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Twins in Death: Chapter Eight – Part Four

Twins in Death

A Tale of The Weirdo

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Chapter Eight: Concerning Birds and Clones

 

 

 

October 25th, 2002

11:21 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo walked slowly from the bar at one end of the room to the huge window that showed the backyard. Max flung the small plastic disk toward Jack who flew into the air to catch the plastic Frisbee. He looked at his children who were sitting with their mother. He wondered how Shannon would have looked as a mother. She would have had a pair of beautiful black haired children with blue eyes. Perhaps the children might have the light blonde hair of his mother even. His cheeks, of course though, they had to have his cheeks.

 

            The problem was that Shannon was dead now, about half a year had gone by, and she was at the bottom of the lake. He looked up at the picture of Shannon’s face, but it wasn’t her really. It was a flat image of her face, which was like a bad reflection in which the face was broken down into one a two dimensional object. She had been a bright vibrant woman, and this pale imitation was all he had left of her.

 

             She was beautiful. Was, that is the operative word. Was. A set of machine gun bullets ended that beauty. The profanity of a machine gun tore through her like the worst kinds of insults made solid. Perhaps if they could find her body, in the lake where they put the boat out as they burned it, it could be beautiful still. After the fire treatment though, it was doubtful that you could even find the whole body.

 

            He looked down at the fire that had suddenly jumped to life when he entered the room. His eyes fixed on the flames in the fireplace as they jumped and fell from the bricks that held them. His eyes stared deeper into it, and the flame grew hotter and stronger as he watched. His mind seemed to intensify the flames, which made his mind hotter, which made the flames hotter. He had fallen into a great funk ever since Shannon’s last words to him.

 

            “I love you.”

 

            Those were the last words she ever spoke to him, what words to echo around. He watched with tears that wanted to build up in his eye but didn’t have the strength to. Tears didn’t swell up in him very well or very long. His eyes didn’t seem to want to waste the water. If he yawned, he might tear up then, but not for the explosion of emotion. He had spent a long time getting his emotions under control and had for some time now been able to cut them off. They had taught him how to do that when he had been at the temple, while learning to control his body. It was like his heart had been half ripped away from his chest when he looked at her picture again.

 

            “So much blood.” He said to himself quietly. “Too much blood, far too much blood.”

 

            It did seem to him that death had followed his life rather closely. Mocking his attempts to thwart it by taking the people he loved as opposed to him. He had watched them die in front of him and had sat useless while it happened. Watched as death stalked people he loved and leapt on them, taking them. They had been pulled away from him, yanked from his fingers as he reached his hands out to hold them.

 

            He had held Shannon in his arms, trying to use what the ancients called magic to keep her alive. His powers had ended up to be too little too late. He had seen the woman dressed in her black dress leave as her body stiffened in his arms. He had just caught the image of the Lady Death leaving with his lover’s soul. Some great being he had turned out to be he couldn’t even save the life of one little girl, who really needed him.

 

            “A lot of time.” He said to himself, “A lot of time.” The words didn’t make any sense to him, he must be going mad.

 

            “Man was never meant to live like you.”  A new voice in the room said.

 

            The Weirdo turned and saw the gray-eyed man again. His face had the lines of age, not a wrinkled old, but an experienced old. His gray eyes and hair made him seem older. He looked as though the ages hung on him like an ancient coat of mail worn by the soldiers of old. He seemed often to have been broken years ago and now just went around dispensing advice.

 

            “We had to find someone who could handle death in all its forms.”

 

            “When you say we had to find?”  The Weirdo asked, “How do you mean that?”

 

            “Death doesn’t appear in just one from.”  The gray man said, as The Weirdo’s eyes fell upon Shannon’s photograph again. “She comes and goes in whatever form she likes.  And her children run the gambit between mortal and angel.”

 

            “Say that again.”  The Weirdo said.

 

            “Your Mister Death here.”  The gray man pointed his right hand that now held a smoldering cigar that hadn’t been there before.  “He was supposed to watch over you.  Make sure that you didn’t suddenly wind up dead.”

 

            “You didn’t seem to care that I wasn’t dying.”

 

            “That’s what we were working for.”  The gray eyed man said to him, the cigar was now unlit, in fact hadn’t been lit at all. “That and other things.”

 

            He then slapped back a glass of scotch. The Weirdo looked around and re-noticed that there was no bar in the room. They were in a room that was a long way from a bar but here he was with a drink. He then looked down at the gray man’s hands that were empty. It was like watching a slight of hand conjuring trick performed by a magician who wasn’t even aware he was performing it anymore.

 

            It was more than a trick by a slight of hand artist, it was like what a slight of hand artist wants to be, creates the illusion of being. It was the work of a true magician, probably one that had once done things of great import, but now just got himself drinks. He looked tired though, like someone who despite the drinks was not refreshed or getting any more drunk. He looked like he’d desperately like to be drunk, but that it just would not come.

 

            “Why me?”  The Weirdo asked himself.

 

            “Because you’re the child of twilight?”  The gray-eyed man suggested.

 

            The gray man smiled and slapped down another glass of scotch. He tossed the glass into the air and as The Weirdo looked up for it, the cup was gone like a conjurors trick. It wasn’t just a trick though he had clearly seen the glass leave the man’s hand. He was beginning to wonder if maybe the guy was just screwing with him for laughs.

 

            “Why do you do this?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I thought you should have a few answers.” The gray man said.  “Since you were asking yourself a few questions.”

 

            “You’ve given no answers.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Oh, but I have.” The gray man said. “Answers that just don’t have direct enough questions. I’ve given you perfectly straight forward answers, and when other pieces that I haven’t given you yet come, it will all become clear.”

 

            “Why don’t you just tell me?” The Weirdo said with a half yell of frustration.

 

            “It’s not time.” The gray man said.

 

            “When will answers come then?” The Weirdo’s eyes began to tear, only slightly.

 

            “You have no idea who I am do you?” The man in gray said standing up and walking over to him. “And even more so, you have no idea how close you are to being me.”

 

            “So who are you?” The Weirdo asked with a whisper.

 

            “When you figure that much out, I’ll be one step closer to retirement.”  He stood up and took a drink from a bottle of cognac.  The Weirdo in turn slumped into a chair, exhausted with the game. The gray man sat down across from him.

 

            “No one retires.” The Weirdo said. “Weirdness told me that. All we do is move on to another job.”

 

            “That’s not completely true.” The gray man said. “There’s such a thing as a retirement.”

 

            “Not for us.” The Weirdo said, raising an exhausted finger. “We move from job to job. The position might change, even the job itself, but we keep going on. That’s what he said.”

 

            “Weirdness has held the same position longer than the human species has been about. That’s why he’s the spirit behind all things weird. That’s why he took you under his wing for seventy odd years and sent you training through time and space.” He took a drink. “He wanted you trained to work forever. It’s been his plan to save the universe since before your race was a twinkle in someone’s eye.”

 

            “Longer than that, eh?”

 

            “Yup.” The Grey eyed man said.

 

            “What are my kind?”  The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Ever notice how nice the finches are at this time of year? You can feel the gathering spirit can’t you?”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “But no one else can.”

 

            “Why do I feel like your always trying to escape answering me?”

 

            “I’m thirsty.” He said reaching down and pouring scotch into a glass and began to drink it. “Would you like a drink?”

 

            “I try not to.” The Weirdo said. “Long standing depression and all.”

 

            “I tell you this.” The gray man said. “In two years, this will all seem a dark dream, something unreal in your memory.”

 

            “Everything seems like a dark dream in my memory.”  He turned away.  “My mother, father, brothers. Shannon.”

 

            “You have no idea how many others know what you’re feeling. And you have no idea how much is going to change.”

 

            “If they know what I feel, why don’t they come and talk with me.”

 

            “Why do you stay in this palace?” The Grey man said. “You don’t wish to put your problems on others, you wish to keep them to yourself, and make the world safe for others.”

 

            “Is that an answer?”

 

            “As close as you’ll come to one.” The Grey man said. “There’s a lot you still don’t know about yourself. Things which could easily change you forever.”

 

            “Then tell me.”

 

            “Nope.”  The Grey man said.  “You still haven’t let her go.”

 

            “You weren’t there.” The Weirdo roared. “You didn’t hold her in your arms as she was dying, listening to her heart beat end.”

 

            “Wasn’t I?” The Grey man said, his face tightening. “You think you’re the only one it’s ever happened to?”

 

            The Weirdo looked at the Gray Man’s face and leaned against the arm of the chair trying for a better look. He had a feeling that there was some great secret the older man was keeping from him. The man’s eyes looked like he wanted to tell The Weirdo everything but didn’t dare say anything.

 

            The Weirdo remembered the way the gray man looked, standing on the balcony, The Weirdo going to talk to him, Shannon going downstairs to make breakfast. The machine gun bullets as The Grey Man tried to give The Weirdo a broach. The glass tinkling away as he ran to her. He wondered, in the dark of night, if he would have been killed if The Grey man hadn’t distracted him. Or if The Grey man had been told to distract him while his partner killed Shannon.

 

            The Weirdo turned away and looked at his extended family. When he turned back, he found himself alone again. He looked down at the table where the man in gray had been, a crystal glass sat.  The glass had been filled with scotch. A note that read, ‘have one on me’, sat under the glass. The Weirdo reached for it and then drew his hand away. Max didn’t want him to drink, and he owed Max something. He picked it up and thought about how the drink might help, and reconsidered. None of the other drinks had helped a damn, why would this one?

 

            He set the glass down and looked at the fireplace, which was cold and empty.  He thought that there had been a fire earlier. He set his hand down and found himself touching the black revolver. He lifted it, feeling the heft of the gun and then set it back down on the table. He hadn’t drawn it out, but the gun had simply appeared below his fingers. He looked at the gun and then out the window where the children were playing with the adults now.

 

            The gun didn’t speak to him, but not like a normal object. It seemed to not speak like an angry wife sitting in the same room. She would never say something, but you knew that there was trouble. He wanted to ask it what was wrong but felt that was ridiculous.

 

            The heavy door to the room opened and Bagheera walked in and jumped up on his lap. The cat meowed at him and looked up with an expectant look. He looked down at the cat, their minds would normally connect but he was too tired. He wanted to read the cat’s mind, but he could barely read his own at the moment. 

 

            “What?” He asked rubbing the cat’s head. “What do you want?”

 

            “Row?” The cat meowed again. “Meow?”

 

            “Yes, yes.” The Weirdo walked with the cat in his arms and moved into the kitchen where the food was kept.

 

            “Did he find you?” Mrs. Pendleton asked.

 

            “Yes, he did.” The Weirdo said. “Got his message across, too.”

 

 

 

© 2012 Autumn Knight Productions

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