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Slash and Yaoi Fiction
Title: Postmortem
Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: John Huston's Wise Blood
Rating: R
Pairing: Hazel Motes/Enoch Emery (kinda)
Status: complete
Archive: yes
Feedback: juxiantang@hotmail.com
URL: http://juxian.slashcity.net
Disclaimer: The characters belong to Flannery O'Connor and the interpretation of the characters in the movie belongs to John Huston and I just played with them a little bit.
Timing: set after the end of the movie.
Warning: slight necro motives; religious motives. I dunno where the things start to be offensive for you - but better safe than sorry - so, be warned: you might find it offensive.
Summary: Enoch thinks that he carries on Hazel's ideas.

POSTMORTEM

"Hazel Motes," I said when the door opened. "I know he lives here."

Her eyes looked through my head; looked as if there was something behind me in the street, something that interested her more than I did. I didn't like her looking this way - it made me feel as if I was not real - and I was real; I knew I was. I crossed my arms on my chest protectively, showing her my blue and red tattoos - but she seemed to be unimpressed: she didn't even glance at them. At last her pudgy fish-belly face that was streaked with red crumpled a bit and her mouth quivered as she said:

"No. Not lives."

I tried to figure out what it had to mean when she walked back into the house, leaving the door open - and I followed her.

She showed me a bed downstairs. Not upstairs, not in his room - and that's why I thought at once that she was shamming me. He lay on the bed and he had Hazel's blue suit on - but everything else was wrong. Too thin; and the skin was pale and mat - and marred - not warm-colored and smooth that always bewildered me so. This skin I thought I wouldn't never want to touch.

"It's not him, is it?" I said.

Her mouth had a weirdly ironic curve that, I knew somehow, hadn't been there even a few hours ago.

"Who else?" she shrugged.

I looked at her and looked again at him. The hands were folded on his chest but there was no peace in how they lay - curled and digging into each other, the cloth of his shirt clutched tightly between the fingers. The hands were like Hazel's - the fingers long and fleshless thin - and they gripped the same hard as his hands could. I swallowed but my throat felt dry; I didn't want to recognize him. I was not a stupid boy any more, I was big and clever - but sometimes I still was afraid of things that were there. Just like sometimes I wanted to play with the things that were only in my head.

"When did he die?" I asked.

"This morning."

I felt the air cold and harsh in my throat when I gasped. How could I be so late? Just for a few hours late. But I couldn't come earlier, I really couldn't - I had to find the flat, to bring myself in order - I wanted to be okay for him, didn't want him to see all that mess.

I should've hurried. I hadn't been there for him when he must've needed me. And now I knew I would never be able to be there for him. I didn't know how I was going to live with it - but I knew I would have to live with it. That guy in prison - Isaiah Jones - taught me that there was not a thing in this life one couldn't live with.

"What did you do to his eyes?" I asked. The black pieces of fabric on them fascinated me. I reached my hand to take them off.

"I did nothing to his eyes," she said tiredly - and she stopped me from touching him. Her hand was not all that strong and I could fight her - but something told me not to, to retreat now. For everything was its own time.

"The undertakers will take him away tonight," she said even though I didn't ask her - and for a moment it seemed that she didn't talk to me at all. But there was nobody else she could talk to - and then she added and I knew she said it to me. "There will be no one to see him off except me. He had no one in this world."

Stupid woman! He'd had me. He still had me.

"Maybe, you will come to the funeral?" she said. "I can tell you when it is."

I stared at her. That was when the thought struck me. Such an awful thought that for a few moments I couldn't think it to the end. It was drumming in my head, ricocheted in my scull as if trying to break out. But there was no way out and it stayed inside me - pounding with familiar noise, noise I would never take for anything else. Noise that wise blood makes.

I almost said it aloud, the thought - but I knew I didn't have to say it - because it could hinder me eventually. I closed my mouth and turned away, folding my arms again. The red itching gorillas on my forearms bared their teeth.

"I don't think so," I said walking to the door. "I am not going to stay in the city for long."

* * *

I had a sandwich with cheese and tomatoes in the café - and the waitress was a different one, the one who didn't know me. It was good to think about it - that the bitch was gone and couldn't say mean things about me any more. And I was here again. I'd thought Hazel Motes would come with me here - but he didn't. He couldn't. He lay on the bed in the house of this woman, alone - and his hands were clutched on each other like he had no one else to hold on to.

And they all thought he was dead - but I knew better.

I'd always known better - I knew things - could see things that nobody else could see. And at that moment - when I stood over him in that ugly room and looked at his motionless-but-not-tranquil hands and the paleness of his throat under the sharp line of his jaw - the things came to me. I knew what I had to do. And I knew I would not let him down again.

I scratched the gorillas on my forearms. The gorillas looked even angrier red now but it didn't matter. I scratched them while I watched the car that stood on the opposite side of the street.

It was not Haze's car - it was not even a similar one - and I even didn't know if he would like it. But it was big and the color was bright - and nobody came up to it for a long, long time. Maybe, nobody needed it at all - or they wouldn't leave it like that in the street, would they?

I drank my coffee and came out and walked to this car - and on the ground near to it there was exactly what I needed - a long rod of metal. I pushed its end under the door - and it opened with so little resistance that I laughed at how easy it was and wondered why no one else did it before me.

Nobody shouted. Nobody tried to catch me. I sat into the car. I didn't never drive a car in my life - but I closed my eyes and I saw things - the insides of it, the engine, the wires - and I saw what I had to do to make it move.

I started and drove.

* * *

The street where he lived was an empty one - barely a couple of people passing in an hour. I'd got to know it a long time ago - then, when he hit me and I lay there, on the cold ground, for minutes and minutes - and nobody didn't come up to me, nobody didn't care. Now the street was quiet, too. I parked the car on the opposite side so that I could see the door open and shut. She had to come out; I just knew that she would come out.

I could do it with her in the house, too, but I didn't want to do it. Isaiah Jones taught me that it was the worst thing one could fall for - unnecessary victims.

At last the door opened and she walked out, a little ugly hat sitting on the side of her head as a cap of a mushroom. I waited for her to disappear from my view, got out of the car and walked to the door. There was no key but I didn't need no key. I still had the rod and it opened the door the same good as it'd opened the car.

"Am I doing everything right?" I said coming in. It was silent in the house and something creepy in how my voice sounded. I didn't like to talk when no one didn't answer me - it made me feel as if I was not there. But this time it was different. This time I talked to him.

I entered the room and looked at him - and he was lying like this, so still and pale, with his upturned face, all sharp angles and no color at all - and I felt sad and lost again - but only for a moment. Yes, he looked so dead - I would think he was dead - if blood in my temples didn't tell me that he wasn't.

I had to take him away from here; I couldn't let this woman give him away - couldn't let her put him under the ground. He needed me to help him - and I'd help him. No way I'd fail him again.

I sat down on the bed and pushed my arms under him. His clothes were wet - I couldn't understand why - wet and cold. I held him - like people hold children - and tried to raise him. But he was so strangely heavy - and so really, really cold - and I tried to pull my hands back but couldn't - he kept them pressed to the bed with his weight. So, he didn't want me to leave him.

"I am sorry," I said. "I just need to get used a little. But I will get used."

I breathed in and heaved him up - and he fell against me, his head on my shoulder, his silky hair against my cheek. His hair smelled with rain - how rain always smells in the city - smoke and gas and metal - and there was also earth and blood in this smell. It frightened me - but I liked it, too.

I took his hands and unclenched them from each other, finger after finger. He didn't want to let go - but I made him. I threw his arm around my shoulders and stood up with him.

I could never imagine he would be so heavy - with how thin he was. He was slack and unresisting - but in this slackness there was no help, there was spitefulness. He was as usual about that, even now. And I liked to know that he didn't change.

I looked for his hat to take it with us but couldn't find it. Maybe, she put it somewhere away - as if he didn't need it no more.

His feet dragged on the floor after me; I walked him across the street and to my new car. I had to sit him down on the ground at its door because I couldn't hold him and open it. Then I put him inside and shut the door and walked around the car and sat on the driver's place.

My lungs burnt when I breathed - and I didn't feel cold any more because my forehead and palms were sweaty and slick. I was tired - but I couldn't rest. I knew we had to go now - while she was not back yet; because she would want him back, I knew it. She'd never understand.

"Let's go. I'll show you where I live," I said glancing at him and started the car. "You'll see. It's a small place but nice - and they lend rooms for those who come out on parole. You'll like it there. Not that we're going to stay there for long, right? Just for a few days - three days or as many as you need. I'll take care of you."

His head lay awry against his shoulder, the small mouth not compressed as usual but soft - and his hands lay on his lap palms upwards - like he waited for something to be put in them. I looked at his hands and I couldn't resist - just brushed the tips of my fingers against one of them. Maybe, he wouldn't notice it.

"I am sorry," I talked to him while driving. "I couldn't come earlier. They sent me to prison. They said I stole that suit of Gonga and that I scared people. But I didn't do it. I just wanted them to shake hands with Gonga. It was silly, I know. But I don't regret that it happened, after all. Isaiah Jones changed me. It hurt but I changed."

I looked slyly at him. Hazel knew all about changing - he understood.

"If only you could wait for me," I said. "I know it was not good for you, with this woman in her house and what with this little bitch leaving you there. Jumping into your bed - she could do that - but how about being there when you needed her? If I came earlier, we could do it together - walk around the streets as she does with her father - and I would help you. No? It was not what you wanted?"

I wished I could see his face better. It was getting dark outside and it was dim in the car. But darkness was okay - just what I needed.

I put the car in the far end of the street - I didn't want to give someone a clue that it was me who borrowed it - it was one more thing Isaiah Jones taught me. I waited for a few moments to gather myself before doing what I had to do; Hazel was not going to help me - but he never was helpful, of course.

I got out of the car and came up to him, reaching my arms. His face was white like marble, glimmering in the dark - and the black cloth on his eyes looked like it was eating inside his flesh - clefts of emptiness into his presence. I braced his arm around me and walked him along the street.

The kids that smoked at the trashcan looked at me. They said nothing but I said all the same:

"It's my friend. He just needs a bit of rest."

My voice sounded muffled because I was breathless with tiredness but I thought they understood.

There were six stairwells up to me room and I walked all of them with Haze in my grip. I hoped I didn't crush his ribs 'cause I held him so tight. At last I put him on the bed and his arms flung apart on the sides - like a "T" letter. And he lay there - and I slumped on the floor at the bed, clinging to its cold metal and feeling the metal taste of blood in my mouth even though I didn't know where it came from.

* * *

I locked the door. Nobody was going to come here but I wanted to be sure that nobody would hinder us, nobody would come and try to take him away from me. Nobody had to interfere with Hazel's plan. You see I knew what his plan was. I, of all people, was allowed to realize it.

Others didn't know. He tried to tell them - but they didn't understand. They didn't listen when he tried to talk to them. They wanted guitar playing and something flashy and fake, not something true. Eyes have they, but they see not...

He would make them understand. When he came back, they would understand. They wouldn't be able to deny it any more. They would wonder, would be amazed - but they would get an ultimate proof.

"I don't need any proof, Haze," I said smiling to his aloof face. "I am your chosen one. I always believed you."

I knew now that he meant himself when he talked about his church. I was dumb at first, I looked for someone else, for the little brown mummy. The little mummy couldn't never come back. But he would come back. My wise blood told me.

His blue suit was muddled and soiled - but it was not his clothes I looked at - it was his face, mystifying and cold, all sharp angles and blade-like lines - and this paleness - of skin, of lips - and the black material of the covers on his eyes. I reached my hand at last and pulled the covers off.

I startled back at first. I have to admit, at first I couldn't conceive it - even I couldn't.

"How... how..."

I felt a little hot stream of piss wetting my pants as I looked at him - sitting on my ass on the floor, too weak to get up. His face radiated whiteness in the dim light of my room. All white, without black now.

Now I could see what he had done to his eyes.

"Why did you do it?" I asked. "How are you going to see how much I changed now?" he had never cared what I felt - but I wanted to say it all the same. "I wanted you to see how much I changed! I am not that stupid boy, crazy boy any more. I grew up. My name is still Enoch Emery - but I am different now."

I got up. The mess of scars of his hollow eyelids was like crumpled waxed paper - something that didn't look human-like. People have eyelashes, you know - and he didn't. Not any more.

"I wanted you to see this," I said showing him my inflamed forearms, the grinning gorillas on them blue and red. "Isaiah Jones held me while that Russian guy did it with the sharpened paper-clip and burnt rubber. Isaiah Jones said he would make me a man - and he made me a man. He took me and it hurt but I changed."

He couldn't see it. Hazel had always been like that - didn't want to notice me, rejected me, hit me - and now he was the same, robbing me of what I wanted so much.

I was so angry that I felt like striking the unprotected face - or to spit in his eyes that were not there. And yet sadness ached so bad in me that tears welled up in my eyes and stung there.

"Oh no, you don't want to look," I said. "You never wanted to look at me."

* * *

"I am sorry. I try to be smart - I try to be good for you. But I still not big enough to be always smart. That's why I didn't understand at once."

I lay in the bottom of the bed, at his feet, curled around them as much as there was place for me, and felt the stinging cold on his soles pressed into my belly. My hands stroked over the scabs on his feet that didn't bleed any more, didn't hurt him any more.

"But now I see, I see..." I repeated. "You had to destroy your eyes like this to show that you are real. Only you could do it, Haze. How could anyone else do it? It must have hurt - oh I bet it hurt as hell. I wouldn't never be able to do it. But you are strong. You are special. My only truth is that I recognized you."

I thought how he had never wanted to look at me with his beautiful, beautiful eyes - his eyes that were destroyed now - and I felt tears salty and choking in my throat 'cause I felt sorry for those eyes more than for anything else. But I knew he had to do it.

How could he build his temple without destroying the temple of his body?

"I wish I was there for you," I whispered, clasping my hands against his feet, cradling them in my palms. "I would stand at your car when you talked from it. I would be your eyes - your feet - you bread - your water - I would lead you 'cause you are the one who showed me the way. Will it be? You don't need your eyes any more - you won't need them, won't need nothing - no place, no home, no nobody in this world - because everything will belong to you."

* * *

I looked for something to eat in my room and found nothing. I didn't want to leave him but I had to. I walked downstairs and down the street to the shop. The car was still there but thrashed so badly that no one hardly would recognize it. Too bad for them. And we - we wouldn't need a car when he came back - and it was not Hazel's car, anyway - who knows if he would like this one.

I was almost at the shop when the thought struck me that someone could come up to my room while I wasn't there - and the lock on it was so flimsy, a push of your shoulder and it would open. They could take him away - could be taking him away right now.

I ran back and up to my room - and nobody was there - only he was - and I knelt at the bed - where his hand was dangling. There was so little distance between us that I needed just to bend my head down a little to touch his hand with my cheek. But I didn't dare.

I was his chosen one - and yet I knew he didn't want me like that - never wanted me to touch him - just wanted me to make everything good and right for him so that he could spend those days here... until he would be ready.

I didn't pay attention to my stomach growl and hurt. Who needed food when there was so little till we'd have everything?

But I couldn't stop talking with him. I knew he heard me, whether I whispered or talked aloud.

"I understood at once you were not dead," I said. "What would you die of? There is nothing wrong with you, you are not stabbed, you are not shot. Nobody dies like that, of nothing. I wish you told me about your plan - wish you didn't hide it. Didn't you see that I would understand everything, not those people, not the little girl you were screwing - but me."

I didn't blame him - oh no! And, maybe, he was right. I was not ready yet to see the whole picture. I needed to be caught - needed to go to prison - and needed Isaiah Jones to do those things to me to understand.

But now I was ready. And Hazel knew it, too - or he wouldn't let me help him.

* * *

It was a good thing that I saw the man through the window. Getting out of his car and walking towards the doorway.

Why was he here? Don't open him. Hide. Pretend I was not at home. But the landlady would say I was there. I looked at Haze and I knew what he would say - I could hear his voice in my head telling me how to do things - the voice that was louder than the beating of wise blood in me. I pulled the blanket from under him, tossed it on him, crumpled the bed and the pillow under his head.

Calm down. The man knocked when I barely finished. I waited until I could breathe normally - and opened the door.

"You missed your appointment, Emery," he eyed me up and down, leaning against the doorway - panting - what about all these stairs he ascended. Shouldn't come here at all.

"I forgot, okay?"

I wanted him to leave; wanted to shut the door in his face, right before his oily eyes that stared at me with what was supposed to be friendliness - but I didn't buy it.

"And did you forget that a thing like that is enough to get you back to where you've just come from? Don't blow up your parole so soon, okay?"

I nodded. I didn't want to listen to him - what could he say that I didn't know?

"And I assume you didn't find a job yet? You know you are supposed to - or you get back behind the bars in no time at all."

"I'll have a job," I said. "In two days I'll have a job and you won't never say it's a bad one."

He looked as if he didn't believe me. But he would know. How he would like it then, I wondered.

"Why do you keep me on the threshold? Are you not alone?" he pushed me aside, walked in, his small eyes grasping and greasing everything around.

I had done a good work about Haze - just his hair sticking from above the blanket, his skinny body curled like a child's.

I knew he looked at him. I would have to kill him if he touched the blanket, I said to myself. Even Isaiah Jones wouldn't call this victim unnecessary.

"Who's it?" he asked.

"My friend," I said.

There was sarcasm in the curve of his mouth but strange understanding in his voice, understanding I hated to hear:

"I see. They take a normal kid and put him behind the bars with all these animals - and here we have another faggot," he talked as if he was not talking to me - but this time I didn't care. If he didn't notice me - maybe he wouldn't care about Hazel, too.

"I liked to go to the Zoo," I said. "There were a lot of animals behind the bars there."

He didn't answer me, just shook his head and his flat nose wrinkled a little.

"Hmm, it's creepy here, do you know, son? A nasty place. I wonder how they expect the poor sods to get on the right way living in a place like this."

Whatever. I put my arms against my midriff - the gorillas more flaming red than ever before. He threw a short glance at them and shrugged but said nothing. Instead of it he cast a weird look at me, twisting his thumbs around each other on his belly.

"This car down the street that was stolen a couple of days ago - do you have any idea who could do it, Emery?"

"I dunno nothing about the car," I said, "I can't drive."

"Yeah. Yeah, I see," he contemplated me for a while more and then turned away. "Make something with your life, Emery - it is my advice."

If he only knew that I already taken it.

* * *

This night I saw him. He stood up from the bed and stood over me and I felt his gaze. It was what woke me up. I gasped opening my eyes - and the room was dark but I still saw him looking down at me.

His suit was the same one - but as new and neat as it was when I had seen him for the first time - and there was no hat on his head but his hair was black and rippled and shining silk - and his face was white and glowing - and his mouth like a flame. His fiery eyes stared at me grey and bright and with darkness in the bottoms of them.

"Can you see me again?" I whispered. I couldn't speak aloud but I knew it didn't matter 'cause he heard me all the same and I heard him in my mind.

"I never stopped seeing you, boy," he said.

Boy... like Isaiah Jones used to call me. But Isaiah was just a nigger guy, a soiled one - while Hazel Motes was clean and radiant and there was mad laughter in his eyes and black flame of fire.

I rose - and looked closely in his face - his perfect face - no mark on it any more, no scar - but marble whiteness, striking whiteness of someone beyond touch of earthly. His mouth was small and pink again, the thin lips pressed tightly and curved in a small comma - but his eyes were the only thing I saw - so huge and absorbing - unkind eyes of his that were more ruthless now than ever before.

And more insane and more laughing.

"I knew you'd return for me," I said - and he didn't say anything but his eyes burned me and it hurt and I wanted to cover my face but I didn't dare - and I knew his stare would burn through my hands, anyway.

It was him, I knew it. But I still had to check - to make sure I saw the things right. Sometimes I was stupid - and sometimes I saw things that were not there. So, I reached my hands to him and felt all the warmth coming from him, so strong - as if there was flame inside him - or he came from the flame.

I thought he would hit me, would push me away and I would fall and lay flat again, watching him stand over me and smile distantly - just as before. But he only brushed away my hands - and laughed.

"What do you want to do, boy? Kiss me?"

I reached again - and then I felt the buttons of his jacket in my fingers, plastic, hard and not alive - and I unbuttoned it and pulled his shirt apart.

"Do you want to put your fingers in my wounds?" he tossed his head back and laughed and his pale long throat reverberated with this sound - and this sound resounded through me and through the whole building and I was afraid everybody would hear it. But they didn't.

There were no wounds. No traces of barbed wire around his ribs. His chest was smooth and unblemished, dark nipples burning on it like small fires.

"You are not him," I whispered. His skin was like silk, his ribcage still, not rising, not fluttering - but the hollow of his belly trembled slightly at my touch.

His mouth was pressed small and mean as he looked at me with these wild eyes that laughed even when he didn't laugh. His hands shook off mine and I gasped, feeling how empty they became at once.

"Then who am I?" he grabbed my wrist and pulled my hand to his chest and under my fingers the long dry scabs appeared and dripped blood again. I didn't want to see it - but even when I closed my eyes I still could see it - and I felt it on the tips of my fingers.

"Don't you recognize me?" he said, holding my wrists.

His eyes burnt through my eyelids - and I knew if I didn't open my eyes, he would blind me. Then I looked - and his face was very close, his eyes shining like huge spheres of translucence - blue - grey - blue - and I knew I was falling into these eyes, could see my own little black figure falling on the bottom of them - and screaming - because there was no bottom.

"Now you know me, boy," he growled.

I am not a boy, I wanted to say, I was a boy but Isaiah Jones made me a man - but there were no words, no sound for me to argue with him.

"Don't show me your ugly tattoos," he hissed, twisting my arms so that the gorillas on the seemed worthless and pathetic. "Don't you dare to talk about your Isaiah Jones any more! Beware of false prophets... for they shall deceive the very elect."

I gasped. His bony hands - flesh-stripped wings of a bird - squeezed my wrists, nearly till the bones crushed - and his mouth, red and doll-like small, was so close to me. He kissed me.

I thought it would burn me. Or he would kill me - but he just pushed me and I fell on the bed - and there was enough place for me to sprawl. Hazel's lips curved and smiled - and his eyes were laughing, those ages-old eyes on the boyish face.

He leant over me, holding the back of the bed and I saw the metal melt under his fingers.

"Will you follow me?" he asked softly - but his voice scared me more than anything else did.

"Yes," I said. "Yes. Wherever you go."

Then he spread my legs and entered me - and it hurt worse than Isaiah Jones ever could hurt me - and his cock was like flame inside me, alive and moving in and out - and his hands on my face were leaving the prints that I knew I would never be able to hide.

Leave me my eyes, I wanted to plead with him - but I couldn't say a word. And I knew he heard me all the same. Only he didn't care.

So, I cried soundlessly with my own release - wet and sticky and sordid - but his flame that filled me cleaned me - killed me and resurrected me. And when I stopped shuddering and sobbing, he was already gone.

* * *

He lay on the bed in the same way as before, even his arms were flung in the sides. I felt his body with my fingers - I couldn't see him any more, couldn't see anything. My eyes were gone - he'd taken them away with him. But it didn't matter. I knew the truth - he proved I was his chosen one.

"Its' okay," I said sitting on the floor and holding his cold hand. "I know you. I just have to wait."

THE END

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