The Blood – Ben Crowley

  1. No one can stop The Blood.
  2. No one can know whether The Blood is good or bad.

The Blood wears a long red cape, so long it is like a power line snapped and hanging down to the ground. What is the process of The Blood?

To start, The Blood finds an unlocked door. He comes into your home. He learns the contents of your cabinets, the pills you need to take. He learns how your body works. He tries on your pants and your socks. He takes what he can get. He brings your things back to his black palace of darkness.

The black palace is a tall hill of stone and high color-stained glass depicting many strange knights with rare animals in unforseen states of life. For instance, the tale of one Salzburgian knight of silvery beard and moor-colored eyes who, kneeling in the gore of a stag slain for his love-ailing wife, was distracted a moment by a four-leafed clover, which he plucked, and hid away in his belt. It is inside the black palace, where the black candles burn, where The Blood blots the wine from his blackened red mouth, where The Blood draws his black curtains and pours in black darkness through black shelves of black books of red text on black pages.

The Blood wears a red suit, a red cape, red gloves, a red mask. Nightly he sits in his black bath which he does not fill with water, but let’s fill with blood.

There was once a little girl The Blood saved on a fire escape in The Dumps of New York.

She was waiting for the end of parents’ argument, which filled the apartment with a million broken bits which were hard to not touch.

She waited on her fire escape, as she had split her finger open and was holding it as hard as she could. She recalled what little poetry she could as distraction: “Then naked and white, all their bags left behind, they rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind. And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy, he’d have God for his father and never want joy.”

The Blood loped up the fire escape and appeared. “Do you believe that crime exists?” he said.

“Yes,” she said.

“And do you pray that we will one day live in a world where one day no crime will exist?”

“I pray it,” she said.

He ducked under the low bars of the fire escape and took her hands up in his. They were full of dried blood and fresh red and now, with no pressure, watery rivulets wrapped her palms like silk ribbons. He kissed the bloody palms of her hands.

It was only up close that the victim of crime saw The Blood standing still, and that his eyes could be seen under The Blood’s red satin mask. They were hideous eyes. To the little girl, like a doll come to life–but she could not take her hands away.

Four stories below in the dark, wretched alley, a pair of forty-five year old teenagers plunged the heroin in. Three interested cats slunk around their bare ankles, two of them black, and one of them gray.

The girl watched The Blood’s mouth. The way his teeth were all pointed, his mouth like a leech, or the long piano keys of the carnival clown. When The Blood withdrew his dark mouth–how horrible, how endless–she wrenched back her healed hands. She turned them over. She looked for the wounds.

“Why are you super?” she said, as frightened as ever.

“If I were not super,” said The Blood. “I would be only a hideous monster.”

The Blood flew into the night.

If ever you find yourself with a little scrape, a little cut, or little wound, The Blood will find a way through your window.

Ben Crowley is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is happy to get back to writing because he has already paid a kidney, three molars, a finger and a thumb to Deep Overstock and is weighing the value of his sensory organs. Ben used to sort books for the Amazon warehouse, in our beautiful backcountry of western Pittsburgh.

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