These grooves, of course, went unnoticed (as I am sure you know is the case with most gray matter grooving) for some time. Allister simply let the bruises heal, the purple and blue softening to that familiar peachy flesh tone. His lip collecting itself and looking like so many other lips that had never met pavement in so blunt a manner. He was whole once more.
But, the grooves began a simple vibration one seemingly average night, as Allister walked down a darkened street. A steady pace picked up slightly erratic beats, the click of Allister's heels tapping rapidly and most suddenly. The street, one that he had in fact traveled for some time, felt unfamiliar, strange. Entire buildings seemed to lean in and glare.
He had not had the privilege of seeing his assailants. As far as he knew, it could have been the old lady with the crooked cane. Or the man and his Eskimo huskie dog. Who was to say, in fact, that the street lamp had not bent down and pummeled Allister's skull with its cold steel head? In the absence of light, the entire street looked like a lineup of possible suspects. And how they taunted. Giggly teenagers with pock marked faces and greasy fingers, burly men whose stomachs rounded three feet in front of them and shook so violently with bass laughter, post office boxes whose silence did not camouflage that deep inside their hollow selves they were filled with maniacal glee. Allister was well aware of the masquerade. Well aware that any of one of them or all of them together held the possibility of that simple misdemeanor.
He could do nothing but cringe. Grab his pulsating brain (by way of skull) and cringe. He had fallen into some sort of instinctual trance, a movement of the brain that surely belonged to a more prehistoric Allister that acted in fits of animalistic violence; wanting to tear apart giggly greasy teenagers so that they were two separate halves-half grease and half giggle, wanting to grab the three feet of round and toss it over the face of the burly men until they passed out, wanting to take ravenous metallic bites from the post office box until it bled post cards. Bite before bitten. It made sense in some form, in the grooves of his gray matter.
But, Allister's hands had never torn anyone in half. To go from tearing nothing to tearing teenagers in half is an extreme of the highest level. Allister's hands did not know how, nor did they want to learn. Whilst they still held the possibility of being an assailant, Allister wished nothing more than for teenagers to keep their grease and their giggles together. The same for the burly men and the post office boxes. He wished nothing more than to be left alone. In fact, he would have surely taken hammer and nail and boarded himself in his apartment if not for the sheer evil his coat rack possessed at night.
What to do then, when those grooves dig so deep? Where do you find more gray to fill them again? How do you remain civil as well as safe? Allister stopped carrying a wallet, stopped carrying money altogether. Began an unsuccessful attempt to bring back a system of bartering. Time and experience would eventually fill the gray, but not until after another gang of assailants (or possibly the same one) clubbed Allister in the back of the head, setting back his progress another two years, and stealing all his pelts.