October 24, 2012

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It was an unfavorable time to lose his voice. Even with his father standing right in front of him, the one he had purposely avoided and despised, nothing would come out. Blake's vision focused on his father's graying hair, mixing in with the brown, the all-around look giving off a sophisticated, gentlemanly aura.

Leon glared the man down, but he must have been unfazed, for his father slipped between the two and into the living room behind them. Blake absentmindedly noticed he did not take off his shoes. Flakes of dirt left behind from the soles littered the entryway, following to where his father now stood. His hands were empty, holding firmly onto the wooden chair.

Blake stared at his best-friend; he looked anything but enthralled. Being his childhood friend, Leon knew the type of man his father really was. Even if Blake wanted Leon to leave, it was a known fact he wouldn't. The one time he did that was his last, an unforgettable scar left on him physically and mentally.

"You should go make some coffee," Leon whispered, hand squeezing Blake's shoulder as he passed by.

It was obvious why he said that, and even though the situation wasn't favorable, he was glad Leon was there to make it bearable. As long as his hands were busy, the less likely chance he would do something he would regret. Instead of being docile like normal, he found himself becoming more and more irritated with the situation. When did his thoughts begin to shift?

He turned the light off and trekked to the kitchen. The tension in the air was thick, but he tried his best to stand straight and get his hands moving.

"As always, nice to see you, Leon. You two are attached at the hip, just like when you were younger." His tone of voice sounded affectionate enough, although Blake could hear the hidden undertone of loathing.

"Giovanni," Leon acknowledged. Just hearing his name brought back unpleasant memories. "Oh, so you're the little shit Giovanni mentioned. He's right about you, you know?"

Leon sat down across from his father and — even though it was hard to see from where he was standing — rolled his eyes.

"You never change, but," Leon pointed to his father's graying hair," your hair does." Leon was being a smartass and did not try to hide it. They always fought when they happened to come across each other, snide remarks flinging back and forth, sarcasm dripping from each word.

"You like it? I thought I would try something new. I heard something about it on the radio, "a younger-looking you" they had said."

Déjà vu hit Blake hard at that comment, but something about what his father said sounded off. He remembered hearing something like that before too, but different. A mere coincidence, maybe, but still.

Leon shrugged his shoulders, bored, but attentive. "Never heard of it. Are you sure you aren't gettin' senile?"

"It just goes to show you're not special enough. You're still a punk."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? I don't need Blake's permission to kick your ass out," Leon threatened. He scratched his scalp, his anxious tick kicking in.

Giovanni shrugged his shoulders, not affected at all by Leon's outburst or excuses. "Then you won't get to hear what I have to say."

"It's probably not important anyway."

Giovanni shook his head, a clear smirk forming, but saying nothing. Silence engulfed the room.

Blake knew Leon was only trying to lessen the tension. He was impressed at how relaxed he was acting, even if that's all it was, an act.

The fragrance of fresh-brewed coffee filled the air with a pleasant sensation. Blake reached for a cup for himself, hands shaking as he set it down before him. He was scared he was going to drop it, nerves getting the better of him and heightening his anxiety over the situation. There was no cause for concern, the reason he was here known.

Blake was not alone in this. He had Leon, it was enough, and all he ever needed to overcome this obstacle in the past.

He poured coffee for his father, black, just how he liked it. He wished he could forget the small things as well as the substantial. Getting amnesia and having his history become a blank canvas was looking more appealing by the day.

Blake set the coffee down in front of him before taking a seat himself. His father nodded with a smile, accepting the drink without a word. Now it was time for business, the nausea settling in his stomach.

"Why are you here?" To his surprise, it wasn't Leon that said that, but himself.

Giovanni stared at him, gazing at his face, looking for something. "You know why I'm here."

Blake couldn't keep his focus, eyes scanning the table instead. "You're lying." It was said so quietly, it came out as a whisper.

"What did you say?" The irritation was there. The nice facade torn, replaced by the ugliness, his true intentions.

"I'm not giving it to you," he said, louder this time. His hazel orbs found his father's. "It's not yours to have."

Leon was being quiet. It was unlike his character to sit back and watch.

"The hell it isn't," he argued, voice raised, hand curling into a fist next to his coffee.

"You don't deserve it. Not... not after everything that's happened between us. I should have said no a long time ago." Keeping eye contact was becoming harder, his resolve fading as his father's features contorted in rage. He instead looked at the coffee, watching as the smoke floated up and disappeared. Much like what he wanted to do.

"You don't know what I went through, boy!" His father's fist slammed on the table. The coffee shook and the liquid rippled.

Blake finally looked back up, eyes fierce and determined. "A bottle of Jack Daniels a day is about right, isn't it? The bottom of the bottle was all you saw!" He may have been young, but he wasn't stupid. Blake took the brunt of his father's anger.

"Bullshit." His father's eyes were cold, gone the empty bliss that once lived, now swirling in profound rancor. "You have no idea what I went through all those years."

"You drank yourself out of a job and your own kid." Blake tried to keep his voice low; the neighbors were probably home, wondering what was transpiring. "You constantly pleaded for money, threatening to do worse if I didn't comply. I used to do it. I wanted you to accept me, no matter how much I knew you wouldn't."

"You were my son, and you killed my wife the minute you were born into this merciless, inhuman world." He paused, fingers twirling with the handle on the cream-colored coffee mug. "Only a demon would kill the one who gave birth to them, their own flesh and blood."

"Were?" Leon voiced, as if reading Blake's own mind. "If you want my opinion—and no, I don't give a shit if you do or not—have no right to talk to your own son that way, your own flesh and blood."

His father's callous, uncaring stare fell upon him. "You are no son of mine."

The room was silent, all except for Leon who stood slowly. His father didn't say another word. If he had no plans to make amends, did he truly expect Blake to hand him any money?

"I'm glad mom died before she had to see the man you have become. She would have been sickened." Blake did not plan on stopping there. All of his pent up frustrations over that man had built up for years, and now they were finally erupting. Although he had a lot more things he wanted to say, all of the hatred and anguish he endured were on his lips, waiting, but he never got the chance.

The table shook, coffee rolling onto its side, contents spilling in a pool on the wooden surface. The drink inched its way toward the edge.

"You little shit-!" was the last thing he remembered before finding himself thrown out of his chair, head knocking hard against the wall. The pain that coursed through him was a hundred times worse than any head injury he had received in the past from him. Giovanni had naturally green eyes, bright and lively, but right now they looked red, a dark, ruby red that seemed to suck the life out of him.

His chest felt like it was crushed; he could feel the bones breaking piece by piece. His lower abdomen exploded in pain. Blake was positive he screamed, even though he didn't hear it. His abdomen felt like it was on fire, a heat that seeped into his ribs and outward. He was so tired. Dizzy. Lost. What was he doing again? He tried to life his arm, to no avail, his body failing him.

He heard Leon yell somewhere in front of him. Seconds later, his body felt lighter. Cuss words were shouted and the room seemed to shake. Blake couldn't find the energy to life his head. Even so, he was far more interested in what was still lingering on top of him.

He was sure it was just a hallucination. Most likely, he hit his head harder than he thought. Yet, the black shadow that hung above his torso swayed and moved as if it was alive. A pitch black hand reached for his neck, but he didn't feel anything: no warmth, no frigid cold, no burning, just the feeling of his esophagus getting ever so tight.

It was hard to breath, but when his body tried to cough, it jolted and his legs seized. He felt nothing, saw everything. The world around him, his apartment, stood still, as if time was stopping just for this moment.

The black figure had eyes now, nothing but white and red, bloody, crimson water cascading down what should be its face. Blake knew he should feel scared, trepidation the highest emotion on his list of things he wasn't feeling.

His throat closed completely, or at least it felt like it did, while his world started to blur until becoming obsidian, just like the thing on top of him, ripping out his soul, possibly eating him alive. A picture of his torn, mangled carcass flashed across his eye lids, the whole left side of his body missing, pieces of flesh strewn about the pure, bleached floor. It stood over him, chewing away at his severed arm, disassembled muscle and white specks of what could only be bone, sticking out of what could be considered its mouth.

It was then he remembered, he didn't even get to drink his coffee.