One night we found a new alter, a thing not born of abuse but of learning. He was not damaged, but twisted and wrong. He was not helpful or in need. He wanted things to fall apart. He called himself Char.
We called him Abuser.
Every Tuesday we got drunk. We would drink all sorts of different liquors and every one of the alters would get as drunk as possible with a few exceptions. We found out that some had a high tolerance for alcohol, some a very low one. Some got drunk off of one thing, another a different kind of liquor. One night Shadow got drunk and grabbed the phone.
He called information. This used to be a thing, too. I don’t know if it is anymore, but you could call a number and they would give you the phone number of anyone you could name. You give them the name, first and last, and the city, and they would provide you with the phone number. Well, Shadow called information and asked for Char’s number.
He was wasted. He was destroyed on beer. With just a bit of the stuff, he could fall way into a hole, and he had drunk quite a lot. The operator could tell immediately that he was hammered and she said, “Sir, you are inebriated and I need to hang up on you now.”
“Hold on, ma’am. Please, just give me one second of your time.” This was Guardian. He had not drunk his whiskey yet, so he could still hold a conversation. “The man I am trying to call abused me terribly as a child. He raped me, he beat me, he verbally assaulted me. He was in every way a nightmare. I have repressed those memories for almost a decade and a half, and I need to tell him I remember what he did to me and he will not win. I will finish my therapy and I will rise. I need to tell him all of this, but I don’t have his number. Please,” he begged. “Please tolerate me for but a few more moments so I can talk to this man.”
“What’s his name again?”
“Char from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.”
“He is unlisted. I’m sorry,” she said. I can still hear her voice and the pity dripping from it.
“My grandfather then. He had a part to play in it. Can I have his number?” I gave her his name and she found it.
“Here you go, baby, and listen. He may have beaten you as a child, but you’re a man now. Nothing can beat you unless you let it.” Her tone held so much love. “You go give ’em hell.”
I had repeated the number she had me write down three times. This was the number. Shadow stepped forward and he dialed. The phone rang, but the answering machine picked up.
“I know what you did,” Shadow said. “I know what your twisted son did, too.”
Conductor pulled Shadow back and pushed Assassin forward. “I’m coming for you,” his dead voice said.
It was a promise he would never keep. Grandfather is dead. He died a little death in a little house. He was so afraid of what might be said at his funeral that he refused one. Told everyone not to gather to speak over him. He just wanted to shuffle away. He just wanted out. That night he heard the voice of death. He either heard it echo through his house or it was the first thing he heard when he woke up.
Either way, we won that one.
It wasn’t until the next night that we saw what we had done. There had been an alter hidden deep. An alter who had studied Char its entire life. It had gathered information. Had compiled memories. Had learned the enemy. The only thing was that for years this creature had been studying Char and nothing else. When we reached out for Char and tried to track him down, the alter awoke.
But in its endless study, it had become convinced that it was Char himself. And this alter had some lessons to teach.
He was met for the first time by Chanel. She walked into the room, saw his face snarling at nothing, and she sat down on the couch on the other side of the room. She had no idea what she was looking at, but she knew she had never seen it before.
“Hello,” she said.
She laughed. “Well, it seems I don’t know your name. Care to introduce yourself?”
“My name is Char.”
I remember the pure panic that ran through her at the sound of the name. She let herself feel that panic for a moment then stuffed it away. She set her fear aside and got ready to help. “Why do you call yourself that?”
“Because it’s true. I am the badasss this little bastard has been afraid of his entire life.”
She saw it then. She had heard stories of Char for years. She knew how to play this. “From everything I know, Char is no badass. You might be, because you are not Char. But from what information I have, Char is an idiot. A fool, coward with no soul that preys on children and runs from men. Well Char, if that is what you want to call yourself, Jesse is a man now. He is not afraid of the real Char. And I am not afraid of you.”
He looked up at her, confused and shaken. “You need to be. I am nothing to fuck with. I can hurt you pretty bad if I take the notion.”
“Then do it.” She held her hands out to her side. “Do it or shut up about it.”
“Guardian,” she said softly.
In less than a breath, Guardian stepped out. He flexed and stretched his back. “What was that? It was dirty.”
“We need to talk,” Chanel said. “We might have a problem.”
This happened a few times. Two more with Chanel, and one of those times Bekah was with her. They talked to him and he snarled at them, and they found out a few things. He was dangerous. But Guardian had been alerted to his presence and was always ready. They learned that his plan was to go to Milwaukee and deal with the others. They learned he was deathly afraid of one thing and one thing only. At the very mention of Assassin, Abuser would run. He had nothing to use to face that menace. The mention of Assassin always scared him off.
We knew that one day this alter would need to be reconciled with. We just didn’t expect it to happen so quickly.
One day Job and Chanel got home and saw that the Child’s teddy bear had been crucified to the living room floor. One knife through the folded feet and one in each wrist. Abuser was on the couch when they walked in and Chanel recognized him immediately.
“You again,” he snapped. “Miss High and Mighty here to get taught a lesson?”
“Who are you?” Job asked.
“This is Abuser. He thinks he is hot shit.” She sat the other end of the couch as Job went into the kitchen. He came back quickly.
“You look like you’re bleeding,” Job said. He pointed to our hand, where a bit of blood was staining the fingers.
“Fuck him. Pain has to feel it anyway and he is in need for another beating,” Abuser said.
“Well, I can’t have that,” Job said.
“How are you going to stop it?” Abuser said.
“I’m not,” he said. “They are.”
Flashing blue and red lights filled the room from outside and Abuser jumped to his feet. He looked around and was gone.
“You called the cops on him!” Chanel snapped.
“You are pregnant and I can’t stop him. He was bleeding and I don’t know from where. We needed help,” Job said.
Guardian stood and went to the bathroom.
“I know how to handle that bastard!” he heard Chanel yelling to Job.
Guardian stepped in the bathroom and closed the door. He heard talking in the living room. Loud voices. Authoritative voices.
He needed to hand himself over. He stepped out of the bathroom to do just that when Shadow surged forward. He headed out the back door to be greeted by six shot guns.
“Drop the knife,” the cop said.
Guardian was back and realized he had a closed folder knife in his hand. He dropped it instantly and put his hands up.
“Take me. I will not resist,” Guardian said. “Thank you for coming.”
That was the last we ever saw of Abuser. We were checked into the psych ward of the local hospital for two weeks. We were given heavy drug changes and went through about four hours of therapy a day. After a few weeks in the hospital, we found out a few things. He had never hurt anyone, Guardian would never have allowed it. He was taken care of, and we saw him years later, much changed.
Sunshine came to visit with clothes and reassurances. She said that usually if a client was arrested for a crime, they were kicked out of the system, but she and Steven had convinced her boss that it was a mental break and that no one was hurt. She told me that when we got out, it would be business as usual. That was the first time I hugged her. I sobbed on her, and she held me and let me cry.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.