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Brothers & Sisters – Chapter Twelve: Perfect Peace

Note: The point isn’t really for you guys to read a chapter every day. That would be crazy, these chapters are about 30 pages long. This is just an info-dump situation, collect them all and read at your leisure.

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 Twelve

Perfect Peace

 

April 6th, 2003

8:24 a.m.

 

            The Temple of Athena was, at one time, the greatest single piece of architecture in the world. The temple grounds are laid out in a perfect dance of geometric precision, so that you can see the most of each building when you walk through the arches. The temple proper is a majestically made building, with magnificent columns. The problem was it was magnificent about two and a half thousand years ago. It currently looks like a broken down piece of Greek ruin. Much of the place has been half inched, the stones stolen to become new building materials.

 

            Aphrodite looked at the temple and winced, her own temples had all faded away long ago. She had once been more popular than the daughter of her most powerful nephew, and now was nearly forgotten. Her name wasn’t even as well remembered as that Italian tart the Roman’s set up in her place. She was at least glad that no one had named a planet after her. She didn’t think she could stand the idea of being a huge bloated gas covered over heated whore of a planet.

 


            She was wearing her gray pantsuit, a black wool over coat draped over it. Her golden hair slung down behind her back, as she waited. She looked at the broken columns, a few large fallen stones, and remembered how great they once were. There was still a lot of power the ancient Gods held, people just didn’t acknowledge them any more. They were still worshiped, in the silent ways that people continued to eat chocolate rabbits and hide painted eggs. The holly and ivy was still strung up in winter and the fall traditions were still in place, but no one admitted it was for them any more.

 

            “Hello Aphrodite.” The youngster said.

 

            Athena is usually thought of as wearing a long white robe with a helmet pushed back and a shield on her arm. Some times she was even seen with a spear and a golden belt. She actually wore something that would look more familiar to a cadet in the modern European army. From the red barrette to the shiny black boots, she would look at home marching on a parade ground or on the way to war. She wore a pistol on her right hip and a dagger in her left boot and a machine gun was slung around her back. Her hair was tied up in a tight bun that hung just under the beret. Her gray eyes stared out of her stern serious face, her heels were together as if she were standing at attention. Athena was the younger looking one; she looked to be about sixteen years old, while Aphrodite looked to be almost thirty. The younger one always looked as if she were trying to make sure she never fell out of attention, as if she were nervous about it. She didn’t look happy in fact looked as if she were never happy.

 

            “Hello dear.” The elder Goddess said.

 

            “You came to ask me for a favor.” Athena said.

 

            “Have I?” Aphrodite looked a little confused

 

            “Haven’t you?”

            “What would I be here to ask you?” The elder goddess asked sitting down on the stone.

 

            “You want me to help you make an army.” Athena said.

 

            Aphrodite wondered if this kid ever loosened up, she always looked on the verge of a salute. Aphrodite wondered how tight the girl’s bum must be, and thought about the one person she thought who could loosen it. The girl needed to have her tight ass unclenched for a moment. If anyone ever managed to try anal sex with her, Aphrodite feared she would squeeze the invading appendage off their body. As it was she was sure that right now though, she could shove coal up there and get diamonds in an hour. She looked up at the young goddess, and noted how loose her clothes were to make sure that sexual thoughts didn’t enter too quickly into the mind.

 

            “No.” Aphrodite said shaking her head. “Not really.”

 

            “What?”

 

            “No.” Aphrodite said. “I did not come to ask you to help raise an army.”

 

“Why not?” Athena asked, her gray eyes flashing with indignation.

 

“Should I have?” Aphrodite asked, looking slightly puzzled.

 

“Everyone else does.” Athena, said, now being the confused one.

 

“I’ve come about that issue you asked me about once.”

 

“No, wait, why shouldn’t I help form an army?”

 

            “You know the reason you and Nike could never be together? I think I’ve found him for you.”

 

            “I…” Athena began and stopped she was completely lost.

 

            She looked into the inscrutable face of her father’s aunt, and tried to work out what she had just said. Her gray eyes seemed to blur for a moment as she watched. She shook her head and sat down on another stone near Aphrodite. Aphrodite had often told Athena about the unacceptable position of having Nike around all the time, and had been a major cause for Nike to leave. Aphrodite had explained that it wouldn’t do for Athena to know any but the man who would claim her.

 

“You wanted, I found.”

 

“Thank you.” Athena said. “You don’t want me to help form an army?”

 

“Do you want to form an army?”

 

            “I…”

 

            “I just came to talk to you about this D’var Cassimano fellow.”

 

            “D’var?”

 

            “You know him.” Aphrodite said. “He’s staying with The Weirdo right now. They’re in New York.”

 

            “And you think this is the fellow?”

 

            “Yes.”

 

            “I’ll see.” She said standing up.

 

            She turned to look at Aphrodite, hard and beautiful, and turned around. The elder goddess of passion looked at the younger goddess of war and wisdom. Aphrodite thought that the youth was going to salute her, snapping her heels together. Instead the young girl nodded at her and then turned away with out actually saying anything. Aphrodite watched the youth walk away, vanishing through the arch.

 

           

April 6th, 2003

10:46 a.m.

           

            The Weirdo walked down the stairs, his feet plodding along the boards as he went through the house. There didn’t seem to be any one about, but he wanted to eat. He thought that if he got to the kitchen with out seeing anyone he would eat a bit and then look for them.

 

            He had taken a shower, and his still wet hair still clung to his head. He felt his head pounding from the caffeine deprivation that it had gone through. It was the feeling of having chemical receptors in his brain breaking down, as there was no caffeine for them to accept. He hoped that like them, he would know it was time to curl up and vanish when his work was done. He was really hungry though, having had drunk quite a lot before he took his shower, now he was hungry. He walked through the empty house, into the kitchen.

 

            Jack was sitting at the table, a bowl of cornflakes sitting before him. He had a huge book on the table before him; it was a book about combat. The picture that filled a large portion of one page was a graph of troop movements, illustrated as a series of arrows. The Weirdo always hated military books with big colored arrows, it made it too easy to forget that they were men that where moving in those directions. That when they moved into those spots, they often died.

 

            “Hello Jack.” The Weirdo said. “Where is everybody?”

 

            “Out patrolling some more.”

 

            “Patrolling some more?” The Weirdo asked. “Have they been patrolling last night?”

 

            “And the night before.” Jack said. “Since you got home.”

 

            “I just got home at midnight.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “On Sunday.” Jack said. “Yesterday was Monday, this is Tuesday.”

 

            “How long have I been asleep?”

 

            “Thirty five hours?” Jack asked.

 

            “Why the hell didn’t you wake me?”

 

            “You seemed to need the sleep.” Jack said.

 

            “The Other woke me up once, during the night.” He said. “Said no one put her to bed.”

 

 

            “She wouldn’t go.” Jack said. “I didn’t want to force her or anything.”

 

            “Oh.” The Weirdo said. “Where is she?”

 

            “Probably still in bed.” Jack said.

 

            “I’ll go check.” The Weirdo said walking toward the door.

 

            “Where’s Marla and the kids?”

 

            “Probably watching television or something.”

 

            He stopped before he got to the door and spun around. Jack looked up at him, ready for an admonishment. The Weirdo had a funny way about admonishing people, and Jack was ready for it. The Weirdo didn’t admonish though, he asked what apparently was a non sequitur.

 

            “Do you remember the day you learned that Memphis was actually a place in Egypt? Not just a place in Tennessee I mean, that the place in Tennessee is named after the city in Egypt.”

 

            “Well it’s a long time ago.” Jack said.

 

            “But do you remember?”

 

            “Not really.”

 

            “I felt so dumb for not knowing it.” The Weirdo said, “I mean one should feel glad that they’ve learned something, but I felt stupid for it.”

 

            “I doubt very highly anyone would accuse you of being stupid.”

 

            “Maybe not.” The Weirdo said. “But I still felt dumb about it.”

 

            He turned and walked out of the kitchen.

           

 

April 6th, 2003

10:50 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo poked his head into The Other’s room, and wondered when it had become her room exactly. He hadn’t planned it, but there seemed to be a bed for a small child with bright colored sheets to go on it. There were a lot of kid’s things that seemed to be spread around the room. These were new toys too, not hand-me-downs from Amanda or Rutherford. He had no idea where these things had come from, but he didn’t let it worry him too much.

 

            “Hello?” He asked, and The Other walked toward the door.

 

            She smiled brightly when she saw him and waved him to enter the room. He walked in and saw that she had been working at a small oak desk, writing what looked like a mediaeval manuscript. She had at least been copying some sort of book, or perhaps writing one.

 

            “Hi Weirdo.” She said happily.

 

            “I have something for you.”

 

            “Yeah?”

 

            “Yes.” He said holding up the two books he had gotten from the library. “Two books.”

 

            He sat down next to the desk and glanced at the book she was writing, it was in Dutch. He placed the two books down in front of her, and then set a pair of DVD sets in front of her. One was a history the other was about cosmology.

 

            “These books go with these video sets. Their companion books you might say. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to watch the videos with you, but you should watch them and read the books. This one is called Cosmos; it’s by a man named Carl Sagan. It’s mostly about cosmology, but it deals with a certain amount of history as well.”

 

            “What’s the other one?” She asked.

 

            “This is Connections, by a man named James Burke. It’s a history of science, and how events in history are connected to each other. They made three series of this show. It tells you everything you need to know about how to learn history, and it’s my favorite documentary series ever.”

 

            “And I should watch it?”

 

            “Yes.” He said. “Because once you learn to look for the connections in the universe you see things other people don’t.”

 

 

            “Okay.” She said. “Are you going to fight the bad guys?”

 

            “I think we are the bad guys sweetie.” He said.

 

            “No.” She said.

 

            “No?”

 

            “You’re trying to defend freedom, real freedom. No one who’s the bed guy can be trying to stop the forces of good from crushing the idea of freedom. The righteous are trying to force their choice on everyone else, we might be evil, but we’re the good guys.”

 

            “Well, nice to know.”

 

            “Isn’t it?”

 

            “You feeling better now?” He asked.

 

            “Yeah.” She said. “I know what the stars are now.”

 

            “Well good.” He said.

 

            “So you go fight the bad guys.” She said.

 

            “Okay.” He said nodding. “I’ll do that.”

 

           

April 6th, 2003

11:05 a.m.

 

            Tommy leaned into the kick back of the Thompson submachine gun as he fired at the raised planters where his adversaries hid. They were large things, made of concrete with a lot of stones to give them a rough and textured look. There were thin trees, which had been cut and sawed meticulously to fit the ideals of corporate America. That is the trees where meant to represent raw nature, but they looked unattractive if they weren’t trimmed. There wasn’t much left of a few of the trees now, having been cut through when Tommy slowly and methodically raked the planters with bullets.

 

He was down to the last of his three magazines, the large kind that held a hundred rounds each. He had three hundred rounds in his coat, which is no picnic. People think that carrying three hundred forty-five caliber bullets shouldn’t be that heavy… people have rarely been asked to do it. The three hundred rounds may not sound like a lot, but it was. He had carried them though, and boxed in this little group of psudo-soldiers.

 

They looked so very glamorous in their tight leather and Lycra outfits, like something out of either a comic book or a fantasy novel. The problem was they had been totally unprepared for really fighting, for the sort of things that can happen when a large round of lead fired at high velocity tears into a body. They hadn’t been ready for the tearing of flesh, the damaged organs, the blood, and the smell. If there was nothing else that Tommy noticed everyone forgot to mention, it was the smell. When one is shot through the bladder, or through the intestines, things leak out. Things that are not pleasant leak out, and not always from the parts of the body you’re used to.

 

He looked at the place where he’d pinned them down and his ears pricked up when he heard the sound of an engine coming from up the street. He looked up the street and saw a white BMW being trailed by four large sports utility vehicles. The BMW passed and he saw Cassimano stand up from the back and fire a few random blasts at the two SUVs. Tommy walked out into the street and with the last twenty bullets or so strafing at the two large trucks. They spun and stopped, but to his great dismay, didn’t flip over.

 

He heard the squealing of tires behind him and then the roar of the engine as it raced back towards him. The occupants of the SUVs were beginning to disembark from their vehicles and were screaming at the group of girls he’d pinned down. That had been a blow really; he thought they were just about ready to surrender too.

 

The BMW stopped next to him and he looked down into the car, and realized he was looking down into the car because the hood of the car had been sheared of and broken bits of glass had enclosed the now open topped car.

           

There has been some conjecture, for quite a bit of time about what exactly happened to the brand new 2003 BMW Series 5 automobile. It was a beautiful car when it left the mansion, a brilliant white car in fact, a rare choice for The Weirdo. It had begun life as a hard topped car, and not a convertible at all. It should be specified here that it still was not actually a convertible. How it became a convertible is something that has been speculated an argued about. It should be explained that only Max and Kestrel were in the car when it happened. Max agreed that it did happen soon after Kestrel had picked him up and before they rescued Cassimano. Although there has been no outside verification for this, it has been more or less accepted that Kestrel was driving at the time. We have Mrs. Pendleton’s word that it was Kestrel behind the wheel when the car left the house, and Tommy Gunner remembers her being the operator when it arrived.

           

“What the fuck happened to the car?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Down.” Max shouted as he stood up on his seat, drawing his pistols from behind him.

 

            The shooting began again, and one of the girls threw something. Tommy thought she was trying to throw a rock at him or something, totally missing what had been thrown. It’s easy to see how he might, you don’t see them in New York very often, but walking towards it wasn’t the smartest thing he’d ever done.

 

            The hand grenade exploded, and apiece of the steel shell flew towards him and lodged itself in Tommy’s chest. He flew back, his gun fluttering from his hand. Cassimano opened the door and ran out for Tommy, Max right behind him. Cassimano picked up Tommy’s machine gun and would have strafed the crowd, but the gun was empty. He took out his pistol and fired a few heat generated blasts over their heads.

 

            “Get him home.” Cassimano shouted over the din of his own weapon.

 

            “We came out here to get you.” Max shouted. “And we still haven’t found Mike.”

 

            “Mike and I can take care of ourselves.” Cassimano said. “Get him home.”

 

             Max dragged Tommy back to the car as quick as he could as Cassimano fired a few more covering shots at the group, who were beginning to get back in the sports utility night mares. He ran towards the car and slammed the door behind Max as he got in.

           

“Get him home.” Cassimano yelled. “I’ll take care of these bastards.”

 

“Their bitches D’var.” Kestrel shouted.

 

“Whatever.” He grumbled, but it was lost in the rushing air.

 

Kestrel put her foot down on the gas pedal and the car that was now a convertible tore away at speed down the road.  He watched them go and then looked at the two gas guzzling machines that were beginning to roll towards him. He fired down near the ground and the heat weapon made the tires of the first car explode and the second rear-ended the first, which stopped it in its tracks.

 

He slipped the gun into its holster, deciding to make a point about hand grenades. He held his right hand out at arms length and spoke to his sword’s name. Coast Runner, might appear to be a magic sword, but this is untrue. Coast Runner was actually a marvel of technology that this word still needs about a hundred years or so to properly match. The hilt of the weapon housed some marvelous electronics, and also a return system. Some tiny magnetic manipulators allowed the blade to hover, or even be directed into a target.

 

“Coast Runner.” D’var Cassimano said

 

The sword leapt from its scabbard and the hilt landed into his hand. He gave it a few experimental swings and began to walk towards the vehicles meant for both utility and sport. One of the occupants had enough presence of mind to climb out of the car and approach him. She would have been a model or an actress in another life, but now she was a solider. She held a shotgun in her inexpert hands, which she raised up to her shoulder. She pulled the trigger, and nothing happened. She then pumped the slider and racked a round into the chamber. She pulled the trigger and his right arm became a world of hurt.

 

Most of the forearm was shot away, and his hand hung by a few strands of muscle and skin. He closed his eyes and then looked down at his hand, the fingers of which twitched by themselves. He looked at her; she racked another shell into place. He shook his head slowly.

 

“That hurts.” He said. “But not enough.”

 

The arm had begun to heal itself and in just a few seconds it was fine, besides the torn and bloodied shirt. He had been around a very long time, and a lot had been done to him. This had hurt, but not as much as some other things had.

 

“Worse has been done.” He looked down at his sword and raised his reformed hand. “Coast Runner, come.”

 

The blade lifted up, as if by magic, and floated to his hand. She raised the shotgun but he was too close, on top of her. He ran the sword into her, just through her stomach, causing foul smelling gastric juices to escape. He pushed her back, and let her fall on the ground. The rest of them had begun to get out of the cars and were looking at him with trepidation as he approached the woman he had just run through.

 

He walked towards her and looked at the others around him. He placed the tip of Coast Runner just against the bottom of her throat. It was actually at the top of the rib cage but it could slide either way. He looked her in the eyes as he watched her face, which was pained though silent. He had to admire her, she wasn’t whining about the pain, which must have been incredible. After all, the liquids that digest food were leaking out all over her.

 

“Once, on a bad night in Barbados, some on fed me into sugar cane rollers. See there was this slaver who had raped a friends daughter, so I came to sort him out. Unfortunately my friend was black so no one on this particular plantation much cared about my friend’s daughter. I kept the argument up though, and caused a lot of trouble. The night that everything had begun to fall apart though, those boys grabbed me and deiced I might make a good part of the sugar harvest, so they fed my arm into the mashers. There these huge rollers that squeeze all the juice from the sugar cane, and anything else that gets between them.

 

“A kind hearted slave who was on hand grabbed the sharpened machete they use on people when their arms got caught and hacked this arm off at the shoulder. You’ll note that it’s my right arm he hacked off, just like you shot it off. I was able to stand up, even though the blood was spraying from what was left of my right arm. It was cut just below the shoulder, so you can make a mental picture.

 

“I took the machete from that slave, and I began on those boys. I killed every white man on the plantation, started a small-scale slave revolt that night. Of course it was put down just a day later, but we did kill every white man we came across for a good day and a half. After that I was flogged and put on a hook and hung out to die in the sun for three days before I got out of it. That hurt, this didn’t.”

 

He looked into the eyes of the woman, who looked up at him in pain and fear. He was toying with her; she knew that now, just letting her know that she hadn’t done much of anything to him. He moved the tip of the sword to just over her heart and stabbed down just far enough to cut into her heart. He pulled the blade out and stepped over her as blood began to pump irregularly out of the wound.

 

He looked at the rest of them, all five that were left, and walked towards the closest. It was a young man, this one was, you could tell by the Adams apple. He was a fairly androgynous and effeminate lad and under different circumstances, D’var would have made an offer of impalement of a different kind. As it was, he stabbed the blade through the Adam’s apple and with a swift jerk of the needle sharp sword. The blade tore a soft piece of cartilage and into the spinal column as it stabbed forth. The boy’s body convulsed violently and tore half the neck open as it fell.

 

One of the girls screamed as a spurt of blood sprayed across her face. Cassimano was in no mood for feminine squeamishness and his blade stabbed into her chest. He then drew the long blade out and stabbed twice more into her chest, throwing her to the ground. He reached out and grabbed a third one, a cute blonde girl, and smashed her face against the basket of wires that guarded his hand. He did this sixteen of seventeen times until she stopped fighting and her face was no longer recognizable as a face.

 

He walked towards the other young man and stabbed him through the chest, perforating each lung, and pushing him to the ground. He then sat the young man up and leaned him against the wheel of one of the vehicles, so he could properly drown in his blood.

 

The young man had actually spat out blood, quite a bit really, as he drown on dry land. D’var Cassimano watched as he chocked, watched the feet of one of his other victims rattling. She managed to make a choked sound before the reaper took her. He looked at the lad who was trying to spit out the blood that had filled his lungs, but death was taking him. He looked at the last girl, an almost mousy brunet. She was mousy in that annoyingly beautiful way that all these people were beautiful.

 

“Now, you.” He said standing.

 

“Oh Jesus no!” The small beautifully plain brunet screamed falling away from him.

 

“Shut up.” He said brining the bloodied point of his sword just under her chin.

           

“Oh Jesus Christ save me.” She babbled

 

            “He’s not going to do anything.” D’var said. “He doesn’t exist, he’s a fucking myth.”      

 

            “Oh, God.” She whined.

 

            “You live though.” He said. “It’s not because of God, it’s because of your uncle D’var, you understand?”

 

            “Yes.” She said, shaking so badly that she nearly cut herself on the tip of the sword.

 

            “You get to go home and explain to them that we don’t like hand grenades, or five on one fights. You understand that?”

            “Yes.” She said.

 

            “Say yes uncle D’var.” He said smiling, malice dripping from his tone.

 

            “Yes, uncle D’var.” Tears began to stream down her face.

 

            “Good.” He said. “Also, tell them that we also don’t like these vehicles. I’m mainly a European, and we don’t like these gas guzzling behemoths, you understand?”

 

            “Yes uncle D’var.” She managed.

 

            “Good.” He said, removing the tip of the blade from her throat. “Now go away.”

 

            She managed to run away from him, but she wouldn’t report. She had never read much about war atrocities, much less every seen one. She had never thought much about the way a solider might fight when anger takes him. Had she known about the rules of war, and if there had been anyone to complain to, she could have had D’var Cassimano on human rights violations. He had after all tortured and murdered four soldiers who had in effect surrendered and tormented a fifth. If there was anywhere that a person could complain to about it, she could have done it.

 

            There wasn’t much of anyone left to report to though, was there? She began to think that maybe war wasn’t quite as much fun as all those books had made it out to be; maybe fighting wasn’t worth the excitement. She looked around, seeing that she was alone, and decided that she was going to strike out for home. Ohio was quite a hike from here, but the gas stations still seemed to work. She could drive, pick up some food maybe get away.

 

            She faded from existence, as soon as she had made the decision to stay out of the fighting. There wasn’t room on the game board for those who weren’t going to fight. As each person began to make their decisions, the force that was taking people away, claimed them. She had been taken, and placed in the holding pen with the rest of humanity.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

11:15 a.m.

 

            Kestrel rolled up as close to the door of the house as possible, trying not to slam on the breaks. She and Max looked at Tommy and tried to figure out what would be the best way to get him out of the car. They looked at the house and Max ran up the steps, he turned to look at Kestrel.

 

            “Just wait with him a moment.” He said. “I’ll get help.”

 

            Kestrel looked at Tommy, who was trying to breath very slowly. He had found, in the car ride home, that quick breathing meant pain and slow breathing meant pain. The pain from quick breathing was worse than the slow breathing. Both were extremely painful, but the quick was worse. He looked down at the piece of metal in his chest and up at Kestrel. She laid a hand on his head and stroked some hair from his eyes.          

 

            “Just stay calm.” She said, “I’m sure it will all be okay.”

 

            The Weirdo and Jack exploded from the door, both of them missing all the steps. They lifted Tommy with all the care they could manage from the car and carried him into the house. The laid him on the floor, without worrying about the blood that was covering it. The Weirdo looked at the piece of metal in Tommy’s chest, and then up at Max.

 

            “Max, get The Other. Kestrel, come here.” Kestrel knelt down next to The Weirdo as he looked at the piece of twisted steel jutting from Tommy’s chest. “Put a lot of pressure on his chest when I pull.”

 

            He placed his fingers tightly around the metal and looked at Kestrel. He took his pocketknife from his pocket and opened it one handed. This was a slow process that required him to squeeze the blade in his index finger and thumb, pushing the body of the knife from the blade. He slid the knife open and looked at Tommy’s eyes, this was going to hurt. He stabbed Tommy in the leg and when Tommy yelled, pull on the piece of metal.

 

            Kestrel put both hands over the wound and pressed all her weight onto the wound. The blood coursed up through her fingers as Max’s feet came down the stairs. The Other looked with horror at the scene before her. She rushed towards Tommy and placed her hands over Kestrel’s.

 

            “Thomas Gunner,” A voice that sounded like the grinding of stones said, “I have come for thee. I am Thanatos”


            Tommy’s eyes were beginning to blur but he could quite clearly see Thanatos standing nearby. He had a face that appeared to be made of dark granite; a black hood and cloak obscured all his other features. His red eyes glowed under the hood, as he looked at Tommy.

 

            The Other’s hands began to glow with an inner light.

 

            “You can’t have him.” The Weirdo said. “Go away.”

 

            “I can not be dismissed, nor commanded.” Thanatos said.

 

            “I said you can’t have him!” The Weirdo said, and punched the embodiment of uncaring death.

 

            Thanatos raised his hand to his cheek where he had been struck, and stone ground against stone. It wasn’t out of pain, but rather shock that this tiny mortal had struck him. This insignificant, brief creature had the gall to strike him across the cheek. No one had ever had such nerve as to strike him. His eyes glowed just that much redder, which is stupid really. If his eyes were emitting a light their own, how did he see out of them? Eyes receive light, for them to emit light defeated the purpose, which showed how stupid Thanatos’s bodily projection was.

 

            “I will obliterate you for that brief cowering mortal.” Thanatos said.

 

            “Come get some.” The Weirdo growled.

 

            “He’s neither brief nor cowering.” A woman’s voice said.

 

            The massive blocky head of Thanatos turned to look at the woman whose stern voice had been aimed to sharply at him. She wore black her figure was tightly constrained by the corset under her black lace dress. Her features were pale either because she was the feminine extension of what death was meant to be, or the corset had cut off the blood to her extremites. The Lady Death walked towards the two of them, her dagger unsheathed in her hand.

 

            “I am here to collect the soul of…” Thanatos began.

 

            “Silence.” Her voice had so much power that the floorboards shook.

 

            “You cannot stand in my way.” The stone-faced giant said. “More powerful forces than you have sent me here.”

 

            “You can just back up off my boy.” A voice that had a long western drawl said.

 

            The cowboy who stepped out of the shadows was familiar to the older members of our group. The Weirdo, Jack, and Tommy recognized him from the old days. He had been called Mister James Death at the time, and he was a gunslinger. He had died in the mid thirties, but that didn’t seem to affect him much right now. His hair was still neatly combed under his hat, and his mustache was neatly trimmed. Even his coat was no more dusty than usual. His gun glinted somehow in the dark light.

 

            “You should not meddle here.” Thanatos said.

 

            “You know your not even supposed to be here.” Mister Death said. “You haven’t been handed your charter by the boss.”

 

            “I have been granted my charter by one greater than even the employer.”

 

            “There is no greater force.” Mister Death said raising his pistol and thumbing back the hammer. “To believe otherwise is foolish, you’ve broken the rules.”

 

            “I will be granted control of the rules.” Thanatos said. “I will be the rules.”

 

            “Don’t make me shoot you.” Mister Death said.

 

            His hand was steady, and the Lady Death watched as the two of them each stood her ground. She approached and placed her dagger under Thanatos’s throat. She knew the dagger would end his life like anyone else’s, she also knew it would be her end if she did so. She was ready for such an end though, if it meant protecting these people.

 

            “I’ll kill you myself.” She said stabbing.

 

            Thanatos said nothing, but faded slowly. After a moment, there was nothing there but the dagger. She slid the knife into its sheath and looked at James Death. He was holstering his revolver and seemed to sigh with relief as he did so. She knew that they were in trouble, or at least she was in trouble. He might have been commanded to come here, but she had come on her own. He approached her and spoke quietly so only she could hear.

 

            “Boss wants to speak to you.” He said.

 

            “I know.” She answered.

 

            “We’ll have to go now.” Mister Death said.

 

            The two of them faded from view and a light that seemed to have been muted suddenly flooded into the room. Tommy sat up, holding his chest, and swore a blue streak. The Other clapped her bloody hands together with joy at seeing him all right. Kestrel leaned against the wall and tried not to cry.

 

            “Why don’t we go wash our hands honey?” Kestrel said taking The Other’s hand.

 

            “Okay.” The Other said, and they left the room.

 

            “You fucking stabbed me.” Tommy said.

 

            “To distract you.” The Weirdo said. “It’s like anesthetic.”

 

            “You stab me in the leg to stop me thinking about my chest?”

 

            “Right.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “That meant that both my chest and my leg hurt.”

 

            “Do they hurt now?” The Weirdo asked, tossing in an inqusitive tone to his voice.

 

            “No.” Tommy said.

 

            “Then what are you complaining about?”

 

            “You stabbed me.”

 

            “We’ve been over this already.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I know.”

 

            “Only I don’t want to start asking why I stabbed you and then I say I don’t know and then you have to say third base.”

 

            “I would kill you if you hadn’t just defended me with your life.”

 

            “Nice how that worked out wasn’t it?” And The Weirdo smiled that smile of his.

 

            The Weirdo walked out of the foyer and into a bathroom to wash the blood of his hands. As he washed he looked at the knuckles across his right hand, which were already beginning to bruise. They would be purple and then that greenish yellow as the bruises faded. If he concentrated, he could make that happen in a few seconds, but he didn’t want to. He looked up in the mirror and saw The Lady Death standing behind him, her face partially covered by a netted veil on her hat.

 

            “James didn’t actually come to help you.” She said. “I thought I should mention that before we begin.”

 

            “Well Jim hasn’t been around for sometime.” The Weirdo said. “Ever since he was killed.”

 

            “Reclaimed.” She said. “Surely you knew he was one of the minions of death.”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “It never occurred to me, I just thought it was a funny name.”

 

            He turned to look at her, and there was a groan within him. She was so beautiful, even if she had the complexion of an animated corpse. Her lips weren’t blue, but the rest of her face was like a corpse. She had some ring of real beauty around her though, that was undeinable

 

            “We all are the servants of the shapeless formless death.” She said. “And I have ignored my charter.”

 

            “You want to talk someplace besides a bathroom?” He asked.

 

            “Please.” She said.

 

            They walked to a study, one of the many. This one had a large oak desk that had a chessboard on it, and a large globe made of gemstones. She ran her fingers across the blue stone that represented the water and leaned against one of the chairs as The Weirdo closed the doors behind them. The room was bright and had a feeling of airiness about it. On the desk was a picture made in crayon and pencil. In the picture, two figures walked into the sunset, putting them both in silhouette. Even so, he could recognize one figure was a small girl and the other was a man in a trench coat. The Weirdo was beginning to recognize the subtle variances that were the hallmark of The Other’s work, like the crayon.

 

            “Thanatos will be dealt with. They took him just before my blade found its mark.” She said, “He’s supposed to deal with untimely deaths. Deaths that don’t appear in the book you see. Only the only one who can give him a charter is Death. Thanatos will be in grave trouble for dealing with some one else. That’s not why I came back though.”

 

            “Then why?” He asked.

 

            “You were my charter.” She touched the hatpin that rested on her hat and drew it out carefully. “I knew from the moment you were born the exact moment you would die, and I let that moment pass. I was supposed to take you so long ago and I didn’t. Much of your problems are due to my selfishness, to my wish not to see you die.”

 

            She took the hat off and a small mass of pale curls descended around her shoulders. She set the hat and pin down together and her pale eyes turned towards him. She was beautiful, a vision of loveliness. Her hair, he could see had been white, but tinted with a very light lavender color. Or perhaps she had once been a blonde who had dyed her hair and when she began on this path the color had faded from her. Her once blue eyes had a faded crystal look to them as well.

 

            “Pardon?”

 

            “I’m not supposed to become attached.” She said. “But I did. I think I could say that I love you, and because of that I didn’t end your life when I was supposed to. Now I have been handed an ultimatum. Either I end you, or they will remove me from my position.”

 

            “Remove you?” He asked.

 

            “Remove me.” She said, drawing out the dagger. “I have been given no other choice, the council was very specific. Their being pressured to complete your charter, by fairly powerful forces.”

 

            The knife had an odd glitter to it, one that seemed to defy the light in the room. It was glittering from within almost, or at least from a light source that didn’t actually exist in this room. It wasn’t going to be the cause of death, but the final release of it. Another cause would be found no doubt.

 

            “I understand.” He said.

 

            “I don’t like this any better than you do.” She said.

 

            “It’s alright.” He said. “I’m prepared.”

 

            “So I am.” She said, ramming the dagger into her breast.

 

            Her face twisted as the blade cut into her chest, and she gasped a moment after doing it. She looked a little shocked at the pain actually, as if she couldn’t believe that she had actually just done this. She fell to the ground, knocking the chair over as she went. He fell to his knees and pulled the dagger out. He tossed it away and held her up, supporting her head on his lap.

 

            “What the hell are you doing?” He asked, as blood seeped around his fingers.

 

            “I couldn’t let you go.” She said. “All things fail, even the hearts of the universal concepts.”

 

            “I wouldn’t have fought you.” He said.

 

            “I know.” She said as a single tear ran from one eye. “Would you kiss me? Just once I should like to know what’s so damn important about it.”

 

            He bent his head down and did kiss her, touching her icy lips with his. Her mouth was warm though, and tasted of fresh strawberries. There had been warmth inside her, a beautiful warmth. She let her head pull away from his, and he watched as another tear dripped from her eyes.

 

            “What a time to learn.” She said, and her body faded.

 

            He sat for a long time, just kneeling on the floor, trying to absorb it all. She had been there, a weight against his legs, then she was gone. He looked at the knife, which had worked its way under a table. He looked at his hands, where one strand of her hair was still wrapped between two of his fingers.

 

            “I didn’t want it to happen like this.” Jim Death’s voice came from the desk.         

 

            The Weirdo stood and looked at the gunslinger, idly moving chess pieces around. There was still certain coldness about the gun fighter, as there always had been. He looked now, more like what he was. He was one of the reapers, one of those who take souls to the world beyond.

 

            “You died.”

 

            “I returned to the realm of immortals.” Jim Death said. “I completed my charter and needed an excuse to return. I’m sorry I couldn’t explain it to you then.”

 

            “I understand it now.” The Weirdo said. “That’s probably all that matters.”

 

            “I’ve been keeping my end of the bargain though.”

 

            “Have you?”

 

            “I’ve been protecting you, when I could, ever since that day.”

 

            “Well, thanks.”

 

            “Twern’t nothing.” He said.

 

            “What’s going to happen to her?” The Weirdo asked picking up her hat and looking at it. “I mean is she completely gone?”

            “Hard to say.” Mister Death said. “I don’t know where she went, no death has ever turned their weapon on themselves. She could have just gone somewhere, or she could be dead.”

 

            “Sad.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You’ve got bigger problems to worry about now.”

 

            “Have I?”

 

            “This war you keep trying to stay out of it about to come knocking on your door. Your not going to be able to stay out of it any longer I’m afraid.” He picked the red king up and jumped the white queen, then the bishop and then the knight as if he were playing checkers.

 

            “Meaning?”

 

            “This isn’t a war of ideologies, it just looks like it. It’s a war between what is apparently good and what is apparently evil. A war between what is right and what is wrong. Big fight is coming, if you loose, you achieve piece. If you win, you get to do a lot more fighting’.”

 

            “Sounds fun.”

 

            “It won’t be.” Jim Death said. “But you’ll have to do it.”

 

            “Why me?”

 

            “Because who else is going to? Them religious people are all working for what’s good in their mind, and all religious people think the same thing is good. The day of reckonin’ is coming.”

 

            “You gonna start talking bible quotes at me?”

 

            “What good would they do? Them religious folk are gonna show up soon, on horseback if you please. They’re going to start the big fight, which is the fight between reason and madness.”

 

            “Which side are we on?” The Weirdo asked. “We’re all things evil and mad aren’t we? We’re the bad guys, we’re the ones in the wrong aren’t we?”

            “Is total peace a bad thing?” Mister Death asked. “By which I mean total peace. Once you figure out what total peace means, you’ll know if you’re right or wrong.”

 

 

April 6th, 2003

12:30 p.m.

 

            “And then he vanished.” The Weirdo said telling the story to the assembled masses.

 

            “Shit.” Marla said.

 

            “Thoughts?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Run away?” Darrian asked. “I mean we could put our heads under the blankets and hope all the bad people will just go away.”

 

            “Get teddy bears.” Kestrel said. “Teddy bears would keep us safe while we had our heads under the blankeys.”

 

            “Paris is lovely this time of year.” Jack said.

 

            “So is Australia.” Tommy said.

 

            “Or you could make a deal.” Cydrill said. “Maybe we could stop the war before it goes too far.”

 

            “I could maybe arrange it.” Judy said. “I could go talk to Lilith, get them to see reason, maybe.”

 

            “Max.” The Weirdo said sitting back in his chair. “What do you think?”

 

            “I can go with Judy, we could talk to them.”

 

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said. “Lets try that.”

 

            “No fighting?” Cassimano said.

 

            “How many of us are there?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Too few?”

 

            “Too few.” The Weirdo said. “How could we fight them?”

 

            “Fuck.” Cassimano said.

 

            “What?” The Weirdo asked

 

            “Nothing, just something Tamarock used to say.” Cassimano said.

 

            “Not now D’var.” Cydrill said.

 

            “He used to say,” Cassimano pushed on, “That fighters only tried to talk when it was clear they were going to loose.”

 

            “So we talk.” The Weirdo said. “And hope for a moment of clarity.”

           

 

April 6th, 2003

1:10 p.m.

 

            Lilith sat on her throne, looking like an Egyptian queen, a vision in gauze and gold. It was quite a sight really, very imposing to the two emissaries. She wouldn’t have attempted to sit quite so haughty if some others had been sent, but with these two she had dominance. She had been to bed with each of them and been the controlling factor in the sessions. She sat still as Max and Judy explained the proposal, trying not to surrender to pathetically. They finished and she leaned forward, her green eyes melting into white.

 

            “He’ll come here?” Lilith asked.

 

            “He might.” Max said.

 

            “You think he’d prefer someplace in-between? Maybe the park again?”

 

            “Possibly.” Judy said.

 

            “That would be very nice.” Lilith said. “Then we could stop this senseless fighting and get to what’s important. Call him now, ask him to meet us in the park.”

           

 

April 6th, 2003

1:40 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo sat on a small stone wall, looking at a large fountain, thinking. Jack was leaning against the wall on one side and Tommy was sitting on a bench next to them. Kestrel was sitting on the rim of the fountain with Cassimano and Darrian with Sheila and Judy. Cydrill and Piedmont were standing a bit away from the rest of the group, talking to Angel and Kaala.

 

            “This is going to be really bad.” The Weirdo said. “Something is going to go terribly wrong. We’re not doing this right.”

 

            “You think not?” Tommy asked.

 

            “This is all going to blow up in our faces.” The Weirdo said, “This day is going to end badly.”

            “But it’ll all be alright in the end.” Jack said.

 

            “Will it?”

            “Always is.” Jack said.

 

            “Quite often we end up with as much or more trouble than we started with.”

 

            “Oh sure, be pessimistic.”

 

            “Trying for realistic.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Lost that somewhere around the first evil clone I’m afraid.”

 

            “Here they come.” Kestrel said, “On horse back.”

 

            “Horse back?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Horse back.”

 

            “They’re coming on horse back.” The Weirdo muttered.

 

            “I heard.” Tommy said, “They think they’re in a romantic fantasy novel, don’t they?”

 

            “It would appear so.” The Weirdo said,

 

He reached into his coat, on an automatic impulse. He shouldn’t have done it; they were coming for talks not war. He reached in though, or if instinct, and touched something cold. He drew the black revolver from its hiding place beneath his coat. He hadn’t been able to draw it for days, but when he reached in out of habit, he drew it out. He wasn’t prepared to just let it go now; he was going to hold onto it. He looked at the weapon, and checked that it was loaded.

 

“I thought we were going to talk.” Tommy said.

 

“Just making sure?” The Weirdo asked.

 

“Maybe so.” Tommy said. “Just don’t start shooting when we’re not ready.”

 

“Will do.”

 

“Is that a no or a yes?”

 

“Sure is.”

 

“Asshole.”

           

“Certainly seems so.”

 

            The horses trotted towards them, and The Weirdo and company walked towards them. Lilith dismounted, and Max and Judy got off their horses as well. The others in the group stayed on their horses. Judy looked at Tommy and began to walk towards him, but a horse was suddenly in her way. One of the women had cut her way off and was looking sternly down at her.

 

            “Let me by.” Judy said.

 

            “Can’t.” The woman said. “Not until they’ve spoken.”

 

            “Let her pass.” The Weirdo’s voice was loud enough that one couldn’t pretend not to have heard him.

 

            “You heard him.” Judy said.

 

            “Heard what?” The woman asked. “Can’t hear anything with these helmets on.”

 

            “I will not repeat myself.” The Weirdo said, aiming the black revolver and thumbing back the hammer.

 

            The gun seemed to buzz in his hand, it wanted to fire. It had been on it’s own business, and wanted to do what it had been wrought to do. He didn’t pull the trigger, but he was unsure that it would make that much of a difference. If the gun had decided to fire, it probably would fire. The woman’s hearing became amazingly acute, because at the sound of the gun’s hammer being cocked back, she turned her head.

 

            Looking down the barrel of a gun is never really an experience that any person relishes. It takes a lot of guts not to loose one’s cool, but more so when the weapon in question seems to be extending malice towards you. The woman moved back, and Judy quickly moved through the other horses to get to Tommy. The Weirdo kept the gun trained as Max walked calmly through the crowd, joining what he was still thinking of as his side.

 

            “Now back off.” The Weirdo said, keeping the weapon trained.

 

            “Go ahead.” Lilith said. “He won’t hurt me, not here.”

 

            The women on horse back drew their mounts away, staying close enough to join any action that began, but far enough to be out of reach. The Weirdo watched them go, and then carefully lowered back the hammer down into place. He didn’t put the gun back under his coat; just let his hand rest at his side.

 

            “This was supposed to be a truce talk.” The Weirdo said. “You’re not supposed to start fights at the truce talk.”

 

            “I wasn’t sure what you wanted.” Lilith said.

 

            “I’m trying to stop a full scale war from ensuing.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You failed a long time ago.” She said shaking her head, her eyes wiping from blue to red. “This was already going before you and I came together. I was hoping with our combined strengths we could end the war, but you resisted. Now the fighting has become so bad that I’m half expecting an attack right here and now.”

 

            “Not from me, all my peoples are here.”

 

            She sat down on a stone bench, and he sat on her right side. They looked at the group, standing just far enough away not to hear them. She looked around and nodded.

 

            “Well all the ones you feel responsible for at any rate.” Lilith said, her eyes melting from red to green. “Why can’t we just be together?”

            “There’s all this fighting in the way.” The Weirdo said. “And you’ve got agendas you haven’t told me about.”

 

            “You’re still in mourning.” She said. “For that little…”

 

            “Watch your mouth.” He said.

 

            It became suddenly obvious that the black gun was in his lap. It seemed to call attention to itself, drawing the eye down to it. She looked at it and touched his left hand; she then reached under her robe. The revolver was nearly as white as his gun was black, made of a sparkling white metal.

 

            Not a metal that was merely reflective, or had a bright gleam but one that was actually white. The handle of the gun was made of alabaster, or something like it. It was made in the style of a colt peacemaker, and looked the female equivalent of the black gun. If these two were left in a gun safe for a while one could probably expect a few small caliber pocket revolvers to soon come about.

 

            “We’re alike, you and I.” She said. “I don’t know how to explain it. You’re like the dark side of me, I bring you into the light. You provide defining shadow to me. We belong together. You’re the yang to my yin, the pepper to my salt.”

 

“The Mumps to your measles.” He said.

 

            “That’s unfair.” She said.

           

“She got it backwards,” Kestrel muttered.

 

            “Beg pardon?” Cassimano asked, looking at her.

 

            “Yang is the female principle, not Yin.”

 

            “Shush, you’ll ruin the great color symbolism we’ve had going for the entire book.” Darrian said.

 

            “We might be matter and anti matter.” He said. “We could destroy each other.”

 

            “We haven’t yet.” She said placing a hand on his. “I wasn’t lying when I said I love you. I know I haven’t been honest, but there are these things.”

 

            “A lot of people have been saying that though.”

 

            “It’s true with me. I love you.”

 

            “The last woman to say that was dead a few second later.” He said.

 

            It occurred to him of course that the woman he was thinking of was probably not the woman she was thinking of. The Lady death had called him her love before she died, but Shannon had said she loved him too. It struck him then, how appealing his life must appear to outsiders. The simple fact that he had to specify which woman died with words of love on her lips made him realize the problem in a way never quite drawn for him before.

 

            “I do love you.” She said. “And if you and I could just be together, I could take this group to victory. We could end war, end pain, end suffering. Then we could just go, and be with each other.”

 

            “Sounds nice.” He said. “What’s the cost though?”

 

            “I don’t get you.” She said.

 

            “Total peace, at what cost. If it’s that great, the cost must be dire.”

 

            “The prices would be paid before the dawning. Any strife before the dawn will be cancelled out by the dawn. The Dawn will make everything alright, no amount of pain would be too much for that.”

 

            “I’m not sure I agree.” He said. “I mean who are we to judge how much pain these people should put up with?”

 

            “Don’t you want peace?”

 

            “Not at any cost.” He said. “I have to draw the line somewhere, think about the children.”

 

            “I’m always thinking about the children.” She said, touching her smooth belly. “I’m carrying yours. It’s been growing in me, and one in side poor Julie. There’s not much left of poor Julie, but the baby has so far survived.”

 

            “And that’s all that’s important isn’t it?”

 

            “That’s cruel.” She said. “You make it sound like I just want to boil these children to distill their power into an elixir I can drink.”

 

            “I hadn’t actually thought about it like that.” He said. “I’m a little disturbed that you did.”

 

            “Damn it.” She said, hot tears suddenly in her eyes. “Are you trying to be mean?”

 

            “No.” He said with a sigh. “It just happens because that’s my nature.”

 

            “I could help soften your nature.” She said. “I could help mold you into a nicer person, a better person.”

 

            “You don’t like me the way I am?”

 

            “I’m not trying to start a fight.” She said. “Why are you?”

 

            “I’m just trying to see where you stand.” He said.

 

            “I want you to be with me, so I can be with you.” She said. “How is that?”

 

            “Defines your goals.” He said.

 

            “I could make love to you all night, exhaust you, let you sleep soundly. No more faces coming up from the dark, no more night mares.”

 

            “There will always be faces.” He said, suddenly feeling very tired. “There are no nightmares.”

 

            “Oh there are, you just won’t admit it.”

 

            “No.” He said. “Night mares are something I don’t actually suffer from, my waking hours are filled with enough horror thank…” There was the sound of hoof beats and something like a banshee wail. “Shit.”

 

            The System members were indeed being assisted by what looked like a couple of banshees. The hoses came across the field as great speed, the spirits rushing across the grass, making little wakes as they went.

 

            “They’ve found us.” Lilith said. “We’ve got to fight again.”

 

            The Weirdo stood as the System’s horses ran around him, as he was about to raise his gun to fire, something crashed against the back of his head, and the world went black. This could be seen as a cop out, an attempt not to describe the exciting battle that took place. The truth is though, that this really happened, The Weirdo was smitten down and lay unconscious throughout the entire battle.

 

            We can tell you something of what happened at the battle though, which may prove to be of some interest to our readers who are not as Weirdo centric as the narrator as been unfairly claimed to be. Angel was caught buy her sisters in the Power, Tommy and Max were both captured by the System, D’var Cassimano helped Kestrel and Kaala escape after she had used all the bullets in her gun. Cydrill and Darrian got away with Jack, cutting a swath through the fighters as they escaped. There was so much chaos and confusion that it would be some time before they would realize that those who hadn’t escaped the battle weren’t with them. As I said, the practical upshot was that The Weirdo was alone on the battlefield an hour later when he came to.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

2:45 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo’s right hand clutched around nothing, the gun was gone. Not that he realized that just yet, his mind was more obsessed with the pain in his head. He touched the back of his head and winced at the sharp pain, his scalp must have been split. The blood has already crusted, but it stung with a sharp pain. He pulled his hand away and looked at his palm. A bit of blood had stuck to his hand; he looked at the already reddened fountain, with the two dead bodies floating in it. He dipped his hands into the cool water and raised his hands to his face. The water was cool and refreshing, and didn’t actually smell or taste of blood. He stuck his head under the water and shook it ever so slightly, trying to get the water to soften his hair a little.

 

            He raised his head from under the water he sat on the ground and leaned his head against the outer wall of the fountain. There were dead bodies around him, maybe a hundred or more. He couldn’t be sure of the numbers just yet, but he would count them. He knew he would have to count them; he would have to account for each and every one of them. He thought about whom he should call at this moment, he should call home of course, but not yet. He stood up and surveyed the bodies, there were a lot more than he thought at first. There had to be at least three hundred.

 

            Where the hell did anyone get these numbers? How did they keep the fighters numbers up? Where were they all coming from? He would have to find out, wouldn’t he? He walked around the bodies, counting as he went along. None of them were his people, which only meant that the bodies had been taken away. No, he hadn’t been taken away, so no one had come to claim bodies yet.

 

            The bodies hadn’t attracted bugs or carrion birds yet, The Weirdo noted. He then remembered that there were no birds or insects to attract they had all gone. How had there been this many beautiful young women all willing to die by the sword? Pretty girls in America particularly were trained by society to be obsessed with make up and boys. America taught girls that they were nothing without a man to tell them what to do. How had these girls decided that it was appropriate to die by the sword for a god or a belief? Americans, particularly young Americans didn’t believe in anything, they just pretended to.

 

            “You want to know a secret?” The gray man asked.

 

            “Yes, please.” The Weirdo said, turning towards him.

 

            The Older version of himself leaned down towards one of the beautiful young women, and touched her face. He then looked up at The Weirdo, his face old and haggard looking. There was something in the face that had prevented The Weirdo from seeing the resemblance; even now it was a little hard. He thought it must be the weight of years and worry.

 

            “They’re not really here.” He said. “Most of them are imaged given solid form. They’ll be back in the fight again tomorrow.”

 

            “I beg pardon?”

 

            “These aren’t the women they appear to be.” The Gray man said. “Well, they are and they aren’t. All the beautiful women in the world had their minds wiped, and all the girls who wished they looked like that were put in. Their minds were transported into these bodies, and Lilith has an apparently unending supply, about three thousand or so.  Girls who are readers of fantasy novels and players of video games with pretty characters. Lilith has a trick that can wipe a very weak mind from the body and replace it with some one else’s mind. These girls of hers, they’re the sort of girls who always wanted to look like these girls did. They wanted to be the beautiful warrior in a fantasy novel, vanquishing evil and other crap.”

 

            “Explains a lot.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Doesn’t it?” He said. “Not that it matters, the process has begun to end the world.”

 

            “You want to explain that?”

 

            “Not really.” The gray man said. “But I will anyway.”

 

            “Look.” The Weirdo said with a sigh. “For once, pretend I don’t know anything about particle physics, relativity, the history of the microchip, time travel, gas light, nuclear weapons or Douglas Fairbanks movies and just tell me what the fuck is going on.”

 

            “The world is going to end.” The gray man said. “The gods, in all their wisdom, have apparently agreed to close up shop and let it all end.”

 

            “All of them?”

 

            “No, Aphrodite and Eoster have been working to find any one who is not to thrilled with this idea, but it’s hard going. Everyone who’s not in agreement is ambivalent, so no one is on the opposing side. No one but us.” He sniffed, and wiped at his nose. “And if we don’t keep the fight up, the world is going to end.”

 

            “How long do we have?”

 

            “Not long. Maybe a day before the first apocalyptic event happens. It’ll probably start with something like an angel blowing a horn or something stupid like that.” He kicked at a stone and sat down on the ground, pulling his knees up to his chest. “You’ve also got to get everyone back together some how.”

 

            “What do you mean?”

 

            “Max is being seduced by the System, Tommy’s about to be broken by the System, and Jack’s going to think that Marla left him. She hasn’t, she’s just been taken to where all the other people were taken.”

 

            “Marla’s in limbo?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Close enough, the kids are with her. Jack’ll think she’s left when he discovers it, he’s probably already found them gone. If he’s found them missing, then he’s already left the house, without his communicator. Some one will have to find him, and then get him to come home.”

 

            “Where is he then?”

 

            “I don’t know.” The gray man answered. “That’s the worst of it. I don’t know where he went, just like I don’t know where Tommy went after…”

            The Gray man pulled a flask from his coat and unscrewed the top; he took a drink and stared out at the forest of spears that had been driven into the ground and into a young woman’s body. He shivered from the image, and then looked at The Weirdo.

 

            “You know that morning, it was me that went downstairs.”

 

            “Was it?”

 

            “I was so happy that Shannon said she’d marry me, I leapt up and ran down stairs to make breakfast. She followed me down, and we were both cut to pieces. I somehow managed to get any fatal wounds, but she was killed. The bullets tore my legs up pretty badly, but they went through her lungs. She choked to death while I was crawling toward her; the last thing she said to me was so stupid. She had been chasing me and said that she liked honey instead of syrup, and then we were shot. Not I love you, not anything.” Tears welled up and began to trickle down his face. “I like honey on my pancakes instead of syrup, those were her last words. I wake up some mornings, and I still hear it. It’s such a stupid fucking thing to have as an epitaph, but there it is. Honey, not syrup.”

 

            He stood and threw the flask savagely across the park.

 

            “And yet I healed, I got up and I healed and I found Loki and I killed him. And it… it didn’t fucking matter because I let Lilith win, and she destroyed the world I lived in.”

 

            “So you thought you’d save this one?”

 

            “No.” He said. “I found out what Lilith is actually. I don’t know, maybe I’m not the first, but I figured it out.”

 

            “So what is she?”

 

            “A time traveler, who lives in a very specific time zone. She keep reliving this little piece of time over and over again, trying to get it perfectly right. She wants to have The Weirdo’s child and to have The Weirdo with her. She wants a baby of great power, and then to break it’s father to keep him with her. You see if you have power, she can’t keep you. If you don’t have power though, she can’t create the super baby as it were. Her goal is to get impregnated, and then to make you stay with her. Then the destroyer comes and blasts the earth and hell comes to happy town. Something always goes wrong, and she has to leave the situation and start again. So I decided to try and thwart her, so I meddled the best I could.”

 

            The Weirdo looked around him for a long time, at the dead bodies that should rightly have had crows pecking at them. He looked at the man with the gray eyes and gray hair. His face looked so tragically broken, but there was some spirit still within him.

 

            “When I heard the machine gun, I knew something had happened. I let that broach you brought drop to the floor so I could run. I found her, lying on the floor, a pool of blood expanding around her. I held her up to me, tried to heal her with what magic I had. She told me she loved me, and then she died. It all felt so meaningless and stupid, and later when I learned it was Loki… I killed him out of anger. I never felt that powerful again though, as I did at that moment. I actually enjoyed killing him that time. I didn’t enjoy what I did here though. No death in this place has brought me any joy but his, but oh how I enjoyed his death.”

 

            “I know.”

 

            “I bet you do.” The Weirdo said. “So how do we start?”

 

            “I can’t help you there I’m afraid.”

 

            “You can’t help?”

 

            “You’ve got figure out what you’re fighting for. There has to be a reason for you, not just for me.”

 

            The Weirdo glanced away for a moment and felt that he was alone. He didn’t look back, not for a long time. When he did he found that he was indeed alone, the gray man had gone again. He was alone, and he knew he was going to continue to be alone.

 

            No, he knew that the man in gray had been alone; he would g home and check. Yes, he wouldn’t take anything for granted, he would check at home first.

           

 

April 6th, 2003

3:12 p.m.

 

            “Why not just join us Tommy?” Lilith asked.

 

            “Because you’ve tried to kill us on several occasions.” Tommy said.

 

            “Tommy, dear.” Lilith said. “We’ve been building The Weirdo up, so he could be all that he could be. We made the first Loki, made Virgil; we orchestrated the death of his parents. We’ve been behind every thing that’s ever happened to your little group, you even married a member of the System.”

 

            “What?” Tommy’s voice was almost a whisper.

 

            “Amy was one of ours didn’t you know?”

 

            “You’re lying.”

 

            “No.” She said, turning to two girls. “Bring the mirror. The mirror that The Weirdo looked into was damaged, but we saved enough of it. It’s just a hand mirror now, but it still tells the truth.”

 

            A hand mirror was brought on a large over stuffed velvet pillow. The young woman who held it offered it like a sacrificial dagger. Lilith picked it up and when the mirror caught the light, an image of Amy Gunner was projected from it. She was ghostly, but young again, as she had been when she was twenty. Tommy’s lip quivered when he saw her image, pale and ghostly.

 

            “Where you a member of the System?” Lilith asked.

 

            “I was.” Amanda Smith Gunner said.

 

            “And where you sent to seduce and occupy him?” Lilith asked.

 

            “I was.” Amy’s ghost said.

 

            Lilith switched her hand up and the light left the mirror, so that the image of Amanda Gunner was gone. She set the mirror down on the table before her, just out of his reach. She smiled at him, and her green eyes made promises as they swirled into pink. He had heard those promises before, and it worried him because it had been his wife who in the years he had been married to her, had made those promises.

 

            “You know it’s true.” She said. “And we had Judy here with us as well. You just can’t get away from our women.”

 

            “Judy left.”

 

            “But she’d come back to be with you.”

 

            “I’m leaving.” He said standing up.

 

            “Everything that’s ever been done has been done to get us to this point.” She said. “I would remind The Weirdo of that when you see him. Nothing you do can hurt us, it’s all been engineered to help us.”

 

            Tommy turned around, and without saying anything, left the room. He left the building in fact, not knowing that at that moment Max was upstairs being persuaded to their point of view. Nor did he know that during the fighting, both Judy and Sheila had been taken by the groups that they had abandoned. He walked out of the building, and just kept walking. He knew where he was going, and he would just walk till he got there.

           

 

April 6th, 2003

6:08 p.m.

 

            Peach was standing behind the counter of a Starbucks, making herself a cup of coffee. She hadn’t had a good cup of Starbucks coffee in many days now, and was determined to have a cup. She looked at the woman whom she had come here to meet, as the coffee pot began to peculate. She leaned back with joy; it had worked like she remembered. Angel was still handcuffed in the corner, but her hands had at least been cuffed in front of her so she could smoke. They had caught her at the battle, but Kaala had gotten away, that was something.

 

            “It’ll just be a couple of minuets now.” Peach said as she sat down.

 

            “You think it’ll work?” Diana asked.

 

            “It’s just a coffee pot.” Peach said.

 

            “Not that, trying to join.”

 

            “We can’t fight and win.” Peach said. “The Oracle said this was the only way.”

 

            “I don’t trust the Oracle, I think some ones been manipulating it.”

 

            “Of course some one has.” Peach said. “But we’ve got to join up or we loose the important part of this fight.”

 

            “You know whose behind the manipulations?”

 

            “Of course I do.” Peach said. “I’ve been doing it.”

 

            “Peach?”

 

            The southern bell produced a small handgun and pointed it at Diana; her face was no longer the friendly thing it had always been before. Angel raised the clove cigarette to her lips and took a drag, and then looked at Diana. The leader of the group was shaking slightly, but not too much. Diana looked only at the pistol.

 

            “I’ve been working too hard at all this to have you fuck it up now.” Peach said. “We’re all to be one big family, and we’re all to have one goal.”

 

            “Peach.” Diana said softly. “What are you doing?”

 

            “What I’d always planned.” She said.

 

            “You know there’s a rule of theater.” Angel said. “If a gun is shown in a scene, it has to be used by the end of the scene.”

 

            “I don’t want to shoot anyone.” Peach said. “But the council has to decide what’s to happen to the sisterhood now. A greater good will come form this, and better tomorrow.”

 

            “Without the oracle too.” Angel said.

 

            “Shut up Angel.” Peach said.

 

            “Put the gun away Peach or I’ll make you use it.” Angel’s voice was low when she spoke now. Peach looked at the pistol and slid it into her pocket, still looking at Angel. “And you can take these cuffs off too, if you don’t trust me then I can’t be on the council.”

 

            “Fine.” Peach said, uncuffing Angel

 

            “Thank you.”

 

            “Going to try a brave escape?” Peach asked.

 

            “No.” Angel said.

 

            “Good.” Peach turned around and walked towards the coffee machine, pouring out three mugs of coffee.

 

            “So we’ll join the System?” Angel asked. “What happens to the council?”

 

            “That will be up to Lilith.” Peach said. “I would assume we just melt in to her council.”

 

            “Fine.” Angel said.

 

            “Fine?” Peach said. “Just like that?”

 

            “Just like that.” Angel said, drinking the coffee from her mug.

 

            “Why should we trust her?” Diana said. “She’s been manipulating the oracle.”

 

            “Don’t be idiotic Diana.” Peach said. “The oracle was always there to be manipulated.”

 

            “Why don’t we just let Angel go? She doesn’t want to be here, and the Power is going to be no more very soon.”

 

            “No one should be able to abandon us.” Peach said, angrily.

 

            “Look at it as my price.” Diana said. “We tell everyone that she voted for this, resigned from the council and went to find Kaala.”

 

            “You’re price is not getting shot.” Peach said.

 

            “We both went to a meeting with you.” Angel said. “You come back with only one of us, with the other telling everyone you killed her…”

 

            The words hung in the air between them.

 

            “No one fears you Peach.” Diana said. “They’d just get angry and kill you.”

 

            “You’d be lucky to get away without being burned at the stake.” Angel said.

 

            “Fine.” Peach said. “If you’re not with us at the end you’ll be killed anyway.”

 

            “Fine.” Angel said.

 

            “How long have you been planning this?” Diana asked.

 

            “I was always a member of the System, I’m an infiltrator.”

 

            “Good to know.” Angel said.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

7:03 p.m.

 

            “And so now I guess they’ve joined forces.” Angel told Kestrel and Cydrill.

 

            “Shit.” Kestrel said.

 

            “Then it’s all of them against all of us.” Cydrill said.

 

            “Looks like.” Angel said.

 

            Kaala came into the room with Michael Darrian following her, they sat down in the over stuffed leather chairs and looked around the room. It was Darrian who began speaking; his voice was tight in his throat from just their looks.

 

            “What’s going on?”

 

            “The System and Power have combined forces.” Cydrill said. “As far as we can figure it, the system will absorb what was left of the Power.”

 

            “Shit.” Darrian said.

 

            “Exactly.” Kestrel said.

 

            “Jack left.” Kaala said. “He said that Marla and the kids left and he was going to look for them.”

 

            “Damn it.” Cydrill said.

 

            “Where’s D’var?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Went back to the park, said he wanted to make sure all our side got out alive. I think Piedmont went with him.”

 

            “Probably a good thing.” Kestrel said. “Making sure.”

 

            “The Weirdo didn’t come back yet?” Darrian asked.

 

            “Or Tommy or Max.” Kestrel said. “And Jack just left.”

 

            “Leaves a lot of immortals.” Darrian said. “And Kaala and Angel of course.”

 

            “And me.” Mrs. Pendleton said walking into the room.

 

            “Are you up to it?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Damn skippy I’m up to it.” The old woman said. “We’re all in it together.”

 

            “Damn skippy?” Kestrel said.

 

            “Damn Skippy.” Mrs. Pendleton confirmed

 

            “We should form an attack plan then.” Darrian said.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

8:15 p.m.

 

            “Bird Lady this is um, what am I? Pretty Boy?” D’var Cassimano said into his pen shaped device.

 

            “Ten four Pretty Boy, go ahead.” Kestrel’s voice came over.

 

            “You know I actually have a real grown up name.”

 

            “It’s Rubber Duck’s rules.”

 

            “Well he’s not here, just a lot of people in blue and a lot of people in purple, all dead. None of our crew.”

 

            “Well at least we know they’re not dead.” Kestrel said,

 

            “They weren’t dead when they left here.” He said. “That’s all we can say.”

 

            “You’re a little ray of sunshine Pretty Boy, do you know that?” Darrian’s voice came over.

 

            “Damn strait Mosquito.”

            “Mosquito, and you complain about being called Pretty Boy.” Darrian’s voice said.

 

            “I’m gonna look around a little more but I doubt I’ll find anything.”

 

            “Just keep in touch Pretty Boy, we can’t afford to loose anyone.”

 

            “Ten five Bird Lady.”

 

            “You’re doing that on purpose.” Kestrel said. “I’m clear.”

 

            He slipped the pen shaped device into his pocket and looked around for a little while longer, before he met the love of his life. She was walking along the dead, looking for anyone who might be alive. The rifle she was carrying was of European origin, and certainly not one used here in America. She looked across the field at D’var Cassimano and approached him.

 

            She wondered how it was that they had never actually met, since he was a beautiful looking man. It was a pity about his eye, but maybe something could be done about that. Things were being done all the time now, even things that shouldn’t be done by the looks of it.

 

            “Hello.” She said. “You are D’var Cassimano?”

 

            “The very same.” He said.

 

            “I am Athena.” She said raising her head in the growing dark. “The, uh, the Goddess… Athena.”

 

            “Hi.” He said.

           

“Hi.” She said nervously.

           

            She hadn’t actually been briefed on what she should do after finding him. Aphrodite could have been a little more helpful really, at least told her some things to say. She felt her ears growing hot and her cheeks blushed up a little, there was nothing coming to her.

 

            He looked at the woman claiming to be a goddess. He looked at her, and felt that this was the unvarnished truth. There was no makeup on her face, just the clean beauty of a young woman. He imagined what she would like with that golden blonde hair of her’s unbound. His mental image was a fairly delightful one.

 

            “Could I ask a favor?” He asked.

 

            “What?” She asked, her face already beginning to soften.

 

            “Would you mind unwinding your hair?” He asked.

 

            “My, my hair?”

 

            “It’s just I have this mental image of you as a sort of librarian really.” He explained. “You know, the one who wears her hair in a bun and refuses to wear contacts even though her eyes aren’t that bad? The sort of girl that once she takes the glasses off and lets her hair down you look at her completely different and say, why hello Miss Athena. I’d never noticed how beautiful you are before. I’ve got this idea that you would be extraordinarily beautiful, if you’d loosen up a little and let your hair down. Just curious if I’m right really.”

 

            She reached up and removed the red barrette. She then reached behind her head and let the golden tresses tumble down. His mental image hadn’t been that good, at least not as good as reality was proving to be. She was growing a bit more beautiful with every movement. It was as if just being around him was melting her icy exterior.

 

            “Why Miss Athena, you’re the most beautiful goddess I’ve ever seen.”

 

            The smile was immediate and Cassimano felt just a little bit like a whore for helping Aphrodite like this. She melted at those words, and nearly swooned. Athena’s icy exterior, and all business manner actually belied something deep within her. She was supposed to be a perpetual virgin, because her child was prophesized to take the throne from Zeus. The problem was, that this meant there could never be any romance for her, just war. She was a brilliant strategist, and a great warrior, but as the years went by, she wanted more. She had wanted to find a romance for so many years, and had never found one. It had become a driving force for her, to find a man or god that she could love, and now she had. She wondered if Aphrodite had cast some sort of spell, to make her fall in, love faster. She came to the conclusion that she didn’t care, she wanted to be in love.

 

            Aphrodite hadn’t actually done anything really. She had merely used the oldest trick of matchmakers everywhere. She had waited until Athena was so keyed up she might burst, and then pointed her in the direction of a man she had asked to be there. It was simply the power of suggestion slamming into the matter of want. Want had gone in the direction suggestion had told it too. The tightly wound spring of want had sent her hurtling towards him, and now she was completely in love.

 

            It’s nice really, because it was a love at first sight, which is what Athena always wanted. She only saw the man before her, and his near feminine beauty. It was a perfect love, in that there was no complication that she could see. There was nothing standing between them, so they could be together. Athena melted at his touch, and he warmed to her immediately.

 

            One might argue that a battlefield full of dead bodies was a terribly bad place to fall in love, and normally we would agree. However, as this couple didn’t know how long they had, and besides if there was a mushy romance novel with characters dressed in flowing fabrics on the cover hiding in this tome, this would be it.

 

            As we have no interest in flowing locks or bodice busting, we’ll leave this newly formed couple as they enhance their first kiss on the field. They’ll leave in a moment and find a place to sit quietly with each other and sigh over one another for a while. After that their will be sighing for a different reason no doubt, but that can wait till later.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

9:12 p.m.

 

            “Where is everyone?” Mrs. Pendleton asked as she came into a room where Kestrel was reading.

 

            “Pardon?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Everyone but you and I are gone.”

 

            “The Other’s in bed isn’t she? I put her to bed nearly an hour ago.”

 

            “Not there now.” The older woman said. “She’s gone somewhere. Everyone but you and I has gone somewhere. Michael claimed he had to go feed; I don’t want to know what that means. Kaala and Angel have vanished, and everyone else is, well missing.”

 

            “Where’s Cydrill and Piedmont?”

 

            “No idea.” Mrs. Pendleton said shrugging. “They’ve left too.”

 

            “Shit.” Kestrel said. “I’ll start calling then.”

           

“I’ve been calling.” She said. “No ones answering.”

 

            “What?”

 

            “No ones answering their calls.” Mrs. Pendleton said. “I can’t get anyone.”

 

            “Okay.” Kestrel said setting her book down. “Lets go find them then shall we?”

 

            “Us?”

 

            “Yes us.” Kestrel said. “We’re not the stay at home wives are we?”

 

            “Um.” The elderly woman said.

 

            “God damn it!” Kestrel yelled. “I am not going to just sit around and wait for the men to come back! These may be your lost boys but I’m no damn Wendy!”

 

            “Wendy?”

 

            “Wendy Darling was a useless bitch, she sat around and waited for Peter Pan. She didn’t do much of anything ever; she only lived when Peter was around. She’s just another god damn useless Victorian cunt and I won’t even be a little bit like her. I do not darn sock. I damn socks, but I don’t darn them.”

 

            “Oh.” Mrs. Pendleton said. “I didn’t know you felt that way.”

 

            “Well now you do.” Kestrel said, picking up the revolver in its holster. “I’m going to go find the boys, and I suggest you do the same.”

 

            “Me?”

 

            “Yes you.” Kestrel said. “Don’t just clean up the house, get out there and do something.”

 

            Kestrel walked out of the room, and managed not to slam the door behind her. Mrs. Pendleton watched her go and thought about what Kestrel had said. She had always been a servant though, always cleaned up after others. She was the sort of person who darned socks and always made sure the sheets were clean. Some one had to stay home and make sure everyone had something to come home to, didn’t they? What happened when everyone who was supposed to come home had left? What then? What if it appeared that no one was coming home? What if everyone had left for good? Well, we couldn’t have that could we? Oh no, that wouldn’t do at all. She thought about the lads, how much kindness they had shown over the years. She looked at Bagheera when he walked into the room. She looked down at the cat and stroked his head.

 

            “I’ll have to get them won’t I?” She said.

 

            “Meow.” The cat said.

 

April 6th, 2003

10:00 p.m.

 

            Lilith lay on the bed, Max on one side of her, and Lyla on the other. She had won, at least this round. The members of the Power were filtering into the rooms that had been left vacant. They were all one force now, all together. She could now concentrate on getting The Weirdo, and she would have him this time. She had won this particular round, and all the times that the Power surrendered is when she had gotten so very close to winning it all. She might win it all this time she had hopes anyway.

           

“So we tried just explaining.” She said.

 

            “He’s got to come to the conclusion on his own.” Max said.

 

            “Or at least think he has.” She said.

 

            “Or at least think he has.” Max agreed.

 

            “We could just crush his spirit.” She said.

 

            “You think that would work?”

 

            “I want him, here with me.”

 

            “But you want him broken?”

 

            “Not broken, just here, he’d come to me if things were desperate enough.”

 

            “Maybe.” Max said, not really believing it.

 

            “And then we can make everything perfect, end all the wars and all the fighting. Peace for everyone, perfect peace.”

 

            “We’ll make it happen.” He said resting a hand over her breast.

 

            “Oh I know we will.” She said. “But just for now I have to go talk to Eve.”

 

            “Why?”

 

“Because Eve and I talk a lot.” She said. “You just lay here with Lyla for a while. I’m sure she’ll play some more if motivated.”

           

“I can call Heather and Tracy in here if you like Max.” Lyla’s right arm and left leg both encircled Max and drew him back down.

 

            Max didn’t see Lilith leaving the room; he was already asking Lyla how long it might take if she called her friends right now. Lyla’s friends were faster that one might have expected.  It was as if they were waiting in the next room. Max didn’t have time to think about what sort of distraction techniques were being used on him, he simply thought about the taught flesh before him. He slithered across their bare bodies, sliding in between them. This had nothing to do with love, simply the want, and the joy of greed fulfilled.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

11: 19 p.m.

 

            The clouds had gathered, and a mist fell from them, hardly a rain at all.

 

            Tommy looked at the stone that marked the placement of his wife, and the tears would not abate. He had loved her, had raised children with her, and she never mentioned it. There had been a whole segment about Amy’s life that he had never known about. She had not seen fit to tell him that she had been a member of a secret organization, had lied about where she had been.

 

            He had told her everything, every secret, every tale and every idea. She hadn’t told him anything about it. She had made love to him, late in the night, and he had never even sensed her allegiance was anything but to him. Her perfect naked body had lain next to his, and he had examined it while she slept. Of course in those days less people got tattoos who weren’t long shore men or sailors, so he didn’t find one on her. She had been the perfect wife, but she had been lying all along. He had watched her grow old, grown old with her, till her weakening heart took her one night in her sleep.

 

            All that time and he had never even suspected that she had been a member of any group besides his family. He should have been able to tell, but that part of her mind had been hidden from him, covered over. He took his coat off and tossed it to the ground before the tombstone, throwing down the Thompson machine gun he had taken from it. He tossed his hat down and walked away from it. He would have to decide where he was going, sooner or later, but he figured he would either figure it out or the world would end.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

11:31 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked at the piece of modern sculpture before him, and thought it hideous. It had broken his fall, when he had been shot out of a window. He had landed on this statue and died there. He touched the place where his blood still stained the statue, looking at his hand that came away clean. He looked up at the window, where the shotgun had sent him sailing to this sculpture. He had fallen, impossibly it seemed now, on this ugly piece of sculpture before him. He had landed on it, after that long distance fall and died. He calculated that he should have fallen about twenty feet away from the statue, but no, he hit the statue.

 

            He had come back of course, but for what purpose? He had thought at the time it was too kill Loki, but he hadn’t died after killing Loki. He had lived, he had survived and he had triumphed. He touched the place over his heart, where the blade had pierced his skin and broken through bones. There was still a scar there, over his heart, and it hurt sometimes. It hurt now as a matter of fact, it ached like a memory.

 

            He looked at the place where he had fallen and thought about what was coming. Everyone seemed to think that he was to perform some great deed, but no one had asked if he wanted to. He resented all this destiny crap, he believed in free will. He believed in the free will of each creature and not grand plans. He didn’t know what this great thing he was supposed to do was, and he wasn’t sure he was up to it. He had been told about peace, he had been told about and end to strife, an end to pain. The wound ached again, and he touched the place.

 

            It was at times like this that the most unhelpful things would happen. His mind, realizing that he needed all his faculties for a reasoned decision, attacked. He saw an image of a child, a child who had just been thinking about Nemo. The little girl, whose head was forcibly exploded by a bullet as she walked. Then came the face of a woman he hadn’t managed to save, as he carried her from an exploded building. Finally, as if he were suffering from a greatest hits collection, the coup de grace.

 

            “I love you.” She had said as her life drained away.

 

            He had tried to make her body heal, but there were too many wounds. Her body refused to stitch together in time for her soul not to escape. She slipped away while he was holding her, her body going limp in his arms. He had wanted to cry, but tears would never come. She had said she loved him though, and then she had died.

 

            “I love you.” She had said, just before she had died.

 

            He closed his eyes and pushed against the sculpture, rocking against it. He wasn’t trying to move it, as much as feel the resistance. He wanted it to stop, but it wouldn’t the images kept coming. A small girl, whose fears were all on display on her face, who had implored him, begged him. This is not to say he was literally hearing voices, rather he was being haunted by memories. Our hero is tortured by guilt, not pszicophrenia.

 

            “Please Mister Weirdo.” He could hear her voice clearly. “Please save my mommy.”

 

            He squeezed his eyes shut and tired to make it all go away, just to force it out. He began to hyper ventilate, as the voices and faces kept coming to him. They spoke in a hurried way, all together, saying different things. They were saying they loved him and they were begging him to save their mothers and they were explaining how peace could be achieved. They wanted peace very badly in fact, such a perfect peace.

 

            He finally threw his head back and screamed, such a scream of anguish that the Banshee’s hid their heads in fear. He drew his fist back and struck the sculpture, and a crunch came from the place where his hand hit. He stood perfectly still for a long moment, waiting. There was a moment where he realized that the sculpture hadn’t given, his hand had. He looked at the unbroken sculpture and then at his badly broken hand, and then a feeling that was more or less the opposite reaction to peace came to him. It was pain, and there was a hell of a lot of it.

 

            “FUCK!” He screamed as he fell to his knees, and slashed one of them open on the corner of the stone that the sculpture rested on, dislocating it.

 

“Ah!” He reached down at his left knee and the pain came to his hand again.

 

“Shit!” He said grabbing at his right hand again and falling back to reopen the wound at the back of his head.

 

“OW!” He yelled and screamed to the world in general. “What the fuck do you want from me?!”

 

            There was no reply, for there was no one to reply.

 

            “Isn’t anyone going to say anything? Anyone?”

           

            There was still no reply.

           

“Mother fuckers.”

© 2014 Autumn Knight Productions

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May 6, 2014 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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