Ashes and Ghost

XII

It was a Friday night. Louis sat against a tree in the small park; Greg sat beside him.

They were sipping a three-six, passing it back and forth. Louis was feeling kind of dizzy.

Greg was wearing his ugly overcoat. He moved around inside of it.

In Louis's kitchen, on the floor, Lou's body was festering.

Louis leaned against the tree; the bark was rough. Someone had cut a large gash along the side, and sap was sticking to his shirt and hair. He licked his lips and stared at the skeletal canopy above.

A little further, some kids their age were gathered in a circle, laughing and talking.

They were gathered around a burlap sack. Their faces were almost obscured by the night.

They took turns kicking the sack. Occasionally it would twitch.

In Louis's kitchen, on the floor, Lou's blood was congealing into something else.

The moon wasn't visible tonight, obscured by clouds. The one streetlight showed halves of those kids' faces. It showed parts of Greg and Louis's faces.

Beyond, the river, flowing cold.

Louis took another sip of the three-six, and felt an enervating fire fall down his throat.

After he handed it to Greg, he went back to picking at a scab on his ankle.

In Louis's kitchen, on the floor, Lou's carcass was beginning to show little white spots, maggots.

Louis staggered up. "I'm… I'm going now."

Greg sniggered. "You're so drunk Louis… I don't believe it."

Louis sat back down, and smiled. "You're right."

He fell asleep there, his cheek against the tree sap.