By Michael Valentine All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Horror


Part Road Novel, Part Psychological Horror, "Buzzed" is a genre-bending Coming-of-Age story about a young man's trip into the Las Vegas desert, where he begins a dark, emotional, thrilling and surrealistic journey that he might not recover, nor return, from.... If you enjoy the novel, please purchase the official, formatted e-book for 99 Cents on Amazon:

Chapter 1

In accordance with the wishes of the compiler of these contents herein, the publishers of this manuscript, along with the former, will remain anonymous. However, all nameless parties will mutually declare two essential statements regarding this work:

Fact 1) It is composed of the transcriptions of several hand-written notes from the person known as Dante; the text is compiled in a chronology that the publishers and compiler ascertain to be the original linear order, although the hand-written notes from which the transcriptions originate are all undated.

Fact 2) The location of Dante after his notes were found in a Las Vegas motel room, and several months later in a motel room in Blackduck, Minnesota, is still unknown to us, at this date of publication,

February, 2020

Nothing is grosser than seeing two mosquitoes fucking. It is a terrible interlocking of putrid limbs, like a sick conjoined twin born into sex, attached at their deformed amber genitals. It is more fumbling and awkward than any adolescent copulation has ever been since the beginning of civilization. In fact, mosquitoes are ancient. Jurassic Park taught me when I was a child that mosquitoes are over one hundred million-years-old, and recent research has informed me that there are more than three thousand different of these abominable species floating around this earth at any given time—innumerable billions of these airborne vampires, imbibing blood, barely able to fly straight inside their intoxication of flesh. Yet, they are one of the most successful parasites in history, laying up to three hundred eggs at one time—breeding in rank water, often times so stagnant that it is unmoved even by the wind: It has an advent in a decrepit barrel—in the unabsorbed water found in between rocks and the dirt; first taking to the air after incubating in the bathtub of some derelict house found in a bankrupt city.

Sometimes, I give up devices to my mind; I set the possibility for its very own free-thinking. In these moments, I can imagine an unseen breed of mosquito, monstrous in size, rising out of an aqueduct found underneath an immense castle, a long-lost temple: I see it expanding in primordial madness, bursting like modern movie special effects and staining a petrified tree trunk with the liquids of its many different hosts.

When I was about seven, I was watching my grandfather wash his truck. The day was hot, making it a perfect day for a “car-wash.” I suddenly noticed that on his leg a not-too-big, but very plump mosquito was feasting. I quickly ran over and slapped it.

“What the hell, Dante!?”

“There was a mosquito biting you,” I responded.

“Oh, shit. Well, thanks for getting it.” He looked down at his calf. Whatever body the bug once had was now disintegrated and all that was left was a large stain of the deepest red.

I remember another time, I was staying at summer camp. I met an older boy, (he was about thirteen, and I must have been around ten) a boy who I was constantly trying to impress since he was my senior campman. Although, I must say, I also had a deep feeling of something akin to superiority over the boy. I conceded to his dominance over me, nonetheless, because of how much larger he was than me—and also he would say such kind things about my character:

“Damn, you crazy!” and he’d be laughing after I did something outrageous.

“What does that mean?” and he’d concentrate his squinting brows, as if he was truly interested in my response.

His name was Danny. He was a bully to some, and a wooer to others. We liked some of the boys, bringing them into our little circle near the tents or by the campfire, and some boys we shunned, had things thrown at them, and occasionally we would fight them. However, the thrill of preteen violence aside, the major key to my fascination with Danny had to have been, without a doubt, his consistent and fluid interactions with girls.

One night he was going to sneak a couple of girls over to his tent after bed-call. He had told me that he would come and get me before the rendezvous. However, the next morning, when I awoke and I realized that I was still in my sleeping bag next to my tent, I asked him what happened:

“I tried to wake you up, dude. But you wouldn’t get up.”

“Fuck. What happened, though?”

“Dude, look at all these bites,” he took off his shirt and displayed dozens of red marks on his arms and torso. “Dude, there was a mosquito with us last night. I got bit the fuck up.”

“Did she? Like, get bit?”

“Yeah, I think so.” He stood there examining some of his bite marks.

“Fuck,” I exclaimed, looking at how many inflamed patches were in front of me, “but why didn’t you get the mosquito outtathere?”

“I don’t know,” he said, followed by a statement that has always stuck with me: “I couldn’t find it.”

“Fuck, dude. Well, what happened with her?”

“It was great, dude,” his face brightened, “we cuddled in my sleeping bag. It’s a double, dude, and she had one too—you could’ve used it with her friend.”

“Fuck,” I remember looking at the tents surrounding me. I had a glimpse: I was thinking of an up-close image of my arms around a girl, hugging her, my face in her hair, and suspended in the corner of the tent, as if in mid-air, a mosquito hovering with its wings motionless.

However, this story is not about mosquitoes, at least not for its beginning. They only come to my mind because it was summertime then, the air was hot, and every living creature was out looking for water, feeling lustful, trying to escape the uncomfortable warming of this globe through sex and procreation. These were the ghastly summer months—the perfect scenery for mosquito pornography. Which got me thinking: Humankind, coming from bacterial origins and evolving into a type of parasite not dissimilar to the mosquito—it doesn’t surprise me that most of my friends were born sometime in January through March. For, thus, they were conceived during the swarm, the annual plague on our town.

I know I have mentioned that I had friends once. I was born and raised in a small city on the west coast. Where I grew up, the environment was too large to say that “I knew everyone,” but it was too small to give me an impression of the prevailing non-identity of my neighbors—so I will sum up my hometown with this phrase: “I’d seen them around.” This guy, this girl—his mom, her sister—in gym class, during lunch—at the mall, at Starbucks—somehow nearly every face was recognizable to me; however, how much of this was due to the close proximity of those actual faces to my everyday life, and how much of it was the result of my hometown’s sense of blanketing conformity, that is a question that is still hard for me to answer.

I must say, I happened to live in a nice part of the country: “West coast, the best coast!” as we prided ourselves growing up. The sun during the summertime stayed out well into eight-thirty at night, so at a certain period of the evening when you walked outside it would engulf you in this pinkish glow. It was more than twilight, though, which is, more or less, a universal time of the day: Where I lived, twilight had a sense of coming down, but its rays permeated the very fabric of our world, imbuing everything’s essence with a dusky-hue, as if all surroundings would take on a new, unseen color. It is a powerful recollection to me. I was once very high with a college friend of mine, attempting to describe this specific kind of western sunset, and he referred to this time of the day as “hambient”—deriving from the words haze and ambient.

Anyway, I might digress, but not really: I bring up my locality, allude to its charm, and refer to the fact that it is populated by other people, so as any readers of these notes don’t think that I was existing in a vacuum prior to when the events (which I intend to write about) began to take place.

Presently, many people want to act like they always knew that I was “different,” or the wiser of them express that they had often wondered if I was “unhinged.” But I insist that what is presently floating around as a rumor is not true at all. In fact, it was not before Las Vegas that anyone could see a perceptible change in my behavior. This statement that is now so popularly leveled at me is totally without merit; it is a mere byproduct of the age we live in, where everyone else’s business can easily enter the public domain, and people can choose to dig up your back pages, extrapolating upon mundane information with a new sense of sensationalism and gravity. Of course, this much is probably my fault, since, in the initial stages of my exile, I kept in contact with friends via text messages and Facebook, giving them “cause to worry.”

It should go without saying that this “cause” of theirs doesn’t even bother me. What does bother me, I cannot lie, is that they are now retracing their steps around my mind and my mental health, saying that the “aberration” (for want of a better term) happened long before it actually did. When, in fact, there never was an aberration—there simply was an action that I committed, which severed me from any lingering concepts that were leftover tied to common convention. However, on all of this, I have much to say, as the masses still have much to be said.

This is why I would like to situate myself in my hometown for the beginning of this recounting. It was two days before I left for Las Vegas.

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