I think Captain Gold is worried that I’m losing it. Sometimes I think I might be.

I haven’t seen Marty for days. He was supposed to meet me at the Larrabee last night, but never showed. I’m starting to get very concerned.

Casey is gone. I think I lost her a long time ago, but now she’s gone for good.

It occurs to me that I’m jumping ahead of myself. I need to stop and recollect my thoughts. There’s a lot I don’t remember, and even more that I do, but it might not be true.

My name is Arthur Spooner. You can call me Spoons. I’m 49 years old and I’m a narcotics detective in Lake Davie, Florida. In the past year, a drug called kissyface entered my city. It spread through our young people like the black plague. But this ain’t the first time I seen it.

July 22, 1995. It was one of the hottest nights of the year. Any year. My partner Marty Kefferman and I were working the north side. And one day the two of us were called to assist in a raid on a crack house. I’ll never forget what that dispatch sounded like. Ruth Portnoy was our dispatcher, and she’s always been a rock of stability. When she put the call out, her voice was rife with panic.

“All units! All units! Converge on 185 Bodden Street! Shots fired, officer down…sweet Jesus, it sounds like there are…animals…um…10-91V! Repeat, 10-91V! God, the sounds…the sounds…”

We damn near broke our necks speeding our way there. Marty was the driver and he drives like a maniac. That was the last time he drove, though. Every time after that he insisted I drive. I can’t say I blame him. It affected us all in different ways.

In all, four units made it to the house, seven cops in total making the bust. Myself, Marty, Raphael “Jimbo” Suarez, Mikey Tancredi, Eve Pernicky, Sam Hawkins and Eddie Gold. Eddie didn’t have a partner. He didn’t like working with people.

Jimbo, Mikey and Sam didn’t make it out alive. The rest of us wish we hadn’t.

Try as I might, I can’t fully describe what I saw in there. Everything looked…rubbery and slick. I remember the floor was slippery, and it felt like we were walking on…hell, I can’t parse this. I have no idea what it might feel like to walk across a giant set of lungs as they breathe, but that’s about as close as I can come to describe what it felt like.

There were people. I guess they could be called people. See, we knew about Bodden Street. It’s in a neighborhood that has gone to absolute shit, and 185 was the house where it all seemed to come from. We knew it was packed with meth-addled squatters and that some major players in the game dealt from there. We knew it, but something kept us from investigating too thoroughly. For one thing, the area was mostly controlled by a dealer named Dodge, and stepping on his territory was asking for more trouble than any of us were prepared to deal with. We knew he was involved with kissyface, and we knew that it was no ordinary drug. We just didn’t know how out of the ordinary it was.

See, kissyface starts off by increasing your libido to insane levels. You start having orgasms at the slightest touch of a hand, or even just wind. And it makes you want more of the stuff until you’re lost in the sensations. Parties where the kissyface gets brought out tend to turn into orgies. Casey went to one. Just one. She got hooked immediately. Now she’s gone. I don’t know where she is, but I have an idea. I don’t want to pursue that idea. If I’m right, she’s never coming back.

The crack house had become the kissyface house. It was full of users, and by the time we got there, we saw these fleshy lumps that had random eyes, noses, mouths, fingertips, teeth, hair, intestines, brains, all that stuff, just sort of sprouting randomly from all over them. A lot of them had open, bleeding orifices that none of them seemed to notice. They were leaking fluids everywhere; blood, water, spinal fluid, liquidized fat, and yeah, sexy juices, too. They were moaning, all of them. It sounded both like they were in horrible pain and horrible pleasure, all at once.

There were a few that looked mostly human as well. They maybe hadn’t been using for as long. They were coupling together, their flesh already starting to merge, one guy was alone, jerking himself off furiously with a fist that was already melded with his, well, his parts. It looked like one long string of rubbery tissue, undulating in the air, one end attached to his shoulder and the other his groin. I realized with horror that he had part of a uniform on him. He was the officer on scene we’d been called to help.

But that wasn’t the worst part.

The worst part is that the walls and the floor seemed to be made out of the same fleshy stuff the lumps had become, and the people were turning into. And it was all…pulsing, throbbing, with fresh fluids dripping down the walls like a syrupy waterfall from nowhere. All around us was reddish pink, slick and writhing, and we could hear this sound, animal-like growling and an even worse noise, like someone laughing while screaming. Stuff was reaching through the walls from various places, stuff that looked just as fleshy as the rest, but even more alive, twisting various appendages that would find the nearest body, or whatever you want to call it, and drag it more into itself. Some of the appendages seemed to have mouths, some seemed like a cluster of tiny hands, eye stalks protruding from the little fingertips.

And then something happened I’ll never forget. Mikey slipped on the slimy floor. And he never got back up. At first he was screaming, begging us to help him, and the next minute one of those things was on him. His face went immediately from terror to bliss as he began to be submerged into the pink muck. His clothes were ripped apart a piece at a time by little fingers that started to dissolve the material. It looked like acid was melting them.

Then Jimbo fell, grabbed on to Sam on his way down. We stood and watched as it happened again, to them both. And even though I was scared shitless, I’ll admit right now that something about the atmosphere was making me inexplicably horny. I felt like leaping on Eve and taking her like an animal, or even just sitting down where I was and taking care of myself right there. Then I spotted the officer on scene again. He didn’t look human anymore, his body a big lump of jelly sloughing off his organs, which were also sliding apart like melting gelatin. But that arm, if you could still call it an arm, was still going.

I shook my head and tamped down my feelings of arousal until only terror remained. I started to run, but my shoes were sticking to the floor. I admit, I wasn’t running to help my friends. Nothing could. I was running for my life. With great effort, I managed to lift my feet and book it, and I could hear Marty behind me doing the same. At one point he screamed, and I turned around immediately, saw that part of his arm had scraped against the wall, and now he was being pulled in. I grabbed him and pulled, and the next thing I knew both of us were sprawled against our patrol car, crying, puking, trying to stay standing but unable to without holding onto the car. Sam, Eddie and Eve were laying on the porch. When I saw that my strength came back just long enough to drag them off and onto the yard.

We all took an oath to never speak of what we saw. I kept it. I don’t think Eddie did. He’s a captain now, and in charge of my department. Sam’s with Internal. Kinda weird that they assigned him to my case. Eve’s with the DA’s office now. Only Marty and me stayed right where we are.

I knew kissyface was back in town when I found pictures saved on my daughter’s phone. I won’t tell you what the pictures had in them. Some of you can probably guess. I never thought my Casey could ever get involved in that, but what’s crazy is that she never denied it. The cravings were already so bad in her that she decided to ask me for help. She wanted to kick the habit, a habit she’d developed with her first hit.

I tried to get her help. Really, if you believe nothing else, believe that. I was desperate to save my little girl and get kissyface off the street. I arranged a meeting with Dodge, because I thought he was behind it and I thought I could work out a deal with him to keep it out of my district. I never should have done that. Someone got photos of me talking to him. Don’t ask me how. Marty was supposed to be with me but he didn’t show, so he’s in the clear, but as for me? I was suspended with pay and Sam was assigned to investigate me. I tried to get ahold of Eve to see if I could get her help in clearing my name, but she wouldn’t return my calls.

Now I can’t find Casey. The last I saw of her was when I dropped her off at her latest therapy session, a session I was later told she didn’t show up to. Marty and I met at our usual spot, a secluded part of Larrabee Cemetery, and planned it out. We were gonna both go to Captain Gold, and get him to confide in us if there was another house like Bodden. We didn’t know what to expect, but there was trouble when we tried to reach him.

For one thing, they wouldn’t let either of us into the building, not me or Marty. I finally got Gold on the phone, but there was something in his voice as I talked to him. It was like he didn’t know me, or understand what I was talking about. He claims that Marty isn’t on the force anymore either, and he refused to even talk about the house on Bodden Street. But I know there’s another kissyface den, and I’m gonna find it.

Things are getting weird in my own apartment building. I’m seeing red lights and hearing what sounds like sucking sounds from behind doors. I think the floor in the hallway outside my door is getting softer.

A few hours ago I left Marty a message, asking him to please meet me at the Larrabee as soon as he got the message. I went to our usual spot, and I’m there now. He hasn’t shown. I’m waiting here, leaning against his gravestone and hoping he’s okay. This stone is pretty scuffed. It’s probably old enough it may need a replacement.

Written by Josh Parker
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