He woke up in a deep sweat. Gray was starting to drench his white pajama shirt. His hair was greasy and stuck to his forehead like the many prickly thorns in the front yard of his house. He sat up and looked around, rubbing the front of his head in the process.

He looked to his right and found a half empty bottle of vodka and his glasses. He reached for them, grabbed them and put them on. He blinked until the blurry images in front of him became crystal clear. He looked over to his left and saw that the sheets had been pulled down enough for someone to get out.

What happened last night.

He pulled his own covers down past his ankles. He sat up and almost fainted at the smell of his own musk. He looked down at his wrist and was shocked to see his watch not there. He got up and thrust open his drawer.

He sighed a sigh of relief as he slowly picked it up and gently placed it on the top of his wrist. Pulling the buckles together until he heard a click.

Then he heard an unfamiliar sound, the sound of a clock ticking. He looked down at his watch and found the minute hand slowly catching up with the hour hand.

Weird. I thought this didn't work.

Sure enough he was right, only two weeks ago he had remembered dropping it in the toilet and when he fished it out, water had seeped into the cracks. He remembered going to the watch shop and the watch repair people telling him it would be five-hundred dollars to repair it. He had walked out of the store without looking back.

The color and feeling had started to fade from his hands. Scared he whirled around and started towards the closed door. He grabbed the handle and pulled. When he didn't feel the door start to swing open he started to lose feeling in the rest of his body.

He looked around again, found the bathroom and started towards the window in the room. He looked out the window and found a childrens painting blocking his view. He decided to try and punch a hole in it. He revved his hand back up past his shoulder and hurled a mighty punch towards the window. He broke through the painting but instead of open air he smacked his fist into a wall of brick. The impact sent a shockwave of cracks down his arm. His fingers rendered useless after the shock had broken them.

He walked back out from the door, his hand resting on his other. It looked like a porcupine, the bones sticking out in ways Cole didn't know was possible. The pain was something Cole had never experienced before. He had broken his left femur in the second grade but that was minor compared to that. His white shirt sleeve was starting to turn a beautiful dark red.

He crawled until everything started to go blurry. His eyes were teary and cloudy. The pain was starting to go away but in its place was an unpleasant hum. Sweat ran down his face like a sticky shiny oil. He couldn't look at his hand without almost throwing up. Enough blood was already pouring out of his mouth as it was. Two of his metacarpals in his hand had started to poke through the top of his knuckle.

He stopped crawling because the pain was too intense. The weight of sweat on his eyelids was too much and he just closed them. The pain started up again and exploded like one of the many nail bombs he had fastened over the years.

This is karma. I knew the bitch was coming.

He rolled over onto his back slowly, as if not to crush a sleeping ant, and cried.

He slowly lifted his right arm up. He could feel the gravity pushing it back down against his own will to look at it one more time.

Through the tears and sweat he saw it, the thing his hand had become. He threw up, blood and yellow water spurting out of his mouth and landing back on his face or mouth.

God dammit.

He choked, and died.

-1-

Jasper Hilnook was a thief and a bastard, or that's what people from his hometown of Silverdale called him. He was a young fellow, he turned the ripe age of twenty four only two months earlier. Jasper or Jasp as his mom would call him, (he hated the name Jasper but never wanted to make his mom mad) was a five foot eleven caucaison male with dark brown hair that would sometimes droop over and cover one eye. He was a man in love with his wife and money. For the most part his wife won the race for his love but sometimes money had a few tricks up its sleeve. He would sometimes go to the casino or play a few more rounds of poker with his buddies from work, instead of going home to his wife. He would always stroll in drunk as a log and a receipt with how much he had lost that night. A conversation with his wife would almost always go like this.

"How much did you lose tonight?" She would ask worried about how they would pay for the house.

"None of your go-goddamn business Mari." He would say stumbling in and face planting into the couch.

"We aren't going to be able to pay for both of us and this house Jasper you know that. You need help."

"Shut the hell up. You don't even work, you just sit on your ass all day doing who knows what."

"You don't mean that, you're just drunk."

This is the exact conversation from two nights ago when he had lost a staggering fifteen hundred in a bet. He is what society would now call a piece of trash. He never laid a finger on her but on the nights that money would take over his love for his wife, Mari that he might.

When not drunk Jasper was a cunning man. He could almost always squeeze himself out of getting in trouble. He had a charming look about him. From his blue eyes to his always classy clothes, he was a handsome fellow.

When money outweighed his wife and they went to bed, Mari would remind herself of who Jasper really was. She would remember in college when he picked her up and kissed her on New Years Eve of 2015. She would remember when he was passionate about love. When they had both wanted a kid but it just never happened. She remembered on mothers day two years ago when he brought her breakfast in bed and almost set the kitchen on fire. She remembered when he got down on one knee in the italian restaurant by their house and asked her to marry him. She remembered feeling his lips touch hers during the wedding. She remembered him getting his first job and them celebrating together. She would look up at the ceiling.

"Please, God, please bring Jasper back." She would whisper and fall asleep in their bed meant for two with only one in it. The other was sleeping face first on the cushion of the couch. Drool slipping out of the corners of his mouth. When she awoke the next day, he was gone.