Close Encounter

“Are they really that bad?”

“Yes! They’re really that bad. The whole lot of them are terrible pigs.”

“Are you sure they’re all terrible pigs? I have a good memory of most of them being caring and compassionate.”

“That’s what they want you to think because they’re all working together! Some of them are nice so they can keep justifying the existence of them as a collective when they’re only doing it to fool everyone!”

“So you’re saying that a male human being would get married to a female human being, and would settle down and have kids so the rest of the male population can be the terrible wastes of space that they truly are?”

“Yes! What’s so hard to understand about that?” The woman gurgles, a burp escaping from her.

I don’t know who this woman is but it’s kinda funny watching her be all comically drunk, almost like a cartoon character. I thought this place would be calmer, but I guess I was wrong.

“You’ve gotta keep your eyes on every single one of them. All they do is wait for an opportunity to strike. If they ever catch you with your head down, then they’ll latch onto you, manipulate you with that care and compassion garbage! Then, they’ll start telling you about all the great things they did for you, and now it’s time for you to start paying them back. Love isn’t real. This world is give and take, and if you can’t give back, you’re nothing.”

“Well, in that case, I don’t give… a shit about what you’re saying to me.” If she kills me because of that, then it’s a death well earned. That was way too easy to pass up.

“Uck! Was that supposed to be funny or something? Whatever, don’t even answer. Assholes like you are a part of the problem. I’m the only one that knows what’s going on in the world. Just look at our bartender.”

“What about him?”

“Focus on how he carries himself. The way he keeps his shoulders sunken when he walks, his arms barely moving when he walks around. The way he tries to pop out his shameful flat ass. Don’t you see?”

“No. I really don’t.”

“He’s trying to seduce you! Don’t you see,” The woman screams, brandishing her bottle in the air. “It’s all part of their—”

“Okay. As fun as it’s been watching you embarrass yourself, I’m gonna ask you to keep yourself… to yourself.”

“Keep what where?”

“Forget it, have a nice life.” I get up from the bar and remove myself from this freak. I don’t know what her deal is but her routine isn’t getting old. Lucia was supposed to meet her here twenty minutes ago. Where is she?

“No, wait! If you like the pigs then that’s fine. You don’t have to agree with what I’m saying at all. I—I just wanted someone to listen to my thoughts. You know, vent my frustrations.”

“Why would you choose to vent to a complete stranger? I have no reason to care about anything you say, let alone who you are.”

“Yeah true, but if I tell you my name then we’ll be acquaintances on a minuscule level, but acquaintances nonetheless.”

“I don’t want to—”

“My name is Regina. Ha! Now tell me yours. It’s a sociable thing to do. Do it! Do it!”

“Um… My name is Cassie.”

“Is that your real name? Let me see your ID.”

“Why the hell wouldn’t it be my real name? I don’t know what your deal is but you need to stay away from me. Try your best not to drink yourself into a coma.”

“But we’re acquaintances now! You’re just gonna leave your acquaintance all alone? We can become so much more if we spend time learning about one another!” The woman leaps out of her barstool and stumbles in front of me.

“Dude, seriously, get away from me. You’re freaking me out!”

“We can become friends right now, just watch!” With no time to react, she opens her arms wide and grips me into a hug, squeezing the air out of me. She reels off the scent of booze, so potent that I might get drunk just from smelling her. “You feel the friendship yet!? because I do!”

“Get off me!”

“Not until you confess your platonic love for me first!”

“Does nobody else see this!? I’m being assaulted! She’s squeezing my spine out of my back!” Why is everyone ignoring us? Where are the bouncers with their fifty-foot dogs and grenade launchers when you need them? “I don’t like you, Regina, now get off!”

“Friends forever~” She sings, her breath pressing onto my tastes buds.

“Hold on, I got this.” Suddenly an abysmally pale woman makes her presence known. “Oh, Regina. I’ve got a present for you.”

“Is it a pair of cute shirts to match with my bestie?”

“Even better.” The pale woman takes her hand and digs it into her mouth. She gags horrifically and rips her hand right back out, with an oily purple liquid covering it. There’s a weird purple fog hovering around it as well.

I don’t know what it is but it’s scaring the shit out of me.

“Merry Birthday!” The pale woman slaps whatever the hell is on her hand on Regina’s face, a few drops slashing into my cheek. Regina lets go of me and I reel back in pain. My cheek feels like it’s being burnt by acid.

“Uck! Altia, what’s your problem? I was making a friend…”

“You’re too drunk to be allowed in public. I’m taking you home.”

“Ow! What’d you do to my face!?” I screech, furiously rubbing my cheek.

“Oh, sorry about that. I think my weird hell juice got on you. My bad, it was only meant for her.”

“Oh! I should introduce you two. Altia, this is my new friend Cassie,” Regina says, trying to point at me in her drunken stupor. “Cassie. This is my friend slash enemy slash personal demon. She’s a lot cuter than I expected, but she’s one hell of a catch. See what I did there?”

“Hi, Cassie.”

“Hello…” Demon girl? With the way she looks and what she just did, I’d be stupid to think that they were lying. “Hey, Altia. I know we just met and all, but does that vomit of yours ever stop burning? It hurts a lot right now and I’d like to keep my face.”

“It doesn’t wear off. It keeps spreading until all your blood boils up to your skin. Then you walk around like a human tomato until you die.”

I don’t know what’s going on. One minute I’m getting hugged to death by a stranger, and now this walking stick of chalk digs her hand into her mouth and pulls out acid that burns like pepper spray. I barely have social skills for normal situations, so what am I supposed to make of this?

“Oh, Altia, that’s not true. It’s not even strong when it’s all liquid-like. It’s that fog you gotta worry about. Now that shit is scary,” Regina smiles, the purple oil still dripping off her face.

“If this shit is burning me then why isn’t it burning her?”

“Regina, I really don’t feel like giving an exposition about my existence. Cassie, you seem cool and all, but I’ve gotta get this girl out of here.”

“No! I’m not going anywhere. Let me explain. I’m… I’m good at explaining,” Regina stumbles, letting out a nasty burp. “Now you see. There’s this funny little thing that I did one day that made me and Altia the closest of friends. So, one of those damn pigs pissed me off and I got so sick of it. I wanted to get revenge on everyone, whoever annoyed me was going to pay with their life! So then I decided to go online to learn how to summon a demon. Unfortunately, I needed goat’s blood and rat skulls or whatever, so I improvised, and then bam. This weirdo slips out of the pentagram. Now I love her so much I could almost punch her in the face…”                                   

“Oh. Is that so? That’s very… interesting.” Where the hell is security when you need them!?

“That’s enough, Regina. We’ve had our fun.”

“Wait! My face still hurts. What am I supposed to do? The pain still hasn’t gone away.”

“Sorry, you’re dead,” Altia scoffs, putting Regina’s arm over her shoulder.

“I don’t give a damn what you are, tell me how to get this to stop hurting my face!”

“Or else you’ll do what? You’re gonna scratch me with four-hundred-dollar bitch claws? I’m just trying to get this girl out of here before she hurts herself. If you were smart, you’d have the same line of logic for yourself.”

Altia pins her eyes onto mine, leaving me too intimidated to look anywhere else. I try to lift my hand off my face, but that only makes it hurt more. I can’t even throw a swing, let alone intimidate her.

“I know girls, like, get dressed like that for a reason. I don’t judge, hopping from dick to dick is a very admirable profession from where I come from,” Altia smirks. “Just make sure to be careful. Men can have cooties too.”

“Wow, you’re doing it, you’re really doing it! You’re being an asshole to someone who isn’t me. I… I have to be dreaming,” Regina says, gagging optimistically.

“Don’t get too excited, she just gives me this weird feeling. She’s like you but with an actual sense of style. An obnoxious style, but style nonetheless.”

I spread my fingers out, covering as much of my face as I can.

“Well whatever, just stop rubbing it and it should stop hurting. I don’t actually know how it works, I just died one day and got it. Have fun with your little endeavor.”

“Bye, Cookie! It’s been fun meeting you,” Regina waves, the purple stuff still dripping off her face.

I watch them walk out of the bar and feel an aura of defeat over me. What the hell even was all of that? Uck, whatever. I’ll think it over with a drink.

“Can I get two bloody…” I scan behind the bar to see no one there anymore. I turn around and notice that all the seats have been cleared. When did everyone leave? Why did everyone leave? Did that dumb catfight really scare everyone off like that?

Damn, did I really try and have a fistfight with an actual demon? Does that make me brave or an absolute idiot? I… really don’t know.

This oil or whatever is starting to hurt less, but I feel safer with my hands clamped down on the irritated spot.

I need to go home and get to bed.

I take out my phone and try and call Lucia. Rings clang in my eardrums in the silence of the bar until it gets to her voice mail.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t get to you, but please feel free to leave a message,” She cheers in her soft tone of voice.

“I’m sorry Lucia, I’m not gonna be at the bar today. I have an emergency at home. I’ll let you know when I’m free again,” I spit those words out, hoping they were tangible enough for her to understand.

I take my hand off of my face, knowing that it can’t stay there forever. A weak sizzle sound travels in the air but I ignore it and pull my hand off. It stings like I just put rubbing alcohol on it. I look at my hand to see an amalgamation of purple and red bubbling together as if it’s alive.

Suddenly, a thin trail of blood drips off of my face, soaking into the carpet beneath me. My wound starts to pulsate, making me feel like I wasn’t alone in my own body.

I’ve gotta get my ass to a hospital, quick.

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