Walls are barriers to keep the empty from the full. There is always one side to a wall that is poor and void of anything worth notice, and another one holding precious and dear things in. This is why houses are so sought-after: So many two-sided barriers, so many precious things inside, so much to collect, so much to lose.
I stared at the brick wall. The seams were moving ever so slightly, following the pull of passing car lights like flowers followed the sun. In the darkness, it was all too visible, even better than in the daylight. It also made it way more creepy for me. Other people didn’t see it for what it really was, they called it ‘physics of light’, but I did. I was sweating profusely as I watched some stones bend forward, some bend backward, like a corn field in the wind, and I knew. I knew that something dark had passed this wall, and maybe even the one on the other side of the street, and I was very sure that it was a bad sign for the remainder of my evening.
My breath became shorter and gaspy, but I tried to keep it quiet. If I only made low panic sounds, the rustling of late-winter leaves and the constant hum of the cars would drown my whimpering out, and nobody would find out. And maybe if I didn’t move, that unholy movement in the bricks would go away? But if I didn’t move I would starve to death, or freeze to death, or die of thirst… oh, there were so many different possibilities for perishing, just because of this one dark spot.
A hand hit the back of my head none too softly.
“Crave!” a female voice hissed, but the pain helped more than her noisy voice. I could finally look away from that bad, bad wall. I used my newfound freedom to turn around and stare at the woman’s breasts, drawing in deep, controlled breaths, just as I had learned at the nuthouse— pardon my language, clinic. It helped with keeping my panic attacks in check, but it didn’t make the fear go away. It never did, so I didn’t bother trying.
“Please call me Bart,” I mumbled, shifting my weight from one foot to the other. I had seen her face before, and it was like the wall. Not good. Really not good. It looked like rotten meat, half-eaten by rats and worms and burnt with a flame-thrower. Nobody but me could see it, to everyone else she probably looked like any other burnt-out street walker, but I saw. All that was left of her human face were her thin, angry lips and her chin. I didn’t want to risk another glimpse at the horror before me, so I glanced at her perky stuff.
Sometimes people, especially women, hit me when I stared at their chests, but this one didn’t. The one guy who called himself my friend— I really didn’t know his name or how he came to the conclusion of us being friends— probably had told her that I was a wacko, and it did make things easier. It didn’t lighten her mood, though, and it didn’t make her any more patient.
“I’m talking to you, you freak! Can you do it?” she hissed, crowding me against those angry, moving bricks. Her dirty stilettos made nerve-grating, shrieking sounds as she ground her heel onto the gutter lid. She probably could punch a clean little hole into a man’s head with those things.
I tried to concentrate, but knowing that wall was about to touch my back didn’t make it any easier, so I slipped to the side and out of her corralling arms. “The wall is tainted. You shouldn’t touch it,” I offered in a breathless whisper, because along with the rest of the human race she probably didn’t see the darkness, and being helpful was a good trait for someone who didn’t have much else going for them.
Another car drove by and the passing lights made the bricks shuffle and shift. I took a step back and gasped, then turned away my eyes. Sometimes if I stopped looking, those dark places stopped moving, and there really wasn’t much I could do other than that.
I saw her fingernails as she grabbed my collar. They were chewed down and badly painted, a shade of pink so bright it shone out of the grimy blackness of my old felt coat. “Can you do it, or not?” she practically screamed at my face, shaking me just a bit to make her point. How she was keeping her balance and what little dignity her belt-like skirt offered on those shoes, I’d never understand. The street whores around this part of the ghetto were cat-like and incredibly nimble, and they had to be. With walls like this around, they probably had to run for their lives on a daily basis.
“Kill someone? Yes,” I finally answered, and turned my head away so I wouldn’t be tempted to look at her mangled demon-face. It was all she had wanted to hear and she promptly let me go. Sometimes I wondered why none of the frighteningly beautiful monsters ever came to offer me a job, or maybe a normal person. It was always those demon-faced ones who wanted me to do things for them.
She slapped a badly maintained gun into my hand and turned with a huff. As the clickedy-clack of her pumps disappeared into the distance, she muttered a last “damn fucking lunatic”. I blinked and pulled my coat tighter.
She didn’t even know half of my lunacy.
I am a prophet of god.