Faery Hill – Part One

My heart rate was elevated and steady. Perspiration beaded down my temples, sliding below my jaw line. He was warm, almost hot on my skin. We’d been fucking long enough we’d both caught a sweat, the lubrication of which caused our flesh to slip against each other. It turned me on more. I felt my body tense, my veins tighten, my joints lock. The shock of release always stopped my breath. Jarod moaned, the presence of my discharge heavy in his body. I sighed, relieved. He sighed, content. I didn’t do this often, but I’d known Jarod for a long time. He was one of the only ones I enjoyed bare. He was one of the only ones who let me. Jarod pulled himself off me, my dick already becoming flaccid, though still sensitive and pulsing. He turned around and looked at me from the bed. He smiled, pressing his head into the pillow, moving his head side to side as if still in a state of ecstasy. He shrugged his pale shoulders comfortably, his naturally thin body with a sheen in the dim light.

“That felt so good.” He said, giggling. I agreed, braced over him like a captor. I looked him in the eyes. We got together every now and then to enjoy each other’s company, and other things. We could go for hours, and sometimes I was game for that, but usually I needed sometime to recoup my vitality.

“We should do it again. Did you take one of those pills?” he asked caressing my forearm with his fingertips.

“Not today.”

“Awwww.” He whined coyly. He sighed lightly again, “Well, there’s always next time. Thanks for bringing by my package.”

“Of course.” I was Jarod’s delivery boy, as he liked to call me. Once a week or so I’d stop by with his usual purchase. A fun drug that was popular among the community. When I became open about selling I was surprised at the attention I started getting from all the boys. I had gone from invisible to a desirable john. That’s how it felt anyway. But Jarod had always been there. He’d been around long before them. We even started using together before I invested in selling. I was not the kind to use drugs for sex; I’ll admit I allowed myself to if the boy was hot: slim waist, thick hips, round ass, cute face, but it was nothing like me and Jarod. I thought of him as a friend, too. I had my rounds to do before the night was done.

“You making deliveries today, huh?” he asked, sitting up. I had hopped off the bed, kicking off the damp sheets.

“Yeah. You up to anything later? Maybe I can swing back around?”

“I’m free all day.” Jarrod perked up.

“Cool. You’ll probably be riding that till I get back.” He smiled.


I made my rounds, trying to sell out before too long. It wasn’t hard. I had a few clients in the city’s northwest where those living comfortably above median income stayed. Tea Town it was called. Some people referred to it as hill country, but I knew better. It was just greener per capita with highly groomed lawns and tall security walls. It wasn’t the true hill country of rolling verdant mounts, and small rocky peaks. My clients lived there all the same. These were the ones that bought the most. They were typically older men, overweight, balding, or flesh a withered paper bag. They always asked for sex. Sometimes I let them give me a blow job, but I made it clear that the favor was in no way for exchange of goods. It was to sate their appetite. They could use the drug for whatever activities they had that did not include me. With this drug in their arsenal, it was no problem. It was a favorite aphrodisiac in the scene. Everyone was using it.

By the time I left Tea Town half my day was gone and I’d head south to the city center. There were several clients downtown and in the surrounding neighborhoods. The area had become more gentrified over the years, to the point that buyers were paying hundreds of thousands for shit properties that’d been around for decades and never saw money or care. The curse of new money struck the town about one to two decades ago, and it had seen rapid growth in development, but a decline in heart and morale. More people called the streets home these days, and more homes became B&B’s and law offices, studios and tech agencies. It was amazing to me how many of these affluent types were into drugs, there was a consistent patronage here. And they were all gay. My people.

It didn’t bother me at first. I thought it was great, the ability to fit into the private lives of so many well-to do and prominent people. Even the ones popular in the scene considered me their friend. I was the go-to guy. Not many people deal’d what I had and it was hard to come by. Of course, what they didn’t know is that my provider dealt exclusively with me. But I was the one responsible for introducing and spreading the latest craze in recreational drug use. The drug was best described as giving users the alertness and high of ice and the rush and euphoria of poppers. It nearly lasted as long, too. It was great for sex. People used it everywhere, from private homes, to clubs, to bathhouses and who knows where else. I’d turned a profit running the junk, and had nurtured a healthy nest egg for myself. Far as I knew, no one had ever OD’ed on it; my benefactors assured me it was harmless as weed. They said there were no side effects. I couldn’t believe it when I first tried it. Something this good had to have side effects. They also never talked about where it came from or how it was made. It was mysterious to me as my benefactors. I started having doubts about the whole thing when some of my longtime buyers began to disappear. It was no big deal at first. At first I thought they’d just stopped using, but then it was three buyers, then four and five. I began to doubt the side effects claim and knew something was up.

Driving through traffic was a pain. Sometimes it took three times the drive time it would when traffic was light. Twenty minutes to cross the city became an hour if I was lucky. The city loomed before me as I approached it on the interstate. What had once been a gorgeous skyline, crystalline views on a blue cloudless day, now seemed hazy and jaundiced. Proud, modern buildings that once gleamed, now dulled in the haze of dusk. The buildings had become expectant sentinels demanding reverence; they were no longer inviting and desirable. The once verdant parks had begun to keel, the trees baring their skeletons, the grass patching to dirt and filthy soil. I exited the interstate on a down ramp, a tall concrete edifice advertising local law enforcement: a female officer, a smile beneath accusing eyes, some message about drinking and driving. Half the straight men in the city would probably drive drunk if it meant being pulled over by her. As I slipped below the ramp to street level, the sky light changed. It went from a putrid yellow orange, to overcast shadows and gray. Red brake lights lined the street for a mile. Drivers waited with frustration in their cars, isolated lone drivers trying to get home, trying to get wherever they needed to go, probably running late, always forgetting about the traffic, never planning ahead. I always did the same, but fortunately where I had to be was usually on my time. Trips during rush hour had become a practice in patience, and I had patience in reserves.

I was headed to an area of downtown called Faery Hill. It was a ‘neighborhood’ for the alternative lifestyle. Gay bars and clubs, gay owned stores, specialty shops and restaurants, the local bathhouse, gay B&B, all sequestered to a chain of blocks on the west end of downtown. There were some high end boutiques and restaurants north and south of the strip, but Faery Hill was more inviting for the traveler, price-wise, and looked it—well traveled, diverse, and used. Incidentally, this was also where my dealers lived. I had to make a run to one of my preferred watering holes, Jack Lats’ Inn. It wasn’t the most popular bar on the strip. It was old, it was dark, but it was reliable. It reminded me more of a dive bar with a small, LED lit dance floor and several pool tables toward the back. The patio looked out onto a back alley where drunks went to purge their wasted earnings, and the homeless used for a private latrine. The owner and bartenders were nice, and half of them were my clients. They’d put in a sizable order and were expecting me shortly after opening. Late as it felt, I was on time.


“Faery Hill” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. Short fiction, part one of five. 



Indecencies Of The Sun

There was a vague sadness clinging to the stiff morning air. It wasn’t cool, but it should have been. It should have chilled his bones. It should have bitten his fingers so harsh they force retreat to stave off the pain and rigidity. The sun had risen, the golden light swelling across the horizon. The effervescent light refracted in his eyes, caused rainbows and geometry to flash before him. They reminded him of the ghosts he’d lived with. The sullen guilt and shame he’d summoned long ago. He thought about the mystic’s gentle words that sung to him about enlightenment. How she synced with his life back then and recited the hidden wisdoms that mocked him. That ultimately paralyzed him. The ghosts were beautiful. Prismatic diamond white, rainbow sheen. Faint and fleeting.

Fuck the sun.

The ocean glimmered before him. The whitening light glistening off crest and crease. He came here before, the point where sky met water. It had become a ritual, an annual retreat he attended. He wasn’t the first, but he carried it on diligently. It was a segment of his personal history he’d hold dear. Summoning the sun on Christmas morning. Watching with the light. He never found himself to be esoteric, but he knew he thought differently. He found himself surrounded by people different in their own way, their perspectives waited and respected. Sometimes insecurity welled up, but he pushed through it with a pretentious confidence. Sometimes it was laughable. But that’s where he found his strength to push past it. He found himself alone on the beach, encircled in a private bubble, a round of energy that isolated him from everything in the universe. Alone. He listened to the silence. Not even the rush of waves penetrated the sphere. He felt the warmth of the sun. The light unavoidable. It comforted and pacified.

This would probably be the last time he went. A decade of returns in observance of the sun. It rose in the west on these shores. He never understood the mechanics of it, but such was the perception held by all. There was something backwards about the beach, and the dirty water it held. He looked at the ripples as they curved and crashed into the sea wall. He listened to the splash and slosh of the water. The sounds of the beach returned. The sea gulls repetitive call, a breeze blowing in his ears, the distance static of ocean waves. The voice of friends.

“Are you done, Nev?” the voice was calm. Nev glanced to the side, his face remained forward.

“Do you want me to be?” he felt a spark of rebellion in him.

“Do you always have to challenge?” The voice peaked a bit. It caught Nev’s attention. He grinned subtly.

“There’s something different this year,” he started, but his voice trailed off. He turned to his friend whom had entered Nev’s protective bubble.

“Everything is changing, Neville. We’ve done what we came to do.”

“You know how I told you where I was. You know, in the grand scheme of things?”

“Step seven.”

“Yeah. There’s gonna be at least one more.”

“I’d certainly hope so.” Neville’s friend paused and added, “but you know we’re safe for now.”

Neville stared out to the ocean again. He became mesmerized by the glistening light that danced on its surface. For miles a field of electric light dazzled across the horizon. It illuminated specters across his face more radiant that the sunlight. The warm winter settled distinguished from the others, a mark of something different for the future he had planned. The visions and paranoia dreamed up by the many had fallen away, the fears of the masses buried with the old world separate from the new.



Yellow Moon

The light was dim. The room was awash in the soft buzz of iridescence. I moved close to him, and he close to me. I felt a current between us, a thick air that fuzzed. It seemed to reach to him and pull us together. I kissed him. I was ensconced in electricity. I trembled slightly. So did he. We’d known what we wanted for months; had denied it to our hearts. The golden haze that crowned around us; the cascading rivets of plumes and petals wan with the spark of belief.


“Yellow Moon” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved.


To Look In Vain

He took a tentative glance at the screen again. He waited for a response. They were on the other side just wasting time. He knew it. What were they doing? He became anxious in a huff beneath his breath. He’d been at it for three hours. He sat up off the floor again and walked to the bathroom. The lights were bright day light and the vent was running. He dragged from his pipe. The incendiary tongue flicked stoic. He waited for the signal to alert him. He rubbed his crotch. Another five minutes had passed. He tried thinking about something else. A distraction. He could pay a bill. That would help. He opened another window. He listened for the signal. Glanced at the screen. It glowed in a colorful grid like a sordid and shameful all male rendition of the Brady bunch square. He couldn’t help but to refresh. He recognized a new face. Ugh, he thought, him. What’s he doing over here? He knew exactly what he was doing there, even as his contact went off line and the minutes passed. Sometimes there wasn’t a point. He may not have been ready and tempted fate too much. He may have been impatient trying to find him. Or something. Shallow as it was, fleeting and anonymous, the warmth it provided, wrapped itself around him and fired upon his flesh a memory he constantly desired.


“To Look In Vain” is written by Michael Aaron Casares. All right reserved.



Celestial Hemorrhage


There is a nonchalance in the air of creativity. Ambiguity plays a vital part. Destruction in the dust of long lost memories and reticent goals. Integrity welling up in pools of deep sapphire. The dam, though cracked, is fortified and strong. Hands are reaching from the void. They scrape the blackened heavens, push the stars aside; they strike the sparkling orbs inside the eye. Beneath the waves and sullen wet horizon, a striking birth is moving a blessing in the air. The light that ruptures water into rolling waves, ascends, a celestial hemorrhage of starlight and dazzle. A warm promise is born, kissing heaven’s darkly tufted clouds, marrying life to exposition, and constant sharing of insights.

Only Dictators Win the Lottery and Have Private Planes

The following is an excerpt from my novel, The Distance To The End. This excerpt comes from chapter 2, I believe. However, in the final revision, a nice chunk was edited out. I initially included it because I thought it important to convey a specific aspect of Nick’s character. But the content slowed the read, an unnecessary speed bump, as it were. So, I guess this piece qualifies as a deleted scene. The Distance To The End was published in 2016; for more information, click the “Books” tab at the top of the page. In the meantime, enjoy a glimpse into what never was, but may have been…


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Neville had always told me that he pictured himself from a very young age as the type of individual who was very successful and powerful. He dreamed big. He said at the age of five instead of playing Ninja Turtles with his friends, he was El Capitan, the commander of a vast army, busting down the doors of citizens and exerting his force. Fortunately, Neville had no military experience and probably never would. There were other things about his aspirations that were more humble, opening a business or something that would generate net worth or fame, or both. What he hadn’t told me, as he explained on the way to a private airfield, was that he had won the lottery. I was stoked for him, and could certainly understand why they had insisted on paying for the trip. A private airplane was something he always wanted, and flying from western California to Las Vegas was a quick trip by plane. Neville was ebullient. We could drink and just relax. Neville also knew, as well as Raoul and Gladys, that to fly, this would be my preference: private and not having to deal with the hoopla of current airport security. That’s right, we live in the year 2012 and security is the fad with politicians and big government, and let’s not be bashful, because the TSA workers weren’t with their groping and touching. I didn’t prefer to fly publicly because of the goons who ironically cop out on their own rights by violating others. The TSA, the “Traveler’s Security Agency,” a security agency contracted by the government are responsible for running security checks at airports. Some argue, they are just doing their job being part of the TSA and so one cannot really blame them. They are people just like you and me. And I never denied that. These are well meaning people, just trying to make ends meet one way or another, but it is also important then, that these people understand basic rights and, like diligent military folk, uphold their oaths and not infringe on the rights of others, regardless of chain of command or bureaucracy or paycheck. Of course, it’s a job, so I guess it’s not the same. And, of course, I had friends and associates who did not care either way. Members of my family, for example, were adamant they didn’t mind being felt up or microwaved in a big DNA microwaver. In fact, they insisted the radiation was healthy for them in a joking manner, and that they loved their healthy green glow, or that it staved off cancer. What was unfortunate was all the unknowing TSA employees who were constantly exposed to the radiation of their own machines.

Gladys had had her own run in with the TSA. They were actually in the process of filing suit against the agency. Gladys is claiming charges of sexual harassment, among a few other charges. She’s really going for the jugular on this one. Gladys is quite happy with the private plane.

We landed smoothly, buzzed off a bottle of champagne Neville had been saving for his plane’s maiden voyage. He was tempted to smash it along the side, but we had convinced him to drink it instead. Flying into Las Vegas was fun. The run of homes and retail centers all leading to the strip of new hotels and casinos, all tiny little boxes growing, growing till lavishness and verbosity, elegance and grandeur are the order. My heart smiled as the wheels touched down and we bounced ever so slightly in Neville’s nondescript personal plane, and the personal pilot, like all personal pilots in the imaginations of all, cleared us to exit, opened the hatch, and dropped the stairs. Neville stood at the top, a wily prince with an empty glass of champagne.

“Now that’s how I arrive!” he screamed and threw down his glass, it shattering on the concrete. He stepped down; we all followed. The captain opened a hatch on the back and began to unload our luggage. Raoul smiled. The sky was blue and the sun was bright, a stiff breeze carried the heat away and cooled the tarmac.



The Distance To The End is available now. Order it at your favorite bookstore, or purchase it online by clicking on this link: https://www.amazon.com/Distance-End-Michael-Aaron-Casares/dp/0692667830

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Strangers With No Home

I got off the bus on Travis St. next to a small park that was a hang-out for all the bums and vagrants. The vagrants weren’t too bad in this city, at least not in my experience, and you could shoo them off easy with a stiff glare and pursed lips. One time I was standing outside a nightclub after a rock concert and a drunken hobo came meandering by. I was busy talking with my friends and I suppose he thought I was talking to him and he just yelled out, “What you say, boy?” I was taken aback at first, but then I manned up and shot back forcefully, “I wasn’t talking to you.” His eyes glazed over and he turned and started walking, mumbling to himself again as he had been before his mistaken moment of lucidity. I don’t know what I would have done if he had decided to pursue a confrontation, but in a way I’m glad. I had only been in one fight on the streets. I ignored the people sitting in the park, waiting at the bus line for their next meal. Of course they asked for money but I didn’t have any to give them. It wasn’t safe to give out money to one in front of their friends because then they would all ask you for money and for some reason the homeless tended to have a photographic memory and they could spot you out of a crowd if they knew you had a giving hand. I felt bad for most of them. Sometimes I wondered why they chose to do it. Sometimes I think some of them really believed that they had no alternative, especially the ones that had a fit with the government. I talked to one once who told me that he wasn’t gonna work because the government was taxing his income and taking money out of his pocket and putting it into the pocket of bankers that didn’t even live in America, bankers who didn’t like America. He said as long as they were going to do that, as long as they were going to continue to be un-American and break the laws of the Constitution that he wasn’t gonna work and pay for their condos and face lifts. I told him he was wrong and that working was good and that it was what we were supposed to do because of the law. He laughed in my face and told me there was no such law and that I needed to grow a mind of my own and find out the truth. Most people believe they are crazy, homeless people. Of course I thought that if what the man was saying was true, he wasn’t giving himself any credibility by living on the streets. No one would believe him and things would never change.



“Strangers With No Home” is a vignette written by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

The Perfect Distraction

Mr. Riley sat comfortably at his desk. He had done so many times within the year in the span of a decade as many of his peers did. He did not care to lament the condition of the human species tied to the cycles of materialism and time. Nor did he care to mull over the condition of the soul. He simply did as he was told. He simply stood in line like everybody else waiting his turn, or hoping he at least had a turn. In this world of first class cynicism and lowered expectation, he found that he was okay with that. There was a message in there somewhere for him. There was something his astral guides and guardian angels were trying to tell him, but he lacked the receiver, and the signal went on into the fragments of space.

It was noon. At noon time he had his second meal of the day. At half passed noon he would return to work. He opened his lunch bag, a blue rectangle with a black zipper. The contents were a sandwich of rye bread and roast beef with provolone cheese and green leaf lettuce and mustard, a few pickle spears, and a can of soda pop. The flavor was red. He didn’t quite know what flavor it was exactly. It could have been vanilla or bubble gum, or a combination of the two. But it had a kick to it. He thought it would help his digestion. Mr. Riley went about eating his lunch like he’d do any day. He had a handful of hours yet before his work day was done and then he’d be off to go have dinner before relaxing in front of the television and then climbing into bed. He finished his meal with just enough time to relieve himself before continuing his work. Mr. Riley stood up and left his desk and his tiny closet like office. He walked to the men’s room, paying no attention to the other people who worked in tiny offices around him, too. They walked around the hallways, not really paying attention either. They kind of just stared off into the distance as if there were no one else present in the room, not even so much as a twitch of a pupil. He wasn’t exactly sure what the function of his co-workers were. They all crunched numbers for some agency or corporation, but beyond that he had no clue.

He entered the special needs bathroom which he preferred because it was a single use bathroom and offered him more privacy. Mr. Riley sat and thought about his day. It helped to pass with greater ease. Mr. Riley was about done cleaning himself when the lights in the bathroom switched off. His heart kicked in his chest before slowing to a heavy, thumping pulse. They flickered and turned off again. It was black all around. He was startled and began fumbling in the dark for the toilet paper dispenser. Having found it he gathered more paper and carefully guided the wad for a final, cleaning wipe.  Next, he reached in his pants, crumpled on the floor, for his phone. He jabbed the screen and it flashed on providing a dull gray light in the darkened white ceramic bathroom. He put his phone screen up on the dispenser and proceeded to pull up his pants. His heart had stopped thrumming and slowed. He briefly wondered what was going on, and figured a circuit had blown out or something. He wondered if it affected the whole building, or just the floor, or what? Great, he thought, now I’ll get behind on my work. The thought of working after hours because of a blown fuse was irritating. He finished washing his hands and retrieved his phone from the dispenser. He opened the door, but when he did, Mr. Riley wasn’t sure he knew exactly where he was. His heart kicked up again.

Benjamin Riley slammed the door to the bathroom. He found himself in blackness again. He took a moment to think. The light had still not turned on. It seemed the fuse was still blown. He reached his hand to open the door. He turned the knob. When he opened the door what he saw on the other side was not the office as he remembered it. It wasn’t an office at all. It was some place he was certain he’d been before, but at the same time he wasn’t sure. He seemed to be in a corridor of some sort with closed doors lining as far down as the eye could see. The hall was dimly lit, the carpeting was elegant, dark and highly styled. He walked into the corridor. He walked forward and turned directly to his right. There was a telephone bank of four gold-pleated phones and an elevator foyer. He looked at the elevators. He was on the 14th floor. He pressed the down button which in turn lit red. A few minutes passed before the bell signaled the lift had arrived. The doors opened revealing a standard size cabin with tan and burgundy striped walls and stained cherry wood base-boards and dividers. Gold-plated buttons and decorations accented the cabin. A man stood to the left side of the elevator. He seemed to shrink inside himself and jitter, nervous-like.  Mr. Riley pushed the ground-floor level, the one marked with a star and the number “1.” Ben Riley was still at a loss for where he was. He stood silently in the elevator, feeling strange vibes from the man next time him. He wondered who he was. The lift moved steadily down without falter or stop. Finally about the fifth floor, Ben Riley turned to the other passenger, looking at his piqued demeanor and shrunken-in eyes and pointy nose. He was also bald and gray of color.

“Excuse me, but would you mind telling me what building we are in?” Ben asked with lack of confidence.

The man looked at Ben Riley for a moment as if he weren’t sure he was talking to him.  The man’s head seemed to shrink into his shoulders. A grin began to crack around the corners of his mouth. The smile was dehydrated. The elevator bell sounded, just as the man began to laugh and cackle gleefully. He shook Ben Riley’s hand proudly and scurried out of the elevator leaving Ben more confused than before.  Ben exited the elevator before the door closed again. He found himself in the lobby of what looked like a hotel.  The carpets and the draperies were a deep maroon color. The walls and furniture were bone white. Gold and deep cherry-red mahogany accented the room’s architecture.  People moved around. There was an electric quality to their energy. The room seemed to buzz. He walked forward. As he placed his foot down there was a rumble in the ground. An unanimous whimper released from the lips of all the people scurrying about the lobby. Another rumble vibrated through the floor, this followed by the very building itself seeming to shake. The lights flickered. He realized people weren’t just scurrying, they were moving with a true sense of urgency. He looked at the current of people and decided to follow the biggest stream of them. He was rushed towards the exit and into the great outdoors. The sky was blue, though his surroundings seemed to have a gray tint to it. Before him were many concrete structures, like roads or highways, bridges, overpasses. People scurried along on these as well. There were several plumes of black smoke billowing in the sky. Ben heard another low rumble and the sound of an explosion in the distance. He heard a rush of noise coming from not far either. It sounded like a maddening crowd of people. It was unlike anything he’d heard before.

“Run!” He heard someone yell. He wasn’t sure what to do. People all around him were running. It didn’t seem that anyone really had a plan where they were going. They were just going. Ben ran from the hotel to the streets. He saw bonfires smoking in separate clusters. Trash littered the ground. People ran in every direction. Ben ran for an over pass, looking to take cover underneath it. Gun shots rang out in the distance.

Ben began to get the feeling that there was some major event happening and he somehow got trapped in the middle of it. He was far away from the bathroom. He was further from his desk and his office. He picked up his pace, his feet falling hard on the concrete as he rushed to the over pass. The ground inclined and narrowed into a concrete pit beneath the overpass. Gunshots and explosions continued to sound off in the distance. There were others in the pit already, ducking against the wall, some with their hands over the head as if to protect from falling objects. The ground rumbled and vibrated again. Ben Riley walked over to one of the men in the pit. He was tall and bearded. His beard was a salted auburn pelt, wiry and bushy. He was dressed in all black: pants, coat and shirt. His coat was corduroy. He wore thin oval specks and had pointed ears and a long rounded nose.

“Excuse me.” Ben called to the tall man. “Excuse me, but what is going on?”

The man turned to Ben, looking down somewhat surprised, but not. “Well, don’t you know what is going on around you?”

“I guess not.” Ben replied. The man grunted.

“The signs have been around you the entire time. Here you are, now. We had to find some way to tell you.” Ben heard screaming in the background, he heard more voices yelling, muffled as they were coming from above the over pass. Gunshots and explosions continued to pierce the silence that was vacuously present when nothing else sounded. The tall man turned toward the wall and looked up. The concrete ceiling of the overpass seemed to be much closer than before, a mere handful of feet above their heads. There were slats cut into the concrete, as a sewage drain on the side of the street,  that allowed them to see the people rushing about on the street. There was more black smoke in the sky. Ben could really see the people now. They were running, looks of fear on their faces. They were running for their lives. Others seemed to be fighting. He couldn’t tell who the provocateurs were. He didn’t see any police. He only saw people running and smoke billowing in the sky. There was another rumble in the ground and the concrete pit shook. Dust and pebbles fell from the ceiling. Ben suddenly didn’t feel safe.

“I think we should move.”

“We may very well have to.”

Ben looked out the concrete slat again to the street. He saw a lady running. She was running full speed ahead when suddenly she fell forward, as if an unseen force had pushed into her. Her face contorted in pain and she began to scream. But then, her mouth seemed to cover over with flesh, like it’d been sealed shut with a layer of skin, and she was silent. She lay on the ground struggling. Then her flesh and clothing began to sag, and she seemed to melt and become part of the ground, a puddle of flesh, cloth and hair that sank into the concrete, becoming it. Ben’s heart again began to thrum tensely. He felt the need to leave immediately.

“You will have to leave now, sir.” The tall man told Ben. “We can’t have you hanging around here much longer.” He turned to Ben looking him straight in the eyes. “Be gone now.” The tall man lifted his hand and slapped Ben Riley on the forehead right between his eyes. Ben saw a flash of light, as one does when hit in the face, and a pool of blackness. He heard his heart thrumming. It was pounding in his ears. He heard it pounding in the blackness. Pound! Pound! Pound! Ben opened his eyes. It was dark. There was silence. A narrow light dimly lit the room. Ben was disoriented. The pounding came again. He jerked upwards. The lights turned on with a click and an electric buzz. The room was white and tiled. Ben Riley sat on the commode, his pants around his ankle. Someone was pounding on the door.

“Hello!” Came a voice “Is someone in there? I have to go!”

Ben’s heart jumped. His ass felt tingly and ached from sitting too long. The visions of whatever illusion he’d hosted faded away.

“Uh, occupado.” He called through the door nervously. He finished up, hurriedly pulling up his pants, fidgeting with his belt, nearly forgetting to flush. Ben exited, bumbling and apologizing to the employee who scowled at him from her wheelchair as he hurried back to his desk.





The Perfect Distraction is an original work by Michael Aaron Casares. All rights reserved. 

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