It was the first time I’d spent the night with Sage. We were eleven. Sage found his dad’s collection of VHS tapes and one labeled “It”. Curiously, as Sage always did, he popped it in and we watched the story unfold.
I learned about monsters every day of my life. They didn’t scare me. And I knew this was fiction, but that clown — Pennywise. I was terrified. I had nightmares on top of my nightmares for months.
I could never look at a clown the same again. Dorian once tried to take me to a circus once — it didn’t go well.
The water was warm in the August sun. The sand was scorching under my feet. I swam into the ocean away from the world. A current took me under, it swept me out to sea. I kicked and screamed and swallowed the salty water. I am not a fish and the salt burned my lungs as I tried to pull free.
I would have drowned if something I hadn’t grabbed the thing. It wasn’t something I could explain. I pillar of air. Sand filled hand holds a rock face to climb until Dorian could use the jet-ski to find me.
The scourge roamed the earth since time began and few hunters were courageous enough to find them and kill them. My name is Vladimir Bernstein, and I hunted vampires and other supernatural creatures. Until I hunted a rogue witch.
She didn’t appreciate it. When I had her cornered and about to make the slice that ended her life, she began a chant. My body stopped.My body ached with an undeniable hunger. I felt my body die, and the hunger grew. The lust for blood took me to her throat. I now walk the world cursed as something I hate.
The blonde at the end of the hall hadn’t seen me yet. I slipped into the bathroom and breathed a sigh of relief, but it was interrupted when the door swung open and those dull blue eyes stared at me with a malicious grin. “You thought you’d get away?”
There was no escaping it now. Only thing left was to protect myself as the boy and his friends wailed on me. “So where is all that power now?” he taunted.
I curled up as the blows fell. Never once shed a tear. It was a daily occurrence until I graduated.
My mom wasn’t always so bad. I have one memory just before my spark. We were baking. Mom would measure out the ingredients. I poured them carefully into the bowl and stirred everything together.
Mom would roll out the dough and cut it into place while I bounced on the other side of the island waiting for my piece of the crush to dash with cinnamon and sugar.
The house smelled like fall and it is the only good memory I had of my mother. But now apple pie turns to ash in mouth but the smell. Mmmm. That’s different.
A fountain gurgled happily nearby as I stomped through the moonlit courtyard. A young boy with dusty brown hair swung a stick on the edge of the fountain.
He slipped. I caught him before he splashed into the water below. His smile was bright. Even I had no choice but to return it.
He laughed as he climbed atop the fountain’s edge again and beckoned me to join him. We danced the sword with sticks in our hand.
His father called. “Antonio.”
His reply. “It’s Tony. T. O. N. Y. Tony.”
I shouted “A pleasure, Tony. Next time actual swords.”