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THE MiSERY OF AGE

©  WRiTER oN THe MoON

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5

Two Suicidal Lunatics

Sleep was impossible. All of the old horror movies they had seen over the summer merged together into a kind of unspeakable collage. Even Chris Walas' Gremlins had come to life and ran around hiding under their beds, in the closets, laughing. Javier felt so frightened that he couldn't cover it up. On top of it all, Alan could only think about a thirsty vampire who wanted more blood.

He sat up in bed looking at his bare feet. Then he looked over at Javier who already sensed what he was going to say but was waiting silently until he did. It didn't take Alan more than thirteen seconds.

"Hey man, do you want to go downstairs?"

Javier wrinkled his nose and started sputtering as he couldn't understand Alan's ridiculous plan of going downstairs like Indiana Jones.

"B..bu..but what's wrong with you? Are you nuts?"

"Nothing is wrong with me. They won't catch us. When they go down to the cellar they stay there for hooooours."

"For hooooours? Geez, you say that like it's the most natural thing in the world. Ok, so they're down there cutting up bodies and you think that's natural? Shit! Wake up man! Can't you see that your parents are murderers?" Javier asked angrily.

"Yeah man, cool. Are you stupid or what? Really! How could you think my mother's a murderer? Are you listening to what you're saying?"

"What about your dad?" asked Javier, not giving in.

"Well, maybe my dad....he has a dark side to him I don't always understand..." Alan said with a quick smile.

"Dude!"

"I'm just kidding. Come on, come on and let's go downstairs!"

He got up and walked over to Javier's folding bed, determined he was going to convince him. Even in the darkness, his blonde curls could be sensed, in the same manner as his penetrating stare. He insisted until he was tired, saying that the whole matter was eating away at his guts.

"I want you to come down with me. I've told you the secret that I wasn't supposed to tell you. The book states clearly: If this information sees the light outside of the circle the consequences would be immediate, for the transmitter as well as the receiver.

DEATH.

"From now on, you are a part of this, whether you like it or not. So, either get up or I'm going to start shouting that you wet your bed. You know I will! Can you imagine what my mom would do to you if she finds out you wet the bed?"

Alan took a deep breath, getting ready to shout and Javier stopped him as fast as he could.

"Alright, alright, alright already."

"Hey, you almost wet your pants from the fright, didn't you?"

"Imbecile, I won't forget this!" Javier replied, angrily.

"That seems fair."

"I'll go with you."

"Fantastic."

"But if they kill me tonight, or they tie me up in the basement so they can pull out those threads they say they pull out of people...and then they weave me and everything else they do that you showed me today in that horrible book, well, if all that happens to me I will find a way to get even. You know that I know things about you that nobody else does."

"Ok, it's a deal."

"You owe me one."

Javier got out of bed and put on his slippers. He let Alan be the leader of their exploration. They tiptoed their way, avoiding the box of Legos that, according to Sara, was more than a century old. They went down the stairway on the outside border, knowing that that way it barely squeaked. Without realizing it, they came face to face with the cellar door.

It was bigger.

It looked like a monster.

This simple door painted shiney white stood before them like a giant portico leading to another world, some catacombs or a path to the center of the Earth. Alan grabbed the doorknob and slowly opened the door a few inches. They sat there on the floor and listened. In the distance they could hear murmurs of voices, accompanied by a faint light.

"This old fart is just about finished." they heard Jack cough and then say in a serious tone.

"He didn't have anything, the son of a bitch. He was empty! I suppose it is because he spent all day counting money."

said a woman who was not Alan's mother, but whose voice sounded familiar.

Alan gripped Javier's hands that were shaking uncontrollably.

Javier whined, "Dude, there are more than two people down there! So it really is like a mafia. It's the Lamb clan.

They'll catch us for sure. Then they'll hang us up and open our guts and then sew us..." His voice wound down to silence, consumed by his terror.

"Deep down, I feel sorry for the guy." pronounced Sara's warm voice. "It seems clear that this world is rotting and there is no solution in sight."

"Yes, it's like some kind of cancer eating away at our society, we being the cancer cells." said the voice of the mysterious woman.

The rest of the conversation was between Alan's parents.

"Good Lord, that was a very difficult task you just accomplished. Unravelling this ruffian's soul." Sara said, happy to be finished with the chore at hand.

"Oh yes, finally! But there is not much thread to weave with." continued Jack, not able to conceal his confusion, "And it's so thin and weak. It breaks when you touch it.

"This is the first time I have unravelled and woven a body like this. What a rogue this guy must have been when he was alive. Am I right Sara?"

"You are not mistaken. You hit the nail right on the head."

"Well, even so. What a pity. As you see this piece of cloth is horrible, shapeless. And dirtier than a baby's shity bottom."

"Aggh, it's repulsive!" replied Sara. "It's ghastly. Is it finished yet?"

"Yes, a very strange piece." answered Jack.

"Well then, I guess all I can do now is to try to wash out all the shit this son of a bitch has accumulated over the years."

They laughed.

Unconsciously the two boys had scooted so close to the door that they were almost stuck to it. Suddenly the mysterious voice that they had heard coming from the basement spoke again, but this time right behind them. They froze.

"And what are you two doing down here? Shouldn't you be in bed?"

Javier was very close to fainting, catatonic.

They turned around and, despite the darkness Alan recognized his aunt's small figure.

"Aunt Marisa!" he exclaimed, getting up and running to her and giving her a hug.

"What are you doing here? Spying behind the door? What a nasty habit. I never thought you were that type of boy."

"When did you arrive from Chinchón?" Alan asked.

"I landed an hour ago. Wait a minute Alan, don't sidetrack me. What are you doing down here spying?"

Before Alan could make up an excuse, Javier, lunging into the conversation, did.

"No, no Marisa. It's just that I am a sleepwalker, you know? You just woke me up. Don't you know that it is dangerous to wake up someone who is walking in their sleep? And...and...Alan, what are you doing here? Oh sure, you probably came down to find me and take me back to bed so I don't fall down the basement stairs. Geez, I could have broken my neck! That's why you are my best friend!"

Alan gave him a look that said "stop making up stupid stories."

"Why of course, that makes sense." said Marisa. "Cut out the crap, I'm no fool. Now, go to bed and we will talk about all of this tomorrow. Alan, I won't tell your parents that you were down here spying like two dirty cockroaches."

"Thank you Aunt Marisa."

They headed for the stairs. Javier started up the first step but Alan stayed behind long enough to ask.

"Do you know what the heck Mom and Dad are doing down there in the cellar?"

"Weaving. What else? They've done it all their lives. Weaving then washing, weaving then washing....no more chit chatting for tonight. Off to your chambers you go. And I want you to go up just as quietly as you came down." she said in a whisper.

"Alright." he said, giving in.

Heads down, they carefully made their way up to their room. Marisa remained at the foot of the steps, waiting to be sure they were back in their bedroom with the door closed. In between steps she heard Javier ask; "What are chambers?"

"I think it means bedroom."

"Dude, what century is your aunt from? You have a very weird family."

With that, the door closed. Marisa identified the cornucopian mirror hanging on the staircase wall. When she and Sara were little they used to try on makeup in it's reflection.