F I V E

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OCTOBER 22ND 

Two weeks after Misha's Flight

There was blood; the headboard was painted with it. At its base was a shady silhouette, slouched uncomfortably with its butt sticking in the air and laying on the side of its face. The neck was contorted to such a degree that it appeared to have been twisted all the way around and got stuck there. His skull had been split down the middle. Most of his brow was gone. The skin of his cheeks and bottom lip clung on by threads. The rest of his face had sunken in and taken on a purplish hue. The white of Mr. Blum's eyes were all that was left staring into Mr. Goode's.

He pulled his gaze from the bloody mess on the bed and scanned the rest of the room. His eyes brought him to the closet. He pushed open the sliding doors. It was there, seemingly waiting for him hung up in the corner: a poofy gray outfit with a long white oval spanning the length of the torso, four wide mittens for paws at the ends of the arms and legs, and a long, free-swinging tail in the back. Resting on its shoulders was a head too large for a realistically proportioned body. It had big white ears that went straight up and expanded outward like wings, and bulbous, oval-shaped eyes staring back at him with elongated black pupils. They were hollow and unblinking, and they let forth a very dim glimmer from deep within. They were eyes that could peer inside another person, the further a person sought to peer inside of it.

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OCTOBER 27TH

Nearly three weeks after Misha's Flight

The Honeycomb was as inviting as always, with its tall glasses of shimmering, bubbling amber, frosty and crowned with just the right size head of white foam. It had its way of kissing a man's lips as the good poison poured in and made all the bad things feel okay. Mr. Goode wiped his mouth after letting out a breath of deep satisfaction.

"Anybody know you're here talking to me?" he finally said to his old friend Malik, the only one that remained after his incident.

"Nah, man, it's just us. How're you holdin' up?"

"Aw, man, you know I signed up for this. I just didn't think this would still be a part of my life. It's sad and all, but, nah, it's just what happens." He finished the remainder of his glass in one pound, quickly signaling the bartender for another.

"What about that girl? This has ruined her, I'm sure."

"Last I checked, they couldn't get her out of bed. She's in shock, most likely."

"So none of this makes you the least bit sad?"

"You know, when I asked you out here, it was because I wanted some insider information— and I wanted to see you, too. But, come on."

"I'm just sayin'." He conceded with his hands raised shoulder-level out in front of him. "I think you're going after this one pretty hard for someone that's unbothered by all that's gone on. It makes me wonder."

"Whatchu mean?"

"Shouldn't your priority right now be going home and making things right with your family? I mean, isn't it time? Could you imagine if something like this got ahold of your daughter? It makes me wonder if you're chasing after this because you're still afraid to be a dad."

They sat in an uncomfortable silence for a long time after that, to the sound of the mild clashing of glasses against each other as the bartender tidied up, or the sports talk show droning on about trade deadlines off in the background.

"You gonna nurse that all day?"

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