What Happened to John

by Najla Brown 

I saw it fuckin’ peel John like a grape, but no one will believe me. It took one long, scythe-like claw and separated skin from flesh so fast I thought I’d imagined it.

Then John hit the ground. All capillaries and no face.

Have you ever heard a freshly skinned body slap against the pavement? It sounds like the shit they slop on your tray going through a cafeteria line, but the thing wasn’t done yet.

It slipped into John’s skin like a hospital gown, tying his hair together to keep the halves closed. It took everything off his back. His shirt, his pants, his fucking back, before dragging his body into an alley and walking out wearing John’s face.

I didn’t stick around to see where it went after that. The next thing I know I’m coming to in my bed wearing piss-stained jeans, stem still in hand.

That was the last time I saw John’s face until it popped up again on the news. Apparently, he had a family. They filed a missing person’s report, and the cops are asking for any information related to his disappearance.

But I’m not telling those pigs anything. It’s not like they’re going to believe me. Hell, I don’t even believe me. I was high when I saw it, and I’ve been real slow to touch the shit since.

I’ve been going to NA meetings to help me through most of it. It relaxes me to be around other people. I keep hoping maybe I’ll see John again. That’s how we met in the first place. I guess we both kind of fell off the wagon, but seeing him would prove that I hallucinated the whole thing, and I really need that right now.

I keep having dreams of that fucking thing coming for me, reaching out with those blood-stained razor blades, darkness peering out from behind the fleshy eye holes that used to be John’s face. Each night it gets closer like tunnel vision closing in until it’s all I see. When it got close enough for me to count the spots John missed when he shaved that morning, I started taking Adderall to keep me up at night.

I’m almost positive all this shit is in my head, but I can’t talk to anyone about what happened without getting dragged away in a strait jacket. Besides, the Adderall is helping. I almost feel like my old self again. I even went out to the bar with a couple of buddies. We got a little sloppy, and I ended up leaving with the bartender.

I don’t know if it was the sex or the booze, but I slept like a baby that night. I guess she thought I did pretty alright too because she told me to stop by the bar anytime. I decided to take her up on that. It was nice to have a place to go that wasn’t a fucking NA meeting.

I started off swinging by a couple nights a week. I’ve been sleeping fine since meeting her. No nightmares, just dreams about splaying her out across the bar. I told her about those dreams. She said she’d let me do it too, but she’d have to be fucked up.

I knew what she meant.

I haven’t been in touch with my guy for a while, but he didn’t ask any questions when I went to pick up the stuff. I didn’t see any harm in testing the shit out before I met up with Sherry at the bar, so I ducked into public bathroom to have a taste.

The Adderall was one thing, but god, did I miss this. I couldn’t even remember why I stayed away so long until I stepped out of the stall and saw fucking John’s face.

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