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A is for Anitchrist
Isaac wrung his hands together and clenched his jaw. This was going to be such a wonderful night. Sixteen at last! He couldn’t believe he was a man now. As a child, sixteen had felt like it was never going to happen, but here it was finally. His sixteenth birthday and he was going to have the party to end all parties. People would be talking about it for years.
His mother joined him in the kitchen, dressed to the nines. “Okay, sweetie,” she said. “Your dad and I will be back around eleven. Try not to wreck the house, okay? And no drinking.”
Isaac rolled his eyes. He wished there was alcohol here, but unfortunately his boyish looks made getting any from the off-license impossible. “I promise.”
He gave her a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek. He was sixteen and would have to stop such displays of affection soon, but tonight he was too excited to begrudge his mother a kiss.
She looked at him a moment, her shiny red lips forming a lopsided grin. “Look at you,” she said. “I can’t believe you’re all grown up. Happy birthday, my love. Although technically you’re not quite a man yet as you weren’t born until eight o’clock.”
“Mum, will you just get out of here.”
“Okay, okay, I’m going. Have a good night, sweetheart.”
She left him alone in the kitchen, joining Isaac’s father waiting outside in the car.
Once the house was all his, Isaac went into the living room. Daniel and Jason were sitting on the sofa, watching a crappy remake of Godzilla on the big screen TV. They looked up and grinned as Isaac entered. “You ready to party, man?”
“Yeah, just as soon as everybody else gets here.”
Daniel hit the pause button on the remote so that they could hear themselves talk. “What time is everybody coming? You invited girls, right?”
“I invited everyone from school,” Isaac replied. “I told them seven o’clock.”
Jason checked his watch. “Dude, it’s like five-minutes to already.”
“Then they should be here very soon.”
And people did arrive over the next twenty minutes. Three lads Isaac barely knew and Barbara Meady from his maths class. She was about three-stone heavier than most of the girls in their year.
Isaac went into the kitchen to pour lemonade for his paltry collection of guests. He had that tingly feeling behind his eyes which heralded the arrival of tears, but he couldn’t cry in front of his friends. After this shambles of a party, they may not even be his friends for very much longer. He was such a loser. Why had he thought that anybody from school would ever come? He was invisible in the hallways and classrooms, so why had he convinced himself things would be any different on his sixteenth birthday?
“Hey, man.” It was Daniel coming into the kitchen. “You okay?”
“I thought more people would come.”
Daniel shrugged. “I didn’t. We ain’t popular, dude. Sucks, but that’s just how it is. Don’t mean we can’t have fun tonight. There are enough of us here.”
Isaac rolled his eyes. “Yeah, we can all play hide the sausage with Barbara Meady.”
“Hey, man. She’s the one girl who did come. Be nice to her.”
“You’re right. She’s okay.” Isaac looked down at the glasses of lemonade. “Really wish these were vodka.”
Daniel nodded. “That would certainly liven things up.”
“Help me take them through.”
They carried the glasses of lemonade to their friends in the living room, who were slumped around the sofas looking bored, and set them down on the coffee table. “We were talking about whether or not to play videogames,” Jason said, grabbing one of the glasses of lemonade.
Isaac shook his head adamantly. “We’re not sitting around playing videogames. We’re going to have a laugh.”
“Yeah, this party is a hoot,” somebody muttered.
Isaac sighed. He couldn’t even entertain a bunch of losers from school. This was a disaster.
Suddenly Jason lurched forward and spluttered. “Whoa, dude. What is this?”
Isaac frowned. “What do you mean?”
Barbara leaned forward and took a sip from another of the glasses. She puckered her lips as she swallowed, then looked at Isaac with a wide grin on her chubby face. “You got vodka. Sweet!”
Jason took another sip and this time he didn’t splutter. He downed half the glass and then spoke in a croaky, winded voice. “That’s some strong shit, man. How did you get vodka?”
Isaac noticed Daniel grinning at him. “Good joke, Zack. Saying you wish you had vodka when you had it all along. Nice!”
“I…” Isaac wondered if his father had done something – had switched the contents of the lemonade in secret so his mother wouldn’t know. It was a risky move as she would sure as hell know when she came home to a bunch of rowdy, drunk teenagers.
He headed into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of lemonade from the fridge. He removed the cap, taking a whiff of the contents. Sure enough, the intoxicating stench of alcohol wafted into his nostrils. He grinned. “Thanks, dad!”
Back in the living room everyone now looked far more enthusiastic about having a good time. Barbara beamed at Isaac, holding a half-finished glass of vodka in her hand like it was a trophy. “I just texted my sister. She didn’t want to come before, but she might do now there’s alcohol.”
“Who’s your sister?”
“Becky. She’s in the year above us.”
Jason almost spilled his drink. “Becky Meady is your sister?”
Barbara rolled her eyes. “Yes, yes, I know. We don’t look like sisters. I was born with all the looks and the killer body, but she’s not bad, I suppose.”
“Not bad. She’s smokin’!”
Isaac was beginning to like Barbara. She had a dry sense of humour. “Thanks, Barbara,” he said. “The more the merrier.”
She smiled at him and for a moment the two of them maintained eye-contact. It made Isaac shiver. He hadn’t had much interaction with a girl before, and he didn’t quite know what to do. He picked up one of the glasses on the table and took a deep swig. It tasted horrible, but it instantly made him feel better, more relaxed. Aside from the odd glass of wine his parents would allow him at dinner, this was the first time he was truly partaking of alcohol. It frightened him a little, but nowhere near as much as it excited him. He was a man today, come of age, and this was his first adult moment – having a drink with his friends.
“So, what should we do?” Jason asked. “I’m already getting a buzz on. I wanna have some fun.”
“What do you suggest?” Daniel said.
“How ‘bout we make some prank phone calls?”
Isaac chuckled. It sounded fun. “Won’t they be able to trace the number?”
“Not on my phone,” Jason said. “I have my caller ID blocked. I do it all the time. Look, I’ll start.” He pulled out his mobile phone and tapped in a number. “It’s the local Chinese takeaway I use. Listen up… Oh, hi there. I would like to place an order, please? Great. I would like a chicken balti, keema naan, three onion bhajis…. what? What do you mean you don’t do those? This is a takeaway, isn’t it? Oh, I see, you don’t do Indian food. Okay, then I would like a cheese and tomato pizza with a side of chicken wings. Then I…” He looked up from the phone, grinning madly. “They hung up on me.”
Everyone split their sides laughing.
Barbara went next. She called a legal helpline asking for advice concerning her brother leaving skidmarks in his underwear. She didn’t even have a brother.
Then it was Isaac’s turn. When Jason handed him the phone, he had no idea who to call, but then it came to him. He looked up the number for the local church and dialled the number. “Yes, hello, there,” he said upon receiving an answer from a Father Phelps. He put the call on speakerphone so that everyone could hear. “Could you answer me a few questions, please?”
“Of course. Please ask away.”
“Why does God let children die?”
The room fell silent. Isaac sensed his joke had fallen flat, but he couldn’t back out now.
“Why does God let children die? If I wanted to believe in God, how do I explain that to myself? And don’t say that the Lord moves in mysterious ways.”
“I… my child, there are many bad things that happen in this world. All God can do is give us the strength and willpower to find our own paths. Life is what we make of it. Children die because we are not yet what we are to become.”
“That doesn’t answer my question. God kills children, little babies, why?”
“Who is this?”
Isaac cleared his throat. “A heathen looking for answers. Isn’t it your duty to try and show me the way, Father Phelps?”
“It is, but I can only help those who truly seek help.”
Daniel leaned towards Isaac and whispered. “Dude, where are you going with this?”
Isaac shrugged. For some reason he was getting angry. Perhaps he was frustrated by the clergyman’s steadfast calm, or the way he never gave a straight or meaningful answer. “There is no God,” Isaac uttered before he could stop himself. “You are a remnant of an ancient racket intended to take wealth and power from the poor. But your ways are failing. Children die because the world is a dark and lonely place. You offer false hope in exchange for servitude. You are wicked.”
There was silence on the line for quite a while. Then came the muted reply. “God bless you child.”
The line fell dead.
The living room was silent. Everybody looked at Isaac like he had something horrible on his face.
“I don’t think you get the point of prank calling, bro,” Jason said.
Isaac threw up. It was sudden and unexpected.
Barbara hopped up and immediately started stroking his back. It managed to soothe him to the point where he felt perfectly fine again and wondering what had made him sick.
“Maybe vodka doesn’t agree with you,” Daniel said.
Isaac looked at everyone and shrugged. “I’m fine. I just felt a bit funny all of a sudden. I think I was nervous about making the call. It’s not really my thing, winding people up. I’m no good at it.”
“No shit!” Jason said. “That poor old vicar is probably calling his therapist as we speak.”
“Fuck him,” Isaac spat.
Daniel asked him, “Are you okay, man? You’re acting a little… strange.”
Isaac picked up his vodka and downed the contents. “I’m good. Let’s have some more fun.”
* * *
They decided to play a drinking game. Each round they would throw three dice. Rolling a score above twelve resulted in a shot of vodka. A combined score lower than six required a forfeit.
Isaac went first. He rattled the three dice inside his hand and let them fly onto the coffee table.
Jason whistled. “Dude, that was so lucky. You have to take a shot now.”
Isaac grinned and did his duty, knocking back a shot of vodka and immediately refilling the glass ready for the next one.
Barbara threw two ones and a 5.
Jason threw 5-3-2.
Daniel got 6-5-5 and did a shot.
Mark, Dave, and Spencer from school all took their turns, but only Mark took a shot. No one got a forfeit for round one.
Isaac picked up the three dice and threw them again. 6-6-6.
“Oh. My. God,” Barbara said. “That’s insane. What are the odds?”
“I’m the birthday boy,” Isaac said, knocking back another shot of vodka. The luck is all mine tonight!
Barbara threw a one and two twos.
Everybody hooted. “You have to do a forfeit,” Jason said. “Isaac, you’re the man tonight. You choose.”
Barbara went bright red, knowing something bad was coming. “You’re not going to make me go down on someone are you?”
Isaac blushed at the thought. “Maybe later. Right now, I would just like you to sing happy birthday in the style of the Cookie Monster.”
Everybody bellowed with amusement.
Jason slapped his thighs. “Oh god, let me get my phone. I need to record this.”
Barbara was shaking her head, but was smiling. She took a few moments to compose herself, then began. “H-hap-Happy birthday to you, om nom nom. Happy birthday to you, om nom nom nom. Happy birthday, dear Isaac, happy birthday to – cookies! Om nom nom nom.” She leapt forward and started tickling Isaac and pretending to eat his nipple.
Isaac howled with laughter and pushed her away. “That… that was so epic.”
“Yeah,” Jason said. “That was spot on.”
“Next roll,” Daniel said.
They went another round. This time no one got a forfeit, but Mark, David, and Jason all had to take shots.
Then it was Isaac’s turn again. He picked the dice up quickly, still giggling from the barrage of jokes that had been flowing from everyone around the table. He flung the little cubes once more, a little harder than before, making them bounce off the table and into the air. They took a few moments to settle, but when they did, everybody’s eyes went wide.
“That is freakin’ impossible!” Jason said. “You must be cheating!”
Isaac snatched at the dice and threw them again.
“What the hell…?” he said. “How am I doing it? What are the odds, like one-in-a-gazillion?”
“You must be blessed,” Barbara said, winking at him.
Isaac didn’t like the sound of that, so he pulled a face back at her. The laughter died as everyone became lost in thought, probably trying to make sense of how Isaac kept throwing sixes. He had no idea himself.
The doorbell rang.
“That’ll be my sister,” Barbara said.
Isaac leapt up off the floor. “I’ll go and let her in.”
He hurried out into the hallway and opened the front door. He was surprised to find that Barbara’s smoking hot sister had not come alone. She had brought a posse with her consisting of another five girls and two lads. They were all a year or two older than he was, but they had brought more booze and looked ready to party.
“You Isaac?” Barbara’s sister purred.
“I am. Come on in.”
Becky took the invitation and stepped inside, followed by her friends. “Hope you don’t mind – I brought a few guests.”
Isaac eyed the other girls, took in the sight of their long smooth legs running up beneath their skirts. He licked his lips and smiled. “You’re all very welcome.”
The two lads at the back nodded at Isaac as they swept past. They both seemed friendly enough, if a little cooler than him and his normal crowd. One of the guys had a tattoo running up the side of his neck and a stud in his eyebrow.
Isaac followed his new guests through into the living room. Daniel and Jason lit up when they saw all the girls. Barbara, on the other hand, looked less than pleased. “Bex, why did you bring the bitch gang with you? I told you it was a private party.”
One of the girls in Becky’s group, a girl with a great big afro, looked around and wrinkled her nose. “Looks like this party needs help.”
“Not your kind of help,” Barbara grunted.
“Everyone is here to have fun,” Isaac said. “Let’s all get along, okay? Our new friends have brought more alcohol.”
“Then that makes ’em okay in my book,” Jason said, getting up and shaking hands with the two guys. He then went and looked at the girls. One of them, a skinny blonde, frowned at him as he checked out her breasts. “Perv!”
“Hey, sweetheart. You put ’em in the shop window, fella’s gonna look.”
“So, are we going to get this party started or what?” Becky asked. “Or has my sister already blown everybody here?”
Barbara chuckled defiantly. “I was only half way through when you came and interrupted me. You’ll have to take over.”
Becky winked at Isaac and licked her lips. “Maybe later I will.”
Isaac felt his throat go dry. He grabbed a glass of vodka and swigged, feeling instantly refreshed. It was strange, but he was sure he’d had a lot to drink, but he felt just fine. His friends had grown progressively louder and happier over the last hour, but he was feeling exactly the same as when they’d first started. Maybe he just had a tolerance for the stuff. His parents did let him have the occasional glass of wine after all.
“I have an idea for a game we can play,” one of the new boys said, the one with the neck tattoo.
“Alright,” Jason said. “Let’s hear it.”
The lad pulled a gun from inside his jacket. “Who’s up for target practice?”
* * *
It turned out the lad’s name was Shane and the gun was only a pellet shooter with a bright orange muzzle ruining the illusion that it was anything more. They took the party outside to the garden. It was a little chilly but it gave them room to manoeuvre. Isaac was lucky enough to have a large garden with a decent strip of lawn. They set up a line of assorted peppers from the fridge along the top of a brick wall at the far end of the garden Isaac’s father had built to contain a small vegetable patch. They had a good twenty feet between themselves and their targets.
Shane showed them how to use the gun then took his turn, firing off the clip of five pellets in quick succession. He hit the red pepper in the middle with every round, causing it to rip apart and leak juices. It stayed in place on the wall, though. The others took their turns between bouts of swigging beers and vodka, and the results were varied. Jason wasn’t so bad, hitting the target with three out of five, but Daniel and Barbara failed to hit the target at all. They still found it fun, though, and were laughing their heads off the whole time. The party was going well. Isaac hoped the friends he’d made tonight would continue to be so. It could get dull sometimes, spending all his time with only Daniel and Jason. He looked across at Becky, thinking about how much he would like to be her friend. She was beautiful, with the same dark features of her younger sister, but somehow they fitted together better on her. Barbara’s features were soft and round, while Becky’s were sharp and delicate.
Becky spotted him staring and came over. She offered him her beer. “Share?”
Isaac took a swig and handed it back. He wondered if any of her saliva had been on the bottle. “So, you went to the same school as me and Becky?”
“Yeah, I was the year above, left last year. Doing hair and beauty at college now.”
“Seems like that would be something you’d be good at.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because you’re beautiful.”
Becky studied him for a moment, staring long enough so that Isaac started to feel his cheeks burn. “You’re a charmer, aren’t you? No wonder my sister likes you.”
Isaac blinked. “What?”
“Oh, didn’t you know? Yeah, she’s been talking about your party all week. She really likes you. Shame, because otherwise I might have been interested myself. There are rules, though. You know?”
Isaac blinked. He felt like screaming. Was Becky saying she fancied him, but was holding back because her sister liked him first? Her fat, unattractive sister? Damn it, life wasn’t fair!
“Isaac, your turn,” Jason shouted.
Isaac marched up to his friend, snatching the pistol testily from him. He raised it up and pointed it at the peppers. “Is it loaded?”
“Good.” Isaac fired off all five pellets rapidly, one after the other. The untouched yellow pepper on the left bucked and rolled as every round hit the target.
“Whoa, that’s some hardcore shooting,” Shane said. “You used one of these before?”
Isaac handed him the pistol. “Nope. Just beginner’s luck.”
“He’s been winning everything tonight,” Barbara said.
Isaac grinned at her, but it was forced. It felt like he was showing too much teeth. She was the reason he couldn’t have Becky. It was his birthday and she was ruining everything. “You going to try and hit something this time?” he asked her.
Barbara blushed. “I’m too drunk to hit anything.”
She shrugged. “Okay, will you show me how you do it?”
Shane loaded the pistol and handed it back to Isaac. He took it and moved Barbara to the firing position. “Just hold it up in front of you. Keep your arm straight but not locked. Line it up with your eye and stare down the sight.”
I hope you shoot your eye out, Isaac thought meanly, angry that she had ruined his chances with Becky. He regretted the thought almost immediately, though. Barbara was a nice girl, regardless of whether he fancied her or not. She liked him and that was a nice thing, not something he should blame her for. There still might be a chance with her sister. If he let Barbara down gently, maybe she would give Becky and him her blessing.
Isaac glanced over at Becky who was looking back at him with a playful smirk on her face. It made him feel like a child again, completely at the mercy of a woman only a year older in age, but vastly more mature in attitude.
Barbara fired off her first round. “Hey,” she squealed. “Hey, Isaac, I hit the pepper. Yay!”
Isaac turned around to see. “Well done,” he said. “See if you can hit it again.”
Barbara stood and lined up her shot the way he had shown her. She chewed at her lip as she concentrated on her aim. Slowly her finger squeezed the trigger.
A split-second after Barbara had squeezed the trigger she dropped the gun and began to scream. She bent forward, clutching at her face. “Oh my god, oh my god, my eye! My eye!”
Isaac stood frozen while everyone rushed over to help Barbara. Becky pushed her way to the front and knelt down to see her sister’s face. “Jesus!” she said. “We need to call an ambulance. Your eye is full of blood.”
Barbara began to wail, a frightened mewling that made her sound like a trapped kitten.
Isaac swallowed a lump in his throat. He had hoped for her to shoot her eye out and that was just what had happened. Was he to blame? Of course not, but the guilt he felt was overwhelming all the same. He had felt so angry, and for so little reason. Now he was deeply saddened that Barbara had been hurt.
“I’m calling now,” Jason said, holding his phone to his ear.
Becky took her sister through the back door into the kitchen where she ran the cold tap and shoved her sister’s head over the sink.
“It’s horrible,” Daniel said, coming up beside Isaac and looking pale under the glow of the security lamp.
Isaac nodded. “I know. I just hope she’s okay.” They went into the kitchen together to check on Barbara. Jason was speaking with the emergency services.
“Try to open your eye,” Becky urged her sister. “I need to wash away the blood and take a look.”
“I can’t,” Barbara wailed. “It hurts. It… wait, hold on. It… it’s okay.”
“Are you sure?” Becky asked, still concerned.
Barbara was still bent over the sink, but her wailing had calmed down to a series of hitching breaths. Eventually she managed to speak calmly. “I… I can open my eye. I can see.” She stood up. There was blood on her cheek, but both her eyes were open. The left was extremely watery and red, but it seemed more or less okay.
“Hold on,” Jason spoke into the phone. “I think she’s okay. False alarm. Sorry.”
“It must have just hit your eyelid,” Becky said, giving her sister a big hug.
Shane was looking down at the pistol in his hand and shaking his head. “I don’t know what happened. Stupid thing. I’ll throw it away. Sorry, Babs.”
Barbara smiled at him. “It’s okay. I’m okay. Babs, huh? I like that.”
Isaac raised an eyebrow. It appeared that Barbara had moved onto a new love interest. He hoped the two of them would get together so that he could be with Becky. Barbara deserved someone. Just not him.
“I’ll get you a drink,” Shane said. “Least I can do.”
Barbara looked sideways at Shane and blushed. “Thanks, Shane.”
Becky seemed to notice the chemistry between her sister and friend, then gave Isaac a quick glance. It didn’t take a genius to work out what it meant.
* * *
Everyone had regrouped in the living room where they were now vegging out with snacks in front of a horror movie about a haunted picture frame. Isaac thought it sucked, but everyone was only really interested in getting drunk and chatting anyway. Barbara and Shane shared the smaller sofa while everyone else was spread out on the large settee and a pile of cushions on the floor. It was just after nine o’clock and Isaac’s parents’ looming return seemed to draw in closer and closer. He didn’t want the night to end. Everyone was so chilled. What really made Isaac want the night to last forever was how he and Becky kept exchanging secretive glances.
Eventually, when Becky headed into the kitchen to get another drink, Isaac followed her. She smiled as she noticed him coming, but also looked a little awkward. “Hey, Isaac,” she said. “This has been a really cool party.”
“Once you got here,” he said.
“I’m probably going to have to shoot off in a bit. I’ve got plans early tomorrow.”
Isaac frowned. “It’s only nine. Everyone is staying until eleven.”
“Not me. I got to shoot. I’m sure Shane and the girls will stay. They seem to be having a good time.”
“Yeah, I think your sister and Shane are hooking up.”
“I know, weird, huh? Shane’s known my sister for years and has never shown any interest. She must have cast a spell on him or something. Look after her for me, yeah? Shane can be a bit of a bad boy.”
“I don’t care about your sister. I care about you.”
Becky pulled a drink from the fridge. Isaac was dismayed to see that it was a can of Coke. She gave a little chuckle. “You care about me? Isaac, you only met me tonight.”
“I thought you liked me,” he stated firmly. “You’ve been staring at me.”
“I wasn’t staring at you. Anyway, my sister-“
“Isn’t interested in me anymore, so what’s the problem?”
“You’re younger than me.”
“By one year.”
She smiled at him, came on over, and rubbed his arm. “Look, Isaac. I was just flirting with you in the garden. I don’t want anything to happen between us. Tell you the truth, I was hoping something would happen with Shane – that’s who I was staring at – but you know how that went. I’m still pretty shocked about it to be honest. Which is why I want to head home, take a nice hot bath, and forget that I just lost a man to my younger sister.”
“Your fat, ugly sister,” Isaac said bitterly.
Becky’s expression darkened. “Hey, that is not okay. She’s my sister, so watch your mouth.”
“Maybe you should watch yours. Maybe you should stop using it to mess guys around.”
Becky slammed the Coke down on the counter. “That’s it. I’m out of here.”
Isaac shook his head. “Pick that back up. You’re staying.”
Becky picked up the can of Coke but looked at it as if wondering why she’d done so. “I… I swear, you say one more thing about my sister and I’m going.”
Isaac nodded. “Go back in the living room.”
Becky did as she was told.
Isaac walked over to the sink and splashed some cold water on his face. Something weird was happening. He was full of lust and anger, things that were foreign to him. Part of him wanted to bend Becky over the counter and take what he wanted, while the other part wanted to beat her black and blue for playing with him. He inhaled deeply a few times, trying to get in touch with his normal self. He wasn’t an angry person, neither was he violent, but perhaps it was time to stop drinking. Maybe this is what being drunk was like. People often fought each other when they were drunk. His mum and dad would only ever argue after they’d had a few. If this is what alcohol was like, he wondered why anybody bothered with it.
“You okay, dude?” It was Jason. He went over to the fridge and grabbed one of Shane’s beers, along with a sausage roll. He began chomping on it like a starving man. “Becky’s mates are hot, and they’re getting well drunk.”
Isaac laughed mirthlessly. “It’s Becky I want.”
“Go for it then.”
“And she’s not as nice as she seems.”
Jason swallowed a bite of sausage roll then shrugged his shoulders. “Fuck her man. You can do better.”
“Don’t be an idiot. You, me, and Daniel have never pulled a bird in our lives, so how can I do better?”
“Hey, man. I’m just being nice. Daniel and me are your real buddies, not Becky and her mates. What’s wrong with you tonight? You’ve been acting like a right arsehole.”
Isaac felt the back of his neck tighten. He took a step towards his friend. “What did you call me?”
“See, this is what I’m talking about. What are you doing, getting in my face like some chav? Me and Daniel are here because we’re your bros, man, and you’re in my face getting lary.”
Isaac stepped back and then turned away. Jason was right, but still… “Why don’t you and Daniel go fuck each other?”
“Wow, dude. It’s your birthday, but you got to sort your shit out.” Jason left Isaac alone in the kitchen where he gripped the edge of the counter and gritted his teeth.
A distinct crunch jolted him.
Isaac flinched away from the counter as he felt something crack beneath his fingers. He was flabbergasted when he saw his hand print crushed into the surface of the granite. He had crushed the stone with his bare hands.
“What the hell?”
Isaac fled the kitchen like it was on fire. He wasn’t sure what he was running from exactly, but he was panicking. He returned to the living room, where he found everyone still in front of the TV, except for Jason and Daniel.
Isaac sighed. They’ve probably deserted me after what I said in the kitchen. Hardly blame them.
Becky sat sipping her Coke, looking close to tears. He was surprised he had managed to make her stay simply by ordering her to. Maybe he still had a chance with her. Maybe she liked forceful men. Maybe he should be forceful.
Barbara and Shane had started making out on the sofa, much to the discomfort of everybody else. “Everybody got a drink?” Isaac asked as he prepared to sit down.
Everyone nodded. The girls all looked plastered with the lads not far behind.
Isaac took a seat next to Becky. He had decided to disregard her earlier comments and placed his hand on her thigh. She flinched, but he gave her a stern look that made her sit back, but she remained wary. It was strange; Isaac had begun to feel like people would do whatever he wanted just so long as he willed it. Becky had said she wasn’t interested in him, but he had decided in his mind that she would change her mind. She would want to be with him by the end of the night. He demanded it.
The feel of her naked thigh beneath his hand sent electricity dancing up his fingertips. Her skin was cold and smooth. He ran his hand from her knee upwards to where her leg widened. She was stiff as a board, but she didn’t stop him. The others in the room watched him out of the corners of their eyes. Isaac felt like a god. He watched Barbara and Shane making out and, deciding that there was little need for discretion, moved his hand further up Becky’s thigh, sliding it beneath the hem of the skirt and finding flesh that was hotter. Becky remained frozen, but was still making no attempt to stop him. He was almost there, about to get what he wanted.
There was noise coming from upstairs. Banging, like somebody jumping on a bed.
Barbara stopped snogging the face of Shane and looked up at the ceiling. “Sounds like somebody is bumping uglies up there.”
Isaac jumped off the sofa, fuming at the interruption. He marched up the stairs, his footfalls stamping with every step. He reached the landing and pinpointed where the noise was coming from. His parents’ bedroom. He barged inside and was shocked to find his two best friends, Jason and Daniel, lying beneath his parents’ duvet together. Their clothes were piled up in the corner of the room, underwear included. Isaac’s sudden entrance had surprised them and they pulled the duvet up to their necks and cowered.
“What the hell are you two doing?” Isaac demanded. “In my parents’ bed? Are you two fucking?”
Neither of them said anything.
“How long has this been going on?”
“It just happened tonight!” Daniel said, his voice trembling. “I don’t know what happened. We just found ourselves in bed together… I… oh god.”
Isaac flinched. “Don’t speak to me of God.” He spat, feeling so angry. “Get out my parents’ bed, get out of my sight, and disappear forever.”
Daniel and Jason nodded and shuffled out of the bed hurriedly. They threw the duvet aside and hopped out onto the carpet, their bits dangling and wet.
Then they disappeared.
Before Isaac’s very eyes, his old buddies, Jason and Daniel, simply stopped being there. They blinked out of existence like a couple of balloons popping. Somehow Isaac knew it was because he had willed it.
“What did you do?” Becky said from behind him. “They just… disappeared.” She stared at him like he was a monster. Her fear aroused him.
“I willed them gone,” he said, knowing it was true. “That’s what happens to those who disrespect me. Are you going to disrespect me?”
Becky shook her head quickly. “N-no, I promise.”
“What are you doing up here, anyway?”
“I wanted to ask you to let me go home. I… want to go, but I can’t.”
“Because I won’t allow it. Something has happened to me tonight, my lamb, something wonderful. You must all obey me.”
Becky looked at him like he was mad.
“Kiss me,” he demanded.
And she did.
* * *
When Isaac returned to the living room, Becky was following him obediently, refastening the bra he had taken off her earlier. Everybody else was still drinking and watching the TV. None of them were aware of Isaac’s power, but they were about to find out.
Barbara and Shane were still cuddled up together. Isaac decided that if they were suddenly so in love, they should expedite things. “Take off your clothes, Barbara,” he said.
Barbara glanced over at him and frowned. “Sorry, what?”
Isaac glared at her. “Take off your clothes.”
“Hey,” Shane said. “What are you playing at?” He stood up and crossed the room, marching towards Isaac with fists clenched.
“Stop!” Isaac commanded.
Isaac grinned. “No, I don’t mean stop walking. I mean stop everything. Stop breathing.”
Shane looked confused, but then his eyes widened. He stood rooted to the spot, but appeared like he was making an effort to move. Isaac watched with delight. This lad thought he was so tough with his neck tattoo and piercings. Both Becky and Barbara wanted him, did they? Well, there would be nothing left to want in a minute.
Shane’s cheeks began to redden. His wide eyes flickered with panic, rising towards terror.
“Please,” Becky said in Isaac’s left ear. “Leave him alone.”
“Stop this,” Barbara shouted. Isaac was amused to see that she had stripped down naked while he had been dealing with Shane. She had a few rolls on her, but her hips were curvy and her tits were huge. Not bad at all.
Isaac waved a hand at Barbara. “Control your burning loins, girl.”
Suddenly the thatch of hair between Barbara’s legs ignited and she was on fire. She screamed and flapped her arms as her skin crackled and burned.
The others in the room got up as one. Even in their drunken stupors they knew that they were in the presence of a beast, and the realisation seemed to sober them all up in an instant. Isaac was the beast and he was standing proud. All his life he had felt impotent and invisible, but something had awakened in him tonight, something that whispered in his ear and told him that he was the greatest of all men. All of his guilt, his fear, his doubts, had gone, and all that was left was the desire to see men suffer at his feet.
“All of you be seated at once,” Isaac bellowed, and they did as he bade.
Shane’s cheeks had gone a deep purple and he had begun to tremble like a firework about to go off. Becky moved towards him, but Isaac waved a hand and knocked her to the ground like a child. There she remained, as was his will.
Shane’s cheeks went so dark they were almost black. His eyes rolled back in his skull, then his knees collapsed. He crumpled to the floor and went still. He was dead, Isaac knew. He could sense every heartbeat in the room but there was none coming from Shane any longer.
Barbara slumped to the floor too, a blackened, burned. The flames had been unnatural, a hellfire Isaac commanded. He chose this opportunity to test out his new powers on a grander scale. He ignited everyone in the room, one after the other, his old friends and new. It was like placing a match to a line of candles, adding light to the room. They all screamed in unimaginable agony as the flames took hold of them. Isaac drank in their pain like fresh air. The only person left alive was Becky. She cowered at Isaac’s feet, staring up at him with the wide, uncomprehending eyes of a lamb due to be slaughtered.
“What should I do with you?” he asked. “You held so much promise earlier this evening. You made me think we had a connection, but it was just lies, wasn’t it?”
Becky shook her head. “I like you.”
Isaac smiled. “Why do I not believe you? You speak with the lying mouth of a whore. Do you know what happens to whores?”
Becky didn’t answer. She was terrified.
“I’ll tell you,” Isaac said. “Whores get fucked.” With that he waved his hand and Becky split in two, her body tearing from the groin to skull. The two halves of her fell away from each other, spewing buckets of blood into the carpet.
“Party’s over,” he said.
The front door opened, followed by the door leading to the hall. His mother appeared and instantly froze as she saw the destruction in the living room. Burned, suffocated, and torn corpses lay at Isaac’s feet while he raised his chin proudly like a king surveying the aftermath of a triumphant battle.
His mother stared at him, her mouth hanging open.
Isaac smiled. He still loved his mother. “I have a question for you,” he said.
“W-what?” his mother managed to ask meekly.
Isaac looked around at his handiwork one last time and then raised an eyebrow at his mother. “Was I adopted?”
“Yes,” she said.
Isaac chuckled. “Thought so.”