CH 31: Toxic

With dark makeup around his eyes, black lipstick, several piercings (three in his nose, two in his eyebrow, and one in his nipple) naturally blonde hair dyed jet black, a studded leather collar around his neck, black leather finger-less gloves, black ripped t-shirt and jeans Toxic went to his Gothic group meeting. Many of them were fascinated with pagan ritual magic and the support group offered a chance to share his feelings with like-minded people, since high school his only access to the community was through a gothic bar that he went to a few times. They all had an affinity for the macabre and an appreciation for darker aesthetics which was a reflection of their mood. Among the group there were even actual devil worshippers. The guys had really cool gothic names like; Zekel, Damian, Chaos, Asher, Deadpan, Cain, Balor, Natas (Satan spelled backwards), and Grimm. They all got a kick out of the Christian group that meet just before them their eyes wide with horror at the heathens some even adverted their eyes which made him laugh. They chose the name Doomsday Dealers for their group and the bible thumpers chose Christian Lambs, yeah lambs to be led to slaughter, a sacrificial lamb for the devil a guy in their group growled.

Illustrated by: Jason Hendrickson


Growing up Jacob’s father was a pastor while his mother was a religious youth leader, and both of them were involved with all church activities and fundraisers. In fact they lived in a modest two-bedroom bungalow right beside the church too close for Jacob’s comfort. The day he was born his parent’s had him Baptized and as soon as he could eat solids he had Holy Communion. His family prayed before every meal, before they went to bed, for health, for good weather, for a reliable car, everything and anything. Even their home décor reflected this abundance of Christianity with crosses, angels, and paintings of scenes from the bible.

His parents enrolled him in a Christian school which omitted the concept of evolution. Jacob was annoyed because television and internet proved dinosaurs existed so how did God fit in? He felt a little like a hypocrite studying the bible when he wasn’t sold on the whole god made everything spiel so Jacob went to the Royal Ontario Museum at Queen’s Park that had a huge dinosaur exhibit with an enormous dinosaur skeleton right in the front lobby when you walked in. By the end of the tour he was livid at being force-fed religious lies all those years. Jacob typed into the computer search engine: How do Christians explain dinosaurs and evolution? The replies were so hilarious and extremely absurd: god made dinosaurs and they died in Noah’s flood, god put dinosaur fossils in the ground to test our faith, and dinosaurs are in the bible Job 40; the creatures are called “behemoth” which means dinosaurs because the word wasn’t created until 1841. Jacob quickly opened his bible to Job 40:15 and it said: Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee, he eateth grass as an ox; and Job 40:16 to Job 40:20 talks about the behemoth moving his tail like a cedar and lying under shady trees in tall grass. No T-rex or carnivore dinosaur he knew ate grass and behemoths are too gigantic to lie under trees, case closed.

After years of going to church, youth meetings, and being preached at by both his parents to their horror at age sixteen in grade eleven Jacob rebelled and assumed the name Toxic along with the Gothic scene. Suddenly he went from having lots of friends to practically no friends even his girlfriend dumped him, only his two best buddies now named Jagger and Dante joined his transition. They went to two goth stores for their apparel and accessories Hells Bells and Borderline both on Queen St West in the fashion district downtown. All three of the boys stood out in the vast crowd of students at school. They became the center of attention, gawked at and crowds of students in the hallway parted before them just like Moses parted the red sea. The boys loved their new found notoriety despite being suspending from school for a week, grounded by their parents, and chastised by their church. And when they were asked for an explanation only two words came out of their mouths: evolution and dinosaurs sending everyone into a tailspin when they realized the boys had lost their faith. The three were given bible counselling but when their cold defiance stumped them the adults turned to threat of damnation and hell, it didn’t work. Toxic blasted gothic rock music by groups like the Siouxsie and Banshees, the Cure, Skinny Puppy, Sukkubus, 45 Grave, and Christian Death to name a few. And he plastered his bedroom walls with posters of goth bands, had a skull lamp, gargoyle side table, and a grim reaper statue he attached to his bed headboard along with many other coffin, skeleton, and death-related décor.

In grade twelve Toxic took a special night course about world religions, beliefs, and traditions that would cover the study of seven major ones: Native Spirituality, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Shikism, and Wiccan (witches).  Toxic met Ellen in the course and was immediately attracted to her; there was an edgy aura which was amplified by her long black hair, red lips and pale skin. In a way Ellen was already the perfect goth without the signature makeup and clothes. Toxic was also fascinated by her because of all the death that had surrounded her. He asked in detail and Ellen opened up to him the scene, the blood, and mayhem and as cool as he thought she was a chill traveled down Toxic’s back. Together they discussed religion and Toxic told her about his family’s’ devote Christianity and his disbelief.  Ellen kissed him firmly on the mouth held his hand and looked sharply into his eyes. “I don’t believe in heaven or hell and as much as I’d love to believe in Reincarnation it’s all a pipe dream dead is dead and you either become ash or worm food” she stated. Her philosophy was to be, do, and take all you wanted because you only had once so she very much believed in the saying make all you can out of life because you only have one life to live. The two also talked a little bit about the future and Toxic said he wanted to do something exciting like be a coroner it filled his sense of the macabre. When Toxic asked Ellen what she wanted to do she said sit on the beach somewhere warm and eat chocolate covered strawberries while drinking a Mai Tai.  They both actually cracked a smile and that was a rare event. They became boyfriend/girlfriend and went out to horror movies holding hands and kissing. Ellen wasn’t afraid of the blood, guts, and scares of the horror films in fact Toxic jumped more than she did and Ellen would affectionately tease him calling him a scardy cat.