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My latest in the Luminous Creatures’ flash contest, the last of the winter season for them. 500 word limit, the above photo and an optional preference to include an element of magic.

The brickwork overflowed with the seepage of men that tread across its surface. Their sins; their madness drizzled like runoff from their normal human functioning into its crevices, to which Charlie now lapped from. His dried tongue with open sores swirled inside the crevices trying to procure the remnants of the ooze.

It was to no avail and Charlie knew that. Even when his tongue slurped up the ooze of a man that had mere hours before ravaged the throat of an ex-lover with the claw side of a hammer, Charlie knew the ooze would pass through him, avoiding his innards and return back to the brickwork.

In frustration typical of his inability to gain the ooze, Charlie grabbed a loose brick from the ground, some residual ooze on it still, and heaved it as hard as he could against the skull of a businessman hurrying to the deli around the block.

The brick tore through the air and then stopped within mere inches of the man’s temple; then dropped lazily to the ground, as if now bored of its intended goal. The businessman saw nothing of this act.

Charlie wailed and ran to the businessman, still oblivious of him and tried to swing his left fist at the man’s temple. He knew this futile and it was. His own fist stopped inches before the man’s head and dropped to his side, deflated of its power.

Tears streamed down Charlie’s face.

“Never…never should have,” Charlie wailed.

He fingered a photo out of his pocket displaying a month-old baby boy with already a fiery mound of red hair coating his nascent head.

Today, on the day Charlie once more took to the city and its sin to lap from the ooze of man, Jasper would have been two. He would’ve been stumbling into table legs with his wobbly upright body, muttering words, mostly gibberish still, and Charlie tried to imagine just how vibrant and alive his hair would’ve been.

But he couldn’t. He couldn’t because he killed Jasper. Melted the infant’s barely developed insides in the back of his newly-acquired Volkswagen Golf, which the men at the pub kept egging him on to buy, even though it wasn’t his style.

Jasper had been forgotten on a particularly odd scorcher for London while Charlie hammered out business deals for skyscrapers in Beijing.

To the shaman he found in the underbelly of the city’s shadows, he begged her to never let him hurt another human again.

So, she extended her benevolent magic to him at a time when he craved it. Even more, she opened his eyes to the malice that men carried with them in the cities; the ooze.

But Charlie still had the thoughts of man. Even with Jasper’s image burning a hole in his pocket, Charlie wanted to lash out.

“I don’t deserve this,” Charlie wailed to nobody.

Worst of all, he couldn’t even harm himself, to rip at his flesh; the one most deserving of his blood lust.

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