Ye of Little Faith : Part 2 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Can’t lie. Those lips did
Something to me now.
Energy boost.
“Ain’t never had a boyfriend.”
Here I go;
My crazy ass.

Trece oozes discomfort like
Perspiration on her skin.
        Neither of us liked José
        During the study with his
                Annoying nosy, sneaky
                Behavior always jumping
        Into somebody else’s
        Conversation. He hadn’t saved
Her and shown his loyalty.
“The Jackal saved me,” I blab,
	Hoping to cut the awkward
	Tension in the air. Trece frowns.
		I nod. “I was about to
                Be lunch to a bloodsucking
        Wall of moss and he jumped up
        And saved me.” José shudders.
“Don’t worry, he got ate by
A beaver-crocodile
        Thing in the swamp.” I point back.
	“We ain’t going back in there,”
		Trece remarks, we barely missed
		Those beasts jaws the first time round.
        “Let’s check out that hill till we
        Find a door off this damn floor.”

I shrug and we begin to strut up the hill.
I wonder how long it will be
        Before we encounter
        More nightmare things.
“Thanks for coming back for me, twice.”
Trece smiled, down here and back at the party.
	“If you hadn’t carried me
        I’d’ve died sooner.”

        She hugs me and I smile.
Bittersweet joy.

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Ye of Little Faith : Part 1 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

He does not let go.
We float in the swamp.
My bleeding stops.
“Why hasn’t he killed me yet.”
He swims slow.
Guides me to land.

His silver claws don’t scratch as
He lifts me out of the swamp
	I exhale and watch as he
	Begins to climb onto
		The wet, pink grass. A scream shoots
		From between my lips as the
	Beaver-croc snaps down on his
Leg and drags him below the
Murky surface. I reach out
But I’m too late, they vanish.
	I drag myself deeper up
	The grassy island and melt.
		Why the fuck did I go to
		That party? Trece and Kal were
	The only two people I
	Could stand to be around from
The clinical study and
If Kal hadn’t knocked Luke’s tooth out
	When he insulted my weight
	I would probably still hate him.
		We had a heart to heart where
		He confessed his closeted
	Past and actually became
	Friends. The others I despised.

“Please tell me you did not fucking slide all
The way down here to save us two!”
        Trece punches me and grins;
        Squeezes my neck.
José’s eyes swell up. He presses
His lips against mine and oblivion.
        The pure silence
        Returns. I wish it’d stay.

        He rips away. “Sorry.”
Trece nervous-laughs

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Anybody Could Be the Killer : Part 3 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

My skin tingles as
The wall pulls me deep.
Mossy serene.
“Oh no, I can’t stop smiling.”
It kisses
My cheek; I drift.

I’ve never felt this good; it’s
Intoxicating the way
        The bed of moss caresses.
        All I see is ocean-blue
                Fluffy clouds. I’m safe again.
                “You’re the most beautiful thing
        I’ve ever seen.” The bass of
        His tone forces my bones to
Whistle. “Kal,” I whisper. He
Floats above me, thick lip grin.
	“I should have kissed you,” he cries.
	He slips his hand under my
		Cheek and I shudder; he’s real?
		“I had to find you, Lakil.”
        He slams his lips into mine
        And I forget how to breathe.
I throw my arms over his
Shoulders and dive into him.
	I don’t want to stop, even
        After hearing the howling.
	        It sounds familiar and close.
	        “Don’t stop,” Kal whispers. I flinch.
      Blood drips from my arm and the
      Clouds turn musty. The Jackal.

It growls inches from my face, claws slicing.
The moss squeezes my flesh as the
        Jackal slices me free.
        That’s when I see.
The moss wall is hungry, hissing
As it loses its delirious meal.
        I see the bones
        Of other ravaged souls.

        Another hungry plant
With stunts and shows.

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Anybody Could Be the Killer : Part 2 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Is what Trece said true?
Could the killer be
From the study.
“Four others died before me.”
Were they here?
A dilemma.

The exit leads me to a
Musty room, with green walls and
        An endless ceiling covered
        In stars, but not real ones; more
                Like glow in the dark stickers.
                Something swishes past my leg
        And I splash through the darkness.
        It smells like a swamp. I call
For Trece and José—nothing.
The swamp-room comes alive with
        The chirps and howls of nightmares.
	Things are hungry; things are scared.
                I swim toward the closest wall
                And notice a short ladder 
        Hanging from the wall—relief.
        I grab the rusty bars and
Begin climbing. I don’t make
It two feet out of the swamp
        Before a splash and roar throws
        Me off balance. I drop fast.
	        Teeth barely miss me; I swim
	        Fast to the wall. It leaps up
        And I see it clearly; a
        Damn beaver-crocodile.

Webbed claws, a thorny back with thick fur and
A paddle board tail. It snaps its
	Giant jaws in front of
	My face—razor.
I kick it in the jaw and grip
The rusty ladder, slipping and swinging
	Up the green wall.
	The wall is moss—alive.

	It kisses my fingers
And pulls me in.

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Anybody Could Be the Killer : Part 1 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Waterfall staircase;
Rushing rivers send us
Past doors, nineteen…
“Just when you think its safe out.”
I see scales
And fins and teeth.

Jimmie Chew jumps onto my
Back as I use my left arm
        To twist onto the hand rails.
        My right hand squeezes Trece’s
                Wrist and I pull her to me.
                She grips the hand rails and coughs.
        I see the door marked thirteen.
        I’m ahead of the others
And pray I catch them before
The waters send them past us.
        “Hold on tight,” I yell and stretch
        My arm out to grab Luke by
                His collar and drag him to
                The hand rail. Trece tries the same
        Move but miscalculates when
        José slams into her and
She loses her grip on the
Hand rail. They drift past the door.
        I turn around and push up
        Across the staircase. I grip
                The door handle and stretch my
                Hand out to grab Luke; Jimmie
        Climbs Luke’s back. We pull with all
        Our strength and the door opens.

“Take Jimmie and find the door,” I exclaim.
Luke squints and I push them through the
        Door. I take a deep breath
        And let the waves
Carry me down the stairs—freezing.
I don’t know how many flights of stairs I’ve
        Passed but the door
        Marked exit looms ahead.

        How much worse can it get? 
Through the exit.

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She Saves Me : Part 4 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Trece is tall, chubby,
Like me, with dark brown
Skin and full lips.
“If I was straight, I’d crush hard.”
She knew how
To talk to folks.

“I bled to death before we
Unmasked the guy,” Trece reveals.
        “You stabbed him right in the heart.”
        “I think he followed us here,
                We’ve been chased by a jackal
                Since we began our journey.”
        Trece hisses as we move through
        The thirteenth door. It leads us
To a dim staircase. My feet
Splash down the winding steps—drip.
	Water streams down the staircase.
        “If he’s here, then that means its
                 Someone else from the study.”
                 We make our way down the dark,
        Leaky staircase; a chilly breeze.
        “Kal and I broke into the
Lab two days ago and found
Dr. Louves research. We were
        Guinea pigs for a new drug
        Meant to bring people back from
	         Death. They wanted to learn what
                Happens to consciousness when we
        Die.” The water moves faster
        As we descend the staircase.

“This is where your soul goes when your body
Ain’t quite dead yet,” Trece claimed. I slip
         Down the next step and splash
         Onto my ass.
I gasp as a wave of water
Topples over us, blasting us down the
         Stairs. We pass doors.
         Thirty, twenty eight—down.

	Trece squeezes my wrist as
Waves toss us down.

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She Saves Me : Part 3 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Someone jumping from
The ceiling to save
My ass again.
“I must got an angel here.”
Or some type
Of guardian.

A figure with a giant
Mallet jumped over the beast
        And laughed. “Bet you thought you’d seen
        The last of me, bitch.” The wit.
                My head darts up and she’s there
                With her right hand on her hip
        And the giant mallet perched
        Over her shoulder. I smile
And jump up, squeezing my arms
Around her waist, lifting her
        In the air. She laughs harder.
        I put her back on the ground
                And my smile fades. “You died too?”
                She stops laughing and exhales.
       “You killed him,” she said, “You got
        Him right in the heart, but the
Ambulance didn’t make it. You
Saved Kal and me but I lost
        Too much blood.” Luke and José
        Rush to my side; Luke squeezes
               Our savior’s waist, teary-eyed.
               “So its cause of the study?”
        I shrug. “That’s what we’re thinking.
        But we have a way out, Trece.”

I wipe the green blood from her brown cheek and
Grin. “Thanks for the rescue.” She smiles.
        “So what’s the plan?” she asks.
        José motions.
“The thirteenth door is right up there.”
We see it at the top of the cave and
        I squeeze Trece’s hand, “The
        Boiler room door.”

        “We get to that door and
We can get back.”

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She Saves Me : Part 2 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

The ground shakes with more
Terror than before,
And Mama shows.
“Twice the size and appetite.”
Her legs are
Thicker, blue fur.

Her mouth stretches like a pez
Dispenser, revealing rows
        Of gold chainsaw-grapnel fangs
        I swear I hear the engine
                Of her endless fangs blazing.
                 Vicky’s three mates struggle
        To outrun Mama-Pez’s
        Stampeding feet Luke, his
Crush, José, and I run for
The tall tree line. Mama-Pez
        Leaps over our heads, her six
        Legs springing through the air quick.
                She drops between us and the
                Safety of the rain forest.
        We killed her baby, she ain’t
        Got no reason to be our
Friend. She’s the size of three
Stacked hummers. She stretches her
        Head back and swings her jaws down.
        He barely manage to leap
                Away from her buzzing mouth.
                Jimmie Chew sprints from the trees
        And leaps on her back—claws deep.
        Mama-Pez squeals and we bolt.
		
I dash toward her legs as Jimmie claws
Her back out. I leap into the
        Air and stab her webbed foot.
        She squeals and swings
She slams me into a tree and
Darts straight at me, bleeding revenge; I breathe
        Slow and wait for
        Her to devour me.

        Someone yells and she drops
Dead at my feet.

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She Saves Me : Part 1 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

Time moves weird here—fast
And slow and groggy;
A fever dream.
“Been here hours, maybe weeks.”
Telling time,
Impossible.

I watch the giant, hairy
Beast with six legs tumble out
        Of the cave and swipe Vicky
        Into its mouth with a crunch.
                My hand shoots to my mouth as
                I swallow back my vomit.
        “Lisa told me about this,”
        José lets the words slip out
His mouth, then zips his lips tight.
“When did you talk to Lisa?”
        The monster swings a webbed paw
        At my head; José tackles
                Me out of danger—nice save.
                Luke lifts up his crush and drags
        Him out of the beasts next swipe.
        Captain save a hoe to the
Rescue. I jump up and sprint
To the giants hind legs with
        A rough machete chop.
        It squeals and José slices
                Its left arm. Luke snatches his
                Crush’s bow and loads it up.
        He whistles and I chop off
        One of the beast’s webbed-toes—swift

I run as it stumbles back and Luke grins.
He aims the bow and let’s it shoot
        Through the air and into
        The beasts left eye.
The beast drops dead; I catch my breath.
José howls victory as Luke wraps
        His arms around
        My chest. He saved two hoes.

        Luke’s crush shakes and cries out
“That’s the baby.”

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Everyone is Gone : Part 3 (Die a Little Bit: a Novelette)

I know she lyin’;
This heffa ain’t been
Happy for years.
“Your spirit’s all outta wack!”
They gon’ learn
This shit today.

José lets out a laugh that
Shakes the walls outside the cave.
        “You misunderstood,” he grins.
        “I never said the nightmare
                Was mine, but I know how it
                Ends.” He whistles and the ground
        Rumbles. Our captors begin
        To shudder. I kick
 the man
On my left in the knee
, hard,
And when he drops I swipe his
        Machete. I shove the heel
        Of my foot into his chin
                And spin around to stop the
                Other machete-wielding
        Man from slicing José’s arm.
        José stabs his knife into
The man’s leg and twists it quick.
A woman swings on me: left,
        Right, up, out. I dodge each slice.
        I quickly examine her
                Technique and think, we could have
                Been friends, in the real world. Drop.
        I dip and José punches
        Her in the jaw, she stumbles.

Luke’s crush shoots an arrow at my head and
I jump when it misses me by
        Inches. Vicky glares and
        Luke charges—fierce.
He tackles his crush before he
Can load another arrow. His fists shoot
        Down onto his
        Face like meteors—crash.

        Vicky screams and a cave
Monster attacks.

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