by aaron laroche
He can't be much older than 16. Sandy blonde and lanky. He looks like a wounded bird. The boy is staring at the lake again.
I've watched him from the expanse of the woods for months now. Not breathing, not moving, just staring.
As a spirit the only way I can experience tactile life is to inhabit a body. My old vessel is failing me and it is time to change. This boy will be my new home.
The molting is the worst part. Once again I become nothing. In shreds, my old host unravels, I feel the bones loosen from their sockets. I forgot how freeing it can be to only have the company of air. For a second I entertain staying this way and just floating for a few years.
I know I'd never get a chance like this again. The last host put up a fight. One that nearly cost me my after-life. This boy is not a fighter. I can tell.
On his next inhale I enter. It’s smooth; his muscles don't even contract. My new home is cold. I go to move but am transfixed. An empty feeling permeates me.
Suddenly the things I had planned seem pointless. The mauling, the mayhem, the buffets. Nothing excites. All I can think about is closing my eyes under the cool water as the lake pulls me under.
Before I know it, I'm in. The water enters my new lips.
Fuck. I should have known.
This asshole is depressed.
"Make it look more like he fought."
My supervisor hands me the rod, and I start adjusting the body properly. It's still night so there is more than enough time to make the scene look right.
I'd joined the America First Coalition hoping to get my candidate, Tracey Pence, my own personal Corey Stewart, in as mayor. Anything to get this country back to its former glory.
"You’re black, Marcus, why don't you form his hand into some sort of gang sign"
It didn't take me long to notice I was the only black volunteer in the coalition but it didn't bother me. I'd been around groups that didn't want me before. My family included. They always said I had my head up my ass. That all these politicians don't even think I’m a person, let alone a colleague.
Virginia is hot and stuffy, and I'm sweating. Just thinking about what grandma would think if she were alive to see me now. This kid can't be much older than 13. I'd watched my boss shoot him twenty minutes ago.
We're trying to make people afraid. We're trying to remind them how dangerous the world really is. That's what the supervisor says anyway.
I'd always been afraid of the world. Why shouldn't everybody else?
"We need another criminal to make it look right." the cop says.
He creeps me out. Hasn't said anything the whole time. He's just here to write the report and take the picture for the paper. I swear I saw a smile as the kid hit the ground.
The plan is to make it look like two rival gangs are tearing up the community. When really it's been us. We find some nobodies to pin it on, and then push our guy as the hero who will make sure everyone sleeps safe at night. We just need to find one other...
I'm on the ground. My heads inches away from the kids. I feel the blood pooling. We promised the kid food to get him in the warehouse. They promised me I'd finally have a place in this country. I guess we both got lied to.
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