is a horror writer from the Bronx whose fiction has appeared in
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Title graphic by Lucy A. Snyder.
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All materials copyright 1996-1997 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).
And why not? Unkempt, unshaved, unwashed, he may as well have had the word "Junkie" tattooed across his forehead.
"Let 'em stare," he mumbled. "Fuck 'em."
He wondered how these judgmental assholes would react if they knew the sacrifice he had made in their behalf. Or even if they would give a shit at all, for that matter.
I hate fucking New York, he thought to himself for the billionth time that day. But it does serve its purpose.
Marc stumbled out of the train station, and headed toward Valentine Avenue. Home was a shitty one bedroom in a decrepit apartment complex. The halls reeked of old wine and piss, but Marc never let that bother him. He'd been subjected to far worse. His apartment was on the top floor, wedged in a small corridor right off the elevator. It provided the isolation he desired. No, that wasn't right, was it? Not desired. Required would be closer to the truth.
Tossing his jacket on the threadbare sofa, Marc made his way into the bedroom without bothering to turn on the lights. Darkness made the apartment almost bearable, transforming the thrift-shop relics strewn about into amorphous shapes that merely insinuated poverty. Edison's brainchild only served to drive that fact home.
Sitting on the lumpy mattress, he opened another packet from the bundle he'd purchased earlier. Marc lit a scented candle on the milk crate that served as an end table, casting an eerie pall across the room. He carefully emptied the packet into a tarnished spoon, not wasting a granule of powdered comfort. He tightened the rubber tubing around his arm, and held the spoon over the candle until its contents were bubbling. Arming the syringe with its payload, he slid it into a vein and released, granting Mother Heroin access to the highways and byways that stretched throughout his body.
Lying down, Marc permitted himself a quick glimpse out of the single window gracing the room. Night was falling, and in a short while the moon, that pale and bloated pellet that corrupted the night sky, would arise. It was the moon that had been responsible for his rapid plunge down the social ladder, dumping him to live among the flotsam and jetsam of human debris.
The moon that was responsible for the liquid death that poisoned his body each day.
No point in anger; the dope wouldn't allow it in any case. Just relaxing, floating away on a shimmering opium ribbon, drifting toward a tranquil place devoid of judgment, devoid of heartache.
Devoid of beasts.
Sometimes, when the baking soda cut was a little too heavy or the quality of the dope was low, the dreams would come. Dreams of a former reality; dreams of parties and women and respectability. Then the dreams would change shape, darken, and the perfectly sculpted women and the subtly fawning men would be replaced.
Or at least, one beast in particular.
Marcus Aurelius Warren. King of the Beasts.
Tonight, the dope was good and the cut was low. Skinny had hooked him up right and proper. There'd be no dreams. Just sweet, sinking oblivion; a slow cruise to nowhere. That was just fine with Marc. Even nowhere was better than here.