Where Suki Is

Hell found me.

Its so cold in here and I shiver but I don't do anything to make myself warmer I just sort of sit there and grit my teeth and think, Hell found me.

I'm looking out the window. It's cloudy which is weird because it's supposed to be summer and here it is like four in the afternoon and cloudy and cold.

Where am I?

Hell found me.

I look down at my hands turning them over and stretching my fingers slowly meticulously as if seeing them for the first time, disappointed by how healthy my skin tone is. I wish I could be paler.

"Eric."

My wrists are supple and shapely. Blue veins protrude eagerly almost flamboyantly but they compliment my muscle tone so I guess it's alright.

"Eric."

Then I notice some strange markings, not like gashes per se, but these weird scratches that are like sporadically scattered on my palms and the tops and bottoms of both arms. They're raw and at first I wonder how I could have missed them because they sting so much then I think what exactly is it that I did to myself and I start trembling, first lightly but soon I can even feel my teeth chattering because I'm shaking so much.

"Eric."

I turn around.

What?

A girl is standing in the doorway, fourteen maybe fifteen with stringy black hair and the bangs dyed red. Brown eyes highlighted by a splotchy perimeter of thick eyeliner and wearing a Ramones shirt and a pair of black chucks.

Hell found me.

"Do you want to go to the show?"

What show?

She sighs, frustrated rolls her eyes and looks away for a second then back at me.

"Tonight, stupid. You know, the Prowlers."

Oh.

"It's free. There aren't any seats or anything, they're just going to be like, playing on the street, over by that record shop on 3rd…"

Right.

"Do you wanna go?"

I turn away.

"Eric?"

As her eyes burn a hole in my back I struggle to remember who she is, who the Prowlers are and where exactly 3rd is.

"Eric."

I sigh.

No, I hear myself saying, I don't want to go.

She pouts.

"But we need you to drive us. How else are we supposed to get there?"

We?

"Oh, just some friends of mine," she says quickly and starts playing with her hair. "Like one or two is all."

Uh-huh.

"Come on Eric… please?"

You friends are assholes, I reply instinctively, and to myself I think, and they're all rich and so are we but don't you get that punk music was started as an attack on people like us and them so to listen to it and make yourself into some sort of enthusiast or specialist is like totally contradictory and disrespectful to its message?

I just don't feel like going right now, I say finally and she murmurs "fucking bastard" under her breath thinking I can't hear her but I do though I don't really care enough to do anything about it.

She turns to leave then stops and adds as an afterthought or maybe even a reluctant acceptance of defeat, "Have you seen Suki? I can't find her anywhere."

Suki? I ask, nonplussed.

"Yeah… you know… Suki…? The cat?"

I look back out the window and see kids riding skateboards most of them with long blond hair and no shirt and feel a sudden urge to put a bullet through their heads.

No. I haven't.

She leaves.

Hell found me.

I go to the kitchen and get a soda, all the while mumbling Suki… Suki… Suki… because I rather like the idea of having a cat and if it turns out that this is all real that I'm really a part of this world and in fact co-habitate with this 'Suki' then that would be just great.

I lean against the counter, sipping and wondering what color fur this Suki has.

From the kitchen window I can see that it's still cloudy though a thin streak of pale yellow has begun to cut through the silvery shell.

It suddenly occurs to me that wherever I am I haven't slept, that I've been up all night and almost analogous to this realization a plaintive voice says, "Are you even going to miss me?"

I'm on a bed with a girl now. She's sort of tan like and very beautiful with brown eyes and purple hair. She has no shirt on but still wears a bra and we've been kissing but now we stop.

"Are you even going to miss me? While I'm gone?" she asks me and I don't answer because I'm thinking that holding her just seconds ago I felt whole and complete and didn't want to let go ever but she takes my silence for a 'no' I guess because she looks away from me and in a voice which I think is even sadder than before says, "I didn't think so."

I want to reach out to her touch her reassuringly tell her of course I'll miss her how could she even think otherwise but the words don't come out and I'm a mute.

Now I can see I've hurt her she's sad I want no need to tell her I'm sorry that I didn't mean it it's just that sometimes I don't even know/remember who I am and lately this has been happening with increasing frequency.

"I guess I'll go then," she says quietly and puts her shirt back on. She stands up and takes like three steps then stops sort of shifting her weight between her front and back foot kind of tentatively, I guess debating whether or not she should just leave right now.

But then she turns back and looks at me and says, "I get back in two weeks. Will you call me?"

I sort of divert my gaze because her eyes are deep and imploring and they scare me a little.

"I guess," I mumble and she walks out and closes the door behind her.

I throw the soda away and think, Alice. Her name is Alice, and soon I remember everything about the precarious relationship we've shared for the past month.

I think about her so much it hurts sometimes. I want to tell her all that but past experiences have sewn my lips shut and it looks like forever. I'm sorry Alice.

Yesterday I found an old poem I'd written in my creative writing class and read it as if I'd never seen it before in my life.

"That class is easy," everyone told me. "All you have to do is like… write something real emotional and sad and you'll get an 'A.' It doesn't even have to be good."

I didn't listen because at the time I genuinely liked Mrs. Harris and believed her class would help me become a better writer so I decided to try it just to prove them all wrong.

"'Hell Found me,' by Eric Winter," Mrs. Harris read aloud.

"'Hell found me.

I'm lonely and sad.

On the table is my birthday cake.

I'm six now.

No one came.

No one told me to blow out the candles.

No one reminded me to make a wish.

I did it all by myself.

It's so cold in here.

Hell found me.'"

She lowered the poem.

"Well, Eric, this is…"

I let out a sigh of relief, ready for the worst.

"…the greatest poem I've read all year."

My head swam and I think the bitch even went on to say something even more ridiculous like "when we put our minds to it we really can channel our deepest emotions into moving pieces" but I'm not totally sure. I was more concerned with gripping the edges of my desk to keep from falling over; the room was spinning so fast…

By the time she handed me my poem back with an A written at the top in fatty red marker and "Great work!" scribbled in the left margin I knew I was going to throw up.

I never applied myself in that class again and got an "A" on my final report card. In the comments section Mrs. Harris wrote "Excellent growth" next to my name even though I continued using clichéd lines and a toddler's vernacular in most if not all of my work.

The memory makes me shudder and even kind of sad but I get a better of who I am now. Not a good thing, I realize, looking at my reflection in the bathroom mirror.

I don't think I like me very much.

It only seems like it's been a few seconds but I guess I've been in here a lot longer than that because someone's pounding on the door and screaming "Eric Eric what the fuck are you doing in there masturbating again?" so I walk out and the same girl who accosted me earlier (I'm guessing she's my sister) says "Finally!" and runs in and slams the door and locks it.

Hell found me.

I look outside and am perplexed though not that much when I realize it's dark out now. I brush it off and decide to get a better idea of who I am by going to the room which would most logically be mine but before I get there an older woman's voice calls out to me. Curious, I follow the sound of her summons.

She is thirty-ish and short with wavy black hair and olive skin and when I get there she throws her arms in the air and says, "Eric, have you seen Suki? I can't find her anywhere."

And because I still don't remember anything about Suki I am very surprised to hear myself blurt out, She's dead. I spent all of last night torturing and killing her and now she's buried in the backyard.

"Very funny, Eric," the woman says, "but I'm serious. Where is she? You and your sister know you're not supposed to let her out of the house; she's still a kitten."

I am serious, I snap, and I'm even more surprised by how indignant I sound. She even scratched me. See? I'm showing her the marks on myarms now but she's not even looking her eyes are closed and she's rubbing her temple slowly like she has a headache.

"Eric, please stop wasting my time. I've had a long day, god only knows where your father is"-at the mention of the word 'father' I feel like breaking somebody's skull-"and I'm not feeling well right now. If you don't know where Suki is, that's fine, but I'm not up to playing games."

It's not a game, I say gently and leave the room.

It's not a game, I repeat to myself, louder, as if realizing this for the first time.

Hey, Mom, I call, but her door is closed and she doesn't answer.

I start pounding real hard-like and hollering, Hey Mom! Mom! but she still can't hear me or she's pretending not to.

I think for a moment then run out into the backyard and start digging.

I dig fast and excited getting dirt under my fingernails and when I get deep enough there's also blood.

Hey, Mom! I call again because her bedroom window directly faces the yard, look, see? Do you believe me now? Hey! Hey!

But she's still not answering her lights are out too so I figure she's probably already taken her sleeping pill(s). I remember she's not feeling well and decide to wake up early tomorrow and make her breakfast.

"What's with all the goddamn noise?" the girl who I think is my sister barks, stomping out into the yard. "What are you doing now?"

And the next thing I know a voice is screaming "Suki! Suki! Oh my god Suki!" I think but I'm not totally sure because I'm too busy laughing and thinking Hell's really found me now Mrs. Harris you dumb bitch what do you think of that isn't that funny? and again I'm not totally sure but I think maybe I'm crying too.