NEVER LET YOU GO
Who was the bad ass now?
The voice carried inside Hayden, but he didn't let it get to him. He
smoked his cigarette, ignoring the aggravation inside him. It lived
inside his head. Usually, he never let it take over because he always
did what he was told. But he wasn't gonna do anything bad to Mia. Not
So the cigarette light burn was a bit more nasty than he thought it
would be. Funny, how that happened. But still, he wasn't gonna feel bad
about it. He just couldn't. She should be used to this by now. He'd
burned her hair once, but that was just an accident.
Smoking and making out, do not mix.
But of course, someone laughed at him. The voice that carried like a
voice over a narrative when you hear the beginning of a tale in a
movie, or tells you how it ended. It was Hayden's secret. No one needed
to know he heard a voice. It wasn't just any voice. All right,
sometimes, he did try to fight back. He did when he was a kid, because
the voice got him in so much damn trouble. Well, it was foster care.
Even so. Hayden was there when it was alive and.... well, it had made
him watch at the top of the staircase. The last home he really knew
where he had a mom and dad.
He remembered the blood. On their faces. The wall splattered with specks
of blood like rain. He tried not to look. But he couldn't take his eyes off... about
what was there. Their stare, like a zombie. And then he saw Evil as he
would come to know. The mass of darkness put his fore finger to his lips
to tell Hayden to be quiet. If he were quiet, he'd let him live. Hayden
just didn't know then, he'd have to be trapped in the attic for the
next few days to come. The stench of death, all around. Hayden was so
sure he would be next to go. But then Evil came back for him.
Evil had a large face. Almost of a giant. Hayden thought of him now as
an acne eaten faced creature with long dark hair who didn't speak much
English. He was truly the boogie man. And Hayden went with him, walking
days it felt like, among the corn fields of Kansas. They'd find farm
houses while the people were out, and Hayden remembered stealing white
bread and jars of peanut-butter. Something for the road. He'd drink beer
with Evil, smoke cigarettes too. He almost felt close to him. Almost.
Because the rest was history. Evil liked to make history when he felt
Sometimes, Hayden would stay at the library while Evil did his misery.
Hayden would find a quiet corner, try his best to learn to read on his
own. He knew a little. He wasn't completely illiterate. So he had time
for books and math. Then Evil would come for him. He'd watch Evil have a
bloody steak at a nearby truck-stop. He never asked for much from Evil.
Hayden kept his mouth shut mostly, buying his time, he guessed.
By the time he was ten, it might have been too late. It started when a
woman saw how filthy his hands were at a grocery store when he touched a
bright red apple. She pointed to Evil. She swore she'd seen his poster
at the Post Office. What was a man like him doing with a blue-eyed
little boy? Something was wrong.
Evil didn't stick around long. They fled on foot. Took the alley ways
and before Hayden knew it, they were back in a corn field in the middle
of no where. This time though, something was happening to Evil, who
dropped between the rows like an injured plow horse.
It puzzled Hayden at first. This was not good. He wasn't sure how to
react. He put his hand on Evil's chest. Evil grabbed his hand intently.
"Never let me go." He was out of breath.
"What?" Hayden didn't want to know what he was talking about, but he had a good idea what he meant.
"You have to stay with me." His face, long and dark, perhaps that of a warrior. Maybe the face of Crazy Horse.
"I don't want to die." Hayden fought back tears, bitterly.
"I know." His words were so solemn. "I will be with you. Always."
Hayden shook his head. He tried hard to pull his hand from Evil's.
"I will help you. Listen to me. Without me, you will fail." His voice
burned through Hayden as a truth he couldn't let go of. He had never
felt more alive after Evil's last breath. He ran then. He was on the run