Social acceptance. This was it. He was being accepted socially. His clothes toed the fine line between unbelievable white trash and would-be trendsetter, effortlessly invisible. He had practiced walking too. No longer did he walk with the gait of someone with a hole worn in their favourite shoes. As for the blisters on the ball of his right foot, if he paid them no attention and walked normally, they would soon be trodden out in these new shoes. These were new shoes, anonymous in their sheer bland stylishness. He had put springs in the heels, to make sure.

The trousers concealing his mottled, misshapen legs were no longer worn jeans with wear marks at the thighs and heels, but smoothly-ironed out chinos with plastic from the price tag still poking out from the waistband. The faded saggy hoodie had been burned in the back yard last night too, in its place a smart casual shirt buttoned up to the top, covering a bleached white vest. He’d had all his hair clipped off, down to a tasteful number four, applying a careful amount of styling wax to the remaining tuft creeping across his forehead.

The nail gun was an oddly graceful instrument when it was in his hands. The smile he’d etched across his face was a masterfully crafted work of art. The edges stretched until they ran parallel with the pupils of his eyes, they ignored the occasional spasms in his left cheek that an awkwardly applied dental painkiller had brought about some years before. His skin had the bright glow of an oil fire. The heat had drawn all the grease and anxiety from his pores, giving him a pristine mask covering his skull.

It would have brought a tear to his eye had he not spent three tricky hours last night in his basement with a syringe full of organic super glue, sealing the wet corners of his eyes shut.

He strode into the lecture hall to shake hands with a clump of the people who voiced their silent approval of this wondrous transformation but his hand passed through each of theirs. Disbelievingly he held up the offending appendage to see, and noticed the peering, judging eyes of the masses through the palm of his hand. A searing numbness started from his hand and tore through the rest of his being, pulsing along his veins and ripping through his flesh. He tried to scream, but he was already fading from existence. His vocal chords unravelled around him like red string and cut his throat to ribbons, the void opened up around him and washed over his face.

As the last of him blinked for the last time in this world he was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.


Credit to Ruari Quinn. All rights reserved.

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