Anyway remember--disturbing. Warnings.
by Josselin Kohl
Sometimes Justin has good days, lucid days, when Justin says something witty, and then they laugh together as though they weren’t both wearing cooking utensils on their heads. Sometimes Brian can imagine that Justin’s going to get better, that years from now they’ll be happy and normal and this’ll just be that weird part of their lives that they don’t talk about.
But most of the time, when Brian’s honest with himself, or at least not blatantly delusional, he has to admit that Justin’s only getting worse.
* * *
Brian awakes in the middle of the night to a peculiar sound—when he realizes it’s the sound of a knife being sharpened, his heart skips a beat and he’s out of bed in an instant.
Justin’s standing in the kitchen, framed by the odd light under the stove and the glow of the loft door alarm system. Justin’s taken his shirt off, and he’s staring at his stomach intently, with a small knife—sharpened, Brian assumes from the noises—poised a few inches below his ribs on the right side.
“Justin!” Brian calls sharply, running towards the kitchen, and Justin at least looks up when Brian shouts his name, which gives Brian enough time to get over there—not too late, not this time, thank God—and grab his wrist. “What the fuck are you doing?” Brian yells at Justin, but Justin’s in one of those moods, one of the trancelike moods where he doesn’t talk.
So he doesn’t say anything now, but he struggles, making a low keening noise that just breaks Brian’s heart, and trying to twist the knife away from Brian, waving his arm around, and Brian’s sure that one of them is going to end up cut. He clenches Justin’s wrist tighter, and tighter, until Justin cries out in pain, and drops the knife, and it lands with a clatter on the floor in the kitchen.
Brian lets go of Justin’s wrist, then, but Justin just lunges towards the knife again, and Brian tackles him, wrapping his arms around Justin’s waist and pulling him bodily along the kitchen floor, away from the knife. He sits on Justin’s hips and pins his upper arms as Justin struggles on the kitchen floor like a fish on the bottom of a boat.
“Jesus Christ,” Brian says, struggling to hold Justin down and wanting to sob. “Justin, why?” He asks. “Why?” He asks again, closing his eyes tightly for a moment.
Justin turns his head to look at Brian over his shoulder. “Brian,” he says desperately, and there’s a look in his eyes, and Brian thinks he knows now what ancient people said when the looked at someone and called them demon-possessed. “Brian, I have to get rid of it!”
“Get rid of what?” Brian asks helplessly, still holding Justin’s upper arms firmly enough to bruise them.
“The alien!” Justin shouts, as though this is obvious. “It’s growing inside me,” he says frantically. “I have to get rid of it.”
“Justin,” Brian says, shaking his head slowly. “It’s not. It’s really not.”
But Justin’s not listening any longer, he’s twisting again and reaching for the knife, and it’s back to a fight on the physical level.
Hours later, after Justin’s fighting and hysterics have finally exhausted him into a fitful sleep, Brian—just as exhausted himself—manages to pick him up and carry him into the bedroom. Then he pulls out the box from under his bed, gets out some silk ties, and he ties Justin’s hands together, just to be sure.
After gathering together all the knives, even the butter knives, and his switchblade, and then all the lighters, though he can’t even be sure he’s found all of those, Christ, they’re everywhere. Matches from the cabinet, and razors from the bathroom, and he puts them all into his file cabinet and locks it. He thinks about where he can put the key, and finally he hides it in the wreckage of the dishwasher, because that’s one thing that he knows that Justin will never, ever touch.
Then he goes to bed, and sits with his back resting against the pillows. He gathers Justin into his arms, and rocks him back and forth, ignoring the tears streaming down his own cheeks. “Why’d you have to do it, Justin?” He asks. “Why’d you have to do it?” Justin mutters and squirms in his sleep like a fussing child, but Brian ignores it. “You really didn’t want to do it,” he tells Justin, his voice cracking. “You didn’t want to do that,” he repeats. “Christ!” Brian shouts finally, looking up at the ceiling, and then sobbing and burying his face in Justin’s hair.
TO BE CONTINUED