Challenge, Day 1, Chapter 1

Our Friend Mr. Brewding: Masked

Chapter 1


“…victim found dead in his apartment.  Blood analysis suggests he was highly intoxicated, but alcohol poisoning does not appear to be the cause of death.  Police are suspecting murder, but there are no leads at this time.  Mr. Whit was a repeat…”


I turned over in my bed, calmly.  I was wide awake now.  The “nightmare” only started out in fragmented parts, not always frequent, sometimes only occurring once a month.  This week, however, I’d been having it every night, and it was no longer in pieces.  Now the dream was much more coherent, and I began to understand it.  I was no longer afraid.  I saw it for what it was.  Destiny.

Dying is a funny thing.  It’s an even funnier thing when you were supposed to have died, but due to some weird cosmic event, things don’t turn out quite…right, and you’re still alive.  At least I was now convinced this was definitely something cosmic.  A divine intervention or something.  Call it what you want.  Fact is, I should’ve died that night.  I would’ve died if I were in the car.  I was supposed to be in the car.  I wasn’t.  She told me to stay home.

I was saved.  She wasn’t.

I was told that it was just a freak accident.  That these things just…happen.  The only solace even a priest could offer was just God has a plan for everyone.  I’m not exactly the religious type, but assuming that’s true, why did he plan for me to stay instead of going with her?  My life couldn’t possibly be that important.  I know it isn’t.  It certainly isn’t part of some grand plan either, and if it is, I think God just messed up this time around.  This time, things must’ve not gone according to plan.  I should’ve been there.  I should be dead.

But I’m not.  I spent a few years waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Waiting for death to catch up with me.  It never came.  I didn’t exactly go looking for it either.  I’m not insane.  I’ve always been particularly cautious, and dangerous things, well, frighten me, so I didn’t try and die, or find death, or whatever.  I just expected it to find me.

…A gnarled mask of plastic peace

tells its own story

two feet further from the scene;

it isn’t Halloween….

I saw my own decapitated head in my dream last night.  Death’s finally coming.


I must’ve just missed him.  I’ve been tailing this guy for weeks.  Always just one step behind.  I make it to each scene just in time to watch the police clean his mess up, while I perch on a building out of sight.  Way out of sight.  I didn’t want them to know I was working this case also.  I had some friends in the department, true.  But the commissioner can’t get me out of every gray area of the law.  Vigilantism is very…gray, but some pretend like they don’t know what I’m doing.  That’s okay.  I never much liked that color anyways.  I’ve always preferred black. 

I already heard the rumors that begin spreading when crime happens here.  Being a knight of darkness doesn’t have a whole lot of perks, and when bad things happen, the people who don’t approve of what you’re doing try and blame you.  Make you the scapegoat.  I’ve done many things in accordance with my own morals that others have deemed immoral or unethical.  I’ve never killed anyone though. 



“…offender with multiple DUI’s.  With crime rates at an all-time high, and many prisons and jail cells full, Mr. Whit had been let off with warnings and fines, instead of serving time in an over-crowded penitentiary.  Mr. Whit died with no family to survive him and will be buried this Friday.”


I was upset.
Lots of people in the room.
I left.
That smell in the air.
I’m sure it was on her breath.
Bad memories.
Wrong memories.

I should have been there—
In the passenger seat.
I wasn’t—I’m here.
Someone special
Should be here
But isn’t—she was there.

I was upset.
I left.
I didn’t think.
I punched the wall.
It left a dent.
Dents are left when
You don’t think.
Big dents.
Like the one in her car.

Fall 2009


 I. “New Year’s Eve”

Time flies

Before we realize

Not much time passed at all

We keep climbing up

The ladder just to fall

We’re not where we

Wanted to be, no, not at all

We’re high or we’re low

            or between

                        —Drop the damn ball—

It’s the first of our last

Days coming to a crawl

We drink and we drink

To cure all


It’s useless

We realize so we’ll make


To stop it, quit it

            but quitting’s

                         a delusion

Cause we’re hooked or trapped

            —Whatever you call the illusion—

And the last of the last

Comes, but how will you spend it?

Staring down an empty bottle

            or the barrel of a gun

                        —Yeah, you blew it—

Either way

            you wasted away

            this blessing


Treating life

            like a party

Yeah, you were


 At least you had fun

            driving all


You had fun, you had fun

Yeah, we’ve reached that


II. “Christmas Eve”

What’s this

            I hear about you

                        serving a life sentence?

That’s right

            it’s just ten years

                        not enough for resentment

And it doesn’t matter

                        if you meant it

The court of law

            may be about motive

                        or intentions

But not life

            no, life’s about guilt

            and guilt’s about


Which we all know

            really means

                        life lessons

We learn

            or burn

            —Crash and burn—

In one

            and out one


Like the life

            you’re messing with when

            you’re out

                        Out on the town

            that night in May

                                    Maybe you remember

Of course I remember

Like it was

My first Christmas

            in December

I couldn’t sleep

A wink from

            anxiety and

            the way it tempered

My mind for


            I’d soon hear

            though my heart

            would take

            years, years, and years

            to become so weathered


            all cold

            all severed


            from that night

             you delivered


            I can’t forget.

I wish

            you’d never…

That night

My family lost

                                    One member.