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"The essence of good and evil is a certain disposition of the will." 



Ina Pierce swayed to the music, enraptured in a sea of neon lights and glitter-fettered darkness. Whorls of smoke from vape sticks and more than a few marijuana cigarettes spun around her toned, pale arms as she waved them overhead. Her eyes were closed, gilded with midnight purple eye shadow, and her dark maroon colored lips curved in a slight but enchanted smile as she imagined herself flying through a castle of gold and marble somewhere far away, maybe grown from the rock itself on the summit of Everest...

Her eyes shot open suddenly, as if in precognition of an interruption, and surprise bloomed on her face as her cheeks flushed.

“Ina! You shouldn't be here,” Wilder said, fighting to be heard over pulsing staccato dance music.

Shock at having been stirred from her daydream gave way quickly to joy with her friend's appearance. “Wilder, you're here!”

“And like I said, you shouldn't be. The doctor said so,” he pleaded, gently gripping her shoulders in his large but delicate hands. “You should be at home resting, you know that.”

Ina looked at Wilder through a sparkling haze. She knew he was less than a foot away, mere inches, but she felt displaced from the physical universe. And then something began to pull her back: his fingers felt warm against her bare shoulders. Ina reached up and held onto Wilder's elbows to keep steady and connected, and spoke, “It's okay, really. I promised myself that I'd be good.”

“You're always good. It's your brain I'm worried about,” Wilder answered, his normally sea-green eyes the color of moonlight-washed moss in the flashing darkness of the rave.

Ina couldn't help herself and blew the generous wisps of auburn hair that hung over Wilder's angular face away, just so she could see those eyes more clearly.

“Did you at least take your meds? Please tell me you did,” he asked.

She nodded, cheeks dimpling as she began moving her arms side to side, coaxing Wilder to move, to start dancing with her. Ina said, “I did. I mean it. I swear.”

Frustration burst through Wilder's calm facade and tightened his grip on Ina's shoulders. “Please, please. You should understand. I care about you.”

“You care? I know that, silly boy.”

“I love you, all the way. And I can't just stand around and not do something,” Wilder hollered, face red.

“There's nothing you can do. It's fate. It's my destiny,” Ina blurted, her expression an incongruous mixture of sad eyes and those glistening, smiling lips.

Wilder looked sideways, making sure there was space around them, then bent his shoulder down below Ina's waist and hefted her up in a swift movement, his swimmer's muscles making the feat of tossing her 120 pounds over his shoulder seem effortless. Ina let out a little peep of surprise and giggled when he spun around. Wilder was prevented from full-on sprinting to the exit by the randomly swerving mass of dozens of other party-goers between him and the door. As Wilder dashed through the crowd, Ina swept her hands down over his midsection, feeling Wilder's abs tense and relax as her weight bounced from side to side.

And then he crashed through the metal door, brushed by a perplexed bouncer, and the explosion of light and sound inside was immediately stripped away, replaced by the misty, cold October night of Mystic, Connecticut.

Ina felt a shock course through her, a realization. It was being pulled from the womb, again, a loss of comfort so powerful that even the thought of death lacked emphasis. “No!” She cried out. Her voice echoed in the strange, supernatural way it does in air thick with fog, vibrations ricocheting around and through trillions of minuscule spheres of water.

“Home, Ina, I'm taking you home,” panted Wilder. He carefully slid her down off his shoulder as he reached his car, a two decade-old, silver BMW coupe passed down from his grandfather Terrance, dotted with dozens of tiny dents, scratches and rust-freckles. Ina leaned back on a fender. Gravel crunched beneath the soles of her black leather boots as Wilder fumbled his keys from a pocket of his denim jacket. Still lost in the transition from the resplendent peace of the monthly Hide'n'Seek rave to the isolated chaos of cold night, she barely noticed the bouncer jogging across the parking lot to her rescue.

Ina raised a finger, pointed, and whispered, “Wilder, it's a bulldog.”

“What?” Wilder said, turning just in time to see the man approach, already perilously close.

The bouncer was in his thirties, probably moonlighting away from his job as a full-time bouncer at some bar in town, and he did indeed look like a bulldog. He was tall, surely 6'3 or taller, but he might have been even wider. His bald head barely moved at all atop a neck thick with muscle on the sides and bounded by several fat rolls at the back. The man's arms were equally as menacing in size, and those were moving.

The giant of a man bellowed, “Hey buddy, what do you think you're doing with her?”

As his two huge hands reached out to grapple Wilder, the much smaller and younger man only had time to be surprised at how quick he was for his size. Wilder swung out of the bouncer's way, accidentally spinning around to bang off the hood of his car before landing on all fours in the gravel.

Wilder could feel the bouncer's approach behind him even before his shadow draped over his back. If he didn't do anything, Wilder knew he'd end up zip-tied and having to explain himself to some police officers with no help from Ina, who would probably remain blitzed out of her mind on whatever drugs...Continue Reading


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Zac Wilson      3/24/19 4:01 AM

I'm loving it so far! You could teach me a thing or two about how to turn a phrase!