By Alberto Pupo


He was finally free. It has been a long struggle, but at long last, he was free from that infernal place. No more listening to the constant chatter, the strange way the people would look at you. No more listening to constant sounds of lawnmowers. Finally hitting his 18th birthday, he is allowed to roam wherever he may desire.  He will not be held back anymore. He hopped in his car this morning, blasted the radio, and started to drive. He drove for hours until the gas monster needed to be fed. He stops at a small desolate gas station, the kind of gas station that is manned by a bored meth junkie, sitting out back wanking off to a playboy mag straight from the rack. He knows that in a few minutes he will be arriving in the big city. , waiting to meet his new roommates, and begin a new chapter in his life. Having been born in raised in a small town all he could do most of his life is a dream. He walks in, made his first gasoline purchase as a free man, bought a pack of smokes and a greasy 99 cent hotdog made from some mystery meat (most like people). He sits outside chowing on his hotdog and simultaneously taking drags of his cigarette. Her can picture his high school sweetheart Messa, flipping out if she were here. Telling him that he is slowly killing himself, (meanwhile, she was gorging on a donut herself). He has had enough chains. He has been accountable to girlfriends, parents, aunts, uncles, teacher, everyone. Now he can taste freedom it tastes like…

His attention is now on large black vehicle pulling into slowly to the pump next to him. His skin crawls as he realizes it is a hearse, most likely carrying a body out back.  The driver a lanky grim looking fellow quietly gets out and walks toward the small store to pay for his gas. He walks by him and a scent of horse shit and death enters his nostrils to the point of making him sick. The man pays quickly and walks back out with a slow sauntering gait. He is a very pale looking man who looks most likely avoids the outdoors at all costs. He begins to pump the gas, and the strange man’s eyes fall on him, the color is odd brightly colored like a ruby… but he can;’t look away. He is entranced, and he has a sudden compulsion to walk up the man. He keeps moving forward even though in his mind a voice is screaming, no yelling at him to stop. The man now has a wide smile on his face as he is standing before him, he finally addresses him with a voice that sounds like sandpaper scraping away at flesh.

    “Hello there, I see I am right on time.”

He continues to stare at the man the toothy grin never leaving his pale face. But for some reason, the words he spoke make perfect sense to him.  He now automatically continues to walk forward, his motion propelling him forward and he finds himself unable to pull back. He is now standing behind the hearse, and the strange man walks into the front seat, and with a click, the trunk of the hearse opens… There is a coffin in there, large, yet ornately decorated with strange symbols that do make any sense to him.  Now the strange looking man, walks up to him once more the ruby eyes glittering brightly. He can see flashes in his head, a red light, he is looking down at his phone,  it is pitch dark, he did not have time to stop… he ignored the warning and then his thoughts are interrupted as the strange man speaks with the sandpaper voice once more.

    “Get inside. It is time to go home


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