Part Two of our queer dark switchblade-and-sorcery novel, Those Who Create and Destroy, is here, with a new chapter free to read every Monday and Friday!
In today’s new chapter, “That Girl Possessed,” Rory tries breaking the bad news to Max on Jules’s behalf, and it doesn’t go well.
Download the full Part One free for e-reader, for those who need to catch up.
“That Girl Possessed”
story by Mabel Harper & Emrys Webb
written by Emrys Webb
VIEW CONTENT WARNING
“Have you ever felt like it was wrong that you were born?”
Rory blinked his eyes open, prying himself from the clutches of a languid half-sleep. Sunlight lay in long, harsh stripes across Max’s face, which rested supine, eyes listless and staring, on the pillow next to his.
“Yes,” he said. Eyed her for a moment. “Why?”
She rolled over onto her side, facing away from him.
It had been like this since her last episode. She didn’t talk much anymore, and when she did, it was was to say stuff like this. She’d lost interest in cartoons, food, more recently even sex. And there were moments, like the other night when Jules’s lab colleague had stopped by, that she seemed only half-conscious of her surroundings. Yesterday Rory had caught her staring at Jules across the room, muttering something about “Adam” (which she pronounced ah-DAHM). When Rory had asked her what was up, she’d only looked at him like she didn’t know him.
After another minute or two, Rory heard her snoring—felt a small, guilty wave of relief. Whenever Max went to sleep, it was like a dark cloud rolled away. Not that Rory was especially happy puttering around the suite all by himself, but Max’s company these days was definitely more draining than it was invigorating.
Rory eased himself upright with a grunt, fumbled around on the nightstand for his cigarettes. Wondered what the hell to do with himself. Shitty TV wasn’t nearly enough of a distraction these days.
He paused, tuned his ears to the distant sound of the front door opening and closing. Jules. Felt himself brighten a little, thought about the pot of leftover rice in the fridge and the lonely packet of longganisa sitting in the freezer. Lately, he’d been eating nothing but Froot Loops, Hot Pockets, and SPAM out of the can, because Max was never hungry anymore, and Jules rarely got home before dark, and cooking for one just never seemed worth the trouble.
Rory tugged on a shirt and PJ pants, shuffled quietly into the hall.
As he eased shut Max’s door, strangled whimpers and labored breathing reached his ears. “Jules?” A fist of worry clamped down on his chest.
He hit the living room at a light jog, turned a frantic three-sixty, hearing the sounds as if they were coming from right next to him, but seeing no one.
Finally, he spotted Jules’s satchel protruding around the short outcropping of wall that sectioned off the entryway.
Rory went skidding toward it and halted, heart pounding, at the sight of his old friend huddled on the rug with his back to the door, rocking, clutching his head in both hands.
“Jules.” Rory rushed over, crouched next to him.
“Where’s Max?” whispered Jules. He looked like a wreck, his eyes bloodshot, face mottled and swollen from crying. There was dried blood on his coat.
“Asleep. Are you hurt? What the hell happened?”
Jules’s whole body spasmed. “I fucked up!”