Short story from Robert Ragan

Author Robert Ragan

Fickle

She denounced the darkness and ever since Kristen has been on edge, the type to turn on everyone.

Her buddy, Brad, messages to ask about some loud smoke and as if she were a decent person. Kristen warned him not to call her phone asking about dope anymore. He brushes his dreadlocks away from his eyes with tarnished rings around his fingers. Brad looks at his phone like who the fuck does this bitch think she is?

Kristen was never decent, a two-faced wave rider. It was rumored that she literally sold her soul to the devil for crack cocaine. So the murder she was rumored to be a part of could have been a blood sacrifice. All jokes aside, she was a piece of shit for a person. But like clockwork every couple of months she swears she’s about to change her ways and give her life to the Lord.

Her brittle hair has been dyed black to death. A look of mild retardation in her eyes should tell anyone not to take her seriously. Yet, those brown eyes received so many compliments. Those full of shit brown eyes break so many hearts. The hearts of lovesick weaklings dreaming of tradition with someone who always worships the latest fad.

Kristen likes to tell people she’s haunted. Always some ghost who wouldn’t be caught dead in her flea-ridden shack. During these times she believes in nonsense but ask her about God and she’ll say He doesn’t exist. Then catch her in a month or two shouting out Amen and Hallelujah. Maybe falling out cold as a preacher touches her forehead in a Pentecostal Church.

Recently, Brad and a few of her other friends have been talking. Apparently they’re worried about Kristen, saying, “She’s been acting more strange than usual.”

A longtime friend of hers, named Tracy, tells Brad and their buddy, Tim, how Kristen has been slicing her arms with razor blades again. Tim throws his hands up shaking his head he says to Brad, “Remember the bitch telling me I was stupid for burning myself with cigarettes?”

Brad looks in his eyes and says, “You were stupid for doing that.” Then turning to Tracy, he looks her up and down from her light blonde hair to her toe nails painted bright pink. The three of them have been friends with Kristen ever since high school, where the four of them were branded as outcasts.

Looking at Tracy now you would never expect her to hang out with any of them.

Tim tosses back his own locks, forever trying to keep up with Brad; he plans on getting dreads too. Taking drags off a blunt he says, “Last I heard Kristen was shacking up with some convict fresh off the yard.” Smirking Brad says, “That lasted about a month, she called and told me dude tried to strangle her.”

Tracy’s eyes glow devious as they glance from Brad to Tim. Shrugging, her tanned shoulders revealed by a yellow tank top she says, “You know Kristen probably told him to choke her while they fucked.”

Pulling his dreads back in a ponytail, Brad then lights a cigarette. Exhaling smoke through his nostrils he says, “Last time I talked to her she was begging me to find some crack, ice…anything.”

Tracy, with a voice of judgement says, “Don’t tell me you went and found the shit for her.” Snapping back quick Brad answers, “Hell no! I told her to fuck off. I said it because the time before that she told me not to ever call her phone about dope anymore and I was just looking for weed.”

These friends part ways. Each of them are saddened by the way Kristen’s life turned out. Suffering from bipolar disorder ruined her destiny. They would all like to help her but the older Kristen gets the worse she loses her mind and now she won’t accept their help. On her spiritual kick only God can save her. Back sliding into damnation only the dope man can save her.

When her brain is frozen it usually makes the ghosts go away. But just the other night, Kristen saw the mouth of the Abyss open wide and swallow all those Spirits whole. Afterwards a calm voice followed telling her to find the skull with her fingers. Visions of her pulling, stretching, and eventually ripping off her own eyelids flashed in her mind faster than sharp lightning. Blood filled her eyes running over on her puffy cheeks.

She screamed and came to in front of the mirror pulling and stretching her eyelids. Thankfully, she stopped before ripping them all the way off.

Her mind has always been a home for evil. Well now she knows her thoughts are playing for keeps. It’s the worst time of her life and she has no friends or family to rely on. During brief moments of clarity, Kristen realizes she pushed them all away. Most times, she’s forgotten about it and cries their name as her tormentors prevail.

Just the other night she woke up unable to move. Looking down, she sees her body is covered with large black spiders. As she screams, one of them crawled in her mouth and began forcing its way down her throat.

In the corner of her bedroom shadows dance on the wall. Pleased by Kristen’s agony, they’ve destroyed great lives but here they only toy with the useless. She invited them in and this time they won’t leave.

The razor blades in toxic images shred all the way to her bones. Kristen feels compelled to face her own skeleton, take a tour of the prison that was her. Thankfully, the actual cuts never reach a vein. If duct tape doesn’t hold it together, it’s the afterlife or the crazy house.

All of her friends talk shit about her. Too weak to follow along the path they were blessed with, she carries on an ancient curse. It lives in her blood, bashing Kristen with her own bones. And she’s terrified of meeting the skull powered by the shadows.


Robert Ragan from Lillington, NC lives his life for art and writing. He has stories and poetry online at Vext Magazine, Outlaw Poetry, The Dope Fiend Daily, The Rye Whiskey Review, Drinkers Only, Under The Bleachers, Cajun Mutt Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Terror House Magazine, and Rust Belt Review, Horror Sleeze Trash. Alien Buddha Press has published his short story collection Mannequin Legs and Other Tales. 

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