Vampire Dancing, page 7
Amanda tries to wriggle free.
“I got something pink,” he whispers in her ear.
The lights in the car briefly flicker.
Amanda stops struggling.
“I bet you have,” she says quietly.
Wiley caresses the flat of Amanda's stomach. “Bet I have what?”
“I bet you have something pink,” she says, her face still pressed against the window.
“You fuckin' know it,” Wiley says. “Here, lemme show you.” He withdraws his hands from her and unzips his pants.
Jeff closes his eyes. “We're supposed to be here.”
Screwball laughs. “What in the hell?”
“We're supposed to be here,” Jeff says again, his eyes still closed.
Screwball lifts his hat and scratches his head. “Whatever you say, weirdo.”
Wiley starts to remove Amanda's jeans.
“I want it hard,” Amanda says. “Hard and fast.”
Wiley pauses with his prick in his hand; can't quite comprehend what Amanda has just said.
“Really hard,” Amanda says. “Like you mean it.”
Wiley feels a numbness wash over him. He steps back from Amanda.
“I want you to fuck me so hard the window breaks,” she says.
Kobie's saying something from the other end of the aisle, but no one appears to be listening.
Len is staring at Jeff. He looks bemused. “Why's he keep saying 'we're supposed to be here'?”
“Hell if I know,” Screwball replies.
Kobie speaks again; louder this time: “Wiley, hurry the hell up and do what you gotta do!”
Amanda turns from the window and faces Wiley. She looks down at his already shrinking penis and smiles.
The lights in the car briefly flicker.
Wiley's mouth opens and he blinks in disbelief. Standing before him is a several years younger version of his mother. She's wearing a lemon dress with pink flowers and has her hair tied back in a pony-tail. But there's something about her eyes ... something wrong. She moves close to him; so close he can feel her breath.
And it's cold.
The blood rushes to Wiley's head. Suddenly, he can't feel his feet, or the prick in his hand. He reaches up with his free hand and grasps the crucifix around his neck.
“Just like your old man,” his mom says. “all faith and no works.”
“Mom? ... no, I-”
“No excuses, Jason Wiley. You're a chip off the old block.”
Wiley shakes his head. “No. I hated him - I still do.”
“Hate him?” Mom says. “You are him!”
The lights in the car briefly flicker ... and then they go out - along with the LCD information and notice displays - and the entire train is plunged into darkness.
July, 2005; Mulberry Street, New York
Dad slammed the bottle of beer on the table so hard its contents frothed over and ran down the neck.
I flinched. He was in a foul mood again, like he was almost every night; and he was drinking, like he was almost every night. This meant someone was going to be on the receiving end of his fists by the end of the evening. Mom for sure, and probably even me if I didn't 'behave'.
I looked over at the TV. A bunch of cops were pinning some smackhead to the ground. Another reality show. I had no idea which one. There was far too many of them, and they all looked the same.
Dad threw himself down on the shit-brown sofa and tucked a hand into the waist of his work pants. And there he sat, a greasy human splodge in a pasta-sauce stained undershirt – or wifebeater, to be completely and utterly exact.
“Fuckin' criminals,” he grunted at the TV, then reached for his beer and took a lengthy swig.
That's it, you old fuck. Refuel your crazy person.
“Jean!” Dad called.
Mom appeared in the doorway moments later. Her hair was tied back in a pony-tail and she was wearing a lemon dress with pink flowers. I didn't know what kind of flowers they were supposed to be; wasn't much of a flowery person.
“You call me?” she said.
“No, I called the fuckin' Pope. Get me another beer.”
Dad shot me a look. “What the hell you lookin' at?”
I decided it was best not to engage the bastard with eye-to-eye, and switched my attention back to the TV. One of the cops was speaking to the camera. He looked smug as fuck.
The old man changed channel. John Wayne appeared in full cowboy gear. He changed channel again. A re-run of The Simpsons popped onto the screen. I hated The Simpsons. The yellow fucks. Thankfully, the old bastard hated it too. He flipped through the channels and settled on one of those shopping ones. They were trying to sell fishing gear. Dad never fished. He couldn't catch a turd in a toilet bowl. Why the hell he'd stopped on a channel with a couple of guys talking about fishing line was beyond me.
Mom returned with a cold beer. She'd opened the bottle for King Fuckhead.
Always eager to please.
“Well put it on the fuckin' table,” he said to her in a tone that was so par for the course it almost went by unnoticed.
Mom did as ordered, then turned to leave.
“Wait,” Dad said. He emptied the remainder of his current bottle into his overweight belly then handed it to Mom.
She took it and went away.
I'd like to take that fishing line they’re selling and wrap it round the cunt's throat.
“So,” Dad said, turning to me. “You been laid yet?”
I just looked at him; could feel my face turning red.
“I take it that's a no.” He coated the inside of his throat with beer. “You even kissed someone? By someone I mean a girl. Or am I bringing up a fag?”
I hated my old man.
“Why are you talking to me like this?” I said.
Dad sat forward and - yet again - slammed his bottle down on the table. The table - a crappy oak thing we've had for decades - was covered with scrapes and other assorted dents and chips, most of them caused by him slamming stuff down on it. The slam tactic was clearly supposed to intimidate me. It worked. I jumped back in my chair.
“I'll talk to you as I see fit. I own you, you little shit.”
He had that crazy look again; his eyes all wide and staring. He rarely never had it, because, like I said, he rarely wasn't drunk. He continued to stare for a bit. I had no idea what he was thinking; half expected him to go on about my hair again (which had reached my shoulders). I didn't know where the hell to look, so I kind of looked everywhere. The people on TV were still trying to sell us fishing gear.
Dad emptied more beer into his gut, then sat back.
I often fantasized about stabbing him. We had some cool knives in the kitchen. There was this big one in particular, looked like something from one of those slasher films. I often thought about slitting his throat with it or stabbing him repeatedly in the chest. Or maybe just doing it all.
I was thinking about it now.
Dad investigated his bottle. He was already halfway through it. Almost time for Mom - the slave - to make another appearance. He sat quiet for a while, watching the sell-o-vision guys line up fish hooks with a tape measure. I had no idea why the hell it mattered to measure everything on these shopping channels. I bet the male presenters constantly measured their pricks.
There he goes again.
Mom appeared in the doorway. "Another beer?"
“Pour me a Scotch.”
Oh Jesus, no.
Mom looked like she'd just been gut-punched, and hard.
“Are you sure you really need that?” she said. Her voice sounded distant and frightened. She already knew the answer; already knew what the response was going to be, yet she had to ask anyway.
Dad sat forward and looked around at Mom. He slung an arm across the top of the sofa.
“C'mere,” he said.
Mom just stood in the doorway, nervously fumbling around with her
“I said come here.”
Mom slowly approached the back of the sofa.
“Round the front,” he said.
I wanted to look away.
Mom rounded the sofa and stood by the table.
“Hey - don't you want that Scotch?” she asked, her voice faltering.
Dad handed Mom his beer. “Drink it.”
Mom shook her head, forced a smile. “I - I'm not really in the mood.”
“I said drink it.”
Mom's fake smile faded. She took the bottle from Dad and raised it to her lips. Her hand was trembling. She took a little sip.
“All of it,” he said.
She tipped more beer into her mouth and down her throat. She didn't like the taste and made a face.
I looked away for a moment. The floor lamp in the corner of the room caught my attention. Something was fluttering inside the dented bright cream shade. Probably a moth. They were always getting in.
“Sit down,” Dad said to Mom.
“You sure you don't want that Scotch?” she asked, no doubt regretting she ever questioned his request for the poison.
“What I want is for you to sit down.”
She placed the empty bottle on the table and did as she was told.
Dad was going to do something horrible to her. I didn't know what, but I knew it was going to happen. My mouth was dry and my heart was pounding. Would he notice if I sneaked away?
Only one way to find out.
I quietly got up from my chair and headed for the door. I expected him to ask where I thought I was going. But he never did.
I made it safely to the bathroom and bolted the door. There was a small plastic cup by the sink. I filled it with water and took several gulps. After that, I splashed water over my face and stared at my reflection in the medicine cabinet. I could barely connect with the image staring back at me. On the surface, I was growing up fast - sixteen years old in a couple of months - but inside I still felt like a little boy.
A nerve in my upper right eyelid began to twitch. It had never done that before. It felt strange. I focused on that eyelid in the mirror. I could see it spasm. I reached up and placed a finger over it. When I took it away, it started to jerk around again. I didn't like the sensation, and hoped it would soon stop.
I decided to pat dry my damp face.
There was no hand-towel on the rail.
I dabbed my face with my navy blue t-shirt instead.
I'd escaped the living room, but things weren't much better in the bathroom. I needed all the space I could get - felt like I was drowning in the sound of my old man's verbal abuse - yet here I was, locked in a room not much bigger than a fucking phone booth.
I looked around. The once bright shower curtain was full of damp spores and green paint was flaking from the walls. The cheap linoleum under my feet was worn to the floorboards.
I wanted to tear down the walls and scream; ran my fingers through my hair and paced the small area.
It suddenly occurred to me that Dad wasn't shouting or going on the rampage; wasn't sure if this didn't freak me out even more. I pressed my ear to the door. I could hear him saying something. I could also hear Mom. She wasn't loud, but she sounded like she was being hurt.
My heart started to hammer. What the hell was he doing to her now?
I took my ear away from the door. My fists were clenched. I'd never felt so angry and frustrated in my life. I imagined myself throwing open the bathroom door, retrieving that big psycho knife from the kitchen and storming into the living room and stabbing that fucker until he bled through to the apartment below.
I opened the bathroom door and stormed into the dark hallway just as I'd imagined. I hesitated at the entrance to the kitchen. Incredibly, some of my bravado was already fading. I could hear my parents a little better now, but mostly Mom. She kept making these weird sounds. I was terrified to discover what Dad was doing to her, yet my curiosity compelled me to confront whatever was going on.
I was trembling so badly I felt like I might piss my pants.
Before I knew it, the dimly lit living room was in front of me. The moth was still beating its wings inside the lampshade, immaculate people were still trying to sell stuff on the TV (we'd reached the tech hour by the looks of things) and the place was still a clusterfuck of assorted stuff like clothes and shoes and books and newspapers and cups and dirty plates.
It was all so fucking depressing.
Mom was nowhere to be seen, but I could still hear her. She had to be lying flat on the sofa. I could see King Fuckhead. He was turned to one side and was looking down - no doubt at Mom. He seemed occupied.
I stepped quietly into the room, then took a few more steps. Fuckhead noticed me. He stopped what he was doing. I didn't say anything, but I took another step. Mom's head came into view. It was on the armrest of the sofa. Her face was flush and her eyes were wet with tears.
What the fuck?
Dad raised a bottle. The neck of it was covered in blood. He grinned. “Go get yourself a beer, kid. We're playing spin the bottle.”
The realization of what was going on struck me so hard that the room began to simultaneously tilt and spin. I turned and stumbled for the doorway. I was going to be sick.
I made it to the kitchen before a major stomach spasm served up my dinner. Strings of spaghetti and chunks of meatball along with a side of spicy sauce splattered into the sink. I wiped my mouth with the back of a hand and looked over at the knife rack.
I decided then and there I was going to kill that motherfucker.
I burst into the living room clutching the biggest kitchen knife we had, and, propelled by a rage so intense that the only thing occupying my field of vision was my abusive father, I ran at the sofa. In that very last moment before I thrust the knife into his neck, he turned and looked at me; and I think he understood that he'd went too far this time, and that he was going to die.
Eyes wide with surprise, he clasped a hand over his neck and got to his feet.
I rounded the sofa and readied the knife to stab him again.
“Jason!” Mom shouted, sitting up.
“If you stab him again they'll take you away.”
I looked at her. My eyelid was still jerking around.
“We can make this okay,” she said. She glanced briefly at my old man stumbling around. “I'll say I did it.”
I looked at her with alarm and shook my head. There was no way I could let her go to prison for what I had done here tonight.
“He's tortured us for years,” she said. “Physically and mentally. Tonight I'd just had enough. They can't prove otherwise. We’re around the same size and weight. We just need to get our story straight and stick to it.”
Dad, already completely saturated in his own blood, staggered against the TV and knocked it over. It landed on its back. The screen went dead.
Mom got up from the sofa. I could see spots of blood around the crotch area of her dress. My stomach burned with anger. She moved cautiously towards me. “Jason, honey, please ... put down the knife.”
Rather than doing what Mom requested, I increased my grip on the handle and looked at my old man. He was still lurching around with his hand stuck to his neck in a feeble attempt to stem the flow of blood. He was making choking sounds and blood was coming out of his mouth.
Mom reached out cautiously to take the knife from me. “It's not too late for this to be okay.”
Dad fell against a bookshelf, then into the lamp. The whole lot was sent crashing to the floor. The moth went fluttering overhead.
Mom touched the hand I was holding the knife with. “Don't let him ruin the rest of our lives.”
I felt tears forming, and fought to hold them back.
She took the knife.
I didn't resist her.
“It's over now,” she said.
Emotional floodgates opened,
Mom dropped the knife and threw her arms around me.
“It's okay now,” she said. “Let it out.”
And that's exactly what I did. Until I had no more to give.
Over in the corner, Dad lay dead. Judging by his fixed gaze, his final image had been of me and Mom, finally free of his reign of terror. But there was something else in his eyes; something perversely proud; like I had finally lived up to his expectations after all these years; had finally become the kind of son he'd always wanted.
I looked away from him and continued to hold Mom tightly, and promised to myself I'd never be like Robert Wiley.
No matter what.
01:42 am ...
Amber and Michael have discovered that passing between cars is possible, and are in the process of doing just that when the lights go out.
Holding open the end door, Amber turns to Michael. “Something's not right. Can't you feel it?”
Michael looks at Amber with a blank expression.
“God, you're hopeless,” she says.
“Not entirely,” he replies, grinning.
Amber sighs, then passes into the next car.
A concerned looking older woman wearing a mid-length woolen mauve coat approaches at the sight of the couple's entry. She's clutching a brown leather bag like it's made out of gold or some other precious metal.
“The lights have went out,” she says. “And the train's not moving at the right speed.”
“It's probably just an electrical problem,” Michael replies.
Amber makes her way past the gray-haired senior citizen and continues along the aisle.
“Maybe we should wait for the lights to come back before going any further,” Michael says.
“We don't know they're coming back,” Amber replies. She opens the end door. “You coming?”
“Take me with you,” the concerned woman says, and clutches Michael's arm.
Michael looks from Amber to the woman. “I don't think that's necessary. Best you remain seated until you reach your stop.”