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a love story… (ten)

    “Seriously, what are we doing?”

    It was the third time Isabelle asked me that.

    “I’m going to watch this guy kill that woman and then I’m going to kill both of them.”

    Isabelle let out a forced laugh as if she were laughing at a very bad joke.  I only wished it was a joke.

    “I’m serious.  Stay close.”

    The woman finally sealed her fate when she turned right… down the alley, behind all the stores that the Chinese owned.  Everyone in town called it China Plaza because it had a Chinese restaurant, a nail salon, a cigarette shop, and a pet store.  All run by the same Chinese family. 

    Out of breath the woman stopped and dropped her purse.

    “Take it!” she screamed.

    The undead walked up to her and grabbed her throat.

    “Do something!” Isabelle yelled at me.

    “I can’t,” I said, “it’s what happens.”

    “Fuck you then,” she said and started to walk away.

    I grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

    “That person isn’t a person.  He’s a creature.  And if you go close enough, he’s going to bite you and change you into the undead.  Yes, that’s right.  The undead.  It’s real.  Don’t ask me how or why because I don’t know.  What I do know is that my job is to fucking kill those creatures.”

    “But the woman….”

    Isabelle cared so much about the stranger.  It was odd coming from a girl who had just shoplifted. 

    “Can’t you do anything?” she asked.

    Could I?  Sure.  What could I do?  I don’t know… I never thought that way.  I figured let him change her and then kill them both.  Why not?  I’d done it before. 

    “She can’t know this stuff,” I said.  I felt like I was whining… fuck it, I probably was.  “You shouldn’t even know this stuff…”

    Isabelle watched as the undead tightened its grip on the woman’s neck.  She thrashed and screamed.  She pointed to us.  The undead looked at me, then Isabelle.  Then the fucking thing smiled and let the woman go.  The creature pointed at Isabelle and licked its lips.  I put my arm out and pushed her behind me.  She pinched my ass. 

    The undead grunted.  I knew it was bracing for an attack.

    The woman stood against the brick wall and watched in what could only be shock.  The undead started to charge towards me.  I knew it wanted Isabelle.  I instinctively looked down hoping for my guitar case, but fuck, it wasn’t there.  It was back in the garage.  That was the one and only time I forgot my guitar case. 

    “Give me the CD,” I said to Isabelle.

    “The what?”

    “The fucking CD.  The one you stole.  Get me the fucking CD or we’re dead.”

    The undead moved towards me.  I could hear Isabelle wrestling with the plastic on the CD.

    “Hurry up,” I said.

    “Shut the fuck up, I’m trying,” Isabelle yelled.

    The undead was too close for comfort.  I did the only thing I could think of… the cheapest move possible… I kicked the thing in its nuts.  I swore against that move my entire life, but I wasn’t going to die on account of my own personal beliefs… fuck that.  The undead stopped and looked down for a second.  I don’t think it felt any pain – maybe it was confused.  Whatever it was, it was the one second I needed.  Isabelle handed me the CD and I cracked it in half.  I heard her gasp – I know, another ruined Type O Negative CD.  I jammed the broken CD into the undead’s throat.  I wasted no time and took the second half and stabbed it in another part of its throat.  The creature started to thrash and back up.  I looked to my left and saw the back door of the Chinese restaurant was propped open.  Without notice, I opened the door and ran inside.  I heard both Isabelle and the woman start to scream.  They must have thought I was leaving.  I wasn’t.  I ran into the kitchen and found the biggest knife I could.  Some Chinese man yelled at me but I couldn’t understand him.  Part of me wanted to turn around and yell, “I return this in ten min-ne”… but I didn’t have time to do so.

    I ran out the back door and charged at the undead.  One stab to the chest, three more to the throat, and it was on the ground.  Then I gave it four kicks to the head and the creature was dead. 

    “What the fuck?” the woman yelled with her back still against the wall.

    “He didn’t pay his bill,” I said holding up the knife.  I smiled.  The woman didn’t.  I know, it was a shitty joke.

    “Why the fuck are you still standing here?” Isabelle yelled at the woman.  “He’s a killer!  We’ve been chasing him for months.  Took out four women two counties over.”

    “Who the fuck are you?” the woman cried out.

    “Who the fuck are you?” Isabelle screamed.  She reached into her purse and pulled out a badge, yes, a badge.  “We’re undercover.  You want to come in for questioning?”

    The woman shook her head.

    “Then get the fuck out of here!  And if you say a word to anyone, I’ll hunt you down and take you in!”

    It shouldn’t have worked, but it did.  The woman ran… ran like hell…

    “That was amazing,” I said.  “You didn’t steal that badge from a cop, did you?”

    “Nope,” Isabelle said in such a calm voice… I couldn’t believe she wasn’t bothered by the rotting undead at our feet.  “So, what’s this about?”

    “Long story,” I said.

    Isabelle took my hand… “I’ve got time.  You owe me a date.  And a new CD.”

    (And thus began a fucking love story…)



Below is a bit of poetry I wrote after I met Isabelle… I hate finding this shit laying around but I figure I’d share it to help you understand the story once it’s told…

With death in my hands –
I fall into you.
I fall into the nothing that has –
become everything.
There’s a timeless moment –
it burns.
It burns to the bury the existence –
of my soul.

I remember their callous looks…
I remember their degrating stares…
I remember their everything they felt I shouldn’t be…
They screamed with their eyes…
They screamed…

Then I had you.
I became deaf to the evil of life –
I became blind to the ugly of reality –
I became stone. 



she… (eight)

I met Isabelle at a music store.  It was a perfect, fall in love at first sight thing.  I was storming through some CD’s like a madman looking for a Type O Negative CD.  More specifically, I was looking for Bloody Kisses.  The night before, I put the CD on Jack’s amp and he sat on the case and cracked the CD and all.  I wanted to cry… how was I going to make it through the night without being able to hear the deep bellows of “Corpus Christi” crawling in my ears? 

        Anyways, there was one copy of Bloody Kisses left and as I reached for it, so did Isabelle. 

        Her soft hand touched mine and I felt my heart flutter… and my pants.  (Give me a break, I was nineteen then!)  She had long black hair that hide some of her face.  I stood in awe.  But what did it for me was that she didn’t pull her hand back from the CD.  She held tight as did I.  She turned her head and smiled at me as if to say, ‘I’m the girl so let it the fuck go’.  Normally, I would have just let it go.  Yes, the big bad band guy like me is nothing more than a big pushover… or at least when it comes to most situations.  Honestly, if she had taken the last copy of the CD I would have just went to the other music store, the one in the mall.  See?  No big deal.

        I don’t know how or why I did it, but I asked her her name.  I never did things like that.

        “Why do you want to know my name?” she asked.  She lifted the CD and I watched as she tucked it gently into her bag.

        “I don’t know,” I replied like a dork.

        My eyes went to her bag and then back to her eyes.

        “What?  You going to tell on me?” she asked.

        “Not unless you go out with me,” I shot back without thinking about it.

        “Go where?” she asked stepping closer to me.  I could feel my entire body heating up.  My mind raced and I couldn’t find anymore words… except: 

        “I’m in a band.”

        “What does that have to do with going out?”

        “I sing.  Play guitar.  Write music.  My drummer is really tall.  But we call him Tiny.  It’s pretty funny.”

        I felt like two people for a second – one word dumping all over this beautiful girl and another watching as I word dumped all over the beautiful girl.

        “Okay, you can totally shut up now,” she finally said.

        I felt my face turn red.  I fucking hate that about myself… I can’t control it… if something happens that is out of the norm, I turn red.

        “You can still take me out,” she said stepping closer.

        Something caught my eye.  I watched as a woman was walking down the sidewalk holding her purse tight to her side.  It didn’t take me long to realize that one of the undead was chasing the woman.  Now this puts me in a tough place because I couldn’t just start yelling because honestly who would believe me?  I was just some kid in baggy jeans with a faded Metallica t-shirt… not to mention the earrings.  Oh dear, the earrings.  Maybe it’s generational or something but when people look at me, the go for the earrings first then to the hole in my jeans.  I hate being judged.  But anyways… the story at hand here…            I had to play it cool with Isabelle as I watched the undead stumbling after this woman.  Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, why didn’t anyone else see it or care?  Ah, this is where the undead get tricky.  However they are dressed when they turn is how they remain.  This undead was in suit and tie.  Holding a briefcase.  In shoes that probably cost more than my first Gibson I bought at the guitar shop on Linden Ave.  So to someone looking, it was a woman hurrying down the street and a few feet behind was a man in nice clothes.  To the “normal” eye it didn’t seem strange.  But for me, I could tell the signs… I don’t know those signs were, but I just had the feeling.

            “You want to go out but now you’re ignoring me?” Isabelle asked.

            “I’m not… ignoring… you,” I said walking by her.

            “Asshole,” she shouted.

            I turned and smiled.  I point to her bag and then to the man behind the counter.  Her faced turn white.  I did what I thought was the coolest thing in the world… I blew her a kiss.  I was officially in control of the new relationship we had.  But first, I had business to take care of…

            So I charged out of the store. 

            I crossed the street and started to follow the undead and the woman.  It pissed me off and boggled my mind as to why the undead were so hellbent on taking over Earth but yet they wouldn’t attack in broad daylight.  There I was, making a move on a girl who actually talked to me.  And there was one of the undead, trailing behind this poor woman.  I figured the undead wouldn’t want to be seen eating people and changing them into the undead in public… they’d get killed quick.  I know it because one time there was a drunk man standing in the middle of the road throwing the finger.  He had a swaying stance as he stood on the yellow line in the road.  Somebody mentioned he was a zombie and I swear to you that a hoard of people attacked the man.  Beat him to the ground with their fists, with their belts… one man even used a tire iron.  When all was said, the drunk man lay in the middle of the road in a heap of bloody flesh.  The police didn’t know who to arrest and at that point, I had band practice so I left.  People nowadays are so fucking hostile.  So quick to fight and kill…

        The woman turned right when I would have turned left.  She kept going straight when I would have turned right.  Then again, I couldn’t be that mad – she didn’t know who I was and that I was going to try and help.  But in reality, as sad as it was, she was already dead.  If I killed the undead, she’d have questions.  Then what?  I can’t kill a human, never.  My only choice was to let the undead change her and kill them both.

        “Hey, what the fuck are you doing?”

        I was still walking and was so focused on that woman’s movements, I didn’t even notice that Isabelle had caught up to me.

        “Hey,” I said.  Then I realized…. “Wait, you can’t be here.”

        “Fuck you, I can’t.  What the fuck is this?  Some kind of drug deal?”

        I looked at her burning hazel eyes and felt my heart flutter… I hate saying that.  But it was true.  I knew that I was in love with her.  And if she was going to love me and we were going to be in love…. well… she’d have to know everything…

        “No drug deal,” I said, “but that would be more believeable.  Stay right next to me or else you’re going to fucking die.”

        Isabelle moved closer to me and took my hand.

        “That was kind of hot,” she whispered into my ear.


flip burgers? pay taxes? (seven)

The undead was inches from my face.  That’s when I thought about dying.  In that second, every unused riff and lyrics came to me at once.  I realized that if I died right there, so would all the music I still had to share with the world.  It was terrifying.  It was the first time in a long time that I felt like I could break down and cry.  There was no way Tiny, Jack, or Val would be able to go on with Living Lost… no way.  Right?  Then it occured to me maybe they could go on without me.  Could I be replaced?  Would it be that easy?  I can be like a leaf just blowing away in the wind… there one second, gone the next.  Now that’s dark thinking. 

        Then the real bad thought came to me… what would happen with the undead and the demons if I died?  Would they take over the world?  Or would they go away?  Were they just after me? 
        It was too much thinking for me at once.  There were a thousand voices, songs, lyrics, guitar licks, and drum beats going at once…. I closed my eyes and screamed.  I screamed a bad word.  For about a minute straight.  When I opened my eyes, the undead was gone.  The blinking light was gone.  Everything was gone.  I was all alone in the alley way.  It was just me, my guitar case, my notebook with lyrics, and my knives. 
        “Hey!” a voice yelled from behind me.
        I turned and there was a homeless man walking towards me.
        “What the fuck you doing?  This is my alley…”
        “Sorry,” I said to the man.  “I was just walking through.  From band practice.”
        “Band?  What band?”
        “Living Lost.”
        “What the fuck is that?  Band.  I played in a band.  Played the trumpet.  Then I got into a fight over a bitch and the fuckhead smashed my fingers one by one with a hammer.  Never played trumpet again.”
        “So that’s it?  You quit on life?”
        The homeless man walked past me.  He stunk like nothing I’ve ever smelled before.  He held up his hand.  All his fingers were crooked.  They were stumps, bones were out of place, even a nail was missing.
        “You do what you love,” the man said to me, “and when it’s gone, there’s nothing else.  Fuck that work shit.  What you gonna tell me?  Go flip burgers?  Why?  So I can pay taxes, go grocery shopping weekly, watch the news, become convinced I need a car and house to be happy?  Fuck you.”
        “Woah,” I said, “I never said that.”
        “Yea, well, get the fuck out of here.  And I meant it, fuck you.”
        I felt bad for the homeless man but I hurried and walked away.  I hoped that the undead or the demon didn’t return and take care of him.  That would be one smelly thing to kill.
        By the time I got home and settled, I was too tired to do anything.  I placed my guitarcase next to my bed and crashed, still wearing the same clothes.  I always stayed prepared.  I still had no idea how the undead worked nor the demons.  All I did know was that in the past week, the numbers kept growing… and my bandmates kept asking questions about what I did at night.      

the clean up (six)

So now comes the million-dollar question. . . what happens when the undead or a demon die? Yes, I know that may seem confusing – the undead becoming dead again. In reality, they are already dead so they technically don’t die again, but for the purpose of writing this story, let’s assume they are “dead” again. The undead, well, they just lie there. Right where they died. The demons however are a little more interesting because they don’t die very easily. They don’t like to die so they disappear. And even when they are dead they disappear which bears the idea of how do I know when a demon is actually dead? I know, so much shit to think about at once. Before I walked through the field that one day, I would finish band practice and go home and play guitar. I’d jot lyrics, try to fix Tiny’s drum beats and spruce up Jack’s bass lines. I’m not into super traditional bass lines… I like different. For example, in the song “Madness Heart”, instead of using a bass line, Jack placed church bells on the keyboard. But not any church bells but the actual notes of song so it sounds perfect. Standing there looking at the demon cut in half, I should have took more knives and chopped it up good. I still hadn’t figured out the true secret of killing a demon. There was a chance that if I did cut it up into pieces, those pieces would disappear and then become the demon again. Or maybe worse – each piece would grow into a demon. Now that’s a scary thought. The demon kept talking and howling. Its language changed however… something like speaking tongues. I didn’t understand a word except that out of nowhere there was a red light glowing. I couldn’t find the source of the light but it was intense. Just a giant glowing red light. It started to get brighter and hotter. I looked over at my guitar case and knew knives wouldn’t help if I was going to be melted to death. I just hoped I died before my guitar melted… that would be such a horrible sight to see. After a minute or so, the demon disappeared. I was somewhat relieved because that I meant I could go home. However, the red light didn’t go away. I guess I still had some work to do. I turned around and saw the undead moving. To me it was impossible. The creature had been hollowed out by the demon and used a puppet. Unless the demon was back. But that wasn’t likely – once they get hurt, they tend to stay away for a while. The movements of the undead were in sync with the blinking light. It was like watching something move against a strobe light. Real trippy. It hurt my eyes and head. I tried to get a knife but I couldn’t reach my guitar case. Each time I went for it, the blinking red light kept an illusion that the case was further away. One time I even stumbled because the light had thrown off my balance. But not the undead. That thing was moving with ease in the light. I didn’t think I was going to die right then and there because what twenty year thinks about death? I knew I wasn’t invincible but I wasn’t even old enough to legally drink, so why waste the life? Maybe I should have been recalling favorite memories or maybe I should have scribbled some last lyrics or music on paper because the undead charged at me. It charged with speed and force and each time the red light blinked, the undead was closer and closer.


for the music (five)

“Does death welcome you?”
The demon’s voice growl like the heavy distortion on Val’s guitar when he doesn’t listen to me and turns the gain up too much. Demons always tried to talk by using rhetorical questions that had more meaning than value.
“Not tonight,” I said. “My fingers are sore. I’m working on a solo that has me doing a six fret stretch. I know, you’re thinking ‘why not just tap?’ But I can’t. I need to pick the string to give it the real sound I want it to have.”
The demon came charging at me. I’m talking full speed ahead. I have officially pissed it off. By showing no fear and actually mocking it by caring more about music than life or death, the demon was offended.
When the demon was a few feet away, I dropped down and grabbed a knife from the guitar case. I stood up and swung the knife. Lucky for me that the demon was close enough that I was able to cut it. See, these little guys are so tricky that from maybe a foot away or closer, they become real objects. Anything further, they are like a ghost. Actually, not even that. You can hit them from far away but they don’t get hurt nor die. But when they are close, they turn real. . .
The demon yelped in pain like a dog if you stepped on its tail. It hadn’t expected my quick move. Hell, I hadn’t expected my quick move. Things like that seemed to just happen for me. There was no training for what I had to do and there really wasn’t practice. It wasn’t like I could just go around throwing knives at people to perfect my aim. If that were so, then I’d be humming songs behind prison bars while the undead took over the world person by damn person.
My quick move had done more that I thought. The demon was split in half. Each half fell to the ground and bounced around like a fish out water. The scariest part of the whole thing was that each half of the demon was talking. . . talking about something different.
“Death will get all of you,” the one side said.
“To come is to exist and to exist is to die,” the other side said at the exact same time.
To hear the two voices talking like that. . . well, it inspired me.
I dropped to one knee and dug through my guitar case and luckily found a scrap piece of paper and pen. The demon was still squirming on the ground and I didn’t think I was in much danger, so I started to write what the demons two halves said. The things I do for my music. . .


i don’t care (four)

 As the demon began to howl at me, I picked up a small knife and threw it.  My aim had become near perfect since I started killing the undead as a side job.  Sure, I was saving the human race everyday but I still consider my first job to be a musician.  It didn’t pay many bills but neither did killing the undead.  You think by saving people’s lives everyday, I’d get something.  
       The knife hit the demon right square in the chest.  The demon instantly stopped howling.  It looked at knife.  Then the knife began to move out of its chest, on its own, and then it fell to the ground with a echoed “ting” sound.

        I knew throwing the knife wasn’t going to kill the demon, that hadn’t been my plan.  Throwing the knife was simply just to show the demon I wasn’t afraid.  Again, the whole fear thing.  I firmly believe that once you show you aren’t afraid of the undead or the demons, they become weaker.  There’s something about fear that they sense and love.  Maybe it’s like zombie catnip or something.  Now, I can’t confirm that my idea on fear is right because I have nobody to compare notes with.  And even if there are other people out there who are fighting the undead and demons, it’s not like they are going to advertise it.  Any word of what I’m doing and I could be staring at white walls for a little while. . . especially considering I’m a musician and there is a stereotype that comes with ripped jeans and earrings.  If only those people who laugh and point at me knew what I was doing for them.
        I watched then as the demon took a deep breath in.  I was prepared for what followed.  Just as the demon started to scream I covered my ears.  If I hadn’t I would have been on the ground rithinig in pain.  The funny thing about “the scream” (as I so talently labeled it) was that the demon could choose whether it was heard by everyone or a person of their choice.  That meant you could be hearing the world scream of your life – to the point where you swear your eardrums are going to bust and your ears and throat are going to fill up with blood – but the guy next to you doesn’t hear a thing.
        I kept my ears covered and did my best to hold a look on my face that said ‘I don’t care’.  I knew it would make the demon even more angry but I needed to gain some kind of upper hand for the fight that was going to begin.  The demons are nothing more than really bad spirits.  Defeating them is next to impossible so the only other way of walking away alive is to outlast them and their dirty tricks.  The only demon I ever killed was one that was already wounded.  I had stumbled upon the demon by accident one night.  It didn’t mean to show itself to me but it lying on the ground heavily wounded.  At first I felt bad for the little thing but then it bit my ankle (which I still have a scar from).  So I took out my knives and did away with it.  Even then as it lay defenseless, it will still hard to kill.  It kept shapeshifting when I’d try and stab it.  Or it would make the part I wanted to cut disappear.  It took me a couple hours to finally finish the job.
        Fighting a healthy demon just seemed more like suicide than saving people.  And like I said, I was tired from band practice.   

Here ya go:

Meet the band:

Gage Sloane: lead singer / guitarist
Val: rhythm guitar / back up vocals
Jack R.I.P: bass / keyboards
"Tiny" Tim Mortusfire: drums

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