Content Warning: Sexual Situations, Alcohol, Drugs
The binging starts on the day of her funeral. By which I mean I take my drinking to a bar, well, bars. I want to say goodbye, pay my respects, but how can I? Lily is dead because of me. No, worse, she died at my hand. Maybe it wasn’t me in control, but it was me that did the deed. I killed her. I murdered the love of my life in cold blood. It is all my fault.
I made it so close to the church on the day Lily’s body was put into the ground. I’d actually trimmed my beard back to a respectable length, washed, and put on a suit. But I couldn’t go through with it. My feet just ran out of forward motion a few streets away.
I’d stopped in my tracks and gotten sworn at by some commuter, a twat who didn’t take kindly to having to weave around me. He’d yelled because I was frozen with uncertainty. Can you imagine that? He was angry because I didn’t know what the right thing to do was. I wanted to see her one more time, so, so desperately. To be there and be close to her.
I wanted my proximity to communicate how sorry I was. Yes, I’d had the unspoken conversation with her over and over again in my head, but I felt like I actually needed to be in the same room as her once again. It oddly made me feel like she might hear me, forgive me. Yet, I didn’t know if it was okay. Should a killer attend the funeral of the person they murdered? Was it really the done thing?
It’s the sort of situation that’s beyond my understanding. I’m not a killer. It can happen, sometimes, in my line of work, but I don’t seek it out. And if it is required, I don’t get my hands dirty. I’m not like some other gods. I’m not into death, vengeance, and frolicking in despair. I take money, property, favours, not life. Okay, there are exceptions, and I may have gone too far recently, but it’s usually for a valid reason, a purpose. I never inflict harm on the ones I love.
One I loved.
I never meant to hurt her. I wanted her with me, not for her head to be cut off. This was the last thing I ever wanted. I would never have wished it for her. We were meant to grow old together. Or at least I was going to pretend to.
My chest has a hole where my heart used to be. I don’t imagine I will ever quite get over this, and I will never be the same again. That was why I couldn’t go to the funeral. I just couldn’t do it. I shouldn’t get to say goodbye. There was to be no crying at her coffin side. No one placing a hand on my shoulder, reassuring me it wasn’t what she wanted. She didn’t want to be dead. Yet she was and it was my fault, my doing. I took away her life, and I couldn’t cope with it.
So I drink like there is no tomorrow because to me, there isn’t. Once the horrible severed head of my lover is out of my flat, thanks to a couple of my contacts, I hit the alcohol hard. My once well-stocked reserve is quickly decimated. It is easier without the voices rattling round my head. I don’t have to deal with the taunting they would have unleashed on me. To be fair, though, it isn’t needed. I do it to myself. I continue to berate myself while I stand on that street, knowing I shouldn’t go to the funeral but wanting so desperately to see her, even if it is in a wooden box.
But I can’t.
A few hours after the funeral actually happened, or maybe it is the day after—I lose track a bit—I hit a bar. It is nothing special, just the closest. I have one, two, a third, drowning my sorrows. Of course, misery loves company, and I quickly recruit people to my pity party. I buy round after round, gaining new friends with every drink and laughing it up. I forget my troubles, the reason I hate myself. I drown the remorse and sorrow out with cheap booze and some simple companionship. A back to clap, someone to share a tale with.
When that establishment tires of us, or closes, or both, maybe, we move on. We gather momentum, taking on more people. Some leave, but who cares for the lightweights? Not me. I party with whoever will hold a glass. I drink, play games, sing songs. Basically, I do anything other than go home and be alone. I cannot face myself.
As the number of partygoers grows, so too do the things I do to cope. Alcohol turns to gambling and gambling to drugs. From there, it isn’t far to illegal bare-knuckle fights, strip clubs, and prostitutes. I follow the crowd, doing what they want. I do whatever it takes to keep people around because I can’t stand to spend any more time thinking about her and how much I have lost. I was meant to walk off into the sunset with the love of my life. Instead, I am snorting cocaine out of some hooker’s bum-hole, and I can’t stop. I become addicted to doing whatever I can to keep myself occupied. I just can’t let the misery back in.
Then it happens.
We are in some seedy part of town. I promise sex for everyone, with all. The orgy is a sticky, sweaty pile of writhing bodies, with me at the centre. I do filthy things and have worse done to me. My body feels empty, spent. My mind is still distracted, just about keeping the guilt at bay. Someone suggests moving on somewhere classier, where the prostitutes don’t have quite so many scars. The proposal is met with an agreeable chorus from the intoxicated crowd around me, and I obviously agree. To me, it doesn’t matter. I just need to keep my mind focused on other things and avoid my real feelings.
The dirty little manager is suddenly at my side. She was hospitable when we arrived, nothing was too much trouble. Now, some hours, or maybe days later, she has a very different expression on her badly made-up face. Like someone who doesn’t want to invite you to their birthday party but had, and now they want their present. She presents the bill, which is less like a receipt than a tomb that would have rivalled the Magna Carta. It doesn’t bother me. I can afford it. Or so I think.
My first card is declined, and then the others too. I try different pin numbers, mental prompts, but nothing works. I can’t settle my debt. Which isn’t a problem as far as I am concerned. I am the God of Trickery. The Great Trickster. There’s no situation I cannot talk myself out of. No scam I can’t pull. Slipping past a bill won’t even see me get out of first gear. I can do it in my sleep. I open my mouth but suddenly find myself bereft of words. I’m not just talking about struggling to put together a lie. I am simply at a loss for what to do. My mind goes blank, and as I struggle to know what to say, it occurs to me that I don’t even have it in me to liberate candy from a baby. I have become devoid of something that is so essential to me. I no longer know how to trick others.
In a pure panic, with the increasingly angry glare of the horrible little manager bearing down on me, I look for my friends, the ones I’d partied with for so long, done so much with. But there is no sign of them. They have disappeared as if into thin air. I am alone and in trouble. It is with some delight that my awkward little host tells me she’ll settle the situation with my watch. The bill is high but not a touch on the cost of the timepiece. Yet I hawk it to get myself out of trouble.
I leave in despair. My head hangs low, an emptiness consuming the pit of my stomach. Not only have I become a killer, but I am also no longer the person I was before all this happened. I can’t do what I had been born to, what had come so naturally to me all my immortal life. I have lost my very essence, my purpose. I am a washed-up god with no powers. The Great Nothing. A failure. And I don’t know how to fix myself.