Axe prowls the old house at night, when children are in bed. His footsteps are light like powder. He takes inventory nightly, counting head after head after head. He can see them hiding, waiting, in the black dark of the den or kitchen. They sit on chairs. Some lie on the floor, but their heads and muscles alert. They feel his green eyes hot on their hairy faces. His shoulders move up and down in a sexy rhythm with every stride.
This is his house. It is where he stays. He keeps constant watch over his property and all the way to the end of Front St. He knows all those that live within the spray-stained walls. The neighbors hear the dozens of screaming voices with every passing moon, but they are too strung out or too evicted to notice. Axe never got used to the continuous howling.
Their number is multiplying every week. New ones in groups of five and six arrive wriggling and blind, eyes sealed, mouths gasping and gaping. A few of them will die within a few days or weeks, their carcasses left to rot and turn inside out. Bodies decay amongst countless piles of tissue and skull and maggots just like them.
Axe scratches where his ear used to be, digging at the pink scar tissue with unclipped nails. His stomach is hollow and infested with worms. His belly is distended, the worms slowly taking him over from within his guts. He no longer eats, leaving the scarce scaps to the new arrivals that survived. He is ready to die, but he will wander far from this house, far from these streets to escape his earth. He will not waste away to pulp in his house, exposed for the others to see. He will find a tall, tall building far from his home--his shit-filled home made of hair and stench. He will climb and climb and climb, his shoulders beating in his back like an exposed heart, until he reaches the top. Until he breathes thinner air. He will not look over the edge to the ground, only at the horizon he's never seen before.
Everyone will say he fell. Only he knows he jumps.
And he didn't land on his feet.