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About Deviant Artist Haro T. LitoriFemale/United States Group :iconstrange-and-twisted: Strange-and-Twisted
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I'm just making slow progress.

Anyway, I need a beta. The last time I tried to upload a chapter 25 it was a disaster and quite frankly I am so pleased with myself for taking that down while I still had some face left to save.

Point is, I need someone to read over what I have for part 25 and make sure I'm writing my own damn story acceptably :P

Comment, send me a note, whatever, if you're interested!


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Haro T. Litori
United States
Heyo. I'm a tad nutty and a lot nerdy, I like writing and reading and I'm not too bad with a pencil and piece of printer paper. I'm pretty friendly so feel free to talk to me about laughter, love, and life in general XD

My best friends consist of :icondead-poet-s0ciety: :iconbatmanbackflip: :iconperpetualconfusion: and my beloved cousin :iconsiracerbic:
Well, at least, as far as friends who have a dA go, anyway (you guys, get a flippin dAAAAA)


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The fact of the matter is that I’ve never actually felt unrested. It doesn’t matter if I sleep for one hour or twelve; I’m always just as awake. It’s one of the perks of being the plaything of a demon.

It’s when I’m asleep that the demon visits. They let me see them at the start; they’re an amalgamation of writhing tentacles with polka dot eyes, mouths where mouths have no business being, and dark laughter. They give me their “gift,” their side of this fucked up contract I never made. Doctors call these “gifts” fever dreams, a psychic might call them visions, and my family calls them nightmares. Honestly, they’re all right.

My demon shows me probable futures, possible outcomes based on my decisions. They show me answers and conversations, injuries and when to side-step, people and places and how to harvest good fortune. I’ve never failed a test, I’m never caught off-guard, I’m only late when I choose to be, and I don’t know what surprise feels like.

“Vicente,” my professor mumbles and I half-raise my hand. My professor finishes with roll and announces a surprise three-question quiz. Half the class groans, but I just put away my notebook, pen and paper already out. I had known, of course, that this was coming. I also know the questions that’ll be on the quiz, and their answers.

Nothing surprises me.

I eat lunch outside the union and a protestor screams that “the gays” are going to hell and women who get abortions will be haunted by their unborn babies. I chuckle mirthlessly at his word choice. “Haunted.” He wouldn’t know what haunted means if it bit him in the ass. I knew he’d say it, of course, but I still think it’s half-funny. Unfortunately, most humor requires not knowing the punchline, which I always do.

Nothing surprises me.

At home, María and Alejandra argue about ownership of a skirt over dinner. Madre is too tired to separate them and I’m always too tired for their antics. Padre isn’t home yet. María pounds a fist on the table and accidentally launches her spoon, which I casually dodge. Madre snaps at them, then, and asks if I’m alright, which I am.

After all, nothing surprises me.

At three in the morning I fall asleep at my desk. My demon greets me with a thousand devilish grins, their undulating limbs quivering with anticipation.

“Hello, my beautiful brown-eyed boy,” they say in a round. Their secondary and tertiary mouths echo their primary mouths, making an unholy cacophony that fills my skull and trickles down the back of my neck to leave slimy sound in my spine. I sigh and tell them to just hurry up and show me what they want me to see. They laugh and the nightmare begins, but I’m prepared.

Nothing surprises me.


“Vicente,” my professor mumbles and I half-raise my hand. I roll my neck again, trying to get the kink out of it. Falling asleep at my desk had been a bad decision. I spend the rest of roll call rubbing at the painful spot, irritated with myself.

“Alright class, everyone wave hello to Patrick O’Conner; he just recently joined us.”

My head spins so quickly my neck pops. I don’t even notice that the kink in it has snapped out of existence because I’m too busy staring. My demon hadn’t shown me anything about this guy. He’s six-feet-and-tall-inches, with wild copper hair and laughter in his eyes, waving friendlily at the class.

I’m surprised.

My classmates notice. Hell, my instructor notices. I, the senior who has only ever emoted a vague aura of pissed-off, am surprised. The surprise surprises me as well, since it’s an entirely foreign feeling to me. One of my classmates whispers to the new guy- Patrick? Is his name Patrick? I’ve literally never had to work to remember someone’s name before. All my fever dreams get burned permanently into my mind; memorizing is something I’m unfamiliar with.

She whispers to Patrick and he glances at me. We make eye contact and he grins, dashingly charming with an air of playfulness. I glance away from him for the first time in what is apparently twenty minutes, but my eyes return. He has a starry sky of freckles all over his face and exposed shoulders. His tank top is tucked into very loose pants that scrunch into folds under his belt and poof out around his boots. He has a scarf thrown carelessly over his shoulders. He’s slender and looks like he has the muscles of a dancer.

The entire class passes without me noticing, but that’s fine since my demon has branded the lecture into my brain anyway. I at least have the decency to glance away whenever Patrick looks at me. When everyone starts packing up I’m a beat behind them, something I’m unused to, and I’m still in such a state of shock that my fingers fumble with my backpack’s zipper.

“Hey bro!” someone says. The greeting is friendly and encased in an Irish accent as thick as potato soup. I look away from my stubborn bag to see Patrick sitting backwards on the desk in front of me, his boots resting on the chair portion. I blink dumbly and his grin turns saucy.

“Bíonn ciúin ciontach,” he says, and I blink mutely once again, uncomprehending.

“I said, ‘cat got your tongue?’” he says in English. I steadfastly refuse to acknowledge how hot my face is. Bless my dark, Mexican complexion. May it continue to prevent me from turning white-person red whenever I blush. Actually, if I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever blushed before. Shit, this is so weird.

“So when’s your next class?” Patrick asks, persistently charming. I mean friendly.

I have to glance at my watch before my brain lets me answer, “One-thirty.”

“Hey, me too!” Patrick exclaims with a laugh, “Do you want to get lunch with me?”

I quickly decide that I am too gay for this. I’m not even gay, I’m bisexual, but I’m too gay for this.

“I can’t go into the dining halls. I live here in Lincoln so I don’t have a meal plan.”

“Me neither,” he says with an exaggerated shrug, the shitty fluorescent lights of Andrews catching on his bouncing curls, “I was just thinking of getting something from the Union.”

This conversation is entirely unscripted, so I have no other excuses prepared to turn him down with. I force my backpack shut and follow him, staring at his backside, watching how his hair moves with each step and how his shoulder blades slide underneath his skin as his arms swing lightly back and forth. He’s never heard of Runza before so I tell him about how it’s only in Nebraska and has the best fries. I stumble over my words. I’ve never stumbled over my words before; I had no idea how humiliating it is to stutter.

“So, Patrick O’Conner, right?” I ask when we’re both seated, aiming for small talk. He nods and bites into a fry. “Were your parents just shooting for the most stereotypical name possible?” I ask. So that’s what it feels like to put my foot directly into my mouth. He just laughs it off, though, and I bite into the apple I brought from home. I bless my Mexican complexion again and decide that embarrassment is literally the most loathsome emotion ever invented.

I’m out of my depth, so he ends up doing basically all of the talking. He tells me that he and his parents had recently moved here from Killeshandra, Ireland. Apparently the whole population is just over a thousand people, and he thinks Lincoln is huge.

At one-twenty I find out that he’s going to Burnett as well, and then I learn we’re in the same class. He sits next to me and I spent the next fifty minutes internally screaming. Two. Two classes. I share two classes and lunch with him, and my demon had shown me nothing.


“Hello, my beautiful brown-eyed-”

“What’s the deal with Patrick?” I interrupt my demon’s nightly greeting. My demon seems caught off guard and two thousand eyes blink in waves.


“Patrick! The new guy you never showed me anything about!”

They blink again, then squint, and a thousand mouths pull taught into frowns. The thin tips of tendrils wrap around my wrists and my demon hisses.

“Is Patrick… Irish?”

Now it’s my turn to squint. “Yes?”

They hiss louder and I’d cover my ears if it weren’t for the fact that this form is just a projection. “Rid him from your life,” they order, and the fever dream begins.

“That answered exactly nothing!” I shout. My demon doesn’t answer.


I stare at Patrick all through my English course again. Occasionally he’ll look at me and smile. One of those times he sends me a wink. I refuse to feel flustered. Not me, no way. For lunch, Patrick goes to the Imperial Palace and I pull my food out of my bag. He’s halfway through messing around with chopsticks, trying to figure out how they work, when I break.

“What does being Irish have to do with demons?”

He looks up at me, surprised. His green eyes are wide and from this distance I can make out his gorgeous eyelashes. I do not acknowledge that I just thought that.

“You mind repeating that, bro?” His favorite American colloquialism is adding “bro” to everything he says and I do not find it stupidly endearing. I prop my elbows up on the table.

“What does being Irish have to do with demons?”

Patrick blinks. “I mean, my family’s Catholic?”

“No.” I run a hand through my hair, agitated. “I mean- I- ugh, look. I have a demon, okay? Some dumbass ancestor of mine made a contract with a demon and since I’m ‘90% genetically identical’ to him my demon’s stuck that contract on me.”

“That’s shitty.”

“It really is. Anyway, I see the futures. Future. All possible outcomes. I- why is talking so hard!” I close my eyes and take a deep breath. It’s surprisingly helpful.

“Anyway, my demon didn’t show me anything about you, and when I asked them they said it’s ‘cause you’re Irish. So what does being Irish have to do with demons?”

“Okay, so just for clarification, you’ve only been staring at me because you didn’t see me with your future vision?” he asks. I nod. My face is not hot.

“Oh, okay then.” Patrick shakes his head slowly, his hair loathsomely distracting. “I have no idea, bro. That sounds like a mess though, so… luck of the Irish to ya.”

I huff. “The luck of the Irish is, historically, terrible.”

Patrick winks. “That’s why we wish it on others!”

I laugh. I realize that I’m experiencing genuine humor; I hadn’t seen the punchline coming. I learn that I snort when I laugh, like Madre and Alejandra, and it’s an ugly noise but it startles Patrick into laughing too. His laugh, like the rest of him, is beautiful.


“Vicente!” Madre stops me halfway up the stairs, like I had foreseen the night before.

“Sí Madre?” I know, of course, that she’s going to remark on how I need to sleep more. Maybe if I do I’ll eat less and I might lose a little weight. Despite my ability to feel well-rested regardless of how little sleep I get, I have unyielding bags under my eyes.

I’m not prepared for when Madre remarks on how happy I’ve seemed these last two months. I grin and duck my head reflexively. María yells from her room that I have a novia and I yell back that I do not. Alejandra, drawn to all and any drama, emerges from wherever she hides when she avoids doing chores. I suddenly have three nosy family members prying into my life.

Unaccustomed and flustered, I lose my composure and tell them about Patrick. I make sure to only mention him as a friend. I tell them about how we’ve been hanging out a lot, how he’s an art major, how he goes to ballroom dance club on Tuesdays and juggling club on Sundays and Wednesdays. I do not mention how easily he laughs or how soft his hair is or how his freckles look like galaxies. I do not mention the fact that I want to kiss every single star.

That night I tell my demon that they can’t even see my family when it involves Patrick. I like the fact that they can’t see Patrick, but I don’t like almost outing myself to my family.

“That’s because he’s Irish!” my demon hisses, and I groan in frustration.

“When are you going to explain that to me?” I yell.

My demon fixates two thousand eyes on my projection and a chill informs me that I just might regret asking that question.

“You want to know? Fine. Demons can’t affect the Irish. We’ve never been able to. Want to know why Ireland has such a terrible history? It’s because we cursed the land they live on! We send their environment every plague we know because we can’t curse them and it pisses us off!”

If my projected form was physical I’m sure my ears would have bled when they shrieked that last part. As things stand, I wake from my nightly fever dream with a splitting headache.


“You okay, bro?” Patrick asks before English. “You look even more tired than usual.”

“I’m not tired,” I answer. I’m not. I just have a migraine the size of a Hawaiian island. “Just had a little scuffle with my demon last night.”

“Bro, we need to get rid of that,” Patrick expresses, sounding irate.

“Yeah, sure, just lemme research exorcisms real quick, they won’t get pissed as hell at that.” I rub my temple and wish that pain medication could affect demonically-induced headaches. The professor starts class and I mentally recite the lecture along with him. My head is throbbing and my tongue feels like it’s made out of cotton. My mouth also tastes like Redhots and stale coffee. Does my sternum hurt? I think my sternum hurts.

Halfway through the lecture Patrick taps me on the shoulder and leans in close. “What if I research exorcisms for you? Your demon can’t see me, right?” I’m still as stone as Patrick leans back into his chair. My professor turns into white noise as I turn over his words. My demon can’t see him. If he could find out how, we could get rid of my demon without their knowledge.

I feel like I could kiss him. But not literally! I would probably ruin our friendship if I did and also he’s way too attractive and interesting to ever feel that way about me. I don’t even want to kiss him that way, I’m just delighted that he might have a solution for a lifelong problem of mine and… Okay, yeah, I’m really into him. His face is so fucking pretty and it’s not fair.


Since it’s fall and Patrick is easily my best friend, I suggest that the two of us go to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch. I haven’t been there since I was little and all I remember of the place is going on a hayrack ride, getting a pumpkin, and sitting in front of a gigantic bonfire.

His parents let him borrow the car and he picks me up. María says goodbye to me at the door, which I knew she would do. Her eyes are a little too sharp, which I hadn’t seen coming. I swallow nervously and rush out, eager to get in the car. On the road I am gifted with the knowledge of Patrick’s taste in music. I can say with full certainty that his taste is shit, it’s absolute shit. Who let this boy have working ears? Why does this music exist?

He laughs when I all but fling myself out of the car on our arrival. It’s a weekday, but it’s still Vala’s so we’re parked out relatively far. I do not hold his hand as we walk past rows of cars, that would be stupid, but I kind of want to.

“Hey bro, how do you cheer up ghosts?” he asks, and I can feel the bad pun in his shit-eating grin. “You put them in an elevator. To lift their spirits!” He shoots double pistols at me and I snort loudly with laughter.

“Nice,” I say when my chuckles die down, “but I think skeleton jokes are more humerus.” Now it’s his turn to laugh, beautiful and loud like laughing’s a sport and he’s going for gold. I join in, even though it was my joke, because a laugh like his shouldn’t sound on its own.

“Vicente,” he says, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving the sound of my name in his accent, “you have the most beautiful laugh I’ve ever heard.”

I snort. “It’s ugly and I’m glad you’re the only one who ever hears it, but thanks.”

He rolls his eyes and presses his lips together, like he always does when I put myself down. It’s ironic how my best friend can make me so much harder on myself. It’s just that he’s so perfect and I am but a modest jelly bean. It’s why he can’t possibly mean it when he playfully flirts, or compliments me. He can’t be attracted to me.

Of Vala’s attractions, the first Patrick wants to attend is the Pumpkin-Eating Dragon Show. Then we catch the last Pumpkin Chunkin’ Air Cannon show at 6:15. It’s loud and oddly fun, and the sun is just barely starting to set. Patrick’s hair and freckles do well when surrounded by warm colors, but seeing him with the backdrop of a fall sunset is almost too breathtaking.

We take the hayrack ride out to the pumpkin patch. On the way there a child across from us whines that she’s tired. I snort quietly at the kid, who looks about four. “Looks like someone’s ready to head home after this,” I say to Patrick, who nods in agreement. The whole hayrack watches the father get up so the kid can sit on a hay bale.

“Here, bro, you can have my spot,” Patrick offers, standing for the older man.

“You sure?” he asks, and Patrick smiles charmingly.

“Yeah! I’ll just sit here!” With that, Patrick proceeds to sit on me. I get half of “fuck” said before I remember that I’m around small children and hiss “shit!” instead, which is no better but at least it’s quiet. Patrick, the ass, laughs at me. God he’s so awful.

“Kid, you okay?” the man who took Patrick’s seat asks. It’s too much effort to be fully irritated at him, but I don’t like being called a child.

“I’m not a kid, I’m just short and fat,” I inform him.

“Yeah, and you look tired as heck,” he says. I wave at him vaguely, my arm falling over Patrick’s lap in a loose hug afterwards.

“That’s just my face. I always look like this.” The man looks at Patrick, but when I follow his gaze Patrick’s hidden away whatever expression he was making and is smiling at me.

Neither of us is too invested in getting a pumpkin- what would we do with it?- but Patrick squats down and helps little kids carry gourds half their size. He also trips me, twice, but he swears the second time my foot actually just caught on a vine while he was nearby. His sunset laughter belies him, though. I don’t have the heart to be angry at him for it.

In the car, I hide the AUX cord and silently enjoy watching him look for it.

“Bíonn ciúin ciontach,” Patrick says, and when I make a questioning noise he says, “It means ‘the quiet are guilty.’” I grin, but refuse to give him back the AUX cord until I get home.


“Hello, my beautiful brown-eyed boy.”

I sigh and curse myself for falling asleep so early. I had planned on attempting an all-nighter, unwilling to let go of the giddy joy from the evening at Vala’s.

“My brown-eyed beauty,” they whisper sharply. I pay attention to them. “Are you not going to brag about your pretty Patrick?”

“I can do that. I can definitely do that.”

My demon hums thoughtfully. I feel their appendages crawling on my back. “Good. Otherwise I might think you’re up to something.” I feel a cold rush of terror. “I might think you’re plotting against me.”

I mean, I am, but that’s not why I was avoiding them. “What, no, of course not!” I say.

If my demon had eyebrows, they’d arch a thousand of them. I have never in my life hidden my contempt for my demon or my desire to get rid of them and these fever dreams. I discover that I am a terrible liar without a script.

The next morning my head feels like it is actively being pushed through a meat grinder. My mouth is made entirely of needles and cardboard and my tongue has the taste of blood and the inside of someone’s shoe. I feel like I’m bruised at every single joint in my body. My finger and toe nails are twenty blazing scales of hot iron. I have to focus on manually forcing air in and out of my lungs.

I have to call in sick. Madre gives me pain medication and I swallow it, wishing it could help. I’m a naturally mellow and lazy person, but I almost never call in sick, so everyone readily believes me when I tell them I’m in agony. Actually, it’s pretty amazing how chill I am, considering how boisterous and energetic my family is. María is in two sports and is class president, Alejandra is in three sports, and my cousins are all similarly active. My parents yell more often than they speak and I have never seen an aunt or uncle sit still for longer than twenty minutes. I am the odd one out in a family of motion.

The next day Patrick texts me and tells me that he missed me in English. Apparently the class isn’t as fun without me, which I find hard to believe since I contribute approximately nothing. I tell him about how my demon is tormenting me and he sends his sympathy, which shouldn’t be as comforting as it is. He then suggests that we get together on Halloween.

“Were we not going to anyway?” I ask. Though if my demon continues pitching a fit…

“I have a surprise for you, bro!” He sends a smiley immediately afterwards in a text of its own, which makes me smile weakly. I regret it immediately, though, because my head is a fat sphere of agony and all movement hurts.

Over the next five nights I try bargaining, begging, yelling, threatening, and more begging. Nothing convinces my demon to stop torturing me. Madre is ready to take me to a doctor or hospital, but Padre says I can wait it out. I half wish I could tell Madre the real reason for my agony so she’d stop worrying so much, but I remember how well that went over as a kid. School counselors, a child psychologist, angry reprimands over “fairy tales.” Madre had often called it a phase that I would grow out of. I think, secretly, Padre believed me and still remembers that I have a demon. Or else he’s eerily helpful when it comes to demon bullshit.

Patrick shows up at three-thirty on Halloween, when my family is out at María’s… thing. I think it’s a party. My voice is unusable so I type to Patrick on my phone and hold it out to him, all my joints and knuckles still feeling like giant bruises.

“I can barely walk to the bathroom, what do you think is gonna happen here?” He smiles and tucks my phone into my gross sweatpants for me. Then he catches me off-guard, like he always seems to do, and hoists me onto his back. I laugh, and the sound is like glass shards in my throat, but I shrug it off and wrap my “bruised” limbs around his neck and hips.

A short car ride and a shorter piggyback ride later, the two of us enter a brick church. “St. Patrick’s” is carved into the beige stone over the door, and I’d snort if it wouldn’t hurt. Patrick is taking me into St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.


“Hey, bro!” Patrick shouts to someone who is undoubtedly a priest. He’s wearing the robes and everything. The two share a happy exchange that is entirely in Irish and Patrick carries me into what I believe is the chapel and sets me down on a pew.

“So this is my cousin, Connor! He’s been an official priest for like, a year now, and I convinced him to come visit me an’ my folks so he could banish your demon!” He beams at me.

The priest- Connor- smiles docilely, flips open a book, and reads something Irish out of it.

Everything after that is a mess of odd pain, like my leg falling asleep but instead of my leg it’s my whole body and instead of asleep everything is sharply, frighteningly awake. When I regain awareness of my surroundings I find that the light of a sunset is filtering in through the stain glass windows. I’m leaning on someone- Patrick- and that is so embarrassing he must-

He looks spooked.

“You okay?” I ask. He frowns.

“I’m not the one who had an eldritch horror crawl out of my mouth, bro, are you okay?”

“Fine,” I say, and move my limbs experimentally, “never been better.” Then I notice Connor sitting on the pew next to Patrick, looking even more spooked. “Are you okay?” I ask.

He crosses himself before turning to me and offering a weak smile. “I, well,” he has to pause to compose himself some more, crossing himself twice before he starts talking again. “You know, I had thought Patrick just wanted me to visit America because he missed me, and that this whole demon thing was a prank. I’m very easy to startle, so the younger cousins like to pick on me. I didn’t actually expect to see or exorcize a real demon.”

“Sorry,” Patrick and I both mumble. Then Patrick drives me home, and it’s a terribly awkward car ride. I feel bad for Connor, but don’t have anything to say. At home, I make myself a mountain of food to make up for the last week of being unable to eat. Then I sleep.

My night is fever dreamless.


Life becomes a circus act and I’m the clown with a pie in my face. All social interactions are unscripted, I have to actually focus in class and study in order to retain anything, and my reflexes are all shit. Patrick, bless his heart, soul, and gorgeous face, sticks with me through all of my bumbling. I am a mess of panic with one foot constantly in my mouth, and when I complain about my inadequacies he can only shrug and say that most people learned this stuff in first grade. I learn that I’m actually just as energetic as my family; I had just never felt well-rested in my life. Goddamn demon and their consumption of my soul energy.

I can’t stay closeted now that my demon is gone. I come out on accident, tripping over my words, and Madre pitches a fit. She doesn’t believe bisexuality exists, so despite how frequently I tell her I’m bi she still refers to this new information as my “gay problem.” She blames Patrick. Padre takes the news far better than she does, and María doesn’t act at all surprised. Alejandra is blindsided by the news, but adjusts quickly and asks how long Patrick and I have been dating. Nobody in my family believes me when I tell them we’re just friends.

It’s early December and the Christmas decorations are out in full-force before I’ve adapted to my new lifestyle enough to function. Not even to function properly, just to function in general. It’s terrible and hard as hell, but I’m learning every day. Patrick and I take the bus to East Campus so he can go to the Dairy Store. God knows why he wants ice cream in winter, but he’s perfect and amazing so he’s going to get it and I’m only going to complain a little.

We wander while he eats. Dead leaves occasionally crunch under our feet. The air is cold and Patrick’s nose is bright red. A girl with peppermint coffee walks past us and the smell lingers. I figure now is as good a time as any to ask my question. I don’t know what Patrick’s response will be, but then, I never do with him, so I blurt out the words before I can talk myself down.

“So do you wanna go on a date with me sometime?”

Patrick’s head whips around so he can look at me, his green eyes wide and chapped lips parted. “Like… on a date date?”

I hunch my shoulders awkwardly. I fucked up, I fucked it up, of course he doesn’t like me that way. Why the hell would he? I totally just ruined the best friendship I’ve ever had over some stupid crush and-

“Yeah!” he says, smiling incredulously. I stop breathing, then let the air out slowly.


“Yeah, bro! Let’s go on a date!”

I laugh a little, disbelieving, then laugh a little louder and he laughs too. Oh God, his laugh could outshine as many stars as he has freckles.

“Can I hold your hand?” he asks, and of course I can’t say no. His fingers are like ice cubes threaded together but that’s just fine. I’ve never felt so warm.
Fever Dreamless
Hello again my lovelies!

This is the second short story I've written for my Intro to Fiction Class (the first being Coping Mechanisms). It's a paranormal romance, and I'm pretty pleased with it! I tried to be funny and lighthearted in this one. Emphasis on "tried." 
Spoilers, I'm not actually a funny person.

Anyway, give it a read and tell me what you think my darlings! It's nice seeing you all again!

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You, sir, are a cunt.
Poem for my Uterus
Guess who's on her period! It's me! I fucking hate everything that has to do with the female reproductive system! Fuck my vagina and fuck everything that's attached to it!

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“People who are abused make choices.  In a world where the ‘wrong’ choice means pain and injury, they make a damn career out of figuring out and trying to make the right choice, again and again and again.”


Coping Mechanisms

Carla blew the smoke out in a perfect circle, and watched it waft and dissipate lazily. James, her younger brother by two years, mimicked the action, his circle not quite as nice as hers. They had to smoke on the north side of the house because the south-side neighbors would complain about the smell of weed, even if they were already asleep and there was no way for the smell to linger long enough for them to still catch a whiff of it by morning. Carla pulled out her phone and looked at the time: 12:01.

“Ninety-one days,” she signed.

James leaned on her shoulder and nodded. “Three months to go,” he whispered hoarsely.

Technically, the two of them needed to be asleep at a minute past midnight. They had school to go to and Carla had work after school that she needed to worry about too.

She was tired, but at the same time, she was too tired to care. She wanted to get high with her little brother on the north roof of her godawful home, so that’s exactly what she did.

“How many times do ya think da’s gonna be back b’tween now and then?” James asked sleepily. He’d wake up when he got the munchies and then crash hard when he was full again. Carla ruffled his hair lightly and jostled her shoulder so that he sat up and could look at her hands.

“Three times this week, none the next, twice the next, all seven days week four,” she signed, and James took another drag at her prediction for the fourth week. “I have nothing past four weeks,” she signed. She shifted so she was lying down on James’ lap. James liked to joke that she was a fortune teller, and to an extent that was true. She knew things; that was all. She pried and picked apart and stuck her nose in places it had no business being and she remembered everything that she could use to her favor. Her father never kept his calendar filled in past about a month in advance.

Carla looked at her phone again. It was ridiculous, she knew, to expect a text from her future landlord at midnight, but she wanted to get this deal settled and she wanted it settled right then. Sure, technically she couldn’t do anything until she was officially eighteen, but she could get all the prep-work done in the months leading up to that.

Her great misfortune was that the landlord was so terrible at texting. She would take what felt like an eternity to respond to texts and sometimes she would stop texting for a stretch of time without any warning. Carla, of course, couldn’t call her, since Carla was mute, and while James was a willing translator James also had a bad habit of adding color to Carla’s statements. Just because she normally swore every other hand motion didn’t mean she wanted vulgarities thrown around in a professional conversation.

She just wanted to get out of this horrible house and take her brother with her.

Hell, she’d like to survive without major injury to herself or her brother while she waited too.

Carla pulled out her phone and checked the time: 10:59. She began loudly cleaning in the kitchen, hoping that the gal working drive-thru would hear her banging around and assume that it was time to close. Her supervisor of the evening was in the office, handling the front cashier’s finances, and would yell at (sorry, scold) Carla for trying to wrap everything up a minute early if he wasn’t. Lucky for her, he wasn’t paying close enough attention, and she might actually get everything done without him hovering, asking if he could help. Since clearly, being mute made her an invalid as well.

He only managed to get in her way for the final three minutes of sweeping and mopping and then she was out the door with a wave at the girl who worked drive. Mary? Marissa? Madeline? M-a-something. She was nice. Carla liked her well enough that she didn’t want to be outwardly rude. Now, the girl honking her jeep’s horn and making a vulgar gesture with her fingers and tongue out the window, that girl Carla was more than willing to be rude to.

“Sup bitch?!” N’Taya greeted as Carla threw her sorry ass in through the passenger-side window. Empty New-Year’s party poppers littered the car floor, leftover from two days before.

“I need to get this godawful uniform off,” Carla signed. N’Taya cackled, her teeth blindingly bright against her dark skin and the dimly lit parking lot.

“Uncomfortable?” N’Taya asked. Carla grinned wryly and nodded once. N’Taya wasn’t fluent in ASL, but she knew Carla well and she could usually put two and two together and figure out what Carla meant. Carla undid her short ponytail and stuck her head out the window, letting the evening air sting her kitchen-hot skin.

Pros of getting an apartment in 77 days: she and James would leave their father’s house.

Cons of getting an apartment in 77 days: it was in a rough enough neighborhood that it required a drug screening and Carla was more reliant on smoking than she liked to admit.

Her nerves were growing raw with tension already, and she was only just starting this whole abstinence thing. She kept reflexively reaching into her pocket, only to find it empty. The smog that made all her rough edges blurry was so far out of her head she sometimes feared she might cut someone with her sharp thoughts, and there was a horrible, terrible violence growing in her again. She’d promised James she’d keep a handle on her anger, dammit, and three days in she was already ready to claw someone’s throat out with her nails.

Her solution was violent, angry sex. She and N’Taya were already friends with benefits, sure, but that night, as her work clothes hit N’Taya’s carpet and she tasted two people’s blood in her mouth, it was all about seeing who could handle the most hurt and still get off on it. As she lay next to N’Taya, panting and aching, she was pretty sure she’d end up going to school the next day with raccoon eyes. Was her nose broken? It might have been. Her ribs ached but that was good; her muscles were sore from strain but that was even better.

N’Taya rolled on top of her and Carla laughed- that certainly had not been their position ten minutes ago- and N’Taya glared at her.

“I’m gonna bite your clit off,” she said decisively, and Carla grinned like that was a dare. N’Taya threw her legs over her shoulders and round two began. It was still painful, with hair pulling and slapping and bite marks over every inch of available flesh, but that was how they liked it.

Carla didn’t go home that night, but thought nothing of it. James knew where she was.

Carla fished out her phone and checked the time: 3:01. She’d been waiting eleven minutes for her brother to meet up with her in front of the school building. Her eye twitched with irritation- she needed a smoke.

“If you’re waiting for the idiot brigade: don’t,” Kat said behind her, and she turned around. He looked like he’d spent the better part of the last half hour raking his claw-like nails down his face and through his hair. Carla frowned and tilted her head at him.

Kat and James had been the best of friends long before either of them had come out, back when James didn’t know what gay meant and Kat didn’t know why he hated dresses so much. He was loud and angry and shouted instead of speaking, which reminded Carla of her father so she hated him on principle at first. But he was also James’ favorite person in the world, and Kat genuinely cared for James and would never hit him, so Carla had warmed up to him and was happy that James was happy. She still thought he ought to choose a more masculine name for himself, however.

Carla typed out “Where’s James” on her phone and held it out to Kat, who grimaced.

“Detention,” Kat said, and Carla would have groaned if her vocal chords still worked. “He was making jokes in math again. ‘Upholding his rep. as the class clown’ or some other bullshit nonsense his brain can vomit up.”

Carla typed on her phone again. “He needs to stay at your place tonight.” Kat huffed, his breath a puff in the icy air, but didn’t question. James had told him all about their father, of course, but had sworn him to secrecy. She didn’t have to explain that the need stemmed from the fact that their father would be home that night.

Carla fumbled for her keys and her phone nearly clattered to the ground. The screen lit up when she caught it and she saw the time: 11:15. Forty-five minutes before she had only 38 days left. She cursed her disobedient fingers and blamed the cold February weather as she attempted to fit the damn key in the lock and open her own front door. Her internal oaths worsened when she realized she was trying to insert the wrong key.

Then she heard the yelling coming from inside and her entire body felt like shattered glass. Her father wasn’t supposed to be there. He was supposed to be gone, off picketing some poor veteran’s funeral with his sect of Westboro and then drinking until at least midnight! She felt like she could rip the door off its hinges with the force she used to fling it open once she finally got it unlocked. She bolted into the house, cold winter air flowing in with her, and stopped still as stone to assess the situation.

James was bleeding. He had a great red smear on the face that was turned away from their screaming father. He was backed up against the wall, crying, and hunching in on himself, trying to make himself look smaller, pitiful, apologetic. Carla heard words. Boys don’t cry. Gay sissy. Faggot.

Two years ago, she would have jumped in on trembling legs and screamed at him until he turned on her. Instead, she picked up the closest thing near her- an old lamp- and lobbed it at his head. James yelled like he had been the one struck and their father switched his enraged attention to Carla swifter than should be possible.

She widened her stance and curled her shaky fingers into shakier fists. She felt like she was staring down Goliath, but David at least believed God hadn’t forsaken him. Her father was huge, and made larger by his authority. Strong, too, so damn strong and Carla felt so weak and small against him. His fist hit her straight on the nose and she felt it break.

She struggled back to her feet on fumbling legs and attempted to dodge what blows she could. He knew how to throw his weight around, he was heavy and heavy-fisted, but he was also drunk. Carla could win when he was drunk. It was his sober fury that Carla feared and loathed the most. Such is the stuff that broken bones are made of.

James was nowhere to be seen when the fight ended, and for that Carla was glad. The windows of the house shook when their father slammed the door behind him. Carla staggered upstairs, bleeding from her nose and bruised all over in a way that gave her no joy. No electric thrill or competitive adrenaline. She just hurt.

James met her at the top of the stairs, sat her down in the bathroom, and cleaned up her face. She wondered idly if there would ever come a day where she didn’t have to coat foundation on thick to hide her bruises.

“James,” she signed, and discovered that her pinky finger was also in great pain, “nothing that he said means anything.”

James bit his lip and nodded miserably, his agreement a meaningless appeasement.

“James,” she signed and tilted his chin up gently. He’d cleaned up his own blood, but she could see that his nose would be sore, if unbroken. “His opinion doesn’t matter. He’s awful and a liar. You’re motherfucking precious and nothing he says means-” she had to turn his face and make him look at her again, “-anything, James, everything he says is worthless.”

James’ shoulders were hunched and he nodded again, his mood no different. That time, she relented and dropped the subject. 38 days, she reminded herself, just 38 more days.

Carla glanced at her phone: 10:49. James smoked anxiously at her side, desperately trying to cast a blurry cloud over his nervous fear. She’d worked in front that evening, which meant she had time to engage in one of her less-mentionable pastimes. Illegal fight rings were skeptical of a girl her size and apparent youth, and her mutism, but she paid the $200 entry fee and they were good about not asking questions. James didn’t bet on her, although he could have. People underestimated her, which meant she could get in a good, solid sucker-punch at the start of almost all fights. Big, lumbering men also tended to feel bad about hitting a teenage girl in front of others, at least until she beat that notion out of them.

James had tried, as he always did, to talk her out of it, this time using the fact that they just had 12 days left before moving out. But Carla was reaching her limits. She was angry all the time and feared what her violence would do if she didn’t find some way to let it out.

By the end of her second fight, her nose was re-broken (again) and her lips were split in two places, but she was breathing raggedly and sore all over and victorious and she felt exhilarated as she stood over the unconscious form of her opponent. She staggered out, grinning and drunk on pain, and James insisted that they leave. She nodded blearily. She left the place $400 richer than she’d entered and infinitely calmer.

James was smoking like a chimney, but seemed too upset for anything to really stick.

“I’m fine,” Carla signed, still running on the adrenaline of the fight. “I feel fantastic.”

“You gotta find a better way to do this, sis, shit’s scary in there.”

Carla frowned, her glow dampening, “I’m fine. When have I lost?”

“Carla!” James insisted. Carla sighed, but did feel bad for making James worry about her so much.

“Fine,” she signed, “that’ll be the last time I fight in the ring.”



Carla checked her phone: 7:28. As she stared at the time, it buzzed in her hand.

“Happy bday bitch! Lemme kno when u + J are ready for me + jeep well get your asses moved in!”

Carla smiled at her phone. Leave it to N’Taya.

“Fuck waiting, get your ass here now,” she texted in return. N’Taya sent back multiple frowny faces, but Carla knew she was yelling goodbye to her mom and sister and grabbing her keys, even as she pressed send.

Carla checked the time again: 7:30. Her fingers tapped anxiously on her thigh and she ached for a good smoke. Last day of abstinence!

“Y’know, you losing your chill ain’t gonna make her show any faster,” James said sagely. She punched his shoulder.

At 7:42 the landlord’s car pulled into the lot and she seemed surprised to see Carla and James there before their agreed meeting time of 8. Carla took care of the last remaining signatures and legal work, proudly signing her name on the 21st of March, finally 18 years old. The siblings exited the building right as N’Taya was throwing the jeep into park and the three of them set off to start moving.

Carla and James weren’t in possession of much. They could load everything they owned into N’Taya’s jeep in one trip. The beds would stay. James and Carla had prepared, of course, so it was a simple matter of hauling bags and boxes down the stairs and into the car. Carla considered leaving without saying anything. They’d just vanish from the house, switch to a new phone plan, and disappear. She wondered what would happen. But no, she didn’t want the two of them showing up on the missing persons list three or four months down the road; that’d be unnecessarily bothersome. She pulled out her father’s Bible and wrote on the pages with bright red sharpie.

“We’re leaving.” She paused and stared at it. Was there anything more to say? She flipped the page, tore out the page where the red had bled through, and searched for words. Where was her anger, her ever-present violence? What scathing words could she give to this man who had consumed her life so that her every wish and want was simply “get out”? She found nothing. Just one single verse from the very book she was defacing. In a large, precise hand, she wrote out:

1 Timothy 5:8 – Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

She capped the sharpie and handed the Bible to James, along with a purple marker, and asked if there was anything he wanted to say. Carla and N’Taya sat in the jeep for an hour and a half while James wrote. He came out with blotchy eyes, but looked better than he had in a long time. The crisp air blowing through the jeep’s windows had never felt cleaner.

Carla and James spent the two days after moving into their apartment cleaning. The place was dirty and used; it smelled of piss and someone who didn’t shower half as much as they should. They didn’t invest in cleaning materials of any kind, but instead scrubbed hard with water and rags and shoved around a beat up old vacuum they got second-hand. James took over all the cooking and Carla allowed herself to wish- to desperately hope- that maybe he’d revive his old dream of owning a bakery.

Carla yanked her phone out of her pocket and noticed the time as she handed it to James: 11:07. Carla wasn’t entirely certain what the boys across the street were saying. She heard mention of her tits and ass and more than one wolf whistle, but she didn’t need the specifics.

“Sis, don’t,” James pleaded weakly, even as he took her phone. She unzipped and removed her jacket, which just made the boys’ hooting louder. James stood, phone and jacket held in white-knuckled hands as he watched her cross the street with balled fists.

The first blow was a sucker punch. Carla felt the boy’s nose snap before she heard it and felt her blood rush when his ugly laughter went silent. The other laughs cut off, stunned and horrified, and the second target didn’t move until she pulled back her fist for the next strike. He moved then, stumbling backwards over his untied shoes, arms raised to block her, but she got his exposed gut and her knee planted itself firmly in his crotch. Two down.

The other three finally started moving then, their perverse bravado replaced with offended anger. As she dodged one boy’s fist, she could practically hear their internal complaints of “how dare she.” Useless. She took a boy’s knees out from under him and slammed his skull into the sidewalk. She remembered that the back part of the brain was in charge of vision. She hoped that she had blinded him.

The next was smarter than his companions and had grabbed a plank of wood that looked vaguely like a chair leg. Not smart enough. She twisted it out of his grip, after only one blow on his part, and bludgeoned him with it. The last boy, aware now that although they were bigger, she was better, ran. Her veins boiled with bloodlust and she took after him. He was fast with fear, but she was faster with fury, and she overtook him not even half a block from his friends. She tackled him and felt a thrill at the smear of blood his face left on the concrete. There was a loose chunk of curb next to her and she pried it free. She stretched it up over her head and brought it down on his skull, channeling her enraged fervor into her every breath. Distantly, through a red haze, she noted a fraternity’s letters on his sleeve. Ugly fratboys, dirty, perverted, malicious, self-important, blustering, bumptious, idiotic, entitled-

“Carla!” A hand caught her lifted wrist and she turned to her new aggressor, ready to fight, ready to- oh.


It was James. He was crying.

Her fury drained out of her like someone had pulled loose twenty corks and she dropped the fragment of sidewalk. Her second fist unclenched and she sat lightly on the unconscious body, thighs no longer constricting.

“J-A-M-E-S,” she signed with the hand he held, and he sobbed miserably. Glancing down at the frat boy, she felt a terrible wave of nausea come over her and she feared she might hurl. It was all too easy to see this boy- all these boys- as a corpse.

“James, I’m sorry,” she signed. She was; she was so sorry. She was sorry she had lost control, sorry he had seen it. Sorry he had to once again come in and save her from herself. As she stood, she took out a blunt and lit it, breathing deep enough to look like a dragon on her exhales. She was desperate for something that would sand down the edges of her violence.

Carla glanced at her phone when she heard the door shut: 8:17. It had been a full month since the two of them had moved into the apartment. James entered their shared bedroom and looked exhausted.

“How’d the date go?” Carla signed.

“Fine.” James stripped and put on his favorite pajamas. Carla arched an eyebrow and put her book down; the date clearly had not gone fine.

“What happened?” she signed, and sighed when she realized James hadn’t been looking at her. She pulled her little brother onto her bed and he pillowed his head in her lap.

“What happened?” she tried again. James smiled at her in that way that looked convincing but actually just meant that he didn’t want to be a bother.

“James,” she insisted, and he shrugged.

“We fucked,” he said. She could hear the forced casualness in his tone.

“Did he make you?” she asked, fingers flying and rage building in her gut. If that boy had dared to hurt-

“No!” James sat up in a flash, holding out his hands in a placating manner, “No, no, Ramiro would never! I- we’re boyfriends sis, I said yeah and we had a good time!”

Carla’s demeanor softened. “You weren’t ready,” she signed. James nodded.

“You said yes anyway.” James nodded again.

“Do you regret it?” she asked, and his eyes skittered away.

“No,” he whispered eventually, “and yes. I’d do it again, if he asked.”

Carla sighed and brushed his hair out of his face. “I know you would,” she signed with a heavy heart, “You never say no.”

Carla took note of the time as she typed out a reply to N’Taya: 2:54. She was off work that day and decided she’d spend it with her friend. Probably utilizing the ‘benefits’ portion of their relationship. Graduation was just around the corner, and as seniors, she and N’Taya were in the middle of their last week of school. She bit down on the urge to find James in the afterschool crowd and ask him what his evening plans were. She’d sent him a text about where she’d be and if he just went home for the evening he’d be perfectly safe.

She still wasn’t used to that.

N’Taya was waiting by the jeep when Carla walked over and the two jostled each other playfully. They spent the evening playing mindlessly competitive video games and helping N’Taya’s little sister with her end-of-the-year project. Carla slept over, and they did have sex, but neither of them was feeling violent in the slightest that night. Rather, Carla felt incredibly warm.

Carla woke up in the middle of the night and decided she needed to smoke something. She grabbed her stuff off the couch and noticed the book James had left on the armrest. He’d asked her what it was when he unpacked it from the bottom of the last box, but she hadn’t known. She picked it up and took it to the roof of the apartment with her.

As she climbed the steps she grumbled internally to herself about any number of things. Halfway through June, the night was unusually windy. On the roof she walked to the north corner without thinking about it and only realized after she’d sat on the edge that she could sit anywhere she wanted.

Old habits die hard, she thought to herself, and laughed bitterly. Didn’t they though? Here she was, living in an apartment of her own, and yet she still behaved so much like she lived with her father. She still smoked and fought and fucked. She still sniffed out details and plans she had no business in, just in case she needed to know that information. She still lashed out with a violence that she hated even more than she hated her father. She knew she got it from him, that her behaviors were a mirror of what she’d seen, and she loathed herself for it. She didn’t want to be like him. She wanted to be rid of him.

She pulled the pencil out of the rings of the book and flipped it open idly, looking for a distraction, and her breath caught in her throat. It was her old sketchbook. She remembered it, now, a sketchbook filled with doodles and drawings of tattoo ideas. She. She’d wanted to be a tattoo artist, once. An artisan of skin and ink. She swallowed hard, then turned the pages.

If her hands trembled, she told herself it was because the late-spring evening was unnaturally chilly. Some of her old designs were laughably terrible, while others were worth looking into. She lit her joint halfway through the book, and found herself on a blank page far sooner than she expected. The pencil twirled in her fingers lazily, once, twice, three times, before she decided to press it down onto the white paper and begin to sketch again. She did not light another joint, but instead breathed in one last time before tossing the butt into the open air. Carla blew the smoke out in a perfect circle, and watched it get torn apart by the city wind.
Coping Mechanisms
Hey hey hey!

So for my Intro to Fiction course we had to write a 10-15 page story, and this is mine! TW for abuse.

Kat is transgendered, in case any of you are confused about that. I'm not really sure how to put it more clearly than that but eh, there you go.

I have edited this thing to hell and back and included more symbolism than I'm used to, so it should be pretty alright! Tell me what you think of it?
I'm not going to put it all on here since I don't really think it's fitting for my dA aesthetic, but if you wanna read my Homestuck/A Dark Room crossover, here you are:…
Firelit AU
I recently wrote this long thing and posted it to my ao3. It's Homestuck. It's this game I like. Go give it a read if you're so inclined!

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Cool let's do this
Damkina for Roquer0 by HaroThar
Neverb4, I finished it by HaroThar
Made for a friend by HaroThar
In for a visit. by HaroThar
Zeph by HaroThar
Rikash by HaroThar
I can do color now. I can do sketches too. I also write, but I haven't been able to do any of that (I got one request forever ago but it wasn't something I was able to complete.
So I'll do whatever you like, sketch, colored pencil, or words.
If it's Homestuck related I guarantee it'll get done faster XD


Add a Comment:
Roquer0 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2015
TY for the fav Haro!
HaroThar Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2015
Of course!
Roquer0 Featured By Owner Nov 3, 2015
How have you been
HaroThar Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2015
Ugh, busy as hell! But I'm alright. How have you been?
(1 Reply)
CircleDreams Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2015
Thank you so much for your fav of my poem! :hug:
suttonQjuggernaut1 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2015
Thanks for the favs!OMG! I think I've fainted. 
HaroThar Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2015
Yeah! Great work!
CircleDreams Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2015
I'm glad you enjoyed reading "Godric's Gift" ...I appreciate the fav. :star::star:
cholie Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015
Thank you so much for your support!!!! :love:
HaroThar Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2015
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