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Brothers & Sisters – Chapter Six: The Tweedle’s Poem

This is basically an un-edited version of this book. There will be typos. There will be your/you’re errors, because I’m dyslexic as hell. Why am I posting it? I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that some major things needed to change, so I’m changing them. However, I like the old version and I already gave you Twins In Death in the old form, so have this one too. It doesn’t matter, the books are being re-written, so enjoy.

Brothers & Sisters
A Tale of The Weirdo
By Brett N. Lashuay

Chapter Six

The Tweedle’s Poem

 

 

March 31st, 2003

12:01 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo sat on a deck chair, looking at the lake. It wasn’t much of a lake, less than a mile long and a mile wide. He had no idea how deep the lake was, because he’d never swam in it. No one ever swam in the lake; the surface was rarely ever broken. It was a cold lake; it was always a cold body of water. Even on hot evenings in July, when the sun had shone down all day, the lake was so cold you could re-freeze ice cubes in it. Yet in the winter is still never actually froze, no matter how cold it got.

 

            It must have been that the lake was deep, which it was, but that wasn’t the reason. The lake was a sacred place, it was a burial ground, and it was a place of importance. When Shannon had died, they put her in a rowboat and put dried flowers and bottles of oil around her. They had pushed her out till the boat was almost out of range and then The Weirdo threw a flaming brand which landed on the boat. She had gone up fast, but in the unnaturally calm waters, it took a long time for the boat to sink. Most of the boat had burned away before it finally let itself sink below the waves, never to be seen again.

 

            The lake was always calm, only a few ripples ever danced across the surface and real waves were unknown to it. There may have been fish in the lake; there may have been a dragon, sleeping long at the bottom. There was even some question as to if it was actually water. It was impossible to tell, since they left the lake alone. The lake was a thing unto itself and it wanted to be left to its rest. They respected the need of such a thing to rest and let it do so.

 

            “Tomorrow is April fools day.” Jack said sitting on the chair next to The Weirdo.

 

            “It is indeed.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “It’s actually supposed to be the beginning of the New Year.” Tommy said, leaning against a post that held a section of the second floor that was otherwise floating in space.

 

            To call the place they were at a cabin would to belie its nature. True, as far as the house they lived in was concerned this was a cabin. It was a ten-bed room cabin though, and it had been built by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. It was a marvel of modern architecture, built by some one who hadn’t shared Wright’s vision of single floors. She had stacked the floors and moved bits around to hang out of the house. Much of the second floor was divorced from the rest of the house and was suspended over an empty space, which was partially used as a parking lot. She had made a cabin that pleased the eye and turned the brain around. It was easy to get confused in the house the first time because a woman who had been given leave to question every convention she could find had designed it. The post Tommy was leaning on was furthest away from the cars, and was quite near where The Weirdo and Jack sat, looking at the lake.

 

            Tommy was standing, because sitting still gave him trouble. His hands and arms and legs still had bandages on, and some of the wounds had cut muscle pretty badly. He had pills, oh yes he had pills; he had all sorts of pills. There were pink ones, and white ones. Ones that had numbers and letters printed on them and some that had the number stamped on them. There were pills for different levels of pain, and different areas. There were pills that he had to take on an empty stomach and some that he should only take with food. There were narcotics, and simply analgesics, and a few anti-depressants just in case. The problem was that accept for the aspirin or ibuprofen derived pills, he didn’t like the affects they gave. He would rather feel pain, which was real, than to feel like he was walking through a dream. What was worse was that on the narcotics, the ones that completely deadened the pain, he felt like he was in someone else’s dream. So he didn’t take the pills unless the pain got real bad, and he kept it from getting too bad by standing. 

 

Tommy watched them carefully, as he might have once watched his children. Jack, who was sitting in jeans and a t-shirt, drank from a corona bottle. His jacket hanging open, weighted down in one pocket by the pistol he was carrying. The Weirdo was wearing a pair of gray sweatpants and a gray long john style shirt that had fallen out of favor recently. The shirt itself had seen better days, but he still liked to wear it. There was something obstinate about him that way. He liked the shirt, and couldn’t see any reason to abandon it, just because there were no elbows left and half the buttons that held the v-neck together were gone, reveling more of his chest than he normally would. His heavy framed sunglasses blocked what little glare there was in the day. The cloud cover was total, but their was still a certain brightness to the eyes, just enough to warrant a pair of shades.

 

“What was that?” Jack asked.

 

“April first, new years day.” Tommy said. “Can’t remember why.”

 

“Originally, in the Roman calendar.” The Weirdo said. “April first was new Years day. When they changed it to January certain people kept celebrating April first and they were called April fools, and the Romans being the mature people they were invited people to new years parties that didn’t exist to make fun of them for being sensible and not celebrating the New Year when the world is at it’s bleakest.”

           

“You don’t like New Years where it is?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Now you mention it, no.” The Weirdo said. “It’s the ass end of the year, it’s depressing to have another party to go to alone. And lets think about it, winter doesn’t hit its stride till January. Why bring in the New Year with the worst part of the year? Put the damn thing back to spring I say. A year should be like a day. Right now we claim it’s a new day at midnight, or in the middle of fucking winter. The darkest part of the day, or year if you will. We should start the day in the morning when we get up. That’s what we all do anyway. Our minds don’t register a new day until we wake up in the morning. Spring is morning, not winter, spring with light and life. The only other argument I’ll allow is the Jewish day or Wiccan year. They mark the end of the day at sun down. When the sun touches the horizon, a Jew says that the day is done and a new day has begun. The Sabbath is always begun the night before, for that reason. Conversely, the Wiccan New Year begins at Samhain, with the death of the God. He comes back in the spring, but the New Year has already begun by then.”

 

“So you want to start the year in spring?”

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo said. “Go back to April first, or go to May Day, which has also been pegged as the first day of the year.”

 

            “If may first is the first day of the year, then we’re in the last month.” Tommy said. “What if there is no next year?”

 

            “Then you’ll never get your new years kiss.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You’d better just kiss me at the end then.” Tommy said.

 

            “I’m not kissing you.” The Weirdo said. “You got bad breath.”

 

            “I could get some of those flash strip thingies.”

 

            “If ever there was a reason to prevent the end.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Do we actually have a plan?” Jack asked.

 

            “About the on coming war? Or about breath mints?” Tommy asked. “The time has come to talk of many things. Shoes, ships, candle wax? Cabbages and Kings?”

 

            “If this works it’s way to oysters I’m leaving.” The Weirdo said. “I just said he has bad breath.”

 

            “I was going to end it there.” Jack said. “But since you mention it, Tommy how do you fancy a plate of oysters on the way home?”

 

            “I don’t fancy you like that Jack.” Tommy said. “But feel free, my beds empty right now though so I won’t.”

 

            “The walrus ate more than the carpenter, and then was sad about it.” The Weirdo said. “Yet, no one realizes that the real bastard in that poem is the sun.”

 

            “Pardon?”

 

            “The moon was pissed since that bastard sun was still hanging around. She wanted to kick him in the seat of the pants.”

 

            “Not the crotch?” Tommy asked

 

            “Not in a Victorian children’s book.”

 

            “I thought it was written for physicists and pretentious dick wads who can’t actually be bothered to create any surrealism for them selves.” Tommy said. “They can’t even recognize the figures who are in Tenniel’s drawings.”

 

“Pretentious?” The Weirdo asked.

 

“It’s just annoying to see someone put a tattoo of a white rabbit on a girls shoulder and expect to be lauded because you used a Carroll reference. I mean how hard is it to use the white rabbit? Not only that but they usually misinterpret the inherent symbolism and can’t manage to recognize the political figures in Tenniel’s drawings, which are as much a part of Alice’s adventures as the writing any more. Most of these people by a copy of Alice in Wonderland read half way through and give up. They then skim the rest of the book and pronounce it must all be drug related. These pathetic little losers who’ve never been out of their parents basement and think wearing black all the time is really quite clever trying to sound cool to those of us who’ve actually studied the damn book.”

           

“Trying to turn off our core audience with that rant?”

 

            “Just trying to increase the sales of The Annotated Alice.” Tommy said, hoping to get a kick back.

 

            “I always, staying on subject, thought that Tweedledum and Tweedledee were somehow exceptionally threatening.” Jack said as the sun broke though the clouds.

 

            “Why?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I can’t say exactly.” Jack said, slipping on a pair of wire framed sunglasses. “I just found them to be the most dangerous. I think if the story had been intended for older audiences, if it were portrayed as the nightmare of a seventeen year old Alice instead of the dream of seven year old Alice…”

 

            “Seven and six months.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Could have held off at seven, but oh no.” Tommy chimed in.

 

            “If it had been the nightmare, of a seventeen year old Alice,” Jack continued loudly, “Then I think that the Tweedles would have been the rapists.”

 

            “Rapist?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “You can already see it in their eyes from the start, their sizing Alice up for a gang bang from the moment they begin. They want to see what she has under her skirt as it is. They delight in torturing her like no others in the book, they get an almost sexual glee from making her cry and then telling her she shouldn’t. They’d have raped her there, when she cried about being a thing in the Red King’s dream, but her screaming would have woken the red king and then they’d all have been in the fire. ”

 

            “You’re mad.” Tommy said.

 

            “Haven’t you ever extended the story out to Alice at different ages?” Jack asked.

 

            “I always thought it was a Taoist meditation tool, made on accident. It’s just a bit of nonsense to distract the mind and make it extend to other things.”

 

            “No.” Jack said. “It’s a look at things to come for a young English girl. Sexually deviant school boys, insane men who drink a lot of tea and talk a lot of nonsense while hitting on her…”

 

            “Wait a sec.” Tommy interrupted. “I’m noticing a pattern here. You think that everyone in the book is hitting on poor Alice. That if she were older the flirtations would be more overt, even forceful to the point of rape.”

 

            “If she were older there would be a lot of differences.”

 

            “Yeah, but the problem is, Carroll wasn’t interested in them after age twelve.”

 

            “Oh bugger.” Jack said.

 

            “Yes, he very likely did.” Tommy said.

 

            “It was just a dream.” The Weirdo said. “The random synapse firings, creating images in the mind which last for about two minuets, though they can sometimes go to ten. That’s why each individual adventure is only a few pages long. Look at the trouble she has obtaining the simplest of goals. She walks towards something and finds herself going away from it. She can’t keep a size for five minuets together; every documented dream phenomenon is represented. Well except those of a sexual nature, because she wouldn’t be old enough to have dreams about sexuality yet.”

 

            “But if she were,” Jack said. “She’d have to fight off the Tweedles with a knife.”

 

            “Wasn’t your argument the basis of a video game?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Mention not that abomination.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Sorry, forgot.” Tommy said.

 

            “Still say they’re mad rapists waiting to happen.” Jack said.

 

            “You’ve really extended the story out to encompass what would be different about the tale were Alice older?” The Weirdo asked

 

            “Yeah.” Jack said, “Thought about it a lot when I was at University.”

 

            “And?”

 

            “After puberty it’s all sex I’m afraid.”

 

            “Might that be more the pent up sexual repression you suffer as a result of coming from England?”

 

            “It’s a theory I haven’t discounted.” Jack said. “But since Carroll did as well, I think we can say we’re walking to the same place. He just took a route that went through a kindergarten.”

 

            “Is all this important?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Pardon?” Jack said.

 

            “Well I mean does it add to the story? Does it help us advance the tale along or is it just a way for an author to make himself feel clever by criticizing others? Does any of this actually help our tale or are we simply filling time?”

 

            “I’m sure it will become important later, the bits about walrus and carpenter has a duality that is shared by the Tweedles. That could damn well fill the bill of foreshadowing. Besides since this book is really a philosophical view of the world around us and the meaning of existence, does any of it matter?” Tommy said.

 

            “This is an action adventure story for your information.”

 

            “Is it?” Tommy said, “Then can you explain why no one has been shot for, God, must be two chapters now.”

 

            “This is book isn’t like the last one. This one is meant to be more in the vein of Arthurian legend.”

 

            “You’d need a sword then.” Tommy said.

           

            And it was on those words, that the blade broke the surface of the water. An arm, clad in the purest Semite, held the sword a loft by the hilt. It rose up like, well like a mysterious alien weapon being thrust from the water by some form of ancient water spirit. The Weirdo walked to the edge of the water and looked into the face of the lady.

 

            “Could you stop doing that Tommy?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            Her long blonde hair floated out behind her, billowing in the water. Her hand had come up from the water dry, the cloth on her sleeve unsoaked.  The water had slipped away as if it were mercury, too heavy to hold on by surface tension. Her eyes fixed on him and she pointed the sword at him. He reached out to take the end of the blade, and found the hilt in his hand. He looked down and found that he was holding the hilt and she had just let go of the point. She then faded back into the water, slipping away to the depths.

 

            Tommy was a pretty well adjusted guy, all things considering. He usually had what could be considered the normal responses to things, so long as the normal response was to pretend not to take any notice really. Upon seeing a sword, held by a woman living in the lake though, there was a need for reaction. The initial instinct was to take things as they came and deal with this calmly.

 

            The initial instinct however had not contended with the prevailing thought, which kicked the instinct in the head pushed into the floor and smacked around. The initial instinct was then thrown out into the street and told not to show it’s damn face around here again if it knew what was good for it, by the prevailing thought you see.

 

            The prevailing thought of course was to flip out, and who wouldn’t really? When the world refused to make any kind of sense you had to flip out, and he was going to flip out good. Tommy was going to scream, and yell, and swear and rant. He was going to throw things around, yell and demand the gods to make thing make sense again. There would be yelling at The Weirdo, the sword, the lake and the woman in it.

 

            Unfortunately, he was feeling just a wee bit tired at the moment. He could have saved it till later maybe, but then everyone would wonder what he was getting so worked up about. While the prevailing flip out thought tried to gather it’s stamina for a good tantrum, the initial instinct came up from behind and knocked the prevailing thought unconscious with a table leg because the initial instinct wasn’t going to screw around with threats about ‘Seeing your face around here again mate.’

 

            The initial instinct then seized control of the entire system and Tommy did nothing. To flaunt its power, the do nothing, pretend you didn’t notice instinct allowed a small yawn. Things usually went like this in Tommy’s mind and we think that The Weirdo’s wasn’t as well ordered.

 

            “Excalibur then is it?” Tommy, who had not so much as flinched, asked.

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said. “It’s the sword of ancient kings and such.”

 

            “Good.” Tommy said, “Good.”

 

            “Glad you’re happy.”

 

            “I was going to flip out you know.”

 

            “Were you?” The Weirdo asked, still looking at the perfect blade.

 

            “Oh yes.” Tommy said. “There was going to be lots of swearing and throwing my arms about.”

 

            “But you decided not to.”

 

            “Well, I’m tired.”

 

            “You could have done it later.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Not really,” Jack said, “has to happen on the spot really.”

 

            “Oh,” The Weirdo said. “Never really thought about it I guess.”

 

            “No.” Jack said, “You wouldn’t, you never flip out.”

 

            “I have.”

 

            “No.” Jack said. “You’ve had moments of near collapse, you’ve had one emotional break down, but you have never just flipped out. Flipping out means that for a moment the world has become too much for you, and you fly off the handle. It’s a safety valve for those of us who live in the rigid world of rules and laws of nature. You however bend like a reed to whatever force the world has to offer. You’re so lost to the idea of conventional thinking you can’t even recognize it when it comes along. You don’t even really break when a devastating blow is brought to bear on you. The rug is violently yanked out from under you and you get up after a moment rubbing your banged head. Most of us would lay on the floor for a while, you don’t.”

 

            “Don’t I?”

 

            “No.” Jack said, “You have an amazing and frankly worrying capacity to get on with things. You adjust your thinking every time the world seems to change the rules on you. Either that or you knew it all along; I’ve never quite been able to really figure it out. Which is it?”

 

            “Bit of both I supposes.” The Weirdo said.

 

            They all knew what event Jack was talking about, but no one was going to say it so close to her burial site. They wouldn’t utter her name or even mention what specific event they might have been talking about. It was obvious though; that they were talking about the sudden and senseless way that Shannon had been killed. There was an elephant in the room, and it had one leg on each of their hearts at the moment. There was only one way to deal with an elephant in the room, and The Weirdo knew it.

 

            There was a blanket of gray clouds, and the reflection made the surface of the lake look a grayish white. It was odd, because the lake so often looked black. It looked like the endless pit of despair so many poets speak of, yet it was a real place.

 

            “I knew the world was a senseless and dangerous place.” The Weirdo said, looking at the lake. “I had to adjust my world view to not having Shannon in it any more. I didn’t like it, but I had to get on with life didn’t I?”

 

            “You don’t even see it do you?” Jack said. “There was no massive break down, no self recriminations. I’m one of your closest friends, and I never once heard you go through the stages of grief. You went from something like shock, right into acceptance. You never bargained, never denied, you just leapt to acceptance.”

 

            Tommy watched the conversation in silence, looking out towards the lake. What was Jack trying to accomplish here? Was he trying to tell The Weirdo that he was an emotional freak of nature? Was he trying to point out to him how special he was? Tommy couldn’t exactly see where this was going, if Jack even knew.

 

            “So?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “So, I’m pointing out that if any one, you deserve to get laid.”

 

            “Is that where you were going?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I sort of got off on a tangent, but I was trying to work it out to that.”

 

            “What?” The Weirdo asked.

           

“I was going to work my way to you need to get laid, but then I decided to cut right to it.” Jack said. “That Lilith girl seems to like you quite a bit.”

 

            “You’ve completely lost me.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “And for the first time, I know how you must feel all the time.” Jack said placing his hands behind his head in a most self satisfied way. “This whole confusing people by being ineffable thing is fun.”

 

            “Lilith is very nice.” The Weirdo said, ditching confusion for conversation.

 

            “See? He can adapt to anything.”

 

            “And?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “And remember that.” Jack said.

 

            When Jack said this, there was almost a buzzing in the air. It was as if the world had held its breath just to make the point. If it had been a joke, the pause would have been there so the studio audience could laugh. The Weirdo looked at Jack and nodded.

 

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said. “I will.”

            “She is cute though.” Tommy said, and the mood suddenly changed. It was lighter now, and the men could laugh and talk about women.

 

            “She is, isn’t she?” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Suspiciously so.” Jack said. “Shows up conveniently.”

 

            “So do we.” Tommy said.

 

            “Just saying.” Jack said, “Either she has an early warning system, a Grandma, or since you claim she’s openly Christian I suppose it’s a Grandpa of some description.”

 

            “Possibly.” The Weirdo said. “Be nice to know either way.”

 

            “And while we’re on the subject of knowing her innermost, how the hell do you know about a large tattoo on her back?”

 

            “You didn’t tell him?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Not my business to tell people what you tell me.” Tommy said,

 

            “Well, see she had decided to try an entice me by showing me the more alluring part of her body with out showing anything…”

 

 

March 31st, 2003

6:45 p.m.

 

            The observation deck of the Chrysler building gave a grand view of the surrounding area. The word skyscraper had a meaning with this building that Sheila had never felt before. She thought that if she stretched her fingers out, she might have scrapped her fingers across the metal dome that her church leaders had told her the sky was made from. She had been a child when the Beckandi Priest explained it to her that the sky was made of a great dome of steel.

 

            That was before her father had been killed and her mother had decided that the only way to feed herself was to sell her daughters to the mineworkers. That was before Venalli had bought them, and killed each of her sisters for one minor infraction after another. Sheila’s mind recalled the savage beatings that lead to the deaths of her five sisters. She recalled how Judy had been bought from Jerpa traders one day. Judy had been traded for the child that Sheila had been aloud to bring to term. Her son was pulled form her breasts and given to the nomads, who had been unable to produce an heir. There had been other girls before the world fell down. Before Vanalli had managed to save herself and her two prize girls by convincing Lord Blackheart that leaving any of them to die was wrong.

 

            Then came the immortality, and the fear that Vanalli could take it away. They hadn’t understood anything in those days. Sheila had never learned to read, and had learned nothing besides how to position her body for a man’s pleasure. Vanalli had told them, that she held the key to their lives, and that they lived as long as it pleased her.

 

She had replaced her son with Judy, whose sexual preferences were confused at best. The love grew up between them over the years, and she took the role of lover and mother for Judy. Sheila and Judy were the slaves of Vanalli, as she changed identities and rules over the years. They had never been able to get away from her, but they were allowed limited freedoms, sometimes for years.

 

            When the world had begun to change in the last two hundred years though Vena, as Vanalli had insisted on being called now, let them out less and less. They were no longer used as a source of income as much as they were used as political tools. They were spies and tools to convince, and still thought themselves as her slaves.

 

            They had never known freedom, because no one had ever, in five thousand years, ever told them that they should be free. Now Sheila was standing on a building, whose spire scrapped across the steel dome of the sky, and looking out onto a world in which she had been free for two years and four months. There was still a lot to get strait in her mind, but right now she was blown away by the view.

 

            The green coat blew around her ankles and tapped against Peach’s leg. Both women wore jeans and sweaters under their coats. Peach was actually wearing a man’s beige raincoat, while Sheila’s was one of Tommy’s old great coats that Mrs. Pendleton had dyed to make it a bright green.

 

            “It’s beautiful.” Sheila said, looking out from the observation deck of the Empire State building.

 

            “Tommy never brought you here?” Peach asked.

 

            “We never found time, I think he’s been avoiding the taller land marks in the city. He was at Ground Zero, on the day. They all were.”

 

            “Were you there too?”

 

            “Me?” She laughed ruefully. “I was still a slave that day. Judy and I didn’t know about it until Tommy came and saved us in December. Everyone had been talking about it for three months, and we’d only just heard about it.”

 

            “Judy.” Peach said. “That’s the red haired girl?”

 

            “That’s right.” Sheila said. “She and I were together for, well years, under that woman.”

 

            “And then he showed up.” Peach said.

 

            “Yeah.” Sheila said. “And I fell in love with him.”

 

            “Why’d you leave then?”

 

            “I’ve got to sort some things out, about our life together. Do he and I have a future? Do she and I even have a future? Was she just clinging to me because I was strong? Was I clinging to him for the same reason? I needed some time away, to figure it out. Are the three of us a viable family? I don’t suppose you want to hear all this.”

 

            “It takes all kinds to make a world go round.” Peach said. “I don’t much care one way or another what other people do.”

 

            “Just leave you out of it?”

 

            “No.” Peach said. “I mean what people do is their business, I can offer my opinion, but I haven’t been around you for what is it now three years?”

 

            “Two and a half.” She said.

 

            “So my opinion isn’t very well informed. You’ve got to think about it a while.”

 

            “Yeah.” Sheila said.

 

            “There is one thing before we can talk about the initiation ritual tonight.”

 

            “Oh?” Sheila’s heart creaked. Here it comes.

 

            “Angel thinks you might be a plant.” Peach said. “I’m not to sure about that. I love Angel like a sister, but she’s a suspicious little Goth. She gets paranoid about almost everything. She even tries to keep the fact that she’s with Kaala away from us in the council. Of course you’ve just got to see them together, or mention Kaala to Angel and it’s obvious. She thinks that she’s being careful, she’s just being cagey.”

            “Useful if she can master it.” Sheila said.

 

            “Are you a plant?” Peach asked.

 

            “Are we going to start like this Peach? I’m going to be questioned like a spy?”

 

            “No.” Peach said. “I just wanted to see how you might answer.”

 

            “Am I going to have to get a tattoo?”

 

            “You want one?”

 

            “I’m not sure.” Sheila said.

 

            “You have three weeks after the first ritual to back out. Once you go through the final test though, you’re in.”

 

            “Are their going to be men at this little party you’re planned tonight?”

 

            “The office is mainly staffed by women, but we have a lot of men in the group.” Peach said laughing. “What ever you’re pleasure, you can probably find convivial company to sate whatever thirsts you have.”

 

            “What if I were a plant?” Sheila asked.

 

            “The I’d be watching you.” Peach said.

 

            “And if I said I wasn’t?”

 

            “I’d still be watching you.”

 

            “So there’s not much use for me to confirm or deny.”

 

            “I suppose I was just trying to get the measure of the woman before me.” Peach said.

 

            “A measuring tape and a bottle of brandy gets my measurements a lot faster.”

 

            “If I preferred women.” Peach said. “Your body would be the first one I’d want to get my hands on.”

 

            “You don’t?”

 

            “Just a girl looking for a boy.” She said. “You’re Bi?”

 

            “What’s that word? Bi-sexual?”

 

            “You like boys and girls?”

 

            “Yeah, I think so.” She said. “I don’t know really.”

 

            “How can you live with a guy and another girl and not know?”

 

            “I was forced to be um, bi for a while.”

 

            “How do you get forced?”

 

            “I was a forced prostitute for a mad woman. Judy and I were kept like slaves before Tommy saved us.”

 

            “The mad woman was bi?”

 

            “She liked making people do things. I think she got more pleasure form making us perform than she did from being…performed on.”

 

            “Well, we got all sorts of people. There all nice people, and you don’t have to have sex with any of them. Or you can have sex with all of them that will consent. Most with a proclivity towards you would have you I think.”

 

            “We’ll see.” Another icy wind blew, at this altitude the wind made everything feel colder “It’s getting cold.”

 

            “Lets go in then.” Peach said. “Besides we need to find a cloak you like.”

 

           

March 31st, 2003

7:01 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo was outside, sitting on a picnic table. That is to say he was sitting on the table and his feet were on the bench. He looked at the sky, which was growing darker by the minuet now. The dark had come quickly due to the cloud cover, which was still thick like a blanket over the world. The cold had been a constant but was taking root and holding on now.

 

            The Weirdo was beginning to regret his decision not to go into the local town with Tommy and Jack. They would see a movie and then spend the rest of the night at a bar. They would be there till two in the morning when the bar employees kicked them out. It was something they felt they had to do on occasion, but he usually didn’t feel up to it. He was feeling lonely now though, he wanted some companionship.

 

            He heard a car rumble under the part of the house that they used to cover the cars. He turned and saw a white Ferrari, and a woman with white blonde curls get out of it. She walked toward him, and he could see she was wearing a white oxford shirt, a pair of jeans and a black leather biker’s jacket.

 

            “Hey.” Lilith said.

 

            “Hi.” He said.

 

            There was a moment of silence, she kicked a stone and then looked up at him. She then looked around at the house and then at the lake. She looked back at him, but he was just watching her. She blushed, looked back down at the stones and slipped her keys into her jacket pocket.

 

            “Took me forever to find this place.” She said,

 

            “It’s a pretty private place.” He said.

 

            “Yeah.” She said. “I noticed.”           

 

            “But you searched me out.”

 

            “Yeah.” She said.

 

            “Why?”

 

            “Would you like to…” She then stopped and looked around at the property again. “You don’t have anything to drink do you?”

 

            “A few bottles of pop and something that used to be scotch, but it’s probably turned into something else by now.”

 

            “What would it turn into?” She asked.

 

            “Vinegar I would suppose it’s been open a long time.”

 

            “That’s wine.” She said.

 

            “Is it?” He asked. “I don’t drink much.

 

            “Soda’s fine.” She said smiling.

 

            The Weirdo walked to the back door of the house and opened it. He looked back at her, her face caught in the glow of the light. She looked beautiful, and he felt his heart go pit pat. An actual pit pat, not a thump or a racing sensation. He would have been disgusted with himself if he had been in his right mind. Fortunately he wasn’t in his right mind and a pit pat made him glad.

 

            “Won’t you come in?” He asked.

 

            She came in through the door and he switched some lights on. The house was a modern beauty, built at a time when people were building houses that looked new. It still looked new, something different. It was something that would have made its creator’s teacher proud. She sat down in one of the specially made chairs and waited as he poured her a glass of cola and brought it to her. She took a long drink of it and smiled with pleasure as she swallowed.

 

            “Not many people can even find their way here.” The Weirdo said. “It’s winding, confusing.”

 

            “I think I just knew where I was going.” She said.

 

“Or you have satellite photos and survey maps.” He said

 

“I have survey maps.” She said.

 

They laughed and he leaned against the large chopping block island set in the middle of the small kitchen. He looked at her and felt his heart do that incredibly embarrassing thing again. He noticed that she was blushing again, he hadn’t said anything, but she was blushing. She had slipped out of her jacket and now just stood in the shirt and jeans.

 

“I came to ask you a question.” She said, starting to walk toward him

 

“Oh yes?” He said. “What would you like to ask?”

 

“Are we going to be able to be anything to each other?” She asked, closing in, touching his chest.

 

“I’d like to.” He said.

 

“So would I.” She said. “I would like that a lot.”

 

“Can we trust each other?”

 

“We’ve only known each other a few days.” She said.

 

“That’s true.”

 

“It’ll take a while to build trust.”

 

“I know.” She said looking up into his dark eyes, her own melted to green from white. “I want you to be able to trust me.”

 

She moved herself closer to him, her arms finding their way around his waist. He could have helped himself he could have stood stony. The Weirdo had a huge amount of self-control, but he didn’t want to resist. He placed his arms around her shoulders, feeling her warmth. His hand ran up her back, sliding over the back of her bra, his fingers touching the back of her neck.

 

She closed her eyes and stood on her toes to kiss him. He lowered his head and their lips met. It was a nice kiss, a slow kiss, and when it ended they went back for another. The second kiss was a little stronger that the first, and it lasted a little longer. The third walks the line of what is and isn’t appropriate to discuss.

 

“What are we doing?” She asked him.

 

“I was just standing here.” He said. “You hugged me.”

 

“I did, didn’t I?” She asked.

 

“Yes.”

 

“So what are we doing?” She asked.

 

“I’m not sure yet.” He said. “Feels nice though.”

 

“So we should feel our way through it?”

           

“Maybe we should.”

 

“Then feel here.” She said taking his hand and pressing it under her shirt.

 

If anyone, The Weirdo deserves some privacy, particularly at this point. It’s only grotesque voyeurism that makes anyone want to know the long and graphic details of what he felt at this point or how firm it was. It’s a terrible invasion of his privacy, our being here in the first place really. At this point though, he really deserves to have some time to himself. We don’t need to know how hard or soft certain parts of her were, or how engorged pieces of his anatomy were becoming.

 

It’s really none of our business if she knelt down and fellated him in the kitchen, or if he performed cunnilingus on the stairs before they could even get to the bedroom. Admit it, it’s only sick perversion that makes you want to know what they did in that room, what positions and how many times. Well I won’t tell you what happened, because it’s none of your damn business. What I will tell you is that at the end of the night, she had made him two more times than he made her. It’s not important how many times they had each other, just who came out a head.


            All that being said, Judy’s privacy is a little less of an issue as she was in full view of fifty or more people while she was performing her acts. The Weirdo gets privacy, Judy doesn’t. It might not be fair, but we’ve argued the reasons for it.

 

 

March 31st, 2003

11:23 p.m.

 

            Judy lay on the floor, her body covered in sweat, her breath coming in gasps. She still felt like her heart was going to burst, even though the person between her legs had stopped. She looked up and saw the beautiful face again, she couldn’t remember the woman’s name, because in her euphoric state she could barely remember her own.

 

            “Did you like that?” The voice asked from a million miles away.

 

            “Mmm.” Judy said, aware of at least two pairs of hands rubbing more of the oil across her body. There was a tongue across her stomach as well.

 

            “She can’t stop now though.” The beautiful blonde said, lowering her head. Judy thought there was something odd about her face.

 

            “Uhn?” Judy raised her head slightly and the tongue between her legs began again. She threw her arms out and moaned loudly, unable to take another blast from her body. A mouth closed over hers and she stuck her own tongue into it. She gripped someone’s hand with her right hand and her left hand grabbed a fist full of some one’s hair. She threw her head back and screamed as her body went tight again, and then, a moment later it happened again. The tongue stopped and the woman looked up at the blonde who was holding onto Judy. Her name was Eve; she was second in command here.

 

            “And that’s ten.” Eve said.

 

            There might have been other things said, but she couldn’t pay that much attention. She was laid down on a large thing that might have been a silken pillow. Her eyes wouldn’t focus; her mind was still floating on a wave of endorphins and refused to come down. She was lying there with images flashing across her mind, images of the night.

 

            There had been the swearing in; when she was told she was a member of the family now. Then there was the family gathering, which she quickly realized was an orgy. There were so many young beautiful members of this family; she was told that this was the best way for them to be a family. She was dimly aware of having picked out a tattoo, which she hadn’t received yet because she had to bond with the family first.

 

            There had been so many family members she wanted to bond with she did so much. She was sure there were many she had missed, but she was told that these were not isolated events; there would be lots of time. Then came the challenge of stamina, could she have ten orgasms in a row? Could she stay awake while some one perform cunnilingus on her continuously? She wanted to try, and not she was exhausted from the exercise. She hoped she’s won the bet; she’d hate to have disappointed her new family.

 

            She felt a body lay down next to her on one side, and then one on the other and then some one with long hair rested their head on her thigh. She had one thought in her dizzy state, while heat radiated off her head, to which her hair had plastered itself.

 

            I never want to leave this feeling, is what she thought as she began to fall a sleep.

 

 

April 1st, 2003

12:29 a.m.

 

            “I should go.” Lilith said getting out of the bed.

 

            “Why?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I don’t want to be here when your guys get back.” She said. “I’d feel… I don’t know.”

 

“They’re not going to judge you.” He said. “You should stay.”

 

“I just wouldn’t feel comfortable.”

 

            “They’ll be an hour at the very least.”

 

            “I should go.” She said. “If I stay, I’ll end up falling asleep or we’ll do it again.”

 

            He got up out of the bed and walked around the bed to her. She felt her body stiffen when he touched her, and she stiffened more as he stood behind her to embrace her. It was pleasant stiffening, like being struck by lightning and finding the only part that got shocked was your pleasure center. His hands ran across her body as he embraced her and she shuddered. She could feel him hardening behind her, and her body responded. His kissed her neck and bit down on her shoulder.

 

            “Ah,” She gasped and dropped her clothes. She bent over and grabbed the bedpost. “Once more, then I have to go.”

 

            It turned out to be twice more, but she did leave after that. She put her clothes on and put him to bed, kissing him as she left. She was gone before Jack and Tommy got home, she hadn’t wanted them to see her here. They might wonder what kind of woman she was, why she had come out here in the middle of the night. She didn’t want them to think the worse of her. She wondered though, if now he was thinking the worse of her. Did he think that she was just having her way with him and cutting loose? He’d rejected her and now she’s had him? Had she proven that she wouldn’t be said no to?

           

            She didn’t think so; she felt something deep for him. She had felt it the first time they’d met and it had intensified each time they’d been near each other since. She was close to calling it love, but she didn’t know how he’d feel about calling it that. She wondered what he would say if she told him she loved him. It wouldn’t be good to rush it though; he was still mourning over his last love.

 

 

April 1st, 2003

3:39 p.m.

 

            Sheila lay next to a man whose name she could vaguely remember as Ted. There was another man on her other side, but she couldn’t remember his name. She got up from the place, slipping into the blue silk robe. There was no pentacle on this robe yet, but the silver trim was in evidence. She walked away from the bed where the two men and long since fallen asleep. She picked her clothes up and slipped them on, but a she couldn’t find her shoes, left the room barefoot.

 

            She walked out of the room, which she thought had to be Ted’s and walked down the hallway. The hotel still had power, despite there apparently being no people left in the world. She walked to an elevator and went down to the lobby, where she expected the party to be continuing.

 

            There were small pockets of conversation, people discussing politics, religion, and science fiction. They weren’t the sort of people she had expected, there were layers here. She had expected a very intense group, full of talk of war. There were people like that, but there were other people who seemed barely aware that anything had happened outside of their favorite television shows.

 

            The people that were left up, discussing things in the lobby and hallways of the first floor weren’t the sexually charged people that she had seen earlier. All the sexually charged people had paired off and gone to their rooms. She had to correct that thought, there had been only a few actual pairs, mostly they had gone in groups.

 

            She walked through the halls, her robe tied around her waist, looking for the restaurant. She had been told that this hotel had one of the finest restaurants in the world. The actual chefs that actually made the food would have vanished, but there should still be food that could be cooked.

 

            She walked into the restaurant and found that it was half full of people. There was a lot of plates, with hot food before them. She looked around and heard a voice call to her. The beautiful red head she had danced with earlier in the night stood up. She was sitting with the black haired girl who smoked those clove cigarettes.

 

            “Sheila!” Kaala stood and waved at her. “Come sit with us.”

 

            Sheila smiled and walked to the table. Angel looked up from what appeared to be a pancake breakfast and smiled. She was actually rather pretty when she smiled, which was something she tried to avoid. Angel’s hair usually covered most of her face, which was more in the way she held her head than anything else. She had shoulder length hair, which was usually swept to both sides, forming almost a heart around her face. Right now though the hair was tied back behind her head in a ponytail.

 

            “Fabian’s got some people in there cooking.” Kaala said. “He’s even running as a waiter, you just have to get his attention.”

 

            Kaala stood and waved at a man in a shirt and tie, who began to walk toward them. Sheila hadn’t known what she wanted to eat, she hadn’t even felt that hungry really. She watched as the man came over to them.

 

            “She needs some breakfast.” Kaala announced, pointing toward Sheila.

 

            “You want some coffee?” He asked.

 

            “Tea.” Angel said. “She’s going to want to go to sleep sometime tonight.”

 

            “Thanks.” Sheila said, smiling.

 

            “Do you have a thing against meat?” Fabian asked.

 

            “Not really.”

            “Some do,” He gave a little laugh, “How about a few pancakes and a bit of bacon then?”

 

            “Sure.” She said.

 

            “He tries hard.” Angel said as he left. “He’s not handling it well.”

 

            “Handling what?” Sheila asked.

 

            “We’ve been told, by the main council to fight. Not to build defenses, not to try to organize a resistance, just fight thank you very much.”

 

            “Can you do that?” Judy asked.

 

            “They’re sending some friends, so maybe.” Angel said. “It’s not really what we do though. I didn’t sign up to fight in a full fledged war.”

 

            “Will it come to that?”

 

            “It might.” Angel said. “It just might at that.”

 

            “No it won’t.” Kaala said. “The delegation will make peace.”

 

            Angel looked at Kaala as though she had just said something she wasn’t supposed to, but then she appeared to forgive her. Angel stabbed the cigarette out and picked up her teacup. She sipped a bit and set the cup back down, thinking.

 

“Delegation?” Sheila asked.

           

“Yes.” Angel said. “Diana thinks we can sue for peace before there’s war. We’re organizing it now, might be a few more days before we have the full details. Then of course we have to get them to stop shooting at us for long enough to talk to them.”

 

            “The Weirdo could help there.” Kaala said.

 

            “I could talk to him.” Sheila said.

 

            “You might do that.” Angel said.

 

            Fabian brought the food and set it down before her. The smell hit her nose and she realized that she had actually been famished. She began to dig into the food with abandon, enjoying each bite; this wasn’t how the breakfast just the other day had been. This had been presented before her, by a man who she thought had only the interest of feeding her. It was cleanly made, and professionally presented. This meal had been crafted, not just served.

 

            She ate the meal and the conversation turned to things like movies, shoes, and the other things that women talk about over a late meal. Kaala managed to keep the conversation from getting into deep or dangerous territory again; with her sparkling personality it was easy. After the meal she was given her own room key, to an empty room.

 

            She went to the room and entered it alone, closing the door behind her before turning on the lights. One look had confirmed to her the worst; it was like all the others. Hotel rooms are all a like, all over the world. This one was like any other hotel room she had been in, and their had been many. She could remember a time when there were no hotels. When their had only been inns and times when even those were scarce. She had seen entire civilizations rise and fall, and learned nothing from it. She felt almost like weeping from the sheer wasted effort of her long life.

 

            She looked out the window, which faced the ocean, she could actually see the spot where the island was. If he’d had a pair of binoculars, she might be able to make out the house. She could see the spot where Tommy would be, but she hadn’t felt so far from him since they had been together. When one considered the hundred-mile trip to the cabin, she had many times been further apart.

 

            She felt like he was a million miles away now though. She had felt like she had betrayed him with the people she had been with tonight. She had been with many men before him it was quite possible that he had been the ten millionth customer considering what she had been forced to do in the past, and yet those two seemed to be more than all those who had come before.

 

            She could have said she was maintaining cover, or trying the waters, or just wanted to have fun. Tommy would probably have forgiven her, no matter what excuse she used. The problem was that those were all lies; she had done it because she was angry. It wouldn’t matter if Tommy and Judy never found out why she had done what she did tonight; she knew why she’d done it. She was angry that Judy had wanted to play around, and he wasn’t jealous about it. She had been angry about that, and had done this in order to get back at them. They wouldn’t know about it, or even care, but she did.

 

            The problem with that was now she felt sorry, and no one but her knew about it. She couldn’t go home, that was clear. She had done something to purposely hurt Tommy, and could she live with him without telling him? If she told him, the guilt would tear her apart, if she didn’t her conscience would attack constantly. She couldn’t go home, that was clear.

 

           

April 1st, 2003

4:01 a.m.

 

            Tommy sat in his room of the cabin alone. He hated to admit it, but he couldn’t sleep without being kissed goodnight. His mother had insisted on kissing him goodnight into his late teens. He’d married Amy when they were both young, when The Weirdo was still around in fact. He’d lived with her as a constant presence for years, going without sleep when she wasn’t around. When the war had broken out, he’d gone to fight with the OSS, and never slept right. He’d done more than most people ever dreamed of, but he’d done a lot of it on two hours sleep. When he was home, he slept wonderfully. He could always sleep if he’d been able to kiss Amy goodnight, and would roll around if he hadn’t.

 

            After she’d died, his world fell apart. He’d left the bureau, taking his pension and retiring. He’d spent year’s not sleeping right, spending days on end awake. He’d hide the fact from everyone, but he rarely slept very well. When he’d been at the rest home, they’d drugged him to sleep. It hadn’t worked though he still hadn’t slept.

 

            When Shannon became old enough to some see him, she would kiss him on the forehead and that helped. When The Weirdo came back, he hadn’t slept well for a year and a half, because Shannon stopped kissing him goodnight. And then in December of 2001, he’s found Judy and Sheila. They would both kiss him goodnight, and he’d slept better than he ever had before. Had he known that getting two kisses would have helped him sleep this well he’d have done something about it years ago.

 

            They were both away now though, and he was alone. He sat up in the night, looking at the bed. He’d tried to go to sleep, but it hadn’t worked, he’d just rolled around for a while. He wasn’t sure how well he was going to sleep if they were away for a long time. He didn’t think he could take that.

 

            His phone rang, surprising him out of his thoughts. To say his phone rang is a bit of a misnomer really, it vibrated. The sound of it vibrating though could have rung a bell though. It was so forceful the phone moved about slightly when it buzzed. He reached out and picked it up, not recognizing the number.

 

            “Hello?”

 

            “I don’t think I should be too long.” Sheila said. “I love you, I’m sorry.”

 

            She then hung up. He looked at the phone and took in a deep breath. He didn’t know what she was referring to, but it worried him. The phone then suddenly buzzed in his hand. He placed the phone to his ear again.

 

            “Yeah?” He asked.

 

            “Why are you awake?” Sheila asked.

 

            “I just can’t sleep.” He said. “Why are you awake?”

 

            “I don’t want to talk about it.” She said. “I… I did something, and I don’t think I can ever come home because of it. I’m sorry. They want you to help them broker a deal between them and the System. I have to go. I’m sorry.”

            She then hung up again.

 

            His bones felt as though they had been filled with ice water, what had that meant? What could she have done that would make her think she couldn’t come home? Was it really that bad, or did she just think it was? He looked at the phone and dared it to ring again. He wanted it to ring so he could ask her what the hell she meant. He was worried; there was something wrong here. The phone didn’t ring though, and he set it down. He got out of the chair and looked at the backs of his hands. The wounds were beginning to close up, but his back still hurt.

 

 

April 1st, 2003

7:28 a.m.

           

            The Weirdo was just waking up, the air fresh and fragrant in his room. He looked around; there was only a bit of light so far. He got up and looked around the room, his mind sloshing about in confusion. There is always a moment of confusion when one wakes up, it’s the speed in which it passes that separates us.

 

            The window and dresser being were they were meant that he was at the cabin, so he knew where he was. He sat up and made sure of his surroundings. The sliding door of the closet was closed, the dresser was made of cherry wood, there was a goddess of spring and rebirth sitting on the oak hard backed chair, the hardwood floor had a large Persian rug on it, the curtains on the windows were closed. He went over the list in his head and found an aberration. He looked at Eoster and blinked.

 

            “Hi.” She smiled, embarrassed.

 

            “Hello.” He said, “Been waiting long?”

 

            “Only a few minuets.” She said even though she had been there for four hours actually.

 

            “Good.” He said rubbing his eyes.

 

            “Did Shannon believe in any God or religious system in particular?”

 

            “We gave her what could be thought of as a Viking funeral.” He said. “She had a particular affinity for Odin, though I don’t believe she ever worshiped anybody.”

 

            “Oh dear.” She said.

 

            “Why?” He asked.

 

            “Well, given all that she should be somewhere in the halls of Asgard, but she isn’t. We don’t know where she is, or who has her. Odin was quite friendly when I mentioned your name, and said he would have kept her safe if she had come to him but she hadn’t.”

 

            “Meaning?”

 

            “She’s either a lost soul, or she’s been taken by someone else.”

 

            “Could you maybe talk sense for a moment? Or at least pretend like I have no idea what the fuck you’re talking about?”

 

            “Souls go to a destination.” She said. “According to a belief system usually. They are taken to one place or another. Sometimes they’re traded by the gods who run those places. If they don’t fit in the place they thought they should go, they’ll sometimes be traded off for valuable souls. There has also been some soul snatching on occasion.”

 

            “Her soul was kidnapped?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Maybe.” She said. “We just don’t know where she went. If she had been kidnapped, we might have a better chance. If some one grabbed her for their own purposes, then they would probably tell us who they are and give us terms to return her.”

 

            “If she wasn’t snatched?”

 

            “Then she could be anywhere.” Eoster admitted. “And there’s no reason to advertise it.”

 

            “Damn.” He said.

 

            “I’m working on it.” She said. “I’ve told you before, you have powerful friends. You might not know who all of them are, but they’re all watching out for you.”

 

            “If she’s lost?”

 

            “The he will find her.” Eoster said. “And make him part of his tribe.”

 

            “He?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “The fallen angel.”

 

            “You mean Lucifer?”

 

            “Shh.” She said. “He might hear you.”

 

            “I hope he does.” The Weirdo said. “I’ve still got a deal on with him.”

 

            “You’ve had dealings with him?” Eoster said.

 

            “You’ve never met him have you?”

 

            “He led a rebellion against a god.” Eoster said.

 

            “But you’ve never met him.”

 

            “No.” She said. “But his reputation…”

 

            “Is from someone’s propaganda machine.” He said. “I’ve met him and he’s not a bad guy. If I can figure out a way to contact him, maybe he can tell me.”

 

            “I wouldn’t count on him.”

            “Where do you go?” The Weirdo asked, changing the subject.

 

            “What?” She asked.

 

            “When you’re not here, trying to get into my pants, where do you go?”

 

            “I get around.” She said. “Here and there.”

 

            “But where do you base?”

 

            “A forest.” She said. “In Germany I have a forest. It’s dying out of course, they all are. For now I have a forest though, I live there.”

 

            “With the wood nymphs?”

 

            “There haven’t been nymphs for more then a thousand years.” She said. “They all vanished when the Christians found a way to cast them away.”

 

            “Cast them away?”

 

            “They cast the world’s magic away. The Gods managed to hold on, but most the fair folk vanished. The elves, dwarves, pixies, nymphs, all gone.”

 

            “How sad.” He said.

 

            “You have no idea.” She said, and her face darkened slightly

 

            “Isn’t there something that could have been done?”

 

            “We were already loosing, they decided that we all should be cast away. Magic was not what Christ had in mind for mankind apparently. As usual a small group forced their decisions on the rest of the world. Never mind that though, I’m supposed to try to seduce you again.”

 

            “Are you?”

 

            “I told them you wouldn’t, but here I am.”

 

            “Are you going to try?”

 

            “Would it do any good?”

 

            “Probably not.”

 

            “Then no.” She said. “I decided to use the time to give you a progress report.”

 

            “Well thank you.” He said.

 

            She stood and began to walk towards the window, turning suddenly to him again.

 

            “I would give a strong child you know.” She said. “We would make a beautiful child.”

 

            “No doubt we would.” He said.

 

            “But you won’t.”

 

            “No.” he said.

 

            “I understand.” She said. “But you’ll have to find someone soon, or your power will be lost.”

 

            She walked toward the window and faded from existence as she touched the window. He looked at the spot where the window had been and got out of bed. There was a green leaf in the spot where she had been, as if she had left a token.

 

 

April 1st, 2003

7:58 a.m.

 

            Azela kissed Max on the ear, his head rolled around and he looked up at her.

 

            “I’ve got to borrow a car for a few hours.” She said. “I need to get some things from my apartment if I’m going to stay here.”

 

            “Sure.” He said. “Take my keys, but push the lock button and the car the beeps is the one to take.”

 

            He then let his head drop back down onto the pillow. Had he been thinking more clearly he could have even told her which car it was, but he was too tired? He went back to sleep, his mind slipping from the world again.

           

 

April 1st, 2003

8:21 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo stood on the dock, thinking about the sword that had come up form these waters. All water had to be connected, that had to be it. The Sword would come up from any lake, not one lake in particular. It was convenient, and maddening. He swirled what was left in his pop can and took another drink. Why have a dock on a lake no one ever went in? Was it to have a place were one could stand over the water? He wasn’t sure. He looked down at the black water and saw a fish swimming just under the surface. It was a catfish, which made him wonder about why it was near the surface. They were bottom feeders, not accustomed to swimming near the surface. It swam down, and vanished in the thick ink of the water.

           

            “You got the sword?” A voice asked him.

 

            The Weirdo turned and saw the gray man, standing at the edge of the dock. He wasn’t standing on the dock, or over the water, just at the edge.

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said. “Yesterday.”

 

            “Yesterday?” The gray man said nodding. “Early then.”

 

            “What?”

 

            “I thought it would happen later, today in fact.”      

 

            “What is going on?”

 

            “Later, I promise.”

 

            “You keep saying that.”

 

            “And very soon it will be true.” He said. “I’m not yanking your chain. You didn’t try to give the sword back by any chance did you?”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo asked, “Why would I?”

 

            “Just wondering.” He said.

 

            “Why are you asking me this?”

 

            “When I decide the time is right, you will have all the answers, I promise.”

 

            “Do you?”

 

            “I never lie.” He said. “You just have to remember not to give up.”

 

            “Don’t give up?”

 

            “Never give up.” He said. “Tenacity is the only thing that will see you through.”

 

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You’re going to be tested, and it won’t be an easy test. It’s a test I failed, I gave up, thought it would be easier to surrender.”

 

            “So don’t give up?” The Weirdo asked. “That’s the key?”

 

            “It is indeed.” He said.

 

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said turning away.

 

            “There’s just one other thing.” The Gray man said drawing an envelope from his pocket. “You tore you’re copy of this up, I didn’t. You might want it.”

 

            He set the envelope down and placed a rock on it to prevent it from fluttering away. The Weirdo looked at it and then looked away at the mountains for just a moment, when he looked back the gray man was gone. He walked back over the black water and to the place where the envelope lay. He reached down and plucked it up from under the rock and looked at it.

 

            It wasn’t addressed or sealed. The flap of the envelope had simply been slipped into the envelope to make it hold closed for a little while. It was something done to provide easy opening. He slid the flap back and saw the back of a photograph. The actual picture had been turned away so the glue on the envelope wouldn’t damage the picture. There were actually six photographs now that he looked at them. He pulled the first photo out and looked at it.

 

            It was a little scuffed and one corner had been bent, but it was a photo he had taken. It was a photo he had taken and at the instance of the subject he had destroyed the negatives. In one of the only fits of rage he had, he’d also destroyed the photos. He’d torn them up and burned them in that single fit of rage. Now they were here in his hand again. He knew these six pictures well; his hands shook slightly as he went through them.

 

            They had been taken at a moment of sheer joy, and two rolls of film had been used before these last six pictures had come out of it. He had spent so much time photographing her face, and trying to get her to stop hiding behind the blankets.

 

            She had slowly allowed herself to have the blanket coaxed away from her, and let him take pictures of her nude. She looked so beautiful, and he had captured her in that moment. These were the most beautiful pictures of her he had taken. They had made such love after they were done shooting the pictures.

 

She had insisted that he could make one print of the pictures, and that was it. She made him burn the negatives in front of her, and said he could only have some of the pictures. They had spent a whole day looking at the photographs, and they had agreed on eight pictures of her that he could keep. They were the eight best looking pictures; they eight that made her look her best. Two had been head and shoulder shots, but the rest had been the nudes. The two pictures that weren’t nudes had survived, but these six had been destroyed. Now here they were, in his hand again. He looked around at the lake and the mountains that ringed the property that the cabin was built on.

 

It was like finding a rose that had been pressed in a book some time ago. As if he had just reached for a book and discovered the rose, flattened between its pages. These were more than a pressed rose though, and how had the gray man gotten a hold of them? They had been cared for at least, even though they looked like they had gone through ten years of wear. In fact there were certain things that made the photo’s look like maybe they were ten years old.

 

He looked around the property again and then at the six photos. He slid them back into the envelope and gently slid the envelope into his pocket. He would just, for the moment, be grateful to have the photos again. It would never replace her, but it would help remind him of what he had lost. Maybe that would give him strength, he hoped it would.

 

He turned to look again at the dock and a small child in a pink raincoat was at the end. She wore a red corduroy skirt and opaque white socks. She was under three feet tall, and standing with her back to him. He took a step on the dock and she turned her head, he could tell the head moved. The coat’s hood was also the same kind of plastic as the coat though, and it didn’t move when she did. She found herself looking at the inside of the hood. There was a sort of sound of makes when trying to puff air through lips that one hasn’t completely got under control yet. Her little hands reached up and pushed the hood back reveling a mass of blonde hair.

 

            “Hi.” She said, fixing her crystalline blue eyes on him.

 

            “Hello.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I’ve been watching you for a while.” She said.

 

            “I know.” He said.

 

            “And you’re hopeless.” She said, slinging the backpack off her shoulders. “You need my help.”

 

            “Do I?”

 

            “Uh huh.” She said nodding.

 

            It was an odd feeling. She spoke like an adult for a moment, and then she was a child again. It was hard to describe in words, but the sensation gave him vertigo. He watched as she produced a small pouch of fruit snacks from her bag. She tore the bag open and spilled a few onto her hand.

 

            “How many of those have you had today?” He asked.

 

            “I dunno.” She said.

 

            “Maybe you’ve had enough then?” He asked.

 

            “I can finish these though?” She asked.

 

            “Sure.” He said. “Why not?”

 

            He sat down to better get to her level, and she sat down as well. She held her hand out with a blue cartoon character shaped fruit thing on her hand. He took the snack and popped it into his mouth. He was surprised to find that it was blue berry flavored. Everything blue these days was raspberry flavored, despite the fact that no one had ever seen a blue raspberry ever.

 

            “So what’s your name?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I’m The Other.” She said.

 

            “That’s your name?” He asked.

 

            “What’s yours?” She asked. “If it’s not The Weirdo I mean.”

 

            The Weirdo wasn’t a name really it was a title. He thought The Other was another title. Maybe she had a real name, or maybe they had only ever referred to her by her title. He looked at her and she looked at him and then he shrugged.

 

            “Fair enough.” He said. “What’re you doing here?”

 

            “Well, you’re hopeless, like I said.”

 

            “Yes, you did.” He said.

 

            “So I’ve come to help you.”

 

            “Help me?” He said.

 

            “Yeah.” She said. “Somebody’s got to help you.”

 

            “Do they?”

 

            “If I don’t how will you manage it yourself?”

 

            “Can’t I do it myself?”

 

            “You haven’t managed it yet.”

 

            “I could if I really tried.”

 

            “Nope, your hopeless.”

 

            “What are we talking about?” He asked.

 

            She rolled her eyes and looked at him with a piercing glance. She then shook her head, and folded the foil packet of fruit snacks down to preserve the rest of them. She then put them back in the bag and zipped it up. She stood and put the bag on her shoulders again.

 

            “See, hopeless.”

 

            “Where are your parents?” He asked standing. “I would imagine they have something to say about this.”

 

            “My mom’s dead.” She said. “My dad doesn’t even know I’m his daughter.”

 

            “Oh.” He said and cursed himself. “So you’re an orphan?”

 

            “No.” She said. “You’ll take care of me.”

 

            “Who is your father?” He asked.

 

            “Hopeless.” She groaned as she walked to the end of the dock.

 

            He watched her walk down the dock and tried to put his finger on why she looked familiar. It was the same spooky familiarity he felt when talking to the Gray man, was he her father? He followed her to the end of the dock, wondering why she looked so familiar.

           

 

April 1st, 2003

2:03 p.m.

 

            “But what are you going to do with her?” Kestrel asked.

 

            They were sitting in the ballroom, a small circle of chairs ringed in a semi circle. They watched as The Other, Amanda and Rutherford ran around the back yard. Marla and Mrs. Pendleton were outside with the children and Max was kicking a soccer ball with them.

 

            “I don’t know.” The Weirdo said. “She’s obviously not just some kid, she showed up on the dock I was standing on. I may have been occupied, but I would have seen a four year old wander past.”

 

            “Four year olds do not wander.” Jack said. “They rocket, if I could put Rutherford on a treadmill we could electrify the entire city.”

 

            “She had to come from somewhere.” Tommy said. “She said her mother’s dead?”

 

            “And her father doesn’t know he’s her father.”

 

            “She looks familiar.” Tommy said.

 

            “How so?”

 

            “Like how Amanda and Rutherford look familiar.” Tommy said. “You know, they look familiar and then Jack or Marla do something and you realize oh yeah, they do that. And then you go okay, so they’re their kids.”

 

            “So whose kid is she?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “She’s lovely.” Kestrel said. “Whose had an affair they’d rather forget?”

 

            “Faithful for more than ten years.” Jack said.

 

            “Not guilty.” Tommy said.

 

            “Nope.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “So could Max have impregnated some girl?” Tommy said. “I thought he was, you know. I mean until last year when he was with, what was her name?”

 

            “Don’t remember.” The Weirdo said. “It was over before thanksgiving, she left him for some football player at Harvard.”

 

            “She’s too old for that,” Kestrel said. “So maybe she’s the child of a relative?”

 

            “I don’t know.” The Weirdo said. “She feels…closer than that.”

 

            “We’ll have to put that on the back burner for a while I think.” Tommy said. “I got a phone call last night. Sheila says that the Power wants to have a deal of some sort with The System.”

 

            “Any idea what kind?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “No.” Tommy said. “The phone call wasn’t that long.”

 

            “Ah.” The Weirdo said, and dropped the matter. He would be hearing about the rest of the phone call, word for word, later. There would also be impressions of tone and inflection of each word.

 

            “It’s probably a last ditch effort to sue for peace.” Jack said.

 

            “Whose kid is she?” The Weirdo asked again.

 

            “You sure you never had an affair?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “I have had only one lover since my return and she is dead my dear.”

 

            “It’s just she does things like you.” Kestrel said. “Or may be I’m just seeing it because you’re such a big kid.”

 

            “That’s probably it.” Tommy said. “I mentioned that a few days ago he was clucking like a chicken during lunch didn’t I?”

 

            “Yeah.” She said. “That must be it.”

 

           

April 1st, 2003

3:12 p.m.

 

            Tommy walked into his room and looked at the empty bed, he was going to have to be alone again tonight. He held his hand over the bed and tried to see his own future, and he couldn’t. He couldn’t see the girls in the bed with him and he couldn’t see himself alone in the bed. There was no future in this bed at all; he couldn’t see anything in fact. It was as if the bed had shielded it self against his efforts to tell it’s future.

 

            His phone vibrated in his pocket, buzzing against his thigh and making the change in his pocket shudder against each other. He drew the phone out and accepted the call. The number wasn’t the one that Sheila had called him from last night, but if she was where he thought she was there could be hundreds of phones.

 

            “Hello?” He asked.

 

            “Hey Tommy.” Judy’s voice sparkled over the phone.

 

            “Hey beautiful.” He said. “How are you?”

 

            “I’ve had fun.” She said. “Are you guys gonna come here soon? Everybody wants you guys over here with us.”

 

            “I don’t know.” He said. “We still don’t know what’s going on yet do we?”

 

            “They’re just trying to save the world from its pain Tommy.” She said. “I’ve got to go, I’m getting my tattoo. I love you, I’ll see you when you get here.”

 

            She hung up, as suddenly as Sheila had, and he was all the more worried because of it. He had a feeling of his family spinning apart, like pieces in a centrifuge. He was thinking about getting them back, he wanted to go get them back. He wanted to charge in, cancel this whole project, and get them back right now.

 

            He knew he couldn’t, he knew that would be the worst thing right now. If he went in, then all the attention would be drawn to them. He didn’t know if they could defend themselves against a full-scale attack. He knew that he shouldn’t let his own feelings get in front of the work, but he wanted to.

 

            He wondered if maybe just this once he shouldn’t just rush in and do what he wanted to? Maybe just this once he should just do what he knew was the thing to do. He knew he had to get them out of there, rescue them, save them from their bad choices. But then he’d be taking the choice form them, and he couldn’t do that. He would have to wait, for at least a while.

 

 

April 1st, 2003

4:55 p.m.

 

            “You like it?” Judy asked.

 

            “It’s lovely.” Eve said.

 

            They were admiring the small cross tattoo that had only just been placed on Judy’s hip, and was already healed. There would have been a few weeks of healing first, but this was almost instant healing. Eve had been told that Judy may be an immortal, and now she knew. Judy could heal in the quick, instant way that she had heard her rare kind could. She had heard about Blackheart and the others, but hadn’t thought they would have the luck to get any of them on her side.

 

            “I’m glad you like it.” Judy said.

 

            “Are you?”

 

            “Well if you don’t like it, what’s the point of it?” Judy asked.

 

            “For you to like it.” Eve said.

 

            “I’m not important.” Judy said.

 

            “Now that’s just not true.” Eve argued, her eyes snapping into a rosy pink. “You’re very important. You shouldn’t let people tell you your not.”

 

            “Well, I.” Judy looked at her feet, her face turning bright red.

 

            “You were a slave too long.” Eve said. “We can’t expect you to learn all in one day I suppose.”

 

            “I.”

 

            “I mean it’s not like people change over night. I suppose Tommy was trying to help you out of that shell right?”

 

            “Tommy?” Judy lifted her head. “Tommy’s been nicer to me than anyone else ever.”

 

            “More than Sheila?”

 

            “Well, no maybe not.” Tears spilled from her eyes silently.

 

            “I can see how dependent on them you were.” Eve said. “You shouldn’t have to depend on any one. You should be our own person.”

 

            “Yeah?”

 

            “Yeah.” Eve said, putting an arm around Judy’s shoulder. “We’ve got to teach you to be your own person. You can’t keep being the little whore for a dead woman forever.”

           

 

April 1st, 2003

5:02 p.m.

 

            The Other was watching Max type on the computer. He was trying to work out his thoughts on this present situation when there was a sound like the tolling of a great bell made of wood.

 

            “Grandpa Cydrill is here.” The Other said and ran towards the front door,

 

            Max followed her and helped her open the door, and there was a giant at the door. Cydrill Blackheart was seven feet tall if he was an inch. He was built in the muscular style of men who worked out a lot or at least those who had jobs that made them look like they did. Blackheart wore the massive black wool overcoat with the fur-lined collar that he had worn the first time Max met him.

 

            “Hello Cydrill.” The Other said grabbing his leg.

 

            “Hello Other.” He said, reaching down and scooping her up.

 

            “You know her?” Max asked as Cydrill stepped into the house.

 

            “We’ve met a few times.” Cydrill said.

 

            “Then you know who her parents are?” Max said. “She’s a little cagey about that.”

 

            “Let’s just say she’s like family.”

 

            “Like family.” Max said. “So maybe Piedmont or Cassimano’s child?”

 

            “Let’s just say you’d do well to treat her like a sister.” Cydrill said.

 

            “What? Call her a booger head?”

 

            “That would do nicely.” He put the child down and was followed by Dagron Piedmont and D’var Cassimano.

 

            “Hey Dagron, D’var.”

 

            “Hey Max, how’s it hanging?” D’var said.

 

            “Hello Maximilian.” Piedmont said.

 

            “Is he here?”

 

            “The Weirdo? Yeah, he’s in the dinning room with Mike, Jack and Kestrel.”

 

            “He’s in there with a small bird?” Cassimano said.

 

            “In a manner of speaking.” Max said.

 

            “Come on, I need a drink.” Cassimano said. “You can talk while I imbibe.”

 

            Piedmont was the most normal looking out of the group of three. He was just a man of about forty-five, his faun brown hair was beginning to thin and he looked normal. D’var Cassimano wore a large eye patch over his left eye, which was shaped like a sweeping coma to cover a rather nasty scar on his face. Besides his size and build, Cydrill Blackheart might have been a normal man in a suit. Piedmont followed as Cydrill walked to the dinning room.

 

            “Ah, you’re here, good.” The Weirdo said looking up from the dinning room table, over which a huge map of the city had been laid.

 

            “Hello Weirdo.” Cydrill said. “Odd goings on in your fair city?”

 

            “We think a war is about to break out.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Though maybe not.” Darrian said.

 

            “Oh the war is going to break out.” Piedmont said. “Trust me on that. This is what happened last time.”

 

            The furious motions of the three people stopped suddenly and all three heads turned slowly to look at him. He looked back at them; he’d been prepared for this. He was going to explain of course, but something deep in his soul loved the look he was getting.

 

            “Beg pardon?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “First, most the people vanished, and then the war started, and then the religious signals of the end coming all came down at once.” Piedmont said.

 

            “Maybe you should begin with the beginning.” Darrian said, walking slowly towards them.

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said. “Start at the beginning.”

 

 

April 1st, 2003

5:04 p.m.

 

            “It’s the end of the world I’m afraid.” Cassimano said.

 

            He looked at the little girl, looking through a pop up book and wondered if he should be talking like this with her around? It was a preposterous thought of course. If the world was going to end, then she should be prepared.

 

            “The end of the world?” Max asked.

 

            “Yeah.” He said. “When Assitania was destroyed, first most the population vanished, then there was a war. All the prophecies of death and destruction started to happen. The sky turned to ash; the sun was blotted out, all the old legends. We were on one side of the war, and Piedmont was on the other.”     

 

            “I thought he was a friend of ours.”

 

            “Now.” Cassimano said. “He was a bishop of one of the religious orders trying to bring about the end. Cydrill brought him with us when we escaped in order to punish him. He said he was going to keep Piedmont in servitude for a hundred times the years he served evil. Of course by the time the service was done, what else was Piedmont to do? He stayed as valet for Blackheart because it’d been three thousand years by then. You get into a groove after a while.”

 

            “You were in this war?” Max asked.

 

            “Oh yeah, me and Tanteroy and Tamarock and Charleston fought in this misguided war.”

 

            “Wait, who are they?”

 

            “Tamarock is the greatest warrior who ever lived, Tanteroy is his son who came with us and Charleston was a knight and Tamarock’s best friend.” He poured himself another glass of scotch and drank half of it. “We were fools though, the fighting was just to distract us. I don’t know what finally came from all the summoning, Tamarock stayed we didn’t. We came here, escaped, and lived to fight another day.”

 

            “You left the fight? You just ran?”

 

            “We ran, we ran and planned to return one day to set things right. Of course we did no such thing. Some of us died, some of us ran deep underground never to be heard from again. I keep thinking though, we must go back at some time.”

 

            “Why?”

 

            “Because I come from the future of one of the countries involved in the war. I was the Arch Duke of Ambernox, that’s like a king. I was sent, through a series of events too long ago to contemplate, four thousand years into our past. I’ve now lived a thousand years too long to have even gone back the long way. I wasn’t able to get home so I joined up with Tamarock, that was how I lost my eye and got my body burned. Then, at the end, I ran with Tanteroy and Cydrill and the rest of the company to this place. I became immortal just too late. If I had run into that burning pub just three years later, nothing would have happened.”

            “You didn’t grow back you’re eye?”

 

            “Nope.” Cassimano said. “I’ll always be as I was when I went through those doors. So barring a miracle I’ll have my scarred legs and chest and I’ll be missing an eye. At least the scars look more heroic than horrific, so I can still score the chicks.”

 

            They both laughed at this and Max looked at the little girl reading what he realized was his physics book. He didn’t see any harm in her looking at it, unless she understood it. If she understood the book, then they’d already crossed the danger thresh hold and there was no point trying to stop it now.

 

            “What are we gonna do about you Other?” Max asked.

 

            “Ask my dad.”

            “You won’t tell us who he is.” Max said.

 

            “She’s The Weirdo’s isn’t she?” Cassimano asked.

 

            “How do you know that?”

 

            “She looks just like him.” Cassimano said,

 

            And then Max saw it, turning his head as he looked at her. She did, she looked like him if you made a few changes. You had to round the face out to make it childish change the hair and the eyes. The nose wasn’t his maybe, but the rest.

 

            “Sweet Monkey Jesus!” He yelled.

 

            “What?” Cassimano said.

 

            “By the small yet perky breasts of Athena, she is his kid.” Max said.

 

            The Other just looked up and folded her arms triumphantly.

           

 

April 1st, 2003

5:10 p.m.

 

            “And then we came here.” Piedmont said. “We don’t know exactly what it was that came from the summoning, but it destroyed the world.”

 

            “Shit.” Darrian said.

 

            “Exactly.” Cydrill said. “But we’re not going to let that happen this time. We’re going to stand and fight. If this is the same thing, as we think it is, it’s obvious that we can’t run from it.”

 

            The doors of the dinning room swung open and banged against the walls behind them at that moment. Max stalked in to the dinning room, holding The Other in his arms. He set her down on the tabletop and grabbed The Weirdo by the arm. Jack, Tommy, Marla and Mrs. Pendleton were in tow with Cassimano behind them pouring himself yet another drink.

 

            The Weirdo was dragged into place so that his head and The Other’s head were at almost the same height. She looked ready to position her head this way and that he just looked bewildered.

 

            “You may all observe.” Max said. “The chin is, Weirdo turn your head, the chin is exact. The profile is the same except for the nose. If we look head on, turn towards the crowd Weirdo, we see the cheek bones and the ears are an exact match.”

 

            “What is going on here?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “She does have your chin.” Marla said.

 

            “All we have to do is find a woman with that nose, and we’ll have the mother.”

 

            “What the blistering fuck are you talking about?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            A tiny hand slapped him up side the head.

 

            “No swearing.” The Other said.

 

            “You will also note the total lack of fear of any kind.” Kestrel said. “But what are you talking about?”

 

            “The Weirdo is The Other’s father.” Max said.

 

            “We’ve been through this.” The Weirdo growled.

 

            “Ah, but we haven’t traveled back four years in time though, like she has.”

 

            “Hmm?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I came back to help you.” The Other said.

 

            “You’re only sort of her father.” Cydrill said.

 

            “You know about this?”

 

            “For about a year. She came to visit me to discuss things.” Cydrill said. “It’s important for a grandchild and her grandfather to talk.”

 

            “Great grandfather.” Piedmont muttered,

 

            “Whatever.”

 

            “What is going on?” The Weirdo said sitting down and holding his face in his hands.

 

            The Other sat down on the table in front of him and took one of his hands. She looked so small and innocent compared to him. She shook his hand by the one finger and his eye opened to look out at her. He could see it though, parts of him reflected in her. She also looked like his mother he had her nose. Those were also her eyes that were looking at him.

 

            “I came to help you.” She said. “If I left it to my grandparents I might never get conceived. I don’t know who my mother is and Grandpa won’t tell me who she was and grandma Aph won’t tell me anything. It was grandpa who told me about you.”

 

            “Grandpa?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Me.” The Gray man said stepping into The Weirdo’s line of site.

 

            Kestrel actually jumped to find him standing next to her. He had moved silently and until he spoke, he might not have been there at all. She looked at the face of the gray-eyed man and her eyes widened. She recognized the elder man’s face, and nearly screamed the name out.

 

            “I think it’s time you and I talked.” The Gray man said.

 

            “I think so.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Yes it is.”

 

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Alright then.”

 

            “I always get the last word at the end of the chapter.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Yes.” The gray man said.

 

            “Just let him have it Grandpa.” The Other said,

 

            “Oh fine.” The gray man said.

 

            The Weirdo turned his head to The Other.

 

            “Thank you.” The Weirdo said, proving that the Narrator often is the one who really gets the last word.

 

© 2014 Autumn Knight Productions

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April 30, 2014 - Posted by | Fiction | , ,

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