While she’s sleeping, I creep to a place they tell me not to go. On tip toes, I salivate at the thought of what awaits me there. The other place. The bad place. The place where I give in and let them have me without shame. Addictions. Obsessions. The lust for flesh, and the perverse desire to inflict on those who are too pure for their own good. There are mushroom clouds and lines of cocaine that zigzag across the floor like electricity. There are rivers of alcohol and bodies that pulsate at the touch of my nicotine-stained fingertips, and there I am, grinning like Jack Torrence did at the sight of the nude woman getting out of the bathtub in room 237. I wonder where I get my dark half from. Did it come from childhood trauma, or did it form in my teenage years? Or was it something that occurred through a lifetime of accumulative horrors? I’ve seen shit, y’know? Seen humans do things that would make you go blind. Maybe it’s rubbed off on me. Maybe the darkness has seeped into my skin and stained my soul, and that’s why I do the things I do. Sometimes it makes me feel bad, but then I tell her to push her tits together and when I spit in her face the flames rage and howl and my shape shifts from one form to the next and all tenderness is gone. What’s left is a greed and the need to succumb and succumb I do until I’m lost to everyone and staggering around not knowing my own name. When she sleeps and dreams, I’m chewing my tongue until it bleeds and growling down unlit streets chasing after a black dog that remains two strides ahead of me no matter what. It wags its tail and barks when I get close, and for a second or so I think I’m going to snatch him in my arms but then he burst ahead and then it’s me that’s howling like a wolf beneath the same moon that looks down on her angel face. In those hours that see her silently kick her legs and twitch her nose, my head unravels until I’m puking in the gutter and foaming at the mouth. In a frenzy, I call her name, but my cries just echo around until they lose their energy and fizzle out someplace near the park where our younger selves dance and frolic far from the eyes of others.