after

He keeps to himself now, he takes cabs home. He doesn't have many friends. People see him on the street and wonder by the look on his face, what is he haunted by? Something, someone. He crosses the street when someone he doesn't like the look of. But he never crosses black cats, bad luck.

No one asks him what happened that screwed with his head. Or what story led up to that patch of ragged scar tissue on his neck that looks like a shark bite, or those thick purple scars that cover his gnarled hands. They look like burns, almost.

It's just one of those things you don't talk about.

And when he hears stories about young men who went missing, vanished without a trace, he just looks the other way. He plugs up his ears and covers his eyes. Pretends he doesn't hear, because he didn't right? He didn't, he didn't, he didn't.