Previously on Ghoul….
Hipster lackeys captured Sam and brought him before their boss, who was a tiny sort of woman with reptilian hands that spewed flames! Intense, I know. She also had an affinity for off-season hats. Kurt B. was around, too. And you know what? That lizard woman torched him right then and there like he was petrified kindling used to sparked a summoning pyre.
Sam’s sanity fled him. It was bound to happen with everything that was going on. Good on him though, lasted quite the time. The hipster boss ordered him to be locked away in one of the cabins.
Ghoul was present, although you just didn’t hear from him. You’ll learn what he was up to–but first, this happened….
I was impressed, no, encouraged that my sanity exceeded the highest of expectations. The trick was not to think about it. I found that actively ignoring nightmares could make them disappear sooner than later. It’s what I did with Ghoul sometimes; common protocol when he first moved in. He wasn’t pushy, said he was only being him. And doing it for my own good.
“How can you be content with this? Don’t you want more?”
That’s how the conversation started. Finer details of that moment perished in the fallout of my sudden madness. Important flashes of memory though, they survived and somehow sheltered me from total mental collapse. My guards to the right and left saw uniqueness to my spontaneous ramblings. The noises of awe, subtle and leery vowels, rippled from them. I paid it no mind for there was an urgency to get this out in the open.
“This is who I am happy with,” I said in my voice.
“I wonder if he is alright,” said the hipster to my left.
“I know, I’ve never seen Maureen that mad before,” replied the other.
The fog thinned around us. More of the campground was revealed. Shadows so close, within arm’s reach towered above. I praised these dark unknown demi-gods, swearing my allegiance and body to their wills.
“Wow, look at that: He thinks the tetherball pole and the tennis court are Ca-two-lou or however you say it,” scoffed the right hipsters.
“Yup,” the left hipster was short with the correct pronunciation. Hot air rose from him as if he was a fire breather dealing with severe GERD.
More bits of that night with Ghoul returned.
“Sam, you need to snap out of it. Come out with me, let’s go live, do something, anything. You name it, I’ll pay.”
“No, I said I don’t want to do anything. Look, you don’t know me. Why do you care so much?” I asked.
“This guy is pretty good,” said Right Hipster.
Left hipster remained quiet, and rigid. In Ghoul’s voice I asked, “Why don’t you?” and the fog parted enough to reveal the wood path. Roots and rocks littered our way. I found navigating this course arduous, baffling with horrid landscape. Every now and then a bone or skull would pop up. They were brittle. I felt their crunch underneath my boots. The dead made this trail then paved it with their remains.
“Watch out for that big root, man,” Right Hipster guided me around. “You almost tripped.”
How I wished I could see from his eyes. Madness was no friend and I yearned to part from its chaotic persistence.
More shadows. Right Hipster muttered that they were the cabins and Left Hipster responded too matter-of-factly.
“You’ve had quite the attitude, what’s wrong with you?”
“Oh, nothing,” Left Hipster then became far from passive aggressive. “Actually, I’ll tell you: I’m the only one that can call the boss Maureen. It upsets me when posers try.”
“Okay, sure. Not.”
Left Hipster dropped his grasp from my arms.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “No one has praised Maureen more than I. You say you love her, but you adulation is false. Maureen and I are destined.”
Right Hipster stopped just before the wooden door.
“Is that a challenge, Darren?” asked Right Hipster.
Well, at least I finally knew who this Darren was.
“Yeah, it is,” Darren said. “Let’s do this.”
The cabin door flung open and Right Hipster shoved me inside. I spun around, tripped, twisted a little and finally fell on my rear.
“You’re such a liar if you believe that. I’ve made too many mistakes, hurt too many people, and burned too many bridges. Every time I go out of the house I see someone I wronged or am reminded about why I am such a failure. I stay inside where I don’t have to face that. Can you understand? Can you now please leave me alone?”
“The last time I was happy, Sam, was when I was alive. And it hurts me to see you squandering life away like this. When was the last time you asked yourself if you were happy? Anyone could tell you the answer, but I think you need to hear it from yourself.”
Darren and Left Hipster endured a demonic transformation into horrendous crossbreeds of werewolf, dragon, and Nordic eel spirit. It was quit the show of lasers and blood and venomous claws and ice breathes but I couldn’t stop to pay attention to that, not now.
“Let me help you, please. I know I seem a burden but I can be more, I want to be more. If you won’t accept my help then at least just let me hang out with you. It doesn’t matter what we do, as long as you’re with a friend. Okay?”
“Okay, friend,” said Ghoul, who was standing in the doorway.
“That was my line,” I said.
Ghoul cut my bindings. I stood after twenty-or-so minutes of rocking back and forth on my knees, drooling backwards gibberish. That was one of the few occasions where I embraced Ghoul with my patented bear hug. I picked him up brought him in tight, squishing his soft torso through to my chest. I was saturated, but I didn’t care. Ghoul empowered me to be human again.
I don’t know If I could ever lose that.
“Are you crying?” he asked.
“No, no, it’s just the fog… getting in my eyes and shit. Hey, where the hell you been? My mind is strewn across the stars so don’t expect too much more than this. That hipster thing with the fire-claws and beanie did something to me but oh wait, you have no idea what I am talking about.”
“I do, actually. I saw everything that happened in Moose Lodge. You gotta admit that was pretty cool though, right? No? Eh, you’ll come around to appreciate that stuff someday, kid. Anyways, I think I figured out what is going on here. More importantly, I found a way out.”
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