This Wily Comet

Evan could hear music through the walls of the gas station.

He knew this song.

One hand on this wily comet

Take a drink just to give me some weight

Every surface in the bathroom felt sticky. Evan’s fingers trailed in the icy water offered by the sink. He didn’t touch the porcelain, instead he fixed his eyes on a milky grey stain next to the condom dispenser.

The bathroom was white and smooth. Tiles and sink and toilet, dull under the dim lightbulb. Someone had abandoned a bottle of Pepsi next to the toilet. There was a chunk missing out of the sink, allowing water to spill and pool on the floor. Some of the water slipped into the drain which croaked hoarsely, some of it soaked through Evan’s sneaker making his toes curl. Overhead, the light hummed and drew him away from reality.

Close your eyes to corral a virtue

Is this fooling anyone else?

He blinked and lifted his fingers to his forehead, the touch was frigid and a shiver streaked from his scalp to his heels. He lowered his head so he couldn’t look at himself in the mirror anymore, and watched the drip-drip-drip of his forehead painting the white sink red.

He hoped that bastard’s knife had been clean. The last thing he needed was an infection because this asshole had some sick kink. He peered up at his reflection, if he squinted his face was almost clean again. No vertical slice on his lip, no mottled black on his cheekbone, no wide crimson cut below his hairline.

Evan didn’t realize how tightly he was gripping the sink until he pulled his hands away. The porcelain left jagged blue veins pulsing in his palms. He shifted his weight, remembered the sprain in his left ankle, and leaned back on his right.

He bared his elbows against the sink and bent down, pressing the tips of his fingers to his bruised face. His lips parted and his teeth scraped on chapped lips.


The end of the word hung in the back of his throat, burning.

With burnt sage and a forest of bygones

I click my heels

Get the devils in line

Evan’s foot lashed out, the Pepsi bottle cracked under his shoe and soaked the floor, mixing with the water. The drain lapped it up, the perished soda clung to the bottle, the same consistency as chocolate pudding. Evan’s stomach churned.

Someone banged on the door. “Hey! Other people need to take a piss too!” Their voice was muffled by six inches of concrete. Evan straightened and turned toward the door, slowly unclicking the lock. He yanked the door open and faced a man with an inch of stubble on his bony face.

His eyes betrayed his shock when he saw Evan, who glowered over long eyelashes. “All yours,” Evan said, leaving the door open as he turned away.

“H-Hey, are you alright son?”

Evan didn’t answer, just scuffed his way down the sidewalk, damp shoe squeaking, and slid into the passenger seat of an old Honda.

“Don’t look like you cleaned up much,” Ezra grunted, flicking cigarette ashes onto Evan’s lap.

“Just drive.” Evan growled, kicking his sneaker off.

“I don’t wanna smell your nasty ass feet.” Ezra reached out to cuff Evan but Evan ducked out of the way and threw his arm up to knock Ezra off of him.

“Then roll down the fucking window, drive!” They rode in a silence as heavy as Atlas’ burden. Evan flexed his swollen ankle and pressed down on it with the palm of his hand.

“You’re one weird kid.” Ezra scoffed when he leered at Evan and found him tugging on the fleshy cut on his lip. “Don’t that hurt?”

“It feels good.”

“Don’t feel good when it happens.”

“It feels good when I have control over it,” Evan grunted, digging his nail into the cut.


Fresh blood beaded on the tip of his finger.


And still to come

The worst part and you know it

There is a numbness

In your heart and it’s growing

-Grace T, July 2016

Lyrics from A Comet Appears by The Shins