While jokes are made with the intent to be funny, not all are.

Split Lip

"Where's Sonya?"

"Dead."

It wasn't until this exchange that I realized the severity of the situation which I had dragged my friends into. Up until then, it had been a joke, something to do on a boring Sunday afternoon because our booze-guy was held up in traffic and the aftermath of which we'd locked up in a box and put to rest. Even after getting the Object, nothing had changed. Well, not until then.

However, upon seeing my friend sprawled out on the bed, irreparably mauled and most certainly dead, did I understand just what I had gotten into. Sitting there looking at her organs which had been carelessly ripped out and were now hanging off the sides of her bed I felt like a fool for not knowing this would happen. I had no reason to be shocked, upon entering the house I could distinctly smell the blood, I should have anticipated this. From behind me, I could hear Rachael let out a whimper.

My mind raced, nothing normal could have done this. Something had to have followed us. It was at that point that my torrent of thoughts snapped to a halt. Something had followed us. Something more than likely knew where we were hiding our Object and was probably holding it in its greedy little hands right then and there. A worried knot formed in the pit of my stomach. I had to go. I had to go see if we still had it.

"Call someone," I breathed, passing Rachael in the hall, she had already begun to let out choking sobs. She called after me, though as I raced down the stairs I couldn't hear what she had said. I didn't have the time to stop to hear her, I had to move and I had to move fast.

The weather outside couldn't have been worse to run in. The rain splashed and splattered on the ground, and the wind howled. I cursed under my breath. The odds were against me, I wasn't dressed for this, I hadn't anticipated this. And despite how fast I pumped my arms or how hard my feet hit the pavement, my world still felt like it was moving in slow motion. Turning the corner my hair whipped my face and clung to the sides of my neck. Damn, I should have tied it up before I left the house.

Up ahead I could just barely make out the park where we'd kept it. In the distance, I could hear thunder despite the volume of my labored breaths as I forced myself to keep running. The incline of black tar that led down into the part was slippery, and I had to straighten out my posture to keep from falling forward. As the road evened out I noted that the bridge wasn't too far. Slowing to a halt I squinted into the distance. The lights in the park had all been shut off and I was left to rely on my blurred eyesight to try and find a possible enemy in the distance.

With my left hand, I wiped my eyes, leaving a mix of brown eyeshadow and liquid eyeliner on my knuckle. This helped, clearing out the water and pneumonia from my eyes I could make out movement beneath the bridge. As I saw the movement from under the bridge something primal in me urged me to run, to face whatever could be taking away what was so rightfully mine. Later I would reiterate this story to my friends and claim I was doing this to avenge my friend, and later I would acknowledge the truth that my actions weren't driven by such a noble force.

Huddled over a box where my friends and I kept all the things we weren't allowed to have in our house, such as packs of cigarettes and the like, I watched the figure. To my surprise, it looked human. Even over the wind and rain, I could hear it laughing to itself, running its fingers over something like it had just found some sort of treasure; my treasure.

Not thinking, I threw myself onto the stranger with a growl. My hands clawed at his face, and attempted to tear the Object out of his grip. The man-thing's laughter ceased and was replaced with grunts of annoyance. I was much too small and much too thin to send him flying to the ground as I intended. After recovering from the shock he spun around and threw his back to the wall next to him, crushing me in the process. With a loud gasp, the air escaped my lungs and I slid down as my knees buckled beneath me.

Grimy fingers grabbed the fabric of my dress and pulled me forward as a fist found its way to my face. I had turned my head just in time for him to miss my nose, however, his knuckles hit me dead in the mouth and smashed my lips against my teeth. Thankfully nothing broke but skin, and I could taste the blood accumulating in the crease between my teeth and lower lip. With that I was thrown to the ground, my head smashed against the dirty cement, and too shocked to scream, I simply hissed in pain as the man straddled me, his hands pushing down on my stomach causing his weight to make breathing hard. Coughing and choking out air, I couldn't help but wonder what an unattractive position I'd gotten myself into.

As long and sharp fingernails began to make their way through the fabric of my dress to get to my abdomen, my brain suddenly felt like it was in a head two sizes too small, the dull throbbing disabling me from proper thoughts. I let out an angry sob, hiccupped, and felt blood slide out of the side of my mouth. In jerky movements my hand searched for something, anything, to use as a weapon. While I couldn't see well, tears blinding my sight, I could tell that this man-creature had leaned in. I could smell a mixture of sweat, blood, and dirt as he laughed his hyena laugh into my ear.

"Did you see what I did to your friend?" he asked in a sharp voice. It was during this time that my fingers curled around something, but what? A brick? I couldn't be sure, I assumed it was. I hoped it was. I almost smiled as I wondered if he'd seen what I was about to do coming. If he had realized that he had made a mistake. Feeling his fingernails trailing down to my navel, with what I could guess was the intent to tear me open like he'd done to Sonya, I didn't hesitate to bring the supposed brick down on his head. While I still couldn't quite see well, I heard the thing come into contact with his head with a large crack of noise. The blow startled him and he let out a yelp as he raised up in pain, clutching the wound. This allowed me to slide out from under him, and once again I threw myself in his direction. This time I gripped his shoulder, and brought the brick down again on the opposite side.

This sent him to the ground, causing me to fall along with him. During the fall I'd smacked him again, and again, and again. Admittedly, the quantity of my hits was a bit excessive. However, I hadn't even stopped to think about what I was doing, I was simply just doing. Shaking, be it from the cold or from the events that had just transpired, I held the brick over my head and stared down at the body below me. His skull had been smashed in, and his face looked nothing like what I had just previously seen. No fat nose or crooked teeth, just a mass of flesh.

As I stood up I dropped the brick, and my hands went down to the hole in my dress. Though the thought was hardly appropriate for the time, I couldn't help but resent the fact that I'd never be able to wear it again. Not to mention I had put a bit of a hole in my wallet to get it. I wouldn't mention the thought when I relayed the story to Rachael and Nick though. I'd have left out my material concerns and replaced it with my remorse for my fallen friend.

Lumbering my now garbled wheezes out of a bloody mouth, I clutched the stolen Object in my hands. Like the dead thing a few feet away I laughed as I ran my hand over it. It was safe. I was the victor, and I still had my prize. Placing the thing into my purse I began my walk home, zipping up my jacket so as to hide the dirty hole which had been ripped in my dress.

- "Later I would reiterate this story to my friends and claim I was doing this to avenge her, and later I would acknowledge the truth that my actions weren't driven by such a noble force."