Joe Leaves

The room broken in two, Kerin stood halfway up the stairs to the loft, his head half visible, eyes and hair. Most of the people left stood in the centre of the room, a few guys under a skylight sharing a bottle, some were dancing. The sofa empty, skylights open. Kerin descended the stairs to the ground floor when animated talking from the living room caught him. The door opened about a foot. Kerin pushed himself through and was met with the broad back of a girl sitting on the arm rest of the sofa. She looks up at him briefly as he pushes the door against her. In the centre stood Sam, bent in soul and charging down the room. There were people sat on most surfaces. The space in which Kerin had heard Sam speak was gone; when it was dead to everyone but the carrier. Now a sharp hiss that Sam was competing with, the sound of pauses and the un-sticking of lips just before they’re about to speak, heads tilted, all voices open and ready to talk.
—Who did? A girl asked.
—I didn’t go with them. Sam said.
Sam was throwing his hand out and turning on point to face those who were speaking to him. He had lost his nightgown and was topless under the leather jacket. He was wearing a green felt hat with a small feather placed in the band.
—No, right. Joe was talking to them and he convinced them-
—Talking to who?
—It’s Martin and that. Yeah, but he’s talking to them and he brings up all that stuff about his dad and that he heard someone say that Reece was then.
Joe’s skin was sick and pale beneath his shirt, his chest sunk, flat and genderless. No spots but small pink rashes that looked like outlines of where his blood might flow. Joe’s friend Chelsea sat on the small chair at the end of the room and stared at the monitor that either had no volume or its volume was drowned out by Sam’s voice and the music from upstairs.
Your dad’s dead Joe, what are you going to do? What are you going to do Joe? What are you going to do?

His mum picks up him up at the waist, his small figure in her hands, his ribs pushing against her forefingers with the weight and jerking movements of his body pushing him down onto her thin and firm hold, and holds him and looks at him and he screams and shakes violently.
He closed the front door behind him with a light swing then a hard pull and walked out into the thin rain in a half open white shirt. He wore thick eyeliner that made his sclera and skin look the same colour. The dress shoes he wore were made of imitation leather the same colour as makeup, an elastic piece of material that ran up to the ankle allowed them to be slipped on and retain shape.
The colours of the room inside the house flashed in subtle change over periods of clean seconds and Joe looked in the window as he passed and saw an image of three sets of rendered eyeballs that looked at a cube a dolphin and a shark independently.

—What? Did they go after him?
—Yeah they totally believed him.
—I wasn’t lying. Joe said.
—Na, I’m not saying you were. You know, we know the stuff it’s just that I’ve never heard of anyone using that. It’s pretty dark.
—I wasn’t using anything, it happened.
—Yeah, I know I know. I’m not trying to upset you or anything.
—I guess you were pretty lucky then Joe? The girl asked.
—Yeah, they totally believed it. Sam said. —But it’s not even that, because, then they talk to Reece after and he’s up near the woods smoking anyway and they all start pushing him about and because he’s a cocky little fuck he starts talking back. So he’s giving it shit and there’s like four or five of them but he thinks they won’t do anything because they know him a bit so he’s just pushing. But he starts ripping into them, like, as a group and eventually they pin him down, the lot, and I think one of them slaps him about or something, they turn him over and they’ve all like got his arms and legs pinned down and stuff, one of them starts talking about, you know because of bonfire night and stuff, that he’s got this firework in his bag. Yeah, was Ian I think because Ian had that lot last year. Anyway, yeah, Ian is talking because he’s saying he’s got this firework in his bag and they’re gonna stick it in his arse. And they’re all joking about Vaseline and stuff or that they’re going to ram it. And Reece’s face down at this point and can’t see anything, they pull down his pants and his boxers and stuff and they’re giving him shit then one of them sticks it in his arsehole, and they’re all still pinning him down and Reece hears it get lit and he’s properly shitting himself by now, the firework goes off, his head in the dirt. They let off him a bit and they’re all laughing and he looks around and sees Ian with the firework stuck in the ground, and he looks around and they’ve got this small branch in his arse. And so he’s on the floor, pants fully down, and they say he was like crying or something his eyes all wet. You know what I mean?
Sam’s speech broken by laughs and pauses as he finds his place, people saying ohfuck to get their voice out, and although everyone in the room laughs at the end the biggest one comes from Sam, something guttural, purely physical, that tenses up his stomach and makes him bend into it.
Joe watched the monitor, slouched into the corner of the settee, his legs straight and crossed at the ankles, his right hand holding the remote, resting in his lap, pointed passively at the monitor.

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