Chapter 10 – Pay Me & Play Me – It’s Your Turn To Hurt Me
I thought it was interesting as I sat at that slightly vacant lunch table by myself staring at Charlie who was grabbing his drink that he would be consuming with his lunch for that day, two weeks after the “You Are A Star” talent program of our school. Why is that so interesting? Why did I look at him with a curious expression on my face as I eyed him sharply while he happily and quickly filled his lunch tray with the various options that were displayed on the lunch line for the kids to have for their meals that he would be consuming? Because, we never spoke with one another, before. Those entire 4 months that I had been attending that high school, we barely even exchanged more then a few words with one another at all. It was odd. I honestly didn’t even feel comfortable about the whole ordeal. The only other time that we exchanged any type of dialogue with one another or even attempted to engage in any type of conversation was when he asked me for a pencil last month for an exam which we had to take in our Algebra Class along with the occasional formal greeting here and there. But, now, he decides to act all friendly with me? He decides to act as though we had lived on the same block with each other since we were babies? He decides to act as though our moms were best friends since high school? He acts as though we had attended every birthday party that we ever had? He asks me to sit with him at lunch out of the blue for no reason at all? Hmm.
Why would he want to spend time with me? What did I ever do to him to suddenly make him be interested? That’s not even what really caught my attention. What made me curious was his demeanor; when he spoke with me about it, the day prior, and how interested he was in having lunch the next day, he was… I don’t even know. The only word that I can use to describe it is “jolly”. That’s it. He was jolly. He acted like an elf who had just been promoted in Santa’s Secret Workshop. Yup. He was talking all rushed for some reason as though he had to go somewhere directly after he spoke with me, that day, and was already late. It was like he was in a hurry for some reason which I didn’t understand at all.
Hmmm. I remember giving him a suspicious look as I sipped my little 2% carton of milk while he walked up to me with his dark green tray in his hands. Something smells fishy, here, and it’s not just the tuna sandwich that was on my plate that I only got because it reminded me of a certain little someone. I don’t even like tuna. Real mature and not weird at all, Johnny. Real normal behavior you’re displaying. Why don’t I start writing Salem’s name all over my purple math book with hearts around it, too? Those were my thoughts those entire ten minutes as Charlie and I began eating our school prepared meals while exchanging in some conversation about school, basic work stuff, along with the occasional mention of a friend here and there. He seemed friendly, enough, I suppose. I guess. Maybe…
“Ehh, faA FAHh fa Feh FEHH?” He asked with his mouth full as he smiled, trying to do everything a bit too fast for his own body to fully catch up with his thoughts and movements, not quite even realizing that he was doing two things at once. Huh? Hehe. Okay, that was sort of funny.
“What?” I asked him. He gulped and I could tell that it hurt him from the slight wince of pain that he made from him forcing and trying to hork all of his food down his throat as it slightly scraped him from the inside so that he could speak as quickly as possible.
“You have any plans this weekend?” He repeated. Jesus. He’s in a good mood. With his slightly platinum blonde locks of hair that he had & that smile of his which so easily seemed to radiate his personality, you’d think he was an angel that had been sent in order to spiritually heal you from some terrible turmoil that an evil entity had tried to inflict on you with it’s haunting dark ways, using it’s tragic black magic.
“Hmm. I don’t know. I don’t really plan my weekends.” I said being honest while taking a bite of my sandwich as I felt my face, involuntarily, make a face of slight disgust from the tuna flavor which I honestly could not savor and enjoy in the way that Salem could have. Cigarettes and now this? Salem’s taste was quite interesting and bold to say the least; it was an acquired taste for sure. What’s he gonna say next, that, he likes licorice flavored jelly beans, too? I wouldn’t be surprised if they were his favorite to be honest.
“Oh. Yeah. Me neither… Heh. Well, I don’t know. There’s like… this roller rink that I go to. Uhm. You know?” he paused. “…I usually go with my friends. But, they can’t go this weekend. Do you maybe wana come with me?” He stopped, again, & stared at my food for a moment in thought. “It’s really nice & fun. Yeah, they have an arcade and they play this really cool music on Thursdays and Fridays. Oh! And, they have good curly fries…” He trailed off. He took another bite of his pizza that you could tell was over cooked from the slightly purple edges of the sauce being fried from dry lamp heat due to the school’s less than average quality of food preparation & the lack of attention to detail of their cuisine on the lunch aids’ behalf, not, like he even cared or anything.
Now, I could have easily turned him down in the same way that I always turned down anyone in this school when they even remotely tried to talk with me or befriend me. I could have put my shields back up. I could have blown him away with my gusts of wind that I had which circled around me that acted as a shield and barrier in order to barricade and protect me from the social circles that made up the school’s student body. I never did it in a bad way, mind you. I simply never wanted to have anyone else interfere with my mindset and sensitive, secret reminiscing thoughts of my old home town which I had been living inside of, only half a year prior. However, he looked so… JOYFUL. How could I say no? He was sincere, after all, from what I could tell. Also, hearing the words “roller rink” reminded me of my current significant other and how I knew that he had told me that he enjoyed ice skating and liked to play hockey and even aspired to play professionally when he grew up. I imagined and fantasized, briefly, about us maybe going together. Maybe, he’d like to go. Why not? I’m allowed to have some fun just like everyone else. Right? I mean, he’s already proven to me that I can sort of trust him out in public. I mean, SORT of. Sort of… I hope.
“Oh, uh. Well, okay. Heh. Sure where-” I was trying to ask him where the rink was located in our town. I had never been there, before, or even knew that there was one in our area to begin with.
“OH! Yeah uhm…” He started, then, stopped and responded. “Okay. Cool.”
Five days had passed since I first sat with my Math class classmate in our school’s lunch room and I was at Salem’s front door. The repairs that his father needed to have done to it’s frame were completed and I was able to use it for the very first time. Could you blame me? Could you blame me for wanting to see Salem? He hadn’t been to school all week. It didn’t just concern me or worry me; it made me curious. I couldn’t help, but, wonder why he wasn’t in school.
Salem wasn’t the type to just disappear on me. At least, not that I knew at that point. We always texted each other before bed. It was one of the things about him that always made me smile. It was a constant reminder that no matter what I thought or felt about him, he liked me; he cared about me. No matter how rough & tough he may have seemed or acted, he had a soft spot for me.
But, I hadn’t received any messages form him and, being that it was already Friday afternoon, I decided to divert my usual walk home & pay their family a visit at their home. I wanted to go into Nelly’s and see if he had been working or ask his family if they had seen him during the course of that week. But, for some strange reason, I felt awkward to do so. I felt as though they’d see right through me and know of the secret life and hidden and forbidden unique relationship that we shared with one another. It concerned me to even think about it. I was worried they’d find it odd. In my brain, I didn’t want them to think that I was desperate.
“Heyy.” Sarah opened the door. She looked at the street behind me as blank thoughts filled her eyes. Something was a bit off with her visage. She always greets me with a smile.
“Hey. Uhm. Sorry, Sarah. I-I was just kind of wondering where Salem has been. He hasn’t been at school and he-“ I paused. She looked a bit concerned to say the least. I couldn’t just see it on her face. It was as if her soul radiated to me the exhaustion that her and her father felt from having to deal with the extra baggage that having her younger brother in a household naturally carried.
She sighed. “Salem’s…. Salem’s at the doctor’s right now. He’s with our dad. He’s, uhm. He’s sick.” She stated in a low voice. I sort of paused. Salem? Sick? Salem’s sick? I couldn’t imagine someone like Salem being a normal human being and blowing his nose into a box of tissues with a red nose. It just seemed so comical to me. I almost wanted to not believe it. It was as if someone had told you that the Terminator was sick. It just made you want to say- “That’s impossible. He’s a machine.”
“Oh. Oh, okay. What’s he have? Is he okay?” I asked a bit concerned. Whatever he had, it must have been bad enough that he could not even text me. Unless, he was under some type of another punishment, which if what I had been told of him being ill was true, I doubt he would have had any energy to act out in a negative way, whatsoever, anyway. So, it couldn’t have been that.
“Uhm. Yeah, he’s okay. If you want, you can come in. I just made some lasagna for when they get back. He really won’t eat any of that, though…” She trailed off. He wouldn’t eat any lasagna? I thought that was a bit strange. But, then again, Salem is strange. Also, seeing the soft and concerned look on her face, I decided not to ask about that. “No. That’s okay. I should probably head home. My mom will be there and we only get about two nights a week to have dinner with each other, besides the weekends.” I responded, being polite.
“Okay. She’s really great, Johnny. She seems like such cool mom. You’re lucky to have parents who care about you so much. You know? Not everyone has that.” She said.
My spine felt a chill as thoughts of the other individual who was responsible for bringing me into this world crept into my mind. I never told Sarah about my father abandoning us, whatsoever. Why would I? It was all still too new, fresh, and fragile for me to even admit those words out loud to myself, much less, admit them to anyone else. I always lied to her about it since the day that I very first met her when I bought my orange soda and saw her sweet smile when she handed it to me. We were inseparable ever since. I’ll tell her one day. She deserves, at least, that.
The following Monday morning as I was walking away from the schooI grounds and only a few days had yet to pass until Christmas would be arriving, I passed by an old fire hydrant which I was so used to passing everyday, I saw Salem already waiting for me right next to it as he began to walk with me. He looked…. different. He looked pale. I couldn’t explain it, but, he seemed tired. He looked exhausted. His lips looked greyish and had lost their color. They were almost blue if you stared at them in dim lighting. All I got in response to him being absent from school the week prior was a mere- “Hey…. Let’s go.” As he casually led the way.
We walked to his home and didn’t say a word to one another. I hate these periods of silence between us. I just heard him huff and puff as he tried to keep up with me. Did Salem have, like… asthma or something? I was eyeing from my prefferal vision and saw him look with that same determined face that he had when he and I were walking away from his house that one time when he slammed the door and just stared menacingly at the sky in from of him. Only, this time, his look of determination was mixed with a look of suffering and slight pain as he fought the ability to walk. My god. What did he have? Was he okay? I really wanted to ask with all of my heart if he was okay and what was wrong with him. I wanted to. But, I was smarter than that.
I still always felt a slight pinch of fear in my stomach for wanting to change the subject to something that I wasn’t sure would issue a bad response from him or not. Yes. I walked on eggshells. I always did, whether, I realized and wanted to admit it or not. I guess, everyone who knew him did. It was like a ticking bomb. Salem was like a dormant volcano that I never knew when would erupt. I was careful. I had to be. He’s already shown me the dire consequences if I wasn’t.
When we were in 7-11 and I was purchasing some chips and Pringles for myself, I asked him what he wanted to eat. He looked blankly at the food and stared at it almost in a hypnotic way and said “I’m not hungry.”
Okayyyyy. I decided to just pay for my stuff and we went to his house. I guess he still wasn’t feeling well from whatever sickness he had, so, I decided not to bother him & paid for my snacks.
He closed his bedroom door after we arrived at his house and he immediately lunged at me and kissed me. He was so hungry. He was massaging my hips and sides really roughly. It actually began to hurt a bit from the slightly sweaty palms on his hands.
“UGHH… Sigh…Johnny. I-I need you. Sigh…. I missed you. I need you so bad baby. Ki- Kiss me. UGH. Kiss my neck. I- I like it.” He moaned as he frenched kissed me and pulled away.
It was a bit strange the way he was acting. But, maybe he just missed me from not having seen me for over a week, I supposed. I just kissed his neck, softly, despite the odd request. I regretted it.
OWW!!!! He scratched my arms. I pulled away. He paused. He just…. Looked at me with this with his head down. Then, slowly, a slick grin curved on his lip.
No. I’ve seen that before. That- that wasn’t Salem. Remember that “dark” persona that came out that time when he threw his shoes at me that I got a terrifying glimpse of? Remember that person that came out to talk whenever he was extremely upset. That was it. He was looking at me and I didn’t like it. I didn’t like it at ALL. It felt like I was looking at Lucifer, the Fallen angel, himself.
He grabbed my face just like how he did the first time that he hungrily kissed me. He sensually french kissed me and FORCED his tounge inside of my mouth.
EWWW. He was like being all rough. This felt weird and just… wrong. I couldn’t explain it. But, I felt like a rapist was kissing me right after taking their last victim just 5 minutes ago and the essence of their victim was still on and flavored their own tongue. It was disgusting. I didn’t know why I felt that. But, I did. He felt so cold and old. I couldn’t explain it. But, I felt like I wasn’t kissing a human. It felt like I was kissing… a skeleton.
I got a chill rush threw my spine as my eyes opened to see him and his eyes were staring RIGHT at me. I got goosebumps all over my body and arms as his arms chillingly met my own and it felt like a demon was holding me and could see through my life’s past and somehow knew all of my own secrets and insecurities through the windows of my own eyes.
I tried to push him away and, finally, did, only because he had been so physically weak.
In a low voice he giggled said softly, “…ssssscratch me.”
“What?” I said a little freaked out by this random unusual request.
“No. That’s, that’s weird. I don’t Wana hurt you…” I said softly.
He looked back up at me. “Come on. I like it. It’s Ugh. GOD. It’s about time we had some fun. I Wana play around.” Uhmmm.
“Here. I…I’ve been wanting for us to do this. I’ve been working real hard to make sure it’s perfect for you, okay? I want it to be good for you. I wana be good for you.”
He went to his bag and pulled out some lube, pieces of metal, a bicycle chain, a screw driver and….. what looked like dollar store toy handcuffs.
I just sort of stared at the items that were on his bed. Uhh. What’s all this for? He was breathing really hard as though he had been a chain smoker for the past ten years. He looked and seemed exhausted. He took his hoodie off and my throat tied in a knot again.
My god. Was…. Was Salem like… even eating anything? He looked so much skinnier and frail than before. His ribs were popping out of his skin even more than I had ever seen. He looked like a fish who had been left underwater. I was more than shocked. I was scared. I was scared because I could tell that he wasn’t taking care of himself.
I realized everything. I knew it. I’m not dumb. I have read about those types of people before. Salem wasn’t eating. But, I didn’t know why. Was he like… an anorexic? I didn’t hesitate to ask him as he grinned at me. “Salem are you eating?” I asked him, loudly. I didn’t CARE if anyone heard. This isn’t a joke. This is not a game. Or, maybe it was.
“…. SHHHHHH. Our secret, bro. Okay? Hehehe.” He’s crazy! He giggled this disgustingly evil giggle; you would have thought he was playing some evil vampire on some school play. I didn’t know what to say. I tried to respond but he interrupted.
“Salem why aren’t you eating anything? Did… did you EAT this week?!” I said.
“Listen. Its my job to make you feel good. I gotta look good for you. I always do…”
Jesus Mary & Joseph. Did he do this on a regular basis or something? Did he do this at home? Was he FORCED to starve himself in order to “satisfy” his clients?
I remember shaking my head, subtly to myself as I stared at him thinking “Now, this is just going too far.” It was horrifying to me that he would do this to himself. It was horrifying to me that he would practically mutilate his own body in order to make money and please his selfish “customers”.
This is gross. I don’t want that from him. And, what’s all this stuff? What the hell did these people force him to do? What exactly did they teach him? This was really creeping me out and I debated or not whether to even get the police involved. I started to panic. I- I don’t wana do any of this weird and …kinky BDSM stuff that he was so used to doing when no one was looking; I didn’t like that stuff! EWW. No way.
He lunged forward at me and tried to take off my shirt as he licked my ear. I put my hands on his hips to hold him. Oh my God. His body was so tiny and frail feeling. He felt like a Sea Horse. No muscle, anymore. No fat. Nothing. It was so heart clenching. I wanted to hug him and tell him to stop this and it was okay to eat something and enjoy his life…. But, at that moment I realized, I don’t even think Salem even knew HOW to enjoy his life. Salem-Salem was a slave. He was a slave to his own mind and past and couldn’t break free. I pushed him away.
“Salem… look. I’m not one of those people. I don’t like this. I I don’t feel comfortable, please.”
“SHUTUP.” He actually pushed me and I almost fell! HEY!
“DON’t PUSH me.” I said angrily.
He walked over to his window and stared outside.
“And, what’s all this stuff??” I asked him curious and loudly.
He creepily glared out the window in thought and grinned slowly as he took his hand and massaged the glass in a seductive manor. Ew. What’s wrong with this kid? He’s so weird. No offense.
He massaged the window in a circle as he carressed it with his palm. “Salem.” I interrupted the silence. “You shouldn’t have to do things that you don’t want to do with people. You-“
“What Are yOu tALkinG aBouT?” He said in a crazy demon sounding voice of his own pubescent voice.
Then, he paused. He continued to seductively massage the window as though it was his lover that he was about to make love to as he smiled to himself.
“Maybe- Maybe I like it…” What the Fu**?
He continued his weird show of affection for the window and then broke the silence.
“It’s your turn.” He said.
“What?” I responded.
“It’s your turn.” He repeated.
He slowly turned his head to look at me with a bone chilling stare, not once removing his hand from the glass as he stood in a seductive manor. “It’s your turn to hurt me…”
I felt like ice. I felt like a dead hawk in the dessert sand. I I froze. What the heck did he want to do with me? Or even worse, what the heck did he want me to do to him? What did he do before? Did I even wana know? It felt like I was staring at a spirit who had already passed away. Salem was dead. It was as if Salem had already died, generations ago, and I was looking at the skin & bones that had been left of his remains that were lying inside of his burial coffin.
Did I even wana know what kind of taboo & unusual thoughts were swirling around in his mind that he was having at the moment? No. NO. I DIDN’T. NO, thanks.
I couldn’t take this anymore. I was done. I felt violated. I felt like I was about to be raped. I felt like all of those people he has done things with were all spiritually glaring at me through his very own eyes and smiling as he said that and were all using his body to speak for them what they wished to say to me.
I couldn’t, anymore.
I left his room. I ran down the stairs and just wanted to leave. I couldn’t deal with Salem or his life, anymore. It was just too much, too real, & too deep for me to swim in his Black Waters, any longer without the risk of me possibly drowning in them, myself, as I struggled to stay above the surface as I gasped to breathe & struggled to stay alive. Everything Salem brought to the table was way more than I had ever bargained for or would have ever expected.
“Hey, Johnny. You-“ Sarah said from the kitchen table as she looked up from her notebook from doing her homework with her laptop opened, playing some calming chill vibe music in the background. But, I subconsciously ignored her happy greeting as I just darted out of their side door. I slammed it just like Salem did that one time. Only, this time, ‘it was my turn.’