Heavens Alley - Chapter 17: Reborn

August 14, 2016 Anson 0 Comments

Damaged psyche.... Beyond repair... Glenda.... Understand.... Murderous... Suicidal.... Reasoning........ Act without remorse..... Serial killer... Needs treatment... NOW........Ha Ha Ha Ha... The voices are back

The hum and sharp pinch of a needle brought him back to the present. He stared down at the hovering bald head of the man leaning over, skillfully inking his forearm. The tattoo was coming along nicely. Eric focused on the pain. He embraced it. He liked it. Pain to him was reassurance of life. The artist had an eagle tattooed on the crown of his head. Eric stared at it, amazed at the detailing.

It happened a few days ago. It had happened once before, when he was thirteen. Eric was damaged, he knew that. He couldn't connect emotionally to people, or anything for that matter. He realized at a very young age that he was completely devoid of empathy. The one thing he did have though, was a strong sense of self control. When he was twelve, Billy Braska the class bully once pushed him on the playground. Eric's natural response would have been to bash Braska's head till his skull and brain were a mixture of red pulp, but his mind reasoned that this was not the place. This reasoning was all that kept him out of trouble.

Four months after he had turned thirteen, it happened for the first time. Eric was walking to school one morning when he was cornered by Braska and his gang. They pushed him around for a bit, and Eric let them. They would get bored eventually and leave. This time however, the brats took it a step further. Two held Eric's arms so he couldn't move while Braska pulled down Eric's shorts and drenched his underpants with water from a bottle. They threw him to the ground and howled with laughter. Something in Eric snapped that very instant. It was as if a switch was flipped. Instinct took over reasoning. Eric blacked out.

When he came back to his senses he was seated at the waiting room of the hospital. He could see his mother talk to a nurse, nod in relief and walk towards him. She looked very angry. "You're in a lot of trouble Eric", she said with controlled anger. "But what did I do?" Eric didn't have a clue. In fact, now that he was thinking clearly, he remembered being cornered by Braska and the next moment he was at the hospital. Strangely he couldn't remember how he got there. "Don't you dare pretend to not know! Just come", his mom said.

That evening his mother slapped him for the first time. He was sent to bed early after a thorough lecture and a few beatings. He didn't cry. Strangely he enjoyed the sting of the slap. He was only annoyed he couldn't remember what had transpired earlier that day. He faintly remembered the encounter with Braska and the gang but nothing after. He fell asleep struggling to recollect. It all came back to him in his dream.

When Braska threw him to the ground, Eric's mind switched off all forms of reasoning and registered only one thought: attack. He got up, pulled up his shorts and in one swift motion kicked an unaware Braska in between the legs. Braska came crashing down on all fours. His friends ran, deserting him. Eric placed his backpack on the ground and took out a pencil. A freshly sharpened one. He stared at it for a moment, then jabbed it into Braska's cheek. Braska wailed in pain and terror. He struggled to pull the pencil out. Eric then punched Braska's left eye followed by a jab to the right eye. Braska's eyelids came down, blinding his vision. He was at the mercy of this maniac. Suddenly, Braska took on a whole new demeanor. He joined his hands as if in prayer. Unaware of where to point them since he couldn't see, he just faced the ground. He began to plead. "Eric. I'm very sorry. I promise it won't ever happen again.. Please man let me go I promise I won't trouble you ever again." He was barely speaking between sobs. Eric learnt a valuable lesson that day. Everybody's weak. Even the hardest of men can be broken. Even the strongest can be made to kneel. It was just a matter of finding their kryptonite. Eric carefully went through his backpack and settled on a pencil sharpener. He broke the plastic casing under his shoe and extracted the thin blade from the debris. Braska began sobbing harder. Eric held Braska's face in one hand, almost lovingly, then began meticulously carving into it. His hands were being controlled by something divine, carving shapes Eric couldn't decipher. He was oblivious to the screams wailing out of Braska. He was halfway into his art when two men passing by jumped in and separated the kids. Eric kept laughing. The men who intervened only saw blood and took both the boys to the hospital. Eric was found with no wounds. He was cleaned up and his mother was called. Braska was admitted, but was stable. The cops came but Braska was too terrified to speak.

Eric woke up in a sweat, strangely exhilarated. It was a high like no other, the feeling of being unstoppable and unpunishable. He wished he could live that way, devoid of any constraints, every day. But he knew he couldn't. His mind had switched reasoning back on.

And now it had happened again. Only this time it was different. The switch was off, but he was in control. He didn't black out like he had all those years ago. He was very much aware. He was dangerous.

He was wandering on the streets of Heavens Alley, thinking of the past few days when it had happened. The professor had evaded Thomas the private detective. She found out about Anatoly and had showed up at Eric's doorstep. She had slapped him, threatened him and walked away. Eric spent the next few days cooped up in doors, breaking everything he owned. He hadn't eaten a single meal in days. His body spent of energy forced itself out. He was wandering aimlessly when all of a sudden it happened. He felt mad. He didn't care anymore, of being inconspicuous, of putting up a civil facade, of seeming sane. He didn't care. He felt liberated. That's when he saw the tattoo studio. He wanted to make sure he wasn't dreaming, and pain would help him understand.

The design came to him again, as if by divine intervention. On a piece of paper he outlined what he wanted. The fine drawing impressed even the seasoned tattoo artist. The artist was to make no addition or deduction. He was only allowed to use his skill to beautify the sketch. It would take three days to complete.

The tattoo started at the shoulder. A cathedral entrance stretched from the top of the shoulder, covering the upper arm, up until till the elbow. The doors to the cathedral were open and showed empty pews stretching to the altar. Behind the altar stood a cross. The difference with Eric's cross though, was that instead of a nailed redeemer were heads torn from the torso hanging from the top of the cross to the bottom. Karrick, the artist, never admitted this but since the day he finished detailing that part of the tattoo he had been getting nightmares of the hanging faces.

At the foot of the entrance, tattooed on the forearm, stood Cerberus, the three headed mythical beast. He was undoubtedly guarding the cathedral. Each of the three faces depicted a different emotion, one of calm, provocation and anger.

Only Eric was allowed into his minds church. Anyone who dared intrude would face the three stages of Eric's wrath and ultimately be beheaded and hung on the cross. This was the tattoos significance to Eric.

Eric had a complete design for his entire body, but now was not the time. The design on his arm was complete. Karrick seemed mighty relieved and impatient to get rid of this man from his studio. Eric walked to the mirror and admired his art. He liked it. The artist had done a fine job. It was time to pay him.

Eric looked around the studio. It was just the two of them in there. Just his luck. he walked to the entrance and bolted the already shut door. "What are you doing man", Karrick quizzed in an alarmed tone. "Just pay and get outta here. I don't want no trouble."

Eric was barely listening. He walked to the chair he was sitting on and from a tray next to it took the tattoo machine. The needle was still attached. Perfect. He detached the cable freeing the gun. Karrick panicked. He pulled out his phone and began dialing the cops. Eric, to Karrick's bewilderment, ran towards him and before he knew it, the needle was thrust into his belly. The maniac didn't stop there. He pulled it out and kept stabbing Karrick, multiple times, until finally he lay lifeless in a pool of his own blood.

A new Eric walked out of that studio. One devoid of morals. One devoid of fear. A mad man.

One that had to be stopped.

What Eric had in mind perhaps?