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“.. the fuck do you want, you rancid piece of shit?” the small, nasty looking girl asked.
Black and pink spiky hair, white kabuki-style make-up with stylised eye-liner and scarlet lipstick. The studded leather jacket and long black fingernails, the boots that until recently would only have been seen on the cover of a Kiss album; none of these were particularly welcoming to ‘normal’ members of society. All badges of the self-imposed outsider. And her boyfriend didn’t look any less nasty.
But it wasn’t the clothes, nor the make-up that gave the air of nastiness – it was the eyes and the exposed canines.
“Fucking scum piece of shit!” the boyfriend snarled. “Phffwaa!” he exclaimed in disgust, fanning exaggeratedly at his nose. “You fuckin’stink man!”
The stoop-backed old wino turned his head and looked sideways at the girl through one brown eye. His head then swivelled to look up at her boyfriend. The dirty old Mack and scabby old woolly hat leant him an air of desperation. The brown paper bagged bottle clenched to his chest told its own story, which was only enhanced by the fact that he was raking through the litter bin with the other. His only crime worthy of the girl's abuse was to be standing where she had wanted to walk. And possibly the fact that he did, indeed, ‘fuckin stink’.
“My bin, go git yer own!” he spat, turning his back on the girl to protect his apparently rich pickings. Something in a McDonald's wrapper came out and was swiftly hidden away in his pocket, a furtive look around him to make sure no-one was likely to steal it from him.
The two black-clad outsiders had turned their back on the wino with barely suppressed disgust, and were joining the end of the long, black leathered queue when he stopped as if overcome with a brilliant idea. He spun quickly, hand proffering the McDonald's wrapper.
“For a fuck,” he offered to the girl in barter. People who counted on the lottery to pay for their kid's education would most likely have more luck. But perhaps the level of hope was about the same, or perhaps the level of desperation. God knows, but someone’s got to win it.
Girl and Boyfriend stopped in their tracks, mid-sentence. Jaws frozen, eyes blinking in astonishment. They were aware that the other nearby people in the queue they were joining had also heard, and were turning to see what was happening.
They turned briefly to look at each other. “Leave this to me – keep my place in the queue, I’ll only be gone for fifteen minutes,” said the boyfriend, with barely concealed hatred. The girl merely nodded and went to join the queue. She was content that the matter would be dealt with. It always had been in the past.
She shrugged, arms wide, to show the queue that there was nothing of any consequence happening.
Boyfriend turned to face the wino, who was still holding out the wrapper, a look of almost puppy dog bliss on his face. He glanced up and down the street to get his bearings. Times Square and Broadway, swarming with fucking tourists. Swarming with fucking police. He had to be careful.
“That must be the nicest thing that a pretty girl has said to you in, what? Forty years? No wonder you think you might get lucky!” he said out loud for all of his peers to hear. That got the laughs that he had hoped for, and seemed to disarm the situation, from his point of view.
He took a step forward and spoke softly so that only the wino could hear. “You want fucked? Follow me. I’ll arrange for you to get fucked, believe me. But don’t get too close. I don’t want you to spoil my image.” The puppy dog nodded.
Boyfriend moved quickly right, down the length of the queue outside the MTV studios. They had been promised a free gig to remember - My Chemical Romance, Funeral For A Friend and Fall Out Boy. All courtesy of the granddaddy of all music stations.
In the queue, he counted thirteen bottle blonds with short punky hair. It never ceased to amaze him how many people thought that they looked like Spike from Buffy. All it took was a long black jacket, a gaunt, bored expression and a bottle of peroxide. Sad cunts.
He stopped briefly and glanced to his left. That would do nicely. He crossed at 44th, using the reflections in the windows of ToysRUs to confirm that the hobo was still following him, but not too obviously.
East along 44th he went, past a sign offering the services of a psychic. She sat on a small stool just inside the doorway. He wondered if she knew what was about to happen mere yards from her front door. He grinned to himself. Fucking scam artist – who really believed in that supernatural bullshit? After all, it’s just a chance to get your ego stroked. There was a detour off of the sidewalk onto the road around a building that the construction crews were working in. Boyfriend stopped at the far end of the detour, outside the St. Andrews bar. It had only a few patrons back at the bar at the moment. Hmmm, he might stop off for a quick scotch on the way back.
Far enough from the bustle of Times Square now, he hoped that the intermittent road work from further along 44th might mask the noise as he kicked in the door to the construction site.
Good. No one seemed to be paying him any heed. He beckoned the wino on.
“Quick – in here,” he indicated. The gullible hopeful look on the winos face brought an evil smirk to Boyfriends face. His brain was obviously so addled from the alcohol and God knows what else, and he probably hadn’t been laid for decades! Boyfriend couldn’t think of a previous victim that had been so easy! He held the door open as the wino entered, and followed quickly, closing the door behind him.
Dusk was falling quickly, and the building site was becoming darker by the second, barely scratched by the harsh neon light from back along at Times Square. Boyfriend slipped the four attached rings of metal from his pocket and slid them onto the fingers of his right hand. He then put his fist inside a plastic bag. It wouldn’t do, going back to the line with blood all over his hand – he didn’t want to attract any more attention.
Wino turned to face him, bent backed and looking suddenly very scared. Like a rabbit caught in headlights, trying to raise his arms fast enough to ward off what was coming.
Rightly so, thought Boyfriend as he swung.
His right, knuckle-dustered fist contained all of the potential of his rage and pent-up hatred, disgust and loathing, self-pity, macho bullshit, and raw sexual aggression as it connected.
Flesh ripped and bone splintered as the knuckleduster smashed through the wino's cheek and teeth. Blood sprayed in a dark arc through the dusky light, occasionally glinting scarlet in tight beams of light. The winos head span round with the force and his body followed.
For Boyfriend, time slowed, the adrenalin coursing through his body, pulse shouting in his ear. Unconsciously he was nursing a semi. He moved after Wino as he staggered back over the rubble-strewn site into the darkness. Boyfriend caught Winos heel with a kick, and Wino fell, flat out, whimpering until his head connected with a half brick with a ‘crack!’.
Boyfriend thought for a brief second that he had broken Winos' neck, but was pleased to hear a whine emitted through his remaining teeth.
“I thought you’d spoiled my fun there, you fuckin’ vermin!”
Boyfriend kicked out at Wino, but more to cause him to turn over, rather than to do harm. When he lay face up, Boyfriend began to pound into his face again. More blood splashed, slapping against the plastic bag. The knuckle duster had ripped the plastic, but not enough to allow a great deal of blood into the bag.
Wino curled up into the fetal position, but Boyfriend kept pounding on his head and body, rhythmically along to his words.
“You’re .. not .. fucking .. fit .. to .. lick .. the .. soles .. of .. her .. boots .. you .. fucking .. piece .. of .. shit .. scum!”
And still, the beating persisted, pulverising Winos body as if it were a tough steak.
Eventually, Boyfriend stood back, breathing with the exertion.
“Well,” he said. “That’s you fucked!”
He laughed at his own joke, and turned away. He took off the plastic bag from his fist, placed his knuckle duster in his pocket and took out his black Zippo lighter. He shook the plastic bag to get rid of as much blood as possible, careful not to splash himself in incriminating evidence.
He snapped open his Zippo and brought the flame to the plastic bag, which charred, smoked and melted in on itself.
A smug grin grew on his lips as he destroyed the evidence.
Boyfriend stopped, not entirely certain that he had heard what he thought he had. His head cocked and his eyes screwed up slightly.
“Ahem,” he heard again, this time slightly louder. Not a throat being cleared, but a word spoken with an equal measure of menace and mischief. Boyfriend's scrotum shrivelled, and his semi shrank away in an attempt to make itself scarce. Fear rose like bile in his throat as he spanned quickly to see who was behind him.
In the darkness where Boyfriend had left the wino's body, he could make out only a tall slim silhouette. The fear did not subside, indeed he felt his skin crawl. The silhouette stepped forward slowly and precisely. One step, two. His face entered an area of light, almost as if it had been planned.
Boyfriend looked up at a face that he knew. Jet black hair, long, white face, one dark pupil and one pale pupil. “Fuck me, it’s Marilyn Manson,” he said with a measure of relief. “What the fuck are you doing here, man, you scared the piss out of me. It’s not what it looks like, you know...” Boyfriend mentioned, motioning to where the wino lay. Boyfriend did a double take. Where the wino should have lain. There was no sign of the crumpled body, no blood stained hump of a black silhouette against a blacker background. “What happened to...”
“You are most astute, though perhaps not astute enough. All is, indeed, not as it would appear,” the tall slim man said, in a soft, hypnotic voice which commanded attention. It reminded Boyfriend of James Mason in Salem's Lot, slow and deliberate. “I am not the man of whom you make mention, although I do know of him. Have you never wondered where he gets his inspiration?” he asked, as if the answer should be more than obvious. “And as to your ‘friend’, he stands now before you in his truest form.”
Boyfriend had raised his head to stare at the face in front of him again. Those eyes. There was something about them – a mixture between evil and dead, rampant and decayed. He felt a coldness seep through his bones as fear permeated every pore. He could focus only on those eyes, as if the surrounding area had sank into an impenetrable blackness. He could hear only Thin Mans voice against the quickening, heightening bass beat of his own heart. The noises from Times Square and 44th Street had stopped from what he could sense, almost as if they were holding their breath waiting to see what would happen next.
Time to make a decision – fight or flight. He had never run away from anything in his life, not since he’d killed his father to stop the beatings. So fight it w……
In the blink of an eye, before the thought had even formed properly, seemingly without moving the tall thin man was within an arms length. Boyfriend could see now that he was clothed from head to toe in black, but not the shiny leather black of himself and his peers. No, this black gave off a feeling of being both alive and dead at the same time. Possibly alive with death.
Slightly taken aback by the instant movement of Thin Man, Boyfriend did not have time to react to the sudden pincer like grip to his throat. As his hands came up to try to move Thin Mans arm he felt and heard a crunch in his neck. Blood flowed down his throat and into his lungs from his ruptured larynx and as Thin Man took a step back Boyfriend fell to his knees. He coughed and hacked and vomited blood onto the ground at Thin Mans feet.
“Don’t worry, your injury won’t kill you – you’re of no use to me dead. Your larynx has been broken so that you can’t scream for help as I take you over. I believe that the process is most painful to the new host. In fact, I have been known to just let them scream on occasion. Most gratifying it is too. Don’t worry; I’ll be able to mend it once I am in control.”
Boyfriend felt himself being lifted up from the ground, though Thin Man had not moved. As if lifted by the air itself, he found himself cruciform, hanging in the air at eye level with his tormentor. Unwilling tears ran silently down his face, joining the blood from his mouth. Though he tried to fight with every sinew in his body he was unable to make any conscious movement.
“I expect you wish to know what my plans are? Normally I wouldn’t stop to spend the time explaining, but I must admit to having taken a bit of a dislike to you. So seeing you helpless and in distress gives me …” Thin Man paused, as if to savour the taste of the next word. “..pleasure. My plan is simple, I’m going to discard your soul to the pits of hellfire that it deserves – believe me, I’m an expert in determining such things. There it will reside for eternity. I have yet to decide exactly which torments you will suffer, but they will be many and varied.
“Then, after taking over the husk of your body that remains, I will fuck your girlfriend. Many and varied ways once more, and not necessarily how she likes it. Then I will kill her – I may even cast her soul after yours so that you can suffer together. What delicious fun that could be.
“Friends, acquaintances, family… who knows?”
The boyfriend was sweating an evil, chilling sweat from every pore of his body. His skin was showing extreme pallor, the colour had drained from the areas not already hidden by the white makeup he wore. His eyes bulged as he strained to escape.
“Enough, “ thin Man proclaimed. “It is time to face your destiny,” He stepped slowly forward, arms stretched out to mimic Boyfriends private crucifixion. The second that it took for Thin Man to merge with Boyfriend felt like half a lifetime to what was left of Boyfriend.
Boyfriend dropped to the ground and stood for a second, eyes dead, broken throat and bloody face, covered in dust from the construction site. Of Thin Man there was no sign, unless it was in the transient death visible in Boyfriends eyes.
He appeared to concentrate for only the briefest second before the blood, sweat, and dust disappeared, and the throat and eyes returned to how they had been prior to meeting Wino.
He crossed to the broken door and exited the site. He didn’t look back as the door mended itself. No one would be able to tell that anyone had been here tonight. Even if he was now seen, there was no evidence to support any claims against him.
He walked back along 44th, past the seated psychic. For the briefest instant, no longer than a tenth of a second, he allowed her to see his true self.
One… two… three… SCREAM!
Ah, there it was. Perfect.
By now he was in the throng of Time Square, disappearing amongst the tourists.
“Psychic my arse!” he said to himself, talking as Boyfriend would.
He snorted briefly to himself as he headed towards the queue where Boyfriends girlfriend waited. Towards the long black line of leather, inward emotion and self-harming.
“Emos,” he passed judgment under his breath. “Fucking pussies!”