Desecration Circuit by Dylan Sonderman

Desecration by Nam Nguyen

COUNTER-CLOCKWISE:

Timmy walks around the house in a circle. There’s a little loop he follows that runs through the dining room into the kitchen. The kitchen connects to the living room, which has a hallway linking it to the foyer. And Timmy walks around in a slow and steady circle.

At first, none of the adults at the party notice the ten-year-old boy walking around the house in circles. They see him coming and going and think nothing of it as they eat slices of pepperoni pizza and drink off-brand cola from Red Solo cups. Some of the adults step outside for a cigarette or some fresh air, but Timmy keeps strolling the same loop through dining room, kitchen, living room, and foyer.

            The other children are watching TV, playing computer games, or glued to their phones. They are in their own worlds. Timmy walks around the house in circles. A few of Timmy’s friends wonder what he is doing. But he’s only been pacing the loop for about twenty minutes.

            ↺

Timmy walks around the house in a circle. He’s barefoot, wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt and white cargo shorts. His mother is at the party as well. It is not accurate to say she is at the party “with him” because she did not transport him to the party and she has no intention of bringing him with her when she departs. She plans to leave sooner rather than later.

When Timmy passes Beth, one of the adults who lives in the house where the party is being held, she laughs kindly and asks him what he’s doing. Timmy smiles. But he does not respond; he does not stop walking around the house in a circle. Beth shrugs and resumes talking with her boyfriend.

Big Boy, the family dog, is a huge friendly brown Rottweiler. Big Boy is by turns amused, disturbed, and then amused again by Timmy’s unwavering path around the house in a circle. Big Boy barks, runs around, playfully nips at Timmy’s heels.

Timmy continues walking around in a circle. A few of the other children have begun to follow him now. They see the reactions he is getting from the adults. They prance, march, gallop, skip, and frolic from the dining room to the kitchen to the living room to the foyer and back again and back again, laughing and whooping. Eventually, though, they lose interest or tire. Timmy has been walking the circle for an hour now.

Timmy is sweating a little. Not much. He has to pee, bad, but he holds it. He’s a strong ten-year-old boy. He doesn’t believe that there’s anything wrong or lesser or inferior about anyone who gets tired easily or doesn’t have the gumption for prolonged physical activity. But Timmy is determined to make his point. He is a strong ten-year-old boy.

In fact, Timmy decides, as he’s passing through the dining room past a table where his mother and his friend’s uncle are chatting and sitting in each other’s laps, he’s not going to be Timmy anymore after this party is over. He’s no longer Timmy. He imagines himself as no longer Timmy as he walks around the house in a circle. He can picture in his mind’s eye how he’ll stand proud, tall, and unmistakably important, and say: I’m Tim.

Some of the adults are muttering to each other about the boy walking around the house in a circle. One mother takes her kids and leaves, after getting into a nasty argument that remained in hushed voices with the hostess, Beth. Others continues drinking, eating, smoking, making out, and generally living in the moment, for the moment, not a care in the world about circles or boys or circuits.

Tim walks around the house in a circle. It’s been two hours now. He couldn’t hold his pee anymore and now his white cargo shorts have a large dark spot in the front. A few of the men at the party have taken it upon themselves to put a stop to Tim’s circuit. They’ve placed themselves in his path, tried to get him into a headlock, closed doors, and put chairs into his way. Tim understands. His masculinity and force of purpose is a threat to them. He doesn’t have the words, but he feels in the blisters on his bare feet, in the last remaining baby tooth in his mouth, in the pit of his eternal soul. He feels them, and he brushes them aside to continue walking around the house in a circle.

Oh, they detain him for a while, here, and there. They hold him still no matter how he kicks and screams and claws and bites. But eventually, he always breaks free to continue walking from the dining room to the kitchen to the living room to the foyer and back again and back again and back again. His mother has left the party with his friend’s uncle Dick. She did not say goodbye to her son.

There are tears in Tim’s eyes, and his feet hurt, but he walks on. Pain is nothing anymore. He doesn’t care that some of the older boys are calling him Forrest Gump, weirdo, faggot, loser, and more that they say under their breath so he can’t hear. Those names are not his name any more than Timmy is. And they can’t hurt him. He’s Tim. I am Tim, he says to himself, as he walks around the house in a circle. All that hurts is the name that no one calls out, the solar name called out by the horizon of earth at dawn each day. The chariot name of incandescent plasma and fire.

People have been drinking heavily at this party. Especially the older boys, in their late teens and early twenties. A few are doing methamphetamines, as well. But Tim doesn’t know anything about that. He doesn’t even know about alcohol’s impairing effect on judgment. He just continues walking around the house in a circle until an older boy kicks Tim in the chest and knocks him down the basement stairs.

            People come to check on him, fuss over his broken ankle. The bone juts through the skin. Tim’s mouth is forcing his teeth to bite his tongue to stop the screaming as he forces himself to his feet. He climbs the stairs, the jagged bone of his ruined ankle tearing more skin free with each step. The other foot is faltering, his legs are bruised. His vision is woozy from crashing down the stairs and hitting his head. Tim can barely breathe when he makes it to the top of the stairs. There’s blood in the eyes of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on his t-shirt.

            Someone is on the phone with the emergency services. Other adults are now dialing 911, shouting at each other, heading for their cars, swallowing or flushing drugs to hide evidence of the obvious. All of the children are crying in horror as one, a hive mind symphony of wailing and fear. Tim crawls around the house in a circle, leaving a trail of blood like a menstruating slug. Big Boy curiously licks some of Tim’s blood up. The dog later throws up on the living room floor. Tim has already vomited himself empty by the time the ambulance and police cars pull up out front.

            ↺

            In the back of the ambulance, Tim shakes wildly, gyrating, screaming until they sedate him. He’s spinning his eyes in a circle. He thinks that if he spins them fast enough, his brain will turn inside out and he’ll die. He spins his eyes as fast as he can until everything goes black.

            ↺

CLOCKWISE:    

The funeral happens through a deep haze of grief. There is no regret, no guilt. Or, if it is there, it is so massive that this woman cannot see it. If the regret and guilt were blue, they’d loom so large she’d mistake them for the sky. But the grief she feels, and people offer their condolences.

She says thank you for the flowers.

The boy who did the kicking is a high-school football hero. They let him off with six months of probation after his tearful public apology goes viral. Apparently, that’s all the more attention anyone is going to devote.

Her friends visit often, when they can track her down. She doesn’t have a permanent place to stay at the moment. Sometimes they bring her flowers. They also buy her food and cigarettes and let her talk about normal things, so that she may pretend it’s all ok. They tell her that it’s ok if she cries, but she swears that she will not.

She says thank you for the flowers. She does cry.

Dick isn’t returning her calls anymore. Nor is her ex. In fact, he filed a restraining order against her and the court seems committed to enforcing it.

She doesn’t blame either of the men. She doesn’t even blame the court. What comes out of her mouth when she tries to speak anymore could hardly pass for language.

She sleeps with strangers for money. She needs the money, of course. She knows that some, most, all people would say that she should sober up.

She says thank you for the flowers. She does cry. But she still gets high afterward.

            She can’t tell anyone the truth. She can’t remember her own name anymore. She tries to read it, but it just appears as a blur on her driver’s license. She hears people say it, but it slips out of her hearing like an oiled frog. She can’t remember his name anymore either. For if she could, it would allow her some kind of an identity. She could say I’m so-and-so’s mother. So-and-so, who she now could not remember the real name of.

She says thank you for the flowers. She does cry. But she still gets high afterward. She has to.

She just wants to know if she’s forgiven, or if forgiveness is a possibility. Her mind is oblivion. It has to stay that way. If she even thinks, it will begin. Hell awaits her, she is certain.

She says thank you for the flowers. She does cry. But she still gets high afterward. She has to. It’s the only thing that blurs out the mental image that haunts her every time she closes her eyes: a vision of her dead son rolling in an eternal looping circuit in his earthen grave.


Dylan Sonderman writes poetry, science fiction, and horror when he is not composing or playing music. He lives in Cleveland with his wife, Elizabeth, and their two dogs, Gertie and Ozzy. His debut book of poetry, Lucid_Malware.zip, is available through most online vendors.

Nam Nguyen is a multimedia artist who enjoys photography, writing, and filmmaking. He has been published in Glassworks, Jabberwock Review, Cirque, J. Mane Gallery, Sunspot Lit, The Ephimiliar Journal, The Esthetic Apostle, Cardinal Sins, Ember Chasm Review, The RavensPerch, Wild Roof Journal, Havik, The Paragon Journal, The Finger Literary Journal, The Write Launch, Glass Mountain, and Chestnut Review.

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