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Dirt & Opulence

Brooklyn, New York


a part of Dirt & Opulence, by Sacrificatoria.


Sacrificatoria holds sovereignty over Brooklyn, New York, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

2,828 readers have been here.


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Brooklyn, New York is a part of Dirt & Opulence.

18 Characters Here

Senna Z. [59] I been lost to the slide of a paradigm shift in shades of masochism, and from what I'm gathering, I'm a pretty good liar.
Dominic Bates [55] "Mmhmm."
Bel Z. [52] We suggest getting down on a l l f o u r s if you wanna get greased in the second coming. Cause only dogs go to heaven.
Gunner Bates [47] "It's us. We're the monsters."
Simone Bates [41] "I'll dance and play the part, if that's what ya want..."
Jasper Callaghan [36] WIP
November Mae [35] "Take a line, drink a beer and shut up."
Jonathan Moore [25] If you so much as rough up my stuff or my family, exspect to have a taste of my fucking fists.
Aedan Rory [23]

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6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont Character Portrait: Aedan Rory Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Daisy A.
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The past is wrapped around his throat and even though he can breathe here he can still feel her presence. His blood is rushing through his head and clouding his ears, reminding him of days spent on the shoreline pressing shells to the side of his face; wondering if that was really the ocean he could hear or if that was just another pretty story his mother used to cover up the deeds dealt in back rooms.

He rolls his head on his neck and scratches at the skin just under his hairline, stares across the bar at clear liquor brought to life by neon lights. He hurts and he itches something awful and the things he knows refuse to leave him alone.

“Don't fuck this up for her.”

He blinks and sees his Baby, flowers threaded through her long dark hair, holding her arms up to him and a bright smile across her face. The world is in front of her and he should have been there to make sure she got it.

"I don't condone brutality to women. But make it slow. She smells like tabloid."

He blinks and smells blood, feels the welcoming crust of it under his nails. Copper and iron, sweet and salty, and he wants more. Wants to paint the floor with it in a promise to keep he and h i s safe. It’s his job. His purpose.

"I didn't wanna' die before I knew someone else could keep you warm."

He blinks and he’s young and home and her fingers fit perfectly between his, always have. Her wings shed feathers and broke off but she was still golden, still his, still everything he’d ever loved. They’d heal together. He needed her.


He needed Novi, to fix what she’d broken.

“Depends,” Aedan’s voice is low, cool like the edge of a freshly sharpened knife, and Dom feels a wave of relief just at the s o u n d of it. He’s not like Daisy. He’s not warmth and hope. He’s not like Novi, not fire and protection. He’s ice; unforgiving, unrelenting.

Dom might not need him, but he wants him. Like he’s never wanted anything.

There’s nerves here, but he thinks he likes them. Thinks of them in the way his father talked about, so many years ago. The knowledge that one wrong move could fuck up everything and for once he actually cares about that. The nerves are sobering.

There’s no pretense here, not with Aedan. No games he has to play, no sanity he has to keep. Daisy had known him better than anyone in the world, but she’d pulled chunks away when she left. Novi had learned to read between the blanks, fill him in where she could, but with Aedan...with Aedan there’s understanding.
The rational part of him says that should bother him. That ‘understanding’ means Aedan knows too much, sees too much, but there’s a thrill in that too. A familiarity, of sorts.

He shoves his deposition for daisies back down where it belongs - pressed between pages and hidden in folded photographs - and lets anything else unimportant fall from his mind. He doesn’t want to be who he is right now.

He’s tired.

He’s done, just for a little while.

He finds peace in the cold and comfort in a murderer and that’s good enough for him.

For once in his goddamn life he’s going to i n d u l g e.

He watches Aedan’s gaze dart to Senna and can’t say he’s surprised. She’s got more attention on her now than even the girls on stage, and she’s putting on a show. He covers his distaste with a drink, but his fingers tighten on the glass. Promises made meant that problem was his problem, and he definitely intended to take care of it.

He can taste the flare of Aedan’s own hatred even through the alcohol on his tongue, and thinks he probably won’t have to take care of this one alone. Although there’s really only one solution to a problem such as this, and while it’s Aedan’s calling card it’s his responsibility. Something he has to be a part of. It’s a little foolish, perhaps, but it’s not like he’s going to be able to hold Aedan back anyway. Though he wonders which one of them will act first.

“Do you have plans tonight?”

He smirks, slightly, because the answer is always ‘yes’ in one form or another. Moments to himself are few and far between and rarely grabbed, because something else is always more important. Tonight, however, his cravings are too persistent to ignore, and the only thing heavy enough to move him from the Dingo’s side would be a bite from the man himself.

He watches Senna and Caroline slink away, and knows from the set of her shoulders it’s because she’s uncomfortable, and he wishes she would have known better than to bring a snake into a wolf den, no matter how shiny the scales. Part of him is ready to move, push his glass away, take care of the problem then and there.

The other part knows better.

Subtlety is his strong suit.

He’ll wait.

He opens his mouth to answer the question he was asked, but the buzzing of a phone cuts him off. His hand curls into a fist against his knee, fucking i r r i t a t e d, but Aedan’s attention doesn’t stay distracted from him for long. Which is good, he thinks, he doesn’t get it nearly enough, and he’ll be damned if someone tries to take it from him.

He’ll slit even Chloe’s throat if he has too. Which he might, if the name that he saw flash across that screen was correct.

“Not anymore,” he decides on the subject of ‘plans’. Because any plans he may have had went out the window the moment he laid eyes on the demon hanging off of Senna. Or when Novi left alone, in the wake of a fight. Or when a memory decided to spill itself across his lap. No, he has no plans. Except to maybe forget himself a little bit. Let Aedan take over his night, for once. Daisy’s appearance fucked him up, and he can’t find his footing.

“There are things we should probably discuss anyways.” Discuss is a funny word for them, because as a pair words between them are so incredibly rare. “And, you could always tag along.” Ah, there it was. Something no one else would be able to pick out of their conversation. An invitation.

A fucking heavy one.Image

His hand hesitates as he lifts his glass, but he presses it to his lips and tosses back the last of his drink. It burns, but he’s been long accustomed to that feeling. His tongue swipes across his lower lip before his his teeth drag it into his mouth, and he breathes steadily through his nose before he nods. “Yeah, alright.”

“I got used to the cold.”

He sets his glass down, stares at Aedan for a moment, and thinks...he definitely could.

9 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont Character Portrait: Aedan Rory Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley Character Portrait: Daisy A.
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Taking propriety in the midst of a blood war was easier said than done. It called for grace executed in a ‘pour oil on troubled waters while holding the candle of an open flame’ way. If anyone could have done it, it was probably Persephone.

But she was nowhere to be found, guesses were as good as the next and who could have the balls to conjure something so pure to the playing field of something so prosaic? She’d better be found at the foot of woven ivy. Some golden tide not Brooklyn brewed ‘twix brack and packed banks with the bodies, stories of a dozen boys and girls too curious. Not within the company of purgatory and its endless bidding. Far the fuck away from this place. Where flowers are immortal, likely, and halo’d changelessly to dark hair and eyes transitioning from glass to innocence without a single missed beat. Something like paradise. Something better. A place to go to rest. With pastures to shelter the sempiternal sleep deserved by bones too weary, somewhere far the fuck a w a y.

From one chimera to the next, Baby has kept most of her second selves as well as the third to herself. Especially when it came to Caroline. There’s no reality realer than the one she’s stumbled through under strobes, the trickle of a cocaine nose. Felicity is a cheap thrill plaited between plastic and dust; fauna is a part of her she’ll never get back no matter how many petals she settles into her mane. There’s only one person in the entire universe who’d take every reflection of Senna Zaire, blackout or glowing white. And he wasn’t by her side for the sake of her happiness rather than his. Morbid and mordant, the girl is a fucking criminal.

Because whether she’d like to admit it or not, things could never just be. Not inside the earth that abided by only a scorch policy as per Bates y Zaire divinidad. Dios bendiga, amén and all that shit.

She pulled on the skin of her wrists with more loathing than the recovering junkie bedside to a suicide watch one too many times to think that there was romance or understanding at the end of the road. Had seen too much and too little. Of course in all things knew, that there was some fleeting gone and hell if that ain’t ironic. But Baby was going to take what was hers even if it wasn't truly hers, because it presented itself with an open palm and, "Thank you for bringing me here." If that didn't beg her name in the dark, then nothing did anymore. She'd taken an albatross to high heeled soles when she left, though, finding a rasping difficulty lodged in her throat that abjured something about 'goodnight' to or from Gunner. The atmosphere was the equivalent to a bed of stones and she shouldn't have missed his so soon. But they loved each other, right? No wishes, blankets or words were needed for that. He knew just as well as she did. Hoped he did, when she passed by and disappeared from the awkwardness that had probably seen much better days, even between these two families.

ImageYou could love hard, that much was true. You could try even harder, and screw your courage to the sticking place while lacing up the shoe because you knew all along it God damn fit. But fate is fate, and it always has its way. If it doesn't want you there, it'll put you here. The bottom line isn't when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. It's that lemons are bitter, there's no shortage of them and get fucking used to it, kid.

It was one thing to accrue all the bad publicity worthy of a scandal but another to then have the judgment of Deni from the corner curled up to Jasper. It all hit like steel to lungs, and Baby was taking credit where it was due with maybe just a pinch of salt. She couldn’t even begin to wrap her head around what those two were saying, and how bad it might sound at the tail end of Flip’s sarcasm mixed with the skewed haze of Jasper’s current state. Whatever that was.

"I'm just glad we got the meet and greet out of the way," somehow she managed to purr it, blushed luminescence fallen like lace to her counterpart and flawless in New York darkness, "Now we never have to do it again.” Anxiety was hidden behind a laugh that she let out like a shot, followed with a gradual gesture of a thumb to baby hairs the color of dandelions. Caught at the sugar and liquor of a kiss no sweeter than cloud nine itself she relinquished the thought. Instead, raked fingers in a daffodil copse and tangled them there. And wished she could have held it longer, pressed into the person she’d laid a lot on the line for. She tried to wash the images and sounds from her head, hoping to summon the nightly blur she traded for this. But all was fair in love and war – yeah, something like that.

Yet the questions and reminders steamrolled Senna like a thousand knives. Who – what – why. It’d be some kind of lie if she said she didn’t expect it, the problem was she wasn’t ready so God damn soon after unraveling years of confidence and secrets with her best friend, someone she loves. What was worse was November and Bel having a very typically November and Bel quarrel, all eyes somehow on Senna and Caroline instead, and Daisy blowing in like a late guest to her own debut and even that was very much the same. She guessed most things didn’t change, no matter how bad it was wanted of them.

Then there was Dom, sidelining and side-eyeing with blues intent for something coldblooded. Aedan followed in suit. Call a spade a spade. The devil was at work even when he was clocked out for the evening all because he had the right mortals playing for him. There was proof in that, catching the sleepless gaze of an addict who loved getting his hands dirty beside curious silence that secretly had a niche for such disaster. It was trouble. All of it always was. Dominic couldn’t help himself, his Baby knew that from afar – one too many cozy evenings spent with Daisy in withdrawal taught her well. Teaching an old dog new tricks wasn’t impossible, just highly fucking unlikely when the proclivity ran this deep, up like a tempest inside the brain of sobriety on her behalf. Fuck. Fuck.

F u c k.

ImageIt was alright, really, she’d known the language of double dealing since she stopped daydreaming shorelines and honest livings. Probably just found it a little too hard to look Caroline in that paper tiger face of hers and swear it was all just nothing. Another day of bullshit would be one too many, but she couldn’t cut to the chase any more than she could cut her own fucking drugs. Damn. Had she really become so fond of gambling? The inquiries sent her around the bend, but she feigned humor, passed it off, sat passenger to Miss Caroline and the divine honor of her companionship. Crossed fingers and rosary would be needed to keep her around, in spite of the most intoxicated infatuation. Senna hoped.

“It’s all a long, boring story,” lies pushed through her teeth like drying concrete, “November and Bel have an ongoing shit fest of a relationship. My friends and family are over protective. November doesn’t work the club, from what I know. But who knows. Who knows with any of them, really.”

She did.
She knew all of it.
Hopefully that truth wouldn’t find her in the morning, or the next day.

7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: November Mae Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Caroline Beaumont Character Portrait: Aedan Rory Character Portrait: Daisy A.
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ImageHe finds it almost amusing in a morbid way that after her his eyes always seem to linger on sickly pale skin and doped up veins. Like that was his t y p e, male or female or something in between, didn’t matter as long as they loved smack more than they loved him.

It crossed his mind every time he knew there was a Callaghan on the floor somewhere in his house. Like he could smell black tar the way a hound could smell blood. Tried to ignore the fact that it made him want to lick his lips and stake a claim on something that was hardly Simon’s (and definitely not his). A road best left untraveled by all accounts, although that didn’t stop his mind from wandering.

The r e a l problem, the sign he can’t ignore, comes in a form most would label the devil and others would hardly look twice at. Aedan Rory was ordinary in a purposeful manner, but not to someone like Dom. No, for him, his heart beats fast and his hands shake slightly, a feeling of nerves best left in a teenage boy that he doesn’t even have the memories of nostalgia for, because he’s never been here before.

Aedan handles his withdrawal better than Daisy ever did, he learns, but it’s still not fun. Wonders why the hell he does this shit to himself. Is it punishment? Is it a fetish? Is he that fucked up?

His saving grace in this sin is Novi, but his attraction to her lies in the very basis that she is nothing like a concrete daisy. There’s a certain draw to the lack of commitment that speaks to his i s s u e s and the knowledge that she’s not his anymore than he’s hers. Because the last time he belonged to someone it didn’t end well. But November is a seasonal flavor, and she won’t last forever.

“I don’t fit the criteria that makes you hot.” Almost two decades passed and those words still wrap around his mind as clear as the first time they ever fell out of Daisy’s mouth, mischief in her eyes that weren’t yet as dark as they would become. Even before there was dirt crusted under her nails she knew him too well.

She didn’t make him hot. Neither did Novi. Therein lied the problem.

But him.

He’s a familiar taste.

Ice can get so cold it burns, and he’s played with Aedan before but this time it’s different. This time there’s i n t e n t. This time he’s hellbent for a little frostbite.

His brand of poison is poison itself, and he wants them just as much as they want the needle.

The weeks pass by in a haze of bourbon, cigarette smoke, and Aedan Rory C a r o l i n e Beaumont. It’s messy logic that the lines of a Dingo’s throat when he breathes in nicotine soaked air is more imprinted on his mind than the ink of her news reporter ID, but he’s never claimed to be as steady as outsiders looking in assumed.

These few weeks particularly because his world has been thrown off balance right when he thought nothing would ever shake it again. Daisy’s the ghost of a memory he’s always seen on shady street corners when it’s late out and he’s had a little too much; but he k n o w s she’s nearby now, might break his neck doing double takes, wondering where she is, what she’s doing.

He doesn’t allow her to take up a permanent residence in his mind only because he has a job to do. She’s not back for him anyway, regardless of what promise was made. Like she’d said, she can die happy now, and he thinks maybe...he needed the closure just as much as she did.

His first day is a plan. Formable, solid, dislodging every other responsibility in his book for a girl constantly covered in baby’s breath. If he has anything resembling a soul left it’s only because of her, and Miss Beaumont poses a threat he can’t tolerate. Not for her, not for family.

Seeing Aedan back to back, two nights in a row, feels dangerous, but he needs a partner. Bel’s not an option despite their on par thinking, and Gunner drew his line and stepped across it. Dom would label him a traitor if he wasn’t already well acquainted with the fact that Bate’s boys often got into trouble mixing their hearts with business.

That fact, however, should have kept him from going to Aedan altogether. But really, there was no one else he trusted to get the job done. The little things he could have done alone, waited until he was ready to place a hit, but he found himself sitting across from the Dingo before he realized his feet had taken him there.

He buys him a drink. Tells himself it’s because he’s rusty. Doesn’t remember how to get his own hands dirty - been too long since he’s had to.

It doesn’t sound convincing even to him.

It really doesn’t when he says, “I can’t offer you blood...but maybe we can make a B&E just as fun?” and Aedan’s response is only the slightest smirk before he downs his glass of amber liquid and stands up.

ImageShe’s too easy to pin down, like she either doesn’t know or doesn’t care, and a refurbished warehouse even in a place like Buschwick isn’t enough to stop them. Aedan is seamless in entry, footfalls as quiet and unnoticeable as the man himself, analytical as hell and smarter than him.

It wasn’t much, a lived in block with the kind of stagnant air that claimed no one was around to breathe it much. Hard worker, laptop gone, personal effects unimportant. Tabloid he thinks, nothing is as important as the job.

As the story.

He runs his fingers over the scruff on his jaw and knows Miss Caroline is far too pretty of a thing to not have come from somewhere. A somewhere with loving if overbearing parents and a nice little safety net waiting for her to fall. She didn’t belong slinking her way through the underbelly of Brooklyn, he knew that, he was sure Baby did as well.

She was a transplant dandelion, and if Dom knew anything it was how to move a plant without killing it. Even a weed, if he could just convince it to move.

Disorder and disarray weren’t his preferred methods of anything, caused his teeth to set on edge and the hairs on his arm to stand, but it was the best way to say someone was in your space and meant no damn good. A warning amplified by the seemingly normal front door.

He walked, and left destruction in his wake.

He lost his sense of time, enough so that it was only the feeling of a steady gaze on his back that eventually pulled him from what he was doing. Aedan was standing in the bedroom, a picture frame hanging in limp disinterest in his still raised hand, expression blank as always except for the mild lift to his eyebrows that spoke of clear judgement. Dom wondered briefly how long he’d been staring.

“What,” he mumbled, even though he knew exactly what. Stealth was usually the name of the game, but Caroline had an option B, and Dom wanted to at least say he’d given her the chance to turn tail and run. Something in his gut said she wouldn't, but he knew he had to try. For the purpose of being allowed to say he was a g o o d m a n.

Predictably, Aedan understood that, because instead of answering he simply gave a shrug and tilted his fingers enough that the frame tumbled from his fingers and smashed against the ground. Dom breathed out a chuckle despite himself, and the hint of amusement in Aedan’s gaze when he passed left him feeling like this was worth it.

He left the frame on the ground.

Locked the door behind them.



C a r o l i n e.

They watch the way her hands shake. The way she checks over her shoulder like someone might be right behind her. The way her smiles seem fake when she directs them at anyone. She grows comfortable again, eventually. Soothed by a goddess, unable to leave h e r behind.



A e d a n.

Sitting beside him in the truck, long legs stretched across the floor board, chin resting in the palm of his hand, expression to all the world bored but eyes alight with the thrill of the chase. Dom’s aware he’s dangling her life like a piece of meat in front of a rabid dog and he wonders if Aedan will bite before he says it’s okay.


Caroline laughs when Senna holds her hand.

Aedan smirks when Dom finds his double meanings transparent.

Caroline kisses Baby like she’s made out of porcelain.


Aedan goes through a pack of cigarettes in two minutes flat.

(Dom gets caught up in the way smoke looks tumbling out of his mouth.)

ImageCaroline goes to work. Goes home. Goes to Senna.

Aedan’s withdrawal is slow, but he hides it well, handles the side effects with a loosely curled fist and closed eyes. Accepts nicotine and alcohol and doesn’t say he needs more. Oh, but it’s still m e s s y.

Caroline has a news reporter ID.

Aedan sits at the desk in his office, drinks expensive bourbon filled to the brim of his glass, doesn’t bother to say thank you. Pours over notes and documents, rubs his thumb over his lower lip slowly, runs his hands through his hair.

He walks when he thinks, arms spread out, drink in hand, finger pointed to enunciate thoughts Dom can’t hear but knows.


ImageAedan lights his cigarettes with both hands, opens his eyes slowly when smoke blows across his face, offers the lighter but Dom shakes his head because his throat is dry and his hands aren’t stable.

Aedan rests his head in the doorway when he waits for Dom to be ready, raises his eyebrows at things that have to be in their place all the time, doesn’t say anything. Doesn’t dare. Dom flips him off anyway, because he knows.

Aedan finds that amusing.
C a r o...

He looks good in the moonlight. Looks good when he walks, fingers in his pockets, gaze crossing over one shady building to the next. Checking things Dom doesn’t think about anymore. Visibility. Acoustics.

Weeks have passed.

She’s still not gone.

He thinks of the first time he had to sit Senna down in the garden and explain to her that even though they were pretty, a weed is a weed.

Not worth the save.

Oh, but does he want to d r a g it out. Make it s l o w. Because he a c h e s something real.


ImageAedan sits him down, they talk something serious. Not so much in words, but in nods and glances. Aedan watches him out of the corner of his eye, Dom tilts his head back, gives a nod. They’ve got this.

It’s not the first time Dom’s dropped cash on a dirty deal like this. Not the first time he’s bought out a Dingo’s service.

Not the first time he’s enjoyed it.

He loves the way Aedan’s eyes look when he talks about m u r d e r.


On the last day, he gives in.

Oh, he’d known they’d been leading up to this moment, he just hadn’t wanted to admit it. Hadn’t wanted it to end.

He fills a glass, drops it in front of a salivating Dingo, presses his hands to polished mahogany and murmurs, “Alright. You can have her.”
Aedan s m i l e s.

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Sentiments like running water, too rapid to catch whole, one thing streaming into another. The smell of fallen leaves and cologne brought her down to Earth, to Bel - but the pain in her chest left her untethered. Pupils perforating her damage made her aware, looking down at the damage her tormentor had caused. While his damage had been directly internal, the journey home had been none the kinder. Pin sized reminders of his methods of persuasion dotted her forearm, deep red painted up and down her exposed flesh from where she had allowed the world to wound her. November felt ashamed, exposed, like she had deserved this for being so vulnerable - for allowing herself to ever reach the point of emotions clouding her judgement where she had become an open target for a predator.

How could she tell Bel? How could she share of her former life? Of the crime that had awoken the beast from within, the moment she went from scamming perverts at truck stops to serious time. Of how she felt that moment she saw the life leave his eyes, of the breath she took in as if she was taking in his own essence. Of how she felt no regret, not a drop of it - of how in that moment she had felt complete. How could November allow herself to be so transparent?

Defeat was a well not often peered into by the termagant Bel loved. To see her jittering, red peppering her serene veneer in a way that could only be described as harrowing vandalism, masticated his core. The consumption was to the effect of there'snothingIcanfuckingdoIfailedyouandI'msorry. But no words came to aid riven November, save for eyes for eyes, verbalized; the vascular clenched duke of virility. And she laid there. Silken, crumpled. Quieter by the minute and allaying the person who should have been there when she needed him and fuck all if he didn't take it like a shotgun wound. She wasn't short of a goddess in customary encounters. Here, she was an imbrued immortal. Bruised like the sin of ripe fruit, crying. And she never cried.

If anyone could understand it would be Bel, but she wasn’t ready to reveal that part of herself yet, to even speak it aloud let alone share it with another. She had gotten this far living in denial, the distance she was willing to carry the burden was unforeseeable. All she needed was the slightest provocation back into that life, of guns and drugs and constant scheming - the downward spiral would never end. Constantly dodging one obstacle after another, it was a gypsy’s nightmare and dream at the same time. A challenge, one that seemed unsolvable, yet to outsmart karma and to become victor time after time was euphoric. November couldn’t allow Bel to be dragged into that aspect of her life, it was nothing but destruction.

So she kept shut, she didn’t offer and he didn’t push. That’s why he would always be home.

"Hey, hey," he fanned comose, timid alone for the fact he was afraid she'd stop breathing, "What'd they put in you? Do you know?" Any attempt to be patient with her reply was crossed out by his daubing thumb. What was known as ordinary - the usual, was now a wary interrogation. The blur of his blackened brand hovering over skin already tainted in a way he just didn't understand. This work was not his own and even the stakes they played at didn't involve such a b u s e. He'd never touch her this way, never pump her full of bacterias uncharted. Never leave her for dead. She'd seen some shit but, he wasn't sure that line of slop in life had ever been quite like this.

The way he fretted over her, balancing between rage and regret, while she laid across his table just a shadow of the woman who had scorned him just hours ago, yet all she could think about was taking his pain away. Splintered fingers serpent around his palm as he pushed the foliage from her hair, bringing his coarse hands to her lips for her to kiss as tears dampened her cheeks. “I’m okay, I’m okay.” She quivered, ignoring her ailments as if it made this any easier for him. He whispered promises of revenge and recovery, wiping away her tears knowing there wasn’t a damn thing she would let him do except be there for her right then - right now.

"Tu no eres. Tu no eres." It was almost chiding. Only he'd never spoken this softly to her. "It's alright, 'cause I got you now." The baritone in his chest rumbled, the sacred word of a hungry wolf. He'd be out for blood for this. He'd bleed for this. Die for it, if he had to. Whoever'd taken her into their hands with intent to torture had paced five ways well the fuck over No Man's Land on a one way trip. The only way out was in a box.

She wanted to tell him that she loved him too, that she knew the moment he held her at gun point that first time in that Manhattan hotel. November wanted to tell Bel that she was sorry for earlier, sorry for sticking her nose where it didn’t belong but that it was only because at the end of the day it killed her to see him gradually self destruct by burning all of the bridges around him until he was left isolated. She wanted to tell him that she was sorry about the jealousy, but that she knew that no other woman would ever know Bel as she did, that no other woman could see past the filth and the grime to see what was inside - dark and teeming with demons and love him all the more for it. Their inner darkness would always find a way back to each other, where things were messy and complicated but they could muddle in the disparity with one another.

November wanted to say all of these things, but instead she said, “I’m sorry.” Holding onto his hand as a child did to their blanket for comfort. She was safe now, here with Bel. She was home.

Her fingers brushed along his jaw, bringing his face to hers to rest her forehead against his. She could feel his emotions vibrating from under her touch, but words were lost. All she could do was ramble, “I’m so sorry, Bel. I fucked up, I fucked up so bad.” Tears wet her cheeks, she couldn’t let go of Bel. How could she explain how she was a bad hit away from the IRA finding out she ratted? How could she explain she ratted? “I fucked up, they’ll kill me - I..” She couldn’t continue. “I’m sorry.”

She went for a gesture of comfort. Just like his girl to always be so about-face. He couldn't welcome it like this, not when her eyes were the size of Luna sated with nightmares. It was beyond him to imagine how this would tally up on the damage scale, how many nights she would spend awake from here on out, how often her demeanor would jerk into the eeriness of bloodshot eyes over the shoulder 'til hell would freeze over. She didn't deserve to live that way. So he'd make good on his promise. One way or another. "I don't know who they are, November," he whispered into her palm, "But I'll find out." His eyes crammed shut, "Don't apologize. I'm the one that's sorry."

November pulled Bel in closer, melding her lips into his. It wasn’t like others they had shared, lust was replaced with need - passion replaced by intimacy. The remnants of spirits lingered on his lips, his touch feather light as if he feared he would break her.

5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Bel Z. Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Daisy A.
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est. December 19, 2007
Eighteen Years of Age
"Brew and bad luck lock their fingers in my territory only to bend backwards, crack, and deal."

Estoy tan casado, I can feel the fuckin’ bricks inbound ‘round my head and there’s nobody that got shit to say or offer that can give me peace. Haven’t slept in days. Baby’s not supposed to leave my sight but she disappears and I don’t got the energy to chase her anymore. Boils my blood when she comes home smelling like daisies, but it’s better than her slipping locks at the back gate of the estate that blisters a name I hate most. I’d fight it, but she’s safe. Even when she’s with that train wreck of a blanca. Por la ama. And so does god damn Daisy.

My best friend ain’t been my amigo but he pretended and we bruised our bones in sync like this for the entirety of our lives. What a show. But now he’s got all that I don’t and he’s actin’ so fucking strange, he ain’t looking familiar. Shit, after we mixed and my father was officially a closed case nothing came out. Would have expected an answer from my brother from another mother, but he kept a tight jaw. Some friend.

La familia.

The puzzle pieces are somewhere we aren’t thinking of to look, just like Pops, but I gotta’ keep it together for better or for worse ‘cause I’m the only one the can. And I feel empty with the flackery of my impairments, nobody to scrape the streets with and tape some feet of adhesive tight to procure the dirty riches that made our small city a kingdom.

He’s probably lit up. If I know anything about old Gun it’s that he pits himself against himself rather than anybody else ‘cause even in the best of times, he’s his own worst enemy. Wonder if he’s thinking like I am. How he lost more than blood and can’t figure out which one hurts more. Jodidamente loco, brother, I’m thrown and you’re throwed and we ain’t got nothing to discuss with each other.

We ain’t gonna’ return to the sidewalks or reefs or stash houses together. Just gonna’ divide and break. Like what you done to us.

I’m sittin’ with the curiosity of which gauge is more emphatic of my rage and if the ricochet will sound any differently than fatality. ‘Cause what I need it to say is te odio más de lo que te amo, and that the only fuckin’ way I can forgive you is through the crucification of only the retribution I see fit.

Table it. I’ll sleep. We got time, and I need a lot of it to lead my family home.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Daisy A.
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est. March 5, 2004
Twenty-One Years of Age
"Trust me, you will lose e v e r y t h i n g." - Heroin

Gunner was always the Bates they referred to as a Junkyard Dog but places like this will turn even the best of us, and I feel it in my bones now the way I always saw it in his eyes. The way my teeth grit into each other and the hair on the back of my neck stands up. Attention. Desire. A t t a c k.

The prospect of freedom can be goddamn frightening to an animal used to it’s cage, or an anticipated high that rocks their world to the point of dizzying effects. I find myself both and neither at the same time. A want to run mixed with the knowledge that one more broken face under my scarred knuckles would keep me rooted in place, and it’s a fantasy I’ve entertained more than once. Good behavior.

It’s not the world that’s cruel but the people in it, and I’ve met the worst and shaken their hands or spilled their blood. It makes no difference to me, except that I know my home is hell dropped in a hand basket, all wrapped up in dahlias and narcissus’. The overly sweet smell covers what's dead and decaying and turning brown. Change is right there on the horizon, I can feel it, even behind the layers of desolation and iron bars.

The world out there is never going to be the same and it’s got more to do with the fact that it’s two-thousand-four but I’m permanently frozen in two-thousand. I’ve seen them, at least. Gunner’s a fuckin’ man, I missed that. Simon’s up into double digits, I missed that too. Baby-

The cage opens.

My thumb moves slowly under my bottom lip before I lash out and snatch up a band full of paper, shoving it into the waistband of denim like I would a gun. The scrape of paper is starkly different than the cool comfort of metal, but I shake it off because nothing feels quite normal right now anyway.

Her letters are stained in candy pink lipstick, cheap perfume, and black fuckin’ tar. Falling apart at the seams and faded in all the good places from overuse and too many rereads. My pleasure, my pain, my curse. My one shred of sanity in this godforsaken place. Four l o n g years.

She’s back on that shit so I don’t expect much. She won’t be here. She’s somewhere prettier, where the flowers grow and the weight on her shoulders isn’t so goddamn depressing. Side-eyes line a long ass hallway and blood pumps just behind my ears with each step. Here it is, Dominic. Decision time. Throw a punch and go back home, or pass Go. Collect $200. Run like hell.
Teeth clench hard, a door opens, last step, sunlight.

I’ve never fucking liked the sunlight.

The bus station is left and I take a step in that direction before I freeze. Because there she is. Sin disguised in department jeans and a leather jacket and cat eye sunglasses. Ivory fingers push them down and I can’t even see the heroin laced around her heart, but I know it’s there.

”Hey, baby, you look so cool.”

The world shatters and falls back into place and I’m moving before I’ve even made a decision to, hands dropping down on either side of a black car top, and the corners of her mouth curl into that smirk I labeled mine so many years ago. There’s a thin pale arm that wraps around my tattooed neck and a back that arches like a lazy cat and oh, I love her.

Her kiss feels like damnation, but tastes like the only salvation I’ve ever know.

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Character Portrait: Chloe Williams
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No Sanctuary For The Damned
est. December 6th, 2008
Twenty Three Years Old
“The paralyzing fear of being lost is fed solely by the irrational
fear that we will never be found.” - Craig D. Lounsbrough

Feels like a thousand fucking years since the last long plunge of a needle lit my veins up with the thrill of certain death. I've healed just the same mentally as physically and yet every glance in the mirror reveals an apparition I can't quite believe is me. When did the pigtails and buckteeth disappear? When did Sunday dresses and pretty golden crosses turn into leather and corsets? When did my innocence turn into dripping deviance?

...Probably on the day I lost my virginity to the dragon.

It's always easiest to hold onto the thrill while wallowing in the aftermath. Sometimes, with the taste of the pill still on my tongue, I imagine it's more than pain relief swarming my system. Infecting the deepest, darkest parts of me with sweet euphoric bliss. but no matter how much I crave to chase an impossible high there was always a hand there to stop me. Withered with age but no more judgemental than the eyes that follow me across the snow blistered streets. Mocking the circumstances that brought hell into the life of a (former) good Christian girl.

'Chloe' he'd say, because I never would give him a name to call me by. Whoever lived in this body of mine before had no rights to it now. The old me lost that battle the moment they left home for good. 'I can only help you exist, I can't help you live.' funny how the cravings would disappear under the weight of crushing guilt. So heavy it drags me down beneath the waves of self-fucking-pity, holding my body down long enough for my lungs to start aching and the harsh reality to sink right back in. I'm a fucking mess, and I have no right to claim the victim.

This is it now, all I've wrought in the years dependent on every selfish whim.

But today is a different story altogether. Today is grief for all the wrong reasons. More ways to loathe myself for an existence I don't quite believe in. Who else could stare at an open casket and wonder how they'll stop themselves from indulging in their vices; I'm a special kind of devil for it. Can't say it's too surprising. Mark had a way with pretty words, a way that kept me on the up and up for the past four goddamned years. A savior in the shell of a man twice as damned. Cold and dead now, because thats how the world works when you live in filth.

The best men die in the worst ways. His had been the pain of disease. Destroying him from the inside out with every passing days. A long year of agonizing medications and a dozen or so experimental treatments that took the away the last of his youth.

Nothing matters much anymore, its all gone now and I am alone in an empty church with a casket holding the most important person in my life. P a t h e t i c. The last speck of whimsical kindness snuffed in an instant. Pity, he hadn't gotten to meet the real person behind my skin. The girl who is not Chloe, but whom is not the child that grew up under gods rules.

Is it selfish that the tears aren't for him? Nor the family that didn't show up because half of them are ten kinds of addicted to the needle, just the same as most of the people in this city.

The tears are for me, the selfish fucking brat who can't stop the itch on her own. The viewing doesn't end fast enough to sate the need curling in my gut. I've got a bone to pick with a pretty lady, and there's nothing left to stop anymore.

A back alley handy and pity pay to bring me two steps closer to finding my shallow grave and lying down in it.

Least I'll have enough money for a sandwich and a h a n d f u l o f O x y.

Relapse has never tasted so sweet.

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Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan
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est. December 24th, 2012
fifteen years of age
"Home is not where you were born;
home is where all your attempts to escape cease."

— Naguib Mahfouz

The monster’s got me gnawing at myself in a cannibalistic fervor, but he says he’s got a thing for bruised circumorbital space and fragile tissues stretched over ribs just begging to be kicked so I guess it’s okay.

I’m waiting for him to drag me out back. Rough masonry scratching through thin cotton as he lines up the shot. There’s an apathetic bullet with my name on it, but somewhere between cutting my tongue on the unswept glass of your mouth and veins cracking at midnight I think I fell in love with the caustic kickback of decisions made in haste.

you alright? he asks, gaze stalling on mine as he holds his cigarette. He’s looking hard for the hesitation in my voice as if he could pull it out and use it as evidence. you look tired.

I am. I’m tripping into strangers beds like I don’t know who I am without their oxhide hands around the arc of my throat. Eyes like the prussian blue fingerprints left around my neck, cold as a brooklyn december, black as the hole razor words leave in my chest.

Somewhere there’s a rolex that knows how it feels to crash against cutting cheekbones and i miss it.

I don’t think I need to feel you to know you, though. My subterfuge. Cleansing by self immolation. Blackhole heart taking in everything but the light. It’s all to get back to you. Or it was.

so where you been?

Between twilight and the waking hours. In a chapel of unreason. Guilt is my most frantic prayer even if the only religion i know is the one devoted to my own survival.

I know you’re looking for me, but I promise I’m not the person you met in April. By now my name must be bitter in your throat even if the taste of longing rest on your tongue just as sweet as ever.

You’ve got a way about you. Coy like a bullet sliding into the chamber. You wear humility like a three piece and you love like a half-starved animal tearing away chunks from the nearest willing body, but I’m used to tearing them from myself and maybe there's no difference at all.

I’ve decoded the subliminal supplication of your obsession with manufactured apocalypse; veins sheared, pruned, torn apart. You’re use to this. Standing in the presence of all the gods you’ve destroyed. A pile of severed tendons and viscera. You love that the work is your own.

all i’m saying is that i miss you

There they go;

Slow and viscious;

Your teeth against my collar bones.

I don’t want to have to touch you, you know? I don’t want to be near you to prove that I love you, but the way you slide in fevered and burning, searing your name across my veins is intimacy inverted enough, and if I was bound for hell then let it be so.

Heaven’s knocked out enough of my teeth.

grin and bear it, baby.

You don’t gotta tell me twice.

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Character Portrait: Deni Pogsley
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Image -----------------------------
Twenty y.o.

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind -Hammurabi’s Code

I’m so tired I can’t stand. I’ve been cramming for months for one hundred and TWENTY credits, early completion. So you know what that means. Extra credits on hours I already don’t have, because my face has been stuck to surgical casebooks when I should be sleeping. But it’s looking bleak. I feel like I’m selling myself to thieves and I am standing here naked. I go to yawn discreetly…

Ma backhands me in the ass to keep my spine right and otousan is grinding his teeth. I’m embarrassed all around. It’s bad enough that they both think I should have made it this far on my own. I can only imagine the sales pitch they made to this dean and his board director and it’s really humiliating to be standing here. My parents sitting on either side of me makes it hard to tell if they’re here to make sure I don’t fall over, or to overplay how undeserving they think I am for a break. I haven’t fully bloomed yet and will I ever get to? Hard to tell if they believe I’ve got it all under control and can take more pressure or if they believe I’m an amateur who needs to fight for my right…

To party? Nope. Haven’t even had a light dusting of blow in the past year while all my fellow students were dropping Molly or acid or whatever at electric water lily festivals. When the halls were so empty I was reviewing The Mont Reid for fun. Just the thought of Wolfgang Stehr makes me want to go to sleep, I’m soooooo tired…


I’m wide awake now. That doesn’t sound or look academic. Otousan is poker faced and nods. The spectator, or who they told was a trainee for administrations, is Korean. She doesn’t even know she’s a spy. I want to take her aside and tell her I’m just as lost and confused but I have Indian burns on my wrists from my mother knowing me too well. I stay quiet and I wait…

“Write this down, Ji Su Park.” The dean forces a smile and the young mouse eagerly goes to her pen and paper. “Even as a model student, there is not much we can do as your scholastic peers to guarantee you an early graduation. Unfortunately there are many demands and conditions and in Ivy Leagues, we need total faith before we…”

The pop sounds like a whisper. It rings off again and is lost and sealed in the office. The mouse drops in a heap that isn’t loud enough for her body and it hurts that someone’s daughter is going out like that. It’s so quick. Quiet. At least it was clean. At least it was clean…

“Do any special favors.” He derides in Japanese while the only living matrons in the room are forced to be stoic. Like we were just out for sake and dumplings. Like there isn’t somebody’s child leaking on the carpet. He straightens his tie and otousan swabs the silencer placidly. I know what he’s thinking. He did this for me. And I better not screw it up. Because everything runs so much deeper than what is only seen on the surface. Everybody has their secrets…

I want to look at her but I can’t. I know how this works. I should know. I should be an expert. I am. And I will be. I’ll be the best with no room for error. That’s what happens next. “Congratulations, Miyu, for your accelerated doctorate. You worked hard for this.” I nod respectfully. I fold my hands and am suddenly very alive. Very awake. Very plugged in. Ma bows her head knowing better than to speak in her Colombian tongue, she’s only here for collateral. My parents would die and kill for me…


I never want to feel this way again. I won’t let somebody die alone like that, in a room full of people they don’t know, on the floor. Cold and alone. It’s just wrong. If I have to use any of this for anything I’m going to do it differently. This world needs a new rule book…

At home I go straight to my room and get in bed with my Jimmy Choo’s and blazer on. I don’t change and I don’t sleep. I see Ji Su Park’s young eyes begging for a chance and a way out. I know how she felt. I know how badly she wanted it without realizing what she really wanted. I hear the friction of my father’s perfect handshake. She never had a chance. She didn’t get to bloom. Ji Su Park cries in the dark…

So do I.


5 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Senna Z. Character Portrait: Simone Bates Character Portrait: Gunner Bates Character Portrait: Daisy A.
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I'm Home
"Though lovers be lost, love shall not." -Dylan Thomas
May 27, 2008
22 Years Closer

One cannot believe in God until they believe in themselves. My father says it’s the other way around, but Mama always knew best. Tenderness. Kindness. She is the proverbial patient hand, myself the one constantly grasping at shapes in the dark. Too dumb to know I needed her hand and yet, it always found me.

My father is time-honored in me by bone splinters and compunctions I cannot write even with an outstanding advanced placement manuscript. Never wanted anything but bible backs and rulers to touch me personally, a naturally assumed rhythm. Until I met the love of my life. Whose demeanor was too cool for comfort if you’d ask my father. So he did what any man with toes so pressed would do: he robbed me blind of the faith he wanted me to have most, and boy if that ain’t irony.

I don’t know what is.

Because without any real sense of faith or higher power, what’s a devout teenage girl left to? Next to God were my parents. Ever heard that saying? That to children, mothers and fathers are God? Too bad such an aphorism was lost on me.

I remember when I was gleaming jade and juvenile as I threw up from the pain of having my ass b e a t in my parent’s home. I knew what I was risking going back that night, when my lies and bed were already neat and made and waiting for me.

I chose suffering over safety because I’m self righteous and hard up for his hands all over me when he’s ruminating. That’s just how it’s always been. So the very first time I discovered my hunger, the goddess inside of me famished and burning for him to flat tongue the fire even just for a second, I got the fuck out of dodge. Through snow stinging my calves, to meet teary-eyed and perjuring in the foyer. To dissemble up the stairs hoping my father wouldn’t know. But he did. ‘Cuz don’t they always?

Take it down a few years forward and I’m serene and certain. I’m older, wiser, and sort of kinder in a way. I’m not damaged, I swear. My adolescent charm is mostly strayed save for the feel of blue pressing in through the black and that’s when I am truly alive. I’m clean. And he’s free.

The inner goddess within me is relatively untouched. She’s suffered some blows, near collapse of the aorta, concerns with the heart (not just symbolic). She’s writhed in gray and gunmetal, laid with needles. But none of that seemed to f e e l her the way she felt it. This is me. Sabotaged in past tense and carefree when my man’s seeing flowers busting out the side of my head, threading my hair into a soft braid, much too versed for a soul that’s spent the best years of his life seeing the world from behind a cage. I remember how he used to string and work a Baby’s mane so patient, even when she whined about wanting to romp with the boys. This is the man I’m gonna’ marry. This is the man the goddess saved herself for.

Cigarette’s stuck between his teeth where hot air hares when I tell him to stop looking so cool. Base of his palm thuds at my brow, no pain intended, so none follows. Sit still. Boy, he's just like his mother. He doesn't even know it.

He fights the urge to roll his eyes and tells me I need a damn haircut. We both do. And I should know how to style my own by now.

I’m all irritable, impatient, pressin’ on his knuckles like it’s gonna’ smear prison ink. I love him and he lets me do it as hard as I need to. He’s quiet and I’m smart mouthed and it’s good, you know? He forgives and I’ll be damned if I’ll do anything but die or ride ’till the end. Cause we’re home, and my spring roses are just like my love. Blood red.

I like it here, though being a homebody’s got me feeling an arbitrary expanse of post traumatic green dress disorder, or worse: rehab. So when he’s gone I’ve got to fight the impetus to climb the walls and plan escape routes that have no place in a happy ending. The thought’s rolling through me like sea stained maelstrom, and he spots it off the jump, hands me his smoke, "Go on, baby girl. Slow drag. Breathe it all out." I can’t help thinking we made it. But

I don’t think he sees the twilight growing inside of me with roots like slugs, sticky spite imitating ventricles. They’re crawling, mites bound to bleed from chromosome 17. That or he sees past it. That or he’s sanguine, reloadin’, popping through the chamber like he’s gonna’ stop all that malign in one single, silver magic bullet. If I got a savior it’s nobody else.

It’s him.

I’m a vine up around him and he fits me better than a sable leather Moschino. I know how it goes when my spine is winding back to set a stage that’ll break the straight of my throat. Arched, exhaling. Glinting with soft spit and tobacco, I’m a regular New York framed photograph. He’s sinking thumbs, riding my ribs softly. My braid comes undone and we don’t know when it stopped being peaceful and started being carnal. I’m smiling either way and he can’t axe his off, ‘cause the stars kept us safe and we’ve gotta’ pay homage. We don’t exchange ‘I love you’s’ when our mouths are this close. He just breathes in my smoke.

“Give me shelter” would have been a plea if I didn’t know that part of him needed mine too. Our congruence always made us a force to be reckoned with. He hooks my knee, “Mmmm,” like a dog smelling meat but we both know I’m redolent of his mother’s Spanish lavender, “Hmmm.” I ask him real slow, “What took you so long?” Impish indigo. The part no one sees. I exalt like my only purpose was to worship him. He tells me, “Wasn’t that long. You just missed me is all.”

I wanna’ do more than what I impose. Our self control is jarring, but I guess that’s what comes of suppressing the queer and the uncanny that dripped into us downtempo for years. I kept his secrets. He kept mine. When babies and brothers weren’t tussling up a storm, when the world was just us two, you’d think the skeletons would be enough to kill us both in the solitude.

But it did something different.

Just another way to sum up a day where he wasn’t gone the entire time. I savor it on his lower lip, to be specific, ashing edgewise and tracing his waist. My mother says we’re like a romance novel. My father is up in arms about this whole thing. About where I belong. Yet it's here, whether he likes it or not. Dominic's got a way with me. The blackness in me recedes but we both fade into it.

“Wouldn’t have to miss you if you’d stop going away.”

I’m foreshadowing the worst of my fears. Scared that there’s something better, to keep him warm. My premonitions are fast to me like stitches I can’t rip out alone. Who would have thought that I’d be the one…

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Character Portrait: Simone Bates
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Location: Strip Club
Mood: Content
Dialogue Code: #CDAF95
Thought Code:# 4080FF

Amber liquid swirls in her glass gracefully as her eyes wander the club. She is listening to the chinking of the ice cubes, breathing in a fragrance that only years in an oak barrel can achieve, as she watches first the Bates, particularly Gunner. Her eyes linger, she tells herself it is only because some s m a l l part of her is aching to desperately cling to the lingering memories of their shared times. She lazily swivels in her seat, delicately crossing her legs as she looks back at her drinking companion Simon. She waits with some anticipation for him to open the gift she had set in front of him.

The music is so loud that it makes her skin tingle. The bass thumps in time with her heart beat as though they were one, filling her from head to toe with music. Over the roar of the song, a distant, hazy chatter can be heard. She can’t make out any words, just the occasional shout of peal of laughter.

Hani watches the dancers move like water transformed by music, flowing in graceful arcs, limbs in constant motion, and she feels a sense of awe. With each swaying movement of their hips, with each alluring twist of their body, they entrap the eyes of the onlookers with their beauty. Moving like ribbons in the wind, they are timeless. Elegance at its finest and pain in its true form; a dancer is a daughter of passion and an admirer of agony.

A hand touches her delicate waist and she jolts with some surprise before turning slowly. Five foot seven, willowy and a face cut right from the pages of a men's magazine. Hani gazed upon the perfect form of the stranger and forgot herself for a moment. Suddenly she is lost in the way the lights danced on this stranger’s mahogany skin. The woman is glistening with a sensual sweat that makes Hani unsure of herself, and all she can do is swallow. Her eyes are drawn to the scarlet river that gently caresses its way down her neck, reaching to just below her shoulder blades. If the gods are real, she tells herself, then this woman is their masterpiece.

Her lips are moving. She is speaking?

The woman must have realized Hani was unable to hear her because suddenly the ebony beauty leans in close, too close. Her lips tickle Hani’s ear. She can smell the woman’s carefully applied perfume, a heavy scent of lilies washes over her. Hani sees flashes of this beautiful woman stretched across a bed of lilies, their white petals were striking against the dark chocolate that was her skin. Simply beautiful. She lets out a tiny gasp and squirms uncomfortably. She does not like being so intimately handled.

“Would you care to dance, sexy?” She barely makes out the words that rub like silk across her skin. Hani is shaking her head. The heat from her fingers creep into her consciousness and she wants to pull away. Touch. She has spent so long without it that she is unsure she wants it anymore, let alone how to handle it. It is an invasion, an unwanted intimacy. Hani is attracted to her with the kind of heady trance that brings a butterfly to nectar, or a moth to a flame.

“No, Thank you….” Hani says with a small timid smile. Despite the woman’s alluring offer, she finds she wants more alcohol before she is willing to participate in the mating ritual that is dancing. Her petal pink lips turn up in an amused smile.

“…Maybe ask me after a few more drinks.” She says with a warm tinkling laughter. The woman gives a pout of her sensuous lips that almost convinces her to say yes.

Her eyes wander indolently back to her cohort and she can only smile almost shyly. Her burnt sienna orbs scintillate with a mischievous glint that could be notice next to the umber that rims her iris. They glow with humor and playfulness that never seem to escape her eyes. She nudges the box forward a little further. She had bought him a gift on a whim and now she felt somewhat unsure about it. The silver key-chain had caught her eye with its functionality, and her heart with its humor as it said ‘You’re a great friend but if Zombies chase us I’m tripping you’. She grins like a fool as she watches him expectantly.

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Character Portrait: Aedan Rory Character Portrait: Kaelin Rory
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#, as written by Wiley
The Second Breath Of Air
Est. April, 2006
Sixteen-Years Old

Broken noses feel like shit, that thick line of blood running straight down and pooling round the filter of a cigarette hanging loosely between closed lips. Moving between baby teeth and the taste of it rubbing raw against a new tongue. Each inhale lessens the punch of it, making a friend out of the smoke that spills from barely parted lips. The endless numb that comes with street grade painkillers floods each cell, down to the fibers of my being. A leeway into feeling nothing at all. A path towards tonights tormented dreams.

"Christ, who fucked ya up?"

I avoid the battering stare cast down upon me from a figure nothing more than shadow, upturn my head to the sky and let the blood run the other direction back down my throat. A new taste to accompany the nicotine. Something decidedly sweet in comparison to the burn in my lungs.

"Doesn't matter."

Footsteps. The shuffling of fabric. Two seconds of wondering if the man has left before a sudden weight drops into my lap. The crinkle of a paper bag and the unmistakable sight of fast food wrappers.

"Grabbed lunch."

"Don't care."

"No, didn't expect you would." He pauses a beat, "Pretty damn stupid running off like that."

I sneer, set the bag aside and look up to meet his gaze. Dalaigh's a sleight man that doesn't stand out in a crowd, non-imposing, non-threatening. Dressed in a way that screams Sunday Mass and not cold blooded murder till the cotton of his shirts stained red with the evidence of a crime committed. Its the kind of deliberate disguise that has me curling my lip in a snarl. Playing house is a fools game, a stab at choking the monster back. But he's always going to be there, lurking at the edge of every thought each time something with the capability to kill is in hand. It is a weakness, and it always ends the same. His allegiance to my father be damned, I'm more than ready to take a pair of dull knives to the skin between each rib.

Just like I've been taught.

The cigarette is nearly down to the filter, losing its taste. Whats left of the twinge in my nose is gone. Same shit, different day. I cross my arms, wonder where my brothers gone, whether he's aware that with him out of the picture pops has men like Dalaigh trailing every running shadow of mine. Don't suppose he'd care, busy with the feeling of wet viscera slipping through excited hands.

"Why don't you just fuck off."

Dalaigh laughs. Like he has the right to find anything funny when in truth, he's walking on ice so thin that its already beginning to crack.

"And take a bullet for not doing my job?" He seems to ponder. "Keeping your psychotic ass in line is still better than that."

I stub the cigarette out on the ground, the pavement is still wet from the never fucking ending rain. He knows the fucking answer to that, so I don't say a damn thing in return. Shove my hands in my pockets to stave off the cold thats seeping in. There are still clouds in the sky, a storm gathering on the horizon. The lack of sun washes all light from the landscape turning vivid color into grungy monochrome. The shadows that are usually long and reaching are barely distinguishable today.

Typical day for this shit.

"Where the hell are you going now."


And it's the truth.

Home is hell wrapped up in a gemstone glow. Shiny enough to pull off the gleam of clean business, with razor edges cut into fine geometry. Icarus heels at the door, mutt eyes blue and brown with that tinge of red veins showing exhaustion at the corners. Drops his muzzle to the floor in a seeking motion, snuffles the fabric of my pants as I walk away without so much as acknowledging him. His drool leaving a dripping pattern across the polished tile beneath us.

If there is ever a common equivalent of cereberus than it is the single headed mutt searching for its daily head scratch. I do not comply in fear of digging sharp nails too hard into animal skin - purposeful despite lack of intent. There is no greater urging twisting up in my gut than the anger, the sure as day longing to feel it taken out on anything within reach. Walls, floors, pets, people. Does it matter.

Everything, anything, always, always, always...

It can all be destroyed with the simplest of pressure applied.

The slick slide of a knife gliding over supple skin. So soft, so soft.


Think, gather, ground. Be in the present, and not within the swirling of a vortex of thoughts that exist outside the realm of normal psychological behavior. Its ingrained now, the fierceness of each thought. A learned habit maybe, or something deeper. Something thats always been there. Teased out by a family hellbent on ruination - the father and his empire, the mother and her anger, the brother and his blade. And myself, when did I first look in the mirror and see the Ichor of life spilling between clenched fists.

The taste of it is sweet, even as it slides down thick.

I'm only here for a moment, slip in, slip out. Gather clothes and money, cash upon cash upon cash. Stuff it in a bag, lacking sentimental nuances. There's enough for a day or two, maybe three if the feeling doesn't fade quite as fast. Each time gets shorter, more itching in between.

Leave, never touch the damned dog. Let him trail after me, droopy eye'd and desperate. Get halfway down the line of pristine cars to the one that looks like shit from a combination of careless driving and drunken attacks with a steel pipe.

They'll wonder where I am, whether I'm off taking or giving life. Spending nights much alike my mother in that regards. But rather, where I am going is different. A place that is the very opposite of a gemstone. A dirt covered rock in a bed of rusty coins. Still as capable of drawing blood.

A welcome with open arms and just barely the hint of a smile. "Sucker." the smile says as if ears are not a thing and today they are not for there are matters more pressing than an insult. A heedy desperation that has swirled its way round each limb. Tight as a Boa, constricting its prays breath from its lungs.

It is not the first, and it will not be the last. Because the plunge of a needle never lasts.

It never lasts.

I need more.

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May 17th 2010
16 years old

Hani walks the mall with the cool and perfect indifference of a ninja, or so she tells herself. She watches the patrons of said mall with a small amused smile as they are served by underpaid drones and sucked into purchasing the over-priced merchandise they don truly need. She doesn’t really go to shop, she simply loves the chaos. Anything was better than being home.

Every Saturday morning she drinks in the colors, the aromas and the atmosphere like an elixir. She thrives on interacting with the stall holders, each one almost a caricature of bubbly friendliness. They knew her by name and often kept something aside that they knew she would buy...and she always did. She weaves through the crowds, edging through the dense flow of people with her bags, which seemed to be getting fuller by the minute.

The shopping mall is her Mecca, make-up and shoes…her guilty pleasure. She can roam the aisles, take inspiration from the stores and make herself anew. She came in feeling ordinary and leaves as if she walking on clouds, her purchases already speaking for her on all her social media channels. She can see herself at the clubs already, soaking in the attention faster than the cocktails, hundreds of "likes" on her selfies.

She wanders into a store, one chain or another, she is doesn’t really care which store it is. Boredom drove her to walk the maze of crowded bodies and chaos. A trinket catches her eye and she get the familiar itch in her palms. She resists the urge to make her way immediately to it, instead she inspects some sunglasses, taking various photos before setting each pair down.

A tingle starts in her stomach as she moves closer to the shining object, despite her brain protesting, as if her actions have become severed from her thoughts. Her hands move slowly as she fingers the bracelet, with the battle lost, she begins to create reasons for the behavior being alright: She had never thought of it as an addiction before she tried to stop. She usually resisted the siren call of the adrenaline rush, isn't the resolve always strongest then? The slide backwards was just small "reward" at first, but habit grow back, thicker than it was before. And its only one of her addictions.

Hani was never watched when she entered the stores, she made sure of that. She dresses in a pencil skirt and white blows, and carries a laptop bag, her shoes are expensive and her hair well-groomed. No one suspects her. The bracelet is in her hands now, and in one quick motion it goes into her computer bag. She didn’t need to steal, really, she was flush. Hani just needs the rush, and this was the only place she could do it. It wasn't always this way; she used to snatch and run. After ten hours in a holding room with a large smelly mall cop, her mother told her "don't you ever get caught shoplifting again!" and she didn't. Didn't get caught that is.

She exited the store, with a wave and a smile to the security guard, one last ‘Fuck you’ because just stealing wasn’t enough anymore. That is a problem she seems to be running into more often than not. The thrill that came from nicking was fading fast, and soon she would have to return to the dismal repetitive mindlessness that was her life.

No, this would not due. She would find something that would bring that spark back if it killed her.

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Character Portrait: Dominic Bates Character Portrait: Jasper Callaghan Character Portrait: Simone Bates
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#, as written by Ivisbo

these violent delights have violent ends

He supposed if he wanted to place blame on anything, he could grind back the gears to the night of the club.

Simon had been low already- he'd yelled at his mom, spent hours in his cave trying to lose himself in weed and keep his thoughts off of his demon, but ended up grinding against some fucked up kid cause he looked like a strung out version of Jasper anyway. He'd stared hard at Lar's cocaine and had to restrain himself from moving towards it, told himself 'it's not him', even if the drugs were stained with that inky-black smugness that could only belong to one person.

Jasper had been there that night. But Jasper was always there really, a black web in the back of his thoughts that he kept getting caught in. He'd pull himself free only to find threads still clinging to him, pulling him back in. That night Jasper had kept his distance at first, his presence in the darkness of the club tugging on Simon's attention- a constant reminder. It didn't matter how much whiskey he drank or how much weed he smoked, his eyes would still scan the crowd to make sure Jasper was still there.

It drove Simon crazy that he'd stayed away. Made him want to storm over and yank that disgusting hair, force their faces together, shove his hands up his awful clothing and rip and tear until he'd indulged himself fully. He was drunk, but sober enough that he wouldn't indulge those parts of him that were tangled up in that darkness. Instead he'd lingered at the bar, demanding refills and avoiding that blackhole that tugged at him to come. He forced himself to slide down silently next to his brother, bent over the bar, his agitation showing through with the tap tap tap of his rings against his whiskey glass. Glaring at wall of glass and alcohol across from him while his neck prickled for him to turn around. Like something dangerous and beautiful was watching and his instincts wanted him look.

Dom was always steady. Steady and silent and present, someone that could handle all the shit that was constantly dumped on their family. He'd look at his baby brother smoothly, taking in the tightly wound knobs of his shoulders under pricey clothing, the way anxiety seeped out through his fingers. He hadn't been concerned- Simon seemed to always have some sort of shit winding him tight- but his agitation was strong enough that Dom could taste it on the back of his tongue. He'd taken a long sip of his glass before muttering a gruff, "Alright?"

His brother rarely talked, let alone insert himself into a situation that he wasn't readily needed in. Dom's time was too precious and too pulled thin for him to meddle into every little fuck up his brothers got themselves into. His attention was enough to pull Simon's thoughts out of that fucked up darkness and back to the bar, where he glanced sideways and nodded, "Dealing. Just needed a break from all that" He gestured a limp hand at the loudness behind him, "You alright?"

Of course Dominic Bates would never utter any truth to such a simple question, too wrapped up in his world of questionable morals and decisions based solely on the protection of his family. So Simon didn't expect much when Dom takes a moment to run his too-knowing eyes over his baby brothers form, knowing there's more the younger Bates isn't owning up to, but deciding it can wait. He's fine. Dom lifts a shoulder, throws back the last of his whiskey. "Dealing."

Simon had nodded, followed suit with his own drink. The bartender was ready with two more glasses, knowing the Bates well enough to not leave them waiting.

Simon raised his glass to his brother, locking eyes with Dom. He trusted Dominic to make the right choices, that whatever he did was always for the well being of them all. Even as aloof as he was, Dom cared. Cared too much maybe? It was enough that Simon would never burden his brother with trivial shit like Jasper, so he just clinked their glasses together and slipped back into the crowd.

He'd known where Jasper was without searching. Maybe it really was some sort of magnetism, or maybe it was just because he'd spent the last hour trying really hard to not know where Jasper was.

Locking eyes with him had been his last mistake, but the relief in his chest at the slow crawl of that devilish grin was enough for him to know he'd fucking enjoy himself for his sin. It was relief to feel that web circle around him, even if he hadn't realized at the time how tightly he was ensnared.

Succinct and slow, the bourbon didn’t help the friction between his sandpaper tongue and the roof of his mouth, but curious onlookers kept ‘em coming and Jasper reciprocated in greedy looks. Back married to the countertop; the press of hands against chests when people got a little too close. Sometimes he forgot how easy this game was. Even with his sardonic slur, the words unfurled smooth as wine. A hint of chastisement lost to those desperate for his narcotic stilt and something a little different from the leather clad seraphim-substitutes moving through the club; something different than what they had waiting back home. Rationalized how his fingers were just as quick to graze the fabric of their jeans as they were to carve desperate tracks down the back of his neck, tongue bruised and bitten sour, matchstick bones under skin that screamed exsanguination.

Where was Simon, anyway?

Someone was ready to go and the animal in his chest told him not to fight it, had him leaning closer if only to get the secrets to splash like gin. His skin wared against itself like the fuckin devil sat beneath but he kept it together when he had to. Let the sanguine press of his delivery carry the point home underneath prussian blues and heavy base. When all was said and done he’d gotten drunk on the regret of getting everything except what he’d came for, lit a cigarette on the ashes of burnt bridges when his body disappeared just as quick as his drink, ended the search just as soon as it started. If all he wanted was to paint someone’s desire red with his blood, he could’ve saved himself a trip.

Jasper caught sight of his paper swan just as he found another spot to sit and the corners of his mouth tugged in the direction of a smirk. Watched him pass from dancer to dancer, chasing streetlights and anything that could be the exception to his calamity. How much easier would shit be if he’d just accept that the answer was Jasper, huh? He lost Simon in the crowd just as Deni slid in with those cutting cheekbones. Built chaos off of a lithe frame, tongue sharper than the knife she’d probably be sticking into his neck one of these days. She had a bone to pick and Jasper shrugged his shoulders, wondered at what point between the mere inches separating their visages had he actually welcomed the idea of her viewing him anatomically correct.

An ardent fascination for the killer stained his ventricles, bled fast and raw and ugly, even for himself. Nodded every so often even if his attention was divided between his resident addiction and the idea of letting those nimble fingers slip between his ribs. There’s no real position for Jasper in the war for Senna’s heart; he won no matter where you looked. So long as Simon’s security blanket was out tying up loose ends or fuming from the sidelines, he had what he wanted.
That’s what he thought anyways. Caught Simon take a seat next to Dom and knitted his brows in scrutiny. Maybe nothing in particular was wrong that night. Maybe Simon was throwing back drinks for no reason, made casual small talk with a man whose words were always, always just that; small. But he knew Simon. Or as much as he needed to know. Spent too many nights picking holes in his empty chest, laying the groundwork for his indoctrination. Simon had too many thoughts for anything to be nothing at all; couldn’t let shit slowly smolder into embers the way his brothers could. No, the kid was probably blue in the face from the fact that his constricted lungs hadn’t relaxed yet, like he’d been cast off to some frostbitten wasteland; limbs frozen, teetering on the edge of a ravine filled with all the emotions he couldn’t share even on a good day, let alone now that he was being hounded by his own demons.

Did he know he had one more coming?

Cause Jasper had been there and done that too many times. Bit his fingers until they were mangled dealing with people who had too many reservations, too many thoughts, too many reasons to go back home and sip some coffee and get their lives together. He eyed the back of Simon’s head like a dog even though he knew no one saw the tsunami coming, just the low tide washing over Simon’s feet like a Sunday pastime.

Still, as most junkies knew, you couldn’t hold anything back for emergencies when every time was an emergency. Not when someone still had the opportunity to leave first. Jasper’s lips pursed together as he considered it, part of him wanting to be rid of the threat while the other welcomed the competition; it had been so long since anyone questioned his authority and Simon didn’t look half bad wearing rebellion like an Armani suit. If he noticed the hunger behind Jasper's eyes Simon didn’t seem disturbed, slipped through the crowd with a quickness and showed Jasper he wasn’t really gone, not at all, not in that sense.

Good dogs always came home. Jasper had to give him that.


Forever’s a tripwire, made evident by tormented cities that don’t know anything other than backwater remedies and solicited sickness. Silk presses to silk sheets, skinned knees meet the pavement in exchange for a moment's reprieve. Namely in the form of competing product, panacea sneaking up nasal chambers and nerve endings alike. A brand bearing his counterpart’s name. Bates.

Echoes of refusals only add fuel to Jasper’s fire. You've got the wrong Bates if you expect a blow buddy. Okay, buddy. How long can you juggle both a fiend and his many affairs before the ball drops?

Denial and self negation were Simon’s dogmas. Brought forth on shaky ground, consecrated by the word of the faithless. And if it doesn’t make him look every part of the renegade. Too good for a slow burn by means of injection. Makes Jasper’s smear campaign all the more fun. Backs pressed against greasy walls, hands snaking up thighs when the bartender’s watching, sinking teeth in his neck every time Simon looks away, like maybe Jasper could take out every spiteful offense he ever garnered on the body that’s been pressed beside him these past few days. Privacy be damned.

Simon’s not really there anymore. Not Simon Bates at least, not the person that represents the still existing good of his family, the ever protected Baby Bates. The Simon that was currently entangled in shadowy smiles and heated tongue fully belonged to Jasper- the clutches of his title and family tossed aside. Euphoric, letting all that shit go- family business, expectations, history- and allow this thing to tightly wind itself around him. He’d never realized how ready he was till now, how much this fucking heat had burned till he let Jasper take it away. Or maybe it wasn’t gone- maybe this fiend was making it hotter then ever and Simon had just grown too used to burning.

Patience is the name of the game, but tonight's the exception. Groundwork of a malignant nature finally coming together. Weeks ago Jasper would’ve told himself that Simon’s laxity was a feat reserved only for his mother and a joint. Funny how shit changes. When the music starts to bore him Jasper buries fourteen knuckles in the fabric of simon’s shirt like they don’t have four shots lined and waiting, shifts closer until the distance between them is a figment of one’s imagination. Canines against earlobe. “Wanna do something else?”

Simon whispering yes sounds more like a prayer, he's sure he's never said the word with more affirmation.


"Just go with it," Jasper breathes, something almost intimate about the way his mouth curved around hollow words. His hand reaches out to trace the dip of Simon's collar bone, sliding past his throat and the slope of his jaw to entangle itself in the mess of his hair, nails against scalp. Goose bumps race behind Jaspers touch, Simons spine arching back against the filthy brick wall of the alley way. He’s shivering, though his body is hot and molten.

What's it like to burn for what you want but can't have? The feeling always seemed to elude Jasper, shameless as he was, yet Simon’s desperate eyes on the syringe spoke volumes. “Not like there’s any consolation prize for getting old in Brooklyn, right?” My god, if anyone knew it, it was this bunch. Junkies and dealers and the whores in between, a morbid kind of synchronicity Jasper clung to like it was his own circadian rhythm. Always bringing him back the gutter. Not that he made much effort to straighten up. Not when gilded patrons were willing to fund his appetite just for a taste. Something Simon was willing to go all the way for. While he still has him Jasper bites his way inside Simon’s mouth, doesn’t come up until he taste iron, until alcohol leaves a burn in his throat.

Sometimes you need something to take the edge off. Gospel to someone as far south as Jasper, but being around Simon added the necessary exclamation point. Dominic and Gunner had grown man shit to keep them occupied -- bruised knuckles and busted lips all inclusive -- when their own demons came out to play. They were the type who trudged on as if salvation only came through suffering; who lived as if every reassurance was within a prayers reach and backdoor exchange. If they wanted to be saved they must have buried it. And what was Simon? Certainly not that. What with his polished edges on the verge of splitting, Jasper looking like a sleek intruder pressed against his image. No, Simon would sooner hang his hands on hooks and spit out his incisors for the chance to be easy because he never learned that the numbing and hallucinatory loneliness of this world was how you walked through it's conflagrations unscathed in the first place.

He’s got one had gripping Jasper to him, the other one fisted in the rumble and dust of the disgusting spot they have drunkenly fallen into. Simon’s making some low whine in the back of his throat- a begging noise, the one a dog makes when you have something it wants. He should be embarrassed, but he’s too far gone for that. Sucked in, completing ensnared- if Jasper left him right now he’d probably sink into despair. But Jaspers too-thin body shows him further against the wall and traps him there- makes him alive and on fire all at the same time. He wants more. More, more, more,- but all he can managed is that fucking whorish whine and a deathly grip on stretch out white cotton.

This lifestyle doesn’t suit you. That’s what Jasper thinks as he relinquishes his grip on Simon. In another time, in which he’d never marred or betrayed anyone, he would’ve said the words out loud and assiduousness wouldn’t have felt like muriatic acid flushing through his veins. But at this point, Jasper had no problem snatching stray prospects without pretending his violence was anything but. Junkie through and through. His blood’s been runnin’ soporific since summer ‘11, but he can think of a few things to make it slip like kitchen bleach. Strip the color from anything more vibrant than himself. And fuck if he wasn’t more than willing to go as far for this connection as need be. Ready to seize every shortcoming. Peel wax from wings, flesh piled on the concrete. After all, was that not, on some subconscious level, why the youngest Bates had linked himself up with the inky blackness that was Jasper Callaghan in the first place? Because he knew even the sun, in all of it’s life-sustaining hellenistic glory, could break the neck of a daisy? Because the thing Simon ached for - what Jasper dubbed control - was only attainable on the reciprocal end? shit, if you want it come get it come get it come get it come-

But Jasper would never control him, would he? So long as Simon had someplace else to skirt off to, someplace else to escape when the walls started closing in. Every breath an excise Jasper wouldn’t ever be able to pay where his own merit was concerned. He’d keep Jasper away through sheer respiration. Close but not close enough until the levee breaks; maybe the flood buries him, but maybe it doesn't. Maybe time is just what Simon needs to stop living life at 70 mph, rib cage in his throat, road signs be damned. It didn’t matter how soft Simon was. Eventually he’d reach some sort of understanding with this virus of life; realize leaning into the bathtub isn’t peace and the light doesn’t look any different just because you’ve buried your head beneath the water.

The thought makes Jasper itch. And there’s no sun out to make everything look shiny and golden, so these street lights will have to do.

“Here--,” he snatches laces out of dusty sneakers with practiced ease, the subtle base in his voice making it almost seem like a command despite its implications having more to do with the fact that something in Jasper had lapsed. His patience, perhaps? Wraps the string around Simon’s arm before giving the ends to Simon to keep them tight. Simon takes hold, simply following orders although his heart beats rapidly up his throat. He’s shaking, but he’s sure its from anticipation- how long had he been begging for this, only to have that needle turned away? Every so often Jasper looks up from his arm just to find Simons wide eyes in the dark, to reassures himself that this is actually happening. Last thing Jasper needed was realization snatching Simon by the neck, but by the looks of it, that’s the last thing Simon needs as well. Desire glowing brighter than the neon signs advertising smokes and nudes. Good. He’d be damned if he became the sticky note Simon misplaced and forgot about, the dollar bill he never missed. Come hell or high water, he would be the fucking vulture over Simon’s shoulder. Jasper was sure of that as he poured the powder onto the spoon and went to work, heating the smack until it liquefied before he filled the syringe and putting the spoon to the side, hands working and turning over themselves like a language without discourse.

Ardent denouement in reverse, fresh veins waste no time in showing up. Take the drug like a champ. It goes in so easy- Simon was expecting pain but he barely realizes the red swirl inside the needle is his own blood. A shiver slides through his body as Jasper pushes the plunger in and it takes Jasper back to his teenage years when every trip was new and predatory hands felt cool to the touch. He’s staring at Jasper, eyes vacant but locked, praising him like some sort of God. He watches as Simon’s muscles find a different kind of peace. Eyes lose that cornered sparkle. Jasper pulls the shoestring off as liquid purgation settles into Simon’s body, stakes a claim like a welcomed invader, crosses erect and ready to go.

He’s stunned by the warmth, not burning, just a smooth comfort that wraps around him. Jasper’s web turned soft and gentle and liquid- his body slips into it like a warm bath and he feels his brain give way.

The youngest Bates breathes in deep- filling his chest with a sort of air he’s never felt before. Alive and exhilaration- oxygen that filled him with a pure wave of good. The drugs putting out any fire that had burned within him and seeps into every cell- leaving behind nothing but euphoria.

“Fuck” He wants to say more- he’s got a lot of thoughts about what he wants to say- but his voice sounds like its underwater and all his shaking hands can do is grip the body in front of him. Simon keeps Jasper at arms length and just stares, his large form looking much smaller crammed into the space between the brick and dumpster. He’s running his Brioni suit but he doesn’t give a shit anymore. He smiles; a shivering sort of uncontrolled smile cause his face feels like it’s facing the sun. His demon looks like the opposite, how had he ever thought otherwise? Why had he denied this? Why had Jasper let him say no when this could make him feel like this?

He wants to say more, more he’s pretty sure Jasper gets it.

The itching part of his brain that usually argues with his every thought has gone quiet; his mind finally feels at ease.


Morning rolls around like a thirty-eight to the temple; stray light slipping in from between ratty blinds just to assault his eyelids. My god, he needs to get those replaced. Or move his mattress someplace else. Props himself up on bony elbows while his pupils adjust to the vanishing dark, pauses for a moment when he feels a sleeping Simon on the other side of him then brushes the acknowledgement to some distant corner of his brain, someplace reserved for all the other bad ideas that’ll come back to bite him at some point. Then again, thoughts of his impending harm didn’t do much to phase him nowadays; the kid all but grew up on bleach baptisms behind park benches, transfixed and renewed by way of narcotic.

He settles into skin that feels like it’d rather be elsewhere, peel away and slink off underneath the couch someplace. There’s a splitting kind of silence at this hour. As if the linchpin to disorder found something else to occupy it’s time with. Couldn’t be bothered with errant car alarms and wily dogs and every other entropic manifestation of Brooklyn coming to life. Hm. He kinda misses the ferocious city. Every noise a numbing departure from the contagion of sobriety. Thick. How his tongue feels in his mouth. Thoughts bleeding into each other, blank as the expression across Simon’s face when sun settles across his temples and fixates itself on the dip in his hip bones.

Jasper’s resolve lays limp across his shoulders like a skinned animal. Palms pressed to closed eyes like maybe he could rub the static away and will himself to feel some semblance of alright. But the monster’s a persistent type. An affair way beyond whisky flirtations and midnight escapades.

Simon wakes up when the sun finally reaches his face, burning light turning the world red below his eyelids. He keeps them closed tight, because his skin feels like it’s crawling with maggots and death. Pulling at him, whispering disgust into his veins and begging for that euphoric sun. You aren’t good without it, more, more, more. He makes a wrenching moan, something between a gag and a cough, abruptly silencing that monster inside for only a moment. A shaking hands reaches helplessly for the nearby sheets to hide his face from the sunlight.

A mumbling whimper escapes him and he feels the mattress shift, a body coming closer and blocking out the light. He tries to ask for help, but his lips are quivering and dry and his mouth feels like sandpaper. He gets the resolve to shift a little, joints aching, and uncovers his head to open bloodshot eyes up at Jasper.

Jasper is framed by the sun coming through the shades behind him, holy glow of light darkening his sickly thin frame to a skeleton. His eyes are too dark, a stark comparison to the Godly figure Simon remembers from their drug addled night. Its not right, not what he wants- he wants the good back, wants this sour, sticky itch gone. That fire is burning in his head and he desperately wants that warm engulfing liquid to put it out.

There’d pleading in his eyes when looses a breath through his nose, reaching for Jasper.



Sometimes the simplicity of life goes right over Jasper’s head.
Like the ocean can’t hug the shore without a hurricane following suit.
As if the truth can’t spill minus a .22 to the temple.
He’s half naked in a Bate’s house, waiting for a sign that it’s time to leave.
It never comes.

Simon wakes up on Jaspers dirty mattress, head pounding and skin crawling but mind clear. Jaspers pale naked body is drapped over the side of the bed, half on the floor like he was crawling towards a semblance of comfort in his crack house apartment.
His phone is dead so he smokes and stares at the semi-lifeless body next to him.
No texts, no calls. But that’s nothing new either. His brothers are ‘Dealing’ and he knows that meant to leave them alone.
He unlocks his phone and dials one of the only four numbers in his favorites.
Dom’s voice is unusually stressed, tone rough and frustrated. He didn’t mean to answer, or he was expecting a different call.
“Hey, brother, what are you-“
There’s a sigh and some yelling from somewhere distant. He’s probably on the job, Simon shouldn’t have called.
“I’ll call you back”
The line goes dead and Simon lets the phone drop. He takes a drag, attention back on Jasper, and brings him back to life with a kick.

Jasper thinks he could kill Simon. Run every red light just to find him in a cloud of marijuana smoke. Five knuckles against polished flesh. Unfailing hands around his neck. He’s halfway out the door when the monster runs ghostly fingers down his spine, but a text back reminds him he’d just as soon lick the blood and champagne from Simon’s jaw line than murder the kid.
He stumbles over an empty bottle and lets out every curse he can think of on his way to the bathroom. Jumps in the shower in an attempt to scrub the massacre from his fingers. Doesn’t stop until skin cracks beneath his hands.
Guess we all get a little trashy sometimes.

[to: simon]
You up???

Fuck you


your place or mine

“Do you even wear half the shit you buy?” A joke lined with something accusatory. He’s rifling through Simon’s closet like he wasn’t well aware of the kid’s affinity for anything designer. There’s little shame in his game when he pulls a random shirt off the hanger and slips it over his head.
“Well, shit,” he mumbles between breaths. He’s more impressed than he really should be, cause anything’s an upgrade against the dusty levi’s he came in, but damn. He might have to steal this one.
“Looks good” They don’t do niceties, but this sweaty, naked, strung out version of Simon doesn’t really care what they do and don’t do. He’d fuck Jasper in anything he wore, but there is no denying that his clothes look good on him. Evidently, his shit looks good on any one, but that ability to make even a demon look clean-cut showed the power of a $250 white button up.
It bothers him though, how fast Jasper masked himself in designer and seemed to be normal. He could pass off as handsome- Simon’s pin prick pupils follow movements as he pulled out a blazer.
“Don’t” He’s irrationally angry suddenly, but far too gone to get up to do something about it. Limbs loose, body heavy- all he can do was throw a pillow across the room. “Fuck me again while I’m still cooked, asshole”

His mom asked him if he was alright again.
Yeah, he’s alright- he knows she doesn’t believe him, but he’s high when he lies and feels none of that regret that usually follows.
He moves out two days later while she’s at tennis.

He’s hard to reach these days. Translucent skin against tile when a come down loomed over the horizon. Nikes leaving skid marks in a crowded bar. Perched under the arm of whoever would have him.
Course he’d always make time for his favorite. Five letters flash across the screen in an attempt to find out where he is, if he’s free.
History’s a bit hazy, but he knows this; when he first saw Simon, his mind already had a place for him. Wedged between black tar nights and marlboro mornings. Lodged in his throat like the taste of cough syrup; peaked teeth in his neck.
His thoughts screamed massacre when he saw Simon.
So he did.

[To simon;]
meet me at the club?

Dom’s voice mailbox is full- but Simon knew that.
It didn’t stop him from calling yet again and listening to the automated woman’s voice on speaker.
Jasper isn’t answering his texts and his skin hurts. Burns, itches, he’s shaking.

Dom can't come to the phone right now, his fingers are too slippery with blood… the 'slide to answer' wont work.


By Ivisbo and ShudderFox-
Dominic Bates by Char