Broken from thoughts on mounting particles of air, Cerebus, in sudden and familiar feral haste, hears a roar. A digital roar, howling from speakers, left and right combining somewhere between just out a child’s television set and C’s little ears; the mashing enters left and right, to split again in the brain. Waves over a forest. It happens everyday. That far-off kid’s got bass; that imaginary wolf’s got a low end. Except only, no tv. No left-right. It’s the kid. He’s howling. His waves, his rib timbre and tremolo, trigger another light.
Cerebus tries to reach, but he’s out of sound; his lungs muster carbon wind, sending pain as warning with the added push required for words. The sides of his tongue tell him they’re dry. His brain tells him to save. He sees waters. He sees rocks, and strangers kicking. Here comes the door. There are the boot crunches, no closer but shit there they are. Tell Left Buttress to brace, tell Elbow to miss Ribs, tell Right Hand to loosen Fingers, ready Palm and not miss. Door handle, left or right? twelve to one. twelve to one. twelve to one.
He slams it shut, summer pane cracking. He heads to the faucet before turning back to guillotine the dog door before spinning back again. Now he’s spelled and sliding along the counter-top to the faucet. His hand hits the lift. His hands hit the glass. Cerebus stammers back, staring at a hideous young man, panting and lithe, staring back at him through the window above the sink. It’s always a pretty big window, and it’s rarely shut. Cerebus lunges and slides it, shaking it in new ways. He knows the water’s been running as much as he remembers his thirst. The young man, missing hair in shocks, speaks with heavy mist softly onto the glass. Be. Ware, he says. Be. war, he spells with quivering fingers. He begins to cry. Be-ee-e. Wa-are, he says.
Cerebus’s brother runs into the kitchen, the tat, tat of the light wood swinging the door behind him. What is it, what is it?! Cerebus wonders how he knew there was a what before he came in. He has little outside oxygen left and no water. He nestles into a brainless burrow. He sighs to his brother with smiling eyes. His neck limps. It’s OK, C. It’s OK. Look at me. Don’t point. There’s no one there. It’s OK. Look at me. Close your eyes. Remember your dreams. I’m right here. Just close your eyes. Close em hard and it’ll all go away.
The knife was cheap, denticulate, serrated all wrong from wear. They needed new knives. They needed Cutco. The man outside screamed and ran, pulling ribbon waves behind the brush. Cerebus felt the tear of organs, detail, new depth, and overdrive. He opened his eyes. The blood ran over the Farberware blade, covering letters like wine legs, spelling “be ware”. His brother mumbled at his father’s hands as they held the handle and didn’t shake. He looked as hurt as C, who held his shoulders in kind. They couldn’t brace his grip, and so his nails dug, through skin past small-time cloth. His brother waggled round them. The man came boring toward the pane door, the door to home, his boots almost silent in their speed. His brother lunged at their father’s back, giving daddy a fistful of Cerebus, giving C a lumbar the other way.
next one: Cerebus meets Alan Tims in purgatory. And that’ll be the end of that.