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Can You See Me?

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Walking down a bustling street Kade found himself wandering past a local diner. His eyes flashing reflexively between streetgoers and patrons alike, always a voyeur never interfering. He had learned that lesson young, he often times couldn’t help and so he didn’t interfere. Kade was special, Kade saw maladies of the mind and soul as if they were physical. The damage looked to be normal cuts, scrapes, bruises, hell even a fever or two manifested in his day, but the most noticeable distinction was the faint glow that the mental damage put off. He often looked past it as an adult, growing used to the secret knowledge he possessed.

Thrown in asylums because of antiquated beliefs and assinine assumptions Kade had learned to keep his mouth shut. So shut in fact that he hadn’t opened up in the last ten years. Not to anyone, well unless you count his fish Gilbert.

Shivering lightly in the winter air Kade dodged into the dimly lit diner, rubbing at his icy arms. Sitting on his usual bar stool he looked over to Amaretta

“Morning Mary,” he chimed,

“Morning Kade, what can I get for ya?” She asked from across the small kitchen,

“Mocha, heavy whip today.” He said, his laugh a sprinkling of glitter on an otherwise dreary day. Rain began to drizzle outside as Mary poured his drink. He could see the pain she shouldered, as her shoulders were always stained with glowing blood as filleted out indents of flesh and gore sat on either side of her plain face. He always made sure to give her a smile, he always smiled at the breaking down ones.

“Thanks Amaretta,” he said, laying some cash down on the table to cover his charges and a decent tip. She beamed at him and walked over to assist the next patron.

Kade’s eyes swam through the patrons, look but don’t touch, a safe philosophy if not a cowardly one. Taking a sip of the foaming beverage in front of him he heard the door’s entry bell ringing as another patron entered the building. His golden eyes slid to the corner door, as he took note of the new patron entering, his lips parted slightly, shock prying his eyes open as if to see something he was missing some detail wrong but no, the man who walked in was coated in a glowing red syrup, with chunks missing from his shoulders, his arms, his chest, and small bite marks covered him. He walked in and sat down at the bar, ordering a cheeseburger and a beer at noon.

Kade felt his hand come up under his nose to try to hide his agape mouth, he had never seen someone at this magnitude, never, not even his own reflection after he attempted suicide at thirteen. This man had clearly gone through hell, fought his own demons, and wasn’t okay. Kade clenched his fist tightly, piercing his palm skin with his fingernails, he had promised himself a long time ago he wouldn’t interfere anymore, but, that was then. Stealing glances at the man, he seemed to be researching something in a large dusty volume while guzzling the beer.

The man looked over at Kade, his eyes narrowed, Kade blushed and sheepishly looked away, turning back to his coffee.

Kade took a deep breath, held it as long as he could, let it out, grabbed his mocha, and walked over to the man.

“Hi, I’m Kade.” He said, holding his slightly shaking hand out, the nails on his right hand disappearing into a golden mist as he spoke: anxiety.

“Dean.” The man said gruffly, ignoring Kade’s shaking hand.

“May I?” He asked gently,

“It’s a free country.” The sass on this one. Kade grabbed the bridge of nose and exhaled a shaky breath,

“I don’t know what I’m doing here.” He said quietly,

“Well that makes two of us.” Dean said, taking another swig of his beer and ordering another one.

“This guy bothering you sweetie?” Amaretta asked,

“Yeah, actually.” Dean said gruffly,

“I wasn’t talking to you hon,”

“Kade, sweetie, this big ol’ tough guy bothering you?”

“Oh no Mary, thank you.” He said gently, she patted his shoulder and walked off. Dean grumbled and went back to his book. Kade watched as what was left of Dean’s already short fingernails turned gold and shrunk. I’m making him nervous, he mused.

“Whatcha reading? Anything good? I like fantasy myself.” He mused,

“None of your business.” Dean said, shutting the book and sitting up, looking Kade in the eyes. Dean’s were green, little emeralds, showing gold and bloodshot.

“You look tired,” Kade said, running his left hand along his right arm, over some indented crevices of the flesh that only really existed in his head. Dean grumbled in assent, or was it dissent, Kade wasn’t entirely sure. Kade looked down, in golden hallucination he could see Dean’s ribcage, “you’re homeless.” He whispered, covering his mouth hoping Dean hadn’t heard, he clearly had. Mary dropped off the beer for Dean and continued on her rounds. Dean’s jaw set,

“Look did you just come over here to judge me? Because you did, you had your fun, now go back to your seat or just shut your pie hole.” He yelled, reopening his book and continuing to read. Kade sighed, quietly returning to his drink. This is exactly why he didn’t interfere anymore.

“Forgive me, I’m a monster, but I truly meant well.” He said, rubbing his face as he walked away, Dean’s eyes widened as he watched the thin man walk away, carrying stress in his whole being, a slight shiver running through his body, just enough that Dean could see it.

“What are you?” He whispered, not audible enough that Kade could hear, Dean left money on the table to cover his refreshments and walked over to Kade, he ripped a salt packet into his palm carefully shaping his hand to keep it situated,

“Hey man, I think we got off on the wrong foot.” He said, holding out his salty hand Kade shook it, Dean watched carefully, no reaction to salt, he mused.

Kade sighed, “I should never have bothered you, I’m sorry. Just a meddling kid I guess.”

“You watch Scooby Doo too? That was my favorite as a kid ” Dean said with a smile, Kade eyed his hands as the glowing nails returned to normal. Kade offered a slight smile, still feeling dejected by the whole interaction.

“I’m glad you’re feeling better.” Kade said quietly,

“What?”

“What? Oh nothing, nothing.” He looked away. Dean sighed, maybe he was wasting his time, most monsters don’t just come out and say so, after all. “It’s nothing.” Kade said, grabbing the book, “101 Ways to Kill a Demon” he read off, eyebrows furrowing lightly, “light reading?” He asked sheepishly, a slight nervous laugh escaping.

“It’s for my kid brother’s creative writing homework.” Dean lied, Kade nodded, disbelieving but unwilling to cause undue stress on this clearly broken man.

“Oh,” he said, “what happened there?” He asked quietly, pointing at a glowing red handprint, crap, glowing, not there anymore, crap, “you-you know what, nevermind, I’m, I’m just getting over a cold I-I should go.” He half-lied quickly, bolting out the door, leaving Dean, wide eyed, book in hand, and jaw adjacent the diner’s checkered floor.