the knives from the dead and throwing them as more and more imps clear the mound of dead in front of him.

They have to. If they don’t keep moving, Manfred and Whitfields’ presents will find them. The two are lobbing little packages the size of kiwi fruit into the room beyond. I keep hearing spray hitting the walls just like someone’s painting.

I wonder what color they chose for the kitchen.

Charles is nowhere to be seen. I’m too busy throwing lumps of lead at internal organs to really see where he is but I have a feeling. My feeling becomes a certainly when the horde of imps all start wailing at once. What was a packed house is starting to slow. The eyes that my metal is doing somersaults into has something new in it.

What was that thing again? It’s sitting in the back of my brain wanting to talk but my finger on the trigger doesn’t care enough to stop and listen.

It’s as I’m reloading that I remember that look.

It’s called fear.

That’s right, fear. I’ve seen it a lot. I saw it on Jefferson Blank, I mean, Martin Windham’s face. I saw it on my brother’s face. I saw it on my father’s face. I knew what it felt like to wear it in my own eyes. This time though, this time, it didn’t bother me. Why was that?

These things weren’t things. They had names. Like James or Charles, like Manfred or Whitfield. I never liked killing. It’s one of the reasons I always missed. I couldn’t bear to shoot straight. Why now?

As I kept shooting and reloading and shooting and reloading, I heard the question and the answer repeated. Not to save your life. Click. Blam. Not to save your friends. Click. Blam. To rewrite history. To stop a son from being motherless because of a lunatic father. That’s why.

The tide turned into a trickle turned into a rout as the nasty, rot-toothed imps turned and fled backwards. They were met by a living flamethrower who was shouting at them.

“No, you beasties. You not play fair. You not ask permission. You burn!”

They didn’t ask permission to burn? That was okay. We’d burn them anyway. I reached into my coat pocket and realized I was out of bullets. That was new.

One of the blue-green imps leapt at me and I cracked it across the face with the butt of my pistol. It hit the ground, snarling and I stepped on its throat. As I ground my heel I felt its windpipe collapse. That’s why it was making a gurgling noise now. That’s why it wasn’t moving now.


James blinked at me for a moment before sliding in front of me; Manfred and Whitfield moving in front of him.

“Kill them all boys. Get me to that boy.”

Manfred and Whitfield moved double time; pegging the nasties with explosives and watching them explode into bits. James stayed in front of me, stabbing things that got too close.

Oh look, they’re all dead. La la la. Every one.

“Boss, boss! Come here!”

I pushed James aside at the sound of Charles’ voice and staggered into the room at the other side of what may have been a living room before it was painted with guts. There was a small boy, smaller even than me, with pitch black hair and shocking blue eyes strapped to a table. The small boy was screaming as more imps tried to climb out his mouth and his ears, growing exponentially as they hit fresh air.

“I keep killing them but they won’t stop!”

I looked into the boy’s eyes as the Wrecking Crew caught and crushed each new imp between their fingers. There was no fear in Mob’s eyes. There was only pain.

“Stop them.”

The boy whimpered as the imps kept forcing their way out his throat. I put my hands on either side of his face.

“Stop them or I will keep killing them. They will keep killing you in order to escape. If you can’t stop them, I will kill you and end it for you. Do you understand?”

The Wrecking Crew recoiled in horror as I loomed over Mob. Tears streamed down the boy’s face as the little bastards kept coming.

“Do it or die.”

The boy whimpered again, his jaw slamming shut, the imps coming out his ears, screeching in pain. Twice his jaw started to move and I started to open my mouth. Twice he slammed it back shut and shook his head. The imps in his ears were sucked back within, dragging their claws harmlessly over his lobes.

In another minute, there were no imps. Just a little black-haired boy crying on a table.

“Good. Have they stopped?”


“Did you want them to stop?”



“They hurt too much.”

“When they died or when they came out?”


“Do you want to kill me?”

He shook his head violently. No.

“James, let him up. Let him go see his mother before his father gets here.”

“Daddy’s coming? Oh no. He’ll be angry. I was supposed to kill Mom. I was supposed to kill her before he got back with Pepper.”

“Is Pepper your sister’s name?”


“Do you want to kill your mother?”


“Then follow these guys out. We’ll talk after you and your mother are safe.”

The boy nodded and staggered to the door.


He stopped and turned, wincing a little.

“What’s your name?”


“Keep your Mom safe for me, alright?”

He nodded and disappeared through the doorway. I rubbed my eyes and sat on the table he’d be strapped to.


It was Charles.


“They was nasty nasties but he had to let them out first. Once they got out, they went out whenever they wanted. They took as much as they wanted.”

“I know.”



“He let them. So he could make his daddy happy.”

I blinked.

“Watch him. If he does anything that looks like he’ll let them back out, kill him.”


“Kill. He’s not the boy I thought he was.”

“Neither are you.”

“I know. I’ll have a good cry about that later.”

Charles nodded and headed out. I sat and looked at the bloody imp corpses around me. It seemed Michael Tarcynski was just a figment as well. I was Nod, with all that came with it.

Sorry Mom.

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