It is the type of inebriation that creeps up upon the inebriated like a slow boil. As the drinker slurps and gurgles, he may feel fine, normal, until his cheeks redden and heat like a Russian doll. The tipsiness lags behind actual quantity consumed, as does full fledged drunkenness, so that one may have consumed too much cheap beer but may not realise until one has consumed more than too much. But so is the price on this night, when John had it coming in spades and alcohol was the only painkiller he could afford. Timed to perfection and perfected with time, his beating left him dead to the living, invisible and rank with liver fuel.
“Mars is red like my blood tonight, too close to the earth like muh-my body.”
Click, click, click and the screech of a door with a loose top-hinge, the bottom rim scraping on sterilised tile.
“Doctor, he’s awake.”
Gunshots pop outside John’s mind, ratatatat, loud, multiple, unreal. The end of the world. Missiles scream above, explosions rock the building. John can hear his children scream, so far away for a broken body to crawl, might as well hold onto floor in case the planet rolls over.
“Save yourselves children as I don’t have the inclination to risk myself for perhaps nothing.”
“There is no correlation between pain and numbness.”
“They co-exist though our intuition may not agree.”
“Muh-my face hurts.”
“I can’t feel my face.”
The nurse dabs at Johns chin, swollen, bruised, disfigured and purple. Old wounds twist mouth and deepen sockets, flatten nose and cauliflower ears. His scalp lines his hair, old scars deadening skin, killing follicles, telltale signs of abuse, old but permanent, reminders of life. She frets over this stranger, her forehead lined with familiar rolls and bumps, her nose curling with well used muscles. She frets tonight over this man like she has over others before, but her heart is irregular, unlike before. Outside kids scream at old folks trying to survive, but she can only hear his breathing.
She has no time to work out, her body an innocent victim of her occupations drive-by shooting. Strong legs and weak arms, air tied tight in a bun surrounded by clinical net, wide hips but firm buttocks. Her ankles remain out of portion to her calves, thick enough to be distracting, though her toes cramped in regulation footwear make an effort to usurp their throne. Self-conscious to the last. Who looks at her feet but an intimate lover?
Johns’ hand squeezed hers tight, his functioning eye focused on her chest, which tightened when she noticed him staring.
“What happened to you?”
“Muh-my face… people don’t like it.”
Age old scars, telltale signs, not of beatings and abuse but disfigured from birth. John was born abnormal, an irregularity during the conception, brothers dick in sisters cunt. A trip down the stairs for good luck. John had it all, a curved spine, an umbrella brow, too many teeth and too little brains. Just enough lumps, bumps and eleventh digits. Not to forget a beating or two for accentuation.
“Oh… I’m so sorry.”
His mouth tightened as he spoke, words flowing through a porthole on his face, each syllable lilted, curling at the end. Both cheeks sucked into his face. Speaking was a problem for him but evidently the least so. He needed assistance to sit up and she provided such without consideration for her own body as she wrapped her arms around his back and pressed her breast against his face.
“Is that better?”
Nurse Nightingale, lovely nurse, worried for his safety ahead of her own on this night of thieves and scoundrels, she cares for John for reasons more than her job.
“I’m late”, he says, “I’m late to meet my kids. My two precious boys will hate me more.”
John rubs his wristwatch, his fingers shaking, his bones rattling.
“Your watch is wrong.” She says. “The clocks went back an hour, two days ago.” She says. “You have time to see your boys.”
“What night is tonight? I am confused.”
John fidgets on his bed, his eyes darting about hospital room, searching his mind. But for what? Excuses, platitudes and escape routes or perhaps a link to the real.
“Tonight is Halloween, the night of lost souls. Can you not hear the bangers, the sparklers, the fireworks?”
“Yes, I can hear them, like I hear my soul rattling, like I hear my bones creaking, like I hear my world dieing. I hear them in my mind like they existed nowhere else.”
She moves around him, clasping him at the shoulders, staring him in his open eye, the gateway to his fractured mind.
“They are outside. They cannot get you here.”
She brings his face close to her thighs, almost lovingly, his neck stiff with shock, his mouth loose.
“Rest here. I will mind you. Shhhh.”
He looses himself in the perfume of her crotch, the scent of her uniform, forgetting his own malformed bones and skin in her smooth fingers and soft words. His children wandering to the back of his mind as this nurse prods his consciousness and reality with her practiced ways.
“I can show you love you have never felt, love you realised existed. I can show you humanity.”
He nestles his nose deep into the groove of her white pants. He draws his hand under her shirt, caressing the grooves of her spine. He sighs relieved, a swell in his old trousers.
“You have never been loved.”
And inside the voyeurs mind, sight viewed through two-way mirror, turmoil exists, alone and uncompromised. Money spent on live smut, two adults consenting, but not a freak and nurse. How can one love such a monster, not even human, such a freak, such an animal. How can she bring herself to let him inside her? A monster of such magnitude that he is beaten by normal folk, crippled and violated. Less than human. Sub-monster. The voyeur watches the intimate couple reluctantly, with shame but lust, thick pants. The voyeur excuses his own morals, leaves them at the door, so that climax can be achieved even if at such a price. To loose himself in this sight, the one-way view of a woman and freak, he feels self-abused and alone. But he finishes and leaves, the nurse still relieving the ogre of his junk.