The Imposition of Darkness

There was a day that I sat down with whom I would consider one of my best friends. This friend of mine was always pretty cavalier about recreational drug use, but kept it light. Then there came a time when I noticed his casual drug intake was trending upward. It was around this time that I got to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with him. Just the two of us.

The conversation began slow. He and I were sitting in such a way that I could only see the side of his face; his profile. He would only turn to face me when he was talking about something that was particularly pertinent.

So at one point, he turned to me and said, “I think I saw the devil.” After asking incredulous and rhetorical questions, I just let him speak.

“It was about a month ago. I was passed out on the couch and woke up in the middle of the night. As soon as I opened my eyes, I knew I was being watched. I didn’t think, I knew. I looked around the room. It was dark but then I saw something darker than the normal nighttime darkness of my living room. It was about the size and shape of a man. I just lay there, staring back at it. I mean, it didn’t have eyes, but I was just staring into it.” He paused here. “It scared me a lot. I mean I know I had a lot to drink, but I’m telling you, I was certain in that moment that what I was seeing wasn’t just my imagination or some hallucination.”

“So I’m staring back at him and then it starts to move closer to me. I don’t know how, but I knew it would do no good for me to try to move or run away from it. I just sort of let it get closer to me. It’s getting closer and it’s just…expanding. It’s darkness I mean, it just starts enveloping the whole room. Then, just before all I can see is the darkness of this thing, it stops so that from the fringes of my sight, I could still see some of the wall and the ceiling and shit. He-he, it, if there is an omniscient being like the devil, I doubt it has a gender-anyway he just stays there so that he is almost all I could see. It doesn’t move any closer. And I can do nothing but lie there and stare at his darkness.

“It never moved again. It just stood there over me as I’m splayed out on the couch. After a while it becomes apparent that nothing is going to happen and there was nothing to do but lay my head down, close my eyes and go back to sleep. And that’s what I did.”

“Jesus, I’m surprised you were even able to go back to sleep. I would have been scared shitless.”

“That’s the weird thing,” he started again, “I was scared but somehow I knew that the only thing to do in that situation was go back to sleep.”

“And you’re positive it wasn’t just a dream?” I asked.

He turned his face away from mine and explained, “I wasn’t so sure at first, but I’ve only told you the half of it. I would have been able to shrug it off as a dream if I weren’t still seeing him.” I stayed silent. “The next morning I woke up and the blackness was gone. Everything in the room was normal. But then I started noticing something: if ever I let my eyes focus on anything for a little while, any time I am at rest, left to my own devices and the silence of my mind, I see him. A blackness not so imposing or large as that night but it’s surely there. A spot of darkness behind everything I see. If I sit and stare long enough, he gets bigger.”

He turned his face back toward me and gazed in my direction intently for a few seconds. I couldn’t resist to ask the obvious question, even though I was frightened to hear the answer and I’m sure he was hesitant to tell me, “Do you see him now?” He maintained eye contact with me and said, “Yes.”

“What does he look like?”

“Like nothing. Like blackness; shapeless but deep blackness.” He broke eye contact with me and looked back in the direction he was sitting, perpendicular to me. “Sometimes I can’t even say that I physically see him, but his impression is there and I’m certain of it. I actually wish I saw him every time because it’s when I can’t see him that is most distressing. I know he’s there whether I can see him or not.”

A better man might know what to say to a loved one that just told him that he sees the devil on a regular basis, but I was at a loss. I’ve heard ghost stories before but nothing like this coming from someone I would consider a very reasonable man, someone that I trusted and frankly, loved.

Indeed, what is there to say? But this is what I ventured: “I can’t imagine how you’ve been dealing with that. But I gotta say, I’ve noticed you’ve kicked it up a notch with the pills and booze.”

He looked back at me and said, “If I focus on anything for too long, in other words, if I’m not distracted, he gets bigger. So, I keep myself distracted.”

“And that helps?” I inquired.

“It does,” he said calmly, “but it use to help me a lot more than it does now. It’s getting worse. It’s getting closer to me. I don’t just see him, he’s in my mind and I can almost feel his weight bearing down on my body. I know I’m not going to be hurt but I know something else, I can just feel it.”

“What?” I asked.

He called me by name and answered, “Somehow, some way, he’s coming for me.”

To this day I couldn’t say with any certainty what he meant by that. All I knew was that I was scared and worried for him. And, as it turns out, I had cause to be. Eight months after we had this conversation, my friend stopped his heart with a lethal mixture of codeine and oxycodone. It wasn’t determined whether it was accidental or intentional. I wept a great deal for my friend but, like he must have, I saw it coming.


Gonzo Part 7

It was 11:15 P.M. and Detective Isaias and Sheriff Lenkley were tying one on at a local dive bar called The Blue Bull. Lenkley knew the place because he passed it everyday on the way to work but he never went in- Gonzo didn’t know what kind of effect alcohol would have on him. It had quite an effect on Isaias apparently however, as the detective was getting sloppy and loose-tongued. After three shots of tequila and two beers he might as well have been an open book.

“I’m Mexican, I take my tequila like water!” He exclaimed loudly at one inebriated point of the night. His accent was becoming more apparent with every drink and every word. Apparently he stifled it on a regular basis, but it was coming out now. “You know, I don’t mean to offend you, but I really can’t stand this city. I mean, I don’t know how people live here, there’s nothing going on, there’s nothing around, there’s nothing to do!” Isaias sloppily stated.

Lenkley responded, “None taken, doesn’t matter to me what piece of earth you insult. All the same to me, but I kinda like it here.” Gonzo had baby-sat one beer the entire two hours they were at The Blue Bull. It didn’t really do anything for him but he liked how cold it was. As the detective became more uninhibited, so did Gonzo but not because he was drunk. He just knew that the detective was so drunk that he couldn’t make any sense of what was being said to him anyway. Gonzo liked this. He decided that he liked being around drunk people. It seemed to afford both the luxury of not having to be careful with what he said and…opportunity. ‘I’ll have to visit bars more often.’ he thought to himself.

“That’s good. It’s important to be comfortable to be happy in your own skin.” The detective said. He switched topics abruptly, “Do you really think there is something up at the Reynolds’ place?” he asked sternly.

Lenkley downed the last of the beer in his glass unpleasantly- it was warm now- and replied solemnly, looking straight into Isaias’ glazed-over eyes, “I really do.”

Detective leaned back slowly and replied, “To be honest, I didn’t think much of it when you mentioned it at the station, but I’m so goddamn eager to get out of this place that I’m willing to try anything.” Gonzo smirked, he knew the feeling. Isaias continued, “I like you Lenkley, you’re a little on the serious side but there’s a sincerity in you and that’s hard to find in this world.”

“You’re not bad yourself, now. At first I kinda thought you were an uptight dick.” Lenkley replied.

Isaias let out a boisterous laugh at this, pounded his fist on the bar and proclaimed, “Ok goddammit, first thing tomorrow I’m gonna do everything I can to get a search warrant from the judge. Fucking worth a shot right?” Lenkley nodded. Isaias continued in a slurred, choked-out Mexican accent, “Anything to close this fucking case- and if this actually leads to something, I will fucking owe you one.” The detective pointed a finger at Lenkley with his last statement. For some reason, Gonzo detested being pointed at.

Lenkley leaned in a bit closer to Isaias and said in a quiet voice, “Did you really not find anything at the hospital?”

“Not a damn thing. Whoever snuffed that fucker out was a real cat burglar.” Isaias answered.

Gonzo stifled a grin. “C’mon, let me give you a lift to your motel.”

Baby Riley had been crying all night and Thomas George was doing his best to pacify his infant son. He carried him in his arms, bouncing him gently as he paced the tiny living room of his apartment. He wanted more than anything to be at The Blue Bull making face-time with Detective Isaias, but he had a wife and kid to go home to. He bitterly imagined the good time Lenkley and Isaias were having while Riley screamed in his ear. George loved his son but resented the fact that Lenkley had no responsibilities that kept him from drinking all night. He was free. George kept thinking of the possibility that Lenkley was the one who committed that grizzly murder. There was no disputing the fact that Lenkley dished out a savage beating on the suspect, so who was to say that he wasn’t also capable of murdering him? Thomas George spent the rest of the night with his thoughts divided between his fatherly duties and finding a way to prove his theory.

The next morning, Lenkley found himself driving to 2154 Lavender Grove Way yet again. He had been summoned in his fourth hour of city patrol by Detective Isaias. When he pulled up to the residence he saw three police cruisers with lights flashing, blocking the street off. The detectives black Crown Vic was among them. Lenkley parked his car and stepped out. He saw Arthur Reynolds and his wife being shoved into separate squad cars, handcuffed. Lenkley found Isaias standing in the dining room of the Reynolds’ house. “I’m assuming I was right?” Lenkley said.

“Fucking right you were!” Isaias responded. Every cop in Carson City was in or around the house, milling about, trying to look busy doing this or that. “We found the murder weapon. You were right, that dog led us right to it. Reynolds buried it under the doghouse. Of course he claimed he had no idea what it was or how it got there.” Both Isaias and Lenkley laughed derisively at this.

“What was it?” Lenkley asked.

“A fucking wood file. Brutal.” Isaias answered.

“Christ.” Lenkley retorted.

“Anyway, this all seems pretty open and shut now. George has the evidence and he is prepping it for the lab as we speak. We’re gonna confirm the blood sample, I’ll be back at the station to write a report, and I should be out of here by tonight.” Isaias was beaming as he spoke, obviously elated by the turn of events. Great police work Sheriff, and listen, I was drunk last night but not that drunk, don’t think I forgot what I said about owing you one. If ever you get the itch for big-city lights and all the fine bitches you can handle, I’ll make sure there’s a place for you at Reno Sheriffs.” Isaias slapped the side of Lenkley’s arm, smiled and walked off to his cruiser. “See you in a bit!” he called back to Lenkley.

Back at the station George was preparing the murder weapon to be sent to the lab. It was an old file about a foot long. It was caked in blood and dirt. George stared at it through the big, transparent, plastic bag it was in. He couldn’t believe Lenkley cracked the case. He hated it. He hated him. As he stared at the file he noticed a faint etching on its wooden handle. George looked closer. “C-A-F” he said aloud to himself. The initials C.A.F. were etched into the wooden handle of the file as if to signify ownership. It was barely visible with all the blood and dirt however. “C-A-F” he said aloud to himself again, “who can that be?” Arthur Reynolds initials were A.R.R. It didn’t make sense, but Lenkley’s initials obviously didn’t match either. ‘Who does this file belong to?’ he asked himself. At that moment Detective Isaias burst through George’s office door.

“The transport is here, that thing ready to go?” he said, looking at the bagged-up file.

“Yeah but I found something here-”

“Don’t wanna hear about it, send that thing out now now now” Isaias interrupted, grabbing the file himself and taking it outside. George went after him but Isaias was already handing it over to the transporter charged with the task of taking the piece of evidence to the forensic lab two towns over. The van sped off and the two men stood watching it disappear in the distance.

George spoke, “Now that the case is closed, how about a victory drink on me tonight at my house?” He figured his wife would not be able to protest when he told her that he was bringing a detective from Reno home with him.

But the detective refuted, “You did good work in this case Thomas but I gotta get back to Reno. Thanks for the invite but I’m gonna have to decline.The results of the blood work, which will no doubt be a match, should get back here in a couple hours, then I’ll write the report, then I’m a ghost.”

“Then how about now. We’ll knock off for a while, they’ll call us when the results are in.” George rebutted.

“Sorry, no can do.” said Isaias, not even offering an excuse. He was already heading back into the station.

“Opportunity was slipping through George’s fingers once again and he exploded, “But you can have a drink with Lenkley!?”

Isaias turned around with a puzzled look of contempt on his face. “Don’t make this awkward George.” and he walked back into the building leaving Thomas George alone, outside.

Three hours passed before the boys at the forensics lab called the station with the results. They were conclusive, the blood on the murder weapon was that of Omar Daniel Ramos, the late home invasion suspect. “Well that’s that!” declared Isaias as he walked into the briefing room to prepare his report. They were all at the station to await the results. The chief, Lenkley, Isaias, and George. The case was all but closed. The detective had only to complete his report then he’d be off. Thomas George was melancholy. Two more hours passed and Detective Efran Isaias was done with his report. He emerged from the briefing room which was serving as his makeshift office, said his goodbyes, and shook hands with the chief, George, and finally Lenkley. “Remember my offer Lenkley, it’ll stand as long as I’m in Reno.” Isaias said as he shook Lenkley’s hand. Then he was gone. George was furious. He could only imagine what Isaias had offered Lenkley.

As Deputy George drove home that night, the letters C-A-F still haunted him. He thought as hard as he could but he couldn’t remember anyone with those initials and he knew pretty much everyone in Carson City. He passed the avenue that led to Lenkley’s weird little shack. Then it hit him. Charles Aaron Foxborough was the man who sold Lenkley that shack when he came to town. George had known the old craftsman, he hung out at the hardware store all the time. The file must have been his and by proxy, Lenkley’s. George immediately pulled a hard U-turn and headed toward Lenkley’s shack. It was time to pay Terrence Lenkley a visit at his home.


Gonzo Part 6

On the ride back to the station, young deputy Thomas George felt dejected and disappointed; their investigation of the hospital room turned crime scene yielded nothing. More importantly, despite his most sincere efforts, he himself was unable to find any leads and prove his worth to Detective Isaias. Isaias himself was perplexed at the crime scene. No fingerprints, no footsteps, and no one of the eight nurses and staff members on duty at the time saw or heard a thing. All there was to go on was a corpse with a jaggedly cut open neck. Whatever the murder weapon was, it wasn’t sharp. Isaias just wanted to get the case solved as soon as possible and get the hell out of Carson City and the day yielded no progress toward that end. Both Isaias and George rode back to the station in silence. Both irritated by the crime for their own separate reasons.

Gonzo knocked on the door of 2154 Lavender Grove Way at about ten A.M. Like all the other residents on that working class street, the home invasion victims were not home- working, naturally. No one answered the door so Gonzo checked in all directions around him to make sure no one was watching then he jumped the fence into their backyard. The first thing Gonzo heard on the other side of the fence was barking. He feared the worst. “Shit!” he whispered softly but emphatically and figured that they must have bought a guard dog after the home invasion. He braced himself and reached for his gun but was put at ease when he saw a Labrador Retriever eying him cautiously from around the corner of the house. It was a large dog, but after a friendly whistle and a few cajoling words from Gonzo, he was letting the intruder in uniform pet him peacefully. Gonzo looked around the backyard and saw a large plastic doghouse. He looked back down at the dog and thought to himself, ‘perfect.’ Gonzo walked over to the doghouse, turned it over and began digging in the dirt beneath it with his hands. The dog watched, apparently puzzled at the queer site of a man digging with his bare hands. After Gonzo got the hole to about a foot in depth, he stood straight, reached into his pants, and produced the bloody file he used to hack the robbers’ neck open. He placed the file in the hole, replaced the dirt on top of it and put the doghouse back in its place. The sun was beating down in full force causing Gonzo to sweat profusely after his labors. He wiped the dirt off his knees and hands. He patted the Labrador on the head, put his finger to his mouth and gave a, “Shhh” to the dog before scaling the fence and leaving.

Back at the station Deputy Thomas George was at his desk writing a brief report on the day’s events. He looked at the picture of his wife that he kept there and gave a defeated sigh as he felt his opportunity and her love slipping away. His thoughts naturally turned to Terrence Lenkley: the man who had originally stolen his opportunity. Then he thought about how bad that corpse had looked in the hospital bed. Then he thought about how bad the suspect looked before he ever got to the hospital. Lenkley had beaten the shit out of him. Supposedly because he pulled a knife on him. Now he was dead. George sat with all these ideas floating around in his head. Then, the ideas gradually started to connect to form a bigger picture. ‘What if’ the deputy mused to himself, ‘what if Lenkley killed this man to keep him quiet about brutalizing him? Maybe he didn’t even have a knife, that would give Lenkley a perfect motive.’ These were revolutionary ideas, and pure conjecture at that so George thought it best to keep them to himself for the time being, but he was tantalized and his resentment for the the man Lenkley made it all the easier for Thomas George to follow his suspicions as far as they could take him.

Lenkley made his rounds in the town for a few hours then returned to 2154 Lavender Grove Way. This time to actually get a statement. The residents were home this time. Julie and Arthur Reynolds; a married couple with no kids. Lenkley was invited in politely and he extracted a statement from the husband and wife. They thanked him for his efforts on the day of the robbery and before he left, Lenkley informed them that the suspect had been killed and that there was an ongoing investigation into his murder. The wife seemed shocked, Arthur seemed indifferent.

At the end of the day, Detective Isaias, Deputy George, and Sheriff Lenkley all convened in the briefing room to pool any information the day had yielded. There wasn’t much to speak of, but before the pow wow was adjourned Lenkley spoke up. “Look it may be nothing but I got a really odd feeling with the Reynolds while I was there getting a statement.”

“Oh yeah? How so?” Isaias replied, seemingly disinterested.

“Well for one thing their dog was going crazy over something the whole time I was there.” Lenkley continued.

“You saw their dog?” interrupted Isaias.

“Yeah I could see it through the back glass door. It was barking and sniffing at its own doghouse as if it had never seen it before.” Lenkley answered. George stood silent listening to the exchange between Isaias and Lenkley, watching them go back and forth. Felling impotent. He had nothing to bring to the table on the investigation and here was Lenkley, the inexperienced drifter he grew to resent more and more each day with what sounded like a lead. “The dog was adamant about something in or around its house the whole time I was there. I don’t know, I guess it could have been a dead lizard or something but-” Lenkley paused, letting his eyes trail off “but when I told them the suspect had been murdered, they got really…flustered. The wife got real jittery and the man’s face kinda glazed over.”

“You told them he was killed?!” Isaias asked incredulously. “Why did you do that?”

“I don’t know, I thought they deserved to know, but they didn’t react the way I expected.” Lenkley answered. Isaias sighed heavily and rubbed his temples. His mind and body were exhausted by the day.

“You shouldn’t have done that Lenkley.” He said in an almost sarcastic tone. George couldn’t stifle a smirk as he drew satisfaction from Lenkley being chastised.

“I’m sorry but like I said, I got a funny feeling. Maybe they’re worth looking into.” Lenkley said sheepishly. George never heard him speak like that before, in that tone.

“Ok I’ll see what I can do about a warrant.” Isaias replied, obviously eager to leave the station. In truth he did want to leave, but he didn’t want to go back to his cracker-box motel room. This investigation was already taking a toll on him and it looked like it would drag on longer than he planned for. As the trio exited the building and walked to their cars, the detective stopped and asked, “Any good bars around here?”

Gonzo Part 5

Deputy Thomas George was wide-eyed as he drove his Ford Explorer to the station on this particular morning. His keen state of mind was uncharacteristic since his shift started at 6 A.M. The sun was barely creeping over the foothills but he was as awake as he’d ever been. He was coming in extra early because he had received a call from the Carson City Police Chief  at about 4 A.M. telling him he had to be at the station to meet a detective from Reno. George incredulously questioned the chief as he lay in bed with the phone to his ear, still half asleep but the chief gave no details, ordered him to be at the station early to meet the detective and stated that he would be informed when he arrived. So Thomas George drove purposefully down one of the two major streets in Carson City that passed through downtown. Thomas George was from Pueblo, Colorado. A man of 29 with a wife and an infant son. He had been a deputy in his hometown of Pueblo but he ventured west when he realized that he and a pool of no less than 25 other young men were gunning for the same career spot in Pueblo: Sheriff. Pueblo is a large town, the kind of town that makes it hard for a young officer trying to make a name for himself, and Thomas George was an ambitious young man. So he packed himself and his then girlfriend up and eventually found Carson City. Carson City was so small and quiet that his experience in law enforcement in Pueblo essentially guaranteed him a nice position at the Carson Sheriff Station. Still, he was only made a deputy. A deputy under one Sheriff Lenkley. George bit his tongue when Lenkley was made sheriff. He resented it. He resented the man who replaced Sheriff White’s geriatric ass when George himself had been in Carson City much longer and had more experience. In fact Lenkley didn’t have any experience in law enforcement at all, he was just a drifter, but somehow smooth talking and charismatic. Two things that George rarely was. He resented him for taking the promise of a better life and career opportunities away from him. These were promises that kept afloat his relationship with his wife, and when Lenkley was swept into office he dashed those hopes and caused the young couple much marital discord. Thomas and Samantha George were wed one month after Thomas was hired as deputy. They were sincerely in love but drunk on the hope of a future that hinged on Thomas becoming sheriff…soon. The swift and decisive manner with which George was hired as deputy gave them every reason to believe that he was on his way up, and fast. Lenkley changed that. George still thought of the night he told Samantha that an out-of-towner named Lenkley was to be made sheriff over him. The affection that stemmed from an unconditional love for him fell from her eyes and he had seen a look on her face he had never seen before, but would grow to become painfully familiar with. It was a look of judgement and disappointment. Especially since that was the night she told him she was pregnant.

George pulled up to the station and saw an immaculate, blacked-out Crown Vic in the parking lot. ‘That’s gottta be him’ he thought to himself. When he walked into the small debriefing room he saw the chief, Lenkley, and the man who must have been the detective. The three of them were speaking quietly and seemed to be wrapping up business when they noticed him. “George, this is special Detective Isaias, the Reno man I told you about.” the chief said. The two shook hands. “Pleasure to meet you, but what’s going on?” asked George. The Chief began to explain but the tall and evidently Hispanic Isaias interrupted him. “A suspect in a recent home invasion case was murdered last night.” The room fell silent. There hadn’t been a homicide in Carson City since George had lived and worked there. “The one from Thursday? The one in the coma? How!? He was in a damn hospital!” George said incredulously. “Someone snuck into his hospital room at around 12:30 last night and cut his throat open, he was still in a coma” detective Isaias answered and handed George a couple glossy photos. The robber lay in his bed, covered from the chest down in blood. His neck had been jaggedly cut open and all manner of blood and innards were spilled out onto his chest. It looked like his neck was making a long, devilish, Joker’s smile. George thought it serendipity that he had no time for breakfast; for he surely would have lost it upon seeing those pictures. “I’ve only done a quick survey of the hospital room but there are no obvious signs of a break-in so far. I will be leading this investigation from here on with Sheriff Lenkley assisting directly under me. I will need your help in this investigation deputy.” The detective looked straight into George’s eyes and spoke clearly and concisely. “I will need your familiarity with the town and its residents.” The detective continued, “You think you can help me?” He spoke to George in the same manner that an adult speaks to a child; Thomas George didn’t notice it because he was in a horrified stupor but he snapped out of it at the detective’s question. A big city detective was asking for his help in solving a murder. Maybe this was his opportunity. “I surely c-can!” George stammered in response. The detective cracked an endeared smile and Lenkley and the chief shared a derisive chuckle. Thomas George was never good in big moments. “Don’t worry,” the chief patted Detective Isaias’ shoulder, “he’s a little wiry but he’s a damn good deputy.” George was embarrassed and irked, he hated being talked down to, ‘especially by people in this goddam town.’ “I’m gonna go get a statement from the home invasion victims.” Lenkley declared. He seemed at ease, leaning his ass against a desk, staring downward with his arms crossed over his chest the whole time. “Ok, the deputy and I are gonna go back to the hospital to follow up and probe the scene a bit more” the detective said. “Alright, go get ’em boys!” the chief exclaimed, and they were off.

Deputy George rode with Detective Isaias in his specially outfitted Crown Victoria. “How long have you been with Carson City Sheriff?” The detective made conversation. “About five years. My wife and I came here from Colorado when I was 24.” Thomas answered. He let some quiet air pass between them before he found the wording to ask the question he had on his mind. “No offense, but why did Reno send you? Is this case expected to be a complicated one?” The detective laughed behind his mirrored aviator sunglasses, never taking his eyes off the road. It was now 7 A.M. and the sun was already beaming strong. It was going to be another sweltering day. “No not particularly. At least I hope not. To be honest the only reason they sent me is because the deceased perp was wanted for grand larceny after making off with 3,000$ worth of chips at a casino in Reno.” Isaias paused. “And they just wanted me to tie up the loose ends and close the case on this…unfortunate asshole.” He paused again, “and they wanted to make sure someone does a decent job of it all. Mind you I don’t share their opinion, I’m sure you guys are capable of doing a fucking bang-up job and frankly, I don’t want to be here any more than you guys want me here.” that last part was actually true. Detective Efran Isaias resented the fact that the higher-ups sent him to this ‘fucking hick-town.’ He hated small towns like Carson City and wanted to nail the culprit and get back to Reno as soon as possible. “Still, there seemed to be little to go on when I saw the hospital room earlier” the detective continued “That’s why we’re going back there. I need your fresh eyes. Maybe you’ll see something I didn’t.” George nodded excitedly at this. He felt like the detective was patronizing him with that last statement but he didn’t care, he was determined to find something and show his worth to the big-city detective.

On the other side of the town Gonzo stood atop the butte he visited often and was laughing like a jackal. He looked down at loathsome Carson City and doubled over in laughter at it. He didn’t know why, but all he could do was laugh, and he was cackling like a fresh lobotomy patient at the circus. He hadn’t felt this good since…well since he killed that hobo in Barstow or when he first escaped. He lit a cigarette and hiked down the hill, still chuckling to himself. It had been about two hours since he left the station. He was supposed to be getting a statement  from the robbery victims but he felt to good to be doing any work. He felt no presence of Lenkley in him. Things were easy and his plan for continued freedom was in motion. Less than 24 hours ago he was in a literal bloody mess. Anxious and feeling out of control, he felt like Lenkley would pull hard enough to rid himself of his unholy invader at any moment, but that was before he took down a mountain lion that had to have weighed at least 120 lbs and then crushed its bones with a blunt mallet. Then calm returned to him; clarity, then finally, inspiration. At present he felt like a million bucks despite the fact that it was 75 degrees at nine in the morning. He climbed back into his cruiser unable to wipe the smile from his face and headed towards his home. Once there he retrieved the old woodworkers filing tool, caked in blood. Back in his cruiser he headed toward 2154 Lavender Grove Way. It was time for the second phase of his plan.

Gonzo Part 4

Gonzo stood before his mirrored medicine cabinet in the bathroom of his one bedroom shack. It was an old woodworkers shack that stood between the hilly outskirts of town and the outermost ramshackle tenements and meth-houses of Carson City. The old owner had outfitted it with a bathroom as he spent most of his time working there, away from a wife he grew to resent more and more each day. By the time Gonzo drifted into town the man was too old to be doing much woodworking with his feebled arthritic hands and Gonzo spotted the solitary shack on one of his initial surveyances of Carson City from his sanctuary butte. After a few inquiries around town, he was soon afforded an audience with the old craftsman who owned it. Without much fuss (Gonzo’s preferred method of operation) or cost, the shack shifted ownership to Terrance Lenkley. It was perfect. Far enough from the few meager lights and goings on of Carson City, and close enough to the foothills and wildlife that Gonzo loved to hunt and slaughter. Only now, Gonzo figured, he’d have to find another tool to gut coyotes and wild boars since he planted his knife on the man he apprehended and beat to a bloody pulp as evidence. The old shack was strewn with all manner of viable replacements however, so Gonzo was not too worried.

At present he stood, carefully threading a needle through the flesh just above his eyebrow. He had already stitched up his thigh and was now intently staring at his wounded forehead in the mirror in an attempt to close the wound up. If he could have his own way, Gonzo would simply let the wounds fester and close up on their own, but he knew he would never hear the end of it at the station or around town. So there he was, sewing, ‘like a damn pansy’ he thought to himself, thoughtlessly piercing flesh over and over with a long needle and pulling the wound shut tight as he went. It was a good job, Gonzo figured, one that was obviously done without the assistance of a doctor, but also one that would satiate any concerns of the townspeople. Namely, Thomas George, the deputy. The lovely pain of stitching his own skin up without any numbing agents was an adequate but transitory distraction from wondering if the deputy believed his story or not. It weighed on Gonzo’s consciousness from the moment he drove away from that bloody scene to his office to fill out all that damnable paperwork. Gonzo had always been perplexed by the insatiable compulsion that humans had of documenting everything. At any rate, the situation oppressed him even as he arrived at his minimalist quarters. When he did arrive home, he popped a cigarette in his mouth, lit up, and immediately began perforating his skin with needle and thread. But now he was done with that and had to convince himself one way or the other that no one would suspect that the sheriff mercilessly and savagely brutalized an unarmed culprit into unconsciousness. Unconsciousness. “Awww shit!” Gonzo shouted as it just occurred to him that the criminal would sooner or later come to and be able to tell his own side of the story. This realization sent Gonzo into a frenzy and he began hurling Lenkley’s body all around the tiny bathroom. Smashing the mirror, punching a hole in the shoddy drywall, howling like a wolf all the while. He thrashed about and slammed himself against the wall of his adjoining bedroom. He stopped and slid down the now dented wall into a seated position. He perched another Red between his lips and torched it. He drew the toxic smoke as deep into Lenkley’s lungs as he possibly could and held it there until his eyes reddened and he let out a long dragon’s breath. Of course, it would be a criminal’s word against the sheriff’s but it would only serve to cultivate the seeds of suspicion that may already be planted in Deputy Thomas George’s mind. As he sat on the dingy carpet floor of his little isolated shack, forearms resting on raised knees, it occurred to Gonzo that he may have to take another life. The life of a criminal who will no doubt give a very different account of what went down that day.

Gonzo never knew anything about death except that it relieved him immensely to take a life. He had never been alive so he could never have died. Though, he figured, it must be a terrifying experience as he recalled the eyes of the transient he choked to death with his bare hands in Barstow. He never took his own eyes off of the old hobo’s and they seemed to beam out a primal pleading. A bare bones, desperate begging that masked the basest of black fears. The kind of stare that was indicative of only the most extreme poles of human awareness. The kind of stare Gonzo would never forget. Though he had a front row seat to it in the past, he never understood it. He had no idea what it was like for Lenkley or where Lenkley even was. He considered that Lenkley was conscious in his own body somewhere but unable to gain any control. This seemed most likely since Gonzo could feel something tugging at him and vying for control more and more recently. That possibility frightened Gonzo. What would happen to him if Lenkley ever fought hard enough to gain control? It couldn’t be pretty. Maybe Lenkley’s soul had taken Gonzo’s place in hell. Or maybe he was in some kind of limbo being tortured as a soul with no home.These were all thoughts that raced through Gonzo’s consciousness by way of Lenkley’s brain. A seized puppet brain. The fact that Gonzo was even pondering such things caused him great concern because he knew that if he had thorough control, these thoughts would not be worth thinking.

Gonzo’s panic ceased for a moment. All this thought about killing and death had stirred something up in his gullet. A stony expression glazed over Gonzo’s face and he reached under his bed and pulled out the lock box that contained his model 84 Kimber rifle. He slung the ever-loaded rifle over his shoulder and scanned the room for a moment. He walked over to an old cabinet that the elderly craftsman had left there. He knelt down, and opened it up to find a plethora of old rusted tools. Gonzo felt an erection tighten his trousers and he couldn’t refrain from licking his lips. He was like a kid looking under the tree on christmas morning. Finally he settled on a sharp filing tool about a forearm in length, and a dirty handheld mallet. He stood up and tucked both items into the waist of his olive green police uniform trousers and walked out into the Carson City darkness. He stood for a moment breathing in the cold, thin, air, savoring it in his nostrils. “Happy hunting” he whispered to himself.

Gonzo Part 3

Gonzo dragged Lenkley’s body through every obstacle the home invader threw at them. First was a 5-foot brick wall that led to a residential side-yard. Second was an 8-foot wooden fence that landed them in someone’s back yard, and this someone had a big chained up dog. A large, barking doberman whose throaty yelps produced an initially high-pitched scrape, then a low-pitched boom. It seemed to Gonzo that he was running through this back yard forever and the barking pierced him and threw him into a frenzy. Much like the siren of his squad car. All he wanted to do now was collapse on the ground and breathe, but he saw the culprit less than 30 feet away, running through yet another narrow side-yard and onto the open street. Gonzo pulled himself together and proceeded the chase. The suspect was sprinting like an Olympic track star down a residential street parallel to Lavender Grove Way toward an adjoining main street with a strip mall at the corner. If the suspect was running at the speed of an Olympian, then Gonzo was running at the pace of a madman who just escaped from an asylum…this, ironically was not far from the truth. Gonzo soon caught up with him near the grocery store in the plaza. He made a final desperate lunge at the criminal, like a rabid dog wild-eyed and practically foaming at the mouth. This was Gonzo’s final trump card so he hoped like hell that he could make it far enough to tackle the perpetrator. It was a final gamble he had to take.

It paid off. Gonzo was now atop the stunned and exhausted criminal in a lonely alley beside the scarcely patronized grocery store. Gonzo found himself in a peculiar position. Lenkley’s body was emitting large quantities of adrenaline for Gonzo to feed on. This coupled with Gonzo’s now familiar spirit of panic and confusion caused him to finally snap. Gonzo went snow blind, he no longer believed that he was on earth inside his host, he felt like he was back in the place he had escaped. He was thrashing and growling like a wild beast.

All the while Gonzo was enthralled in this personality and location crisis, he was unaware of what his earthly man-host’s body was doing. Sheriff Terrance Lenkley’s six foot 215 lb frame sat straddled on top of the defenseless home invader , and was mercilessly pummeling him with bare fists. He was swinging in a frenzied panic while blow after blow of brutal pugilism landed. Gonzo attacked and snarled with the craze of a mother gorilla killing a cheetah that tried to make off with one of her young. Lenkley’s fists moved in synchronized hay-making strides, each one recoiling covered in the perpetrator turned victim’s blood. Each bash broke the burglars face until all that was left was a bloody, pulvarized, hamburger patty in the shape of a human face.

Gonzo’s thrusts on the tenderized cranium that lay before him began to weaken and slowed to an eventual halt. He was back. Here, on the earthly plain of humanity. Breathing heavily but thinking in a calmer mode he thought ‘Was I really gone?’ He felt strangely satiated as he saw Lenkley’s bloodied lacerated hands. That’s when he realized that he had never left.

‘What the fuck did Lenkley do? What the fuck did I do?!’

He stood up and it all came rushing back to him. He recognized the clothes of the man he was standing over. He had been chasing this criminal, and he had been wailing on his face until it was unrecognizable. It all happened too quickly to realize and was veiled in a haze of feral brutality that completely clouded consciousness. Nonetheless, Gonzo snapped and lost all cool.

Gonzo produced a knife that he always kept in his sock (mainly to keep it handy should the urge to slice the flesh of some livestock ever become too strong to resist) and planted it in the hand of the man that lay bleeding and gasping for air on the floor. Then, he called for an ambulance. ‘I have to get my story straight’ he feverishly thought to himself. Then he picked up the knife and gave himself a few deep cuts on his brow, arms, thigh and torso. He wiped the handle of the 5 inch fixed blade knife on his pants so as to wipe away any evidence that he himself had ever handled it and put it back in the limp hand of the suspect who now appeared to be unconscious. Gonzo plopped  down on the floor, sat up against the wall of the alley whose inanimate concrete structure was the only witness to the savage scene that had just taken place, and waited.

“What a horrible fucking mess. I blew it.” He muttered to himself. Then in a frustrated rage he yelled out, “I can’t go back! I won’t!”

The ambulance arrived and so did the deputy. As the paramedics lifted the unconscious body of the home invader onto the stretcher, Gonzo could see the look of disgust that contorted their faces as they observed the awful, bloody condition of the man’s face. One paramedic who was not tending to the criminal stepped up to Sheriff Lenkley and looked him over. “You should probably come with us too Sheriff, so we can look at those cuts.”

“No, no I’m fine, they’re just skin deep. I’ll be fine, trust me.”

“Some of them seem to be bleeding pretty profusely” the young paramedic remarked pointing at the Sheriff’s left brow and thigh that each produced a thick, velvet-colored flow of blood. “At least let us clean and dress them.”

“Trust me, I insist, I’m fine. I can take care of this stuff on my own.” Lenkley replied. Gonzo was faintly aware that somehow, some people- he didn’t know whether they were doctors, paramedics, nurses, forensic experts, or whatever-could tell when wounds are self-inflicted. He was not taking any chances. The paramedic shrugged and jumped in the back of the ambulance with his colleagues who had already loaded the destroyed culprit and were tending to him. The only person who remained was the deputy, Thomas George. “You sure your ok?” The deputy asked Lenkley.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” Lenkley replied, still exasperated. He stood there with his hands on his hips, breathing harder than he really needed to so as to buy himself time. He felt the deputy’s eyes looking him up and down and could feel that he was waiting for an explanation, or at least an entertaining story. Gonzo sensed no suspicion from the deputy, but neither did he sense a convincing amount of trust from Deputy George. Gonzo thought quickly and haphazardly fed a story of criminal violence and self-defense to the deputy who simply nodded his head in apparent belief.