This Strange Effect (Prologue—Side B)

DSC_6958© 2017 City of Broken Dreams

You’re in my system, baby
Deep in my system
You’ve got me going crazy
Inside my system
You’re in my system, baby
Deep in my system
You’ve got my soul and body
You’re in my system

Nu:Tone, “System”

Some of you already know this. I am inextricably linked to the monster. Ryan Evan’s violent delights are my terrible nightmares: every time he takes a victim; every time he penetrates her, grabs a hold of her still beating metaphysical heart, and eats it in front of her it as she watches on in horror—I see it all, in my dreams. And now my dreams haunt me, all the time. I no longer sleep; I can only dream my horrible dreams.  

This is why I must stop him; to stop the dreams, to once again be able to sleep. I wish I had a more noble, more selfless cause. Like the well-being of the women, for instance. It’s not that I don’t care about their suffering—no living being should ever have to endure the esoteric brand of pain and punishment that Ryan Evan inflicts upon his victims. But protecting and preventing them from falling into the jaws of the beast is not my main priority. Perhaps it would be if I were a better man. But I am not a better man. Nor am I a good man; I am just a selfish man—one who so badly needs to sleep.

Although, many monsters haunt the streets of the City of Broken Dreams, he is of the very worst kind. Ryan Evan: eater of broken girls, bringer of my nightmares—he is my one true nemesis and he must be stopped. And so I hunt him; the act of stopping him has become a newly evolved component of my autonomic functioning. Ryan Evan is my own personal Count Dracula, and so I must become my own version of Abraham Van Helsing; I will not rest—I cannot rest (quite literally)—until the monster is slain.   

Because word can often travel fast in the dark undercurrent of the City of Broken Dreams, other enemies of the beast have become aware of my crusade to stop him. And so they come to me; they seek me out in the hopes of providing me with important information or some other form of assistance to aid me on my mission. Some of those who seek me out are his former victims—the ones who haven’t already killed themselves or are so strung out on illicit substances that they can’t even leave their homes. This is how I know of how Ryan Evan changes those he encounters: they come to my door, I see them with my very own eyes, and they tell me tales of how they “survived” the devil’s kiss.    

The majority of those who find me are merely shadows: hollowed out human husks vaguely resembling the women they once were. They are truly the walking dead, for the time soon approaches when these broken, empty vessels will shuffle off from this mortal coil. Some of them will already be cognizant of this fact; already aware that Ryan Evan’s bite is laced with poison, that it is only a matter of time before they are driven to madness, before they are passively pulled into the black hole of darkest oblivion.

For those who are still ignorant of their dire fates, I don’t tell them a damn thing; diving the future of the living dead is not a burden that I am willing to endure. But I will hear them out, I will listen to what they need to confess. I will even say a silent prayer for their lost souls, beseeching the gods to one day allow them to finally find a proper place to rest.

But not all of Ryan Evan’s victims come to me so broken and so lost. Although not a common occurrence, there are those who come wearing the guise of stability and normalcy. They wear such a disguise not to be wicked or deceptive; their only crime is that of self-deception. They aren’t even aware of their dissimulation in the first place; for them, what they see in the mirror each day is merely a projection of what they want to see: healed wounds, emotional and mental salubrity, signs of new growth over what was once damaged and razed—basically, the image of a woman who has somehow been able to overcome the nature of the beast.

It may only be a form of self-deception, but these women truly believe their own lies; they would testify on a stack of bibles to the normality of their daily lives. And I’ve been a fist-hand witness to their testimony:

“It’s been over a year since I last saw him,” said the red-haired girl.

“I’m finally over him. I’m even seeing someone new, and it’s serious. He’s a really great guy—a really nice guy,” said the blue-eyed girl. 

“I don’t hurt myself anymore, because of him,” said the girl with the matchstick scars running up the length of her thighs.

And for their sake, I wish that I could believe what they have told me. But I can’t; I won’t believe their unintentional lies. Because to believe them would be to allow Ryan Evan to pull off the biggest bamboozle of them all, to play us all for fools.

They say that they no longer see him. They say that they have moved on beyond him. They say that he no longer has the ability to hurt them. And maybe for a little while, that’s actually the case. But all it would take is just one text message, one Facebook comment, one liked Instagram photo—and it would all come fucking undone. For Ryan Evan’s poison can often lie dormant inside of a victim’s psyche, just waiting to be remotely detonated some time later, from afar, when the monster hungers for a fix.

And this is why Ryan Evan is so dangerous; this is how he fundamentally perverts and distorts those he touches. He will either plant a death seed inside of you—perhaps where your heart once lay—or he will set a bomb somewhere deep down in your subconscious mind, making a game of you; waiting for you to seemingly move on with your life without him, until the moment he decides to pull you back, to re-inflict the pain upon you, and to sweep you back under and away into his dark, depraved depths. 

I know all this to be the case because this is all I have ever seen. The casualties of the beast don’t come to me often, but when they do, it‘s always the same sad situation. All the victims of Ryan Evan that have ever stood at my threshold have always been just that—victims: the deceived, the damaged, the sacrificed. They were all broken girls to begin with; all that Ryan Evan had to do was just break them down even further, until eventually, there was absolutely nothing left of them to even exist. This is how it’s been ever since the beginning of time—or at least for however long Ryan Evan has lurked the streets of the City of Broken Dreams.

That is, until now.


Nu:Tone. “System.” Back Of Beyond. Hospital Records Limited, 2007.




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