The Scorpion Says
He will come for me if I speak. I just know it. But Nylah, she's so lovely. She says she's on my side and that she'll help me with anything. I want to believe her so badly, but I can't. I can't. He will kill her too. Then that will be my fault for bringing her in. If I speak to her, I'll be putting her in danger, also. My face is getting red. I can feel it. I start seeing little white stars flash before my eyes. I need to relax and think. What should I do? No one believes me that he is still alive. I know he is. I've seen him late at night, and he watches me. He sees everything, and he'll see me talk. He's been here, and he already threatened me. He tried to kill me.
Should I trust her? These doctors all think I'm crazy. They're always pumping me full of all these meds and shocking me. I hate Dr. Rockleigh. I want to give him some of his own medicine one day. He treats me differently when the other doctors aren't looking. He hurts me and gives me stuff that makes me feel so sick. He comes into my room late at night. He gives me lousy medicine; the other doctors and Nurse Etta don't know that he does this. He tells me not to say anything to them. Then he laughs because he knows I won't speak to anyone anyway.
Maybe I should tell Nylah about everything. Bobby. Dr. Rockleigh. Everything. She'll believe me and not think I'm crazy like everyone else does. What if Bobby kills her too? Then me? He said he would, and I've seen what he can do. If he did that at ten, I don't want to know what he can do now, at nineteen. But I'm thirteen now, though. Not four. Maybe I can fight him? Perhaps I can win?
"H-H-Here. C-C-Come." I whisper so low that no one could hear me.
My voice sounds weird to me. I've barely heard it my entire life. I haven't said a word since I babbled as an infant. Even when alone, I'm quiet.
The shocks hurt so bad. I can't see much of anything, but I know there's someone else standing here with Dr. Rockleigh. I can see four legs because of the slight slip of the blindfold they have on me. I can't hear too much either, between the constant bolts of electricity running through my neurons. I listen in. They're talking about money. Dr. Rockleigh discusses saving money using a cheaper, experimental treatment instead of the approved, more expensive one.
He isn't telling the medical board that he uses the cheaper, experimental one, so he gets the funding for the approved and more expensive one and pockets the rest.
I've been getting electroshock therapy pretty much from day one here. Not the approved one. The treatment they give me is experimental. I've been his guinea pig. We all are here. They think it's going to help me speak. Rewire my brain to a 'normal' brain. You should check your brain because shocking people isn't normal. It isn't right.
At one point, I was starting to feel a bit better, and I made the mistake of telling someone that. The moment Dr. Rockleigh found out, he put an end to that real quick. My progress, however little it was at that time, dropped within a few days.
He was coming in after the nurses left and injecting me with something. I don't know what it is, but I do know I immediately felt sick afterwards. Very sleepy and sometimes even very angry and irritated. I snapped on Nurse Etta once because of it, and they locked me away all alone for almost two whole weeks. There weren't any windows where they put me, and I couldn't see or hear anyone else. I thought I was going to die. They only gave me bread, a hard cheese slice, and water daily for the two weeks. If I complained, I didn't even get that.
There she is, the most beautiful girl ever. How have I lived without her for so long already? I walk up and hug her and give her a peck on the forehead. As usual, she smells like a garden of roses. She's a rose that grew from concrete. That's what she is—my rose.
We continue to walk past the new expensive condos.
"Imagine living here?" I ask.
"They're nice, but a bit much. Don't you think?" Nylah asks me.
"Not too much for the yuppies who live here, right?" I say, spinning and laughing.
I end up face first, into the chest of said yuppy.
"Are you calling me a yuppy, dick?" asks Ducas.
"Hey, he was just kidding around, Ducas," says Nylah, "Let's just go, Malachi. I really don't want to be around this jerk."
"Oh, what's wrong, baby? Didn't you have a good night at my party? Thanks for coming. Sorry that you didn't come, Malachi. Or did you?" Ducas says while snickering.
She was wrong. I mean it. Every word. Fucking douchebag this guy is. I don't like him, and what does he mean by that, anyway? Nylah hasn't said much about that night. She said that something came up and she had to go and see her dad right away. I didn't ask her anything else about it. I'm not particularly eager to pry. I know that she has a lot going on right now with her family, school and work. I don't want to be that guy that is nosy as fuck and crowds her. I like to give her space.
"Go fuck yourself, you broke ass loser!" he shouts. Pushing me.
Malachi stumbles back but doesn't fall. He lunges forward at Ducas. Punching him square in the jaw. Ducas smirks and rubs his chin, as cocky as can be. As though the punch did nothing. He laughs.
"Nylah, you should get a man who can defend you because this one has no punch. Your boyfriend's a broke-ass, pussy. I hope you have a little more fight in you because you're probably going to need it if this is your knight in shining armour. I'm sure you'll be all right, though; from what I remember from the other night at the party, you do have a little spunk in you."
"Go fuck yourself, Ducas! He's more man than you'll ever be. Money can't buy that. That's what bothers you; you can't buy this woman or be that man," Nylah spits back at him. "You can only take her and pretend to be him," she starts crying and runs away down the street.
Ducas acts as though he's been fake shot.
"Ouch. Right in the feels that I don't have," Ducas sarcastically says while grabbing his chest and walking the other way.
"I'll see you around, eh?" I threaten and give him the finger.
What did Nylah mean by that? You can only take her?
"Oh, you will," Ducas agreed. "you will."
I struggle to get my key in the keyhole. Shit. Did I put away my dirty drawers in the bathroom? I haven't had a girl here for so long. Did Kingston leave his porn mags on the table? Fuck. Open the door, Malachi. She's just standing here waiting.
"Sorry, it sticks sometimes." I lie.
I just don't want her to see how nervous I am. I never get like this around girls. What's up, man?
I finally get the key in the hole and open the door. I immediately look around for anything horrible that will seal my fate as a complete and utter slob. I see nothing yet.
"Sorry about the mess," I say, embarrassed. "Kingston leaves his shit everywhere when he's here," I explain.
"That's OK, don't worry about it. I'm not here to judge you."
And she wasn't. But I still care what she thinks about me. I don't want her to think I'm a slob. I'm not. I've just been busy, and Kingston does leave his shit everywhere, but touch one thing out of place at his castle and watch out.
She runs up and kisses me. It tastes as sweet as strawberries. I kiss her back and lay her down on my bed. I want this to be special. I hope Kingston doesn't come home.
"What did Ducas mean by that? What did you mean by that," I ask her. She ignores my questions.
"I need you, Malachi. I need you to make love to me. Right now," she says. She starts taking off her clothes.
"Are you sure about this, Nylah? Are you sure this is what you want?"
She doesn't answer and starts taking off my pants, too.
"Just make love to me, hold me, and don't ask me why, OK?
How could I say no to such an angel? I love you, Nylah Diamond. I love you. If only I could tell you. And I want this, too.
"You think it's safe to come out yet, Bobby?" asks Ducas.
If he knew what was coming, he wouldn't be rushing me. Dumb fuck.
I touch my back pocket to ensure the vice-grip pliers I stole from the maintenance room are still there. They are. I can't let Ducas see this bulge. He'll think it's money and that I'm holding out on him. I don't need the extra drama from this dullard. I've got to stay focused. It's almost time for part two of my plan, where we part ways and come together, Ducas.
"Check the backseat of the car to see if there's anything else back there that we should bring," I say.
Ducas walks over to the car, opens the door and leans in. I crack him in the back of the head with the pliers, hard. He tries to turn around and run, but I do it repeatedly until his face looks like spaghetti. His fat body falls limp and makes a thud as he drops next to the back door of the car. I flip him over on his back and open his mouth. One by one, I start to pull out his teeth. Easy peasy. The hard part is doing this to myself next. I'll do what it takes. Whatever it takes.
It doesn't take me too long to rip his teeth from his gums. I climb up to the second level of the barn. I pull open a door that doesn't even look like it's there. It opens. There sit four jugs of my Pa's moonshine. Still here. Like I knew it would be. I blow the dust off one of the bottles and pick it up. It'll have to do. I take a swig and rinse out my mouth. Lucky for me, I had a few teeth knocked out in fights over the years and had another couple rotted out from my candy addiction. I've had them pulled. I don't have a mouthful, but it doesn't make this any easier, nonetheless.
I feel the cold metal touch the side of my lip as I put the pliers in my mouth. I search for the first tooth to go. I grip it and yank, and I immediately feel my mouth fill up with blood. I spit it out, gag and grab the moonshine. I take another swig and swish it around. It fucking burns. I can get through this. I have to.
I do it over and over until I'm as gummy as your grandma. All I can taste is metal and blood. I look at the pile of my teeth on the ground next to the accumulation of Ducas's teeth. His were so much whiter because he actually brushed his. I climb back down the ladder and run over to his body on the ground next to the car. I pull his fatass into the backseat. I lay him on his back, and I open his mouth. I take my pile of teeth and drop them into his mouth, and shut it. I bolt back up and grab the other bottles of moonshine, and then I run back to the car.
I start pouring the moonshine all over him and all over the car. I run behind the barn to the barrels I know are still there—barrels of gasoline for Pa's tractor. Five of them are sitting there, waiting for me. I roll them into the barn, one at a time and place them around the car. I use the screwdriver I brought in my other pocket to pop the lids off. I take off Ducas's shirt and rip it and soak it in gasoline. I stuff the ripped piece into the neck of the moonshine bottle and proceed out of the barn. I need to make sure I'm far enough away and can run to safety in time.
I turn around, face the barn, and I take a deep breath; feet don't fail me now. I take out my lighter, and I light the end of the ripped shirt sticking out of the end of the bottle. It quickly ignites, and I toss it, aiming for the open back door of the car. It makes it in, and Ducas, the vehicle, and the barrels all go up in one big whoosh. I run.
I run faster than I've ever run in my life. I can hear it crackling behind me. I need to make it to that river. I barely make it in before I hear the giant explosion. I see the orange glare in front of me on the water right before I break the surface of it. I sink and hold my breath. I can feel the heat from the fire through the water. I see the light from the flames. It reflects on the surface above me. I need to swim. I need to swim and get out as far as I can. People will come soon. They'll find Bobby Blake, dead in an explosion, in his old family's barn. Probably Suicide. Ducas is still missing. I'm Ducas now. Bobby is over, and that ID is back at the barn. With my teeth. They will never find Ducas's teeth. Ever. His methed out brother is the only family he has left, and if I have to, I'll kill him too, if he comes pokin' around. While Ducas slept last night, I wrapped the money in plastic bags and put it back in the knapsack, so it should be safe from the water.
I swim as far as I can to the other side and climb out, soaked, into a marshy, cattail filled area. I keep sinking in, but I push on. I've got money. It's enough to pay someone to help me get my new ID. I have to find someone who values money over morals. It shouldn't be hard. I walk deeper into the woods, looking for a place to make a shelter and hideout until morning. It's cold. I'm freezing. Still, I push on. I start collecting branches and sticks to make a roof for myself. It's going to be a long night. In the morning, I will wake as Ducas Pope. Bobby blake is dead to me.
The night feels eerie, and there's a cold, damp chill in the air. I feel it deep in my antique bones.
I sure hope Claude does what I ask him, should it come to that. There's something about this case that gives me the creeps. I can't help but poke around because something doesn't sit right with me. I've thought about leaving it alone, but something deep within my gut tells me not to let it go. I shuffle around my papers, looking for the one I need; it's the evidence report collected at the barn explosion scene. That poor boy had so many issues, too, but Billy's issues often pushed them to the back burner.
I need to have another look at the physical evidence. Something caught my eye the other day, but I didn't get a chance to go back and look due to the assault. My eyesight hasn't been excellent, but I'm hoping it's good enough now to do what I need to do. I'll also ask Claude for a second opinion. If I'm right, this will change everything. If I'm right, it'll mean Billy may not be as delusional as everyone thinks.
"I need to call Claude and set up another meeting," I say aloud.
Oh, yes! I remember where I've left the report. I rush down the hall to the last classroom I was in most previously; I've left the report in there. I don't remember shutting the lights off in here, though; so odd. I pull open the heavy classroom door and turn on the lights.
It's then, to my dismay, I notice Dr. Flannigan. She hangs from a rope by her feet. Her throat is slit, and there's blood pooling beneath her dangling head, which is only held on by some flesh and her spine. She's been murdered, and the report is gone. I fumble for my cellphone to call the Police, and I drop it. I hear some glass shatter down the hallway, but I don't see anything, so I quickly shut and lock the classroom door and run into the supply closet.
"Police? I'm Dr. Hans Simpson, at Riverside University. There has been a murder, and I think the murderer may still be here. Please, hurry. I could be next!" I whisper with urgency.
I hear another smash. Damnit! I should have shut the light back off. Whoever it is, is going to know I've been here—the door handle wiggles. I hear pounding and kicking, then silence. What did I get myself into with this boy? I hope the Police get here soon.