[Note from the author: This chapter was the blurb that started this whole Horsey Ashes thing. I wrote it while suffering from writer’s block and liked the idea too much to let it be a one-time thing. Originally it was intended to be the prologue, but the idea was scrapped since it felt a little out of place to the rest of the chapters. Now, seven chapters in, I’ve changed my mind. If you hate it, feel free to roast me in the comments. Destroy my fragile ego, crush my frail, soft body. I hope you enjoy the read and have a lovely day XOXO.]
No one plans to overdose on their horse. These things just happen.
“Kyle! Can you hear me!? Focus on my voice!” I screamed at the unresponsive man passed out on the grass. I’d wager he couldn’t hear me.
By this point Kyle’s face had turned a spooky shade of white. His chest shook with ghastly tremors. I slapped him in the face. Hard. Not sure why, but I saw doctors do it on TV so it couldn’t hurt.
“Jeff, did you get the AED!?” The round form of Jeff jogged panting towards us, the device held firmly in his sweaty hands.
“I had to look everywhere for this! They don’t even have fire extinguishers here, man!” Jeff paused to catch his breath, “This is the last time I’m following you anywhere. How’ll this help at all? Shouldn’t we just call 911?”
“Are you fucking insane?? Those bastards will shoot us dead! Hand it over!” Guns are outlawed in Canada, but I don’t trust those tricky pricks. Jeff had a point. I brought the two to this park in Chinatown because that’s where I hid the ash, but the lack of basic safety equipment here really made me rethink my decision.
“Alright Kyle you obstinate fucker, this’ll wake you up good.” I slapped the sticky black things on Kyle’s naked chest, slammed the power on.
“AAAUGH!!” Kyle jumped six feet in the air and fell five. There he levitated, one foot off the grass, emanating an ethereal aura.
“Kyle, can you hear me!? Can you feel the spirits of the dead!?”
When Kyle looked at me, he looked through eyes which were not his own. “I AM NOT KYLE. I AM BRUTUS, RED HANDED KINGKILLER,” he said in a tongue much deeper and more sinister than his tiny frame would suggest.
“Dude, what did he take??”, screamed Jeff, “Alright, I’m calling 911.”
“No don’t-” I was interrupted by a weak slap in the face. “Ow, stop hitting me Kyle!”
“KYLE IS DEAD. I AM BRUTUS KINGKILLER. FUCK YOU.” If Kyle wasn’t five feet tall and seventy pounds wide his slaps might’ve done some serious damage, but as it were they felt more like strong gusts of wind. I gave him a tiny push and he careened off like a one-winged harpy.
“HOW DARE YOU!” he boomed. “EMPIRES HAVE BENT UNDER MY KNEE. GODS HAVE KNELT TO KISS MY FEET.” Kyle or Brutus flew towards me like a large, awkward bird, knocking me off balance and wrestling the AED from my grasp. “INFINITE POWEER!”, he screeched in horrific reference to pop culture. Strands of electricity lanced off the wires from the defibrillator to the black stickies on his nipples, further fueling this demonic rage. Behind him I could see Jeff frantically scrambling with his flip-phone.
I’ve had enough of this. I won’t let this freak ruin my picnic. “Alright you fucker, you wanna go!? I can take you any day!” Fully charged with electrical energy, Brutus Kingkiller now levitated three feet off the ground, enshrouded in a terrific cloak of lightning. His eyes glowed red with inhuman power. I got the feeling that I, in fact, could not take him any day.
“YOU ARE NOTHING,” Brutus shouted, firing a bolt of lightning straight to my chest. If not for the ashes it would’ve made me a dead man, but it still stung and flung me some good ways off anyhow. “BOOM. HEADSHOT.”
“That wasn’t a headshot, you oaf,” I stammered through the blood filling my lungs. Immediately I felt the pain begin to abate, courtesy of the horsey ashes flowing through my veins. Shit, I’d need another hit to take this guy, and I was running dangerously low on ash. In the background, Jeff hid his rotund form behind a tiny park bench, where he sobbed quietly.
“HATERS GONNA HATE,” boomed Brutus as he levelled me with another lightning bolt, this time actually to my head. It cleared up my sinuses real good, but probably killed what brain cells I had left. I looked up at the demon that was Kyle only to see a sea of infinite darkness. Then I looked at Jeff, who had transcended to a quietly weeping sea of infinite darkness. I tried to look at my hands but couldn’t because they’d also melted into a sea of infinite darkness. Shit, the blast must’ve burned my eyeballs right off. Quickly, I distracted him with a witty one-liner while my face regenerated. “Ou ick a aug aah!” That sounded better in my head, but I blamed the delivery on my mostly-missing tongue.
“WHAT’S THAT? YOU’RE NOT MAKING A LICK OF SENSE!”
“Oow haag uogh!” I retorted, which roughly translated to ‘that pun is horrible and also go fuck yourself.’
“EYE‘M GOING TO MURDER YOU NOW,” the character menaced through barely suppressed giggles. “GET IT? BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO MORE EYES. YOU’VE BEEN ROBBED OF THE GIFT OF SIGHT. YOU’LL NEVER SEE ANOTHER PERFECT SPRING DAY OR YOUR FIRST-BORN CHILD OR THE COSMOS OF DUST MOTES SUSPENDED IN THE SUNLIGHT STREAMING THROUGH YOUR OPEN WINDOW ON CALM SUNDAY MORNINGS. BOOM, ROASTED.” With that, Brutus blasted me with another bolt to the chest. I tried to clutch where I got hit only to feel a large crater in the middle of my thoracic cavity. If I still had the gift of sight I would’ve been greeted with the view of my skin and fat melting off, my ribcage shattering, and my right lung being rendered a useless, charred, flesh lump. I wondered if it was a good thing that I couldn’t feel any pain. Probably not.
The satchel. I had to get the satchel. I always carried a pouch of horsey ashes in my left sock for emergencies. The blood loss was really hindering my movements though. Felt like I was moving underwater or in a cloud made of bubble-wrap. So difficult. Maybe I should take a quick nap. Get some more energy. Outside, I heard the demon-man move away, toward the spot Jeff hid. Jeff’s squeal-crying really wasn’t helping me muster up the will to live.
As much as I hate to admit it, Jeff saved my life. If Kyle and/or Brutus hadn’t taken so long torturing the man, there was no way I could’ve retrieved the satchel and emptied the contents into my exposed mediastinum. I blacked out at least twice and reached toward the wrong sock thrice but Brutus had too much fun electrocuting Jeff’s butthole to notice or finish me off.
The ash hit quick. Hit like a lightning bolt to the chest, thirty thousand gigawatts straight to the nipples. I took too much. But holy fuck was it worth it. Wild horses stampeded through my mindless mind, tearing all my pain and inhibition and despair to pieces. I felt it stitch together my ruined body, rebuild what was mangled or vaporized or burnt. I was no longer here. I had transcended this planar form.
“KYYYLLLE!!!” My voice came out more thunderstorm or hurricane than human.
“OH HECK.” Those were the last words Kyle said before my mach-5 fist fisted his face. The demon flew back fifty feet and crumpled into a bloody mess upon collision with the red brick façade of the nearby Chinese restaurant. My hand was reduced to a chunky red mist in the process, but such is the cost of progress.
“WEEWOOWEEWOO” said the red and blue sirens of the RCMP. Oh shit. It’s the popo. They must be responding to Jeff’s call.
“Alright fuckers, put your hands where I can see ’em!” commanded a moustachioed Mountie.
“Oh, thank God you’re here! You wouldn’t believe the-” Jeff was cut short by a vicious stream of bullets. Literally. Like, he was cut in half.
“I said, HANDS UP! Ah fuck it, they’re a lost cause. Light ’em up, boys!” At this, an army of AR-15 toting Mounties clamored out of the cop car and started spraying down every gosh-darned thing that moved in the near periphery. Me, Kyle, grandma Gretta on her way to church, the trees and shops in the background, other Mounties. It was a darned shit-fest. The only reason I got out alive was because I’d just mainlined a whole gram and a half of ash, and even then, I barely survived. I don’t know what happened to Kyle. Poor bastard probably got disintegrated. By the end of it all I had more in common with a sponge than a human with how many holes I had in me. I was more air than man. But I survived.
The Mounties had killed each other off at this point. I was the only thing left breathing in a fifty-yard radius. Must be a Wednesday. I could never get the hang of Wednesdays.