Chapter 25 - Rythe: Addiction Never Ends


When Ci-Ci was forced to realize that Jonah was the serial killer she helped me break through the locked basement.  I don’t think there’s anything else down here, but it doesn’t hurt to check. A moment to think about the next move. We have to take Jonah down and I don’t really have the ability to beat him in a fight. I’ve seen that guy fight. I don’t want any part of it, even if Ci-Ci thinks she can take him. Last time she almost passed out from exhaustion and now she’s emotionally distraught even if she won’t admit it.

I light up another cigarette and take a seat on the stairs. The basement is empty, a dead end. Locked for no reason. This isn’t where I thought I would be when this all started. I thought I’d just track down a serial killer, write a story about it and maybe win an award. Now I’m trying to find a way to sneak out of a fight between two monsters. That’s what they are, monsters. He’s super strong with wings, and talons. She can take a hell of a beating and uses blood as a weapon. Who the fuck uses blood as a weapon?

It doesn’t take long for me to finish the entire cigarette, but the fairy dust inside of it doesn’t give me the relief I need. I didn’t roll these with a high in mind, but I need a high. I pull another out, there’s nothing wrong with doubling up. I wonder what I should name the article, that’s never been my strong point. I can leave it up to the editor, that’s their job. This basement is so cold, and we haven’t even had our first snow of the year yet.

I hear a scream from upstairs and it startles me. I trip rushing up the stairs towards the sound and barrel through the door. I fall onto the floor and my hands sting. Staring at them I can’t help but notice they started shaking. I hear another scream, it isn’t coming from this floor. I rush up the stairs to the second floor of the house. The whole thing reminds me of the home I lived in with my mom and uncle. It’s disorienting on some level but another scream brings me back to reality. The second door on the left. I struggle to get through. A few strong kicks don’t do anything. I slam my shoulder into the door, my entire body weight breaks through the lock.

“Help me,” Ci-Ci screams as she’s being beaten.

I recognize the man standing over her with his fists balled up. The deep purplish gray of his skin, the gang markings masquerading as pride. The cut in the corner of his lip and fiery red eyes glowing even in the light. His left arm, blackened and badly burned. This is my uncle Cibzen beating her. I can feel my chest tighten just looking at him, seeing him in person. Remembering how he used to beat me.

“Get off her,” is all I can do to stop the beating.

“Shut up boy. You’re next,” he calls back at me as she screams for help.

“Stop,” I can’t bring myself to attack him.

“I told you to shut up,” he makes his way towards me.

I back track but he closes the gap. I close my eyes as the back of his hand slams into my face. I don’t fall like I would when I was a child, but I still feel it. I can’t bring myself to open my eyes, as the second backhand lands across my face. Soon I’m against the wall taking punch after punch. I can hear myself screaming, but I don’t know what I’m screaming. Just sounds of pain, anguish and rage. The salty metallic taste in my mouth tells me I’m crying and bleeding. The familiar taste of the two mixing reminds me of a home I left so long ago.

“You need to fight this Rythe,” I hear Ci-Ci’s voice call over and over again.

I can’t fight it. I can only run from it. This is a fight I couldn’t win. I never could win. He doesn’t stop for a break. He never does. He doesn’t stop until I’m knocking at death’s doorstep. Still Ci-Ci keeps yelling for me to fight. I open my eyes to his grin. He’s taking pleasure in this, he always did. I slam I my fist into his genitals and buy myself some time. I should help Ci-Ci get up.

But I’m a coward. So, I run down the stairs and out the door. He won’t chase me in the day light. He won’t anyone to see. That’s all I can hope for. I’m not lucky. He rushes from the house, his hands ablaze. He’s pissed off. All I did was piss him off. I run harder, it feels like a brick is on my chest. Why isn’t he tired yet?

I tumble head first into the concrete, spilling my own blood from a cut on my head. I turn to see what happened. A naked prostitute stands over me. Smokey red hair, and pale white skin. A large heart being cleaved in half on her cheek. Marking her as some vampire’s thrall. To burning holes cauterized close from the flames where her breast used to be. She laughs, revenge in her eyes.

“You killed me, you stupid fucking whore,” is all I can yell.

My uncles foot slams into my jaw and I know it’s broken. I’m done for. The prostitute laughs and joins in the beating. He can’t do this to me. This shit isn’t right. It isn’t fair. I don’t deserve this shit. All I wanted was to live. I just wanted to fucking live.

“Leave me alone,” I yell out through the tears.

“Shut up,” the prostitute calls.

“Nothing is wrong with me,” I cream through a math full of blood.

“Just take it like a man. Be a fucking man,” Cibzen yells as he lands a kick in my ribs.

“You can’t do this,” I try to crawl away, but she holds my legs.

“Shut the fuck up,” Cibzen starts to stomp on my head.

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