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Early morning. A knock on my door. I open it. On the other side stands a Jehovah’s Witness. Again… As I get ready to slam the door, a small alarm sounds off in my dazed brain; something’s not right. Blinking the sleep out of my eyes I realize the man has no head, just a bleeding stump jutting from his shoulders. I blink.
The man’s still there – his head still isn’t. With widening eyes I look down and see the missing face cradled in his arms, its eyes rolling in their sockets and its tongue licking blue lips. It leaps across the threshold at me and I stumble backward down the hall. My mind reels as it chases me through the house and up the stairs. I run into my bedroom and leap through the window, landing with a crash on the lawn below. Above me, the Jehovah’s Witness raises his disembodied head above himself. He throws it at me. I duck and the head rolls across the lawn, its mad eyes spinning wildly. It comes to a stop and evaporates into a cloud of blue smoke. I lay there on the grass in the morning light, three words coursing through my numbed brain. What. The. FUCK…
Oh yeah, I remember.
I stood hidden in the corner with the dealer, the lights of the rave splashing across our faces.
“Sorry man,” he said, “I’m all outta E.”
“Well fuck, what else you got?”
“The usual. Weed, some crystal, a couple rocks…” he casts an appraising eye over me, “But son, I think I’ve got something special for you.” He pulls a small Ziploc from one of his pockets; inside are dozens of little white pills, “This shit’s new, it’s called Heavenly Star.”
“Haven’t heard of it, what’s it do?”
“’Course you haven’t heard of it fool, I just said it’s new. It’s this drug from the Himalayas or some shit. Monks up there harvest this weird flower, process it, then chant all sorta charms over it. ‘Stuff’s so fresh on the streets the cops don’t even know it exists yet. Trust me man, this here’s the ultimate trip. One of these and you’ll be tripping balls you didn’t even know you HAD.”
“So it’s like LSD?”
“Man, LSD ain’t got SHIT on this stuff. Heavenly Star makes LSD feel like pixie sticks.”
“Well shit, I’ll take one then, how much?”
“One pill for $200”
“That’s pretty fucking expensive”
“Pretty fucking expens-? Man, have you been LISTENING to me? Fucking Himalayas! Fucking MONKS! CHANTING! Of course it’s expensive, this shit’s rare, bro!”
I ended up buying one for the “discount price” of $140. Then I popped it and waited. And waited. Six hours later I was cursing my stupidity and heading home, swearing to kick the shit out of that dealer the next time I saw him. That was two days ago. Looks like he wasn’t lying after all…
Heavenly Star. I sat back on the grass as the sky above emptied into a gaping void. The grass under my skin was pulsing to my heartbeat, singing some unknown hymn as the blades marched along the ground. Heavenly Star.
This shit was good.
I sat up and gazed at the broken window of my melting house. It seemed like it would be a shame to waste this amazing trip inside. I’ve gone on acid walks before; I know how to keep my cool. Besides, the house had dissolved into a wall of water that endlessly tumbled over on itself. I doubt I could’ve found the door if I wanted to.
I wandered aimlessly through town, my mouth agape as I looked around. The sidewalk had dissolved into a river of grey lizards that braced their spiky backs against my feet, propelling me forwards. I passed a man with two faces who incessantly argued with himself as his head spun in a circle. A fire hydrant sprouted ribbons of pure color that gently spun themselves across my face. Overwhelming optical illusions and tactile physical hallucinations. Heavenly Star. Even with my experience I was having trouble convincing myself that it was only a drug trip. A billion ants swarmed across the blue sky, each one gripping a pearl of water in its jaws, carrying glittering droplets back to their nest in the clouds. A lone Valkyrie hovered above me, her swinging blade rending the sky into a million hovering specks of silver as she flew through time and space towards some ancient battlefield. I fell to my knees with tears in my eyes, blinded by her beauty….
And then it all disappeared. I was crouched on the grimy sidewalk of the city as people walking by shot me nervous glances. Above me, a plane slowly crossed the sky. I stood up and mumbled something about tripping over a crack, but they didn’t seem very convinced. I ducked down an alleyway to avoid any further complications. My God, what a drug. Never before in my life had I experienced such realistic hallucinations. The fading image of the Valkyrie still shone across my memory and I knew; I knew that it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Clearly I would have to purchase more Heavenly Star. But I wasn’t a fucking amateur, before that I would have to research it, make sure it wasn’t deadly or fuck me over for the rest of my life or something. Although I have to admit, it almost seemed worth it.
Since I was already in town I walked to the library and spent hours poring over the internet and grabbing as many books as I could. But I couldn’t find any information on Heavenly Star. As the day wore on into evening I was getting discouraged; on top of that I seemed to be having a relapse. Eyes peered at me from behind the peeling books. As I walked down the rows, manuscripts began to chant their contents, reciting endless tomes of knowledge and history, louder and louder, until finally I had to run out of the library with my hands over my ears, away from that endless drone of half-truths and the dead hands that once dragged an oozing pen across their unmarked surface…
Outside, a war was raging under the scarlet sun. Creatures borne of ichor and muck spun sticky tendrils around faceless wooden red men who feebly stabbed into the gelatinous mess with jagged bone daggers. Giant crabs scuttled across the battlefield, swallowing combatants into their gaping human mouths whole. Over the din of bubbling mud and screaming marionettes and chitinous clicking rose a baleful moan that crumbled buildings into dust and split open the very earth itself. Behind the falling rubble of the city rose giant charcoal fingers, the infinite digits of gibbering demi-gods who laughed and danced in the swirling chaos; their unseen eyes lighting the streets in a sickening orange haze. Then, with the blast of a thousand trumpets, the wrinkled clouds floating above the madness split apart and rained down bloody globs of flesh onto the creatures below. The chunks of falling cancerous tissue throbbed and pulsed and spread, swallowing up the fighters and the streets, crawling up the ruined buildings on tangles of thrashing veins. As it swelled around me I turned and ran along streets slick with the corpses of the dead. I ran screaming into the reddening haze while behind me the tumor crept along the ground, absorbing the world behind it, spilling out tendrils that shot into the sky and stole away the light of the sun. Ahead of me I saw a cragged maw of blackness yawning from between two ruined buildings and squeezed into the dark gap as it snapped shut. Behind me the consuming flesh was trapped by brick walls that towered endlessly, rising upwards into space and the frigid unknown beyond where dust can only stir feebly in the dying breaths of a dim, terminal universe…
I too, was trapped. I was stuck in a thin tunnel, contained on either side by the eternal brick walls. The floor under my feet was solid, but ran like a liquid. As I walked down the narrow path it squelched and bubbled under my feet. Beneath the surface the familiar faces of my family and friends gazed up at me smiling, but their eyes speaking of a deep hunger. Every few seconds a shuddering boom would rain cinder down from above and spread long ripples along the floor. I walked along the linear maze for what felt like hours.
It slowly dawned on me that the sound was getting closer. I spun around. A hulk of a man strode along the surface of the ground, his shoulders scraping either wall as he gazed down upon me from under a black hood that covered his face. As I backed away, he slowly pulled out a long glimmering axe from the darkness behind him. I tried to run but tripped and fell. Instantly, the faces floating beneath me grabbed me with their cold, rubbery tongues; the shrouded man raised his axe high above his head and brought it down upon my chest, slashing across my shirt and gouging out my flesh. A black liquid concocted from my dreams and my nightmares burst out of the wound and showered the walls in a thick ink that crept down the stone. The creatures below me began to gurgle with expectation as the executioner brought his axe up for the final blow. But as he swung it upon me, the tunnel faded away. The ground blackened and hardened back into asphalt and the giant killer burst apart with a final thunderclap. I was lying flat on my back, alone, in the alleyway…
Heavenly Star. Talk about bad shit.
I managed to climb onto my shaking legs and crawl to the end of the alley. Peering out onto the street I saw a normal evening; people strolled casually along the sidewalks, cars buzzed along the road under the navy blue sky. A soft pattering caused me to look down at my feet, where a red puddle was spreading. I gasped as I felt the long slash across my chest. Blood poured down my shirt, falling softly onto the cold cement below. What the fuck happened? I ripped off my shirt and tied it across the cut, stumbling my way home. Silently cursing the dealer and the horrible Heavenly Star.
I sat in the bathroom with gauze and antiseptic, patching myself up as best as I could. My best guess was that I had somehow injured myself in the throes of the bad trip. As I wrapped a bandage across my chest I made a solemn vow to never touch hallucinogens again; especially that fucking Heavenly Star. My head still pounded from the sights I had witnessed. Whatever beauty I saw at the beginning was overcome a hundredfold by the nightmarish visions that came afterward. The migraine throbbed, surging across my temples and sending darts of pain across my scalp. I blindly groped my way to the medicine cabinet and opened it, reaching inside for the pain relievers. My hand closed on something small and spiky. It moved…
I opened my eyes. There was no inside to my medicine cabinet, just a solid gray wall that twitched and shivered. As the gray wave enveloped my hand, I realized that it was a mass of millions of spiders. They spilled out into my bathroom, legs jerking. I reached for the door, but they crawled up my ankles, skittering into my pants and pulling me down to the ground. Enveloping me completely, I felt them begin to spin their silk around my body; they crawled into my ears to lay eggs, they fucked each other in my hair. As I screamed the spiders poured down my throat. I choked and spluttered, feeling their hairy claws skitter around inside my lungs. The mass closed over my face, blocking out the light. Eight million legs ran along my body, wrapping me tight in ethereal threads, tying me up, jabbing their two million fangs into my flesh, burning my insides to ooze. I passed out to the soft sounds of their clicking.
The morning sun streamed onto my face. I rose above the nightmares in the darkness of my mind and found myself lying on the bathroom floor, an empty Excedrin bottle in my hand. No spiders. No eggs. No silk. But my arm was covered in hundreds of small punctures. The wound on my chest was bleeding again, blood dripping down and spreading across the white linoleum. I ignored the pain and crawled out of the bathroom and down the stairs. Heavenly Star. Whatever it was made of, it had fucked me up good. Only one thing to do now. I had to find out more about it, and there was only one person in the world that could help me…
I sat uncomfortably at the bus stop. The day had passed slowly; small shivers of light routinely burst across reality, but so far the hallucinations had kept to a minimum. A white face kept appearing around doorways, in the closet, even on the television, but so far it hadn’t done anything but stare at me. In the house I could deal with its pupil-less eyes and missing mouth, but at night, as it sat across from me on the bench, I could feel the fear welling up inside. Finally, the bus came and I climbed into its welcoming bright interior. As I sat down, the pale creature pressed its face against the other side of the glass but thankfully didn’t follow me in. The bus wound its way into town…
The journey back to the club seemed to take forever. Lifetimes. One by one, the passengers grew old and withered away, dying in their seats without a sound. As the years passed, the paint began to peel off the seats and dust covered the dry bones of those that sat in them. Still, the bus driver journeyed on. For decades we passed rotting buildings and decaying cities; outside the window all civilization collapsed into dust and was swallowed by the wilderness. Huge gnarled trees sprouted where skyscrapers once stood, the bones of humanity jutting from their bark like the trophies of a victor. But after millennium even the trees died and the earth sat barren and dry and dead under a dim red sun. Centuries more passed, and then, with no warning, the sun exploded, expanding over the earth in a ball of flame that swallowed the last living things and blasted the planet into an infinite number of tiny shards. But the bus continued to drift on through the blackness for almost an eternity, passing collapsing galaxies and ravenous black holes until it reached its destination - the end of time - where in the blankness of true oblivion a single dot existed. It didn’t float, or drift, or orbit, the dot merely existed; for the speck WAS the very last of existence. And for a long time it raged against the void, shining the last feeble light into the pit of nothingness until finally it was snuffed out by the hands of fate. And there, at the end of time and matter and space and everything the driver stopped the bus and opened the doors…
I stepped out of the bus and onto the bustling city streets. A glance at my watch told me that I’d been riding for a total of twenty minutes. Fucking Heavenly Star again. I worked my way to the club against the waves of people that flowed against me like sparkling water. Their bodies rose up from the sidewalk as they came toward me, then sunk back into the ocean as they passed. It took me forever but I finally made it to the club, managing to get inside by handing over a wad of green paper to the massive bouncer…
I almost turned back when I walked in. The walls, floor, and ceiling were formed from massive sheets of flesh and blood. Skeletal people walked along the walls with knives, stabbing into the skin and shoving massive raw steaks down their throats as inky blood squirted out of the cut, showering them in red fountains they captured in crystalline goblets and poured into their mouths. NO. No, I was just in a club, the walls were cement, and the people were just drinking alcohol. I wound my way through the shimmering crowd looking for the dealer. The crowd’s faces blinked between reality and hallucination, normal faces sprouting wings and fangs that spun across the darkness before sinking back into the owner’s skull. I could feel the madness of Heavenly Star gripping me again as arteries branched across the stone walls and toothed phantasms descended onto the dance floor. A cold sweat was flowing from my scalp; my preciously short time with reality was coming to an end. Finally, under the mad flashing lights I saw the dealer’s face. I stumbled up to him and grabbed his collar, dragging him down to the floor with me as his face melted off and grew back on, over and over…
“YOOOOUUUUU.” The lights were going off one by one. The skin was spreading across the walls again. Over the sea of waving arms I saw the beast wearing a black hood parting the crowd ahead of him, coming towards us. The Heavenly Star was upon me.
“Man, you better get your hands off me real quick.”
“You. You gave me this stuff. What is it?”
“The FUCK are you talking about?”
“Heavenly Star. You sold it to me you asshole. Tell me what’s in it.”
The dealer gave me a strange look, raising his eyebrow. He stood up then pulled me to my feet, “Oh, you’re that retard who fell for the sales pitch the other night. Hate to tell you man, but I scammed you good.”
He pulled the Ziploc baggie full of white pills out. “I sold you a fucking aspirin tablet ‘cause you were being so stupid. Buying all that shit about magic flowers and holy monks and shit. Ain’t no such thing as ‘Heavenly Star.’”
“No. NO, that’s not possible. I’ve been seeing things. Horrible things… For days….”
“Well, that’s your fucking problem. Here, take your money back, you look like shit. I’ve never said this to anyone before man, but you need to clean the fuck up.” He tugged himself free and disappeared into the swirling, bleeding crowd.
I crouched on the ground sobbing. Out of the darkness a massive hand reached down and grabbed me around the neck, pulling me down into its endless pit of nightmares – the realm of the Heavenly Star.