The Succubus and Other Stories

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Burning Louty

        Rainy nights always put me in a bad mood, particularly when I'm going home tired from a long day's work. I can never figure it out. So much power and so little money. What happened?
        A car goes slushing by just as I get to the station, spraying me with water, but I do get there, and go running for the train, scrambling up the steps and over the walkway and down the steps and through the turnstile and onto the platform and into the train -
        But I'm too late to get a seat.
        Only there is a space, there, between a young lout sitting with legs wide, sprawling over more than his fair share of seat, and a suit, an anonymous little man going a bit bald but otherwise unremarkable.
        I drop myself into the space, just let my weight go, let myself fall, which by rights should force the two of them, Louty and Anonymous, to give way, to yield, to allow me my right. But it doesn't.
        Anonymous hardly notices me. He's too busy making a call on his cellphone, which is against all the rules, and I'm sure he knows it. As for Louty, he sprawls a bit wider, eyes closed in the ecstasy of amplified headphone music, and he shoves his arms into his pockets so his right arm gouges out a chunk of my space.
        He'd push me out of the universe if he could, he would, he'd do just that, and I want to thump him and hit him and smash him and gouge him, but I don't do anything like that, I just get up and walk down the train, swaying a little as it curves round the rails, and I go through the doors into the next car, and I wait, hoping, and five stations later I get out with the out rush then get back into the original car with the in rush, and I don't think anyone will remember me having been sitting by Louty.
        Louty, who - oh, darling Louty! - is alseep. Really asleep, mouth a little wide. Teeth showing. Let's wait, shall we? Yes. My station's coming up, but I won't get off there. No, let's go past my station. Let's be cunning, now, darlings. Okay. And now. Far enough from home, I think. And Louty still
        I choose the teeth I want. Two big strong bitey teeth, right in the front. Big and strong and yellow. I choose, and then I squeeze my fists and concentrate. I used to close my eyes when I did this, but then I found out that, first, it's not necesary, and, second, sometimes people remember that it was you who closed your eyes just then.
        And just now it happens. The big fat bitey teeth burst into flames, and suddenly Louty is thrashing to his feet, screaming as the agony bites home into the nerves. Exquisite agony. All the worse because he's still intact, physically, more or less.
        That's one of the tricks, see. There's no point blowing someone's legs or exploding their bowels, not unless you're seriously set on assassination. They go into shock and they hardly feel a thing. What you do is go for the tender stuff, the expendable stuff. Eyes, fingers, testicles, teeth. The skin between the thighs, that's prime stuff. Choose your target and choose your time, that's my motto.
        I've chosen my time well, and the train is just coming into the station as Louty's screaming reaches its crescendo. The doors open and everyone who can gets out. Nobody wants to hang around next to Louty, terrorist or self-exploding suicide or whatever he is.
        I get out and get going and keep going, putting time and space between me and the incident, keeping my head low and walking behind people or between people whenever possible, whatever little I can do to confuse the people deciphering the security camera pictures.
        Of course, I don't know for a fact that there are people deciphering pictures, but you have to think that there would be, wouldn't you? I mean, after all these ... incidents, as I like to call them. Applications of corrective revenge.
        Later on, when I'm sitting in my favorite Cannibal, munching on a Grease Smoother, the humor of it all strikes home, and I laugh, I can't help it, I just laugh and laugh, until a suit (a big guy dressed up like for a funeral, busier with his computer than with his curdled bowl of gulp grease) gives me a Bad Look, and that shuts me up.
        And then I remember Anonymous, and I'm kind of ashamed of myself, on account of what Red Leader said to me, all those years ago. You're a prisoner of your class, he said, all you can do is kick your own.
        I didn't accept it at the time. But it's true, I have to confess. Anonymous, with his offensively antisocial and entirely illegal cellphone call, was as much an offender as Louty. But Louty, with his dirty jeans, his deadend job (if he even has a job), his hopeless future ... Louty was an easy target.
        So I decide, on principle, to do the big guy, the funeral-suited one. Here. Now. Burn him up.
        But I can't do it.
        I'm empty, and it's getting late, and I'm experiencing the sadness of the aftermath. But I'll sleep well tonight, I will, you know, after taking the tablets, I'll sleep really well, and I'll dream of burning Louty, and I'll laugh, in my sleep, and be happy.

The End

This revenge story, "Burning Louty," was first published when posted online by Hugh Cook 2004 November 20 Saturday. Copyright © 2004 Hugh Cook. All rights reserved.

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SUICIDE HOTEL

Check in to check out at the Grand Terminus Suicide Hotel


        When she walks into the hotel I know three things: she is beautiful, I am in love with her and she is too young to die.

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