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Dead Drunk

By Nick Dix



​Last call is but a moment gone.

The drunks are in the gutters.

A sigh is on his liquored breath

But not a word he utters.


He fumbles for his phone but finds

The thing is dead as dirt.

The fool had left it on all day

And now the phone’s inert.


He cannot call a cab for home

And so he trips along.

Beneath the moon he hums a tune

That he remembers wrong.


He careless wanders dusky streets.

His head is fogged with rum.

He doesn’t care for anything,

Not even kingdom come.


It’s late and streets are desolate

Except for rising mist.

The only ones awake this hour

Are trashed, completely pissed.


In shadows figures stand and sway

And see the man walk home.

Although it seems none pay him heed

One follows as he roams.


The streets are winding with his steps,

Which weave from left to right.

He can’t keep track of his own feet,

Nor two outside his sight.


He doesn’t hear the echoed steps

That come from close behind.

He’s cannot stop the creeping threat

With liquor-addled mind.


The thief is quick to roll the drunk,

His wallet snatched with ease.

The bat impacts his head behind

And soon he’s on his knees.


A conscious glimmer, sharp and brief,

Remains a moment more

Before he falls onto his face,

Out cold to kiss the floor.


Eternity of blackest sleep

Goes by before he wakes.

But still it’s dark when he gets up

And lifts himself from pavement.


The streetlights cast their garish beams,

Which leer a rusty red.

The roads and rolling mists alike

Are stained with curdled blood.


His head is fogged but fear cuts through

The haze like burning sparks.

He isn’t safe alone at night,

And home is still so far.


And now a scabrous yellow cab

Pulls up beside the man.

The driver offers him a lift

And beckons with a grin.


But oh, the driver seems amiss.

His smile is far too wide.

His stare is fixed upon the drunk

Although he has no eyes.


“It’s awful late to walk alone

Would you care for a ride?

I’ll take you where you need to go,”

The cabbie says and smiles.


The drunkard backs away and chokes,

“No thanks, I’m fine…I’ll walk.”

The driver shakes his head and says,

“For now but not for long.”


The taxi disappears in fog,

A phantom in the dark.

He fears to linger any longer

And starts again to walk.


But as he goes on down the road

He starts to realize

He doesn’t know these shadow streets

Or towers by their sides.


The streets are nameless, marked by signs

As blank as ancient graves,

And each one twists and overlaps

Into a snarled maze.


The towers waver in the haze,

Mirages built of scrap.

They’re empty husks, devoid of light,

Not homes but cenotaphs.


The silence shatters when his phone

Begins to ring with shrieks.

He answers quick to quiet it

With hopes for some reprieve.


A croaking echo greets the man,

“For now but not for long.”

He drops the cell and sees it’s dead

As when he first had called.


Dark figures slip through fog and shadow

With shambling, creeping gaits.

They’re hunting for some human flesh,

All ravenous as rats.


He sprints headlong into the fog

In hopes he’ll lose the creeps,

But every step he takes is vain.

They’re out on every street.


The more he runs, the more he’s lost

To labyrinth alleyways.

The haggard figures multiply

On each new street he takes.


His breath and luck run out at once

Upon a road’s dead end.

He’s trapped by hungry fiends behind

And walls of brick ahead.


“You should have taken my advice

And ridden to your home.

It isn’t safe so late at night

When you are all alone.”


The eyeless driver smiles wide

And leads the dreadful pack

To vicious deeds done for no reason

Than joy in violent acts.


Next morning news reports record

The details of a crime

So gruesome it will haunt the town

Until the end of time.


Police describe a trail of blood

That runs down alleyways

And stops upon a dead end street,

Where most of him still lays.


What’s left of him is torn by teeth.

He’s missing toes and fingers.

His sockets gape as does his mouth.

The smell of booze still lingers.


A shot glass sits beside the corpse

Who knows whose glass it is?

But one thing is for certain though,

The blood inside is his.


And on the wall above his head

A scarlet message goads.

In dripping words the message reads,

“Just one more for the road.”



 


Nick Dix is a poet and programmer residing in north Texas. His poetry has been featured in publications such as long con, The Minison Project, and Hearth & Coffin. He has an abiding fascination with epic poetry. You can find him on Twitter or on mastodon.social @nickdix.

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