Blast From the Passed
My flesh decomposed almost two decades ago, yet I never left. They say my spirit is on the path to enlightenment. That’s great. Nirvana awaits. But first I’ve got a final piece of earthly business to attend to: Repaying the bastard who rendered me a maggot buffet.
His name is Hector, and we only met once. It was part of a gang initiation, a test of equal parts loyalty and ruthlessness. Hector pressed a semi-automatic pistol to the back of my head while his brothers urged him on. He didn’t want to do it. I could sense that much. Unfortunately, the combination of overwhelming peer pressure and surging adrenaline generally doesn’t end well.
There was only a moment of black, like a deep blink, and then I was in my current form. Hovering over my slumped-forward flesh body, I watched the blood gush from my mouth, my nose, my ears. When at last I was empty, so was Hector.
Hector has done well for himself since. He’s cleaned up, embraced the humdrum existence of a nine-to-five suburban schmuck. Assistant manager at Radio Shack, fantasy football extraordinaire, et cetera. He even joined a slow-pitch softball league.
I’ve been watching the entire time, like a Russian drone floating soundlessly overhead, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. And the time has come. Hector’s pride and joy, his son, just turned six. I think it’s about time I introduced myself:
“Hello, Hector Jr.” He stirs in his bed but doesn’t awake. I call again from the darkness, a siren-song whisper from the other side.
Hector Jr.’s eyelids flutter, and then those fleshy shutters open. “Hello?” he replies in a half-asleep stupor. My lips stretch into a smirk.
It isn’t until he’s 12 when Hector Jr. speaks my name to his father. Hector turns ghost white and asks where his son heard that name.
“He talks to me every night. He said he knows you, but never says from where.”
Hector’s response is a back-handed wallop to his son’s jaw. “Never speak that name again,” he says through misty eyes. For weeks there is a bruise, a blotted eggplant Rorschach outlined in sickly yellow. I wonder what Hector sees in it.
I continue speaking with the boy. Hector continues beating the boy. Violence consumes his life once more, propelled by the ever-pouring alcohol he requires to survive each day. It isn’t long before his wife leaves. She takes Hector Jr.
Six years later is Hector Jr.’s high school graduation. He’s only seen his father a handful of times since he left. The old man shows up with unsteady legs, his face broken in like a catcher’s mitt and his eyes hollow. I’ve observed the storm-drain downward spiral of this man each and every day, and nothing has brought me more pleasure.
Hector Jr. meets his father at the bottom of the driveway, away from the crowd. Hector leans in for a hug, but his son responds with unrelenting iciness:
“I know what you did, and I never want to see you again.”
Hector leaves without a word.
They find Hector three weeks later, dangling from a noose in his garage. His bulging eyes are open for all eternity. His soul will never sleep.