I couldn't move. Blood was pounding in my ears, my heart slamming against my ribcage. My instincts were screaming to pack up and start running, but my feet didn't seem to be listening. My eyes were darting from side to side, then traveling upwards to take in the mountains that loomed in at me from either side. I had never seen these mountains before.
They created a valley that was both deep and wide. A valley that held me captive at its center. Above, the sky offered what was neither light, nor dark. It was that in-between time, where the sun eclipses behind the horizon just as the moon is ascending to its seat among the stars. It was the gloaming. Usually my favorite time of days, but unnerving in this place. It seemed to entomb the land in a haunting twilight.
I took a deep breath to slow my pulse, but I couldn't seem to fill my lungs enough. It felt like there wasn't enough oxygen, the air carrying a certain taint to it, very old and stale. It was as if the same winds had blown around and around this place for a very long time. Steadying my breathing as well as I could, I continued to jerk my legs, frantically twisting and turning every which way to loosen the claim the ground had on them. I took another labored breath.
I finally had enough sense of mind to look down and inspect the hold on my now aching feet. I was standing upon a round pedestal which reminded me of the wide nightstand beside my bed. This pedestal was smooth, a dull white that I somehow knew was bone. It was mounted on a surface so immense, my neck was aching as I twisted my head every which way to get a full picture of it. A sea of black spread across the valley.
It was a surface that shone as a light slid and skipped across, under the gloaming sky that did not offer a light to reflect. It reminded me of obsidian. The black stone formed a circle that covered most of this land, myself at the center. It ended at the foot of the two mountains, still leaving a strip of untouched land that surrounded it on all sides. I noticed that this untainted land beyond was thriving. There were a variety of lush trees. The grass was tall, swaying to a comfortable breeze that smelled like a storm was on its way. Insects were humming to a rhythm only they could hear. Through all of my fear, I found it funny that I could appreciate the life around me, far out of reach, as my own life seemed a tad bit jeopardized, at the moment.
It was clear to me that life did continue beyond the stone of black I am anchored to. Though, in turn, all of that life halted its growth as it reached the lip of the dark surface. Inside this circle is an area that was, is, and always will be nothing, forever and ever. No life. No death. No nothing. And I was smack-dab in the middle of it. There was an emptiness that pushed against me. It was crawling down my back, bleeding into my skin, into my bones. It was twisting my emotions. I gripped my stomach as a sudden uneasiness heavily plopped onto my gut.
I fiercely shake my head to try and clear the despair that iced through me. Opening eyes that I didn't realize were squeezed shut, I noticed the Roman numerals. They were the same bone-white as the pedestal and carved deeply into the black stone, spaced evenly all along the edge. They numbered one through twelve, going around the entire circle. Twelve lay directly ahead, the nine and three to the left and right of me, respectively. A black rod as thick as my arm stretched from where I stood. It spanned all the way to the edge of the stone circle, slowly circling behind me, past the six, in a clockwise direction. Two more rods, thicker and unmoving, pointed directly ahead of me at the XII. I suddenly realized that this was the face of some grand Clock. And I was on its nose.
I watched as the second-hand circled past the nine and moved to meet the other two hands, coming to rest on the twelve. The air suddenly grew heavier, denser. Apparently, it was time.
A second; then there was a low, deep GONG that was affected with a bass that rattled every bone in my body. The trees shed their leaves in the wake of the sound. The insects ceased their buzzing. The grass shivered in a breeze that was no longer there. The mountains, themselves, rumbled back.
A second bell, and then a third, each seeming to suck a little more air, if that was possible, out of the sky. My lungs achingly protested for more oxygen. My throat was tightening in panic. My heart was punching the walls of my chest, about to bust out. I was certain that something bad, very bad, was going to happen. I feared the final bell.
A fourth sounded, and I was knocked backwards off the pedestal. My feet were finally free! A fifth, and those same feet were already pounding out their own rhythm, my blood pumping an upbeat tempo of its own. I began to sprint across the face of the clock, opposite the now motionless hands, away from the center. A sixth and then a seventh bell rang out as I bounded across the slick, stone ground.
I lost my footing several times, feeling as if I were running in skates. An eighth GONG. I was halfway there!
I fell to the stone, hard, and was already crawling into another run. A ninth, and I could see the edge. Close, but not there yet. As the tenth sounded, my legs paced at a speed I would have thought impossible, gliding smoothly across the face of the clock. A few more feet and I was there, only to be brought up short. I came to an abrupt stop, seeing him at the last moment. My escape was blocked by--me?
This man looked at me with the same emerald green eyes that were mine; although, while mine were wide with fear and confusion, his stared back with a type of suppressed amusement. Like a parent trying to hide their smile from the child who had been trying to open the door with that ever-present and annoyingly clever safety lock attached to it. Whoever it is, he's in my way.
I tried to push past him, but he pushed back. I kicked at him, but he kicked back. The stranger mimicked every one of my movements. Fury bloomed in my gut. Both of our faces were now twisted in anger, a snarl raising our lips, which was making me feel as if I were having a pissing-contest with the bathroom mirror. The edge only seems to offer a twisted reflection. Interesting.
I looked behind me as the eleventh bell sounded. Turning back, I watched the mysterious reflection step forward onto the polished surface, his feet taking slow, deliberate steps to meet my own. He stopped so close that we stood toe to toe, nose to nose. I was panting heavily from fear and exhaustion, while the stranger seemed to not be breathing at all. He stood as silent and as still as the dead. If they could stand. And stare at you.
Then the twelfth and final bell sounded and all was silent. Everything in this place seemed to be collectively holding its breath in antipation of what was to come.
And my reflection spoke;
"It is time, Jonas." I heard my voice fall from his lips, but with a much deeper, gravelly quality to it, as if heard through a bad phone connection. From Hell. It frightened me.
Everything about this man frightened me, in fact. It was so strange seeing myself stare at me from outside of the confines of a reflection. We shared the same dark, shaggy hair with loose curls that couldn't decide where to lay. Fair, white skin stretched over high cheekbones, which framed a full set of lips. We both had a hard jaw lining our faces. He even had the same scar, just below the dimple in the middle of the chin. I wanted to ask if he got his the same way. The height, the thin frame, all of it was the same.
All except the eyes. They were the same emerald color, but there seemed to be something shining within them. A serpentine shape that slithered around each orb. He had that glint in his eyes that told me he could twist a lie like a balloon animal. He could make your own mother know that, yes! It would be a good idea to sell her firstborn for a set of encyclopedias. The name Loki suddenly appeared into my mind. The trickster of the Norse gods.
"Time for what.?" My voice came out much calmer than I felt. A bead of sweat made a trail down the side of my face.
"It is time for change. You must go West, pet." He looked very serious. His eyes were staring straight through me, making me feel like he was caressing my soul like a fine fur coat. A shudder rippled across my back. I looked down.
"And what, exactly, is out West for me?" I asked, my eyes still averted. The furthest West I had been was in a small town in Indiana for a family reunion. Mulberry, maybe.
He just continued to look at me. The seriousness was, briefly, replaced by boredom, then amusement. His lips stretched into a grin that reminded me of a jackal, right before it pounced. I don't like seeing that look on my face...er, his face.
He then pointed directly downward. "Listen."
A scream from below. It froze the blood in my veins and dried my tongue, like salt on a slug. I had never heard anything like it; a scream of rage. Of sorrow. Of madness. So much madness... Another followed it. And another, each colliding to form a symphony of discordant shrieking. A horrific chorus began to wail up from below the face of the clock. I thought that, surely, my hearing would be shrieked right out of my skull. I soon wished it was, just to end the sound. I covered my ears, blood soaking though my fingers, wanting to gouge out the drums that felt as if they would soon burst.
"Watch." My twin pointed towards the center of the clock.
On the pedestal of white bone where I had stood, a change was occurring. It appeared to be melting, the bone bleeding into the black below it like a pad of butter in a heated pan. It continued to spread outwards onto the clock, forming a network of what looked like roots. These roots of bone started to slither of their own accord now, out from what had been the pedestal, stopping its growth at the length of a few yards. These roots then began to dig their tips deep into the rock. A sprout, the same crisp, white, slowly rose, unfurling from the center of the roots of bone. This sapling looked like a piece of driftwood. It continued to grow, slowly at first, then shot upwards, quickly resembling an enormous trunk. After the height of a few stories, it rapidly extended a bare branch from its great trunk. Still, it continued its ascent.
I remembered reading about redwoods in grade school. The giants of America, they have been known to grow to a height of 300 feet, in some cases. A redwood would seem like a weed next to this great tree. Its width, a hundred people couldn't hug, and it was still growing. I couldn't believe what was happening, even as it unfolded right in front of me. How am I supposed to process something like this?
As it rose, the screaming from below started to intensify. I had no idea what was going on, but whatever it was, I had a front-row seat. I began to wonder if I would die here in this place. Unable to bear the sounds below anymore, or any of it, I, again, covered my ears, squeezed my eyes shut, and sank down to my knees, burying my head in my lap. I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up to see my dark twin weighing me with his gaze again, his long arm pointing back at the tree.
The growth had ceased, leaving the top of it invisible to all but the clouds. It was beautiful, this tree of bone, rooted in stone. Not one leaf hung from any of the many branches that stretched out all along the trunk. There was a life that I felt moving through the tree, pulsing, that was unlike any life that pumped the blood through my veins. A life that was unlike any other thing that was alive.
The tree was a thing of death, that was obvious to me, but death carries its own energy within it. Its own life. Death has been heaped upon millions of alters for millions of years. Those sacrifices created an energy that could fuel the gods. Could answer a prayer. Revive a nation. I realized all of this as I looked up at that grand tree, and its beauty moved me.
I felt a tear roll down my cheek. As I wiped it away, a shape fly out from the tree. It was howling the same rage I heard from below. It looked like a bat but much, much larger, maybe the size of an eagle. The creature was a color that was not any other color. A darkness that was total and complete. A void that even darkness is exempt from. Its thin body left a trail of that same void behind as it fled upwards along the tree. The same nothingness that dwelled within the clock, that halted the life at its base, spread in the wake of this...thing.
A few more followed. They seemed to appear from the tree, needing no hole in the trunk to exit from, coming from where, I could not guess. They joined in the cries of their brethren and followed upwards. Soon there was a steady stream of these bats--that were not bats--darting out, and then up the tree, only to disappear into the dark sky above.
One broke away and flew quickly towards me. I had time to raise an arm just before it was inches from my face. I could feel its breath, hot and icy at the same time, on my forearm. I saw it spread its wings wide, showing me a network of thick, throbbing veins that seemed to shimmer. Sitting atop a beak-like nose were two eyes the size of silver dollars. They bulged outwards from its face, looking like an overripe grape, ready to burst its warm fluid on me. I knew it was blood that filled those eyes. Blood and evil, through and through. They were entrancing, though, seeming to suck me in. I felt that endless craving for chaos in those eyes. A hunger for destruction. Oblivion. It was overwhelming. And I felt myself liking it. I shook my head to clear those thoughts and looked away from the abomination.
It cried out from a mouth it did not have, then pumped its wings to rise and meet the others at the top. More emergered, flying outwards and upwards. It continued until, all at once and from each side up and down that great trunk, an impossible number swarmed into the fray. My ears were well and truly spilling blood from their damaged canals, my eyes now a red from the vessels I felt pop moments ago. Screaming your head off? No, it's screaming till your eyes pop.
The sound had reached an intensity that brought only death to my mind. Dream or no, had I but a loaded gun pressed against my temple... I was filled with a deep depression. There was no escape from this madness that the mad would claim is crazy. It was all too much and I just wanted it to end...any way possible.
And then it did. The swarm disappeared into the clouds, and a small breeze started to breeze through the valley again.
"What the fuck! What! The! Fuck!" My voice was coarse, my throat raw from screaming.
"They are awake, pet." My dark twin now had a true smile on his face, obviously pleased.
The sky had turned even darker. The storm was about to break. Thick clouds rolled faster and faster across the sky in an ancient dance, the tempo quickening. There was lightening, a flash that illuminated every leaf in the valley, every number on the clock. It whipped across, its jagged design leaving a crack that seemed to split open the sky itself. The scar it left continued to stretch overhead, casting a brilliant illumination; a spotlight on the next act. Following was the deep rumble of thunder.
Something warm and moist dropped onto the back of my neck. Wiping it away, I saw my palm smeared in blood. Warm blood. I felt another drop fall onto my head, another hit me in the shoulder, then another and another, dotting my T-shirt and jeans. I peered away from the sky, scanning the clock's face for my dark twin, only to find that I was alone.
Drip. Drop... Drip. Blood splattered on my arms, rolled down my face. It dripped down my hands, clinging to the tips of my fingers before falling to the stone.
And then the torrent began. The storm came quickly and with a vengeance. It rained down from the heavens, as if God, himself, were being exanguinated. I then saw dark, black leaves begin to bloom on the once-bare tree of bone that was grown out of a sea of stone.
I opened my eyes. I looked around the dim room, taking in the familiar surroundings. Just a fuckin' dream. Jesus... I felt an arm draped across my chest and looked over to see a pile of blonde hair amassed on the pillow next to me. Oh, yea. That chick I met over at Harry's Pub.
I pushed Jen--or Jane. Shit, maybe June, something with a 'J'--I pushed the arm that was draped over my chest off of me. She snorted in her sleep and rolled over, away from me. I walked to the bathroom, grabbing some vicoden out of the medicine cabinet. My head was throbbing, making the room feel like it was closing in on each side. I closed it, quickly looking away before I saw my reflection. I didn't want a reflection staring back at me with glowing eyes. The dream was really sticking with me.
I popped the pills and drank some water from the faucet. I let the cold water run down my parched throat for a minute. I grabbed a towel out of the small closet above the toilet and turned on the shower. I felt like I had been running a marathon, as if I really had been running for my life on that clock.
I started to pull my shirt up, over my head, when I felt it. The shirt was wet at the bottom. I pulled it back down to examine what looked like blood on my shirt. There were splatters all along the arms, the front and back dotted with blood. I looked down to see the jeans I had passed out in splashed with darker shades of color that could only have been more of the same. Favorite T-shirt too. It was a tie-dyed rainbow of colors with bears dancing along the front. It was thrown to me at a Grateful Dead concert. Sonofabitch.
Well, I am well and truly confused the fuck outta my head right now. I shred all of my clothes to look at my arms, legs, torso, anywhere that I might have gotten scratched. I mean, that was some pretty rough sex last night, but not bad enough to draw blood...much. Hell, my clothes were on the whole time if I'm still waking up in them. And I doubted it was the chick's blood that was laying in my bed. She seemed to be snoring too soundly to have amassed any serious injuries. And this was a lot of blood.
Not seeing a whole lot I could do about it right this moment, I left the bathroom to walk the three feet to the kitchen and threw all of the clothes, shoes and all, into a trash bag that I discreetly placed under some other trash in the garbage can. Passing by my bed, I saw the clock flashing 4:38 am in a neon-red. I went into the bathroom to turn on the bath.
After the faucet was done spewing a brown that was the dysentery of my plumbing, I pulled the knob to get the shower going. I stood there, waiting for it to reach the acceptably scalding temperature, then stepped in. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. I didn't feel any cleaner. It was as if the filth of that place had gone beneath my skin. Giving up, I got out and dried off, wrapping the towel around my waist. Wiping the mirror with my hand, I worked up the nerve to look at myself.
I saw the same ol' Jonas. And they were my own eyes that stared back. They were a bit red around the edges. Worn. Tired. I felt exhausted, wondering when exactly I had gone to bed. I called it a night, finding Jen, or Joan, whatever, after she beat me in a few rounds of pool. Six beers and a few shots of Jack later, midnight comes to find the two of us falling through my door, barely making it to the bed before my dick was inside of her. Um, so maybe four hours of sleep? I could do more.
I thought back to the dream. It was all so real. And I wanted to know more. I was finding myself wanting to go back, if only to see how it would end. I almost laughed. It seemed like the end to that particular story is something more final. The End to every end. And 'Go West.' What the hell is that? West where? And I'm going to need a little more than a dream to get my pretty ass out of this place. Even if this place is a run-down hole.
Its pretty sad when I dream only of moving up from a studio to a one bedroom apartment. Most people dream big. Like a house with a fence. No, no. Not I. I would just like a wall that separates one room from the other. Maybe a decent plumbing system, but hey, I don't want to ask too much. Tis' the life of a dealer. Low-profile and all. Well that's what we say. Really its because we can't pay the bills any better than anyone else can.
My cellphone was ringing from the other room. Shit, I forgot to empty the pockets. I ran out of the bathroom to dig the bloody bag out of the trash. Carefully picking through so as to not to get any on me, I pulled out the phone and answered without looking.
"Yo." My voice was still kind of rough. I walked into the bathroom and pushed the door shut.
There was someone breathing pretty heavily on the other end. "Jonas." It wasn't a question. It was a voice I thought I recognized.
"Who is this?"
"I need you to, uh, come'n get me."
"One more time: Who is this? And don't fuck with me." My patience was just a tad thin at the moment.
"Cummon, JoJo! Isss your man! Dun play me like that, dude. Just callin' to, uh, well, I need a lil' help, man." His voice was dripping with Jack. Or Greygoose. Maybe Vermouth. I really didn't care.
"I'm done helping you, man. Give someone else a call." I was about to hang up when I heard a sob coming from the other end of the line.
"I need some help, buddy. I fucked up before, I know it, and I owe you more'n I could begin to pay you. I know that. But, please, I've gotten into some serious shit. Some dark shit. There aren't many people I can ask for help in a situation like this." His voice had sobered up, probably from the fear I heard seeping through the phone. Something was seriously bugging him.
"Ok, Mitch, say you didn't just up and swipe two-grande worth of my shit and leave town, let's just say that we were on a civil and friendly level right now. What makes you think I still have the ability to help you?"
"Jonas, I know you. You're not gonna stop, no matter what. Yea, you may slow down and dabble with some simple shit, water to wine, making a hard-boiled egg grow wings and fly around the room, turn a dime to a quarter, but you ain't ever gonna quit. In all the years I've known you, I don't think you can, just as I can't quit breathin''."
He had a point there. The Book was calling to me even now. The Grimoire that had been in my family for as long as the written word. At 18, my father brought it to me, a grim look on his face, and told me a story that I could only partially remember:
One plus eight, the Dragon, Great
falls from the sky,
The spine, the skin, and blood
He, his Mistress She, and the Baby to be
From the dark it rises
Hallowed so, forever it shall Be
I wished I could remember the whole damned thing. When my father first told me the story, I asked what the spine, skin, and blood part meant. He said that, apparently, the book's spine was made from the original ancestors own bone, bound in the skin of his mistress, written in the blood of their still-born child. I rubbed the dry, rough cover of the thick tome, thinking that was the coolest thing I had ever heard.
I was twenty-three when he died. Car accident. The spells I looked up to bring him back gave me nightmares for awhile. I decided that some things were better left dead. I was interrupted in my thoughts.
"Yo, Jonas, did I lose you? Hey man, I didn't wanna piss you off with that talk about the hocus-pocus, but my problem is knee-deep in hocus-pocus and you are the only specialist I know."
"Yea, I forgot I was even talking to you. Six months I haven't seen or heard from you. Forgive me for not necessarily giving a shit." I sighed. I have missed the big guy. His punk-attitude always made it fun around here. Sussex, Pennsylvania didn't have much to offer, so anyone willing to sled down the back of Clinton Hill on a trash can lid with me is a quick friend. And yes, I am twenty-six years old and still sled down hills on garbage can lids.
"You stole, Mitch, plain and simple. I don't really care what's going on with you right now, but that will be paid back, one way or another." My voice was starting to echo off the small bathrooms walls.
A grunt came from the other room. "Could you stop yelling and come to bed?" Forgot about that drunken mistake.
"Be there in a minute, Jen!"
"It's Amber! Ugh...I'm outta here." Woops, I wasn't even close. "And what the fuck, freak? I've got blood all over my arm!" I heard the bead squeak as she got up, then the rustling of clothes as she scrambled to do her walk of shame.
I yelled back, "Yea, you might wanna get to a clinic!" She slammed the door shut.
"Alright, listen, JoJo."
"Don't call me that."
"Fine. Hear me out. I'm sorry, I really am. I get it; I fucked up. But I'll fix it, I promise. But right now, I need an insane amount of help from someone who can do a little magic."
Mitch gave a little growl of frustration and I could hear the bottle of whisky being slammed down.
"Where are you, anyway, Mitch?"
"I'm stuck in Arizona." He sounded scared all of a sudden. The heavy breathing was back. Arizona, huh? Well that was pretty West of Pennsylvania. Interesting...
"You went all the way from Sussex, Pennsylvania to the desert?" My interest was piqued.
He laughed, shyly. "Yea, there was a girl. Beautiful. But she was, I dunno, Jonas. She was just different. Liked weird stuff, ya know? In bed? Like she would--"
"Shut the fuck up right there. Ok, so there was a girl who liked some freaky shit. You followed her and are stuck?"
"Yea, that's the gist of it. I just need to get out of here. Fast." He was breathing heavily, breath catching as he sucked in air.
"Are you ok, bud?" I was starting to worry for him. Even when he's drunk out of his head, he had always been a happy-go-lucky guy. Sadness or worry were two things he could ball up and toss out the window. I envied that about him.
"Yea. Yea, yea, yea. All's just peachy. Helluva lot peachier if you would come and bring me home. I just wanna go home, Jonas." He started to sob. "I just want to leave this place, and I just want to go home. Please. I want to go home, Jonas."
"Whoa, alright, man. Rescue team is on the way. Give me an address, and is this a good number to reach you?" The phone line went dead.
I called back seven more times before it started to just go straight to his voicemail. Either it died or someone shut it off. Either way, Mitch would have found another way to call back if he could. I had never heard him sound so--so desperate. I heard his voice tremble through the phone the same as when we were kids and the boys on the playground would have him cornered, threatening to beat the piss out of him. It wasn't long that he took to the weights that turned him into the beefcake that he is today.
That playground is a big part of what made me such a bully, myself. Not the kind that look for trouble. But I do take care of trouble when I see it. Sometimes not in the most pleasant or 'lawful' of ways. But I had to help out my best friend. Now, I didn't lift as many weights as he did, but I had some help. There was always a spark in me.
The book tended to that spark to make the flame that became a roaring fire when the book was passed to me. But I had always been able to do things. Like causing pain. A lot of pain. All I would need is one scratch, one punch to the side of those nasty kids faces, and I would just imagine pain, hurt, swelling, bruising. They would run screaming bloody murder from a small flick to the nose. Mitch and I loved watching their hasty retreat.
I brushed my teeth, shaved, and got dressed, pulling on a pair of faded denims and a gray hoodie. I quickly moved around the small apartment and threw other necessities into the gym bag; some toiletries, a few changes of clothes, a bag of weed. Uhm...oh, and moving over to the window-unit blowing A/C into the room, I popped off the vent and reached in to grab my Smith & Wesson. I admired the way the overhead light glinted off of the barrel. I hadn't ever shot anyone with it, but had put enough hours in at 'The Driving Range' to feel very comfortable with it. I loved shooting that paper target, my anxieties would leave as the bullet was blasted from the gun. I stuck it down the front of my pants on the left-side so I could draw it with my right. Not the best or safest of places right now, but it would have to do until I get a holster.
And as far as that goes... I walked over to the mini-fridge. It sat on top of two blue milk-crates, underneath a window that leaked and beside a stove that worked if you prayed to the right gods. Reaching into the upper cubby that is supposed to be the "freezer," I pulled out a frozen pot-pie and ripped off the top. Reaching inside, my fingers closed around my next two treasures. I pulled out two stacks of bills; roughly about five-thousand dollars. In these tough economic times, one has to rely on themselves, and if you live in a town with a bunch of rich kids who like spending their parents' money on weed and pills, then you capitalize. The best part was that each untaxed dollar I made went unseen by Uncle Sam. And that's how I like my finances; hidden.
It seems pretty silly to keep this much cash in such a hole in the wall and not move to a better hole in the wall, but on top of the fact that I'm supposed to "keep a low profile," the money was being saved up for a greater purpose; a Ducati Monster 696. I was getting a boner just thinking about it.
I threw a few granola bars and some jerky into my bag, which was just about cleared the mini-fridge, and walked out the door. There wasn't a whole lot holding me there. Jen--I mean Amber--was a one-time thing, this place was a pit, and my job allowed for travel. Why the hell not travel half the continent on the whim of a dream and a frantic friend?
I threw the bag into the back of the cab and hopped into the truck. My good ol' Chevy. I reached over and pulled open the dash to dig around for some papers. After yanking them free, I sat back to roll one up. I started up the truck, the headlights shining onto the glory that is FairOaks Luxury Apartments. Yea. The Hotel Ritz.
I backed out of the small lot, and waved goodbye to the complex, followed by a finger. The clock read 5:27 am, the sun glowing a small sliver in my rearview mirror. I pulled onto the highway, lighting up the joint, and I breathed deep. Hold it. Hold it. Hold it. I smiled. This is what I need right now. I blew out the smoke and turned on the radio. It was playing the same music over and over, so I put in a disc by Jim White. Between him and the joint, the road trip was starting to look like just the thing I needed. Unusual circumstances, though.
Driving towards the cemetery that lay on the edge of town, I pulled under the wrought-iron archway onto the gravel road the made a U-shape around the graves. I had one more stop to make before my little trip.
Chapter Two:More to come soon...