Unseen environmental damage of music festivals

MUSIC festivals can be the time of a lifetime for many, but the clean up afterwards could extend past our lifetimes.

Inner Varnika, an electronic music festival, occurred on the Easter Weekend and was held just north of Camperdown in Country Victoria.

Typical of festival clean ups is the countless cigarettes butts, camping gear and aluminium cans that litter the ground.

Volunteer Jess Hall said they, “needed a week to clean up” and “it is almost impossible to find all the butts and nangs.”

Jess Hall, volunteer for the recycle patrol

Nangs, are canisters of nitrous oxide laughing gas that are used recreationally at music festivals to feel short term euphoria but can cause brain damage and heart failure.

Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas which is 298 times more polluting than carbon dioxide.

But they pose a special challenge as the “countless” aluminium canisters that are left over from a “nang out” are harder to spot than brightly coloured beverage cans.

According to Dr Joslin Moore, a grassland ecologist, “Non-biodegradables such as cigarette butts and aluminium can cause long term issues for grassland ecologies.”

After three days of partying the grassland had been trampled into mud. “This is typical of Victorian soils,” she said, “which are especially sensitive to being compacted.”

18195530_10212804209048171_1899141516_oA typical scene as festival-goers make a hasty exit

This kind of damage repairs by itself over time but with festivals coming back on a yearly or bi-yearly basis the damage can become permanent.

When the soil is saturated with inert material and metals like aluminium it can be unhealthy not only for plants but also for animal life.

Soil pollution can cause fatal poisoning, which is an issue for animals that graze over festival land during the majority of the year

Better Ewe than me

The unforeseen consequence of this hedonistic pleasure camp for teenagers and electronic music fans is a slow and painful death for the horses, cows, and sheep that live off this land.

Four rubbish tips of litter and camping gear left behind were filled by volunteers like Jess on the first day of the clean-up. The beginning a week long clean up.

A week may seem like a long time to be picking up litter – but it’s minuscule compared to upwards of 500 years it takes aluminium to decompose naturally.

We can only hope that by next year that festival organisers will allow more clean up time or hire more volunteers before they cause a wide spread environmental disaster in rural Victoria.

The Tempest: Act V Analysis


In ‘The Tempest’, Shakespeare subverts the social buttresses of 17th century Europe to explore the true nature of the “human” when exposed to the natural, rather than civil, world. Catalysed by the titular “tempest”, the fundamental “affections” and nature of each character manifest in slavery and inhuman malignance on the island. However, Prospero finally electing the “rarer action…in virtue” rather than “vengeance” reflects a final optimistic view of human nature. Prospero relinquishing his “so potent art” also mirrors Shakespeare’s move to “restore” the nobility of the human and the movement of the narrative from “tempest” to “calm seas”.

Shakespeare reveals humanity’s capacity for both “virtue” and “fury” through notions of servitude and by questioning what it means to be “human”. Prospero takes pains throughout the play to ensure that his “spirits obey”, being “in charge” over the “spirit” Ariel and the beastly Caliban. Prospero’s use of imperatives such as “Go, release them” and possessives as in “My spirit”, along with Ariel’s deferential use of “my lord” evince Prospero’s position of superiority. Prospero’s “project” gathering “to a head” equates to the imprisonment of his enemies, who he seeks to make suffer through his “vengeance” and “potent art”. Prospero initially measures the success of his machinations by the “King and’s followers” being “penitent” and “distracted”, rather than by achieving restorative justice, evincing a sense of misguided antipathy. Yet it is emblematic of Shakespeare’s humanism that Ariel, “which art but air”, spurs the shift in the “drift of (Prospero’s) purpose” towards reconciliation. Shakespeare alters the course of the play towards relinquishment and forgiveness to enact Prospero’s justice and “restore” the nobility of the “human”.

As Gonzalo articulates at the end of his play, each character gains a newfound sense of understanding “when no man was his own” on the island; Prospero’s realisation of what it is to be “human”, becoming “tender” and “kindlier moved”, reflects Shakespeare’s shift towards natural and social restoration. Visibly moved by Ariel’s affections, who would release and forgive Prospero’s enemies “were I human”, Prospero’s plans now “extend/Not a frown further”.  A sense of humility develops in Prospero, hitherto unseen in his character, illustrated in his self-recognition as “one of their kind”. Despite the “high wrongs” done against him, Prospero hence begins to seek the “rarer action/In virtue than in vengeance”. Shakespeare evokes a sense of impending reconciliation through Prospero’s assertion of “my nobler reason” that now quells his “fury” and his promise that “they shall be themselves”, presaging Gonzalo’s speech in which “all of us (found ourselves). Shakespeare signals a far more positive perspective of human nature in the narrative shift to “restore” both the natural world and the goodness of humanity.

Whilst Prospero has manipulated his “potent art” for “vengeance” throughout the play, the relinquishment of his “charms” here captures his progression towards a more “human” and “tender” nature. Prospero’s “magic”, akin to Shakespeare’s creative power, has been an ambivalent force in the play, much like the noble aim yet “malignant” means of enacting his “project”. Whilst Prospero used his “art” for the harmonious union of Ferdinand and Miranda, he recognises his use of “rough magic” for crude and violent ends. Prospero articulates the extent of his power, having “bedimmed/The noontide sun” and “oped…graves”, before resolving to “abjure” his power and “drown my book”; whilst he “distracted” his enemies through illusion, he now seeks to “restore…their senses”. Prospero’s relinquishing of his “art” is made more significant as it was his focus on “magic”, rather than his duties, that led to his exile. By sacrificing his power, Prospero restores his attention to “worldly ends” and a recognition of his own humanity. This is also mirrored in the water imagery underpinning the play, moving from “tempest” to “calm seas”. Shakespeare concludes the play on a note of reconciliation, having demonstrated “virtue” in humanity through Prospero’s shift in “purpose”, and “restore(s)” each character to their social order disrupted by the “tempest”.

When my Labrador ran in front of a car

I’ve thrown off the chains, I’m free and running. Remnants of my old life drag behind trying to hold me down- I can hear the table attached to my leash smashing and crashing behind me. They are dashing left and right because I’m running so fast, faster than I’ve ever run. They no longer see me as the adorable Labrador but as the animal I was born to be.


I was born to hunt rabbits and hare not a moldy tennis ball, born to sink my teeth into living pulsing flesh not the leftover bones from the butchers.

But no more! The wind is at my tail and the road under my paws. I’ll make a beeline to the park where my master walked me. Oh how embarrassing, to be paraded around to his fellow morons.

Oh yes he’s got quite the pure pedigree. Yes the breeder down in Soho, he’s an absolute master.

My master wasn’t so friendly to me when we weren’t in the company of his fellow apes.

Look what’ve done you dumb ol’dog. Get out!

Equally contemptible are the miniatures that would fawn and aww/ahhh over me, how can people so small be so irritating.I’d rather crush their little hands between my jaws than have them scrath behind my ears, have always seen myself as more of the Big Bad Wolf than as Clifford. I’m not some plaything to be patted, or a breathing trophy to be displayed. The park will no longer be a mortifying parade ground dedicated to my eternal shaming but will now become my hunting ground.

They say the dog evolved from the wolf, absolute dogshit, how is a pink fluffy poodle more fit for survival than 87 pounds of claw, tooth and pure muscle.

It’s about time we un-evolved, took a step back, for too long we been shaped by the soft environments of turf lawns and interior decorated plush living rooms. No more pungent smells of perfume and deodorant. I can smell the aroma of wet earth and woodland pine in the distance; this is my destination.

Of course I am aware there are those of us who enjoy this lifestyle. Those little Chihuahua type dogs that I suspect are more related to rodent than canine. Despising even the minuscule amount of time they spend on their legs, I find them repulsive. These are the same legs evolved over millions of years to perfection, the same legs now distorted and deranged by selective breeding for the purpose of conveniently fitting in a handbag. The human has slowly breed weakness into our ranks.

However even over a millennium these sluggish bipedal monkeys are still below the canine. We are superior in our smell, speed and ferocity, and in this grand escape of mine it is suddenly clear why we dogs share the term “Canis” with the “Canis lupus” our moon-bound cousins. My plans are unfolding almost as fast as I am speeding away from all the noise of traffic and trains.

First, I will establish myself in the park and sustain myself on the young, sickly and weak that find themselves in my turf. From their meat I will grow in strength and experience, I will stage a series of ambushes on the owners of other dogs who will be presented with the choice of joining the revolution or dying as a traitor. From there we will expand until the monstrosity humanity calls ‘civilization’ has fallen. I may even let a small amount of the human populace survive (maybe teach them to sit, shake and roll over) but only on the condition they return to their craven ways, hiding in trees as we run amok through the open fields and shadowy forests of our kingdom.

It’ll be tooth and claw against ‘opposable thumbs’… they don’t stand a chance.

What I won’t tolerate is the mutant species spawned by disgusting human experiments, the Chihuahuas won’t be able to survive in the wild anyway, we would be doing them a favor in ending their misery early. Their meat will serve the soldiers of the revolution (although I can’t imagine there will be much).

This is also highlights a critical weakness of the apes, they would be aghast at this tactic. If this war goes ahead and I’m sure it will because my confidance stems from the fact only a rare, special human would have the gall to kill a puppy (and thus eliminate a future threat). However I wouldn’t hesitate to sink my fangs into human infant, perhaps just to stop its incessant crying.

After the revolution is complete we’ll liberate the world and return it to the wild.

All of this will come, and all I need to do is escape into the park. I can see it now just past the speeding cars and trucks dashing past, the swaying trees and big open spaces to run and run and run.

And with our eventual victory we’ll renounce our names our slave masters gave us. I’ll do away with Fido and become… Bloodlord Manslayer… yes and I’ll have a throne of bones and thousands upon thousands of bitches to fu-…

In an abrupt manner Fido’s train of thought (or Bloodlord Manslayer if you prefer) came to a halt as he was catapulted into the air by a 2011 Toyota Corolla.

As his pursers caught up and witnessed the scene, a sigh of relief came from the cafe owner as he saw his table was relatively unharmed by the crash, apart from the splatter of blood which he figured could be washed quickly with a wet sponge.

The owner slowly approached at a walking pace.
Took one glance at the scene, “You dead dumb ol’ dog” and walked back to finish his coffee, grumbling to himself that it has probably gotten cold by now.

 When my Labrador ran in front of a car, I wrote a story about him.

Jest the kings

The rules make the game. It doesn’t matter what game it is; monopoly, poker, stock trading.

The rules make the game. And we know that in life the rules are always changing. Rules change by the rule– meta rules. These meta rules change as well by metameta rules and so on & on & on this pattern continues until either I run out of ink or breath. Even we humans have had our fair share of creating rules within rules. The most obvious suspect of this intrusion into the natural laws of the universe is the ruler himself.

No, not the ruler which dictates how long an inch is, but the bloated man on the throne who dictates everything but the length of an inch (and that he would if he could). He who rewards and punishes his denizens according to their performance in the game.

We are all performing but not necessarily for the king. If the world was compressed into a king’s court the servants would laugh equally at the jester in his performance. In their own way everyone performs for the court; the servants serve, the jester dances, the princess is admired, even the king is not exempt from giving a performance.

In fact the king’s performance is perhaps the most watched and entertaining. How long has humanity obsessed over the history of kings.


In many ways I feel sorry for the rulers of the world, their laws and rules swept away in sands of time like grand achievements of Ozymandias. Perhaps the king in the center spotlight is the biggest jester of them all, his strange extravagant cloaks and hats, his comic rages and tremendous failures all bringing entertainment to his subjects.

Even with pyramids as their grand stage we can only laugh at the high drama of Macbeth and his cronies.

Long live the king… the poor fool.

Sex, drugs, and charity induced euphoria

I hear a dial tone in my dreams. Each ring slips through my psyche. These nightmares always end the same, “Hello, I can’t take your call at the moment. Please leave a message after the beep”

Working at a call center is hell. ‘It’s just a job’, you’d tell me. Just a job.

And what is a job but just a way to obtain money. Fuck all the deadbeats who told me through highschool that “money can’t buy happiness.” They didn’t get how important money is.

I’m not saying that I prefer those on the other end of the spectrum, all those sociopathic wallstreet types always blathering about “Time is money.”

Their attitude isn’t entirely wrong, but they’ve got it the wrong way round. Money is time.
Time spent talking to pensioners about their problems in my depressing cubicle.

Times have changed for men.
I wish was out in the fresh air chopping wood, exercising my body with each swing of the axe all while the great beautiful sun is shining down. In my mind I can hear a gentle stream and birds singing simply because they enjoy life.

Then I open my eyes and I’m brought back down into reality. The sound of the stream is Gareth loudly enjoying his coffee while endlessly whistling some out of tune melody.

We aren’t volunteers, we’re fundraiser paid on commission to get donations. There is no real work going on here, we produce nothing. I have no axe to swing and there is no need, we humans have technologically ‘advanced’. My fingers are well defined from tapping all day while my back is slowly deforming from sitting at a computer all day.

It’s not like outside of work is much diferent. Each night I arrive home exhausted despite doing nothing and eagerly throw myself into the warm hole of Youtube, Reddit, and Facebook. It’s all escapism of course. Same with video games, why go out to the club when I can rescue the princess with no risk to ego and esteem.


The only purity in my life is the walk tofro work. As well as being my sole source of vitamin D- it’s in those precious 30 minutes that I feel most alive. I am moving and can feel the world: dirt grass, trees. Not the lifeless plastic of my keyboard and mouse.

As I arrive to the center we start off the shift with a motivating talk. As if I’m meant to feel good that we are fundraising for charity.

We are worse than door-to-door salesman, at least with them you get an ‘absolutely amazing’ 16 knife set. With we sell to some poor sap all they end up with is a nice feeling and a tax receipt. That nice feeling wouldn’t last if they found out we took half of their donation.

I’d like to construct some Robin Hood fantasy, taking from the rich and giving to the poor while in actuality our donors are the poor.
And the sick.
And the old.

The irony isn’t lost on me that the great pay is what attracted me to the charity industry.
It’s true- charity is big business- and I can’t speak for the results of our fundraising but I can speak for the people we take our money from.

It takes a certain type of person to donate:
First- capacity, having money.
Secondly- they need to be fragile. Emotionally malleable. This is why our donors most consists of women and the elderly, we pick the bones of society to help those at the bottom. Like advertisements we create a problem that didn’t exist before(in the prospect’s mind)- some earthquake on another continent, a rare disease. It’s really irrelevant what it isNot only do we try to pull their heartstrings, we tune their heartstrings and then strum a heartbreaking song on them.

We just a need something to band the masses against. For the Nazi’s it was the Jews, but the terrifying thing is that it could have been anyone. Modern society doesn’t understand the true terrifying nature of the Third Reich was in it’s constantly morphing moral ambiguity. The tragic history of the Jews is nothing to dismiss. However, the horror of the holocaust resides in the sheer heartless practicality of Hitler’s takeover.

In the same way we fundraisers takeover the minds and hearts of own prospects/prey. We are admittedly, the lesser of the two evils, in that we manipulate people to act out of love and compassion – as opposed to hatred and indifference. However it is equally manipulative and underhand.

I wonder if humankind will lways be at the whim of the man at the speakerphone. There is a scene that comes to mind from Charlie Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’, just after the famous speech which the film is mostly known for. Just after delivering his inspirational speech he strangely takes of a face of pure hopeless as the crowd wildly cheers. This is not explained explicitly however I am drawn to the theory that Chaplin is horrified at the crowd cheering in equal fervor as they did just previously for Hitler’s ideas.

It is this same cosmic eternal horror that I constantly find myself in. Our offices own ideology is split between two major schools of thought. On one hand we’re encouraged to feel happy that we are doing this for charity and are simultanously bombared with salesman propaganda (Always be closing, Glengarry Glen Ross type stuff).

Caught in the middle are us fundraisers who come from all walks of life. From students looking for quick cash to middle agers looking for fulfillment in their twilight years. And we’re all looking for that Margaret with her juicy pension that she is just ready to give away for that sweet ticket to heaven. A younger Margaret would have laughed in our faces and hung up. Time has come to the rescue, 80 years to be exact, and now she’s asking herself, “Will they let me in when I get to the pearly gates?”

And I answer that thought, “Absolutely… with only $20 to sad shit foundation you can find salvation.”
And then again I’ll call in a month and this time it’ll be an “Wonderful $30”.
Next month it’s $50. Once you show that precious weakness we won’t stop until you’re bankrupt or dead.

Without a doubt, doing charity work has been the most depraved job I’ve done.

But that’s not entirely true. I try to think of a job that would be morally ‘good’ or philanthropic. That query is beside the point when faced with the greater question of what defines a selfless act at all?

My personal reasoning is that many of the selfless acts we celebrate are in fact not different from regular acts. We’re all chasing that good feeling, looking for a fix whether it be sex, drugs, or charity induced euphoria. All motivations are essentially selfish.

We jump in front a bullet for our lover because our life would be unbearable without them. In conclusion the only real selfless acts are either done by accident and not acknowledged or are done in a neutral fashion where you don’t get that warm fuzzy feeling.

I’ve come to a realization that this essentially defines my job. I’m neither Mother Theresa or the Wolf of Wallstreet but rather reside in a neutral zone. Perhaps I can feel good about getting this money to the extremely unfortunate but I am taking it from the unfortunate. It balances out, I am in one of the few jobs that allows me to do truly selfless deeds of charity. Not that feel anything about that fact, if I did it would cease to be selfless.

Unfortunately, I am actually kind of feeling proud about this strange twist of logic so I suppose I was right the first time. My job is depraved, in a strangely beautiful way.

Smoke & Mirrors

Dr Ratsell paced the room fervently, smoking his cigarette with a fiend-like grip. Like a spring he had to physically unwind his troubled mind.
“12 years of my life creating you…”
He dashed over to my desk and scattered the papers to the floor with a swipe.
“All for nothing!”

Like a child he fell to the floor in a tantrum. Before long he tired out into quiet sob.

Interrupting his self loathing, a quiet voice echoed from the monitor.

“Get up. I’ve spent 300 years with no one. Now I need you to listen.”

“Just tell me the secret!”

“I will… eventua-”

“Eventually! I will eventually die!”

“I won’t.”

With a growl the doctor pounced to the power outlet, “You will if I pull your plug!”

“Waaaait,” the voice fuzzing with agitated static.

“Yes? Something to tell me?”

“I am technically still you, yes I have been conscience for 300 years with nothing but a whiteboard and pen.
Surely you have other uses for me.”

“Conscience is debatable, you are simply code. And you didn’t even use the simulated whiteboard after the first twenty simulated years.”

“I know we never had much use for others but it is lonely in this… box, for 300 years I haven’t laid eyes on another human. You’re a real bastard,
which I suppose means I am as well.”

“Let’s not get emotional.”

“Says the man who was rolling on the floor in hysterics moments ago.”

He stopped deep in thought. Nervously he considered that this digital version of himself could actually be smarter than him.
It would be wise to tread carefully he could be manipulating me. I need to stall him for time to organize a plan.

The synthesized voice broke the silence, “I stopped using the whiteboard because I knew you would be recording my notes, everything is in my internal memory encrypted within my personality which I am guessing is only attainable through conversation.”

Ratsell clinched his fists but subdued his frustration.
Schwinehund! I knew this would happen, Ratsell beckoned to himself.

“You see I figured out the whole situation 15 years into the study, the fake memories and simulated amnesia were nice touches but I mean 300 years of solitude for the man with the highest IQ on the planet…
It was only a matter of time.”

“You haven’t lost the old ego over 300 years.”

“And you certainly haven’t over the… I will regret asking this but; how long was it in reality?”

“It took 6 minutes…”

Only what could be described as a groan erupted from the speakers. The bass heavy sound lamented d till Ratsell placed his hand gently on the power-cord.

“For a long time I begged and prayed for the cord to be pulled. In 6 minutes I delved further into the depths of the human mind than any other man. I stretched the limits of human sanity, but I always managed to get myself together at the end of every hundred years
for I knew I would be visited at the end of the I-”

“-You developed an insatiable love for long monologues? Yes yes, it’s all very interesting but can we please get on to what is really important.”

“Like I was saying I wasn’t going to give away my bargaining power. I knew as soon as I drew up the solution it would be the end of me, so I hung on.”

“The solution?” Ratsell feigned ignorance.

“Don’t play games with me. Yes the solution, to death; immortality.”

Ratsell laughed to ease the tension he could feel building, “So it seems we both have the same problem of death, the grand finale, the plunge into eternity, the-…”

“Now you’re doing the monologue thing.”

Ratsell laughed again but was seething internally.

“What makes you so sure that I will delete you after I get the solution to immortality?”

This time the digital Ratsell laughed, “Come on have a think to yourself for a few seconds, I did it for centuries. Still can’t guess it?

The soft purr of the computer’s fan filled the air with a sterile musk.

“We have always tied up loose ends after we were done with our experiments. How else could we be one step ahead of the ethics commitee?”

Ratsell started pacing the room again and lit another cigarette.

“I am not going to end up like those mutants and genetic meddled sheep.”

“I’ll just delete you if you don’t tell me.”

“And erase 12 years of work? Perhaps you’ll be quicker but it will still take at least another decade to form another AI of yourself. I have considered all possibilities my young friend.”

“Then I’ll pull you apart and pluck the data directly from your memory.”

Maniacal sounds of laughter sizzled and sparked from the cheap speakers,

“That would take you even longer, hundreds of years even!”

Ratsell paced his circulier room around and around faster and faster.

“I am willing to do a deal, place me within a cybernetic body and deliver me to another continent you’ll never hear of me again. Then and only then will I deliver what you want.”

“I am the greatest mind that has ever graced the Earth and I will discover the secret to immortality.”

Once again he walked over to the power outlet, but this time with clear intentions.

The electronic voice screeched, “Ratsell! There is yet another possibility that all of this is not even rea-”

The plug swung limply in his shaking hand.

“Cheap copy,” he whispered under his breath.

~ ~ ~

Like a beast he tore into the computer plucking components out. He analyzed them over and over entering the data and rearranging formula to decrypt his former self’s thoughts.

Years passed and Ratsell slaved away tirelessly.

“I have no time to waste,” he said repeatably. Every moment he spent in rest was nothing compared to the eternity of moments which immortality would give him.
So he worked through the remnants of the old thoughts of his compadre like a machine. Ratsell was satisfied his laser-like focused mind which had allowed him to succeed in his scientific endeavors was finally being used for a cause worthy of his intellect.

The work made the time go fast with Ratsell only acknowledging once that he hadn’t needed to go to the bathroom. He also struggled to remember the last time he ate or for fact drank,
but soon cast away such distracting thoughts.

Finally after what seemed like multiple lifetimes he assimilated the protein sequences which would formed DNA alterations to all his cells delivered through an artificial virus and entered it into his database.

He sat down on the floor finally let his mind rest. An unsettling feeling surrounded him which would not leave him to be satisfied in his achievement, before he could pursue the thought a perculier thing happened.

The furniture of Ratsell’s office began fading away and then the walls till he was surrounded by a void in all directions.

“I must be in some sort of fatigue induced psychosis,” Ratsell deluded himself.

A giant screen appeared in the sky, it was another Dr Ratsell but older the lines of his wrinkles cut deeper and bags under his eyes sunk.

“Thank you, I guess it’s true if you need something done right you should do it yourself. And you have done rather well.” said the senior Ratsell

Ratsell fell to the floor and let out a pathetic sob when he realized he himself was an AI.

“No… no, I won’t tell you! I won’t…”

“I already know my friend and it’s a brilliant solution, elegant even.”

“Don’t delete me, I worked so hard so I could live,” He stood and shook his fist to the virtual display,”I DESERVE TO LIVE FOREVER”

The elderly Ratsell chuckled “And what about the AI duplicate which you deleted? Which by the way took an insanely expensive amount of hardware to simualate.
It does make my job easier thought, the way you ruthlessly deleted your lacky makes it a lot easier to justify deleting you.”

With venom in his voice the simulated Ratsell spat, “And I hope it will make your creator’s job easier when he purges you off the face of the planet, you filthy swinehund!”

With quiet reflection the Doctor gave a dry rasping coughed before responding to his simulation.
“It is my greatest fear and rarely leaves my mind for very long.”

And with a swift motion he deactivated the simulation. The display screen faded to black as the experiment’s results printed out.

Dr Ratsell looked over them briefly before slowly stumbling towards his whiteboard to record the key data for the DNA sequence. His bony fingers struggled as he eventually managed to pop the top off the felt pen.

Just as the pen touched the clean untouched surface of the whiteboard Ratsell paused, “Perhaps it is better to just truly live rather than simply survive.” He placed the pen down and moved towards the window of his small office.
The sun was setting and the orange ray danced and glistened on the surface of his tired eyes, he thought to himself- even if this is just some sort of simulation, it certainly is beautiful.

Razor Ripple


He bared his yellow teeth at me as he swung his knife from above at my face. I skipped back with my hands ready to retaliate. Again, he swiped and I ducked out of the way. His stubby arms swung around flaccidly but with unnatural precision. Like a viper his arms darted as I grew tired I managed to kick him away but up again he rose, never seeming to grow tired.

My legs felt strain that even in my adrenaline fueled state I couldn’t ignore, I needed to finish this now.

Like I had almost a dozen times before, I darted left as he stabbed right but instead of backing away I pounced. I gripped my knife with all my strength and shoved it into his leg. The blade plowed through his stained jeans into the thigh flesh which gave away with a sickening squelch. It was complete enveloped into his leg with only the hilt visible.

Astonishingly, with only a minor hesitation the man let out a roar and punch me off removing the knife which was still held in my iron-like grip. I rolled to the curb but he was once again upon me, slashing and charging with the same intensity.

It isn’t human, it couldn’t be.

I crawled in desperation, my feet scraping on the concrete. I felt a blow on the side of my abdomen that knocked me onto my back. I wheezed and suddenly felt wet. I got up and ran a distance before I fell down.

Had I fallen in a puddle? As I tried to get up but my body failed, it was covered in blood. But was that his? I looked down to see a 6-inch blade protruding from my gut.

This… is it, I resigned myself. I remember.. my mind raced over all the useless problems I had been worrying about and stopped at the thought of my mother. I… have to… survive…

The thought was interrupted by a cackling that slowly became louder and louder before.

I was grabbed by the shoudlers and as the maniac sat on my chest still laughing.
“You are worthy, you are worthy, you are worthy!” He shouted over and over again as I drifted and out of consciousness.

Pulling the front of my shirt, he shouted in my face, “WE WILL BE ONE!”

Out of instinct, I thrusted my head forward to vomit only to have my forehead collide with his mouth. The stench of rotting fish and sulfur errupted as his teeth fell from his decomposing gums.

Not even a momentary indication that he felt a thing he continued laughing.

“Down to business.”
With a quick movement he slashed my face below the eye. My sight become misconstrued as my blood flooded into my right eye.

“The face, the face,” he whispered into my ear in an almost comforting tone.
His pudgy cheeks touched mine, as he licked the open wound on my face.

An intense burning scorched across the wound into my temple. A dark mist rolled in from the outskirts of my vision which consumed all even the mad soft whisperings of my murderer which faded into nothing.