Chapter 21:

My Sore Face's Reflection Glittering on the Toilet Bowl


Joey divided their men after.

Without Lucy and Jonathan to complicate things, everything went so smoothly that everyone was almost out of the house to forage for supplies by the time they could ask how George was doing. The rest of the old people and children were forced to take refuge at Uncle’s room.

They were low on manpower at the moment.

Everyone almost chose not to step out of Uncle’s home, but the dawn had arrived. Hope. It made them smile, but a simple thought turned it upside down. Like an itch in their left asscheek, it hampered their movement. It rotted their brains. It made them turn and make sure that every shadow of the room of every empty house and of the trees they would walk into would be empty.

They could not bury their loved ones first. It’s one that everyone had to agree to. It could start another pandemic of sorts, the one that would smell like boiled diarrhea, but it’s much better than getting attacked by those jacked crocodiles again and getting their heads smashed. They had to, this time. If he had a coin for every time he saw one biting back their words, he would have enough to buy a van full of candy to lure kids into something much terrible. Wow. That was fucking terrible of a thought. Something about vans. Right. They have to gather some resources so they could relocate to a better place.

Uncle was supposed to lead them, and now he’s hugging this toilet bowl like a teddy bear.

His muscles screamed as they burned. His vision blurred, zoned out, brightened, and darkened every time he breathed. His wheel of suffering continued to turn. At least the hardest part was already done. He had already firmed his sore face, stomped his feet even though it cracked his glass bones, and reigned his wavering voice to tell those people no.

Enang led the ones gathering some supplies. Joey should be taking care of the road towards their new place. All that needed to be done now was to get out of here and take charge of everything so that Enteng could rest with George watching him.

But he just had to get hurt and remember everything.

They all saw that bright light, fell asleep, and woke up in this world. It was trippy as shit. Nobody believed him at first, but now he knew. They got stronger. They learned a bit of sense to survive, to fight. They could see a bit better in the dark. They shared the same language as these monsters. If only they didn’t attack...

The monster that clapped his mom asked for his forgiveness. He wavered. Uncle answered him kindly by grabbing the nearest kitchen knife and sinking it at the side of that monster’s neck. He didn’t get his name. But that didn’t matter. It only gurgled.

He begged him to stop as he stabbed him again and again. But his pleads were overshadowed by his guttural scream. He didn’t know what to feel by then, but he found himself in another place.

It was white.

There, his voice echoed.

There, he met that Anito. He proclaimed himself to be God, a dead God, to be exact, and he shone so brightly that everything turned dark. It hurt. He didn’t dare to open his eyes—he couldn’t. His sheer presence seared, blistered, and cracked his skin before snapping it to sheer cold.

His throat had been dried.

His roar now only seemed to be a shiver.

He wanted to talk to Enteng about it. But everything hurts, and his feeling could now be described as wanting to dig himself a hole, so he could drag himself inside and save the earth the trouble when he dies.

He called himself Apolaki, the Anito of the Sun.

He was compelled to follow him—his only choice to make the pain stop, and he smiled when he did. He wanted him to be better, stronger. Being just or evil wasn’t the point. He just needed to be brighter, darker, colder, hotter, sharper, tougher, and softer. He needed to stomp everything and everyone in his name.

But that was harder than he thought.

He sniffed and covered his mouth to muffle his cries, embracing the bowl that smelled of poorly washed shit and piss. It didn’t matter.

He really just had to remember everything.

That tainted kitchen knife became a part of him.

That was not like him at all.

But he felt powerful. His movements to kill were as natural as his breathing. Every stroke and swipe felt amazing. He felt that monster’s breath escaping his punctured lungs as he ripped out his guts. Flesh. Bones. His heart was alive, begging to live until it didn’t.

Rayan was the same.

He was strong. And he proved that he wasn’t weak. Both his hands trembled. It was still as vivid as he had imagined. Every punch that he took was like a trophy. Everything hurt, but it was incredible. That burst of joy that he felt, the energy that he mustered in that jump to end things… The way Enang’s machete rang in his hand as it wedged through the half of his skull… But what was that smile?

Was he happy?

What did that mean?

He couldn’t understand what it was.

His first victim was the same, but Rayan smiled.

He must be looking terrible right now. He must have looked like the crying child he was all the time. At the very least, he wanted to save face, especially now that he got punched in the face.

Did he do the right thing?

He heard a knock on the door.

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