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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Between awake and asleep, Between Sunrises and sunsets, Between days and nights, Between living and dying is this funky place where real dissolves into dream, where we can't tell if we are awake or asleep, and we have no control over ourselves.

Jonnie lives in this place. he is a tormented insomniac that struggles with his self image, sexuality, and masculinity. Nothing is certain, nothing is real, and nothing is tangible in his dream kingdom. He is sliding down the razor banister faster than he can imagine.

And he is sinking into a world that he just doesn't understand...


It always ends the same – the same feeling of euphoria and disgust, the same feeling of contentment and resentment, leaving the same emptiness when the vision dissipates. But while it is there, it teases with a pleasure that can never be explained because words fail Jonnie when his emotions are in control. The dream remains fresh for fleeting seconds after he wakes, but in those seconds, the wave of nausea he feels is real.  He knows that there is a certain truth in this dream’s mysterious kingdom. He knows the deep seeded desire is in him, and he knows that he could have made the dream reality. Sure there would be consequences, but they would pale compared to the jubilance and only materialize were he caught.


He hated this man – this person haunting his dream and making hatred and brutality fill his head in that realm.  He despised this person since he saw the truth about his feigned poverty-stricken face, but he confronted him only once in the real world - at three o’clock in the morning, ahead of him in line, fishing through his hustled change for the appropriate coin combination to satisfy the transaction, get his generic smokes, and be on his way. Few words were exchanged, but with drunken coldness and detest for the hustler, they were spoken in a way that was meant to sting. So the resulting scuffle was not an accident, rather a response to Jonnie’s intoxication-fueled hatred. In a blur it quickly escalated from words to a shove to punches and kicks. The booze produced blur, the adrenaline, the hatred he felt at the moment, and the rage of years of spite of seeing this particular person exit his Cadillac, put his fake leg in the trunk, dress down to greasy grubby street garb, and start to walk on old tattered mismatched crutches with his signs – please help a disabled Vet or disabled and can’t work – were more than enough to cloud Jonnie’s head and fill him with enough anger him to beat the relative stranger for no reason other than the circumstances of the night made him feel like doing so. 


It would end as quickly as it started, unlike the Hollywoodesque fifteen-minute melee society has been conditioned to believe occurs. The scuffle ended in the parking lot where Jonnie would land the final blow – a concussive strike on the back of his opponent’s head while he laid face down on the ground. Not sure how they were in that position and unaware of pleas for mercy, Jonnie was lost in a rage, fueled and blinded by alcohol and self-fed angst. The hustler’s blood flowed freely from his nose, eyes, and ears, and splattered on Jonnie’s fists, face, and clothing.


Jonnie would land one more insulting kick in the ribs, spit on the ground next to his victim’s head, and run away into the night’s shadows leaving his victim moaning. His hand, stinging from the last punch, was numbing. His bravado beaming from the self-proclaimed victory, his heart pounding from the physical exertion, and his mind racing with a million different scenarios of what could be playing out in the coming days and weeks, knowing that the longer he avoided being fingered for the beating, the more likely he was to get away with it. The thought of never being caught created a narcotic like state in his psyche. And the longer he eluded capture and punishment, the more he wanted to repeat the act on someone else.


Avoiding the streets, keeping to the alleyways, and prowling through the shadows, he takes more time than normal getting to his apartment building. Unable to flex his right hand, he digs for is keys in his right side front pocket with his left hand, the awkwardness delaying his entry and exponentially increasing his discomfort with being visible in the streetlight. He walks cat-like to his interior door, tries to silently unlock the multiple locks, and enters his sanctuary where he immediately heads to the bathroom, shedding his bloodied, sweaty, smelly clothes along the way. Leaving the light off, he enters the bathroom, prepares the shower, and strips off the last of his clothes.


A sodium streetlight illuminates the room through a frosted window; naturally stroboscopic as it passes through fluttering leaves that dance on the wind. Jonnie catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror and is fixated by his appearance. The now dried blood – sweat mixture is splattered on his hands, arms, face, and hair, appearing quite black in the peculiar dancing light. A lucidness rolls through his consciousness, but he tries to resist the warming feeling that sweeps over him. He knows what it is bringing, so he tries to replace it with an undeniable hatred of himself – partly for what he has done, partly for what he didn’t complete.  He is now keenly aware that he could kill with his bare hands if he wanted to kill. He also knows that no amount of showering will wash that off him.  As much a part of him as his teeth, this newfound certainty is forever with him.


The blood flows black off his hands in this particular quality of light, in stark contrast against the white ceramic tub. The water makes vein-like rivers mixed of blood, sweat, and soap that swirl, flow, splash into the shower curtain liner as he kicks at them, almost trying to force them down the drain, eventually snaking out the tub through the plumbing.  Color-dense at first, the mixture thins with passing time and more cool water, ultimately becoming clear to the unsuspecting eye. Jonnie will see the afterimage every time he closes his eyes and recalls the night’s events with regret, shame, humility, and elation.


He could have gone further. That knowledge will stay in his thoughts, influencing his actions every time he encounters those he defined trash. Often he will wonder what harm would have been done if he “finished” what he started. Who would have known? Who would have cared? Who would have missed the deceased? Would he get caught? If so, would he ever serve time? Almost hauntingly taunting, deep in his soul and against all that he feels is right and just, he would like nothing more than to find out. That, he tells himself, is power. As some are artists in creating, he could become an artist in destroying. This thought will haunt him as he falls asleep…



The sun is now hinting day, filling his bedroom with an ever-changing hue from violet to pink to amber to daylight. Jonnie stirs, sniffs the allergens deeper in to his sinuses, rubs the sleep from his eyes sitting up as he shifts his feet to the floor, scratching as he gradually rises. His throbbing hand reminds him that last night was indeed real as he walks to the bathroom, stopping before he gets to the toilet, looks at his heavy-eyed, hair tussled reflection and wonders if now is his time to become the artist.


The day is just beginning, and the night will linger until he returns to the dear dream kingdom that hauntingly delights his newly found artistic sensibility. He passes from daytime scene through daytime scene fogged by the memory of his recent reality and his dream world, wondering quietly if it could be so easy as he imagines.


Work in his current reality is monotonous and allows him ample time to reflect on his shifting desires and recurring fantasies. They are only dreams he tells himself, but he knows he delves deeper into his psyche every time the face he sees is real. From time to time, he finds himself standing in line late at night behind a mark. You could be my dream come true tonight, he thinks to himself. But he takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, and allows the moment to pass without action. The time is not right, not right now. There are too many eyes around, too many ears, and too much of a chance he will spinelessly weaken as his mark whimpers or begs. He seldom faces this in his imagination but knows reality is different, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. If he is to make this real, he will need to have power over his mark, his environment, and his resolve. If it truly is here for him, he must be able to control it - all of it – from conception to location to time to invitation to execution to evisceration to discarding the remnants. He knows it is only a matter of time before he will control these elements, and it delights him as much as it scares him.


He cannot help but to walk through the insomniac night with his mind totally focused on the potential of the artist he can become. Dark alleys afford unseen passage from block to block, neighborhood to neighborhood. Soft-soled shoes, dark clothing, and wide eyes permit easy unseen passage. For fun, he likes to see how long he can follow the same person at a safe yet striking distance. It works best when walking into the wind and even better when the wind blows off the lake. The waves rhythmically crash the shoreline creating a natural blanket of sound masking any noise he might accidentally create. But that is only the cherry on top. The city has a pulse, a rhythm, and a personality all its own that will serve Jonnie well when it is time. He will know when it is time. The city, the wind, and the lake will tell him. And he will be ready. He carries a selection of tools that he will need to carry out his task knowing he is living somewhere between sleep and drifting consciousness. His insomnia never really lets him sleep and never really lets him be awake. He is stuck someplace in the middle.


Most days that’s fine for him. He prefers his reality when it is tinged with irrationality because he can pawn off uncomfortable sights – people digging through trash for food, men beating their partners, bums sleeping under bridges, the generalized hatred, contempt, and despicability that the populace exhibits – on his mind simply playing a trick. He tends to drift in and out of daydreams and fantasies, sometimes while sipping a cup of coffee at the corner café while pretending to read the free periodicals, sometimes in line at the grocery store, sometimes while in a half conscious state at 3 o’clock in the morning while he drifts between reality and the dream kingdom. For Jonnie, they are both very real places. 



O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams.

Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2


I can hear the footsteps and at times even smell the cologne without being too audible. Tight clothing and careful footing certainly add to my stealth, and the city’s perpetual hum adds to my ability to cloak within the night. Rhythmically matching my mark’s footsteps, feeling his breath, matching heartbeat for heartbeat, he ever so cautiously closes in on my target. But not too fast – the hunt is arousing, exciting, and ever so teasing. It just makes me tingle to think that in the end we will be one. 


Tonight you will be mine. I’ve followed you without you knowing. The gentle wind, the darkened streets and alleyways, the gentle splashing of the waves on the shoreline are all here for me and for tonight – to make it perfect, to make it beautiful, to elevate my action to poetry as I become the poet of life and the artist of death. Each minutia of the microenvironment so carefully chosen, modified, planned, every detail worked through with contingencies for every imagined scenario, each instance a brushstroke to shape my work to perfection, a chisel struck with hammer to remove all the imperfections, a perfectly chosen word to embody righteousness in an individual work of art, collectively will be strung together to form a masterpiece of eroticism - a poem, a painting, a story for the ages, for infamy, for all to admire, for all to damn, and for all to fear. My becoming will never be impeded because I have the skill, patience, desire, and genuine taste to see my artistic endeavor to completion.  And you are here for me. 


I know your path, I know your stops, I know your front door, I know your shortcut, and I know where I will take you, he continues to repeat to himself, the cadence of his thoughts matching the beating of his heart. I need to close, but not be noticed. I need to feel you, but not disturb you. I need to have you, but not allow you to bring notice to us. And I will do this by turning into your courtyard before you, from a different entrance, one that I created just for us, for our encounter. You will be mine - silently, quietly, secretly, discretely, and oh so gently - as gently as possible, at least. I promise. Why would I ever want such beauty, such raw sexuality, and such splendor to be spoiled?


I make my move to my secret spot, the spot I’ve created just for us that you have yet to see and may never consciously know. I wait, watch, listen, and prepare for our meeting, our seemingly chance encounter. I hear an insane tick-tock of some imaginary clock – not matched to my heartbeat or yours, but seeming to slow exponentially as each second without you passes. Tick-tock. It is excruciating for me to wait, knowing you will soon be standing at your door, fumbling through your keys like you have every night for the last few weeks, lackadaisically swaying on your stoop in you perceived security. Waiting for me. Waiting for us to finally have each other. Waiting for us to consume each other. Waiting… Tick-tock.


Finally a rustling of the gate, the squeaky hinges broadcasting your arrival. You close it with your regular movement as you notice that the porch light is out – as I so purposefully prepared, lest someone coincidentally passes by to see us – difficult with the light on, nearly impossible with it off. I’m certain that you assume it is burned out, but I know that it’s been rendered useless. But the full moon illuminates the court with a bright silver glow. It warms me, must surly comfort you, and only intensifies my desire to have you.


Silently, swiftly, ghostly in the silver moonlight, I approach you from behind, prepared to have you. I smell the gin on you as I approach, aided by a gentle breeze that rustles the bushes that camouflage the brick and iron fence that encloses us. And in one swift motion, I take my towel saturated with chloroform and smother your mouth and nose. In less than a second you slump silently and unconsciously into my waiting arms. And now you are mine.


It takes but an instant for me to drag you to the relatively secure darkness created by the brush on the alley side of your courtyard – where I’ve made my secret spot for us - where I will run my latex gloved fingers through your beautiful silken hair. It’s a little out of sorts from your evening’s activities, but that is more than fine with me. It only adds to your beauty and my desire. My hand drifts down your sideburn to your cheek, where I am memorizing myself on the chiseled handsomeness of your masculine facial structure. The breeze stiffens, and time stands still. Seemingly frozen in our embrace, I caress your slumbering body with great care and love. Your hair is rustling to and fro across your Michelangelic face, which is now beginning to awaken from the chloroform nap.


It took me mere seconds to make sure that you cannot be heard while I am in the act of consummating my tour de force and having you forever. But your stirring grows, hastening me, pissing me off more and more with every passing second. Why don’t you want me as badly as I want you? Why do your eyes look dazed and frightened? Why are you trying to resist? Why can’t this moment last forever? 


Tick-tock. Tick-tock. Tick… tock… time slows to a stand still while my thoughts race, my heart aches, and my body yearns to feel you. 


I feel now that our hearts are beating in unison, that we are sharing this moment that will be forever mine and forever your last. You stir to your knees, fighting to free your bound hands and take off your gag. It will of course do you no good because I am in control. I stand behind your dazed, beautiful, kneeling body in complete control, and I know that you will soon be mine.


With one swift motion, one swift slice, one flick of the wrist and you are now eternally mine. My gloved hands are warming with your draining blood, and you lifelessly slump backwards into my waiting arms. I catch you, hold you, whisper in your ear, and feel your blood warming my entire body, and arousing me as only you can tonight. God you are beautiful! Our eternal souls now bound, bathed in your blood.


Stiff and throbbing, I lower my stained pants, basking in the beauty of your blood on my erect manliness – it appears quite black, contrasting nicely with my pale skin in the silver moonlight that I have prepared for just his moment. Hairless and pallid, there will be nothing to interfere with the picturesque mixture of contrasting fluids.  My gloved hand reaches to touch me, to grab me, to pleasure me, to make me cum quite easily with your blood warming and lubricating me, quickly exciting me to the point of no return, and mixing oh so well with my ejaculate in a wonderful, swirling cocktail of life and death.


To life!


Forever mine, forever frozen in this time, forever sculpted and arranged to look oh so perfect for eternity and eternally now in my mind, body, and soul.


I slump back, exhausted, exhilarated, erotically charged, sexually drained, and savagely fulfilled. This rush will last a long time and be replayed in all its splendid detail for all my days. I gather no mementos. My memory is more than enough. In fact, it is preferred. The performance, the oh so beautiful creation, will be replayed and mentally modified until it is perfect, until I did not need to arrange you to have you forever with me. My imaginary memories are very powerful and very keenly adaptive to compensate for lacking a physical artifact or two. Besides, the more it is replayed, the more embedded in my soul it becomes.


You are mine, forever…

Submitted: May 31, 2012

© Copyright 2021 Billy Clarke. All rights reserved.

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